Since tedious analysis is the stuff of "power rankings," each Monday NHL Closer writer Greg Wyshynski uses a form of universal expression: Success in terms of beer. Before we get to some Islanders Ice Girls inspiration, welcome to The Brewmeister Ratings...
Winner No. 1: San Jose Sharks. The Sharks have won five in a row, including three games last week at the dawn of the Brian Campbell Era. One of those was in Detroit, where they beat the Wings for the first time in seven regular season or playoff games. But the reason the Jabberjaws are the big winners this week is for exposing yet another quaint loophole in Mr. Bettman's NHL rulebook. When a puck hits that ridiculous mosquito netting that surrounds the rink, it's whistled dead. On Devin Setoguchi's game-winner against Detroit, the puck could have deflected off the netting and back into play, but the officials all missed it. So the question I ask in unison with Red Wings fans, players, coaches and the generally sane: How the shit is that not a reviewable play in the NHL? The Beer They'd Be: The Sharks are lucky. Not as lucky as a bald guy getting bottle fed the King of Beers by a blonde lady friend, but lucky nonetheless.
Winner No. 2: Montreal Canadiens. Full disclosure: This was supposed to be the Colorado Avalanche, who went 3-0 last week. That was until Jack Johnson nearly broken Ryan Smyth in half like a pretzel rod with a check along the glass on Saturday (video). Then the Avs lost Marek Svatos, also indefinitely, in the same game. That sound you hear is Forsberg hastily dialing the Flyers to see if they have any spare locker space. So instead we'll honor the Habs, who didn't overpay for Hossa, watched Carey Roy Dryden beat Marty Brodeur, and are atop the Wales Conference. Oh, and none of their rookies tried to lift a woman's purse last week, either. The Beer They'd Be: An ice cold mug of Labatts, stolen right from under the falling tears of a Senators fan ... well, before Ottawa somehow beat Pittsburgh this weekend. Hooray for parity...
Loser No. 1: St. Louis Blues. Winless in six games and losers of three in a row last week, the Blues' tantalizing postseason tease has just about shriveled up and died. And what better way to celebrate that death than by signing a player having a career season in his walk year, thanks to Kariya and Tkachuk, to a $16 million, four-year contract extension. I'm not saying Brad Boyes's breakout offensive season is counterfeit; I'm just saying that if it were a $20 bill, it would have a picture of Walter Mondale on it. The Beer They'd Be: Remember that bottle of Bud from the first entry? Take that, subject the girl, and add three pounds of Clydesdale shit.
Loser No. 2: New Jersey Devils. The Devils went 0-2-1 in the last week, scoring four goals in their last four games. Los Diablos failed to add any scoring help at the trade deadline, either. So, in the words of Oscar-winner Diablo Cody: "What the blog are you blogging, Lou Blogerello? Who's going to put the blog in the net? Jamie Langenblogger? Honest to blog..." The Beer They'd Be: A can of Coors Light found outside a spring break motel room in Wildwood that tastes of cheap suntan oil and regret.
Anderson, That's Me! On Sunday, the Islanders honored the 17 players who were involved in their four consecutive Stanley Cup victories from 1980-83. It was a ceremony filled with positive vibes and undeniable class, which is probably why they traded away Chris Simon earlier in the week. But it wasn't enough to help the Isles solve Florida backup goalie Craig Anderson, who made 53 saves - including a team-record 29 in the second period — to lead the Panthers to a 1-0 win. Anderson received a Superman-style cape and a Barbasol pie-in-the-face from his teammates after the win. Boy, I wonder what inspired this guy to have such an amazing game at the Nassau Coliseum...
Screwing Brian Burke. No, not literally: He's probably way too physical and will want to change the ground rules every few seconds. But the Edmonton Oilers evidently have three missions in the final weeks of the season: Keep teams like Columbus out of the playoffs while increasing their absurd record in the skills competition, and at the same time finishing high enough in the standings to keep their first-round pick - property of Anaheim — out of the draft lottery. Why? Because Ducks GM Brian Burke is "a big, stupid fathead who is fat and stupid and has a big head."
* Yes, the Blueshirts got a huge national television win against the Flyers yesterday. So predictably, Stan Fischler gets down on his creaky knees and provides oral treats to the Rangers. "Yes, the Rangers WILL soar to the division's top and have a wonderful opportunity to take the conference title." Stan, of course, uses the "capitalization for emphasis" technique because italics were invented roughly a dozen years after he graduated from college. [MSG]
* The Pensblog takes a graphic look at the "Cathedrals of Hockey," and somehow both the Nassau Coliseum the Cow Palace made the cut. Among many intentionally hilarious lines, my favorite unintentionally hilarious one, regarding the Devils' new home: "For some reason, it has less capacity than their previous arena." [The Pensblog]
* Al Jourgensen of Ministry has Committed to the Indian, and has penned an inspirational rallying song for the Blackhawks. In other news, Bill Wirtz enters into a full dirt nap barrel roll. [Enjoy and Exciting!]
* In defense of corporate, NASCAR-style advertising on NHL uniforms. I'm partial to allowing individual players to broker their own advertising deals, although some players will only get the crumbs that are left. "Hi, this is Daniel Briere for Astroglide..." [The Urban Backpacker]
* Mike Eruzione's goal is named the ultimate highlight by ESPN. The WWL celebrating hockey? Do you believe in miracles? "Do you believe in fuckheads?" - C. Berman. [The Wanderer]
* Finally, witness the glory of Flames rookie Eric Nystrom's Ned Braden-inspired striptease at a Quad City Flames charity event. His Hulk Hogan-style shirt rip might be the most exciting thing a Nystrom's done since Game 6 in 1980. [h/t Hockey Ladies of Greatness]