Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Biggest Disappointments of this Season

Teams and their Scapegoat edition. There are so many, where to start, where to start.

After a surprising run to the Conference finals last season, Big D took a nosedive with everything from injury bugs, to emotional breakdowns, to poor Sean Avery being used as excuses. Big things were expected from the Stars this year, but magical Mikey, and last year's deadline acquisition/Conn Smythe dreamboat Brad Richards couldn't pull it off.

Familiar image Marty? I just heard Les Jackson on NHL Home Ice and he said, "We've got to take a look and see if we can get Marty some help." Is that mental help, Leslie? Turco is almost single-handedly responsible for the meltdown of the Stars this year. And is now reigning king of the ugliest pads in the league since MA Fleury dropped his banana slug monstrosities.

The San Jose Sharks are making tee times, instead of planning parade routes, and where to spend their day with the Cup. It was funny in previous season when the Sharks would play well throughout the regular season, and then eventually lose it in the postseason. This year, when they were all-but destined to win it, they have solidified their team as a joke. No one showed up, but one of them should take it harder than anyone else...

Jumbo Joe "No Show" Thornton. Yeah, he's probably sitting at home in his Bruins jersey crying, maybe bloody, wishing he was still playing for Beantown. It sucks Joe, I know, and you may have never asked for all this attention, but you got it with all your slick, no look precision passes, and your jovial personality. You are going to shoulder the load wherever you go, so don't try to run away to another team by demanding a trade, you'll be responsible for all their failures as well. Just take it like a man, and make us assholes eat our words.

Its going shitty for the Florida Panthers. That's about right for the Cats, shrouded in blue, with a red asshole. They got fucked, missing out on a very necessary postseason this year. But they would have been shredded by the B's anyway. Would you rather have them make a run like St. Louis only to be trampled? No, instead the most memorable thing from their season is the chick with the nice tits. Oh well, at least its Florida.

No, I can't take credit for this dandy, but I will use it to my advantage. This is probably the most accurate portrayal I've seen in a long time, and if Florida doesn't send Martin out on a rail then they're going to have a red asshole down there for a lot longer. As long as that guy is picking up paychecks from the Panthers front office, then that team is still getting fucked in the Alps. Jacques biggest screw up has to be not pulling the trigger on a Bouwmeester deal. That will be the talk all summer long until July 1st.

People expected the Coyotes to do well this year. I'm not sure why, but maybe it was more that they needed to do well, not necessarily that they could do well. The franchise is struggling is the understatement of the year, with the media blitzkrieg this morning of the NHL wiping the doomed franchise's ass. This team was out of it by Christmas, and although they've drafted pretty well, and picked up some young talent at the deadline, I would say they are no closer to the postseason next year, than they are this year.

"I'm the Great One you fat bastard!" I swear you type in 'Gretzky coach' in an image search, and every picture is him screaming, or him with Janet, the gambling junkie. Know where she gets the money? Wayne's salary for his shitty job of coaching the Coyotes is somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 to $8million. Not bad for a team that can't afford to pay its rent. If Gretz was the savior the NHL made him out to be, he would have personally willed this team to do better. Instead only Shane Doan does.

The Latest Traitor

Ladies and gentleman, your Bill Masterton Trophy award winner for "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey" is...

Richard Zednik...

who is leaving the Florida Panthers of the NHL to join Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Well Richie, something tells me you won't be winning that award. The other two candidates are modern day caveman Chris "Chili" Chelios, and Nashville Predator ironman Steve Sullivan. Cheli has a murder in his Chili Bar something tells me that's going to effect the voting.

What a Pleasant Surprise!

There's a Round Two Playoff Game on tonight!

Oh like whiskers on kittens, and all kinds of gay shit like that.

No really though, I'm glad I don't have to hold my nut for another night, purple has turned to blue.

The Chicago Blackhawks will travel north to the lovely province of British Columbia to entertain a crowd of thousands at the hostile General Motors Place, home of their Round Two rival the Vancouver Canucks. This Western Conference series should be a beauty.

Yeah this will be a series I keep a close eye on. Ahh, who the fuck am I kidding, I'll have my eye on all of them. I've paid my dime for the Center Ice package, you bet your ass I'm gonna get my money's worth.

I'm calling this the "Youth" series of the West, while the Ducks/Wings matchup is more the "Veteran" series, even though the Ducks are being led by the youth, its mostly veterans. Shut the fuck up, it is what I say it is.

We will call the Pens/Caps series the "Gary" series, in honor of the great mastermind, Gary Bettman. The fucker is a lawyer from New York, who selected this asshole, the commissioner of the NBA? Oh shit... Wait, wait... Pull what out?

And last, and certainly least will be the "Snoozer" series, Bruins/'Canes. I don't expect much excitement out of this series, but I hope I'm wrong, and some major shit goes down.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

There's Pee in My Pool

And a steamy Baby Ruth to boot...

"Don't touch it!"

Believe me I wish I didn't have to, but I've got to go back over my miserable bracket to break down the next round. And while it's not a total failure, my SCC pick has hit Shitsville with golf rounds-a-plenty. Yes San Jose has bombed once again, and have now rightfully earned the title of "Choke Artist." I took Philly too and immediately regretted it. I took them for the first two rounds last year and it paid off.

So I went 6 for 8, and I'm down a goaltender who only earned me four points. I should have gone with Timonen and taken Parise, instead of Richards and Oduya, that was just a bonehead move. Even though Timonen didn't do shit, he did more than Oduya who gave me a goose egg. Richards shoulder, and Drury's hand fucked me too.

So who's left...
Well I've got two offensive defensemen in the Detroit/Anaheim series, Scotty Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski, both who have done well for me. Jonathan Toews and Daniel Sedin have also put up nice numbers for me, as well as Evgeni Malkin, and Eric Staal who's been lighting it up. Timmy Tommy didn't need any extra time to whomp the Habs, but didn't shut them out either. Ovechkin has been a little disappointing, only because its him and you expect him to get 7 goals a game. But he's starting to break out, and elude his shadow, we'll see who Pittsburgh puts on him. Hooks Orpik anyone?

As for bracket picks, maybe I just better stick to round to round like MSM does so not to put too much of their ass on the line. So for the second round I'll start with the East...

(1) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Carolina Hurricanes - I'm taking the Bruins in 5 games.

Here's why...
- Boston disassembled Montreal piece-by-piece, they looked instrumental in doing so.
- That Carolina/New Jersey series was very streaky, very all over the place. Its obvious Carolina could turn it on when they wanted to, but they also didn't show up for a few games as well. Boston has killer instinct. Carolina may steal one, or two, but not three, and certainly not four.
- Boston won't underestimate them like New Jersey did. This is the second round, teams are even more prepared for their opponents by having watched their first round series.

Bottom line, probably the least exciting series of the second round. Boston will execute.

(2) Washington Capitals vs. (4) Pittsburgh Penguins - I'm taking the Pens in 7 games.

Here's why...
- The Capitals are good, but too offensively minded, Pittsburgh is two-way hockey.
- Washington showed they are weak in going down in a series to the lowly Rangers. Pittsburgh literally kicked the crap out of Philadelphia.
- Because I want it to go to seven games, don't you?

Bottom line, this will be a no holds barred, adrenaline-filled, thrill ride.

To the left, to the left... (I hate that bitch.)

(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Anaheim Ducks - I'm taking the Ducks in 6 games.

Here's why...
- Because I've got Game 6 tickets.
- Because no one's repeated as Stanley Cup Champions in a decade.
- Because I don't give a shit, and I hate the fucking Red Wings.

Bottom line, this will be a great series, even if Detroit wins. The bad blood between these two teams will be boiling.

(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (4) Chicago Blackhawks - I'm taking the Canucks in 7 games.

Here's why...
- Vancouver dismantled a very hot St. Louis team in short order.
- This is a real youth series, and while Chicago is younger, Vancouver has a little more playoff experience, and the sour taste of losing in the post.
- Do you not remember the late regular season matchup between these two that resulted in hair pulling?

Bottom line, this will be another lights out series if nothing more than a battle between Luongo and Khabibulin. Chicago will lose this year, and return next season with a lesson learned.

So it all sets up for a pretty orgasmic second round, with the exception being the Bruins/'Canes series. Gary must be creaming in his pants.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Disgrace that is the San Jose Sharks

If this video doesn't say it all, I don't know what does...

Talk about a fucking letdown. Talk about a fucking failure. The San Jose Sharks have now officially become the Buffalo Bills of the National Hockey League, without even sniffing a shot at the Championship.

What a bunch of fucking bums.

Fucking aschlo's.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Scheduling Shenanigans

I swear to God I'll pistolwhip the next shithead who schedules a playoff double-header on Versus. You know, with the small potential for playoff games to go into full length overtime periods, if not several.

Oh what's that Gary? You'll do me one better. You're going to schedule two Western Conference 1st Round Playoff games on the same night with an hour difference in start times?

So what, you do that every night in the early stages of the round.

What's this you say? Those are the only two games that are going to be on that night. And you're going to do the same thing the next night with the Eastern Conference games, only with start times a half hour apart.

Well Gary, that's just genius. Pure genius. But if you'll indulge me, please allow me to revisit the virtuosity of your brilliance.

You have two Western Conference series that need a result waiting for their game six, and two Eastern Conference series that need results waiting for their game sevens. So instead of mixing an early Eastern Conference series game, with a later Western Conference series game, you have decided to show two games on one night at virtually the same time, and then do it again the next night, and potentially for a third. And each of these games, on the same night, will have obvious implications in the next round. Not to mention the fact that you will show two all-important Game Seven's at the same, fucking, time. That takes some real talent to come up with that gem.

Shit, if you had played it any other way, you would have ended up with a playoff double-header on Versus.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Panic and Surprise

The NHL's answer to Shock and Awe. (5:08)

Its striking the East Coast and taking over the continent.
  • Montreal is getting their ass handed to them in the celebrated season. There was talk of starting Halak in Game 3 after Price got yanked in the schelacking of Game 2, but young Carey started after all. Will desperation sink into immortal Bob Gainey, as he pencils in Jaro? More at 11.
  • Almost everyone expected Washington to be immortal until the second round, with heroic Alfred E. Newman leading the charge. Boudreau pushed the panic button early and started rookie Simeon Varlamov for Game 2. The move payed off as Varley lost a one goal Game 2, and pulled a shutout out of his ass in MSG in Game 3 for his first in pros. Cue confidence.
  • The Battle of Pennsyltucky looked like a one-sided affair. Until the series shifted to Philly, and everyone started playing that type of hockey. Now its a series. Yeah, I'm not convinced.
  • Is Columbus the new Atlanta? After making their first postseason ever, Detroit has flicked the switch to playoff hockey, and Columbus appears as if they don't have a prayer. However, the series shifts to Ohio tonight and the atmosphere alone could make the BJ's more than just a hoe hummer this postseason.
  • At least one win is respectable, right? St. Louis could be the first team guilty of missing that benchmark, after an inspired run to the sixth seed from the basement back in February. Overachievers? Maybe finishing 8th would have made for an easier matchup?
  • Yes, yes, playoff choke artist the San Jose Sharks are down two games on home ice after putting up the best home, and overall, record in the entire league. The other state battle is sure to go off like a powderkeg tonight in lovely, balmy, Orange County. I have no doubt that the Sharks will come out of a cannon, (instead of a shark), tonight in a crucial game for their postseason lives. I would bet the house the Sharks come out a winner tonight. The flukey Ducks are just as likely to drop two on home ice.


  • Montreal not turning into a riot, when a riot is actually warranted.
  • The Devils and Hurricanes sending two games into overtime, and still boring the crowd to tears.
  • Theodore letting in soft goals? Noooo. Getting replaced by a rookie goaltender by the second game in the first round? That doesn't sound like the Teddy I know. How did Colorado give this guy up? Don't they collect shitty goaltenders now?
  • Philadelphia playing like dusty old farts. How is that city not losing its shit right now?
  • Is Vancouver this good? Or is it just that they're playing a team from Missouri?
  • Is Calgary this bad? Or is Bertuzzi just the ultimate curse?
  • Chris Osgood still not getting any respect. How can this be? Maybe its your fucking helmet, dude? I'll pay for a new one with Rodney Dangerfield painted on it.
  • The Ducks youth movement. Could the Iowa Chops really be grooming the draft picks this well? What are they putting in those Baby Backs?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why Minnesota Missing the Playoffs Might Be the Best Thing Ever!

It all comes down to simple logic...

If the Wild were still in it, Jacques Lemaire would still be coaching.

If Lemaire were still coaching, Doug Risebrough would still be the General Manager.

If the Wild were still in it, we would be bored to tears, anxious awaiting their eventual exit.

And if the Wild were still in it, and then lost in the first round(like usual), Lemaire and Risebrough might be inclined to give it another try next season.

Instead, this year we don't have to bash our heads into the wall while we watch the Xcel Center go "wild" for the neutral zone trap as some Western Conference powerhouse plows through them. All while all-star talent Marian Gaborik grows a human shadow and does nothing the entire series.

I honestly believe that this may be the end of trap hockey in the National Hockey League.

Thank fucking Jeebus!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am so fucking tired of watching the Wild forwards hustle back to the neutral zone to circle around while teams like the Coyotes breakout of their zone. And this while Minnesota is down three goals in the third.

I hope Lynn blows up that team like Nagasaki. Shit, now you could even try to sign Gaborik if you can get him to believe that you are actually going to put a run-and-gun offense together. Doubt that'll happen, but who knows.
Death to the Trap, and here's to an even better post-lockout NHL.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Bullets of 4/15

Already regretting my picks. If St. Louis wins tonight I'll have the superfecta.
  • Pittsburgh was flying tonight, I understand why people pick them to go the distance, after watching them again tonight.
  • Philadelphia looked old and tired.
  • Washington and New York could be the best series in the East of the first round.
  • The Rangers impressed me with their play tonight, they never gave up on the puck, and everyone played hard.
  • Carolina had no fire tonight. I don't know if Maurice has the tools to light it.
  • New Jersey looked like they were having fun. Everyone taking Carolina must have really set them off.

Going to see the Black Keys tomorrow night, scheduling screw up. But I'll be actively pursuing scores and highlights.

Looking forward to 'Nucks/Notes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pick Your Nose

Okay this is a big post, I hope I'll be able to finish it before game times on Wednesday. I've been incommunicado since Friday, up in the big sticks of Yosemite.
So now I'm back, from outer space, and I've come to make some picks.

I've got a little fantasy game that I play every year that I stole from John Buccigross on ESPN. Its much more fun when there's more shitheads involved so feel free to join in anytime you want. So it works like this, you take two goaltenders, four defenseman, and the rest, 10 forwards. Points are based off goals and assists, two points for a goal, one for an assist, and for goaltenders, two points for a win, one point per overtime period completed, and a bonus three points for a shutout. The tiebreaker is the total number of goals scored in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Does that make sense to all you mutts? So if you take Roberto Luongo, and he finishes with seven wins, one of those a shutout, and goes through three overtime periods, Luongo has earned you 20 points. (7 Wins x 2 points = 14 pts.) + (1 Shutout x 3 pts. = 3 pts.) + (3 OT's x 1 pt. = 3 pts.) = 20 points.
Clear as a glassbottom boat? Good.

Alright, so obviously you want to pick goaltenders on teams that are going deep because those are your major point earners. Its wise to pick one goalie from each conference, and probably from the two teams that you think are going to meet in the SCF's. Sometimes that's a tough call because the best teams usually have a great forward, or forwards, and maybe a great offensive defenseman.

Defenseman don't score as many goals as forwards, so great puck-moving defenseman are key. I was thinking this year I would pick d-men from teams that I didn't think would get past the first round, but I can't commit whole-heartedly to this.

The first step is to trim your tree, so without further a do, I'll show you my bracket... in a totally non-homosexual way.

First we start with the left, and you can see I've gone out on a limb. That lonely bandwagon of a limb. I almost had Columbus beating Detroit in seven, but I put the gun down. I just couldn't do it. Pussy. Taking out Detroit early would have made this whole bracket easier, and I still feel really uneasy about San Jose going against them late. But as I've said all year for the Sharks, "if not now, when?"

As for the right, you can see the wagon is fully loaded. Taking the number one's in both conferences seems like the safe bet, but that's hardly the case. I just don't see anyone beating Boston from the East. Sure there's hot teams right now like Pittsburgh and Carolina, but the layover will affect those teams, and these are the playoffs. Anyone can get hot. Or cold.

As for the prize I'm taking San Jose in six. I feel like an idiot just typing it. I don't like these picks anymore than you do, but this is how I made my bed, and now I'm sleeping in it. In shit.

Since I've gone with the number one's to go all the way, I'm taking Nabokov and Thomas as my 'tenders. Even if I hadn't picked them to go deep, I still think those are solid choices. The only other two I could go with are Fleury and Luongo, but I'm just not feeling either of them.

As for defensemen, I've decided to go with Scott Niedermayer, Brian Rafalski, Mathieu Schneider, and Johnny Oduya. Oduya is obviously the odd man out here, but I don't think the Devils are going anywhere against the 'Canes, and I'd hate to waste a forward, like Parise on a first round flop. With Markov out "indefinetely" I can't consciously take him, so I've got to go with Schneider and hope the Bruins take a lot of penalties. I don't trust any forward on that Canadiens team. I like Rafalski over Lidstrom this year, but usually Nicklas is always one of my defensive picks, even on a team with Datysuk, Zetterberg, and Franzen. I could have taken Getzlaf, but Scotty Niedermayer is just so clutch, besides I don't think they're getting past the Sharks.

To wrap this thing up I'll roll out my forward lines. I had to take Toews over Kane, seeing Johnny as a much more all around player than Patty. I took Jokinen seeing as how Iginla seems to be on the downslope of his career, and I've developed a new hatred for that whining bitch Phaneuf. I took Nash for lack of a better option, Daniel Sedin as the top point-getter of the twins, and Brad Boyes since he's been a monster lately. For the east, Eric Staal has been tearing up, Ovechkin because sometimes he has the ability to score goals, Drury for his drive, Malkin because he's Russian, and Richards because he's a complete player.

As for the "probably shoulda's"... Dan Boyle would have been a great defensive choice, I'll probably kick myself for not taking Lidstrom, or Kane. It would be great to see Sundin bust out but he's been playing like he rather would've retired. Zdeno Chara or Phil Kessel would have been solid point-getters, Kovalev is an enigma, Markov has the dreaded lower body injury, Parise and Lagenbrunner are the Devils only hopes. Mike Green is another solid d-man, but how do you not take AO? Actually I even thought about grabbing Semin or even Backstrom. Gomez? Crosby? I'll stick with Drury and Malkin. Timonen or Carter would have been good to have, but Richards is just too well-rounded.

I'll be second-guessing myself the whole way through, and re-picking each round when I fail miserably. But at least you've got my guess for now.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Games of the Night, April 9th Edition

Buffalo's meaningless attempt at making the post is prolonged for at least another day, in their defeat of the Maple Leafs. And Columbus fought back to beat Chicago in a shootout, clinching their berth with the tie going into overtime. Anything after that was just gravy.

There's a couple of games to look out for tonight with 11 on the docket. The top six seeds in each conference are in, leaving the seventh and eighth spots up for grabs.

Thursday, April 9th
Montreal @ Boston - Montreal could still be a big flunkie for their Centennial. They have 93 points and sit in the seventh spot. Markov and Schneider are huge losses, but apparently Matty, who was out indefinetely could return to the lineup.
Buffalo @ Carolina - Ho hum, death to the Sabres, finally.
Philadelphia @ NY Rangers - It looks as if Philadelphia controls the destiny of the teams on the bubble in the East. If Rangers win, Buffalo dies. If the Flyers win, then Florida chances seem much brighter.
Florida @ Atlanta - Florida still has to win out. If they can't beat the Thrashers then they don't belong in the playoffs.
Nashville @ Detroit - The Predators have one of the best records against the winged wheel, but this is not an easy game by any means. Nashville needs the win otherwise its bye bye post.
Anaheim and St. Louis are idle tonight, so they'll be watching to see where they fall.

Those are the playoff implicating games right there. I'll be out for the weekend on holiday, so I'm going to attempt to cover the weekend as well with predictions of the outcomes.

Friday, April 10th
Nashville @ Minnesota - Even if the Preds can't do it at the Joe, they statistically still have a shot. They have to beat a non-playoff team to earn it.
Columbus @ St. Louis - The Blues control their own destiny if they win out, the Jackets have already won.
Dallas @ Anaheim - The Ducks are tied with the Blues with 88 points, but beat them and the Predators out with more wins. They only need one win to assure the playoffs, in my mind.

Saturday, April 11th
Saturday is another big day in the NHL with 13 games on the schedule, very few of them will influence postseason chances, but most of them will involve positioning within the eight seeds.
Washington @ Florida - a loss against Atlanta tonight will make this game meaningless. If they can win both of these, they still need New York or Montreal, or the teams they're playing against to help them out.
Anaheim @ Phoenix - Like I said above, Anaheim needs one of these games. At best, they'll probably only win one. At worst they could drop both completely aware of what they mean. That's the kind of season the Ducks have had. But not lately.

Other interesting games on Saturday:
Carolina @ New Jersey - Just how fucked are the Devils?
Chicago @ Detroit - The first of a home-and-home on the closing weekend of the regular season. Nice.
Pittsburgh @ Montreal - How fucked are the Habs?
Edmonton @ Calgary - The second of a home-and-home in this Alberta battle.

Sunday, April 12th
If it comes down to the wire, which it usually does...
NY Rangers @ Philadelphia - I wonder how hard Philly will play these two games against the Rangers. Knowing the mindset of Philadelphia, I would think pretty hard. The Rangers didn't make it easy on themselves.
St. Louis @ Colorado - Like I said about Florida, if the Blues can't beat not only a non-playoff team, but the worst one in the west, (which the Blues were not too long ago), then they don't deserve to get in.

And that's it! I'll be waiting for the draft lottery order after that on Tuesday, April 14th. Then its matchup time.

Enjoy Fuck-o's!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Game of the Night

I can actually do this!

Because there's only two games on tonight. Coming down off that 13 game high last night will be tough, but we can bounce back on Thursday with an eleven-banger on the schedule.

I'm discovering new levels of hatred for the Maple Leafs, for some unknown reason, and I think everyone has had it with the Sabres. They're done like dinner.

So skip that snoozer and check out the Central Division matchup of Columbus at the United Center against the Hawks. Chicago had a big win over the Nashville Predators last night, so they could be a little peak-ed tonight. Columbus on the other hand should be well-rested and pissed, considering their last game was an overtime loss on Sunday, at home against those same pesky Blackhawks. That was a great game though, who said a scoreless game couldn't be exciting?

Chicago earned their postseason berth with the win last night, but Columbus still needs to claim theirs. Columbus is sitting in sixth with 90 points followed by Anaheim and St. Louis with 88, and Nashville with 86. Columbus is not guaranteed a spot by any means considering they face the Hawks tonight away, the Blues on Friday again away, and back home against Minnesota the following day.

If the Q has any brains at all behind that masterful 'stache, he'll rest his stars and veterans tonight, and then have his guys tune-up against Detroit in a home-and-home over the weekend. That's a great warm-up for that young Hawks team before they enter the playoffs, playing with that caliber of team before they enter the post against the Canucks or Flames.

The Blues on the other hand, need every point they can get to squeak into the post. They'll be fighting for every point to make sure they make this miraculous run a reality. And I would think that Minnesota would be officially eliminated by the time the BJ's face them, but who knows, stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

As of Now...

Florida lost to Philly, and the Rangers beat Montreal. Florida's got Atlanta and Washington left for their two games, but I don't think its going to matter. With the results of tonight, I think the East is sewn up, barring some jockeying for position.

As for the West, Chicago is up 3 to 2 on Nashville with 5 minutes left to play, and St. Louis has just started their game in the desert. The Predators and Blues are tied with 86 points, but the Preds have 39 wins, to the Blues 38. In the seven spot are the Ducks with 88 points, and 41 wins, but they are idle tonight. If Nashville loses, and St. Louis wins, the Blues will leapfrog into the 8th spot.

Nashville's last two games will be away at Detroit, and Minnesota. Yeesh!

St. Louis's last two will be at home against Columbus, and away in Denver.

I'm thinking the Predators only get one of the last three, and finish with 88 points. And St. Louis will grab tonight, lose to Columbus, and smash Colorado for the berth.

Way to go out on a limb, right?

Game(s) of the Night

If you don't know, you should be shot.

Montreal @ NY Rangers

Florida @ Philadelphia

Chicago @ Nashville

Calgary @ Vancouver

St. Louis @ Phoenix

Dallas @ Minnesota, ehhh

Los Angeles @ Edmonton, not so much.

I'm busy. Fuck off.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Game of the Night

At this point, who could pick one game. I haven't succeeded in doing that it since I started this idea.
Three games tonight, three infinitely important, yet pointlessly miniscule reasons to watch.

First off, Detroit @ Buffalo, on the network that wants to see your V. This should be the nail in the coffin for the Sabres, if it hasn't been hammered in already. But according to Sports Club Stats, Buffalo still has a 7% chance of making the 8th seed. According to my numbers, that number is more like 0.007. The game is essentially meaningless for Detroit, but still have a shot at the President's Trophy if they can pass Boston, and overtake a 6 point deficit to San Jose. I'm thinking Detroit should already be resting their veterans, but knowing Babcock, he'll probably be double-shifting them.

Second, Ottawa @ Montreal. We thought there might be a chance that Montreal would still be clawing their way into, or out of, the playoffs, but it looks as if they have a better shot of getting in, than the Sabres do of missing out. The Canadiens can jump into the sixth seed in the Conference with a win tonight, but are probably complacent enough to just make it. Ottawa has pride at stake, why we don't know.

And last, Los Angeles @ Calgary. Calgary needs a win like pineapple's need security. Bad. They've been ri-goddam-diculous lately, taking five of the last fourteen. That stinks for a division leader, it stinks bad.

The Kings can only play spoiler at this point, blocking the Flames for the Northwest lead, and allowing the Canucks to slide in there.

The playoff picture seems to be a little clearer, but while these statistic nitpickers keeping producing the minute odds of the Islanders making it, we will forever speculate.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Upon Further Review

I watched almost every game yesterday, flipping channels at commercials to catch the simultaneous games, and I noticed two instances yesterday of the referees using replay to call a penalty.

One of those calls, which I'm sure we'll be talking about for weeks, was Sean Avery's return to douchebaggery as he "accidentally" smacked Tim Thomas in the back of the helmet during a TV timeout. If you didn't see it, or hear about it already, here's Puck Daddy's description with video because I don't feel like going into detail about it. But I must say Tommy's waffle to Freddy Shoes face was hilarious.

The second was much more tame, an accidental high stick in the Columbus vs. Nashville game, where the crowd let out the collective groan after watching the replay that persuaded the refs to make the call after missing it initially. The thing to note about this is that after they sent Raffi Torres to the box, they looked again at the screen and decided it was Fedor Tyutin who would receive a double-minor for the smack on Radek Bonk.

First off, these calls weren't made by taking a look at the tiny-ass monitor they have in the scorer's area, you know the Toronto "War Room" feed. These calls were made after the ref got a look at the replay on the jumbotron in the respective arenas.

And second, since when did we start using replay, no matter what the source, to review calls, or non-calls that aren't related to scoring or clock issues?

Is this another rule change that I missed?

Am I the fucking dipshit who doesn't know the rules, or what a natural hat trick is?

Friday, April 3, 2009

T-ank-avares Sweepstakes

Is anybody really buying this tanking business in order to garner the #1 pick in the draft?

Could an entire team of hockey players, guys who spent their entire lives working at the game they loved for just one shot to make the big stage, really throw a season away, just to make sure the team they're playing for can get a kid, who they've never met, and who can supposedly turn the franchise around?

Is anybody believing that shit?

What athlete, halfway through the season would say, 'Yeah, if you guys want to lose for the rest of the year, I'm in'? Who would sign on for that crap?

Have we forgotten how this professional team sports system works?

A team is started by a single asshole or a group of assholes who have more money than they know what to do with. They hire former athletes and/or business people to run the front office and put a team together. Teams are made of several individuals with a certain set of skills that make them competitive to play with or against other individuals with similar sets of skills. So the team is the "company" and the players are "employees." The work and success of the "employees" is either a positive or negative reflection of the "company" as a whole.

Yes, employees want their companies to be successful, but if they aren't, they leave to be part of a company that is. And one that will obviously offer them more opportunities whether that be a better salary, or a higher status, say a Stanley Cup Champion. What employee has enough personally invested in a particular company to care to put the time and effort in to make it better?

Pessimistic? Yeah maybe. Shitty attitude? You betchya. Realist? Definitely.

The only employees who care enough are the ones who aren't referred to as employees. They're partners, owners, minority stake holders, or employees that are so well paid they'll say and do anything you tell them to. Or they're Fans ("customers").

Every fan knows that you stop being a fan once you become part of a team that competes against your team. You can grow up being a Toronto Maple Leaf fan your entire life, but as soon as you get drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets that shit gets buried in your childhood closet. Sure you can long to one day be traded or offered a job from that mess-by-committee, but other than that those thoughts have vanished.

These guys, just like us in our boring everyday jobs, are independent contractors. We are going to go where the money is best, and business is booming.

When's the last time you were psyched your company was hiring someone else?

I couldn't give two shits, unless my company hired a fluffer.

Even if my argument is bullshit, look at the teams who were exiled before Christmas. The Isles have played some of their best hockey all year when the pressure was off. Colorado, well Colorado has Andrew Raycroft. And snow. And snow equals snowblowers. Atlanta has been playing with some pride lately, as has Phoenix. These guys aren't dogging it, they're working hard, or hard enough while the boss is watching.

I don't blame fans that get pissed when their crappy team starts winning, jeopardizing lottery chances. They're being realists and looking towards next year. They don't want their team to suck again next year, so suck the chrome off a trailer hitch this year. They've lost the majority of the season anyway, it doesn't mean anything now except getting a high pick, why would they want them to win? Pride? They've already shit all over that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's No Surprise

...I'm watching the Blues.

Actually it is a surprise.

Who would've thought that St. Louis would be in the postseason conversation as opposed to being in the draft lottery conversation?

Who would've thought that a game against the Detroit Red Wings on April 2nd would matter for either team?

Well it does, and its a great one. End to end action, and lots of goals in a short amount of time.

The Blues are coming off a dismal shutout in Chicago, after being the new rage in the National Hockey League. Coming from last place back in early February, they were a point out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference race before this game started.

They have bounced back from that crappy game, and have given Detroit a run for their money. Babcock, out of pride or madness, has been running his big line of Zetterburg, Datysuk, and Holmstrom almost every other shift. Backes had two goals in the second, but Detroit got one before the end of the middle frame.

The top of the third was very interesting, four goals in the first four minutes of the period. Detroit scored in the first minute from a carryover power play, Lidstrom with a soft shot from the point, and of course Holmstrom in front of the net, screening out Mason. But Backes answered quickly, getting his first career hat trick, with his third but not his last point of the night. The next goal was credited to Andy McDonald on a tip from the point shot, but I actually believe that Backes tipped it after McDonald. If you look closely at the replay, Backes is shaking off a defenseman but it appears that he gets his stick, or at least some body part on the puck before it goes past Conklin.

Where are we at now? 4-2 St. Louis? Yeah, that's it.

Okay, so the next goal is a nifty one from Franzen. The Mule catches the puck right in stride as he crosses the blue line, then makes a quick move to the outside that Polak bites on, and darts back towards the middle. Think Mark Streit's move on Zdeno Chara a few weeks ago in Boston. Polak is helpless on his knees, and sticks his leg out to try and trip Franzen. Franzen goes flying but still has the wherewithall to shoot the puck in the lower left corner. Beauty goal.

About 9 minutes left in the game, and the Blues have just killed a penalty, but Detroit is relentless keeping the pressure on and the puck in the zone. Kronwall drags it right into his wheelhouse as he backs up at the blueline, and just rips it into the high right corner. Tie game.

But St. Louis doesn't give up, they've left that Chicago game behind them, and Backes wants this game. Not the prettiest of goals but Backes just wills it past Conklin, surrounded by red jerseys.

Five-four with about 4 or 5 minutes to play. St. Louis manages to fight the mighty Red off and get the points, and head off the ice to watch the Ducks vs. Canucks game. And probably the Sharks vs. Oilers game too.

Two things to note.
1. Not only judging by the score and the rate of scoring in the game, both goaltenders weren't exactly their best. Ty Conklin had a few deflections go past him, but for the most part, Backes goals were stoppable. Which reinforces my previous reckless statements about Detroit's worrisome goaltending situation. Chris Mason looked exhausted tonight, using every once of energy to lift the blocker, or the glove hand. And this after a proclimation of how tired he wasn't. We'll see if he wears down in the remaining games.
2. I believe Backes got all five goals for the Blues. If they make that official, you heard it hear first.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You Only Go As Far As Your Goalie Can Take You...

...and other Playoff cliches. Without the accent.

Alarm struck into the heart of thousands this morning, as hockey fans realized they were only five to seven games away from quests for the Cup, or quests for the Clubhouse bar.

Its April, and there's a few teams headed for the playoffs that didn't deal with their goaltending issues prior to the deadline. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Let's look at those schmucks, shall we?

There's not many, but there's a few interesting goaltending situations on the horizon, and I think the obvious one is Detroit.

Chris Osgood has looked as stable as the kid in 'Smokin' Aces.' Just when you start praising him, he falls off the wagon. Then again he did steal the job from the Dominator last year, and backstopped the Wings all the way. I just don't see that happening this year, just as I don't see the Wings repeating. Even with Ty Conklin in his backup role, emerging from the shadows to take Detroit on a hot streak as he did for the Pens last year when Fleury went down. The winged wheel just looks too much like a bullseye.

Next up, your friendly Philadelphia Flyers.
Holmgren was a sure bet to try and work some magic to remedy the goaltending situation, but he didn't fix it last year, and he didn't pull the trigger this year. FLUNK. Biron was ordinary in the regular season both this year and last, but he came alive during last year's postseason and the Flyers rode him all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Maybe he can pull it off again, but Antero Niittymaki is a backup at best, and if Biron can't fill the shoes, than Philly is as good as done.

The Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks.

Oh I'm sorry you got rid of the 'Mighty' with your old logo? Well the new one sucks too. As does your $6 million/year starting goaltender, Mr. J.S. Giguere. Your 27-year old Swiss backup has stolen the rug out from under him, and he's a bargain at $1.3 million playing half the season (41 games) at that. That's cheaper than Todd Bertuzzi's buyout. But who knows if the kid can carry the heavy load of the playoffs, but I don't think Jiggy's up for it this year. Fucking ashlo.

Speaking of young goaltenders, lets talk about the Montreal Canadiens.

Jesus Price has not lived up to his savior possibilites. As the Canadiens, i.e. Bob Gainey make one mistake after another, the pressure builds on a successful Centennial season, as commemorative coins are minted, and the province markets itself as a paradise for at-home sexual predators. Keep it in-house you deviants. And Jaroslav Halak, as fun as it is to say, just isn't butterin' the biscuit. With Price at 21, and Halak at 23 these two young guys are going to fold under the monumental pressure of the Hab Nots.

And that leaves us with the Washington Crapitals.

No way Jose, you stink worse than the goaltending situation you left in Colorado. Since his epic start in Montreal, its been nothing but a fall from grace for Teddy. Frankly I've got more confidence in Brent Johnson, and Simeon Varlamov, and probably Brett Leonhardt than in Jose Theodore keeping the Caps in the hunt. But that's not saying much, since one of those guys is more web-based.