It's been a while since you've had a Sam grab bag of thoughts. I know you've missed it. I have too. Let's promise to never fight again? Wait, that doesn't make any sense? Ah fuck it.
-First, realignment. For the most part I'm for it. While I had some reservations about only seeing the Canucks or Kings or Sharks here once a year, that's balanced out by the guarantee now that every O6 team will make a visit to the UC, as well as Sid and Ovie (if that even matters in the future). I think that's a trade worth making. Plus, as the years go by and other start either come up or move to what was the Eastern Conference, we still get to see them. My only reservation about it all was that the playoffs could get repetitive. Every division is only going to have two or three dominant teams for a stretch of years, and those teams will meet almost every year at some point. And you can say that those repeated matchups are what cause a great rivalry, say Canucks-Hawks. But for me, i'm sick of Vancouver and would prefer not having to see them in the spring again. Partly because I hate them, but partly because it's become stale. But we'll just have to see if that's how it works.
Secondly, I've seen some bemoan that tortured get-togethers like Vancouver-Chicago will lose their steam in this set up. The thing is, those kinds of rivalries will always lose their steam, no matter the layout. Canucks-Hawks is not a timeless thing. It's about these two teams as currently constructed. In a few years, when the Sedins have fucked off back to Sweden and Ryan Kesler has left as a free agent to actually win something one day, this Hawks-Canucks thing will have died off. There was a time when I hated the Avalanche as much. Not any more. But Scum? Or the Blues? Doesn't matter who's wearing those sweaters, that's timeless distaste.
As I said in the Indian, I'm just impressed that the NHL had the stones to try something new, and different from the other sports. Remember, we got into this mess because Bettman tried to remake the NHL into the NBA. And we didn't like it. This is something we recognize, and it's at least worth seeing.
Now can you get rid of the shootouts?
-Haven't had time to check much of the comments yesterday, but did see some of the tweets. I see Viktor Stalberg is once again in the firing line, with no help from Edzo on Vs. I hear Duncan Keith's blind drop pass into his own corner isn't getting enough play, which is a far bigger part of the Hawks' loss than Rattlehead's miss.
Sometimes I feel like Jean Grey trying to stem the damn when defending Stalberg. I don't know what people's expectations of him were, as he's 25 an making barely $1 million. Yes, his finishing and hands are wonky, but just because he's fast doesn't mean he's got great hands. Andrew Brunette has wonderful hands and everyone hates him too. Maybe we can combine them in a lab.
McClure and I talk about this all the time, but Stalberg has a tough time having his hands catch up to his feet. Because of that ridiculous speed, Stalberg has even less time than most to make plays before he finds himself out of position. Perhaps if he did everything in 4th gear, saving the booster jets for just on the rush on his own, he find himself with just the split second more he needs. I'm not ready to burn this guy yet, especially considering how hard he's working and how much he's trying to be physical. And quite frankly, other than Brunette I don't know who belongs on the top six more than Stalberg. And Bruno woudn't be able to keep up with Toews and Kane, though he might fit better with Toews and Hossa. I'll give it 20 more games. That'll be a season and a half. And still, Vik is on pace for 17 goals and 45 points. Wouldn't we have all taken that before the year?
-The problem with writing wraps late at night is that though the passion and prose may be entertaining, the point doesn't always come across. It took me a few days to read my Islanders-Campbell-Hawks defense wrap again, but I see I totally failed to convey what I was trying to say. My point wasn't some pining for Brian Campbell to come back. I was just trying to point out the odd juxtaposition of writers and fans screaming for another d-man on this team while ignoring giving one away in the summer. That's not the Hawks main problem right now, the goalies are. And any d-man who's going to make them look better is probably already on the team, as the Fifth Feather said last night.
But expressing myself was never a strength.