The NHL Closer is written by Greg Wyshynski, of The FanHouse and The Fourth Period. He is also the author of Glow Pucks And 10-Cent Beer. Enjoy.
Russian hockey leagues are as much of a killjoy for fighting as the instigator rule, with automatic suspensions for anyone that drops the gloves. So what happens when everybody drops the gloves? Four minutes of bench-clearing bliss, complete with former NHL scrubs, goalie fights and a referee doing his best Kevin Bacon from "Animal House," screaming the Russian equivalent of "Remain calm! ALL IS WELL!" Seriously, I haven't seen Ruskie carnage like this since that time a truck full of GAP blue jeans and loaves of bread tipped over near Sankt Peterburg.
Check out this quickly-becoming-famous brawl between two Russian Super League teams:
More from Mirtle and Jerseys and Hockey Love on this brawl. Mirtle claims the fight included former NHLers Alexei Morozov, Sergei Zinovjev, Ray Giroux, Petr Cajanek, Denis Arkhipov, Oleg Petrov, Nikita Alexeev and Mika Noronen from Ak-Bars, and Andrei Nikolishin from Traktor. I'd like to add that Russian goon legend Andrei Nazarov is coaching one of these teams as well, which explains a lot.
God, what an awesome fight. I haven't seen something that internationally inspiring yet utterly painful since David Hasselhoff sang "Looking For Freedom" atop the Berlin Wall.
Belak > Parros. So the Leafs lose to Anaheim, 5-0, last night. Wade Belak injures the Ducks' George Parros in a knee-on-knee hit. And then Parros decides to fight him, despite being injured, leading Belak to a victory that included some questionable shots. Or as the HockeyFights guys saw it: "Pu$$y move by Belak to throw punches when Parros was down." I believe "Pu$$y" was a 'Lil Kim album, no?
The Future of Hockey Isn't All That Funny. Sometimes when I drink too much before going to bed, I have these fucked up dreams where up is down, left is right and hamburgers eat people. They also usually involve Scarlett Johansson, in some capacity. But what separates me from SportsLine's Gregory Hardy is that I don't turn these fever dreams into a strained concept comedy sports column, like his "Futurepedia" look at the next 40 years of outdoor hockey. NHL commissioner Jenna Bush? "The entire roster of the Pittsburgh Penguins had been replaced by actual penguins?" Hockey in outer space? The entire thing plays like a post-"Rain Man" Barry Levinson film: Interesting in concept, a few clever ideas, and an end result that's about as funny as "Sleepers."
Two things that specifically pissed me off: Hardy's failure to make the mandatory joke in any crystal ball hockey column, which is that the Rangers are scheduled to win their next Cup in 2048; and this line:
"2026: Bored billionaire Hollywood power-players Kiefer Sutherland and Keanu Reeves tap their love of hockey to form the idea of an "extreme" outdoor hockey league, called The Cold-Blooded MoFo League. Eighteen teams are formed, mostly in northern cities that once had NHL franchises, and games are played in outdoor ice rinks."
I'm sorry, that's just outrageous. There is simply no way Kiefer Sutherland is going to be alive in 2026. Unless...
* The Globe and Mail writes about the scandalous world of anonymous hockey puck bunnies that gossip about players on the Innernets. Someone should look into that. [Globe & Mail]
* Roberto Luongo has been excused from the All-Star Game, handing the teacher a note signed by his wife's fetus. If that's all it takes to get out of schlepping to an exhibition game instead of getting a mini-vacation, I can't imagine how many birth control pills will be swapped out for breath mints by NHL All-Stars between the months of May-through-June. Vancouver Sun.]
* Speaking of the All-Star Game, if I asked you who was hosting a charity event to kick off NHL All-Star Weekend in Atlanta, obviously your first answer would be "Usher." If I then asked you who the featured musical act at this event was, I don't believe you'd hesitate before uttering the logical conclusion: "Wyclef." And if I then asked you who would be opening for Wyclef, your answer would obviously be ... Old '97s? Seriously? Oh, how I hope there's some mash-up action: "I got a timebomb, in my mind Mom/I hear it ticking but I don't know why/...in the government yard in Brooklyn! ONE TIME! [Dallas Observer.]
* Oh, and the NHL's going to implement a "slam-dunk competition"-style trick shot competition during All-Star weekend. Can't wait to see someone try to go all Cedric Ceballos only to concuss themselves on the end boards. [TSN]
* Tom Renney is coaching to be fired right now. He matched the Blair Betts, Ryan Hollweg and Colton Orr against the Vinny line in the Rangers' loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. They got the job done, but Jagr believes it's at the expense of the Rangers' anemic offense: "No question about it, [the Betts line] did a great job, but there's not much ice time for the other guys — we've got three lines left for ten minutes. If we had a power play it would be a different story. When we stopped matching, the momentum started building." So Renney's over-thinking things and the offensive players are getting a little edgy; if he was a Devils coach, Lou Lamoriello would already be back behind the bench. [Blueshirts Bulletin.]
* If you can't find a place for Van Damme's "Sudden Death," then it ain't the Top 5 Hockey Movies of All-Time. [Fan Boom]
* Derek Boogaard is trying to seduce you. "Do not let this frighten you, my little angel, but the cinema suite also doubles as my bedroom." [MYFO]
* Here's an awesome look back at the 1990 Draft, back when everyone had a mini-mullet and Jagr was pronounced YAY-GER. FanHouse
* Finally, it's hamburger hockey time: