Things That Made Us Ooh and Boo In 08/09

corey altbaumContributor IApril 16, 2009

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 26:  A fan who identified himself as Lou of Massapequa shows his support for the Lighthouse project during the Lighthouse Development's 180th Community Outreach Meeting at the Marriott's Hotel Grand Ballroom March 26, 2009 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Here we are again at the end of of another roller coaster season in the NHL and my knuckles are still white from the wild ride that the past season provided. And no matter where your allegiances lie you cannot deny that this season was full of warring and scoring and truly was never boring!!!

Sitting on the eve of the playoffs and having no games for three days, my nose inevitably gets pressed up against the rear view mirror as I start to reminisce about the days gone by in this past season.

So, being the optimist that I am, I will start with what made me go Ooh;

Alexander Ovechkin- Not only is he the most electrifying player in the league on the ice- as evidenced by the "Goal of the Year" against Montreal- his sheer joy and showmanship he displayed in the All Star Game with his impersonation of Hunter S. Thompson ( okay that is my artistic licence at work!!) in the shootout challenge to his "my stick is too hot to handle" 50th goal celebration. Oh yeah, he also led the league in goals 56 ( by ten) and had over 100 more shots then Jeff Carter. Need I say more?

St.Louis Blues- Is there a team in the league that warmed the cockles of your heart in the way that the Blues did by making the playoffs for the first time in 5 years? they looked like this year was going the way of the Legace- literally- until they sent him down to the minors and put the weight of the team on the back of Chris Mason who showed that he was more than a one trick Nashville Predator.

Rookies- If you were told at the beginning of the year that the Calder Trophy race would come down to two players who started the year in the minors and neither one was named Stamkos- I think you would have sold that person a slice of swamp land in Florida. If Pascale Leclaire in Columbus doesn't blow out his ankle, Steve Mason is playing goal for Syracuse and not Columbus. Instead he played 61 games, went 33-20-7 2.29 GAA .916 SP and had 10 shutouts to lead the league. But Mason was not alone- there was a fellow, who most of forget, because his career started in the shadows- being drafted #2 behind Crosby will do that- finally emerged to put his stamp on his ticket and announcehimself that he is here in the NHL. That man is none other than Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks. Here is a guy, who before playing 64 games withDucks, played a grand total of 23 games with an underwhelming 10 points ( 5G 5A). He gets called up from Iowa of the AHL and proceeds to entrench himself in the Ducks' lineup by posting 31G 26A 57P and in the process scores one of the prettiest spin o rama goals you'll ever see. Honourable Mention to Pekka Rinne in Nashville.

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Even thoughI could go on in the interest of space I will shift my focus to the Boos. And no legitimate list could lead off with anyone but Sean Avery.

I am not going to sit on a soap box and express my disgust for the context of  what he said about players liking his sloppy seconds when talking about his ex girlfriend's who currently date other players- one being Dion Phaneuf. The issue I have with Avery is; his obvious lack of character because it's one thing to say it to a media scrum it's another to mosey up to Phaneuf during the game and say that to his face. And he just showed how gutless he is.  Is there anyone else in the league that combines stupidity and   cowardice more thoroughly than Avery?

Edmonton Oilers- Talk about a team that was in the thick of the playoff hunt for 90% of the season and then after they become buyers at the deadline their team decides to do their best impersonation of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.

Bottom Feeder teams- Now that the John Tavares/ Victor Hedman sweepstakes is over it cannot be helped to examine how and why some of these teams were in this race. Firstly, the NY Islanders- I don't know if they are worse on the ice or off. How many injury plagued Rick Dipietro years are they committed to? Tampa Bay Lightning- from shoddy ownership, the hiring of Barry Melrose( to coach 16 games), trading Dan Boyle and over exposing Stamkos. The best thing that happened to them was not getting the #1 pick. Now maybe they'll have to draft a defenceman and trade Lecavalier and is $10 million plus a year contract. Atlanta Thrashers- where is the future of this franchise? Not in Atlanta I can tell you that. Didn't work in the 70s and it isn't working now. Anyone surprised?

Well those are a few of the oohs and boos of this past season and I have omitted many things but the playoffs have only begun and there should plenty more to come.


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