Detroit signed defenseman Brendan Smith to a three-year contract. So that's something.
Two young guys signed this month - Smith and Mitchell Callahan.
Hopefully these guys develop quickly. The Wings have had a history of high pick busts. They can't afford it anymore.
Random fact of the day:
Sergei Fedorov holds the NHL record for most overtime points in a career with 27. Impressive. He was clutch.
Monday, May 24, 2010
The Chicago Blackhawks will meet the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship series. The Flyers knocked off the Montreal Canadiens in game five Monday.
Here is a broad view of these two franchises:
There is one common statistic which stands out to me: Chicago and Philadelphia have both been to the Cup final five times since their last championship. Chicago's last visit was 1992. Philly's was 1997. Chicago has not won since 1961. The Flyers have not won since 1975.
These are hungry franchises with desperate fans.
But Chicago should win right?
Seems like this would be an easy pick. Philadelphia barely made the playoffs. The Canadiens did all the work to kick out both Washington and Pittsburgh. The Flyers swept an unsuspecting New Jersey team in the opening round, and of course stunned the overrated Boston Bruins in seven after recovering from a 3-0 series deficit. By the time they met Montreal, the Canadiens had little left in the tank.
Clearly, I don't believe Philadelphia deserves to be here. And that's probably not fair - especially after the historic comeback against Boston. So, this brings me back to the question: Chicago should destroy them, right?
Not so fast. There are some aspects to this matchup which really go against the Blackhawks.
First, there is Michael Leighton - a really hot goaltender - something Chicago has not had to deal with in these playoffs. Next, the Flyers are by far the most physical team in the NHL. I think this is quite obvious at this point. They are tougher physically than any team Chicago has seen thus far. Moreover, the Flyers have added to their lineup: Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere. They are rested and ready to give it all in the final series.
This is a Philly team without fear. Chicago better be ready.
One more very important point: The Curse of Marian Hossa. Chicago is not safe until they hoist the Cup.
Should be a great series between two franchises, two cities really, starving to capture Lord Stanley's Cup again.
The Chicago Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup Final series for the first time since 1992. Marian Hossa is in the final series for the third time in three years, on a third team. Yikes.
If the Hawks lose, Hossa is officially a curse. See Burgeoning Wolverine Star: A Portrait of Misfortune.
I can't imagine this happening. It's too horrible.
The Philadelphia Flyers are hoping they can have a shot at ruining Chicago's dream. They have one more game to win against Montreal. Game five is in Philly Monday. Never count the Montreal Canadiens out.
Jiri Hudler returns. It's official. He signed a two-year contract for just under six million bucks Monday.
Hudler is 26. He was a 20-goal scorer in 2008-09 while with the Detroit Red Wings. He spent this past season playing in Russia.
Whatever, I don't care. He can come back and be a bust. I do not believe Hudler will score more than ten goals with the Wings next season. Prove me wrong. If he stayed with the Wings instead of being an idiot and trying to make some cash in Russia, he may be a consistent 20-goal guy at this point. But not now. I believe the NHL talent is the best in the world. Why bring a guy back who has been playing on European ice with less talent instead of giving some cheap AHL guys a chance? At least they are playing North American hockey. The transition is not so easy. Only the best can make it look simple. Is Hudler the best? Again, prove me wrong.
I disagree with Ken Holland on this one. However, because Mike Babcock ignores contracts, Hudler still has a ton to prove. Holland knows this. But it's still a risk. I would hate to see this blow up in the Wings' face.
I will probably be one of the few people disagreeing with this. Every other Wings fanatic seems to think Ken Holland is God. I never have. I am a Jim Nill fan myself.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Montreal Canadiens forgot how to score in the conference final. What is worse: Jaroslav Halak forgot how to steal a game. But, in all fairness, no one will ever win a hockey game without netting a goal.
The Philadelphia Flyers look good. They have to be given credit. They knew they were going up against a tough defensive team in Montreal. This didn't seem to bother them a bit in games one and two, scoring nine goals while shutting the Canadiens out. Players like Ville Leino, Simon Gagne and Daniel Briere are coming through big for Philly.
In the west, the San Jose Sharks look stunned. Chicago keeps getting better as the playoffs continue. The Sharks must be wondering how they lost two games at home. It's simple: The Balckhawks were the better team. San Jose was out-coached and out-talented - if that's a word.
I would expect to see Montreal do everything they can to make this a series again. In San Jose's case, I'm not sure they stand a chance. Chicago is a hungry animal with a ton of talent. The Sharks are, well, the Sharks. Nothing new.
Monday, May 17, 2010
After the blowout in game one, I am left wondering if Philadelphia can be stopped. The Flyers are on a five-game winning streak. They are seemingly invincible a this point. They show no signs of slowing up.
But this is Montreal right? The team which knocked off the NHL's poster-child teams. What happened in game one may have been fluke. It is difficult to tell at this point.
The Canadiens need to bounce back and prove to Philly they are the same team which beat Washington and Pittsburgh. Game two needs to showcase some heavy goal scoring from Montreal's snipers like Michael Cammilleri. But Cammilleri needs help.
I am expecting a tighter game. If the Canadiens get off to a quick start, then they could go into shutdown mode and "Halak Wall" mode.
Philadelphia could be in for a rude awakening.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
These conference finals feel weird - and for good reason. It's the first time the Detroit Red Wings have missed the third-round since 2006, when they bowed out in the first-round to Edmonton.
Personally, I'm pulling for Chicago and Montreal. I am 1-1 on the first day of this round. Montreal was blown out, while Chicago played a solid road game.
I find myself defending the NHL more than I should these days. It seems this year's wealth of parody has many would-be fans turning away. However, at the same time I have seen the real fans latch on to the exciting hockey the 2010 playoffs are providing. This has given a true insight to where this league should be in a few years.
I have my vision of the NHL, and the evidence I need to support it is piling up daily.
A wise man said: "If the San Jose Sharks win the Stanley Cup, it will be a fork in the forehead of hockey." There is no reason to disagree with this statement.
During the off season, I plan to focus this blog's content on the NHL's and Detroit Red Wings' near future. Both have some extremely important decisions to make - the NHL in particular.
Friday, May 14, 2010
The Philadelphia Flyers became the third team in NHL history to come back from 0-3 and win a seven-game playoff series.
The Boston Bruins really threw this one up. This will go down as one of, if not the worst choke jobs in NHL history. After letting the Flyers come back and win three games straight to tie the series, Boston was ready to put out the fire in game seven. Or were they?
The Bruins grabbed the game early, scoring three goals. It was 3-0. Not for long.
The utter meltdown the Bruins had in the second and third periods will baffle fans for decades. I can't think of a worse way to lose a series. Three games up, and three goals up in game seven. Nothing to show for it.
Abysmal - that's the word.
Now, Philly joins their fellow odds-defying Montreal Canadiens in the conference final.
This is sure to be a beauty.
The Detroit Red Wings signed Kelowna Rockets forward Mitchell Callahan to a three-year deal.
Full brief here.
Big hopes for this kid who was drafted late in 2009. Callahan will need to prove himself in the AHL for a season. So, we can all forget his name for now.
He's young, he's tough, he scores some goals. I would put him in the same class as Justin Abdelkader, except he's a bit smaller.
I doubt he'll see much of Joe Louis Arena next season. But, he had numbers in the WHL - a league which has come a long way.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Ville Leino was not a favorite of Mike Babcock's. This is no secret to Detroit fans, as Babcock frequently ragged the forward in interviews. Leino was benched and traded before his seat got warm.
He ended up in Philadelphia, where the bench rarely sees Leino. He's averaging some high minutes, and for good reason: He has five points in six playoff games with the Flyers. Leino has been an effective, skilled addition to a Philly team with mostly brute-force, hard-nosed players. Detroit fans may be left wondering how the Wings let this talent go.
Well, from a money standpoint, he wasn't worth his pay. Leino gave an underwhelming performance in what was supposed to be his breakout season with the Wings: 42 games with just 7 points and a -10 rating. But in these playoffs, Philadelphia has been treated to everything Detroit scouts expected: A talented two-way force who has a knack for the back of the net.
Leino is a win for Detroit scouting.
Sometimes talent slips away. In Leino's case, he couldn't adjust to Babcock's demands quickly enough, and Detroit has depth to push a guy out and replace him. He is better off going to a team with less talent, like Philly. This resembles the fate of Mikael Samuelsson.
For Red Wings fans, it is good to see the scouts are still noticing players the rest of the league may overlook. But, to play devil's advocate, maybe the Wings could have used Leino after Patrick Eaves went down. Do Drew Miller and Justin Abdelkader have the same kind of impact on the ice as Eaves and Leino? Do any of these players have a future with Detroit? FYI: Jiri Hudler is on his way back to Hockeytown.
Many questions about which players should be in the Wings bottom lineup will go unanswered until well into next season.
For now, Leino represents talent lost, and fostered elsewhere. While this boasts well for the scouts, it is a trend no franchise wants to start. It never ends well.
Here is an excerpt from the article I placed here in the previous post:
"And perhaps, at last, some sanity will return to the sports world. Maybe we can go back to the day when actual fans, not the prospect of corporate sales or pie-in-the-sky revenue projections, still count for something."
The Montreal Canadiens stun the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in game six to force game seven in Pittsburgh.
Michael Cammalleri scored two goals to help the Canadiens fend off elimination for the fourth time in these playoffs. Jaroslav Halak continues to shine while the bleu blanc rouge roll through the gauntlet.
It didn't take long for the Penguins to get a first-hand taste of why the Canadiens pushed the mighty Washington Capitals aside in seven games. Now, Pittsburgh must try to avoid missing the conference finals - something they have accomplished two years in a row.
Game seven means anything could happen. The Montreal Canadiens mean anything could happen. But the Penguins cannot be overlooked. They are team which knows as best as anyone how to battle back. After all, they are the current Stanley Cup Champions. This didn't happen by chance. Montreal needs one more huge push.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
The Detroit Red Wings are out of the playoffs. Detroit fell in five games to the San Jose Sharks.
Welcome back riders. Hope you enjoyed your ride on the Magnum XL 300. Please exit the train to your right and collect your personal belongings. Enjoy the rest of your stay at Cedar Point: America's Roller Coast.
Yes, this season had some extreme highs and lows. Overall, I can't be too upset.
I will do a season recap once these playoffs are over.
For now, I'm taking it in stride.
Go Habs and Canucks.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
The series is 2-2. The Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to get to the Eastern Conference finals for the third straight season. The Montreal Canadiens are trying to get to a conference finals for the first time since 1993.
Montreal is as Cinderella as it gets. Coming off the gigantic first-round upset of the Washington Capitals, the Canadiens are by far the most exciting team in the 2010 playoffs. If you haven't already, it's time to jump on the Montreal bandwagon. Who could resist?
Personally, I've always been on the so-called "bandwagon." It is no secret I have a tendency to pull for the Canadian teams. It's my personal way of sticking it to Gary Bettman. Of course, I haven't been very successful.
I can't express how much it would mean to me to see the Canadiens knock the Penguins out. It would mean more to see them go on to the Stanley Cup finals.
But let me back it up.
Today's game is the almighty pivotal game five. The Canadiens have to win this at Pittsburgh. No sweat for a team which battled back to overturn a 3-1 deficit with the Caps.
What is it about this team? This question can not be answered accurately until they are subdued or hoisting the Cup. Even if the Canadiens lose this important road game, they are far from out of it. That's the special ingredient an underdog needs: The ability never to show defeat. This gets in the opponent's head, no matter how much the Penguins will deny it. And it's statistics like the ones listed here which really hammer it home.
Enjoy the show.
Well, there were a lot of goals scored.
I didn't see the game much - maybe just the first ten minutes before I finally turned away from hockey for a bit. Sigh.
Chicago is now in control, 3-1, as I subconsciously predicted a few posts before.
Vancouver really let me down in this series. By no means is it over, but, it's over. After the way they handled LA, I thought this Canucks team would have a good chance at making the finals.
They could come back.
Chicago needs one. Ideally, they'll want to wrap this up in game five at United Center.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Here is some supporting evidence for why Pierre McGuire is such a "piece of shit" - to quote myself.
This is from MotherPucker.ca.
"I do have to say that having someone down on ice level between the benches is an awesome idea, but seriously pick someone better! As far as I can tell with TSN, Gord Miller is the play by play guy, and the douche is the colour guy. And as far as I can tell from all my years of watching hockey, the play by play guy covers just that, and the color guy throws in his two cents during stopages in play. Ever notice how often McGuire decides to bring up some useless stat about where some guy shoveled snow when he was young, WHILE THE PLAY IS GOING ON? Who gives a flying one? I had to give props to Miller one night for basically telling the douche to shut up and let him do his job! Just about jumped off the couch to cheer after that one!"
Good point. I don't watch many games on TSN. In fact, the only games from TSN I see are during the regular season via NHL Center Ice. Still, this is exactly my feeling for McGuire while he spits senseless bullshit during NBC games.
Yes, the series is in fact 2-1 Chicago. The Vancouver Canucks will make it 2-2 tonight.
I am confident the Blackhawks will not acquire the stranglehold they hungrily seek.
Vancouver has the lethal weapons who have yet to let the team down in these playoffs. The Sedins and Mikael Samuelsson step up when needed. They will again tonight.
Dustin Byfuglien is a good player. However, he will not have too many multiple goal games. If the Chicago talent doesn't break out soon, the Hawks faithful will start to feel pretty taken. I mean, this team has mad talent. I'd expect more from some of it if I were a Chicago fan.
Of course, now is a good time to shove it in my face.
Sometimes, I just go with pure emotion and feeling. I feel this game is Vancouver's all the way.
Check it out.
No, I don't believe the team will move.
Important reason why:
"If the Reinsdorf deal is officially pulled off the table and Glendale and the NHL cannot present Ice Edge with a purchase package this group is willing to swiftly accept, the National Hockey League may have to expedite its plan "B" and relocate the Coyotes."
Any time there is an if/then clause it usually means no.
Main reason why:
If the NHL were to move this team back to Winnipeg, they would be admitting a mistake which tumbled down a black hole of failure for 15 years. Plan "B" is actually plan "admit we made a huge mistake and lost millions of dollars trying to market ice hockey to the desert folk."
The NHL's persistence to keep hockey in Arizona is perplexing to the avid hockey fan. This fan is no exception. Growing a fan base is never a bad thing. Yet, understanding the risk involved seems to be the most overlooked aspect of marketing in the NHL.
The question: Why risk losing already established fans while failing to reach proposed new ones? The NHL must ask this question. Right? However, decades of failed attempts to grow the league in "untapped" markets proves this league is utterly confused.
So while it may seem obvious to even the average hockey fan that Winnipeg should be awarded a team before Glendale, the NHL has proven to overlook this "common sense." And yes, it seems common sense is an entirely subjective idea.
If it's about money, well, "show me the money."
Johan Franzen scored four goals for a total of six points in Detroit's 7-1 victory over San Jose in game four Thursday. It was a blowout.
They stay in this. The series is now 3-1.
We've all seen the historic statistic by now: Two NHL teams out of 160 have ever come back from a 3-0 game deficit in a playoff series.
What makes anyone think the Red Wings can be the third? It is not history. The seven goals the Wings notched in game four may be the fire they need to get in the heads of the Sharks. This is a mental game now.
All I can say is: San Jose better have thick skin.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
In my last post, I said Chicago is leading the series 3-1. Obviously incorrect.
Hopefully that doesn't happen. I'm going insane apparently.
So, to clarify - thanks to T.J. Kosinski - Chicago is up 2-1 in the series.
I wouldn't call this a "commanding" lead. Game four is in Vancouver.
Feel free to call me an idiot.
It was the Dustin Byfuglien show. This beast of a man dominated the Canucks in the offensive zone, making them look like little mini mites. The Chicago Blackhawks went on to win 5-2 thanks to a Byfuglien hat trick.
Well, I'd say this is over. The Hawks have a commanding 3-1 series lead. Did Vancouver ever stand a chance against a Hawks team with depth all the way to the locker room? I guess not.
Canada's chance to bring the Cup home is just about gone.
Montreal is their only hope. The drive for 25 continues.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers head to Philly to play game three.
It's going down right now.
Here are my feelings for this game without considering what is happening as I type:
Philadelphia pulls this one out in front of the home crowd. I feel like Boston is not as good as Philadelphia has made them look. Then again, the Flyers are questionable as well. Can either of these teams beat Pittsburgh or Montreal? Yes, I believe they can. However, if Montreal somehow overcomes the Penguins, it will be tough for anyone to stop them. They are on a mission. But they must win tomorrow.
I can't say I am a fan of either Boston or Philly. However, as a fan of hockey, I hope this series needs seven games.
The Vancouver Canucks did all they could to pour fear into the hearts of Chicago Blackhawks fans in game one. Beating a team 5-1 in their building should always rattle the locals.
However, the Hawks seemed indifferent. Game two showcased a Chicago team which knows how to bounce back from overwhelming failure. Frankly, I am impressed. This, of course, does not mean I'll be donning black and red. I will continue to be a fierce backer of the Canucks in this series. I owe them a lot. After all, they dismantled the LA band wagon.
Tonight, I expect Vancouver to unload on the Chicago net. If the Hawks can weather the BC storm in the first period, they may have a chance.
That's right, I'm picking Vancouver. Please, something needs to go my way in the world of hockey. It's been a rough week.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The Detroit Red Wings are now trailing 3-0 in round two against the San Jose Sharks after a 4-3 OT loss Tuesday in Detroit.
This one is all but over. San Jose will look to finish the Wings off in a couple days at Joe Louis in front of an underwhelmed Detroit crowd.
Detroit looked tired. San Jose was able to take advantage of sloppy Wings play in the third period. The Wings blew a 3-1 lead and they paid for it in overtime.
They never looked like they had their legs in this one. It was not a good game for the winged wheel. They were on the penalty kill a lot again. This is how to lose hockey games. Also, a good way to lose hockey games is to miss a penalty shot - in the playoffs. That's like winning the lottery and then losing the ticket. Not smart. No excuses. To put it another way, the Red Wings didn't capitalize on golden opportunities.
The Sharks, on the other hand, got down early on the road but were never out. They hung around and waited for an opportunity to take this game away. They capitalized on scoring chances and even fooled Jimmy Howard with a quirky goal in the third. That's how series are won - on mistakes by goaltenders.
I guess this is about "all she wrote" - as Mickey Redmond would say. However, San Jose still needs one more to ice this series and put Detroit out of their misery.
I just hope Detroit can avoid the sweep.
Looking on the bright side, this gives the Red Wings a chance to make history and become one of a couple teams to ever come back after getting down 3-0. Normally I would say there is a chance. But, they just look so tired. I don't think they have much left to throw at the star-studded Sharks.
Time to prolong to inevitable.
In other news:
Montreal lost game three with Pittsburgh 2-0. The Canadiens now trail 2-1 in the series. Not a great day for me in hockey. However, this is surely what the NHL would want. If Pittsburgh and Washington both bowed out early, Bettman would most likely move all the teams to Mexico or something, just to punish the real hockey fans. Because we all know how he feels about them - people like me. In short, he hates hockey.
The Detroit Red Wings rule all - live and die.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Does Detroit have what it takes to win four out of five games?
I guess the next question is: Will San Jose really lose four out of five games?
I wish I knew the answer to at least one of these.
Chances are the Sharks will not let this one slip away. There will be no series-changing center ice goal. Detroit will have to score from a reasonable distance.
Tomorrow's game is a do or die. Too many more games like this and the Red Wings won't have much left in the metaphorical gas tank. Oil prices are going up. They better have something on reserve - yeah, not such a great metaphor. But give me a break. I am worn out and frustrated. I feel tired just watching the Wings these days. I wonder how much more I can expect them to do.
Here's to hoping for the improbable.
Nicklas Lidtsrom scored from center ice on Vancouver's Dan Cloutier in game three of the 2002 opening round. Detroit would go on to win the game and three more to clinch the series in six.
This is the last time Detroit came back after being down 2-0 in a series.
"What if Cloutier could stop a beach ball?"
The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 after trailing 2-0 Monday at United Center.
Ridiculous. Vancouver blew this game.
This will be a great series.
The teams travel to British Columbia for game three.
I really hope Vancouver doesn't buckle and hand this series over to the Hawks.
The Philadelphia Flyers could not recover from a late third-period goal. Boston held on to a one-goal lead to beat Philly 3-2 in game two.
Philadelphia looks awful. There is nothing going well for them. Boston should be worried they are barely winning these games. The Bruins should be killing the Flyers.
Here is a problem for Philly: Ville Leino is one of their best players right now. That's not going to win many games. Sorry Leino. But this is the cold, hard truth.
Boston leads the series 2-0.
Quick picks for tonight's games:
Chicago will bounce back and steal one from Vancouver. This will only happen if the Hawks can score the first goal - meh. Chicago got embarrassed in game one. Is this the curse of the great pig-faced mural? Don't forget about that.
Philadelphia will shut the Boston fans up tonight at the Gardens. This Marc Savard A.K.A. Jesus thing needs to be stopped immediately. This series will go seven games if Philly can get one on the road tonight.
Watch, enjoy. Prepare for the Detroit Red Wings homecoming tomorrow.
Without looking anything up, and going just on memory, I think the last time the Detroit Red Wings were down 2-0 in a series and came back successfully was the opening round of 2002 against Vancouver. Niklas Lidstrom scored the famous center-ice goal on Dan Cloutier to save the Wings in game three, thus saving the series. Detroit won four in a row to take the series in six games.
The 2002 Red Wings were an entirely different squad. More importantly, circumstances were completely different. They had not just come off a seven game series. They were not trying to push themselves to the conference finals for a fourth season in a row. Needless to say, they were more rested.
Detroit will need a miracle to pull themselves out of this hole. All I can ask is don't get swept. Don't let San Jose wrap this series up in Detroit. Save some pride. Give the hometown crowd a little something to cheer for.
My thoughts on the series thus far:
Detroit has met a very hungry San Jose Sharks team. The Sharks are ready to do whatever it takes to shake the reputation of choke artists. The Red Wings could not be in a much worse situation. If there is any chance for a comeback, everyone on the roster must show up every night and play smart, tough hockey the rest of the series. This has not happened yet.
I would love to sit here and say Detroit is playing like crap and San Jose is lucky they are tired. However, it would be a load of garbage. San Jose is a ridiculously good team. They are better than Detroit. This is their series to lose, not Detroit's. And now, this is the Sharks' series to choke on. I can't imagine they will.
Stranger things have happened in the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 Sunday in game two of the second-round series.
This game showed hockey fans just how terrible NHL officiating can be. Neither team escaped the wrath of the ill-advised whistle.
The Red Wings made a lot of trips to the penalty box, which cost them the game.
Good luck ever winning, anything, from the penalty box.
I will allow the reader to make his own opinion on which calls were bad.
Regardless, Detroit is now two games back. The series heads to Michigan for game three.
Desperation mode must kick in for Detroit.
The Montreal Canadiens beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in game two of their second round series.
Montreal is relentless. When it looks like the Canadiens might be falling away - especially after the tough loss in game one - they find a way to battle back. They are constantly underestimated by their opponent. It is working.
Pittsburgh should have their hands full with the boys in bleu blanc rouge.
The Canadiens have way more talent than most realize. There is no reason this team can't beat the Pens. If Halak can stay like a wall, this series can go to Montreal in six.