Monday, December 20, 2010

Just some thoughts going into Christmas break.

Boy, what a difference a few weeks make?

Really doesn't seem all that long ago I was feeling ahead of the curve with my pick for the Blues to come out of the West.  Apparently there are two curses in hockey - one for whoever dons the cover of the most recent edition of EA's NHL video game franchise, and whoever Frank Steele picks to come out of the West.


But, as any good hockey blogger, I will stand by my early season prediction.  Just in case it turns out to be correct.  Then I will look brilliant.  Brilliant.

All joking aside (the part about my brilliance was the joke, in case you missed it) I still have faith in that squad.  I like the way they feel.  People write and talk about liking how a team feels like it has a decent playoff run in its gas chamber.  I think the Blues do.  And I think that injuries to key personnel will help in the long run.  Logging big minutes for small players and resting the top guns can help out big time, if you can manage to hold onto a playoff spot.

(Teams who I believe have a playoff feel in no particular order:  Flyers, Penguins, Thrashers, Bruins, Rangers, Colorado, the Blues, and LA.)

At this time last year people were starting to wonder if the Red Wings of Detroit were finally at the end of their long playoff run.

About that.

My better-bearded blog counterpart Jesse sent me a text last night that I found interesting. One that was more or less an echo of what the word on the NHL Network and in other blogs has been.  That the mighty Red Wings are in trouble right now.

Everyone has to say this sooner or later.  Who wouldn't want to say they were the person who called the decline of arguably the most successful sports franchise currently going before anyone else?  (honorable mention to the LA Lakers, Jimmy Johnson, and the New England Patriots as the best sports franchises going.)

But rumors of their demise have been greatly exaggerated time and time again.  After dropping an embarrassing game to the Kings, getting smoked by the Blackhawks and losing to the Stars in OT the Wings have fallen all the way to first place in the West and tied for second in the League.

Dream on.

I think it has been very interesting to read about what has been happening on this 24/7 series that has been following around the Caps and the Penguins for HBO.  Some very awesome things have been captured, and two very different pictures have been painted. 

It just so happens that HBO's cameras have caught Sidney Crosby during the most dominant stretch of his career and AO during his most dormant.  Which I find interesting, since it is supposed to be Alex who thrives in the spot light.  Who feels the heat of it and responds to it with flair and ease.

Yet Sidney looks like Mario and Alex looks pedestrian.  Or as pedestrian as we have seen since he came into the league.  And these things happen.  Do I think that Ovie has suddenly fallen off track for good?  No way, no how.  I just love the timing of his struggles and Sid's dominance.  It's great for the league and should make for some excellent television leading up to and including the Winter Classic.

At the end of the day, I want the puck on Sid's stick with the game on the line.  The first Winter Classic, every playoff game, the Gold Medal game...  the Kid never ever shies away and never ever fails to deliver.  He is scary.  And he's like, 24 and still doesn't live in his own home.  Which means there is hope for this lowly blogger yet, right?

Someone call the Atlanta Thrashers and tell them that hockey isn't supposed to succeed in the south please?  I'm loving that teams run right now, and from what I have been able to gather those dudes are for real.  Name a city in Canada outside of Vancouver who wouldn't trade squads with the Thrash.

You can't.

Rick Dudley is currently what Brian Burke wishes he was - Shrewd and accurate.  That is a dangerous combination, and an excellent way to build a contender very quickly.

The NHLPA has a new head.  I hope this is less embarrassing than the last round or three for the Players Association.  They were absolutely bullied in the last CBA.  As anyone who has read anything about Donald Fehr knows, the man brings the heat when it is needed.  Lets hope he knows how to use his firepower wisely and can help guide the League into a new era via bargaining agreement and holding the League responsible for its own inadequacy while doing the same for the Players Association.  Like him or not, any hockey fan absolutely has to be rooting for him at this point.

There are literally no other options.

Steven Stamkos will be fine.

And I wish that this years edition of the Bruins and Flyers could go back in time and play in last years Classic.

That is about enough out of me.  For those of you who stuck with me through that whole thing, you get a gold star for the day.

A gold star.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jesse, a day late. (Fault? Frank's.)

The hockey games have been great lately. That Sharks - Flyers game was awesome.
Corey Crawford's winning streak was finally ended by the Sharks. Kane and Hossa are hurt and you can tell Toews knows he has to pick it up. - and he has been.
I watched the Rangers absolutely stomp the Capitals tonight. Every time I looked up either someone was scoring or fighting.
I honestly haven't watched many games the Hawks haven't been in. Watching the Blues isn't fun anymore with all the injuries.
Dear Lebron-
          I'm not mad at you, nor do I blame you. If I was giving the chance to leave these midwest winters for South Beach I would do the same. You need to have an ESPN special showing your house in Miami. When people saw that they'd understand. It's beautiful. I wish you the best. I respect you for doing what's best for you.
                                                                                                                       I like you more since you left. - Jesse
The Heat played the Golden State Warriors the other night and the fans in Oakland booed him. What do they even care.
The way Cleveland has reacted isn't very inviting for any other stars coming in that they can afford now. He may have left the wrong way, but you can't hate him for leaving.
People leave jobs for better jobs everyday.
It's funny because I compare all these things going on in the sports world to my job. Would everyone in Greencastle hate my guts if I wrote a letter to the newspaper saying I quit? What about the snow completely ruining the Minnesota Vikings roof. I would love for that to happen to me. Vacation city. I would love to grab a customer's shirt as I was walking by like Rick Rypien did and get four days off, or go crazy on someone like Andre Johnson did not get suspended at all. If only ya know.
Jimmy Eat World are playing on Conan on Dec.13.
Bobby Ray released a new mixtape title 'No Genre' and it is awesome. Download it here. -

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dear Lebron,

This is how a crowd responds to you when you leave like a Champion, and with honor and respect.  They cheer you between the whistles, and boo you during the game.  They don't burn your jerseys.  Ya' prick.

Anyway, that was a crazy hockey game on Versus tonight, on a night that would see the Sharks steal a victory from the jaws of defeat.  Gafaw!

After going down 4 to 1 with a little over 13 minutes to play, the Sharks roared back to life and scored three unanswered goals to force overtime after killing off a Philadelphia power play as the clock wound down. 


OT comes and almost goes quietly.  That is until Mike Richards fires his last chance shot from the top of the slot.  The puck takes a funny bounce and careens off of Danny Briere's skate, finding its way to the back of the net.  Right as time expires.

The referees on the ice seem sure of their call - it's a goal.  But they review it to be on the safe side.  They could be seen explaining this to Dan as he skated back to his bench.

Then the reviews clearly showed that the clock struck zeros literally a tenth of a second before the puck crossed the line entirely.


Then, of course, the Sharks go on to win in a shootout.  How many different ways can you find to lose a hockey game, Philly?

Pete is throwing an absolute fit after this one, I'd bet.

And Sid?  What is there left to say.  Crown that man.

Crown.  That.  Man.

I don't want any part of him come playoff time.

Long time no see - my explanation and why you should forgive me.

It's been a few weeks since my last post.  Lets get underway.

I have a lot of respect for Mike Modano.  He's won his Cup.  He's had his prolific years, and passed on the torch in Dallas.  He was the face of a franchise that he was drafted by, and wore the C for the greater part of a decade.

He's done just about everything a player would want to do.  In a very highly publicized move, Mike Modano came back home to where his career started as a young child to win another Cup with his hometown squad.  He was to anchor what was to be one of the better third lines in hockey. 

And then there was a freak accident.  These things happen.  Modano caught an errant skate blade behind his own net.  The blade found its way under his glove and severed skin and tendons, and doctors almost immediately counted him out for the season. 

Mike disagrees.

He is already taking measures to prevent excess scar tissue from forming and is gunning for a return in March. 

I find this to be pretty impressive.

For a player that really doesn't have anything to prove to look at a 90-day rehab schedule at the very end of his career?  The only thing that is driving him is a desire to win another Cup and just play more hockey.  I don't know what else fuels that besides an outright Love of the Game.  What a wonderful example for our young players.  I'll take Mike Modano and his drive to win over Brett Farve and his self-obsession in a heart beat.

The reason I haven't been blogging a whole lot lately is pretty simple.  My "real" life has been going pretty well, and several different things have been occupying my time.  Usually I would force myself to make some, but lately I haven't felt like I've had a whole lot of positive things to write about.

The Cambell email incident kind of sunk in, and I was angry.  I didn't want to voice those feelings and make them so public, so I just didn't write anything.  This is really the first time I've felt distant enough from reading them that I could sit down at a blank page and not berate the League. 

I feel like I do that enough.

I missed you.  And I will try not to do this too often.

How about those Thrashers?  I haven't been able to catch any of their games, but I just love the story.  My question?  How crazy would Winnipeg be going right now?  Dustin would probably have one of the top selling sweaters in the League.

Wow, Sidney.  Wow.  I feel like an older brother watching his younger brother transcend himself.  It's just that I was older than he was when he came into the NHL.  This was the first player who was outstanding and younger than me.  This was an odd, odd feeling for me then and it still is.

As I sit on my couch watching a college hockey game writing about hockey, Sid is averaging two and a half points a game. 

(As a sidenote, the college game I have been watching, their power play sponsor is Jack in the Box...  resulting in the color commentator saying "And this power play has been brought to you by Jack in the Box."  Clever.)

He nearly had three hat tricks in four games last week.  Instead he had to settle for two hat tricks and two two goal games.  I don't think you need a hockey blog writer to tell you that we're witnessing  something special here.

Stamkos hasn't been doing too shabby either.

Well I'm all out of thoughts for now.  Sleep beckons.