You knew it was coming.
Sidney Crosby has been named the Penguins' youngest club captain, and the youngest man to wear the C in NHL history. He didn't need another 'C' on his uniform to prove he was the captain, but it does look nice anyhow.
Way to go, Sid! Congratulations!
Wow, we've been awful with the Cocky Awards....so why change now!
Steph and I have decided to make a Cocky for each Stanley Cup game. Considering that I missed most of the first one due to not being able to waitress and watch the game at the same time (I tried, damn it), and that Steph missed yesterday's horrid batch of giveaways that the Senators called a game, she will be awarding the first game's winner, and I will be announcing game 2's lucky man.
From the depth's of Steph's mind and her utter hatred for things small and quacky, Game 1's winner is: Jean-Sebastian Giguere for his silly use of a straw with which to drink his magic cocktail while in net. Splash your face like a man, Gigi!
Brought up from the bowels of Elly's bleak despair in ending up cheering for Ottawa by default, Ray Emery is Game 2's Cocky little bastard and talented goalie desperado. Not fitting the 'cocky jerk' description? How about Corey Perry being the on-ice equivalent of a plague of mosquitos?
More to come!
While I do not have any spiffy photos or fun things to say that haven't already been said, I will take a quick minute to mention what a spiffy time that was had exactly a week ago in Toronto. Coffee, AHL hockey, and fun was had by all! How cool is it that they sell Tim Horton's in the arena in Hamilton? To quote Steph, 'Who needs beer!'
(kudos to those who got the reference in the title)
EDIT: I'm an idiot. Yesterday was Thursday, today is Friday, when I was in Toronto a week ago. I love working two jobs, I really do.
31 May 2007
You knew it was coming.
28 May 2007
Having returned from Toronto, I see I've missed very little - except for that little bit about Nashville being sold, the only other "news" seems to be Hasek not sure if he's coming back or not yet, and that I still hate this years Cup Finals.
I did, however, get to take in some AHL hockey with Elly, HG, and Sherry of HLOG fame, as well as Drea, over the weekend. After arriving in Toronto, we backtracked (for me at least) our way to Hamilton to take in what could have been a Bulldogs sweep of the Chicago Wolves. They ended up losing 1-0 (continuing my record of never going to an AHL game and seeing my preferred team win), but we had a great time anyway. I took some pictures that I'll put up eventually, but in the meantime, Sherry's are even better.
I've decided, thanks in part to the influences of those around me, in part to Carey Price and even more to Zack Stortini (I really wanted to make him a sign suggesting he punch someone - but he did at least get into a little pile at the net. I also wouldn't have minded seeing him score, which he did not - but he did in yesterday's winning game, which puts them officially in the finals), to throw my support behind them for the Calder this year.
This should make Sherry happy, as her weekend mission to convince me to really cheer for the Sens in the upcoming playoffs didn't meet with a whole lot of success. She did, however, manage to unwittingly settle just what it is Elly and I will be cheering for in the upcoming weeks. Ladies and gentlemen, your NPI bloggers are proud to announce that from this moment on, we will be affiliating ourselves with...
25 May 2007
Elly and I do this thing, every Memorial Day weekend, where we go to Toronto. And we hang out and we watch hockey, and we drink beer (that we've pestered my good friend Chapel into buying because he's wont to make really idiotic bets that end up costing him $50). Last year there was a glorious evening of watching the Oilers (oh my Oilers how I miss you) toss the Sharks around to take the West and it was wonderful. And thus, we have been waiting with bated breath for May twenty-fifth to roll around all year.
Unfortunately, the Hockey Gods decided we'd had enough fun. We clearly didn't deserve to spend the weekend watching the glory of the WCF - in fact, we didn't even deserve a favorable outcome to the WCF, whether or not we could watch it together, AND we had to suffer through Pronger being victorious once again.
So we decided, screw the Hockey Gods - we're off to party with HG and Sherry, eat sushi, drink spiked Slurpees, and catch a Hamilton Bulldogs game (take that NHL!); it's an International HLOG Convention!
And you know, the disgusting part is, we won't miss absolutely anything in the hockey world despite being absent from this blog for three days during playoff season. Tonight I watched basketball. It was a dark, dark day.
23 May 2007
Here's a little story:
On Monday night after I got out of work at the bar, I came home and let my dog out to go to the bathroom. It was one in the morning, so we walked, without a leash, to the abandoned parking lot across the street so he could run around in the grass. He took off, ran around, and as I went around the corner I saw him backing up from a picnic table shaking his head, on the other side was a very large and very angry-looking skunk.
Now, growing up in Vermont I have smelled skunk numerous times, had dogs that have been skunked before and such. I called Murphy (my dog) over away from the skunk and back to the apartment. I got about twenty feet before the smell hit me and I noticed that he had a large, yellow, dripping patch of skunk ick on his chest. I rushed him inside and spent the better part of the next hour and a half tormenting my dog in the bathtub with baking soda and palmolive (he hates baths).
The moral of this story? Me, my entire apartment, my dog, my two cats, my car, my clothing and even my shoes smell with a strong ode de skunk, even after multiple treatments of everything known to man...and still this year's Stanley Cup final stinks more.
Go Sens. *gack*
I can't do it. I said I would, for the sake of my Western Conference pride and a certain goalie but I can't.
I look at Chris Pronger and I see him raising the Cup and grinning with that stupid gap tooth and I see him stealing his pants back from Lauren for one last night of joyriding in Edmonton and I see him dancing with the Cup on Smytty's doorstep chanting "Personal reasons, personal reasons," like a broken stupid record and I know perfectly well my imagination is overactive and it's more than likely he'll sit in his bedroom while Lauren lectures him on how he didn't make enough teams despise the very core of him this year and how pretty soon she's going to take more than just the pants if he doesn't start producing, and the Cup's in the closet because she won't let him touch it because he doesn't deserve it so long as there's so much as ONE fan like me who couldn't realize the hate until it was too late, but I see it, in my brain, on repeat, a little grainy like some old horror film. And I see the little worn out D kids in Edmonton sitting dejected in the locker room while the phrase "(we need a) puck moving defenseman" plays over and over on the PA and the giant shadow of Pronger complete with a happy little bright spot (and folks, Toby Petersen is standing right there) where the gap should happen looms over them all and Christy Chorley reports for us all that he's going to the finals yet again.
So I can't do it. Ilya, I can't do it. I'm sorry.
Go (puke) Sens.
I was going to say all that. Except then Chapel let me know that if Anaheim takes this I win his pool and for the second year in a row squeeze free things out of him - I'm not sure I can express in writing how happy this would make me, given the circumstances surrounding last year's success. Now I'm torn again. Fuck.
(Meanwhile, Christy wrote everything else I wanted to say about the game right here including but not limited to what happens when you play like ass for fifty minutes of a game and how ten minute comebacks against the Ducks only work if you're the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Hockey Gods are looking down at you with pity in their eyes and thinking "Wow do they ever need a reason to keep living." It was too little too late, guys, but thanks for those few minutes of anticipating glory and at least ending the season flying high.)
21 May 2007
A peek at Anaheim's brilliant strategy:
Haven't had enough? Follow it up with a clip of just what Dom's thinking on the ice and get a glimpse of Chelios' pregame pep talk.
Even if we lose (which we won't), at least there's Knob Hockey to look forward to. GO WINGS!
20 May 2007
I hate you Chris Pronger for being a stupid gaptooth douchebag and for Edmonton and for still being in the playoffs and being such a jackass that our whole arena was booing every time you touched the puck on a scale similar to when Fedorov's in town.
I hate you J.S. Giguere for your stupid waterbottle and your stupid straw and our stupid ability to make you look good. And also for your ugly pads and your uglier helmet and for not being Ilya.
I hate you goalpost for being in the way of the puck.
I hate you referees for your stupid crap calls and your failure to notice things like too many men on the ice.
I hate you Johan Franzen for not doing a better job icing that stupid puck.
I hate you Andreas Lilja for thinking it was remotely a good idea to do something stupid and fancy and who knows what was going on in your brain.
I hate you Teemu Selanne for scoring that goal especially after everyone was just talking about you being streaky and not doing much in this series.
I hate you Dom Hasek for letting yourself get scored on top shelf again and going down early when I'm not sure you needed to, even if it made sense, which I don't know because I spent every replay of that goal with my head in my hands.
I hate you offense for your inability to capitalize on the approximately 2938529 opportunities you had in front of the net.
I hate you stupid last second goal that sent us into OT and cost us not only the game but cost me my dinner at Theo and Stacy's too, as all but my steadfast hockey buddy Ryan left without us.
I hate you oven for burning the garlic bread that I am now eating instead of a real dinner.
I hate you fridge for not having any beer in you that isn't Bud Light and for thereby forcing me into the real liquor which for the record goes smashing with lemon sorbet, thank the Czech Republic for that.
But I am not giving up. Tuesday night. Game on. GO WINGS.
I'll admit it: I didn't watch hardly any hockey this week.
Sure, I work two jobs, had a date, and got to see Spiderman 3 (good, but it could have been better. Did we really need a whole dance number?), but that isn't any excuse - there was playoff hockey to be had!
Obviously the hockey gods thought the same thing and have punished me as only the hockey gods can: Ottawa's going to the finals.
Now, I'm not a huge fan of the Senators for several reasons, but they don't have the eons of deep-rooted angst that some other teams bring, so I am willing to look at their play with a slightly more objective eye. I can admit they're good, they were during the regular season, but as I've said before, their play in the post season has been nothing short of inspired. I didn't expect Buffalo to fall, but they went down like every other team that played the Sens in the playoffs have: 4 to 1. Is this a pattern? Have the gods themselves descended from on high to bless the Senators with the Stanley Cup or are they planning to let them make it to the big game and then let them fall to the Ducks (or Wings)? Only time will tell, but I don't think I can deny it any longer: the Ottawa Senators are poised, and looking good, to win the Cup.
What happened to the Senators to spark this remarkable blossoming into a beautiful playoff flower? Great coaching? A superb captain? Solid lines? Rocking goaltending?
No, it was obviously a deal with the hockey devils (not New Jersey).
How did this happen? How did the poor, naive Senators fall prey to the evil wiles of the Puck of Doom? Is Bryan Murray really an agent of the Rubber Biscuit of Darkness? There were surely shady dealings in the back alleys of Scotiabank, right between the hot dog vendor and the Labatt's stand. The rest of the hockey world can only watch, hoping and praying that the Senators can pull through and redeem themselves, once more to be in favor with the Puck Almighty.
Today will be game five for the Ducks and the Wings, and the world will soon know who is going to help lead the Senators on their quest to show their devotion to the Divine Puck. All we can do is watch and take solace in the fact that the team that kicked the crap out of the Penguins is going all the way, quite possibly to hoist that big hunk of silver in a week or so (this is known as Edmonton Logic).
In actual hockey news, the Ducks and Wings play today at 3pm and I am happy to say that I will be able to watch it. At this point, I want the Ducks to win just so I can make a little hockey puck devil with a duck head on it.
-NHL.com was nice enough to bless us with a trip down memory lane with the peanut butter story. What inspired the writers there to dig out a bit of Penguins' playoff trivia during this run?
-Buffalo fans can be obnoxious (as can we all), but to take one out? Ouch. The hockey devils made them do it (not New Jersey).
-Just a little snippet in the continuing saga of the Penguins ticket prices. The business people in the organization must be thrilled with tickets up 60%. Fans don't mind paying a little more to help support the team and the players, but I just hope they remember the regular people in their price hikes.
Cocky nominations to come later today!
18 May 2007
I'm going to maintain that we lost because we didn't have Pronger out there to want desperately to destroy. Sound good? Okay? Right then. I have clearly important things to say about this game:
- Thanks to Pookie and Schnookie's IPB game review of the last game in the series, and the number of times they mentioned it, I was paying a painful amount of attention to Dom's waterbottle and where he put it (not where it belonged, 90% of the time). Unfortunately or me this led to also noting Giguere's and all I have to say is: oh come on drink from your damn bottle like a normal person. Every time I saw him with that stupid looking STRAW I felt a new stream of unpleasantness slip from my tongue. I don't even know why, it just IRKED me. Of course that was my general mood in Giguere's direction for most of the evening. Give me Ilya!
- Looking at the Detroit News' photo gallery, I just want to state two things about this picture. First of all, once July happens and I nab that Hemsky Pardubice jersey (just picture it with less Bulis and more Hemmer) from friends slightly more Czech-bound than me, I will be way cooler that guy. Second and more importantly, the sheer fact that there are NO ads on that jersey is not helping the "Dom is so old" case. At all. Remotely. Have you seen the Extraliga lately?
- Possibly the guys cleaning octopi off the ice shouldn't have been so funny but come on, shovels? Dropping it? Someone needs a lesson from Al Sobotka. A+ to the guy who threw the first one though, the little ribbon was cute.
- Valtteri Filppula's growing some scruff after all! Nevermind that it took an extreme closeup to figure this out and even then it was questionable. Come on Jiri, you're next!
- Kyle Quincey. So cute. SO CUTE.
Hey, at least the Pistons won?
17 May 2007
The Edmonton Oilers, being the sweethearts they are, were one of three local employers recognized for their commitment to persons with disabilities at the Annual Mayor’s Awards because of their 22-year relationship with Joey Moss, the team’s Dressing Room Attendant.
Through the unfortunate (or the amazingly and possibly bitterly clever) headlining skills of one anonymous "Staff Writer" with the Oilers, the article that contained that information was slapped with this byline:
From the Edmonton Sun:
Anaheim defenceman Chris Pronger has been suspended for one game. How will that affect the team?48% of voters went with option c. The Sun, for the record, has also started referring to Anaheim's rally towels as "playoff crying towels".
x The Ducks are cooked.
x They'll fight through the loss.
x He's dead to me.
Thanks to the inability of the train I spent 6 pm to 10 pm on to miraculously have cable, and even more miraculously have Versus (the S383 would totally kick its ass, just ask HG), I didn't actually catch any of the Ottawa/Buffalo game tonight. But what I've gathered to be the important thing is that Buffalo stayed alive to fight through at least a Game Five.
Uh. Right. In other news Chris Pronger won't be showing his ugly gap-toothed mug tomorrow evening, as the league handed him a one game suspension. I'm surprised, but happy with the decision. Apparently Pronger was less so. Who would've figured, Prongs bitching about something? I think he's still just mad about the pants. Should've listened, Chris, should've listened.
16 May 2007
Series 2-1 in Wings' favor
(What on earth was I on when this said Sharks? Remind me not to post at 3am)
First off, is that Valtteri Filppula using one of those sticks that Datsyuk's stirred up so much noise about? I haven't noticed it in the games - has anyone else? It's too late for me to feel like looking up pictures and checking right now, but I couldn't help but see at least that he was carrying one in these celebration pictures tonight.
On to the game - that was the kind of thing you don't expect to see in the playoffs. Especially by the time you hit the WCF. In a beautiful 5-0 effort by Hasek and the Wings, we moved up 2-1 for the series and showed that we can not only take a beating, we can dish one out like the best of them.
The Wings' offensive effort was brilliant, especially compared to the past couple games where it would have really been nice to see a little more. Babcock shuffled the line around a bit (and also gave Tomas Kopecky a chance to play, after being out injured since December 19th) and it looks to have worked like a charm - not only that, but once again our potential for scoring depth made a great showing. Franzen broke out with the first goal, followed up with a nice shot by Homer - a wristshot and not the sort of goal we're used to seeing from him, which only made it more satisfying - a tip in in front of the net by Bertuzzi, another Holmstrom goal, and finally to top off the evening, my other rookie Filppula stepped up and knocked one in to bump us up to five. Not to mention the statistic when you factor in assists - of the 18 members of tonight's roster, 10 notched points.
The Ducks, on the other hand, couldn't seem to stay out of the box, which really hurt their offensive chances - I'll admit, Pronger raging at the referees made me a little bit happy.
He and Baby Nieds took a really nasty shot at Holmstrom, knocking him down and sending him back to the lockerroom with two cuts on his forehead. It looked worrisome for a bit, but luckily Homer was back in the third period. I'm skeptical on the call - Niedermayer got a five minute penalty for boarding and a game misconduct, but Pronger, that jerkbag, walked away with nothing.
As for goaltending, Dominik Hasek was brilliant in net tonight, notching him yet another playoff shutout. He made several excellent stops and even using some of his patented wandering out of the net, successfully poking the puck away from a couple different Ducks. The announcers commented that he must have been getting bored - and rightfully so; the Ducks were outshot 13-2 in the second.
J.S. Giguere, on the other hand, looked a bit shaky at the beginning, and (much to my delight) was pulled in the second, allowing Ilya Bryzgalov another shot at playoff glory.
Unfortunately, he let in the first shot that was taken on him (though to his credit I don't quite know how the Ducks let Valtteri Filppula get quite so far into the zone to begin with). He didn't look bad, however, which made me happy. Duck hatred I may have, but I really do have a soft spot for Bryz and I'm not the only one:
Me: Okay Ilya like, spins. when he gets back up and they're moving the puck away he just sort of makes little circles and it's really adorable.And there's even a Facebook group dedicated to his Score interview. The poor guy, this must feel like flashbacks to last year's WCF - I can just picture him sitting there in net, muttering to himself about closing the door. (To note, I really wish there were more Knob Hockey happening this year).
Elly: Ilya does this cute shoulder roll thing....so cute.
15 May 2007
14 May 2007
I made it down to the game this evening and as usual had nothing to actually write notes down on, so this is going to be a very objective sort of game review and I'm probably lacking a lot of information. First things first, I learned from Christy this afternoon that the Wings, as a Mother's Day special, were selling autographed pucks for $20. She couldn't make the game, but asked me to pick one up for her, so I made my way over to the table and snagged the last two - both signed by Bertuzzi - for us. We were also given rally towels and carnations for Mother's Day.
I hadn't been to a playoff game this far into a series in quite a few years, and I wasn't sure what to expect, especially at the Joe where we've been criticzed lately for the lack of sellouts and the lackluster crowd. I can tell you for a fact, there was nothing lackluster about the crowd at the Joe tonight. While the lower bowl had a fair amount of empty seats, the upper bowl was almost entirely full - just another bit of proof that it's really the high ticket prices that are doing us in. My seats were section 201, row 4 (the view from the picture above is ours) and priced at $158 a person - plus the $15 parking.
Before the game I was watching the Ducks warm up and looking for Ilya Bryzgalov (he and I have an illicit affair which we don't speak of because it means there's a Duck in the world I tolerate so shhh) - right before he skated off the ice he went to give Giguere a hug, or so it looked - but he ended up half-tackling him and knocking them both back into the goal. Cute. Also during warmup I was slightly surprised to see Kopecky skating around with the boys, and Meech as well. I wonder if my rookie Hudler is sulking about not getting to play - he wasn't out there at all.
The Wings and the Ducks looked fairly evenly matched throughout the majority of the game. The Ducks did outplay us in the first period, and through the start of the second (for the first chunk of the second it really looked like we didn't have any energy, any offensive power, our powerplay was downright anemic, until Maltby's goal, after which we really picked it up for the rest of the game).
Two of Anaheim's four goals were reviewed - the first of which we didn't get any sort of recap of except for the net-cam view, which didn't look remotely like it was in at all, but sounds like it was a fair goal from what I've seen elsewhere. The second seemed sketchier to me as Hasek had the puck and it didn't cross the line until he got pushed farther into the net - though looked more clearly like a goal on the view we were given.
The game really was either team's to win, and I don't believe this loss will have a major impact on us, especially if Hasek bounces back the way he usually does after having a less than stellar outing. Once the Wings found their stride they looked strong and more than capable of dealing with the Ducks, so long as they can keep it up. Our pp looked much stronger after Maltby's shorthanded goal, and both Lidstrom and Datsyuk notched a ppg before the game was over, not to mention our pk was as strong as ever and for the most part looked excellent.
Pavel Datsyuk looked a little off to me tonight - I hope it was just coincidence, and maybe even being shaken up a little from the first couple minutes of play where he took about three good hits in a row, but his skating seemed to have a lot less finesse than usual. He fell several times, didn't seem to have quite the control he usually does, and generally didn't skate with the skill he's shown he has. Then again, he wasn't playing necessarily poorly either, and he definitely had several nice moments.
There was a guy sitting behind us who seemed to know a lot about all the individual players and yet very little about hockey - he also had a tendency to be horribly loud and yell particularly random things at really odd times; "GET THE PUCK!" "SKATE WITH IT!", "CHARGE!", "ATTACK!" and "TODD!" being just a few. As odd as it was, it seemed to really apply overall - the Wings really did to do a lot more of all of those things (even including the Todd bit - I didn't see Bertuzzi making nearly enough impact tonight), and I hope they can pick all of them up by Tuesday's game.
Perhaps the most important event of the night, however, was me coming fully into my hatred of Chris Pronger. That's right, I couldn't, before this, even though I tried. I kept looking at him and seeing Chris Pronger, my playoff hero (okay, after Pisani), the guy who took that ridiculous penalty shot and made it. But after seeing him there, live and in person and hulking over everyone else on the ice, wincing everytime he took one of those laser shots from the blueline, hearing it rocket off the glass, worrying every time he got the puck during a pp, seeing that stupid gap-toothed grin and he celebrated with his little Ducklings, knowing just what an impact he has on a team and constantly thinking about how that impact, that god damn fucking puck moving defenseman impact, could have been Edmonton's all season instead of working against us right now, I hated him. So there. I booed him every time I saw him. I yelled, I cursed, and I hate Chris Pronger. You win, Lauren.
See everyone Tuesday night - GO WINGS!
13 May 2007
Hello all! Yes, I still live, just very tired. I fell asleep during Thursday's game, if that gives anyone indication on my exhaustion. Steph has been marvelous in keeping this blog up to date with her super game coverage. Thank you, Steph!
In trying to keep up with the times, we were discussing our nominees for this weeks Cocky Awards and watching the game...and then one of the most spectacular goals of this season happened and we decided that Daniel Briere's goal to bring the game into overtime deserved this week's nomination. 5 seconds left! I think this is one of the few times the tv has heard me when I've been yelling at it. Way to go, Buffalo! Too bad they lost to some other team that I hardly remember the name of. Does anyone have any other people they think have been particularly ballsy or cocky this week?
Some small side notes:
-Apparently some goalie from some team that is hardly worth mentioning was dissing Buffalo, but he says the wings are OK.
-Russian air agrees with Malkin as he's gotten back into the swing of things back in the Homeland. Check him out giving the figurative finger to the Czech bench. Love the little kick, Geno.
-The WBS Pens died in the playoffs against the Hersey Bears. Well, I guess that one team has to win every once in a while.
-Mike Lange might be deserting Pittsburgh. (Get it, deserting, going to Arizona? Ha ha?) In all seriousness, all the arenas in the world and 15 year contracts for Sidney Crosby wouldn't be worth half as much if Lange were to kick over to Coyote-ville. Well, maybe the 15 year Sid contract, which Dave Molinari says probably isn't, and shouldn't, happen. I can understand the financial reasons, for both Sidney and other players, but the value that Crosby holds for the Pens, and Pittsburgh, is larger than money...but people have to be practical (even though he's rolling in money as it is, and will be, for the rest of his life even if he stays in Penguintown). It's going to be a hard decision, he's a huge commodity, and the thought that he could leave to some place like...say...the Rangers (Jagr, I'm looking at you here) is not just a kick in the gut, but more like repeated stabbings with a rusted ice pick coated in salt in the gut that eventually gives you tetanus so that you'll die a horrible, twisted death while watching him come out in blue next to Jagr and Straka and ask god, why, whhhhhhy.
-In other news, Sean Avery is an asswipe. Shocking.
Detroit and the Ducks are on tonight, everyone look for Steph in the seats! Go...Buffalo?
12 May 2007
“I’m just trying to do my part. I’m not trying to be anything special. (Ownership) has supported me all year and (I’m) just trying to give back a little. It’s not much, but I’m trying.”The best alternative to being at the center of the race for the Stanley Cup? Maybe not, but Legace said the afternoon brought it's own rewards in the form of Gibson's gratitude.
“She had a big, ear-to-ear smile the whole day. Every time I’d walk by her, she had a big grin on her face. That’s credit in itself. You don’t need publicity, you don’t need the TV cameras there. You just need to see her smiling, and that was worth the few hours that we put in during the day.”Miss him yet? I hope so. What a sweetheart. I'm proud to still be wearing his jersey at every Wings game I go to.
Summary of the evening:
Mid-afternoon (after hearing the great news that I had indeed scored tickets to Sunday night's game, which set the tone for the whole day) I headed over to my buddys' to grill some burgers, drink some mojitos and Molson Canadian, and watch both the Wings take on the Ducks, and the Tigers rough up the Twins.
I really didn't know what to expect going into the game, but overall it was beautiful. The officiating had me skeptical (Could they have broken up the gameplay a little more on stupid chintzy calls? Really?), and the Ducks played a mean game of hockey but folks, we held up. No more bashing the Wings for their lack of physical play, all right? We held up against Calgary, San Jose, and tonight we stood strong against the formerly mighty Ducks in all their Niederprongeresque glory.
And not only with the hitting - the way we were blocking shots, even in just the last two minutes of the game, was a level of play I only hoped to see throughout this series. Not to mention Hasek was as stable in net as ever (Did anyone else see that Cherry bit on him during the Sabres/Sens game yesterday? Seems he was right all along.). And he keeps winning me over with things like this, too. Even if I can't read it without thinking of Marty Biron's impression of him.
It would have been nice to see a bit more done with the offensive opportunities - we certainly got a few favorable lucky bounces to help us out in the scoring department, and we're going to have to work on that if we mean to keep pace in a tough, low-scoring series like this. And I certainly don't mean to get ahead of myself - as excellent as it was, this game alone in no way defines the series. But let's not kid ourselves - what a gorgeous way to start the ball rolling.
AND! I finally got to yell "fuck you Chris Pronger!" every time he showed up on our TV!
(As for the Tigers, they pulled it off too, taking down the Twins 7-3, thank you Guillen and no thank you Rodney. What a brilliant past two evenings for Detroit sports.)
11 May 2007
It's too bad Schneider won't be on the ice to let them know.
This series, in my opinion, is really either team's to win or lose - it all depends on how they show up, how bad they want it, and if they can keep focused and make use of their respective strengths. Anaheim's finished off both of their opponents in four and Detroit in six, but I think most of us did expect more out of San Jose than Vancouver to begin with. Like Dave said, the prospect of Anaheim doesn't seem as scary as their fishy cousins did, but that's not to say we should all be overconfident, and we have no reason to doubt that they'll be a rough team to overcome. And yet, I believe we can do it. I voted against us in two pools - but at the same time, when I did that I was falling prey to that widespread belief that this was never meant to be our year, not compared to the way the last couple were, and I think I only even gave us that San Jose win out of loyalty. The boys decided to prove my doubts wrong, and I'm saying Detroit in 7.
If you're looking for some nice in-depth analysis I'll spare you what would only be my rehashing and instead direct you to the blogs I've picked these gems up from:
Matt of On the Wings offers:
To me, Dom is the key to this series. He needs to carry the team here and if he does, expect a result similar to the first two rounds for the Wings. That said, I hope to see the Wings as a whole play up to their potential this round, something they did not do at times against the Sharks. That inconsistency almost burned them then and could do so again, in spite of Hasek, so they’ll need to be better overall against the Ducks.Dave of Gorilla Crouch focuses on the depth of each team:
The Red Wings’ depth on defense has taken a big hit, so their blue line runs the risk of wearing down over the course of this series. But I think Detroit’s forwards, who chip in on defense as well as having better scoring depth than either Minnesota or Vancouver, will be the difference that will turn this series in Detroit’s favor.Earl Sleek over at Battle of California says what I've been pretending isn't so all season long:
But there may just be one key difference this year, hopefully one strong enough to sway the winds of inevitability. This time Pronger’s on our side.Finny of Girl with a Puck weighs in on the Norris Trophy candidates:
As predictions go, I'm about ready to do a coin toss on this one. I never like seeing Detroit in the playoffs. Ducks in 6. Why? Because I pit my two-Norris-trophy-candidates to Detroits one. Ha!And of course then there's HG at Double D(ion) with a (horribly false of course) harsh prediction of her own:
Anaheim vs. Detroit? Really? Boooooooooooring-a-rooni-dooni.
It looks like the Wings will keep the lineup they used for game six tonight - I'm not opposed to Calder but I really wish my rookie Hudler would get just a little more playoff time. This afternoon I'm barbequing to the Wings success while of course rocking the eyeliner that hasn't steered me wrong yet - and Sunday night I've scored tickets to the game so I'll be once again making a trip across the state. Finally the chance to boo Pronger in person I've been looking for all season!
09 May 2007
So the Wings have made it through two rounds of the playoffs now, which means that for the first time in a few years we're seeing the boys with some real scruff going on. And thus, I'm taking a page out of Sherry's book and documenting just what we've ended up with since I've got nothing better to do during these days of hockey drought. I really never knew we had so many redheads on the team.
Captain Nick Lidstrom sticks with just a bit of scruff - but you can't argue just how appealing it is. And those eyes? Is it me or has he gotten even nicer looking as the season's gone on? And that play the other day? If you didn't see it, you owe it to yourself as a hockey fan to click that link and pull up 30 seconds into that video. Even Hasek appreciated it:
"I bought him a few beers last night, so we're all right now, we are even," said Hasek, smiling after the team plane landed Tuesday evening at Metro Airport. "The puck would have definitely been in the net (if it weren't for Lidstrom). I made a mistake trying to help Nick."Kris Draper looks less beat-up than usual by this point in the season...but I can't decide if the beard makes him look more or less like a monkey.
Brett Lebda, I know you got hurt ($*@#* Langkow!), and I know you were gone for a while, and I know that you came back maybe a little sooner than you intended thanks to a little heart-to-heart with Schneider...but really, you can do better. I know you can.
Even the little rookies Kyle Quincey and the recently called up Derek Meech are getting in on the playoff beard fun. Unlike my favorite rookie Hudler and his former Money Line counterpart Filppula who appear to not even be attempting - come on guys, you can do it! You're not the Penguins!
There's something vaguely creepy about Todd Bertuzzi (who's rocking a pretty good playoff beard) in this picture...but then I think about him tossing that little stuffed octopus at Ozzie and I feel a little better.
I think Dan Cleary's gotten cuter this season too - but maybe it's just that insane breakout he had earlier on. In any case I think he's trying to out-red Draper.
This isn't the most recent of Robert Lang playoff beard shots, but it was the best I could find. The most disconcerting thing to me isn't the lack of attempt at scruff so much as the fact that it looks like he just walked out of a salon after a nice mid-day wax, but that could just be me...
Personally I think Henrik Zetterberg looks like a completely different person when he's got the beard going on. Fortunately he plays the same absolutely stunning hockey and is just as delicious either way. He also plays soccer and is adorable.
Other noteable beards include Matheiu Schneider, who's unfortunately done for the season, and Tomas Holmstrom, while Chris Chelios, Pavel Datsyuk and Dom Hasek, among others, have chosen to keep it clean.
Two days to go; my roommate and a bunch of friends are firing off the conference finals Friday night with a pre-game barbeque - they shot down my idea that we should grill some Duck, but it's happening in my heart, I promise. I'm naming my dinner Chris Pronger. GO WINGS!
08 May 2007
I'm not nearly as fond of that little slogan as I was of the Tour de Franzen but I'll deal because...
I didn't say anything after the Saturday's win because I was busy and at home but I rocked the red eyeliner both then and today and here we are with two more wins and advancing to take on the Ducks.
It's 3:45, the game was followed by a rousing five games of euchre (the sport of any true Michigander), and I'm exhausted, but every time I close my eyes that play by Lidstrom (you know what one I mean) is still playing behind my eyelids. Just. Beautiful. Every time.
The Free Press is already running an article with the headline "JUST DUCKY", I might have to take back anything bad I said about the Swede thing. I leave you with the promise of more tomorrow and the upcoming schedule:
Date Time (ET) #1 Detroit vs. #2 AnaheimAnd me already with a reason to hate Chris Pronger. Go Wings!
Friday, May 11 7:30 p.m. Anaheim at Detroit
Sunday, May 13 7:30 p.m. Anaheim at Detroit
Tuesday, May 15 9:00 p.m. Detroit at Anaheim
Thursday, May 17 9:00 p.m. Detroit at Anaheim
* Sunday, May 20 3:00 p.m. Anaheim at Detroit
* Tuesday, May 22 9:00 p.m. Detroit at Anaheim
* Thursday, May 24 7:30 p.m. Anaheim at Detroit
05 May 2007
I've been using the spare key to my parents' house every time I happen to wander home from Kalamazoo for years now. They finally decided they missed having a spare, so they had a new one made for me - I'm glad to see they're fully aware of just how excellent I would find something as ridiculous as these NHL themed keys.
My mom also harassed a friend of hers at 5/3 Bank into giving me one of the fifty thousand little Yzerman banners they had all over the lobby the other day - I guess sometimes it's good to go home.
04 May 2007
It's a slow day in Penguin news, but I had to share this little tidbit (snagged from Empty Netters) of coaching genius. All I can say is 'wow', and, 'man, I hope it wasn't too cold'. Puckbunnies are fainting around the globe.
In actual Penguin related news (sort of), the Baby Pens lost the opener of the east division finals last night to the Hersey Bears. I know someone will be happy to hear that.
Okay everybody. Excuse me for one blog post where I forget to talk about anything substantial and just humor me a little, all right?
Sometime last week Margee posted what turned into a terribly controversial commentfest over whether or not you'd hit Roberto Luongo. I, in my weird newfound love of him, used various tools including that Lola parody (still. amazing.) and my current desktop to argue my case, but I still couldn't convince many of the likes of my fellow bloggers. And once the Ricky D video surfaced I figured I just had no hope. BUT I HAVE A NEW OFFERING ANYWAY!
Okay. Right? Right!? I mean I guess it's no coconut creme pie, but come on, that wistful slightly sad expression, the sitting alone in the benches...the little styrofoam coffee cup! And okay. Okay, MAYBE I see all your points. A little. Sometimes. But - and I may be banking a bit on that upsetting loss and trying to assume that other people are feeling bad for the guy playing his guts out every game (and then some - someone calculate how many games he actually played including all that OT) and still ending up like this - come on, you can't say it's awful, right? And he gave Sabourin that cute little hug when they swapped spots tonight, too. So there.
That said, Giguere is still creepy looking, give me Ilya back if that team has to go any farther, okay? My pools are glad Anaheim took it, but my heart wanted Vancouver. Sigh, oh playoff hockey, the way you toy with my loyalties.
03 May 2007
My finals are done as of 8:45 am this morning! Whoo! And that means I can concentrate again on what really runs my life: hockey.
I must admit, I haven't seen much (the last game I saw was in between studying on Sunday night, the Ducks and Canucks), but there has definitely been quite a lot going on, such as a rash of debated goals and people talking about the lack of scoring/offense that has shown up in the second round. Sure, the goals have gone down, but geez guys, give it a rest, it's only the second round! Patience is a virtue, they say....or something like that.
Anyhow, let's get a quick run down of the series so far:
-The Sabres are slipping and running aground on the endangered and toxic coral reef that is the New York Rangers. I might have to hit my head against the wall if the Rangers make it all the way to the finals. Series tied at 2-2.
-What the hell, New Jersey? What the hell...series led by the @(#R^@(-ing Ottawa Senators 3-1.
Over across the flat plains of the midwest...
-Detroit and the Sharks are biting back and forth in what looks to be a pretty exciting series. At least, that's how it seems from Steph's recaps (god I miss watching hockey). Series tied at 2-2.
-The Angry Fish aren't so angry and are falling to the still mighty Ducks. I've caught a game of this series and it seemed pretty close...what the hell is happening to the Canucks offense? Where are the Sedin twins? Is the defense hanging Luongo out to dry like some panties on a whore here? Will I ever be able to watch a Vancouver game without being distracted by Taylor Pyatt's eyes (not to mention his timely goals)? Ducks lead the series 3-1.
Playoff hockey is always fun, and I'm in a few pools this year. How did my predictions stack up so far? About mediocre (a lot better if the Pens had pulled through...curse you, Ottawa! *shakes fist*), and this round is looking to screw me terribly. My picks were:
-Devils over Senators (ugh, that was the hardest to pick)
-Sabres over Rangers
-Ducks over Canucks (although I'd rather see the Canucks win, but I didn't think it'd happen)
-Sharks over Wings (don't hate me, Steph/Detroit people! I thought they'd pull a comeback)
I still think the Sabres can make it through, although the Rangers are giving them more of a challenge than I'd have credited them for during the regular season (I'm going to rest this squarely on the shoulders of Jagr and their grumpy goalie). The Devils and Sens....well, I'm not so sure, they pulled it off in 7 a few years ago, so anything is possible, the Senators are still playing in a way I wouldn't have thought them possible of. The Canucks are most likely done...sorry Luongo! The Sharks and the Wings I really have no idea about, and from the little I have seen, it looks like they can go either way. Steph tells me that the Sharks have been on the Wings' case all year, so we'll see. Really, check out nhl.com for a better round the league recap than I can give, but it's fun to speculate.
I've been loafing around Pens sites this week during my sparse free time between exams, and it's been fairly quiet. Sidney was nominated for the Hart and Pearson awards, Lord Therrien for the Jack Adams, and both Malkin and Staal for the Calder. On a side note, I'd like to see St.Louis get the Lady Byng and Luongo the Vezina, or Kipper, for carrying the Flames in the playoffs. Aside from the Hart, the biggest one will be the Calder, and both Geno and Jordan are great candidates. I'd like to see Malkin get it just a little bit more, but man, Jordan had one hell of a season. Tough choices there.
The Hill District leaders want jobs and cha-ching out of the new arena. I'm not an expert about Pittsburgh politics, but isn't it a little pushy to ask for guaranteed jobs out of a proposed site? Is there something I'm missing here? Pittsburgh natives, help me out here.
Other than that, there isn't a whole lot going on for the Penguins right now, but the Pensblog and Empty Netters have been keeping up with business and I'd really recommend a read for both of them. Pensblog buffing up on their recap skills is always good, and EN went through the whole love affair with this season of the Pens game by game, which is worth a look or three. Also, they have a great video of Ruutu being his charming self at the World's. I can only imagine what he must be saying, and I wonder if Gonch and Malkin are shaking their heads at him.
And to end this mostly pointless post, have some comedy from the Penguins charity dinner courtesy of Maxime Talbot.
It started off ugly. Jonathan Cheechoo's first goal had us all shaking our heads and me muttering into my beer and Shawarma; the second, Marcel Goc's ridiculous shot off of Lilja's helmet (while, for the record, there were too many Sharks on the ice, but as that's not reviewable it didn't matter) was a little more cause for cursing and a generally foul mood settling over the room. We started turning the game into a drinking game that required us to take a swig and yell assorted ridiculous phrases whenever Cheechoo ("Shut up Cheechoo!"), Babcock ("Mr. Babcock, I want to comb your hair!" - no seriously that man has perfect hair), Pickles ("It's a Vlasic!" in the voice of those terrifying commercials), or Larry Murphy ("I'M A WING GUYS!" accompanied by mock clutching of a stick and rocking while in the fetal position) happened on the screen. We were done watching hockey.
But then wait, we remembered! The Wings, at least in the regular season, were famous for these comebacks! And then just as that little light went off in our brains, we were given a tiny window of 10 seconds of powerplay time at the end of the second period and Tomas Holmstrom saved our faith and knocked in a pp goal with 5 seconds left, and we went into the third optimistic.
The third period was just fun hockey. Sure we were worried, but it was great to watch. When it came down to the end, though, we were ready to give it to San Jose. And then with 33 seconds left on the clock, Valtteri Filppula fed a gorgeous pass to Robert Lang, who remembered that nothing has been said about him lately that wasn't followed up with "needs to show up and play hockey" or "is useless", and buried it behind Nabokov with a nice wrist shot to push the game into OT (I sang. I got told to shut up.).
At this point we whined about sitting through another intermission, I raved to Skye about Lang not being worthless tonight, and we grabbed a few more beers to hold us through OT. It looked poised to end quickly, with both teams getting quite a few shots on goal, but it took a nice Wings penalty kill and 16 minutes before Craig Rivet (sorry Jordi, your boy lost it for you!) took a bad delay of game penalty, Scott Hannan had a bad giveaway, and Matheiu Schneider took a shot that rang off a post and right into the net to end the game 3-2.
Things to note:
- Holmstrom left with what the announcers were speculating was some sort of injury - I haven't heard anything yet.
- VERSUS mentioned Hasek's age no less than four times, and Chelios' no less than three.
- Johan Franzen had some really nice moves tonight - that spinorama at the net, and a little play in the Sharks zone not too long after were both impressive.
- Jiri Hudler, as predicted, was a healthy scratch to make room for Holmstrom's return.
- The Wings return to the Joe Saturday afternoon for Game five - I might score tickets, or, since I'll be home on that side of the state, if I don't I might head downtown and catch the game from Hockeytown Cafe. Either way I'll have some sort of report from the city.