Friday, November 28, 2008

The Burke Era Begins

On Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs will announce Brian Burke as their new GM and president. Finally.

That's right, all the speculation has come to fruition and I have to anti-climatic. I mean, you would think to build up some suspense, other teams would talk to him about a front office or advisor position and really put whoever the GM was on the hot seat to actually make a move or lose their gig (COUGHbryanmurrayCOUGH), but for this to just be a matter of semantics; come on now.

But, the Leafs got their man a full half-a-season earlier than they expected. Burke will have full decision making abilities, which is something that he stated he wanted to have before he signed anything. A big question in this is the whole ordeal is who will be the first person gone once Burke takes over the position and what kind of overhaul he will make in order to make it his team and make it a successful one. Then there is the question of the clashing of egos of Burke and head coach Ron Wilson and if both can co-exist in peace.

Yet, the oversight about this could be whether this move is the best for the team right now. Looking at the team right now, they aren't doing half-bad. Sure, they're 11th in the East and the injury bug has took its toll, but all things considered-- it's better than some would have thought. If Burke comes in and makes drastic changes that don't help the team; will he still be hailed as the savior that the Leafs faithful wanted and will MLSE second guess their decision making process after all is said and done.

Of course, Burke hasn't yet taken over the helm and all scenarios are just hearsay. Burke has a Stanley Cup to his name and has been talked about like he's the greatest GM in the modern NHL, so you have think anything is a step-up from having an interim GM who is a puppet to the team's board of directors. If Burke can make the moves to make this a playoff team, then he could be the miracle man the Leafs were hoping would come free. Even if he comes close, they'll look at this as a genius move at the early jump upon things.

The thing that is known, at least for now, is that from this point until the foreseeable future; it'll never be a slow day when it comes to Toronto hockey news.

Save the Empire

Just want to direct you kids to my good pal Wrap Around Curl's latest post that shows that the Canadian Hockey League doesn't care about bloggers. Since they own their player's images, names, and apparently souls-- they don't want anyone to promote the league, teams, or players on anything that's not sanctioned by the leagues themselves.

Even though we're almost in 2009, it makes me wonder why more teams, leagues, and organizations aren't more open to the blogosphere since it's becoming more and more prevalent that it's the new form of media that will take over the hockey world....if it hasn't already happened.

Check out the post, form your own opinion on it all, and to WAC-- keep fighting the good fight.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Will 4,000 Get Recognized??

Tony Hand is on the verge of something great. Hand currently stands at 3,999 points for his career and has a good shot at reaching 4,000 points when he plays this weekend. Why haven't you heard a big deal about this?? Well, there's a good reason for that. Hand plays for the Manchester Phoenix in the British Elite League and has for all of his 3,999 points. With many of its own fans calling it glorified beer league, odds are the North American fan contingent wouldn't recognize Tony Hand if he suited up at all.

Hand was the first British trained hockey player to be drafted by an NHL team when the Edmonton Oilers picked him in 12th round in 1986. Hand was brought over and played in the WHL for the Victoria Cougars netting four goals and four assists in three games....but got homesick and has never played outside of the British League since.

A question was brought up by our buddy Anthony over at the FOHS boards wondering how long it took for players to be nominated for the Hockey Hall of Fame after they had retired. Of course, it's three years-- but it makes me wonder that even if Hand retired shortly after he netted his 4,000th point, would the HHOF committee even recognize him as a viable candidate for entry??

Let's not be stupid, 4,000th points in any league is an amazing feat, but when you think that most North American hockey fans didn't know there was a true British Hockey League, despite Theo Fleury's venture to the league a few years back; odds are the selection committee wouldn't be too keen on putting this accolade amongst those of NHLers, elite Europeans, and other top North American ilk. Considering that Hand did this under the radar of everything, it would take a big, big feat for him to actually be put into the pot for consideration.

Yet, playing the "what if" card, you wonder what Hand could have become had be stayed in North America. Eight points in three games in the WHL makes you wonder how good he could have been. Even with the British League, the point totals he has is phenominal and appears that he makes the game look easy when he's out there on the ice. Every year, he has totaled more than a point-per-game and doesn't seem like he's slowing up, even at 41 years old.

The feat itself is amazing within itself and will surely get him into the IIHF Hall of Fame, but odds are that despite this amazing showing of skill, despite his longevity and he's a British hockey legend; the odds are that he won't even get a sniff at the Hockey Hall of Fame; which is a damn shame.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lemieux To Return.....No, Not That One....

It seems that Cladue Lemieux's bid at an NHL return may come to fruition as he signed a try-out contract with the San Jose Sharks. That's right, much like Barry Melrose, Lemieux is trying to come back to a league, even though the game's speed and skill set may have passed him by a few years ago.

While the Sharks GM, Doug Wilson, is good friends with Lemieux, what's the point behind it?? Sure, Lemieux played with the Sharks' Asian satellite team, the China Sharks, collecting one assist in two games; but the last time Lemieux even played at a high level was in the '03-'04 season when he played in Switzerland for seven games. I can't see why Lemieux would be such an asset for the Sharks right now, especially considering that the Sharks are the best team in the league right now and really don't need any help from any outside force.

And while Lemieux could bring some veteran leadership and experience to the team-- the real question is will he be effective on the ice at all. He's trained with the Arizona Sundogs of Central League to get into shape again, but at 43 years of age-- how well will his conditioning be to finish out the last 50-60 games plus playoffs??

Lemieux really has nothing to prove. He's done it all and really doesn't need to show what he can and can't do on the ice. He has two Cup rings, a Conn Smythe trophy, and one of the most infamous checks in the game which sparked a great rivalry in the late 90s. Why, of all times, would Lemieux want to come back after playing his last NHL game some five years ago??

Best of luck to Lemieux in his comeback and here's hoping he can prove....whatever the hell he's trying to prove, really. I don't know if anything will come to it, but if Lemieux can play in a NHL game this season, it could be the most random (and maybe unnecessary) return the NHL has had.

Third Jersey Finale

Two more third jerseys come out, not the best of times, not the worst of times.....but times nonetheless.

First, we'll let Olaf Kolzig get this drink while we look at the new Bolts jersey. I have to say, they pulled it off a lot better than the Senators have, though I'll say the Sens one grew on me if only for the look of the jersey and not what's on the crest. The great thing about the Bolts jersey is that they keep the stripes under the arms, which has been there since the teams' inception back in '92-'93. And while it looks like a little bit like the '02-'03 AS jerseys, it give a solid effort in terms of putting a wordmark on it.

Now, we get to the fail. We talked about the Coyotes' jersey when it was leaked and debated whether or not it was roadkill or not. However, I said wait until the whole uniform was presented. And let's say I'm not a fan. Sure, they added the black socks-- but the whole maroon helmet, gloves, and pants ruin it as a whole, not to mention the right-handed captaincy letters. If the Coyotes went the way of the Hurricanes and gone all black-- it wouldn't have been that bad.

So, that's it. That's all the third jerseys to be unveils. You can look at the tags, or go to and check out the display of the '08-'09 jerseys, as well as check everything out there because it's a great database.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Gotta Be The Stick

This just in, Alex Ovechkin in back. In his last five games, Ovechkin has six goals, 14 points, and he ate the bowl (apologies to Sid Seixeiro). In his eight games since his return to the line-up, the reign MVP has 17 points and many wonder what could be the reason.

Some believe it's the fact he took a hiatus to clear his hear back in Russia and deal with family issues that he had lingering over him. And while that could be the case, the answer could be as simple as Ovie switching stick manufacturers from the CCM U+ line to the Nike/Bauer Supreme line. It may not seem like a big deal, but for players; changing sticks could be one of the hardest transitions made by someone, especially for a player like Ovechkin. It could be the slightest change that could make or break how one plays, shoots, passes, etc.

It's unknown why Ovechkin made the switch, but there are some theories out there that could be valid. Ovechkin could be fed up with CCM sticks breaking on him. That seems to be a common problem for CCM, as Vincent Lecavalier recently switched from CCM to Warrior sticks. However, the contract for equipment and sticks could be different, as was the case with Sidney Crosby when he entered the league, with a sponsorship by RBK for equipment and Sherwood with sticks.

Another theory is that Ovie's CCM contract is running out and could be signing with Bauer when that happens. With Nike dropping out and Bauer staying around, it may be in their best interest to have some of the top young guns to roll out the brand. Bauer already has Evgeni Malkin and Steve Stamkos under the company banner.

Whatever it is, it has seemed to get Ovechkin out of his early season slump and giving Caps fans (as well as fantasy owners) something to really cheer about when it comes to Ovechkin. As if they didn't have enough to cheer about with him being out on the ice already.

Third Jerseys Galore

Thanks to the fine folks at Icethetics, we have a wack of third jersey leaks to go over and some that have already been presented. First, however, let's get to the ones that have been released, which include some modern-retro designs that have been put out.

These are the Penguins new duds, which are the same ones they wore for last year's Winter Classic. Now, I'm not the biggest Penguins fan, but they came up aces with this jersey. It could be the best executed 3rd jersey and modern-retro one out there to date. It's solid, top to bottom, and really is the front-runner for best in class.

The one above is the Flyers modern retro, which brings back the orange jersey that has been a staple for the Flyers, but there's something about the white nameplate that doesn't do it for me. It's a simple effect for the jersey itself, but the nameplate really puts me off the whole thing.

For the newer ones, the jersey will be a linked pop-up because I don't have the patiences to deal with adding the photos, and really for the three leaked ones, those are all thanks to Icethetics (as you see by the watermark) and don't want to steal their thunder.....okay, it's just laziness.

Dallas Stars: Well, what a pathetic effort this was. Basically, you take your home jersey, turn it white and there ya go-- way to think out of the box. My hatred for the front numbers and the college arched name grows moreso with this jersey because there's so much more that could have been done, aside from making a white version of the home jersey. Make it green or something to set it apart.

San Jose Sharks: Now this one, I'm kinda split over. While I like the Sharks logo that they place there, you'd think they want to exploit their teal overlords a little more. Having this "black armor", as they call it, is a little too much. It looks a bit to bland, but I'm sure it will grow on me the more I see it out there.

LA Kings: There could have been so much more to this. They tease the back in black thing, they go over the history of the Gretzky era jerseys....and they come up with a sloppy logo with a whack of unnecessary piping on the sleeves and leaving much to be desired. It almost looks like a practice jersey.

Ottawa Senators: One word: FAIL!! You would think that a team who has two, TWO, alternate logos they could have gone with, they'd do more with it than a crappy wordmark. The jersey design itself is solid and works the red off the black main very well, but the wordmark is all?? Yuck. With their modern-retro "O" or 2-d Senators at their disposal, you'd think they'd utilize it and make a whack of money of it....but no, they didn't. As a fan, I'm highly disappointed in the Senators and what they have done. This concept from someone who I can't remember offhand would have been better than what they have.

So that's it for now. What have we learned?? Well, most in these batches of new jerseys are all black and somewhat bland, leaving much to be desired for some. While simplier could be better for some, I liked the days where teams would think outside the box. While some may not like the Ducks or Kings first third jerseys or the Blues was thinking outside the box-- it was taking a chance and trying to make it work rather than working off a template.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

He's Hardcore

It's a chant that graced many an ECW event when it came to Tommy Dreamer, but nothing could be more apt to say about someone the likes of Robert Mueller. If you're not familiar with the Caps prospects or international hockey, Mueller is probably an unknown; but he is a former pick of the Caps and has been the German national team keeper for a while now, but his story from the past few weeks and months is incredible and shows how hardcore he is.

This was presented to me, first via Lil' Jimmy's blog and then it got picked up on the FOHS boards via the IIHF website.

Mueller was diagnosised with a brain tumor in 2006 when he had migraine symptom and started to have seizures and changes in his personality. The tumor was removed and it only took two months for him to return to the ice. Mueller played the '07-'08 season with Kolner Haie and had a very solid campaign at 13-4 and a .916 save percentage. He got his team into the DEL finals and was the best goalie in those playoffs. Then, Mueller played in the World Championship and was stellar in those performaces he put on.

Yet, in August, Mueller underwent another surgery to remove another tumor-- but it was revealed that it won't go away as the cells in his brain aren't fighting against the treatment that has been given to it. Mueller's sickness is terminal and he has already outlived the median time given to most people who get this. What's more rare is that this only effects two or three out of 100,000 people in the world.

However, in all of this, Mueller has never given his sob story to people and even asked his doctor how long it would take for him to get back on the ice rather than how long he has to live. He said he doesn't want to burden people with his problems

This not only shows how much he loves the game of hockey, it shows the spirit that he has. He wants to live for each day, he wants to live for each moment because he doesn't know how long it will last for him. He clings to his family, his hockey, and his spirit to try and make a comeback with Kolner Haie, which started with him being the back-up on November 15th, as Kolner's previous back-up broke his ankle.

On the 16th, Mueller returned to the ice to play in seven minutes of Kolner's game. It brought the crowd to its feet. Mueller may not be able to play an entire game or even start from scratch, but he was able to withstand those seven minutes, which could be the stepping stone to something more for Mueller this season.

If you really want to make this a crazy ending is to see him suit up for a NHL game and play some minutes to have his name in that book, but Mueller seems to have no desire to do that right now. He'd rather stay at home in Germany and be with the people he loves, the people who supported him from day one and gave him the wheel for the National team and made him a folk-legend in Germany.

Mueller really shows the true spirit of a human being to just do what he needs to do to make him happy rather than wallow around in self-pity and waste any time on this Earth over things he can't change. His will and playing style may be the only things that haven't been affected by the tumor that's in his head.

When people look back at his life and career, they probably won't think about how great he could have been if he life was indeed cut short due to this; rather they will say what an amazing career he had and what he did in the short span of time he did it in.

Preliminary Rankings for 2009 Draft Released

Today, the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau released their preliminary rankings for the 2009 Draft in Montreal this June. There's not much of a surprise in any rankings, with John Tavares leading the OHL charge, Victor Hedman leading the Euros, but Jared Cowen slowly sneaking up between the two of them and making his case to be a #1 overall pick. With Tavares' stock dropping and Hedman sidelined with a shoulder injury, this could be Cowen's chance to shine.

Cowen really started to come up with the ISS Top-30 having him ranked third behind Hedman in 1st and Tavares 2nd. At 6'5 and 218lbs, Cowen could be considered a North American version of Hedman, which may entice some teams if they have the top pick to take Cowen over Hedman with the transfer agreement stuff that's going on and whether or not Hedman wants to come over immediately.

One guy who could be a dark horse in all of this could be Zack Kassian in Peterborough, who seems like he could be turned into a solid power forward at 6'3 and 205lbs. With a lot of help this off-season, Kassian has turned into a top scoring threat for the Petes after a lackluster season last year, which saw him put up 21 points in 58 games. Through 19 games, Kassian already has 22 points and seems to be poised for more ahead to show off his stuff to the scouts. His injury history could be something that turns teams away, but he could be a solid top-10 choice if he keeps healthy and keeps scoring.

Here's the NHL CSB's rankings by league and country, and-- they open in a new window.

NCAA (PDF file on the page)
Europeans (PDF file on the page)

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Hell?? They're Doing Better??

It seems that the Aston HC crew is starting to get their act together and starting to win some games and benefiting from the other teams failures and moving up the schedule.

Starting with the flagship team, Glen Burnie HC took it's first weekly loss in Week Five of the FOHSHL, as they lost to Jesmond Jesters 7-4, mostly due to the goaltending failing to do it's deed. Though, that's not a fair assumption, as the Jesters had three shutouts on the week thanks to Roberto Luongo. However, they bounced back in Week Six with a 6-5 win over the second place Lizardinsid'er. Zach Parise, Miro Satan, and Christain Ehrhoff were the stars in Week Six, while the contingent of Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist, and Brent Johnson got five wins on the week.

Now, to Aston HC-- first in GFH's Norris Division, while they lost Week Five 6-3 to the Fargin Iceholes, that was due to another Luongo incident and Ryan Miller having another shutout in there. However, they broke out in a big way in Week Six, with an 8-2 win over Beaded Banner Bonnie thanks to Jason Arnott's four points and Nicklas Lidstrom and Kimmo Timonen's three points from the blue line.

To the side, after a Week Five loss to the commish, Captain Bosh, by the count of 7-3; another break out win by the score of 9-1 over Lobstrosities, with J-P Dumont and Mike Ribeirom, both pretty underrated scorers when all is said and done, chipped in four points a piece with Brian Campbell, Patrick Kane, Marco Sturm, and Timonen having three a piece.

All in all, things are looking up for the conglomerate now, let's just hope they keep getting better as the weeks go on.

RESULTS AS OF 11.17.08

FOHSHL: Glen Burnie HC: 40-22-10, 1st place
GFH-Norris: Aston HC: 23-29-8, 9th place
PBHL: Aston HC: 25-35-12, 8th place

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mullet Cut Loose

If you had under 20 games for Barry Melrose to get fired from behind the bench of the Tampa Bay Lightning; guess what?? You're a big winner. That's right, after 16 games, the Bolts fired Melrose today in favor of assistant coach Rick Tocchet.

There was a lot of hub-bub concerning Melrose this season and why the Lightning would bring him back after a hiatus of 13 years behind a NHL bench. While the Tampa brass was all about creating a buzz about the team, they certainly did that by hiring Melrose; but you wonder if by hiring him it was the demise of Melrose and the team from the start. With guys out on the market that had more recent experience than Melrose, why would they think that a guy who hasn't coached since the end of the last NHL work stoppage??

You really can't blame Melrose for this, I'm sure that he wanted more out of the team than what he got, but depending on what you take as truth; you don't know how much control Barry got of his own team. Whether you believe the stories about ownership partners coming down and diagraming plays or having more distractions than driving on the highway at 65 mph with a soda in one hand, burger in the other, while driving past a car wash with naked women.

Now, if Melrose had something more than all forwards and had something that resembled a defense, the Bolts could be in good shape and the coaching prowess of Melrose could be praised. However, with no defense, with the offense only putting up only 34 goals so far this season (30th in the league, mind you), the Bolts are doomed to fail. The only shining light is seeing that Mike Smith is a top notch goalie in the league, and would be a force if he got any help on the back end.

Let's focus on the present now, what does Rick Tocchet need to do in order to make this team as great as they want to be?? First off, he need to take control of the offense and get some production out of them. Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier are doing decent, but could be doing much better. Second, get a defensive system in place. If Smith and Olie Kolzig have to keep facing upwards of 40 shots a night, they will be burned out by the ASG and then they won't have the stellar performances they have had thus far in the season. Thirdly, get control of the team outright. Too many rumors of the owners and upper management being in the room and messing with some things out there. Get them out of the room, take control of the team, and get right the ship before it goes too far off course.

Only time will tell if this change will mean anything at all, but right now-- something needs to settle in Tampa or else the buzz will surrounding the team will be what they will do with their lottery pick at the Draft.

Canucks Third Baffles

The Vancouver Canucks officially released their third jersey this afternoon....and it's really uninspired. Basically, it's the same jersey design with a different logo and shoulder patches.

As you see Mattias Ohlund displaying the jersey, it's a modified version of the stick-in-rink design that they use on their normal shoulder patches.

Now, as I mentioned with the Bruins design, I don't understand why a team would have an alternate jersey the same color as the home jersey that is used, yet-- the Canucks have taken this to another level. Not only is it the same color, it's the same jersey. How is that an alternate?? How can you claim it as an alternate if it's the same friggin' thing?? At least the Thrashers made an effort to make some kind of alternate, as hideous as it may be.

The only really bold change to the whole jersey is that the white striping is thicker at the hem and arms, but that's about it. That's the only vast difference of the entire jersey set. People will still buy it because the Canucks fans like the stick-in-rink design that the team uses, but I don't see why they wouldn't have made that the logo when they came out with the redesign last season. It would have completely made it an epic win rather than have people wonder why "Vancouver" was put above the orca logo.

There have been some leaks to the San Jose Sharks third, but until there's a better picture, I won't be critiquing it as of yet.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All Star Mockery

It's ASG voting time again and it seems that the hometown Montreal Canadiens are popular.....very popular. In fact, rumor has it they are about 80,000 votes more popular that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. The top-five forwards are Saku Koivu (128,737), Alexei Kovalev (127,760), Alex Tanguay (126,371), Alexander Semin (56,216), and Alex Ovechkin (37,483) as of 10:09 PM MT. To note, Sidney Crosby is sixth with 28,743.

The defense is much worse with the top three being Andrei Markov (137,597), Mike Komisarek (128,651), and Zdeno Chara (29,014). Goaltending, forgetaboutit-- Carey Price is at 139,841 and Henrik Lundqvist is in second with 43,994.

If you can't spot the problem here, you need to go back and watch some Sesame Street and go to the "One of these things is not like the other" segment.

Every since the lockout, this bizarre voting has been insane. It started with Rory Fitzpatrick and expanded into people coming up with programs to randomly vote for whomever and stuff the box as it were. Leahy has commented on the irregularities and Shynner has as well, with Shynner also showing off other who are getting campaigns for write-ins....some warranted, some not so much.

But could we stop this effin' idea that voting in some random third or fourth liner because we think it's funny?? The Rory Fitzpatrick thing was original and was used to make a mockery out of the whole voting process, but now even that's being made a mockery of.

The worst part, the NHL more than likely won't do anything about it-- especially since the Habs are hosting the event. Even if they weren't would they do something?? Probably not. Why should they-- they're getting publicity, they can tout they got record high voting numbers for an ASG, and they'll play to the hometown fans by having their players start in the game if this keeps steady.

Fan voting sucks-- plain and simple, especially with the internet era having all these programs and scripts to run for multiple voting. This stuff will continue to happen until the NHL does one of two things. First, they can limit the voting to five times per IP address, though even that isn't something that is a sure fire stopper. My second idea is to keep in tune with this retro theme the NHL has been going on with the third jerseys-- back to paper ballots like in the old days. You can only pick up ballots at the arena or national sponsors-- like Best Buy or you local Honda retailer. The only issue you'd be dealing with in that is the enviromentalist crawling up the NHL's ass about wasting paper and the thought of a "hanging chad" incident like so much 2000 US Election.

But...since it seems to be the fad for the recent past; I, Scotty Wazz, will be getting onto the bandwagon and want all of my fateful readers (and everyone you know who will listen to you) to vote for New Jersey Devils forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, not just because he could have possibly the longest name in history.....actually, it is. Plus, he's from Quebec, so he'll be accepted by the Montreal fans.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Burke Flying The Coop

In what would call a shocking move this early in the season, Brian Burke is out as GM for the Anaheim Ducks with Bob Murray replacing him in that capacity. Burke will stay on with the Ducks as a senior advisor, but will now be able to negociate freely with any NHL team for any job opening that may be available.

That's right kids, look for the Burke-to-Toronto rumors to heat up in a big way....mostly because odds are now these rumors could very well become reality in the near future.

For the Ducks side, Burke's contract was going to expire at the end of the season anyway and claimed family considerations as his excuse not to re-sign with the club after his current contract lapsed. May as well get Murray in there to learn the ropes and get the keys to the team earlier than this summer. Murray, who was a Hawks GM, was the assistant to Burke and is taking the Dave Nonis route to GMing and sliding in there due to a Burke departure. Murray just needs to hope his fate isn't the same as Nonis, who didn't have an impressive career in the Vancouver GM role.

For Burke, this will pretty much seal his fate on the worst kept secret in the NHL, which will see him in Toronto as the GM there, replacing the vintage Cliff Fletcher model-- who was just a stopgap until someone who didn't have one of the first AARP memberships that came along. It's what the media in Toronto will love because of the sound bytes that Burke will give out to the team, but it will also give the Leafs their first real, proven GM since Pat Quinn start there in 1999. Let's face it, John Ferguson Jr. really screwed over the Leafs in terms of being able to move people and Fletcher is.....well, Fletcher.

The real question is whether this is a good move for the Leafs and Burke. While it gives the Toronto fans a prominent figure in the GM role who has had a history of getting some good deals now and again; can he really make the Leafs a serious contender again?? There's plenty of claims to say that he will and that anything he can touch will turn to gold. There's the devil's advocate approach to say that this will work as well as other new, persumably high-priced talent that Leafs have brought in within the last few years....which is to say that it will turn to crap fast.

However, this is putting the cart before the horse. Burke's name hasn't even been taken off the GM's door and we're moving him to Toronto already. It's not a sure thing right now that he'll even go to Toronto, but it seems like a 85-90% chance that it'll happen sometime in the near future or end of the season. Then, if and when it does happen-- it will be disected further. And knowing the Toronto media-- it'll be disected to the littlest detail and the media vultures will enjoy every minute of it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 At It Again

Good eye for Marc "with a 'c'" on this one, that was originally put up on the FOHS message boards.

So, as you see (click to enlarge, geese), Brent Johnson saved 36 shots.....and saw only 34. The Lightning didn't take two shots, and to show how good Johnny has been for the Caps lately....he stopped them anyway.

I mean, for the love of god-- it's simple stuff to plug in. Wouldn't someone catch onto the fact that the save percentage for Johnson is absolutely ridiculous and could be some kind of record??

Please, give me an effin' job for christ sake. I'm looking for one in the hockey media industry.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Blurst of the AHL Thirds

Before I start, I want to say that it's safe to click the links, they'll all pop up.

I've talked a lot about the NHL thirds, but the AHL is coming out with third jerseys as well this season. Now, there are some solid ideas, like the Philadelphia Phantoms and Portland Pirates (yay alliteration) kept it simple by putting their usual logos on different colored jerseys; which could be a little hack, but it works out for them.

However, there are some disturbing trends that keep on popping up. Five of the 10 jerseys that have been unveiled in the AHL shop are white alternates, while four of the ten use text as their alternate jersey with three being white and using text, the Syracuse Crunch, Hershey Bears, and WBS Penguins. While I can understand the Crunch and Pens, the Bears primary jerseys already use text across the front, which makes the third one really worthless. The other white jerseys show the Bridgeport Sound Tigers putting their logo on a white jersey, as they don't have a white jersey in their arsenal already, only orange and blue, while the Toronto Marlies decide to put a random Saint Bernard on their jersey....which, if anyone can tell me the reason for that-- I'd be so happy.

Another new shot is the Worcester Sharks, who opted for the text route, but on a grey jersey. I'm a big fan of the grey jersey design, mostly because I think it looks a bit drab on the ice and out of place. If it works for them, then more power to them, but it wouldn't be my first choice when all is said and done.

The Milwaukee Admirals check in with their hockey playing skeleton on a light blue jersey, which works fairly solid. For some reason, I never really liked that logo. There's something a little too cartoony about it and could have been done a lot better. However, for the light blue it works out to be a solid design.

Finally, it's the Binghamton Senators, who have a solid primary logo and jersey design, but they went really out there for this third jersey. Not only do they use the away jersey design without missing a beat, but they use a Senators who looks older than time itself and could do some side work as a Disney villain for the new "Aladdin" flick. It's a horrible design and horrible jersey choice, and while I like the Senators organization, but I can't support this new third.

So that's the AHL thirds right now and how I see them. If others come out, I'll critique those.....or not.

That Makes 355 Forwards

Welp, it seems that the Tampa Bay Lightning are making news again, surprise. This time, they traded away Matt Carle and a draft pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for Steve Downie, Steve Eminger, and a draft pick. Carle was previously acquired this summer from the San Jose Sharks for Dan Boyle.

It's not just the fact the the Bolts traded away a good, young project like Matt Carle for whatever reason, it's that they traded him for two player who will probably be up and down for the remainder of the season. Downie has been described as a trouble-maker on and off the ice, as well as being a little overly aggressive on the ice, which puts his team at a disadvantage. Eminger hasn't yet found the offensive stroke that made him a first round pick in 2002 and really has been buried in depth charts because of his inability to control the puck or do much of anything with it.

You have to wonder what's going through the heads of the Bolts brass when making a deal like this. There's enough forwards on the Bolts to field two full lines, five players, of forwards on the ice alone. Not only that, but you downgrade your defensive corps from a promising young project to a possible flop on the line. Eminger will not flourish in Tampa, if anything he'll flounder even more. With his lack of defensive prowess (a career minus-44 in 224 NHL games) will not help the Bolts backline and will probably expose Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig to even more shots. Hizzah.

On the flip side, it could be high time to talk about Paul Holmgren as one of the more genius GMs in the NHL today. Not only does he take a guy like Braydon Coburn from the Atlanta Thrashers for the equivalent of nothing, but now he picks up Carle for two guys who really weren't going to advance the team in the long-term sense. Carle will be an asset on the puck-movement side of things for the defense and will be a nice second line compliment to Kimmo Timonen in terms of making the first pass out of the zone.

All in all, the Flyers make out like bandits and the Bolts continue to make pundits heads spin.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Devils in the Details

For the first time since the 1993-94 season. Martin Brodeur will not see an overwhelming majority of the starts in the New Jersey Devils net, as the legendary goaltender will be out three-to-four months, as he will undergo surgery to repair torn bicep tendons in his left arm. That leaves the duties up to Kevin Weekes to carry the Devils to the playoffs. In the words of Gregg "Opie" Hughes....good luck, bro.

To say this hurts the Devils is like saying the Atlantic Ocean is merely a puddle. This is a monumental loss and very well could not only effect the Devils in the future....but Brodeur's career as well. We'll get to that in a second.

But, for the Devils, they will need to hope that their young squad of unknowns on the blue line can really step it up and that the forwards can actually post up some amazing numbers to give some support to Weekes or whoever may end up in goal. While one player does not a team make, you can argue that a majority of the success over the years was due to Brodeur.

Let's be honest, Kevin Weekes will not be the savior of this team....or any team. He only has two winning seasons in his entire career, none in the NHL. In fact, his best winning percentage in the NHL is .500. For a career, Weekes has .397 winning percentage, which would be great if he was hitting clean-up for the Mets, but he's in net for the Devils. If his performance isn't up to par...Lou Lamoriello may want to start looking at some options out there.

As far a Brodeur is concerned, the big issue is how he will recover from this injury. Marty isn't a spring chicken anymore and it could take time to heal for the old veteran. Especially, considering that it's his catching arm, how well is he going to utilize that glove hand and will it effect his stick-handling ability that makes him a transitional threat when behind his net.

As of right now, I'm sure Devils fans are just shaking their heads and wondering if this is all a dream and when they wake up-- it'll all be okay. Sadly Devils fans, it's not going to be that easy and you may want to see if Chris Terreri, the goalie coach of the Lowell Devils, wants to take one more kick in the can. I mean, he's only 43 and really, probably a better option than Kevin Weekes at this point.

Well...There's At Least One Good Team

It's almost time for me to start looking forward to next season when it comes to Aston HC. Just dishing out all the assets and building for the future....if only they were keeper leagues.

Starting with the good news that is Glen Burnie HC, that squad is still in first place in the FOHSHL Hirsch Division. In Week Three, Glen Burnie HC took out Rhiannon Magic 7-2 thanks in part to Cory Stillman and Zach Parise putting up three goals and three assists apiece on the week. In Week Four, Glen Burnie HC had its closest win 7-4 over Bsdontneedagoalie2.0. Alexei Kovalev led the way with five points and Miro Satan putting up four points, with Carey Price picking up three wins in the week.

Now, to the bad parts that is Aston HC, starting in Leahy's GFH Norris Division where in Week Three, Aston HC lost 8-0 to the Fyremonkeys, with Jason Arnott's three points being the only bright spot of that week. They saved face in Week Four by tying Tie Domi Fan Club 4-4. The defense was crucial with Scott Niedermayer putting up four points and Nicklas Lidstrom putting up three, whilst Carey Price had three wins in the week.

To the even worst Aston HC entry in the League, Week Three saw Aston HC losing to The Reggie Dunlops 7-2. At least Mike Ribeiro put up six points and Henrik Lundqvist putting up two wins and a sub-2.00 GAA. It was a 7-4 loss in Week Four with Aston HC losing to the Montreal SekoS. Ales Hemsky put up five points, with Patrick Kane and J.P. Dumont putting up four points.

You can definitely see that I only care about Glen Burnie HC at this point-- it's the show's league, so I want to make sure that I beat the piss out of the listeners; mostly because that brings in the listeners.......or not.

RESULTS AS OF 11.04.08

FOHSHL: Glen Burnie HC: 30-10-8, 1st place
GFH-Norris: Aston HC: 12-21-7, 12th place
PBHL: Aston HC: 13-27-8, 10th place

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Why You Have Back-Ups 101

In the midst of a 6-1 beat down of the Atlanta Thrashers, the New Jersey Devils displayed a big reason why it may be a good idea to play your back-up when you're against the second-worst team in the league.

Almost seven minutes into the second period, Martin Brodeur let the game with an injury to his arm. Granted, if you listen to Al Strachan, even with Brodeur holding his arm close to his body, Brodeur suffered a groin injury and also Jon Bon Jovi is drawing up a better "umbrella" power play set up....though that should be better left to Rhianna.....get it?? Moving on.

Now, I'm not one to tell the Devils coaching staff how to do things, and I know that Brodeur is in the midst of gaining the all-times wins record, but maybe this was hockey karma telling the Devils they should have let Kevin Weekes have this lay-up of a game. It's not like it's going to kill you to let him have some PT for games like this and the Islanders every now and again. Not only does it keep Weekes sharp and allows him to show off if he's worth having as a back-up, but it'll give Brodeur to rest-- which is something he may need if the Devils are going to make a strong run in the playoffs, if they can get there.

However, that's all something that's a moot point at least right now. With the injury to Brodeur catching arm, it could take some time for him to heal, depending on the serverity of the injury. That pretty much hogties the Devils to actually play Weekes and hope to hell that Scott Clemmensen isn't plucked off waivers if he's called up. Now, if the injury isn't too severe, the Devils wouldn't have to risk Clemmensen and call up Dave Caruso, who will no doubt remove his glasses and say "It seems that the devils.....are in the details" with the classic The Who accompaniment.

However, for the time being, Devils fans are holding their breath-- and this time it may not be because of the sulfur smell coming from the state itself.