Snipe City is a hockey column by 36 Crazyfists vocalist Brock Lindow and PUCKHCKY founder Matt Marini.
Well we had plans to write the new album from January to May and then hit the studio mid-summer, but every once in a while an opportunity comes along that you can’t pass up and schedules get shifted around. That opportunity that revealed itself is to go support our brothers in Killswitch Engage on their first US/Canada run supporting their new album Incarnate!!! So as we are still writing the new album ,it may take a bit longer to finish her up and get it into your hot little hands. We have a long history with the boys in KSE and it’s gonna be one helluva good time criss crossing the country with these maniacs!
Let’s get into some puck shall we!
First topic on my mind is the letter John Scott wrote for the Players Tribune. I love those articles by the way, now if the NHL did indeed treat Scott as he portrays it, then shame on Gary Bettman and the powers that be. Obviously they have tried to make up for it as his All-star Game appearance and his much deserving award of MVP of the game pretty much closed the deal on what is an incredible story about a man who has been in the league for a long time and is well respected by his team mates and fans alike! Congrats big John Scott!
The leagues most exciting player is back in Connor McDavid, after breaking his collarbone in a feisty game against the Philadelphia Flyers, he returned with one of the deadliest dangles any man has ever possessed for what is my vote for goal of the year so far. Edmonton has a bright future with McDavid, Taylor Hall & Nail Yakupov.
My thoughts on the Dennis Wideman incident (see below) may be a bit different than my partner Matt. He took a pretty good hit on the boards and was clearly in some pain skating to make a change, while his head is up we can’t see his eyes, just the back of his helmet before he crushed the linesman from behind. Either way I agree that the hit looks bad and it probably deserves a good hard look but 20 game suspension seems a little harsh.
Having less than 30 games left in the regular season, certain teams are really heating up and one player in particular is Sidney Crosby, did you see his goal against Anaheim while Cam Fowler was riding him like a backpack? Plain nasty.
The big trade news so far was the dealing of Toronto Captain Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa in a 9 player deal. Toronto unloaded a big salary and can now go after Steven Stamkos which is what every Leaf fan is hoping for. Ottawa will benefit from the big defense man and will team up nicely with Erik Karlsson. Alex Ovechkin scored his 30th goal against Philadelphia, as he has the most goals of any Russian player to play in the NHL over his career. Washington looks pretty deadly and may indeed be a cup contender this year.
So the playoff race is heating up and my beloved Flyers are again on the outside looking in. Gonna need to find a way to go on a hot streak and get those much needed points to get in the wild card hunt. Let’s go boys!!!!
Lastly their has been a bit of chatter about dirty plays in the league increasing as the fighting aspect of the game continues to disappear. Let’s talk about the Wayne Simmonds and Ryan Mcdonagh incident, now this was a crosscheck to the head of Simmonds as he came in for a clean check on the boards. Plain and simple Mcdonagh cross checked simmer in the back of the neck to set this whole thing off, Simmer retaliated with a gloved punch to Mcdonagh and he received a concussion which resulted in a match penalty for Simmonds. My take on all of this is that their isn’t enough enforcers in the league anymore so everyone has guts now. There isn’t the repercussions that there used to be if you do something cheap on a player. The NHL got it right by not issuing Wayne Simmonds anything additional after the match penalty. Fighting controls the games from getting out of hand and letting liberties be taken on players. It’s not just a bunch of buffoons out trying to bully other players. The codes are in place and I for one want to see it stay in as a part of the game.
Whew…what a couple weeks the NHL just had huh? Now that we are past the All-Star break, things are gonna get real with teams fighting to make the playoffs. With the high-level of parity throughout the league, almost every team still has a chance to make the dance. As of today 24 of the 30 teams can still argue a pretty strong case for making it. Any team that gets hot and can string together a bunch of wins has the ability to leap-frog past numerous teams and vault to the top of their conference. Conversely, any team that suffers a losing streak of even modest-length is going to sink like stone in the standings. The only teams that I would consider “safe” to make the playoffs are Washington and Chicago. In fact this may be a very, very early Finals prediction? I’m not ashamed to say that until someone steps up and can beat Chicago 4 times to knock ’em out, they are going to be a threat to win it all again! These next couple weeks are absolutely critical for all the “bubble” teams as the trade-deadline is looming and teams will need to decide whether to be buyers or sellers. It will be fascinating to see what teams buckle first and decide to sell, and of course we are all hoping for a crazy deadline day, full of awesome deals! Cant wait to see what the contenders do to try and strengthen their teams.
What did everyone think of the Dennis Wideman incident (see below)? The NHL suspended Wideman for 20 games for abuse of an official, which I have no problem with. Too long? Nope. Just right. He can try and claim it was an “accident” – um no. He clearly has his head up and is looking right at the official prior to crushing him. Wideman and the NHLPA have naturally filed an appeal to try and shorten the suspension, but I think the NHL will hold firm and make him sit out all 20.
Don’t look now, but looks like #87 is heating up big-time… Sid is rockin’ up the scoring charts. The Jets re-signed Big Buff today, what consequence will this have on Ladd and Trouba? Are the Wings really discussing Loui Eriksson with the Bruins? The Wings have plenty to offer if they truly want him. I’m diggin’ the Panthers style of play, gotta think they make the playoffs for sure, plus you know they will make a deal or two. Quite the turn-around in Anaheim going on yes? The Ducks are suddenly finding some scoring touch, the defense is finally healthy and the goaltending is settling in nicely…watch out West. Also scary for the West…Towes and Hossa are both looking healthy and strong for the Hawks. Not gonna be just a Kane/Panarin pair that leads them to the playoffs. Surprise Team? Carolina Hurricanes. They have a realistic shot at the playoffs…seriously. Surprise Team 2? Minnesota Wild. They should be a shoo-in for the playoffs, right? Pffft…not as of today. Not sure how well it will go over if this team misses the playoffs. Next great Flyer defenseman? That’s easy its spelled Gostisbehere. The “Ghost” is for real. I think if Colorado makes a deal or two to strengthen the back-end they’re in the playoffs, total bubble team if they don’t. Can Dylan Larkin be any faster? Or better? OK….last thing. The John Scott All-Star saga ended perfectly with Scott being named MVP. While the way the weekend unfolded could not have been scripted any better for Scott, the lasting memory for me will be the GIF of Patrick Kane getting booed while John Scott is next to him laughing his ass off. The wry little smirk that Kane cracks is classic too. Funny stuff. Seek it out and enjoy!!!
As always, please check out our sweet 36 Crazyfists x PUCK HCKY collaboration at www.puckhcky.com. We have some new designs that are hot!!!
36 Crazyfists will also be embarking on a great tour with Killswitch Engage starting in mid-March, so be looking out for dates near you and a kick-ass contest from your pals at PUCK HCKY.
Keep your head up,
Brock & Matt