An injury-filled week this week in the NHL, as a ridiculous number of players were lost for 4-6 weeks, and Van Ryn for the rest of the season. However, they weren’t the only hot-button issues, as a racy commercial, a couple of noteworthy on-ice incidents and the continuing debacle in Toronto also grabbed some headlines, for better or for worse, this past week in the NHL.
Brodeur Within One Of Sawchuck
Martin Brodeur, one of the league’s most likeable players ( not to mention one of the most supremely talented goalies of all time), is within one shutout of tying Terry Sawchuck’s record of 103 career regular-seasons shutouts with a win over Carolina Saturday night. I don’t know about you, but one of the more surprising moments of last year’s playoffs for me was when Brodeur gave up two goals to Carolina in Game 7 of the first round to lose the game. As Brodeur beat the Hurricanes for shutout 102, it’s not surprising that the only thing on his mind was about that loss. Some might call him blessed to have been drafted into New Jersey’s stellar defensive system his entire career, which undoubtedly has helped, but you don’t go around seeing Kevin Weekes getting any shutouts with New Jersey. Story link.
Laraque + Scantily-clad Women + Commercial = Instant Outrage
So the NHL and women’s groups everywhere didn’t take too kindly to Georges Laraque appearing in a tongue-in-cheek ad for the Octane alcoholic beverage, which consisted of blatant sexism with Laraque playing street hockey with scantily-clad, buxom bombshells. Women’s groups flipped out, the NHL didn’t specify if it was going to further punish Laraque, and Laraque himself offered a damned-if-I-knew-ahead-of-a-time denial of intent. All for a parody of typically sexist beer commercials. The commercial itself has been taken off YouTube, but inquiring minds can see a short “making of” (in French) here. Story link.
Michalek Shows Up To The Party
How do you show up a fanbase skeptical of your acquisition? Scoring a hat trick helps. Milan Michalek potted three against Tampa Bay on Thursday night, somewhat quietening uneasy Ottawa fans lamenting the loss of Dany Heatley. Of course, their win against Montréal on Saturday night pushed them into second place in the East, which certainly eases the sting a bit more. San Jose being eighth in the West also helps matters. It being October bears no…relevance…whatsoever… Story link.
Leafs Blow Like A Candle In The Wind
7 games. 0 wins. 1 point. Ladies and gentleman, your 2009 Toronto Maple Leafs, with the worst goals against (by 4; their average margin of defeat? Hey-o!) in the NHL. I’m not going to join the calls of the choir in calling for a re-appraisal of Wilson’s coaching or Burke’s managing. To my mind, the team was going to throw up a stinker anyway (though I do confess to bearing hopes for a shot at eighth. Not for much longer, at this rate), and while 0-6-1 with no first round draft pick is kind of a pain in the ass, it’s unlikely having that pick instead of Kessel would have hurried up the rebuilding process any more. Likewise, Wilson’s coaching may grate on some guys, but the team’s still half in transition between the old school and whatever kind of cobbled-together new school the team has in mind. So this season, I’m not disappointed at all, but I am crushed when I look at the team’s farm system and besides a few gems, the cupboard’s mostly bare. Just hang on to some picks, Burkie, that’s all I’m asking… Story link.
I can’t link to the videos directly, but check out Cam Ward’s save on Guerin in the middle video of the “100 and 100″ section on the NHL front page. Ridiculous. Story link.