Booooooooooooo. It’s over.

Not “booo” for the show (or either team), of course. It was predictably great to watch. I just hate that we have to wait another year to see more episodes…assuming they keep running the show.

I’ve got a lot of observations this week, so let’s jump right in.

Mad Ilya Bryzgalov is the funniest Ilya Bryzgalov

I’m sure many of you will disagree with me on this, but come on: when he got shelled a few weeks back and he took the time to explain to the media how terrible he is at playing goal, you were entertained (right before the gag order went into effect).

I liked that rant for the same reason I liked his answer to “how do you think you’re playing right now?”

“OUTSTANDING. We lost 1-5. What do you think I think about how I’m playing. We lose 1-5, 2-4, 0-6. What do you think?”

Ahhh. “Universe” was great, but for my money, I’ll take sarcastic Ilya every time.


Did Max Talbot get more “returning to Pittsburgh” love than Jaromir Jagr from HBO?

I mean, I get that his departure was a little more recent and that he helped them win a Cup, but man….we’re talking about Jaromir freakin’ two-Cup Jagr here. To quote Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, the man’s a legend.

HBO opened with Talbot’s story, featured his story, and departed that segment with more Talbot. Not that it’s super-important or anything, I just thought Jagr’s return was a bigger deal.


I want to punch Sean Avery’s stupid face

The breakfast scene where Brandon Prust tolerates Sean Avery’s behaviour annoyed me. That guy is insufferable.

Weird and quirky are traits I admire, but not when you’re playing some kind of (douchey) character, as Avery does (and if he’s not playing up whatever that “personality” is, it’s worse). You’re around your teammates for roughly nine straight months. That would wear on guys - Prust was trying so hard to have a normal conversation with him.

I don’t blame Tortorella and the Rangers – he could be a second line stud and I’d want him and his presence out of the dressing room. (I’m aware he does some good things off the ice. I still want his face punchesized for free.)


I think the “Jagov 68″ t-shirt jersey thing is funny

Whatever, don’t judge me.


Scott Hartnell called Evgeni Malkin ugly

I mean, he’s right, but dude…

(Pic from


Brandon Prust really wanted to play in the Winter Classic

This was a great piece of audio: Brandon Prust wants to pummel Tomas Kopecky for suckering his teammate Michael Del Zotto, yet restrains himself because “I didn’t want to get suspended for the Winter Classic.”

This just goes to show you: a lot of “heat of the moment” defenses for dumb behaviour are also dumb. Hockey players, believe it or not, are human beings capable of quickly processing thought. ….Well, most of them, anyway.


If you don’t think stepping up for your teammates physically matters, you don’t get hockey

Say what you want about fighting, but in our current iteration of NHL hockey, it still matters that you step up for one another. Del Zotto was getting zips above his right eye after the aforementioned sucker punch, and says “Who jumped in for me, Duby?” His trainer responds that it was actually Mike Rupp (who was apparently less concerned about getting suspended).

Would you feel differently about your teammates if they want to bat for you (as they did for Del Zotto), or if they didn’t (as the Sabres didn’t for Ryan Miller)? Of course you would.

It’s not about your teammates beating the guy up, it’s about saying “Nonono, not to one of us” with more than a wag of the finger.


Wayne Simmonds showed a side of him I’m sure he wishes they’d left on the cutting room floor

So, I’ve had my fingernail scalpel-drilled (they slowly turn a scalpel in a circle in the middle of your nail until blood comes out, and they push it out to relieve pressure) at least a half-dozen times. It’s tense, but it doesn’t hurt that bad (at all, really).

Yes, your fingertip hurts like HELL after it gets jammed hard enough to bleed beneath the nail, but man…Wayne Simmonds sounded like such a sissy, I bet his teammates don’t let that go for some time. I bet he wishes it was fractured so he could defend that performance.

Also, how sick was that laser-thingy? Damn. Never had those when I played.


Brandon Dubinsky done got drunk on New Year’s Eve

And I ain’t even mad.

“Grandpa, I know you’ve got a couple words for all of America…”

Beerability, up!


Jeremy Roenick managed to wedge himself into an episode

There were two weird moments with the Flyers walking out of the tunnel towards the ice in this episode: One was Brendan Shannahan Kes-lurking/videobombing a shot, kind of hiding behind a wall, just….loitering, I guess. Hi Brendan.

And two was the Jeremy Roenick pep talk to Ilya Bryzgalov. ”If you guys win a Cup, it’s going to be because of you.

I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m pretty sure there’s a few players and coaches who may not agree with that.


I like Jagr’s sly sense of humour

The line of this week’s show may have come when Max Talbot introduced his mother (who’s on skates, wobbling about) to Jaromir Jagr and Jagr saying “You skate like your son” with a smile. ZING!


“Family skates” don’t actually happen as much as this show would have you believe

I swear, every episode the players are tooling around on the ice with friends and family. It’s just a timing thing – Christmas, New Year’s, the Winter Classic….

If, say, the Columbus Blue Jackets have more than one family skate per season, I’d be shocked.


Rob Pizzo got theScore mic on camera, but not his face

So close, homie. So close.

Actually media cameo credits (that I noticed) go to Greg Wyshynski, Jesse Spector, and Scott Burnside.


Bryzgalov’s take on being the back-up was gold

Ilya’s line “I’ve got great news, and I’ve got better news” ended perfectly.

In sum, what he tried to say is: “The great news is I’m not playing – the better news is that we have a chance to win.”

Gloriously self-deprecating from a goalie making a billion dollars per season.


 Claude Giroux was the breakout star

I’m a talker on the ice, the same way Claude Giroux is. Any old opponent or coach of mine will attest to that.

Like Giroux, I don’t think hockey is the most stone-faced serious funeral-like event in the world. My on-ice joking didn’t mean I didn’t care, and it didn’t mean I wasn’t trying.

So personally, it was good to know that you can still play that way and be one of the best players in the world.

His best comments: to Lundqvist – “Just let me get one tonight Henrik. Just let me get one.”

To Shenn: “This isn’t the World Juniors, we don’t jump into the glass here.”

To his line: the sequence when he hand-picks who they’re all going to fight after JVR scores and does the Anisimov “gun-shoot” goal celebration.

To Boyle: the whole Jagr-salute conversation “That’s not cool. The guy’s a legend.”


Michael Del Zotto is a confident young buck

You’d be surprised how often your ice time gets dragged into chirps. His line to Harry Zolnierczyk “you play five minutes a night” pretty much ended that conversation.


I can’t believe this didn’t get more attention…

Hindsight is 20/20 and Danny Briere is a hell of a dangerous player on a breakaway, but Laviolette not sending Claude Giroux out to take the dying-seconds penalty shot is mind-boggling. He says “Danny B, take it,” and just like that, the decision is made.

Giroux already has a goal in the game, loves the limelight, and might just be the best player in the game right now. Not to mention he’s a killer on breakaways.

And last…


How badly do you wish James Van Riemsdyk had scored after they planned their celly-revenge?

Pure chaos would’ve unfolded. Pretty sure Brick would’ve killed a man with a trident all over again.


So that’s it. She’s over for another year.

If you’re not ready to let it go just yet, tune in to the Backhand Shelf Podcast around 2:15 p.m. EST today. Pizzo and I will break things down a little more in depth with audio clips, as per usual.