Stan's Java Jive: 1/16/21
Are the Senators for real? Pens and Oilers Need Goalies; Rookies Helping the Capitals and the Wild; Tom Wilson Strikes Again...
HEADLINE: OILERS S.O.S. -- NEED GOALIE
THE JIVE: Let's face it, Edmonton's g.m. Ken Holland knows goalies; he was one so he figures to have done the right thing when signing Mike Smith to an oversized deal. But with Smith's injury -- likely out 10 games --the Eds are in trouble. Their back-up, the Austrian Olivier Rodrigue, will be moved to the taxi squad, while Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner man the pipes for the big club — but that's just a Band-Aid. My buddy, David Staples, who writes the Edmonton Journal's excellent "Cult of Hockey," points out that Smitty was slated to play one game of the back-to-backs but that won't happen in the immediate future. Staples warns, "Holland on Hottest of Hot Seats." The doctor who could cool that seat is Sir McDavid. A hat trick in the back-to-backers will do the trick. (Yeah!)
HEADLINE: NHL GAMES GET RECORD TV RATINGS
THE JIVE: That's what everybody is smiling about at NHL headquarters and well they should. NBCSN's double-bill (Hawks-Bolts, Blues-Avs) set a multi-game ratings record. All of this is fodder for Bettman, Inc. when negotiations begin with NBC and likely new suitors such as ESPN and others. Bottom Line: Fans have been starving for The Game and this unusually intense schedule makes every tilt a playoff-type encounter.
HEADLINE; A NEW 'WILD ONE' IN MINNY
THE JIVE: He came; he saw; he conquered. That's what rookie Kirill Kaprizov did for the Wild in their 4-3 win over L.A. The kid not only delivered the OT winner but added a pair of assists. The biggie was the result of one of those truly dumb back passes that drive me nuts. KK intercepted it and -- while blowing his deke -- was gifted when the puck legally caromed in off his skates. (Me? I'm happy for my buddy Bill Guerin.)
HEADLINE: TORTS TURNS STEAM ON DUBOIS
THE JIVE: It's getting testy-nasty between John (Don't Mess With Me) Tortorella and the pouting Pierre-Luc Dubois. Get the Torts' talk: "He wants out, hasn't given a reason why he wants to leave. He should get in front of it. That's the way to do business." It says here that Torts should get in front of a mirror and he'll have the reason why PLB is looking for the exit ramp. Montreal would be the ideal trading partner but the BJ's Jarmo Kekalainen would want gifted two-way center Nick Suzuki and a first-rounder. (If I'm smiley Marc [My Word] Bergeron, I make the deal.)
HEADLINE: CROSBY INC. LOSES SECOND IN ROW
THE JIVE: Yeah, Sir Sidney got himself a goal but Mr. Crosby can't play goal. I pointed out the other day that I have no confidence in Tristan Jarry. Well, in losing 5-2 to Philly, Jumpin' Jarry got pulled after doing a sieve imitation; three-goals-on-six shots. Coach Sully was quick to say, "Games can't be pinned on any one person." Excuse me, pal, but you can pin this one on Jarry; and start worrying about your goaltending. (Yoo-Hoo; where's Ev Malkin when he's needed? Also, Matt Murray! Remember him?)
HEADLINE; CAPS ROOKIE GOALIE WINS DEBUT
THE SCORE: His name is Vitek Vanecek. He's 25 and was drafted in 2014 -- second round 39th overall. The freshman made 30 saves in the 2-1 win over Buffalo, but if you ask me, the sub-story is Tom (The Former Brute) Wilson. Sir Tough Guy again proved that he's vastly underrated as a scorer. (All Tommy did was score the winner and assist on the other. Who needs to fight?)
HEADLINE: MAPLE LEAFS WINNING STREAK ENDED
THE JIVE: We kid you not. After their opening win Hogtown fans were dreaming Stanley Cup. And why not; Toronto is Toronto. But the one-game winning skein was snapped by the Senators, 5-3. And already the critics are snapping at the Maple tree. One questioned Fred Andersen's goaltending. To that I say fair enough. Another ripped the Leafs thusly:
"They try to make the game a battle of skill rather than will." (Also makes sense when you consider Toronto's battle level; wherever it might be!)
HEADLINE: NHL RETRO JERSEYS A HUGE HIT
THE JIVE: Talk about marketing magic, kudos to the NHL and its "Reverse Retro" jerseys. The Adidas' teaser campaign in November got the juices flowing and got the fans ga-ga. Since then sales have soared. The Kings, for example, have brought back Purple and Gold while the Wild are using the old North Stars garb. My V.P, in Charge of Fashion, George (Mr. Caricature) Falkowski offers this: "Anything that gets those great old designs on the ice is a good thing." (I beg to differ; not a "good thing," it's a GREAT THING!)
HEADLINE: TABLE HOCKEY MOVIE WINS AWARDS
THE JIVE: "Little Rink" is a gem of a documentary about Table Hockey that no fan should miss. Directed by Lisa Melmed -- she also did a docu on the Hershey Bears -- "Little Rink" zeroes in on a pulsating, Manhattan Table Hockey tourney which I attended. Most recently it won the short documentary award at the 2020 Austin Film Festival. I suggest you go to LITTLERINK.com to learn more about this fabulous work. The games themselves are as exciting as a Stanley Cup Final.
* BEWARE THE SENATORS; Unobtrusively and without any fuss or fanfare the Ottawa Silver Six looks like the Sleeper of the East.
* STEVIE STAMKOS IS A-OK. The Bolts captain tallied a goal and an assist vs. Chi. He looks to be in mint condition. Good for a Good Guy!
* JARED JOLTS AVS: After a dismal opening loss, Colorado coach Jared Bednar torched his team with verbiage. Result: 8-0 over St.Lou!
* DAVID QUINN 'ALARMED.': The Blueshirts boss is shaking up his lines for the Isles re-match. This will be a game to watch. Ergo: Will it work?
A PLAY BY PLAY MAN'S QUOTE WE NEED NOT HEAR DURING NHL BROADCASTS: "That goal just took the crowd out of the game!"
GREAT QUOTES FROM THE PAST DEPARTMENT:
Blues captain Brian Sutter once was asked what ailment was affecting Canucks defenseman Harold Snepsts. Sutter shot back "OLD AGE!"