Groan. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Henry Rollins used to say "Does my ass look big in this state of the union address?" when he'd discuss his cringing, powerless embarrassment whenever President Bush would speak publicly on behalf of Americans. As if to suggest when the President can't pronounce "nuclear" the mistake makes all the innocent people he represents look like morons.
This morning I kept returning to a similar phrase: "Does my ass look big in this NHL team?"
It was one of several things I thought about on the walk to work. I often chat with myself during the trek to the train because it passes the time and, hey, why talk to other people? When the conversation is confined in my skull, I sound brilliant and my answers are always profoundly insightful.
Since I'm struggling to enjoy life today I'll share the conversation with you.
Full disclosure: it probably makes no sense.
Inner Me: Did last night really happen or was that the collective result of 10 weeks of frantic playoff hockey drinking hitting me at once?
The idea I have to wrap my head around a riot is absurd. I can't justify what these idiots did and I'm an American...I know damaged chromosomes with anger streaks when I see them. This picture will unfortunately be seared into my recollection of the 2011 Cup run and I don't have the words to articulate the frustration. What the hell would have happened if they won? I don't want to get into the psyche behind who riots and why since frankly I wouldn't know where to begin. But to happen twice under similar circumstances is beyond troubling. 100,000 people gatherings in the downtown Vancouver area should be off the table for, um, forever?
Inner Me: OK so that actually did happen. There was a game last night too, right?
There's nothing to like about being shut out on home ice in a game seven. Some see it as three fluke goals, I saw it as an extension of game six where after Boston survived some early scares they dictated play. For most of the series, but definitely last night, Vancouver was smothered in their zone and were getting no high percentage chances. From the second period on it was a tough game to stomach. Both Sedin's finished with -4 but at least they owned up afterward. I guess that's a good thing. Kesler showed more jump than he had all series. But that Hansen penalty at the end? I've never laughed in more exasperated, defeated way before in my life. My ass is going to look big in this NHL team today.
Inner Me: Would you have used Hodgson last night?
Considering Seguin played over ten minutes I guess it's worth asking, moreso with Raymond out. Not that Tambellini or Hodgson would be enough to change the course of the game, especially considering Hodgson has been so sheltered in his own zone this season. Overall I don't get too much of the outcry but I do think the team needs to figure out where he fits in because the fourth line isn't it. Personally I'd love to see him on Manny's line and learn from one of the best centers we have, but that'll take some camp adjustments to get Hodgson comfortable on the wing.
Inner Me: So how about that Dan Hamhuis?
Easily the knife in the stomach of the finals was losing Hammer. He and Bieksa were so formidable in those three rounds that they could have helped stem the tide at times, but without him it allowed Boston to key in more on Bieksa physically which in turn forced additional mistakes. Lost a huge PK presence as well. His loss can't be understated and thank god he'll be around next season with all the pending defensive changes.
Inner Me: How important is Bieksa now?
He's not perfect, but they don't grow his kind on trees and our farm has no one like him. Hamhuis and Bieksa should be our number one pairing going into 2012. Pay the man. Before July 1st. Please. I'm super cereal about this.
Inner Me: Al Gore!
Inner Me: And Ehrhoff?
He's the other end of the spectrum. Let Detroit or someone else throw their money at him. Earlier this season I would have pulled for him to stay, but his one-dimensional style was exposed time and time again this spring. Every time there was a goal with a man left wide open in front of Luongo, it was #5 hauling ass to try and get back to him. We'll miss the offense, but I'd rather let Sweatt or someone else in camp step up and fill the void. Let another team take the Ehrhoff gamble.
Inner Me: And Sami Salo?
It's amazing that with his injury streak, Salo somehow made it through ten weeks of playoff hockey without so much as a hangnail. He blocked a Shea Weber shot for god sakes, I swear I thought parts of him would land on my roof after that. But I don't see him returning unless he takes a deep discount and even then I'm not sure we want a 37 year old, injury prone guy back there unless he's sheltered on the third pairing. He says he'll play one more season, but I have no idea what the priority should be.
Inner Me: That Keith Ballard experiment sure went tits up.
If Michael Grabner walks away next week with the rookie of the year honors, the Ballard deal will be a huge kick in the face (though getting anything for Steve Bernier is still a win). I'm a Ballard fan, never quite understood why Vigneault hated on him like he did. He makes mistakes and his shot selection had to be the worst of the entire defense, but on the same hand, he's generally responsible in the breakouts, is a shot blocking demon and more than capable in a game where Alberts is getting more than 12 minutes. If he's truly done with the team it'll take a sweetheart deal for another GM to take that cap hit off our hands.
Inner Me: Does that mean you don't want to see Alberts back?
Not at $1.3 million for a reserve option. If he takes a cut and wants to come to came and earn it, by all means.
Inner Me: Is there really a goalie problem this time around? Can't blame the "C" anymore.
Yes and no. Yes because Luongo will be defined, right or wrong, by game seven. He slayed some demons in outlasting Chicago and out-dueling Rinne, but for the next year all people will remember is what Joel Ward did, what Marchand did and how often he got pulled in the final round. Then there's the obvious cap hit, which is magnified greatly when you consider Schneider showed he's more than capable of carrying a larger regular season load. At the same time Luongo had an excellent regular season, picked up shutouts in three of the four rounds and 11 of his 15 wins this post season were by one goal; Luongo made a lot work with little to zero offensive support. Gillis has staked too much on Luongo to walk away from his guy (and his deal!) now. Unless a sweetheart offer for Schneider is emailed over (or Eddie Lack grows a third arm) I wouldn't break up this tandem before the start of next season.
Inner Me: Hey remember Mikael Samuelsson?
Inner Me: What's the biggest thing the Canucks do now?
Besides getting Bieksa signed I would make Hansen the next priority; Malhotra and Hansen are too valuable a tandem to walk away from, not to mention Hansen can step up alongside Kesler or the twins as he sparingly in the regular season. Besides that I'd look at the second line where we either put Samuelsson back with Kesler or drop Sammy back and look for a better, more pure scoring option. Imagine Kesler with Parise?
Inner Me: Yeah but there's no chance you'll get Parise.
I know that asshole, I'm just thinking outloud.
Inner Me: You realize you're calling yourself an asshole when you do that?
I hate you.
Inner Me: So that means you're giving up on Higgins? I thought you were a fan.
I am, I'd be pretty content if he stayed but I'd look to him as a third line solution, more so than a pure scoring option. He can also sub in for Raymond if his comeback gets stalled. But, as he did with the Flames last year, I'm willing to bet he wants to head back East. He's certainly worth chasing at a respectable cap hit.
Inner Me: What about the rest of them: Lapierre, Glass, Rypien and Tambellini?
Lapierre is too much of a Vigneault-type guy and as an RFA is a safe bet to return. Flip a coin for Glass or Tambellini, let them fight it out in camp. I'd quietly close the book on Rypien and enjoy the YouTube highlights he's provided over the years.
Inner Me: After that Cup run, you'll never get your wish to see Vigneault steel-toed out into oncoming traffic.
No I won't. Maybe he'll wander into traffic on his own.
Inner Me: We cool with GMMG?
I asked the same thing at the end of last season and was more concerned then. The man did his job with Hamhuis and Malhotra and seeing Tanev contribute out of no where was a pleasure. His deadline deals were huge for a change. You can't argue with the regular season results. I'm happy he's there.
Inner Me: So now what?
I'm going to shave this shit off my face. I thought mine looked terrible until I saw Bergeron's last night. How does that man eat with that upper lip monster hanging out there?
Inner Me: Mom will be psyched. She hated that look on you.
Good point, I'll keep it then.
Inner Me: But seriously what do you do now?
I should do some laundry, it's getting pretty dicey in there every morning...
Inner Me: No I mean with the hockey stuff.
Oh, well I think the draft is soon. Wait, it's mid-June? WHERE THE FUCK DID MAY GO?
Inner Me: You may need a break.
Or maybe I should blog for a sport that can't toy so easily with my emotions. Like the WWE or something. Fake stuff shouldn't bug me.
Inner Me: Remember when you were a kid when Andre the Giant beat Hulk Hogan for the belt using an evil twin referee paid off by Bobby Heenan and you cried?
Walks onto BART train, sits down in a gross, possibly wet seat and ponders breakfast options before realizing there really are none.