-The sun is out and the team has won two in a row. What a difference a week makes!
-You have to be impressed with Jhonas Enroth
. After a disastrous start against Boston last week, the kid came through with two big shootout wins. He was borderline excellent in Toronto, including a tremendous glove save on Phil Kessel in the shootout. I liked his game in New Jersey, too. He even intimidated Ilya Kovalchuk, as “The Contract” failed to even shoot the puck to keep the game alive. I know that wasn’t it for Kovalchuk, but what a horrible play for the goal scorer and another fine moment for Enroth.
-Congratulations to Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier for 1,000 games with the Buffalo Sabres. It’s truly an amazing feat in today’s world of professional sports. Buffalo is a different place and there were some extenuating circumstances that added to their longevity (bankruptcy and the lockout come to mind). For those that think it’s been too long, you obviously don’t talk to those in the know in the NHL. The duo has the respect of most around the league, and as any good business person knows, you don’t get rid of good people.
-A friend asked me why Ryan Miller
can practice, but not play? Goaltenders are different. They have to be right physically and trust that their knee (or other injured area) won’t give out when forced to make a sudden move to make a save. A skater can restrict his stride a bit and deal with an injury differently than a goaltender. The training staff and Lindy Ruff are right to trust Miller to let them know when things are right and he can play.
-The NHL GM’s decided against a coaches challenge similar to the system used in football. It sounded like a good idea to me until Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson made a great argument last Saturday before the game against the Sabres. Wilson said that if he challenged a referee and embarrassed him with a reversal, then his team would pay for it the rest of the game. He’s right. Referees are human and certainly have bias toward certain coaches and players. If you doubt that, just look at some of the penalties and misconducts Patrick Kaleta
has been assessed so far this season.
-Glad to see the GMs and the league are trying to spice up the All-Star Game to peak interest. They will have two teams with captains that will select players in alternating fashion just like a pick-up pond game. That sounds cool, and will add some intrigue, but you still have to play the game and have it be more than a matador festival. Of course, like every other skeptic, I have no other original idea at the moment to spice up the game either.
-Finally, thank you to all the men and women of our military that have served and are serving our country. The gratitude that we all share should not be minimized in any way. My favorite moment during games in most arenas in the league is when a soldier or serviceman is recognized on the video board. The ovation is appropriate and never gets old. Neither does the look of pride from the serviceman being honored. Many of us have no idea what it’s like to go through what our grandfathers did in WWII, our fathers in Vietnam, or our friends and family currently in the Middle East. They did it, or do it, for little pay, but for the pride of our country. Nothing could be more honorable. A simple thank you doesn’t seem like enough.