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Nicklas Lidstrom Retires.
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Thank you for missing out on him, Philly. And that day is today. Nicklas Lidstrom has announced his retirement.

He was the best I've ever seen play the position. He is my most favorite player on this recent era of Red Wings, trailing only behind Yzerman. He is also my choice for best defenseman of all time. Sorry Orr fans, you're wrong. At the very least, Lidstrom is equal to Orr, and they are among the greats, like Coffey, Robinson, Harvey, Stevens, Chelios, Housley, MacInnis, Horton, Potvin, Murphy, and Bourque.

Fans of hockey will miss you greatly, Nick. Enjoy retirement.

Pictured: Lidstrom holding his 4th Stanley Cup, in 2008.

3 Cross-Checks.
Pirate Flag
1. Well well well. What a difference a playoffs makes!

Who did we expect to advance in the playoffs? New York was the only one. If you expected the Kings or Coyotes in the conference final, then you're a homer for one of those teams. The usual suspects, Vancouver, Chicago, Detroit, and San Jose, all got unceremonious takedowns in round one. The sentiment among puckheads was that the Western was unwatchable, but Los Angeles is holding serve. It clearly remains a niche sport for interest, but overall, if the NHL was worried about market size, LA/PHX beats Vancouver or Nashville, and things worked out okay in the Eastern with the Rangers clearing an early test from Ottawa.

2. On ratings ...

I really don't have any idea how to calculate ratings for NHL. I would expect that the 1.21 million viewers only counts American households. In Canada, this is the NFL. And what of markets overseas, like Russia? Surely this game plays elsewhere. Tools like Box Office Mojo are important to understand the film industry's take. They recognize ticket sales from abroad, and it's all inclusive. I think in a global market, well, it's time that TV ratings, especially for sporting events, were treated the same.

3. Jonathan Quick.

I don't think anyone can ignore Jonathan Quick anymore. He has a catchy last name, yes, but what was more catchy was his sub-2 GAA in the regular season, followed by a most impressive post-season performance, to date. The guy is next-gen awesome. When Brodeur hangs it up, we have more outstanding goaltending to look forward to ... and Quick should be one of those guys that you would tune in to see.

3 Cross-Checks.
Pirate Flag
1. Kronwall's hit on Voracek:

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you keep your head up.

2. Sidney Crosby's return:


Right now it's Malkin or Stamkos for the MVP. Of course if Sidney comes back they'll be that much better, but 3 years ago everyone acted like Crosby >>>>>>> Malkin, that Evgeni was just a peon in King Crosby's kingdom. It was bullshit then, and it's bullshit now, and it'll always be bullshit.

3. The yearly great big NHL rule change:

This time it's OT rules. You know what? Nobody likes the scoring system the NHL has. OTL, what the hell? I, however, was never an opponent of a tie. I see ties work all the time in soccer, and I hear that game is pretty popular, wink wink nudge nudge.

10 minutes of OT sounds good, and I guess 3 on 3 is fine, but the league shouldn't be afraid of ties. The regular season is the regular season. In other words, you only need a definitive decision on a winner in the playoffs. Ties are, in my opinion, good for debate, especially when two top teams get together and the end result is a tie.

Osgood Wins 400th Game!
Metal!  \m/  \m/
On the road, 4-3 OT win, vs. the shitbag Avalanche, no less.

I don't think Babcock likes Ozzie that much. The whole team went out there and engulfed him ... Babcock just stood there, blank stare. Even Scotty Bowman was known to go out there and congratulate guys he didn't particularly like. Come on, Babcock.

Anyway, congrats to Osgood. Hockey Hall of Fame? You bet, it's waiting for him.

Ozzie after the game.

2009-2010 NHL Champions: Chicago Blackhawks.
Angus Young Bluueeh!
Congratulations to the 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks on their NHL Championship. 52 wins and the 3rd best record in the league led to a nice playoff run and the sweetest ending.

For Scotty Bowman, it's another Cup in a long line, but it's the first Blackhawks championship in 49 years!

Marian Hossa finally got his Cup. .333 ain't bad.

No Cup Repeats for 2010.
CCCP Hockey

This year, it'll be two new entries to the Cup Finals. Pittsburgh? They just got good-nighted by Montreal on their own ice, in a Game 7. Wings? Detroit was DOA in the San Jose series, so there's nothing but fighters left, something you couldn't really predict at the beginning of the year.

This has been a great playoffs, so far. Halak has been amazing, and the Canadiens have to thank their lucky stars for him. It's their first conference appearance since 1993. And the Hawks/Sharks series should be a goal-festival. Neither of their goalies impress me, and they have a lot of scorers between the teams.
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