Hump-day Hater Report 2-25-09
Flyer opponents hate the power play
The ever-dangerous penalty killer, Mike Richards, struck again Saturday with his seventh shorthanded tally this season. Perhaps more impressive, the Flyers as a team have a total of 16 shorthanded goals by only four players. Richards, Gagne (4), Carter (4), and Hartnell (1) have all contributed with goals when down a man.
What better way to kill a penalty than with offense? It’s a win-win situation.
Despite the shorty, the Flyers fell to the Pens, who have seen many shorthanded goals against them, 5-4.
Marty Biron hates himself
Sticking with said Pens/Flyers game, Marty Biron must have caught a case of puck-handling-carelessness from Marc-Andre Fleury. After the Flyers had fought back to tie the game up at four in the third period, Marty Biron decided to take matters into his own gloves and charge the puck before Pascal Dupuis could get to it.
Biron was successful at the first attempt but then tried to sneak the puck to one of his defenders, not realizing Dupuis, who stole the puck back, was still in the neighborhood. The quick pass to the front of the gaping net ended with a one-touch redirect goal by Sidney Crosby.
There’s something about this season that has goaltenders out of their nets making unnecessary mistakes. Wouldn’t you agree, folks?
Which brings me to my next point…
Marc-Andre Fleury hates himself
With the offense getting shut down Sunday in Washington, Fleury had nothing to lean on to make up for his lack of puck-handling skills. Fortunately, the Pens scored five goals in their previous two games leading up to the game in Washington.
The story was different in the Verizon Center. His five goal performance adds to his total of 13 goals allowed in only three games. And while Dan Bylsma has the Penguins’ spirit back (or at least he does now), they won’t make the playoffs with a goaltender who has been recently unable to stop a beach ball.
Grudgeless pay back
With the Vancouver/Toronto game going down to the last round of the shootout, there was only one man who could turn the game into one for the ages. Mats Sundin left Toronto after last season and didn’t return to the NHL until this season was well underway to his new team, the Vancouver Canucks.
The shootout was tied 1-1 when number 13 stepped up to the red line. He had already received a long applause that was allowed to continue by the referees even when CBC came back from commercials. His quick backhand move slid the puck over Vesa Toskala’s right pillow and the crowd at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre erupted in cheers as though he was still one of their own.
The storybook goal lifted the Canucks to a 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs. Sundin, while being announced as the number one star of the game, gave a smile and wave goodbye to his still-fans in Toronto.
Lindy Ruff and the quick-to-point-the-finger-at-other-teams technique
In Saturday’s game in Buffalo, Ryan Miller attempted to clear the puck from behind his net late in the third period. New York Ranger forward Scott Gomez went in to pressure Miller and disrupted his play. Miller went down to the ice and struggled to get back up. The prognosis: a high ankle sprain (sound familiar?)
Lindy Ruff, as usual, was ready to pin the blame on the other team’s player, calling the injury intentional. Ruff said that “[Gomez] knew what he was doing… He knew what he was doing.”
Miller countered, “I know Scott personally,” he said. “I don’t think he would ever come in and try to injure me, especially when I’m not facing the play… the referee said he lost an edge. He’s not that kind of guy. He was probably trying to go for the puck.”
Ok, Lindy, you know you’ve gone too far whenever your own players think things like these are accidents. Will he ever get anger management?
Mike Milbury’s roast of Sidney Crosby
…oops…I meant NBC intermission report.
During the intermission of Sunday’s game of the week in Washington, Mike Milbury stated that Alexander Ovechkin is the best player in the NHL “by far.” Has he looked at the point standings lately? Not only is he second to Malkin in points, but he also lacks the defensive skills to play a well-rounded game.
This all came in light of his other comment that Crosby shouldn’t be the face of the league. You know, I agree with this one. Milbury wants Ovechkin to take on all the responsibilities of “face of the league.” Ok, give him all the pressure to play well every game (not just during ones when he scores on his back…which has happened twice in his career). Let him get named best whiner in the league, let other teams’ fans ‘boo’ him when he touches the puck. It’s all yours Ovechkin…is that what you want?
And Pierre McGuire, I like you, man, but calling Evgeni Malkin, the NHL’s top point-getter, the league’s most “under-the-radar-player” really doesn’t make sense.
I think Ryan Whitney wants us to hate him
Whitney has played in only 28 games this season, and yet he has the lowest +/- rating on the team. The one-time alternate captain is currently a -15. The pressure he was supposedly under to operate sans Sergei Gonchar should be lifted by now. Some argue he has stepped up, and offensively perhaps he has. But when you’re a -15 in only 28 games, you’re not helping defensively.
For point of reference, the two players nearest to Whitney’s all-time low +/- are Max Talbot (-13) and Jordan Staal (-11).
Renney makes 5
Former Rangers’ head coach Tom Renney became the fifth head coach to be fired this season in the NHL. And who would take his place?...the first coach to be fired this season. John Tortorella was released by the Tampa Bay Lightning after last season’s disappointing finish. Torts states that he is happy as a peach in NYC. Both he and Peter Laviolette have been out of a job for the majority of the season. The two men have been passing one another for most wins by an American-born coach. Tortorella, currently number two on the list, now has a chance to reclaim his title.
Gettin’ Jiggy with it?
This title is not an original. Nay, instead, this was the title used by NHL.com to play up the 3-2 win that Jean-Sebastian Giguere and the Anaheim Ducks tallied over the Buffalo Sabres last night. Now I know my puns can be bad…but ‘gettin’ jiggy with it’?
This concludes another edition of the HH Report. As always, keep an eye out for more haters in hump-days to come.