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A Saturday Night Stinker, and a Sunday Stroll

Last night's 3-0 loss in San Jose carried much the same stench as Wednesday's defeat in Anaheim. The Predators played forcefully enough in the early going, failed to cash in on scoring chances, and got bitten by critical miscues later on that allowed the Sharks to steal the win. Chris Mason, thank goodness, looked sharper than he has in a couple weeks, but the guys up front have left him no margin for error.

Heading into the next game at Los Angeles, perhaps Barry Trotz needs to shuffle the deck, splitting up the usual duos of Jason Arnott/J.P. Dumont and David Legwand/Martin Erat (those four players combined for a mere 6 shots last night). Sometimes that forces players to take a fresh approach and focus on the basics. No matter the case, the Kings game looms terribly large in light of what is now a five-game losing streak.

Here are some links I'd recommend for a leisurely Sunday stroll around the hockey world:

Joe Pelletier's Legends of Hockey network is always worth your spare time, but two articles in particular are worth catching today. First, he goes through his updated Hockey Blog Power Rankings, which serves as a great jumping-off point to some of the great writing to be found out there (and thanks Joe for including this humble tome), and secondly, he has a new piece up which discusses the fine art of penalty killing, and includes a list of the top 25 Shorthanded Goal Scorers of all time.

Illegal Curve boasts an insightful interview with Eric Duhatschek, probably the most renowned hockey writer in captivity. Eric touches on a number of issues, but the best bit covers a tryout he had with the Calgary Flames as a young journalist, and how most fans fail to grasp just how amazingly talented even the lowliest NHL player truly is.

James Mirtle bundles together some quotes describing Chicago Blackhawks rookie sensation Jonathan Toews' eye-popping goal from the other night against Colorado, along with an early look at the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) race. One huge problem with local sports coverage here in Middle Tennessee is that the local TV sports news persistently ignores the rest of the NHL, and it's a shame that they can't get plays like this in front of the general sports fan. That's what helps sell the game.

Mike Chen shares with us his experience with a somewhat disturbed fan at a San Jose game, something I think we can all empathize with. Back in the early 1980's my dad took me to see a pro wrestling show, and a guy behind me yelled only two things over and over again the entire evening; "Step on His Head!" and "Come on, Referee!" Versatile phrases that apply to just about every match, to be sure, but a little variety would have been nice.

On the opposite end of the scale, there's a wonderful, drawn-out piece over at Theory of Ice wherein E describes just how she fell in love with the game of hockey; as with so many of us, it begins with a difficult struggle with Persian syntax. A brief snippet:

That play I saw on HNIC last year, though, was something entirely different from ordinary life. It was a moment that was really a moment, not a prolonged multimedia moment, not a stretched and distorted slow motion replay moment, but a moment that was true to the transient essence of moments. Blink and you’d miss it entirely, for it was only there for an instant, exactly long enough to happen and no longer. It vanished as quickly as it appeared. But while it was, it was glorious. It was thought, perception, skill, motion, intention. It was physical and mental, but the grace and the glory of it was that it was all this in one whole. Slow it down, analyze it after the fact, and you could pick apart all the constituent elements, but at the time it was just one thing that encompassed everything. It was a skating singularity, a checking meditation. It was perfect. It was being.
Enjoy your Sunday...