Game One, Winnipeg/Atlanta, Campbell/ShannahanShareThis
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.
#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!
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).
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:
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.
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.