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Posts Tagged ‘Norris Trophy’

Hockey Talkie: Brodeur, Byfuglien for Norris, HBO 24/7, Sutters, Spengler, Waffles, & The DiPietro Deficiency.

December 29, 2010 15 comments

Could the New Jersey Devils’ situation be any worse? Dead last in the entire league (as of Dec 28/10), their bazillion-dollar signee, Ilya Kovalchuk sucks, and their former best-goalie-in-the-world is anything but, often injured lately, and having a tough time doing the most important thing about the goaltending position job description – stopping pucks. You gotta think Martin Brodeur is, at least, contemplating retirement at this point. No disrespect to him, but I mean he’s won everything for a goalie to win (3 Stanley Cups, Olympic Gold twice, 4 Vezina’s, multiple All-Star selections; holds 20 NHL records, including most wins, shutouts, most games and minutes played, even scored a game-winning goal).  But really, at this point, what is the purpose in him hanging around, especially when he’s  now playing for the worst team in the league? After all his accomplishments, it’d be a shame to see him fizzle out and get Chelios’ed in his remaining time.

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secretly, NYI owner Charles Wang was trying to get the NHL to outlaw outlandish contracts all along.

Speaking of bad teams, how many more stints on the IR for Rick DiPietro until the New York Islanders decide buying out the remaining 11 years on his contract is actually the better option?  Tough for the Isles to get the most bang for their $67 million bucks out of a constantly injured goalie who hasn’t played an entire season since around the time he signed that contract. 

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Dustin Byfuglien’s the early favourite for the Norris Trophy, no? He’s 13th in league scoring as I write this, and there is not another defenceman on the list until Nicklas Lidstrom at 26th. He’s even got more points than Ryan Getzlaf, Eric Staal, Alexander Semin, Jarome Iginla, Jonathan Toews, Dany Heatley, Evgeni Malkin, Teemu Selanne, Joe Thornton, Martin Havlat, Rick Nash, and Patrick Kane, to name a few. To be fair, he is currently 65th in +/- rankings, which may or may not be a more important measure of a defenceman’s worth, depending on who you are. He’s still got my vote, for now.

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Like many of you hockey folks, I’m loving the HBO 24/7 Penguins/Capitals Road To The Winter Classic miniseries. I know lots of people are talking about it, so I’ll try to raise a few points that aren’t being beat to death, too badly.

One – Bruce Boudreau has been getting a lot of heat for his constant cussing in the dressing room and on the bench. My response to this is that the only people balking at this have to be people who are either over-sensitive, or just have never been in a hockey dressing room before; because, and I hate to break it to the weak at heart, but that’s exactly the way hockey dressing rooms and coaches are during the game. They get frustrated when things don’t go right, and when you’re as emotionally invested in the game and the success of the team as a coach has to be, f-bombs begin to flourish, especially in a slumping team situation. Personally, I love the fact that he’s not pulling any punches or walking on egg-shells just because there’s cameras around him all the time.

Two – I love seeing that NHL players are pretty much like every other hockey player that plays on every other team in the world and every other level (minus the skill level and multi-million dollar contracts, of course). It should be pretty obvious, since they all came up through all the same developmental leagues that all other players do to get where they are, but there’s something humanizing about seeing a teammates pulling hotel pranks on each other during road-trips, coaches telling players to “pack up your stuff so we can get the f— outta here” after a road loss, generally being jokers off the ice, and then really dialling in their serious side when it’s time to perform on the ice.

Three – as cool as this build-up to the Winter Classic has been, and as amazing as that game will be, this kind of TV series is tailor-made to a Stanley Cup Finals showdown, is it not? I know the big sell is the Crosby-Ovechkin matchup for American viewers by the networks, but isn’t the confrontation for the Cup, aka the biggest prize in the sport, even easier for fans to invest their advertisement-susceptible eyes to, compared to a gimmicky mid-season outdoor game?

And further, isn’t it a testimony to how unnecessary it is to advertise hockey in Canada that, compared to the Winter Classic media blitzkrieg, there has barely been a mention of the upcoming Heritage Classic outdoor game between Calgary and Montreal? You mean to tell me the mention of Jarome Iginla vs Josh Gorges isn’t enough to put butts in seats, and eyes on TV’s?

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Even though I’m an avid Calgary Flames hater, it’s unfortunate to see Darryl Sutter “resign” as team GM, after team CEO Ken King asked him too.  Seems like an either-quit-or-you’re-fired face-saving situation for Sutter; which, if you’re going to publicly announce that you ask a guy to quit, you might as well just fire him.  I don’t support Flames success, but I have to admit, Sutter has been the only guy to get any out of that organization in recent history, including brother/head coach  Brent, who barely batted an eyelash at the situation, citing his family’s unparalleled ability to separate family from business.  Man, that’s got to be an awkward family to be around at Christmas.

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I love the Spengler Cup.  I wish it could be rescheduled so it actually got some coverage, instead of being overshadowed by the WJC.  With personnel like Mark Messier coaching, Hockey Canada obviously supports the team; why aren’t they allowed to sport the official Hockey Canada jerseys like every other legit Canadian team representing Canada in international play?  Surely HC just doesn’t want to desecrate the uniform with all those euro ads, right?

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a little suspicious that this rink guy has an entire box of Eggo’s….

And finally, I’m loving the waffles being thrown on the ice at Toronto Maple Leafs games. It’s just such an amusing item to throw. It causes a delay of the game, bla bla… some one could get hurt, yadda yadda… let’s be honest, if the Leafs keep sucking, and Kessel keeps not scoring, they’ll be thanking their lucky lifetime season-ticket holders that something as soft (and delicious) as waffles is all that’s being thrown on the ice.

Sports Shorts: MJ-Favre, Shootout Trophy, Kings Colors, Goalie Chirps, and the Commonwealth Games Snub.

October 27, 2010 9 comments

 

 

Before (good) & after (not as good)

To me, it seems that the most recent incarnation of Brett Favre (that is, the Minnesota Vikings version) seems a lot like the most recent playing incarnation of Michael Jordan (Washington Wizards edition); both former superstars in their prime (Jordan best basketball player ever, Favre arguably one of the better quarterbacks in recent history), now playing in/beyond the twilight of their career, playing for an obscure team not likely of much success, putting up decent enough numbers to say that they’re contributing, but not in a “championship contender” kind of way.  Oh, and they both danced the retired/unretired/retired/unretired-legacy endangering sonata, with Mike finally bowing out, and Brett (supposedly) finally winding down after this year as well.  I know it’s gotta be hard to leave the game for a lot of different/mostly selfish reasons; it’s all they’ve ever done, all their friends are doing it, what else would they do, they’re really good at it, winning championships is fun, self-worth and identification, etc.  But I think the mark of a really great player in any sport is being good enough at it, and earned enough respect through the years to be granted the ability to leave their game on their terms.  Too many players who’ve had good careers abuse this right, lose the privilege, and are eventually told there’s no longer room for them (Mike Modano), or are told just to leave altogether (Chris Chelios).   Not that Modano nor Chelios possess the legacy in hockey that Jordan or Favre do in basketball or football, but you get the point.       

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How is there still not a side points bracket for shootout goals/saves in the NHL?  With such a pivotal interlude in the game that literally wins or loses games, you’d think the people responsible for the results could get some sort of recognition.  Their stats don’t need to count towards Rocket Richard or Vezina Trophy balloting, but why shouldn’t there be a trophy for most shootout goals in a season?  Or shootout saves for that matter?  The best rookie (Calder), defenceman (Norris)/ a forward ”being good at defensive aspects” (Selke), and most gentlemanly player (Lady Byng) all get one and have their acheivements recognized; you’re telling me the guy responsible for winning the most games in the season shouldn’t get something?

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Before (underrated) & After (looking sharp)

I have to admit, I like the retro LA Kings jerseys; they might even be my favourite throw-back uniform so far.  I think the purple and gold look better than they get credit for, and I also think they got way too much heat for looking bad back when they were the starting jerseys.  Also, nice work on the brown pads, glove and blocker.

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A few goalie chirps… how many 2nd chances on how many different teams is Jose Theodore going to get to be good again?  How long before the lustre/protection of a Vezina/Hart Trophy win in 2002 wears off? 10 years max?

Can you imagine if Cory Schnieder bumped $64 mil Roberto Luongo out of the Canucks’ starting goalie spot?  Lu should be careful with his “the team decided to give Schneids the night off” comments, they might just come back to haunt him, pemanently. 

I’m secretly cheering for Carey Price (not the Habs, just Price) to have an awesome year and shut everyone in Montreal up.  He’s got it rough playing in front of that kind of heat (Habs fans).  Obviously the fans wanted Halak to stay, and no one blames them.  Price getting traded probably would have been the best thing for him, but alas here he is.

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Speaking of heat, with all the hubbub about Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh over the summer, the Miami Heat pretty well have to win the NBA title this year if they’re going to show their faces in the league after this season, right?  Ok, good talk. 

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Do the Commonwealth Games seem a little snooty to anyone else?  54 countries are invited to participate, while at the Olympics, 200 are invited.  Do the results not seem a little skewed when you only compete against ¼ of the world’s sporting community?  Sure it’s nice to win stuff and be better than other people at sports, but I wouldn’t have too long of a parade when I get home for winning one of those medals.  Tough to brag much about winning when athletes from countries like China, Russia, Germany, and the USA aren’t invited or anywhere near the premises.  Congratulations, you beat competitors from a bunch of other average nations at this event….        


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