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Sunday, April 23, 2006 

Patrick Elias - No, It's Not A Man-Crush

Elias Watch

Some days everything comes together. You wake up in the morning a minute before your alarm goes off, only to find that your gorgeous girlfriend has french toast and bacon waiting for you, wearing nothing but a smile and the syrup for your toast. After a while, she goes off to her 6-figure job, leaving you to watch sports and cartoons all day in your underwear. I'd describe where it goes from there, but I think you all get the gist of it. Some day’s life just seems to revolve around you.

That is the kind of day Patrick Elias had.

I may be letting my Devil's fan roots be shining through here, but when you have a day like that, you deserve to have a whole post to yourself.

The scene was set for Elias’ return from injury at the start of January. Patrick missed the first 3 months of the season while recovering from Hepatitis. Most people assumed that his game would have lost a step due to the illness, but he made an immediate impact in the Devils lineup. Scoring 16 points in 10 games and leading the Devils to an immediate 8 straight wins and into a playoff position. As the season went on, he finished with 45 points in 38 games, and the Devils came from just outside of the playoffs up to the number 3 seed in the East. I’ve said many times before that Elias is one of the most under rated impact players in the league, and one of only a handful of guys whose presence in the lineup can turn games around on a regular basis

Going into the playoff, some people still had their doubts about Patrick and the Devils. Even the JF himself asked me if he was the only person who thought the Rangers would take out the Devils. My reply to him was simple – he should be. I went on to explain that:

“Lundqvist isn’t 100% and looked awful in his one game he came back in. They went 7-15 to finish off the year, while the Devils won 11 straight and against top teams - Ott, Buf, Phi, Pit, Pit, Mtl, NYR, Car, Phi, Phi, Mtl. Plus they have Brodeur and Elias. Jagr can get a couple games, maybe, but they don’t have a shot. Not even slightly.

As far as Lundqvist goes, rookie goalies tend to not handle coming back from time off well. I’m not sure why, but they can’t. The series wont go well for NYR at all.”

With that, the stage was set for Elias to start his run at the Conn Smyth Trophy. He did anything but disappoint in his first game. Patrick scored 2 of the Devils record setting 5 power play goals, and assisted on 4 others as the Devil’s won their 12th straight game 6-1.

How a coach could let his team play such an undisciplined game in the playoffs is beyond me. At one point Malik even took at shot at someone’s face right in front of the referees gaze. It was one of the most selfish games I’ve seen players on a team play, and the Devil’s certainly made them pay for their mistakes going 5 for 13 with the man advantage. What’s worse is one of their selfish plays cost them their top player. On the final goal of the game, Jagr took a swipe at Scott Gomez, and managed to injure himself in the process. This is horrible news for a team that has a lot of trouble finding the net lately, even with Jagr in the lineup.

On a positive note for the Rangers, Steve Rucchin was back in the lineup for this game after missing seven matches with a broken foot. The confusing part of his return is that he only played 40 seconds on the penalty kill, while Blair Betts centered nearly 11 minutes of the time. It’s a wonder that 5 power play goals were scored with that kind of thinking going on. I’m hoping it’s just because he’s not at 100% yet, and once the game got out of hand they didn’t see the use in risking having him out there. If you’re not going to have him killing penalties, why exactly are they paying Rucchin to be on the team?

In other games on Saturday, it was Colorado 5 Dallas 2, Montreal 6 Carolina 1, and in the only exciting game of the day, Buffalo took Philadelphia 3-2 in double overtime. Robert Esche stopped 55 of 58 in the losing effort, showing that he did indeed deserve the nod for the playoffs. It is Philadelphia, though, and they have a tendency to turn on their goalies at the drop of a hat. Look up Vanbiesbrook, Cechmanek and any other goalie you can think of’s stats in the series that got them blown out of town. You can almost count on something similar happening this year; it’s almost an annual tradition in Philadelphia at this point.

trying to make up for dising rucchin so much i see. nice job.

i dont know why cechmanek became so hated in philadelphia. youre right, they do have a tendency to turn on their goaltening there. detroit does too. vancover, however, sticks with cloutier year in after disapointing year out. it all boggles the mind.

Hey Kent, I'm running a free hockey playoff pool over on the Talk Sports blog. Easy to enter, just select 12 players.

http://www.talk-sports.net/nhl/?guid=20060420124709

Jagr's an idiot. that was the stupidest play ever. i hate the rangers so much.

sounds like a man crush to me

Get up to the minute free game ipod video information!!

Excellent, love it! » »

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