The struggling Al Montoya [left] did not start Team USA's game against Belarus last night. But when Cory Schneider was shelled early, he came in in relief. His first shot, from outside the blue line, eluded him, sealing the upset early on for Belarus. Read the straightforward press services report here, Damien Cox's more entertaining take here, and Hockey Future's prospect-oriented report here.
The Ranger web site as usual has a complete WJC update, focusing not on Montoya's poor performance but on Lauri Korpikoski, his key power play goal helping Finland overcome a 4-1 deficit a 5-4 win over Sweden. Check the News tab on the home page for links to how non-WJC prospects are faring during the tournament.
Lyle Richardson, aka Spector and Prince of Pucks, continues to pump out required reading at a rate that is remarkable considering the lack of hockey action. The other day he wrote about the issue of NHL exposure, today he takes on Jeremy Jacobs, the mega-hawk skinflint owner of the Bustin' Bruins. At the end of the latter article, Richardson reports a rumor that the league will make one more proposal before letting the season waste away.
Regarding the exposure factor: the NHL obviously has a plan to save itself that includes busting the union to reduce costs and then "re-launching" the NHL with a new marketing plan that includes certain use of shoot-outs to break ties, despite the enduring distaste hard-core hockey fans have for it. Which begs the question: if Gary Bettman was able to sell owners on the re-launch concept, why do they continue to predict financial ruin for the league? If the so-called re-launch can ratchet up revenues another notch while GMs continue to act more reasonably, as they have the past couple of years, why exactly is there a lockout?
Oh, yeah: greed. Forgot about that one.
We left you to draw your own conclusions about Rob Ray in our report yesterday. Consider this: Ray "retired" after the 2002-03 season to join the Buffalo broadcast team (we say "retired" because it was forced -- no one wanted to sign the free agent goon). He came out of retirement to play six games for Ottawa at the end of the season. Ottawa will not re-sign him, so he is once again "retired" -- the excuse the NHLPA used to get back at him for bucking their party line. His future is therefore with management, back in the broadcast booth. Clearly, though still a member of the PA, Ray is playing his hand for the benefit of his future bosses.
You remember Rob Ray, right? He's the guy who forced the NHL to write down one of its unwritten rules about sportsmanship when he started to employ tearaway jerseys to gain an edge in fighting. Now, every time someone's jersey tie comes loose during an altercation and they're sent to the locker room with a misconduct penalty, they can thank the sportsmanship of Rob Ray.