Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Coast To Coast Stinker

The good news is that we have only had to pull out the "stinker" image for just the second time this season for the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects.

The bad news is the 2nd time was in the playoffs when you can least afford bad performances. Stinkers have a way of changing an entire series which when you are so close to playing for your league title is asking for trouble.

The lesser of the bad performances was Quebec missing out on a chance to finish off the Gatineau Olympiques at home.  We knew we were in trouble when Ryan Bourque of all people got called for boarding in the first period.

Bourque rarely gets called for penalties period as in 16 playoff games this was just his 4th minor but we should have quit when Gatineau scored with just 1 second left on this power play. It just set the tone for the evening as despite tying the score a couple of minutes later this was an ugly night for Quebec.

Held to just 10 shots over the first 2 periods, the 5-3 final score is on the misleading side in our eyes. The penalty call also appeared to rattle Bourque as despite taking 5 shots was ineffective and the one player who we said Bourque and company had to stop Jean-Gabriel Pageau came alive for a hat trick.

Maybe the best way to describe the Remparts is how Rangerlike they can be as when they are good they can beat anyone. But when they show their ugly side they can stink up the place badly.

They had close to 14,000 fans in the stands looking to cheer for their team's earning a spot in the QMJHL finals. But the Remparts disappointed their fans and now have people wondering if for the 2nd straight series Quebec will blow a 3-1 lead.

Game 6 in Gatineau  is on Sunday and a message to the Remparts is that selfishly they had best not ruin my birthday.

When trying to figure out how to write up the horror which was the Game 4 effort from the Portland Winterhawks in their series with the Spokane; it became clear that this was the mother of all stinkers we have seen this year.

Spokane scored 10 seconds into the game, yes you read that right 10 seconds. It took Spokane less time to shatter the Winterhawks than it did for this sentence to be typed.

Credit goes to an experienced Spokane coach that Don Nachbaur is as he shook up his lineup sending non-producers to the press box and dressing others. The result was Spokane 8 Portland 3 as the series is now tied at 2-2.

Coaches like to say that the quickest way to forget a blowout loss is to get right back out there. Well that is exactly what will happen as the 2 teams get to ride 6 hours back to Portland for Game 5 Saturday night.

Wonder why we did not mention Nino Niederreiter? Other than 2 trips to the penalty box there was nothing worth mentioning. Actually there is as Nino's performance so far in their series has been less than stellar and if he does not find his game ASAP then Spokane gets a trip to the WHL finals.


Today was my brother Paul's birthday, he is a police officer and has been for over 30 years. He got to spend his birthday doing what has to be the worst part of being a police officer; attending the services for another police officer who gave his life in the line of duty.

My brother Lee retired as a police officer and that was after a career as a member of the US Army. My brother-in-law Jeff also served in the Army and is a current police officer as well.

Me I just watch ice hockey which to some is a pretty cool job. But my heroes are named Paul, Lee and Jeff as they do something everyday that is much better than this.

The one thing I learned today came from John Kilcullen was you better say that you care while you can. John Kilcullen did what has to be the worst parent's nightmare to bury his child.

So Paul, Lee and Jeff thanks for being my heroes.

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