Trending Topics is a new column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?
Say your favorite team is playing the Edmonton Oilers and positively waltzes to a 4-1 victory.
Considering that Edmonton is currently last in its division and conference, and 27th in the league, with very little in the way of defense and goaltending you probably wouldn't consider this a huge deal.
But then, your favorite team probably isn't the Toronto Maple Leafs.
You would think that a game between two likely lottery teams this year wouldn't generate as much intense and frankly hateful, but then you also wouldn't expect a 2010 lottery pick himself (in this case Taylor Hall(notes)) to say, "Hopefully we can compete a lot harder (than on Sunday). Because (Toronto) is a team that, if we do, it's there for the taking."
In fact, Edmonton media members in general were chalking up the game as a slam-dunk. W. Allan Maki wrote a particularly odd puff piece saying that the Oilers were a team on the rise in the Western Conference (but for that pesky inability to win draws, kill penalties, play defense or stop the puck!). Edmonton Sun pom-pom waver Terry Jones had more than a couple derisive things to say about the visiting at-the-time 28th best team in the league. Edmonton fans were all but planning a smug little parade.
They never in a million years believed that the mighty and irresistible force of the Edmonton Oilers could be felled by the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. Not when one whole point separated them in the standings, at least.
But the Leafs crushed them, predictably enough, leading fans like the masterminds behind Pension Plan Puppets to launch into hilarious beer-fueled gloating sessions, while Edmonton fans mummed up but quick.
All this has nothing to do with Hall being a rookie and his comments showing a profound lack of respect for the game, as Dan Ellis(notes) or Mike Richards(notes) would say. It's not about rivalry games or bragging rights either, because the Oilers and Maple Leafs, who play each other once a year, are probably just about the farthest thing from being rivals without actually playing different sports.
It's really about the fact that it's pretty damn stupid to give other professional athletes bulletin board material. Especially if your team also sucks. At the time Taylor Hall said what was essentially a blasé coin-flip game between two lightweight teams with severe deficiencies at more than one position was the Oilers' "for the taking," Toronto's players likely couldn't have cared less about a Monday night game in Edmonton.
But Hall gave them a reason to care, and in doing so proved that if your hockey team pretty much sucks, and gives another one that is similarly bad a reason to play harder than normal, they will beat your brains in pretty easily. By the end of the game, Leafs fans on Twitter and in the arena had completely silenced their Edmontonian counterparts, and were celebrating rather smugly. The best way to celebrate.
It might have been different if, let's say, Max Talbot(notes) had mentioned in passing that the Penguins had a pretty good chance to win an upcoming game with the Leafs. There would have been no stink raised. No war of words. Certainly no one saying that two points from the game would legitimize Pittsburgh. The difference is obvious: The Penguins are good, the Oilers are garbage.
So please - and this goes for both hockey players (especially you disrespectful rookies!) and fans alike - don't talk trash if your team sucks.
I saw this mentioned a little bit on Twitter and had to go suss it out because no one else picked up on it. Apparently the Globe and Mail was saying that the Devils only signed Ilya Kovalchuk so that owner Jeff Vanderbeek could make the team more attractive to Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian (obviously) who owns the New Jersey Nets. Somehow, signing Kovy to this huge deal was to convince Prokhorov that he really wanted to buy the team.
I'm sorry but I think it's just about time to stop the THERE'S NO WAY LOU WOULD'VE SIGNED HIM WITHOUT VANDERBEEK HOLDING A GUN TO HIS HEAD train at this point. Yes, it's out of character for the Devils to give a player that much money or years on his deal. Yes, Kovalchuk has had an horrific start to the season.
But no, there's probably not a grand conspiracy theory that will prove to me that a team paying market value for the best free agent to hit the open market in years was somehow motivated by anything but a desire to win at hockey. That it hasn't worked out that way is, for the Devs, unfortunate, but there's another 14 years to go.
Why would Vanderbeek, just in the hopes of offloading the team, promise 100 million goddamn dollars to the guy? Why would he give him 15 years? Couldn't he have shorted him on years but given him even more money per annum? Wouldn't he only commit that much of the franchise's future, both on-ice and fiscal, to a sure thing rather than kind of hoping some Russian oligarch would swoop down from the heavens with billions of dollars to steal away this troubled franchise that couldn't draw fans with a pen and paper?
It's all really stupid, like people don't want to believe Lou Lamoriello could ever make a real mistake. He's been doing it for years. He's going to continue to do it. So just dial it back, everyone.
That it was tucked deep, deep in the story about how crummy the Devils are, with some sort of half-committal "Yes I am somewhat friendly with this Russian gentleman" quote from Vanderbeek, and not screamed across headlines and TSN shows to me at least that the whole thing is probably a load of crap.
On 24/7, Bruce Boudreau was so incensed that his team was getting it frickin lunch handed to it by the Rangers that, in a fit of rage during a timeout, he told them to pull their asses out of their heads. It was all very funny, and it sparked this:
@seangentille: If the Caps end their losing streak against the Pens, that'd be like killing one bird with two stones.
@DownGoesBrown: Easy on the 24/7 tweets, the west coasters haven't seen it yet. Don't let the bag out of the cat.
@Caps_Girl: Talking about playoffs now would be putting the horse before the cart
@camcharron: Glad the ***ing break is coming up. There's no place in holidays to go like home.
@scottywazz: We could have given Semin an extension before the season, but why buy the milk when you can get the cow for free??
@lindsapple: What's going on with the Caps? It's like they're touching lose
@KDorau21: The Capitals are just trying to take it one time at a game.
And your winner:
@CrossCheckRaise: That was a fun Ovechkin scrap. The flies were really fisting
Of course, because I am a moron, I called these metaphors when they are idioms. I'm the worst.
Pearls of Biz-dom
BizNasty on staying sharp: "Off to NYC. Ganna hit up Rockefeller plazas ice rink so I can get some ice time. Puclic skaters at rockefeller #GetMoreIceTimeThanBizNasty"
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