Tag Archives: Pavel Datsyuk

One Writer’s Trophy Candidates

Because there’s been talk of certain Canadiens possibly grabbing hardware at season’s end, I’ve wondered who else around the league might be in the thick of things in different categories, and how professional writers might view some of the Habs who have a shot.

So it was interesting to see how Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province rates players he says are in the running, with him, and maybe some cohorts at the Province, coming up with some personal picks.

The Hart Trophy (MVP)

Jamieson’s three finalists are Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Alex Ovechkin (Washington), and Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim), and he decides on Crosby, although he mentions that Ovechkin is pushing hard.

James Norris Memorial Trophy (top defenceman)

Shea Weber (Nashville), Ryan Suter Minnesota, and P.K. Subban and Jamieson chooses Suter. About Subban, he says P.K. has finally decided to let his play do the talking, and the results confirm he’ll win this trophy soon enough. (just not this year). I disagree. Subban has been brilliant and deserves to win.

Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)

Tuukka Rask (Boston), Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus), and Cory Schneider (Vancouver), and Jamieson apologizes to Canucks fans because he chooses Rask.

Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie)

Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida), and Jonas Brodin (Minnesota) are the three finalists, and although Huberdeau leads rookies in scoring, the writer picks Gallagher, which of course I agree with.

Frank J. Selke (best defensive forward)

Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), David Backes (St. Louis).  The choice is Toews, with his league leading plus-33.

Lady Byng – (sportsmanship/high standard of play)

Datsyuk, Jordan Eberle (Edmonton), and Loui Eriksson (Dallas).  Who wins? Flip a coin, says Jamieson. He then chooses Eberle.

Jack Adams Award (coach of the year)

Joel Quenneville (Chicago), Bruce Boudreau (Anaheim), and Michel Therrien, and Jamieson picks Therrien. He says Anaheim and Montreal have been the season’s surprise teams, and he gives the nod to Therrien for a better storyline – about a guy who’s been frozen out by the NHL since his firing from Pittsburgh in 2009.

Money Sure Can Talk

I must be pretty dense. All along I thought Ilya Kovalchuk was flirting with staying with his St. Petersburg SKA team because he loved his country so much and was finally eating his favourite foods again.

It barely registered on me that SKA, and probably the KHL head comrades, were offering him millions to stay. How come I’ve been so clueless? Kovalchuk has 13 years left on his 15-year, $100 million Devils salary, so if there’s one thing we must realize about the KHL, is that there’s some serious rubles floating around if they can get the guy to even think about it.

Slightly different from 1972, when Soviet players who didn’t dress for the four Summit Series games in Moscow had to buy their own tickets to get into the rink. Or those same National team players who were paid $200 to $400 a month for the honour of playing for their country.

Apparently Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk will be returning to North America following Sunday’s KHL All-Star game. A contract is a contract, whether North American food sucks for the guy or not. Kovalchuk’s a great player, a sniper with a deadly shot, and New Jersey fans must be happy this staying home talk is coming to an end.

Make My Day And Stay

Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Ovechkin, Sergei Kostitsyn, Pavel Datsyuk and a few other Russians are now saying they might just stay in Russia. Are you feeling bad about this?

Nobody forced these guys to come to North America, and when they did come, the vaults were opened and they dove in head first, drooling and panting. Now they’re saying that if some kind of pay cut happens from this ridiculous lockout, they just might stay home.

Please stay home. We really don’t want you. You only play for the money anyway. The Stanley Cup isn’t at the top of your list, money is. After that it’s the Olympics and World Championships. Then some borscht and black bread. The Stanley Cup comes in fifth, after money, Olympics, the Worlds, and borscht and black bread. Ungrateful swine, the bunch of you. North American hockey will survive without you, thank you very much.

Is this the end result of the wonderful ’72 Summit Series, Canada Cups, and the New Year’s Eve Habs-Red Army clash in 1975, all of which caused closed doors to slowly open, and years later you marched in to a handshake and wheelbarrows packed full of Amerikanski dollars? What a sad legacy to such historic hockey meetings. Maybe the Summit Series and Canada Cups should never have happened and we wouldn’t have ever had to hear the sorry names of Kostitsyn and Kovalchuk and the others.

Even my wife, who is from Russia, says they’re only here for the money, that they’re not like Canadians, that they don’t have hockey in their blood. In fact, she’s not even surprised when I tell her these guys are threatening to stay home. “Let ‘em” she says. “They’re a different bunch.” And this from a Russian lady who loves her homeland but has these dudes all figured out.

You took jobs from players here and now you’re taking jobs from players there. And Sergei Kostitsyn, it was good riddance when you left Montreal, and now I hope I can say it again if your promise to leave this continent permanently comes to pass. Kovalchuk? Your 15-year, 100 million dollar deal with New Jersey might not cut the mustard if you have to give up some? And did you really have to take the captaincy for SKA in St. Petersburg? Wasn’t the old captain there doing his job? Ovechkin? You’re overrated, teams have figured you out, and now you sulk like a Russian baby. And your acting in commercials is much better suited for Russian TV, believe me. Frankly, I find you more than slightly goofy.

Please stay in the old country. All of you. Make Russian fans happy. And while you’re making them happy, you’ll be making me and many others happy too.

Babbling After The Cheez Whiz

You haven’t asked but I’ll tell you anyway. I’ve got time after polishing off my cheez whiz on Russian rye and lemon drink concoction that is supposed to be healthy and kills enemy cells but I really have no idea.

Would I like to see Alex Ovechkin play for the Habs?

No.

But I’d take Evgeny Malkin or Ilya Kovalchuk in a heartbeat. Pavel Datsyuk too.

And if Montreal went out and got Alexander Semin, whom I suppose is available on the market, then I hope a lockout happens and isn’t resolved until it’s time for him to retire.

If Montreal got Semin, I don’t even want to be stickboy. That’s how bad it is. You ever see him fight?

As for Ovechkin, I think players and coaches around the league have him figured out. You just have to be careful when he has the puck close in because he has such a wicked shot. Other than that, I can do without the flair and high maintenance. Unless Washington wants Gomez, Bourque, and Kaberle in return. Then welcome Ovie! Can I get you anything?

And yes, I know you’ve seen this Semin fight a million times, but I’m showing it again in case there’s the odd person out there who just got out of prison or was living in a monastery in Tibet for the past several years.

 

 

Bruins Lose!

The Bruins fell to the Caps in Washington by a score of 2-1, the series is now tied at two games apiece, and for me this is good news, although I don’t feel the slightest bit of affection for Washington. I just dislike Boston more. And the more I see Alex Ovechkin, the more I feel that if I was choosing a Russian for my hockey team, it would be Pavel Datsyuk or Evgeny Malkin. Ovechkin just doesn’t do it for me anymore.

New Jersey beat Florida 4-0, which ties the series at two, Phoenix goes up three games to one by beating Chicago 3-2, and St. Louis takes a 2-1 lead by overcoming San Jose 2-1.

At this point, it’s impossible to predict a Stanley Cup champ, and I think I’ll whine about this a little. I hate parity. Gary Bettman believes it’s good for the game but I don’t. I think we need dominant teams for others to try and knock off the pedestal. David and Goliath. The old Habs and Oilers and Islanders taking on the rest of the pack. It’s just more interesting for me.

The league needs glamour teams, odds-on favourites, full of swagger and talent. and we need blue collar teams to work like they’ve never worked before to try and slay these dragons. It’s excitement and drama. It’s Ken Dryden and his 1971 Canadiens toppling the heavily-favoured Bruins. It’s a young and brash Oilers team led by a fuzzy-faced Wayne Gretzky taking out the fading Habs. It’s the Canadiens, barely making the playoffs two years ago, eliminating both the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins and which had the hockey world in a frenzy.

Since 2003, eight different teams have won it all, no team has repeated, and now we have no idea who’s next in line. There’s no dominant team, not Vancouver or the Rangers or last year’s winners, the Bruins. This is Bettman’s parity. Maybe it’ll be the Florida Panthers going all the way this year, we can’t tell. Everyone seems the same now.

There will be no powerhouse team being in the fight of its life, and no team coming out of left field to surprise and shock. It’s a shame because it’s what sports should be about. But it’s all even now, the dynasties are dead.

It’s parity. And I hate parity.

 

Pens And Canucks On Brink. And A Nutty Russian Story

Strange but true. The Vancouver Canucks, first overall during the regular season, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, with two of the world’s best players in their lineup, are on the verge of being swept. But I can’t even laugh. My team didn’t even make the playoffs. But still.

It was bad enough when Marc-Andre Fleury and his team allowed eight goals to the Philadelphia Flyers the other night. But to do it again tonight, losing 8-4, is just plain weird. Are the Flyers that good? Is it that easy for them to throttle Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and the rest? So much for my prediction about Pittsburgh going all the way.

The Canucks fell 1-o in Los Angeles, their third straight defeat, and I recall just before the series began, in a Vancouver paper I think, the question being asked – will the Kings win one game or two? Hah. Los Angeles has smog, but Vancouver has smug. Or had smug. I think that may have evaporated sometime after game one.

Nashville nows leads their series against Detroit two games to one by beating the Wings 3-2, and although Detroit lost, Pavel Datsyuk scored one of his patented brilliant goals, if it’s any consolation. And Florida evened their series at one with the New Jersey Devils with a 4-2 win if you’re interested.

And speaking of Detroit and New Jersey…….We were in a restaurant this morning in Los Angeles and the food was good and there was lots of it, and Denis from Russia mentioned that it’s no wonder that restaurants in the US serve so much food, because American women can’t cook as well as Russian women. I asked where he got that nonsense from, and he explained that he had read it in Viacheslav Fetisov’s book.

Fetisov, who was a great defenceman for Red Army and the Soviet National team, came over to America and played several years for both the Devils and Detroit.

Denis said that in the book, Fetisov wrote that when his NHL teammates would come over to his house, Fetisov’s wife would cook up a big fancy spread, but when he went to his teammates’ homes, the North American wives mostly just served sandwiches because they weren’t great in the kitchen and ate in restaurants instead.

This really upsets me. Fetisov made about $200 a month playing in Russia, and became a millionaire in the NHL. Then he went back to Russia and slammed North American women and our lifestyle. I told Denis that it was all bullshit, that our women can cook every bit as well as Russian women, and I hope he believes me.

 

 

Be Tough And Smart, Like Emelin And Markov

 

I can’t say for sure of course, but I’m willing to bet that when the moms of Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin visit their boys, the first thing they do is whip up a big pot of borscht. Same with Mrs. Ovechkin and Mrs. Datsyuk and Mrs. Malkin and the rest of the Russian mama brigade. I’ll just bet they do.

I’m not a big fan of this soup. It’s quite red and it smells like cabbage and beets. Probably because it has cabbage and beets in it.

Regardless, I’m giving you a gift today. Be smart like Markov, tough like Emelin, crafty like Datsyuk, explosive like Ovechkin and Malkin. You can be all of these, if you eat your borscht.

Here’s what you do, compliments of Luciena Kane.

Take a big pot and fill it three quarters full with water. Three quarters of a pot will keep you in borscht for days on end. You can take it to work with you.

Boil small pieces of beef in the pot until beef is tender.

Fry onions in a frying pan. As many as you want. Try not to let your tears drop into the pot.

Throw onions, grated beets and carrots, along with green peppers and tomato paste, into the boiling water. Don’t put your finger in the water when it’s boiling.

Add potatoes and cabbage to concoction.

Cook everything in the water until the potatoes are soft. Softer than Gomez, Bourque, and Kaberle.

Put in a bowl, top off with sour cream, salt, and parsley, and eat like crazy.

And while you’re doing that, I’m having a cheeseburger. I know I’m bad. A hundred million Russians can’t be wrong.

My Secret Strategy – Choose The Best Player

There was one good thing that came from this year’s playoffs. I entered a contest at http://www.informedbet.com/ guessing who would score Detroit’s first goal in round one, and my choice, Pavel Datsyuk, came through. And for that, I won this great autographed 8×10 of Frank Mahovlich during the 1972 Summit Series.

Thanks guys.

It’ll Be Canucks And Sharks

The San Jose Sharks squeaked out a 3-2 win in game seven over the Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit’s big comeback from down three games to none has come to an abrupt end.

So goodbye, Red Wings, say hello to the wives and kids before you hit the golf course. And Canucks fans everywhere can go to bed knowing who their team will meet in the Western Conference final – the Sharks.

Who knows how this intriguing series will develop? Will the Sedins finally play like they did during the regular season? Will Patrick Marleau, after scoring in this game seven, go on a scoring tear? Will San Jose find a way to choke? Will Vancouver find a way to choke? Are the Sharks too rugged for the Canucks? Will Ryan Kesler continue his Conn Smythe ways? Will Joe Thornton be a stud or a dud? How do the Green Men go to the bathroom?

Actually, I wanted to see Detroit beat the Sharks. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because Pavel Datsyuk is fun to watch.

Is Detroit Finished Or Not?

This cartoon has absolutely nothing to do with the following story. I just threw it in because it involves the Detroit Red Wings, which happens to be today’s subject, and it’s mostly about the Habs, which is always a good thing.

Meanwhile.

During any regular season, I pay very little attention to teams in the NHL other than the Canadiens. If you came to my house, rarely, if ever, would a game not involving Montreal be on. And so there are some teams I know only a little about, mainly because of what I read in newspapers or hear Mike Milbury or Glenn Healy babble on about.

I’ve always been quite aware of the Detroit Red Wings, though, because they boast the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, the inimitable Pavel Datsyuk, and a host of players named Franzen, Holmstrom, Kronwall, Rafalski etc. Although in the back of my mind, this team had seen better days, with too many guys ready for the old folks home.

But it was one period of the Wings and Phoenix Coyotes in the opening round, on one particular power play, that Detroit played like everyone was 25 years old and ready for the Hall of Fame, and which convinced me that the Wings were still a powerhouse.  

That night, Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski controlled play on the blueline in a way which is rarely seen. They tossed the puck back and forth, players moved around with the precision of the 1972 Soviet squad, and Pavel Datsyuk, who is as brilliant as they come and in my book the best Russian in the league, was a magical demon in enemy territory.

It seemed men against boys, and after that I thought there was no way Detroit would be stopped in the west.

It would be the Habs and Wings in the final, and Montreal better not take too many penalties.

I went to work the next morning and mentioned to a deckhand, a diehard Canucks fan, that I didn’t believe Vancouver would win the west because Detroit looks just too good. That power play, I said, was as dangerous as can be. And Datsyuk…….

They won’t get by San Jose, said the deckhand, and this got me wondering. Should I have watched more hockey this year? This guy is a deep thinker and I listen when he speaks. And now he says Detroit would lose to the Sharks.

The rest of it you know. San Jose went up three games to none over Detroit, but the Wings have crept back in, winning the next two.

All I can think now is, San Jose must be awfully good to be winning the series against this team that impressed me for one period awhile ago. I’m also thinking that maybe watching only one period might not be quite enough.

But it seems Detroit’s coming back.

The deckhand might be wrong after all.