Jonas Hiller Needs a Hug
While the first night of Round 2 in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs seemed to revolve around the goings-on at the Garden, the Anaheim Ducks were busy being methodical.
As in routinely dismantling the upstart Calgary Flames.
And that's all Calgary is gonna get.
So none but the wackiest Albertans should need a dousing of fire retardant to snap back into reality. If there's a surprise, it might be that a blast or two of foam seems to be required for one particular Swiss goalie.
Sure, Jonas Hiller had a chapped ass because the Ducks allowed him to walk after last season. And yes, it's understandable he'd be out for revenge by, say, stoning Anaheim four times. But if that's what was gonna drive him to great heights, he should've signed with the Blackhawks and beaten out Corey Crawford.
Because not even Mikka Kiprusoff would be up to managing miracles with this sort of defense in front of him:
It looked as if the Ducks had already sent the message that Calgary can't handle their physicality, and the Flames heard it loud and clear.
Who knew that would be an ironic metaphor for Hiller?
And yet, after a tough Game 1, he wasn't taking the fact that he'll be a spectator at the start of Game 2 very well at all. This could be due to how quickly Coach Bob Hartley can do a 180º from his original position at the start of the series:
Why do coaches say stuff like that? Especially after the St Louis Blues' Ken Hitchcock had just set the gold standard for gagging on false bravado:
Maybe Calgary steals a game in this series, but whenever it's over, perhaps Hiller can hop a plane for the Czech Republic. The Swiss could use him in the World Championships right about Sun 10 May when they meet Sidney Crosby and the Canadians and then Járomir Jágr's Czech crew two days later.
If nothing else, the Swiss are known for their reserved demeanor. No coach on that squad will be pretending he's Nostradamus. Instead, he'll welcome Hiller with open arms.
And he could really, really use that this spring.