Hump-day Hater Report 10-1-08
Stanley Cup teams hate injuries
Obviously the subtitle narrows it down to Detroit and Pittsburgh. Some big names have taken some hard shots this preseason and the teams will be paying the price. Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, and Sergei Gonchar are the most notable names to suffer injuries so far. The only difference is in the extent.
Lidstrom, who broke his nose and took a cut above his eye after a stubborn puck decided his face was in the way, will most likely be returning to play tonight. Datsyuk is recovering from a groin injury he received in the preseason opener and is still uncertain of when his return will be.
Then, of course, Gonchar will be out 4-6 months after getting surgery on his shoulder from a hit he took in Tampa Bay. Which brings out a very peculiar statistic in Pittsburgh: it seems as though every team leader, be it captain or alternate, seems to develop something to prevent him from playing for the Penguins for an extended period.
Off the top of my head: Briere (though never named a captain, was on his way to being oneâ€¦fatal vehicle accident), Lemieux (illness), Jagr (traded), Francis (traded), Recchi (traded), Leclair (traded), Crosby (injured), Malone (traded), Roberts (traded), Gonchar (injured). Eerie stuff.
On a side note, the Penguins have also announced that Max Talbot will not be playing in Thursdayâ€™s game against SM-Liigaâ€™s Jokerit due to a sore leg.
The Vancouver Canucks hate conformity
Recent news out of Vancouver states that the Canucks have named goaltender Roberto Luongo as their team captain. This marks the first time in 61 seasons that a goalie has been made a captain. However, league regulation says that Luongo canâ€™t actually wear the â€œCâ€ on his jersey. Instead, the team will have three alternates (Willie Mitchell, Mattias Ohlund and Ryan Kesler) who will deal with in-game responsibilities.
There have been two other goaltender captains in NHL history. The first was Hall of Famer Charlie Gardiner with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1934 and the second was Bill Durnan with the Montreal Canadiens during the 1947-48 season.
Jokerit hates Janne Pesonen
It seems that even if Pesonen is in another league on another continent, he still ends up playing the Helsinki-based Finnish team. Jokerit, the most southern team in the league, and Karpat, the most northern team in the league as well as Pesonenâ€™s former team, are often close in the standings. This past season, Karpat finished first (as they do quite frequently) and Jokerit finished fourth.
Now, Pesonen is on a team that finished second for once. The Penguins and Jokerit are set to square off at 11:30 a.m. EST (5:30 p.m. CEST â€“ Central European Summer Timeâ€¦even though itâ€™s technically autumn).
For those of you who are just crawling out of a cave for the summer and scratching your head going â€œPenguins? In Europe?â€ The NHL double-headed opener has the Penguins playing the Senators for two games in Stockholm, Sweden and the New York Rangers playing the Tampa Bay Lightning in Prague, Czech Republic.
I hate having very little to write about
Not for long, however. The NHL kicks off the season Saturday at noon. I hope to have many haters to report about next week when the HH Report makes its regular season debut!