The Dump and Chase: 14/01/2011

Don't worry, I'm sure there's a completely logical explanation for the horrendous attendance last night in Phoenix. Friends and family night, maybe?

The Dump and Chase is a daily collection of links in which we attempt to round up the latest breaking news and analysis from around the web. We also like videos and things that are absurd.

The mission of Leafs goons: Take out top players at all costs

Between Colton Orr’s knee-on-knee collision with Logan Couture, and now Mike Brown’s questionable hit on Coyotes defenceman Ed Jovonoski last night, there was a clear stealth mission for Toronto’s goons on their western road trip. Jovonoski is now listed as day-to-day (proverbial bad joke: aren’t we all?), while Brown was happy with the referees’ decision to not call a penalty on the play (proverbial comment: duh).

From the Globe and Mail:

“It’s the game of hockey. I play that style of game. Obviously, I don’t mean to hurt anyone, or make any bad hit – elbow or shoulder. It was just in the heat of the moment, I went for the hit and just tried to go in with my shoulder.”

“I think the refs made a good call. They obviously didn’t call it for a reason. I didn’t think it was a bad hit. I was just going in with my shoulder like I normally would. I don’t know what I hit on him. I think I just got him in a bad spot.”

There’s just one minor problem with the assumption that the referees made a conscious decision with their non-call: they didn’t see it.

Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy compared the hit to Nick Foligno’s run-in with Patrick Dwyer back in October. The Senators forward didn’t receive a suspension, but he was fined $2,500.

Alex Burrows uses his stick in many ways, some of which are highly illegal

It’s a good thing there are plenty of Staal brothers to carry on the family’s rich hockey lineage, because thanks to a spear to his stick and two pucks from Alex Burrows, Marc Staal’s ability to reproduce may be hindered.

Burrows was frustrated after an exchange with Staal in front of the net during the Canucks 1-0 loss to New York last night. This is normal and acceptable, and defenceman and forwards often become tangled in the trenches. This is partly why hockey allows fighting, and why that “it’s a fast, emotional game” cliché exists.

So logically, Burrows resorted to one of hockey’s dirtiest, most classless plays when he became a little too emotional. And logically, the only penalty on the play was given to Staal for tripping.

John Tororella took this in stride, of course. He was actually quite tame by his standards, and he just call for Burrows’ ankles to be broken.

“That’s a dangerous play on Marc Staal, and it’s beyond me how two guys – one guy in the corner, and one out at the neutral zone, can’t see it. And we end up down, which usually happens if you retaliate. But if I’m Marc Staal, I’d retaliate too. I’d try to break his ankle, on something like that. It’s ridiculous.”

I fully expected him to abruptly end the interview and start passing out pitch forks and daggers.

About that Grabovski trade…

So it seems that Cliff Fletcher fleeced the Habs when he acquired Mikhail Grabovski from Montreal in the summer of 2007 in exchange of prospect Greg Pateryn and a second-round pick in the 2010 draft. That much is now clear.

Montreal then flipped the pick to Chicago for Robert Lang, who played 59 games before becoming another victim of the sacred blade. But Pension Plan Puppets also points out that if Grabovski is placed back on the Habs’ roster today, he’s tied for the team lead in scoring amongst forwards (minor math adjustments made due to the scoring since the post was originally published).

The waters aren’t infested with Sharks anymore

For all their playoff bumbling over the years, we’ve usually been able to count on a strong regular season from the San Jose Sharks, one that finishes at or near the top of the Western Conference. They’re only two years removed from winning the dreaded Presidents’ Trophy, and last year finished behind only the Capitals in the overall league standings.

What a difference seven months makes. The Sharks are now 12th in the West–albeit still only three points removed from a playoff spot–and have lost six straight games, the last coming in a 5-2 defeat against the lowly Oilers last night.

In town for the Oilers’ road trip, Edmonton Journal columnist Jim Matheson took a look at the Sharks’ struggles prior to the game.

There’s a palpable tension in the Sharks dressing room these days. General manager Doug Wilson knows he needs to shake the tree and get help, but he has little to deal — no trades for his big three, four if you count Pavelski — and there’s no market for winger Devin Setoguchi.

How much is a goal really worth?

Have you ever sat and pondered the meaning of life’s seemingly unanswerable questions? Like, say, what a goal is actually worth in the standings.

Turns out a goal is worth about .386 points. Neat.

The year of the shootout

Call it a gimmick or an individual spectacle, but don’t lie and say that you don’t get excited during a shootout. Especially with all the theatrics this season–Linus Omark’s spin, and Carey Price’s hip-hop posing–the shootout has been highly entertaining, and has shown a rare glimpse of personality form cliché spewing players.

Just don’t tell Sid Seixeiro that it’s exciting. Sid, Brad James, and Laura Diakun take a look back at some of the season’s best shootout goals.