Sunday, February 11, 2007

Weapons of Mass Goonery

The Pens pulled another one out of their hat, thanks in large part to rookie Jordan Staal, who recorded his first career hat trick en route to a 6-5 overtime win by the Pens. I won't ramble on about the game details, other than to throw an angry barb at moron referee Don Van Massenhoven. Colby Armstrong is known as a pest, but he had not really done anything particularly inflammatory during the game, when all of a sudden, here comes Hal Gill.

Gill (who is 6' 7", 250) absolutely levels Colby (who is 6' 2" 195), mashing an elbow to his face. Alright, great hit. The Gill punches him while he is down, waits for him to start getting up, punches him in the back of the head to knock him down again, lets him get up, creams him to the ice a second time...then Colby finally gets up and gives Gill a shove.

This entire time, Van Massenhoven is standing literally five feet away watching them. He never calls anything, and the second ref finally skates in and gives offsetting roughing minors. Give me a break. I hope the league reviews this and does something. Van Massehoven was either acting like it wasn't happening, or waiting for Colby to retaliate so he could call offsetting, and either way he is flat-out wrong.

However, this game brings up a lot of puzzlement for me, not the least of which:

1. I have never (at leat not any time recently) seen a game where two goalies (Raycroft and Fleury) had statistically identical nights, but played such wildly different games.

2. I think things are going to get worse for Raycroft before they get better. The Pens scored goals 3-5 by shooting the puck right at Raycroft's glove hand, and Raycroft flat out couldn't get his glove up and out in time - and none of them were particularly hard shots. Raycroft knew this, started cheating up in his stance, and got beat 5-hole instead. Surely teams are going to see this video and shoot everything and the kitchen sink at his glove for a while.

3. Michel Ouellet, now you know that the reason you lie down to block a shot is not so you can hope to get hit in the nuts, but so you don't block your goalie's view. THat way if you somehow don't block it, he can still see the puck and make a save. Doofus.

4. Maxime Talbot looked fantastic. He was buzzing around the ice all night, laid a fantastic hit on a guy bigger than him (Gill), worked his butt off for a goal, and continued his excellent performance on faceoffs. My question is, based on his faceoff skills alone, and supported by the rest of his skills - why hasn't he replaced Malone on the first line by now?

5. Ronald Petrovicky (for those of you who missed it) laid a man out. Completely knocked him out cold. He didn't wake up until he was in the ambulance (that was a span of at least 8 or 9 minutes). I am a bit creeped out by the rumor that Petro, on the way to the box, muttered to someone, "if he dies, he dies."

GO Pens, here come the Chicago Havlats!

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