Last night was disappointing, but–sadly–not surprising.
The Hurricanes that scratched and clawed their way to the ECF were, in the end, gassed and surpassed. The aliens didn’t take them away and replace them with the Pod People, they didn’t “just give up”, and they sure as hell aren’t “scrubs”. They just didn’t have anything left in the tank (except for Eric Staal–who will be the next Warchief, but he can’t carry the whole team on his back), and it showed.
Such is hockey.
Congrats, Penguins. You were the better team this series, and it showed. Luck in the next round, and I just have two words for you now:
*: If Chicago somehow pulls it out in the WCF, all bets are off.
Bleh. That’s all I have to say about that. Bleh.
This series is going to end on Tuesday unless the Hurricanes do the following:
1) The defence has to pull their collective head out and actually get in the game. Tim Gleason, I’m talking to you. Anton Babchuk, I’m talking to you. Dennis Seidenberg, ich rede mit dir. Expecting Cam to do all the work for you is grossly unfair, don’t you think? Dudeman was PISSED last night, and I don’t blame him one bit for it because he is getting less than no help from his defense. At least three of Malkin’s goals (not to mention a couple of other goals from Crosby and, say, Letang) in this series don’t happen if the defense? doesn’t fall down on the job and manages to clear the puck away from the net or even play the body. The refs have put the whistles away for the playoffs; the least the Hurricanes can do is actually get physical like they need to.
2) The best players on the team play like it. What is so hard about camping in front of Fleury, driving to the net, and doing something other than just firing the puck in the general direction of the net from ten feet out and hoping it goes in?? Come on guys–Chad LaRose may be the Chuck Norris of hockey, but the little dude can only do so much. There’s gotta be more traffic in front of the net, there’s gotta be more consistency that I am just not seeing.
Actually, I take that second part back–mostly–because:
3) Chairman Mo has got to have some faith in his fourth line, for once. Actually, he should have had some faith in his fourth line in the first and second rounds too. Not letting them see the ice more than once a period (if that) has left the rest of the forwards more or less gassed. He’s reverted to type, refusing to roll four lines and running his top three lines into the dirt. That’s not how you win a Cup or even avoid getting humiliated in the Conference Finals, dude. I suggest he watch some tapes from 2006 and see how Lavi did it (despite what the Slugfans will tell you, he won by–among other things–rolling all four lines consistently).
And people wonder why I refuse to believe the man has changed any during his time away from the team. Sheesh.
OK, let’s clear a few things up about last night:
1) THERE IS NO FREAKING CONSPIRACY ON THE PART OF THE NHL, THE OFFICIALS, OR ANY OTHER ENTITIES TO GET THE CAPITALS INTO THE PLAYOFFS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE HURRICANES. SO STOP COMMENTING AND SENDING ME E-MAULS WITH THAT SPECIOUS ARGUMENT, BECAUSE IT HOLDS ABOUT AS MUCH WATER AS A LEAKY SIEVE.
2) I shouldn’t have to write that in all-caps, but nothing gets on my tits more than whining about officiating after a loss.
3) Alex Ovechkin is a fun player to watch and he has leet skillz, but he can be a dirty bastard who gets away with a lot more than he should.
4) Scoring overcomes crappy officiating.
5) The Hurricanes were outplayed from the first puck-drop to the final buzzer. So stop whining.
6) The Hurricanes hold their destiny in their hands.
7) Meredith in Richmond can bite me–and on Friday, I’m going to kick her of the top of Pilot Mountain Jet Li style to drive the point home.
8 ) EJ Hradek can bite me. Him and that damnable towel of his. *shakes fist*
9) I’m going to do my work today and let the Hurricanes do whatever it is that they’re going to do.
10) I’m cutting my hair. Those of you who know me well know how significant that is.
Canes take on the Lightning at 7:00 tonight. Be there or be square.
Yeah, so last night was Tuomo Ruutu’s debut in the Sightless Eye.
I knew it was going to be interesting when I heard 96Rock’s Foster dub him “The Bishop” as I was driving home from work. I just didn’t know how interesting it would be.
Second shift, Ruutu rocked Colin White with a big hit (that he really should have been levied a boarding call for) and immediately endeared himself to the TSB Goon Squad (and everyone else in the arena). Mike Rupp responded by Orpiking Tim Gleason, who had to be helped off the ice with an unspecified head injury and didn’t return, and that little tease Bret Hedican made me think he was going to throw down in defence of his sidekick–but no, such was not to be. It was all just a tease. Get me all excited for null comma nichevo. Damn elves…can never trust ‘em. Especially when they own-goal and spoil the shutout.
So it was up to Wade Brookbank, who stepped to Rupp and administered a partial beatdown (I say partial, because it was more wrasslin’ match than fight). And that was the end of the first–more or less. The game settled down, more or less, in the second and third. The crowd was up in arms when three Devils basically held The Chosen One back while that whiny little bitch Marty Brodeur took a couple shots at him–Staal responded by going RAWR! and putting Brodeur on his ass (to the delight of the crowd and the dismay of Devils
homer colour dude Chico Resch). Ruutu wound up leaving the game toward the end of the third after Patrik Elias accidentally-on-purpose (IMO) clipped him by one eye with his stick.
The game went to OT, and Sergei Samsonov wound up potting the game-winner. And the Devils, after the game, actually had some praise for the ‘Canes:
“They played a lot better game — that’s the bottom line. That’s a different team than we’ve seen in the first three games. They played like the Carolina team we know. They were playing hard, they put a lot of good things out there, they were aggressive, and we didn’t come with the same desperation they did. And it showed.” — Jamie Langenbrunner
Why thank you. Thank you very much.
9 games to go until I render my final opinion of the Ruutu trade. Go Canes.
What a week:
My computer falls victim to the Great Collapsing Table Disaster.
I get smacked down hard by the flu.
The Warchief (well, his knee) falls victim to shithappensitis–contrary to what some foolio on on X Random Messageboard is positing–and all the talking heads pronounce the season over.
The Hurricanes win three straight–with the third game taking place ~2h after a State game–and effectively give the finger to the aforementioned talking heads. They’re not dead yet!
I’d say “cool”, but really only the last one is cool. The first three really suck.
Monday we’ll see if the ‘Canes can make it 4 in a row when they venture into the fetid swamps of The Garden State to take on the Devils.
When I said in my previous post that I didn’t want the Hurricanes to win the SE if it meant that they’d be third-by-default, I wasn’t expecting the Atlanta Thrashers to take me seriously. But y’know? I’m glad they did, because I was starting to get worried that a team that really doesn’t seem to give half a damn would actually make it into the playoffs.
ATTN HURRICANES: YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH TALENT TO WIN ON TALENT ALONE.
Last season, I didn’t care. This season, I care but I am trying not to start smoking again. If it’s not fans on x Random Messageboard gettin’ all bipolar, it’s the team choking a gods-damned tie in Hogtown.
HOW THE HELLS DO YOU CHOKE A TIE?!
So, some highlights from last night:
Borer = keeper
Ladd and Cole get a stay of execution. Good to see Sergei the Keebler Elf finally get on teh scoreboard this season. I only fault the Cam and Mike Show for two of those goals.
AND THEN THERE IS OUR DEFENCE:
Dennis? Ich hab’ dich lieb, but if we get the chance to get somebody better for you then you gotta go.
Timmay, dunno what your issue has been the last few games but the flu only lasts but so long yanno?
Frankie? I’ll take the Dread Master over him.
Wes is doing the best he can.
Commodore? Package him up with Atlanta Frankie and see if we can bribe the Avs into parting with Liles.
And for the painful part:
Something is seriously physically wrong with the Warchief, I don’t think that it’s the flu, and I am now convinced that he suffers from Hedicanitis because he’s being a selfish bastard by not being up-front with people or teh org about what his issue is. Gods it hurt to say that.
This team is killin’ me here. When I’d rather watch CSI reruns on Spike than watch a ‘Canes game? That’s saying some shit right there.
AND BEFORE ANYONE SAYS ANYTHING: I expect that Dwayne Klessel will have Yet Another Staal-To-$TEAM Rumour<tm> up by this afternoon–but really? Unless it’s for like Ovechkin or somebody else like that, Staal won’t go anywhere. He is The Chosen One, there is no way that JimR will get rid of him unless it’s for some absolutely ridiculous return coming our way. Just sayin’.
(p.s. Dammit Thrashers, why did you have to stop at 5 goals last night?!)
26 August 1994. The Hartford Whalers have been sold to Peter Karmanos, and he wants to send a message to the fans that the team intends to “win now.” New GM Jim Rutherford decides to make a splash by signing Boston Bruins blueliner Glen Wesley to an RFA offer sheet, and Boston’s then-GM Harry Sinden spooges himself at the chance to stick it to a division rival. Sinden elects not to match, and the Whalers are forced to give up three first-round draft picks.
Draft Day 1995. Harry Sinden rubs his hands with glee as he steps to the podium and uses the first of Hartford’s generous gifts to draft Tacoma Rockets defenceman Kyle McLaren. Jim Rutherford drafts goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who goes on to win a Cup with the Anaheim Ducks. Kyle McLaren goes on to become notorious for trying to drive Richard Zednik’s nose into his brain-stem with his elbow in the 2002 playoffs, and eventually is traded to the San Jose Sharks.
Draft Day 1996. Harry Sinden grins like an idiot as he drafts Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Johnathan Aitken with the second of Hartford’s generous gifts. Jim Rutherford drafts left winger Trevor Wasyluk in the second round. Aitken flames out in spectacular fashion and goes on to play in the DEL for Klagenfurt. Wasyluk never even sniffs the NHL, and eventually retires from hockey in 2003.
Draft Day 1997. Harry Sinden gleefully uses the third wish provided him by the Hartford genie and drafts forward Sergei Samsonov (who at the time was playing with the IHL’s Detroit Vipers). The Hartford Whalers have moved to North Carolina and are now the Carolina Hurricanes. Jim Rutherford drafts defenceman Nikos (Don’t call me Chris!) Tselios with a draft pick gotten from Detroit in the Brendan Shanahan trade. Samsonov wins the Calder Trophy that season. Tselios plays a whopping two games with the Hurricanes, and eventually leaves the Hurricanes’ system during the Season From Hell.
8 January 2008: In a strange twist of irony, Sergei Samsonov is picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes after being put on waivers by the Chicago Blackhawks–Samsonov’s third team in about as many years.
Hey, it’s only about 10 years or so too late. Ever since that Finals run with Edmonton in ’06, the man just hasn’t been “all there”. It’s like the guy just went into check-cashing mode, which is not what we need on this team right now. What do I think about the pickup? Uhh…no. I think that JimR should have gotten over Black Friday and called Brian Burke to offer a draft pick for Bryzgalov so that this team could have a goaltender that could be a clear Number One rather than continuing the John Grahame Experiment (and don’t get me started on the classless idiots on x Random Messageboard who decided to send ol’ Crackers off with some pathetic STD smack). I think that we could have done better than Samsonov.
Another fool on x Random Messageboard is taking people to task for refusing to be all ZOMGYAYW00TOMFGBBQ!!!1 over this acquisition–”wait and see–remember Cullen?” Yeah, well Cullen played in seriously defensive systems before coming here, sunshine. So I’ll wait and see just how much Samsonov manages to live down to his recent career (lack of) performance.
Just sayin’. Oh yeah–and the Hurricanes take on the Bruins tonight. If Samsonov scored the game-winner against them, then it really would be kinda ironic.
OK, this every-other crap has got to stop. Mind you, Friday’s win over the Capitals was no great shakes either–I’ll take that two points thank you kindly, but really. A little consistency would be good. Hells, the October ‘Canes would be good.
I don’t know what’s more frustrating to me, our sputtering power play or the toolbags IN OUR OWN FANBASE that are pissing and moaning that they’ve lost respect for Lavi or that the team sucks or that half the team needs to be traded RIGHT NOW.
Of course, these are the same idiots that piss and whine when we lose, and then turn around and say “YEAH GO TEAM GO WOOOO” when we win. So whatever.
The Hurricanes aren’t hitting anymore–except for Dennis, und Herzlichen Dank für ihn. OK, and Timmay too. Almost forgot him. But it’s like everyone else has suddenly decided to take a powder or something, and it makes me tear my hair out in frustration because I know what’s wrong, and I know that the team must know what’s wrong, but they’re not doing anything about it. They’re not skating. They’re trying to go for the cute pass and the “perfect” shot and all this other crap. They’re better than that. They know that, I know that, everyone except the biggest idiots from X Random Messageboard knows that.
But until knowledge translates into action, this team is going to keep sputtering and flaking out and driving me even more insane than I already am. Maybe this 8-1 beatdown will wind up being what the doctor ordered.
According to Two Minutes for Blogging (and given the “fairly confident it happened” substantiation by the Washington Post’s Tarik El-Bashir), Alex Ovechkin got into a little dust-up with Evgeni Malkin’s agent and bruised (or broke, depending on the translation) the guy’s jaw.
AO, however, denies it–which, of course, did not stop Russian jock-gossip rag Sport Express from running with the story.
True or not, it’s still fun to imagine Don Cherry kicking over from the shock of a Russian actually fighting.