"Through our supervisors, we warned all the teams not to embellish. It’s becoming rampant, and we’re going to start calling it. We’ll ramp it up next round. You may not like it, but we’ll point out the guys who we feel will embellish calls."
>>NHL VP of "Hockey Operations" Colin Campbell [emphasis mine]
I've got an idea: How about calling the rules as they are written...all the time? It's crazy, I know. But it might help people make sense of how you
ruin run the game they love.
Sadly, I don't have a dog in the playoff fight (But I'm still watching! I'm a good revenue-producing fan!). If I did, however, I'd be pretty pissed if a blatant dive like Joe Thornton's weren't called last round but suddenly drew the call this round because the powers that be have decided to "ramp it up." (Thornton was called for diving on that play last night.) Is there a better example of the NHL's maddening inconsistent adjudication than a stern threat that amounts to, "Boy, if you guys keep this up we're going to have to start really calling it by the rules!"
IIHF World Championship Links
- This Is What Happens When Frans Nielsen Isn't There to Scare the Brieres of Society Away: Some tools broke into the Danish team's hotel rooms and stole a bunch of stuff.
This Is What Happens When Michael Grabner Isn't There to Do Amazing Gremlin Stuff: Sadly, Austria lost to Latvia, which means the Austrians return to Division 1 for next year.
- This Is Why It's a Czech World, You're Just Renting the Smelly Sector: After downing hosts Slovakia, the Czechs downed* Russia & The Ovechkins to win their group. (*Okay, technically it was a shootout win.)
- Speaking of both of those victims of Czech supremacy, Slovakia's flame-out is the worst host performance since...Russia's in 2000.
- By the way, if you didn't notice from the Denark link, SBN does have an international hockey blog at Puck Worlds.
Junior Playoffs Links
The Portland Tribune called the Winterhawks' Game 2 loss to Kootenay (huh huh, huh huh) a "brain freeze." Fortunately it sounds like Nino Niederreiter was not among the frozen. They did find their brains for an impressive comeback that fell short though. The game was a sellout for Portland, over 10,000.
At the other side of the continent, Owen Sound won Game 4 of the OHL final, so that series is tied at 2-2 heading back to Casey Cizikas' Mississauga.
Wild West: What a third-period comeback for Detroit in San Jose last night. On to Game 6 in Detroit, with pressure on San Jose ramping up like an arbitrary Colie directive. [Reactions: Winging it in Motown gloats. Fear the Fin frets.]
A thought about all that: The two 3-0 series last year and this that have gone to a Game 7 were two closely matched teams. This series' first five games have been decided by a goal. Will we see more comebacks with a league that has greater parity? In other words, will more 3-0 leads be true 50/50 coin flips, prone to erasure by similar coin flips?
Playoffs?!: A fun lament from the always wonderfully cantankerous Benjain Massey at Oilers blog Copper & Blue: Why it's important to just get in the damned playoffs. This is why I do posts stressing the importance of building Isles depth. If we want playoffs, that is.
Eulogies: Bangin' Panger does the eulogy treatment for the Flyers over at Puck Daddy. I laughed.
The best news from last night (for a nut like me at least) is...the second round continues! Vancouver-Nashville Game 6 tonight, Detroit-San Jose Tuesday. I like this. Have I mentioned I don't watch baseball?
Must be the Off-Season Links
Smurfs-related: Interesting piece from Arthur Staple in Newsday: Rangers prospect Chris Kreider says he's not ready for the NHL, wants to stay at B.C. next season. The Rangers like to get their top prospects into the system, as the Isles have done. Staple theorizes there are bonus cushion/cap implications.
A Trade! Also Smurfs-related, the Coyotes and Rangers swapped some young guys.
SNY Point Blank and Craig Button: Button is a Huberduberdeau (gesundheit!) fan. They mock the draft.
Parting thought: I'm not sure the premise of my Joel Ward post was clear, so I'll try to sum it up better:
- Teams need depth to win and survive injuries.
- The Islanders could use better forward depth but can't add free agents at the top end. (There aren't many out there anyway.)
- Joel Ward, who takes Nashville's toughest assignments, is a good hockey player even without his recent scoring luck.
- Before the playoffs -- i.e. before his scoring binge (he only had 10 goals in the regular season) -- I would've targeted Ward to improve the team and relieve other developing Islanders of tougher roles.
- But given his playoff surge and ensuing buzz, he may get some silly offers that make his price too high, and his free agency more interesting to watch.
I still think defense and goal are the greater concerns, or question marks, for next season. But for a concerted push to the playoffs I'd feel better with an "unsung" tough-minute forward addition in the mold of Ward. Internal competition is healthy. Well-rounded players fill in well when injuries strike. Surviving injuries helps you make the playoffs.