- Assist from Greg Wyshinski over at Puck Daddy, goal by Pucking Hilarious for this Optimus Reim t-shirt. I loathe the Toronto Maple Leafs but it's hard to argue against James Reimer's impressive run as their goaltender. They had a fighting chance up until this weekend...
- As I discovered in the wee hours of the morning, via CapGeek's Twitter feed, the Detroit Red Wings have signed forward Cory Emmerton to a three year contract. The final two seasons are one way, which means Emmerton better earn a spot on the roster or he will find himself waived or released. I don't think it will come to either of those things, as Emmerton has been impressed in his limited time in the lineup.
- Hopefully forward Manny Malhotra of the Vancouver Canucks will be okay. The eye injury required a second surgery, which was successful. It really cripples that PK unit with both Malhotra and Dan Hamhuis out.
Dirty hit? There's a lot of chatter about Todd Bertuzzi's hit on Ryan Johnson last night. Personally, I agree with Bob MacKenzie's assessment. The hit had an awkward turn by Bert with very unfortunate results. The 5 minute misconduct was enough. The league wound up not suspending Bertuzzi, which is a reasonable decision. Given how inconsistent the NHL is with suspensions, I expected anything from 4 games to nothing. The Twitter world was abuzz with "violent offender" this and "lock him in a cell" nonsense. I recognize how deplorable the Steve Moore incident was, but everyone deserves to be forgiven for their mistakes. Especially Bertuzzi, who has apologized numerous times, served his suspension, and has offered everything he can to Steve Moore.
- The playoffs are coming soon, and Sports Club Stats is the best site to keep track of your teams chances of getting into the playoffs. We're getting very close to some teams going from 0.0% chances to being out. There might even be three teams (Minnesota, St. Louis, Columbus) eliminated tonight. The plot thickens....
- That's all for now. My pick for tomorrow night is Anaheim vs. Calgary on TSN. Calgary needs to win every game at this point, but beating up on Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry and company will be no easy feat. My prediction: Calgary wins in a shootout, 5-4!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
- Bert, keep dem boes down. Pick a better time to throw them up, like on the dance floor.
- You know what, don't do that either. Just don't use your elbows. Ever.
- Chicken-poop is an acceptable hockey term, via Mike Milbury.
- Nick Lidstrom became the first 40+ year old defenseman to score 60 points. Incoming Norris? Hard to argue against it.
- J-Mac is a rock in nets. He brought it tonight.
- It's not a real hockey game unless 75 penalties are called.
- It's not a real hockey game unless there are several non-calls or Tomas Holmstrom bullshit.
- Toews is an impressive player, no doubt. But holy moley Moses let's get some other superstars some talk time.
- Mike Milbury is the most random person ever born.
- Henrik Zetterberg knows ALL the angles.
- Hey Patrick Kane, heard you got robbed.
- NO GOAL. Distinct kicking motion.
- Everything PMG says is extremely awkward....
- J-Mac is really, really sharp tonight. 5 to go at the Joe.
- Pretty intense game. Out of snacks after 5 minutes.
- Of course penalties decided this game. Great game, but there were some ticky tack calls and there's nothing more loathesome than when a good game is controlled by the referees. If you don't call it in the playoffs, don't call it in a regular season game.
- Still don't like Hossa.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
- The Ottawa Senators were eliminated a while back but they deserve to be acknowledged for their fine effort. Despite being out of the big playoff race following a massive skid in January, there were a lot of positives to come out of this season. Erik Karlsson is rounding into a reliable defensemen, Craig Anderson appears to be the goalie of the future, and Chris Phillips was locked into a contract extension. Unfortunately, this ranks among the Senators' worst seasons and a lot of question marks plague the team's future, including the effectiveness of Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, and Sergei Gonchar. It appears as though it's time for this team to rebuild around its core stars.
- The Florida Panthers were eliminated over the weekend, marking the 10th consecutive season they have missed the playoffs. To say the team needs a major overhaul is an understatement. Luckily, forwards Stephen Weiss and David Booth will be a good start. However, losing Tomas Vokoun to free agency is a big blow to the team's future. As the team continues to struggle with attendance as well as on the ice, there needs to be an overhaul of the franchise in every aspect.
- The New York Islanders have struggled for the past few seasons to maintain a competitive edge in their edition. John Tavares is going to be the face of the franchise for years to come, but there are a number of young scorers who put up impressive numbers: Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner, Blake Comeau, and Tavares all picked up 20 or more goals this season. Scoring won't be a problem in the future...but goaltending may be. After going through Rick DiPietro, Dwayne Roloson, Al Montoya, Kevin Poulin, Nathan Lawson, and Mikko Koskinen, the Islanders have just about exhuasted their goaltending resource with no clear cut number one. It's likely they will begin next season with DiPietro, Poulin, and Montoya on the depth chart. Not the best tandem in the league given DiPietro's continuous injuries, but they can be hopeful the American goaltender will finally emerge as the legitimate starter they thought he was when they signed him to that huge contract.
- Rest in Peace, Edmonton Oilers. I've already covered my disdain for the Oilers in a previous Wiz Biz but I'll rant yet again on why this team stunk this year. Full marks to the young players like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Andrew Cogliano, and Sam Ganger. No one expected these kids to do a damn thing this year. And they didn't. But they would have done more than nothing if it wasn't for the bad season Nikolai Khabibulin. In seasons not too far out of memory, the Bulin wall was a terrifying opponent who stifled some of the league's most potent offenses. This season, he's been nowhere near his old self. To an extent it seems like he gets out of bed just to collect that fat paycheck, but I'm sure the competitor inside of him expected Edmonton not to be devoting so much time toward rebuilding. Ah well.
- Colorado. The Avalanche. Buried by the weight of having to match the results of last season, where Craig Anderson strapped the team to his back and marched up the standings to get the team into the postseason. This year, Anderson was off his game and a combination of untimely injuries and just piss poor play sent the Avalanche back into the basement. This is a team that needs to make some big moves to secure what they just gave away for peanuts: goaltending. Is it time to shop John Michael Liles? Perhaps a coaching change? A front office shake down? It could be all three. Having a lottery pick will help.
Indeed, no other brother combination could score quite like the Šťastný brothers of Czechoslovakia. Peter, the center of the Šťastný line, was the most talented of the three brothers, and put up some impressive statistics during his NHL career...Wikipedia delivers:
- 8th all time in points per game with 1.268 points per game.
- 1st rookie to score 100 points in a season.
- most assists by a rookie (70).
- 6 straight 100 point seasons (1 of 7 to do so).
- Most points in a single road game (8).
- 1 of 4 people to score 1000 points in the 1980s.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
- HUGE game tonight in Boston as the Bruins face the Canadiens for the first time since the Max Pacioretty Incident. Mark Recchi's recent bout of verbal diarrhea has reopened the discussion about the legality of the hit, the credibility of Montreal's doctors, and of course most importantly, informed us all that Patches has a Twitter account. I'm not very good at predictions but I'm willing to take a shot in the dark here and say there might be a fight or two.
- According to a Brand Keys sports report, the most loyal fans in the NHL are...drumroll...the Detroit Red Wings. The top five are the Wings, the Philadelphia Flyers, the San Jose Sharks, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Boston Bruins. Huh, interesting, they're all Stanley Cup contenders. So who are the bottom five? In reverse order they are the Nashville Predators/Tampa Bay Lightning (how do you tie?), the Phoenix Coyotes, the New York Islanders, the Saint Louis Blues, and in last place, your Atlanta Thrashers. All teams with either financial issues, terrible attendance, or also rans for playoff contention. No surprises on this list. Oddly enough, the site doesn't list and quantifiable data...fishy, isn't it?
- Chris Osgood, the blog's namesake, is back on IR. Most Red Wings fans will admit to a degree of frustration with this story, as Ozzy was supposed to be back in nets almost two weeks ago. Well, it looks like he might not even make it back for playoff hockey, which means more Joey MacDonald. Luckily MacDonald has been playing uncharacteristically well with a 4-4-2 record and and impressive 2.10 GAA. Jimmy Howard is the man in Motown, but if he falters in the playoffs, Detroit is in trouble.
- Corey Perry for Hart? Not in my world, but the Ducks are 8-2 in their last 10 games and have creeped up on the Western conference playoff knuckleduster. Jonas Hiller is back, too. No one is going to want that match up in the first round. Even if Hiller is rusty in nets, journeyman Ray Emery seems to be picking up the slack just fine.
- Zack Parise might be back by the end of the year. Why bother? According to the amazing site Sports Club Stats, the New Jersey Devils have a 0.1 per cent chance of getting into the playoffs, with a maximum possible 90 point season, assuming they go undefeated in their final nine games. I can understand a player wanting to get back, but there's no reason to rush back just to make three or four token appearances.
- Finally, in international news, it's occurred to me that this blog has a small audience in the beautiful country of Hungary. Does Hungary like hockey? You bet they do. As of today Hungary is sitting in 20th place among all international ice hockey teams. They finished 2nd in Division I's Group B tournament in 2010 and are looking to win in Group A in 2011, where they will be co-hosting with Ukraine. A win at this tournament would boost them back up into the big tournament where perennial powerhouses like Canada, Sweden, Russia, and the United States play. Big props to goaltender Zoltán HetényiHetényi out duels him in a 2-0 shutout and doesn't get top goalie nod? Quite the rob job. In any event, GO HUNGARY!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
To sum it up, Recchi believes the report of Patches' injury was the result of an unfortunate hockey play, that the injury report was embellished, and that the Habs were looking to get Zdeno suspended to gain an advantage in a playoff race. Huh. Interesting.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
- So Matt Cooke gets suspended for the rest of the regular season plus the first round. Then he says he's sorry. I wonder if Mario thinks he can change him from on-ice bad boy to the man he thinks he could be. The soap opera continues...
- Are people still saying PK Subban is a brash, arrogant snot who has no respect for his peers? I guess so. What is it about this guy that brings out such hate? Is it the diving? Or is it because he's already better than most defenseman in the league?
- Hudler, Datsyuk, Franzen, Ozzy. It's hard to believe the Wings managed to come back from down 4-0 to get the shootout charity point. Then again...when they're healthy come playoff time...Western Conference, you're on notice.
- Hulsizer is hanging tough in his battle to win the Phoenix Coyotes. Congrats, you get to front a team that lost $40 million dollars this year and is less than two seasons removed from bankrupcy. I don't think this sale is going to happen, but if it does, things need to change in the desert.
- In international news, Swedish Elite League's HV-71 pulled a 2003 Detroit Red Wings and got swept in the first round of their playoffs, scoring four goals in four games. Ouch. In keeping with the Red Wing theme, HV-71's goalie this season? Former Wings prospect Daniel Larrsson.
- Ray Emery picked up one of the NHL's Stars of the Week. He might end up being the playoff go-to goalie for Anaheim, a team his Senators fell to in the 2007 Stanley Cup finals. I always find it funny how the game takes players and puts them in places they never thought they would be. Good luck to Emery in his comeback.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Montreal: Not a good week for the Habs, losing two of three to playoff hopefuls Washington (4-2) and the New York Rangers (6-3). The game against Washington appeared to be in reach until Mike Knuble potted a late 3rd period goal to pad the lead. The game against the Rangers was a gong show from the beginning, with the Rangers scoring five on Carey Price in the first period alone. The bright spot for the Habs this week was their 3-2 shootout win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Shootout wins imply a close game, which is to be expected in the late stages of the season, but when you lost your other two games on the week it doesn't look good. Luckily, as this column is being completed, Montreal holds an 8-1 lead over Minnesota. Woah.
Toronto: The Leafs didn't do themselves any favors this week by losing two of four, including a game against the Florida Panthers (4-0) that should have been a gimme. Their wins against Carolina (3-1) and Boston (5-2) were big statements saying "hey, we're not done yet!" Hopefully in the upcoming week, the Leafs can handle a hungry Minnesota team early in the week, a weak Colorado team with nothing to play for, and at least compete with the Red Wings on Saturday night. They're still in it, but it doesn't look good. Every game is a must-win.
Ottawa: The Sens are out of it but have pride to play for. They went 2-2, beating Tampa on Saturday night and driving a stake through the heart of the resurrected New Jersey Devils two night before that. Good way to end the week, considering their net was filled against Buffalo (6-4) and Pittsburgh (5-1) at the start of the week. At least they have a chance to play spoiler against Carolina and the Rangers this week.
Edmonton: A light week for Edmonton, with three games played spread out nicely. Unfortunately, it resulted in three losses, including a crushing loss to Colorado at home in a shootout. Next year is promising...so long as Khabibulin isn't in nets. 2-17-1 in his last 20, the Bulin wall is just picking up a paycheck. It's a little sickening at this point.
Calgary: Only two games in the week for Calgary as other teams caught up in games played. Both were played at home to Phoenix (4-3 Loss) and Colorado (5-2 Win). Calgary has everything it needs to push into the playoffs. Right now, stars like Jerome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff need to stay sharp and play their best as other teams play furiously. It's a heavy schedule this week with Anaheim tonight, Los Angeles Monday, San Jose Wednesday, and Edmonton on Saturday night. It's a California trip the Flames can't afford to treat like a vacation.
Vancouver: The Canucks are the toast of the league and had a 2-1 week which featured a 3-1 loss to Phoenix team that keeps winning. Their position as a division winner is clinched, but with a huge matchup against Detroit at Joe Louis Arena, they might want to wait until the weekend to start resting their stars. From this point forward, it's about maintaining momentum but protecting the team leaders.
So let's put the debate to rest. Bobby Orr is the best. He even deserves consideration for the best player of all time.
If the title of "best defenseman of our time" was to be delivered based on individual trophies alone, Nicklas Lidstrom would be king.
Nicklas Lidstrom: 58
Ray Bourque: 51
Paul Coffey: 38
Chris Pronger: 36
Larry Robinson: 32
Dennis Potvin: 32
Al MacInnis: 32
Brian Leetch: 31
Chris Chelios: 28
Scott Stevens: 16
Larry Murphy: 15
Phil Housley: 8
Interestingly, despite not making the top 10 in offensive stats, Chris Pronger and Scott Stevens fare relatively well. Murphy and Housley, on the other hand, do not. Rod Langway's two Norrises alone would place him ahead of Housley! There is a bit of a logjam at 32 points, good for 5th on the list, between Robinson, Potvin, and MacInnis. If anyone is interested in seeing where all of the points come from in detail, feel free to leave a comment and I'll post them. Trust me when I say it took hours to compile the data.
So this leaves us with Nicklas Lidstrom winning the title of "best defenseman of our time" according to the scoring system. Ray Bourque is a respectable 2nd, with Paul Coffey in distant 3rd. It could be argued that this system punishes non trophy winners, which is true, but it also rewards scoring defensemen like Housley and Murphy.
Where do you fall on the "best defenseman of our time" argument? Personally, I believe Lidstrom, Bourque, and Potvin come 1-2-3. Let the debate continue!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
2. THE WINNIPEG WHITE OUT: Props to the Phoenix Coyotes fans who have continued the tradition of blinding the opposition with a sea of white towels and t-shirts. If there's one thing I remember about the Jets, aside from getting Kris Draper for a dollar, it's that mass of fans screaming at the top of their lungs clad in the brightest white these eyes have ever seen.