Thursday, May 17, 2007

Its a Personal Matter

I won't try and dissect the decision and the reasoning behind it (Matt Fenwick does a far better job) but I was surprised that Pronger got a game for his hit on Holmstrom. Not because I thought it was undeserved but because when it comes to the NHL you never know what you are going to get when the call comes.
I remember the Bertuzzi incident. I also remember how that same week Bryan McCabe, in a fit of pique after a typical pisspoor performance on the blueline led to a Leafs' loss, sucker punched an opponent in the dying seconds of a game. The punchee went down and then got up, unlike Steve Moore. Other then that, the incident, in my eye, was almost identical to the Bertuzzi one, save the leadup to it. I can't even remember if McCabe received a minor penalty.
Burke defends Pronger, as he must, but hard to say what his complaint is when Brad May only received a slap on the wrist for his attack on Kim Jonsson. It would be interesting to see what would have happened to Pronger if Holmstrom, one of the Wings' more important players, was done for the playoffs as a result of the hit. Then again, as noted, May got off lightly, so the result may have been the same for CFP.
The result, well, its not as bad as what happened to the Phoenix Suns, who are now screwed thanks to the NBA, but the Ducks are up against it tonight. Without Pronger to eat up thirty minutes (and he was even in the Tuesday night debacle on top of everything), you get the trickle down effect. I don't think the expectation is that Scott Niedermeyer will play as poorly as he did last game but the fact is Sean O'Donnell and Joe DiPenta and whoever else is down that Ducks' depth chart (Huskins? Ric Jackman?) is going to see a lot of Zetterberg or Datsyuk and if you are a Ducks' fan that's not so good. Splitting up his two aces was a master stroke by Babcock. Carlyle chose to send Pahlsson out against Datsyuk and they shut down that line but Zetterberg ate Andy MacDonald alive. The Wings suddenly look to be in good shape and they're no kids. Its boot to the throat time and I'm thinking they're going to deliver.
Great stuff and all intriguing as we look ahead to the finals. The Ottawas are looking damn good, short of a historic collapse and I think the best opponent for them matchup wise would be the Wings. Ottawa has essentially counted on the Alfredsson line and their PP to do the damage, outscoring whoever they face, while their remaining lines go evens with their opponents. It has been a great formula. The top line has been inspired, facing down Crosby in a power matchup in round one, dismantling Madden and Pandolfo in round two and rolling over the Sabres' nominal checking line to start this round. Meanwhile Redden and Meszaros were not on the ice for an ES goal against until last night in the previous eight or nine games, iirc, and guys like McAmmond, Fisher, Saprykin and Comrie have contributed timely offence.
Methinks the Ducks can send out Pahlsson and Pronger and they may have success against Alfredsson and I would think that you might bet on Selanne, Getzlaf and Scott N. doing alright against the rest of the Ottawas. On the other hand, while I respect the Wings greatly I'm thinking Alfredsson does a number on anyone they send out and that includes a power v power matchup that includes Zetterberg and Lidstrom.
We'll see - have to go and after all of this time I still haven't a moment to talk about how my favourites (Sharks and Les Sabres) have fallen by the wayside. Maybe soon.

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