Friday, April 25, 2008

World Championship Coverage

The World Championships will be held in Halifax and Quebec City from May 2nd to May 18th, and I will be covering the tournament for Faceoff Factor.

Make sure to stop by FF on a regular basis to check out the WC coverage, as well as coverage of the NHL playoffs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Playoff Predictions: Round 2

A few weeks ago, I made my first round playoff predictions and compared them to Susie, my dog, and the TSN crew: Maggie the Monkey, James Duthie, Darren Pang, Mike Milbury, and Bob McKenzie. Here's the results:

Ashley: 7/8
Susie: 1/8
Maggie: 5/8
Duthie: 5/8
Panger: 5/8
Milbury: 5/8
McKenzie: 6/8

Now, I don't mean to 'brag' or anything, but I did better than the so-called experts when it came to round 1 predictions. Unfortunately, in the dog vs. monkey category, Maggie is running away with the title so far.

Tonight, TSN had their round 2 playoff special and Maggie, McKenzie, and Darren Dreger offered their predictions. Here's how it all went down...


Susie - NEW YORK
Maggie - NEW YORK

Ashley - DETROIT
Maggie - DETROIT
McKenzie - DETROIT
Dreger - DETROIT

Ashley - SAN JOSE
Susie - DALLAS
Maggie - SAN JOSE
McKenzie - SAN JOSE
Dreger - SAN JOSE

I was watching Up Front on OTR tonight and Landsberg said that Keith Jones went 8/8 in round one. He gave his predictions for round 2, so I thought I'd put them down...
NEW YORK RANGERS - on their way to the Cup (WTF?)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sean Avery has a new job this summer...

This article was linked in Pensblog's c-blog, and it is just too good to not post here.

According to Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Blogs, Sean Avery may have a new position once his Rangers lose in the second round of the playoffs: a Vogue intern.

Yep, THAT Vogue....Anna Wintour and all.

I wonder if Avery will be demeaned and insulted at every turn...maybe they could call him 'fatso'.

I hope the fashion world keeps him.

Who's the best?

The NHL is announcing their nominees for the NHL Awards, and yesterday was goalie day.

The three Vezina nominees in 2008:

Marty Brodeur
Evgeni Nabokov
King Henrik Lundqvist (is that how you spell it?)

Hmm...I'd give it to Brodeur this year. Nabokov may have won more games, but the Devils took a big hit in free agency and Brodeur carried the team to the playoffs.

Today was d-man day, with the Norris nominees being:

Nicklas Lidstrom
Dion Phaneuf
Zdeno Chara

Okay, Lidstrom will likely win since he's the best thing since #4 was in the NHL. Phaneuf definitely deserves the nomination since he's one hell of a defenceman. But Chara? Sure, he's good - really good - but I would've liked to see Gonchar get some recognition for the first time ever. He was not only reliable in terms of points (as usual), but he has really improved in his own end, too. Maybe I'm a little biased, but whatever - Gonchar gets no love from the NHL.

Oh Montréal, qu'est-ce qui ce passe?

Last night, the Habs won their first round series against the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-0. The Bruins showed up to play and were great in the first period, but Carey Price was just a little better.

This win means that the Habs are now 27-0 when they lead a playoff series 3 games to 1, and Price became the fourth rookie goalie to record a shutout in a game 7.

This kid is the real deal. He may not lead the Canadiens to the Cup this year, but there is something about him that makes me confident that the Habs are in good hands for the next several years. Everyone comments about how calm, cool and collected he is on the ice, and that is the truth. In fact, I don't think I've ever really seen him anything but calm - just watch him in interviews.

Do I forget about games 5 and 6, when he let in 10 goals? No, but I also don't forget the previous 8 games, when he let in 10 goals in those 8 games. I also don't forget about how his team messed up in front of him, which led to some of those goals in games 5 and 6.

Price will make mistakes - that's the price (no pun intended) you pay when you have a 20-year-old starting goalie - but he will do good things for the Habs.

Okay, enough about that...

Anybody who has seen a Montreal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre (whether it be live and in person, or on TV) will know that Habs fans are very vocal. I've said this before - that place can rock like no other arena in the NHL. I personally love how they sing and are so passionate about their team.

A lot of people don't like how they 'boo' the best player(s) on the other team. In the Boston series, it was the Zdeno Chara that heard the boo-birds when he touched the puck. Boston fans, in turn, booed Alex Kovalev. I think that some people believe that these fans don't appreciate the talent of these players, but I would have to disagree with that idea - I think that fans acknowledge how important and how talented these select players are, and they single them out and voice their displeasure over these players touching the puck. I think of it as these fans showing how passionate they are for the game and showing their support for the home team.

That passion and support for the Habs was out full force last night, especially with the Canadiens playing so well. CBC showed the fans partying and singing in the streets, waving their flags and hugging each other.

Who would have guessed that something else would happen...

Some people decided to riot. Police cars were set on fire, other cars slashed and vandalized, stores looted, and all the likes. Many are left scratching their heads over this one - why riot when your team wins...after round frickin' 1? Besides, it's not like this is 1955. Maybe they were upset that Jean Chrétien and Stéphane Dion were in attendance at the Bell Centre...who knows.

I'm upset that some 'fans' would decide to do this (although one could make the argument that there were few Habs fans among this gang of schmucks), but I'm also upset that some people believe that most or all of Habs fans exhibit this kind of behaviour. It really bothers me that we're looked at like we're some 'crazy French people' who are, essentially, psychotic. I know that 99% of Habs fans are good people who are upset over this incident, just like I know that 99% of Bruins fans would not kick a person in the head for wearing another team's sweater.

So, to the world out there that looks down at us Habs fans, we're normal hockey fans. We love our team. We voice our displeasure when they don't play as well as we know they can. We scream and sing in absolute joy when they show us their heart and soul on the ice. We celebrate our victories, whether they come in 4 games or in 7, because we believe that victories should be celebrated. It has been awhile since the mayor of Montreal has said that the Stanley Cup parade will be held on the 'usual' route, but we also have faith that the team can win Cup #25 sooner rather than later...and before the Leafs win #14.

[Go Pens, Go Habs]

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mayor Gary Roberts

Can Montreal seal the deal in Boston?

Les Canadiens de Montréal missed their shot Thursday night. Leading the series 3-1, they could have delivered the knockout punch to the Boston Bruins.

They could have, but they didn't.

The last 30 minutes or so showed a Carey Price that we haven't seen in awhile. He was average, at best, which only magnified his team's scoring problems.

The Habs finished the season with the best power play in the NHL, but you would never know it in this series. Add to that their inability to score many goals 5-on-5, and you have a team that relies on its goalie. Carey Price may be an unbelievable goalie, but he is only 20 years old and playing under the microscope in Montreal.

The Boston Bruins, on the other hand, are playing very well. They didn't beat the Habs all season, but they won game 3 in Boston, and they handed it to the Canadiens in game 5.

The series is now returning to Boston and the Bruins have all the confidence in the world. The Canadiens are getting Saku Koivu and Francis Bouillon back and are in a position where they must win this game. They do not want to lose again and have the pressure of a game 7....and to have that game in Montreal.

I want the Habs to get it done and move on to round 2, but I am not super-confident. Claude Julien was coaching the Habs in 2004 when they were playing the Bruins and came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the series in 7. Can he lead the Bruins to the same result? If so, it may be the biggest upset of the post-season.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Clean Sweep

(borrowed without permission from The Pensblog)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Avery the Clown

Sean Avery is the so-called 'bad boy' of the NHL.

I'd rather call him an immature, selfish little brat.

We all know what he did against Marty Brodeur in game 3 the other day. Most people thought it was hilarious, creative...blah blah whatever.

I thought it was further proof that he is better suited for kindergarten than the NHL playoffs.

Then, to top things off, he decided to show the media his middle finger during practice yesterday after he noticed that cameras were trained on him.

Good job Avery, you showed the world which is the 'bad' finger.

So many people say that they would love to have Avery on their team, but I wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole. He thinks only of himself and I am not convinced that he would make your team better. His act is wearing thin and, before too long, he will be looking for a new career (though I don't know who would hire him).

What is wrong with the Senators?

As I've said before, I am a Pittsburgh fan first, Montreal second, and then comes the rest of the Canadian teams (including Ottawa, who I cheered for last year after they sent the Penguins packing...there was a period of mourning, of course), so I say this with a certain amount of respect.

One year ago when the Sens were in the playoffs, they deserved to play for the Cup. They outplayed every single team in the Eastern Conference, but then turtled in the Cup Finals. I thought they learned their lesson, and it certainly looked like they had in October/November when they went on that 15-2 run. The rest of the season was crap, but I thought that they would be harder to play in the playoffs.

I never expected that the Penguins would be in a position to sweep the Senators, yet here we are, hours before the start of game 4, with the Pens leading 3-0. Granted, the Sens have showed sparks of great play in the previous 3 games, including that 3-goal performance in game 2 that allowed them to tie the game, but they don't have the drive and the will to win. Gerber is playing his heart out and is giving his team the chance to win, but the rest of the crew has been invisible.

The most telling sign was game 3. The Senators played very well for most of the game and the score was tied after the second period. However, after the Pens scored 2 early in the third and Hossa added the fourth goal, the Sens just rolled over. I could not believe my eyes - they lost intensity, and they played as though they just wanted to get off the ice. They allowed the Penguins to control the puck and to waste time. If any team in the NHL could erase a 3-goal deficit in 10 minutes, it is (was) the Senators, but they didn't try.

This is a team that has lost its identity, its self-esteem, it's will. Where were the leaders on Monday night when the Pens took the lead? Where were Alfredsson, Spezza, Heatley? They could have and should have motivated their teammates, but everyone was invisible. If a team can just roll over after allowing a few goals, how are they supposed to try to win four games to move on to round 2? Murray is reuniting the Alfredsson-Spezza-Heatley line, but that is too little, too late.

Let's hope Spezza and Heatley decide to show up and play well for Team Canada next month, because that's the only hockey they'll be playing in May.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This is a home game in Boston??

I'm watching the Montreal-Boston game on CBC and the only thing that indicates that the game is being played in Boston is the fact that the Bruins are wearing their black jerseys, and the Habs are in their whites.

I guess that's what happens when the Sox are playing the Yankees.

Head coach Claude Julien said that his team might be in trouble because of that baseball game. You usually think that when you return home, the crowd will be crazy in your favour. Tonight, it's 50-50.

They say that the lineups at the border this morning were an hour long. I do believe half of Quebec traveled to Boston this afternoon.

Every time Chara touches the puck, he is booed. The fans try to get on Thomas by screaming, "Tommmyyyyyyyyy, Tommmmmmyyyyyy". When the Habs nail the Bruins, a deafening cheer goes up. If the Habs score a goal, the only thing missing from the screaming and waving towels is the horn. Oh, and there's the 'Ole Ole Ole!" song, which I happen to love.

I truly believe that no fanbase has the lungs of the fans of the Montreal Canadiens. It is always a party in those stands, and every single one of them must return home with a case of laryngitis. And now the fans have taken the party on the road.

Good times. Go Habs.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Three Cheers for Ottawa!!

My very first YouTube video. I suck at anything using a computer, but I wanted to upload this song. Just substitute the "Maple Leafs" for "Penguins" :)

Go Pens!!

(weird, I know, since I usually like the Senators and would cheer for them if they weren't playing the Pens or Habs...but it's the playoffs and as long as the Pens are still in it, everyone else is 'the enemy')


Charlie's making his rounds

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ottawa = Owned

"And that is how we beat the Senators into submission"

Pens win. Fleury gets the shutout. Roberts the hockey god scores 2 goals, meaning 14 of his 32 playoff goals (ALMOST HALF!) are against the Senators.

Here's this for another stat: In 11 playoff seasons, they have been SHUTOUT FIVE TIMES in the series opener. How sickening is THAT?

Eugene Melnyk = stunned. Roberts was the only player he had ever wanted to get.

One down, fifteen to go.


The Stars and Stripes are keeping it young

Yesterday, it was Team Canada releasing their partial roster for the WC. Today, it was Team USA's turn.

The list has 17 players, with an average of only 23.9 years. That being said, nine of these players have previous WC experience.

Pat Kane (CHI)
Peter Mueller (PHO)
David Backes (STL)
Lee Stempniak (STL)
Dustin Brown (LAK)
Patrick O'Sullivan (LAK)
Jeff Halpern (TBL)
Drew Stafford (BUF)
Dustin Byfuglien (CHI)
Jason Pominville (BUF)
Paul Gaustad (BUF)
David Booth (BUF)

Tom Gilbert (EDM)
Keith Ballard (PHO)
Matt Greene (EDM)
James Wisniewski (CHI)

Craig Anderson (FLA)

The one thing that made me look twice at the roster was the addition of Jason Pominville, who's from Repentigny, Quebec. I didn't know he was a dual citizen...

The Americans will play a pre-tournament game in Portland, ME on April 27th before heading to Halifax and playing the Latvians on May 2nd.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Team Canada starts to shape up

Who will get to wear the jersey for Canada this May???

GM Steve Yzerman announced the first round of Canucks that will represent the Maple Leafs at the World Championships in Halifax and Quebec City. A number of them are no strangers to Team Canada's roster, as 8 have played in the WC.

The players so far include...

Rick Nash (CBJ)
Shane Doan (PHO)
Jamal Mayers (STL)
Jason Chimera (CBJ)
Derek Roy (BUF)
Patrick Sharp (CHI)
Marty St. Louis (TBL)
Eric Staal (CAR)
Jonathan Toews (CHI)
Ray Whitney (CAR)

Jay Bouwmeester (FLA)
Duncan Keith (CHI)
Steve Staios (EDM)

Cam Ward (CAR)
Pascal Leclaire (CBJ)

The next round of players will be announced after the conclusion of the Quarterfinals.

Canada opens the WC against Slovenia in Halifax on May 2nd.

Watch Rick Nash own Kari Lehtonen in last year's gold medal game...

Oh my Gary, the playoffs are coming!

(From the Canadian Press,


Sidney Crosby would have never admitted this a year ago but on the eve of his second NHL playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar centre revealed just how awestruck he and his young teammates were when the puck first dropped last spring in Ottawa.

''The first 10 minutes,'' an introspective Crosby said Tuesday. ''I mean, it felt like they had eight guys out there. We were just watching, trying to feel it out. They weren't. They were taking the play to us.''

Even the great ones have to learn for themselves. No matter how much veterans such as Gary Roberts had warned his young bucks, the intensity and emotion of the NHL playoffs is something players must experience first-hand before knowing how to prepare for it.

''You can watch as much as you want but being in that atmosphere, being in that environment, knowing how to react and things like that - just having that sense of `I've been through this before,''' said Crosby. ''It's very emotional when you're in the playoffs so the more you're prepared for what can happen, the better you are.''


''Nobody likes to lose,'' said Crosby. ''We have a lot of guys who have a lot of pride and character and don't accept losing. We want to be better for that experience and hopefully this is our chance to prove it.''

Roberts has noticed the difference in his young teammates a year later.

''Mentally I think we're a stronger team this time around just because of what we went through in the playoffs last year and the adversity that we went through this season to finish second in the conference,'' said Roberts.

Crosby also points to the adversity his team faced this season as another growth factor. Both he and Fleury were among the long list of key injuries but the Penguins never lost a beat.

''It would have been easy to have a lot of excuses for not winning this year,'' said Crosby. ''We lost our goalie for three months. Myself, Roberts, (Mark) Eaton. The list goes on. We came out of that, which I think says a lot about the character of our team. I think we're a stronger group than we were a year ago.''

Crosby was flying on the ice during his team's practice ahead of Wednesday night's opener against the Senators in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final (CBC, 7 p.m. ET). Anyone who saw him skate Tuesday would not believe all the rumours suggesting the 20-year-old native of Cole Harbour, N.S., is still hampered by the high ankle sprain that knocked him out of 28 games from January to March.

''I'm fine,'' he said. ''I think there's a lot of speculation with my ankle because they sat me out on Sunday (in Pittsburgh's regular-season finale). But that's really not the case. It was more of just getting a rest and just making sure that I'm ready for the playoffs.

''But the ankle is giving me no problems whatsoever.''

That's a scary thought for Senators fans who saw him collect five points (3-2) in his first five career playoff games last spring despite, it was later revealed, playing on a broken foot.

Now he says he's healthy this time around, until that is, a Senators player gives him a two-hand chop a la Bobby Clarke on his ankle. That was the suggestion of a columnist in Tuesday's edition of the Ottawa Sun, a story that quickly made the rounds of the Penguins dressing room.



Get ready, Ottawa Senators, because it's payback time.

Twenty-four hours until puck drop.

[Hossa - Crosby - Fleury - Malkin]

Playoff Predictions: Round 1

Susie - BRUINS
Maggie the Monkey - CANADIENS
James Duthie - CANADIENS
Darren Pang - CANADIENS
Mike Milbury - CANADIENS
Bob McKenzie - CANADIENS

Maggie the Monkey - PENGUINS
James Duthie - PENGUINS
Darren Pang - PENGUINS
Mike Milbury - PENGUINS
Bob McKenzie - PENGUINS

Ashley - FLYERS
Maggie the Monkey - FLYERS
James Duthie - CAPITALS
Darren Pang - CAPITALS
Mike Milbury - CAPITALS
Bob McKenzie - CAPITALS

Ashley - RANGERS
Susie - DEVILS
Maggie the Monkey - DEVILS
James Duthie - RANGERS
Darren Pang - DEVILS
Mike Milbury - RANGERS
Bob McKenzie - RANGERS

Ashley - RED WINGS
Maggie the Monkey - RED WINGS
James Duthie - RED WINGS
Darren Pang - RED WINGS
Mike Milbury - RED WINGS
Bob McKenzie - RED WINGS

Ashley - SHARKS
Susie - FLAMES
Maggie the Monkey - SHARKS
James Duthie - SHARKS
Darren Pang - SHARKS
Mike Milbury - SHARKS
Bob McKenzie - SHARKS

Susie - WILD
Maggie the Monkey - WILD
James Duthie - WILD
Darren Pang - AVALANCHE
Mike Milbury - WILD
Bob McKenzie - AVALANCHE

Ashley - DUCKS
Susie - DUCKS
Maggie the Monkey - DUCKS
James Duthie - DUCKS
Darren Pang - DUCKS
Mike Milbury - DUCKS
Bob McKenzie - DUCKS

Pittsburgh Penguins beating the New York Rangers in the East
San Jose Sharks beating the Detroit Red Wings in the West
San Jose Sharks winning the Stanley Cup against the Pittsburgh Penguins


Monday, April 7, 2008

How my pre-seasons predictions panned out...

Back in August, I decided to make a few predictions concerning the 2007-08 season. Those predictions centered around how the final standings would look. Well, since the season is now over, maybe we should take a look at those predictions and laugh about how dumb I was last summer.

Eastern Conference
1. Ottawa (President's Trophy)---Montreal
2. New York Rangers---Pittsburgh
3. Atlanta---Washington
4. Pittsburgh---New Jersey
5. Buffalo---New York Rangers
6. Toronto---Philadelphia
7. New Jersey---Ottawa
8. Philadelphia---Boston

9. Tampa Bay---Carolina
10. Montreal---Buffalo
11. Washington---Florida
12. Carolina---Toronto
13. New York Islanders---New York Islanders
14. Florida---Atlanta
15. Boston---Tampa Bay

Western Conference
1. Detroit---Detroit (President's Trophy)
2. Anaheim---San Jose
3. Colorado---Minnesota
4. San Jose---Anaheim
5. Vancouver---Dallas
6. Calgary---Colorado
7. Dallas---Calgary
8. Minnesota---Nashville

9. St. Louis---Edmonton
10. Chicago---Chicago
11. Edmonton---Vancouver
12. Nashville---Phoenix
13. Los Angeles---Columbus
14. Columbus---St. Louis
15. Phoenix---Los Angeles

Where I was wayyyy off base:
Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Washington, Atlanta, Boston...basically most of the Eastern Conference
Vancouver, St. Louis, Minnesota...I did much better in the West.

Where I was spot on:
Islanders, Chicago, Detroit

Better luck next year, I suppose....

Tomorrow night I'll post my predictions for round 1 of the playoffs, along with my dog's predictions and the predictions of the TSN crew and Maggie. I'll keep tabs on how everyone does and we'll see who is the best playoff predictor in June.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Women's Hockey: Canada and the US on top

When it comes to women's international hockey, it's hard to argue the notion that the sport is dominated by Canada and the United States. Since the first world championships in 1990, the only team Canada has lost to in international tournaments has been the US, and (other than a semi-finals loss to Sweden in the Torino Olympics) the US has only lost to Canada.

Many critics have argued that this is unfair and that women's hockey should not be an Olympic sport because it is one-sided (or two-sided). After all, for most teams, the main battle has been for the bronze medal.

Critics call Team Canada names because they always play a hard game from the opening faceoff until the last buzzer, and typically win by a large margin. I can only imagine what they'll say after today's 11-0 victory over Team China (with a 5-save shutout by Charline Labonte - though she said that she faced 8 or 9 shots) at the 2008 World Championships in China. Afterall, everyone gave them crap for winning 16-0 against Team Italy at the 2006 Olympics.

Here's my opinion: Canada, the United States, and every other team should play to the best of their abilities at all times. For Canada or the US to dumb down their games when they play other teams is completely disrespectful in itself. It sends the message that the other teams are not worthy of their best game. It also lets a few bad habits creep into your game, which will bite you in the ass in the later rounds.

The win over China is not exactly surprising. Just take a look at the number of registered female hockey players in each country: Canada has 70,000....China has less than 150. Something similar can be said about many countries (say, Italy).

Sure, many teams will get clobbered by Canada and the US, as has been the case in years past, but those teams are getting better. Sweden is starting to catch up, thanks in large part to super-goalie Kim Martin. Finland is getting better too. The playing field will soon be level, and it won't be a sport dominated by the US and Canada. Remember when the Soviet Union dominated international hockey in the 60s and 70s and nobody could beat them? Well, things have changed, starting with the "Miracle on Ice" team at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

Canada and the US may be on top of the pile right now, but other teams will take their experiences against us to learn.

As Team China head coach Steve Carlyle said following today's game, "We'd been looking forward to that game all year. It was an emotional letdown for us. This was an opportunity to play the best team in the world and learn. We still have a long way to go. Team Canada respected us by battling hard through the entire game.''

One last standing ovation

He hasn't made any announcements, but everyone seems to know.

He flew his parents to Vancouver to see the final game of the Canucks' season, a game in which the fans all held banners declaring their appreciation for Linden.

Fans of the Vancouver Canucks love Trevor Linden. Heck, even fans of other teams acknowledge how special a player he is and was for that franchise. He was more of a Canuck than anyone else in Vancouver history.

And it seems that the 'Trevor Linden Era' is now over. Tonight appeared to be the last NHL game in Linden's career.

He may not have scored a goal tonight. In fact, his team lost 7-1 to Calgary, but he was named the number one star of the night because that is what the fans wanted. He came out and skated around the rink, saluting the fans as they stood and cheered for the man who was once their captain.

The Canucks took to the ice after the game and gave their jerseys to fans. The cameras seemed to be stuck on Linden as he signed his jersey and handed it over to a young woman before sitting down on the bench. CBC then trained their cameras on UFA Markus Naslund, who is not expected to return next season.

The Vancouver Canucks are losing a quiet, humble, honest and thoughtful player - a true leader - but he will soon return to GM Place to watch the team raise his number 16 to the rafters.

He did return to play Game 7, but lost the Cup to Messier's Rangers.

You'll be missed, Linden.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

2008-09: The Year of the Habs

Next season will be all about the Montreal Canadiens. It will be the 100th anniversary of the team, so the National Hockey League will help the Habs celebrate accordingly.

First off, the Habs will host "Le Match Des Etoiles" (aka The All-Star Game) in January 2009. That summer, Montreal will host the NHL Awards Show - something normally held in Toronto - and the 2009 NHL Draft (aka The Tavares Sweepstakes).

Now, we are told that the Canadiens have put in a bid to host an outdoor game that winter at the Molson Stadium, which normally hosts the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL.

Deputy commish Bill Daly didn't say much about the report: "It's not something we want to overdo," he said. "We want to keep it special."

All of these events will make things exciting in Montreal (is anything in Montreal ever boring??), but what fans want most in 2009 is their 25th Stanley Cup - that is, if they don't win the whole thing in 2008.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Kick his ass, C. Bass!

I have been hard on Ottawa since, well, late last fall when the big downward spiral begun. I just didn't get how the team that kicked Pittsburgh....New Jersey...Buffalo....out of the playoffs in 07 just kinda fell apart.

Well, tonight's game against the Leafs shows that they aren't completely done. Maybe it was because the Leafs are done and have a few newbies in the lineup, and maybe it's because Mats Sundin is gone...who knows. But I just checked the box score of the game and the Sens are up 8-2 over the Leafs with about 7:30 left in the third.

Even strength goals? Check. Three of them.

Power play goals? Check. Check.

SH goals? Check...times 3. Two of them by some guy named "C. Bass"....oops, I guess Vermette got his stick on that second C. Bass SH goal.

Oh well. Still made me think of Dumb and Dumber...

I'm sure Sens fans are loving this, especially after being shut out in their last 2 games. The offense is clicking!!! Yay!!!

But will it show up for the playoff?

And which defense will play next week: the leaky one that exposes the goaltenders' weaknesses, or the one that got the team to the Cup Finals last year?

As for the Leafs, I feel bad for Toskala - Maurice didn't pull him. I don't care if your team is out of the playoff race or not, you don't let your goalie suffer like that if you have a backup that is able to play. Remember Patrick Roy's final game with Montreal?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Solid TSN Playoff Preview Coverage on April 7th

Less than one week to go, people...

TSN has announced their 3-hr playoff preview extravaganza to be broadcast Monday night starting at 7PM ET.

Sad about the thought of missing the Playoff Preview coverage? Don't worry - the NHL Network is picking up the broadcast, and is showing the goods live and on-demand.

Good times.

Here's how it all breaks down:

7PM ET: McGuire's Monsters (TSN,, NHL Network)
Pierre McGuire will announce his team of 'Monsters' - those who are the consummate team players - in his third annual Monsters special. Last year it was Sidney Crosby...will Ovechkin get the nod this season?

7:30 PM ET: Fantasy Playoff Special (TSN,, NHL Network)
This part of the extravaganza sees James Duthie hosting a fantasy draft among the so-called 'experts' - Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, analysts Dave Hodge, Mike Milbury, and Keith Jones (reigning Fantasy King). Each team will have 6 forwards, 3 D, and 1 goalie. Points are awarded according to goals and assists (1 point each), victory and shutout (for goalies, 1 point each). Expect a lot of smack talk as they criticize each other's choices.

8PM ET: Scotiabank NHL Draft Lottery Special (TSN,, NHL Network, Versus,
This is the second time the Draft Lottery will be televised (the first time being the "Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes" in 2005, and this time being the "Stamkos Sweepstakes"). There will be live coverage of the Lottery, and Stamkos will join the mix via satellite as he learns where he will begin his NHL career. Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie will also give his Top 10 list of players eligible for this year's draft and Mad Mike Milbury will be on hand to give his two cents before and after the big event in NYC.

8:30PM ET: NHL on TSN Playoff Preview Special (TSN,, NHL Network)
This 90-minute show is what we are all waiting for - the in-depth analysis of each playoff series. McKenzie, Milbury and Darren Pang will be around to tell it like it is (they may be right, or probably wrong). Everyone on the broadcast team will declare their predictions, and the ever-popular Maggie the Monkey will return to prove everyone wrong. Remember a few years back when the national media ran all kinds of stories saying that Maggie the Monkey was smarter than the so-called 'experts'? I wonder if it will happen once again - how great would that be? Anyways, Panger will also breakdown the goalie matchups, Dreger will name the 16 people (one from each team) who go into the playoffs in the 'hot seat', Hodge will do his 'Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down' segment, and there will be a feature on the active player with the most Stanley Cups to his name - Scotty Niedermayer.

If you don't have some kind of emergency, then I'd suggest tuning in to the broadcast. I always find these guys entertaining as hell, and their extensive coverage of various NHL events (see Free Agent Frenzy day, TradeCentre, the NHL Draft) is always worth watching.

You ain't gonna get this stuff on ESPN.

[Gary Roberts?]

A sad day in Canada-land.

The Edmonton Oilers have finally been eliminated from the playoff race by...*gasp*...their hated provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames.

What a sad day. I really wanted the Oilers to sneak in and beat Detroit in round 1...again.

Who's next to fall? The Vancouver Canucks? They're currently in 9th...behind the Nashville "We sold all of our stars last summer and yet we don't suck" Predators.

How about the Ottawa Senators? The term 'Free Fall' does not even begin to describe what's going on there. They seem to be synonymous with the word 'shutout' -- and not in a good way.

That's one team that will blow up in the off-season.

Imagine if the only Canadian team to make the playoffs this year was the Habs? How sad would THAT be??

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Great news on the Cryers

One of the best things I have read all day.

Philadelphia kicked out of playoff race for dirty play.

Have fun on the golf course. I'll be watching hockey.

(thanks to pensgirl over at pensblog for posting this on c-blog)