A few fun notes on today in hockey:
It must be the hotel soap...
The Chicago Blackhawks are a great road team, but not such a great team on home ice. So much for home ice advantage. The Phoenix Coyotes had this same problem back before they had, well, a world of problems, and the Great One actually booked them into a hotel in Phoenix in order to 'trick' them into thinking they were on the road. Looks like Chicago's taken page out of that book, as the team has checked into a hotel in Chicago tonight for their game 3 against San Jose.
It's said that the bonding rituals on the road, as well as the pressure of not having to put on a show for the local crowd, helps them relax and play a simple game. It's a hotel, after all, it's made to cater to your needs and make you feel really comfortable and food and drink is just a phone call away. I guess victory really is a question of mentality. And nothing says peace of mind like complimentary towels.
So goes one series, so goes the other...
If the trends continue, San Jose has another reason to be optimistic tonight and that has to do with the fact that the series in both conferences seem to mirror each other. Down 2 games, Montreal made a great comeback in game 3 once the venue changed. If you follow this pattern, it makes sense that San Jose will come back to steal this one from Chicago. But it's hard to say whether or not their mojo can outdo tiny shampoo.
Thornton vs. Bolland
Thornton delivered the ultimate blow in media trash talk: he commented on another man's size. Telling the media that Bolland was small and easy to play against, the usually easy going Big Joe made something of a big mouth of himself. If Chicago wins tonight, Joe will look and feel like quite the fool. Now he's put all the pressure on himself to perform. Bolland will just have to show up to get even. Maybe not the smartest move. In any case, it's doubtful that Bolland's feelings will have been hurt or that this will make him let up in his game.
Toews vs. Crosby
It's Captain Serious vs. Captain Canada. A breakdown on TSN has used numbers to demonstrate that Toews is better than Crosby and that all it will take for Toews to take over Crosby for the Crown would be a Stanley Cup win. There's bound to be a lot of different opinions in this case, but I have to say, even if Toews does hoist the Cup this year, I'll take Captain Canada any day of the week. He's an incredible all around player and he works miracles on ice. Plus, with all the hardware he picks up at the NHL awards, it's hard to argue for Toews on this one. And it's also hard to argue for the man with the hairy sideburns. We'll take Crosby.
A tale of two Crosbys
And on the topic of Crosby, it looks like Russian Crosby will stay in Pittsburgh. Rumours that Malkin would be traded in the off season have been more or less quashed today according to news reports. This is great news if it's true. It's unthinkable to separate Sidney from his Russian counterpart. Nicknamed the two-headed offensive monster, I think it's time to give these two a common name. My choice: Croskin. Can't separate this dynamic duo. That would be just criminal.
Russia vs. the world
Speaking of criminal, Russia is stealing the IIHF championships in Germany. No small wonder, considering that some of their greatest stars are playing in this series, while very few of Canada's select players have been able or willing to make the trip.
The IIHF vs. the Stanley Cup Finals
Not to take anything away from Russia's clear dominance, but the fact of the matter is, they've been dominant. A full scale Canada and US team vs. a full scale Russia team is one thing. We saw that in the Olympics. But a half put together scavenged team of Canadians pushed out of the playoffs vs Russia's all stars? Not much of a contest.
The IIHF has been upset by the lack of interest in their tournament, particularly by a declined invitation from Crosby himself. In terms of Canada, it's hard to get psyched up for a tournament of leftover players while the Cup finals still has a Canadian team alive in it. Secondly, it's difficult to get psyched to watch hockey being broadcast at 10am. Unless you belong to a group of hardcore fans or alcoholics, this is just way too early to get up for a hockey game.
And third, anything that conflicts with the Stanley Cup finals is a problem. This is part of the reason that I'm so grateful not to have kids, that and the fact that I can sleep in on the weekends. No, there are about a million reasons why I'm happy not to have kids, but one of them is definitely the fact that my life can be scheduled around hockey, insomuch as work lets me. And even that...
And that's today in hockey.