By Rich Lindbloom
If you spend any time watching the NHL Network, you’re probably quite familiar with the man sitting in the boat with the screen door bottom. “Hawker” extraordinaire, Phil Swift, exuberantly promotes this new miracle product, finishing his pitch with the classic, “Buy one can, and we’ll send you another one for free –“but you must order now!” Uncle Rico and his sailing-ship-in-a-bottle offer got nothing on this guy. Just how good at sealing leaks is this supernatural product? Well, you get a little idea when you see Phil with a can standing on the Hoover Dam. I’m pretty sure even Blues fans could put 2 + 2 together on that image.
My favorite part of the commercial though is when he cuts the floor out of a row boat and replaces it with a screen door saturated with the amazing product. I remember hollering to my wife as he confidently set sail in the modified boat, “Honey, get my credit card and phone – right now! Our plumbing problems are over!” What really sold me though was when he somehow sealed the bottom of his pickup truck, strapped a Mercury engine to the back panel and cruised around the pond. What more proof do you need? (Warning: not advisable to duplicate this feat without adult supervision)
As I watched Ray Emery single handedly clutch victory from the jaws of defeat last Saturday, it crossed my mind that Razor may have gone for the – can’t refuse, two for one deal on “Flex Seal.” Leaks in the Hoover Dam could only begin to describe the rest of the Hawks efforts that night. It was rather apparent that no one besides Razor drank a 5 hour energy drink. To say Emery’s cage was sealed air tight against the Flamers, would be an understatement. Although many Hawk fans are still not sold on Sugar Ray as our back-up, (largely the same group who are hesitant about Cor-dawg being our # 1), I’ve always liked what I saw in this determined goalie. (I’m pretty sure Burrows would have been eating Razor’s blocker for shooting the puck into the net after the whistle had blown.)
In a way, his style of play reminds me of Walt “no neck” Williams. Walt played right field for the White Sox from 1967-72. Anyone who saw him play will know exactly what I mean when I say, “every fly ball was a great, big, adventure.” Some of Emery’s saves resemble those adventures where Walt would run in, run back, slide to the right, move in and then reach back to make a stabbing catch. Razor may not get any points for style, but he did have his hips moving from right to left on Saturday – he was, as they say, “Rock Steady Baby!”
In his preseason preview in the Committed Indian, the sagacious Sam Fels wrote, “It’s a scary proposition if Emery can’t give you anything and Crawford has to play four times/week…” Fear not Sam, I know it’s a small sample size, but from what I’ve observed Razor can cut it! (By the way, both Crawford’s and Emery’s GAA and SV% last season would have markedly improved had they not played in Edmonton last season – heretofore known as the Alberta-Aberrance-Factor or AAF.) I’m not totally delusional though – any of us who have played sports probably have had those days where the stars just line up – I get that. (It’s why people keep going back to Casino’s) However, although he might not be the backup Luongo is, I’m convinced Ray can play.
(On a side note, the funniest thing I ever heard Haray Caray say occurred when he looked at the Sox outfield one day that included Walt, Carlos May and Chet Lemon. He said to Jimmy Piersall, “We’ve got No Thumb in left, we’ve got No Neck in right and No Arm in center!)
There were two “relative” rookies on the ice Friday night in Vancouver that can certainly play. Solomon once noted that there is nothing new under the sun. I couldn’t help but think about that watching Brandon Saad and 6”3’, 213 pound Zack Kassian playing on their teams #1 lines. Reflecting on these two burgeoning stars made me think about the story of Isaac and Ishmael, Abraham’s sons. One was a good guy and one was a bad guy. The Book of Genesis states in Chapter 16: 12 that Ishmael “will be a wild donkey of a man;” He was the illegitimate son Sarah’s maidservant Hagar. Why does the phrase illegitimate seem to fit the Canucks so well?
Isaac meanwhile, was to be the true heir to the Promise God made with Abraham. It was through Isaac’s line that all nations would be blessed. Just one look at the pictures below, and you can readily identify who more closely resembles the wild ass. I’ll give you a hint; he’s the one who almost disintegrated Marcus Kruger with a very mean spirited check in the third period.
After the game, in which both players more than held their own, I visited the Canucks blog Nucksmisconduct to see what they thought about Saad. “Where did you get him from?” was a common reaction. Saad drew two penalties, one time pantsing the Canucks All-Star, Alexander Edler, with a slick move. In the games I’ve watched, he seems to be able to blow by defensemen. These two young stallions will be battling for years to come. When it comes to leading their people to the Promised Land of the Stanley Cup, there is no doubt in my mind that the true heir is wearing the Indian on his chest. Just when you thought the rivalry between the Hawks and the Heathens could get better. Not really looking forward to seeing this Vancouver team when Kesler and Booth get nursed back to health.
Another “wild donkey of a man,” Alexandre Burrows was up to his old self. When he shot the puck into the Hawks net after the whistle had blown, I could only shake my head. I’ve come to the conclusion that Burrows just can’t help himself. It reminds me of a Little League game I umpired. There was a fan who was heckling me who I had more than a few sharp words with. I finally had enough and told him the next time he opened his mouth I was going to have the commissioner toss him. A inning or two went by when I called a third strike on a player whose bat never left his shoulder. As he went back to the dugout, I heard a familiar voice from the stands shout, “It’s ok Tommy, it wasn’t your fault – you don’t want to swing at bad pitches.” At that point I could only laugh; the guy really just couldn’t help himself. Maybe we should pity Alexandre – think what it must be like being him. There’s only three words that can describe that meatball; nozzle, nozzle-ier and nozzle-iest.
The hilarious attempts of the Sedin twins trying to mete out justice on Duncan Keith was a site to behold. It was like they wanted to check him, hard, but they just weren’t sure how to go about it. It made me think about that commercial when the giant pink bunny smashes into the side of a building they are trying to demolish. They really need to swing bigger purses next time they take a run at Keith. C’mon, bring the Gucci’s out boys.
While they didn’t resort to the “I hope a giant crab eats your face,” line of attack, I’m pretty sure Keith will recover from their crushing blows. Just don’t let Kassian line you up Duncs! It appears he’s next in the long line of known Vancouver hooligans, henchmen, headhunters and thugs. By the way, are they many more players in the NHL that can create the open space, and maintain puck possession, as effectively as the Sedins. They can really get annoying at times.
Unfortunately, Dave Bolland injured something on his lower body in the game. I wish the television crew would have zeroed in a bit more on what happened. Bolland’s injury allowed Coach Q’s itching hands to grab the handle of the Random Line Generator. I thought the obvious move was to stick Kruger between Sharp and Kane. Q saw it as an opportunity to change up three lines though. He must have felt like a kid in a candy store.
Marian Hossa continues to contribute at both ends of the pond. His work on the 5-3 penalty kill was pretty close to a Herculean effort. The best part of it was when he appeared to hang a leg on Burrows, sending the agitator extraordinaire sprawling at center ice. While it appears that Big Hoss has zero interest in taking any more faceoffs, his work against D. Sedin on the kill may give Q some ideas. That’s the thing about Q, the wheels on the bus are always turning. I say, “ride that Hoss hard, Q.”
Well, we face a bloodthirsty Shark team tomorrow night. I think I like Joe Thornton about as much as I do Burrows. And then off to Phoenix for a meeting with the known Batman adversary, Bain, errr I mean Raffi Torres. It seems the NHL is filled with villainous type characters. I appreciate the fact the Hawks continue to take the high road as far as decisions of player personnel go. It will be interesting to see if the Hawks try to exact any retribution on the Torres. Do you think his time out in the corner will have any effect on him – naw, me neither.
Also, I was surprised to hear Foley and Konroyd discussing whether or not Razor’s performance bought him another start in either Tuesday’s or Thursday’s tussle. While I have a lot of faith in Emery, how do you sit down a net minder with a 1.66 GAA and .934 SV %? If either goalie should falter, and you know there will be those nights, remember the wise words of J.R. R. Tolkein: “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” As John Hiatt sings, “Have a little faith in me”
Just in case though, it might be a good idea to stock up on some more Flex Seal. It’s about to take over duct tape as my cure-all for house repairs. It’s the Hoover dam in a can!