Monday, April 14, 2008

Zany's take on the playoffs so far: Avery, penalties, dives and Thornton

I find it very difficult to post anything during these playoffs lately. That is, until yesterday's games and events.
Some days I can hate Sean Avery. But I really couldn't help but laugh at what he was doing to screen Martin Brodeur during Sunday's game. That was awesome comedic stuff. Brodeur was bewildered.

"I've played for 15 years in this league. I've been watching games for 33 years. I had never seen that in my life," Brodeur said. "I don't think that kind of behavior should be done in front of the net, but there is no rule for it."
Well, the NHL changed that in a New York minute. Today the NHL quickly added a new rule and stated that "An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender's face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play." Those are the words of Colin Campbell.
And you knew he had to do something about it. If Avery got off free from that, then you'd be seeing that type of screening in other games as well...really quick-like. But you have to hand it to Avery. For a guy that acts like a meathead most of the time, he found a little grey area in the NHL rulebook and flaunted it for the whole world to see.
I got a great laugh out of that.

I am overly sick of all the damned penalties though. The inconsistencies of calls, the dives, the blown calls, the even-up calls. Christ, this sport is turning into soccer.
Out of 96 goals scored in the playoffs so far (thru Sunday), 32 of them were on the powerplay. That is about 33%. Seem a little high? I had originally thought it was a lot higher. In 19 playoffs games, there have been 176 powerplays. That's 9 per game average.
I'd like to do a percentage of those that were dives or embellishments, but I've lost track. With the refs calling the penalties even more in the OT's now than before, I don't want to see too many games being decided by weak or chincey calls, let alone a Stanley Cup-winning game. Can you imagine a dive deciding a Stanley Cup Finals game?? I shudder at the thought.
It's just too many penalties for me regardless. I'd like to see this obstruction rule go away, or for the players to stop putting their sticks on opposing players. Either/or. Just make it stop, please.

What a win by Calgary last night. And what a performance by Curtis Joseph. Good to see ol' Cujo back up his "I still have a lot left in me" statement.
Now, is this the knife in the back for San Jose? It could very well be. All I know is 2 things:
1. Nobody is bashing Mike Keenan now.
2. Joe Thornton is not proving himself and does not have anything more than one dimension (or gear) in his game. He constantly floats in both zones and looks like a damned slug. But if you get the puck to him behind the net and the opposing team gives him a bit of space back there, then LOOK OUT! But that's all I'm really seeing from him.
Patrick Marleau however, played a heroic game despite the loss, and really bounced back ofter Cory Sarich decked him.
Marleau and especially Nabokov called some players out after the game. From the Sharks' site:
Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was very direct in his postgame comments about some “boys needing to act like men” and his teammates backed up those thoughts.
“Some guys aren’t pulling their weight,” Marleau said.
Yeah, that includes YOU, Thornton. Prove yourself in the playoffs for once. Hell, the guy reminds me of an oversized Sedin sometimes.

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At April 14, 2008 at 9:05 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thornton is a complete underperfomer.

You're right about no one making fun of Keenan right now, especially in Canuckistan.

Cujo rocked. I scored some major points with my hockey buds last night before the game when I told them I hoped Keenan started Cujo, because I thought Kipper looked gawd-awful the game before and needed to be sat the heck down.

At April 14, 2008 at 9:58 p.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

But what are the chances that Cujo starts the next game? Why wouldn't Keenan ride Cujo for a bit? I think he probably would go with his money goalie again in Kipper to let him rebound. And Kipper would do just that.

At April 15, 2008 at 2:57 p.m. , Anonymous Matt said...

No chance Cujo will start. None. BTW, I think Thornton is playing fine. No need for him to step it up. Just keep doing what he's doing and everything will be fine!


At April 15, 2008 at 4:34 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off-topic, but I just read this post by Ryan Kessler on the blog section of the Canucks' official site:

A lot of people have been asking me about Alex right now since we’ve been playing together pretty consistently through the year and he’s been playing really well. I’ve always said that he’s underrated and now he’s showing it, which is nice. He’s getting a lot of media attention and he loves it, plus he’s not afraid to say anything so he’s just taking it all in right now.

I think the biggest reason for the change is confidence for sure and finding confidence between the two of us has made a big impact too. There is one thing that’s been hard though – I told him I don’t understand Spanish so he’s going to have to learn English.


At April 15, 2008 at 5:31 p.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

Haha! Nice!


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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.