Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Back from a terrific 2-4 in God's country and finally back on this horse.

More to come before Saturday but just wanted to post a few quick things.

I know this will drive the Caniacs, amongst others, nuts but I, for one, am excited to have a Final between two (two!?!) non Bettman clubs for the first time in years. No clubs from California or the southern U.S. No clubs that have moved from hockey hotbeds to hockey wastelands. No clubs where the fanbase consists of a total of 25000 terrific, passionate, knowledgeable fans but not a single person more. No New Jersey Devils.

Instead we have an original Six club in the Wings and a '67 entry, the Penguins, with a little history behind them as well. Good stuff.

Should be a fun series, a ton of story lines. I am leaning towards the Wings a bit at this point but I would feel a lot more comfortable doing so if they had a healthy Franzen. Considering how Danny Cleary has produced so little offensively (I have him in my pool) since his return from the puck in the face (I witnessed that live, by the way, the incident, not the return), I wonder if Franzen's return would have as big an impact as one might think.

Part of me thinks this could be '95 all over again, hot shot young club rolls in against a team with a little more defensive savvy and promptly eats it. Part if me thinks the Wings have ten guys who are going to make it tough sledding for the Pens but only two guys who can score and that will not be enough. Like Dallas the Pens are loaded down the middle. Unlike the Stars they have some pretty nice wingers as well. By which I mean, some guys with some serious offensive chops.

When it comes down to it the reason I will likely end up picking the Wings is one Nick Lidstrom. The Pens have nobody like him. Well, nobody does really. Plus the guys lining up behind him on the blueline are pretty fine too.

But the guy who may end up being the key for the Pens (and a good reason to pick them) is one Marian Hossa. Noted jackass Pierre Maguire went on one of his usual baseless rants before the playoffs began, calling Hossa "Maid Marian" and an abject failure in the playoffs. I know his numbers last season were awful (one assist in four games); of course he was playing with a knee injury so I'm not sure how much I put on that showing. Here are his numbers going back to the 2000 playoffs when he was 21 years old:

2000 - 6 GP - 0-0-0 (plus a minus eight - welcome to the playoffs big guy!)

2001 - 4 GP - 1-1-2

2002 - 12 GP - 4-6-10

2003 - 18 GP - 5-11-16

2004 - 7 GP - 3-1-4 (this was his last series with the Sens and he was dominant that series, every time he touched the puck he was a threat as far as I am concerned)

2007- 4 GP - 0-1-1

2008 - 14 GP - 9-10-19

Colour me stupid but after 2001 I see a guy who puts up pretty good numbers almost every single year. And this year he has been a force, even when facing a couple of pretty tough teams to play against in the Rangers and Flyers. Apparently Maguire has never been to the TSN website where I picked up this little bit of information but from where I stand I think Hossa's playoff performance looks pretty decent. And Pierre Maguire looks like an ass.

The Wings have Datsyuk and Hank, the Pens have Malkin and Crosby. Just as the Pens have no Lidstrom the Wings have nobody like Hossa.



HBomb said...

Noted jackass Pierre Maguire

I used to like Maguire, right up until the nonstop verbal fellation of Dion Phaneuf (aka "THE most overrated player in the NHL") started sometime in early January 2005. Double Dion? What the fuck?

Anyways, even though I think he's been a good playoff performer in the past (I'm also a guy who thinks Joe Thornton takes too much heat, but I digress), Hossa picked a damn fine time to go on a postseason scoring binge. Someone's giving him 8-9 million a season on average over 7-8 years this summer. And you know what? I wouldn't mind if it was the Oilers (especially if it was folllowed by Sheldon Souray announcing his retirement from the NHL).

Anyways, I'm picking Detroit, but if Pittsburh pulls this out, I'm guessing Hossa's going to get a pile of Conn Smythe votes. My guess is that he and Crosby are going power-vs-power with the Datsyuk line (with the Draper line seeing the Malone/Malkin/Sykora combo), which means he's going to be in direct combat with Zetterberg at ES. And it also probably means he sees a ton of Lidstrom.

Might be the first time we see a European born player captain a Cup champion. But it also might be the first time a forward not born in Canada wins the Conn Smythe

(Trivia: only non-Canadian born Cup winning captain is Derian Hatcher, and the only two non-Canadians to win the Smythe are Leetch in 1994 and Nik "Chris Pronger can't hold a candle to me" Lidstrom in 2002)

HBomb said...


I think I just made that word up. Wouldn't it be "fellating"?

Whatever, it's all good.

PDO said...

Wings win, in a high-scoring, 5 game series.


Lidstrom vs. Gonchar
Rafalski vs. Orpik
Kronvall vs. Whitney
Stuart vs. Gill
Chelios vs. Scuderi
Lebda vs. Letang

And if anyone goes down for Detroit, they're bring in Lilja. Meanwhile Pittsburgh would bring in Sydor...

Just too much of an advantage on the backend in my mind.

Black Dog said...

hbomb - its just pain poor work on Maguire's part. The numbers bear out that Hossa has done pretty well in postseason. His last year with the Sens he was terrific and I remember wondering why they would trade the one guy who really seemed to come alive that series against the Leafs. And then last year he was hurt. Doesn't fit Maguire's narrative I guess.

Interesting to see if he takes a little less to get the chance at many Cup runs. I think they would have to give him a NTC based on his Sens' experience and I would think that would not happen.

pdo - you're right and I think that may be the difference but the question is this - I think it will be power v power and that this will likely be a sawoff. Now Pittsburgh's second pair - I think they can stop Cleary, Hudler etc. And I think their third pair can stop the Wings' bottom six.

Can Stuart and Kronwall handle Malkin? Can Chelios handle Staal's line? Heck can he handle Laraque's line?

That is the key to the series.

HBomb said...

His last year with the Sens he was terrific and I remember wondering why they would trade the one guy who really seemed to come alive that series against the Leafs. And then last year he was hurt. Doesn't fit Maguire's narrative I guess.

I felt sorry for the whole Sens team in 2004. The Leafs had no fucking business beating them in that series and the only thing that tipped the result in favor of Toronto was Belfour vs. Lalime.

Hossa WAS dominant in that series. Game 1 was particularly memorable.

I don't think he's a top 10 NHL player, but he's in my top 20 for sure.

Doogie said...

hbomb - I believe the correct form of the word is "fellatio."

Anonymous said...

How did you like your trip to BC?

doritogrande said...

fellate (adj) - the continued admiration of overrated players by TSN analysts.

And I DARE Grabia to keep that off next year's BoA glossary!

Black Dog said...

BC, anon?

Em, it was great. It was also 2000.

Bruce said...

I used to like Maguire, right up until the nonstop verbal fellation of Dion Phaneuf

Me too, I have learned a lot from McGuire, but his act has worn thinner than his hair. He says lots of interesting things but contradicts himself far too often for my liking.

A recent favourite was in the Worlds when he spent two days forcefully expounding how the way for Canada to beat the Russians was to lay a pounding on anything wearing red, then after one play (and one goal against) in the actual game started his analysis by saying "you can't run around against these guys".

Jamie said...

upstart youngins vs. old crotchety men (& some swedes).

Le GG shall be the spice that will make this series simmer.