Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Hard Night In Hollywood.... O'Rourke's Revenge .... Tim Thomas Fiasco... and Coffee Stained Game Notes
Los Angeles 4 Ottawa 1
Some might be tempted to call this game "Dan O'Rourke's revenge", in response to Paul MacLean's loose lips in Anaheim on the weekend (see below). Others might wonder if the Senators are showing signs of falling back to earth after a meteoric January by losing their past two games.
Meanwhile, many others didn't even watch this one because they were sleeping like most working people in the Eastern time zone. I persevered through a somewhat dull tilt (it had its moments) by plowing through a few cups of instant coffee and reading endless tweets about the Tim Thomas gongshow (again, see below).
To me, this Senators team looks like a group of guys who are in need of a vacation. That was their 12th game of the month, the first game of what will be their 3rd back-to-back in January, and their 8th on the road in 18 days.
To say the Senators are due for a few losses is an understatement. The fact that it took until the end of this brutal stretch is the only real surprise here. They have one more on Tuesday night in Phoenix, where Kyle Turris will be putting some good money on the board to try and get the win, and then it's the much needed All-Star break where the majority of Sens will get a chance to recuperate (ie. party) before they embark on the stretch run to the playoffs.
The fact that Jason Spezza took a puck off his helmetless forehead during the warmups and had to get stitched up before he even broke a sweat should have tipped off the wise that the breaks would be hard to come by in L.A.
Nothing to see here. Keep moving.
We'll take a pass on the Senators 3 Stars for tonight because there isn't enough to fill it out. But if we had to pick one, let's take Colin Greening who led the team in hits with eight and tied for the lead in shots with four.
With coach Paul MacLean putting the flamethrower to referee Dan O'Rourke for calling Erik Karlsson a diver, there was a bit of a free pass waiting there for Karlsson if he wanted to bury O'Rourke even further to the press. The fact that Karlsson chose not to and even had some sympathy towards the tough job referee's have just shows the kind of class #65 has. It's something you could imagine Nicklas Lidstrom or Ray Bourque saying..... With that being said, O'Rourke has been brutal. First the diving comment, and then he watches as the Kings captain Dustin Brown tries to break Karlsson's arm with a slash and keeps his whistle at his hip. My guess is O'Rourke wasn't too happy about MacLean's comments. Kind of brings you back to Cory Clouston's public plea that the refs were jobbing the Senators. Maybe Clouston was right..... Kerry Fraser seems to think that O'Rourke would probably apologize to Karlsson in person if in fact he did call him a "diver", something Fraser sheds doubt on in his TSN column..... Darryl Sutter is proof enough that redemption is always just around the corner in the NHL. This guy was called "done" more times than dinner around the league and now he's behind the reins of a Kings team that has more talent than the Flames squad he led to the Cup final in 2004..... Denis Potvin had a nice moment when he said Jonathan Quick's catching glove was like "a frying pan". In fact, I think some goalie's are using woks out there...... The collision between Colin Greening and Drew Doughty might be the most epic hit you'll see all year (with apologies to Brayden Schenn who I'll talk about later). Doughty basically exploded in mid-air and he was the aggressor in the play. Unbelievable..... Clearly, Doughty was just fine after that hit because he set up Jack Johnson's power-play goal which put the Senators to bed for the night.
....Tim Thomas is an incredible goaltender with a great story, but refusing to attend the White House event because of "political and ideological differences" seems petty and arrogant. Thomas is a hardcore Tea Party advocate, and in keeping with that party's ideological extremism, has found a way to turn what is always a mild, non-partisan event into a political cluster-f**k. Standing up for what you believe in is no offense, but if you can't even celebrate with your teammates because your adopted ideology won't allow you to shake the hand of the President of the United States, then something is truly off. A lot of people are drinking that sugary brand of Kool-Aid in America and it's not surprising to see it start to leak into areas where politics usually isn't welcome. Try not to get your feet wet..... What the hell is going in Winnipeg with Evander Kane and the fans? Sounds like Kane is getting the Ray Emery treatment - ie. rumour mongering and a local press that despises him. How does this not end with Kane asking for a trade at some point down the line here?..... One of the more bizarre calls the Senators have faced all season is Chris Phillips giving the Kings a penalty shot for allegedly covering the puck in his crease with a glove, even though the replays clearly showed he batted it towards Craig Anderson's pads, a perfectly legal and commonplace play. Of course - of course - the Kings scored on the penalty shot. Then Chris Neil takes a crosscheck in the grill from Kyle Clifford (accidental, but still a high-stick), goes down in a heap and the Sens still don't get a mercy call. Combine that with the slash on Karlsson, the non-call when Phillips had his stick axed in half right in view of the ref and various other borderline whistles that didn't go the Senators way, and you could almost imagine MacLean waving the white flag like Roger Neilson once famously did in Vancouver. But if the refs think you're a team full of divers, those whistles tend to stay pretty dry.
.....Two of the best things on Twitter: The Iron Shiek @the_ironsheik, and Don Cherry Parody @DonCherryParody. I'm pretty sure the Iron Shiek account is real (as he's as crazy as his tweets whenever he makes a public appearance) and the Cherry Parody is so spot on it hurts. Don Cherry himself would appreciate it if he even knew or cared what Twitter was, much like he appreciated the piano bit that hit You Tube not too long ago...... Lots of people had some harsh reactions to Tim Thomas on Twitter today, but as usual, one person went way too far and that person was TSN's Dave Hodge, who has a history of getting himself in hot water for various things (the flipping of the pencil being my favourite). Bringing up someone else's kids is never going to work, even if it was intended as a joke. I like Hodge a lot but I don't know how he's going to get out of this one.....It's always worth watching CBC's Ron MacLean and Don Cherry's routine on Saturday nights, even if you can't stand Cherry. You can't accuse it of being boring, but it used to be even less PC in the old days, if you can believe it and somehow louder. But the give and go has been the same and it's interesting to go back and watch a few from over the years. Here's Cherry in his prime when he had the much hated Ulf Samuelsson as a foil back in 1991 (it's funny how Cherry was calling out guys for dirty hits long before the shrill fourth estate of today). And here's Cherry coming two letters from swearing on national TV back in October 1993 and while MacLean sheepishly looks on in a cold sweat.....But that's nothing. How can anything compare to Don Cherry laying down a rap track on Rock 'Em Sock 'Em 5? This may blow your mind ("Listen, listen, never turtle, you do that they'll call you Mirtle. Let's Go!").....
.....What in incredible open-ice hit by the Flyers Brayden Schenn on the Bruins Steve Kampfer. I know that people don't like to see fights occur after clean hits like the one Schenn delivered, but the fact that Chris Kelly immediately went after Schenn and dropped the gloves shows the leadership Kelly is providing and why he's already an assistant captain for the B's after being there less than a year. While the fans and media don't like these post-clean hit fights, it's now de rigueur amongst the players and a failure to react after a teammate gets crushed is viewed as being soft. Right or wrong, that's where the game has evolved to. Kelly did the right thing in that situation. As for Kampfer, man, how do you not know to keep your head up when coming from behind your own net? Even in today's NHL?