Monday, October 15, 2007

The Sin Bin

The Sin Bin is SOJP’s weekly NHL rundown…

Random thoughts of the week:

Nik Antropov is actually playing “big” for the first time in his career. It’s like he just saw his reflection for the first time, said “Oh, yes. Me six feet, six inch tall. Me biggest forward in NHL” and finally decided to use his size as a weapon. He’s on pace for 59 goals. Sure, he’s more likely to play 59 games and wind up with, say, 22 tallies, but at least he could justify having a tinted visor. That’s hard to do.

Thank you, NHL, for punishing action and not injury. Ryan Kesler was fine after Jesse Boulerice’s attack, but the action was vicious – far more vicious than Todd Bertuzzi’s attack, in which the kind of wild pile-on you see in almost every game resulted in a broken neck for Steve “we never would’ve heard of you or Kevin Everett if not for your injury” Moore.

Don’t waste finger energy and type a response to the Bertuzzi comment. The issue is dead. And don’t waste finger energy typing “but you’re the ones who brought Bertuzzi up.” We just wasted finger energy typing what we know you were going to type.

So, yeah. Last year was just a Stanley Cup hangover for the Pittsburgh Stee – er, Carolina Hurricanes. So much size and speed up front and slimmed-down Cam Ward is a man possessed. If they could add a talented veteran offensive blueliner…look out.

Don’t be stupid. Crosby will dominate.

We were worried the Nashville Predators would be uglier than their mustard third jerseys this year, but realized two things:

1) Being uglier than the mustard third jersey would entail going 0-82-0, signing Manute Bol and changing the team name to “The Nashville Holocaust Deniers.”

2) Despite losing Peter Forsberg, Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timmonen, Paul Kariya, Steve Sullivan (injury) and Richard Partridge-in-a-pear-tree, the Preds still have depth. We all knew Chris Mason would be fine taking over the No. 1 netminding job, Nashville still has a promising young blueline and, while their forward corps is a bit bland – more Star Trek than Star Wars – David Legwand, Jason Arnott and co. can get by on strength and skating.

Shit, Philly is for real.

We aren’t the first pundits to say so, but Carey Price had some creepy magic going in his first career start. As you may or may not know, fellow Hab legends Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy also beat the Pens in their NHL debuts. Price just looked so…long. His legs covered the entire net. He’s like Xenia Onatopp from Goldeneye, except we don’t want him to have sex with us and murder us simultaneously. Maybe one or the other, but not both.

We hope he doesn’t read this because we could be wrong, but is Jordin Tootoo a pussy? He can throw bombs and lay guys out, but we never saw the Dida impression coming after his almost-cheapshot on Phoenix’s Daniel Winnik. Sure, the clothesline Tootoo took to the throat after the play wouldn’t have felt good, but a tough guy, flopping to the ground and turtling? He ain’t on the team for his offense, so what’s he good for?

The Leafs lead the league in goals allowed, but it really isn’t Vesa Toskala and Andrew Raycroft’s fault. Believe it or not, in 7-1, 5-4 and 5-4 losses, both guys kept Toronto in the game. Without Toskala, the Canes would’ve beaten the Leafs about 12-1; Toskala made 46 FRIGGIN’ SAVES and the Buds lost by just a goal against Pittsburgh; Raycroft did everything he could to get the Leafs to overtime against Buffalo last night, too. They’re kind of like that minor-league goalie who you know is good but plays on a crap team, so his goals against average is 5.60 but he makes 62 saves a game and his parents are furious every time his crappy, fat defense gives up a shorthanded breakaway:

“Oh, this fucking coach doesn’t know what he’s doing! What’s that overweight kid doing playing at this level? Our son doesn’t have a chance.”

“Daniel, calm DOWN! Your blood press--MOVE THE FUCKING PUCK!”

Remember when Edmonton was 2-0?

Do big hits still exist, or have we reached a kill-shot-or-nothing era? Scott Stevens’ hits were devastating, but not dirty. No 25-game suspensions or deep moral discussions ensued. Maybe shoulder pads are just too thick and players are just too fast now; seems like every big hit is dirty nowadays.

Saw a great innovation in a bar the other night: chalkboards in bathroom stalls. That’s progressive. That’s Al Gore progressive. Sure, there’s the off chance it’ll make bathroom graffiti even more enjoyable knowing you’re choosing to ignore the readily available writing utensils, but we applaud the effort.

Atlanta’s a nightmare, and we shouldn’t be surprised. Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa can score 50 goals each, but that doesn’t change the fact that Todd White is duking it out with Bobby Holik and Manute Bol for the No. 1 center job. If the Thrashers tank and end up with John Tavares, though…holy shit.

Columbus deserves some success as a city. What else does it have besides bait shops, barbecues and guys named Glen who know a good lawnmower when they see one? Good on ya, Columbus citizens, for shunning suicide and almost filling the Blue Jackets’ building game-in and game-out. Hopefully this is the year they finally rise to mediocrity.

Jason Spezza is a douche. We hate the NHL 2K8 commercial. “Whatever, Turks. Goalies.” Funny how the lame finished product is likely the best of 39 takes. Still, we couldn’t pick a better spokesperson for the inferior, arcade-like, hunchbacked stepsister of EA Sports NHL ’08.

• You can beat the Buffalo Sabres, but not if you have less than a three-goal lead and they score. When the overbearing goal buzzer goes off, it’s blood in the water. The fans and players’ pupils dilate and all hell breaks loose. Down 2-0 to the Leafs last night, they scored to make it 2-1, went apeshit after the buzzer, and tied the game 18 seconds later. Insanity.

• We apologize for referencing Star Trek, Star Wars and Manute Bol (twice).

Power Rankings:

  1. Carolina Hurricanes – dominating everyone, including Ottawa in Ottawa.
  2. Ottawa Senators – ho hum. Punch their playoff home-ice ticket now.
  3. Minnesota Wild – unbeaten, yes. Good, yes. But take your hand off your genitals and remember four of five wins came against Edmonton, Columbus, Phoenix and Chicago.
  4. Detroit Red Wings – Larkin may have to apologize after chirping a co-worker for taking Henrik Zetterberg third overall in his fantasy draft
  5. Philadelphia Flyers – it was more fun when they sucked. Damn Daniel Briere.

Cutesy-wutesy undefeated team whom everyone’s gushing over but will crash back to Earth shortly: Minnesota Wild. Yeah, they’re suffocating and Devilishly boring. They’re Ben Stein incarnate. But their only real opponent so far was Anaheim, and the Ducks are more hung over than David Hasselhoff the morning after he finds out all Baywatch and Knight Rider re-runs have been canceled by every network on Earth.

Guys we want to see more of:

  1. Henrik Zetterberg. The guy gets better by the week. No, by the day. He’s always around the net. He appears everywhere. He’s like Nightcrawler from X-Men.
  2. Rod Brind’amour and Chris Chelios – we just want to see how they’re doing it/not dying on the ice at that age. These guys are specimens.
  3. Ruslan Fedotenko – we just want to see how he’s doing it/not getting placed on waivers at that skill level. Does he not give hope to every beer leaguer and ball hockey star out there? He’s on the top line!

Devastating lines who are devouring everything in their path right now:

  1. Alfredsson-Spezza-Heatley, Ottawa Senators: Video game stats nightly. Yawn.
  2. Sedin-Sedin-any pylon they want, because it doesn’t matter, Vancouver Canucks: Between the cycling dynamo Sedins and the generic pylon manning the wing week-to-week, that’s a lot of orange on the ice.
  3. Gagne-Briere-Knuble, Philadelphia Flyers: Knuble actually deserves credit for keeping his spot on good lines year after year; he’s the defensive conscience.


Seanvdb said...

Mike Knuble is the reason why people draft 'average' players in hopes they put up solid numbers.

He is also the reason why I never do this, and only ever draft Mike Knuble after saying "fuck, only Knuble is left? I hate him."

Kevin said...

I think the head shot problem has a lot to do with the fact they are manufacturing shoulder pads out of solid steel nowadays. Next year's models might resemble the outfits from the Legion of Doom.

You forgot to mention in both instances when Roy and Dryden started (and won) their inaugural starts vs. the Penguins, the Habs went on to win the Stanley Cup.