Thursday, December 31

Leafs Lose, Broad Side of Barn Safe

In preparing to write this post about last night's Leafs/Oilers game, I tried to think of a bunch of cliches that I could use to illustrate my frustration. "Flat as a Pancake" was a good start. "Give the Shirt Off Your Back" was a bit of a stretch and "You've Got Ants in Your Pants" kind of turned me on, so it wasn't until I came across "The Leafs Can't Hit the Broad Side of a Fucking Barn" did I know I hit the seam.

So, the Leafs can't hit the broad side of a fucking barn and doesn't newly minted Vezina trophy candidate Jeff Deslauriers know it? Deslauriers, yet another average NHL goalie who gets the once a season treat of having his stats inflated at the Leafs expense, coasted to the win at Rexall Place for once not disappointing his parents. I'm not sure about you but I am sick to death of the Leafs making their opponents' 'Goalie of the Future' look like their 'Goalie of the Present'.

Remember the good old days when all we had to fuss about was Jason "I Hate Logos" Blake making sure he ruined the very center of a goalies' jersey with yucky black puck marks? Well the Leafs have decided to be the bane of a different team employee; going from the guy who does the teams laundry to the guy who paints the end boards at the end of the season.

On an interesting side note, this was going to be a post about how much I hate Vesa Toskala, but I found that typing is hard to do with clenched fists. I learned early on in life that anger is something which needs to be expressed, and not buried deep, deep, deep inside, so I promise I'll talk about this black hole in my heart the next time Vesa Toskala is inextricably given the start in another Leafs game. Until then I want to wish Joey MacDonald all the best for the new year.

Saturday, December 26

The 13th Man or how to do your homework on the bus on the way to school.

Admittedly words like formidable and dynamic come to mind when describing the Russian contingent for Vancouver 2010. The squad is a venerable who's who of the NHL's offensive elite. With names like Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Alexander Semin an argument could be made that this is one of the best they have ever iced. Their команда мечты is fucking хороший.
As a hockey fan, it makes for good eats.
Of course what every body is talking about is the KHL players. Who was left off vs who was put on the team. Clearly a marketing ploy to show the world that the KHL is a big boy too. But politics and international hockey are balls together so this is exactly the kind of thing that derails teams in tournaments like this.

In the end it will be the thing with the goat horns after losing the gold to Canada.

So on the eve of what I am sexily calling Countdown to Van 2010.
I would be remiss if I didn't throw my two cents in...and thats balls because then i would have to look up what the word remiss means.

Countdown to Van 2010.
Let's start with the obvious. The best goalie in the universe, and I know he has his detractors who say that without playing for the defensive minded trap orientated Devils that his numbers wouldn't be so great, and to those people I say balls. You absolutely cannot ignore his resume. Martin Brodeur is the best goalie in the universe.
His heir apparent is Roberto Luongo and rightly so. The crown hasn't been passed yet but it will be one day and watching how to win is an amazing lesson. Roberto will be on the bench and watch Brodeur do it.
And the third goalie, of course, is Marc Andre Fleury. I can see his interview now, smiling that beaming smile he has (-that sounds a little gay) saying it was a'honor just to be nominated. And you know what? I'd believe him. Along the way the likes of Carey Price, Steve Mason and Cam Ward have played their ways off the team. And Fleury played his way on. Marty Turco is driving the bus to the airport.

The locks are such a snooze. Not to be blase but we all know that Sidney Crosby, Rick Nash, Heatley and Iggy are all on the team. Nash is first line, all the way. He is an international killer no matter who you play him with (who in my humble opinion should be Crosby and Iginla.) Don't put the C on any of them and let them just score.
Then of course the argument of instant chemistry comes up. And of course the chemistry that Heatley and Thornton (another lock) have with the having a contract year Patrick Marleau means that he'll (Patrick Marleau) be on the team. His 25 goals are hard to ignore but if there are any surprises (I'm looking at you Mike Fisher) then it's Marleau who gets cut. And of course you cannot not, which is a double negative which means that you mustn't not, take Getzlaf and Perry. Everybody knows that they're big game guys. And I read it somewhere and would be very interesting to see these two play with ubber-finisher Dany 'One N' Heatley.

And although the dark horses are always cool to mention; besides Fisher there's Steve Stamkos, Patrice Bergeron and Dustin Penner all who won't be on this team.

Also figuring that it would be Crosby taking Gagne's place (hard to imagine Crosby being left off Torino) then who takes Lecavalier's place? The Richards' are a toss up. I could give you a pro/con for both but in the end I'd take Mike over Brad. That's a tough one because Mike is good too but the 2 of them cancel each other out almost....wait no...the other way around.

Jonathan Toews, Martin St. Louis, Brendan Morrow and Shane Doan...wait how many is that?
I think that's 13.

It's late....

The key to the Russians is being about to skate with them and control them along the boards. The fact for the first time, its NHL sized rinks as opposed to the huge international surface means that we need our 4th to be big and tough. Brendan Morrow is a lock for this team for this exact reason, not to mention what he can do on a penalty kill. Shane Doan with him. Lock.

The D is interesting. The locks being; the fist pairing of Scott Niedermayer, 36, (of the Anaheim Ducks) and Chris Pronger, 35 (of the Philadelphia Flyers). Again instant chemistry.
Weber-Boyle just sounds good. Like an insurance company you can trust - which is true of them in many ways.
Jay Bouwmeester, 26 (Calgary Flames) is the loan Flame D I have on my team. Then you got a frappe where any of Seabrook, Doughty, Burns, Keith and Green could and would (and for all intents and purposes) should be on the team. But I would go with Keith and Seabrook. Doughty is another one of those picks that spices up these predictions and I might have to acquiesce to Los Angelino and snappy dresser, Greener on this one. What do you say Greener? Doughty to be sexy or Seabrook?

Is that my team? Can I go to sleep now?