The product is still very enjoyable to me. Transparency in suspensions would really be my only gripe. The NHL's inferiority complex really shines through here. With having to compete with the NBA playoffs and early MLB schedule, suspending Subban, a marketable star, was out of the question. Meanwhile, Kronwall, is given a game for a hit where the shoulder was the primary point of contact, but his opponent had his head down. I get that Kronwall has a "history" for these kinds of hits, but taking those out of the game are a mistake. The playoffs are known for the increased intensity and harder style of play. With this suspension, I doubt we see a hit like this from Kronwall anytime soon. Hell, it's been sometime since we saw one before game 7.
The NHL has been a niche sport nationally for quite some time and they should embrace it. Canadian and true US hockey cities keep the game going and that's what I love about it. I cringe every four years when the Olympics thrusts the game into a national talking point (outside of the 4 seconds allocated on ESPN) and people immediately flag me down at work to talk about players they just discovered because they know I'm a "hockey guy."
Keep suspensions and rule enforcement consistent despite the type of player. At least you'll have the respect of the players and the diehard fans that continue supporting the league.
I actually really like the deal for both teams. Miller wanted out and I think they received solid players in return and picks to use for a future build. You have to admire Doug Armstrong for really going after it this year. I know we're a bubble team this year and the risks associated with trading picks from this position, but it takes me back to the days Holland used to do the same.
How so? I watched the whole thing and didn't notice E looking terrible. He wasn't good on the goal-against he was on for but he looked good on the two goals-for he was on for.
He had one turnover but that was negated by the fact that he also had a takeaway. He was a +1 and had 2 hits. He also had a blocked shot. He played on the PK and wasn't on for a PP goal against.
Was he positionally perfect? No, he looked like a rookie at times. But Lebda was TERRIBLE. Stuart looked bad on the goal he was out with Lebda for. How can Ericsson look good when his partner was a s*** show?
Honestly, I just didn't have a problem with E today. He definitely bounced back after misplaying the pass on that goal. What else did you expect in a game where the forwards played horrible defense and the Wings were constantly back on their heels?
Also, why would you say you'd rather see a Lilja-Lebda line over Lilja-Ericsson when Lebda was the worst d-man on the ice today? The Lilja-E pairing has been great so far.
Was he ever! Bert saw both his line-mates almost behind the Philly net and he still doesn't drop back until it's too late. Even then he did about the most half-assed back check in the history of hockey.
Maybe we were watching a different game today, but I saw much smaller Flyers players having their way with a guy who's 6'4 and 220lbs. Ericsson didn't look comfortable to me the whole game and looked very flustered in his own end. Lebda wasn't on the ice for any of the goals either and I saw him as much more of a physical force today -- something needed when playing Philadelphia.
I also thought Rafalski coughed up the puck entirely too much today as well -- Just an observation.
1. Bertuzzi loses the remainder of his bottom teeth by actually blocking a shot by catching it mid-air with his mouth
2. Cindy Crosby shown flinching when he sees Jimmy Howard coming down the handshake line after the Wings sweep the Pens in the 2010 SCF at Pittsburgh. A reverse angle shows Crosby cowering behind Bill Guerin.
3. Pierre McGuire loses his job trying to cut a lock of Crosby's hair while he's in between the benches.