Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Quick Hits (From Behind)

Quick Hits (From Behind) is an irregular feature on Pass it To Bulis, wherein two hockey fans chip in their thoughts on current hockey news and get assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

Hi there! Do you like links? Because PITB's got a handful of good reads to help you with your chronic e-somnambulism. But come back here when you're done. We need you.

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Nowadays, he's a gutless puke, but there was a time when Matt Cooke was a fan favourite player in Vancouver. Give Charron credit for bravely being the first former Cooke acolyte to admit the dirty truth:

I used to be a huge Matt Cooke fan when he was with the Canucks, but that was before he morphed into the Matt Cooke he is today. There was a time when he was a pest, but he didn't hit dirty, he just annoyed. There was a time when, in the wake of the Todd Bertuzzi suspension, Matt Cooke was moved to his spot on the Canucks' top line with Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund and scored three goals and was a +9 during a six game winning streak which won the Canucks the division title

[...] Matt Cooke was once what Alex Burrows is right now: a marginal top line player who was a fan favourite. Burrows isn't dirty, just annoying if you're wearing a different jersey, and this is what Matt Cooke used to be, and, while I hate the 'pest' role, a lot of players do it very effectively without putting anyone but themselves in danger.

Oh my, Matt, how things have changed.

Charron is spot on about Cooke once being what Burrows is now, and fans love those sorts of players: underdogs who find chemistry with the stars and find an invaluable niche filling gaps. I've gone on record that Alex Burrows is my favourite player (or was, before a certain fourth-line winger agreed to Scrabble me), and Matt Cooke once was for a lot of the same reasons. I'm not so into him now.

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We like to poke fun at Sami Salo's injury history (it's sort of remarkable). But HTTN points out the guts and resolve it takes to rehabilitate that many debilitating injuries. He deserves a ton of credit for working his way back, especially at his age. HTTN:

At the age of 36, [Salo] has suffered no fewer than 40 injuries during his hockey playing career. The latest of which is a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in the off-season, which to this point still offers no guarantee of a complete recovery.

Salo is not like me – just another person who’s into an active, healthy lifestyle. We’re talking about a professional athlete, someone who has dedicated his entire life to playing hockey, and whose sport has only given back grief.

Everytime Salo has been injured, it has been gut-check time. Will he have it in him to perform the rehab necessary to repair this injury? After the muscles, tendons, and bones are healed, will he be willing to get his body back into the same shape it was in before? We’re not talking about good shape, or excellent shape, we’re talking elite athlete shape.

We often forget the humanity of the athletes for whom we cheer. Salo had to be even more frustrated than the fans were with this latest freak accident, but rather than show him support or root for his return, we grumbled about his cap hit and wished the injury-prone blight away. And, of course, al he did instead was work his ass off to get back when he could have safely retired without anybody batting an eye. Great work by HTTN.

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Friedman's 30 thoughts are always a must-read, and this week's installment is no exception. But I'm particularly interested in thought #4, which sounds suspiciously like a speculation made by PITB at the beginning of the season. Friedman:

No one was happier about Henrik Sedin's Hart Trophy victory than brother Daniel. I would wager, however, that part of the motivation for Daniel's spectacular season is Henrik owning that hardware. They are fiercely competitive with each other (in a good way) and Daniel undoubtedly doesn't like Henrik having one up on him.

The phrase you are looking for, Elliotte, is out for blood, and the praise you are looking for is rightly ours. Fork it over, pal.

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If you think the injuries, cap issues, and the looming trade deadline are throwing the Canucks' roster into a bit of a tizzy, consider the poor Manitoba Moose, who have to deal with all the same issues as well as another hockey team taking their players. Imagine having to worry about the roster of two hockey teams at once. Sometimes we forget that every prospect who gets a brief sniff of the NHL is actually a vital part of the Moose's core. Campbell also details how Alex Edler and Sami Salo's injuries have effected the Moose, and how Chris Tanev's return would be welcome. I'm particularly interested in Lorne Henning's indication that Tanev has too much potential to stay with the team just to sit:

If Andrew Alberts is ready to go after his latest injury setback, and there were indications that could have been in last night's late game, then the Canucks will have eight defencemen with Salo's return.

And that leaves open the possibility of Tanev's return to the Moose.

"Andrew Alberts is coming back, too, so we're going to have a lot of defencemen," Canucks assistant GM Lorne Henning said Monday. "Chris has played very well but if everybody's back, chances are we'll want him to keep playing. He's played phenomenal."

Unfortunately for Moose fans, he jinxed everything and the Keith Ballard injury knocked the Canucks back down a guy. It also complicated things for both organizations' plans for Tanev. The Canucks and the Moose want him to play somewhere, but if Salo returns to starting roster on Saturday, Tanev will effectively be the Canucks' seventh healthy defenseman. What do they do with him at this point? Ballard and Edler are a long way off. Provided nobody else gets hurt, how long do the Canucks let Tanev sit in the press box without game action? If I were Rome and Alberts, I'd watch it, because every shaky outing is an excuse to get Tanev back in the lineup. Should keep both guys on their toes.

14 comments:

  1. I like it...
    Thank you for the reading guide!
    (especially the moose one, for the rest, I'm following you on twitter to closely to have missed them)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Couldn't agree more about the Matt Cooke thing. He probably feels like he needs to fill in for Chris Simon's role as dick-y-est guy in the NHL.

    I'm praying for another Evander Kane one punch, myself.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the links. Loved the Salo article almost as much as I love the player.

    Re Matt Cooke: We've all been there. When I was in my twenties I dated this girl who was, well...never mind. Anyway point is you learn, mature and move on.

    "Cookie" had better wise up because he's in danger of becoming the poster-boy for "just about everything that's wrong with today's NHL". And it's a quick trip from poster-boy to scape-goat. Just ask Donny Osmond.

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