Saturday, February 24, 2007

This Just In: Lists Are In Vogue

Things about the NHL that make us smile:

Goalie fights - We need more of these. You've probably seen, or at least heard about the fight between Ray Emery and Marty Biron last night in Buffalo. Perhaps it's the sheer absurdity of having the the two paddedest players on the ice wailing on each other, or perhaps it's the rarity with which they occur (the last one in the NHL involved a guy named Felix Potvin, if that helps). While last night's probably made Patrick Roy laugh a big hearty laugh (c'mon Biron, at least pretend to try!), it's really the thought that counts.

Ray Emery - Keeping on the Emery theme, that guy is now our favourite goaltender in the NHL. Taking down Biron and then squaring off with Buffalo heavy Andrew Peters all the while wearing a huge grin on his face has cemented our belief that Ottawa has a winner in net. Too bad it took them so long to figure it out.

Three Point Games - Some people don't seem to like that overtime losers still get to take a point home with them, despite not actually winning. Screws up the standings don't you know. No, no, and no. Three point games are why the Eastern Conference is going to go right down to the final day in deciding who makes the playoffs and who doesn't. It's all about the drama here folks. The same can't be said in the West, where the top eight won't change between now and April (Edmonton, even your GM would agree with us), but hey, it's official company policy here at 64 Years and Counting care that we don't care about anything west of Toronto.

Simple Salary Caps - Some have suggested that in the new NHL, deadline trades are next to impossible due to salary cap constraints. All the good teams are brushing against the thing already. If only, if only teams could trade away cap space to other teams! Imagine the possibilities! Yeah, but here's what would actually happen. The NHL's salary cap would look something like the NBA's, by which we mean it would be five kinds of confusing and nobody but the sportswriters would really have any idea what the hell was happening. Seriously, the first person who can explain the NBA's cap system deserves a Nobel prize in economics. Hockey's version is clean and easy. Don't spend more than the cap, dumbass.

Blockbuster Trades - Tell us you don't love it when big names get swapped. C'mon, do it, and then revoke your sports fan identification please. The NHL's trade deadline, a mini-holiday here in Canada (American fans, you can probably only guess at the silliness engendered by all day tradecentre coverage), is a beautiful thing. Peter Forsberg is gone already, but what about Tkachuk, Guerin, Tucker, Smyth, Biron et al? The suspense is killing us.

Goalie Fights - Ok, we said that already, but really, can you name a better part of hockey? Four-on-four overtime? Good, but not great. Shootouts? Not as cool as we had hoped. Toronto beating Ottawa? Well, getting closer, but still not quite as special. Goalies of the NHL, please, beat each other up more often. It's what we all secretly want.


(Props to us for not mentioning Kerry Frasers' fuckup last night in the Leafs-Isles game. We could mention how it was his bollocks of an incidental goalie interference call that called back what would have been the Leafs third goal, but we are too classy for that. We are also too classy to also mention that that because of that call, New York was able to tie the game, and take advantage of the Leafs godawful shootout record. Even furthermore, we have too much respect for the NHL and its officials to complain that incidental goalie interference is as stupid a rule as you can find. If he interfered with the goalie, give him the freaking penalty. If anything, it was DiPietro who interfered with Ponikarovsky anyway. And did you even see Sundin's non-goal? The puck was almost literally level with the redline when he shot it. He deserved the the goal just for sheer ballsyness. Right, but we're not going to mention any of that, because that is crass and poor sportsmanship.)

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