Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I'll Take A Dozen Win(g)s To Go, Please

Sure, it's just one series. And sure, there is still a long way to go. But tonight I will celebrate my Edmonton Oilers, and their 4-2 series victory over the Detroit Red Wings. My own thoughts on the game:

• After the second period they played, which was probably the worst I have ever seen an NHL team play, the Oilers had no business winning that game. But I'll take it.

• When the hell did Jaroslav Spacek turn into Boris Mironov? I can't believe he was only -1 on the night, as he was a key contributor to all three of Detroit's goals. I also can't believe Mac T let him stay on the ice for almost 23 minutes. Until we pulled this thing out of the fire, I had planned on devoting an entire post to him, with a giant goat as my graphic.

• For two periods I screamed at Alex Hemsky whenever he touched the puck. Too fancy, not enough shooting. He redeemed himself in the 3rd, drawing three Wings defenders to him and then slipping by to receive the pass for the winning goal. He and Sergei Samsonov proved once again that talent will eventually find a way to manifest itself.

• That pass from Samsonov was disgusting. On the original play, I thought he had shot it. On looking at it again, I am convinced it was in fact a deft little pass. Cha-ching!!!

• He didn't do much in this series, but Ethan Moreau's shot block with less than 30 seconds left in the game was "Monster!"

• I remember hearing Chris Chelios' name exactly once throughout the entire game. Once.

• Manny Legace didn't play a bad series. And I personally think he is a number one goaltender in this league. Here's hoping Ken Holland gets rid of Mike Babcock over Manny.

• Speaking of Babcock, what the hell was the deal with leaving Stevie Y on the bench for the last faceoff draw? I know the Wings won it anyways, but even so there is no reason why the captain of the Wings should be on the bench. I have no idea if Yzerman was banged up, and passed on the chance, but the whole scene reminded me of Marc Crawford leaving Wayne Gretzky on the bench in the shootout against the Czechs in Nagano. I don't care what the odds are, what the numbers are, how do you leave a guy like that on your bench for the last five seconds of a must game, especially when it will likely be his last? Unconscionable. I think this quote from Babcock on Yzerman says it all:
"He's been a courageous competitor," said Babcock. "He probably shouldn't have played tonight, but he perceives this as his team and he wanted to lead them."

He "perceives" this as his team? Wow. Last time I checked, it was his team. Maybe I am going overboard on this, but the whole thing sort of soured the victory for me. I don't want to see a giant of the game go out like that. It will be stuck in my head forever--or at least until the dementia takes over--and that sucks. I'd rather just enjoy the thought of Chris Chelios crying and move on to the Flames and the Sharks.

• I was the only member of the SportsMatters crew to pick the Oilers to win, and I even did it in the proper number of games. Does that make me a genius? Actually, yes it does.

If this is your last game, Mr. Yzerman, thank you.


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