No more pussy-footing around. No more lip service. No more bullshit about “journalistic integrity”. Not after this tabloid trash headline:
Attempting to connect the taunting that has followed Alex Burrows’ bite to Aaron Rome’s late hit on Nathan Horton is a blatant attempt to lead the casual fan’s opinion away from hockey.
Meanwhile, on this week’s cover, there isn’t even a secondary mention of the Stanley Cup Finals. The NBA Finals have the cover, as they have every bloody spring since 2001, with blurbs about baseball and Stanford QB Andrew Luck. College football isn’t even in season! The one thing you fetishize even more than the swimsuit issue is that blessed Cover of Sports Illustrated, and you don’t consider the championship of the highest level of hockey in the world worth so much as two square inches of text.
Don’t piss on my shoes and tell me it’s raining, Sports Illustrated. You hate hockey, and you have zero respect for hockey fans.
I’ll say it if nobody else will: Matt Cooke has become a liability for the Pittsburgh Penguins, even when he’s not doing things Jeremy Roenick calls “chickenshit.”
Before charging/boarding Fedor Tyutin last night, before he “clipped skates” with Alexander Ovechkin on Sunday afternoon, even before the Marc Savard Incident, Cooke had a reputation. Like it or not, refs check numbers, and they’re likely to adjust their view of a play when 24 in Black and Vegas Gold is involved.
I don’t have numbers on hand, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Cooke has drawn fewer penalties against opposing players since the Savard headshot. He’s certainly taking more penalties. In fact, he’s already matched last season’s total PIM (106 in 79 games) in only 54 games this season. Is he getting more careless, or are the referees keeping an eye on him more closely than before?
A lot from Column A, a little from Column B. Cooke has had a few games this year where he racked up three or four minors for old agitation tricks that don’t work any more. A well-worn path to the penalty box is a very bad thing for one of the Penguins’ best penalty killers.
With this latest escapade, Cooke is putting head coach Dan Bylsma in a bind. Publicly, Bylsma has to have his boy’s back. Half-heartedly repeating Cooke’s “Tyutin saw the hit coming” defense ought to be galling to Bylsma, but he still has to say it. Privately, however, I hope Bylsma is pouring hellfire on Cooke right now for a double-major last night (charging and a subsequent fight with Derick Brassard) and a four-game suspension as a consequence.
After a home game with the Kings Thursday night, the Penguins play their next four on the road. They’ll embark on this road trip without Sidney Crosby (concussion, LTIR), Evgeni Malkin (torn ACL and MCL, done for the year), and Mark Letestu (knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks) for sure, while Chris Kunitz is day-to-day with a leg injury.
Perfect timing for Cooke to take himself out of the lineup by being an idiot, right?
Wes Welker’s snow angel: $10,000
Richard Seymour’s open-handed sucker punch: $25,000
Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson ripping each other’s helmets off and throwing down: $25,000 each
Chad Ochocinco wearing a sombrero: $30,000
Now can we shut the fuck up about the Sean Avery Sloppy Seconds Incident?
Earlier this year, I recall watching an 11:00 PM SportsCenter anchored by Steve Levy. During this SC, Levy introduced a highlight by saying that “something weird had to happen for us to show you San Jose Sharks highlights.” At the time, the San Jose Sharks had the best record in the Western Conference.
Thursday night, ESPN will devote the 9:00 PM (EDT) hour to LeBron James, his free agency, and The Decision on where he will sign. (Yeah, the caps on that were right.)
So ESPN will gladly give an hour to one NBA player and his galactic ego, but begrudges one of the best teams in the NHL 45 seconds?
If there were any justice in the world, The LeBron Hour’s ratings would be low enough to hang around with strange bio-luminescent fish and the XFL. Instead, Dick Ebersol will trot out the inevitable we’re-just-giving-the-viewers-what-they-want excuse in his next “ombudsman” column, because ESPN defines “what viewers want” as “whatever we choose to cram down your throat.”
How head coach Dan Bylsma views the power play:
I think early on, when Gonchar was gone, we looked initially for one play and a shot. We haven’t gotten in position. We haven’t gotten puck support. We haven’t gotten a lot of zone time as a result. It’s almost the ‘Hoosier’ mentality in basketball — you need four passes to set it up, break them down, get them running around, spread them out and then get shots and chances.
How the fans view the power play:
As soon as Goligoski crosses center red, yell “SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!”
We were left for dead in July, when Marian Hossa went all-in with Detroit and the Lightning paid a king’s ransom for Ryan Malone.
We were left for dead in October, when all the talk was about the Runner Up Curse.
We were left for dead in December, when we could only muster 15 shots on Tampa Bay’s rotating-door defense.
We were left for dead after the Valentine’s Day Massacre that cost Michel Therrien his job.
We were left for dead in February, when a 1-0 win over the Islanders wasn’t enough.
We were left for dead when Washington won their first two games at Verizon Center.
We’ve heard this before. We’ve been here before.
We’re not dead.
I’m sorry, Philly, I can’t hear you.