Nashville defenseman Shea Weber was fined $2,500 for smashing Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the glass in Game 1. Weber’s salary this season is $7,500,000. The $2,500 fine (which apparently is the maximum player fine allowed by the CBA) represents .033% of his salary. Let’s say I make $50K a year; an equivalent fine would be $16.50, or roughly the cost of an IMAX ticket. Now, if the ticket was for Avatar, that’s a pretty serious punishment, but otherwise, that’s not really sending a message of deterrence. I once got a $50 parking ticket for not curbing my wheels on a hill; is that really three times worse than what Weber did?
In short, the NHL is serious about player safety, but not as serious as the SFMTA is about parking with your wheels turned.
(photo: Sanford Myers, The Tennessean)
Western Conference Quarterfinals:
#4 Nashville Predators vs #5 Detroit Red Wings
The Predators made several key pickups at the trade deadline (Hal Gill, Paul Gaustad and Andrei Kostitsyn), sending the message that they are serious about making a deep playoff run this year. ￼They also changed their uniforms this season, sending the message that they want to look ridiculous while doing it.
Preds fans have taken to calling Nashville “Smashville”, which sounds less like a rousing call to action and more like something that Animal from the Muppets would say.
The Red Wings are still a dynastic team with the most impressive resume of any of the 16 contending teams. They have not missed the playoffs since 1990, and will be starting the playoffs on the road for the first time since 1991. By comparison, the Predators didn’t enter the league until 1998, by which time current Red Wings Nick Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom had already won two Cups. So Detroit is an “underdog” in the same way that Britney Spears is a “singer”; in name only.
Aging though they may be, Lidstrom, Zetterberg, and Datsyuk are still formidable, and Todd Bertuzzi is always a danger to score a timely goal and/or sucker punch you and drive your head into the ice. Goaltender Jimmy Howard (whose name sounds like something from the Witness Relocation Program) has speed and skill, most notably the skill of “not being Chris Osgood.”
This series also marks the debut of the NHL on CNBC. I only hope that I am tuned in when Pierre Maguire goes all Joe Namath on Maria Bartiromo.
Predators in 6.
Ray Emery: “What was your name again?”
Pekka Rinne: “Holy shit. This guy’s black.”
4 Anaheim Ducks v 5 Nashville Predators
The Predators have yet to win a playoff series, and their last two first round opponents went on to win the Cup that year. This is good news for Ducks fans, and bad news for Preds fans, since it means that the Preds will not win the Cup until they find a way to lose to themselves in the first round. Take heart, Nashville, the Sharks are working on that. The Preds will look to survive the first round by leaning heavily on the goaltending of
Lisa Rinna Pekka Rinne.
For the Ducks, it has been all about offense, which, to be fair, is the case with any team that signs Ray Emery in goal. Corey Perry scored a league-high 50 goals, and carried the team while captain Ryan Getzlaf was injured. So if Perry struggles early, the Ducks may look to injure Getzlaf again.
Meanwhile Teemu Selanne is defying the calendar, having scored 31 goals and 80 points at age 40. Teemu has 8 more goals — and 30 more points — than the Preds’ leading scorer Sergei Kostitsyn, and he is 16 years older! Somewhere in Teemu’s attic is a painting of him that is aging, slowing down, and wearing a Mark Recchi sweater.
KEY MATCHUP: Jonas Hiller v Jimmy Stewart
Ducks starting goaltender Hiller is still suffering from vertigo, a condition no doubt worsened by his team’s sudden and unexpected rise all the way up to #4 in the conference. He has been ruled out of Game 1, which would leave him enough time to drive up the coast and start fishing blondes out of San Francisco Bay before Game 2.
Ducks in 6.