DATELINE UNKNOWN – Todd Bertuzzi whimpered like a dog when the electric fence knocked him unconscious. Hey, we warned him: Do not leave … or else. And he certainly discovered our meaning of “else.”
Else equals a tongue-out-of-the-mouth nap.
Else equals a visit to the village infirmary.
Else equals no hockey for a month.
Note to fellow Secret League players: If you’re gonna try and escape, don’t post “abandon ship” on the cafeteria bulletin board.
Our Intelligence Agency simply watched the perimeter of the complex, turned up the fence frequency and waited for the electric volts to bring Bertuzzi to his face-first plant.
Listen here: The fence is not designed to hold these players hostage. It’s for Gary Bettman and his oncoming baying hounds. But we had no choice but to “shock” Bertuzzi during his attempted escape.
Obviously, Bertuzzi has not reacted kindly to his condition. He continues to label our head Intelligence Agency official as “the warden” from Shawshank Redemption, and refers to himself as “Tommy.” It’s a cute analogy, but it’s false for two reasons: One, Bertuzzi is still alive and, two, we didn’t set him up.
Think about it, Todd: If you leave, and tell the world about our Secret League, then it’s no longer a secret, is it?
If fans catch wind of this, we’re done. Twitter will explode, the media will follow, then Pierre McGuire, then Bettman’s baying hounds. Then we’re screwed.
We just hope “Bert” recovers in a hurry. It’s been a rough season already. His numbskull sense of direction caused the Detroit Red Wings to forfeit their season opener and he’s been a defensive liability ever since (minus-27 through six games). He became depressed and talked about “abandoning” the secret league, but our Intelligence Agency advised against it.
Bertuzzi, however, doesn’t listen properly and tried to sneak away in the middle of the night. Now he’s in the village infirmary – along with several Bruins and Canadiens players from the week-one brawl that left considerable damage in our village commons that will never be fixed.
Anyway, it was an interesting week.
This report tracks games from Nov. 3-Nov. 9
New Jersey 5-0-1
N.Y. Rangers 2-3-1
N.Y. Islanders 2-3-1
Breakdown: Who needs Zach Parise? The Devils are leading the Secret League with 11 points. They really should be 6-0-0, but our lack of video review may have screwed them in a 2-2 tie against Florida on Monday. Stephen Gionta swears on his “village room” that the puck crossed the line before the scorekeeper rang the horn, but we had to rely upon the eyes and ears of our two-referee, zero-linesman system.
Hopefully we can install a video camera. We’ll see what happens.
The Rangers lost two of three games during the week, but the storyline there is the team bus. Goodness gracious, Henrik Lundqvist takes his styling seriously. He asked for “chauffeurs” before the season started. Then he complained about the locker rooms. It’s obvious that Lundqvist, who’s often seen in a four-piece suit in the village commons, really cares about his looks.
So what did he do with the bus? Well, he bought two more, gutted the inside of each, and replaced them with La-Z-Boy recliners, plasma screens, a refrigerator and – you’ll never believe this – a sauna. Yes, a friggin’ sauna on buses that were originally designed to drive high school punks. Unbelievable. We think Lundqvist has a future co-hosting a “Pimp My Ride”-type show, perhaps with Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor.
We didn’t dare ask Lundqvist about the cost of his buses, but it’s a good thing for his bank account that he doesn’t have a “home rink.” Can you imagine how he would remodel one of those locker rooms?
Worst Player of the week: Rick DiPietro – the overpaid, $67.5-million-over-15-year goalie Rick DiPietro. One week after stopping 120 of 123 shots, DiPietro came back to reality and relinquished 12 goals in two games. He was so upset, he didn’t dress for the Friday game against San Jose. The players thought he was giving Evgeni Nabokov a shot at redeeming himself against his old team, but in actuality, DiPietro stayed in the village and watched soap operas.
Noteworthy: The first meeting between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh was a sight for sore eyes. It was another classic: a combined 21 goals, 370 penalty minutes and 10 game misconducts.
Pittsburgh actually won this time, 13-8. They were down 7-1 and rallied with 12 unanswered.
Matt Cooke is the first player in Secret League history to be assessed a game misconduct from the locker room. That record will probably never be broken. Then again, this league will never happen again, so a lot of these records will stand forever.
Breakdown: The Flyers have gotta be kicking themselves for dealing James van Riemsdyk to Toronto. He recorded another four-goal game this week, this time against Buffalo and it chased Ryan Miller out of the net and caused another meltdown of epic proportions. If you think Miller’s temper tantrum over Jordin Tootoo was bad, you should’ve seen this.
Van Riemsdyk has the Leafs rolling, but rumors are flying that Phil Kessel is becoming “jealous” of Toronto’s new playmaker.
(Worst) player of the week: Tomas Plekanec, who scored on himself twice.
Noteworthy: Chris Neil is eagerly looking forward to a rematch with the Rangers next week. Remember Neil’s series against New York last spring? He scored the overtime winner in Game 2 and nearly decapitated Brian Boyle in Game 5.
Who knows what Neil has in store for a rematch.
And remember: He was the instrumental person to secure our village. That could be a good sign, or an ugly sign. Who knows.
Tampa Bay 0-4-2
Breakdown: Too bad these teams play each other. It ruins our quest to have a winless division.
They were all 0-4-0 until intradivision play. Tampa Bay, Winnipeg and Washington took turns tying each other – scoreless ties, that is. Heck, they were so bad, one of the referees nearly got killed when he fell asleep leaning against the boards.
Here came Dustin Byfuglien barreling up the right wing and … SMACK!
Thankfully, the referee lived and will be back to action within a month.
For his sake, maybe he should just pretend he’s injured.
Player of the week: Jordan Staal. He really didn’t do much: He scored a goal in a 1-0 overtime victory against Florida.
It’s the only goal in the entire division thus far.
Frankly, we’re pissed he scored. It was the final game of the week, meaning it was the 30th game for the Southwest Division at this stage of the season. Staal’s goal with 43 seconds left in our five-minute overtime session spelled the end of the division’s lengthy shutout streak at 1,839 minutes and 17 seconds. It would’ve been amazing to extend the streak into a third week, considering this division goes back to its out-of-conference schedule and each team will surely get blanked repeatedly.
Noteworthy: Alexander Ovechkin is still nowhere to be found. We’re giving these guys their privacy, but it’s getting to the point where we have to interrogate the Washington Capitals’ players about his whereabouts. Again, we’ve heard rumors of massive “vodka drinking,” but that’s happened in the past – and he’s played through it, so it shouldn’t be an issue. Then again, in the past Ovie had a general manager, owner and coach breathing down his neck, as opposed to the Secret League, which is far less structured.
St. Louis 2-4-0
Breakdown: The Blackhawks dearly miss the services of Patrick Kane, who is still absent. (Last week, he lifted his hockey bag for the first time in years and pulled a back muscle.)
The ‘Hawks really could’ve used Kane in a Wednesday game against Pittsburgh. Marian Hossa missed the game, too, and the Hawks were humiliated, 8-0.
If the NHL was in operation, this game would’ve aired on NBC Sports Network. That’s one reason why Hossa was absent: He missed the glamor and cameras, feared facing his ex-teammates, and decided to stay in the village. He just couldn’t handle the emotional turmoil.
Anyway, the Columbus Blue Jackets came back down to reality with three straight losses. They had a significant advantage in the opening week. Their opponents saw empty crowds and struggled to get that “extra kick” of adrenaline, to which the CBJs chuckled and thought, “Hey, we’re used to this.”
By week two, other teams had warmed up to the empty-crowd factor, and that was it for the Blue Jackets’ winning ways.
“Pfff, I don’t care,” Ryan Callahan said. “As long as we don’t have to actually be in Columbus, how bad can this season be here in suburban … ”
We’ve warned him: “Another near slippage, and it’s muzzle time.”
For the rest of the season, Callahan will look like Hannibal Lecter!
Player of the week: Pavel Datsyuk scored seven goals during the week; four were miraculous. Two goals came from behind the goal line with an odd spin on the puck that’s never been seen before. Another went in off his head. On another, Datsyuk batted the puck in mid-air off four bodies, as if this is pinball or something.
We might have to administer a blood test to see if he’s human.
Noteworthy: Nashville’s Shea Weber is fuming about the ongoing NHL lockout. He’s justified. Remember, this was the year he was supposed to be paid a whopping $27 million after Nashville matched Philadelphia’s absurd offer.
His anger is on full display in each game – and he takes full advantage of our out-of-shape referees. He sucker-punched Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler on Monday, speared Calgary’s Jarome Iginla on Wednesday, then cross-checked St. Louis’s T.J. Oshie in the face on Friday.
We would suspend him, but the recreational rink video is too fuzzy for our rules committee to make a determination. Also, we don’t have a rules committee yet.
Breakdown: Good thing we’re not playing in downtown Vancouver. The Canucks’ winless skid would surely cause a riot that would make the 2010 disaster look like a puny bonfire.
We can make such a comparison based on the reactions of the Canucks players when they fell to 0-6. Alexandre Burrows bit three players, Ryan Kesler cried and Keith Ballard swung his stick at the head of Roberto Luongo – this time he meant it!
Hey, you can’t blame him. Louie is downright childish these days. He laughed hysterically each time Dallas scored on Cory Schneider (seven times), and then had the nerve to flaunt his 2010 gold medal to the rink on Friday.
Of course, it backfired and Luongo allowed 10 goals in a humiliating rout against Edmonton.
On the 10th goal, Ballard lost his mind.
Louie, however, has a hard head and managed to finish the game.
Player of the week: Nail Yakupov. One week after teammates Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins earned a tri-player of the week honor, Yakupov took home the weekly award with a six-goal, four-assist performance. Not bad for a rookie.
The problem is, those teammates didn’t like Yakupov’s gloating and think he deserves an initiation. We might get involved, because it would be the first-ever Secret League rookie hazing.
Noteworthy: We already told you about Zach Parise and Ryan Suter’s weirdness: They sit on the bus together, eat together, have adjacent lockers and have the same shifts. Parise, a forward, and Suter, a defenseman, have now played 131:34 together. Precisely. Not a second difference.
The weirdest Zach & Ryan moment occurred Wednesday against Vancouver. Parise was offsides, which prompted Suter to scream at the linesman and demand a video review.
San Jose 4-2-0
Los Angeles 2-4-0
Breakdown: Drew Doughty’s ongoing partying is concerning. It’s entertaining for opposing players, who laugh at his slip-sliding skating and minus-15 rating through six games.
We, however, are not impressed. But what can we do? We don’t have the funds to inflict a fine.
“This is a glorified rec league,” Doughty said, sipping a beer on the bench. “Glorified. Recreational. Hockey.”
Wow, what nerve.
If it wasn’t for us, he’d be 15 pounds heavier. At least he’s burning calories by skating.
But Doughty doesn’t see past his own nose. Maybe someday he’ll realize this is a glorious opportunity. Or maybe he’ll continue drinking and make the Kings the first Cup champion ever to finish last the following season.
It’s amazing the Kings won two of three games this week despite being outshot 178-45. Yes, you saw that right: 178-45. The breakdown is as follows: 62-12 against San Jose; 57-17 against Chicago; and 59-16 against Phoenix, a team that’s still ticked from last year’s playoff exit (more on that later).
Jonathan Quick must be a long-lost cousin of Gumby, or something, because only he can stop 170 of 179 shots.
Then again, he got great practice in the season opener: Facing 77 shots to Dallas that was categorized as “hockey’s version of a SWAT team practice.”
Player of the week: Well, Quick had to get the award simply by surviving.
Noteworthy: Phoenix captain Shane Doan had a ferocious grudge against our officials in the opening week, the lingering effects of his condition: Post-traumatic-referee-screwed-me disorder (PTRSMD). He yelled furiously at the officials during pre-game warmups and received three game misconducts.
In fact, Doan didn’t see a minute of ice time and we mentioned he might need hypnosis.
Well, he got it. And let’s just say it backfired. Doan took the ice with a two-piece stick and started to take it apart and dismantle the thing into pieces. It had a compartment with bullets and a 9-mm gun. It resembled the scene from The Naked Gun when Reggie Jackson tried to shoot the Queen of England.
Thankfully, five members of our Secret Intelligence Agency caught wind of this and tackled Doan on the ice. We had 20 members, but nine of them couldn’t fit through the rink door and six fell on their face when hitting the ice. (Remember: They’re the height of jockeys and weight of sumo wrestlers.) Thankfully, those five who caught Doan had enough intelligence (no pun intended) to use the correct entrance – the double-doors of the Zamboni entrance.
However, it wasn’t pretty to see Doan smothered by five pudgy agents. He might be out a while.