Friday, December 18, 2009

Is This a Metaphor?

Strange story coming out of Ottawa... A truck carrying the Minnesota Wild's hockey equipment caught on fire in the Scotiabank Place parking lot after a practice session. Photos (from Dean Molberg) show that pretty much everything is ruined, and we all know how fanatical hockey players are about their equipment. Well some of us do.

Reports are all over the place as to how the fire happened, Bob McKenzie's twitter's aflutter with reports of a vehicular accident and Mike Russo's more or less claiming spontaneous combustion.

One of These Guys is Worth His Contract

Can you guess which one?

If this is true, then Wade Redden's an even bigger asshole than you already thought.

Tortorella scratched the 'Contract Wonder' last night in the second of a home-and-home against the Isles along with Ales Kotalik. Well Wade was none too pleased, and screamed at the coach known for screaming after discovering the news. Brooks got it right (for once) with the line, 'utterly devoid of passion through the first 109 games of his Ranger career, [Redden] finally showed some emotion upon hearing the news about the scratch.'

But who's fault is it that Red's an underachieving, overpaid, humdrum defenseman?

Is it Wade's? Oh no no no, he simply accepted a job that he was underqualified for and paid beyond hansomely for it.

Is it Torts? Nah, he's just dealing with what the organization has given him, all the Redden's, Avery's, Kotalik's, Rozsivals, and Voros' that he can handle. A whole line of Gaborik's wouldn't make up for that, if you knew they couldn't play the whole game, (and their groins could go out just from reaching for the waterbottle).

Is it Sather's? Without a fucking doubt. This moron has offered countless ridiculous contracts and yet continues to keep his job and get a paycheck. Grabbing Gaborik doesn't make up for it, any idiot with enough cap space could have done that, (with the exception of maybe Lamoriello). You remember that he somehow dished the shame of the gargantuan flop of the Gomez contract over to Gainey and the Habs. How did he do that you ask? He got nothing in return.

But I'd also like to remind of you the gloriousness of other Sather contracts. Lets start with the amount of money that was a healthy scratch last night...

Wade Redden, Defenseman - $6.5mil/yr. until 2014. Yummy.
Ales Kotalik, Right Wing - $3mil/yr. until 2012. Tasty.

Then there's always...
Michal Rozsival, Defenseman - $5mil/yr. until 2012. That makes a formidable top pair.
Chris Drury, Center - $7mil/yr. until 2012. Drury's a solid hockey player, but there's no way he's going to live up to the worth of this contract.

In summation, Sather's a fucking tool. Just like most Ranger fans, a match made in Manhattan.

(Ed. Note: Tortorella's not gonna take it.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Notes From the Night 12/9

What you see above folks, is known as a Moleskine. Its what I normally take notes, do doodles, and use as my hangar for paper airplanes. Why is this important you ask, its not. I just figured I drop some useless knowledge on your ass. More useless than normal.
My game tonight was Calgary and Atlanta, why I don't know. I wanted to finally get a good look at Kovalchuk, since I've been talking him up so much. I wanted to keep a close eye on the newest Flames, sure you loved (Pocket) Dawes right away, but its taken you some time to warm up to the Orangutan. But my main reason for watching was because I've been really crushing on Miikka.

But I did get to watch a few other games, so don't change the channel just yet.

Washington @ Buffalo
*Ryan Miller is the real deal, if the Sabres go anywhere in the playoffs it'll be because of him. He was guilty of robbery more times than once tonight.
*I think I would have started Var-LAH-mov instead of Teddy against the Sabres, considering the goals they scored.
*Did you notice the Hail Mary's the Caps defensemen were throwing up the ice? I counted at least three.

New York Islanders @ Toronto
*Finally, the Leafs defenseman start shooting the puck at the net.
*Schenn absolutely plastered Jon Sim.
*Did you hear about Brendan Witt getting hit by a car in Philadelphia the other day? Hilarious. Would have been better if he was unable to play hockey again. Oh that's right, he can't do that anyway.
*Tavares with two power play markers, he's certainly moving along with 15 goals.
*Blake with the dagger to take out his old team. Blonde bastard.
*What's this? The Leafs are starting to win? 7-2-1 in their last 10? Only 5 points out of a playoff spot? Pretty scary.

Carolina @ New Jersey
*The Brodeur shutout watch is in full swing. God, I hope he gets it soon, so that this doesn't have to drag out.
*Cam Ward is back, the first victim of the leg laceration for the Hurricanes. Joe Corvo's the other.
*Highlights praising dull goals from a defenseman who hasn't scored since the Swedish Elite League. Yeah, Jacques Lemaire hockey is back in Jersey.
*All unlikely goal scorers for Jersey, Greene with two, Rob Niedermayer, Elias. Yeah, Elias.

Florida @ Columbus
*I don't know how Brassard snuck that in on the short side up high on Vokoun. Nice shot.
*Steve Mason (not Chris) with his first shutout this far into the season? Sounds like the sophomore slump to me.
*When is David Booth coming back? Please.

Edmonton @ Tampa Bay
*Stortini looked like he was trying to slap Konopka in that early scrap. Zach was certainly busy in this game, with a goal, an assist, and plenty of the usual shit-stirring with the tackling of Downie. Nice Howe trick.
*By the way, nice pass Hale.
*Hedman's shot was vicious.
*Dustin Penner with another one. That's 17 goals.
*Deslauriers' got four straight wins. Khabby's contract was worth how much?

St. Louis @ Detroit
*Conklin doesn't like it when you don't renew his contract. He always finds a way to beat his old team. "I'd be lying if I didn't say there isn't a little extra motivation," honest guy. Nice shutout, he stood on his head to get it, 42 saves.
*Todd Bertuzzi might be the most useless human on Earth. He had all day on that breakaway, and couldn't even argue his way into a goal.
*How many power plays did Detroit get? And a five on three? And got shutout? Babcock must be pissing needles.

New York Rangers @ Chicago
*When Avery's agent pulled off the miracle of getting him back on the Rangers after his sloppy show in Dallas I thought 'Good, that team is too vanilla.' Well Avery's so brainwashed about keeping his hands clean that he's now more boring than vanilla. I saw him do his usual brush-by on Seabrook, and Brent wasn't having any part of it, and just totally whacked him like a fly. Sean let out one of those 'Hey, he hit me' that fell on deaf ears.
*Is it me, or is Duncan Keith trying to do too much since he signed his ridiculous 12year contract. He even looks like he's trying to add another stride in between his normal stride just so that he feels like he's working harder, but it makes him look like he's going slower. Like when you're riding a bike in the wrong gear, pedaling to nowhere.
*Lundqvist played his ass off in that game, keeping the Rangers in it. Its a shame they couldn't help him out, and backcheck in overtime.
*Byfuglien's goal was just pure effort of outworking your opponent. Beauty goal to win it in OT. Goal of the night.

Minnesota @ Colorado
*Duchene's goal was legit, that was robbery by a convict in stripes.
*Backstrom looked stellar as usual. But Andy, no I'm sorry, Budaj wasn't bad either.
*Yeah that's pretty much it. And it was Versus. Fooey.

Los Angeles @ San Jose
*Drew Doughty is the complete package.
*Marleau has another goal. That's 20. Twenty.
*Thornton provides 2 assists tonight for 35. That makes 42 points.
*Nabokov runs hot and cold I'll tell ya. Some nights he looks unstoppable, other nights (like the playoffs) he looks like a backup's backup.
*Kopitar finally get another one, after he was tearing it up in the beginning of the season.
*Malhotra had a nice rip to tie it up.
*Dustin Brown with the OT winner to break his 80game goal-less streak.

And last but not least...

Atlanta @ Calgary
*This game started out super slow, as if the Flames knew they could just control the whole game and were biding their time waiting for the perfect opportunity. Scoreless first period.
*Colby Armstrong was a dirty little bastard in this game, and was doing an excellent job of getting under the Flames' skin. Glencross(X) put him on his ass early and then whispered in his ear, "I'm going to beat your ass later." Colby wouldn't be disappointed.
*I am loving Jokinen and Iginla on the same line when they can draw bodies to them, and dish to the other for the wide open shot. Perfect example on Olli's goal.
*Dawes probably would have had two if he didn't bat that one down into the net.
*Kovalchuk really did not impress me whatsoever in this game. Maybe an off night, maybe I'm giving him too much credit. Kiprusoff robbed him with the glove on more than one occasion, speaking of which...
*Miikka was dreamy.

That's it, thanks for playing.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Contract Year Anomaly - The Wingers

Yet another installment of what I like to call the contract year anomaly, where we take a look at those players in their final year of their contract, and looking to re-up. We're halfway there as we move into the first phase of the forwards, the Wingers.

The Will They or Won't They, Retire That Is

Teemu Selanne, RW, ANA - $2.625mil - Teemu's still got the jets, and more importantly can still put the puck in the net, but this broken hand is going to put a severe damper on the season. His play when he returns will determine whether or not he's back again for yet another year.
Tomas Holmstrom, LW, DET - $2.250mil - Homer has had the injuries pile up, and been less and less effective with each passing year. I'd be very surprised to see him back next season.
Owen Nolan, RW, MIN - $2.75mil - I honestly can't believe Nolan is still playing considering the damage that's been done to that body. But when you can do things like this to Hasek to finish your hat trick in an all-star game, I guess you can play as long as you like.
Petr Sykora, RW, MIN - $1.6mil - The experiment in Minnesota hasn't worked. In more ways than one.
Bill Guerin, RW, PIT - $2mil - Billy will probably be back for his love of the game, but I doubt in a Pens uniform.
Keith Tkachuk, LW, STL - $2.55mil - Hard to believe he's only 37 with 18 seasons under his belt. He survived the move from Winnipeg to Phoenix only to be used as a rental by the Thrashers in their only futile attempt at the postseason. But he's back on the Blues, but for how much longer?

Top Five

5. Ray Whitney, LW, CAR - $3.55mil - On a god-awful team that traveled to the Conference Finals last postseason, Whitney's been the rumor of trade bait in a locker room that is screaming for change. Even as the leader in points on the team, 8 goals and 12 assists, he's receiving this kind of treatment, probably because he's one of the few guys producing to garner any worth on the open market.

4. Paul Kariya, LW, STL - $6mil - Prone to injury, yet possessing a lethal shot, Kariya still commands a certain amount of respect around the League. The Blues have assembled a nice group of players, but I find it hard to imagine that organization offering the dollar amount of his last contract, considering his slowing production and future cap considerations.

3. Alexander Frolov, LW, LAK - $2.9mil - Alex got called out by the Kings coaching staff for lazy play and a lack of production early in the year, after that he got his ass in gear with 7 goals, and 14 assists. While he's still a prime talent in the League, his work ethic will continually be called into question creating doubt in half of the potential suitors.

2. Rene Bourque, LW, CAL - $1.35mil - Rene is one of the reasons why I make these lists. This guy has really turned it on this season, making you take notice almost every time he's on the ice. Second on the Flames in points (behind Iginla) with 7 goals, and 15 assists, but was slowed down due to injury. Watch for him the next time you're in Calgary.

1. Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, ATL - $6.4mil - Its hard to argue about Kovy being the top prize come July 1st, if he makes it there. But as I've said before, Waddell should have gotten this done this past offseason. The fact that he hasn't says to me that Ilya has no interest in staying, or they are very far apart on terms of the deal. But you've got to give Waddell credit (which I usually don't do) for bringing in Antropov and Afinogenov and surrounding Kovalchuk with fellow countrymen.

The Rest, Odds and Ends
Colby Armstrong, RW, ATL - $2.4mil - Pesky little bastard, role player at best.
Maxim Afinogenov, RW, ATL - $800k - Definetely turned his shit around, or just got out of B-lo.
Vyacheslav Kozlov, LW, ATL - $3.7mil - Its like the Red Army down in the Dirty Dirty.
Marek Svatos, RW, COL - $2mil - Colorado loves their players.
Fredrik Modin, LW, CLB - $3.25mil - Related to Matthew. Minus the E.
Raffi Torres, LW, CLB - $2.25mil - Had a miracle season in an Edmonton miracle.
Jere Lehtinen, RW, DAL - $2.5mil - Should be capable of so much more.
Todd Bertuzzi, RW, DET - $1.5mil - One good game a season will get him a contract. Sadly.
Fernando Pisani, RW, EDM - $2.5mil - Colitis is always going to keep him below 100%.
Tomas Plekanec, LW, MON - $2.75mil - Fickle bunch in Montreal, he managed to stay.
Jordin Tootoo, RW, NSH - $975k - Somehow he seems to fit in the lineup in Nashville.
Jon Sim, LW, NYI – $1mil - A team of underachievers playing their ass off.
Richard Park, RW, NYI - $750k - See previous statement + speed.
Vaclav Prospal, LW, NYR - $1.15mil - His success depends on someone else in the lineup.
Arron Asham, RW, PHI - $640k - Can actually play hockey compared to Carcillo.
Ruslan Fedotenko, LW, PIT - $1.8mil - Probably not enough room for his fat ass.
Matt Cooke, LW, PIT - $1.2mil - When Rupp is scoring, who needs Cooke?
Alex Tanguay, LW, TAM - $2.5mil - Holy shit, what a train wreck.
Lee Stempniak, RW, TOR - $2.5mil - Lee meet Brian, say 'Goodbye' Lee.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, RW, TOR - $2.1mil - This is where his blog links to from Don't believe me? Try it from the NHL website at the bottom of the page.
Jamal Mayers, RW, TOR - $1.3mil - Do you truculent? Okay, you can stay.
Kyle Wellwood, RW, VAN - $1.2mil - Has played well enough to get renewed.
David Steckel, LW, WAS - $725k - Due for a raise Dave?

Offer Sheet Bait
There's actually a lot of really interesting names here. It would be interesting to see the 'gentleman's agreement' of not handing out offer sheets get broken. But of course we all know what that's done to the leaguewide salaries. Just ask Dustin.

Bobby Ryan, RW, ANA - $1.92mil - Already been rumored to be trade bait. Another stupid GM named Murray.
Blake Wheeler, RW, BOS - $2.85mil – Arbitration Eligible - Has been very impressive for the black and gold.
Daniel Paille, LW, BOS - $1.125mil – Arbitration Eligible - Dogs (Bears) and cats (Bison) living together, mass hysteria!
Clarke MacArthur, RW, BUF - $1.4mil - Has potted a lot of goals this season, in his contract year, interesting.
Andrew Ladd, RW, CHI - $1.55mil – Arbitration Eligible - Has really worked well for the Hawks, it be nice to see him stay, but I don't see that team with same identity next season.
Wojtek Wolski, RW, COL - $2.8mil – Arbitration Eligible - The old enigma stereotype. This guy is sensational when he's actually interested in playing.
Fabian Brunnstrom, LW, DAL - $2.225mil - After that hat trick its been all downhill.
James Neal, LW, DAL - $822k - A no brainer with a bump in pay.
Justin Abdelkader, LW, DET - $850k - The latest Red Wing project.
Andrew Miller, RW, DET - $525k – Arbitration Eligible - It was interesting for a while, but now its back to usual.
Cal Clutterbuck, RW, MIN - $726k - Good ol' Buttercup, he hits people. Beloved by Wild fans, hell they're just happy to have a team.
Guillaume Latendresse, RW, MIN - $803k - Doesn't look good when you get swapped for another underwhelming Francophone.
David Clarkson, RW, NJD - $837.5k – Arbitration Eligible - A pleasant surprise for the Devils.
Matt Moulson, LW, NYI - $575k - Has just played himself into a hockey career. I guess being paired up with the #1 draft pick will help.
Nick Foligno, LW, OTT – 850k - Luckily for Bryan there's no S's in his name.
Daniel Carcillo, RW, PHI - $894k – Arbitration Eligible - See Arron Asham.
Scottie Upshall, LW, PHO - $1.5mil - Was more interesting in Philly than in Phoenix.
Devin Setoguchi, RW, SJS - $1.247mil - Relegated to 3rd line duties with the presence of Heat.
David Perron, LW, STL - $918k - I'm just waiting for this guy to bust out. Then again he did score this goal.
Brad Winchester, LW, STL - $800k - Blue-collar guy they love in a town like St. Louis.
Mason Raymond, LW, VAN - $883k - This guy's going to get paid.
Tanner Glass, LW, VAN - $500k - Take or leave him.
Alexander Semin, LW, WAS - $4.6mil - This has spoiled Russian primadonna written all over it. Unless OV talks him into it, and offers him some of his cash.

Last but not least we'll have the Centers, eventually. Hope to put it out before Christmas so you can mull it over the break, if you have one. Later.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What Is Up With Briere?

What is up with Danny Briere lately? Has the mild mannered French Canadian really been feeling the "Broad Street Bully" vibe over in Philadelphia? Did someone stomp on his puppy? Like when Shea Weber started beating ass last season, in three straight games.

First he tried the love approach when he started hugging it out with fellow Quebecois Marc Edouard Vlasic...

Then he tried to jump up on Scott Hannan's shoulders after he scored for the first time since Pee-wee...

Then he gave Mikael Samuelsson the ol' how's your wife and my kids...

Which would lead to this...

I would say its his lack of production but he's second in line for goals with 10, 16 points total. Then again when you're making more than anyone else on the team and for the next five years maybe that'll get to you. Either that or the groin.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You're From Where?

Mother Pucker made a pretty good find the other day for mapping hockey demographics. Quant Hockey put together a sweet map program that runs through Google Earth and plots the hometown and nationality of pro hockey players past and present.

Of course the most interesting are the players from really unexpected parts of the world, but most of those are players you've never heard of, or are more than likely military brats (like Rod Langway, born in Taiwan). Then again there's always some strange story like Robyn Regehr's who was born in Recife, Brazil to Mennonite Missionaries, moved to Indonesia (where his brother, Richie, who also played for the Flames, was born) for a while before spending the majority of his time growing up in Saskatchewan.

Did you know Thomas Vanek was born in Austria to a Slovak Mom and a Czech Dad, before immigrating to the United States to Sioux Falls, South Dakota when he was 14 years old?


How come Sweden and Finland are hockey hotbeds while Norway only has five pro players?



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ryan Miller's a Good Guy and a Lucky Bastard

Ryan Miller hit a one-in-a-million shot last night by putting a clearing attempt through the photographer peephole. That's the lucky bastard part.

As you can see at the end of the video, Miller made a point of getting over to the window at the end of the game and hand the photographer his goalie stick, and was continuously checking to see if he was alright throughout the end of the third. That's the good guy part.

The full story here on the Toronto Star, who the photographer works for.