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Friday, January 20, 2006 

Soulcrusher and the Rucchin...

Crush My Soul

Just thought I'd start out today by replying to one of the comments left for me yesterday by Soul Crusher from Thunder Bay. He left the following comment:

"You are very high on McCabe. God knows why, he is one of the worst defencemen in the NHL. He is a powerplay specialist and that is all. Only reason that has come about is he has learned how to hit the net with his shot. Took him a few years though. Chara is getting the Norris. Vezina is going to Kipper and Lester B. Pearson Award, Hart probably too. He keeps that team respectable. Just to note, I'm not a Flames fan and hate the guy, but I think he is going to take those awards. As for the Sens winning the cup...not going to happen. I'm still going out on a limb and picking Vancouver. "

No arguments on Kipper, like I said he is the runner up to Hasek, and depending on the second half he could easily steal the Vezina. I don't like a goalie as MVP, as it is a position that is the most important and by default if the award can go to a goalie, then it should go to a goalie every year. It doesn't matter how good your team is, put a bad goalie in net and you're not going to win. End of story. As for Chara, I am not a huge fan of his style of play, BUT he has improved 10 fold from season to season. I would say that all around Redden is still a better player, and the best defenseman in Ottawa, and will also likely pick up the award at the end of the year. Chara is going to need one more year of solid improvement, but if that happens he could pick up 5 Norris trophies in a row. There is an unprecedented crop of rookie defenders right now, though, who are going to be looking to stop that from happening.

Now, that assessment of McCabe sounds almost word for word like how I used to talk about Pronger back in his Norris trophy days. He was horrible. Anybody, and I mean anybody could walk around him from the corner and have a shot on net. Yet nobody seemed to care about that aspect of his game. I'm sure, though, that some fans in Edmonton are starting to care this year. The reason I'm touting McCabe is based mostly on one thing I've noticed this year - other teams have designed their entire penalty kill around him. This is something rather unheard of in modern day hockey. And the thing is, he's still racking up the points with that in his face. He is much tougher on defense now than he gets credit for as well. Certainly leagues better than Pronger, but also not the same caliber as Chara and Redden. I know plus/minus is a bit of a questionable measure, since someone like Andrej Meszaros can just step into the league and have a +31 mostly because of the team around him, but McCabe spends most of his ice time on special teams where +/- isn't affected, and is still a +5 on a team very much in the negative. That ice time is all against the other teams top lines too.

I would love to see a second award started in the league, for the best offensive defenseman (obvious name being the Bobby Orr award). Guys like Dmitri Yushkevich and Harold Snepsts never got the credit they deserved in the league, and something needs to be introduced to recognize them. I am also in no way a McCabe fan. One of my favourite pre-game moments was at a Leafs Sabres game in Buffalo a few years ago, in his pre-can opener days. The girls in the front row in front of us had a huge sign that said "we love McCabe - king of the butt bombs". As you probably remember, at that time his game consisted of throwing his ass towards any guy skating in on him. In the pre game skate everyone rode McCabe and pointed out the sign to him, and I loved it. Loved it because I hated McCabe. But he certainly has come into his own this year, and he should be recognized. The Leafs are already 0-4 since he got injured, with losses to Minnesota and even Phoenix. The number will certainly be 0-6 after this home and home with Ottawa coming up. The team cannot win without him, and as far as I know that is the definition of an MVP.

Rucchin of the Year

Speaking of introducing new trophies, there is one that me and the JF give out every year. It is called the "Rucchin of the Year". To help you get an understanding of what the award is about, here is a definition for Rucchin of the Year that the JF came up with a few years back:


noun: a leach, or parasite. one who feeds off of others, and would be unable to get by in their absence.

verb: to rely on or benefit from others, especially in cases where the subject is unable to fend for his/her self.

examples of uses: can i rucchin a ride off of you?: i don't have a car cause, like rucchin, i suck and need someone else to do stuff for me.

rucchin an assignment: i can't do anything, so i wanna "work with you" and get damn near the same mark as you even though you're doing all the work and i'm just there.

rucchin of the year: the player who rucchins the most over the course of the season i.e gets points even though he sux because he has a good player on his line. last year's <2001> winner: jonas hoglund. previous winners: steve rucchin, kevin stevens.

yo i just rucchined a 64 in that class: i'm a dumbass and would have failed if not for my friend, but some people think i'm good cause my mark looks like i did ok.

rucchin a few bucks for lunch: getting to eat cause someone else has money; much as steve rucchin get points cause selanne and kariya have talent.

he's such a rucchin: he never does anything for himself; he hangs out with other people's friends cause he doesn't have his own, he eats other peoples food, watches their tv cause they don't have cable, borrows cds all the time and maybe give them back, gets a ride everywhere cause he can't drive, etc. most appropriate when he has no redeemable qualities to offer and nobody can figure out why they let him get away with it cause any bum off the street could fill that role just as well.

So, you get the gist of it. Now comes the time to decide the Rucchin of the first half. In honour of the Canadian Federal elections coming up next week, I've decided to make this award based on a vote. I will list out the four finalists, and ask you guys to send in your votes for the award, using the poll on the right. Feel free to leave a comment explaining your choice as well. I will tally up the votes and present the first half Rucchin sometime next week. Here are the nominees (all of whom, oddly enough, would make far better representatives as Prime Minister than Steven Harper):

Martin Straka

A perennial favourite, Straka finds himself on a line with one of the leagues best again this year, and is really taking advantage of it. Playing in LA and Pittsburgh last season without a real linemate, Marty put up only 26 points in 54 games. This season, basking in Jagr's glory again, he has 48 points in 47 games. This is a common trend in Straka's career, where from year to year due to trades and injuries, his lines have changed. The difference between the 6.5 years where he was able to Rucchin, and the 6.5 years where he wasn't is enourmous. And since they are spread throughout his career, they are not influenced by age or injury. Weighted over an average 82 game season, his statistics are as follows:

Rucchin Years 28 Goals 48 Assists 76 Points
Non Ruc Years 13 Goals 28 Assists 41 Points

The numbers are staggering, and it's about time that such a dominantly Rucchin-like career is recognized. Hopefully his numbers will keep up, and he'll pick up his first Rucchin of the Year award at the end of the season. What better time than when he is in the lineup with Steve Rucchin himself. A fitting culmination to an illustrious career.

Slava Kozlov

Another career Rucchin, Slava's numbers soared to new heights on his arrival in Atlanta. In his three seasons before arriving in Atlanta, he had 36, 38 and 32 point campaigns. His first season in Atlanta, playing with Kovalchuk and Heatley saw him put up 70 points. His second season saw his numbers tail off a bit to 52 points, as Heatley missed 50 games and he was only able to Rucchin off of Kovalchuks talents. Throwing Hossa into the mix this year has taken his abilities to new heights, and he has already put up 47 points in 48 games. Definitely a Rucchin-worthy performance being put on in Georgia.

Jonathan Cheechoo

This one is easy to see. 16 points in 25 games before Thornton's arrival, 27 points in 20 games afterwards. The JF also had this to point out about Cheechoo's season:

"i think cheechoo may have been rucchining off of marleau even before thornton. but with thornton he's taken it to lofty heights. he's the new glen murray."

63 points in 145 games prior to this season, doubled performance in Rucchining off of Marleau, and doubled again with Thornton providing his services. Since he's only had 20 games with Thornton so far, he is a bit of an underdog in the Rucchin of the Year competition. One would have to assume, however, that if he keeps up this pace, Cheechoo should be the easy favourite to have the award come playoff time. And Thornton should be enough to get them into said playoffs.

Scott Walker
Walker's numbers and style of play wouldn't normally lead to his inclusion in the Rucchin of the Year award. Extenuating circumstances that lead to his inclusion: Scored a goal with his helmet. It was on January 15th against Pittsburgh and Greg Johnson took a shot from the point, deflected up off a defenseman, off of Walkers lid and into the back of the net. Walker didn't go down for the year with a concussion from it, but it was still worthy of Rucchin mention. He has missed enough of the season, though, to not be able to tell if the players on his line are really carrying him thus far. But this goal certainly is worthy of the Rucchin name.

Oh, and as a side note, another thing that came up during the game was http://www.darcyhordichuk.com. Enjoy! And remember to get your Rucchin of the Year votes in ASAP. It's election time, and you want to have your say!

I believe Straka should win Hands Down with the Rucchin award. And as a side note, it's not just Stephen Harper that would not make a good PM, its the entire "conservative" party that shouldn't be allowed to govern in Canada, until they remove their Reform, CCRAP, Alliance policies, and become the PC of old.

Well I do understand what you are saying about Goalies winning the MVP but lets face it put any one else in net for Calgary and they would not be winning. A yeam like Ottawa could overcome having a lesser guy in net. I see Calagary as the new Buffalo Sabers of the late 90's. Great coaching and a great goalie. Not a supprise the guy in net in Buffalo was winning the Vezina and even got an MVP. Some times a Goalie is just too good not to win the award.

Well glad to see we agree on Pronger, I never saw what the big deal about him was either and that is some thing I miss about McCabe. Getting to laugh every rime he would go ass first into the boards his head snapping back. I can't beleive he never gor whiplash.

I don't know about the Rucchin of the year award for this year, but you want to go for all time. Rob Brown. Look at his stats when he was with Mario and then after. 195 of his 438 points came the two years he was paired up with Mario. Now being a Pens fan, I have seen many players fall into this trap. I think it has alot to do with the wide open style of play in Pittsburgh more than any thing. Look at all the players that had their best years on that team only to see prodution drop off significantly when they moved to other teams. Jarg though he looks to be back on track, Ron Francis but age probably had more to do with his point drop off, Stu Barnes, Robert Lang, Alexie Kovalev, Rob Brown, John Cullen, Larry Murphy, Martin Straka, Kevin Stevens I'm sure there are more but I can't think of them right now. So perhaps it should be renamed the Penguins Award.

Darcy Hordichuk's site is the shit. damm.

Thanks for the laughs! Bedridden with a broken bone in my foot this Rucchin column helped put a smile on my face...thanks again.

I am surprised Simon Gagne wasn't nominated. He wouldn't be among the goal-scoring leaders if Forsberg wasn't a Flyer.

Most of what I have been hearing is that Savard, and even moreso Knuble should have been nominated. That is the first mention of Gagne thus far. I think that no matter who was there, Cheechoo would still have come out on top. He has over 50% going against straka, kozlov and walker right now. I'm pretty confident that will hold up.

Get up to the minute yahoo video game information!!

Very nice site! here


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