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October 28, 2011

11:50 PM: OK...so while everybody is still talking about last night's Game 6, Game 7 just finished minutes ago, and the Cardinals are World Series Champions after a 6-2 win against Texas...something I don't think I've ever seen in a World Series clinching game - a bases loaded walk while St. Louis was already up 3-2 in the bottom of the 5th...was essentially the game right there...former Blue Jay Chris Carpenter pitched 6 1/3 innings, getting the win...

Seems the St. Louis Blues must have been paying more attention to the Cards than their own game against Calgary...they dropped a 3-1 decision at the Scotiabank Saddledome...

Can't really blame anybody for being intrigued by this team - the Cards were 10.5 games behind the Wild Card race at the end of August...thanks to the Atlanta Braves horrible September, and an unbelievable stretch run, it was a miracle St. Louis even made the post season, qualifying on the last night...then they took out the Phillies in dramatic fashion; then the Brewers, a team a lot of people expected would have been in the World Series...and then, Texas, a team already drawing comparisons to the Buffalo Bills...well, maybe not yet...but it's already 2 years in a row they get to the dance and can't go home with the girl, if you know what I mean?

So as we already know from Hockey - just get in, and you never know...that theory was proven yet again...

Back to Hockey, we had the same 3-1 score in Colorado, as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Avalanche 3-1, on the strength of a goal and an assist from Cam Barker, a goal from Andy Sutton, and another from Ryan Smyth...Ryan O'Reilly with his first of the year for Colorado...was not overly impressed with Gabriel Landeskog, the #2 pick in the draft...he is sticking around Denver and will surely give Ryan Nugent-Hopkins a run for the Calder...Oilers decided to keep Nuge around, which wasn't a huge shocker given how he's played so far...no points for either first rounder in this one...but neither was a liability to their team either - which was a great point brought up by the Altitude analyst...always interesting to hear different perspectives...since 9 times out of 10 the NHL package gives you the home team feed, I'm always interested to hear what the other broadcasters have to say...anyway, the kids were overshadowed by a 40 save performance from Devan Dubnyk, and all of a sudden the Oil are in sole possession of 1st in the Northwest Division, at least for the time being...seems like they didn't have 14 points until January last season, we aren't even done October yet, and here we are...they're playing well...next up - St. Louis on Sunday night...

San Jose beat Detroit 4-2...after a quick start the Wings are in a bit of a slump...but somehow are still in the mix in the Central...that'll happen when you have the Columbus Blue Jackets in your division...

Rounding out tonight's action - Carolina 3  Chicago 0...

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to attempt to watch the 3rd Pirates Of The Caribbean movie...finally got through the 2nd one last week...evidently on the Disney Cruise I'll be taking next week, they do a Pirates night...ARRRRR!!!!

"Yo ho ho ho...a pirate's life for me..."....or maybe Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum...personally, I'll stick with a beer...

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12:41 AM: "And...we'll see ya...tomorrow night!!"...David Freese, the local St. Louis boy, with a walk off home run in the bottom of the 11th sends the World Series to Game 7...kind of reminds me of 1991, Kirby Puckett for the Twins against the Braves...

Somebody in the crowd has a sign "Cards magic number - 1"...indeed...4 hours and 33 minutes...that's how long this game was...

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12:34 AM: The Desert Dogs scored 2 more...Devils replied with 1, but it's a 5-3 Phoenix win...Whitney with his second and Martin Hanzal...as uLAr put it on Facebook...they meltdown...

Nothing doing in the top of 11...all the Cards need is one run...

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12:25 AM: 11th inning coming up...wow!!

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12:23 AM: Base hit...tie game 9-9...winning run is at 3rd...

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12:22 AM: Winning!!!  Cards are down to their last strike...

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12:19 AM: 9-8 now, and they're going to intentionally walk Albert Pujols...now all Scott Feldman has to do is get Lance Berkman out...reminds me of the movie Major League II...

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12:08 AM: 18 saves for Khabibulin in the 3rd...the fans chant "Khabi! Khabi! Khabi!", the Oilers win 2-1, and Washington's 7 game winning streak is snapped...

Nugent-Hopkins was taking shifts on the ice right down to the last minute...don't think he's going anywhere...

Meanwhile, back in the desert, Raffi Torres and Ray Whitney have replied for Phoenix, and they lead New Jersey 3-2 in the 3rd...they've given Clarkson's goal to Mark Fayne...

In St. Louis, World Series Game 6, they're in Extra Innings now, the Cardinals tied it 7-7 in the bottom of the 9th, Texas scored a 2 run homerun in the top of the 10th...now in the bottom of the 10th, the Cards have 2 on base and the winning run at the plate...

 

October 27, 2011

11:35 PM: Washington has some life in the early going of the 3rd, but the Bulin Wall is standing tall...Oilers' penalty killing has been outstanding...coming into this game only Buffalo and Pittsburgh have been better...

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11:30 PM: The Texas Rangers lead 7-5 heading into the top of the 9th...St. Louis just grounded out with the bases loaded to end the threat in the bottom of the 8th...if the Rangers hang on and get their three outs, they win the World Series...

Why do I get the feeling St. Louis may pull this out and force Game 7?

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11:13 PM: The "Kids In The Hall" line continues to get it done...Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has an assist and his 9th point of the season in his 9th game, Jordan Eberle has a goal and an assist...Oilers' power play is getting a lot of ice time...7 penalties called so far in this game against Washington...yet, here they are, in another 1 shot to a tie game...after 40 minutes it's 2-1 Edmonton...Corey Potter is quickly becoming a power play quarterback...Shawn Horcoff set up the screen, and all Eberle had to do was put it by Vokoun...

David Clarkson and Zach Parise have given the Devils a 2-1 lead over Phoenix, that game with about 11 minutes left in the 2nd...

Ducks 3-2 over the Wild is a final score, Nashville finishes off Tampa 5-3, and LA beats Dallas by the same score...Mike Fisher 2 grapes, 1 apple...Steven Stamkos 2 points in a losing cause...

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10:17 PM: Taylor Hall ties it on the power play 1-1...Oilers are buzzing...

Sens did it again...2.5 seconds left in the game, Nick Foligno scores the winner...they were up 3-2, Florida had tied it, but now Ottawa has won 4 in a row...final score 4-3...

Phoenix gets the early 1-0 lead against New Jersey...former Oiler Patrick O'Sullivan with his first goal in like 3 years...or so it seems to me...

It's 3-2 Ducks over Minny late, LA is up 3-1 on Dallas, and Nashville is holding on to the 5-2 lead...

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9:49 PM: Penguins celebrate news that they'll host the draft next summer, as they win the shootout 1-0 and win the game 3-2, but the real shootout was in Philly, wasn't it?...what a game...not sure how you top that one...17 goals...most in any game since the lockout...

4-2 final wins for both Toronto and Buffalo...Leafs are looking good...Rangers, not so much...Ottawa looks like they're righted their ship...up 3-2 late against Florida...tied 1-1 between the Stars and Kings...

Karl Alzner gets the ice breaker in Edmonton, after the Oil just killed a penalty...1-0 Caps...

Not too sure what Theo Peckham was thinking taking a penalty after having not played for the last three games...then he turned the puck over to #8 in White...I hear he's pretty good...but Khabibulin made the save...

It's 5-2 Nashville after 2...

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9:44 PM: 12.9 seconds left...Jets get the puck out of their end...and hang on for the win...9-8, that's a wrap...1st game of a 7 game road trip for Winnipeg, but they'll never forget this one, for all the wrong reasons...

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9:42 PM: Blake Wheeler, to the captain, Andrew Ladd...9-8 Jets...with 1 minute left...empty net Philly...

They're in a Shootout in the Pitts...

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9:39 PM: Despite Tomas Plekanec scoring on himself to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead, the Habs come back to win their 2nd straight, 2-1...Plekanec made up for that one, scoring the GWG, along with Erik Cole...Patrice Bergeron was the last Bruin to touch the puck before the own goal, so he got credit for his 2nd...what is going on with the Stanley Cup Champs?!?

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9:37 PM: van Reimsdyk...again...8-8...at some point Pavelec came back in net...

3:29 left...

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9:34 PM: 15 goals, 14 different goal scorers...only Danny Briere has 2...Giroux, Hartnell, Read, Talbot and van Reimsdyk for Philadelphia, Antropov, Burmistrov, Glass, Jones, Kane, Slater, Stuart and Wellwood for Winnipeg...still 8-7, Jets...

5:31 left, as they're warming up in Edmonton...think I'm sticking around for the end of this one...

One other late game tonight has New Jersey visiting Phoenix, a 10 PM start...

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9:19 PM: 2-1 Leafs in the 3rd...John Tortorella must be going ape...

As it settles down a little bit in that Philadelphia game...the Flyers announced today they are keeping 1st round pick Sean Couturier...pity, would have been nice to see him play one more time for Team Canada...

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9:13 PM: 7-7...Burmistrov...love that TSN has got Dennis Beyak calling the Jets games...great comment/observation from him - "both coaches have called their time outs, both coaches have pulled their goalies, don't know where we go from here - there's nothing left in the bullpen"...

BTW, 2-2 Rangers-Cards in Game 6 of the World Series...Rangers win and they are the Champions...

I don't believe this...8-7 Winnipeg...Bryzgalov broke his stick...intentionally...

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9:10 PM: 7-6 Flyers...van Reimsdyk...wow...

Other scores, it's 2-1 Sabres over Jackets in the 3rd, and the Stars are up 1-0 early on the Kings...

3 goals from Philly in 1:53...hell of a game, shame on you if you're missing it...

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9:07 PM: Couple more scores...

...or not...Philly just tied it...6-6...Ondrej Pavelec is getting yanked for Chris Mason...Sergei Bobrovsky already got yanked earlier in favor of Ilya Bryzgalov...

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8:55 PM: First Barn Burner Alert of the season...in Philadelphia, after 40 minutes, there are already 10 goals on the board...Winnipeg has 6 of them in a 6-4 lead...they were up 6-2 when the Flyers started coming on...they came close to making it 6-5 before the period was out...it's a wacky one, that's for sure...

Lot of wacky games so far this year...did anyone expect Detroit to get schooled 7-1 by Washington a couple of weekends ago?

So, at 9:30, the 7-0 Washington Capitals invade Rexall Place...

Interesting but light sched last night, Montreal got their first home win of the season, a 5-1 decision against Philadelphia, in the wake of losing assistant coach Perry Pearn, who just about an hour and a half before the game found out he was no longer going to be behind the bench with Jacques Martin anymore...after their worst start in 70 years, I guess the Habs' brass decided a change was needed...in the 2 late games, Calgary beat Colorado 4-2 and Brian Elliott went into Vancouver and shut out the Canucks...3-0 St. Louis...

Tonight, the NY Rangers are finally playing their home opener in the newly renovated Madison Square Garden...when I was in NY in June they had construction going on around about 2/3 of the building...made it a little interesting navigating into Penn Station, but all the work is done, and it looks good from what I've seen...Toronto is in town and after 2 periods it's 1-1...same score in Boston between the Bruins and Habs after 40...2-2 tie between the Bolts and Preds, as well as the Pens and Islanders and Panthers and Sens...at the Consol it's in the 3rd period, in Nashville it's in the 2nd, in Ottawa they're heading into the 3rd...Ducks lead the Wild 1-0 in the 2nd...

6-5 in Philly...Briere...if you have the NHL package, get over to the Jets on TSN channel...

 

 

October 25, 2011

11:58 PM: 2 minutes to midnight...and the Oilers hang on for the 3-2 win, they get the crucial 2 points, and are now 2nd in the Northwest division, bumping Vancouver down to 3rd...took them almost until Christmas last season to get to 10 points...here we are almost at the end of October and they're already there...of course, we're just getting started from a season standpoint, but Edmonton has served notice they aren't planning on finishing in last this time...

Washington on Thursday, and Colorado on Friday...Nuge gets one more kick at the can before the Oil must decide his fate...like I say, score against the only remaining undefeated team on Thursday, and I think he deserves to stay...

If you get a chance to see any highlights, check out Patrick Kane's spin-o-rama feed to Marian Hossa in the Chicago-Anaheim game...sick...didn't even look, but somehow got it on the tape...had to really feel bad for Hiller on that one...

Weird schedule coming up this weekend...we've got Sens and Leafs on Sunday?

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11:50 PM: Alex Burrows got one by Khabibulin after about his 10th attempt...it's 3-2...about 4 minutes left...

Devils are up 1-0 against L.A. in the 2nd...Zubrus with his 1st...still tied 1-1 after 40 between the Stars and Dogs...

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11:14 PM: On Saturday the Ottawa Senators came from behind to win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, late...well the Jackets clearly had a chip on their shoulder tonight...as they manhandled Detroit...4-1 the final there...1st win of the season for the Jackets, in James Wisniewski's return from the 8 game suspension...coincidence?  Not sure if anybody expected Columbus wouldn't win even one of the games he didn't play in...7 regulation losses and one overtime loss...Jackets have a lot of ground to make up...

Speaking of the Sens, they almost fell victim to their own demise after building a 2-0 lead, a funny icing play was misplayed by goalie Craig Anderson, and all Tuomo Ruttu could do was put the puck in the net...2-1...then a bad penalty call late, and the Canes tied it 2-2...the rookie defenseman Rundblad didn't even know he was called for hooking as he stayed on the bench for about a minute...anyhow, Ottawa won in the shootout...Spezza with a goal and the shootout winner....3-2...the hockey gods made it right...

Watching the Canucks do battle with the Oilers for the second time in two weeks...and the kid line is outplaying the Florida Panthers' line...David Booth looked pretty good in the 1st period, but then in the 2nd, the Oil took over...Jordan Eberle finally with his first of the season, also got an assist on Taylor Hall's 2nd, and for good measure, the veteran Shawn Horcoff converted a wraparound setup by Smitty...Cody Hodgson replied for the Canucks after Roberto Luongo got yanked...it's 3-1 Oilers heading into the 3rd...5th divisional game so far, and they only have 2 points to show for it...all I know is if the Canucks lose this one then the St. Louis Blues better be ready tomorrow night to contend with yet another team with a chip on their shoulder...

Roberto Luongo got a new mask...maybe he should go back to the old one...

Elsewhere...Pittsburgh 3, Islanders, Goose Egg - somehow the Penguins have already played 11 games, giving just about everybody games at hand on them...Tampa Bay comes from behind to beat Buffalo 4-3 - Ryan Malone's 3rd period marker turned out to be the game winner...Chicago wins 3-2 over the Ducks in a shootout...San Jose beats Nashville 3-1 on the strength of 2 from "Little Joe"...it's tied 1-1 between Dallas and Phoenix...Sheldon Souray has his 2nd, Raffi Torres has his 1st...

And it's going to take 2-3 weeks for Chris Pronger's eye to heal...

 

October 24, 2011

9:40 PM: Wow...it's unbelievable how much a bad cold/flu will take out of you...but at long last, like Sidney Crosby, I'm back and at least 99.5% better (hey, at least he's able to take contact in practice now)...if you can believe this I actually went to bed just last night (Sunday) earlier than I have since I was in High School...9:30 I was in bed and if I saw 10 PM I don't remember...started to feel like crap two Friday's ago, and by last Monday the 17th it was all I could do to utter a squeak, couldn't talk, and when I tried, I sounded like the little dog that lives next door to me...don't ask me how, but on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I was able to complete massive workouts in an attempt to sweat out the virus and get back in business...I honestly don't know where I got the energy...let's just put it this way, when I didn't feel like blogging/talking hockey, you know there had to be something wrong with me...it's like they say...lots of rest...lots of fluids...it's funny, I usually am good for about a litre of water when I workout, last 3 workouts, it's been no less than 3 bottles of water (1.5 L), AND a 700 ml bottle of Gatorade...take that, cold...

Anyhow, I'm happy this happened before leaving for vacay on November 3...would not have been a pleasant time in Florida if I had to fight off a cold...it's one thing to get a cold in Canada as the weather changes, it's another thing entirely to have to fight it off in warm weather...like it or not, I'm usually good for one good bout with the virus a year...and usually around this time...note to self...next year, save a few sick days...

One reason I put a TV in my bedroom was not just to play PS3 on occasion, but to also be able to get the games...I ordered my hockey package just before the Oilers' home opener, and I'm glad I did...there's been some pretty good games that I otherwise wouldn't have seen (and the way I felt, I probably wouldn't have cared much)...particularly last Monday's Ryan Smyth bobblehead night...Oilers suffered a bit of a setback against Calgary and again against Minnesota (2 shootout losses in one week against the same team!?!)...let's just say I'm not a fan of Dany Heatley of late...however, I am impressed with Edmonton's record so far...3-2-2...and probably their most complete game in a long time on Saturday night...a 2-0 shutout against the Rangers...the Bulin Wall still has it...at least for now...and probably the biggest accolade of them all - the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky, was on record stating Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is NHL ready...the Oilers have 2 more games to decide if he stays for the season or goes back to Red Deer...would actually be kind of cool to see him play for Team Canada at the juniors, especially since they're in Edmonton/Calgary this year...just saying...but, if he makes the team after the 9 games, he deserves to...team leading 5th goal, and despite the loss on HNIC two Saturdays ago, the fastest Oiler to ever score a hat trick...in just his 3rd game against Vancouver...not too sure about the 3rd one, but after they reviewed it they let him keep it...

Anyhow - they need to keep it going...every Canadian team will have an opportunity this year to make an impression on the Top 8...yes, even Ottawa...see that come from behind win on Saturday?  Jason Spezza ties it with about 30 seconds left...and Milan Michalek wins it with 5 seconds to go?  What?!?!  If that doesn't pump them up for their upcoming road trip that starts in Raleigh tomorrow night, nothing will...

Come from behind wins...late minute heroics...it's been the story of the entire league in the past week or so...you had Heatley with the tying goal Thursday night with 1.2 seconds left on the clock...the aforementioned Sens game...Winnipeg was down early against Carolina on Saturday but came back to win 5-3...Toronto beat the Habs in OT...just head over to NHL.com and check out some highlights...with the NBA not showing any signs of coming back anytime soon, Hockey clearly has the spotlight...and the players are putting on one hell of a show...

uLAr made me aware on Facebook of an excellent article by sports columnist and blogger Bill Simmons, a.k.a. The Sports Guy...: http://www.grantland.com - excellent site if you want to read a couple of good rants about the NBA lockout, and how because of it, he's turned to hockey, no less!!  Although, I'm not sure if Simmons realizes that we've already been through this...I'm sure the NHL, whether they liked it or not, ended up with a few NBA converts back in 2004...but, despite the fact I follow the Celtics, basketball ain't hockey...it just ain't...the CHL/OHL and World Juniors was my hockey that year...

Light night tonight...Toronto, last I checked, was losing 4-2 to Philly, late...Jaromir Jagr has his 1st NHL goal since April of 2008 in that one...Montreal was deadlocked 1-1 against Florida...and Winnipeg was scoreless against the Rangers in the 2nd...actually...looking like Florida has the 2-1 lead late in the 3rd...and the Rangers are on the board, 1-0 there...the 4-2 score is now a final for Philly...Chris Pronger took a stick in the face early in that one and never returend...

Speaking of Winnipeg, they decided Mark Scheiffle, who was absolutely dynamite in preseason, is not ready for the NHL...yet...in just a handful of games, he scored one goal (against Toronto), but really, unlike Nugent-Hopkins, has not looked comfortable against the league's elite at all...I have a feeling if Nuge can get on the scoresheet against Ovie and the Washington Capitals later this week, then he's not going back to Red Deer...

Washington is proving early they did well to get Tomas Vokoun...but then again, Semyon Varlamov has been no slouch in Colorado either...Neuvirth is a capable backup...look out for the Capitals...this just could be their year...but, didn't we say that two years ago?  Fool me once...

Power rankings came out today...and no surprise, Washington, undefeated after their first 7 games, and LA, already with 5 wins, lead the pack...Edmonton actually made the Top 16 for the first time since Ryan Smyth was traded...coincidence?!?

9 games tomorrow night...no Alfie for Ottawa in Carolina, and we'll see the 2nd meeting already between Vancouver and Edmonton...they're getting those divisional games out of the way fast...Vancouver should have David Booth in their lineup...he was traded there along with Steve Reinprecht from Florida over the weekend...for Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm...Sturm doesn't really surprise me, but did Vancouver give up way too much in Samuelsson, especially given that today they sent Reinprecht down to the minors?!  Booth this season has played 6 games, has 1 assist and is a -6...and Vancouver wants him why exactly?!?!  By comparison, after 7 games, Sturm has no points and is a -5...Samuelsson in six games: 1 grape, 2 apples, 3 pinatas...and only a -1...yeah, Vancouver won that trade, right?  Methinks they pushed the panic button a tad bit early...what next, Boston trades Tim Thomas?!?  Makes about as much sense....

Barring any unforseen circumstances I'll be checking in at some point tomorrow...

 

October 11, 2011

11:39 PM: Senators' home opener was tonight...in celebration of their 20th anniversary of their modern day history, they honored members of that inaugural team in 1992-93...and for all intents and purposes, despite outshooting the Minnesota Wild, throughout the first 20 minutes, actually looked like that team from the first season...

They came out of the gate hard, though, rushing the net, even getting an early power play opportunity, but it was Kyle Brodziak who opened the scoring...late in the period, Devin Setoguchi...and before the game was 20 minutes old, it was 2-0, Wild...Brodziak is coming off a career year which saw him score 16 G, 37 points...where was THAT with Edmonton?!?!

Predictably, the Ottawa crowd was on Dany Heatley everytime he touched the puck...but Chris Neil had them on their feet after putting at least 3 good hits on him...he would help start the comeback in the 2nd, helping Nick Foligno and Ottawa get on the board, and after 40 it was a 2-1 Wild lead...

Nice fight between Zenon Konopka and Zach Kassian...the two #28s converged...

In the 3rd, Nick Johnson would put Minnesota up 3-1 (thought it was Kassian with his first NHL goal at first), but another well placed hit by Chris Neil, and finally a goal...it went to video review, and it counted...3-2...Neil was a one man wrecking crew...he was all over Heatley, which may have drawn the loudest cheers, but he also lowered the boom on rookie Clayton Stoner in almost exactly the same spot he got Victor Hedman in his rookie season...welcome to the NHL, kid...

Colin Greening would tie it on a power play, 3-3...overtime would solve nothing, it went to a shootout...interesting analysis by Gord Miller before the shootout even happened...Minnesota historically can't stop the puck in the shootout, and Ottawa historically can't score...well, history prevailed...Michalek, Spezza and Alfredsson all scored, and Matt Cullen had the lone goal for Minnesota...Sens won the shootout 3-1, won the game 4-3, and improved to 1 and 2 on the season...Wild dropped to 1-1-1...

Pittsburgh had their home opener against Florida, and now missing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, it was the Matt Cooke show again?!  3rd of the season already for him, ties a career high in October for him...had 3 goals in the entire month of October in 2007 when he was still in Vancouver...scored 2 against them on opening night...guess he took that suspension to heart, because he is playing outstanding hockey right now...James Neal already has more goals in 4 games than he had down the stretch last season from the trade deadline onward...Richard Park's shorthanded goal, his 1st of the season in his second stint with Pittsburgh, turned out to be the GWG...Pascal Dupuis added a goal and an assist...Florida saw Fleischmann and Goc get on the board...Pens beat the Cats 4-2 and are undefeated in regulation...3-0-1...the shootout loss of course coming Sunday against Edmonton...

And that was it...only 2 games tonight...only 3 tomorrow night...10 on Thursday...

St. Louis today picked up D Taylor Chorney off waivers from Edmonton, and placed Carlo Colaiacovo on injured reserve...while another former Oiler was placed on waivers by Anaheim...Zack Stortini...yet another former Oiler, G Jeff Deslauriers, was sent down to Syracuse...Ducks also lost a player to waivers - former Sens' tough guy Brian McGrattan is now property of the Nashville Predators...looking even further into the waiver wire, in an attempt to call him back up from a conditioning stint in the minors, Eric Nystrom was placed on re-entry waivers by Minnesota...be interesting to see if anybody picks him up with Minnesota fitting half the bill...back to Calgary, maybe?

Signing on the dotted line...Rich Peverley...3 year extension to remain with the champs, who have been anything but through two games...nice shutout for Semyon Varlamov yesterday in a 1-0 Avs win...historically, Colorado, since moving from Quebec, has enjoyed a ton of success in Boston...they seem to always get up for the Bruins...

Brendan Shanahan confirmed today that Ryan Smyth will not be suspended for the elbow on Chris Kunitz...he already served a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for the play...one I've watched a few times and am still trying to figure out why that play warranted such a stiff penalty...I know the mandate is punish the borderline hits, but Smyth is NOT that kind of player...Shanny made the right call...I would have went ballistic if he would have received even one game...

Columbus' Mark Methot also escaped suspension for a hit on Henrik Sedin during last nights' Canucks-Jackets game...Sedin is day to day with a charlie horse, Methot got called for boarding...meh, I thought the hit was clean...next time Methot is in Ottawa remind me to buy him a drink...that was outstanding...Sedin should know better...both of them...

And former Canuck and present day Bolt Matti Ohlund underwent athroscopic surgery on both of his knees and will miss at least a month or two...Tampa is listing him as out indefinitely, but average recovery for this is usually 4-6 weeks...with the type of training and rehab these athletes go through wouldn't surprise me to see him back before Christmas...Lightning fast...

 

October 9, 2011

11:52 PM: Eberle starts it off...GOAL!!!

Letang...NO GOAL...

Hemsky...GOAL!!!

Dubnyk just needs a save...

Neal...GOAL...2-1, advantage Edmonton...

Omark...for the win...no spin-o-rama...NO GOAL...YouTubers won't be happy about that one...

Sullivan...NO GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2-1 Oilers win the shootout, 2-1 they win the game...Tom Renney is a perfect 8-0 in season openers...but...there are still 81 goals left...pretty good start for the kid, though!!!  Sportsnet gives Dubnyk first star, Johnson 2nd star, Nugent-Hopkins, 3rd star...

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11:47 PM: And Jeff Petry, along with everybody at Rexall Place, including Sportsnet announcer Kevin Quinn, thought it was over...it hit the corner of the post and crossbar...

We go to a shootout...2nd shootout in 4 nights for the Penguins...

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11:39 PM: James Neal rings one off the crossbar...

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11:37 PM: End of regulation...we've got OT...still about 30 seconds or so in the five minute major...Dubnyk has been outstanding...

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11:33 PM: They've called Ryan Smyth for elbowing on Chris Kunitz...replay didn't show me anything, especially in slow motion...OK, well maybe he could have controlled his stick a little better, but certainly nothing that should have merited the call...in any event, a 5 minute major and a game misconduct?!...all Smyth could do was shrug his shoulders and leave the ice...if Shanny lays down a suspension here I'll be very interested to see his explanation...

Big penalty kill here...

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11:28 PM: 1st NHL goal for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, at 15:05 of the 3rd, ties the game 1-1...got his own rebound, twice...and got it by Brent Johnson...

Great finish coming up!!!

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10:59 PM: Could see fatigue in the Penguins towards the end of the 2nd...still 1-0 heading into the 3rd...

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10:01 PM: Oilers' home opener against Pittsburgh...and it's 1-0 Pens after 1 period...power play goal by Kris Letang...

Oilers outshot the Pens 13-9...Pens 1 for 2 on the PP...Oilers 0 for 4, including a 5 on 3...they're moving the puck well, though...Taylor Hall has been all over the place...as has Ryan Smyth...captain Shawn Horcoff has been invisible, so far...still 40 minutes to go...if Edmonton can exploit the fact that Pittsburgh played last night in Calgary, then they'll be fine...

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is looking way more comfortable than perhaps he should...seems to have built a little chemistry going with Ales Hemsky...

Devan Dubnyk earned the surprising season opening start in net over Nikolai Khabibulin...if not for him it would probably be 3-0 by now...

Winnipeg came out flat in their first home opener in 15 years...it was a 5-1 Montreal win...but the fans didn't seem to care...they've been on their feet since the announcement was made May 31...Hockey Trivia junkies, who scored the first goal in Winnipeg Jets' modern history?  None other than former Toronto Maple Leafs and Atlanta Thrashers sniper Nik Antropov...

2 huge early season injuries for the Habs...Mike Cammalleri and Jaroslav Spacek both left the game and are essentially day to day...Cammalleri might miss a little more time, left the game with a gash in his leg...fell awkwardly and got clipped by team mate's Yannick Weber's skate...

Jeff Marek is on the Sportsnet Hockey Central panel...along with Marty McSorley and John Shannon...interesting...

 

October 7, 2011

9:38 PM: 5-3...Filip Kuba on the power play...but the Sens have just taken a penalty...only about a minute left...

...they almost got one shorthanded...

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9:18 PM: Spezza to Michalek...goal...5-2...Mike Babcock immediately looked up at the clock...

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9:07 PM: 5-0 Red Wings...Ian White's first as a Red Wing...

2-1 across the board in Raleigh and in Columbus...the road team with the advantage in both after 40 (Bolts and Preds)...and Chicago-Dallas is scoreless...Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis with their 1st, and Jeff Skinner with his first; Vinny Prospal for Columbus...the Preds have just gone up 3-1...Matt Halischuk, Ryan Suter and Craig Smith...

Milan Michalek just busted the shutout...5-1...still 14 minutes left...

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8:33 PM: It's a bloodbath in Detroit...about 5 1/2 minutes left in the 2nd period and it's 4-0, Red Wings...

Todd Bertuzzi, Nick Lidstrom, Cory Emmerton and Jiri Hudler...Emmerton had one goal all of last season...mind you, he only played 2 games, the goal tonight is his 2nd career NHL goal in just his 3rd career NHL game...technically he's still a rookie...Sens so far with the Goose egg...they've missed at least 3 wide open nets...and somehow, Craig Anderson is still in goal...

BTW, when did Bertuzzi decide to become a hockey player!?  Had a highlight reel shootout goal in the preseason, and the 1-0 goal was a nice feed up the middle from Darren Helm, right on Bert's tape for the break, deke, goal...hate to say this, but he's lookin' good so far...1 goal 1 assist...just needs a fight for the Gordie Howe...

When the hell is Jason Spezza going to learn that the backhand/forehand deke doesn't work in the NHL...especially against this team...

Is it just me or does Paul MacLean look like a wider-waist version of Tom Selleck?!  With glasses...

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4:00 PM: You'd never say Hockey started yesterday...they were predicting up to 19 Celcius today, but I would imagine we've toppled the 20 degree threshold...very nice and warm outside...must be the Indian Summer...

By comparison, last weekend was chilly and miserable (rain)...I started the pilot light to my fireplace...

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3:24 PM: Wouldn't be a new season without another Grapes controversy, would it?  Don Cherry is once again under fire for comments made on Coach's Corner last night, where he not only nonchalantly called out Brendan Shanahan for an unprecedented 10 suspensions during the preseason, but also got real nasty towards former heavyweights Stu Grimson, Chris Nilan and Jim Thompson regarding their recent comments as it pertains to fighting and the enforcer role...in an interview on The Fan 590 in Toronto, Nilan appeared stunned...

Just the former AHL player turned NHL coach giving his two cents, whether or not it doesn't belong is irrelevant...I have to say, I finally watched "The Don Cherry Story" over the summer, and I have a new found respect for the man...love him or hate him, every hockey fan should take the time to watch that movie to better understand his mindset...

Check out the clip over at cbc.ca/hockey and prepare to be amazed again...can't wait to hear HNIC Radio today!!!

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12:03 PM: I don't know if somebody within the Vancouver Canucks organization reads my blog or what, but last night in the 3rd period, they woke up in a big way...Luongo looked like he was back in mid season form (or maybe he was just lucky, I don't know which is true)...they finally got the tying goal just past the midway point of the 3rd...on a delayed penalty, Daniel Sedin came off the bench and fired a shot past Fleury to tie the game...he had a look of fire in his eyes that I didn't see all of last year...I definitely didn't see it in Game 7...if he keeps that going, who knows where it will lead...I'm sure he heard the criticism all summer about how he didn't stand up for his brother and vice versa...I mean, come on folks - this team lost one game which just so happened to end up being the most important one of the season...can't win 'em all...in a way it's probably good that they did lose that series, don't want to give them a false sense of security over there in B.C....or worse yet...a superiority complex...

I do mean what I said, though, when I say they may be at somewhat of a size disadvantage...especially if they meet Boston again, or even worse, Philly or Pittsburgh...can't really pick anybody else in the East right now...

So, anyway, the Canucks got a point, but they still lost in the shootout...given that there's still 81 games to go, probably not time to worry just yet...Kris Letang, of all people, continued his mastery of the skills competition by getting the Pens out to the 1-0 lead...Burrows and Samuelsson both whiffed on their attempts...and Evgeni Malkin, who was snake bitten all game, got the GWG in the shootout...Pens win the shootout 2-0, win the game 4-3...

Tonight - Ottawa starts their season in Detroit, Tampa gets underway in Raleigh, Nashville is in Ohio, and Chicago is in Dallas...this afternoon the Ducks are up against the Sabres in Finland, and the Rangers play the Kings in Sweden...both are 1 PM EST starts...

Then, we get going with our first weekend of the new season...13 games on Saturday, only 2 on Sunday, but 7 on Monday - Thanksgiving up here in Canada, Christopher Columbus day in the U.S....

 

October 6, 2011

11:51 PM: Keith Ballard with his 1st of the year...the Pittsburgh lead is now 3-2 after 40 minutes...

And in Ontario, Dalton McGuinty stays in power, but by the skin of his teeth...Liberals lose the majority by ONE SEAT...so they get a minority government, a first in Ontario in over 100 years, and stay in power...as I await the next bribe to be deposited into my bank account...maybe it can happen before my vacation next month?

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11:37 PM: Alex Burrows negates the power play...hooking...4 on 4...there's one way to lose momentum...

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11:32 PM: HUGE momentum shift for Vancouver...now they're going on the power play...they better keep an eye on Cooke...

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11:18 PM: Geez...anybody pick Matt Cooke in their hockey pool?!

2nd of the game, shorthanded marker - 3-1 Penguins...Bobby Lu is NOT looking good...I think he still thinks it's Game 7...

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10:54 PM: End of the first period...

I LOVE the new Molson Canadian ad...the one with the Rick Jeanneret goal call while a bunch of kids are playing hockey outdoors...

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10:51 PM: Potential tying goal from Daniel Sedin is under review...couldn't see the puck, but saw Fleury's glove in the net...

No goal...first call to Toronto's war room, who I imagine called it inconclusive...

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10:47 PM: Looks like Maxim Lapierre kept the horseshoes from last season...he handcuffed both Zbynek Michalek and Marc-Andre Fleury...the puck had eyes and trickled between both players' legs...BTW, Kevin Weekes - Milan Michalek is his brother, the Ottawa forward...

2-1...

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10:40 PM: Ouch!  How do you like that?  Jannick Hansen took an elbowing penalty, and Matt Cooke has his 1st of the season...2nd straight power play goal against for Vancouver...and we're not even out of the 1st period yet...that won't do your penalty kill % any favors...

2-0 Penguins...

If Pittsburgh comes out of the East like all of the pundits are predicting, if they somehow meet up with the Canucks, I'm not sure if the result would be any different...maybe it's just me, but it seems like the Penguins are easily 2-3 inches taller than the tallest Canuck...Evgeni Malkin looks like Zdeno Chara against Bobby-Lu...

Best picture I've seen all summer, is a picture of the Sedin twins, surrounded with the caption: "TWO GIRLS - NO CUP"...I think uLAr actually used it as his Facebook profile picture...

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10:26 PM: James Neal only scored one goal down the stretch since his trade deadline move from Dallas...5:04 into the 1st period the new season, he has Pittsburgh's first regular season goal...a power play marker with Kevin Bieksa sitting for hooking...

1-0 Pens...

Didn't take long for Cooke and Burrows to start chirping at each other...

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10:18 PM: We get to see Matt Cooke for the first time since the suspension towards the end of last season...

CBC has a new on screen scoreboard design...a little small, but it will grow on me...

No team has more injuries to start the season than Vancouver...the biggest names out - Ryan Kesler, who won't be back until at least November, and Mason Raymond...of course, the biggest name of them all is still missing on the other end...Sidney Crosby...but you know what?  I still picked him in my pool...one of them...

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10:12 PM: Hey, did Mark Donnelly lose weight?  I'm not even making a joke!!

Time to raise the Western Conference Champions banner at Rogers Arena...

Boston raised the Championship banner earlier this evening...Philly spoiled the party, however, with a 2-1 win...Ilya Bryzgalov made 22 saves in his first win as a Flyer...Brad Marchand was the only Bruin to beat him...Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek (acquired from Columbus in the Jeff Carter trade) with their first points of the year for Philadelphia...Jaromir Jagr waited three years to get his 1600th NHL point...wonder how many more times he'll help out Giroux this season?

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9:50 PM: NHL Face Off, opening night...only 3 games!??!

Toronto shuts out Montreal 2-0...James Reimer with his 4th career shutout helps the Leafs get going with a bang...Dion Phaneuf and Matthew Lombardi the goal scorers...Lombardi's goal was shorthanded...first game for him in over a year...nice pickup for Toronto...he still has some wheels...

And it's 2-1 Philadelphia leading over Boston, late...on banner raising night...

Vancouver hosts Pittsburgh...shortly after we check in on the Ontario Election...looking like Dalton McGuinty might remain the Premier, unfortunately...looks like my vote didn't count for squat...but results are still trickling in...I guess people are easily bribed...wonder if they realize they're being bribed with their own tax dollars?!

I'm leaving the Free agency/trade links up until after Thanksgiving/Columbus Day (depending on what side of the 49th you live)...the rosters are more or less set at this point, save for whomever gets sent down after their 9th game...

 

October 1, 2011

12:34 AM: 4-1 final in Vancouver...Mikhael Samuelsson with the icing on the cake, and add an empty netter to salt it away for the Canuckleheads...

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12:12 AM: You know, I'm not trying to be a biased Oilers fan, but quite frankly, if Vancouver wants to take that next step after losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, they aren't going to win any fans or friends going after heads of young players...at the very least I'm not impressed...

It's 2-1 Canucks late in the 3rd on the strength of a Jannick Hansen even strength goal, but the Oil are going to the power play after Marco Sturm lunged at Lennart Petrell...

Oilers are losing defensemen left, right and center...Taylor Chorney, Ladislav Smid and Taylor Fedun are all out...in last night's game in Minnesota, blue line hopeful Fedun suffered a broken leg in almost the same spot on the ice where former Wild and Oiler Kurtis Foster broke his a few years ago...on an icing play no less...no thanks to Eric Nystrom's stick...Chorney tweaked a knee and Smid injured his shoulder......most likely means Jeff Petry(-dish) is staying with the Oilers, for now...

No touch icing...what are you waiting for, NHL?!?!

And I don't know why we continue to receive updates about Sidney Crosby not being available...I thought the Penguins and Sid's doctors were already clear that he won't be ready until he's ready...so why the continued reminder that he won't be playing the opener on Thursday??!  Let's just stop speculating just because he's working out with the team...the guy has to stay in shape...doesn't he?

Seems Ottawa's Mika Zibanejad is staying with the Sens for now, too, as he survived the team's last round of cuts...

Of course, don't forget, teams have until their 10th game to either sign a player to an entry level contract, or send them back to the minors...

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11:19 PM: It's still only preseason, but tonight's Edmonton-Vancouver exhibition tilt on HNIC is getting nasty...Victor Oreskovich put a hard, but clean hit on 1st round draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and the rest of the team came to his aide...Theo Peckham ended up going with, get this...Maxim Lapierre!??!  Went for awhile too, and Lapierre, I must admit, held his own...

Both teams seem to have gotten that out of their system, and are back to playing hockey...it's 1-1 on the strength of special teams...Cody Hodson tipped a Kevin Bieksa point shot in the 1st, and in the 2nd, Magnus Paajaarvi finally got one by Roberto Luongo, after a flurry of what must have easily been 10 shots on goal...Luongo was on his back doing the snow angel and at his mercy before Paajaarvi finally got it over the line...and we stand pat 1-1...

Alex Edler has taken out Taylor Hall a couple of times already...once into the boards which turned into a boarding penalty, and just moments ago got him in the head with a blatant elbow...that play may get reviewed...

Ryan Malone got a head shot in on Montreal's Chris Campoli in a game between the Habs and Bolts...we might be hearing more about that one too...

Toronto's Clarke MacArthur has received the rest of preseason and 2 regular season games for a hit on Detroit's Justin Abdelkader in a game last night...and staying with Detroit, Brendan Smith got rest of preseason and 5 regular season games for a hit on Chicago's Ben Smith...both hits were head shots, something the league is committed to eliminating from the game...can't remember a preseason when there has been so much discipline doled out...

Today, to commemorate the 20th season of their modern history, the Ottawa Senators unveiled a Heritage jersey, which is a black colored version of their old vintage sweaters with the "O" logo highlighting red and white stripes around the chest...the white is actually an ivory color reminiscent of the old school look...on the shoulders a patch the original Senators wore, one one side it says "Ottawa Senators", and on the other "Senateurs D'Ottawa"...first time they'll wear the new sweaters is on Oct 13 against Colorado...when they play in February against Edmonton as part of Hockey Day In Canada they'll wear them too...so the Oilers adopt their old school white, blue and orange jerseys, and the Sens go Old School...one can only hope we'll see some old time hockey to go along with it...

Seems Steve Staios is going to stick around on Long Island...the Islanders signed him to a one-year deal...way to go, Steady Steve...

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