November 30, 2008

Puttin' On the Foil - A Weekly NHL Recap 11/30

MONOLOGUE
Unfortunately, now that the worst kept secret in the National Hockey League is finally out, the news around Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs won't end anytime soon. With the Leafs in a semi-rebuilding phase, every one of Burke's moves after the new year will be scrutinized by the media with the hope that he can work his magic to turn the franchise around.

For Burke to make his mark on the team, he'll have to make plenty of deals as Toronto has only three unrestricted (Antropov, Moore, Joseph) and three restricted (Grabovski, Hollweg, Deveaux) free agents next summer. Important decisions will need to made to address the salary situations of Jason Blake and Pavel Kubina.

The NHL holiday trade freeze kicks in on December 19, meaning rosters are frozen until the 27th. Burke has his own freeze beginning on December 9 as he feels players should spend the holiday's with family, unless they request to be moved. This means between today and the 27th, Burke will have twelve games to assess what he has within his new team and to move forward in molding the Leafs back into a playoff team.

You can be sure the Toronto media will begin the speculation as soon as possible.

WEEK THAT WAS
Does the league have a sunny forecast or a dim future? You decide.

Former pest Claude Lemieux signed a tryout contract with the San Jose Sharks.

Bep Guidolin, the youngest player to ever play in the NHL at age 16, passed away this week.

Look for more games between NHL and European clubs.

Former agent David Frost was acquitted of sexual exploitation charges this week in Canada.

Sidney Crosby won't be following LeBron James to New York when he becomes a free agent. In other news, Sports Illustrated had nothing else to report on Friday.

EXCELLENT ELEVEN POWER RANKINGS
11. Philadelphia Flyers
10. Anaheim Ducks
9. Washington Capitals
8. Minnesota Wild
7. Vancouver Canucks
6. Montreal Canadiens
5. Pittsburgh Penguins
4. New York Rangers
3. Detroit Red Wings
2. Boston Bruins
1. San Jose Sharks

LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE
This week's Coach's Corner with Don Cherry.


The Oshawa Generals retiring Bobby Orr's #2.


Mikko Koivu's lovely game winner..


PLAYER OF THE WEEK (11/23 - 11/29)
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
3GP, 6 G, 3 A, 9 PTS, +8
"What's so special about Sidney Crosby?"

GAME OF THE WEEK
Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks 11/27
The first of a home and home didn't disappoint. Led by Michael Cammalleri's hat-trick, the Flames eeked out a 4-3 victory thanks to a Curtis Glencross' game winner with 6:31 remaining in the third period. Miikka Kiprusoff and Curtis Sanford stood on their heads, but two third period goals by Calgary were too much for Vancouver.

Highlights:


UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Thursday, December 4, 7 p.m. ET
New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens continue to celebrate their 100th year centennial with an "Original Six" matchup and interconference rivals from New York. Everyone remembers the amazing five-goal comeback the Habs pulled on the Rangers last season. Hopefully this time around we see a true goaltenders duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price.

GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
Sidney Crosby's second career hat-trick.



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November 29, 2008

Fedor Tyutin Scores on Chris Osgood from Center Ice



I don't see the deflection off Marian Hossa's stick, but it didn't matter as the former Penguin tallied two goals himself en route to a Detroit 5-3 win over Columbus.

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November 28, 2008

Welcoming nhLOL to GFH

Beginning next Thursday Brian, he of the fabulous nhLOL, will be contributing a new picture every week.

I came across his site doing some research of Barry Melrose and couldn't stop laughing at this post. Since then, I was hooked.

Here's some of my other favorites.

Photobucket
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Photobucket


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November 27, 2008

10 Things Pittsburgh Penguins Fans Can Be Thankful For



Excellent job by the fellas over at PenguinsExperience.

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A Cold? Really?

Headline from Sportsnet today.

Are you kidding me? In this era of the National Hockey League's new injury-disclosure policy, the Ottawa Senators couldn't make something up better than the sniffles?

Don't they know about this whole "hockey players are tough" thing?


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Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US
and enjoy your Thursday to my Canadian friends.

Malkin Powers Pens to Comeback Victory


It was just 18 days ago that the Penguins and Islanders met at Nassau Coliseum with New York blowing a 3-1 lead and Pittsburgh winning 4-3 in a controversial shootout.

Tonight, the Islanders had a 3-0 lead and were dominating play until Penguins coach Michel Therrien went to old reliable. He paired Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the top line to spark some offense and that changed the whole complexion of the game. In a 5:35 span in the third period, the two Pittsburgh superstars combined for three goals and Malkin later added an empty-netter to seal the game and tally his third career hat-trick, that of the natural style.

I was at the game on November 8 and last night as well. Maybe I'm some sort of comeback good luck charm for the Pens? Once the Islanders went up 3-0, it was not good times for me. Just watching the way the Penguins were playing and being shut down by New York was frustrating, but expected. Whatever the reason, it seems whenever I'm at Nassau Coliseum for a match-up between these two, the Islanders always play Pittsburgh tough.

I'm hoping my magic continues the next two consecutive Wednesday nights when the Pens visit the Rangers and Devils.

Game Highlights


Evgeni Malkin post-game interview


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November 26, 2008

Macgyver Supports USA Hockey

Here's a PSA from USA Hockey back in 1992 featuring Macgyver and some members of the Olympic hockey team. Of all the players featured, I can only recognize a very young Keith Tkachuk.

The entire Albertville roster can be seen here, so if anyone can point out other players in the video, please let me know.


stick tap to Jay Meyer from Fantasy Hockey Scouts for passing this one along



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Remembering "Badger" Bob Johnson

Today marks the 17th anniversary of the passing of "Badger" Bob Johnson. On November 26th, 1991, Johnson succumbed to brain cancer and left the hockey world much too soon. His positive attitude, even in tough times, was one of Johnson's many attributes that helped lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to the 1990-91 Stanley Cup title, his only season with the team.

Here's the tribute at Mellon Arena in honor of "Badger" Bob.




If "Badger" Bob was around today, he'd be an encouraging voice behind any bench and a player's dream coach. No matter how his team was doing at the time, he'd still walk into any arena and utter his famous phrase:

"It's a great day for hockey"

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November 25, 2008

NCAA round up

This week’s match up to watch

Air Force (12-0-0) versus Colorado College (8-3-3) Friday and Denver University (7-5-1) Saturday.

This is the schedule that Air Force has played to date (it is not impressive at all): Sacred Heart 2-8-2 (x4), Bemidji State University 3-7-0 (x2), American International 3-9-0 (x2), Bentley 5-4-1 (x2), Holy Cross 3-7-1 (x2). Looking at that schedule further the Air Force’s opponents have a cumulative record of (16-35-4). While the Falcons have outscored their unimpressive opposition (62 GF, 15 GA), the Falcons are not doing this against top teams ranked in the top 20; they are winning against teams in a bottom-tier league.

This weekend we will finally get to see if the Air Force Falcon’s (Air Farce to some) are for real as they finally play their first games and only games against teams from the big four conferences. These are also the Falcon’s first games against nationally-ranked opponents in the top twenty. These will be the first games the Falcons will play against teams with winning records other than Bentley (5-4-1), which is also not a very good hockey team.

Air Force plays in the relatively weak Atlantic Hockey American conference (I am trying to be kind here) and has beaten the teams that are on its schedule but that doesn’t always translate to the level of competition of the big four conferences (ECAC, CCHA, WCHA, HEA). Currently Hockey East is the pride of the Big Four conferences. Also, the AHA has a very unimpressive 2-23-1 against the Big Four conferences.

Air Force is led offensively by Jacques Lamoureux Junior, (11-10-21), Brent Olson Senior, (5-16-21), Greg Flyn Senior, (4-15-19). Again their points totals might be inflated because they have feasted on less-talented teams.

C.C., sitting in second place in the WCHA with 13 points and two points behind the league-leading Minnesota Golden Gophers, was picked to finish first in the WCHA by the WCHA coaches. C.C. has at times struggled to score goals and has been held to two goals or less 8 times and has a (1-3-3) record during those games.

Denver University, picked to finish second in the WCHA coaches poll, is currently sitting in fifth place with a 5-4-1 record. Denver University is loaded with offensive talents and is currently being led up front by the trio of underclassmen: Tyler Bozak Sophomore, (7-8-15), Anthony Maiani Sophomore, 5-9-14 and Luke Salazar Freshman, (7-5-12).

Prediction: Air Forces loses two games, they aren’t playing Bently, Holy Cross or American International.

Goon’s Top Ten.
1. Minnesota (41)
2. Northeastern
3. Boston College
4. Colorado College
5. Notre Dame
6. Miami
7. Denver University
8. MSU-Mankato
9. Boston University
10. Vermont


For more from Goon, check out Goon' World.

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Vote for Leahy in the Iron Ref Semifinals

My good buds at Hugging Harold Reynolds are continuing their fantastic "Iron Ref" competition and after my first round victory, I've moved on to the semifinals.

This week's secret ingredient is "throwing in the towel". I'm up against Rob Iracane of Walkoff Walk and Jeff Pyatt of Real Clear Sports.

Head over to HHR's Iron Ref page now and vote for Leahy. Voting ends Wednesday at 6pm ET.

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Fantasy Frenzy: One To Watch

Somewhat quietly Monday the Toronto Maple Leafs moved two underachieving prospects in exchange for underrated winger Lee Stempniak from the St. Louis Blues. This is a prime example of a player's value immediately as a result of his new surroundings. Stempniak was one of the few remaining healthy bodies in St. Louis and had still piled up 13 points in 14 games. In joining Toronto his prospects for more offense will only increase as he goes to a team that has had much more success offensively this season.

I have already pointed out Stempniak's offensive exploits here and I am, at the risk of turning GFH into the Lee Stempniak fan club, going to tout him one more time. It remains to be seen how Ron Wilson will work Stempniak into the Toronto lineup, but the fact is that he is a top six forward and his value has just shot up. If you are looking for an offensive upgrade (or maybe you are one of the poor souls like me who now needs to find a replacement for Brenden Morrow) you should take a long hard look at Lee the Leaf and try to find room for him on your roster. I think you will be happy you did.

Pick-Up of the Week:
  • Jiri Hudler (LRW - DET) - Not one of the big names in Motown, Hudler may be playing the best hockey of anyone wearing the winged wheel these days. Hudler managed 4 goals (2 were game-winners), 2 assists, and a +5 rating. Not bad production from a guy who is probably still a free agent in a lot of leagues.
Fantasy 3 Stars of the Week:
  1. Marc Savard - This line speaks for itself: 2 goals, 6 assists, +4 rating, 6 PIM, and 3 power play points. What more could you ask for from the hottest player on the NHL's hottest team?
  2. Jiri Hudler - See above.
  3. Pavol Demitra - The signing of Demitra is really starting to pay off for the Canucks. He led the league with 5 goals in the past week and added one helper as well. Demitral and the Sedin twins have really taken off in the last few games and should pay big dividends for fantasy owners going forward.
Chris Yarbrough is 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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November 24, 2008

Help Support the Mario Lemieux Foundation


For those on the Facebook, David Schmidt has created a Mario Lemieux Foundation cause application and is looking for supporters to help raise money.

As you know, the MLF is the official charity of GFH and $225 was donated last month for the post drive I had in September.

If you'd like to check it out, head on over to Facebook and support this great cause.


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Monday Afternoon Required Reading

Should goalies be fair game for contact? (Puck Daddy)

Don't poop on the Calgary Flames. (Melt Your Face Off)

The NHL Tournament of Announcers is still going. (Puck the Media)

From what Brett Hull says, it doesn't seem as if Dave Tippett's job is on the line. (Sporting News)

A Toronto Star writer didn't enjoy the Wendel Clark ceremony on Saturday night. (Pension Plan Puppets)

Speaking of Clark, here's his top 17 moments. (Down Goes Brown)

A nice piece on Patrick Roy from Pierre LeBrun. (ESPN.com)

EA Sports NHL 09 producer David Littman has a blog and here he discusses making a hockey video games. (The Hockey News)

Sidney Crosby as Team Canada captain in 2010? Really? (Vancouver Sun)

Was Craig MacTavish's outburst towards Dustin Penner really a message from higher up? (The Edmonton Journal)

Hopefully the Boston Bruins stayed away from any hotels hosting Grey Cup parties this past weekend. (Montreal Gazette)

The Washington Capitals Red Rockers team was announce. Hubba hubba. (Japer's Rink)

Former Penguin Alexei Morozov is having a good time playing in Russia. (NY Times Slap Shots)

Jacques Lemaire is a feisty tiger. Meow. (Barry Melrose Rocks)

Frank D. ruins my week with the news that Marc-Andre Fleury will likely miss the game on Long Island Wednesday night, where I'll be. (Pensburgh)

Dallas is done. D-U-N. That's what I get for being so high on them. (LCS Hockey)

Jason Pominville is no Max Talbot. (YouTube)

A slew of third jersey's came out over the past few days. Holy jumpin'! (Icethetics)

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