School Interferes

Homework just seems to take forever these days.


We're definitely back to hockey. The three great signs of hockey:

A high-octane rookie

Fans, this year you will be treated to the playmaking skills of Chicago Blackhawks rookie Jonathan Toews, not to mention the up-and-coming Nicklas Backstrom.

Great Goals (Individually)

No memorable example yet, but plenty of swatting-the-puck-in-mid-air by Josef Vasicek and Bill Guerin. Wathcing two games now, Mikko Koivu got a pretty nice goal against Manny Legace.

And Last but not Least (but we wish it was)...

A stretcher case already.

Yeah, yeah, I know some of you think that a stretcher-inducing hit means a rough game, and, honestly, the Senators and Flyers were scrapping pretty hard. But a late, off-the-feet hit like Steve Downie's is really hard to respect.

I mean, come on, Steve! Honestly, if I were a worse guy, I'd be cursing him. Sure, sure, we had lots of that stuff last year in the regular season. Colton Orr drops Todd Fedoruk. Jonathan Tootoo sucker-punches Stephane Robidas. McAmmond again, last year, got his noggin a-little-more-than-clipped by Chris Pronger's elbow in the playoffs. Anything else that happened, I've probably written about it. Check the archives.
But my point is, as a killer prospect with humongous offensive potential and a real chance for grabbing a spot during camp, this is not what you want to do. Even if Downie had scored, I don't know, say, 5 points so far in the preseason, Paul Holmgren still has that nagging voice in the back of his head: Steve Downie is hated by the Senators. Steve Downie has a notorious history for knocking people's brain against the wrong part of their skulle. Steve Downie could be suspended to many times for the NHL to handle. Are you sure you want this? Not an easy thing to put in your GM's mind, and I thought he really had a good chance of making the Flyers. Out of necessity, the Flyers might still put him on the third or fourth line. But his reputation is already tarnished.

On the other hand, I like the way Nick Foligno is shaping up. He happened to (no, he definitely deserved to) play in that same game, and his offensive instincts were on display. He should make an impact, even if he starts out like Patrick Eaves. He'll still be good.

Alright, short on time today, might not write again for a while. Heck, expect a similar wait to last time.



Okay, I am really sorry about not continuing my yearbook thing. I just can't bring myself to publish something that long about every team consistently. But here are some other interesting news items from around the world (small as it is).

The Year of Redemption- While it seems that the big focus is how players such as Nicklas Backstrom (Caps), Jonathan Toews (Hawks), and Derick Brassard (Blue Jackets) will rise up and lead their team, a lot of comebacks are possible. Jeremy Roenick can redeem his career with a good season with the Sharks. Sandis Ozolinsh, Anson Carter, and Bryan Berard all have tryouts to see if they can earn a contract. How well each one can still play is yet to be seen. Roenick only scored 28 points, but was on a Phoenix team where the highest scorer (Shane Doan) only scored 57 points. Ozolinsh managed 3 assists in 21 games during an injury-riddled season with the New York Rangers. Carter scored 28 points in 64 games, but unlike Roenick, he had plenty of opportunity to score. Berardhad back surgery, and only made it into 11 games, garnering 3 assists. In my opinion, only Ozolinsh might not make it back to the NHL solely because of his remaining ability. Carter can still score 40-50 points if paired with a good playmaker (He could use some time with Shawn Horcoff or Jarett Stoll). Berard is still fast, and when not crippled by back problems, could boost the Isles powerplay. Roenick is the most likely to make his team. If not a return to his high-scoring abilities, he can at least team up with Mike Grier to form the grit on the Sharks. Ozolinsh, however, has been subject to criticism about his lack of enthusiasm when he did play for the Rangers. He was repeatedly sent down to the AHL.

Pre-season = Free-season for Isles fans- And I know it, because I'm watching the Philadelhpia Flyers play the Ottawa Senators via Islanders TV. This technological revolution is truly awesome. I do have a strange glitch where my Islanders vs. Bruins game (happening at the same time) currently only shows me the scoreboard, but still, it's a live scoreboard. I can watch up to four games at the same time, while writing this blog. Really cool. I don't know whether or not this includes regular season games, but it could. But then again, you have to get money some how. Would you, acting as Charles Wang, want to lose all your ticket sales because your fans are gathering at home to watch the game at the same time as three others? I think not.

While I'm watching these games, it's interesting to note how many prospects are playing well that don't get tons of notice. Of course I'm seeing Nick Foligno and Steve Downie, but then I see Kip Brennan take down (sort of) Zdeno Chara, and I say, dang, that kid is one heck of an agitator. He could get some time!

Hey, check out Martin Gerber. The guy wants to earn his hefty salary this year. Great save with the shin pad.

Where was this Josef Vasicek last year? On the penalty kill with the Isles, he watches Matt Spiller break his stick, gives Spiller his stick, then, after diving and blocking shots, Vasicek clears the puck with a kick. Great effort.

Okay, Isles game is back. Just a minor kink. Great stuff, really. I love this, especially with my sad lack of cable TV. The only awkward thing is deciding which game to listen to. For instance, I just missed Ilya Zubov's goal against the Flyers because I was listening to an Islanders conversation. Still, again, this is great.

Alright, tomorrow I'll tell you how the game goes. For now, long live hockey. Peace.