Friday, April 4, 2008


My thumb hurts from flipping between 7 different NHL games last night. Yes, the NHL Centre Ice package was made available to all cable subscribers this week. The reason? Because it's a free trial week for MLB Extra Innings. So wait, why is the hockey free too? Because cable providers are too stupid to figure out how to flip the switches correctly to only give its subscribers one of them, so they just unscrambled everything. Regardless, I got a lot of free surprise hockey last night, the best kind of hockey there is.

The deep fried, hot sauce slathered, blue cheese dipped dream is over: the Buffalo Sabres are done. They completed the choke job by losing to the Habs 3-1 last night, making them one of only 7 teams since 1932 to finish 1st overall one season and miss the playoffs the next. They played with an incredible amount of intensity in the final 10 minutes (when they were already down 3 goals), which begs the question: where was that intensity all season? Huge disappointment. Quote of the night from a fan on Bfloblog: "fuck a comeback - just break someones nose!" Thanks vtTom, that was fantastic.

Meanwhile, let me tell you about Buffalo Bleu chips: they're awesome! From the good people at Kettle Foods, they're A TOUCH OF FIRE AND ICE, with a BRAZEN spice mellowed by BLUE CHEESE. They're crispy and krinkle cut, and they're made with 0 g trans fats. Delicious! Take it from me: Buffalo Bleu it!

Why do Montreal fans at the Bell Centre do the "Olé! Olé-olé-olé!" chant during games? I guess we can add them to the long list of unoriginal fans who have co-opted that stupid, tired soccer chant. And I thought they were more savvy than to follow the latest fad. Mets fans have even started doing it during José Reyes' at-bats at Shea. Enough! (I also hate the "Marty's better!" chant at Devils games, which is sure to rear its ugly head in the playoffs.)

I don't have the CI package (it's not in HD, so why bother), so I think this is maybe only the 2nd time I've seen Detroit all year. That's a crime, and I have Bettman to thank for that (at least I'm not in Canada where they force fans to PPV for select games). Anyway, the Wings locked up another Presidents Trophy last night, setting themselves up for another playoff disappointment. Zetterberg's winning goal -- from behind the net, flipping it up and rebounding it off CBJ goalie Leclaire's back with 14 seconds left -- was pretty artful, I have to say. I saw that they were running a promotion for the playoffs, something along the lines of "What crazy thing would you do for a luxury box?" Personally, I would wear a Devils jersey and walk around Detroit taunting Red Wings fans! Oooo, that's crazy.

Ovechkin is a great player (there's obviously no debate there), but is there a chance the Kaps rely on him a little too much? I mean, it's a team sport and he can't be out there on every shift. This stat from the Slap Shot blog is interesting: if you combine shots made and missed, no one has the puck on their stick more than Ovie, by a long shot.

Player (Team): Shots/Missed/Total
Ovechkin (WAS): 436/196/632
O Jokinen (FLA): 338/112/450
Zetterberg (DET): 344/105/449

He's taken nearly 100 more shots than the next guy in the league, and missed more shots than most players take all year. That's absurd. Naturally, his shooting percentage isn't very high; while players like Malkin and Kovalchuk connect 17-18% of the time, Ovie is only at 12.2%. All I'm saying is, maybe the Kaps would be in the playoffs already if the majority of their offense wasn't merely him skating in circles trying to create a scoring chance for himself. There's always one jerk at open hockey who does that (Palice's Tom "Fucking" Bailey, I'm looking in your direction), and leaves you begging him to pass it around a little so the rest of us could improve our game. (BTW, we're pronouncing it wrong: it's "uh-VEECH-kin".) In other words, if they meet up with a good goalie, I see a first round exit. However, if it's Conklin/Marc-Andre Fleury . . .

With Nashville winning and Vancouver losing, we've lost yet another Canadian squad to the Confederate Menace. After they scored the 3rd goal to pretty much seal it, they played a country song which I couldn't possibly name. (Every song sounds like Garth Brooks "Friends in Low Places" to me.) I have to admit, it was frightening, like hockey being played some bizarro world. It looks like hockey, but they probably deep fry and eat the pucks afterwards in some weird ritual.

So now the 8 teams in the Campbell Conference are set. In the Wales race, the Rangers are in, and I guess it's up to NJ tonight to help keep Philthy out of it. Will they steal back the 8th spot from suddenly surging Kaps, or get the butt end of the stick?

Oops. Hey, things like that will happen, what can you do?

One other question to the Devils: WHY IS MARTY STILL PLAYING??? You know, I'm pretty sure they have a backup that can come in and give him his first day off since January 6th. Or not. Suit yourself.

I have no idea what the hell this "player rankings" chart means (I guess this is based on just straight player statistics, and not performance or wins), but the Devils are 1st, Rangers are 4th and the Red Wings are 18th. The top team in the East,Sidsburgh is way down at 22nd. Huh, I guess these stats are pretty meaningless.


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