Friday, January 18, 2008

B's-Lafs, state of the game, HNIC radio

OK, on with the blah-ging. (But first, let me point out that the Bruins are represented first on this majority Islander blog.)

B's vs. Leafs, Jan. 18

Good game for the B's last night, although they lost in the SO. They played pretty well. Infuriatingly well. They had the Lafs on their heels for a while. They just could not put it away. A few posts there in the third. Some other missed opportunities. They just couldn't do it. (Is Toskala's fantasy value rising? Six goals allowed in his last two games, both victories.)

Now here's something you don't see every game – Marc Savard tapped Toskala's pads once (after his miss in the shootout), maybe twice (did he do it at the end of regulation or was that Sturm?). That's one thing about hockey that is different from other sports such as, say, foosball, er, football (check the post above for more about football). Why don't hockey players do that more often? The simple answer is probably that the game is too fast for bullshit sportsmanlike gestures like that. If you check a guy into the boards, you're not going to stop and help him up. Unless you really flattened him and he's hurt. You might stop and try to lend a hand. But not if you're a Flyer.

I'm not pointing the finger specifically at Savard and this isn't to say there is a lack of sportsmanship in hockey. We have our glittering Lady Byng trophy, after all, and her boyfriends Sakic, Datsyuk and Kariya. And, of course, how could anyone forget the display of camaraderie Don Cherry showed several times last season of the two players with their arms around each other while watching a fight. Beautiful. Hockey is just different that way. We have our own ways of complimenting each other. And if you're Ian Laperriere, that includes a kiss on the cheek (hey, the guy is French).

But we hear a lot lately about how players don't respect each other anymore. There's too much at stake. Finish your check at all costs. It doesn't matter if you might end a guy's career. You have to look out for yourself. Look out for number one. It's cutthroat. That's just the way the world is today.

I'm inclined to agree with some old-schoolers or traditionalists who would say the league has taken away the game's ability to police itself -- the players' ability to police themselves. It's a simple argument that makes sense. Players are not held accountable like they used to be.

There was a great discussion on HNIC radio about this and Cassie Campbell (believe it or not) and Jeff Marek were discussing what the league wants. Does it want a bunch of Jarkko Ruutus and Jordin Tootoos running around – the pests, who know they can get under the skin of their opponents and probably not have to answer for it – or does it want more Laraques, Boogards, etc., who call those types of guys on the carpet and take them to task. I'd have to go with the latter. Ultimately, which one would be better for the game?

Hello out there

Speaking of HNIC radio, that brings me to my next topic. Something I feel I need to do – because if I don't do it, no one else will — is post an ongoing list of host Jeff Marek's one-liners, insights and witticisms (hey, the guy is entertaining). So here we go. Today's Marekisms:

— On the Rob Ramage sentencing: "When hockey players get together … beers will be consumed. … Any more tins in the cooler?"

— On Andrew Ference's fight with hockey's Golden Boy, Sidney Crosby: Ference "is no pacifist" and he doesn't mind "passing the fists." (This was a hilarious interview. I looked for an archived copy of the show but no dice. Ference talks about getting a call the day after from his sister, who is a teacher. Her students kept telling her the day after the fight that her brother got beat up by Sidney Crosby. Which leads me off on another tangent – Ference is the NHLPA's rep for environmental issues? And he also is involved in the Right to Play organization – which is great charity work and all, but bringing hockey to kids in Africa? Tell me that's not what he was doing on that episode of the "Rubber Biscuit" with your host Rob Simpson on NESN. Terrible show, by the way. How many people really want to watch Glen Murray working out?)

— "The name's Tucker not Sucker." (Darcy Tucker?)

— "I was born at night but not last night." (boo)

We continue with the Marek glossary:

— Canadian Gatorade = beer
— barley sandwich = beer
— grape juice = beer
— Diet Coke = beer

So obviously, Marek gets my seal of approval. But let's take a look at some of the other voices on HNIC radio.

Kelly Hrudey — Career stats from 367-361-97, 3.67 GAA, 0.845 SP. Complete douche bag. What's going on there beneath the surface, or should I say "behind the mask" of Rudy? Not much. Some geese flying by, tumbleweeds, maybe a light bulb short-circuiting. This guy is an insufferable bore. Holy crap. From his struggles with his Latvian or Slovak or whatever ethnicity growing up, to his powder blue bandana hanging out of his helmet during his playing days, to his career as a "broadcaster," he must have some seriously damaging dirt on someone to be allowed to continue. How and why would CBC ever offer him a job? Disturbing.

Cassie Campbell — Oh boy. Nice to see a woman in the job. Interesting to hear her take and perspective on things – sometimes – but she's mostly dead weight/air. Usually when I think of Cass, my thoughts turn to love. (Is she married?) Hey Cass, it's business time.

Elliot Freedman — Not bad. I can deal. But I can see his makeup through the radio. You don't need to wear that much blush Elliot.

Scott Morrison — Ditto, sans the rosy cheeks.

Ron Maclean — That's more like it. He's the man. What can you say.

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