Friday, May 8, 2009
Well, yours truly was in New York this past Thursday at the NHL Store in Manhattan. I was invited by my good friend and former Rangers teammate, Ron Duguay, as well as Ken Daneyko (Mr. Devil himself) to appear as a guest on their weekly radio show called, "Icebreakers". It was a super night of talking mostly hockey and chatting with the HOF Pat LaFontaine, Zach Parise, and Ryan Bayda of the Carolina Hurricanes. Do yourself a favor, if you get Sirius XM radio or already have it - check out the show on Thursday's from 7-9PM EST. Oh, I almost forgot! I finally got to meet NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, we shook hands before we aired. I wonder if he reads my blog (LOL).
The battle for Lord Stanley's Cup continues. I'll start off with the comeback tie and win in OT for the young Chicago Blackhawks. Martin Havlat saved Chicago's season with a late game tying goal to force OT. In the OT session, the Hawks' Andrew Ladd tipped in a Dave Bolland turn-around shot past Roberto Luongo to send the series back to Vancouver all tied up at 2. Boy, it sure looked like the Canucks had this one wrapped up. Unfortunately for them, a poor clearing attempt gave Chicago the chance to tie the game and they didn't miss. In OT, Nikolai Khabibulin made a game saving stop on Henrik Sedin just before Ladd's game winner. The game of hockey is 60 minutes of regulation and the Canucks failed to play the full 60 and it cost them. Instead of going home up 3-1, they are now face with all the pressure to win - not the Hawks. I can't wait for the next game.
Now, onto Detroit and Anaheim. The Ducks looked to take control of the series up 2-1 with Game 4 being at home. Not a chance! The "Big Red Machine" looked well oiled and it really was a laugher as the Wings clipped the Ducks, 6-3. The only good thing that happened for Anaheim was a TKO in a fight between Francois Beauchemin and Tomas Kopecky. It was a really lopsided scrap, Kopecky got pounded. On this night Detroit was just too fast, strong, skilled and looked like the overall better and more energetic team. The Wings had to like the fact that Marion Hossa finally woke up and netted 2 goals to make himself a factor in this series. The Ducks, on the other hand, were not the same team that we had seen throughout the playoffs. Jonas Hiller had a clunker, but he was not alone. The bus was full in that department. The Ducks had better pick it up or Detroit will make them go away faster than you think! Here's to hoping this one goes the full 7 games.
Over in the Eastern Conference, how about those Carolina Hurricanes? They have taken the hockey world by storm - no pun intended. With a resounding 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 4, the Canes are looking mighty fine. Carolina is simply "outspeeding" the Bruins and they have no answer for it. Eric Staal scored 2 goals to lead the way and having Cam Ward in between the pipes certainly doesn't hurt. The atmosphere in Raleigh is crazy and the fans have to be the loudest in the league. I'm pretty shocked. The Bruins are definitely shocked and have that bewildered look about them. Game 5 in Boston will tell it all!
Lastly, the battle of the NHL poster childs is now evened up at 2. The pens won Game 4 by a score of 5-3 in a terribly officiated game for both sides. The Pens finally showed that Simeon Varlamov is, in fact, a human. In Game 4 Varlamov allowed in some soft goals. One of them was by Ruslan Fedotenko and the other was the final goal for the Pens by Maxime Talbot. Marc-Andre Fleury started himself off in a horrible way by letting in what I also felt was a soft goal by Nicklas Backstrom only 36 seconds into the game. Fortunately, his team bailed him out with a PPG by Sergei Gonchar and Billy Guerin's 3rd of the playoffs (along with the earlier goals that were discussed) to give the Pens momentum. Chris Clark narrowed the score to 3-2 heading into the 3rd period, which was probably a little too wide open for both head coaches. Sidney Crosby later gave the Pens a 2 goal cushion, but it was erased on a horrible non-call on Matt Bradley who clearly hammered Brooks Orpik into the Penguins net. As a result, Fleury got distracted and Milan Jurcina blasted a shot toward the goal that found the twine! The last goal of the game was put in by Maxime Talbot (he should of had 2 more in the 3rd period) and that was it!
Now, I want to get to talking about what I think is an intentional knee to knee hit by Alex "The Great". How much longer is the league gonna protect this guy? Yes, he's a star and an exciting player. Yes, he's a pure scorer. But you know what else he is? He's a cheap shot artist. Ovechkin definitely intended to hit Gonchar with his knee, the replays do not lie (lunges to the right into Gonchar's knees). He should of received a 5-minute major for his actions and a game misconduct. What is the league watching if they don't review this one! What say you, Colin Campbell? If Gonchar can't participate in the rest of the playoffs, how does Ovechkin escape this unharmed? Over and out!