Hello hockey fans! PUCK YOU! has returned to wrap up the second half this our second installment of the season. The only way we could be more efficient, is to pull off an “Ilya Kovalchuk” and somehow find a way to give Carolina Hurricane goalie Cam Ward a free statistical goal…
Well done Mr. Money Bags.
Click here for part 1, released on Wednesday, December 28, 2011.
Some big events are coming right at you, hockey fans!
Question 3: Are you more excited for the Under 18 tournament or the Winter Classic, or neither? Why? If neither get your inner hockey nerd charged up, what ARE you looking forward to for the remainder of the year?
ThatDamnDoubleC The series of programmes leading up to the Winter Classic. If you didnt catch episode one last week, I suggest you do so. Even if only for Ilya Bryzgalov’s views on the world. (BTW, I didnt need to check the spelling of Bryzgalov, I knew that.. I don’t know how I know that, but I do), anyways I was saying.. That’s what I’m looking forward to. That, and a deep Stars playoff run, my fantasy team rising like the Phoenix from the Flames to win the first ever wonderpod fantasy league. But mostly, I’m looking forward to the 1-2 games of NHL I get here a week, because Fox Sports must have signed a contract with Vs to get their coverage of hockey. So whatever Vs gets, I get. Although come playoff time, I get one game a day of the playoffs, plus every game of the Stanley Cup finals. So that’s one thing to look forward to I guess. Is there anything else? Surely I can’t answer this question seriously and not the rest.. that would mean I’d have to re-word all my answers previously. Maybe I’m looking forward to how many guys Matt Cooke will knock out? Or is Bobrovsky leaving the Flyers to join CSI: Miami? Can Brendan Shanahan go one week without suspending someone? Kate Beirness.. where have you been all my life? Can Vladimir Konstantinov score a hat-trick if someone attaches skis to his wheelchair? Will Alex Auld grow hair to stop the He’s Big, He’s Bald, He’s Alex Auld rhyme? Will the Coyotes ever get fans to their games? Will the Sabres goalies concede eight again this season? So many questions..
Bruce McGee: I always look forward to the winter classic, since it was first established. Even though I didn’t grow up in an area that had hockey, winter sports have always been important to me. So to see a game played outside in the cold is always awesome. Plus flyers versus rangers has potential to be an awesome game.
G: For this hockey fan, I’m pretty divided. On one hand, you have the Winter Classic. The event brings a unique feel from the outdoor atmosphere like no other game during the regular season. Granted, it can be more appealing if I am rooting for one particular team over another (not the case this year). At the end of the day, I will watch and enjoy this game unless weather conditions delay the puck drop. I am actually more intrigued by the retired legends game, especially considering the Lindros inclusion and his “interesting” history with the Flyers.
On the other hand, you have a tournament between nationals teams. This equates to more hockey, and one with it’s own unique atmosphere of unjaded, passionate hockey talent. I understand many of these players are showcasing themselves to scouts for the potential of making big money down the road. But this is not the case at this point in their careers. The result is that they have to bust their asses, play as a unit, and be responsible to their team and nation’s hockey honour.
Verdict: The U-18 tournament is more appealing to me this season.
Armchair MVP: The Under-18 tournament for sure, because I actually have a team to cheer for. Rangers/Flyers has zero impact on my Flames in terms of the standings, so I have no opinion on how I want this game to go. The U-18 however, is a shot at redemption for Team Canada, after losing the last couple gold medal games in horribly painful fashion. As long as they decide not to allow 5 goals in the third period this year, I look forward to seeing them hopefully being able to redeem themselves.
Al Creed: The Winter Classic, for OBVIOUS reasons. Aside from that, I honestly don’t give a shit about the world juniors, because I don’t give a shit about minor league hockey. I actually loathe the world juniors, as it brings out the fair-weather patriots in DROVES. And really, the Winter Classic is a spectacle of the highest magnitude, and I always look forward to it, whether or not the Flyers are playing.
ThinkSoJoE: Dude, I LOVE the Winter Classic. Every year. I still feel like their hasn’t been one that had the feel of the first one here in Buffalo – and that’s not just because the Sabres were in it in my home town, it’s because the weather has been nearly picture perfect in all of the rest of them. We had a ton of snowfall during ours!
Bang bang! Mick Foley would be proud.
Question 4: Earlier in December, Artem Anisimov’s goal celebration in which he mimicked shooting his stick like a rifle at the opposing Lightning players was a thing of controversy. There is an unwritten rule in the NHL that a player should not celebrate an accomplishment in such a way. However, some of the most memorable moments have included a young Teemu Selanne tossing his glove in the air and pretending to skeet shoot, or Theo Fleury’s belly slide like Superman on the ice are dearly regarded by many fans. As a fan, do you think this is disrespectful, or just part of the game? Should it be an issue? Furthermore, where do you stand on such celebrations when it is related to a successful big hit or when a player wins a fight? This season brought the controversial “Go To Sleep” gesture by Arron Asham after he K.O.’d Jay Beagle of the Washington Capitals in October.
Al Creed: I think the big deal with the Anisimov incident wasn’t so much that he was celebrating a goal, but that he was pretending to snipe at the goaltender, a day after the Virginia Tech shooting. Aside from these semantics, I LOVE wacky celebrations. I never understood why some hockey dudes like Don Cherry have a problem with hockey players having a personality. Show a little charisma, act like you’re having fun, and the hockey media assholes immediately pounce on you for BEIN’ A PUNK AND HAVIN’ NO RESPECT, and I think it’s stupid. We need more Chris Pronger puck-stealing and Dan Carcillo devil horns, and less awkward, shy, boring, mumbling interviews from Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.
ThinkSoJoE: I’m all for a good goal celebration, but there’s a line. Skeet shooting is one thing, but mimicking shooting an opposing player? Not cool. As far as winning a fight? If it causes people who aren’t necessarily watching hockey to go, “hey, look at that,” I’m all for it. In good taste, of course.
Bruce McGee: I am sure hockey purists would love to see any and all celebrations killed and buried with Hoffa. While I think celebrations can go to far and shouldn’t be used for minor events (big hits). I see no issue with them in a general sense. Being excited or happy you scored a goal is natural and so to make some kind of gesture is also natural. The NHL does not need to become a carbon copy of the No Fun League in this area.
G: I think my smartass personality leans towards being all for celebrations being allowed. Considering how much trash talking goes on on the ice (it’s not like we can’t read lips), I would rather keep it in the game.
Asham’s GTS did make me laugh. I would be a liar (and denying my professional wrestling fandom) if I said otherwise. Of course, that was after I immediately saw it, which was then followed by the sports news showing the reprucussions of the hit on Beagle. So I guess I fell into that “First I LOL’s, then I Srios’d” meme.
I’d rather see player’s allowed to show true unplanned emotions with goal celebrations. The reference to Fleury’s super-man slide is an example of what I perceive as an honest enthusiastic reaction, and one I don’t see disrespectful in anyway whatsoever. Anything staged comes across a wee bit sleazy. Was Anisimov’s celebration planned? I don’t think so. Was it distasteful that it came a day after a shooting at Virginia Tech? Not at all, people get shot all around the world every single day. That argument by the media pundits was retarded and self-centered. Was Anisimov’s antics offensive for other reasons? That’s up to his team to decide and the type of culture they want to portray. I don’t think players should be handcuffed to be little automatons with no emotion.
ThatDamnDoubleC Could be worse.. could celebrate like Patrick Waaaahhhhh when he thinks he’s made a super save, only to realize that he didn’t have the puck, and the Red Wings get an easy goal. All celebrations do is try and intimidate the other team. Talk a little smack, tease the opposition, and sometimes it fires up the other side. I don’t understand why leagues like the NHL and the NFL want to punish players who celebrate. It’s OK, to celebrate a sack, but it’s not OK to celebrate a touchdown? It’s OK to celebrate winning a fight, but not OK to celebrate a goal? What is going on in this backwards world? Leave the celebrations in. Just make a rule that they can’t be racist or take longer than 15 seconds or something like that. If the celebration goes longer than it takes Jay Onrait to say ‘Ugh What A Rush’ during the opening of the morning rush on Sportscentre, then you know it’s too long. The fans love a good celebration in the right spirit, and fans is something the Phoenix Coyotes don’t have. I have more Twitter followers than the Coyotes have fans.. which reminds me, follow me on Twitter @ThatDamnDoubleC. I’m not normally the one for self promotion, but if the Coyotes twitter page can have 25,994 followers and I only have 28, then something doesn’t add up. Does that mean the Coyotes are better than me? Maybe the Coyotes would be better off moving back to Winn.. wait, there’s a team in Winnipeg now? And they’re called the Jets? Well where are Phoenix gonna go? Hartford? Then what will the Hurricanes wear as their historic jersey? Nordiques jerseys.. which leaves the Avalanche without a historic jersey. Which would probably please Winnipeg fans, because they love the way the Avalanche happened to win the Stanley Cup, the year after they left Winnipeg. Fun time. Fun times.
Armchair MVP: I thought the Anisimov celebration was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, after the Selanne celebration referenced in the question. I also found it funny that of course Steve Downie was the guy to come off the bench and start something, Doesn’t take much to set him off, does it? Celebrations after a big hit don’t have a place in hockey, however, just due to the pace of the game. If you stand over a guy and celebrate that, there’s a good chance you expose your team to a possible odd-man rush, they allow a goal, and you’re riding the pine the rest of the game. As for celebrations after fights, it really depends on the celebration to me. The Asham celebration I didn’t like, but I see nothing wrong with a player raising his arms or yelling a bit to get the fans and more importantly his bench riled up.
“Last Chance To Rant”
Al Creed: One issue that’s come up recently that this panel didn’t cover was what will be the one phrase that will sum up this NHL Season: “On Injured Reserve Indefinitely Due To Concussion-Like Symptoms.” As much as it’s completely reasonable for coaches to protect their players, at the same time, it’s completely astounding that so many players (star players at that!) are going out with head injuries at once, to the point of bewilderment. I mean, at this rate, if you’re still in the AHL by mid-January, you must absolutely suck.
Also, NOT A SMART MOVE by that Colby Armstrong to try and hide his concussion from his coaches. If he hadn’t been busted on it, he could have been one hit away from joining the likes of Brett Lindros, eating his meals through a straw.
And finally, in regards to the Montreal coaching situation: Look. The team is predominantly NOT-Canadian. And, of those who ARE Canadian, only three of them are from Quebec. Frankly, politics has no place in professional sport, and a few whiney assholes are making far too big of a deal of something that shouldn’t be a deal in the first place. The Canadiens are property of private owners (an Anglo Family, at that), and NOT of the Province du Quebec, therefore, if the organization wants an Anglo coach, they’re well within their right.
G: I’d like to note that hip hop artists need more NHL jerseys in their videos much like Phife of A Tribe Called Quest:
While it’s been called the Season of Concussions, I think the NHL is slowly, but surely taking the right approach to addressing head injuries. We’ve come a long way in the last decade, and having players recognize that their long term health is more important to themselves, and their team is essential towards improving the game overall. The tough-guy mentality has to be eliminated for the sport to evolve. Hockey will always be a contact sport, and I have no issue with that. Here’s to a great 2012 for the sport, one in which I hope the players focus more on respecting how they choose to take someone off the puck.
ThinkSoJoE: I’m sick of fairweather fans. The Sabres are in a slump, yes. It’s frustrating to watch, yes. But I’m not going to sit here and say I’m not going to support the team anymore just because they’re losing games, like some of my fellow Sabres fans on Facebook. You can’t honestly tell me the Sabres are a bad team when the majority of our roster are Rochester Americans in Sabres clothing. It sucks to watch your favorite team lose game after game, but the fact of the matter is, injuries can kill even the best teams. Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth can’t do it on their own.
ThatDamnDoubleC Last chance? Why is it the last chance? Because you say so? What about the capitulation of the Oilers? Oh wait.. of course G wouldn’t talk about that, being an Oiler fan and all. I wonder how he feels about Peter Pocklington, and if he’s forgiven him yet? You had Messier, you can afford to give up Gretzky and still win Stanley Cups, stop being greedy! Besides, it was Paul Coffey who made the Oilers anyway. The hell with Gretzky. Modano was better than Gretzky anyways. At least Modano didnt go on to manage the Coyotes, even own part of the Coyotes. That’s why you suck Gretzky. Why is TSN SportsCentre 3754745 times better than the US SportsCenter? I’d rather watch that than the US version any day. How cares about the NBA lockout, or which girl did Brett Favre send his penis to this week? I want hockey highlights. Although.. the ESPN hockey analysts do like to drive drunk (see Barnaby, Matthew), which means that they probably like to party, and who wouldn’t wanna party with Barry Melrose? I’m sure he’d pull the chicks. Him and Zenon Konopka.. although Konopka scares me. He and all his PIMs. Luckily Steve Ott is here to protect me.
That’s all for this time folks! We’ll be back to break down the trade deadline in late February or early March. Until then, keep your heads up, and your stick on the ice. Or your beer in the fridge and your ass on the sofa and enjoy your hockey!!
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