The Kid's Alright

Everyone needs their morning caffeine fix, and every sports fan needs their dose of links and talking points to start their day. That’s where I, Joseph Casciaro, come in for those of you who frequent Backhand Shelf.

I seriously thought of branding this “new” segment “Pizzo-less Points,” but thought “A Cup of Joe” was a little more personal, just the way I like it.

These morning posts will usually start off with my light-hearted thoughts on something that happened or struck me from the night before, but since this is my debut post, I thought I’d start with something I stumbled upon on twitter on Tuesday night.

That revelation, and it really is biblical in its statistical stature, is that Sidney Crosby has recorded 131 points over his last 82 games played. That would be impressive enough compared to the next guy on the list (Evgeni Malkin has 108 points in his last 82 games), but it’s even more staggering when you consider that the last player to record 130 points in an NHL season was Mario Lemieux (161)  in 1995-1996.

Sure, Crosby’s 82-game sample is dispersed over three seasons, but the guy was on pace for 132 points before famously missing the back end of the 2010-2011 season. And this year, his ridiculous 21 points in 12 games would put him on a 143.5-point pace over 82 games.

Hockey fans get all riled up when discussing the fact that Gretzky had four 200-point seasons and how his 215 points in a season is among pro sports’ most unbreakable records. Rightfully so, and I’m not going to take anything away from Paulina’s dad. But seriously, can we start getting all riled up over the freaking fact that when he’s healthy, Sidney Crosby looks like a 130-point player in an era of NHL hockey where less than six goals are scored per game and goalies actually bend a knee?


Like my Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s now time to hit the links:

  • Another night, another questionable head shot in the NHL. Actually, scratch that, there was nothing questionable about that Duncan Keith cheap shot on Daniel Sedin. It’s clear as day. Elbow, meet head. (
  • In sticking up for his brother and soulmate, Henrik Sedin says Keith said some things to Daniel before the elbowing incident. Best quote from Henrik on the matter? “You have to ask Keith. He’s a tough Canadian guy so I am sure he is going to be honest” (Canucks Hockey Blog). Boom! Sarcastic international shots fired. Please, please comment on this, @DonCherryParody.
  • The NHL is apparently “pressing for a resolution” and “investigating alternative plans” when it comes to the whole Coyotes in Phoenix mess (The Sporting News). That link is from this year, I swear.
  • Steven Stamkos and Brian Campbell are the latest NHLers to join Patrick Burke’s “You Can Play” campaign (Puck Daddy). If you haven’t seen the original video or don’t know what this is all about, Bourne posted about it a few weeks ago. It’s one of the greatest missions in pro sports right now, and it is worth everyone’s wholehearted support.
  • So you might have heard, Alexander Radulov is back with the Predators. Ok, “so now what happens?” (Predlines)
  • As you might have assumed, the Canadiens were outclassed (again) last night in a 3-0 shutout loss to the Sabres. At least Habs fans have fully embraced Tank Nation ( While the masochistic Leafs fan in me can never empathize with supporters of Les Canadiens, as a Torontonian, I’m also a die-hard Raptors fan, and if you’ve read RaptorBlog, you know I’m driving one of the biggest tanks around. Yes, I worked my disdain for the Habs into a cheap plug for RaptorBlog. Sue me, Habs fans, or better yet, call the police.
  • Brian Burke should apologize to Maple Leafs fans (The Toronto Star). Yeah, right, like that’s going to happen. Let’s get Harold Ballard, Kerry Fraser, John Ferguson Jr. and the Hockey Gods to apologize to us poor card carrying members of Leafs Nation first. Then we’ll get to Mr. Burke.
  • Ok, so here’s another older link (from Tuesday night) since again, it’s my first time. I thought you might get a kick out of this one. The Avalanche won two Stanley Cups in the team’s first six seasons in Colorado, advanced to the Conference Finals in six of their first seven seasons in Denver and have made the playoffs in 12 of 15 seasons since leaving Quebec City, but according to one Avs blogger, Tuesday night against the Flames “was one of the biggest days in franchise history” (Mile High Hockey). Ummm…what? There’s no way the writer is talking about the game itself right? They can’t be, can they? I mean I get that it was a big game in the Western Conference standings, but seriously, talk about a short memory.
  • Lastly, this is from last week’s Sports Illustrated, but I just read it on the subway yesterday and thought every hockey fan should know about it. Unsung Blues heroes of the game are given Steenie’s Weenie Hat – “a raspberry-colored tartan tam with a two-foot-long felt hot dog on the crown” (Sports Illustrated). Take notes people, it’s the finer details, like Steenie’s Weenie Hat, that go into making Presidents’ Trophy caliber teams.

I’d love to say we’ll talk tomorrow, but I’ll be away for a few days. You see, like George Costanza, I believe in making a great entrance and leaving on a high note to leave people basking in my glory. And if you don’t think this debut post was much of a high note, well then the jerk store called, and they’re running out of you.

But seriously, I’ll be back with another Cup of Joe on Tuesday morning or Wednesday morning at the latest, at which point this will become a regular occurrence at Backhand Shelf.

Comments (5)

  1. Nice first forayJoseph. Question is, are you a Starbucks or Timmy’s guy?

  2. While I agree the elbow that Keith put on Daniel Sedin is probably suspendable, it’s only fair to mention that totally uncalled-for shoulder that Sedin threw into an unsuspecting Keith’s head earlier. If that doesn’t get Sedin a suspension to be served after he returns from injury, it should at least be considered a mitigating factor when determining the length of Keith’s suspension. The refs need to do a better job of calling candy-ass penalties like that early on in games to help keep them from getting out-of-control, as last night’s contest certainly did.

    • As Daniel Wagner explained in his Backhand Shelf post “This Wasn’t Duncan Keith’s First Retaliatory Headshot”, pointing out that Daniel hit Duncan high and late does not mitigate Keith’s elbow. Rather, it provides motive for it, making it a high elbow *with intent*.

      I would be surprised if Daniel got a suspension, to be honest. His hit was high, and a little late, but
      A) Keith saw it coming,
      B) It’s Daniel Sedin hitting him
      C) There were several instances of those hits in the last few Canucks games, delivered both by the Canucks and the oppostition, and no calls from the league yet.

    • What exactly about Daniel Sedin finishing a body check is uncalled for? Reputation would tend to suggest the worst thing Daniel was trying to do was finish through Keith the way anyone throwing a body check does. The physics of the situation (eg-Daniel’s shoulder being the same height as Keith’s head) did lead to contact with the head that had Duncan feeling justifiably upset, but again, we are talking about Daniel Sedin…Not exactly Bryan Marchment as his worst back in the day in terms of reputation for dirty play.

      You want to suggest a penalty for hitting to the head, or interference, no argument here. It seems like you simply want the Sedin’s to fit in a comfortable box of non hitting, zero intensity hockey players that all of the people who call them sisters etc… seem content with.

      It’s funny because the twins really can’t win with fans/media. 3 years ago when Daniel tried to go after Bolland because he was tormenting them all series long, people said they lost their cool. Then last year when Daniel simply absorbed the multiple rabbit punches from Marchand, they were accused of not sticking up for themselves. So here we are, Daniel tries to finish his check on Keith, in a heated game against their biggest rival, and you claim Daniel’s attempt to lay a body check on Chicago’s top minute man is ‘uncalled for’. That’s hockey. If every hit resembling the one Daniel threw on Keith was worthy of a suspension, Shanaban would be releasing a video relating to every single game on the NHL schedule. And if every time a player reacted to a hit they didn’t like by throwing an elbow the way Duncan did, NHL rosters would be full of AHL callups.

  3. The SI article shows what Coach Hitch had said before he took the Blues job, that he understands these new younger NHL players. He also knows players know more about their shifts & reviewed them before they step off the plane.. How many coaches in the NHL every game hand off a card to a player, and have the team loose as it is, while the player makes the presentation?

    From the wikileaks I hear, Shatty, Beaner, Osh, & Sobi are beauty’s at one liners for the lineups..

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