NHL Talk: Kessel Ends Drought, Family Guy Masks & Vanek

Two hockey guys talking hockey.

Joe Pasquali and Eddie Theisen are two diehard NHL fans. They both watch every hockey game every night (almost).

The guys  recognize Boy Scouts Day, Phil Kessel ending his drought, a rookie goalie’s sweet mask and Thomas Vanek’s MVP odds.

The guys also mention something to remind me that Steve Mason was once very good. Joe & Eddie set the table for this weekend’s NHL action.

By the way, neither have a girlfriend. This is their email conversation the following morning.

Final Scores 2/7/13
BUF 5, MTL 4 F/SO
NJ 4, TAM 2
NYR 4, NYI 1
FLA 3, PHI 2 F/SO
PIT 5, WAS 2
CGY 4, CBJ 3 F/OT
CAR 3, OTT 2, F/OT
TOR 3, WPG 2
DET 5, STL 1
NSH 3, LA 0
VAN 4, MIN 1
CHI 6, PHX 2

Pasquali: Happy Friday…an happy Boy Scout Day! Were you a boy scout Eddie?

Theisen: No, but I’ve always been a keen observer of the Scouts. Those boys are really inspirational.

Pasquali: What the hell does that mean? You watch little boys?

Theisen: You watch little boys play hockey and it’s not weird.

Pasquali: You need some new hobbies. I wasn’t a Boy Scout either. I remember watching “The Last Boy Scout” with Bruce Willis and thinking, “This is the Boy Scouts?!” Upon finding out the Boy Scouts were nothing like that, my interest faded.

Theisen: I refuse to watch any Bruce Willis movie that isn’t titled “Die Hard”

Pasquali: You’ve never seen The Last Boy Scout?! Most people remember it for its opening scene. Remember, this was football before all of the rule changes.

Ray Lewis Patented This Move Back in the Late 90’s

Theisen: Oh. My. God

Pasquali: Well, I could talk classic cinema all day, but we had a hell of a night in hockey. Two overtime winners, two shootouts, a few blow outs, rookie goalies with amazing helmets, and a ton of awesome goals.

Whew. I needed a cigarette last night after it was all over.

Theisen: It was a great night of hockey indeed. I have to say, Detroit’s Petr Mrazek may have the coolest goalie helmet ever. I thought Jimmy Howard’s was cool with Doctor Octavious, but Mrazek definitely one-upped him.

Jimmy Howard’s “Dr. Octopus” Mask
Petr Mrazek’s “Peter Griffin” Mask

Pasquali: One of the coolest goalie helmets I’ve ever seen as well and he played great! Twenty years old, first NHL start and he stones the Blues in St. Louis (stopping 26 of 27 shots). Big win for the Wings. They finally got their 3rd and 4th lines going last night and it was the difference.

(*editor’s note) – Let’s not get too excited about a young goalie doing well in their first start. He may win the memorial ‘Steve Mason Trophy’…in memory of his talent, which died after winning the Calder Trophy in 2009. 

Theisen: He did play well, and it seemed like he was in one of those grooves where every puck just seemed to hit him. The Red Wings overall looked like a completely different team than the last two games against Calgary and Columbus. Red Wings are 2-2 in their last 4 with both wins coming against the powerhouse Blues. Maybe the Red Wings are just playing up to their opponents?

Pasquali: Could be. Big weekend ahead for Detroit with back-to-back games against Edmonton and Los Angeles. I’ll be interested to see if the rookie Mrazek gets another start. On the subject of rookies, USA Junior player J.T. Miller picked up his first career goal and helped the Rangers roll over the Islanders last night, 4-1.

Theisen: Despite the score, the game was actually closer than it seems. You can tell the Islanders are still just a young group that might be a couple years away from contending in the playoffs. They need to acquire some defenseman and now with the addition of Tim Thomas, they should be fine in net for a couple of years

You like the addition of Thomas on the Islanders?

Pasquali: Yeah, I do. I think there are a lot of teams that would love to have him and I was surprised to see him end up an Islander. Great trade for New York and if you are an Islanders fan, you should be excited. Though they could really use him now (he won’t play till next season), it should give the fanbase some optimism going forward. Do you think Boston could have gotten more than a conditional second-round pick?

Theisen: I don’t think the Bruins could have gotten much more than that. They definitely weren’t getting a decent player out of him and getting a second-round pick from the Isles isn’t a bad deal. You have to think the Islanders will finish towards the bottom again this season, so it should be a high second round pick for the Bruins.

Pasquali: Was there a more dramatic ending than the Montreal/Buffalo game? Thomas Vanek ties it with one second left and then helps the Sabres win in the shootout. If the season ended today, Vanek would be the league MVP.

Thomas Vanek Ties Game w/ One Second Left in Regulation

Theisen: I’d have to agree with that. Two goals last night and now he has 21 points in ten games this year. Who saw that coming from Vanek?

Here’s a fun fact for ya, Joe. An American or Austrian has never won the NHL scoring title. Vanek is currently leading the NHL in points (Austrian) and Patrick Kane is three points behind him (USA). You think the streak ends this year?

Pasquali: It very well could! I don’t know if Vanek can keep this pace up, but Kane is going to be at the top when the season ends. Chicago has enough talent around him to keep him scoring. The Hawks probably just wish they played Phoenix every night.

Theisen: That certainly wasn’t the case last year in the playoffs though. The Coyotes were actually playing their best hockey of the year…until last night’s drubbing from the Hawks. The Coyotes started out the season a horrible 1-4 but were able to make a turnaround to 4-4-2. Now they sit at 4-5-2 and maybe lose a little confidence from last night. You think this will affect the Coyotes long term?

Pasquali: Losing 6-2 and being thoroughly dominated at home can’t be good for any team, but the Coyotes are a fairly veteran bunch, so I don’t see this creating a hangover effect. The first concern for Phoenix will be making sure their goalie, Mike Smith, bounces back. On the other side, Ray Emery gave Chicago another quality start.

Theisen: Emery is earning his playing time in Chicago, something you can’t say in Ottawa. The Senators dropped their game last night in OT to the Hurricanes, in which I thought was the second best game of the night.

Pasquali: Cam Ward was absolutely insane last night for Carolina. All game he was stellar and kept the Hurricanes in it, helping them steal a game in Ottawa. (stopping 45 of 47 shots). A rare goal by Jay Harrison in overtime and boom! Carolina has won 5 of 7.

Theisen: Anytime your goalie puts up a save percentage of .957, you should win the game and the Hurricanes did just that. The Hurricanes didn’t have a great start to the season but they seem to be clicking on all cylinders now. Their offseason signing of Alex Semin seems to be paying off greatly for the Canes, as he has 7 points in 9 games. It actually looks like he’s playing defense now! So they have that going for them.

Pasquali: You know what else they have going for them? Harvey Dent. I would say having the District Attorney of Gotham City behind your bench is pretty awesome. Having a stellar goalie is just the cherry on top.

Should We Pull the Goalie? Flip A Coin!

Theisen: Kirk Muller is the coach Carolina deserves, but not the one they need right now.

Pasquali: Hahaha. I am referring to them as the Carolina Harvey Dents the rest of the season, get used to it. I know you hate shootouts, but the Panthers/Flyers game had some sick goals. Florida gets a huge road win and has earned a point in their last four games. RAWWWRRR!

Flyers vs. Panthers – Shootout 02/07/2013

Theisen: I like that the shootout shows the individual skill these guys possess, but hate the fact a team gets half a win from it. That said, Huberdeau and Mueller both had some great goals in the shootout, while Jose Theodore stopped both shots he faced for the Panthers 3-2 win.

Pasquali: In the other two big matchups of the evening, we saw special teams play a HUGE roll. Pittsburgh used their power play to open up on Washington in the second period in a 5-2 win, while the Devils shutdown Tampa’s PP all night and got a 4-2 victory.

Which was more impressive to you, Pittsburgh’s power play or New Jersey’s penalty kill?

Theisen: I’d have to go with the Devils’ PK. We all know the Penguins probably have the best offensive players on paper, so the fact their power play is doing great isn’t a shock. The fact the Devils were able shut down the league’s best power play and best one-timer man Steven Stamkos, impresses me more. Also, the Devils scored a short-handed goal on Tampa, which has to be salt in the wound. Which one impressed you more?

Pasquali: Oh, the Devils for sure. There was an eight minute span in the second period when the Devils took three penalties back-to-back to back and they were able to kill all of them off. Tampa was frustrated all night and you saw in the third period when they took a few penalties of their own. Because of that, New Jersey was able to pull away. Tampa coach Guy Boucher even got a penalty for abusing officials, he was livid. Not sure if this is abuse but it is hilarious.

Tampa’s Guy Boucher “Talks” to Refs During Devils Game

Theisen: He certainly can look like a Bond villain..

Pasquali: I love the ‘NHL Center Ice’ package, but what the hell was with the Toronto/Winnipeg game? We can’t get a high-def feed? Get your shit together Canada.

Here is an image from last night’s action.

Theisen: It definitely felt like we had a Smythe vs Norris matchup last night. I was waiting to see if Doug Gilmour was going to give us the game winner.

Pasquali: No Dougy Gilmour, but Phil Kessel finally found the net and Toronto won 3-2. It had been 314 days since Mr. Kessel had scored an NHL goal.

Theisen: And it was a big one. Scoring less than a minute after Matt Frattin scored to tie it, Kessel finally found the back of the net to put the Leafs on top with just over four minutes left in the game. This could boost Kessel’s confidence and we could see him get back to normal.

Pasquali: We both picked Columbus yesterday and Columbus lost (though it was in OT, so they got a point!). I thought we were done picking the Jackets.

Theisen: I feel like that gambling addict who can’t stop going to the track with the Jackets right now. I keep getting let down, but I get a sick rush from picking them.

Pasquali: They’ll come through one of these nights. Only one game tonight (Anaheim v Dallas), but some stellar games over the weekend. Tomorrow afternoon, I am going to be flipping between Tampa Bay @ Boston and Pittsburgh @ New Jersey. Which games are you most looking forward to?

Theisen: My three games tomorrow will be Lightning vs Bruins, Maple Leafs vs Canadiens and Flames vs Canucks.

Pasquali: Any other big plans for the weekend? It is the Chinese New Year on Sunday!

Theisen: Probably just get some Great Wall Buffet and watch “Rush Hour 2” to celebrate.

Pasquali’s Picks (season so far 26-35)

Ducks over Stars

Theisen’s Picks (season so far 30-32)

Stars over Ducks

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