Every once in a while, sports fans and writers are confronted with one of those odd situations in which it’s hard to take an athlete’s comments at face value (but possibly because of your own beliefs and prejudices).
Chris Kuc writes that Marty Turco is fine with the Chicago Blackhawks starting red-hot “backup” Corey Crawford against the Dallas Stars instead of him, but can we be sure he’s not just preaching the company line? The question is obvious: is Turco just trying to be a good teammate or could it be that he simply doesn’t care like we do? Maybe Turco isn’t driven by the idea of beating an organization he played with for so many years.
It’s tough to believe that it doesn’t affect him at all, but the team’s logic is simple. Crawford won six games in a row while Turco lost his last three. Sometimes you have to go with the hot hand rather than play into the convenient media-approved storylines.
In case you want to read Turco’s comments and dissect their credibility yourself, here they are.
“We’re going to go with the winning formula,” Turco said after practice Tuesday at the United Center. “Corey’s playing and deserves to. There’s a reason why I came here, that’s to win. I have zero problems with it. If it was an Eastern Conference team and it was our only shot at them this year, I might puff up my chest, but it’s no big deal really. As long as we beat them.”
“I’d like to play them but I’m pretty sure I’ll get a shot at them this year,” added Turco, who signed a one-year, free-agent contract with the Hawks during the offseason.
“I didn’t come to Chicago to be a part of the Blackhawks organization to beat the Dallas Stars. I came here to win and be part of a winning formula. People have to respect that and I certainly do.”
You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.
Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.
“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?
Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.
Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.
It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.
Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.
On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?
It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?
* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.
If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.
The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.
After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.
If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.
Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.
If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:
“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”
The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.
Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:
With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.
Measuring stick stretch begins
Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.
This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.
It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.
In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.
Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.
It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.
His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:
These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”
Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.