Thursday, May 29, 2008

Three Thoughts on the Stanley Cup

1. If I was forced at gunpoint to announce my choice for the Most Irritating Player in the NHL Award, I would without hesitation say, "I'm wearing a tight-fitting cast that the physical therapists insist will evaporate if I don't drench it in water from time to time. Oh, Tomas Holmstrom."

Seriously, the man has nothing in the way of skill or finesse or speed or goal-scoring acumen or ice vision or puck-handling ability or even genuine rock 'em/ sock 'em bombast. All he does is just stand in front of the goal and wait for his more talented line-mates to get the puck to him so he can bat it in the knowledge that no one will be able to knock him away from the goal because he's such a big fucking lug. That's all he is: big as fuck. NOT a goal-scorer or power forward or expert puck-handler. Not a tough big dude enforcer like Georges Laraque or Donald Brashear. And not even a highly developed pest like Sean Avery or Jarkko Ruutu. Just big as fuck.

2. Between periods last night (what a great game. seriously!) the NBC folk and the NHL folk decided to put Alexander Ovechkin in whore's makeup and parade him naked in front of their prime-time cameras. Mike Milbury asked Ovie who was hotter: himself or Sidney Crosby. Then he asked Ovie to imagine himself and Sidney Crosby mud-wrestling. Think of the children, NBC!

This series is good for the League because one half of their poster boy duo (Sidney Crosby, for those who came in late) is playing in it. Since Poster Boy #1 on prime-time NBC playing hockey, why not drag in Poster Boy #2 for an awkward and pointless conversation in which the old commentator dudes had the Non-Tact to prattle on endlessly about Sidney Crosby and ask nary a question about Ovie and the Ruskies' recent Gold Medal. I'm happy that the League is drawing more viewers, and if Crosby's and Ovechkin's job descriptions have to be expanded to include Teen Idol, I reckon it's worth it. Still, though, a proud and jealous part of my soul is pissed off about Ovechkin and Crosby being made into Bettman-packaged celebrities while Ilya Kovalchuk remains serially neglected by the establishment hockey press. Sid and Ovie are players of fantastic (and very VERY different) gifts, and they deserve their fame. But can the Chronicle petition the hockey press to drop this hysterical schoolgirl tone they affect when talking about Crosby/Ovie or interviewing them? Either that, I say, or make Kovalchuk an almost-equal celebrity but of a different sort. If Crosby is the all-Canadian, English-speaking, squeaky-clean teen idol and Ovechkin is the over-the-top, shaggy, sweaty Russo-Tasmanian Devil, give Kovalchuk a role in hockey fans' collective imagination as the mysterious but passionate gangster, the private eye or hitman who leans against a wall smoking a cigarette and staring everyone down. The romantic and ambiguous hero/anti-hero, dark and enigmatic but exuberant when he scores goals or leads his team to victory. A slightly crazy genius who's not completely in control of his rage on the ice...

3. The Atlanta Thrashers MUST SIGN BROOKS ORPIK! ARE YOU WATCHING BROOKS ORPIK IN THIS SERIES? SIGN HIM SIGN HIM SIGN HIM. SIGN BROOKS ORPIK! IF YOU'RE AN EXECUTIVE WHO WORKS FOR THE THRASHERS I COMMAND YOU TO SIGN BROOKS ORPIK. If the Thrashers signed Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik they'd never lose another game for the rest of Kovy's career.


Big Shooter said...

For the record, I disagree about Holmstrom. It takes a lot of talent to do what he does. And he is the best in the bidness at it.

Don't you wish we had someone like him?


Mortimer Peacock said...

You're about as wrong as wrong can be. In fact, "Holmstrom" is Swedish for "Untalented Massive Man Who Stands in Front of Net."

Mortimer Peacock said...

To answer your question, I actually don't wish we had someone like Holstrom. I wish we had someone like Ryan Malone and someone like Brooks Orpik. We should look into getting some players like them. Signing Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik would be a start.

Mortimer Peacock said...

HolMstrom, that is.

Big Shooter said...

Wow, and honest to God disagreement. Don't get me wrong, I hate Holmstrom. I hate the Devil Wings. But I wish he was on our team.

You have to be a tough sum bitch to stand in front of the net like that.

Hockey at its best if you ask me.