Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Wednesday's Wonderings

by Jes

So, Teemu Selanne decided to announce his comeback, after resting up and having enough of speeding along Finnish highways all winter, and his nagging wife.

I know quite a few Canucks fans are a bit panicky that the Ducks are going to be that much better, so to them I say, "What's the big deal?"

Look, we know the Ducks were going to be the team to beat in the Western Conference, and this comeback just cements that point.

(Sorry, Wings fans, but I see too many weaknesses to give you the #1 spot, despite the fancy schmancy W-L record.)

Even if Selanne is just 3/4 as effective as he was last season, that is still .75 points per game on average that the Ducks will be getting. Given how the Ducks are rolling, this is just some very thick icing on the cake.

I expect that Selanne, like Niedermayer, will come into action in fairly good shape, and will give the Ducks a big boost to their offence. Both Selanne and Niedermayer are two of the world's best, so they have a long way to come down to be merely 'average'. Excellent players can miss time and still come back strong, as we've seen with Forsberg, Lemieux, and so on.

What Canucks fans should be worried about is their own team's state of affairs. It ain't pretty ...

Injuries - the Defence is decimated as Mitchell will be out 4-6 weeks with a Fractured Vertebra. Krajicek is day-to-day with a sore shoulder, and Bieksa's recovery time could take longer than originally anticipated.

It doesn't help that Brendan Morrison, the only good source of secondary scoring that Canucks have up front, is also injured.

Scoring - As mentioned, and as everyone knows, the Canucks are essentially a one-line team. Pyatt is the only other forward with a .50 PPG pace. Kesler? He's dried up, as has Burrows (who never really had much to begin with). Far too much filler on the Canucks roster and not enough oomph.

Special Teams - Last season, the Canucks had a supreme penalty killing machine. This season? They are pretty much middle of the road, as is their Power Play. The Canucks need to have better results in these areas if they seriously think they can contend for more than just a first or second round playoff exit.

Honestly, it would take a minor miracle (or more Luongo miracles) to keep the Canucks in the playoffs. There are just too many other contenders who haven't had the bad luck the Canucks have. Whether the Ducks got Selanne or not wasn't going to change the above factors.

So, the Canucks have now sold out 200 straight home games.

Umm ... yippee *twirls finger*

I'm not sure why Canucks fans would be proud or excited about this mark.

1. This means more money in the pockets of our slumlord owners. Is that something to be happy about?

2. This means it is damn hard to get tickets to see the Canucks.

Really, I'd rather the Canucks not sell out every game. It might teach ownership a lesson (ie. Don't take the fans for granted) and might make it easier to get tickets without frequently donating bodily fluids.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Is "Canadian" a Racial Slur?

by Jes

While the Southeastern United States lies on the same continent, it might as well be half way around the world. The customs, attitudes, and language of that region are just so vastly different then ours in Vancouver that if I ever happened to travel to Atlanta, I'd feel like I'd landed on a new planet.

Wayne, our Southern Correspondant, passes on a very strange tidbit about how the word 'Canadian' seems to have been adopted by some Southerners as a racial slur.


Last August, a blogger in Cincinnati going by the name CincyBlurg reported that a black friend from the southeastern U.S. had recently discovered that she was being called a Canadian. "She told me a story of when she was working in a shop in the South and she overheard some of her customers complaining that they were always waited on by a Canadian at that place. She didn't understand what they were talking about and assumed they must be talking about someone else," the blogger wrote.

"After this happened several times with different patrons, she mentioned it to one of her co-workers. He told her that ‘Canadian' was the new derogatory term that racist Southerners were using to describe persons they would have previously referred to [with the N-word.]"

Yeesh, how sad.

I don't even get it, either. Like our favourite 4-letter word, racial slurs tends to be short, forceful and direct, like a punch in the guy.

I find it very hard to say the word Canadian and sound all that nasty. It's like people who use FIDDLESTICKS in lieu of a real curse word. It just doesn't quite work.

To any black people who might end up being called 'Canadian', turn the tide on these suckas and proclaim that you are proud of such a designation.

"Damn right I am Canadian, eh! We have free health care, low crime, and better looking women!"

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Sunday, January 27, 2008


I Got My Head Checked

by Greg

I think I can go the rest of my life without hearing that stupid Blur "Whoo-hoo" song, and not feel any sense of loss -- Philips Arena plays it after every goal, so I heard it at least 15 times (and possibly more) Sunday afternoon. I'm glad they steered clear of "Hey Now You're An All-Star," but seriously, enough with the Blur. I'm gonna be rooting for a scoreless draw next time I see a game in person.

At the last minute, I unexpectedly scored a ticket to the ASG. It was a pretty enjoyable spectacle -- nothing more, nothing less. I'm not in the "make the All-Star Game more relevant" camp. First off, I don't know how you would accomplish that (put the losing team to death?), second off, why expend the effort? Why not have a fun weekend of meaninglessness and pomp?

Granted, the game itself did largely suck (though with a few good moments -- Ilya Kovalchuk's mock-faint when Nabokov made a fantastic save, the heavily-booed Marc Savard scoring the winning goal), but the experience overall was pretty fun.

Random observations (not really about the game, as the best you'll get out of this one is "wow, Zdeno Chara really is big"):

* I ended up there two hours early, thinking that traffic would be a nightmare -- at least two hours before gametime, it wasn't. My ticket-bearing friend wasn't around yet, so I defaulted to jersey-scoping mode as I wandered around outside. Interesting jerseys seen: a few guys wearing Original Six Wings jerseys, which looked really cool, even if they revealed a lack of a soul. Some guy in a Brian Skrudland Canadiens jersey. A New England Whalers jersey. A few for Atlanta-area junior/youth teams that I haven't previously seen. And a ton of Predators jerseys -- no other regional team other than the Thrashers was so well-represented (saw a handful of Lightning jerseys, no Canes or Panthers jerseys) -- but bizarrely, at least ten people wearing those godawful crime-against-humanity mustard-colored alternates. Were those things actually popular?

* For Jes: I was wearing a Czech league jersey (Velvana Kladno, '99-'00) so two Slovakian dudes figured I must be from that part of the world, and let loose with a stream of delighted Slavic. I let them down easy. A bit later, an elderly Polish man asked if I was from that part of the world -- once again, I was a disappointment.

Sidney Crosby did find a way to be part of the festivities

* A measure of redemption: still wandering a bit more, some guys doing a radio show or internet broadcast or something proclaimed the Kladno jersey the best they'd seen all day, and gave me a free game (NHL Ice Breaker). I was too busy getting drunk post-game to try it out, but eventually I will, and since I really like free stuff, I am totally comfortable giving it my endorsement.

* Todd McFarlane was signing autographs there, which neatly brought together the nerdiness of my teens (I was a big Infinity, Inc. fan) and my twenties (when I bought all the hockey crap I could). Thankfully, in my 30s, I just watched from afar (though if McFarlane makes a Tomas Kloucek figure, all bets are off). In fact, being able to resist all the hockey merchandise on sale made me feel like I've made some progress in my life, on some sad scale.

* Still don't get the booing/taunting of Chris Osgood, though I certainly don't oppose it. Did he say Atlanta was a crap city or something? Or is it just because he's an integral part of the Red Wings, and all people realize that's a bad thing?

* Questionable moves: having the Hives (career last seen in 2001) play before the game, doing some big video presentation on Henrik Lundqvist (not actually in the game).

* Cool things: I couldn't hear word one of the Willie O'Ree jumbotron tribute, but the ceremony between periods was nicely handled. And not to repeat myself, but Kovalchuk's theatrics were great fun.

* Disturbing things: a giant man in a Red Wings jersey. I have nightmares like this.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008


The All-Star Game Cometh (Sans Sid)

by snoopyjode (crossposted)
Well, it's that time of year again...

I know, I know... That preview is a little painful for us to watch because it was (quite obviously) shot prior to Sir Sidney's injury. And since he's going to be out for 6 to 8 weeks, Sid won't be playing in the All Star games (again, quite obviously).

However, if you tune in anyways, you'll get to see something new. This year the NHL YoungStars game will be part of the SuperSkills competition. A few Penguins will be participating in the events this year. Two of our young Pens were named to the YoungStars team:
Kris Letang and Tyler Kennedy are NHL YoungStars.

The Penguins teammates were selected to participate in the event, in which the eight-player Eastern and Western Conference YoungStar teams will face off in a new three-on-three event as part of the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills competition on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Philips Arena in Atlanta at 7 p.m. The YoungStars will be shooting against goaltenders named to participate in the NHL All-Star Game the following day.
Unfortunately, Kennedy won't be heading to Atlanta. He has come down with a case of mononucleosis. But both of our Russian superstars are on the Eastern Conference team:
Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin are from the same country and share the same mailing address.

They also have something else in common – they are All-Stars.

The two Russians head to Atlanta this weekend to take part in the NHL All-Star Game. The Penguins duo will represent the Eastern Conference All-Stars at Philips Arena. It will mark the first time the Penguins will have two players in the game since 2001, when Mario Lemieux and Alexei Kovalev faced each other in the North America vs. World format in Denver.
Malkin, of course, was chosen to take The Kid's place after he was forced to drop out because of his high ankle sprain. (FYI: Sid was the leading vote getter for the second year in a row.) Now I know not everyone thinks the All Star games are worth watching, but I do. The All Star games give the pros a chance to show off their fancy moves without worrying about getting two points. And not to rub salt in the wound, but just tell me where else are you ever going to get a chance to see Sidney Crosby playing on the same team as Alexander Ovechkin? It was certainly entertaining to see Sid and Alex put the "rivalry" aside and play for the same team last year. The two of them even carried a cake to birthday boy Brendan Shanahan during the All Star games weekend last year. Remember this? It was one of the first videos I posted when I started writing for TSCS:

While we'll miss the teaming of Sid and Alex this year, there are still plenty of reasons to watch. AOL Fanhouse contributer, Hockey Rants writer, and TSCS founder Jes gives us his thoughts on the All Star games:
I think the shine has worn off of the All-Star Game, over time, because seeing the biggest stars is no longer as special as it once ways.

In the days before we had massive TV and internet exposure, seeing some of the biggest stars from the 'other' conference was a rare treat.

When I was a kid, I didn't get to see Mario Lemieux so much because only our local games were televised plus 1-2 Hockey Night in Canada matchups. Now? Even in Vancouver, I get to see lots of Sid and the Penguins.

Well, except Sid won't be at the All-Star Game this time :(

Still, I am looking forward to the re-vamped Skills Competition, as we'll get to see the new shootout competition that is similar to the NBA's Dunk competition. It'll be great to see what weird moves the NHLers can pull off when they aren't under pressure to win an actual game.
The All Star games will be shown on the Versus network all weekend. Click the banner below for all the details. It's the only hockey fix you'll be able to get all weekend! :)

Click Here!

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Thursday, January 24, 2008


"Clear the Track, Here Comes Shack"

by Jes

With the All-Star Game approaching, I figure I'd have a few ASG-themed posts around here since there is little else to talk about that severely interests me. Sure, the Leafs hired Cliff Fletcher, but what is another puppet going to help that franchise do?

Remember who the first All-Star Game MVP was? You know, back when the game supposedly mattered?

Answer: "The Entertainer", Eddie Shack

Wayne, our Southern Correspondent, passed on a link about ol' Mr. Shack, a player I wish I had been around to see back in the day.

"Hey, Norma," Shack called out to his wife in another room, "what did we get for [winning the MVP]?"

"It was something stupid, I bet," he mumbled. After a brief conference with his wife of 45 years, the best of their recollections was this: a shaving kit.

"Eddie the Entertainer," they called him. Or "Eddie the Nose." That big honker made him more money than hockey ever did, as a useful prop for the commercials he shot for a Canadian soda company, the Pop Shoppe.

"You know I got a nose for value," he'd say, and the carbonated beverage consumers of Canada never tired of the joke.

"He worked for my dad once —- players used to have to get jobs in the offseason," Thrashers general manager and coach Don Waddell said. "My dad was with the Canadian pipeline; he used to dig trenches in northern Canada. The first day Eddie showed up for work, they were digging trenches and he had on shorts and sandals. That was his personality."

A shaving kit? Given Shack's smooth pornstache, that's akin to giving a book on parenting to Britney Spears.

As for The Pop Shoppe. I remember chugging those things down when I was a kid living in Cranbrook. Does anyone else remember quaffing that sweet stuff from those see-through bottles? I don't recall ever going to the actual store, but the drinks where everywhere in small town BC.

Thanks to the magic of YouTube, we can watch one of those old classics ...

So, tip up your Pop Shoppe bottles to Eddie Shack, one of the all-time great hockey personalities.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Monday Morning Musings

by Jes

The one thing I can say that I have in common with the Vancouver Canucks is that we're both going through a period of mental hockey fatigue. It's the middle of the season, and I'm feeling 'blah'. The Canucks? They look the same way, winning just one of their past eight games, and generally sucking the big one. Injuries are really taking their toll as the Canucks can no longer seem to keep goals from being scored against them at a good pace.

Why is it the Canucks suck against sucky teams, especially Los Angeles? Post-lockout, the Blues, who could barely beat anyone else, whipped the Canucks like Mistress Veronique.

Vs. the Kings
October 19th: 4-2 loss
December 10th: 4-2 loss
January 10th: 3-2 loss

Are the Canucks trying to do Crawford a favor and sucking so that he can keep his job? WTF, eh?

Wayne, our Southern correspondent, shares some thoughts over the weekend.

Did anyone hear Mike Milbury on NBC call out Jaromir Jagr as being "gloomy" and "moody"? He did everything except call him "Ee-yore"...Trying to think of an "All-Moody" team with Jagr and Marian Hossa; any other nominations?

Chris Pronger is definitely a big whiner, as is Raffi Torres. One more defenseman ... hmm ... Dion "Sour Puss" Phaneuf.

In goal? Can we pull Patrick Roy out of retirement?

And the coach? None other than the Great Whine, Wayne Gretzky

Jagr is truly the league's biggest diva, and both he and the Rangers would be in a great spot if he'd just shut up and story worrying about non-essential stuff. It's not enough for Jagr to be paid well, but he has to have the world revolve around him as well. For that reason, he's never been the guy you can truly build a team around.

I see that Marc Savard will finally make an All-Star Game this Sunday...wonder what kind of reaction he'll get in Atlanta...Me: I'd applaud...

As would I

As I type this, the Maple Laffs just fired their GM; what took them so long? Well, Don Waddell has an opening when Atlanta Spirit fires his ass this coming May.

I covered this over at NHL FanHouse. Until the Leafs change their management structure (ie. Too many cooks, not enough brains), it doesn't matter which GM they hire. The Leafs' ownership cares only about profits, and has too many people who want a say in the affairs of the club. For this reason, no GM can truly make their stamp on the team as they'll have many other people to go through.

It's a testament to Pat Quinn's GM skills that he did as well as he did during his tenure there, demotion and all.

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Monday, January 21, 2008


Fight Night in the 'Shwa!

by Jes

Who said fighting in hockey is dead? First, we got that massive Russian Superleague brawl, and now we get this after-the-game brawl between the Sarnia Sting and Oshawa Generals. Thanks to JP from Japers Rink for passing this linkage on.

What looks like ye olde typical post game celebration turns ugly ... w00t!

On another note, Joe Pelletier has details about Dave Semenko's exhibition boxing match vs. Muhammed Ali. I never knew the two fought, but apparently Ali's people agreed to have his boy fight Gretz's bodyguard. All of this was put together by Mark Messier's uncle, proving there isn't anything the Messier's won't do for a buck.

Semenko apparently trained quite hard for the event, training under Rocky Addison, a former Manitoba middleweight champion. They watched video of Ali's fights looking for tendencies, and hit the gym for many hours. They held a one week training camp at the worst possible time for Semenko.

"They'd only just introduced Happy Hours in the lounges in Edmonton and the first think Rocky did was put me on the wagon. "Two for one sodas are not my idea of a Happy Hour on a hot June afternoon."
He gave up beer? Wow, that's dedication!

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Saturday, January 19, 2008


Sabres Thrash Thrashers 10-1

by Jes

So, I'm checking out the boxscores from last night, as I was out and didn't see any NHL action last night.

Pretty standard stuff until I hit the Buffalo-Atlanta game

Buffalo 10
Atlanta 1

Is that right? Now, this was 6:30am and my eyes were a bit fuzzy. I figure I had a spare eye crusty blocking my vision and this wasn't right. Well, eye crusty was quickly wiped away, the Pet Shop boys were singing away in my headphones, and the 10 remained. Yoikes!

So, I loaded up the boxscore in anticipation and just imagined how Thrashers fans felt this morning after their team was pwned by a Sabres squad that hadn't won a game in its past 10. Since Greg is probably drowning himself in a case of Budvar, I had to look to Ben Wright over at The Blueland Blog.

There's nothing you can do to explain, justify or rationalize a debacle like last night's 10-1 loss in Buffalo. The Sabres played well and the Thrashers played about as badly as I've ever seen them play. Everyone that was on or behind the bench has to take some responsibility, with the possible exceptions of Nic Havelid, Tobias Enstrom and Colin Stuart. Stuart scored the lone goal for the Thrashers (short-handed) and finished the night even. Havelid and Enstrom, by some minor miracle, weren't on the ice for a any of Buffalo's seven even strength goals and they both finished +1. They were out there for Buffalo's first power play goal though- the one that came 19 seconds in the penalty.

It was about as ugly as a loss could be, but thankfully nobody got hurt and you can only give up two points in the standings. A loss is a loss and the bad ones don't count any differently than the close ones IF you can find a way to move on.

Exactly, IF the Thrashers can move on. It's just one game of 82 in the standings, but getting smoked so badly can either crush a team or motivate them not to suck like that ever again.

The South(l)East Division still remains tighter than a ... err... I can't think of anything NOT dirty ... moving on, then *ahem*

Carolina 50GP 50 PTS -10 Goal differential
Atlanta 49GP 49PTS -27(!) GD
Florida 48GP 46PTS -16GD
Washington 46GP 45PTS -12GD
Tampa Bay 47GP 41PTS -22GD

With Nylander out for about a month, the Caps will likely lose the momentum they were gaining. The smart money is still on the Hurricanes, as they have the most talent and don't seem as fragile as the boom/bost Thrashers.

It'll be close ...

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Friday, January 18, 2008


Video: 2 Man Advantage at The Winter Classic

by Jes
The dudes from The 2 Man Advantage are back with another video. This time, they headed to the Winter Classic and hung around with some of the zanier fans.

Beer and bathrobes in sub-zero temperatures? Only in the NHL ... only in the NHL

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Thursday, January 17, 2008


New Restrictions on European Juniors

by Jes

Per, the IIHF, its member countries, and the NHL have come to a new agreement about junior European hockey players.

Following the five hour meeting with representatives of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden, both sides agreed that a player who is still under contract with an IIHF team and has not reached his 20th birthday must be first offered back to his team in Europe. The new proposal sees the age limit increased by two years.

This provision does not affect players who where selected in the first round of the NHL draft.

Out of the 59 European players who were signed by NHL clubs prior to the 2007-2008 season, six are on NHL rosters, 46 were assigned to the minor leagues and seven returned to their European clubs.

So, it sounds like the IIHF clubs will have the first right of refusal is a player is demoted from the NHL to the AHL or ECHL, until they are 20.

I don't mind this at all, given how a European team should have the rights to their players if they are under a valid contract. It's not as if there are that many 20-and-under Europeans in the AHL or ECHL, so I don't think the impact of this decision is going to be dramatic, since it doesn't appear to affect the Canadian Hockey League.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Why the Canes Can't Win the Cup

by Jes

Here's a quick question for you ...

Which NHL club has 3 players with 20+ goals and 40+ points, 4 other players with 30+ points, is third best in the league with 144 goals scored, and yet isn't in the playoffs as of today?

Answer: The Carolina Hurricanes.

Yes, once again, Carolina's vaunted offensive power is not enough to make up for its weaknesses on D and in goal.

Look at the defence: Dennis Seidenberg, a good-looking defenseman that has bounced around the league and can barely hold an NHL spot, the ancient duo of Bret Yamaguchi and Glen Wesley, the goalless used-to-be-good-what-the-hell-happened Frantisek Kaberle, Mike "Ronald McDonald" Commodore, the overmatched Tim "This is all we got for Jack Johnson?" Gleason, and Nic "OT Winner" Wallin.

Now, I realize that the Canes won it all with a similar defence a few years back, but that was the mother of all Cinderella runs. We can see that now.

How can a defense where their top scorer has 12 just points, and the entire defence has a whole SEVEN goals this season, be considered anything but crap? Not one of these guys is above average, and the old guys just continue to get worse.

Of course, this point mighty be moot if the goaltenders didn't suck, but they do.

Ever since Cam Ward (undeservedly) won the Conn Smythe, people have been tricked into thinking that he's a great goaltender.

Unfortunately for Carolina, the clock struck midnight and Ward has proven himself to be a below-average goaltender during the regular season.


05-06 28 25 1484 14 8 0 2 3.68 .882

06-07 60 59 3422 30 21 0 6 2.93 .897

07-08 36 34 2032 17 15 0 3 2.89 .899

Cam Ward's playoff stats from that magical run? 15-8 2.13GAA 92.0SV%

His partners in crimes against goaltending this season?
John Grahame: 13GP 3.83GAA 87.5SV%
Mike Leighton: 3GP 2.66GAA 89.7SV%

That's more suckage than the movie Juno. (Guys, if your girl tries to drag you to this, you better get something reeeeeeeeeeeeeally good in return)

Let's face it, we know GM Jim Rutherford has been an exceptionally poor GM for most of his long tenure. Somehow, the guy had an outlier of a year where he made good-for-value signings (like Stillman), made some good deadline deals, and had all of the pieces fall into place. Now? We see he is unable to fill the holes on the back end and the Canes have few prospects that they can deal for veteran assets.

Unless the Canes can do something about their glaring weaknesses, let's not fool ourselves into thinking they can win another Stanley Cup. Winning their weak division? It's possible, and it'll be the only way the Canes make the playoffs. Sad, but true.

Joe Pelletier from The Legends of Hockey blog sends this message to our readers

"I've officially gone crazy. In the past weeks
over at I've compared Vincent Lecavalier to
Jean Beliveau, Niklas Lidstrom to Raymond Bourque, and Martin St.
Louis to Yvan Cournoyer.

Perhaps my latest set of comparables is a bit of a stretch, but yet
somehow very fitting. Or at least I think so.

Former New York Rangers playboy Ron Duguay is compared to PBS' "Joy of
Painting" host Bob Ross."

Somehow, I doubt Bob Ross ever got Cher in the sack, but what do I know?

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


2007/08 Predictions - Review at the Halfway Mark

by Jes

Before the season, I polled a few friends and bloggers and put our predictions together with those from a few mainstream media sites. I do this most every season, and have a pretty good track record vs. the MSM boys. It's just bragging rights, and doesn't mean a whole lot, but I figure that my methodology for predictions is quite solid.

Now that we're half way through the season, here is a look at the predictions, together with the standings to date.

Now, I realize that some teams have played a few more games than others, so the tables could fluctuate quite easily. Still, we know that Toronto and Los Angeles are clearly in the tank and that Detroit and Ottawa are easily #1 in their conferences.

A few notes and totes ...

1. I took a HUGE chance on LA, figuring they'd find an offensive explosion with their signings and talent. Well, Handzus has been a big bust, Nagy hasn't quite shown us that full potential we keep waiting for, and goaltending became an even bigger issue than we figured. I knew this was a risky pick, and it blew up in my face. It doesn't help that Marc Crawford is clearly the worst coach in the entire NHL, even more so than Paul Maurice.

2. Phoenix was picked to be the biggest basement dweller (all except my g/f), but Wayne has the boys playing fairly well and Bryzgalov has helped them become a fairly tough team to play against.

3. Colorado is likely headed for a fall after long-term injuries to Ryan Smyth and Joe Sakic. Otherwise, they're doing as well as expected.

4. The New York Islanders are a big surprise in the East, but you look at a goal differential of -14, and look at their roster, and realize that their record is definitely better than it should be. Now, Ted Nolan is an excellent coach, but I expect this team, more than any other, to falter in the second half as reality sets in.

5. Montreal is also doing surprisingly well, thanks to a great Power Play and some good systematic play under coach Guy Carbonneau. Oh, and Tomas Plekanec = teh awesomez.

6. Tampa Bay was headed for a fall because their goaltending sucks and their defence is shaky. Well, the loss of Dan Boyle was obviously more than they could handle and their offence just can't make up for their other shortcomings.

7. Toronto - Time to give it up.

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Monday, January 14, 2008


Pink Ice, the New Fashion?

by Jes

Check out this photo ... kinda looks like two teams had a huge brawl and the ice is completely saturated in blood doesn't it?

Well, it turns out that this wasn't blood, but more of a publicity stunt aimed at a worthy cause.

The ice set a rosy stage as the Norfolk Admirals played the Hartford Wolf Pack during the first Pink in the Rink event at Scope on Saturday.

The surface, along with other events during the game, was designed to increase breast cancer awareness and education. The event also helped raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization that helps breast cancer survivors and encourages research.

Well, it's certainly noticable, and will give you Pink Eye quite quickly, but I can't imagine trying to have to play on that.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008


Weekend Wayne's World: TV Ratings

by Jes

Our Southern correspondant is back with his thoughts and musings on recent TV ratings for the NHL, in reference to a recent article by The Globe and Mail.

At the midway point of this season, national audiences on Versus are up 32 per cent from this time last year.

Versus is drawing numbers comparable with ESPN2's viewership in 2003-04, which was the last year of its deal with the NHL.

To which Wayne remarks: "When your ratings were 0.0, 32% DOES seem impressive..."


"On the downside, audiences for the Atlanta Thrashers have dropped 50 per cent. On the downside, audiences for the Atlanta Thrashers have dropped 50 per cent."

Wayne: As a Thrasher die-hard, I must admit the Thrash have been hard to watch this season; this may dovetail with Tim Tucker's column in the AJC after the Thrashers were eliminated after the playoffs about the miniscule TV audiences they got...

Jes: I'd figure the Thrash would be a fairly good draw because they play an offensive style of game and have exciting players like Hossa and Kovalchuk. Sure, the Thrash don't win a LOT of games, but at least they don't trap and trap and trap

"Why are the numbers up? The absence of prime-time content, as a result of the Hollywood writers' strike, is driving audiences to sports programming. Versus showcases Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby at every opportunity."

Wayne: Is anyone else sick and tired of the Pittsburgh Crosbys? Besides, we've seen every rerun of "CSI", "CSI: Miami", "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit", etc...

Jes: Who would ever get sick of Sidney Crosby? yeesh. Well, it's good to see the NHL capitalize on someone else's suffering. Any break the NHL can get ...

Wayne: One day, when I get the time (and a new computer), I'll write WHY Versus sucks, but I think you can probably figure it out on your own...

Jes: Fortunately, Canadian coverage will always be far superior and easily accessible. From what I've ever seen VERSUS gives the NHL great coverage, and respects the sport, but just can't get through to enough eyeballs.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008


Alexander Ovechkin is Richkin, Bitchkin!

by Jes

So, the bomb has dropped and Alex "1d8" Ovechkin is now the proud signer of the most lucrative contract in NHL contract. $124mil over 13 seasons. Yes, 13!!! Alexei Yashin must be fuming in a jealous rage right about now.

Now, any time you start talking about a contract for 10+ years, you are pretty much going into insanity territory. Locking yourself to a player for that long of a period just has so many fricking risks, and we've seen how such contracts have blown up on the teams that signed them. Alexei Yashin, Rick DiPietro (it will), and Alex Rodriguez (who wiggled his way out to get more $..geezus).

Of course, Alexander Ovechkin is one of two rare talents that you could consider signing to such a deal and not be considered to be smoking BC's finest export plant. (If you can't figure out the other player, please put on a tinfoil hat so we know who you are)

When two parties sign a contract, both parties *should* assume half of the risk if the contract is truly a fair one.

In this case? The vast majority of the risk is with the Capitals.

"But Jes, Ovechkin could have earned like $15mil a season if he had waited"

That's valid, but Ovechkin, barring a Capitals bankrupcy, is guaranteed to make $124 million!! No matter what happens to him tomorrow, he'll be set for life. When you get those kind of numbers, what else do you have to worry about? Male-pattern baldness?

What if 1d8 gets injured himself next week, or gets paralyzed in a car accident next month and can't play again, or has to retire due to concussions some time down the road? No matter what, Ovechkin is going to make more than me, you, and all the visitors to this site combined for our entire lifetimes.

"But Jes, Ovechkin may be caught with a crappy team for the next 15 years, thanks to him eating up a mondo chunk of cap space"

The risk that the Caps could suck is valid, but I expect the Caps will eventually make a regime change and not suck the entire 13 seasons. Ovechkin obviously likes where he is, or he'd bolt the first chance he got. Forget all of these dumb rumours you hear about unhappy he is in Washington. It's obvious he's having a blast.

The fact is that the risk is really with the Capitals.

1. Look at Ovechkin's style of play. Doesn't he remind you of Pavel Bure? Bure was a dynamic goal scorer with an edge, and paid for it big time. Bure's knees are basically dust.

What happens if Ovechkin runs into a string of injury problems? Guys like Bure, Forsberg, Neely, and possibly Ovechkin, have shorter shelf lifes than the guys who hold back a bit on the physical play.

2. What happens when the North American economy collapses, and people can't afford to pay insane prices for tickets? What happens if overall NHL revenues tank? Then the Caps are stuck paying a very high salary no matter what happens.

3. 13 years is a fricking long time ... longer than most career. Ovechkin is already in his third season. If he finishes this contract, he'll have played 16 seasons. To perform at such a high level for such a long time is a rare feat, indeed. Bobby Orr couldn't do it, and Mario Lemieux certainly miss a lot of time during his trek.

Now, I understand perfectly why the Caps did what they did, and I don't think it's as god-awful as what the Isles did, but any such long deal certainly has more risk than reward. Look at what happened when the Caps signed Jaromir Jagr to a long-term expensive deal? I figured they'd be more careful after that.

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Video of the Day: Finally, A New Episode of 2-Man Advantage

The well-dressed boys from 2-Man Advantage are back from a long hiatus to bring us some more entertaining video.

Apparently, the boys have been hit hard by the Writers Strike, and that is why we had to wait so frickin long for a damn video

At long last we present to you our third video from Islanders training camp. We apologize for the delay but after a solid month-long holiday hangover we are back on our feet and ready to make a splash in 2008. The bad news is that we had to cross the picket lines and return to action without the help from our staff of 65 or so striking writers. Although the jokes may be less crisp going forward, at least we now know how to turn on the typewriter thingie and we crafted a couple of solid one-liners about backchecking. If Jay Leno and the Daily Show can get back to work then so can a couple of guys who drink beer and talk about hockey. We appreciate your support during this difficult time.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Wings Extend Osgood for Three More Seasons

by Jes

In terms of team building, the Detroit Red Wings rarely do anything wrong. The Wings are experts at bringing in the right Free Agents to compliment the talent that has been developed in-house, plus having an excellent coaching staff on hand to utilize that talent.

Now, every team is prone to have a bad day, and I believe the Wings made a bit of a boo-boo by granting Chris Osgood a 3-year contract extension.

His new deal will pay him $1.7 million next season, $1.45 million in 2009-10 and $1.1 million in 2010-11.

Normally, you'd look at the stats (19-2-1 record, 1.68AA, 93.2SV%) and be liked "Damn right I want that for a few more years!"

The problem?
1. Osgood is 35 years old, and one of the league's oldest goaltenders. He is far from his prime. At the end of this deal, he'll be qualified for an old age pension.
2. Osgood is just not that good, normally. Look at his career stats, and tell me which season is the outlier.

This season: 93.2SV%
Career: 90.8SV%

Osgood has a long string of mediocrity over his career, fluctuating between below-average and just-above average. His recent seasons have been an adventure, but certainly nothing outstanding. Osgood is really not the type of goaltender you want playing more than 25-30 games a season for you if you have true cup contention hopes.

I can see signing him for another season as the backup/1B goaltender, but 3 seasons? What happens when the clock strikes midnight and the Wings are left with a 38-year old pumpkin? Look at how Dwayne Roloson hit the wall!

OK, I realize it's not nearly the worst contract in the world, but it smacks of buying a stock when the price is near its highest.

Now, the big question is ... who will the Wings go with in the playoffs? Hasek, the oft-injured guy, or Osgood, the Cinderella goalie? Perhaps the Wings figure they can win the cup with Osgood in net, since they did it before by playing so air-tight in front of their oft-maligned netminder.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008


New Uniforms, White at Home?

by Jes

Over at The FanHouse, G.W. muses about how he thinks home teams ought to go back to wearing WHITE uniforms at home, rather than the darker versions they do now.

I know that the League had worn dark uniforms at home in the past, but that doesn't mean it's the right look. In fact, it flies in the face of the most basic tenets of classic drama: The good guys wear white, the villains wear the dark colors. Well, that was until "Return of the Jedi," when Luke's black outfit was outwardly symbolic of his internal conflict between destiny and duty and ... I'll stop

As you'll recall, the NHL decided to buck recent standards and made teams wear their 'road' uniforms at home, and then wear white on the road. This was all designed to sell more darker uniforms, and the GM's don't seem to be in a hurry to switch.

I have to say that I've grown on having the darker uniforms at home, as it gives the team more colour and distinction. Look at the Calgary Flames when they play a home game. Almost the entire crowd seems to be wearing red, and it gives their stadium an unique look. The Canucks have their sea blue and green, while the Oilers have their dark blue look. Each of the Canadian teams has a very distinctive colour scheme which really shows when they are in their home barns.

If every team wears white at home, then each arena and crowd becomes that much more generic, right?

Since every team has a white version of their uniforms, it would make sense, to me, to have them wear that version on the road. The enemy, as Greg would say, can be the generic white-washed unit while the home team is the one with colour and personality.

Let the darker uniforms continue to be used at home. It's one decision that the NHL made right, so why go back on it?

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Monday, January 07, 2008


Raffi Torres Earns a Well-Deserved "Break"

by Jes

Raffi Torres has long been one of my least-favourite players in the NHL. Like Dion Phaneuf, Torres has that constant sourpuss look on his face. Unlike Dion, however, Torres has to whine and chirp about EVERYTHING. Just watch the Oilers go offsides and Torres starts bickering at the linesman about how he just got screwed.

So, I can’t not admit that I feel a bit of glee at the news that Torres will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL after Karma and Rhythm come back to get him.

Good. I hope the Assclown also gets an infection during surgery and then slips down the stairs and tears his knee even further. *ahem*

Now, is this an important loss for the Oilers? D00d has only 11 points in 32 games this year, with a whopping FIVE goals. It's hard to believe this doofus ever scored 27 goals in a season (05-06), given how he's about as smart as a rock, or Taylor Pyatt.

Methinks the Oilers will be better off without him. I'm sure the on-ice officials will be better off.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008


Canada Takes WJC Gold ... Again!

Given how many people play hockey in Canada, this country should dominate the world scene, especially at the junior levels.

For that reason, the World Junior Championships (U-20) is seemingly used as the ultimate measuring stick of Canadian hockey. Despite the fact that *anything* can happen in a short tournament, anything less than a Silver medal sends the press into a frenzy about how Canadian hockey isn't good enough, how we don't develop skill, etc ... No pressure, kiddos.

Well, a win over the evil Swedes sealed a fourth straight GOLD for Canada. It was nice since Sweden beat Canada earlier in the tournament, and because they are evil.

  • Sweden won their first medal in like a decade. Hard to believe, right? Now, this team has some fine prospects and gave Canada a true run for their money. Berglund is hella sweet.

  • Evil Russia beat Evil USA for the bronze. No medal for the Yanks ;)

  • John Tavares, aka Uber-prospect, started the WJC as Canada's 13th forward. It was pretty obvious that he didn't belong there, and eventually got moved up in the ranks. He finished with 4 goals in 7 games, and showed us his slick talent.

  • Jonathan Bernier threw a hissy-fit because he wasn't named Canada's starting goalie. Well, Johnny, playing a few NHL games doesn't guarantee that you'll be #1. Coach Hartsburg made the call he was comfortable with and it turned out to be the right one.

    Final Rankings:
    1 CAN
    2 SWE
    3 RUS
    4 USA
    5 CZE
    6 FIN
    7 SVK
    8 KAZ
    9 SUI
    10 DEN

  • Yes, Slovakia did its usual just-avoid-relegation and finished 7th. Funny to see Kazakhstan avoid relegation. Switzerland? Are they ever going to make the leap into an elite hockey country? They have the resources, but never seem to grow.

    Media All-Stars

    Position # Name Team
    Goalkeeper 30 MASON Steve CAN
    Defenseman 6 HEDMAN Victor SWE
    Defenseman 8 DOUGHTY Drew CAN
    Forward 15 BERGLUND Patrik SWE
    Forward 11 TIKHONOV Viktor RUS
    Forward 12 van RIEMSDYK James USA

    Now, the DRIVE FOR FIVE begins :)
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    Friday, January 04, 2008


    A Happy 2008 to Sami Salo

    by Jes
    (c) Getty Images

    Poor Sami Salo. The fellow just can't seem to catch a break.

    Oh, wait ... he gets quite a few 'breaks', and that's the problem.

    The Canucks knew what they were getting into when they gave Sami Salo a big contract extension: A good 2-way defenseman with a big shot and a penchant for getting injured.

    The problem? Salo's been both injured AND unproductive. After what he did last season, Salo's fallen into the SPARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! pit and has yet to get himself out.

    Year Team GP G A Pts +/- SOG
    05-06 VAN 59 10 23 33 9 140
    06-07 VAN 67 14 23 37 21 143
    07-08 VAN 24 1 2 3 3 45

    Salo's injury record so far this season ...
    Missed 8 games (broken nose)
    Missed 9 games (left wrist injury)

    The wrist injury, especially, has been hurting Salo's game. Only very recently has Salo starting firing that OFF-BLAST rocket of his, and still with some hesitation. Salo has yet to get a point at even strength this season, and still seems to be afraid of getting smoked by some rushing forechecker.

    So, here is to a better 2008 for you, Sami Salo. May you not get seriously injured, and may you get back to putting up a point every two games.

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    Thursday, January 03, 2008


    Brave New World

    by Greg

    I actually got out to a hockey game when I was back home in Colorado for the holidays -- no small feat these days. Unfortunately, I was sick, riding the Robitussin express and popping so many pills that Hunter S. Thompson would have blanched, so my observations were limited to these:

    1) Wow, the Kings suck

    2) Wow, the Kings beat the Avalanche

    3) Thank God, they don't have some dolt dancing to "Cotton-Eyed Joe" during TV timeouts any more (now it's Herbie Hancocks' "Rockit")

    4) Wow, hot brunette in a Czech national team jersey

    Other than that, I was just vaguely blissed out, watching the Avalanche lose to one of the NHL's bottom-feeders, a trend that's continued since.

    Oh, and -- Joe Sakic was out, possibly the first Avalanche game I've ever attended in person without ol' Joe. A preview, probably sooner rather than later, of what Avs-fandom will be like soon.

    Back in 2006, when the retirement of Steve Yzerman was met with a level of mourning usually seen after the death of one of the more popular popes, I vowed I wouldn't react that way when the time came for Joe to stroll.

    I'll still hold to that, but it's gonna be kind of ugly. One of the things I noticed was the lack of a "center" for the Avalanche -- not the position center, but more of a spiritual center (I'm not totally off the Robitussin). There wasn't anyone that you could look to in times of crisis, and feel reassured.

    Ryan Smyth? Close -- he was the most noticeable Avalanche, making heads-up plays, getting opportunities (none of which bore fruit, alas). Milan Hejduk? Still exciting, but always more of a complementary player than a centerpiece. Paul Stastny? A Denver Post columnist proclaimed the team Stastny's after this game -- with curious timing, since his game wasn't spectacular. At this point, strong as his first years have been, he doesn't seem to fit the bill either.

    The Avalanche will continue to contend without Sakic -- they've got good hockey minds up top, and these days, it doesn't take much to rebound (and doesn't take much to contend). But for 12+ years now, they've had one player constantly there to give them an identity, and for the first time the other night, I got a glimpse of what that'll be like going forward.

    Addendum: oh, fantastic.

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    Wednesday, January 02, 2008


    The NHL's Winter Classic Is a Grand Success

    by Jes

    It's nice to see the NHL get some good news for a change, and the NHL's Winter Classic provided some much needed positive buzz with the American audience. For once, it wasn't some random incident of violence that got the screeching ravens off of their usual beer coolers and ranting about how Hockey is simply a bloodbath played by toothless goons.

    No, the Winter Classic was treated with respect by NBC, and now the ratings are in ...

    The NHL Winter Classic, broadcast New Year's Day on NBC, earned a 2.6 overnight rating and a 5 share (1-4:45 p.m. ET), the best overnight NHL regular season rating in more than a decade (Feb. 3, 1996 on Fox, six-game regional, 3.0/7). The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in the first U.S. outdoor game in NHL history. Twenty-year-old Sidney Crosby, the NHL's reigning MVP, scored the game-winning goal in a shootout.

    The overnight rating also surpasses Wayne Gretzky's last game, which was broadcast on Fox (April 18, 1999, 2.5/6).

    Top Ten Metered Markets:
    1. Buffalo 38.2/58
    2. Pittsburgh 17.7/30
    3. Minneapolis 5.1/11
    4. Denver 3.7/7
    T5. Providence 3.5/7
    T5. Las Vegas 3.5/6
    7. St. Louis 3.3/5
    8. Boston 3.2/6
    9. Sacramento 2.9/6
    T10. Richmond 2.8/5
    T10. Hartford 2.8/5

    Even up against college football games, the NHL still did well. As they say in Kazakhstan, "Niiice!"

    Also, I order you to go and check out the photo gallery I cobbled together over at The NHL FanHouse, or you will be execute!

    Jodie over at The Sidney Crosby Show will have her thoughts over the next 24-48 hours.

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    Tuesday, January 01, 2008


    2007 Year in Review: 'Twas Pretty Good, Ja!

    by Jes

    (c) The Instigator, 2007

    While most of you are recovering from hangovers, I had to deal with the most vicious virus this side of Cyrus. The effects feel the same, but it's not nearly as much fun :(

    Looking back, 2007 was a great year for hockey in and around Vancouver, and an interesting one for the NHL in general.

  • The Vancouver Giants hosted and then won the Memorial Cup. This proves that some hockey teams can win in this city ;)
  • The Canucks were pretty damn competitive themselves, helped in large part to the fact that Dave Nonis once-upon-a-time ripped a new asshole into Mike Keenan and got Roberto Luongo for pretty much pennies on the dollar.
  • Speaking of Keenan, he somehow managed to snake his way back into the NHL as head coach of the Flamers. So far, Armageddon hasn't arrived ... will 2008 be the year?
  • Sidney Crosby. 'Nuff said
  • Former Giant Milan Lucic made the Bruins roster this season and stuck due to his crashin and bashin.
  • Meanwhile, poor Gilbert Brule continues to get about 4 minutes of ice time, all with goons, per night with the BJs.
  • The Anaheim Ducks brought the Stanley Cup to the West Coast. Bout damn time.
  • The Canes went from Cup champeens to golfing in May. Good goaltending is key, kiddos.
  • The NHL FanHouse kicked you in the nuts so hard that your children will be born with dents.
  • The Maple Leafs continue to bungle things and prove that they are run by too many chefs, care about nothing but the bottom line, and won't win a cup in this blogger's lifetime.
  • Mats Sundin continues to be the most consistant offensive producer of our era. Why this guy continues to get panned is beyond me.
  • Todd Bertuzzi? He barely puts up .5 points a game, and gets paid $4mil/season to do so. Way to go, Burkie.
  • The Atlanta Thrashers and New York Islanders open the vaults to get themselves some very expensive playoff rentals. Both teams are promptly rewarded with quick first-round playoff exits.
  • Chris Simon earned himself 55 games worth of suspensions, and proved himself to be Thug of the Year.
  • The Flyers take the team honour in that category. Welcome back, Broad Street Bullies *grumble*
  • Bill Wirtz died, instantly ushering a new era of awesomeness for Hawks fans. Shiny new rookies scoring left and right, home games on TV, a Wirtz (his son) who actually wants to build and cultivate the fan base? It's all on the upswing for Chi-Town. As cruel as it is to say, Bill Wirtz had to die for the Hawks to ever do something right.
  • Chara vs. Koci = Fight of the Year

  • The NHLPA finally got a new leader that actually has the concerns of the players in mind, and not just the inner circle. Ted Saskin? He and his cronies were caught spying on players emails, sniffing their own socks, and generally acting like the bunch of corrupt NHL owners they claim to not be like.
  • Dion Phaneuf and Sean Avery in a death match = what all fans want to see. The winner? He's put on a pedestal and shot in the head.
  • Gaborik's 5 goals in a game. Ovechkin's 4? Meh.
  • Scott Niedermayer CAN'T MAKE UP HIS FRICKIN' MIND, screwing his team and forcing Burke to do some arts and crafts to get under the salary cap.
  • More insane salary inflation. Kinda makes you wonder what the lockout was about, eh?
  • Alexei Yashin was bought out, and then went back to Europe to be overpaid for disappearing in the playoffs.
  • The stupid schedule finally scrapped. Yes, people in Vancouver can see Crosby and Ovechkin more than once every three seasons.
  • Canada won the Spengler Cup. Booya!
  • Kevin Lowe ... Dustin Penner ... Brian Burke ... lots of laughs.
  • The Reebok (Rbk) uniforms were an utter disaster. Not only were 9/10 uglier than Donald Trump's hair, but all of the sweat accumulated in big puddles in the players' gloves and skates. Many teams promptly told the league to "Suck It", and then went back to the 'old' material design.
  • Jonathan Cheechoo = The Brady Anderson of Hockey?
  • Dan Cloutier continues the most rapid decline of any goaltender since Jim Carey.
  • Jim Balsillie was screwed out of the Nashville Predators by Bettman and his cronies. The NHL continues to have a team in a weak market thanks to Bettman's 'vision'
  • Canada won the WJC...again.

    2008? We begin with an outdoor match between the Sabres and Penguins. Ty Conklin, who started in the Heritage Classic, is getting the start? How the hell does this guy start in 2 NHL games, let alone 2 outdoor ones? That is just ... odd.
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