A few tips if #ThrowTheSnake becomes a reality

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Obviously, I’ve had plenty of fun with the red-hot #ThrowtheSnake meme today, as you can see from this post and my brief history of odd things fans enjoy throwing on the ice. But – as much of an uncontrollable locomotive of a meme monster as its become – I have to admit that much of what I was writing was in jest.

Yet, it seems like the idea has a chance of becoming more than just a flash-in-the-pan for its creators Chemmy (of Pension Plan Puppets) and (and Phoenix Coyotes blogger) Travis Hair. Travis Hughes of Sports Blog Nation (the network Hair’s Five for Howling belongs to) states that the movement might indeed result in an actual (OK, plastic) snake being thrown. Hughes shares some more thoughts on the meme’s popularity and just how “real” it is getting.

And from there it took off. 39-plus re-tweets. The number one trending topic in Canada. It took on a life of its own, getting to the point where Travis himself didn’t even know what was going on. Slowly though, it’s actually becoming a serious thought. Travis’ wife chimed in via an email to him supporting the idea, calling it his “cultural obligation”, “an opportunity to make a tangible impact” in a city with a “weak fan culture.”

From there, the planning actually got going, with fans from several teams chiming in about getting rubber snakes shipped to Arizona in bulk. Could it actually happen? Could a little thought, started as a joke, turn into a tradition in the the Desert?

If Hair and Co. do plan to act on such an awesome idea, I have a few suggestions. These suggestions are made with the overly ambitious idea of handing tons of them out to fans in mind – not just throwing one on the ice – by the way. (Obviously taking things a little further.)

Slap your logo(s) on it: Casual fans might not know about your blog right now, but if they know the source, that will go a long way in winning some well-deserved readers.

Make them cheap (or better, free): Obviously, that’s the tricky part. Earlier I discussed attending a Texas Brahmas game with Tapeleg in which we threw soft Brahmas when the team scored a goal. The key was that the cute little things were cheap.

They better be soft and easy to throw: Don’t make the mistake of giving noodle-armed (or worse, cannon-armed) fans something hard to throw. As the guys at Hockeenight told me, the Chicago Blackhawks handed out construction helmets one night in which a Chicago player scored a hat trick. As you can imagine, the situation was a bit … nerve-wracking.

Follow those three steps and you could be onto something ingenious. Good luck Travis and Co. We could be all be privy to a true moment in Twitter-fueled history. God help us all.

Forsberg’s hat trick, own-goal highlights Predators’ wild OT loss to Flames

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If you want to summarize the kind of night the Nashville Predators experienced, you could do worse than to draw parallels to Filip Forsberg‘s experiences.

The highs were quite high, you see. Forsberg & Co. carved away at the Calgary Flames’ 4-1 lead as his hat trick (see above) eventually gave the Predators a fleeting 5-4 edge.

We all should have seen more drama coming … and it did. Forsberg ended up being at the wrong place at the wrong time in overtime; the Flames’ 6-5 overtime winner ended up going off of his foot. Ouch.

Mark Giordano ended up being credited with that goal. The game was just a barn-burner.

While it was an up-and-down night for both the Flames and Predators, Pekka Rinne‘s evening was pretty much uniformly dismal.

Rinne was pulled early in the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots, making way for Juuse Saros (who actually ended up gtting tagged with the loss).

The Flames can breathe a sigh of relief after winning the game despite coughing up a big lead, improving to 64 points and strengthening their grip on the second wild card spot. That “charity point” comes in handy for Nashville, leaving the Predators with 59 points and a game in hand on the Flames.

Matthews, Leafs get last laugh in OT vs. Laine and the Jets

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Hockey fans tend to get their radars up about over-hyping things, particularly promising rookies.

Is it hasty, then, to wonder if there’s something to a rivalry between Auston Matthews (and the Maple Leafs) vs. Patrik Laine (plus the Jets)? If nothing else, the two have come up big in two very exciting games.

Back in October, Laine generated a hat trick as the Jets beat the Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime. This time around, it was another 5-4 overtime decision … only Matthews and the Maple Leafs took this round.

This isn’t to take anything away from Laine’s performance, mind you. He scored two goals on Tuesday, becoming the rare modern rookie to muster 30 goals. He reminded hockey fans that he only needs the smallest window to make you pay with his deadly, world-class shot.

But Matthews wouldn’t be denied, either, and fittingly did so in a quieter fashion. (Virtually everyone seems a little quieter when Laine’s around, it seems.)

The Maple Leafs’ outstanding rookie managed three assists in this game, giving him 52 points in 59 games. He also has six points in a three-game run and eight in his past five.

Laine? He now has 54 points in 55 games, extending is own point streak to five games (seven goals, three assists).

In other words, it’s really close … just like the games when these two budding stars (and their young, promising teammates) meet.

You might even be tempted to believe the hype.

Serious performance: Blackhawks gain on Wild thanks to Toews’ five points

ST PAUL, MN - MAY 6: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck against Zach Parise #11 and Jason Pominville #29 of the Minnesota Wild during the first period in Game Three of the Second Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 6, 2014 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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If the Chicago Blackhawks are going to make up some serious ground and overtake the Minnesota Wild for the Central Division title, they’ll need wins like these.

It’s only fitting that “Captain Serious” Jonathan Toews did the heavy lifting, generating a hat trick and two assists as the Blackhawks beat the Wild 5-3 on Tuesday.

Yes, Toews was involved in every goal. And yes, the Blackhawks won this one in regulation after beating the Wild in overtime last time around. It’s a nice swing for Chicago:

Central Division title chase

1. Wild – 84 points in 59 games (39 wins, 36 ROW)
2. Blackhawks – 79 points in 60 games (37 wins, 35 ROW)

Yeah, that’s still a substantial edge for Minnesota … but this is a significant swing.

Even beyond the name recognition that comes with Toews & Co., the Blackhawks’ push shouldn’t be surprising. They’re red-hot in February so far, going 7-1-0 despite playing seven of eight on the road (strangely losing that lone home contest).

The Wild have played reasonably well in their own right, yet this loss sends them into a bye week with some frustration … and maybe some questions about whether they can hold the Blackhawks off.

Also, tonight marked a nice milestone for Joel Quenneville:

Price didn’t just play for Habs; he made the difference vs. Rangers

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It’s one thing for Carey Price to shake off that Paul Byron shot in warm-ups. And, honestly, that bump from Shea Weber during the game. But to play like, well, Carey Price? That would be something else.

Well, you probably saw this one coming … but Price had some absolutely great moments against the New York Rangers in an eventual 3-2 shootout win.

He was the main difference-maker, although it must be said that there’s some comic relief in Byron scoring the shootout-winner.

Price vs. Rick Nash felt like a subplot of the overall story.

On one occasion, Price made a resounding stop on a Nash breakaway:

It was quite the night for the aging power forward, however, as he nailed his other opportunity.

Some might be a little sad that Nash vs. Price didn’t go against each other in the shootout, but hey, maybe the two teams could save that for next time?

The Canadiens needed this win more than the Rangers. The Ottawa Senators actually briefly went ahead for first place in the Atlantic Division, but now Montreal has 72 points to Ottawa’s 70 … while the Sens hold two games in hand.

Similar tweets might end up being relevant, however. Though betting against Price is also a dicey proposition.