Monday, November 06, 2006

11-4-06 & 11-5-06: Weekend Games

Devils 2, Canadiens 1

Avalanche 3, Canucks 2

Sabres 4, Rangers 3

Each of these games involved one team I’d never seen a full hour of before (Jersey, Vancouver, and NY, respectively), which makes my ability to evaluate them in any competent way a little sketchy, but being unable to do something has never stopped me from trying to do it. Anyway, the list of teams I haven’t seen play this year is now down to: Stars, Penguins, Islanders, Panthers, Blues, Flames, Hawks, Coyotes, Flyers. Less than 1/3 to go, and if I try real hard I can cut that in half by the end of the month. Granted, some of those that I’ve seen I don’t remember very well, but let’s face it: it’s a long season with 625 million games, and even concentrating with full attention on a particular game you’re lucky if you can process half the shit that happens, so we’re really talking about a sport wherein nobody actually knows what the hell is going on, at least not in a comprehensive sort of way. That’s why God made statistics: to give us the illusion that we understand hockey. Otherwise we’d all go home crying.

So here’s some random thoughts on the games in more or less the order that I thought them. See if you can guess what I was paying attention to!

  1. Jersey Devils: I love the idea of naming a team after an urban legend. (Question: is the phrase ‘urban legend’ properly applied to a wilderness phenomenon? Are Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster ‘urban legends’? And if not, what is the proper term?) Anyway, bonus points to New Jersey for cleverness.
  2. The Devils have got a very clean game- a tidy, organized, place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place style. First impression, anyway. Not particularly sexy, but I can certainly see the advantages.
  3. During the 2nd Devils goal, there’s a Jersey player physically in the Montreal net behind Huet. Is that allowed? It seems like that would make it kind of tricky to, you know, goal-tend. I’m not complaining, I just need someone to explain this to me. And since it evidently is allowed, does that mean that one could just, like, have a dude sit in the other team’s net for the whole game, if one wanted?
  4. Am I alone in thinking that the Habs seem like a team with a collective mood disorder? I can’t precisely describe it, but there’s something about the “emotional content” of their games that just ain’t right. If I was going to put it very broadly, I’d just say they’re not being aggressive enough, but it’s more like they just seem to go through long stretches of play without much investment. Zen-like detachment is certainly a useful strategy in certain life situations, but I’m not sure that hockey is one of them. And it’s not like their indifferent overall- once they have a penalty against them, or are down a bit, they are certainly capable of intense, high-pressure play. And they’re hella fast. So why can’t they seem to get into it? I’m obviously missing something here.
  5. I have to sleep later on Saturdays, because by the time the west coast games come on, I’m really too tired to concentrate. I more or less just sit there eating popcorn and being like “Look at all the pretties…”
  6. That being said, I kinda like the Avs and I also kinda liked the Canucks, so it was good to have an excuse not to root for anyone in particular and just enjoy it, because it was an awfully fun game to watch. Just a ton of energy everywhere and some really dramatic moments.
  7. The Rangers evidently left their game in the locker room during the first period, went back during the intermission, found it (probably under a pile of socks or something), and came back to give the Sabres a pretty tense run for it. Nice power play, NY. Too bad they didn’t let you use it during the 3rd.
  8. Kind of an injury-intensive game, or at least an injury-discussion-intensive game, given the commentator’s evidently endless concern about Shanahan’s back problems. Back pain does suck, certainly, but my sympathy for the moment breaks with the two guys got hit in the face (I believe both with the puck, but not totally sure on that). Anyway, I know it happens all the time, but that shit looks so damn painful, especially in the case of the one who came back to the game all stitched up. Commentator's take: Tough kid. My take: It’s a very, very hyper-masculinized game that has an ethic of coming back to play with your nose half detached. How on earth does anybody make it through a career with all their various body parts more or less intact?
  9. Side note: Obviously, I didn’t see the Leafs-Sabres game on Saturday, and while I believe I am contractually prohibited from saying anything nice about Toronto, I will say that that’s gotta be just a gigantic ego-boost for them. Congrats. (Hey, it was a lose-lose situation for me no matter what, and it’s kind of nice to see the underdogs win. Gives one hope and all that.)
  10. Additional side note: Happy (belated) Guy Fawkes Night. Hope you burned something.

In future, I’ll try to break these posts up into game-specific units, so they won’t be so damn long.

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