Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wednesday in Review

Three games tonight, all decided by one goal, all in regulation.

11 goals in total.

Philadelphia 4:52, Mike Knuble 8 (Peter Forsberg, Simon Gagne)
Nashville 13:32, Steve Sullivan 7 (J.P. Dumont, Shea Weber)
Nashville 6:18, Alexander Radulov 5 (Dan Hamhuis, Chris Mason)
Philadelphia 13:29, R.J. Umberger 7 (Randy Robitaille, Geoff Sanderson)
Nashville 14:51, Martin Erat 6 (Paul Kariya)

Minnesota 2:54, Mattias Weinhandl 1 (Todd White)
San Jose 6:19, Joe Pavelski 3 (power play) (Matt Carle)
San Jose 7:02, Steve Bernier 8 (Christian Ehrhoff)

Dallas 18:06, Jere Lehtinen 4 (Loui Eriksson, Mike Modano)
Chicago 11:43, Tony Salmelainen 1 (Duncan Keith, Mikael Holmqvist)
Chicago 18:12, Tuomo Ruutu 5 (unassisted)

Nobody had a two point night.

Chris Mason finished in a 27-way tie in the nightly scoring race.

Ten of 11 goals were scored at even-strength.

Team powerplays were a combined 1 for 20.

It's interesting that the last couple of nights the goalies have been stealing the headlines.

On Tuesday there were four shutouts (including Auld), three goalies that gave up just one goal and five teams that gave up two goals out of a total of 10 games. By my count that's 60% teams scoring 2 or less on the night.

On Monday there were 7 total goals scored in two games (plus a shootout goal). Sunday was better with 16 goals in 3 games but Saturday, out of 11 games there 14 teams (64%) who scored 2 goals or less.

Tonight the six goalie combined for a group GAA of 1.83 and a .927 save percentage.

Something to watch for over the next little while - it may be just a anomaly. Or maybe, the dreaded 'trap' is starting to sneak back into the game? It's worth noting that Sharks had the most shots with 31 and that a team had 10+ shots in a period tonight only five times (28%).

Stay tuned...

Game Winners: Erat, Bernier, Ruutu
Goalie of the Night: Nik Khabibulin
Sniper of the Night: (tie) Tony Salmelainen, Mattias Weinhandl
Defenceman of the Night: Dan Hamhuis
Clutch Play of the Night: Ruutu on a breakaway with under 2 minutes left

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Many Happy Returns

Chris Pronger: 1 A, +1, 26:06 TOI - Ducks Win

Martin Gerber: stopped 29 of 30 - Sens Win

Alex Tanguay: 1 G, 1 A, +1 - Flames Win

Anson Carter: 20:26 TOI - Canucks Win

Also last night, two Canadian teams suffered key injuries. McCabe left the game late with an ankle injury that right now doesn't sound too serious (although he will be evaluated today) and Hemsky left with a shoulder injury. According to Dan Tencer at hockeybuzz he left the building in a sling and will also be evaluated today. This one has potential to be severe which would be a tough blow for the Oilers..

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tuesday in Review

I'll try to get my thoughts from tonight's games online by tomorrow afternoon. Right now I'm not feeling well so I'm going to get some sleep..

Credit to Marty Gerber for coming up big tonight against his former team.

Speaking of goalies, Kolzig stopped 48 of 50 and Huet was flawless in a 1-0 shootout win.

Not to be outdone, Tim Thomas stopped allowed one goal on 46 shots and Toskala was perfect too.

So far Pronger has been upstaged on the night by a talented group of goalies..

More to come...

Coming to

Thanks to everyone who have been visiting the site - those who have been coming since the beginning and those who've recently discovered it. It's been really fun writing over the past six weeks and I'm amazed at the amount of people from all over the world who have been reading what I have to say.

When I started this site on a Saturday afternoon in October, I wasn't really thinking about anything other than finding a distraction from some work that I had to do. I wasn't even thinking that anybody would want to read it. As you can surely tell I'm not a professional writer by any means, nor do I have any inside sources. But I do love hockey as much (or more) than anyone else and I can talk about hockey pretty much 24/7.

Just this past weekend I got a call from Eklund at hockeybuzz, asking me to start writing for his site. I thought about it for a while because I really do like being able to focus on my own site, even if it gets a tiny fraction of the readers that his site does. In the end I realized that it's an opportunity too good to pass up. It's a chance to reach a much broader audience and be on a site where there is much more interaction with the readers.

What I was hoping to get from you guys are some thoughts on what you like/don't like on this site so I can decide how/what to post on hockeybuzz. E-mail me at if you have any thoughts.

Thanks again for your support, your time and your passion. I'll let you know when my first post is up on the site!


Monday in Review

Just two games tonight, both on Versus/OLN and both very good ones:

Detroit wins 2-1 over Dallas
* The Wings snap their 5 game winless streak by scoring two shorthanded goals in the third period
* Turco and Hasek was another great goaltending match (there have been quite a few recently)
* Lidstrom is amazing. The guy just never makes mistakes. Years from now when Kronwall is a top defenceman a lot of the credit will go to playing with one of the best.
* Hudler has been a disappointment so far. He looks very small out there and not very confident
* Aside from the LA game, Lindros hasn't done too much recently
* I can't explain what is wrong with the Wings' powerplay.. with that talent they should be in the top half of the league. Instead they're at the very bottom with just twelve goals

LA wins 3-2 over New Jersey in a shootout
* Kopitar and Frolov both made sweet moves in the shootout
* Garon seems to be taking over the job from Cloutier, he made some clutch saves
* Yet again the Kings were carried by their four young emerging forwards - Brown crashed the net hard and Cammalleri's goal was a beautiful shot right in the top corner
* Without Brodeur the Kings would have won this one in regulation. They've now won two in a row at home against tough opponents
* Derek Armstrong played probably his best game of the year
* Jersey scored twice on the powerplay - they still need to start generating more offense at 5-on-5

Game Winners: Schneider (SH), Kopitar (SO)
Goalie of the Night: Dominik Hasek
Sniper of the Night: Mike Cammalleri
Defenceman of the Night: Nik Lidstrom
Clutch Play of the Night: Kopitar's shootout goal

Monday, November 27, 2006

Trent Yawney Fired, Denis Savard Takes Over

If the Hawks ever win the Cup under Savard, I have a pretty good idea who will get to lift it first..

But given that this franchise has been in disarray for so long I don't think they need to worry about that right now. The Hawks have not won a playoff round since 1996 and have only been to the playoffs once in the last 8 years.

Over those eight years, they've gone through far too many head coaches: Craig Hartsburg, Dirk Graham, Lorne Molleken, Bob Pulford, Alpo Suhonen, Al MacAdam/Denis Savard (co-coaches), Brent Sutter and Trent Yawney.

It seems the Hawks have been grooming Savard for this role since his retirement in 1997. Here's hoping for the sake of Hawks' fans that this move will bring some stability behind the bench and will help to get things turned around in the right direction.

On an another note, I have to point out the resemblance to another star who has been in the news recently:

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday in Review

Just three games on the schedule tonight but no shortage of storylines:

* Mike Wall wins for Anaheim in his first NHL start.
* Both Giguere and Bryzgalov were out with "lower body injuries" so Wall got the start with David McKee backing him up
* Selanne potted #501 and 502
* McLennan started just his second game of the year for Calgary and gave up four goals for the second time
* Huselius had a pair but Friesen, McCarty and Lundmark are all still looking for their first
* Pronger was fantastic, as usual, with 2 assists, 28:59 played and was a +1
* Calgary has now lost three of four and still need offensive help
* Anaheim has points in 6 straight and all but two games this season

* Rookie Johan Holmqvist led the Lightning over Ottawa, his 8th win in his last 9 starts
* St. Louis, Richards and Kuba each had a goal and an assist
* Marty is two goals behind Shanahan for the league lead
* What's interesting about Tampa is that they often have their star forwards leading the team in ice time - tonight it was St. Louis with 26:18 and Richards with 24:40.
* Corvo was a -2, on for both Lightning goals that were scored within 36 seconds
* With Volchenkov out, Meszaros led the Sens in ice time
* Despite a three-year deal it doesn't look like Denis is getting his job back any time soon

* Another former Rangers' 7th rounder out of Sweden played very well in net but Lundqvist lost the game in OT on a Chris Drury deflection
* Buffalo is now 11-1 on the road and haven't yet lost two in a row all year
* Combined, these two top-10 powerplay units were 1-15, the only goal by Max Afinogenov
* Straka scored both goals for New York as he continues to take advantage of his spot on Jagr's line
* Miller was great tonight - in his 15 prior starts he's actually given up 4 goals eight times. Of course the Sabres have scored so much that nobody has really noticed.

Game Winners: Teemu Selanne, Brad Richards and Chris Drury
Goalie of the Night: Johan Holmqvist
Sniper of the Night: Teemu Selanne
Defenceman of the Night: Chris Pronger
Clutch Play of the Night: Chris Drury's goal

Saturday in Review

By now you already know what happened last night. Here's what I liked/didn't like:

* Gagne and Nittymaki leading the Flyers to a win
* Ex-Leaf Boyes scoring to put away the Leafs
* Chara dominating in both ends
* Chistov showing small flashes that he may not be a bust afterall
* Columbus scoring goals - 5 of them
* Fedorov with 4 points
* Lehtonen shutting out Florida
* Nabokov shutting out New Jersey
* Thornton's sweet goal on Brodeur
* Frolov, Cammalleri, Brown and Kopitar all contributing offensively
* Wojtek Wolski with a four point night
* Lundvist v Fleury - a great goaltending dual
* Jagr. Enough said there
* Nolan and Perreault both getting goals
* Nashville making a statement vs Detroit
* Chris Mason stepping up in Vokoun's absence - the Preds will need more of that
* Nashville's offense from their D
* Jason Blake's explosiveness
* Rick Dipietro's consistency - can he keep it up?
* Islanders' ceremony for Bob Bourne with Bossy and Trottier in attendance
* Ron Maclean's pre-game interview of Colin Campbell - very tough but fair
* Kelly Hrudey's critique of Jose Theodore during Behind the Mark - very tough but fair
* Tony Granato on After Hours - he's a classy guy and his story is an inspirational one

* Sundin came back but the Leafs' offense sputtered
* Tucker as a fighter instead of a scorer
* The Habs giving up a late shorthanded goal down by one
* Yashin going down with a knee injury - sounds like nothing serious though
* Devils having scoring trouble, even with Gomez back
* Canucks having scoring trouble, with Daniel Sedin out
* Calgary's special teams vs LA
* Phoenix v St. Louis - somebody had to get two points
* Joey McDonald struggling

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday in Review

Sorry about the delay in getting this up. I was writing something for and I should have more exciting news on that front in the coming days. But enough about me - here's what is going on in the league:

It was an eventful day with 11 games on the schedule. We could call it "Revenge Friday" as Hitch was in Philly, Niedermayer was in NJ and Legace was in Motown..

Ken Hitchcock coached his first game for Columbus against a Flyers team that he was coaching about a month ago. Columbus played very well, outshooting Philly 41-22 but lost on a goal by Mike Richards, of all people.

"It felt good to go on the bench. It felt good to coach the game. It felt good to try to help the team win," Hitchcock said. "I'm excited to get back and teach again." (from AP)

Richards hadn't scored in 46 regular season and playoff games so that has to be a huge relief for him

Carolina played well after losing two straight in New York (NYR & NYI). The Canes scored twice in 9 seconds midway through the second to open up a two-goal lead and never looked back.

Tim Thomas was pulled, but according to Dave Lewis it wasn't because of his play:

"I thought he was our best player," Boston coach Dave Lewis said of Thomas. "I didn't want to subject him anymore to their approach. We had 19 players that were off their game and he was the only one that was on." (from AP)

Andrew Ladd scored his second of the year. There are rumours of him being dangled in an attempt to add help on defence.

Niklas Backstrom started and played very well once again, shutting out the Coyotes 4-0. Backstrom has given up just 10 goals in 355 minutes of action this year.

The Ducks beat the Devils 4-2 as Niedermayer returned to New Jersey. Apparently Brodeur had some critical words on Niedermayer in his recently released book, regarding Niedermayer's choice to have surgery instead of playing in the Olympics last year, and his decision to leave New Jersey and sign with the Devils. Surprising that Marty chose to criticize Niedermayer and I'm sure it felt good for him to beat his former team (and possibly former friend).

The Islanders continued to roll, this team beating the Pens in front of a sold-out Nassau Coliseum. Crosby took the pregame skate but missed another one due to his groin injury.

Soonafter scoring in the third to break the shutout, Malkin was crushed by Brendan Witt. Fortunately, he doesn't appear to be hurt although I have a feeling he has learned his lesson to keep his head up.

Dipietro played very well yet again.

Toronto shelled Washington 7-1. The Leafs get Sundin back tonight after scoring 4 goals a game in his absence.

Tucker scored his 16th of the year. He is now tied with Hossa for second in the entire league, 1 goal behind Shanahan.

Ottawa's resurgence continues, led by Heatley, Spezza and Emery. The Sens are now back to .500 and climbing.

Dany Heatley had three goals and an assist and is playing great hockey. He's now just three points behind Hossa, who was way ahead not too long ago. He has been consistently generating offense, putting up points in 15 of the last 18 games

St. Louis upset Detroit in a shootout. The Wings outshot the Blues 43-19 but were stoned by their old friend Manny Legace. That had to be a sweet win for Manny, who wasn't treated great on his way out of Detroit but still took the high road:

"It was nice to be back in front of the fans," Legace said. "I saw some signs in the warmup, it brought some tears to my eyes. They missed me and that touched me. They treated me well here. I love it here. My summer home is here. It was a good homecoming." (from AP)

Johan Franzen missed the game with a concussion and may be out for a while. It's time to seriously look at these hits to the head and figure out how to protect the players. Hopefully it won't take an injury to a star player before that happens.

Sheldon Souray scored with one second left in OT to knock off the Sabres. Both Huet and Miller played extremely well but it was Miller who blinked just before the game went to the shootout. Montreal is a team that I doubt the Sabres would want to see in the playoffs..

Marty St. Louis scored the winner in OT and added an assist to beat Atlanta. At first when he started playing better I thought he brought his value up enough to be dealt. Now I think he is too valuable to be dealt.

Philippe Boucher had a hat trick against his former team as the Stars beat LA 5-3. The Kings can't seem to keep the puck out whether Cloutier or Garon is in net.

On the bright side for LA, their young foursome up front (Frolov, Cammalleri, Brown and Kopitar) combined for 7 points.

Edmonton chased Brian Boucher early and coasted to a 5-1 win over the Hawks. When Havlat went out the Hawks were near the top of the West. By the team he gets back they may be at the bottom.

In Injury News...
Vokoun out 2-6 weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Lehtinen and Morrow should be back tonight for Dallas

Cheechoo skated and could be back this week for SJ

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Brawl Fallout

Brashear - 3 games
Sutherby - 1 game
Mellanby - 1 game

Hanlon - $30,000
Hartley - $10,000

Here's the video for those who missed it:
Seems like the league got it right pretty much this time...

No Contest in Nashville

The Preds are up 6-0 after two - Saborin got the start and gave up 5 goals on 10 shots. The Preds have points from 11 skaters and goals from Radulov, Tootoo, Zidlicky, Weber and Hartnell (2). Kariya has 3 assists while rookie defenceman Patrick Coulombe has been on for three even strength goals in under 7 minutes of ice time for Vancouver.

This game really shows the difference between a deep offensive team like Nashville and a team like the Canucks, who have had a ton of difficulty scoring and don't have much skill up front outside of Naslund and the Sedins.

Nashville has scored over a goal a game more than Vancouver thus far this season:

Predators - 70 goals in 20 2/3 games = 3.4 GPG
Canucks - 53 goals in 22 2/3 games = 2.3 GPG

Kronwall gets $15 mil

From TSN..

...will make $1.5 million in 07-08, $3 million in 08-09, $3.25 million in 09-10, $3.5 million in 2010-2011, and $3.75 million in 2011-2012, for a salary cap average of $3 million and a free agency value of closer to $3.5 million.

Kronwall is 26 and has all of 63 games of NHL experience. This year he has 3 assists in 16 games and is 3rd on the team in ice time per game at just over 20 min.

PS - Happy Thanksgiving to all in the US.

Wednesday in Review

Quite a bit of news to go along with 14 games tonight so I'll give a quick rundown of all the headlines along with some thoughts...

Hitchcock hired by Columbus. Great move - his resume speaks for itself and his attention to detail with help greatly. The Jackets do have talent but it will be a challenge to get the best out of them. If anyone can do it I'd say that it would be Hitch. That said, don't expect any miracles this year. Columbus is in tough in the West and the coach can only do so much. It is still up to MacLean to bring in enough talent to compete for a playoff spot.

Ferguson gets another year. Or does he? It's funny that nobody knew about this option year until recently and soon after it was discovered by the media, the Leafs decided to pick it up. I think this is more for perception than anything else. Depending on what happens at the end of the year (or even sooner if things took a turn for the worse), JFJ could still be let go.

Cheechoo on IR with the knee injury

Selanne gets goal #500 - he's the second Finn in NHL history to hit that mark

Holik gets goal #300 - I wonder how many 300+ goal scorers have never hit 30 goals in a season?

Marleau gets goal #200 - he's the second from his draft class to reach that mark (Hossa was first)

Redden scores in OT - he's the Sens most valuable player. Some may disagree but they made the right move if the choice was either Redden or Chara. However I'm not so sure that choice absolutely had to be made and if so, it should have been made by the trade deadline last year so the Sens could have received compensation for Chara.

Morrison scores in OT - he had a two goal game and may be starting to get things turned around enough that the Canucks will be able to receive something worthwhile in a trade.

Hurricanes hold a closed door meeting after another loss - they were outshot 37-7 through two periods and 47-15 overall. The Canes need some help on D and have to start getting better goaltending.

The final 1:22 of Atlanta-Washington was filled with fights - 148 PIMs in all including 10 fighting majors given to: Vishnevski, de Vries, Hossa, Brashear, Bradley, Erskine, Larsen, Sutherby, Mellanby and Heward and leaving the crease penalties to Hedberg and Kolzig. There were also words exchanged between Hanlon and Hartley, both on the bench and in the corridor after the game. The most lopsided fight was Brashear-Vishnevski. For those who don't like fighting in hockey I think there are many in Washington who would disagree with you - the fans seemed to love it.

Cloutier struggled again. Not much else to say there other than 5 goals on 12 shots.

The Sharks got goals from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Pavelski, both their first NHL goals. Pavelski was just called up today (he got the call at 4 am) and scored in his first NHL game. The kid seemed a little chocked up during the post-game interview.

Flyers lose AGAIN. Next up they get to see their old coach Hitchcock. Combined those two teams are 10-27-5.

Kaigorodov not happy with the Sens. I'm thinking he won't be in a rush to return to the NHL, even once his rights are traded:

"(Muckler) started telling that I do not understand the game correctly. And I replied to him: 'Did anyone attempt to help me understanding it?' My agent agreed with my point and stated that I just didn't get a chance. The manager tried to find another argument saying that moving to the farm team is just temporary, that I have to be patient, and that I will be called back to the main team soon. Why should we believe this? If they do not let me play now when the things go badly, than are they going to change the lineup when the Senators start winning? What am I hoping for? Creating a winning roster in order to return me? This is a joke! In other words, I was already deceived once, I was not willing for it to happen again."

Sundin back soon - maybe Saturday. Good news for the Leafs - he's always been a quick healer

Forsberg still trying to get healthy. Bad news for the Flyers - he always seems to be struggling to stay healthy. This time it is a combination of foot and back injuries.

Mike Smith gets another shutout, his second in five starts.

Modano hit the post on a penalty shot - he's 0 for 4 in his career.

Lehtinen and Morrow did not play due to injuries

Legace, Theodore and Thomas win in shootouts:

"This is huge," said Legace who finished with 29 saves. "We need to get back on a roll. We battled back and I thought the guys played phenomenal tonight all-around."

"I find if I lose a shootout, I feel devastated," Thomas said. "If I win I feel like I did what I'm supposed to do. Shootouts are a lot like poker -- there's some skill involved, but it's a whole lot of luck."

Columbus was 0-5 under Gary Agnew. Not sure if this tenure will end up on his resume or not.

Sakic's had a sweet backhand move to seal the winner for Colorado.

Buffalo scores 7 - they now have 101 goals and are on pace for 376.

Tucker has 15 goals. If he keeps scoring like this he will price himself out of Toronto's plans.

Briere guaranteed a victory in the second intermission to rookie Michael Ryan who accidently scored on his own goal in his first NHL game. What makes Briere so great is that he actually followed through on his promise, scoring the winner. Phoenix must just be kicking themselves

Yashin with another 2 points. All of a sudden he's no longer the most overpaid player in the league. In fact, he may not even be overpaid at all.

Huet est bon. He struggled out of the gate and I had my doubts but he's impressed recently.

Benoit Pouliot played in his first NHL game

Osgood has a broken wrist - out 3 to 4 weeks

Tampa can score. Craig and Perrin have been contributing offensively - tonight they combined for 3 goals, 2 assists, +5 and 8 SOG

Auld stopped Lecavalier on a penalty shot.

Phoenix surprised and outplayed New Jersey. The Devils had just 15 shots, getting a taste of their own medicine.

Ricci played in his first game of the year. He'll be a nice addition for a team looking for veteran depth around the trade deadline.

Gomez came back. Good news for Jersey, who can use his offense.

Calgary dominated and beat the Hawks. They've now won 7 of 8 and have erased the memories of the team's rough start.

Ruutu has scored in three straight. I'm curious to see how he will do on a line with Havlat.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating. Enoy the football and Vancouver/Nashville!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday in Review

Game Thoughts
* Should we just call off the rest of the season and start the Anaheim-Buffalo series right now? The Ducks are making a very good San Jose team look pretty bad. Combined the Ducks and Sabres are 32-5-6 for an .814 winning percentage
* Giguere has been fantastic the whole year. Having an insurance policy like Bryzgalov is definitely nice but if they can land an impact player in a deal at some point then I'd definitely pull the trigger
* The Ducks completely shut down the Sharks' big guns and outshot them 44-22
* You can't say enough about Chris Pronger. One thing that is so impressive this year is that he hardly takes any penalties (10 minutes) despite playing almost 30 min per game
* Another two goals for Selanne who was meant to be a Duck - 1.21 PPG in Anaheim and 0.97 PPG in Winnipeg/San Jose/Colorado for his career. Teemu is now one goal away from 500.
* Bryzgalov missed the game with a "lower body injury" - the sudden recall of a minor league goalie is one of the things that triggered the Forsberg rumours this afternoon
* Joe Thornton has had a subpar year by his standards - 5 goals, 23 points in 22 games and -6
* Despite the rivalry game between two very good teams, the attendance was slighly over 15K, well short of a sellout.

* In the Battle of Alberta, the Oilers were rewarded once again for signing Petr Sykora as he scored both goals in their 2-1 win
* Sykora is playing like the guy who was on a line with Elias and Arnott way back when
* Both goalies played well tonight, as is usually the case in a 2-1 game
* Hamrlik led all skaters with almost 31 minutes of ice time. The Flames had 6 players who logged under 10 minutes tonight.
* By comparison, the Oilers did not have anyone over 25 minutes, a testament to their depth
* Staios signed a four-year extension today worth $10.8 mil. Seems like a good deal for both sides, similar to what Corvo signed for. For my money I would much rather have Staios than Corvo

* The Canes are one of the most puzzling teams this year - one night they look unbeatable and the next they look inept in all areas and lacking fire. Must be a case of the Cup hangover
* Ward gave up 4+ yet again - the 10th time in 20 starts. If Carolina is going to be a legit Cup contender (or even a playoff contender) their goaltending is going to have to get MUCH better.
* Carolina had some great chances on the Powerplay but failed to score. Their 5-forward PP line is definitely fun to watch although they can still use an offensive D-man to be the quarterback
* Jagr had two-more tonight, passing Jari Kurri to become the highest scoring European born player of all-time
* Lundqvist played well tonight and has played a lot better in November on the whole, giving up 14 goals in 7 starts (2 per game) compared to 36 in his first 10 starts (3.6)
* Marcel Hossa scored his first of the year. Must have been cold there in Marian's shadow...
* Shanahan now leads the league with 17 - I don't think even Sather would have predicted the on-ice impact that Shanny has had this year
* The Rangers for traded Brad Isbister earlier in the day, acquiring him from the Canes. There were once great hopes for Isbister because of his size and similarity to Todd Bertuzzi but in this case he never became the player people thought he could be. He's now moving onto his 6th franchise and still has only cracked 20-goals or 40-points once

On Forsberg...
* I think at some point (if he can get and stay healthy) Peter Forsberg will be traded. With all the injuries he's had, Peter may not have a ton of time left so why shouldn't he go to a contender down the stretch? If he really is committed to Philadephia and they can find a price that they're comfortable to bring him back at, that can be done in the summer. In the meantime the Flyers need to get something for their asset - and they will likely be able to get quite a bit, even as a rental player. But first thing's first - they need to get a skate that he's comfortable in so he can get his confidence up.

Quick Injury Update
* Arnott will miss 3-6 weeks with a knee injury
* Morrow has a groin strain
* Blake has a groin injury and is questionable for the Kings' next game
* Crosby also has a groin injury but it sounds relatively minor
* Gaborik should be back by the end of the month
* Gomez, Kronwall and Holmstrom are ready to go

AP Image

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Forsberg on the move?

Rumours are flying online today that the Flyers may be close to trading Peter Forsberg. If that were to happen, the top three contenders (in my opinion) would be Anaheim, San Jose and Colorado. Stay tuned...

Monday in Review

I'm getting tired of the nightly three stars - it isn't very original and I'd love to come up with something else. If you have any ideas, just add it to the comments or e-mail me at!

Game Thoughts:

* Marty St. Louis had a pair tonight - the first and last goals of the game. Unfortunately for Tampa, in between those goals, the Sabres scored 7 times in a 16:05 stretch during the second period
* I'm running out of superlatives to describe this Buffalo team, so maybe tonight I'll use a Jay-Z lyric:

I'm so far ahead of my time, I'm bout to start another life
Look behind you, I'm bout to pass you twice

The Sabres are just so much better than the rest of the East right now, it's unbelievable. The only team that is in the same ballpark are the Ducks and they definitely do not have the explosiveness that the Sabres do.

21 games played
90 goals scored
12 players with double digits in points

* Columbus continues to struggle, losing their 6th in a row. Hitchcock and Andy Murray are apparently the two finalists for their coaching job. They are both great candidates but I'd expect Hitch to get the first crack at the job if he's interested - it seems as if the Jackets have targeted him from the beginning and the main question is whether he will hold out for a better situation (ie a team that is closer to winning)
* Vokoun lost the shutout with just 15 seconds left as Nashville continues to roll, yet still stay under the radar for the most part.

* Ottawa continues to climb up in the standings, despite giving up 37 shots over the final two periods tonight
* If the Sens need the cap room later in the year I wonder if they'd consider sending down Gerber - that was certainly money that could have been better spent
* After a slow start and immense criticism, Alfredsson has stepped up. He now has points in 9 of the last 10
* Fisher is another player who really struggled early and is coming on strong over the last little while
* To top it off, the Sens got Redden back too
* Rolston scored on a penalty shot for the second time this year

* Florida played a strong road game and overcame 2 goals from Glen Murray
* Tim Thomas' play of late has quieted the Nabokov talks - at least for a little
* Chara is such a force in both ends - I'm probably beating a dead horse by now but the Sens could have kept Chara for the same money they are paying Gerber, Corvo and Phillips. They would have had to fill the other two roles (backup G and another player on D) with cheap veterans or young players and it would have been tough beyond this year, but they should have found a way to get a deal done

* Another day, another Flyers' loss
* The strangest news of the day was that John Stevens was given a 2-year extension. Of course since we don't know the salary or provisions in the contract, there is still no guarantee that he is their choice for a long-term solution behind the bench
* Crosby had some amazing moves before leaving the game with a groin injury. It doesn't sound too serious but I'm betting that they will be extra cautious with this one.

* Raycroft came back and the Leafs beat the Islanders
* There has been a lot of talk praising New York in the past couple days and I think the excitement is a little premature. They may not be as bad as some people thought but they're still only 10th in the conference to date
* And yes, Dipietro has been playing pretty well but how do you think he is going to be playing in 7 years? How about 12? And 15 years from now?!?
* Paul Maurice was not at all happy on the bench, despite the win:

"We weren't handing out roses after this one,"
"We didn't play the way I wanted in the third period. Clearly, there was not enough profanity on the bench early in the game. I did a nice job of fixing that in the third."

* Two of the former elite in the West squared off in an exciting battle
* Turco was pulled early and Budaj went the whole way for Colorado. Going into the game Budaj had a .929 SVP and 2.03 GAA so he will definitely have a chance to steal the job from Theodore
* Brenden Morrow left the game with a groin injury and did not return (after scoring twice early)

Thumbnail from AP

PS - Heritage Classic Memories to come (Game was actually on the 22nd of November)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Heritage Hockey Classic: 3 Years Later (Part 2)

Here are the videos I took from Edmonton. I'll be back later with my memories from the weekend..

Meeting Walter Gretzky in the hotel lobby

Legends live at the (then)Skyreach Centre. Players introduced and Paulina Gretzky singing.

Heritage Classic at Commonwealth - Player Intros: Kurri, Messier & Gretzky

Puck is dropped and the Megastars Game begins

Gretzky interview on the bench during the game

Puck is dropped and the first outdoor NHL game begins

Heritage Hockey Classic: 3 Years Later (Part 1)

Hard to believe that it's actually been three years now since the greatest hockey weekend of my life. I thought I'd try and go back to re-live the weekend and let everyone know what it was like to be in Edmonton for the historic weekend. I've broken it into three parts - Part 1 is the Weekend in Pictures (below), Part 2 is the Weekend in Videos and Part 3 is the Weekend in Writing. If anyone else was there too I'd love to see your pics/hear your stories ( Enjoy!

As bad as it gets?

Is there anything worse as a sports fan then seeing your favorite player (and your team's best player) go down with a season ending injury? If there is, I can't think of it right now. Not only is your favorite player out but the team's hopes are crushed and you're left waiting for next year yet again.

Wishing you a fast recovery Donovan.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday in Review

Three Stars:
1. Teemu Selanne - 5 assists, +2
2. Chris Kunitz - 3 goals, 1 assist, +2
3. Jaromir Jagr - 1 goal (#600), 2 assists, +2

Game Thoughts:
* The Rangers were in control from start to finish tonite
* To celebrate #600, looks like Jagr got a new haircut
* New York's offense is carried by four players - Jagr, Shanahan, Nylander and Straka. The foursome accounts for 65% of the team's goals this year. In order to be a threat in the playoffs they will need more depth and some scoring punch on D. That said I'm not sure about these Prucha rumours - doesn't seem like the best idea.
* Lundqvist has been playing much better recently. Not amazing but heading in the right direction
* Perrin scored with 2:40 left to break the shutout
* Holmqvist had won 5 in a row before taking the loss tonight

* Selanne had a huge 5-point night. I remember just a couple years back when he was on the open market and there was very little interest. Now, coming off a 40-goal, 90-point season he seems to have picked up just where he left off.
* Kunitz and McDonald combined for 5 goals and 8 points. It's amazing to think that neither of them were drafted
* Jovanovski played extremely well again tonight. Earlier in the day I read an article that reinforced what I've said earlier - Jovo isn't going anywhere
* Perreault had a 2-point night and already has 6 goals and 9 points in 8 games - I'm sure there are already teams that are regretting not looking at bringing him in for just $700k.

* Vancouver won their second straight, beating the improving Hawks, 2-1
* Josh Green scored the winner in the third, his first goal of the year
* The Canucks' penalty killing has been great as they killed off another 5 tonight
* Both Khabibulin and Luongo played very well. Since returning from injury, Khabibulin has stopped 79 of 84

Thumbnails used from AP.

Jagr Gets #600

In a classic goaltending dual between Holmqvist and Lundqvist (coincidently both former 7th round picks), Jaromir Jagr scored his 600th career goal. The Rangers become the first team to have two players hit 600 goals in the same season.

Saturday in Review

Three Stars:1. Eric Staal - 3 G, +1, 7 SOG, 21:45 TOI
2. Alexander Frolov - 2 G, 1 A, +1, 5 SOG, 21:28 TOI
3. Glen Murray - 1 G, 2 A, +1, 5 SOG, 19:47 TOI

Weekend Thoughts
* There were rumours online that the Sharks and Coyotes had completed the Jovanovski-Nabokov deal last night but those proved to be false. While I believe that Phoenix has interest in Nabokov, I don't see the Coyotes trading Jovo after signing him to a 5-year deal. They brought him in to be a cornerstone of the franchise and he obviously wanted to be there long-term, so this one doesn't make a lot of sense.
* Is Ottawa back? Not all the way but they're on the right path. It started by getting Emery back and then getting the PP going
* Is Philly back? No. They're not as bad as they were playing but they're still not a playoff team - not enough depth up front, weak D and inconsistent goaltending
* All of a sudden the Leafs are having trouble scoring. Over the course of the year I still think this will be an issue.
* I must admit I don't know a lot about Johnny Oduya (221st pick overall in 01 by Washington, now with the Devils, but I did notice him last night, playing 29:20 the Devils' win
* Great scrap between Janssen and Belak. If you didn't get to see it, I'm sure it will be up on
* Frolov continues to shine for LA - he's had three straight 2-goal games now
* Mike Dunham stopped 43 shots last night for the Islanders. He's played extremely well this year (3-1-2, .932 SVP, 2.45 GAA)
* Carolina scored 9 times on Friday/Saturday, and left with 4 points. On Friday is was the Cole-Brind'Amour-Whitney line that starred and last night it was Staal and Williams - that is what makes this team such a threat
* Dallas also scored 9 times in two nights but only picked up one win. Still it's good news for a team that has had trouble scoring
* Colorado gave up 1 goal in two games with Budaj in net and also picked up 4 points on the weekend
* Detroit lost twice, both in Calgary and Edmonton after winning 9 in a row
* Boston has now won 4 in a row and seem to be coming on strong

Saturday, November 18, 2006

NHL on YouTube

You've probably already read about the NHL's new partnership that they've formed with YouTube. While their channel doesn't yet seem to be working ( they've started to post videos this week. Here's hoping that the league continues to explore innovative ways to reach consumers and that this partnership is a success.

Here are the NHL's Plays of the Week:

Classic Video: Hextall/Chelios

If anyone else has requests for videos, just leave a comment or e-mail at

Some quotes from Hextall (from article)

“I just felt like you go out there and you play to win and you do everything possible to try to win a game,” Hextall says. “That, basically, to me, was the goal. I don’t apologize for the way I played. That’s me, that’s just the way I viewed the game.”

“Some people didn’t agree with the way I played and that’s fine. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion.”

“I went out there and I loved to play the game. Didn’t like to lose. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t think anybody likes to lose. But I think some people take it to a greater extreme than others. Did I get carried away? At times, yeah, that’s fair to say.”

Friday in Review

Last night's game thoughts will be coming soon.

I'm also working on a lengthy piece remembering the Heritage Hockey Classic as I was in Edmonton 3 years ago this weekend...

Three Stars:

1. Rod Brind'Amour - 2 G, 2 A, +2, 23:06 TOI, 19-10 on faceoffs
2. Peter Budaj - shutout, 25 saves
3. Jamie Lagenbrunner - 2 G, 1 A, +1, 19:39 TOI

Friday, November 17, 2006

Classic Video: Pond of Dreams

I got into a good discussion about the NHL and it's marketing efforts over on hockeybuzz and somebody mentioned this video. I'd often tried to find this one since I first saw it in 2000. After a quick search online I realized that I actually had a copy of it on my Ultimate Gretzky DVD (the bonus one) and so I posted it for you guys.


Thursday in Review

Tonight's Three Stars:
1. Olli Jokinen
2. Ryan Smyth
3. Mikko Koivu

Game Thoughts:
* Minnesota wins a wild one over Nashville, 7-6. Each team had 45 shots and the shooters were 5 of 8 in the shootout
* Chris Mason went the whole way for the Preds as Vokoun had the night off. Vokoun was actually interviewed on the bench during the game which was pretty interesting (until the Wild scored and the announcers didn't acknowledge it because they were chatting away)
* The Leafs were outplayed by the Bruins and could only score once on Tim Thomas, losing 2-1
* Bergeron and Boyes were all over the ice and combined for 12 shots. Aubin played extremely well or the score could have been much worse
* Boston has now won three in a row and may be turning the corner after a tough start. Sometimes it takes some time to incorporate new players into the lineup when you make significant offseason changes
* Montreal struggled in their second of back-to-back games
* Jokinen played a fantastic game, scoring three times at even-strength - all setup by Nate Horton
* Montreal seemed to run out of steam - they were outshot 32-15 over the final two periods
* Belfour has been very solid - he's only given up more than three goals in one of his last nine starts
* Nieuwendyk returned after missing two games with a bad back. If he is healthy he will be a hot commodity near the deadline - there aren't many guys who have won three Cups on three teams that will be available
* Smyth played and played very well, leading the way with two goals - he now has 14 goals and just 5 assists
* Doug Weight played game #1000 against his former team
* Bergeron scored twice and that may be the first step towards getting out of MacTavish's doghouse
* The Coyotes won a hard-fought game over the Hawks in a shootout. Nagy narrowly escaped a knee injury and then came back to score the winning goal in the shootout
* I actually agree with Tie Domi that Yanic Perreault is extremely underrated. Even if you ignore his offensive ability, he's one of the best faceoff men in the game and that is a huge asset in the playoffs
* The Kings were in control of the game until just under 7 minutes to go - then the Flyers scored three straight to steal the two points. The Kings frantically tried to tie it up, but to no avail
* Mike Richards still hasn't scored but he had three assists tonight, two on goals by Umberger
* Frolov is really starting to become the go-to guy when the Kings need a goal - he has 7 goals and 12 points in his last 8 games.
* If there was a Mario Lemieux comeback player of the night award it would go to Derian Hatcher who played 24+ minutes and was a +3!!