Mid-Week Ramblings

Showdown In Motown

This one’s for all the marbles…it’s now or never…there is no tomorrow…both team’s backs are against the wall…nothing will be left on the ice…it all comes down to just one game…this is why you fight all year for home-ice advantage…

That’s right folks…break out the game seven clichés because for the first time since Carolina defeated Edmonton in 2006, hockey fans will be treated to a Stanley Cup Finals all-deciding game number seven. The Showdown in Motown takes place Friday night.

Home Cookin’

All six games played so far in the Stanley Cup Finals have been won by the home team. The Wings have outscored Pittsburgh 11-2 in the three games played so far in Detroit while the Penguins enjoyed a 10-5 goals edge during the trio of matches played in Pittsburgh.

We’ve Seen This Movie Before

Watching as the Finals go the full seven has not been an uncommon occurrence in this decade. Beginning with the Colorado Avalanche, (coached by Bob Hartley), defeat of New Jersey in 2001, five of the last eight SCF have gone the full distance. The exceptions being when Detroit beat Carolina four games to one in 2002, the Ducks besting Ottawa 4-1 in 2007 and last year when Detroit took Pittsburgh in six.

During the 1990’s, only one SCF made it past six games…when the Rangers topped Vancouver in 1994.

Still On The Milk Carton

Marian Hossa did nothing to have is picture removed from the milk carton in Tuesday night’s game six. For the series he’s accounted forone primary and a pair of secondary assists. He has six goals and nine helpers for the entire playoffs…all six goals coming in three games.

The Wings are going to need him to step up Friday night, don’t ya think?

Save Of The Series?

The record will show that the winning net-minder in game six of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals was Marc-Andre Fleury. But even after stopping 25 of the Red Wing’s 26 shots on goal, he needed a little help from a friend. In the dying seconds of their 2-1 win, Penguins defender Rob Scuderi knocked away a couple of point-blank attempts…first with his stick, with his left leg and finally with the ankle… to secure the win.

Should the Pens prevail Friday night, they could be considered the saves of the series. Of course, if Detroit comes away with the win, maybe Zetterberg’s goal-line stop in game #1 could be considered as such.

Fear The Power Of The Burrito

It seems as though Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has a pre-game ritual involving…eating burritos.

As Puck Daddy states in his piece…

It was in the playoffs when his ritual became big news. The Penguins were playing the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and the NHL scheduled back-to-back games in the two cities on a Friday and Saturday. Bylsma came into the Pittsburgh Qdoba on that Friday and purchased two burritos — eating one at the store and “packing the other one on ice to take to D.C.,” according to Brooks….The coach ate the burrito in the nation’s capital, and the Penguins won on both Friday and Saturday nights. “At that point I said, ‘Oh crap, this is for real.’ He’s not playing around. This is something he really believes in.” Brooks recalled.

Since it’s brought him success so far, I guess he will be packing some of these burritos as he travels to Detroit, eh?

Hey listen, I totally understand the power of a burrito…especially after spending time in the SUV with my teenage sons after a Taco Bell run.

Arizona Law

Meanwhile, out in Arizona, the bankruptcy hearing for the Phoenix Coyotes began yesterday.

The big news that came out of the proceedings was that the NHL was instructed by the judge to consider how much a relocation fee would be if indeed the team was uprooted and moved from Arizona.

Heater Wants Outa Ottawa

Dany Heatley wants out of Ottawa. Apparently frustrated with the way he was used last season, he’s had his agent J.P. Barry inform the Senators that he’d like to be traded. Of course, we in Atlanta are familiar with such a request from Heatley…just prior to the 2005-06 season he did the same to Thrashers’ general manager Don Waddell. Different reasons and circumstance, mind you…but basically the same request.

Heater is coming off a season in which his production, 39 goals and 33 assists, was the lowest since becoming a Senator and he still has five more years left on a contract that pays $7.5 million per.

So, should Bryan Murray respond in the same fashion Waddell did and capitulate to the request…or stick to his guns after stating that he expects Heatley to honor is contract and play in Ottawa?

Emery Flying Back To Play With Philly

Ray Emery has left Mytishchi Atlant of Russia’s KHL and has signed a a contract to play with the Philadelphia Flyers. This means that Martin Biron will probably be swimming in the UFA pool this summer.

Money For Nuthin’

We were all happy to hear that Marty Reasoner was re-signed by the Thrashers this week. The deal will pay the centerman $1.2 million this season and $1.1 million next. That’s a great deal for the team IMHO.

But you do realize, of course, that this coming season Alexei Zhitnik will be paid almost as much money to not play for the Thrashers, ($1.167 million) as Reasoner will be paid to actually play.

In case you’re wondering…Braydon Coburn will earn $1.3 millon this season skating for Philadelphia and is slated to become an RFA next summer.

68 comments Add your comment

NASTY NEST

June 10th, 2009
12:22 pm

OSGOOD, OSGOOD, YOU SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 10th, 2009
12:47 pm

Thus Zhitnik is still playing a big part of this teams future. Without that $1.667M cap hit the team would’ve fallen underneath the salary floor at certain points last season. I’m guessing the ASG wouldn’t notice if the ENTIRE team were making money without playing any games, because all they would apparently notice is the revenue sharing dollars they would “earn” by meeting the cap requirements (and also by fudging the gate numbers in order to meet the attendance requirement).

Brendan

June 10th, 2009
12:54 pm

If Hossa wants to win the Stanley Cup by being a member of the Detroit Red Wings, and do something to convince Detroit to re-sign him, he could help his own cause in Game Seven. If ever there were a time Hossa needed to score a “hat trick” in Detroit, it wasn’t while wearing a Thrashers jersey. It’s Game Seven.

Last year, Hossa had 12 goals and 14 assists for 26-points, in 20 games played. In 21 games played for Detroit, he has 6 goals and 9 helpers for 15-points. That’s a 50% reduction in goals scored, for Hossa. If he explodes in Game Seven to deliver the Cup, it will be the “statement game” of his career. Maybe Crosby or Malkin will steal the show? Malkin, right now, has my MVP vote. Thirty-five (35) points in 22 playoff games … is very compelling Conn Smythe material.

There’s never been a Game Seven, in the SCF, that has gone into overtime in my lifetime. Just once, I’d like to see it. If Malkin were to score that goal, doesn’t that clinch it for him? Hypothetically, of course.

Rawhide

June 10th, 2009
12:56 pm

BrendanThere’s never been a Game Seven, in the SCF, that has gone into overtime in my lifetime. Just once, I’d like to see it. If Malkin were to score that goal, doesn’t that clinch it for him? Hypothetically, of course.

How about a scenario where the game seven on Friday is in OT… it’s 1-1…Malkin having scored Pittsburgh’s goal…Osgood has made 39 saves…and Malkin is awarded a penalty shot?

The game/series/Stanley Cup/Conn Smythe could be settled in one thrilling moment.

Brendan

June 10th, 2009
12:57 pm

I hereby nominate the 12:47 post by Ranallo, for permanent enshrinement into the blogging Hall of Fame. Everyone re-read it. As many times as it takes until full comprehension is achieved.

See, the owners, they CARE. About money. I have no doubt Don Waddell actually CARES and TRIES. But he’s fighting such an uphill battle, that couldn’t succeed if he were a stellar GM. (Which he’s not.)

Brendan

June 10th, 2009
1:07 pm

Rawhide, I like your scenario even better!! A penalty shot, in overtime of Game Seven, for the Cup. That’s the moment of the decade. Truly.

Overall, what are the bloggers thoughts/reflections of the 2009 playoffs? I liked the 2nd round matchups best. Three went the distance, with Washington-Pittsburgh, Carolina-Boston, and Anaheim-Detroit. Even Chicago-Vancouver had its moments. I thought Carolina-New Jersey was the best series of the opening round, and quite possibly, the entirety of the playoffs, pending the results of Game Seven, of the Finals, of course. Those two late goals by Carolina to stun the Devils were very memorable. Plus their Game Seven overtime winner to eliminate Boston. Also, an honorable mention goes out for the NY Rangers series with the Capitals. Remember? The Rangers had a 3-1 series lead, but couldn’t hold it.

There were a few disappointing series. St. Louis being swept by Vancouver, after such a great 2nd half season run, comes to mind. Columbus being swept by the Red Wings also triggers my memory. And Carolina not giving Pittsburgh a tough enough series in the CF. Okay, I forgot about the “no-show” of a series that was Boston vs. Montreal.

There’s still one series out there … that has yet to have “fallout.” Which one? How quickly we forget that San Jose was the #1 seed, but were ousted by Anaheim in six games, in the opening round. Will there be changes? Or will they just realize that, “Well, these things happen. Let’s stand pat, and try, try again?” Calgary fired Head Coach Mike Keenan after the Flames fell to the Blackhawks in the opening round.

Alan

June 10th, 2009
1:17 pm

Rawhide, you have caused me a great deal of indigestion with your proposed scenario.

Rawhide

June 10th, 2009
1:22 pm

Alan – I didn’t think I was implying Malkin makes the shot. Maybe Osgood makes the save and then Detroit scores shortly after.

In that scenario, osgood wins the Conn Smythe, IMHO.

TableHockey

June 10th, 2009
1:24 pm

Love the Milk Carton Rawhide. Some Pens fans should make posters and sneak into the Joe on Friday.

Russ

June 10th, 2009
1:32 pm

As I’ve said before, I think Healty took advantage of the situation he created with the accident in Atlanta to get out of what he felt (correctly) was a terrible hockey organization. I personally don’t buy that the memories were just too much for him to deal with. Obviously, this is just my opinion, but his body language after he came back at the end of his last season here didn’t look to me like someone who was emotionally distraught. He looked more like someone that had dealt with it and was ready to move on (and good for him). The comments after he left Atlanta were a slap in the face to Thraher fans, but I didn’t really have a problem with them because he was correct when comparing the two cities as hockey markets. Now, he is ready to get out of Ottawa. I am sensing a pattern here of someone that doesn’t want to be part of a solution for a struggling franchise, but rather feels he is entitled to always be with a cup contender. Does Hell have a hockey team? The ice conditions wouldn’t be the best, but I think that would be a great place for Heatley to go. As a Thrasher fan my #1 wish is for them to become a consistently competitive team and hopefully one day hoist the cup. As an NHL fan my second wish (and not far off of #1) would be that that immature punk never gets his name engraved on hockey’s holy grail.

GaVaHokie

June 10th, 2009
1:39 pm

ranallo… you were the one that said you wanted Scuderi this summer, correct?

Alan

June 10th, 2009
1:39 pm

You misunderstand. The mere thought of something of that sort happening, in an overtime game 7, truly makes my stomach do more somersaults than the entire summer olympics gymnastics competition.

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 10th, 2009
1:45 pm

Hokie, no. The names I’ve mentioned thus far are Ohlund, Oduya, Beauchemin and Komisarek. I’m not too interested in Scuderi.

Spud Webb

June 10th, 2009
2:47 pm

What about the save Fluery made on Cleary on the break away w/about 1:30 to go in the game? I felt like Cleary kind of blew it, he didn’t appear to make it too tough on Marc Andre.
Anyone else find it tough to root for dudes with 3 part names??? I mean whats wrong with just Marc Fluery??? hahahaha, just a thought.

Bob

June 10th, 2009
2:53 pm

Amen, Russ. Heatley is a piece of crap spoiled brat.

What everyone is missing in getting all giddy about Scuderi is that Fluery had his right pad directly behind Scuderi’s skate and leg, on each of the 3 saves that Scuderi makes. So let’s not glorify the guy too much, watch it, Fluery makes the 1st stop easily if Scuderi is not there, and would’ve made the 2nd and 3rd as well.

I really really really would like to see it go to OT Friday night. And did anyone notice that in Game 5 the Pens had quite a few fans there (it was only noticeable early when the Pens came out hot)? This is gonna be great!

GaVaHokie

June 10th, 2009
2:57 pm

Ranallo… must have been Smoothie.

Smoothie

June 10th, 2009
3:25 pm

Bob, I think MAF was out of the crease and diving back in with his stick so while his stick may have been there behind Scuderi, it was indeed Rob Scuderi who saved a goal with the first stop on Franzen.

And yes, I would have no problem welcoming Rob Scuderi into our Top 4 in light of his size, gritty toughness, price-tag and shot-blocking! However, I would think a Cup victory would be pre-req for him to even think about leaving PIT.

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 10th, 2009
4:19 pm

Spud — I would agree, the breakaway save was definitely important…however, I wouldn’t agree that Cleary “blew it”. Watching the replay from behind you can see Orpik SORT OF hooks his shoulder at the beginning of the breakaway; switching to the angle from behind Fleury you can then see Orpik two handed Cleary in the left forearm. I would say Cleary did fine with his fore-to-backhand move, Fleury simply had good positioning and was able to keep his glove directly on top of his left pad which took away the little lift Cleary was able to get on the puck. I’m sure Orpik’s peskiness didn’t help matters, especially when you notice the hit on the arm that happened immediately before the left-right fake…but all credit should go to Fleury for making that save, in my opinion.

Bob

June 10th, 2009
4:28 pm

“I think MAF was out of the crease and diving back in with his stick so while his stick may have been there behind Scuderi, it was indeed Rob Scuderi who saved a goal with the first stop on Franzen.”

No, I watched it multiple times, Fleury was right there and would have stopped them. Scuderi still was ballsy to be in there, but Fleury had it covered, he was on last night.

Spud Webb

June 10th, 2009
4:56 pm

Actually Ranallo, I didn’t notice Orpik do that, makes perfect sense though. I amaze myself on how much I miss when I’m actually watching!!!!!
Bob, I have to disagree, no way Fluery makes at least the first shot that Scuderi stopped, my opinion, read previous paragraph!! I thought he saved it for him. Fluery was way out to the left (or right depending on how you look at it). I did think Scuderi was going to cover it with his glove, which would’ve made for one of the more memorable SCF moments with a penalty shot.

Spud Webb

June 10th, 2009
4:58 pm

I tried to read more on heatly, one thing I did see was that he didn’t get along with the coach. Either way, I think Dany has realized that the window in Ottawa has closed and won’t open for a number of years, thus the “trade me” demands. Again as usual, all my opinion.

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 10th, 2009
5:20 pm

Spud — I was watching the CBC feed, so on that particular shot they gave several angles and each time I saw something new. At full speed I didn’t notice where his hack landed, but slow-mo made it obvious. That being said, I wouldn’t have called it had I been the referee.

Regarding the save, you can YouTube it and see that Fleury was in desparation mode, laying on his side with stick on the ice and outstretched glove over it…who cares if he “would have” made the save, Scuderi did it for him. He was on last night, I’ll definitely give him that much credit.

LAC

June 10th, 2009
5:40 pm

Interesting to see only TWO fan blogs left on ajc… some stupid football thing about college football and our OWN ICEMAN,The Number #1
fan blogger in the NHL today and are we BLESSED to have him to help us keep our wits and we try to understand don waddell and these owners,
GREAT JOB ICEMAN !

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 10th, 2009
5:59 pm

Wow, you’re just getting lazier and lazier with those links. Why not just put ellipses and save the effort of typing the lead-in?

StateBird

June 10th, 2009
7:31 pm

What do we pull for in Arizona?

On one hand if Baslile wins and moves the Coyotes to Hamilton that takes a potential bidder and candidate city for the Thrashers off the market.

On the other hand if Baslile wins it will establish a precedent that the NHL has little control over franchise moves, which removes a layer of protection that the Atlanta market has.

Rawhide

June 10th, 2009
9:17 pm

LAC – Stop it…you’re making me blush! :oops:

Wings fan in Ga.

June 10th, 2009
10:46 pm

Rawhide, why isn’t your headshot with the other columnists and fan blogs on the main sports site? If they put that lame junkyard blog there, shouldn’t they put yours there too? …

Have y’all seen the Web site makeitfive.ca? It’s rather funny if you don’t like the Maple Leafs.

jnes

June 11th, 2009
12:32 am

Russ,

“Does Hell have a hockey team? The ice conditions wouldn’t be the best, but I think that would be a great place for Heatley to go.”

That is simply awesome.

Rawhide

June 11th, 2009
8:49 am

Wings fan in GA – I dunno…maybe they figure hockey fans are the only ones tough enough to stomach seeing my mug? :lol:

Tony C.

June 11th, 2009
10:34 am

Hockey fans are known to be made of sterner stuff, so you may have a point there Mr. T.

LAC

June 11th, 2009
4:14 pm

Boy you need to read some of this stuff about heatley from The Ottawa Sun paper, it WILL blow your mind what they are saying…. Here are a couple bits…

The ideal destination for Dany Heatley?

How about Long Island?

Think about it.

First of all, the spoiled, selfish suck-hole would hate it there.

Perfect.

Dany boy has baggage. A loading dock full.

Is that really it, Dany? If so, you truly are one messed-up dude. If not, you better step up and explain what’s what. Or we’re left to believe it is so.

Forget the Leafs. Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons would make Heatley cry like a schoolgirl. Same reason it’s hard to imagine the sensitive sniper agreeing to a swap that would put the jersey of the Canadiens, Flames, Oilers, Canucks, Rangers, Bruins, Wings, Flyers, ‘Hawks or Sabres over his weak shoulders.

Anyway, the Senators are better off without him. Heatley doesn’t have the spine to fight through the checking done by the Penguins and Wings these days. Anyone who has watched him play can see he doesn’t have the jam or desire to excel in the Stanley Cup final.

He’s too preoccupied with another goal. His next one.

Yes, what’s most important to Dany Heatley is now obvious. It’s Dany Heatley.

Again this was in The Ottawa Sun, seems he’s toast there too, but man are they ripping hin GOOD !

Alan

June 11th, 2009
5:22 pm

Boy you need to read some of this stuff about heatley from The Ottawa Sun paper, it WILL blow your mind what they are saying

Well, he did kinda dig his own hole, there.

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 11th, 2009
7:52 pm

A fun quote about Atlanta in a story regarding the potential sale of the Montreal Canadiens:

Adding the Canadiens makes perfect sense but getting a consortium as diverse as the one Quebecor has proposed could be difficult.

“You have different perceptions, different goals, different sets of values, different levels of finances, so yes, it can be complicated,” Delorme [a marketing professor at Concordia University] said, citing the current woes of the Atlanta Thrashers group as an example.

“The less the better in my opinion.”

jen

June 11th, 2009
8:19 pm

I think the Wash/Rags series was a great one…Hopefully the game 7 final will live up to the hype. Hockey as sport needs an enganging final game, and there’s no NBA game, so its good opportunity to get some postive pub with a good game. I think tomorrow is all about the goalies, and we’ll see if MAF can actually put a game together outside of Mellon arena…he has yet to prove he can win on the road when the money is on the line (I am not counting game 7 of the ECF, because he really didn;t have to do anything, the Caps just collapsed). I am kinda torn about this, because I really don’t want to see Hossa win a cup, but I would hate it if Crosby won one even more.

BTW – excellent blog over on Hockeybuzz Rawhide. I don’t usually frequent it, but have started since you are blogging over there now. This was a dandy, and I think your analysis of the Heatly situation was dead on. I was actually at his first practice back following the accident and his first game back against the Blues to cheer him on and really chalked up the move to him being a young kid needing a break – totally understandable. But then he made the comments about being in a real hockey town. Well apparently, playing in a “real hockey town” where they have expectations when you make 7.5 mil a year is a little too tough for Heater…he’s fast becoming the TO of hockey

JLH

June 11th, 2009
8:25 pm

Bill,

Anything organized at TJ’s on Friday night?

Rawhide

June 11th, 2009
8:36 pm

JLH – There is no “official” viewing party at TJ’s per sa…but I’m quite sure Tim wouldn’t mind if some folks showed up to watch.

jen – Thank you very much for your kind words about my piece on Hockeybuzz. I agree with you regarding the Pens/Caps series…it was awesome!

And you are not alone in being torn between seeing Hossa lift the Cup or Sid Crosby.

Ice Meister

June 11th, 2009
9:57 pm

Thank you for saying is so correctly RUSS!

Alan

June 11th, 2009
10:40 pm

No mention of Atlanta, but Phoenix is ranked 29th in the NHL when it comes to market viability.

Who was 30th? St Louis. Ouch.

Darkhorse

June 11th, 2009
11:27 pm

Funny how many scouts and people around the NHL and in the Thrashers org were saying Heatley was premier capitain material when he was a rookie here. Things quite hav’nt gone his way other than reaching the Cup Final.

Sharon

June 12th, 2009
4:31 am

I’d take Hossa winning the Cup over Nutter Butter Crosby any day. The toughest decision for me would be picking between Heatley and Crosby to hoist it. I think my head would explode.

Rawhide, great blog on HockeyBuzz. Heatley’s true colors are quite vibrant these days.

JLH

June 12th, 2009
1:52 pm

Sharon – My feelings exactly!

Tony C.

June 12th, 2009
2:28 pm

I don’t fault a guy like Hossa who when he has the chance, chooses where he’ll play (no respect for the “half-@ssing it” play we received while he was playing out the string here though)- but #15 signed one of those “franchise cornerstone”-type contracts….that means you live through the good and the bad. See the first few years of Yzerman’s career for reference.

I too see the irony of how Heatley was described as “future captain”… and now he seems to be “ultimate me-first” I’m hoping the truth is somewhere in between-but if he really makes a stink about this, I would hope they trade him to florida for the rights to Bouwemeester and some prospects or something.

Sean Avery

June 12th, 2009
2:34 pm

Heatley is a whimpy punk.

LAC

June 12th, 2009
4:39 pm

One thing to consider with this Phoenix mess, IF they move to hamilton, they would most likely be moved to the Eastern confrence…

Which means an Eastern team would have to move to the Western confrence… Remember when the Flames/Braves/Hawks/Falcons were ALL
in the WESTERN confrence of their respecive leagues ?

So… would that mean Atlanta would move west ?

Likely so, to Central with Nashville/St.Louis/Columbus and detroit.

For a team in the MESS we are in with waddell and these owners, this would add MORE expense for the team with a LOT more travel…
Meaning Vancouver twice a season ! Something to ponder…

Tony C.

June 12th, 2009
6:50 pm

I would think they’d move to a different setup completely-either that or the eastern conference team that gets re-shuffled would sue for some sort of compensation.

kracker

June 12th, 2009
9:28 pm

WOW 2 for Max and it’s 2-0 Pens!!!

Brendan

June 12th, 2009
10:23 pm

Conn Smythe Watch is on: Malkin, 1 assist tonight. Osgood: Two goals against. It’s 2-0, Pittsburgh, with 7:30 left in regulation. Plenty of time left, hockeywise. But it’s getting to be “nervous time” in Hockeytown. If we’re going to see overtime, Detroit has go to get it in gear. Sidney Crosby was hurt earlier in the game. He missed a good bit of action, but has finally returned. Clearly, he’s still in pain. But if this lead holds, I’m sure he wants to be at Center Ice for the big silver trophy presentation.

Hossa: “No show.”

Detroit just scored, it’s 2-1. Ericksson. 6:07 left in the 3rd!!

Bob

June 12th, 2009
10:40 pm

Woo Hoo! Nothing could put a bigger smile on my face that Hossa looking at his skates. . . Suck it, Dead Wings!

Bob

June 12th, 2009
10:41 pm

Brendan, nice call on Talbot, you had that keyed in early

kracker

June 12th, 2009
10:42 pm

Congrats to the Pens. Not a team I particularly like but you have give it to the winner of the Cup. The cam went to Hossa a few seconds after the game ended.