Friday, March 26, 2010

Heckuva job, Brenty

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Man vs. Animal

From the Globe & Mail yesterday, two competing views on Kevin Weekes' performance as a HNiC analyst. Here's one:
When at a loss for insight, Weekes reverts to the hockey-platitude bank: β€œHe was hungry, he wanted that puck... try to focus on the positives... good desperation for Roberto Luongo... the Canucks stepping on the gas pedal, going for the jugular.”

The Nuke LaLoosh bromides are what often happens when you're playing hockey games for 11 years instead of watching them on TV.

Here's the other:
When Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo let in three goals in rapid succession, Weekes dwelt on the technical reasons for the goals instead of concentrating on the real story – is Luongo enough of a clutch goalie for Vancouver to win a Stanley Cup?

I'm not a huge fan (yet?), but if Kevin Weekes is annoying Bruce Dowbiggin with his coachspeak one the one hand, and Bruce Dowbiggin with his bromides on the other, he's probably doing something right.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It truly is too early for a eulogy on the Flames season -- there's six WC teams that would switch places with them right now -- but Eff-Me do I hate the Sutters right now.

As far as I can tell, Brent is Craig Hartsburg, though with the good fortune of having more talented pro teams. Every fan of just about every team gets frustrated with the "hang back and get railed when you have a lead" strategy (it's not rare), but the Flames' Prevent D this season is the worst and most flaccid I can remember seeing. Brent's strength is supposed to be Team D, and yet...

Despite Kipper having been much, much better this season (much), the team is presently a longshot to make playoffs, instead of barely falling out of a division title. And it's not like you can blame crap luck: they tied 3 or 4 games in the early season with the goalie pulled, i.e. they pulled ~6 points out of the ether.

The team hasn't been nearly as good this year. That falls on the coach and GM.

UPDATE, minutes later: What I always liked about Darryl is his belief -- by action if not by grunt -- that you can improve on the fly. Iginla never had to suffer the indignity of a teardown & rebuild during his prime years, and I still think the Phaneuf trade was a good one in isolation.

But right around exactly on 2009 Trade Deadline, he crossed the Line. The one between "Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" and "Trade every young, moderately paid player I have, and also draft picks, including our #1 for the 1st time, in a desperate attempt to maybe possibly be slightly better for the stretch and playoffs". My present thought is that if he's not fired after this season (which I'm not opining on right now), he probably will be after the team and fans suffer through Staios and Kotalik all next season.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Injured by Matt Cooke

Daymond Langkow, November 2007 -- concussion (hit from behind into boards)

James Wisniewski, November 2007 -- concussion, face stitches (hit from behind into boards)

Petteri Nummelin, November 2007 -- concussion, broken nose (hit from behind into boards)

Scott Walker, January 2009 -- concussion

Zach Bogosian, March 2009 -- knee

Eric Cole, May 2009 -- knee

Shean Donovan, November 2009 -- torn ACL

Artem Anisimov, November 2009 -- "bell rung"

This is all before Marc Savard, March 2010, and I doubt it's exhaustive (if I missed any, please advise in the Comments).

My take on "respect" is that, both in the old days and today, the large majority of players have it for one another, and a notable few do not. Matt Cooke is one of those few. He is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt -- indeed, if there's one person who you could justify suspending for intent to injure on a legal hit, it's him -- and anyone who's ever employed him, or defended him in earnest, is part of the problem.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010



So Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Matt and I are taking off to Phoenix for 4 days & 4 nights.

Going to hit the beginning of spring training -- check out the Giants' place in Scottsdale, and maybe the new Indians/Royals place out in Surprise or the new Dodgers palace.

Have basketball tickets to UCLA at Arizona State. Somehow ASU is 2nd in the Pac-10, yet has to win out just to get on the March Madness bubble. When Sacamano and I used to fill in tourney brackets back in the day, we always picked the upset when the Pac-10 team was a higher seed, but I don't know the conference was ever in this bad a shape.

Might head out to the Greyhound Park, if not for the dog racing then the swap meet. Will hit some of the joints from Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.

Might, might go out to Glendale for hockey Thursday night. I know we can get tickets, and I know they're not expensive, but we have a lot planned, and as I understand the complaints, arena is about 2-1/2 hours from downtown Phoenix.

Observation #1: there's a hell of a lot more to do in Arizona in the winter than in Alberta.
Observation #2: the Flames have three games while I'm gone, and if they lose them all, they'll be just about effectively eliminated by the time I get home.

I said my piece about their chances just before the break (and still feel the same way), but the fact is, with where they are in the standings, and the number of teams right with them or right below them, even a 1-week losing streak puts them in a hell of a spot.

I'll be pleasantly surprised if Sutter manages to do anything else to improve the club tomorrow, but I think they have a good shot at surprising some people with the guys they have now. Go Flames.

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