Hockey Blog Beat – October 17, 2011.

In today’s medley of notable posts from the NHL blogosphere: An interesting take on Don Cherry’s “apology”…The problems with the Habs defense…Figuring out which Panther will have the biggest impact this season…Ten mostly (Un)true facts about Corey Perry…The Dallas Stars learning on the fly…Mike Smith has something to prove…It’s Absurd Goalie Monday!

HOCKEY IN SOCIETY: considers Don Cherry’s recent apology for former enforcers Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thomson little more than “an incredible sleight of hand”, calling it ” little more than a personal appeal to slighted enforcers and a reinforcement of the boundaries between the total institution of hockey violence and the outside world.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Very interesting read. I believe the threat of legal action from the three slighted former enforcers provoked Cherry’s apology, but regardless, it’s been made, and accepted, and the world goes on, but I also feel this is a bit of a setback for Cherry, the first real backlash he’s received from within the hockey community against one of his rants. Cherry remains popular in Canada, but I do get the sense fatigue with his schtick is setting in as the game begins to pass him by. He won’t be fired, and when he finally does go off the airwaves, it’ll either be by his own choice or if CBC should lose its broadcast contract to TSN in 2014. Still, I’ve encountered more folks who’ve grown weary of his act than I used to in the recent past, which make me wonder about the continued popularity of “Coach’s Corner”.

HABS EYES ON THE PRIZE: conducts a look at the performance thus far of the Canadiens defensemen, and suggests adjusting the pairings at even strength by putting Alexei Emelin on the first pairing with P.K. Subban, and dropping Hal Gill to the third pairing with Raphael Diaz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen what coach Jacques Martin has in store for his defense, but these suggestions couldn’t hurt. Not sure if I’d want Emelin with Subban just yet, as I’d still feel more comfortable with Josh Gorges backing up Subban when the latter winds up for one of his patented rushes, but Gill with Diaz might help the youngster improve his game.

LITTER BOX CATS: “John and Chris” examine which player could have the biggest impact upon the Florida Panthers this season. John suggests defenseman Brian Campbell, while Chris goes with David Booth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Booth certainly could become a notable scorer if he can stay healthy, but Campbell’s ability to anchor their power-play and bolster their transition game could make him the more valuable of the pair.

Will he steal your goalie's soul?

ANAHEIM CALLING: presents ten mostly (un)true facts about Corey Perry, including that whenever Perry runs over a goalie, he absorbs a part of the goalie’s soul, and he’s still mad at Pavel Datsyuk for ruining his shot at winning the Lady Byng trophy last season.

DEFENDING BIG D: takes a look at the strong start of the Dallas Stars, where the team is learning on the fly, such as on their defense, as those pairings remain a work in progress.

RED LIGHT DISTRICT: Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith is out to prove he can be a capable NHL starting goalie.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Folks made the automatic assumption the Coyotes are screwed with Ilya Bryzgalov and dismissed the notion of Smith being able to replace him. They forget, however, Smith once showed considerable promise during his first season with the Tampa Bay Lightning until injuries derails his development. He showed some promise again playing in relief of Dwayne Roloson in last spring’s playoffs, and so far has played well for the Coyotes. If he can stay healthy this season, Smith could surprise his doubters.

THE STRANGEST ONE OF ALL: Scotty Wazz of The Face Off Hockey Show presents another edition of “Absurd Goalie Monday”. Today: Doug Soetaert.