“I Might Just Be A Hockey Fan In California” is a feature that is posted every Saturday here at the View From My Seats. There are plenty of things going on in the hockey world (and even the sports world); and you know everyone has an opinion. This is a place for some quick hits of the week that was.
I might just be a hockey fan in California, but:
- I’m fairly confident Sam Gagner is going to have more points than the entire Los Angeles Kings team this month.
- If you thought Louis Leblanc had a lot of pressure in Montreal, just imagine what Blake Geoffrion is going to have to deal with when he makes it to the big club. The only way it could be worse is if he were a legacy player and French-Canadian.
- Nothing makes hockey players more a commodity than injuries around the trade deadline. “Oh, Tuomo Ruutu is hurt? Well, there goes his trade value for the Hurricanes.”
- Mike Ribeiro had this to say to the home crowd at American Airlines Center after his brilliant OT goal against the Calgary Flames this week: “Hopefully you guys can invite your friends so we can have more people here.” Funny thing: the Mavericks, Rangers, Cowboys, and even Horned Frogs seem to be doing just fine at the box office. Just like any other sport in just about any other market—more wins and more people will show up.
- Remember when the Blackhawks were the first team to 50 points? Now there are 11 teams above them in the league standings and the Red Wings are a full 13 points ahead of them in their own conference.
- On the other side of things, the Ducks have gone 14-2-3 in their last 19 games, yet they’re still in 13th place in the Western Conference. Just goes to show that it’s tough to move up in the standings; but if a team has a tragic losing streak, they’ll drop like a stone.
- Woltek Wolski: Remember that guy for the Rangers? Well, he’s back with the big club after a 2-week conditioning stint with the Connecticut Whale. Just imagine if Glen Sather was able to get something for the chronic underachiever. If they can get his salary off the books, there’s potential for the Rangers to get even better.
- How miserable is it to go on a road trip through the Central Division these days? St. Louis has a 25-4 mark and home—and it’s not even the best home record in the division. Aside from Detroit’s amazing 24-2-1 home record this season, the Blackhawks have the third best home record in the entire NHL (19-6-4). Remember that next time your team has a back-to-back against the Blues and Hawks and be thankful for any point you get.
- Speaking of the St. Louis Blues, just think about how good they’d be if Chris Stewart pulled it together and started playing like the guy who had 28 goals in only 62 games last year. For comparison’s sake, he’s sitting on only 11 goals through 54 games this year.
- The Flames honored Al MacInnis by inducting him into their “Forever a Flame” program. Even though he’s the very first Calgary Flame to receive the honor, it still wasn’t enough for some people (media members) who complained that it wasn’t enough since they weren’t retiring his number. Get a life fellas, they’re honoring his entire Flames career—that’s all that matters.
- I have to give it up to the NHL for figuring out a way to make the Winter Classic at the Big House work. If they were hell bent on putting the game in Michigan, there’s no way they could have not included Michigan Stadium. Mix in some events at Comerica Park so Mike Ilitch can get paid and it looks like the ideal compromise. Lets here it for “out of the box” thinking!
- All that being said about the Winter Classic, who cares? Call me when HBO has confirmed that they’re doing another edition of 24/7.
- Everyone is focusing on the Flyers’ side of the Nicklas Grossman trade, but a little deeper under the surface shows just how good this deal is for the Dallas Stars. Grossman is a middle-pairing guy who is set to get a sizable raise (currently makes $1.625 million) when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Stars have been very happy with Mark Fistric’s development, Sheldon Souray is almost back in the lineup, and they still have Adam Pardy as a healthy scratch every night. GM Joe Nieuwendyk was able to pick up two quality draft picks for Grossman even though there is a good chance they would have lost him in the offseason anyway
- I will always associate the number 368 with Scott Gomez. Always.
- The Islanders goaltending situation never ceases to entertain. A couple of seasons ago, Dwayne Roloson was basically featured for the first half of the season before the organization was able to move the aging netminder to the Lightning. It was assumed that Evgeni Nabokov was acquired for the same reason when the Islanders picked him up off waivers as he was trying to return to North America with the Red Wings. But a funny thing happened on the way to a deadline deal—GM Garth Snow said that the Islanders won’t be selling Nabokov as they make their own run towards the final playoff spot. Now if someone wanted Rick DiPietro at the deadline, that might be a different story.
- Remember when there were people who thought that the “new NHL” had passed Ken Hitchcock by?
- For anyone who isn’t sure if there’s a place in hockey for fighting, you should have seen Shane Doan and Dustin Brown dropping the mitts in the Coyotes/Kings game on Thursday. Captain Shane Doan challenged captain Dustin Brown for hurting Rusty Klesla (with a clean hit). By the time the fight was over, both teams (and the every person in the building) could feel the intensity. The captains going at it brought the game to a whole new level.
- I’d like to take this opportunity to give a little respect to Mike Sillinger. If we’re talking about his claim to fame, the man’s days are clearly numbered. What do we mean? Dominic Moore was traded to the San Jose Sharks—the 9th team of his career. Sillinger set the bar at a lofty 12 teams, but it’s only a matter of time now.
- One of the best (albeit under reported) stories of the week had to be Andy McDonald making his return to the ice after missing 51 games with a concussion. Here’s to hoping he finds his bearings and thrives after having to endure months of intimidating uncertainty.
- Bruce Boudreau says that it takes about 300 games for an NHL defenseman to really start “getting it.” On that note: how many games as Cam Barker played played?
- On behalf of all fans around the world, can we please try to avoid another lockout? What’s the old saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me…
Click here for our archive of past editions of our “I Might Just Be A Hockey Fan In California” feature.