Okay, tonight we have Canada vs. Russia, and hands up everyone who's pumped.
C'mon, Jes. I'm talkin' to you!
|Canadian defence will have to be on their toes tonight against Evgeni Malkin.|
I could overload you with preview stuff here. But according to my first rule of sports, the bigger the game, the less need to pay attention to all the hoo-ha (I'm betting that McGuire breaks the sound barrier on the pregame show tonight, so I'll be keeping my trigger finger on the mute). Besides, all you need to do is go to your favourite website (Canadian, that is. I kinda like the Star) or a number of hockey blogs (Hockey Nation has a look here; our fave Jes Golbez and James Mirtle have covered off the tournament nicely).
One last thing: a set of picks to get you going in the morning, as Hockey Dirt is putting together a midseason awards bloggers' poll.
(From the same blog: a spunky, blood-spittin' new music video out of Quebec that's clocks in at far less than Coach's Corner and is a whole lot more fun than those two bores -- check it out here (WMP req'd), and nice catch, Martin).
Here's the choices from this corner -- Spencer didn't bother with any comments, the stinker -- and we'll be linking to the overall poll results when they're put up in a day or two. Fire away:
Calder -- CY: Ovechkin. Spencer: Ovechkin (CY comment: Wouldn't it be fun, given this year's crop of rooks, to put together an all-star team of rookies and put them against the sophomores a la the NBA All-Star weekend approach?).
Norris -- CY: Redden. Spencer: Redden. (I wavered on this, from Visnovsky to Chara and finally to Redden, a fine choice, even if Spencer went the same way).
Hart -- CY: Eric Staal. Spencer: Joe Thornton (If "most valuable" means impact, how about Ovechkin's 46 points on a team that has scored only 107 times? Always the toughest call -- Staal isn't even on the Hockey Dirt ballot -- I let my eyes decide, and Staal to me has looked like the most dangerous player on the few occasions I've seen him play.)
Vezina -- CY: Hasek. Spencer: Hasek (Boring, aren't we?)
Lady Byng -- CY: Retire this trophy. Spencer: All the referees. (Even when we're unpredictable, we're predictable).
Selke -- CY: Brind'amour. Spencer: Brind'amour (Honest, there really were other candidates)
Coach of the Year: We both picked Lindy Ruff. (*sigh*)
Comeback: CY: Aren't they all comeback players, except maybe Sergei Fedorov and our old pal Stumpy Thomas? Twist my arm and I'll pick Cujo. Spencer: No pick.
Tough guy: Both pick McGrattan. (You know which game we watched.)
Flop of the year: CY: Patrick Lalime. Spencer: Fedorov. (I wanted to pick someone else, but really, how much more of a flop can you be than getting cut two months into the season?)
Taking a stab at feeding y'all some more links from around the league, and wouldn't you know it, we have a theme:
Dany Heatley returns to Atlanta, where he was a pretty good player. We know about his past, what happened there and why he
wanted needed to leave. So the fans boo him every time he touches the puck. Do they have that "right"? or did they cross a line? Even the Thrashers call out their own fans on this one:
"I was disappointed," Ilya Kovalchuk tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I don't think they should have booed him. I don't think it was right. He didn't do anything wrong."
It's like a tradition to boo former players (hello Vince Carter, see you on Sunday), but knowing the history, the Atlanta fans crossed the line. The Journal-Constitution is running an online poll asking about it, with 38% choosing the 'no big deal' option, and 36% (including myself) picking the 'classless' side.
Speaking of classless fans, the Coyotes return to L.A. tonight - last time they visited, someone in the stands shined a bright red spotlight on goalie Brian Boucher after every goal he allowed. Boucher was professional and brushed it off:
"If I'm worried about a red light shining on me after a goal, I've got some serious issues," he said. "If the fans had pelted me with beer bottles, I would be a little upset about it. But it's not a big deal."
Hope the beer bottle thing isn't coming, but the whole issue of what the fans have a right to do gets taken a little too far, especially in 2005, (Pistons-Pacers brawl, more than one NFL fan running onto the field).
Looks like Hannu Toivonen has pretty much taken over from Andrew Raycroft as Boston's No. 1 puckstopper.
Steve Yzerman returns tonight.
Jeff Carter is skating with Peter Forsberg. (SW)