It's June 21st, and our hockey-sense is tingling. For weeks, it laid dormant, but all it took was two puzzling Nickelback performances and some brutal Pierre Maguire/Eddie Olzyck repartee to wake GTOG out of its slumber. There is just no going back to sleep after that ordeal.
Nothing like seeing the big guy lumber awkwardly through a Ted Lindsay Award speech, then nail the emotional Hart Trophy tribute to Sergei Gonchar. The surprise here was not that Malkin won the Hart going away, not that he cracked people up and charmed the room, but that he won the Lindsay Award that goes to the player most respected by his peers. Because you don't need to watch many Penguins games to realize Malkin gets under the opposition's skin. A lot of players think he's dirty, and at least one coach thinks he whines. He's not winning any popularity contests out there. But he was just too good for the other players to let any in-game hostilities get in the way of the popular vote. And off the ice, come on, what a personality.
Exhibit A as to why Twitter is often unbearable: Geno Malkin states that taking home the Hart, Lindsay, and Art Ross Trophies culminated the best day of his life. Next thing you know, Twitter explodes with people condemning other people who we don't follow on Twitter who are saying, in essence, "Geno, what about winning the Stanley Cup, huh, what about that? That's not the best day of your life? How could that not be the best day of your life? Are you even a human being? How can you even look at yourself in the mirror right now? You have disgraced your city, and really all of human civilization." And then people on Twitter take great umbrage with the Geno critics, and go on and on AND ON about how it's no big deal that Geno made this statement, there is a language barrier, and it's all really very innocuous, and no one should take offense. When did it become imperative for everyone to respond to everyone about everything? We don't know, and, please be assured, we don't care. UNSUBSCRIBE.
2) Jordan Staal
Lots more to come on the podcast, but the latest is that hockey scribe Andy Strickland reports Staal has told Ray Shero he will NOT re-sign with the team and will leave as an unrestricted free agent next summer. This may be true. This may be untrue. Also, this may be true, but things could change. Our feelings on it won't change: the Pens should make a run this season with Jordan Staal. Unless Shero is blown away by an offer - and we're talking an offer that gives us a suitable replacement at center, a significant upgrade at another position, AND a stellar prospect - you don't trade the guy who makes the Penguins the most difficult match-up in hockey. You make your run now, and then let the chips fall.
3) Paul Martin
Nice work by the Trib's Josh Yohe on Wednesday to get the scoop on Martin's concussion, his recognition that he was terrible this year, and his desire to stay in Pittsburgh. We feel bad for the Prime Minister. We loved what he brought when Shero signed him two summers ago, and we defended him at length on several occasions. But concussion or no concussion, we've seen a steady decline in his performance that does not warrant another chance at redemption. If you're a $5 million defenseman who can't get comfortable after two full years in Dan Bylsma's system, you're not a $5 million defenseman. We wish him the best, but we'll take a draft pick and cap space for him and move on. Time for a reboot.
Podcast tonight. See you there.