Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Wiz Biz 2: A Few More Thoughts

This is an experimental column where I look at issues of the day and comment on them in a sentence or two. It's meant to be funny and somewhat insightful. I hope it lasts...

  • HUGE game tonight in Boston as the Bruins face the Canadiens for the first time since the Max Pacioretty Incident. Mark Recchi's recent bout of verbal diarrhea has reopened the discussion about the legality of the hit, the credibility of Montreal's doctors, and of course most importantly, informed us all that Patches has a Twitter account. I'm not very good at predictions but I'm willing to take a shot in the dark here and say there might be a fight or two.
  • According to a Brand Keys sports report, the most loyal fans in the NHL are...drumroll...the Detroit Red Wings. The top five are the Wings, the Philadelphia Flyers, the San Jose Sharks, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Boston Bruins. Huh, interesting, they're all Stanley Cup contenders. So who are the bottom five? In reverse order they are the Nashville Predators/Tampa Bay Lightning (how do you tie?), the Phoenix Coyotes, the New York Islanders, the Saint Louis Blues, and in last place, your Atlanta Thrashers. All teams with either financial issues, terrible attendance, or also rans for playoff contention. No surprises on this list. Oddly enough, the site doesn't list and quantifiable data...fishy, isn't it?
  • Chris Osgood, the blog's namesake, is back on IR. Most Red Wings fans will admit to a degree of frustration with this story, as Ozzy was supposed to be back in nets almost two weeks ago. Well, it looks like he might not even make it back for playoff hockey, which means more Joey MacDonald. Luckily MacDonald has been playing uncharacteristically well with a 4-4-2 record and and impressive 2.10 GAA. Jimmy Howard is the man in Motown, but if he falters in the playoffs, Detroit is in trouble.
  • Corey Perry for Hart? Not in my world, but the Ducks are 8-2 in their last 10 games and have creeped up on the Western conference playoff knuckleduster. Jonas Hiller is back, too. No one is going to want that match up in the first round. Even if Hiller is rusty in nets, journeyman Ray Emery seems to be picking up the slack just fine.
  • Zack Parise might be back by the end of the year. Why bother? According to the amazing site Sports Club Stats, the New Jersey Devils have a 0.1 per cent chance of getting into the playoffs, with a maximum possible 90 point season, assuming they go undefeated in their final nine games. I can understand a player wanting to get back, but there's no reason to rush back just to make three or four token appearances.
  • Finally, in international news, it's occurred to me that this blog has a small audience in the beautiful country of Hungary. Does Hungary like hockey? You bet they do. As of today Hungary is sitting in 20th place among all international ice hockey teams. They finished 2nd in Division I's Group B tournament in 2010 and are looking to win in Group A in 2011, where they will be co-hosting with Ukraine. A win at this tournament would boost them back up into the big tournament where perennial powerhouses like Canada, Sweden, Russia, and the United States play. Big props to goaltender Zoltán Hetényi of 2010's Hungarian squad for being the top goalie of Group B last tournament, registering two shutouts and giving up just two goals en route to Hungary's 4-1 record. He didn't win Goaltender of the Tournament for some reason...British netminder Stephen Murphy won with significantly worse numbers as Great Britain finished 4th in the group. So our boy Hetényi out duels him in a 2-0 shutout and doesn't get top goalie nod? Quite the rob job. In any event, GO HUNGARY!

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