No matter what has happened in the first four games, this has become the best kind of Stanley Cup final series: A best-of-three. With the exception of Nathan Horton and Aaron Rome's unavailability, nothing from before matters.
Yet depending on how tonight goes, we are going to hear one of: 1) The Rome hit on Horton changed the series; 2) The Thomas-Burrows altercation changed the series; 3) Someone is choking and someone is stepping up.
I am still stunned that as quickly as people wrote off Boston after Game 2 people are writing off Vancouver after Game 4 or even Game 5, depending on the result. Amateurs, Dude.
In yesterday's Bits post I surfaced how Roberto Luongo's body language really does make me and others wonder about the player and how teammates perceive him. But I took pains to explain that doesn't make me conclude he's a bad goalie -- just that, all told, he could be a better teammate. (I find the psychology of the game interesting, even if we can't quantify it.) Today I'll go the other way: How on earth does nhl.com publish statements such as these [emphasis mine]:
So with the Bruins now up 1-0, Luongo's defeated demeanor slowly surfaced, becoming dominant. It forced him to battle even harder to track the puck, absorb shots and control rebounds.
In a game where there's simply no time to appear fragile, Luongo relinquished three more goals that proved he was not alert or attentive enough to bounce back.
In a must-win game, especially during the Stanley Cup Final, it's not enough to just think you're confident. You also have to show it.
Even if any of these suggestions are plausible...how can they be stated as fact? I guess I'm open to all sorts of speculation about what goes on in the mind of a player -- particularly goalies, who studies prove are patently crazy. But I can't buy that any goals "prove" something about the mental anything of a player. Certainly not three goals that were at least 66% also on the defense.
Put another way: When Tim Thomas allows five goals, is he mentally inattentive -- or does he make a couple of mistakes while suffering the 5 percent of times when his calculated risk style does not pan out? (Even when he checked Sedin A, he was but inches away from being too late and conceding a goal.) So much of goaltending is playing the percentages and reaping your luck. Some goals are awful, but many goals just aren't your bounce.
- Nino Niederreiter talks to the official site about what he's learned since last year.
- Presented without comment: Ice Girls auditions.
- Player appearances and signings this summer. You will notice a lot of youngsters and a free agent Micheal Haley on the list.
- Because I had a ton of fun with it, here is Evgeni Nabokov's report card in case you missed it.
- This is from Sunday, but goes into the new management of the Areener at Harbor Yard.
- Not really Islanders but very LHH: Our community mock draft continues with Chicago's pick. Anarcurt is now up with Edmonton's second pick, which they got from L.A. in the Penner trade.
- Kevin Cheveldayoff was once an Islanders prospect, but he is not the Russian version of Tim Cheveldae. Just so we're clear. (By the way: Can't find this in print but it sounds like last night Bill Daly said the Winnipeg Manifest Destinies would just use the NHL shield at the draft. Disappointing and bo-ring.)
- Speaking of Winnipeg, the Moose are definitely moving to St. John's.
- Rule 48 may evolve yet.
- Gabriel Landeskog and Jonathan Huberdeau from the NHL Combine. [Hockey's Future]
- Death to percentages, or the danger in using them. [PPP]
- I'm sure Brad Richards was just using the royal "we," man. [Raw Charge]
- A follow-up at Behind the Net to a previous exercise on trying to read into zone starts and zone finish.
- Seems like Chris Drury is a goner, but reports of Wojtek Wolski's impending buyout may be greatly exaggerated.
- USA Hockey development camp: One day we will write a ton of words about half of these kids, and then half of those kids will get drafted, and then half of those kids will actually play in the NHL, and then maybe we'll even remember one of them.
- Japers' Rink evaluates Mr. Semin.
- The SBN Mock Draft is underway. It's different from the LHH mock draft.
- Brian Burke doesn't understand that the phrase should actually be "I couldn't care less" (see, if you could care less that means you do care some) but regardless, do not question his integrity.
Parting Thought: Not even getting into Drury, the Rangers still owe Wade Redden more than
* twice what the Islanders still owe Yashin. I'm just saying. *pardon my a.m. math **I was right the first time.