Gross Misconduct Hockey Thoughts from a drifter on the hockey landscape

06/30/2009

Montréal: Surréal and Unréal

Picture if you will a place where hockey is talked about day in and day out.

A place where newly drafted soon-to-be superstars high-five you for being hockey fans going into a bar.

A place where an NHL head coach could charm the pants off of just about any woman he wants to in the bar while he’s just as hammered as you are and you’re stuck standing around in awe of the whole scenario unfolding in front of you.

A place where 10 year-olds have no fear, ignore their grandparents and approach a group of hockey-centric strangers just to heckle a Bruins fan.

A place where out amongst the late night drunken revelers, loud and animated discussions about John Tavares erupt out of the blue.

A place where an inebriated 4:30 AM trip to McDonalds turns into a mind-blowing experience when you realize said McDonalds is across the street from what used to be the Montréal Forum.

A place where running into everyone you’ve ever cited or made fun of in the hockey blog world convenes to share a beer or twelve together.

This is what Montréal was during NHL Draft weekend. Part surreal, part unreal, completely incredible.

I’ll say this about Montréal:

It’s a city I loved before making this trip. I’d been there a few times before and had some incredible times up there and the city has always left an indelible mark on my memory for about a thousand different reasons.

This time will go down as one of the most incredible experiences for me because not only was this about being somewhat immersed in the middle of the madness that is the NHL Draft, but it also helped that it doubled as an end of the year convention for those of us in the “alternative” hockey media.

Oh sure, most of us may not have press passes and we may be playing the role of angry columnist at times (OK all the time over here), but anywhere you went in downtown Montreal this past weekend had hockey going on with it.

If you were out to grab a beer at a local tavern, you might run into some front office guys from an NHL team.

Need to get some dinner in Old Montreal? You might see folks from the Penguins stroll down the street with the Stanley Cup, much the way some of the other NHL Tweet Up folks did on Saturday night.

Going to Peel Pub to soak in the frat boy type of nightlife? Downstairs you might get high-fived by a celebrating Kyle Palmieri or you could head upstairs and see Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski among others.

That’s just a sample of how things went down and, even still, there was more going on than all of that. I don’t need to break down how the picks went or the backroom nonsense that was going on or any of that, you’ll find enough about all of that elsewhere.

What I can say is that I’m glad I’m NOT in Montréal now after the announcement of the Christopher Higgins trade to the Rangers for Scott Gomez that also, seemingly, included the Canadiens top defensive prospect Ryan McDonagh.

The reaction to this deal, for Montréal fans has been, to put it lightly, hysterical. Not the funny kind of hysterical but the manic, crazed and angry kind of hysterical. For a good example of what it’s like to be a dyed in the wool fan of Les Habitents, check this thread at Hockey’s Future that reads like an Internet car crash turned into rally with pitchforks and torches. As of this writing, the thread based on this deal alone was up to 35 pages.

Now take folks like that and put them all in one city and have them dialed into what goes on with the hometown team 24/7. That’s Montréal. Hockey all day, every day.

Heaven… I just don’t speak the language in heaven is all. Well, the main language anyhow.

This kind of seemingly moronic deal sets the table quite nicely for the NHLs National Day of Insanity: The start of free agency.

We’ve already seen one highly-dubious contract handed out to Dave Bolland of the Blackhawks for five years and $3.375 million per year. He’s on the young side, but he also notched a mere 47 points last year. The Blackhawks are banking on Bolland improving and making this deal into a bargain in future seasons.

Yeah, good luck on that.

Adding this to the dubious Rangers-Habs trade today you can see why I look forward to this each year, it’s just funny that Glen Sather is on the positive end of the spectrum this time around. Perhaps he’ll give an asinine contract to Christopher Higgins (a restricted free agent) to make up for it and we can mock him endlessly once again.

Bizarre part about this deal for Montreal is that they had oodles of cap space to work with and instead lock themselves into having Gomez as their top centerman, essentially kiss captain Saku Koivu goodbye and take themselves out of the running for the Sedin twins since Gomez is due over $7 million a year on the cap until forever.

Like I said: Seemingly and most likely a terrible development for the Habs.

For the Rangers, it’s an interesting start and one that’s rumored to continue into a deal for Senators winger Dany Heatley sooner than later. Should that happen, well, perhaps the Rangers will realize that they dealt the wrong centerman to Montreal as Gomez would work quite well dishing off to Heatley.

Chris Drury? Not so much…

All of this though is just the appetizer for July 1st. I’ll be doing a lot of snap judgments through the day tomorrow on Twitter, so follow along with me as idiocy runs wild.

06/26/2009

Bienvenue à Montréal

The Gross Misconduct Hockey Road Trip extravaganza gets to close out the 2008-2009 season as well as get you prepared for the 2009-2010 season all at once by visiting one of my most favorite cities in the world:

Montréal, Québec, Canada

Those accents are very important.

Tomorrow morning I’ll hit the road, the illustrious I-87, to attend the NHL Entry Draft. No, I won’t be giving you a mock draft since that would be amateurish of me to do and would likely end up sounding really freaking stupid because, honestly, what am I going to tell you that you’re not going to find more well informed elsewhere? Hell, just hit up the links on the sidebar and you’ll find something you’ll enjoy – it’s out there and other folks are busting their ass a lot more on this than yours truly.

That’s just how I roll. I guess.

The one bit of insight I’ll give you is this, and these are the things I’ll be keeping an eye out for.

Thankfully, one of them focuses in on the first two picks. I’m curious to see if Garth Snow and the Islanders have just been jerking all of us around for weeks and he’s going to run to the podium and make it official that the Islanders give a crap about the team’s future and select John Tavares first.

Not selecting Tavares would be damn near criminal and that’s not a slight on Victor Hedman or Matt Duchene but Tavares was virtually NHL-ready last year. Hell, they tried to bend the rules to allow him to be drafted last year.

Tavares is the real deal and he’ll be the guy to resurrect the Islanders back into relevancy, which is good since both Hedman and Duchene are pretty fantastic booby prizes for the Lightning and Avalanche who select after the Isles.

Provided the Lightning don’t do something thoroughly insane they should take Hedman and have him starting on the blueline for the Lightning come September. He’s big, he’s Swedish, he plays defense. That’s a pretty good pedigree to have coming to the NHL.

Then again, this is the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team owned by the wackiest pair of terrible owners in the league, a couple of guys in Oren Koules and Len Barrie who were brought into Little Gary’s office this week to get their problems figured out. Of course Gary sided with Oren Koules and hey, why not, he deals in real estate that’s a really solid industry lately. No problems there at all.

Oh and Koules wants to pare down the payroll and get rid of Vincent Lecavalier. That ought to go over really well for the fans in Tampa who have already had these two jackals ruin what was once the crown jewel of how to be a non-traditional market and thrive.

This is also the team with the general manager Brian Lawton who said in an e-mail to other teams that if you want to talk about the Lightning that you talk to him and him alone.


“Please be advised that in order to avoid any confusion over the next couple of weeks, as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning Organization I am the only person authorized to speak on behalf of the team with regard to player transactions,” the email read.

“No other person is authorized to negotiate player transactions. Any questions, feel free to call.”

Oh good.

Of course with the flux in Tampa Bay and not knowing just what they’ll do, Lawton has felt it necessary that Tampa will hang on to their pick which would be pretty wise considering a guy like Hedman would help sure up their defense for a good long while.

Then again, if Koules is getting the bigger share of the decisions on what to do, perhaps trading out of the spot will seem more appealing.

Sure it would. Then again, if the Islanders do go against the grain and do something unbelievably foolish like skipping over Tavares in favor Hedman then the power is in Tampa’s hands. And if that happens? Hang on to your freakin’ pants because Toronto general manager Brian Burke might actually start table dancing like the fine ladies at Club Super Sexe, full-frontal and everything.

Go ahead, go puke. I’ll wait.

Feel better? Good.

If Tampa gets themselves into a position where they can use their #2 spot to leverage whatever they want to out of anyone, then perhaps even Burke might feel compelled to give up his BFF defenseman Luke Schenn in order to land John Tavares. Then again, who knows what other teams might want to throw at Tampa in order to get a crack at Tavares.

If, and these are HUGE ifs, the Islanders take Hedman or anyone else not named John Tavares the NHL Draft officially becomes a circus and the time allotted to Tampa at pick #2 becomes the most exciting time of the Draft as the Lightning phones will not stop ringing the whole time and with Lawton having to handle things with Koules and Barrie also calling to get their say in…

Well for chaos purposes alone I pray for this to happen. Then again, for the Islanders to become a relevant franchise again sometime before I’m dead, I hope they take Tavares. The Isles lack a lot but Tavares gives them the guy to build the franchise around and gives Kyle Okposo someone to have fun with out there.

The other things I’ll be looking for this weekend come from a sheerly selfish standpoint in being an RPI Engineers hockey watcher and there’s as many as four players with RPI connections who may get their names called this Saturday during the 2nd through 7th rounds.

Three of these players haven’t suited up for the Engineers yet but two of them will in the 09-10 season in Jerry D’Amigo and Brandon Pirri. D’Amigo is getting a lot of press of late and could find himself getting called late in the second round or early in the third.

Christopher Ralph at HockeySpy has this scouting report on D’Amigo who he lists at #50 on his Top 60 list which includes some pretty high praise:


Scouting Combine Performance: Eug Sorokin observed: “Good looking guy, heard some chatter amongst the GMs and some teams like him a lot.” Sorokin was reminded of Zach Parise with respect to D’Amigo.

If RPI can bring in a guy who is anything like Zach Parise, head coach Seth Appert will do back-flips to celebrate because RPI will improve instantly from his presence.

Brandon Pirri comes into the draft having some questions over his defensive skills, but his offensive talents are unquestionably noticeable. His stats from this season playing for two different junior squads in Streetsville and Georgetown:

44 GP 46 G 48 A 94 PTS

For an RPI team that severely lacked scoring, Pirri will be a God-send for the program and any defensive shortcomings he may have will be picked up by his teammates. After all, when you’re showing up as a sniper, worrying about backchecking probably doesn’t rank out too high. Pirri also claims to have added 20 pounds of muscle to his frame bringing him up to 180 pounds, he’ll need that to deal with some of the bruisers he’ll line up against in the NCAA, most notably those at Cornell.

Pirri projects to be potentially anywhere from late third round to early fifth round for the 2009 NHL Draft.

The other players on the potential draft radar are 2010 recruit Jacob Laliberté and current Engineer forward Patrick Cullen. If either or both of them are selected, count on it being in the sixth or seventh round. Laliberté is a small sized forward but worked as a power play maven in the CJHL last year putting up astounding point totals. Cullen was a rookie sensation for the low-scoring Engineers and figures to build strongly on his freshman success getting teammates like D’Amigo and Pirri (among others) to join him in Troy this season.

One other quick note on this weekend. I’ll be reaching out from the basement with a host of other tremendous bloggers from across the Internet this weekend at the official NHL Draft Tweet Up.

Yeah, I know, the Twitter name makes it sound sort of lame – deal with it, Twitter has taken over the world.

Nearly 100 folks from across the NHL blogging spectrum are taking part in this in some ways and even some of the big shots (Wyshynski from Puck Daddy, the folks from Pension Plan Puppets, even Eklund) are going to be there. I’d tell folks in Montreal to hide the beer and their daughters but it’s too late to hide the beer and, well, who knows who’s going to think it’s a good idea to hit the “fun” parts of St. Catherine’s Street on Saturday.

I kid.

I think.

Either way, this event, something as simple and kind of under the radar like the NHL Entry Draft has evolved into a blogger summit, and even the folks at All Habs have extended a special invitation to everyone’s favorite diminutive analyst, Pierre McGuire, to make an appearance and shake hands with some of the folks who enjoy needling him the most.

If he shows up somehow, this turns into an epic gathering of MONSTER proportions.

As if it wasn’t going to be already.

Stay tuned to my own page at Twitter
for draft observations, pictures, and other assorted nonsense. Hell, there’s even a chance you’ll get to see me suited up in my own zebra stripes.

06/22/2009

Assist Master Needs One For Himself

The Hockey Hall of Fame announces the new class of inductees on Tuesday and the most stacked selection of first-year eligible candidates in a long time joins the list of players who already should be in. This year sees Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille, Dave Andreychuk and Alexander Mogilny added to the list of Hall candidates that already includes should-bes like Pavel Bure, Dino Ciccarelli and Doug Gilmour.

I’m not even going to attempt to do something stupid and say that one of the newly eligible guys shouldn’t be in the Hall on the first ballot. It would be a farce if I tried, even moreso since Brett Hull already admitted tonight that he knows he’s going in.

I know that the Hall of Fame process for hockey is an odd one of sorts, only a maximum of four can be elected any given year and we’ve entered an era where some of the all-time best are put on the backburner while the supreme elite of the NHL and Russia go to the head of the class. I also know that the Hall won’t want to bend their rules to “open the floodgates” and be more akin to say, the Baseball Hall of Fame.

With all these things in place there’s one prime and overly-deserving candidate who just might be getting a big assist from a guy he helped become one of the top goal scorers of all time.

I touted Adam Oates’ credentials here last year knowing full-well that he likely wasn’t going to be voted in then and I bring it back up again this year knowing damn well he’s not about to beat the likes of Yzerman, Leetch, Robitaille or Hull. But it’s Brett Hull that will be sure to praise the work of Oates and do his share of campaigning for him now that Toronto’s Hall awaits him.


Searching For Adam Oates… In The Hockey Hall Of Fame At Least

After all, Hull’s work with Oates in St. Louis is the thing legends are made of. Hull’s three greatest goal-scoring seasons came with Adam Oates as his centerman. In 1989-1990, Hull potted 72 goals.

The following season saw Hull come perilously close to Wayne Gretzky’s single season goal record as he scored 86 goals, just six shy of Gretzky’s 92 in 1981-1982.

In 1991-1992, Hull scored 70 goals in a season he played 54 games with Oates before he was traded to Boston for Craig Janney and Stephane Quintal. Nice work on that one St. Louis. Oates would move along to Boston to team up with Hall of Famer Cam Neely to help cement Neely’s legacy with the Bruins.

Not a bad career for Oates and while campaigning isn’t something that generally goes on with the Hockey Hall’s process, it might not hurt to see Neely and Hull now come out and do a little preaching to the voters about a player that helped them directly on the ice piling up 1,079 assists over his NHL career, sixth on the all time list.

He’s merely 16th overall in points all time in the NHL, yet some folks think that’s not good enough.

Matt McCallum at Fox Sports crafted an objective formula to come up with a mathematical way to figure out who is more deserving than the next guy and while he qualifies that Oates is worthy of getting in eventually, he appears eighth on the list behind most everyone mentioned previously as well as John Tonelli of 1980s Islanders dynasty fame.

My problem with Oates’ lack of attention here is that he played in the same era as guys who are head and shoulders above all the greatest to ever play the game, players that changed the landscape and even the rules of the NHL with their play and Oates’ numbers are in the same stratosphere with the likes of these guys.

On top of all that, Oates had the marketability thing down cold while with the Bruins:

OK so we’ll leave that off of his résumé for now unless we’re factoring in unintentional comedy.

I know… It’s not going to be 2009 that lets it happen for Oates, but can we make it so that 2010 becomes the greatest year of his hockey life? After all, it marks the 25th anniversary of his college team’s National Championship and adding a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame to join the rest of his wingmen through his career would make the perfect cap to a career spent feeding them everything needed to make it to the Hall of Fame.

Now if only he can just get a little bit of help from them.

06/15/2009

NCAA: Failing At Sports, Academics, and Life

Filed under: Air Force Academy,Kevin Wright,NCAA,NCAA Rules — Joe Yerdon @ 6:48 PM

I try not to assume too much about the readers here but I’m going to go out on a limb that you’re all more knowledgeable about sports than you let on. I’m assuming that you’re all more than just hockey-centric sports fans and that you’re familiar with the NCAA.

I’m also guessing that you’ll be aware of how they’ve “handled” themselves and member schools over certain academic faux pas in the past, especially those having to do with the eligibility of athletes that play football and basketball.

All of those assumptions and suppositions aside, it’s time I introduce you to Air Force Academy defenseman Kevin Wright.


One is a well-respected American institution, the other just hates student athletes trying to learn.

Kevin Wright just completed his sophomore year at Air Force, a United States Academy and one of the most esteemed academic institutions in the nation. The Air Force Academy mission statement reads as such:


…To educate, train and inspire men and women to become officers of character, motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.

Serious business and the kind of place that instantly gets respect from anyone that comes into contact with them, much like how the United States Military Academy and United States Naval Academy does. These guys are the best and the brightest and choose to give part of, if not all of, their lives to their country.

For Kevin Wright, however, the NCAA thinks differently of him. They think that he’s the kind of guy who would backdoor his own academics to get into the Air Force by taking too many classes before enrolling at Air Force.

Get ready to be disgusted:


He wanted to play Division I college hockey but had no offers from D-I programs or from junior hockey clubs – from which collegiate programs recruit players. Because he was 17, however, he had a year of midget hockey eligibility. He decided to play that final year to attract junior teams.

His parents were OK with the decision but wanted him to take classes, so he enrolled at West Valley Community College in Saratoga, Calif.

This is not uncommon. According to Air Force coach Frank Serratore, virtually all of Wright’s teammates took some classes at community colleges while playing junior hockey. It shows a commitment to academics.

Wright’s error was taking too many classes.

Unbelievable.

So, the NCAA who often enjoys shrugging off coaches wantonly breaking rules by supplying prized recruits with gifts, money, what-have-you now has a problem with a kid who busted his ass to keep up academically so he could even qualify to enroll at the Air Force Academy.

What the hell is wrong with this picture? You would think that the NCAA would go nuts over having a kid who wanted the opportunity to play and compete so badly that he made sure he took classes to ensure his application to the Academy would go through.

Then again, perhaps the NCAA just doesn’t give a damn about hockey players since that’s not a sport that helps make them a lot of money. After all, when Myron Rolle was going for a Rhodes Scholarship while playing football for Florida State (one of those sneaky, shady institutions that likes to run afoul of the rules) they couldn’t do anything but gush and praise the man.

But what about Kevin Wright?

Nope, screw him because he took a few too many classes before entering the Air Force Academy. At least that’s what the NCAA tells him:


According to NCAA bylaw 14.2.1 – the five-year rule – once someone takes enough classes to be considered a “full-time” student, he has five calendar years in which to complete his four seasons of participation. By taking enough classes to be considered full time at West Valley, Wright started his NCAA eligibility clock.

That means, according to the NCAA, time’s up. Year one was spent playing midget hockey for the San Jose Jr. Sharks (2004-05), two and three were spent playing junior hockey for the Southern Minnesota Express of the North American Hockey League (2005-07) and his fourth and fifth years were his freshman and sophomore years at the academy (2007-09).

“He could have sloughed off and not gone to school at all and not had any of this happen,” Serratore said. “But he and his parents wanted to do the right thing. He’s punished for being academically motivated.”

Academically motivated student-athlete. Isn’t that what the NCAA is ideally all about?

Oh right, it is:


Our purpose is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.

Quite the conundrum we’ve got here, isn’t it?

What makes this entire thing all the more painful is that Wright received bad advice about what to do about his academics if he wanted to retain his full eligibility. Kevin and his family of course wanted to do right by the rules and the NCAA has enough loopholes around their rules that they could look the other way and allow him to go through.

As is obvious by his story as told by Jake Schaller of the Colorado Springs Gazette, he’s not trying to fool anyone and he’s trying to do right by the rules and regulations, something the folks running the Air Force Academy would be proud of.

Instead, the NCAA feels the need to flex their muscles and show how much of a stickler they can be for their own rules:


But the NCAA turned down Wright’s waiver, and the committee on student-athlete reinstatement denied Wright’s appeal because it “was unable to identify compelling extenuating circumstances to meet the requirements for extending the five-year period of eligibility or for waiving the start of the student-athlete’s five-year clock.”

In such cases, according to Stacey Osburn, the NCAA’s associate director for public and media relations, the committee and staff also weigh that a student-athlete like Wright made the decision to delay enrollment at an NCAA school for athletic reasons (not for personal or academic motives).

The five-year rule attempts “to ensure a fair and level playing field for all student-athletes, including those that compete against the student-athletes applying for waivers,” Osburn said.

“I thought that once they saw that I wasn’t trying to cheat the system and that I was just trying to take care of my education that there was no harm or any negative side effects from my actions as far as athletics go,” Wright said.

But in the letter confirming the denial of Wright’s appeal, Jennifer Henderson, the NCAA’s director of membership services/student-athlete reinstatement, wrote that “no additional appeal opportunity” exists.

But he hasn’t given up. His family has begun a campaign to draw attention to the matter in the hopes that someone, anyone will intervene.

Ahh yes, the campaign to draw attention to the NCAA ruling like a pack of iron-fisted dictators and having no idea on when to use common sense when judging the case of some kid who, by all understanding is just a regular guy looking to play hockey and keep throwing up a 3.4 GPA.

Count me in on this battle because the NCAA seems to want to play like they’re standing hard by their rules, and that’s a good example to set for other sports that are continually finding ways to get around or outright break the NCAAs rules. Hockey, generally, isn’t one of those sports that looks to flout their ability to stick it to the NCAA and playing hard-ass with a hockey player, and one at a United States Academy at that, seems shortsighted and foolish on their part.

This opinion seems to be shared amongst other members in the NCAA Hockey community as is shown in this special correspondence sent to Jack Schaller courtesy of Air Force coach Frank Serratore:


Frank: Very, very sorry to hear about the Kevin Wright/NCAA issue. I am of the opinion that Kevin has a legitimate case and it should be pursued. The NCAA objective regarding eligibility, should be a fair and honest effort to insure that every athlete has an opportunity to compete. Opportunity, opportunity it should always be about opportunity for young adults to participate. Seems to be very clear that Kevin was given incorrect advice by an academic counselor in whom Kevin trusted. For this reason alone he should have his eligibility restored. There was no attempt on Kevin’s part to circumvent the NCAA rules. The key words are TRUST and INTENT. Kevin delayed his entry into DI athletics in order to better prepare himself to compete. At least 95% of all hockey players contemplating D-I hockey competition, play junior or some other level of hockey in order match the experience level of their contemporaries. Football and basketball players don’t have to go the same route as hockey players in order to be on the same competitive level as their contemporaries. Unfortunately, most of the NCAA staff members that deal with eligibility have no hockey background. The end result is that Kevin becomes an innocent victim.

That was sent to Coach Serratore from former Bemidji State Athletic Director and newly retired commissioner of College Hockey America, Bob Peters. One of the last lines from Peters really sticks out to me: “Unfortunately, most of the NCAA staff members that deal with eligibility have no hockey background.”

Why doesn’t the NCAA have some folks on their staff that know more about hockey? How is it possible that this organization that governs most of the collegiate sports in America doesn’t have someone with a lick of common sense or detailed hockey knowledge? And if there aren’t any folks at the NCAA that know better about these things, why are they even making a ruling on this situation without understanding it?

I know why. They’re the NCAA that’s why. They’re like Alec Baldwin’s character Blake in “Glengarry Glen Ross” and if you ask them what their name is you get, “Fuck YOU, that’s my name!”

No one around to check them, no one there to balance them and certainly no one there to listen to the story of Kevin Wright and put things into the proper perspective for them.

But that’s why we’re here on the Internet, to bring stories like this into the light.

We’re here to help a kid who’s getting the short end of the stick courtesy of an organization that would rather play hard with the rules than gain any insight or understanding into someone’s situation.

Spread the word.

06/13/2009

Game 7: Epic Series Goes To Pittsburgh – Penguins Win 2-1

Just watching this series, even while watching it with a stray eye from afar in Washington, was exhausting. For fans, for media, for bloggers, for everyone alike.

Just imagine how it is actually playing the games.

The Penguins showed in Game 7 that they did, in fact, want it more. They played harder and more aggressive for the better part of the game. They played smarter for the entire game and didn’t allow for Detroit to wheel and deal the way they like to.

Most importantly, and this was something I made it a point to say both last year and this, their third and fourth lines responded better than Detroit’s did, a point that was made emphatically in Game 7 by Maxime Talbot scoring both Pittsburgh goals. Talbot last year was the lone player on Pittsburgh’s third and fourth lines who proved to be a burr in the side of the Red Wings.

This year, Talbot solidified himself as a folk hero win or loss given how he handled himself against the Capitals and how he played smartly and selflessly throughout the playoffs. I know that the folks in Pittsburgh’s blogging circles will write folk songs and sing the praises of guys like Crosby, Fleury and Malkin but Talbot is the guy for whom much of Pens fans adulation and warm memories from here on out will be saved for.


Evgeni Malkin is the superstar you should get forced down your throat.
(Photo – AP)

In this go-round, Talbot had sustained help from Ruslan Fedotenko – a guy who already has Stanley Cup folk hero status for the last 25 Tampa Bay Lightning fans that haven’t been run off by the new owners there. Adding characters like Craig Adams and Fedotenko helped solidify the other lines for Pittsburgh helping younger players like Tyler Kennedy and Jordan Staal feel more at home working the grinder lines and realizing that by doing their job checking and defending you can still find a way to pot a goal or two.

Pieces like that are what the team was missing last year and they were able to capitalize best on playing the aggressive forecheck (you know, like I kept saying they ought to do) and put pressure on Detroit’s defense.

No, not Nick Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski – those guys you can’t exactly rattle. Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall however…

To this point in the playoffs, I had been singing the praises of Brad Stuart as his play through the first three rounds had been solid if not spectacular. In the Finals, however, Stuart’s efforts in Game 7 are what folks are going to be paying attention to. Stuart took a bad slashing penalty in the first period and had a brutal turnover and mis-timed moment to pinch in leading to both of Maxime Talbot’s goals.

Having that kind of résumé in an elimination game will often get a guy run out of town. For Stuart, it’s a Finals he’d like to forget as his play suffered. Whether that be from his own mistakes or for having to perpetually look out for Niklas Kronwall who would take himself out of plays looking to deliver a hit elsewhere or do too much on the puck it’s tough to say.

For all the advances that Kronwall seemed to make last season in his play after finally finding a way to remain healthy, I couldn’t help but find myself watching him to see how he would handle himself and his positioning. A lot of the time he’s solid, but there’s enough brain farting going on that teams were finding ways to expose him.

I hammered on a lot of this after Game 3 of this series and his +/- rating didn’t change after Game 3. In Games 4 and 5 he pulled in a +1 rating and in Game 6 he was even.

Yeah, you guessed it, he was a -2 in Game 7 along with Brad Stuart. Game 7 saw plenty of reckless play from the two of them and if anything that -2 was well earned on their part. The poor unfortunate guy that had to deal with all that was Chris Osgood who truly played stellar all throughout this series and the playoffs.

For Pittsburgh though, Conn Smythe Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin was the story from beginning to end.

Enough about Crosby and him captaining the team to the win – I’m done with that. Good for him for winning but it’s not because of him they were able to beat Detroit. Not in Game 7 and not in the rest of the series. He’s the guy you’re going to get forced down your throats from now until Lord knows when, but it’s got to be eating him up how much more sound the Penguins play when he’s not around. Malkin carried this team last year while Crosby was out with an injury and he carried the team again in Game 7 when Crosby left with an injury in the second period after taking a hit from Johan Franzen.

This was Malkin’s baby from the start of the playoffs and he earned it. Worst of all? Fans in North America aren’t going to hear enough about him because he’s Russian and speaks poor English and the NHL can’t wrap their head around marketing players that don’t come from North America.

Amazing, isn’t it? I’ve got a full-blown man-crush on the Hart Trophy candidates this year (Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Malkin) but the league can’t do anything with them. This is why if you too are a Twitter user you should be following Dmitry Chesnokov, one of the contributors at Yahoo’s Puck Daddy.

He’s Russian and gets all the juicy interviews with the Russian stars and gets the personality out of them that the NHL is too ignorant or lazy to try for and hey, guess what, Russian players aren’t the robots you see elsewhere around the league.

Look at it this way, when your favorite Russian player is giving a poorly-worded interview in English, that guy is a regular Jeremy Roenick or Brett Hull when interviewed in Russian.

It’s so frustrating to see such marketing ability available here and no one putting it to use it’s even managed to derail my Stanley Cup wrap up.

I know a lot is going to get made about how Herr Bettman’s wet dream finally came true here, and it did let’s not think differently, but what we’ve got here is a damn spanking nice little cross-conference rivalry teeming over with superstars. Canadians, Russians, Swedes, Finns and Slovaks all over the place.

Sets the stage pretty nicely for Vancouver in 2010 now, doesn’t it?

Don’t worry, training camps open in three months and the NHL Draft is two weeks away with the Free Agency window opening soon after that.

The off-season begins now.

06/12/2009

How (Not) To Prepare For A Game 7

A lot of you may be stressing the hell out today because your team is playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight.

Others of you may have hitched a ride with a team for the Finals after having yours bumped off along the way either before or during the playoffs. It’s OK, I’m not here to rat you out or tell the others in your fanbase that you may have given up the team colors in favor of the “prettier” horse that came along.

That’s not my job to rat you out and besides, you’ve got to live with yourself anyhow. Enjoy the anguish of living a lie should that be your course of action.

What I’m here to do is try to share with you what it is to live in the hell of having the next game be your last, when you’re that close to taking home the prize that your team is dying to reach. I’m here to tell you that if you want to live life as a hockey fan in a brilliant kind of tortured hell there’s one thing you have to do:

Become a college hockey fan.

I’m not joking and hell, if you want examples of that already, take a look at the stories from my Back To School tour of excellence back in March and April.

OK so you don’t want to check it out, fine. Here’s what the teams in tonight’s final have to look forward to (click to enlarge):

Thrill of Victory:

Agony of Defeat:

Those are shots from the conclusion of this year’s National Championship game that saw Boston University defeat Miami University in overtime. Yeah, ouch.

Pretty simple, I know, but seeing it is another thing entirely and let’s face it, Penguins fans have tasted defeat in the Finals once, just last year. Detroit fans, at least the more modern variety, got a piece of it back in 1995 at the hands of Jacques Lemaire’s ruiners of 1990s hockey, the New Jersey Devils.

I can tell you first hand, however, that living and dying by your team is mentally and physically exhausting and having a hand in it with the college team of your upbringing or graduation can make even the most even-keeled of folks become raving lunatics.

For me, my roots are based in Division III college hockey, graduating from Oswego State in 2002. Working games from the press box while in college doesn’t allow you to fully give into your fandom, after all, there’s no cheerleading in the press box.

In 2003, Oswego State reached the Frozen Four for Division III and you better believe I was there with friends to witness this in Northfield, Vermont. Oswego was the newcomer to the party in dealing with local favorites Norwich and Middlebury (both in Vermont) as well as St. Norbert’s College from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Oswego drew Middlebury in the semifinals and trounced them “surprisingly” 6-0 and met the hosts from Norwich in the Finals.

There’s no more nervewracking of a setting than being there in person, on hostile ground no-less, hoping to see your team win the big prize. That afternoon we would leave Kreitzberg Arena to the sounds of the place going bonkers as the Cadets would beat the Lakers 2-1. A long, humbled and quiet car ride would follow as we headed back to the Albany area.

Four years later, Oswego would be back in the NCAA tournament and would open up at home against Norwich and exact a revenge of sorts for the 2003 loss beating the Cadets 3-0, this time on Oswego’s home ice. A date in the Frozen Four was set again, this time in Superior, Wisconsin.

There would be no road trip, there would be only reliance on the Internet broadcast of the semifinals against St. Norbert’s and then praying they win that so I could watch them on CSTV in the Finals.

This is where I leave things off to our media successors at Oswego State campus TV WTOP-10 to show you how this played out. I can tell you this right now, every time I watch this my adrenaline races and I break out into a cold sweat.


(ed. note: YouTube is being a bit buggy lately so be patient and come on back again to see the video.)

Full disclosure:

After Garren Reisweber scored that OVERTIME GAME-WINNING GOAL, I leapt out of the chair, did a lap around the house, then ran outside leaping into the snowbanks via backflip.

I’ve never done a backflip before, and I’ve never dared try one since but it’s true, adrenaline can make you do super-human things.

That said, your team is on the road looking for their first championship and the road to get there goes through overtime in the semifinals and in the finals, it’s a wonder myself or any other Oswego State hockey alum survived.

But I did and I’m alive to pass this on to those of you who will be locked down into Game 7 tonight to let you know that win or lose, you’re still going to be there to fight again.

Neither Detroit nor Pittsburgh are going anywhere bad after this season. Folks want to write the Red Wings off and say that their demise is imminent.

It’s not.

Pittsburgh has already proven that they’ll be able to stick around by making it back again this year, especially after dropping their dead-weight of an albatross named Michel Therrien.

If your team loses, yeah it’s going to sting like a son of a bitch and it’s going to eat you up for a while. You probably won’t want to look at anything hockey for some time after that and you can’t be blamed for it.

But if you come back from it and you hunger for more and you develop that war wound with your team, and believe me losing in a game where it’s all or nothing is a cannon blast to the midsection in the Civil War, the reward is worth the wait.

Game 7 wins and losses weed out who belongs and who doesn’t and if for some sick psychotic reason you want to give yourself a better chance at experiencing this sensation of living on the brink with a team you know and love and adore… Sign up for college hockey. Pick a team and go along for the ride.

If you went to college that has a team, even better, you’re already in the family. All you have to do then is start caring about them. Don’t have a team yet? Snoop around, adopt one, adopt a local team if you’ve got one. Remember though, you’re adopting them not to half-ass your attention to them you want to accept them into your life because you’re a maniacal hockey fan and you seek more and you have wanton disregard for your sanity.

Detroit fans I probably don’t have to tell about college hockey given that Michigan alone has University of Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ferris State, and Lake Superior State all contained within their borders.

Joe Louis Arena plays host to the annual Great Lakes Invitational pitting Michigan, MSU and Michigan Tech against a fourth team to be named later. RPI joins them this upcoming season. Yes, consider that foreshadowing for what may come in December.

For Pittsburgh fans and those of you actually in the Iron City or close by, you’ve got a couple of teams within reach of you: Robert Morris University and Mercyhurst College. Robert Morris plays in Pittsburgh itself while Mercyhurst is located to the north in Erie. There is a bonus to becoming a Mercyhurst supporter though:


Mercyhurst Lakers goalie Matt Lundin shows off Whalers-colored glory.

Your team wears the colors of the Hartford Whalers. I can see no other reason than that to want to become a fan of Mercyhurst. If you’re into the women’s college hockey scene, Mercyhurst’s squad is one of the better ones in the country. Double your pleasure Pennsylvania.

I know that this post offers in no way any kind of comfort or solace for those looking to find a way to get through tonight’s game and I’m only serving to be more of an enabler of further stress, hair loss, anxiety and short fuses but I just want you all to be able to join me in that club.

Some say “misery loves company” but in this case it’s more like the asylum seeks more patients.

You’re hockey fans after all, be proud of your insanity.

06/10/2009

A Break For Reality: Good-Bye to Nathan Marsters

I know this is the day when I should be wrapping up Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals and getting psyched along with everyone else about a Game 7, but during last night’s game news came down that probably doesn’t hit on most of your radars about the passing of someone who I had the pleasure to watch quite a bit here at home and monitor his career from afar.

In the heights of Game 6, I broke the news on Twitter that former RPI goalie standout and 2000 Los Angeles Kings 5th Round pick Nathan Marsters was killed in a car accident. This morning, the details of the accident became available to me and it’s an even bigger gut-punch to read the information.


Nathan Marsters at RPI (courtesy of rpihockey.net)

I can’t say that I knew Nathan personally and I only know him as someone on the ice who always impressed me with his playing ability for teams that sometimes failed to support him with the goals needed to win. A good friend of mine blogging for the St. Cloud Times offers a a better and more personalized view of Nathan Marsters.

It pained me to try to reach him as best as I could while he’s on the move supporting our country in Iraq and proved why sometimes technology while helpful doesn’t offer the personal touch necessary to pass along terrible news.

Marsters was a four-year starter during his time in Troy, NY with the RPI Engineers, a credit to his game. At 6’4″ 200 he was a big, lanky goaltender and presented an intimidating figure on which opposing shooters had to deal with.

His tenure in Troy saw him put up stellar numbers three out of his four seasons (his junior year being the lone hiccup) and his senior season he saved the best for last finishing with a 21-13-1 record with a .922 save percentage and a 2.15 goals against, earning career marks in wins and goals against that year.

After college, Nathan became one of the many uncredited unknowns that move on to journeyman careers in the minor leagues hoping to hone his game and catch on in the AHL and eventually the NHL.

Round about 2006, Marsters got the call while playing for the Portland Pirates, then a Mighty Ducks of Anaheim affiliate. It would be a brief moment and there wouldn’t be any time seen on the ice, but the Ducks thought enough of him to call him up while Jean-Sebastien Giguere was out with an injury and Marsters dressed as the backup goalie for Game 1 of Anaheim’s Western Quarterfinal game against Calgary.

One cup of coffee had and in playoff time no-less, not a bad credit for the résumé. That 2005-2006 season in Portland for the Pirates, he went 23-9-2 with a 3.10 GAA and .900 save percentage. Marsters would get one more turn with Portland the follow season but for only a few games. From there, he moved on to the ECHL and this past season saw some work in the German Professional League playing in nine games for the Krefeld Penguins.

That’s the rough road of being a professional hockey player and the part of Nathan’s story that really brings this all home for me. He was a guy just about my age trying to do whatever it is that he can to make it stick and to make it count and maybe catch lightning in a bottle and in one, horrible instant it’s done and over with.

For Nathan, he was trying to be one of those guys that I hope to someday write about on the big scene and going anywhere he could just to keep playing.

To keep trying.

Hearing of this loss has really thrown me for a loop for a handful of reasons which would be immensely disrespectful to bring up here. For now though, it’s time to remember one of hockey’s fallen and honor him.

06/08/2009

Herr Bettman’s State of the Reichstag

I’ve held off on this piece for a bit because, well, there’s a big series going on right now. That said, I couldn’t allow for Herr Bettman’s yearly, rambling spin doctoring speech which he calls the State Of The League address go without giving it proper roasting.

Now I know that some of you may think that the harping on Bettman goes over the top and that’s fine and a fair criticism to which I just ask that he not make it so easy to find ways to hammer him. That said, it’s getting more popular to needle the man as Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy did quite nicely with his piece examining the NHL constitution and bylaws. If you haven’t given that a look over you should because the NHL constitution goes over about as black and white as the rules interpretations do for officials.

No wonder this league is such a mess.

What we’re going to focus on here, however, is Bettman’s May 30th press conference about what he thinks of the league and its many sticky issues and why he’s the kind of lying liar lying about lies that drive us crazy.


Black and White makes this blog classy-ish. It also opens the door to break Godwin’s Law.

If you’ve watched or absorbed sports enough in your life you know that when you get a talk from or an interview with someone involved in the game either they’re going to bore the crap out of you with the standard athlete/coach speak in which they offer up little to nothing informative or interesting.

If you’re dealing with someone in an executive position you’re probably going to get lied to a lot and if you’re on to their game and understand that they’re lying to you to mess with you, it’s fun.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is a superstar at this because he not only flat out lies, he twists reporters in knots with a British comedy-like dry wit in which allows him to both insult and take down a reporter who thinks they’re ahead of the game.

You also have guys like John Tortorella who don’t mind actually taking you down a peg or twelve and believe me, that’s quite the moment to have.

For Gary Bettman though… We know he’s lying, we know what he’s lying about and he thinks he’s being cute with us while others are more than happy to eat up what’s spoonfed by the Lying Mouth That Fails.

Honestly, do you think anyone out there believes it when he says this:

With regard to Phoenix, there has been a lot of commentary on the subject. So let me spend a brief moment on it.

The team was never in jeopardy. It was literally 20 minutes away from being fixed in a way that we thought was going to work quite well, and it’s our view, my view, that the Coyotes should not be in bankruptcy.

Give me a freaking break.

“Literally 20 minutes away from being fixed” – if you believe that I’ve got a team bridge to sell you.

Considering that the incredibly awful situation in Phoenix has now allowed for the soft underbelly of the NHL to be out in full display opening the door for every crazy canuck with lots of money to come running out to make a claim, how is it possible that the league was that close to righting the ship when they can’t even get out of their own way in the first place?

How difficult would it be for Bettman to be up front from the get-go to say, “Listen, things are in a bad way in Phoenix. Jerry Moyes has come to us with concerns and has asked for the league to help out in finding a buyer for the franchise interested in keeping the team tied to the city.”

At worst, the league takes a hit for playing things parallel to what goes on in corporate America with financially miserable companies getting a taxpayer bailout but at best everyone in the situation comes out looking like they’re trying to do the right thing for everyone concerned. Not only does it allow for everyone to look good, it’s solid PR for the league and for Jerry Moyes.


NHL Planning: It’s fannnnnntastic!

Instead you get this from the press conference following the State of the Game address:

Q. Publicly you’ve painted a fairly optimistic portrait of Phoenix’s financial health all season, yet court documents relating to the bankruptcy suggest there were some serious issues all year round. How do you imagine it turning around in that market?

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: First of all, I know there have been suggestions that either Bill or I have been optimistic. That was not the case. What we’ve always responded to has been the notion that the club was not in any jeopardy. The club’s losses are comparable to what they’ve been.

The City of Glendale is prepared to work with the club in terms of building arrangements. And we believe there are buyers out there who are willing to step up, invest and make it work. This is a club that needs new ownership and a change in management and needs to perform better than it has. As long as there are people prepared to invest in doing that, we think the prospects can be optimistic and should be. At least some of the people that I’ve spoken to believe that it can be turned around and turned around rather quickly by doing a lot of the right things that haven’t been done.

Spin, spin, spin away.

The best part about reading this transcript is that you can see Bettman’s mood change from the start of the press conference to the end of it and he knows that what he’s shoveling isn’t being bought by those in attendance and hey, when you go into one of these things knowing full well that the reporters are going to come at you armed with a litany of hot-button topics you have to think he’d be prepared for this or more media savvy about it.

But it’s great to read an exchange that goes like this:


Q. Having said that, you’ve been in the south now, and your southern expansion, you’ve been 30 teams for, correct me if I’m wrong, 7 or 8 years now – the goal to be to get the big U.S. TV contract. The reward has never come. You don’t have the big TV contract?

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: Really?

Q. Is there any shelf life on being in these cities where across the board down there you’ve got financial problems. Do you ever pull your horns in on this whole 30?team thing and bring it back a little bit?

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: The answer is I don’t agree with your premise. It wasn’t all about just the big TV contract. It was about expanding our footprint and connecting with fans in more places than before. If you count, I don’t have the exact number, but the number of people that have attended games in the new markets since they’ve come into the League goes into the tens of millions. We have a number of Stanley Cup champions and/or finalists who have come from the so?called Sun Belt.

To use your methodology of seven years, I’ll make it 10 or 12 years, that’s a relatively short period of time in the life of a franchise.

We like where we are. And this is not something that you take a snap shot over. We believe that our franchises can all be successful where they’re currently located. And somebody could have asked me the same question that you just asked eight years ago about the Canadian franchises. They could have said; ‘Why do you have any franchises other than Toronto or Montreal?’ eight or ten years ago, because the buildings in all the other places were two?thirds to half empty. And the answer is because that’s where we belong having franchises. We’re working with our fans. And we don’t run out on cities. We try to make it work. I think at this stage to pronounce that our expansion and the places where we are isn’t working is premature.

With respect to television, the television landscape is a lot more complicated than the discussion about it. Taking the year off that we took had an impact on where we are and who had what needs when, and the perceived value of our product.

The fact is we decided coming back to go in a certain direction in the United States. Our ratings are growing very nicely with a partner who is growing with us. And it’s playing out pretty much the way we planned. So if it’s not living up to the standards, perhaps, that you’ve set for these franchises, I apologize. But we think we’re doing okay.

Freaking hilarious.

I can picture in my head how Herr Bettman pouted over this and about how no one believes what he says when it comes to just about anything having to do with the league.In fact, I don’t have to imagine it.


Gary’s head being this cartoonishly large makes my Photoshop work all the more realistic.

I can just look at this and feel a lot better knowing that this is the look on his face.

With regard to what he’s saying about Phoenix, I doubt there will be any deviation in how things go at tomorrow’s hearing in the desert even though the Toronto Star seems to think that Balsillie has a good enough case to win out over the NHL. While we’re talking about super-wealthy rams butting heads here, I doubt that the courts would ever go with someone trying to back-door their way into owning a team and violating the way the league does business.

Then again, you just never know – law is funny that way. For my own greedy purposes, I’d love to see Balsillie win out in court tomorrow. Getting a judge to help me and others across the Internet give the NHL and Bettman the finger is something I pray will happen some day, I just doubt beyond anything else that tomorrow is going to be that day.

Of course, should it break down like that, the NHL already has the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on stand-by ready to smack that down just in case Judge Baum wants to get frisky.

At least the league is always ready with a backup plan.

Er… Right.

06/04/2009

Going On A Holiday

Filed under: Detroit Red Wings,Pittsburgh Penguins,Stanley Cup Finals — Joe Yerdon @ 12:55 PM

I know that sometimes trips are really often poorly timed and, well, you could say that this is one of those times as I’m headed to Washington, D.C. for the weekend and will NOT be recapping Games 4 and 5 while I’m there because, honestly, who knows if I’ll even get to see them.

No, that’s not a dig at Versus for not being in a hotel there – I’m not even staying in a hotel.

So to commemorate this occasion, I was going to play you the video from Mr. Show with the stars of the show singing “Going On A Holiday” but that’s lame and it sucks. So instead if you’d like to complain about me dumping out on recapping the game, I want all complaints to be like this:

Good luck keeping up with that! See you next week.

06/03/2009

Game 3: It’s Just Getting Creepy Now – Pittsburgh Wins 4-2

Filed under: Detroit Red Wings,Pittsburgh Penguins,Stanley Cup Finals — Joe Yerdon @ 12:49 PM

I should really just re-print my game recaps from last year and see if anyone bothers to fact check me at this point.

Just picking up and running with this acid flashback kind of thing for this series turned out to be the right thing to do since, just like last year, the Penguins pulled off a Game 3 victory.

In this version, a crazy up and down first period with two goals for each team lead to a Detroit-dominated and defensively locked down second period which saw Detroit get its opportunities to take the lead and then turn into a third period where Pittsburgh turned up the pressure and get the lead and the victory on the power play.

Once again, however, officiating is at the forefront of the discussion after an obvious too many men on the ice call was missed in the first period. Shortly after that, Detroit was booked for a penalty which lead to a Pittsburgh power play goal to tie the game at two. Even the guys in the NBC booth were going bonkers over the call.

All the officiating faux pas aside, Abel to Yzerman made it plain as day what the chink in the armor of the Red Wings is:

The Penalty Kill is this family’s dirty secret. The Kill is the clepto dad, the dirty sister who hands it out like candy at Christmas, the mom who got a DUI last week, pulled over and arrested in the middle of the day. Our penalty kill is a problem like that. It’s not going to just go away without treatment. And, left to its own devices, it’s going to humiliate us all at the worst possible moment.

The truth hurts. In short-handed situations there’s something drastically different about how the Red Wings go about business. The pressure on the point men isn’t there, defensive positioning is certainly off, hell, look where Niklas Kronwall is standing on this goal:

Pretty tough to help your goaltender when you’re screening him. Then again, Niklas Kronwall is a bit of a dirty secret for Detroit as it is anyhow. Kronwall is currently a +4 on defense in the playoffs. Not bad, sure, but how does he stack up with his teammates?

  1. Nick Lidstrom: +10
  2. Brian Rafalski: +10
  3. Jonathan Ericsson: + 10
  4. Brett Lebda: +9
  5. Brad Stuart: +7

Brad Stuart has been a stud throughout these playoffs so why are his numbers a bit off from the rest? Look no further than his defensive partner Kronwall.

Yeah, I know, he makes the big hits and makes the highlight reels and all that fun stuff but positionally he’s a bit off and already in this series we’ve seen him make a misplay that leads to a Evgeni Malkin breakaway.

You think this is something Dan Bylsma and the Penguins staff haven’t taken note of? You bet they have and they know that Stuart is playing out of his mind and doing even more to help/cover up for Kronwall’s mistakes.

How does this translate out in Game 4 though? Who knows. At this point, why even try to deviate from how things shook out from last year. Detroit has shown an uncanny ability to rebound from losses and make corrections in their game to make sure these problems don’t come up again.

Pittsburgh is going to need to bring the thunder like they did for the third period last night all game long. Another period like their second period last night where Detroit controls play and gets the chances they did will not turn out well for the Penguins. Then again, perhaps the Penguins had a bit of hockey karma coming their way after some of the bad-break-bounces they suffered in Game 1 and that’s why you see Mikael Samuelsson rip a couple of shots off the post.

Then again, I could say that unicorns will stampede the ice and leprechauns will take over and control Game 4.

Wait, nevermind, a leprechaun already runs the NHL.


The scariest and dumbest of all Leprechauns.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress