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December 31, 2011
Good Riddance 2011...Hello 2012...I'll
talk to y'all next year...
3:58 PM: End of the 1st...still
2-0 Flyers alumni...
I'll be spending New Year's Eve with
some family members...out with the old in with the new...so enjoy...
3:47 PM: Shjon Podein
picks up the Rick Tocchet garbage and makes
it 2-0 Philly...one too many moves for Tocchet...he must still be thinking of
his recent trip to the Bahamas (or the $18,000 that was seized by customs
officials, or so the report said)...
3:44 PM: Been a long time
since we've seen Lindros feed Leclair for a
goal...Mark Recchi, completing the Legion of Doom, pasted Pat Hickey into the
glass to set up the play...easy to see Recchi is just recently retired...1-0
3:37 PM: The 66 year old
Bernie Parent played 5 minutes, and made a
good save on a Ron Duguay breakaway...now it's Mark LaForest in net for
Philly...John Vanbiesbrouck is the Rangers goalie...Dan Blackburn is the
3:31 PM: Alumni game
in Philadelphia - the biggest ovations at
Citizen's Bank Park were for Bernie Parent, Eric Lindros, John Leclair and
Jeremy Roenick...biggest boos were for Mike Keenan and Mark Messier...
I've seen Lauren Hart
sing along with a recording of Kate Smith's
"God Bless America" many times, but having them do it in a much bigger stadium
outside was simply surreal...
I can't believe Ken Linseman still
has those goggles...he claims they're prescription?!?
December 30, 2011
11:52 PM: The plot thickens at the World
Juniors...the Czech Republic
beat the Americans 5-2, meaning Canada officially clinches first in the pool and
will get an automatic bye to the semi-finals...as if this wasn't good enough,
Team USA would need Denmark to come up big against Finland to guarantee them a
spot in the quarterfinals...yeah, it wasn't going to happen...the Finns crushed
the Danes 10-1...and the Americans are OUT...tomorrow night's New Year's Eve
clash between Canada and the US means nothing...but you know we'll do our best
to try and pour some salt in the wounds...and the Americans, they'll be playing
One less nemesis to worry
about...and one less game to play...should bode well for Canada's quest for
Gold...because in this country, winning Silver is not an option...
Another Daniel Alfredsson milestone
complete tonight...as the Sens played host to the Calgary Flames...and it was
all Calgary early...not even 30 seconds into the game Rene Bourque was credited
for an Eric Condra own goal, and it went downhill from there...it was 3-0 Flames
after one, but the Sens clawed and scratched their way back into this one,
finally tying it 3-3 in the 3rd...they would need overtime, where Alfredsson
would score his 400th career goal, and the game winner...Erik Karlsson scored to
tie the game and registered an assist on Alfie's winner...Flames get away with a
point and will probably wonder how they let that one get away...Sens can breathe
a sigh of relief after one turkey of an effort against Montreal on
Tuesday...Jarome Iginla still sits at 498 career goals...
Alex Ovechkin finally appears to
have some life, as he scored twice in a 3-1 win against Buffalo...Nick Backstrom
with the icing on the cake, and Jochen Hecht the only goal for the Swords...
The New York Rangers cruised to a
4-1 win over Florida, in their last game before the Winter Classic...five
different goal scorers, including Brad Richards with his 13th...
Martin Erat does it again for
Nashville in a shootout...they went to a fifth round against St. Louis, and get
the 2-1 shootout victory...Erat just seems to have that knack for coming up big
in these things...Matt Halischuk and T.J. Oshie with the regulation time
And in the Windy City it was Marian
Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook for the Hawks, Justin Abdelkader and
Todd Bertuzzi for Detroit...3-2, Chicago...
Action gets going early tomorrow, as
the Edmonton Oilers are on the Island for a 12:30 start...and at 3 PM it's the
Philadelphia outdoor alumni game...2/3 of the Legion of Doom will be
there...Eric Lindros and John Leclair...Mark Messier and Nick Kypreos are just
two expected to suit up for the Rangers...it'll be an all star lineup, for
sure...the Rangers squad will be mostly made up of members of the 94 Stanley Cup
team, minus Glenn Healy and Mike Richter (John Vanbiesbrouck will be
there)...Philadelphia has alumni from every decade represented, right up into
the Lindros era...should be fun to watch...it's too bad that Mikael Renberg, who
now works as an analyst for SVT state television in Sweden, most likely won't
make it as he is tied up in Alberta at the Juniors covering the Swedish
team...Puck Daddy reported earlier this week that Renberg's producer Tweeted
directly at Lindros something to the effect that he already has a previous
commitment to the tournament...must be hard finding good hockey analysts that
can speak Swedish...
December 29, 2011
11:26 PM: It wasn't pretty if
for Denmark, but did we really expect anything less? 10-2, Canada
wins...they've now out shot their opponents 23-3 in 3 games...a loss for Team
USA tomorrow and Canada officially clinches the pool before the two even hook
up...the tournament, however, is just getting started...it'll really start to
heat up after Saturday...
A busy night in the NHL...was a very
spirited affair in Minnesota for the 6th and final meeting of the season between
the Oilers and Wild...a 4-3 Wild win...this game came down to a three goal 2nd
period for the Wild, 2 of them scored 19 seconds apart...Dany Heatley with the
GWG...two big scraps between Darcy Hordichuk and Matt Kassian...and Ryan Smyth
almost started a brawl at the final buzzer as Nick Backstrom cross checked him
in the back, and as always, Smitty didn't back down...Wild snap an 8 game skid,
but oddly enough, ties Vancouver in points, for now...the Canucks are in
Anaheim...and leading 4-0...
Just watched the only goal of the
Winnipeg-Los Angeles game, which was more or less a goalie show between Jonathan
Bernier and Chris Mason...this one was scoreless after regulation...Evander Kane
got the winner in overtime, the Jets win a big one, 1-0...already holding down
the 8th and final playoff spot in the East, the Jets will move into 7th, tied in
points with Toronto...they're only 4 points back of Florida for the Southeast
Division lead!!...it's going to be a lot of fun if that team makes the
playoffs...never mind the fact that they're playing in the Eastern
Conference...the Leafs will invade MTS Centre on New Year's Eve...Toronto's
penalty kill is brutal, and so is Carolina's power play...something had to give
tonight, and it did...Canes get a rare power play goal to beat the Leafs 4-3 in
OT...it was already going to be a fun game, but now the two will be fighting to
gain an edge in the playoff race...
Hey when was the last time we had a
three way race for the final two playoffs spots, and all of them Canadian
teams?! Winnipeg, Toronto, and Ottawa...Sens trail Toronto by 2 points for
the last spot...all three teams have played 37 games...we won't see it again, so
bring it on!!
Philadelphia wins 4-2 in Pittsburgh
thanks to Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot both scoring on their former team...
Vinny Lecavalier got the GWG in a
4-3 score against Montreal...but it's two controversial goals that the Habs will
be complaining about...one that was called a goal, even though the referee
"intended to blow the whistle"...another goal from Martin St. Louis was a
borderline high stick, but was ruled to be below the cross bar...the sky is
falling in Montreal...and so are their playoff hopes...
Calgary was 3-1 worse than the NY
Islanders...Flames are in Ottawa tomorrow night...
And stop the presses...the Columbus
Blue Jackets win their first regulation road game of the season...4-1...against
Dallas?? They'll take it, but it won't help their cause too much...Jackets
remain in the NHL basement...but, hey - at least they won a game on the road
before the calendar year changed...
Aside from the Canucks laying a
beating on the Ducks, the Desert Dogs are in Denver, and down 3-2 in the 2nd
against the Avs...
You can see the intensity already
taking it up another notch...the stretch run is on...well, maybe not yet...but
it's definitely heating up out there...with the exception of Anaheim and
Columbus, it's still pretty much up in the air...
8:28 PM: 15-1...that's
how much Team Canada has outscored their opposition so far in the 2012 Under 20
World Junior Hockey tournament...and that's only after about 2 1/3 games!!
About 5 minutes left in the 1st period between Canada and Denmark, already 2-0
for the good guys...was a 5-0 shutout against the Czechs last night, and an 8-1
drubbing of the Finns on Monday...Canada can win their pool before New Year's
Eve...but the annual Canada-USA tilt never disappoints...a bye to the semifinals
is on the line...so far so good...
Also keeping an eye on
Philadelphia-Pittsburgh and Edmonton-Minnesota...it's Jaromir Jagr's first
return to the Pitts as a member of the Flyers...naturally, they're booing him at
every touch of the puck...Flyers still lead 3-1 near the end of the 2nd...aside
from Pronger, Philly is getting back some of their walking wounded...and of
course, Mr. Sid is still out for the Pens...still listed as day to day...I
really hope he can make it back for the All Star Game...
Better make that 3-0 Canada...Mark
Stone, the Brandon Manitoba native and Ottawa Senators' prospect, has his fifth
of the tournament...scored a hat trick in the first game...
Christmas Day, December 25, 2011
2:48 PM: Well,
what do you say, what do you know? As the old John Lennon song goes,
another year over, a new one just begun, and so this is Christmas...
I have to confess,
2011 for me, aside from a couple of weeks
when I was on vacation, has been very trying both personally and professionally.
There has been no shortage of bad news, whether it be the earthquake and tsunami
over in Japan, whether it's the abnormally large amount of losses in the hockey
community, the Russian plane crash notwithstanding, or whether it be added
pressure in an already stressful job, or even shocking family news...just seems
to me that every time the calendar changes to another day there's something else
out there to worry about...just before Christmas, in fact, we got news that a
distant relative from Alberta had suddenly passed away...this year, for what
it's worth, has simply been relentless, and I for one am happy to see it coming
to an end...especially if what they say is true about 2012, what with the whole
world coming to an end and all...;)
as every year, we make the most of it, and
gather with family, friends, and look forward to better times ahead...today my
immediate family are keeping things low key...tomorrow, my cousin has decided to
have the big gathering...and in the past weeks, there has been no shortage of
the usual gatherings on my better half's side of the family, including the usual
Christmas Eve get together...uLAr's little one, Ethan, although only a year and
4 mths old, is growing up so fast, and is at that age where he's just about to
start talking...kids are so innocent at that age, when they just start to grow
and start to recognize people and things...he's been such a blessing...we all
can hardly wait for future Christmas gatherings, when he'll undoubtedly be the
most excited of all of us for Santa Clause...
It's my wish for both myself and
everybody reading this, that 2012 brings a lot of health, a lot of good times,
and, dammit, maybe even a lot of money if we're lucky enough...whoever you are,
whatever you celebrate, enjoy, and most importantly enjoy responsibly...we've
all worked hard and we're all in this together...
So, barring any more unforseen
circumstances, I promise this blog will see more regular updates over the coming
days and weeks as we gear up for my favorite time of year aside from the Stanley
Cup Playoffs - the World Junior tournament...held this year in Edmonton and
Calgary...Team Canada once again looks good, and you know revenge against the
Russians will be uppermost on their mind, but, Team USA is still looking strong
as they still have the core of their 2010 championship team intact...Finland and
Sweden are always dark horses...no better tournament on the planet in my
opinion, and it gets underway tomorrow, alongside the NHL's return from a short
Christmas break...although we won't see Ryan Nugent-Hopkins play for Canada,
he's definitely earned the right to be where he is...I'll bet the Team Canada
brass regrets cutting him a year ago...they could have definitely used him in
the third period of the Gold Medal game, but what do I know?...
December 7, 2011
10:31 PM: Brutal giveaway
by Marc-Andre Gragnani to the NHL's 2nd
leading scorer...Claude Giroux...goal...Flyers win in OT, again...1G 3A for
Jeff Skinner scored on the power
play late in the 1st...another funny play as Jeff Petry was trying to clear the
puck around the boards, it went up, hit a stanchion, hit the back of the net and
right into the slot...a gift for Kirk Muller and company...it's 1-1 after 20
10:04 PM: Another goal review...this
one is deemed good...they're giving it to Magnus Paajarvi, but it deflected off
Eric Belanger's skate and off the top of Cam Ward's stick...1-0 Edmonton...
tied the score 4-4...overtime in Buffalo...
9:54 PM: Oilers look like a team that
hasn't played since Saturday...
Chad LaRose thought he had scored
but the replay clearly shows a distinct kicking motion...looked like he was just
regaining his balance, but those are the rules...goal was disallowed...although
I kind of like Ray Ferraro's take on...as long as you don't throw it in, if it
crosses the line it should count...
9:42 PM: John Carlson,
9:41 PM: Can't tell
if Vokoun or Karl Alzner made the
save...but Alfie can't believe it...
9:36 PM: 6 on 4...23 seconds left in the
9:35 PM: Joel Ward...slashing...Jesse
Winchester sold that one...and the referee took the bait...
9:34 PM: Alex Semin,
another Washington player in the doghouse,
took an undisciplined hooking penalty, and Milan Michalek made him pay just 5
seconds into the power play...4-3...5th goal in as many games for Michalek...17th
of the year? Takes over the league lead in goal scoring...
9:29 PM: Make that 9 for Ovie...as
he looked skyward...then Troy Brouwer went right back and scored again...4-2,
Caps with under 5 minutes left...as fans head to the parking lot...why, I'm not
sure, when you consider some of the late game heroics the Sens have managed to
pull off this season...
9:16 PM: I'm not too sure
I like the "Dale Hunter" stamp on the
Washington Capitals...they're taking a few too many liberties for my liking...
Ever since the Ovechkin spear on
Chris Neil the fans at Scotiabank Place have been booing him...not bad, two
Capital cities give him the Bronx cheer...
Nick Backstrom ties it 2-2 on a
power play, his 10th...so far Ovechkin has only been able to equal the number on
his jersey...so you might say he's off to a slow start, but consider this - 8
goals 11 assists for 29 points in 26 games...Sidney Crosby has only played 8
games, has 2 goals, 10 assists for 12 points...now you might say, well he's
still averaging more than a point per game...difference is Crosby is a +7,
Ovechkin is -7...Craig Anderson has stoned him twice in the 3rd, though...look
End of the 2nd period in Buffalo...
9:13 PM: Jaromir Jagr is
almost halfway to 20...his 9th...4-3
Flyers...what the hell is with that goal scoring salute?
9:08 PM: Tied 3-3 in Buffalo...seems
Scott Hartnell is always there when the Flyers need him...his 12th...
Milan Michalek just missed scoring
on a breakaway...the Nick Foligno goal was not a power play goal after
all...penalty ended 3 seconds before the puck went in...
9:02 PM: Ryan Miller can't catch a break...got
run into by his own player, and then in the 3rd got his helmet knocked off by a
Philly is within 1 goal...it's 3-2
with about 8 minutes left in the 2nd...3rd period in Ottawa just underway...
Pittsburgh is keeping Sidney Crosby
out of action for at least the next two days for "precautionary measures"...not
too sure what that means, but he did have a pretty rough game against
Boston...call it day to day, for now...or...call it the Philly Flu...Pens meet
the Flyers tomorrow night...
8:41 PM: Nick Foligno, on the other hand...marked
improvement over last year...didn't score his first goal last year until
November (against Edmonton, go figure)...now he already has 9...maybe he'll take
after his father after all and become a perennial 20 goal scorer...
Power play goal, Sens lead 2-1...
8:39 PM: So, Mr. Murray...tell
me again, just how long is Sergei Gonchar's contract!?
8:37 PM: 5 on 3 Ottawa...Washington
was serving a too many men penalty, and somewhat of a sketchy hooking
call...make up call!?!?
8:27 PM: Triple header Wednesday on TSN...double
header on the main network, and another game on TSN 2...Washington is playing
Ottawa for the second time since Saturday...Philadelphia is in Buffalo...and
later on, rematch of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final as the Carolina Hurricanes visit
Chris Neil will have Alex Ovechkin
in his sights...earlier, an Ovechkin got Neil in the stomach with the blade of
his stick, but when Neil went down he got the unsportsmanlike diving
penalty?...was 1-0 Caps thanks to Jeff Halpern's 2nd of the year, but Erik
Condra has just scored to make it 1-1...it's getting a little chippy out there,
and I'm not talking about the ice!! Tomas Vokoun didn't even see Condra
until the puck was in the net...
In Buffalo, a 1-0 Sabres lead is now
a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes...
December 5, 2011
11:53 PM: Well, Gary Bettman
hinted on his XM Satellite Radio show that
the league wanted to address the realignment issue before the All Star
Break...well, it got done before Christmas!!
The board of governors met today and
managed to come to a consensus on what we can expect beyond this year...the
league is moving away from a 2 conference, 6 division alignment (about time!),
to a four conference alignment based on geography...it had become abundantly
clear a long time ago the old way just wasn't working anymore...(I've only been
saying it for years)...now with Winnipeg getting Atlanta's old team, they just
couldn't have the team playing in the same division as Florida, Tampa, Carolina
and Washington beyond this season...then you have to address the Detroit and
Columbus situation, they're in the Eastern time zone but play in the Western
Conference...then you'd potentially have to deal with Colorado...do they want to
play in an all Canadian division, if you move Minnesota out and Winnipeg in?
And, more importantly...how do you accomodate potential future
Well, here's how it's going to break
down...the conferences themselves will eventually get names, I'm sure, but for
now it's going to go like this:
Conference A: Anaheim, Calgary,
Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver (West Coast?)
Conference B: Chicago, Columbus,
Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg (Central?)
Conference C: Boston, Buffalo,
Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto (North/Southeast? Could call
it Northeast if not for Florida and Tampa...East Coast A?)
Conference D: Carolina, New Jersey,
NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington (East Coast B,
but, realistically, Raleigh is no more East Coast than Charlotte...Pittsburgh as
well, is not on the coast...)
2 of the as yet to be named
conferences will have 7 teams, the other 2 will have eight teams (you can start
the expansion/relocation rumors/debates now!)...for now, the teams will play
other teams within their conference either five times or six times, this will
rotate every year...this will guarantee that every team will play against every
team at least twice...should be interesting...as for the naming, probably won't
be able to name them based on the region as the alignment still isn't 100%
The only thing I could imagine that
would make sense is the league maybe names them after a recent former NHL
legend? Like Conference A could be Conference Gretzky (no
contest)...Conference B could be Conference Yzerman or Conference
Chelios...Conference C could be Conference Andreychuk or Conference
Muller or Roy...even Gilmour or Neely could get a nod there (hell, even throw "May-Day"
into the mix)...and Conference D could be Conference Lemieux or Conference
Messier...even Conference Stevens, Niedermayer, or even Lindros...
Notice Conference C...7
teams...who's missing?...Quebec? Hamilton? Kitchener? Or a
second team in Toronto? You could easily slide Quebec into either
division C or D...one has to think the league and its board have strongly
considered expansion or a future relocation...one can look at Conference D, and
ask the question, with teams returning to Minnesota and Winnipeg, do we get a
team back in Connecticut? Do we expand to Baltimore (well...maybe not)?!
Does the league take a risk and put a team in Las Vegas? All questions
we're sure to see answers for in years to come...one thing is clear with this
new alignment - the NHL, whether Bettman will admit it or not, is building
towards a 32 team league...
And of course, the most important
question...how will the playoffs work? Just like they did before the
1993/94 season, when the NHL went with the present day top eight in the East or West,
regardless of seeding...under the new alignment, just like it was in the days of
the old Wales and Campbell conferences, top four in each Conference qualify...1st plays 4th, 2nd
plays 3rd...no more concern about four teams in a five team division making the
playoffs, versus only one or two in another...never really thought that was
fair, to be totally honest...so, after a Conference champion is crowned, one can
ascertain that the winner of Conference A will play Conference B and the winner
of Conference C will play Conference D, with the winners of those series meeting
in the Stanley Cup final...might actually be cool if they mix it up...pit
Conference A against Conference C and then Conference B against Conference
D...but that would go against the grain of what the league is trying to
accomplish here...a better regional alignment that is more travel friendly than
ever...but, once you get to the final rounds, who cares? Want to win the
Cup? Bring it on...
Sure, there isn't any perfect
alignment...two conferences will get 3 Canadian teams...Winnipeg will be by
themselves, and by today's standards at least, will have arguably the toughest
division to play in...so you have to think they won't be happy, but, they will
have a much easier travel...I guess if you want a team back in Manitoba should
be just happy that they are there...
Who should be happiest? The
two Florida based teams/fans/season ticket holders...Canadian snowbirds, who
must easily make up at least 25% or better of the season ticket base in Sunrise
and St. Petersburg (you could even argue 50% or better), may get to see
Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa one more time per season depending on the
rotation...and consider this...there are 3 original six teams in the same
division with Florida and Tampa...yeah, Florida got a sweet deal here...should
help boost interest down there...I have to tell you, it's a joke how the two
Florida teams are received down there...I pointed out to no less than three
people who told me they don't follow hockey in Florida that they have two
And if the league was looking to amp
up the Pittsburgh-Washington rivalry, looks like they succeeded...
For the most part...looks like the
NHL hit a home run...like I said, there isn't any perfect alignment, and there
are sure to be many critics over what has been decided (particularly in
Winnipeg)...but so be it...suck it up, lace 'em up and let's go...I have even
seen one game under the new alignment and I already love what they've done (no
more Minnesota in Edmonton's division - THANK YOU!!!!)...maybe I'm old school,
but this gives it a modern flair...now hopefully they'll listen to me on the
naming convention...they kind of have to, don't they?
Oh yeah, and there were some games
tonight too...;-)...Boston wins again...3-1 against Pittsburgh...14-0-1
since November 1 are the Bruins...Ottawa doubles up on Tampa 4-2, Florida edges
Washington 5-4...Toronto snaps their losing streak and the Rangers winning
streak with a 4-2 win...and Phoenix wins 4-3 in a shootout against Chicago...
And...get this...Matthew Barnaby was
charged with DWI...they will never learn, will they? Enjoy responsibly
folks...we want to talk to you, not about you...
December 4, 2011
10:37 PM: So with last night
being the first of what should be several holiday family gatherings, I watched with
great disdain the Calgary Flames' come from behind (twice) win against
Edmonton...you could tell the Oilers played Friday night, and seemed to use up
all of their energy in the first five minutes...after that, the parade to the
penalty box ensued...Calgary scored on theirs, Edmonton could not even muster a
shot...a couple of positives, though - both Darcy Hordichuk and Sam Gagner got
their first goals of the season...Gagner especially looked relieved...he hadn't
scored in more than 20 games...that made it 2-0, but it was all downhill from
there, and in a real hurry...
Although...one that probably
deserved a call but didn't get one...Shawn Horcoff took a brutal cross check to
the ribs in the 2nd period...no call...yet, in the 3rd period, Ryan Smyth did
the same thing to goalie Kiprusoff, who had way more chest protection, and he
got called...can't touch the goalie but it's OK to try and hurt the
captain...Horcoff did stay in the game, but you could tell he was in pain...
Anyway, it was the Flames' 100th
regular season win against the Oilers since the franchise moved from Atlanta to
Calgary...the Battle of Alberta all time record, 100-81-18-3, in favor of the
Flames...shocking when you consider how loaded the Oilers were in the 80s...but
then again, so were the Flames...
Last night in St. Louis, Ken
Hitchcock was so impressed with the play of David Perron, it made him quip "we
could use four more of him and we'll be fine"...Blues lost 5-2 to Chicago, but
Perron scored in his first game after a 97 game absence due to a concussion...
Nashville's Jordin Tootoo can thank
his lucky stars his team doesn't meet up with the Buffalo Sabres again this
season...Ryan Miller returned to action after having also missed some concussion
time, and all Tootoo could do was run roughshod over him...bad idea...not only
did Miller go after him with both of his fists (with his glove and blocker still
on!), the rest of the players on the ice went after him...least of all, the
coach, Lindy Ruff, was not impressed...we'll have to keep our eyes open for the
And you can put the Markov rumors to
rest...ie, the rumors that say he's coming back to the Habs' lineup...he is set
to undergo yet another knee surgery...why do I get the feeling the once stalwart
defenseman may not ever return?
December 3, 2011
12:37 AM: How could they not win?
Claude Giroux, his 14th of the season...in
OT with the Flyers 4 on 3, wins the game 4-3...Philly comes all the way
back...can you believe it?! Safe to say, the referees helped decide that
one...not to mention they helped spoil Bruce Boudreau's Ducks debut...ouch!!!
12:32 AM: Double minor
to Getzlaf...in OT...2 for the trip, 2 for
unsportsmanlike for chirping at the ref...I don't know if I've ever seen
this...I've seen 5 on 3, but never a double minor in a 5 minute overtime
period...Flyers will get the rest of OT save for about 19 seconds on the power
play...4 on 3...
12:30 AM: OT at the Pond...or is that the
Garage (Honda Center)?
12:27 AM: 1:37 left and the Ducks are going
on the power play...Voracek got
called for the hook on Smith-Pelly...
12:24 AM: 10th of the season for Scott
Hartnell ties it 3-3...3 minutes
left...lot of players hitting the 10 goal plateau tonight...
12:04 AM: Well Hemsky looked
pretty good on his 3rd of the year to make
it 5-3...assist from Horcoff...and he would add another as he fed Jones for the
empty netter and the hat trick goal...
is now a final...
Jagr has scored his 8th and 2nd of
the game as it's now 3-2, Ducks...that one could be interesting...but don't ask
me how Jagr even has 1 goal after he couldn't even realize the puck bounced off
his skate in the slot...doesn't look like much happening here with about 10
December 2, 2011
11:48 PM: So who's gonna get the shower of
hats? - Jones, or Dorsett...his
second of the game...it's 4-3...
11:42 PM: Ryan O'Reilly got the shootout
winner...Avs beat the Blues
And then along came Jones...Ryan
Jones...his 2nd of the game...4-2, Oil...seconds later he almost turned the
2nd intermission in Anaheim...
11:37 PM: It took Ladislav Smid
almost 2 years to score a goal, now he has
2 in less than 2 weeks...3-2...Oilers are buzzing...
Hemsky can still throw a hit,
though...lowered the boom on Fedor Tyutin!!
11:35 PM: Is it just me,
or does Ales Hemsky have a hard time
handling the puck this year?
11:29 PM: Colorado tied their game 2-2...and
they are in OT...Ryan O'Reilly with his usual 3rd period heroics, again...looks
like that one is headed to a shootout...
Chicago shootout win...Jonathan
Toews with the only goal for either side in a shootout...Toews with 1G, 1A, and
the shootout winner...
just tied Columbus with a
And last I checked it's now 3-0
Ducks over Philly...make that 3-1...Jagr just scored his 7th...
11:01 PM: Overtime in Chicago...
I love Nick Kypreos'
comment about Wisniewski's lost
tooth...what time is his dentist appointment tomorrow?
Two-thirty...(Tooth...hurty...har har har...)...
10:53 PM: What?!?!
Dorsett shorthanded!??!? 2-1
Jackets...and this team is in last place!??!
10:39 PM: Watching Columbus' first meeting
with Edmonton this season...and
it's clear the Oilers haven't forgotten what happened last time these two teams
met at Rexall Place...that was the game Taylor Hall got into a fight with Derek
Dorsett and effectively ended his season...
Of course, Hall is still out with
that shoulder injury, but is expected back either before or after Christmas...
It's "once an Oiler always an Oiler
night" as tonight they salute Grant Fuhr...they'll be doing a few of these...I
still want one of those Ryan Smyth bobbleheads...guess I could always get out
the Team Canada one...
Jared Boll and Darcy Hordichuk got
into a good tilt...it was really no contest...Hordichuk got him down with one
punch...and got an extra unsportsmanlike for excessive celebration...Darcy,
Darcy, Darcy...then adding insult to injury, a too many men on the ice put the
Jackets up 5 on 3 and Mark Letestu made them pay...
It's deadlocked 1-1, nicely into the
2nd...Jordan Eberle got the first goal just 21 seconds in on an early power
play...he already has 10...Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has his 29th point of the
season...should easily have at least four players with 20 goals by the time the
year is finished...maybe 5...
Curtis Sanford just stopped a good
Smyth-Eberle rush...that was going to be a beauty...despite Columbus' abysmal
record, Sanford is posting the 3rd best GAA in the league...it's clear he hasn't
played too many games...
Oh yes...and it has not been an easy
time for James Wisniewski this year...started the season with a suspension...and
tonight, lost a tooth thanks to a Ryan Jones errant high stick, one the refs
didn't see...somebody on the Oilers' bench was taunting him...if you can read
lips you won't have a hard time figuring out what his reply was...
Islanders and Hawks are in a 4-4
deadlock...8 different goal scorers there...about 10 minutes left in the 3rd...
Don't know if it's the Boudreau
effect, but the Ducks are up 2-0 on the Flyers...Andrew Cogliano already has his
6th...he only scored 11 all of last year...
2-1 Blues in the 3rd against the
Avalanche...final scores, Detroit was 4-1 better than Buffalo, and Minnesota are
once again #1 after beating New Jersey 4-2...the Wild have been trading places
with and keeping up the pace with Pittsburgh over the last few days...they're
separated by a point...Kyle Brodziak had 2 more tonight...I really wonder where
that offense was back when he was in Edmonton...
December 1, 2011
5:42 PM: Good night, and good luck...to
one Mr. Mike Grier...he has today announced his retirement from the NHL after 14
seasons...the 36 year old gritty winger played 1,060 regular season games,
recording 162 goals and 221 assists...Grier also played in 101 playoff games,
making it to the post season in 11 out of his 14 seasons...not too shabby my
friend...drafted by St. Louis, he was traded to Edmonton while attending Boston
University - Grier was an Oiler for the first six years of his career, and hit
the 20 goal mark twice...he has seen stops in Washington, Buffalo and San Jose
before finishing the last two seasons back in Buffalo...
Seems Kirk Muller has added former
Devils' coach and former team mate John Maclean to the Hurricanes' coaching
staff...Rod Brind'Amour, Tom Barrasso and Dave Lewis remain on as assistants...
And, according to Sportsnet's Nick
Kypreos, Bobby Ryan was approached by Ducks' G.M. Bob Murray today and told he
is not on the trade block...read into that whatever you will...
Tonight, the Ovi-Sid rivalry writes
another chapter...lucky for Sid, David Steckel is no longer a member of the
Capitals...but even still, he better keep his head up...
3:09 PM: As promised, here I am, back in
I would have
been back sooner...but what can I say,
November was a very wacky month...one would have thought I could have
gone on vacation for two weeks and then back to business, but not so...gotta
love how real life gets in the way sometimes...
Seems November was equally as wacky
both on the ice and off...
Let's see...we had four coaches
fired (well, technically three, one of them was rehired last night!)...we had
the defending Stanley Cup champions finally show up to the party (Boston went
12-0-1 in the month of November, after an absolutely unacceptable start for ANY
team, let alone the champs)...the ongoing debate about headshots/suspensions
continues (what can I say, being head disciplinarian is a thankless job)...
So first of all, I want to thank
uLAr for texting me the games every weekend while I was away, allowing the
weekend picks to continue...although it's obvious how little exposure I had to
hockey, as I didn't fare very well...well plenty of time to catch up...
Anyway, it was during the 2nd
weekend away that he advised me that St. Louis had fired their coach and hired
Ken Hitchcock, which so far has proven to be a good move as the Blues players
appear to have bought into his system...for now...
Then, this week, not one, not two,
but now, three more firings...Bruce Boudreau was let go in Washington, as it had
become apparent that he was no longer getting through to the team, particularly
one Alex Ovechkin...his replacement was none other than one of the greatest
players to ever don a Washington jersey, Dale Hunter...that situation is
interesting - Hunter left behind a good position as head coach of the London
Knights of the OHL, and only signed a one year (rest of this season) deal as
head coach of the Caps...so, my guess is if he is not happy behind the bench in
Washington, then he can always fall back on the Knights...of course, depending
on how well or not the Caps do at the end of the season will probably weigh very
heavily on both his and the team's decision to keep him around...once considered
a contender again, not looking so much of late...but we're still early...
Same day, Carolina let Paul Maurice
go (again), and hired former Habs' bench boss Kirk Muller...
And then, late last night, despite
winning their first game in awhile, the Anaheim Ducks let Randy Carlyle go and
hired the aforementioned Bruce Boudreau...Duck Duck Bruce as the headline on
NHL.com says today...plenty of speculation going on over Carlyle's treatment of
star play Bobby Ryan, which led many to speculate a trade or a coach firing may
be imminent...well, I guess we know our answer...don't, however, rule out a Ryan
trade...looks like the Ducks will require another Corey Perry Rocket
Richard-like season to make the playoffs again...
Of course, probably the biggest
hockey story over the last several weeks has been the return to action of one
Sidney Crosby...the first game back was a Monday night extravaganza against the
NY Islanders, and showcased on HNIC, of all places...Sid does not look like a
player who had not played since January...he stormed out of the gate with four
points in his first game...and so far after only 5 games played he's already got
11 points (2G 9A)...this puts him 9th on the Pens in scoring...there are some
players out there, no names mentioned (Sam Gagner) still looking for their first
goal...Crosby is a special one, no doubt...so far it's looking like picking him
in my hockey pool might pay off after all...
And staying with Pittsburgh for a
second...they were in Montreal last Saturday taking on the Habs...late in the
game Max Pacioretty blindsided Kris Letang with an elbow or shoulder to the head
(you be the judge)...now he ended up getting 3 games for the play, and Letang
came back and scored the eventual GWG, but Pacioretty, of all people, should
know better...you have to love the karma, though...he gets 3 games for a
blindside hit, and Zdeno Chara doesn't get suspended for almost taking his head
off last year...not so sure if that would have been the case this year with
Sheriff Shanahan in town...
So, those have been my takes from
the last little while...still plenty of hockey to be played...and nice to see
Edmonton actually in the hunt...now if only they could actually win a
shootout...against Minnesota or anybody for that matter...hey Kyle (Brodziak)! -
where was that offense a few years ago?!? Anyhow, I know uLAr called it
after the first 10 games, and I'm starting to believe it now - barring any
unforseen circumstances, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will win the Calder trophy this
year...he's built himself a comfortable 10 point lead in the rookie scoring
race, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down...his youthful exhuberance has
helped Jordan Eberle's game, not to mention Ryan Smyth's...and he's only
18...seems to me I've seen this movie many years before...but I'm not
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