January 15, 2009

I'm Shuttin' Down the Studio for a While

Good news and some bad news.

The bad news is that I'm shutting things down for a while, at least here on Going Five Hole.

The good news is you will still be able to find me over at Puck Daddy posting regularly each week.

I may throw up a post every now and then, but trying to put some quality posts up on Puck Daddy and finding stuff for here on GFH has become too time consuming and really taken me away from my daydreaming of Kate Beckinsale and Scarlett Johansson.

In all seriousness, blogging was starting to become a job and to avoid the burnout, I'm going to focus on Puck Daddy material for the time being. I'm not retiring GFH as I do plan to keep things updated and will post from time to time. Hell, if the Penguins keep playing like they are, this might evolve into my own venting space. We'll see.

Thanks for reading over the past year and a half and be sure to check out Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy where Wyshynski and I plan to take over the world. Also don't forget to pop in to GFH from time to time as well.

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January 14, 2009

Video: Mario Lemieux is Happy



...because he just bought a Chevy from Colussey in Bridgeville

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Puck Daddy Live Blog Tonight: Pens-Caps

Be sure to stop by tonight over at Puck Daddy as Wyshynski and I live blog the events unfolding inside Mellon Arena.

The fun begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and lasts until we have a four-way dance between Sid, Geno, AO, and Semin, no-holds barred style.

Ok, maybe not.

CHL Top Prospects Game on NHL Network Tonight

The Homehardware CHL Top Prospects Game featuring the best junior hockey players in Canada will be shown tonight on the NHL Network in the United States beginning at 7pm ET.

Being able to see some of the junior prospects who will be drafted come June will be a special treat for hockey fans in the US. Coming off see all of the United States and Canadian World Junior Championship games last month, the NHL Network is slowly but surely increasing its presence in the US and, much to the joy of American puckheads, expanding its programming.

Bobby Orr and Don Cherry will be your coaches tonight. Below are the rosters of both teams.

Team Orr (Red)
Forward (12) Teams
Ryan O'Reilly Erie Otters (OHL)
Brayden Schenn Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Peter Holland Guelph Storm (OHL)
Scott Glennie Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Michael Latta Guelph Storm (OHL)
Taylor Beck Guelph Storm (OHL)
Cody Eakin Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Marcus Foligno Sudbury Wolves(OHL)
Levko Koper Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
David Gilbert Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Philippe Paradis Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
John Tavares London Knights (OHL)


Defencemen (6) Team
Jared Cowen Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Brayden McNabb Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Tommi Kivisto Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Ryan Ellis Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Charles-Olivier Roussel Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Calvin de Haan Oshawa Generals (OHL)


Goaltenders (2) Team
Oliver Roy Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
Scott Stajcer Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Team Cherry (White)
Forward (12) Teams
Matt Duchene Brampton Battalion (OHL)
Alex Hutchings Barrie Colts (OHL)
Andrej Nestrasil Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
Landon Ferraro Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Zack Kassian Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Carter Ashton Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Evander Kane Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Jimmy Bubnick Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Ethan Werek Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Jordan Caron Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
Michal Hlinka Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)
Nazem Kadri London Knights (OHL)


Defencemen (6) Teams
Taylor Doherty Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Stefan Elliott Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Tyson Barrie Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Dmitry Kulikov Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
Éric Gélinas Lewiston MAINEiacs (QMJHL)
Simon Després Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)


Goaltenders (2) Teams
Nathan Lieuwen Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Edward Pasquale Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

Last night, Team Cherry won the Skills Competition portion of the event.

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VICTORY!


What a nice feeling.

To see the Penguins play a complete game, very little turnovers, and settle down defensively to beat a good Flyers team. After losing 7 of their last 8 and about 73 of their last 75 games it seemed, Pittsburgh played with some fire and hunger tonight.

It was refreshing.

Matt Cooke being elevated/tried-out on the top line alongside Sid definitely worked and knowing Michel Therrien, he'll stick with that combination until it doesn't work any longer and then change things up again.

Wednesday night's game against Washington is a big test. Not just because it's a rivalry game and all the Semin-Crosby/Ovechkin-Malkin hoopla surrounding it, but because it's important for the Penguins to keep up their intensity for a second night in a row.

A bad loss against the Capitals and things are back to square one. A hard-fought victory and suddenly the word "hope" creeps back into the Pittsburgh vocabulary.

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January 13, 2009

NCAA Round up.

There aren’t a lot of great College Hockey match-ups to watch this week that really do anything for me. I want to return to a point that I touched on earlier this season, the perceived strength of Princeton, Cornell and Air Farce Academy all of these team have or are ranked pretty high in the college hockey rankings for most of the season. I believe that these teams are not as good as some would like to believe.

Air Farce Academy: At the beginning of the season Air Farce was the talk of college hockey going an impressive 13-0-0, this schedule was at the expense of the cup cakes teams and the weak sister of the poor. During that 13-0-0 streak the Falcons had one semi-impressive win a 4-1 victory at Colorado College, the next night they were beaten by Denver University. Rightfully so, Air Farce has since fallen off after a fast start and has since gone 2-4-1 pretty much squelching any premature talk of the Falcons going to the frozen four, but I digress. See, I told you so.

Cornell University: Sure it’s a nice story that Cornell is 11-1-3 but seriously folks who have they beaten? Cornell has played the least games out of anyone in the top 20 and has a very questionable schedule the rest of the way, its stuffed full of horrible teams except Princeton if you believe the hockey pundits. I see another number one seed exiting the first round NCAA tourney early, ala Clarkson two seasons ago.

If Cornell is such a national power house why did they lose 7-3 to North Dakota? According to the hockey experts like INCH the Fighting Sioux are a mediocre team. The Big Red won the next game 2-1 because UND had a goal waved off on a very questionable call (Cornell should have given props to the WCHA official that gift wrapped them the game). The Big Red also played SCSU in the Florida College Classic Championship. In the first game of the tourney the Big Red were out shot 38-26 and barely beat SCSU 3-2. SCSU was all over the Big Red in the third period and the Big Red escaped with the win thanks to Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens.

In the Championship game of the Florida College Classic the Big Red needed a shootout to beat a poor Colgate team (6-9-5) in the championship game. So; either Colgate is one of the best 6-9-5 hockey teams in division one hockey or Cornell is highly over rated. I am thinking the later.

Princeton University: During the past 2 weekends the 5th ranked Princeton Tigers (13-5-0) lost three games in a row, two of these games to very questionable teams; Union 11-8-1 and Rensselaer 4-15-2. This weeks the same two teams play media darling Cornell University. It will be interesting to see if Cornell can escape with a victory. I could also see RMU beating Princeton in two weeks when the two teams play in a single nonconference game.

Goon’s Top Ten

1 Notre Dame
2 Boston University
3 Northeastern
4 Denver
5. Michigan
6. Ohio State University
7. Vermont
8. Boston College
9. New Hampshire
10. Colorado College

For more from Goon, check out Goon' World.

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January 12, 2009

Monday Afternoon Required Reading

Fluto Shinzawa predicts Team USA 2010. (Bruins Blog)

Be sure to check out the new and improved PensBlog. (ThePensBlog)

Improving the Avalanche. Like right now. (Jibblescribbits)

Is hockey fixed? (Greatest Hockey Legends)

A look at the Sharks as we hit the midway point of the season. I think you could just put "awesome" and be done with the whole thing. (Fear the Fin)

Pavol Demitra like you've never heard him before. (Waiting for Stanley)

In Russia, they don't even let you finish games if you're getting fired as coach. (TSN) UPDATE: Turns out Fleming was just told not to finish the game. He hasn't been fired...yet.

Something you probably didn't think you'd be reading today: a comparison of Owen Nolan and the Greek god Zeus. (18,568 Reasons Why)

Remember when Sammy Pahlsson was known as a defensive stopper? Looks like he's improved his power-play game as well. (Battle of California)

Oh, the puns those headline writers come up with. (Melt Your Face Off)

Frank D. would like fellow Pens fans to tell him how they feel about their team in a group therapy session. (PensBurgh)

A list that would be wonders if shown to fans in Pittsburgh. (Pension Plan Puppets)

I'm known for my fondness of Ice Girls, but when they challenge Zdeno Chara in size, well, that's when I back away. (Barry Melrose Rocks)

Help the Carolina Hurricanes design sandwiches. Seriously. (Carolina on Ice)

Who's says tough guys aren't articulate? George Laraques on fighting and the code. (Sportsnet)

Do check out my spot with Scotty Wazz and the rest of the FOHS crew. (Faceoff Hockey Show)

It sure does smell in Pittsburgh, PU. (LCS Hockey)

Eric Duhatschek enters into the Crosby/Ovechkin debate. (Globe & Mail)

Mike Komisarek became the player and person he is today thanks to his parents. (Newsday)

Mats Sundin still being held to words he uttered last season. And it's true. (He Score He Shoot)

Those Vincent Lecavalier trade rumors? Just some hogwash according to his agent who's been assured by Tampa ownership that Vinny will be a Lightning for life. (Damien Cristodero)

"Two Degrees of Mike Sillinger": the home game! (St. Louis Game Time)

So the anti-All-Star Game stuff has come to this? (Boycott the NHL All-Star Game)

Goaltending controversies and Florida Panthers coach Peter DeBoer go together like caramel and apples. (The Record)

When you're referring to your team as the "suckity sucks", things can't be going well. (Scarlett Ice)

Why Gary Bettman should conspire to keep any future first overall picks out of the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Scotty Wazz)

*Sigh* Versus, don't you realize you could be doing so much more? (Puck the Media)

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January 11, 2009

The Week at Puck Daddy


Pass or Fail: The NHL playing games on Christmas Day

Video: James vanRiemsdyk goes to the ole trick bag in OT

Farewell Burnaby Joe; it's been a fun ride

This is pretty much the worst time to call for helmetless players

From trade bait to Sid's wing, spotlight on Jordan Staal's new deal

Fight Video: Matt Hunwick's One Punch Debut



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Puttin' On the Foil - A Weekly NHL Recap 1/11

MONOLOGUE
The National Hockey League announced the lineups for the 2009 All-Star Game this week and the debate has raged not only this week, but during the entire voting process about how the players are determined going forward.

I think the entire voting debacle should force the League to include fan voting as only a percentage. Let the players, general managers, and even coaches have a say as to who starts and who fills out the lineups. Starting in the All-Star Game should be an honor bestowed on to those players who are deserving and not handed out because of voting scripts and mass text message campaigns by teams.

As tough as it is to select players to round out the rest of the conference teams when every team has to have representation, I think that policy should continue forward. Every team should be represented, no matter the comparisons to players who might have been left off the roster. Having Mark Streit named to the Eastern Conference roster may not ensure that every New York Islander fan will be watching the game, but the All-Star Game is a celebration of the league's best and the Swiss defensemen was deemed to be the best choice from Long Island.

The game itself isn't supposed to be like a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Obviously, there won't be checking or physical play and while the goalies will be under fire all game long, the point is to see the best playing alongside the best.

WEEK THAT WAS
Brendan Shanahan is likely joining the New Jersey Devils, but a contract has not been finalized as of yet.

At the moment, Pat Quinn won't be joining the Ottawa Senators according to owner Eugene Melnyk.

Team Jagr (Europeans and North Americans) defeated Team Yashin (Russians) 7-6 at the KHL All-Star Game played outdoors at Red Square in Mosco.

Omsk of the KHL benched their coach, Wayne Fleming, for a period last week. Never a dull moment over there.

Possible number one overall pick John Tavares was traded from the Oshawa Generals to the London Knights and will debut this afternoon.

Canada claimed its fifth straight U20 World Junior Championship gold medal after defeating Sweden 5-3 in the final.

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


Joni Pitkanen has himself a self-made snack.


Which Montreal Canadien wears too much cologne? Carey Price's answer is fantastic.


PLAYER OF THE WEEK (1/4-1/10)
Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
3 GP, 4 G, 1 A, 5 PTS, 2 PPG

GAME OF THE WEEK
Philadelphia at Washington, 1/6/09
A rematch of the emotional first-round playoff series from a season ago was all it was hyped to be. Both teams accumulated four penalties apiece and exchanged power-play tallies before heading to the shootout to decide things. A packed house at the Verizon Center wound up going home happy after the Capitals won the shootout 1-0 thanks to Viktor Kozlov on the first attempt.

Highlights:


UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Wednesday, January 14, 7p.m. ET
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
The first meeting between Sidney Crosby and Alexander Semin since the infamous Puck Daddy interview where the Capitals star didn't see what was so special about the NHL's poster boy. The Capitals are surging and the Penguins are struggling, but the Ovechkin-Crosby-Malkin rivalry will continue in likely entertaining fashion.

GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
Play-by-play man Paul Steigerwald at his finest.


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January 9, 2009

Jagr 3:16 Says Do It Ray Shero

My good buddy Greg Wyshynski over at Puck Daddy found this delicious nugget via Ken Campbell of the The Hockey News regarding Jaromir Jagr and his affinity towards Mario Lemieux.

“I was thinking about it and if Mario would call me and say, ‘I’d like you to play for our team,’ I would think about it a lot,” Jagr said in a telephone interview from Moscow where the Kontinental League will hold its inaugural All-Star Game outdoors at Red Square Saturday. “I would play for the minimum salary. I would play for $350,000 just for him because I owe him my hockey life. I want to pay him back because he has made me what I am…besides my parents.”

Hmmm...Pittsburgh is still on the ever-lasting search for a winger to play alongside Sidney Crosby. Why not bring back one of the games greatest players at the league minimum? Ray Shero, your problems are solved. Jagr was still playing at a high level last season with the New York Rangers and he was arguable their best player in the playoffs. It's worth the gamble.

Of course, Jagr is known to be somewhat of a jokester, so if push came to shove, who knows if he'd balk at such a low offer, since, you know, he wasn't willing to do the same the first time around with the Penguins.

Who cares if he's under contract with Omsk until 2010? If Alexander Radulov can escape Nashville for Russia, why can't Jagr do the opposite? Let's let things get even muckier between the National Hockey League and the KHL, cold war style. And while we're at it, Jagr can even bring back the mullet, like old times.

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