Lightning Strikes Twice

– We talked about it last season and yesterday morning, but something has to be done about the ice girls and their entrances onto the ice during television time-outs. I mean, who trained these chicks, Pavlov? Every time the red light between the penalty boxes comes on – whether it should have or not – the bimbos flood the ice, the 12-man conflict notwithstanding.

Every time the light flips, on cue, these scantily-clad women and their wheelbarrow-carrying friends come rushing into the rink like they’re Samuel L. Jackson’s only hope to get snakes off a plane. It doesn’t seem to concern them that all they’re really doing is introducing 10 shovels into an ongoing hockey melee.

Someone is going to get hurt. And, while that would be awesomely entertaining – and terrifically gratifying considering our long-time warnings – I’d prefer not to have to watch what happens when Steve Downie, a group of hot women, bubbling testosterone and shovels mix.

– After the physical hi jinks of Todd Fedoruk, Steve Downie and Matt Smaby on Sunday night, the obligatory discussion involving the acquisition of a truer enforcer came up on Monday.

Our stance remains unchanged: There is absolutely room in the NHL for an “eye-for-an-eye-tooth-for-a-tooth” physical game, but not at the cost of a capable fourth line. In the Hawks’ case, its fourth line has been a staple of its success for the past two seasons, consistently racking up significant minutes on a nightly basis since then. Adding an enforcer would likely change that – not to mention destroy the delicate salary cap situation.

Moreover, I’m reminded of Ben Frankin’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. In Todd Fedoruk’s case, the man has steel plates in his face – compliments of plastic surgeon extraordinaire Dr. Derek Boogaard himself – and other assorted gruesome reminders of injuries past. Those haven’t stopped him from running his mouth and goaltenders during games that have slipped away; after all, it’s his job, and the man is apparently insane. Combating insanity is a job for doctors – not enforcers.

Finally, watch any game from 25 years ago, and you’ll see why having one player who could barely stand – much less contribute for eight to ten minutes a night – wasn’t a real problem.

– While all reports indicate he suffered only a facial laceration and will be available for tomorrow’s divisional game against the Blues, it’s a damn shame Patrick Kane left Sunday’s game so prematurely. Kane has been absolutely masterful the past week, looking like a (boyish) man against boys, seemingly moving wherever he’d like on the ice.

His goal on Sunday may well serve as the point of reference for his transformation from “rising star” to “superstar.” Coming down the ice on his backhand side, Kane did what only an elite few NHL snipers – read: Ovechkin, Kessel, Cammalleri (last night) – can do: he turned his body, lifted a leg and blasted a quick snap shot far side past the goaltender.

Thank you, Sir, may I have another?

While Kane’s passing is the stuff of legend and his skating is much improved, his vastly underrated shot may well be what separates him from other top-end NHL talent.

– With all the 5-on-3 problems the Hawks have experienced this season, you think they’d try the obvious: keeping the same personnel and philosophy as on the 5-on-4. Yes, the 5-on-3 includes one less man for the opposition and generally a more closed and sedentary defensive set-up, but why the drastic change when compared to the more typical power play?

It seems the Hawks are victims of their own ineptitude on the two-man advantage, willing to try most anything but the obvious. Teams seem more inclined to take away the cross-ice pass against the Hawks in these situations – surprise, surprise – and that puts a lot of pressure on the point men to make solid decisions and handle the puck.

Enter stage left – for an as-yet unknown reason – Dustin Byfuglien. Now, while I spent most of last season defending Byfuglien, I’ll freely admit the last place he belongs is up top on a 5-on-3 power play. His big shot is certainly appealing from the point, but his puck-carrying, passing, pass-catching and decision-making skills are suspect at best; why he’s the centerpiece of the two-man advantage is anyone’s guess.

Put Keith, Barker, Campbell or Seabrook up there and move on.

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4 Responses to Lightning Strikes Twice

  1. Jim says:

    “I’d prefer not to have to watch what happens when Steve Downie, a group of hot women, bubbling testosterone and shovels mix.”

    I dunno, I’m intrigued by the addition of shovels.

  2. Matthew Pennington says:

    I was at last night’s Habs game. It was incredible to watch Camalleri in action. He was all over the ice, constantly making dangerous passes, and his goal was sensational (although Kostitsyn’s first was perfect). If Kane has been playing at that level on a consistent basis, I can hardly wait to see the Hawks in Ottawa.

    I’ve never understood ice girls. The Habs, I noticed, don’t have Ice Girls. No surprise there. But, there is a definite difference between having a team of ten men clean the ice, and having ten women: namely, the men are situationally aware and see it merely as a job. The ice girls see what they do as entertainment, which it is.

  3. Bob in EP says:

    Oh for the days of no advertising on the boards, no Ice Girls, no jumbotron and Nancy Faust on the organ…

  4. Dave Morris says:

    The Ice Girls get my vote.

    Hey, if I go to see a hockey game here in Ottawa, I have to watch somebody wearing a lion’s costume shooting hot dogs out of an airgun into the crowd.

    Y’all in Chicago don’t know how good you got it.

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