Posts Tagged ‘Joe Thornton’

Most Embarrassing Goal Celebration Ever

April 26, 2011

joe thornton overtime winner

As award finalists are being announced, an we have confirmation that Zdeno Chara is a Norris Trophy finalist and Tim Thomas is a Vezina Trophy finalist, the annual HGW Awards are taking shape as well.

Joe Thornton and his man-baby act from last night’s win over the L.A. Kings is the clear leader for the most Embarrassing, Cringeworthy Goal Celebration of the Year.

Maybe all time. Just disturbing to watch. It sends the Sharks to the next round and all I have to say to Joe is, hey, brother, act like you’ve been there before.

I mean, you have once or twice, right?

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Henrik Sedin and Joe Thornton: Shut Up

March 11, 2011

It’s official.

The modern NHL is now Salem, Massachusetts circa 1692 and Zdeno Chara is a Witch.

I don’t know how else to explain the mounting hysteria surrounding this incident. I swear to you, I’ve taken off the Black and Gold sunglasses, people. I’ve looked at this from every angle and am making a sincere effort to be as objective as possible.

I think the NHL made the right decision in this case. Period.

Zdeno Chara did nothing illegal.

Zdeno Chara did not intend to injure Max Pacioretty.

Some people see it otherwise.

Chiming in from out west, a couple of high profile players have decided to speak out publicly about the incident. Henrik Sedin and Joe Thornton have both donned their Puritan robes and and want to stand witness at Chara’s dunking into the waters to see if he floats.

In the case of man-boy Jumbo Joe, he seems to be suggesting that the Boston Bruins are immune from league discipline thanks to some sort of magical artifact they keep buried beneath TD Garden, possibly an enchanted black magic totem of such power that it clouds the vision of authority figures making decisions about NHL rules (A Witch! A Witch!). It probably makes sense to him somewhere inside that cavernous, empty tree-stump of a head lolling about on his neck. How else can one explain a league MVP and perrennial leading scorer who has failed his team and choked out of the playoffs 12 years in a row? It’s obvious someone has put a curse on him.

Witches in Boston!

Sedin’s comments are more tempered but still swim within the same stream of illogic. He seems to be suggesting that, because there was an injury, even if Chara did nothing wrong, nothing that dozens of other players do night in and night out, that there still should have been a suspension to send a message. So what’s that message, though? That any accident that results in a head injury should mandate suspension? If a shot gets deflected into the bench and a guys gets hit in the head, should the deflecting player be suspended, then? Jesus, it makes me nervous about the Stanley Cup Finals. What if the team captain when passing the cup off to a teammate accidentally drops it on the guy’s head? 10 games the following season?

I have a better idea. Or rather, my equally rational comrade-in-arms Gonz did (credit where credit is due, mate). Let’s have everyone skate around with a big hunk of memory foam strapped around their heads. They’ll look like living bobble head dolls. Wait. How about giant plastic dog collars that won’t allow players to lift their arms above their shoulders? Speed limits. Guys who skate faster than 10 mph go straight to the box. Or maybe anyone taller than 6′ 2″ has to skate on their knees.

What? You want a safer game right?

Yes, it’s concerning that there seems to be a rise in the number of head injuries in the NHL these days. I think it has a lot to do with the speed of the game and the size of the players. If there’s a disregard for safety amongst the players, it needs to be addressed, of course. I have a hard time believeing, however, that so many guys are out there trying to intentionally hurt others.

The bottom line is that hockey is a violent contact sport, by it’s nature. There have always been unfortunate injuries. There always will be. I think people are doing their best to make it safer without compromising the integrity, the essense, of what makes the game great. A hysteria driven witch hunt may be more dangerous to the sport we love than a few concussions, however. You have to ask yourself; if you change the NHL too dramatically, what have you changed it into? How watered down do you want it?

You know what? If it’s too much for you maybe just switch over to some curling. But remember. If anyone trips and hits their head on those big rocks?

Immediate suspension.

Take Two, Joe

November 5, 2010

Just take the suspension, Joe Thornton, and stop whining. You saw the guy when you came out of the box. You hit him. In the head, whether you wanted to or not. Take the two game suspension and shut up. Please.

Because if it means the NHL is going police itself a little bit better on shots to the head and might prevent a few more Marc Savard incidents this season, then it’s a good thing.

“Christ, I fuckin’ hate whiners.”

-a drunk Irish stranger in a bar last night

Savard In Game 6?

April 26, 2010

Could Marc Savard be available to play in Game 6 of the Bruins-Sabres playoff series tonight at the TD Garden in Boston?

Kevin Paul Dupont seems to think so. In an interview last night on Comcast Sportsnet, he opined that Savard was looking good in practice Sunday morning and could provide the Bruins the emotional lift they need at home to close out the series against the Sabres. “I say he’s in,” said the Hall of Fame hockey writer to Michael Felger in his on air appearance on Sports Sunday.

Will this be a reality or is it one man’s wishful thinking? I don’t know and neither will anybody until the last possible moment, I’m betting. Best not to get out hopes up, I think. Yes, it’s true, the B’s need to win tonight and not let this go back to Buffalo. And, yes, they need to pull out all the stops. Will that include Savard?

Dupont reiterated his ideas this morning in his Globe Column.

The bet here is that Savard is wearing his familiar No. 91 tonight, provided all his medical mojo is found to be in order this afternoon. Not only could he contribute on the power play, where extra space on the ice would limit his risk of getting hit, but Julien also would have an easier time spotting him into even-strength situations. Home team, remember, gets last change.

The thing to remember here is that Dupes, as good as he can be, is not above a bit of attention seeking behaviour, saying something outlandish or inflammatory that he knows will draw attention to himself and his column. Whether it’s the goofy nicknames or calling for Bettman’s resignation or stripping Joe Thornton of his captaincy, it’s sort of the way Dupont operates. He’s not going on anything here other than his own opinion that, needing an emotional spark, this is what the Bruins will do.

Whether management, coaching and medical staff agree remains to be seen.

_

Update: Definitive word from the Garden.

Marc Savard will not play in Game 6.

Nice try, Dupes.

ABC: Alway Be Closing

April 23, 2010

Time to wrap this one up tonight.

I know, another game at the Garden wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing but I think the last thing the Bruins can afford to to is become complacent with their 3-1 lead in this series and allow Buffalo any measure of hope with a lesser effort at the HSBC Center tonight. Rather, I like to see them keep steamrolling with the momentum they’ve built and close this sucker out.

It won’t be easy, of course. Just ask the Pittsburgh Penguins who couldn’t finish of the Ottawa Senators at home in Game 5 of that series last night. Instead, a triple overtime victory for the Sens and some life going home for Game 6 against the defending champions.

On the flip side, the New Jersey Devils went quietly into that good night, losing at home to the Flyers who gained a rather easy 5 game victory in the series over the No. 2 seed. Brian Boucher looked like a world beater but perhaps the weak Devils offense is more to blame than Flyers goaltending is to credit, here. Regardless, it gave me my first accurate prediction of the first round, though in a lesser number of games that I thought it would take to put down Marty Brodeur and Co. Watch out for them Flyers, I tell ya.

Out West, San Jose seems to be intent on avoiding what was looking like yet another embarrassing first round upset, this time at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche. They came out flying in Game 5 at home last night and pounded the Avs 5-0 to go up 3-2 in that series. It should be noted, however, that the stars of the game were recent call-ups from Worcester, Dwight Helminen and Logan Couture, the latter with two goals in the game. Joe Thornton was again held off the score sheet.

Quick look at the leading scorers in the playoffs so far:

    1. Sidney Crosby, PIT – 5 g, 8 a, 13 pts
    2. Nicklas Backstrom, WAS – 5 g, 4 a, 9 pts
    3. Alex Ovechkin, WAS – 4 g, 4 a, 8 pts
    4. Mike Richards, PHI – 2 g, 6 a, 8 pts
    5. Henrik Zetterberg, DET – 5 g, 2 a, 7 pts

Goaltending leaders:

    1. Antti Niemi, CHI – 1.51 gaa, .948 sv%
    2. Brian Boucher, PHI – 1.59 gaa, .940 sv%
    3. Evgeni Nabokov, SJ – 1.72 gaa, .931 sv%
    4. Pekka Rinne, NSH – 1.79 gaa, .940 sv%
    5. Tuukka Rask, BOS – 1.80 gaa, .939 sv%

Interesting to see Niemi leading the way with those incredible numbers but the ‘Hawks just managing a 2-2 series tie with those pesky Predators. There’s one prediction I was completely off with. I fully admit I had no idea Pekka Rinne and the Nashville defense would be that solid against a team as formidable as the ‘Hawks.

Anyway, here’s hoping the Bruins can become the second team to advance to the second round this evening. It’s been a great series so far and I’m fairly well drooling in anticipation of tonight’s game and what may follow. The Capitals could very well close out their own series at home against the Habs tonight, as well, as they’re also up 3-1 and looking much more like a number one seed as the games go on.

Ah, the smell of hockey in the springtime! Nothing finer.

Get Used To This

April 16, 2010

When I was asked yesterday for a prediction about last night’s Bruins-Sabres game I pleaded homerism and called it for the Bruins in a tight checking game. I recall the questioner saying, “What do you think, 2-1?”

I laughed a bit and said, “Yeah, and get used to it because that’ll probably be the score of every game in the series.”

So I was half right. Last night’s game most certainly held true to form in terms of what you would expect from these two teams. Tight checking and grinding, working hard for every decent scoring chance, a little divisional bad blood and some great goaltending. The final score is something we’re likely to see again as the series. And again. Unless there’s some sort of freakish, uncharacteristic breakout, I don’t see anything other than these tight, low scoring affairs.

Which is fine, by the way. This is what playoff hockey is all about. Buffalo Sabres vs Boston Bruins. To quote another Boston sports icon, It Is What It Is.

A few assorted thoughts on this and other opening games.

David Krejci has got to produce. As the number one offensive weapon the Bruins have, he’s got to find ways to break through, the same way Thomas Vanek is doing for the Sabres. I know the checking will be tight but you’ve got to get chances and, when you get the power play, go to it like your hair’s on fire. One shot on goal isn’t good enough.

More hitting. More and more and more. 25 hits is a bit weak for a playoff hockey game, not when 5 of them belong to Steve Begin alone. A number of players posted goose eggs in the hit column. Patrice Bergeron, Blake Wheeler, Matt Hunwick, Sobotka, Sturm and Wideman. How you can go an entire playoff game on not throw a hit is beyond me. More is needed in that department, obviously.

Speaking of goose eggs. How does Alex Ovechkin go an entire game without landing a shot on net? This astonishes me. From the little I saw of that Caps-Habs game, it looked like Ovvie might be pulling the same weak, disappearing act he did for Team Russia against the Canadians at the Olympics. Please don’t tell me this will be the upset of round one. You’ve already blown my prediction for a Caps sweep out of the water, let’s not make it any more embarrassing than that.

Of course, another 8 beat a 1 but in this case, with Edmonton upsetting San Jose, it’s not all that surprising, really. Joe Thornton, this is your Hockey Soul calling. I’m on my last legs here and we need to do something now or I’m going to shrivel up and blow away in a light, coastal breeze and be gone forever. Please.

This Throw The Snake thing has got to end quickly. I’m sorry Phoenix, I know you want to join the party and you’re trying real hard, but it’s just weak and, if you’re going to do it, you can’t just toss a six inch garter snake out there. You need to get a friggin’ anaconda out on that ice if you want to impress me. The guy who sneaks a 12 footer into the arena and heaves that beast over the glass? Total respect, dude.

Colborne on Board

March 31, 2010

joe colborne boston bruins

The Bruins, as expected, have signed their 2008 first round pick (16th overall), University of Denver center Joe Colborne, to a three year deal and assigned him to Providence. Colborne is a big feller at 6-5, 210 pounds which would give the B’s, should he develop, the sort of Eric Lindros kind of size at the pivot slot that they haven’t seen since Joe Thornton was traded out of town for the Keebler Elves.

Unfortunately, some scouting analysis would beg the same question often asked about big centermen, whether or not they are willing to use their size to get dirty and slam their way to the net to score goals. The last thing Bruins fans would ever want to see is another talented big guy who doesn’t seem to play with enough passion or scrap.

Colborne’s scoring totals at Denver, where you can see notable improvement from his first year to this last one.

    2008-09: 40 games, 10 goals, 21 assists, 24 pims
    2009-10: 39 games, 22 goals, 19 assists, 30 pims

Certainly the Bruins need some scoring help right now and the over excitable crowd will want to see Colborne in Boston sooner rather than later but something tells me we might want to temper our enthusiasm and not peg the kid as the next Espo just yet.

Just in case he turns out to be the next Joel Prpic.

_

As it turns out, the B’s had a rather busy day signing draft picks besides Colborne. Also signed:

  • Jordan Caron, first rounder from 2009 (25th overall), a 6-2, 202 lb center currently playing for Rouyn-Noranda in the QMJHL.
  • Michael Hutchinson, 6-3, 185 lbs, a goaltender taken in the third round in 2008 (77th overall), playing for the London Knights of the OHL.
  • Steven Kampfer, a 5-11 197 lb defenseman drafted by Anaheim in the fourth round in 2007 (93rd overall) and acquired by the B’s at this year’s trade deadline for a conditional fourth round pick this year.
  • Joe’s Woes

    April 28, 2009

    I’ll be honest. I had notions, early on in this post-season, when it was apparent to me that Joe Thornton and his San Jose Sharks were on their way to a first round knockout at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks, that I would sit down and write a scathing expose on Jumbo Joe’s consistent, relentless playoff failure.

    You must admit, even the most ardent admirer of the Team in Teal, would agree the time had come. Going into the playoffs as commanding President’s Cup winners, hot on the heels of a sensationally successful regular season that saw them put up an impressive 53-18-11 record, going a commanding 32-5-4 at home. They had earned that home ice advantage and they were built for the playoffs, with depth, experience and goaltenting.

    Supposedly.

    In the end, it was disppointment alley again as the Ducks beat them handily in 6 games to send Joe and his mates off to some more early spring golfing. If they hurry they can still catch up to some of their pals from the Phoenix Coyotes or the New York Islanders. All that regular season success and what real difference is there now between them and such woebegotten franchises? Not much.

    So, yeah, here I was all set to compose a torrid diatribe on Why Joe Thornton Can Never Win and why he had to be traded from the Boston Bruins in order for them to progress to the Stanley Cup contenders they currently are. Why he should never be a team captain on any team. I had all the stats ready to post, the ignominious record of the Sharks’ miserable blunders and missed opportunities in the early rounds of the playoffs since they acquired him, none more glaring than this year’s.

    But my heart’s just not in it anymore.

    Now I just feel bad for him.

    Y’see I like Joe. I always have. When he was here in Boston, at least early on, I worshipped the kid. A big, rangy, talented number one overall pick with hands of spun gold. A sublime playmaker who was big enough to hold his own in any physical confrontation. He’d drop the gloves on occasion which endeared him to the Bruins faithful and, aside from getting tagged by Eric Lindros once, he was a decent scrapper. That kind of skill and show a little moxie and you’d think people here would be building statues of him outisde Faneuil Hall.

    Not the case, however. Whether is was his fault or not is easily debated and many learned Bruins fans would point to a stingy ownership and clueless management (hello, Mike O’Connell) when assessing the team’s failures in that era. As time wore on, however, and the frustration mounted and the faithful began to turn their backs on their beloved Spoked B, it became evident, even to a weasel like O’Connell, that something needed to be done. So on November 30th, 2005, the trigger was pulled and off went Joe to San Jose for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau.

    I was pissed. Horrified. I’d been an O’Connell hater since day one and I felt that giving someone so obviously imcompetent at his job that sort of authority, to trade away the goddamned Franchise, was utter sports suicide. I mean, the guy went on that same year to lead the league in scoring and win the Hart Trophy as league MVP. And all you got back was a defenseman on the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent, an 25 goal scorer and a dime-a-dozen 4th line center?!? By any rational standard, it was a horrific trade. The only real good that came out of it was that it sealed Mike O’Connell’s fate and he was later fired before he could do any more damage and Peter Chiarelli, a real GM, was hired.

    Still, looking back, it’s hard to argue that it needed to be done. I always said, it wasnt’ that he was traded that irked me but what was received in return. It was piddling compensation for a player who is inarguably one the league’s elite talents. That said, it’s been a steady upward climb for the team ever since he left and now they sit poised for ever greater glory in the 2009 Playoffs, winning back the attention and the hearts of a city that had forsaken them.

    So, yes, I guess there was every indication back then that the team might never win as it was, built around an easy going, laid back playmaking center like Joe. That making him captain at such a young age was a mistake, that he wasn’t ready to shoulder that burden, that he might never be ready. That that sort of leadership is just not part of his makeup. I see that the folks in San Jose agree with that notion, choosing Patrick Marleau to wear the ‘C’ over him.

    This, of course, may lie at the heart of the problem of why he can’t seem to find his way to any post-season success. It may have something to do with the very person he is, the very way he approaches the game, with that even, almost carefree personality. No one can argue his talent and playmaking abitlity, but maybe it takes more than pure skill to be a winner. Maybe the problem is he admired his hero Wayne Gretzky too much and not a guy like Mark Messier enough. I don’t know.

    I know I felt sad watching him trudge off the ice after the handshake last night, I really did. He went down that tunnel beneath the stands hunched over, head down, the weight of it all bearing down on him like the rubble of a collapsed building. Lord knows the grim thoughts coursing beneath that tousle of blonde surfer’s locks, troubling and darkening the otherwise smiling personality that is so genuinely and easily likable.

    Maybe that’s part of the problem, too. Who knows?

    So why don’t I just leave it like this. A great moment of old school hockey at the start of what was a very entertaining game last night. Featuring none other than Jumbo Joe Thornton.

    Better luck next year, my friend.