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Monday, June 6, 2016

Thoughts on This and That by @Medina_Marie17

Please Unleash the Bear

Bryan Rust. Nick Bonino. Conor Sheary. Ben Lovejoy.

It is the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals and these are (some) the names making headlines. Notice who’s names aren’t in there? The ones who are paid to shine the most.

Has anyone noticed that, for the past few years (make that closer to 10 years), the Stanley Cup finals are where team’s stars go to die? Last year alone, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews had only 1 goal each in the Stanley Cup final. Yes, the Blackhawks won, but it is decidedly easier to do so when those stars are living up to expectations. Take the Penguins last Cup run. In 2009, who stepped up and won it all for the Penguins? Max Talbot…a grinder.
The Penguins are about to be 4 games into the Final and Evgeni Malkin is still dealing with...whatever is bothering him. I have to be honest; I am really getting tired of wondering when he is going to “break out”. I’m not going to sit here and be all “Trade Malkin” but there is no one who can deny that there is something wrong. He had the game winner on his stick and normally, that would mean a goal. He just could not get it together enough to put it past Sharks goalie, Martin Jones.

Is it fatigue? Is it an undisclosed injury? Is Mama Malkin not making his special soup anymore? Whatever it is, Evgeni Malkin needs to put it in his rear view faster than Carl Hagelin can skate blue line to blue line. I would love to see him have a highlight reel worthy game just as much as anyone, but I will settle one goal.

Just one.

If we know Geno, that’s all it’s going to take and the flood gates will open. I pray that tonight will be the night.

For the record, Mr. Malkin, until you put that goal up, don’t go criticizing your own power play unit. You haven’t exactly been noticeable on that top power-play line either, so I hope you are looking in the mirror when you make comments like “soft” and “playing casual”. Ben Lovejoy has scored a goal in this series…nothing is impossible.
Blockin’ Ya’ll
They say “Jesus Saves”, but I don’t they meant in a hockey sense. But the next time you see Ian Cole, ask to see his crucifix charm. He blocked a shot earlier this season (Easter) that all but cracked the heavy charm in two.

Here we are, deep into a Cup run, and Ian Cole is still laying his body down. He leads the Penguins with 45 blocked shots this post season but no member of the team has been without their own “badge of courage”.

Nick Bonino (who ranks second with 42 shots blocked) admits he has a few marks left from Brent Burns and his heavy shot. He calls those monster shots the “fun ones” to block. Whatever floats your boat, Bonino. If the puck doesn’t get to the net, have all the fun you want.

“It’s a pride and honor to try and block shots and try to help out your goalie. It’s a huge part of the penalty kill but in the playoffs it’s an even bigger thing to block shots” said penalty-killer and 4th liner, Tom Kuhnhackl.
Leave it to Ben Lovejoy to sum it all up:

“If that means blocking shots, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Both players could not be more correct. If you are willing to do what needs done, sacrifice yourself and your body for the betterment of the team and take a 80mph slapper to the gut, then blessing upon you my child because that takes true grit. Amen.
The Bigger the Tree…
If the Penguins have learned anything from Game 3, it’s that the Sharks (it seems) want to try and out hit them and heavily so. The physical play in Game 3 was something else. But the Penguin’s are used to bigger teams trying to outmuscle them.

To put a number on things, the Sharks now hold a commanding 90-53 advantage in the “hits” column.

However, take into account the two other teams that tried brawn over brains- the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals. What are they doing right now? I know what Ranger, J.T. Miller, is doing. In fact, I could (probably) drive up to the golf course right now and shake his hand if I wanted.
Heavy hitting and overly- aggressive play only matters when you are winning and, for most of the game, the Sharks were not. They had their surges but for the most part, Game 3 was pretty even when it came to intensity. The Penguins forced the Sharks to make a perfect shot, in overtime. An overtime that was controlled mostly by the Pens.

From the lips of Carl Hagelin: “From day one of the playoffs, we knew every team was going to try to play physical against us. When we skate the way we can and finish our checks, we’re not fun to play against.”

Please…do that more and, like the others, the big trees will fall.
A Final Tidbit
Can someone explain to me how you can fall asleep during a hockey game? Not just any hockey game…the STANLEY CUP FINAL! With the noise, yelling, music, screaming, and goal horns, how could you possibly be asleep and a deep sleep at that. It wasn’t even a late game, oh Fans of the Fin. It was over at about 9:30pm(California time). Grab a highly caffeinated drink at the game or take a nap during the day. Otherwise stay home on the couch, open the seat to someone else and don’t waste the $900 or more that you spent. This goes for you too, Penguins fans.

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