Friday, April 10, 2009

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Raising the Bar

Last week we talked about the Linus Omark shootout goal that had the internet going nuts.

This week, Nicklas Lindberg of the International Hockey League's Port Huron Icehawks takes it to a whole other level.

Lindberg, perhaps inspired by Omark's 'cheeky' goal the week before, comes in on Kalamazoo Wings goaltender Joel Martin during a shootout in Port Huron last Tuesday and does something I've never seen before.

With one hand on his stick, he pulls the puck behind him with his backhand, grabs on with the other hand and deposits the puck behind a baffled Martin...with his stick still behind his back.

I think I've explained it pretty well, but you really must see this one to fully understand.

Crazy stuff! Speaking of Linus Omark, looks like he won't be calling Edmonton home for at least a couple of years. Reports have him signing a two-year deal, worth $2.6-million with Moscow Dynamo of the KHL.

I'll call it the 'Radulov scenario' -- Alex Radulov left the Nashville Predators because he thought he was worth more than what his entry-level contract was paying him (players on entry-level deals can make a maximum of around $850,000).

There's no way that Omark would have made the money he's getting in Russia if he decided to sign an entry-level deal with the Oilers for next season.

He might just wait it out until he's 25, when he'd be able to sign a regular contract. I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Make it Four!

Jared Staal joined his older brothers Jordan, Marc and Eric in the world of professional hockey last week, signing on to play with the San Antonio Rampage.

The youngest Staal made the jump after his Sudbury Wolves were eliminated from the first round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

He had 19 goals and 52 points in 67 games for the Wolves and is a product of the Phoenix Coyotes, who drafted him in the second round of the 2008 NHL entry draft.

Jordan Staal is a key piece of the puzzle in Pittsburgh, Marc patrols the blue line for the New York Rangers and Eric, the oldest, is a four-time 30+ goal scorer with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Thunder Bay, Ontario, crew are two short of the six Sutter brothers from Viking, Alberta, that made the NHL...but they're pretty darn close!

What a family!

Making a game plan

Sometimes when journalists write headlines, the idea they're trying to convey doesn't quite shine through like they planned.

Case and point -- this headline from the Toronto Star: "Wilson, Burke to use Leafs model for Team U.S.A."

Why do I think that's funny, Leafs fans might ask. Well, (and Ron Wilson and Brian Burke might want to pay attention to this) the "Leafs model" is working SO WELL for the Maple Laughs that I'm just not sure it's the best method.

For example, Toronto hasn't made the playoffs since 2004 and will fall well short of the mark this season too. In fact, the Leafs are dead last in the Northeast division!

If the Maple Leaf model doesn't work out for Team USA, maybe they'll try the international equivalent for the next Olympics...Kazakhstan?

I'm not mad...

We've all heard this phrase at one point or another in our lives -- "I'm not mad...I'm just disappointed."


That always cuts deeper than if the person saying it had just told you they were mad at you. Why? Who knows.

It's one of those psychological games used to make you feel a lot worse about something. Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock successfully employed this tactic to his players last week after a 5-4 home loss to the St. Louis Blues -- the team's third straight loss.

"Mad is an interesting word," Babcock said. "I'm disappointed in the group right now. This is very un-Red Wing-like."

I'm not mad - I'm just disappointed. Ouch. Very un-Red Wing-like. Double ouch.

Since that game, the Wings won back-to-back contests, setting a couple of milestones along the way:

Detroit is the third team in NHL history to win 50+ games in four straight seasons, and Mike Babcock became the first coach ever to win 50+ games in his first four seasons with a club.

So remember everyone -- if you're really mad about something, just say you're more disappointed than mad. Works like a charm!

Avery up to his old tricks?

Sean Avery was given a second chance to play in the NHL after some questionable conduct earlier in the season landed him in a mess of trouble with the league and with his former team, the Dallas Stars.

The New York Rangers saw something they liked though, and decided to bring him back for another go...and for the most part, he's stayed out of trouble.

Last week though, a slight lapse in judgment against the Boston Bruins landed one of his teammates a Tim Thomas blocker to the chops.

During a TV timeout, Avery skates past Thomas, who is at the blue line stretching, and clips the back of his helmet with his stick. This starts quite a flurry of action and Avery is nowhere to be seen.

Check it out for yourself:

Avery will want us all to think that it was an honest mistake, but his track record isn't very good when it comes to this kind of stuff.

What do you think? Send me an email ! I'll include the best (or any) responses in next week's blog

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