Since I'm not able to go to tonight's Thrashing of the Rangers (yeah that's what I said), I figured what better time than now to give you the hockey fan some of my total randomness. In no particular order:
1.When is the NHL going to stop allowing their star players to walk all over them? No. We're not talking about Gary Bettman's new CBA with a rising cap where teams are panicking and signing their own players to ridiculously long contracts. What I am referring to is the latest news about the upcoming All-Star Game in Atlanta.
Why should a star player such as Martin Brodeur be allowed to miss a game which is for the fans? You think he's going to miss any upcoming starts between tonight in Philadelphia when he does what he usually does to them and Sunday?!?!?!?!?! It is an absolute joke that the league doesn't step in and do the right thing by the fans who want to see the league's marquee stars lace'em up in a fun-filled skills competition.
Unless you're out with an excuse (injury, family crisis, health issue), it should be your obligation to take part in the All-Star Game. Especially if your own fans voted you in as a starter. Brodeur is still the best netminder in the conference and plenty of people want to see him. Even now as the three-time Vezina and Cup winner gets older, the Montreal native is still one of the NHL's biggest stars. Someone who is marketable and treats fans and writers alike with nothing but class. No.30 should be in net for that first period in Atlanta. No if's, and's or buts.
That also means you Roberto Luongo! The fans deserve to see the Vancouver netminder at the opposite end of the rink against Marty. The fact that the two league's top goalies were elected and won't participate for unknown reasons looks bad. They're what this game should be about.
This goes for any player who is elected. Unfortunately, the league already lost their most identifiable star in Sidney Crosby due to a high ankle sprain which appears will keep the 2006-07 Hart winner out at least six weeks. And losing one of the bright young stars out West in Paul Stastny due to injury doesn't help much. Neither does one of the game's best players in Henrik Zetterberg for no other apparent reason than wanting to rest due to recurring back spasms.
If the league wants to be taken seriously, put out the best players for this game and make it a priority. The encouraging news is at least Evgeni Malkin replaced Crosby and Tim Thomas is now in place of Brodeur. The surprising Boston No.1 goalie certainly was worthy of making it.
On the other side, Corey Perry and Mike Ribeiro will get to take part. They certainly both belong. Scott Niedermayer was also tabbed probably as a league selection due to his veteran status. He certainly hasn't disappointed since returning to the defending champion Ducks posting 11 points in 17 games and helping lead his team to the top of the Pacific.
2.Hell or high water, Tom Renney has to go. His message clearly isn't getting through anymore to the underachieving Blueshirts. There's little effort. No discipline. And zero accountability. The affable coach is good at analyzing the team's problems. The problem is he never punishes his best players and that's not a good recipe for success. This team is severely lacking and has become softer than a box of Twinkies.
If the Ranger organization wants to save their season, they must bring in a tough cop. Pat Burns would be perfect. So too would John Tortorella if he ever gets fired down in Tampa. It's more likely that Jim Schoenfeld takes over if the Rangers don't get a win tonight or on Brian Leetch night against Atlanta.
3.Speaking of which, how is it possible that the Rangers host the Thrashers twice in a row??? What are the schedule makers doing? If it were a traditional home-and-home like the games against the Bruins, that would make more sense. Give both fanbases a chance to see a rivalry formulate.
4.Rookie Nicklas Backstrom continues to play extremely well on the resurgent Caps who now are over .500 and just three points behind first place Carolina and the eighth seeded Islanders. The former 2006 Caps' fourth overall selection became the first rookie in league history to record back-to-back four assist games. He assisted on four Washington goals in a come from behind 6-5 shootout win over Pittsburgh last night. With nine goals and a team-leading 31 helpers, his 40 points place him second to only Chicago rookie forward Patrick Kane, who has 45 points (12-33-45).
Backstrom's strong play along with NHL-leading goalscorer Alexander Ovechkin (38 goals), the reemergence of Alexander Semin (5 goals in last four contests) and Mike Green (14-16-30; 14 pts in last 10 GP) have Bruce Boudreau's Caps thinking playoffs.
5.Now that John Ferguson, Jr.'s finally been giving his walking papers in Toronto, when does the Original Six franchise realize their problems are a lot more than just one executive???
6.Can anyone think of any good reason how Mats Sundin was passed over for the East?
7.If he gets the Bruins in the playoffs despite no Patrice Bergeron and other regulars out, does former Devil coach Claude Julien win the Jack Adams?
8.Tomas Vokoun's a good goalie but he's not better than Florida captain Olli Jokinen.
9.Remember when Bill Guerin was a bad move for the Islanders? How's that turning out?
10.Speaking of which, Dainius Zubrus: 47 games, seven goals. He's still got another five years left on his deal in New Jersey. Somehow, the Devils are still winning games. Brodeur and first-year coach Brent Sutter are the biggest reasons why.