Random Ramblings From Around the League:
-Pat Kane will miss his first game in the last 117, and his first ever since beginning his career with Chicago, today, with a high ankle sprain. :(
- Last night Scott Oake interviewed a Brenden Morrow in street clothes and asked him about the Sean Avery/Distractions/Stars Slow start. Morrow said, "Unfortunately he did take a lot of the blame - whether it was warranted or not."
Not sure if that's a PR type answer, but I found it interesting. Blame Sean Avery all you want, there was more going on in Dallas. And they were playing better. Unfortunately last night's game got them nothing more than a 4-1 loss to once rival Edmonton.
-Sorry I missed all of the opening of HNIC, but I caught After Hours. Looks like there was a story on Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner, and Tom Gilbert living together. Those are always the best, because it just shows young guys, being young guys. Good stuff.
-Quite an ending to the Canadian/Russian tilt last night. Edmonton fan and draft pick, Jordan Eberle, ties the game at 5 with 5.4 seconds to go, to force overtime, and a shootout. Eberle and golden child Jon Tavares would score in the shootout, lifting Canada to the Gold Medal Game against Sweden this week.
What controversy? The NHL gives the fans the right to vote in whomever they want to start the game. That's a fact. Credit the fans of Pittsburgh for wanting so badly to right the ship, that they began voting - and rightfully so - for Malkin and Crosby to be starters for the big game.
You can say that all fans should be more responsible and vote for the best and not the popularity vote. But, come on, now. Most of us who went to high school can attest that just doesn't happen.
Montreal for their 100th anniversary and All-Star game wanted to have all Habs on the roster. Fine. No different than the Yankees fans stuffing their ballot boxes to get way more Yankees than were actually deserving to play in the last All-Star game at the Stadium this past summer.
Is it right? Probably not. But it's not surprising.
The only thing that is perhaps a little off, is anyone trying to justify these players getting selected on merit. NHL.com's writeup where the fans must have looked past Mike Komisarek's numbers to realize what more he has to offer, is just silly. He's a great D-man. But an All-Star this year. . . sorry, no.
The right people will still go. I think people just have to pay less attention to "starters," knowing what they do about how they are selected.
Obviously if I were voting - and no, I did not - Ovechkin and Tim Thomas would have been in there for the East. But I'm confident they'll get to go. Although Boston should have a lot more than one representative, and if Marc Savard does not get a tip, it's yet another year he's overlooked for how great he his.
Guys like Jeff Carter and Zach Parise should also be rewarded for their great years.
For the Rangers, if anyone goes, it should be Hank. If he doesn't want to, Marc Staal should be considered, even if there is no "real" hitting in the game. If anyone else goes from New York, it will be a joke.
Out West, Kane and Toews are fine by me. Obviously. J.S. Giguere is always a favorite, and he'll be going back home. I think there should have definitely been a push for some Sharks or Wings on the starting ballot, but I'm also sure they will be there come game time.
Overall, just keep in mind that it is, merely, what it is. I happen to enjoy All-Star games, for pretty much everything but the actual game. . .the interviews, the mic'd up goalies, the skills competition - even if that has lost some luster. The game itself, after all, means very little. If Montreal wants to live it up, let them. How many other franchises have been around that long and accomplished so many remarkable things. It'll be quite a show, I'm sure.
-If you want Rangers news, pick up the NY Post today. Not only is their the usual 2 articles - Slapshots and a write-up of whatever Rangers game happened Saturday night, but there is an interview with Tom Renney (gasp), and Hank Lundqvist featured on Page Six Magazine.
-I recommend you do not eat anything while reading the Renney interview. It reads much like his post-game interviews. I find it interesting he talks so extensively of 9-11 and how much it meant to him, and continues to mean to him. Perhaps that makes me less surprised he picked a Canadian-molded American for his team captain. Of course his international career in ice hockey make me wonder how happy he is to have 3 Swedes on the team. You'd think the team colors alone would be enough to set him off.
**Random side note, on Renny, btw. I missed this quote from him after Monday's game against the Isles about one Petr Prucha. Courtesy of Ranger Rants and Andrew Gross: http://njmg.typepad.com/rangersblog/2008/12/watch-out.html
"Renney said he expects Petr Prucha to remain in the lineup, at least for the next few games. Renney said he is looking for some "sustainability" out of Prucha's game, meaning he needs to see exactly what he got last night. Prucha has gone in and (mostly) out of the line because he hasn't shown sustainability in his game.
Prucha said he does not and has not wanted to be traded despite his lack of playing time and, for the most part, does not think or worry about the fact that he does not have a contract with the Rangers past this season.
"Not unless you remind me," Prucha said, when I asked him about it.
To which I say, sustainability my @ss!**
-As for the Hank article in Page Six, it's a good read. He is a unique player. A unique person. And as unassuming a superstar as this team may ever see. It's both intriguing and refreshing.
I just hope they don't ruin him!!
-Lastly, Larry Brooks' article on the game speaks about how the Rangers "specialty teams" are anything but "special." They might just cost this team a playoff berth in the end.
My personal favorite though:
"The shame of it is that the Rangers and the coaching staff seem unable to reverse the season-long follies on the PP. PP? Hey, maybe that's a signal head coach Tom Renney should recognize - PP, as in Petr PruchaPetr Prucha , who scored for the second straight game and is the team's most potent, if unused and thus dormant, weapon with the man advantage.
Of course, it only took half a season for Renney to recognize what Prucha has to offer at even-strength, so it's probably unwise to expect too much. "
So true, Larry. So true.
And what a shame that, of course, Prucha and Valiquette's really solid all around efforts will be lost in yet one more game where their flailing PP lost them a game. And not like they had anything really to do about it. Ideally, a goalie should not be so tested on his team's own PP. And ideally the only guy on this team that has recently scored 16 PP goals in a year, should really be on it.
Sense? Nah, we don't play with sense in Rangerland.
-It's been commented upon, and granted I was a little late to pick up on it, but the news is no less sad today. A tragedy really.
If all players, everywhere, have to tighten helmets so this does not happen, so be it. A small price to pay.
Rest in Peace, Don Sanderson. You never like to hear of things like this happening, and hopefully we never will again.