Saturday, November 14, 2009
Notes are for Tests
My notes are definetely not that complicated, more like chicken scratch on a napkin. But I'll tell you, there's nothing I love more than getting my money's worth of my Center Ice package and jotting down notes about the various goings-on around the league. So without further ado...
*J.S. Giguere got all riled up earlier this week after coming back from a groin injury, pissed off about his lack of playing time and starts. And then had to do some subsequent damage control, and further explain his displeasure, and basically say he was being sarcastic. So Carlyle gives him a start, against the Columbus Blue Jackets coming off a 9 to 1 schellacking from Detroit. Columbus didn't play all that pissed off, and the game ended up going to a shootout, where Rick Nash wins it on off balanced shot over the glove. Real nice stop Giguere, way to get back in the good graces. I know Giggy's had his struggles in the last few years, (his father passed away last year), but he's seemed slow and lazy since winning the Cup, and it doesn't seem like he's all that interested anymore. Despite his comments.
*Throw that on top of Scott Niedermayer's rumblings about being traded and the Ducks are in a tailspin, besides being second to last in the West. That defensive corps is a shell of what it used to be last year, mainly with the departures of Pronger and Beauchemin. Whitney sucks, and if Scotty leaves there's is no blueline.
*Marty Havlat was supposed to be a replacement to the scoring that Marian Gaborik provided for the Minnesota Wild. I think this great post from Hockey Joe says whether or not he's filled that void. The answer is no. I believe Havlat was surrounded by great offensive hockey players in Chicago, and he doesn't have that supporting cast in Minny. Gaborik on the other hand, was flashy and sensational despite being in a defensive system like that. That is the greatness of Gabby's hockey, and while he's still tearing it up on another team. I was never a big Havlat believer. Call me skeptical.
*Ryan Miller is my early favorite for the Vezina. He is just sensational, and plays so well night in night out that he gives his team a chance to win it every night he starts. The game against Calgary on Friday between he and Kiprusoff was awesome, big saves on both ends. In the past Miller has been a victim of too many starts in the regular season to make any kind of dent in the post. We'll see if Lindy knows how much is too much this season while it looks like Buffalo is posed to be in the top 8.
*Speaking of Kiprusoff, he has definetely returned to form from his past few subpar seasons. Getting rid of that monkey on your back Mike Keenan will have something to do with that. Either way, he has looked sharp so far this season, and has made Calgary a formidable opponent this year.
*Have I mentioned the difference between Iginla in October and Iginla in November? Yes, yes I have.
*How sad is Carolina? Answer: Real Sad. How do you go from Eastern Conference contender in one season to kicking off the next with a what, 14 game losing streak? They've won two games all year, two. Figured they would be able to beat the Isles to break that streak, nope, lost in OT after clawing their way back into after being down three goals.
*Speaking of the Islanders, I heard that DiPietro is still over a month away from returning to the ice. Who imagined that that stupid contract would look even dumber as it went on? Yeah, me too.
*I heard Shalley and Berce say that the Caps were being very un-Cap-like so far this season. What the fuck does that mean? They're in first place in the East, what the hell do you want? Or are they just being un-Ovechkin-like because he's not in the lineup? Idiots.
*How about Kovalchuk? Comes back from a broken foot and in two games has three goals and four assists, two and two Friday night in an all out seven-nil beating on the Kings. Coach Anderson asks 'how does he do that?' Antropov replies 'he's a superstar.' Nice. Like KGB (John Malkovich) says in 'Rounders' 'pay him, pay that man his money' in his shitty Russian accent (4:45). Atlanta in for a playoff spot? Does that guarantee Waddell gets Kovy to stay in Atlanta.
*Stephane Robidas has to be the most underrated player in the whole league. I don't know how many times I've said this, but I can't say it enough. He does it all, he defends, he blocks shots, he scores, and he mentors the young guys on that Dallas team. Despite taking pucks in the jaw, and still returning to play in the third.
*There's no question that Kessel can rip the puck once he gets it, but the Leafs are status quo even with him in the lineup. There's virtually no change on the team since his arrival to the lineup. They're still desperately clawing to stay in the game in the late stages after giving up a few soft goals. Cue Toskala.
*Detroit is back. Nine goals against Columbus, seven against Anaheim. A trick for Jared Leto with the empty netter. Is Howard finally finding his footing?
*A new trend I've noticed within the last two seasons, not that its brand new its just something I haven't seen in a while, is the activation of the defenseman in front of the net in the offensive zone. Randy Carlyle had Scotty Niedermayer pinching in on the power plays last season, and I've seen him move down low more than a few times since then when Anaheim was in need of offense. The idea is simple, you've got an intelligent, all-star offensive defenseman with good hands, put him down low to tip in a shot or bang in a rebound. Todd McLelland started moving Dan Boyle down low, and Rob Blake has that extra size advantage to screen the tender. But this year I've seen Kevin Bieksa come down low, and even play the wing, although I'm sure that was due to injury.
*The new Colorado third jersey is pretty lame. After glimpses of it got leaked early on, I was hoping that it would turn out to be a fake. We weren't so lucky.
*I have been very impressed with Mason Raymond lately, that kid is playing his ass off lately. His speed creates a lot of opportunities for the Canucks and with Luongo back in the lineup the only thing that's going to slow Vancouver down in that ridiculous 14-game road trip over the Olympic break starting at the end of January through the middle of March.
*Let the Patrick Marleau should he stay or should he go debate start! He's putting up impressive stats for the team that can afford him next year. Or keep him.
That's it, there's more but I'm tired. Look for another Contract Year Anomaly post soon, this time, the Defenseman.