Tuesday, June 5, 2007


I'm assuming everyone north of the border and south of Greenland (not including Alaska) is talking about Cap'n Daniel Alfredsson's ill-timed boner* last night, in what appears to be the Ottawa Senators penultimate Stanley Cup finals loss. I saw it happen, and it was incredibly odd and absolutely intentional: with less than 10 seconds left in the he skated up across his own blue line with the puck, and instead of clearing it down the ice as time expired, he looked up at the clock and then at Niedermayer skating towards him, changed his angle, and fired it right at his legs. While I wouldn't go so far as to say "I lost a lot of respect for Alfie" (I'll leave that hyperbole to the Brett Hulls of the world), it certainly is a dick move to shoot at an opposing player like that. In turn, that probably fired up the Ducks en route to a 3-2 win in Game 4, thanks to Andy McDonald's double cheeseburger goal attack.

As for last night's broadcast, I can only assume NBC Sports hates their viewers, as they decided to put Don Cherry on during the second intermission. He said that fighting is an integral part of the NHL and management is making a big mistake trying to eradicate it in order to make it more "family friendly", as evidenced by the poor ratings in the US. "What about NASCAR? There are car crashes! The NFL? It's 'kill the quarterback'! And what about Ultimate Fighting? Gimme a break!" While I don't wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Hockey Night In Canada's stance, I have to admit that he has a point; we sure do love our violence. Personally, I don't care about ratings; as long as it's on somewhere, I'll watch it--as long as I don't have to see Don Cherry's hideous zoot suits, which looked positively frightening in HD.

The only point I'm going to make about the current state of the NHL and its "goonery" (which Kris accurately ranted about) is this: they have to be consistent with their calls and decisions, both on the ice and off. The "distinct kicking motion" rule doesn't seem to be called the same way twice, and questionable hits like Neil vs. McDonald, and blatant ones like Pronger vs. McAmmond (what's with only hitting the Irish guys?) weren't even considered to be penalties by the on-ice officials. That's a problem right there. I also think that there has to be a better way of handing out disciplinary action after the fact as well. Unfortunately, it all comes down to a judgment call on which hits are more "flagrant" than others, and it's not so clear cut in a contact sport. But how about something like this: hitting an opponent in the head ("legally" or not) = automatic 1 game suspension? Do it twice = 3 game suspension. That's a start, and it would certainly cut down on the number of concussions and these atrocious acts of headhunting.

It's a shame that this tangential stuff, along with the slightly higher but still struggling ratings, is making more news than the actual game play, as this has been a well-played series minus Pronger's and Alfredsson's respective douchebaggery. As for the dastardly Ducks, though it can't be proved, I believe they could have beaten anyone in the East including the mighty Sabres; they are much bigger and faster, and their defense is a lot deeper than previously thought, which means that haven't had to rely solely on Giguere as they did in 2003. In closing, it looks as though the Ducks are going to get this done.

* I'm trying to bring the word "boner" back, using its original meaning: a "blunder, an embarrassing mistake".

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