Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A few thoughts-

Well, the Carolina Hurricanes are Stanley Cup champs.

Hmm.

So, no hockey till October.

As I'm relatively new to this hockey blogging thing, um- what the hell am I supposed to write about for the next 3 months?

Advice would be appreciated, and if you beg, I'll write out the story about how my buddy Duben and I once played a pick up roller hockey game with Rick Moranis and his 10-year-old son in Central Park. Long story short, I knocked down Rick's son and made him cry.

It was awkward.

I'll just start out with a few thoughts:

ON THE STANLEY CUP CHAMPS AND THE NEW NHL:

There has been a lot of talk about Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward, comparisons to Patrick Roy, and speculation that he will be the next great goaltender. While his accomplishment is nothing to sniff at, I think it bears mentioning that he won the MVP mainly because Brind'Amour disappeared in games 5 and 6, and you can't give it to Pronger or Pisani after the 'Canes won. So you give it to Ward, cause, really- who else is there? I'll tell you: The MVP of that series was, as a unit, the Carolina Hurricanes penalty kill. Fast, aggressive, constantly blocking shots, forcing bad passes, and a constant shorthanded threat, they have written the book for success in the "new NHL."

You can talk all you want about speed through the neutral zone, but the fact is, to win in the new NHL, you better be able to kill a penalty, 'cause there are gonna be a lot of them. Edmonton was very good at that too, as was Buffalo. Certainly Ward was effective in game seven, and made every save he had to, but he by no means stole that game, and his biggest save of the series came in a 4-0 loss. As Ben mentioned when I was out of town, the Carolina penalty kill is frightening, especially seeing as they immediately clinched the Cup win with an empty net goal as soon as the Oilers pulled their goalie. I haven't looked at the box score, but as I remember it, the Oilers pulled Markennen with over a minute left on the clock, and after Carolina scored there was at least 40 seconds left, enough for me to keep rooting for a miracle for the Oilers.

In my view, smart GM's should start recognizing that shorthanded specialists like Boston's PJ Axelsson, Washington's Matt Pettinger, Pittsburgh's Ryan Malone and Toronto's Matthew Stajan might be far more valuable to a team than their point totals indicate.

Just sayin.'

ON THE NHL AND HOW TO PROMOTE THE GAME IN THE OFF SEASON:

As I've mentioned on this blog before, celebrities who don't give a fuck about hockey standing in front of the Stanley Cup does nothing to build the game. Reading the Stanley Cup does. How about an interactive website that allows you to get up really close to the cup, scanning along the names with the same technology they use to give "virtual tours" of museums and restaurants? This way, fans who have never seen the cup up close actually could "read" Lord Stanley's Cup. As I've said, with each engraved name, there is a story, and you clicked a name on the cup, you could be sent to a transcript (or movie) of a player's story from that season. How cool would that be?

Wicked cool.

ON OTHER BLOGS:

I started blogging in April, and was linked by Deadspin today, which jacked my sitemeter into the hundreds before noon. It's a great feeling, but never would have happened without the support and linkage of quite a few people, in particular, the excellent Off Wing Opinion, the always entertaining Vancouver Canucks Op-Ed, and of course, the omnipresent Jes Golbez, who is as insightful a hockey guy as he is a class act. I emailed him during the first week I was doing this, and he wrote me back immediately, and answered all my questions. Good on him.

Thanks, guys.

3 comments:

Ben said...

Cam Ward is not the next Patrick Roy...he's the next J.S. Giguere. Bet on it. Despite going pointless for a few games, there is no question that Brind'Amour was the leader of that team in every way, and that they wouldn't have had a prayer without him. Cam Ward is just a punk on a hot streak with crazy shotblocking D in front of him. Of course, they gave Giguere the CS too (for losing!) - it's now becoming the equivalent of the "Best New Artist" grammy...you'll never hear from these people again.

Also, good point about the new value of top flight penalty killers - something that we Devils fans have been hip to for a long time. People wonder who the hell Jay Pandolfo is...he's the guy that keeps Jagr off the scoresheet, that's who. It's a valuable enough skill at even strength, forget about on the kill. Factor in John Madden's defensive prowess (and the fact that he seems to be recovering his scoring touch) and you've got a line that can kill penalties AND score...sometimes on the same shift. A good and timely penalty kill can swing momentum just as much as a clutch goal. If your team doesn't have a line like this...get one.

I give Rick Moranis' son two for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Tapeleg said...

It's so true, PK "experts" are really usefull now. How many of your first two lines do you want to lose blocking a shot of the kill? Eventually, you wind up shooting yourself in the skate. And as was proven this playoffs, blocked shots can lead to victory. I expect more of this next season.

What to blog for:
There's the draft, of course. And Free Agency starts July 1st, which should be very entertaining this year. Last year, everyone tried to predict what the "New NHL" whould bring, but they were just drawing at straws. Remember everyone applauding the Penguins and their aquisitions? This year, the quessing games should be minimized.

Keep up with the world of the minors with the Death Pool Report for which teams shuffle off this mortal coil, and OurSportsCentral.com for news. Just what's happening in Danbury, CT right now is the stuff of movies.

Good season, btw.

colelab said...

For those Hartford Whaler fans who yearn for days of old, here is your Brass Bonanza.

http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/8F6ZROFE-mMjVdjh9WrFgVEoHHvUCaOWUw_a2NiSg_UDtG3TDoXNPxqMT4Y0qdJTqQiKBE2MgxtW3T3gfU07HpnBgxF-nA/brass%20bonanza%20%28game%29.wav

Good times!

P.S. Can you catch ugly from kissing the cup now?