Stan's Java Jive: 1/22/21
Tortorella vs. Dubois - who will win? Missing Caps; Tippett rips the media; Varlamov shutout streak ends and Toffoli is a hit in Montreal
HEADLINE: TORTS VS. DUBOIS -- WHO'LL WIN?
THE JIVE: Pierre-Luc Dubois will be traded; of that you can be sure. John Tortorella will see to that. This fact of Blue Jackets life was underlined last night during the Lightning's 3-2 OT win. Egad, what a cad: Torts turned his P-L-B ace into The Invisible Man. Dubois was benched for the final 44:35 of the game, giving him 43 seconds of first period play. Pierre-Luc wouldn't talk post-game while Johnny Blowhard danced around his move. "We're fine in the room," Torts insists. (My comment: "Yeah, sure!" ) Torts adds: "I've been in this situation before with other guys." (My comment: "Not in a rare compact season like this when stars like Dubois are needed.") Dubois signed a two-year, $10 million deal at camp. Do you think BJ's ownership wants that dough down the drain? Nay! Bottom Line: Torts had better start winning games right away. His bosses may get jumpy.
HEADLINE: MISSING CAPS LIKELY MISS 4 GAMES -- OR MORE
THE JIVE: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov blew it. Turns out that the reason behind the stiff NHL team fine was that the quartet were in a hotel room in violation of the league Covid protocols. The captain -- Big Ovie -- of all people should have known better; to say the least. Or, as coach Peter Laviolette allows, "We made a mistake." (My comment: Pistol Pete left out a word. Should be "BIG mistake!") Meanwhile, The Forlorn Four will miss four games. Maybe more.
HEADLINE: THE NEW MAN TO WATCH IN FLORIDA
THE JIVE: Back in 2016-17 the Panthers had a budding ace in Jonathan Marchessault -- and let him get away. The same mistake won't be made when it comes to the Cats new ace center, Carter Verhaeghe. If that name looks vaguely familiar it's because the native of Waterdown, Ontario last had a stint with the champ Bolts but couldn't crack the loaded lineup in Tampa Bay. Sure it's early and Carter's two goals and three points will not guarantee any trophies; at least not yet. But my wise man in Sunrise, reporter Alan Greenberg, says, "This Verhaeghe guy reminds me of Marchessault. Both starred in Juniors and the AHL. Plus, both were UFA's and now Carter is on the first line.You can bet that the Cats won't lose him in Expansion."
HEADLINE: DAVE TIPPETT RIPS MEDIA
THE JIVE: The Oilers coach has a good memory. He remembers how in the off-season the Canadian press wise-men criticized both the offense-minded Maple Leafs -- and Edmonton as well -- for forgetting defense is part of the game. "They (the press) talked all summer about we (Oilers-Leafs) have to defend better. Well, we're both doing that. So, what do they say, now-- it's 'bad hockey.' That baffles me." (Our comment: C'mon, Dave, you know that you can never make these guys happy.)
HEADLINE: DEVON LEVI PLAYED HURT THROUGH WORLD JUNIORS
THE JIVE: Smart or dumb? That's the question. If the kid felt he was injured enough to harm Team Canada, yeah, he should have bowed out.
But until the final loss to Uncle Sam's sextet, Levi looked like the best goalie between Edmonton and Estonia. All things being equal -- if that's ever possible -- The Maven says he did right by playing through pain and tough luck that he lost.
HEADLINE: TYLER TOFFOLI BECOMING NEW HAB HERO
THE JIVE: Granted the Canucks pulled one out in Vancouver beating the Habs on Wednesday night; and good for Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser and Braden Holtby. But you have to love the way Tyler Toffoli, Scarborough, Ontario's gift to the Habs, has made Claude Julien smile. Once a bedrock on the Kings Cup team, TT has become Hab hero. In Montreal's 7-3 return game win in Van last night, Toffoli added two more red lights including the opener.
HEADLINE: VARLAMOV'S SHUTOUT STREAK ENDS
THE JIVE: The Islanders beat New Jersey 4-1 in Nassau but the super-sidebar was goalie Semyon Varlamov's shutout streak extending for 142.10. That's the eighth longest in NHL history for a puck-stopper to start a season. (Longest since Minnesota's Darcy Kuemper's 164.02.) NJ's Nathan Bastian got the lone shot past Varly who looked sharp in the Isles net once more. (Question: When does coach Barry Trotz start Russian rookie Ilya Sorokin? Answer: Stick with the hot goalie.) .
PREDATORS TO ALLOW FANS TO RETURN: Granted it will only be "a limited amount" at Bridgestone Arena next week but it is a step in the right direction. More teams may follow.
JIM RUTHERFORD SUPPORTS TRISTAN JARRY. "I'm not concerned about him," says Gentleman Jim. I got news for Pal Rutherford; neither is the opposition concerned. Actually, they're enthused!
ARTEMY PANARIN SUPPORTS JAILED RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: Alexei Navalny is the object of support from the Rangers' ace ahead of planned protests tomorrow (Saturday).
TAXI SQUADS BEING TAXED: That's why they were created in the first place.
* TAMPA BAY 3-2 OVER COLUMBUS: Braden Point may wind up the Bolts MVP. He got the winner at 1:56 of overtime.
* WINNIPEG 4-1 OVER OTTAWA: Four different players score for the Jets but the key is that Nik Ehlers -- one of the quartet -- maintains his hot shot.
* BOSTON 5-4 OVER PHILADELPHIA: At last the Beanies got even-strength 3d period comeback goals and Jake DeBrusk won the Shootout.
* ISLANDERS 4-1 OVER NEW JERSEY.: Apart from Varlamov's heroics,
Mat Barzal dazzled with a goal and assists on Jordan Eberle's two goals.
* MONTREAL 7, VANCOUVER 3: Zippo again for the Canucks top center, Elias Pettersson. Canucks need his offense. Pronto!
* LOS ANGELES 4, COLORADO 2: Nice to see D-man Drew Doughty rally his pals -- down 0-2 -- with a power play goal. Jon Quick was!
READER'S BEEFS: Felix van Dijk, a composer from New York, and avid Leafs fan, writes me complaining about officiating during the last Toronto-Edmonton game. I asked Felix what I believe should be done about it. His reply: "In every game allow one coaching challenge over a penalty call." (Interesting idea to say the least. Bet it will never happen.)
YAYS AND BOOS -- ALIAS CHEERS AND JEERS
* YAY TO THE BRUINS for memorializing the late Boston University forward Travis Roy. The B's wear "TR" stickers on their helmets. Roy died last October 25th after having survived a paralyzing injury before his BU career could get underway. Just 11 seconds into his first shift Travis went down with a devastating spinal chord injury. His foundation has raised millions of dollars to research cures for spinal chord injuries.
* BOO (FROM MICHAEL RUBIN) TO BROADCASTERS who routinely attribute success to "using time and space" Hey, guys, adds Rubin, "Is there any other way to play hockey?"
DEPARTMENT OF GOALIE QUESTIONS; Are you sold on Fred Andersen as the answer to the Leafs Stanley Cup hopes? Not me. Maybe not even g.m. Kyle Dubas. Fans are tiring of Andy's almost-but-not-quite-good-enough career. Tonight he'll face McDavid, Inc. I'll grade him after the flak subsides. Leafs D has improved, no question, but nix to the goaltending.
FUNNY QUOTE DEPARTMENT: Hall of Famer Clark Gillies often has been asked the location of his home town, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The Isles' icon's answer is not one you'll find in a geography book: "Where's Moose Jaw? Six feet behind the Moose's behind!"