Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A little something extra

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

A big night in the NHL to be sure, with almost every game having playoff implications – yes, even the Devils/Leafs game. In keeping with the subject line of today’s post, should a run at the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference not be enough motivation for our Toronto Maple Leafs (still counting Hazel as a member of Leaf Nation), they need look no further than within for a little extra motivation.

Of course the “within” means their AHL team, the Toronto Marlies, who have former Devils G Scott Clemmensen on the roster. On the final game of the 06/07 season, the Leafs needed a Devils’ win over the NY Islanders to get into the playoffs – Devils GM (and occasional coach) Lou Lamoriello opted to rest Martin Brodeur in favour of Clemmensen – citing that he had to do what was in the best interests of his hockey team and he couldn’t worry about the plight of the Leafs. The Devils lost the game in a shootout – Leaf Nation won’t forget.

Paul Maurice’s pre-game speech tonight should focus on that game between the Devils and the Islanders – he might also want to remind them all of the cheapshot former Devils F Cam Janssen laid on Tomas Kaberle, knocking the Leafs number 1 defenceman out for a few games. The Leafs face a tough road ahead this week – Devils tonight, and a visit to Hazel on Thursday as they play the Bruins at the TD Banknorth Garden on Thursday – to compound things, the teams they are chasing all play each other, so gaining ground will be difficult. Leafs lay one on the Devils tonight at the ACC – count on it.

Before moving on, a look back on the night that was in the NHL last night – with the top three teams in the Northeast division all suffering beatdowns of varying degrees. The Bruins were humiliated by Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps last night – enough said, no sense in rubbing it in…it happens, not often, but it happens.

Two of the Eastern Conference’s “best” (emphasizing quotation marks) were humbled on the west coast last night. How ironic was it to see the Canadiens, a team that has lived and died with their specialty teams, go 0 for 7 on the power play and give up two goals in six shorthanded situations? The Habs are counterfeit – they are the Philadelphia Eagles of the NHL. Their “future”, goaltender Carey Price, looked pretty ordinary last night – as did most of their players.

The SenaTards fell 3-1 to the Ducks last night – prompting their fans to flood the sports radio station with calls about moral victories, “playing with emotion”, and missed penalty calls. The most interesting part of the game came when coach Bryan Murray got himself thrown out of the game for harassing the officials for a call on Tards C Mike Fisher in the third. Murray passed it off as a mistake, but it was definitely calculated on his part – he got himself tossed so that he could take the bullet for the loss. Murray has likely come to realize that the Tards aren’t Eastern Conference favourites anymore and to protect the team’s fragile psyche, he got himself thrown out so that people would focus on his ejection rather than his team’s loss. Murray threw in the towel – no doubt about it – he knew they weren’t going to come back from a one goal deficit. The Tards can talk all they want about how they were in the game and had a chance to win – but they were going nowhere; another game where Spezza and Heatley were invisible – funny how these two disappear when the going gets rought.

The question of “who is the fairest of them all” was answered in spades yesterday – the Pittsburgh Steelers, that’s who. According to Ben Roethlisberger’s agent – he didn’t ask to be the highest paid QB in the league, he just wanted “a fair deal”. Well, apparently the Steelers think that an 8 year/$102 MILLION ($36 million guaranteed) deal is fair.

Did I miss something here? When did that donkey become one of the league’s best players? Apart from his Super Bowl season – where the stars lined up – has this guy ever established himself amongst the elite? Wonder how the Colts and Patriots feel about this deal? How long before Tom Brady stops being Mr. Nice Guy and looks to get paid like the top QB in the league? Tony Romo is looking like a bargain now.

Almost ask ridiculous was the Houston Texans signing of Dallas Cowboys unrestricted free agent CB Jacques Reeves. Reeves cashed in big time with a five year/$20M deal from the Texans – speaking on behalf of all Cowboys fans, “Go in peace Jacques, but for God’s sake just go”.

Patriots WR got a little something extra – compared to what he played for last year – signing a 3 year/$27M deal to stay in Boston. Good deal for both sides – a FAIR deal.

Washington Capitals LW Alexander Ovechkin had a hat-trick and two assists in last night’s game against a team that shall remain nameless and a score that won’t be rehashed.

San Jose Sharks C Joe Thornton had two goals and two assists in a 6-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens…good for the Maeple Leafs in the yahoo pool.

Toronto Maple Leafs C Mats Sundin was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week for scoring four goals and assisting on four others to lead the Leafs to a 3-0-1 week. Pretty good response to those who criticized him for not waiving his NTC.

Finally, a week that starts off on the right foot – the total is at + $200, and will continue north with tonight’s suggestions (the money lines will be posted later:

Boston over Atlanta – a no brainer, when a team gets hammered like the Bruins did yesterday, they usually respond with a great effot – the good thing for Boston is that they don’t have to wait long before trying to put last night behind them. Lay $200 on the Bruins.

Calgary over Columbus – the Flames have Blue Jackets have split their first two games with both winning on the road – the trend gets reversed tonight with a Calgary win at home. Lay $100 on the Flames.

St. Louis over Los Angeles – time is fast running out on the Blues (it probably has already run out) so they’ll leave it all on the ice tonight. Lay $100 on the Blues.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out!


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