Archive for the 'Ducks' Category

23
Apr
08

NHL Play-Offs: Round Two

Alright, so as I’ve found out, doing this, following the post-season, and writing finals all at the same time is harder then I thought, but with one final to go… I should be able to balance it out better. Onto the play-offs!

First Round Review

  • Eastern Conference
    • MON vs. BOS: I chose Montreal in 5, and figured they would walk right through this series… MON took it in 7 and Price had two bad games, which I think are outshined by his two shut-outs.
    • PIT vs. OTT: I called Pittsburgh in 6, claiming that the Sens were the biggest chokers in recent history… well I was right, the Sens are big chokers… bigger then I thought they were. PIT swept.
    • WAS vs. PHI: I picked Washington in 7, and they were one shot away from making that happen, but the Flyers persevered in 7.
    • NJ vs. NYR: I really thought Brodeur would carry the Devils through when I picked them in 6, didn’t really think that NYR would for the most part, manhandle the Devils in 5.
  • Western Conference
    • DET vs. NAS: I underestimated Ellis in this when I picked the Wings to sweep the Preds, but other than one wicked bounce… Ellis was spectacular,  but wasn’t enough to get the Preds through as they lost in 6.
    • SJ vs. CGY: I picked the Sharks in 7, and I feel as though they are lucky to have pulled it out after blowing a 3-0 lead in Game 3. But they did, and won in 7.
    • MIN vs. COL: I picked this one completely by guessing, and was biased because my Dad’s team are the Avs, so I chose them in 6, and low and behold, they won in 6.
    • ANA vs. DAL: I really thought that the experience of the Ducks would make it impossible for the Stars to win when I picked Ducks in 5… turns out Dallas won in 6, and the Ducks never had a chance!

So in the end, I finished with a 5-3 record and I called 2 of the 5 in the correct number of games. Not bad… but not good at the same time, hopefully the second round is better for me.

Second Round Predictions

  • Eastern Conference
    • MON vs. PHI: While Briere hauled ass in the 1st Round, he wasn’t playing against Komisarek, Markov, & Price. I expect his production to stall, and I believe the Habs too much depth and speed for the Flyers to handle. Canadiens in 6.
    • PIT vs. NYR: I was pulling for the Pens vs. Caps, because that would have just been epic, but now this. This is a completely different match-up for the Rangers, and while I under estimated their depth last round, I seriously doubt that they can bring it when they are forced to play defensively. Pittsburgh in 7.
  • Western Conference
    • DET vs. COL: Let’s call this one the “Senior Men’s Cup”. Colorado’s average age is 26.7 while the Wings clock in at 28.2; two of the oldest teams in the league. Still though, I think the wings pull it off and Theodore can’t keep playing like this… can he? Detroit in 6.
    • SJ vs. DAL: The Sharks could be tired after the physical series with the Flames, and the Stars disposed of the Ducks with ease. The Stars showed that they will not be intimidated and that they can apparently handle anything. Dallas in 7.

So there you have it, I am looking for a Montreal/Pittsburgh Eastern Final, and a Detroit/Dallas Western Final. Now I have to go back to studying.

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17
Apr
08

________ing Out the Arena

The Flames’ home, the SaddleDome is completely engulfed in red, just like the Capitals’ Verizon Center. The Jets used to White Out their arena, and that tradition has carried over to Phoenix. The Stars the other night, Blacked Out the American Airlines Center.

So what did the players think of the spectacle? Word is… they hated it! Most notably the tenders. Apparently the can’t see the puck. Weird… I always thought that black on black out be just peachy, but evidently it doesn’t, trust me I tried.

Let me be the first to say, I love the look of an arena being coloured out. I remember getting chills when the Coyotes made the play-offs for the first time after they left Winnipeg, and I saw the White Out. It looks unbelievable! Having said that, sorry Stars fans, I don’t know if you guys have the colours to do it, unless you did gold, that might look unreal.

I just saw a highlight of the Dallas/Anaheim game, and it appears as though the AAC is completely blacked out again. I am guessing that nothing is going to change that, but if I was Turco, and I hated it as much as he apparently does, I’d be urging the fans to do something different. At least though, on the bright side (ohh as if there is!) its not like its an advantage for any team. (Wow, I just got an amazing idea!) What if… half the arena (the end that Turco faces) wore white t-shirts, and then between periods, the fans all switch coloured shirts, so that Turco would always be facing white, and the other team’s goalie sees black. That would be unreal!

Credit to www.zimbo.com for the picture.
10
Apr
08

Night Two of ’08 Playoffs

Montreal vs. Boston

Initially, I thought this was going to be a blow-out. Two minutes in and the Habs are up 2-0 already, they were on pace to win 60-0! Obviously that would never happen but still. Boston eventually comes within one before the end of the period after the Habs kinda slowed up. Smolinski’s goal was a bit of a questionable one, but the Bruin’s defenseman was clearly pushing his guy right into Thomas. Lastly, I don’t know how bloody stupid Canadien fans must be, but when they start chanting, “Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Good-bye” in the third period of game one, of the first round… they are ‘effing stupid. You guys should be ashamed, and I hope the B’s blow the hell out of the Habs in Game 2. Canadiens win 4-1 and lead series 1-0.

Detroit vs. Nashville

Again, I didn’t watch much of this game, but I was shocked when I flipping to it and realized how quiet it was in the Joe. Seriously, the Red Wings, another Original 6, President Trophy winners and the fans didn’t even seem to be into it. The only other thing I saw, was the empty netter, and why the hell the Preds decided to keep Ellis on the bench when the draw was on their blue line is beyond me. Red Wings win 3-1 and lead series 1-0.

San Jose vs. Calgary
Wow, night of the goaltenders eh? Nabokov bounces back and posts a shut-out while making awesome, unbelievable saves on Sarich in the first, and Nolan in the third. Kipper stood on his head, especially in the second period when the Flames took 7 consecutive penalties and only allowing 2 goal on 27 shots. That’s nice work for an entire game, let alone one period. Kipper ends up making 41 of 43 saves. Meanwhile, I just feel that I have to say, that the Sharks did embellish a few of those hooks and slashes in the second. Talking about you Big Joe and Mclaren. Sharks win 2-0 and series tied 1-1.
Anaheim vs. Dallas
Well, no surprise… other than the score. Anaheim comes out trying to intimidate the Stars and just take a shitload of penalties. The Stars power-play took over from there, scoring on 4 of their 7 chances. I didn’t watch this game, but I did see some highlights of Bertuzzi. First he takes a 3rd man in penalty late in the first and then they should him apparently slashing away at Morrow while he was down. Sounds like vintage Ducks and Bertuzzi. Stars win 4-0 and lead series 1-0.
06
Apr
08

Play-off Match-ups Decided & Predictions

Ok, so with my extended absence over, the NHL season is also over and the match-ups have been decided.

Eastern Conference

  • (1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (8) Boston Bruins – Montreal is going to take this without too much effort. Sorry Boston, but I don’t think you have a shot. Montreal in 5.
  • (2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (7) Ottawa Senators – First of all, could anyone have imagined that the Sens would be seventh in the conference at the end of the season? Because the Senators are the biggest chokers I’ve seen in the NHL, Penguins in 6.
  • (3) Washington Capitals vs. (6) Philadelphia Flyers – I think this is going the best series in the first round. Ovechkin just won’t be happy enough with just making the post-season, he is going to to carry this team through. Washington in 7.
  • (4) New Jersey Devils vs. (5) New York Rangers – Brodeur is going to single-handedly win these series. Sorry Pries, but the Rangers are ‘effed. Jersey in 6.

Western Conference

  • (1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Nashville Predators – The grizzled and experienced Red Wings continue to be the top team in the league, it is unreal. The Red Wings are gonna waltz through the Predators. Wings sweep.
  • (2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) Calgary Flames – Sorry Flame fans… But the Sharks are going to take this one. It won’t be easy though, the Flames are one of the grittiest teams in the league. Sharks in 7.
  • (3) Minnesota Wild vs. (6) Colorado Avalanche – This is a tough one… I realistically have no idea who is gonna win this one, so I am just gonna pick the Avs because they are my Dad’s team, and they used to be the Nordiques! Avalanche in 6.
  • (4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Dallas Stars – Just because the Ducks finished 4th, doesn’t mean they can’t repeat. They are a better team than they were last year so they have a legit shot. Ducks win in 5.

There… now I just hope that I am right on half of them, because I could see myself screwing it up.

30
Mar
08

My Picks For Coach of the Year

With the season winding down, and more and more teams being eliminated by day, I have decided to make my early picks for winner of the Jack Adams, as coach of the year.

  1. Guy Carbonneau – In September, almost everyone had predicted that the Canadiens wouldn’t even make play-offs. Now in late March, the Habs are on the verge of winning the Northwest Division, and are in a tight battle for the Eastern Conference lead. What he has done with this team this season is amazing if you ask me, and for a young coach, that says even more of the type of coach he is.
  2. Ron Wilson -After reeling off an impressive winning streak down the stretch, the Sharks have clinched the Pacific Division. The reason I think that is such a feat, is the fact that the Pacific also contains some team called the Ducks or something, and apparently they are pretty good. The other reason I think Wilson deserves a solid look, is that the Sharks have been a solid team for a few years now, and I can’t remember the last time they had a high draft pick.
  3. Barry Trotz – The Nashville Predators have easily had the most turbulent season. They’ve went from almost being sold to Balsillie, then they pretty much got rid of all their assets (Kariya, Vokoun, et. all). They were then sold a local group, and had to beg their fans to come to their games even though they were not expected to be contenders. Now almost in the post-season, the Preds have managed to put themselves in position to make the post-season, much of which needs to be attributed to a solid home record, and solid defensive play.
  4. Brent Sutter – Could the Devils be more solid defensively? Apparently they could be, because they are once again one of the best teams when it comes to GA, and yet they are still winning after losing Gomez and Rafalski. Somehow they continue to win without goal-scoring, without big names (minus Brodeur), and without high draft picks. But honestly, did anyone expect anything less of the Devils and Sutter?
  5. Jon Stevens – The Flyers made one of the fastest turns in NHL history. Much of this could be attributed to good management skills, but the leadership of the coaching staff has went a long way in guiding this team into the post-season (as of now). The Flyers have underwent many injuries this season, and many, many suspensions but have managed to keep afloat.

So those are my picks for coach of the year, and in that order too. But as with my picks for MVP, these are completely dependent on these teams making the playoffs, if the Flyers or Predators fall out of contention then these coaches will not deserve to be coach of the year.

25
Mar
08

“One Play” Commercial

So I was surfing around randomly just a little ago, and I ran into this commercial. Apparently its the NHL’s newest attempt at promoting the game. I’ll let you have a look at it before I give my two cents.

First off, I effin’ love it. There are so many details to it and it works on so many different levels. It incorporates vintage hockey footage, pond hockey, minor hockey, and today’s hockey. The beginning starts with probably two of the most recognizable faces in hockey, Gretzky and Crosby. It shows almost every team in the league, if not all, shows the stars of the game, the grace and skill needed to play the game and it is shown with great fluidity. The cuts between video clips are great. What ever company produced this commercial did an unreal job in making it seem like it was actually one play.

This commercial is leaps and bounds above the “I Pledge” and “Is This the Year?” commercials. It seems that the NHL may finally have taken a step in the right direction, and just in time for the playoffs. Finally.

DIGG ME 

22
Mar
08

Quick Hits:Lecavalier, MVP, Oil, and Injured Hab

A few quick thoughts before I head to work tonight, and just before HNIC goes on-air.

Lecavalier Out Of World Championships

Vincent Lecavalier is going to find out soon if he will require off-season surgery on an ongoing wrist injury. Although the injury has not kept him from ripping the league up again, and being one of the premiere players, it has been bothering him and he will have it checked out. Even if he does not need to get the surgery, his agent has told the media that it is doubtful that Lecavalier will play for Team Canada. Although there has been talk of if players sit out of the Worlds their chances for making the 2010 Olympic team would be diminished, I doubt that would be the case with this guy. There is no way that he would not be considered for the Olympic team just because he sits out of a tourney 1 and a half years prior.

My Picks For MVP

Yesterday I wrote that I did not think Ovechkin should win the Hart Trophy if the Capitals do not make the post-season. After thinking about overnight (read last 3.5 minutes) I have come into a short-list of candidates. These candidates however are completely dependent on whether their respective team makes the play-offs, and their teams are currently in playoff contention.

  • Joe Thornton –  Could easily earn another one after his 06 Hart.
  • Alexei Kovalev -This kills me, just because his last few seasons have been sub-par, but he is having an excellent season.
  • Roberto Luongo – Let’s face it, without him, the Canucks would be a lot like the Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Martin Brodeur – Has carried the Devils on his back throughout the season. Heck, Weekes got an ovation when he made a save in his 2 minutes of action the other night.
  • Evgeni Malkin – In the absence of some Crosby guy, he has stepped up and led the Penguins into the division lead and in a battle for the conference lead.

Edmonton Oilers Won’t Go Away

After this afternoon’s scoring festival against the Avalanche, the Edmonton Oilers have scraped themselves 3 points outside of 8th place, and if they continue their winning ways, they have a shot. I strongly believe that the Oilers will make play-offs. They are playing better than most teams right now, are actually somewhat consistent, and are only getting better. The other bonus to them winning, is that with every win, they piss of the Ducks. There is no reason for them to try an get into a better draft position, so they literally have nothing to lose.

Mike Komisarek’s Mystery Injury

The playoffs are clearly just around the corner, because Komisarek went down the all too common “Lower Body Injury.” As a fan, I hate that teams do this upper/lower body crap when it comes to injuries in the playoffs. But it does make sense, because when it comes to winning the Cup teams will take any advantage they can get, so if they know that Komisarek has a sprained knee, there is no doubt that that knee would be targeted by opposing teams.