Archive for May, 2010

Peter Laviolette’s Hair

May 28, 2010

peter laviolette

I just need an explanation of this one, please. What’s the story? Is it profuse sweating as it seemed in the press conference I was just watching on the NHL Network (now available on my provider in HD, thank you very much). Is it a case of too much hair gel while going for an ill-advised slicked back look? I know I’ve seen pictures where his hair doesn’t look quite as much like he been recently swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.

Help me out, here. It’s not like it’s a balding situation he’s trying to cover up, I don’t think. Looks like he’s got a full head there. Hell, he’s even got the Ray Bourque hairline where you’ve only got about two and a half inches of actual forehead going. Any lower and you’d have trouble seeing where the eyebrows ended.

I’m just asking.

Because no one needs to see that much of another man’s pink scalp, as far as I’m concerned.

Not while you’re just trying to enjoy some decent hockey, anyway.

Chiarelli: I Haven’t Talked To Edmonton. Yet.

May 27, 2010

“We’ve got our rating on the guys. That’s how we’re going to determine if we’re going to make that move and what we’ll offer. We haven’t made that determination yet, as far as if there is a difference between the two players. They’re both terrific players. I haven’t talked to Edmonton yet. I will have a discussion with Steve. I just haven’t had that discussion yet.” – Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli on whether or not he’ll discuss a trade with Edmonton to move up to the number one spot in the 2010 draft.

Reading between the lines of the above quote, taken from a Stephen Harris story in the Boston Herald today, it would certainly seem that the Boston Bruins will be approaching the Edmonton Oilers with an offer of some sort to move up one slot in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and give themselves the opportunity to take highly coveted wing Taylor Hall above Tyler Seguin.

As they should be.

I’m here to say this to Chiarelli and Co. Make the deal. Do whatever it takes.

My reasoning in this is clear and it’s not just that I, like many others in Boston and Edmonton, have had their eyes opened wide by Taylor Hall’s performance winning both the Memorial Cup and the Tornament MVP with the Windsor Spitfires for the second straight year. Hall was a spectacular, dominant force in all contests and a driving force behind the win. It’s clear that this is a kid who thrives in big game situations and has that killer intangible: The Desire to Win.

Oh, and he can do this:

You see why it’s hard not to start drooling here, right? The thing is, though, is that Hall is a winger and suits the Bruins needs so perfectly it’s disgusting. Already strong at center, which is Tyler Seguin’s natural position, the Bruins need hall to slot into Left Wing beside David Krejci and play there for the next 10 years. The kid is such a natural fit in a Bruins uniform, it’s sickening. I mean, he wears number 4 in honor of Bobby Orr, does he not? It’s too perfect.

Now, we all know what the problem is here. The furor in Edmonton is already snowballing and the pressure to take Hall is going to be tremendous for Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini. So much so that, even though the Oilers might have more need at center, he might not have any choice but to take Hall and satisfy the hunger of his fan base.

That’s why Peter Chiarelli has to give him another option and make it good. As good a prospect as Seguin might be (they compare him to Steve Yzerman) the fit here for Hall is too good to ignore and Chiarelli needs to make this thing happen.

Can he do it? I don’t know. I think he has the sense to be able to make decent trades in the NHL (see Phil Kessel) but does he have the savvy. Or the balls? It’s going to take something bold to get this thing done and I’m just not sure if Pete has it in him.

One thing is for certain. There better be a plane ticket for Edmonton is his hand as soon as this season ends. Never mind the phone calls. Go up there and sit down with the guy and start working on this. Sell it to Tambellini. Whether it’s Blake Wheeler or 2nd round draft picks or a lifetime subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club.

Do whatever it takes.

We want Hall.

It Really Felt Like ’93

May 26, 2010

Puck Daddy’s Eulogy series reached and all time delicious high with the posting of Down Goes Brown and Bloge Salming’s wonderfully nostalgic reminiscence of the Montreal Canadiens’ 2009-10 season. I urge you all to read it with proper glee and delight.

It includes the following musical tribute.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just soiled myself again and need to go change into something more comfortable.

And fire retardant.

Stevie Y New GM In TB

May 25, 2010

steve yzerman tampa bay lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning have called a 3 p.m. press conference to announce legendary Detroit Red Wings center and Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman as their new General Manager. Fresh from his success as the Executive Director of Gold Medal winning Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics, Yzerman had been a hot commodity to get a job in upper management somewhere in the NHL next season. His landing spot is now confirmed as the replacement for the fired Brian Lawton in Tampa.

Two issues present themself to me here.

First, does being able to assemble a successful squad of Canadian Olympians and serving as a “Vice President and Alternate Governor” for the Red Wings really qualify one to step in and overhaul a floundering NHL franchise? The former is essentially like playing Fantasy Hockey as you’re weeding through a stack of All-Stars and deciding which few superstars you’re going to have to leave off the team. The latter, and I apologize if I’m wrong in this assumption, seem a bit like figurehead titles to keep a wildly popular, all time great player visible in your organization. How much of the day to day running of the Detroit Red Wings did Yzerman really do, I wonder?

Second, and this is purely aesthetic and will once again betray my disdain for the southern NHL franchises, won’t it seem completely weird for Steve Frickin’ Yzerman to be working for the Tampa Bay Frickin’ Lightning? I mean, a guy who spent his entire career wearing the Winged Wheel, spent so many years as the face of that franchise, is now headed to the Sunshine State? From the Joe Louis Arena to the St. Pete Times Forum?

It just seems wrong.

I’ll be honest, at the heart of my concern here is that I adored Steve Yzerman as a player and I don’t want to see him fail in a place as miserable as Tampa. Not that it could ever taint his legacy as one of the classiest, most talented guys ever to pull on that red uniform but it’s not a place you want to see your heroes go to suffer.

And if it seems like I’m unfairly equating the state of Florida with some dark ages vision of a hot, torturous Hell populated by writhing, horrible souls screaming for release from their fiery torment?

It’s because I am.

Then There Were Two

May 24, 2010

chicago blackhawks logo philadelphia flyers logo

Not such a bad final, I guess.

The 2010 Stanley Cup match-up set and it features the Chicago Blackhawks versus the Philadelphia Flyers. The powerhouse favorite of the West versus the team that made the playoffs on the final day of the regular season in the East and was a shoot-out goal away from not being in the post-season at all.

At first glance, it would seem that the Blackhawks are set to be heavy favorites here. They shot into the finals via a breezy four game sweep of the San Jose Sharks who had obviously used up all of their Anti-Choke Juice for the 2010 playoffs. It was fun while it lasted, Joe Thornton, and not as much embarrassment this year as last but the end results are the same, really. You and the rest of the Sharks are going to be politley refusing rides home from Dany Heatley at team golf outings while the Stanley Cup is awarded again.

One has to consider the immense talent of this Hawks team. The scoring depth, led by young stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and veterans like Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp and bolstered by this year’s Chris Kontos, Dustin Byfuglien, is the main strength of the team. The defense, featuring Norris Finalist Duncan Keith and fellow Canadian Olympian Brent Seabrook, is excellent, as well, and goaltender Antti Niemi has proven himself to be a valid number one on a Stanley Cup contending team. All in all, quite the juggernaut team when you look at them and a deserving favorite.

Still, and I speak from experience, Philadelphia cannot be underrated. This team has figured out how to grind out wins and is relentless when it comes to work ethic, energy, desire, etc. Mike Richards leads the way with a nasty, in your face style that opponents just hate but it’s the sort of grit that wins games, you have to admit. The forwards are getting healthy (yes, that was Ian Laperriere on the ice in that cage tonight, his second game back after a freakin’ brain bruise). Gagne and Carter are back and have contributed. Daniel Briere has been an ongoing concern. Scott Hartnell brings more of that edginess that the team is riding. Chris Pronger remains, well, Chris Pronger. The only question I have is, of course, in net where Michael Leighton has been good but is still not the goalie I’d want going into the Cup finals against an offense like the Hawks’.

Intitial thoughts, then, are that Chicago has the upper hand to end their drought and bring the Cup back to the Windy City. It’s going to be a series, though, I think. Philly is not a team that goes down easy.

As we know.

Sand Trap

May 24, 2010

This Sandgate thing is hilarious.

What, did Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello come dancing past the Flyers dressing room before the game? I know those movies are big with Canadiens’ fans.

I have no doubt in my mind that this was intentional. There is a certain desperation in Montreal now as their days of waking up with morning wood every day after dreaming of their Cinderalla Cup run taking them all the way to the finals for a rematch of 1993 are evaporating before their eyes. What does a girl do when she’s desperate in a fight? Start clawing. This sort of pathetic, cheap attempt at sabotage is exactly in character for the Diving Princesses and an organization and fandom that considers itself the entitled royalty of the NHL.

Unfortunately they just made themselves into the Tonya Harding of the NHL.

It’s sort of like taking three diving penalties in a Playoff game. Cheap, obvious, pathetic and ultimately unsuccessful. And it sours a lot of what’s been accomplished so far by this team. Leaves us with the bitter aftertaste of poor sportsmanship instead of the brief memory of a team that put on a heck of a show before it finally returned to it’s true level.

Life’s a beach, isn’t it?

Hawks and Flyers Rolling

May 19, 2010

Well, the Conference Finals haven’t had quite the drama of previous rounds up to this point, have they? After last night’s games both Chicago and Philadelphia have taken a 2-0 lead in their respective series and it certainly seems like each team has momentum on it’s side. I know it’s too early to really call it for either one and, given the way teams have come back in this year’s post-season, there’s still time for the Anything Can Happen clause to kick in.

I’ll make it clear, however, that this is the way I’d like it to continue. The Blackhawks, for whatever reason, have been one of my favorite alternate NHL teams to keep an eye on and this year’s squad is particularly fun to watch. Loaded with young talent, brash and cocky and original six. What’s not to like?

In the case of the East Final, Ancient Hatred has overcome Recent Heartbreak and I’m hoping the Flyers will trounce the Habs and put them back in their place on the lower rungs of the Conference. Everyone here is pretty sick of the Cinderella story at this point and it’s time for the Bleu Blanc et Rougettes to take a seat. To be honest, I can’t even watch this series for any prolonged period. The wounds are still too fresh.

Still, I’m looking for a Chicago-Philadelphia Stanley Cup Final and that won’t be a bad thing for the NHL or it’s fans. The talented Hawks versus the gritty, never say die Flyers. I would certainly give the Hawks the edge to win their first Cup since 1961, a drought over a decade longer than the Bruins’. Maybe that’s where some of the affinity I feel for the team comes from, as well.

Black & Gold Makes Blue

May 16, 2010

bruins game 7 loss

Here in the aftermath of the most horrific playoff loss of my Bruins Fan-Life it’s been difficult sorting through all the emotions and attempting to get over a crushing defeat like that. I think the bottom line is that we might never get over it. Not until the team can hoist a Stanley Cup will this be at least somewhat forgotten or forgiven. There’s anger, sadness, hopelessness, horror, disbelief. You name it.

It feels like being gutted. Like being dumped by someone you love. There’s a monstrous emptiness where your hockey dreams had been and it feels like nothing will ever fill that space again. Up 3 games to none. Up 3-0 in Game 7. Then it’s all ripped away with a tearing sensation that is almost physical in nature. Like your heart being ripped out.

Think I’m exaggerating? Being melodramatic? Don’t judge until you’ve been through it, my friends. Remember. Only 3 NHL teams in history have.

Other reactions and commentary from around the ‘net:

Barstool Sports calls it the Worst Loss in the History of Mankind. Period. Hard to argue.

Puck Daddy suggests our pain will last forever. Sure feels that way.

Kevin Paul Dupont uses words like Sadistic, Haunting, Worse Than Awful. Quite agree.

Barry Melrose says worse loss ever in the history of the Boston Bruins. Yep.

Not a pretty sight around here right now, folks.

Dreaming of a Seventh Heaven

May 14, 2010
milan lucic hat trick

Milan Lucic Celebrates His Hat Trick Goal In The Third Period of the Bruins Dramatic Game Seven Win Over The Flyers in Boston

Just an amazing game at the Garden tonight as the Boston Bruins came out with hearts on fire to a loud, jubilant, rowdy home crowd who cheered them on to a resounding 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in Boston tonight. The streets of the Hub remain filled with celebrating Bruins fans as they bask in the glow of a Game 7 win and look forward to a historic match-up in the Eastern Conference Finals against bitter rivals the Montreal Canadiens.

The B’s came out flying in the first buoyed by early goals, first one from Michael Ryder and then two from surging power forward Milan Lucic. They punished the Flyers at every opportunity and took the offensive play to them wave after wave with seemingly every line going hard and getting chances. The roar inside TD Garden just never let up. Every shot, every hit. The sound was thunderous. This was what we had been waiting for. This was the team we bled Black and Gold for.

And they responded. In the second, they bore down even more, putting a late 1st period goal by James Van Riemsdyk easily behind them and focusing on the task ahead like hell-bent demons. The hitting continued relentlessy led by tower of strength Zdeno Chara, as mean as he is big, knocking anyone in orange and black who dared ender his sphere sprawling to the ice. Led by their Captain, the defense crushed chance after chance just as they crushed the hopes of a floundering Flyers team.

On offense, Marc Savard came alive and laid out a sweet dish to beleaguered wing Blake Wheeler on a rush up ice and Wheels buried the one timer to put the B’s up 4-1. The sagging on the Flyers bench was visible as they began to sense they were beaten. On came the Bruins. It was like they never missed David Krejci at all as all four lines picked up the slack. Begin and Thornton grinding their way to the net and causing goal crease scrum after scrum, getting right in the Flyers faces. Bergeron and Recchi winning battles along the boards with no regard for their own bodies. Every forward crashing against the Philly D like rabid badgers. It was an awe inspiring sight to see.

It was like they were saying, “This is our house. You don’t come into our house and push us around. No way.”

More of the same in the third. The Bruins pressure never relented and the desperate Flyers pulled Michael Leighton for an extra attacker and that’s when Looch picked up the hat trick as he took an unselfish feed from Patrice Bergeron and buried the puck into an open net.

The building goes wild. The hats come raining down on the ice like falling rose petals to honor the valiant victors who have struggled so hard for those faithful people in the stands, the ones who adore them so much.

The old, hard core devotees. The youngsters who look up to them in admiration. Die hard middle aged adults who have never, in their lifetime, felt the joy of a Bruins championship despite the years of blood and soul and heartfelt emotion they have invested in this team. Only to have their hopes crushed year after year in the most debilitating fashion possible.

But not this year, boys.

This year, you did it. This year you kept the dream alive. This year you rewarded our faithfulness and devotion.

You did it. For us.

Thank you, Boston Bruins. Thank you so much.

What’s that song I keep hearing in the distance…? Like a faint echo… sort of haunting…? Can’t quite make it out…

Braaaa-ziiil…

Oh, well.

Bring on them Habs!

History Will Not Be Made

May 14, 2010

My prediction for this series was Bruins in 7.

I’m sticking with it.

The Philadelphia Flyers will not be the third team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. The Boston Bruins will use home ice advantage for all it’s worth tonight for an emotional, high energy win that will blow the roof off the building and this town. Tonight the Mojo Returns.

You hear me, NHL? Put away the sappy piano music and the reverse motion film machine. There will be no, “What if the Flyers gave up?” needed. They will lose tonight.

I truly believe this. I have to. I’m not even going to mention things like B’s record in 7th games or the home teams’ record in 7th games in the 2010 playoffs. None of that matters. Tonight will be different.

They can’t let us down again. They just can’t.

I implore every fan attending the game to be completely insane all night long no matter what happens. I ask every B’s fan on Earth watching the game to summon from the ether all the Mojo they can find and send it toward TD Garden. Wear your lucky shirt or your lucky socks. Eat your lucky meal during the game. Sit in that lucky chair.

I implore the Bruins players to come out with a fire like none they have ever felt. Zdeno Chara, you’ve got to be a monster out there. Did you take note of how no Flyer could stop you when you made that rush into their offensive zone in the last game? Drive that shit right to the net. See if they can stop 260 lbs. of psychotic Slovakian on a mission. Same goes for you, Milan Lucic. Did you see where you scored that goal from in the waning minutes of Game 6? In front of the goddamned net. That’s where you need to park yourself tonight. Get in there and get ugly. Play like your hair is on fire.

It goes for all of you. Tuukka, you need to be a wall. Marc Savard, we need more magic. Patrice Bergeron, be the puck. Wheeler and Ryder, maybe not whiff on quite so many one-timers tonight. Recchi and Satan, it ain’t over yet, guys, it just ain’t. Begin, Thornton, Sobotka. It’s high grade sandpaper time. Daniel Paille? If there’s an open net, for the love of god, bury that fucker. All of you. Please. This is the night to show up.

Don’t let us down.

Don’t let it end tonight.

We need this.