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Razor's Edge: Habs and Leafs prove bag skates are pointless

Ray Ferraro
10/12/2009 4:01:44 PM
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Bag skates are useless. Every player hates them of course, coaches think they send a message to an underachieving team, and I'm sure that nothing is accomplished during these practices except the odd pulled groin.

Both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens had a bag skate this week , and both were rewarded with nothing positive. Toronto was so fired up that they came out and had two shots in the first period against Pittsburgh on Saturday night, on the way to a 5-2 loss.  Montreal competed harder, but still lost. Players see nothing beneficial, and I'm sure there is no correlation between a bag skate and a poor or great next game.  

I understand the punishment component here, but how about actually working on something that might help your team win?  Hey Toronto, try killing a penalty. How about the Habs not allowing the front of their net be a free pass area? These practices have been around forever, and have been ineffective at least as long.

When a team suffers a significant injury, one piece of the puzzle goes out, but a couple spots are affected as the lineup is juggled. The hope is that someone will fill the role seamlessly.

It is really hard to gauge how the loss of Daniel Sedin, for at least the next month, will hamper the Canucks. Not only do the Canucks lose their top goal scorer, but the incredible chemistry with his brother Henrik can't be understated.

Over the last nine seasons, Henrik has played three more games than Daniel yet each player has the same point totals. This will be the longest stretch Henrik has played without Daniel on his flank, and I wonder if whoever they play in Daniel's spot will be able to finish Henrik's deft passes as Daniel can.

Their intuitive feel can not be replaced.  It may be a revolving door looking for the right fit, but Sunday night Steve Bernier got the first chance alongside Henrik and Alex Burrows. Bernier has worked hard to get in shape, and he won't be handed a more glorious opportunity than this.

Oh yeah, a stiff breeze blew in off the Pacific and Sami Salo (knee) is hurt again as well. He has missed 79 games over the past four seasons. The Canucks can only hope that this is a short term injury.

Razor cuts

1) There are so many great performances in a week to look at, but Pavel Datsyuk put on a clinic Saturday against the Capitals. He was sensational defensively, on the puck, defended against Ovechkin and had three takeaways as well. To top it off, he had an assist on the game winner. No wonder Mike Babcock can point Datsyuk out as an example to anyone not working diligently. What a role model for his team.

2) I saw the Canucks new locker room this past week, absolutely spectacular. Every comfort the players and coaches could want: state of the art video system; a new oval design so there are no corners to hide in; a players eating area; a lounge with a great espresso machine. It struck me that young guys will think that this has been what rooms have always been like. No wonder some guys seem spoiled. I hope they know how lucky they are.

3) Lots has been made about Sidney Crosby's new stick and curve. While I am sure he likes the way the puck jumps off his stick, he could probably use a boat oar and still be successful. To be honest, players that don't have soft hands suffer a bit from passes that bounce off the stiff, composite blades. Everyone loves technology, but some guys lose as many chances as they get because the puck spins out of control.

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