Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Species of Flame-Eating Shark Discovered, JR Proves Himself the Messiah Once Again

The Blueland Chronicle has much love and respect for Ron Wilson, but we must admit to being puzzled about his decision to bench Jeremy Roenick during Game 6 in Calgary. Calgary won, the Sharks looked dreadful, Ronnie came to his senses and realized that there was only one man who could achieve true heroism in Game 7. Enter JR. Enter JR's two goals. Enter JR's four points. I might be mistaken about this, but I think he was actually on the ice for all five of the San Jose Sharks goals last night. Feel free to correct me. 

I blather about JR because he's one of my favorite hockey players, perhaps my second favorite after the Czar. I love the Sharks as a whole, though, and this 7-game war against Calgary was exactly what they needed to toughen themselves up to go all the way. Calgary played extremely well for most of the series, and when a team wins a series against a team as determined and talented as the Flames they've truly earned it, as Big Shooter said in his playoff predictions. I have full confidence that the Sharks can go all the way, and Joe Thornton, Evgeni Nabokov, Jonathan Cheechoo, Patrick Marleau, Ryan Clowe, Joe Pavelski, Mike Grier, and most of the others have proven in this series that they have what it takes. I'm a bit worried about Milan Michalek and Brian Campbell though; the two of them MUST raise their level of play in the coming games. They're both excellent players--Campbell a brilliant skater and adept at offense and defense, Michalek a Hossa-esque feller--so I don't see why they couldn't. 

As for the Caps: I'm bummed, and I suspect Big Shooter will soon be gracing us with an essay on why Ollie the Goalie would have won the series for them, but I have to say that Ovechkin was gracious in defeat, applauding the Washington fans and looking pretty sincere in congratulating the Flyers. The Ovechkin-era Caps have a lot more playoff appearances left in them, so don't despair Caps fans. The fact that they won't be advancing clears the ground for my Russian Three Year Plan: this year I want the Cup to go to Nabokov, next year to the Czar, the year after to Ovie, and the year after that to Malkin. It's a seniority thing, perhaps...I just don't want to Ovie to get the Cup before Kovy. After Nabby and Kovy have won it, Ovechkin is free to go for it. After that, Malkin.

All of which  begs the question: will Ovie and Kovy be playing for Team Russia in the World Championship this year? If they are I just might have to buy myself a ticket to Ontario...or is it Nova Scotia? 

You know who else looked magnanimous in victory? JR. The way he hugged Owen Nolan brought tears to my eyes. I like the Flames an awful lot, but I'm glad the Sharks are advancing. This is the year Nabokov and JR win the Cup. Fasten your seat-belts and tighten the lock on your underwater shark-proof cage. 

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