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What We Learned: Why would Olympic fans watch this nonsense?

Ryan Lambert
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Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

You and I are hockey fans. We love hockey. We'd watch hockey on a 13-inch black and white TV even if it was fuzzy and an Oilers game. We don't care.

But say you're just some guy that didn't care about hockey up until last Sunday's Olympic gold medal game, and you watched that game and said, "Oh man I thought hockey sucked. That was awesome! I hope I can watch more of it and soon."

This weekend showed exactly why the average sports fan was so quick to embrace the Olympics and trash the NHL in the same breath.

(Coming Up: Corey Perry(notes) is a punk; Daniel Carcillo(notes) is an effective punk; the Fire Sather Rally; Columbus's burning man; Marc Savard(notes) gets a cheap shot after Blake Comeau(notes) does; the analytical genius of Brenden Morrow(notes) and Lindy Ruff; Guillaume Latendresse(notes), scoring machine; Datsyukian YouTube brilliance; the Devils' Alberta nightmare; and how the Senators can reacquire Dany Heatley(notes), according to no less an authority than the HF Boards.)

With what was assumed to be a surefire excellent matchup between two Original Six teams that just happen to be division rivals, one of which is among the best teams in the league and the other being the Detroit Red Wings, as the next game televised on NBC, what could possibly go wrong?

Well Cristobal Huet(notes), for one.

He was doing all right until about four minutes into the second period when he turned all ... well, Huet-y. Four goals on seven shots in 6:15 and the game, which Chicago had been leading 2-0, was pretty much over. It was a total gong show of goaltending ineptitude that not only underscored that they'll let just about anyone start an NHL game these days, but also that if you came in expecting Canada/USA-quality play, you might wanna be prepared to settle for Latvia-Norway.

And of course that game was marred by the day's first (though certainly not last) officiating mistake. American Hero Pat Kane, as the masses now know him, seemed to have put Chicago up 3-0 but the officials decided that Dustin Byfuglien(notes) had interfered with Jimmy Howard(notes). Of course, that wasn't what happened at all and any contact the two had was minimal to the point of not affecting the play. It was a huge swing in the game and it shouldn't have happened.

But the game was still exciting and Chicago did end up making it interesting before ultimately losing, so maybe people won't remember all the ways in which the game was disappointing. But if people are looking for an excuse to not watch hockey, then they got a couple of 'em.

And that'll be reinforced with this Matt Cooke(notes) nonsense. You can bet that gets splashed across all the ESPN pundit shows. Marc Savard carted off on a stretcher. Slo-mo replays of the moment of impact. Nothing in the way of an in-game penalty to Cooke. "How does he not get a penalty for that?" they'll rightly ask. More negative press is just what this league needs, right? More idiots saying that this kind of crap didn't happen in the Olympics so no wonder no one watches the NHL what a stupid awful league everyone hates. That'll happen for sure.

People need to be sold on hockey and having clown car goaltending; obviously incorrect, game-altering calls in games on NBC; and reprehensible thuggery aren't exactly a recipe for indoctrinating in the unwashed masses.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: As if you needed more reason to loathe Corey Perry, here he is punching Andrei Markov(notes) in the face for no other reason than Markov scored the tying goal against his team with 11 seconds to go in a game the Ducks tried to sit on for the last 40 minutes.

Atlanta Thrashers: So Evander Kane(notes) picked up a foot injury on Saturday night and will be re-evaluated Monday. I'd say that puts the Thrashers in a bad position going forward but ... well, they're the Thrashers so, y'know.

Boston Bruins: After Cooke went out of his way to take Savard's head off, the Bruins center was diagnosed with a concussion, if you can believe that.

Buffalo Sabres: Prior to Sunday's game against the Rangers, Lindy Ruff said he thinks he sees why the Sabres have scoring problems. Then they scored a goal in regulation before winning 2-1 in overtime on 32 shots. Mission accomplished. Lindy for Jack Adams.

Calgary Flames: A little surprising: The Flames won Sunday, beating the Wild for the first time in four meetings this season. The part you're going to think I'm lying about: Vesa Toskala(notes) was the winning goalie and only allowed two goals.

Carolina Hurricanes: The 'Canes seem to have rebounded well from that ugly loss to the Panthers. An effortless 4-0 win over the Thrashers is the best way to start another late-season winning streak.

Chicago Blackhawks: In the first 30 seconds of this video, Joel Quenneville breaks down why his team lost pretty well. "They scored on a power play, they scored 4-on-4, they scored on the rush and they scored late in the period." That'll do it, huh?

Colorado Avalanche: You've never seen an arena go so nuts for a goal that made a game 6-3 than you will when you watch Chris Stewart's(notes) hat trick penalty shot goal. Those last four words probably have something to do with it though.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Remember when Derrick Brassard missed time with an "upper body injury?" Yeah, he burned his hand with a torch.

Dallas Stars: The Stars have played three games since the end of the Olympic break and they've been outscored 17-5. "It's no secret you're not going to win much when you're giving up five to six goals a game," Stars captain Brenden Morrow insightfully added.

Detroit Red Wings: "A strong second period saved the Red Wings today, earning them two points and showing just how a handful they can be." Well that's one way to spin it. Another is that they played against Cristobal Huet.

Edmonton Oilers: Proving once again that the Oilers are the worst-run team in the league, they won't use NHL-ready junior defenseman Jordan Eberle(notes) on the big club this season. Not that I don't get it in terms of starting his NHL clock or whatever, but the current blue line corps has Theo Peckham(notes) in it, okay? (Ed. Note: Lambert decided to make Jordan Eberle a defenseman when he's a center.)

Florida Panthers: Keith Ballard(notes) made a bet with a Panthers coach on the USA/Canada game. Judging by the picture of Ballard washing a car in a Canada jersey, I'm gonna bet he lost.

Los Angeles Kings: Terry Murray thought he'd give the Olympian pairing of Drew Doughty(notes) and Jack Johnson(notes) a whirl on Saturday. It didn't even last a period.

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Minnesota Wild: With his two goals on Sunday (albeit against Toskala), Guillaume Latendresse is officially on what would have been a 50-goal pace if he'd played all 82 for Minnesota.

Montreal Canadiens: Crazy comeback for the Habs, who yanked Carey Price(notes) in the second period and were bailed out by an electric 21-save relief performance by Client Jaroslav Halak(notes). The Canadiens took six of eight points on this trip.

Nashville Predators: No Shea Weber(notes) for the Preds Sunday night, and he's day-to-day. Of all the guys a team can lose, Shea Weber? Rough break.

New Jersey Devils: And you thought your team wasn't doing well? New Jersey was shut out by EDMONTON last night.

New York Islanders: Blake Comeau got popped pretty good by Mike Ryder on Saturday. This is like the textbook definition of a hit from behind.

New York Rangers: If you hadn't heard, there was a Fire Sather rally before Sunday's Rangers OT loss to Buffalo. Over 100 people showed up, or so I read on Twitter. If they'd had it after the game, they might've gotten a few more people, eh?

Ottawa Senators: Here is a story from the Ottawa Citizen trying to spin a loss to the Maple Leafs as one that was convincing and solid. Right, the Toronto Maple Leafs. I don't get it either.

Philadelphia Flyers: Danny Carcillo refused to fight Colton Orr(notes) Sunday night and got punched in the face three times for his non-effort. "That guy, I'm never going to fight him," Carcillo said. "He doesn't really do anything unless someone fights him. I knew he was going to run me. I sucked him into a few [penalties] and luckily we scored a little later." Toronto fans were upset about his refusal to fight, and rightly so. Kind of a punk move, but it worked out, I guess.

Phoenix Coyotes: Talk about stretching for an angle: "One of Wolski's favorite video games is 'Call of Duty.' And when first called to duty by the Coyotes, he scored the winning goal with 23 seconds remaining against a team that traded him away the day before." It also mention he's friends with Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman. Looks like it's not "UP IN THE AIR" whether or not he's a good hockey player!!! Guys? Come back.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Class move by the Penguins studio crew defending Matt Cooke on the Savard elbow.

San Jose Sharks: Scott Nichol(notes) kinda feels for Maxim Lapierre(notes) after the hit that got the latter suspended four games. Why? Nichol is, by his own admission, no saint. Case in point: He's lost 23 games in his career to suspension.

St. Louis Blues: Is Brad Boyes(notes) breaking out of his season-long, Lambert's-fantasy-team-killing slump? With two goals and an assist in his last three games, the answer just might be "yes."

Tampa Bay Lightning: Marty St. Louis got drilled late in Saturday night's game, but don't worry, he's fine.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Colton Orr had a very Orrish game. Try to fight Carcillo and get a four-minute penalty, then run Michael Leighton(notes).

Vancouver Canucks: Neither of the Sedins have scored in 10 games. They're killing the Canucks, the Vancouver media would have you believe.

Washington Capitals: Speaking of long goalless streaks, Alex Ovechkin(notes) hasn't scored since Feb. 7. Crosby already passed him and that Stamkos kid is breathing down his neck.

Play of the Weekend

Pavel Datsyuk(notes) with the Dastyukian takeaway-breakaway goal late in the period that holds up as the game-winner.

Gold Star Award

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Rene Bourque(notes) had a decent weekend. A goal, four assists, a pair of wins for a Flames team that couldn't win to save its life. I like it!

Minus of the Weekend

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The New Jersey Devils went up to Alberta. They played the Flames (1-3-1 in their last five) and the Oilers (20-38-6 in their last 64). They left with three goals and zero wins. Not so good.

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week

This proposal from user "bradycook14" has to be a joke.

To Ottawa

Heatley (****in all star)

Kent Huskins(notes)

To San Jose

1st Round Pick 2010

1st Round Pick 2011

Jonathan Cheechoo(notes) (salary dump)

Sharks know they wont win a cup with that line, just wont happen

Ottawa may have what it takes, and could get heatley back while sending salary back.

Thoughts

I think you're winding us up.

Signoff

We just call it a sausage.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness pretty much every day over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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