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Monday, March 26, 2012
Case of the Mondays: March 24-25

By Paul Grant

We watch the games, so you don't have to. And then we write stuff down about them. So you don't have to.

Sunday
--Alex Ovechkin tapes his stick one strand at a time, like the rest of us. He has scored nine goals in his last seven games and dates a Russian tennis player, not like the rest of us.
--Say it with me now: Malkin-wins! Malkin-wins! (To the tune of "Malkovich! Malkovich!" from "Being John Malkovich.")
--Panthers fans showed their excitement at potentially having the No. 3 seed in the playoffs by staying away in droves from a loss to the Islanders. Rats!
--Edmonton beat Columbus in a battle of the league's two most brutal teams. It's OK for a man to cry, Nail Yakupov.
--How about those Predators! Nashville-New York Stanley Cup finals. "I'm a little bit country..." "...and I'm a little bit rock 'n' roll." No one appreciates a good Donnie and Marie Osmond reference anymore.
--Tiger Woods. There, that ought to help our Google results.
--What would the playoffs look like if they started today? Glad you asked. Click it.
--Solidifying: Ottawa. Fading: Calgary, Winnipeg. Too close to call: Buffalo, Washington, Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose, Colorado, margarine vs. butter.

Saturday
--The Rangers beat the Leafs in a shootout to take first overall in the NHL for one night (yes, technically, smarty pants, they were tied in points with St. Louis). Needing the shootout to beat the Leafs and their beachball goaltending should be of grave concern to Rangers fans the world over.
--Hey, you are Tim Thomas. That commercial provides endless material. Anyway, Thomas stood on his head, his arm, his legs, etc., while helping his Bruins continue their rebound with a big win in Los Angeles. Zdeno Chara played in game No. 1,000. Boy, you've got to think Mike Milbury is satisfied with how that trade worked out.
--So, I'm working Saturday night, getting ready to write the headline that the Wings stink after a loss to the Hurricanes. Next thing I know, they've scored four straight goals and have ended their six-game losing streak. It was Nicklas Lidstrom's first game back from injury. Considering Lidstrom's pending retirement, sell your Wings stock.
--Let's play word association. Antti Niemi -- a stone wall. Joe Thornton -- a tall man with curly hair who likes to help others. San Jose Sharks -- improving their playoff chances while making sportswriters stay up so late that they miss the all-you-can-eat breakfast bar at IHOP. For example.