Our game(s) diary tonight joins Game 2 of the Sharks-Preds series in progress (we had to finish dinner and the NYT crossword puzzle before we could turn our full attention to the game). It is 2-1 Preds with 11:00 left in the 2nd when we are finally ready to get bloggin’. The Sharks are on a 5-on-3 at the tail end of a totally ineffective 5-minute major power play; IPB’s official older sister Kate The Great (aka KTG), not a serious hockey fan, is visiting tonight and is disgusted to hear the Preds have now taken major penalties in consecutive games. “If you’re not going to win the Cup,” she says with a sneer, dismissing Nashville just like that, “You shouldn’t be injuring any other team’s guys.” If you are going to win the Cup, though….
Dumont scores shorthanded and boomerang fish fly everywhere. We have to admit to KTG that we are really bad judges of whether a goal was soft or not. What can we say? We’re Devils fans. We expect shutouts every night.
More boomerang fish fly as Dumont scores on a 5-on-3.
We’re getting the Nashville feed tonight and they keep showing us a commercial featuring shots of young Preds fans doing that dumb “fang” thing with their fingers before powerplays. Frankly, the gesture looks less like saberteeth and more like weaselly little rodent mouths. Pookie suggests it looks more like something the fans of a team called the “Prairie Voles” might use.
2:08 left in the 2nd, 4-1 Preds — we declare this game “craptacular” and switch to the Stars-Canucks game. How much do we know about the Western Conference this year? As we flip channels Pookie declares, “I want to watch Luongo versus… Craig Ludwig? Does he still play for the Stars?” We have scouted the West as well as the Islanders scouted the Sabres.
Our timing blows. We are now flipping, annoyed, between intermission shows. Why aren’t these games staggered better? Who scheduled this?
Our intermission hell finally ends. Willie “Bitchell” Mitchell is mic’d up! Is it just us or has the world of “mic’d up” been totally rejuvenated this year? In every season we can recall the mic’d up features were always of guys grunting when they were hit, or giving genteel “woo”s when they scored. But this year we get guys singing during skatearound, conversations on the bench, and tonight we hear the penalty box official counting down the final seconds of Bitchell’s penalty. Awesome!
It’s 1-0 Dallas. We have literally no rooting interest in this game. Oh wait. No sooner are those words typed than the Stars score again and we are delighted to see Luongo getting beat. Hm. Can it be? Do we hate Luongo more than we hate the disgusting Stars? Or is it just that “Juicy” Joel Lundqvist, a Ranger-less Handsome Hank, was the goal scorer?
We are trying to rationalize how we can possibly be cheering for Dallas here. Pookie thinks aloud, “Their sweaters make my eyes bleed and I hate Mike Modano so much whenever he pops up on the screen my guts just clench… but part of me really wants Luongo to fail and Turco to win.” Then she adds, “But I also hate Turco.” This is difficult.
It is amazing to consider that John Vanbiesbrouck can possibly have a broadcasting job after he publicly used a racial slur several years ago.
Beezer is saying something about Dallas being “relentless”. That word is so last year. Does Laviolette get a royalty whenever another NHL coach uses it? Schnookie wonders if the Hurricanes players are allowed to not have their stupid “Relentless” novelty coins on them at all times now that they’ve missed the playoffs.
Brendan “The Brat” Morrison takes a huge-assed dive at center ice trying to draw an even-up on a Stars PP. Beezer declares he disagrees with The Brat’s choice not to just get up and keep playing. That, friends, is The Brat in a nutshell.
The VS scoreboard announces in tiny yellow letters that upcoming is an interview with Rick Bowness. Rick Bowness! Well we’re not going anywhere.
After Turco makes an awesome kick-save-style breakup of a Sedin-to-Sedin pass on the power play the Vancouver crowd starts doing this weird chant/murmur thing. It sounds not unlike a tense, drunk, European soccer crowd. We decide if they start singing the England footy-fan “You’re going home!” song we might be willing to cheer for the Canucks.
We jump back to the Preds-Sharks game in time to watch the aftereffects of a bit of a message-sending melee. We have to say, Patrick Marleau just looks so adorable standing there waiting for the officials to sort out the penalties. It takes forever for the FSN South people to tell us what the score is here. Ah. 5-2. Well, good for Nashville, we guess. It looks like this is shaping up to be a mean, mean series. Excellent.
Rather than suffer through the VS intermission we switch now to the Ducks-Wild game, which is scoreless early. We are thrilled that it’s the Minnesota feed — we love Minnesota commercials.
VS’s playoff commercial pisses us off so much. What is up with them basically highlighting the great defeats of the Devils in playoff history? We narrow our eyes with disgust every time it comes on. We also note the little picture-in-picture at the base of the screen showing various star players scoring has a highlight of Patty Elias doing his trademarked “I suck so bad” eye-roll after failing to score. Thanks, VS.
For some inexplicable reason the Minnesota TV people use a telestrator with white graphics; this is nowhere near as effective on, say, ice as it might be on a football field.
Intermission finally ends and we decide to watch the end of the game in Vancouver. It feels so comfortable to be with such low-scoring teams.
We flip to the Ducks game in time to see the celebration of Beauchemin’s goal. Ducks fans are waving orange towels. We find the franchise’s choice of orange shade is questionable; as a color it is just a hair too dark and ends up looking like the color of a temporary traffic sign but minus the reflective qualities. It’s the color of the signs they put up at the start of stretches of construction zones on highways telling you to fasten your seatbelt or to turn on your headlights. In other words, totally ignorable.
Vancouver pulls Luongo with over two minutes left in the game and Turco demonstrates one situation in which we are cheering for the Canucks: when Turco stupidly takes a shot at the open net. We would really love to see the Canucks put one past him on something as idiotic as that. Watching the Canucks laboring to get the puck out of their own, empty-netted zone is a lot like watching the Devils.
In the battle of goalies with a lot to prove in the playoffs, Turco sees Luongo’s 72 saves from Game 1 and raises him a shutout. Our prediction for Game 3? Luongo gets a 72-save shutout.
On top of the myriad reasons we already hate the Ducks we now add this: they have thunderstix. As we flip back for the start of the 2nd period we can see a fan behind Backstrom inflating his “Yes We Can”-emblazoned thunderstix. We wonder “Yes We Can” what? “Yes We Can” block the people behind us from being able to see the ice? “Yes We Can” artificially create way more noise than the actual enthusiasm of the fans warrants? “Yes We Can” be the most vile, hellacious, obnoxious invention known to man? Any team handing out thunderstix, or allowing fans to bring them in from playoff series past, should be eliminated from Cup contention out of hand.
After the relative ambivalence we felt for the Stars-Canucks game, it’s invigorating to be cheering ardently against a participant in this game. There is much rejoicing in stately IPB Manor when Gaborik ties it at 1 as a power play expires.
There is a series of broken plays culminating in a semi-two-on-none for the Ducks; the announcers declare things have gotten ugly and conclude, “Yuck!” That’s what we like to hear from TV announcers — disgust at end-to-end action and wide-open scoring chances. Yay trapping!
The Ducks score on a power play and the ensuing crowd shot suggests that thunderstick that raised our ire was a rogue cheering prop. Everyone else seems to be waving their little invisible-orange towels. Really, the towel thing only looks impressive when they’re white because anything darker becomes recessive on television. You’d think by now, after years of failed red-outs in various cities, that the PR departments of teams would have figured it out.
A penalty is called on Parros and the announcers surmise it is for holding the stick. “With his mustache,” Pookie finishes for them. (Full disclosure: we love Parros because he is a Princeton boy. We did not attend that august institution, but we live there, so it’s enough for us. If he was a Rutgers or NYU grad, mind you, we’d be wearing Ducks sweaters right now. Pookie clarifies that if he was a Tisch grad she’d make that “Vote For Rory” campaign look like child’s play.)
Getzlaf scores a fancy shortie to open a 3-1 lead. We sigh through our disgust, “At least it was Hornblower.” After several desultory efforts at making Horatio Hornblower jokes (“He did his duty… to score goals”, “He did the hockey equivalent of patting out the fuse of a bomb”, “He’s one fire ship I wouldn’t mind seeing on my horizon”) we give up and just settle for, “He’s tall.”
We determine the hardest thing about these 10:30 starts is surviving the 2nd intermission. We are seriously flagging during the break, but when the 3rd period starts again we perk up a bit. Alas, the Wild don’t appear to be doing the same.
A brief glimpse of Scott Niedermayer is dismaying — he looks shockingly like Rob now. We agree that during his tenure with the Devils he got uglier and uglier every year. “It was like aging-in-reverse, but in reverse,” Pookie says. It’s almost 1:00 a.m. and it was a long workweek.
Pookie, in a random aside: “You know why Paulie Martin doesn’t shoot more? He doesn’t want people learning the secret of his gyroball.”
With 5:30 left in the 3rd period we are beginning to think the Jordan Parise analysis is needed here: We know why the Wild didn’t win this game. They weren’t good enough to win this game.
Wait, what is this? Signs of life from the Wild? Koivu scores with just a hair under 5 minutes left and we are horrified it was Hornblower’s mistake that left him open. Oh, Horry. Were you, like us, looking ahead to the next game?
Perhaps “signs of life” was giving the Wild too much credit. The skankhole Ducks win, 3-2. To quote the Wild announcers, “Yuck.”