Monday, January 16, 2006

 

Look it up in your Funk & Wagnall's

The definition of Serendipity, hockey version:
(N.) When your best player scores a hat trick on Hat Giveaway Day

As Red & Black Hockey notes (click through for a photo):
Roughly 18,000 hats were handed out, but not nearly that many went home.

Both Sacamano and I have sacrificed hats with considerable sentimental value in the same situation, and for my money, there's probably no experience more satisfying in a regular season game.

This Hart Trophy race is seriously interesting, too. Eric Staal is the best player on the top team in the league (today), and is T4th in goals and 7th in points. Add the fact that James Mirtle was the only non-Canes-fan in the world to pick them for the playoffs, and it's bloody tough to argue against him.

Jagr is leading the league in points, again on a team who almost no one (almost! ow! my arm doesn't reach back that well...) picked for the playoffs, and has the Rangers in a very sound position. Alfredsson and Forsberg have made excellent cases for themselves. Ilya Kovalchuk is leading the league in goals and has dragged his team into 7th place in the East, and climbing.

In the West, you probably have to look at the goaltenders (Thornton is the only guy in the West in the NHL Top 10 scorers). Turco, Vokoun, and Kipper will all be strong contenders if their team wins their division, or especially the Conference. (And really, if San Jose keeps pushing and makes the playoffs, then Joe Thornton deserves consideration himself).

It'll be a dogfight. It also looks like there's going to be 16 pretty good teams in the playoffs; you'd have to be a sucker to bet on a frontrunner with short odds.

Comments:

If the Hart Trophy takes into account the skills needed to consistently help teams win and make others around you score and look great, then serious consideration for this award should go to Conky.
 


I loved that Celtics hat. It was actually a preseason game in my case. I still haven't found something to replace it. Sigh.

I'm positive that a hat trick on hat give away night has happend before. Was it Ricci in San Jose?
 


Mine was a Georgia Bulldogs hat that I had won for sinking a backwards free throw (facing the other basket) at halftime of a girls' high school game. It was a good, good hat.
 


Wait, I found another. Hat tip to an old post by Golbez

Demitra did it. Also (in the comments of the post above) aparently Hlavac did it too.

Wow that is sweet.
 


HA! I have the same Georgia Bulldogs hat that I found in an old golf bag this summer. If I remember correctly, I won mine for dunking a mini-basketball at halftime of the same girls game.

I seem to also recall that we choked in the eventual boys game that night against Western Canada high.
 


Wait, wait...Jan Hlavac scored a hat trick once?
 


Even more amazing is that Georges Laraque has a hat trick. No joke.
 


Man, I remember witnessing Laraque's hat trick during a particularly drinky night at the U of A's Powerplant back when I was an English student. I always thought I had imagined it—until now. This has been quite a breakthrough for me.
 


"Sentimental value" wouldn't have anything to do with male pattern baldness, would it?

If I'd been at Laraque's hat trick against L.A., I swear to God I would have torn off my own scalp and thrown that.
 


Nah. Matt had the power alleys on his skull long before he won the hat. It was about grade 5 when you first started to notice it wasn't it MF?
 


Good question. I'm only 32, and yet it was still so long ago I can't remember.
 


Yeah. The Jan Hlavac hat trick came when he was with the Canes during the 2002-03 season. The day after Thanksgiving versus the Red Wings.
ON HAT NIGHT.
I was also at that game, making two hat trick on hat night experiences for me.

For the Hlavac trick, I was in the worst seat I've ever sat in. Way too far up in the upper deck for my hat to make it.

For the Staal trick on Sunday, I sit far too close to lob the hat over the netting. Although I knew from experience that it's not going to make it, I tried anyway, and actually almost made it on the ice this time. Oh well.

Obviously, I had no sentimental attatchement to the free hat I had picked up two hours previous, so there was no hesitation to give it up.
 


d-lee hits on a real tragedy of the Litigious Era. That netting really kills a lot of the hat trick phenomenon.
 


Mmmm k, that Rangers pick is simply ridiculous. I couldn't find anything at the start of the year that would predict that.

At least the Hurricanes were in what I thought would be a weak division (although Atlanta is playing a lot better than I thought they would), would romp over Florida and Washington, and sneak into the playoffs. The Rangers don't really have that option.

I knew Jagr would be good after watching him blast out in the preseason, but that defence? Good gracious. Tyutin, Malik, Rozsival, Poti, Strudwick and Kasparaitis is the defence core of a playoff team?

This is bizarro land territory.

Let's say Lundqvist doesn't exist. And Prucha doesn't hatch from a Jagr egg. And Tom Renney doesn't remember his Kamloops days and forget his Vancouver onces. Then where are they.

Then they're the Rangers.
 


I have to say that Prucha's advent was foreseeable. The Hockey Rodent's been fostering an intense crush on that guy for ages--when it was confirmed he was coming over from the Extraliga he was basically incontinent in the bowels with joy for a week. Obviously he has a good eye.

But who saw Lundqvist coming? If Weekes doesn't get hurt early on we aren't having this conversation.
 


But who saw Lundqvist coming?

I won't say I saw him coming but he has been very, very, very good in the SEL in the past two seasons which means he was very good at a very young age. Fortunate for the Rangers.
 


Ya, and Jussi led the REL in goaltending. Baaaah.
 


What he said.

Before Lundqvist came along I probably would have taken the #10 Finnish goalie ahead of the Swedish #1. Something weird is in the water in Finland--these guys (most recently Toivonen) are taking over jobs everywhere you look.

But then, the Rangers had Markkanen, who may fit the first description, and let him go in favour of Lundqvist, who certainly fits the second. Kind of surprising, considering their GM's track record of favouring Finns and Czechs over Swedes.
 

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