Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Breakout Monster, A Bull No More And Motherly Love

At the top of yesterday's, um, star-studded NHL media conference call, Pierre McGuire offered high praise for a certain Caps blueliner when talking about this coming season:
"I think my breakout monster on defense will be Mike Green of the Washington Capitals. I think Mike Green is poised to really have an electrifying year and quite frankly I think Mike Green will be the leading point getter for all defensemen in the National Hockey League."
Can one have a breakout season a year after leading one's position in goals? I guess we'll see (and for more pre-season praise for "The Catalyst," click here).

Puck Daddy has much more on the conference call, including Don Cherry's expectations for Alex Ovechkin's encore to his brilliant 2007-08. Quoth Cherry:
"I'd be surprised if he does as well as he did last year.... He came on last year. He was doing things that he shouldn't do. He was cutting into the middle.... There's going to be a lot of guys waiting for him this year. He's not going to be running around like a bull in a china shop like he did this year.

He kind of caught everybody at the start of the season. They knew he was good, but not as great as he is."
Whether or not AO can repeat last year's numbers and/or achievements remains to be seen, but I can guarantee that if he doesn't, it's not because teams spent last season neglecting to focus on defending him and have suddenly had a collective epiphany.

Finally, in response to a question alluding to a certain high-profile hockey mom, Mike Milbury fondly rememebered his own mother and her tireless, selfless efforts to help her son fulfill his dream of playing in the NHL:
"Don't get me wrong, I love my mother dearly. She's not with us any more. But she was a pain in the ass. I mean all I heard was, You got to hustle more, you got to work more. She drove me nuts."
Stay classy, Mike.


Unknown said...

Dear Grapes,

First up, I LOOOVE Canada. It is the best, most awesome nation on this or any other earth. It's your proximity to Alaska that has helped give one of our vice presidential candidates crucial foreign policy experience, and our nation thanks you for that. Also, my country, the United States, loves Canada so much that we adopted the colloquialism for your dollar, the loonie, as the guiding principle behind the regulation of our financial sector. So GO CANADA!

But I'm curious... how exactly did AO catch people by surprise at the beginning of last season? He scored 98 goals in his first two years in the NHL. He finished third and fourth and goals in those two seasons. He was a first-team all-NHLer in each of them. He's probably been the best player in international play for two, maybe three years. I know you're a hockey expert and all, so this all seems as obvious as your sportscoats.

But, of course, you're Canadian and I know that only Canadians know about hockey, so I'm sure you have an explanation at the ready.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

DMG said...

I think Cherry is right on one thing. Everyone knew Ovechkin was good but not too many realized he was capable of doing what he did. After all, no one had ever won the Richard, Ross, Hart, and Pearson awards in one season - who expected Ovechkin to do it in 07-08?

But while I can see where Cherry is coming from...but I'm not sure I agree with him. Look at the game against Montreal where the Canadiens got physical with Ovechkin and he responded by picking up 4 goals, or the whole playoff series against the Flyers. Plus the fact that Ovechkin is like 6'3'', 227, fast, and tenacious as hell. How do you stop a guy like that from running around like a bull in a china shop?

Anonymous said...

Ugh. you can kill more brain cells by listening to McGuire and Milbury babble than by vaporizing and inhaling an entire can of WD-40. Or so I am told.

@DMG - True about the awards but the Richard has only been around since 1999. Before that, others had won the two MVP's, Art Ross and led the league in scoring. They just didn't get an award for it.

Anonymous said...

Can I just repost my comments from yesterday?

Why do people think Ovie caught the league off guard last year when he had 98 goals in his first two years? Why do people think teams will focus on stopping him only now, after 163 goals in three years?

I agree he may not get 65, but Don Cherry is high if he thinks teams are going to play Ovie any differently than they did last year.

Anonymous said...

has anybody found video of the fights from last night?

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing about Ovechkin. He may not score 65 or more goals this season. He may not win four trophies. However, he should not have to score more goals and win the same awards again this year. In fact, if he can take the Capitals further into the playoffs I say it is as good of a year (or better depending on how far we go). Personally, I think Alex has grown in some way each and every year he plays. I cannot wait to see what he brings this season. People will watch Ovechkin and like it. Success.

And why does Milbury have to keep showing what an idiot he is? Moron. Maybe he should go and coach the Raiders.