August 31, 2008

New Retro Jersey's Revealed in NHL 09 Intro

If you downloaded the NHL 09 demo for Playstation 3, you may have missed the following vintage jerseys that were shown in the game intro.

To see the game intro, once you reach the "PRESS START BUTTON" main screen, hold off on moving forward and wait until the video is shown. The jerseys go by pretty fast, so keep a keen eye out.

You can see the video in its entirety here:







































































































So we've got the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, Minnesota North Stars, California Golden Seals, and Los Angeles Kings with vintage jerseys in NHL 09.

August 29, 2008

NHL Network Convinced Patrick Roy is Czech



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Fantasy Hockey Pre-Draft Rankings: Top 10 Centers

As fantasy hockey season nears it is time to get one's draft plan in order. In an effort to help you all out with that, I will be breaking down the top 10 players at each position over the next few weeks. We will start today with the Center position. I will be ranking my top 10 centers for the coming fantasy season here. Each player's stats from the 2007-08 season are in parenthesis (GP-G-A-PTS-PIM).
  1. Sidney Crosby (53-24-48-72-39) Sid may no longer be "The Kid", but he is still arguably the best player in the NHL and should lead the league in scoring if he stays healthy. He will likely have the most talented wingers in his career this season (for the duration of an entire season) and his continued development and desire to win should put him at the top of the class for NHL centers.
  2. Vincent Lecavalier (81-40-52-92-89) I think Vinny is going to have a big year this season. Lecavalier is going to have plenty of offensive talent around him and the Lightning are going to have to try and put up a lot of goals every night to give their lackluster defense a fighting chance. Plus, if we learned anything from new Head Coach Barry Melrose's time in Los Angeles it is that he likes to give his stars special treatment, which should lead to plenty of offensive opportunities for Lecavalier.
  3. Evgeni Malkin (82-47-59-106-78) There is still an air of uncertainty surrounding Evgeni Malkin, and that is why he is "only" number three on this list. If I thought Geno was going to play most of the season at the level he played while Crosby was out last season then he may have been at the top of this list. As it is, I'm just not sure what to expect from Geno this year. He could end up with anywhere from 80 to 130 points this season and it would not really shock me.
  4. Jason Spezza (76-34-58-92-66) Looking past some of his post-season shortcomings (which do not apply here at all) makes ranking Spezza a lot easier. He has developed a rep as being injury prone which will probably cause him to slide a little in most drafts. At the end of the day though Spezza is one of the best young players in the NHL and centers arguably the best line in hockey. As long as he can keep his Games Missed total to single-digits Spezza is a nice addition to any fantasy roster and is worthy of an early second-round pick for anyone who didn't nab Crosby in the first round.
  5. Joe Thornton (82-29-67-96-59) You do not hear a lot about Joe Thornton these days, but he is still one of the best in the business and can be a cornerstone to a winning fantasy roster. Thornton will not be much help in the goal column, but he is money in all other categories and could easily be slotted ahead of Spezza on this list.
  6. Pavel Datsyuk (82-31-66-97-20) Datsyuk is another guy who compares quite favorably to Spezza and Thornton and is really the last World Class center on this list. The only real knock on Datsyuk is that he won't give you much in the way of PIMs, but his awesome +/- will go a long way towards balancing that out. The only question mark here is if the Wings will suffer a Stanley Cup hangover.
  7. Eric Staal (82-38-44-82-50) The next four guys are pretty close together in terms of production. Eric Staal gets the edge for a couple reasons. First, he is the biggest goal scoring threat of the four, and when push comes to shove goals are more valuable than assists, especially at the center position. The second big factor to me is that the Southeast Division looks to be built on offense this season. There should be a lot of high scoring games between all the Southeast rivals in 08-09 and that can only help the fantasy value of a guy like Staal.
  8. Ryan Getzlaf (77-24-58-82-94) Ryan Getzlaf may be the most well-rounded player on this list from a fantasy point of view. Of the ten players listed here it is no stretch to think that he could end up with the most PIM and the highest +/- by season's end. Things like that have to figure into your decision making process when trying to evaluate players who look to hold similar value at first glance. The Ducks may struggle as a team to find offense again this season, but Getzlaf should not be a victim of that.
  9. Mike Richards (73-28-47-75-76) Mike Richards has turned into the player the Flyers thought they were getting when they signed Daniel Briere and then some. Many people expect Richards to assume the captaincy in Philly this season, but he doesn't come across as the kind of guy who would let that impact his production in a negative way. Of the bottom five guys on this list, Richards may be the one with the biggest chance of cracking the top five by the end of the year. He definitely has 100-point potential.
  10. Derek Roy (78-32-49-81-46) Derek Roy was quietly one of hockey's hottest scorers over the second half of last season. While the Sabres still appear to be in rebuilding mode, Roy could prove to be a very valuable asset to fantasy owners and would be a nice addition to any player looking to pick up a center in the third or fourth round of their draft.
On a somewhat related note, I have a new post up at my usual home Taking One For The Team where I am looking for anyone who is interested in participating in my fantasy hockey league(s) and/or for people who want to be on my NHL 09 EASHL team. If either of those things interest you then you can get more info here. 'Til next time...

Chris Yarbrough the GFH Fantasy Guru for the 2008-09 season. You can read more from Chris on his own blogs, Taking One for the Team and The Flower Shop.

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This Week at Yahoo!

Akim Aliu signs with Chicago; Steve Downie better watch his back

My 5 ways I'd change the NHL



August 28, 2008

Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey Delayed Until Early September

For weeks, hockey fans have been logging on to Yahoo!'s fantasy hockey page only to be greeted by this message:

The 2008-09 Fantasy Hockey season starts soon. Join us in late-August
when registration begins.

This past Tuesday morning, it appeared that registration had opened. I logged on and was able to create four different fantasy leagues and send out invites to interested participants.

Then I get to work and find that the 2008 registration page is down and replaced with the 07 page showing the same message as before. Those who had received invites were unable to register for their 2008 leagues once Yahoo! took everything down.

I decided to email Yahoo! for an explanation received this email "explanation":

Hello,

Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Sports.

I apologize for any issues you've experienced after creating your
Fantasy Hockey League.

Regretfully, registration was opened early for about 6 hours on Tuesday
morning. It appears you were able to create a league prior to
registration being closed again. Therefore, managers cannot join your
group until registration opens again.

Please note, your league will be kept intact and won't be deleted prior
to registration opening.

We're also working on adding more players to the player pool. All
relevant NHL players will be added to the game prior to registration.

Registration is scheduled to open early September.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Sports.

Regards,

Morris

Yahoo! Customer Care

Notice the message said registration is now "early September". The website now reflects that change. No explanation for why things opened up and then were quickly shutdown.

Unfortunately for us puckheads dying to get our leagues and drafts going, we're going to have to wait a few more days for our fantasy fix.

UPDATE: From what I'm hearing, Yahoo! was missing a lot of players as part of their list and the earlier reported "live draft" date wasn't until September 8th. Looks like they're working out the bugs.

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Fantasy Hockey Live Chat Tonight!

Be sure to stop back tonight at 10pm ET as we kick off fantasy hockey season with a livechat.

Chris Yarbrough from Taking One for the Team and new GFH fantasy correspondent, will be taking your questions as we delve into the wonderful world of fantasy hockey.




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NHL 09 Demo Releases Penguins/Red Wings Overall Ratings

This afternoon, EA Sports released the demo of NHL 09 on the European Playstation Network, only available for PS3 users. It will hit the North American PSN around 5pm ET. From what I hear, it's sick.

Thanks to poster C-B-4 (PS3) over at the EA Sports NHL 09 message boards for listing the overall numbers for the Penguins and Red Wings.

DETROIT RED WINGS:
Lidstrom:92
Datsyuk:91
Hossa:91
Zetterberg: 89
Holmstrom:83
Rafalski: 83
Chelios:83
Draper: 82
Hudler:81
Maltby:80
Stuart: 79
Cleary: 77
Samuelsson: 77
Flippula:77
Kronwall:77
Franzen:74
Kopecky:73

Osgood:82
Conklin:75

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Crosby:96
Malkin:90
Sykora:86
Gonchar:86
Staal:84
Whitney: 82
Orpik:80
Letang:80
Sydor:79
Satan: 79
Fedetenko: 79
Gill:78
Cooke:77
Kennedy:76
Talbot:76
Dupuis:75
Godard:72
Beech: 69

Fleury: 86
Sabourin:70


UPDATE: Here's some video. Grainy video, but video nonetheless.



UPDATE #2: Downloaded the demo and played it about six times. Some impressions:

-Game is slower than 08, but very smooth

-Poke checks are more direct

-Goalies make acrobatic saves

-Be a Pro mode is very, very addicting

-The dump and chase move will be very handy

-While checking out the crowd, I noticed two "fans" wearing the old black and white Penguin jerseys from the early 90's

-Here's another "fan" wearing the Pens Winter Classic baby blue jersey.

Photobucket

So the question remains: Will the upcoming third jerseys be in the initial shipment with or without a code? Or will they be part of a roster update?

UPDATE #3: EA Sports NHL 09 producer David Littman has said that the ratings are not finalized yet. "Player ratings were not final either...Johan Franzen is an 80 overall in the final version."

August 27, 2008

McFarlane's Using Toskala Blooper for Figure Pose?

The McFarlane's Sports Picks series 20 has an interesting figure in the collection. Maple Leafs goaltender Vesa Toskala is included and I couldn't help but do a double take when I saw his pose.

Could the McFarlane's people have taken the pose from this memorable blunder from last season?


OK, so it's not entirely perfect, but it'd be fun to think so? The series 20 collection comes out in November.


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August 26, 2008

Someone Told Cliff Fletcher He's GM of the Maple Leafs

Photobucket

or someone might want to check his pulse...

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Mexican Hockey Player Does His Best Mike Legg Impression

Here's video from the 2005 IIHF World Championships in Mexico City where Mexican player Cristopher Kelo performs the lacrosse-style move to perfection.

Don't let the crowd doing the wave distract you.



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Fantasy Hockey Team Name Suggestions

It's fantasy hockey season time and well, it's time to pick some team names. It seems as if I'm going to have around 6-8 teams this year (I know, I have issues) and with that I'll need to come up with some witty hockey-related team names.

In the past I've used "MalkinTents", "Inflatable Soulmates", "Le Manifiques", "Huggy Bears", and the "Mighty Fcuk's" amongst others.

Some of the suggestions I received on Facebook today: "Don't Toews Me Bro", "The Troy Loneys", and "Hobo Dick Cheese".

I don't have any in mind yet as I've yet to begin thinking about it, but what are some of the best fantasy hockey team names you can think of or have seen in the past?

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August 25, 2008

Fantasy Hockey Live Chat Thursday Night

As you probably know by now, Chris Yarbrough from Taking One For the Team will be the fantasy hockey guru this season at GFH. He'll have weekly posts with hints and tips to make your fantasy hockey team a champion.

He kicked things off this past Wednesday with some rules to have a successful draft, which is a must read before your league starts.

This Thursday night at 10pm ET, we'll have a live fantasy hockey chat with Chris and be taking your questions. Be sure to join us as fantasy hockey leagues start opening up soon.

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Monday Morning Required Reading

I, too, am ready for hockey to begin and a bonus video of NES Ice Hockey! (Scarlett Ice)

The Wayne Gretzky Sucks Photoshop Expo (ThePensBlog)

She may be a Flyers fan, but worthy causes are nothing to boo. (Flyers Femme)

Fighting pays. (Fanhouse)

Eric Duhatschek on the Stefan Legein saga. (Globe and Mail)

Six reasons why Mario is better than Wayne. (Experience the Evolution)

Chris Chelios wants to return to Chicago in some capacity. (Behind the Jersey)

An interview with Puck Daddy. (Scotty Wazz)

Allan Muir is confused. (Blueland Blog)

New Isles coach Scott Gordon looks happy to be tending goal with no mask on. (Islanders Army)

The greatest photos in hockey history countdown continues. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

A review of the NHL2K9 demo. (Far Away Leaf)

Alyssa Milano wants you to buy her clothing. (Hockey, Football, and Stiletto Shoes)

NHL jersey's need to be more colorful. Less black please. (Jibblescribbits)

Hockey and heavy metal go together like lamb and tuna fish. (NHL.com)

Some YouTube videos to keep you busy. (NHL Arena Program)

Pre-season rankings are always fun. (USA Today)

Russian gameshows are beginning to give Japanese ones a run for their money. (Japer's Rink)

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August 24, 2008

5 Ways I'd Change the NHL...That Won't Happen

Throughout the month of August over at Puck Daddy, we've been having mainstream media personalities, current and former NHL players, and various hockey bloggers laying out their "5 Ways" they'd change the NHL. It's been a wildly successful idea from the always thinking brain of my partner Greg Wyshynski. The posts have encouraged discussion, brought interesting ideas to light, and even started a blood feud between a MSM writer and a team owner.

Reading all of these posts has been fun, and obviously, some ideas are out there and really meant as tongue in cheek. There are some though, that people seem to keep harping on consistently, but aren't realizing that they will never come to fruition.

Here's my "5 Ways" that will never happen.

Contraction. Wyshynski said it best during a Rumors Chat a few weeks ago (and I'm paraphrasing here): "good businesses don't contract, they expand". This is very true with the National Hockey League. Just getting the rights to an expansion team will cost you $300 million that will go right to the NHL. Why would Gary Bettman and company want to pass that up? Florida, Phoenix, and Nashville may not be the most stable of franchises in a long-term sense, but it would be better for the Board of Governors to have those teams relocate to a better market (namely Las Vegas, Kansas City...Canada?) where they'll be able to generate a profit.

Fire Gary Bettman. Sure, the fans hate him and the players aren't too keen on him either, but the bottom line is he's made the owners (his bosses) lots and lots of money since he began his tenure in 1993. Bettman's contract keeps getting renewed so obviously, he's done enough to keep the BOG plenty happy.

Reducing the schedule. You mean the owners will agree to losing several games worth of revenue? Not a bloody chance. The Rangers will need all the home games they can get to pay Wade Redden his $6.5 million salary. I understand the complaints about the schedule being too much for players and the season lasting so long. I think it's just a matter of tweaking. The 2008-09 season starts the weekend of October 4th with the Premiere Games, but the rest of the league doesn't drop the puck until the following Thursday on October 9th. Why the four days in-between games? Start them all on Tuesday and don't give teams more than two days off in a row (depending on travel scheduling) and we won't have the regular season ending all the way on April 12th. Shortening the schedule also increases the length of the off-season and will basically drive us all insane by early August.

Bringing back the old division names. I'll give you a little tease, this one is on my "5 Ways", but sadly, I don't see it ever happening. Despite the fact that the NHL would have to create two more division names to go with the Patrick, Adams, Norris, and Smythe, Gary Bettman brought the NBA's regionalize and geographically stable conference formats over in 1993.

Affordable ticket/concession/merchandise prices. It's the simple rule of supply and demand. If you keep coming to the games and throwing down your hard earned cash, no matter what the price, well, then why are the owners going to make themselves lose money that's already going into their pocket? The people who complain about $8 beers are the ones buying them every time they're in the arena. You don't have to have a beer (or seven) every time you go to a game. If you feel you do, then stop bitching about the price and pony up. Disgusted at insane ticket prices and parking charges? Then fire up the Center Ice package. The fans are more powerful than they think.

My "5 Ways" is still to come over at Puck Daddy, so be sure to keep an eye out for what I think should change in the NHL.

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August 23, 2008

Ryan Whitney's "Knee" Problem and Other Predictions

From Mike Toth at Sportsnet.ca

8. With all the garbage I've been eating this summer, I shouldn't be trusting my gut. But something tells me the Pittsburgh Penguins are headed for a huge fall. The darlings of the NHL last year when they gave Detroit all it could handle in the Cup final, the Pens go into the new season missing some key pieces to the puzzle. Marian Hossa and Ryan Malone are gone and key defenceman Ryan Whitney will miss the first three to five months with a knee problem. To make up for their missing offence, the Penguins are counting on getting some big minutes and big goals out of the mercurial Miroslav Satan, who lit the lamp just 15 times for the Islanders last season. Sure, the Penguins still boast the one-two punch of Crosby and Malkin. However, Tampa Bay finished in the cellar last year despite sending Lecavalier and St. Louis over the boards every night. Prediction? Coach Michel Therrien doesn't last the season and the Penguins shock the NHL by struggling just to make the playoffs.
A couple of things:

1) This guy loses me as soon as he says Ryan Whitney has a "knee problem". It's his foot Mike, his foot.

2) He compares the 08-09 Penguins to the 07-08 Tampa Bay Lightning. See, here's the thing Mike, Tampa had the following goaltenders trying to stop the puck last season: Karri Ramo, Marc Denis, Johan Holmqvist, and Mike Smith. I think it's safe to say Marc-Andre Fleury is better than those four...combined.

3) Finally, his prediction is just senseless. Michel Therrien won't last the season? He just signed a new three-year contract in July. Unless the Pens lose their first 20 games or Lou Lamoriello takes over as general manager, Therrien isn't going anywhere. I agree with him the Penguins will struggle this season, but to me, it'll only be at the beginning when they are still recovering from their trip to Stockholm. What teams in the Eastern Conference bettered themselves in the off-season that didn't make the playoffs last year? I think only Carolina and Tampa Bay have the best shot of all the non-playoff teams from 07-08. And as for the teams that did make the playoffs? New Jersey and Ottawa are ready for a slip.

October can't get here soon enough.

UPDATE: How could I forget the fact that the Pens were one of the best teams last season all the while missing Crosby and Fleury as well as not even adding Marian Hossa until the trade deadline.

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August 22, 2008

Vacations Always End Too Soon...

Back to reality...

To think, less than twenty-four hours ago I was drinking rum for breakfast while protecting my Irish tan under the safety of a little poolside hut. Now, I'm home, far, far away from any delicious rum-based beverages and a fifteen feet distance between myself and a bar at any given time.

First, I've got to thank everyone who filled in for me this week and contributed some great posts. Thanks to Kevin Schultz, Reasonable Doubt, Scotty Wazz, BD Gallof, Chris Yarbrough, Julie Robenhymer, Joe Pelletier, ThePensBlog, and Greg Wyshynski.

I hope you especially enjoyed Chris Yarbrough's first fantasy hockey column for GFH. He'll be doing a regular fantasy hockey post here throughout the season. We'll also be hosting a livechat session sometime this week, so keep an eye out for that.

Speaking of fantasy hockey, the registration for the Yahoo! leagues is CLOSED. The total count of interested participants closed at 76! Geez, you folks love yourself some fantasy hockey. There'll obviously be several leagues, so once Yahoo! opens up registration next week, I'll send out the invites and get the ball rolling.

I'm still unpacking, so regular posting should resume shortly.


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Who the Hell Autographed This St. Louis Blues Jersey?

Sean is on a much-needed vacation at the moment in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. In his place are a bevy of all-star bloggers from around the Internets.

Today, Greg Wyshynski from Yahoo! Sports Puck Daddy blog will be your kind host.


Why do I get a Friday at the end of August? Seriously, this is like NBC debuting a comedy at 9:30 on a Saturday night. I feel like the “Inside Schwartz” of guest hockey bloggers. Leahy, you are teh suck.

Since I’ve been charged with filling space while Sean staggers around in a haze of rum while picking sand out of the most uncomfortable of places (like in the back of a Volkswagen), I decided to use this post to help solve my own personal conundrum.

I have a rather small collection of hockey jerseys in my closet: Four Devils sweaters (including a red-and-green one that I’m pretty sure my father made with electrical tape), a Predators, a Finnish national team, a Gretzky-era Kings, a Canadiens Roy jersey and a Nash Blue Jackets jersey (because he’s a cool dude). But I also have a white replica St. Louis Blues jersey that I snagged off of eBay.



That smudge you see is this autograph, which the seller mentioned in his pitch.



I’ve worn the jersey on many occasions. I have no fracking clue who signed it.

A first glance makes me think it could be Craig Janney. But that last name doesn’t look like it begins with a “J.” Cliff Ronning? It doesn’t look like an “R” either. In my dreams I want to believe it’s Chris Pronger, but the jersey has a little age on it and I’m not convinced. The name the autograph most resembles is Corey Perry, but that’s impossible.

What has me worried is this: When I was a young lad, I took a baseball glove to a Mets/Reds game. I was getting as many autographs as I could from the Cincinnati players, because we were on their side of the diamond. I had autographs from John Franco and a few other familiar names. When I took the glove home, there was a name I couldn’t make out. And then I flashed back to the autograph scrum and realized who it was: The damn batboy for the Reds reached up and starting signing stuff. What a dick.

So this could be Craig Janney or Cliff Ronning or Chris Pronger or Corey Perry or a stick-boy. Any help?

Happy weekend, everyone. Hope you get some muscle from behind.


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August 21, 2008

Daniel Briere Has Girl Parts

Sean is on a much-needed vacation at the moment in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. In his place are a bevy of all-star bloggers from around the Internets.

Today, the Pensblog will be your kind host.


Over at the Pensblog if there is one thing that we love it’s saying Daniel Breire has girl parts. But we’re also pretty fond of other people doing our work for us.

Which is why you’ve gotta respect the racket Sean’s got going on over here this week. It’s also why you might have noticed a user submitted photoshop or two over there at the Pensblog.

It’s the summer. Nothing’s happening. We’re not going to give day to day updates on Mats Sundin because we are almost positive that no one outside of Mats immediate family actually cares. We know we don’t.

So what better way to mail it in through the summer months than a photoshop contest. Wyshynski knows what we’re talking about. [ Puck Daddy ]

Targets are easy enough. They pretty much do the work for you.

[ Jason C ]

If there is anyone in hockey that is asking to be poorly placed in a picture of a crazy former pop icon damn near dropping an infant off a balcony, it’s Wayne Gretzky.

We don’t know if it was somewhere in the small print in the Terms and Conditions on the last page of the Sega NHL 94 manual, but for some reason everyone feels obligated to give the guy a free pass on everything.


[ Randy R]

Well, sorry, but we just decided something. We won’t call anyone “the great one” when they don’t hit 40 wins for 3 straight seasons. The Coyotes have about the same chances of seeing the postseason as Ashton Kutchers got seeing the words “Academy Award” in his biography. And for some reason no one wants to call him on it.


[ Chris C ]

Are we going overboard here? That is just coaching. And when he had skates on Gretzky did beat a lot of goaltenders.

But wait a tick, so did Lemieux.

And then he beat cancer.
Game.


[ Jason S ]

[ Claire G ]

[ Jeff S ]

[ BlackandGold66 ]

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