In honour of Oscar night, here’s something else you’d just wish would end: the Monday morning musings and meditations on the world of sports.
Here’s the one lasting truth you can draw out of Sunday’s game in Detroit. The Canucks aren’t very good when Roberto Luongo lets in eight goals.
Beyond that, trying to draw any deeper meaning out of the 8-3 loss is a mug’s game. Yes, the Canucks were terrible. But the puck was bouncing around Luongo like a golf ball, they couldn’t catch a break from the officials and they were playing their fourth game in six nights on the road and their sixth in 10 nights all told.
Some nights you take out the scalpels and dissect the corpse. This isn’t one of them. Nothing to see here. Let’s just move on.
Still, for the sadists out there, here’s something. Luongo started the game leading the NHL with a 1.45 goals-against average and second with a .941 save percentage. By the end of the afternoon he was 10th with a 2.11 GAA and, wait for it, 19th with a .916 save percentage.
It’s now obvious the Red Wings have a secret hideout somewhere in Europe where they clone under-sized, highly skilled forwards, bring them to North America with a secret cloaking device, then drop them in the NHL and watch as they wreak havoc on the best league in the world.
The latest, of course, is Damien Brunner who the Wings claim played six seasons in the Swiss league before they brought him over. Brunner now leads the Wings with 10 goals in 19 games but, I swear, if you do a DNA analysis you’ll find he’s the product of Henrik Zetterberg with a little Valtteri Filppula and Tomas Tatar thrown in.
Brunner’s alleged career in the Swiss league makes him ineligible for the Calder Trophy for this season but there’s still a dandy race developing for the top rookie. Ten days ago, it looked like Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz was the early leader but he’s likely been passed by Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau. Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk has also joined the conversation along with Tampa’s Cory Conacher, who just keeps on putting up points.
If you want a dark horse, look for Ottawa’s Mike Zibanejad. Injuries have forced him into a regular role on the Sens and the young Swede has been productive.
* Funny thing. I was out on Friday night and taped the Canucks game, then sat down to watch it at about 10:30. Five minutes later I started hitting the fast-forward button in search of “highlights” and basically ripped through the first two periods until Dale Weise’s goal. I was finished about 10:50. Even speeded up, the game was boring.
* If you believe anything about the NHL’s proposed realignment, you believe the Red Wings are moving back into the East.
The Wings have been good soldiers, playing out of their time zone in the West for far too long while providing a huge road draw for teams like Phoenix, Dallas and Anaheim. No one would begrudge them a move, especially if it means more original-six matchups.
* Every team in the league can play this game but it bears repeating. If you understand why Jannik Hansen was suspended for a game for his play on Marian Hossa and the Hab’s Max Pacioretty wasn’t suspended for his hit on the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh, you’re the only person in the world who understands the NHL’s standard for supplementary discipline.
On a somewhat related note, things, mercifully, had been quiet on the NHL’s concussion front until the last week. Now the Rangers’ Rick Nash is out with a suspected concussion, courtesy of a hit from the Bruins’ Milan Lucic, and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin appears to have suffered a similar injury.
At the risk of stating the obvious, those are two stars on two marquee teams and that’s not good for a league where the news has been largely positive since the lockout.
Finally, Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, one of the last of the great screwball owners in professional sports, took out full-page ads in South Florida newspapers to defend the Marlins’ offseason trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. While newspapers should be celebrating anyone who’s still buying full-page ads, Loria’s defence of the deal was as effective as the Canucks on Sunday.
“Acquiring high-profile players just didn’t work,” he said of the Marlins 2012 campaign in which they expanded their payroll, then dumped salary when it didn’t pay immediate dividends.
As for the take from Toronto, Loria said: “(The trade) has been almost universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value.”
And that’s true. The Jays and their experts are celebrating the trade. So’s everyone, outside of Miami.
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