Martin St. Louis is some player! Early in the playoffs, he would shy away from the game a bit more when hit a few times early in the game but as the playoffs progressed, he became tougher and tougher. Good for him! And I was actually thinking the other day how Haley Wickenheiser cannot last more than a couple of seasons even in a 5th tier men's league even though she is physically bigger than St. Louis but Marty not only lasted but excelled in the Stanley Cup Finals. Wickenheiser is a woman, yes, but that has to be offset somewhat by the fact that St. Louis is playing in the best, fastest, MOST PHYSICAL leauge in the world. (This left me thinking, do guys have a naturally higher tolerance for pain than women?) Either way, can't ignore what Marty St. Louis did in these playoffs...Mighty Mouse as called by Grapes.
As much as I hate to admit it, John Torellela is a great coach. I really don't want to heap too much praise on an American coach that looks a lot like a cross between Arthur Fonzerelli and Splinter the karate rat, but gotta give praise where praise is due. "Fear is death"?!?!? Who the @#$ comes up with a ballsy statement like that in today's NHL where everyone is practising safety over creativity? Not only that, he was able to motivate his players enough to believe in this and...and also in the coach who is feeding this entirely new philosophy that none of these young guys have ever heard of before! This is amazing! On top of that, he gets his players to buy into the modified peewee system of attack that Tampa used when all other 'experts' in NHL would have laughed at the mere thought of mentioning it in their respective teams! On top of that, he and his team had some real opportunities to pack it in and go home when faced with some of the adversities but didn't. This guy has some giant sized balls!!! He didn't falter in his belief of himself long enough that he somehow managed to prove to everyone that he was right!
Brad Richards...all of 24 years of age and MVP, Conn Smythe winner! Impressive. What is more impressive is that when you see him in his street clothes with sandals and all, he just looks like a slightly non-athletic teenager. When I used to watch him in his old junior days, some of his moves and his vision reminded me somewhat of the Wayner (esp. using the net to bouce the puck back to himself when defenders came to get him behind the net) but I would never have guessed Playoff MVP at age 24!!! Incredible! I've always like Brad better than Lecavalier perhaps because of the hype that Vinny got and Brad didn't and also because of their respective attitudes, but I think that Vinny showed flashes of what he can really do in this playoffs. And since he doesn't want to be outdone by someone who he probably still consider inferior to himself in his buddy Richards, I gotta feeling he's gonna be whole lot better and with a whole lot better attitude next year. And I can't help but think that seeing someone like Saku Koivu win despite playing through his bruised lungs, torn cartillages and cracked ribs while someone like Thornton whine and lose blaming the same torn cartillages but without the bruised lung and cracked ribs, probably helped Vinny in his decision to play through whatever injuries that he had...including possibly a concusion...although he denied it...and as someone who had played through a concussion when younger, I totally understand why he did it... Not smart, but admirable none the less.
WOW! Robyn Regher! I know that a couple of others did it throughout the history of the game (even Davy Ellet of all people, but for only a small portion of the game) but if true, how is it even possible to play on a broken ankle? This guy is one tough SOB! ...and this after his terrible car accident that broke both his legs in '99...perhaps it really is true what they say. Whatever adversity that doesn't defeat you will make you stronger...cases in point, Joe Sakic, Lance Armstrong, Saku Koivu, etc. Perhaps precursor of things to come with guys like Igor Griegorenko, Dany Heatley? I'm not sure. (Dany Snyder, wish you were still here!) Also, I was sure back then that Fat Pierre in Colorado made the right choice in letting go of Regher and keeping Skoula...oh well, Skoula is still young is about all I can say about that!
Martin Gelinas. I have always just thought of Martin as the 'throw in' in the Wayne Gretzky to LA for Jimmy Carson and $15 million and never really realized the value of this guy until this year's playoffs. Worked his butt off to get some of those timely goals!!! WOW!!! Effort, hardwork, desire!!! Sounds like he learned from a Sutter!!! Hats off to you!
Gerome...very, very impressive but gotta say that since he didn't show up for the two most important games of his life (at least not on score board), once again, you're a runner up like before to Theo for the Hart. All I got to say is that he's a good, or great hockey player!
Kipprusof. I gotta say that I had my doubts especially because of the precident set by his older brother Marko in the Montreal Canadiens system...and then that terrible last year in SJ but what a great, confident goalie you turned out to be! Although he didn't play as well in the last couple of games, his confidence and casaul attitude in making big saves even during the finals reminded me somewhat of Pat Roy's attitude in important games! I think that you will be a great goalie for years to come! Keep it up!
Coach Sutter! Is there a better hockey coach in the entire world!?!?! First recognizing who Kipprusoff was and getting him from San Jose for peanuts and then convincing an entire team of Bad News Bears to go out and over achieve night in and night out just with hard work, "Eliminating Space and Time!!!!" I have never, ever, in being involved with hockey for 30 years, seen a team like this year's Calgary Flames getting so much out of nothing and going to the finals! !@#$, in my book, you guys are the rightful Stanley Cup winners!!! Not only did you take the hardest road possible to get there (Van, Det, SJ, Tampa vs. NYI, MTL, PHI, Cal) but any MORON and their 2 year old kid sister could see that IT WAS A GOAL!!!! Granted, it would have been a TERRIBLY sissy way to end such a great playoffs but there is nothing inconclusive about it. When the camera, which is angled from this side of the line, shows that it crossed the line completely with WHITE space showing between the puck and the line, what more proof do you need? Even that dumb@@# Cherry was smart enough to recognize that this was the NHL trying to save face and trying to cover up for the ineptitude of its officials once again!!! How can you let the play continue then have the guys upstairs call down to stop the play to award a goal that happened 10 minutes ago? Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!
At least the Americans esp from the Tampa Bay area got introduced to the excitement that is the playoff hockey and the joy of being part of the marathon rollercoaster ride that is the playoff run. They also got to enjoy the skating of the Stanley Cup with the players which I always find enjoyable and fullfilling.
However, CALGARY, in my mind and in my heart as well as in countless others, you guys are the rightful champions and the TRUE STANLEY CUP WINNERS!!!! You did the whole country proud!!!
but any MORON and their 2 year old kid sister could see that IT WAS A GOAL!!!! Granted, it would have been a TERRIBLY sissy way to end such a great playoffs but there is nothing inconclusive about it. When the camera, which is angled from this side of the line, shows that it crossed the line completely with WHITE space showing between the puck and the line, what more proof do you need?
Great post until right here. If you look in the Goal/No Goal thread there is a great shot of Saprykin looking over Khabibulin, with the best perspective on whether or not the puck was in.
If anyone was in position to see if the puck was in the net, Sap was the man.