Cornwall - Feb. 17, 2011 - As part of my regular contributions to OurHometown.ca, I have decided to write the occasional column about my random thoughts from the world of hockey. For lack of a better name, I will refer to these columns as a "Bag of Pucks". You may agree, you may disagree and that's okay. Drop a line to OurHometown.ca by clicking the link below and provide your thoughts!
PK SUBBAN - First off, let me say that I really like this kid and that I think his play and enthusiasm are good for the game. Subban is fun to watch and he is often unfairly criticized for his play and behavior. I have no issue with his OT goal celebration or the fun that he has with Carey Price after a win. However, I do think that he dropped the ball in his recent fight with Leafs' Joffery Lupul. Rookie or not, common sense needs to come in to play. PK has been playing hockey for close to two decades and should know better than to hit someone when he is taking off his helmet in a fight. The proper thing to do is to take off your own bucket. Even the fans know this unwritten rule.
MARIO LEMIEUX - NHL great and Penguins' owner Mario Lemieux suggested after the brawl with the New York Islanders, that he might have to re-think his involvement with the NHL. This is an interesting comment, considering that the Penguins are currently the most penalized team in the league, averaging 19 minutes per game and lead the league with 64 major penalties. One of his own players, Matt Cooke is often described as dirty. For those who watched the 24/7 series on HBO, fighting was discussed by Pens players "as part of the game" and "something I need to do to keep my job" if I want to stay in the NHL. It seems like Lemieux is talking out of both sides of his mouth and it is not surprising why he is being accused of being a hypocrite.
JACQUES MARTIN - I don't know the man personally but I am sure he is a really nice guy. However, I really do not enjoy his style of coaching. When he was the head coach of the Cornwall Aces, he coached a boring brand of defensive hockey and would not allow his team to play aggressive. It was tough to watch the Aces get pushed around and laughed at night in and night out. His coaching style hasn't changed much in his last three NHL stops - Ottawa, Florida and now Montreal. I am not a Habs' fan, but I felt sorry for the players in the recent mismatch against the Bruins. You have to give the players full credit for standing up to defend themselves, but the reality is this team cannot compete on a physical level with teams like Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto and others. Jacques Martin needs to go. Tough part for the Habs, is that as an organization they have chosen to limit themselves to only francophone coaches. My vote goes to Stanley Cup winner and area resident Bob Hartley. No time like the present Mr. Gauthier!
TOMAS KABERLE - As yet another trade deadline approaches, there is more speculation surrounding the possibility that Kaberle will be moved out of Toronto. As in previous years, there are two big pieces to the puzzle. First, will Kaberle consent to waiving his "no-trade" clause and secondly can GM Brian Burke find a deal that he likes enough to pull the trigger? Kaberle becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, and has recently indicated that Boston would be a favorable destination for him. There has been lots of speculation about a potential deal. Perhaps forward Milan Lucic and a return of the Leafs first round pick would be suitable compensation. As a Leafs' fan, I also would not be opposed to Burke re-signing Kaberle - although who knows if that is possible at this point.
MATT DUCHENE - The leading scorer of the Colorado Avalanche Matt Duchene, will be out of the line-up indefinitely with a hand injury. The sophomore centre who has local ties, has 21 goals and 26 assists this season. The Avs will have a tough time making the playoffs without him.
NEVER SAY NEVER - The Leafs are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and are now only 6 points out of a playoff spot. The Buds still have 24 games left, so anything is possible. Maybe Kaberle staying in blue and white is not such a bad thing?
LOTS OF LOCAL HOCKEY - There is plenty of local hockey action happening. The Morrisburg Lions have had a great finish to their season and now take on Casselman in round one of the EOJHL playoffs. The other series sees the Winchester Hawks and the Alexandria Glens doing battle in a best of seven. The Cornwall Colts are one of the top teams in the country and they are winding up their regular season and getting ready for the playoffs. The Akwesasne Warriors are having a successful inaugural season and their playoffs are around the corner. Please try to get out and support one of these local teams!