- Lots of interesting stuff at Puck Daddy today, as the gang points to a strange family tradition of dying at Chicago Blackhawks games, yet another chapter in the NHL's faulty All-Star voting story and always-fun Hockey Hall of Fame debates.
My take on All-Star Voting: why not simply take a kitchen sink approach and provide a drag-and-drop list of active NHL players? This would allow the process to be much more Democratic and might even encourage smart, logical voting. (Probably not)
As far as the Hockey Hall of Fame goes, sports HoFs are far too inclusive and stats-driven. The key to a good voting is to not limit the amount of people elected per year, never mandate inductions per year and to go on a "no-brainer" plan of selections. Of course, sports HoFs often are looking to make money and entice visitors, so they probably are doing the right thing.
ANYWAY, since I won't be in Florida, this list is merely for fun. But Puck Daddy asked the hockey public to name 10 things that are actually cool about the Florida Panthers. Let's see if this is possible:
1. Move over, Avery Rule
In the long-ago days when the Florida Panthers made a deep playoff run, fans celebrated their scrappy team's goals by showering the ice with plastic rats. It was a charming, if somewhat obnoxious neo-tradition that prompted the league to create a delay of game penalty so the rat showers would stop.
Rats > Avery windshield wiping
2. They fired Mike Keenan
Mike Keenan's extensive, yet glaringly unsuccessful post-Rangers coaching career boggles my mind. If you were to believe what's written in the book "Messier," that historic '94 Cup run happened in the middle of a mutiny against the hateful coach. Yet he still keeps getting jobs.
But the one silver lining about hiring Keenan is that a team will inevitably fire him.
3. Jay Bouwmeester in video games
He's not a household name, but he should be if you have a video game console. Going back to the PS2 days of NHL 2K, Bouwmeester's always been a diamond in the rough because of his blazing speed. His end-to-end digi-prowess prompted the creation of the term "Poor Man's Orr."
4. The veteran free agent/trade disappointment du jour
The Florida Panthers signing a washed up semi-big name is becoming a time-honored tradition.For years, "Scary" Gary Roberts broke the hearts of Panthers fans with seasons marred by injuries but he's been followed by luminaries such as Todd Bertuzzi (in the disastrous Roberto Luongo trade), Joe Nieuwendyk and now Cory Stillman.
Remember, misery builds character.
5. The logo/mascot actually isn't half-bad
New NHL logos - and sports logos in general - are often dominated with sharp edges and the wet dreams of Mountain Dew marketers. So it's always nice to see a team come up with a relatively simple design and the Panthers have a solid, inoffensive logo.
It's often annoying when teams lace their logos with 'tude, but shit, Panthers probably are growling and mean much of the time so this works.
Bonus points for including an endangered species and not trying to force the Panther to awkwardly hold a stick or sport other hockey gear.
6. Tomas Vokoun
He might not be the most exciting goalie on the planet, but he's the closest the Panthers can get to a legitimate All-Star caliber player.
7. Nathan Horton
One of the hidden gems of the NHL, Horton might never put up big numbers but he's a talented young power forward. Still, he fits in with the Panthers affliction of potential never meeting production.
8. John Vanbiesbrouck's helmet
I remember playing the actually kinda shitty NHL '97 on the Playstation One and thinking that the Bieser's helmet was the shit.
(Definitely grasping at straws)
9. They didn't hire Barry Melrose
10. Sure, the Lightning won a Cup ... but the Panthers beat the Mario Lemieux - Jaromir Jagr led Penguins
As you can see, there probably are only about five things that are actually cool about the Florida Panthers ... but hey, it was nice to at least give it the old college try.
- Joe P. at Greatest Hockey Legends studies the top 10 American hockey players of all-time but forgets Brendan Shanahan and Bret Hull. Oh wait, those two guys just defected from Team Canada.
If Pat Lafontaine played today, is there any doubt this movie would be involved in a genius PhotoShop?
But Jeremy Roenick is unquestionably the most gifted, electronically. Since I'm distantly related to Brian Leetch in a "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" kind of way, it is my duty to abstain.
My assumed "#11 American" Phil Housely probably shifted in his seat when he (hypothetically) learned that he was not included in this discussion. (Tough titties)
- It's always a sign of skill to cleverly play on the biggest news headlines and Pensblog brings their "A" game with a clever Proposition 8 and Pensblog Charlie tie-in.
Interesting take on the issue and the film "Milk" at CHUD.com.
- The biggest news in hockey this week is that Martin Brodeur is expected to miss three to four months because of elbow surgery. Sooner or later, the seemingly invincible "fatso" was going to get injured although this year seemed the most jinx-tastic with all the talk about Brodeur breaking Patrick Roy and Terry Sawchuk's big goalie records.
- Sid the Kid "responded" to Alex Semin's interview where the forest fire-hot forward asked what was so special about Crosby and expressed his preference for Patrick Kane's game (as well as Pavel Datsyuk's stickhandling abilities). Crosby must love dealing with these "he said she said" comments all the time, although that's the price you pay for big Reebok contracts and media adoration. My guess is that Semin - known for being quiet though that might be a language barrier issue more than anything else - simply let his guard down in the company of a fellow Russian.
One thing's for sure: whether Semin's snipes were blown out of proportion or not, adding that to Alex O headhunting Malkin and the media coverage of Sidney vs. Alex O makes for quite the rivalry between Pittsburgh and Washington.
Please, Hockey Gods, give us a Battle of California and Pittsburgh vs. Washington in the playoffs this year. We'll sacrifice Alexei Yashin if necessary.