The Fat Lady Begins Her 2009 NHL Tour

The Fat Lady officially kicked off her 2009 NHL Tour on Tuesday night by singing the Blues in St. Louis. Alex Burrows scored with 19 seconds left in the first overtime period… his 3rd goal of the series…giving the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 win. With the loss, St. Louis became the first to hear the Fat Lady’s song ending their Stanley Cup bid and sent Vancouver to round number two of the playoffs as they swept the Blues in four games.

Roberto Luongo stopped 126 of the 131 shots he faced in the four games, which is good enough for a .962 SV%.

Three of the four games, however, were one-goal affairs…the other, game-two, was a 3-0 decision in which the score was 1-0 after two and the third goal came way of an empty-netter. A sweep, yes…but not a beat-down.

The big gal then hopped a Delta flight to Montreal where she sang a French Opera, (don’t ask me which one…I don’t “do” French Operas), as the Boston Bruins disposed of the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. Like the Blues-Canucks series, it ended in a four game sweep…unlike that series, however,  it truly was a one-sided affair. Boston outscored the Habs 17-6 in the four games.

Michael Ryder scored 4 goals and had 3 assists for the Big Bad Bs while Phil Kessel had 4 goals and a pair of helpers. Marc Savard and David Krejci each had a pair of goals and five points…Krejci finished the four games with a +6 rating. Dennis Wideman chipped in with 4 assists.

Next up for the The Fat Lady…

Well, she could be slated for an appearance in Columbus tonight where the Big Red Borg will be looking to sweep aside the Blue Jackets in their first ever playoff showing.

hmmmm, that tune sounds familiar.

Anyway… going into the post-season the biggest question mark concerning Detroit was the play of goalie Chris Osgood. Well, all he’s done is win all three games started against the CBJs, saving 76 of the 78 shots he’s faced, (.974 GAA). Both shots that got past him came from the stick of R.J. “I would like to order a” Umberger.

Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, the Penguins will also be looking to end it’s series against the Flyers at the very same time as Detroit is trying to finish off the Blue Jackets. The Pens are up 3 games to 1 there. 

So, either Philly or Columbus are gonna have to pull out a win or the Fat Lady is going to be in quite the predicament. Pittsburgh and Columbus aren’t that far apart…but I don’t think even she is so large that she could be in both places at once.

In tomorrow night’s only matchup, the New York Rangers will look to complete the 7-2 seed upset as their 2-1 win last night put them up 3-1 in the series.

New Jersey and Carolina are tied at 2 games apiece going into tonight’s action. And for the record, I thought Marty Brodeur was outside of the blue paint…so the refs were correct in not calling a goalie-interference call when the Canes scored with 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Ducks lead San Jose 2 games to 1 going into game 4 tonight …and last night the Flames evened up their series with the Blackhawks with game five to be played on Saturday back in Chicago.

So, with all of these series possibly coming to an end over the next several days, to sing at them all might call for the Fat Lady to …ahem…spread herself thin.

43 comments Add your comment

jason

April 23rd, 2009
12:51 am

At least Hawks fans know what it’s like when something called “Spirit” gets in the way of a franchise. Unfortunately, they were able to remove the bird. Thrashers fans are stuck with the owners.

ranallo10 (in AT)

April 23rd, 2009
9:07 am

A few things came to my mind when reading this post:

1 — It’s also very nice to see Ryder succeed against the team that cast him off as used goods, and I couldn’t be happier seeing Montreal out of the playoffs. The sense of entitlement that emanates from Montreal fans makes their demise all the more enjoyable (kinda like when the Yankees lose). To heck with the 3rd round pick (in the Schneider trade), I’m happy Patrick Roy II and Co. got sent home so embarrassingly. I maintain my stance that Ryder would’ve helped significantly on this roster. 53 regular season points for $4M might be overpaying, but he’d be a dependable scoring RW for Kovalchuk’s line (which would’ve enabled Little to stay at his natural position). Kovalchuk-Little-Ryder would’ve been a fine top line, in my opinion.

2 — Does it really matter if Brodeur was in the crease or not? I personally feel that the individual situation was a) unintentional (Jokinen was gliding, Brodeur seemed to initiate the contact knowingly), and b) not of enough impact to keep Brodeur from getting reset. However, as the rules stand now I’ve seen many instances of goalie interference called when the tender was outside of the crease but trying to establish position. The situation should dictate the call, and in this instance I think the referees got the call right, but I don’t think it should be dependent upon the blue paint (as Brodeur also said).

I don’t think he was interferred and honestly think his explosion was the culmination of other uncalled interferences (Bayda plowed him over in the second goal of the night, an interference in my opinion that was uncalled and resulted in a goal).

3 — Is there a company that dispenses signing overweight ladies during the playoff seasons? I’m sure if it’s one lady (like the Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny/Santa Claus) that it’d be really hard for her to get to basketball and hockey arenas without her own private charter jet. I have yet to be convinced that the Easter Bunny isn’t somehow cheating, and I’d wager this “Fat Lady” is also using body doubles (or would that be body quadruples?).

Alan

April 23rd, 2009
10:18 am

Don’t look now, but the NHL is looking to finally bring a team back to Toronto.

kracker

April 23rd, 2009
10:49 am

That’s interesting, Alan. This article has the Coyotes as the obvious team to move, as the NHL is subdizing the team with millions of dollars a year. Anyway, nothing is happening for a few years because of the bad economy, Betteman would have to bless the deal, etc.

I was glad to not see the Thrashers mentioned anywhere in the article. :)

Rawhide

April 23rd, 2009
10:59 am

Eric Perrin will be on NHL Live, (XM-204) in the 1:00 hour, I just heard announced on NHL Home Ice a moment ago.

I believe the NHL Channel also carries NHL Live.

Spud Webb

April 23rd, 2009
11:47 am

Calgary vs Hawks game last night was AWESOME. I love this time of the year, though the bags under my eyes suggest otherwise!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With the Thrashers or Sabres were in the second season!!!!
Lundquist and Luango are RIDICULOUS right now! Hate the frogs, bye! And don’t like boston but HOPE they can beat the pens if they meet!!!!!!!!!!

ranallo10 (in AT)

April 23rd, 2009
12:12 pm

One source at the NHL governors level said “there is something happening in Phoenix,” but did not know specifics.

What a ridiculous comment…how can one take any talk seriously when they throw in such an Eklund-esque quote?

J.B.

April 23rd, 2009
2:47 pm

This is off topic, but thought y’all would like to see it.

From Eurohockey.net

http://www.eurohockey.net/news/story.html?id=20090423131758_russia_wins_in_last_preparation_match

“I don’t envy Ovechkin – continued Kovalchuk – even if he plays in a good team now. They have a good shot at the cup even if they are down by one game. But maybe in two years my team will be as good as his and i’ll make the playoffs too. Yes, no NHL goal I scored is worth the two ones I scored against Canada last year, but now it’s a different tournament and we have to restart from scratch”.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but did Kovy just say he’d be in Atlanta in two years or am I reading too much into this/making assumptions here?

Midfield

April 23rd, 2009
3:48 pm

If the Thrashers are not competitive next year, what do you think the chances of Kovalchuk resignin here will be? I won’t risk my money on it for sure.

Russian

April 23rd, 2009
4:05 pm

Kovy will wait at least to the Camp. He will see who is coming, who is leaving. Or He will wait until middle of season. He is not going to take contract at Summer.

scottbravesfan

April 23rd, 2009
4:16 pm

Another team in Toronto is a no brainer and should have been done years ago.

BLitz

April 23rd, 2009
4:49 pm

If the Thrashers make a Brian Campbell like signing as they tried to do last year, between the young players already here, our new pick at #4, I could easily see Kovy signing before camp. I don’t think it will go to the season just so that they avoid another Hossa like situation.

Jason(Darkhorse)

April 23rd, 2009
5:29 pm

So do you all think Komisarek is the one DW may throw tons of money at this year? I know Komisarek said to the media he wants to get a deal done with the Habs to resign. If they don’t have him locked up by July 1st, is he worth the hefty price tag, and the type of player Kovy is wanting the franchise to bring in? A legit top two dman? Hainsey’s former linemate.

Tim

April 23rd, 2009
7:01 pm

Jason, Komisarek have been responsible for a lot of bad goal at bad time this season, including in the playoff. So to answer your question, I don’t know. I have a feeling that a lot of team will throw him a lot of money but not what Campbell got last season kind of money. If we can get him on a 4 mil a year contract, that would be good. If more, I would say no.

R. Stroz

April 23rd, 2009
9:02 pm

Go Blue Jackets, win one for Donny boy.

Tim

April 23rd, 2009
9:53 pm

Detroit win. So Thrashers are still not the only hockey club without a playoff win. :D

R. Stroz

April 23rd, 2009
10:05 pm

Playoff Predictions:

The Detroit Red Wings sweep the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So far, I’ve predicted every outcome correctly.

Tony C.

April 24th, 2009
12:26 am

Orrrrrr.. #17’s saying that in two years, he will be on a good team-he didn’t sa a good team in Atlanta.

Brendan

April 24th, 2009
12:50 am

Do we jump for Joy now? Is this how it works? The Columbus Blue Jackets ALSO REMAIN winless in the playoffs, as an organization, so … therefore … somehow Atlanta looks better by comparison?

Ask yourselves this question. “If Columbus had won a game, or even, if Atlanta had defeated the Rangers for 1 victory in 2007, would it make Atlanta any less inept?” Would it make us “accountable” for results? Would 1 playoff win have CHANGED where the AS, LLC sets its budget?

In my view, the answers to all of these questions is “no.” Personally, I like the CBJ’s. As one of my 2009 “adopted Western Conference teams,” (something that changes for me every year,) along with Chicago, I was rooting for Columbus to win the series. I’m disappointed that they gave up so many goals in this series. I have forgotten what the GAA was, but I’d have to think it was up over 4 goals per game. And well, the Jackets weren’t going to beat ANYONE, let alone, Detroit, with this kind of number. I wish Columbus the best of luck, as they move forward, preparing themselves for next season, at the draft, and in free agency. R.J. Umberger, whom they acquired from Philadelphia for a 2nd round pick, did not fail to live up to his recent playoff success. By my last count, he had at least three goals in this series. Last year, he was a standout for the Flyers. Rick Nash finally scored a playoff goal. I think Rick Nash hits the open market in 2010. Didn’t he sign a 5-year deal right after the lockout ended? I imagine CBJ GM Scott Howson will approach Nash with a proactive contract.

If Kovalchuk and Nash both hit the open market at the same time, I think GM’s will be chomping at the bit to pay big $$$ for them. Had Atlanta kept either Heatley or Hossa, and drafted Nash instead of Lehtonen in 2002, one wonders how the organization would have been able to retain all three, especially at a greatly reduced payroll.

Alan

April 24th, 2009
6:56 am

Pit a club like the Red Wings against any young, up-and-coming club, and you’ll get beaten in a very major way. I love my Wings, but I was really hoping to see Columbus squeak out a win last night.

The Joker

April 24th, 2009
12:12 pm

Why does Don Waddell wait till the offseason to re-sign players?

Because he is confident his managerial skills will insure the longest offseason possible.

Brendan

April 24th, 2009
1:02 pm

Longevity of the offseason does appear to be an issue.

Dwayne

April 24th, 2009
1:10 pm

is calling the singing lady fat PC?

Jason(Darkhorse)

April 24th, 2009
1:14 pm

Here is TSN’s offseason review of the Thrashers. I thought it was pretty unbiased, especially coming from Canadian media. Disagreed with the writer somewhat on who he thought should be the answer for FA forwards with Antropov maybe being the exception. I think DW is gonna have to depend on the trade front to bring in a big time player. We’ll see….

http://www.tsn.ca/columnists/scott_cullen/?id=276292

Rawhide

April 24th, 2009
1:16 pm

Dwayne – No…no it isn’t. But then again, no one ever accused me of ever being PC. :cool:

Besides…I received pre-approval to refer to her by that name from her agent.

Viking

April 24th, 2009
1:20 pm

Off the topic, but check out what NHL.com is writing about Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson, which potentially could be a draft option for the Thrashers. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=417287

As I have somewhat mentioned before and as they point out in the article, when his stats are compared the North American draftees, we should keep in mind he has been playing in a tougher, professional “grown-ups” league. Seeing 5-8 min. of play per game with minimal power play time.

Tony C.

April 24th, 2009
1:55 pm

I thought he played on the left side though Viking???

The only forward spot I’d say we are “OK” to “Good” on is LW…if the kid can play the right side, let’s see.

BLitz

April 24th, 2009
2:04 pm

Great link Jason(DH). Anything can happen but it looks like our best option according to the article is to trade Lehtonen. I hope they do that and get us something big in return like a top forward.

Viking

April 24th, 2009
2:50 pm

Magnus P-S is a Leftie while they call him RW in the article, but I have seen videos where he is skating all over the place. But he just turned 18 and today’s LW/RW status for our team might not be tomorrow’s.

Just saw a blog about the draft options and speculations for the Kings, picking just after us, where it appears the consensus hope we take Kane so they can have Pääjärvi-Svensson (including videos): http://www.insidesocal.com/kings/2009/04/prospect-report-magnus-paajarv.html

I know I have a built-in bias regarding MP-S, but so have US/Canadians about the North American guys…

Glovesave29

April 24th, 2009
3:08 pm

Y’know, I have never really been a fan of Boris Valabik. He lead footed and gets beaten on the inside out move just about every damn time. So here’s a thought…he’s tough with a good shot – anyone else think it might be an interesting project to convert him to a 4th line winger? We need the toughness, but cannot take the defensive lapses anymore.

And from the DUH! department…Sarah Kwak of CNNSI is reporting that Brodeurs awesome performance last night was not because of his chase of Roy’s playoff records, but because of what happened in the waning seconds of Game 3. Well no @#&$ing *#$^. How does this writer keep her job? She more useless than Jeanie Moos over at CNN. A master of the obvious…

The only difference between LW and RW is when the team employs the lock. It is especially critical in Europe as they play on the larger ice…the LW is called on to skate and bit more and be better at reading a play and forcing the D man into the trap. Other than that, they are pretty much interchangeable.

Brendan

April 24th, 2009
3:11 pm

Okay, I’m eliminated from the Bob Gainey firing contest. It’s past noon, and the Habs haven’t announced his firing.

Sara

April 24th, 2009
3:19 pm

Tony C – we’re only “Good” on the LW until Slava retires and/or Kovy bolts….after that we’re (censored).

Brendan

April 24th, 2009
3:28 pm

Glovesave29, I wanted to trouble you again for an assessment of S. Varlamov, the replacement netminder for the Capitals. He did post a shutout in Game 3, and only surrendered 1 goal in Game Two. What do you make of his “style,” and his lateral movement? I couldn’t get a read on his puck handling abililities, but the glove looked solid and he seemed nimble with the stick.

Brendan

April 24th, 2009
3:38 pm

http://canadiens.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=419828#Scene_1 – lists a pretty pretty interesting item on Bob Gainey’s post elimination press conference. This was the highlight for me, “Needled further by some media members about the perceived uncertainty of his own future with the Canadiens, Gainey glared at the throng of journalists that surrounded him and put an end to that in a hurry.

‘Well, I’m sitting here today with the idea that I still have work to do.”

Segue, http://canadiens.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=419818#Scene_1 this item lists the 10 Montreal Canadien players who are pending unrestricted free agents. Chief among them, Alexei Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, Saku Koivu, and Robert Lang. Also on the list are Francis Bouillon, T. Kostopoulos, M. Schneider, Mike Komisarek, Patrice Brisebois, and Mathieu Dandenault.

Anybody interested in raiding the Habs? Uhh, not Schneider. Been there. Done that. Wonder if Kovy wants Kovalev? Kovalchuk, Kovalev, and Kozlov. That’s too many “K’s” for white Russians. And I wouldn’t characterize Kozlov and Kovalev as part of anything resembling a “youth movement.”

Sidebar: Bob Gainey acquired Alex Tanguay for pick #25 in the 2008 draft and a 2nd rounder in 2009. If Tanguay walks, ouch! Add to that, that Gainey sent Cristobal Huet to the Capitals at the trade deadline in 2008 for a 2nd rounder, leaving Price and Halak to carry the load, and it’s a double ouch.

Hey, former Hab Doug Risebrough, formerly GM of Minnesota Wild, and former Canadien Jacques Lemaire, also formerly of the Minnesota Wild, are available for work, if that’s the direction Montreal wants to go, in a “post Bob Gainey” Administration.

BLitz

April 24th, 2009
3:58 pm

Viking, while most players like Little & Kozlov follow the leftie positions on the wings, there are exceptions like Kovalchuk and Ovechkin. The reason it works for Kovalchuk is because he is a sniper and takes a lot of shots from that side and it is easier to get it off while being fed the puck. I would disagree with glovesave29 that they are interchangeable. There are reasons it can work on the powerplay but not in even strength situations.

BLitz

April 24th, 2009
3:59 pm

I meant to say leftie AND rightie positions on the wings, not just leftie

Glovesave29

April 24th, 2009
4:34 pm

Brendan…haven’t seen enough of him to make a fair assessment. I’ve been watching BOS-MTL and CGY-CHI.

Glovesave29

April 24th, 2009
4:58 pm

Blitz – been playing this game for 30+ years. Wingers can switch sides. Each has their preference and comfort level at a certain side, but if needed, the switch can be made quite seamlessly. Some like to have their shooting side to the middle, some on the wing…

ranallo10 (in AT)

April 24th, 2009
5:33 pm

For what it’s worth, Sterling (a right handed scoring winger) seemed to have quite a bit of difficulty shifting to his off-wing.

Brendan — I’d take Koivu in a heartbeat, and possibly Komisarek to be paired with Hainsey (keeping Enstrom-Bogosian together). I don’t think either would be a bad signing. I like that Cullen identified Ohlund…gives me a little hope.

Viking

April 24th, 2009
5:54 pm

**Glovesave29** I have also never been fond of Valabik’s play. I do not know how easy it is to convert a defenceman to a forward. But if doable, not only could he become a winger, maybe he could even be a candidate to get “Holmströmized” and be accomodating the fourth line’s offensive efforts! He could become a big, not easily moved guy blinding the goalie and who would really preoccupy defenders.

Glovesave29

April 24th, 2009
6:22 pm

Ranallo – I would say in Sterlings case, it was more a product of playing at a higher level, and not so much changing wings. JA knows it has been done countless times, so that likely led him to make the change.

Viking, it’s worth a shot. He’s just not made for todays NHL, he’s more of a pre-lockout style D. I just don’t want to lose his strength and toughness. The downside is that if the experiment fails, you hurt his psyche…he’ll doubt his abilities on D and always be looking over his shoulder for the hook.

Jenny

April 24th, 2009
6:54 pm

On the topic of the previous blog, I agree with Cheryl, Nascar Dave, and Blitz. Those people should not charge money for a “fan club”. How ludicrous.

Brendan

April 24th, 2009
10:29 pm

Ranallo, I’m interested in Komisarek, if he’d come. I like your idea of pairing Enstrom and Bogosian. I’d like to have Koivu, too, but I don’t think he’d show any interest in Atlanta. I shutter to think what the price tag might be, if he did come. If I had to guess, I’d think Koivu will re-sign with Montreal.

Question: I’ve forgotten if there’s a lottery system in place for the teams that get swept out of the playoffs in the 1st round. Does anyone know? Or, is it strictly based on points? In other words, would the team with the fewest regular season points draft higher? Or, maybe, is it about seed position? For example, would Montreal draft 15th because (1) they were an 8th place seed, (2) they got swept, (3) that they had a smaller point total in the regular season?

For argument’s sake, let’s say the Habs do draft 15th. Pausing, rubbing my chin, do they draft a goalie? What? I’m serious. What if Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak don’t develop the netminders they’d hoped. Now, if they’ve got a goalie in their system already, who is 2-years or less away from being “NHL-ready,” maybe the situation’s already under control.

I don’t think Montreal should quit on Carey Price. He’s still very young. I think Bob Gainey jumped the gun when he pushed Carey Price into the spotlight when he moved Huet. Montreal GM’s and Coaches usually deny that they are influenced by the local media in their game decisions, strategies, and roster moves. But I have to wonder, aloud, if the PERCEPTION that Carey Price was the 2nd coming of either Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy, that the Montreal media touted, got to Gainey’s thought processes. If asked, I’d be almost certain that Gainey would deny that, whole heartedly. That Gainey would say, “I make the moves I do because I see Carey Price as a quality netminder. That’s why I let Huet go. That’s why I rode Carey Price all year. That’s why I’ll stick with Carey Price next year.”

Yeah, well. That’s all fine and good, so long as you get the results. But Gainey can’t claim Carey Price is an upper echelon, elite goaltender, if the stats and results aren’t there to support it. In case anyone FORGOT, Carey Price was the 5th overall pick in the 2005 draft. So, needless to say, Montreal has INVESTED A LOT in him. For a lot of the 2nd half of the season, Carey Price was giving up FIVE GOALS PER GAME. And to ask your offense to produce six goals per outing, is asking them for too much.

If Gainey attempts to trade Carey Price, the Montreal media will eat him alive. “You just finished telling us why Carey Price is ‘da bomb,’ and now you’re trading him at the draft?” Or something like this. I doubt Carey Price is going anywhere. And he’d be a good candidate to blossom elsewhere. Which is why Montreal should keep him, in my view. If all this sounds too familiar, it is. We’re still waiting on Kari Lehtonen, 2nd overall pick in the 2002 draft, to be mentioned among the elite netminders in the league. But, Hasek would have struggled under our system. So who knows? Maybe Kari really is the pedigree goalie that his draft position indicates, he just needs a better core group of defenders. The closest thing to a Tier I blueliner we have … is Bogosian. I think it’s pattently unfair to have expected Bogosian to hang the moon in his rookie season. But I digress.

The article at the Habs website mentions that Montreal was the OLDEST team in the NHL this year. Well, I guess that could have contributed to them sliding from #1 to #8 this year. Umm, who ULTIMATELY has OVERSIGHT of the team? Who makes roster decisions? Who writes the contracts that brings the players to Montreal? Answer: The GM does. Montreal’s GM is Bob Gainey. I think he’s about feel the full effect of “accountability.”