Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dirt Off the Shoulder

Time to dust off the ol' blog for the 07-08 season, now that i am finally approaching regular online access again. Since I have all weekend with naught else to do, it's time once again to jump back into the fabulous world of recapping the hockey action. Friday was also a short night for hockey, with only four games on the slate, which makes it a good night to get warmed back up with.
We'll start on the East coast, where Jersey welcomed the Buffalo Banana Slugs Sabres to town. Nobody scored in the first period and change, but certainly not for lack of effort, as New Jersey outshot the Sabres 13-2 and got good and physical:

"Judo CHOP!"

But Buffalo scored first, and went into the third period with a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, they could do nothing the rest of the way, eventually surrendering the game tying goal to some schlub named Mike Mottau (career game #35, career goal #2) and then losing in the shootout. Buffalo gave it the old college try, but it's hard to win when nobody outside your top line manages more than two shots all game.
It was movie homage night in Raleigh, apparently, as the Bruins came to town to take on the Hurricanes. Carolina got the scoring going early with a goal six minutes in, only to give it right back with a shorthanded goal by Chuck Kobasew mess than three minutes later, leading to an eerily Twins-like moment:

"You fuh-got the tird rule in a crisis situation..."

Carolina was ready, however, and finished off the scoring with Mike Commodore's first goal of the season with their own cutesy, "Fonz" moment:


Both teams settled in for the grind, with little action the remainder of the first and into the second, with the only goal coming on a penalty shot for Carolina. That didn't mean there wasn't any action going on, with class taking place along the near boards at one point:

Marc Savard watches a block of instruction from teammate Marc Stuart on the no-look punch - while the blonde lady gets way too into it.

Boston cut the deficit to 3-2 with a goal in the first minute of the period, and things were looking up. Then center Vlad Svobotka takes a stupid penalty for shooting the puck over the glass (his lone accomplishment in his four minutes of ice time) and the Hurricanes turned it into a power play goal. Boston answered back and trimmed the score back to 4-3 a mere 11 seconds later, but they couldn't finish it off and lost another close divisional game.

The Florida Panthers, meanwhile, got absolutely embarrased on their home ice. The Panthers outshot the Canadiens 41-21, but Montreal had a 3-0 lead before the game was even six minutes old, and they never looked back. Heck, they even found time for some acrobatics once they got bored:

Rookie Andrei Kostitsyn demonstrates the lost art of the Flying Headbutt to the Ass

The Panthers managed a shorthanded goal from Olli 'Still Stuck In Florida' Jokinen, but it wasn't nearly enough to stop a 5-1 beating from Montreal.

Last but not least, San Jose and St. Louis...played a frustratingly dull game. The Sharks were on the power play for three and a half minutes straight in the first period, and St. Louis had a full minute and a half of 5-on-3, yet the only goal the entire game came with three minutes left, giving San Jose a 1-0 victory, their 8th in a row on the road.

Still a logjam in both conferences. In the Eastern Conference, you have the New Jersey Devils, who are nine points behind Ottawa for the #1 seed, but also only eight points ahead of the #13 seed. In the Western conference, about the same is true of the Dallas Stars, who are a whopping 11 points behind Detroit for the #1 seed, but also only 10 points ahead of the #10 seed. Lots of jostling left, which should make for some entertaining hockey in the new year.

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