Friday, March 30, 2012

Pittsburgh PHWA Embarrasses Itself

The Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player who, in the eyes of the PHWA, best exemplifies "the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey." Every season around this time, every chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association nominates one player from its local NHL team for the award, and then at the end of the regular season, the PHWA collectively narrows the 30 nominees down to three finalists, then selects a winner.

Generally, the PHWA tends to focus on the "perseverance" part of the description, awarding the trophy to a player who has overcome something major. Past winners have included Penguin Lowell McDonald, for a 75-point season after suffering serious knee damage; Rod Gilbert, because he had come back from a major back injury; Mario Lemieux, because of that whole cancer thing; and Jose Theodore, who had a great season immediately following his son's death.

When not given to someone who overcame tragedy, the trophy usually goes to someone who has just generally been a standup guy for many season. It's gone to Jean Ratelle for "lifelong dedication to strong, clean hockey," Henri Richard for winning the Cup 11 times, Dave Taylor for playing all 17 seasons with the Kings, and Adam Graves for "all-around dedication to hockey." The whole list can be found on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome to the playoffs

I can't imagine a game feeling better than that game last night. Peter DeBoer decides to open by putting out Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton, and Ryan Carter, which is a pretty classy opening. Torts screamed at DeBoer for it from the bench, which was awesome, and then put out Rupp, Bickel, and Prust to answer the call. Hey Cam Janssen, riddle me this: what happens when you come into the Garden and try to fuck with the Rangers like that?

Rupp absolutely destroys Boulton, Bickel turns Carter's face into a bloody crazy mess, Rupp and Janssen more or less draw, and Bryce Salvador, as classy as his coach, jumps onto Bickel's back after his fight with Carter ends, earning himself an extra 10-minute misconduct. Then, with that out of the way, 1:08 later, Dubinsky rips one past Uncle Daddy, and the Rangers never give up that lead.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Playoff update

With the Rangers' win and Toronto's loss tonight, add the Maple Leafs to the list of teams that cannot mathematically catch the Rangers. Additionally, because tonight's was a regulation win, the Rangers' magic number becomes 98, no matter what. We are now 3 points from clinching a playoff spot. You know. For the record.

Coach's Corner Minus Coach

Man, it can't be easy to be Ron MacLean, right? Being Don Cherry's co-host is probably pretty maddening. Well, here at Play Petr Prucha, I feel like MacLean deserves more of a spotlight. A big thanks here goes out to FRANCOfranco of Two Catchers for putting this video together for me. Let's all sit back and enjoy Coach's Corner, without Don Cherry.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Some playoff facts

So, following a discussion on Twitter (What? Don't you judge me.) yesterday, I started to look at some playoff stuff. Not "if the season ended today..." - those articles are bullshit; we all know how the standings work, and we can just go look at them to find out. If the season ended today, for example, we'd rematch the Caps, the Pens would play the Flyers, and Boston would get to prove just how bullshit Ottawa is. Tomorrow, it may be different. This is not interesting until it cements a little further. Did you notice our lead on the Penguins is down to 4 points and no games-in-hand? I noticed that. Anyway. What I did look at is what is definitely true, because some things have already taken shape.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A quickie

Patrick Burke is currently doing an "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit, to talk about the new You Can Play Project. Yes, I know, Reddit is where self-inflicted social ineptitude gathers to revel in its own inside jokes and misogyny. But every so often, it is very slightly more than that. Anyway, one of the comments to Burke was about how pretty Hank is, which prompted him to reveal the following ordered summary of most of the feedback he's gotten on the project so far, in general (quoted directly from Burke's comment on Reddit)

1) This is great!
2) You sound like your dad.
3) I've always hated Brian Burke, but this is great!
4) Is there any way to show Lundqvist's eyes in color in the next one?
5) When is [my favorite team] going to show up?
6) Lundqvist is a pretty man!

Thought you'd enjoy that.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

All the wrong reasons

So, besides the important one, it was also announced today that some other Atlantic Division captain was skating with his team and could be playing soon. You may have heard about it. In honor of yet another rumor block about the most dominant player of the last two years returning to the ice, I bring you this thing, from professional sportswriter Rob Rossi. Rossi presents 10 reasons (because no one reads articles, but everyone reads lists) that the Penguins can win the Stanley Cup this season. He's right, of course. They can. He's just wrong about why.

So, if you'll forgive my poor attempt at a once-great artform, it's Fire Joe Morgan o'Clock.

10 reasons why Penguins can win Stanley Cup
Reasons 1 through 10 should be "they will likely make the playoffs, and any team can beat any other on any given night, and the Penguins are a pretty good hockey team," but let's dive in anyway.

Monday, March 5, 2012