Over the past few years I’ve come up with a rule for myself. After my favorite teams are eliminated, I don’t wear their apparel until the playoffs are over. I just don’t want to be that guy in the Sabres shirt in the middle of the conference finals, you know? This usually is highly inconvenient, because my weekend attire when I’m hanging around the house is quite frequently a hockey shirt. This year was particularly rough because all of my hockey shirts except one got knocked out in the first round. Now that Stanley has been awarded and I’ve spent the day out and about and sitting finals in a Toews shirt, I can go back to lounging around in my Backstrom shirt. (And thank the hockey gods for that, because it’s the most comfortable tshirt I own)
So, congratulations to the Blackhawks for winning. It’s all quite exciting and it was only a matter of time. I’m of the opinion that they should just not carve Hossa’s name on the Cup to piss him off. I’m also a little sick seeing Campbell and Huet get it, but like the case of swine flu I had last June, it’ll pass eventually. It kind of felt like a now-or-never situation for Chicago since their cap is a mess, and I like enough Hawks fans to be the bigger person and congratulate them. We’ll get Stanley next year! (I hope)
In regards to my prediction, I personally believe that I had a pretty good chance of being right. Philadelphia managed to keep it close in several games and looked great in the games they won. Kane’s goal was a fluke and if Leighton wasn’t so bad he might not have even scored it. So whatever. I have no regrets.
But seriously, guys, it makes for a nice story and all, but sometimes waivers goalies AREN’T the answer.
I figure we’ve got plenty of time so I won’t talking about the Stupid F***ing Ice Bowl that’s being announced later today (typical NHL, so desperate to work Crosby in that they’re announcing an event featuring him [and Alex] the day before the Cup Finals are starting, which don’t include him. But I can’t be too made that the Caps are visitors because as everyone has been pointing out, the visitor goes to the Cup Finals. Fair trade off.), but I would like to present my worthless well thought out predictions. And I would like to talk about the in-studio guest NBC is hosting during the game tomorrow night.
First, the pick. This is hard for me. Everyone is picking Chicago. Chicago is so trendy and they’re so good and everyone just loves them and thinks that even if it takes six or seven games, they’ll win. First of all, I think the problem I have with Chicago is that while I like quite a few of their players on an individual basis (Toews is so good, and, I mean, I own a Toews shirt for a reason), when they’re assessed holistically they make me think of that stuck-up jock at high school who knows he’s all that and knows he’s talented and attractive and somewhat funny and just assumes that everyone will love him. I’m not saying they’re not a really good team, because they are. Don’t get me wrong, I realize they’re talented and they do have a really good chance of winning it all this year. But they’re the star quarterback, and that gets on my nerves a little.
Then there’s Philadelphia. Philadelphia has essentially flipped off the hockey community by winning the Eastern Conference because everyone figured they were done for back in December when they switched coaches and celebrated by getting spanked by the Capitals, specifically one Lars Nicklas Backstrom (10 YEARS!!!!). Then when they finally snuck into the playoffs, everyone wanted to play them because they knew it would be an easy win. I was included in that list as far as the Caps’ first round matchup was concerned. I didn’t want the Sabres to play them because I knew Richards would score at least 16 shorties during the series.
But I digress. All of a sudden the Flyers are playing for the Stanley Cup and aside from the part where they’re on like their eighteenth goalie, they look like the team everyone picked before the season started. I hate the Flyers with a passion, but they’ve got something good going too. And as much as I detest them, I honestly think they have a legitimate chance of winning. That’s why I have a problem just picking the Blackhawks in six, because I think if Philadelphia plays the way they have for the past few rounds I think they could actually win the Cup. And if that happened, I’d have to kill myself and then cancel my subscription to the Buffalo News.
So now I don’t know if I should just pick Chicago anyway, because their goalie isn’t so high risk in the “complete meltdown” category, or pick Philadelphia because I think they could do it and I wanted to be able to say I picked them. I feel like this is one of those things where you have to see how each team plays against each other but that’s a cop out.
I think I’m gonna go with the Flyers because of all of the above reasons and also because Hossa plays for Chicago. I may have made it this far without mentioning him and his curse, but it clearly plays some significance. Don’t ever piss off the hockey gods. So, yeah. Philadelphia. I’m certainly not rooting for them, I just think that they could actually do it. Dare to be different!
I’m going to need a long shower when this is all over with.
NBC must realize, however, how I feel about these teams, because they’ve added some intermission entertainment to the game tomorrow night. None other than Buffalo’s own Ryan Miller will be taking the stage with Pierre and Mike to wear one of his uber trendy suits, discuss the game, and hopefully diffuse the tension that will surely build between Pierre and Mike. Personally, I’d rather just see him in between benches instead, but I realize this won’t happen.
As I would just like to remind everyone, I have an amazingly excellent track record with my favorite players doing intermission reports on NBC.
I actually haven’t watched this interview in quite some time, so I had forgotten how magnificently awkward it was and how deep and insightful it got with the learning stuff. If Ryan Miller’s appearance is half as epic as this one, I will consider it to have been a success.
See, guys? NBC can get it right every once and a while!
In the East…..
First of all, I’ve been on the bandwagon since the beginning of round two, so there’s really no reason to stop now. Second of all, how can you possibly pick against them after the way they’ve played? Third of all, part of me desperately wants to see what the city would do if they make it to the Finals. I mean, they set cars on fire up there to celebrate wins.
(Fun activity I highly recommend: stopping whatever it is you’re doing and just saying to yourself several times, “They set cars on fire when they win. Actual cars.” You won’t be disappointed.)
In the West….
Chicago’s been on my bad list since the whole Hossa thing (poor, poor Nashville) but I haven’t picked San Jose in a series yet, dammit, and I won’t now.
Besides, every single person watching hockey at this point knows that Marian Hossa guarantees getting to the Finals then losing. I wouldn’t want to bet against history.
I realize that the first day of free agency is far from over, but I figured I might as well write a post. It’s been quite a roller coaster of emotions for me today. I’ll give you a little sample:
Happiness: Huzzah!!! The Capitals signed Mike Knuble!! Veteran experience!! Not afraid to crash the net!! Grit and toughness!! Just what they need!! A perfect fit!!
And, I might have seen him outside Chef’s back during the season, so clearly he and I share a bond.
Utter confusion: Um…Hossa to Chicago? As in, Chicago? I totally did not see that one coming. Not at all. And, twelve years? Um, Blackhawks, can you afford that? Kaner and Toews are both due extensions next summer, and juuust in case you forgot, you have Brian Campbell, and he’s seriously overpaid. And Huet isn’t exactly a cheap goalie.
Complete shock: Darcy Regier signed someone. As in, a player. It’s July 1, and Darcy signed someone. I need to take a deep breath and process this.
Hello, Steve Montador. Welcome to Buffalo. We love our hockey here. Don’t break our hearts. Some people say you’re “tough.” We have a lot of players here who, well, aren’t tough, so feel free to knock around the opposing team’s players if they give our goalie a high ankle sprain.
And, also, we’ve been hearing that you’re a bit like our beloved Timothy Connolly off the ice? Fabulous. That means we’re going to gossip about you. Deal with it.
Aww, bless them: The Sedin twins sign identical deals in Vancouver; Jay Bouwmeester gets to play for Calgary.
And, Jay, you’re too cute. Have fun playing for the Flames.
Intrigue: The Hawks have Huet as their starting goaltender this season? This could get interesting. Good luck in Edmonton, Khabby!!!
Despair: Why hasn’t Washington traded Theodore yet? Why haven’t they announced that Nylander’s gone missing, but they won’t search for the body yet? Why is Mike Komisarek a Sabre/Capital for life?!?!?!
Purely suicidal thoughts: Jaro….is a CANADIEN?!?! As in, he’ll be PLAYING FOR MONTREAL NEXT SEASON?!?!
Wait. $11.5 million over three years? That’s… a lot of money.
But still. Sniffle. I’ll miss you, Caveman. Take care of yourself. Make sure you get enough fresh meat.
Last night the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Cup. I really thought those Joe Louis Arena demons would get to them…but apparently not. Or maybe Gary Bettman decided that even thought he let Detroit get the Cup last year, he wasn’t going to let them get it this year. Anybody see any suitcases floating around the Wings’ locker room last night?
I knew that at some point the Penguins would win the Cup, just like everyone else did. I just hadn’t emotionally prepared myself for it yet. That being said, I’m at least glad that a guy like Max Talbot got the series-clinching goal as opposed to, say, Geno or Staal or Crosby, even thought Crosby’s pretty much been a non-factor in this series and there wasn’t much of a chance of that happening. I actually really like/totally love Talbot, and it’s nice when someone other than the bigflashy “superstar” guys can step up and help win it.
The people of Detroit might just burn those goal posts.
It was definitely hard seeing Malkin get the Conn Smythe. I’m glad they gave it to someone who deserved it, but still. Geno, first you steal Alex’s girlfriend. Then you win the Stanley Cup before he does and get named playoff MVP. You’re lame.
I’m not exactly Gary Bettman’s biggest fan, but that wasn’t very classy of the Detroit fans to boo him. They really shouldn’t have booed the Penguins either. Or were they booing the Wings? Because that wasn’t right either.
I was very on the fence about Marian Hossa, and I think I decided last night that I feel bad for him. It really, really sucks that his evil plan blew up in his face, but I think Pens fans need to realize that he really was just a rental and if they had re-signed him, there’s a very real chance he’d be doing to their salary cap what Brian Campbell is about to start doing to Chicago’s.
Watching these games made me realize just how much I want the Sabres to win the Cup. I definitely want the Caps to win it too, but they’re a whole lot closer than Buffalo is. Washington needs to fix the whole “we have no defense” issue and get a bit more reliable secondary scoring and they could be ready. Buffalo seems like a lot farther off. I love this team and it pains me to say this, but after watching these finals I’m pretty sure that the Sabres wouldn’t stand a chance with either of these teams. Which is sad.
I sure hope this is a joke or doesn’t end up happening. If Dany Heatley becomes a Buffalo Sabre I might have to boycott the team. Which could kill me.
Game Seven tonight, which means one team is lifting Lord Stanley and one team is going home. I hope it’s the home team that wins it. That would make me much happier. The League may have invested all of its time and energy into promoting Sidney Crosby – apparently he’s hands-down The Best Player Since Gretzky – but that still makes it inexcusable to fix the games. Uh, NHL, Sid hasn’t been all that spectacular in this series. And the thing that bugs me about that is that he has to attribute it to “bad bounces.” You know, it wouldn’t kill him to just come out and say that it’s because Rafalski, Lidstrom, and Zetterberg have been doing an amazing job defending him. Stop giving yourself so much credit, Sidney.
Hossa has been a complete non-factor in this series, which is good for Pittsburgh and bad for Detroit. I really want to see him come alive tonight not to spite the Pens fans but just because that’s what he’s supposed to do. Either way, it is going to be one awkward handshake line tonight.
Go Red Wings!!
There have certainly been a lot of sweeps this year in the playoffs, but GOOD GRIEF have there been a lot of seventh games. But I’m pretty sure Game Seven in the Stanley Cup Finals is about as intense as it gets. And while I didn’t want this series to go to seven games, the timing is actually perfect. While New York State does a lot of bad, bad things, one good thing it does is regents exams. They’re quick, they’re easy, they replace real exams, and they require studying the day before. Therefore, I have absolutely no schoolwork to do during the game tomorrow night. The last time I didn’t have a paper to write or a project to work on or a test to study for during a game was spring break. I think.
I really, really want the Red Wings to win the game tomorrow night. 50% of that is rooted in my genuine like of the team. The whole organization is amazing! This is what all teams wish they could be like! They’re successful with low draft picks! They have Pavel “Candy Corn Head” Datsyuk! What’s not to love?! 25% of it is my dislike for the Pens, and 25% of it is the fact that if Sidney Crosby wins the Stanley Cup before Alexander I will jump off the Peace Bridge.
Marian Hossa has basically been a non-factor in this series, crushing my hopes that he’ll get the series-clinching goal. Of course, he could come alive in his desire to prove to the Penguins that he knew exactly what he was doing when he bolted for Pittsburgh. I realize that Pens fans think what he did was awful, but really, he passed up money and a long-term deal for a shot at the Stanley Cup. You’ve gotta admire that.
While Candy Corn Head came back and asserted himself as my fourth favorite third favorite Russian in the league (I refuse to believe that Sergei Fedorov is “still negotiating” with the Capitals. He’s gone. He has abandoned me and the Caps. It hurts to think about it), Henrik Zetterberg has also kind of been stealing my heart. This boy is good at hockey. And he’s Swedish. Swedish hockey players are almost as awesome as Russian hockey players, FYI.
So tomorrow night the hockey season ends. The NHL dragged it out as long as they could. If the officiating is slanted in Pittsburgh’s favor again, I hope the fans at the Joe give the refs hell. And I won’t be all that surprised if it is. You all saw Gary Bettman’s face when the Pens were getting blown out of the water in Game 5, didn’t you?
Elsewhere in the hockey world, Brent Sutter left the Devils, Dany Heatley wants out of Ottawa, Emery’s with the Flyers, Tippett got canned, and Nylander might be headed to the KHL. If Sutter’s done with the Devils, well, looks like we won’t be seeing his angry glare more often.
I’m not sure how I’d feel about Dany Heatley leaving Ottawa, because he’d be taking with him the punchline to all of the dumb jokes we tell in my family. It’s really lame, and you kind of have to be there for it to be funny, but every time someone says they hate something, whoever’s near enough adds “But not as much as Dany Heatley.” Example:
Grandma: ”So what do you think of that Miley Cyrus?”
Me: ”I hate that bitch.”
Mom: ”But not as much as you hate Dany Heatley.”
Part of it is because it’s funny, and part of it is because we hate Ottawa and he plays for Ottawa. Leaving the Senators might permanently kill our joke.
I laughed for about ten minutes when I saw that Emery signed with Philadelphia. Guys, I sincerely doubt that a year in the KHL has changed Emery. There’s a very good chance that the Flyers will drop in the standings next year, either because Emery plays badly or because he completely implodes. But I will be happy to have the “Eeeemmmmmeeerrrryyyy” chants back. Those were one of my absolute favorite cheers.
Dave Tippett got fired. Dallas was in the conference finals last year and didn’t make the playoffs this year. That’s all.
While I’m definitely against players leaving the NHL for the KHL when they currently have contracts here, I’m actually kind of sort of hoping that Nylander does end up over here. I do not like Michael Nylander. He hardly ever plays and he’s not that good and he eats up cap space faster than an SUV eats up gas. The Caps need to get Semin and Lars locked down, and the last thing they need is wasted cap space. Bye, Michael!!
(Updates at bottom!)
I carry a backpack to school. It’s a Vera Bradley one and has owls on it and I like it very much. The only problem with this bag is that I can’t easily keep it on my lap and text in school. Now, I normally don’t text in school anyway, but today I made an exception. So, while risking life and limb, I repeatedly checked my phone today, each time holding my breath as I waited for the big deal, aaaaaaannnnnnnndddddd……..
Not much happened from the Sabres’ point of view. Yes, re-signing Timmy was huge. He may be a walking, talking STD, but he’s still a hell of a hockey player when he’s healthy. Therein lies the problem, however. Timmy’s a great guy to have on your team when he’s healthy. The length of the deal – 2 years – makes sense when you take his injury history into account, but the amount is crazy. $9 million? What happened to a hometown discount? That’s $4.5 a year. I started to realize as the day progressed that if Timmy got traded I would be sad, but I’m still not sure about the amount. It just seems like an awful lot for a guy who can’t be counted on to play a full season.
The only trade the Sabres made was sending a 4th round pick to Phoenix for Mikael Tellqvist. My first reaction was to freak out when I saw they got a goalie (because when you’ve got your head stuck in your bag thirty seconds before the bell rings and the teacher is standing right in front of you the only thing you’re thinking about is to not get caught) but once I straightened up I figured this just means Enroth’s going back to Portland. This also might just mean that Ryan Miller is out for the season. *sniffles*
I’m not going to go through each and every deal that was made because other places have already done it well. One thing I did notice, however, was that Calgary seemed to be pretty active. They certainly seem to want to go deep in the playoffs this year. The Chris Neil to Florida deal is pretty interesting too (if it actually happens. Now Ottawa’s denying it?) because the Panthers don’t exactly have a player to fill that type of role. I’m not yet sure if I’ll miss having him up in Ottawa to hate.
There might be a few more deals coming through that were made just before the deadline, but it looks like the Trade Deadline has passed. It doesn’t seem to be as crazy as last year’s. I specifically remember my jaw dropping at several of the deals, most notably the Huet to Washington and the Hossa to Pittsburgh (and I hope Hossa’s okay. I may not like him but I never like seeing players getting taken off the ice on stretchers. Ouch.) and, of course, the Soupy deal. I even remember exactly where I was when I heard about the deal. I was taking a test on the American Revolution when one teacher came in and told my teacher that Soupy was gone for a player that was “Thomas Vanek with an attitude.” I loved Big Bear, but I’m not sure if I would call him Vanek with ‘tude.
So the craziness of Deadline Day has passed. The Sabres got another backup goalie and signed Timmy but didn’t really do anything about all the dead weight on this roster. It’s almost a bit anti-climactic that after all our speculation the Sabres only dumped a draft pick. I REALLY wanted to say goodbye to Max today.
And now the Sabres play the Canadiens tonight. I’m kind of scared.
P.S. I’m NOT thinking about Alex limping off the ice.
UPDATE: It would appear as though the Sabres just acquired Dominic Moore. Huh. Interesting.
UPDATE #2: The Sabres sent Kotalik to Edmonton. I am surprisingly devastated about this. Who’s going to be my Trendy Euro Sabre now?
Now that I know at least one person will be reading my blog (thanks a billion Corinne! I promise to read any blog you throw my way!), I feel like blogging a bit more. Since we are, after all, fourteen days into the free agency period, I thought I’d take a minute to discuss all the good, bad, and confusing of the offseason thus far.
- The Sabres resigned Paul Gaustad. This is good for several reasons. First of all, he’s great on the faceoffs. His winning percentage is pretty rad. Second, as a dedicated member of the Green Team, I’m happy to know someone so committed to saving the environment is sticking around. Also, I wouldn’t mind if he shoots a few more PSAs for next season. He’s good friends with Ryan Miller, which should hopefully be a plus as Ryan contemplates whether or not he wants to make a commitment to the Blue and Gold. And, of course, The Goose is hot.
- The Capitals went on a signing spree, locking down Mike “Mohawk” Green for 4 years, Brooks “Ladies’ Man” Laich for 3, and Sergei Fedorov for 1. Now, I only just became a Capitals diehard around March, but I still got excited when I saw these. Greenie led all defensemen in scoring, so he can’t be that bad! And Laich is a ladies’ man. Who doesn’t love a ladies’ man? Fedorov was bitchin’ on a line with Mr. Ovechkin and Kozlov. I was (ba-da-ba-ba-ba!) loving it!
- Vincent Lecavalier signs with Tampa Bay for 11 years and $85 million, complete with one of those evil no trade clauses. Vinny is decidedly a hottie, and a darn good player, and Tampa Bay decidedly sucks, so I am happy that I won’t have to worry about a player with actual talent going to a team that doesn’t suck and beating the Sabres. Although this could pose as a problem in the future for Alex and the rest of the Caps. Hmmm…
- Pittsburgh signs Fleury and Malkin, longterm. I put this on the good list because pity the Penguins and their fans. They went through what we Sabres fans went through last year with The Whores, aka Drury and Briere. A lot of the players seem to hate Therrien, and a lot of the players skipped town at the start of the free agency period (to Tampa Bay, strangely enough. Watch out, Alex and Co.!),
- Ted Nolan is fired by the Islanders. Sucka!!!
- The Sabres signed Nathan Gerbe, Tim Kennedy, Jhonas Enroth, etc. This signing spree was encouraging, since I had fallen in love with Nathan Gerbe, everyone’s favorite shortie, the moment I heard about him.
- Ray Emery had no choice but to sign with some Russian team. This honestly made my day when I read it.
- Detroit signed Hossa for one year, and they got Ty Conklin to back up Ozzie. Note to every other team in the NHL: Don’t even bother. You’re screwed.
- Brian Campbell signed with Chicago. I had really enjoyed the Blackhawks last year. Their winning in no way affected the Sabres’ ultimately unsuccessful run for the playoffs, and Patrick Kane plays for them. Who doesn’t love Patrick Kane? But then Soupy had to sign with them, for way too much money. Not cool, Soupy. Greed is almost as unattractive as that sloppy red hair of yours.
- Cristobal Huet signed with Chicago. I get that he’s not even a really great goalie, but still. I had gained a soft spot for him in my heart during his stay in Washington, and really liked those, “Hip, hip, Huet!” cheers.
- Crunchy is not under contract after this season. (By Crunchy I mean Ryan Miller. For some reason Miller is referred to as Crunchy across the blogosphere, and who am I to shy away from a trend?) I know that he sucked this season, but a mediocre goalie is better than no goalie at all. And what am I gonna do with Little Ryan if he goes and plays for Detroit?
- Max Afinogenov is still a Sabre. Seriously, the guy sucks. He has not scored a goal since 2001. I would know. I watch Vintage Games.
- Sean Avery signed with Dallas. I’m going to miss him. He’s obnoxious, and he’s stupid, but he’s always good for a laugh.
- Washington signs Jose Theodore, since Olie got pissed when they traded for Huet and left for Tampa Bay. (CAPITALS! BEWARE OF THE LIGHTNING! BEWARE!) I wasn’t really sure what to think, since Theodore is supposed to be pretty good when he doesn’t have the flu, aka detroitredwingsitis, so I googled him. And found this.
- Patrick Lalime, the Sabres’ newest backup goaltender. He’s been out in Chicago for God knows how long, so I don’t know what to think. All I know is that he used to play for Ottawa. *shudder*
- Jeff Finger. Oh, you’ve never heard of him? Yeah, well neither has anyone else. I think Cliff Fletcher was feeling all sad about saying goodbye to Mats Sundin and went binge-free agent shopping.
- I find it hilarious that Sundin was offered $20 million for 2 years in Vancouver. Mats, just a suggestion: go away. Please.
- Brooks Orpik resigned with Pittsburgh. I was under the impression that he wanted out. I was also under the impression that the Sabres would try to make an offer for him. Nope. Darcy didn’t make him an offer, even though his brother Andrew is a Sabres prospect. Whatevs, Darcy. Call me when you lock in Crunchy for life.
Sorry if I didn’t mention any of your favorite offseason moments!