Friday, April 24, 2009

A night in Columbus.

Detroit 6, Columbus 5; Western Quarterfinals, 4-0

About damn time those Columbus people got humbled in something. Gotta love their culture of rioting they still have down there. Never mind the fact that the penalty that did them in was absolutely 100% legitimate and not open to interpretation whatsoever. The sixth man on the ice played the puck before the guy he was replacing was off. It wasn't a hooking penalty or an interference penalty that is the judgment of the referee. Six men on the ice is as black and white a penalty in hockey as there is. But no, lets throw things at the opposing team's coach!

I also found this particularly amusing:

Once I got out of the Jackets' room, I headed straight for the area near the officials' dressing room. I hoped to find Kevin Collins, and ask him about the call. Collins is a supervisor of officials and he was working this series. Prior to his management gig, Collins worked 28 years as an NHL linesman. He worked 11 Stanley Cup Finals. He might have been the best linesman in the game before he hung up his skates in 2005.

I had run into Collins after Game 3, and chatted with him then. He is from the same neck of the woods. We are not pals; in fact, we've only spoken with another a few times over a dozen years. Regardless, he's the expert. He could provide a definitive description of the linesman's point of view.

Collins said he would have made the same call himself. He said it is automatic. He said, "How could I live with myself if I didn't make the call? It's the right call." He said, hypothetically, that if the player in Modin's position doesn't touch the puck, then there is no whistle.

So one second, this Columbus blog writer is saying how it was the right call and a 28-year veteran official said it was absolutely the right call without question.

For the vast majority of Jackets fans, the Miller call will be the searing memory of Game 4. For many, it represents another in a long line of incidents which show how the league looks down its nose upon the small-market Blue Jackets.

Yes, it's all a conspiracy to keep the small-market teams down. The league conspired to make sure the poor small-market team that was in the playoffs for the first time ever didn't upset the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Just like they conspired to keep Tampa Bay, Carolina and Anaheim from winning the Stanley Cup in 2004, 2006 and 2007, respectively.

Oh wait...those teams actually did win the Cup those years!

Give it a rest, Columbus. The team from Michigan beat you. I know that's a shock to your systems nowadays, but it happened. Move on.

Moving on...bring on the Ducks. I mean it. Yeah, wanting to play the team that is on the brink of knocking out the #1 seed and President's Trophy winner is a risky proposition, but eff it. I hate the Ducks almost as much as I hated the Avalanche in the late 90s and early 00s. I've had to see Jean-Sebastien Giguere stand on his head for four games in 2003 and see Chris Pronger and the Niedermayer brothers bully their way against a depleted Red Wings squad in 2007 on their way to the Stanley Cup. I still believe the Wings were better in 2007, with a few factors swaying it in Anaheim's way:
  1. Mathieu Schneider and Niklas Kronwall, two of Detroit's best defensemen, missing the entire series with injury.
  2. Rob Niedermayer pushing Dominik Hasek into the net in Game 2 when the puck was tucked into Hasek's pad. The officials completely ignored this and counted the goal, which tied the game at three. Anaheim won 4-3 in overtime.
  3. Andreas Lilja - who probably wouldn't have been on the ice if Schneider and Kronwall had been healthy and in the lineup - giving the game away with that abysmal giveaway to Selanne in overtime of Game 5.
  4. Hasek doing his best fish imitation, flopping all over the crease in Game 6 while the Ducks poked rebounds past him.
The Wings are healthy now. Kronwall and Brad Stuart are on the line with Rafalski in the place of the departed Schneider. Osgood, while not an elite goalie, is much sturdier than Hasek was in his last couple years. The Ducks are the more physical team. Of course they're also dirtier. Let Pronger throw his elbows around. Let the Ducks be their usual stupid selves. They'll play themselves right out of the series with all the penalties they take.

Of course, they haven't even finished the Sharks yet. But regardless. I hope they do.

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