OTTAWA, CANADA – Playoff predictions made here last Sunday are doing surprisingly well complete with sub-plots holding true in most of the series except the Penguins in five which is looking like seven games since the Flyers would get more use out of a plastic supermarket shopping bag than goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. In watching at least a few games in each series there are things pestering me and fewer making me smile.
Brendan Shanahan and his player safety and suspension cohorts are really drawing the ire of this rabid hockey fan. By totally whiffing on the Shea Weber/Henrik Zetterberg incident, a violent domino effect occurred in the wake of doling out a soft $2500 fine. When the discipline czar, ironically the all-time leader in Gordie Howe hat tricks (goal, assist + fighting major), reacts this way to a player who uses an opponents head and twice bangs it into the glass as if it were a WWF turnbuckle, players began taking similar liberties on the ice as a result of Weber’s slap-on-the-wrist. Rangers fans would disdainfully agree the Hagelin three-game punishment was a method of restoring order at the expense of lesser indiscretion.
Case in point: among all the face raking, cross-checking scrums, a well-established NHL dirt bag, Raffi Torres, took center stage even with all the Shanahan-igans in the Pitt-Phil series. The former Canuck and current Coyote winger left his feet, a charge, to level and knock out Marian Hossa. It took the authorities three days to figure out a 25 game ban was just. The hit itself and delay in discipline pissed me off but then thought of action taking place between the Bruins vs. Coyotes earlier this year and a smile came across my face while revisiting this moment:
The fact that Vancouver is struggling is a happy thought, given their well-documented arrogance around the NHL. They’re the softest team in the playoffs and lack leadership as I only hope the Kings can finish them off. Speaking of Kings, usually sports nicknames are well-earned and indisputable. I disagree with Henrik Lundqvist being labeled hockey royalty since he’s helped his team advance past the first round just twice, one being a sweep of the “green” and now defunct Atlanta Thrashers. Hockey is indeed a team sport but as a team’s backstop making timely saves in certain situations is a must and thus far in the Rangers-Ottawa series Craig Andersen has bested The King in this area as the Senators have never led in any of the first four games. Can somebody tell me where/who gave Lundqvist his nickname?
It’s been difficult watching a real man’s game while there’s a Sonic commercial out of every seven ads. You know the one’s I’m talking about – the two whining, nasal, sissies in their car talking Sonic food and drink – makes me want to jam an old Koho in their mouth and use the splinters as a toothpick. But The Discover commercials starring “Peggy,” the Eastern European service representative for USA Prime Credit, remain priceless.
West Coast Craig, tomorrow.