Sunday, December 03, 2006

Around the Rink 12.03.06

The question du jour is whether or not Alex Ovechkin deserves a suspension from his hit on Daniel Briere. For those who missed it, during the second period, Briere dumped the puck in and went for a chance. As he was turning to the bench, Ovechkin hit Briere in the lower back with an elbow and it sent Briere head first into the player's gate. That brought out a melee, which saw Ovechkin, Adam Muir, and Paul Gaustad all ejected. The NHL doesn't seem like they will suspend Ovechkin.

Now, while Briere returned to play the rest of the game; the NHL should have at least made it one or two games to send a message. There has been far too many incidents which is showing that the NHL is almost under martial law. Too many instances of dirty hits have gone on without any repremand. If the NHL want so to get some respect, then they need to do something to get more respect into the game.

The Edmonton Oilers got bad news when it was learned that Ryan Smyth is out indefinitely with a fractured thumb. Smyth sustained the injury Saturday night when he bent his thumb back when trying to check Rostislav Klesla in a 4-0 Edmonton loss. The Oilers are already without Ales Hemsky, who is still about a week away from returning from his shoulder injury.

The injuries are taking it's toll and it seems the Oilers are playing tired. Dwayne Roloson hasn't finished his last two games and there has been little to no scoring for the Oilers. You almost have to wonder if the high from the magical run to the playoffs is wearing off.

The NHL Board of Governors will be meeting this week. The one thing that will be up for debate, again, is the unbalanced schedule; something that couldn't be decided when the GM met a little while back. Also on the agenda is the playoff bracketing, which would see the NHL go to an NCAA-tournament ideal, where there is set bracketing regardless of upsets.

Now, the schedules; I've gone over that. However, I'm still kind of on the fence about the bracketing. Will it work?? Possibly. Will it create less confusion?? You bet. I really can't think of any con side, though if a team makes it to the second round, loses in the round, and wouldn't have had played that team in the old standard; there could be plenty of bitching and complaining about it. We'll see how it all pans out.

Can the NHL just give Evgeni Malkin the Calder now, because it seems it's going that way anyway. Malkin was given the Rookie of the Month for a second straight month. While impressive, there's guys like Anze Kopitar and Paul Stasny who deserve a look at the award too.

Granted, this could be traced back to the fact that both Stasny and Kopitar play in the West and aren't seen as often; which is traced back to the schedule. Yet, if the NHL really wants to give Malkin the Rookie of the Year-- just do it now so the charade can be done with and we can all move on with our lives.

That's all for now. I'm sure that I'll have that little AHL rant done sooner or later, but we'll see. Until then, check out the FOHS site, FOHS Podcast, and FOHS Message Board to hold you over until then.

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