[Author's note: Every sports website on earth dedicated to covering just one league publishes a weekly power ranking, and we here at Puck Daddy have finally decided to do the same. However, the problem with power rankings in general is that they are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]
5. Overdoing It
The number of ways in which you used to be able to hear hockey players say Bad Words on television used to be limited to when the mics at ice level picked up the occasional arguing between benches or “[expletive]-in' right, Dougie!” on a goal celebration.
But filming for 24/7 starts very soon, if they haven't done some of the work on it already, and we'll all huddle around our TVs as we have the past few years (not including last season because of that whole lockout thing). And because you just love it so, so much, the NHL is now producing its own version of that, following all the teams and players that will be participating in the NHL Stadium Series, with a particular focus on those headed over to Sochi and back. Because if you're going to bastardize a truly special and beloved thing — the Winter Classic — why not go whole-hog and also bastardize the series that follows players and coaches and team in an attempt to humanize them and make them interesting.
And in much the same way that by the third or fourth Stadium Series game, we're all going to be sick of this gimmick and hate it, too. Unless your team is involved, of course. In which case it will have been the very best thing.
4. Speeding laws
Darren Helm is widely considered to be the fastest player in the NHL today and with good reason. That dude can fly. And I don't think I've ever seen him haul ass through the neutral zone like Josh Archibald did for the University of Nebraska Omaha against No. 2 Michigan over the weekend.
I know for sure I've never seen Darren Helm have touch on the puck like that.
3. The New Democratic Party and the FCC
There may finally be a way to bridge the gaps or partisan politics on both sides of the 49th parallel. And shockingly, it doesn't have anything to do with laughing at what an oaf Rob Ford is.
Instead, Canada's NDP is reaching across the aisle to even the most deeply-entrenched conservative and asking, “But hey, you like watching hockey on TV, right?”
The party's consumer affairs critic, Glenn Thibeault, recently introduced a bill that would prevent professional sports leagues from blacking out live games being played in any arena built with public funding.
“Whether it’s NHL Hockey or CFL football, Canadian tax dollars have been used to help construct stadiums and arenas that house professional sports franchises,” said Thibeault. “It's only fair that these professional sports leagues offer some reciprocity and allow fans to watch these games on television without the threat of regional broadcast blackouts.”
This is an idea everyone can get behind, but like all things Canadian only comes as a result of something from the US. The Federal Communications Commission recently proposed a rule that would end the ability of teams — particularly NFL teams — from blacking out games when the attendance is bad. The Canadian rule of course goes a bit farther in also 86ing regional blackouts, as attendance-related broadcast issues aren't really a problem in hockey.
But still, this could mean that people in both the US and Canada actually get to watch more of the games they want to watch. Wouldn't that be nice?
2. Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Thank you so much to Eric T. of Broad Street Hockey for making sure to remind everyone that Sam Carchidi is needlessly obsessed with Bobby Ryan's hometown, WHICH IS NEAR PHILADELPHIA. He had eight tweets identifying where Ryan is from this week alone.
Any masochist who watched last night's Flyers/Sens broadcast (and seriously, why do that to yourself?) can probably tell you the exact number of times the sleepy hamlet of Cherry Hill was brought up in the course of the game, but the over/under was probably set at 99.5 and you better have taken the over.
Bovada recently released its latest odds for who will win a gold medal in Sochi, and both Canada and Russia were atop the list at 11/5.
Very strange, that.
The obvious thinking from Bovada is that Canada has the deepest forward and D groups, and Russia on home ice, with those forwards, has a chance to score their way to the top of the podium.
However, anyone paying actual attention to proceedings know one thing from these latest odds, which have Sweden at 9/2 and the United States at 6/1: That they are the result of yet another IIHF conspiracy against the Yanks who should by all rights be heavily favored.
Let's first consider the source of these patently ridiculous odds: Bovada is a company considered by those clowns in Congress to be operating so far outside the law in its dealings that it was run out of the U.S., where banks are free to give mortgages to people by making up their qualifications with relatively little more than a slap on the wrist. The company's current URL is a .lv extension, meaning it originates in Latvia, which is why giving a team as crap as the Latvians odds as favorable as 400/1 — what this means is that if you played 400 Olympic tournaments, Latvia would win one of them, which, haha — shows just how legitimate this site's predictions aren't.
The founder of this site, by the way? Disgusting Canadian Calvin Ayre, a businessman from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.
Lloydminster is also home to Canadian goaltending hopeful (i.e. “we're hopeful he doesn't give up six against the Americans”) Braden Holtby, as well as Scott Hartnell, Wade Redden, Clarke MacArthur and Colby Armstrong. Not to say everyone from Lloydminster is a pathetic loser who sucks, but the evidence is speaking loud and clear on the subject.
And where is Bovada based? London, England.
Because of course it is. The seat of the British monarchy which has handled Canada like a marionette in an attempt to clean up its atrocious human rights reputation richly earned over the last 400 years. Clearly the oddsmakers are working out some long-held resentment for a little war called the American Revolution, which has left the crumbling empire wiping the creamed Cornwallis from its humiliated face lo these last 237 years.
These alleged facts, as they so often do, boil down to nothing but petty jealousy and deep-seated insecurity that Canada is in fact as bad at hockey as Marc-Andre Fleury, and trying to cover it up by saying, “Oh yeah the Russians could do it too,” is the red herring.
The Russians. Indeed. The number of KHLers with unpronounceable names, from cities ending in “-ogorsk” that no one can find on a map, on that team is going to be in the double digits — as a means of spiting the NHL because any league dominated by Kevin Dallman is clearly on a level similar to the best in the world. Name a Russian defenseman who you'd put on the top pairing of any legitimate gold contender. Look at these names. It's pathetic. When your big hope in net is Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov, it's time to log off for good.
But the sandbagging didn't come from just the usual sources of embittered Canadians and jealous Britons who call everyone “mate” alone.
No, the criticism has, I am sad to report, come from within our sacred borders as well.
Yesterday, on what is perhaps the darkest day in US history, yellow journalist Brian Costa vomited out a piece entitled “Hey, America: Cool Your Hockey Hopes,” the very idea of which is enough to make one want to begin deportation paperwork. The central premise was that the US doesn't do well when playing outside of North American rinks. Witness Turin, witness Nagano, witness all the other ones since 1972. The central premise is also patently ridiculous because it basically boils down to, “International ice isn't easy to play on.”
Wow, what bold insight. The Canadians will fortunately not be at such a disadvantage, nor will the best players on the Russian, Swedish, Finnish, Czech, and Slovak teams also deal with that kind of issue. What's that you say? They also play in the NHL, which doesn't use international rink dimensions. What a surprising turn of events.
Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe Mr. Costa, for whom having his home searched top to bottom by NSA thugs and being put on the no-fly list is just the start of a reasonable and just punishment, is taking to the kind of sandbagging made famous by the Canadian media — and TSN in particular — every time the quote-unquote True North ships another batch of its illiterate U20s off to embarrass themselves at World Junior. Maybe this was nothing but simple trolling, click-bait by a baseball writer who couldn't pick a Beautiful American Boy like Zach Parise out of a lineup of gormless Russian cro-magnons. (Hint: He's the one that doesn't hate gay people.)
Or maybe the Wall Street Journal is a propagandizing, muckraking rag that is directly contributing to the death of the newspaper industry and is merely edging a toe into territory not directly related to shilling for corporations and criticizing Obama. After all, it's owned by Rupert Murdoch, a goblin birthed from primordial slime by Morgoth himself in what I can only assume is Mount Gundabad, Australia, who made his fortune in … you guessed it, England.
We're through the looking glass here, but all the things that are now being thrown our way are mere distractions from the true and only future — the Manifest Destiny, if you will: Another richly deserved American gold medal.
You can't believe everything you read in the LIEberal media.
(Not ranked this week: Ilya Bryzgalov's restaurant-attendance habits, Brian Gibbons' quote-giving ability, Evgeni Malkin's assist total, David Clarkson's ability to handle The Pressure of Playing in a Major Market, Ben Scrivens' opportunity-seizing, Alex Steen's shooting percentage, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin's chemistry, Torey Krug's apparent Calder credentials, Michael Grabner's mustache, Brandon Bollig's mustache, Logan Couture's mustache, everyone's mustache, anything you read about Movember.)