Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 NHL All-Star Game Thoughts and Musings

The following are some notes I took while watching the ASG last night. I'm so happy god created DVR's:

Should just be renamed: World’s Greatest Game of Drop-in

Positionally, Ovechkin didn't play too differently than he does in a regular season game. Worriesome.

Kane’s sauce pass on Byfuglien’s first period goal was filthy.

I’d be surprised if Ed Olczyk can walk and chew gum at the same time. I’m sure he has some very entertaining stories from his playing days though.

Every time Doc Emrick couldn’t tell which player had the puck, he just called said player, “Toews”.

To say the players overpass is an understatement, but most of the passes are, down right, sick.

The Ron Francis interview during the second period was great because a) Ron “The Franchise” is awesome and b) because Doc Emrick barely spoke for about 10 minutes.

A lot of shots off the post. Hot.

Kesler’s microphone coming loose then flopping around behind him during play then Ovi passing it out of the zone once it fell to the ice was painful yet hilarious to watch.

Crowd cheered loudest when Staal scored in the third – to be expected.

Love it that Ovi threw his stick at Matt Duchene while he was on a breakaway – the first ever in All-Star Game in history.

I love Charissa Thompson.

I don’t remember if Nash-Staal-Perry were used on a line in the Olympics but that’s one scary line.

Prior to Dan Boyle’s assist very late in the 3rd, I had forgotten he was even in the game.

Glad it was a close game and happy to see Patrick Sharp win MVP.

Now that the show is over, teams now realize that there are 28 days until the trade deadline and every point counts going down the stretch.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Evgeni Manning

I'm sorry - not actually sorry - but Evgeni Nabokov needs to suck it up, act like a professional, and report to the Islanders. Instead he's acting like Eli Manning did when the San Diego Chargers drafted him and he refused to sign.

Nabby, this is the process. You signed a deal worth "peanuts" knowing full well that this was a possibility, and now you act like a diva refusing to report. Reportedly, his agent sent out a letter to NHL teams that Nabokov wanted the opportunity to be a starter, the Islanders are giving him that and now he's saying he wants to help a team in the playoffs. I totally get his desire to compete for a cup but he hasn't done anything worthy this season to earn that opportunity, and it's not like he's Scott Niedermayer where the Ducks allowed him to basically take half the year off the season after winning the Cup.

Report, play your ass off, then go sign as a free agent next year.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nabbing Nabby

NHL insiders reported today that the Detroit Red Wings are close to signing Evgeni Nabokov.

In an earlier post I conveyed my thoughts on where Nabby could end up. Since then, Tampa Bay decided to trade for Dwayne Roloson instead of making a play for Nabokov. Waivers could have been the deciding factor in Steve Yzerman's decision to go with Roli and based on the recent players the St. Louis Blues have lost through the waiver process, that may have been the right play.

The challenge for Ken Holland and the Red Wings is how to structure a contract that will disuade other teams from claiming Nabokov.

If I'm a GM for another team in the Western Conference, or especially in the same division, I don't want the Wings to get Nabokov - they're already tough enough to play against.

Assuming the Wings only sign Nabby to a one year deal, Scott Howson of the Columbus Blue Jackets should place a claim on him, send the inconsistent Steve Mason to Springfield, and go with Garon as a backup. The Jackets aren't too far out of a playoff spot and having Nabokov in net plus adding a deadline aquisition could be what this team needs to become a contender. It's time for Howson to swing for the fences and get aggressive.


EDITORS NOTE: I was thinking about Steve Mason being sent down to the AHL, did some research, and realized that since he's played over 60 NHL games he is not exempt from waivers either. It would probably not be a good idea for Columbus to risk losing him - especially given Detroit's goaltending situation after this season and a motive for retaliation - to another team.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Clowe Tells it Like it is

Ryane Clowe's post game presser after the Sharks' 4-3 loss to the Canucks. Sorry for the audio.

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Winter Classic Thoughts

To me, the Washington Capitals look like a different team - or are starting to, at least.

Watching them skate to a 3-1 victory in the Winter Classic, I was left with the following impressions: 

Simeyon Varlamov came to play - Varly made a statement to Bruce Boudreau that he can play in a big game. Under the bright lights with almost 70,000 and with 4.5 million TV viewers, Varlamov was tested often and seemed to be able find the puck better than Marc-Andre Fleury under the sub-par conditions at Heinz Field. 

Perreault is great energy player for the Caps - Mathieu Perreault finishes his checks, gets pucks deep, and can contribute offensively. He seems like he's bought into Boudreau's system.

Ovi starting to play like Ovi - For those who are starting to wonder if Ovechkin has lost a step, keep in mind, he's won every individual award but his ultimate goal is the Stanley Cup. He's learning to be a better all around hockey player which will silence his critics in the playoffs. But, my god, take him off the point on the PP. He's so much more dangerous when he's on the wing and can be more mobile. When he's on the point, penalty-killers just get into his shooting lane. Maybe Boudreau is saving that for the playoffs as well?

Mike Green played very physically - especially against Jordan Staal. It's nice to see Green playing this way but can his body keep up with that level of physicality.

Speaking of Jordan Staal - Pit should be scaring teams even more now with Staal back in the lineup. 

And finally...

Alex Semin - When I saw the condition of the ice, I, and probably many, felt it favored the Penguins style of play rather than the usual flashy Captials' transition game. I was proved wrong as the Caps really worked on getting the puck north and deep behind the Penguins defense. Alex Semin looked like the odd man out in that style of play, which isn't surprising, but if Washington plays that type of game more frequently, Semin could find himself on the trading-block as the deadline approaches.