"Wrist Shots" was supposed to be reserved for my latest hockey notes, but I think I broke my own rule when I lumped together all sorts of miscellany into the last entry. I didn't watch a lot of hockey over the Turkey Break (it was mostly football, from Thursday to Saturday) so I'm just catching up now . . .
The Devils just completed the worst road trip in recent history: 0-3-1, 1 point. Last night's loss in the shootout to the L.A. Kings hurt the most, because this is a team they used to be able to beat in their sleep (though they have the top rookie, Anze Kopitar, who has 23 points). Once in a first place tie with the Rangers and Islanders (welcome back to the top of the standings, Fish Sticks!), they've slipped to 3rd because while Marty's been decent, the offense has been lacking (they've only scored more than 3 goals in 1 of the last 20 games--what's new?). Watching them play the Ducks, I realized that one of the players that they must miss the most is Scott Niedermeyer. He's a top notch defenseman who used to torch everyone during the 'fastest skater' contest during the All-Star Skills Competition. I also wonder why the Ducks named their rink the Honda Center, when Honda Pond has a much better ring to it--they should have consulted me. Oh, and if L.A. can get 16K to show up for hockey, I think they can support an NFL team, don'cha think?
I watched most of Sunday night's Sabres/Rangers game (inbetween segments of TARX). It was a well-played game, less than stellar officiating. Classic interference/pick play off the final faceoff in OT -- Pomenville held Shanahan so Drury could rush the net and deflect in the winner, for a 3-2 final. Funny how that's not in the AP article anywhere. I haven't been watching the Sabres closely enough, maybe THAT'S how they've been winning all those games. The skating in the Stars @ Wings game last night looked much slower in comparison; that's why Detroit lost in the first round last year, and probably won't take home the Cup this year either.
The Penguins came back down to earth (now in 4th place), as Malkin failed to score a goal in EVERY GAME (for shame) and Marc-Andre Fleury started to show his inexperience. The jury is out on their goaltending, but I like the rest of the team's chances to make the playoffs.
Ken Hitchcock has gone from the last place in the East Flyers (17 points) to the last place in the West Bluejackets. Good luck with that.
Since this is officially "driving season" for me, I have decided to sign up for XM Radio, and should be getting my Delphi RoadyXT soon. Once I get it set up I'm looking forward to listening to the great music channels (especially LUCY), some comedy, PGA and actual hockey sports radio (which doesn't exist in the NY/NJ/CT area, despite all the Cups the Devils have acquired). The website describes their 24/7 hockey talk station like this:
Hockey This Morning with Scott Laughlin and Cam Stewart (Weekdays - 6-9 AM ET): Tune in to Home Ice - XM 204-209 on the morning after the night before for post-game analysis.
Kris pointed out: "'The morning after the night before'--doesn't by definition the 'morning' fall after the 'previous night'?" That's exactly what I was thinking when I read that sentence, which makes me feel like I'm stuck on a Möbius strip. Hopefully, the actual radio station will be more intelligible, even if it's hopelessly Canadian. Question: can I tune in the evening before the morning after the night before for pre-game coverage? And does Canada call Plan B "the morning after the night before pill"?
Rob V. from Nyack asked: "The hockey season starts in October and ends in March, that's 180 days to play 80 games. Why are there so many back to back games on the schedule this year?" I have no idea why that is. For instance: the Devils play on Friday/Saturday back-to-back games 4 times in December (and a Saturday/Sunday in the middle week), yet both games are never at home. There's no Olympic break this year, so that's not the reason they're cramming them in. I should consult a hockey expert about this to find out.
I'll leave it with this YouGoogle (GooTube?) video of Colin White hitting Sean Avery.