Archive for September, 2010

Another hockey season is upon us, and yet another season where the Philadelphia Flyers have questions in goal.  The tandem of Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher are back for another year after going to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Throughout the system, the Flyers have some promising prospects who may be the future in net.

After being picked up on waivers last season, Michael Leighton got the starting job after Ray Emery and Brian Boucher went down with injuries.  Unfortunately, Leighton was injured in March, and watched Boucher start during the stretch run until he too got hurt in the second round and Leighton started from then all the way through the Cup Finals.  After questions about who the 10-11 Flyers goalies would be, Leighton resigned for a modest 2 year, $3.1 million dollar deal.  Combined with the returning Boucher, it seems that the 1-2 punch would be cemented.  But now with an injury to Leighton in a preseason game with Toronto, more questions arise.  GM Paul Holmgren and Coach Peter Laviolette aren’t too concerned at all, but there is a little doubt in fans’ minds.

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All summer, we sat through the draft and free agency; we’ve suffered through the Kovalchuk debacle and it’s finally time to kick off some real hockey.  Yes, it’s preseason, but the preseason is just a sign that the real thing is right around the corner.

9 games kick off the NHL preseason schedule tonight, including two split squad games between Calgary & Vancouver.  The Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers take on the rival New Jersey Devils tonight in a rematch from last year’s first round (live on the NHL Network). Flyers fans get to see their first look at hyped goalie prospect Sergei Bobrovsky in his first NHL action since being signed by the club in March.  The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks (or what’s left of them) open their preseason tomorrow night in Winnipeg against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Yesterday, the NHL announced that the NHL Network will show 35 preseason games, most of them in HD and half will be live.

Last week, teams started training camps, both for the rookies and veterans.  One may find it odd that teams just started camp recently and are already playing games.  In today’s NHL, players prepare during the summer and don’t need much time to get ready for the start of the season.  Most guys come into camp in shape and ready to go.

For fans who didn’t get a chance to see their teams in training camp, they will be able to see new players and some prospects during preseason.  Also, it gives veterans looking for jobs by a tryout an opportunity to make a roster.  One of those guys is Bill Guerin, trying out with the Flyers.  It looks like the Flyers are doing everything in their power to make sure that Guerin makes the team, giving him #9 (which was previously promised to Nik Zherdev) and moving his locker into the middle of the room.  However, if Guerin makes the team, the Flyers will have to move someone, so training camp may decide who the odd man out is.

The road to the Stanley Cup begins tonight. Will your team be the last one standing?

Today, word out of Rangers camp is that Captain Chris Drury will be out for four weeks with a broken finger. While some are more concerned as to who will fill his spot on the roster, I’m more concerned as to who will be the team’s captain for the month while he’s out. Normally I wouldn’t be bothered as to who is named captain if the injury happened in the middle of the season. However, this is a new season and the tone has to be set early, and the league has to know who the Rangers are and what they’ll bring to the table. Picking the new temporary captain is like me searching for a mid-afternoon snack; you have a bunch of options, each with their own appeal. I’ve narrowed it down to seven choices, unique in their own way.

Most likely candidates:

✧Ryan Callahan. Callahan is like the peanut butter sandwich; always something you know will never disappoint you. You can mix it up a few ways, too, with crunchy or creamy peanut butter. Cally is a candidate for captain mainly because he already has a letter on his jersey, and because he plays like there’s no tomorrow. He is already the first member of the ‘core’ to be bestowed with any type of captaincy.

✧Valclav Prospal. Vinny is the bran muffin of the situation, and I’m not making him the bran just because he’s the veteran of the group. The muffin is a good choice because you know that it’s been good in the past. However, if you hit a burnt spot, you feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

✧Marc Staal. Number eighteen is like the ever-popular New York fall treat Mallomars. (For those unfamiliar with the munchies, they’re essentially small moon pies.) Just like Mallomars, Staal’s captaincy would be a limited time engagement; one that New Yorkers will sink their teeth into once the opportunity arises again. Staal captained the Sudbury Wolves before coming to the Rangers, and is the leader of the defensive corps. Some form of captaincy is in the future for Staal, so why not start now?

Other options:

✧Sean Avery. Would it surprise anyone that Sean Avery is like the chips and salsa? Though a favorite amongst many, it doesn’t go without risks. Will the salsa be too spicy? Will the chip break under the salsa’s chunky goodness? It could be a gamble, but it could be one that you can reap the benefits of if it works in your favor.

✧No Captain/Alternate captain rotation. Of course there’s always just water. Coach Tortorella might opt for a three-assistant captain rotation (in which the “most likely candidates” will in all likelihood, rotate.) It’s a very likely option, but I’d love to see a captain named for opening night.

Please Don’t Pick Them:

✧Henrik Lundqvist. It didn’t work for Vancouver & Roberto Louongo. Please, please, please don’t take the bread and butter and make him captain. You got Biron to take the weight of of Hank’s shoulders, so don’t put it back on with the captaincy.

✧ Marian Gaborik. While being the top scorer and captain usually go hand-in-hand, this shouldn’t be in Gaborik’s hands. While pita crisps and peach vinegar sound like a sexy option, it may not work out so well in the end.

In the world of John Tortorella, you never know what you’re going to get. Just savor the meal no matter what you end up with.

Where would I be without the Staal boys? In all likelihood, pretending that Evander is Patrick’s half brother. There’s nothing better than a familial link in hockey; the Cooks, the Richards, the Sutters, the Hansons, and now the Staals. Today, I’m just going to re-cap what’s going on with everyone’s favorite Thunder Bay brothers.

This is the first full year as captain for Hurricanes center Eric. The triple-gold club member is aiming for another All-Star season, and to bring his team (11th in the East last year) back into the playoff picture. With a mix of youth and veterans, Staal is going to be the bridge that connects the team, and will aim to bring back the trophy they won four years ago.

Things are not looking so bright for Jordan. The Selke Trophy nominee will miss the first 5-6 weeks due to a tissue infection received after tendon surgery. (The tendon injury occurring during the playoffs against Montreal.) Staal was not able to skate at all this summer, and will miss the entirety of training camp as well as miss his first NHL games since he entered the league four years ago.

My favorite Staal (for obvious reasons) had me checking every major hockey source for any information on him throughout my summer. The Restricted Free Agent Marc finally let me breathe a sigh of relief when he signed a 5 year, $19.875 million dollar contract on the 15th. Now the Rangers have their top defenseman locked up for a good period of time, but have a balancing act to work with in regards to the cap.

The baby, Jared, also made a splash this summer, signing a three year entry-level deal with his big brother’s Carolina Hurricanes. If Jared makes the ‘Canes, it won’t be the first time he’s played on a team that his brother captained. In the 2006-07 season, Jared joined Marc’s Sudbury Wolves, where he easily adjusted to the OHL under his brother’s guidance. Hopefully the same will be said this year with the Hurricanes.

On Thursday, the Allegheny County Sports and Exhibition Authority  voted unanimously for the demolition of the of the Civic (Mellon) Arena.  An unceremonious early birthday present for the Pens’ old barn for sure, Sept 19th will be the building’s 49th birthday.

The dismay from those within the Reuse the Igloo group stems from the vote taking mere seconds with absolutely no discussion whatsoever. Those who will not cease their fight to save The Igloo are already looking into their options to stave off the elimination of the arena.

I wont get into the ideas and visions of what the Reuse the Igloo group have in mind for the arena as you can see it on their site or the appearance of a rush by the city and authorities in the decision making.  What I will state my opinion on is the need to let her go.

Even though during my college days, I enjoyed my history classes and professors so much I had considered taking up a History minor, I feel there are more fruitful uses for the city of Pittsburgh if the demolition took place over historical preservation.   Even if it was simply a future site of a parking lot or garage, I find it a better option than keeping the arena standing.

In a week, the Penguins will host a preseason home game against the Blue Jackets that is going to be a promotion for youth and college students of the area with a joint effort from ImaginePittsburgh.com to create an “Ultimate Home Game”. The main effort of this is to keep our youth and college students in the area after their schooling. Promoting the future of Pittsburgh shouldn’t involve a relic from its storied past staring you right in the face just across the street.

This is a city that always seems to be looking for more money and usually more reasons to tax you among other ways to get that said money as Pittsburgh, or the state of “Pennsyltucky” for that matter, always needs more money. In that way, where is the money going to come from to keep the Civic Arena standing and operational for whatever ideas people may have for it? The arena site would be best suited for a fresh, new way to infuse money into the city.

When the NHL had its year long lockout a few years ago, it was determined that the loss of a regular season’s worth or Penguins games cost the city of Pittsburgh about 40 million dollars of economic impact, practically one million dollars per home game. Now that money is still around and in fact probably well increased with the new arena and the ever strong popularity of the Penguins franchise, but why not have something across the street to make money instead of spend it?

The road to the future is to be PAVED in the past, not stuck in the past.

Co-written by Gabbi & Dan

The NHL likes to say “hockey is for everyone”. At Crimespree Hockey, this is true. We’re all ages and scattered across the United States. We all love and know our teams, and want to share our passion with everyone else. Some have been toting hockey sticks around since childhood, some have picked up the game over time. We all have different opinions, beliefs and ways of life; but there’s one thing that brings us together: The love of the game.

Our roster includes fans from both coasts, including East Coasters Andy (Bruins), Dan (Flyers), Gabbi (Rangers), Joey (Penguins) & Scott (Devils). Our Western Conference fans include Rob (Blue Jackets), Bre & Steph (Sharks) and Jeremy & Michelle (Kings).  Along the way we may add new fans to our roster.

We’ll be bringing an unique perspective into our favorite teams, as well as around the hockey world.