The Elephant Trunk in the Room
Boy, the NHL outrage machine was in high gear yesterday. Hope you didn't get any on you.
Old school hockey-types, mainly coaches and TV gasbags, are still mad that San Jose's Tomas Hertl dared to show some offensive flair on a night when he was king of the hockey world. So no, we can't have nice things.
But, as you've no doubt heard by now, Hertl's teammate Joe Thornton shifted the debate yesterday by saying a hilarious, bawdy and totally awesome thing about his penis when reporters were asking his teammate Patrick Marleau about the ridiculous Hertl "controversy."
Which, inevitably, brought out the questions about whether or not Thornton's hilarious, bawdy and awesome quote should have even been published. So now instead of every hockey player and coach and broadcaster alive being asked for their reaction to Hertl's goal, they're going to be asked about Thornton's dick joke reaction to the news of the reaction to Hertl's goal.
Which ... I can't. I just can't. The whole thing is so stupid. Obviously, the "fighters code" isn't the only ancient omerta that's being clawed on to despite the march of time.
On the record, off the record, it's a broken record. Hockey player (or team) bucks the ordinary, shows some personality and immediately the hockey ethics police dispatch the S.W.A.T. team to discuss THE GRAVITY OF IT ALL AND WHAT IT MEANS AND WHAT A DISGRACE THIS IS TO THE HISTORY OF THE NHL give me a break, please.
Actual hockey talk trumps talking about hockey talk. Every time.
- A pair of stories from the official site. One previews tonight's yardstick game against the Stanley Cup champs and the second reveals the ninja-like counterattack skills of the Josh Bailey-Frans Nielsen-Michael Grabner line. [Islanders]
- Bailey was on Sirius XM yesterday, possibly discussing LEGO bricks or PlayDoh. [Islanders]
- At some point, possibly as early as tonight, Cal Clutterbuck will return to the Islanders roster from the injured list. Arthur Staple thinks that either Brock Nelson or Pierre-Marc Bouchard will sit in favor of Clutterbuck. Staple also sees Kevin Poulin getting his first start of the season Saturday in Nashville. [New$day]
- Chris Triantafilis of Islanders Op-Timism also examines the Clutterbuck Conundrum and sees a pretty darn deep Islanders roster. [Islanders Op-Timism]
- Intrepid Point Blank steward Kevin Schultz is tracking Michael Grabner's breakaways this season and their results. Hope he's packing a radar gun. [IPB]
- Dee Karl talks with "old man" John Tavares about young guns Nelson and Matt Donovan. [Hockey Buzz]
- ESPN's Katie Strang on what Matt Moulson means to the Islanders during this contract year. [ESPN]
- Tonight's game will be a battle of Russian elders: Khabibulin gets the start for Chicago. [ESPN]
Fancy Stats Corner
- Down Goes Brown, under his "alias" of "Sean McIndoe" writes about this year's Maple Leafs being a test case for the validation of the NHL's advanced stats crowd. A really interesting (and understandable) take. [Grantland]
- As is graph-heavy parody piece about #fancystats from Canucks Army. [Canucks Army]
- And here's a cool interactive infographic showing NHL team comparisons based on payroll, goals scored, attendance and other metrics. Doesn't include last season, though. [Dark Horse Analytics]
- Guess nobody told Thomas Vanek that show-offy between-the-legs goals are DISRESPECTFUL. Because he disrespected the hell out of Sergei Bobrovski for a sick goal in Thursday's night's game against Columbus. [SB Nation]
- Win a cemetery plot courtesy of the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL. Insert Kirill Kabanov joke here. [Puck Daddy]
- I normally avoid articles about fighting now but this blog post by Jeff Marek frames the various arguments in an interesting light. [Sportsnet]
- Did someone give you one of those stupid novelty toasters that are supposed to toast (or, more specifically, burn) some logo or image onto bread? My wife had a Hello Kitty one for years that we finally just had to throw away because it was covered in a shaggy coat of dust. A writer at Russian Machine Never Breaks had a busted Capitals toaster and a better idea than just pitching it: get it signed by the team. [RMNB]
- Sorry, one more rant: even in a sea of arbitrary sports lists, this Hockey News list of "Most Polarizing Players in the NHL" is completely unnecessary and media-created. Thornton and Luongo aren't polarizing. They're great players who are obsessed over by narrative-seeking writers. Dustin Brown and Brad Marchand are polarizing in the sense that they're both good and dirty as hell like most of the best players in NHL history. OK. Now, I'm done. [THN]
- College Hockey Fans: SB Nation now has a blog just for you: sbnationcollegehockey.com.
- Remember when I mentioned TV gasbags before? Here's CBC's Glenn Healy with... I don't even know. Good thing he didn't talk about his junk or else there would have been CONTROVERSY!
From Islanders TV, Clutterbuck and Martin love big hits and they cannot lie.
Oh and this, this happened to the Rangers last night as they underlined their 9-2 loss to the Sharks by rolling over (and tripping over themselves) in a 6-0 loss in Anaheim:
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight's game over here.