Série terminée pour Saku

Ya know, people tend to mellow out with age. Now that I'm sprouting the odd grey hair, there are very few things that could cause me to regress into a fit of blind fanboy rage. Losing the captain to an unpunished high stick is one of them. In case you hadn't figured it out, the URL near the top of your screen is a tip o' the hat to the NHL's most inspirational player. It won't be easy, but with a little restraint, we'll keep things civil here today.

If you haven't heard, Saku Koivu is
out indefinitely.

The always level-headed Pat Hickey says
Williams should be suspended. Not gonna happen. In fact, don't even think for a second that the refs might ease up on the Habs to make up for the missed call. If anything, expect more of what we saw late last night (5 straight Carolina PPs, that is) to make it obvious that they're not making even-up calls.

And, of course, the requisite double minor applied to Mike Komisarek in the 3rd period after his stick punctured the parchment-thin lip skin of Cory Stillman (photo at left).

Aside: When was the last time we saw a 5-minute major for high sticking? It used to be a fairly common occurrence. Now that the refs have the less severe double minor to fall back on, they're afraid to call the major.

From The Hockey News:

"Players should also be considering what kind of visor to wear: the minimalist model Koivu was wearing or the long-shield style favoured by Ottawa’s Dany Heatley, among others. If you’re going to wear a visor, isn’t it worth going big or not going at all?"
OK, so now it's Koivu's fault for not wearing a larger visor? How about keeping your stick on the ice?

Other thoughts on the game:

- The bad goals are worrisome. Brind'amour's equalizer in the 3rd was eerily similar to Cullen's series opening goal, and Souray was just as liable. Do the Hockey Gods need to give you another wake-up call already, Shelly? Play the man, not the puck!

- After the game, Don Cherry told Habs fans to start worrying if Carolina starts to get on a roll. I suggest Habs fans (at least well adjusted ones with their priorities straight) worry about the health of Saku Koivu's left eye.

- Outplayed yet again, I don't undertand how Carolina continues to put up better shot totals.

- Was I mistaken, or were the Habs faithful booing Cory Stillman? If so, why - the tying goal in game #2?

- Those Jon Lovitz Subway commercials make me want to take a compound stick to my own eyeballs. WTF is with Subway and grating ads? There was that gawdawful shadow puppet guy, then the annoying Jared, now this.

- The missed call on Williams was only the tip of the officiating iceberg last night. You expect cranky fans on the boards to whine about 1-sided refs, but the outrage at LaRue and Marouelli is off the charts. Even established journalists like Hickey and Jack Todd are getting in on it. The way things were called, I'm surprised Koivu wasn't given a two minute 'holding the stick' penalty for clasping Williams' blade with his eyelid. Dennis LaRue and Dan Marouelli: Welcome to the sh*tlist. It will be interesting to see how far these two refs go in the playoffs.

- Why did Montreal sit back on the 1-goal lead in the 3rd? It didn't work with five minutes left on Monday night, so why would they think they could do it with 15 minutes left last night?

- Upside to the game: The Habs soundly outplayed 'Canes. There were two goalposts, they were jobbed by refs, the OT winner was scored on a 5-on-3.5 (Bonk counts as 0.5 because of a broken stick), and it was still damn close. That's a good omen.


Anonymous Tom Benjamin said...

Brind'amour's equalizer in the 3rd was eerily similar to Cullen's series opening goal, and Souray was just as liable.

I think this is tough on Sheldon. Huet had to give him some help on it. Brind'Amour played it really well, timing the shovel ahead perfectly because Souray was committed to playing the man. If Souray carries through and hits Brind'Amour, he's too late. It's interference. Rod didn't have the puck by the time Souray got there. It looked to me like Souray tried to miss him to avoid the penalty.

Brind'Amour made a good play, Souray was beat but it still wasn't very dangerous so Souray didn't want to risk the penalty and let him go. I don't know why the media types don't ask players about this type of play. I can't believe Souray couldn't have gotten a piece of Brind'Amour.

I guess that makes him liable, but Huet was the one who played the not very dangerous rush into a goal. Rod nearly stops to avoid Souray. Huet could have beaten him to it, or he could made sure the lower half of the net was shut. Rod wasn't going to be able to do anything beyond poke at the puck. I think his inexperience showed on that play.

4/27/2006 7:19 PM  
Blogger Jeff J said...

Yeah, we've probably been too hard on him on that goal. It should not have gotten past Huet. Souray's just been burned so many times this year in that exact spot on the ice. Force of habit.

4/27/2006 8:59 PM  
Blogger d-lee said...

I agree that the officiating was bad. It has been for the entire series. Denis LaRue has been a lousy ref all season, and has no business officiating the playoffs.

It was a travesty that the play went unpenalized, and I know it isn't any consolation that it was unintentional. Careless stick, yes. Intent to injure, no.

I wish the best for Saku and for a full healthy recovery. He's an excellent player, a classy guy. I know how important he is to the Habs and also to the community.

4/27/2006 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

You just feel so badly for Koivu. You would feel badly for any NHL player suffering through an injury like this, but it just seems so doubly unfair happening to him.

I think this is the first time I can ever remember an NHL player already wearing a visor suffering a serious eye injury, although I could be mistaken. Having said that, very few NHL players actually wear the "full" CSA approved visor that Heatley wears. (Heatley has to, of course, as that left eye of his is pretty badly damaged already.) Most of them are wearing that more minimalist, "pro" version referenced earlier, and it is not CSA approved. Would that have made a difference? Hard to say, but I would hope that trainers are at least strongly encouraging players to consider the full version now.

I am praying that the damage is restricted to the cornea, which heals fairly quickly. Having once received a black eye so bad that my eye was swollen shut, they are indeed telling the truth when they say it will be a few days before they will know more. God bless to Saku and his family.

4/28/2006 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Robert Cleave said...

Dennis, your comment about short visors is dead on. I hadn't paid that much attention to the matter, but last night, maybe with Koivu's injury in mind, I noticed Jason Spezza's visor. The bottom of it was at or above his eyeline. What good is that? A stick coming from below, like Williams on Koivu, is unimpeded, as is a puck. I didn't have to do much of a Google search to find evidence.

4/28/2006 6:55 PM  

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