Big Lead Sports Bar


Koz: 2008 – The Year of the Penguin?

by Koz
Well, I picked a great time to start blogging about the Penguins. What can you say? It’s all good in the neighborhood.

In a game where the Pens allowed 44 shots, my biggest concern was if Ty Conklin would get a shutout and Evgeni Malkin could net a hat trick. It was really tense because it’s been over a week since Conklin’s last clean sheet. And Malkin? He’s no all-star. Good thing he got that empty netter, because he hasn’t had a hat trick since January 3. I mean honestly, was there any point against the Rangers that you questioned the end result?

Everyone is praising Ty Conklin for his puck movement. He’s like a right handed Tom Barrasso, but without the attitude. As I was discussing the Pens’ streak with my Canadian friend, he made an excellent point. The real key to this streak is Conklin’s ability to control rebounds. He’s absorbing pucks like a sponge and when he does deflect them away it’s very “predictable and routine,” which allows the defenders to collect them safely. It’s a little thing that’s making a huge difference.

Stat of the game: 76% - Sidney Crosby was 16 for 21 on faceoffs Monday, including going 5 for 6 in the defensive zone. This is one of the few bugaboos about Sid and he’s quickly getting much better. In the interest of full disclosure, I only noticed this because we track faceoff wins in my hockey fantasy league.

Fourth star: In homage to unsung heroes, my fourth star of the game goes to Rob Scuderi for leading the team with three blocked shots and scoring his first point since the home opener. Scuderi has stepped up with defensive defenseman (I love that phrase) Mark Eaton out for the season.

Mike Lange Award for Excellence in Broadcasting: I like when Doc Emrick refers to a goalie deflecting a shot with his blocker as “waffle boarding” it away. Classic.

Numbers don’t lie, but they’ll pretty much say anything to get you in bed: The Penguins are now 7-1 in games when Georges Laraque beats the crap out of someone.

Hockey related YouTube of the Week: Monday’s Versus broadcast mentioned a hit Jarkko Ruutu put on Jaromir Jagr during the 2006 Olympics. I don’t know what I like better about this clip – the fact that Jagr gets pasted or the foreign language broadcasters.

Winter Classic Auction Update: Sidney Crosby’s second period game worn jersey has exceeded $25,000, which was my guess for its selling price.

Things you can do with $5,000: The puck used during the shootout of the Winter Classic is slightly more affordable. If memorabilia isn’t your thing, but you’re looking for something more experiential, the Philadelphia Flyers were selling visits to their locker room for $5,000. I was interested until I realized they would probably frisk for weapons. The listing indicates various players will appear in the locker room during the visit. It does not mention whether or not you will be sucker punched in the face.

What else will we do in this space? I would like to explore ways to improve the NHL. I love the game, but we all know it can be better. Each week, I’ll present a suggestion. It might be realistic or completely insane. It could relate to either the on-ice action or the general presentation of the sport. I won’t agree with every idea I share here, but nonetheless, it’ll interesting to discuss. This is another opportunity for you to share your thoughts.

Our first suggestion is very timely given that it’s NFL playoff time. Why don’t NHL referees and linesmen get together to discuss things as a group, much like you see in the NFL? For example, the other night in Tampa, Maxime Talbot was sent to the box for a four minute high sticking penalty he didn’t commit when Martin St. Louis’ stick actually cut teammate Shane O’Brien. Perhaps if the referees could have talked about it they could “pick up the flag” so to speak and get the call right.

It could potentially be a problem for game flow, but is it better to get the call right? I’m sure there are already situations where the two-ref system has led to informal pow-wows and the occasional first opinion gets overturned, but generally there’s no precedent to it.

I’ve got a few other ideas for this blog, but I’m also open to yours. The e-mail address is there for a reason. Send me your questions, comments, complaints, and suggestions. If it’s interesting, it might show up here, you never know.

Unfortunately, being in Indianapolis, I don’t get to see every game. The NHL does a good job of utilizing the Internet, so you can see a lot there, but highlights only tell part of the story. Next Monday is another “Night of Machismo” with the Pens on Versus, American Gladiators on NBC, and that new Terminator show on Fox. Next week, we’ll have a recap of next Monday’s game against the Capitals along with a little all-star game preview.


HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Either Koz is Mark Madden or he just ripped off Koz' column verbatim.

Koz said...


Bic said...


Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

I'm a big fan of Doc Emrick. I go to school in NY and Emrick does the play by play for the Devils. He's not Mike Lange, but he definitely does make games more interesting to watch. Sam Rosen does a pretty good job with Rangers games too.

Eric Feller said...

Allsome opening blog.


The Duke from Dukes Court said...

I think what Hotdog meant is that Mark Madden used a lot of the same points on the air that Koz brought up in his post. Being a listener of the Mark Madden show I tend to agree with Hotdog on this one, Mark has talked about reading Mondesishouse before and he clearly read this post and used some of the ideas from it on his show.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery.


Fantastic post btw, keep up the good work.

Unknown said...

You're a big bright shiny star