May 18, 2006

Who needs Joe Thornton: when there is Shawn Horcoff? The hard working centerman has risen to the occasion for the 8th seeded Oilers, who eliminated the San Jose Sharks yesterday, to complete the NHL semi-finals picture. None of the last 4 teams standing made the playoffs last season.

posted by qbert72 to hockey at 11:09 AM - 12 comments

Huh, sorry about the registration thing. The Globe and Mail let me through unharmed from Google. Here are a few logins you can try. And here is another Horcoff feel-good story.

posted by qbert72 at 11:32 AM on May 18, 2006

Peripherally: Mirtle has a great little ode to Roloson (and why his performance shouldn't come as a surprise) which includes a link to this Star-Tribune story which includes this great anecdote: UMass-Lowell assistant coach Blaise MacDonald scouted Roloson when Thorold played at Wellington in a junior game back in 1990. MacDonald brought his goalie coach along. Thorold was badly outplayed, but Roloson kept them in it, pushing the game to overtime. "At that point my goalie coach jotted down a note, but wouldn't show it to me," MacDonald said. "Thorold loses, and Roli shatters his stick over the top of the crossbar. My coach shows me the note. It says, 'If he loses and breaks his stick, we'll take him.' He wanted to see the competitiveness."

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:56 AM on May 18, 2006

None of the 4 playoff teams were in the playoffs last season because there were no playoffs last season, nor season.

posted by indiansummer at 10:29 AM on May 19, 2006

There was no season last year, but there was a season last season. Get the difference?

posted by qbert72 at 11:35 AM on May 19, 2006

To Who Needs, It sounds like you're a fair weather fan. That's more a comment on your character than on Joe Thornton's. Without him the sharks would likely not have been in the playoffs in the first place. Jonathan Cheechoo would likely not have scored 50+ goals. The team would not have been as exciting to watch, etc. Count your blessings that the Sharks do have Joe Thornton.

posted by edlwhite at 11:43 AM on May 19, 2006

There was no season last year, but there was a season last season. Get the difference? Yeah, but it seems a little pedantic. Some of the teams this season bear little resemblance to their previous incarnations.

posted by yerfatma at 11:52 AM on May 19, 2006

Ha ha, you got beat at English by qbert, and he's a French-Canadian.

posted by Samsonov14 at 12:08 PM on May 19, 2006

edlwhite - the fact that Thornton is such a talented and important player for the Sharks is the very reason why his playoffs were such a disappointment. If you want to be a top paid player and considered for greatness, you have to step it up in the playoffs. What good is it to propel a team into the playoff and into Stanley Cup contention if you're not going to perform? Great players become better during the playoffs - that's when everyone is required to step up their game. Great players also are open to more criticism when they don't perform. Such is the life of a great player. I will cut Thornton some slack if he stops being so tantalizingly good for the regular season and then actually continues producing in the playoffs. But he hasn't yet - which is a trend he's had for his entire career. Were I you, I'd count my blessings that Marleau wasn't included in that Boston deal. There's a player who was making a difference in the post-season. And I'd also be upset that a player of Thornton's obvious caliber just has not lived up to his potential, instead of chastizing people for pointing out the obvious fact that he was totally outplayed and outhustled by Shawn Horcoff.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:17 PM on May 19, 2006

I'd say the difference was more Pronger than Horcoff, but either way Joe didn't get it done. I also think Joe is a bit cursed because of his tremendous gifts in that his linemates expect him to do most of the work, which leads to him staying on the perimeter trying to thread a perfect pass. He needs a Knuble-type to muck it up alongside him, or else it simplifies the D's job to just key on Joe. But now I'm just making excuses, so I'll stop.

posted by garfield at 01:30 PM on May 19, 2006

Some of the teams this season bear little resemblance to their previous incarnations. That happens even without a one-year break and a new CBA, though it's true there's probably more changes this year. I think the Sabres are the most unchanged team of the remaining four. Also, I didn't meant to say Horcoff is a better player than Thornton, but for me he is the revelation of these playoffs. He's playing his heart out on the powerplay, the penalty kill and against the opposing team's first line. It seems he's on the ice for all important plays. One could argue Rod Brind'amour is doing exactly the same for the Canes, and I wouldn't contest. It's just that Horcoff's sparkling performance is more of a surprise to me.

posted by qbert72 at 02:14 PM on May 19, 2006

Ah, Thornton played that entire Edmonton series on the perimeter and he was completely useless on the power play. He was one dimensional. I blame him. His linemates weren't much better (Cheechoo wasn't awful, but he wasn't getting a lot of scoring chances either), but really - he's the centre. He has to make plays.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:37 PM on May 19, 2006

yes.. great players gotta play great in the playoffs..its what separates the men, from the boys...look at wayne,mario,stevie,trottier,bossy,lafleur,messier,coffey&orr..all these guys are in the hall or on their way..because they got it done, when it counts the most..thorton,luckily, still has time on his side, to erase the demons of past playoff failures,but if he doesn't,he's gonna have to wait a very,very long time, to get in the hall..

posted by ktown at 03:34 PM on May 21, 2006

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