Here are our picks for the division winners, conference finalists, Stanley Cup finalists and winner.
Most divisions had a healthy majority, except in the Pacific, where we were split between San Jose & Los Angeles. Vancouver was an almost unanimous selection in the Northwest. The competitive Central had four teams represented.
Archive for the ‘Stanley Cup’ Category
Tags: Bruins, Canucks, Capitals, NHL, Predictions, Red Wings, Sharks
Here are our picks for the division winners, conference finalists, Stanley Cup finalists and winner.
Tags: Hockey, NHL, NHL Rule Changes, Trapezoid
Here are some thoughts on some of the potential rule changes being looked at in the NHL Research And Development Camp:
Hybrid Icing: Safety is the main issue that gets addressed here (Remember Kurtis Foster’s injury?), without taking away from the game. Easily something I think that should be implemented in the game. Although some would argue about the officiating on certain calls, which is the only real argument against it.
No Icing While Shorthanded: If the NHL can find a way to boost scoring, they’ll test it out (Remember the idea of round nets?) Now, I understand the want to score more often, but I don’t really like this idea. You should be able to ice the puck while shorthanded, make the other team actually have to work on the powerplay. The other guy has two or five minutes in the box, that should eb enough of a penalty on his team.
Overtime Changes ( 4 minutes 4 on 4, then 3 minutes of 3 on 3): If this gets rid of the shootout (unless the shootout goes to 5 shooters), im all for it. However, I really do not like the idea of 3 on 3 hockey, it should be 4 on 4 minimum. Would be interesting to do on a test run basis in the NHL.
No Line Change For Team That Is Offsides: Honestly, I like this idea, if a line can’t come into the zone onsides, they shouldn’t be able to change. Honestly, unless the players on the line have been on the ice a while, but, going offsides is their own fault, is it not? But,like the next rule, it could have an impact on the game negatively.
Faceoff In Own Zone After Offsides Is Called: Now this, I do not like, at all. This would encourage dump and chase hockey, which, just isn’t that good to watch from a fan standpoint. I don’t see this rule making it very far at all, it will not see the light of day in the NHL.
Eliminate The Trapezoid: Yes, yes, and yes. Getting rid of the trapezoid behind the net has my approval. Goalies should be aloud to play the puck, there is no good reason this rule was ever implemented. Goalies doing a bit more work, I don’t see any defensemen who would have to chase the puck otherwise, that would argue against that. Let the goalies be free from the evil trapezoid!
Goal Line Camera: A brilliant idea I can’t believe they didn’t think of sooner! So many close calls, some right , some wrong . Now, if we can work on defining “kicking motions”, that would be another huge step forward. I would really like to see this implemented in the NHL. But I feel it might not be 100% fool proof depending on the camera’s position if say, the goalie was on top of the puck.
Tags: Bill Guerin, Bobby Ryan, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Brian Rafalski, Brian Rolston, Chris Chelios, Doug Weight, Frank Brimsek, Gary Suter, Jamie Langenbrunner, Jeremy Roenick, Joe Mullen, John LeClair, July 4th, Keith Tkachuk, Mark Howe, Mike Eruzione, Mike Modano, Mike Richter, Miracle on Ice, Neal Broten, Pat LaFontaine, Patrick Kane, Phil Housley, Rod Langway, Tom Barrasso, Tony Amonte, USA Hockey, Zach Parise
In honor of our country’s Independence Day, I’ve decided to compile a full 23 man roster of the greatest American hockey players.
Pat LaFontaine scored over 1000 points in a career that was cut short. He was surpassed as the American points leader by Mike Modano, who has 561 goals and 1374 points (and still going?). Another player with 500 goals and 1000 points is Jeremy Roenick. The recently retired Doug Weight played for various teams in the NHL for 19 seasons, also scoring over 1000 points. Neal Broten, a member of the 1980 Olympic hockey team, played 1099 NHL games, being named an All Star twice.
Keith Tkachuk is only one of four Americans to score 500 goals, and went to five All Star games. In Montreal, John LeClair was a 3rd line center, but when he was traded to Philly in 1995, his career took off. 3 straight 50 goal seasons (only American to do that) and 5 straight 40 goal seasons, LeClair finished with over 400 goals. Brian Rolston has played over 1100 games and scored over 700 points in the NHL. Even though he never played an NHL game, Mike Eruzione scored the biggest goal in American hockey history, as he captained the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. (more…)
Tags: Alex Burrows, Brad Marchand, Bruins, Canucks, Daniel Sedin, David Krejci, Jannik Hansen, Johnny Boychuk, Kevin Bieksa, Manny Malhotra, Mark Recchi, Raffi Torres, Ryan Kesler, Stanley Cup, Tanner Glass
Many young hockey players across the globe have dreams of scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal in game 7. Game 7s are nerve-racking for both players and fans. One win away from ultimate glory, but one goal away from bitter defeat.
Mark Messier. Jari Kurri. Henri Richard. Jean Beliveau. Andy Bathgate. Gordie Howe. Hall of Famers; also players scoring the game winning goal in a Stanley Cup game 7. But, the list isn’t limited to stars. Max Talbot, Frantisek Kaberle, Ruslan Fedotenko and Mike Rupp are also on that list. But Hall of Famer or not, the player who scores the Cup clinching goal is etched into the minds of their fans forever. He’s a hero, regardless if he is a first liner or fourth liner.
Some kids carried their dream further and dreamed about scoring a game 7 winner in overtime, but that does not happen in the NHL too often. The last time the Stanley Cup was won in overtime in a game 7 was 1954 by Detroit’s Tony Leswick. Leswick dumped the puck into the Canadiens’ zone, where it deflected off a defenseman and into the net. He did not even realize he had scored until he saw his teammates celebrating.
So who scores the Cup clincher tonight? Twitterers threw in their opinions.
The popular choice was Ryan Kesler, who @Mfreys, @DurtyPuckhead, @lyssaaaah and @TheNatch_ picked despite not having a goal in this series. @MattyTets picked Alex Burrows based on the fact that he’s been “clutch all postseason.” Burrows has 9 playoff goals, 2 of them winners, including Vancouver’s game 2 win. @Shmermel and @AngrytownsMayor chose unsung heroes, going with Jannik Hansen and Tanner Glass respectively. @Pucktacular went with the man who eliminated the Sharks, Kevin Bieska. @Mtrible and @JoeyHurricane chose game 1′s hero, Raffi Torres.
The Bruins got some love, though. @PhillyReign_MD said Johnny Boychuk “burns one in the twine” in the second overtime. @ActiveStick_44 picked Mark Recchi because “experience is nothing to undervalue. Recchi has it and he has all the determination in the world to come out and play like it’s his last shot at ever hoisting the Stanley Cup again. He has been in a game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final before [2006 with Carolina]. In games like these it’s not the star players that create a great story. Recchi is not one of the superstars in this series, but you can expect him to come up huge tonight.” @RobDickinsonAB went along with the non-star theory and chose Brad Marchand. @Puremetal33 picked playoff scoring leader, David Krejci (12 goals, 23 points).
Who do I pick? Torn between my head (Daniel Sedin) and my heart (Manny Malhotra). I think it would be a great story if Malhotra ended up scoring the Cup clincher after the rocky season he’s had. But I’m going with my head and picking Daniel Sedin.
Tags: Alain Vigneault, Alex Burrows, Blackhawks, Bruins, Canucks, Daniel Sedin, Dennis Seidenberg, Henrik Sedin, Jannik Hansen, Kevin Bieksa, Maxim Lapierre, NHL, Predators, Raffi Torres, Sedin Twins, Sharks, Stanley Cup, Zdeno Chara
Vancouver took a huge step towards its’ first Stanley Cup victory on Friday, beating Boston 1-0 on the strength of a Maxim Lapierre goal. However, for the fourth time in the series, the Sedin twins were held off the scoresheet.
Daniel totaled 41 goals and 104 points in the regular season, and carried that over to the playoffs where he’s tallied 9 goals and 18 points. In the regular season, Henrik posted 19 goals and 94 points, and coming into the Stanley Cup Final, led in playoff points with 21 points.
In the Stanley Cup Final, the two have combined for two points (1 goal, 1 assist) through the first five games, and both were in game 2 by Daniel. Daniel’s taken 20 shots in the series, but Henrik has only four, and didn’t register a shot until game 4.
In the Western Conference Finals against the Sharks, the duo combined for a mind boggling 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) in the five game series. In game 4 alone, they racked up 7 points in the Canucks 4-3 win. They tallied 12 points in the first round series against the Blackhawks. Their second round opponent, Nashville, “slowed” them down for 7 points in 6 games.
The twins haven’t had to carry the load in the Final, which is a good thing for Vancouver. Guys like Raffi Torres, Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen and Maxim Lapierre (regular season total of 55 goals between the four players) have all scored in the series and the team is leading in the series. But it’s also a bad thing, as the Canucks’ top scorers are not producing. The biggest problem seems to be on the power play, where the Canucks have gone 1 for 26 in the series, after leading the league with a 24.3% power play.
Have the Bruins shutdown the twins? The Bruins seem to match Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg against the Canucks’ top line every time they touch the ice, neutralizing them. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault has given Boston a lot of credit, saying “We’re playing against a real strong opponent right now and we’ve got a lot of respect for how the Bruins play.” Teammate Kevin Bieksa agreed, “They’re [the Sedins] great players. We rely on them a lot. But they are playing against two pretty good defensemen (Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg).”
If the Sedins can get on the scoreboard in tomorrow night’s game 6, it will increase Vancouver’s chances of winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Tags: Aaron Rome, Alex Burrows, Blackhawks, Brad Marchand, Bruins, Canucks, Daniel Sedin, Dennis Seidenberg, Flyers, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Ryan Kesler, Stanley Cup, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara
After last night’s game four, I’m convinced that anyone outside of Boston and Vancouver can’t stand both teams.
In game three, Aaron Rome knocked out Nathan Horton. Rome was ejected and suspended and you thought it would just end there. That was far from the truth. With the Bruins leading, the game degenerated into scrumfest. Daniel Sedin, Andrew Ference (twice), Shawn Thornton, Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Milan Lucic, Kevin Bieska and Dennis Seidenberg were all given ten minute major misconducts in the third period. Kesler and Seidenberg even dropped the gloves.
Throughout the series the two teams have traded alleged bites, taunts, slashes, elbows, sucker punches, anything you can think of. Point is both teams have made this a dirty, dirty series. Some have defended it, calling it “Old Time Hockey.” No, no, incorrect. Old timers would be embarrassed that this is the Stanley Cup Final. Think Bobby Orr would approve of finger taunting? No way.
It all started (restarted?) when Brad Marchand and Christian Ehrhoff were racing for a puck in the Canucks’ zone. Marchand tried to go around Ehrhoff and with his free hand, semi-clotheslined the defenseman. Daniel Sedin skated in and Marchand ducked under him and dumped him. The only positive thing Keith Ballard did all night was grab Marchand. (Sidenote: Wow, was Ballard brutal last night.) That put the Nucks on the powerplay. Of course, it didn’t last long, as Alex Burrows slashed Tim Thomas’ stick out of his hands, resulting in a Thomas chop across Burrows’ calves. Burrows had enough and round two began. Kesler and Zdeno Chara picked up misconducts, and their nights were done.
Rooting for a team in this series is almost like picking the lesser of two evils. One can root for a team because they hate one team more, but feel dirty for doing so.
Last year’s Cup Finalists, the Blackhawks and Flyers, are pretty well unliked throughout the league, and they didn’t even garner this much negative attention.
My plea for both teams for the remaining games is play for the Stanley Cup. The trophy that’s awarded to the best team in hockey. Not the team who can dive or scrum best. Play hockey, guys.
Tags: Ian Laperriere, Alain Vigneault, Avalanche, Canucks, Bruins, Alex Burrows, Manny Malhotra
Alex Burrows might have been the star of game 2, with his two goals and an assist, including the overtime winner, but for Canucks center Manny Malhotra just playing in the game is a victory.
Malhotra was enjoying a fine 2010-11 season; playing for the league’s best team, scored his 100th career goal, and posted his third straight 30-point season. But on March 16, his world was flipped upside down. In a game against the Colorado Avalanche, Malhotra took a puck to the eye. He underwent surgery the next day, and was ruled out of the rest of the regular season and playoffs. A second surgery, a week later, was performed to save his eye and vision, according to his brother-in-law, NBA star Steve Nash. At the time, it was speculated that he might have to retire because of the injury. It looked like a giant blow to the Canucks’ penalty kill, which was ranked first in the league after being 18th the year before signing Malhotra.
However, as the Canucks kept advancing in the playoffs, the chances Malhotra would rejoin the team increased. In May, he started practicing, and by the end of the month, he was cleared to play in the Stanley Cup Final. He sat out game one, but Alain Vigneault inserted him into the lineup for tonight’s game two.
The crowd chanted “Manny, Manny” pregame and gave him a standing ovation when he stepped onto the ice for his first shift, about two minutes into the game. After the game, he admitted the ovation made him the most nervous he has ever been in his career. He played with a full face shield, despite not using one in the regular season prior to the injury.
In the regular season, Malhotra was second in the league, winning 61.7% of his faceoffs. The team missed him in game one, where they only won 44% of draws. Tonight, Malhotra went 6-for-7, and the Canucks as a team improved to 47 %. He only played 7:26, mainly on the fourth line with Victor Oreskovich and Jeff Tambellini, but contributed on the penalty kill as the Canucks held the Bruins to 1 for 7 on the man advantage.
Malhotra has drawn comparisons to Ian Laperriere, who last year returned for the Stanley Cup Final after taking a puck to the face in the first round, resulting in a concussion. Fortunately for Malhotra, he isn’t suffering from a brain injury.
With two more Canucks wins, Malhotra will get his name etched on the Stanley Cup, something well worth everything he’s been through this year.
Tags: Alex Burrows, Bruins, Canucks, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Patrice Bergeron, Raffi Torres, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Callahan, Slapshot, Stanley Cup, Tim Thomas, Vezina Trophy, Zdeno Chara
After tonight’s Vancouver’s Game 1 victory, thanks to Raffi Torres’ late goal, there are a few things we learned during the course of the game.
1. Daniel & Henrik are brothers
Over the course of the whole game, Doc Emrick may have mentioned that the Sedins were brothers about 479 times. I can understand mentioning it a couple times, because there are new viewers, tuning into the playoffs for the first time. But it seemed like everytime the two were on the ice together, or passing to each other, it was mentioned. Reminded me of the old Slapshot quote from Ned Bradon to the Hansons, “are you guys brothers or something?”
2. Zdeno Chara is in the wrong spot on the Bruins PP
Not that I’m an NHL coach or anything, but one would have to think Chara would be more effective on the powerplay at the point with his booming shot. Yeah, Chara can out-muscle and outreach any other player on the ice for a loose puck in front of the net, but wouldn’t you want a 106 MPH cannon on the blueline? Just ask Ryan Callahan how that feels.
2a. Speaking of the Bruins PP….
The Bruins’ powerplay woes were well known coming into the series, going 5 for 61 (8.2%) heading into tonight, including an awful 1 for 26 (3.8%) on the road. Their woes continued tonight, as the team went 0 for 6, making their overall playoff percentage 7.5. Yikes. The Bruins failed to score on an early four minute powerplay and a 1:32 two man advantage, and it cost them in the end.
3. The referees’ whistles work
Through the first two periods, the refs called 13 penalties for 28 minutes. Thankfully they put the penalty whistles away in the third period. Unfortunately they still had to blow them for offsides and icing, which seemed to happen every couple minutes during the game. Hopefully Game 2′s flow is a bit better.
4. Patrice Bergeron tastes like chicken
At the end of first period, there was a scrum, in which Patrice Bergeron got mixed up with Alex Burrows. Bergeron picked up a minor for roughing; Burrows a double minor for roughing and a quick snack. Video appears to show Burrows biting Bergeron. Burrows should probably be suspended, but do the importance of the Stanley Cup Finals cancel that? I’d bet no, but regardless, Brendan Shanahan has his new job cut out for him.
5. Thomas & Luongo are good; really, really good
Everyone knew these two guys were two of the best goalies in the league, as shown by their Vezina nominations. But their play in Game 1 was stellar. People talked about nerves, as these guys are playing in their first Stanley Cup. If either one is nervous, neither is showing it. Both goaltenders made “wow” saves throughout the game to keep their team alive. When Pierre McGuire said, “the goaltending has been magnificent”, he actually wasn’t exaggerating for once. The two were the clearcut first and second stars of the game, combining for 69 saves on 70 shots. If these guys keep playing this well, we might have a bunch of 1-0 games in our future.
Tags: Bruins, Canucks, Conn Smythe, Henrik Sedin, Nathan Horton, Ryan Kesler, Stanley Cup, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin
Tags: Bruins, Canucks, Roberto Luongo, Stanley Cup, Tim Thomas
In year’s past we have seen goaltenders steal the show in games of the Stanley Cup Finals, from names like Antti Niemi and Cam Ward, to Marc-Andre Fleury, and the many who have come before them, goaltending plays an important role when it comes to winning the Stanley Cup. This year, goaltending will be the key to winning the series, and that pressure lies on the backs of two men, Boston’s Tim Thomas, and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo.
This year is a story of two similar teams, The Vancouver Canucks, and The Boston Bruins. Both teams put up similar point totals throughout the playoffs (Boston has 159, Vancouver has 140) Both have similar goal totals (Boston with 58, Vancouver with 50) and both are close in total shots on goal (Boston with 573, Vancouver with 562) And they share the same number of blocked shots(262). The only real difference being the powerplay percentage (Vancouver at 16.7% and Boston at 11.4%). This shows just how important goaltending is going to be for both teams in this what should be a very close series.
For Tim Thomas, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing to get to the finals. He has let in multiple goals in 12 of 18 games this postseason, but has managed to make a playoff leading 560 saves along the way, as well as maintain a .930 save percentage and 2.29 goals against average. So this is by no stretch a bad playoff for Thomas, but there have been some goals, some by fault of defense, some by his own doing, that he would have liked to have had back. Thomas has stolen multiple games this playoff season (Game 5 Vs. Montreal, Game 2 Vs. Philadelphia, Game 2 Vs. Tampa Bay)
Against Vancouver, he will need to be on the top of his game, as he is looking at one of the most dangerous duos in hockey (Daniel and Henrik Sedin), as well as one of the hottest scoring centers and shotblockers in the playoffs (Ryan Kesler). He needs to not be as aggressive as he was last round against Tampa Bay, they lit him up when they got him moving out of the crease. And when Vancouver gets on the powerplay, Thomas will have to be their best penalty killer, bar none. If all of this comes together for Thomas, the biggest prize in hockey could be his.
For Roberto Luongo, the name of the game this playoff season has been consistency. Luongo has maintained a 2.99 goals against average and a .922 save percentage making 487 saves along the way. He, like Thomas, has had games he would like to forget, including the series vs. Chicago in which he was pulled 2 times after rough starts. But after that first round, he has caught fire making at least 20 saves in each game since, including brilliant performances in game 2 against Nashville (46 saves), and games 4 and 5 against San Jose ( 35, 56 saves).
Against Boston, Luongo will face shots from all angles, especially from snipers Nathan Horton and David Kreijci. Not to mention he will have to face Zdeno Chara’s bombs from the point, this is where one of his best assets, his shot blockers, will come in handy. Luongo needs to stay calm under pressure as Boston has a habit of bringing offense in waves, if he can ride out their offensive storms, he will give his team the best chances to win. He also needs to work on rebound control, multiple times he has lost the puck on simple shots he should have covered, and those have turned into scoring chances, and goals. If Luongo can do these two things, the Canucks will have the best chance to end their 41 year cupless drought.
We see in the ads “History will be made”. Every year, that sentiment rings true, but this season, the men in the pipes will be the ones who will hold the key to changing that history. Will the Bruins win their first cup in 39 years? Will the Vancouver Canucks win their first cup since coming into the league 41 years ago? The answer lies between the pipes.