Everything Else

Tom Wilson – The head halfwit/nitwit/dimwit not just of the Capitals, but perhaps in the entire league. Simply a workplace hazard for everyone around. Wilson hasn’t popped off this season yet, and has been pretty useful on the second line. We know that won’t last, and he did brain someone in the preseason. The next time it happens, he should be suspended 40 games if not more, but the NHL doesn’t have the stones to do it. One day, he and the league will get sued by someone for someone’s rough retirement.

Radko Gudas – The Caps either wanted to save money by swapping out Niskanen for Gudas, or they felt they didn’t quite have the asshole level on defense to match the one at forward. What’s infuriating about Gudas is he is actually a good player when he’s not trying to be Freddy Krueger out there. He’s always on the plus side of the metrics and can be a steady centerfielder for a more adventurous partner. But he just can’t help himself.

TJ Oshie – He still makes engine noises while skating around the ice.

Hockey

I was not a huge fan of the Blackhawks moves over the offseason, but just about all of them were understandable. They brought in some defensemen, even if not great ones, because they clearly needed blue line help. They traded Artem Anisimov for Zach Smith because they both suck, but Smith was ever-so-slightly cheaper. They signed Robin Lehner to shore up the crease, which has seen a lot of instability lately, and provide insurance for an aging Crawford.

But trading for Andrew Shaw was a move that I cannot understand in any sense other than “this is a guy we are familiar with.” Shaw is still everything he was when the Hawks got rid of him three years ago, which is: not as good as he gets credit for, frustrating as shit with his penalties, and expensive relative to his skill level and production. Let’s just get this over with.

2018-19 Stats (with Canadiens)

63 GP – 19 G – 28 A – 47 P

52.43 CF% (-2.39 CF% Rel) – 50.29 oZS%

53.79 xGF% (-0.29xGF% Rel)

Avg. TOI: 15:55

A Brief History: The common line being used in defense of the trade when it happened was that Shaw was coming off a career year in Montreal. And that is correct. Shaw’s overall contribution of 47 points was by far a career high, marking the first time in that he exceeded the 40-point mark. He also did that despite missing 19 games, putting him on a ~62 point pace had he appeared in all 82 (which he has never done in his career, by the way). That seems good! “So, Adam, why do you hate this trade so much?” you may be asking. Well, dear reader, because all of that production will be as fleeting as a fart in the wind.

Shaw’s shooting percentage of 14.1 last year was the second highest of his career, and tied for the highest-mark he’s ever posted in a “full” season, with only his 16.2% conversion rate in 37 games in rookie campaign being better. Moreover, Shaw had shot right around the 10% mark in the each of the four years prior, going 10.2%, 9.2%, 9.4%, and 10.6% from 2014-15 to 2017-18. Now sure, that was after doing a 14.1 and 13.4 percent in his first two full years, including a 20 goal season in 2013-14, but since then he had been consistently mediocre and had never topped 15 goals until last season.

I would love to be wrong about Shaw here, but I feel like trading future 2nd and 3rd round picks for a guy like Shaw, who projects to regress hard and will still cost you almost $4-million against the salary cap for two more years is going to end up looking like a hugely stupid move in the future. The Hawks are essentially banking on last year not being a fluke, and if we know anything about hockey, it’s that you should always be speculative about a guy having a career year at 27 years old. It was smart to get rid of him when they did back in 2016, and they even ended up with Alex DeBrincat as a result. It would’ve been smarter to adopt a no returns policy on this one.

It Was The Best of Times: Shaw proves that I am a huge fucking idiot with no clue what he is talking about, and goes out there shooting and playing at a similar level to last season, showing that it was not a fluke. He plays in all 82 games, getting some run on multiple lines but ending up a surprising first line right wing with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad, and scores 20 goals for the second time in his career. By virtue of keeping up his ’18-’19 scoring pace and playing all 82, he tops 50 points for the first time in his career and gets close to 60, and he has a mutually beneficial relationship as a lineman with 19 and 20, helping to power the Hawks to the playoffs.

It Was the BLURST of Times: The luck pendulum swings to the other side on Shaw, and he ends up a $4-million fourth liner as he shoots 6% and can’t even top 10 goals, the first time in his career failing to meet that mark. Frustrated by his lack of scoring and overall suckage, he starts taking Tom Wilson-esque runs at opponents, and ends up with a career high PIM total, putting the Hawks shit ass PK on the ice way more often than it should be. As a result, the Hawks lose a number of games with opposing PPG’s as the difference, and it costs the Hawks a playoff spot in the end.

Prediction: Shaw ends up returning to what he really is – a somewhat versatile forward with a propensity for stupid plays, who shoots 10% and adds 12-15 goals for you and 30-35 points. I’ll go ahead and call it 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points. That will all be well and fine on the third line, but it’s not much better than you could’ve gotten from the guys you already had here, and I’m damn near positive it’s not worth the draft capital the Hawks gave up to get him here.

Robin Lehner

Corey Crawford

Adam Boqvist

Carl Dahlstrom

Calvin de Haan

Erik Gustafsson

Duncan Keith

Slater Koekkoek

Olli Maatta

Connor Murphy

Drake Caggiula

Ryan Carpenter

Alex DeBrincat

David Kampf

Patrick Kane

Alex Nylander

Brendan Perlini

Brandon Saad

Zack Smith

Everything Else

I would say that the Washington Capitals learned all the wrong lessons from winning their first Cup last spring, but then what can you learn when you spend the next eight months riding the creature? You’ve probably learned some lessons while bass-ackwards, but they were learned the wrong way and could have been absorbed in much more efficient and cleanly ways.

So there the Caps were, kind of like a Diet ’07 Ducks, convinced their constant penis-measuring and bicep-flexing was the reason they had a parade last June. Running around trying to hit everything, as if trying to impersonate a super collider. And there they were trying to hold up T.J. Oshie as some sort of martyr. He broke his collarbone, he wasn’t the dude from the “One” video. And it’s hard to take a team’s claims of a dirty or iffy hit seriously when they employ Tom Wilson. It’s like that one friend you have who made out with someone truly objectionable at closing time at the bar once. It’s a response you always have in the back pocket.

You didn’t like that crosscheck to Oshie? You employ Tom Wilson. Thought you should have had more penalties? You employ Tom Wilson. Afraid the opponent isn’t looking you in the eye? You employ Tom Wilson.

Of course it goes beyond that with the Caps. They nearly won this series on the back of their premier and special amount of scoring. That’s how they won the Cup last year, behind Ovie and Backstrom and Kuznetsov and Carlson. But after a summer and more of listening to professional belchers like Mike Milbury and Keith Jones claim that their path past the Lightning had to do with scaring and beating them up, they clearly bought into the bullshit and started growling like a five-year-old trying to be scary. It was almost an adorable sort of growling.

So yeah, Ovie got to punch a child unconscious while his teammates applauded, a super great look for the league. And hey, if he hadn’t his team might have only gotten one shot in the final 40 minutes of that game instead of the glorious two he lifted them to through his “leadership.” He might have gotten into Dougie Hamilton’s head, but Justin Faulk and Jaccob Slavin were more than happen to just glide into the space the Caps had vacated while trying to be the meteor from “Armageddon.”

It’s not really Ovechkin’s fault, of course. He’s an intense guy. He’s also the greatest scorer of all-time, and should focus on that. And yet what gets more replays? His goal in Game 6 which was a thing of beauty, his assist in Game 7 which was the same, or him trash talking the Canes bench after he missed a hit by five feet? It’s the way we live, apparently. Also his chicken impression isn’t much more than a tick above the Bluths.

Still, the Caps carried on a noble tradition of the previous Cup champs losing in seven games. The Wings did it, the Penguins did it the first time, the Hawks did it the first, second, and third time, so did the Bruins. The Penguins of last year lost in a Game 6 overtime, which is pretty close. Seems that’s how you go out on your shields these days. Maybe they can raise a banner for that next to their Winter Classic ’15 one.

The Caps have such a strange legacy. They’ve won their division four straight years and five of the last seven, which is a rare accomplishment. It should be celebrated. And yet it feels like they just kept winning a division the Penguins can’t locate enough fucks to give to win it and everyone else is too helpless to take. It’s the division crown the Caps keep finding in the alley.

In the end, last year’s run will be the outlier to the true nature of the Caps. They don’t go past the second round. It’s just not something that happens. They find a way to spit it before eight wins. There won’t come another season where the true power is simply too tired, and the rest of the rabble incapable to keep them in their natural habitat. The Caps win last year felt like the first time a child claims he’ll walk way from his/her parents. With every step they turn around to see if anyone will stop them, and you let them go knowing they’ll end up back where they should with a new sense of bravery. They don’t have it in them to stay out there though.

Water seeks its own level. The Caps win the division and then go away soon after. It’s how things are. It’s how they will be. We may spin off our axis every so often, but always return. Doesn’t it feel better this way? Comfortable, right?

Too bad T.J. Oshie died for nothing.

Everything Else

I don’t know what the hell the Hawks were doing at the beginning of the game, but a slow start pretty much screwed them. They followed that up with a lot of dumb penalties, making life harder for themselves, but had it not been for some abject stupidity right after puck drop we may have had a game. Oh, and Michal Kempny exacted his revenge, that did it too. To the bullets:

Box Score

Corsica

Natural Stat Trick

– Of course it was Tom fucking Wilson taking advantage of the Hawks looking drunk and clueless at the start of the first. Of course it was. And not only did this anthropomorphized turd score less than a minute in, he also made sure to barrel over Crawford and knee him in the head. Fuck Tom Wilson. The fact that he’s even playing right now is an affront to decency. This league is a toilet.

– Something ridiculous happened to me the other day: I walked into an elevator at my office building, the lone dude who had been in it walked off said elevator, and as I went in, pressed the button and breathed, the smell of fart was unmistakable. As the doors closed he looked fearfully over his shoulder and definitely saw my twisted, disgusted face looking back at him with an “I know what you did!” expression. The Hawks were that guy in the first period. They laid a huge fart, and then tried to coolly walk away pretending like nobody noticed. Once the first couple minutes were over and Andre Burakovsky made it 2-0 with a power play goal, the Hawks pulled it together and got a flurry of shots on goal (after having none for about half the period). They ended up only slightly underwater in possession (47.5 CF%, all day not just evens), which was quite the accomplishment given the way it started. And yet just when it seemed like they were bouncing back, Saad high-sticked Nicklas Backstrom, which inexplicably was called an elbow, and inexplicably was argued by both Saad and Toews. Whatever.

– I’m dismissive of that silliness because Brandon Saad continued his resurgence with his third goal in as many games. It was a beautiful move just de-pantsing Orlov about mid-way through the second period. At that point the Hawks were down 3-0 so not only was it great to see Saad doing what we’ve been waiting for him to do (and consistently), but it briefly gave us, and the Hawks, some hope. And that was the mistake.

– You know how it was 3-0 when Saad scored? That’s because Michal Kempny got his first goal of the year against the Hawks. And later, in the third, he made a great play in the neutral zone to prevent a breakaway (by Anisimov who would have tripped over his own dick anyway but that’s beside the point), and it led immediately to the fourth goal, effectively ending the Hawks chances at making it a game. Well, they had in fact made it a game with Gustafsson’s goal in the third, but Smith-Pelly’s just moments later, thanks to Kempny’s defensive prowess, crushed the Hawks. And I can’t even be mad at him for it.

– This isn’t a hot take, but jeebus the Hawks are top heavy when it comes to offense. The Saad-Toews-Kane line led all four lines with eight shots, and they had over a 60 CF% at evens. Loading up on the top line isn’t necessarily wrong—it just underlines how empty the rest of the offense is. On the bright side, the second line of Schmaltz-Anisimov-DeBrincat generated the pass that led to Gustafsson’s goal, so at least Wide Dick and Nick Schmaltz got assists.

– And that’s good for Schmaltz because, if the broadcast is a reflection of the company line, then the organ-I-zation hates him these days. I know it’s a little conspiracy-theorist of me, but Eddie has been unrelentingly bad-mouthing Schmaltz these last few games which just makes me think they’re priming the ground for getting rid of him. It’s no secret Schmaltz has been struggling lately, with only nine points on the season so far. Yet seven of those points came when he was on the ice with Patrick Kane, so the source of the drought seems to clearly be sticking him on the wing and on a line without a top scorer where he (Schmaltz) can be a playmaker. I get why Colliton is going with Toews and Kane on a line, and the change doesn’t absolve Schmaltz of all responsibility for generating SOMETHING on offense. But the ire over Schmaltz from the broadcast really needs to be put in perspective, and unless they can package him as part of a season-changing deal, launching a young guy out of frustration is probably not the ideal move here.

– The power play still sucks. In case you were wondering.

We shouldn’t be all that surprised that the current Stanley Cup champions beat this group of schlubs, even if those champions are still drunk from the summer. But still, the sloppy start is maddening, and for a team with talent issues like the Hawks, having to dig yourself out of a hole basically as soon as the game starts just isn’t acceptable. And now it’s on to an even better team in the Lightning. Just get drunk and the weekend will go by in a blur. Onward and upward.

Beer: Totally Naked by New Glarus, followed by Myrcenary from Odell when I really needed a higher alcohol content.

Line of the Night: “Here’s your so-called second line…” —Foley throwing shade at Schmaltz, and Wide Dick and Top Cat by association.

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Everything Else

There’s nothing we can say about Tom Wilson that we haven’t already. So let’s stick with the current problem.

Here’s the thing about this galactic dumbass. When he cleared out Oscar Sundqvist of the Blues in the preseason, one has to wonder what he was trying to accomplish. Wilson is no longer some knuckle-dragging grunt who is desperate to make an NHL roster. He should be, and probably even below that, but he’s not. His role on the Caps is well carved out. So there was nothing to be gained from turning into a meteor in a preseason game other than hurting someone. It certainly wasn’t for “the win.”

So either Wilson pathologically needs to hurt people, or he’s incapable of turning it off, even in the preseason. Neither is acceptable. Doubling down on this, Wilson obviously refuses to see what he did wrong and never has. So you can be sure this will happen again.

What’s galling on top of that is that the NHLPA seems to forget who it represents at all times. There’s this automatic trigger that they have to appeal every suspension and defend every player who get disciplined by the league. But the union also represents Sundqvist. And it represents every other player that Wilson has tried to paralyze or will try to maim in the future. There’s a greater good here.

Wilson simply makes it dangerous for everyone else to perform their job. While all NHL players accept that there’s a danger inherent to the job, what they don’t accept is someone acting outside the boundaries either because he’s a loon, an incomprehensible moron, or both. That’s not what they signed up for, and if you asked most of them off the record they’d probably tell you they’d like to see Wilson taken out behind the woodshed by the union’s leadership.

There is no other sport, or even industry, that would accept an employee running around putting the very livelihoods of their coworkers in jeopardy. Even football doesn’t really accept this kind of horseshit, or at least is getting there. At least football knows where its money is made.

Hockey can’t seem to get that right. Wilson’s original quarter-season suspension seemed like a start, but of course the union found their friendly arbitrator and got it reduced by almost half. And the lesson for Wilson is that he’ll always have someone to fight for him and he doesn’t have to correct anything.

The union should be fighting for all the members who are in danger thanks to this abomination of a player. Maybe they’ll get around to it when he does actually end a career, which he seems intent on doing.

 

Game #22 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Not that I normally like to waste any more space on Tom Wilson than I have to, but here we are. It’s the NHL, so even after a frantic and exciting, if not elegant. opener to a very intriguing Final one of the main talking points remain the #43 Dipshit Train.

Still, I have to love the pure illustration of where hockey is in the sporting consciousness and the major tenets of the sport getting torn to shreds. Let’s review.

It’s hard to argue that Wilson didn’t at least commit an interference penalty, which he eventually got when one of the linesmen went to the two refs and said, “I don’t know if you’re blind, clueless, a total coward or all three, but you have to do something here.” Sadly, as all NHL refs do at this point in the season, they looked for any way to not grant a power play, and called the Knights for investigation of what happened to their brained teammate. In reality, Wilson was out to injure Marchessault and I’m guessing the only reason he didn’t hit him in the head is because he simply missed. Wilson should be suspended, probably for the rest of the series, but because the NHL is afraid of yelling white men (and even worse if they’re associated with Vancouver), he isn’t.

And it’s in that yelling that I find so funny. Contrast it with the current controversy in baseball. Whenever we get a hit like this in hockey, there are more than a few and far too many who will shout something like, “Well he should have had his head up!” or “You can’t admire your pass in this league!” or “He turns at the last minute!” (this last one is sometimes true and muddies up the water a bit, which provides far too much shelter for those who still type with one finger at a time). And yet they maintain a prominent position in hockey. Now take Anthony Rizzo’s slide/dragon screw to Elias Diaz. Yesterday we had Joe Maddon go full-on belch about how Elias Diaz shouldn’t play the position if that’s how he’s going to end up.

And everyone thinks Maddon is idiotic for saying such a thing. We don’t get into blaming the victim in every other sport. When someone gets clobbered in the NFL, rarely do you hear someone say, “Well he shouldn’t have been running a post!” And if someone does they probably worked for the Bears until this offseason. No one claims an NBA player shouldn’t leave his feet for a shot or rebound if he doesn’t want to land on someone’s strategically placed foot when coming back down. Yet in hockey, somehow there’s always a case to be made against the injured.

Yes, hockey is a faster game and the decisions come much quicker. These are also players who have done nothing else for most of their  lives, including school, and have been trained to make decisions and plays at that speed. You and I can’t, but the reason they’re in the league is that they can. The one second Wilson had is equivalent to the two or three any free safety would have sizing up a receiver. And yet every time he does this, enough people including the league’s disciplinary committee, can throw enough shade at the one being hit to weasel out of a hard decision.

Secondly, and Ryan Lambert already got to this, is the fallacy of having a goon on your team prevents this. In the most deluded minds of the hockey world, Ryan Reaves’s presence deters this. Except he wasn’t on the ice. And when he was, Wilson wasn’t. And the knowledge that they could be on the ice together didn’t stop Wilson. Maybe Reaves fancies himself a real scorer now with two goals in two games, though he had to commit a penalty to get one that a once-again sack-less ref didn’t whistle.

“Oh sure”, some will say, “but Game 1 of the Final is too important of a time to do that stuff.” Which only makes the other side’s argument. If it’s needless and pointless at the most important times, then it’s pointless and needless at all the other times, too. And it makes any player like Wilson only feel more free to wreak such havoc in a game in November because what does a penalty or fight matter then?

I’m all for all of these fig leaves falling to the wayside. It’s a slow process, though.

Everything Else

So that’s what Game 1 in 2010 looked like to everyone else.

It’s been a while since we’ve had two teams that haven’t been anywhere close to this in the Final, or at least hadn’t been in recent history. Basically 2012, and neither the Kings or Devils played a system that could get loose at times. The Penguins had been there the past two years and still had players who had been there seven years before, and the four before that were populated by the Kings or Hawks. So it’s not a huge shock that nerves might have gotten the better of both sides, at least to open Game 1.

At the top, before going any further, let me say that and I and most every other hockey fan would take last night’s disjointed, frantic, kindergarten recess of a hockey game as entertainment every damn time over whatever shlock a trapping or conservative or outright scared team like the Kings, or one coached by Mike Babcock would offer. It was fun, if not particularly graceful, and if that’s what the series ends up being, so be it.

But for all of the gushing, and it was exciting, it wasn’t particularly good. Or particularly well-executed, let’s say. The Knights force such a pace, and we saw this in last year’s Final too, that it’s hard for either team to play what you’d call a “smooth” game. It’s very hard for teams to complete passes, and it’s very hard for their to not be turnovers and defensive breakdowns, such is the rate that everything is happening. And it’s open and there are chances, but they’re not built out of skill or brilliance so much as just cracks forming, Which is fine, it’s just not art. Only Carlson’s goal that tied the game at 3 last night would you say was well-worked, along with Nosek’s winner. But the latter had Devante Smith-Pelley make a mistake to lead to it (and the make sure everyone in the arena and at home knew how upset he was with himself. Oh my god so upset. Look at how upset he is everyone! Can’t you see how upset he is?! ARGH SO UPSET!). And Carlson’s goal was the result of Marc-Andre Fleury looking like the drunk trying to negotiate his keys at 4am. Still, better than most alternatives.

The Knights don’t really care if their passing isn’t crisp, as they don’t really attempt that many. They chip and flip pucks into the neutral zone and only worry about passes when they’re on the rush and the offensive zone. I don’t know if the Caps can play like this and win four of the next six, but we’ll find out. They’ll feel they missed a real opportunity because Fleury wasn’t all that good and you probably have to win the “Fleury Isn’t Fleury” game this spring. Then again, MAF was always do for some kind of regression, be it now or October.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the NHL if it didn’t have its head in its ass at crucial points. And when you have Ryan Reaves and Tom Wilson out there, your game’s head is going to be even more firmly lodged in its colon. I have always fucking hated the policy refs have in the playoffs of swallowing the whistle and “letting the players decide.” All that is is abdicating responsibility and sinking into spinlessness for those who are supposed to be officiating the game. Ryan Reaves is a dolt, and he essentially “cheated” to score the equalizing goal in the 3rd. The players have decided. A superior player in Carlson has good position on him and Reaves illegally moved him. The players have “decided” that should be a penalty. The refs have “decided” to simply give Vegas a crucial goal. I’ll forgive a missed call here and there in the neutral zone where a lot more has to happen before it results in a change on the scoreboard. This led directly to a goal, and a big one. That’s not the players deciding. That’s the refs deciding by losing any gumption to do their jobs.

As for Wilson, in a league that made sense and wasn’t afraid of yelling old white men (and it’s not the only one, as you can recall the Yuri Gurriel fiasco from the last World Series), Tom Wilson would be thrown out for the rest of the Final. This is a repeat offense. It was an attempt to injure, and calling it “finishing a check” is the height of idiocy. There was nothing to be gained from clobbering Marchessault three seconds after he had the puck, other than to knock him out of the game. And it was from the blind-side, so it’s not like he was “pressuring” Marchessault.

Wilson quite simply is a menace, he’s a hazard to his fellow professionals and tossing him for the rest of the most important series the sport has to offer might finally be the lesson that gets through his and any other’s leaden skull. Just fucking chuck him. The league will be better off without him.

Everything Else

Sometimes it’s hard to find a guy on a team that you can build up any level of distaste for. They’re just a team of “guys.” Sometimes the pick is rather obvious, but only because a player sticks out just enough from a group of those who don’t really elicit any emotion. Sometimes it’s a little clearer than that.

And then there’s Tom Wilson.

You will not find a bigger douche-canoe in the league. And what makes it worse is that most Capitals fans will perform some combination of an aerial one-legged crow and fire-eating to defend what should be one of the worst first-round picks in their history. Wilson can’t do anything but charge and board and yap. This dingus got himself suspended twice IN THE PRESEASON!! Do you understand how royally fucked up that is? He’s an absolute danger to his coworkers, and if the NHL Players’ Union had any sense of respect for their own they would have gotten to this guy long ago. He’s a misguided missile.

And he doesn’t do anything. The most hilarious aspect to Wilson is that he was a first round pick, At the time the Caps took him in the first round, FIRST ROUND MIND, he had 12 goals in the OHL over two seasons. You know who scores in the OHL? EVERYONE!!! Where did McPhee drum this up? In any other sport a pick like this would see you never get an executive job again. In hockey it gets you an expansion team.

Caps fans will tell you that Wilson is a dependable penalty killer and forechecker. You know where you can find that? FUCKING EVERYWHERE! The Hawks dug Tommy Wingels out of their ear this summer and Wilson is essentially the same thing. Eric Fehr has been in the league for like 73 years. Torrey Mitchell has been in the league a decade and has played for every team twice. We could go on for another hour at least. And none of these guys are likely to maim an opponent 10 seconds after they released the puck, if not whistle.

But no. Guys like Wilson, just like Raffi Torres and Derek Dorsett and Dan Carcillo and whatever other dangerous jamoke you want to name before him will always find a home because an NHL GM is always likely to grab his groin and say his team needs to be tougher to play against and “we like that element.” None of them can tell you how it helps you win, but that’s clearly secondary.

Fuck Tom Wilson and the ship that brought him to shore.

Game #28 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

 

 

Everything Else

It’s not so much what Ryan Reaves is, because we’ve gone over that time and time again when he was belching and grunting his way through shifts in St. Louis. It’s that the two-time defending champions felt the need to trade for him that’s so dispiriting as a hockey fan.

Because the Penguins didn’t need this before, when they were having two parades you might have seen. The Pens decided to populate their fourth line with kids who could just skate really fast. They might not have been the most skilled, Kuhnackl, Wilson. Sheary, Rowney last year were some of the hellions that simply skated other plodding units into dust. They did it the year before as well.

That would also mean the last three champions didn’t need a “goon,” as the ’15 Hawks didn’t have one or need one. And generally these players are stripped of their jerseys in the playoffs, which lets you know that teams really do know deep down that they don’t serve any purpose.

I’m sure what Jim Rutherford would tell you is that he sees players like Tom Wilson in Washington or the rapidly-decomposing Brandon Dubinsky in Columbus who is only going to punch Crosby in the head or whatever other jackass is keeping him up at night. But hockey always has it backwards. GMs see Wilson try and decapitate someone, and not get suspended for the 10-15 games that is warranted, and they don’t conclude that they have to get this type of player out of the game. They conclude they need one of their own.

Hockey will remain in the dark, both in ages and viewership, until this type of dumbass brinksmanship is buried in the past. Let others have their morons, and score on the power plays they will assuredly give you.

It’s a sad state of affairs when the team that’s won the past two championships is still paying attention to the wrong scoreboard.

Game #1 Preview Posts

Preview

Q&A

Lineups
Everything Else

It’s not so much what Ryan Reaves is, because we’ve gone over that time and time again when he was belching and grunting his way through shifts in St. Louis. It’s that the two-time defending champions felt the need to trade for him that’s so dispiriting as a hockey fan.

Because the Penguins didn’t need this before, when they were having two parades you might have seen. The Pens decided to populate their fourth line with kids who could just skate really fast. They might not have been the most skilled, Kuhnackl, Wilson. Sheary, Rowney last year were some of the hellions that simply skated other plodding units into dust. They did it the year before as well.

That would also mean the last three champions didn’t need a “goon,” as the ’15 Hawks didn’t have one or need one. And generally these players are stripped of their jerseys in the playoffs, which lets you know that teams really do know deep down that they don’t serve any purpose.

I’m sure what Jim Rutherford would tell you is that he sees players like Tom Wilson in Washington or the rapidly-decomposing Brandon Dubinsky in Columbus who is only going to punch Crosby in the head or whatever other jackass is keeping him up at night. But hockey always has it backwards. GMs see Wilson try and decapitate someone, and not get suspended for the 10-15 games that is warranted, and they don’t conclude that they have to get this type of player out of the game. They conclude they need one of their own.

Hockey will remain in the dark, both in ages and viewership, until this type of dumbass brinksmanship is buried in the past. Let others have their morons, and score on the power plays they will assuredly give you.

It’s a sad state of affairs when the team that’s won the past two championships is still paying attention to the wrong scoreboard.

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