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deltachi8
10-05-2008, 09:39 AM
I know we have some NHL fans here, so...what is everyone's thoughts for the upcoming season?

In the East as long as Pittsburgh gets healthy by January, I have to with them although I like Montreal quite a bit as well.

the West is very deep and you can pick a number of teams to come out on top. Hard to bet against Detroit, but i like waht San Jose has done and will go with them as my pick.

I'm looking forward to the season. Having moved to Houston this summer, I had to substitute the Center Ice package for living in hockey country (though I kept my Sabres season tickets)...but i know where to buy Labatt blue for Hockey Night....

Oxilon
10-05-2008, 06:17 PM
Redwings are coming off a Stanley Cup domination of the Penguins and are not only coming back with Zetterberg and Datsyuk but added Hossa as well. Oh, not to mention they added Conklin to back up Osgood. It's the Red Wings Stanley Cup to lose.

Raisor
10-05-2008, 09:58 PM
Thrashers will win every game they score more goals then the other team.

HotCorner
10-05-2008, 10:49 PM
I love my Caps' chances this season in the Eastern Conference. Led by the best player the league and a young and talented supporting cast, this team should be around for a while. However despite how much I dislike them, the Red Wings are the team to beat.

Patrick Bateman
10-05-2008, 11:08 PM
I can't tell you how anxious I am for the season to get started. My Hawks have some of the best young talent in the league, and were even big players in the free agent market. The entire organization has just made a complete 180 in just a year.

HotCorner, I like the Cap's team, but I think they made a mistake letting Huet go when the next best option was the far inferior Theodore. Other than that, they have a lot of exciting talent. I personally always liked Mike Green. I watched him a few times in Junior when he was playing with Saskatoon. That team was horridly bad, but Green always stood out, and when he went to the Caps at the end of the first round of the draft, I thought it was the biggest steal of the draft. With that said, I was surprised he made such a monumental leap forward last year.

M2
10-05-2008, 11:14 PM
I love my Caps' chances this season in the Eastern Conference. Led by the best player the league and a young and talented supporting cast, this team should be around for a while.

I suppose someone's got to win that division. Ovechkin alone ought to be enough to do the job.

Sean_CaseyRules
10-06-2008, 09:02 AM
The Jackets are going to be strong this year! They FINALLY have a defense and I honestly look for them to gel as a team and reach the plaoffs. Getting rid of Zhardev was a great move for the CBJ. I honestly haven't been this excited for a season since their inaugural season! This should be a lot of fun!

westofyou
10-06-2008, 09:44 AM
The Jackets are going to be strong this year! They FINALLY have a defense and I honestly look for them to gel as a team and reach the plaoffs. Getting rid of Zhardev was a great move for the CBJ. I honestly haven't been this excited for a season since their inaugural season! This should be a lot of fun!

Strong is OK, but they still need some offense, the Pacific division could give the league 3 of their playoff teams, the Hawks and Wings are going to push for two and the Northwest will give you their winner, leaving 2 slots for the rest of the league and that includes a declining Avalanche team and the team with the best goalie in the game.

Things to watch for

Tampa Bay - 15 new players and Barry Melrose pulling a Larry Dierker and going from broadcast booth to the bench.

The Capitals - They score like it's the 80's can they keep it up?

Toronto - They are now officially the Cubs in the 50's, a flagship team in distress

The Hawks - Young, fast and hungry, they will upset some apple carts

The Sharks - Snakebitten, they need to go the next step to become a great team

The Ducks - The loudest GM about spending in the game has pressed his cap too far north and now he's shedding d-men to accommodate offense, which there is precious little of, this should be interesting.

Dallas - Steve Avery will be on my TV more this winter, if Dallas's defense lapses I look for hi to get his butt kicked more than usual as he tries to make up for the loss of defense with some grit.

Pittsburgh - They will be good, but not as good as last season, I look for them to have a tougher time this year than last, no 100 points.

Montreal - The fans are waiting and the great Bob Gainey is working it for them off the ice like he did for them on the ice, they should be the class of the east

NJReds
10-06-2008, 12:42 PM
Sharks fan here. I expect them to disappoint in the playoffs again.

M2
10-06-2008, 03:12 PM
The Jackets are going to be strong this year! They FINALLY have a defense and I honestly look for them to gel as a team and reach the plaoffs. Getting rid of Zhardev was a great move for the CBJ. I honestly haven't been this excited for a season since their inaugural season! This should be a lot of fun!

As a Rangers fan, I'm glad my team was able to accommodate. Now if only the Rangers can help the Wild with their Marian Gaborik problem.

Oxilon
10-06-2008, 03:15 PM
I suppose someone's got to win that division. Ovechkin alone ought to be enough to do the job.

Tampa Bay may be one of the most improved teams in all of the NHL, never the less the Southeast divison. They were horrible last year, but they still have St. Louis and Lecavalier who are two of the most dominant players in the league. They added Malone from the Pens', as well as the 1st overall pick in the draft Steve Stamkos. Stamkos is just nasty and could have an impact similiar to what Patrick Kane did last year with the Hawks. With a new coach in Barry Melrose, they'll definitely be competing with the upper-tier of the Eastern Conference.

westofyou
10-06-2008, 03:30 PM
I never make it a habit to watch pre-season hockey, it's in the midst of the end of the baseball season and the weekend is full of football and soccer so you don't get much pre-season hockey to view, but like any other sport (especially the hard contact ones) pre-season is a bad gauge for the long season, and a total waste of time since the real energy of the regular season doesn't come to roost until December. That said many a win can be stolen early in the season as teams try and find their rhythm, but most of the hockey early on seems tentative and manufactured, and usually the more fluid teams with the good skaters look twice as fast as usual.

Patrick Bateman
10-06-2008, 03:41 PM
As a Rangers fan, I'm glad my team was able to accommodate. Now if only the Rangers can help the Wild with their Marian Gaborik problem.

No. You guys already stole one player. Gaborik is my planned replacement for Martin Havlat next year.

M2
10-06-2008, 03:42 PM
Tampa Bay may be one of the most improved teams in all of the NHL, never the less the Southeast divison. They were horrible last year, but they still have St. Louis and Lecavalier who are two of the most dominant players in the league. They added Malone from the Pens', as well as the 1st overall pick in the draft Steve Stamkos. Stamkos is just nasty and could have an impact similiar to what Patrick Kane did last year with the Hawks. With a new coach in Barry Melrose, they'll definitely be competing with the upper-tier of the Eastern Conference.

I don't know how quick that turnaround will be. The Rangers swarmed them in the two games they just played over in Europe. Maybe the Lightning didn't travel well, but that team could lose a month or two while everyone gets used to each other.

Patrick Bateman
10-06-2008, 03:47 PM
Tampa Bay may be one of the most improved teams in all of the NHL, never the less the Southeast divison. They were horrible last year, but they still have St. Louis and Lecavalier who are two of the most dominant players in the league. They added Malone from the Pens', as well as the 1st overall pick in the draft Steve Stamkos. Stamkos is just nasty and could have an impact similiar to what Patrick Kane did last year with the Hawks. With a new coach in Barry Melrose, they'll definitely be competing with the upper-tier of the Eastern Conference.

I saw a lot of roster shuffling, not a lot of high end improvement. Vrbata is way too soft and offensive minded for a guy with underwhelming point totals year in and year out. Ryan Malone is the highest paid third liner in hockey. Gary Roberts is slowing down (so is Kolzig), and Recchi was obsolete long ago. Vinny Prospal is overrated, and was with them most of last year anyways.

I liked the Meszaros and Boyle transactions, but the latter hurts them in the now. They also have to contend with a major loss in Richards this year. Stamkos will help fill that void, but through the big additions there, they come out near even.

They made plenty of action, but there just isn't enough there IMO. They got themselves from being 'the' conference dweller to a fringe playoff contender, which is a nice enough upgrade for one off season, but the same underlying defensive mess is still present.

TheOnlyRedsFan
10-07-2008, 06:42 AM
Go Blue Jackets!

westofyou
10-08-2008, 09:51 AM
If you're a Blues fan you have to feel uneasy about the season, especially when your best young player is out because of this:

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stories.nsf/blues/story/55EBFBFC6DD410CE862574CF00522FD7?OpenDocument

Instead, Johnson, a St. Louis Blues defenseman, "heard something funny" in his right knee when his foot got caught between the gas pedal and the brake while stepping out of his golf cart during a team outing last week.

That night, back in his hotel room, the knee swelled and he knew something was up, even though he had never endured a serious knee injury in his life.

An MRI on the knee Tuesday confirmed Johnson, the Bloomington, Minn., native selected No. 1 overall in the 2006 NHL draft, tore two knee ligaments, the MCL and ACL, and will miss the season.

redsfan1966
10-08-2008, 08:17 PM
The NHL has to find a way to get out of the horrible contract it has with the VS network...I just realized two days ago that the season starts on Thursday....we may get sick of ESPN and its over promotion---but no sport needs the "mothership" more than the NHL...

Patrick Bateman
10-14-2008, 02:41 PM
I'm sure everyone already knows by now, but the NHL suffered tradgedy yesterday with the passing of Alexei Cheraponov. Incredibly sad to see anyone go, but he was just a super talent, and was going to be a fan favourite once he arrived in the NHL. It's just scary thinking about how one second he was on a 2 on 1 with Jagr, and a second later, he's passing out. Apparently negligence is now being considered on the medical staff.

I'm sure this one struck M2 especially hard. He was going to have the fortune of watching him with the blueshirts for the next decade.

Highlifeman21
10-14-2008, 10:43 PM
If you're a Blues fan you have to feel uneasy about the season, especially when your best young player is out because of this:

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stories.nsf/blues/story/55EBFBFC6DD410CE862574CF00522FD7?OpenDocument

Beware of golf carts.

They bite.

Stephenk29
10-14-2008, 10:45 PM
Beware of golf carts.

They bite.

I'm sure alcohol wasn't involved in any way. How do you tear two major knee ligaments driving a golf cart? Something else was going on there.

Highlifeman21
10-16-2008, 12:55 PM
I'm sure alcohol wasn't involved in any way. How do you tear two major knee ligaments driving a golf cart? Something else was going on there.

Last year we had a completely sober 17 year old fracture his skull getting out of a golf cart.

He was the driver, parked the cart, and in the process of getting up to walk to his ball banged his head on the underside of the roof, and fractured his forehead.

Whoops.



Looked painful watching him do it.

westofyou
10-16-2008, 01:07 PM
Last year we had a completely sober 17 year old fracture his skull getting out of a golf cart.

He was the driver, parked the cart, and in the process of getting up to walk to his ball banged his head on the underside of the roof, and fractured his forehead.

Whoops.



Looked painful watching him do it.

When I was kid we lived across the street from the Oakland Hills Golf Course in Detroit, one day we found a stolen cart in the back yard of a house that was for sale, we drove the crap out that cart smashed it into trees and had a great time, until Teddy Barnum the neighborhood wimp told his mom and they gave it back.

I hate Teddy Barnum still.

BTW the Hawks fired their coach today and hired Quenneville... impatient much?

Patrick Bateman
10-16-2008, 02:39 PM
BTW the Hawks fired their coach today and hired Quenneville... impatient much?

Ya, man was that bizarre.... especially after coming off their first win of the season.

To me it seems like the decision was basically made a while ago, perhaps when Q was hired in an undefined role a month back. It seemed kind of peciluar at the time. I was personally pleased with the effort Savard was getting out of the players.

NJReds
12-03-2008, 10:45 AM
Well, the Sharks are off to a 21-3 (1 OT L) start. The new coach seems to trust the forwards more and is letting the team attack. Adding Blake and Boyle to the blueline has helped alot as well. And even though Nabakov was out for a week with injury, Boucher filled in extremely well.

Will this finally be the year they live up to their talent and beyond the second round of the playoffs?

westofyou
12-03-2008, 11:09 AM
Well, the Sharks are off to a 21-3 (1 OT L) start. The new coach seems to trust the forwards more and is letting the team attack. Adding Blake and Boyle to the blueline has helped alot as well. And even though Nabakov was out for a week with injury, Boucher filled in extremely well.

Will this finally be the year they live up to their talent and beyond the second round of the playoffs?

Sharks are hot, they also are unbeaten at home and have an insane goal differential..+ 38.

But it's early, so enjoy while you can.

Also the Carolina Hurricanes have fired head coach Peter Laviolette replaced him with former Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice.

NJReds
12-03-2008, 11:13 AM
Sharks are hot, they also are unbeaten at home and have an insane goal differential..+ 38.

But it's early, so enjoy while you can.

Also the Carolina Hurricanes have fired head coach Peter Laviolette replaced him with former Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice.

I won't get too high on the Sharks. Playoffs are all that count in their case. But I like their style of play this year.

I think Laviolette is a very, very good coach. He'll be working before the year is out.

HotCorner
12-03-2008, 11:15 AM
And then there is Sean Avery. :eek:

WMR
12-03-2008, 11:21 AM
BLACKHAWKS! :D

I'm really tempted to try and make it to the Winter Classic.

westofyou
12-03-2008, 11:35 AM
And then there is Sean Avery. :eek:

Classy guy eh? Avery should leave his game on the ice and quit trying to garner a celebrity life off the ice, he's a grinder and should play the part.

westofyou
12-03-2008, 11:37 AM
BLACKHAWKS! :D

I'm really tempted to try and make it to the Winter Classic.
Good luck

http://cgi.ebay.com/Winter-Classic-Red-Wings-Vs-Blackhawks_W0QQitemZ330289934653QQcmdZViewItemQQpt ZUS_Tickets_all_in_one?hash=item330289934653&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50


Current bid: US $900.00
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US $ Place Bid > (Enter US $910.00 or more)

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WMR
12-03-2008, 11:47 AM
There's plenty of 2 ticket auctions on ebay that go for between 5-700 bucks... I had figured to pay about that much.

westofyou
12-03-2008, 11:54 AM
There's plenty of 2 ticket auctions on ebay that go for between 5-700 bucks... I had figured to pay about that much.

$500 to sit in Wrigley for an afternoon?

I'd pass myself, a childhood of Michigan winters is enough for me to remember... plus I'm still cold from the Freezer Bowl back in 82.

WMR
12-03-2008, 11:57 AM
$500 to sit in Wrigley for an afternoon?

I'd pass myself, a childhood of Michigan winters is enough for me to remember... plus I'm still cold from the Freezer Bowl back in 82.

Hahaha! Good point. It seems like it'd be one of those once in a lifetime type experiences...

What was the Freezer Bowl?

EDIT: Nevermind, just looked it up. Props to you for attending that game! Awesome. :D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freezer_Bowl

NatiRedGals
12-03-2008, 12:22 PM
Im a jackets fan went up to the game vs Washington on Saturday. I like the team a lot. And Mason makes saves that don't seem possible. Their exciting and as the states team ya gotta love them. Great to see a lot of rookie presence but also with a side of veterans.

Sean_CaseyRules
02-10-2009, 02:12 AM
Am I the only guy around here that is still excited for this season? I mean 5-15 place in the West is only separated by 9 points!

westofyou
02-10-2009, 09:39 AM
Am I the only guy around here that is still excited for this season? I mean 5-15 place in the West is only separated by 9 points!

I'm enjoying it quite well myself, but I'm a Wings fan. I don't hold hope for the Jackets though, they will be the team that has to wait the longest to get to the dance in NHL history. They don't have the horses for the run from where I sit.

Sean_CaseyRules
02-10-2009, 12:16 PM
I'm enjoying it quite well myself, but I'm a Wings fan. I don't hold hope for the Jackets though, they will be the team that has to wait the longest to get to the dance in NHL history. They don't have the horses for the run from where I sit.

We are only 1 or 2 horses away though! We need a 1st line Center, and a Defensemen who can handle the puck! We did beat San Jose this past saturday though!

westofyou
02-10-2009, 12:54 PM
We are only 1 or 2 horses away though! We need a 1st line Center, and a Defensemen who can handle the puck! We did beat San Jose this past saturday though!

That's like saying you need a SS and a cleanup hitter, San Jose was/is due for a bad patch and a 3-2 win is not a sign of anything more than that.

The Jackets aren't deep enough, they can't roll 3 good lines much alone 4 (which is what wins the cups more often than not) that d man is a must for any good team, and the Jackets have yet to boast of one in their existence, until they get a guy who can hold the blueline against the best then they will be trying to sneak into the playoffs.

Sean_CaseyRules
02-10-2009, 05:17 PM
Playoffs is all I will be shooting for this year. Anything more is just a huge bonus. I wouldn't care to make it and get swept. The playoffs is what this team needs to have its fan base survive. I can't imagine what it would be like to go to a playoff game here in CBus. I'm tellin you that we are about to go on a Dallas Stars-esque run here real soon, and be in the top 6.

Sean_CaseyRules
02-10-2009, 05:24 PM
Oh, and another tidbit.....

I got this from the game preview on BlueJackets.com:

"Columbus (25-23-5) has been playing solid hockey recently, going 11-7-1 since Dec. 27. Only Central Division-leading Detroit and Dallas (12 apiece) have more victories in that stretch among Western Conference clubs."

cincrazy
02-13-2009, 09:32 PM
That's like saying you need a SS and a cleanup hitter, San Jose was/is due for a bad patch and a 3-2 win is not a sign of anything more than that.

The Jackets aren't deep enough, they can't roll 3 good lines much alone 4 (which is what wins the cups more often than not) that d man is a must for any good team, and the Jackets have yet to boast of one in their existence, until they get a guy who can hold the blueline against the best then they will be trying to sneak into the playoffs.

Steve Mason my friend. A great young goalie makes up for a world of weaknesses.

Buckeye33
02-13-2009, 10:00 PM
CBJ hung on for a big home win against Detroit tonight. Mason made more incredible saves in the 3rd period to allow them to get the big W.

Patrick Bateman
02-13-2009, 10:10 PM
Steve Mason my friend. A great young goalie makes up for a world of weaknesses.

Is the Jacket's current team really any better than the Luongo led Panthers of a few years ago? I think they might be able to snea into the playoffs, because after about maybe 5 teams, the rest are just as flawed as the next. Just a lot of bottom mediocrity.

deltachi8
02-13-2009, 11:07 PM
Real fun game tonight between the Sharks and Sabres. Sabres led 3-0 and 4-1, Sharks stormed back to lead 5-4. Buffalo pulls goalie and ties it with 3 seconds left and wins in a shootout after a wildly entertaining OT.

Gotta love Hockey.

cincrazy
02-14-2009, 01:41 AM
Is the Jacket's current team really any better than the Luongo led Panthers of a few years ago? I think they might be able to snea into the playoffs, because after about maybe 5 teams, the rest are just as flawed as the next. Just a lot of bottom mediocrity.

Honestly, I really didn't start following the NHL until this year. I grew up without a hockey team around here, but my best friend has an internship with the Jackets radio station, so I've followed them pretty extensively. They probably don't have enough to even win 2 games in the playoffs, but hey, Boston took Montreal 7 last year in the first round and almost pulled it out, so I would NEVER say never, especially when you have a goalie capable of throwing up zeros. They have some nice young talent that can make some noise in the future. First time you can really say that about this franchise.

westofyou
02-14-2009, 10:36 AM
They probably don't have enough to even win 2 games in the playoffs, but hey, Boston took Montreal 7 last year in the first round and almost pulled it out,

And Boston leads the NHL in points this season, so talent was there.. I think you hit it on the nose, the BJ's don't have the talent to win 2 games in the playoffs, but they have the goalie to steal two games.

But they certainly won't be leading the league in points at this juncture next season like the Bruins.

cincrazy
02-14-2009, 10:55 AM
And Boston leads the NHL in points this season, so talent was there.. I think you hit it on the nose, the BJ's don't have the talent to win 2 games in the playoffs, but they have the goalie to steal two games.

But they certainly won't be leading the league in points at this juncture next season like the Bruins.

They won't be leading the league in points, but they do have talent. Brassard, Nash, Voracek, Huselias, Umberger is solid. They have more depth this year than they've ever had. With that being said, depth is still an issue when compared to the best teams in the league.

I'm just of the opinion that Hitchcock has this team on the right path, and within a couple of years I really believe they'll be a playoff regular.

Then again, out of all the sports, I'm the least knowledgable in hockey, so I could be horrendously wrong here :)

deltachi8
02-14-2009, 12:18 PM
They have talent, but are not deep enough as of yet. As WOY pointed out, you need to be able to roll three lines, three good lines, and preferably four in the playoffs to really make a run. They playoffs are grueling, every other night with plenty of OT, and you simply can't put it all on one or two lines and two d.

The Jackets are moving in the right direction, now they need to add.

cincrazy
02-19-2009, 07:20 PM
The Jackets currently sit in a tie for 5th with the Vancouver Canucks. This team is playing great hockey right now. I honestly feel that in the first round of the playoffs they have a good **** against anyone other than San Jose or Detroit. Chicago and Calgary are good teams, but I'd give the Jackets a fighting chance, especially with the way they're playing currently.

NatiRedGals
02-19-2009, 07:22 PM
The Jackets currently sit in a tie for 5th with the Vancouver Canucks. This team is playing great hockey right now. I honestly feel that in the first round of the playoffs they have a good **** against anyone other than San Jose or Detroit. Chicago and Calgary are good teams, but I'd give the Jackets a fighting chance, especially with the way they're playing currently.

Jackets have beaten san jose 2 times in a row and on the other hand they have beaten detroit 2 times in a row also :):beerme: GO JACKETS!

cincrazy
02-19-2009, 10:20 PM
Big win by the Jackets tonight, survived at Toronto in OT. Toronto is having a down year, but this is still not an easy game, especially for a young team still earning its stripes. Also, congrats to coach Hitchcock for his 500th career win.

Sean_CaseyRules
02-20-2009, 11:41 PM
Big win by the Jackets tonight, survived at Toronto in OT.


Jason Williams goal was absolutely sick!

cincrazy
02-20-2009, 11:56 PM
Jason Williams goal was absolutely sick!

Yeah, that goal was amazing. He seemed to have completely whiffed on the puck, yet int he process he must have fooled the goalie, because the puck slid right through his legs into the net. It's about time some bounces started going this franchises way this decade ;)

deltachi8
02-21-2009, 01:20 PM
Happy Hockey Day!

deltachi8
02-25-2009, 09:12 AM
Well, my Sabres look like they will drift out of the playoffs down the stretch. No Miller and Vanek is too much to overcome I am afraid. At least the playoff ticket money being sent will end up being a nice deposit on next year's seats.

westofyou
02-25-2009, 10:40 AM
The Jackets have some BIG games coming up against the teams they HAVE to beat and they beat them on their own ice, it's how they do against the Oilers and Canucks on teh road that is the litmus for their playoff run.

As for tonight, Wings vs Sharks.. big game and teh Wings have goalie questions that need to be answered.

wheels
02-26-2009, 04:46 PM
The Jackets have some BIG games coming up against the teams they HAVE to beat and they beat them on their own ice, it's how they do against the Oilers and Canucks on teh road that is the litmus for their playoff run.

As for tonight, Wings vs Sharks.. big game and teh Wings have goalie questions that need to be answered.

A question for the Hockey Guru....Last I checked, the Jackets had given up more goals than they've scored. Does it mean the same (or as much) to a team as it does in baseball. Seems like most of the teams bunched around them have all outscored their opponents.

Are the Jackets just lucky, or is it some kinda Ken Hitchcock effect?

westofyou
02-26-2009, 05:59 PM
A question for the Hockey Guru....Last I checked, the Jackets had given up more goals than they've scored. Does it mean the same (or as much) to a team as it does in baseball. Seems like most of the teams bunched around them have all outscored their opponents.

Are the Jackets just lucky, or is it some kinda Ken Hitchcock effect?

The real good teams trump their goals allowed, much like baseball.

BUT a couple of BIG blowouts can color that number quite harsh. So it's then that you have look at when they do score and when they do give em up. If a team NEVER scores on a powerplay then that's not good, currently the Wings are 1st with a 27.8% success rate and Jackets are last in the league with only a 12.7% success rate... that means the Jackets have over 40 less goals in only 14 less PP chances.

The Jackets have a fine 5-5 scoring ratio, but drop in the PP a lot. That's a sign of a good Hitch team (the 5-5 ratio) they are ahead of The Wings in PP prevention but in the end they have allowed 15 more goals on the PP than they have garnered, and the Wings despite having a bad PP Kill this year are plus 17 in goals.

The real long and short of it is the Jackets goalie is winning a lot of their games for them, that and the defensive system Hitch applies, but he's never been known for having the most offensive minded teams aside from the brief Stars run.

M2
02-26-2009, 08:54 PM
The real good teams trump their goals allowed, much like baseball.

Yep, and it was the clear sign my Rangers were in trouble before their recent losing streak. The defense is all right, but the offense can't find the back of the net to save itself.

The good news for the Blue Jackets is there aren't a bunch of strong competitors fighting for the last playoff spots in the west. It will probably come down to who's got the hottest goalies, which, right now are Steve Mason, Nicklas Backstrom and Pekka Rinne.

cincrazy
02-27-2009, 07:31 AM
HUGE win for the Jackets last night, 1-0 in Edmonton over the Oilers. Now they're tied for 5th in the west with 68 points with the Canucks.

westofyou
03-02-2009, 10:34 AM
Nine shots in the first 2 periods last night for the BJ's, their offense is really non existent at times. They just scored 1 goal in 6 periods, and that's not going to cut it in the playoff race.

You have to ponder if they will make a move that enriches their offense this week, the next couple of days should be interesting for any team with cap room and guys they view as surplus ir trading chips.

NatiRedGals
03-02-2009, 11:43 AM
Leclaire To Ottawa?

Less than 72 hours now until the NHL trade deadline. Oh the cell phone minutes that are getting chewed up these days.

GM Scott Howson was in Ottawa on Saturday to scout the Maple Leafs -- Senators game. This is noteworthy, because typically GMs swoop in for one last look at a player before a deal gets done.

And the player Howson was looking at, sources say, is Antoine Vermette.

The rumors percolating at this hour have the Blue Jackets sending goaltender Pascal Leclaire to the Sens for Vermette, a top six forward with great speed and offensive touch. On the surface, Ottawa would seem crazy to part with a player like Vermette, but they need a goaltender in the worst way.

The vibe in Ottawa is that Vermette is 50-50 to be traded.

I spoke with Howson this morning. He wouldn't get into specifics on the record, but said that nothing is imminent. I also spoke with Leclaire, who said he's likely to cast aside his crutches this week and move into a new phase of his rehab from ankle surgery.

"It feels already 10 times better than it did when I was playing on it," Leclaire said. He added that he doesn't want to be traded, but realizes it's part of the game.

An interesting wrinkle here: in order to trade Leclaire, the Blue Jackets will almost certainly have to provide medical information to interested team. It's unclear, however, if they Blue Jackets -- because of HIPA laws -- would need Leclaire's permission to share his medical records.

As of this morning, Leclaire said, he has not been asked for such permission.

-- Aaron Portzline
aportzline@dispatch.com

wheels
03-02-2009, 02:07 PM
Nine shots in the first 2 periods last night for the BJ's, their offense is really non existent at times. They just scored 1 goal in 6 periods, and that's not going to cut it in the playoff race.

You have to ponder if they will make a move that enriches their offense this week, the next couple of days should be interesting for any team with cap room and guys they view as surplus ir trading chips.

They've got to do something.

They look tired. That's the problem with a kiddie corps.

I'd love it if they were able to land a lamp lighter, but I'd also like to see them find another defensman that can move the puck around and help on the power play. Another guy like Tyutin would be very nice.

OSUredsFAN
03-10-2009, 11:46 PM
The CBJ beat the best of the east (boston bruins), very nice W!!!

NJReds
03-11-2009, 09:11 AM
The CBJ beat the best of the east (boston bruins), very nice W!!!

Nice back-to-back for Columbus. Thrashing Detroit on the road 8-2, and then beating Boston. They're definitely going in the opposite direction of my Sharks, which look like they're headed for another disappointing and short playoff run.

westofyou
03-11-2009, 09:38 AM
Nice back-to-back for Columbus. Thrashing Detroit on the road 8-2, and then beating Boston. They're definitely going in the opposite direction of my Sharks, which look like they're headed for another disappointing and short playoff run.

Teams at top are in a fix mode, they have less to fight for and more time to try and fix things prior to the playoffs, meanwhile the 70 point teams like the Jackets and the Wild have to play every game like the playoffs to get to the bottom rung of the playoffs. You'll see a lot of games like this in the next three weeks as some teams have more to lose each night than others do.

BuckeyeRedleg
03-11-2009, 11:15 AM
Since Christmas, the Blue Jackets have the 4th best record in the NHL (tied with Calgary).

1. New Jersey...24-10-0
2. Detroit.........21-9-4
3. Washington...20-10-3
4. Columbus......20-11-2
4. Calgary.........20-11-2

Sean_CaseyRules
03-12-2009, 02:15 AM
I was at the Boston game, it was absolutely amazing!!! I haven't felt an arena/stadium shake like that since the Adam Dunn walk-off Grandslam!!! I can't wait to attend all the playoff games this year!!!

Captain Hook
03-12-2009, 11:02 PM
CBJ over the Penguins tonight.Wins over Detroit,Boston and Pittsburgh over the last 5 days is very impressive.I'm starting to think that they will not only make the play offs but will make some noise when they get there.

Buckeye33
03-14-2009, 09:26 PM
Another good W for the CBJ last night against the Hawks in Chicago. 5-3. Mason was not in goal either.

Howson deserves a TON of credit for this season. He got Commodore, Huselius, Torres, etc in the off season and then trading for Jason Williams and Vermette during the season.

It's helped that Steve Mason decided to play like a hall of fame goalie too.

cincrazy
03-14-2009, 09:36 PM
Another good W for the CBJ last night against the Hawks in Chicago. 5-3. Mason was not in goal either.

Howson deserves a TON of credit for this season. He got Commodore, Huselius, Torres, etc in the off season and then trading for Jason Williams and Vermette during the season.

It's helped that Steve Mason decided to play like a hall of fame goalie too.

The Jackets are playing great hockey. They've earned their respect this season. The organization has been overhauled on the fly. Howson and Hitchcock have done a great job working together and building the foundation of a very solid organization.

westofyou
03-15-2009, 08:32 PM
Th Wings beat the BJ's today, pretty handily, but this tidbit bodes well for the BJ's IMO.


Several hundred fans were lined up halfway around the arena 2 hours before the game started, hoping to purchase reduced-price tickets. … Announced attendance was 18,685, the sixth sellout of the season.

Oxilon
03-25-2009, 10:30 AM
Is it safe to say Ovechkin has locked up another Hart trophy yet? Or is Parise still the only other real candidate?

cincrazy
03-26-2009, 04:23 PM
Huggggeeee game against the Flames tonight. These teams are likely 1st round playoff foes, so it'll be a huge test for the Jackets.

timmario66
03-27-2009, 08:55 AM
Huggggeeee game against the Flames tonight. These teams are likely 1st round playoff foes, so it'll be a huge test for the Jackets.

I think they passed that test with flying colors. Best 60 minute effort all year. Get 3 out of 4 points from the Blues this weekend!!!

cincrazy
03-27-2009, 09:48 AM
I think they passed that test with flying colors. Best 60 minute effort all year. Get 3 out of 4 points from the Blues this weekend!!!

Absolutely fantastic game from the Jackets. That game goes to show why they're so dangerous in the playoffs. If Mason gets hot, they can beat anyone. Some big games coming up against the Blues, Preds, and Hawks, lets wrap up this postseason bid ;)

westofyou
03-28-2009, 10:34 AM
Absolutely fantastic game from the Jackets. That game goes to show why they're so dangerous in the playoffs. If Mason gets hot, they can beat anyone. Some big games coming up against the Blues, Preds, and Hawks, lets wrap up this postseason bid ;)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/27/AR2009032701208.html

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Police say a passionate hockey fan made physical threats against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a series of phone calls to the team's arena during a game.

Columbus Police Sgt. Rick Weiner (WINE-er') says 52-year-old Peter Stenzel was arrested Thursday and charged with inducing panic for threatening physical harm against the team during their win over the Calgary Flames.

Weiner says police traced the phone calls to Stenzel's Columbus home, where they found him wearing a Flames T-shirt. Police would not say if specific players were targeted or what the threats entailed.

Stenzel was being held at the Franklin County Jail pending a Saturday court hearing.

Blue Jackets spokesman Todd Sharrock says the team will not comment on security matters.

cincrazy
03-28-2009, 10:47 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/27/AR2009032701208.html

I saw that! That is hilarious, and crazy. One of my best friends interns for the Jackets, and after the game he was telling me how there must have been a threat because the security level went up 2 or 3 notches. Little did he know a yahoo sitting in his Flames t-shirt was the one doing the threatening!

Sean_CaseyRules
04-09-2009, 12:59 AM
JACKETS CLINCH TONIGHT!!!!!!! ITS FINALLY PLAYOFF TIME!!!!!!!!! 9 YEARS IN THE MAKING!!!!!!!!!!! :jump::jump::jump:

improbus
04-09-2009, 08:09 AM
JACKETS CLINCH TONIGHT!!!!!!! ITS FINALLY PLAYOFF TIME!!!!!!!!! 9 YEARS IN THE MAKING!!!!!!!!!!! :jump::jump::jump:

Fantastic!!!

deltachi8
04-10-2009, 11:51 PM
JACKETS CLINCH TONIGHT!!!!!!! ITS FINALLY PLAYOFF TIME!!!!!!!!! 9 YEARS IN THE MAKING!!!!!!!!!!! :jump::jump::jump:

Congratulations.... There is nothing like playoff hockey. I have been at NFL Playoff and Conference championship games, NCAA Basketball tournament games and none of them come close to NHL Playoff hockey. I highly recommend going to as many games as you can.

westofyou
04-12-2009, 10:04 PM
JACKETS CLINCH TONIGHT!!!!!!! ITS FINALLY PLAYOFF TIME!!!!!!!!! 9 YEARS IN THE MAKING!!!!!!!!!!! :jump::jump::jump:

Jackets will play Detroit.

I'll take Detroit in 6.

deltachi8
04-12-2009, 10:15 PM
Jackets will play Detroit.

I'll take Detroit in 6.

Your being quite generous to the Jackets. Perhaps...

westofyou
04-12-2009, 10:21 PM
Your being quite generous to the Jackets. Perhaps...

I have goalie worries, plus 2 of the top 6 Dmen have issues, plus the Wings often wait a game or two to wake up.

We'll see, I don't see an upset there, Ducks can take the Sharks though and that's gonna be some late night fun, I love a west coast series.

Joseph
04-12-2009, 11:21 PM
The Wings have looked pedestrian in the last couple games against my Blackhawks, however they were the last couple games of a season in which they had top billing sewn up. Still they do have issues at goalie, Osgoods not playing so well right now, so anything is possible indeed.

westofyou
04-12-2009, 11:32 PM
The Wings have looked pedestrian in the last couple games against my Blackhawks, however they were the last couple games of a season in which they had top billing sewn up. Still they do have issues at goalie, Osgoods not playing so well right now, so anything is possible indeed.

Hawks - Flames - That will be a great series, two hot goalies and a young and hungry offense in Chicago, that will go 7.

The last few games for the Wings has been an exercise in not screwing up anything health wise. I can't take the top tier guys last week as a firm litmus test of the teams real strength.

New season starts now...

Patrick Bateman
04-13-2009, 12:42 AM
The Wings have looked pedestrian in the last couple games against my Blackhawks, however they were the last couple games of a season in which they had top billing sewn up. Still they do have issues at goalie, Osgoods not playing so well right now, so anything is possible indeed.

Ya, I mean Lidstrom and Hossa weren't even playing in that last one.

I'm pretty excited that we play the Flames, Joseph. Means I get to see at least 1 Hawks playoff game live, which is an absolute dream come true. I'm going to be a wreck for that game.

M2
04-13-2009, 12:50 AM
The NHL playoffs are predictably unpredictable. This isn't the NBA where the first two rounds of the playoffs are an elaborate piece of stagecraft which almost inevitably leads to the top two seeds in each conference facing each other.

My basic takes on the matchups:

Bruins vs. Canadiens - Boston's top three lines are terrifying and all Tim Thomas does is stop pucks, but its blue line is a little thin after Chara and Wideman. It could be exposed by a team with some speed. That's not the Habs, which are as veteran a club as you'll ever see. They'll be cagy, but ultimately unable to handle kids like Lucic and Krejci. Bruins in 5.

Capitals vs. Rangers - Washington's got the best player alive in Ovechkin and three other A list players to go with him, but if you can beat the Caps' forecheck, you can blow apart the team's undermanned defense. As it turns out, the Rangers can handle the puck on the blue line pretty darn well. They've also got a stud goalie and the best penalty kill in the NHL (which should neutralize the Caps' 2nd best overall power play). Rangers in 6.

Devils vs. Hurricanes - Shouldn't it be Hurricane? I mean, you never get more than one at a time. Much as I want to believe Eric Staal could single-handedly win this series, the Devils have a deeper team with star power in Zach Parise and the best goalie ever. Devils in 5.

Penguins vs. Flyers - Two teams with goalies no one trusts (Fleury and Biron), which becomes all the more fascinating when you consider that these are two of the better offenses around. Ultimately the depth the Pens acquired in Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin, along with the return of Sergei Gonchar on the blue line, makes the difference. That and Pittsburgh also has one more Staal than the Flyers. Penguins in 7.

Sharks vs. Ducks - How can the Sharks blow it this year? Well, facing a Ducks team with two HOF defenders (Pronger and Niedermayer), young studs up front led by Ryan Getzlaf and possibly the returning magic of Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the net would seem to be a recipe for another playoff disaster. Then again, Joe Thornton and Evgeni Nabokov are pretty awesome. Sharks in 7.

Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets - Jason Williams and Antoine Vermette were nice under-the-radar pickups for Columbus. R.J. Umberger and Manny Malhotra (as good a faceoff man as anyone on the planet) are great guys to have in a tight series too. Unfortunately Steve Mason and the defense in general looks to be gassing, not good news when the top scoring team in the NHL is your opponent. Pavel Datsyuk gets my vote for best non-Ovechkin player alive. And Nicklas Lidstrom has a career +/- of 409. Chris Pronger's is only 153 and Pronger is amazing. Lidstrom may in fact be the best all-around defenseman any of us have ever seen. Red Wings in 4.

Canucks vs. Blues - Team Sedin is sneaky. It handles the puck really well along the blue line. I'd love to predict an upset for St. Louis, just because Keith Tkachuk is longtime favorite of mine (former BU man), but Sedins + capable passing defenders + Robert Luongo looks too tough to beat. Canucks in 6.

Blackhawks vs. Flames - All year we've been hearing about how Chicago's back. That bubble bursts against Iginla, Kiprusoff and Jokinen (what a pickup he was). Flames in 5.

westofyou
04-13-2009, 10:48 AM
Lidstrom may in fact be the best all-around defenseman any of us have ever seen.

I vaguely remember Classic Orr and I remember fading Orr, Nick's the best since then, in fact aside from the trifecta of Gretzky/Yzermen/Lemiuex I'd say Nick's the smartest player I've ever watched play, and he's easily the best defensmen I've watched on a regular basis in 38 years as a Red Wing fan.

My picks are thus

RW over BJ's (BJ's will steal one game)

Flames over Hawks in 7 (Hawks will be a tad overwhelmed)

Ducks over Sharks (The Ducks are hot, these teams HATE each other, don't miss)

Canucks over Blues (Blues made a great end of the year run. Roberto is a prototypical PO goalie, he'll shut them down, a rusty Kariya will not help)

Devils over Canes - Marty Marty Marty

Pens over Flyers - Flyers have the taste for offense, a goalie that has waning faith and monkey on their back, this team is not built fo rthe long run


Caps - Rangers - Rangers will fall and Alex (over 500 shots this year) will score the bulk of the game winners. Look for Sean Avery to parlay the brief spotlight into a chance to get some press.

Bruins - Habs - Habs are a mess, the intensity of this long time rivalry will allow them one W, year 100 will end in disappointment.

deltachi8
04-13-2009, 12:11 PM
Hard to argue with those picks. I will stick with my original picks of Pens and Sharks, though i would not be surprised by the Ducks or WIngs in the West or the Devils in the East.

Oxilon
04-14-2009, 02:26 PM
Capitals vs. Rangers - Washington's got the best player alive in Ovechkin and three other A list players to go with him, but if you can beat the Caps' forecheck, you can blow apart the team's undermanned defense. As it turns out, the Rangers can handle the puck on the blue line pretty darn well. They've also got a stud goalie and the best penalty kill in the NHL (which should neutralize the Caps' 2nd best overall power play). Rangers in 6.



The Capitals powerplay is #2. It's definitely going to be a clash of the titans when the Capitals' have a man advantage, but I'd have to give them the advantage over the Rangers, especially considering how they fared against them in the regular season.

And how are the Rangers going to score goals? There best bet may be playing for the opposing team. Jose Threeormore is the xfactor in this series, no doubt about it.

M2
04-14-2009, 08:03 PM
And how are the Rangers going to score goals?

That's the $1 million question with the Rangers. Nik Antropov probably needs to have a big series.

Oxilon
04-16-2009, 11:59 AM
That's the $1 million question with the Rangers. Nik Antropov probably needs to have a big series.

Game 1 is in the books maybe the Rangers found their answer in Antropov and Dubinski. Than again, maybe it has to do with the Capitals' rather weak defense and goaltending.

Either way, Rangers 1 Capitals 0

Patrick Bateman
04-16-2009, 01:20 PM
I really felt that there was a lack of atmosphere in the playoff games yesterday. The Pens/Flyers and Canes/Devils games didnt even look like glorified regular season games. Seats were open, fans weren't in synch, the buildings weren't rocking, or anything. Just going through the motions. It didnt help having American annoucners who just didnt seem very passionate about what they were doing.

The Caps/Rangers game seemed like it would have been real exciting to be at, so thats the game I payed most attention to, and the Canucks building is always decent.

I'm hoping the excitement picks up tonight in Chicago and Boston, which look like exciting series to me.

WMR
04-16-2009, 01:22 PM
AK: GO BLACKHAWKS!!!!!

Lots of folks have labeled this as a pick 'em series. What do you think?

Patrick Bateman
04-16-2009, 02:03 PM
I personally think the Flames have been overrated all season, their defense is full of holes and they have overachieved their goal differential all year. But they are extremely tough all year and do have a great goalie. I've watched them quite a bit live this year, but I don't think their an elite team or anything near that sort.

I like the Blackhawks here, but I think it will be a fairly close series. They handled the Flames easily in the regular season, they played well down the sretch against mostly teams fighting for their lives, and Khabibulin has really rounded into shape.

The big question comes down to the lack of playoff experience for the team. I think Kane will take awhile to adjust, but I like Toews to make a smooth transistion, Havlat has been a force for the Sens in the past, Bulin is a proven playoff goalie and Flames dominator, Sami Pauhlson has been the shut down centre every playoff team needs, etc. But on the same token, most of the defense is coming in fresh to the playoffs (Seabrook, Keith, Barker), so there will be an adjustment.

In all, I think the games will be close, but I'll take the Hawks in 5. I believe in this team's talent, and although they might struggle somewhere down the line here, I dont think the Flames are the team to exploit them.

Either way, just nice to see some playoffs for a change, and I cant wait until Wednesday when I'll be maybe 1 of 30 Hawks fans in the Flames building. The atmosphere is great at the Saddledome, but I've never been rooting against them come playoff time. I cant wait.

WMR
04-16-2009, 02:07 PM
I personally think the Flames have been overrated all season, their defense is full of holes and they have overachieved their goal differential all year. But they are extremely tough all year and do have a great goalie. I've watched them quite a bit live this year, but I don't think their an elite team or anything near that sort.

I like the Blackhawks here, but I think it will be a fairly close series. They handled the Flames easily in the regular season, they played well down the sretch against mostly teams fighting for their lives, and Khabibulin has really rounded into shape.

The big question comes down to the lack of playoff experience for the team. I think Kane will take awhile to adjust, but I like Toews to make a smooth transistion, Havlat has been a force for the Sens in the past, Bulin is a proven playoff goalie and Flames dominator, Sami Pauhlson has been the shut down centre every playoff team needs, etc. But on the same token, most of the defense is coming in fresh to the playoffs (Seabrook, Keith, Barker), so there will be an adjustment.

In all, I think the games will be close, but I'll take the Hawks in 5. I believe in this team's talent, and although they might struggle somewhere down the line here, I dont think the Flames are the team to exploit them.

Either way, just nice to see some playoffs for a change, and I cant wait until Wednesday when I'll be maybe 1 of 30 Hawks fans in the Flames building. The atmosphere is great at the Saddledome, but I've never been rooting against them come playoff time. I cant wait.

Going to break out the Roenick jersey? :D

Think you'll catch a bunch of crap?

Patrick Bateman
04-16-2009, 02:24 PM
I unfortunately dont have a Roenick. It will have to be my Kane Winter Classic Jersey.

Most Flames fans are usually respectful in a playful way. I wont be there to stir up trouble, but I always have a fun time with Flames fans even when Im not hoping for their team.

Only had a few bad experiences, one when I was about 8 and a drunk Flames fan started cussing me out for my Hawks jersey.... I guess I fingered him when I didnt think he was looking, but he caught me and threatened to cut my finger off, he ended up getting escorted out of the rink by security after 1 period, so that was actually a pretty fun memory. Other than that, I expect the Flames fans to give me a hard time, but in a good way.

Boston Red
04-16-2009, 04:26 PM
I'm hoping the excitement picks up tonight in Chicago and Boston, which look like exciting series to me.


Not sure about Chicago, but things will be ridiculous in Boston tonight. I was at the Boston/Montreal game last Thursday here, and it was a wild scene. There were more punches thrown that on the average boxing card. The French-speaking visitors managed to comandeer about half the seats, so the atmosphere was electric. I expect more of the same tonight (with toned-down fighting since this is the playoffs).

improbus
04-16-2009, 07:14 PM
Playoff time!!!! Go jackets!!!

Patrick Bateman
04-16-2009, 07:19 PM
Not sure about Chicago, but things will be ridiculous in Boston tonight. I was at the Boston/Montreal game last Thursday here, and it was a wild scene. There were more punches thrown that on the average boxing card. The French-speaking visitors managed to comandeer about half the seats, so the atmosphere was electric. I expect more of the same tonight (with toned-down fighting since this is the playoffs).

FWIW, Chicago has been getting great and exciting crowds all year. Sold out every game.... that city is ready for playoffs, should be a great atmosphere.

Sean_CaseyRules
04-16-2009, 07:59 PM
Wow, that first period, we played really good. PP sucks, but that's the story all year.

cincrazy
04-16-2009, 08:03 PM
The Jackets played a great first period, but if they're going to beat the Wings they need to cash in on some of the great chances they've had.

improbus
04-16-2009, 08:06 PM
The game is scrappy and ugly, which is exactly the kind of game the Jackets want to play.

westofyou
04-16-2009, 10:24 PM
The Wings controlled the puck and limite dthe chances pretty darn good the second half of the game, the BJ's score on a turnover, but will need to cash in on PP chances if they want to sniff a W. The way to get on the Wings house is to equal their shot input, that limits there offensive chances at the same time. The BJ's don't have the individual talent to play a scrappy series and hope for some breaks, they need to take the puck away from the Wings and get them on their heels defensively, then their offense will suffer.

The Bruins and Canadians are going to beat the snot out of each other whoever gets the winner of that series will be facing a team that already played a round three type of series, those two teams do not like each other. Chara's PP goal for the win was a rocket.

Patrick Bateman
04-17-2009, 12:10 AM
Cant believe the Hawks came back to win that game. They havent wont a come back game in a looong time like that. Martin Havlat is seriously underrated, thats all I can say.

westofyou
04-18-2009, 11:52 PM
The Flames have the size, but they aren't using it and now they are in a 2-0 hole. The Caps have been locked down offensively, which is a bad omen after last years early loss.

The BJ's are over matched, you can't say anything other than that, the wings are fully loaded with 3 lines of quality scorers and a 4th line that can defensively wear down any teams other #1 line.

Patrick Bateman
04-19-2009, 02:03 AM
The Flames were banging around in the first period. Shut down the Hawks for the first 10 minutes, but after that the Blackhawks took complete control of the game. The difference is defense, both teams have good goalies, but the Hawks did what the Flames couldn't do for two games, hold onto a lead.

With Regehr out, the Flames have nothing resembling a shut down unit like the Hawks boast (Keith and Seabrook). Phaneuf was good tonight, but when you have guys like Aucoin and Leopold chewing up 25 minutes a night, your not going to shut down anyone.

improbus
04-19-2009, 02:00 PM
The Jackets have looked like an AHL team next to the Wings. The Wings pass the puck with such fluidity and you can't see any significant dropoff between the lines. The Jackets have played an extremely choppy game. The defensemen are not great puck handlers (Commodore has been awful w/ the puck) and Nash has reverted to One-on-Five Nash from a few years ago. The Wings are simply playing different sport right now.

Joseph
04-19-2009, 04:25 PM
Blackhawks 2-0. I can't believe it.

I forgot what playoffs were like for my teams. its exciting.

westofyou
04-20-2009, 11:35 AM
The Sharks / Ducks match up is looking bad for the Sharks. Down 2-0 and the Ducks aren't even using their most famous goalie. The Niedamiers and Pronger are proving to be more than worth advisories. However... the Chechoo goal last night in the 3rd period was thing of beauty.

Oxilon
04-20-2009, 01:15 PM
The Sharks / Ducks match up is looking bad for the Sharks. Down 2-0 and the Ducks aren't even using their most famous goalie. The Niedamiers and Pronger are proving to be more than worth advisories. However... the Chechoo goal last night in the 3rd period was thing of beauty.

It's beginning to seem like clockwork every season. Sharks are a regular season dynasty but pack up their bags once mid-April starts. Than again, playing an 8th seed Anaheim is pretty much as bad as it can get.

NJReds
04-20-2009, 03:12 PM
The Sharks / Ducks match up is looking bad for the Sharks. Down 2-0 and the Ducks aren't even using their most famous goalie. The Niedamiers and Pronger are proving to be more than worth advisories. However... the Chechoo goal last night in the 3rd period was thing of beauty.

This version of the Sharks just doesn't "bring it" come playoff time. It would be surprising to me if they even found enough heart to push this beyond 5 games.

Makes me long for the Igor Larionov, Ulf Dahlen, Johan Garpanlov years.

Of course, this is not a surprise. Back in October, I posted this:


Sharks fan here. I expect them to disappoint in the playoffs again.

westofyou
04-22-2009, 11:10 AM
The Sharks pulled it together last night, Vancouver sweeps their first round in team history ans the Red Wings looked unbeatable even more... Bruins and Pens get one step closer and the Canes pulled it out after not having a lead in the first few games.

Vancouver might lose an edge if they sit too long, they probably want to keep moving forward.

NJReds
04-22-2009, 01:17 PM
The Sharks pulled it together last night,

They won, which I'm happy about, but they still are maddening to watch.

- Second into the game, Marleau gets a 4 minute major for high sticking. Only to be bailed out by the ref who called a questionable penalty on the Ducks a few seconds later.

- They outworked the Ducks in the first period and were able to take 1-0 and 2-1 leads, only to give away those leads with costly offensive zone turnovers.

WMR
04-22-2009, 01:20 PM
Let me just say that the NHL has GOT to do something about their tv deal. If they expect to get hockey back into even somewhat prominence it is paramount that they get some playoff games on the ESPN family of networks.

westofyou
04-22-2009, 01:28 PM
Let me just say that the NHL has GOT to do something about their tv deal. If they expect to get hockey back into even somewhat prominence it is paramount that they get some playoff games on the ESPN family of networks.

Screw ESPN, they sucked at hockey and were not there when hockey needed them. No Barry Melrose is a good thing, ask your provider to carry the NHL network.

Hockey isn't as interested in north american growth as they used to be, they've tapped those markets, they're more interested in Europe at this time. It's a game that really needs to be ingrained in you to really love (IMO) its' a niche sport that is a result of the environment that it was created in and it flourishes there the best, everywhere else it's a crapshoot based on transplanted population numbers and disposable income and competing attractions.

WMR
04-22-2009, 01:31 PM
Screw ESPN, they sucked at hockey and were not there when hockey needed them. No Barry Melrose is a good thing, ask your provider to carry the NHL network.

Hockey isn't as interested in north american growth as they used to be, they've tapped those markets, they're more interested in Europe at this time. It's a game that really needs to be ingrained in you to really love (IMO) its' a niche sport that is a result of the environment that it was created in and it flourishes there the best, everywhere else it's a crapshoot based on transplanted population numbers and disposable income and competing attractions.

I've got the NHL Network and Versus Network as well.

I hate ESPN too, but hockey does need ESPN, IMHO.

westofyou
04-23-2009, 10:11 AM
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Down 3-0 and nearing extinction in their first-round series with the powerful Detroit Red Wings, the Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to keep their heads up.

Too bad R.J. Umberger didn't do that in Game 3.

Umberger was carrying the puck down through open ice when he glanced at the puck for an instant. Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart closed fast and lowered the boom on the Blue Jackets forward. Umberger looked like a cartoon character with his eyes rolling around in his head for a short time, but later returned and scored his second goal of series -- the Blue Jackets' only goals so far.

Umberger tried to look at the upside of that jarring hit.

"I had a kink in my neck for the last two months. It's gone now," he cracked Wednesday. "So I'm actually pretty happy. I should send him a thank-you note. ... It was better than a chiropractor can do."

For his part, Stuart was happy to oblige.

"Anytime, anytime. Glad to help," Stuart said with a grin. "I don't charge anything. Pro bono."

That one play spoke volumes about the entire series. The Blue Jackets, making their first trip to the playoffs in the franchise's eight years, have skated hard and been focused. But the wily veteran Red Wings have repeatedly beaten them down.

The Blue Jackets are in desperate straits.

"We're playing for our lives now," defenceman Kris Russell said.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings have won by a combined score of 12-2. The defencemen have been superlative. Cycling the puck on offence has been raised to an art form. Chris Osgood has stopped 76 of the 78 shots he's faced.

Many of the Blue Jackets have bemoaned their giveaways and missed scoring chances, adding that the Red Wings are approaching perfection.

Not even close, Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.

"We're a long way from error-free," he said. "It's not a perfect game. It's not supposed to be like that."

The Wings don't strive for perfection. As a result, they don't play with hesitancy, nor are they afraid to take chances.

"It's a game of mistakes and what we try to do and our philosophy and our program is to not be careful -- Put your foot on the gas, go as hard as you can go, we'll fix it later or tomorrow," Babcock said. "But let's make mistakes on the aggressive side, not the passive side."

The Wings have no plans to alter that high-risk, high-reward attack in what could be the series-clinching game, set for Thursday night at Nationwide Arena.

"It's one of the toughest things to close a series," winger Marian Hossa said. "Obviously, no one wants to be swept. They're going to be ready for us and we have to make sure that we come out strong like we have."

The Red Wings had played indifferently down the stretch, long after they were assured of a playoff spot. But once the puck dropped in the post-season, they've been a different team.

"We had been looking forward to it for quite a while. So to do it and to be having fun doing it is a big thing for us," Osgood said. "But each game is a different moment. Game 4 will be completely different. We have to make sure we go out there and play solid hockey and play smart and make sure we're ready for the full game because we expect their best. We're expecting the best of ourselves as well."

The Blue Jackets have played well at the outset in all three games, but have not been able to keep up. On top of that, they've not been able to find the net -- blame that on Osgood, Detroit's stout defence or Columbus' inefficiency and inaccuracy with the puck.

Unlike Stuart, they've even missed the Red Wings on checks.

In Game 3, defenceman Mike Commodore swooped in on Detroit's Daniel Cleary on the short boards. The largest crowd ever to see a hockey game in Columbus tensed for the thunderous hit. Except Cleary slipped past Commodore, who sprawled over the wall and under the Red Wings bench.

"He about got Babcock yesterday, so that would have been a good thing," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock joked. "He just missed him."

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=276070


Wednesday night was as close as we've seen Sean Avery to a meltdown in hockey since he's returned to the National Hockey League.

Rangers head coach John Tortorella is furious with Avery after he squirted water inexplicably at TSN game analyst Ray Ferraro in the first period of Wednesday's game.

In the third period, it really got ugly when Avery took a roughing penalty for his shot to the face of defenceman Milan Jurcina. He couldn't believe the penalty and went back to plead his case before being told to sit down and be quiet by Tortorella.

Late in the third period, with just over three minutes left, he high-sticks Brian Pothier and again Tortorella is left to scratch his head.

Tortorella has been incredibly patient with Avery throughout his return to the National Hockey League and for the most part, in three games of this series, Avery has been a very effective player for the Rangers. But he's testing Tortorella's patience. He's got seven minor penalties in four games, a misconduct, and the worst was Wednesday night on home ice.http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/darren_dreger/?id=276110

improbus
04-23-2009, 09:30 PM
Is anyone else watching this game? This is outstanding. The crowd is absolutely BRINGING it.

cincrazy
04-23-2009, 09:30 PM
Is anyone else watching this game? This is outstanding. The crowd is absolutely BRINGING it.

The crowd is absolutely amazing. It will be one of the better home ice advantages in the league when this team reaches another level.

improbus
04-23-2009, 09:33 PM
Terrible penalty to take...fingers and toes crossed...

improbus
04-23-2009, 09:33 PM
*^&%^&#$%@#^$%&

improbus
04-23-2009, 09:34 PM
Commodore got in Mason's way.

improbus
04-23-2009, 09:38 PM
Tough way to lose. The announcers are killing the refs, but Chimaera's gotta hustle to the bench. It was a penalty. GREAT SEASON!!! Let's see some more Filatov and Brassard next year!

westofyou
04-24-2009, 10:26 AM
“They play the game the right way,” Hitchcock said. “For a skill team, they get their noses dirty. They were going for the throat. When you are a championship team, you’ve got to close. They’re not resting on their laurels. They’re not just good players; they are good players that are well coached. If it isn’t one line, it’s another. That’s what happens when you are a deep hockey club and you are competing.”

Earlier in the day, Hitchcock said that, “they seem to be the team that’s been able to go up another level really since 1997. They seem to be the one team in the league that has another gear whether it’s during a playoff series or for the whole playoff run, they have the ability to go up another level.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/04/22/DI2009042202677.html

Washington, D.C.: Enough with the idiots criticizing George McPhee and Bruce Boudreau for putting together a team incapable of playing playoff hockey. The Caps are playing fine playoff hockey. Varlamov has a 1.00 GAA, yet he is 1-2. Unfortuantely for the Caps, they can't shoot a hockey puck through a wall. The wall, Henrik Lundqvuist, has been great. Bummer.

Tom Boswell: This series will drive you nuts. Varlamov looks like the right move. But it hasn't paid off. Just for natural ability, creatrtivity, etc., the Rangers look like the JV compared to the Caps. But they are working incredibly hard, sacrificing their bodies to block shots. And, as I wrote, there is such a thing as a "hot goalie." When Wilson was Caps coach, he compared it to a baseball hitter who hits everything he sees for a couple of weeks. The ball looks as big as a grapefruit and isn't moving too fast. Yes, he was no doubt humoring me with the analogy. But he was also a baseball fan and thought it was apt. Then, the hot streak can disappear, too. Goalies, like hitters, been to be relaxed, confident, almost blank-brained. When they start thinking and tightening up, all their skills in a tough reflection-dependant activity go to pieces.

The "odds" say the Caps have about a 1-in-12 chance of winning the series, even though they've actually outscored the Rangers by one goal in four games. I think the Caps chances are MUCH better __maybe 1-in-3. Believe me, at this point, that constitutes extreme optimism.

Oxilon
04-24-2009, 01:43 PM
I still think the Capitals are going to win the series against the Rangers. Lundqvuist is due to come down eventually.

Sean_CaseyRules
04-25-2009, 12:58 AM
I was at the Jackets game last night....it was such a tough loss to swallow. We finally looked like we figured out how to play Playoff hockey. And that call....I'm not gonna be upset that he called that call, but 30 seconds before Dorsett got pulled down in the corner and no one called that, it looked like they were trying not to call anything borderline, but to call that penalty, it was borderline and the refs DID affect the outcome of that game, and I can't take that.....I really hate them. The refs, and the War Room in Toronto have had it out for us all year....

improbus
04-25-2009, 08:27 AM
The refs, and the War Room in Toronto have had it out for us all year....
It has certainly seemed to be that way for the last 8 years. But, the Jackets have one penalty to kill to save their season, you HAVE to kill that penalty. I don't care if the team with the greatest power play in NHL history is on the other side of the ice (which they were). This is your season. Kill it.

To all of our Jackets brethren, how would you grade the players?

Mason: C - He had moments when he kept games from being 6-7 goal routs, but giving up over 4 a game is not good.

Commodore - F - Sorry, he was a disaster handling the puck, he pushed Mason out of the way on the last goal, and was simply brutal.

Nash - D - I saw more of 2005 Nash. He tried to go 1 on 6 way too much.

Klesla - B+ - He was everywhere, maybe he is starting to really blossom

redsfan1966
04-25-2009, 08:55 AM
I am a Jackets fan---though I am still am treading lightly; I was a huge fan until a few years ago when Doug MacLean and his antics drove me away. Still, while the "too many men" penalty was disappointing--I am tired of hearing it as an excuse to why we lost. Chimera had to get off the ice and barring that, the team has to kill a penalty that cost them their playoff life.

The intensity and atmospehere in the building was intense, the way it was for the first four or so years of the Jackets timeline---I hope it carries into next season. Let's remember, we finally made the playoffs; hopefully it is the start of something larger next season.

westofyou
04-25-2009, 10:22 AM
but to call that penalty, it was borderline and the refs DID affect the outcome of that game, and I can't take that..

1st and 3rd period is set up with the home teams bench closer to the home teams ice to make player changes more fluid and less obtrusive. Say they didn't make the call and the extra man (and make no mistake there was an extra man on ice, thus the rules were broken, whereas the pull down in the corner is a judgment call) if they look the other way and the extra man came down the ice and scored the go ahead goal then the rules infraction would have been a decision maker. Sure no one likes to lose on a rules infraction, but that's what it was. Plain and simple, I wouldn't lean on that one play as the reason the Jackets lost, they were simply overmatched.

improbus
04-25-2009, 11:11 AM
1st and 3rd period is set up with the home teams bench closer to the home teams ice to make player changes more fluid and less obtrusive. Say they didn't make the call and the extra man (and make no mistake there was an extra man on ice, thus the rules were broken, whereas the pull down in the corner is a judgment call) if they look the other way and the extra man came down the ice and scored the go ahead goal then the rules infraction would have been a decision maker. Sure no one likes to lose on a rules infraction, but that's what it was. Plain and simple, I wouldn't lean on that one play as the reason the Jackets lost, they were simply overmatched.
Exactly. The Jackets lost because the Wings have more talent, more experience, and worked harder, and worked together. Pretty simple.

cincrazy
04-25-2009, 12:25 PM
1st and 3rd period is set up with the home teams bench closer to the home teams ice to make player changes more fluid and less obtrusive. Say they didn't make the call and the extra man (and make no mistake there was an extra man on ice, thus the rules were broken, whereas the pull down in the corner is a judgment call) if they look the other way and the extra man came down the ice and scored the go ahead goal then the rules infraction would have been a decision maker. Sure no one likes to lose on a rules infraction, but that's what it was. Plain and simple, I wouldn't lean on that one play as the reason the Jackets lost, they were simply overmatched.

If the Jackets go down and score a goal and win the game, the Red Wings still win in 5. So give it to us :thumbup:

westofyou
04-25-2009, 12:31 PM
If the Jackets go down and score a goal and win the game, the Red Wings still win in 5. So give it to us :thumbup:

Nope, no give mes in Hockey, I remember the Kings series in 2001 very well too:

The heavily-favored Red Wings — many predicted another four-game sweep — made easy work of the Kings in Games 1 and 2 at the Joe Louis Arena, but the Kings got back in the series with a 2-1 win in Game 3 at Staples Center.
In Game 4, the Red Wings took a commanding 3-0 lead after two periods, seemingly restoring order to a series they were supposed to win easily. And in the third period, it looked like nothing would change. But all that set the stage for yet another unbelievable playoff comeback for the Kings.... RW lose 4 straight.

Kings were in 3rd place that year (like the BJ's) and they had 92 points.

improbus
04-25-2009, 12:42 PM
I hate to mix my sports analogies, but the Jackets remind me of the early days of the Columbus Crew. They had this image and idea that they are a Midwestern team from a blue collar city (which Columbus isn't necessarily) and so their team needed to be the "hardest working team in the MLS/NHL". But, after years and years of failing in and out of the playoffs they finally decided that they simply needed to have the best players on the field and with that they would win. So, when they got Schelotto, Rogers, and Marshall three of the 15 best players in the league, they won it all.

You might get to the playoffs with hard work, but you win in the playoffs with great talent. The Jackets worked to get here, but the Wings have the talent. The Jackets aren't going to win a Cup with Mark Methot as a top 4 Defenseman and Manny Malhotra as their #1 Center. Sorry, they need more.

improbus
04-25-2009, 04:33 PM
This Pitts v. Philly game is great. Pucks and players are flying all over the place.

CincinnatiRep
04-27-2009, 02:21 AM
With Brashear likely (and deservingly) to be suspended for Game 7, this should open up Nylander returning to the lineup. Obviously, Nylander has a lot of offensive talent, and perhaps being chosen to sit out the last few games will fuel some fire in him for Game 7. "Bold" Prediction: I wouldn't be surprised if Nylander turns out to be an unlikely impact player in Game 7 for Washington.

Also, Game 6 is Monday Night at the Honda Center. The Sharks are going to need Thornton continuing to lay a body and finish hard checks on Getzlaf again like he did in Game 5. SJ Third Line will need to win the puck possession battle too.

westofyou
04-28-2009, 11:41 AM
Well one physical team wins and the other loses, two upsets (IMO) in the west, par for the course in PO Hockey. Two game 7's tonight, pretty sweet.

Patrick Bateman
04-28-2009, 01:31 PM
It was a little easier sitting at the Saddledome last night. The "Hawks suck"comments seemed to disappear by the end.

M2
04-28-2009, 05:12 PM
Meanwhile, there's talk of Toronto getting second team (http://blog.mlive.com/snapshots/2009/04/franchise_relocation_as_nhlnhl.html). Sounds like relocation is on the table. To put it charitably, Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Florida, Nashville and the Islanders are a mess. Sounds like Bettman's just trying to keep a lid on this whole thing until the playoffs end. Since none of the franchises in trouble are in the playoffs, I say the league should be talking openly about relocation. It would help put the spotlight on the league during its showcase.

Phoenix probably has to move before next season. Maybe Winnipeg would take them back.

A second team in hockey-mad Toronto makes a lot of sense. Salt Lake City and Seattle are prime relocation spots. I've always been mildly surprised Milwaukee doesn't have an NHL franchise, but I suppose there's some wisdom that the area wouldn't adequately support both an NBA and an NHL team.

Of course, there is another option: European expansion. Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo, Goteborg and Saint Petersburg are all conveniently located on the Baltic Sea.

Revering4Blue
04-28-2009, 07:29 PM
Meanwhile, there's talk of Toronto getting second team (http://blog.mlive.com/snapshots/2009/04/franchise_relocation_as_nhlnhl.html). Sounds like relocation is on the table. To put it charitably, Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Florida, Nashville and the Islanders are a mess. Sounds like Bettman's just trying to keep a lid on this whole thing until the playoffs end. Since none of the franchises in trouble are in the playoffs, I say the league should be talking openly about relocation. It would help put the spotlight on the league during its showcase.

Phoenix probably has to move before next season. Maybe Winnipeg would take them back.

A second team in hockey-mad Toronto makes a lot of sense. Salt Lake City and Seattle are prime relocation spots. I've always been mildly surprised Milwaukee doesn't have an NHL franchise, but I suppose there's some wisdom that the area wouldn't adequately support both an NBA and an NHL team.

Of course, there is another option: European expansion. Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo, Goteborg and Saint Petersburg are all conveniently located on the Baltic Sea.

Here's a hot rumor:

The Islanders to Kansas City.

Seattle doesn't have an NHL ready arena, neither does Milwaukee, which may lose the Bucks if they don't upgrade/replace the Bradley Center. Why isn't Portland mentioned as a relocation candidate? European expansion is an interesting idea, though.

On to the Playoffs, It's do-or-die for my Hurricanes tonight. I was living in Raleigh(Cary) three years ago when the Canes captured the Cup. So much for the theory that NHL won't fly in NASCAR country, although the ESPN talking heads helped to perpetuate that myth because they were understandably bitter about losing the Whalers.

westofyou
04-28-2009, 10:26 PM
Here's a hot rumor:

The Islanders to Kansas City.

Seattle doesn't have an NHL ready arena, neither does Milwaukee, which may lose the Bucks if they don't upgrade/replace the Bradley Center. Why isn't Portland mentioned as a relocation candidate? European expansion is an interesting idea, though.

On to the Playoffs, It's do-or-die for my Hurricanes tonight. I was living in Raleigh(Cary) three years ago when the Canes captured the Cup. So much for the theory that NHL won't fly in NASCAR country, although the ESPN talking heads helped to perpetuate that myth because they were understandably bitter about losing the Whalers.Portland is chasing Hockey, it's currently back seat to MLS. But the Blazers would love someone to share their building.

On to the games... WOW.. that 3rd period in Jersey, talk about coming back!! and The caps do pull it out... so we get Canes vs B's and Caps vs Pens.. IRC.

Good match up in the east.

HotCorner
04-29-2009, 09:37 AM
I'm so looking forward to the Caps/Pens series. It should be quite entertaining!

The move to replace Theodore with Varlamov saved the Caps season IMO. Varlamov has been tremendous especially considering:
1) he's only 20 years old;
2) had started only two NHL games prior to this series.

Oxilon
04-29-2009, 02:12 PM
Of course, there is another option: European expansion. Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo, Goteborg and Saint Petersburg are all conveniently located on the Baltic Sea.

I still think we're years and years away from ever seeing inter-continental leagues. The travel time is just way to excessive. If you thought the normal west coast trip for an eastern conference team was bad to begin with, imagine flying from Stockhom to Los Angeles, San Jose, or Vancouver, or vis versa?

M2
04-29-2009, 04:15 PM
I still think we're years and years away from ever seeing inter-continental leagues. The travel time is just way to excessive. If you thought the normal west coast trip for an eastern conference team was bad to begin with, imagine flying from Stockhom to Los Angeles, San Jose, or Vancouver, or vis versa?

From the northeast there really isn't much difference between flying to western Europe or the west coast.

It's really the west coast-Europe difference that's the killer. Yet it's probably worth it if it creates the first sports league to cross an ocean. It also may be the first league that needs to cross the ocean because if the KHL is a success, top European players may not see the need to play in the NHL.

Oxilon
05-03-2009, 03:31 PM
Did anybody catch the Capitals/Penguins game yesterday? Talk about entertaining; both Ovechkin and Crosby showed up to play and it lived up to the hype (and I think Malkin forgot there was a game yesterday)

On a side note, how about the goaltending of Simeon Varlamov? Dude has been unreal since replacing Jose Threeormore. He allowed a real soft goal yesterday, but he made up for it and more with that stick save against Crosby's shot on a wide open net.

WMR
05-03-2009, 03:43 PM
The Blackhawks are a young, scrappy, and talented squad.

Really fun team to root for.

Since old man Wirtz did Blackhawk fans a favor the future is actually bright once again for the 'Hawks.

Joseph
05-03-2009, 05:20 PM
Lets go Blackhawks.

Patrick Bateman
05-03-2009, 08:02 PM
Vancouver just got embarassed after almost being embarassed two nights before. They need to wake up because the Hawks are the better tem right now, and heading home.

HotCorner
05-03-2009, 08:52 PM
Did anybody catch the Capitals/Penguins game yesterday? Talk about entertaining; both Ovechkin and Crosby showed up to play and it lived up to the hype (and I think Malkin forgot there was a game yesterday)

On a side note, how about the goaltending of Simeon Varlamov? Dude has been unreal since replacing Jose Threeormore. He allowed a real soft goal yesterday, but he made up for it and more with that stick save against Crosby's shot on a wide open net.

Oh this save?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQzhQsYjhwc&feature=player_embedded

Jose Threeormore :laugh:

Great start for the Caps! The second and third goals for the Caps were an excellent display of patience (and passing). Pumped for Game 2 tomorrow night.

Oxilon
05-05-2009, 03:58 PM
Another great game last night between the Caps and Penguins. A hat trick from both Ovie and Crosby? Can't really ask for anything more.

And Ovie's 3rd goal...thing of beauty.

westofyou
05-05-2009, 04:46 PM
Another great game last night between the Caps and Penguins. A hat trick from both Ovie and Crosby? Can't really ask for anything more.

And Ovie's 3rd goal...thing of beauty.

Completely spaced that the game was on, sad I missed it... rare PST Wing Playoff contest tonight, that's a brutal battle brewing.

westofyou
05-06-2009, 10:22 AM
Roberto stonewalls the Hawks, I missed that one, however it looks as though the Hawks played sloppy in their own zone. I did watch the late game and it was doozy. So bad that a refs call is the decider, but the rules concerning the puck in the crease is like the strikezone in baseball, no arguments allowed.

The wings were sluggish through the 1st 2, the Ducks were controlling the neutral zone great and Hiller was mountain in the net. The last 30 minutes of the game were high tempo, the Wings are in need of Brian R. and it's sad to say Chelly should be on the bench.. or maybe on the couch with me (we could talk about Wacky Wafers and Hot Wheels since we're contemporaries) The next game is a MUST win for the wings, I expect a brutal first period of action.

westofyou
05-06-2009, 10:23 AM
Bankrupt Coyotes could move to Ontario

FREE PRESS NEWS SERVICES • May 6, 2009

NEW YORK -- Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes announced Tuesday that his team had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection -- a move that could allow the franchise to be sold and moved to Ontario.
Advertisement

Angered by the filing, the NHL stripped Moyes of his authority to run the club and said it would represent the team in bankruptcy court.

Earlier, BlackBerry boss Jim Balsillie announced a plan to buy the Coyotes and move them to Ontario.

The co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion said his $212.5-million offer is conditional on the Coyotes relocating to Canada, where they existed as the Winnipeg Jets before moving to Phoenix for the 1996-97 season.

Balsillie, who failed in previous attempts to buy the Predators and Penguins, hopes to move the Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario.

Revering4Blue
05-06-2009, 04:08 PM
By RONALD BLUM AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK(AP) -- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is skeptical of Jim Balsillie's offer to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, saying he isn't sure the BlackBerry boss could gain approval of league owners.

The NHL stripped current Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes of the authority to run the club Tuesday after Moyes announced the team had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Balsillie announced a plan to buy the financially troubled team and move it to Canada, where they were the Winnipeg Jets before moving to Phoenix for the 1996-97 season.

"I don't know whether or not he could get approved," Bettman said Wednesday during a discussion of commissioners from the four major U.S. pro sports leagues, sponsored by The Wall Street Journal. "That's, as I said, something I don't get a vote on. If in fact it becomes an issue for board consideration, the board of governors of the league will make that decision."

Balsillie, co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, said his $212.5 million offer is conditional on the Coyotes relocating to Canada.

The team's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing included the proposed sale of the franchise to PSE Sports & Entertainment, LP.

Bettman said the filing occurred "not because creditors were lurking and seeking redress for not being paid, but because there was an offer apparently from Mr. Balsillie to buy the franchise and move it."

"This is not about whether or not we want a franchise in southern Ontario. This is not about whether or not Mr. Balsillie would make a suitable owner that the owners would approve. This is about the league's rules and the enforceability of our rules," Bettman said.

"Whether or not Mr. Moyes even had the authority to file the bankruptcy petition is something we're going to get into. This is more about the tactic and I think a challenge to league rules than it is about economic condition of the club, which we believe can with new ownership and with the accommodations the city of Glendale is prepared to make, we think can succeed."

Bettman sounded as if the league wouldn't approve a move of the Coyotes right now.

"We generally try to avoid relocating franchises unless you absolutely have to," he said. "We think when a franchise is in trouble, you try and fix the problems. That's what we did in Pittsburgh and Ottawa and Buffalo prior to our work stoppage. That's what we did when the perception was that five out of the six Canadian franchises around the turn of the century were in trouble. We fixed the problems. We don't run out on cities."

Revering4Blue
05-06-2009, 04:16 PM
Should NHL change playoff OT format to avoid marathon games?

By Sean Leahy

The debate over whether or not to change the current playoff overtime format has been the topic du jour since Todd Marchant's winner went by Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood to give the Anaheim Ducks a dramatic 3-2 win in Game 2 of their series.

Stu Hackel of the New York Times caught a discussion on Montreal radio Team 990 in which TSN's Bob McKenzie nonchalantly brought up that in the past year, the National Hockey League's Competition Committee was within one vote of eliminating a skater from each team after one overtime session. Mike Brophy agreed with the idea in his column on Sportsnet.ca yesterday:

Play one period of 5-on-5 overtime and if the score is still tied, play 4-on-4 until a winner is declared. It really isn't a radical idea. I understand this would be a huge break from tradition, but that doesn't mean it is wrong. The NHL went to 4-on-4 in overtime in 1999-2000 and we survived, right?

For heaven's sake, it's just a freaking hockey game! The fate of the world is not depending on the outcome.

So, why are you in such a tiff, Mike? Is the fate of the world depending on the length of the game as well?

A hockey game that ventures into multiple-overtimes is one of the selling points of playoff hockey. It's what lures in the casual fan. It's something that can turn a series on edge; both on the ice and in the minds of fans.

Which is why you don't mess with playoff overtime.

My answer to the question:

Heck no.

Oxilon
05-06-2009, 04:19 PM
Anybody see that goal, or "non-goal" for the Red Wings? Hossa tied the game up but they blew the whistle even though the puck was still alive. Could end up changing the entire series.

westofyou
05-06-2009, 04:23 PM
Anybody see that goal, or "non-goal" for the Red Wings? Hossa tied the game up but they blew the whistle even though the puck was still alive. Could end up changing the entire series.

Saw it, it was a clear goal, but the Ref lost site of the puck because he was on one side of the net, just heartbreaking.

HotCorner
05-06-2009, 04:26 PM
Game 3 of the Caps and Pens tonight. 7pm on Versus.

Chip R
05-06-2009, 10:27 PM
My answer to the question:

Heck no.


Agreed. I love the marathon games. They are quite intense.

westofyou
05-06-2009, 10:47 PM
My answer to the question:

Heck no.

Extended Ice Time equals attrition, that's the way the Hockey gods intended it to be. I love the OT of PO Hockey, it's one of my favorite things about spring.

CincinnatiRep
05-07-2009, 01:37 PM
It's always heartbreaking when a team leaves a city, and I can sympathize for all the loyal Coyote fans there. However, looking at the big picture- it wasn't a good sports city to begin with compounded with facts such as it's not a hockey market, the Coyotes haven't been successful, and the media treats it like **** there.

I went to Arizona a few years ago and was watching their local news. They had their sports report, and the lady reporter was asked something about the Coyotes. She gave a smirk and said "Does anyone really care anymore?"

Whether true or not, I just thought it was amazingly unprofessional. There were hurdles in place already, but with the local media having an attitude like that it just makes it harder.

Since they are moving, I hope it is to one of the cities that got their hearts ripped out of them already. Winnipeg, Quebec, or Hartford. Baslillie would move a team to Toronto Metro, but I don't think the Owners would approve a sale to him. Maybe someone else, we'll see.

Patrick Bateman
05-07-2009, 06:23 PM
Roberto stonewalls the Hawks, I missed that one, however it looks as though the Hawks played sloppy in their own zone.

It was more the Nucks defense stonewalling the Hawks. Very very few decent chances. Mostly perimetre shots. Led to a very easy game for Luongo, and a frustrating one to watch for me.

Big game tonight for the Hawks.

westofyou
05-08-2009, 11:45 AM
It was more the Nucks defense stonewalling the Hawks. Very very few decent chances. Mostly perimetre shots. Led to a very easy game for Luongo, and a frustrating one to watch for me.

Big game tonight for the Hawks.

And they pulled it off, again I missed it, only so many hours in the day for watching sports. The Ducks - Wings was a good game and the line shuffle allowed the strength of the Ducks 1st line to be somewhat neutralized, this was a great move by Babcock, it allows the Zetterberg line to drop down against smaller bodies and lower skill players, that should enhance that lines offense since they won't be working as hard physically as they have been.

Sunday's game should be a physical match again, but I look for a breakout by the 2nd line for sure.

Patrick Bateman
05-08-2009, 07:40 PM
The Hawks game was pretty weird. The Hawks got all the chances early (something like 13 scoring chances to the Nucks 3. However the Nucks managed to score a goal off a broken play started by a blocked shot which led to a 2 on 1 vs. a very slow footed Matt Walker.

The Nucks mostly focused on playing defense from there on in (explaining why they only had 14 shots in the game), and mostly prevented decent scoring chances. The Hawks game tying goal probably should have been saved, but was nonetheless a quality chance.

It was an unbelieveable win considering the circumstances. With 5 minutes left I felt like the series would be over if the Hawks went down 3-1. Their lives were on the line and they somehow escaped. It was a really special game for me.

improbus
05-11-2009, 09:59 PM
GOOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!! GAME 7 BABY!!! This series has EVERYTHING!!

HotCorner
05-11-2009, 10:29 PM
Thank god! The Caps live on to see another day. Wednesday should be awesome.

M2
05-12-2009, 11:58 AM
So, how hard are the NHL head offices rooting for the Bruins and Red Wings tonight?

You've got to figure they're praying for Carolina and Anaheim to be out of the mix. Detroit vs. Chicago would be huge, as would Boston vs. either Pittsburgh or DC.

No matter who wins those, it's a can't-lose finals for the league. IMO, the absolute best matchup would be the Bruins vs. the Hawks. Boston hasn't won a Stanley Cup for 37 years and Chicago hasn't done it for 48 years. That's two Original Six teams in big markets carrying a lot of historical baggage. If only they could resurrect the Boston Garden and Chicago Stadium.

Chip R
05-12-2009, 12:18 PM
So, how hard are the NHL head offices rooting for the Bruins and Red Wings tonight?



Is it really going to matter that much?

westofyou
05-12-2009, 12:20 PM
So, how hard are the NHL head offices rooting for the Bruins and Red Wings tonight?

You've got to figure they're praying for Carolina and Anaheim to be out of the mix. Detroit vs. Chicago would be huge, as would Boston vs. either Pittsburgh or DC.

No matter who wins those, it's a can't-lose finals for the league. IMO, the absolute best matchup would be the Bruins vs. the Hawks. Boston hasn't won a Stanley Cup for 37 years and Chicago hasn't done it for 48 years. That's two Original Six teams in big markets carrying a lot of historical baggage. If only they could resurrect the Boston Garden and Chicago Stadium.

Yep, too bad it won't happen though.. Detroit - Boston and it will good to see Chara go against Franzen

westofyou
05-12-2009, 12:22 PM
Is it really going to matter that much?

Hockey doesn't need Carolina or Anaheim in there, the Ducks timezone effects the ratings and Carolina is a workhorse team with no flash.

Both teams lack the selling point for the league this year (excitement for the Ducks, Marquee players for the Canes)

Chip R
05-12-2009, 12:30 PM
Hockey doesn't need Carolina or Anaheim in there, the Ducks timezone effects the ratings and Carolina is a workhorse team with no flash.

Both teams lack the selling point for the league this year (excitement for the Ducks, Marquee players for the Canes)


I see the logic but if they get what they want it's not like people are going to watch the Stanley Cup in record numbers. I'm sure the ratings will be better - although there may be a bit of a Boston backlash amongst the casual fan - but is an extra 500K viewers going to be that significant?

westofyou
05-12-2009, 12:39 PM
I see the logic but if they get what they want it's not like people are going to watch the Stanley Cup in record numbers. I'm sure the ratings will be better - although there may be a bit of a Boston backlash amongst the casual fan - but is an extra 500K viewers going to be that significant?
Bigger teams (IE BH, Bruins) returning to the finals reinvigorate the brand, and the seed brand at that (original six) that bodes well across the board for merchandising and big cities that get reinvigorated, buy product.

I think it matters to them a great deal, beyond viewership.

Oxilon
05-12-2009, 01:00 PM
No matter who wins those, it's a can't-lose finals for the league. IMO, the absolute best matchup would be the Bruins vs. the Hawks. Boston hasn't won a Stanley Cup for 37 years and Chicago hasn't done it for 48 years. That's two Original Six teams in big markets carrying a lot of historical baggage. If only they could resurrect the Boston Garden and Chicago Stadium.

I respectfully disagree. Don't get me wrong, a Boston/Detroit Championship would be a great series and there's definitely history a lot of history between the two franchises, but you know the NHL is pulling for either Pittsburgh or Washington to come out of the East.

You have to figure the NHL's ideal scenario has either one of the NHL's most marketable players in Ovechkin or Crosby up against Detroit (auto-industry, etc...) for the Stanley Cup.

M2
05-12-2009, 01:24 PM
Is it really going to matter that much?

I think so. Only twice this century (last year and in 2001) has the NHL gotten anything approaching a marquee matchup in the finals. That's not to say the NHL finals haven't been entertaining, because they have (most notably the Lightning-Flames final in 2004).

Yet it's hard to sell the game to a wider audience when you've got largely anonymous teams with largely anonymous players. The NHL has half the Original Six still playing and the two teams with the biggest young stars in the game. The buzz potential for these finals is enormous.

If the Bruins can somehow match up against the Red Wings or Blackhawks, it would be the first time in 30 years that two Original Six teams squared off for the Stanley Cup. ESPN would have a field day with the historical montages - Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull, Ted Lindsay, Phil Esposito, Stan Mikita.

WOY covered the spillover benefits.


Yep, too bad it won't happen though.. Detroit - Boston and it will good to see Chara go against Franzen

They've each got to win two more elimination games just to get to the next round. I'm not saying it won't happen, but it won't be easy.

westofyou
05-12-2009, 03:43 PM
I have a buddy in Chicago who doesn't know a fore check from a back check and he's a complete and total bandwagoner, and from what I can tell the town is all chasing the Hawks, IF they beat Detroit/Ducks and meet Boston then it will make some good copy. NHL can use some good copy. And I mean aside from the usual "Superstar" copy, I'm thinking of brands being buffed and polished with loads of old heroes appearing. A chance to remind most of the country that the NHL has been around a long time, way longer than the NBA and other entities. But it's a hard sell when your market sees ice in their cokes more than their streets.

WMR
05-12-2009, 04:22 PM
It would be awesome if hockey became huge again in Chicago.

Chip R
05-12-2009, 04:29 PM
I have a buddy in Chicago who doesn't know a fore check from a back check and he's a complete and total bandwagoner, and from what I can tell the town is all chasing the Hawks, IF they beat Detroit/Ducks and meet Boston then it will make some good copy. NHL can use some good copy. And I mean aside from the usual "Superstar" copy, I'm thinking of brands being buffed and polished with loads of old heroes appearing. A chance to remind most of the country that the NHL has been around a long time, way longer than the NBA and other entities. But it's a hard sell when your market sees ice in their cokes more than their streets.


Unfortunately the people the NHL wants watching these games/buying stuff from the commercials they air don't know who Howe, Orr, Esposito or Mikita were or what they meant to the NHL. They may have to think a minute or two to remember who Gretzky and Lemeiux were.

Baseball has the same problem except it's so well ensconsed in the psyche of Americans - much like hockey is in Canada - that it isn't going to be a nonentity to people. Baseball loves to sell people on its rich history and former legends but the people they want buying their product don't know who they were. I had a SABR meeting in Dayton last week and Todd Benzinger came in to talk to us. He said that he was talking about a former player from the not to distant past to his players and none of them had any idea who that player was.

HotCorner
05-12-2009, 04:46 PM
One of my best friend's is a 'Hawks fan. His wife is a Wings fan. Watching the Western Conference finals should be fun at their house. :)

I'm a Caps fan since the mid '80s. I'm hoping for a Caps-Blackhawks Series ... but that's a long ways away.

M2
05-12-2009, 05:01 PM
I have a buddy in Chicago who doesn't know a fore check from a back check and he's a complete and total bandwagoner, and from what I can tell the town is all chasing the Hawks, IF they beat Detroit/Ducks and meet Boston then it will make some good copy. NHL can use some good copy. And I mean aside from the usual "Superstar" copy, I'm thinking of brands being buffed and polished with loads of old heroes appearing. A chance to remind most of the country that the NHL has been around a long time, way longer than the NBA and other entities. But it's a hard sell when your market sees ice in their cokes more than their streets.

I'm thinking the same thing.

Good to hear about the enthusiasm for the Hawks. It's been a lean 35 years for that franchise. The Hawks highlight during those years is the token Stanley Cup appearance in '92 where the team got steamrolled by the Super Mario Penguins.

Even the Rangers have won a Stanley Cup since then. I suppose Toronto has been worse (the Maple Leafs haven't been all that relevant since 1967), but the Leafs at least have a storied history to carry them through the lean times. Plus, they play in Canada's largest city.

M2
05-12-2009, 05:45 PM
Unfortunately the people the NHL wants watching these games/buying stuff from the commercials they air don't know who Howe, Orr, Esposito or Mikita were or what they meant to the NHL. They may have to think a minute or two to remember who Gretzky and Lemeiux were.

Baseball has the same problem except it's so well ensconsed in the psyche of Americans - much like hockey is in Canada - that it isn't going to be a nonentity to people. Baseball loves to sell people on its rich history and former legends but the people they want buying their product don't know who they were. I had a SABR meeting in Dayton last week and Todd Benzinger came in to talk to us. He said that he was talking about a former player from the not to distant past to his players and none of them had any idea who that player was.

Getting a rich history to resonate is difficult when you can't connect it to what's happening in the here and now.

For instance, the rich history of the Pittsburgh Pirates has been rendered a moot point for almost two decades. The stories of Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, the Waners and Honus Wagner are in mothballs at the moment.

And MLB is suffering a bit from the rise of history-free clubs. I think that's feeding into what Benzinger was talking about and it robs the game of some of its gravitas. Newbies to a sport are always a dicey proposition. It's longtime core fans that really keep a sport going. When the Rays and Rockies make it to a World Series, those longtime fans can feel displaced. They don't have a connection to those clubs. When the Marlins and Diamondbacks win a series, it seems less important because those clubs have no history to build upon. When you think about it, the Angels and Astros are relative newbies. When clubs like that make it to the championship, new fans don't get to hear about the history of the game.

On the flip side, when the Red Sox play the Cardinals, you get to hear about Slaughter's mad dash and Bob Gibson. And when the Cardinals play the Tigers, you get to hear about the Gashouse Gang and Mickey Lolich.

A league loses a lot of that when it expands. History takes a long time to unfold. Not for nothing, it took 45 years for the Mets and Phillies to forge a rivalry.

Last year the NBA got a huge shot in the arm when the Celtics met the Lakers in the final. It was an olly-olly-in-come-free moment for a lot of former fans.

For the NHL, getting to tell the story of the Original Six, to recall the days when two guys named Bobby ruled the game (even to get them in the booth during the games), to demonstrate to newbie fans just how much the Stanley Cup means to the cities that have pursued it for almost a century, that would be huge.

I agree a lot of fans don't know that history, but they'll come to know it if certain teams make the final.

Patrick Bateman
05-12-2009, 07:52 PM
It would be awesome if hockey became huge again in Chicago.

I think it already is.

I really want to see Chicago - Detroit. Would be nice to see that rivalry start up again (the Red Wings haven't had a reason to care about the Hawks for a long time). Plus it would be a really good test and learning experience for the Hawks.

I feel spoiled going into the final 4 after not seeing Blackhawk playoff hockey basically my whole life. It's been a successful season, anything else is bonus. They are an amazingly entertaining team right now.

M2
05-12-2009, 10:31 PM
I really want to see Chicago - Detroit. Would be nice to see that rivalry start up again (the Red Wings haven't had a reason to care about the Hawks for a long time). Plus it would be a really good test and learning experience for the Hawks.

Actually, I don't think it's existed since the league expanded beyond the Original Six. The Red Wings were awful, arguably the worst team in hockey, for 20 years after the initial expansion. The Kansas City Scouts and California Golden Seals had nothing on the Wings. Then Stevie Yzerman showed up and things started getting better.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks were still riding the Hull-Mikita-Tony Esposito wave after the expansion. They had some moments during the '80s with Denis Savard and Steve Larmer and in the early '90s with Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios and Ed Belfour, but they began to fade when the Red Wings came up with Sergei Fedorov and Niklas Lidstrom.

The Hawks also weren't much of a factor when the Wings were putting together some legendary teams in the '40s and '50s. The teams played each frequently back then, but only during the early '60s were both clubs a factor.

Detroit and Chicago going toe-to-toe with the Western Conference at stake would be something brand new.

Kingspoint
05-12-2009, 10:49 PM
Let's Go Hawks!

WMR
05-12-2009, 10:55 PM
I wish the Hawks could have kept Roenick and Chelly together along with Amonte and others.

Inept ownership sabotaged any real hope that the team had and they seemed to do their best to alienate their fanbase.

This new ownership has gone a long way towards making things right with the fans and I think good things will continue to happen for the Hawks beyond this season.

M2
05-12-2009, 11:44 PM
Bruins won tonight. Wings have one period to overturn a 2-0 deficit.

M2
05-13-2009, 09:37 AM
Bad night for the Motor City. The Ducks are playing the role of giant killers this year - first San Jose, now Detroit.

Gary Bettman is going to be wearing nothing but Blackhawks Underoos for the next two weeks.

westofyou
05-13-2009, 09:44 AM
Bad night for the Motor City. The Ducks are playing the role of giant killers this year - first San Jose, now Detroit.

Gary Bettman is going to be wearing nothing but Blackhawks Underoos for the next two weeks.

Yeah, sleepy in the first 2 they really miss Draper in the FO circle. The real key is getting the Zetterberg line to produce in the next game though, that and knock some Ducks on the arses as soon as the whistle blows.

3 Game sevens in the next day... that's awesome.

NJReds
05-13-2009, 10:04 AM
The Ducks remind me of a more thuggish version of the NJ Devils.

westofyou
05-13-2009, 10:28 AM
The Ducks remind me of a more thuggish version of the NJ Devils.

With fewer skilled offensive players, seriously I have watched them all year (west coast teams ya know) and I have a hard time naming 5 offensive players on their team. It's just not stacked there.

Ughh they play boring hockey at times too, and if they get in they will beat the crap out of the Hawks physically and that will be boring hockey, I like hits and scoring, not just hits.

Oxilon
05-13-2009, 11:05 AM
Capitals/Penguins Game 7 tonight. Seeing how the last few games have gone to OT, I don't see this one being an exception. Talk about a great series living up to the hype...can't wait for tonight.

westofyou
05-13-2009, 11:16 AM
Ducks have much fight left -- literally

BY DREW SHARP
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The game was over. The series was not.

And then all hockey broke out.

Emotion bubbled over into aggression as two teams, sick of seeing each other after six hotly contested battles, raised their swords in preparation for a seventh and decisive clash.

The Wings weren’t caught off guard Tuesday. They braced themselves for an alley fight with Anaheim. When a team that prides itself in its physicality finds itself desperately pinned against a wall, instinct takes over. The Ducks were out of options in Game 6. When searching for the antidote to their fast-expiring playoff life, they would rely on what comes naturally to them.

They took out the brass knuckles.

A melee featuring three different scrums stamped an exclamation point on the Ducks’ detour from the playoff grave. Scott Niedermayer and Pavel Datsyuk exchanged punches against the boards. Ryan Getzlaf and Marian Hossa traded blows. And after they were separated initially, Getzlaf stalked Hossa again and continued the fracas.

But it all started when Corey Perry jumped Brian Rafalski.

There was no subtlety to the Ducks’ intent. Through the first five games, they morphed from the intimidator into the intimidated.

Why give the discouraged that opportunity? Put them out of their misery as quickly as possible.

They weren’t merely satisfied with a 2-1 win courtesy of rookie goalie Jonas Hiller’s brilliance. They wanted restitution for the Wings hammering away at their skull-and-crossbones reputation. But it was cowardly that they went after Datsyuk and Rafalski, who aren’t recognized as fighters.

I get it. It’s playoff hockey. It’s as much about surviving as winning and how far are you willing to push yourself in order to stay alive. And when you have two teams that truly loathe each other such as these two, there’s going to be some extracurricular mischief.

But this was tacky.

Winning remains the best revenge.

Mike Babcock was understandably livid afterwards.

“I guess Rafi and Pave jumped those guys,” he said most sarcastically.

Datsyuk declined comment on the ugliness at the end.

“It’s not my style to talk about that stuff,” he said.

When Dan Cleary was asked if there might be a carryover into Game 7 Thursday at Joe Louis Arena, he responded with a coy “We’ll see.”

The Wings aren’t accustomed to these Game 7s. This will be their first one since the 2002 Western Conference finals when they shutout Colorado, 7-0.

Coaches must worry. Pessimism becomes their religion.

Sure, the glass might be half-filled. But exactly what is it filled with?

Babcock divined the spirit of the late Chuck Daly as the Wings approached yet another series clincher on the road. He reminded his players of the pitfalls of overconfidence, warning them that nothing is more dangerous than the competitor left with the dire alternative of winning-or-playoff death.

But did the Wings really need such reminders?

When you’ve won eight straight playoff series on the road, you’re already pretty well schooled on the challenges of taking an opponent’s final punch on their turf.

But the Ducks validated Babcock’s fears.

There’s still some quack left in these Ducks solely because Hiller did what was demanded from him in Game 6 – stone the Wings and steal the Ducks another day of playoff life.

The Wings had won eight straight series on the road, an impressive achievement. It’s indicative of how they never stray too far from the fear that losing begets further bad luck – especially in hockey. There is no comfort in the Stanley Cup playoffs of getting a Game 7 at home because playoff games are often determined at the discretion of a funky bounce off the boards or a harmless ricochet off a skate finding enough room past the goalie.

Why give the discouraged that opportunity? Put them out of their misery as quickly as possible.

But the Wings couldn’t slam the door shut this time, taking too many ill-timed penalties and committing too many neutral zone turnovers. They were the cute Wings trying to make the pretty play instead of the grinding Wings who understand that ugly sometimes becomes the most beautiful thing.

They will still win this series.

Hiller was fabulous when anything less was unacceptable.

But can he do it again Thursday in a hostile environment?

westofyou
05-14-2009, 10:20 AM
Well the Caps forgot to show up last night, worst game 7 since the Wings beat the Aves 7-0 in 2002

Boswell's Caps article

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/14/AR2009051400036_pf.html


The End Comes Quick

By Thomas Boswell
Thursday, May 14, 2009

So, in the end, we waited seven games for eight seconds.

That's all it took. A Capitals season that built its drama for eight months, and brought an entire city, much of it populated by hockey agnostics, along for the jubilant ride, had the air taken out of it in less time than it takes to say, "Did the Penguins just score again?"

A Game 7 that was anticipated as the sine qua non of hockey superstar theater, with Alex Ovechkin's Caps in a showdown of showmen with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, was deflated in a blink. The first Pens goal came on one of Crosby's lizard-tongue flick-in goals on the Caps' doorstep at 12 minutes 36 seconds of the first period.

Before the Caps, especially 21-year-old goalie Simeon Varlamov, could collect their wits, the rookie had let a Penguin wrist shot skip between his skates for a soft goal.

After that, the deluge -- a 5-0 Pens lead, an eventual 6-2 Pens win and a game as boring, at least to those who came to roar in red, as the previous six were superb. "Definitely anticlimactic," said Coach Bruce Boudreau in the night's understatement.

Those two scores, the second coming so fast that the PA announcer hadn't even told the crowd who'd scored the first goal, fulfilled many ominous purposes. They silenced the crowd, emboldened the Pens after their Game 6 home loss, and, worst of all, crumpled young Varly. The Russian rookie had been the hero of the previous dozen games, and he may fill that role for a dozen more years.

But in the opening 2:12 of the second period, both Bill Guerin and Kris Letang lit the lamp behind Varlamov on shots like many he's been saving for a month. "He stole many games for us," the Caps' Chris Clark said. "He's the reason we got here."

Too bad, but hardly sad. He'll be back. The memory of a Game 7 win against the Rangers should help. Wisely, Boudreau pulled him at 4-0 before any more damage could be done to a psyche on which the Caps may depend for many springs. His expression blank, but with shock rather than his customary calm, Varlamov left the ice to an ovation that should be his dominant memory from a night to forget.

"After the third goal . . . he looked really dejected," Boudreau said. "And then after the fourth goal, I think the wind completely came out of his sails emotionally. He's done so much. . . . It just poured out of him.

"I wish I had maybe [made a change] one goal sooner."

This was coming, this deluge of goals, building like a storm. It wasn't inevitable. Even over a seven-game series, you can defy the probabilities, get beaten on the ice but still find a way to win. Hockey has a larger element of the random, the good bounce, the unpredictable deflection, the hot goalie, than any of our other sports.

But don't bet on it.

For six games, Pittsburgh outshot the Capitals, 226-159, yet only outscored them, 21-20. That huge gap in shots was no fluke, no quirky stat. It accurately measured the territorial dominance of the Pens in most periods of most games. It revealed how often the Caps left themselves exposed for odd-man rushes. And it revealed how often, at desperate moments, they were reduced to praying for a rookie to save them.

And, 205 times, Varly was there for them. Then, he blinked. When Boudreau pulled him, the shots on the scoreboard read Pens 18, Caps 7 and, for the series, a huge 244-166 superiority. The Caps' brass, as it plans for its still-luminous future, must confront, not avoid, the key point of this series: The Pens are still a level better.

The Caps' attack is superb. Despite being stuffed on a breakaway early in the first period, Ovechkin managed to score again and finished with eight goals and 14 points in his confrontation with Crosby, who had two goals and an assist last night to finish with eight goals and 13 points.

The Caps' goalie position is probably no longer a question mark, either, despite the Pens' gradual beat down of Varlamov with 17 goals in their last four meetings. But the defense in front of Varlamov, the inability to clear the crease, the constant goal-mouth opportunities for rebounds and tap-ins and those endless odd-man rushes -- that has to be fixed. Or this horrid heritage, with the Pens ending the Caps' season in seven of their eight playoff meetings since '91, is likely to continue.

"No answers. They played better," Ovechkin said. "It's good steps for us for sure. We can take good experience from this. But bad experience, too. We had 2-0 lead [in games], then twice lost in overtime. A little bit more push. We were so close. But close is not good enough. It will feel terrible. But it is what it is."

After this game, Boudreau said he benched Norris Trophy candidate Mike Green in the final period because "he wasn't very good," then added, when asked if Green had been hurt throughout the series: "Yup. I'm not going to go into it now. It sounds like making excuses for why he played so bad."

And Ovechkin, was he, as rumored, hurting, too? "If this was the regular season, he wouldn't be playing," said Boudreau, "but he was magnificent."

The Caps, in their flattering descriptions of the Pens, gave hints as to where they need to improve. "We work hard but sometimes we're not as smart as we need to be," Brian Pothier said. "They have two of the most prolific scorers in hockey. They have a few defensemen who can really score. But the others, who are not as gifted, they grind you. They get you in your end and they just really make it hard for you.

"We do that, too," Pothier added.

But not nearly as well.

The Caps have their fantasies of what might have been. "If Alex had put that one in on the breakaway [with the game scoreless], who knows?" Boudreau said. "But we just weren't able to get up emotionally tonight. Pittsburgh was definitely the better team."

Despite a final eyesore game, unworthy of the best regular season in team history (108 points) or the scintillating six games that preceded it, the Caps ended the night by raising their sticks, first the Great Eight and then the rest of the team, to the packed crowd that stayed until the end to cheer them.

"We're very close to being a very good team," Boudreau said. "Maybe all it is is a little more maturity. Next year, I'll be very disappointed if we aren't in the final four" in the playoffs.

That would, perhaps, require another meeting with the Penguins -- one with a different outcome. When the Caps think back on this season, and the inspired play that turned Washington into an insipient Hockeytown, they should burst their sweaters. But when they think of the two-games-to-none lead they squandered to the Pens, when they consider the final shot tally for this series (256-180), when they realize that neither Alexander Semin nor Green scored a single goal and when their own coach says they came out flat for a Game 7 in their own building, they should realize how far they still must travel.

Now, they are a thrilling regular season team. But they are not yet a great playoff team, a club that doesn't need a rookie goalie to resuscitate it in the first round. All that is work for the future, labor that, unlike this final game, should be a pleasure to watch.

Kingspoint
05-14-2009, 06:49 PM
Let's Go Hawks!

CarolinaRedleg
05-14-2009, 11:29 PM
It's starting to warm up. That can mean one thing.

It's Hurricane season.

KoryMac5
05-14-2009, 11:36 PM
It's starting to warm up. That can mean one thing.

It's Hurricane season.

The Canes have kind of snuck up on people beating the Devils and the Bruins. Should be a fast paced series with the Pens.

westofyou
05-15-2009, 09:50 AM
It's starting to warm up. That can mean one thing.

It's Hurricane season.
Pens in 6

Wings in six

Wings over Pens in 5

KoryMac5
05-15-2009, 10:51 AM
I smell some upsets brewin'.... Cam Ward owns the Pens posting a lifetime 9-3 record versus them. Plus I think Chicago/Detroit will be a very close physical series.

Canes in 7

Hawks in 6

WMR
05-15-2009, 10:54 AM
Hahaha, oh man would it be lovely to beat the Dead Things in the playoffs.

:D

When's the last time the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings in the playoffs?

westofyou
05-15-2009, 11:13 AM
Plus I think Chicago/Detroit will be a very close physical series.

Problem is the wings are the bigger team that hits more.


When's the last time the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings in the playoffs?

17 years ago in 92 they swept the Wings, Wings beat them in 95

KoryMac5
05-15-2009, 03:29 PM
Either way it's nice to see the old Blackhawk/Wings rivalry get some life breathed back into it.

Patrick Bateman
05-16-2009, 02:41 AM
Problem is the wings are the bigger team that hits more.


They said that about the first two series too....

but Detroit is much more offensively skilled than Vancouver/Calgary.

Patrick Bateman
05-16-2009, 02:44 AM
Actually, I don't think it's existed since the league expanded beyond the Original Six. The Red Wings were awful, arguably the worst team in hockey, for 20 years after the initial expansion. The Kansas City Scouts and California Golden Seals had nothing on the Wings. Then Stevie Yzerman showed up and things started getting better.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks were still riding the Hull-Mikita-Tony Esposito wave after the expansion. They had some moments during the '80s with Denis Savard and Steve Larmer and in the early '90s with Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios and Ed Belfour, but they began to fade when the Red Wings came up with Sergei Fedorov and Niklas Lidstrom.

The Hawks also weren't much of a factor when the Wings were putting together some legendary teams in the '40s and '50s. The teams played each frequently back then, but only during the early '60s were both clubs a factor.

Detroit and Chicago going toe-to-toe with the Western Conference at stake would be something brand new.

I think those are a lot of good points.... a lot of stuff I really didn't even realize because it was just so far before my time.

But I do think with all of the history of the organizations, it has a chance to develop into a pretty interesting rivalry for the future. They just seem like a good match to me.

improbus
05-16-2009, 09:16 AM
Getting a rich history to resonate is difficult when you can't connect it to what's happening in the here and now.

For instance, the rich history of the Pittsburgh Pirates has been rendered a moot point for almost two decades. The stories of Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, the Waners and Honus Wagner are in mothballs at the moment.

And MLB is suffering a bit from the rise of history-free clubs. I think that's feeding into what Benzinger was talking about and it robs the game of some of its gravitas. Newbies to a sport are always a dicey proposition. It's longtime core fans that really keep a sport going. When the Rays and Rockies make it to a World Series, those longtime fans can feel displaced. They don't have a connection to those clubs. When the Marlins and Diamondbacks win a series, it seems less important because those clubs have no history to build upon. When you think about it, the Angels and Astros are relative newbies. When clubs like that make it to the championship, new fans don't get to hear about the history of the game.

On the flip side, when the Red Sox play the Cardinals, you get to hear about Slaughter's mad dash and Bob Gibson. And when the Cardinals play the Tigers, you get to hear about the Gashouse Gang and Mickey Lolich.

A league loses a lot of that when it expands. History takes a long time to unfold. Not for nothing, it took 45 years for the Mets and Phillies to forge a rivalry.

Last year the NBA got a huge shot in the arm when the Celtics met the Lakers in the final. It was an olly-olly-in-come-free moment for a lot of former fans.

For the NHL, getting to tell the story of the Original Six, to recall the days when two guys named Bobby ruled the game (even to get them in the booth during the games), to demonstrate to newbie fans just how much the Stanley Cup means to the cities that have pursued it for almost a century, that would be huge.

I agree a lot of fans don't know that history, but they'll come to know it if certain teams make the final.

And yet, we complain ad nauseum when all you hear about is Yanks vs. Sox and the Cubs. The "rivalries" of the old days only exist in the fan bases, not necessarily with the players. Do any of the current Reds players have any concept that Reds vs. Dodgers was an enormous rivalry for 20+ years?

I think too often that sports fans and writers hold on to the past too tightly. My father-in-law thinks that all baseball played after 1976 is worthless. He has officially made it impossible in his own head to enjoy any baseball game.

I really try not to fall into that rut, because it can be one from which you can never fully recover. I try to look at the game, not the teams (when I'm in a neutral position) and see what is happening. When I watched the Rays last season, I thought, "This is the future of baseball, young athletes, pitching, and defense", and I tried not to think, "The Rays, really, who cares, they're only 10 years old and have a dumb name." It isn't Carl Crawford or Evan Longoria's fault that the Rays haven't been playing baseball since 1902. Why should I disparage him or his franchise for that? The same can be said of the D'Backs, Marlins, Lightning, Ducks, etc...

GIK
05-17-2009, 02:20 PM
I smell some upsets brewin'.... Cam Ward owns the Pens posting a lifetime 9-3 record versus them. Plus I think Chicago/Detroit will be a very close physical series.

Canes in 7

Hawks in 6

The Wings should take their series. What should be worrying Chicago is that Datsyuk hasn't shown up yet.

westofyou
05-17-2009, 02:29 PM
The Wings should take their series. What should be worrying Chicago is that Datsyuk hasn't shown up yet.

In the box score that is, but he's been there, the man was playing some awesome defensive hockey in the last series. I expect the Wings to roll 4 healthy lines, not sure about the Hawks, but 4 lines should be healthy for the Wings, and they can match up the top line of the Hawks with speed more than power and then overpower the lower lines with size... but we shall see what happens and how Babcock rolls against the Hawks.. who have had success overt the last 2 seasons against the Wings.

WMR
05-17-2009, 03:30 PM
Hawks came to play!

Patrick Bateman
05-17-2009, 08:50 PM
That was a really fun and entertaining game... but the Wings brought a really consistent offensive breakout nearly every shift and just didnt stop with the scoring chances. There were a few 5-10 minute periods where Detroit effectively shut down the Hawks, which effectively was the difference.

The game kind of reminded me of the Winter Classic considering how fast paced it was.

Joseph
05-17-2009, 10:13 PM
i didn't watch but I hope it was closer than the score.

Patrick Bateman
05-17-2009, 10:49 PM
Well it was tied early in the third.... the Hawks were competitive, but when Detroit is on their game, its always a tough road. That's why they are the best.

westofyou
05-18-2009, 10:35 AM
I have one tad of advice for the Hawks based on yesterdays play.

Don't stop skating.

Again.

Don't stop skating, keep your feet moving, don't think that they'll stop skating.. because they won't.

Patrick Bateman
05-18-2009, 11:01 AM
Kane was definitely caught a few times as an example. And I think that's good advice. A reason that Detroit consistently started off with 3 guys on the attack to the Hawks 2, the backcheckers were often late.

Joseph
05-19-2009, 10:30 PM
Heart wrenching loss. Series may be over.

westofyou
05-20-2009, 09:27 AM
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news;_ylt=At760AprBbN7i6txms81IvjyxLsF?slug=dw-wingscolumn051909&prov=yhoo&type=lgns&print=1


DETROIT – The hard times for this city are well-documented and continue by the day; layoffs, plant closings, even an expected bankruptcy filing by General Motors, whose headquarters tower over the city and cars define the place worldwide.

Yet no matter how bad (or good) things get in Detroit, there is one constant: the red machine that churns up each spring in an old hockey barn down by the river.

As they seemingly do every year, as the days grow long and the air warms, the Red Wings offer an example of excellence from the city, a whip smart, powerfully efficient winning organization in a region too often criticized (often unfairly) for being just the opposite.

Tuesday they moved another step toward their 12th Stanley Cup – and fifth since 1997 – with a 3-2 overtime victory over Chicago.

The victory gave the Wings a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals with Game 3 in Chicago on Friday. It forces the boy-band young Blackhawks to beat them four of the next five to stop what so often seems inevitable – Detroit hoisting the Cup in the air.

The game-winner, a blast by Mikael Samuelsson(notes) on the tail end of a flashy three-on-one, wasn’t just a thing of beauty (“tick, tack, bang,” Dan Cleary described it). It was a testament to how the Red Wings have become perhaps the best franchise in sports, now capable of dominating not just as a free-spending, big-market team, but with salary-cap savvy.

The play began with Jiri Hudler(notes), streaking up the left wing with the puck, his speed helping create an odd-man break with Valtteri Filppula(notes) and Samuelsson charging to keep up.

Hudler can skate circles around everyone but stands just 5-feet-9. Earlier this decade, the trend in the NHL was to draft size. Even someone with Hudler’s skills couldn’t overcome being a smallish Czech. His skill level should have made him a top-five pick. Instead he slid to the second round of the 2002 draft, where the Red Wings gladly snapped him up.

General manager Ken Holland’s chief priority when evaluating players isn’t height, it’s “hockey smarts.” Hudler had it, now he had the puck.

His vision, patience and creativity proved more valuable than a few more vertical inches. Rather than force a shot or bad pass to Samuelsson, who was the preferred shooter, he pushed the puck across to a streaking Filppula.

Filppula is a center from Finland, a graceful playmaker with the innate ability to get the puck to the proper man at the perfect time. When the Red Wings first scouted him he was a raw teenager, not ready for the NHL, but not without immense potential.

At the time, the NHL’s draft rules were different for North American and European players. A team that drafted a North American player controlled his rights for two years; a European’s they owned for eternity.

Holland was no fool. He smartly invested in scouting European prospects and loaded up on Swedes, Finns and Czechs when much of the league was still suspicious of their toughness. Detroit had won a couple of Stanley Cups, though, counting on Russians, sometimes putting five on the ice at the same time. They had no fear of Europeans and had a history of late-round steals.

The Wings grabbed Henrik Zetterberg(notes) in the seventh round, Jonathan Ericsson(notes) in the ninth and Tomas Holmstrom(notes) in the 10th.

In this case Holland knew how to exploit a loop hole; the luxury of allowing a guy to grow overseas was immense. So in that same 2002 draft that landed Hudler, Holland selected Filppula and didn’t even bother trying to bring him to Detroit.

The kid was still a teenager. He needed seasoning, experience, time. He spent two seasons becoming a star in Finland and then bolted for America, but not to join the big club. He spent a year in the minors.

“The thing that makes the Red Wings successful is they don’t put their young players in a position to fail; they let their players develop in Europe,” Zetterberg said in the book “What It Means to Be a Red Wing.” Zetterberg is proof. He was picked in 1999 but didn’t show up in Detroit until 2002-03. He’s averaged 36.5 goals over the last four seasons.

Filppula joined the Wings three seasons ago, then a bona fide NHLer and now he had the puck and a chance at a game-winner. Instead he made the experienced play. He dropped it back to the guy with the big shot.

Samuelsson is from Sweden, like five of his teammates. The Red Wings saw him play as an amateur, but they didn’t draft him. San Jose did. Then the Sharks dumped him after a short stint in the NHL. The Rangers signed Samuelsson and then traded him to Pittsburgh, who then unloaded him to Florida. Four years in the NHL, four different teams. Then came the lockout and Samuelsson returned to Sweden, and who knew if he’d ever come back?

Then Detroit called. He had a tryout, made the team, signed a one-year deal and in 2005-06 wound up on the team’s fourth line – along with Dan Cleary (who scored the second goal of the game) and Johan Franzen(notes) (who scored 34 goals this season).

“We were the fourth line,” Cleary marveled.

They aren’t any more, and Samuelsson proved it when he unleashed a cannon for the game-winner.

The Red Wings are six victories from another parade down Woodward Avenue, and in hockey that’s still a long ways off. The Blackhawks will be heard from. But so, too, will the Wings. Always, it seems.

The years pass and the faces and even the rules change but the results don’t. Steve Yzerman begets Nik Lidstrom begets Henrik Zetterberg begets a bunch of former fourth-liners, castoffs and long-term gambles carrying the load in the conference finals.

In Detroit, the city’s most efficient organization just keeps coming, spring after spring, good times and bad.

Patrick Bateman
05-20-2009, 08:22 PM
This has been really fun and competitve hockey so far, but it's hard to argue with the 2 Redwing wins so far, even as painful as that last one was.

Hawks need to take two in a row at home, if they do it that, you never know.

improbus
05-23-2009, 08:25 AM
I think the hit on Havlat is going to catapult this series into something historic (I hope).

westofyou
05-23-2009, 09:39 AM
I think the hit on Havlat is going to catapult this series into something historic (I hope).

A clean hit?

Let's hope not.

Wings lost the 1st period and gave up an overtime goal. From where I sit they controlled the majority of the game again. I expect at least 1 maybe 2 losses.

Patrick Bateman
05-23-2009, 01:00 PM
I thought the game was overall pretty even. Hawks dominated the first, Wings dominated the second, and first part of the third. Hawks came on strong at the end of the third and followed through into OT.

BTW, I agree that Kronwall's hit was clean. I think the hit was a little excessive, so I could have perhaps seen a two minute minor to reflect that, but the 5 minute major was purely based on the result which is poor officiating.

The Hawks have at least made this interesting, one of the few teams that can play near the same offensive level as Detroit.

westofyou
05-24-2009, 01:29 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/sports/hockey/24six.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper


May 24, 2009
Blackhawks and Red Wings Carry Banner for Original Six

By JEFF Z. KLEIN
CHICAGO — The Roar was already back, as people who have had their eardrums assaulted by the raucous crowd at the United Center this spring will tell you.

But after the Blackhawks’ overtime victory in Game 3 over their old rivals the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night, it’s really back. This is only the third late-round series between Original Six clubs since 1980, and that is bringing an added thrill to what has already been a joyous spring for Chicago hockey fans.

“Isn’t this great?” the former Blackhawks goaltending great Tony Esposito shouted in a luxury box, straining to be heard above the capacity crowd of 22,678 as it cheered an extended power play. “It’s amazing. It’s back like it was in the ’70s. This is what I love — you’ve got two Original Six teams, all the emotion. It’s great for the fans, great for hockey.”

A bit later, Bobby Hull and Michael Jordan, Chicago sports royalty, appeared arm in arm and waved to the crowd. Hull was wearing a sports jacket. Jordan was wearing a Blackhawks sweater.

The Blackhawks-Red Wings rivalry is rarely noted outside Chicago and Detroit, probably because it has been about 45 years since both clubs were strong at the same time.

But no two N.H.L. teams have played each other as often, 775 games, stretching all the way back to 1926. One of those games was the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day.

It is a rivalry steeped in history: the victorious Blackhawks goalie Charlie Gardiner being carried through the downtown Loop in a wheelbarrow after winning the 1934 Stanley Cup against the Wings, his last game before dying of a brain hemorrhage; Bugsy Watson shadowing Hull so closely in the 1966 semifinals that Hull swung his stick at and opened a gash in Watson’s head; Gordie Howe, Stan Mikita, Ted Lindsay, Glenn Hall; the old barns where they played, the Olympia in Detroit and Chicago Stadium, a building so loud that the din there was referred to simply as the Roar.

Right from Friday night’s opening face-off, fans at the United Center celebrated their first look at the Red Wings this postseason by launching lustily into a vulgar and time-honored anti-Detroit chant.

On Thursday, Red Wings defenseman Brett Lebda, who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove, reluctantly admitted that he too had chanted the chant, back in the day of his impetuous youth.

“It was more just something you did when you went to the game, something that became the tradition,” he told The Chicago Sun-Times. “I take everything back.”

Then there’s Blackhawks forward Adam Burish, who grew up in Madison, Wis. Before the regular season ended, he appeared in a video on the team’s Web site that seemed to anticipate a Chicago-Detroit showdown.

In the clip Burish used his stick to pick up an octopus, the Red Wings’ symbol of postseason success, and toss it away.

“My goal is to end old traditions and start some new ones,” he said.

Detroit fans, aghast, took to pointing out that the Blackhawks have won 3 Stanley Cups to the Red Wings’ 11, including four since 1997, and that the Wings were about to reach the playoffs an 18th straight time while the Hawks would be making only their second appearance in 11 years.

The Wings and the Hawks last played each other in the Stanley Cup semifinal round in 1995, with Detroit winning in five games. The only other series between Original Six clubs to take place so late in the playoffs over the last 30 years was the Canadiens-Rangers semifinal of 1986, won by Montreal in five.

Over the years, Chicago and Detroit have played each other in 14 playoff series, with the Blackhawks winning eight times. One of those victories was in the 1961 Stanley Cup finals, the Hawks’ last Cup triumph.

Mikita was a 20-year-old center on that Chicago team, playing alongside Hull, then 22 — about the same age as Kane and Patrick Toews, the Hawks’ biggest stars today.

“When we beat the Canadiens in the first round back then, we knew we could get past Detroit, no problem,” Mikita said Friday, shouting above the roar in the United Center luxury box as he recalled the 1961 playoff run. “And we did, we handled them fairly well. The last game, Game 6 in Detroit, I remember they scored first, and Reggie Fleming scored a short-handed goal. That turned it around for us. Then Ab McDonald scored for us, and we won, 5-1.”

That was the first year of a stretch in which the Blackhawks met the Red Wings five times in six postseasons.

“With six teams in the league, you had no choice,” Mikita said.

Mikita, Esposito and Hull have been visible presences at Blackhawks games over the last two seasons after an absence of many years. They were brought back into the fold after the death of the Blackhawks’ longtime owner, Bill Wirtz, in 2007. The last two decades of Wirtz’s tenure were marked by poor performance, feuding with the club’s former stars and outdated practices like banning telecasts of home games on the belief that it would hurt attendance. In 2006-7, the team sold only 3,500 season tickets.

After Wirtz’s death, Rocky Wirtz, his son, brought in the former Cubs president John McDonough, and the transformation has been rapid. “Detroit’s been on top, Chicago’s been down,” Esposito said. “But now they’re coming back, and it’s pretty even hockey. I suspect that the next several years, the rivalry will be unbelievable. Again.”

When Patrick Sharp scored the overtime winner Friday night to reduce Chicago’s deficit to two games to one, it meant that this series could add a dramatic new chapter in the long story of these two clubs, even if that is not how the people most closely involved see things.

“For us, history is the next game,” Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville said afterward. “The next shift.”

The next shift is Sunday afternoon with Game 4.

Patrick Bateman
05-24-2009, 05:25 PM
This has been about the worst effort of the year for the Hawks. In games 1 + 2, I felt helpless, that Detroit was just too good. I don't get that feeling today. Detroit has key injuries, and hasn't had an explosive offensive game, at all. Yet they are down 5-1 at home. I don't at all mind losing to Detroit at the top of their game, but this is just frustrating.

westofyou
05-24-2009, 07:21 PM
This has been about the worst effort of the year for the Hawks. In games 1 + 2, I felt helpless, that Detroit was just too good. I don't get that feeling today. Detroit has key injuries, and hasn't had an explosive offensive game, at all. Yet they are down 5-1 at home. I don't at all mind losing to Detroit at the top of their game, but this is just frustrating.

Wings defense is scrappy, their sticks are on the ice, they don't over commit they block lanes and clear rebounds.. and most of create offense from those transitions. True they aren't playing flashy, but they are playing fundamental hockey and that is leading to more opportunities.. meanwhile the bulk of the 3rd involved the Hawks trying to fight and not score.. bad choice.

improbus
05-24-2009, 09:35 PM
The "new" NHL benefits teams that have defensemen who can move the puck, and Detroit has a bunch of them. This is why Anaheim and Detroit have won cups recently.

westofyou
05-26-2009, 09:45 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeOZ01ZCY3M

Patrick Bateman
05-27-2009, 10:34 PM
Well congrats WOY, the better team certainly won the series. Doesn't make it any less painful. I thought that was a pretty well played final game, no shame in going out the way they did.

WMR
05-28-2009, 12:19 AM
The best for the Hawks is definitely still to come.

Joseph
05-28-2009, 09:13 PM
The best for the Hawks is definitely still to come.

Certainly believe that.

Another defenseman and a goalie....watch out.

westofyou
05-29-2009, 02:39 PM
Certainly believe that.

Another defenseman and a goalie....watch out.

Goalie???

Size and depth, that's what they need.

improbus
06-08-2009, 08:46 PM
The wings are the Spurs of the NHL. They are everything you could want in a franchise. Star players, great management, smart organization, classy guys, gracious winners, and boring as all get out. They are a machine.

M2
06-08-2009, 09:17 PM
The wings are the Spurs of the NHL. They are everything you could want in a franchise. Star players, great management, smart organization, classy guys, gracious winners, and boring as all get out. They are a machine.

Kind of sick when you consider they just got back Datsyuk, who's one of the best players alive.

westofyou
06-08-2009, 11:08 PM
I've been following the Wings for 40 years, sometimes less than I should because of distance, that said they are the the BRM of hockey, two teams stand out in my life and it's the 70's reds and this last 10 years of RW Hockey, just something to love, and a true testimony to how a system can be the god of an organization.

As for Pavel, I've never enjoyed watching a forward play defense as much as I have enjoyed Pavel playing defense.

westofyou
06-09-2009, 11:49 PM
Game 7... the best thing any sport can ask for.

Chip R
06-09-2009, 11:53 PM
Game 7... the best thing any sport can ask for.


Yep. Especially in the NHL. It should go a couple of OTs.

Joseph
06-11-2009, 09:37 PM
This is one long wait.

westofyou
06-11-2009, 10:02 PM
This is one long wait.

Better for the Wings too.

westofyou
06-12-2009, 08:12 PM
Game on!!!

seriously... I'm sooooooooooooooooooooo pumped

Patrick Bateman
06-12-2009, 08:33 PM
I think I just want Pittsburgh to win to watch how Hossa handles the situation.

But going to OT either way would be pretty sweet. Good luck WOY.

westofyou
06-12-2009, 08:57 PM
I think I just want Pittsburgh to win to watch how Hossa handles the situation.

But going to OT either way would be pretty sweet. Good luck WOY.

Wooooo good 1st period, Wings are tight.

No team has won an away game 7 since I was nine years old.

Cedric
06-12-2009, 10:37 PM
Congrats to the Penguins! Great series for the NHL!

westofyou
06-12-2009, 10:39 PM
Wings forwards couldn't produce and Pittsburgh prevails, good series, and congrats to the Pens they came back strong.

vaticanplum
06-12-2009, 10:53 PM
Wings forwards couldn't produce and Pittsburgh prevails, good series, and congrats to the Pens they came back strong.

I've spent the last several minutes trying to find the post where you said the Pens winning was as likely as an asteroid hitting your molars or something...can't find it. I started to respond to this post initially, then stopped so as not to jinx anything...AND IT WORKED.

:p:

Yay Pennnsss!!!

westofyou
06-12-2009, 11:18 PM
I've spent the last several minutes trying to find the post where you said the Pens winning was as likely as an asteroid hitting your molars or something...can't find it. I started to respond to this post initially, then stopped so as not to jinx anything...AND IT WORKED.

:p:

Yay Pennnsss!!!

I did say it was highly unlikely they would come back in a baseball post, I was wrong.. smited by the hockey gods.

Joseph
06-12-2009, 11:18 PM
Great season. Hockey is something else to watch. Playoff Hockey....wow.

GIK
06-12-2009, 11:27 PM
Love the playoffs. Great series.

deltachi8
06-12-2009, 11:29 PM
Great game and wonderful save by Fluerry at the end. Well deserved win for the Pens.

George Foster
06-13-2009, 12:07 AM
I think they said this was only the 3rd time in NHL history that the home team lost a game 7.

Chip R
06-14-2009, 01:21 AM
I watched the end of it and I still can't believe the Wings lost Game 7 in the Joe.

westofyou
06-14-2009, 09:46 AM
I watched the end of it and I still can't believe the Wings lost Game 7 in the Joe.

My wife told me... They needed to lose, they're the Yankees of Hockey, the game needed it."

And she doesn't even watch sports.

Chip R
06-14-2009, 11:13 PM
My wife told me... They needed to lose, they're the Yankees of Hockey, the game needed it."

And she doesn't even watch sports.


She may have a point. Sorry about the Wings losing. You must have felt somewhat like I did when the Sixers beat the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in 1982. I was on a bus to NYC and had no access to the game at all. I knew the Sixers could win but I just kept trying to convince myself that there was no way the Celtics could lose.