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Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis Blues’

THE RUSSIANS ARE LEAVING!! Upsets, and Assessments of Olympic Hockey.

February 25, 2010 2 comments

 

My goodness, Canada obliterated Russia.  Canada lives to fight another day, and Sid wins the latest chapter of the Crosby vs. Ovechkin showdown (actually, they both had zero points in the game, but Sid wins by default with the team win; also Ovechkin was invisible throughout the whole game).  I hate to say it’s typical of Russia, but since the loss, the Russians have been skewering Canada in the media (no offence to any of the nice Russian people I know).  All the people who thought that the loss to the US might have been the “inspiration” Canada needed to get things back on track may just have been onto something.

My most common thought through that game was MAN I FREAKING LOVE TEAM CANADA.  I had a long term relationship with the LA Kings during the Gretzky era, had cups of coffee with the Blues, Rangers, and most recently, I’d been warming up to the Coyotes and Leafs.  But all in all, Team Canada is my favourite hockey team of all time.  I absolutely love it when they win, and I nearly lose my mind when they lose.  All the whining about how American NHL teams are all comprised of Canadians, and when those teams win Cups, it’s really Canada winning, sort of; well this is actually all those Canadian players all together on one team, and all NHL season gripes, grudges, and affiliations are off.  I’ve even come to realize that I really like the new sport neutral Team Canada logo designed for the Olympics.

I really have come to think that the Olympic tournament is the premier

Remember when the US beat us for this in '96? We got revenge in '04.

international hockey competition as well.  As opposed to the World Championships, you have EVERY country’s best players representing their flag; not the small percentage of NHL players who aren’t in the Stanley Cup playoffs that year.  Also, the players are in peak mid-season conditioning; whereas WC players may be “mailing in” their efforts after knowing they’re not going to win the Stanley Cup.  The World Cup/Canada Cup is cool too, but it has no frequency to it; only being contested every 7-8 years.  It would be better if the Olympics didn’t have single elimination games, and best-of series’ instead.  I wish there was a way to have every country play every country at least once, instead of the pool play, but I guess there really isn’t that kind of time.  Maybe next NHL lockout, there could be a Global Hockey League, where we see countries compete in an NHL season format.  How awesome would that be?

Now we face Slovakia, after what must be considered an upset after defeating defending gold medal champs, Sweden.  So Sweden, you’re telling me a squad comprised of Zetterberg, Franzen, Alfredsson, both Sedin’s, Forsberg, Lidstrom, and others were not good enough to beat… wait, who does Slovakia have? Zdeno Chara? (ok they have the Hossa’s and Gaborik too, but come on, not nearly as deep as Sweden)  This was the first legit upset of the tournament, in my opinion, but man were there a few close calls.  The Swiss were a handful for Canada and the US, Belarus made it tough on Sweden, Latvia took a run at the Czechs, and even Norway almost edged out the Slovaks.  Now by the math, Canada should roll over Slovakia, but hey, we said that about the US, didn’t we?

I think it’s great for hockey as a whole, but obviously not great for Canada.  We’re no longer afforded the luxury of thinking we’re automatically the best in the world when it comes to international matchups (someone tell all the women’s teams besides Canada and the US to follow suit).  We’ve known this since 2006 in Turin really, but people like to pretend as if those Olympics never happened; isn’t it odd that the only Olympics Canadians seem to “remember” in terms of hockey is 2002?  Obviously our best showing, but you have to take the bad with the good and make adjustments if you’re going to remain king of the hill.  Another thing that escapes Canadian hockey fans memories is that both Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo were our goalies in Turin as well.  Luckily, we’ve already bested our placement from that time.

Go Canada GO!

 

Bye-Bye Byng, Dallas Deterioration, Jersey Originality FAIL, and the PIM Ploy.

January 31, 2010 9 comments

Is it just me, or did the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Colorado Avalanche all get lazy when it came to 3rd jersey design time?  Maybe they just had nothing at the deadline, and blindly approved blue uniforms; when blue isn’t even one of their official team colors?  Did the Predators just rip off a Maple Leafs symbol and stitch on that stupid prehistoric cat with the major incisor issue? Did Florida not notice that Chicago, Minnesota, St Louis, and Pittsburgh all already did the emblem with the symbol in the middle and team name circled around it, and that the Blues and Pens already did it with the same colors?  How many people in the NHL were asleep at the wheel here?   

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If I were the type of person who was looking for players to make my team better, why in the world would I want to be on the lookout for a player with a lot of PIM’s?  Isn’t getting penalties, sitting in the box for varying periods of time, and making your team play with a man down because of your error, and increasing the likelihood of being scored on, a bad thing?  It boggles my mind that players will get chosen over others based on this stat, because the player with high PIM’s is supposed to make the team “tougher”.  There are lots of players who play a physical style that can make a team tougher and don’t have to sit in the penalty box to show it.   I just saw a sidebar on TV that said Keith Tkachuk moved into the top 5 all-time PIM leaders with just shy of 2200.  Errm… congrats, Keith, you sat in the penalty box for 36 games worth of time.  Thanks for helping out…

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Now that Wayne Gretzky and Joe Sakic have both retired, and Pavel Datsyuk has won the trophy three years in a row, is it time to do away with the Lady Byng Award for the NHL’s most gentlemanly player?  Does anyone in the league care, or aspire to win it anymore (did they ever?)?  Like WWE did with the European and Light Heavyweight championship belts; maybe the NHL should slowly stop talking about it, never show it on camera, and very sneakily just phase it out.  In the era of the Sean Avery’s, Steve Downie’s, and Dan Carcillo’s, maybe the NHL should in contrast introduce the Johnny Knoxville Award for biggest jackass of the year; as hockey tips slightly closer to “entertainment” for the sake of selling the game in an American market, and is certainly not dissuading the behaviour.    

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Marty Turco is the most over-rated goalie in the NHL.  For a guy considered for Team Canada a few times, he really doesn’t ever get it done, does he? 

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Speaking of Dallas Stars, Mike Modano seems to be just hanging on to that spot of his (and a few other classics in the league, I might add) in Dallas, doesn’t he?  He’s earning his keep, but as that era of players seems to be drawing to a close, it’s enough to wonder how much longer he can keep from going the way of the dinosaur.  He’s always been a really good player; recently I heard him described as “the best skater I ever saw” by a former NHL’er.  For some reason, he could never keep that Captain’s “C” on his jersey.  I always secretly liked him as a player (it helped that he wears my number); but as an American, my Canadian pride refused to allow it.   

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