Asterisks and Preferential Treatment
If there’s one thing I love more than the Sabres winning, it’s other teams losing. Sure enough, two games into the delayed start of the NHL season, fans of both the Philadelphia Flyers and the Toronto Maple Leafs have started their excuses, their reasons why their teams shouldn’t possibly be starting off like stumbling toddlers, and it’s so much sweeter when they have legitimate gripes. I want an entire season full of legitimate gripes, please.
I also want this entire season (and article*) to be full of astersisks, giving sad excuses for why this or that shouldn’t count.
- I’ve already heard some Flyers fans complain that because of the lockout, Ilya Bryzgalov needs to shake off rust and get back in to form. So the Flyers’ sad 0-2* start should get an asterisk, right? Sure. I mean, just because he signed with the KHL and played in Moscow, he might have to get used to the style and pace of the NHL. Ryan Miller stayed in top form, of course, by not playing a competitive* game since April 5th. Wait what?
- Ben Scrivens, goaltender* of the NHL’s* Toronto Maple Leafs, is just not any good. #HaterGonnaHate
- Of course none of that matters, since this season has a giant asterisk. I’ve seen more than a few fans* of the Buffalo Sabres complain that if the Sabres were to win the Stanley Cup this year (oh, you think I’m getting ahead of myself…this was before the first* game*) that it would somehow mean less because of the late start and fewer games.
Balderdash. Bull-oney. Horse hockey. If you are one of the fans that believes that winning the Cup this year somehow means less than other years, I have one simple question for you: Which team would you prefer win it?
Some team is going to win the Stanley Cup* in this 48 game season*. Just like some team wins the Cup whenever there is a hiatus for the Olympics. Just like some team wins the Cup when Sidney Crosby misses a season with a concussion*, or when the two line pass rule changed in 2005-2006, or when there were less teams in the league. The game changes every single season, by both small and large margins. There is an asterisk next to every year if you want to be granular enough in what differentiates any sort of “mulligan”.
- Tweet of the weekend came on Saturday:
Vanek slowly went on to score an ordinary 5 points*. But one of them was an empty net, so it gets an asterisk.
- Flyers fans, Leafs fans, and journalists* unite to whine about goalie interference calls and why they shouldn’t be. It’s cool. We all know that there’s no salary cap that comes in to play when the refs get paid off. And Miller, unlike certain Russian
sievesgoal tenders, had all autumn to stay behind and sweet-talk the officials.Personally it looks to me like he took a few acting classes, because he’s really selling those non-contacts and I could swear I almost thought they were goaltender interference. Guess what. They weren’t! None of them were. And I plan on the Sabres getting two or more goals waved off every game this season! What’s beautiful is that there is nothing that Flyers fans or Leafs fans or bloggers are going to be able to do about it. Go ahead. Go ahead and cry.
Ryan Miller is going to get nudged at least once per game, and every single time he's going to flop around and allow that puck to cross the line because he knows that the officials are going to screw your team. Every time. And it's glorious.
I’m going to be sitting at home just laughing, laughing my head off. You will raise your arm in protest and shout profanities. When the Sabres are on the road, the crowd will boo and throw trash on the ice. You’d swear that Miller is grinning ear to ear under his goalie mask, and that Lindy Ruff is taking the distraction as his opportunity to hit your team’s coach with a steel chair. Thomas Vanek will unabashedly hand over a hundred dollar bill in full view of the camera, just to make sure you know it’s happening. The officials will put their head into the hood and spend ten minutes consulting with the High Council of Lords in Toronto, and halfway through Don Cherry’s decree that the goal was good the line will go to static and Ted Black’s voice will cut in and just say the names of the official’s loved ones. Then, with sunken eyes and a sullen look on his face, the official will turn around and wave his hands apart.
We’re the bad guys now. Get as mad as you can.
That or, you know, quit complaining about bad calls. But that’s just dumb.
- Drew Stafford shed a bit of my distaste by stepping up and
fighting*getting pummeled by Scott Hartnell (the 5th sexiest man in hockey) following a cheap hit on Tyler Ennis. No. Seriously. Fifth sexiest* man in hockey.
Maybe Drew should take some lessons in how to win a fight from John Scott. Or…not (sad trombone).
- Are any fans still upset about Jochen Hecht being re-signed? I’m serious. Dude took a two million dollar pay cut so that his cap hit would be negligible, he’s a center-in-a-pinch option in case someone gets injured, and he’s a good penalty killer. I mean “Blah blah blah old system, yargle bargle lazy European!”
- Dan’s Three Stars** of the Weekend:
(1) Christian Ehrhoff
(2) Alex Sulzer
(3) Jochen Hecht
- New Connolly* and New Roy* are definitely improvements over their old models.
* – subject to debate if you want to be whiney about it
** – Dan’s Three Stars will always be German. Because I said so.