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January 30, 2012

9:18 PM: So leading up to the big weekend last Thursday was an hour with Gary Bettman on his usual XM Satellite Radio show, which is now simulcast in Canada on CH 157 (because, as Howard Stern points out nearly every time he's on live - XM and Sirius are one company, but two companies when it is convenient)...and amid the usual rhetoric about how the NHL heading into the break is continuing to break attendance records, etc, etc (of course, Winnipeg didn't have anything to do with that, did they Mr. Commissioner?!), a revelation of sorts - Winnipeg's former team, the Phoenix Coyotes, as we all know, continues to be a work in progress - the revelation, if you can call it that, is that all of a sudden there are now 3 potential suitors for the team...up until the commissioner confirmed this on Thursday, there were at least 2 buyers that we knew of - while he remained coy about the whole thing and would not reveal names, he did confirm a recent interest from a 3rd potential buyer...and went on to say while the NHL only moves teams as a last resort, don't rule it out if they can't resolve the Phoenix situation by the end of this season...Jim Ballsillie?  Anyone?  He was told to zip it, and he has...so who knows?

Before the Pittsburgh Penguins headed into the break, Sidney Crosby stayed back in California to get a second professional opinion on the second concussion in as many years that has kept him out of all but 8 games this season - it seems he also suffered a neck injury...on Saturday night HNIC's Elliotte Friedman was reporting at least two cracked vertebrae, but Sid awaits test results...the bottom line - he is nowhere close to returning, despite reports to the contrary (a report today had him enjoying a very intense practice)...

Yesterday's All Star Game was only the 4th that Don Cherry has attended, but before the game even started he called it the best...then during the rare All Star Coach's Corner, Ron Maclean revealed an article in the Ottawa Sun where none other than Brian Burke was hot under the collar about some comments that Grapes had made on a previous segment...Burke admitted he had complained to the CBC in the hopes that Don would stop the "vicious" criticism of players and coach...to add insult to injury, when Don wouldn't talk about it further, Ron went on to suggest perhaps he is trying to get fired from the CBC so that one of either Sportsnet or TSN would scoop him up...to which all Don could say "WHAT did you say?!?"...Burke evidently was particularly sensitive to comments made about Ron Wilson being compared to Napoleon and being called a "bully"...Don had made these comments because Wilson didn't clap when a few Canadian troops were introduced at the Air Canada Centre before a game...after he'd complained quietly, or so he thought, "they leak it.  Nuts."...Cherry had said as recently as last week that if the allegations of the complaint are actually true, that "He's got to get in line to get me, because there are lots of people who seem to want to"...

Personally - I don't know what would have been worse...seeing the high school drama between Cherry and Burke unfold, and the fallout where now neither one of them will talk, or seeing Ron interview Gary Bettman...not really sure what Ron is starting by suggesting Don may end up on another network...does he know something?!

Today, pretty slow news day as players head back to their respective teams...but tomorrow, it all gets underway again...yesterday, they were all a big happy family of friends, but tomorrow, that's all over as the stretch run is on!!  Alfie will face off against Chara again, as the Sens pay a visit to Boston...one of 13 games to get us back in business...the NY Rangers will be in Newark, Winnipeg visits Philly (remember the last time these two played?!), Toronto visits Pittsburgh, Detroit and Colorado visit the Alberta teams...while Vancouver is home to Chicago...the Sedins host Super Kane...

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12:07 AM: Just past midnight after another NHL All Star Game...actually watched the game on PVR delay (when you spend most of Saturday out and about, you have to get your weekly supplies sometime)...they certainly try to make them more competitive...I'm always amazed at how they mic up the players and get cameras on the goalie helmets...I know this weekend allows for that since it's a celebration of the game - but I'll tell you what, I wish they would do it more often...maybe not during the stretch run and playoffs, when things get more serious, but why not mic up some players during a game on Opening Night, or during Pre-Season...even on Hockey Day In Canada?...

This year's game had it all...even had a penalty shot...while it was Team Chara prevailing 12-9 over Team Alfredsson, the clear winners in this whole extravaganza was Ottawa, the city, the Senators' team, and Alfie...you could tell fans were somewhat disappointed not only after the home side losing the game, but also over Marian Gaborik winning the MVP, despite the fact he was the game's top performer - a hat trick and an assist, in the fans' view, was overshadowed by Alfie's 2 goal performance in the 2nd period to tie the game 6-6...had he managed to score on Tim Thomas in the 3rd and perhaps even help his team win the game, probably would have been a different story...but your really can't argue Gabby getting the award...I can't imagine what the topic of discussion will before the next Rangers' practice...this game was the only time you'll see John Tortorella laughing...for the rest of the season...unless the Rangers go all the way, that is...

Even for somebody like me, just the experience yesterday was akin to seeing how this city exploded when the Sens were in the Finals back in 2007...like I said yesterday, you would have sworn it was Canada Day downtown, if you didn't know any better, that is...I know there were a ton of visitors - had no less than 3 people stop me asking for directions to various places...one lady in particular was asking where to go shopping, and this was literally just around the corner from the Rideau Centre...it was nice to see such a buzz, even though we're Canada's Capital, I can tell you from experience sometimes you wonder how a city this size can get so dull at times...I mean that in the best way possible, but just seems sometimes (many times) we're an afterthought, on many levels...performers often think twice before scheduling a show here...many businesses don't often get to Ottawa until they've been successful in Toronto, Montreal or even Vancouver...hell, it took until the Sens' 20th season of their modern history to even be considered for an All Star game...and the unfortunate thing in a 30 team league is we probably won't be considered for at least another 20 years, if not 30...we're the big-little city that everyone forgets, you know?  (Many blame Government)  But, I can tell you this - after what's taken place here this weekend, the hockey world has stood still with mouths ajar in amazement...and so have I...

Anyhow - I've been keeping dibs on a few things that were reported over the past few days...but I don't want to spoil what's been such an outstanding weekend on so many levels...so, tomorrow's blog will tackle those and whatever else comes down the pipe...we had everything from a Gary Bettman revelation about Phoenix, to Brian Burke getting hot over Don Cherry comments, to Sid's progress (or lack thereof)...more to come tomorrow on these and other stories...

And I don't want to start anything because I'm almost 99.999% positive it would never happen, but could you imagine if Alfredsson would waive his no trade clause for a move to Vancouver, even as a rental player?  Like I say, with Ottawa giving the Eastern Conference a good run for the playoffs, I couldn't see it happening...especially after a weekend like this...the fans would be heartbroken...I honestly think he would retire first...but was there some chemistry on that line with the Sedin Twins, or what?!  It was even better than watching Alfie light it up with Mats Sundin...and there are still those out there who could care less if the All Star Game was ever played again...well where else can you see fantasy lines like that?!  Datsyuk to Gaborik on the first goal?  Hossa to Gaborik for the hat trick goal?  Sick...

That's why it's an exhibition game, folks...an exhibition of our great game...that's it, that's all...

Next year, Columbus will experience it for the first time...get ready, Ohio...

 

January 28, 2012

A few pictures from the day...

This blows my mind...this was a black and white mural enclosed in glass, which came to life when I got my camera flash on it...

This picture was hanging on the wall to the right of the screen you see below...

From left: My father, Myself, brother-in-law Timm along with two of his buddies Joe and Seb - and standing off to the right somewhere is keeper of the Cup - Phil Pritchard...

They had all of the NHL Jerseys encased in ice directly across the street from the Convention Centre - by Saturday the ice was in bad shape from the sun and mild weather, though - this picture from NHL.com on Thursday shows them in pristine condition...love this picture...

One of the ice sculptures in Confederation Park...Team Alfredsson's jersey...despite the mild weather, these sculptures really stayed nice, but then again, Winterlude organizers have a lot of experience keeping sculptures from melting!!

It was actually White, but I guess the lighting made it a little bit pink?

Team Chara...

There was one of these Ice Sculptures for every NHL logo/team...

The hosting city and team...

Even with the All Star Game in Ottawa, the Battle of Ontario rivalry remains alive...nowhere more evident than at Happy Daze, a novelty store in the Rideau Centre - this T Shirt was on display right near the entrance, for everyone to see...

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Team Alfredsson finished the Skills Competition with a 9 point lead and gets the win - 21-12...

Hardest Shot once again went to Zdeno Chara, who not only broke his record of 105.9 MPH from last year, he obliterated...108.8 MPH!!  Shea Weber gave him a run for his money, though, getting in the 104-106 range...Daniel Alfredsson, at 39 years of age, managed to get up to 101.1...

In the Elimination shootout, Steven Stamkos was last player standing...not only that, it was clear Alfie picked the better goaltenders...it was real nice to see the Ottawa crowd cheer for Brian Elliott again...

I'm still reeling over Patrick Kane's Superman impression...the glasses made him look like Drew Carey...his first shot with the cape was just sick...but then he tried to top it with an exploding puck...

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8:35 PM: We're thru 3 events out of 6 at the Super Skills Competition, and it's a deadlock - 6-6 between Team Chara and Team Alfredsson...

Some of the highlights so far:

Fastest skater is Carl Hagelin, the bright rookie from the NY Rangers...

Breakaway challenge winner was Patrick Kane, for his "Super Kane" show...he took a page from the NBA's Dwight Howard and put on a Superman cape, and took it a step further, put on Clark Kent glasses...Corey Perry was pretty good too...a nice touch was Logan Couture, coming out for his final shot attempt in his old Ottawa 67s jersey...not only did it get a rise out of the crowd, he actually scored...

And the Accuracy challenge was won by Dallas' Jamie Benn...of all people, Jordan Eberle was one of the players feeding him the puck...I guess all is forgiven, at least until the next time the Oilers and Stars hook up...

Skills challenge relay is coming up, on a fresh sheet of ice...

I had a great day downtown Ottawa today, checking out both the Fan Fair and the ice sculptures at Confederation Park...I haven't seen so many people flock to downtown since the last time I spent Canada Day in Canada (as you know if you read this blog regularly, the last few years I've spent the holiday in Atlantic City)...the temperature today was just above freezing, so unfortunately the Rideau Canal was shut down, except for a small patch allowing folks to cross over and hit the Park...I'll be uploading pictures to Facebook and a few will show up here too...stay tuned...

Incidentally - if I have to spend $150 for standing room only tickets - I'd rather sit home in front of my 42 inch scren...wasn't a seat or spot left in the rink within 10 minutes...I counted at least 3 scalpers on Colonel By drive, which passes the Convention Centre and the Rideau Canal...didn't even attempt to see what they were selling tickets for...I don't want to know...

 

January 26, 2012

10:45 PM: Capital Tickets has just made available a very limited amount of tickets for the Skills Competition and All-Star Game...demand will undoubtedly be high...since receiving the Sens Insider e-mail, I've yet to be able to access the site...

Just actually read the e-mail again...between Noon and 8 PM tomorrow, Friday, November 27, 2011 - I can't be the only one that didn't read that properly...site is still taking forever to load...they're imposing a limit of 2 per order...and it would appear they'll be selling both the SuperSkills and Game as a package...

I can't even imagine what the cost will be...check back here tomorrow...probably will be sold out long before 8 PM...

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Team Alfredsson: Captain - Daniel Alredsson, Assistant Captain - Henrik Lundqvist

Goalies - Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick, Brian Elliott

Defensemen - Erik Karlsson, Kris Letang, Shea Weber, Dan Girardi, Keith Yandle, Alex Edler

Forwards - Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Claude Giroux, Steven Stamkos, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, James Neal, John Tavares, Scott Hartnell, Jason Pominville, Logan Couture

Rookies - Sean Couturier, Justin Faulk, Carl Hagelin, Nick Johnson, Matt Read, Craig Smith

Team Chara: Captain - Zdeno Chara, Assistant Captain - Joffrey Lupul

Goalies - Tim Thomas, Carey Price, Jimmy Howard

Defensemen - Zdeno Chara, Kimmo Timonen, Ryan Suter, Brian Campbell, Dion Phaneuf, Dennis Wideman

Forwards - Joffrey Lupul, Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, Corey Perry, Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Jarome Iginla, Marian Gaborik, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn

Rookies - Luke Adam, Raphael Diaz, Colin Greening, Cody Hodgson, Ryan Johansen, Gabriel Landeskog

I'll tell you what - this is going to be one hell of a weekend!!  Who needs Sid and Ovie!? 

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9:21 PM: Benn goes to Chara, and Couture comes home...and wins the car...

They were allowed one trade, but they won't...

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9:19 PM: Alfie goes with Pominville...and made it quite clear he couldn't believe he was doing it...

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9:18 PM: So both Sedins end up with Alfie...and Chara gets his countrymen, Hossa and Marian Gaborik...

Full rosters coming...only four players left...but I can't believe that Chara picked Jordan Eberle...

It's between Logan Couture, Tyler Seguin, Jason Pominville and Jamie Benn...

And Seguin goes to Team Chara...Alfie should pick the former 67...

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8:40 PM: Ottawa has all their goalies...Brian Elliot comes home...who knew?!?!

Team Chara will have all the Leafs...they go with Kessel and Phaneuf...not to mention they picked Carey Price...

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8:30 PM: Claude Giroux and Jonathan Quick end up with Alfie...Marian Hossa and Evgeni Malkin with Chara...

Teams must have picked all the goalies by round 10...

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8:25 PM: Tim Thomas ends up with team mate Chara...

Team Alfie so far is Team Ottawa...Jason Spezza is the next pick...

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8:22 PM: Not a big surprise...Alfie goes with Erik Karlsson...probably would never live that one down with his family if he didn't...

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8:21 PM: Pavel Datsyuk is the first pick?!  Chara commented that he loves the way he plays and indicated that he's hard to play against...

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8:19 PM: So, two All Star teams will be built, 3 goalies, 12 forwards and 6 defensemen...TSN has allowed for 1 trade...

And Chara wins the toss...

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8:12 PM: NHL All Star Fantasy Draft...have heard the "Alfie" and "Leafs Suck" chant already, and the first player hasn't even been picked yet...on top of that, Phil Kessel has already been booed...

Then again, so was Zdeno Chara and Joffrey Lupul...

Didn't catch this last year until almost the end...they'll do a puck toss to determine who picks first, then it's anybody's guess who will go to which team...probably a pretty safe bet both Sedins will end up on Team Alfie...and pretty safe to say Alfie will pick at least one Ottawa Senator...

A TSN poll has Evgeni Malkin as the first overall pick by 50% of the votes...

Earlier I listened to Gary Bettman's NHL Hour, live from the fan fair...answered fan questions and spoke with Wayne Gretzky live on the phone, who, by the way, celebrates his 51st birthday today...Happy Birthday, Wayne!!  If you have Sirius, should be able to hear a repeat of the show at 10 PM on CH 157...

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10:52 AM: Those of you heading to Ottawa for this weekend's festivities, get those skates sharpened, because the Rideau Canal's entire 7 + km skateway is open for business...freezing rain and lower temperatures earlier this week threatened to keep it closed...so needless to say both NHL All Star and Winterlude organizers are today breathing a sigh of relief...the mercury is projected to stay below freezing through the weekend, but (so far) no snow is expected...while the sun is shining, the temperature right now is -12 Celcius...as long as it stays below -10, the ice will be fine...

The trophy procession at 2-2:30 is on...too bad I have to work...

 

January 25, 2012

9:42 PM: I get EA Sports updates on Facebook, and tonight they posted a video of a rink in Namestovo, Slovakia where the roof collapsed under the weight of the snow...this sort of thing would probably go unnoticed, except for who was actually in the building...none other than former NHLer Richard Zednik, who was running a training session with a group of kids...everybody escaped without harm...but how lucky is this guy?!

The video is going viral on Youtube...as you'll see, things could have been a lot worse...

Habs lead 6-2...late in the 3rd, although this one was over after 20 minutes...evidently Jiri Hudler was the only Red Wing who came to play...he has both Detroit goals...

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8:40 PM: Jimmy Howard gets the rest of the night off, and the 3-5 Ty Conklin gets to play...and he isn't faring much better...Max Pacioretty has already made it 5-0, and the Habs are back on the power play...

Well, enjoy, Montreal, as I go enjoy my shrimp and eggrolls and watch Rick Mercer...

6-0...2nd of the night for Desharnais...this one for all intents and purposes is over...

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8:15 PM: Tomas Plekanec makes it 4-0...dying seconds of the 1st period...did these teams trade jerseys or what?!  This is by far the best offensive explosion from Montreal in months...can they hold on to it, though?

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8:12 PM: Clearly the Red Wings are mailing it in...David Desharnais makes it 3-0, four on four at the 18 minute mark...3-0 for les bleus, blancs et rouges...Nick Lidstrom is missing his first game in almost three years (streak of 213 games straight), he is out with the flu...clearly Mike Commodore and Jakub Kindl both combined can't replace him...hell, the entire defensive roster can't replace him evidently...

You know things are going well when Andrei Kostitsyn gets in the slot all alone, not once, but twice...

Well if Mike Babcock wasn't happy with the performance in a 3-1 win against St. Louis, he'll be beside himself after this...

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8:09 PM: OK...so I digress...Detroit is actually in Montreal...not the other way around...and as of right now the Habs are up 2-0 late in the 1st and heading to the power play...

Is Rene Bourque really that good?!

And...P.K. Subban negates the power play 18 seconds in...nice one...

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6:02 PM: James Neal...that is who has been chosen to replace Alex Ovechkin at the All Star Game...

The great Jeremy Roenick writes a blog on NHL.com, and he had this to say:

"He says since he's suspended he shouldn't go to the All-Star Game, but to me that is a cop-out. This game is about having the best players in the world there. Alex Ovechkin is a young, energetic, strong guy, and one of the best players in the National Hockey League. He should be at the All-Star Game, giving the fans in Ottawa and the fans that travel in something to watch and some great entertainment.

Ovechkin is one of the most entertaining players in the world not only because of the way he plays, but also because of his personality. He is a much-wanted commodity for an event such as the All-Star Game and it's disappointing that he's not respecting the honor of being chosen to attend.

I understand he's mad at the NHL for his suspension, but this is not the proper way to deal with it. This is a celebration of talent. The city of Ottawa has worked hard to put on this game, a lot of man-hours and pride has gone into putting on the All-Star Game. This is a fan event, and unfortunately he has made a decision not to go.

It's disappointing to me and I'm sure it's disappointing to a lot of hockey fans that were looking forward to seeing one of the best players in the world.

Listen, I am a big Ovechkin fan. I have been since Day 1. But it doesn't matter that I'm a fan of his because I am disappointed with the way he has treated this situation. There has to be a little more loyalty to a League that has enabled you to make over $100 million."

Spot on, J.R....

Only one game on the schedule tonight - the Habs pay a visit to the Joe...perhaps they could mail this one in, because nobody wins in Detroit lately...17 straight wins at home or something crazy like that...even against a much improved St. Louis Blues team the other night, they made them look like the Columbus Blue Jackets...and quite frankly, I don't even think the Red Wings were playing anywhere close to their best hockey in that game...until the latter stages, anyway...

Toronto's Brian Burke has rewarded defenseman John-Michael Liles with a 4 year contract extension...so take him off the trade dealine rumor mill...

Tomorrow night at the Casino du Lac Leamy, the All Star festivities get underway with the Fantasy Draft...should be interesting to see who Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara pick...especially the first few picks...

And, the NHL Fan Fair gets underway tomorrow at 3 P.M....at the Ottawa Convention Centre (formerly the Ottawa Congress Centre - same place they held the draft after the lockout)...

Haven't heard yet if they'll be doing the trophies procession down the Rideau Canal tomorrow, or if the Friday night skate is still on...the weather has been very mild the last few days, which will not bode well for ice conditions...even Dan Craig won't be able to solve that one...

Supposedly there will be ice sculptures in Confederation Park...that'll be cool...

 

January 24, 2012

10:31 PM: So, Alex Ovechkin decided today he won't take part in the All Star weekend...

"My heart is not there. I am suspended, so why I have to go there?  I love the game. It is a great event. I love to be there. I am suspended. I don't want to be a target. I feel like I'm not deserving to be there right now because I am suspended."

A target?  At the All Star Game!??  Mmmkay...a target of the media, perhaps...of the fans and players, no...

Scott Hartnell will replace Jonathan Toews...we'll wait to see who replaces Ovie...

26 out of 30 teams in action tonight...and with Ovechkin and Backstrom both out for Washington, where will the offense come from now?  Mathieu Perreault, you say!?  Scored a hat trick tonight in a Capitals 5-3 win over Boston...huge win for Washington...

The NY Rangers continue to roll, as they shut out the Winnipeg Jets 3-0, and go into the break on top of the Eastern Conference...maybe, just maybe, they're for real...

Philadelphia is hot on their tail, still...3-2, shootout winners against Florida...

Buffalo got a rare shootout win 2-1 over New Jersey...

The Bolts were 4-2 better than the Jackets...

Toronto won back to back against the NY Islanders, 4-3, in OT...the Leafs shut them out 3-0 last night...how much do you think Buffalo misses Clarke MacArthur?!

Ottawa is on the ice with the Phoenix Coyotes tonight...and something you don't hear very often in the Desert...the fans booing a former player...they're on Kyle Turris every time he touches the puck...the Dogs are up 2-0 in the 2nd...Sens lost 4-1 in L.A. last night...all of a sudden Ottawa is on a downward spiral...actually, Alfie just made it 2-1...Creme Brule and Shane Doan for Phoenix...

Pittsburgh-St. Louis is tied 2-2 and heading to overtime...same score in Colorado between the Avalanche and Minnesota Wild, in the 2nd there...

Nashville is up 2-0 on Chicago, late in the 3rd...Mike Fisher has been on fire lately, and scored again tonight...and in Dallas Alex Goligoski continues to roll and says thanks for the contract extension...it's 1-0 late in the 3rd against the Ducks...

Daniel Sedin has the Canucks up 1-0 in the 1st against Edmonton...Taylor Hall somehow came through in a shootout against San Jose last night, in what was a nasty, nasty game...when was the last time you saw Ales Hemsky get ejected from a game?

The Sharks are scoreless against Calgary after 40 minutes...Dave Bolland just got Chicago on the board...

Great interview last night on Scott Ferrall's show...he had "May Day", Brad May on...

 

January 23, 2012

9:25 PM: As freezing rain threatens the Rideau Canal and Friday's "skate of lights" (sponsored by Energizer), the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, minus one Tim Thomas, enjoyed the privilege of visiting the White House and President Obama...

Thomas released this statement on Facebook:

"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.

This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT"

Barring any unforseen circumstances, Thomas will, however, be coming to Ottawa for this weekend's All Star festivities...as will Jordan Eberle, Kris Letang and Nick Johnson...Letang will replace Dustin Byfuglien, Eberle will replace Mikko Koivu, and Johnson will replace Ryan Nugent-Hopkins...there will be at least one more replacement named as Chicago's Jonathan Toews announced today he won't be attending after suffering an injury on Saturday night...the irony in Eberle's invite is had he not been hurt, he would have been named to the team anyway...certainly is good to see him back, but it is still evident the straw that stirs the drink on that line is Nuge...yes, I'm still reeling over Calgary's 6-2 lambasting...can't expect much better tonight, San Jose is on deck...ouch!!

Alex Ovechkin earned himself a 3 game suspension for a charging Pittsburgh's Zbynek Michalek in the second period of yesterday's game...there was no penalty on the play...it's the repeat offender factor...

Now here's a question - if you're suspended, shouldn't that mean you can't participate in the All Star Game?!  Not sure if the fans would like it, but isn't an invite to the game a privilege?!  Just wondering...

Boston's Andrew Ference also got 3 games for a boarding play on NY Rangers' Ryan McDonagh during overtime on Saturday afternoon...that play got Ference ejected from the rest of the game, which the Rangers won in the dying seconds...I tell you what, that Marian Gaborik is having arguably his best season ever...

We're hitting that weird part of the schedule before the break...6 games tonight, 13 tomorrow, and only 1 game Wednesday...then we don't reconvene until next Tuesday...a lot of teams play back to back tomorrow...Ottawa plays in L.A. tonight, then in Phoenix tomorrow...Edmonton is home to San Jose tonight, then head to Vancouver tomorrow...Winnipeg is in Carolina tonight, New York tomorrow...

And one last thought for a Monday night...noticed uLAr posted this "randumb thought" on his Facebook account over the weekend:

"OK, I know it sucks that Sidney's still out, and the level of headshots / head injuries this season are off the charts, but at what point do we forget about Sid and start talking about what Malkin is doing over in Pittsburgh?  Absolutely without a shadow of a doubt the most overshadowed & underappreciated player in the NHL!"

Can't disagree with that...and evidently the NHL doesn't disagree either, as he was named NHL 1st Star Of The Week...

What I wonder, is how many more "Sid's Back" nights are we going to have to endure before we can put this whole thing to rest?  Just hope we don't have another Mario on our hands...

And finally, to those of you who celebrate it - Happy Chinese New Year - Year Of The Dragon!!!  Or, as they say - Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Did the Leafs really just shut out the Islanders?!?

 

 

January 17, 2012

10:02 PM: Hilarious to hear the Leafs' post game show from The Fan...a caller from Hamilton compared the Leafs to a "beer league" hockey team...well, he won't get an argument from me, except only I'll say perhaps he's insulting beer league hockey...and, maybe the beer itself...;)

I would love for HBO to follow around ANY Canadian team...maybe there's a story to tell over in Montreal...just sayin'...

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9:41 PM: Penguins win the shootout 2-1, win the game 2-1...James Neal with the shootout winner...all Eric Staal had to do was get one by Marc-Andre Fleury...not sure whether he thought Fleury was going to poke check him or what, but it was a weird play...Fleury went down early and Staal quit on the play...

Pens can't get too comfortable...they get the Rangers next...who are still up 2-0 on Nashville with about 8 minutes left in the 3rd...

Ryan Malone's 10th puts the Bolts ahead of Boston...again...3-2...still half a period left...

5-1 finals in New Jersey and Philly...and in Dallas it's tied 2-2...late starts still to come...L.A.'s Anze Kopitar leads the Kings in Goals and assists...and the Twins lead the Canuckleheads...

Time for Howard...or should I say the America's Got Talent preview show...

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9:33 PM: 3-2 is the final from Toronto...1G 1A for Turris...3rd straight loss for the Leafs...all the way back here in Ottawa I can already hear the faint sound of fans jumping off the bandwagon...

Looks like a shootout in the Pitts...

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9:24 PM: Final score from Washington - NY Islanders 3  Capitals 0...P.A. Parenteau with his 2nd of the game and 9th of the season sealed the deal...Evgeni Nabokov only had to make 17 saves for the shutout...

We've got Overtime in Pittsburgh...still tied 1-1 after regulation...

Oilers tried to pull Dubnyk for the extra attacker but got called for too many men...chalk it up to miscommunication...

3-2 Sens thanks to Kyle Turris' 3rd of the season...still a few minutes to go there...

2-2 Bruins-Bolts after 40...Horton's 2nd of the game tied it...

Patrick Elias' 17th and Tobias Enstrom's 8th makes it 5-1 Devils...that one is all but final now...

Derek Dorsett's 8th into an empty net seals if for Columbus...4-2...this game had a black cloud over it from the very beginning...Columbus with just their 13th win, 8th at home...

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9:00 PM: Taylor Pyatt's 5th puts Tampa Bay back ahead 2-1...they gave Goligoski's goal to Brenden Morrow...

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8:54 PM: Columbus takes the lead 32 seconds into the 3rd...Colton Gillies did all the work, and Derek MacKenzie put it home...3-2...

It's now 2-0 Rangers on the strength of John Mitchell's 4th...Boston ties Tampa Bay 1-1 with Nathan Horton's 15th...and Detroit had an early 1-0 lead over Dallas thanks to Tomas Holmstrom's 8th...but Dallas' Alex Goligoski has just tied it...

Nashville has fired 19 pucks at Henrik Lundqvist...he is having a good night...

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8:47 PM: It's still about a month and 10 days away, but the NHL's Trading Deadline on February 27 is already getting a lot of hype...and if it turns out anything like last year, that's all it will be is a lot of hype...

A lot of talk after today's rant by Ryan Miller, that he may be on the block...while he didn't pull a Cammalleri and call his team a bunch of losers, he did offer up somewhat of a challenge to the Sabres' G.M. Darcy Regier by suggesting that making any trade won't change anything...harsh...

No matter what - I'll be right here...all day...

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8:38 PM: Another player hits 20...Jason Spezza ties Toronto 2-2...

If Ilya Kovalchuk can turn the trick tonight, he'll have 20...

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8:33 PM: Derek Brassard ties Edmonton 2-2 with just 0.8 seconds left in the 2nd...Devan Dubnyk kind of helped that one along with a nice belly flop in the crease...OUCH!!!!

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8:30 PM: Kovalchuk gets his 2nd of the night and 19th of the season...4-0 New Jersey...

Philadelphia now up 4-1 over Minnesota...Scott Hartnell has 20, Sean Couturier has 10...Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen both have 2...so far no reports of any altercations between the Wild players and Peter Laviolette...

Still 1-1 in Pittsburgh...who would have predicted the Penguins would be fighting for their playoff lives in January!?

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8:16 PM: I just can't get enough of these NHL reality shows...while I haven't seen them all, I've really enjoyed watching "Oil Change" on occasion...or as I like to call it "The Boys On The Bus Strike Back"...this past weekend I finished watching 24-7 Flyers-Rangers (and kind of wish HBO would have continued following both teams around for about a week or two longer!).....and now, the newly minted NBC Sports network (formerly Versus) is getting in on the act...for 36 hours they will follow Nick Lidstrom around for an all access look...for last night's game against Buffalo and tonight's game against Dallas..."NHL 36" will follow Lidstrom and other players around from time to time...Ross Greenburg, who was involved in the HBO series, will also produce this one for "NHL Original Productions"...

As I've often said...Hockey is my reality TV...and as the HBO series has proven - the game is equally as intriguing off the ice...

The Rangers are up 1-0 over Nashville...Dan Girardi with his 4th...

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8:12 PM: David Clarkson makes it 3-0 Devils...the Jets have crashed...big time...

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8:05 PM: Official word from the Oilers...Hall will not return this evening after suffering a head injury...

Ryan Johansen has cut the lead in half...it's 2-1...

2-0 Devils over Winnipeg, and same score for the Islanders against Washington...in Washington...Vinny Lecavalier has given the Bolts a 1-0 lead against the Champs...Tavares and Parenteau for the fish sticks, Kovalchuk and Sykora for the Devils...Sykora hit a milestone 700th point in his last game, an assist on Patrick Elias' overtime goal against these same Jets on Saturday...

As the freezing rain continues to fall...

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7:59 PM: The Columbus Blue Jackets have an in house plastic surgeon?!  Apparently he is looking after Hall...

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7:42 PM: Thought the first period was over in Toronto, but Daniel Alfredsson got the Sens on the board with his 15th with only 8 seconds left in the first...

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7:39 PM: Channel surfing tonight between Sportsnet feeds...Edmonton is in Columbus, and Ottawa is in Toronto...just 2 of 11 on the schedule tonight...

Short change for Ottawa, who played Winnipeg at home last night, and were shut out for the first time this season...final score 2-0...Jets were without Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian...tonight are already down 2-0 late in the first period to their provincial rival Maple Leafs...Lombardi and Lupul for Toronto...that's already 20 on the season for Lupul...where has all the Ottawa offense gone all of a sudden?...1st game of a five game road trip for Ottawa which will take them into the All Star break...after tonight, they'll head to California to play all three teams there, and head back to Phoenix before the break...they'll head to Boston for a game on the 31st...that'll be a good one...

Don't know if they were joking or not, but on Hockey Central they made reference to today being the anniversary of the infamous Alexandre Daigle trade...when asked if they remember who came back to Ottawa from Philadelphia, the entire panel in unison quipped "No!"...OK, well I'm going to feel like a real hockey geek, but I remember it like it was yesterday...the main component that came back to Ottawa was none other than Vinny (Vaclav) Prospal...and if I remember correctly he actually had a broken leg at the time (the Ottawa Sun ran a front page picture of Prospal arriving at the Ottawa International Airport on crutches with his leg in a cast...it wouldn't surprise me if I still have the paper stowed away somewhere in my hockey memorabilia)...in what can only be considered yet another first round draft bust (but none worse than Daigle), the Sens also got Pat Falloon...Jan 17, 1998...ah weren't those the days?!  All I can say is I'm happy Daigle was part of a three way deal the following year, because otherwise he would have been an Edmonton Oiler...and that my friends, just ain't right...Tampa Bay ended up with him about 10 seconds later...I still praise the Hockey Gods to this day for that...there's your Ottawa Senators 20th Season history lesson for today...

Here's the scary part of the lesson - Daigle has not officially retired from hockey...after playing five seasons over in Switzerland, four of them with HC Davos, he was loaned to the SCL Tigers, for the 2009-10 season...after 25 games his contract was bought out, making him a free agent...he hasn't played hockey since...

A really really scary moment in Columbus during the warm up before Prospal's present day Blue Jackets team took to the ice against Edmonton - this is no joke - Taylor Hall tripped over a puck, and created a domino effect on Ladislav Smid and Corey Potter...ended up getting Potter's skate in the face just above the eye...nobody seems to know what's happening - some reports were saying he's gone to hospital, now Jeff Marek is reporting he has not...he is still on the lineup card, but it's not likely he will play...the Oilers won't need him, as they've already built a 2-0 lead after the first period...Anton Lander with just his 2nd career NHL goal, and Ben Eager with his 5th...

So now the debating will commence - will the NHL make helmets mandatory at all times, not just during a game?!  Not sure if the result would have been any different here unless Hall would have been wearing his visor at the same time...

New Jersey has a 1-0 lead against Winnipeg at The Rock...Nashville-Rangers and Boston-Tampa so far are scoreless...1-0 leads for Philadelphia over Minnesota...and the Islanders...against Washington?...tied 1-1 between Carolina and Pittsburgh...Detroit-Dallas, L.A.-Vancouver, and Calgary-San Jose are all later starts...

 

January 12, 2012

10:35 PM: Chicago leads 4-2 with about 10 minutes left in the 3rd..and with about 12 minutes left in the 3rd, Winnipeg trails San Jose 2-0...

Anaheim heads to Edmonton tomorrow night...and four other games, including another Toronto-Buffalo tilt...

And the tradition continues...

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10:31 PM: And both games were over at about the same time...David Legwand gets it for Nashville, Preds win 3-2, and Daniel Sedin for Vancouver, Canucks win 3-2...that was almost playoff-like...St. Louis had a shot at 1st overall in the West with a regulation win...not going to happen...with the point, they will, however, move into 1st in the Central division...for what should be a short period of time...Detroit and Chicago sit at 55...Chicago is about to move back into top spot if they can hold off Minnesota...who said the Northwest was the tightest division?

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10:28 PM: They'll go 4 on 4 in Nashville, Vancouver will be 4 on 3 for 1 minute 40 seconds...Alex Burrows was taken into the boards by David Backes with 20 seconds left...reminds me a bit of the game last night in Edmonton...

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10:24 PM: Overtime is looming in Nashville and St. Louis...

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10:14 PM: Lots more action on the ice tonight...

San Jose leads Winnipeg 1-0 after 40...Carolina 5 Tampa Bay 2...that just went final...Chicago leads Minnesota 4-1 after two periods...Colorado-Nashville and Vancouver-St. Louis are both tied 2-2 in the 3rd...Philadelphia edged the Islanders 3-2...and the Calgary-Anaheim game is scoreless after 20...Dallas-Los Angeles is a 10:30 start...

Even Jeff Marek brought up the bilingual thing with Rene Bourque...

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10:11 PM: Detroit-Phoenix are headed to a shootout...tied 2-2 after regulation and overtime...actually looks like Henrik Zetterberg just won it...Wings win 3-2...

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10:04 PM: From NHL.com, posted moments ago:

The Calgary Flames announced today that they have acquired former Flame center Michael Cammalleri, goaltender Karri Ramo and a 5th round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forwards Rene Bourque, Patrick Holland and a 2nd pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

"Mike Cammalleri
is a dynamic player who enjoyed great success playing in Calgary," stated Flames General Manager Jay Feaster. "We believe Cammalleri will help our offensive production, solidify a second scoring line, bolster our power play, and bring another strong veteran voice to our room. We are confident that a return to Calgary will be good for Mike and good for our continued pursuit of a playoff berth."

Cammalleri,
a native of Richmond Hill, ON, has nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points in 37 games for the Montreal Canadiens this season. He spent the 2008-09 season with Calgary setting a career high while leading the team with 39 goals, 19 on the power play which was second in the league. He also added 43 assists for a total of 82 points which was also a career high and good for 13th in league scoring.

Just as news was breaking...Anaheim thought they had scored, but they ruled the puck was kicked in the net...still scoreless...

I can't believe the Habs gave up yet another goalie prospect...

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9:56 PM: Sportsnet's Louis Jean is reporting that Rene Bourque is "one of the components" heading to Montreal...wow...you take my problem I'll take yours? 

Fans in Montreal probably don't know this...Bourque is actually from Lac La Biche, Alberta, not Quebec...but they probably won't care in the wake of the Randy Cunneyworth saga...as long as he can speak French, that is...;-)

After tonight's game he has just one more of his five games to serve...that would be Saturday's game against Ottawa, in Montreal...

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9:44 PM: Cammalleri is supposedly going back to Calgary...no word yet on who's headed East...this is what the Habs' media is reporting...the NHL apparently is not yet aware as there is nothing reported on NHL.com yet...

The Flames are playing Anaheim in the 1st period...will keep an eye on if somebody disappears from the Calgary bench...

Let's see...Clay Wilson is scratched...Rene Bourque is serving a suspension...Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen are still on the bench...hmmmmm...

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9:42 PM: Jason Spezza, 2 goals, Milan Michalek with his 23rd, Craig Anderson with his 1st shutout of the season...the Ottawa Senators win again...3-0...against the Rangers!?!  Are these guys for real!?  We'll have to wait a little while longer to be sure...like until April...

New York may have finished their first half on top of the Eastern Conference, but it's not going to get any easier for them...they still have four games against Boston...

Speaking of Boston...they hosted Montreal tonight...and that one just went final as well...another win for the Champs...2-1...but bigger news - yesterday Mike Cammalleri went on a rant of Patrick Roy proportions:

"We prepare for our games like losers. We play like losers. So it's no wonder why we lose."...

Today, he downplayed the comments, yet reports after the 2nd period had Cammalleri yanked from the Habs bench, heading back to the team hotel in Boston to await further instructions...

Sportsnet is reporting more to come, TSN's Gord Miller was reporting that Cammalleri has been traded, he just doesn't know it yet...

 

January 11, 2012

11:29 PM: ...and this time Kovalchuk will get an assist...manned the point with Foster...Elias just had to pass the rebound to Zach Parise for the GWG...2-1, Devils win...2 point game for Ilya...

I have a new nickname for #44...Hairy Potter...

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11:26 PM: Corey Potter was called for a trip, got away with a high stick on Larsson with just 36 seconds left...1:24 of 4 on 3 power play time will carry over into OT...both teams with a point...last time these two hooked up in Newark, Kovalchuk scored the winner in OT...

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11:20 PM: Back and forth now...Carter to Boulton...no...Jones...no...Parise...no...Smyth...no...we stay tied...2:52 left in regulation...shots are an even 23 apiece...

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11:17 PM: Kovalchuk was stoned by Khabibulin...could be seen talking to himself on the Devils' bench...

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11:05 PM: Will wonders never cease?  2nd time this game Ales Hemsky shot the puck from the point, this time got it through the Ryan Smyth screen and beat Hedberg...Oil are 1 for 5 on the PP...just the 4th of the season for Hemsky...1st in 14 games...tied 1-1...

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11:02 PM: Ryan Carter gave Edmonton yet another power play opportunity, but Ryan Smyth negated it by taking a goalie interference penalty...Hall got away with one in the second, Smyth got caught...still no change in the score...Oilers just had their most productive shift of the entire game, which forced an exhausted Devils line to ice the puck...

Patrik Elias is going off, under protest...Oilers can't say they haven't been given enough chances...

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10:33 PM: 2nd period ends with Ales Hemsky trying to get a buzzer beater...from the point?...still scratching my head with him this year...his heart just doesn't seem to be in it, which completely baffles me...yet, a lot of pundits are suggesting he could still be dealt before the deadline...just a word of advice to any team hoping to better their chances at the Stanley Cup - watch the last five minutes of Game 7 between Edmonton and Carolina from 2006...particularly the play where Hemsky hit the post, and the crossbar on the same shift...still interested?

37 seconds of power play will carry over into the 3rd...

After 40 minutes, Oil hold a slight edge in shots, 15-14...were outshot 10-6 in the 2nd, despite having 3 power plays...didn't get their 1st shot until the 11th minute...

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10:29 PM: Not sure what the Oilers read in the Hedberg scouting report, but they're really trying the short glove side...

Parise gets called for a hook...the Oilers might welcome a penalty kill at this point...as Taylor Hall just got away with goalie interference...

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10:21 PM: The A-Train makes two stops...at Smyth and Horcoff station...on the same shift...yes, Volchenkov is still a one man wrecking crew...

Apparently at some point New Jersey plucked Kurtis Foster off waivers from Anaheim...he is #2 on the Devils' blue line...I seem to have missed that one...

On the last sequence Milan Kytnar almost had his first NHL goal, but the Moose held the post...

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10:11 PM: 11th shorthanded goal of the year for New Jersey...Ilya Kovalchuk matches his sweater number...his 17th...1-0 Devils...Jeff Petry couldn't hold the line...again...

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10:07 PM: 0 for 1, 0 shots...the Oilers will get another chance as Ryan Smyth is taken down in his own end...David Clarkson for interference...

Parise came close to scoring out of the box...

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10:04 PM: Zach Parise, 2 minutes for tripping...the NHL's top penalty kill as well as the highest shorthanded goal scoring team goes to work...Oilers' power play is severely handicapped...they've fallen from #1 to #4...

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9:56 PM: Final score from Washington...Caps 1  Pens 0...Tomas Vokoun with the shutout, his 2nd of the season...Penguins have lost 6...Capitals move into 8th, Penguins drop out of a playoff spot for the first time in a long time...

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9:34 PM: David Clarkson and Taylor Hall have traded chances early on...

Caps still holding on to that 1-0 lead about halfway through the 3rd...

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9:25 PM: After it was determined that Ryan O'Marra couldn't go tonight because of the flu, it was a scramble for Edmonton to get somebody called up in time for the game...enter stage right, #64 in your program, 2007 5th round draft pick Milan Kytnar...the former Saskatoon Blade was playing for the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL...

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9:10 PM: The Moose versus the Bulin Wall...Johan Hedberg gets the start tonight after relieving Martin Brodeur, who was yanked in last night's 6-3 loss to Calgary...Khabibulin, he needs to be better...

We are underway...40 minutes are finished in Washington, with the Caps still up 1-0...

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8:47 PM: Only two games tonight, but the main event, coming up in about 15 minutes...New Jersey visits Edmonton, for the one game I'm sure uLAr and I both circle on the calendar every year...Devils have been heating up of late...while the Oilers...ahem...have not...

One match up to look forward to will be between Taylor Hall and former Windsor Spitfires team mate Adam Henrique...while the big news in Calgary of late is Jarome Iginla getting goal #500 over the weekend, last night both Henrique and Iginla scored the Gordie Howe hat trick...1G, 1A, and a fight...against each other...

Should be a good one...although still no Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and no Jordan Eberle, who is expected to miss at least 2 weeks after tweaking a knee...Magnus Paajaarvi was recalled from Oklahoma...and an emergency callup from the ECHL is making his debut...we'll also get to see Adam Larsson, the defenseman that went #4 in the draft, behind Hopkins, Landeskog and Huberdeau...

In the only other NHL action this evening, Washington hosts Pittsburgh...and the Capitals are holding on to a 1-0 lead at about the halfway mark of the game...Jason Chimera's career high is 17 goals, he already has 14 in game #43...Sidney Crosby is traveling with the Pens, but his return is still unknown...

Last night, 13 games, lots of action...none bigger than Jaroslav Halak's return to Montreal for the first time since being traded to St. Louis...the writing was on the wall before the puck even dropped...when the dust settled, it was a 3-0 shutout win that left the Habs singing the Blues...they won't be happy to learn Brian Gionta will miss an indefinite amount of time after undergoing bicep surgery...

Big win as well in Ottawa over Pittsburgh, 5-1, as the Sens handed the Pens their fifth straight loss...if Washington has their way, the skid will continue to 6...

 

January 6, 2012

11:34 PM: As we head into what was supposed to be another great weekend of action on the ice...news comes out tonight that the NHLPA has rejected the conference realignment that was supposed to go into effect for next season...so barring further negotiations, the NHL may not have a choice but to continue with the present 2 conference 6 division alignment for one more season...meaning Winnipeg may end up playing two seasons in the Southeast Division...something you can bet they won't be happy about...I know the fans won't care, though...

One has to wonder - if the league and union can't even agree on a conference realignment, then what about a new collective bargaining agreement!?  Be afraid...be very afraid...

Notable games this weekend...we have the much anticipated rematch of the Stanley Cup Final between Vancouver and Boston tomorrow afternoon...Cory Schneider will apparently get the start over Roberto Luongo in that one...hmmmm...is it really going to matter who plays in net?  Seriously?!

Big division game between New Jersey and Pittsburgh...Detroit is in Toronto...Winnipeg invades Buffalo...and Calgary returns home to face Minnesota...Edmonton finishes their road trip in Dallas...yay...

Tonight, the Penguins fell to the NY Rangers 3-1, and the Devils were 5-2 better than Florida - Ilya Kovalchuk appears to finally be buying into the Devils' style of play...probably helps to have a healthier group of players this year...right down to the goalie...

Eric Staal's 1 goal 2 assists helped Carolina double up Buffalo 4-2...Colorado shut out Chicago (?!?!) 4-0...and it's 1-1 between the Islanders and the Ducks after 40 minutes...

And tonight in the AHL, Philadelphia's farm team, the Adirondack Phantoms, hosted the Hershey Bears on the same ice surface the Flyers and Rangers played on four days ago...last I saw the game was tied 2-2...turns out the Phantoms held on to win 4-3...Michael Leighton made 24 saves for the win...they packed 45,653 fans into Citizen's Bank Park...just 1,314 shy of the attendance of the NHL game...this shatters an AHL record set last year in East Hartford, Connecticut, when 21,673 fans watched the Whale and the Providence Bruins face off outside...tonight's AHL "Outdoor Classic" is one of two outdoor games to be played...the next one will be the weekend before the NHL's All Star Game, in Hamilton at Ivor Wynne Stadium between the Bulldogs and Toronto Marlies...alumni game is set for Jan 20, and the game itself Jan 21st...it's the first AHL Outdoor Classic to be played north of the border...

 

January 5, 2012

10:54 PM: OK...so the big game of the night aside from the World Juniors...the Boston Bruins totally embarrassed Calgary tonight...9-0...wasn't even Thomas in goal, was Tuukka Rask...Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton both with 2 goals, Tyler Seguin with 1G 1A...wow...what do you say about a team that's lost one game since November?!?

So, Gustafsson and Gustavsson both get shutouts...

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10:44 PM: 58-17 were the final shots, in favor of Sweden...and Zibanejad gets it, 10:09 into overtime, after an outstanding effort from Patrik Nemeth to send him in all alone...and a long 31 year Gold Medal drought is over...but how about Russian goaltender Andrei Makarov?...57 saves!!  But all Team Russia will remember is the one that went in...

They'll be celebrating in just about every NHL dressing room tonight...and I hear they had a big event out at the new Ikea in Ottawa's West End...this new store is so huge you can see it from the highway in Kanata, easily 10 times bigger than the old one!!

How does it feel Russia?  Scary part is - next year's tournament they'll be on home ice...

As they accept their Silver medals, they won't even put them on...ouch!!

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10:24 PM: Edmonton carried a 3-1 lead into the 3rd period against St. Louis, but the Blues have roared back and now lead 4-3...

It was a 4-0 Toronto shutout against Winnipeg...Ottawa wins 4-1 against Tampa Bay (Kyle Turris finally scores his 1st of the year and 1st as a Senator and gets an assist on Alfredsson's empty netter...by comparison, David Rundblad has 1 assist since the trade...dare I suggest Ottawa won the trade?  Too early to tell...)...NY Rangers beat Florida 3-2 in overtime...Philadelphia edges Chicago 5-4 (they led 4-2 at one point)...and Dallas leads Nashville 4-1 in the 3rd...Phoenix-L.A. and Columbus-San Jose are 10:30 starts...

More to come after the overtime...going with Zibanejad for Sweden and Kusnetsov for Russia...

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10:10 PM: Russia's Yevgeni Kusnetsov had the game winning goal on his stick but was stoned by Johan Gustafsson...that would have been pretty...but it's still scoreless, as we head to overtime...20 minutes, 4 on 4, and then a shootout...Sweden has played more overtime than any team in the tournament...they needed a shootout in the Semi-Final just to get here...Sweden has not won Gold at this event since 1981...

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9:59 PM: Power play...Sweden...Mika Zibanejad has had an outstanding game and tournament...

Action packed day in the NHL...Ottawa learned today they will send four players to the All Star Game, held this year at Scotiabank Place...they unveiled the logo at centre ice for tonight's game against Tampa Bay...Sens are leading that one 3-1, late in the 3rd...

Surprising that Erik Karlsson was the top vote getter, led Alfie by more than 40,000 votes...Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek will also represent Ottawa...Michalek just barely made the First Six, garnering 42,144 more votes than Toronto's Phil Kessel...last year, Kessel was the last player picked in the fantasy...Dion Phaneuf and Tim Thomas round out the Top 6...

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9:51 PM: Well, here's something you're not likely to ever see again - a Canadian crowd chanting "Let's Go Sweden"...yes, Gold Medal Game at the World Juniors between Russia and Sweden...still goose eggs in the 3rd...Swedes have outshot the Russians, badly...39-4 after 40 minutes...Russia is on just their second power play of the game...they are obviously 0 for 1...

...they just hit the post...

Earlier this afternoon, Canada won the Bronze Medal against Finland...Mark Visentin posted a shutout, Quinton Howden scored twice in a convincing 4-0 win...not the color they were hoping for, but at least they stay on the podium...14th straight year that Canada has left this event with a medal...

About 10 minutes left in regulation...

 

January 4, 2012

8:28 AM: Well, Canada did rally, but fell short by a goal...had it actually not been for a 3rd period Russian goal to put them ahead 6-1, they might have actually tied it...the Canadian Comeback made it to 6-5, but fell short as they simply ran out of time...so Sweden and Russia will battle for Gold...it'll be Finland and Canada for Bronze...

I'll tell you what - Mark Stone will fit in perfectly with the Ottawa Senators...big points producer in the regular season, but invisible when it really counts...he had a goal in the last game of the Round Robin, but nothing in the Semi-Final...his line, however, got a few points...doesn't amount to a hill of beans now...

And how good is this Kusnetsov going to be when he finally makes it to the Washington Capitals' roster?  He could be just what the doctor ordered for Ovechkin...why do I say this?  Canada was able to shut down Ovechkin and Malkin...but Kusnetsov in two meetings has been a one man wrecking crew that Canada hasn't found an answer for...and he can skate...certainly can't take anything away from Russia, they outworked and outplayed us for 40 minutes...

 

January 3, 2012

10:46 PM: We're only January 3rd, but already I've got the understatement of the year...Canada needs a miracle of epic proportions in the 3rd period to make it to the Gold Medal game...well, Russia managed to score five in the 3rd during last year's match against Canada, Canada would need five in the 3rd this year to avoid the prospect of Bronze...they need to somehow rekindle the fire from the round robin...

Unless they actually do it, you won't hear from me again this evening...

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10:19 PM: Khoklachev makes it 5-1...Don Hay calls a timeout...

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10:14 PM: Hat trick for Kusnetsov...4-1, Russia...on the same play, goalie Scott Wedgewood was run over by Alexander Khokhlachev...he left the game and Mark Visentin is in...

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10:04 PM: Kusnetsov with his 2nd of the game...3-1, Russia...

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10:02 PM: Brett Connelly cuts the Russian lead in half...2-1...Canada has staged a relentless fore-check since the 2nd period started...

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9:43 PM: Islanders win the shootout 2-1, win the game 4-3...3rd straight win, they're heating up all of a sudden...for now, they'll be happy to move out of the Eastern Conference basement...with five teams fighting for 2 final playoff spots, it's a long shot, but the Isles do have 2 games at hand on New Jersey, and are only 12 points back...they'll have to leap over 6 teams...stranger things have happened...for my money...Winnipeg...

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9:39 PM: Shootout in Raleigh...7-3 Leafs is now a final score...

1 minute left in the 1st period between Canada and Russia...

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9:34 PM: Washington beats Calgary 3-1, Buffalo edges Edmonton 4-3...Drew Stafford and Nathan Gerbe with two quick ones in the 3rd, and Corey Potter with a late goal to get within one, but they ran out of time...

The NY Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes are tied 3-3, in OT...

Looks like Toronto is going to win 6-3 against Tampa...make that 7-3...

It's 5-3 Detroit over Dallas...in the 2nd...and it's now 3-1 St. Louis...also in the 2nd

1st period between Canada and Russia, and Russia is already up 2-0...but Canada is about to embark on a 5 on 3...Yevgeni Kusnetsov and Nikita Nesterov with the goals...

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8:54 PM: Dan Carcillo has been suspended indefinitely pending a hearing...as a repeat offender, Sheriff Shanahan could lower the boom hard...

Tom Gilbert and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are both out of the game in Buffalo...Colten Teubert was recalled along with Josh Green...Teubert replaced Corey Potter for a few games, and now is back to replace Gilbert...as far as I know there has not been an update on how long Gilbert and Nuge will be out...coach Tom Renney advised it will be at least 2-3 games, but the team reported he is out indefinitely...

After 40 minutes, it's a 2-2 tie...Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner for Edmonton...Jason Pominville and Jordan Leopold for Buffalo...

Jaromir Jagr will miss 7-10 days with a groin problem...

Semi-finals at the World Juniors...Sweden beat Finland 3-2, in a shootout...the Finns, on the strength of an outstanding performance by Mikael Granlund, blew a 2-0 lead, and with the game on his stick, couldn't score in the shootout to at least extend the shootout...the hero of the day for Sweden was Max Friberg with 1G 1A...they will now advance to play either Canada or Russia for Gold...that semi-final game gets going in about 20 minutes...and you know Canada hasn't forgotten what happened 1 year ago...

In last night's Colorado-Los Angeles game, it was Dustin Brown and Ryan O'Reilly both trading their 10 goals of the season...O'Reilly with a late rally to tie the game and send it to overtime, where the Avalanche won in a shootout, 2-1...Milan Hejduk continues his shootout mastery...

Tonight, it's a 5-3 Toronto lead over Tampa Bay after 2 periods...St. Louis leads Phoenix 2-1 after 1...Washington leads Calgary 3-1 in the 3rd...Carolina leads the Islanders 2-1 in the 3rd...and Detroit is up 3-1 on Dallas after 1...of all the games, only Jiri Hudler so far has a multi goal night, with 2 for the Red Wings...Valtteri Filppula, however, already has 3 points, 1G 2A...

3rd period just underway in Buffalo and the Sabres are flying...

 

January 2, 2012

10:59 PM: Geez...Ales Hemsky can't even score an Empty Netter...big save from Devyn Dubnyk in the dying seconds, and the Oilers snap their 3 game losing streak...quick change as they head to Buffalo for a game tomorrow night...I just hope the news is good for Gilbert and Nuge...

Scoreless in the 1st between Los Angeles and Colorado...

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10:54 PM: Momentum swing in Chicago...Oilers' Eric Belanger was assessed a 4 minute double minor for high sticking Jonathan Toews...the Hawks didn't score, but carried the momentum into the 4-3 goal...Jimmy Hayes with his 1st NHL goal...Oilers trying to hang on...

Sharks win the shootout, and win the game 3-2 in Vancouver...Michal Handzus with the only goal in the shootout...

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10:45 PM: Overtime in Vancouver...actually...it's going to a shootout...

It's a 4-2 Oilers lead in Chicago...Ben Eager scores against his former team...

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10:16 PM: I feel like I just watched a replay of last week's Sens-Flames game...Karlsson to Alfredsson...goal...Sens win 3-2...

Cody Hodgson has squared the affair in Vancouver - 2-2 tie in the 3rd...

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10:15 PM: 4 on 3 power play for Ottawa...

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10:07 PM: 2nd intermission in Chicago...overtime in Ottawa...3rd straight overtime game for the Sens...Martin Brodeur faced his 29,000th shot this evening...overtime records - Devils are 10-1, Sens are 7-5...NJ has owned Ottawa in the extra frame...including a 5-4 shootout win the last time they hooked up on Dec 8...you have to go back almost 10 years to find the last time the Senators beat the Devils in overtime in the regular season...

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10:01 PM: Clarkson and Zubrus for New Jersey, Spezza and Condra for Ottawa, 2-2 tie between the Devils and Senators in the 3rd, late... / Ferriero and Marleau for San Jose, Hansen for Vancouver...2-1, Sharks...that one at the 2nd intermission...

And queue up the theme from "M.A.S.H." in Chicago...NHL top rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has left the game between the Hawks and Oilers after he fell awkwardly in the first...seemed to trip over the blue line...he was favoring his left shoulder...that would be a huge loss if that injury is anything more than day to day...but there were more casualties in the 2nd...Dan Carcillo ran Tom Gilbert into the boards and both players left the game and haven't returned...Carcillo ended up with a five minute major and a game misconduct...after falling 1-0 after the first thanks to Jonathan Toews' 22nd of the season, the Oilers scored twice on the five minute power play to go up 2-1, Ryan Smyth and Taylor Hall both lighting the lamp...Andrew Brunette tied it with a deflection of a Nik Hjalmarsson shot, who moments earlier thought Hall should have received a high sticking penalty...about 3 minutes left in the 2nd, and Andy Sutton has put the Oil back up, it's 3-2...just 2nd of the year for Sutton...hard to rack up points when you've served suspensions for half the season (or so it seems)...another 2 point night for Jordan Eberle...

L.A.-Colorado is a 10:30 Eastern start...

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7:05 PM: So the Rangers made a game of it in the 3rd...Mike Rupp tied it with his 2nd of the game, and 4th of the year...then Brad Richards, the big money player that he is, put the Rangers ahead for good with the GWG - Rangers win 3-2 and more importantly put some distance between themselves and the Flyers for the Atlantic and Eastern Conference lead...and the home futility streak continues...Boston in 2010, and Calgary last year...those are the only two home teams to win an outdoor game since the NHL started staging them...

Later on...Ottawa hosts New Jersey...8th vs 6th in the Eastern Conference...Vancouver hosts San Jose...Sharks are just 1 point out of 8th in the West while the Canucks continue to hold down 2nd...1st place in the West Chicago hosts Edmonton who are 10 back of a playoff spot...and later on it's the suddenly surging Los Angeles Kings againt the surprising Colorado Avalanche...Avs are hanging around in 9th with Dallas having 3 games at hand, and the Kings continue to lead the Pacific...one good thing about next year's realignment - no more division leaders having a seeding advantage over a team that's ahead of them in points just because they happen to lead their division...Kings are in 3rd with 44 points, and Detroit, despite having 49 points, sit in 4th...not going to happen after this season...

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4:49 PM: Scoring in bunches...3 goals in 2:25...Flyers got on the board first - Brayden Schenn is probably wishing there were more of these outdoor games - he finally potted his first NHL goal to get the game going...then moments later, Claude Giroux made it 2-0...and moments ago, Mike Rupp got the Rangers on the board, and did the Jaromir Jagr salute...it's 2-1, Philly, almost at the 2nd intermission now...

Speaking of Jagr, he left the game before the end of the 1st...returned for the 2nd, but has barely played...possible he could be hurting...

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4:02 PM: 1st intermission in Philadelphia at the Winter Classic...no score to report yet...both teams have had a short power play and both teams have had their chances...Jaromir Jagr had the best chance to score towards the end of the period, and was stoned by Henrik Lundqvist...

Surprise start today, Sergei Bobrovsky for Philly - Ilya Bryzgalov let it be known he wasn't going to be playing, and even tweeted a picture of a Thermos that he said would be full of tea...was flipping between the two broadcasts (CBC and NBC), and Darren Pang either didn't know Bryz wasn't playing or forgot, because he mentioned that he was standing behind Bryzgalov...my question - how far behind?

I've finally gotten around to watching the HBO 24-7 show, last year's for Pittsburgh-Washington, I have one more episode to watch...the Rangers-Flyers season has one more episode on Jan 5, so I'll wait until that airs...

As for me...I'm donning the Bobby Clarke look today...left my front teeth partial out...

Interesting move...they played both the Canadian and U.S. national anthems before the start of the game, and did the Lauren Hart-Kate Smith duet during the first intermission?!  Popular demand, maybe?  Ah, wait...just saw Flyers' alumni gathered behind the rink...

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