Therrien/MacLean Super Mega Hatefest 2013

Wow, did the Montreal/Ottawa series blow up, or what?

In game one of the series, Sens D man Eric Gryba made a hit on Lars Eller that caused significant “head and facial injuries” to Eller.

Remember that, because I’m coming back to it.

Well, needless to say, Canadian-media fueled chaos ensued.

Ottawa’s head mustache Paul MacLean said after the game that the hit was not the fault of Gryba, and that Eller should be angry at “No. 61” – Montreal’s Rafael Diaz – for putting him in a vulnerable position with his pass to center ice.

Enter Montreal coach Michel Therrien, who said MacLean’s comments were disrespectful (in a very round-about way). Though Therrien never said the hit looked illegal, he noted he was unable to talk about that subject.

Montreal’s Brandon Prust, a recent graduate of the John Tortorella School of Handling the Media, came out and said of MacLean’s comments, “We don’t really care about what that bug-eyed, fat walrus has to say.”

Got all that? Good.

Because they’re all correct (except for Prust, whose comments are basically irrelevent to this point).

The hit was clean. A crushing, open-ice hit, yes. But no illegality about it. No elbow up. No leaving the skates. A solid, open-ice hip check with damaging consequences.

That, however, doesn’t justify MacLean’s comments – which is where Therrien is right. Regardless of whether the hit was clean or not, you can’t say that about a guy who was just rushed to the hospital.

As far as on the ice – I have no issue with making the call. The NHL is an immediate reactionist league that is now going to make those calls nine times out of 10 – we saw one called on Brooks Orpik earlier this season.

Suspension? Shouldn’t have been. There was, but it wasn’t necessary. I hate to come off sounding like a Neanderthal (known in the common tongue as Mike Milbury), but hits like that are clean and should not invoke suspensions.

Think I’m done here? Heck no!

Game three featured a grade-A spanking of the Habs, who lost in Ottawa, 6-1. With that being the score with 17 ticks left in the game, MacLean called a timeout to instruct his players on what to do when the puck drops.

...because, you know, professional hockey players don’t know what to do when that happens to begin with…

He also said he needed to protect his players. By that, he meant what players he had left on his bench after a line brawl depleted both squads with game misconducts. Again, with 17 seconds left, with a five-goal lead.

What he really did was give Montreal an opportunity for bulletin board material – but it didn’t work out, as Ottawa won Tuesday, 3-2, in OT to extend their series lead to 3-1.

Because it’s the Cup, right?

Linda Cohnhead

After Sunday’s NHL playoff game between Pittsburgh and the New York Islanders, ESPN anchor Linda Cohn called a lot of negative attention toward herself.

As you may recall, Sidney Crosby drew a penalty in overtime of game three on Long Island which led to Chris Kunitz’s game-winning goal, giving Pittsburgh a 2-1 series lead.

Cohn, a notorious New York Rangers fan, tweeted out, “Even Lebron [James] doesn’t get calls Crosby gets #nhlplayoffs.”

I will lay out my rebuttal in four stages.

No. 1: Is it possible for anyone at ESPN to make any sports reference without reverting it back to the NBA? Apparently not.

No. 2: Given the statement in No. 1, ESPN is hardly a credible source for anything hockey.

No. 3: It is common for plays that would normally be penalties in the regular season to go uncalled in the NHL playoffs. That being said, this was not one of those plays. Islander defenseman Brian Strait was practically hugging Crosby on his way to the net. The general rule of thumb is that if a player’s action seemingly prevents a potential goal, it will be called a penalty. Not that Linda Cohn knows that, though.

No. 4: After Cohn was bombarded with what I can only imagine was a barrage of hateful tweets, she responded with, “Call it like I see it. Did so seconds after game. Soft calls shouldn’t be made in OT. [NBC analysts Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick] said same thing. #nhl.” Again, anyone who knows anything about the NHL knows that Milbury and Roenick are meatheads who never understood the game’s finesse. As for her saying it was a soft call, refer to point No. 3.

Thank you for your attention throughout this explanation, and be sure to avoid absorbing any information from Linda Cohn or ESPN in the future.

AAEEIIOOUU

Did anyone else hear any different from the fans at Nassau Coliseum Sunday?

I love crowd chants, I really do. It gets everyone in the arena involved and makes home ice that much more important.

But when no one can understand what you’re chanting, it’s kind of irrelevant.

I got the “Fleu-ry” chants early – then the Penguins scored four-straight goals. That’s when the Izzzlander fans seemingly just began chanting vowel sounds.

I understand you’re excited because your team hasn’t made the playoffs in a while, but at least give us chants we can interpret.

Russians

Tuesday afternoon didn’t go well for the Yanks at the IIHF World Championships in Finland.

Yevgeni Medvedev poked home a loose puck around Ben Bishop with just over six minutes to play as Russia defeated the United States in a prelim game.

Russia remained undefeated in the prelims with the win, the US fell to 2-1.

Ilya Kovalchuck and Alexander Radulov also scored for the Russians, while Ilya Bryzgalov got the win in net.

Which begs the question of why Kovalchuck and Bryzgalov aren’t with their NHL teams in the playof….oh wait, nevermind.

Bieksa on embellishing

Linda Cohn isn’t the only expert on embellishing in this neck of the woods. But unlike Cohn, Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa actually has a legitimate opinion.

Monday, after the Canucks dropped to a 3-0 series deficit to San Jose the night before, Bieksa said the following to reporters:

“Five-on-five, we’re the better team. Their power play’s been hot. We’ve been giving them too many chances. There’s guys on their team, two guys in particular, that are embellishing a lot of calls, making it tough on the officials. Couture, you can’t go near the guy. He snaps his head back. He flails. You touch him after the whistle, and he’s going to jump off the ice and throw himself into the glass. And those are hard calls for the officials to make, and now they’re going against us.

“Thornton, another so-called Canadian, supposed to play the game with integrity, gets slashed and takes his glove off and shakes his hand. Referee takes a couple seconds to look at that and make a call, and that’s an important part of the game. That’s a critical time of the game where we go down two men, and these are two guys that are supposed to be playing the game with integrity.”

Thornton and Couture responded with the following in the San Jose Mercury News.

Thornton: “It’s just talk. You can see in both video clips, they were probably both penalties. They’re just going to talk like that now. At this point, you really don’t even pay attention to things that are said like that. It’s all part of the gamesmanship. You just try not to get sucked into a verbal altercation with them.”

Couture: “There’s really not much to say. I’m not going to go to the media and do any talking. I’ll do my talking on the ice.”

I’d ask Linda Cohn for her opinion, but this series doesn’t deal with teams in New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, or Miami, so she probably doesn’t care.

Well that does it for this week’s edition of the Humpday Hater Report, be sure to check back next week for more. Until then, happy hating!