The Anaheim Ducks re-upped with Jersey boy George Parros for two more years, the first time the former Tiger and (little) Devil has had more than one year assured in the same spot. While I’m thrilled that he’s got some stability in OC, a bit more ice time and player development would be a valuable return on that investment. Otherwise why sign the guy?
Hockey and California are kind of antonyms anyway, but tonight’s Game 5 is just plain weird. Philips put one in his own net, off of Emery’s skate. After looking like they’d set up an endowed chair in the ScotiaBank penalty box, the Ducks are benefitting from more even-handed (and armed) officiating. Short-handed goal. Scott Niedermayer collects a goal, his de rigeur Stanley Cup Finals tally, to blow the game open. And then Ottawa gets a penalty shot on a short-handed breakaway, which Giguere stops.
It’s a little bit of everything except for George Parros. And that’s equal parts wrong and sad. Anaheim drove through the back nine of the season on tough defense and even tougher offense, playing the body as well as the puck frequently and hard. Parros was a big part of that rock-em-sock-em factor, despite appearing in only 34 games all season (a half-dozen of them with Colorado). Since he hasn’t played in any of the Finals games, and was scratched for more than half of the regular season, he’s not automatically eligible to have his name on the Stanley Cup should the Ducks continue their sonic dis-Sen-ance at home. Time to start petitioning the league now: Put the Tiger in Lord Stanley’s tank.
Amazing how the Ducks were basically out-hustled for most of Game 5, only to benefit from two fortuitous turns. Detroit missed an empty net with about a minute left, ringing a post and sending play the other way, where the Ducks knotted the score at the end of the rush. After raising his arms in first-goal (in the game, in the playoffs, in his post season career) heroism earlier in the game, Detroit d-man Lelja turned the puck over in front of his own net. The lucky duck Selanne was there (somewhat behind the play, unless you’d like to claim he was agressively forechecking) to scoop and shoot the loose puck. Being out-raced helped in this case, as Selanne probably should have been up ice when Lelja got poke-checked, but no reasonable bounce is out of bounds in the playoffs.
Sitting Ducks tonight? Probably Parros, again. I’m secretly (or not) hoping that the Ducks advance, and Parros gets to lay at least one serious body on the parade of Ottawa’s top linemates. A bit of New Jersey payback, by way of the O.C. (twice, if you count Parros’ first stint in Los Angeles).
With the Devils enjoying an early summer, the Rangers thankfully out of the running, and the work-related Sharks also exiting in the second round, I am running out of teams to cheer for or against. Fortunately, we can claim weak affiliation with the Ducks thanks to former NJ Devil Scott Niedermeyer and former NJ Devils Youth Hockey Club and Princeton University winger George Parros. If so many people from work didn’t love the Red Wings, I’d find a reason to cheer for the Squidward crowd, due to the presence of Matthieu Schneider (the highest scoring Jewish player ever in the NHL).
It’s getting hard to cheer for Parros, though, because he’s been scratched nearly every game of the Conference Finals. I’ve voiced the opinion in these very blog pages before that if Parros was given the chance to play, regularly, he might turn into a solid fourth line wing, rather than the very narrow “goon” role into which he’s been forced. The guy is far from a goon — Pronger is the one who is suspended for unclean play, yet Parros is watching from the press box with him? Attention Randy Carlyle — you might actually need everyone skating to win 6 more games.
If it comes down to Detroit-Ottawa, I’m going to cheer for it to be over in four so the free agency fireworks can begin.
I read The Hockey News because it’s comprehensive coverage of the whole ice, from colleges to the women’s game to detailed stats on the NHL. Lately, though, the writing seems both repetitive and needlessly needling. Case in point: a set of articles in the April 3 issue that discuss fighting and the role of the goon.
George Parros gets a bad rap through all of this. Ken Campbell warns “..one of you…George Parros, Cam Janssen, and Wade Belak…is going to die in a hockey fight someday.” Brilliant. And Mike Brophy points out that if you add Colton Orr to that group, they have only 3 goals among them. Fascinating how they pick up the exact same group of “goons” for this analysis.
Aside from the lack of creativity in THN’s writing, their premise is flawed. Both articles want us to believe that there’s no room in hockey for players who can only fight. I won’t argue that, but why point at the players, with such vengeance as to warn that they might kill each other? Parros in particular was a stand out at Princeton, and can definitely score goals if he’s given the chance. With a shot percentage of over 8%, his conversion rate is better than that of the NJ Devils. The problem is that as a fourth liner, he doesn’t play much. When he is on the ice, he’s asked to be the tough guy. I’d prefer to see the Mike Rupp or Erik Rasmussen version of the fourth liner — guys who can skate and score, as well as mix it up when needed. Brophy would like us to believe that the problem is with players like Parros. Hardly. The problem is with coaches who don’t play a full four lines and develop young players. Typecast anyone, and you’ll get repetitive behavior.
How about this for a hat trick: three Tiger tales in the March 13 issue of The Hockey News?
Former Princeton captain, Washington capitals leader, one-time Wall Street Journal human interest subject and current Dallas Stars center Jeff Halpern gets the nod (and picture) as pivot on the checking line, while on the opposite side of the centerfold Jersey guy, former NJ Devils Youth player, Princeton captain and big boy George Parros receives props for putting the “mighty” back in the Ducks moniker.
Completing the third reference from the fourth estate is a blurb in the ECHL coverage of Scott Bertoli’s 500th point with the Trenton Titans, a team he now captains and has been integral to pretty such since its inception down the road from Baker Rink.
There’s even more good news, this time of Princeton present rather than Princetoniana: The Tigers hosted their first ECAC playoff series at home since the guys noted above were undergraduates. This year’s seniors saw their team go 3-20 during their freshman year, but yet they finished with home ice advantage and a first-round win. Setting good, solid, but achievable goals is always tough, but this year’s results showed that hard work and step-by-step improvement do generate results. It must be hard for this year’s seniors to know they’re leaving with only the knowledge that they brought the program this far, but that’s part of the beauty of a 261-year old institution — each generation builds for the next. I’m sure I’ll see various Princeton hockey related names in print, if not in the Hockey News then elsewhere above the fold.
It was a happy night in hockey land. Devils won, Rangers lost, and LA Kings forward (and NJ Devils Youth alum) George Parros notched his first goal.
First goals are great memories; something akin to first steps except you’re mentally developed enough to remember the replay later in life. My son’s first goal came on a Bobby Orr-style shot, as he was being tripped in front of the net. He has the puck while I have the picture. My first goal came on Princeton’s Baker Rink, on a Tuesday night in the dead of November. I was skating through the left face off circle, and Tom Chatt fed me the puck which managed to bounce off of my stick and into the net. Intramural hockey at its finest. I didn’t keep the puck, because our club team had only three of them. Given a choice between buying a beer after the game or another puck at the University Store, I went for beer to celebrate. I remember the goal (but not the beer), and wish I had the puck.
Here’s hoping that the refs fished George’s first goal out of the net and kept the puck for him.
I’ll admit to being a bit giddy tonight. Having 15 opening night games is akin to March Madness – I don’t know what to watch first, or which highlights will really be tomorrow’s ESPN gems. The remote control got an outstanding workout.
Zach Parise: game-winning goal for the Devils. Sidney Crosby: an assist, but on the losing end of a 5-1 Devils victory. Alexander Ovechkin: 2 goals in the Capitols 3-2 win. Jeff Halpern: assisting on all three Caps goals.
However, there’s no data coming out of the Dallas-Los Angeles game, so it’s hard to check in on George Parros. Word to the NHL: let the fans blog, at least we’d know what’s going on even if there’s no official scoresheet posted.