Shoulda Been You, Coach Therrien

060920_malkin_vmed9pwidec.jpgYesterday, the NHL released the rosters for their All-Star Weekend Young Stars Competition. And just like the Mitchell report, we skipped reading the damn press release and went straight to the names. After all, the rest of the article is just details and filler, right? Rookie game…wide-open scoring…future of the league…probably on Versus…blah blah…got it. I need names, damn it!

Oh God.

We here at MYFO would like to welcome you to our analysis of the Evgeni Malkin Memorial Young Stars Competition. God rest his soul, and shall Hockey Jesus call in a favor to His Father on Evgeni’s behalf in Heaven.

The West is coming to town behind the Blackhawks’ wunderkind Patrick Kane, whose wearing of #88 may allow us to forget that Lindros punk ever played the game. You’ve also got 19-year old Sam Gagner, David “White Skates” Perron, his trusty sidekick Erik Johnson, the Stars’ Matt Niskanen, and the Kings’ Jack Johnson, whose unique brand of laid-back acoustic Cali rock will add some delightful ambience to the event.

The East counters with Marc Staal, Winter Classic shootout wonder Kris Letang, Nicklas Backstrom – who will spend the next pasty, pasty decade in the Shadow of Ovechkin, as well as some other guys I’ve never bothered to see play hockey. Tobias Enstrom gets to play because his Thrashers are hosting and he heard wonderful things about the event from new teammate Mark Recchi, who recalled when he played in it in 1938.

So where the hell is Malkin?

If he’s not in the All-Star Game, why would Gary Bettman not pick him for this? He’s well within the age constraints – Enstrom and four others are older than him. Let’s do a stat comparison between Malkin and his likely shaftman – Bruins forward Milan Lucic.

• Malkin: 23 goals and 29 assists, +5
• Lucic: 4 goals and 5 assists, -1

(The official NHL response will likely be something that has to do with the fact that no one can play in the Young Stars game more than once. And true to this unwritten rule, not a single player from last year’s exciting game is on the shortlist of 16 for this year. But that’s just the problem. There are not going to be 22 new rookies every single year worthy of watching in such an event! Last year, they lucked out because the year before there was no game because of the Olympics and the Lockout preceded that season. They had three years of rookies to choose from. Hell, the 16 this year are barely worthy. If the NHL wants this to become a All-Star Weekend staple, you need to invite repeat players, so far as they remain underneath the 25 year-old cap and don’t make the actual All-Star Game.)

So it is the opinion of this blog that the only reasonable answer for the lack of Evgeni Malkin in this game is that he’s dead. To show our respects, we’ve sent flowers to his mother in Magnitogorsk. He was so young.

It’s a well-known fact* that Malkin hated all goaltenders, so in his honor, the NHL has banned young star goaltenders from the Young Stats Competition altogether. Sorry, Karri Ramo. Too bad, Hannu Toivonen. Your Finnish sweet talking’s not going to get you guys to Atlanta. Gary Bettman HAS SPOKEN.

Of course, this presents a problem. What’s a Young Stars Game without goaltenders? (This is probably where I shouldn’t have skimmed the article.)

The eight-player Eastern and Western Conference YoungStar teams will face off in a new three-on-three event…The YoungStars will be shooting against goaltenders named to participate in the NHL All-Star Game the following day.

Psst…it’s a 3-on-3 tournament. If I were coaching the Eastern Young Stars, I would just play all three of the goalies on my bench (Brodeur, DiPietro, and Vokoun) and rotate one Young Star. Without a square inch of open net, constant fresh legs, and one lucky counter attack, I guarantee a win for the East. It’s what Evgeni would have wanted.

* May not be well-known. Or a fact.

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4 Comments

  1. I guess they only wanted rookies…

    I’m still bummed by the omission of Johnny Oduya, he’s just a soph.

    What? He’s not young ?(that fucker is like 26) He’s not a star?

  2. Instead of goaltenders, the league should have just had the Caps send Quintin Laing who is a career minor leaguer and a human shot blocking machine. He’s out from practice with general body soreness. That’s why Malkin’s not in the game either. He’s Sidney’s bitch.

  3. 3 goalies? That’s just crazy enough that it might work!

  4. @Pam: Last time I saw Oduya in a highlight, he was doing an involuntary back somersault, courtesy of Georges Laraque’s left shoulder.


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