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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2008 :  14:22:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Go to the bottom of page 17 in this thread for the latest installment

Welcome all to the Alex Blog! (That name needs some work… not the catchiest, eh?) It’s playoff time, where the traffic is high and the pollution is too, if you get the metaphor. Not many of the ‘trademark’ members are active of late, and that really grinds my gears. Off school for two weeks with me, myself and my trusty ol’ computer! I need a haven where I can just ‘let it all hang out’ as the admin appropriately gave the tag line to our forum on general hockey chat, and I think I have found my solution. Here’s hoping this tides me over until the rest of y’all get back to remind me what an idiot I am

I’ll run through the rules, but I warn you, if you read ‘em you’re wasting your time because I’m going to break them every day for the sheer fun involved! In a nutshell, expect me to throw out my opinions on the headlines of the day, my predictions, my hopes and all that stuff you don’t really care about but are bound to find yourself reading anyways Who knows, I may just start a fad! Imagine me, the trendsetter!

So, what the heck are we waiting for? Let’s start at the beginning, sound like a plan? Good! Lot’s to talk about to stick with me. I’ll put my subheadings in boldface so you can navigate this bad boy!

(Oh, and feel free to comment!)

April 23 2008

Washington / Philadelphia Game 7

First off, kudos to Bruce Boudreau on a hell of a season. AO, I feel your pain buddy. One has to wonder, ‘what could have been’ had the Capitals advanced to play another young dynamic squad anchored by none other than the NHL’s poster boy and his apprentice. But hey, their careers are young and the pages of history are bound to be chock full of great stories these two guys and teams will fill them up with.

My thoughts on the series? Well, I don’t like Philly. I don’t like Bobby Clarke, I don’t like it that they bought their team, I don’t like the way they played, and I hate their fans with a passion! They were not the better team out there my any stretch of the imagination. Washington let two heartbreakers slip through their fingers, but then again, so did the city of brotherly love. With it all on the line in game 7, everything you knew was going to happen did happen. In the end, it was those stinking zebras in charge of calling the play that cost Washington a second round berth.

I’m not even talking about the OT penalty. That was 100 percent a trip, and, if nothing else, it was fair game to call it based solely on the fact that turned a blind eye to one a few minutes earlier. But for goodness sake, what the hell is ‘impeding’ a guy, if full out ransacking him isn’t? Huet is a great tender, but even he can’t save a puck with his own player thrown on top of him! The refs did a good job of consciously balancing out the penalties. The TSN commentator said it well, you knew that if the other team was called for a penalty, any little infraction would send the other team to the box to try and even things out. Is that fair? No. Is that life? Yes.
But the goalie interference is beyond me. That is not within the legal constraints set out by the National Hockey League to review such an obvious play is a real shame, because any fan of hockey wanted Washington to move on.

San Jose / Calgary Game 7

My dad rarely caves in on his established curfew for me, but seeing as the Philly / Caps game was such a nail-biter, it afforded me the luxury of watching this game, as we expected close to the same outcome.

Bing bang boom it’s 2-2 in the second! I was expecting a better version of the Philly game. But then it fell apart. Dion Phaneuf could not settle down, Jarome Iginla tried to do to much, Miikka Kiprusoff faced way too many pucks, and Mike Keenan was trying too hard to rip a page out of Gordon Bombay’s playbook. Or maybe, Herb Brooks.

Game 7 of the National Hockey League playoffs is not a Disney fairytale. Last time I checked it was Mike Keenan, not Mickey! There were no ‘miracles’ waiting in the pads of a rusty CuJo. I’m surprised the Calgary guys weren’t trying out any knuckle pucks! You rode Kipper all year. Especially in game 7 a coach has to be competent. The look on his face when CuJo let in that weak little wrister rubbed off on all the players and from the looks, sounds and everything in between of the post-game interview, no one liked the decision.

On a positive note: Jeremy Roenick, good job pal. As a true Canuck, I can’t focus much more happy light on seven games that saw the pride of Alberta get ousted by some team from San Jose.

The deciding game in this series was undoubtedly Game 4, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. San Jose escaped with a thriller and needs to settle down and commit to play their game if they want success against the boys from Texas.

Round 2 NHL Playoffs: Great match-ups, but put an asterisk next to that one, as it could have been so much better. In Pittsburgh-New York I can hardly wait to see what Avery has up his sleeve. In the end, the 1-2-3-4-5… punch on offence for Steel Town will be too much for King Lundqvist to handle.

Moving on to Philly and Montreal. Both squads came off game 7 wins, though the Habs played a lot better than the Flyers. Carey Price had a two game cushion that allowed him to grow up smack in the middle of the post season! Philly, watch out! This club looks rejuvenated with Koivu back, and you just know that the PP is bound to get better.

Over to the West, where the President Trophy look to take on the very deceptive Colorado Avalanche in the same manner they did during regular season play. With Foote back and the young guys starting to produce though, this series could renew the nostalgic battle dormant of late between these two clubs. Detroit will take it though.

And last, San Jose [BOO] against Dallas [BOO, copy and paste!] Thornton, Cheechoo and Marleau came up big in game 7, but how often does that happen? I don’t really want to delve deep into this one, as it really bores me. Final call, the Stars will take it.

GM News: Brian Burke ain’t going anywhere. They like him over in Anaheim; granted, he didn’t have as big a mark as some would seem to suggest on the success of the Ducks last year. Toronto and Cliff Fletcher will have to sit and wait.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks organization is handling their situation like a bunch of turkeys. They had gold in Nonis, who made arguably the trade of the decade. You can not say that the Canucks failure to make the post-season this year should be left on his shoulders.

And then replace him with Mike Gillis? I wouldn’t know that guy from a hole in the wall! Vancouver is headed in ten different directions at once. Like some guy following a GPS system surrounded by magnets.

Canada captures gold at U18 Tourney

Kudos boys! I saw enough in the first period to convince me the game was over! A quick short-handed breakaway tally to get themselves up on the scoreboard, followed by a lot of sloppy play in the Russian end of the rink and a shaky net-minder accounted for a greatly lopsided game. And you know what? We’ll take it!

Last word: Say it ain’t so! Mark Messier didn’t mean to tell reporters that they would win Game 7? Is it just me or does that ruin the essence of the Moose?

Happy readings,

"You're playing worse every day and right now you're playing like the middle of next week."
-Herb Brooks

EDIT: This is a blog. I have the liberty to say things no one agrees with I personally do not have anything against a GM that succesfully buys a team, I just resent the whole notion. What can you do, it is part of the new CBA. The whole system ticks me off. I miss the days where players were snynonomous with teams. Many agree, others don't give a hoot. Fine, so be it

Nonis may have riden that trade a little past its prime but in the end the deal was great and he did try to nab guys like Forsberg and Richards, it just did not work out. Injuries in the end made the Nucks miss the playoffs, and that cost a great GM his job. Someone will soon discover him as the diamond in the rough.

Bobby Clarke does have nothing to do with my current dislike of Philly. It really is just the organization as a whole I never liked them, never will. At least I can look forward to my team knocking them out

Finally, on a serious note, the Pride of Alberta comment was a Sean Avery one in nature, meant to get all the Oil fans on these forums (I actually had Beans in mind when I wrote this) back in action Also tried to get the Leighs on this site to comment on it! No sweat, I love both teams I think they display true Canadian values through their game, good gritty passionate dynamic bunch of guys I would root for any moment of any day so long as they aren't playing my Habbies

EDIT no. 2 Yes, LRP I am quite impressed at your memory! I posted a rough copy and subsequently the later editions of a speech I gave in school that got me to a runner's up position to get to the semi-finals of the Royal Canadian Legion public speaking contest.

Edited by - Alex on 02/25/2010 12:39:30

PickupHockey Pro

816 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2008 :  15:02:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Alex
(Oh, and feel free to comment!)

Well, I don’t like Philly. I don’t like Bobby Clarke, I don’t like it that they bought their team, I don’t like the way they played, and I hate their fans with a passion!

any fan of hockey wanted Washington to move on.

As a true Canuck, I can’t focus much more happy light on seven games that saw the pride of Alberta get ousted by some team from San Jose.

GM News: Brian Burke ain’t going anywhere. They like him over in Anaheim; granted, he didn’t have as big a mark as some would seem to suggest on the success of the Ducks last year. Toronto and Cliff Fletcher will have to sit and wait.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks organization is handling their situation like a bunch of turkeys. They had gold in Nonis, who made arguably the trade of the decade. You can not say that the Canucks failure to make the post-season this year should be left on his shoulders.

And then replace him with Mike Gillis? I wouldn’t know that guy from a hole in the wall! Vancouver is headed in ten different directions at once. Like some guy following a GPS system surrounded by magnets.

Happy readings,

"You're playing worse every day and right now you're playing like the middle of next week."
-Herb Brooks

Okey Dokey. What does your dislike for Bobby Clarke have to do with the current Flyers' team? Paul Holmgren is the GM, and has done a masterful job to quickly rebuild a team under the new CBA. Any GM accused of buying a team in this new era should be congratulated for his ingenuity, as it is not possible to simply buy a team when the league enforces a salary cap. Your claim that, "any hockey fan wanted Washington to move on" is totally baseless. I, for one, was very happy to see Philly prevail, and I doubt that I was the only one.

On a very serious note, Alex, referring to the Calgary Flames as, "the pride of Alberta", will not serve you well in the future. I advise you to retract that comment.

Brian Burke will be the next GM of the Leafs. You may quote me later if I happen to be wrong.

Dave Nonis expected to ride out the Luongo trade as long as he could. What else did he do?

Cheers! Go SJ, Avs, and Philly!

The Oil WILL make the playoffs in 2009.
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PickupHockey Veteran

1393 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2008 :  15:07:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Avalanche will win in my mind Alex. Not much separates these two teams, both have good offence, both have good defence but what seperates it is Colorado has better goaltending. I think they should take it.
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Leafs Rock Planet
PickupHockey Pro

902 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2008 :  15:52:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If im not mistaken, isnt this the way you started off your Pickuphockey forum career which a big post like this one.

It was a great read none the less.

"We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time."
- Vince Lombardi
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2008 :  06:48:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
April 24, 2008

No big news bulletins flying across my ticker today. Only in day two and at a lack for words? Think again forum members, I will not disappoint! A lot of premature buzz is surrounding the NHL hardware not scheduled to be handed out until next month. So what better time to give a little of my attention to these babies than during transition mode in the NHL?

I’ll run through my picks following the order of the trophies on Stanley Cup: Yahoo! went out on a limb and called San Jose the trendy pick back in early April. One has to wonder if the Sharks were playing some sort of April fool’s joke on us. They were the hottest team down the stretch without a doubt, but let’s face it, their regular season studs are for the most part playoff duds. As you read yesterday, I don’t even pick them to escape this round against a surprisingly strong Dallas squad. Pittsburgh is definitely a la mode this week, and I do think there is a chance they could win the east. However, this is a blog as you know, and I am going to talk with my heart not my mind. Montreal will win the cup and Carey Price will win the Conn Smythe en route.

Clarence Campbell Trophy is hard, since my picks in the West aren’t so stable. However, I am going to go down the road so many have gone down before all for naught, and say Detroit wins their conference. True, they have choked on numerous occasions in the past, but everyone is quick to throw out the age old adage ‘the Stanley Cup changes everything.’ If a one day symbolic transition from regular season to playoffs can make the Oilers a threat, years and years of experience and learning can give the President’s trophy winners a shot.

I have not done my homework diligently on the Masterton trophy, but within the scope of my limited knowledge, Pisani is my choice.

Injury to Toews makes him ineligible for the Calder trophy, but I don’t think he would have gotten it anyways. I also think Kane is just slightly overrated, and everyone naturally assumes that the number one choice has to be a nominee. Nicklas Backstrom had a heck of a season, though some would attribute his success to playing alongside Russian rocket Alex Ovechkin. Me, I would have loved to see Price come away with it; clearly, the only thing standing between him and a next to automatic win was the GP column of his stats. In the end, I think Kane will take it.

No comment on the Selke.

Hart will obviously go to AO. All the pundits out there who were worried about the playoffs having an impact can bite their tongues. However, I would like to see Malkin take it, the big reason being that he won’t get a chance to win it again as long as he is playing with all that talent. With Crosby out and Hossa not yet in town was his big chance, and countryman Alex Ovechkin just outshone him.

Jack Adams, my favourite trophy Julien, Quenneville, Carboneau, Brent Sutter, Therien, Wilson and even maybe Gretzky deserve recognition. But guys, who are we kidding? The obvious, without a doubt winner is (drum roll please)

John Paddock / Bryan Murray! Three cheers for incompetence!

That was fun. Now, in all seriousness, you know, I know, and the guy stealing the beer in your fridge as you read this knows that the winner is Bruce Boudreau. You’ve all read the stories and heard the commentators sing his praise night in and night out. He single-handedly led a team from worst in the conference to division champs, the biggest comeback in NHL history. Then, he lead his team to a game 7 overtime and for all intensive purposes, but a product out there on the ice that was clearly better than the Philadelphia Flyers. Kudos, Boudreau!

Last two big ones on the list are the Vezina and Norris.

Everything inside of me wants to see Martin Brodeur lock up his fourth Vezina. He does deserve it, after chasing the oh-so-elusive trophy early on in his career and coming up empty handed. And yet, we have a couple of good stats pushing the cases for Scandanavian (what I meant to type before. Thank you OilinOntario for pointing out the obvious mistake) King Lundqvist (10 shutouts in five less games played than the other nominees is pretty compelling) and Russian Evgeni Nabokov (46 wins, 6 shutouts, 2.14 GAA – all those numbers are slightly better than Brodeur’s). In the end, Brodeur was clearly the more complete package, and, on a team that was not half as good as the Sharks or the Rangers – at least on paper. Then again, the trophy is ‘awarded to the National Hockey League's top goaltender that is "adjudged to be the best at this position"

Someone want to offer me a life-line and tell me if that includes playoffs? If so, up goes the case for Lundqvist by a ton, down goes Brodeur’s case by just as much, and Nabokov kind of hangs around where he was before. Yet in the end, I still think Brodeur has enough of a lead to chase Lundqvist away from his trophy. Over the years, Marty has practically set up an entire Alarm Force system around that trophy and kept everyone who tried to nab it from him far away!

Oh, and I’m not surprised Luongo was not a candidate. He played on his head at nights, but problem was, his head was not in the game down the stretch, and it cost Nonis his job.

OK, now for hockey’s version of that popular action comic: ladies and gents, I give you the D-men!

Renamed the Lidstrom Trophy by many a hockey writer lurking out there in cyberspace, I am not going to be the black sheep and call on anyone else to win it. We all know that the other two nominees are very symbolic, basically there because of the ‘constitutional obligation’ of the trophy, if you will. The Globe and Mail ran a very brief article in which it ran the headline ‘Lidstrom to find out the other two nominees on Tuesday’ or something of the sort.

OK, so Lidstrom wins it this year. He completely outshines the other two in points, plus-minus, and has 74 less penalty minutes than the next highest, Zdeno.

But you guys aren’t reading this because you want to hear the same old things tossed out again. You are reading it because you want to hear something new, something fresh. …either that or you are incredibly lame in the social circle and spend your time dusting through all the forums day in and out. For my sake and yours, we will assume that the former option was the correct one

Who do I want to see win it? Dion Phaneuf. The pride of Alberta! (Those ‘pride of Alberta jokes’ are kind of like the hockey version of ‘that’s what she said’ jokes. Get used to it.)

He is clearly the grittiest of all of them, and yet, the only one of the three to play a full season. Not only that, but he and Iginla are really the essence of that Flames team. They are great players who you can count on to produce, but also, they fire the team up every night with their passion, intensity and dynamic personality.

He has the most shots, and the most points on the power play of all of them, and I think that without his bloated penalty minute totals, he would run away with this one (as it would mean more time on the ice racking up points.)

Oh, and then we have Elisha Cuthbert. Fill me in as this may be a fling from the past, but I do know that Dion had a little romance with the ex of notorious Sean Avery. If nothing else, it would be worth it to see Avery’s reaction! Plus the girl has a blog that is almost as good as mine. Would be nice to see her comments if Dion did in fact come home with some hardware for the house.

Which leads me in to my next subject (in a roundabout way, while still on the topic of Sean Avery), the last one for this very boring Thursday morning around the NHL. TSN released their daily segment of ‘Top 10’ reels, the focus of today’s being the ‘Top 10 moments from round 1.’ Lidstrom’s goal was at number ten, understandable. Sarich’s hit was somewhere in the middle, fine. Beauties by both Kessel and Streit were thrown in for good measure, with Streit getting the upper hand (was there ever a doubt!) But - and this is the shocker - Avery’s antics get number two to a sprawling glove save by Evgeni Nabokov? You out of your mind?

Avery’s antics were clearly the story on everyone’s lips from the playoffs. To be honest, I had never seen that save, as great as it was, before this morning! How could Avery’s not be at number one! The guy rewrote the NHL books in his own little way, he made media coverage and headlines, found his way on to PickUpHockey’s feature poll (clearly the greatest accolade of them all!), got people talking about him on talk shows and on non-talk shows, if you will… the list goes on. Avery, you’re number one in my books buddy.

Final word: Philly watch out, the Price express has left the building and left you in round two!

"You're playing worse every day and right now you're playing like the middle of next week."
-Herb Brooks

Edited by - Alex on 04/24/2008 13:15:38
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PickupHockey Pro

437 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2008 :  07:50:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ya I agree Luongo was a dissapointment and im not surprised he wasn't a vezina cantidate. The only time he really shined was when he posted 3 shutouts in a row. Other then that he looked kind of flat this year but I bet he relized that his team had no chance so why waste his time in the playoffs when he can spend time with his child. He's probably happy now that he has a new gm who might be able to put a team in front of him.

Go Stars!!!
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PickupHockey Pro

816 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2008 :  12:26:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The playoffs are only taken into consideration for the Smythe. All the others (save the big team ones, obviously) are judged by regular season performance only, and I don't think that Lundqvist is Norwegian.

The Oil WILL make the playoffs in 2009.
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2008 :  10:58:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
April 25, 2008

Montreal / Philadelphia Game 1

The big scare of the day came when I watched Carey Price, in his ever so composed manner, broke the news to reporters that his leg was broken. Psyche! Someone buy the guy a freakin’ calendar, April Fool’s was three weeks ago! Then again, maybe he is operating on a Quebec calendar…


The Montreal Canadiens pulled off yet another thriller, and overcame a one goal deficit to knot things up and bang home the game winner within seventy-seven seconds of staring a 1-0 series hole in the face!

In so doing, they have made one boy and his family very happy people. The game was an epic battle, and from a fan’s perspective, quite a roller coaster! On the front lines were Alex Kovalev, Christopher Higgins and Carey Price. Running for cover were Patrice Brisebois, Daniel Briere and any Flyers fan with the misfortune of finding himself as the orange sheep among a sea of
20 000 die-hard Habs faithfuls.

Woo. Now that I enjoyed my little whirl of the English language, pretty boy at the dictionary can take a backseat and let his straight and to the point counterpart ride shotgun.

In all honesty, as the CBC announcer said, neither team was great. I was disappointed that the Canadiens didn’t pounce on the weary Flyers, who had come off an emotionally draining past four days, letting two games slip through their grasp only to move on in the eleventh hour with an overtime, series-ending, power play marker.

In fact, it was the boys in bleu, blanc et rouge that found themselves on their heels for the latter half of a nail-biting first period that saw two posts get hit, and subsequently two goals from the opposing team.

From what I can see, Montreal has got to focus! All the things it did right in the regular season are turning their backs on them when it counts. Those outlet passes are dismal, their breakout is all broken, and the hesitation in the air could be bottled up and sold at a higher price than gasoline in some provinces…! The list goes on and on. They don’t shoot! Why don’t they shoot? Don’t ask me why they don’t shoot! Carey Price is the only one playing laid back, and he is the only one who maybe should be a little more worried on playing out of the playbook. He plays the pucks like it’s pick up hockey with buds on the street, and I tell you, every time he gets out of his net, I cringe! My dad flat out covers his eyes.

The turning point, even though it was retroactively anticlimactic following the third Flyers goal, was the late second period goal by Kovalev. When that ref swiftly pointed to centre, thus affirming the beliefs of 20 000 amateur refs in the audience, the momental lift, albeit short-lived, turned the tides on a game that saw no real side emerge as the standout.

Then, with 29 seconds on the clock, the NHL’s regular season PP king goes to work with Price watching from the bench. A broken stick, a snap of the rest… et c’est le but!

Then in OT with the game on the line, the Broad Street Bullies try to shove puck through Price to no avail. Back the other way, Kostoupolos gets a couple whacks at a puck just barely kept in by Markov – and the game is over!

They did have their flaws. Yet in the end, they won the game and they did so by being a better team for four goals out of seven. A goal is a goal is a goal, I don’t care if you need to bribe the puck to go in the net, if it goes in, it goes in. They won the game, and on that note, good job.

Detroit / Colorado Game 1

The only reason I was able to catch more than the post-game highlights from this one was because Montreal stunk up the scoreboard in the opening frame, granting me the liberty to channel surf and watch the other game for a while.

It was my father who summed it up the best: ‘Is it just me or is this game being aired at half speed?’ As is common lingo of today, ‘true dat!’

With the exception of the Wild / Avs series, any game I watched in the West seemed to be an incredible drag. In all honesty, it seemed as though some grand chess master above was pulling the strings and that his players were puppets. Everything is so calculated and according to plan; there seems to be no liberty to express individual talent. The team is the coach, it seems. Good or bad? Bad.

I hate watching these games and I feel they epitomize the transition phase the game is undergoing. Jagr told NHL reporters, the difference between his team back in the 90s and today is the emphasis on certain players. Now, a fourth liner can be just as important as a first liner, simply because the coach instructs them all the same way. It comes down to who gets the lucky bounce, and that is not fun to watch.

Whew. Okay, thanks for putting up with that. Let’s talk about the game.

With Foppa out of the line-up, Detroit is going to have their way with Colorado. Yes, they let up after resting on laurels and nearly gave up the lead, but the most successful team in modern sports history won’t get beat.

On a separate note, I must say the goaltending in this series is a bit of a shocker. Budaj vs. Osgood? Whoa! Detroit is stronger in net, on defence and up front, and they will take this series. You heard it here first.

New way of looking at the game

Oh, and I thought you might want to know: during the middle of the game, I revolutionized spectator sports. (Not exactly the greatest way to announce a breakthrough, eh? No ‘eureka!’ or bathtubs over here!) To the cynics out there who ask how, I shall tell you. Patience is a virtue.

OK, enough patience already! Here it is:

Fans have a tendency to watch their team through a critic’s lenses. So, I thought, in what way can I try and turn the hockey-watching experience from a subjective experience to an objective one? The answer lies in rooting for the enemy

If you think I’m nuts, just one thing to say: go ahead and Google up Albert Einstein’s elementary school marks! In his early days, Einstein was no Einstein!

Let me explain. During the game, especially when it got down to the wire, I imagined as though I was a Philly fan. It took a good minute of directed concentration, but it can be done. It got to the point where I was nervous whenever Montreal touched the puck! My, my, the power of the mind. Anyhow, the point is, as I watched Philadelphia play, I realized that they defended a lead a lot worse than Montreal, and I could rest knowing that they were not actually that good, but it was just my bias the convinced me so.

Alex Kovalev tested this theory out and I’ll be darned, the theory is correct! The Flyers are too shabby, giving up the game within 77 seconds of exiting the Bell Centre with a commanding 1-0 stranglehold on the series. (Any lead seems like a stranglehold when you aren’t in the driver’s seat.)

My dad came home in the third, parked himself on the couch and said ‘boy, these Flyers sure seem to be more of a threat whenever they touch the puck than Montreal.’ I told him my theory. I also explained it to my kid brother.

The votes are in, and I’m a kook, but what of it? It works for me

…the theory, not the kook part.

EDIT-thank you Axey! Lady Byng Trophy

I can’t completely dismiss it; that would be rude to St. Louis and Pominville. They deserve to be recognized, but when push comes to shove (two words that aren’t in Pavel’s vocabulary), Datsyuk is clearly going to walk away with the big cahuna.

Team Canada Roster

The big new's on Canada's national defense today has nothing to do with Afganistan; rather, it has to do with who will be playing the blue line this year.

Mike Green on the world stage? Say it ain’t so! Phaneuf is arguably the best Canadian defensemen, and he has a call of duty to heed which he did not. I can not see why a young single guy in his prime would not want to live out the Canadian dream. To each his own… But it just don’t flow the same, calling Mike Green the ‘Pride of Alberta!’

Cherry lashes back

Good for you Donny! Who does the writer in ‘The Hockey News’ think he is, telling a seasoned vet. like you that the game does not belong to our country? Damn straight it does! Way to set him in his place on HNIC. Hockey is Canada’s game. An 8-0 thumping at the hands of the Russians this week bears testimony to that.

Avery hype is getting old

Bob McKenzie talked about hunting the hunted on TSN and you gotta wonder, where do they draw the line? ''Avery will go at Crosby, only to be taken head on by Ruutu and Laraque...'' and so the storyline goes.

How about that thing we used to watch hockey for, namely, hockey! This may be one of the best offensive series, showcasing talent the likes of Sid the Kid, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, Scott Gomez, Jaromir Jagr, Chris Drury and so on and so forth. Who gives a hoot about a little punk, as entertaining as he is, who we know as Sean Avery? Gary Roberts, the voice of inner reason, tried to get the message across. He said (this is not verbatim, don’t hold me accountable on it) ‘I look down that roster and there are 8 guys I worry about before him (Avery). Gomez, Drury, Straka, Jagr…’

Gary comes out strong yet again, saying it like it is.

Fashion statement has a precedent

New jerseys? You kidding me? Is this another one of those superstitious rituals aimed at channelling some sort of force to turn to your favour? Remember the infamous Canadian loony? Roll out the film strips, because the true north strong and free is at it again. They seemingly sent an angry Martha Stewart to the showroom to throw a bunch of paint on the traditional sweater, and have come up with some eyesore. Even the mustard coloured one was better!

Last word: "Street hockey is great for kids. It's energetic, competitive, and skilful. And best of all it keeps them off the street."


From now until next time,

NOTE: Won't be able to do a blog tomorrow or Sunday, but expect me back on Monday hopefully with another edition of the Alex Blog.

Edited by - Alex on 04/25/2008 15:04:52
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PickupHockey Pro

877 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2008 :  13:10:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The candidates you named are for the Lady Byng not the Selke , Zetterberg, Datsyuk & Madden are the candidates for the Selke, nontheless awesome Blog btw

Edited by - Axey on 04/25/2008 13:12:37
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Ottawa Oilers

150 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2008 :  16:48:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Time for someone to go outside...
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Leafs Rock Planet
PickupHockey Pro

902 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2008 :  17:49:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ottawa Oilers

Time for someone to go outside...

Alex is a very well respected poster around here and his knowledge of hockey seems like it is growing by the day. For you to make a remark like that is uncalled for. I actually really enjoy reading his consistent blogging.

"We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time."
- Vince Lombardi
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Ottawa Oilers

150 Posts

Posted - 04/27/2008 :  15:09:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh nelly that hurt my soul.
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Leafs Rock Planet
PickupHockey Pro

902 Posts

Posted - 04/27/2008 :  18:32:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ottawa Oilers

Oh nelly that hurt my soul.

Haha well im glad it did but it certainly was not my intent.

"We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time."
- Vince Lombardi
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 04/27/2008 :  19:47:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
April 27, 2008

Hey y’all! Back from a two day absence and raring to go. Lot’s to talk about so I’ll cut the formal introductions for now.

Montreal / Philadelphia Series

Couldn’t catch game 2 but from the NHL headlines, Philly paid back the Habs and stole a game in their home building.

The series now heads back to the city of brotherly love as a best of five with Philly nabbing the extra home game. As they say in French, crap!

On paper the Flyers are too good to be in sixth. One would think that along with all those off-season acquisitions, Paul Holmgren also traded the team’s win column somewhere along the way.

Montreal can (and will) win this series. Carey Price has caught a jitterbug that comes back to haunt him every so often but his expertise at turning the ‘tener’s role into an art, or better, a science, will far outweigh his shortcomings. Alex Kovalev, at thirty-five, has the ability to peak at all the right moments, as game 1 bore testimony to. The rest of the secondary scoring (which in fact is spread along three full lines) will carry this team to the conference final, and beyond! Buzz Lightyear, keep the copyright claims for someone who cares.

The Flyers are slow on defence, and Montreal clearly has the ability to side step them at ease when given a tape-to-tape outlet pass on the go, courtesy of some great puck-moving D in guys like Brisebois. If I was Coach Guy Carbonneau, that area would be number one on the agenda come practice, even higher on the list than power plays. Patrice & Co. should make like seamstresses and thread that needle like they have all year if they want to keep the clubs in the garage for a few more weeks.

And the Flyers? They have to congest the neutral zone like a bad cold in winter. If they do that right, Montreal’s only hope would be for Don Cherry to step in with some Cold FX. Apparently she’s a beauty…

Pittsburgh / New York Series

In the eleventh hour Steel City came back to take game one, a game they should have had to begin with. There won’t be no Cinderella story this year, boys.

Then today, with what I’m guessing was a good defensive game, Pittsburgh shut down the guys paid top dollar to put the biscuit in the basket.

Final score: Sean Avery: 0. Michel Therien: 2.

Beans15 went out on a limb yet again to pick the guys with the fat wallets to ‘upset’ the kids from around the block. Either he is naturally drawn to controversy, or some quick-rich scheme convinced him to make a fast buck by betting on all the underdogs. Needless to say, doesn’t look like Vegas will be making huge payouts this time around.

In any case, let me be the first to say that firstly, I never thought the series would be broken wide open the way it is, and two, I don’t think it’s over until the fat lady sings.

The X-factor going in, contrary to what E-talk daily [Sports Edition] may have wanted you to believe, was which stacked offence would get more goals.

Quick recap: The deciding factor was which team scored more.

Sounds like something out of Yogi Berra’s playbook, eh? Very well, the guy was a genius in his own right.

Back on topic here, I think it is safe to say that to-date, this has been the most offensively potent series. …Unless you count the Caps / Flyers series. Heck, AO could have played the Devils of the 90s and generated more offence than some of the other series we are stuck watching in the quest for the ’08 cup!

Wrapping this bad boy up, I picked Pittsburgh to move on and needless to stay, I’m sticking with that pick.

Detroit / Colorado Series

‘History is like an old woman. She never seems to know what she wants.’


You may quote me on that one when I become rich and famous one day. Everyone said coming in that the rejuvenated, albeit somewhat banged up roster of the Colorado Avalanche would give the Wings a run for their money. In my humble opinion, I think that Detroit left the Avs with their track shoes tied together by the laces.

Forsberg is out (I have not checked any recent tickers for his up-to-the-minute status but from what I know he is currently sidelined with a groin injury) and with him goes the whole ‘rejuvenated’ storyline. What does that leave us with? Banged up.

The only thing getting banged up is Dion Phaneuf – by Elisha Cuthbert! Here’s guessing that the pride of Alberta declined an invite to play for Canada because he thought he could get more action in his very own bedroom! You heard it here first.

Conclusion: (Maybe that should read, ‘concussion’ ) The injury prone Colorado team won’t have enough gas left in the tank to knock off the President’s Trophy winners. The curse of poor playoff performances will have to wait a round, maybe two. Detroit will send half the Colorado team to the infirmary, and the other half on to the golf course!

Dallas / San Jose Series

Ugh. I honestly wish something exciting would happen off the ice in this series so I wouldn’t be stuck commenting on two hockey franchises from Texas and San Jose!

Poor Maggie the Monkey had to choose between these two yawners! If only there was a ‘none of the above’ option on that accursed wheel…

Morrow at least earned me some fantasy value, after netting the OT winner in the Shark Tank. For that, I am grateful. I just cringe at the fact that when the final four are left standing, the cup has may have to renew its stay in the Southern States for another year. Tampa, Carolina, Anaheim… and now San Jose, or (yikes!) Texas? Have mercy!

Even more bitter is the taste in my mouth, knowing that I picked Dallas to win, only to be convinced by a bunch of guys on this site that San Jose would take the series. Trading Turco for Nabokov in a playoff pool? Ouch!

Moving on: This series will be good. Two teams who, of late, had great squads but could not convert with their seasons on the line. I think Dallas has more depth, barring a ‘new’ Joe Thornton leading the pack. One who can produce for 20 something games without taking any nights off. I would not bet money on the series, but since I have to take a winner in the liberty of good blogging, I will take my original pick, Dallas, merely to stand out.

Brodeur too cool for Avery

Martin Brodeur, in a too-little-too-late stand against the NHL’s pest, Sean Avery, decided not to give him the honour of the traditional hand shake. Pent up emotions coming out? Likely.

I think Brodeur is a little bit of a sore loser, based on the fact that he said nothing against the infamous antics when originally asked. Nonetheless, history will prove that Marty gets the last laugh, and boy, will he have earned it for all the dirt that flings his way compliments of Sean Avery.

Marty not the only star of yesteryear to bite at the Avery bait

Brendan Shanahan, what are you doing? It’s not Halloween, and I hate to burst your little bubble, but, newsflash! As hard a pill as it may be to swallow, you are not Sean Avery. Nor will you ever be.

So what the heck were you doing in Fleury’s blue ice, managing to pull an Avery, within the letter of the law? Has your career not come with enough accolades, enough achievements, enough recognition? For the sake of all things good, do the NHL a favour an don’t cast a dark cloud, no matter how small, on your great career.

Eat your heart out, Tom Brady

16-0? I don’t think so. TSN is good, but you can tell a playoff season is getting dull when after a six game winning streak they are predicting a perfect run straight to the cup. Think again.

We are talking about Pittsburgh going an uncontested 16-0, destroying everything in its path, en route to a third Stanley Cup, for those who missed the dropped hints (all 2 and a half of ‘em).

The closest they will come – and it’s a push – is 10-0. Anything else would be nothing short of a miracle. Let’s hope Walt isn’t writing the script for these playoffs up there wherever he is.

Tom Renney joins an elite club of two… and counting

Halls of Shame are what make blogs notorious. Lucky for us, the Pittsburgh Penguins are doing a heck of a job creating them.

First there was that old fart Brian Murray who accused the Pens of purposely losing game 82 on their schedule to arrange for a Pens-Sens match up. This story came out about a day before the puck even dropped on game one. Well, needless to say I couldn’t hear the junk coming out of Murray’s mouth because the brooms doing the sweeping were just too darn loud!

And now Tom Renney? Accusing Sid the Kid of diving. Rich. Real, real rich. Poor guy gets kept up at night because his Wikipedia page pales in comparison to Sid’s. That must be it.

Michael Therien, for his part, graced Mr. Renney by replying to the attacks. More than I would have done. Why don’t all the Crosby-haters just get together and have one big freaking party? I cordially invite IHC to be the chaperone and guest of honour.

From the depths of Phoenix, an international stud was born

Just wanted to end on a good note and take the time to formally congratulate Shane Doan on earning the captaincy at the 2008 Men’s Worlds yet again. You deserve it, bud.

Last word:That’s four blog entries in a row I managed to crack hockey’s answer to ‘that’s what she said’ jokes, in the form of a ‘pride of Alberta’ joke. Someone stop me! Aren’t there rules against this type of thing in the Geneva Convention?

Edited by - Alex on 04/30/2008 04:20:06
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 04/29/2008 :  15:37:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
April 29, 2008

IHC, the trash talker who puts all you others to shame, strikes again with this gem: ‘Aren’t these the lamest playoffs you’ve seen in a while?’ Damn straight they are!

Now unless I bring over Pierre McGuire from The Sports Network (for such a high-end newscast, I’m thinking they could have chosen something better for the ‘T’ to stand for) to make up a bunch of stories about Sidney Crosby single headedly saving the world from impending doom, there ain’t that much to talk about besides those games that are on past my bedtime

We’ll get to the exciting rumour stuff, provided in part by Yahoo!
--Proudly boasting the most retarded name in cyberspace the last decade.

But right now, Le Canadien within won’t let me rest without tackling game 3 from last night on the tube.

Montreal / Philadelphia Game 3

Saku Koivu was the undertaker, Carey Price the pallbearer; Guy Carbonneau was the clergyman. The refs… well, they were the murderers. With that many a hockey fan spanning the shores of the St. Lawrence were sent into mourning.

So much went wrong in this hullabaloo of a game. What took place on the ice seemed like a scene from Halo 3, with a drunk game junkie jabbing away at the controller.

‘Bing! Bang! Twang!’ No, that isn’t a transcript fresh out of a Marvel Comic. Rather, it’s the sound of just about every puck fired off a Montreal blade in the first period upon contact with a post or crossbar (or in the odd case, a combination of both). The number one regular season PP is not playing motivated hockey, nor are they playing their game.

My prediction is that the next civil workers in the Greater Montreal Area to vandalize public property will be the garbage men. Expect huge Habs logos stretched across dump trucks all over the city by Tuesday morning.

After all, the Montreal power play has openly demonstrated their admiration for trash. They keep dumping (forgetting the ‘chase’ part) pucks over the blue line and effectively letting their power plays go to waste. Would it not seem fitting then that the sanitary department of Montreal reciprocate with a goodwill gesture of their own?

I mentioned in my last instalment that history is like an old woman. Maybe that’s why mankind just fails to learn from her. Case in point: the Montreal Canadiens.

Take note, my good friends. In the third period, with the game and series lead on the line, a gallant group of shock-troops, commanded by General Saku Koivu, charge the blue line and crossed it in convincing fashion. Result? Well, they kept the puck, for starters. You’d figure that helps. Two goals also help. That’s exactly what the Canadiens got in reward for their inspired play.

Don Cherry always says ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Love him or hate him, the guy knows his hockey. The Montreal Canadiens could learn a thing or two from that age-old adage. They are playing a style of hockey meant for big, bad teams. Bullies, really. Well, the bullies are getting bullied in this series! The boys from Broad Street are attacking anything in sight, and the Canadiens are dropping like fruit flies.

The Montreal Canadiens are trying to fix a system that was never broken to begin with. Looks like someone stole a page from ‘Door-to-door Handymen 101.’ Any money says that the next ones in Montreal (behind the garbage men) to root for the Canadiens will be the handymen. I’m thinking red blue and white construction hats by the end of the week!

Meanwhile, the only place Mr. Cherry is being replicated is behind the bench. Dying minutes of the third, down by one, Montreal is playing like a team possessed and buzzing all around Brion’s cage. What does head coach Guy Carbonneau do at a time like this? Send out too many men on the ice. In the ever so profound words of Homer Simpson: ‘D-oh!’

Derian Hatcher got lucky. He eluded the position of scapegoat that would be following him through the off season like a plague of locusts, had Montreal won that game. With ten minutes left in the third in a 3-0 game, Hatcher takes a run at Steve Begin, who drew blood on the play. Next thing you know the Habs go to work on a five minute man advantage and Hatcher is given the boot from this game and next. Irony of ironies, during that five minute window the Habs managed to light up the scoreboard twice. Had it not been for a little glitch on the bench, Montreal would have salvaged a game that was stolen from them by the refs.

Webster’s, where are you when we need you? Someone please inform Gary Betman that referee is not Latin for ‘show favour to the home crowd.’

It was a scene you would expect to see on a schoolyard playground: the bully bullying the bullied. But in our case, no consequences will follow suit.

All night long, Philadelphia took cheap shots at the Canadiens, not before ascertaining that they were out of the referee’s field of view. Outta sight, outta mind.

Then on the last call of the game, they nail the final pin on the coffin of the Montreal Canadiens. The penalty was stupid at best. Ensuing powerplay, Philadelphia manages to wait out the clock just enough to seal the deal.

Though I have a feeling the deal had been sealed a few hours earlier, in the referee’s dressing room.

Montreal escaped the eye of the storm, and not unscathed. In the aftermath of this breakdown, many questions will come up in the Montreal locker room and around practice. Amidst all the confusion, goaltending woes are unwarranted.

Price or Halak? Sounds like the icebreaker to a round of ‘Would You Rather’ played among friends at the bar. Certainly not a dilemma that should be keeping Guy Carbonneau tossing and turning at night.

Let’s look at the resumes, shall we? Carey Price delivered you from near defeats in at least a handful of playoff games in the opening round, most notably the early stages of Game 7 against Boston. He has the skills to pay the bills, having been thrust into the spotlight just moments before the heavy burden was placed on his shoulders to start in net for the eventual Calder Cup champions.

This is the boy you yanked following a defensive lapse, a screened goal, a deflected goal (off an ankle) and a goal from in tight.

Then we have Halak, a star-to-be in his own right mind you, who when it comes down to it has played all of seven games this season.

Hmm, slim pickings.

Ron Wilson’s little tête-à-tête with the Dallas Morning News

This you call a rumour? Let’s just say I’m not shaking in my skin. Nothing scandalous over here. Just another sign of the dry spell that has been cast on the NHL.

Wow. Read it and judge for yourself, word for word out of the Dallas Morning News:

‘The San Jose Sharks want more traffic around Marty Turco and if that means a nudge or bump, so be it the Dallas Morning News reported.

"We've got to jostle him around a little bit 'cause he'll dive," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said Saturday. "We know that, and I think the referees know that, too. ... We have to get in his face, make it more difficult."

Wilson would also like to see a more physical approach against Mike Modano, who has eight goals and 12 playoff games against the Sharks.

"We have to make Mike Modano's life a little more miserable," Wilson said. "He seems to love playing here and loves the ice. We never even bumped into him. We've got make it difficult for him to feel comfortable."

Ronny, old buddy old pal… what were you thinking? Please, for the sake of all things good, do not join that elite club of Murray and Renney! Oh, and giving your game plan over to an eager vulture of a reporter hungry to make a quick story? Amateur at best, my friend.

Tom Kostopoulos: taking care of the dirty laundry is all in a day's work

(I forgot to put it in my last edition)

Game 1 hero Tom Kostopoulos full out face washed a Kimmo Timonen in the dying seconds of game two, sending the message loud and clear to any jesters who will be suiting up for game 3: You don’t fool around with the Montreal Canadiens.

Had it been Sean Avery this would be the type of trash worthy of front page bulletins in sports columns all over North American publications. Instead, it’s just unheralded hometown hero Tom with a doozie that rattled the D-man’s fillings.

John Stevens, meanwhile, seems to have his signaled cross with whoever is sitting up in the Philadelphia press box pulling the strings and spoon-feeding him his post-game comments. First, it was ‘cowardly.’ A day later it was ‘a little cheap.’ Today? Lo and behold, no comment.

The only thing cowardly here is John’s inability to stick with an opinion. If you stand for nothing, you fall for everything.

Matt Niskanen with the wheels

Smack in the middle of a jam-packed playoff schedule, Matt is thinking of others. No sooner did his 2001 Pontiac Sunfire transfer from the hands of Marty Turco to his, did he announce it was up for auction to the highest bidder in the Dallas Stars sweepstakes. Cost him a pretty penny, too …
$12, 000 for the face lift courtesy of his teammate. Good job, pal!

Hart Trophy Finalists Announced

As with many trophies this year, two of the finalists are just there to stick to the status quo. Allow me to analyze the candidates and the race in depth:

Alexander Ovechkin.

‘Nuf said, boys.

Darren Dreger, how low we have sunk

Featured articles on TSN in the past few days have revolved around changing the puck, changing the ice surface, changing the schedule, changing the rules, changing the salary cap… I’m not generally one to shoot the messenger, but I say we just change the writer!

I have nothing against D.D., but this is a classic case of making nothing from nothing. The mother of all innovative wannabes, this guy has to stick to analyzing the stories out there, not going out and typing up new ones.

The Pride of Alberta should realize that the only scoop he will find are the two scoops of raisins in his breakfast cereal every morning. Word on the street is, Raisin Bran is chock full of that dry grapes stuff…

Last word: As I spoke about above, garbage men and handymen are just the latest assortment of workers eager to cut in on the playoff action. Tonight, three teams look to take a 3-0 stranglehold on their respective series, which would put them one game away from the sweep. Here’s hoping janitors and their nifty little brooms join the party of hockey fans coming out of the closet!

And for the record: 5 blogs in a row with a ‘Pride of Alberta joke’ and no response. All you Albertans are standing idly by as I make a mockery of your quaint little province. Speak out before it’s too late!
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Ottawa Oilers

150 Posts

Posted - 04/29/2008 :  15:58:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Because us Albertans have better things to do than read this stuff.
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8286 Posts

Posted - 04/29/2008 :  18:03:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ottawa Oilers

Because us Albertans have better things to do than read this stuff.

Seriously, I couldn't agree more. With all due respect Alex, this is a little much for me to even bother reading.

Personally, I like the idea of sharing your thoughts on things that are not active topics but you still want to shout out, but Holy Geez.

As I have said countless times to countless people, quality over quantity. Although I think most of your stuff is pretty good, it is just way too much to handle in one shot.

If you want more traffic and a little more input on this, I would suggest picking one or two topics to discuss, get to your point quick, and let the members get involved. This size of topic really limits feedback as I appear to me part of a group that just doesn't have the time or patience to sift through your blog.

And I mean this as constructively as possible. Tighten it up and you will get action.
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2008 :  09:42:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
May 4, 2008

Sensei Beans, your advice has not fallen on deaf ears. My blogging will be a little more irregular for the time being, as I plan to only touch on the key points. However, as I said at the beginning of my blogging career if you will, I have made subheading in bold. You are invited to read whatever interests you, by no means would I expect that anyone reads this whole thing. But if you do, well, thanks!

Montreal / Philadelphia

Martin Biron and Daniel Briere going to the conference finals stings like an open wound in the heart of any Habs faithful. That being said, the Prides of Quebec have made the chests of all those pre-Avalanche day Nordique fans swell. Perhaps the internet domain dedicated to the Broad Street bullies coined it perfectly: ‘Loading vengeance now!’

The campaign put up by the Montreal Canadiens is bittersweet the way I see it. When push comes to shove, this was not their year to go the distance. You can not run a marathon on the backs of a bunch of kids. On a high note though, we did catch a glimpse of a very promising future from this squad.

For all the haters who say Carey Price is a broken goalie who will fall by the wayside, bite your tongues. This guy is the real deal and look for him to bounce back in the off-season to post stellar numbers next year. I’d say they have a shot at Lord Stanley’s mug in a couple of years. Gainey will need to be a real Pollock though and find a way to wheel and deal. I don’t see Kovalev or Brisebois, cornerstones in this year’s run, hoisting hockey’s Holy Grail in blue and red.

Looking forward
I’m going to go out on a limb and say Pittsburgh wins their series. You know what? Throw Dallas into the winner’s circle too, for good measure. That leaves us with four cup champs looking to repeat this year.

Canada stands at a crossroads though: who to root for? How about the Pride of Canada himself, Mr. Sidney Crosby! Along with his dynamic teammates, their fun style of play, and their 1-2-3-4… punch on offense, they are QBed by Super Mario in the front office.

Dreaming of a day with better playoff format

Both conference finals will draw some good blood, but barring a Detroit-Pittsburgh final this year, can any of us really come on record and say that the NHL finals are a worthy climax to seven months of dazzling performances, out-of-your-seat showstoppers, strategic coaching duels, tooth and nail comebacks, Cinderella stories, and the like?

If I was the head honcho over at NHL headquarters (I’m anticipating the collective shudder as you read this! ) I would abolish the conference system for starters. Next on the agenda: division-based playoff systems, operating on the current seeded program. How so?

I’m seeing a day where the NHL promotes rivalries and renews the passion from days of old.

I can’t think of a definitive, fool-proof system to revamp the finals without taking away from the admittedly first-class conference series. That being said, the road to boredom should be paved with thrills!

Don’t jump off the seeded system just yet – I rather like it. Yet, I think an element of divisional play should be incorporated. As long as a divisional opponent is left standing, you gotta play ‘em. Within your division, you get the luxury of seeding.

For anyone who is against those notorious ‘what ifs’ reader discretion is advised.

Imagine a cup quest 08 that looked like this:

Pittsburgh – Philadelphia
New Jersey – New York
Montreal - Boston
Washington – Ottawa

Detroit – Nashville
Minnesota – Calgary
San Jose- Dallas
Anaheim – Colorado

Pittsburgh – New York
Montreal – Ottawa

Detroit – Calgary
Dallas – Anaheim

Pittsburgh – Montreal
Detroit – Dallas

Pittsburgh – Detroit

My, my, isn’t that much better Mind you, I have taken the liberty to advance some controversial teams at the hands of others in the spirit of … well, because I felt like it

All hail Dictator Alex!

Ray Shero: sink or swim?

So far so good for Mr. Shero who is looking like the big man on campus right about now with his soaring Pens. Many questioned his deadline move that saw him ship budding talent for guys already in their prime. This coming from a team who has all but worshiped the draft in recent years!

If the Penguins win the cup – which, let it be known, I think they will – Ray Shero is without a question the GM of the year. If they don’t, he may become the scapegoat overnight.

I’ve always been adamant about the fact that there should be a GM of the year award, inasmuch as there is a Jack Adams award. If you look at the three guys in the running for the Adams, they all rely heavily on their sidekicks in the front office.

So I want to know, who would you guys take as GM of the year?

Ray Shero is a sexy pick if they go all the way. Who else should be on the ballot?

Brian Burke, wading all year through the stormy seas of incompetence to build a team very much able to repeat?

Bob Gainey, this year being a tribute to his impeccable drafting and poker-style tactics? (Not biting at the Hossa bait was a test of character and Bob passed with flying colours. Giving Carey the unquestioned nod between the pipes was also a great move.)

Don Waddel, for luring in Ray Shero and nabbing Hossa way above his peak value, on the principles of supply and demand?

Ken Holland for humbling us all with his ability to have his cake and eat it too? If Detroit wins the cup, this guy deserves tons of credit.

This could be a great topic! Don’t disappoint my friends.

Story of the year may just take place in the off-season

Mats Sundin. Joe Sakic. Peter Forsberg. Jeremy Roenick. Mike Modano. Jaromir Jagr. Dominic Hasek. Scott Neidermayer. Teemu Selanne. Rod Brind’Amour. Trevor Linden. Chris Chelios. Owen Nolan. Brendan Shanahan.

All tallied, they have combined for a staggering 14, 728 points in their illustrious careers (an average of a whopping 1132 points per player! ...not counting the tender!) Nearly all have NHL records, some more colourful than others (Jagr, most arenas with a goal: 53). All of them have given their hearts to the game and have defined the word ‘highlight reel’ at times, ‘work ethic’ at others, and ‘clutch’ in yet other instances. And now, sadly, retirement is all looming in the near future. Which will we miss the most? That’s really tough.

Together, they have rewritten the pages of NHL history and provided us with some of the most historic memories of the last two decades around the league.

Who can forget Trevor ‘the Pride of Alberta’ Linden’s heroics over in Vancouver in his early years?

Jeremy Roenick’s sharp witticisms after his goal on Patrick Roy (although I must say, Pat got the best of that little tete-a-tete, as it seems Roenick will retire without a championship to show for himself.)For all those who do not know what I am talking about, look it up:

Then we have Owen Nolan, and his cool-as-a-cucumber goal in the NHL all-star game. A move that for the life of me, I can not seem to pull on my kid brother in a game of street hockey!

My youth is a handicap in this soon-to-be heated debate, but nonetheless, one of these greats stands out from the rest.

I would have to go with hometown hero Burnaby Joe, but it’s definitely a great debate for another time and another place.

Last words: Here’s hoping none of the guys mentioned above hangs ‘em up for good! In any case, comment on the topic over here:

Edited by - Alex on 05/04/2008 14:15:44
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2008 :  11:25:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
May 7, 2008

How ‘bout this layoff, eh?
In-depth analysis is a funny concept. All around the hockey world, eager beavers are clicking away frantically at the remote to get the latest insider and the most recent scoop. And why? To try and figure out what happens before it does. A guy could lose his sanity typing away on Excel for hours on end, with spreadsheet after spreadsheet dissecting every little statistic, and then some, to try and oust the opponent and bring the latest and greatest.

Or, you could just follow the age-old adage ‘Patience is a virtue’ and do it the old fashioned way, namely, wait until after the games to find out the scores.

But in the age of instant gratification, we all resort to the TSNs of the world to do what the 59 cent crystal ball from Wal-Mart can’t.

It would almost seem as though the games themselves are anti-climatic – as though the build up is and in and of itself. Remember how the buzz never ceased to be before deadline day? Remember all the headlines saying what a ‘let-down’ the All-Star game was? What about the guys who predicted blood shed in the Detroit-Colorado series? A series that in the end saw a quick and painless exit of a much maligned core of has-beens abruptly exit the hunt for the Stanley Cup.

Well boys, we are at it again. With the three day layoff in the National Hockey League, people are pursuing every little lead they can get.

That being said, this time around I rather enjoy it. There are a lot of good things to talk about this time of year, and sometimes first-rate stories fall by the wayside at the expense of others that merit achieving limelight status. The NHL has given us a little bit of a breather and I’m not sure which side to take in this tug-o’-war of a debate.

On the one hand, it allows a little spotlight to be shed on the IIHF world championships, gives the banged up players a little bit of rest. But on the other hand, let’s got on with this show already! We are only halfway through boys, as hard as it is to believe. A guy on The Score brought up a good point: in the NBA, Pittsburgh and Philly would already have been squaring off in round two while Dallas was vying for a ticket to round three! Why should series that have no impact on each other impede the progress of each other?

When it is all said and done, it is this blessing in disguise that affords me the limited window of opportunity to talk about some good hockey stuff, and so I will take it graciously.

Let’s start with the trash that will be turned into gold by whichever major sports network manages to best showcase it and bring in the viewers:

Coach Maurice gets the ol’ heave ho
The entire MLSE is run on the principle of saving your skin at the expense of another. Case in point: Pat Quinn, at the hands of JFJ, who eventually would make a downward spiral into his own timely demise. Case in point: Paul Maurice. This time though, the man who stands to benefit is hiding amongst the shadows of confusion.

I have no idea what the motives behind this move were, nor do I profess to.
And it seems to be contagious, as the Ottawa Senators are following suit. In fact, let’s just blow this bad boy right out of the water while we are at it: who’s to say the Buffalo Sabres are not falling prey to the parity regime of one Gary Bettman? They lost Drury and Briere in one fatal off-season, and then were scammed into paying Vanek a whopping 50 million by Kevin Lowe. The team had to give up on Brian Campbell at deadline day, and Afinogenov is probably the next big name out of Buffalo.

To win in the new NHL, you need to be anchored by a man with a plan. Brian Burke, Ken Holland, Ray Shero are all guys who keep their cards close to them and go into every day at the office with a take no prisoners attitude. A few years down the road, Kevin Lowe and Don Waddel might reap the fruits of their labour and be added to that list.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are laden with issues, the biggest one of the bunch being no sense of direction whatsoever. Cliff Fletcher needed to make good on his one and only asset, Mats Sundin, and any attempts at talking him into waiving his NTC were for naught. Cliff Fletcher needed to find a GM, and no one wants anything doing. So in a split-second attempt to convince MLSE that he is able to make a big splash GMs are notorious for, he fires his diamond in the rough, a coach who mirrors the exact same qualities any GM should have. While the well-oiled hockey machines in the NHL are busy with a goal and an eye-on-the-prize, the broken heap of nuts and bolts over in Hog Town has just shot itself in the foot.

One thing to say about this whole tumult: thank heavens I am a fan of the Montreal Canadiens!

IIHF World Championships
Late game heroics by the ‘nucks proved to give them the edge in a 5-4 thriller over their Yankee counterparts. They never looked back.

Meanwhile, Ovechkin has trapezed straight out of the NHL and taken the plunge onto the international stage, where he continues to dominate and attract all sorts of attention.

Sweden is a little shabby, due to the fact that their alter-ego team, the Detroit Red Wings are red hot in the NHL playoffs. But make no mistake about it; the Norwegians are still a force to be reckoned with.

When it comes down to it, I think that the five powerhouses in this tourney will be Canada, Russia, Finland and Sweden, with the US trailing a little behind. The Czechs are good but do not have that killer instinct needed to go the distance. They let the Italians get up on them before showing any signs of life whatsoever yesterday. In the end it was a lopsided result, but they won’t fare too well against the big dogs of the tourney with sloppy starts out of the gate like that.

Wrapping up With this layoff I have the luxury of splitting up the article a little, which is what I intend to do. Coming tomorrow: is Malkin vs. Crosby finally a fair question, is the layoff a little too much, what’s the deal with the Conn Smythe, and who gets goal of the year? Catch it in the next installment of the Alex Blog!

Last word Get off the fence forum members and show your true colours by stopping bandwagonning –in– disguise dead in its tracks.
All aboard the Bandwagon Buster!
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 05/08/2008 :  09:38:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
May 8, 2008

Donning my Pittsburgh jersey, Gatorade by my side, calculator and pencil in hand, and all the latest stories saved in my Internet Explorer favourites, I eagerly anticipate the kick-off of round three set for tonight.

Malkin vs. Crosby: is it legit?

Damn straight it is. There are three big guns in the NHL, not two. Malkin started a year late and did not explode onto the NHL scene with as much fanfare perhaps, but Ovechkin and Crosby will have to earn their way to the spotlight from here on in.

Geno is buffer than his Canadian counterpart. He has a flare for the net, and has an uncanny scoring prowess. Highlight reel is his middle name.
That’s already out on the table. The Philadelphia Flyers enjoy tooting Malkin’s horn and casting Crosby into the backseat driver role. Dr. Phil may as well be writing their game plan, because it is blatantly obvious. But mark my words, it will backfire.

The Philadelphia Flyers want the pressure to produce to be on Malkin’s shoulders. But that is a grave mistake, and this season was a lesson. If highlight reel is Geno’s middle name, than ‘stud’ is his last name. Meanwhile, they think that by getting into Sid’s head and telling him he isn’t the star, he will get frustrated and get off his game. Again, think again. Going on record and stating that you are not worried about the NHL’s poster child is about as dumb as it gets.

Yes, Malkin scores more, and yes, Malkin may have more raw talent and be more potent around the net – but geez Louise guys, it’s freaking Sidney Crosby we are talking about! The guy defines workhorse!

Split the dynamic duo of Malkin and Crosby, and each gets more attention right off the bat. People are wondering which would be their go-to-guy? Wow. Guys, Sidney Crosby is head and shoulders above and beyond any player in the NHL. He transformed Ryan Malone into a force to be reckoned with! He unifies his team and leads the troops every night into battle. He is held accountable when things do not go well, and maintains his focus when they do. He is the heart and soul of the Penguins and would be a franchise player on any team he played for. Meanwhile, Malkin, while he may rack up the most goals, does not add value to those around him. He is easy on his GM’s wallet which is a real asset in the new NHL, because he can literally have pylons as teammates and still shine. But on the other hand, if a GM wants to get the most bang for his buck, he builds around Crosby, not Malkin. Crosby can do in one game what an entire string of minor league systems can not do in a couple years.

The answer: Malkin may one day hold more fantasy value than Crosby, but it is clear which is more valuable in the real NHL.

The Hart trophy of the playoffs
Picture Evgeni Malkin coming home with a lot of hardware this spring. No, not to furnish his apartment and not to support the Home Depot, but rather, to kick-start the impressive trophy collection we know he will one day have. MVP of the season and playoffs is a viable option. In the timeless words of the Beach Boys: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice?’ Ah, yes it would.

Wake up and smell the coffee people, it ain’t happening! Malkin may just be the best player in the National Hockey League this year, but he will come up short barring some last minute ballot-stuffing courtesy of Steel Town fans, in both races: Hart and Conn Smythe. Ovechkin is a shoe-in for the Hart, and it looks to be the dark horses as opposed to the workhorses that will nab the honours as most valuable in the playoffs. Or rather, make that the dark mules.

Ladies and gents, I give you Johan Franzen. Right now, it’s not even a question that he is the backbone of the Detroit Red Wings. But seeing as I fancy myself as a ‘voice of inner reason’ I would like to point out why he will not take home the Conn Smythe.

First of all, history is on the side of the winners. Detroit first has to win the cup for him to be a prospect, and they have a one in four chance. Although I think they have the right ingredients to bring home a ‘ship, nothing is a given.
Even assuming they did win it all, can we honestly say that on such a stacked roster, some young punk is going to waltz in and be named MVP?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy. But there is no way in hell, and very little of it at that, that Franzen will rise above the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Osgood, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Brian Rafalski even on his own team! Let alone the rest of the league…

Over in Philadelphia, Martin Biron is turning heads and raising eyebrows everywhere with his stellar play. If Philadelphia wins this round and takes the next one to a game seven, he deserves it even if they come up short in the end.

Dallas, anchored by Mr. Turco, will have a hard time squeaking by the big boys on the block a.k.a the Red Wings. Should they pull it off, it will go down to the wire and feature tooth and nail games with coaching being the difference. That, and goaltending. You know Detroit will put the pedal to the medal and fire pucks at Marty all night long. Brendan Morrow can argue till he is blue in the face, it will be the last line of defense, making saves he has no business making, that will win MVP honours if his team advances.

And then we have good ol’ Pittsburgh. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth to think that Crosby would not win it if a Conn Smythe comes out of Pittsburgh, but he very well might have the all-elusive trophy slip through his grasp. Realistically, I do not think we can shed the light on any one player and make the case for one to outshine the other. Malkin is a front-runner, and Fleury deserves credit where credit is due. I am going to go on record and say that a defense from Pittsburgh will never win the Conn Smythe or Hart trophy so long as Malkin and Crosby aren’t sent packing. That will stay the same in this post-season, and you can quote me on that.

So recapping: basically, assuming Detroit and Pittsburgh move on, which I feel they will, the race will be as tight as the suits in Moore’s commercials. If Dallas moves on, Turco wins; Philly advances, and Brion takes it. I’m going to say that if the two stacked teams advance, it will go to the winning team, and either Lidstrom or Crosby/Malkin will take it.

The goal that put the others to shame
As only the four big cahunas from the entire league are left, don’t be expecting any goals to blow you away or make you jump from your seat from here on in. Checking is tight and many routine plays will end up in the back of the net … it’s just how the cup is won more times than not.

Barring a parade of excellence from the hands of Malkin or Crosby, Zetterberg or Datsyuk, it’s safe to say we have out voting block for now.
Let me be the first to say, Zetterberg’s does not even deserve recognition. Neither does Kostitsyn’s, as some would seem to suggest. Unlike ‘the’ Ovechkin goal, skill was hardly if even a factor in these two plays.

To me, it is a toss up between Toews and Nash. I enjoy Toews’s more because it seems more swift, graceful and cohesive. Nash for all intensive purposes did the same move twice, although obviously it took talent, probably more than Toews’s. The timing in Nash’s was impeccable also!

In the end my vote goes to Toews, with really the only other candidate being Nash.

Last words: "There are two types of forwards. Scorers and bangers. Scorers score and bangers bang." – Ken Dryden
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2008 :  07:00:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
May 9, 2008

Was there ever a doubt?
The Nashville Predators are rolling around in their graves right now. After all, of all the minor roadblocks looking to put a crimp in Detroit’s plans at another appearance in the final, the Central division rivals were the only ones who put up a fight. And saying that they went down kicking and screaming may just be the overstatement of the day.

I love it how the post-season turns everyone into a hot-headed motor mouth. ‘Colorado will give Detroit a run for their money.’ ‘Nashville will send the Wings packing.’ Hey, by all means, whatever floats your little boat pals. But who are we kidding? There is not a Don Cherry among us.

In case you haven’t noticed, Detroit is the real deal boys. Reporters are quick to say that Dallas was shell-shocked and what not, but face the facts: Detroit has lingered away from glory long enough. A five year hop, skip and run rebuild at the hands of Ken Holland. I would hazard a guess that Kenny just gave a ring to Babcock one day and said ‘OK, you want to win now?’ It’s as simple as that. If Nicklas Lidstrom wakes up in the morning and wants to win, watch out.

This team is without Larionov, Hull, Robitaille, Yzerman, Shanahan, and Federov, all cornerstones of the last championship team. Yet by no means are they in shambles.

This ‘rebuild’ saw every squad that was sent out on the ice make the post-season, come no further than second in their conference, and cruise to an easy 3 Prez Titles in so doing. Not too shabby.

And then there was Dallas. A team playing possessed, headed by hard nosed Brenden Morrow and Marty Turco, who must ask himself on a nightly basis why he did not become an acrobat… although I suppose the tight latex may have something to do with it!

Peaking at the right time is key, and just when the Stars were soaring they find themselves on a date with the Detroit Red Wings. All the bigots will stand by their Stars through thick and thin, and back up their team until the fat lady sings. I’m just going to suggest that it was ‘in the stars’ if you will, that Dallas only made this post-season for one purpose and one purpose only. They were destined from the outset to help catapult the Wings into the Cup Finals and they never had a shot to begin with.

Fabian who?
Fabian Brunnstrom, to your average Joe Shmo, may as well be the name of some imperial brand of dish soap. Not so to the hockey world. In our little own world, we insist on making a whole big to-do about a guy who almost all of us have never seen at all, let alone on skates. When push comes to shove, how much was the hullabaloo worth? A cool two-million if you ask the Dallas Stars.

This guy may be an overnight success or a one hit wonder. Or, he may never even have the one-hit wonder. He may just flop around like a fish out of water.

Why in tarnation throw 2 million at a guy who has never proven himself on the biggest stage of them all? Perhaps to sooth the pain of a hasty third round exit. A big splash may be just the perfect way to heal the wounds for now… until, of course, Fabian laces ‘em up. Then we’ll just have to see what will be.

Looking forward: The Pens and Flyers square off for game one tonight in what will be another thumping of the underdog – this time, by the bulldog himself, Michel Therrien. If, and only if, Philly can manage to be mean and nasty without getting caught in penalty trouble against the explosive 1-2-3-4… punch of the Pittsbrugh Penguins will they have a chance. Here’s guessing they can’t.

Last words: The Pride of Alberta jokes are old news. And so are my readers… Do me the honour of commenting, will ya? I kept it short and sweet today for that reason!
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PickupHockey Veteran

1393 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2008 :  16:35:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Alex I think you should talk about Joel Queenville and losing his job and how the media is already saying he should go to Toronto and same with Dave Nonis going to Toronto as GM.
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PickupHockey Veteran

1530 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2008 :  19:58:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Technically its considered a 875k contract with bonuses that can make him reach 2 mil for Brunnstrom. 875k is peanuts in the NHL, and if he proves himself and earns his bonuses then the contract is well worth it. It's a win-win for Dallas, and any team that picks him up. That small contract and his potential is a good deal for any team in the league.
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2008 :  05:07:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
May 11, 2008

Rock ‘em sock ‘em Red Wings

Read my lips: this thing’s over. There aren't many sure things in life, but the Wings come mighty close. Detroit is taunting Dallas out there is what they’re doing. Ole Toro! Don Cherry said it well; Chris Osgood is having freaking a tea party in the back of his net!

Dallas needs a GPS on their pucks, which seem to have a mind of their own. The Stars are cranking shots left, right and centre but nowhere near the yawning cage or the bored-out-of-his-wits ‘tender.

I’m telling it to you straight, Nicklas Lidstrom probably loses more sleep thinking about ______ (I invite you to ad-lib that) than about that joke of a team from Texas.

Not to be rude or anything, but come on. People were picking Dallas? Give me a break!

Pittsburgh looking very lucky
No, PainTrain, this is not a team of destiny. Nice try at stirring the pot there bud, but the team can rest on their own laurels knowing they have come this far.

That’s not to say that anything is a given. Philly looked like a threat reeling off four straight wins and this series was much closer to call than that ‘gimme’ in the west. The Pens barely squeaked by on the heroics of Evgeni Malkin, and held on tight as he carried them on his shoulders to the W. I see this series as a lesson for the Penguins, who will cruise to a win if they play smart. This is the calm before the storm that is the Detroit Red Wings.

With Timonnen sidelined and watching from the infirmary, and Malkin tearing apart any sense of structure on the blue line, Philly’s hopes are pretty well washed up. Geno may as well have yanked a page out of the playbook and spit on it, because he is making a mockery out of the defenders and shaking John Stevens to his core. Hair-splitting, havoc-wreaking, vengeance-loading (the internet savvy smiled while reading that – check out the Flyers website to get in on the joke): yep, that pretty much sums up the one man wrecking crew that is Evgeni Malkin.

Ribeiro, you must be so proud eh?
Mike Ribeiro is a man of honour. A man of monumental glitz. A man born for the camera. So when he doesn’t get it, he goes hunting it down. Case in point: with no time on the clock, Mike takes a run at Chris Osgood overtop the crossbar.

Hey, at least the Stars can breathe easy knowing he can hit something. Now if only that darned puck wouldn’t be playing hard-to-net!

On a serious note – as serious as it gets around these parts – keep your fingers crossed that Ribeiro gets dealt the rulebook and watches game 3 from the box. Chris Osgood was quick to shun any negative vibe and is not writing any books on the issue (look for Oprah Winfrey to jump on this opportunity!) unlike many a coach and player have done. That may prove to tip the scales and see Ribeiro dressed for game three, although clearly some form of action should be taken from NHL H.Q.

Colin Campell, the league awaits!

Last word: Ovechkin, on what he would say if he met Bush:
‘What’s up, dude? How’s life?” And let him pretend that he doesn’t know who I am.
That’s all, folks! More to come when I’m a little less busy.
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 05/13/2008 :  11:49:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
May 13, 2008

Philadelphia / Pittsburgh

Evgeni Malkin is one nasty pop-up that the Philadelphia Flyers would love to get rid of. Problem is, vengeance just ain’t loading fast enough.

Kimmo Timonen is out, which is a huge blow to the Flyers. And Braydon Coburn has a shiner the size of the golf balls he is bound to be taking whacks at if he doesn’t lace ‘em up and take whacks at Geno first. The little engine that could has run out of gas and the 2008 Philadelphia Flyers will be remembered as the Cinderella story that was not.

Give them credit for sticking to their plan. They have taken runs at everything moving and then some, and have all but made life miserable for the stars. But – and there is a but –the star-spangled Pittsburgh PP keeps burning the Flyers

Time waits for no one, and John Stevens better make a change before Paul Holmgren makes one!

Though (IMHO) this is a case of one team just being flat out head and shoulders above the other.

Harold Ballard, your words never rang truer
Barf bags aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. The Toronto Maple Dis-Beliefs are just way out of their league. What they need is about a kilo of TNT to blow up the whole damn operation and start from scratch. It’s getting damn tiring hearing about them. Until then, they should most definitely be placed in bags – garbage bags.

The media held a solemn lamentation the day Wade Belak was shipped to the sunshine state, fearing that they won’t meet the status quo any longer. Think again.

Let’s review the headlines, shall we?

Paul Maurice gets the boot. Dave Nonis, Brian Burke, Colin Campbell and even the Great One are all dragged into the mess five minutes after. Mark Bell is serving time in the sin bin – and not the one on the ice. Jason Blake, fresh off a Mastertron nomination, all but predicted leaving T.O. like a whipped dog. Jiri Tlusty has uprooted his dressing room and turned them all homophobic. Vesa Toskala looks as out of place as an Eskimo in Aruba. Andrew Raycroft has been permanently damaged by the organization, and has a save percentage that you can see from Google Earth. Carlo Coliacovo can’t stay healthy long enough to read the get-well messages on his casts. Hal Gill, as dead as they come in a Leafs uniform, moves over to Pittsburgh and becomes a stud overnight. Bryan McCabe makes his wallet fat by throwing rubber at his own net.

And the cherry on top of it all is that Mats Sundin, the only player who wants to win in Toronto, gets jeered daily on talk shows all over the province because he did just that – stayed here to win.

‘The Passion That Unites Us All?’ Wow. How much did you pay for that hunk of junk, MLSE?

Looking forward:Fast-forward about a week and it will be Pittsburgh-Detroit for all the marbles, though we may as well get this show on the road right now. Unfortunately, I think the puck stops in Motown for the Pittsburgh Penguins, whose youth and vigour will come with a hefty price tag.

You don’t fore-check Nick Lidstrom, he fore-checks you. OK, so maybe that was a little bit of a sub-par attempt at stirring the pot for all those Chuck Norris diehards on the forums, but you get the point.

Pittsburgh has the edge up front, though Zetterberg and Datsyuk strongly mirror Crosby and Malkin. The X-factor is that the guys in red happen to both be candidates for the defensive forward of the year. Yikes! The well runs deeper though for Pittsburgh, who can lean on Hossa, Sykora, Dupuis, Stall, or Malone to come through on any given night. The Detroit faithful is keeping its fingers crossed that The Mule gets back soon. If not, my sincere condolences for having to put up with Holmstrom, Cleary and Samuelsson. Let me be the first to say, fans from Hockey Town are spoiled filthy.

Meanwhile, Sergei Gonchar and Ray Whitney can shoulder the load pretty well on the back end. However, we have seen glimpses of breakdowns on D in many a game this post season, though the Pens have always battled through and emerged the victor. Don’t bet the luck will stay on their side. Lidster & Co. have just too much presence of mind to slip up and when you have the puck the other team can’t score. That last little gem is attributed to Paul Coffey … you may have heard of him?

Between the pipes, I would actually take Osgood over Fleury only because Osgood is playing behind the team he is. The stress just isn’t there for Ozzy. Fleury is all of 23 and can succumb to pressure as history has shown us. No real test has come to the Pens this year, but Detroit is the real deal and should leave Pittsburgh wondering ‘what happened?’

Detroit has made it look like a cakewalk along the way due to their ability to manipulate the play and wrap the other team like a coil around their finger, but two of the teams they brushed aside (I’m taking the liberty to count Dallas in that mix) were legit contenders. Sloppy play simply happens more on Pittsburgh’s side than on Detroit’s and that is why they don’t have the makings of a champion just yet.

Wings in six or seven, barring a metamorphosis in Steel Town.

Last words: Here’s hoping the golf is good on the ranch. The two man demolition crew of Datsyuk and Zetterberg has left Dallas seeing stars!

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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2008 :  14:43:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
May 19, 2008

IIHF Gold Medal Game

Just a quick shout out to Datsyuk1 before we get this show on the road. Ladies and gents, fear this guy like you fear an empty pack of Bud in the post-season. Fear him like a 235 pound freight train named Derian Hatcher charging full speed ahead at you. Fear him like you fear Evgeni Malkin every single time he touches the puck.

He called the Russians flying out of Quebec with a 5-4 OT win under their belts. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened.


originally posted by Datsyuk_1

I’m going to have to say Russia 5-4 OT, cause Canada barely beat the young inexperienced Sweden team and Russia has some top guns that can really put the biscuit in the basket, by they way I'm not a traitor!!

Good defense is good offense!

If you do lottery numbers too, let me know bud!

On the flipside, I´m also Cånädiön, don’t breathe easy just yet. You’re not getting off scot-free. Let’s open up this can of worms wide open, shall we?


originally posted by Im also Cånädiön

If Bykov can keep Kovalchuk on the bench or preferably as far away from the rest of team Russia as possible they will keep the good team game they surprised me with in the semi against Finland.

He has seemed to be a bad influence on the team. I´m not surprised if Kovalchuk starts on the bench in the final.

Buddy, hang your head in shame. Pack up and leave town like a whipped dog. Ilya Kovalchuk burned the Canadian team that played sluggish and non-inspired hockey when it mattered most. They missed that extra bounce in their step that the Russians had right out of the gate, and Kovie sniped the game-tying and winning goals to extend the curse of home ice in the World Cup.

Here’s hoping MLSE doesn’t hire you to call the shots behind their bench!

Of course, it’s all in good fun my friend . Heck, I didn’t even throw out an opinion at all in a poll which I authored. This coming from Mr. ‘Stand for something or fall for everything’ over here. But I must admit, I am relishing the opportunity to make you eat your words! Never write off a Russian star, because while many of them are streaky, they can wake up one morning and instantly find their swagger once again. The Canadians may have learned that the hard way…

Got to say, the finish was nothing short of a yawner. God help the man who had nothing better to do with his time than invent some stupid delay of game penalty for flipping rubber over glass. If I ever run by that guy, I’ll be flipping him worse s*** than rubber! Deciding the king of the hockey world on a hasty flick of a wrist from young player putting too much into his clearing attempt really gets the blood boiling, don’t it?

Penguins a bona fide contender

It’s the type of thing that could only happen in Pittsburgh. The Pens, a bunch of kids, are simply toying with the Flyers. It’s like flashing the bone in front of your dog’s face and snatching it back as he’s about to sink his teeth in.

The score is a lopsided 6-0 as we speak (5:24 ET). Philadelphia is done like dinner, done like desert, and done like breakfast the next morning.

Philadelphia, you are a joke.

EDIT: OK, you got me! I just threw that last line in to lash out at the team that played crash and grind hockey to beat my speedy, talented (albeit mostly-European) Montreal Canadiens. I guess the vengeance is mine now, eh? In all honesty they had a good run and have a lot to be proud for.

Octopus can take a back seat

A mere hop, skip and jog have taken the Wings to the conference finals. The biggest worry has likely been finding loopholes to get around the octopus ban.

And then came Marty Turco.

Now, Dallas will lose and there isn’t a doubt about it in my mind. But all of a sudden, things are getting cloudy for Cup Final predictions.

The Pens have lost two games this entire spring, both of them when the series was already decided anyways. Detroit meanwhile had dropped back-to-back decisions to the lowly Predators and given life to a Stars team so dead you wondered if they were even alive.

This one will go down to the wire and it is obvious now more than ever, it will go to the team that can peak at the right times and keep drawing from the fountain of youth within them.

Last word: Right now, I would give Pittsburgh the upper hand in 6 or 7 over the Wings. Unless Detroit destroys everything in sight during their third crack at sealing the deal, that’s probably how my prediction will remain.


Edited by - Alex on 05/19/2008 07:31:13
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Datsyuk 1
PickupHockey Pro

333 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2008 :  20:49:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Alex, I 100% agree with Bean15 this is way too much to read although it's not your problem it's mine. Sry for putting this here just I hate reading books at school and I just don't think anyone will read all of this unless you are very very bored.
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PickupHockey Veteran

1393 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2008 :  20:56:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Alex

May 19, 2008

Philadelphia, you are a joke.


Little Harsh don't you think? I mean this team is by no means better then the Penguins. And yes I did pick Philly to win because I saw that physical play that I though was a going to be a deciding factor. This team went from being dead last in the league last year to making it to the Eastern Conference finals. They battled through injuries and suspensions. They played far more superior teams in the playoffs and still managed to play 17 extra games. Yes Alex, this team is a Joke! Absolute Joke! BTW I'm not a Philly fan, I'm just sticking up for a team that doesn't deserve the negative crap from people.

When the going gets tough....the tough get going!

Edited by - PainTrain on 05/18/2008 21:01:34
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Forum Admin

2279 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2008 :  21:26:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Datsyuk 1

Alex, I 100% agree with Bean15 this is way too much to read although it's not your problem it's mine. Sry for putting this here just I hate reading books at school and I just don't think anyone will read all of this unless you are very very bored.

Datsyuk 1, that is not true, I read it often and I am not bored before (or after) I read it. Sometimes I don't have time to read it all but that is ok, other times I do. I and many others find his insight very refreshing and it is more than welcome at our site (just as your constructive thoughts are welcome too Datsyuk 1). Alex, it's your call if you want to shorten them a bit. Beans may be on to something...that you may get more action if it is in bite size chunks. EITHER WAY please keep posting, it's very enjoyable. And it's really great to see your knowledge of the game growing so much!! Keep it up!!!
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Datsyuk 1
PickupHockey Pro

333 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2008 :  00:12:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sry Admin just my opinion, I read the first long paragraph thought it was pretty interesting but it is just way too much for me to read and I don't find long paragraphs interesting. Oh well Alex's topic not mine. I'm done posting on this topic sry for wasting your time.
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Leafs Rock Planet
PickupHockey Pro

902 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2008 :  06:06:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by PainTrain

Originally posted by Alex

May 19, 2008

Philadelphia, you are a joke.


Little Harsh don't you think? I mean this team is by no means better then the Penguins. And yes I did pick Philly to win because I saw that physical play that I though was a going to be a deciding factor. This team went from being dead last in the league last year to making it to the Eastern Conference finals. They battled through injuries and suspensions. They played far more superior teams in the playoffs and still managed to play 17 extra games. Yes Alex, this team is a Joke! Absolute Joke! BTW I'm not a Philly fan, I'm just sticking up for a team that doesn't deserve the negative crap from people.

When the going gets tough....the tough get going!

Alex is still upset that Philly beat his stinkin' Habs. Its not good to hold a grudge Alex.

None the less, keep it up Alex. I enjoy reading this. Much appreciated.
Better luck next year Flyers!!

Edited by - Leafs Rock Planet on 05/19/2008 06:11:17
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2008 :  19:09:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
May 26, 2008

Detroit fans, I am going on the record and calling on you to throw your support to the Pistons. The Wings have already won.

Let’s review the facts. The only time I had shaken confidence in the Wings was when Hasek blew game 4, and when they couldn’t close Dallas out in game 5. Other than that I stuck by them.

Before my ego blinds you all, let me admit it was one of the easier post-seasons to call. As long as you went with the logical choice, you were rewarded. I don’t think any of us who followed the entire season and did not let standings or stats cloud our predictions could say there were many if any surprises this year.

Now, it is the cup final, it is the Pittsburgh Penguins, it is Sidney Crosby and it is only game two. Plus, they are heading back home. I may not have actually said it on this site, but all those who I spoke to about the series before the fact heard me say two things: game 3 would be the most important, and Pittsburgh better win early only because it is much harder for them to build momentum when they are on the outside looking in than it is for Detroit. The Wings don't exactly boast the greatest killer instinct in the league, but they will be able to kick this dog while it's down. This Pens team is more like Colorado than Dallas.

Both pre-series predictions of mine will hold to be true, and you can Mark Messier my words. (For those of you who are wondering when the hell Mark Messier graduated from national icon to a verb, I will explain. I have got into the habit of saying ‘You can Mark Messier my words’ when making risky hockey predictions. It’s a play on the idiom ‘you can mark my words.’)

Basically, barring a comeback in game 3 and a legitimate momentum swing (read: the Penguins need not only to win, they need to dominate game 3 if they want any chance at the cup) this bad boy is settled.

It’s still a fun series though, and it gave us a lot to talk about. And since the Fat Lady has technically not graced us with her singing yet, I guess it’s still worth talking about. I'll run through it as the series progresses.

First of all: Malkin + Crosby vs. Datsyuk + Zetterberg. There are two ways of looking at this, and follow the logic here.

1. Datsyuk and Zetterberg on the same team vs. Crosby and Malkin on the same team.

Over here, the nod goes to the Detroit duo. They are Selke trophy nominees for starters, but tell me something I don’t know. Well, Matthew Barnaby of TSN loves shedding light on their ability to do the little things, especially win face-offs. They channel their passion more effectively, they are more sound-minded, and they manage to completely do away with the only knock on them (not physically menacing) by simply being impossible to line up. I also think that they have the most potent chemistry in the league right now. Zetterberg pulled a Lecavalier (remember his incredible assist against Calgary?) in Game 6 when he wove around three or four Dallas guys to feed an open Datsyuk. Magic, boys, that’s all there is to it.

2. Datsyuk and Zetterberg in general vs. Crosby and Malkin in general

Axey said it well: you can split Malkin and Crosby up and get better bang for your buck than if you keep them together! How incredible is that? It's like a coach's dream!

I’m going to throw this out, fully knowing that I may get eaten alive for it. I may lose my short-lived title as the kid who got his hockey knowledge overnight. I may receive death threats in my email account. (OK that last one was push, eh?) But I’m going to say that Datsyuk and Zetterberg benefit incredibly from each other and are not good individually as Crosby and Malkin.

The proof is in the pudding. Aside from this debate of Detroit Top 2 vs. Pittsburgh Top 2, the other active one on this site is Ryan Malone – Overrated?

It’s common knowledge that Sidney Crosby could turn a pylon into a goal-scorer revered around the league. And Malkin? Gawsh, sometimes it seems like he’d be better off without line mates – it’s like they’re just dead space that get in the way of his one-man demolition.

Let me illustrate the subtle nuance that changes the answer in this debate.

Debate 1, practically speaking: If you could have both these guys on your team, who do you pick? Datsyuk and Zetterberg.

Debate 2, practically speaking: If you could have both guys, but could only dress one of them on any given night, who do you pick? Malkin and Crosby. How can you go wrong! Every night you have a finely polished line-up no matter who you play! Datsyuk without Zetterberg just is not Datsyuk and vice versa. It would take a couple years for them to find chemistry with another line mate the way they have it with each other.

Give me your thoughts.


Edited by - Alex on 05/26/2008 19:16:26
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2008 :  15:06:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
May 28, 2008

Way to not reply guys. Imitation is the best form of flattery, not silence! I’ve won half the battle by hooking the audience. Yet for the life of me I can not seem to lure you in.

Oh well, the show must go on.

Today, let me address possibly one of the best topics that I’ve come across in a long time. AndyHack, give yourself a round of applause. Your thread on teams we root for never actually going anywhere was probably one of the best ones in my modest ‘career’ around here. It’s too bad this topic met with the dull and dreary golf season on the forums, because it deserves a lot more attention than it gets.

…Then again, I brace myself imagining the two cents of every idiot out there on such a blatantly subjective topic. I’ve seen enough of the ‘Leafs suck!’, ‘Habs are terrible’ and what have you.

Let me get his out there: being a true fan in the NHL right now is about as hard as hearing at your dinner table that Sean Avery tied the knot with your sister.

The NHL ain’t what it used to be. We don’t have bitter rivalries, we don’t sit on the edge of our seats watching games, and we don’t hate other teams with a passion. We don’t argue hockey, hockey calls, hockey plays and hockey players until we are blue in the face. Instead, we follow the latest trends like sheep of a flock.

Right now, the ‘in’ team happens to be the Penguins. Now, who out there can get up and vouch that they are actually Pittsburgh fans?

Who can say that they paint the walls of their room gold and black? Who even owns a jersey or a car flag? Who has actually been to a game? Thrust a resume under my nose that meets this criteria. Maybe I’ll consider you legitimate.

How ironic it is. If tomorrow we were appointed NHL dictator-for-a-day it’s pretty clear what we would do. We would cut through the red tape like a hot knife in butter and declare the Pittsburgh Penguins cup champions ’08.

Back to the real world now, and let’s be brutally honest about it. None of us gives a flying rat’s ass about some team from Pennsylvania. What draws us in are players like Lemieux, Jagr, Crosby and Malkin. Ship those players out west and we would have millions of fans converting to die-hards of the Oregon Clowns.

Mark Messier my words, if tomorrow the NHL took pity on the Leafs and stacked their roster with the likes of Crosby, Ovechkin, Lecavlier and so forth (as I write this I imagine the drunk heckler in the crowd screaming 'dream on!'), all those ‘haters’ on the forums would suddenly be the team’s ‘biggest fan’, along with about a billion other wannabes. Heck, as a kid living in T.O. even I would want to see them hoist the cup if Montreal was knocked out.

Eventually, the Penguins will lose. In the off-seasons to come Ray Shero will tear his hair trying to keep everyone and will end up pulling a Darcy Regier (GM of Buffalo) by losing everyone. And at that point, you can kiss the fans goodbye.

We saw it happen to Buffalo and we saw it happen to the train wreck commonly referred to as the Ottawa Senators. In a course of two years, I know a friend who has gone through about 11 teams, no joke.

There is a sad pattern to it all. Every year, one team catches the interest of the league. One team muscles its way into the hearts of the masses. One team has the whole world rooting for them. And then pfft – in a flash, the dream is gone.

Do we have any Oilers fans in the crowd? Probably a fair amount. Now, had I asked that question in the spring of 2006, can you imagine how many more hands would shoot up!

How ‘bout them Flames, anyone like the Flames? We seemed to like them pretty darn well in 04, eh?

The list goes on.

Senators of 07. Penguins of 08. Ducks of 03. Canes of 02. We don’t even like these teams, but we need someone to root for. It’s like picking between Clinton and Obama when in your heart you know that the choice is between a crook and a [ADMIN EDIT - CONTENT REMOVED]

Best of all is that even the team no one likes but everyone likes never manages to get the job done. What the hell is wrong over here? The NHL has created a system were people can not get seriously attached to the sport. We jump from team to team like wound up toddlers in a bouncing castle.

Take a stand, I implore you! Pick one team, and stick by them. It gets pretty retarded when an office building in downtown Toronto has 5 workers and 30 supported NHL teams. What’s sadder are the cubicles decorated with a montage of every team out there.

I for one refuse to bow to the Penguins or the Senators or any other up and coming powerhouse. Montreal Canadiens or bust!

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PickupHockey Veteran

1393 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  15:27:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've been a Buffalo Sabre fan for a while now. And even though they went from Stanley Cup Contenders to not even in the playoffs really pisses me off. But I know they'll do ok with all there young talent. But Alex I do agree, there is many bandwagon jumpers. I remember when Edmonton was doing their cup run, my whole baseball team was cheering for them. I could have cared less because my Sabres were kicked out in the Conference Finals that year.
But that's the thing, when my team is gone I don't cheer for any team. I cheer for the players in my hockey poll and I cheer that I get to see long overtimes, beautiful plays and big hits. But when my Sabres are playing I've got to be the most quietest person until they score, they I go nuts! I'm a die hard Sabre fan and I'm going to be for a long time!

When the going gets tough....the tough get going!
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PickupHockey Veteran

1053 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2008 :  16:37:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Alex, I just finished reading your entire blog. Keep up the great work, it's a pleasure to read

Ellis or Mason?

Go Preds Go!
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2008 :  19:52:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
June 1, 2008

Let’s settle a couple of things once and for all.

1. Canadians are the best and Sidney Crosby is the best of the best. Evgeni Malkin has my permission to go soak his head.

2. Chris Osgood is a bona fide starter in the National Hockey League, not baggage. Crosby, meet Ozzie.

3. Mike Babcock won the Detroit Red Wings their eleventh Stanley Cup. In a perfect world, the Conn Smythe would be his in a heartbeat.

Now that that one’s off my chest…

Let’s talk politics. Not Obama-Clinton politics. Not Middle-East conflict politics. I’m not interested in happening in Cuba, I’m not here to drone on about Tibet and, frankly, I don’t give a flying rat’s ass about the Kyoto Accord.

Let’s talk politic politics. Let’s talk about political correctness.

Let’s talk about how everyone in the world is scared of their own shadow. Let’s talk about how the minute we get rebuked for having an opinion, we hide our heads in the sand like a bunch of wimpy ostriches – all in the name of political correctness.

Let’s talk about how Don Cherry has been shut up by a bunch of old-timers who are bored with playing bingo all day and seek attention by making a whole to-do about his every word. Let’s talk about how arguably the game’s most passionate advocate has no right to tell it like it is, because viewers might get offended.

Let’s talk about NHL game announcers. Let’s talk about Pierre McGuire and how backlash follows him like fleas on a dirty dog. Let’s talk about how the guy is labelled an idiot because he happens to like Sidney Crosby. Let’s talk about the fool’s fools calling games like puppets on strings. Let’s talk about how they have to monitor every word that leaves their lips for fear of being ostracized by the industry. Let’s talk about how everything is so damn impartial that a commentator can’t predict which team will win in a 10-0 game.

Let’s talk about Gary Betman. Let’s talk about how the guy is a freaking robot; how he refuses to comment on anything, and basically just poses any question he faces back to the reporters. Let’s talk about how the commissioner of the NHL has no right in this day and age to comment on anything happening in his own league!

(Take a look for yourself:

Let’s talk about people who sit at their keyboard biting their nails, s***ing themselves dry, worried about what the reaction to their comments might be. All of a sudden it is a sin to call a Russian lazy, and anyone who calls a Frenchy a wuss is damned to five long years in hell?

Let’s talk about players who are forced to offer public apologies that were written for them by some P.R. guy. All of a sudden Todd Bertuzzi, a few hours ago committing one of if not the most blatantly violent acts in NHL history, is weeping like a baby on national television? Give me a break. Save the drama for Hollywood. No one has time to waste with attempts to quiet the fan base. Any professional athlete who loses their cool in the heat of a moment and then pretends to be sorry is not only a jerk but a coward too.

Let’s talk about players who feed the same old drivel to the media on a daily basis. ‘Well, we’re gonna take it one game at a time’ and ‘We won’t underestimate them and get ahead of ourselves’ and ‘We realize that we win the game as a team.’ Isn’t it interesting that in a league with 600 odd players, there are about two opinions? 599 are the same, and Jeremy Roenick’s is different. That’s quite something, huh?

What type of world do we live in, people? If you have beliefs, you are biased; if you express them, well then you’re a full blown racist. If you don’t apologize upon confrontation? Gosh, well then you’re a plain and simple criminal!

I salute ‘I Hate Crosby’, one of the only ones with anything between his legs on these forums. If you can’t take the heat, get outta the kitchen boys.

The whole point of a forum is to discuss and debate. You have no clue who is typing away at a screen somewhere out there in the world – so what you got to be afraid of? There is no need to steer clear from opinion and definitely no reason to be ashamed of it!

You may have noticed I said ‘Let’s talk’ about fifteen times in the course of my little rant and rage. If you read this and don’t respond, but fall victim to the exact phenomenon you just read about – well, run for President of the United States. It’s the only job where you get heralded for following the public, all the while pretending to be their leader!


Edited by - Alex on 06/02/2008 14:31:57
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8286 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2008 :  14:37:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think you are more than a little off base here Alex. For many reasons but for the most part, because it takes a little bit of class to have a honorable opinion.

There is a huge difference in saying "Russians are lazy" and saying, "Historically, Russian hockey players are trained and coached to focus more on offense than defense." One is "PC" and the other is not. Both say the same thing.

And it doesn't take anything between your legs to say something that is not PC. It takes something between your legs to get the same point across without having to belittle anyone or a specific group.

And I disagree that Canadians are the best. Patriotically speaking, I agree. However, there are elite players from most every country that is represented in the NHL. In fact, when looking at the most common statistical measures (goals, assists, points, +/-, PP, SH, GW, and TOI) for skaters, only short handed goals, game winning goals, and time on ice had the top 5 positions dominated by Canadians. All other catagories have 3 or more of the top 5 as non Canadians from this past regualar season. Goaltending wise, most of the premier goalies in the league are non-Canadian(with the exception of Broduer and Luongo).

And Crosby is not the best of the best. He might have the heart of a lion and the determination to match, but the best of the best produce at the highest stage. Crosby is not doing that. Maybe one day, but not today. If the best of the best was measured in heart and determination, the best hockey player of all time was Kelly Buchberger.

However, it takes more than heart to be the best. You have to have heart, lead your team, and produce. Take a look at Iginla. His team did little to nothing to support him and they went 7 with one of the top three teams in the league in the reg. season. He did nothing but fight to the bitter end, lead his team further than they should have went, and produce.
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PickupHockey All-Star

2816 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  15:38:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
June 3, 2008

Referees: egocentric zebras on a power trip.

Alternatively, ‘an official who enforces the rules in certain sports contests.’ Although I think the first rendition provides a more lucid explanation…

The word referee is a derivative of the root word, ‘refer.’ Welcome to Etymology 101. Indeed, the referee was originally the ombudsman of his trade – a seldom used last resort upon whom players would refer arguments.

Notably, the referee’s early roots are planted in the game of soccer, a real gentlemen’s game. Initially, disputes were left in the hands of team captains, who would consult with one another to mutually judge the play in question. (Can you imagine if such a system were implemented in the NHL! There’s a laugh and a half right there.)

The system was flawless and worked well. However, time saw each team entrust the arbitrary responsibilities to a designated umpire – not because tensions ran high, but because captains wanted to focus on the game. One thing led to another, and eventually the referee position as we know it began to fashion itself, but not for reasons of impartiality or controversy. Rather, it was simply more convenient that way.

Fast-forward to 2008. We have four sets of eyes entirely dedicated to spotting out offenders. Ask yourselves my friends, where else would we find something so ridiculous? Does Ikea hire four guys to follow you around from entrance to exit to make sure you don’t jack any bedspreads? Do professional swimmers have four idiots swimming after them to make sure no funny business goes on? Do chess masters have to put up with four bystanders watching to make sure a piece isn’t moved when the opponent is looking away? Does the principal and three of his colleagues sit around each student’s desk making sure they aren’t peeking at another test paper? The whole system is ludicrous.

Referees simply do not have enough authority to make any constructive difference, and too much authority to be effective. Aside from the fact that a referee is dead space on the ice that inadvertently encourages the very acts he is there to put to rest, half the time the referees win and lose games for teams (which is an entirely different argument for a different time and place.)

I’d like to think that hockey players aren’t the worst behaved athletes out there. Now fantasize with me a little.

Suppose the referees were one day tied with onto chairs and fastened by ropes in their locker rooms. How do you think the game would turn out? OK, so the unavoidable slash and hook would creep in here and there. But eventually, the game would be played by the rules of the jungle: dog eats dog, i.e. you slash me I slash you twice. As a result, players would focus on the game and not on all the extra activity after the whistles that bores us all. Logically speaking, it makes no sense to misbehave in total anarchy, because your victim can retaliate openly with no consequence.

It’s a delicate process and it can not be done overnight. However, I think that especially lately, the need for a referee is diminishing. When the key calls need to be made, they mess up. If we don’t find a solution to this problem, the league will soon be dependant on their referees, something that should never happen. Suppose the NHL would run a test where all NHL exhibition games were played sans-referee. I think the results would be sensational.

Dirty players would simply be ostracized among their peers, who could file complaints through the PA. At that point, the matter is in the league’s hands.

Unlike say baseball, where doing away with the home plate ump is moronic, hockey is a sport that can achieve great things with time. Instead of making new rules every year to protect players (ex. mandatory visors) why not attack the cause as opposed to the effect? We need to restore the basic respect players have for each other without defusing the flames of rivalry. The NHL saw times where helmets were not the norm – what does that go to show you! Clearly, it as an attainable goal to imagine that one day the game will be on the forefront of athletes’ minds.

I’m sick and tired of the whining, the pointing of fingers, the make-up calls and the excuses. One referee should be enough, and his sole role should be to call major penalties. All minor penalties should be gradually done away with completely. Let captains put their heads together to determine the clutch and grab infractions. If players were actually put in charge of deciding things for themselves, they would realize how futile their petty arguments really are. No one would play like an ass because no one would have a reason to play like an ass.

How many world championships will be won by a puck fired over glass before we learn? How many ‘too many men’ will decide the outcomes of entire series? How many illegal sticks will turn the tables on the team with the upper hand? How many goalie interference calls will continue to burn teams? How many times will a referee pull a call out of his ass before we stop him from taking over the game?

Real men focus on the game and nothing else. The NHL should take actions to see a day where only real men play on their ice rinks.

Post-Script Edit Let me clear up the misconception. I am proposing one referee, who is only in charge of major calls. The minor calls would be basically overlooked unless there is a blatant hook or a blatant slash.

What I meant in the 'total anarchy, rules of the jungle' paragraph is the following: sure, at first people would break the rules. But eventually peope would realize that it does not make sense to trip someone, because they will just get right ack up and trip you back. Therefore, people would stop wasting time playing dirty and spend more time focusing on the game.

I believe that players would be SO careful not to as much as hold a guy for more than one second, because they know that they could get the exact same thing back. I believe that with my system, the players would have no choice but to focus on the game.

I do admit it is unrealistic and it is a slow process. But there was a time when such an idea was not inconceivable; in fact, there was a time when such a method was in practice.

Edited by - Alex on 06/04/2008 04:08:41
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PickupHockey Pro

902 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  18:45:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
[b]Hey Alex,

I commend you on not only your writing ability, which is gripping, intense, and stylistically appealing, but on the fact that you have taken it upon yourself to entice some of us, to read, and as you requested, react to your 'blog "o" opinions'. Well done.

Now regarding your request for interaction with us forum members, you asked for it, so I am willing to wade into the pool so to speak.

You denounce the need for an officiated game. Hmmm. You say the game will police itself and all will be fine as it would in the jungle...
I disagree completely. Hockey is a sport, in my opinion, the greatest sport, ever dreamed up by us lowly humans. Your blog reads like you would prefer to take a sport of grace, speed, tecnique and atleticism and turn it into no more than a gladitorial spectacle. Shame on you..
The game's greatest players wouldn't want that...why would you?

In your game, the Gretzky's. Lemieux's et. all, would never last in that environment, because they played the game the way it was supposed to be played, in a controlled, OFFICIATED, format, and we would all, as hockey fans, have never witnessed their greatness.

If there were no referees, how would such incidents as The Bertuzzi, The McSorley and the multiple Chris SImonses' have resolved, with someone's demise???

I do enjoy reading your blogs, and I have just started, but it is your blog, your opinions, and you invite response, so let me read on....and I will be back...

Edited by - fat_elvis_rocked on 06/03/2008 18:46:35
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8286 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  22:19:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Is there a single sport in the world that is not officiated in some way????

None that I can think of. I think there might be a reason behind that. I think it might be that there needs to be an outside agent to maintain the flow and enforce the rules.

Hockey is no different, in fact, would more than likely be worse than other sports at "self policing." Many other sports do not have a 5 foot weopon as part of the equipment and a couple of knives on the bottom of the players footware.
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Top Prospect

3 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2008 :  23:29:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Alex, you've completely lost me on this one. The game of hockey would be better if we got rid the referees? I'm going to assume that you've written this one in the hopes of getting any kind of response, because you're not going to be getting ones of agreement.

I understand if you're frustrated with the refereeing this postseason - there have been a whole lot of questionable calls and when games can be decided by a timely powerplay it's easy to throw up your hands and declare that we'd be better of as a whole without any referees at all.

But this just doesn't make sense. Here are some of the points I have a problem with:

But eventually, the game would be played by the rules of the jungle: dog eats dog, i.e. you slash me I slash you twice. As a result, players would focus on the game and not on all the extra activity after the whistles that bores us all. Logically speaking, it makes no sense to misbehave in total anarchy, because your victim can retaliate openly with no consequence.
First of all, you're contradicting yourself here. On the one hand, how can you say that the rules of the jungle say that "you slash me and I slash you twice" and two sentences later say that anarchy allows one to "retaliate with no consequence?" Of course you know what would happen... one incident leads to the next one, to the next one, and devolution to stickwork, suckerpunching, benchclearing brawls, etc.

Dirty players would simply be ostracized among their peers, who could file complaints through the PA. At that point, the matter is in the league’s hands.
There once was a time when players "took the law in their own hands." Remember Bobby Clarke? He was perhaps the dirtiest player around at that time (carving opponents up with his stick, breaking Valeri Kharlamov's ankle while on Team Canada), and he wasn't ostracized... he was protected by the rest of the Broad Street Bullies team, and also lionized as a "fierce competitor." That Philly team, known for their rough tactics, ran roughshod over the league while picking up a couple of Stanley Cups in the 1970's.

Let captains put their heads together to determine the clutch and grab infractions. If players were actually put in charge of deciding things for themselves, they would realize how futile their petty arguments really are.
I don't get this one at all. How would the captains "put their heads together?" Why would they realize how "futile their petty arguments really are?" Have you ever played competitive sports? You know that at almost any level athletes are always looking for the edge on an opponent. You think that at the professional sport level with so much on the line in every game that two battling teams are going to be able to work out their differences in a caring and cooperative way?

I could go on, but you get the idea. Keep those blogs coming... they're well-written and always entertaining to read. I just had throw in my $0.02 on this one.

Edited by - snoopzen on 06/03/2008 23:30:49
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