Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Around The League ... Remembering the Brooks/Tortorella Shit Show ... Keenan's Back To Raise Hell ... And More Grief In Lotus Land

Over in New Jersey, the Devils aren't exactly hounded by autograph seekers when they're out in public. In fact, as the Star-Ledger's Rich Chere notes, not many people even know who the hell they are - not even face of the franchise Martin Brodeur.

"This is the 11th straight season in which the Devils have been in the playoffs, but this may well be one of their most anonymous teams. John Madden said he has been to several hockey equipment/sporting goods stores in the area and wasn't recognized.

Brian Gionta has gone grocery shopping in Verona without being recognized.

Paul Martin recently saw the movie "SemiPro" at Essex Green Plaza and was not recognized.

Jamie Langenbrunner can shop or dine without being recognized most times. And he's the captain.

"You can even go to dinner with Marty sometimes and nobody will know who he is. Or, at least they don't let on that they know," Langenbrunner said. "

Across the Hudson River in Manhattan, the Ranger's most prominent beat writer, the grumbling and antagonizing Larry Brooks, picks the Devils to win in six games. I have to say I agree (in fact, I think New Jersey will win the East outright and that the Rangers are slightly overrated right now).

What I'm most looking forward to is Brooks getting into another public pissing match like the one he had with Bolts coach John Tortorella last year. At about 1 minute into this video, the shit hits the fan pretty good.


This is the first chance that Mike Keenan gets to coach in the playoffs since 1996 with the St. Louis Blues. That was the year Wayne Gretzky wore the blue note after getting traded from Los Angeles.

That was a long, long time ago.

So long that a lot of us may have forgotten the antics he used to get up to when the games mattered the most. Jeremy Roenick talks to Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun and reminds us of a funny story that happened when the two of them were together with the Blackhawks:

"In the 1992 Stanley Cup, I got slashed by Kevin Stevens, and Mike threw a cast on my hand and put me in front of the media to get a point across to the league and the officials that I was getting cheap-shotted," chuckled Roenick during a conference call yesterday setting up his Sharks' series with Keenan's Calgary Flames.

"He made me a guinea pig -- it was kind of embarrassing -- but what Mike says, you do. Mike is a genius when it comes to head games and getting into the referees' or players' heads. He's crazy -- very slippery, very sly. He can manipulate a lot of people with what comes out of his mouth. That's just a talent."

They are still picking over the carcass of the Vancouver Canucks and columnist Tony Gallagher thinks that coach Alain Vigneault and his stifling style of play has to take some of the blame for almost every offensive player on the team having off-years.

"So here's the bottom line. Every single player who fits into the "offensive minded" or "finesse" category on this team underachieved in terms of
production. ...

Can you wonder why someone might want to question whether Vigneault is capable of coaching talented players? ...

What does it say to Naslund, traditionally this team's leading goal scorer, when he doesn't play on a five-on-three man advantage, something he hasn't done since Vigneault arrived. Is this not a kick in the jollies from the word go? What does it say to Naslund when he's playing with the Sedins and the line is doing well, when suddenly there's a power play and he's yarded off to the second unit in favour of someone who has nowhere near the offensive capability simply because said player happens to shoot right?"

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