Boy, is this place dusty. I haven’t put anything up since the huge half hour of PK Subban and Shea Weber swapping teams, Stamkos staying, and Taylor Hall being deported to New Jersey back in June. But there is hockey, and it’s more fun than I anticipated, so let’s do this thing.
– I was at the World Cup in Minnesota in 2004. It’s too bad this tourney is taking place entirely in Toronto. From a business standpoint, it makes sense. Still, it’s a “World” Cup, and it would have been nice to play a game or two outside of North America.
– There is plenty being said about Team USA and the make up of the roster. I understand the reasons coach John Tortorella gave for putting a few pugilists on the team, but I don’t completely buy into it. And neither did the players, apparently. For all the posturing after the round robin of standing by their roster decisions, Team USA management can’t do the same thing next time around.
– John Tortorella is getting a lot of heat from this tournament, and I think it’s well deserved. The evidence is on the ice: who wants to give him their best effort? Will he be back behind the bench for USA Hockey? I don’t think so. Is it all on him? No, not even close.
– Speaking of coaches, I have less and less patience for coaches caught up in gamesmanship. Tortorella jumping his press conference time and using the media to deliver his messages bugged me. Outside the World Cup, Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock are two of the worst offenders. It’s obnoxious, and my respect for the coaches who employ it diminishes with every use.
– Back to Team USA, where has Patrick Kane been these last few tournaments? From the last Olympics to this World Cup, he doesn’t look like the same player he is on the Chicago Blackhawks. Where is his passion? Where is his drive, his audacity? He’s a great skill player, and he has barely shown up for USA Hockey. Sure, teams will overcheck, but that’s happening with Crosby and it’s not working on him. Kane doesn’t look like he’s having fun on the ice. That’s not the Kane we know.
– Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Dustin Byfuglien. Pick two. Results may vary.
– Good goaltending can win you games, but if you can’t score, it won’t mean a thing. Johnathan Quick was good in net. But he can’t do everything.
– ESPN: The Good – Brett Hull and Chris Chelios are great in the studio. Hull has been spot on with almost every observation, and Chelios is an excellent counterpart. I would watch these guys over Milbury and Jones on NBC Sports any day.
– ESPN: The Bad – Just about everything else. Sure, they are the self-proclaimed World Wide Leader in Sports, but it’s obvious they haven’t broadcast hockey in a while.
– ESPN: The Ugly – The in-game call. Steve Levy and Barry Melrose were the worst of the lot, replacing entertainment with inside jokes, ribbing and poking. They had no flow. They were completely unfunny. Laughing at your own jokes doesn’t make you funny. They were rarely insightful. Someone needed to reel them in. Kevin Weekes was his usual solid self. John Buccigross was less entertaining than he often is in his columns or on Sports Center. It makes me thankful the NHL isn’t on ESPN. If the jersey numbers had been more familiar to me, I would have muted the TV. I might do so for the rest of the games.
– Team North America was so much fun to watch, even if it was a mocked-up team with mixed rooting interest. Who went in to this tourney cheering for them? I came away wanting them to go the distance. Was any team more fun to watch? It’s a shame they were bounced after the Round Robin, even with two wins. Hockey is a fast game, and Team NA showed how entertaining a speedy game can be.
– Was there anything more fun than the Nathan MacKinnon overtime winner? The finals are still ahead, and I doubt there will be a better moment. Just awesome. I’m happy he plays for my favorite team.
– Should they do this again in four years? Sure, why not. My opinion may change once we get into the NHL season and the toll it takes on the players that participated, and the teams that lose players to injury. It’s been more fun than I expected. I had a hard time caring about the World Cup from the outset, but the games are worth it.
– Still with me? Good. I hate Hate HATE the phrase “broke his ankles” when a player dances around a defenseman. Yeah, I get it, it’s kind of funny. I hated it before I broke my ankle playing hockey, and I still hate it.
– Hey, look at that, Jon Snow driving an Infinity. I hope the heater is working, because I hear WINTER IS COMING. Yeah, I’ve been waiting to say that for a few weeks. Deal with it.