At long last we find ourselves back in the warm glow of televised hockey, and it seems the US government declared it a national holiday or something! Excellent! To celebrate the day we tried our hands at a little traditional mixology and imbibed Americanos this afternoon; it was a purely coincidental choice of beverage, but we’ll pretend we meant it as a sign of our lack of support for Ottawa.
During VS’s pregame show our preference for the Ducks in this series is further cemented thanks to a shot of the Niedermayers arriving at the arena… in a Prius. As long-time Prius drivers (and proselytizers), we are so thrilled by this that we have officially forgiven Nieder for leaving the Devils for the Ducks (but we won’t back down on our resentment of Baby Nieder for being the reason he left in the first place). So the ball’s in the Senators’ court now: if you want us to like you at all, Sens, you boys are going to have to start producing some tree-hugging Prius owners, and maybe ditch a particular Hummer driver we can think of.
The Pregame show further cracks us up with “interviews” cobbled together from clips of notable players doing sit-down soundbites, and then clips of Bob Harwood and Chris Simpson “asking” questions to frame the soundbites. It’s as ridiculous as the “Better Know A District” interviews on The Colbert Report. The feature with Daniel Alfredsson concludes with Bill Clement saying, “There isn’t anyone who isn’t cheering for Daniel Alfredsson”, to which Boomer retorts, “There are three who aren’t cheering for him right here, Bill.”
Our broadcast pair is Doc and Eddie Olczyk, and they lead off with Eddie telling us he thinks this game is going to feature fast-paced, hard-hitting, exciting hockey, which would be a real departure from everything we’ve seen so far in this postseason.
We are shocked and appalled that VS has made no mention yet of the most important question facing the hockey world today: is Baby Crunchy skating tonight? And where’s Drew Miller’s stilted reading of the “NHL on VS: Do or die” cue cards?
Before the anthems Chris Simpson (wearing a top with a v-neck that plunges to her navel; she really brings out the prudes in us) interviews Pronger and asks, “Most players spend their entire careers trying to get to the Finals once. What’s it like to get there twice?” We hope Nieder is skating around just off-camera saying, “Wow, Prongsie, you should be really proud of yourself, just getting to the Finals twice. What an accomplishment. Now I’m going to go gaze contentedly at my three rings.”
We want to go on record saying we think “O Canada” is the second-best national anthem in the world, observing them, of course, outside the context of our actual citizenship (Italy is our favorite, Russia is our third-favorite, and “Advance Australia Fair” is fourth. For those of you keeping score at home). Tonight the Canadian anthem is sung by a random person, and the American anthem gets “superstar” treatment from Stills from Crosby, Stills and Nash. We originally scoff that Canada got totally dissed there, but Stills is so awful we actually think Canada ended up getting the better end of the bargain.
And there’s a ceremonial puck drop (Come ON, NHL. We’re ready for some hockey already!) with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who Pookie hopes walks up to Emery and says, “You’re killing the Earth with your car.” You know. From one Hummer driver to another.
19:37 We are shocked to discover, as action finally commences, how much we really want the Senators to lose. We didn’t think it was possible for us to care this much.
19:07 The robust crowd kind of listlessly boos as the expected Duck parade to the box is started by Nieder, who deploys his signature move — hitting a guy over the head with his stick — against Neil in retaliation for Neil running him.
18:28 That’s Sean O’Donnell for you. He whiffs completely on a puck that bounces high off Giggy’s shoulder, then is stuck standing there like an asshole watching Comrie tap the puck into the wide-open net. Eddie exclaims, “What a heads-up play by Mike Comrie!” Pookie: “Fuck Mike Comrie.” Isn’t this fun? (The goal later seems to be credited to Fisher. Whatever.)
17:26 Heatley trips Nieder as the Ducks make their way out of their zone. We are not enamored of the way the Senators have come out hitting, and fully expect a short-handed goal here.
16:31 To set up on the PP the Ducks actually dump the puck in… and chase it. We imagine the Senators are panicking, “Oh my God! They dump and chase! We’ve never seen anyone do that before!!”
13:57 During the commercial break we realize why the Ducks aren’t winning: Baby Crunchy doesn’t seem to be playing. We really wouldn’t mind if, at the top of the game, VS would give us a lineup. Every other sport does it. It shouldn’t be that hard.
12:53 Joe Corvo gets flattened on the boards. We should probably like him because we just found out he went to the same high school as our dad. At different times, of course, but still. It’s fair to say, though, that the Fenwick Factor isn’t strong enough to overcome the fact that he plays for the Senators.
11:26 We can’t believe it — a Duck actually shoots at Emery! Granted, it’s not much of a shot from Perry, but for once in the postseason someone decided to put the puck on net against these guys rather than looking for an extra pass.
9:15 We lied! Baby Crunchy is out there! And he gets a tricky little shot from the corner.
9:05 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Put Baby Crunchy on the ice and magic happens! He forces a turnover at the Senators boards, and Teemu taps a soft pass to McDonald, who beats Emery up high.
8:32 Penner is a sucky, sucky loser. He gets the puck at the side of the net with Emery with his head in the clouds, but hurries his backhand and misses the wide-open net.
7:12 The Ducks are crazy fired up by their goal and proceed to stage a massively hard-hitting, relentless shift in Ottawa’s zone, but aren’t able to score. And to think — this was all kick-started by Baby Crunchy!
6:54 We come back from commercial to see an interview with Redden on the bench. The player sitting next to him is having the front of his sweater scrubbed vigorously by a towel-wielding trainer. Odd.
6:01 Pookie is beginning to think the important factor in this playoffs is just the Drew Factor. Not the Drew Stafford Factor, or the Drew Miller Factor specifically. Just the Drew Factor.
5:46 After an offsides whistle, that little bitch Comrie fires a slapshot into Jackman’s foot, so Jackman flattens him with a bearpaw swat at his head. We agree it’s a stupid penalty, but Pookie points out that if she met Comrie on the street she’d want to do that, too.
4:05 We delight at Nieder taking a totally unnecessary shot into the back of an already-falling Senator. Way to be needlessly vicious to those guys, Nieder! All while driving a Prius. What more could we ask for?
3:04 Doc gets all excited at a sort of nascent fight-esque exchange between May and Neil. Schnookie: “Why are those two guys even in the lineup?”
2:14 Because VS hasn’t given us a lineup, and because we don’t know the Ducks roster very well, we are only just wrapping our minds around the implications of Baby Crunchy skating tonight. Does this mean no Motzko?
1:56 Baby Nieder jars a puck loose from a typically butterfingery Emery, but can’t figure out how to score.
0:00 Okay, things didn’t start well here, but we like how the Ducks rebounded from the Senators’ strong start. We especially like the hustle of McDonald to beat out an icing and almost get a good scoring chance right as the clock winds down. Our assessment to date: so far it’s been an awesome game.
The game might be more important than any that preceded it, but the VS intermission show is just as inane as usual.
While we appreciate the Baby Crunchy slurping from the VS crew, we do not like how Clement intros the discussion by chortling that the Miller family had to send Drew out to try to beat the Senators since Ryan failed. Come on, Bill. Crunchy was getting the job done. It was his teammates who failed, like the failing failures they are. Stupid fucking Buffalo…
This intermission feels like it’s going on forever. That’s one of the things that really drove us crazy in 2003 when we were lucky enough to be able to attend Cup Final games; they have extra-long intermissions and commercial breaks, we assume for all the imagined extra advertising dollars. So the games are really strangely long and have tons of bizarre downtime. You need to bring a long book with you to the games to read between all the whistles.
Oh, yay! A Preissing mic’d up! It’s like VS reads us or something! Awww… that was surprisingly just full of lots of on-ice direction-giving to teammates, but it was still charming.
19:01 The Ducks come out skating pretty much the same way they left the last period, and Redden ends up getting called for hooking.
17:46 After the puck is frozen in front of Emery’s net (not necessarily by Emery, mind you), VS shows us a slo-mo replay of an earlier tricky deflection that is blocked by Volchenkov. It’s really kind of telling how Volchenkov and Phillips are lined up in front of the net approaching the concept of defense as “literally having to play goal so your goalie doesn’t have to”.
16:35 Giggy is forced to make a save for the first time since early in the first period.
16:08 Our Stanley Cup Final boyfriend, Getzlaf, decides to see how many cross-checks he’s allowed to get away with on the little bitch. The final count is six. Again, we’d be perfectly happy to engage in similar behavior against Comrie were we ever so unfortunate to have to meet him, but that penalty is every which kind of stupid. It’s hard to believe a team with discipline issues as bad as Anaheim’s was able to get this far in the playoffs.
15:24 After a sequence of scary-fast puck movement and a total unraveling by the PK unit in front of the net, Redden rings a goal in off the corner of the crossbar and post. We doubt Giggy’s concentration on that shot was aided by Pahlsson throwing his stick at him.
We are in agreement now that Carlyle should announce to his bench that the next guy to take a penalty is getting benched, regardless of who he is, what the penalty is for, and how desperately his presence might be needed on the ice. That tactic worked for Larry Robinson in 2000.
13:26 The Ducks are officially not skating well anymore — happy, Getzi? Way to take an idiot penalty and hand the momentum over to the other team. At any rate, the whistle is blown again on the Ducks, this time for a neutral-zone trip by Beauchemin, who, if we were coaching, would not be seeing the ice again tonight.
13:02 Pahlsson is also now stapled to the imaginary bench in our minds: he puts the Ducks down two men by slashing Alfredsson. (Pookie: “We’ve seen Nieder do it, scoring while down two men. It’s happened before, it could happen again…”)
11:30 Something crazy happens off-camera after Emery handles a Ducks rink-length clear. All of a sudden Doc is screaming, Emery’s nowhere near his net, and the puck is coming down that direction but goes wide of the goal. Wha-huh?
9:44 The Baby Crunchy Line gets set up in the offensive zone, but a pass from McDonald to the point skips all the way down the ice. Eddie, like everyone else with at least a passing interest in Anaheim, is developing a man-crush on Baby Crunchy.
6:55 Schnookie sets the neighborhood dogs to barking by loudly screaming “Come on, come on!!!” when the Ducks fourth line gets some pressure in tight in front of Emery’s net. The shift fizzles out, though, as they all insist on over-passing to the point. Yeah, the Devils were capable of doing that, too.
5:47 We come back from commercial to see a different angle of the earlier Emery giveaway on the Senators PP. It turns out he handed the puck straight to Getzi at center ice, and Getzi shanked the shot. Pookie sighs, “Getzi, I would have gone out and bought your sweater if you’d scored on that.” It’s clearly Getzlaf’s loss.
4:32 The Penner/Perry/Getzi line gets a glorious chance, but stupid Perry has his head up his ass while drifting through the crease and fails to realize he should have jumped all over that loose puck while Emery was looking the other direction.
3:59 Having been informed by hockeygirl that there’s been a Crunchy sighting on the Canadian feed of this game, Schnookie is now totally obsessed. During this stoppage VS gives us a slow pan through the crowd up to the VS booth and lingers lovingly on Keith Jones. Schnookie: “Why are they showing me Jonesie? I get to see him during the fucking intermission.”
2:06 Spezza decides defensive responsibility is for losers, and gives the puck away twice on this shift. The puck is finally frozen by Emery beside his net after a shot from Nieder at the point bounces high over him and he has to fall back nearly into his net. From the angle we’ve got it looks like that was closer than it really was, and Pookie bitterly complains, “Review that. It clearly went into the net.”
0:59 Ottawa gets a really lucky bounce as Emery directs a massive rebound straight to a charging Baby Crunchy, but the puck leaps over his stick.
0:00 While this remains quite a doozy of a game, we didn’t like that period much at all. Stupid Anaheim and their stupid discipline issues. We also go into the intermission grumbling, “If they can interview Jerry Bruckheimer and Cuba Gooding, Jr., they can interview Crunchy.”
We have nothing to say about this intermission other than “EWWWW!!!!!!!” Yeah, VS interviewed the little bitch. All it took was one shot of Comrie smugging it up in his dumb backwards baseball cap for us to completely stop paying attention and fixate even more about how utterly devoid of Crunchy this broadcast has been. Does VS think the American audience doesn’t care about him? Because we think we speak for everyone when we say, “More Crunchy!”
Doc and Eddie lead us back from intermission with a jocular discussion of the official scoring for Ottawa’s first goal. Comrie, Fisher, Comrie, Fisher… we really don’t care, fellas.
Getzi is mic’d up tonight, too! It’s like IPB Boyfriend night on mic’d up! We get to hear what it sounds like up close and personal as Getzi behaves like an idiot and beats on Comrie. He really sounds like a dolt.
18:16 Dustin Penner is really the weak link on the Getzi/Perry/Penner line. We think he should be replaced by Baby Crunchy. Actually, Pookie thinks he should be replaced by Drew Stafford in a Penner sweater, then adds, “I’m now going to be obsessed that somewhere out there, not necessarily in this arena, Staffy’s doing something. Stupid VS.”
17:01 Emery freaks out trying to cover a shot from McDonald, but Selanne can’t manage to do anything with the rebound before Redden pushes him over onto Emery.
16:16 When Schnookie mentions during a stoppage in play, “I haven’t written anything about this period yet,” Pookie responds, “That’s because nothing’s happened. I have no idea what to think of this period so far because Anaheim hasn’t taken a stupid penalty yet.”
15:12 Penner is the worst player in the history of the NHL. He has a fantastic opportunity on a grotesque rebound off a Perry shot, but does this stumbling, twirling buffoon move instead and the puck ends up rolling harmlessly away.
14:18 WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Getzi realizes he’s going to have to take care of things himself since his linemates are incompetent boobs; he blazes with the puck down the wing, walks straight in toward Emery, and slips a soft backhand through Rayzor’s lazy five-hole.
13:23 With the crowd in full throat that the Sens should have been called for too many men, and the Ducks driving hard all over the Ottawa zone, Schubert gets called for slashing.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After commercial VS finally gives us a Crunchy interview. Crunchy sounds drunk. We suppose it’s pretty hard for him to say that Baby Crunchy deserves to be here instead of him, no matter how much he loves his little brother. At least, it would be hard for either of us if we were in his place. (Schnookie worries that Crunchy looks like he has a lot of split ends. The guy clearly has difficulty taking care of himself and desperately needs her tender loving.)
11:42 With Emery doing his patented “I am totally incapable of freezing the puck clean” schtick, the Ducks get a bunch of chances at loose pucks in the crease, but don’t score. Grr.
10:54 We are very quiet and subdued now. Pookie speaks for all of us when she breaks the silence with, “Now that they’ve talked to Crunchy I don’t know what to fixate on.”
10:23 The Pahlsson line ends up with a clear-cut one-on-Emery, but the shot is stopped. (Notice how we say that passively, as if the shot stopped itself. We. Will. Not. Give. Him. Credit. For. Anything.)
9:52 Meszaros gets called for interference.
9:21 Again, something miraculously comes between a shot (this time by Getzi) and the Ottawa net. We’re not sure what it was, but Doc says something about a legpad save.
8:41 Pookie stumbles artistically over her words and decides she is henceforth going to call Emery “Ray Hummery”.
6:52 Niedermayer. Ass on the bench. Now. And don’t get up again until Game 2. He gets called for hooking.
5:42 After nearly coughing the puck up at the point, Baby Nieder decides to make up for his lousy stick handling and just bulls the pointman over, pushing him until the play goes offside.
3:07 We go into commercial with Doc panting from the exertion of his call. This game has been, in a word, awesome.
2:51 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (You would think the Devils just scored for how we responded to this goal…) Baby Nieder beats Spezza around behind the net after Meszaros takes himself out of position for an attempt at a big hit, and shovels a rolling, bouncing puck to a wide-open Moen in the slot. Moen amazingly just whacks his stick at the puck and strikes it perfectly to beat Emery and take the lead.
0:55 With players falling all over the blue paint, Giggy manages to keep his cool and covers a Phillips shot from the point.
0:43 We should not be even remotely surprised that the most overrated player in the NHL (yes, even more overrated than Emery) takes an idiotic penalty for the Ducks in this time of need. Nice one, Pronger.
0:07 Giggy is an absolute beast, stopping a point-blank shot from Fisher with a flashing, reflex wave of his glove.
0:00 WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! Now that was a hockey game! It was, dare we say it, well worth the wait.