Sunday, January 27, 2008

Who Says All Star Weekend Has To Be Boring?

For some it will come as a shock but we all know that these celebrity hookups never last. The gigantic egos, the excessive lifestyle, the easy access to alcohol, drugs and sex ... I, for one, am not surprised, although like Dennis I am thrown off by the timing.
Speaking of sex, back in late October I came back from a Friday night Capsule game feeling quite a bit the young lion. We had beaten our rivals (yes, we have rivals, believe it or not) 2-1 and I had set up both goals with beauty passes, none of these little homo second assists for me, no sir, and had participated in a gang beatdown of their team dickhead who insists on starting shit every game and gave our goalie a two handed slash with a couple of seconds left.
So, I'm feeling my oats and I come in the door and there's my lovely bride and we have some drinks and we talk about maybe having a third kid and while we had talked about starting to try this spring we figured, ah, what the hell, why not give it a whirl tonight? Now, we conceived our first two children almost immediately when we started trying but the next morning we figured, ah, what are the chances?
So, lets just say that if Laddy Smid could shoot like me there'd have been no need for Lowe to blow his wad, so to speak, on Souray. Of course there was no need anyhow but we won't mention that.
So yeah, another baby on the way this summer and then its the clinic for me. Hell I'll perform the operation in my basement with a skate and a bottle of Jameson's if I have to.
And here's a final thought as we wind down this snoozer of a weekend, hockey wise anyway. I'm going to put this out here right now. A lot can change in a year and a half but if autumn '09 looks a lot like right now in the NHL then Shawn Horcoff deserves a long look for the Canadian Olympic team. Canada is deep as hell at centre (there are actually eight Canadian centres with more points then Horc, only three with more goals though) but as we all know its about putting the best team together. The Salt Lake City team had Peca and that guy, what's his name, played in '04 and '06 too, oh yeah, Smith, right ;) and a couple of other guys who were picked over big scorers and its not like Horc is Rob Zamuner, right?
All kidding aside here's the argument for Horc being the fourth line centre or 13th forward.
- he can play LW
- great on the PK, great on the draw
- experience on the big ice (and success on it in Sweden and in the WC)
- a guy who can play the defensive shutdown role and still chip in some offence (remember he shut down the NHL MVP, outplayed him actually in the '06 playoffs)
Now I am biased but I would bet that if he plays into December '09 like he is now, he has a shot.
The competition is fierce. Lecavalier and Spezza are locks. Crosby likely plays the wing I think. I don't believe that Savard, Ribiero or Briere get the call. Brindamour keeps on trucking but I would bet he may have lost a step by then. So that leaves three spots at C, imo. These are the guys looking for that spot: Thornton, Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Horcoff, Eric Staal, Langkow, Sakic, Brad Richards.
Yeah I look at that list and think longshot too but I think that a couple of guys besides Crosby go to the wings, which actually look relatively weak. And while Spezza proved last playoffs that he can handle the power versus power matchups and come out on top, that's with Alfredsson riding shotgun mind you. What I'm saying is you can't have four lines centred by guys who are all offence first. You're going to need at least one line that's probably going to outscore the bad guys' best, a line that is going to get you possession late in the game in your end, move it down into their end and then keep it down there.
Oh baby!


therealdeal said...

IMO right now the third line center competition as of today is between Horcoff and Richards (Mike).

Horcoff has more speed but I think Richards is more physical.

PDO said...

I think Horcoff absolutely needs to be on the team. Are there guys who have more talent that would be passed over? Absolutely. But, if Canada needs to learn anything from '06, it's that you need guys who can just bring their work boots and get the job done.

Nash - Thornton - Crosby
Heatley - Spezza - Getzlaf
Morrow - Horcoff - Iginla
Smyth - Richards - Staal

And then on the back end you run with:

Pronger - Campbell
Phaneuf - Green
Bouwmeester - Weber

... I think that D might be too young, but there's gotta be a change of the guard here, doesn't there? Niedermayer will be retired, Jovo and Redden look like they'll never really reach their potential, I'm not sold on Paul Ranger... maybe Duncan Keith makes a showing?

And it seems you and Fernando share a common ability to score fivehole on breakaway's ;)

Andy Grabia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy Grabia said...

Iginla on a third line is scary. I'm assuming both Sakic and Kariya will try and be there for 2010, since both are B.C. boys. PDO also left Lecavalier off the list, which is a no-no. He'll be playing. I wonder about St. Louis, too. I don't think Smytty makes that team.

Luongo is obviously the goalie, but who backs up? Will Brodeur still be around? Do you go with Leclaire or Giguere? Biron? Any of the other 40 goalies from Quebec in the NHL?

therealdeal said...

PDO, I can't agree with any Olympic team that doesn't have Lecavalier. Also, Stastny is American so he's out.

I'm not familiar with Green (should I be embarressed?) but don't count out Eric Brewer. He's had far too much consistent success on the international stage to be simply passed over.

And is that Brad Richards or Mike Richards?

Love that you thought of Morrow.

Black Dog said...

trd - I knew this post would catch your interest - Mike Richards has, what, two WJC, am I right? Horc has a year in Sweden and one or two WC plus the run in '06.

Not sure how much the physical element plays a part in this tournament - in the WJC and Canada Cups played on NHL ice it certainly does but on the big ice its not such a big part of it.

The talent level is truly astounding. Its not like '02 where there was an argument or two or '06 where you had a couple of raw kids being left off (although likely for worse but hindsight ...)

This team is going to have a dozen bonafide star players left off of it.

The wings are the "weak" link.

LW - Heatley, Nash, Morrow, Gagne, Tanguay, Kariya (definitely in the mix Andy)

RW - Crosby, Getzlaf, Iginla, St. Louis, Doan, Perry, Boyes, Cleary, Justin Williams - adding two centres here makes it a little better to look at

C - Lecavalier, Spezza, Sakic (again definitely in there), Thornton, M. Richards, B. Richards, Staal, Horcoff, Brindamour, Briere, Langkow, Arnott, Savard

I think that Joe Thornton might not make this team. And that is insane.

Sean said...

TSN has a "pick your version of team Canada" poll going on on their website - and Shaun Horcoff is not one of the available forward options - but Joffrey Lupul is.

Dennis said...

Considering Sakic, I'd say that if he goes he takes Horc's spot. Looking at the other pivots available, they're going for their offense and Sakic will be used in the shutdown role.

And, BTW, Pat, congrats!

Anonymous said...

Congrats indeed! Fantastic news!

PDO said...

My bad on Lecavalier... an honest brain fart. The amazing part is, I wouldn't mind him not being there... great offensive player, but if he's in Vancouver, it has to be in an offensive role ONLY. He has to be one of the worst defensive players in the league.

I'm worried about Sakic making it there, and I'm very curious to see how he responds to his injury. It could be a career killer imo, which is a real shame.

Also, I believe the game is being played on NHL ice this time around. Something happened to the Olympic sized ice IIRC. I'd absolutely love to see a Morrow - Horcoff - Iginla line. Three guys who can play at either end, lots of speed, lots of talent, and lots of grit.

It was Mike Richards, not Brad Richards. Just another guy who has a motor and some offensive talent. I'm hoping this team takes the best players, but I don't want to see a guy like Lecavalier trying to get breakaway's on the PK or a guy like Staal on the ice when we have a 1 goal lead... even with Luongo in net ;)

Black Dog said...

thanks Dennis and Tyler - yeah I think if Sakic is healthy he will go if he wants to go

pdo - ironically if its an NHL rink then I think Horcoff's chances are worse; he has three big pluses - his speed, his experience on the big ice and the fact that he is a complete player; if its a small rink then #1 is less important and #2 doesn't matter

Having said that he's the ideal 13th forward - play the PK, take draws, slide onto a line if they are trying to protect a lead, plays C or W, can chip in with offence.

sean - I saw that, also Rob Zamnuner, er, Niedermeyer and they talk up Cam Ward as one of the three goalies - quality ;)

A lot is going to happen between now and then but there are a few guarantees:

- this team will be a heavy favourite and unlike '06 I think they will be ready to play

- if they win people will say anybody could have picked the team

- when they put the team together there will be likely ten or more guys who people will say should be on the team and there will be solid arguments for all of those guys

- if they lose the guy who puts the team together is going to get roasted

- whoever puts this team together, in other words, can't win

- Andy Murray had better be the coach

Mr DeBakey said...

...Dutch turned it around quck and held it facing the floor. "I am not in the mood to see somebody laid up with a bullet wound."
"I am very careful," said Piney.
"That is what everybody says," said Dutch, "yet the hospitals sre full of babies."

Mark Harris, Bang the Drum Slowly

Lowetide said...

Congrats BDHS. Joe SAKIC!!! I'd expect he would retire.

therealdeal said...

I would bet neither Tanguay or Savard make this team, they've already been passed over numerous times and nothing has really changed.

It's possible we could see a reunited Heatley, Briere, Morrow line. Not probable though.

BTW, I wasn't sure if you were kidding or not but judging from the replies I guess you weren' congrats!

Black Dog said...

Thanks LT and trd

Mr. D. - that's a beauty!

Agreed trd on Tanguay and Savard although I would think Tanguay would be a reasonable alternative.

LT - he may especially if his health goes downhill next season as well but if he is healthy he is Yzerman circa 02 and they will find a spot for him

People forget that Joe was in the stands in 98 v the Czechs - I bet if he played that game that there would have been no need for the four year navel gaze that followed, not that that hurt, based on the plethora of skilled Canuck puckers

Matt said...

Sakic AND Kariya (fuck you Gary Suter) AND Mario were all out of commission. Fuck, even if they had just been in for the shootout... those are some better options than Nieuwendyk, Bourque, and Shanahan (I think Lindros & Fleury would have shot regardless).

Black Dog said...

Yeah Matt that team had more 15 goal scorers then any team I have ever seen. So many grinding guys with hands of stone.

I remember that game - damn what a disappointment - you knew when it got to the shootout that they were fucked.