For those that wrote neal has no talent, you are kidding yourself. he has 84 goals in his last 168 games! yes he is cheap, but he is very talented and very good at putting the puck in the net. he is also very good at pissing off the other team, which is his job. Does it great.
He is also a huge diver and talks an awful lot of trash for someone with only a handful of career fights at the NHL level. Nobody is saying he has no talent, rather that his statistics are inflated by playing with Crosby and Malkin.
Also, there is a difference between pissing off the opposition in the sense that a guy like Glendening does, by playing hard and finishing every check, and throwing cheapshots like Neal.
Orpik isn't dirty at all, I don't know where you got that. Neal is, and Cooke was, so I get your point. But Brooks Orpik is not a dirty player.
I agree with you in that there should not have been suspensions handed out for last night's plays, but Orpik isn't exactly a clean player. Years ago he drilled Erik Cole from behind when Cole was still with the 'Canes. That was a very dirty play.
More recently, he threw a knee-on-knee hit on Derek Stepan of the Rangers. Pretty sure he threw a knee-on-knee on Franzen a while back, too. He talks an awful lot of trash for someone who probably hasn't even fought 15 times in his NHL career. When he does fight, he fights guys who are smaller than him and aren't close to experienced fighters like Joffrey Lupul and RJ Umberger. Orpik is trash.
-Franzen floated like a champ once again.
-Alfredsson has looked mediocre, to be nice.
-Legwand has become invisible since starting off decent with us.
-We played decent in the 1st, especially, but completely s*** our panties by the midway point of the 3rd.
-Howard, while some of the goals weren't completely on him, can't make saves when we really need them.
-Put simply, we're not going to make the playoffs without Datsyuk and Zetterberg.
-I want a fire sale when we don't make the playoffs. Bertuzzi, Alfredsson, Legwand, Franzen, Andersson, Cleary, Samuelsson, Emmerton, Quincey, and Lashoff all need to go. Get some players that give a s*** on this team. We've got too many players skating lackadaisically out there with the season on the line.
This is the LNAH- they fight for the fans as often as for hockey reasons. Few, if any, of these players are making it past the ECHL- although some have played at higher levels in the past- and the league has a tradition of physical hockey and fighting.
There's nothing wrong with physical hockey and fighting, but if I want to watch a staged joke where everyone is best buds at the end of the day, I'll watch WWE. Granted, I don't want to watch barbarians kill each other in constant bench-clearing brawls. I want hard-hitting, honest, passionate hockey. High fiving and hugging your opponent after you just beat the hell out of him is not passion.
There's a difference between having respect for your opponent (in the sense that you won't continue to throw punches once he's on the ice or the linesmen have stepped in) and making out with him after the fight. It makes it look theatrical. I get that guys wanna set the tone for the game, but that is ridiculous.
We are pathetically soft, but I'm not sure what you're basing the no-chance-in-the-playoffs part on. We beat the Ducks in seven games last season with pretty much the same roster, and we took the vastly superior Cup champs to overtime of game seven. And so far this season we've handled the Big Bad Bruins - everyone's pick for the biggest, toughest team in the league - pretty well. And before we let the bigger, tougher, scrappier Leafs back into the game on Saturday, we were handing it to them in pretty much every way, driving the net on our first three goals and such.
Granted, the playoffs are a different animal. But I like our chances in the East. (I believe the West is the much tougher conference, physically and overall.)
Maybe we add a little sandpaper at the trade deadline?
I love the amount of skill and finesse this team has, but it needs to be complemented by some snarl. I'm not saying we should convince Peter Worrell to come out of retirement and think that's enough snarl, because ultimately, one-dimensional enforcers dont typically play in the playoffs anyway. There will be plenty of snarl available at the deadline. As it stands right now, I don't see this team being able to physically endure a long postseason. We're too fragile. Look how many players are hurt right now. Granted, every team goes through spells or injuries. We seem to go through a lot of them.