It was a bad night for the Florida Panthers all the way around on Monday against the Thrashers. Not only did they lose 4-3 to drop to 10-12-4, but they also saw their goalie get injured by his own teammate. With the game tied 1-1, Ilya Kovalchuk skated in for a goal to put Atlanta up 2-1. Defenseman Keith Ballard was not happy about the goal going through and expressed his displeasure by whirling his stick at the goal post. Unfortunately his stick happened to meet goalie Tomas Vokoun’s head before it connected with the post. Vokoun ended up being taken off the ice on a stretcher after a delay that lasted several minutes. Check out the video of Tomas Vokoun getting hit by Keith Ballard:
Alex Ovechkin made his triumphant return to the ice for the Caps on Tuesday night, scoring a goal in their 4-2 win over the Rangers. While Ovie’s return certainly provided a boost for the Caps, there’s no doubt that this fight between Matt Bradley and Aaron Voros fired up the troops early in the game. I think it’s the blood all over Bradley’s face that makes this brawl awesome. Check it out:
Amazingly enough, Bradley got six stitches over his left eye and returned to score the tie-breaking goal in the 3rd period. Hard to say who won the actual fight since each player got in quality shots but the bottom line is that the Caps won, so I guess that means Bradley did too. Sweet fight.
Many players and coaches have been known to do crazy things at team parades. You’ve had Mark Madsen break out in a horrendous dance, same thing with Pat Riley. Shaq’s rapped as has Juan Pierre. Chase Utley’s dropped an F-bomb in front of a packed Citizens Bank Park. I guess guys are riding so high that they feel invincible and will just do or say anything — almost like they’re drunk. Well Penguins coach Dan Byslma had one such moment on Monday in Pittsburgh at the team’s parade. Move ahead to the 2:45 mark to hear Bylsma take a shot at Hockeytown USA aka Detroit:
In case you can’t watch, Bylsma said: “We’re like, ‘we’re gonna win this one, we’re gonna win this one.’ And that’s what you fans did for us and done for us all along, it’s unbelievable. Bring this trophy back to Pittsburgh — city of champions — much better than Hockeytown.” Now it’s not as if Bylsma had a playing career with the Blackhawks or something like that where he should just automatically hate Detroit or the Red Wings. Seems like he was just playing along with the fans. I dunno, but I’m guessing Wings fans and Detroit will remember that one, especially if there’s another Stanley Cup rematch.
If you ask Red Wings fans why they lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Penguins, many of them will tell you it’s because the team wasn’t at full strength. Star players Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom both got hurt in the Western Conference Finals against the Blackhawks. Datsyuk missed the first four games against Pittsburgh while Lidstrom did play the entire series, albeit through pain. While Lidstrom’s injury was initially described as a “lower-body injury,” we now know what the truth was. Channeling Felix Pie’s twisted testicle with the Cubs, Lidstrom had some problems with “the boys”:
While teammates played Game 4 against Chicago, Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was undergoing surgery after getting speared in the testicles by Patrick Sharp in Game 3.
“I thought it was OK that Saturday when I practiced,” Lidstrom said, “but Sunday, Sunday I was just in too much pain. I had surgery during that game.”
Lidstrom said he would need more tests, but more surgery probably would not be needed. He said it was the most painful injury he has had.
The Wings won both games against Chicago without him, advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals. They also were 2-2 against the Pens even without Datsyuk, so they still were in position to win even with their injuries. No doubt having both guys healthy would have helped, but they still blew it. Look, I can understand why guys like Lidstrom and Kellen Winslow wanted to keep their manhood issues quiet, but let me ask one thing: have you ever heard of a cup before? Yeah, how bout trying one next time. I hear they’re quite effective.
It was after Game 6 in Orlando that LeBron James, the star of the NBA, walked off the court without congratulating any of the Magic players. To compound his unsportsmanlike ways, he stormed out of the locker room without speaking to the media. Now with the Penguins winning Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Detroit 2-1, one of the stars of their league, Sidney Crosby, is being accused of some similar poor postgame comportment, arriving late for the post-series handshake lineup:
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom was up front, followed by alternate captain Kris Draper, congratulating many of the new champions while waiting for Pittsburgh’s captain.
“Nick was waiting and waiting, and Crosby didn’t come over to shake his hand. That’s ridiculous, especially as their captain, and make sure you write that [Kris Draper] said that!”
Crosby eventually skated over to shake hands with the Red Wings, but many had already headed for the dressing room. Detroit forward Johan Franzen and Crosby exchanged words, and Crosby then shook hands with goaltender Chris Osgood and some other Wings.
I remember thinking the exact same thing while I was watching the postgame celebration NBC. The problem is that Crosby was busy dealing with the media instead of taking care of the handshake tradition like he should have been. Either it was a snub on purpose or he just had a lapse in good judgment. I remember watching the players shaking hands in the background while he was doing his interview, thinking that he should have been out there. No surprise the Wings were pissed about that — Crosby needs to order his priorities better. If Detroit wants to get even, they may have a shot next year.
You may have read my complaints about in-game player/coach interviews before. To summarize, I can’t stand them because they take away from the real-life dramatic feel of the events and make it seem more like a scripted television production. Sometimes it’s nice to have extra graphics and camera angles, but many times it invades the sanctity of the game. Take for instance what CBC did with the Capitals prior to Game 4 of their second round series against the Penguins. Cameras were allowed inside the dressing room to put together a piece on Alex Ovechkin’s pre-game preparation. While the practice seemed innocent enough and like it would provide great access for the fans, CBC and Versus crossed the line when they went over the Caps’ keys to the game that were written on a board. If they were granted special access for a particular project, then they were breaching their agreement by broadcasting and analyzing something they weren’t supposed to. Like would it be cool for these cameras to send footage of the players dressing/undressing to Playgirl just because they have it? No, that’s not what they’re there for. Same thing with this. It should have been ignored.
DC Sports Bog has the details on all the info scribbled on the board.
Well, that’s one way to start a game. The Ducks closed out the Presidents’ Trophy winning Sharks on Monday night, beating them 4-1 to take the series. The victory marked the fifth time since 1968 that the top regular season club in the NHL lost in the first round of the playoffs. Apparently seeking to spark some fire and emotion with his team, Joe Thornton decided to drop gloves early in the game. Ducks’ center Ryan Getzlaf obliged. On the opening draw! Check it out — I’ve never seen anything like it!
Getzlaf explained how it all went down:
“Joe kind of came in and said, ‘Do you want to go tonight?”’ Getzlaf said. “I had every intention of asking him, so it was a situation that carried over from last game. We kind of knew what we were doing. … (In Game 5) I didn’t want give them any spark. Tonight, I felt, was the opportunity to redeem myself.”
I don’t know what the Sharks’ deal is considering how good they’ve been the past four seasons and how disappointing they’ve been in the playoffs. The only bright side is if you’re anti-Red Wings, the Ducks may just be hot enough and physical enough to knock them out. Otherwise Detroit’s going to the Cup, passing go, and collecting 200 octopuses.