Hit By A Truck? No Big Deal.

Yet another example of why hockey players are the toughest athletes around:

Earlier today, Witt was hit by a car while crossing Arch Street in Philadelphia to grab his morning Starbucks when a Gold Yukon truck made an illegal left turn and struck the veteran defenseman.

Witt braced himself for impact and attempted to jump on the hood, where he was subsequently thrown off onto the ground from the force of the collision.

Several concerned onlookers making their morning commute gathered around Witt to see if he was okay. In true tough-guy fashion, Witt essentially dusted himself off, hurled a few obscenities at the driver and told everyone he was fine.

"I'm okay," Witt told the crowd. "I've got to go play some hockey. I'm a hockey player. I'm okay. No big deal."

He got hit by a truck and said 'No big deal.' And he's playing tonight.

That is legit.


Round 1: BC > BU.

Prior to last night's BU-BC game, I made a prediction: If BU won that game, their season would turn around for the better. Yeah, about that ...

The first match-up of the year between two of the biggest rivals in sports (which made the front page of the Wall Street Journal this week) saw BC heading back down Commonwealth Avenue with a 4-1 win. The score is a little misleading -- BU arguably outplayed BC in the first two periods before falling apart in the third.

The Terriers had a bunch of offensive chances and spent a lot of time in BC's zone. Nick Bonino had a sick wrap-around goal in the second to go up 1-0. Then a puck deflects off of Kevin Shattenkirk's stick past an unprepared Millan to put the Eagles up 2-1, and things go downhill from there. After playing with a bunch of energy, BU just ... lost it. I mean literally there was a point in the third period where both teams were almost just standing around. Maybe the Terriers were tired. Maybe they were emotionally drained from working hard and ending up down 4-1. Maybe it was lack of heart. I don't know. What I do know is that they are a better team than what they showed in the third. The comeback kids just didn't have it in them last night I guess. It happens. It's just disappointing after seeing how well they played in the first two periods.

Part of the problem was the fact that sophomore goaltender Kieran Millan did not give his team a chance to win. Sounds a little harsh, I know. I usually have a huge soft spot for goalies, and I'm a big Millan fan. But what is with him? I have enough confidence in him to say he probably could have made saves on some - if not all - of the goals he allowed last night. When my friends and I are cringing at any fluttering shot towards the net in fear of it going in ... that's pretty bad.


+ A 39-game streak came to an end last night: the Terriers had been undefeated every time Nick Bonino scored.

+ Dave Silk, Jim Craig, Mike Eurizone and Jack O'Callahan -- members of the 1980 Olympic 'Miracle' team and well known BU alumni -- took center ice for a presentation during the first intermission. So unbelievably cool.

+ Penguins' prospect Carl Sneep was one of the goal-scorers for BC. I guess if it has to be someone on the Eagles it might as well be someone I'll be cheering for in the future. But as my mom said, "He needs to wait until he's on the Penguins to score."



Pens Fail in Beantown

The injury bug is going around the NHL, and I’d like it to stop. Thanks.

I went to see my defending Stanley Cup champs play the Bruins last night, and it was one of the most uneventful games I’ve ever seen. There were three penalties the entire game – two of which came in the third period. No huge hits. Fairly even shots (29-27 in favor of the B’s). Lots of cruising around … la la la. I was wondering if I somehow ended up back in September or something.

The Bruins 3-0 win wasn’t as much them completely outplaying Pittsburgh as it was capitalizing on and finishing chances (which the Pens were unable to do). The two highlights of the game for me was Dan Paille’s breakaway goal and Fleury’s unbelievable save in the third period.

Both teams are dealing with injuries (as is the entire league). Pittsburgh took another blow when Brooks Orpik left the game early. That leaves them with about 75% of their roster injured (note: slight exaggeration).

A lot of Pens fans in the crowd too. I didn’t feel alone by any means. No hecklers minus a guy who told me the Pens are the Peyton Mannings of the NHL and some banter on the T ride home that played out as such:

Bruins fans: (chant) PENGUINS SUCK.
Pens fans: (Chant) STANLEY CUP.
Bruins & Pens fans: YANKEES SUCK.

Everyone in Boston can always agree on that.



BU vs. Notre Dame = FAIL.

Notre Dame defeated BU tonight 3-0. Here's why:

+ The Terriers fell into old habits of taking too many penalties. Once again they are lucky that the Irish only went 1-for-6 on the power play. Meanwhile BU only went 1-for-8 on their power play opportunities.

+ BU is cursed with this 'Can't Score Syndrome.' They had some decent chances -- especially in the third period where they had the puck in Notre Dame's zone for about five minutes where they had shot after shot with absolutely no luck. It was almost as if it was not meant to go in. I mean it got to the point where it was like, 'Okay, seriously?'

+ Notre Dame dominated face-offs winning them 35-18.

+ Does Nick Bonino still play for BU? Oh he does? Okay. I was just wondering. Because the only times I noticed him were when he took a hitting from behind penalty and when he bit it on the ice with no one around him. Bonino is a kid the Terriers need to come through big this year. So far, not so good.

The game was just ... weird. It wasn't as if the Irish were amazingly better than BU; and BU didn't necessarily look horrible. They just can't score. The Terriers are a young team. They have a lot of freshman who are still transitioning. Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.



I'm just going to cut to the chase here: 5,000 people attended last Thursday's Coyotes-Blues game in Glendale.


For the first time in this whole crazy debacle, I legit think the team needs to move. It had crossed my mind before, but I always thought about how heartbroken I would be if my team moved away. (I realize this is not the 'business' way of thinking at all.) But 5,000 people? AHL teams and college teams draw more than that. It has to be demoralizing for the players and even for some other fans who go out every night to cheer on their boys.

So who thinks the NHL would accept my bid to buy the team for $2,000?



The NCAA defending national champs are officially 0-1 on the regular season after falling to UMass last night 3-2. A loss is a loss, but I think they officially have a problem:

For the third game in a row, they had over 40 shots. The total shot count for the two exhibition games and their first regular season game is 136. Here's another way to look at it: they've out-shot their opponents 136-58. Insane. The offense is clearly getting shots in, they're just not finishing. Can we change that please? They have three huge games coming up against Notre Dame, Michigan and UMass-Lowell, so they'll have to change something.

On a lighter note, the banner raising last Saturday night left me teary-eyed. The athletics department put together a video of last year's highlights before bringing out parents of last year's seniors (along with Brian Strait's father) to help raise five banners: the Beanpot championship, regular season champs, Hockey East champs, Final Four and the national championship banner (fittingly raised by Matt Gilroy's parents).

As soon as they hit the rafters, it was back to reality.



'Tis the Season

I've been clinging to the 08-09 season after having two of my three teams winning championships (BU & Pittsburgh). But alas, it's time to move on. Pittsburgh raised their banner, and my Terriers raise theirs this weekend.

I had a bit of a wake up call on Saturday when I took in the BU-St. Francis-Xavier exhibition game. The Terriers looked human again - which is never as fun as being superhuman like they were last year. There's seven incoming freshmen, and I'm pretty sure all of them saw ice time. No reason not to; it's the perfect situation to get them all in. None stood out as incredible. They all did fine. I did like what I saw from Sean Escobedo in particular. He was pretty solid throughout the whole game.

BU managed 53 shots on goal. 53. In case you need a reminder: that's a lot of friggin' shots. They only got two goals. Granted a lot of credit goes to X-Men goalie Joe Perricone. He had an unreal night. I was very impressed with him. I still would've liked to get more than two out of those 53. It's those times when you miss the Colin Wilson shot.

Last week's preseason poll had BU ranked 3rd nationally; first in Hockey East. I'll take that. The roster will adjust slightly with Vinny Saponari and Colby Cohen back in the line-up and Kieran Millan playing the full game. They won't be the unbelievable team they were last year, but there are a lot more big players returning than most realize: namely Millan, Cohen, Kevin Shattenkirk, Saponari, Nick Bonino & Dave Warsofsky. If Corey Trivino can be on the top of his game this year, that will be huge too.


Wanna Go to Any Regular Season NHL Game for free?

Just caught wind of a Twitter contest the NHL is hosting this Saturday. With all 30 teams playing, the NHL is giving away a trip for two to any regular season NHL game if you can correctly guess the winners of all 15 games. Only one person will win, and the Winter Classic at Fenway doesn't count. I guess we can't have everything.

Info on how to enter is in the above link. Check it out. Oh - and St. Louis will beat Detroit that night.


Quote Me

"I have 10 fingers on my hands, and I want to win 10 times."
- Geno Malkin

I'm down.


It's Official

Even though we knew it was coming for a few weeks now, the BU-BC match-up at Fenway is officially a go. January 8th will feature a 4:00pm women's game between UNH & Northeastern preceding the 7:30pm face-off.

As if this didn't feel enough like an early Christmas, apparently tickets will start as low as $5.00. $5.00. God only knows where those seats will be, but I will take that offer any day of the week.



I read a ton of great hockey stuff everyday, so why not share it? I figure it's a good way to keep things going here during the off-season. Check 'em:

+ Coyote Ugly: A Call for 10 Depositions (James Mirtle)
Mirtle is a go-to guy for anything hockey. He's been doing an awesome job covering the whole Coyotes mess. It's where I go to try and make sense of it all.

+ Pens Universe Preseason Top 20 (Pens Universe)
A look at some of the top prospects in the system. For the most part I agree with the rankings. I would move Strait up a spot or two; Rummel is absolutely right when he says Brian's game is simple and solid, but it's also very smart. Then again, that's at the college level. I think he'll have no problem adjusting after a little while.

I'd also relax a bit with the Thiessen 'overtaking Curry by the end of the season' remark. I like Thiessen a lot, but I still think he has some maturing to do (as most goalies do when they transition). Curry beats him out by a mile there. That extra year at Northeastern would not have hurt Thiessen, but oh well. What can ya do. He'll be alright.

+ BC-BU Hockey a go at Fenway (Boston Herald)
January 8th is the magic date. It will be unbelievable. My only complaint: BC would be the 'home team'. Um, Fenway is pretty much ON the BU campus. So that really makes no sense. But whatevs. I think I'll be as nervous for this game as I was in the playoffs.

Hey -- remember when BU was down 3-1 but scored three goals in 59 seconds to push the NCAA championship game to OT? And then they won in OT? Unbelievable.

+ The Hockey News' AHL Jersey Rankings (The Hockey News)
Ugh, who picked these this year?! Okay, I agree with the first three. They're cool. But then it's all downhill from there. I would get into it, but I'm not even sure where to begin.

+ AHL Regular Season Schedule (The AHL)
DO IT PENS. Even if you did lose pretty much all of your offense.

+ The Replacements (Empty Netters)
A look at who might replace Talbot while he's out for the first two months.

+ War Simulation Puts Ducks' Battles in Perspective (OC Register)
Bobby Ryan & George Parros (how can you not love that guy?) visited Fort Irwin and got to see what it's like over in Iraq. Love seeing them do this stuff. Helps them see how really, really, really lucky they are.


Janne Goes to Russia

Call it inevitable I guess. Janne Pesonen has reportedly signed with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL. I don't blame him.

The guy got screwed. He did not get a fair chance -- not even from Bylsma. I won't get into it here; look up my other posts on Pesonen for my in-depth feelings (particularly this one and this one).

Bottom line is the guy could have easily played in the NHL. Not only that -- he could have been great. He wasn't a huge guy, but my God those hands. Wow.

KHL wins this one.


A Hero Returns to North America

Huge, huge news for Baby Pens fans coming from Jonathan Bombulie over at the Penguins Insider. Word on the street is that Andy Chiodo is about to sign with the Binghamton Senators. Yes, THEE Andy Chiodo. This one:

Yes, the Andy Chiodo who watched every other goalie get a shot at playoff games before he had to come in and save the day. And I mean, literally save the day. The guy who became a hero in WBS. The guy who survived by working hard, not just on pure skill.

There are certain players that Baby Pens' fans will never forget. The list starts like this: 1. Dennis Bonvie 2. Andy Chiodo. You can argue that John Slaney and Tom Kostopoulos might come before Chiodo. I put them after.

And now he's back. Not with the Baby Pens unfortunately, but with a team close enough that he'll be playing in the Wachovia Arena a handful of times during the season.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Chiodo, he was a Baby Pen for three seasons. He was typically the back-up, and his regular season numbers were good -- nothing spectacular but not bad. He even saw action in eight games for Pittsburgh. His moment of glory came during the playoffs. My God was he a playoff goaltender. Maybe the best I've ever seen.

In the 2004 Calder Cup playoffs, WBS faced Bridgeport in the first round. Michel Therrien gave both Marc-Andre Fleury and Sebastien Caron a shot before Chiodo. The Pens went down 3-games-to-1. Therrien decided to give Chiodo a shot, and magic happened. WBS won that series in OT of Game 7 -- after Chiodo made some heart-stopping (seriously, I think my heart stopped) saves throughout the series. They went all the way to the finals that year. They lost, but it was still a great ride.

The same thing happened in the postseason the following year. Chiodo didn't get the initial start, but he ended up on top. The Baby Pens defeated a stacked Binghamton Sens team (we're talking Spezza, Vermette, etc) in the first round. He was so much fun to watch, and he earned every bit of recognition and praise he got. Unfortunately, no one else gave him a shot after his third year here. He packed up and headed to Finland.

Bombulie mentions the response he'll receive when he returns to Wilkes-Barre. He thinks it will be lukewarm because people forget. This is true. People do forget. But those that saw him play through those playoff series will not. And they will be on their feet when he steps out on that ice.

Welcome back Chico.


Pens Sign Johnson

Pittsburgh went ahead and signed goaltender Brent Johnson to a one-year, one-way contract. Decent signing. The Pens needed a back-up, and he's a back-up. I'm not sure I have much more to say on that front. It's about exciting to me as the headline I went with.

Seth Rorabaugh over at the Post-Gazette mentioned Johnson being "solid insurance should the unproven John Curry not be up to the task of being Fleury's backup next season," but I think the signing counts Curry out altogether. Johnson signed a one-way. I could be wrong, but I'm not sure how good Pitt would feel about paying an NHL contract at the AHL level. No organization is a huge fan of doing that. It's happened before, and it can happen again, but I think Curry is looking at another year in the A. Then again, he has surprised people his whole life. He could have a stellar camp and win the spot.

I like Johnson. Nothing against him. I'm protective over Curry (as you all know already), and I was hoping he'd get a solid chance at the back-up spot next year. But you know what? Another year will be good for him. I actually think it'd be better. He can really fine tune his game and work out some kinks.



Good For Some Laughs

The Two-Line Pass over at Puck Daddy just had me laughing with this week's What We Learned post. I thought it was worth noting. Especially with:

Evander Kane was apparently a beast at Thrashers rookie camp this weekend. He scored in the first scrimmage of the weekend, had the lowest body fat (4.1 percent), won the push-up contest and (55) but only came in second during fastest skater. Which means this draft was another total failure. Way to go, Waddell.

The Handsomest Man in Hockey, Colin Wilson, will probably start his pro career in the AHL. No shock there.
Okay, so I didn't laugh at this. But it is true: he IS the handsomest man in hockey.

The Flames got their new enforcer: Brian McGrattan(notes). I believe this brings Calgary's total number of Edmonton natives and former Coyotes and/or Panthers to an even 600.

Check out the post for more laughs ... because it's all true.


AHL Division Realignment

The AHL released its division realignments today. The East Division (arguably one of the top two divisions year in and year out) will now look like this:

Adirondack Phantoms
Albany River Rats
Binghamton Senators
Hershey Bears
Norfolk Admirals
Syracuse Crunch
WBS Penguins

They moved Bridgeport out of the East and stuck them in the Atlantic with teams like Worcester, Providence and Hartford. I'll miss the Sound Tigers being in the East; a mini rivalry has developed between them and the Pens after some unreal playoff battles between the two. Then again, they're usually a pretty good team. Maybe I won't miss them that much.

Syracuse is moved in. This makes sense. They've been in the Western Conference for the past few seasons, and it seemed silly since they're only an hour and a half up Interstate 81 from WBS.

Barack <3's Ovechkin

President Obama thanked Russia for Alexander Ovechkin during his trip to Putin Land. This is despite never having been to a Caps game. Maybe his next foreign policy move will be to repair relations between the NHL & KHL.


This, Headline Made Me Laugh

My first thought when I read this: 'Oh Ryan Whitney was invited to try-outs!'

It's an announcement for Bobby Ryan and Ryan Whitney.
Yeah ... sorry. I found it amusing.


Unbelievable News

Well, it is for me anyway.

Reports are surfacing that BC & BU will be taking part in the NHL's 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park.

BC is a definite go apparently. The Terriers should be the second. BU makes the most sense to play because of four reasons:

1. Fenway is practically part of the BU campus (I could see it from where I lived last year).
2. They just won the national championship.
3. The BU-BC rivalry is the only college match-up suited for Fenway.
4. I'm really biased and love my Terriers.

HOW COOL IS THAT GOING TO BE?! Now I need to get tickets ... even if I have to sell my soul or something along those lines.


Another Terrier Moves Up

BU assistant coach, Dave Quinn, was named head coach of the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters. He's replacing another former BU alum, Joe Sacco -- who was named head coach of the Colorado Avs.

Good to see another BU alum move up. A national championship will bring about these opportunities.

I wonder how many offers Jack Parker has gotten in his career? A ton I'm guessing.


Quote of the Day

My mom put a picture of [the Stanley Cup] in my crib when I was born. She told me that anytime you start something, you should do it the best you can and finish at the top.
-Kris Letang



At Last

Well, the kids did it. I held off on writing about it because I needed it all to soak in. Even now, it's hard for me to coherently write everything I'm thinking. I'll be brief: what a series. Seriously. Momentum swung back and forth; just when you thought one team had it, things shifted. For myself, it went kind of like this:

Games 1&2: Not again.
Games 3&4: New series. We got this.
Game 5: FML.
Game 6: I can barely watch the second half of this game.
Game 7: S:EIG@%!%$&A! YES.

How do you not love that though? Yes, obviously I would have liked to just win it in four games and avoid all the nerves. But it's much sweeter when you've battled for it.

This was my first Stanley Cup; I say that because the last time Pittsburgh won I was only around four years-old. It is awesome, and I want some more ASAP.

Other than that, just some thoughts:

+ How great is Dan Bylsma's story? He went from assistant in the AHL last season to head coach of the Stanley Cup champs a year later. I'll admit I was wrong about him. I wasn't the biggest supporter of his move to the NHL (although I do stand by the fact that his success was also because of the players making a 'motivation' adjustment). I always liked the guy, I just didn't think he'd be able to do what he did. But it worked out just fine.

+ Marian Hossa. No, I don't really feel bad for you. Maybe a little, but that's about it. I also don't really believe that you have 'no regrets.' I know I'd be kicking myself. Try again next time.

+ Naturally you have to give props to the Red Wings. They're pretty much a model for what a team should be like in the NHL. They're a hard team to beat, and it's something to say you did so.

+ I'd happily like to point out, Game 7 was all about the WBS alums: Maxy Talbot, Marc-Andre Fleury and Dan Bylsma. Represent.

+ Say what you want about Sid; he deserves this. Sure, he whines. But he is unreal. And he (along with Malkin and Ovechkin) helped revive the NHL. I think all hockey fans can respect that.

Love you Stanley. xoxo


The Best Game On Earth

It can make you the happiest person in the world, or it can break your heart
For most of us, each year usually brings the latter
But when the time comes, and your team wins that Cup, it is completely, 100% worth it
This truly is the best game on earth.


Jack's Not Happy

BU head coach, Jack Parker, seemed a little upset about Brian Strait skipping his senior year and heading to the pros.

In an interview with USCHO, he said:
A lot of guys who are good players in this league have gotten to be NHL players, and there’s no reason to think he won’t. But will he play next year? It all depends. They’re in the Stanley Cup finals right now; they’ve got a pretty good team. They’re telling him that they’re going to lose all these defensemen to free agency — that they’re not going to sign them. And they may lose some of them, but it doesn’t mean they won’t sign another free agent. They don’t know who they’re going to get in the draft or who they’re going to trade for. I think he thinks it’s best for him.

I don’t think there’s any question in my mind that the only reason you should leave BU is to go play in the NHL — not to go play in the American Hockey League. What he’s going to give up next year and what he could have had here next year is something he’ll never get back, no matter if he plays 10 or 15 years in the NHL.

I do like when players stick out all four of their college years, but as I said in an earlier post, Strait is ready. He's solid and smart. Would it have hurt him to stay his senior year? No. But I don't think it's an awful decision by him.

Strait will not play in Pittsburgh next year. I mean, stranger things have happened I guess, but I'm fairly confident he will be in the AHL. I don't see anything wrong with that. He will adjust to a faster game than what he's been used to. After he develops a little more, he will be in the NHL. I'm not worried about the kid.

It's okay Coach. We'll all miss him too.


Best Out of One

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.
- Douglas H. Everett


Game Five Awful

Game Five was so bad I had to give myself time before I wrote about it. Seriously. Thinking about it now still makes me cringe. I wish Game Six were being played in five minutes just so we can move on.

Yeah, so Detroit chewed up the Pens and spit them out on Saturday night. The 5-0 score pretty much says it all, but there are a few things I want to touch on:

+ Marc-Andre Fleury. He just wasn't good. I'm not placing all the blame on him because the entire team was just ridiculously bad, but it definitely wasn't his best showing. Bylsma made the right move by pulling him; I might have done it one goal earlier. I'm not worried about the kid though. He's a different kind of 'mental' than most goalies I've met. He'll be fine. One this is certain: he needs to have the game of his life on Tuesday, and should the Pens force it to seven, he needs to have an even bigger one then. If all else fails, put John Curry in. Simeon Varlamov anyone?? ;-)

+ There's been talk about how Detroit is a bunch of old guys who get tired, blah blah. Well, Pittsburgh certainly showed its age by acting like babies on Saturday. They completely lost their heads and took stupid, selfish penalties out of pure frustration. It was like they were looking for the fastest way to dig their own grave. The Pens have my heart, but to see them act like they did is embarrassing. Lock it up boys. No one is going to feel sorry for you if you behave like that.

+ Just a quick comment on the Hossa situation. I'm not angry with him because he took less money to play for Detroit. The big reason this whole saga pisses me off is how he went about it. For one thing, he told Pittsburgh he wanted big money to stick around. So Pittsburgh offered him big money. Oh - then he decides he doesn't want that anymore. But above all, he publicly came out and slapped his former team in the face by literally saying he had a better chance on Detroit. It's like, "Hey, good times guys, but you're not going to win the Cup next year. You're not good enough for me. Okay, thanks. Bye." Maybe he got confused and still thought he was in Atlanta. I mean as you can see, Pittsburgh is a pretty legit team. OH - and then there's that whole loyalty thing that I'm pretty big on. So in any case, it's not that he took less money to go to Detroit. Yes, that's cute. It's just the way he went about it.

So yeah, Saturday night was bad. Really bad. How Pittsburgh responds will be key. They can either use Game 5 as motivation or they can use it as discouragement and watch the Cup slip from their fingers. Going home will give them a big jump, and anything can happen in a Game 7. They need to get their confidence back to where it was in Game 4 -- when you could see that they realized they could beat these guys. And (fingers crossed) if they make it to seven, they will need it more than ever at the Joe. Because believe it or not Pens, you CAN win in Detroit.

Do it.



Strait Moves On

This lady is happy this morning after seeing that Brian Strait has signed with the Pens. Actually, it's bittersweet. I would have liked to see him stay and help out the Terriers for his senior year, but he's only going to be moving to my other favorite team so I'll live with it. I'm actually a little surprised he didn't stick around for his last year considering he was named one of the captains for the upcoming season. But why not go out on a high point (aka after winning the national championship)?

I think Strait's ready. He's a smart, solid defenseman. I always liked how he played; he's someone you feel comfortable having out on the ice. He'll more than likely be playing for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton next year or two, but that will give him plenty of time to adjust to the pros.

Good luck bud. See you in the WB. BU will miss you.



Dr. Juice

I was just reading ESPN's latest blip about the NHL starting their investigation into the accusation that some guy sold Caps players steroids.

It made me think of this: Maybe this has come up before, but did anyone realize that the same guy who more than likely helped juice up Barry Bonds is the team doctor for the San Jose Sharks?

This guy seems like a winner:
Ting is a fellow who came to the attention of the California medical board twice before; once because of his dispensing dangerous drugs to friends and athletes. Ting's two sons, walk-ons for USC football, suddenly quit the team last year under suspicions of juicing.

So the Hockey Gods Hate Me...

This headline spells out one of the big reasons why the Red Wings are such a good hockey club:

Red Wings' Locker Room: Detroit has a 2-0 lead in series thanks to its unrecognizable players

When you have everyone on a team stepping up, you'll win a hockey game. For example, when you have a kid out of college scoring his first two NHL goals and a guy playing and scoring after getting his appendix out on Wednesday, that'll give you some extra jump. The Penguins can't focus on how Sidney Crosby isn't producing as much as they'd like; everyone else has to start making up for it. Depth is important -- especially when you're playing a seven game series in June.

Anyway, it's time for the Pens to move on from the past two games. The worst thing that can happen is that this gets to them mentally. They've been down two games before; no big deal.

Get it done boys. The hockey gods have been awful to me since they gave me a BU championship; but I refuse to lose to the Red Wings again.


The Beginning of the End

Game 1 of the deja-vu Stanley Cup Finals begins tonight. This time I think my boys just might end up on the winning side. They look different than they did going into the Final last year. But Detroit is Detroit. We can't forget that.

We all know what's at stake here. The Red Wings either add another Cup to their dynasty and surprise no one, or two of the top three players in the NHL finally get their first.

But one huge elephant in the room is this guy:

We all know that everyone except for Red Wings fans are hoping this d-bag gambled wrong. How great would it be to see him lose after saying he was leaving the Pens for the Wings because he felt he had a 'better chance of winning' the Stanley Cup with them?



Quote Me

I'm a big Crosby supporter, but even I have to admit this is hilarious:

I mean, for God's sake, right after Crosby picked up the Prince of Wales trophy, the officials actually gave the trophy a two minute holding penalty.

Props to Ritch over at American Hockey Fan for that one.


Big thanks to the hockey gods for letting Detroit advance and enabling the Stanley Cup Finals to start earlier than June 5.

Game 1: Saturday, May 30 Pittsburgh at Detroit 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 2: Sunday, May 31 Pittsburgh at Detroit TBD evening NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 3: Tuesday, June 2 Detroit at Pittsburgh 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Game 4: Thursday, June 4 Detroit at Pittsburgh 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Game 5*: Saturday, June 6 Pittsburgh at Detroit 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 6*: Tuesday, June 9 Detroit at Pittsburgh 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 7*: Friday, June 12 Pittsburgh at Detroit 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS


Quote Me

Is it just me or is Bobby Holik's retirement statement really touching?

"I'm done. I'm retiring. I miss being with my family every day. I knew when the season ended, but I wanted to leave and get home first, and not make a big deal of it. A player is what I was. Now I'm a husband and a father."

I felt that one. Enjoy retirement bud.



Run Janne, Run.

This is a funny headline: "Shero Says Pesonen Still Part of Future Despite No Recall."

Shero goes on to say, "Maybe with a different situation next year, he'll get a better opportunity [to play in the NHL]."

OH. Like maybe if you give him an actual chance instead of putting him on 3rd & 4th lines?? As much as I'd love to still believe that, I don't. Each time Pesonen was called up, he was shafted -- put with players who he shouldn't play with and then given no ice time.

I am telling you: this guy is for real. He was the best player on the Baby Pens this year. The guy sets up plays like it's no big deal. He has that natural hockey sense.

Run Janne. Run far away. Sign with a team that will appreciate you.


Laziness-1 Effort-0

Well, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton officially named Todd Reirden its head coach. Reirden had been filling in since Dan Bylsma took over in Pittsburgh.

All I have to say is WBS has the laziest hiring practices I've ever seen. Seriously. No offense to Reirden, but this team was not the same as when Blysma was in charge. That's not to say they did poorly -- they were just different. After Bylsma left, Reirden had a 14-9-3 record. Not too shabby. But they also lost first place in the division in the last week of the year to one of the worst teams in the league. It was one of their lower stretches of the year. Coincidence? Maybe. I was really hoping WBS would bring in a different head coach -- hell, even Michel Therrien (he's much more made for a development head coach job where there's constantly new players coming in and out). But I'm not surprised they didn't. They have always been too lazy to actually spend time to look for people to take open positions. Even the broadcasting position was given to an interim weather guy who makes you want to shut the radio off after about twenty minutes (sorry Stuccio). Seriously. You're a professional franchise. It's okay to actually take some time to find the best person for the job.

I don't believe Reirden is that person. I think he needs more experience. Then again, I said that about Bylsma when he was called up to Pittsburgh, and he turned out just fine. The difference is, Pittsburgh picked up when he went up there. WBS did not when Reirden took over.

Prove me wrong. Please.


Almost, Not Quite

WBS just lost their first game seven they've ever played in. Prior to tonight, they were 4-0 in all-time game 7's. Now they're 4-1 after the Hershey Bears shut them out for the second night in a row.

If you ask me, this series came down to breaks. I only got to see Games 4-7. In Games 4 & 5, WBS had all the breaks. They were getting in the way of Bears' shots and just happened to find the puck on their sticks. The last two games were the exact opposite; Hershey caught those breaks. Sometimes it's just not your night.

The bottom line is Hershey was the better team. They were one of the best teams in the league during the regular season. They're aggressive, super fast and just a well-rounded team. Does that mean they're unbeatable? Of course not. But it means the Baby Pens had to work twice as hard to win; they played their hearts out in Games 3-5, and they just looked beat Monday and tonight. Playing four games in five nights isn't going to help either (I don't want to hear anymore complaining about having to go back-to-back nights from Pitt & Wash. We don't even have Yanni to empathize with us). But that's what it comes down to.

You really can't complain if you're a WBS fan. The Baby Pens have made the play-offs eight out of ten years. They have been to the finals three out of ten years. We are very, very lucky. Things could be much worse. I love this team. I'll reflect on the year in the next few days.

Good luck to the Bears. I always prefer the teams I lose to to win the championship. If I have to lose, I want to lose to the best.

The last thing I have to say is ... Pittsburgh fans, be nervous for tomorrow. (See why below). ;-)


Just wanted to point out something that's been amusing me: the Penguins & Capitals organizations are battling each other in two series right now (NHL & AHL) and the series have gone exactly the same way. The same organization has won the same games. WBS & Pittsburgh both battled back from 2-0 deficits to go up 3-2 and lose Game 6.

So are we safe to say that whoever wins Game 7 between WBS & Hershey tonight will indicate who will go home tomorrow in the Caps/Pens game?

Naturally that's just silly superstitious nonsense. But I believe it.

So if you're want a sneak peek at who's headed to the Eastern Conference finals, catch the AHL game tonight. You can listen in at www.theahl.com or go to this link right before game time to watch it live. Game time is 7pm.


Giroux is a P*ssy

I'm back in PA for two weeks which means I can catch some Baby Pens playoff hockey. I live for the postseason in Wilkes-Barre. The crowds seem to get a little smaller each year, but they never get quieter. The rink was probably only 75% full last night, but it was rockin'. Part of the reason for that is because they gave out those Thundersticks. I passionately hate them, but they do significantly increase the noise level.

The Pens were ON last night in Game 4. With the exception of a few moments, they looked better than Hershey the entire time. They were getting the bounces and leading the rushes. Janne Pesonen had an unreal first game back with one goal and three assists -- and still failed to get the number one star of the game. How this guy is not playing in the NHL, I will never understand. I still believe he can be a sick playmaker in the show. We'll see I guess.

These guys can beat Hershey. They beat them 7 out of 10 times in the regular season. And I know I always say the regular season doesn't matter after mid-April (it doesn't), but they should at least realize they can do it. The Bears are good. Really good. They're fast, aggressive and don't stop coming at you. So hit them. Take away their speed. Tire them out. Don't wait because they won't allow you to.

On a side note, just think -- Simeon Varlamov could have been the Hershey goalie in this series. Yikes.

Game 5 is tonight at 7.

Other Notes:

+ After Alex Ovechkin's hit on Sergei Gonchar last night, Pittsburgh called up Alex Goligoski. This doesn't bother me one bit. I don't know if he just needs more development or if he plays better in the NHL or what, but Goose just does not full-on impress me yet. He has these little tendencies -- turnovers being a big one (namely two in this series that cost his team goals) -- that drive me nuts. I still want to see what he'd be like as a forward. He's an unreal skater with a great shot.

+ Joey Mormina and his greasy mustache might also be out of the line-up tonight after being hit by one of Hershey's biggest d-bags in the 3rd.




Blogging will resume! :-)


Quote of the Day

In the last couple of weeks here I had my lip split open, my chin split open, I got stitches in my eyelid and I got hit so hard in Game 6 that it actually knocked one of my false teeth out. And I loved every minute of it.
- Brendan Shanahan

This made me think of the Celtics-Bulls game the other day when Miller got hit in the mouth and took about 20 minutes to get back on the court.

Hockey is the toughest sport.



Goodnight Sharks

The San Jose Sharks just choked. Bad. Like really bad. All I have to say is this:

+ Joe Thornton was worthless. This series actually made me dislike him. It's a shame really because the guy lights it up during the regular season. But until he figures out how to lock it up in playoffs, I don't want him on my team. I'd rather have guys like Max Talbot who bring even more to the table than just points.

+ The saddest thing is watching a team give up. That was San Jose in pretty much the entire third period (I didn't get to see the rest of the game due to VS screwing me out of it by playing a 'bonus' game). I truly do believe that anything can happen in the game of hockey. BU overcame a 3-1 deficit in 59 seconds. Carolina scored a winning goal with .2 seconds left. It was beyond possible for the Sharks to tie -- if not win -- that game. But they didn't believe it. And that's what hurt them the most. If you don't believe in yourself, how do you expect to get anything done?

+ Give me a break with the penalty with one second left. I don't care how obvious it was. So annoying.

+ I've never been a Jeremy Roenick fan, but my heart goes out to him. How can a guy retire after a team playoff performance like that? Stick it out one more year buddy. Hopefully San Jose will make some necessary "adjustments" and make it right next season.

+ Everyone will be pointing out how the Sharks blew it, but you have to give credit to the Ducks. More specifically you have to give credit to Jonas Hiller. One key ingredient to a successful playoff run is a hot goaltender. Hiller is the definition of that right now. I can't really even describe how well he played.

+ Would things be different if the Sharks PP showed up when the Ducks kept giving them chances? Well it certainly wouldn't have hurt.

+ All that regular season success isn't providing much comfort for the Sharks and their fans right now. Just goes to show facing some adversity during the regular season isn't such a bad thing.

Now back to rooting for Anaheim in the West. They've always been my second favorite (after Pittsburgh), but this series had me torn. The Sharks really grew on me this year. Their time will come. It just wasn't now.


Fail of the Week: San Jose Sharks

I've been staying up late this past week to watch San Jose's season slip away way earlier than anyone expected. They're down 3-1 even though the Ducks are right out tempting the Sharks to score by giving them an endless supply of power plays.

I'm really starting to see San Jose's problem. They're individuals. I have nothing but love for the Sharks, but they just don't have it this year. Sure they want to win the Stanley Cup -- but as a team or as individuals? A lot of those guys are playing to score goals for themselves, not for the team. I'm not saying every guy on that team is like that; but a handful who are can ruin it for everyone. Maybe the whole "best record during the regular season" thing got to their heads, but a regular season record is meaningless in the post-season.

This is one of the reasons why I love playoffs. They expose things like this and bring out the true teams. Playoffs are a time when you band together. There are no "core players." There is no leading scorer. There is no one person responsible for a win or a loss. There is a group of guys working, sweating and bleeding together as one unit to accomplish one goal: getting their hands on the Cup.

Unless Todd McLellan goes Herb Brooks on his boys, I think the Sharks are donezo. Even if a miracle happens and they make it out of this series, they will not win the Cup.

But hey, I'm open to be proven wrong.


Definition of Hot




It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I have found my favorite series of the first round:

Granted I've only seen Pitt/Philly, Boston/Montreal and Chicago/Calgary, but the Sharks/Ducks game last night made me eager to watch some more. I waited through the Hawks game (thank you for scoring 11 seconds in OT) for VS to jump in just in time for the second period. I stayed up until one in the morning to see the finish (yes, that's late for me when I have class in the AM).

Here's my game thoughts:

+ Hello hits. I felt sore just watching those two teams throw the bodies around. Ryane Clowe was an animal out there.
+ Anaheim is the better 'playoff' team. They just are. You know a playoff team when you see one. They just have all the elements needed -- like Boston. It goes beyond skill. A successful playoff team has a little of everything. Can SJ lock it up or will they choke? How they respond in Game 2 will say it all.
+ Ducks really need to cool their love for the penalty box. Took way too many penalties and fortunately San Jose's power play was completely ineffective. As I always say though, taking penalty after penalty will catch up with you.
+ Hiller. I hate to see Giguere sit because I have all the respect in the world for the guy, but Hiller is hot right now. So important for the postseason.
+ Anaheim held Thornton to one shot. No other words needed.
+ The only time I heard the Shark Tank get quiet was towards the very end. The rest of the time they were very loud. That's awesome, but clearly their team didn't respond. For a Sharks team that was so good on home ice, losing the first one when you have home ice advantage is not so good. Anaheim's already in a good spot coming out of NorCal with at least one win.
+ My team above anyone else is the Penguins, but I will openly admit that I love Western Conference hockey.

Other series Notes

+ The Bruins & Canadiens are a close second for my favorite series. The score was tight up until the end. Gotta give one huge shout-out to my most hated player in the NHL, Josh Gorges, for taking a penalty and costing his team the game. Nice job bud! You're a winner.

Photo Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images


AHL = Fail.

Just took a look at different play-off schedules when I noticed how ridiculous the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' schedule is. Check it out:

Fri 4/17 @ Bridgeport (Played in Long Island)
Sat 4/18 @ Bridgeport (Played in Long Island)
Sun 4/19 @ WBS
Wed 4/22 @ Bridgeport
Fri 4/24 @ WBS (if necessary)
Sat 4/25 @ WBS (if necessary)
Sun 4/26 @ Bridgeport (if necessary)

Where do I even start? For one thing, you have them playing the first three games in three nights AND the last three games in three nights. So much for rest. I understand this is the minor leagues, but no other series in the AHL has to do this twice. Hershey/Philly is the only other series that does it once. Peoria & Houston might end up with one but apparently they don't know when half of their games are going to be played so it's still up in the air.

Secondly, they play THREE of the first FOUR in Bridgeport. Technically the first two aren't "in" Bridgeport -- they're in Long Island. So I don't know if they're taking that into consideration along with scheduling or what? It just doesn't seem too fair. At least do the 2-3-2 format if you have to.

I guess we'll see. Nothing you can do about it now. I like seeing the Pens play on April 25; they have very good play-off history on that date -- including the Game 7 OT thriller vs. Bridgeport where they came back being down 3-1 in the series and the triple OT game vs. first place Binghamton the following year.


And They Lived Happily Ever After


I'm still in disbelief at what I saw last night in the NCAA Frozen Four championship game between Miami and BU.

It's really hard to put into words. It's one of those things you just have to see. You won't believe it if you read it.

The game last night was one of the best hockey games I've ever seen. One of the tons of writers who covered the game said it was one of the best moments in Boston sports history and compared it to the Red Sox being down 3-0 in the series and coming back to beat the Yankees. It was THAT good.

The game was incredibly fast paced. I've never seen end-to-end action like there was between these two teams. I was practically out of breath watching them. BU got on the board first, but Miami tied it up in the second. The RedHawks shut down BU for pretty much the entire second half of the game. The Terriers just couldn't get any chances in. That's a huge credit to Miami. They played the type of hockey they needed to, and they were physical and very fast while doing so. With 7:30 to go in the third, Miami scored; they notched another one with 4:08 left to make it 3-1.

I'm not going to lie. At that point my confidence was shot. I've seen strange things happen in hockey games, but BU was just not getting any chances to begin with. And here they found themselves down two goals with four minutes left?

I clasped my hands together and just waited. Jack Parker decided to pull Kieran Millan with 3:32 to go. A bold move, but what did they have to lose? The clock kept ticking down ...

And then came the miracles.

BU scored with 59.5 seconds left. It was 3-2. And then with 17.4 seconds remaining, they tied the game.

See? I told you you wouldn't believe it. It was the most incredible final minute of hockey I've ever seen and probably will ever see. It's been BU's story throughout the play-offs: last minute heroics. They found a way to do it against UNH, Vermont and now Miami. You can credit it to talent or skill or whatever you want -- but there is an astounding amount of resilience in those boys that enables them to do this. Any team could easily give up being down 3-1 with four to go. But they didn't. And they were rewarded for it.

It might sound weird to say this, but OT was nothing compared to that final 60 seconds. Kind of like the 1980 Olympic team -- their big moment was against Russia, but they still had to go on and win the gold medal. BU played very well in OT and got the winning goal in a similar fashion as how they got key goals in the past two games -- off an opponent. Colby Cohen shot a puck that went off of a diving Miami player's shoulder and strangely into the net. Looking at the replay, it had to be fate that it was going in.

And that was that. The Boston University Dream Team were officially the 2009 National Champions.

Some other things I'd like to point out about the game:

+ BU should be thanking their lucky stars -- or everyone on their penalty kill unit -- for that game. They've had a problem with discipline all year, and they took seven of them last night. Way too many considering they were only give two power plays. I have to question a referee calling a late-game slash on a team he called six other times and is down 2-1 with a championship on the line, but that's another story. If Miami didn't go 0-for-7 on the PP, the game could have been completely different.

+ Millan looked a little nervous again tonight. I don't blame him. He's 19 years-old playing in his first year in a national championship game. Both teams had freshman goaltenders, but Cody Reichard is 22 years-old.

+ I didn't buy into the whole "Miami is such an underdog" story. It was way overplayed, and the RedHawks showed that last night. They looked extremely good out there -- better than BU for half the game. People kept pointing out how they had never played in a championship game ... but none of the players on the BU roster had either. I understand the history is deeper, but history is history. Now is now. Miami has played over .500 hockey since 2005-06. They made it to the tournament last year; BU didn't. I understand the Terriers were ranked number one for a large part of the season, but I wasn't at all surprised to see Miami in the final alongside them. They're a good hockey club. Their head coach even pointed out how their senior class has won more games in the past four years than any other.

So there it is. I woke up this morning and realized it wasn't just a dream. I've been watching hockey for quite awhile now, and I have never seen a team like this. I don't know that I ever will again. In any league. From the chemistry right down the pure skill. Is this what it's like to be a Detroit Red Wings fan?

BU is a big school. This isn't BC. It's not a closely-knit campus with pretty buildings and grassy areas. It's a busy city street with an extremely diverse culture where everyone has something different going on. It's not easy to bring everyone here together. But this game did. I saw kids who don't even know what hockey is cheering them on. Students who had never seen a hockey game in their lives. It was the one time I've seen this stretch of Commonwealth Avenue united. People were cheering in the streets. The T was honking down Comm Ave. This is Boston's school.

The only sad part about this whole thing is that it's over. I came to school at BU in the fall of 2006. Chris Higgins, Jason Lawrence, Matt Gilroy, John McCarthy, Brandon Yip ... they were all sophomores back then. To see what they've developed into three years later is awesome. BU loses a huge crop of talent including Colin Wilson. He will be in the NHL next year. He's ready. We'll miss all of them. But they have very bright futures ahead of them. Each one. (And I'm hoping Pittsburgh grabs a few. They have a knack for Boston boys)

Maybe we should say a quiet thank you to Jack Falla, the hockey loving author, BU professor and Sports Illustrated writer who passed away unexpectedly in September, or Meryl Starr Herman, an avid supporter of BU hockey who died that same month. It certainly seemed throughout the entire season that they had a little extra help from someone up there.

2009-2010 will certainly be a little bit of a transition year. The good thing is, they have a great freshman class right now with guys like Millan, Dave Warsofsky and Vinny Saponari. You'll get another year out of Cohen and Kevin Shattenkirk (maybe two more), and hopefully Brian Strait will stick around too. There is a lot to look forward too. But why even bother looking to then. What happened last night was one of the greatest games in hockey. It took 59 seconds to teach everyone the important lesson of not giving up. I'm going to enjoy for a long, long time. What a season.

Burn the boats, boys.

For more recaps, photos and video visit: USCHO, College Hockey News, Terrier Hockey Blog.

Photo Credit.


Do You Believe in Miracles?

If you saw the last minute of regulation of the 2009 NCAA National Championship game, you sure do believe.

Recap coming tomorrow. I'm still in shock.

Photo Credit.


One More To Go

The Boston University Terriers have a knack for finding ways to win. They did against Maine in Game 1 of the first round of the Hockey East tournament. They did so against UNH in the Northeast Regional final. And they did so last night in the Frozen Four semi-final game against Vermont.

And here I was getting nervous because they were losing with eight minutes to go. What was I thinking?

BU scored two goals in the final seven minutes to beat UVM 5-4 and proceed to the National Championship game. It was a fast-paced game that saw the momentum swing from team-to-team. BU kicked things off early, scoring two in the first, but Vermont came back with three unanswered goals in the second period. It was only the second game of the year where I saw Kieran Millan off his game. He probably wants two or three of the goals he let in back. Maybe it was nerves. Who knows. Whatever it was, hopefully he shakes it off for the next game.

Parker called a time out after UVM's third goal, and whatever he said sparked the Terriers because they played an awesome next few minutes. It eventually paid off when they made it 3-3 before the end of the second. Vermont scored the go-ahead goal with about ten minutes remaining in the third. Then the late-game heroics came out as BU tied it with a goal off of a UVM stick and the game winner with about five minutes left. Amazing.

I can't believe six months after the season started, I'm saying the Terriers are going to play for the championship. It's surreal. I feel sorry for all the students out there who missed out on this team. You won't see another one like it anytime soon. As Northeastern coach, Greg Cronin, said "They're the best professional team in college hockey."

BU plays Miami-Ohio (who sadly beat the Bemidji Cinderellas 4-1 yesterday) in the final game. It will be on ESPN at 7 pm. Make sure to check it out.

Also: The Hobey Baker presentation begins in about four minutes at 7pm on ESPNU. GILROY GILROY GILROY.

Photo Credit.


Frozen Four Eve

The Frozen Four is upon us ... and I am nervous. I know I predicted BU making the FF at the beginning of the year, but it's still surreal to see them there. They have a legit chance of winning this thing, but their match-up against Vermont tomorrow is going to be far from easy.

I remember too well the back-to-back losses Vermont handed the Terriers in the fall at Agganis. It was their first two home losses, and they dropped to 8th in the nation after that. The Catamounts play the type of hockey that can stifle BU's offense. They block shots, they play the trap ... they just get in the way to the point of where it's frustrating. But that's what they should do. That's what they will do tomorrow night, and BU will have to find a way to solve it. The Terriers are going to have to get as many shots on net as possible. Being physical will help too. Throw some hits out.

Goaltending is going to be huge in this game as well. Rob Madore is awesome; I credited him as one of the main reasons Vermont won those games. On the other side of it, Kieran Millan just came off an unbelievable game against UNH.

This game is worth watching, so make sure you turn on ESPN2 at 8:30 to catch it. BU is the favorite in the Frozen Four, but I'm telling you anything can happen. If BU shows up, gets in a flow and does their thing, they will win. But we saw them fail in doing just that against Vermont twice this year.

Some quotes regarding tomorrow's game:

"The senior class, we just took a little bit of extra time in the locker room to be sure that talking to the younger guys, you know, you don’t take this for granted. You might not get this chance again, so definitely bring your A-game."

- John McCarthy

"When you’re the No. 1 team during the regular season, you can get the other teams jacked up that you’re playing. There’s the immediate gratification of, ‘Hey, we knocked off the No. 1 team in the nation.’ I don’t think that has anything to do with this tournament, because nobody’s trying to knock off the No. 1 team. Everybody’s trying to become the No. 1 team. There’s no advantage to being the underdog, because it’s more important to be the champion."
- Jack Parker

Fingers crossed.

As for the other game of the evening, I'm going with Bemidji State over Miami. The Bemidji Cinderellas are on fire right now. When you get on a streak like that in the play-offs, you don't stop. That game will be on ESPN2 at 5:30.



The Penguins <3 Hockey East Goalies

Pittsburgh signed Northeastern's Brad Thiessen to a two-year contract today. I didn't really see this one coming, but as a Pens fan, I support it. I've mentioned how much I like Thiessen numerous times. He stood out from the first time I saw him play three years ago. The Hobey Baker finalist's career stats as a Husky were 52-46-12 with a 2.40 GAA, a .922 save percentage and eight shut-outs. I'm really interested to see how his play translates into the pros. To be honest, I don't think finishing his senior year would have hurt him. I don't think he'll have a major problem transitioning, but goalies always take a little more time to mature. One more year would have only helped him develop more.

Northeastern takes a big loss with this signing. I really feel they owed a lot of this season's success to him.

Thiessen will join former Hockey East goaltender, John Curry, in Wilkes-Barre. Does this mean Curry might end up as Pittsburgh's number two next season? Could be. Some scouts in the Pitt system have said he's ready a number of times. Curry played well in the NHL action he saw this season, so maybe it is possible. If not, he could end up mentoring Thiessen in WBS.

And is it just me, or does Pittsburgh just love signing goaltenders as much as possible?

Photo Credit.


Hobey Baker Watch

Just a quick blip here today --

The Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalists were announced today, and BU has two guys in the final three: Matt Gilroy and Colin Wilson. Northeastern's Brad Thiessen is the third. All Hockey East boys -- another thing pointing to how strong HE is in the NCAA.

I vote for Matt Gilroy to get this award. He has a great story -- from losing two younger brothers, to barely making the Terrier squad and now being one of the best players in college hockey (check out the NYTimes piece on him here). He does so much for BU both on and off the ice. Any professional team will be lucky to have him. That's not to take away from Colin Wilson who was arguably the best player in the league this year. There's just something about Gilroy though. It belongs to him.

Brad Thiessen is a viable candidate as well. He's done a lot for Northeastern, and I think the program owes him a lot. He's unbelievable. Looking at the three finalists though, I just don't think this is his year.


Capturing Heartbreak

You have to check out this unbelievable frame-by-frame shot of BU's game-winning goal against UNH. It's heartbreaking to look at the kid's face right as he's watching it go in and then once it is actually in. These photos were shot by Melissa Wade who does some awesome hockey photography.


Now For the Hard Part ...

I'm still smiling about my October prediction of BU going to the Frozen Four (see below post), but let's talk about last night's game against New Hampshire. Realistically speaking, the Terriers should not have won that game. But what has been realistic about this entire NCAA hockey tournament? Pretty much nothing.

BU controlled the first period of the game, going up 1-0. After that, it was all UNH. They held BU to four shots in the second, and the Wildcats were just all over the place. Really dominated. Thank God 75% of their shots went wide. I cannot say enough about Kieran Millan. Without him, the score would not have been so close. I'm still shocked at his unbelievable glove save in the third period. I'm hoping someone puts it up on YouTube.

As always, BU found a way to win -- even if they didn't technically "score" the game-winning goal. James VanRiemsdyk takes a penalty with 47 seconds left, and with fifteen to go, Jason Lawrence shot a puck across the crease that ultimately ended up going in off a UNH player's arm. My heart goes out to that kid. How awful does he feel right now?

BU is heading to the Frozen Four for the first time since 1997. Unreal. So excited. They play Vermont in the semi-finals. I'm still bitter over the back-to-back losses they handed the Terriers back in the fall.

The guys over at PuckDaddy had this to say about the upcoming Frozen Four:

When the teams get to Washington DC, it looks like the Terriers are going to steamroll whoever is foolish enough to oppose them. They're the best team left by far. They have the best forwards, the best group of defensemen (maybe in NCAA history) and above-average goaltending. And they're playing a third seed, then the winner of a game between two four seeds. If they don't win, it will be due to a UNH-style bed-crapping of proportions so epic as to be worthy of Homeric remembrance.

Then again, stranger things have happened. Like every other result in this tournament.

So true. Anything can happen. Vermont showed this season they can beat BU, and I mean, who would have predicted the Bemidji State Beavers would be going to the Frozen Four???? Those guys are on fire. It's going to be a good last leg of this tourney.



All I'm going to do right now is take you back to my post on October 11, 2008:

BU won that game against North Dakota 5-1. They're now heading to the Frozen Four.

I'm smiling.

More to come tomorrow.

Regional Madness

I feel sorry for everyone out there who isn't watching the NCAA college hockey tournament. Seriously. It has been filled with exciting games and upsets galore. For example:

Denver and Michigan lost to their lower-seeded opponents Miami and Air Force. Vermont beat Yale. Cornell beat Northeastern with 15 seconds remaining. UNH came back from being down 5-3 to tie the game with .3 seconds left and win in OT. Similar to that, Minnesota-Duluth was down 4-2 with a minute left, scored two goals with the goalie pulled and beat Princeton in OT. The team that no one's really heard of, Bemidji State, took out Notre Dame 5-1. The Irish were #2 in the nation I believe. I wasn't all that surprised because Notre Dame has a tendency to fall short after having a stellar season. Overrated? Judge for yourself.

BU was the only number one seed to advance to the regional championship, and they did so pretty nicely. They won 8-3. The hockey world kept pointing to Ohio State's youth (and they are young: 20 underclassmen or something like that), but BU has quite a crop of young players too. In fact, some of the Terrier freshmen and sophomores are their best players: Colin Wilson, Vinny Saponari, Dave Warsofsky, Colby Cohen, Kevin Shattenkirk, Nick Bonino, Kieran Millan, etc. That said, BU did look like the more experienced team. The Buckeyes showed some bright spots though -- especially when BU let up a little bit and got sloppy.

So the bracket now looks like this:

The BU/UNH game could go either way. UNH gave BU their first loss of the season back in the fall, but BU has beaten them the last two times they played each other. The key is whether or not BU will bring their A game. When they get on a roll, they're set. They will win. But they tend to fall back into reactive hockey sometimes and that hurts them.


Will Bylsma Stay?

Someone wrote into the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with this statement:

I would like to think that general manager Ray Shero will take the "interim" label off of the "head coach" title Dan Bylsma holds, given the success the Penguins have had since he was chosen to replace Michel Therrien. The team has really responded well to Bylsma's coaching style and he seems to have developed a special chemistry with the players. What else is Shero looking for? Are there any indications that he plans to keep Bylsma, and do you think he should name him (the permanent) coach before their first playoff game?

Bylsma has done a good job for Pittsburgh, but here's why he might not be named permanent head coach: because Todd Richards is going to get it.

Remember him? He was the head coach of the Baby Penguins prior to this year until the San Jose Sharks hired him as assistant coach. He got the Baby Pens to the Calder Cup finals, but above that Richards is one of Shero's guys. Winning the Stanley Cup this year wouldn't hurt his chances either. Call me crazy, but I can definitely see this happening. Then again, it all depends on how Bylsma finishes out the season/post-season. I also don't know what the contract situation is for Richards in San Jose. Those things aside, the move could definitely happen.


Thought of the Day

Just wanted to toss this out here: the more I read about quotes from various Pittsburgh Penguins' players about the post-Therrien period, the more I'm truly starting to believe they threw some games to get him outta there. They were going to do it last year (before they realized some things), so why not this year? Maybe they felt that was the only way to get him out of there. They never liked him, and it wouldn't be the first time a coach was fired that way.

I really, really, really hope that's not the case because the thought of it makes me furious. But I would in no way, shape or form be surprised.

Edit:I was just reading this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and this quote from Sidney Crosby also angered me:

At times before he got here we could all look around the room and see guys who could give more than they were giving ...

You know what? Shame on them. In my eyes, that blame falls straight on the guys who weren't doing what they're capable of. You are professional athletes. You won't find sympathy from the people who don't get to live out their dream of doing the same thing. You won't find sympathy from the people who pay a ridiculous amount of money to go to these NHL games and support their favorite team. Grow up.

I might have to expand on this in a bit.


My Own March Madness

Forget NCAA men's basketball. It's time for NCAA college hockey tournament. BU goes in as the number one overall seed. There are four first round regionals that feature four teams. The winner from each regional moves on to the Frozen Four in Washington D.C.

Here's a look at the bracket:

There's some good match-ups there. I'm interested to see the Northeastern-Cornell game -- and BU-OSU of course.

Here's the TV schedule:

March 27:
Air Force v. Michigan 3:00 on ESPNU
Miami v. Denver 4:30 on ESPN2
Vermont v. Yale 6:30 on ESPNU
Princeton v. Minn-Duluth 8:00 on ESPNU

March 28:
UNH v. North Dakota 2:00 on ESPN2
Cornell v. Northeastern 4:00 on ESPNU
BU v. Ohio State 5:30 on ESPN2
TBD v. TBD 6:30 on ESPNU
Bemidji St v. Notre Dame 7:30 on ESPNC
TBD v. TBD 8:00 on ESPNU

March 29:
TBD v. TBD 5:30 on ESPNU
TBD v. TBD 5:30 on ESPNU
TBD v. TBD 8:00 on ESPNU

April 9:
TBD v. TBD 5:00 on ESPN2
TBD v. TBD 8:30 on ESPN2

April 11 (NCAA Championship Game):
TBD v. TBD 7:00 on ESPN

Terriers Are Hockey East Champs

I just have a quick note about last night's Hockey East Championship game. BU ended up winning 1-0, but it's very possible they owe it to one controversial decision. Actually they absolutely owe it to that.

UMass-Lowell had a goal disallowed halfway through the second period. There were at least five or six guys piled in Kieran Millan's crease at one point, and a UML player did manage to put the puck in the net. The issue was whether or not the whistle blew before or after the puck went in. The goal judge had the red light on, but the on-ice officials never signaled it a goal. NESN replays clearly showed the puck going in before the whistle blew. Unless there was another whistle even before that from another side of the ice, it should have definitely been a goal. They reviewed it upstairs, but I guess they don't have audio on their replays? I find that kind of hard to believe because I would assume all NHL replays would have audio. Regardless, they didn't count the goal, and BU held on to win 1-0.

I have to give credit to the Riverhawks. They played an excellent game, and I would go as far as saying they looked better than the Terriers at many points. They had a great finish, and no one likes to see any team lose that way.

On the other side of it, Millan did a great job to get the shut-out. He was very deserving of the tournament MVP award he received.

Also have to give a shoutout to Joey Pereira who was taken to the hospital during the game. He ruptured his spleen when his stick handle was forced into his stomach. It had gotten caught in the UML net. The Terriers will miss him. He's a guy you can always count on to get out there and work. Get well soon bud.

Photo Credit: hockeyeastonline.com


Quote Me

“El Nino? You think I could explain that?”
- Jack Parker

What Parker was referring to, of course, was how he could explain his team's three goals in 44 seconds that occurred in the third period of the Hockey East semi-final game against Boston College.

I caught most of the game, and those 44 seconds were it for the Terriers. Without that burst ('burst' is even an understatement) of scoring, I don't know if BU would've won that game. The Terriers were down 1-0, and BC's John Muse was playing solid as usual. But just like Game 1 of the Maine series, BU found a way to win with those quick goals from Zach Cohen, Brian Strait and - who else - Colin Wilson.

The Terriers face an unexpected opponent tonight when they skate against UMass-Lowell. UML was down 2-1 to the Northeastern Huskies until they tied it up with about 20 seconds left. Then they scored in OT to win. It will be the first time the Riverhawks play in the HE Final since 1994 I believe. Good for them. I always have a soft spot for this team. They always work hard, and they almost lost their hockey program. I can't like them tonight obviously, but I'm happy they made it to this point.

Game time is 7 p.m. NESN will broadcast the game beginning at 6:30. Definitely tune in. Even though BU is the outright favorite, you can never, never underestimate UML. They can beat the Terriers, and they're sure as hell going to try.


BU vs. Maine: Game 1 Recap

You see that Terrier? See how angry he looks?

That's how I feel towards BU after Game One against Maine. Before I go on, the final score was 2-1 BU. But boy were the Terriers lucky. Really lucky. They probably should not have won that game.

As I said in my previews, play-offs are a completely new ball game. Anything goes. Maine showed that tonight as they went on to battle hard against BU all 60 minutes. The Black Bears outworked the Terriers for most of the game. They were more aggressive, more physical and just seemed to want it a lot more. They had nothing to lose coming into this game. There was no pressure on them. They did awesome.

Maybe I'm being hard on BU, but they were overall just blah. Nothing special. They weren't the team I've seen that can move the puck, complete flawless passes and keep the scoring chances coming one after another. I liked the words one of the play-by-play guys used: "casual". They were very casual in their play. Not really aggressive. Only one for eight on the power play. Colin Wilson was awesome as usual, but they can't rely on him for everything. They had their little bursts of good scoring chances, and then they had their times where Maine just took their game away. Was it a case of being too cocky? I don't know. I don't think so. They just fell into that same relaxed, reactive style they've gotten caught in a few other times this season. This is the playoffs though boys. Step it up.

So Terriers: please show up tomorrow, work hard and show why you are number one.

Other HE updates:

+ Here's a big score: UMass beats Northeastern 2-1. What did I say in my predictions earlier? If UMass won the first game, they'd win the series. We'll see what happens.

+ BC beats UNH 5-3. This one surprised me. They're closely matched, but I'm not sure I expected this score. Brock Bradford had two goals for the Eagles (and Brooks Orpik's younger brother Andrew also tallied one) and James vanRiemsdyk got two for the Wildcats.

+ UMass-Lowell and Vermont are about to head into their first overtime period. Vermont was leading 2-0 and then 3-1. At some point UML must have come back to tie it up 3-3. Good for them. I'd like to see UML win that series.

Blog Template by YummyLolly.com