December 31, 2008

20 Years Ago Today...Mario Scores 5 Goals in 5 Different Ways



December 31, 1988. Penguins v. Devils.

A feat likely never to be seen again.

Mario Lemieux torches New Jersey for five goals...in all five possible ways.

Even strength.
Shorthanded.
Power-play.
Penalty shot.
Empty net.

While many of Wayne Gretzky's records are talked about as being untouchable, Lemieux's memorable night probably can't be replicated, even in today's NHL.



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December 30, 2008

Fantasy Frenzy: The All 08 Fantasy Team

As promised I am going to roll out my 2008 fantasy hockey All Stars here. This list is going to be a tad unconventional though as I am going to be taking into consideration all regular season NHL hockey played in 2008, not just the first half of the 08-09 season. So if you see someone on the list who you think should not be there, it might be worth looking back to last season before you tell me how stupid I am in the comments.
  • Left Wing: Alexander Ovechkin - No player in today's NHL has a bigger impact on their games than Ovechkin, and that has made him the hottest commodity in the fantasy hockey world. In his 78 regular season games thus far in 2008 AO has scored 60 goals and added 53 assists. he will also throw in some PIM and plenty of shots on goal if you need them.
  • Center: Evgeni Malkin - After Sidney Crosby went down with an ankle injury on January 18th Malkin stepped up his game to take over the role of best center in hockey, and even with Sid's return you could argue the Geno is still tops at the pivot in the NHL. Currently the NHL's leading scorer, Malkin has scored 47 goals and 77 assists thus far in 2008.
  • Right Wing: Jarome Iginla - He may be tucked away from the spotlight in Calgary, but Jarome Iginla is one of the most complete players in hockey and that helps him find a home on this team. He will help you in every stat there is, including his 39 goals and 46 assists in 78 2008 regular season games.
  • Defense: Zdeno Chara - After a tough first year in Boston Chara has come into his own and had a breakout fantasy campaign in the 07-08 season. He has continued his strong play this season as many of last season's top d-men have fallen off a bit. He was not the best fantasy defender last season and he has not been the best fantasy defender this season, but from January 1st up until now there has not been a better blueliner in fantasy hockey.
  • Defense: Dion Phaneuf - "The Dion" has struggled a bit of late, but he is still one of fantasy hockey's premier defensemen. Phaneuf is more or less the defender's version of teammate Jarome Iginla as he is a steady contributor in virtually every category. His +/- has taken a bit of a hit so far this season, but he still brings a lot of offense and a steady flow of PIM to the table on a weekly basis. There is a reason why he was the first blueliner off the board in a lot of fantasy drafts this season. Not that coming in (sloppy?) second to a guy like Mike Green or Nicklas Lidstrom is that bad either.
  • Goalie: Evgeni Nabokov - While goalie is arguably the most valuable position in fantasy hockey, there is also not much separation among most top tier netminders when it comes to goals against and save percentage. That puts wins and shutouts at a premium. While Nabokov only has 3 shutouts in 2008, his 44 wins get him the nod here.
Chris Yarbrough is the GFH Fantasy Guru for the 2008-09 season. You can read more from Chris on his own blog, Taking One for the Team.

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NCAA Round Up

The NCAA Round Up will return to full strength next week after the hiatus during the holidays. There are a few holiday tourneys of note that should grab your interest. Happy New Year. Happy New Year. Ironically the Bruins and the Penguins play tonight. Prediction: Bruins 4 Penguins 2.


Denver Cup January 2 & 3 2009

Holy Cross 5-11-1 versus Denver 13-5-1 7:37 MT
RPI 3-13-1 versus Boston University 11-4-1 4:37 MT

Prediction: Denver and Boston University should meet in the championship game of the Denver Cup and I am going with the Denver Pioneers as the camps. Denver wins 5-3 in the championship game.

The Dodge Holiday Classic. January 2 & 3 2009

WMU 3-11-4 versus Northeastern 11-3-2 4:07 CT
Brown 1-8-2 versus Minnesota 8-3-5 7:07 CT

Prediction: Minnesota and Northeastern should play for the championship game of the Dodge Holiday Classic and Northeastern wins 3-2 in overtime.

Sheraton/TD Banknorth Catamout Cup January 2 & 3 2009

SLU 7-8-1 versus FSU 9-8-3 4:00
Colgate 5-7-4 versus Vermont 9-4-2

Prediction: FSU and Vermont play for the championship of the Catamount Cup with Vermont winning the game 4-1.

Shillelagh Tournament January 2 & 3 2009

UMD 8-4-6 versus UML 8-8
Union 8-7-1 versus Notre Dame 14-3-2

Prediction: This tourney was originally scheduled to be the Lightning College Hockey Classic but the tourney was moved to Hoffman Estates, Illinois. UMD and Notre Dame play for the championship of the Shillelagh Tournament with the Fighting Irish taking the game in a overtime. Let’s say a shootout and the game is won by the Irish 3-2. Sorry no sister kissing for the Bull Dogs this time.

Goon’s Top Ten

1.) Notre Dame
2.) Denver
3.) Boston University
4.) Miami
5.) Minnesota
6.) Northeastern
7.) Boston College
8.) Vermont
9.) Michigan
10.) Wisconsin

For more from Goon, check out Goon' World.



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December 29, 2008

Going Five Hole's Year in Review

What a year 2008 was. I started Going Five Hole in October 2007, so this was my first full year of hockey blogging and it was quite a blast. In the past year I've expanded my list of daily websites to visit times ten, at least; met dozens and dozens of other fans through Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter and enjoyed every minute of it.

Also:

I started a gig contributing at Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy along with Greg Wyshynski.

I made friends in Minnesota who apparently don't like Ice Girls (or humor) and also believe I'm a Devils fan, which is news to me.

I traveled to my version of Mecca for the first time and attended Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals...and took pictures!

Here's a month-by-month recap of the year in GFH:

January
-Examined the Sports Illustrated for Kids cover jinx, whose first victim was Sidney Crosby.
-Broke open the NHL rule book.

February
-Said "Death to the Charity Point!"
-Took a look at the pugilistic history of Mario Lemieux.

March
-The "Mike Lange Tournament of Quotes" was unleashed.
-Pittsburgh clinches a playoff berth in New Jersey, with me in attendance and the pact to attend the Stanley Cup is made.
-Patrick Roy and his son Jonathan kept things classy.
-Hockey damaging the reputation of Yankee Stadium? Nonsense.

April
-New York writers were preparing their excuses for the series against Pittsburgh.
-Ron Hextall's naked interview is remembered.
-Gary Bettman embarrassed himself, again.
-It was proven Darren Pang is half-monkey.

May
-A FOXSports playoff preview turned into an anti-Pens rant...and I broke it all down.
-I declared for the NHL Draft.

June
-I unveiled my wishlist for NHL Network US.
-If Evgeni Malkin was traded to Los Angeles, I was going to eat my socks.
-Over 20 bloggers were polled for our own NHL Award ballot.
-The Pens lost in Game 6 and I was sad.

July
-Patrick Kane's rookie card came much earlier than 2007-08.
-The Cooke-y Monsters was formed.

August
-Mexican hockey player imitates Mike Legg.
-Five ways I'd change the NHL that definitely won't happen.
-Jim Caple is an idiot...as per usual.
-Mario Lemieux Week > Wayne Gretzky Week

September
-Newspaper sports editors will be irrelevant soon, too.
-I campaigned to replace Mike Brophy at The Hockey News. In the end, Jason Kay chose Eric Duhatschek.
-I blogged for a cause.

October
-You have to pay for autographs sometimes. I know, shocking.
-The Sports Business Journal showed us some love.

November
-The best captain in the NHL was determined.
-A handy drinking game next time you watch NHL Live.
-I still don't hate Marian Hossa.
-I also don't think Jordan Staal should be traded.
-Mainstream media is still scared of blogs.

December
-Ten days of Penguins Christmas.
-Barry Melrose headed back to ESPN.

Here's the top viewed posts per month in 2008:

January: Your NHL Skills Competition Trick Shot Judges

February: My Top Ten Don Cherry Suits

March: Which Celebrity Fan Would Take a Shift in the NHL?

April: Wacky European Goalie Goal

May: Don Cherry Would Like You to Be Blind

June: Sidney Crosby Playoff Beard Watch: Day 55

July: Matthew Barnaby: ESPN's Replacement for Barry Melrose?

August: Helmetless Canadiens Legends Team in NHL 09

September: Video: The Barry Melrose ESPN Goodbye Party

October: Def Leppard Singer's Upside-Down Stanley Cup

November: Patrick Roy's son, Frederick, Also Keeping Things Classy in the QMJHL

December: VIDEO: Winter Classic Zamboni Takes a Dive


Thank you for reading Going Five Hole in 2008 and I look forward to what hockey brings us in 2009.

Happy New Year!


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Monday Afternoon Required Reading

A winter classic in Pittsburgh? The Pens would definitely be interested in getting in that line. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Workers are painting ivy on the outfield walls at Wrigley. Sweetness. (Globe & Mail)

Shea Weber takes it upon himself to vault up the Norris Trophy standings. (Fanhouse)

The ECHL lost another team this week and fellow league executives are not happy. (From the Rink)

An early look at the Islanders 2009 NHL Draft choices. (Islanders Point Blank)

Some Penguins are vaulting up the All-Star voting list. (Brian Metzer)

The Isles new arena possibly happening in 2010? (B.D. Gallof)

A Christmas Carol starring Glen Sather. (Scott Gallof)

Thoughts after the first US and Canada games of the World Junior Championships. (NY Times Slap Shots)

More thoughts. (The World of Junior Hockey)

Five venues to consider for future Winter Classic sites. I'd still like to see a Canadian venue host one in the future. (Craig Custance)

Is this the hockey fight of the year? (Eric McErlain)

The 2008 Fantasy Hockey Awards. (RotoRob)

Sorry Rick Morrissey. The NHL owes you an apology for trying to promote it's biggest event this side of the Stanley Cup Finals. And the Blackhawks too, for not trying to pretend like hockey hasn't existed the last 15 years in Chicago thanks to previous ownership. (Chicago Tribune)

The weather should be just fine for the Winter Classic on Thursday. (NHL)

Honda, a new partner of the NHL, will be airing a hockey-themed commercial during the Winter Classic. (Puck Money)

What a Flyers-themed carnival booth would look like. (The Empty Netter)

An NHL Christmas Carol like no other. (Melt Your Face Off)


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December 28, 2008

Puttin' On the Foil - A Weekly NHL Recap 12/28

MONOLOGUE
Should the Winter Classic become an annual event for the NHL? Yes.

I've been a strong proponent of hockey taking New Year's Day from college football. January 1 is no longer all about football like it was years ago when majority of the bowl games were played on that day. This year there's only five games on tap and two in direct competition with the Red Wings-Blackhawks game at 1pm ET. Why should the NHL shy away from a day that used to be about college football?

Weather is obviously a huge concern for holding these games, but the more and more times the league holds the Winter Classic, the better the technology will be to help keep the ice conditions in top shape.

So I look forward to seeing hockey played at Yankee Stadium (new or old), anywhere in Minnesota, Beaver Stadium, Michigan Stadium, and any other interested city willing to host hockey's new annual tradition.

WEEK THAT WAS
Marian Gaborik was told to take two games off and rest his groin. Let the trade rumor-mill heat up.

Rookie-of-the-year candidate Derick Brassard of the Blue Jackets is done for the year after separating his shoulder during a fight.

The Phoenix Coyotes are struggling so bad financially, that the NHL has stepped in and is helping out the club.

The ice at Wrigley Field will be speaking to the NHL's ice guru, Dan Craig.

John Tavares was atop the scouting poll in a survey done by TSN.

The Capitals will retire Mike Gartner's No. 11 Monday night before they take on the Maple Leafs.

EXCELLENT ELEVEN POWER RANKINGS
11. Vancouver Canucks
10. New Jersey Devils
9. Calgary Flames
8. Montreal Canadiens
7. New York Rangers
6. Philadelphia Flyers
5. Washington Capitals
4. Chicago Blackhawks
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.


Chicago Mayor Richard Daley tours the Winter Classic site.


12 Days of Christmas: Bruins-style.


PLAYER OF THE WEEK (12/21-12/27)
Bryan Little, Atlanta Thrashers
3 GP, 5 G, 5 PTS, +1, 3 PPG
Who's Bryan Little is likely what you're saying. At the moment, he's Atlanta's fourth leader scorer. His 17 goals lead the Thrashers and he's also one of the few members of the team who's a plus for the season.

GAME OF THE WEEK
Washington Capitals at New York Rangers 12/23
It was a comeback led by their best player, Alex Ovechkin. His wacky goal midway through the second period was the catalyst and his interception in the third led to the game tying goal. Ovechkin loves playing on the big stage, especially one as big as Madison Square Garden. After the Rangers took a 4-0 lead, you would have thought Washington was ready to quit, but poor defensive play and too many turnovers by New York helped the Capitals back into the game.

Highlights:


UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Thursday, January 1, 1p.m. ET
Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks
The second Winter Classic is setting up to be another memorable event for the NHL and a very important two points are up for grabs in the Central Division. The two teams will have a dress rehearsal, indoors in Detroit, on Tuesday night, which could set the stage for any lingering feelings from this Original Six rivalry. With the skyline in the outfield, the setting of Wrigley Field will be much more beautiful than Ralph Wilson Stadium a year ago.

GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
Do the Penguin Dance with Tux, the mascot of the Wilkes-Barre Penguins.


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December 27, 2008

8 Years Ago Today...Mario Came Back and Buried It


It was one of those perfect moments in sports. A hero comes home and the impact he left is remembered again.

One of those perfect moments came on December 27, 2000 at Mellon Arena. It wasn't just any ordinary game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was the return of Le Manifique, Mario Lemieux.

Lemieux tallied his first assist on a, who else, Jaromir Jagr goal in the first period. Just over ten minutes into the second period, Penguin fans were taken back a few years when Jagr and Lemieux hooked up for a beauty of a goal like old times. Lemieux's first goal back was vintage. Jagr pulls up in the Leafs zone, spins around and fires a cross-ice pass where, of course, No. 66 was there to put it home.




Pittsburgh ended up winning the game 5-0 and Lemieux finished the night with a goal and two assists. He'd finish the 2000-01 season playing 43 games and compiling 35 goals and 76 points, putting him 31st on the league scoring list.

After playing parts of four more seasons, it was time for Lemieux to leave the game for good, but not before giving Penguin fans a wonderful Christmas present back in 2000.


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December 26, 2008

nhLOL on GFH: he can do what he wants to





nhLOL on GFH normally appears every Thursday.
For more nhlolz, visit nhLOL


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Sweden's Backup Goalie is Looking for Someone to Lick His Banana


Meet Mark Owuya. Team Sweden's backup goaltender for the 2009 World Junior Championships and MC extraordinaire.

Also known as "Mark in da Park", Owuya is a full-fledged music artist while playing for Swedish Elite League team Djurgardens IF. If you check out his website, MarkInDaPark.com, you'll be able to download a few of his original songs, like the catchy, "Fucking Loser".

Back in 2006, Owuya tried to take his music career up a notch when he went on Swedish Idol, where, after clearing up some phlegm, he attempted to cover Usher's "U Remind Me" to not so good results as well as busting out some interesting freestyle.



From what I can tell through body language, the dude in the green coat is Simon Cowell, the chick is obviously Paula Abdul, the bald guy on the end is Randy Jackson and the man with the beard? He might just be asleep. It also seems that either blue language isn't a big thing in Sweden or their version of Idol is on an HBO-type channel. Kind of makes me wish FOX would have an uncensored version of American Idol just to see all the things said by contestants to Cowell after they're rejected.

Owuya is eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, but according to Central Scouting's preliminary rankings released in November, he's not even rated as one of the top five goalies from Sweden.

He'll always have Mark in da Park.


For the full 2009 World Junior Championship schedule, check out here. The tournament is being held in Ottawa and kicks off today.


h/t to Nathan from
The Program for finding the video



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December 25, 2008

John Tavares Enters a "Goal of the Year" Candidate



During an exhibition on Tuesday night between the U20 teams of Canada and Slovakia, highly-touted prospect John Tavares scored an amazing double-deflection goal. All eyes will be on Tavares and Victor Hedman, the projected top two prospects for the 2009 NHL Draft.

Your move Mr. Hedman.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you
and yours from

Going Five Hole