Showing posts with label NHL hockey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NHL hockey. Show all posts

Sunday, April 26, 2015

First Round Shaking out Like I Thought

So far, the First round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs has been pretty fun to watch. Last night's games in Calgary and Chicago were top notch. The Saddle Dome in Calgary was rocking as the Calgary Flames advanced to the second round for the first time since 2004.

The action on the ice has been fantastic. Taking a look at my 2015 Stanely Cup picks, my favorite to win the Stanley Cup is on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings have given the Lightnings fits and they haven't allowed them to generate offense. The Red Wings also have gotten good goaltending from Petr Mrazek (3-2, 1.92 GAA, .937 SV%). Mrazek also has two shutouts.

For comparison sake, Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk is (3-2, 2.61 GAA, .898 SV%).  The Wild can look to end that series this afternoon.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Midnight Hockey Causing Problems for Hockey Fans

This has become a subject of much discussion on twitter the past couple of night. Games aren't starting on time, games for central time zones are an hour and a half later than usual.

First NBC has done us a favor by having all of the game on during the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second year in a row. For that, most of us are thankful. There's been some really good hockey during the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Unfortunately, there’s has been some really late night hockey games. Hopefully, that will change during the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when there are fewer games on.
Dan Caesar, St. Louis Post-Dispatch – And because of television, fans of several teams in the Central time zone also have been subject to games that are scheduled to start 90 minutes later than is the norm in the regular season — 8:30 p.m. instead of 7 o’clock. Three contests in the Blues-Wild series have been tabbed for that inconvenient time. The reason: The networks often show an earlier game and hope it will end before the later contest begins. But that 8:30 “start” time isn’t really when the game begins.

The opening faceoff for a weeknight game last week in St. Louis was 8:40. And Wednesday in Minnesota it was 8:45 p.m.

The worst case occurred Tuesday in Chicago, where the Blackhawks’ contest with Nashville didn’t start until 8:45 — 15 minutes after the listed time. The game wasn’t decided until the third overtime period and ended at 1:16 a.m. A normal start of shortly after 7 p.m. would have had that ending about 11:15 p.m. — much more palatable for fans who still had to get home and to bed before getting up for normal weekday activities a few hours later.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Taking a Look at the Subban Slash on Stone

It's the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and on the opening night there's already some controversy.

At the 8:23 mark of the second period, Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for slashing Mark Stone. Some have said that the slash was weak and Stone embellished the call. I don't know. Stone suffered a microfracture on the play.

The Senators want Subban to be suspended for his slash on Stone and the Senators head coach Dave Cameron had some interesting things to say after the game.
Failing that, Cameron warned darkly, his team might have to inflict its own brand of justice on the Canadiens. “I think it’s quite simple,” Cameron said. “It’s a vicious slash on an unprotected part of his body and you either do one of two things. I think it’s an easy solution: You either suspend him or one of their best players gets slashed and you just give us five. It’s not that complicated.” Those are fighting words – literally, if Chris Neil dresses for Game 2. (Habs Inside Out)

According to the NHL, Subban will not be suspended for his hit on Stone.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Tuesday at the Links: Wild Finish Expected

This is the last week of hockey in the NHL. The Frozen Four kicks off this weekend. There's a lot of hockey news breaking.

The NHL’s 2014-15 regular season is over this weekend. Apparently, Ron MacLean has fallen out of favor with Rogers Sport Ca.

David Shoalts, the Globe and Mail -- The start of the NHL playoffs next week will likely bring a significant change for television viewers. For the first time in 28 years, Ron MacLean is not scheduled to be in a host’s chair for any of the first-round series. MacLean will only be seen in his role as Don Cherry’s sidekick on Coach’s Corner, although the plan is to have the popular duo on the air almost every night.

When Rogers Communications Inc. wrested the Canadian national broadcast rights away from the CBC and TSN before this season, MacLean was replaced as the main Hockey Night In Canada host by George Stroumboulopoulos. MacLean retained his role with Cherry, but his host duties were confined to Rogers Hometown Hockey broadcasts on Sunday nights on the Sportsnet and City networks. Hometown Hockey wrapped for the season last Sunday.
Brett Slawson of the Hockey Writers has his top-ten free agents.

Devan Dubnyk has been likely the most inspiring story in the NHL this year. After a disastrous 2013-14 season, Dubnyk’s NHL career looked to be coming to an end, however, since being given an opportunity with Arizona and now Minnesota, Devan has established himself as one of the top goaltenders in the NHL today.

Like Soderberg, Dubnyk is also in an interesting situation. Prior to this season, Dubnyk struggled to say the least, making it difficult for a club to reward Dubnyk for one stellar season amid a career of inconsistency.

At the age of 28, Dubnyk has a ton of hockey ahead of him, while his current cap hit of 378K with the Wild, per conditions of his trade from Arizona, make Dubnyk the best bargain in the NHL. His 2014-15 contract, which pays 800K in total, is likely much less than the Wild or any other team will be willing to pay Devan for his services.

Considering Minnesota’s lack of goaltending options, the Wild will likely retain Dubnyk with a one to two year contract, as despite his stellar play this year, it’s hard to see a large number of NHL teams bidding for Dubnyk’s inconsistent services.
Hockey Wilderness: Wild Fail to Punch their Ticket to the Postseason

NHL Rumors: Bruins could look to trade Marc Savard's contract

SBN College Hockey: Goaltending key to Frozen Four Teams

Julien: We aren't out of the woods for playoff spot

Saturday, April 04, 2015

New York Post: Refs’ Dangerous Let-Em-Play Policy Is Killing Offense

Recently, I had this discussion with a friend of mine. His argument was, if you want to increase scoring, the refs need to blow the whistle more. If you think about this, it sounds like a simple solution.

Basically, in a nutshell, it would appear that the number of penalties being called on the ice in the NHL are down this season.
Brett Cyrgalis, New York Post – So many games I’ve seen this year have devolved into something out of Jacques Lemaire’s Devils playbook. And you know who does about as well at it as anyone? Those fast-paced Rangers. That one-goal lead they held in the third period Thursday night against the Wild — there was no chance they were letting that slip away, because there was no chance they were letting Minnesota players get out of arm’s reach. Dump it in, get a third man high, clog the neutral zone, double-team in corners — and if someone happens to get a good look, let it be one-on-one with the goalie.


Yes, there are other factors in why scoring is so low. The goalie equipment is huge, and the nets are the same size. The talent pool is now fully international, and the teams are deeper.

But if the league wants more scoring — which you would think it does — they have to start with the officiating. And it’s too late now, the regular season is practically over, and the new version of officiating is about to take effect
What do you think? There may be something to the argument. This season, there’s not one player close to scoring 100 points. The NHL only has five players that have a shot a making 80 points. Currently, only Sidney Crosby has scored (26g-54a—80pts).

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ovie Takes Krug Slap Shot in the Junk.

S/t to Pete Blackburn.... Alex Ovechkin takes a Torey Krug slap shot in the junk. Dead center.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Globe and Mail: Are the Refs tough on Subban and the Habs?

Here's a great article that I found in the Globe and Mail. Obviously, this article is written from the perspective of a Hab's writer, but it’s still worth the read. That being said,  I do think that Hab’s and P.K. Subban have earned the reputation of being divers. They’re not the only ones, either.
There is an irony to the Subban decision.

In one of the incidents cited on his rap sheet, he was zestily pitchforked in the nether bits by noted miscreant Brad Marchand of Boston. In the second, he fell while turning away on one skate after a light crosscheck from behind by Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers.

Kreider took vigorous exception to Subban falling over, which can happen when ice and skates are involved. Perhaps he would have been more understanding if Subban had barrelled into a goaltender while losing his footing, as Kreider does with alarming regularity.

Neither example is egregious, but trust the NHL and its officials to miss a truly objectionable bit of poor sportsmanship from Subban last month, when he literally dived to the ice after being tripped by Tampa Bay’s Jason Garrison.

Some of the received hockey wisdom about Subban is deserved; he occasionally exaggerates in order to influence the refs (he does it far less than in the past). This does not differentiate him from his peers. (Globe and Mail)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Half Way NHL Power Rankings

It is time to give my mid season NHL Power Rankings. Like always, if you think different from me, please share your opinions with a comment on the article or contact me on twitter @siouxhockey33.

1. Nashville Predators
2. Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Anaheim Ducks
4. Chicago Blackhawks
5. New York Islanders
6. St. Louis Blues
7. Montreal Canadians
8. Tampa Bay Lightning
9. Washington Capitals
10. New York Rangers.
11. Detroit Red Wings
12. LA Kings
13. Boston Bruins
14. Winnipeg Jets
15. San Jose Sharks
16. Vancouver Canucks
17. Florida Panthers
18. Toronto Maple Leafs
19. Calgary Flames
20. Dallas Stars
21. Minnesota Wild
22. Colorado Avalanche
23. Ottawa Senators
24. Columbus Blue Jackets
25. Philadelphia Flyers
26. Arizona Coyotes
27. New Jersey Devils
28. Carolina Hurricanes
29. Buffalo Sabres
30. Edmonton Oilers

Friday, January 09, 2015

Wild Struggles Calls for Change

After a December to forget, the Minnesota Wild still are carrying their struggles into the new year after two more losses to San Jose and Chicago. One may think it is time to make some kind of change, but where that is the question?

You can first point the finger at the goaltending as of late. Between Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom, the two have combined for the second worst save percentage in the entire NHL. Whether they find a goalie through free agency, or they make a trade for one, and hopefully soon, the goalies need to step up, or step back for some new blood in the line up. What they are doing now does not seem to be working too well.

What options are available you might ask? Two goalies come to mind right away for me. James Reimer out of Toronto and Cam Ward out of Carolina. Both of these goalies are proven number one goalies and both would not be that expensive to get either. Also don't forget that Cam Ward is a Stanley Cup winner as well.

One can not forget about Anti Raanta in Chicago either. Corey Crawford is the solid number one there and Raanta is nearing the end of his contract. His .944 save percentage might just be what the Minnesota Wild need in the blue paint to make that push for the playoffs.

A big defenseman is also something that needs to be looked at in the Wild line-up as well. This is a team that lacks grit and a physical presence throughout the line-up, but who to get, that's the other question?

Both Mike Greene out of Washington and Paul Martin out of Pittsburgh are UFA's at the end of the upcoming season and both would be a solid veteran presence on the blue line for the stretch run. Aside from that, there really is not much to expect from a possible trade stand point as of right now to address the lack of veteran presence on the blue line for the Wild.

Finally, the lack of chemistry throughout the forward line-up seems to be a big issue as well. Thomas Vanek can not seem to click with anyone, making his signing seem like one that was wasted by the franchise. Also Jason Pominville can not seem to get going this season either. Now I don't know what happened, but for as talented as the forward roster is, you would think goals would be coming a bit easier than what they are getting right now.

Something needs to change, and very fast for this struggling Minnesota Wild team, or it is gonna leave many experts, and fans alike frustrated, and scratching their heads because this is a team that should easily make the playoffs this season, but are a team that probably will not as of right now.

Friday, December 26, 2014

New AHL OT Rule Generating Buzz

I like the new overtime rule that the American Hockey League is using. Apparently, the fans seem to like it and the new rule is generating a lot of attention. It will be interesting to see if the NHL adopts this rule.
PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer -- Currently, the NHL uses a 4-on-4 OT model for five minutes. If no one scores, then it goes to a shootout.

But here's how the extra period works on the AHL level: It's seven minutes long - or until someone scores, of course - with the opening three minutes 4-on-4. Then, after the next whistle, it switches to 3-on-3 for the last four, leading to lots of room for creativity and scoring chances. If that doesn't decide things, it goes to a shootout, a concept that drives many a coach bonkers since it's almost like a skills competition.

That's the thing, though. This new overtime system has cut down significantly on shootouts.

Last year, the AHL had 65 percent of its OT games decided in a shootout, Andrews said. This season, it's shrunk to 25 percent.

Even more, of the 99 overtime games so far, 35 of them have been decided in 3-on-3 action.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Radko Gudas hit on Scottie Upshall

Last night, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas took out Florida Panthers forward Scottie Upshall with this questionable, high hit. The hit happened during the second period.

Today, it was announced that Gudas will not face a hearing for this hit. Obviously, not every hit si going to result in a hearing or a suspension.

Looking at the hit, it appears to be a violation of the NHl's rule 48. Thoughts?

48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted. However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

USA Hockey: Campus calling

Here's a good read about US college hockey and the percentage of former college hockey players that end up in the NHL.  
Ryan O'Leary Campus Calling -- Once seen as an “also ran” when compared to other NHL feeder systems (the CHL and Europe to be specific), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hockey, whose season starts up this month, is becoming a premier destination for young hockey talent and one of the largest pipelines directly to the pro ranks.

According to College Hockey Inc., a record 305-college alum played in the NHL during the 2013-14 season – equating to 31% of league personnel. That’s 11% more former NCAA players in the NHL compared to the year 2000.

The recently held 2014 NHL Entry Draft featured 65 U.S. born players, the most since 1991 (67), of which 47 are currently playing NCAA Hockey or are committed to play at a college or university in the future.

In fact, College Hockey Inc. reports that NHL Drafts have featured at least 60 current or future college players for 13 years consecutively.

Friday, October 03, 2014

CTV News: Gary Bettman won't apologize for NHL lockouts during his tenure

This is an interesting article about NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman. Apparently, he's not going to apologize for the NHL's previous lockouts. Personally, I have always thought that Bettman is an unlikable figure that gets booed in almost every NHL city that he shows up in. That being said, if the owners didn't want him, he would have been gone already.
Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press -- Gary Bettman was walking down a Toronto street recently when a fan approached him.

"Some guy walks up to me and says, 'I really don't like you,"' the NHL commissioner recalled. "And I said, 'But you don't know me.' And he says, 'Yeah but I don't like work stoppages, and I go, 'Well neither do I, so we have that in common."'

Bettman will forever take a popularity hit for three lockouts during his tenure, but he won't apologize for them. Ten years after the league ground to a halt and the 2004-05 season was cancelled, he maintains it was necessary for the health of the sport.

NHL proactive about off-ice conduct, Gary Bettman says.

Pointing to the '04 Stanley Cup final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames in which the team to score the first goal won each game of the series and contrasting that with the 2013 playoffs and its unpredictability, Bettman believes the on-ice product is better than ever.

To get to this point, though, Bettman said implementing the salary cap -- which came out of the 2004-05 lockout -- was essential.

"We had teams with 80-, 90 million-dollar payrolls and we had teams with 20-million-dollar payrolls," Bettman said at a recent Canadian Club luncheon. "And I would talk to the managers and coaches of the 20-million-dollar teams and go, 'How are you doing this?' And they would say to me, to a man, 'We clutch, we grab, we hook, we hold and we do everything possible to neutralize skill for 50 minutes and then we try to steal the game.'

Monday, September 22, 2014

San Jose Sharks Pugilist Scott Adds Security

According to, former Michigan Tech Husky defenseman John Scott is paid $700,000.00 a year to skate around the ice and beat people up. Scott plays an average of 6.44 minutes a game. Other than fighting abilities, Scott has no other hockey talents. His Corsi numbers aren't that good either. That’s quite the racket.
Kevin Kurz, CSCNBAYAREA.COM --"It was just one of those things. He hit my guy, I didn’t really care for it,” Scott said. “I gave him a little nudge. He slashed me and I kind of went after him. Cooler heads prevailed, and we went our separate ways.”

Todd McLellan said: “I thought it was a really good moment for our team. Taylor finished a teammate really hard and John stepped in. He let everybody know what his job was. Taylor responded well. We didn’t need to wound or injure anybody. They handled it very well, and we moved on.”

Scott's role is clearly defined. He’s not going to play every night, and even when he’s in the lineup, his minutes will likely be limited. In 56 games with Buffalo last season, Scott had one goal and 125 penalty minutes – including five fights – while playing just 6:45 per game.
Sounds like the head coach of the San Jose Sharks, Todd McLellan has said that Scott is going to be an insurance policy, or extra security. I wonder if Scott will be in uniform when the Leafs and Sharks play?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Penguins Unveil New Third Jersey

Looking at these jersey's I am having flashbacks of the 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs finals where the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Minnesota North Stars four games to two, to win the Stanley Cup. The Penguins will wear their new third jersey 12 times this season.

UND Hockey: 25 Former UND hockey Players on NHL Training Camp Rosters

The list has been updated, there were a few omissions.

Arizona Coyotes: Matt Smaby, Buffalo Sabres: Drew Stafford (A); Calgary Flames: Corban Knight; Carolina Hurricanes: Brad Malone; Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews (C); Edmonton Oilers: Dillon Simpson; Florida Panthers: Rocco Grimaldi; Los Angeles Kings: Derek Forbort, Matt Greene (A); Minnesota Wild: Zach Parise (A); Montreal Canadiens: Joe Finley; Nashville Bredators: Brian Lee; New Jersey Devils Darcy Zajac, Travis Zajac (A); New York Rangers: Danny Kristo; Philadelphia Flyers: Brett Hextall, Chris Vande Velde; Pittsburgh Penguins: Taylor Chorney; San Jose Sharks: Aaron Dell, Evan Trupp; St. Louis Blues: T.J. Oshie (A); Chris Porter; Toronto Maple Leafs: Matt Frattin, Andrew MacWilliam.

Currently, UND has six players wearing letters.

Some have mentioned that Adam Tambellini is in camp with the New York Rangers. Personally, I could care less. Tambo left the team and his teammates halfway through his first season to go to the WHL, so in my opinion, he’s a Calgary Hitman. It is what it is.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NHL Might Not Publish Offenders Names

According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, the NHL might not publish the names of the offending divers. Sounds like this is a work in progress so far. I say embarrass the divers, make their names public. Let's have a weekly report exposing the frauds that dive up and down the ice.

Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told the Daily News via email on Friday that the NHL’s new fines for players and coaches for excessive diving will be determined after each game by video review, regardless of the call on the ice. In other words, just because a player isn’t called for embellishment in a game doesn’t mean the league can’t charge him for it later. The NHL hasn’t determined whether it will publicize its decisions, Daly said.
I am serious about this, college and professional hockey have a problem with players that embellish calls to draw a penalty. It's time to expose the fraudsthat flail all over the ice and act like soccer players. Diving cheapens the game and is a form of cheating.

Friday, September 12, 2014

NHL Bans the Spin-o-rama

The NHL has banned the spin-o-rama. I think this is actually a good rule. Thoughts. Here's what former NHL official Paul Stewart has this to say on his blog.
Paul Stewart, Hockey Buzz -- Rule 24 – Penalty Shot The 'Spin-O-Rama' move, as described in Section 24.2 of the 2013-14 NHL Rule Book, will no longer be permitted either in Penalty Shot situations or in the Shootout.

There is a longstanding rule about not a shooter being allowed to move the puck backwards in such situations. As such, there is a justification for declaring the spin-o-rama illegal in penalty shots and shootouts.

From a broader perspective, however, isn't the supposed purpose of the shootout for added entertainment value to decide regular season games in lieu of ties? There's a slippery slope here in banning a certain move.

My question is this: How many people were actually clamoring for this new rule in the first place, apart from some goaltenders and coaches of teams that scored upon on a penalty shot or shootout? I know plenty of traditionalists who argue to this day that the shootout itself should be scrapped. By comparison, what's the population of shootout enthusiasts who were pushing for a spin-o-rama ban?
From Sportsnet.CA
In shootouts, coaches no longer have to submit a list of their first three shooters. Players are also no longer able to do a "spin-o-rama" on penalty shots or in a shootout.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mike Yeo: Wild starting job in goal wide open

As we make our way towards the NHL season there's more hockey news starting to emerge. The Wild are going to have a stable of goalies this season. According to Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo, the position is wide open.
NHL Insider -- The Minnesota Wild will enter training camp next month with three goaltenders, Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper, competing for the starting job. Wild coach Mike Yeo said each will have a chance to win the No. 1 job.

"I have to say we're kind of open right now, to be honest with you," Yeo told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune on Wednesday during an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair. "We're going to have some scrimmages … but we're going to have to pretty quickly determine who we want to give a greater workload to after that. That's going to be a good challenge."
Obviously, they Wild are going to  need to sign Darcy Kuemper who remains an unsigned restricted free agent. There's also many questions about Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding's health. Neither has been able to play a full season the last two years.