Greetings to all on this chilly Thursday, this week has really flown by (and no, that won't count as one of 13). I'm surprised, last week's number one thought received far more attention than I originally figured it would. Hopefully this week will do the same - but on a less controversial matter.
If you're sitting at your desk hurrying to finish lunch, please don't let my babbeling hold you up. Enjoy this Thursday's edition of 13 thoughts on winter, hockey and the holiday's:
(please read responsibly)
#13 Winter has finally found it's way to Toronto. We saw our first snow dusting this week along with consitantly cold temperatures. I'm wearing a hideous sweater with the heat on and I'm still cold. Uck!
#12 Is it too early to start the Christmas countdown? Some start December first, others wait until the "ten days to go" mark. I want to be excited, but my wallet is telling me otherwise.
#11 How do fans really feel about the NHL All Star Game? I'll admit, I'm going to miss not having it this year. I enjoy the festivities, I am thrilled by the skills competition and entertained by the game itself. Ovie and Malkin were hilarious last year. So hockey fans - ASG: yay or nay?
#10 Gotta love Tampa and their ability to pretend to be in 8th place. Really, I know that's what the standings say, but look at who has been scoring. 50% of the team's 66 goals have come from Malone and Stamkos. Vinny and Marty only have five each, and Tanguay is the lone guy at four. It's 25 games into the season, and something needs to change... QUICK!
#9 A grievance was filed by the Ottawa Senators organization regarding Dany Heatley's $4 million bonus. And though I can understand where they're coming from ($4mil ain't chump change), when will owners learn that not everything can go their way. A team wants a player gone - boom, they move them, end of story. A player wants off a team and he's villianized by the organization. Just doesn't seem right.
#8 Hawks wrap up their big three this week, signing Toews and Kane to five year extensions and Keith to a whopping 13 years. I'm sorry, but any GM signing a player for over five years is simply laying an egg for whomever replacemes them down the road. Duncan's valuable, but 13 years valuable? I think more teams should consult with the Isles and ask how Dipietro's working out.
#7 Stamkos has been lighting it up for the Lightning (yes, I realize I just harped on the Bolts a few thoughts ago). Wow - 17 goals for 29 points in the opening 25 games. Can you believe Yzerman is looking to Stamkos for team Canada over Lecavalier? Stamkos proves there really isn't such thing as a "sophmore slump."
#6 While we're thinking about team Canada, one can't help but remark on the duel between Luongo and Brodeur last night. With a total of seven goals being scored between the two teams, and keeping in mind neither goalie is among the top three in the league for save percentage, goals against average, shutouts or wins this season, could it be time we hand over the reigns to someone new? I'd love to see Fleury get the start. He has won more playoff series in the past two seasons than Luongo and Brodeur have won combined in the same period. Just sayin'...
#5 Keeping on the goaltending train, what's with the Leafs and their current inability to keep a healthy goaltender? MLSE just reported that Gustavsson will need another surgery to hopefully correct his irratic heart rate. Top to bottom (including tenders signed by the Marlies) the Leafs have seen four of five goalies injured in this young season with three presently listed on the IR. Who's up for calling Gerber back from the KHL? Anybody? How about calling Joseph from retirement?
#4 Ahh, one can't talk about winter without thinking about the Winter Classic. This year Boston and Philly will square off, touque's and all. I have to give Bettman and the NHL credit, I can think of no better way to spend my hung over New Year's Day. I just wish it didn't start so dang early.
#3 Team Canada has released its WJC camp roster. I'm excited to see ones like Ellis, Pietrangelo, Cormier, Eberle and Hodgson return after experiencing the gold medal win last year. At the same time I feel confident in our large number of new comers. Schenn, Kadri, Lalonde, Cowen, de Haan, Seguin and of course Hall are definitely fit to carry the Canada torch and lead us into a sixth straight win. Can't wait!
#2 Alexander Ovechkin received a two game suspension after his second game eviction in three contests, this time for a knee-on-knee collision. If you ask me Ovie wasn't "hunting" at all, but given his wreckless track record (most notably when he took out Gonchar in the playoffs last season) two games is fair. Will he smarten up? My money's on "No."
#1 And who deserves the top spot on this list of thoughts? Keith the bone-head Ballard. If you haven't already seen the YouTube video of him hitting a T-ball homer off Vokoun's neck, I suggest you stop what you're doing and find it now. Should he be suspended? Definitely. I know he's sorry, and I know he didn't mean to, but this kind of irrationable behaviour screams a lack of self-control. Wreckless is not the name of the game in the NHL, and Ballard should learn the hard way. Sit two games, forfeit some cash to the player's injury piggy-bank (or whatever it is they call it) and reflect over how dumb you are. His actions were unacceptable, whether having hit Vokoun or not.
And that's a wrap. I'll be back at it tomorrow with another Friday Foto, and to be honest I'm yet to choose one. I guess that's my homework for the evening.
Until next time, stay online!