With the Leafs off a couple of days, it’s time to cover a little ground we have viewed but thus far avoided taking the lawn-mower to this season.
First, the rush to judgment on these new NHL rules has been dizzying. All of a sudden, everything is great. The game, the pace, the flow, the penalties – just great. Turn on TSN, for example, and it seems five minutes can't go by without this reminder.
Bloggers like Jordan Cooper have turned up in the past few days with a different outlook. Get a grip, says Tom Benjamin (no permalink, it seems, but scroll down to Oct 11 entry, for a nice one, and a second entry below parsing Gary Bettman).
Hey, the season is barely a week old. I’ve hardly had the chance to go around the league, but so far, from a Leafcentric perspective, I’ve seen one wonderful game – Toronto-Ottawa on Monday night was a pulse-pounder start to finish – and some developments that, overall, are pleasing (the two-line pass, for one) and some that aren’t (mysterious penalty calls; the inanity of shootouts, but we knew that).
Apart from those shootouts, these are just that -- developments. Check in on ‘em at the end of the month, then at Christmas. If you must, Grant Kerr at the Globe tosses some early numbers and impressions at you.
|Preds were 3-for-9 on the power play last night. The Timmins Tornado started Nashville's comeback win with the extra man.|
Last night, flipping around the (temporarily free, so
endure enjoy it while you can) Centre Ice package, there was a wondering-out-loud moment from the Avalanche broadcasters, after another early nip-and-tug was being called a penalty -- on Tuesday night, goals were down and so were the penalty calls, and maybe this kind of tight interpretation was in reaction to Tuesday's let-em-go moment in time?
So we pulled out the last four days of sports pages, and adding last night’s numbers, here’s a day-by-day (shootouts not included in the goal totals):
Last night (5 games): 31 goals (6.2 avg), 79 minors called (15.8 avg).
Tuesday (5 games): 26 goals (5.2), 68 minors (13.6).
Monday (8 games): 52 goals (6.7), 115 minors (14.4).
Sunday (3 games): 17 goals (5.7), 36 minors (12.0).
Saturday (12 games): 77 goals (6.4), 186 minors (15.5).
There is a pattern there that makes sense in a d’uh kind of way – the more penalties, the more goals. But apart from that, do you see any trending up or down? Me neither. Serves me right for listening, and like I said, let's wait a while longer.
Oh, and a couple of other things culled from the puckage:
Colorado’s Altitude Network – a house organ, owned by the Avalanche and NBA Nuggets owner -- is showing 40 games in high-definition this season. TSN, a national network which bills itself as a world leader in high-def, has yet to show one.
How bad are the Capitals? They lost 7-2 in Carolina, and the only spunk they showed was at the final buzzer when Witt – rumoured to be on John Ferguson Jr.’s radar screen – gave Brind’Amour a snootful of glove.
I turned the TV off near the end of the second in Colorado. Anyone who can tell me how the Predators came back would be much obliged. The Avalanche had them turned inside out by their passing over the first half of the game, including a couple of lovely two-liners that had the Nashville defence in deep retreat mode.
Oh, all right then. Some local items of interest:
Mark Zwolinski looks at the possibility of a new kid line for the Leafs – and why not, everyone needs a kid line: “Pat Quinn may yet give the trio a go,” he says, but apparently not yet,
You say Marius Czerkawski. I say benched.
Rick Westhead has a good one on another union of hockey players who have a bone to pick with the NHL: the minor leaguers.
And oh yes, the Marlies opened their home schedule last night. Paul Hunter has the story here and captain Marc Moro talks to the Sun's Terry Koshan about how this ain't St. John's.
And here’s a look at single-game ticket prices in the AHL and how the Maple Leafs
robbers owners stack up with the rest of the league:
Most expensive tickets (bottom price-top price, US dollars unless noted)
San Antonio $9.50-$75
Toronto $10-$54 (Cdn)