Some quick thoughts on two issues dominating NHL talk right now: Derek Boogaard and Fighting in the NHL For anyone who’s been living under a rock, here’s the original New York Times story about the study of Derek Boogaard’s brain. The results of the study shouldn’t surprise anyone. If you’re a fighter, and you get punched in the head a lot, it’s logical the impact of these blows will have an effect on your brain and brain function. The larger issue here is that, as scientists continue to show conclusive evidence that hockey fights endanger the health of those involved,...Click here to read more.
Category: Out of Town Notebook
When the Tampa Bay Lightning signed Victor Hedman to a 5-year, $20 million deal earlier in the week, there weren’t too many people complaining. The online community, particularly Tampa Bay fans, applauded Steve Yzerman for keeping Hedman’s cost relatively low. According to the consensus, $4 million a year for 5 years is a great price for an improving, future franchise defenseman. There’s no question Hedman is an improving player, particularly on the defensive side of the game. But franchise cornerstone? Someone who dominates at both ends of the ice? I’m not so sure Hedman has that in him. I decided...Click here to read more.
In part one we looked at the first quarter for teams in the Western Conference. Now let’s take a look at the East. Eastern Conference 1. New York Rangers – 27 Points Powerplay: 25 / Penalty Kill: 9 / Goals For: 15 / Goals Against: 2 What’s working: Henrik Lundquist for starters. He’s the biggest reason why the team is among the league leaders in goals against. In the absence of Marc Staal (concussion), Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi have capably stepped up on the blueline, while defenseman Michael Del Zotto has re-found his game. Marian Gaborik has gotten hot...Click here to read more.
NHL standings are a lie. Well, for the most part they’re a lie. You see, there are only two days in the schedule where all 30 teams will have played the same number of a games: the first day of the regular season and the last day of the regular season. In between these two days, 30 different NHL team schedules create standings that reward or punish teams that have played more or fewer games than their opponents. Now as usual around these parts, you’re probably wondering why this is relevant. Well, the week of U.S. Thanksgiving is usually the...Click here to read more.
Sometimes in life you gotta play hurt. While fighting the flu bug, here now are this week’s thoughts on the fly: Just in case Canucks fans have been living under a rock, here’s what Mark Recchi said about the most arrogant team he’s ever played against. The great Terry Jones articulates what the current Edmonton Oilers freefall feels like. If a goalie is going to roam outside the crease, they make themselves vulnerable to contact. Ryan Miller wasn’t trying to make a save in traffic at the edges of his crease – he was skating 10-15 feet away from the...Click here to read more.
One of the silliest debates to be waged across the NHL some time is Philadelphia’s “outrage” and in-game protest of Tampa’s 1-3-1 system. From Mike Milbury walking off the air to a quickie TSN poll of league GMs siding with the Flyers, the Lightning are taking a lot of heat for their passive forecheck. Here’s the thing. 1) The passive forecheck is employed all over the league, and has been for decades. Roughly half of all NHL teams use a 1-3-1 forecheck in their gameplan. The 70s Canadiens, the 80s Oilers, the 90s Red Wings – they all used a version of...Click here to read more.
Dear Gary (aka Bettman-in-da-house, aka Mr. Commish, aka Saviour-of-Winnipeg), Not to go all Peaches and Herb (or Jeremy Roenick), but “realignment and it feels so good!” NHL realignment is the hot talk around the league right now, and I know reviews are mixed concerning your latest plan to re-shape the NHL. Personally, I like what you’ve reportedly done: The first round of the playoffs features divisional play (1 vs 4, 2 vs 3). After the first round, the remaining teams are seeded 1-4, with 1 playing 4, 2 vs 3, etc. Now, the Penguins and Flyers hate this proposal, because...Click here to read more.
[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] If the 2011-12 season was the Pacific Ocean, we’ve barely dipped our toe into the cold waters. Nonetheless, there’s been almost a month of NHL hockey, and it’s not too early to start evaluating what’s happening around the league. Here now are a handful of teams better than, or worse than, their record-to-date. Significantly Worse Than Their Record (aka the Ron Washington is a Lousy Coach Division) Toronto: The Leafs enter Friday with a 6-2-1 record and a...Click here to read more.
[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] If you live in a wooden house, and you have someone obsessed with fire over to visit, you don’t give them matches. If you’re a party planner hosting a VIP party you aren’t inviting the guy who streaks naked when he drinks. If you own a bank, and a known bank robber applies to work as a teller, you don’t give him the job. These are all (terrible) metaphors for why the NHL, in the next round of collective...Click here to read more.
A collection of hockey thoughts and observations as one settles into a new NHL hockey season: It should be clear to anyone who has watched the Senators play that Paul Maclean hasn’t had any more luck than Cory Clouston at motivating Sergei Gonchar. No one gives up on puck battles quicker than he does. One week doesn’t make an NHL season, but as of today the Senators look an awful lot like the worst team in the NHL. Speaking of NHL defensemen, Sheldon Souray’s big shot has already helped the Dallas Stars. However, Souray also looks a step slower than he...Click here to read more.