Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Are shootouts as much fun as they used to be?
There are rumblings here and there that the shootout isn't as much fun as it used to be. Example: Jim Hughson here.
But how about Pavel Datsyuk's Sunday shootout goal against Chicago?
It's an amazing goal, really. But is this slo-mo goal really a hockey play? It's more like a circus event and we always go back to one thing -- is this really the best way to decide games?
Alexandre Bolduc, featured on Free Press pages last week for his increasingly effective work for the Vancouver Canucks, may turn out to be a key storyline in the Manitoba Moose season, and it appears not in a happy way.
Bolduc, the strong-skating, versatile centre, might have had some more Moose time in his future until a grave mistake last Wednesday in Saint Paul, Minn.
Now, after being drilled by Minnesota Wild meathead John Scott in a fight, there are rumblings Bolduc's shoulder injury may be so serious that he's lost for the season.
That will put the Moose down two centres for the second half and the struggle continues trying to find some talent and depth offensively. The first is Bolduc and the second is the still-absent centre the Moose were expecting/hoping Vancouver Canucks would provide them.
Bolduc's mistake was not telling Scott to get lost but you can hardly blame him in the heat of the moment whether or not he was giving away eight inches in height and maybe double that in reach. Bolduc was trying to have a go with the Wild's Cal Clutterbuck, but should have known better that Clutterbuck pretty much never fights his own battles. He's known around hockey as a hit-and-run artist --always hitting people, certainly, but often from behind and often dashing away before the consequences begin. And so it went last Wednesday, with Scott showing up to fight another of his battles.
From the same game last week came the complaint from tough guy Derek Boogaard that Canucks coach Alain Vigneault had sent players out to start fights in the third period.
At least, so said Darcy Hordichuk while engaging Boogaard in a scrap. The affair was put down to trash talk.
Just wondering now, though, who's the bigger tattletale from last week's NHL mayhem, Boogaard or Alex Burrows?
Certainly didn't hear the likes of Calgary's Craig Conroy, so quick to dump all over Burrows last week, ripping on Boogaard.
Apologies but I do laugh out loud, in a sickening sort of way, when those who believe it say there is more respect in the game today than there's ever been.
I'm not sure when disrespect reached its zenith, recently or 20 or 40 years ago, but it is far more pervasive than it should be and than so many would care to admit.
There are two incidents, troubling ones, from elite junior players in Canada in the last week.
Both players, Matt Kassian from the OHL's Windsor Spitfires and now Team Canada captain Patrice Cormier from the QMJHL's Rouyn Noranda Huskies, are suspended for disgusting blows to the heads of unsuspecting opponents.
Judge for yourself, but don't give us any of the trash we're getting from Windsor about Kassian's hit being a legal hockey check. He left his feet to deliver the blow and like Cormier's, it's head-hunting pure and simple.
Hits similar to Cormier's (hello, Ed Jovanovski) are worth two-game suspensions in the NHL. That's not likely to be the case in the junior leagues, which are miles ahead when it comes to disciplining this garbage.
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