Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hockey, Hockey, Hockey*

*This is my mantra at the start of the season, or when I go to training camp, or if I'm lucky enough to go to a game. It burbles out of me like breathing: "Hockey-hockey-hockey!"

Before I jump into the hockey, I must share this mood elevator: jumping goat! (or lamb?) In a coat! Bringing cheer wherever he jumps!

Onward. The Bruins did it on Tuesday: they managed to win a fourth consecutive game, thanks in large part to David Pastrnak, who scored twice for the second game in a row (I mentioned him from development camp last summer, saying that the "consensus is that he's a long shot to make the team this year, but not impossible"). He's the youngest player in the NHL, just back from the World Junior tournament, and can play one more game in the NHL before the team has to decide if they want to keep him up, or send him back down to Providence*. Based on his recent showing, I think they have to keep him; we'll see what they think, and do, after tonight.
*The rule is that if a rookie plays 10 NHL games in a season, it counts as the first year of his entry-level contract, but he can play up to 9 without it counting. Obviously you wouldn't want to play a guy in 10 games and then send him down, so the team has to be sure they want him up for the rest of the season.

Naturally, there's been a lot of discussion, from both the media and fans, about him, ranging from "send him down" to "keep him up" to "trade him now," and it's getting pretty crazy. He isn't the second coming, he isn't the chosen one, but he brings skills and something the Bruins have been severely lacking this season, energy and enthusiasm. I like watching him. Although they're very different players, it reminds me of watching Bergeron in his first season; he, too, was 18, very young to make it in the NHL, but he was just so good. Pastrnak is making things happen, good things. He was a plus four on Tuesday, which means he was on the ice for all four goals the Bruins scored, and for none of the three scored against them. Nice.

And then there's this, which someone I don't know tweeted (I saw it on Stanley Cup of Chowder), a list of the top ten players in the NHL right now by shots per 60 minutes of ice time. Look who's on top!
As he says, small sample size, but holy cow all the same.

Then there's this article: "Bruins face tough decision on torrid rookie David Pastrnak." I looked up "torrid" to be sure I was right about what it meant, and while it does mean hot, and Pastrnak has been hot, I still don't think it's the right word for this headline.

It's also kind of funny that, for a photo captioned "David Pastrnak smiles after scoring his second goal on Tuesday" they found about the only photo of the always-cheerful Pasta where he doesn't have a huge grin on his face. Really, look at a Google Image search. He's a happy guy.

In other hockey news, I'm afraid that my biggest reaction to this post about teams that have won the most Stanley Cups was, "Wait, there are twelve teams that have never won?" Of course I knew there were teams that haven't won, but ... twelve? Wow. I guess I'm more aware of the teams that have won many more than the Bruins (grr, Montreal) than I am of those to whom the Bruins' six are a big deal.

To end on a non-hockey note, I had a slight headache on and off today, nothing that bad, but it's the first one I've had since before Christmas (which, wow, it's mid-January), and it was oddly disconcerting. Like, why does my head hurt?

Mind you, it's very good for this sensation to feel unusual.

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