Blog Entry

No shootout necessary

Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:05 pm
PITTSBURGH -- For the 12,000 fans who were lucky enough to get one of the limited tickets available, (and even those who paid up to $160 to scalpers) the end to today’s alumni game didn’t really matter.

Obviously it would have been better had the Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals rather than tying them 5-5 in this politically correct-labeled old-timers matchup, even  more so had former captain and current team owner Mario Lemieux scored a goal or three.  But Lemieux did get a couple of assists, one of them on a goal by Rob Brown, his former linemate who might have appreciated the setup more had it come 23 years ago.

“He finally got me my 50th,”  laughed Brown, who scored 49 times in his best season with the Penguins.

Mind you, no one was complaining on what late, great Penguins coach Bob Johnson would have definitely called a great day for hockey. The temperature was 41 degrees at the start, it was dry and the sun managed to pop out before it was all over.

“It was fun to be a part of,” Lemieux said. “I saw some old faces again, guys I haven’t seen for a long time, some guys from the Cup years and older guys. It was pretty special for all of us. These are memories that we can cherish for a long time." 

For those in the stands though, this was less about creating memories than bringing back old ones, most notably when the Penguins showed flashes of the past by taking the lead on the power play late in the final period. Paul Coffey started things with a familiar rush, Lemieux directed traffic from the wall on his off wing and Larry Murphy quarterbacked from the point, with Ron Francis and Kevin Stevens doing the screening in front of Caps goalie Don Beaupre.

“Pretty much the same setup we had 20 years ago,” Lemieux laughed. “It looked like we knew what we were doing.”

Apparently because Francis neatly deflected the shot Murphy took after a feed from Lemieux. The Caps didn't quit though and drew even before it was over on a goal by Peter Bondra.

“What else do you expect from that guy,” Stevens said. “Some things never change.”

Even when they do.
Category: NHL

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: January 1, 2011 9:38 pm

No shootout necessary

It bugs me too about the unbalanced schedule. With extra conference matchups against New Jersey and the Islanders, with 3 point games, the gimme games where teams only suit up 18 players and bonus points for playing in an off-contract year, it's a wonder Pittsburgh and Philly both don't get 140 points this year. They'll soon start judging goals on artistic merit just like figure skating and water polo. It just makes it hard to compare teams of today with teams like my favourite team, the Habs in the '70s who had to get 132 points with zero overtime bonus points.
Call me a purist if you want, but I've said it before and my biggest beef is still with regular season overtime. Overtime used to be the most exciting few moments in sport but it has lost all meaning because you see it every third game. It used to be just playoffs and some players might only see a couple of OT games in their careers, so they were really wound up. It actually meant something then, so I say leave OT for the playoffs and just skip the shootouts altogether. Or keep them as a skills competition between periods to entertain those who like it. 

Since: Apr 30, 2008
Posted on: January 1, 2011 10:13 am

No shootout necessary

Good post habfan.  I agree on both counts.  The alumni games need to be televised.  I was at many of teh Caps / Pens games in the late-'80's and early-'90's (Pittsburgh native, long-time DC area resident - Caps fan) and would have loved to have seen these guys yesterday.  That Oilers / habs old-timers game was great.  So many great guys out there.  And shootouts are never encessary, they need to dump that.  It really cheeses things up unnecessarily.  The old system was just fine.  I also say bring back divisional playoffs.  Bettman dumped all that for the conference format sicne he is an NBA lackie, that was after a strike year and the fan base needed soemthing.  Not5 anymore.  Bring back the Smythe, Norris, Adams and Patrick and get the regular season shceduel morebalanced.  I had season tiockets for years.  One of the main reasons was - you saw every team every eyar at least once.  Hawerchuck with Winnipeg, Bourque with Boston, Hakan Loob with the Flames, obviously Edmonton, etc.  Now I was paying thousands of dollars to see the lightning and panthers 4-5 times a year.  I dumped my tickets.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: December 31, 2010 2:27 pm

No shootout necessary

Too bad they make the Oldtimer's game a sideshow with the current Heritage Classics. With the first game between the Habs and Oilers, it was THE game. The whole concept of playing outdoors was to draw upon nostalgia of yesteryear and what could be more nostalgic than seeing your heros of twenty years ago once again strap on the blades. It doesn't matter that they've lost a stride, it was great just seeing them. The fact that it was the dream match that never could have happened for real, with the best team of all time giving up ten years to best team of the '80s with the best player ever on it, didn't matter in the end. The Habs came out playing like they wanted to win and they would have if not for the unexpected spectacular goaltending, particularly by Ranford. They'll probably not do it again because two games on difficult ice surfaces were just too much and it's lucky nobody got really hurt. But despite the bitter cold it was hands and away the best Heritage game thus far. I loved seeing the Flower show what he had left in the tank and the only negative was that Dryden didn't suit up in net. It certainly was better when juxtaposed with a bunch of overpaid modern players later on in the day who looked they were debating whether they should pack it in because the cold wasn't worth the $10K-$100K they were getting paid for the game. Theodore's toque sort of made up for it all though. And no, shootouts are never necessary

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