Ah Eddie Belfour, we hardly knew ye. How's life in Sweden?
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
In just over three months of existence we have already surpassed the 10,000 hit mark! Everyone here at Everything Hockey would like to thank all of the people who have read our blog in our short existence. We look forward to what the future has to hold! Hopefully the 100,000 hit mark will follow soon!
In the words of Homer Simpson, "Don't mind if I do!"
Minus a extremely forgettable shlacking by Carolina, the Islanders get the pleasure of sitting on their duffs for roughly two weeks. 3 games in that span is generously brought to you by Gary Bettman and his NHL exec cronies, who also brought you great classics like "No Goal - Buffalo v. Dallas '99" and "The Great Southern Hockey Migration" .
So my massive Islander performance review will be postponed until the end of November, when we actually play hockey instead of me playing NHL 08 on my PC. Oh, I am 7-2 in it as the Islanders, I just beat the Rangers 3-1 so that helps a little.
While the Isles are still floating above the .500 mark, two blow out games in October has me worried, but as I said... November will be the real test.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Yes, that's right. The Toronto Maple Leafs resemble that fat kid who can't jump the fence. Why? Because their defense is horrendous, it's like they don't even have a defensive game plan. We have the most expensive defense in the league and what do we have to show for it? Last in the league in the goals against department. This team is inept with the term c-o-n-s-i-s-t-e-n-t-c-y, they follow up two strong road games with a 6-1 score against the capitals ( it's only the end of the second period right now.) and once again, disappointed the fans at the ACC. This will not change either, a trade HAS to be done if we want to attain the playoffs. And it has to be on defense. If not, JFJ is either the worst GM in the league or simply retarded. How can you not see these gaffes? It's like watching a kid with boots trying to play defense against Sidney Crosby. It's sad, embarrassing, somewhat humorous, and certainly depressing.
But where to start? I'll tell you where. Pavel Kubina or Ian White. Firstly, I like Ian White, I truly do, but his defensive game is questionable at best and his offense is not needed for this team, especially considering he's behind a flock of others. Swap Ian White with a defensive d-man and it's a start, we'll still suck but I guarantee you we'd see better results, as would VeTo and Raycroft. And then there's Pavel Kubina, a player who just juggles my emotions like some kind of circus clown on crack. He'll play a good game and then follow it up with an absolutely horrendous game, especially defensively. And on top of that, he's not needed... at all! His specialty is the PP, and guess what, he's getting numero deux PP time. if it's possible to trade his huge ass salary for any kind of defensive d-man, do it JFJ! For the love of god! If the Leafs can somehow manage trading both of them for two defensive defense-man that would be gold... pure gold.
Thanks for reading my vent, amigo's. I'll be back with another in the not too distant future. In the meantime, get ready for that homosexual fan to make another video further proving his... homosexual..ism?
Posted by Ron Guillet at 9:05 PM
The funniest Leafs fan video around. I know not all Leafs fans are like this, but the normal ones have some 'splainin to do. Some may be jokes, but I know a couple of them have to be real. I'm pretty sure that second caller is our own Ron Guillet ;)
In case you haven't heard already, Randy Jones of the Flyers has received a 2 game suspension for his check-from-behind on the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron. That is less than I expected, but it's good that it did not go unpunished. Blatant hits from behind like that should not, and can not be tolerated.
There will be a new poll up shortly, last week I asked the question "Who has had the best start to the season so far", and the winner by a slim margin was Martin Gerber who had 17 of 82 votes. Second place was Mats Sundin with 15 of 82 votes, and third place was Paul Stastny with 14 of 82 votes.
You may have also noticed that the banner was updated, featuring a darker, easier to read font. I'd like to thank jking72 from The Sports Lodge for all of his time and hard work put into making the banner, because it is a very important aspect of the site. It is truly appreciated.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I didn't want to make any assumptions on my opinion of the hit on Patrice Bergeron until I saw the video. I finally saw it late last night, and it was definitely a hit from behind. Some people will say "he had his momentum already going into the hit before Bergeron turned his back", but you should still be able to hold up when you see his position become dangerous like that. I believe Randy Jones will be suspended, I assume 4-5 games tops. There was absolutely no intent whatsoever, and Jones does not have a history of offenses. Bergeron suffered a broken nose and a concussion, so it's good to hear he is okay. Hits like that can be truly scary. Here is the video if you haven't seen it:
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Pascal Leclaire has 4 shutouts already this year. I have to pinch myself every time I say that. He had 1 career shutout in 59 games coming into this year. He is putting up Brodeur-esque numbers with the dismal Blue Jackets defence in front of him, which is absolutely mind numbing. Saying that Leclaire has had a good start to the season is the understatement of the century, and nobody could have predicted this. The hot question is, can he keep this up? I say absolutely. He is finally showing why the Jackets took him 8th overall in 2001, and that is to be the number one guy in Columbus. Nobody has ever doubted his talent, but his development has been severely delayed due to injuries. His save percentage really stands out to me. Leclaire is getting a fair amount of shots a game (26.8 to be exact), yet he still has a .950% save percentage.
His fantastic start has also raised another issue, and that is of the status of backup Fredrik Norrena. He came into the year nursing a knee injury, which allowed Leclaire to get a bit of a jump out of the gate since the starting position was still up for grabs coming into the season. Norrena proved that he could play at the NHL level by putting up a winning record with the Jackets last season, even though they were awful. Does Norrena get traded? Not likely, but he may see his playing time diminish as the season goes on, which is a shame because he should really be starting 50+ games. As long as Leclaire keeps up his fantastic play, the Blue Jackets will not be complaining about having two NHL starter quality netminders, in fact, they'll probably take as much advantage of it as possible.
Friday, October 26, 2007
With the crowd roaring at him and his teammates cautious of his so called ''rookie demeanour'' ( quoted from a Habs bum on the side of the road, otherwise known as Jacques Demers), the 19 year-old dug the puck out of the corner, lifted his head to scan the zone and, quite biasly I might add, passed to countryman Pavel Kubina, who fanned on the shot.... but no worries! Alexander Steen then took a wrist shot which apparently snapped over Fleury's glove for a goal. But wait, after video review, it is perfectly clear that Jiri Tlusty's ass did indeed deflect the puck for his first NHL goal. When asked about the goal, Jiri responded "He shoot to my ass and I a little bit feel it, but I don't say nothing," Tlusty explained in broken English. Classy young man, but the hind of steel was noticed and well appreciated. Well played Jiri!
His second goal came from who other than his teammate who he is biasly passes to all the time, Pavel Kubina. He roared down the ice with the puck in possession. Marc-Andre Fleury was apparently so intimidated from Tlusty's golden rear that he broke under pressure and dropped to his knee's begging for mercy...which then resulted in a hella slick wrist shot for Tlusty's second NHL goal. I ask you this; who needs Tavares?
Toronto's first overall pick in 2006 is now on pace for a 144 goals, +144, 0 assists and 72 Game Winning Goals. He is clearly the next phenom of the league and is sure to win just about trophy on display. When confronted about this by reporters, Jiri simply cracked a smile, pointed to his stick and a sparkle of light flashed from his teeth. What a guy!
Irony in it's finest form... Now they can't get rid of him!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I'm stealing this idea from my good buddies over at Nyjer Please, except here it will be all hockey videos, all the time. There are hundreds of funny, and stupid hockey videos on youtube, so it will be great to share with you guys some of the hidden gems. You've heard of "Manny being Manny" in baseball, right? Well, first up is a great clip of "Hasek being Hasek".
Apparently, Leafs General Manager John Fergusen Jr has been secretly talking to young Oshawa Generals forward, and future number 1 pick, John Tavares about maybe going pro, and signing a contract to play for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL next season. Is this their last resort at trying to end their 40+ year Stanley Cup drought without having to rebuild like most normal teams? They have to go out and give a huge "screw you" to the rest of the league and the league's drafting regulations? They are taking advantage of a young kid who wants to go pro, but can't because he is 5 days older than the cutoff day for the draft. The Leafs organization is really going to push some wrong buttons if they follow through with this, not to mention make a complete mockery of the drafting system, and may very well damage it for years to come. Who's to say the next time another Sidney Crosby comes along, the Habs can't go out and buy him before the draft? That is the precedent the Leafs will set whether you like it or not. The Major League Baseball draft is a joke because of this as well. Star up and coming players completely disregard what team they are drafted by, and demand so much money that the only teams that can afford them are the already good teams, and the bad teams never get better (see the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the American League). It's gotten to the point that teams completely skip a player because they know that he won't sign, and they would rather try to find a diamond in the rough who will actually sign with them. Is this how you want to see the drafts of the NHL's future go? If John Tavares signs a pro contract with the Leafs before he is draft eligible, it will ruin the draft permanently and it will threaten the parity of the teams in the league for years to come. The draft will become just as much of a joke as the MLB draft is if the NHL doesn't step in and stop this unfortunate situation.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Now that we are officially ten games in, what do we do? Do we push the panic button and fire a bunch of people's asses? Maurice? JFJ ( please, god) ? Do we trade away Sundin for picks and prospects? What's next, amigo's? Well, according to Leafs management we should stay patient. So I say this... can this actually be a good thing? If Leafs management believes our horrible D will turn it do we just let them do their thing and sink further in the standings? Hell yea. Either people get fired, which is a positive, or we let this team sink down the standings and hope for a good draft pick this summer. Of course, I'm trying to put a positive spin on things... to totally contradict what I just wrote, this is my prediction: We rebound and make the playoffs on the bubble, JFJ keeps his job and all is supposed to be well. Not exactly, we're stuck in the bubble and the long going mediocricy continues.
To end, I'd just like to state that the more the Leafs suck...the better. Even though my heart wants to see them do well and enter the playoffs, I know what should, but probably won't happen.
Until next time.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Before I begin, let me say that I understand guys like Roy don't come around very often. For every game-stealing goaltender, there's another 15-25 good-but-not-great guys that can keep your team in it, but they'll rarely if ever single-handedly win games. This may be controversial at best, but in my opinion there are two of those still in the game today: Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo.
Having said that however, it would be nice to see the Avs have even that not-quite-great goalie that can keep us in the game. Since Roy retired after the 02-03 season, we have seen 6 different goaltenders, 3 of which have been our "starters" in those three (and a bit) seasons. I understand that I may be preaching to the choir here, as I've been lucky enough to have been able to have a goalie like St.Patrick anchor my team for a good 8 seasons while other fans have spent their years frustrated with their teams goaltending, but my patience is quickly wearing thin.
When Roy retired, David Aebischer became the first of the shaky goaltenders that would find themselves starting for the Avs. Abby had already been the backup to Roy for 3 years prior to Patrick's retirement, so he was already somewhat familiar with the team. However, this obviously also meant that he would have big shoes to fill, especially since the Avs added Kariya and Selanne in the offseason. Long story short, Abby's tending was good, but not great, and we had a second round exit in the playoffs.
The season after that (ie. the year after the lockout) was even less stable. Aebischer struggled as a starter, and we saw the team go through a phase of a rotation of three goaltenders: Abby, Peter Budaj, and Vitaly Kolesnik. While each had their moments, none of them really stood out, and we eventually saw Abby cast off to Montreal for the overpaid and underachieving Jose Theodore, who became the de facto starter for the rest of that season and, thanks to some uninspired play by the Stars, a second round exit from the playoffs once again.
Last season began much the way the 05-06 season ended. We saw some rare moments of great goaltending from Theodore, but overall it was fairly dismal and we saw ourselves falling further and further behind in the playoff race. Then, almost out of nowhere, Budaj started to show signs that he could keep us in games, and in fact was our starter for almost the entire streak that saw us come to within one point of making it into the playoffs.
That streak, and Budaj's role in it, gave many Avs fans (myself included) hope over the offseason that we had finally found a plausible starting goalie that would bring us back to the playoffs. Apparently that was all it was, hopeful thinking. Now of course I can't truly judge eight games into the season, but so far we've seen inconsistent and shaky goaltending from both Budaj and Theo, which is what has led me to write this poorly researched, poorly written, and pointless rant, but hey, I'm sure at least a few of you will read it and laugh. Sigh.
After suffering another loss to the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 6-4, it is quite apparent that this club struggles on D. Eklund, the anonymous hockey blogger, posted a very interesting blog about trading Tomas Kaberle, I suggest you read it. Kaberle has a NTC in his contract though, unless he agrees to such a deal then it ain't happening. The thought of trading our best d-man and 2nd best player overall ( soon to be best) is scary. Kaberle, at 28, is just entering his prime and he will get better, which is extremely encouraging and it bodes well for an anchor, among many, for success. But that's the problem, we lack those other anchors, this team is a middle-of-the-pack club with no real future.
I believe that the Leafs could indeed build a club for the future without trading Kaberle; a player who will get better and lead this team for years to come. Of course, the easiest way would be to trade the vets and ice a young club, a Marlies club, rather and sink in the standings picking up high draft picks in the process. But unfortunately, Leaf Nation is too stubborn and impatient to withstand such rebuilding. If it wasn't for JFJ's NTC's and lucrative contracts on D this would be much easier...but simply said, the Leafs should trade Kubina and White. No offense to both, because I find them solid players, especially White, who is developing well as an offensive D-man. But the fact is, we already have Kaberle and McCabe for that. Not to mention Colaiacovo for the 2nd PP Unit. We need defensive d-man and replacing Kubina and White for defensive, shot blocking d-man will upgrade our club vastly IMO. Our D is the problem, period. They cannot shut-down opposition and they lack foot speed, take out two offensive minded d-man for two defensive specialists and suddenly we have a strong offense, solid goaltending, solid defense and IMO a solid team.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The Hamilton Bulldogs hosted the Manitoba Moose and Drew MacIntyre this afternoon on "Pink in the Rink" day, to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. It was an overall successful day, except for the fact that the Bulldogs lost 5-1. Jaroslav Halak did not play well at all. His rebound control was not what I have seen it before, and his body language showed that he did not want to be here. That, I feel, brings your team's moral down right from the start. When they see that their goalie doesn't even care, they will feel a little dejected themselves. Halak's behaviour, and performance, has not been acceptable so far this season, and I hope head coach Don Lever plays Yann Danis these next few games. Today's focus is on Manitoba Moose goaltender, and Vancouver Canucks prospect Drew MacIntyre.
MacIntyre is a tall, lanky butterfly style netminder. He has very sharp reflexes, and his vision through traffic is exceptional. He was able to either grab a hold of pucks or deflect them out of harms way, into the corner, showing me that his rebound control is very solid. He was rarely ever caught out of position, and was bursting with confidence out there. His skating wasn't fantastic, but his strength in his legs more than made up for it. He is able to come across the crease with ease. He loves to come out and challenge, and is always communicating with his defense. I was surprised that I was actually able to hear him all the way up in the stands, and that really helps out the defencemen. The lone goal they got on him was a tip in about 2 feet in front of him, and he had absolutely no chance. He is great down low, and not very many pucks snuck through without him noticing. He had incredible focus and there is not too much I can nitpick about him other than his below-average skating. In my opinion, he deserves a shot at the next level, because I am interested in seeing how he does. He looked in control out on the ice, and he was just as strong at the end of the game as he was at the start. The Moose were actually outshot in the game, so MacIntyre was quite busy throughout the game. I wasn't really sure if I was keen on this guy before the game, but he proved me wrong today. I am now a big fan of his, and I am looking forward to seeing him play at the next level.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Judging by the fantastic, highlight-reel goal he scored today on Jose Theodore (not like that's hard or anything, even Paris Hilton could do it) he better be on the Hawks for good. This kid has hands like butter, and the poise of a veteran. I'm not only a fan because he was captain of the Canadian world junior squad, I'm just a fan because he is contributing to the team and having fun out there. You can just tell that he wants to stay up by his body language, and I wouldn't be surprised if he captains the Hawks sometime soon. He is providing a spark that has been noticeably missing from the Blackhawks for the past few years. He'll be on HNIC tomorrow against the Leafs, and I'm excited to get to see him play in the spotlight. Not everything is hunkey-dorey about him though, he's got a guttermouth like you wouldn't believe.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are facing an original six foe tommorow night, one by the name of the Chicago Blackhawks. It isn't the fact that two prehistoric teams will be clashing head-to-head or even the fact that Trish Stratus is a Leafs fan that's creating an electric buzz around Leafs fans everywhere. It's a Hobbit known as Kyle Wellwood who is expected to make a return from the Shire. Wellwood is an intresting one, he was first a prospect in the system who wasn't really coveted and was expected to be a Marlies player in the 05-06 campaign... but an early season injury gave Wellwood the opportunity to crack the line-up and little did we know, he put 45 points in 81 games played for an impressive top 10 in rookie scoring. The following season, Wellwood was very impressive and was on a 70 point pace, but a sports hernia held him back and he finished with 42 points in 48 games. His soft sands, smooth deke's and exceptional playmaking made him among the fan favorites. But before this season even began, his groin acted up again, a time to panic? We're still pondering that one.
Kyle Wellwood is slated for a return tommorow night, and this is great news for one main reason. Our dreadful PP which is 28th in the league with a paltry 11.4%. Wellwood is now going to add a third option out there, and it's going to show how much a difference one player could make. The Leafs can now choose between McCabe and his slapshot, Sundin from the top of the circle and now Wellwood cross-crease pass to Tucker. However, I am expecting Wellwood to smooth in the line-up tommorow night so we'll probably see him start off on the 3rd line.
Prediction for tommorow night: 3-2 Leafs and just for fun for my Haberoo buddy's; 4-3 Sabres.
Until next time, amigo's.
I may be a little late on this, but I've been playing NHL 08 on the Xbox 360 for a solid month now, and I feel it's time to chime in with a review of my own. Many of you may have already read a few reviews of the game, and it has been received quite well. It received an 8.9 on IGN.com, and an 8.5 on Gamespot.com. I will base my score 5 areas, Graphics, Gameplay, Atmosphere & Feel, Authenticity, and Overall game depth.
The graphics in this game are absolutely stunning. The detail in the goaltender's pads, or on the player's helmets is amazing. Each strap on the pads are there, all the way down to the skate, and the strap that goes through it. The faces are great, when they are the real players' face. What I mean is, not all of the players have their actual face, but rather a generic one. The ice looks more realistic than ever, with skate cuts and reflections aplenty. This is only the second wave of NHL games on the next-gen systems, and it can only go up from here, so I remain optimistic.
With the addition of the skill stick last year, it made controlling the puck more dynamic and creative, not to mention easier. They added on to some of the things you can do, and now you can actually separate yourself from the puck to do a deke. The new skating engine is huge in my opinion. Never before have I felt like I was actually skating, playing a video game. Checking is more difficult, therefore more realistic, and you can catch pieces of a player, knocking him off balance. Now, as many of you know, I'm a goalie guy. They FINALLY added a goalie mode to the game in '08! It has some kinks to be worked out, namely going back to your post, but hey it'll do! I am now enjoying the game like never before, and it really adds variety to the game. It's almost like having two games in one, NHL Forward 08 and NHL Goalie 08. You can actually set up cycles on the power play, and the other team's defence will play it like an actual penalty kill. This adds realism to the game like never before. A great combination of easiness, and realism make the gameplay absolutely phenomenal.
Atmosphere & Feel
The sound is what stands out to me the most. You can now hear more chatter between players that is actually relevant to the play at hand. A player will yell "Man on!" when, you guessed it, there's an actual man trailing you! Players will call for passes up the ice, and referees will let you know when it is a delayed offside. Crowds are vastly improved as well. They will yell "Shoot!" on the powerplay, and won't hesitate to boo you if you are being outplayed. Goalie and team chants are also great. The overall "feel" of the game is an awesome sensation.
I am a real stickler when it comes to authenticity, and EA has it down to a T. This is a big reason why I choose EA over 2K, which is frankly a joke when it comes to authenticity and realism. Goalies have proper pads (which can all be selected in the create-a-player mode) and players have proper equipment. All of the arenas have their little quirks in it, and the scoreboards are right to the best of my knowledge. The only real issue I have is with the goal horns. I absolutely love goal horns, mainly because it is the only thing that sets arenas apart in the era of cookie-cutter rinks. They either have generic horns for some rinks, or old horns that haven't been used in the past 3-4 seasons. Only a select few have their real horn. How hard can it be to get the right horn to match the rink? Other than that, it's all peachy.
Overall Game Depth
The new practice mode is a great addition. Sometimes you just want to goof around and try some dekes you can never pull off in a real game. Plus you can hone your skills there if you are new to the game. Dyansty mode is lacking... again. Many glitches and issues make it frustrating at times, but it is an overall fun experience. Not a lot has changed from the years before except some CBA rules and an improved contract negotiating system. This is the only area 2K is better than EA. The addition of the AHL makes it more time consuming and, in turn, more realistic.
Best hockey game ever made, period. There are some small glitches and annoyances, but that is only to be expected in sports games. Improved computer AI and create-a-play, combined with the improved skating and hitting engine makes this game feel like no other. Practice and dynasty mode should keep you occupied until next year, and the improved creation zone will add some much needed flavour to the franchise. By far the most realistic hockey simulation I have ever played, and it can only be improved upon next year. If it's a ranking you're looking for, I give it a well-deserved 9/10
You can also catch my review of the music featured in this game at Sound Central by clicking here.
Just a quick note from Everything Hockey's resident Avs Blogger, coming straight from his laptop during class!
So it appears Coach Q is going with the hot hand... well as hot as a hand as you can get with our inconsistent duo. Jose Theodore (with some help for our forwards) was able to save the game despite Peter Budaj allowing the first 4 goals of our last game against Calgary, and he will be starting against Chicago tonight.
Coach Q hasn't made a firm commitment to start either goalie at this point, so a strong game from Theo tonight could result in more starts in his future.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Let me start by saying I'm an Anchorman fanatic who can get quite annoying with references or just mentioning the pure brilliance of the comedy... so excuse me now, please ( Psy understands it :)). I feel as if you should know me, and what I stand for. First off, I enjoy a good comedy... movies like Hot Shots : Part Deux, Wrongfully Accused, Anchorman, Blades of Glory, etc.. In the music genre, I like my heavy metal or hard rock the most. Bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Trivium, etc. are some of my favorites. Did I mention I like long walks on the beach?
What else do you need to know? My favorite hockey player is Mats Sundin and my favorite team is the Toronto Maple Leafs... so I hope I don't lose your respect for that. I don't believe in kicking teams when they're down and I like to have an objective view on every team, even if it's my all-time rival the Senators.
Let me leave you with the following image which I feel captures what I'm all about:
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
The Atlanta Thrashers have have "dismissed Bob Hartley of his duties" today, that's wussy-speak for he was FIRED (or maybe Donald Trump has a copyright on that...) After starting the year 0-6, Thrashers management finally decided that enough was enough. General Manager Don Waddell will take the reigns on an interim basis. In my opinion, not like it matters, they were a little quick on the trigger with this decision. The Thrashers have a lot of assets, and could turn it around with just a few tactical adjustments. A name already being thrown in as a possible replacement, is Pat Burns. It would be nice to see him behind the bench again after defeating that scary bout of cancer, but I don't think he's the right fit for the Thrashers.
Monday, October 15, 2007
19-year-old Jonathan Bernier has been sent back down to Lewiston of the QMJHL. After having a great start to the season in London, England, it has been all down hill for the Kings. They have not won a game since opening day, and it is obvious that changes need to be made. Bernier was getting shelled night after night, and did not look like he belonged at the NHL level. He wasn't necessarily bad, but Kings' management obviously felt that it would be better if he played another year in junior. He could be recalled later in the year, but I doubt it. Look for him in training camp next year to make an even stronger push for the starting role. The best you can hope as a King fan is that he learned what it takes to play at the NHL level, and that he'll try even harder next year to make the team now that he has a taste.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Rochester is in Hamilton this week, and that means I get a chance to see Sabres' prospect Adam Dennis play. This is installment #1 of my "Amateur Scouting Report" series. I will also report how Jaroslav Halak does, and list some skaters who stood out to me at the end.
First thing that popped into my head when I saw Adam Dennis was "Michelin Man". I've seen him play before, but he looks a little bulkier this season. I think he should lighten just a tad on the shoulder pads, for his benefit. He has a strong, fluid butterfly style, but struggles a little bit in terms of quickness. He's a little on the slow side like I said, but that's a technical thing that can be worked on these next few years. He has the basic moves down pat, you can tell, but he just needs to work on doing the moves faster. He's very calm and relaxed in net, unlike many young netminders, and that bodes well for him. All around good positioning, but he can get caught standing still on quick plays. He needs to work on getting better pushes, and having a little bit quicker feet. He seems to lose the puck quite easily on screen shots, but that may just be a one night thing, and I won't make that judgment quite yet. Some games you just can't pick up the puck, and maybe today was one of those days. Solid rebound control, and quick reflexes. The second goal was very weak, he was off his angle and let Lapierre score from an impossible angle (off the inside of his blocker, and in). He seemed to tire out later in the game, may need to work on his conditioning/endurance if he wants to make the next step to the NHL level. I got an overall comfortable feeling from him, but there are obvious problems that need to be worked on. The good news is, that the problems he has can all be worked on and are not very serious. He has lots of time to work on his skills and will likely be in the NHL someday. It's up to him to decide whether it's as a starter or back-up.
Jaroslav Halak started the game for the Bulldogs, but was pulled after 24 minutes. He gave up 4 goals, a couple of them from the fluky/weird variety. He did not look comfortable in net, probably because it's early in the year, so don't look too far into it. He was replaced by Yann Danis who stood tall and led them back from a 4-1 deficit, eventually to a 4-4 tie. The Amerks ended up winning the game in a shootout, with both goalies looking great. It took 11 shooters before the first goal, Clarke MacArthur beat Danis to win it.
Some skaters that stood out to me:
Thursday, October 11, 2007
It was a great day for rookie goaltenders making their first career starts yesterday. Montreal's Carey Price stopped 26 shots in a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. On an interesting note, Habs' greats Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy both made their NHL and Habs debuts against the Pens, Roy's debut occurring on the exact same date as Price's. Some critics are saying that Price was not really tested in the game, that many of the shots came from the outside, and that may be true (which it looked like from the clips I saw, plus the first goal was BS), but that means absolutely nothing. He now has one NHL game under his belt, and that's all that matters. He now has a sense that he's made it, expect the real Price to show himself in the next few starts. He is by far the most technical and positional goaltender I have ever witnessed play in my life, and that's saying something. He is very relaxed in net, which he probably showed last night, and it may look like he is slow, but he is not. It's all in an effort to save energy in the butterfly style.
Senator's goaltender Brian Elliot also made his debut last night, and actually fared better than Price. Elliott stopped 27 shots in a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers, and looked good doing it. Elliott was drafted 291st overall in the 2003 entry draft, and was not expected to start for the Sens this soon. He's from Hamilton, like Ray Emery, and was a standout at at the University of Wisconsin. I can't really say too much about him as I haven't seen him play except for what I saw last night. He will most likely be sent to Binghamton of the AHL when Ray Emery comes back, so hopefully I will be able to see him play against the Bulldogs.
Also, if you get the chance, pick up a copy of The Hockey News' "Sixty Moments That Changed the Game" that recently came out. My copy came in the mail today, and let me be the first to say that this is a must-read for any hockey enthusiast out there. Many of the moments happened before my, and most others, time and it is definitely worth the read. Don't worry Professor Prax, there are many pictures ;)
Monday, October 8, 2007
Just some of the more unfortunate names in the world of hockey at their finest:
10. Clayton Stoner - Defenceman
This Minnesota Wild prospect had his issues getting to the pros, but he seems to have worked it out and now plays a key role for the Houston Aeros. I'm talking about dealing with the taunting about his name, not any drug related issue. Get your mind out of the gutter.
9. Kim Staal - Forward
Montreal figured that there weren't enough Staals in the league already, so they went to Denmark to find (and to draft) their long-lost cousin.
8. Mike Wall - Goaltender
Filled in admirably in Anaheim last season, now with the Avs AHL affiliate. Shuts the door during key opportunities, you could say he builds a, errr... wall.
7. Matt Smaby - Defence
This University of North Dakota graduate smight crack the Lightning roster this season. I'm smrooting for him, are you?
6. Matt Generous - Defence
This Sabres prospect loves to dish out the assists, almost a little too much.
5. Stephen Baby - Forward
The Springfield Falcons love having a tough customer like him in their lineup. Easiest trash talk victim award goes to?
4. Michael Christ - Forward
In 11 career games so far in his German Elite League career, he has yet to notch a penalty minute. Is anyone surprised?
3. Scott Barney - Forward
I love you, you love me, but I'm still gonna take 32 penalty minutes playing for the Hershey Bears.
2. Michael Funk - Defence
This Rochester American loves to break it down... in the defensive zone. He also has Saturday night fever... for playing hockey.
1. Dmitry Shitikov - Forward
This Moscow Dynamo forward would be in the NHL right now if it weren't for the unfortunate strict rules against what you can put on the back of a jersey...
The Rangers began the 2007-2008 season by posting a 1-1 record. They beat Florida by a score of 5-2 on Thursday,followed by a 2-0 shutout loss in Ottawa. Although did come out with 2 points, the Rangers seemed shaky on the ice in both games, did not play well as a unit and generally did not put out a good effort. While the 4-goal third period on Opening Night showed how good the Rangers can be, there seems to be an inability, thus far, to put out a full game effort. This is what happened during the miserable first half of last season and the Rangers will have to come together quickly to prove that the bad start is not a sign of things to come. Although this is no reason to worry yet, it is important that the Rangers find a groove as soon as possible. The Rangers dont play until Wednesday Night so hopefully Renney and the Rangers will figure out how to improve.
A-Very Bad Injury
Sean Avery will miss the next four weeks with a separated shoulder. He was hit shoulder-to-shoulder by the Senators' Chris Neil on Saturday Night. Avery was playing on the second line with Gomez and Shanahan and now the question is who will fill that spot. Two names jump to the front: Marcel Hossa and Nigel Dawes. Hossa, who was scratched from both games, is a pretty good player and has played well with the Jagr line. Many believe that this will translate to success on any offensive minded line but this is questionable. Hossa played well in the puck-possesion, slow game played by the tandem of Jagr and Nylander. His lack of speed will be an issue with the speedy Gomez as the center. Dawes on the other hand had a good preseason and played especially well with Shanahan and Gomez. It will be nice to add another young player to a team that is trying to prepare for the post-Jagr era. Hopefully, he gets a chance against the Islanders on Wednesday
Kid-Line Broken Up?
The line of Prucha-Dubinsky-Callahan which produced two goals against the Panthers was broken up for the most part of Saturday's loss to Ottawa.Dubinsky was moved to fourth line center and Betts moved up. The explanation for this move eludes me and hopefully Tom Renney will put the line back together. In other line-up changes, Paul Mara was scratched agains the Senators in favor of Jason Strudwick. There was no big difference to report.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
The title sums it up for me. I have never been happier to be proven wrong. I was among the many to choose the Buffalo Sabres to sweep the home and home series against the New York Islanders. My predictions? 4-2 Buffalo in game 1, 3-1 Buffalo in game 2. Was I wrong? Ooooh yes. The Isles exploded on Ryan Miller and a suspect Buffalo defense with 6 goals in their season opening win and repeated the performance in front of a roaring home crowd in a 3-2 victory in their home opener.
Mike Comrie. This signing is looking better and better as this young season picks up steam. 4 goals, 2 assists in 2 games. Not bad for a person who many thought would have a weak season on the Island.
Ruslan Fedotenko. A surprise start for a player who had a weak 06-07 campaign, blasting off to start the season with 1 goal and 4 assists.
Bill Guerin. Billy G hasn't dropped a puck in the net yet for the Isles, but he sure helped put a bunch in with 5 assists in 2 games.
So in 2 games, the 3 major signings by the Islanders this offseason drop in 16 points against the team that knocked them out of the Stanley Cup playoffs last season. Not bad for a team picked to finish last or second to last.
Rick DiPietro said it best: "It's been like that since I've been here, we've always been picked to finish last, second to last. I think we're doing the right things here to be successful."
So far, so good, Ricky.
Notes: Freddy Meyer dropped to waivers, prepare for a Berard signing very soon. John Sim is out with an injury, up comes Tambellini! I hope he sticks, but not at the expense of Sim. Trade Hilbert for the rights to someone. Anyone. Alexandre Daigle. Least he could score a few.
I am shocked about the way Chris Mason has been playing. I know it has only been two games, but this man is on fire. I know that he turned most people's heads last season, but now I'm starting to see why they traded away Tomas Vokoun. He started off the season with a shutout against Ryan Smyth and the Avs, then he followed it up with a 5-1 win over Dallas in his second game. He just looks so comfortable in there right now, and he deserves to be recognized. I honestly believe he can make a serious shot at the Vezina Trophy this season if he keeps this up. Mason is entering his prime years, so this type of play may only last for the next couple of years, but he deserves some praise from non-Predators fans. I was looking forward to see how he would play with a Timonen-less Predators lineup in front of him, but so far he is showing no ill effects. Dallas isn't a high powered offence, that's for sure, and Colorado may have just had an off night, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on him in the weeks to come. If nobody has him in you fantasy pool, I highly recommend you pick him up.
I'd also like to take this time to announce a new feature coming to this site in the coming weeks. I attend a lot of hockey games throughout the year, whether it be AHL, Junior A/B, or otherwise, and I will be submitting my "Amateur Scouting Reports" on the goalies that play (since that's what I know). I'll try to focus on players who have their rights drafted by an NHL team (which will be easy for an AHL game), or are entering the upcoming draft. I live in Hamilton, so the Bulldogs are the source of most of my games (I can hear the Habs fans shrieking with joy), and you will see some in depth reports on Halak, Danis, and any other goalie who starts a game for the Dogs, but I'll try to watch the opposing team's goalie more. I may also throw in the odd position player, but what do I know about them, I'm a goalie.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Congratulations to Kevin Lowe, who according to TSN, has signed a four year contract extension with the Oilers.
Sources tell me that now that K-Lowe is under contract, Gary Bettman is working hard to get a grudge match signed between Lowe and Brian Burke. Rumor is that former Edmonton GM Glen Sather is working with Vince Mcmahon to get the match signed for Madison Square Garden, and that it'll either be a cage match or a ladder match. If it ends up being the latter, it'll be the Stanley Cup and Dustin Penner's contract hanging from the top of the arena.
While we're on the subject, what kind of match would YOU like to see between Kevin Lowe and Brian Burke? Leave your comments at the end of this blog entry!
Until we get to see that grudge match, here's to another 4 years of ridiculous offer sheets.
Here's to another 4 years of crazy Brian Burke tirades.
And finally, here's to hoping Carey Price signed a contract longer than Kevin Lowe's contract before he comes an RFA.
Congratulations Kevin Lowe, you make the offseason all that more entertaining.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Good night in the NHL last night, but boy was I off in my predictions! here's a quick recap of last night's matches followed by tonight's previews:
New York Islanders 6 - Buffalo Sabres 4
Wow was I off on this one... High scoring, high octane game, whereas I thought originally it was be a lot slower and cautious, focused on goaltending. Will tonight's match-up be similar? Comrie has a big night, and Vanek gets my stamp of approval for slapping it 4 feet away from the net, that was just awesome.
Gold Stars: Mike Comrie (2G - 2A), Thomas Vanek (1G - goal of the season so far).
Pittsburgh Penguins 1 - Carolina Hurricanes 4
I was wayyyy off yet again. Pens get romped by the Canes. Staal keeps pushing for that spot as a top 10 player in the league, and Jeff Hamilton showed us that the 'Canes can roll more than just their top two lines.
Gold Stars: Eric Staal (2 Goals), Jeff Hamilton (1G - 2A), Cam Ward (34 saves), Mark Recchi (1G, 6 shots... for still having it)
Anaheim Ducks 0 - Columbus Blue Jackets 4
Yup... don't know what's going on here. The Ducks just stank. Their defense let 37 shots in, their forwards failed to produce a goal, and against the Blue Jackets of all teams. Something needs to change in Anaheim and soon. One thing's for sure though, if Nash can stay healthy and play the way he did last night, Columbus might not be so bad down the stretch.
Gold Stars: Rick Nash (2G - 2A), Pascal Leclaire (28 saves, Shutout), Ilya Bryzgalov (33 Saves... his team just wasn't there tonight).
Washington Capitals 3 - Atlanta Thrashers 1
Hey look Prax got one right! The new guys proved their worth here tonight, with Kozlov and Nylander both chipping in goals for the Caps, giving them the good ole vic. Now to see if they can keep it up.
Gold Stars: Viktor Kozlov (1 Goal - 7 Shots), Alex Ovechkin (1 Assist - 6 shots - leading this team like always), Kari Lehtonen (36 saves... again not the reason his team lost... almost seems like it's becoming a trend early in the season).
Boston Bruins 1 - Dallas Stars 4
Anyone really surprised here? Is there any reason to think Boston's going to go anywhere again this year? 4 goals on 18 shots is just unacceptable for a goalie like Manny Fernandez. You say something has to change in B-town but the more things change the more things stay the same there, it seems.
Gold Stars: Marty Turco (24 saves), Brendan Morrow, Sergei Zubov (1G - 1A each)
San Jose Sharks 3 - Vancouver Canucks 1
Sharks bounce back from their shootout loss vs. Edmonton the night before and knock off the Nucks with the help of Joe Thornton who again (*gasp*) scores. And guess what? JEREMY ROENICK HAD 2 GOALS! That's right! JR's back baby! Well it's only one game, but hey, might as well celebrate it while it lasts.
Gold Stars: Jeremy Roenick (2 goals, for not walking out of the game to go grab some ribs), Douglas Murray (2 Assists, +3), Bobby Lu (28 saves, for being the only Nuck who didn't completely suck)
Gold Stars of the Night:
1) Jeremy Roenick (hey, let him enjoy it while he can).
2) Rick Nash (could be seeing a lot of him here if he stays healthy).
3) Mike Comrie (almost didn't put him on here out of spite for dating Hilary Duff... lucky bastard).
Honorable Mention: Thomas Vanek (for what's so far, in three nights of play in the NHL, the goal of the season).
On to tonight's predictions:
Professor Prax's Win Prediction record: 8-10 (ouch).
First Saturday night of the schedule and it looks like we have some good match-ups on tap, but none even come close to beating this one:
Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Ahh Hockey Night in Canada. A tradition reborn as the rivals of all rivals face-off in the first of 8 regular season meetings. The drama for this one won't be nearly as high as last April's game (which I still stand by as being the match of the decade), but emotions will be running high. While a lot of players in white and red will be looking for revenge for last April's loss, the Leafs will be looking for their first victory.
In a recent interview, many Canadiens players as well as the coaching staff said that it was still a difficult loss to swallow. It was the first time in Matthieu Dandenault's career that he missed the playoffs. It was a tough way to end an up-and-down season for the Montreal squad. Many still think that Cristobal Huet wasn't physically ready to start that game, and now he steps on the ice against the Leafs looking for revenge and looking to make up for the six goals he allowed in last year's loss.
The Leafs, on the other hand, are just as hungry for the win. Even though they won the now infamous game, they ended up missing the playoffs anyway. On top of that, they opened the season this week with two back-to-back loses to the Senators, so there will be a lot of pressure on Saturday night on the Toronto squad to pull off the victory.
Which team will be able to pull off the victory? Will the Habs avenge last April's devastating loss? Will the Leafs finally get their first win of the season? Whatever happens, it doesn't get much better than this, Hockey Night in Canada baby!
It's good to be Canadian!
Prediction: 5-4 Canadiens (F/SO), Hat Trick from Ryder, Komisarek knocks Darcy Tucker all over the arena.
Around the Rinks:
New Jersey Devils vs. Florida Panthers
TRAAAAAAPP (Will this be my comment for every Devils game? Maybe...)
Prediction: 2-1 Devils (I'm going to keep predicting this until it happens).
Buffalo Sabres vs. New York Islanders
The back-end of a so-far high scoring home-and-home. If both teams keep up what they've been doing so far we're in for another great rivalry this season and beyond.
Prediction: 7-4 Sabres get revenge
New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators
A meeting between arguably the two most powerful and stacked teams in the league, and it should be a good one. Possibly the two biggest top lines in the league right here. Will the Rangers be able to continue to mesh the way they did in their opener, or will Heatfredspezza strike again?
Prediction: 3-1 Rangers (Gerber's bound for a meltdown sooner or later, and Jagr's squad sounds liek the right team to have a meltdown against).
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Washington Capitals
The 'Canes visit the Caps in Washington after romping Sidney Crosby and his squad at home last night. Will they be able to put down the other boy-wonder of the NHL or will Washington's youth and speed catch up to their high-energy short bench game?
Prediction: 4-3 Capitals
Anaheim Ducks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Two ways to look at this game: The battle of a potential stanley cup final match come next spring OR the battle of two teams that really need a victory after getting stomped on last night. The Ducks REALLY need a convincing victory here but I'm not sure they're going to get it. Game after game it seems more and more like they're missing Neidermayer and Selanne.
Prediction: 5-2 Pittsburgh, Crosby gets 1100 points.
Atlanta Thrashers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
The first of many battle between these two Southeast teams. It's looking like the Southeast is becoming more and more competitive as the years go by, and both teams will be contending for the top spot in their division. Which of these teams will get the upper hand as the first week of the season starts to wind down?
Prediction: 4-2 Lightning
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Edmonton Oilers
I refuse to predict a victory for the Flyers yet, and I still think Briere's overrated. There I said it.
Prediction: 4-3 Oilers (I don't care what Briere does!!)
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Minnesota Wild
The Blue Jackets visit the Wild tomorrow night after romping the Stanley Cup champions last night. But the wild aren't a team to mess will, they haven't allowed a goal yet. Granted the season's 1 game old... Either way this game will be better than it looks on paper.
Prediction: 2-1 (F/OT)
Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators
Two teams that still have a lot to prove battle it out here. Both the Preds and Stars might have to struggle to do anything this year after disappointing offseasons for their fans. This game is a matter of momentum for both teams.
Prediction: 2-0 Preds
Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Hawks fans better hope Havlat's latest injury isn't serious, because if it is, it's going to be another looooong season in the Windy city. Either way they aren't winning this game, the Red Wings are too strong and too hot going into this one.
Prediction: 4-1 Red Wings
Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames
If there wasn't so much emotion in the Battle of Eastern Canada, this would be a GOTN candidate. Always good to see an all Canadian Battle in Western Canada.
Prediction: 4-3 Flames (F/SO) (Calgary goes down 2 goals early and comes back to win it in a shootout)
Boston Bruins vs. Phoenix Coyotes
The Bruins continue their Southwestern road trip, and just when Bruins fans thought they had it easy after facing a tough Dallas squad the night before, the Coyotes have looked fairly strong so far this season.
Prediction: 3-2 Boston (F/OT)
St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings
The Kings have their first game at home (although technically they've already had a home game) six days after dropping a game to the champs in London. Will the 6 day hibernation prove to be the demise of the LA squad or will they be fresh and ready to go vs. the Blues?
Prediction: Kings 3-1
Posted by Professor Prax at 9:03 PM
Professor Prax's Win Prediction record: 7-5 (I had a bad night last night, sorry guys)
Three nights into the schedule and we still have a few good ones to pick from. But there's one match-up that stands out in the crowd:
New York Islanders vs. Buffalo Sabres
Another rematch from last years playoffs, and both teams look very different. No more Drury and Briere in Buffalo. Can they dominate like they did last year without them? They still their top goalscorer in Thomas Vanek, and a healthy Tim Connoly will do a ton of damage. The Islanders are without their gamebreaker from last year (Ryan Smyth), and even though he didn't contribute much in the end, for the price Garth Snow paid for him, it's a big hole in any line-up. Will newcomers Fedotenko, Comrie, and Bill Guerin be able to plug the hole? Whatever happens, this match is deserving of GOTM honours, keep an eye out for this one on your TV sets.
Prediction: 3-2 Sabres, GWG is controversial.
Around the League:
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Sidney Crosby and his troups make their regular season debut as the 'Canes try to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Montreal on Wednesday night.
Prediction: 6-1 Pittsburgh, Crosby contributes on most of the goals.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Anaheim gets a night off after a tough road trip in London England vs. the Kings and then at Jos Louis vs. another top team in the west. What? Oh they're playing tonight? Does Columbus even count?
Prediction: 3-0 Anaheim, Bertuzzi has another big night.
Washington Capitals vs. Atlanta Thrashers
Here's a case of a team that did a lot to change vs. a team that didn't do much in the off-season. The Thrashers made the playoffs last year, but with teams improving around them left and right, are they good enough this year? The Capitals are much improved this year and, in my opinion, WILL pose a threat to teams like the Thrashers, and it starts tonight.
Prediction: 5-3 Washington, Backstrom scores in his first game in the NHL (with a little help from his budyd AO).
Boston Bruins vs. Dallas Stars
Here's a team that faced disappointment after disappointment last year vs. a team that could be this year's Bruins. The Stars have a lot to worry about, as do the Bruins, and even though this is an interconference game, it's an important one for both of them, as the Bruins need to start a season on a positive note and the Stars need to keep themselves out of a rut, already 0-1 this season.
Prediction: 2-1 Bruins (F/SO)
San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks
Playing a game the night after a disappointing loss in Canada is never an easy thing to do, but the Sharks try to do it tonight. The Canucks open the season tonight, and no one's really sure what to expect. Luongo is still one of the best goalies in the league, but other than that, what has Vancouver done to prove they can win games? Do they even need to do anything else? Facing a tired Sharks team is probably a good way to start the season though.
Prediction: 2-1 Canucks.
Posted by Professor Prax at 12:15 PM
Already night 2 of the NHL, here's a quick recap of last night's matches. Let's see if the professor got anything else right!
Rangers 5 - Panthers 2
I predicted 5-3, close enough. The Rangers got goals from all over the place and pretty much picked up where they left off last season. Does this mean the Rangers will be as powerful as people say? Only time will tell as their opponents get better.
Gold Stars: Marek Malik (3 Assists), Chris Drury (1 G - 2A), Jaromir Jagr (2 Assists).
Senators 3 - Leafs 2
Well it isn't a blowout, but it'll have to do. The Senators were outplayed last night though, and maybe got a little lucky. The Leafs are hungry and won't keep up their losing ways for long.
Gold Stars: Martin Gerber (41 saves, second game in as many nights), Heatfredspezza (combined for 3 goals -3 assists and 13 shots).
Tampa Bay 3 - New Jersey 1
Maybe my trap comment got to the Devils and they lost their concentration. Either Way, Vincent Lecavalier showed us why he's a top player in the league, chipping in two goals to start his 2007-08 campaign and to give his team the win.
Gold Stars: Vinnie Lecavalier (2 Goals), Martin St. Louis (3 Assists)
Predators 4 - Avalanche 0
A complete rout here, as it seems the Avs line-up wasn't ready for 2 games in 2 nights yet. Peter Budaj certainly wasn't. Has Ryan Smyth done anything yet?
Gold Stars: Jason Arnott (2G - 1A, 7 shots), Chris Mason (35 saves, shutout).
Wild 1 - Chicago 0
Martin Havlat proved why it was a good move for me not to pick him up in a fantasy league yet again. First game and he's already injured, it's unbelievable.
Gold Stars: Niklas Backstrom (27 saves, shutout), P-M Bouchard (Game winning goal)
Oilers 3 - Sharks 2 (F/SO)
The rookies proved their worth to Edmonton last night, more so than all the big name players Kevin Lowe acquired, contributing both goals for the Oil. And get this... Joe Thornton actually scored :O
Gold Stars: Joe Thornton (1G - 1A, Game tying goal, 5 shots), Dwayne Roloson (28 Saves), all the Edmonton rookies (for showing up the veterans).
Flyers 3 - Flames 2
so Briere scored... plan the parade. Going down 2 goals early, it doesn't seem to me like the Flames were ready for this one. The scary thing is, though, that the game they played reeked of the possible game they could end up playing all season. The Flames need to be awake when the puck drops in order to win games, and despite coming back from an 0-2 deficit, sleeping through the first half of the first did them in last night.
Gold Stars: Daniel Briere (2 Goals, 6 shots), Mike Knuble (1G - 1A), Simon Gagne (2 assists), Daymond Langkow (2 Goals).
Coyotes 3 - Blues 2
Can I be mean and call this the battle for the Western Conference Basement yet? No... ok sorry.
Gold Stars: I got nothin for ya... maybe Legace? (31 saves).
Gold Stars of the night:
1. Chris Drury
2. Daniel Briere
3. Martin Gerber
Posted by Professor Prax at 11:48 AM
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Second night of the season and we're in for another good one! Here are some quick predictions for tonight.
Professor Prax's Win Prediction record: 4-0 (that's right)
Professor prax's Score Prediction record: 0-4 (Although I was close on a few)
Florida Panthers vs New York Rangers
Two teams that look completely different from the teams that ended the season last year open their campaigns tonight in New York. The Rangers go into this game with almost-Vezina-quality goaltending and a much improved offensive squad (not that it was that bad last season), but iffy and unproven goaltending. Florida, on the other hand, goes into this game with a goaltender with something to prove, an solid defensive squad but a fairly weak offensive unit.
Prediction: 5-3 Rangers, Goals from Drury (2), Jagr (3).
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Ottawa Senators
Still waiting for that blowout rout...
Prediction: 7-2 Ottawa (Go Heatfredsspezza... that's right I just made that up)
New Jersey Devils vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Prediction: 2-1 Devils (Do I really need to predict goalscorers? We all know that all that matters is Brodeur).
Colorado Avalance vs. Nashville Predators
Colorado's coming of a big win last night. But they're going to be tired, and they're going to Have to play Theodore. Nashville, on the other hand, is a much weaker team than last year and might have other things (sale of the team) on their minds. I predict a high scoring game.
Prediction: 6-5 Nashville, Goals from everyone. Can Stastny follow up on last night's performance?
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild
A fresh young Blackhawks squad looks to start of the season with a bang, while Minnesota looks to prove their a playoff team in the Northwest. Should be an exciting contest.
Prediction: 3-2 Blackhawks, goals from Kane, Havlat (2), Sergei Samsonov DOESN'T score (bold prediction, I know :O).
San Jose Sharks vs. Edmonton Oilers
The Ball is Evgeny Nabokov's court now for the Sharks. They have a solid offensive unit but they'll be missing Scott Hannan's consistency on the blueline. And Nabokov doesn't have it easy in his first game tonight, as he faces Sheldon Souray's rocket. Edmonton has a lot to prove this season, will they be able to start off on a positive note?
Prediction: 4-1 Sharks, goals from Joe Thorton (rare one, don't expect me to predict this again), Cheechoo, Pavelski (2), someone's head gets knocked off by a Souray shot.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Calgary Flames
An interesting season opener for both teams. Will Briere live up to his 10 million dollar hype? Will this new and improved Flyers squad survive the great crowd in the Saddledome? And where have the Flames been since April anyway?
Prediction: 6-4 Flames, goals from mostly Langkow and Gagne.
St. Louis Blues vs. Phoenix Coyotes
I'm going to come out and say this right off the bat, I'm a believer in the Blues this season, I think they'll make the playoffs. As for the Yotes... they still suck.
Prediction: 3-0 Blues, goals from... well is anyone really going to watch this game anyway?
Enjoy the games tonight folks, keep an eye out on the Battle of Ontario in Ottawa as well of the Flyers/Flames. Two potential Games of the night right there,.
Posted by Professor Prax at 2:35 PM
The NHL might not be the most popular sport on paper, but one thing's for sure, when they put on a show, they do it right. And Opening night of the 2007-2008 campaign in no exception. Two games went to overtime, one to a shootout, and the last was a one goal game. If that's not exciting hockey for you then I might as well give up my non-existing teaching license right now!
Here's a quick recap of last night's affairs, including a new feature from yours truly, "Professor Prax's Gold Stars of the game"... you get the idea (and I am taking suggestions for the name, I realize it's a little lame :P).
Red Wings 3 - Ducks 2 (F/SO)
First game of the season in the league and we get a shootout, who would've thunk it! Great way to start the 90th season of the NHL with this 2007 Western Final rematch. And to top it off, Prax is 1-0 with his predictions and, hey! He even got one of the goalscorers right! Todd Bertuzzi gets a big game, bouncing back from his non-season last year, chipping in a goal and an assist, as does Henrik Zetterberg for his team. Hudler gets the shootout winner but the real story here is the shot differential. Detroit dominated Anaheim 42-15, and dispite a lackluster .867 percentage, the Dominator looked like a Russian gymnast on some of the saves he made.
Gold Stars: Todd Bertuzzi (1 G - 1A), Henrik Zetterberg (1G - 1A), Ilya Bryzgalov (40 saves).
Canadiens 3 - Hurricanes 2 (F/OT)
Another renewed playoff rivalry here, but this time the Habs were the victors, pulling out a win in overtime. Saku Koivu picked up right where he left off last season, contributing 2 goals. Mark Streit looked like Sheldon Souray on the powerplay, and both Andrei Markov and Roman Hamrlik has quiet but solid nights anchoring the team at the blueline, as did Patrice Brisebois, surprisingly, minus a couple defensive hickups. Cristobal Huet was solid less a weak goal from Bret Hedican (hey we're all allowed a few), as was Cam Ward. This game was as close as they get, but the better team came out with the victory.
Gold Stars: Saku Koivu (2 goals, best player on the ice), Cristobal Huet (29 saves, stood on his head), Cam Ward (37 saves), Mark Streit (1 goal, played like a Swiss Army Knife).
Senators 4 - Leafs 3 (F/OT)
Leafs suck. Sorry, Had to say that, sorry. Although they played a tight game tonight, the 7.5 million dollar man and his crew were too much to handle. Arguably the game of the night, and hey, the good guys won!
Gold Stars: Dany Heatley (2G - 1A, continues to be a Leaf Killer), Nik Antropov (2G), Jason Blake (1 assist, 7 shots, +2)
Stars 3 - Avalanche 4
Everyone was wondering whether the changes the Avalanche made last season would pay dividends, but it's a sophomore with the team that's the story of the game, with Paul Stastny getting 3 goals and playing a big part of his team's win. Scott Hannan had a quietly solid night as usual. The Dallas Stars did everything they could to squeak out a win, but their lack of quality goalscorers inevitably caught up with them.
Prediction: Paul Stastny (3 Goals... nuff said).
Gold Stars of the night:
1. Paul Stastny
2. Saku Koivu
3. Dany Heatley
Posted by Professor Prax at 1:52 PM