We Were Told There Would Be Beer And Pretzels

The NHL Closer is written by five complete psychopaths from Melt Your Face-Off. If you prick us, do we not bleed? If the voices in our head speak to us, do we not answer? If you puts boobs on our closers, do we not click through the jump?

Sunday's games closed out two series and set a crucial Game 7 up for another. For the fans of the teams that had their season end over the weekend, here...have a pretzel. Except for you, Brodeur. You've had plenty already.

Production Assistants Rejoice! Things were looking grim for the interns in the NHL video vault last week.The Predators had tied up their series with the Red Wings with two electrifying wins, and the memo went out to produce a montage for NBC of Detroit's historic first-round choke jobs. 2006 to Edmonton. 2003 to Anaheim. In 01, it was the Kings. And let's not forget 1994, when the Johan Garpenlov Sharks took down Motown in 7. And as the series headed back to Detroit this weekend, Nashville had all the momentum.

And then they benched the old man.

Enter Chris Osgood. Exit the Dominator. After taking care of business at home Friday, Osgood (who curiously enough, was a rookie on that '94 team) and the Wings headed back to Nashville and closed out the series with a 3-0 shutout, while their 43 year-old Czech netminder flipped the channels at the hotel for Matlock reruns. Lidstrom silenced the raucous home crowd by collecting a Henrik Zetterberg face-off win and firing a Russ Tyler knucklepuck from West Murfreesboro. It fooled Dan Ellis for the 1-0 lead. Jiri Hudler broke the tension of a one-goal game in the third. A late Rafalski empty netter completed the trifecta, disappointing all those who like to see 1 seeds fail horribly against 8 seeds.

Eh, I guess there's always Montreal. Right?— Hextall454

An ESPN Commenter Would Have Wrote That It Was Good The Flames Won This Game Or Their Season Would Have Been Over. The Calgary Flames avoided elimination by beating the San Jose Sharks 2-0 in a rather boring game (if you're not a particular fan of either team) Sunday at the Saddledome. The series resumes Tuesday night for Game 7 in San Jose, which means Saint Joseph in English, for those of you who don't speak Spanish.

Former Shark Owen Nelson, on the receiving end of a nifty pass from Kristian Huselius, got the scoring started 11:33 into the first when he put one past Evgeni Nabokov to make it 1-0 Flames. The Sharks had a chance to tie it up on a 3 on 1 when Milan Michalek, on an individual play that would have looked more at home in the Special Olympics, took the puck up the right side and instead of performing the time-honored practice of, you know, passing or shooting the puck, proceeded to skate to the side of the net and tap the puck back and forth to himself until a player on the Flames had the humanity to take the puck away from him. I bet Michalek almost feels as stupid as this guy. The Flames made the Sharks pay for the blunder when with less than a minute to go in the period; Daymond Langkow buried a shot for 2-0 lead heading into the second intermission. Mikka Kiprusoff was steady once again in the net for the Flames, making 21 saves for the shutout. Since they upset the Red Wings way back when, the Sharks have consistently coughed up 3-2 series leads (as the announcers reminded us every 45 second or so). Patrick Marleau and company are feeling their collective gorges rising just a little bit once again.

Finally, a bit of whimsy: to show everyone watching the broadcast from other markets that average San Jose fans have no understanding of the game of hockey whatsoever, CSN aired a commercial last night about some nanotechnology or other where they ask people in attendance at a Sharks game what icing is. The three people they ask, at least one wearing a Sharks sweater no less, had no idea. One of them, a mother holding her poor child who has at least a few trips to the emergency room in his future, said it's when they "smooth the ice". Apparently in San Jose, showing ignorant people throwing their money away at a hockey game is a great way to market your product. At least they went to a game. — Weed Against Speed and LeNoceur

Quack, Quack, Quack, Mr. Ducksworth! Is there any team in the NHL that plays dirtier than the Ducks? Cheap shots, random sticking when the refs aren't looking, and Neidermeyer looks like Old Man Winter trying to clear a puck. He has to be taking some banned substance. After 10 penalty minutes in the first eleven minutes of play and a scoreless first period, Corey Perry opened the scoring by going five-hole on Professional Goalfenseman Marty Turco from beyond the faceoff circle. I haven't seen legs spread as wide as Turco's were since prom night with Kelly Devins.

The Stars, however, weren't going to let this game go to Tuesday for a Game 7. Stephane Robidas took a ricochet off the boards to even the game, and Stu Barnes came right back to put the Stars up for good, as Dallas finally solved the Mystery of the Jiggy. Loui Eriksson tacked on the nail in the coffin with just a few minutes left. The Stars sealed the deal and put the defending champions out in the first round. Don't feel so bad, Duck fans. You still have plenty of California Surfer Puck Bunnies. —ReasonableDoubt

We Were Told There Would Be Beer And Pretzels

Before we finish up, one of our own asked to say a few words on the part of the dearly departed Minnesota Wild. You can read obituaries like this for the Wild and our other dearly departed teams at MYFO's feature celebrating the start of golfing season for the losing teams, See You on the Fairway:

How do you solve a problem like Jose? The Minnesota Wild, for the second consecutive playoffs, were ousted in the first round, lasting six games against the Colorado Avalanche before finally running out of steam. With a depleted defensive corps for most of the series (although Nick Schultz miraculously returned to the lineup a mere twelve days after an appendectomy), the Wild were undermanned and overmatched against a far more experienced Avalanche squad. Despite only having the lead for less than five minutes, Minnesota outplayed Colorado most of the series in almost every facet of the game other than the two most important: goals scored (that always hurts) and goaltending. Wild captain Marian Gaborik registered only one point in the entire series on an assist and as mentioned previously in the Closer, Jose Theodore played out of his propecia-addled mind. The Wild discovered much to their dismay that getting the puck past Theodore was as difficult as giving the dog a bath, both literally, and um, the way Urban Dictionary defines it. Yikes. —Weed Against Speed

Puckdump:

  • God has spoken to Carey Price. Only he knows whether or not Price will get his head on straight tonight. If he doesn't, there will be burning bushes or some such tonight. [Four Habs Fans]

  • Well, that didn't take long. So fong, Fatty. [NHL Fanhouse] [Five For Smiting]
  • Wonder why Marty B didn't shake the hand of Ze Goggles? [Mirtle]

  • I don't know who this writer is...but whoever he is, I like his views on midget hookers. [Yahoo(!)]

    And to close out Elimination Weekend, here's a quick YouTube that, as Weed accurately said when he shared it with me ... it's awkward to watch. This is like a Where's Waldo of hockey.