Have I ever mentioned how great this sport is? Day in and day out, the NHL is never lacking in the realm of drama or storylines. This week has been no exception, and here are my thoughts on some of the more prominent happenings.
1. Laraque sent back. Let’s give the Habs some credit. They went out and got the guy who can turn people’s faces into mashed potatoes. The whole plan went rotten when Georges Laraque decided that Goliath shouldn’t be fighting any Davids. Laraque is best with his gloves off, not on. His hands are made of concrete – which is good for teeth removal via facial impact, not for scoring goals. Sorry, Georges, but you’re not a hockey player, you’re a presence, and you just weren’t being felt.
2. Gaborik/Carcillo fight. I’ve seen the video a dozen times and there are a few things that need clarification. For one, Daniel Carcillo goes after Marian Gaborik. Secondly, Gaborik drops the gloves first. So where does this lead us? A closer look shows Carcillo zeroes in on Gaborik after the scrum develops in front of the Philly net. He swoops in and scoops up Gaborik with enough force to bring him from the side of the net to just behind it, well away from the rest of the brouhaha. I understand that as a player you get in there to protect your team-mates. But is Gaborik, a guy who is as fragile as a sugar cube in a monsoon, really going to be a threat? Ok, I get it, Carcillo, you’re a tough guy and you demand respect, but you were on Gaborik as if he were a Jonas brother, and you were a 13-year-old girl who just saw him at the mall.
3. Free Petr! Talk about a bizarre little turn of events. Petr Sykora was enjoying some success over in Pittsburgh (but next to Sid the Kid, who wouldn’t?). He won a Cup and headed over to free agency with a decent resumÃ©. The Minnesota Wild came calling, looking to pick up some fire-power after losing Gaborik to the Rangers. Along with Mikko Koivu, Martin Havlat and Andrew Brunette, Sykora had a decent chance to have a good year. So why is it that he is being treated by the internet community as an Amnesty International case? Well the Wild, fed up of a less than stellar performance by Sykora where he had three points in 14 games, had cut his ice-time to nil and made him a season-ticket holder to the front row of the press box. If you needed any more indication that most of the Internet community, the vocal part at least, are a bunch of morons, along came the “Free Petr” campaign. It is an outcry of Sykora fans who want to see their “star” get more ice-time. Wow. As if there were not a hundred other players you should be watching. I’d rather watch Dion Phaneuf in a shoot-out than Sykora on a top line.
Now we all remember the “Vote For Rory” campaign during the All-Star period of 2007 which was a silly move to get Rory Fitzpatrick into the All-Star game in Dallas. His stats sucked, but it was viewed more as a mission to bring to light the fact that the voting system was more of a popularity contest than a merit system. Case in point, he generated tons of votes and finished third to Scott Niedermayer and Niklas Lidstrom and didn’t make the team. That wasn’t the point, though. The subject of a faulty system was brought to light, and everyone had a good laugh. This “Free Petr” movement is about as stupid as being an enforcer in the NHL, and then not fighting.