12 February 2007

Monday morning bullets

In case anyone who has ever read this journal wonders, yes, I do completely suck at titles.

Anyhow, some interesting things around the NHL this morning.

-Ray Emery is suspended. I didn't see this since I was too busy watching the Pens beat up on the Leafs, but it isn't too often you see a goalie get suspended. It'll be interesting to see how Gerber does (8-10-1) coming up against some decent opponents in the next week.

-Neat article on the new equipment types to hit the NHL recently. I don't play much, but I've always liked wooden sticks. This is probably because that is what I grew up with, and composite ones always make me think they're going to break, but if I had the money I'd like to play around with one of the sticks that Datsyuk uses (with the holes in the shaft). Really, though, it doesn't matter what you use if you can't hit the net. There's been some discussion about expanding the net size, and even someone mentioned reducing the goalie's blocker in order to make shots easier...but how much of an advantage do you want to give to the offense? I'll be the first to admit that I am not good with stats, but it seems like the games have been increasingly higher scoring in the last few years. Just take a peek at Saturday's games and you'll see some fairly beefy scores (6-5, 5-3, 5-2, etc.).

Of course, not all games are like that (Dallas beat Anaheim 1-0), but it just appears to be heading in that direction. There isn't anything wrong with higher scoring matchups (except perhaps frustrated goalies), but is hockey going to expand out of it's traditionalist roots and become a sport that relies more on equipment than technique and skill? Someone at HLOG made a good point a few days ago: you don't see any unfit, overweight, or slow players, and it's one of the few sports that can say that (soccer and basketball are the others I'm thinking of). In combination with this new equipment, larger nets would be overkill. Yes, it's always nice to see a goal scored, but one of the reasons it's so exciting is because it doesn't happen every five minutes. When your team scores, it's a hard-fought battle to the net, past the defenders, past the goalie, and then a credit to the shooter's skill to be able to fit a little piece of rubber into small, everchanging gap with a wooden stick (or aluminum, composite...). The point is, when does it change from equipment upgrades, which are essential to any living, growing sport, to changing the rules of scoring?

One last note to this mini-rant is a quote from the article above,

'“It’s a lot of word of mouth,” Garcia says. “These are pro players and they are pro athletes, but a lot of them are young kids. They watch what each other is playing with. They know when (Mike) Modano is using a Warrior stick. But the biggest ones are the Russians. They all know each other ... these guys are like a sewing circle.”'.

A sewing circle? Somehow I cannot see Malkin and Ovechkin sitting in a circle doing needlepoint, as amusing as that would be (now there's an idea for one of the 'hockey players are just like you' commercials). It is a good point, though, and I'm going to have to pay attention to what the Russian players are using.

-The Stars pick up Ladislav Nagy from the Coyotes for Tjarnqvist and a draft pick

-Even though Steph already said a few things about this, I can't believe how badly the Flames lost last night against the Red Wings. Kiprusoff was pulled, if that says anything to the severity of their loss. I've looked around a bit, and couldn't find any post-game notes or interviews to speculate on why they lost so badly, but at least McLennan got a bit of time on the ice. Spotting Noodles in the net is like catching a glimpse of the Loch Ness monster- spoken about but hardly ever seen. At least that was a tidbit for goalie Flames fans. I also heard Yelle was smacked in the same foot he broke earlier this season...hopefully the Flames can get over this and keep on truckin'.

A few Penguins notes:

-Article about how kick ass the Pens are right now, with Jordan Staal. Really, I'm just happy to see some attention from the media that isn't about the possible move or how much the Penguins suck.

-A little article off the website about how much Crosby's teammates think he rocks.

-The Pens are waiting tables tonight as part of a charity dinner to benefit a cystic fibrosis fund. If only I had money to go to that...who the best waiter would be? They're all very personable, but I'd probably lay my money on Fleury or Recchi. Fleury, because he'd have good hands being a goalie, and Recchi because he's older and has done this a few times around. I don't think it needs to be said how much fun it would be to watch Sidney wait tables.

Go Pens! (And good luck, don't drop anything tonight)


Steph said...

Actually a lot of people have made comments about Manny never making it as a goalie because he's too small and out of shape (oh he is not, the jerks)! And granted he's always been a little chubby, but the guy is fit enough to tend goal pretty damn well! I agree though, I'd hate to see hockey turn into a sport focused so much on what the players use to augment their skill, rather than the skill themselves.

As a side note, Pavel loves those sticks! They've interviewed him about it before and they mention it at least half as much as they menton Dom's age, and he's such a huge advocate for them. It almost makes me wonder if it'll spread among the Red Wings at all, or at least if any more of them will try them out. We've always been known for players who are really fussy about their sticks (Lang, for one, and they used to say the same about Fedorov when he played for us). Considering how Datsyuk's been playing though, it looks like he's certainly found a match.

Elly said...

I think goalies are the only ones who can get away with just a bit extra weight...and none of them are what I would call overweight (or at least I haven't seen any).

Neat! Have you seen any other players with them? I know a few have been spotted around the league, but his are the ones I keep hearing the most about.

Steph said...

I think they've mentioned (or maybe Pavel has) some other players who have tried them out, but I don't know of anyone else who uses them with the regularity that he does (he was also the one that used them first). He says they give him more power on his shots - and I should hope they do, for a price of $330-350.

Skye-chan said...

I think Warrior is what Sergei uses too. At least, I think so? It's been a while since they showed that feature-thingy, so I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that's what he uses.

and they used to say the same about Fedorov when he played for us

Yep, he's still as fussy. He makes them make like three seperate kinds of sticks. One kind for the beginning of the season, one kind for the end, and one kind that's more bendy for when his shoulder is hurting him. ...*cuddles him*

Spotting Noodles in the net is like catching a glimpse of the Loch Ness monster- spoken about but hardly ever seen.

Wow, then, I had a rare sighting, as he was in net against the Jackets when we played Calgary last. o.o