The Saturday morning ramble.

It’s Saturday morning and I have nothing to say right now. So I’m going to ramble about nothing.

Jean Beliveau is going to announce the lineups in the All Star thing. Shouldn’t really be a surprise unless random people got a gazillion votes randomly in about five minutes. Crosby, Malkin, Kovalev should be the forwards with Komisarek and Markov getting in for defense and unless Fleury got a flurry of votes at the last second, it should be Price in nets.It’s kind of fun. Obviously they should stop calling it the “All Star” thing because I truly believe that none of those forwards are the best in the East. Take a look at the Pens right now and honestly tell me that Crosby and Malkin deserve to be there. They don’t. I would’ve actually liked to have seen Ovechkin in instead of Malkin or Crosby but hey, not my fault that his fans didn’t vote 24/7 for him (like I was going to vote for him? C’mon…).

I’m not going to get into the whole debate on whether this thing is just an entire embarrassement to the whole league and the “real” fans or not. I feel that it’s a kind of fun event and that they really ought to change the name of the thing. I think “The event in which the NHL lets fans vote for random people to participate in a game that really serves no purpose other than to promote the NHL itself” is a much more appropriate name.

Whatever it is, just let everyone enjoy it. I haven’t heard any players gripe about not wanting to participate in it – I’ve heard mainly the opposite, actually. So what does it matter as long as everyone’s enjoying themselves (and stays healthy!)?

Crosby explodes as Pens fall to Panthers. After seeing how the Pens showed what they could do in the playoffs, I never thought that they would come out and implode during this year. Yeah, I know the supposed “runners up curse” thing. Up until now I could have defended the Pens and talked about how expectations were maybe too high for them and they were definitely a different team than they were last year. But honestly, I’m not about to defend the 6-1 mauling that they suffered against the Panthers today. I didn’t see a single minute of the game because… well, no one cares about the Pens here and the only games I get to see are the Habs and maybe the odd late night game that features… well, whoever happens to be playing in the West. But the scoring and penalty summary, I think says something about what happened today.

First off, when I checked the score after the first period it was 2-0 for the Panthers. Kind of acceptable until I noticed that it they got those goals on five shots. FIVE SHOTS? The Pens, for the records, had twice the amount of shots and nothing to show for their efforts. The second period seems to have been a mess too as four goals were scored (three by the Panthers) and 13 penalties were dished out.

Like the title says, it was explosion time for the usually self contained Crosby. With the Pens down 4-1, Crosby went well, for lack of a better word, berserk and got into only his second NHL fight with Brett McLean off the faceoff. The Pens captain earned himself 19 minutes worth of penalties for that one – 10 for misconduct, 5 for fighting and two each for unsportmanlike conduct and instigating a fight. Apparently the refs thought that Crosby randomly attack McLean out of the blue. The Pens captain later said that he asked McLean to go and the latter said yes, but apparently didn’t take him seriously. I can’t blame McLean that much. I mean, it’s Crosby, not Milan Lucic for crying out loud. For the records, McLean said he missed Crosby’s “invitation”. Whatever. The point is: Crosby went insane.

Florida further embarrassed the Pens by adding one more goal early in the third period.

Want to know the really embarrassing bit though? The Pens outshot the Panthers 30 to 24. So that’s basically one in every four shots on goal went into the back of the Pens’ net (it was actually worse than that).

Fleury got dumped after a pathetic first period for Sabourin who didn’t do any better and allowed a further three goals on twelve shots. He was promptly yanked for Fleury again in the third, who obviously didn’t do a lot better this time around. For the records, both goalies allowed 3 goals in 12 shots. Still think Halak was awful in Newark last night? Watch the replays of this game. Panthers made mince meat out of both Pens goalies.

I think it’s time for another Penguin meeting…. in a language that everyone can understand…

Sabres down Bruins

At last! Someone beat the Bruins! Finally! And at home too. Yay….I don’t want to be the Bruins next opponent though…That would be the Wild, right? Oh man, they’re doomed….

Senators are going to take on the Leafs tonight. I almost want to see that…. Almost…. I will be watching Canada vs Russia though. Much more important. You know… if they keep up these wonderful displays of hockey then the next time they play each other they could be battling it for last play in the division, the conference and the league. Then again, I think the Islanders/Thrashers/Tampa Bay might actually beat them out for bottom of the league… too bad…

Later: Sens fall 3-1. Toskala gets rewarded by Toronto press with first star. Proof that the host team’s press shouldn’t be dishing out the stars.

Canada vs. Russia Part 250 pre-game rant

The Canadians fended off one rival, now it’s time to face another. I actually have very little to “rant” about today so I’ll just leave a few notes.

Russia

Pros: Offense. Physical style of play.
Cons: Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending….Where’s the under 20 version of Evgeni Nabakov when you need him?
Can win if: stay out of the penalty box. Take advantage of the defensive lapses by Canada. Take advantage of their own strong offense.

Canada

Pros: Offense, particularly on powerplay. Also, Dustin Tokarski has shown that when things get tough he doesn’t roll over and die. Good news.
Cons: Defensive play has to be better. 5 on 5 has to be better.
Can win if: they shut down the Russian offense. Generate good 5 on 5 offense too. And don’t get knocked around by the big Russians. Filatov is only a danger when he attempts to score. He’s not going to knock too many people around, I don’t think *g*

I think Canada can do this. Especially if Russia’s goaltenders are as shaky as they’ve been over the tournament. I’m thinking that Russia will get the first goal tonight and it will take a bit of time for Canada to settle into the game. They will win though.

Sweden edges past Slovakia 5-3 to make finals

That score is completely misleading in terms of how Slovakia did. Up until the third period they were leading Sweden 2-1 and it was a series of three goals in a row that put Sweden past them. Slovakia had an amazing run here and I hope that unless they’re playing Canada, they end up with a metal because they deserve one. By the way, that fifth goal was on an empty net. The Slovaks gambled a lot by taking out Janus quite a bit, including at the 4 minute mark. That gamble paid off with a goal but the second (or third?) time didn’t pay off and the Swedes got a goal. Janus was simply put brilliant throughout the tournament. He’s definitely a big reason why this team made it this far. In the end, the Swedes showed why they were the favorites, but man oh man, it wasn’t easy for them at all. Great job Slovakia. You have a lot to be proud of.

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