Posts Tagged ‘NHL’

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(Photo: AP)

If you pay attention to most hockey media, you’re hearing names like Jonathan Toews and Henrik Lundqvist as mid season frontrunners for the Hart Trophy, awarded annually to the National Hockey League’s MVP. By definition, the Hart Trophy is to be awarded to “the player adjudged most valuable to his team”. While a strong argument could be made for the aforementioned Toews and Lundqvist, I can think of one guy who eclipses both in value to their team. Just one problem: Most hockey writers are in bed before his team plays their home games.

In my mind, it’d be difficult to say there’s anybody more valuable to their team than Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings. At press time, the Kings sit just two points out of first place in their division (and 3rd overall in the West). Quick has posted 20 of the teams 23 wins, and sits in the top 5 in the NHL in goals against average (1.95), save percentage (.934), wins (20) and leads the entire league in shutouts with 6 – 3 of those coming consecutively back in October. And he’s done it all behind the lowest scoring team in the entire league.

Quick has given up 2 goals or less in 24 of his 39 starts. He hasn’t allowed more than 4 goals in a single game even once this season. He has 12 wins in games where the Kings have scored two goals or fewer. No goalie in the league is under more pressure to perform on a nightly basis.

He’s one of the league’s absolute best goalies, and at this point, probably the frontrunner to start in goal for the US at the 2014 Winter Olympics (provided NHL players are allowed to play).

It’s certainly possible, given their talent laden roster, that LA will increase their scoring before the season ends. Dean Lombardi has built a stable of young defenders that will carry high value on the trade market, and he will likely deal for a sniper on or before the trade deadline. That said, if the Kings meager offensive output continues and the team wins their division (highly possible if not likely), I don’t think that any other player in the league can be said to have been as valuable to his team.

Let’s just hope some of the hockey media decide to stay up and watch.

JS

Looking around the league with…. no colored glasses:

– A very scary moment in the Detroit Red Wings game against The Nashville Predators last night, when a hard shot by Roman Josi caught Patrick Eaves in the side of the head. Eaves was stretchered out of the arena and taken to Detroit Medical Center where he is being treated for a fractured jaw. Hopefully he can have a quick recovery from this very scary incident. The Red Wings won the game 4-1, their 5th straight.

– 2 controversial moments in the game between Pittsbugh and Montreal when Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens hit Kris Letang in OT. This appears to be a head shot. In this guy’s opinion, it appears the head is the principal point of contact, now if it is intentionally aiming for the head, I cannot tell. I believe the hit was going to be shoulder to shoulder before Letang dropped his head for the shot. I do think Brendan Shanahan will definitely be looking at this one, as for a suspension…. I think he might, keyword “might” get a 1 game suspension, if not just a fine. Pittsburgh won 4-3 in OT, easily another controversial moment in the eyes of Habs fans, the referees seemed to fall asleep on that one, but alas, you do not stop playing until the whistle is blown.

– The New York Islanders continued their flip flopping fight with The Columbus Blue Jackets for bottom spot and 29th in the NHL, crawling back out of the basement with a 3-2 win over New Jersey (Thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk)

-The New York Rangers are having a great November so far, going 8-2, including last night’s shutout win against Philadelphia thanks to Henrik Lundqvist, who made 29 saves in the effort.

– Colorado busted their losing streak in a big way, scoring 5 against Edmonton, including a first goal of the season for Shane O’Brien and a first goal in the NHL for newcomer Stefan Elliot.

– Bye Bye Boudreau? The Capitals got slaughtered for the 2nd game in a row, this time 5-1 at the hands of the slumping Buffalo Sabres. The losses are starting to mount, you can bet the rumors are going to start to swirl (if your name starts with an E, and end with a D, computer generated rumors do not count)

– Lightning strikes twice, Tampa won their 2nd straight game against the red hot Florida Panthers last night thanks to brilliant goaltending by Mathieu Garon, and the scoring abilities of one Steven Stamkos. In 2 games, Garon had 47 saves, and Stamkos had 3 goals, and 1 assist.

– The Phoenix Coyotes continued strong play, as did Mike Smith, making 26 saves in a 3-0 shutout of the falling Dallas Stars. Mikkel Boedker scored career goal number 20 in the 1st period, Ray Whitney and Taylor Pyatt also added tallies.

– The Los Angeles Kings are 1-2-1 their last 4 after losing to The Chicago Blackhawks yesterday. Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick both faced 27 shots, but a Jonathan Toews goal (his 13th this year)  in the 2nd period broke the tie.

-Sit down Luongo! Corey Schneider made his mark last night against San Jose, stopping 43 shots in a 3-2 victory, his 4th straight, only allowing 3 goals in those 4 games. Just think, the goalie making $900,000 is winning games while the guy making $10,000,000 is riding the pine. Silly…isnt it? For Vancouver also, Manny Malhotra, playing in game number 800, scored his 2nd of the year. For San Jose, Patrick Marleau scored his 10th goal, his 20th point on the season, and Joe Pavelski earned his 150th career assist in the game.

Oh how quickly things can change for a team when their mindset goes in the right direction. For The Columbus Blue Jackets, this change seemed to come when 32 year old goaltender Curtis Sanford took the reigns from Steve Mason 3 games ago, and going 2-0-1 with a dazzling 1.46 goals against average and .943 save percentage. I just wanted to take a deeper look at this change, so here we go:

For Steve Mason, the team in front of him has been playing at half speed, the defense, hasn’t done work, and has made bad choices in front of the net. Mason, while his defense hasn’t helped him, he hasn’t helped himself, often looking rattled, letting in a few weak goals that seemed to shatter his, and his team’s confidence. Mason has looked absolutely spectacular at times this season, but more often, we have seen the puck wind up in the net. This break in which Sanford is playing, means a lot for Mason (besides healing his new injury), he can work on his game, and hopefully, get back to the form we all saw a few years ago, building back trust with his defense, and teammates, so both can play at the top of their game. When Sanford falters, Mason will get his turn inbetween the pipes again, and can try to prove that he’s our guy.

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Last night we saw the Tampa Bay Lightning play the 1-3-1 trap, clogging the neutral zone and the Philadelphia Flyers responded by not attacking, sitting back in their own zone, waiting for the Lightning to forecheck.  This caused debates around the internet and on TSN. It happened many times throughout the game and the referees told the Flyers they had to keep moving the puck.  It frustrated players and coaches of both teams, analysts and fans.

Video if you missed it:

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Top 10 Goalie Masks For Halloween

Posted: October 31, 2011 by cujorulesdtown9 in Hockey Fun
Tags: , , , , ,
Today I’m looking at what I think are the top 10 goalie masks for Halloween, it’s for fun, so just enjoy it! Happy Halloween!!!!
10. Jason Voorhees –  The “Jason” Mask
Yes, yes,  while he never did play hockey, he had to make the list for his nice piece of facial gear. If he did play hockey, you can bet he would see plenty of “slashing” calls coming his way (I’ll stop with the bad jokes now). This mask is always associated with Halloween when anyone thinks of hockey involvement in the holiday.
9. Carey Price – “Jacques Plante/Winter Classic” Mask
“Somebody’s watching me” is the feeling you get when you see this mask. The extra set of eyes is just incredibly creepy. The elongated face on a mask is enough to distract anyone, fan or player. Price recently won his 100th  regular season game with The Montreal Canadiens.
8. Jacques Plante

(Photo: NHL.Com)

Looking like something straight out of Hannibal Lecter’s personal collection, Plante’s mask drove fear into his opponents. (okay, maybe it was him, not the mask) It also drove him to a Hart trophy, 7 Vezina trophies, and 6 Stanley Cup titles with Montreal. Entered The Hockey Hall Of Fame in 1978.

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It has been a rough start for The Blue Jackets, 0-7-1, and finally, after a James Wisniewski induced supercharge, the zero is gone, we are now 1-7-1. The celebration on the ice was reminiscent of a Stanley Cup Playoffs victory, my own twitter timeline even acted as if we had just won a Stanley Cup. It was a giant party, and it seemed funny, how can we be feeling good after just one win?

From what we saw on the ice, players seemed to have a confidence in them that has lacked through the first 8 games. To start off, defense, yes you heard correctly, DEFENSE, we actually had it. (Despite one Aaron Johnson mistake

A little bit of wiz goes a long way (photo: Getty Images)

leading to the 1-1 goal). With Wisniewski, the defense seemed to know what it was doing, and the combinations seemed to work well 5 on 5, as well as on the PP/PK.  Wisniewski was great, blocking shots, and rocketing his own from the point. Clitsome seemed to regain his old form, as did Tyutin and Russell, all making key defensive plays to break up Wings scoring chances. John Moore looked like a completely different player out there, played pretty confident on the ice, had a few minor slip ups, but overall, 110% better than he has been. He also scored his first NHL goal. This defense, helped add to a great goaltending outing by Steve Mason.

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Reacting To 0-5-1

Posted: October 19, 2011 by cujorulesdtown9 in Columbus Blue Jackets, NHL, Offseason, Playoffs
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Small note before reading: I wrote this for fun, don’t take it too seriously.

Well here we are, 6 games into this season, and The Columbus Blue Jackets are 0-5-1, officially the worst team in The NHL, the only team to have not won a game thus far. From what I’ve seen online through twitter, facebook, and multiple hockey forums and websites, there seem to be a common 5 reactions to this start among fans:

1. Shock/Confusion:

“Speechless” “What is going on with this team!?” Seem to be the top comments in this area. It is hard to fathom this start, even without James Wisniewski. Surely all of our players would be scoring, and our defense would be good at…well..defense! It is quite a shock to see such a slow start, but when you look at the past three season, it shouldn’t be, in October over the past three years we went 7-3-1, 4-6-0, and 6-5-1.

2. Lets Riot: Yes, ala Vancouver after The Stanley Cup Finals last year, blow stuff up, break things, just all out anarchy in the streets of Ohio. Well with the weakened economy rioting is a bad idea, not to mention you could get arrested (unless you don’t care about that, go for it.) And in the current times, I’d worry more about the loose bears,lions, wolves, and monkeys roaming around doing all the damage for you.

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