Yaaaaaawn. Just another tedious day in the NHL: The Leafs fire their general manager and then trick some nice elderly gentleman to take over on a thankless interim basis; Versus and the NHL share another deep drag on the 'ol crack pipe and re-up for a three-year extension worth more than $70 million per
buck huntin' pre-emption season; Montreal and the Devils respectively Eddie Norton curb-stomp the Bruins (8-2) and Flyers (7-3); Ilya Bryzgalov goes from the waiver-wire scrap heap to a three-year contract with Phoenix; the League should face a false advertising lawsuit by still calling it an "all-star" game without Crosby, Luongo, Brodeur, Zetterberg, Zubov and Stastny; and the team hosting that All-Star Game this weekend, the Atlanta Thrashers, sang "Happy Trails" to their CEO and CFO yesterday while watching arguably the best goal scorer in hockey become an honorary member of the Bobby Clarke Glee Club with a game misconduct for boarding against the Rangers - while also becoming the suspension litmus test for superstar goonery.
Ilya Kovalchuk is no angel. He's the fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench, the pain in the ass — along with being one tally off the pace for the NHL's leading goal-scorer. Last night, he left his feet and hit Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival from behind, although he later claimed he was just trying to finish his check. Even though Rozsival returned to the game, a suspension is probable; hell, by the time you read this, it might already have been handed down by
Dean Wormer Colin Campbell. If you're a Flyers fan, you're dying to see what an illegal hit that would have earned Steve Downie an automatic 10 games earns a star like Kovalchuk. But they're two different players, with two different levels of fame and two different reputations for this kind of behavior. It's a double standard, and there's no getting around that. But the major difference between someone like Downie and Ilya is that Kovy is just a laidback peace-lovin' dude ... or he's ordering another round:
All-Star Lame. Marty Brodeur pulled out of this weekend's All-Star Game yesterday for "family obligations." I don't care if his excuse was an obligation to watch a Tila Tequila marathon on MTV: The simple fact of the matter is that the NHL has made the All-Star Game about as appealing to a goaltender as a puck to the throat. Brodeur would have been forced into the revamped rookie game, a bunch of carnival act skills competitions, and then a period of action in Sunday's main event. Since Brodeur works harder than a Jamaican cab driver during the regular season, it's to his benefit and that of the Devils to get him some extra down time in lieu of the League getting some Marty face time. Besides: Who gives a shit about goaltending at the All-Star Game anyway? They should have mites-on-ice, double-amputees or Marc Denis between the pipes to juice the offensive.
* Speaking of the All-Star Game, here's a look back at the worst jerseys in ASG history. Eggplant vs. Teal is one of the greatest "what the fuck?" moments in NHL marketing history. [Going Five Hole]
* Former Closers the KB have been holding a YouTube-rrific tournament to answer a vital question: "What is the best hit in NHL history?" The quarterfinals have arrived; vote early, vote often, and ponder whether the Scott Stevens/Eric Lindros hit being out of the competition is an upset of Richmond v. Syracuse, circa 1991 proportions. [ Orland Kurtenblog]
* I'm not sure how I feel about commenters on my Deadspin posts getting better linkage than I do. Aw, hell: Congrats, EL GRAN GUAPO. [Shoot Your Hopes and Dreams]
* The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sends reporter Mike Benzie to fight ex-NHLer Scott Pearson for educational purposes. Thank God he didn't call hockey fighting fake — we could have ended up with another John Stossel/Dave Schultz situation here. [AJC, video]
* Your next great American NHL city: Baltimore? [Maryland Daily Record]
* How to break the trap: The article Jacques Lemaire never wanted you to find! [Kukla's Korner]
* Finally, Shane Doan chats up a hot blonde and drops a "Boom Goes the Dynamite" reference...