Hockey Hustles for the Present—and Maybe the Future
With the NHL trade deadline now in the rear view mirror, it’s worth taking a quick look at a few of the notable points to come out of all the activity—including a possible warning sign about what might lay just over the horizon.
The weirdest part of the deadline had to be seeing the Detroit Red Wings selling for a harvest of draft picks. I guess it’s safe to say that Hockeytown’s latest era has well and truly come to an end. How did Detroit do in their quest to reinvigorate the franchise? Only the most devoted hockey scout could even guess at this point. Continue reading Hockey Hustles for the Present—and Maybe the Future
Remembrance Of Posts Past
Since we’re here in the doldrums of February, and there’s really nothing of particular importance going on, now would be a good time to revisit certain past topics of discussion for expansion, edification, or clarification.
Let’s start by expounding a bit more on one recent post topic, NHL Network’s On The Fly. Continue reading Remembrance Of Posts Past
Cleaning The Glass
I have been watching more hockey this season. Certainly more than last season.
This has at least a little bit to do with the local San Jose Sharks’ success last season. After all, a Stanly Cup Final run will get your attention.
However, I think my willingness to tune in and give over my valuable time has as much to do with what I’m not seeing as it does with what I am seeing. Simply put: I’m more willing to tune in because–mirabile dictu–those damn ads have disappeared from the glass at the ends of the rink. Continue reading Cleaning The Glass
Three Is Not The NHL’s Magic Number
I guess it was a Christmas miracle: somehow, in the midst of this painfully busy holiday season, I found the time to watch two hockey games. I was able to check out the two games on the Sharks schedule sandwiched around the holiday: first at home against Edmonton, then last night’s road game against the Ducks in Anaheim.
Both games went into overtime, and both ended with San Jose victories during the extra period. Those two extra periods were the first time I really took a good, long look at the still new-ish 3-on-3 (rather than 4-on-4) overtime setup.
The theory, in removing yet another player from the ice, seemed pretty simple: take away one guy and the ice opens up for a more freewheeling, exciting five minutes (or less). Therefore, take away another player and obviously you’ll get even more freewheeling, more exciting hockey. Right?
Continue reading Three Is Not The NHL’s Magic Number
Well, at least I got the number of games right.
It wasn’t the Sharks winning the Stanley Cup in six games, as predicted here, but the Penguins who got the job done last night. But even with the lack of a Game 7, that Final series was closer than it seemed.
As laid out in that earlier piece, Martin Jones actually did his part, standing on his head and making save after save after save against Pittsburgh’s extremely talented offense. I briefly thought that Jones might get the Conn Smythe trophy despite the loss, much as Ron Hextall did against Gretzky’s Oilers back in the day, but that didn’t happen, and probably rightly so. (I’m not sure Sidney Crosby should have been the guy for the Penguins; that smacks more of marketing than the actual results on the ice. Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel seemed like better bets there.) Jones was great, but given the way Pittsburgh’s unexpectedly stout defense stifled the Sharks’ offense, he needed to be spectacular, and he simply fell short of that distinction.
So the better team definitely won, no doubt about that. The other takeaway from this Stanley Cup Final might be this: this match-up may not be over. Given the major contributions we saw from Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary, and Matt Murray–the first two were all over the ice the whole series–for Pittsburgh and Joonas Donskoi, Rob Tierney, and Melker Karlsson for the Sharks, the future looks bright for both teams. All of those players are either one year in or rookies. And while young players sometimes flame out quickly after brief flashes of brilliance, it’s hard to believe all of those guys will fall off the table in the future. The road will be tough next year–it always is–but I won’t be shocked if there’s a rematch in next year’s Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins lived through that with Detroit in ’08 and ’09; they might see it again with the Sharks next year.
Until then, the Steel City gets to have some good times with 34.5 pounds of silver and nickel. Enjoy.