Friday, January 8, 2010

Dion Phaneuf is happy and other propaganda...


A fairly brisk news week in the NHL, from Dion Phaneuf asking for a trade coming out to tell everyone he is happy in Calgary and doesn't want a trade. Given the circumstantial evidence (stick smashing, coach-face yelling, etc.) you can't blame who ever came up with the story. But the Flames have come out and quashed the rumour cold. So shame all of you, for believing this. Heh.

In other goings on:
- The Flyer's Daniel Carcillo recieved a $2500 fine from the league for a hand gesture that shall not be used at the Leafs bench during a 6-2 Flyers win. Carcillo made the gesture after scoring a shockingly skillful goal to put the Flyers up 3-0. After the game he mentioned that he did the gesture to let the Leafs know "You'll never see me score a goal like that again!"

- The Leafs season is not lost after all, as head coach Ron Wilson discovered the reason for so many Leafs losses: the media. "It all makes so much sense, and we have felt this way for a long time, now we have the proof" said new Leafs PR director Glenn Beck. He then went on to detail how Toni Lydman was actually born in Yemen, so people should lay off Vesa Toskala

- When the whole Theo Fleury comeback thing came out this summer, so many people thought that the Flames should have given him the chance to play, based on his efforts in the preseason. Apparently, so does Theo

- How to make friends and influence people by Nikita Filitov

And in keeping with our editorial position, we don't care what Sean Avery did. He's still a douchebag.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WJC Post Motrem: Eh! O' crap! the US scored...

While the US's John Carlson may be saying his OT winner was a 'lucky shot', the fact that the US team left Saskatoon with the gold around their necks had very little to do with luck. As we saw in the New Years Eve tilt, Canada had little answer for both the American's speed, giving up numerous odd man rushes throughout the game, and their superior defensive ability. All night long, TSN's Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire marvelled at the Americans' shot blocking ability. That combined with a Canadian team that couldn't hit the net led to just 9 shots on goal in the first half of the game for Canada. Full marks to the Americans, they came into the game knowing all the pressure was on Canada, stuck to their game plan, made the most of a number of bounces they got in the game and didn't flinch when the Jordan Eberle show brought the nation to it's feet. Is that kid unreal? It's going to (eventually) suck to play against the Oilers again.

So what now for Team Canada? Obviously had they been able to ice the team of all eligible players, things might have been a little different. John Tavares and Cody Hodgson, among others would have made a huge difference. With Canada losing the Under 18's and Under 20's in consecutive days to the US, is this just a blip on the radar, or a changing of the guard? That will be up to the Hockey Canada brain trust to decide. This loss will be picked to pieces by experts and the rest of us, as we try and come up with a rationalization for the loss. Why did Jake Allen fall apart like he did in the big game? Why were there so many turnovers, was it just the flow of the play or was it something in the game plan put together by Willie Desjardins and his coaching staff that was flawed? It's likely too early to know the answers. All they can do now is shake off the heartbreak, head back to their junior squads and move forward. Hockey Canada can look at the future, as they prepare for Buffalo, and a shot at redemption. Were the Canadians arrogant, as was suggested by a certain New Jersey Devils sniper who seems to have forgotten his pedigree? No, I don't think so. Confidence should never be mistaken for arrogance, even if it is somewhat unwarranted. The Canadians had confidence, but save for Eberle, lacked the finish needed to attain their 6th straight. As for Parise, we (including Martin Brodeur) will see you in Vancouver in February. Keep your head up, son... and thank you for the dressing room wall material. Not that we need it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday: Canada/US for WJC Gold, Winter Classic ratings in and more...

Though it's not quite as sexy as a Canada/Russia finale, the Gold medal match between Canada and the US at the World Junior Championships in Saskatoon Tuesday is a pretty decent compromise. The New Years Eve round robin tilt between these two was as drama-packed as the last two times the teams met, and you know the US will be eager for redemption. Canada will be without Travis Hamonic for Tuesday's contest. The Islanders draft pick was hit from behind by Switzerland's Jeffery Fuglister and suffered a separated shoulder. As part of the shut down D along with Marco Scandella, his presence will be missed. Canada will need to show much more discipline than they have shown, or it will come back to haunt them. Too many foolish, and selfish penalties from the likes of Nazim Kadri among others. Overall it's been a good tournament I think, with some minor complaints. I am stunned at the lack of sellouts there. In a hockey mad province, it's mind-boggling to think people actually went "Switzerland? Nah. I'll pass." It's Team Canada for cryin' out loud. The Swiss emergence in this tournament was a pleasant surprise, but what's with Finland and Russia in this tournament? Big time disappointment.

The Winter Classic was either a hit or a bust depending on who you talk to. From the optics of the settings, Fenway Park was an amazing choice for the location. Whoever decided the Bruins should have played the Flyers though, should be fired. Apart from the last 5 minutes and the OT, the only exciting moment came when Daniel Carcillo and and Shawn Thornton deviated from Lord Bettman's script and threw down in a pretty spirited scrap. Why wasn't the most exciting player in the NHL not playing in this game? Alexander Ovechkin is amazing to watch (apart from his dud of a performance in Vancouver this year) and with the opportunity to showcase the game in a picture postcard setting, viewers got Chris Pronger trapping the afternoon away. The ratings are down just over 10% from last year's match. It's a lock that Ovi will be in there next year, and it will likely be against the Rangers, though Yankee Stadium is booked for a bowl game. The NHL has also said it wants a 2nd game in Canada, with Calgary rumored to be the front runner (and we know that they would likely want the Canucks for this one) to host one at McMahon Stadium.

Random notes: NHL 3 stars of the week are NJ's Jamie Langenbrunner, Dallas' Loui Eriksson, and Tampa Bay's Mike Smith... The Leafs season gets worse as Mikhail Grabovski is out 6 weeks with a fractured wrist, and Wayne Primeau 2 to 4 with a knee injury... Dion Phaneuf returned to the Flames' practice today after missing the remainder of the 3rd, but Craig Conroy apparently hasn't gone on the road with the team... No surprise that Vancouver's Henrik Sedin is the NHL's 1st star of the month for December. Hank lead all scorers with 5-20-25 in 15 games, had multiple assist games in 6 straight and points in all but one of Vancouver's games. The top 3 was rounded out by Phoenix's Ilya Bryzgalov and Chicago's Patrick "20 Cent" Kane. No word on whether Kane has plans to assault Bryzgalov to take over 2nd... and finally, from the Team USA phone conference, your Brian Burke moment of the week: "You go to Vegas a week before this tournament, and there won't be a penny bet on us. We're not manufacturing underdog status." Yeah, Wayne Gretzky called, he wants his motivational speech/welcome distraction back... I think I just threw up a little in my mouth reading that.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

your 2010 Team Canada Mens team

Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur (New Jersey), Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh), Roberto Luongo (Vancouver)

Defensemen: Drew Doughty (Los Angeles), Dan Boyle (San Jose), Duncan Keith (Chicago), Scott Niedermayer (C) (Anaheim), Chris Pronger (A) (Philadelphia), Brent Seabrook (Chicago), Shea Weber (Nashville)

Forwards: Sidney Crosby (A) (Pittsburgh), Joe Thornton (San Jose), Corey Perry (Anaheim), Brendan Morrow (Dallas), Patrick Marleau (San Jose), Rick Nash (Columbus), Patrice Bergeron (Boston), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim), Dany Heatley (San Jose), Jarome Iginla (Calgary), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), Mike Richards (Philadelphia), Eric Staal (Carolina)

Back, with a change to the format of sorts...

With the launch of , I figured I can just focus on hockey now with this blog, so now rantings and ravings about the other 29 teams, WJC and Olympic stuff will be found here.

Today apparently there's some sort of announcement coming to do with the Olympics. Strange, you'd think we would have heard something about this in the last year. To say this is a highly anticipated day is an understatement. I believe the selection announcement is being carried on 13 different television channels here in Canada. What can I say, sometimes we perpetuate the stereotype. Fans and pundits alike continue to speculate down to the wire about who should be there and who should not. So, here are my choices (and I believe I have changed them once or twice already):

Brodeur, Luongo, Fleury

Neidermeyer, Boyle, Weber, Keith, Seabrook, Green, Pronger

Crosby, Thornton, Heatley, Marleau, Nash, Getzlaf, Perry, Stamkos, B Richards, Toews, Savard, Doan, Morrow

Taxi squad:
Iginla, M Richards, Lecavalier

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

back... and pissed off as usual

Anyone that knows me knows how I feel about head shots. This issue is going to cause serious damage to the game if it isn't addressed in a manner more suited to the gravity of the situation. The latest unsuspended head shot came on Saturday, as Chicago played Pittsburgh.

Here's the issue: 1) So many people are rationalizing this hit because of who it's on. This logic is so bizarre it's sickening. Matt Cooke is a dirty player. No doubt about it. That means JACK SHIT!! The moment you start taking into account the reputation of the person who is attacked in the situation you send a dangerous message to the players "some of you are protected, some of you are on your own". The other issue here was Keith's motivation. Did Cooke take a run at him? Do something dirty? Nope. A clean hit as part of the play. Keith sees and opportunity to get in a cheap shot and takes it. Cooke never sees him coming and fortunately wasn't hurt. Maybe that's what needed to happen for the NHL to do something about this? Maybe Cooke needed a concussion? Maybe a broken neck? Either way, the only thing more gutless than Keith in this is the NHL and it's officials, for giving an 'elite' player a free shot at a guy who was recently suspended for the same thing. That isn't the kind of justice we need in hockey.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ballard's boneheaded move...

To say this ranks up there with some of the all-time dumbest things ever in sports is an understatement. I've never been a fan of the whole "I fucked up so I am gonna smash my stick into a billion pieces with my Hulk-like rage" thing. I get you screwed up and feel like shit. But what happened this time shows exactly why players need to keep their emotions even somewhat in check. As far as suspending Ballard? Nope. Believe me, being the butt of jokes for the rest of his career is punishment enough. Seriously, the guy could break Sittler's record of 10 points in a game, and they will still talk about this, with the record as a side note. Add in that he crashed into Colorado's Craig Anderson last night, and maybe goalies league wide need to be concerned about the threat of attack by the NHL's latest menace.