Limited Mirtle blog edition
It what will likely be a first and only ever appearance, the NHL Closer is going in this space after internet gremlins ate last night's email to Deadspin overlord Will Leitch (or something).
That deadline was missed, but tomorrow's finale will appear in its customary home.
Crosby In Oiltown = Bigger Than The SAS Closer: Hockey's 'Next One', Sidney Crosby, is touring Western Canada for the first time ever this week, and last night in Edmonton, it was the equivalent of a hockey-playing Pope's ceremonious arrival in northern Alberta. Unlike Gretzky, who'd often have a hat trick and eight assists by the end of his first-period chat with Gary Coleman, The Croz managed only three measly assists in a 4-2 Penguins win. He then purchased 40 Mark Recchi bobbleheads on eBay.
Downie Heeds Bettman Warning, Stays On Bench: NHL overlord Gary Bettman knows when to lay down the law. On Monday, he dealt a big fat warning to the Philadelphia Flyers, who have had five players suspended this season for illegal hits, and apparently it had a profound effect. While the Flyers called up rookie super-dink Steve Downie for his first NHL game, he played only four and a half minutes, found little mischief and managed to call Dean McAmmond a few more times to apologize for doing nothing wrong when he caved his head in back in September.
Hitchcock's Latest Masterpiece: The Columbus BJs are quite the story this season, and Ken Hitchcock deserves many of the kudos. The Blue Jackets look like a legitimate playoff team thanks to their coach's uncanny knack for assembling a cast of misfits, often on the power play, and somehow willing them into playing like they're not undrafted grads from the University of Phoenix Online. Take this goal from last night, a 5-4 win over Colorado: Joakim Lindstrom 1 PP (Kris Beech, Curtis Glencross). Stunning.
Ferme La Boucher: French guys have unfortunately earned the reputation of being a little effete in recent centuries, but Dallas's Philippe Boucher stands out among all cheese eaters. For one, he's played 28 games with a bum shoulder, waiting for teammate Mattias Norstrom to heal his orbital bone before heading to the operating room for arthroscopic surgery yesterday. No Boucher meant no win last night, as San Jose dusted the Stars 3-2.
The Return Of Scotty: The Ducks' Scott Niedermayer has decided he in fact would like to continue playing hockey instead of lobbying for PETA full-time, and will resume his blueline duties in short order. It's a good thing, too, given the wealthy chefs were all running around, looking for the diseased organs that couldn't be found.