You know what we’re avoiding tonight? Pens/Caps.
Archive for the ‘Bully Pulpit’ Category
1. …The Flyers. We guess it wasn’t the coaching that was the problem.
2. … Fantasy Hockey. If Pookie picks up Anaheim’s Dan Sexton for her fantasy team, will people start calling him “Big Soxy”?
3. …Diving. The suggestion that a diving penalty should negate any infraction that may have prompted the player to dive in the first place is asinine. Pookie came up with a pretty solid analogy in the discussion about this topic on TWC the other day: “If I t-bone your car at a stop sign and then you pretend to have suffered whiplash and falsely report it to the insurance company, am I suddenly no longer guilty of reckless driving?” Honestly. Since when is causing his team to lose a power play opportunity not considered a fair punishment for a player who dives after being hooked/tripped/held/whatever?
4. … All-Star Superskills. Yeah, we’re thinking about all of the most relevant issues today. Why? Because we’re drunk. Anyway, the NHL gave it two seasons, but we think it’s very safe to say that the “Slam Dunk” contest just isn’t cutting it. Meanwhile, every year everyone loves the accuracy shooting and hardest shot. We believe the NHL would be wise to liven up the Superskills by making every All-Star choose whether he’d prefer to do accuracy shooting or hardest shot. Forget the less exciting events like the puck relay and the incredibly lame “Slam Dunk” contest (we’ll give Alex Ovechkin one thing — if anyone would be capable of making that contest exciting it would be him. He couldn’t. Ergo, the contest is hopeless.), and make the entire event a smorgasbord of people shooting at targets with varying — and fascinating! — levels of skill. Now that is something people would talk about. (We’d keep fastest skater, but after being scarred for life being seeing Zach Parise participate, we’d like to see that event kept to just the guys who are actually fast skaters.)
5. …Blogging About The All-Star Game During An Olympic Year. When you’re compiling a list of the top ASG moments of the last 10 years, is it time to admit your “10 best of the last decade” theme is perhaps getting stretched a little thin? And if you’re spending a hour during dinner discussing how you’d make the ASG superskills better, is it time to admit you’ve had too much to drink?
6. …Our Imagined Feud Between Ryan Getzlaf And Brian Burke. For some reason, every time we watch the Ducks (which is shockingly often, considering how shitty they are this year), we end up spending the entire game shouting all kinds of threats and insults in our Getzi voices at an unseen Brian Burke. It’s generally stuff where Getzi would be reacting to something happening during the game, like saying, “BURKIE! Why didn’t you give me the puck there on that power play? I would have SCORED, Burkie!” or whatnot. So the other night, the Getzi rantings started (started??) spiraling out of control, and the Wino Kokopelli came into play.
Wait, backing up a sec — have we told you about the Wino Kokopelli yet, Gentle Reader? If not, here’s the story. After spending a few years living in the Southwest, Schnookie reached her breaking point with the omnipresent kokopelli motif. That stupid thing is everywhere out there, people. And she’s got no beef with the spirit of the thing, but the aesthetic just annoys her. So about midway through last season, Pookie found a video featuring Getzi giving an hilarious tour of his house (seriously, Getzi seems to be a bit of a nester. He’s very proud of his home decor. And his backyard tiki hut. That’s not a euphemism), and in it, Getzi proudly shows off this monstrosity:
Yeah, that’s a wrought-iron kokopelli wine bottle holder, that he has hanging in his dining room. He says he got it at a “swap meet at the fairgrounds”. (See why we love Getzi so much?) Schnookie was horrified. And mortified. And the wino kokopelli quickly became an essential part of the Getzi legend here at stately IPB Manor.
So back to the other evening where we were riffing on the Getzi/Burkie feud. This was the exchange we had, late in the lackluster game:
Pookie (as Getzi): “Don’t make me send my wino kokopelli after you, Burkie!”
Schnookie (as Getzi), quoting The Cutting Edge: “It’ll take them a month to count the wino kokopelli marks up your back!”
Boomer (as Getzi): “And it’ll take them a month to count the flute marks up your front.”
Well, we can’t top that.
Look, everybody knows that no one likes the trap. And everybody knows that Jacques Lemaire is the trapping coach non-pareil. And everybody knows that when Jacques Lemaire is holding down an NHL head coaching job, it’s really easy to whine and bitch about how much the trap sucks, and how much Lemaire makes it even doubly sucky. But you know what? We were wrong about Lemaire this year (so far). We fully put forth that we bought into the common perception that Lemaire = Soul-Killing Trap, and painful memories of past miserable seasons and even more miserable past playoff failures ran through our heads. We went on record in the Puck Daddy season preview saying that we were sure Zach Parise would be shackled to a passive neutral zone trap and he’d never score again. We assumed the d-men spent training camp being reconditioned to never leave their defensive zone quadrants. We were sure a season’s worth of dreadfully dull hockey lay before us.
We were wrong.
Now that the Devils are relevant again, we’d like to call on the media to admit they’re wrong, too. At the very least, we’d like to see how the Devils are perceived in the national hockey landscape tweaked just a bit. When the Red Wings were at their pre-lock-out peak, they were given the benefit out the doubt and the trap they played was referred to as the “Left Wing Lock”. The trap played by sexy, big-market teams like the Rangers is referred to as “strong defensive play”. And yet, since Lemaire first brought back the trap played by the revered ’70s Canadiens, the Devils have always, always played “The Trap”. Historically, this has given carte blanche to hockey pundits and fans alike to dismiss whatever style of game the Devils play as “boring”, “so boring”, and “so boring it’s killing hockey”. This continues to today.
Here’s the thing though — right now, the Devils aren’t playing hockey that’s so boring it’s killing hockey. It’s not even so boring. Believe it or not, it’s not boring at all! Players like Parise, Zajac, and Clarkson spend much of their time on the ice engaged in aggressive forechecking. Puck possession is the name of the game. (As Friend of IPB, Morgan, once said, “You can’t trap when you have the puck”.) When the top two puck-moving defensemen are in the line-up, they will frequently leave their quadrants in the dust while jumping into the play (before he broke his arm, Paul Martin was often seen behind the other team’s goal line, for Pete’s sake!). So we think it’s high time that the Devils get the benefit of having their system of play described by a term less loaded than “The Trap”. Instead of just complaining about how much anything called “The Trap” sucks, let’s solve that problem by giving it a new name!
We bandied around a few ideas for snappy terms like “Left Wing Lock”, and realized there are a few elements to the Devils game that we feel should be highlighted. The system encompasses all areas of play, in all zones of the ice, and throughout the whole line-up, from the top line to the third d-pairing to the goalie. The system leads to exciting plays when the Devils pounce on the opponents’ mistakes. The system requires that players engage their brains and think about the game. The system leads to success. The system can emphasize the beauty of speed and skill that the NHL is known for, such as on the gorgeous Parise breakaway after Zajac took advantage of Semin’s stupendously stupid turn-over in last night’s Devils drubbing of the Caps. Putting those concepts together, we came up with an acronym to properly describe the current Devils system:
“Holistic Opportunistic Cerebral Kickass Elegant Yes!” or “Hockey!”.
If “Hockey!” is too confusing for the hockey media to glom on to (and to be honest, other teams do play hockey without playing “Hockey!”, so it is potentially confusing) may we suggest “S to the P4″? That’s cool-kid shorthand for “sound positional puck possession play”. That might cause problems since it sounds a lot like “PL3″ (who, you know, the national hockey media talks about a lot), so how about “Sound Holistic Positional” hockey or “SHiP Shape”? Or how about “Holistic and Offensively On Target” or “Give a HOOT, Don’t Make Blind Passes To No One at the Point”. Or how about Zach is Often Offensively-Minded, or “ZOOM” (because “Zach is Often Offensively-Minded But Defensively Responsible and Positionally Sound”, or “ZOOMBDRPS”, is a bit of a mouthful). Or “Welcome Hockey Excitement and Energy”, or “WHEE!” See, when you call The Trap (that’s said while ominously shaking your head) “WHEE!” (said with a big smile and a nod), it makes you a lot less mad, doesn’t it? Go ahead, national hockey media — give it a try.
If no one else gets on board with calling the current Devils system any of these new names, we’ll just have to assume that when they say “trap”, they mean Totally Rad Action Play.
That the Devils are fifth overall? That they’re only two points behind the Penguins?! That they’re 8-2-0 in their last ten games?!? That they’re four points behind the league leaders with two or three fewer games played?!?! Wowza! The things you learn when you bother to check the standings before mid-March!
Other things that stood out as we marveled at the after-one-month standings:
– The Sharks have as many points as the Avs, but don’t seem to get any press for it. Must be everyone’s finally really learned their lesson when it comes to SJ.
– Schnookie’s been saying all along that the Rangers were going to do their usual coming out of the gate strong only to tail off starting in November. She’s a genius, that one.
– There are two teams that have identical records. One team’s coach is on the perpetual hot seat. The other is being lauded as a rejuvenated genius. Who are the teams? Why, the Flyers and the Sabres, of course. (Obviously, the situations and expectations of the two teams are wildly different, but it’s still noteworthy to us because everything we’ve heard around the water cooler [and by "heard around the water cooler" we mean "read on Puck Daddy"] suggested to us that the Sabres were tearing it up while the Flyers were having a disastrously slow start.)
– The Hurricanes are worse than the Leafs. Good thing we didn’t go on record picking the Canes for the Presidents Trophy.
– We did go on record picking the now-24th-overall Ducks. Are we chagrined? Hell no! Instead, we’re looking forward to the wild second-half that’s going to catapult Getzi and his compatriots to the top.
Yes, yes, Gentle Reader, we know. Looking at the standings this early is a foolish exercise, but… watch out for those Ducks.
We haven’t done much to hide the fact that, for the first few weeks of this season, we haven’t really been paying very close attention. At the very outset it’s all just a blur of fuzzy, happy “hockey’s back!” vibes for us, and since then we’ve been anticipating and then participating in Patty Party. So now that Patty’s back (In Dallas) we’re ready to hunker down and take some stock of the hockey landscape. Here are some of our thoughts:
– *Meow Mix jingle*
– We really liked that the Devils won fairly deliciously in Pittsburgh last night.
– We really, really liked that in addition to the old reliable players like Brodeur and Parise, the keys to the win included fresh faces like Bergfors, Egg, and Fraser. Let the youth movement begin! Or, at the very least, let the young players continue to score fluke goals against a kinda shaky Fleury.
– We really do not like that the delicious win in Pittsburgh came at the expense of Pando and Paulie. All kidding aside, the Devils are a markedly worse team without Paulie than they are with him. All kidding front and center, that’s saying a lot, because even with him, they’re awful. No, really, just kidding. Now, we are not surprised that it was Butthead who broke Paulie, because that’s just the sort of thing Butthead does. We already had his name engraved indelibly in the ledger of officials enemies of PaulieMartinNation, and now his name is being added again. What surprised us, though, was that it was Rupp who broke Pando. Of all the guys PandoNation thought we’d have to add to our ledger of official enemies, Rupp was probably the last one we’d have considered. We mean, we rode in an elevator with him once, and he seemed so jolly and nice! Turns out we were lucky to get out of that elevator alive.
– Based on current trends in the NHL’s injury-reporting system, we can predict already what the prognosis is for Pando and Paulie: they’re both going to be out for “weeks”. This “weeks” thing is even more annoying that the “upper/lower-body injury” thing. Just give us a window, okay? Or someone make clear now that “weeks” means “less than five weeks, because once we get to five, we’d be saying ‘month(s)’”.
– Based on current trends in the NHL standings, we can predict that our preseason choice of the Ducks for the Presidents Trophy might be wrong. Might.
– Based on current trends of the first nine games of the Devils season, our preseason prediction of Lemaire being a terrible choice for the new head coach might be wrong. Might. We might not currently hate him. Might.
– Based on his performance so far this season, Brian Rolston is the almost certainly the single worst hockey player to ever lace ‘em up. Almost certainly.
– Based on his performance so far this season, Travis Zajac might be super-dreamy. AcornsNation is so proud to have splintered off from PandoNation after annexing those western territories. Especially now that Pando is surely out for “weeks”.
– Based on the performance of the Devils in last year’s playoffs, we are never, ever, ever going to look at current trends and try to extrapolate them into some sort of prediction, though. So we’re just saying that nine games in, we like the Lemaire hiring, hate Rolston, and swoon for Acorns. Of course, 58 minutes and 40 seconds into Game 7 against Carolina, we thought the Devils were going to advance to the second round, so make of all of this what you will.
– We have absolutely no idea how the landscape of the NHL looks right now. Because we think looking at the standings this early in the season is stupid (other than to be cognizant that our Anaheim Presidents Trophy vigil can probably be called off), we don’t know what anyone else’s record is. And because the NHL thinks it’s really cute to keep scheduling all 30 teams to play at the same time on the same night, we don’t ever watch any teams other than the Devils (and in the last week, the Stars).
You are the three players we most vividly recall attempting to injuriously hit Paulie Martin in the last couple of seasons. You are a fearsome list of deviants, and let it be stated, you preverts are all on notice.
That is all.
The Ecstasy: Yay! We re-signed Oduya! Every time we’ve looked at the pending UFA lists in the last few months, his was the only name on there that set our hearts a-flutter. We would have been some very sad Ookies if he’d flown the coop, so thank goodness our very own Johnny Handsome remains our very own.
Also, Yay! Scott Gomez’s life is about to get a lot more miserable. Have fun playing for Jacques Martin, Gomer! And enjoy the scrutiny as you very expensively continue to not be Vinny Lecavalier. HAHAHAHAHA!
The Agony: Wait, someone actually took Gomez off Glen Sather’s hands? BOOOOOOO! That blows. What kind of world do we live in?