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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two Things I'm Really Excited About, Both Hockey Related

Posted by on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:42 AM

1) Alexander Radulov is BACK! The former Nashville Predator left the NHL to play in the KHL (the Russian hockey league), where he's been for the last four years. But the Preds kept him on contract all the while and now he's back in Nashville, which is huge for the Predators as he holds the record for most points in a KHL season (80). He'll be making his big return by playing with the Preds tonight against Pittsburgh. (Sidney Crosby is back too, by the way.) I hope Radulov scores a goal because sometimes when he scores he does the rowboat (see 4:02).

2) You Can Play is hockey's version of the It Gets Better Project. More and more NHL players continue to join Patrick Burke's You Can Play initiative, which aims to fight "casual homophobia" in hockey (and all sports, really). Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canuks are two of the latest players to join the cause.


Comments (16) RSS

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I'm hoping that Crosby scores a goal tonight during the Penguins v. Predators match-up. He's not scored since November, the damn slacker. Best player in the world my ass. He's centering the 3rd line for fuck's sake.
Posted by moosefan on March 22, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
biffp 2
Can't say I'm excited about the state of the league. Allowing Radulov back is a joke. It's completely unprincipled to let him play in two leagues in one season, and further to allow him to count this as the final year of his contract and become a RFA. Going into negotiations with the player's union?

In other NHL ridiculousness, Art Ross trophy winner Daniel Sedin got an elbow from Duncan Keith last night in a completely non-hockey play - ignoring the puck and exacting revenge for an earlier hit. Sedin's out indefinitely with a concussion, and Keith's severe punishment was a two minute penalty and a phone call from the league (meaning he gets no more than a 5 game suspension for a worse hit than Green got 3 games for). The NHL is never proactive, but it's incredible to still be mishandling this on the day the NFL slams the Saints in order to try and distance itself from being complicit in head injuries and avoid settlements that will bankrupt it. Oh well, give Gary another 5 years to figure it out.

Posted by biffp on March 22, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Ah, but moosefan, the production of that third line has increased dramatically. At the rate they're going, if Matt Cooke played with him all the time, he'd lead the league in goals.

Well...maybe not.

Though the phrase, "Sidney Crosby, third-line center" cracks me up every time it floats through my head.
Posted by Sheryl on March 22, 2012 at 11:18 AM · Report this
@4, it cracks me up, too. Well, cracks me up and then makes me gloat unabashedly to all the Rangers fans about how, right now, that's where he belongs. There's no way Disco Dan is about to break up the Malkin-Neal-Kunitz line. And Staal's not finding the back of the net very often but he's been solid all year and I wouldn't want to see anyone else on the PK.
I've been enjoying watching the Pens since January 13th. I always enjoy the Pens but going to two losing games in a week was rough. Especially since I so rarely spring for tickets.
Posted by moosefan on March 22, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
Hope they don't find out about the Canucks Hit List rewards ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 22, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
@4 - I live in Louisiana now, which is a hockey desert now. There used to be two minor league teams, but they both folded. UL-Lafayette still has a club team, but LSU's club team folded, too. That isn't surprising, considering they lost a game last year 24-7, and were outscored in double-digits in every game they played.

There are a few other former midwesterners who will watch it when we can find it. One of my close friends here is from St. Louis, and we're pulling for a Pens-Blues Stanley Cup Final.
Posted by Sheryl on March 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this

Staal not scoring? That's not what I'm seeing.

He's third on the team in goals (to be sure, he's well back of Malkin and Neal). Only in his rookie year did he score more goals, and he didn't miss 20 games that year. Staal's goals-per-game and points-per-game in 2011-12 are the best of his career.

Now, if you'd said he hasn't been picking up goals lately, I'd accept that. Instead, he's been steadily picking up assists -- 11 in the last 12 games.
Posted by N in Seattle on March 22, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Report this
I love the 'if you can play, you can play' message. And that's super sweet of the Canucks players.


If you can play, you can play? So tell me, how many female athletes are in the NHL right now?

Yeah, okay.
Posted by Cow on March 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM · Report this
@8 If there is a woman who can play at the NHL level, she'll get a shot. It would probably have to be a goalie (e.g. Mannon Rheaume) simply due to strength issues. A few years back one of the top female players in the world, Hayley Wickenheiser, played pro hockey in Europe and did pretty well. However, she was not playing in a top league. If there is a woman with her skill who is 6'3 200lbs and has the strength to play the type of physical hockey that the NHL demands, I'm sure she'd get a shot.
Posted by Frank Rizzo on March 22, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 10
Fairly brutal games too. My guess is the first NHL players will be women players from Denmark. Or maybe Norway. Some of them are giants.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 22, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Kudos to Kesler. You could tell the topic had him uncomfortable, but he did the right thing anyway.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on March 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM · Report this
@7, Yes, I meant scoring goals lately. I love Jordan Staal - I love all the Staal brothers - and I think he's a phenomenal defensive-minded forward with a wicked shot. It's just that his shots have hit a fair number of crossbars lately. As I said, at this point in time Crosby deserves to center the third line. Because there's no reason to demote our other two centers.

@6, I would love to see a Pens-Blues final. I don't get to see many Blues games living in NYC but I think it would be a good series.
Posted by moosefan on March 22, 2012 at 3:16 PM · Report this
cressona 13
Yup, Nashville-Pittsburgh tonight. Possible Stanley Cup Final preview.

What's fascinating about Radulov is he kept a home in Nashville the whole time he was in the KHL. I was reading the one ESPN-dot-com story about his return and it's almost like this Russian guy, while he was playing in Russia, was homesick for Tennessee. Well, maybe I was reading too much into that.
Posted by cressona on March 22, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
Megan Seling 14
And the game's over. Radulov scored! He did not to the rowboat. And it was the only goal the Preds got, losing 5-1. SAD FACE.
Posted by Megan Seling on March 22, 2012 at 6:27 PM · Report this
@14, Well take heart in the fact that Crosby still hasn't scored a goal. Dude is seriously slacking lately.

Penguins clinched tonight. Yay!
Posted by moosefan on March 22, 2012 at 6:51 PM · Report this
@ 8, 9 – there's also generally no body checking in women's hockey.

@ 10 – I don't think there are any male Norwegian or Danish players in the NHL this season, so probably not. A Swede is more likely, and even then, it will probably be a Canadian or an American.

Are the Sharks actually going to Shark themselves two rounds early this year?
Posted by UnoriginalAndrew on March 23, 2012 at 8:47 AM · Report this

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