Nothing like a weekend of +30 celcius weather and a few thunderstorms, to fuel the desire to...watch hockey! Onwards!
1. Tikhonov...Viktor Tikhonov! - At the end of the upcoming hockey season, Don Maloney of the Phoenix Coyotes should do everything in his power to get Viktor Tikhonov back on to his NHL roster. Tikhonov left the Coyotes a few years ago under similar circumstances that Alexander Burmistrov of the Jets left and went back to Russia. Tikhonov lit it up at the World Hockey Championships, and looked very comfortable playing along side Ovechkin and Malkin. It's obvious that playing along side Ilya Kovalchuk on a SKA St. Petersburg squad has done him some good, and his progression as a hockey player is coming along nicely.
2. Would the real Jokinen please stand up! - Olli still has it, and is committed to keeping it. Coming off a 82 game season where he gathered 43 points (an increase over the previous 45 game season where he only scored 14 points), and 16 games at the international level, representing Finland at the Olympics and World Championships, Olli was rock solid with 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 points. His fitness level has dramatically improved and has even gone as far as hiring a full time massage therapist to help him thru the grind of an NHL season. With this showing this year, Olli should get a good look from Jet's brass, as they should definitely look at resigning him to a leadership, 4th line role.
3. Rinne and Bobrovsky, LTD. - Sounds like a lawfirm. The Predators and Blue Jackets are two very lucky teams, as these two goalies played excellent hockey thruout the WC. Here's hoping the injury bug has left Rinne, and both goalies can help their respective up and coming NHL clubs to hit the playoffs next season. Two thumbs up!
4. Tokarski the Great, and Budaj the Blah! - Oh, what an interesting logjam we'll see in Montreal this off season. Tokarski is a mini-Price, in his demeanor during and between plays, and in his angle positioning and post to post. Pretty good for someone coming in with only 10 NHL games under his belt, but a solid pedigree of championship hockey thru out his teenage career. Some minor tweeks with goalie coach Stephane Waite, and perhaps the Canadiens will reward his stellar play with a back up role behind Price. Peter Budaj and his $1.4 million salary, going into a UFA year, can then be shopped around the league, and the money saved could go towards the signing of a well deserved P.K. Subban.
5. Carcillo Hat Trick? - We've seen him hit players, which has resulted in suspensions. Now, he's abused a ref (hit, slashed, etc.), which has resulted in a suspension. What's next? Taking on and taking out Pierre Maquire or Ray Ferraro between the benches (although I'm sure Ray would clean his clock, given the chance!). Hows about a team mascot or an in-box official? Now he's appealing the new suspension? Please! Give this guy the Avery treatment, and send him packing.
6. Radio Shack sales extravaganza - Seems the WC Russian coach Oleg the Terrible, who apparently watches a lot of wrestling and idolizes the Undertaker, was playing with his new walkie talkie/ radio ear piece gizmo a lot during the first and second periods of the WC championship game while up in the stands. His replacement on the bench must have attended the same sale. All joking aside, disrespecting the IIHL's ban for his attending and associating with players and personnel prior to and after the game may see him suspended/ fined/ banned a lot more than one game in the future. Time will tell.
7. The curious case of Benjamin Button "Dustin" Byfuglien - Is he a forward? Is he a defense man? Is he a trade target, trade bait or untouchable? Can play goal? Yeah, just kidding :) Lots of debate as to how he should be played, and that could be the genius behind the move to from defense to forward. Pin him down to one position and his value may fall. Make him an anomaly, and his value sky rockets. My money is on trade bait, although I would be very sorry to see him go.
As always, your comments are welcome.
'Til next time! Cheers!