Saturday, April 14, 2007

4-13-07: Predators 5, Sharks 2

Go Sharks?

I didn’t want to adopt a playoff team. I told myself, it’s too soon, I’m not ready for another relationship yet, especially one with a 15/16 chance of ending badly. But what can I say? Hockey brings out the romantic in me. Of course, it probably says something unflattering that I chose my bandwagon team on the basis of a 5-2 loss.

1. Anyway, I’m cheating, because the thing that I really love about the Sharks is how well Rivet is playing. Change is indeed sweet in all things, because I can hardly believe he’s the same player- he’d been having such a rough year in Montreal, often looking slow and out-of-place, but watching him with SJ, hell, you’d think he’d been playing there for 10 years. Already 2 goals in the playoffs, and as smart and solid defense as anything else on the team (which, come to think of it, might be why they needed him). Plus they seem to be giving him juicier ice time, especially on the PP, which he’s got to be happy about. Credit due to both clubs, for recognizing what was clearly a great move, both for the player and the teams involved. Anyway, although I can’t shake the feeling that teal is not the right color for him, it’s a real thrill to see ahad min ahbabi doing well in the postseason.

2. There’s a fine line between ‘brave’ and ‘stupid’, and hockey players are totally incapable of seeing it. Take, for example, Cheechoo, who basically limped his way through the entire game at half-speed on an obviously damaged knee, then got his nose broken, and yet still managed to come up with an assist. Stupid? Yes, absolutely, given the physicality of this series and the significant risk of getting his poor self put down in long-term way. But also very, very brave, and one of the few cases where the hyperbole of hockey commentators is well justified. Still, ahamdulillah, he’s going to get an extra day off before deciding if he’s going to continue to be stupid/brave for the next game.

3. The hit on Bernier was really vile. After this game, everyone’s going to be talking about the mass-brawling at the end, and yet again fighting will serve it’s divinely-ordained purpose in hockey, i.e., to distract everybody from the actually dangerous forms of violence in the game. I hate to say it, I know it’s disrespectful to tradition, but 90% of hockey fighting looks like making out and does approximately the same amount of damage. But the reckless, malicious way that Radulov came out of nowhere and drove that guy’s head into the boards- that’s scary, a little bit inhuman, and a serious problem for the sport. Hopefully there’ll be some sort of real punishment for it, if only because a team losing an actually valuable player for a few games during the postseason might actually send a message that’ll mean something.

4. That said, look, I love generalized thuggery. Thuggery is great, gotta stand up for your boys and all that, but there is a reason that (they say) there’s generally less fighting in the playoffs, and that’s because penalties hurt. True, I don’t know anything about the Sharks, but trust me, after this season, I know the consequences of stupid penalties. In future it might be better for SJ to find a way to thug without giving up quite so many minutes of 5-on-3, because at this rate, they’re going to hook, trip, interfere, rough, and unsportsmanly conduct their way out of the series. That is, if the Preds don’t beat them to it.

5. Again, not wanting to be too critical about a team I haven’t followed all season, but seems to me there might be a bit of a goalie problem here. Nabokov (would it be wrong of me to start calling him Lolita? No? Good.) let in 4 goals on 12 shots, and a couple of them looked like they should have been easy enough saves.

6. Best. Postgame. Press Conference. Ever. Carbonneau is wondering why he didn't think of that months ago.

7. Nonsequitor: They just showed a close-up of the ice surface in Anaheim. Eeeeew, I would not want to skate on that. Why even bother with ice if you’re just going to make a mess of it?

For those of you who care, my preferences for the other series are as follows: Penguins, Lightning, Rangers, Wild, Canucks. I really like Buffalo, but I gotta say, given the massive odds against, if the Isles can win that series they’ll have my eternal admiration. And I’ve got absolutely no feelings on the Flames-Red Wings question- I’m open to suggestions as to why I should prefer one or the other (although let’s keep the Western Conference trash-talk to a minimum, shall we?).

In blog-keeping news, as you might be able to tell, I figure I’m going to follow the Sharks until further notice- between Rivet and the three-legged puppy appeal of following a team that’s already taken two major injuries in as many games, they’ve hooked me. In addition, I find I miss writing about the Habs even though they’re, uh, not actually playing hockey anymore, so I’ll be starting a once-weekly feature for the duration of the off-season where I ramble on about miscellaneous Canadiens-related things, which will probably be ‘news’ (i.e. ‘gossip’, because there’s no difference in Montreal), as well as assorted bits I didn’t get around to before their ignominious season-exit. Irrelevant? Maybe, but the true measure of a Habs fan is the unwillingness to admit that any team, franchise, or city could possibly be more interesting, no matter what the circumstances. Time allowing, I’ll also get around to a few playoffs-related ideas of more general interest.


Jordi said...

Jump onto the Sharks ship! I fell in love with them even when they were playing against the Oil. Though Nabby has a very erratic record of being either completely awesome or hopeless. Who knows. It seems somewhat slightly satisfactory that Rivet is excelling when he deserves the recognition... Unlike others I don't care for.

Bob M said...

Go Sharks!

alice said...

About Rivet blossoming with the Sharks...that's one of the mysteries of sports. It's all too tempting to blame management—in this case, Habs management—for not utilizing him properly. But that's too easy. The Sharks presumably were looking for a player who would fit their system, and they clearly found one. My Rangers similarly found one in Sean Avery (assuming that team management had any idea how he would work out, they couldn't have known how well he would perform, could they?).

Matthew Macaskill said...

I've been routing for the Sharks to win the cup since Rivet was traded there, hehe. Of course, had Montreal made the playoffs.

Of course, if Montreal had actually made the playoffs, I would have kept my allegiance to the Habs and hoped for a Game 7 victory over San Jose. ;)

Go Sharks GO!

Doogie said...

Bit late, but I'd have recommended going for the Wings simply because half your readers are Habs-Oilers bigamists. Oh, and because Chelios and Schneider are ex-Habs, which is two more than Calgary has.

20forever said...

It's cool, welcome onboard the Sharks bandwagon. If you count out Nabby though, you are missing something special. Just so you know.