Ritter's Rant: News And Notes From Around The NHL

Mark RitterSenior Writer IMay 3, 2010

SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 04:  Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks in action against the Montreal Canadiens during an NHL game at the HP Pavilion  on March 4, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Say It Ain’t So, Sidney…


It’s been a long time since we witnessed Sidney Crosby having a complete breakdown, hasn’t it?

Crosby, who is often referred to as “Cindy” for all the bellyaching and crying he did in the early part of his career, had appeared to have moved away from that sort of thing…that is until Sunday's tilt against the Montreal Canadiens.

Frustrated by the tight-checking Canadiens, Crosby took it out on one of his sticks. He slammed it off the Canadiens net, shattering it to pieces in the process.

It wasn’t one of Crosby’s prouder moments. In fact, it was downright stupid and he's lucky he didn’t receive an unsportsmanlike penalty for his actions.

One thing the Habs have proven throughout the playoffs is that they can frustrate opponents (just ask Alexander Ovechkin) by paying extra attention to the opposing teams star forward, steering them towards the boards and slamming them to the ice at every opportunity.

If Crosby wants to win this series he will have to rise above all the crap and fight the Canadiens at every opportunity.

Crosby’s lack of attention to detail was evident in game two, as was his temper. Check it at the door Crosby, your Pittsburgh Penguin teammates need you.

Joe Scores “Jumbo” Goal


Anyone who watches hockey knows the trouble Joe Thornton and his San Jose Sharks have had performing in the playoffs.

Sunday evening saw Thornton score what many believe to be his biggest goal, notching the game winner in game two versus the Detroit Red Wings.

Thornton, who failed to score in the previous seven games in the playoffs, has been oft-criticized for his inability to perform in clutch situations.

It doesn’t get much more clutch than a late third period goal in game two of the Western Conference semifinals; especially against the Detroit Red Wings (a team that historically had its way with Jumbo Joe and the Sharks).

To be fair, Thornton’s goal is a small victory in what has historically been a rough ride for the hard-luck centre. If Thornton’s goal was his coming out party, the Sharks will take it. Clearly they need JT. Hopefully he can put together a nice stretch of hockey from this point on.

Hawks Scalped By Canucks…Now What?


There’s no nice way to say this so I’ll just throw it out there. The Chicago Blackhawks got “punked” by the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

I haven’t seen a beating like that since Apollo Creed got smashed by Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

Needless to say, the 'Hawks are going to have to leave their purses at home and play with a lot more piss and vinegar. Vancouver beat the 'Hawks on the scoreboard by matching them physically, sending the message that they won’t be pushed around.

I am reminded of the scene from the movie “Slap Shot” when team general manager Joe McGrath addresses his team after they were destroyed by their opponents with numerous scouts in attendance. With his team sitting in the dressing room bloodied and exhausted, McGrath delivered a speech intended to get his suddenly soft team going...

“They've come tonight...to scout the Chiefs, the toughest team in the Federal League. Not this...bunch of PUSSIES.” (Stomps out of the dressing room).


I am no hockey coach, but I suspect Chicago Blackhawk’s head coach Joel Quenneville made a similar speech following the Hawks game one collapse against the Canucks…

The Big Pavelski:


Admit it. Outside of a few Sharks fans nobody took San Jose forward Joe Pavelski in their hockey pool, right?

Through eight playoff games “the big Pavelski” has registered nine goals and 14 points, second only to Crosby.

As good as Montreal Canadiens goaltender Halak and others have been in the playoffs thus far, Pavelski is the biggest surprise.

Bruins To Take Stranglehold On The Series?


Tonight will mark game two of the Boston Bruins/Philadelphia Flyers series. If the Bruins can pull off the victory tonight they will be up by two games and will have taken a stranglehold on the series.

Speaking of strangleholds, did anyone catch Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo strangling Bruins forward Marc Savard in game one?

Carcillo, who is a great hockey player when he wants to be, showed just how “classy” he is by going after Savard…it was gutless. Then again, we have seen enough from Carcillo this season to know better, haven’t we?

For more NHL news and notes check out my website at


Until next time,



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