For more information regarding our move, please read the two last post published below.

25 November 2007

We've moved!

BBeR is now officially "The Faceoff Circle" and can be found at the following location:

Click here for BBeR's new quarters.

We hope you'll continue to follow us at our new location, it's still a little shabby as we're getting everything ready.

We should be fully up and running by the end of the week, in a few days, but until then...join the forum, become a part of the community and talk hockey on a board that will hopefully grow into a large one.

Don't hesitate to email us at:

Thanks for your support!


It's not really goodbye, but a new beginning...

When I first created this blog back in February of 2007, I had no idea it would turn out the way it did.

It started with myself, all alone, putting up several articles a day during last season's trade deadline about potential moves, rumours and just plain good old hockey talk.
I was fortunate enough to be linked by many-a-great bloggers on the net, and slowly but surely, BBeR grew...I added a few writers here, since I needed to have some diversity to my blog, I added a few new features and got serious about it.
The high point of this blog still remains the great community that has formed...from nothing, to something.
I'm struggling to write this now, as it's not really a goodbye, but a notice that BBeR is entering a new dimension...and new beginning.

I have reached an agreement with a friend to migrate this blog over to a new domain, with a new name in relation to a new hockey forum that's going to be created.
The title, "Bleu, Blanc et Rouge" was always deceiving...some thought I was a French-Canadian writing about my Habs, others, couldn't even come to pronounce it properly.
This was never a one-team blog and it never will be; BBeR is officially going to be renamed "The Faceoff Circle" and the move is going to come soon.
Do not fear, we'll all still be there...I'm going to contact the writers shortly with instructions on how to proceed with the move.

All the posts will NOT be lost; as my good friend in question, Jeff Veillette, who is going to eventually write about the Leafs on this new blog, is currently working on a bridge that would bring BBeR into a new domain, conserving everything that has already been done.

So no worries, we're not really going away, just moving into a new era...where in collaboration with "The Faceoff Cirle"'s forum, we can talk hockey on the blog, and argue as long and hard as we want in a forum dedicated for its readers and hockey fans around the world.

I've had the pleasure to write about hockey and I've had the privilege to write alongside some great hockey fans, and some great people.
I'd like to take this oppertunity to thank everyone who views the blog, and hopefully, will continue to do so in our new quarters.
I'd like to thank, in particular, writers like "The Ghost", Patrick Law, for being a presence in the blog, for meaning what he writes...."Katy", for her Caniac love..."Sherry", one of the most awesome people and hockey bloggers I've met...Bethany, for her devotion...Mike Thompson, really knows his Avs and glad I stumbled upon him...Matthew Macaskill, who doesn't write as much anymore, but who's a good buddy...Alex "Hockey Humorist" for his great long and funny Rangers related posts...others include JD Fluguy, Tracy, waffledave, Pierre St-Marie, Kopitarian14 and Norman Rochefort.

In sum, everyone on this blog has been insane to work with, and I'm thankful for the great moments we've shared talking hockey on something so unlikely as a hockey blog.

So to all our readers, writers, critics and fans...thank you for sticking around with Bleu, Blanc et Rouge, and don't fret...we're not over, and we'll be back soon, maybe as soon as today!

And who said I sucked at making emotional posts?

sniff, time to close the book on this one.

If you want to send an email for whatever reason, you can do so here: or, post a comment, anything is appreciated.

We'll be back, until then,

-Bleu, Blanc et Rouge (Steve Adams)

24 November 2007

'Hey quiet, this is not a rock concert alright?"

Ok, I know this might be old, but I can't help but laugh at the stupidity of hockey players sometimes.

Here's Joffrey Lupul, who by the way is doing MUCH better this year in Philly out of sulky Edmonton.

And my Habs lose again, please not another downhill slide like last year, my heart condition is wobbly enough as it is.

But hey, at least my Habs didn't get pummled by the Yotes like the Leafers did tonight, hehe.


23 November 2007

Jovo rejected trade to Islanders...

Phoenix Coyotes defenceman Ed Jovanovski reportedly rejected a trade that would bring him to Long Island this past offseason by using his very handy no-no clause.

Rumours had been swirling for much of the offseason and heading into the new campaign that Phoenix was intent on trading the veteran pointman if he could waive his no-trade clause.

This is surprising, as the Rangers were the rumoured New York team to be seeking Jovanovski, in a rumour that was shot down several times due to cap constraints involving the overpaid Canadian's $6.5 million figure.

Why overpaid?

Simple, Jovanovski has done close to nothing to merit that kind of paycheck from the Coyotes.
He's been injured far too many times and his offensive prowess that got him this deal has suffered in the desert under the regime of Yotes' head coach, Wayne Gretzky.

A change of scenery would do him good, although, I hear players love living in Arizona and that most of their families are well settled there; and despite their not-that-unobvious hockey woes, players accept to play there, even if it means for a losing team (no offence meant) and a cool salary like JovoCop's.

As stated in the article linked above, Isles GM Garth Snow proceeded to sign both Andy Sutton and Bryan Berard instead of Jovanovski.
And despite Sutton's inconsistency, and Berard's uncertainty (of how long his decent performance so far will last), I'd take them both any day over Jovanosvki because:
a) Their salaries combined barely surpass half of Jovo's.
b) They will eventually combine for more points together
c) They're buff and gritty and look like Islanders...Jovanovski, would not look good as an Islander, it just wouldn't feel right.
d) They aren't locked into a contract that long (Jovo's got 3 more years)
e) Last time I checked, having 2 pointmen of a decent to above average caliber who can toughen out the minutes, hit hard and score on the powerplay is better than having an overpaid, aging, injury-prone and underachieving veteran.

Many are calling Jovanovski "McCabe revisited"; as the latter has struggled since signing a huge deal with the Maple Leafs as well, and is drawing criticism from fans and the media alike for his occasional brain cramps and missed opportunities.

On a happier note, happy 33rd Saku!


20 November 2007

Schedule Tomfoolery

Apparently, the NHL has done everything in its power to create a schedule that takes all the momentum out of a teams, and their fans, sails. For what seems the 100th time this season the Sabres have a break after a Friday night game until Wednesday. While the rest certainly never hurts I think this is part and parcel to the team's struggles right now. Like any sport a team needs to find its rhythm. This is something they seem to have struggled with a ll season.

They are hardly alone. There has been numerous instances where teams around the NHL have had 1 game in a 11 day period. I believe this has interrupted their flow as well. It is harder to stay focused and practice becomes stale, it also robs intensity from games. This leads to boring games. Also, and this is my opinion, the more practice time you have the more work a team can do on its defense. I don't think it is coincidence that scoring is down as teams have been able to be far more organized defensively early in the season. It will be interesting to see if this theory bears out when the schedule tightens up after Christmas and they start playing 4 times a week.

Maybe the league could consider tightening up the schedule by 2-3 weeks and eliminate these gaps. There has to be a better way than this.

19 November 2007

Message to Bob Gainey: GET A GOON!

Following Saturday night's 7-4 massacre of the Boston Bruins on home ice, the Montreal Canadiens had plenty to be proud of, but their lack of a quality fighter to defend those star players is evident.

Games against the B's are always intense, leading to a few fights, notably Tom Kostopoulos dropping the mits twice, Andrei Kostitsyn learning a lesson a hard way to the hands of Mark Stuart, and Guillaume Latendresse taking a few swings at the monstrous Zdeno Chara.

Besides Kostitsyn's newfound fondness of dropping the gloves at an unexpected time (just kidding) and Kostopoulos getting slapped with a 1-game suspension for instigating a fight in the final minutes of the games, Latendresse showed Habs managment they need size and they need it now.

Taking on Chara is a big feat, someting your average player wouldn't dare image to attempt in his most twisted dreams, but when the antagonist attempts to concuss Alex Kovalev, who ducked out of the way near the end of the 3rd period along the right wing boads with Chara deliberately trying to make a sandwich out of his head and the glass, and you got a sophomore like Latendresse coming to his defence, it's sending a strong message to Mr Gainey up in his posh pressbox.


I'm not a big fan of what I call useless fighters, such as former duds like Aaron Downey and Garth Murray, but rather for the Habs picking up some muscle to defend their star players, in this case Kovalev.

Sure no one really wants to get a piece of Zdeno Chara, but in the end, when a guy like Jeremy Reich, who played a total of 4:10, is sent out onto the ice with a mission to knock down Carey Price, you need to have a goon there to show him who's boss.


Pick up Todd Fedoruk, who has just been waived by new co-GM's Brett Hull and Les Jackson in Dallas, to add some punch to the puzzle on what is poised (barring another December 23rd meltdown) to be a fine Canadiens campaign, and perhaps one for the ages.

On a side note, The "Big Bird", Larry Robinson, is getting his number retired tonight by the Habs en route to their centennial 2009 season...congratulations to him!

Until next time with your biased Montreal Canadiens post,


16 November 2007

Wojtek Wolski - The Forgotten Soph

The unabashed and highly deserved love-fest for all things Stastny has ramped up in Colorado, along with the buzz around the sudden re-emergence of a not-totally-putrid Jose Theodore, and the discussions of the flowing mullets of Smyth and Hannan. One thing many people have overlooked is the play of the OTHER super sophomore in Colorado’s lineup, Wojtek Wolski (pronounced VOY-teck WOHL-skee). He’s been overshadowed by the phenomenal play of Paul Stastny, but has quietly improved upon the pace (7G/8A/15P in 17 games) of his stellar numbers from last season (22G/28A/50P in 76 games). Opponents who overlook his contributions tend to do so at their own peril.

He started the season on the 3rd line with Marek Svatos, but has spent time with Brunette and Sakic on the 1st line, and lately Wolski has found a home on the 2nd line with Son of Stastny and the Duke (Milan Hejduk). Apparently, Paul has some kind of Eastern European fetish, which compared to taking pictures of your junk and then posting it on the intra-webs, isn’t that bad!

Wolski, the 21st pick in the absolutely LOADED 2004 Entry Draft, is a talented skater and has great hands. He’s defensive work seems to have improved this season, and he doesn’t look or play as small as he did in his short run in the 05-06 playoffs after jumping directly from his 128 point season in the OHL. He de-jocked Kipper in a shootout this year (see above) and has had an immediate impact on every line he’s played on this year. He currently leads the Avalanche and is tied for first in the league with three game-winning goals, is tied for the team lead with a +10 rating, ranks 3rd in both goals and points, and has points in nine of his last 10 games (5G/7A). He seems to be heating up just as the Avs enter an important (some would say “must-win”) road trip. The Avalanche faithful (including myself) are excited to see if Wolski can continue his development into a dangerous NHL sniper.

Ducks recall Hiller...Bryzgalov on the way out?

It looks as if there might be something brewing in California, as the Ducks recalled goaltender Jonas Hiller from the AHL early this morning, leading to speculation that long-time rumoured-to-be-on-the-way-out goalie Ilja Bryzgalov might be dealt.

Hiller is not your average minor-league goalie, he actually excelled in Europe and was signed by the Ducks after impressing performances in multiple international events.

Bryzgalov is considered a number one goalie, and at one point, he was pushing Giguere for the starting role...but since the latter won the Cup last summer plus signed a huge deal, there was no more competition.

This isn't very surprising, Bryzgalov is a good goalie and he could be a number one as he's showed in the past.

What are your thoughts on this early morning speculation?


15 November 2007

Tucker the Hypocrite

So, Sean Avery gets into a pre-game confrontation with Darcy Tucker and Jason Blake in Toronto on Saturday night. The confrontation between Avery and Tucker continued throughout the Rangers' shootout victory over the Leafs, including a first-period scrap.

After the game, Tucker goes all over TV and radio calling Avery classless (um, pot? Kettle?), and planting seeds in the heads of the Toronto media about what Avery might have said before the game.

Two days later, Howard Berger reports on Toronto's 590 The FAN that a Rangers' player told him that Avery made a remark about Jason Blake's recent cancer diagnosis, and a media firestorm is created.

Let's face it, Sean Avery is an easy target. Everyone who isn't a Ranger fan hates him, so it isn't exactly difficult to get the North American hockey media in a lather over this controversy. And, what do the media like more than getting up on their PC high horse to criticize someone whom no one likes? It's a no-lose proposition.

Now, no one would condone anyone making a derogatory remark about someone having cancer. Certainly not me. I lost my Grandmother to cancer when I was seven, and watched my brother beat Hodgkin's disease, just three months after he graduated college.

Having said that, is Darcy Tucker serious? Let's put aside for a second that there is not a shred of evidence that Avery actually made such a remark. Even if he did, is this where Darcy Tucker draws the line in the sand?

Tucker has made his entire NHL career on being a cheap shot artist. A man (and, I use that term so very loosely) with such little regard for his fellow players that he has no trouble putting their health and livelihood at risk each time he steps on the ice.

Is making a distasteful remark about cancer really worse than intentionally blowing out Michael Peca's knee in the 2002 playoffs?

Look, I'm not one of these people who thinks we should take fighting and hitting out of the game. Physical intimidation has been, and always should be, part of the game. But, have we become so PC that someone with a history of intentionally injuring opponents can get up in front of cameras and self-righteously pontificate about someone's allegedly insensitive remark, and no one bats an eye? Could no one in the media be bothered to point out to Mr. Tucker that he might have been the last person who should be commenting on any of this?

Since there is no proof that Avery said anything about Blake's cancer, and Blake himself has said he has no knowledge of any such remarks, I'm giving Avery the benefit of the doubt. And, even if I'm wrong, and Avery said something that I would personally find reprehensible, the last person I want to hear lecturing us about class is Darcy Tucker.

Turning Point in Rangers' Season

It's been quite a while since I was able to post here, because my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world recently, and, as you can imagine, it has kept us quite busy.

During this time, the Rangers seem to have found their game, winning 7 of their last 8 games to move within one point of the first-place Flyers going into tonight's showdown in the City of Brotherly Love.

So, what turned the Rangers season around? Some might say their recent string of wins is due to Captain Jaromir Jagr re-emerging as a dominant force. Or, Scott Gomez beginning to settle in and find his game. Some might even say the emergence of the Rangers' "kids" have energized the team.

While all of that may be true, I prefer to think my daughter has made all the difference. The team's current 7-1 run just happened to coincide with her birth, and she has become the good luck charm for the season. I have posted a picture below of her enjoying (sleeping through) her first Ranger game.

14 November 2007

Ouch...Tlusty's boner finds way onto internet!

19-year old Maple Leafs prospect Jiri Tlusty is in a little bit of a of a raunchy mess, as pictures of him showing off his boner taken with his camera phone are all over the internet (and the one you see here is one of the milder ones).

They were, however removed due to potential legal action by the Leafs organization, claiming that the webiste invaded Tlusty's private life, and they had no right to broadcast the pictures he took of himself, since they are "his property".

And they're right, and thank God they're gone (since a reader had the bright idea of sending me the pics by email), but sadly, I've read they're still splattered here and there on the net.

Originally reported by Is This Happening?, a Canadian-based online gossip website, Tlustly reportedly took several pictures of himself stripped down, posted them on his facebook account and emailed them to this girl he apparently liked, to give her more than just a small glimpse of his body.

They were taken last year, according to Tlusty, while playing in Ontario, and they somehow found their way into's hands.

I'd be terribly embarrassed if this happened to me, and to make matters worse, in a media-frenzy town like Toronto where people jump to conclusions before finding out the whole story.

This here is perfectly relevant example of how people really don't respect someone else's private life, seriously, who cares if he did that?
The typical smart-Alec would say that I do because I wrote about this, but no, I really don't...but maybe some readers do, so, it's my duty as a blogger to inform thee! :)

The Maple Leafs issued a statement earlier today, and Tlusty apologized for this little controversy.

Hopefully this will go away, and fast, no need for distractions like this for Tlusty this early in his promising career.



I have avoided writing this one. Partially out of denial, partially because it is so easy to pile on. But... well, now is the time.

This Sabres team is broken. Not broken in the sense that there are poor players or coaching. I am talking broken in the spiritual sense. I had not, I admit, seen this coming. sure all of the signs were there, especially the ones in neon lights (see Briere and Drury leaving). I thought that Miller, Gaustad, Campbell would pick up the slack. I truly did. What I have seen is an unemotional team going through the motions on most nights. I acknowledge they picked it up big time in the past two games against the Bruins and Leafs, but no one was home to score those clutch goals that They-who-shall-not-be-named used to score.

Who is to blame? Yes it starts with Regier. He was wrong, pure and simple. There is still time to right the ship but the fix is going to be expensive in the way of prospects. There are players to be had, players that can fill the Drury/Briere roles but they are going to cost Buffalo some of their exquisite depth and prized prospects.

Lindy doesn't get off easy here either. For the first time ever Lindy seems at a loss. I think part of it is a sense of betrayal. I know if I had signed a new 3 year deal at less than market value and then had my veteran leaders stripped I would feel betrayed too. I can't help but sense that it has seeped into his thinking and the room as a whole.

Tom Golisano gets a bite of the apple too. He has done tons of good while here in Buffalo, but anyone who listened to the fans and read the news knew that bringing one of those two back was critical to the perception of this team, if nothing else. Now this team must win in order to draw. Losing Briere and Drury destroyed any grace period this town was willing to give. Tom, as a business man, you should have known better than that.

The players. The players have been downright awful. What shakes me is this unwillingness to take ownership of the team. Instead of grasping the leadership role they have played hot-potato with it. It may have something to do with the fact that being the captain of this team is akin to a death sentence. Ruff's rotating captaincy has been criticized. i think it is more of a result of a locker room waiting for the other guy. A true team would DEMAND and push forward a captain. Yet, they sit back and let the opportunity sail by. This leads me to believe that the role needs to be filled from the outside. I don't know who that guy is, but he better be found and brought in soon.

13 November 2007

“Tell her it’s not bad like last time.”

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The entire Caniac nation collectively held its breathe last night during the game vs. the Panthers. It had nothing to do with a goal. Nothing to do with a diving penalty. I don't think anyone remembered there was a game to be played. Most people are familiar with Erik Cole's injury that took place in March of '06. Brooks Orpik hit Cole from behind into the boards, and hard too. Even though Cole skated off the ice that day, he suffered a fractured vertebra. Most people remember holding their breathe during game 6 of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals when Cole first came back from that injury. Most Caniacs still fall silent any time Cole takes a hit.

Last night was a real test for our breath-holding skills. Cole was trying to outskate one of the Panthers to get a breakaway on Vokoun with the game tied at 3-3. Cole was held up and I watched as #26's feet came out from under him and he went headfirst into Vokoun and laid face-first on the ice.
It is a really helpless feeling when you have to sit there and all you can do is plead with Erik Cole through the TV to get up, unsuccessfully I might add.
Apparently he first told Vokoun that his neck was hurting him and just kept repeating that to him as Vokoun called the trainers over to the ice.
After 10 minutes or so, he was wheeled off on a stretcher to the standing ovation of 12,000 or so Panthers fans and the tapping of both teams' sticks. When asked if he wanted someone to call his wife he told them, “Tell her it’s not bad like last time.” He later said that as he was rolled under the scoreboard his only thought was "No Penalty?! Get serious."

The 'Canes played 8 minutes of grit hockey and Cory Stillman scored his second of the night to make the final score 4-3.

At about 12am it was released that Cole's CAT scan had come out negative for any injury to his neck and he was clear to fly to Tampa Bay with the team, who had postponed their flight until their teammate could rejoin them.
Cole is getting other tests done today and he will have to have them cleared by the medical staff here in NC before he is allowed to play again.
My guess is that as long as he is cleared by the medical staff here, we will see him back on the ice for Friday night's home game against the Thrashers.

*I want to post a special thanks to the fans from many of our rivalry teams for extending their wishes for Cole and his family. All of the thoughts and prayers were greatly appreciated!

Let's go Canes!

12 November 2007

You're not quite there yet, Jose...

If you think it's weird that Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jose Theodore is letting in less than 3 goals per game in Colorado and stopping at least 9 shots out of 10, you're seriously not alone.

The former Hart and Vezina winner was dealt to the Avalanche 2 seasons ago by his hometown Montreal Canadiens, the same year he was made the richest goalie to ever tend goal by Canadiens GM Bob Gainey with a brand new 3-year/$17 million deal.

Theodore floundered in Montreal terribly, and posted mediocre numbers as the team continued its embarrassing downward slide in the standings.
With newly acquired goaltender Cristobal Huet pushing Theodore for playing time, the French media being all over him for his little Paris Hilton scandal, coach Claude Julien getting blamed for Theodore's paltry performance, costing him his job, and a newborn child on the way as well as problems related to his uncle's loansharking business, Jose Theodore was a troubled young man.
The icing on the cake came when Theodore broke his ankle by falling down the stairs in front of his home one morning in that January, putting him on the injured reserve for the rest of the season as well as sparking talk that his injury was purposely "done" for his terrible season to end, highlighted by a recent 8-2 home loss to the Carolina Hurricanes that proved to be his last in the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge uniform.

At that point, it was doubtful rumours persisting that Gainey would unload Theodore and his huge contract would happen, but big G surprised us all once again.
While Huet rode the Habs net and Gainey coached his team up the standings behind the bench, Jose Theodore was a lost memory, and was written off for good the eve of the 2006 trade deadline, as he was surprisingly sent to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for equally struggling goaltender David Aebischer in a move many so called "experts" called the second coming of Patrick Roy in the Rocky Mountain state.
Gainey had successfully gotten rid of $17 million.

While Theodore tended to his injury down in Denver, Cristobal Huet carried the Canadiens to the playoffs and put up a strong performance in a series the Canadiens should have won against the eventual Stanley Cup Champs Hurricanes and in a series that dramatically saw a team fall apart as its captain did after a highstick to the orbital bone in Game 3 by Justin Williams.
That was evidently the turning point of the matchup that saw Carolina climb back from a 2-0 deficit, to beat the Canadiens in 6.

A few weeks later, the Avalanche and Jose Theodore took the plane home after losing in the Western semi-final in spectacular fashion to the San Jose Sharks.

In the month that followed, Cristobal Huet striked a new deal with the Canadiens, inking a 2-year/$5.75 million deal.
Theodore likely caused, however, then Avs GM Pierre Lacroix to resign, after wrongfully acquiring Theodore in a trade that still glares to this day in the hearts and salary cap of the Colorado Avalanche and their fans as a lopsided one.

The next season, Huet posted respectable numbers en route to a first career all-star selection while Theodore was just as bad as he had been in Montreal in a backup role to Peter Budaj.
Theodore earned the nickname of Jose "Threeofour" and was known to let in an inordinate number of goals on low shot totals (ex: 4 goals on 26 shots, 3 goals on 24 shots).
With new GM Francois Giguere manning the deck for Colorado, fans were itching for management to buy out the Quebecois goalie for his immense $5.5 million salary to be tossed out the window and forgotten.
This obviously did not happen and it is much easier said than done, as for Theodore to pass up that kind of money (knowing he likely won't ever get anything remotely close to that again) would be ridiculous.

The 2007-2008 season is just a month old, and Theodore is doing a lot more than he did in previous seasons with Colorado, pushing Peter Budaj for playing time in the Avs' goaltending tandem.
I'm trying to say this is a nice comeback, feel good story, but sorry, it's not.
The 31-year old netminder is 4-2-1 with a low GAA of 2.30 and a .920 SPCT%, both very remarkable results.
He is looking like the old Jose the Habs wished they could've had for the $17 million they invested in him at the time (actually, no, Huet rocks...and for his salary, he's a steal) and his play is looking less and less shaky, and more and more productive and confident.

It's only 7 games, I know, but (and I'm trying REAL hard to say this with a straight face) he needs to prove he can be brilliant over the course of one whole season, as you could argue that his last "great" year came in 2003-2004, in the last year of the pre-lockout era.

Formerly dubbed "The Franchise" by the Hockey news for the Canadiens, Theodore isn't quite there yet, but it's "nice" to see he's finally earning a fraction of his paycheck, at least for Avs fans.


10 November 2007

Senators to trade Emery?

Rumour has it that the Ottawa Senators may in fact be close to trading 24-year old goaltender Ray Emery to a Western Conference (apparently, the Los Angeles Kings) team along with forward Patrick Eaves and a prospect coming up from the Sens' farm club in Binghamton (suggested to be Josh Hennessey) in exchange for a goaltender and player.

Kevin Lee from Hockeybuzz, posted this on his blog yesterday and fans are anxiously awaiting to see if it's true or not.
To add more flame to the fire, GM Bryan Murray was reportedly in Binghamton last night to watch the prospect involved in the deal play, again, according to Lee.

Oh boy, this is interesting, is Emery on the way out? Already?!
He led his team to the Cup Final last season, was locked up to a big deal and is still young.

Have the Sens given up on him? Already?!

Interesting indeed,


08 November 2007 the city really hockey?

An article published on the French version of Canoe has me a little troubled and perplexed at the moment.

What it basically states is that the Canadiens, le Tricolore, les Glorieux, 24 time Stanley Cup Champs, whatever you wanna call them, are overrated when it comes to their popularity around Montreal and Quebec.

The article specifically quotes like this:
"If you think that the Canadiens are as important in Montrealers' eyes as the Red Sox are for Bostonians or the Yankees for New Yorkers, you are sadly mistaken..."

It claims that, according to a study/survey done by Turnkey Sports and Entertainment, Montreal finishes a lowly 74th out of 122 sports cities in North America when it comes to exposure in their local area.
"Exposure" here meaning "being a fan" or "who really cares about the Habs", in short, the real "fans".

The Habs media group has been using the phrase "The City is Hockey", "La Ville est Hockey" as the Habs slogan, and I gotta admit, it's quite appealing, appeasing and thankful to hear as a fan, as I truly believed our city was hockey, but this newfound report, like I said, has troubled me.

Aren't the Habs supposed to be hockey's bread and butter? The greatest sports franchise to arguably exist?
The winningnest franchise in NHL and sports history? A city where people are hockey-crazy and hockeylific?

The study shows that the Sabres (4th overall); Red Wings (20th) and Penguins (30th) are the top 3 NHL teams in North America.

The Canadiens?

A very surprising finish at 74th, or 15th in the NHL rankings.

I find this extremely hard to swallow, both as a Habs fan and person.
There is no doubt in my mind that Turnkey did not ask Francophones what they though about hockey in Montreal, where it stands for them, but rather the less, but equally fanatic Anglophone side.
I don't want to start any language wars here, but seriously, to think that Turnkey probably didn't get a French speaking surveyor to communicate with the larger population of Montreal, the Francs is insanely absurd!

So if Turnkey did ask them what they thought of the Habs, they'd probably and almost certainly be a lot higher on this list.
When asked "but they sell out every game", Haynes Hendrickson (VP of Turnkey) simply answered it's not about selling out, it's whether or not people go to the Bell Centre to see the Habs or the opposing team.

Jesus Almighty.

End of story right there, the City is hockey, period, point final, that was really the final nail in the coffin for me to mark this "revelation" as understudied, ignorant and certainly illogical.

The Canadiens...the best team ever in the history of hockey, les Glorieux, 24 time Stanley Cup Champs, le Tricolore...74th?!

You must be joking Mr Hendrickson,



06 November 2007

Your 2007-2008 Eastern Conference All-Stars: The Ottawa Senators!

Okay, perhaps that's a little bit optimistic, but thanks to the Senators' red-hot 12-1-0 start, a league-high 6 Ottawa players are on this year's All-Star Ballot. It includes the top line of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza as well as defensemen Chris Phillips and Wade Redden. Ray Emery also got a nod despite only playing 2 games so far this season, which I feel is somewhat of a slight to Martin Gerber who has been absolutely on fire, but I suppose Emery does have the whole 'Helped-the-team-to-the-Finals' bit to help him out. That being said, I also think Anton Volchenkov should have also got a nod but congrats to Emery on his first All-Star Ballot nomination!



Martin Biron, Philadelphia Flyers
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Rick DiPietro, New York Islanders
Ray Emery, Ottawa Senators
Cristobal Huet, Montreal Canadiens
Olaf Kolzig, Washington Capitals
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
Tomas Vokoun, Florida Panthers
Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes


Jay Bouwmeester, Florida Panthers
Dan Boyle, Tampa Bay Lightning
Brian Campbell, Buffalo Sabres
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Tomas Kaberle, Toronto Maple Leafs
Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens
Bryan McCabe, Toronto Maple Leafs
Chris Phillips, Ottawa Senators
Wade Redden, Ottawa Senators
Henrik Tallinder, Buffalo Sabres
Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers
Ryan Whitney, Pittsburgh Penguins


Maxim Afinogenov, Buffalo Sabres
Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators
Jason Blake, Toronto Maple Leafs
Daniel Briere, Philadelphia Flyers
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Chris Drury, New York Rangers
Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
Simon Gagne, Philadelphia Flyers
Brian Gionta, New Jersey Devils
Scott Gomez, New York Rangers
Bill Guerin, New York Islanders
Dany Heatley, Ottawa Senators
Marian Hossa, Atlanta Thrashers
Jaromir Jagr, New York Rangers
Olli Jokinen, Florida Panthers
Saku Koivu, Montreal Canadiens
Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers
Vyacheslav Kozlov, Atlanta Thrashers
Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Brad Richards, Tampa Bay Lightning
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Marc Savard, Boston Bruins
Brendan Shanahan, New York Rangers
Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
Mats Sundin, Toronto Maple Leafs
Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres
Justin Williams, Carolina Hurricanes

Full list of nominees here.

Voting will take place November 13th until January 2nd and the voting will be entirely digital but their slogan is "Vote Now, Vote Often" so I guess you can vote as many times as you want.

By the way, Bryan McCabe? Her?

Cross-posted to Scarlett Ice

Sabres Play Nearly Flawless Game...and Get Shutout

BBR has to be smiling somewhere right now. Buffalo and the Habs played a nearly perfect game last night. Good flow, lots of chances, good hitting and way too much Cristobal Huet! It is hard to get down on the Sabres effort everyone came to play and 9 out of 10 games the Sabres win.

My quandry with this team is I have no idea how good they are. They are immensly talented, but the Habs had that something that the Sabres seem to be lacking now. What is it? Its not quite leadership, it isn't a lack of ability. I am not sure.



- Newly arrived defenseman Nolan Pratt hurt his groin in his first game. He is day-to-day.

- Jaro Spacek is injured again. Apparently he reinjured his shoulder against Boston. He is day-to-day as well.

- Adam Mair suffered a ankle injury against the Habs. It will be interesting to see if the Sabres make a call up. The MSG telecast highlighted Dylan Hunter. I have to wonder if my idol's son is going to get the call.

- 19 year old defenseman Mike Weber has been very solid in his 3 games in place of the injured players. He skates well and is very physical. He did a marvelous job against Kovalev and the rest of the Habs speedy forwards yesterday. Color me impressed.

- Andrei Sekera, after a rough, rough start looks like a new man. He is definitely skating with a purpose and taking more and more control. He may be here for the long haul now.

- Derek Roy may want to consider taking his head out of his butt. He has looked lost and made numerous careless mistakes with the puck lately. He has hurt the team far more than helped lately.

05 November 2007

Out-of-Sync Gadget Transformed Into Defensive Machine

After the Rangers collective contraption blew a gasket against the Ottawa Senators on October 13, when they gave up 3 goals in 52 seconds, I described them as being “like a rich kid’s rendition of an out-of-sync gadget thrown together for a science class project”. Link to October 13 article.

This description* actually made a Philadelphia Flyers fan (JD FLYGUY) write: “You have no idea how much that made my day. I think I have a new favorite quote. That's pure genius”. Link to JD FLYGUY’s quote (in comments section).

The irony is that after shutting out the Flyers 2-0 tonight, the Rangers seemingly out-of-control science project is beginning to resemble a defensive Frankenstein, which was masterminded by a mad hockey genius.

Having given up only 2 goals in their last 4 games, 8 goals in their last 8 games, and a league low 23 goals in 14 games, the Rangers find themselves as the league’s top defensive team with a GAA of 1.64.

The Rangers, who’ve amazingly also scored a league low 1.78 goals per game, have obviously found the answer to their season-long offensively offensive woes—the best offense is a good defense, combined with a royal goalie (King Henrik Lundquist).

Humorist’s Hindsight: In the NOT DEAD YET category, Brendan Shanahan is trying to bury the October 17 pronouncement by myself and former Rangers statistician, Nomar Goles, that his goal scoring ability is “dead”. Shanahan has scored 3 goals in his last 4 games, including resurrecting his patented one-timer against the Flyers tonight.

In figuratively trying to stay off the “corpses’ cart” that was immortalized in the classic film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Shanahan has not only proclaimed his goal scoring as being “not dead yet” with his recent surge, but he was also overheard after tonight’s game saying, “I feel happy. I feel happy”.

*The original quote that JD FLYGUY responded to was “like a rich kid’s rendition of a gadget thrown together for a science class project”. I later added “out-of-sync”.

Courtesy of The Hockey Humorist -

04 November 2007

Red-Hot Senators

The Ottawa Senators played by far their best hockey last night vs. Boston and they only came up with a 3-2 win. There were 81 shots total directed at the Boston net during the game. That stat is stunning. It seems like Mike Fisher is the only one who knows how to beat Tim Thomas. Can't wait till tonight to see if there will be a bigger blowout on the scoreboard at the bank. And don't forget, the sens played that game WITHOUT Spezza.

Having locked up the big 3 now gives me time to relax now that I know they should be in Ottawa for the next few years. Bryan Murray did a great job of locking up the big 3- I think he will be in the organization for a while- he hasn't done anything bad yet.

I hate the people who say," well, Murray hasn't won a cup yet ", because he has done everything except that. I would have to rank Murray right behind Hooland in the GM ranks.

Thumbs up to you, Bryan.

03 November 2007

Cherry defends Koivu, blasts lawyer Bertrand...

Yeah I know I should more objective when it comes to these things, but I vividly believe Guy Bertrand is a stupid nut case for criticizing whom Cherry calls "almost a saint".
If you remember correctly, Bertrand publicly cried out that Koviu should learn French and that "Quebecers have a right to be served in their language", clearly reffering to his "disrespect" of Bill 101.

Here's the bit on Cherry, still down that the Habs lost to the Leafs tonight, not in the mood to talk about them anymore until I cheer up tomorrow.

"I'll tell you one thing, you people that criticize him, he's almost a saint as far as I'm concerned," said Cherry. "You people that criticize him are insecure and pathetic."

Cherry lauded Koivu for his strength and courage in recovering from both non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and a serious eye injury, both of which nearly ended his career.

"He's an inspiration to all the people he came back for," said Cherry. "What do they do? They rip him and give him a hard time for you-know-what, I'm not even going to mention it."

Hope your team did better than mine tonight, but hey, it was a good game while it lasted...Habs definitely deserved to win.

And for Don Cherry to climb out of his Leaf-confined hole is somewhat miraculous, that's why I'm giving this little event its own post!


02 November 2007

Paging Ryan Miller....

The Sabres are struggling. No, they aren't terrible,but they aren't good either. a-number-one on my hitlist, Ryan "the franchise" Miller. I will grant you they are playing a schedule only Gary Bettman could dream up, but I expect more from Sir Ryan and so do many Sabres fans. Particularly irritating is his seeming loss of concentration at key moments and the shoulder shrug reminiscent of the days of Joe Ferguson's head hanging.

The bottom line is this:

Stop the damned puck if you want to be considered among the elite!!!!

Spezza ices huge contract with Senators!

Breaking news in the nation's capital, as the Ottawa Senators finally got a deal done with their superstar-in-the-making Jason Spezza yesterday night, agreeing to a new 7-year/$49 million contract extension according to Bob McKenzie over at TSN.

Spezza and Murray have yet to announce anything to the media, but McKenzie did a good job and got the details as to how Spezza would be paid over the course of the next 7 years:

08-09: 4 M signing bonus, 4 M base salary = $8 million
09-10: 4 M signing bonus, 4 M base salary = $8 million
10-11: 4 M signing bonus, 4 M base salary = $8 million
11-12: 2 M signing bonus, 6 M base salary = $8 million
12-13: 2 M signing bonus, 6 M base salary = $8 million
13-14: no signing bonus, 5 M base salary = $5 million
14-15: no signing bonus, 5 M base salary = $5 million

For a total of a whopping $49 million.

Spezza's deal is similar to his linemate's Dany Heatley, who also signed a massive extension early in the new campaign.

The 24-year old has 1 goal and 12 assists in 10 games with the Senators so far, and he likely sat out last night's game vs the Thrashers to finalize this deal with his agent.

This signing may mean the end of the Wade Redden era in Ottawa, as the veteran blueliner is eligible to hit the unrestricted free-agent market and it's unlikly Sens GM Bryan Murray will be able to live up to yet more pressure from the fans and keep the pricey Redden in the fold.

The Missisauga native was due to become a restricted free-agent this summer, and given the recent situations that have unfolded during that period with offer sheets being thrown around (see Dustin Penner, Tomas Vanek, Ryan Kesler), Spezza would've been an attractive option to teams salivating for that God-like player.



01 November 2007

To dive or not to dive? That is the question.

I am going to start off this blog with stating that I am not placing last night's 4-2 loss on the refs. The Canes should have taken advantage in the 1st period and been up more than 1-0 going into the 3rd. They were slow on their feet for much of the 2nd and 3rd period, but in all fairness were still playing ahead of the Panthers until the middle of the 3rd.
With that said...

I am completely appalled with the things the Hurricanes were faced with in Southern Florida last night. I knew it was going to be a bad night when I tuned into "Hurricanes Live" and John Forslund and Tripp Tracy begin the night talking about the Florida papers. They show at least three articles that all read pretty much the same thing: "Carolina's diving act isn't easily forgotten"
By the way, the "diving act" they are talking about refers to the 'Canes going 7-1-0 against the Panthers last year and how they think we dove to get our wins. (Funny, because last year our PP was ranked on of the lowest in the league and we pretty much would have rather gone short handed than have to watch the mess that was our power play.) The best was one famous night where Eric Staal was tripped and because Ed Belfour thought he embellished, he put on a little show....seen here:

All of that nonsense aside, I found it humorous that they were calling us divers when Olli Jokinen was the only player to get a diving penalty before the two called on us last night. I don't find it classy at all to publish such things in a newspaper, when they don't even have any ground to stand on. Perhaps if they posted more things about their team, instead of trying to put down the Canes they would have had an attendance of more than 10,000 (although a friend who was there for the game last night said she would have put the attendance more at 3,000 tops)
You didn't see an article here in NC about Jokinen and his comments last year to run this team down and if injuries were necessary for the win, so be it. Instead you saw that Jokinen and Vokoun both play really well against us and generally just positive things.

As much as I didn't like that article, I would have never guess the refs would let media influence the way they make calls. Going into the 3rd up 1-0, we knew that we couldn't just sit on a lead of one if we wanted the two points. There was a battle for the puck along the boards and you see Jokinen nail LaRose into the boards. They say a penalty is being called and I thought it was obviously a Florida penalty...until I see LaRose yelling at the refs and head over to the box. I was REALLY confused at that point until I hear the words "2 minutes for diving"
Let me give you some stats real quick so you can understand this:
Chad LaRose is 5'9 and weighs 185 lbs. Fourth line guy, lots of energy, our "gnat"
Olli Jokinen is 6'3 and weighs 214 lbs. I am not sure what line he plays, because I saw him play with like 3 different ones last night, but he pretty much IS the team.

So LaRose got pushed from behind, fell down, and that is diving? I am surprised they even issued Jokinen a penalty at all! If anyone can explain that to me feel free to email me! That penalty is killed off.
Jokinen scores 7 minutes in. Then Erik Cole scores on a beautiful pass from Staal to make the game 2-1.

Not even 2 minutes after that, we see a play where Justin Williams checks Horton who falls over easily. (no penalty given on that one though!) Williams begins to skate away and Horton pushes himself up enough to grab around his legs (pretty much something you see in football) Williams falls over seeing as he can't move his legs.

Penalty called. Horton 2 minutes for holding. Oh wait. Big surprise here. Williams 2 minutes for diving. How is it diving when he is TACKLED?!?!! Someone, anyone PLEASE explain this to me!!!
Canes are scored on during that 4 on 4. 2-2 game.

5 minutes left and the refs called Staal for holding. I didn't see it, but okay Staal was "holding". Not a problem. Before that penalty expires Williams gets another call delay of game this time.
5 on 3, and Zednik scores no problem 3-2. THEN as the Staal penalty expires there is a rush from the Panthers and Wesley our veteran Dman throws himself down to try and stop the breakaway. Penalty for slashing. Another 5 on 3.
In a moment of desperation Cam Ward comes way out of the crease to try and poke check the puck so maybe the Canes can get a shorthanded rush. Unfortunately for him this was not our night and Horton went right around him and scored on an empty net. Final score 4-2.

Brad Watson, who was the ref who made both of the diving calls needs a strong review. He doesn't even have the excuse that he is a new ref for why he made those calls and even the Florida announcers were perplexed with where the dives were exactly. NHL: PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE OFFICIATING. And I am not even talking just about last night. I have watch some of the worst officiating I have seen in this early season.

I will leave you with Erik Cole's insights on the game last night (from the News and Observer) and why there were the two diving calls and pretty much mocking the virtually empty arena:
"An intimidating building like this? You're going to get those calls at home"

Until next time....

30 October 2007

The team that does "Whatever it Takes" is back

There has been a new feeling to the season here in Carolina. It is very reminiscent of a feeling 16 guys on his team have experienced once already.

The farther in to the season we are getting the more answers we are getting that alleviate any doubts we may have. We had three of our top forwards out due to injury (Cole, Ladd and Walker) but we had two AHL call ups that stepped in and filled the gaps that were missing for us. After a terribly disappointing loss to the Canadiens at home on the 26th, instead of pitying themselves and continuing the losing streak like we saw so many times in the 2006-2007 season, they took charge and destroyed the Islanders the next night 8-3.

The Canes have gone 7-2-3 in their first 12 games of the season sitting proudly atop the division with 17 points. So far, the are proving that 2005-2006 season wasn't just a fluke and that these "Redneck" hockey players are contenders.

The next month is very important for the Canes. With the exception of the Flyers games (on the 21st and 28th) they face their division the entire month (11 division games)
I've got to leave it at that for now, good luck to the boys as they take on their division in the coming up weeks!

Let's go Canes!

26 October 2007

Tasty Brownie! Kings ink young phenom to 6-year extension among others

The future is now for the Kings

There have been a few contract extensions handed out in the NHL recently, topping the list are the Los Angeles Kings, who signed forward Dustin Brown to a 6-year contract extension today.

The former 13th overall pick from the 2003 draft has 4 goals and 4 assists so far in 11 games with the Kings and has been a star on the rise ever since his definitive entry to the NHL in 2005-2006, putting up 14 and 17 goal seasons since then.
His points total have been on a uprise as well...from 28 to 46, and if his current pace continues, he will finish the season in the 70-point area.

Brown is poised to become a 30-40 goal scorer with huge upside, and he's a mainstay in Los Angeles for at least 6 more years.
All this at such a young age, the 22-year old Ithaca, New York native will turn 23 on November 4th.

Kings GM Dean Lombardi on "Brownie":

Dustin is an integral part of what we are building here with the Kings.
We like how he competes; we like his toughness; and we are very pleased with how his overall game has developed.

"An integral part" is not far off with guys like Mike Cammalleri (10 G, 3 A), sophomore sensation Anze Kopitar (4 G, 8 A) and star Alex Frolov (3 G, 7 A) all destined for superstardom (or at least come close to it).

On defence? They're well equiped with former Hurricanes prospect Jack Johnson (1 G, 1 A), veteran goldie Rob Blake (1 G, 4 A), the dangerous Lubomir Visnovsky (1 G, 7 A) to go along with new faces Brad Stuart (1 G, 2 A), Tom Preissing (0 G, 2 A) and another guy who's been around a while, Jaroslav Modry (0 G, 1 A).

On paper? They're awesome...but the defence has had its own problems this year totally a paltry -14 rating with Modry being the only blueliner in the plus column (+4).

Kings fans are calling for Rob Blake's head because of his shoddy defensive work and inconsistent performance on the attack...Stuart and Preissing are off to slow starts...Johnson is still adapting with Visnovsky and Modry leading the way.

The future is definitely bright in sunny LA, but can the Kings finally pull out of their misery with the younglings and big names picked up this offseason?

Their current 5-6 start could be better, but if you look at last year, it could be worse.

They have the talent, time to fully exploit it...look for the Kings to be serious contenders now or possibly in the near future

Draper stays in Detroit:
The Red Wings have retained former Selke winner Kris Draper, signing the 36-year old to a new 3-year contract that will pay him $1.6 million per season.

Kenny Holland calls Draper an essential part of the team's core:
Kris has been such an important part of this organization's success.
We are fortunate to have secured a player with his leadership qualities and work ethic for the next three seasons.

He has 5 assists to start the season and has put up double digits in goals for the past 4 campaigns.

Minnesota locks up Burns:
Brent Burns is only 22 but already a force on Minnesota's blueline.
The Wild locked him up to a 4-year contract worth about $14.2 million or an average payout of $3.55 million per season.
Minnesota's former 1st round pick is +6 this season and hopes to repeat the +16 rating he put up last year.

I like Doug Risebrough's reasoning when it comes to these big long deals being thrown around:
Long-term contracts are about projection now.
Not about what they'll make, but their ability to earn it and make things happen during the length of the contract.

Panthers sign Cullimore:
The Florida Panthers have reportedly signed defenceman Jassen Cullimore to a 1-year contract including a 2-week conditioning stint in the minors, likely to replace the injured Noah Welch as the team's 7-8 defenceman.

Markov to Russia:
The Danny Markov free-agent saga is officially over...the veteran signed a contract to play in Russia with Dynamo for the upcoming season and TSN reports that his deal includes an out clause that would allow him to come to North America and sign with another team next summer.
Markov was rumoured to be seeking between $2.5 and $3.5 million, but teams like the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders backed out because of salary cap constraints.


24 October 2007

No More Nomar—With Nomar Goles to Tally, Slats' Stats Man Goes Out ... Then Sather Says Let Seymour Goles Go In

NEW YORK—New York Rangers general manager, Glen Sather, announced today that team statistician, Nomar Goles, resigned shortly after the Blueshirts 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The search for his replacement, however, didn’t last very long.

Apparently Goles had been under a lot stress since the Rangers opening night’s 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. Since that game, Goles was deeply concerned because the Rangers simply weren’t scoring many.

Having been shutout in two consecutive games, scoring only 8 goals in the last 7 games, and posting a league low 13 goals for the season, the only name the supposedly high-powered Rangers have been living up to is Nomar’s.

According to Goles, he felt personally responsible in some way. “It’s as though my name has put a curse on the whole team. I told Glen (Sather) on Sunday that the team might be better off not having me around. With my brother (who was an unemployed statistician) available and just as technically qualified as me, it seemed like a good idea to make a change,” said Goles.

On Tuesday night, apparently Sather agreed. Having watched Nomar Goles for the past two games, Sather said, “let Seymour Goles go in and hope that we start winning”. And with that, Nomar resigned and his brother, Seymour, immediately was in as the Rangers new statistician.

“It’s all for the best. I felt like the Maytag repairman for much of the season. Not having any work to perform is sometimes harder than having too much. I also took a lot of flack from what happened last week,” Nomar said.

Nomar was referring to having pronounced Brendan Shanahan’s goal scoring ability “dead” last Wednesday. The obituary entitled: R.I.P.—Shanahan’s Scoring Succumbs to Old Age After 19+ Seasons was published by the Hockey Humorist on October 17.

As to whether the new team statistician, Seymour Goles, might be willing to alter his brother’s findings on Shanny’s scoring ability, Seymour is uncommitted. “I’ll have my eye on Shanahan’s goal scoring, but I’ll have to see more,” said Seymour.

Meanwhile, Sather remains optimistic that this move will help the Rangers turn their disappointing season around. “Seymour Goles is a name that the whole team can rally around. It will be our new battle cry. Besides, at this point I’ll try just about anything,” said Sather.

Humorist’s Hindsight: Let’s hope that this same-day double play works out better than the last one Sather pulled. After signing both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury within hours of each other on July 1, the yearly $14+ Million dollar duo has combined to average barely over a half a point per game each (9 points in 16 combined games), while showing very little chemistry with their linemates.

I also find it quite interesting that both Nomar Goles and the Hockey Humorist received quite a bit of criticism over what was said in
R.I.P.—Shanahan’s Scoring Succumbs to Old Age After 19+ Seasons.

Today, Larry Brooks of the New York Post and Dubi Silverstein of the Blueshirt Bulletin both expressed their concerns over whether Shanahan’s age is a factor in Shanny’s scoring decline. Here are the links:
Post and Blueshirt Bulletin.

Brooks even quotes some of the same statistics that I used in several of my articles, such as the fact that Shanahan had only “scored six goals in 29 games before his Feb. 17 concussion” last year. Too many Ranger fans either seem to be unaware of these facts or are just ignoring them.

Although Shanahan’s scoring may have stopped, my pursuit of this subject matter will not.

22 October 2007

In case you missed it...Toews's unreal goal!

And the best part is, it was on Jose Theodore...sorry Mike and Avs fans, hehe.

He and Kane are really doing well to start the season...

Have a good day,


21 October 2007

Wild are kicking's that simple!

The Minnesota Wild have been on a tear since the start of the 2007-2008 season.

A 3-1 win in St. Louis against the Blues last night pushed Minnesota's record to an outstanding and a little surpising 6-0-1, to lead the Western Conference.

Centres Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Eric Belanger and winger Brian Rolston are all tied for their team's lead in points with 7 heading into Sunday night's matchup against the Colorado Avalanche.

What's surprising about the absolutely Wild run?

Their team has only 17 goals scored in 7 games...the lowest among all division leaders in the NHL...but that isn't unexpected, as Jacques Lemaire's squad tends to focus more on the defensive side of things rather than potting goals in the other end despite having a guy like Marion Gaborik on their front (who is not doing so hot to start the year).

Lemaire and the fans can thank veteran 'tender Nicklas Backstrom for their league low 9 goals against to start the year; the 29-year old Finn has posted phenomenal numbers in his first season as the undisputed number one after the Wild parted ways with Manny Fernandez this summer with 4 of the team's 6 wins, a 1.38 average and a 0.945 SPCT% that are amongst the top 3 in each respective category.

And to add insult to injury for opposing teams, the Wild lead the league in home shutouts with 2 (both from Backstrom) to go along with 3 straight home wins and are the only team in the NHL that have yet to lose a game in regulation on home ice.
They tied the Detroit Red Wings for home victories in 2006-2007 with an astonishing 29.

The new guy in Minny, centre Eric Belanger, says the team has the city's fans to thank for their recent success at home:

"You have the Canadian cities that are pretty loud, but after that, this is top-five in the league for sure."

Belanger has clicked well with linemates Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brian Rolston, all are tied for the team lead in points.

But one can wonder how much longer the Wild can hold back Josh Harding from taking over as the number one goalie for the team after several succesful seasons in Houston and Minnesota.
Things are looking bright for Minnesota in goal, especially with Backstrom holding the fort with his bulletproof numbers and Josh Harding pressing for playing time with a convincing 37-save shutout effort against the defending Stanley Cup Champs Ducks in his season debut one week ago.

Petr Kalus, highly-touted scoring prospect acquired from the Bruins in the Manny Fernandez deal, did not make the club out of training camp and has been melting away with the team's minor-league club Aeros in the AHL.
Kalus has yet to show why the Bruins and then Wild were so hot about his scoring potential, after potting 4 goals in only 9 games with Boston last season.

But don't forget Minnesota's fast start to the previous campaign did not last, and one can only hope that it will for the sake of hockey and its great fans in Midwestern Minnesota.

No matter which way you look at it, the Wild seem poised for great only if Marion Gaborik would wake up and do what we think he could do best for a team that is goal-hungry in a city waiting for the rise from mediocrity too long.


20 October 2007

Bruins & Bad Boston Ice Bounce by Blueshirts as Slap Shots Strike Down Straka

BOSTON—Despite a much improved team effort, strong defensive play and another stellar performance by goaltender, Henrik Lundquist, the Rangers never got the bounce they needed (and deserved) while losing 1-0 in a shootout to the Boston Bruins.

Ordinarily the story of 1-0 shootout would be that neither goalie, Lundquist or Manny Fernandez, allowed a goal during regulation or overtime. Or perhaps it would be about the game-winning shootout goal scored by Bruins forward, Phil Kessel. However, this was no ordinary game—thanks to the maintenance crew at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Either the Garden maintenance crew never found out about the time change for today’s hockey game (from 7 pm to 4 pm) or they donated their services all day to the Boston Red Sox in preparation for night’s playoff game at Fenway Park.

Regardless of the reason, when the referee and players were ready for the drop of the puck at 4 pm, the Garden ice certainly was not. All game long (for both teams) the puck hopped, skipped, rolled and bounced over sticks, skates and everything else. In fact, during the waning seconds of regulation time, one bizarre ricochet off the boards went right through the Boston goal-mouth and nearly deflected off Fernandez into the net.

Icy gravel would have provided a better playing surface than that cold, chippy concoction of crap on which the Rangers and Bruins were forced to skate. The puck, which wouldn’t sit down or cooperate for anyone, acted like a stubborn, untrained dog who needed a good smack on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

To put this issue in its proper perspective, today’s ice in Boston was equal or worse than the most horrid ice conditions I’ve ever witnessed at Madison Square Garden. Given that I’ve been a Rangers fan since the early 1970’s, this is an indication of how outrageous and insulting it was to watch today’s game.

Adding injury to insult, Rangers forward, Martin Straka, received an unfortunate break after bravely blocking two blasts off the big stick of Bruins defenseman, Zdeno Chara. According to the Rangers team-owned (or NHL owned—depending on who wins the lawsuit) website, Straka broke a finger on his right hand.

This is especially bad news for a struggling Rangers team that is already playing without injured forwards, Sean Avery and Marcel Hossa, and who have scored a league low 13 goals.

Despite Straka’s injury, the Rangers outplayed Boston for most of the game. After holding the Bruins at bay through three first period Boston power plays, the Blueshirts outshot the Bruins 22 to 10 the rest of the way.

This game was certainly close enough that under normal ice conditions, it is very possible the Rangers might have lost anyway. On the other hand, the Rangers might have prevailed and picked up both very-needed points. It’s a shame that a fair outcome hit a bad patch of Boston ice and hopped out of everyone’s collective reach.

With the talent-laden Pittsburgh Penguins up next for the Rangers, it will take bounces and breaks of another kind to prevent the Blueshirts from falling three games under NHL .500 this early in the season.

Courtesy of The Hockey Humorist -

18 October 2007

Big Scoop Needed to Clean-Up Blueshirts' Bullshit After Blueland Blowout

ATLANTA—Bottom-feeding Atlanta was the latest team to “kick the crap” out of the Rangers … and boy did it stink!

Bolstered by boisterous Blueland* boosters, the Thrashers thoroughly throttled the Rangers throughout tonight’s tilt. The game’s final score of 5-3 was no indication of how one-sided it was for 50 minutes.

Although one could say that Rangers goaltender, Henrik Lundquist, was good enough to keep the Rangers in the game early, it is a moot point because the Rangers didn’t bother to show up for the game at all.

Before the Rangers finally exerted themselves midway through the third period, Atlanta had already built an insurmountable 4-0 lead on goals by Pascal Dupruis, Slava Koslov, Todd White and Bryan Little. Marian Hossa later added the fifth Thrasher goal.

Third period goals by Dan Girardi, Brendan Shanahan** and Scott Gomez would have given the Rangers a respectable result, if they hadn’t just lost to an Atlanta team who came into the game with a record of 0-6-0 and a league worst 4.50 goals against average.

In reality the Rangers play dropped another level, going from the gutter to the sewer.

In trying to direct blame at specific Ranger players, the human body unfortunately doesn’t have enough fingers (or toes) to accomplish the task. But one player who simply cannot escape my finger’s poke is Rangers defenseman, Thomas Pock.

Pock, perpetually posing as a practice pylon, proved to be the perfect replacement for much-maligned, Marek Malik. Although Pock had his share of giveaways (with at least one egregious offender), he probably didn’t quite match Malik’s nightly quota. This, however, was only because Pock was too busy watching Thrashers skate around him all night, while letting other Thrashers plant themselves in front of the net as goals were being scored.

Overall, Pock had a minus 2 rating for the evening and was on the ice for 3 of Atlanta’s 5 goals.

Even the three late Ranger power play goals weren’t much consolation for the Blueshirts special teams, because the Rangers managed to give up 2 power play goals and a short-handed goal themselves.

This chemistry experiment is quickly turning into a dismal failure, while mad professors, Tom Renney and Glen Sather, desperately continue their search for the missing combination of ingredients. Should they fail to find the winning formula, the Rangers laboratory will soon be boarded-up and declared a disaster area by New York governor, Eliot Spitzer.

*Blueland is the nickname for Atlanta’s home rink, Philips Arena.

Humorist’s Hindsight: **That was no misprint—Brendan Shanahan actually scored a goal. This just goes to show you that even an old, broken clock is right twice a day. Now should Shanny net another 25 or 30 goals this season, I will be happy to issue a public apology over my last post entitled: R.I.P.—Shanahan’s Scoring Succumbs to Old Age After 19+ Seasons.

Courtesy of The Hockey Humorist -

17 October 2007

R.I.P.—Shanahan’s Scoring Succumbs to Old Age After 19+ Seasons

NEW YORK—Brendan Shanahan’s goal scoring ability has died after more than 19 highly successful seasons in the NHL.

The attending statistician, Nomar Goles, pronounced Shanahan’s scoring “dead” after a final but futile effort to resuscitate it during the waning moments of the Rangers 3-1 defeat to Ottawa last Saturday.

“Mr. Shanahan’s goal scoring ability had been in a steady state of decline for nearly a year now,” said Goles.

In his final 38 regular season games of 2006-2007, Shanahan scored only 7 goals on 154 shots—a shooting percentage of 4.5%. In this season’s first 5 games, Shanahan has scored 0 goals on 32 shots, including a goalless 13 shot performance against Ottawa on his “goal scoring deathbed” last Saturday.

“At the end, his vital statistics showed no signs of life,” said Goles.

Goles was also quick to point out that Shanahan’s concussion from last year was not a contributing factor to his scoring demise. According to Goles, in the 29 games preceding the concussion Shanahan had only scored 6 goals on 116 shots—a shooting percentage of 5.2%.

“This was just a matter of age finally catching up to a great former goal scorer,” Goles said somberly.

Shanahan’s scoring is survived by 627 regular season NHL goals and 58 NHL playoff goals. No final arrangements have been announced.

Humorist’s Hindsight: I want to make it crystal clear that the obituary (above) was figuratively referring to the “goal scoring ability” of Brendan Shanahan. It was not in any way meant to be a literal obituary for the man, Shanahan, who is physically alive and healthy.

Furthermore, I admire Shanahan as a person and still in some ways as a player. He is not only a class act, but also a great leader in the locker room, a hard working player, and a formerly great goal scorer. I wish him a long, healthy and happy life after his playing days are over.

As a Rangers fan, however, I’m hoping that his playing days are over ASAP. As the statistics prove, his goal scoring ability (at least in the regular season) has virtually disappeared since December 9, 2006.

Also, since he has been on Broadway, Shanahan has showed no chemistry with Jagr, Prucha, Gomez, or Drury—thus ruining most lines on which he’s played. Because he also can’t score on the power play and nobody is scoring goals on defections or rebounds off his power play shot, he has no business being on either power play unit.

Shanahan’s outrageously inflated salary this season of $5.3 million is a cap crippling calamity, whose effects will be felt both this season and next. With a little luck, maybe Shanny has been talking with Chuck (Charles Schwab) about structuring a “Retirement Plan for Old Man Shanahan”. And if Shanahan is the team-first person that he claims to be, then he will implement that retirement plan before his bonus sets in, because that course of action is truly in the best interest of the team.

Courtesy of The Hockey Humorist -

16 October 2007

League Inconsistant with Flagrant Penalties

Lost in all the noise of the Avalanche bouncing back from a horrible loss to the Blues by beating Columbus 5-1, of Joe Sakic bagging a hat trick, of Peter Budaj and Pascal Leclaire putting on clinics at both ends of the ice, of Rick Nash displaying the skills of the rapidly disappearing power forward genre, was ANOTHER flagrant use of the stick. In the waning moments of the third period, with Colorado in control, the role-players and depth guys for the Avs were seeing increased ice-time, including some unlikely PP time for some. Columbus blueliner Duvie Westcott was dry-humping Avs forward Wyatt Smith to the left of Leclaire well behind the play when Scott "Captain Caveman" Parker skated over to do some policing as the refs were apparently enjoying the snuff film on ice. Before Parker has time to utter any catchy one-liners he gets cross-checked in the face by Westcott. Parker was bloodied by the cheap shot, but didn't go down. He then proceeded to have an Incredible Hulk-like rage-fest. Thankfully, all-around good guy and humanitarian Ian Laperriere stepped in to prevent Parker from ending Westcott.

Westcott got 2 plus 10, Parker got 2 for apparently bleeding too much. Now, I know that it was a preventive measure to keep things from getting out of hand, and I commend the refs. A few seconds later, Columbus "tough-guy" Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (6'-2", 211 lbs) decides that with Parker off the ice he has free reign to prove his manhood. He takes a run at, and then attempts to rough up, Jaroslav Hlinka (5'-10, 185 lbs). Hlinka has great hands, but I doubt they've ever been balled up in fists in his entire life. The play further enraged Parker who had to be restrained again by teammates to prevent him from leaving the box. Tollefsen and Parker both get the gate in order to avoid incident, and the game ends shortly thereafter.

Now, anybody reading the NHL propaganda would believe that they want to protect players and keep these kind of flagrant cross-checks and stick-work out of the game, right? I mean, didn't' they just hand down lengthy suspensions for Downie and Boulerice? Therefore, a lengthy suspension for Westcott would be forthcoming, right? Wrong. No discussion immediately after the game or in the ensuing three days has indicated any meaningful penalty for Westcott's dangerous act. Instead, he gets the proverbial wrist-slap of a $1000 US fine. That'll teach him!

I have several problems with this, and none of them stem from my unabashed man-love for the Avs.

  • The league has effectively taken the stand that Parker is not as important as Dean McAmmond or Ryan Kessler, who also were victims of vicious cross-checks and dangerous blows to the head this season. As I've noted elsewhere, conspiracy theorists will point to this as another example of the NHL attempting to weed-out enforcers and tough-guys.

  • Since the only difference between the Kessler, McAmmond, and Parker hits was that Parker didn't go down in a heap on the ice due to the hit, whether the league meant to or not, they are implying that suspensions will only be handed out if damage is done. This inadvertently encourages diving in my opinion. Following the old Gordan Bombay tactic of "Take the hit, act hurt, get indignant." Not a good direction for the league.

  • The Avalanche broadcasters were reveling in the look of bat-crap crazy rage that Parker had following the incident. They were talking about Parker "taking notes" for the next game against Columbus. Having been on the receiving end of misplaced "revenge" just a few years ago with the Bertuzzi-Moore incident, I expected them to be better than that.

  • Tollefsen is leading the running for "Wuss-of-the-Year" for backing down from a fight with Parker earlier in the period and then showing his manhood against Hlinka. Tollefsen if first-class all the way...

  • I foresee lengthy suspensions for somebody following what will likely be ugly incidents that occur in the next Avs-BJ's tilt. Proper league action to address the first incident (the Westcott cross-check) would have prevented that, but the NHL has again missed the boat. This will INVARIABLY lead to more of the stellar, unbiased press coverage from the media that the league seems to not be able to keep away from.

  • To the best of my knowledge, Westcott has not sent a thank-you note to Lappy thanking him for saving his life. You figure a nice Hallmark at the least since Duvie would have likely required a closed casket if Lappy hadn't stepped in. How rude...

All-in-all, the lack of any cohesive disciplinary action by the NHL has again shown the league office's inconsistent application of the rules of the league. Don't they understand that the ACTION should warrant punishment just as much as, if not more than, the result? That is the only way that stuff like this will be weeded out of the game.

15 October 2007

Spacek Emerging from Numminen's Shadow

Jaro Spacek has started hot. He has three goals to start the season and has looked every bit the player the Sabres thought they were getting when they signed him as a free agent last year. The question is, why now?

I believe it is the simple fact that he is finally being allowed to play the role he was brought to Buffalo to fill. Lindy Ruff is a great coach, but even great coaches have their unique ways of doing things. One of Lindy's trademarks is leaning on his veterans and being generally uncomfortable with newcomers. Last year when Spacek struggled a bit early it seemed that Ruff quickly turned the page and went to his security blanket that was Teppo. Furthermore, the power play last year was dominated by shooters and the puck movement wasn't always crisp. Spacek, who is more of a shooter than a distributor seemed out of synch from the start. Unable to fill the role of PP QB he was a forgotten man on the unit by mid-season.

It is no coincidence that the powerplay is far better with Tim Connolly manning the left side halfwall. Teams genuinely fear Connolly's abilities. Though Briere and Drury are fine players neither is Connolly's equal on the power play when it comes to quarterbacking the play and distributing the puck. His reemergence has allowed Spacek and Brian Campbell to return to the roles of point man blasters that they both thrived in two seasons ago. Another bonus is the willingness of Thomas Vanek and Paul Gaustad to park in front of the net. Neither Drury or Briere seemed particularly comfortable in or were built for that area.

I expect you will continue to see Spacek thrive in his enhanced role and with the larger ice time. He is a horse and hopefully will add a larger physical presence defensively as well.

News and Notes:

- Sorry for the lag in posting. for some reason I cannot access the site at certain times of the day and that along with extended trips to Chicago and Atlanta have hampered me.

- Rumours abound that the Sabres may sign C Randy Robitaille. RDS is reporting that it is between Buffalo and Ottawa for the former Islander. It would seem he would be looked at to fill the 3rd or 4th center role in Buffalo if he signs.

- Jocelyn Thibault has yet to play for the Sabres. I expect he will get a start during one of the midweek games coming up.

14 October 2007

Combustible Chemistry Causes Rangers to Self-In-Sen-erate in 52 Seconds

NEW YORK — In one of the oddest reported occurrences of spontaneous human combustion, 19* men simultaneously blew up in front of over 18,000 horrified witnesses.

Although the entire explosive event took less than a minute, one scientist, who happened to be on hand, had a handle on how it happened.

“Whenever you combine very potent and efficient Canadian firepower with MSG ice, sloppy defensive play and too many new player combinations, there is always a small chance of having this kind of freakish result,” said Korean chemical engineer, Yu B. Sik.

Fortunately, since the fireworks finished so fast, the fire department never had to be called. Although Ranger head coach, Tom Renney, was unavailable for comment, Brendan Shanahan took “a shot” at giving the players’ explanation for the Manhattan Meltdown. Unfortunately, like all of his other shots this year, Shanahan was off target with his comments—missing the microphone by a good two feet.

Amazingly, despite the horrific happenstance, all 19* players survived and are expected to be in the lineup Thursday against Atlanta.

*I gave backup goalie, Stephen Valiquette, an exemption because he didn’t play. However, this is only an honorary exemption, because had Valiquette been in net, things might have gotten worse yet.

Humorist’s Hindsight: Let’s face it. Even if the Rangers hadn’t self-imploded by giving up 3 goals in that minute of misery, they had no chance against the vastly superior Senators. Ottawa was so clearly the better team in every phase of the game. This includes being bigger, faster, more skilled, quicker to the puck, more physical, having a better transition game, etc.

At this point Ottawa is like a well-oiled, fine-tuned industrial machine, while the Rangers are like a rich kid’s rendition of an out-of-sync gadget thrown together for a science class project. It seems hard to believe that in the next 6 months the Rangers are going to be able to catch up with their Canadian counterparts.

It also doesn’t help that the Rangers have next to nothing left in the salary cap kitty (sorry tdr) with which to purchase any meaningful machine parts before the trade deadline.

At the moment, I can only think of 2 funny aspects to the Rangers slow start to the season:

1) That anyone could have seriously believed the Rangers were Stanley Cup contenders, given that they will almost certainly have to get past Ottawa in the playoffs, and

2) That Glen Sather shelled out over $5 million to Brendan Shanahan this season, believing that he was still a formidable goal scorer—despite all the contrary evidence over Shanahan’s last 38 regular season games of 2006-2007. Details of Shanahan's "sinking ship of a scoring shot" from last season are found in the middle of this August 3rd article.

With 5 more goalless games to start this season, Shanny’s Fanny is going to get an “old” fashioned, verbal butt kicking by the Hockey Humorist in posts that will appear sometime before Thursday’s game in Atlanta.

Courtesy of The Hockey Humorist -

Goaltending woes around the NHL two weeks into the 2007-2008 season...

Often, even if your team has ammassed the cream of the crop of superstars on their roster, it may not be enough to win in a new and tough NHL era.

It might be really early, and I know you cannot blame a goalie for how he performs on most nights, but let's take a look at how some goalies are faring around the league almost 2 weeks into the new campaign.


The Atlanta Thrashers have learned this the hard way, only 5 games into the season their goaltending monster of Kari Lehtonen and Johan Hedberg have combined for a total of 23 goals against and subsequently a zero in the wins column and 5 losses despite Ilya Kovalchuk putting up his usual spectacular goal-scoring fiesta night-in and night-out.

In Toronto, the Maple Leafs and their fans have had to endure the shaky start of new acquisition Vesa Toskala in the blue and white.
The prized pickup of Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. this offseason from down in Sunny San Jose currently leads all goaltenders with 18 goals allowed in only 4 games, complimented by a 4.48 GAA and a paltry .878 SPCT%.

It's the same old story down in Tampa Bay, as the curse of Nikolai Khabibulin lives on.
With 3 wins so far this year, the Lightning have all the offence they need with Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards to compensate for their lack of a solid starter between the pipes.
The Lightning lost a game last night 6-4 to their counterpart Florida Panthers and you could argue that TB's goaltending is back to its old habits again.
After three strong consecutive performances by Johan Holmqvist in the team's first 3 wins; the Swedish sophomore let 4 goals on 15 shots go right through his body against the Panthers yesterday evening with all of them being considered in your blogger's eyes quite soft.
He was replaced by Marc Denis, originally sought for the starting role 2 summers ago (but that didn't work out either) and nothing out of the ordinary or remotely solid came of him in his 7 shot stint besides one weak goal that killed the momentum Tampa Bay had going after scoring four unanswered goals on Tomas Vokoun that period.

Manny Fernandez was supposed to be the answer for the Boston Bruins in goal, but Tim Thomas is showing why he should be the number one for the B's.
Two ordinary outings and 10 goals against have people wondering if Fernandez can get back to his previous form from 2 seasons ago with the Wild, the same season which he stole the starter's job from Dwayne Roloson.
Until he decides to play like his salary dictates, the Bruins have all the time in the world to watch Tim Thomas shine for them.
A 1.48 goals against average and a .957 SPCT% puts Thomas in the top 3 in each of those categories to start the season; and I see no reason why Fernandez and his 5.00 GAA should park their butts in Boston's crease as long as the Bear is playing like a superstar.
Jonathan Bernier had fans salivating after a stunning game against the defending Stanley Cup Champs on Opening Night in the United Kingdom, but the hype has calmed down ever since.
2 games and 11 goals later, the former first round draft choice Bernier is on the bench again and could end up in Manchester pretty soon.
Jason LaBarbera hasn't been any better the rookie Bernier with no wins and a .827 SPCT% to get his NHL career back on track.
Marc-Andre Fleury, Chris Mason, Miikka Kiprusoff, Martin Brodeur, Robert Luongo and Ryan Miller all need to be better if their teams have a chance at success this year.

Olaf Kolzig, Cam Ward, Nikolai Khabibulin, Manny Legace, Martin Biron and Cristobal Huet are carrying their teams with solid performances night-in and night-out.

Yours truly is a goaltender as well, and is only giving his two cents on this subject...things can change, it's only a few games, but here's how it's looking so far...


© 2007 Bleu, Blanc et Rouge.

All Rights Reserved. The content of this blog is the sole opinion of these bloggers and does not represent an opinion of any kind of a professional NHL hockey team mentioned.