NHL Talk: Luongo’s Bad Shootout, Hot Habs Fans & Lindy Ruff

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 Robert Luongo’s horrible shootout play, hot Habs fans, the future NHL team in Seattle and what is wrong with the Los Angeles Kings.

The guys appear to have a pretty active President’s Day Weekend. I think one of them actually put pants on and the other was able to find the lost remote.

By the way, neither of these guys have a girlfriend.

This is their email conversation the following morning.

Pasquali: Gooood morning, Eddie! Did you enjoy your Presidents Day?

Theisen: Very much so, it’s always nice to have some afternoon NHL games on. Did you do anything special?

Pasquali: I slept until about noon and then proceeded to stay in my underwear all day while I watched hockey. So no, nothing special.

Theisen: That seems pretty routine to me.

Pasquali: I would like to point out Phoenix won both their games over the long weekend. You could be buying yourself some Coyotes duds! And if Montreal beats the Rangers tonight I am buying a Habs shirt, which would be their 5th win in a row.

Theisen: Well, I’m getting the Numminen jersey. Who are you going to get from the Habs? I think you’d have to go with the Habs greatest player ever Janne Niinimaa. He was always a fan favorite.

Another great Hab to get would be Scott Gomez. You’d have to think “91” will be hanging from the rafters of the Bell Center soon

Pasquali: Haha, just trying to piss the Montreal fans off. IF Montreal wins tonight, I am going to call my friend Justin White, who is a Habs fan. I want to buy the best t-shirt possible in the off chance I run into some chicks from Montreal. Because chicks from Montreal are hot. I have to say they are impressing me. A 4-1 win over Philly Saturday and 3-0 shutout on the Hurricanes who are a very strong team as well. Yesterday, they started out slow but scored all three goals in the third and backup Peter Budaj got his first shutout as a Canadien (10th of career).

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

 Theisen: Last night was Montreal’s fourth win in a row. One of those being a 1-0 OT win against your Panthers, I might add. The Canadiens are now 10-4-1 and look like they’re going to stick around for a good playoff race. Also, Max Pacioretty got his first of the year last night with an absolute rocket from center ice.

Pasquali: Another team that had a GREAT, long weekend was the Anaheim Ducks. They beat Detroit, Nashville, and Columbus in the last four days and have won five in a row. Now they are off until Sunday! This team might not want to take a break.

Theisen: That’s true, sometimes taking a break can ruin everything you had going. Like when teams in the playoffs sweep one round then have a week off. The next series they lost all flow and look horrible (Red Wings). Ducks had a closer game against the Blue Jackets than I think a lot of people thought it’d be. The Ducks were getting greatly outplayed in the first period too. You could even hear one fan yell “This is Columbus for God sakes”.

Pasquali: Three games in four days will do that, but the real quality teams find ways to win those games when they are not playing well. Chicago and Anaheim are easily the best two in the West and are separating themselves from the pack. Vancouver lost two close games over the weekend, a 4-3 loss to Dallas on Friday and a shootout loss Sunday night against St. Louis (who have now won three straight). In the shootout, Luongo didn’t look great and gave up a goal I think both of us could have scored. I wouldn’t call tonight’s game against Chicago a MUST win, but it is a big game for the Canucks.

Theisen: I’d say the only game that is a must win is Winnipeg vs. Buffalo. Both teams are in desperate need of a win to stay in the hunt. I am hoping that this Blackhawks vs Canucks game is the rivalry we’ve gotten used to. Last game between the two, it didn’t seem to have a rivalry feel to it. Despite Roberto Luongo being a very good goalie, he’s terrible in the shootouts. It just looks like he’s not comfortable in them at all. Some goalies thrive in the shootout and others don’t. Luongo definitely falls under the “Don’t” category.

Pasquali: Tough loss for Buffalo on Sunday. They fell behind to Pittsburgh 2-0 in the first 90 seconds of the game, but they were able to battle back only to lose 4-3. Are you surprised to see a team with Ryan Miller giving up 3.4 goals a game?

Theisen: Maybe three years ago, but the last couple of seasons, Buffalo and Ryan Miller have been very sub-par. Thomas Vanek has been the only good news to come from the Sabres this season. The disappointment from last season seems to have carried over to this year. Do you think Buffalo needs a trade or some management changes?

Pasquali: Possibly. Sabres fans are starting to call for Lindy Ruff’s job once again and this time it feels like they may just get their way. Ruff has been taking all the blame upon himself for the bad start Buffalo has had, but I don’t think this has necessarily been the case. Defensively, this is a pretty sub-par team and their power play has been dreadful. They have two special teams’ goals in their last nine games. If Ruff goes, I think GM Darcy Regier has to go too.

Theisen: When Terry Pegula bought the Sabres two years ago, he talked about bringing a winning to Buffalo. Pegula may have to let Ruff and Regier go if he wants to accomplish that. Speaking of letting GM’s go, I think everyone can agree with the firing of Columbus’ GM Scott Howson.

Pasquali: Oh yeah for sure. When you text four of your friends about an upheaval in their team’s front office and their responses are “Thank God”, “About fucking time”, “What took so long?” and “We had a GM?”, you know it was time for a change. Columbus finds themselves in the basement of the NHL but for some reason. I just don’t feel like they are as bad as past Blue Jackets teams.

BOLD PREDICTION: Columbus won’t finish last in the West.

Theisen: Agreed, I thought Calgary would finish last at the beginning of the season and I’m sticking to it. Another basement team right now is the LA Kings. What’s going on with the former defending Stanley Cup Champs?

Pasquali: Before losing to Chicago on Sunday the Kings had won two in a row. In the game against the Hawks they fell down 3-0 but scored two goals early in the third to make it a game. I think the Kings will win tonight and get themselves back in the hunt; they are too good of a team not to. But as we saw even last season, this is not a team that is going to score a ton of goals. They are 27th in the league in goals per game and unless that changes they will need their defense and Jonathan Quick to find their 2012 form to make it a season.

Theisen: As we saw last season, you just need to get into the top 8 to give yourself a chance. The Kings got into the playoffs on the last day of the season last year and ended up winning the Cup. I think Los Angeles is just hoping history will repeat itself now. I still don’t think they’re the most disappointing team this season though. I’d have to give that honor to Edmonton. They are only 6-5-3 and sit 11th in the West. I was like many thinking this would be the first year of their soon to be dynasty. I didn’t think they’d win the Cup this year, but I thought they’d make a bigger dent than they have so far.

Who’s your most disappointing team so far?

Pasquali: Well, I had Stanley Cup hopes for the Panthers this year and they have lost five straight, dropping themselves into 13th position in the East. But, I can’t get over how bad Washington has been. Dead last in the East and not really stringing any games together. I don’t think they will finish dead last, but I don’t see this team making the playoffs. One team that has been underachieving as well is Philly, but a good way to get your season on track is a 7-0 win. Even though it was against Islanders, any time you put up a touchdown is pretty impressive.

Theisen: The bad thing is the Islanders are only 4 points out from a playoff spot right now. Buffalo, Florida, Winnipeg and Washington should be very embarrassed that ISLANDERS are 2-6 in their last 8 and still trailing them. I think if everyone not named John Tavares and Matt Moulson actually start playing some hockey, they could make the playoffs. Anyway you see them cracking the top eight?

Pasquali: No, I don’t. We have talked before about this team and they are not a playoff team, not yet but both Tavares and Moulson are having great years.

We have to talk about San Jose. Seven straight and they have yet to win in the month of February. Ouch.

Theisen: This is the Sharks team I thought we’d see all year. I couldn’t believe their start. Now it looks like they’ve had a reality check. I still think they’re a playoff team though. I thought they’d finish 8th in the West this year and it looks like that could be the case. They have to play a hot St. Louis team tonight, which won’t help their cause. If the Sharks do win tonight, it will be a huge monkey off the back for the entire organization.

Pasquali: Two teams going in different directions, it will be a big game for sure.

OK, give me Eddie Theisen’s goal of the weekend We won’t be mailing this play an award, but knowing you thought it was a good goal should be recognition enough.

Theisen: I got to go with Ales Hemsky against the Avalanche as the best goal of the weekend

Does an asterisk need to be placed on it because it was against the Avs?

Pasquali: The Avs are pretty bad, but a sweet goal nonetheless. It was an awesome goal. OK, lots of hockey tonight. Best games of the evening?

Theisen: Blackhawks vs Canucks and Sharks vs Blues

I just hope the Blackhawks vs Canucks game has a ton of hate each way. I also want to see how the Sharks will fair against a good Blues team.

Pasquali: For me, Canadiens v Rangers will be interesting. Am I getting a Habs shirt? Can Montreal win their 5th straight? Can this Rangers team who has very high expectations get a big win?

Theisen: I’m kind of rooting for the Coyotes right now. I think it’d be cool to have a retro Phoenix jersey to have once they relocate to Seattle.

Pasquali: Maybe they would bring back the Sonics, as a hockey team. That’d be sick. You know you want to see that green and yellow on the ice.

Theisen: I like Jeff Marek from Rogers Sports Net’s idea…The Seattle Squatch.

Pasquali: Sign me up, I am on board with that idea. Hey, apparently there is a big basketball game on tonight too. Michigan State v IU. What things are more likely happen than you watching that game?

Theisen: Me? Exercising, eating a salad and then going on a date.

Pasquali’s Picks (season so far 67-66)

Sabres over Jets
Canucks over Rangers
Senators over Islanders
Leafs over Lightning
Blues over Sharks
Predators over Red Wings
Hawks over Canucks
Oilers over Kings

Theisen’s Picks (season so far 67-66)

Sabres over Jets
Rangers over Canadiens
Senators over Islanders
Lightning over Leafs
Blues over Sharks
Red Wings over Predators
Hawks over Canucks
Oilers over Kings

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