Presumptuous (Yet Perfect) Power Play Prescriptions for St. Louis’ Punchless Pucksters

Gimme some juiceLike many people, I studied abroad in college. I “studied” in France, home of NHL and St. Louis Blues superstar Philippe Bozon. While there, I was dragged to a concert headlined by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, who were apparently more than a one-hit wonder in Europe. I was a bit bewildered by thousands of Frenchmen chanting “Electricite! Electricite! Electricite!” begging for one of OMD’s “hits.”

The St. Louis Blues could use some of that Electricite! right about now. While the team is off to a solid start, having gone 6-4 thus far to open the 2007-08 season, the power play, to put it charitably, stinks on home ice. During Saturday’s 4-3 win over Washington, the Blues had two extended five-on-three advantages and failed to score, despite Andy Murray deploying five forwards on the ice. Overall, the power play was just 2 for 27 on home ice (7.4 percent) entering last night’s game, tied with Phoenix and just ahead of Boston at the bottom of the league standings. A soporific 0-for-5 against the Coyotes may have dragged the Blues into the cellar.

What follows are four ideas to put the “advantage” back into the whole concept of drawing penalties.

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Waking Up in a Cold Sweat

…no…..no! NO!!!!!!!!!!

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Making Puck: If Crosby for Us, Who Can Be Against Us?

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Red Wings 2, Oilers 1 – Henrik Zetterberg has now scored a point in each of the Red Wings’ 13 games, as his power play goal in the 2nd helped paced Detroit to their sixth win in a row.  Rumor has it that Detroit ordered some pizza after the game to celebrate, but as the delivery kid pulled up to Rexall Place, Oilers GM Kevin Lowe offered 16 dollars a pizza to try and hijack the food.  The Red Wings were then forced to match the outrageous amount in order to eat.  Hey, that’s how K-Lowe rolls.

Flames 5, Predators 1 – Fortunately, Calgary has gotten hot at a time where the NHL scheduling gods has them beating Southeast expansion teams instead of the squads the Battle of California supports.  Regarding last week’s arson tragedies out in SoCal, the Flames defeating those teams would make for some awkward headlines.  Kiprusoff stopped 39 shots for the win.

Coyotes 2, Blues 1 – In a game light on offense, you know it’s a bad sign when both coaches have their enforcers in the starting line-up.  Jamal Mayers and Daniel Carcillo squared off 5 seconds after the opening face-off.  The rest of this game couldn’t match the opening scene, making this match-up the Super Troopers Game of the Night.

Thrashers 3, Canadiens 2 (SO) – Kovalchuk scores the game-winner, and the Thrashers didn’t even have to cheat this time to win.

Penguins 4, Wild 2And the Lord sent his Son to the people of Minnesota, and they reveled in his brilliance.  Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists, while Weed Against Speed knifed furiously to carve a voodoo pumpkin of The Kid’s visage.  Crosby continues his campaign to be the best player to currently wear #87.  It’s your move, Donald Brashear.

Note: In the NHL.com recap for this game, it reads, “Pittsburgh caught the Wild at an opportune time, after a rash of groin injuries shelved Minnesota’s top three players.”  And that’s the last time I want to see “groin” and “rash” in the same sentence.

Saint Sidney Invades Saint Paul Tonight: Minnesotans Expecting Traffic Jams, Miracles

Jesus Dominates In The Face-Off Circle

Thanks to the NHL’s Gary Bettman’s somewhat unconventional downright retarded idea of an unbalanced schedule, tonight will be Minnesota hockey fans first chance to see The Chosen One, a/k/a Sid the Kid, a/k/a The Next One, a/k/a Hockey Jesus, a/k/a Sidney Crosby play in his brief NHL career. Crosby has been to Minnesota before; in fact, he played for hockey powerhouse Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the tiny hamlet of Faribault, Minnesota when he was 15 years old, where he scored 72 goals and and 162 points in 57 games in 2002-03.

Given the magnitude of such an event, the Minnesota State Patrol will have their hands full with traffic management and all the other details associated when someone of such stature visits a “flyover state” like Minnesota – it’s very similar to when the President or the Pope visits, except on this occasion, the residents of Minnesota actually give a shit. Truth be told, this is the most highly aniticipated visit to the state by a Crosby since the last time David Crosby fell off the wagon and booked a “vacation” at Hazelden for “exhaustion”.

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The 2007 Vincent Damphousse Award Winner: Peter Bondra

DamphousseAccording to the National Hockey League’s Committee For Awards and Trophies That Aren’t Made Up, the Vincent Francois Damphousse Memorial Trophy (founded in 2004) shall be presented annually “to the player who, by publicly announcing his retirement from playing hockey to pursue other endeavors, makes us all laugh and say to ourselves ‘Really? That dude was still in the league? Hmm. Whatever.'”

Past recipients of this elite award include Doug Gilmour in 2003, who received the award retroactively after Damphousse’s 2004 retirement and the subsequent creation of the trophy, Steve Thomas in 2005, though he declined the award because he is still waiting for an NHL contract, and Luc Robitaille in 2006, who received the trophy milliseconds after officially announcing his retirement, as a league official happened to be standing right next to him clutching the trophy in his outstretched hand for three years.

It is with great pleasure that I now announce the 2007 inductee into the elite club of NHL players who have amused us greatly by announcing their retirement and thereby reminding us that they hadn’t yet retired. Drum roll please.

AND THE AWARD GOES TO…

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Making Puck: Special Cherry Popping Edition

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Although there weren’t many games in the NHL last night, it was a very special night for several players who lost their scoring virginity. Was it everything they dreamed? Or did it all happen too fast to really appreciate?  Let’s find out.

First up was Paul Mara, who got his first assist of the season for the Rangers in their 3-1 win over the Lightning. Popping your assist cherry is sort of like copping your first feel, I guess, but Mara still bragged to all the guys afterward. Jaromir Jagr also scored for the Rangers.

Devin Setoguchi then doubled his pleasure, pounding home his first two goals of the season for the Sharks as they beat the Stars 4-2. Teammates were wowed as Setoguchi popped his two shots just 2:34 apart, a truly impressive recovery time.  Ah, to be 20 again! After this display, no one wanted to hear from Matt Niskanen about his first goal of the season, especially since it came in a losing effort.

Finally, it was a veritable virgin orgy in Toronto, as five Capitals scored for the first time.  Brian Sutherby, Matt Pettinger, Boyd Gordon, Matt Bradley and Jeff Schultz celebrated their gang-bang of Vesa Toskala and Andrew Raycroft in style, as the Capitals went on to win 7-1. Alex Ovechkin helped out with two goals of his own, one off of each of those two bitches.

The Only Slovak Whose Name I Can Easily Spell is Going Home

22207038.jpgPeter Bondra, the once-great scoring machine for the Washington Capitals, has retired from ice hockey to accept the general manager position for his homeland of Slovakia. Ah, retirement. Good for you, Peter. Because of this decision, you won’t have to you know, not play hockey anytime soon. Not putting on a jersey and not taking shifts in the NHL this season has no doubt taken a toll on your body as of late, and we’re glad that you can finally hang the skates up for good.Of course, you’ll have to take said skates off the rack and then put them back on the rack to make your point, but we understand. Retiring from unemployment is hard.

After the jump, insights into what General (Manager) Bondra can expect once he gets to the practice facility in Bratislava.

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