This and that

June 19, 2006

I didn’t get a chance to see the Game 5 OT victory for Edmonton because of my softball game, so I was excited to find out that I’d be able to watch at least one more game this season. Game 6 was played on Saturday, and I was spending some time with Mr. & Mrs. EOB, Sr. for Father’s Day. They live in a part of the world fortunate enough to have CBC a part of their programming, so I got to watch Hockey Night in Canada for the first time. For the most part, I enjoyed the broadcast. Don Cherry is one wild dude. I’ve noticed more and more while watching sports (particularly hockey) on television that while I hear and process what the announcers say, most of the analysis and commentary that means anything to me comes from my own brain. Ron MacLean seemed to be a good play-by-play man, and largely stayed out of the way of the action. There was one OLN guy who did some of the quarterfinal and semifinal games (I can’t remember his name) that had a very prominent East Coast accent, and I would mute him almost every time he was on the tube (every shot was “A DRIVE!!!!”). All in all, I enjoyed HNIC. Maybe someday we’ll get CBC coverage in Columbus.

My boiled down analysis of Game 6: Edmonton was definitely in control of this game. Carolina (despite the return of Erik Cole) did not have their legs in the game, and it showed up on the penalty kill as Edmonton started to find their groove. The Hurricanes need to dig for everything they can in Game 7, because after Monday there will be no meaningful hockey (depending on who you are) until at least October.

The Blue Jackets came to terms with Manny Malhotra this weekend (3 years, $3.6 million) and started the process of solidifying their third line. Still unsigned (on this line) are Jason Chimera (restricted free agent) and Trevor Letowski (unrestricted). If I were the GM, I’d try to solidify the position of my organization by locking these two into deals before Saturday when the Entry Draft begins. I don’t think that you necessarily draft to fill spots on your NHL team (like you do in the NFL and NBA), but I have to think it would help to know that you have a solid line for two or three years.

Finally, I’ll be sad to see hockey go into hibernation after tonight’s Game 7. I don’t follow the prospects that much (at all), so if I have anything to say about the Jackets’ draftees it will likely be a repeat of what I’ve heard from other sources. Make sure to stop by EOB to see what are sure to be random thoughts on baseball, college football, and the free agency period in the NHL until the 2006-07 season starts spinning up. I don’t have any goals as far as writing goes for the off season, so I’ll have to see how it goes. Thanks to all seven of you for reading these last few months. I look forward to continued fun here at the End of the Bench.

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