Monday, December 12, 2005


More Assorted...

- In our preseason preview, I had this in the "unknowns of the coming season":
I want to know if the Penguins are going to be any good. If you picked Mario Lemieux, Ziggy Palffy, and John Leclair in the 1st three rounds of your hockey pool, your new nickname would be “Backbrace” (or maybe “Day-to-Day”).

From Ice Chips today:
*Penguins winger John LeClair will miss tonight's game against the Red Wings with a hip/groin injury. - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

*Penguins winger Zigmund Palffy will miss tonight's game against the Red Wings with a groin injury. - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

And of course Mario is out with heart problems, financial difficulties, etc. These are the predictions you'd rather get wrong.

- The Sharks bandwagon is loading up now that they've gone 5-0-0 since acquiring Joe Thorton (which also seemed to light a large bonfire under Patrick Marleau's ass). I'm still skeptical. In the five wins, all against the Eastern Conference, they've scored 5, 5, 5, 6, and 4 goals. This will not continue when intraconference play resumes.

Confidence is important, and their schedule until Christmas is pretty favourable (home vs. WAS, ANA, & STL; road vs. ANA & PHX). They're presently 5 points out of a playoff spot; they might be able to narrow that to 2 by the 25th. But January's schedule is tough, and their D and goaltending still hasn't shown that they're up to Western playoff snuff. Talk to me in a month.

- Nothing in the NHL this season is as much of a mystery for an outsider (i.e. someone who doesn't watch their games) as this question: Has Ed Belfour been good in goal for the Leafs?

I've read or heard half a dozen pundits say, roughly, "The Leafs have stayed in the playoff picture thanks mostly to Ed Belfour," like it was the most obvious conventional wisdom in hockey. I've read or heard another half a dozen say, roughly, "The Leafs need better and more consistent goaltending if they hope to make the playoffs," like it was the most obvious conventional wisdom in hockey. It's baffling.

- Here's a cool photo gallery at, assessing Chris Pronger as the best NHL player without a championship (Best Cup-less Coach: Pat Quinn). Magic 8-Ball Says: Outlook Not So Good (for either). In 6 or 8 years, Pronger can call Charles Barkley for sympathy.

- And a bit more Penguins news from the TSN Insider:
Sources say management has been canvassing some of the players for feedback on what's wrong with the team that spent considerable money in the off-season on free agents. The most common answer seems to be a "lack of structure."

That's interesting, considering the Penguins were lambasted in a Pittsburgh newspaper column last weekend that focused on the Pens' lack of structure, laissez faire attitude and questionable work habits in practice, dubbing the Penguins as "Club Mario."

What. A. Surprise.


This blog beat you guys in the Canadian Blog Awards, and apart from having a rather crappy blog, he also didn't read this one very carefully.

Either that, or maybe he's picking up on something about your (matt)closet Oilers fandom.


What is it you do, three posts a day? You make everyone look bad. Especially Covered in Oil.

I would just like to point out that Martin Biron has won ten games in a row with Buffalo. I am just saying.

Note Matt's casual closet-Oilhead assumption that Pronger is going to outlast his scary five-year contract. I only wish I were that confident about it--I'll be thrilled if he's so much as hobbling around like Chelios in Year Five.

That seems a bit pessimistic, Cosh. I think it's reasonable to assume that he'll have a 20-40 game injury somewhere in there, but "hobbling around like Chelios" at age 35 seems a bit gloomy, even for you.

If I had to guess what Chris Pronger c.2010 looked like, it would be 17-18 mins per game, on ES and PK, with his offensive output reduced to, uh, what it is now.

(Related: Mirtle put up Olympic rosters based on this season's performance and didn't put Pronger on the 1st team - Phaneuf, McCabe, and/or Phillipe Boucher are in his place. His lack of goals is obviously affecting his reputation.)

Hey, from your mouth to the Lord's ears. But Pronger has a pretty scary injury history--actually, the area of prime concern is probably a degenerative wrist problem that hasn't so much been fixed as gone into remission. In his infamous After Hours interview he admitted that he wasn't feeling quite 100% in his joints, and this was only about ten games clear of a full year off.

I'm high enough on Pronger that I still like the trade/signing even if he loses most of a season here and there. Still, I'm never going to be totally comfortable for the rest of this decade. Though I did have a damned hearty chuckle when Eric Brewer separated his shoulder last mouth.

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