NHL Talk: Conference Realignment, Whalers Gear & Popcorn

Gary+Bettman+NHL+Realignment+2013

Two hockey guys talking hockey.

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

The guys talk about the recently announced NHL conference realignment planned for next season, Washington’s recent hot streak, the Blackhawks looking mortal once again and awesome popcorn flavors.

I’m glad the Blue Jackets will be in the East starting next season. Eliminating all the West Coast travel could help them make a few playoff appearances.

This is their email conversation the following morning.

Pasquali: Eddie! Good morning! How I have missed you. Feels like ages we have been apart.

Theisen: Stop. You had me at roast beef.

Pasquali: Are you going to be purchasing some Colorado gear for saving your testicles last Friday night?

Theisen: No, I’d rather take a shot to the nuts than wear anything Avs. Unless its a picture of Patrick Roy doing the Statue of Liberty in the 2002 playoffs.

Pasquali: Haha, fair enough. A lot has happened in our beloved world since we last talked. Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Anaheim keep winning, Chicago looks human, Washington’s hot streak was short lived and we have a new Pope.

Theisen: I’d say the Pope definitely looks like a Predators fan.

Pasquali: Haha. Ooh, too soon?

Theisen: What? I was clearly stating he looks like a Nashville fan.

Pasquali: Yeah, yeah. Big win last night for my Canadiens. Shootout victory over a good Ottawa team and Montreal has won 4 straight. Top of the Eastern conference and looking like a complete hockey team. I know you really like Boston, but give some credit to the Frenchies.

Theisen: Montreal is a good team, but Pittsburgh and Boston are way better than them. You really think Montreal would beat either in a seven game playoff series?

Pasquali: Ummm yeah, because Canadiens in seven, Bruh. By the way, my Montreal shirt should be here next week. We’ll be sure to post a picture on the blog!

Theisen: My “Bring back the Whale” Hartford Whalers shirt beats the sh*t out of yours

Pasquali: We will just have to wait and see. We can model both of our shirts and we will have to put a poll on the blog and let the public speak.

I have to say, I miss the whale. I wonder if I can find any awesome Hartford gear online….

Theisen: I have two Whalers shirts. Trust me, there’s some bomb diggity stuff

Pasquali: I only have one Whalers shirt, and yes it is one of my favorite shirts of all time. OK GOT IT. Amazing. Whalers Starter Jacket.

Theisen: Buy it now only $45? What are you waiting for?

This is even better. The greatest California based NHL team ever.

Pasquali: Ooh, that is good. We need to think of a bet. If it happens, I’ll grab the Hartford Starter Jacket. I guess it would have to involve the Hurricanes… They’ve won their last two and they play Washington tonight after destroying them 4-0 on Tuesday. Ideas?

Theisen: I’ll bet you the Hurricanes hold Ovechkin to three or less shots.

Pasquali: Whoa, really? That doesn’t seem likely. So, if Ovi has 3 or less shots on goal, I am getting my Starter Jacket?

Theisen: Ovechkin has only averaged 1.66 shots a game against Carolina since Kirk Muller took over. And even when he coached in Montreal, Ovechkin only averaged 3 shots a game against the Canadiens. He obviously knows something other coaches don’t

Pasquali: Alright sounds like a bet to me. Pittsburgh had a 3 goal third period to come back and beat Boston on Tuesday night, vaulting them over the Bruins for 2nd place in the East. Not a hotter team in the league than the Penguins and not many players hotter than Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Crosby we expect it from, but what has gotten into Kunitz?

Theisen: Well, he plays with the best offensive player in the world. If this was an 82 game season, Crosby would be on pace for about 142 points. Kunitz has always been an under the radar player, even when he was back in Anaheim. When the Ducks won the cup in 06-07, Kunitz had a 60 point season. He was overshadowed by Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, Pronger and Niedermeyer. Now in Pittsburgh, he’s overshadowed by Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Neal. Seems to work out okay for him though. It’d be something to see him beat Stamkos for the Rocket Richard race.

Pasquali: And it looks like another season a Canadian wins every statistical category?

Theisen: Waiting for the day it’s all USA players. Come on Kane, Kessel, Suter and Miller.

Pasquali: Yeah, we won’t be holding our breath. NHL announced a four game suspension for Corey Perry’s vicious hit Tuesday night on Jason Zucker. It was to the head and late, resulting in Perry being tossed from the game. Four games enough? Too much? Just right? Also, how does no one on Minnesota jump Perry for this? Usually after every big hit like this someone on the team who’s dude gets decapitated steps up.

Theisen: I think it was a bit too much, I wasn’t expecting it to be more than 3 games. It was worthy of a suspension, even though Zucker admired the shit out of that pass. I think anymore with hits like this, if the victim’s team see’s the refs arm up, they know not to do anything and get the 5 minute power play taken away.

Didn’t matter anyway, the Ducks killed the entire 5 minutes and ended up winning 2-1.

Pasquali: A play from the action last night in the New Jersey/Philly game will be looked at for possible fine/suspension. Ryan Carter kneed Zac Rinaldo.

Wasn’t the most blatant knee I have seen, but a dangerous play nonetheless. I have always said going knee to knee is one of the dirtier plays in the sport.

Theisen: He’ll probably be getting a call from Mr. Shanahan soon. Could just be a fine. I could see a 1 gamer though

Pasquali: Philly ended up losing the game 5-2. They were never really in it after New Jersey dropped 3 goals in the first period. Another poor performance by the defense and Bryzgalov. Standings are deceiving since the Flyers are only 3 points out of a playoff spot, but they have played more games than any other team in hockey. Do you think Philly could blame the NHL scheduling? I mean at this point, they have played 4 less games than Boston. Four! At this point in the season Boston has played games on back to back nights four times, where Philadelphia has done it seven times.

Theisen: Well, seeing as our Red Wings have the most back to back games in the league, Philly can just shut their trap about that. I didn’t think Bryzgalov played bad at all. If you look at the goals scored there was really nothing he could do. Kovalchuk’s short handed goal was just dirty

Pasquali: Yeah, the Wings didn’t look so hot last night. Defensively they had been really solid the last 8 games and then BAM, Calgary hangs five on them. Lots of turnovers and mental mistakes in the game and Calgary pounced on the errors.

Theisen: If I could go back in time for one thing. I would go back and stop Jonathan Ericsson’s parent from ever conceiving him. This guy has more turnovers than a German Bakery. I can’t believe we have to deal with this guy for next season too.

Pasquali: Can we make a bet and if you lose you have to be an Ericsson shirt or something? Maybe an autographed photo from Jonathan?

Theisen: I draw the line there, Joe.

Pasquali: He is a Detroit player and hasn’t always been terrible. Occasionally, he has a game with no glaring mistakes. You just got so much hate in your heart.

Theisen: He’s always been terrible, there was a time in 2010 that he got so bad that you thought maybe he’s not that terrible, but that was only for like 10 minutes

Pasquali: But he had a B probability of success! What about prospect Jonathan Ericsson?

Theisen: He’s not even worthy to be picked in the 9th round. Maybe if there was 32nd round in the NHL Draft.

Pasquali: Jonathan Ericsson was an even 0 in plus/minutes last night, but -2 and -1 over the weekend against Columbus. If Ericsson can go either even or positive in his next three games, I think you should either buy some gear or write a formal apology to Jonathan.

Theisen: If Ericsson does the following in the next three games I will:

Gets a point Is a +1 or better Doesn’t have a direct turnover lead to a goal Doesn’t take more than 3 penalties

Pasquali: OK, deal. Boom! Whoa, did you know today was National Potato Chip day AND Popcorn day?! Two amazing snacks.

Theisen: Potato Chips beat the crap out of popcorn. So many varieties compared to popcorn. Call me when popcorn has pizza flavor.

Pasquali: Pizza Flavored Popcorn!

Theisen: Yeah, but it’s an inconvenience to buy it. You have to order and wait. I can go to any local grocer and buy pizza flavored chips in a second and also have different brands available. Owned.

Pasquali: Yeah, I am more of a chips fan myself, just want to give them both their due respect. I’ll make sure to munch them both down tonight while watching the plethora of games. Plethora means a lot, Eddie.

Theisen: Yeah thanks, pretentious means a**hole Joe.

Pasquali: You know I love you, bud. THIS JUST IN. Realignment has been approved!!! We will now descend into chaos.

NHL+Realignment+2013NHL+Conference+Realignment+2013

Theisen: Now you got the Red Wings and Panthers as divisional foes… what are you going to do?

Pasquali: And MONTREAL!!! No idea. This just throws my whole world into a tizzy.

Theisen: Need to add 2 more teams though. They will reevaluate it after 2015, so I could see the NHL expanding then. There have been plenty of rumors about Seattle and Quebec City. I’d like to see it be a fair 8 team, 4 division NHL.

Pasquali: Uhhhh yeah, you are telling me Chicago just has to be better than Winnipeg, Colorado, and Dallas to make the playoffs?

Theisen: Top 3 from each Division automatically make the playoffs and then the next two teams with highest total in each Conference make it, regardless of Division. So one Division could send 5 teams while the other only sends 3.

Pasquali: Gotcha. Which is good and how it should be for now. Maybe Hartford will get a team back… we can hope.

Theisen: No way Hartford gets one… I wish.

Pasquali: Interesting that you could now see a Detroit v Chicago Stanley Cup.

Theisen: I haven’t seen too much about after Divisional playoffs. The first two rounds will be strictly divisional playoffs. I’d hope it’s reseeding by best point total after that. That way you could see Boston vs New York for the Cup.

Pasquali: Yeah. Four of the Original Six teams are in the C division. That is nuts. Plus the Panthers! I guess the season just gets worse for Buffalo fans.

Theisen: Buffalo will always be the red headed step child to their fans. Should be good every year and finish 12th.

Pasquali: Lots of hockey tonight. What game are you most looking forward to?

Theisen: Pittsburgh vs Toronto. Should be a good matchup in TO.

What’s your game? Don’t even say Florida.

Pasquali: Man, such a good future C division match up…. but I am going to go with Ducks at Stars. Ducks are hot and Dallas is playing pretty well. Should be a good, physical, game. Well, Eddie. Have yourself a fine evening and eat as many chips as your heart desires.

Pasquali’s Picks (season so far 136-117)

Bruins over Panthers
Penguins over Leafs
Canes over Capitals
Hawks over Blue Jackets
Lightning over Islanders
Rangers over Jets
Blues over Coyotes
Wild over Avalanche
Ducks over Stars
Canucks over Predators
Sharks over Kings

Theisen’s Picks (season so far 137-116)

Bruins over Panthers
Penguins over Leafs
Canes over Capitals
Hawks over Blue Jackets
Lightning over Islanders
Jets over Rangers
Coyotes over Blues
Wild over Avalanche
Stars over Ducks
Canucks over Predators
Sharks over Kings

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