Archive for October, 2008

30
Oct
08

Shanahan To Take Offers

This has kind of confused me for the greater part of the last 5 months or so. I thought going into the off-season that Brendan Shanahan would be one of the more sought after Free Agents on the market. At first I was shocked that he wasn’t getting at least a couple of offers from around the league, but then I found out about his love affair with Slather, and that he wouldn’t be taking any offers from any other teams but the New York Rangers, yet nothing came…

Fast forward to training camps, when a lot of teams were said to be looking for that offensive player with leadership qualities (read Mats Sundin). Now, I am in no way comparing Shanahan to Sundin, but Shanahan is right up there in my opinion with offensive abilities. Shanahan can’t take control of the game like Sundin can or anything, but on the power-play, this is lethal on the off wing. The Habs went out and traded for Robert Lang almost for that exact reason, I would imagine they would have rather of had Shanny.

It wasn’t until today that Shanny told his agent that he would be willing to listen to other offers. Seriously Brendan? It took you this long to realize that the Rangers weren’t going to sign you? You had to wait until an 8th of the season was gone to entertain other offers? Wow. Well whatever, Shanahan will be signed within one or two weeks. I imagine some teams with the salary cap room would be eager to jump on him, like say… Vancouver?

28
Oct
08

Thrashers Suck!

Okay, no big secret here, but the Thrashers are awful.  Not only because they just finished their latest masterpiece, a 7-0 loss to the Flyers (who are insanely hot as of late) but because they’ve pretty much always been bad.

Since their inception to the NHL, the Thrashers have qualified for the Stanley Cup play-offs, which remarkably is one more time than the Columbus Blue Jackets (which is a story for another day). Oh by the way, the Thrashers were subsequently swept by the Rangers, so they have just as many play-off wins as the Jackets. It’s not only their stats that make them terrible, but some of the players they’ve brought in. I mean seriously, Patrik Stefan? First Overall? And the fact that they’ve had 7 Top 10 picks in the last 10 years only 3 of which are currently on the roster.

And then there’s the ownership. The initial owners, Time Warner last only 6 years, selling the franchise to a group called Atlanta Spirit in 2003. Not to mention their attendance. In an article published by the Globe and Mail in March of 2007, it was said that the Thrashers held the honour for giving the most tickets away. “The league’s numbers show the Thrashers gave away an average of 2,827 tickets a game in their first 25 home games.” Which just happens to be up…. 840% from the year before.

The only other thing I want to mention…these terrible jerseys from a few years ago. Oh… and the Thrashers suck.

27
Oct
08

TSN’s Shoot-Out For a Million Returns & Ovie Leaves

OK, so I am unsure if anyone inside or out of Canada knows (or cares for that matter), but the details for TSN’s Shoot-Out For a Million were announced today, and wow!

First of all, if you don’t know what the contest is, well here is a little Reader’s Digest version of it. There is a big draw, and whoever gets selected has the chance to go on the ice during the intermission of a game with some buddies. First, everyone shoots pucks from the centre line at an empty goal and depending on how many pucks go in, up to 4 vehicles are given away. Next, the person that won the draw, moves back to the far blue line and shoots 20 pucks in 24 seconds, and if 15 go in, that person wins a million dollars!

I’ve been a huge fan of this since it started a couple seasons ago, this will be the third year. Last year, Darwin Head won the big payout, and the year before Jason Hall barely missed the payout, but only because one of his shots hit a puck that had bounced out of the net.

This year’s shootout will be held at the World Junior Championships during the Canada/USA game on New Year’s Eve, rather than an NHL game like it had been in the past. This, however, is going to be a much larger venue, and will probably have higher ratings than an NHL game anyways. So hopefully, I’ll be on the ice in Ottawa on New Year’s Eve, instead of sitting at home in Lethbridge.

In other news, Alexander Ovechkin has returned to Russia in order to be with his ailing father. It’s only the second that Ovie will miss in his career and breaks his 203 game streak. All the best to the Ovechkin family.

25
Oct
08

Big Night In The NHL Tonight

Gotta love Saturday nights. 15 games, 30 teams, all ready for action. Couple things to really look forward to however, and we’ll start in the East.

The team everyone loves to hate, and hates to love gets a big addition tonight. The big off-season signing, Jeff Finger finally makes his Maple Leafs debut tonight. Finger’s signing was a shocker, as Fletcher threw a lot of money at the Free Agent even though he’s really only in his second season, and was a healthy scratch at times during the play-offs last year. Ron Wilson and Fletch still contend that Finger is worth the 3.5 million per year. The Leafs also sent Jiri Tlustly down to the Marlies, which would probably mean that the Leafs will get at least 43 shots tonight, since Blake will be in the line-up.

Philly looks for their second win of the season, but if they want to win they’ll have to allow less goals which shouldn’t be too difficult since they are playing the Devils, but then again, it’ll be tougher to score too. Meanwhile Marty looks to inch closer to Roy’s records.

Personally, I think the match-up to look for in the East has to be the New York Rangers facing the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers are off to an unbelievable start, and the Penguins… well, they’re the Pens. Anytime that you get Crosby, Malkin, J. Staal on the ice facing Gomez, Drury, Zherdev, and Naslund, there’s going to be one helleva game.

In the West, the high flying Red Wings are set to face the young Blackhawks in what should be a great Divisional Match-Up. I am torn on this one, but I gotta say, I hope the Hawks come flying out of the gates, and Toews puts up 4 goals, all of which are assisted by Keith and Campbell. That would get me up in the standings in my pool at work. Regardless, should be a good, high-paced game.

Other than that, another Divisional Match-up in the Northwest as the Kid Line and their Oilers take on the surprising Canucks tonight. Gillis’ weird made up team (honestly, what the hell?) are having a slow start to the season after ripping it up in the pre-season are looking to rebound, meanwhile the Oiler squad look are also looking to rebound after a couple losses. Oilers should take this hands down, but then again, anything can happen…

So one game is already underway, and hopefully the next 14 get off without any starting goalies tripping over rugs… Legace, idiot.

23
Oct
08

Schenn Sticking in T.O?

Kind of a slow newsday today, unless you want to hear more about Sundin and his maybe, maybe not dance again. But I don’t, and I really don’t want to even write about it, so I’ll have to write some other Maple Leafs stuff, because well, when in doubt, someone will care about Toronto.

So Luke Schenn. Lukey Luke. The Human Eraser. Should he stay, or should he go? I am torn on this one, completely, utterly torn. Part of me thinks that he should go down, but only because of contract purposes. If he stays, his contract obviously kicks in, meaning his entry-level will expire by the time he is 22, making him a RFA, and thus allowing him to reach UFA by the time he is like 25. If he goes back to Kelowna, well at least that buys the Leafs one more year, and let’s face it, Leafs aren’t going to win anytime soon.

Now, the other part. Luke’s development would be much greater if he stayed with the big club this season. He could go back to Kelowna and play 30 minutes per game, albeit against far inferior talent. Or he can stay in the Big Leagues, play 22 minutes per game against the best of the best. The biggest positive about Schenn going back to the WHL, would be his eligibility to play in the World Junior Tournament as a top-two defencemen.

So, as you see, I am completely torn and have no idea what should be done with a player of his calibre at such a young age. I just hope whatever desicion the Silver Fox and Ron Wilson come to, is the best desicion for Luke.

22
Oct
08

Caps at Flames Last Night

I was lucky enough to get tickets to Calgary’s game last, and I was so stoked. My first chance to see the high-flying Capitals live… and what a disappointment! Yes, Ovechkin showed what a talented and dynamic player he is with a couple between the leg dekes, but other than that, I am glad I didn’t have to pay for the tickets!

I have a few points that I want to bring up, and they pretty much all have to do with how disorientated I think Flames’ fans are. After the game, as we’re driving back, we were listening the FAN 960 and their thoughts on the game, and then the phone-in portion of the show. Everyone thought that the Flames played a tremendous game, and that this is the kind of hockey that is going to get them places. But, let’s look at some numbers, shall we?

  1. Flames went one for nine on the power play. 1 FOR 9! They also failed to score on 4 separate 5-on-3s (granted out of those they were only actually up two men for approximately 4 minutes, but still.) Their one power play goal was on a giveaway, as the Caps failed to clear the zone, and Iggy just intercepted it and shot a knuckler past Theodore. They other goal the Flames managed to score, came just seconds after their PP had expired, yet everyone failed to notice that the Flames had just spent 20 seconds running around their own end defending the Capitals PK unit. At no point did the Flames seem to even set up in the opposing zone, because they have no set up, their PP set-up is, pass the puck to Dion and he’ll one-time it.
  2. Did Keenan forget to teach the Flames how to break-out of their own end this year? I don’t think I saw them managed to break out cleanly once last night, and the majority of their passes were off target or getting picked off. This also explained why Langkow almost got his head knocked off when he was trying to pick up that Suicide Pass. Which brings me to my next point…
  3. Why does every big hit have to result in someone getting jumped? I understand that Bourque was protecting his teammate, but how’s this for an idea of protecting your teammate… don’t pass the puck up his ass. Side note: The 9 minute penalty was called correctly, and he deserved it.
  4. Kipper. Oh Kipper. You got first star last night, actually managed to only allow one goal, which brings your GAA to 342.4 and SV% to 0.730. Okay, exaggerations I know, but at the start of the game, its good thing the Capitals shot wide 5 times because you were sliding around like you were in a mud wrestling match. I think you’re overrated, and have only had one solid season, all the others you have ridden a hockey team that should be much better.
  5. Pries and I figured out how it was humanly possible for Bertuzzi to play 25 minutes last night… the Flames play at half speed, therefore allowing Bert to play twice as much because he only expending half the energy. I don’t know whether it was the Caps’ speed or the Flames’ lack thereof, but man, were they ever slow going through the neutral zone. This may also explain the terrible break-out I mentioned on point 2.

So there you have it Flames’ fans… if you want to consider your team a Stanley Cup contender, you better hope that the Flames figure some shit out, because if they keep playing like last night, and that was their best effort, I’d hope for an early spring.

P.S. Calgary was out-shot, even with the 9 PP chances, how does that make sense?

19
Oct
08

Martin Brodeur vs. Patrick Roy

With only 9 wins seperating Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur as the NHL’s winningest goalie, the debate about which tender is the greatest is sure to rage on. So… Let it rage.

Roy currently holds the record with 551 wins, is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, has won many NHL awards including the Conn Smythe 3 of the 4 times he has won the Cup. He also has his number retired by the Colorado Avalanche and is due to have his number 33 retired by the Montreal Canadiens on November 22nd. His 551 wins came in 1029 games for a winning percentage of 0.535 while posting a GAA 2.53 with a SV% of 0.910. His post-season total of 151 wins in 247 games for a percentage of 0.611 with a  GAA 2.30 and a SV% of 0.900, proof that his game elevated during the Spring Season.

Brodeur is fast approching Roy’s record with 542 wins, he is a lock for the Hall, also winning many NHL awards, not including the Conn Smythe however. He will for surely have his number retired by the New Jersey Devils upon his retirement from the game. His 542 wins have come in 973 games for a percentage 0.557, posting a 2.19 GAA and a SV% of 0.914.  His post-season totals of 95 wins in 169 games for a percentage of 0.562 and a GAA of 1.96 with a SV% of 0.922, indicating he would also elevate his play for the play-offs.

So I’ll be honest I hate Roy, and if this was completely open to opinion I would say that Brodeur is a better goalie just because I hate Roy. However, this debate isn’t just based on opinion. Marty has posted better stats in his career, both in play-offs and regular season, but one has to keep in mind that these guys did playing a portion of their careers in slightly different eras. Roy broke in during the high flying 80s, while Marty didn’t break in until the Clutch-and-Grab 90s. The other glaring difference that one has to consider, is the fact that Roy has won three Conn Smythes. This, I think, is because he had to stand on his head much more than Brodeur ever had to. Brodeur did what was expected of him, which was still a lot, but everyone is always so used to him being the best player on the ice, that I think his performances didn’t seem as stellar.

While this is a tough call, I pick Brodeur because I hate Roy. And to top it all off, just because I hate Roy so much, I hope Brodeur breaks his record before Roy’s retirement party, just so that they can’t retire his number whilst calling him, “The Winningest Goalie of All-Time.” Oh, and by the way… Brodeur, barring any injuries has more than enough games to play to do it too.