Archive for the ‘C’mon man’ Category

Kris Letang in his natural habitat: Looking at a puck in the back of his own net.

Kris Letang in his natural habitat: Looking at a puck in the back of his own net.

Lost a little bit in all the talk of how much of a choker loser idiot Sidney Crosby is has been just how atrocious Kris Letang, who was nominated for a Norris Trophy this season ahead of Zdeno Chara because the people who vote for these kinds of things tend to be awful, has been for his Pittsburgh Penguins.

Like, so-bad-I-want-to-cry awful. Like, so-bad-I-almost-don’t-blame-Marc-Andre-Fleury-for-some-of-them awful. Like, so-bad-I-don’t-understand-why-he’s-playing-at-this-point awful. Like, so-bad-he-has-to-be-hurt awful.

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Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers

Patrick Kaleta has a history of being a menace, and not in a delightful way like Mr. Wilson’s cartoon neighbour. He’s a menace in a different way, the kind of way that often leaves opponents writhing on the ice in pain (he’s been suspended by the NHL multiple times).

On Sunday night, Kaleta decided to cross the line yet again. This time his victim was New York Rangers’ centre Brad Richards.

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Los Angeles Kings v Edmonton Oilers


The second you saw the celebration, you knew there was going to be criticism.  Partly because it was Yakupov, and somehow everything Yakupov does seems to draw criticism, as if the hockey world is still slightly offended by his youth and charm. But mostly because it was obviously, unrepentantly, intensely dramatic, and there is a contingent in hockey thought which  finds dramatic expressions of anything vaguely unwholesome, if not actively immoral.  Players get criticized for jumping into the glass.  Yakupov himself will later be criticized by an opposing color commentator for, of all things, a post-goal hug.  There’s no way you bolt half the length of the ice and spin several full rotations your knees while screaming so loud they can see your tonsils in Wichita without drawing some glowering condemnation.

But although there was certainly some disapproval, most of the reactions were moderate. Television networks did “teach the controversy” pieces without much controversy behind them and most analysts, while still expressing a token disapproval, excused the behavior.  It seems that the vocal condemnation of goal celebrations is now the province of a small and mostly elderly minority.  Like flowered suits, yelling, and controversial opinions, it’ll probably die with Don Cherry.  Even where players or reporters had some mild criticism of Yakupov, it was overwhelmingly gentle, even a little bit patronizing, framed with references to his youth, his exuberance, his fresh arrival in the NHL.  Hockey has an old custom of hammering the joy out of young players until they affect the world-weary, lunchbucket demeanor of an indifferent midrange ten-year veteran, but it seems like that culture is fading off.  In the 21st century, no one wants to play old before their time.

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“This guy” is named Iiro Vehmanen, and he plays for TuTo of Finland’s second league. This was the season opener for his club, who successfully took down the also-uniquely-named KooKoo 3-2 in a shootout.

To get there, they needed this fairly generic goal (30 second mark), which spurred about the following reaction: Read the rest of this entry »