Bob McKenzie’s story on this week’s GM meetings really stirred my imagination (and probably did the same for other hockey fans). So, today, I’ll break down some of the more interesting ideas that were discussed. Are they realistic? What would be an even better alternative? Or is the idea simply dumb?
First, let’s take a look at possibly the most “light-hearted” idea that came from GM Ray Shero; this is an idea soaked in nostalgia (although for uncoordinated people like me, not all of those memories are fond).
Pittsburgh Penguins’ GM Ray Shero talked about the idea of a change to how the All-Stars are selected. Having two chosen captains “pick” their teams much like how you would in a shinny game.
It isn’t surprising that Shero (or even Washington Capitals GM George McPhee) would concoct such an idea, as it’s pretty obvious he was thinking about scenarios like Team Crosby vs. Team Ovechkin (or even Team Malkin). McKenzie pointed out that there could be hurt feelings (“an axe to grind”) for players left off the team.
That’s a sensible response, but one minor tweak would make this idea brilliant (at least for one All-Star game).
Instead of having captains make the initial selections, keep that system the same. Even though voting controversies can be a headache, it’s still smart to let fans be involved with the process.
Here’s what I’d change, then: instead of having them pick who goes to the All-Star game, the two players should instead choose from that pool of players right before the Skills Competition. The league could play up the playground connection by having the players stand in a line while they wait to be selected, skate over to the captain when they’re chosen and even play the Prince is Right “losing horns” for the last player to go. Imagine the jersey sales if they let Crosby and Ovechkin design their own jerseys and hand them to each selected player, as if the guy had been drafted. Picture the breathless speculation and fabricated controversy, not to mention the comedy. This would be absolute gold and would get huge ratings if there was any justice in the world.
For more Crosby-Ovechkin fun, check out their rivalry in video and slideshow forms.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.