24 Stanley Cups, 1 Rookie Purse-Snatcher

The NHL Closer is written by Greg Wyshynski, of FanHouse and The Fourth Period. He is also the author of Glow Pucks And 10-Cent Beer.

I had a few questions when I heard Ryan O'Byrne of the Montreal Canadiens had been arrested after swiping a purse in a Tampa club. Like, for example, why O'Byrne didn't just use the ATM at Mons Venus before the next lap-dance? (Turns out they weren't at a strip club, which is a crime in itself). And why wasn't teammate Tom Kostopoulos able to rig a small diversionary explosive device to spring his buddy from the cop car like Brad Pitt to Basher in "Ocean's 11" ... well, before Kostopoulos was pinched for resisting arrest? And, after this Tampa purse snatching, how is Lightning defenseman Filip Kuba going to hit anyone in tonight's game against the Habs? Most importantly: Why doesn't the Canadiens' brass give a shit about third-degree grand theft?

O'Byrne and the boys had been carrying on at Whiskey Park, a party spot for the young and beautiful (and hockey players, evidently). Most of the players that had enjoyed an expensive evening at a local steakhouse — it was rookies-pay-for-the-overpriced-meal initiation night — went to the club, where police claim O'Byrne lifted a woman's purse from the bar. He was seen outside with the purse in one hand and the woman's cell phone in the other. After he was arrested, the purse was returned to the woman, light 20 bucks. O'Byrne and Kostopoulos were released on bail Monday morning after a night in the cooler.

Did one of them set up the whole purse snatching to try and impress Cheryl David's therapist? Was Michael Ryder waiting outside in matching pumps? Did O'Byrne see a bleached blonde in a Tampa club, assume it was Brooke Hogan, and start going through her stolen cell phone to find the number for Jacques Rougeau? Those are slightly more plausible theories than O'Byrne stealing the money because the dinner left him poor or because of the financial strain of the rookie salary cap. Maybe this made sense back when the U.S. dollar was stronger; shit, there was a time when $20 U.S. would have made you one of the Top 50 richest Canadians.

Here's the kicker, though: Neither of the players will face any disciplinary action from the team, even though O'Byrne could potentially lose his right to play in the U.S. if convicted. Coach Guy Carbonneau didn't even mind that his boys were at a club at 3 a.m.: "They're adults. They can do what they want." Gee, I wonder if Scotty Bowman ever said that during the glory years? I think blogger Dennis Kane sums it up well: "I have no time for shithead rich athletes, even if they're Montreal Canadiens."

Sideshow Bob Departs. I was a little surprised to see Carolina fans digging yesterday's deal that sent the beloved Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore to the Senators for Joe Corvo and Patrick Enigma. Casonblog was a hell of a lot sunnier on the trade than I figured it'd be, especially considering Corvo's previous behavior makes purse-snatching seem quaint. So I guess it's a nice deal for both sides, even if it means Commodore is no longer in Carolina. Seriously, wasn't the world a little better when this was the face of Hurricanes hockey?

24 Stanley Cups, 1 Rookie Purse-SnatcherS

The Pussification of the NHL, in Richard Zednik's Name. Through some amazing timing, smart medicine and more luck than the Florida Panthers' had in their 1996 Cup run, Richard Zednik is alive and alert this morning. Pretty fucking amazing when you consider this was an injury so grizzly that Clint Malarchuk can't bear to watch it yet. But hey, bigger news, according to the AP: Buffalo beat the Panthers.

And yet here comes the hockey safety patrol (mostly in the Canadian media), wondering if "neck guards" should be mandated for skaters ... you know, in case Olli Jokinen's skate somehow develops A.I. and goes on a killing spree. I swear to God, between the crying about fighting and the suspension culture and shit like this, I'm pretty sure there are hockey fans that want these guys rollerblading on wrestling mats, chasing a marshmallow puck while wrapped in Quilted Northern Bath Tissue.

Luckily, the NHLPA isn't about to allow this situation to snowball until we're watching players in full face cages. Roenick, on reality: "It's like a race car driver. You try to make everything safer but somebody's going to get injured in an accident no matter what and they still do it anyway."

Puck Headlines

* One game last night: Dallas wins its seventh straight, 2-1 over the 'Yotes. Mike Modano had the game-winner with 3:12 left in regulation. How did he finally beat the Bryz? "You can't get too cute." The puck bunnies disagree, stud. [NHL.com]

* When Moses came down from the mountain, he returned with four things: two stone tablets, a magic elixir called "Coke Classic" and the HF Boards. Today's topic: A list of players with "Chuk" at the end of their names. [HF Boards]

* The KB takes in some junior hockey, and finds a mullet that has to be seen to be believed. [Orland Kurtenblog]

* Finally, here's a hockey brawl between RIT and Canisius that Eric McErlain had this morning on The FanHouse. It's got everything: Heads slamming on the ice, goalie fights, cheap shots. It just doesn't have sound, so pretend this was a fight before they started filming talkies. Check out E-Mac's coverage for another video of the fight and some additional info.