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Game One, Winnipeg/Atlanta, Campbell/Shannahan

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New Puck Daddy: The Bruins can’t win if their bottom six forwards don’t own Vancouvers

*****

Good day, hockey fans!  Lotttts to talk about today, and I’m in a writin’ mood.  Coming up: Game one of the Stanley Cup Final, Winnipeg/Atlanta, and Brendan Shannahan taking over for Colin Campbell as the NHL’s disciplinarian for the 2011-2012 season. 

Sigh….that’s so far away and this season’s almost over.

*****

Game one, Vancouver vs. Boston

This was one of those fantastic low-scoring games that are so infrequent.  When I think about game one, I think about some of the spectacular individual performances.  My top five (yes, five) stars of the game, in order:

#1 – Tim Thomas – had you put the league’s most average goalie in net for Boston in that game, just your generic Craig Anderson or whoever, the final score is 5-0, minimum.  He made huge stops early (and late, and in the middle) that kept his team in the game, and I thought his save on the Jannik Hansen breakaway hasn’t gotten nearly enough credit.  That save was soccer goalie-esque, in that he literally would’ve had to have guessed a bit to be able to snap his pads together that quickly while sliding backwards.

#2 – Jannik Hansen – This guy was everywhere.  In a game where you know the other team is going to be focusing on the other two lines, you always have the opportunity to make them pay for that, and boy did he ever.  It’s like walking a batter to get another guy, in this case Hansen and his linemates, then having that guy belt a homerun to centerfield.  He was all-around terrific, and capped it off with a sick set-up on the game winner.

I done scorededweeeee!

#3 – Roberto Luongo – Just your average, run-of-the-mill 37 save shutout where he’s so positionally sound and ahead of the action that it looks like it’s easy.  Thomas probably makes those 37 saves if he’s in Van’s net too, only four of them become highlight-reel saves because of his chaotic style.

#4 – Raffi Torres - Scored the game-winner with 18.5 seconds left in game one of the Stanley Cup Final, after playing probably his best game of playoffs.  He created chances and played physical, which is more than he’s asked to do for the Nucks

#5A – Ryan Kesler – Makes a great play on the game-winner (including the toe-drag to stay onside) and just played his usual, horse-like Kesler game.  He looks unstoppable at times.

#5B – Zdeno Chara – Almost 30 minutes of ice and kept the Sedins to zero points.  Solid captain work there.

Read today’s column if you’re interested to hear what I think needs to happen for the B’s to win some games in this series.  The score was close, but I didn’t think the game was.

And for an update on the “Bourne proved he knows nothing about hockey” Seguin article (that was an actual comment), he’s now gone six straight games without so much as a point, and saw his ice time cut in half to six minutes.  I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t dress next game.  Not that I think he’s bad or anything, of course….he’s not.  That’s not why I keep dropping the updates.  I just didn’t feel like I deserved the shots I took from the PD commentariat (not here) after that piece.

Game two on Saturday, and I continue to be unable to see a way the Bruins can win, even after that close game (sorry Char).  They played the exact game they needed to yesterday and still couldn’t quite close.  We’ll see I guess!

*****

Winnipeg/Atlanta

So it’s official – the Atlanta Thrashers are taking their talents to Winterpeg.

First, as I’ve said before, I have muchos sympathy for Thrashers fans.  I know what it’s like to live in a city where hockey isn’t part of the collective identity, and other fans really crap on hockey fans who support the team despite that (it should be the opposite – you should get more credit if you’re a supporter from a non-hockey city).

I also done scorededweeee!

There are far too many folks who’ve never been to a game in the city that they’re making fun of, let alone to the cities themselves, yet they torch away without thinking.  On those nights when there’s only nine thousand fans at a game, consider how much those fans must love the team.  In Atlanta, think of the fans that go despite knowing the building won’t be packed.  They know their team isn’t star-laden.  They’ve never seen a single playoff game.

Yet there they are, on a Tuesday night, wearing their jersey to support their team.  But it’s HILARIOUS to refer to them as the Thrashers fan and leave off the “s” because there’s only one!HAHAHAHA!!!1!!

But enough of a rant.  With that said: 

Some very, very happy people in that city. And province. And country.

SINCERE CONGRATULATIONS to Winnipeg!  While it’s wrong to imply any one fan there will love the team more than the multi-year season ticket holder from Atlanta who writes a blog about the team, rest assured that MORE (way, way more) people will love the team there.

Hockey is a part of what makes us Canadian, like it or not, and this team was unfairly ripped out of that city’s hands fifteen years ago.  It feels right to have it back, so I’m happy for those good people from Manitoba.  You may not like their city, but you’ll damn sure like the people.

Here’s to hoping they call ‘em the Winnipeg Phoenix. The team has risen from the ashes once again!

*****

Brendan Shanahan, NHL Disciplinarian

Beginning in the 2011-2012, Brendan Shanahan is going to take over for Colin Campbell as league disciplinarian.  This is, as a general statement, awesome.

Before I explain why I think so, I just gotta say: that job has to be done by a committee (I know, I’ve said this before) of one ex-player, one ex-referee, and one ex-coach/GM/front-office guy.  It’d be like scoring a boxing match, only you know you’re getting people from different walks of the same world, meaning you’d probably reach some fairly appropriate consequence.  I have no idea why Gary Bettman is so opposed to that obvious strategy.

"Hmm. How many games would I suspend me if I just popped this guy right now..."

But if you’re going to pick one guy, they couldn’t have picked a better one to do it.  Shanahan, throughout his playing days, was a widely respected player.  On top of that, he was a nice mix of physical player and goal-scorer so I think he’ll have a better understanding than anyone about what’s across the line and what isn’t.  And, it’s great that he’s recently left the game, so he understands the “new” NHL better than someone else would.

The bottom line is, the game is evolving - speed and size are increasing while our awareness of safety is too, so it’s not an easy job.  It’s good that Shanahan is going into the job as a respected man, because hopefully that will help people respect his decisions more.  It’s a sad reality, but this job could (will?) hurt his reputation, as overly bias fans cry bias at him, until every fan base feels wronged at some point.

And that’s the bad part of him having recently played – now every suspension or fine he does or doesn’t give is going to come attached with “OF COURSE he didn’t suspend the guy that plays for his old team.” “OF COURSE he didn’t suspend his old teammate.” OF COURSE he suspended the guy on the team he always hated.” “OH SHOCKER, no suspension for the guy on Tampa because he’s friends with Yzerman.”

Shanahan won’t let those biases affect his rulings – he knows he’s under the spotlight, and more importantly, he’ll want to do a right and honest job to keep the game safe, but that won’t stop folks from lighting him up.

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.  I’m thinking they got the perfect man for the job.

*****

Okay, that’s a lot of words for one day!  Thanks for stopping by.

Comments

20 Responses to “Game One, Winnipeg/Atlanta, Campbell/Shannahan”
  1. Neil C. says:

    Now wait just a second. Are you telling me that the commentors on Puck Daddy were too eager to tear you to shreds over your Seguin article? I’m sorry Bourne but you just lost all credibility with me.

  2. jtbourne says:

    Haha, and now I’m that guy who’s going to point out Seguin’s short-comings for the rest of playoffs like an asshole. Speaking of being a swear-word: two entries back I got advised to watch my language by someone. ….On Bourne’s Blog, which costs a monthly hosting fee, takes in zero dollars aside from the odd donation, and takes time to update. Thought you’d enjoy that.

  3. Ryan says:

    Needs more cuss words.

  4. Keriann says:

    Wouldn’t it be a little confusing if the Winnipeg Phoenix play the Phoenix Coyotes?

  5. jtbourne says:

    Haha, yes. Yes it would be.

  6. Steve C. says:

    No cussing on Bourne’s Blog?…what the fuck? Definitely not a hockey player, and they must not be reading your PD column very often either.
    …and I’m not getting paid to write here either.

  7. Sherry says:

    Had to go back and read the comment by the IDiot who asked you to curb your language. Loved how you put him in his place JB, but sweetie, spelt is “an ancient wheat” – don’t let your past tense standards decline. :)

    More asshole! More cursing! More donations! More cowbell!

    *So* interested to see what Shanny will do as head of discipline – love that guy.

  8. jtbourne says:

    Ah, thank you, I’ll fix that. Do you want me to edit out the condescending “sweetie” for you? :)

  9. Sherry says:

    I am cut to the quick – it was obviously an expression of affection. :)

    :)

  10. mikeb says:

    Just to spite the comment that degraded your use of ‘cuss’ words, I made you a donation. No idea how much it’ll help, but I enjoy reading, and user feedback. You don’t get that anywhere else, or at least sincere user feedback.

  11. vx inTN says:

    I like your 5 stars. Enjoyed game one a lot more than the fans seemed to. Or was it just the way NBC covered it? Seemed to me that that arena was Quiet and everyone sat on their hands for most of the game.

    Know that if you dont write to solely stir people up, you’ll never climb the ladder at The Hockey News.
    Dont sweat the critisism- passionate fans have passionate opinions + not all fans are always sober when they post on the Enturwub.

    We used to drive 4 hours to see the Atlanta Flames and it hurt when they left. I actually got to play a college game in the Omni, which qualifies as the closest I ever got to the NHL. Now we are <3 hours away from the Predators, so I never got on board with the Thrashers. I hate that for them but (and i know this is a terribly un-PC thing to say) the racial diversity in Atlanta plays a factor in the size of the potential fan base. I just dont see NHL level support there, demographically and financially speaking.

    I LOVE the selection of Shanahan for Supplemental Discipline Czar. Putting a player into that position is exactly what is needed and they could not have found a better one. I like your idea of a committee, but it should allow the final decision (and responsibility) to Shanny. Decision by committe solely is always bad if you want consistancy.
    Now if they would just give Shanahan supervision of the refereeing…..

    Can any of you CBC/THN/Canadian viewers comment on the 4 minute penalty in the first. There was no replay or commentary on the NBC feed and I have no idea if it was for blood or what. The stick hit looked VERY questionable to me.

  12. Cassie says:

    If Shanahan’s not careful, he could turn into the NHL’s Mr. Fix-It. He made the NHL’s All-Star Game better. And if he improves the discipline side of things, you have to wonder where he’ll end up next. I can’t see him being in the position for more than 3 or 4 years, frankly.

  13. jtbourne says:

    Does he have to go to law school to take Bettman’s job? Can every fan in the league chip in to make this happen?

  14. Chris says:

    I do like the idea of a board made up of either your example, Bourne, or just three guys in a room who know a lot about what’s up (less like a triumvirate composed of three different fields and more like whoever fits the bill, regardless of their previous role), and I as well can’t understand why Bettman is so opposed. Seems like it would be less of a blame-game situation with each and every suspension or blind eye turned. I would say that the single disciplinarian model works alright if you allow the league to vote on who it is every year. I’m not really sure who would vote, or rather, who would be “qualified” to vote in such an election, but I think it could work out a lot better than it is now. Just a thought.

  15. Neil C. says:

    vxinTN, I think the double-minor you’re referring to was for a high stick that drew blood. He got him fairly solidly (I think it was D. Sedin) and I’m sure the blood was there, Chara sold it pretty good but I think players on both teams figured out pretty quick that the refs were happy to put guys in the box and the embellishment clearly went both ways, imho. It was a good call.

    Man I’m tired of watching guys dive. I’m tired of my team (the Canucks) doing it and I’m tired of our opponents doing it. I don’t really blame the players: they want to win really, really bad and if it’s going to work, then I’m not surprised that they do it (it sucks, but I’m not surprised). I blame the refs: if a guy gets hit in the mouth with a stick and throws his head back like he’s been shot before turning to glare at the ref, then skate by him and say “I either call nothing or I call the highstick on him and the unsportsmanlike on you”. When Henrik flopped after the crosscheck, he should have gotten an unsportsmanlike. Every time a guy embellishes a penalty and complains to the ref, the ref should just say “I’d either call him for the penalty and you for the dive, or just call nothing”. It’s not perfect and guys will still trick the refs occasionally, but the diving has been ridiculous in the playoffs. I think Big Joe’s dive against the Red Wings might be the saddest thing I’ve seen in the NHL in a while. Ok that’s it for my rant

  16. Average Joe says:

    Thank you for doing some quality analysis on Game 1.

    And thanks for not bringing up the Burrows biting thing. I am so sick of the media focusing on dirty hits, concussions, water bottles, biting, and refereeing.

    I love hockey, and care to hear about hockey and how it is being played. Not the side show.

  17. vx inTN says:

    Thanks Neil. And I’m with you 100% on the diving. I reffed beer league and young adult for years and took the same tact you suggested. Tho a lot of the time, I’d just send them both off since taking ice time from a player is the best punishment. It did seem to work, tho those guys that had played ECHL we soooooooooooo far beyond my ability that they could hide anything from me.

  18. jtbourne says:

    Hey mikeb, I just wanted to say thanks man. That was generous of you, can’t tell you how much I appreciate it! Now I’m glad I occasionally cuss on the blog!

  19. mikeb says:

    Justin

    No problem. I’ve been a long time reader, since that other website. I enjoy the interaction with the writer, and you do actually know what you are talking about. And we don’t hear buzz words like monster, and all those other ones. As long as you keep on doing what you’re doing I’ll be happy with my donation. Hope it was able to pay for a case of beer or two as well.

  20. nick says:

    cmon Bourne, since you stopped swearing your blog sucks!

    nah just kidding. you do a good job, and as you build yourself a name I think you’ll do better and better. I agreed with your before AND after articles on Seguin. haters gonna hate.

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