Monday, February 01, 2010
It was the favorite go-to topic on sports radio the last week. "Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl." And to be honest, I had no idea what time it was on until I asked the bartender at Friday's yesterday afternoon.
You know what, keep the Pro Bowl. I watched it. And although I wasn't thoroughly entertained, but it was on, and what the hell else was? A commercial infested Matrix trilogy on AMC was the biggest competition.
Lots of players backed out of the Pro Bowl due to injury or disinterest. But even David Garrard looks impressive when the defense won't blitz, and Chad Ochocinco is your receiver.
Then you got players like Ochocinco, and Ray Lewis. Guys who just love to play.
You're not going to find competitiveness in an Allstar game, in any sport. And I'm fine with that. There's sufficient competitiveness in the regular seasons and playoffs.
And when there's nothing else on on a Sunday evening, I'll take a meaningless, halfassed football game over no Pro Bowl at all.
An 0-1-1 weekend and I'm a satisfied Bruins fan. No, I'm not happy that the Bruins got that one point. Although, that's nice considering the B's are 2 points behind 6th place, and 1 point ahead of 13th.
No, I'm happy with the way the Bruins played. Maybe it's the poker player in me. The attitude that "I didn't get the cards today, but I played well, didn't lose much, didn't make mistakes, just never got going." It's frustrating when you lose this way, but compared to how the Bruins had been losing, it's a fucking joy.
Firstly, the Bruins played two very good teams this weekend. The Northeast leading Sabres, and the Kings, who are the #4 team in the Western Conference.
Secondly, the Bruins ran in to two outstanding goalies this weekend. Both Ryan Miller and Jon Quick (sounds like a gunfighter) are going to the Olympics. Miller is a Vezina candidate, essentially leading the NHL in GAA (2.03), and SV% (.935).
I'm not making excuses. The Sabres beat the Bruins. The Kings beat the Bruins. But just barely. The Bruins played solid defense in both games, and they looked like a whole new team in the offensive zone.
The returns of Marco Sturm and Marc Savard (Claude Julien, please put these two on a line with Mark Recchi, just so we can call that line 'Marked Men') saw the offense evolve out of the primordial ooze of ABC hockey into a creative and entertaining unit.
What Sturm and Savard can do with the puck is simply fun to watch.
What Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder and Dennis Wideman do however, is like watching a midget try to piss at a urinal. It's just unfortunate.
Wheeler has all the skills, he just has no brain. He's still a sophomore player, so perhaps he'll learn. But in Saturday's game he had a truly Blake moment. He got the puck at the red line, streaked into the zone, using his speed and size to keep two Kings off the puck. Then he just drove straight into the corner, like a drunk driver with no idea what to do once he got behind the wheel.
But at least he moves the puck, unlike Ryder and Wideman, who play keep away with their teammates and constantly turn it over to the opposition.
But with Sturm and Savard, the Bruins notched a pair of power play goals. Bergeron's looking better, Lucic and Bitz are healthy, and Chara is playing with an inspirational fire.
Bruins host the Capitals in a huge matchup Tuesday night. Are they going to let a shootout loss crush their spirits? Or are they going to build on the positive?
I'm predicting a 4-2 Bruins win.
AP Photo/Winslow Townson