Random info day again!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First off, I have to ask: Can one be "hockey-ed out"? Because I was bored stiff last night despite the fact that there were three different games to watch. Okay, so they just so happened to be the three most boring games on last night. I had the option of seeing if the Pens would put up their most embarrassing game to date by losing to Atlanta or if they would actually win one (they won), the Leafs losing to the Panthers (they did indeed lose) or the Sens try to find a way to win against the Sabres (they didn't). But anyway.... because I'm procrastinating on making lunch... a roundup of how yesterday went:
  1. Pens finally stop their horrid losing streak with a resounding 3-1 win over.... the worst team in the league. Yay. Kovalchuk got the Thrasher's only goal in-between taking swipes at Malkin. What is it with Russian players trying to kill Malkin? I mean, maybe I can see Ovechkin doing it, but Kovalchuk? Weird. Didn't matter. Pens won. Not that I'm celebrating much. It's the Thrashers for crying out loud....
  2. Sens lose. Again. This is getting old now...
  3. Leafs lose. Again. Biggest surprise: they got two goals in!
And finally, it was the night of some interesting goalie stuff:
  1. Wild are on a streak! Despite the silly name and the horrendous jersey colours, the Minnesota Wild appear to be back on track this month after a terrible December. Niklas Backstrom recorded his second straight shutout last night as the Wild beat the... wait for it... Boston Bruins. In Boston. Yay! It was the second straight loss for the Bruins who couldn't put the puck into a pile of empty nets against Miller and the Sabres earlier in the week.
  2. Jose Theodore apparently was stellar for the Caps as they hung in and beat the Flyers in shootouts. After 65 minutes of play, the score was only 1-1 thanks to goals from Backstrom (no, he's not related to the Wild's goalie) and Coburn. Kolzov was the only one to score in the shootouts (*coughs neither Alex scored coughs*) but it was enough to see off the pesky Flyers. Too bad Ovechkin didn't score but oh well... as long as the Flyers lose.
  3. Another former Habbies goalie, Huet, also had a good night as the Blackhawks stomped on the Coyotes 6-0. To quote headcoach Wayne Gretzky about the game "[the Blackhawks] are a pretty good team, first of all. They play hard and thank God we're done with them." As a random side note: the Blackhawks have outscored the Coyotes 20-4 in their matchups this season. Oopsies.
  4. Unfortunately Steve Mason lost the battle of the goalies with Ty Conklin as the Red Wings recorded three goals in the third period to shutout the Columbus Blue Jackets. When does Filatov get to play full time with the Blue Jackets?!
  5. And finally.... Evgeni Nabokov was pulled for the first time this season as the Flames burned the Sharks 5-2 in Calgary last night. Guess it was the night of the top teams losing.

And the biggest news of last night? The Sens' Jarkko Ruutu decided to made a serious bid for "the most annoying antics of the season" award in the game against the Sabres. Of course, he would have had to have done something really whacko to top Sean Avery. So what does he do? He bit Sabres forward Andrew Peters on the hand so hard that he apparently went through Peter's glove and broke the skin. I guess the designers of the gloves never foresaw that one happening..... Peters made a huge production of it before leaving the ice to be bandaged up. Um, forgive me if I"m not dishing out loads of sympathy here. If I were Peters, I would go to the doctors and ask for a rabies vaccine. Just in case.

Enough of that now. I have a rant to go on actually.

Can we please stop treating Halak like this, please?

I'm incredibly annoyed with how Halak is treated in the media right now. Today's paper had the headline "Carbo throws Halak a lifeline" or something along those lines. Look, I know the guy has not played well in the last two games but I have to say this: the whole mess in New Jersey was definitely not entirely. I don't believe that if Price had been in nets the Habs would have won playing like that. Maybe the score would only have been 2-1 or 3-1 but they still would have lost giving up all those breakaways and oddman rushes. I've already stated that I think the team feels more comfortable when Price is playing and they do not do as well when it's Halak which only makes everything else worse.

The thing is, Halak can be good. We know it (or at least we should). He knows it. And I think the whole team knows it too. Right now the last thing the media should be doing is treating him like he's a terrible goalie who can't save the puck if his life depended on it.

No, his numbers do not look good right now - he's 6-6-1 - but let's just think about a couple of those games, yes?

Halak was in nets in that game against the still Mason-less Blue Jackets which should never have gone to shootouts. Halak was in nets when the Habs played the Flyers for the second time this season. They lost 2-1. I think I remember saying that the entire game was pathetic from both teams. Nobody was playing well that night. Halak was also in nets when the Habs went AWOL in that shutout loss to the AHL-Filled-Washington-Capitals. Another display of crappy playing from the entire team there. Halak was in nets when the Habs got completely embarrassed by the Tampa Bay Lightning - a game in which absolutely no offense was produced whatsoever and the Habs let St. Louis and Lacavalier steal the show at home. Halak was in nets for the loss to the Washington Capitals in which I thought he was very good but the Habs fell down in the last few minutes and got burned. Could have happened to anyone in nets. And Halak was also in nets for one of the many debacles against the Carolina Hurricanes in which I think the Habs really need to sit down and wonder what it is about the Hurricanes that makes them play like crap.

Now Halak was also in nets for that 6-1 rout of the Maple Leafs (which is more than I can say for a certain other guy when the Habs fell 6-3 to the same Leafs), that 3-1 win over the Panthers at home for the first time in I dunno how long, that 4-1 blasting of the Calgary Flames, that big 5-2 win over the Flyers and that OT win on the Sabres.

Am I the only one who notices that when the Habs have something prove - they wanted to show that they could beat the Panthers at home, Tanguay wanted that win against the Flames badly, no one wanted to go down 4 games in a row by losing the hated Flyers, and they battled hard for that win against the Sabres - they win, no matter who is in nets? I could go on and on about some of the stinkers that Price has put up this season but I won't. When the Habs want a win they win. They look past who's in nets and they freaking find a way to win.

The media does not say "Price lets Panthers come back into the game" or similar type of things when it's Price in nets and he does terribly. They find excuses and blame the entire team for the loss. When it's Halak and they lose it's all Halak's fault. NOT FAIR. I'm not saying he's wonderful and none of it is his fault. He needs to take his share of the blame for the losses when he's in nets. Oh and his share doesn't mean 90% of it.

Does Halak need to prove that he can rebound from tough games and play like we know he can? Yes. But does the team also need to come out and support him (read: stop playing lame defense like they've been doing the last two games)? YES. Right now everyone needs to step up and support each other and find a way to win tonight. They're good enough to beat the Rangers but they need to work as a team to do it.

Rant over. Time to talk tennis.

I have yet to see a full match this season but hey, it's only Doha right now and it's just the beginning of the season. Still, I will try to see a full match soon. Again, I missed Nadal rolling over whoever it was that he took on today. I also missed Murray and most of Federer's matches but I did catch the end of Federer's match. He didn't look quite as good as yesterday and even though Seppi did well - okay, okay, even though Seppi had spurts of goodness amid lots of bad playing - I think Federer could have done a lot better than the 6-3 6-3 result. But I digress. It's still better than poor Nole did in Brisbane. I refuse to read too much into this whole thing so far because it's pointless and silly. But on the other hand, I can't help but feel that Federer would benefit slightly by giving a strong performance here in Doha. If only to prove that he's not dead or dying anytime soon.


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