Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh, the good ole days...

I was bored at work the other day, surfing around online when I came across this article by Dave Seminara. It was regarding the 30th anniversary of the Bruins/Ranger fans brawl in 1979. You know, the one where the entire Boston Bruins team jumped into the stands to kick some Ranger fan ass, while the announcer lets us know that "this could be bad." From what I understand, it had the potential to be a really sticky situation, but I don't think it ever made it to that point, since the announcer never told me it had offically become "bad." Oh, the good ole days...when an entire team can jump over the glass and beat down the fans, and three players get suspended for it... Anyway, I'll sum it up for you.

Al Secord decides to nail Ulf Nilsson because "I remembered the sucker punch he gave me earlier in the game, so I thought, an eye for an eye, and I suckered him." Oh, the good ole days...when Secord's 170 PIM are third high on his team, and not enough to crack the top 10 that year(his teammate Stan Jonathan's 208 PIM were also not good enough for the "top 10" although he likely would have been 10th if "bench" were taken off the list).

As a fight breaks out by the stands, a fan decides it's a good idea to hit Stan Jonathan with a program, busting his face open. Oh, the good ole days...when programs were made out of brass plates...

Fellow Bruin/hero Terry O'Reilly was the first to stand up for his poor vulnerable teammate, followed by Peter McNab. Wait...Peter McNab? That doesn't sound right. He's the kind of guy who Sven probably loved. What's a guy like that doing going into the stands?

Peter McNab, who had only four penalty minutes the previous season, shed his inhibitions and followed his linemate into the stands.

“Peter was usually the guy who’d pick up our gloves for us after a fight,” Jonathan said.

Oh, the good ole days...when players picked up their teammate's equipment when they were done fighting. You don't see Kyle Wellwood doing that.

Hey, I have an idea! Let's hear what everybody's favorite man Don Cherry has to say about this!

Don Cherry, who had coached the Bruins the season before and watched the game on television, said he was pleased to see McNab acting out of character. “I was quite proud of him,” he said.

Good call, Don! There was obviously a war going on out there. We wouldn't want McNab out there doing anything stupid, like say, trying to score a goal or something. Oh, the good ole days...when Don Cherry was an ignorant asshole! Glad to see things have changed. Living in the world of hockey the past thirty years has really paid off for him. You can tell he's worked hard to improve his opinion about the game of hockey. Somebody should nominate him for top ten greatest Canadians!

Anyway, the rest of the article talks about how Mike Milbury went from "happy and content, and ready to go home for Christmas, to full combat mode in about 20 seconds," and how Gary Cheevers, the only Bruins player who didn't attack the fans, defended his decision to be such a pussy. "I was already on my second beer."

Good times. It's really a shame the NHL has stooped to this level of play, where actual talent has taken over the league.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The bar has been set...

During the first period of tonight's Rangers/Devils game, they showed a graphic for Henrik Lundqvist's stats for his last seven starts. The topic brought on this exchange between the two commentators. These aren't exact quotes. I'm just trying to type what I heard, but it's close enough. Also, I don't know the names of the commentators, so we'll use some completely generic names.

Pilot Inspektor: "Is there a save percentage level that really defines the good goalies from the so-so goalies?"

Paradorn: ".920 is really the minimum save percentage to have to really say you're giving your teammates a chance to win. A really good save percentage level is around .940."

Ok. So three goalies in the league so far this year are posting "really good" save percentages. Are you ready? They are Anton Khudobin, Mike Brodeur, and Justin Peters. This trio has a combined 8 starts this year. I believe it might be worthwhile to eliminate Mr. Tremendousson's brother from another mother, small sample size. Let's try that.

Using a 20 game minimum as a requirement(which is still pretty conservative, since that's less than 1/3 of the club's games thus far), there are zero goalies that have a "really good" save percentage. In fact, Ryan Miller's league-leading .932% isn't even close to being "really good." Scoring must be up this year, because these lousy goalies just don't stack up. Vokoun? .930%? Don't make me laugh. Ha ha ha...too late!

Here is a list of the top save percentages in the NHL since save percentage became a stat, with a minimum of 30 games. Hasek's .937% in 1998-99 tops the list. Apparently we have yet to see a "really good" goalie. Can't wait! I know this guy Shane, and he's looking really promising. I don't know his last name, but I'm just saying, if there's a Shane in the NHL in a few years posting .940+ sv%, you read it here first. Also, there's this one kinda small guy who always wears a blue jersey...he's a beast when it comes to ball hockey. Speaking of small guys, there's another one who doesn't like to pay league fees. I heard he was interested in Matt's DVD player though.

Now, let's take a look at how many goalies are posting a .920+ save percentage, using the 20 game minimum as a guideline. Here's the list.

Ryan Miller, Tomas Vokoun, Evgeni Nabokov, Tuukka Rask, Jaroslav Halak, Jimmy Howard, Miikka Kiprusoff, Craig Anderson, Henrik Lundqvist, and Ilya Bryzgalov. Ten goalies are doing the "minimum to really say they're giving their teammates a chance to win," and two of them(Rask and Halak) aren't even leading their team in games played. How do teams even win with these lousy goalies? Bring back the trap! We need to get some decent goalies out there!

To be honest, I'm actually kinda surprised there are ten on this list. I expected it to be closer to five or six.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'm going to say this once...

Tomas Kaberle is not leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs. He will earn a nice contract extension this summer and likely stay with the Leafs for the rest of his career. He will never be traded. He will never be waived. The only way he will leaf the Leaves is if he becomes too old to play hockey, and you know what?... he's never getting old. Kaberle will play for Toronto for the rest of time. Stop wasting my time about his potential travels, because there will not be any... forever.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The trade deadline expired today

so let's make fun of a couple people!

First up, Darren Dreger...GIMME SOME NONSENSE!

When looking at who came away as winners on Trade Deadline Day, I think you have to mention the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Edmonton Oilers, with an honourable mention to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Carolina got zilch for The Wizard. I suppose it may've had something to do with his no-move clause, but at this point, send him to wherever he wants to go get anything in return. But I'm sure big double-D is going to justify his sentiment later in this piece.

He goes on to talk briefly about Pittsburgh. They made a nice move getting Ponikarovsky. No issue there.

For the Edmonton Oilers, you look at the swap of Olympians with Lubomir Visnovsky for Ryan Whitney.

Whitney isn't the offensive player that Vishnovsky is, but Whitney is a bit younger and has the potential to develop with some of the youth that exists in the Oilers organization. Perhaps that's key in the process too because it is all about the rebuild in Edmonton through the draft and free agency, and Whitney will be a big piece of that rebuild.

I have two bananas. One is getting a little brown for my liking, but still probably tastes pretty good. The other I just pulled out of the bunch and is plenty ripe and also I rammed it up my constipated asshole. GIMME THE RIPE.

When Whitney was getting top power play time in Pittsburgh, he put up some cute numbers. Easy to do when 3 of the game's best players are standing there waiting to either pass to or receive a pass from you. In Anaheim, he's been more-or-less invisible. By the time the Oilers complete the re-build, Whitney will be Visnovsky's age.

Also, I am a huge fan of giving yourself the odds. Is there an "H" in Lubo's last name? Just spell it once with and once without, that way you'll be 100% right 50% of the time one way or the other!

Another aspect of this deal is the finances. If you look across the board for Edmonton, truly this is why they are a winner. They could have as many as 10 draft picks this year and with expiring contracts, as much as $10 million to spend on unrestricted free agents.

Indeed the finances of this deal is another aspect. If you look across the board for Edmonton, truly this is why this was really fucking stupid. Whitney is due $4.5, $5, and $5.5 mil over the next 3 seasons. Lubo is due $6/$5/$3. After that both become UFAs. Whitney, over the next 3 years, is actually more expensive than Visnovsky. So unless Edmonton's big "rebuilding plan" is expected to take place ONLY next season, then this is double stupid. You got a lesser player who you'll have to pay more in the long run.

And yeah, they sure do have some "expiring contracts" which include but is not limited to, Sam Gagner, Gilbert Brule, J.F. Jacques, Andrew Cogliano, and Ryan Potulny who are all RFAs after this year, younger than Ryan Whitney and certainly part of their young, rebuilding process.

Unless, of course, we're considering those 10 potential draft choices as part of the process as well. It'll be years down the road before any of them start to make any type of impact. And Ryan Whitney will be well into his 30s by that point. And still bad at hockey.

On the other side of the spectrum is the Vancouver Canucks.

It's difficult on this day to identify a true loser, but the Canucks needed depth up front and didn't get that in Yan Stastny. He'll play in the American Hockey League and does provide depth in the organization.

However, the Canucks desperately needed depth on their backend on the blueline and I'm not sure they get that in Andrew Alberts.

Desperatley needed depth?

Bieksa (who is skating with the team and very close to returning)
and they sent down Lukowich to make room for Andrew Alberts.

Mitchell being out hurts them, but that's a pretty good blue line. One of the best in the League, I'd say.

The Canucks needed depth up front? Fuck the heck?

Vancouver is T-H-I-R-D in the NHL in goals for. Not third in the conference. Not third in the division. Not third in Canada. Not third from the bottom. Not the nerd on third with the knees like a bird. Third in the National Hockey League of National Hockey. They've got a 20 goal scorer on each line and Demitra who, if they gave individual medals during the Olympics in ice hockey, would probably get my vote for silver (behind Miller.)

And how about that hono(u)rable mention for Carolina? Gonna try and support that one? No, because you can't? OK!

Enough of Dreger's Drivel, let's hear some McKenzie Poppycock!

It was interesting to see the Nashville Predators' approach to the NHL trade deadline.

They had a 140 yards to the hole, over a pot bunker and into a 5-mph headwind. They used an 8-iron and left it pin high but way left and had to 3-putt from 65 feet out. What are we talking about?

The Predators got Denis Grebeshkov from the Edmonton Oilers and it paid immediate dividends, as they beat the Oilers and Grebeshkov provided a goal and an assist.

What a great pick up! If he get's his leg blown off by a Cody Franson slap shot tomorrow, it won't matter. Immediate dividends!

I heart me some Grebeshkov, but one nice game against the Edmontaccidently-still-in-the-league Oilers isn't exactly flattering.

They picked up Dustin Boyd who is a solid NHL forward. As they battle for a playoff spot, that certainly helps.

Yes, having players on the ice and not like at the barber shop or out enjoying a frozen custard certainly helps and, coincidentally by definition, being a forward and playing for the Nashville Predators makes you an NHL forawrd. Great analysis, thank you, Mr. McKenzie.

I really like David Poile. He is given nothing to work with and is able to field a competitive team each season. But I really don't understand this move. It's not like they gave up a ton (4th rounder), but this move just looks like adding bodies to add bodies. Maybe their plan is to replace Tootoo with absolutely anyone. Then, nevermind. Great job, David Poile.

Perhaps most important was what they didn't do, they did not trade defenceman Dan Hamhuis. I think that is an important consideration for the Predators. They could have traded him, and was certainly a market for him, but they decided to hang on to Hamhuis because they want to make a push to make the playoffs.

Word is the Flyers were offering up some fine T-day fixin's for old Honey baked Hamhuis, but Nashville's asking price was too high. Just curious what was on the Thanksgiving day trade table. Some Cran-Briererry sauce? Turkimmo Timonen? Chris Prongreen bean casserole? Some chicken Nodl soup? Draft'd potatoes? Ok, I'm done.

With Grebeshkov, Hamhuis, and Boyd in the lineup, the Nashville Predators are a much better team today than they were a few days ago.

Much better? With a player nobody cares about, a solid two-way defenseman, and a player they already had Nashville is "much" better?

Tough not to give Pittsburgh the nod as the team that made the best moves. Ponikarovsky might really tear it up with the Penguins. I know this shocks everyone who reads this, obviously I like who Phoenix added. Now, it'll depend on how they use them. Stempniak is flexible he can score, he can kill penalties, he can park in front of the net on a power play or play the left point. Wolski has a reputation for being lazy. I don't know how true that is as practice ice is rarely seen.

Don't overlook Atlanta picking up Clarke MacArthur either. He's on pace for 17 goals in just over 14 minutes/game which isn't bad. Same as last season, playing on the 2nd powerplay unit and third scoring line. Put him with some talent and he could blossom.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Andy Sutton is now an Ottawa Senator...

In an effort to prepare for a tense playoff run, Ottawa has brought their defensive unit to a new level.

Here is an accurate portrayal (click on image to enlarge weaknesses):
Editor's Note #1: Andy Sutton will continue to wear #25. Chris Neil will surrender his number and will don a middle finger (cleverly represented by an edited number one) on his back for the remainder of the season.

Editor's Note #2: Matt Carkner was not available for the photograph. He and Colton Orr were wrapping up their last session of couple's therapy.

Editor's Note #3: Bryan Murray is the best General Manager in the history of history. Let's hope he can bring in Riley Cote and Derian Hatcher tomorrow!