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Stan's Java Jive: 1/24/21
Luc Dubois trade fallout; Romanov game-changer in Montreal; Caps shorthanded on-ice and in the pocket; Cory Perry nets his first with the Habs.
HEADLINE: TORTS WINS -- ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION
THE JIVE: By trading their Puck's Bad Boy, Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Blue Jackets fumigated their dressing room. Call it addition by subtraction or listen to Captain Nick Foligno: "Dubois was not giving us the brand of hockey we expected out of him." So Columbus then handed the Champ Lightning a 5-2 home spanking last night. Without naming Dubois, John Tortorella makes it clear that already he's happily winning without his once adversarial center. "Now I like the structure of our team," the tumultuous Torts explains. "We had been a team lacking structure." Ergo: Welcome, Patrick Laine!
HEADLINE: FALLOUT FROM THE DUBOIS-LAINE TRADE - WHO WON?
THE JIVE: Upon further review, I see a winner; actually two. For starters it has to be Columbus because the BJ's received the more guaranteed talent in Patrick Laine, plus a Columbus native -- Jack Roslovic -- of all things. When both Laine and Dubois are healthy, Patrick is the better player. That's one. But the other winner is Tortorella. Demanding discipline on a relatively talent-deprived team, Torts could not tolerate a whiner who in his final game practically forced a quick trade by his disgraceful slow-skate back to the bench; apparent to everyone. Taking the tough stance that he did, John cemented what could have been a disintegrated room. Furthermore, he re-established what may have been uncertain for a bit -- that John Tortorella still is the boss. That said, Laine must dispel the "undependable" critique that has haunted him while Dubois must prove that he'll consistently play hard in a conspicuously small market.
HEADLINE: A DYNASTIC ROMANOV IN MONTREAL
THE JIVE: The Romanovs constituted the last imperial dynasty to rule Russia. One of the best known Romanov leaders was Peter The Great.
The Canadiens now have defenseman Alexander Romanov who soon may be known in the NHL as "Alexander The Great." Our scouting report has the rookie playing "like a five-year vet; poised beyond his years." Another calls the Happy Hab, "Andre Markov with a mean streak." On the power play he's immune to pressure from the PK units. Montreal fans love him almost as much as Nick Suzuki. (I have to check if Alex is related to the Czars.)
HEADLINE: CAPS GETTING WHACKED:
THE JIVE: Headed by captain Alex Ovechkin, the four Capitals who have cost the team $100,000 are getting swiped by media types. And that's no surprise. The team is losing a key core for at least four games and the rule-breaking was ridiculous at a time when following protocol is a must.
As far as Ovie is concerned the first thought that came to my mind was how he over-way-over reacted after his club won the Stanley Cup. At a certain point when he had The Cup in a pool it seemed as if he simply disrespected the trophy. This time he disrespected his team and the league. Alibis not accepted. Apologies, yes!
HEADLINE: COMPELLING RON MACLEAN INTERVIEW WITH DUBOIS
THE JIVE: Ron MacLean does not need his former sidekick, Don Cherry, to be a star when it comes to hockey broadcasting and interviewing. Following the blockbuster trade, MacLean wasted no time getting Dubois and eventually asking the meaty question: What went wrong between Pierre-Luc and John Tortorella? The brand-new Jet was simply tongue-tied trying to produce an answer. He could not and didn't. Dubois' finally -- and tepidly said, "Torts pushes guys because he wants to win. I have nothing but respect for him." (My comment: Yeah, sure!) Dubois allowed that his father, Eric Dubois -- assistant coach of the Manitoba Moose -- "told me good things about Winnipeg and the Jets."
LEAFS LOOKING: Injury-riddled Toronto is on the lookout for a forward.
KAPRISOV EQUALS HERTL? The San Jose Mercury-News says the Wild's new whiz kid, Kiril Kaprisov, is comparable to "a young Tomas Hertl." (My comment: If you say so, I'll buy it.)
PLAYER TO WATCH: Forget for a moment about Connor McDavid. An Oiler worth watching is Kailer Yamamoto. He's fast gaining confidence skating with the inimitable Leon Draisaitl.
DYNAMIC DUO: The Jets wind up with the best, big guys one-two center ice punch in the league. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele. Both measure 6-3.
ON THE OTHER HAND: With Patrick Laine in tow, Columbus may have the NHL's best power play combo. Just add Seth Jones, Zach Werenski for starters.
BEST HEADLINE: From the Las Vegas Review-Journal after a limited rooters allowed to see game but Vegas loses: FANS SHOW UP, GOLDEN KNIGHTS DON'T.
SU-REALLY? Have you noticed that the most-used word to describe the 2020-21 season is "surreal!"
SKEPTICS: Despite all the nice words uttered by Patrik Laine there's an undercurrent of doubt among skeptical journalists about his wanting to stay very long in Columbus. Maybe a year and then he pulls a Dubois. That's what some doubters think. It all depends on how he reacts to Torts. And vice versa.
* MONTREAL OVER VANCOUVER, 5-2: Corey Perry, a terrific add to the Habs roster, scores in his debut with the club.
* COLUMBUS OVER TAMPA BAY, 5-2. Bolts coach Jon Cooper calls it his "team's worst game." (My comment: Stuff happens.)
* BOSTON OVER PHILADELPHIA, 6-1: What happened to the supposed China Wall goaltending on Broad Street?
* ST. LOUIS OVER LOS ANGELES, 4-2: Torey Krug's PP goal opened the scoring and his mates did the rest. (Bruins miss him.)
* WINNIPEG OVER OTTAWA, 6-3: Andrew Copp's pair of goals completes sweep of the sinking Senators.
INSIGHTFUL QUOTE OF THE WEEK: This from columnist Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: "I don't mind stats, as overrated as they are, but I do mind people who can't talk about a game without referencing some inane or irrelevant stat."
YAYS AND BOOS:
YAY TO SHARKS LEFT WING MATT NIETO for completing one of the best 1-2 plays so far vs. Minnesota. Erik Karlsson fed the Long Beach, California native a between the leg pass. Then Nieto split the Wild defense to score.
BOO TO PLAYERS WHO WEAR DARK SUNGLASSES ON INTERVIEWS. The latest is Adam Brooks of the Leafs. I could hardly recognize him under his big shades. Others ruin interviews by tilting their cap visors so it's impossible to see their mugs.
FUNNY QUOTES FROM THE PAST: When he was a Bruin, Derek (Turk) Sanderson was asked to name the greatest player he ever saw. Turk replied, "Me, on instant replay!"