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We’ll get to game night in a few, but first, I gotta weigh in on last night’s win in Vancouver. Poor Alex Burrows, his antics may have finally bit him in the butt and he has nothing to do but whine about it. Let’s look at the timeline. I wrote this in my post-game blog on 12/9…
I can’t let last night go without discussing the Smithson hit on Alex Burrows. A clean shoulder to shoulder check from Jerred Smithson, that Burrows tried to duck out of while still in possession of the puck is given a major and a game? Nope, I disagree with the call completely. Especially after Burrows, hunched over on the ice, picks his head up, looks around to see if anyone is watching, then goes back into his fetal position. Then is back on the ice 30 seconds later looking like nothing happened … I would expect the misconduct to be overturned if the Predators request a review.
The misconduct issued to Smithson was indeed overturned two days later.
Now let’s flash forward to last night… and let’s say that Alex Burrows is quoting the referee accurately. He did make the referee look bad by his rather poor acting job back on December 8th. That is hard to argue with especially after the league revoked the misconduct when reviewing the call. The funny part is, Burrows seems to confirm that he did indeed make the refs look bad by embellishing his injury (or lack thereof) on 12/8 by saying how unfair it is to take it out on his team. Ummm… okay…
Who knows, maybe what happened in Nashville was in the back of the ref’s mind as he took the ice last night… but the hardest part of this whole tin-hat conspiracy theory that Burrows is trying to sell is that the ref was dumb enough to come right out and say it! That’s the hardest part of this whole thing for me to buy. If you’re looking for “revenge,” as Burrows put it, do you really give your target a warning? That just doesn't pass the smell test.
The other piece of this is the rather interesting calls (and non-calls) made on BOTH sides. This was not a one-sided affair, no matter what the Vancouver media tries to tell you. Burrows should’ve just shut up, manned up and taken his medicine. Now he’s opened his mouth and painted a target on his and his team’s back for almost every official in the league. I expect fines to come down for his post-game tirade.
No time to savor Monday’s win as the Predators are in Edmonton for tonight’s game against the struggling Oilers. The Oilers will be working to avoid a five game losing streak, the Preds looking to break their recent cycle of win one/lose one.
The Oilers had a rare mid-season weekend off as their last game was last Thursday, a 4-2 loss to Columbus and has spent the off days in intense practices, trying to find a way to get their game back. Olers coach Pat Quinn is quoted on the team’s website as saying that “four days isn’t going to make a major difference” but clearly he is hoping that some extended practice time will help.
The injury report looks similar to last night for the Preds, Jason Arnott s doubtful, Jerred Smithson and Jordin Tootoo is out. The Oilers are listing Mrc Pouliot as doubtful, Mike Comrie, Nikolai Khabibulin and Ales Hemsky as out.
Nashville looked much better last night, skating well and executing well on special teams, continuing that level of play and effort will be key to getting two points tonight. The Predators are expected to start Pekka Rinne as Dan Ellis got the nod last night.
Game coverage on 104.5 the Zone and FS Tennessee.
- Congratulations to Ryan Suter on being named an alternate captain for Team USA.
- Nice to see Joel Ward back in the lineup last night.
- Don’t look now but the Red Wings are creeping up behind. Detroit stands 5 points behind the Preds, but they have two games in hand.
- The LA Kings are fading. They have lost three straight (including last night against San Jose) and are 3-7-0 in their last ten.
Wed. 1/13 - HockeyBuzz Radio welcomes famed sports writer Jim Kelley, we’ll preview the upcoming game against the Maple Leafs with writer/blogger/radio host Howard Berger from the Fan 590 in Toronto and we’ll also talk trades that may happen before the Olympic break with Eklund… that and more on next Wednesday’s HockeyBuzz Radio.
You are invited to follow me on Twitter. Search for PredPAPaul… Not only will I be updating when I get news or updates… I’ll also be updating during Pred home games in season with information and explanations from the PA box.