Home > Hockey > Hockey Talkie: Cooke, Chara, Kovalev, Heritage Classic, and Everything In Between.

Hockey Talkie: Cooke, Chara, Kovalev, Heritage Classic, and Everything In Between.

 

I love love LOVE Matt Cooke’s regular season/1st round playoff suspension. Faaaaaaaar overdue. The guy did not deserve as many chances as he got to clean up his act. Only thing better would have been if it were for all playoffs, or more.  I don’t care how good of a guy HBO’s 24/7 series made him seem like, and how much his teammates stick up for him, guys who play like that need to be removed from the game.  Curious that the Mario Lemieux factor finally wrangled an apology out of him too. 

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I can’t help but think Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty was locationally circumstancial. Anyone who’s had their ribcage rattled off Sparrow Gardens’ mid-bench wood pillars knows what I mean (for those who don’t know, that was the now-demolished wartime built airplane hangar/converted home-rink of the Briercrest Clippers, the college team I played for). As absolutely terrible as the result was, the hit would’ve turned out ok anywhere in the rink there was glass, and it seems a little out of character for Chara to go out of his way to hurt a guy like that. I could be wrong. Maybe there’s more to the story that the camera didn’t catch; some stick work, or something that set him off. Good for the NHL in beefing up the stanchion padding in rinks, but do we really need that little media area anyways? I get the ongoing American media sell of hockey and every nook and cranny of the game to increase viewership, but that little hut that houses reporters to call color-commentary and jump on the team benches mid-game to bother coaches for questions doesn’t seem necessary. Not to say that the Euro’s are doing it right, but some of their rinks benches are completely open, and don’t even have a divisible separation point between both teams, besides a huge gap of space. But then again, both teams walk out to the ice side by side, like they’re not about to go out on the ice and try to kill each other, so take that analogy with a grain of salt.

Good call on the no suspension for Chara though, much to the chagrin of Air Canada, who threatened to pull its sponsorship of the NHL out if the league didn’t make its product safer. I respect the move, but it sure would’ve held more water if the 6 Canadian and 5 American based NHL teams spend between $2.5 – 3.5million per season each on Air Canada  flights (via HNIC’s Jeff Marek on Twitter), and if Air Canada wasn’t such a terrible airline.

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So I’ve entered the 1st round of playoffs in the Bourne’s Blog fantasy hockey league. This year marks the first year I’ve put money on the line, and the first year I won the 1st overall pick selection. I selected Alexander Ovechkin, on the basis that I thought he would be awesome yet again. Instead of awesome, I got above-average. And now, when I need him the most, Ovechkin has decided to take 7-10 days off, while each round lasts one week. FML.

Speaking of infuriating Russians, a lesser man would’ve taken the hint he wasn’t wanted, retired, and headed back to Russia after being traded for a conditional 7th round pick. Not Alexi Kovalev. A “conditional” pick seems like the worst one to get in a draft, and pretty well the absolute minimum of acceptability when it comes to collateral in a deal. Doesn’t conditional just mean that the team who’s offered the pick will make sure you get the worst choice possible in that round?

Penguins: “Our conditions… just make sure your pick isn’t taller than 5’5”, he can’t weight more than 165 lbs, and make sure he’s got no track record of doing or winning anything significant or noteworthy in his hockey career. Stick within those parameters and we’ve got a deal.”

Senators: “… that sounds fair.”

Both, under their breath: “ ………suckers!!”

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Vincent Lecavalier did to PK Subban what Mike Richards wouldn’t, and would only talk about someone doing if he kept playing the way he does:  I don’t get what Vinny was so mad about; should Subban have just let him stand in front of his goalie, or maybe politely asked him to move? Maybe he was just mad that a rookie defenceman has played more games, has more assists, and gets more minutes per game and shifts per game than him. Why do the league’s veteran players get so angry with young, quick, talented players who celebrate their goals, and play a highly physical and exciting to watch style of hockey? Surely a Cup champ and seasoned veteran can’t feel threatened by the presence of this new brand of player, can he? Subban sure seems to make a lot of other players mad for fairly perplexing reasons.

Speaking of rookies, Taylor Hall’s first NHL fight turned out pretty well worst-case scenario for him, with that resulting ankle injury. He picked up the Gordie Howe hat-trick though, so there’s that at least for him. That stat puts him in some elite company, and places him only 16 more off the lead set by Brendan Shanahan.

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After being written off for most of the season, Jarome Iginla’s 30 goals/10 seasons milestone sure has redeemed him in the eyes of the hockey world.

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Former Calgary Flame and current Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach, Tim Hunter is still an ugly, ugly man.

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The slow shootout approach seems stopped more often than not. Get up some speed, move around; do something less easily read by a goalie.

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I respect no-BS guys like Brian Burke & John Tortorella, but I think it’d suck to work/play for them. I’m sure Sean Avery hates every minute of playing for Torts, but at the same time, knows he’s exactly the coach he needs to get the best out of him. Burke won’t tolerate the media’s crap, and I love it. The NHL, and everyone really, needs guys that cut out the crap.

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Some NHL teams should consider rescuing Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets and offer their entire roster for him. Now THAT’D be a hype-worthy deadline deal. Sure, it’d take a few years to rebuild your roster, but assuming you have a decent farm system (any farm system can’t be that far off pace of CBJ’s actual team), you’d be back up to par in no time, AND have the addition of a franchise player. Nash deserves better. I’m going to start a FREE RICK NASH campaign, I think.

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On the Heritage Classic…..

Might as well have just worn this too.

-Did anyone else think the NHL is fairly stupid for not having the Heritage Classic be either Toronto vs Montreal, or Calgary vs Edmonton? I get the cross-continental viewership theory, but aren’t the afore mentioned rivalries a little more historic and television worthy? Based purely on rivalry/game-entertainment value, who’d you like to see in next year’s version? I’m thinking a Vancouver-Chicago one would be fun.

-Leave it to the USA to declare “Hockey Day in America” on the day Canadian teams play in the Heritage Classic outdoor game in Canada.

-Paul Brandt having a musical note on his Flames jersey in place of a number was ridiculous.

-Why did the Flames wear white pants???? So close to looking totally awesome. Then again, this is a team that throws salmon on the ice at home games, so not sure what I expected….

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And finally, why does ESPN continue to push women’s pool, dogshows, and bowling more than NHL hockey? And why does TSN continue to pick up these feeds? This is exactly why players like Pacioretty get hit into stanchions protecting the league’s media gimmicks. Americans, watch hockey already so players stop getting hurt!

  1. ryley
    March 23, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Matt Cooke finally got a decent punishment. I remember his last suspension was like 3 games or something and I’m just thinking. What is that gonna do for this guy? Hopefully missing 1st round will finally get him to unlodge his head from his ***.

    And I also agree about the chara/pacioretti hit. Wrong place/ wrong time. I believe the nhl (if they wanted to keep up with consistency, maybe should have given him a game) but I’m glad they didn’t.
    And I’m all for making the game more safe. But it seems like all of a sudden people woke up and realized hockey was a fast and rough sport? You know its seems as if every hit has to be broken down to see if it was “legal”

    • SDC
      March 24, 2011 at 9:25 am

      yeah, I mean I don’t know what they’re supposed to do… it used to be too “slow and boring” in the clutch & grab, fighting days and no one was watching, so they changed it to “fast and heavily penalized” and now guys get hurt a lot, and that’s not helping either. Not sure what the right formula is; but it’s too bad that it all has to come back to how the league can make the most money by way of advertising, merchandising, sponsors, and other revenue dollar sources.

  2. March 23, 2011 at 8:43 am

    two-hander by PK on Vinny’s wrist probably contributed.

    • Chris Mayeda
      March 23, 2011 at 11:27 am

      apparently PK tried to slew foot him couple plays before. didn’t see it myself though.

      • March 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

        Chris, stop defending your team, according to GQ you hab-i-tants are the 12th worst fans in the history of sport. Although that may be a skewed report as the people I have to interact with here on the west coast didn’t even make the list. Anyone but the Canucks!

        • Chris Mayeda
          March 23, 2011 at 11:32 am

          haha, i didn’t see it because i don’t have tsn. and yeah habs fans can be pretty brutal. we’re a spoiled bunch who expect nothing but the best.

          Dave – whatever the motive, it certainly helped them lose a game against a team they should have beat. He let a kid get to him, unless there was a slew foot, which i can understand the anger.

          • SDC
            March 24, 2011 at 9:28 am

            I think that’s the biggest thing right there–he let ” _____ ” get to him. Doesn’t matter what you fill the blank in with, as soon as you’re mentally checked out of the game, you’re a liability for your team for the duration of the game, or until you can tune back in.

  3. March 23, 2011 at 8:45 am

    u never know what can happen when u say please lol

  4. ryley
    March 25, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Well….for all the build up to the rematch between the habs and bruins. Only one team came to play.
    This game seemed to have a playoff type hype to it and the canadians simply did not show up to play. Price had some bad luck on quite a few of the goals but I think the bruins put a lot of teams on notice after a game like this ( I predict a big run from them this year ) I hope the flyers and them meet again in the east finals.

    • SDC
      March 28, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      Yeah that was embarassing for Montreal. It’s pretty clear now who’s in charge of that rivalry. Bruins/Flyers would be good; Habs could be spoilers again though….

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