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Posted on: October 6, 2009 5:31 pm
 

The start of something good!

Welcome back all my friends! 
After last years disgusting display of my Ottawa Senators and my least favorite team the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the cup,
I vowed that I would not watch NHL until the NCAA was finished all its Bowl games.  

Then the small city that I reside in welcomed a new type of Hockey to the area, University hockey with the Nipissing Lakers!  The energy in the pre-season game was electric, I felt as though i was watching the movie Major League when WILDTHING came on the field.  The second home game was their regular season opener, playing a powerhouse team from Queens.  After 2 periods Queens had a stranglehold on the game with a 4-0 lead.  The third period came and the crowd was still full, and with 2 minutes remaining in the game the lakers were down 4-3 and were now on the penalty kill!  It wouldn't be a great story unless they tied it up with a shorthanded tally and sending the game into OT and eventually losing in a shootout. 
This created a desire to watch hockey again, gave me inspriration to look into the future of the season and to give my predictions for a great season ahead.

I don't know about you guys but I am excited to see the outcome of this season...

 

We will see a brand new NHL this year with so many player, coach and rule changes..Oh wait that was the NFL's Brady rule...

We finally see that Southern Ontario has been stopped from another NHL franchise or at least in the ownership of Jim Balsillie that is.

We will witness young fast hockey with a foundation of leadership from ol' timers on each squad, most importantly Doug Weight and his leadership towards the moulding of Johnathan Taveres on the Island and Victor Hedman being closely monitored by Mattias Ohlund's skill and discipline.

 

So here we go... I am simply going to throw out my predictions this year of the top 8 in each conference, in no particular order, and also make a Cup prediction.

 

The EAST: Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators.

 

The WEST: Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings.

 

Cup Final: Washington Capitals VS Anaheim Ducks

 

Now my reasoning behind these “crazy picks”. Some teams don't need justification such as the Red Wings, Bruins, Penguins, Sharks, Ducks... but the rest I probably have people going this guy is NUTS!

My philosophy on the NHL now is stay young, fast and most importantly healthy. Add some grit and you have a dynamite team, a Cup contender...simple formula right? I think so. Philadelphia will be the team to watch this year with kids like Claude Giroux showing why he is a first rounder and the acquisition of Ray Emery and Chris Pronger as a solid tough defensive core. But with Anaheim's first line Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, they set the bar for top first lines in the league. Speed, Skill and Toughness, they have it all. Washington's team of course who has Alex Ovechkin, who is just a pleasure to watch, is complimented by the likes of Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin. The loss to Pittsburgh last year in the cup chase has only made them hungrier.

So we will see how it unfolds! Wishing everyone a Great Season!

Posted on: April 18, 2009 6:52 pm
 

Playoff Beard

Please note my PC crashed and I was unable to post this yesterday… so just pretend you are reading this before the Canes beat the Devils…

Well the first games of all the series have commenced and with my Ottawa Senators out I wasn't as excited about the playoffs as previous years and it allowed me to pick  my playoff fantasy players without a biased opinion.  However, when the pre-game started and they showed flash backs of the smiling faces masked by their furry playoff friends, I was reminded why I watch the playoffs.  It’s a superstition to some and a curse to others, where players and fans alike grow their beards in support of their team.  Watching Mike Commodore, Scott Hartnell, Ken Daneyko and Jean-Sébastien Giguère with the mixture of sweat, gatorade and whatever else has become part of their beards, mixed with the smile of success is priceless.  Now don't get me wrong here, I don't watch playoff hockey for the beards, I watch for the fight, the battle for survival, and most of all the emotion expressed by each team, win or lose. 

After watching the first game of each series nothing really has surprised me, other than San Jose Sharks not showing up.  Not that I am surprised that San Jose neglected to show up judging by their history with playoff blunders and collapses, just figured they would have had it figured out this year.

All series are looking dynamite and looking forward to the 2nd round already. 

Bostion Bruins and Montreal Canadiens look to be the best series as far as rough and tough old time hockey, and with the final second events we should see some fury in Game 2. 

As for the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins series, we will witness another Flyers teams in game 2.  The Flyers started flat, took alot of cheap penalties and in the end couldn't get it together until about 8 minutes remaining in the 3rd. 

New Jersey Devils will sweep the Carolina Hurricanes, going into the final days of the regular season I was concerned for New Jersey with Martin Brodeur not playing up to Marty Standards, but glad to see Marty back to his game. 

New York Rangers and Washington Capitals first game was a great game with back and forth action.  It came down to the last goal and who wanted it more.  The Caps will rebound and we will see 6 games in this series.   

As for the west we have some great hockey ahead of us!

Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks will go seven, unless the games continue like last night into OT and then we will see a younger Blackhawk team taking advantage and being able to rejuvinate faster.  Michael Cammarelli should be suspended, regardless if the hockey gods have spoken with Havlat's 2 goals including the game winner.  This was a blow to the head and a cheap shot. 

Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks series is a coin flip.  If the Sharks show up we will have a great series and until then experience and bragging rights in California will be in the Ducks favor.

Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues round one action is fast paced, open hockey.  We won't see alot of big hits, but we will see some dynamite goals.  Both goalies are fantastic and both teams have potential to make it to the second round, but I see the Canucks edging them out this year.  Vancouver to win the series in 5. 

And last but not least the Detroit Red Wings versus the Columbus Blue Jackets.  I have said before Columbus is my second favorite team and they may have lost the first game but look for a different Jackets team in game 2.  They have popped their playoff cherry in the cherry poppin daddies of daddies, ol' Joe Louis Arena.  Once they look over the game plan, get game 2 over with win or lose, they will have home ice advantage in Columbus and that fan base has been waiting too long to errupt!  Detroit wins series 4-2...

Back in March I made a prediction of the playoffs, here is a flashback and an updated pick...

 

Ok Here is my playoff predictions from Semi Finals on...

East Semi:  Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

East Semi: Boston Bruins vs. New Jersey Devils

East Finals: New Jersey Devils vs Washington Capitals

West Semi:  San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks

West Semi: Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers

West Finals: Calgary Flames vs. San Jose Sharks

The Big Show: Calgary Flames vs. Washington Capital Calgary wins 4-2

Thats right I said it... as we get closer i will make modifications but these are my picks for today!  See ya next time friends! 

 

So here is an update of my picks after watching the first games, obviously removing the Oilers...

      East Semi:  Washington Capitals vs. New Jersey Devils

      East Semi: Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers

      East Finals: Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals

      West Semi:  San Jose Sharks vs. Calgary Flames

      West Semi: Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings

      West Finals: Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks 

The Big Show: Calgary Flames vs. Washington Capitals... Calgary wins 4-3

So until next time, grow your beards proud and keep the drive alive!

 

Category: NHL
Posted on: March 29, 2009 12:26 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2009 12:32 pm
 

NHL Award predictions

 The media is still writing and commenting on the Alexander Ovechkin's 50th goal celebration~  Let it go 10 days ago!  The playoffs are just around the corner and some teams have already polished their clubs, butsome can still look forward to the NHL Awards. 
Steve Mason is on fire and we are talking #1 choice for Calder, but I also think he is a candidate for the HART.  I am not stating he is a shoe in for the win, but I think the least we can do is nominate the kid!  At least a nomination won't tarnish him like Jose Theodore's Hart did in 2002. And with Ovechkin and Crosby continuing to make friends around the league I think there could be a Lester Pearson Trophy in his possession at end of NHL awards, we'll see...

That said folks here are my NHL Awards Predictions...

Frank J Selke Trophy:  Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings), Mike Richards (Philladelphia Flyers), Mikko Koivu (Minnesota Wild), Jaime Langenbrunner  (New Jersey Devils)

Winner: Mike Richards (Philladelphia Flyers) 

Calder Trophy: Steve Mason (Columbus Blue Jackets), Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings), Kris Versteeg (Chicago Blackhawks),

Winner: Steve Mason (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Hart Trophy: Steve Mason (Columbus Blue Jackets),  Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Evegni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins), Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames)

Winner: Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)

Art Ross: Evegni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins), Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)

Lester B. Pearson Trophy:  Mike Green (Washington Capitals), Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames), Alexander Ovechkin (Washinton Capitals), Steve Mason Columbus Blue Jackets)

Winner: Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames)

Norris Trophy: Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins), Niklas Lidstrom (Detroit RedWings), Mike Green (Washington Capitals) , Shea Weber (Nashville Predators)

Winner: Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins)

Vezina Trophy:  Tim Thomas (Boston Bruiins), Niklas Backstrom (Minnesota Wild), Steve Mason (Columbus Blue Jackets), Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary Flames)

Winner: Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins)

Lady Byng Trophy: Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings), Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa Senators),  Saku Koivu (Montreal Canadiens), Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils)

Winner: ZachParise (New Jersey Devils)

Masterson Trophy:   Martin Havlat (Chicago Blackhacks),  Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils), Alexander Semin (Washington Capitals), Simon Gagne (Philladelphia Flyers)

Winner: Alexander Semin (Washington Capitals)

Jack Adams Award:  Joel Quenneville (Chicago Blackhawks), Brent Sutter (New Jersey Devils), Ken Hitchcock (Columbus Blue Jackets),  Todd McLellan (San Jose Sharks)

Winner: Brent Sutter (New Jersey Devils)

Now that the awards are out of the way let's get back to the marvelous playoff race to elimination. with an average of 7 games left, the East and West are tight, and is going to go down to the wire.    Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues in and Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators out.  Montreal Canadiens out and Florida Panthers in.  See ya next week kids!  Till then keep the clicker clicking!    

 

 

Posted on: March 19, 2009 1:36 am
Edited on: March 20, 2009 8:55 am
 

Crazy

Sigh -  Lets get back to hockey.  Martin Brodeur became the all time winingest goalie last night and in typical Brodeur fashion, making 30 saves including a fury of 6 ounce vulcanized rubber being peppered at him during the dying seconds.

Last night while serving my customers drinks at the bar I manage, I became aware that if something ever happens "BIG" in hockey, you can pretty much guarantee I am at work somewhere.  Martin Brodeur's achievement last night will be one of many I have had the pleasure of working-while-witnessing.  As I look back to the greatest hockey stories I can remember they all have one thing in common - I was at work.

August 9, 1988 I was a young 10 year old Hamburger and Sausage BBQ specialist at a German meat shop that my mother managed.  My Big Brother Howard (Big Brothers Organization) came to visit me at work.  He walked up and took me to a picnic table near by and said "Lil' Bro, take a seat"  Howard began to tell me the news of Wayne Gretzky being traded to the Los Angeles Kings.  He was trying to keep his emotions in check so that I wouldn't feel sad.  I patted Howard on the shoulder and said "Its ok Big Bro, he's the Great One, he'll be great anywhere!" trying to ease his pain.  "But he'll still wear Easton gloves and use an Easton Aluminum stick right?"  i asked concerned that I will still "look" like Gretzky when I play.  My brother reassured me that he would still wear Easton,  Heck Gretzky was my idol I even had the Daoust Wayne Gretzky hockey skates.   then again what born Canadian didn't idolize Gretzky?

March 6, 2000, The smoke was floating and dancing thru the resturant/pizzeria where I was the night manager, after my day at college.  I walked in and grabbed a coffee and sat at the staff table where the owner Leo was reading his daily paper.  Leo was an old Greek. The type that was very personable and liked by everyone, gambled, drank and smoked like the best of them.  He was also the Godfather of ex- Vancouver Canuck silver sticker Greg Adams.  As i sat down Leo looked at me and said "John Daly!" excited to see me.  Leo called me John Daly becasue I have what the doctors call a bit of a drinking problem and I can also hit a long golf ball.  He said "did you hear about the big trade today?  Raymond Bourque is going to Colorado."  I stopped stirring my coffee and looked Leo square in the eyes and said "Colorado wins the Cup, either this year or next, its a LOCK!"  Leo being a loyal Vancouver Canuck fan laughed and said "John Daly what did i tell you about drinking on the job?"

June 12, 2001 I was still employed at the same pizzeria.  It was Saturday evening and as everyone that has ever dined out on a Saturday night knows any restaurant is a busy place to be.  The location of the kitchen was right beside a Bay Window that overlooked the vibrant streets, alive with people seeking for a place to eat.  the thermometer outside the window read 104 fahrenheit (+40) and I was right beside a pizza oven that was a steady 650 degrees as well.  And to add some heat to the kitchen it was game 7 of the Stanely Cup Championship.  Colorado Avalanche vs New Jersey Devils.  We had a small 12 inch television located in the corner of the kitchen that I was ble to keep a small glimpse of what was unfolding. As the night slowed down in perfect timing with the final minutes of the hockey game I watched the magic monet of Joe Sakic handing the Cup to Raymond Bourque.  Our take out phone rang and I answered it.  It was Leo "John Daly are you watching this... "  I was speechless I felt like I had just won the cup with them.  A small tear rolled down my cheek.  "Atta Boy Bourque - Sweet!"  were my only thoughts.  10 minutes later I gave refunds to all those whom I had just burnt their pizzas...

Feb 24,2002. Probably one of my worst jobs ever, being the ski and snowboard technician in a small Northern Ontario ski area.  The location iof the rental shop was in the basement and it had an eery dungeon feel to it.  I had tried to book this day off but being the only certified technician and being  busy weekend t the hill i was stuck working.  i had brought  1982 ghetto blster style radio so that I could listen to the game while i fixed skis throughout the day.  It was kind of nice after I  had the game tuned in, I felt like I was in the 1950's listening to the good ol' hockey game on the radio.  By the third period there was no one left on the hill.  Everyone had found their way down to my dungeon and we were all patriotically hugging and rejoicing the Team Canada win 5-2 over the USA. 

April 9, 2002.  I just watched the You Tube video as a reminder of what a powerful night this was.  It was my first night worikng as a bartender at a small pub.  Ottawa Senators were playing Montreal Canadiens, but more importantly Saku Koivu was in the line up a day after he had battled cancer and won.  The crowd erupted with a roar, when captain Saku Koivu stepped on the ice, that lasted for more than 5 minutes.  This appearance not only gave the hockey world something to cheer but more importantly it gave cancer patients everywhere the courage to fight it as well.  I had goose bumps all over and I was just mesmorized, by the magnitude of the crowd.  Apparently the bar patrons didnt appreciate the tribute to Koivu as much as I did with exception to a cute Habs fan sitting at the end of the bar.  I was fired the next day for paying more attention to the experience, than providing some no toothed ski dooer a beer he didnt need.  Thank you Saku!

January 3, 2009.  Managing a Boston Pizza and the place is packed with probably one of the best nerve wrecking games I will ever encounter.  With the place being as busy as it was i learned from previous experinces to work first and celebrate later.  There were televisions everywhere and it seemed like no matter where i turned in the restaurant a puck was being filled into the net at either end.  Canada and Russia world juniors were playing their hearts out in the semi final game that was definitely gold medal calibre.  I looked up at the television when I had a chance and I realized why the bar was quieter than usual.  The Russians were winning 5-4 with 1:30 left in the game.  A server tapped me on the shoulder and said "I screwed up an order, can you fix it?" Are ya kidding me?  This wasn't the first time this idiot screwed something up like this and this was not the time I wanted to be fixing a problem.  But I was paid to do a job, so I parked myself at a computer station underneatch a television and started fixing  the issue.  Keeping an eye on the game at the same time the server said "you look like yer about to cry" unaware of the games meaning.  As she finished her sentence I let out a roar of joy and a fist pump to the air.  The bar erupted!  Canada had tied it up with 5 seconds remaining on the clock.  Canada later won the game in a shootout and advanced to the gold medal game.  The servers issue was resolved and I gave her a high five basically letting her know that her stupidity had basically been forgotten.  This also marked my final day working at Boston Pizza.   

January 5th, 2009.  I had told my cousin that I was writing a blog about how all the big events in hockey happen when i am working.  His response without hesitation, "You work too much!" He was right.  That is why this day is most special to me.  My cousin and I went to a small pub where we were the only people in the place, turned up the television and watched Team Canada beat Sweden to become a 5 time straight winner at the juniors.  Thanks Dustin!

March 17th, 2009 "Give me another pitcher of beer" the drunken man yells across the bar.  As I pour his jug I am staring at the television watching Martin Brodeur cutting the mesh of the net, claiming his 552nd career win.  The drunken group is telling hockey stories that completely make no sense to each other, but their jibber jabber is faded out with my thoughts of being at work and being paid to watch these magical moments!  Thanks Marty!  125 more wins before you are done!   

I am sure I missed some other important dates, but I can guarantee ya they happened while i was working somewhere!  Good Night Friends!

 

Category: NHL
Posted on: March 17, 2009 12:19 pm
 

Happy St Patty's day!!

 Good afternoon ladies and gentleman.  I figured I would write my thoughts of the day before they get absorbed with the green flowing beverages consume my attention.  Lets start first of all with Happy Birthday yesterday Donna, you are a beautiful compassionate mother, with the most dedication to helping others and putting yourself second!

That said lets look around the NHL and see others helping others...

Kari Lehtonen 49 saves last night against Washington Capitals, WHAT?  49 saves in any game is great, 49 saves against a sniping team like the Caps is PHENOMENAL!! Ovechkin with 10 shots, and Semin with 7... SNIPE!!!But on the other hand with Atlanta's late attempt to win games (6 straight now) is it not hurting their draft pick selections?

Glen Sather, a friend in deed to a friend in need, Peter Pocklington.  Not that the past was ever behind them.  A dynasty I beleive stays united forever.  I have always admired the Oiler organization and this past year I see those characteristics being shown by a young and up and coming team Chicago Blackhawks.  It takes a special bonding force to be able to gel an organization, and once the Blackhawks experience a cup run they will have that fire as the Oil did in 1982-83.

Some teams have already shined their golf clubs for the off season, yet we are still seeing exciting hockey.  New York Islanders are beating top seeded teams such as the Bruins, Devils and Blackhawks? 

Today we tip our glasses to the Irish, 22 teams playing tonight.  Will the Irish fury be unleashed tonight at the rinks?  Will Andrew Peters and Jarkko Ruutu bite each others thumbs off?  Or better yet will we see a bench brawl?  With only 26 days left in the season the average team having 10 games remaining, anything can happen.  Expect new teams in the playoff hunt this week and teams that have floated in the 6th 7th or 8th seed to be washed away like the spring run off. 

Please don't drink and drive... Tip your servers and have a great St Patty's Day!!!!

  

Category: NHL
Posted on: March 15, 2009 1:48 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2009 2:19 pm
 

10 days Later, I still remember...

 I must admit the way I awoke at 9 am Wednesday March 4th, 2009, will stay in my memory banks for years to come.  My phone erupted and vibrated across my night stand.  Wide eyed and full of energy I knew this could only mean one thing... I had already prearranged my room before I hit the hay, with my computer and 2 televisions in one quick sight, 2 big bags of chips, 2 - 2 litres of Diet Pepsi, a reachable microwave with pizza pockets and of course my "always readily available to bark transactions" cell phone beside me.  Today was the NHL Trade Deadline... My first message that made my phone dance across my nightstand, passed the dancing theme to me as i leaped out of bed flipped my phone open and saw Filip Kuba signs a 3 year deal with Ottawa Senators.  Now being an Ottawa fan, this was exciting, but nothing prepared me for the text I received while taking my morning urination session.  The phone vibrated across the bathroom counter and and with one hand available I reached over and flipped open my cell to see the unthinkable:  Antoine Vermette traded to Columbus Blue Jackets for Goalie Pascal Leclaire.  Of all the goalies available and the vast amount of players Ottawa had available to move it made me shout at the top of my lungs Damn you MURRAY!  I slumped back to my room, sat on my couch and sulked!   

The day was uneventful there after for me.  As I sat droopy eyed watching other teams such as Calgary beefing up with the aquiring Jokinen and Leopold, I began to feel Calgary has a shot at the cup if everyone can get healthy.  Its now 12 pm and I am 3/4 done a bag of potato chips, and on my second bottle of Diet Pepsi. 

I began texting friends who were at work asking them to amuse me with random trade rumours.  I think at one point we had Lupul going to Florida for Bouwmeester, while Neil and Fisher of Ottawa was going to Nashville for a 2nd round pick.  We also dreamed of Pronger in New Jersey so that Brodeur would have his power defense back in exchange for its first round and a 6th round in 2011.  Oh we can only dream. 

So 3 oclock EST came and the chip crumbs and pizza pocket stained plates surrounded me.  Dumbfounded I asked outloud to my dog in the corner "Is that it?  Did I waste my whole day?"  How freaking boring is it to watch Nik Antropov for a 2nd rounder, Dominic Moore for a second rounder, Ales Kotalik from Buffalo for a second-round pick...

Whatever happened to the blockbuster trades "people for people"? 

  • Ricci, Forsberg, Hextall, Dueschene, Simon and 15 Million + 2 1st rounders for Lindros
  • Gilmour, Macoun, Nattress, Wamsley, Manderville for Leeman, Petit, Reese, Berube, Godynyuk
  • Thornton for Sturm, Stuart and Primeau (Maybe not a blockbuster but it was in 2005-06) 

When all was said and done, 47 players were moved in 22 deals, and if I remember correctly my phone was vibrating from 3:45 pm steady till  5:30 pm with updates and new transactions that they didn't catch earlier on trade centre shows or websites.  

Where does that leave us?  Seriously nothing changed really other than team unloading money for the 2010-2011 anticipated Salary cap reduction.  The big winner has to be Calgary Flames, for what they received and what they dished out as far as players only Lombardi.  Philladelphia I have no idea why they picked up Carcillo... Scottie Upshall was worth more.  My Ottawa Senators are unfortunately showing a too little too late drive, with the same goalies, and up till last night Martin Gerber was in Toronto Maple Leafs boasting his average 6 goals against wearing an Ottawa Senator helmet.  Seriously could he not wear a different helmet while playing for the buds?  

So here is my playoff predictions from Semi Finals on...

  • East Semi:  Washington Capitals vs. Philladelphia Flyers
  • East Semi: Boston Bruins vs. New Jersey Devils
  • East Finals: New Jersey Devils vs Washington Capitals
  • West Semi:  San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks
  • West Semi: Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers
  • West Finals: Calgary Flames vs. San Jose Sharks

The Big Show: Calgary Flames vs. Washington Capital Calgary wins 4-2

Thats right I said it... as we get closer i will make modifications but these are my picks for today!  See ya next time friends!

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com