Scattered Thoughts for A Monday Morning
|THE CANADIAN PRESS|
|Martin Brodeur tied the NHL wins record on Saturday.|
When it comes to Martin Brodeur, one can only wonder what might have been and marvel at what is.
If Brodeur had entered the NHL 17 years ago as a member of an Original Six team or even one of the NHL's more high profile franchises, his reputation and profile would have been that much larger even if he hadn't accomplished that much.
He almost certainly would be better paid.
As it is, Brodeur, tied today as the winningest goalie in NHL history with Patrick Roy, wakes up today as the 60th highest paid player in the NHL. Nine goalies - Evgeny Nabokov, Cristobal Huet, Tomas Vokoun, Marty Turco, Miikka Kiprussof, J.S. Giguere, Nikolai Khabibulin, Roberto Luongo and Henrik Lundqvist - earn a higher salary than Brodeur, a near laughable reality.
Choosing to be a Devil for so long, and choosing to take less to leave more for teammates in the salary cap era, has created this unusual economic story, unusual in that none of the netminders listed above have accomplished anything close to that which Brodeur has accomplished.
Interesting on Saturday night to hear and see Don Cherry rail against those who spent the week providing coverage of the fighting issue off the GMs meetings in Florida rather than focusing on the playoff races.
So the guy who talks fighting every single week, rain or shine, whether there's a reason at hand or not, is suddenly cheesed off that fighting it being discussed.
It's right up there with Cherry professing to be upset because somebody else - Alex Ovechkin - is behaving too flamboyantly.
Or holding up Bob Probert - major drug and alcohol problems, frequent run-ins with police - as a model of what a Detroit Red Wing should be while at the same time professing to lecture to kids.
Ahh, nothing like a whiff of hypocrisy.
Don't know about you, but watching Dion Phaneuf play on Saturday night against the Maple Leafs sure reminded me a lot of the type of game Bryan McCabe used to deliver regularly at the ACC.
Those who watch the Calgary Flames play regularly would tell you that's Phaneuf's game, all over the map and with constant improvisations, particularly in his own end. Can't see him on the Canadian Olympic team at this point.
Interesting to see that the instigator rule is already being called more aggressively. In Sunday's tilt between the Rangers and Flyers in Manhattan, Philly captain Mike Richards levelled Nikolai Zherdev with a fierce but clean hit. Dan Girardi of the Rangers jumped in to fight Richards, and was subsequently assessed 2, 5 and 10 for instigating.
That's exactly the way in which that penalty needs to be used. What's interesting still, however, is that Richards is forced to go to the box for five minutes simply for protecting himself when all he did was deliver a legal check.
For doing so, he gets pummelled and penalized, which still makes it a good trade-off for the Rangers, right?
The correct penalty would be a game misconduct for Girardi. That would be fair.
In the Saturday game between the same two teams, meanwhile, Richards was given an elbowing penalty when New York forward Brandon Dubinsky faked as though he'd been hit in the head in the open ice when the contact had really been shoulder-to-shoulder. Despicable, really.
If the NHL wants to head such soccer-style shenanigans off at the pass, they'd suspend Dubinsky for a game.
A mercy rule in a major international tournament featuring professionals?
Sorry, but that makes the World Baseball Classic a write-off for me.
WALKS LIKE A DUCK
Brian Burke could never have imagined that he'd have left Anaheim for Toronto and ended up with the more successful team.
But that could end up being the case. As of today, the Ducks have 70 points in the NHL standings, just one more than the Maple Leafs. Playing in the tougher Western Conference, of course, has something to do with it, but it sure is evidence of how the 2007 Stanley Cup champions have fallen.
Moreover, with Burke gone, the Ducks are rarely newsworthy any more. It was largely because of him that a team in Orange County, California somehow became one of the most talked about clubs in the NHL.
Just as Sidney Crosby was a big part of the reason the Penguins stayed in Pittsburgh, its worth wondering if John Tavares could ending up meaning the same. . . to the Phoenix Coyotes.
Don't look now, but a Phoenix team that was in striking distance of a playoff berth at the all-star break has crashed to earth and is now in striking distance of the Islanders for dead-last overall in the NHL.
Tavares, quite obviously, would give the Coyotes a true marquee name in the desert for the first time since they moved there from Manitoba. Having Wayne Gretzky coach hasn't sold tickets, but a player with star quality might.
And if he goes to Long Island? Quite frankly, at this point I wouldn't wish that on anybody.
GENERALS NEVER SURRENDER
Tavares' former junior team, the Oshawa Generals, ended up missing the OHL playoffs by a single point, an impressive showing, really, by a team that gave up the present for the future in dealing Tavares to London.
Kudos to GM/head coach Chris DiPiero for keeping the Gens competitive.