In today's Around the Atlantic, we will discuss how the Penguins cinched the playoffs, manhandled the Lightning, look at a mock draft for 2009, and talk about sleazy cinema.
This was one of the most inconsistently refereed games I have seen all season long. I have seen some stinkers as well. Before going any further I do want to point out the Refs have a hard job, they do not see the things that we see on television or in the stands. Also, only their mistakes are highlighted, never their accomplishments. Keeping that all in mind, it was still an inconsistently refereed game.
- The Lightning used over 20 different defensemen, 49 different players this season.
- Sidney Crosby has been absolutely dominant in this game, particularly during the second, regardless of what the boxscore may reflect.
- The Lightning seems to always elevate their game when playing the Penguins. It is hard to believe that this is one of the worst teams in the league. Much of this has to do with the strong play of Ryan Malone and Adam Hall when the two teams meet.
- The Lightning take a lot of tacky penalties. Two 5-on-3 oppurtunities in one game? The only thing more difficult to fathom than a team allowing that many 5-on-3s is the team with the advantage not converting. After the first failed 5-on-3, I was suspicious. After Crosby buried the puck passed the left pad of Karri Ramo, that suspicion was immediately snuffed. Sid’s second goal on the second penalty was uh, a lot more impressive to say the least.
- Good to see David Koci hitting to hurt again. Good to see the refs ignoring Konopka throwing his gloves to the ground in hopes of a fight only to pick them back up after being rejected. They could not ignore the 6’6 Koci mugging Max Talbot. It was refreshing to see Eric Godard throw his gloves off and start smacking Koci. He went as far as pulling Koci’s helmet off to get a better shot. When the final penalty minutes were tallied, Koci had 17 penalty minutes from a single shift. Godard on the other hand has proven to the Penguins that he is the pugilist they have needed all along. Georges Laraque was far to preoccupied with trying to play the game.
- The Lightning have several good puck-moving goaltenders in Mike Smith and Karri Ramo. Now if only they would provide them some defensive support.
- I would not object to the Penguins signing Matt Pettinger next season. Like Matt Cooke and Ruslan Fedotenko, Pettinger is a middle-six winger who can play physically and score 10-15 goals a season. No more than a two-year-deal though, preferably a one as the Penguins will have a nice contingent of young forwards to take those spots in the near future.
- Apparently, mid-way through the third period, the Penguins were bored and decided to make the game more interesting by allowing Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis walk right through them. That was still not interesting enough so Scuderi decided to trip and fall onto Marc-Andre Fleury, allowing the Lightning to score an easy goal.
- A relief to see there was no penalty after the Sykora goal. Even if there was an initial penalty that got counteracted by the goal, the high-stick drew blood which according to the rules means a double-minor. So where was the extra penalty? On Max Talbot about five seconds later.
- It was a long game for Steve Stamkos. The Penguins have made a point of focusing in on him when he has on the ice and it has resulted in a lot of mistakes for the young center.
- Remember when I said Jordan Staal was turning it on? Well he finished the game with 1 goal, 2 assists.
- The Lightning, assuming they do not make any more radical changes to the defense, should have a good group of defensemen in a few years. Tampa could be adding Victor Hedman to the group which would significantly upgrade the group.
- I like Rick Tocchet as a player but I wonder about his coaching abilities. Is he ready? Is he ever ready? The penalties his team is taking are simply undisciplined penalties. It would be one thing if they were roughing calls and fights (which some were) but they are hooking and interference calls. Those are signs of an undisciplined team. Either they are not heading his and his staff’s advise or he is not giving the proper advice. Regardless it cost his team the game.
- Speaking of penalties. I liked some of the penalties the Penguins took. The penalty Sergei Gonchar took at the end of the second was absolutely justifiable and the only thing Dan Bylsma can do when Gonchar returns to the bench from the box is pat him on the back. The Hal Gill gaffe that sent a puck over the boards that happen several seconds later was a different story. Likewise my pleasure with Matt Cooke’s interference call at the end of the game. Gonchar and Cooke were standing up for themselves and other players. Having said to the press earlier that he wanted to play to his strengths as a hot head, that he wanted to make a statement, and then almost killing Evgeni Malkin, Zenon Konopka had to be interfered with a bit.
An early look at the draft:
The teams who are elgibile for the first four picks of the draft have been more or less established with the fifth pick in a three way battle between LA, Toronto, and Phoenix.
So here is my projected (and unscientific) final rankings for the first seven picks of the NHL 2009 Entry Draft:
The Lightning – Victor Hedman: This pick is the most obvious out of all of them. The Lightning’s biggest need is not at forward (which this draft is flush in). Good thing there are several defensive studs that are ranked in the top-ten. Hedman has more or less been the assumed number one pick for at least a year now. There is no reason to think that Hedman can’t enter the NHL and immediately play over twenty minutes a game.
The Islanders – John Tavares: The Isles need a true stud forward. John Tavares is just that forward. With a strong group of young complimentary forwards like Okposo and Bailey, the Isles need an offensive catalyst. A recently re-signed Doug Weight would be a good mentor to Tavares. It is widely believed that Tavares could have been the number one overall pick last season if he was old enough. He is expected to have a greater impact in his rookie season than Steve Stamkos (Who has put together a good rookie outing despite a rough start).
The Avalanche – Evander Kane: The Avs have Stastny but they need a true number one center, which I don’t believe Stastny is. Likewise Wolski appears more comfortable when playing wing. Evander Kane would be the best two-way forward prospect the Avs had in their system since Forsberg. He can score, bang bodies, and play a strong defensive game. Like Tavares, Kane could have an immediate impact at the NHL level.
The Leafs – Brayden Schenn: Considering the work Burke went to in acquiring the Sedin Twins, Burke could make efforts to bring the Schenn brothers together. Brayden is supposed to provide that physical presence down the center the Leafs lack. Besides, with how the Leafs did not get Tavares or Hedman, Burke is forced to make a move that will not only instantly improve his club, but also appease a rabid and intense fanbase.
The Thrashers – Matt Duchene: The Thrashers need someone to feed the puck to Ilya Kovalchuk or Bryan Little. The addition of a true number one center would be one of the f
inal pieces in what could be a very competitive team down in a year or two. (Regardless if Kovalchuk is traded as he will yield far more than Hossa did).
The Coyotes – Jared Cowan: The Coyotes have a nice group of young and talented forwards. They need help in net and help on D. They could trade down to get a goaltender but my bet is them going with Cowan, a player who is said to have the same upside as Hedman but simply not as NHL ready.
The Kings – Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi: The Kings have a fantastic group of young defensemen and goaltenders. With the likely addition of Hickey next season, they will be looking to add a forward to their group young and talented prospects. Scensson-Pajarvi seems like his style of play would nicely compliment Kopitar.
Notice that I took the lottery into consideration and caused the Isles to move down despite them more or less cinching the last spot. I also believe that the Leafs will make an effort to move up in the draft by trading some of the second round picks Burke has hoarded along with their first pick.
Ian’s List of Sweet Schlock Pictures:
Those who regularly read my column here at STB know that I am a cult film geek – particularly of edgy and independent cinema. Recently, I have been on a schlock movie binge. Nothing out of the ordinary, these occur every five years or so as the availability of some of these pictures increases or decreases and some new ones come out. Here is the list of disturbing, bizarre, and in some cases very sleazy pieces of work. All are disgusting. All were difficult for me to finish.
Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS (1975): This is the sleaziest picture I have seen in a very long time. Filled with sex and violence, this picture is the first of four pictures involving Dyanne Thorne playing a buxom and sadistic character who lives and dies in each film. ‘She-Wolf’ is the first of the series.
Eden Lake (2008): A true heir to Deliverance and Straw Dogs. Eden Lake is a modern interpretation of a very familiar story of outsiders in a small town. However, instead of urban society encountering the backwoods, it is a yuppie gentrification society encountering low-income xenophobes. Similar results happen. Instead of hillbillies however, our protagonists are attacked by unruly teens. While the premise sounds clichéd, the film was absolutely one of the most difficult films I have seen in a long time. James Watkins wrote and directed this film at the age of 29 and it is expertly made. Absolutely flawlessly shot. The characters do stupid things that you yell at the screen for but their stupid actions are reasonable human actions, not running up the stairs with a slasher behind you.
Salo, 120 Days of Sodom (1975): This is a film I recommend nobody ever watch. I bought a cassette of this for forty dollars twelve years ago from a local everything-cool-store Eides. A store that specializes in collectible items, before the era of DVDs and bit-torrents, Eides was cult film and rare music Mecca. Since then Eides has changed their look, specializing more in comics and even more rare and collectible stuff, but nonetheless I highly recommend checking out Eides for anything that you are looking for. Anyway, this film is based off of a book by the Marquis De Sade, one of the only people who ever went to jail for writing a non-political work of fiction. In fact, De Sade wrote it in prison on a scroll that was so thick it resembled toilet paper. I bought and read the book and it is the most disgusting and reprehensible thing that has ever been written. De Sade is a disgusting lunatic and ‘Salo’ is that vision come to the screen. Made by the brilliant (I mean it, he was) filmmaker Pasolini, the film was an attempt to play into the popularity of 70s schlock cinema while still maintaining his socio-political conscious. Imagine characters from a Michelangelo Antonioni acting out scenes from a Lucio Fulci film while Federico Fellini adds his surrealistic sensibilities and you get Pier Palo Pasolini’s Salo: 120 Days of Sodom. I don’t want to tell you what the film is actually about or why it is so disgusting but because I do not want to encourage curiosity, I will tell you that at one point during the film, there is a banquet of feces.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980): Another exploitation film, the premise goes something like this: A bunch of American documentary filmmakers go to a remote South American jungle to document a cannibalistic tribe. They die. Another group goes to document the dead documenters. Without ruining too much lets just say that a role reversal between the hunters and hunted occurs. Like so many of these trashy films, the ‘message’ from the filmmaker is to demonstrate how easily the human condition can change given the circumstances. People who were middle-class, well educated filmmakers turn into rapists and murders while the cannibals flee for their lives.
Mandingo (1975): This film is heavily charged with racial exploitation. Again, while the film is incredibly trashy and sleazy, the filmmaker has a message of the human condition. Unlike some of the previous pieces where the filmmakers body of work was at best questionable, (Ruggero Deodato, director of Cannibal Holocaust never made a highly acclaimed film. Nor did Don Edmunds, director of the first few ‘Ilsa’ movies.) director Richard Fleischer has made some really good movies such as Tora Tora Tora, The Boston Strangler (Starring Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda), and Soylent Green. So to suggest there is some social commentary behind all of this excessive depravity is not too much of a stretch. Nonetheless, as a fairly amoral young man with little to no conscious, I still found this difficult to watch. Not because of what was being shown but the context in which it was shown.
I Spit on Your Grave (1978): One of the films that inspired the character Beatrice for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, I Spit on Your Grave is probably the most disgusting film I have ever seen. I can’t even recommend it. Whereas Salo has some merit (Ever seen a person eat poo in a movie before?) this film has no such merit. It is simply a depraved (and poorly shot at that) experience that makes you feel hollow as a human after watching. Imagine Last House on the Left but without the family. What if the girl was allowed free and decided to take revenge upon herself? Actress Camille Keaton (Buster Keaton's great grand-niece) is fully naked for about 75% of this movie. Maybe more. For the first half of the movie she is put through a series of rapes and tortures. Eventually abandoned, she recuperates and exacts revenge on her rapists. There is nothing to be gained from this film other than the hope that the filmmaker made this with the intent to shock. My main issue with this film is how it is made. It is a very lazily shot movie. All of the aforementioned films are expertly shot despite having second-rate stories or being complete celebrations of depravity. This film has the lousy story and the depravity but none of the artistic sensibilities that elevate this into something more visceral.
About the Author
Written by Ian Altenbaugh