Written by coach
Sunday, 08 January 2012 14:15
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HITS OF THE DAY
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- Things started bad and finished worse for the Leaves. Boston annihilated Toronto 8-0. And this was a Leaf team desperately clinging to faint hopes of a playoff spot. Forget it. The Leaves have been absolutely horrid since the All Star Game. Talking to a few Leaf fans during and after this game, and the acceptance of another year with no chance of a Stanley Cup is already taking root. Had to feel bad for Randy Carlyle, having his team get whipped so badly. Carlyle has had a bit of time to figure things out in T.O. but doesn’t have his stamp on this team yet …. With the win, Boston broke the Atlantic Division stranglehold on the top 4 spots in the East, sitting just ahead of Jersey, both teams having 87 points, but the Bruins with an extra win …
- Fight of the Night : On an evening with a lot of pugilism, have to go with another vicious beat down that Milan Lucic put on Mike Komisarek …. Some of the shots Lucic landed where just plain mean. He punished Komisarek in a brutal and dominant manner. When these two drop the mitts, Komisarek might as well have a target on his face, and have his hands taped to his sides, because that is basically how the fight plays out ….
- Sharks lose, to Anaheim, 5-3 ….. Haven’t listened to Remenda’s radio show for a while, but he must be at his wits end to explain the Sharks below average play this year …. One issue for San Jose: Martin Havlat has been scoring since coming back into the lineup. What happens when Havlat either starts playing like his normal enigmatic self, or gets hurt again. Havlat is basically another version of Ales Hemsky, though at times a bit of an upgrade …. Havlat was supposed to be a gamechanger / dominator first in Chicago, then in Minnesota, now in San Jose. Hockey people have been waiting for him to fulfill his potential for over a decade … probably not gonna happen. He has one year in which he hit the 30 goal mark and averaged a point per game. Two other years he approached those numbers. All in all, a very good hockey player. But more was expected of him, and he has had an agent handle his contracts in a manner that requires more performance for the money he was paid …
- Buffalo is getting serious about a playoff spot as well, showing so with a decisive win over Tampa … the Sabres could salvage the year by getting into the playoffs. And who knows, if Whine Miller can keep his fool mouth shut and focus on stopping pucks, Buffalo might even win a few post season games …. It has been a rough ride for all those big dollar Sabre imports, most notably Ville Leino, who is watching former running mate Scott Hartnell enjoy a career year in Philly ….
- Not gonna get to wound up over the Wings losing skid …. They have flamed out a few times before, most notably have bad stretches in the playoffs , back at the beginning of the millennium. Losing to the old Mighty Ducks, the Flames then the Oilers …. They are missing future Hall of Famers Lidstrom and Datsyuk …. This team hasn’t missed the post season since the spring of 1990, and they won’t miss this year either …. But for those who have been watching for signs of weakness, and what will happen when Lidstrom puts his feet up on a retirement desk …. Ah, whatever, Ken Holland will have Shea Weber or Ryan Suter by then,or both, and maybe even an above average goalie …..
- Elliotte Friedman ponders the status of Russian players entering the draft, and whether they will return to the KHLfor more money instead of playing in the NHL … he spends a lot of time explaining the situation, and discussing leverage, which these young Russian kids have … any young player willing to go to the KHL can have that leverage ….in the end, Friedman mentions the idea of giving young players a better bonus package … and that is where he is onto something. Performance based pay. That it how to solve the entire salary and pay conundrum in the NHL, and pro sports ….
- Right out of Slap Shot : As the puck drops, three scraps break out between the Rangers and Devils …. Truth be told, pretty exciting stuff, with the Ryan Carter – Stu Bickell tilt being the best of the bunch …. Rangers won the game, though, and clinched a playoff berth …
- Two players the LA Kings would like to have back: Ted Purcell and Brian Boyle. Purcell is a smart player who can score, Boyle is a monster of a man who can play the game ….
- Goal of the Night : Vintage Ovechkin, as he schools Duncan Keith with a move to the outside of the over rated Chicago Blackhawk defenseman, stepping behind Keith and then going through the simple formality of scoring on Corey Crawford, one of the weaker goalies in the NHL … Ovie looked like the force of old on this tally, and those classic Capitals uniforms ? Awesome, just like it was 1983 or something …
- Talk about a wild swing in momentum …. Pittsburgh was taking the Flyers to school, HARD , for two periods in the city of brotherly love ….. but after some seriously eyebrow raising officiating in the initial two frames , the blind bat refs had to call a few infractions on the Pens, and Philly seized the opportunity, waking up and getting involved in the game …. End result was a crushing blow for the Pens, as Scott Hartnell won the game with under a second left in OT … anybody who watched this game would have witnessed a clinic in elite goaltending … Marc FLeury was on his game, making several huge stops, and without Bryz, who is suddenly top shelf, the Flyers would have been humiliated after two periods …
- Anyone who wants to make a case for firing Tom Renney in Edmonton will have to go hard on the fact that superstar and leading scorer Jordan Eberle doesn’t log a lot of ice time for a guy playing on a very bad team …Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff both get 3-4 more shifts per game than Eberle, if you take the extra two minutes per game they play as 30 second shifts … Renney says he doesn’t want to burn out the kids, which is foolish thinking when you are playing a guy in his late 30’s more than a 20 year old kid .. Who has more energy ? Renney isn’t the Oilers big problem – that would be Lowe andTambellini ….
- Which Larsson would you take ? Oliver Ekman of Phoenix or Adam in New Jersey ? After watching him in the NHL this year, and seeing his Larry Murphy style skating against opponents who are vastly superior skaters to what Murphy generally faced in the 80’s and 90’s, Adam Larsson is a huge question mark in Jersey … as far as his handling of the physical game, well, he isn’t ready for what gets dished out, that much is certain …
- Book Review : Hockey’s Greatest Tragedies by Timothy Feige – This is an interesting read, covering stories related to NHL players and venues, dating back as far as the Chicoutimi Cucumber, Georges Vezina …. Feige is quite accurate with his work, and pulls no punches. Ugly is called ugly in this book, when it comes to issues such as sexual abuse and alcoholism / drug abuse … some fascinating tales, and some heartbreakers in this tome … Put on The Hip’s “ 50 Mission Cap “ and read the summary of Bill Barilko’s time with the Leaves, or put on some early 70’s rock and read of Derek “ Turk “ Sanderson the highest paid pro athlete on the planet for a time while taking a brief foray into the WHA with the Philadelphia Blazers …Feige keeps his accounts short, but packed with relevant information …. This book is worth the time, and has some vintage photos …
- In a spirited move, the fans in Winnipeg really gave it to Alexander Ovechkin, highlited by a chant of “ Crosby’s Better “ …. Hilarious …. Ovie handled this with a smile, and basically said “ Whatever, fans can do as they please “ …. And he is right. Fans bankroll the whole friggin sport, so they can say what they want. Ovechkin should reiterate that point to Jet hack Tanner Glass, who seemed a little sad about the Jet fanatics riding Ovechkin …. Whatever is right, and the Jets won. That is what you call a home ice advantage, and that kind of involvement and enthusiasm is why the Jets have been a success thus far in their return to Winnipeg, as the city continue to show all of us naysayers that they are serious about supporting an NHL team …
- All kinds of fuss in the OHL, a league run by the iron fisted David Branch, who often gets whacked out in his totalitarian rulings …Owen Sound Attack’s Mike Halmo crushes Sarnia Sting star player Nail Yakupov with a bone jarring open ice bodycheck as Yakupov cut across the ice into the slot in front of the Owen Sound net … watch the video for yourself, and you will see that Halmo did launch himself, but the biggest issue with this hit ? Yakupov served himself up on a platter for Halmo. He was stretched out reaching for the puck, head down, not aware of the defending player. At that level of hockey, you have to be smarter than that. In the slot in front of the opponent’s net ? Of course someone on the other team will want to crush you … For Dave Branch, he likes making examples of guys. Halmo is a well rounded player, who can score, but also doesn’t mind a seat in the sin bin … judge for yourself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXkI9lwjiOg&feature=player_embedded
- Keep hearing how Ron Wilson, ex coach of the Leaves in Toronto, wanted his defenseman to play with two hands on their sticks at all times …. A classic case of wanting too much control, and micro-coaching …. Not to mention how much this limits the range of a player’s stick .. when you watch NHL defenseman, major junior d-men, or any high level amateur defenders, they always have their stick in the way of the oncoming forward …. A player who is 6 feet plus, moving his stick around, can really affect what the puck carrier does … it was this kind of over coaching, in the wrong areas, that resulted in the Leaves missing the playoffs again ….
- The NHL and its officials are getting ready for the playoffs, and starting to put their whistles away …. Obstruction and stickwork is starting to get back to 1990’s levels … and the consistency of rule enforcement remains a total and utter crapshoot …. Watching the Penguins play since Crosby returned, it is obvious the league is keeping an eye on him, in a protective manner, and the Pens know it. They have the refs on their side, and have taken to using their sticks as though they were axes, swinging wild and free at opponents …. Note to league – Crosby and the Penguins don’t need an advantage. They are good enough on their own merits and accord … It was hilarious hearing Vancouver GM Mike Gillis bleating and crying about the officials and how they don’t protect the Canucks … here is the thing – refs can’t possibly do a good job, even if one could remove their own personal bias and favoritisms … the game is way too fast. The league need to clue in and start using off ice officials, watching all camera angles, and communicating with the refs on the ice, to make sure they get the calls correct, and try to call the games fairly for all teams involved …
- Neat matchup in the WHL post season : The Edmonton Oil Kings, top seed in the East, take on the former Edmonton Ice, now playing out of Cranbrook, BC as the Kootenay Ice … last year, Kootenay knocked off a loaded and stacked Saskatoon Blade team that was tops in the East during the regular season … former Beardy’s Blackhawk and Sask AAA midget scoring champ Dylan Wruck is akey cog for the Oil Kings …you want to see a player who works hard both ways and leaves everything on the ice, it is Wruck. The kid also has a great understanding of the game, awesome offensive instincts …
- Brendan Shinniman of the Tri City Americans won the WHL scoring title, with 134 points …. Medicine Hat Tiger Emerson Etem, the California native, topped the league with 61 goals … The OHL scoring leader was Sudbury Wolve Mike Sgarbossa, at 102 points, with Tyler Toffoli being the only player to hit the 50 goal mark, topping the league with 52 tallies … The Quebec league, a circuit that saw ridiculous numbers posted in the 1980’s, has tightened up markedly over the years, and only had two 100 point scorers, same as the OHL … Yanni Gourde of the Victoriaville Tigre led the league with 124 points, while Acadie-Bathhurst Titan Zach O’Brien topped the league with 50 goals …. Put an asterisk beside the name of Jonathan Huberdeau, the only player in the league to average more points than Gourde … Huberdeau appeared in 37 games for Saint John, due to injury and the WJC …Huberdeau averaged 1.94 points per game, Gourde averaged 1.82 points per game …
- Looking for a Memorial Cup favorite ? Has to be the defending champ Saint John Sea Dogs, who are in a situation similar to that of the Windsor Spitfires a few years back. A roster loaded with superb 17 year olds powered the Sea Dogs to the 2011 Memorial Cup title, and now all of those players are back as 18 year olds, led by captain Jonathan Huberdeau ….
- Another Oiler game, another clinic on offensive hockey, vision, timing and stick skills from Jordan Eberle …. The master of the toe drag has been executing his set up move into the center of the slot for two years now, and still looks unstoppable when he is given the opportunity to handle the puck in the slot area …. Eberle also set up two Oiler goals,to move up to tenth in league scoring …. Eberle is one of nine players to be averaging better than a point per game, amongst players who have played more than 50 contests …. The Nuge also racked up 2 points, and sits 1 point back of Gabriel Landeskog and Adam Henrique for the rookie lead, though the Nuge has played significantly fewer games than those two guys …. More to the point, the Oil messed with the Flames playoff chances ….
- After watching footage of Cory Sarich taking a run at Taylor Hall, a couple of thoughts surface … first, technically, that hit is far cleaner than the Nik Kronwall style, where Kronwall always launches himself at players heads … Sarich came straight on, and only went airborne as Hall fell … but …. It was still a charge …. Ask yourself, what would Gordie Howe do in that situation, the situation that Hall was in ??? He would have planted an elbow right in Sarich’s kisser. And a two minute penalty would be a small price to pay for sending a message and giving the likes of Sarich, or the NHL’s protected Golden Boy of cheap shots, Nik Kronwall, something to think about next time they took a run at an opponent …. But no … the NHL talk big about protecting players and eliminating hits that target the head, yet Brendan Shanahan continually makes excuses for Nik Kronwall, the cheapest headhunter in the league …. Why is Kronwall such a worm ? If you have a problem with his hits, that blatantly and regularly target the head, Kronwall goes and hides behind a linesman ….to the credit of former Saskatoon Contact Sarich, if you have a problem with anything he does, he is more than willing to drop the gloves and work things out mano-a-mano …
- The programming director at TSN needs a hard kick in the arse …. On a Friday night in Canada, home of hockey, home of the queens and kings of hockey, land of hockey, late in the season with tight playoff races, both TSN channels show basekickball games, or whatever game that is with people bouncing a ball around until 1 second remains on the clock, then somebody who is 8 feet tall drops the ball into a net and gets happy because they won a game that was likely set and fixed by the mob …. Shame on TSN , aka Totally Stupid Network ….. this isn’t the Bronx. This isn’t Southern Cal. This isn’t Florida. This is Canada. Hockey is top dog here. Want to show basekickball stuff ? Show it at 4:30 in the morning, when hockey fans are done with the telly …
- Another home game for the Winnipeg Jets, another win, in a huge game against Washington … the Jets are an awesome story, and if only they can get into the playoffs, they will likely be the team of the year in Canadian sport for 2012 …. Two years ago, the idea of Winnipeg getting a team was treated as a joke, and all the folks in Winnipeg who even dreamed aloud of getting an NHL team back were treated as silly individuals … but look at them now. Packing that rink, going nuts, making a lot of noise, giving the Jets a huge advantage, and possibly pushing the franchise into its second ever playoff appearance
- Interesting piece out from Jim Matheson at the Edmonton Journal, with Matheson pondering the fate of Tom Renney, whose contract expires after this season …. Matheson isn’t sure that Renney will be asked back … of note, GM Steve Tambellini will also see his contract run out this summer. And right there is the guy who needs to be canned. Him and Kevin Lowe. They make the personnel decisions, not Tom Renney. And between the two of them, Lowe and Tambellini, they haven’t made decisions to move the Oilers up the standings. Any kid on the block who follows hockey would have picked The Nuge first overall last summer, and any kid on the block would have also selected either Hall or Seguin, both good choices. Beyond that, the Oil brass are still running a last place team …. Show them the door, and give Tom Renney a few more years – he has been the smartest guy in that Oiler office, recognizing early in the 2010-11 season who his best players were ( Hall and Eberle ) ….. before that, Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini thought that Sam Gagner, Tom Gilbert, Andrew Cogliano, Shawn Horcoff, Ethan Moreau and Fernando Pisani were going to make the Oilers into a Western Conference power …seriously, that is how they built that team ….
- Have a good St Padraig’s Day on March 17th …..
- Top four teams in the East are all Atlantic Division clubs, with the Pens, Flyers and Devils all playing red hot hockey ….. so let’s run with this a bit …. The Atlantic Division is the toughest division in hockey ….. With the Rangers holding top spot in the East, Crosby back in Pittsburgh, and Bryz finding his game in Philly, the division has three legit Cup contenders ….
- As mentioned, Crosby made another triumphant return to the Penguin lineup …. Picking up an assist as Pittsburgh topped the East leading Rangers 5-2 ….. best comments returning the ridiculous and foolish degree of hype leading up to Sid the Kid hitting the ice came from Ranger coach / hothead John Tortorella, who basically declined comment, saying he talks about his team the Rangers, not the other teams. Good on ya Torts. The hype and blabber is no fault of Crosby, remember that. A good place to start with the ridicule is at the NHL Network and TSN, two stations that continually put Crosby’s presence above the status of the entire sport….. when the big media want to know why they get ridiculed and treated with derision, it is because of actions like that ….
- Also returning to the Pens lineup was Kris Letang, who was plus 5 in the game … Letang is a quiet and understated guy, but he has developed into an opportunistic and effective player on the Pittsburgh blueline … Marc Fleury, as always, remains under rated and under appreciated in the Pens net …. Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke both fly under the radar these days, but are big contributors to the Pittsburgh attack …. Penguin weakness ? Beyond Letang on the blueline, they are suspect …
- Goal oftheNight : Scott Hartnell scores a textbook goal against Evgeni Nabokov with a long wrist to the top corner, over Nabokov’s trapper …. After seeing this goal, the thought was “ Who takes a wrist shot that far out on a breakaway “ …. But worked, and stood as the game winner …
- Bruins need to do something to wake up … a 6-2 pummelling at the hands of the Panthers ? There is time to get that team back on track, but it best happen before the regular season ends. Sit a few guys out, give some AHL kids a few games, staple a couple guys to the bench. It would be a serious disgrace for this team, that is so dominant and powerful when they are on their game, to be a first round powder puff because the goalie started blabbing about politics and messed up the dressing room ….
- If that dogfight in the West results in the Sharks missing the playoffs, what is the fallout ? Is Todd MacLellan in trouble, or Doug Wilson ? For Shark fans counting on Martin Havlat being their late season savior, don’t hold your breath. If anything, the frail Czech will get hurt again …
- The Kings are surely looking at a major front office shakeup if they miss the playoffs …. Flyers West have failed to live up to expectations two years running. Instead of fighting for a post season berth, this team should have a 15 point lead on the second place team in the conference …
- Sven Baertschi has been a great story for the Flames in his late season stint … he nearly stuck with the team to start the season, before being returned to Portland in the WHL …. Now, 3 games, 3 goals ….
- Reading an ESPN blog by Scott Burnside, where he states that Steven Stamkos’ Hart Trophy chances will be hurt because Tampa will not make the playoffs …. Okay … for the folks that vote on this thing ( many of them should not have a vote, as evidenced by Hart wins going to the likes of Jose Theodore and a Sedin ) …. The award can go two ways, regardless of the wording that describes the award …. The best player in the league, or the most valuable to his team, then judged against others most valuable to their teams ….. Tampa missing the playoffs should not hurt Stamkos’ shot. The guy is a total stud of a player … the voting should be neck and neck between Stamkos and Malkin …. A distant third would be Giroux in Philly, followed by the likes of Fleury in Pittsburgh and Karlsson in Ottawa …. All these players are dominant impact players who can change the outcome of a game by themselves … that statement right there excludes the Sedin twins. Don’t ever put them in a Hart Trophy discussion. Zero physical presence, and a disappearing act when things get rough make the Sedins into second tier stars ….
- Back to Steven Stamkos, he should hang on for a Rocket Richard Trophy win, as no other player is likely to hit the 50 goal mark …. If Stamkos stays hot, he could flirt with 60 tallies, which is always a cool mark, especially in this era of structured and tight checking hockey …. As far as 40 goal men, Malkin should hit the mark, as well as Gaborik and Kessel, with Flyer winger Scott Hartnell having a shot at the milestone as well ….
- As for the 100 point plateau, Malkin might get there, and Stamkos will be close, but it looks out of reach for Claude Giroux … all three will surpass 90 points barring injury or a terrible slump … Nobody else is going to break that 90 point mark …. Want to look at the reasons for maybe having one 100 point player, and only three surpassing 90 points ? Three big reasons. First, goaltender equipment is massive, way, way oversize. Goaltender equipment exists now to stop pucks. The original reason for goalies wearing special gear was for protection, but those days are long gone. Secondly, the blind bat refs and the league have backed off big time on rule enforcement. Lots of stickwork going on ….. The third reason is the level of structure and coaching in the game. Nobody plays run and gun any more, like the 1980’s Oilers. Every team has a system, a pattern of play on the ice. Everybody is expected to fill a role in the defensive zone. Jaromir Jagr backchecks hard. Film is watched, opponents are studied. Various coaches break down various aspects of each game. NHL hockey is ultra professional in this regard. No such thing as “ Go out there and play hard, see what happens “ …. Aside from huge goalie gear and incompetent officiating, the game is amazing to watch, and everybody goes hard …..
- A story was recently run by the Vancouver Province, in which Faker-Diver GM Mike Gillis was whining about the officiating in the NHL …. The only appropriate response was to shake one’s head in disbelief, and lose respect for Mike Gillis. It is the fault of his own team, and of Gillis himself, for allowing all the faking, diving, embellishing, acting, whining, whimpering, fake limping, etc, etc, to go on ….. that team, the Faker – Divers ( Canucks ) put on one of the most pathetic displays of sportsmanship in the history of sport during the 2011 playoffs. And the dumbass refs bought it for a while …. Then they started coming down on the Canucks when they realized they had been played, and made fools of on the most public of stage …. So to Mike Gillis : Any bleating and crying from you and your team regarding the refs will be taken as whining. And it is your own fault.
- Whoever ends up in that 6 spot in the East will be licking their chops at the thought of pummelling a patsy, likely the Florida Panthers, in round one of the playoffs …. If the Capitals end up winning the Southeast Division, things look a little different, but do the Caps have any real fight in them this year ? Doesn’t look like it … the way things work out for New Jersey, they could well get an easy round 1 matchup with Florida, while the 2 and 3 teams from the Atlantic, Pittsburgh and Philly, will have to beat on each other in another edition of the Battle of Pennsylvania ….
- Josh Ho-Sang and Connor McDavid …. Remember those names heading into next years OHL season ….. Ho-Sang will be a highly touted 16 year old rookie. McDavid will be a 15 year old rookie, unless the “ exceptional status “ process somehow goes south …. Interestingly, McDavid will be the second straight player to enter the league as a 15 year old, joining Aaron Ekblad, a towering defenseman with the Barrie Colts … the Dub and the Q do not have an option for 15 year olds to play a full season …. Back in the day ( we are talking the early 1980’s ) the Western League allowed 14 year olds to play …. Check out Glen Goodall, he played 6 years with Seattle, the first season with the old Seattle Breakers, and the last 5 with the Thunderbird name on his chest …
- A busy Sunday in the NHL, and those Calgary Flames keep thinking they want a playoff berth … this time they win at the expense of the Minnesota Wild, who can pretty much kiss their playoff hopes goodbye …. Meanwhile, the Leafs had to travel to Washington to face the Caps on a quick turnaround following a cruel loss to the Flyers … and the Caps beat down the Leaves as well … Leafs / Playoffs looks highly unlikely. Big issue for the Leaves – jettison Brian Burke, get some new blood in to that office, with some new ideas …
- Hit of the Night : James Neal lays out Zdeno Chara … it was a bit cheap, Neal got an interference call on the play, but not many players set Chara to sprawling on the ice … Neal would do well to keep his head up after that little stunt
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 March 2012 11:37 )
Hits of the Day Spring 2011
Written by Editor
Saturday, 26 March 2011 09:09
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HITS OF THE DAY
- Funny thing, talking with some people in the third period …. One guy says “ Wonder how the riot is going to go after the game “ …. One response was this “ If they lose, they’ll be burning cop cars and smashing windows “ ….. just kind of knew what Vancouver had in store for everyone ….. what a shame ….
- Another shame is that hockey team itself … Damien Cox has a good analysis of the Canuck meltdown at the Toronto Star , linked below …..
- Looking forward beyond the present glory, the Bruins should be in good shape next year. Seguin will be a lot better. Horton will be back in the lineup. Thomas should have 5-6 good years in him as long as his health holds up ….. McQuaid will only get better, as will Boychuck. I look forward to the Bruins crushing the Habs next spring, if the Habs even make the playoffs …..
- You want class ? Tim Thomas. You want more class ? Zdeno Chara. Some more ? Mark Recchi ……. Boston did it right. They have stuck to the same blueprint, and it has worked. Even after the debacle last spring, the team never had the look that Vancouver has right now. There were no cheap shots at the Flyers …. There were no immature comments in the papers ….
- Seems as though Craig MacTavish will not get the Wild job after all … this is for the best if you are a Wild fan ….. MacTavish would be a good guy to coach the penalty kill, nothing more …..
- All over but the cheering in Boston and the crying and whining in Vancouver …. The better team won, the better sports won, all is right in the hockey world this year … Full on congrats to Tim Thomas, a true big game goalie, and a guy who kept calm not only on the ice, but in a prickly media situation versus an immature and self absorbed Luongo … It is all good, Hats Off to the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins
- Have to love how the Bruins really stuck it to the Canucks, 4-0 , in the Vancouver Barn, in a Stanley Cup Game 7 ….. the Canucks showed their true colors by giving up, and taking cheap shots at the Bruins …. Boston just kept on with their game, playing the same way they had all series. As the cheap shot, diving, stick swinging, faking, embellishing whiners from Vancouver fell apart before millions of viewers, the Bruins went about their business of collecting the greatest trophy in all of sport, spanking a team babies in front of a group of fans that would turn out to be a dangerous collection of criminals ….
- So, the Canucks show their lack of class by targeting the heads of Chara, Ference, and other Bruins, and by spearing players in the jewels ….. and Mike Gillis shows his lack of composure by throwing a tantrum because he loses a player to a freak injury, forgetting that one of his own guys laid out one of the Bruins premier players with as dirty a hit as you will ever see ….
- Brad Marchand stepped up big time, emerging in the playoffs, announcing himself to the league as a guy who score, and irritate, and what are you going to do about it when Marchand is willing to drop the gloves, and so are guys like Chara, Lucic and Thornton … he has learned about giving a full effort, not quitting, and playing hard …. All lessons the Canucks have to learn ….
- Marchand had more goals than the Sedins and Kesler had points, combined, in the Cup Final series …..- Though the Sedins did not perform well in the Cup Final, they maintained their composure. No one else from the Canucks did. What a bunch of poor sport, immature, cheap shot artist, whining losers …. You can quote that. That team saw its reputation change during the playoffs from that of a team of skilled guys who played the game right, to a bunch of worms, a shameful collection of losers with zero character…..
- Enough already of the Mike Gillis whining regarding Mason Raymond …. Boychuk rode Raymond out of the play in a fairly innocent looking manner …. Defenseman ride their checks out of the play all the time …. This wasn’t a dirty or wormy hit like the Erhoff on Peverly cheap shot …. And not nearly as malicious as the extremely late cheap shot Aaron Rome laid on Horton … so Mike Gillis should shut his yap, considering he is the architect of the dirtiest, cheapest, wormiest team in the NHL …. Bunch of late hitting, stick swinging, diving, faking, acting worms ….. with absolutely zero honor, save for the Sedins, who just go about their thing passively, but without the cheap shlock theatrics the rest of the Canucks employ …
- Lots of rumours going around that high first round picks are in play ….. just a warning to GM’s …. Don’t be giving up too much in established players for a draft pick that only has a 50/50 chance of even playing in the league, let alone being a star …. Read through old draft lists, first round lists, and you will find busts and journeyman, and a lot of guys that even hit the ice in the regular season …..
- Have to pull for Paul MacLean as he takes on a new position as coach of the Ottawa Senators …. The former Winnipeg Jet sniper, who rode shotgun for Dale Hawerchuk, has a daunting task ahead of him, but he is in the bigs as a coach now, and that is what he wanted ….. Warning to MacLean – watch your back, as Bryan Murray has shown a willingness to stab people in the back, and stand back from the bus, because Murray has proven willing to throw people under them ….
- Here is how the game 7 matchup looks : The Good Guys , Boston, a hardworking, rough and tumble team of honest players ( and Brad Marchand, undeniably a rat, but who has developed into an effective NHL player ) against the newfound villains of the NHL, the Vancouver Faker – Divers …. A team aptly described above as basically having the same character of a prison ward …. Violent, cunning, manipulative, immoral, unethical, devious … here is hoping the right team wins ….
- Something has to give. Boston can’t light it up only at home. Vancouver can’t continue to shut the Bruins down in the Garage ….. and if Luongo wanted pressure, he has got it now …. An entire nation knows what happens on the 15th, and tens of millions of hockey fans are watching the spoiled goalie to see what happens ….. Gonna be a dandy …
- Yup, a Boston Massacre ….. with the big mouth Roberto Luongo eating his words … the Bruins once again manhandle the Canucks in Beantown, beating down the most despised team in hockey, 5-2 …. Basically, mouthpiece / sieve Luongo cost the Canucks any chance by totally sucking from the get-go ….. Elite Goalie ??? Not a chance. What that egotistical twit needs is an elite psychologist to help him keep his mouth shut, and learn to focus on his own game … Luongo fails to make saves when his team needs him to. Not just at the NHL level does he fail. Remember the Olympics, where he allowed a Zach Parise goal in the dying moments, before Sid Crosby saved his bacon in overtime ??? Yeah, Luongo stinks, as a goalie, and as a public figure ….
- Interesting quote from Luongo, where he states that they are going to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, and he will be ready, he has been there before …. Really ??? Luongo has played in a Stanley Cup Game 7 before ????? Nice going big mouth Luongo, he of the massively swollen ego …… the loser has never been close to a Cup Final before … and if he was alluding to big games in general, read the above, and look at his past performance ….. zero wins in two Memorial Cup appearances, gives up the overtime winner in a gold medal game at the WJC, nearly blows it at the Olympics ….. the guy is a bum …. Wouldn’t be a big deal, but he brings it on himself by yapping so much about how great he is …
- Hit of the Night : This was awesome !! Dennis Seidenberg catches Chris Higgins in the Open Ice near the center face off dot, sending both players flying … Higgins is spun around by the impact, right into the path of the oncoming Brad Marchand, who finishes the job by flattening the Canuck grinder …. Wicked collisions !!!
- In all fairness to the Sedins, who are looked on in a new light here after calling out Mad Mike Milbury for sucking so bad as a GM, they showed a bit of their puck possession / timing game … but Vancouver need these guys to produce. Since The Hockey News picked the Canucks to win the Cup last fall, Open Ice Hitter has wondered publicly how the Sedins would handle a team like Boston or Philly in a seven game series …. The Jekyll and Hyde Canucks have been just good enough at home, but look like total pansies in Boston …. For the Sedins, though they have hung in there, the rough and tumble game is not exactly their forte ……. Too bad they never got to play against the likes of Milbury, because they would have schooled a hack like him ….
- The quality of officiating has nosedived from incompetent to non-existent as the playoffs carry on …. The amount of hacking, wacking, harpooning and spearing that takes place on the ice now is awful. Question : Does the stick swinging and stick work going on constitute less violence than a few scraps ????- Ugly go of it for Mason Raymond, the former Camrose Kodiak …. Not sure what happened when John Boycheck ramrodded him into the boards, but it didn’t look fun … Vancouver don’t want to lose the speedster, even though he has followed the lead of Kesler and Luongo what with the diving and faking ….
- Havent heard a peep about Canuck prospects Cody Hodgson or Jordan Schroeder … Schroeder is a total speed demon with some offensive flair, but he is not big …
- A few coaching tidbits floating around …. Looks like Ottawa will go with former Winnipeg Jet Paul McLean as their new benchboss. McLean has been working the door in Detroit, and been working as an assistant coach for years, all in a very low key manner … In a bit of a surprise move, it seems as though the Wild are intent on staying with the role of also- ran, as they plan to hire Craig MacTavish as bench boss ….MacTavish had one flukey run to a Cup Final. Aside from that, he was awful as a head coach. He was brutal on the bench for Canada at the Spengler Cup and the World Championship. MacTavish knows how to coach defense, but is lost when it comes to running a team as the head guy ….
- Columbus cut ties with their over-the-hill gang, letting Ethan Moreau go, along with Craig Rivet and Chris Clark …..
- Okay, so being a fan of the Sedin’s has never been a priority … but now that they are trading barbs with Mad Mike Milbury, you gotta howl with laughter, and definitely side with the Sedins …. Hilarious …. So Milbury calls the twins “ Thelma and Louise “, okay, whatever …. Best part of this is the Sedins pointing out what a failure Milbury was as a GM. He destroyed the Islanders. This needs to be pointed out. Again and again. Who keeps hiring the clown Milbury for tv jobs ??? Honestly, the guy has zero credibility, just a big mouth ….
- Another Canuck, Luongo, made some comments that are causing a buzz …. Coming from someone else, maybe it would be different. But from Luongo, a guy who talks of himself when the team wins, and talks of the team when they lose, to say he would have stopped the Lapierre goal is foolish … he needs to understand he is no longer a media darling. He is no longer looked upon as a superstar. His reputation is tarnished, and he has shown many, many times over the years that he will fail badly in big games …. It is best if he just keeps a low profile, and works at winning, instead of trying to tell everyone how great he is …
- Tons of Brad Richards speculation …. But anyone who pays him more than $5.5 mill per year is making a mistake …. Richards is a good player, proven to come through in big games, can’t really say much bad about the guy …. But if you want to ice a winner, shelling out megabucks is not always the best idea …. Think of this : The Rangers have been the kiss of death for everyone that goes there for about 15 years ….. Does Richards burn out if he heads to Broadway ?? Who all has fallen on their face in New York ?? Bure, Lindros, Fleury, Gomez, Drury, Gaborik, and probably more that I am forgetting …
- What can you say about the Canucks ? Hard to get on them too much after the game 5 win … They sure tightened the belt at home again, stepping up the physical play in a big way …. And it made all the difference, as they skate away with a 1-0 shutout, and a 3-2 series lead …. For how easy it was to laugh at the Canucks after the Boston games, the effort in game 5 was stellar. Even Luongo, with a now forever damaged rep as a goalie, was solid, making some big saves … One has to wonder about that early crossbar the Bruins hit ….. After that, Luongo did play well … of course, with that massive equipment hanging off the slight frame, it isn’t quite right, but we can give the guy a bit of credit …
- Something to keep in mind when ripping the Sedins : Some big names were very quiet in the Cup Final last year. Extremely decorated players named Richards and Toews were not exactly lighting up the scoreboard. So, as easy as it is to slag the Sedins, keep that idea in mind …. The Finals have been a different stage these last two years, with the big names kind of taking a back seat ….
- How tough is it for the Bruins and their fans to have Max Lapierre score the only goal of the game ??? Talk about salt in the wound … One of the most classless guys in the league making a big play …
- The more Tomas Kaberle plays in this series, the worse he looks … Kaberle is a laid back player who tries hard to avoid the physical part of the game. His preference to pass the puck instead of shooting diminishes what effect he has on the ice …. No wonder he wanted to stay with the Leafs, and remain in a “ comfort zone “ of sorts, as opposed to playing on a contender where he would be scrutinized by a new set of fans and media … his move to Boston would be accurately characterized as a disaster for all …
- There is a fellow hardcore hockey fan who refers to Craig Simpson as “ Homer “ …. Maybe it is a bit mean, but it is fitting …. Just not cut out to be a color guy for hockey games. He doesn’t get as totally wacked out as Pierre McGuire, but he does allow some really goofy stuff out of his mouth
- Possibly the most unforeseen twist to the 2011 playoffs has been the change of reputation of the Vancouver Canucks ….. coming into the 2010 – 11 season, the Canucks were viewed as a soft team, not much for the physical game …. Now here we are, well into June, a lengthy playoff run for the Canucks, now viewed as a team of cheap shot divers and fakers … if a person is not a Canuck fan, they loathe and despise the club … this isn’t just the feeling of the fans though …. Many in the media also feel this way …
- Nutty rumour going around involving Jeff Carter, Jake Voracek and the BlueJackets 1st round pick …. To be clear, any move involving Carter is a huge gamble. The guy has not yet fulfilled his potential …
- The change in fortune for both teams in the Cup final has been stunning …. And for Vancouver, add staggering…… the first two games in Vancouver were close contests, with the Canucks finding a bit of magic to take a 2-0 series lead, with the aura of the “ chosen ones “ …. Games 3 and 4 in Boston will be remembered as games in which the Bruins clubbed the Canucks into submission by scores of 8-1 and 4-0, further tarnishing the reputation of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, chasing him in game 4, and shelling him mercilessly in game 3 ….. So, again, the “ big test “ for Vancouver … How do they handle the humiliation of the Boston trip ? Are they done, or do they come back ? If ever there was a time that a team needed a strong captain, this would be it. Sedin is not a strong captain, though. He is a mild mannered, consistent, even keeled guy on the ice. A forceful and certain presence might have been nice right about now …. But who knows. The Sedins just go about doing there thing, never really changing the way they play. Maybe they finally make their presence felt in the series. Maybe they disappear further and subject themselves to a summer of open ridicule and question …. As for Luongo, who had been steady after getting past Chicago, the past 2 games will mar any victory on a personal level …. The notion of him as an elite goalie, a pillar of the team, the guy who makes the big stop to save the day ….. that is all done and gone now, forever …
- Had to laugh at the ruckus Brad Marchand caused to end the game …. The former whipping boy of Canadian WJC fans has earned his keep in this post season, as an effective scorer, and a super pest … he is all over the closest Sedin, all the time, and they don’t like it. Best part of the ruckus was when Erhoff hightailed it away from Adam McQuaid …. Erhoff wanted to be third man in against Marchand, helping out Sedin. When he seen the burly Bruin coming to even things up, Erhoff lost his appetite for confrontation ….. hilarious ….
- Even through the Boston wins, Tomas Kaberle has been bad …. The guy must wish he was back on the golf courses in Toronto, because his reputation will never be the same … he just isn’t much of a competitor ….
- Good on the NHL to seat Rome for the duration of the Cup Final …. This is not a mixed message a la Colin Campbell. This is a rock hard ruling : Cross the line, and you won’t play. Campbell always found a way to contradict himself and previous statements and rulings. This was the right decision by the league – Aaron Rome knocked a player out of the series with a late and dirty hit. He can now sit and watch ….
- However, Mike Murphy did screw up by talking with Brian Burke …. Though the blowhards in the Canuck front office are just being windbags, Murphy should have had more sense than to consult an active GM …. This is part of the old boys network, and it was not professional ….
- Coyotes move the rights of Ilya Bryzgalov to Philly for a 3rd round pick, a minor leaguer, and futures … Philly overpaid, and now have to work to sign a guy who is represented by a less than esteemed agent …. If it means they lose Ville Leino, it is a mistake. If they end up with Kris Versteeg on the roster, and Leino walks, then Holmgren has made a huge error …. Huge …. Massive …. And Bryzgalov should be smart enough to play on a contender for 4 years at $4 mill per …..
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 June 2011 23:11 )
Open Ice Hitter Hits of the Day Playoffs 2010
Written by Open Ice Hitter
Friday, 09 April 2010 09:09
Open Ice Hitter is now on facebook as Open Ice Hitter - Pure Hockey
Star Pheonix blog link : http://communities.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/blogs/openicehitter/
HITS OF THE DAY
- Kovalchuk still with no team …… would love to be a fly on the wall while he has what are most certainly one-sided conversations dominated by Russian expletives with his personal parasite, Jay Grossman. Grossman is no stranger to high levels of greed and selfishness, as evidenced by another of his clients, Nik Khabibulin. Grossman may have really stepped in it here, though. If your main objective is flat out greed and cash, that is your purpose and goal, then leaving $100 million offers on the table mean that you screwed up. Rumor mill has it that the best Kovalchuk can do now is $60 million, a $40 million drop. Those are all stupid numbers to start with, but obviously, Jay Grossman has screwed up royally. What a twerp. The NHL, and pro sports, will be far better off when they go to performance based pay and ditch agents, the true enemies of sports fans….
- The Vancouver Canucks decision to retire Markus Naslund’s number? A desperate move by a team starved for any kind of success. Naslund is a player who had a few exceptional seasons, a few good seasons, and a lot of unremarkable seasons. During this time, the Canucks were no more than also rans. To get a number retired, isn’t a player supposed to either lead the team to the Stanley Cup or have a Hall of Fame type career??? Naslund was no where close to either accomplishment…..
- So, Evgeni Nabokov will play out his days in St Petersburg, as a goalie in the KHL. There have been some interesting comments by hockey types about what a shame it is that Nabokov couldn’t get his value in the NHL ….. after watching him let in wrist shots from the blueline during the conference final, with everything on the line for his team, it wasn’t hard to see that he would be taking a huge pay cut to stay in the NHL, especially for anyone who also has a long enough memory to remember Nabokov getting blitzed by Canada in the Olympics a few months back. Nabokov had a decent NHL career, very good regular seasons, but like all the Sharks, faltered in the post season. If he wants $6 million per year, that is his choice. He isn’t worth that in the NHL. Maybe $3 million tops…
- Which brings us to Marty Turco …… another goalie who has had some solid years, but has no glory hanging from his fingers or neck. These guys need to get some perspective, and realize that the game their agents play, jacking up the contracts of guys who have one or two good years, come at the expense of other players. In this case, Turco is a player who is losing out on a payday, with the money going to another player ….
- Interesting signing of Patrick Lalime in Buffalo. Thought that Lindy Ruff had no faith in Lalime, a goalie who has not played well when given the chance for the Sabres- Joe Corvo turns out to be a rental, returning to the Carolina Hurricanes…
- Love the acquisition and signing of Jaro Halak by the St Louis Blues. This has the potential to be the story of the summer. And the defining moment of Pierre Gauthier’s term as GM of the Habs. Halak has been stellar over the past 2 ½ years in Montreal, all the while getting the shaft by Habs staffers as they tried their hardest to make Carey Price an NHL goalie. Halak will be the guy in St Louis, on a team that has a lot more potential than the Habs. Don’t be surprised if he earns an All Star game appearance, something that Carey Price still can’t say with honesty
- Love the signing of big John Scott by the BlackHawks …. This guy is huge and tough. Be interesting to see if he drops the mitts with the Boogie Man when the BlackHawks play the Rangers…..
- Chris Higgins has turned into a bit of an afterthought, or a bust, wandering from the Habs to the Rangers to the Flames to the Panthers ….. that is what you call a journeyman hockey player. Higgins was once considered a top prospect. Those days are long since gone…..
July 1 Free Agency
- The Canucks make 2 signings of note. First, a good move in signing Dan Hamhuis, a steady defender who seemed determined to move back to BC after spurning the offers of 2 legit Stanley Cup contenders ( Penguins and Flyers ). Hamhuis, though not a gamebreaker, is a solid rearguard who will help the Canucks. The second signing by the Canucks was not so good. Manny Malhotra, a former high first round pick, basically a bust, finally had a decent year in the NHL, because of the role he was used in, as a support player in San Jose. Bet your last dollar the Canucks will try to use him in a more prominent role, which he has shown he can not handle. Malhotra does not have offensive instincts, never has, not even in junior with the Guelph Storm …. He is a likely candidate for flak from Canucks fans…
- San Jose cut loose Evgeni Nabokov and bring in Antero Nittymaki. If Nittymaki can stay healthy, this could be a steal. Surprising that the Lightning didn’t re-sign the former Flyer goalie, who can be excellent when healthy. Finally, he gets a shot at a Number 1 job
- Latest sign that Slats has lost it …. Signing the Boogey Man for well over a million per year. Sather’s days as a genius team builder are 20 years gone. Now he just wastes money in a hopeless pursuit of, well, we aren’t sure what. He pays goofy money to players who won’t deliver. Sure, Boogard will drop the mitts a few times. But not many players like to scrap the towering behemoth, and he reportedly had his confidence shaken after taking a good smacking from the Blues DJ King…..
- For all that Brian Burke has done in Toronto, like it or not, bringing in Colby Armstrong will give the Leafs an edge, to a degree they haven’t had in a long, long time. Armstrong likes the physical play, in a manner similar to former Leafs like Wendel Clarke and Tiger Williams
- Sergei Gonchar to the Senators, minutes after the bell sounds to start the UFA period…. Yeah, right, no one negotiates until July 1. This deal had to have been cooked up long ago… reminded me of the Chara signing by the Bruins, it was so fast after noon on July 1. Gonchar will be a help to the Sens, just not to the degree that Bryan Murray would like. Gonchar is another guy who is a great support player, but could never carry a team on his back. Ottawa will be better, but the problem is that so will a lot of other teams in the East, and teams like Tampa will probably be a lot better than Ottawa. Sens will be in tough to make the post season….
Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 October 2010 13:19 )
Open Ice Hitter Hits of the Day Jan - Apr 2010
Written by Editor
Sunday, 03 January 2010 13:03
Open Ice Hitter is now on facebook as Open Ice Hitter - Pure Hockey
Star Pheonix blog link : http://communities.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/blogs/openicehitter/
HITS OF THE DAY
- Live comedy as the Blackhawks score three goals in quick succession while Keith Tkachuk of the Blues tries to announce that he is retiring during a visit to the press box. Tkachuk nearly became a Blackhawk years ago, when he signed an offer sheet that would have put him in Chicago after starting his career with the Winnipeg Jets ...
- Glen Sather must have enjoyed watching the Broadway Blueshirts shell the Leafs last night, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Realistically, the Rangers are not likely to make the post season. They have to win both remaining games against the Flyers to get in, and why this isn’t likely to go down is because the Rangers have been too hot lately, the Flyers too cold, and those trends likely won’t last. If the Flyers win one game they are in. Boston have 3 games left, and 2 wins, or 1 win and a Ranger loss, will seal the deal.
- Windsor sweep the Plymouth Whalers in pursuit of a repeat as Memorial Cup champ. Taylor Hall outgunned Tyler Seguin easily. The NHL draft lottery is just around the corner, but the real gong show is going on in Edmonton. This team has been so poorly run over the last few seasons that it is easy to believe they will find a way to mess up having one of the top 2 picks
- Story of the Day : Calgary Flames eliminated from the post season. The Flames lose to the San Jose Sharks, scoring a whopping 1 goals. Meanwhile, rookie Matt Duchene makes Roberto Luongo move laterally in the sham shootout, opening up the entire net, and scores an easy goal. Colorado in, Calgary out. If the Sutter brothers get another shot in Calgary, it will be a mighty big surprise. Gotta love them, but Darryl Sutter panicked with the Dion Phaneuf trade, and then showed that he has lost all of his judgement by signing Matt Stajan to a ridiculous contract extension.
- A frantic finish is setup in the east, though Philly and the Habs look to be in the second season. The Flyers blanked the Leafs while Henrik Lundquist couldn’t get his oversized equipment in front of the puck as the Sabres chased the cheating Swede. Jaro Halak lost for the Habs in a sham shootout, but they only need Philly to win one against the Rangers, or the Leafs to beat the Rangers, and that will put both the Flyers and Habs in the post season
- Marc Fleury was not good as the Capitals beat the Penguins 6-3. Hopefully for the Pens, this was Fleury getting the bad game out of the way for crunchtime
- Nobody talks about Barry Trotz, but he has the Nashville Predators back in the playoffs. If Lou Lamoreillo was ever able to get his hands on this guy, New Jersey would be a very, very stable team....
- With any hope of a better finish long gone, the Oilers hang a loss on Martin Havlat and the Minnesota Wild. The Oilers are going to have a crack at a legit franchise player at the entry draft. There was a time when Martin Havlat and his agent tried to pass of the one dimensional / frail forward as a franchise player. Unless a doofus like Pierre McGuire ever gets a GM job, it is safe to say that Havlat will not land another big dollar / big dog contract....
- Interesting showdown between Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin in the OHL playoffs. Oh yeah, Cam Fowler is playing in that series, too. With the top 3 prospects all on the same sheet of ice, the pressure is on. So far it is all Hall and Fowler, as the Spitfires are dominating Seguin’s Plymouth Whalers
- The Flames get pounded by Chicago 4-1, and the playoffs start to look distant. Jay Bouwmeester has not been an impact player. For a player who has never been in the post season during his entire major junior or NHL career, this is a crushing blow. And a blown opportunity. This season with the Flames was to be Bouwmeester’s step onto the big stage as a game changing superstar. Hard to say, but Bouwmeester has been a bust.
- Never in a million years would I have picked Henrik Sedin as a 100 point scorer or Art Ross Trophy winner. Good for him, I suppose, but he is going to have to put up those numbers a few more times to be a legit superstar...
- If the habs do not know who is their number 1 goalie after Jaro Halak blanked the Flyers 1-0 in a crucial game, then they need to replace the whole front office. When the Flyers were pushing hard in the third period, dominating play, Halak was unbeatable. For Montreal, it is simple. Halak wins them games. Carey Price loses games
- The Rangers hammer Tampa in an effort to get a playoff spot and possibly salvage the job of one time boy genius / current has been Glen Sather. Slats has run quite a collection of personalities through Madison Square Garden in his day, with every combination failing. How he has kept his job this long is baffling. Time will run out someday, if the Rangers ever want a shot at winning again, and if they are smart, this summer is the year to make the move
- The Flames cling to their faintest of faint playoff hopes with another victory, basically hoping to catch Colorado, which they have, though the Avalanche have a game in hand. The Avs could have opened up a near impassible gap had they beat the Flames, but Colorado still control the destiny of their improbable Cinderella season ....
- Crush Job of the Night : The LA Kings demolish the Vancouver Canucks. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault leaves Roberto Luongo in net for the entire game as the youthful Kings hammer the Canucks 8 – 3. This can be looked at in one of two ways : A good game by the Kings, powered by a young squad of eager players, or a really bad game by an over rated goaltender, Luongo. The Canucks goalie is known for giving up at least one bad goal per game, tonight he just gave up a lot more. Must be good to know this guy is your backstopper heading into the playoffs, especially when you recall his shaky play at the Olympics, and, horror of horrors, his post season play in the NHL ....
- Desperate for an upgrade on the beer league calibre goaltending they have received from Brian Boucher, the Flyers have signed former NHL goalie Sebastian Caron, who will be goaltender number 7 on the year for Philly. The Flyers season is basically toast because of goaltending, as well as the rest of the team playing mediocre. This franchise has not had an impact goaltender in nearly 25 years. Look for that to change this summer ....
- What is the difference between Cory Clouston and Craig Hartsburg ? .... the Playoffs
- Detroit woke up late in the season and realized that missing the playoffs would tarnish the careers of several esteemed members of the team. They have been on a roll ever since, not content to sneak in as an 8th seed. Keeping Chris Osgood stapled to the bench has helped them immensely. The unmatched experience of the rest of the team has taken care of the rest. Jimmy Howard was a huge question mark for most of the year, but he seems to have learned how to stop the puck over the past few weeks.
- Colorado should have been in the poll regarding teams that could fall out of a playoff spot, and look very vulnerable. The kids and castoffs are close to having their Cinderella season ruined. Craig Anderson was shelled by the Ducks, making aged sniper Teemu Selanne look like a 25 year old superstar ....
- The Sharks seem to have hit their late season swoon a few weeks early. Maybe this is a good thing, to get beat badly at the end of the regular season, and have time to get their act together for the playoffs. This is showtime for Todd McLellan. He has one of the most talented rosters in the league, but every hockey fan on the planet know the Shark reputation for choking in the playoffs ....
- The Sabres have put together a great season with another group of castoffs under long time coach Lindy Ruff. Don’t forget that when Dan Briere and Chris Drury arrived in Buffalo, they were castoffs. When they left town, they were big tickets. The big stars are Miller, Myers and Vanek. After that, a group of journeyman and and slightly above average players are going to be a division winner
- Goal of the Night : Martin St Louis uses sniper Steve Stamkos as a decoy, allowing the dimunitive forward to skate between 2 Carolina Hurricane defenders just inside the Hurricane’s zone. St Louis was able to keep control of the puck just enough so that when he was almost right on top of Cane’s goalie Manny Legace, he was able to shovel the puck into the top corner over Legace’s shoulder ....
- The Edmonton Oilers are suddenly competitive, beating the Canucks after drubbing the Sharks. Of course, it is too little too late, but a couple wins will be appreciated the Oil faithful, as long as Edmonton finish the season in a position to claim Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin ...
- On the Hot Seat : Colin Campbell – After laying an egg of a suspension on Wisniewski, Campbell has to deal with the fall out of the Flyers – Senators game, which had rock hard defenseman Anton Volchenkov throw an elbow to the face of Dan Carcillo and then lay a dangerous hit from behind on Simon Gagne, with both plays unpenalized ...... the catch here is that if Carcillo had been the perpetrator, would those plays have gone uncalled? And what kind of suspension would Carcillo receive? Campbell has a track record of questionable suspensions in regards to the Flyers ...
- High End battle in the West division last night between the Black Hawks and .... the Coyotes?? Nobody, not even the most diehard Coyote fan, or player, would have predicted this before the season ....
- Tough run of luck for Pavol Demitra after leading the Olympics in scoring .... Demitra has had major injury problems, and has not been an impact player in the NHL since leaving St Louis many years ago ...
- Has the end finally come for Chris Osgood ? Ozzie was thought to be done when he was struggling for the Islanders, but returned to Detroit, and somehow managed to win a Stanley Cup .... Jimmy Howard has been handling the puckstopping in Detroit as of late, and though not to be confused with a Vezina –calibre goaltender, Howard has backstopped the Wings hot run and ascension into a post season slot ...
- Losing a weekend home and home to the Atlanta Thrashers kinds of sums up the season for the Flyers. After putting together a decent run and getting in position to move into the top 4 spots in the East, comeback player of the year Mike Leighton goes down to injury. The Flyers are forced to turn to number 3 goalie Brian Boucher, a career journeyman. This says it all : The Flyers badly outshot the Thrashers on Sunday, and lost. That has been the hallmark of their goaltending for more than 20 years now …..
- Still trying to understand how James Wisniewski, a “ repeat offender “ gets 8 games for hitting a player that never touched the puck, while Steve Downie was slapped with a 20 game ban on his first “ offense “, a late hit on Dean McCammond, after McCammond had actually played the puck …..
- Game of the Night : The laughingstock of the league, the pint sized Edmonton Oilers, put a whipping on the San Jose Sharks, 5 – 1. Devan Dubnyk has been motivated after it was suggested here that he could be headed into dubious company with the likes of Red Light Racicot and Hardy Astrom …. Dubnyk won his 2nd straight game, and the Oil looked like a team of hard charging fire spitters. Too bad about Theo Peckham, the big rearguard seemed to be claiming a spot in the NHL. It was a bad fall, nothing more ….
- Fight of the Night : This was awesome !!! Mike Comrie slugged it out with Manny Malhotra. This guys really went at it, with some pride on the line. Decision to Comrie, who hammered Malhotra with a decisive and bout ending right directly into the mush. Malhotra must have thought he was getting hit with a solid oak coffee table from one of Comrie’s dad’s stores ….. Comrie doesn’t drop the mitts on a real frequent basis, but when he does, he seems to invoke the ghost of Ted Lindsay …
- Bye Bye Flames playoff chances, and likely bye bye Sutter brothers. The Viking area farmers looked to have a solid plan and roster in place last fall, but Calgary has not played anywhere near their potential. It may not be fair to bring the axe down on the Sutter’s, but life is seldom fair. Darryl Sutter’s wheeling and dealing was basically panic for the entertainment of the public heading into the trade deadline, spurred on by a roster of players who could not put it all together. Who would have guessed that after the signing of Jay Bouwmeester, the Flames would only go downhill???
- Story of the year as far as the NHL goes has to be the Pheonix Coyotes. Late in the season, the Desert Dawgs are poised to overtake the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division lead. A team of castoffs and youngsters, playing for a team bankrolled by the league, in a city that seems indifferent to the team ... the Coyotes have surprised everyone by being competitive for the first time in recent memory, since Keith Tkachuk and Jeremy Roenick were the faces of the franchise, anyways....
- Cory Clouston’s Ottawa Senators played like champs at this point last year, shortly after Clouston took over the team. This year, they are playing like they are ready to go golfing. Their goal differential is finally catching up to them
- What exactly went wrong with Jonathan CheeChoo ?? How does a players game fall apart so badly in a few seasons that he goes from 56 goal scorer, to AHL busrider?
- Still a bit choked at Jacque Rogue’s comments about the lack of competition in women’s hockey. It makes the guy look stupid. How many other sports are basically up for grabs by only a couple countries? Where was the IOC during the communist era when the Soviets were drugging and cheating their way to dominance? If this guy wants to can a few events from the Olympics, he would do well to start with speedwalking, whatever that is.... leave the womens hockey alone. If Sweden, Slovakia, China, et al, don’t want the US and Canada pummelling them, then get better
- The Jansenns – LeBlond fight didn’t impress me .... in fact, I thought it was bad. It showed us what the critics of hockey always point at. Two thugs pounding on each other in a bout that had zero affect on the outcome of the game. I don’t know these guys, maybe they are quality people, very intelligent individuals and whatnot, but they looked and acted like a pair of dark alley thugs, kind of like your stereotype comic book goon, all brawn and no brain, “ duh, whus happenin boss? Want I go smack dat guy for ya ? “ .....
- 8 games for Wisniewski .... hmmm, kind of thought that one would have rated a longer suspension than what Steve Downie received for his infamous corking of Dean McCammond. The difference ... McCammond had actually played the puck. Seabrook never had the puck. I guess that explains it .... oh, but that would be backwards. Of course, this is Colin Campbell we are talking about.....
- The Wisniewski hit should lay to rest any notion that players have any kind of respect for each other. And don’t think that they did in “ the olden days “.... just look back at pictures of some of the brawls that took place, or check the steel plate in Ted Green’s head. What is disturbing is that this incident took place so soon after the breaking story of a new head shot rule ....
- The Habs are putting together one of the most improbable winning streaks heading into the homestretch of the regular season that I can recall. St Louis last year had a good run to get into the post season, and one of the ultimate runs was by New Jersey in the spring of 1988, getting in on the last game of the season thanks to a John McLean goal. What is so surprising with the Habs run is that the team had shown little determination in any regard for several years, and now they are winning at a crucial point in the season ..... maybe it is a good thing that they did not name a captain, especially Scott Gomez...
- The Capitals are closing in on the President’s trophy as the team with the most points in the regular season .....
- Are the Flyers a total write off now with their top 2 goalies done for the year? This team needs to get a plan in place to land a legit long term NHL goalie. The love em or hate em Flyers have not had a franchise goalie in over 25 years, and in that time have only played in 2 Stanley Cup Finals, after being regular contestants in the Grand Finale between 1974 and 1985, winning twice in 5 trips....
- Tyler Myers for Rookie of the Year ..... Buffalo’s best defenseman. I like Matt Duchene, too, but Myers is incredible. For such a big frame, he skates so smoothly, and is putting up big numbers ..... John Tavares is having a tough time of late on the Island, and James Van Riemsdyk has really slowed in Philly..
- It is going to be interesting to see how Tim Thomas bounces back next year after the nightmare 09-10 season he has had.... last year, everything went right for him. This year, everything is going in the net
- The emergence of Alex Burrows as a star goal scorer is a great story. Burrows has fit well with the Sedin twins, and obviously takes the heat on the line from other teams. Burrows will likely score 40 goals, no small feat in the current NHL ...
- Watching the Calgary Flames struggle, the obvious question is if the Sutter brothers will get the axe should the Flaming C’s miss the playoffs. Losing to Detroit was not a good move by the Flames, as they now have to catch up to a veteran club with more experience winning than any other team in the league ....
- Is Devan Dubnyk going to go down in NHL lore as one of the worst goalies ever, along with Hardy Astrom and Red Light Racicot? Dubnyk was awful in the Oilers loss to the Blue Jackets last night, and has yet to pick up a win in the NHL .... he was getting a peice of the puck, but still letting it in. He looked like a beer league goalie. One bad performance is understandable, but a whole season???
- The latest head scratcher by the Oilers brass : Jordan Eberle to the minors. With Twerp Gagner getting a free ride in the NHL since he was 18, putting Eberle in the AHL has to be considered an insult. Eberle seems to have his attitude in line ( more than can be said for Twerp ), so it likely won’t be an issue. I don’t know the salary cap implications, but if there are none, Eberle should be in the NHL. His skating is far superior to Twerp Gagner’s, Eberle is a true sniper and Mr Clutch. Twerp Gagner is Mr Soft, Mr Lazy, Mr Selfish, all rolled into one ....
- Fight of the Night : All purpose pest Rick Rypien drops the gloves with Ottawa Senators thug Chris Neil, and the two exchange a furious barrage of haymakers .... though Neil has a distinct size advantage on Rypien, the Canucks player was right in Neil’s face, not backing off for a second. Rypien was cut under one eye, but this was a great scrap from his point, showing that he won’t back down from a heavy hitter .... this shows the proper impact of scrapping in the game, if Rypien is not bothered by a goon like Neil, he will definitely make a pansy like Dan Alfreddson feel intimidated ....
- New Jersey continue their inconsistent play, losing to the Islanders .... though the Devils have over achieved by great lengths again this season, does anyone aside from their fans see them winning a playoff series????
- The Battle of the Basement dwellars was actually kind of entertaining, with the Leafs topping a woeful Edmonton squad 6-4. A player making a name for himself with Edmonton, if they have an eye to the future, is Theo Peckham .... the big rearguard has been asserting himself physically, and doing it well. Time will tell if he can carve out a spot in the big league, but he looks to be a definite upgrade on Zach Stortini ..... Yes, Twerp Gagner is putting up some points, in the same manner he did as a rookie, in meaningless games, after the season is lost .... Until he helps the team win and be a contender, he will always be viewed as an immature, selfish and soft player by Open Ice Hitter. Want to know what that means? Watch Twerp Gagner score a goal when the Oilers are getting hammered by someone. He acts like he just scored the Gold Medal Olympic goal ... living in his own little world, oblivious to the fact his team is getting creamed
- The Wings are making a serious run at the post season, even without a real NHL goalie ... Nik Lidstrom looks like he is 25 years old out there, across from Runt Rafalski, who looks like is 50 .... seriously, who would want the Wings as a 7 or 8th seed opponent in round one? They do have some weapons, if they can prevent the other team from getting any shots on goal...
- Needing to bounce back after getting destroyed by the Bruins, Philly pull off a big time rally, tying the BlackHawks with under 3 minutes in the third period, then winning the game on a goal from Chris Pronger with 2 seconds left. Pat Kane might want to work on his professionalism a bit more, as he sidled over to the bench as the Flyers made their rush to win in the dying seconds .... though Cris Huet is a decent goalie, he always fail to come out on top when the Hawks need him ...
- Kovalchuk finally shows up in Jersey, and does it in fine fashion, icing Sid Crosby and the Penguins with a 3 point night. Kovalchuk looked to have some jump, and the Devils were fortunate with a goal scored when Travis Zajac smacked Marc Fleury on the glove ...
- Sorry Habs fans, but your team is not going to keep winning games 4 at a time, and Gomez will not keep putting up points like he has over the past few games. Don’t agree? Doesn’t matter, as the next few weeks will show, Gomez is not a point per game player, and the Habs are a soft and weak team, the most likely team currently in a post season spot in the East to fall out of the top 8 ... before their run of 4 wins, the Habs would not have been in the top 8 by percentage of possible points .....
- Steve Stamkos as a 50 goal scorer? The young sniper looks like he is going to make it happen, though he was held off the scoresheet in the Tampa win over the Capitals ...
- Though John Tavares and James Van Riemsdyk look like they are going to be solid NHL players, it is hard to ignore how they have disappeared over the second half of the season ..... ........Matt Duchene has had the biggest impact of all rookie forwards, and Tyler “ Tower “ Myers has been an impact player for the Buffalo Sabres ...
- Some original 6 teams on the playoff bubble stated their intentions tonight, as Detroit manhandled Minnesota 5-1 and Boston pummelled the Flyers 5-1 ..... this could be taken as a statement game by the Bruins, as they chased Mike Leighton in a one sided drubbing of the Flyers, with some timely saves by young goalie Rask ... For the Red Wings, they are struggling to salvage the season, but with Nik Lidstrom growing old, and some awful goaltending, the Wings have been bound to fall out of the playoffs...
- Another original 6 team, Montreal, showed their gumption by lucking out against the worst team in the league, beating the Oilers in a shootout, thanks to one of the Kickin Kostytsin’s, of all people ...
- Sheldon Souray is one of the most physically gifted athletes in the NHL, a big and mobile skater, a tough hombre, and a feared shooter. Unfortunate for Souray, he is also one of the most injury prone players in the league, now hospitalized with an infection in his broken hand, the result of a great scrap with Jarome Iginla .....
- Dallas beat the Caps at home, that is no big deal. Washington is home to one of the hottest tickets you can get in hockey, a winning and exciting team, with one of the best players in the game on their team ..... but also Jose Theodore in net, and a still unproven Varlamov behind him .... Does anyone really think the Capitals can win the Stanley Cup with that goaltending ????
- The Kings continue to serve notice that they have arrived, one year ahead of schedule, as they hammer the once promising Columbus Blue Jackets 6-0 ....... keep in mind that the Kings have a ton of depth in defense prospects, and will eventually turn some of those into an even better forward corp. Do not blame Dean Lombardi for trading any of his young players for an over rated and past his prime Ray Whitney, especially if Whitney wanted a long contract extension ( basically asking for free money, as the Kings would have to continue to pay him even after he became useless, due to his age and where he fits in the CBA rules ... )
- Pleasantly surprised that the NHL came down with a suspension on Max Lapierre from the Habs after his cheap and dangerous cross check on San Jose player Scott Nichol .... Lapierre figured it was no big deal, and was laughing on the bench. That makes him, Lapierre, a piece of garbage. What I am wondering through all of this is why the name Brad Hornung never came up. Hornung was paralyzed in a similar incident more than 20 years ago in a WHL game, but instead of falling into the boards sideways as Nichol did, Hornung crashed into the boards headfirst, breaking his neck .... to read more on Hornung, check out the archived story from ESPN ....- http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?id=1889837
- Ovechkin and Crosby atop the stats board again, and likely both to be Hart Trophy nominees ... Crosby is on pace for 50 goals, and has changed his game a bit, becoming more of a sniper, similar to his junior and minor hockey days, making him a more dangerous player. Ovechkin is playing with a very good supporting cast in Washington, and has taken his physical game to a new level. Tough to pick between the two ...
- Detroit is hanging around the 8th spot in the West, trying to weasel into the playoffs, which will be a stunner, considering the dropoff in team play and the awful goaltending they have....
- Tough luck for Carey Price, as he played a gem of a game in San Jose the other night, only to have the Sharks come from behind and win in the third period. The once highly touted Price can’t win for losing in Montreal, and though the Habs seem determined that he is their future in goal, the better goalie over the past 3 years has been Slovak Olympian Jaro Halak ....
- Recently read an article ( newspaper, maybe THN ) that stated some surprise at the success Steve Downie is enjoying ..... makes one wonder how some shmoes get jobs in the media that actually pay. For the record, Downie was a first round draft pick, 2 time WJC Gold medal winner for Team Canada, and before the NHL and media vilified him for his devastating ( and late ) hit on Dean McCammond, a blue chip prospect. How does this get forgotten or overlooked? Is it not the job of hockey writers to verify or know what they are writing or who they are talking about? A bit more on Downie, he was an impact player for Team Canada, an extremely effective player, who was not only a very annoying agitator, but a skilful offensive force, great with the puck low and close to the boards .....
- Alexei Ponikorovsky to the Pens ..... this should be good. No pressure Alexei, but it is time to put up some big numbers, playing on a good team. Pittsburgh actually picked the ex Leaf up for journeyman d-man Martin Skoula ( a former bluechip prospect ) and a prospect. Not sure how Skoula fits with the Leafs, but it will likely only be for the rest of this year, and no more ...
- So the Habs trade a player with size, youth, speed, and maybe even a bit of grit .... what is going on in Montreal? Are they trying to make the dumbest moves possible? Good bye Matt D’agostini ...
- Time to start thinking of first round playoff matchups ... as it stands right now, the playoff matchups in the East would be awesome. Sid against Miller Part 3, The Habs and Devils, Bruins vs Capitals and Philly taking on Ottawa .... I would love to watch each and every game of those series’ ....
- Still trying to get squared away with “the runt” being named Top Defenseman at the Olympics ... seriously, Brian “ the runt “ Rafalski, top d-man ? Did the media not see him getting pushed off the puck at all ? Sure, he scored twice against Marty Brodeur. Does that make his whole tournament a success ? What I do not understand is why a big team like Canada did not set out to physically punish “ the runt “, as their is no way he could handle guys like Richards, Morrow and Getzlaf finishing checks on him for even a couple of shifts .....
- I have liked Darryl Sutter’s approach in running the Calgary Flames up to the last month, when he unloaded Dion Phaneuf for Ian White and some spare parts .... now Sutter gives Matt Stajan a $3.5 million per year contract ... not a good move for a player who has only ahandful of appearances for the Flames, and will prove to be no more than a second line center ...
- Get ready for the madness of the trade deadline .... already the Oilers have moved Denis Grebishkov, to Nashville of all places .... What are the Flyers up to with their roster moves, and placing Ray Emery on long term injured status? Tom Vokoun would look good in Philly ... Brian Burke has one day left to continue the Maple Leaf makeover before summer ....
- In a tense and heart-stopping final, Canada beat the USA for the Gold medal in Men’s Olympic hockey, the marquee event of all Olympic team sports ... After Team Canada pulled out to a 2-0 lead, the US scored a weak goal on Luongo, then stunned 35 million Canadians by scoring to tie the game with 25 seconds left, thanks to the goal scoring talent and instinct of Zach Parise. Sid Crosby made Gold for Canada with a quick 5 hole wrist shot that caught Ryan Miller in a brief moment of lapse, 7 and a half minutes into overtime, and history will now look favourably upon a Canadian Team that was under unimaginable pressure to show hockey superiority on home ice ....
- Ryan Miller is a big winner, even though he sports silver, carrying a US team on his skinny little shoulders all the way to the Gold medal game. Miller has been the go to guy in Buffalo since the departure of Dom Hasek, but had never been nearly as dominant. This Olympic tourney may be Miller’s launchpad, as he was superb ...
- Another player who was excellent was Pavol Demitra, the Slovak dynamo who has kind of faded out of the NHL picture over the past few years, due to poor team selection, line combinations and injury. When he is on his game, Demitra is a difference maker, as he showed in the Olympics .... it would be nice to see him succeed at the NHL level again ...
- Almost beyond belief, the collapse of the Slovakian’s, as they allow Olli Jokinen to score twice and key Finland’s rally from a 3-1 deficit to claim bronze. The Slovakian’s looked to have the game in hand, leading 3-1 with 16 minutes left in the third period. The tiny country, a massive underdog coming into the tournament, were so close to picking up a medal, but completely fell apart, allowing the Finn’s, a team that played mostly uninspired hockey in their final 2 games, to fire 4 goals past Jaro Halak. Halak had been very impressive up to that point, but now the Habs face the prospect of playing 2 goalies with shattered confidence ...
- USA demolish the Finns with a first period barrage of 6 goals. Good thing that Mikka Kiprusoff shot off his mouth about starting or he would not play..... wow, this team of basically kids are having a dream run just across the border ..... The signature of the US team is not only youth, but blazing speed, which will give them an advantage over Canada similar to what the US WJC team enjoyed. As for the Finns, the Cindarella run is over, and the team sent to Sochi, Russia for 2014 Olympics will undergo a facelift much the same as the US team experienced this year....
- The Canadians got by the Slovaks in a much different manner than the rabid home fans had wanted. In fact, the Red and White nearly emulated the choke job of curler Cheryl Bernard earlier in the evening, narrowly outlasting the Slovaks 3-2. Slovakia had Canada on the run for the last 10 minutes, with the tide turning after a signature Roberto Luongo gaffe, allowing a horrible goal. Luongo made clutch saves at the end of the game, but hardly inspires confidence..... This was the ultimate game of possum by Slovakia, who looked to be on the ropes after falling behind 3-0, but they stuck to the gameplan, and came very, very close to tipping Canada.
- If Canada can take something from the late game collapse against the Slovaks, it will be a day to review what exactly came undone, and a chance to steel their nerves. The USA kid team have already over achieved, and will go all out for glory. Canada loses, they will wear a badge of shame, as anything other than Gold in hockey is a failure, as Canada had the largest and most talented pool of players to pick from, as well as a wild home ice advantage ...
- Team Canada women claim a third straight Olympic Gold medal as Shannon Szabados shuts out the USA 2-0. The shots were 29-28 for Canada, with 18 year old Marie Philip Poulin scoring both goals for Canada in a role reminiscent of John Tavares in his first stint with the WJC Team Canada ......
- Some hilite reel goals from Finland as they top Tre Kronor for the bronze in womens hockey... in overtime - Colin Campbell has set a new mark for incompetence, suspending Cam Janssen for a hit that took place so long ago that footage had to be dug out of a museum... umm, good job their Colin, glad that you are right on top of things....
- Some old geezer, think the name is Rogue, shot off his yap about womens hockey and the need for parity.... guess the US and Canadians are not paying him off enough to keep his corrupt yap shut. What is up with the whole “ parity “ thing ? Do people not appreciate successful programs? If you are the best at something by a wide margin, so be it.... and if you want to start examining the Olympic events, well, it would not be hard to eliminate loads of events.... speedwalking?? Are you kidding me ? ......
- No gold for Sweden, as they fall to the Slovaks .... not even all of Hank Lundquist’s oversized equipment could cheat Tre Kronor into the medal round. Slovakia boast some awesome talent, Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik, Big Zed Chara and a reborn Pavol Demitra ... Sweden countered with the bobblehead twins and Dan Alfreddson. Flair definitely won out this time
- The Russian bear got steam rolled big time against a Canadian team that finally showed up, hammering Russia 7-3. If not for a couple of posts hit by Canada and a few nice saves by the Russian netminding tandem, along with Roberto Luongo’s sub par play in goal for Canada, this game could have easily been 10 – 0 .... it was that one sided
Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 June 2010 16:18 )