Just, Well, Weird
Another day in La-La Land, another day of hand-wringing about the pervasive influence of the Canadian media. Bizarre. Utterly bizarre.
Today it was columnist Helene Elliott in the L.A. Times chiding members of the Canadian media for slamming hockey interest in SoCal and supposedly favoring the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup final against Anaheim.
"The Canadian media have cast the Senators in the role of Canada's Team, even though the Ducks have more sons of the True North on their roster than do the Senators. And the label may not even be accurate.
"Maple Leafs fans rarely care about anything that happens outside of Toronto, otherwise known as the Center of the Hockey Universe, so their support of the Senators is probably minimal, if it exists at all."
This stuff is so utterly idiotic it's hard to even comment on it, particularly in a U.S. state with a larger population than all of Canada. More to the point, readers of the newspaper must be utterly confused by this silliness, which seems to roughly equate newspapers and television in Canada with state-controlled media from the old Soviet Union, thinking en masse and according to some approved national policy.
But on to more interesting stuff.
The Ducks won Game 1 last night, and deserved it. That said, the Sens weren't completely awful, just their top forwards were. Peter Schaefer, Mike Comrie and Antoine Vermette were pretty effective, while Anton Volchenkov blocked 10 shots and Chris Phillips was strong. But the nature of the Cup final is that the winner did everything right and the loser did everything wrong; such are the broad brushstrokes that color the post-match canvas.
The Ducks received a very good game from their checking line of Sammy Pahlsson between Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen, and for that, Anaheim fans should send cards and letters of appreciation to the Calgary Flames.
It was the Flames, after all, who tired of Niedermayer partway through the 2002-03 season and sent him to the Ducks for defenceman Mike Commodore and goalie J.F. Damphousse. The Flames later traded Commodore away for little in return and Damphousse never made it, so not a great deal for Calgary.
While streaky and inconsistent throughout his career, Niedermayer has been very good for the Ducks. Moreover, if he hadn't been in Anaheim, it's unlikely his superb brother, Scott, would have signed with the Ducks last summer as a free agent.
It was Calgary that also initially drafted Moen out of the Kelowna Rocket juniors in 2000 with the 155th pick. But the Flames were on a bit of an economy kick and chose not to sign Moen, who later joined Chicago as a free agent and was eventually dealt to Anaheim.
All he did in Game 1 was score the winning goal - with assists from Niedermayer, R., and Niedermayer, S.
Interestingly, the Flames have no 2000 draft picks currently on their roster, but along with Moen, Jarrett Stoll (46th overall) and defenceman Kurtis Foster (40th overall) were players selected by Calgary that the Flames chose not to sign to contracts. Stoll went back into the draft, Foster's rights were traded to Atlanta and today all three players - Moen, Stoll and Foster - are playing in the NHL.