12.29.2008

Quick Bites

My apologies for disappearing for awhile there. I finished finals, headed home and have found myself being completely relaxed and lazy during winter break. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. That said, here are some bits and pieces I wanted to touch on:

+ I made it home in time to see Ryan Whitney's one-game conditioning stint in Wilkes-Barre. He was a non-factor in the game against Albany (WBS ended up winning 4-3). Whit had one assist and was a -1 on the night. He had quite a bit of ice time, but you could tell he hadn't played in awhile. The high expectations come with his name, and frankly he could have done better. Pittsburgh snatched him back after the Albany game, but I think he could have used another in the A. Even he admitted he was tired after the first ten minutes. Oh well. That game was fun for me as there were three BU alums on the ice: Whitney, John Curry and Ryan Weston.

+ The Casey Classic is an annual tournament for the Northeast PA high school hockey league. The teams get to play at the Wachovia Arena which is a pretty cool experience for them. My younger brother was in the tourney this year, and his team, the Crestwood Comets, made it to the final. Boy was I glad I went to that game. Naturally youth hockey is much slower than what I'm used to, but this game was unbelievable. Crestwood had a 4-2 lead with 2:17 left in the third period. They took a silly penalty, and Wyoming Valley West used this to their advantage. They were fired up. They not only scored a power play goal, but they also notched another to tie the game up 4-4 with 37 seconds left. Everyone was getting ready for OT, but with 1.1 seconds left, Crestwood scored to win the game. 1.1 seconds. Are you kidding me?! It was awesome. Congrats to the Comets who have now won four out of the seven years.

+ The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins had a huge weekend. They played Bridgeport on Saturday in what was probably one of the top ten games I've seen at that rink. The entire game was fast-paced and evenly played. Mainly thanks to the Pens' two quick goals in the third, they were able to pull out a 5-4 win. Sunday night was a match-up against the Binghamton Senators. The Baby Pens fought back from a 3-1 deficit in the second to win 6-3. WBS now sits at 3rd in the division, nipping at Bridgeport's heels.

Mark Letestu had a four point night against the Sens. This is a guy who always seems to do well, but earlier in the year he saw very little ice time. I don't understand it. Every game he's out there he makes things happen. Maybe now he will continue to receive the ice time he deserves.

Also: Denis Hamel is STILL in the AHL. I swear this guy has played for Binghamton for what seems like 10 years now. (Note: That's an exaggeration.) He's always been good for them too. Get him up to Ottawa too please.

12.17.2008

Fisticuffs


Boston Daily's Paul Flannery took a jab (no pun intended) at fighting in hockey today. It got under my skin a little bit. He states right away that he's a basketball person, and most of his argument goes from there. He wants to know why basketball players aren't allowed to fight, but hockey players can. Flannery uses Todd Fedoruk's fight injuries to further back up his opinion. I have to disagree with him on this issue. I'm sure a lot of hockey fans are with me.

A quick little lesson on fighting: it's been formally part of hockey since 1922 when Rule 56 regulated "fisticuffs." It's currently under Rule 47. Fighting was never unpunished; players have always been handed five minute penalties for it. There are more rules to keep things from getting way out of hand. For example, if another player cuts in on a fight that's already happening, the third-man-in rule automatically results in his ejection from the game.

Now for my quick defense:

+ Fighting in hockey isn't just "fighting" for fighting's sake. It really is a part of the game. Players fight to get their teams going. If you're down 3-0 early in the game, you can have a little dance to get the team and the crowd back into it. It's a great source of energy that sends a jolt of electricity throughout the whole building.

Fighting is also used to stick up for teammates. If an opponent takes a cheap shot at one of your guys, it's time to send a message. The Sidney Crosbys and Pat Kanes of the world would be constant targets if no one was there to protect them.

+ Money, money, money. Fighting is a huge drawing factor. There are plenty of people out there who don't know much about hockey, but they go to a game to see a fight. Is this something to be proud of? Depends who you ask. But it works. Especially in the United States where hockey isn't the first sport on everyone's minds.

+ It's not just a bunch of animals going at it. Hockey players have a mutual understanding of how to fight. Fair and clean. Very rarely do you see something completely ridiculous happen in a fight. It's not two guys out there swinging away in hopes of seriously hurting the other one. The Fedoruk/Colton Orr situation does not happen every day. Usually the most guys come away with are loose teeth and black eyes.

Hockey is and always will be a physical sport. Hockey players are some of the toughest athletes out there. They play through broken bones and bruised ribs. Sitting out is not an option. This isn't baseball where a guy breaks a thumb and sits out five games. This is hockey. Taking fighting out of the game is like taking Big Macs off a McDonald's menu or taking Santa Claus away from Christmas.You just don't do it. It's tradition.

And come on. Without fighting, a great movie like Slapshot would have never been made. Now THAT would be a sin.

12.16.2008

Quote Me



To be perfectly honest I wouldn't want to have to explain to my 12-year-old daughter what he said.
- Gary Bettman on Sean Avery's 'sloppy seconds' remarks

Oh, PLEASE. I wouldn't want to have to explain to her how a lot of people feel about you.

12.14.2008

Study Break

Happy Sunday everyone. I'm stuck studying for finals all day, but there's nothing wrong with a little procrastination in the form of a blog post. Here are some bits and pieces from the past few days:

+ I made it to the BU/U-Mass Lowell game this past Friday. UML is always that team who will sneak up on you and beat you if you're slacking off. They were no different on Friday. They battled, but BU came out on top 3-2. Here's a stat for you: BU has killed off 17 penalties in a row or something like that. While that's a great stat to have, they continue to take too many penalties. A little more discipline will only help them. It also appears that Kieran Millan has taken over the number one spot. I said awhile back I thought he was the better of the two freshman (not by much but enough to notice), and it seems Jack Parker agrees with me.

The game also marked the end of the first semester for the Terriers. They finish off the first half with a record of 11-4-1. Talk about an improvement from this time last season when they were 4-10-2. I'll take it.

+ Sean Avery will not be returning to the Dallas Stars. This is not surprising at all. It'll be interesting to see where he ends up. If hockey doesn't work out anymore he can always go back to sitting at fashion shows and dating celebs. Seeeee ya.

+ It seems like players on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have been playing musical chairs between the WB and Pittsburgh. Here are the transactions beginning on December 4:
- 12/4: Recalled Janne Pesonen and Chris Minard.
- 12/7: Recall Ben Lovejoy
- 12/9: Demoted Pesonen, recalled Tim Wallace and Jeff Taffe
- 12/11: Demoted Lovejoy
- 12/12: Demoted John Curry and Minard
- 12/13: Recalled James and demoted him after the game along with Taffe.

+ The Boston Bruins are on fire. They won their 11th home game in a row last night. Slowly but surely they're creeping back into the hearts of Beantown fans. Gotta love it.

12.09.2008

In Other News ...

The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled Jeff Taffe and Tim Wallace from Wilkes-Barre. That means there is now zero offense in the WB (I lied. They did get Janne Pesonen back), and they also lost the one guy on the team who seemed to actually check his opponents.

We'll see what happens.

Congrats to Ben Lovejoy who made his NHL debut last night with the Pens. I didn't get to see it, but apparently he had a solid game. I'd love for him to stay up there as long as he can; you can tell he's a guy who just genuinely loves playing hockey.

12.06.2008

Quote Me

"I think the first period was a poor period for everybody, but being the youngest, I guess you sometimes take the brunt of that. The second period didn't start off the way I wanted to, but when you're young you don't get many chances, I guess. I found the middle of the bench pretty quickly." - Bobby Ryan

No, there's nothing thrilling or amusing about this quote. I just wanted to use it to point out how Bobby Ryan can't just say, 'Hey, listen. I didn't play that well, and I paid for it. I gotta get out there and work harder.' If you start paying attention, you'll see this in a lot of his quotes. He always has to attribute poor play to other things. I think it reflects poorly on him. Even if he feels he's getting jipped, acting like a baby is no way to get people on your side. Swallow your pride, bud. The whole hockey world knows you got screwed when you got demoted for salary cap issues. Guess what? Everyone is over it. You're in the show now, so they really could care less to hear you whine. You're part of a team. Act like it.

I'll dig around to find similar boo-hoo quotes from him.

Photo Credit: Flickr

12.05.2008

Wow.

Talk about a great game. The 243rd match-up between BC and BU proved to be just as exciting as always. The final score was a 1-1 tie, but there's more to it then that. Coming into this game, everyone knew it was going to be interesting. BU was 9-4-0, and BC was 9-4-1. BU ranked 3rd in the nation in goals scored per game, and BC was right behind them in 4th. Could it be more evenly paired? Here are some game points:

+ Except for a few spots in the first and third period, BU controlled this game. They out-shot the Eagles 36-22. BC had 10 of those come in the first; they were held to a mere 4 shots in the second. The second period was frustrating to watch as a BU fan because almost the entire period was played in the offensive zone, and no one could bury one home. It happens, but wow it's annoying. The Terriers battled harder than I've seen them all year. I wish there was more to show for it.

+ John Muse was unreal for BC as usual, and without him, I'm not sure the score would have been that close. This kid is going places. He's calm, and he controls his rebounds extremely well. Muse and Brock Bradford are probably the only two BC players I like.

+ I was walking out when they were announcing the three stars, but I'm pretty sure I heard them give BU goaltender Kieran Millan the second star. I'm a big Millan fan, but I don't know about the second star. He came up with a HUGE save at the ten minute mark of the third, but I bet he wishes he had that first period BC goal back. Literally about ten seconds after BU scored the first goal of the game, BC came down on a breakaway and basically walked the puck in. It's a save that Millan makes more times than not. I think he should've had it. Is it all his fault? Of course not. His teammates should've never left him alone like that. But it happens, and he could have made that save to post a shut-out.

+ Nick Petrecki. It was the first time I was able to see him play, and I was excited too since he was picked 28th overall in the 2007 entry draft. I'm not sure if he was a bit off tonight or what. He had three penalties -- two of which were a completely unnecessary boarding call and a roughing penalty in OT. I'm not sure if he did it to get Colin Wilson off the ice (which he succeeded in doing) or what, but I did not like the game he had tonight.

+ BU's Dave Warsofsky is really growing on me. He's only a 5-9 (and that might be generous) freshman, but he has some of the best puck control I've ever seen. He looks like a senior out there. Very impressive.

+ Brandon Yip had a great game for the Terriers tonight. He had a ton of energy and helped set up BU's goal. Noticeable and very deserving of the number three star.

Tomorrow is another night. Both teams are going to be sleeping like babies tonight that's for sure. I was exhausted just watching them. I believe the game is on TV again, so check it out if you get a chance. It's great hockey.

It's That Time of Year Again

The Boston University and Boston College home-and-home series has arrived. I get butterflies thinking about it. The two teams battle it out at Agganis Arena tonight then head to the Conte down the road tomorrow. It's going to be a great series. Both BC & BU are unbelievably talented teams that have suffered patches of inconsistency. It's anyone's game.

If you get CN8, make sure to tune in at 7:30 to see one of the most heated rivalries ever (and I mean EVER).

Check out the New York Times piece on the rivalry.

12.04.2008

The Beat Goes On ...

I just had Fox News Morning on, and what is their next story? SEAN AVERY.

What is the background music? WOMANIZER by Britney Spears. Okay, that's kind of funny.

But this story is on NATIONAL news???? They really have LAWYERS commenting on this? They're seriously wondering if his career in jeopardy because he said this thing. Clearly the majority of people do not know hockey players. This is TAME compared to some of the things they say.

I'm going to lose my mind.

12.03.2008

More on Sean Avery's Mouth

I just feel the need to comment on this whole Sean Avery 'sloppy seconds' issue because apparently people really do think he deserved being suspended for it. SportsCentre warned people that it was 'vulgar', and other bloggers are calling the remarks 'an offensive assault on women.' I watched the clip again because I figured I must've missed something. I honestly don't see much vulgarity in his comments at all. He could have been vulgar and tossed in some f-bombs and truly derogatory terms, but he didn't. He said, and I repeat, SLOPPY SECONDS. WOW I know I am just so offended by that. Um, not.

Another thing is that Elisha Cuthbert is a CELEBRITY. A public figure. I can guarantee you there have been way worse things publicly said about her than the fact that she's sloppy seconds. Avery was clearly referring to her (and possibly another one of his celebrity ex-girlfriends who is now dating another NHLer). And let's face it, she has become notorious for dating hockey players, so she brings it on herself.

You can argue that athlete's significant others should not be subjected to ridicule or any of these 'sloppy seconds' comments, but I disagree. They know when they marry/date their SO that they will see times in the spotlight as well. It can be good, bad, jealousy, etc. It's just how it is. If you don't want to risk being mentioned, then don't marry a professional athlete.

Should he have kept his mouth shut? Of course. But he's Sean Avery. He doesn't ever keep his mouth shut. He went out of his way to make the comment which was unnecessary. But an indefinite suspension is CRAZY. Yes, Avery is cocky, arrogant, annoying, (insert other similar adjectives here) ... but there is no way there should be a suspension for this. Absolutely no way. Way worse things happen throughout games, and they go unpunished.

Get over it, NHL. You made yourselves look silly. I'm so rattled about this.

12.02.2008

Really???

Okay, I hate Sean Avery just as much as the next person, but for him to be suspended for commenting on Dion Phaneuf's significant other is RIDICULOUS. Here's what Avery said:

I am really happy to be back in Calgary, I love Canada. I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about. Enjoy the game tonight.


And that resulted in a suspension? You've got to be kidding me. If something THAT innocent got him sitting out, then God knows how many games guys would get for what they say ON the ice.

I'm seriously blown away by this. It has to be some kind of joke. Does anyone even like Elisha Cuthbert anyway??? Didn't think so.

11.27.2008

In Other News ...

Brian Burke signed a deal with Toronto, and no one was surprised.

Some More Game Notes

+ BU vs. Holy Cross - Before heading back to Pennsylvania, I caught the BU game Tuesday night. My dad and a family friend came in to watch too (since I've been talking up this Terrier squad all year). They had a rougher game than they should have. They ended up winning 3-2, but it was not an easy win. Holy Cross worked their tails off and nearly succeeded in defeating BU. Then again the Crusaders also caught a huge break when their goalie almost put the puck in his own nets from the boards. I'm not sure if BU was still a little bit mentally shaken up from their weekend -- totally possible. The times they played best was when they got into a flow. Vinny Saponari also had two breakaways that he failed to capitalize on.

I think teams are figuring out that if they just find a way to clamp down on the BU offense, they basically take BU's game away. The only problem Holy Cross had with that was that they were so busy playing defense they were limited on some of their offensive chances. Ultimately, Cross wore themselves out. They did a great job though and surprised everyone who was watching that game. It's time for BU to wake up.

+ WBS Penguins vs. Philly Phantoms - I went to my first Baby Pens game last night, and clearly I picked the wrong night to see them. They were owned by the Phantoms 5-1 -- not to mention Philly scored TWO shorthanded goals. Captain Dave Gove said it was the team's worst game all year, and my family assured me they've been playing a lot better during the year. I believe them. I think it was just a bad night, and to be honest they still seemed a little bit tired. They looked pretty good in the first half of the first period, but things just started to unravel. Adam Berkhoel took the loss but also managed to have 40 saves -- a handful there were unreal too. Not his fault at all.

+ John Curry got his first NHL win last night when he came in relief for Dany Sabourin and played solid to get the 5-3 victory over the Islanders. Congrats!!

11.24.2008

Say What??

BU dropped to number 8 in national rankings this week after coming off of two losses to Vermont. Yeah, it was a rough weekend ... but dropping to eight is complete BS in my opinion. I'm not just saying that because they're my team; I'm saying it because it's ridiculous.

Let's go boys. Pick it up.

11.23.2008

Catamounts Win Again. Boo.


Talk about deja vu. Vermont beat BU 4-3 again on Saturday night at Agganis Arena. I didn't get to see it, but it sounds like the Catamounts frustrated BU once again. It's pretty much a sure thing that they'll see their number 2 ranking drop, but like I said earlier they still deserve to be in the top five. We'll see. BC split their series with UMass, winning 2-0 on Friday and losing in overtime last night.

It's funny to see BU ranked second in the nation but in 6th place in Hockey East. Same with New Hampshire -- they're ranked in the top ten nationally but are in 7th in HE. Just shows how competitive HE is this year.

BU faces off against Holy Cross on Tuesday. I better see a win boys!

Photo Credit: Melissa Wade

11.21.2008

11/21 - Catamounts vs. Terriers

Just got back from the BU/Vermont game. Talk about a frustrating night for Boston U. They lost 4-3 to Vermont. Here are some game notes:

+ Colby Cohen had a bit of a rough night. He did record two assists, but he also batted in a goal for the Catamounts. It wasn't intentional (obviously), but who knows what would have been if that didn't happen. Then in the last minute of the game, he takes a 5 minute major for hitting from behind.

+ BU didn't necessarily play bad, but they weren't the team I've seen and raved about in the past month or so. Part of this was simply because they didn't get any breaks. You know when the puck keeps bouncing around, you can't complete passes, pucks go out of reach, shots get whiffed on, etc. Really frustrating, and it showed.

+ Vermont goaltender, Rob Madore, was spectacular tonight. He made 38 saves and a lot of good ones at that. Sure, maybe his bright yellow Reebok pads make him a Marc-Andre Fleury wannabe, but he was unreal. Had he not been stellar, Vermont loses that game. Oh and did I mention he's a freshman??

It was the first home ice loss for BU this season. They face off again tomorrow night at Agganis. I'm not sure if I'll get to catch that one, but hopefully the results are different. The loss will affect BU's ranking again, but if they can win tomorrow I'm certain they'll remain in the top 5. It'd be wrong to move them out of there regardless.

Tibbetts Suspended ... Again.

Billy Tibbetts was suspended by his team in the Eastern Professional Hockey League for violating 'team rules.' In his case, it probably means misbehaving yet again. I've never seen more wasted talent in my entire life. I watched Billy play in Wilkes-Barre back in the day, and I still think he's the best player I've ever seen come through there. I'll never forget when he jumped over an opponent and went right into a breakaway and scored. It was unreal. He's an amazing hockey player, but his off-the-ice problems always, always ruin it for him. It's a shame, it really is. I loved him as a player. If it weren't for his tendency to ruin things for himself, he'd be one of the best players in the NHL today.

In case you don't know his full story, this piece explains it.

11.19.2008

Vote for Seto


Devin Setoguchi might be the most overlooked player in the NHL right now. He has 22 points (11+11) in 20 games with a +6 rating. He's first in the league in shots (76) and is 4th overall in the league in goals and scoring. I'm asking all of you to join the underground effort to get Seto in the All Star Game. He deserves it.

Vote for Setoguchi.


Photo Credit: Flickr

Defending Brett Bennett .. among other things

I was reading through Boston University's Daily Free Press, and I decided I have to say something about a few issues that were brought up in Mike Lipka's piece.

+ First he says, "I'm pretty sure Wilson is the best all-around forward to play at BU since Chris Drury." This might pan out to be true, but let's not get a head of ourselves. Wilson is unreal, sick, dirty, nasty ... whatever complimentary adjective you want to use here. But like everyone on the Terriers' roster, he can still improve. Let's not inflate the kid's ego more than it already is. He gets to go be Bobby Big Wheels next year when he leaves for the show. Right now he needs to continue to work on being the best player he can at this level.

+ The next thing is probably what set off this whole blog post. It's not Lipka's fault, it's basically everyone's fault at BU who mounted an attack against former goaltender Brett Bennett. If you're just walking into this, Bennett was cut after a mediocre (to say the least) season. He was only a sophomore. I was shocked at the time, but apparently I was one of the few. Lipka mentions the "disastrous Brett Bennett era" ... all of ONE year. The kid wasn't given a chance to even have an era. Without a doubt, Bennett is probably still wishing he had a better season in 07-08, but it's not completely his fault. I still don't think he deserved to be cut (unless something was going on behind the scenes, which is totally possible). So many people at BU who have only jumped into hockey when they came here don't understand this. After watching hockey for how many years now, I have seen my teams have absolutely brutal years -- much worse than BU's last year (which in reality wasn't ALL that bad people). It was a transition year. If anything, you learn from those. Bennett wasn't alone last season ... at the start of the year the offense was horrible and four 'leaders' of the team got suspended by their own coach. There were a lot of problems. When watching Bennett, I never thought to myself "Wow that kid is awful." Because he wasn't. People still had the John Curry (college hockey savior) hangover and expected way more than that team could have produced. Regardless, Bennett was let go; this could be in part to the two excellent freshman goalies coming in (Keiran Millan and Grant Rollheiser) but either way people automatically thought it was because of his year. I didn't like the move; it messed with his future both academically and hockey-wise. Like I said, I don't know the complete story or what the true reason was, but people need to lay off Bennett already. It's over. And as Lipka points out, his numbers with the USHL's Indiana Ice are 8-2-1, 1.88 GAA and .939 save percentage. Good job bud. And good luck.

+ Finally, he mentions John Curry's not-so-good start with WBS. What he doesn't mention is that he is coming off an injury and is still finding his groove. He has some stronger competition in Adam Berkhoel this year (who has three shutouts already), and I think that will make him a better goaltender. In the meantime, he's chillin' in Pittsburgh until Marc-Andre Fleury gets back on the ice from his undisclosed injury.

Ciao! xo

11.15.2008

Bits & Pieces

Hopefully your day wasn't as rainy and dreary as mine was in Boston. Here are some clips of things going on:

+ Continuing with my Cam Paddock praise-rant, he scored his very first NHL goal in his very first NHL game on his first shot. Exciting!

+ The San Jose Sharks are doing a dad's trip - aka partying in Chi-town! PS: Vote for Seto.

+ UMass upset No. 1 Boston University last night when they beat them 5-1. I'm not so happy about this. UMass is turning out to be perhaps the most underrated team in Hockey East if not the NCAA. On that same note, No. 2 Minnesota tied unranked Michigan Tech today and BC tied Merrimack last night. That means BU might remain in the top spot. It will depend on how BC plays against UNH and how BU plays against Northeastern. Fingers crossed!

+ Barry Melrose was fired. Stick to TV bud.

Other than that ... it's Saturday night! Have fun!

11.13.2008

I Told Ya So...

Back in July I wrote this post about Peoria Rivermen center, Cam Paddock.

Well folks, he finally got what he deserved. A call up to the St. Louis Blues. There is no better feeling than when someone who truly, truly deserves it gets called up. He's not even in the top five leading scorers, but he proved that with hard work you can make it. Paddock has worked his whole life for this moment. It kind of makes me all soft inside.

It’s been a long battle, lots of ups and downs, playing in the ECHL, fighting to get to the AHL and learning a lot about yourself as a player. Everything is flooding through my mind right now. It’s surreal. I’m so excited, and I’ve been calling my friends, calling my family, because they have all been a part of this.
-Cam Paddock


Congrats buddy. Make the most of it.

11.12.2008

Burke Out?

Rumors have started swirling around that Brian Burke is no longer the GM of the Anaheim Ducks. When I get more word on this, I'll update.

Stay tuned ...

11.10.2008

The View From The Top...

Ladies and gentlemen, your number one ranked NCAA team in the nation:

11.06.2008

Quote of the Day

Is he talking about the youngest guy to get 100 points in the history of the National Hockey League? Is he talking about the youngest guy to win the Hart Trophy and lead the league in scoring? Is he talking about the youngest captain in the National Hockey League to bring his team to the Stanley Cup Final? That’s all I have to say.
Michel Therrien in response to Alex Semin's earlier comments on Crosby

Couldn't have said it better myself.

11.05.2008

Eerie ...

A woman attending Monday night's Blackhawks' game collapsed and died. The eerie thing is ... her mom died at a Hawks game in 1986.

11.01.2008

Quote of the Day


What's so special about [Crosby]? I don't see anything special there. Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else.
Alexander Semin


Weird ... because I think Crosby's pretty good.

10.31.2008

Dear Atlanta ...

Ouch.

10.28.2008

Q & A

Someone sent in a question to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Summed up the question was: "Do you think the Penguins are missing Ryan Malone?"

Here's my answer: No.

I truly believe Ryan Malone was over-hyped and overrated within the past year or so. His current one point (a goal) in seven games helps back me up. Sure, it's early. Maybe he'll be a super star. But anyone playing alongside some of those guys in Pittsburgh can put up points.

10.26.2008

Michigan Who?


I hope some of you caught the BU/UMich game last night because it was fun ... fun if you were cheering for BU. After losing to Michigan 6-3 last season, the Terriers got some revenge with a 7-2 win in Boston. It was more of BU being unreal (you gotta see these kids this year!) than anything. Michigan played decently throughout the game, but they simply weren't as good.

Two things about the game:
+ I had to check how many penalties were called. It seemed like the entire game was spent on special teams. There were 30 penalties -- 15 in the third alone. It was kind of crazy. It felt like something was whistled every five minutes. Anyway, BU killed off 10 of 12 Michigan power-plays which is pretty good. On the other hand, they really need to start being more disciplined. BU takes way too many penalties every game, and that will eventually tire you out no matter how good you are.

+ I saw my first legit college fight. Fighting isn't allowed in the NCAA, but after a 7-2 game (with some chirps mixed in) things boiled over. I believe it started in the corner with Brian Strait and a UMich guy just shoving each other around ... then someone got suckered and all hell broke loose. Somewhere in there freshman Vinny Saponari and Brian Lebler took off the cages, dropped the gloves and went at it. Nothing too exciting happened; the refs were doing all they could to stop it. Those boys will not be permitted to play in their next game.

Photo Credit: Michigan

10.25.2008

Watch It!

No. 6 BU (number one in our hearts) hosts no. 5 Michigan tonight. It's being broadcast live on CN8 at 7 pm.

It's going to be a great game! Watch it!

10.23.2008

Agreed.

A Lackawanna County judge dismissed charges against former WBS captain, Nathan Smith, for indecent exposure and lewdness.

Basically what happened was: Smith lost a bet one night while the boys were out goofing around, and he had to strip down. Unfortunately for him, he ran straight towards a police officer.

People in Wilkes-Barre will probably be losing their heads (in fact, one comment is already saying how it was a joke he was let off), but let's get serious here. Sure, it was stupid, but it was around 2 in the morning -- it's not like any children were running around outside and saw it. Go to any college frat, and you'll see this too. It would be ridiculous to follow through with the charges.

Props to the judge who let this one go.

10.22.2008

Really Ron Wilson?


As you may have heard by now, Leafs' coach, Ron Wilson, decided to play Curtis Joseph in the shootout after Vesa Toskala played the entire 65 minutes before that. Apparently this is because Joseph has a better shoot-out record. Okay, fair enough. But really though?

I think it shows a lack of confidence in Toskala. The kid played the entire game for you -- and kept the Leafs in the game (granted he only faced 21 shots). You say thank you by putting Joseph in? I know it's totally legal, but it's just strange to me. It'd be different if both goalies had seen action during regulation, but that was Toskala's game. Let him finish it.

Needless to say, the Ducks ended up winning the shoot-out. Way to go Ron Wilson.

Photo Credit: Dave Sandford/Getty Images

10.21.2008

B's vs. Pens


I headed over to the Garden last night to catch the Boston Bruins' home opener against my Penguins. Every time I go to an NHL game, I am reminded of how sick it is. The atmosphere was awesome. If they didn't sell out, they were super close. Boston fans are a riot. You can just tell that the majority of people there legit love the Bruins. I was with two diehards who were reminiscing about the last time the Bruins won a play-off round. Sigh.

Anyway, Pittsburgh came out on top with a 2-1 win after a shoot-out. Boston outplayed them the entire game. They had way more energy. If it weren't for a ton of missed chances (and I mean really close chances), Boston would have had 8 goals. Credit also goes to Dany Sabourin who played great. I was happy to see him get a solid win in. He needs it considering he only plays about three games a year.

The Beantown fans got the 'CROSBY SUCKS' chant going a few times. I sat there pouting and calling everyone jealous. Which they are. Tell me one team that wouldn't want Crosby on its roster. I don't think you'll find one.

Also: Crosby and Malkin on the same line is like watching a ballet. It's a work of art. I love it.

Bottom line: Boston is going to have a good year -- at least better than the seasons in the past few years. They're a really fun team to watch. Once they learn how to capitalize on some huge chances, they'll be good to go. In the meantime, I'm not sure what was with Pittsburgh. I hope it wasn't an "elitist" attitude I saw peeking through. You can't do pretty things all the time boys.

Photo Credit: Boston Bruins

10.20.2008

Quote of the Day

I think if the economy can pull the kind of 180 that Paul Bissonnette achieved in the last year, the country would be a much happier place.


- Ben Lovejoy

10.19.2008

Headline of the Week


How can you not love this headline? Like I said earlier, no one hates Northeastern. They're not really a rival of BU even though they are neighbors to the Comm Ave school. So it's okay for me to be really proud of them in their win over BC Saturday night. It sounds like NU goaltender, Brad Thiessen, continues to do well. Just goes to show BC isn't 'perfect.'

BU won their game against Merrimack 5-2 on Friday night. There was a beautiful goal thanks to a perfect pass to Brandon Yip who easily shot it into the glaringly empty net in front of him. Poor Merrimack. One of these years I really hope they have a good season. They're way overdue. Anyway, BU pairs up against UNH tonight in a game that will be a bigger challenge for them than Merrimack.

Go Terriers!

10.17.2008

October is Hilarious

Okay, so the beginning of the regular season is so amusing to me. Can I just point out some examples?

+ The Maple Leafs beat Detroit in their first game. Sure, that's been their only win so far -- but it's still funny. Suck it Detroit.

+ The Ducks are 0-4. Not one point. Zero. Awful. Hint: stop taking penalties like it's your job ... it's not.

+ Chicago already tossed out their coach.

+ The St. Louis Blues are in first place in the Central Division.

+ I really don't care if the Rangers have been sick so far this year. They will choke in the post-season as they always do.

Just some Friday musings after a week of midterms. Gross. Bu vs. Merrimack tonight. Pittsburgh vs. Boston on Monday. Sooo excited.

OH... RED SOX ANYONE???

10.13.2008

RIP


Reports are starting to come in that 19 year-old Alexei Cherepanov collapsed and died at his hockey game. He was drafted 17th overall by the New York Rangers in 2007.

He will be missed.

10.11.2008

They're Baaacckkk...


Last night I was able to catch the Boston University/North Dakota game at Agganis Arena. Going into it, I wasn't sure what to expect. North Dakota is always a force in the NCAAs, and this year they were ranked 5th in the nation compared to the Terriers' 9th.

Well forget rankings because BU dominated. Final score: 5-1 Terriers.

I was like a kid in a candy shop watching this game. Freshman goaltender, Kieran Millan looked spectacular. He made a few huge saves that reminded me of the John Curry days (although I'm not going to jump the gun on that one). The Terriers skated well, had some sick moves and all in all just worked hard. They got under ND's skin too which is always fun. Right now I think it's all about BU's freshman and sophomore players.

I really hope last night's game wasn't a fluke. They go at it again with Michigan State tonight. If they can keep playing this way, they're going to have a good year.

I made a prediction before the game last night that if BU won, they would make it to the Frozen Four. I guess we'll have to wait and see ...

Photo Credit: Dominick Reuter

10.09.2008

Talk About Bad Luck

Remember Clint Malarchuk? The goalie who had his jugular slashed open by a skate during a hockey game in 1989 (youtube it if you dare!)?

Well he accidentally shot himself in the chin with his rifle the other day. Fortunately he's okay and recovering well.

Talk about having bad luck. I mean did you break a mirror somewhere along the way bud?

10.08.2008

Yuck.

Here's what I have to say about my WBS boys' 8-4 loss to the Hershey Bears in their season opener:

+ Give me John Curry asap.
+ It's good luck for WBS to lose on opening night. Some of their most successful years have come when they lost the opener.
+ Don't take penalties.
+ Remember boys: you are basically the same team as last year. That means that you really don't have pure skill. You need to work hard to earn your wins. You did it last season. Do it again.

Phantoms > Flyers

This is funny.

The Flyers lost to their AHL affiliate by a score of 4-2. Phantoms had Antero Nittymaki in net though, so that probably helped them. But maybe we should rethink those rosters?

10.06.2008

Honda Hearts the NHL

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the official vehicle of the NHL:


I'm secretly wishing it was BMW. I lust over those cars.

10.05.2008

Criminal Mismanagement? How dare they.

Atlanta Thrasher prospect, Ondrej Pavelec, was recently demoted to their AHL affiliate in Chicago, and apparently he's not going (so says his agent). This happens from time to time :cough:Kris Beech:cough:, but this is interesting to me because if the Thrashers lose Pavelec, it will be a mistake. They'll be losing a lot of talent.

I saw Pavelec play in the Calder Cup finals with the Chicago Wolves this past year. He was sick. I looked at him, and I saw him playing in the NHL one day very soon. I thought he could have used a bit more time in the A for some minor improvements, but overall he was fun to watch because he was so good. He's only 21, so I don't know that this fit his agent is throwing (accusing the Thrashers of 'criminal mismanagement') was entirely necessary. His agent is claiming he wasn't given a fair chance at making the team. I haven't been paying too much attention to the Thrashers camp, so I don't know if that's true or not.

But they are the Atlanta Thrashers. I realize they have two good goalies in Kari Lehtonen and Johan Hedberg, but from what I've seen of Pavelec, he could probably compete with them. Why not give him a chance?

More on B.Ry.


For anyone watching the Pittsburgh/Ottawa game on Versus right now, how good does it feel to have hockey back? It brought a little smile to my face.

Anyway, more on the Bobby Ryan issue I briefly brought up last time. The kid is hoping for a trade, and I don't really blame him. At the same time, it's not as if they're sending him down to be outright dicks; they just don't know how to handle money very well. There were rumors about Toronto being interested in him; that would be interesting considering Brian Burke will probably end up there after this season. No matter where Ryan ends up, he still needs to adjust the attitude. I still stand by what I've said before: he has unreal hands that help him score but has offered little else. He has size, he should use it. And now that he's a skinny minnie, he should be faster.

Bottom line is, the Ducks probably saw beforehand that this problem would arise. Why did they hype him up so much and 'pencil' him in then? It makes them look bad. That might be my PR education speaking, but it is what it is.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen, Getty Images

10.03.2008

This Makes the Afternoon Interesting ...

I'm way overdue for an afternoon nap, but the Ducks sent Bobby Ryan down to the AHL today.

Although I have my complaints about him, it does hurt to be sent down for 'salary cap reasons' -- especially after everyone in the Ducks organization has spent basically all preseason talking him up.

Bobby Ryan often feels like he's owed the NHL, so there's no doubt he is complaining right now. And for once, I can't really blame him.

Poor kid. Maybe he should take a nap too.

More on this after some zzz's.

9.30.2008

Hockey East Pre-Season Rankings


The NCAA hockey season is just around the corner. If you are one of the people who don't really follow college hockey, you should get into it. If you're used to NHL hockey, NCAA will look like it's moving at a snail's pace with terrible passing; on the other hand, it's a lot of fun to watch these guys develop. If anything, watch a game between BU & BC. It's a great rivalry; anyone can get into it. Hockey East media day was this past Monday. The coaches released their preseason poll. The following is the rankings and my personal comments if I had any:

1. Chestnut Hill University
- Oh, I mean Boston College (but it's not in Boston nor is it a college, so really the name makes no sense). I had forgotten that they are the defending national champs until now. It's possible I might be sick to my stomach. Anyway, yes, BC will be good again. Surprise, surprise. Sophomore goaltender, John Muse, is unbelievable. I actually like him better than former BC goalie, Cory Schneider. The team will be led by Brock Bradford (who missed a lot of last year with injuries), Benn Ferriero and Tim Filangieri. Collectively, they'll play well. They lost a big player in Nate Gerbe who skipped his senior year to go pro. The Eagles will miss all 3'9" of him. They'll also have a big scoring hole to fill. Will they repeat their NCAA championship? It's a possibility, but for the sake of my sanity, let's hope not.

2. Boston University
- The team you should always be rooting for. ;-) BU has a lot of potential this year. If they want to, they can be great. If they don't want to, they could suck. Last year was a medicore year with a poor start and a strong finish that didn't amount to much in the post-season. They have some great players -- Colin Wilson (7th overall to Nashville in 08), Kevin Shattenkirk (14th overall to Colorado in 07), Colby Cohen (45th overall to Colorado in 07), Brian Strait (65th overall to Pittsburgh) and so on. If Wilson can play like he did the second half of last year, it would help BU out a ton. Defensively, they should be pretty sound with Strait, Shatty, Cohen and Matt Gilroy. The interesting situation to watch will be goaltending. After last season, BU got rid of Brett Bennett. That leaves sophomore Adam Kraus and two freshman -- Grant Rollheiser and Kieran Millan - to split the duties. I saw Kraus play in one game last year, and he looked decent. Then again that was against the US U-18 development team. It's totally up in the air, and it could really affect the team who is still dreaming about its days with John Curry. The freshman class has 10 guys in it - aka it's huge. Hopefully they learn quick.

3. New Hampshire - You can usually count on UNH to be pretty good. They lost a great goaltender in Kevin Regan, but I think they'll be fine without him. 2007's 2nd overall pick, James VanRiemsdyk, is back for his sophomore year. He's a big kid, and he wasn't drafted number 2 for no reason.

4. Northeastern - Nobody hates Northeastern. I'm not sure if anybody really loves them either. They're just there. Kind of like Harvard. Their key player is their goalie, Brad Theissen. His freshman year he was one of the best goalies I saw play; last year I felt like I didn't see as much from him. It's not that he was bad, but something wasn't the same. While NEU is never a team that's been a huge threat, you can always count on them to steal games from you when you're not expecting it. Pittsburgh draft pick, Joe Vitale, will captain the team.

5. Vermont - I still don't know what a Catamount is, but oh well. Vermont knocked out BU last year in the Hockey East playoffs, but lost in the semi-final to BC. You can't take them lightly, but they don't really have anything that stands out about them.

6. UMass
7. UMass-Lowell
8. Providence - I think being named the Friars just kills season hopes year after year.

9. Maine - It's weird to see Maine ranked this low. Last year, they missed the playoffs for the first time since 1998. They're usually a dominate team, but last year's unsuccessful season looks to carry into this one. It happens. Teams have good streaks and bad streaks. They also have ten freshman joining the squad this season.

10. Merrimack - Oh gosh. Someone please put this team out of its misery. Ranked last. I think the poor Warriors finish last just about every year. I'd love for them to have a good season one of these times. But I'm not so sure that will happen.

Ouch.

This means Alex Goligoski will be seeing some quality NHL time this year. Good luck bud.

Luongo Gets the 'C'


Roberto Luongo was named captain of the Vancouver Cancucks today ... kind of. I guess he doesn't get to wear the C or anything (something about rules), but technically he is the new captain. John Curry wore an 'A' on his jersey during his senior season at BU. Kind of similar situation.


Photo Credit: Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press.

9.25.2008

Some Scranton Love ...


The LA Times had a little clip about prospect Eric Tangradi. It also noted a bit about his time spent playing in Kingston, PA:
Tangradi played high school hockey at Wyoming Seminary Prep, which is not in Wyoming, but Scranton, Pa., and had nothing to do with those who wish to become a Catholic priest.

"Just a fancy name for a prep school," Tangradi said. "It was probably the stepping stone to my hockey career."

That quote will probably only be amusing for those from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. Sem isn't even in Scranton either, but that's okay. And most of my friends who went to Sem never even considered becoming Catholic priests. In fact, it's a Methodist school.

Hahahaha.

Regardless, it's still pretty cool to see a kid that played in the WBS area continue his hockey career.

9.23.2008

Dear Kansas City

Here's what I have to say on the whole Kansas City issue about how they have this beautiful arena and no team for it:

It's not my problem. I'm over it.

If I have to be nicer, I would say that in Field of Dreams the whole thing was 'If you build it, they will come.' Maybe keep thinking that. Whatever works.

Cut Time

So Pittsburgh cut another group of guys today. I'm not extremely surprised, but I find some kind of interesting. Here are my thoughts:

+ Ryan Stone and Jonathan Filewich were both cut. Everyone has said about 10,000 times that they really had to step it up this year at camp, and I hate to be the one to reiterate that, but it's true. I guess they didn't. I like the both of them. I think Stone has to play up his agitator side, and I think Filly pretty much always needs someone to set him up to score. They'll be alright in the long run. Just maybe not with Pittsburgh.

+ Kris Beech was also cut, but I don't know that he's even really played in the past, like, ten years (okay, so maybe it was only a year. It feels like ten). So that's really no surprise. Although I realize he can be very lazy, I like him. I hope he puts up points this year in the W-B.

+ The shocker is Paul Bissonnette still remaining in Pittsburgh. No offense Bis. I see potential, but nothing that's ready for the show yet. Maybe he's there because he's tough (or makes an attempt to be anyway).

+ Much love to John Curry who is still up there. I realize it's only because they want to take three goalies to Sweden, but it's still exciting. He stopped all his shots in the preseason game against Tampa Bay last night.

+ With Sergei Gonchar out indefinitely (hopefully not too long), Alex Goligoski will most likely get a chance to show what he's got. He had two assists in a preseason game the other night. Not bad. I still believe he'll be sent down once Pittsburgh has all their D-men at 100%. Who knows though -- maybe he'll tear it up. Time will tell.

Easy with the Golf Carts Bud

This sucks.
The fact that it wasn't even hockey related is even more brutal.

9.10.2008

Goose

There's been a lot of talk about Alex Goligoski's upcoming year. Mostly about how he might just make the jump to the show and stick. I've seen Goose play quite a few games, and I really like the kid. But here are some quick reasons why I don't think he will play the full season in the NHL in 2008-2009:

+ Mark Eaton & Darryl Sydor. They technically are penciled in above Goligoski and would complete a fourth line of defense for Pittsburgh. It's completely possible that Goligoski could out perform them in camp and snatch a spot from them, but with contract nonsense and all that ... who really knows. I'm not aware of the contract situation with Eaton & Sydor (maybe it wouldn't make a difference), but I don't think either of them would want to spend time in the AHL. A trade could work. Whitney being out of the line-up for a bit leaves a little more room, but overall, I think they work against Goligoski's chances.

+ Himself. From the games I've watched, Goligoski is a great skater, and he has really good hands. But someone tell me in the final two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs, is he coughing up pucks as easily as he did on some occasions? Other times, he took way too much time on some plays. Maybe I was just super tense because I wanted them to win so bad, but still ... come on. He's not a real big guy either. That being said, he can score (more than a lot of forwards can), and a defenseman that can contribute points is always welcome.

Once again, I really like the kid, and if he cracks the Pittsburgh line-up, that would be fab. As for now, I just don't really see it happening. He'll definitely get some games up there but all 80? I'm not so sure. And hey, a little more development never hurt anybody.

Photo Credit: WBS Penguins

Opportunities, Opportunities ...

Adam Proteau beat me to it, but I was totally thinking the same thing about the Tom Brady effect in the Boston sports world.

Naturally I was devastated along with the entire city when Brady succumbed to injury. It was like a living nightmare waiting to hear the test results. Everyone in Boston went through three stages: complete denial -> nail-biting wait for confirmation -> mourning. Needless to say, the Pats will move on, and for all we know Matt Cassel could turn this seemingly doomed season into a great story.

In the wake of all this, a lot of Boston fans have re-focused back on the ever-so-close-to-first-place Red Sox for comfort. It's not that they necessarily ruled the Pats out, but there is less reason to be excited (and perhaps even some apprehension?) about the rest of the season.

We all know that the Bruins are not high on Hub fans' list of teams, so why not take advantage of this open window to get people excited about them? After missing the play-offs for two consecutive years, the B's did have an exciting first round in 2008. Even though they lost, they rallied against Montreal to take it to seven games. With the exception of the outcome, it was a good moment for the team. Why not ride that into the regular season? Generate more interest. Get people going. With Brady out, there is room for other franchises in the area to move in. Kicking off the home opener against Pittsburgh will be great as well.

Of course, the best way to do this is to start the season off by winning a bunch of games. After all, Beantown loves its winning teams. The Bruins need Boston. And if the Pats start to sink, Boston will need the Bruins.

9.09.2008

Sean Avery: The Movie

As if Sean Avery couldn't get anymore annoying, New Line Cinema has decided to make a movie out of him. A romantic comedy to be exact. :major eye roll: I guess they found it interesting that he's a wannabe fashionista and interned at Vogue over the summer. (Note: Use the term 'interned' lightly here) It's described in the Hollywood Reporter as: "...a film about professional hockey player Sean Avery's experiences in the fashion world, including his stint as a summer intern at a fashion magazine." Exactly what other experiences has he had in the fashion world? Anyone can put on a Gucci suit and walk down a red carpet with Elisha Cuthbert or sit in a show or two during New York's fashion week.

Anyway, I'm all for more hockey promotion in the 'outside world', but couldn't it have been someone else????

For a funny take on it, check out Perez Hilton's clip about it.

Photo Credit: MSG.com

8.30.2008

Greetings from Beantown


After shipping up to Boston to start another year at school, I'm exhausted. But I had to give a congrats to a fellow BU boy who signed with Wilkes-Barre. It's almost as if I'm recruiting for them. First John Curry and now Boomer Ewing. Although I think he might see time in Wheeling, WBS fans will like him. He's not a huge kid, but he works hard. Hopefully his game will translate well to the pros, and he'll put up some points like he did for the Terriers. :sigh: They grow up so fast.

Well, the Sox won again, and freshmen are wandering the streets looking for frat parties to go to. I'm going to bed!

Photo Credit: Hockey East Online

8.25.2008

Fall Into the GAP


I was shopping at King of Prussia this past weekend, and as I strolled out of the GAP, what did I see? Sean Avery's face ten times its original size in an ad for the store. Aside from the fact that he is easily my least favorite NHLer (in a close race with Jeremy Roenick), who really finds this guy to be good looking?? This whole dating celebrities and fashion nonsense is so bizarre to me.

Put Matt Lombardi or Rick DiPietro on a huge ad, and then we'll talk.

8.17.2008

Plug Time


Former Wheeling Nailer (and nephew of Craig Patrick), Curtiss Patrick, has jumpstarted his own t-shirt company called Ratfink T-shirts. They're actually pretty hilarious and not too expensive at all.

My personal favorites include "I made out with my sister in Wheeling WV" and "I'm Not Jared" (in the shape of the Subway sign). Check 'em out. You'll get a good laugh in.

Curtiss played hockey at Penn State before spending time with the Nailers. He is headed to England to play next season. He also writes and puts together some pretty hilarious songs which you can check out on his MySpace page -- most famously "Myspace Lovership." If you follow the link to the YouTube video you can see cameos by Paul Bissonnette, Ned Havern and Andy Franck.

Quote Me


Perhaps my favorite media darling in the NHL, Alexander Ovechkin, had an entertaining interview in the new Hockey News yearbook. I couldn't decide which to use, so I went with both:

"You love your mom all the time, and I love hockey all the time."

"I want more. All the time, I want more, more, more. Sometimes you eat a lot and you say, 'I can't eat anymore.' But when you score goals, it's not like that. It's unbelievable ... unbelievable food."


I couldn't have said it better myself.

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

8.16.2008

Bits & Pieces

- More on the Dennis Bonvie situation: According to front office gossip talk, Bonvie wasn't going to be picked for the assistant coach position anyway. In that case, I think the team owes a thank you to Dennis for publicly 'withdrawing' his name and making it seem like it was his first choice to leave (which it may have been anyway, who knows). Jonathan Bombulie mentioned him possibly taking a scouting job for an NHL team. Either way, best wishes. Everyone will miss him.

- Pittsburgh's Ryan Whitney will miss the start of the season due to recent foot surgery. Recovery time: 3-5 months. Yikes. Get well soon.

- San Jose did a nice little piece on former WBS coach, Todd Richards.

- In continuing with their Logo Ranking madness, THN made a horrible mistake. They put the BC Eagles above BU! Surely, they weren't paying attention. Go here immediately and vote for BU!!

8.12.2008

Hmm...


A little note popped up on my RSS feeds from the Times Leader saying that Dennis Bonvie has withdrawn his name as a candidate for the open assistant coach position. My first reaction is disappointment. Not only would he have been good for the spot, but it would be another great move for the area.

There have been rumors going around that he wants to open up a sports bar in the Wilkes-Barre area. Could that be his other 'opportunity'? If not, then I'm super curious as to what is.

8.07.2008

Quote Me


"We might have to employ scientists to investigate, but Wayne may be the best human at everything ever."
- www.barrymelroserocks.com

8.06.2008

Hey! Whatever Happened To ...



Have you ever wondered what happened to those players that were skating for your team one day and gone the next? If you haven't, pretend you have. I've seen my fair share of prospects come through Wilkes-Barre, and occasionally some that seemed pretty decent ended up disappearing (by disappearing I mean heading overseas). So here's a little 'where are they now' session of some Pittsburgh prospects who quietly slipped away.

1. Konstantin Koltsov - Koltsov was probably one of the more impressive players I watched, and I guess the main reason for that was his speed. I haven't seen very many players who skated faster than Koltsov. He played 144 games in Pittsburgh and 116 games (regular & post-season) for Wilkes-Barre. He's now over in Russia playinig for Ufa Salavat Yulayev. He was always a quiet kid - probably because his English wasn't so great, but I will never ever forget his Game 7 OT goal in the first round of the 03-04 Calder Cup playoffs that came after WBS was in a 3-games-to-1 deficit before battling back. I've never felt more pride in a team than in that moment, and for that reason, I will never dislike the kid.

2. Michel Sivek - I never had a problem with Michel Sivek. In fact, he was a pretty decent player. But after 93 games and 55 points with Wilkes-Barre and 38 games with Pittsburgh, he headed home to the Czech Republic where he's played for Sparta Praha ever since. At the time, I remember something about his mother being sick as a main reason why he was going home, but don't hold me to that 100%.

3. Milan Kraft - Other than Koltsov, Kraft is possibly the best player on this list to leave. He was so much fun to watch because his skill level was incredible. He made it look easy. At the same time, he had a tendency to fall into what seemed like an 'I really don't care' mindset. He played 108 games in Wilkes-Barre where he accumulated an unreal 114 points, and he spent 215 games with Pittsburgh where he racked up 82 points. After the 03-04 season, he headed back to his home country of the Czech Republic, and with the exception of one stint in Russia, has played there since. He is now with Karlovy Vary HC.

4. Sebastien Caron - Caron was one of my favorite players when he was around (What? I have a soft spot for goalies, okay). Even though he weighed about 25 pounds and wore his pads so loose they hung off his legs, he had a lot of potential. He wasn't an above average goaltender, but when he first came on the scene it seemed like he could be someday (see: this save). Caron played 90 games for Pittsburgh (to be honest, I didn't even realize it was this much) and 123 games for Wilkes-Barre. He didn't leave North America until this past season when he played for Fribourg-Gotteron in the Swiss League, but he seemed to slip under the radar before that as he was tossed around from Chicago to Portland to Norfolk and Anaheim (where he did manage to win a Stanley Cup). Unfortunately, he controlled his own destiny in all of this. He had a case of laziness and immaturity (proof: a teammate and good friend of his once told a story of how he pushed all his vegetables to the side and only ate the noodles of his dinner) ... neither of which equal success.

5. Tomas Surovy - Another European who left the Pittsburgh organization for Europe. He was a good player who could put up points -- 177 in 239 games for Wilkes-Barre and 59 points in 126 games for Pittsburgh. He left for the Swedish Elite League where he's continued to do pretty well. He faked everyone out with a Phoenix Coyotes contract last summer only to have it cancelled and return to Sweden.

8.04.2008

Logolicious


Let's face it, we all love to be given a reason to judge something or someone. I mean, why do you really think American Idol is so popular? Coincidentally, 'tis the season for judging logos (if we're going along with the Hockey News). What's that?? Judging logos you say?? How can I not?

There are some major problems with THN's AHL rankings. For example, they ranked a guy steering a river boat and two odd looking pigs -- excuse me, one is a hog -- above my steroid-enhanced Penguin. No, no, no. Clearly that's a mistake.

Here's a link to the original rankings. Here are mine. I'm not HTML savvy enough to yet figure out how to line up each logo with my ranking, so just refer to the image above. They go in order across. The THN ranking is placed at the end of each description for easy comparison. Check it:

1. Rochester Americans - I'm sticking with the pros on this one. It's classic. God Bless the red, white and blue. THN ranking: 1.

2. Milwaukee Admirals -- Recently re-done. It's modern, and pirates happen to be cool right now. Arr. THN ranking: 3.

3. San Antonio Rampage - I'm not going anywhere near that thing. THN ranking: 2.

4. Bridgeport Sound Tigers - Probably has the best color combo in the entire league -- although I do miss the old royal blue. Ferosh. THN ranking: 5.

5. Toronto Marlies - Pure classic - ness. Yes, I made that word up. Doesn't stray far from Papa Toronto, but it manages to be way sweeter. THN ranking: 9.

6. Houston Aeros - Retro is so in right now. THN ranking: 4.

7. Hershey Bears - Maybe you have to see Hershey play a lot to fully appreciate their logo. I think it's pretty sick. THN ranking: 18.

8. Manitoba Moose - Do you know how big moose are? And one with that face? Solid one-two punch. THN ranking: 11.

9. Philly Phantoms - For as much as I hate the Phantoms, I've always had a soft spot for their logo. The egg plant purple they use for jerseys? Not so much. THN Ranking: 20.

10. Lake Erie Monsters - Nessie? Oh wait, that's Loch Ness not Lake Erie. THN ranking: 13.

11.WBS Penguins - Maybe I'm biased here, but this Penguin was juiced up before being juiced up was cool. I'm pretty sure it could knock out some of these other logos here. THN ranking: 21.

12. Hartford Wolfpack - I automatically think AHL when I see this. I'm not sure why, but I think it's cool. THN ranking: 24.

13. Syracuse Crunch - No one can really be sure what that white thing is. THN calls it a gorilla, but I'm not even sure that's right. It looks more like a person. Abominable snowman? Whatever it is, it's completely crazy. It's also a step up from their old logo which looked like it could be a third member of the Ambiguously Gay Duo (thus making it a trio). THN ranking: 28.

14. Hamilton Bulldogs - Are you going to try and take that bone away from that dog? I didn't think so. THN ranking: 14.

15. Rockford Ice Hogs - If Disney wanted a logo for another hockey team, this is what it would look like. THN ranking: 16.

16. Portland Pirates - How old is this guy that his beard is completely grey? THN ranking: 17.

17. Norfolk Admirals - The ship is shooting pucks. Get it? Yeah, I know. Cool. Next please. THN ranking: 6.

18. Lowell Devils - The Devil himself on skates. Get me some holy water. THN ranking: 12.

19. Providence Bruins - Like father, like son. THN ranking: 22.

20. Grand Rapids Griffins - I wasn't sure where to rank this. So I just put it here. THN ranking: 10.

21. Iowa Chops - This is the scariest thing I've seen in my life. So maybe that's an exaggeration, but seriously. I'm having nightmares about this thing, and I'm not even asleep. THN ranking: 15.

22. Peoria Rivermen - A guy steering a boat and chewing on a puck. I can't imagine that's good for your teeth, but if that's your style, all the more to ya. THN ranking: 7.

23. Binghamton Senators - Looks like he's the Riverman's brother. Similar facial features. THN ranking: 27.

24. Springfield Falcons - Is the bird stealing the hockey stick or getting ready to take a shot? If the latter is true, then the set up doesn't look very promising. THN ranking: 8.

25. Chicago Wolves - Wow a vicious looking wolf. I've never seen one of those before. THN ranking: 23.

26. Manchester Monarchs - I'm bored. THN ranking: 19.

27. Worcester Sharks - Negative points for using the big club's hand-me-downs. THN Ranking: 26.

28. Quad City Flames - I bet you can't guess its NHL affiliate. THN ranking: 29.

29. Albany River Rats - I'm sorry I just can't be a fan of a rat -- sorry, a river rat -- for a team logo. And is it winking or did it lose an eye? THN ranking: 25.

New Boss In The Dub-B


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton made the move everyone was expecting and named Dan Bylsma head coach. No shock factor here. He's been with the Baby Pens for a solid two years riding shotgun in the assistant position. The organization didn't have to look far to find a qualified coach. He'll be dealing with a similar group of guys from last season (aka not an extreme amount of talent but a great work ethic), so I think that works in his favor.

The question now is ... are they going to hire Dennis Bonvie as the assistant?

Pretty please??

8.01.2008

It's All About The Looks


The Hockey News released their logo rankings which is always fun to look at. They ranked the Blackhawks #1. I'm not sure that Chicago's logo is the best one in the league -- actually I don't think it is at all. It's a classic, but I don't know.

My favorite logo goes to Minnesota. Even though I'm not a huge Wild fan, the logo is super creative.

What's your fave? Hmm??

PS: Sorry for the lack of activity during the week. I spent the week in Ocean City, NJ where I randomly ran into Bill Guerin and his family. Small world, hey?

7.26.2008

Where It All Goes Down


The New York Times did a piece today on the NHL's nearly completed headquarters in Manhattan. Seems pretty cool.

Just something fun to skim over as the off-season crawls along.


Photo Credit: Ruby Washington, NYT.

7.21.2008

Bittersweet

Just caught wind from Wilkes-Barre writer, Jonathan Bombulie, that WBS head coach Todd Richards will be joining Todd McLellan and the San Jose Sharks as a new assistant coach. That's awesome for him, and he's totally deserving of it. He's done a great job with the Baby Pens. Definitely bittersweet though.

Whoever gets the new head coach position in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will be the fifth coach there in ten years. The first two (Glenn Patrick & Joe Mullen) were awful, but the last two (Therrien & Richards) have been great.

Hopefully another good coach follows.

Photo Credit: ahl.com

7.20.2008

Say What?



Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a piece in the paper today about Philly fans having 'nothing' on Pittsburgh fans when it comes to being nasty.

Now, I pretty much dislike most things about Philly (except their cheesesteaks), but come on. Pittsburgh fans nastier than Philly fans? You've got to be kidding me.

I don't care who Pittsburgh fans have the 'guts' to boo, I saw a Philly fan choke an opposing fan with a pom-pom once. There have been Eagles' fans that heckled and harassed a 70 year-old+ couple for wearing the opposing team's jerseys.

Sorry Bob, there is no city who has fans that even touch the crazy Philadelphia fans out there. Period.

Photo Credit: flickr

7.18.2008

He's Not Goin' Anywhere


Pittsburgh and head coach Michel Therrien signed a three year contract today. This is a good move. I wasn't sure what Ray Shero was planning to do with Therrien in the future. Therrien was a guy that was already in place before Shero brought his troops in, and I was often wondering if he would get rid of Therrien at the slightest hint of adversity and replace him with one of his own guys like Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach, Todd Richards (who has been successful in the AHL for awhile now). This proves me wrong.

Most people either love Therrien or they hate him. I'm one that loves him. I watched him come into Wilkes-Barre at a time when his career wasn't going so well and when the Baby Pens had finally gotten rid of a coach that did absolutely nothing for them (if you're wondering who, it was Glenn Patrick). When Therrien came into Wilkes-Barre, he was tough on the guys, but he had to be. They listened to him. Matt Murley once said they were afraid to lose under him, and it showed. Here's a quick look at Therriens 2.25 years in Wilkes-Barre:

  • 2003-2004: In his first year, he took WBS all the way to the Calder Cup Finals. The road to the Finals included an amazing first round comeback against the first place Bridgeport Sound Tigers that was sealed in a game 7 OT win. The Baby Pens had been down 3 games to 1 in the series. In the Eastern Conference finals, they defeated Hartford in a game 7 OT as well.
  • 2004-2005: WBS faced a star-studded Binghamton Senators roster (ie: Jason Spezza) in the first round of the play-offs. They upset them in six games.
  • 2005-2006: In Therrien's 25 games before getting the call to Pittsburgh, he held a record of 21-2-2-1. Unbelievable.

When Therrien got the NHL job, he never forgot about the guys he coached in Wilkes-Barre. That's why you see most of them on the Pittsburgh Roster today. Guys like Max Talbot, Ryan Whitney, Marc-Andre Fleury, Dany Sabourin, Rob Scuderi and before their departures: Colby Armstrong, Alain Nasreddine, Erik Christensen & Michel Ouellet. He knew what those guys could bring to the table, and he gave them a chance to do so. He's not notorious for being well-liked in the locker room (although I do think he's softened up a bit since his days of calling his players out for playing poker and drinking beer until 5 am), but I could care less about that. Most coaches of successful teams aren't the most-liked guys (Randy Carlyle, Ron Wilson). The bottom line is: he's doing his job, and he's doing it well.

Looking forward to three more years and possibly some more snap shows and water bottles thrown across the ice, coach.


Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar, AP

7.17.2008

The Good ... and the Not So Much


THN's Rory Boylen wrote down a list of teams he can't wait to see this season. They included Chicago, Detroit, LA and Tampa. I agree with him on Chicago, but 1) we know Detroit is going to be good again; 2) LA will probably continue to suck; 3) Tampa is going to continue being weird and sign 2.5 guys every week.

So here are my picks for teams I'm interested to see:

1) Chicago - The winds are changing in the Windy City (no pun originally intended, but then I noticed it and amusingly decided to keep it). The kids (Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Barker) are growing up. A new goalie is in town. And Brian Campbell can do no harm. They're sort of like the Barack Obama of the NHL right now: everyone's excited about them, but they're still young and might not pull it off.

2) Phoenix Coyotes - They'll be far from spectacular, but I think we're going to see some big improvements in Phoenix. Gretzky nabbed a big timer when he signed Olli Jokinen. Kyle Turris and Pete Mueller will continue to develop. At the least, Danny Carcillo (a personal fave) and Brian McGrattan will keep things entertaining. While I'm not sure the Coyotes will make the playoffs, they'll be interesting to watch.

3) Washington Capitals - Ovechkin!!!!! Oh, and some other guys like Niklas Backstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Semin, Mike Green and Jose Theodore. The Caps are also coming off a big playoff run. Sure, it was only one round, but that was a step for the DC organization who hadn't seen post-season action since '03. It just carried a good feeling with it. They're a fun team to watch. I got to see Bruce Boudreau coach in Hershey for a while, and he's great at what he does.

And here are three teams I could care less to see:

1) Atlanta Thrashers - I don't hate the Thrashers. They almost reached the post-season last year until Hossa was traded off to almost win a cup. Barring some big signings and trades, I don't see ATL being too successful in the near future. They certainly haven't been developing guys like they should. I watched the Chicago Wolves play in the Calder Cup Finals, and they were a very talented team, but that was because of guys like Darren Haydar, Brett Sterling, Joel Kwiatkowski and Jason Krog -- all of which cannot crack the Atlanta roster for some CRAZY reason. They have Boris Valabik and Arturs Kulda developing down there for them, but I'm not sure either are ready for a full time spot in the show. Their strongest asset is going to be goaltending. They secured Lehtonen, and Ondrej Pavalec is going to be phenomenal someday. In the meantime, see ya later Thrashers.

2) New York Rangers - Wow, so New York signed two big name guys in Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev to go along with their other big name guys like Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Henrik Lundqvist and possibly Brendan Shanahan if Glen Sather ever decides to make up his mind. Same old story. We know what they're going to bring to the table: a good hockey club. And just like another fellow New York team who loads up on all-stars (starts with a 'Y' and ends in 'kees') they'll probably choke again in the playoffs. Yawn.

3) Edmonton Oilers - Come onnnnn Edmonton. You've got so much potential in guys like Dustin Penner, Robert Nilsson, JF Jacques, Marc Pouliot, Sam Gagner, Tom Gilbert ... I could list about 80% of the team. You've got Sheldon Souray and Dwayne Roloson. You gotta do something with this! Unfortunately, I don't know that they will. Make it work Craig. Until then I'll be here not paying attention to your team.

A New Cold War


Well, Russia is being Russia again.

This whole Kontinental Hockey League is getting under my skin just a bit. It obviously still has to prove that it is competitive with the NHL (outside of paying salaries) as the top hockey league, but if they want to be greasy about things they might pull it off eventually.

Just a few days ago, the NHL & KHL reached some kind of 'peace treaty' that promised to respect player contracts within each league. But JUST KIDDING because the next thing you know, Nashville Predator Alexander Radulov skips on over to the KHL even though he still has one year left on his Preds contract. I mean, dishonoring your contract and letting your entire team down is no big deal, right? Oh but it's okay, because he told a Russian newspaper, "I wish the Predators to win the Stanley Cup." Mmhmm.

IIHF President Rene Fasel has informed the KHL that the contract violates the agreement and is void, but the Russian league claims that the deal was done before the agreement was in place. I'd love to see Radulov have to come back to the NHL and see the 'warm' welcome he'd receive. Warm = boos, boos, boos.

Right now it's a game of politics where no one is going to say what they really think: there's a decent chance that Russia will play dirty regardless of what 'peace pact' they agreed to.

Let's hope this isn't the start of a hockey Cold War. It sure has potential to be. I like our chances though: we have Philly fans, Brian Burke and George Parros' mustache.
 

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