Archive for the 'Playoffs' Category

24
Nov
08

Front Offices Somewhat Busy This Monday

Ok, so of course the news of the Maple Leafs making the Steen & Colaiacovo trade for Lee Stempniak trumps all the other activity today. As a Leafs fan I have some mixed feelings about this trade.

First of all, I don’t think Steen was ever given a fair chance to play up to his potential. Being stuck on the 3rd and 4th line for the better part of your career is not going to give you the chance to put up a lot of points. Case in point, look at how well Stajan is responding to the increased ice-time. I just fear that Steen is going to be the next Brad Boyes. I don’t think Steen will ever reach the level that Boyes could reach, but I think he’s going to make an impact for sure. Colaiacovo for his part, well I loved the guy’s style, but that style isn’t going to help when his sitting in the booth because his style is realistically his undoing. If you can’t be healthy well then you aren’t much use, just don’t go pull a Wellwood and suddenly become healthy and one of the biggest surprises in the league! (Who can honestly say they saw Wellwood coming on like that? Vancouver didn’t, because he didn’t even make the team!)

Lee Stempniak, for his part, well I don’t know much about him. I do know he’s relatively young at 25, decent size at just over 200 lbs and is having an excellent, yet quiet season. Granted that season was in St. Louis and no the media-meca that is Toronto. He does have this though, which is quite fitting actually. Hopefully we can make that term a little more popular.

In my opinion, I think the Silver Fox could have gotten a little more, even if it was just a late pick. I think just a 4th or 5th rounder would have been better than two players for one. Truely, I think that the Buds are doing too good for Fletcher’s liking. If there is two things the Leafs brass want more than anything in the world right now, its Brian Burke, and Jon Tavares. If the Leafs keep playing like they are, they’ll go one for two, because mediocracy doesn’t bring high picks, and we know that all to well.

Oh yeah, before I forget, the other BIG news. The San Jose Sharks have agreed to a try-out contract with Claude Lemieux. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Good luck with that. I get that he’s been clutch in play-offs and whatnot, but he also hasn’t played in the NHL for FIVE years, and he’s no Chelios. At 43 years of age, I am pretty sure Lemieux’s playing days should be over!

11
Nov
08

Toronto Is In Calgary tonight…

and I am lucky enough to go! Toronto is finally in Western Canada for the first time in 3 years, and facing Calgary for the first time in 2 years.

I paid a pretty penny for these tickets, so once again hopefully I see a good game, but once again I have my reservations. Toronto is coming off a huge 6-3 rout of the hated Habs, while the Flames are coming off their own rout, except it was them who got manhandled by the Hawks. For this reason, I’m not expecting a win from the Blue and White. The Flames will probably want to come out flying in order to get passed their showing on Sunday, meanwhile the Leafs will probably come out flat-footed after their huge win.

The only saving grace for the Leafs could be this single fact. Toronto is 3rd in the league averaging 35.2 shots per game,  while Kipper’s SV% is 0.888. So the Maple Leafs should score at least 4 goals tonight, and since the Flames average 2.94 Goals Per Game, this should be a win for Toronto.

Depends what school of thought you belong to I guess.

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.

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.

22
Apr
08

Crazy Hab Fans

First off, let me just say that I have lived in Quebec, and just outside of Montreal. In fact, I was living there in 93 when the Habs last won the cup, and then preceded to riot on St. Catherine’s, breaking into stores and looting, setting fires all over the place, and just being drunken idiots.

Admittedly, I find that there is nothing wrong with going out on the town and celebrating a big Game 7 win, or a series win… but to go out and torch police cars? That’s a little too far. I was just watching the news, and I saw a clip of guys jumping on the cop cars, kicking in the hood, there was even some guy who just walked up to it, kicked the police car, all the while chatting away on his phone. I’m glad he turned and faced the camera too, I hope his parents saw it, and they feel ashamed of him.

Hopefully, the cops find a better way of dealing with the fans post-game then how this was handled… if the Habs make a deep run, and they have a wicked chance of doing so… then I would hate to see Canadien fans trash Montreal, one of the most beautiful and historic cities I’ve ever seen… but I’ve never left North America so that doesn’t say much.

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.
15
Apr
08

Play-off Beards Starting to Show & Nonis

With just under a week having gone by in the NHL’s post-season, the beards are starting to show. While some guys can grow a decent beard overnight or have had one all season long, others take a little longer to get going. Case in point, Sid the Kid.

It might be a little difficult to see from that picture but I think you get the point. I first noticed his little perv stache when he was being interviewed about Avery’s antics the other night, and now when I go the the TSN website… there it is staring me in the face.

If at all possible, when the Pens line up in Ottawa tomorrow and attempt to sweep the Sens, try to get a good glimpse of his perviness.

Nonis Fired

Admittedly this isn’t big news at all, but the one thing that is continually being left out of this story is Swedish star Fabian Brunnstrom. Reports were coming out that Brunnstrom had given his agent a list of 6 teams that he was willing to play for, and the Canucks were at the very top of that list with Nonis being a huge factor in that decision. Apparently, Brunnstrom liked the direction that Nonis was taking the team into and he wanted to be a part of that… however, now that Nonis is gone, what does thacrt mean for Brunnstrom and the Canucks? I believe that because of the Nonis firing, Brunnstrom won’t be as willing to head to the west coast, and will instead go to Detroit… a team that continually just keeps getting better without losing their core and prospect pool.