Posts tagged ‘Brooks Laich’

November 26, 2008

Sidney Crosby is a Tool: SHR!’s View of the NHL

by Chelsea

With the Dallas Stars slumped in a 6-10-4 hole at the bottom of the league, we at SHR! felt it was time to stop being so introspective. We’ve picked, prodded, and yelled at everyone from the players to the owner, and now it’s time to move on (at least until the next game). Team bias aside, here’s how we feel about some other players across the league this season.

Note: All the links go to images, videos, and articles that we felt illustrated our feelings best. So please, don’t hesitate with the clicking. 
 

Sidney Crosby
First overall draft pick in 2005. Winner of the Art Ross Trophy, the Lester B. Pearson Award, and the Hart Memorial Trophy. 21 years old and captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Led his team to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, and failed (despite his best efforts) to grow any semblance of a beard through the entire run. Also, he’s a total tool. In a meeting with a pair of original Penguins season ticket holders, Crosby responded to the couple’s enthusiasm with monotonous ‘Oh’s and ‘Okay’s. A 9-year-old can do your spinny move, Crosby. It doesn’t make you special or make up for the absolute lack of personality. Your own team’s fans call you “Cindy” for a reason.
 

Evgeni Malkin
Basically a slightly older, Russian, less dynamic version of Crosby. Since we’ve already determined that Crosby’s a tool, that means Malkin is too. Pity. He’s first in the league for assists right now, but sitting under that kind of stifling shadow, he’ll always be at the bottom of our books (especially when it comes to Russian players). Should he ever escape Sid and the Pens, we’ll be on the lookout for the much-anticipated reveal of his personality. Until then, though, no thanks.   
 

Alexander Ovechkin
Now here’s a Russian player we can get behind. Sure, he’s got aesthetics of a Cro-Magnon, but behind all that scruff is a highly-skilled someone with a real love of the sport. Known for exuberant goal celebrations, a goofy grin, incredible scoring ability, and a seemingly never-ending list of quirks, Ovechkin is credited with bringing much-needed personality and talent into the NHL. He was first overall in his draft year (2004) and, thanks to the lockout, ended up debuting versus Sidney Crosby, effectively stealing the Calder Memorial Trophy with a stunning 52 goal/106 point season. Really though, we mostly love him because he makes us laugh just about every time he gets in front of a camera or near a reporter. 


Alexander Semin
The “other” Alex is generally overshadowed by Alex Ovechkin, but we found that there’s a lot to like about this guy aside from his partner-in-crime. We first picked him up on our radar when this interview came out with him calling Crosby “nothing special”. Now, them’s fighting words. While the rest of the league took offense, we sat back and had a good laugh. The best part? Semin was sharing the top spot in league points with Malkin up until his injury, with 27 points in 16 games. Crosby, meanwhile, still only has 25 points in 20 games. Like Ovechkin, though, his obvious talent isn’t the main draw to us at SHR. We love him because, despite being here for 2 full years (5 if you include up to his first as a Capital) and obviously understanding English, he still insists on doing interviews in Russian using a translator. Or because he’s always laughing at seemingly nothing. Or because he does things like this during games. He’s infectious.

 

Brooks Laich (and Mike Green)
While he might not be as good of a goal scorer as Ovechkin (12 points in 21 games), Laich claims to challenge him in the “ladies man” department. We may not necessarily agree with that, but we will agree that he’s a funny and well-spoken guy. Green is included because he shares the spotlight with Laich in some fun adventures with Caps Cribs. In the end, Laich won out because (okay, not ALL bias aside) he’s from Saskatchewan and so is Brenden Morrow, and he unsurprisingly reminds us a little bit of our beloved captain. 


Jason Arnott
An ex-Star, he proved to be a major pain in the derriere so far this season. Captaining the Nashville Predators, he got two goals and one assist in the only time he’s played us in 08-09. We lost that game 3-1. From our understanding, he was that kind of ache for Stars fans even when he was a Star, his antics making him more trouble than he was worth. Still, he’s earned his spot as captain for his new team, and we were openly alarmed the night he suffered a neck strain on a frightful collision that left him motionless on the ice for over five minutes. Glad he’s alright, and looking forward to despising him again come our match-up in December.
 

Jordan Tootoo
We respectfully dislike Arnott, because he’s got the potential to put us in some statistical pain. We just outright hate Tootoo, because he’s got the potential to put us in some unnecessarily excessive physical pain. His nicknames range from “Tutu” to “Toots” and they all remind us of how he likes to suckerpunch people with his gloves on. We think words like “vile,” “scum,” and “cowardly” describe him best. He’s been accused of biting people, running injured players, diving, faking innocence, and otherwise shaming the sport. We might be holding a grudge, but rightfully so. This man has no and has earned no respect. 
 

Henrik Lundqvist
Twin of Stars forward Joel Lundqvist, Henrik is the goaltender for the New York Rangers. While we may not care much for that team, Lundqvist stands alone as our favored Eastern goalie. He currently sports a .926 sv%, good for seventh best in the league, and a GAA (2.09) that’s good for fifth best. When his team needs a big player, he makes big saves, and when he can’t do that, he doesn’t throw a fit when he gets pulled from the game. He’s a class act with style that should make Sean Avery jealous, but… well, he doesn’t appear to take himself too seriously. 


Martin Brodeur
A good part of why we like Lundqvist is that he’s escaped the kind of snobbery that seems to drip off other Eastern goalies, particularly Brodeur. He could be the best netminder ever to set foot on ice, or the worst, and it wouldn’t matter to us with an attitude like that. When someone in the league does something he doesn’t like (see Avery, arm-waving), he gripes about it until the rules are changed in his favor. And when other goaltenders began exploiting equipment size rules, Brodeur stubbornly insisted on wearing the old, smaller sizes. Good for him, but then he turned around and complained that other goalies had an unfair advantage. Wait, what? His game wasn’t even suffering from this “injustice”, and he still forced another rule change about it. Its amazing that there’s still a goalie trapezoid, all things considered.
 

Patrick Kane (and Jonathon Toews)
Neither of them appear to have hit puberty yet, but they both do their best to carry the Blackhawks on their shoulders in an unfortunate Crosby-like trend. Since when are a pair of 20-year-olds responsible enough to lead a professional hockey team? 
Also like Sidney Crosby, Kane can’t grow a beard. He said here that he wasn’t going to shave, but we saw him in Dallas 10 days later and can attest to the fact that his facial hair was still MIA. When it comes to the ‘Hawks, we’d rather see more of the pranksters, Adam Burish and Patrick Sharp, and less of the pranked. 


Chris Chelios (and the Red Wings)
If schooling the Stars and the Penguins in last year’s playoffs wasn’t enough proof, the Red Wings walked off with the Stanley Cup and the respect of the entire league. Their skill level, style of play, and ability to win has brought us to this conclusion: the Wings are animatronic hockey players. A good example of this is Chris Chelios, who has been functioning in the NHL for longer than players like Crosby or Ovechkin have been alive. We reckon that he’s due for an oil change soon. We’re not sure where Detroit picked up such sophisticated technology (the same place they get their dead octopuses, maybe?), but we’ll bet that they’re powered with Energizer batteries. 


Braydon Coburn
Rolled out of bed, got misdirected by a hurricane, wandered through a prison, and finally made it to the Flyer’s headshot photoshoot. At least, that’s what it looks like. At 6’5” and 220 lbs, we still think Coburn is probably the least-scary giant hockey monster we’ve ever not actually met. We credit this commercial for giving us that opinion, as he brought a surprising amount of natural charisma to make for a very endearing thirty seconds. Hockey commercials are usually funny because of the awful acting. This one was funny for just the opposite. 


Ryan Malone
Joining Coburn in the ranks of people we like because of their hockey commercials is Ryan Malone. To be honest, we don’t care if he DID take more money and fled his hometown to stink it up with the Lightning. He’s got better stats than Steven Stamkos right now, anyway. Besides, after seeing this, we suspect he was sick of being the only person with an outgoing personality on his team. Is it possible that a losing Lightning still beats a winning Penguins when rated on fun and humor? We hope so. 

 

Saku Koivu (and Mikko Koivu
A pair of Finnish hockey brothers, separated by nine years and a thousand miles, the Koivus are as charming as they come. Saku has been with the Canadiens since they drafted him in 1993, while Mikko has been for Minnesota since they drafted him in 2001. With both of them currently captaining their respective teams, it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll ever play on the same side in an NHL match-up. Older brother Saku gets the upperhand for us because of his battle with cancer, and our respect for him having overcome it. 

 

Marc Savard
There were a lot of Bruins competing for this spot, including Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara. Savard got it because of his antics in the game in which they played the Stars. Once again, bias aside, this was really our first impression of Bruins gameplay, and it left us with a bitter taste in our mouths. We fully understand how grating Avery must have been for him, but that gave Savard no excuse to push him into the fetal position and punch him in the head. We wouldn’t even wish that kind of circus on our rivals, which is why we hope the likes of Savard never becomes part of the Stars. 


Eric Staal (and Jordan and Marc and Jared)
Oh, the Staal brothers. Eric and Jordan already have hat tricks this season, and Marc… has only gotten four points in 24 games this season. That’s alright, though. Jared’s still stuck in the minors. We might not be fans of them as individuals per se, but as a group, they’re definitely fun to watch. Maybe we have a harder time loving them as individuals because it’s so hard to tell them apart when they aren’t wearing the colors of their respective teams. We’re even willing to excuse this little incident, because the mental image of hockey superstars wandering drunk on a highway harassing motorists is kind of funny. 

 

That’s all for our SCiaT: SVotN. Feel free to comment and add on to our conclusions, or remind us of heroes and villains that we may have left off the list.

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October 26, 2008

Game Review – 10/25/08 (DAL vs WSH)

by Chelsea

Game:

With all the teams in the NHL hitting the ice tonight, only half could walk away with a full two points. Unfortunately, the Stars were not in that half. Instead, we served as a playground for the Washington Capitals, ending their losing streak and sending them home with a new Russian record. But more on that later.

Kristine and I were there at the AAC to watch in person. Met up with Jen and Caitlin, who were very cool, before the game. It was lots of fun. 🙂 Wanted to meet up with the Sign Girls and Myra before the game as well, but ended up not having enough time. 😦 Another game, maybe?

As for the actual game, I thought the first ten minutes were very promising. There was an interruption seven minutes in when Sergei Fedorov took a penalty for slashing, but the power play didn’t prove to be efficient enough to produce points.

It wasn’t until 10:19 that someone scored, a moment easily remembered as “Oh my god, Sean Avery just did what?”. That’s right. Avery got his first goal as a Dallas Star, and first of the season. I’ll admit that I was impressed. BJ Crombeen fired a slap shot from the blue line, and when Caps goalie Jose Theodore didn’t cover his rebound, Sean Avery scooped it up and tossed it behind him into the net. Mike Modano got the other assist.

It was somewhere in here that we begun to notice that Stephane Robidas did not seem to like Alex Ovechkin. At all.  I did a little research and found no reason for it, but there it was. Robidas repeatedly putting Ovechkin into the boards with excessive force, and even a verbal confrontation between the two. It surprised me, as Robidas doesn’t much care for fist fights (see the last game against the Islanders).

So it only took about a minute after the Avery goal for the Capitals to take the wind completely out of our sails. Crombeen got a minor penalty for slashing at 11:14, and things felt like they slowly drifted downhill from there.

It was on that power play that Fedorov got his first goal of the night, a wrist shot with assists from Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. I did something I don’t usually do in writing the review, and that’s go back and watch the other team’s goal about five hundred times. I wanted to know whose fault this was. Turns out, the official replay is not so helpful. However, it looked to me like Nicklas Grossman allowed Semin to pass the puck to Fedorov, who had a clear shot at our Marty Turco. Brenden Morrow was also a little slow on the uptake, missing an opportunity to block the pass as well. That one I would not count against Turco.

Tied 1-1, we’d lost the only lead we’d take in the game. At 16:58, Capital Tomas Fleischmann broke the tie with help from teammate Michael Nylander. Again, I reviewed the replay. What I saw was this: Fabian Brunnstrom attempted to keep the puck in the offensive zone, but it got picked up by a Capital. Nylander gets it through the defensive zone and passed past Brunnstrom and Avery to Fleischmann. Turco was slow and unable to stop the puck from going in. I think that one can be attributed to both the absent defense but also to our goaltender.

At 19:15, Mike Green tripped up Morrow and got called on it by the officials. During that Dallas Stars power play, Brunnstrom apologized to us all for his slip-ups by scoring a tiemaker goal with ten seconds left in the first. It was like his third goal in his NHL debut; he was right in the netminder’s face, the angle was weird, the hole was small, the pass was nice, and the puck went in. Stephane Robidas and Sean Avery pitched in for the assists.

Went for a pretzel, hot cocoa, and hot dog in intermission and came back to hear Joel Lundqvist complaining about the election in Swedish. We wonder: Do the Swedes (or previously, Finnes) get to pick what they say in Swedish or does someone decide for them? Does Lundqvist really hate election-talk? Does Brunnstrom really have a Bikini Team?

The second period had a lot of Krys Barch in it. Early on, he nearly broke the tie by stuffing the puck in a wrap around attempt, but was blocked by Theodore. He proceeded to run over people until Trevor Daley smacked the puck into the Caps’ bench and got a delay of game penalty. Then he went away for awhile.

While he was chillin’ on the bench, the Stars successfully killed of a power play. Then they turned around and let Fedorov get his second goal of the night. This goal made him the record holder for Russian goal scoring with 470-something goals. Semin and Brooks Laich got the assists. Again, I reviewed it. Niskanen lost a possession battle on the boards, allowing the puck to go into the Stars defensive zone. Fistric did this “I skate backwards in front of you and think that’ll make you just hand over the puck you’re skating very quickly at my goaltender with” thing that he does instead of actually trying to stop the play’s progression. He did attempt to intercept his pass to Fedorov with a poke check, but failed. The pass got through, Fedorov sped past Philippe Boucher, and popped it behind Turco, who seemed to misjudge what Fedorov planned to do completely. I blame this largely on our defense and partially on Turco.

As if we weren’t already suffering from complete momentum drain as it was, it would get worse before it got better. The Stars managed to gain possession of the puck long enough to fire off a couple shots, but it was quickly returned to the back of Turco’s net. This time it was Fleischmann again, and again assisted by Nylander. This one was easy. Turco attempted to clear the puck, it went to Nylander, got picked up by Fleischmann. The only person between him and Turco was Boucher, who went down on one knee to try and block it but failed. Once again, I ask if Turco REALLY should have let this one in. It seemed to me like he was trying too hard and moved out of position too soon.

BJ Crombeen helped patch the 4-2 wound only a few seconds later at 15:55.  This was my favorite goal of the night. Mike Modano carried the puck into the offensive zone and dropped it to Daley. Daley carried it to the net (yes, the person a dropped pass was intended for got it!) and swept it across the crease to Crombeen, who beat out a Washington defenseman for a very nice tip-in.

In a slightly pathetic attempt to shift momentum, or possibly just out of frustration, Krys Barch returned to our attention here with a bang. He did so by taking on Donald Brashear in a fist fight that he really really lost. I’m a fan of Barch, and I was alarmed to see him skate off the ice completely, slightly bloodied, after this confrontation. Both parties got five minute fighting majors, which Barch served almost entirely somewhere else. I assume he was getting a bandaid.

Not to be outdone, Brenden Morrow tripped up Backstrom and took a breather in the penalty box at 18:10. I think he wanted to start the third in the penalty box with almost-lookalike Barch, and he would eventually get his wish. Meanwhile, the rest of the Stars killed off the penalty successfully.

At one point, the Capitals attacked the net so fiercely that it forced Turco to make several very big, sprawling saves, and drove Boucher into attack-mode. At the end of the second, he nearly got into it with Ovechkin, appearing to grab him by the face or neck and shoving him out of Turco’s crease. Officials jumped in before either could earn penalties.

Second intermission involved human bowling, a Razor-Boucher interview I couldn’t hear, cotton candy, and a bottle of water.

Stars started the third period at 4-3.

Barch returned looking nice and healthy and spent 10 seconds in the penalty box with Morrow. Probably picking up how-to-fight-right tips.

I’d been getting frustrated with Loui Eriksson by this point, as he seemed to be turning over the puck a lot. There’s no denying the play he made not even a minute into the period, though, when he tied the game up again for Dallas.

Mike Ribeiro had just finished melting the ice in the neutral zone with a sizzling dash into their offensive zone and took it behind the net to evade Washington’s defensemen. He ricocheted it out in front of the net, where Eriksson swept by and quickly shot it in past Theodore at 00:56.

Granted, it only took the Capitals a few minutes to answer. At 2:22, Tyler Sloan got a wrist shot past Turco, with assists from Viktor Kozlov and Ovechkin. Grossman tried multiple times to shake Washington off the puck, but was unsuccessful. In the end, both Turco and the puck went in the net.

The following ten minutes were very tense. They brought about a new nickname “Really Richards” because we kept finding ourselves going “Really, Richards?” every time he turned a puck over or made a bad pass or missed a pass or otherwise giftwrapped it for the Capitals. Also playing sloppy were Sean Avery and Fabian Brunnstrom, who kept falling down. There were penalties on Ovechkin and Semin, but Washington’s PK beat off our PP.

Then at 15:26, in our epic struggle to force overtime, Sean Avery stuck his stick in someone’s face and got a two minute for hi-sticking. If I’d been anywhere near the penalty box, I probably would have yelled at him. No joke.

Luckily, this time, our PK beat off their PP. Not only that, our PK had so much hustle that Toby Petersen managed a shorthanded breakaway. It was stopped, and both the play and the hustle continued.

Just when all hope seemed lost, Marty Turco (cough, finally) left the net and put on an extra attacker with a minute left to go. It didn’t take long. Veteran, all-star, superstar, rockstar Mike Modano came through big time at 19:03 when he received a pass from behind-the-net Morrow and shoveled it right in to tie the game 5-5. Oh, Mo, we love you so.

Regulation ended. Overtime began.

Stars had possession for maybe two minutes, getting a couple shots off. Then, Semin swept around Turco’s net with the puck, barely contested. Daley stood in his shooting lane, possibly screening Turco? and Semin got the game-winning goal. Boyd Gordon and Green got the assists.

Notes:

  • The game’s three stars, in order: Fedorov, Modano, Semin.
  • Marty Turco let in 6 goals on 30 shots for a bland .800 sv%. His total GAA is now stinking it up again at 4.26.
  • Robidas led the team in TOI with 27 minutes.
  • James Neal led in hits, with 5.
  • Mike Modano led in shots on goal (6) and +/- (+2)
  • Conclusion: Finishing with an OT loss seems to be describing our entire season so far. We try and try and yet something doesn’t connect right in the end. I think that the young defense is looking to Turco to lead them, and he’s not coming through. Time to test out Baby T yet?
Official SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-two for being partially responsible for a goal and one for attempting to make up for it in the end; -1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one for being the only defensemen who didn’t screw up in this game; +3
Matt Niskanen: minus-two for not playing well when we needed strong defense; -2
Trevor Daley: two for the assist, minus-two for some defensive stupidity, and one for the final hustle in the third; +1
Mike Modano: three for the goal, two for each assist, and one for forcing OT; +8
Brenden Morrow: two for each assist and one for having some nice hits; +5
Krys Barch: two for the fight, minus-one for losing it, and one for perseverance in the game; +2
Sean Avery: three for the goal, two for the assist, minus-two for sloppy play, and minus-two for getting a dumb penalty at a crucial time; +1
Toby Petersen: one for the breakaway: +1
James Neal: two for leading in hits, minus-one for some lame giveaways; +1
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal, two for the assist, and minus-two for otherwise being sloppy; +3
Mark Fistric: one for showing a little improvement, minus-two for still playing like a giant oaf; -1
Marty Turco: three for the huge saves made during PK and minus-one for each bad goal he let in; -1
Philippe Boucher: three for the shots he blocked, minus-two for those he didn’t, and one for the confrontation with Ovechkin; +2
BJ Crombeen: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for being the best rookie out there; +6
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist and one for not being sloppy; +3
Brad Richards: minus-two for sloppy, minus-one for losing so many faceoffs, and minus-one for having so little positive impact; -4
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal, one for effort, minus-two for sloppy; +2