Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The weekend in hockey

B’s vs. Rangers, Jan. 19

Tim Thomas. Timmy. When is the rest of the team going to play as well as him? Boston players owe Timmy a few dinners after the way he bailed them out during Saturday’s matinee tilt against the Rags. Thomas is Boston’s MVP. Savard is a very close second. Thomas is always there to make the big save. He doesn’t take a night off. He’s the guy who has kept Boston in the running. He’s probably the one who has benefited the most from Julien’s defense-first system. As proof, his save percentage is at the top of the league. If the rest of the team could show as much heart as he does, the Bruins would be doing (even) better. The Bruins will go as far as Thomas will take them, no question. They don’t have enough depth up front to do much better.

This game was broadcast on NBC and who do we get between periods but none other than Mad Mike Milbury and Pierre Maguire, who was doing double duty “behind the glass” or in between benches, as it were. Others here would disagree, but I like Maguire. He’s a hockey guy. He knows what he’s talking about and I can think of several other talking heads who are a lot worse. Anyway, the most interesting nugget to come out of the banter between these two was this question to Milbury from Maguire: Do you sign Phil Kessel or do you trade him? Milbury’s answer: trade. Although, as he admitted, “I’ve been wrong before.” (That’s an understatement, no?)

I’m leaning in your direction on this one, Mike. Yes, Kessel is fast and he has some pretty good hands. But does he have top-six forward career potential? Second line center? So far, it doesn’t seem like it. It’s close but not quite. Kessel belongs in the league and he can play with the big boys, but he may end up like more of a Matthew Lombardi kind of player. Speedy and can chip in the odd goal now and then. On the other hand, Kessel may have heard Milbury’s comments because he really nailed that goal he scored (no thanks to an intelligent play from Savard, of course. Savard takes advantage of a Ranger turnover, blasts a slapper at Lundqvist practically guaranteeing a rebound and Phil is in perfect position to clean up the mess.) But the one thing missing from Phil’s game, Milbury pointed out, is the physical component. And how can you be an effective, impact player without that unless you can make up for it in other ways, and so far, it does not appear that Phil can. He doesn’t seem hungry enough, mean enough, tough enough to go the distance.

So who do you trade for Kessel? I’d take a draft pick and bonafide role player. But what do I know?

Caps vs. Penguins, Jan. 21

Too bad the NHL can’t put together more games like this one. I figured no Crosby would mean tough luck for the Pens, but I turn the game on in the second and it’s 4-4. I have to watch. My first thought is why did Therrien start Sabourin? The guy gets two wins in two starts, one shutout, OK, but big deal. Conklin is the hot hand. 10-1-1 in his last 12? What’s not to like? Are you trying to give Conklin some rest? In Sabourin’s defense, it didn’t look like he had a chance on the first four goals. Maybe that second one by Ally O’Vechkin, which was a bit of a floater. But the point is moot. Conks should have started.

For the record, Malkin’s goals were more fun to watch than Rumplevechkins'. He had a chance to put the game away there in the third, when he walked in on the off-wing to the top of the circle, unmolested, and … decided to shoot? Not a good decision, Geno. He had the time and space, as they say, to make a better play. Godzilla swallowed up the shot and that was the end of that. If I’m playing NHL 08 and that happens to me, I’m faking slapper, changing the angle and firing a wrister short side. SCORE.

This game was how hockey was meant to be shown on TV. Scoring and enough end to end action to keep the play-by-play guy (Finnish broadcasting prospect Joe Beninattiiettannenn) and color guy (was it Reaugh?) busy talking about THE GAME and not which college this player attended, and oh this is what it was like when I was in the league, and hey this guy and his wife are expecting their first child. Shut up. Call the f’ing game. Stick with what we, the viewers, care about — what we’re seeing on the screen.

All-Star preview

Short and sweet. I want to know who wins hardest shot (will Big Z keep his title?), who will go 4-for-4 or 4-for-5 in the accuracy contest, and I guess I will have to check out the slam-dunk contest. I predict one or two good ones and a lot of choking.


The Rev. Zamboni said...

Kessel is Comrie with better hands and a little more speed. Trade his ass right now. I concur. Send him and Ray Allen to Florida for Olli Jokinen before they both blow a tire.

Anonymous said...

How come there was no mention of the Rangers having their Dads at the game on Saturday. I thought it was a teneder moment that should have been highlighted in your article.

Mr. Bad Example said...

I don't know if I can write for a blog where the word "bonified" appears. C'mon, Jaro.

Jaroslav Falconerov said...

What, you never had a brain fart? I could say so much more right now, but I'll leave it at that.

Mr. Bad Example said...

I've had about 31 years of them, thanks for asking.

Better toughen up your skin if you're gonna be a blogger, son.


Jaroslav Falconerov said...

My apologies. I thought you were Bill. All is forgiven.

But let's keep the comments about hockey people.

The Mediocre One said...

Matt, this is my nickname. Username. Handel. "The Mediocre One." It's a play on Gretzky's title. Get it? As I'm typing this, I'm listening to poor, poor Neil Smith do color for the ECHL all-star game. Has his star really fallen so far?

And yes, I had a brain fart once.