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The Penalty Box: Music, Masterton and more

by Shawn P. Roarke / NHL.com



This week's topics are all over the place. We have some discussion about possible soundtrack songs for the playoff-bound teams, as well as a heartfelt plea to kill the musical references altogether. We also have some discussion about the Masterton, the starting goaltending situation in Detroit and the automatic penalty for shooting the puck out of play in the defensive zone.

As always, you, too, can join the hockey conversation in the Penalty Box. Just send your thoughts to roarkeblog@nhl.com. Remember to include your name and hometown. We'll see you all next week for the first playoff edition of Crashing the Net.

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Please, PLEASE stick to writing about hockey. You are a hockey blogger, not a music blogger. When I read your blog, I want to hear about HOCKEY, not about whatever band you think is the epitome of cool. There's a reason I'm on the NHL Web site, and it's not because I want more musical knowledge, it's because I want hockey news and information. PERIOD!  Please, stop it. I can't take anymore. You don't write about music for a reason. I'd like to think that my dislike of bands like Fugazi doesn't mean I'm clinically dead, and I sure as hell don't open up your blog for more information than the title promises. If I want to know more about Fugazi I will go to another page.

-- Jaime Layton


Jaime, tell CTN how you really feel. There's no need to sugarcoat your feelings. Just teasing. It is exactly that honest feedback that CTN cherishes in the Penalty Box. Crashing the Net, after all, is about you guys, the hockey community. CTN is here to serve you, so CTN wants to know what you, the readers want. In this case, Jaime, many fellow readers have written in to praise they style that CTN has adopted. For many, music is a natural complement to hockey and that is what CTN tries to reflect in this blog. It has nothing to do with being the epitome of cool. In fact, CTN may be the furthest thing from cool out there. And it is not about imposing CTN's musical tastes on the reading public. It is about sharing knowledge – hockey, music, pop culture, literature, whatever – in a give-and-take setting. CTN learns more from the feedback to this blog than through anything else. And that was the vision when this all began. So thank you for your feedback, Jaime, but CTN sees the music theme remaining – at least through the rest of this season. With that said, CTN hopes you will continue to visit Crashing the Net and keep voicing your opinions.

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Hi Shawn,

It's been a while since I last wrote, but I took the chance to make a few suggestions for the sounds of the playoffs. So I took a brief look through all my CDs and MP3-files. In the end, I was at about a list of 50 tracks that would all fit, more or less, the "Sound for the playoffs" topic. It mostly depends which team your favor and how hard it had to fight for its spot. Here are a few suggestions from my list. Feel free to make further suggestions.

Queen/Brian May -- Back to Light (for teams like Boston)

Dream Theater -- The Silent Men (for teams like Calgary or maybe Nashville)

Queen -- Princess of the Universe (for Anaheim, as Cup Defender)

Paradise Lost -- Hallowed Land (for the NY Rangers. I like the "You've struggled before, I swear you do it again" verse)

Therapy - Nowhere (for every team that missed the playoffs)

Gamma Ray - Man on a Mission (for Sidney Crosby and, maybe, Alex Ovechkin)

And, most important as general playoff songs:

Metallica -- For Whom the Bell Tolls
Europe -- The Final Countdown
Blind Guardian -- Another Holy War

Keep writing your great blog.

-- Thomas Muskat, Munich, Germany


Thomas, thanks so much for the compliment and the suggestions. You have quite the varied musical taste, Thomas. CTN is impressed. Hopefully some readers will take the time to check out some of these great bands and get exposed to some new – or older, not as popular – music. And, by the way, don't take so long between notes next time. It's always good to hear from you.

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Excellent selections for potential first-time playoff performers (in the Opening Faceoff two weeks ago). I could not agree more with the choices. It definitely seems like Marc Savard has some bad luck. Poor guy got traded from Calgary the season prior to their Stanley Cup run. Who knows if Savard might have been the missing part of the equation for the Flames to beat the Lightning. Then he leaves Atlanta, which seemed smart since it had never reached the playoffs, and of course that next season, Savard-less it did. He should do good things in the playoffs, but I'm hoping the Caps can rally past the Bruins. In my opinion, Boston does not need another team in the playoffs, it's had its playoff glory of late. Even the Celtics are beginning another dynasty team.
 
Speaking of the Caps, one newcomer to the playoffs that was missed was Nicklas Backstrom. This kid has had a great stretch in the month of March and played an amazing game against Atlanta the other night, proving vital in their comeback against the Thrashers. Even more so, he overcame some personal grief after costing the Caps a game, a few games prior to the Thrashers, by putting one in his own net. This kid's an excellent player, and would be the youngest in the playoffs to my knowledge. I feel his strong March shows he has gotten much more comfortable in the League and should be a good playoff performer, if the Caps get in.
 
I did take note of your note, but I have to show some Oiler love for first-time performers, since I am an Oiler fan clinging to hope. I know they're a long shot, but it would be great to see if their young roster could maintain the level of play in the playoffs that they've had during the last month. Gagner, Cogliano and Nilsson would be great to watch, as would Tom Gilbert whose stepped up huge on the blue line. But, the guy who I'd like to see most in there from the Oilers is Kyle Brodziak. He has a little more grit than the other guys and, as we all know, that goes a long way in the playoffs. Also Garon has never started a playoff game. It would be nice to see what he's got in the playoffs. It's just too bad, for Garon's sake, that there aren't shootouts in the playoffs.
 
Thanks for the time,
--Will O'Connor, Long Island, New York


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Backstrom is a sound pick for a first-time playoff star. VIDEO
Will, that is blasphemy to say that it is too bad that there aren't shootouts in the playoffs. CTN knows that you are just having fun with the fact that Garon has been unbelievable in the playoffs, but we should not even jest about the shootout being introduced into playoff hockey. It is a turn of events that is almost too hard to contemplate.

Now, onto your other points. Hope is not lost in Oil land. As CTN answers this mailbag on Tuesday morning, the Oilers are just three points out of a playoff spot. Their road to redemption is tricky, but not untenable. CTN will tell you one thing, the Detroit Red Wings will not be happy to draw the young, quick-skating Oilers in the first round. Also, CTN is pretty high on that Brodziak kid as well. He is a tenacious, north-south type player. CTN would like to see him add a little bulk and a little more mean to his game.

Your point on Savard is well-taken and seems even more prophetic now that he has suffered a broken back. It appears that he will be back in short order, but it does little to counter the perception that he is snake-bitten when it comes to postseason hockey. Finally, Backstrom is a sound pick for a first-time playoff star, but CTN could only pick so many Caps as almost everyone on that roster has not been to the playoffs before. CTN thinks that the selections of Ovechkin and Green, the do-everything defenseman, rank ahead of the still-superb Backstrom.


***

So CTN, there's a whole bunch of Masterton award talk about Patrick Lalime, who has had a pretty good comeback season, but there is a more deserving goalie who is (sometimes) in net for the Red Wings. If this isn't a career-reviving year for Chris Osgood, I don't know what would be considered a career-reviving year. How could the award go to anyone but him?

Why is there any debate as to who the starter should be in net for Detroit? You can choose old-and-busted Hasek, who can't stay healthy, and who should have retired after '02, and has melted down on multiple occasions this season. Or choose Osgood who, short of a couple bad games when the team was heavily injured, has been Vezina and Jennings quality all year. It used to be that people in Detroit were worried about Ozzie's consistency. Now that worry has been transferred to the aged Dominator. Why isn't Chris Osgood a candidate for more individual trophies? And if you had to choose to the starter in Detroit for the playoffs who would you pick?

--Travis, Canton, Mich.


Chris Osgood should be considered for the Masterton award this season.
Travis, there is a simple reason that the award won't go to Osgood. He wasn't nominated for it. The Detroit chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association nominated Chris Chelios for the award. CTN thinks that is a sound choice, by the way. But you are right in arguing that Osgood would have been a good choice, as well.

Now, onto the trickier question: Who would CTN choose to start in goal when the playoffs role around? CTN thinks that is one of the trickiest questions about the upcoming playoffs and CTN is very glad to not be responsible for the actual decision. But, if CTN were responsible for said decision, CTN would have to cast his lot with Ozzie To CTN, Osgood has been just a tick better statistically. But, more importantly, he has been far more durable and requires less maintenance. Those latter two things can be very important in a long playoff run, which is something the Wings hope to enjoy this spring. Being forced to switch goalies in a playoff – either because of injury or poor play – is usually a death knell for most teams. 
 

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One thing that bothers me about this dumb automatic delay-of-game rule is how many teams have lost games because of it. The refs make all the other calls, what's so hard about this one? Why should a team be automatically penalized because the puck might take a weird roll and end up over the glass? Get rid of it and make the call when it needs to be made.

-- Paul, Paisley, Ont.


Paul, CTN must first correct you. Teams have not lost games because of the rule, but rather because of an inability to execute after the infraction has been whistled. The most successful power plays in the League score less than 25-percent of the time, so, in theory, the shorthanded team has a 3-in-4 chance, at worst, to kill off the penalty. When that doesn't happen, it is the fault of the players on the ice and not the fault of the referee who made a call he must make, according to the rule book.

Should the delay-of-game penalty in this instance be subjective, rather than mandatory? Perhaps. But, it isn't now and every player in the League knows it. So, if you clear the puck over the glass and out of play, you are at fault and have put your team at a disadvantage. There is no other way to explain it away, especially not by blaming the ref or the rulebook. The players know the penalty heading into the situation. Sure, some times there is an unfortunate bounce involved, but just as often, the player is put into the position of making the mistake by the aggression of the other team's forecheck. In conclusion, CTN has no problem with the rule as it stands.






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