Friday, October 30, 2009

A One Off... and the Mask

I'm just going to throw out names or teams and a quick comment or two on each just to keep it breezy. Only got to watch the Kings vs. Canucks game last night, and as Terry Murray eloquently put it, it was "a great road game" for the 'Nucks as beat up and depleted as they were, and the Kings really should have beat them. So my first thoughts lead out with players from that game. And a here we go...

  • Raycroft - My old buddy. Wasn't spectacular in the win, but he made some saves and got the job done. He had a nice poke check followed up with a lucky stab with the glove to keep the puck out and the game even. The paint job on his helmet is atrocious, folks we are running out of ideas.
  • Kopitar - Is finally getting the respect he deserves. Kings fans have known that he's an elite talent that hasn't gotten his due as he's just starting to now. He's not lights out like Ovechkin or Malkin but he's pretty fucking good.
  • Drewiskie - Has really impressed me in his last few games. He's been aggressive enough to jump up into the play, not all that common for a rookie defenseman with other heralded offensive defenseman on the blueline, (Johnson, Doughty).
  • Ehrhoff - Is a shitty defenseman, bottom line. I have watched this guy intently, looking for a reason to like him, and I can't find it. He's been lucky enough to be part of two teams with great defenses to not make his shortcomings as apparent.
  • Samuelsson - A lazy bastard with great hockey sense. This is one of those guys that just has a nose for the net, an inate hockey sense, but he's so fucking lackadaisical that he'll never be as great as he could be, unless some coach, maybe AV, kicks him in the ass.

Okay lets move on from that game, random odds and ends...

  • Penner - has 9 goals. He had 17 total last season.
  • Stamkos - also has 9 goals. Starting to look like he's having fun out there.
  • Marty St. Louis - has points in all 10 games this season.
  • Tanguay - 1st goal of the season last night, key acquisition at the deadline, (read: scraping the bottom of the barrel.)
  • Wolski - There was an article on about how Colorado Head Coach Joe Sacco told Wojtek that he needs to get his ass in gear. His patience in the GW goal against Calgary was awesome, just waited everyone out. Had a goal the night before then too.
  • Crosby - Got a hat trick just in time to silence the media critics about his lack of production, and his disappearance within the Top 25 of the scoring race.


  • Boston - Are they a shell of the team they once were or what?
  • Buffalo - Who would have thought Buffalo would be this strong this year?
  • Atlanta - Did you see how empty the building was in the game last night against Ovechkin and the Caps? That is not a good sign, for any market. Its been pretty obvious in a lot of games this season that the lower bowl is pretty empty, and I'm not talking about just in the first period.

How 'bout we hit the 'tenders...

  • Var-LAHM-ov - 5 wins for 5 games, impressive. And Teddy's actually not playing terribly either.
  • Bryzgalov - Got his 3rd shutout of the year. I knew this guy was bound for great things, I just didn't know if it would be apparent in Phoenix. He needs to be good every night for the Coyotes for them to have a shot at winning. He can be.
  • Jimmy Howard - Is this guy a mess or what? Totally out of position, did you see those Edmonton goals? I don't know if he's a nervous wreck playing for Babcock or what.
  • Gustavsson - Continues to impress me. I may be the only one, or it may be the fact that the rest of the team is so unimpressive.

Speaking of goaltenders, the NHL Network has really been pumping up this 50 Years Behind the Mask show that airs at 7pm ET/4pm PT on Saturday night. Last night they had David Arrigo from The Art of Sport on the 'Fly' last night, and he was talking about all the masks he's been painting for various goalies around the league. And TSN had a poll for who has the best mask around the League. The poll results are bullshit, (Luongo's lame ass can), but the gallery is really cool except for one thing. They tried to pick the best mask out of each tandem and post it for each team. Well I think they felt obligated to put some goalies in with better name recognition than helmet design. Brodeur's design, and Luongo's just suck. My two favorites are Pekka Rinne's and Tuukka Rask's, Josh Harding's mask is pretty bad ass too. Check out for some great designs as well.

Enjoy Slobs!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hockey Quiz

Who the hell likes taking tests?! Well according to web advertisers, almost everyone...

If this goes well, we may look to make this a periodic feature. Enjoy! Tell your friends!

Question #1: Who will be the first coach to get fired this season? And how soon?

Or should I re-phrase the question to how soon will Todd Richards get shitcanned? Barry Melrose made it to 16 games, can he beat that record? I don't believe Ron Wilson is going anywhere, at least not if Brian Burke is still in charge. I don't think anyone can expect that much out of Scott Gordon considering what he's been given to work with, even Mr. Wang (no offense). And DeBoer, Carlyle, and Trotz all have the blessings of their respective GM's. But what do you think?

Question #2: What loser gets the odds to pick 1st next year?

My guess is the Islanders with their overtime loss record. The over/under on that is 25.

Question #3: Are the Colorado Avalanche, and most notably Craig Anderson for real? Can they keep it up and make the postseason? If they do, does Joe Sacco win the Jack Adams?

I think they can do it, and if that's the case Sacco's a shoe-in for miracle worker.

Question #4: Will Ovechkin be the first player since Brett Hull in the 1991-92 season to hit the 50 goals in 50 games mark?

When he hits it, expect a new end zone dance.

Question #5: Is this the season that Kings make the playoffs? On the other side, is this the year that Detroit skips the dance?

No, sorry. No. Fuck.

Question #6: What contending but struggling team will seek goaltending help first?

Ken Holland sticks it out. The Bowmans' end up unloading Huet but part of the deal involves a blowjob in a broom closet. (3:38)

Question #7: If the Sharks can't win it all this year, is Patrick Marleau wearing a new jersey next season? If he goes, what's your best guess for his new address?

My take, Sharks make it to the Conference Finals, lose miserably, Doug Wilson blows up the roster, Marleau and Nabokov are gone. Marleau ends up in the Eastern Conference, Montreal if I'm put on the spot, but I didn't look into numbers, and my track record sucks.

Question #8: Who takes home the Calder, and then slumps the following year?

My earlier guesses of Hedman or Gustavsson are looking like shite, but I'll stick to my guns. Del Zotto looks very sharp, I'm impressed, Myers looks good as well, Tavares is about what I would expect on that crap team.

Question #9: Does Waddell get Kovalchuk to re-sign in Atlanta before season's end?

Yes, otherwise the team folds, but it probably goes late.

Question #10: We've already mentioned Kovy and St. Pat, so who's the next name in their contract year that we end up talking about all year?

There's a lot of interesting names out there at the end of their contracts, a lot of goaltenders. Some veterans we'd expect to stay put, if in fact they do return (Lidstrom, Modano), some with potential bad breakups in their future (Frolov, Toskala), and some that without a doubt should be re-signed (Gonchar, Chris Mason). Pekka Rinne is my #1 if Nashville doesn't take care of him sooner, then Jonas Hiller, if Anaheim doesn't take care of him, and then Alex Tanguay. Kidding.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Supa Scaterday

Well my hockey extravaganza got fucked royally since I had to listen to my father-in-law lecture about fuckknowswhat on a surprise visit. That was just all types of awesome. But in any case, Calgary/Edmonton was the only tilt I got to watch, (and the occassional flipping around on the late games), but tonight these guys were not smiling...

Sutter was all kinds of pissed after Stortini's run at Iginla by the benches, and Jarome's subsequent face smash to Huggy Bear that earned him two in the box. And Quinn, well, his team was getting pounded.

Speaking of Zack, this dude reminded me of Carl Racki tonight just hurling himself at anything in red, and whacking at the puck with the precision of a Special Olympics floor hockey tournament. The kind of dipshit who stands next to the net and tips in that easy shot because no one bothers to cover the waste of life, just like in the "well"-choregraphed hockey scenes of the movie. He was doing anything and everything to get that next shift, and Quinn kept giving it to him.
I commented earlier how Kevin Weekes wasn't half bad as a commentator on the broadcasts, but I realized its kind of hard to take him seriously when he's talking to all the young goaltenders out there, giving the tips on how to maintain your focus like Kiprusoff. Maybe you should have focused a little more in your career Kevin. But he did bring up Khabibulin's history against the Flames which I completely forgot. I'd want to kick the shit out of him every night if he kept me one win away from hockey immortality.
At times I thought Calgary was getting a hometown discount from the guys wearing orange. I could have seen them handing out a cross-checking penalty to Bourque on that first Calgary goal, but I'm glad they didn't, good no call. Langkow's pass back to Rene was a thing of beauty by the way. But the Flames power play is just killing it, great puck movement on the man advantage.
And I think Nigel Dawes might be the most underrated pickup of the free agency lot this summer. Between him and Sjostrom, their play is making Darryl look like a genius.

Other than that, Iggy's shooting at logos and not twine, that's gotta change. Edmonton needs Souray and Staios back badly. And probably a few more forwards. Khabby should have made it easy on himself and taken the tax-free contract in the KHL.

In Mother Russia, Hat Trades You!

'You like my hat, da?'

Thanks to the lovely lady of hit the post, walkinvisible, and my photoshop wizardry we now have this gem.
But that's not why we're here, no no. This forum just allows us to post dumb shit like that. No we're here because today is yet another Super Saturday.
Every team in the damn League is playing tonight, and being a patron of the CenterIce service, I fucking love it. It doesn't get any better, unless the games are spaced out more accordingly starting at 10am, Pacific Standard Time of course, and stretching all the way until 10pm. That's a slice of fried gold right there.
In any case, its late, and I'm hammered, and I'm not going to go through every game, Matt Reitz over at the View From My Seats does a far better job at that. I'll be keeping my focus on the Devils and Pens, and Battle of Alberta, Round 3, but I will do my damdest to be everywhere.
I'll take 2 nights of no hockey if we can have this scheduling every couple of weeks, any time. Unfortunately, six teams will have played the night before, and six will play the night after, we'll see how that plays into the equation tonight and tomorrow night.
Enjoy slobs, I know I will.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Notes from the Hockey World

Still looking for the right notebook image, as I look to make this a recurring post. Anywho, after doing my usual perusal of the interwebs and the glorious hockey information and news contained within, I felt the need to sound off on a few items. So if it's no more than just some venting on my part, then so be it, no particular anger or venom directed in any way. Unless we're talking about the Wings or the Rangers.

Speaking of which...

  • Have you heard about how John "Heatley to the Sharks" Buccigross has pissed off the Wings nation by voicing the opinion that Z and Dats are past their prime and the team is now in decline? George Malik takes offense, and immediately gets defensive misinterpreting Bucci's take. And then the rest of the mutt patrol jumps on board and starts calling him out, of course. First of all, what Bucci said isn't all that far from the truth, and second, its his fucking OPINION.
    He said that Z at 29 and Dats at 31 are past their prime, and in the downward arc of their production. That's not unreasonable to think, they're still great players, and their past prime is better than half the league's peak season. As far as Detroit being at the end of their reign, again its not that outlandish a claim. I think its fair to say that the next wave of players for Detroit under Z, Dats, Franzen, Holmstrom, and Lidstrom have left for greener pastures. I'm referring to Samuelsson, Hudler, Kopecky, and that leaves kids like Helm, Leino, and Abdelkader to take over those roles in the coming seasons. Not to say all the aforementioned stars of Detroit are retiring at the end of the season, but the team does not have the depth it once did even from last season. Bottom line, I too have grown tired of Buccigross, and Z and Dats, and Detroit will still be awesome, just not as awesome. Fuck, just listen for a fucking minute you retards.
  • Spector is throwing out ideas for the goaltending question mark of Toronto. The choices are J.S. Giguere and Josh Harding if Burke is in the mood to pull the trigger on a trade. Apparently, Burke is always in the market for good goaltending. Personally, I'm sticking with Gustavsson, and closing the door on Toskala, but if I have to choose between those two, without question its Harding. Josh is dying for the opportunity to be a number one, and if Backstrom wasn't so damn sharp, he'd have it. Giguere hasn't looked like a marquee goaltender since he got his ring, plus his contract is way too heavy for his value lately. But there are other potentials out there as Lyle mentions, old UFA's Manny Fernandez, and Curtis Joseph, and other trade options including Lehtonen, and one of the Islanders three goaltenders, probably Biron. More than likely, its just talk, as Burke likes to do.
  • Pretty nice post by John Grigg of the Hockey News on the Top 10 Bargain Players, although I'm not sure you can throw Cam Ward in there at #1 with a $6.3mil/yr. contract extention, but he definetely was a bargain at $2.7/yr. Instead I'd replace him with Pekka Rinne's $725k contract, is that ridiculous or what?! Pekka's definetely getting paid at the end of the year, but by who is the question since Dan Ellis is also due for a new contract, (right now at $1.75mil/yr.). If I'm Nashville I'm extending Rinne's contract, and letting Ellis walk. Other than that the list is pretty good, Matt Moulson on there is a laugh, if its only the line, "When your leading scorer costs less than $600,000, you’re doing well." That's not good John, that's bad, the Isles are far from doing well.
As far as games I watched...
  • Calgary vs. Columbus on Tuesday was a great hockey game. Iginla rifled an awesome shot on Mason, (Steve Mason that is, not Chris), that looked like a return to his former self. I think breaking up Jarome and Olli is the right move, put them together on the power play but separate them at even strength, they're both shooters, spread 'em out. The BJ's work ethic is awesome, I love that never-say-die attitude, that's going to win them games more often than not.
  • Florida's game last night against Buffalo was atrocious. Clemmensen's quote, "It's the fastest I've ever been pulled." Ya think?! Two goals on three shots, less than 2minutes into the game. Granted one was on the power play, but the first one from Grier was brutal. Vokoun wasn't much better upon coming in, giving up another 3 in the first before closing the door for the rest of the game. But the damage had been done, and paying good money to see that shit, sucks. Refunds for the hundreds of people in attendance.
  • I kept a close eye on the Vancouver vs. Chicago game last night, which I thought was the best playoff series in the West last post. Bob-O needed a big game in Chicago to disprove his doubters, which he more or less did, the two goals he let in were deflections. Mikael Samuelsson's rip past Niemi was awesome for the winner. I love Byfuglien's game, I can't believe Chicago is already talking about cutting ties with him in another year, after signing the big three. Willie Mitchell's hit on Jon Toews is the talk of the town today. My take, its legal, but its not really fair. You can't fault Toews for not expecting that hit coming out of nowhere, and to his credit and Joe Q's they admitted its a clean hit. Wobbly going off the ice, a minor concussion isn't out of the question. Listening to Steve Bernier in an interview is always hilarious to me, I never expect him to have that slurring French Canadian accent.

  • Which brings us to the next item, the discrimination against French Canadian hockey players. As Malik said about Bucci, 'Bull, all of it.'
  • Sergei Kostitsyn is a fucking idiot, his brother wants no part of him. Countdown to the defection to the KHL started when Gainey said, 'Hamil...'
  • Any other DirecTV subscribers pissed about Gary's lack of activity in brokering a deal between Versus and the satelite provider? Hockey Joe nails it over on Gross Misconduct Hockey with his latest post, 'How's That Versus Dispute Going Gary?'
  • Canadians love hockey, here's proof. See comments in previous post for background.
  • Nice post on the Rookie race by Wysh. They all seem to be off to a good start, unlike Mr. Stamkos' stiffling from the Mullet last season.

I plan to get out another post, or a series of posts on the Contract Year Anomaly, and team's individual situations with regards to pending Free Agents, but as always, don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If Your Not Tearing Up Laughing...

...then there's something wrong with you. You're probably a Red Wings fan.

The Naked Shootout

If you could combine the debauchery of strip poker and the sport of hockey into a game, what would it look like?

Ladies and gentleman, the Tampa Bay Lightning, starring Marty St. Louis are proud to present to you...

The Naked Shootout

Some funny shit.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Are You 'In The Loop?'

Maybe I'll even get a couple strokes from the boys now.

Uh dude, that's a little gay.

Sure its taken out of context, but are we going to split hairs here and dispute the homoeroticism within professional sports? I think not. Yes, our new favorite player blog on 'the Grip' (the nickname we've given our little slice of sarcasm) is 'In The Loops.' You get the play on words there? Loops, as in the retarded nickname from braindead teammates given to Joffrey Lupul.

After talking about how dumb, rich, and supercool he is, he goes on to describe a rather dull roadtrip. It all began with a puck in the eye, or a nut in the eye, I'm not really sure, I kinda skimmed through it. Then he mentioned Corey Perry's worm, how Teemu's still got a great ass, and just "bonding" with the rest of the guys.

In any case, if you've got questions for Joffrey, please send them in, he'll only answer the best ones in his blog. My question for Joffrey is... Why do you spell your name like a fucking retard? I hope its good enough, (fingers crossed).

PS... See if you can spot Loops gay ass tattoo. Drink until you forget why when you see it in order to scourge the memory from your brain.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Has the Whole World Gone Crazy?!

No, its just early in the season. Not even ten games, but there are some pretty interesting stats and standings around the league. Lets take a quick look for shitsandgiggles.

  • The New York Rangers tied for the lead in the Atlantic, and for that matter the entire East, with the Pens, on a six-game winning streak, with their only loss from the Penguins on their first game of the season? Rags are finishing strong with 13 goals in the third period, 5 more than the next team.
  • The Ottawa Senators first in the Northeast with a blowout win against Tampa last night? Milan Michalak with his first hat trick, in a Senators uniform no less.
  • Speaking of Tampa, believe it or not they were first in the Southeast until the Capitals beat San Jose last night, and took the division lead.
  • Detroit's in third. When's the last time that happened? 1991?
  • The Colorado Avalanche are sharing the Conference lead with the Chicago Blackhawks and leading the Northwest with 11 points in 7 games. Who would have thought we'd be saying that this season? Anyone? Maybe Craig Anderson is the real deal, playing all seven games and posting a .940 save percentage. Not too shabby.
  • The Northwest also holds the best the Power Plays in the league with Calgary (41.2%) at the top, followed by Vancouver (36.8%) and Colorado (33.3%).
  • And the Phoenix Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings are tied for the lead in the Pacific with 8 points. But the Sharks, Ducks, and Stars are all right behind them with 7 points. The big reason for the Dogs? Ilya Bryzgalov with 2 shutouts, a .952 save percentage, and a 1.17 goals against.
  • And what's with all the hat tricks? Four already in this young season, Mike Richards with the first, Ryan Malone, and the previously mentioned Michalak's makes for an even swap with Dany Heatley's. One of which was off a penalty shots, also one of four already taken this year.
Okay so not that crazy, but what about this...

Taken right off the standings page. Will these two teams meet again in the Stanley Cup Final?! You decide!

"And I would like my undies back." - Walter Sobchak

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Portland Kid is Wicked Good

In a word... Awesome.

Much better than Aaron Fox's goal earlier this week in the KHL.

Puck Daddy with the breakdown.

Ed. Note: Now that its been picked up on the worldwide radar, a quick little interview with Oliver, and his Dad, Joakim, a Swedish Elite League alum on

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Back Me Up

Some of the number one's or yet to be determined #1's have looked like shooter tutors in the first few games, bringing their game into question, as well as the viability of their back-up. Some teams have opted to go on the cheap for their #2 going into the season with supreme confidence in their starting goaltender. That decision may end up backfiring if the trend continues for some of the top tier netminders.

Khabibulin shit the bed in the last 45seconds of the game against Calgary, and then was letting in all kinds of softies against the Stars. The post saved his ass in the shootout and got him the win. Khabby will have a shot at redemption against the Flames tonight, but its not out of the question to think that Quinn wouldn't yank him if he looks awful in the early going. Then again, Patty boy would have to resort to Deslauriers, who was all kinds of unimpressive last year.

Turco has nowhere to go but up after a disasterous season, but didn't look all that special on the other end of the ice either, with the exception of the pokecheck on O'Sullivan in the shootout. Alex Auld is supposedly a good goaltender, but I wouldn't know from what I've seen.

Giguere looked absolutely brutal against Minnesota, giving up a three-goal lead almost singlehandedly, with the tying goal going right through the wickets. J.S. had a rough season last year with the loss of his father weighing heavily on his mind. Luckily for the Ducks, he has job stealer Jonas Hiller waiting to claim the spot coming off a very inspiring post-season against the Sharks and Wings.

Do you see how many pucks there are behind him?

Nabokov got chased by the Kings after giving up four, Greiss came in and made 8 saves to give the Sharks a chance to win. Nabokov is supposed to be a key piece in the puzzle that is San Jose, yet he didn't play with any sense of passion in the postseason, much like the rest of his team.

Toskala's already riding pine after being pulled in the game against Washington, the big prediction this week was Gustavsson getting the start against Ottawa. Big surprise. In a few weeks, the hot topic of hockey discussion will be about Toskala on the bench, and Monster stealing the show in TO.

Luongo has looked like absolute dogshit, especially in that game against Columbus, giving up several goals high glove side. Last night's statement win was more about the Canucks offense the Bobby's goaltending. Your Vancouver Canucks backup... 2003-04 Calder Winner, Andrew Raycroft. Yikes. Now that's going on the cheap.

"Sorry Vesa, I've got to go fuck up someone else's shit now."

Which brings us to our next flunkie, CrystalBall Huet. The Panthers were picking him apart, hitting the same spot all night in their game in Finland, again high glove side. Not sure who's getting the start against the Big Red, 0 and 2 Machine tonight, but it'll definetely be a proving ground for Huet or Niemi whoever it be.

Semyon Var-LAH-mov was pulled in the Caps battle against the Flyers, and I think Theodore only let one too many in for the loss. Its hard to know who's the #1 in this tandem, whether its based on dollars or playing time. Jose is making $4.5million in the final year of his deal, while whateverthefuckhisnameis earns a shade over $800k. If you judge it by last year's postseason performance, its without a doubt Varly, with the exception of Game 7 against the Pens.
On the other side of the paddle...
Emery looks sharp, at least for now, and Philadelphia now looks impressive on the ice, as opposed to only on paper.
Nice pads. They're orange. Dude.

Craig Anderson the miracle worker has played well, as has the rest of the Avs in the first few games of the season. Be hard to say if they're still riding Sakic's retirement wave, but that certainly got it going.

Its been fun to watch the expression on Kiprusoff's face after his defense clears out the front of the net, he seems to be chuckling every time as he skates into the corner. A renewed sense of confidence has seemed to fill that team, whether its the addition of Bouwmeester or the atmosphere of Brent we may never know.

Steve Mason and his gang of upstarts have made them relevant once again after last year's first trip to the postseason. They've only got two games under their belt, facing the Sharks tonight, but so far the whole team has looked strong.
Everything's speculation at this point, only a few games into a long regular season, but we're all just so damn excited that hockey's back on, aren't we?

Don't look at me like that Steve. Not Chris.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Notes from Super Saturday

I don't know if I ever seen more posts about one day of hockey, but the consensus seems to be that it was outstanding. Of course, people are already making random accusations, unreasonable predictions, and outlandish assumptions and we're only going into our 5th day of the regular season. Enjoy the excitement of the start of the season, but lets not start measuring dicks yet. There's plenty of hockey and drinking to do before we get to that point.

  • Don't think anyone expected the Avalanche, or the Blues to go 2 and 0. I expect that to continue for the Blues, but not for the Avalanche fans predicting their march to the playoffs. But stranger things have happened.
  • Funny how the home crowd brings out your best game, but only for Finns. Koistinen with a goal, and the shootout winner in the first of two, and Antti Niemi with the shutout in the second game.
  • Jimmy Howard looked wretched, and gave a few reasons as to why he hasn't made the bigs. I thoroughly enjoyed Babcock barking at him during that timeout.
  • Toskala allowed Ovechkin past him 1:17 into the game, giving up three goals on eight shots, and got pulled early. He looked like shit, I'll bet the house that Gustavsson starts the next game.
  • The Bruins throttled Carolina in an attempt at payback for Round Two last season. Spreading the wealth, seven different Bruins scored in that game.
  • Patrick Marleau's speed is amazing, given just the slightest of a lead, he is gone. Just ask Ryan Whitney. (0:46)
  • WTF, Heatley knows how to pass the puck? (1:04, same clip)
  • I get chills when I see Sheldon wind up at the blueline. Must have taken a lot of shit for that name.
  • Deuce deuce. Kovalchuk, Peverly, and St. Louis had 2 goals each, and Enstrom and Little had 2 assists a piece. I know, I'm reaching now.
  • Brent Sutter really tightened up the penalty kill after allowing 2 power play goals against Vancouver in their season opener. Freddy Shoes looked tenacious as did the rest of the killers against the Oil.
  • Seems like all the rookies got on the board in their first games, Tavares with a rebound, Hedman with a nicely placed, tippable shot, Duchene with an assist, I think Kane got on the board.
That's it, it was a great Saturday, hopefully I can manage to put some real posts together in the near future. Thanks for playing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Notes from Opening Night 2009

Living on the West Coast, I'm usually subject to catching the end of the 1st period or the start of the 2nd on the Eastern Conference games as I flip on XM on my mad dash out of the office. So last night I decided I wouldn't turn on the picture box until the start of the 'Nucks vs. Flames matchup. Actually that's a lie, a flipped around just before then looking to see if I could get Joe's jersey retirement on the DirecTV Center Ice package. No such luck. God damn Versus and DirecTV. Anyway, all I got to watch was the previously mentioned game, and some highlights of the other three.

Vancouver Canucks @ Calgary Flames, 10/1/09
  • First off, the throwback Flames jersey's are hideous, there's a reason why those went the way of the mothball. I mean come on, these jersey's are so bad ass, with the black helmet, gloves, and pants. All that red with the yellow and white was painful to look at, the black at least balances that out. Just sayin', they could have done a lot better with a third jersey choice than a recycle.
  • Giordano's quick move at the blueline and subsequent rip past Luongo just inside the post was a thing of beauty. He played like a man possessed with something to prove. Very impressive.
  • As goofy as Jay Bouwmeester looks, he's a smooth operator on the ice. You could tell how excited he was to play for a team in contention with his jumps into the play. Maybe I didn't watch a lot of Florida games, but I didn't see him having that kind of faith in the defensive responsibilities of his team back then.
  • I don't think anyone expected Luongo to give up three goals in the first, but he made a big save early in the second to regain his composure, and give the Canucks a chance to get back in the game.
  • For a while there, it looked like Alex Burrows was the only guy in a white jersey attempting to play hockey.
  • I figured Mikael Samuelsson would be a major factor in the scoring for the Canucks this season, but I was kind of underwhelmed by his play, even with the goal.
  • Shirokov seemed to be hungry, going to the net hard in a few plays, but was able to put one in. Keep a close eye on him this year.
  • Couldn't believe how responsible Jokinen was in this game, backchecking, and coming all the way back to the crease to make a play. Sutter must have gotten his hooks into him good.
Other than that, I thought Kevin Weekes did a good job in the broadcast. He didn't add anything earth-shattering, but he spoke well and clearly, and diagrammed some highlights. It almost seemed like he played hockey so that he could work in the booth someday, like he was dying to retire so he could take the job he really wanted.

Just watched Joe's ceremony over here. Pretty awesome. Got goosebumps from it at certain points. I like how they had him walk from out front, and through the lobby and the locker room and back onto the ice. Foote looked real awkward in his talking part. I thought the enshrinement of his spot in the locker room was a little weird. Its cool for a display out in the Pepsi Center somewhere, but in the locker room forever? Paintings were a little odd too. Would have like the Denver crowd to have embarrassed Joe a little bit more, and really get a chant going. I think he used the same speech at the actual retirement annoucement. But it was pretty classy overall, for one helluva classy individual, and an outstanding hockey player. One of the greatest of my era. Thanks Joe.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Breakdown Wrap-Up

I hate predictions, there's such a fine line between looking like a genius and looking like Eklund.

But fuck it, looking stupid isn't nearly as painful as being stupid.

1. Chicago Blackhawks

2. San Jose Sharks

3. Vancouver Canucks

4. Detroit Red Wings

5. Calgary Flames

6. Anaheim Ducks

7. St. Louis Blues

8. Dallas Stars

  • Putting Chicago first is probably a mistake unless Huet lives up to the contract, or the Bowmans' deal for someone. Somehow.
  • I really like the Canucks this year, I think that team's going to be my girlfriend this season.
  • Dallas is another longshot considering last season, but I think they're pissed.
Three True Contenders... Chicago, Vancouver, and Calgary. Just a gut feeling.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

2. Boston Bruins

3. Philadelphia Flyers

4. Washington Capitals

5. Montreal Canadiens

6. New Jersey Devils

7. New York Rangers

8. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • For some reason, as good as the Pens are, I don't seem them getting to the finals. They'll roll through the regular season, but it'll be a different story in the post. Too many young egos.
  • Putting the Habs up that high is probably a mistake, but I think this group is better than what was there last season.
  • Toronto making the dance is my shot in the dark, that one's probably going to make me look stupid. But again, fuck it.

Three True Contenders... Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals. Not really risking much there.


Ovechkin. Big surprise.

Luongo. Oooooh.

Victor Hedman or Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson.
Hedman's probably a lock, but if Toronto makes the dance I got a feeling its going to be this guy that gets them there.

Mike Richards.

Lady Byng...
Who cares?

Art Ross...
Malkin. Double Oooooh.

Dan Boyle.

Jack Adams...
Andy Murray.

Presidents Trophy...
Pittsburgh Penguins

Prince of Wales...
Washington Capitals

Clarence Campbell Bowl...
Vancouver Canucks

Stanley Cup...
Vancouver Canucks

So there's my ass flapping in the breeze. We'll be re-picking when we get closer to the postseason, so I can make it look like I know what I'm talking about.

Here's to Opening Night! Hope its a great season!

Pacific Division Breakdown

Should they change the Pacific to the Southwest, just so the Southeast doesn't feel lonely? Come to think of it, with Bettman's blitzkrieg of southern expansion, how did that idea escape his holiness?

The Ducks seem to always peak at the right time, they play hard enough to get into the postseason, and then they beat the crap out of you. Burke's fingerprint is all over this franchise, and I thought GM Bob Murray was dropping the ball when he first took the reigns, but he seems to have a good grasp of his team and the league. The big news of their summer was sending Captain Elbows to Philly for Lupul's return and young, promising defenseman Luca Sbisa. Teemu managed to convince exiled Koivu to come to SoCal from Montreal, that should make for an exciting line. Scotty Niedermayer re-signed while his lazy-ass brother was refused a contract but got picked up in Jersey. Underrated defenseman Francois Beauchemin followed Brian Burke to Toronto, that was a big loss that will be felt with the departure of Pronger. The Ducks will still be in the middle to the bottom of the pack, watch for Giguere to really challenge Hiller for games this season, making them a formidable duo as he was with Bryzgalov.

Offseason Grade: C, things more or less considered even.

Regular Season Finish: 6th in the West, 2nd in the Pacific

Big D had an awful year last year, and I expect them to bounce back with some anger. I'm betting Turco will return to form, and hoping that heart and soul guy, Brendan Morrow will be fully recovered from the nasty ACL. The 'Dyk is now at the helm, replacing Bobby's retarded son Brett, and Les Jackson who was merely a casualty in a poorly constructed idea of Co-GM's. Joey went to work quick replacing Tippett with Marc Crawford and his hair gel. Bad move, Tippett is a much better coach then Crawford, and was again, a casualty of a miserable season. Defensemen Karlis Skrastins and Jeff Woywitka were brought in from Florida and St. Louis, respectively. Jere Lehtinen was re-signed as well as Mark Fistric while quite a few guys walked. Begin went to Boston, Lundqvist went back to Sweden, Morrison went to Washington, Sydor went to St. Louis, Zubov returned to Russia, and Parrish couldn't find work in Vancouver. I still like their team and their chances of making the post this season, but they are most definetely a bubble team that could be on either side of the firing line.

Offseason Grade: D, maybe just because of Crawford.

Regular Season Finish: 8th in the West, 3rd in the Pacific

These poor bastards, every year its 'can they make it?' And every year the answer ends up being 'No.' GM Dean Lombardi has weathered the storms of criticism in staying the course with re-building through the draft. I'm very impressed with what coach Terry Murray (the brother without the lisp) has done with this team, think Andy Murray (unrelated) in St. Louis. They traded for Ryan Smyth sending defensemen Tom Preissing and Kyle Quincey to Colorado, not sure who wins in that deal, and also paid Rob Scuderi for his kick save in SC Finals. They re-signed Teddy Purcell and Jack Johnson while letting a lot of deadweight walk, (Calder, Gauthier, Armstrong). The goaltending situation continues to be a question but Jonathan Quick and Erik Ersberg seem to be growing into the role with the rest of the team. I still don't expect them to make it this season, but there yet another bubble team that's got an outside shot of making it.

Offseason Grade: C, if only for getting rid of the sinkers and floaters.

Regular Season Finish: 1oth in the West, 4th in the Pacific

Hard to think about hockey when you've got this kind of shit hitting the fan. I don't see how this team does anything productive unless they go all Major League Cleveland Indians style and really make everyone feel good. Come on, tell me that if the Dogs go on a tear, and dare I say make the dance, wouldn't every hockey fan be excited as shit for them? Or is Canada really that pissed? Whatever, that won't happen anyway. The whip cream on this shit is the fact that Gretzky stepped down, and Maloney brought in Tippett, which could make anything possible. Out are Kalinin (KHL), Klee (retirement?), McGrattan and Dawes to Calgary. Re-signed are Yandle and Upshall (good move), and added Vernon Fiddler from Nashville, Aucoin from Calgary, LaBarbera from Vancouver, and Korpikoski from the Rangers. This team is basically fucked, regardless.

Offseason Grade: C, could've done worse.

Regular Season Finish: 15th in the West, 5th in the Pacific

When you take a look at the roster now, you realize that the 'shake-up' that Doug Wilson was talking about actually did happen. And I'm not just talking about Dany Heatley for one-hit wonder Cheechoo and 25 goal scorer Milan Michalek. Erhoff and Lukowich were dealt to the Canucks to make room for that move, while Roenick and Lemieux retired. Free Agents Marcel Goc (Nashville), Travis Moen (Montreal), Mike Grier (Buffalo), and Brian Boucher (Philadelphia) all left a team that didn't want them. Instead Dougie kept the ones he wanted, awesomely underrated Ryan Clowe, Torrey Mitchell, Kent Huskins, and Brad Staubitz and added Scott Nichol from Nashville. Its definetely a different locker room, and with the captaincy stripping of St. Patty, and now laid upon Rob Blake it may have a different demeanor. I doubt it, letters on a jersey don't mean a whole lot when you're pissed off and have got something to say. You're going to say it whether or not you've got a 'C' or an 'A'. The Sharks made a pretty damn good team even better, but once April rolls around, will it show?

Offseason Grade: A, Got Heatley, didn't have to give up Marleau and only lost Michalek, I'll make that trade any day.

Regular Season Finish: 2nd in the West, 1st in the Pacific
And that's it, man that was a lot of work. I'll do another wrap up of the whole thing later today.