Archive | April, 2012

Yotes up 2-0 in series

30 Apr

Does this make any sense at all?  Does the score 5-3 between these two particular teams make any sense at all?  If this was a regular season game between these two clubs you’d say wow…that’s a high scoring game for these two snore fests.  But no….this is a playoff game…in round 2 no less!  That’s what’s baffling.

The Coyotes looked like…the Coyotes.  They sit back and let you skate around the perimeter and then after you’ve made several shot attempts and shots on goal they take the puck out of their zone and into yours to score.  I don’t really get it.

Nashville is falling into the trap just like the Blackhawks did.  Just like Luke did in Empire Strikes Back.  Nashville look out!  It’s carbon freezing!!!

I thought Nashville’s defense, goaltending and work ethic would propel them past these desert dogs but no, they are falling prey to the same system Phoenix used against Chicago.

It’s not over and the next two games are in Nashville.  This could turn around.  However Dave Tippett is such a good coach that he will have his team prepared.

Nashville fans might learn a painful lesson about hockey.  You might have a great team and one that’s favored to be a cup contender, but you run into a hot goalie or a suffocating system and your heart will get broken.  Ripped out and stomped on.  I think this might be the best team Nashville has ever iced but they face a tough road ahead.  It’s not impossible and we’ve seen crazier things then coming back from a 2-0 deficit before.

Hey at least all the Phoenix fans are going crazy with excitement right?

Finally the home teams are winning in the 2nd round.  After a dismal first round home teams are looking good so far.  Only St. Louis has lost at home.

TTS

Gotta Love Rangers Fans

29 Apr

From Yesterday’s game at Madison Square Garden:

Remember last year when the Rangers were playing the Washington Capitals and then coach Bruce Boudreau made comments about the lack of noise at MSG?

yeah i think he did.

The Rangers took game 1 yesterday.

The Rangers are 31-11 when winning the opener, including six of the past seven. … The Rangers managed only eight shots through two periods, compared to 13 for Washington….and I thought the Phoenix Coyotes were bad.

Big day for the kid Chris Kreider who is days away from turning 21 and just 6 games into his NHL career.  Big goal and a big assist yesterday.  Nice goal by Brad Richards, such poise before he picked his spot.

Hell of a pass by Brooks Laich on Washington’s goal, it was sweet.

 

TTS

Yotes win in OT again

28 Apr

They had 1 shot in the third period.  1 shot!  Just trying to induce a coma like state in the building.  Didn’t work, Nashville was able to tie it up.  Just like the Hawks would.  But, in OT the Coyotes jumped on a puck off a face off and put it in.  Just like against the Hawks.  Very frustrating.

What do the Coyotes call their system?  Ambien?

There allegedly was some action in the first two periods but I was playing hockey and didn’t watch.  I got in front of a tv for the third period and OT.  Nashville was dominant and carried most of the play.  Just like the Hawks.

No one, other then the 10 fans in Phoenix, want to see this team win.  Yeah the building is full right now but that’s nothing more then bandwagon fans.  Where are they during the regular season?  No where near the Coyotes!

It’s sad and pathetic.

The more concerning issue is that the NHL is a copycat league.  If this team succeeds then other teams will copy this formula.  Just like before the lockout when the New Jersey Devils almost killed off hockey.  Now we have the Coyotes.  That’s the NHL owned Coyotes since NO ONE wants to buy this stupid team.

Since we are headed for another lockout, maybe the league can bring forth a slew of new rules preventing teams from playing like this.  At least for a few years until coaches figure out how to kill off any entertainment from watching hockey.

At least the Rangers, Capitals and Flyers still play hockey.

TTS

Round 1 is Over

27 Apr

Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is over.

TTS made 1st round predictions so let’s take a look at how I did.

Not great comes to mind.  I predicted 4 out of the 8 correctly.  50% isn’t anything to write home about, let’s see if I can do better in the 2nd round.

The New York Rangers won last night in game 7 meaning that 1 of the 2 #1 seeds will play in the next round.  They are the only Original 6 team left in the postseason as Boston, Detroit and Chicago decided to sit the next round out.

The New Jersey Devils took out the Florida Panthers in the 2nd overtime of their game 7 last night.  Oh good, the Devils are in.  I was worried that the 2nd round would have too many teams that don’t like to score.  Your sarcasm meter should be off the charts right now.  That’s a nod to our readers that are Simpsons fans.

The Travel distance between the teams in the East is a huge advantage over the teams in the West.  Hell Philly-NJ is a car ride not a plane ride.  Washington – NY isn’t far at all.  In the West you have Nashville and Phoenix and LA vs St Louis.  All plane rides, all change time zones.  Teams in the East have it much easier.

The rumor mill is saying that Roberto Luongo has asked the Vancouver Canucks for a trade.  He should, they have mistreated him every chance they can.  Allegedly the leading contenders on his list of teams (he has a no trade clause) that he would go to is the Tampa Bay Lighting and the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Lou’s wife is from Florida having met her from his days playing for the Florida Panthers.  If he thought he was in a fish bowl playing for Vancouver what can he expect playing for the Leafs aka the only team in the NHL not to make the playoffs since the lockout.

OK, let’s made some predictions.  Hopefully I can do better than 50%

Philadelphia over New Jersey in 6 games.

This of course will depend on the Flyers playing some defense.  They can’t play they way they did in the first round and expect to get by the Devils.  NJ won’t let them score 8 goals a game.

New York Rangers over the Washington Capitals in 7 games.

I think this one goes the distance and home ice will be the difference.  This should be a difficult series for both teams.

Over in the Western Conference:

Nashville Predators over the Phoenix Coyotes in 6 games

Nashville has the Defense, the goalie and scoring by committee.  It will be a tight low scoring series but the Preds should be able to grind out 4 wins.

St Louis Blues over the LA Kings in 7 games.

This will be a low scoring series.  You will think soccer is a run and gun score fest compared to this.  The Kings have what it takes to advance but I’m thinking the Blues will just punish them physically over a series.  I’d like to see the Kings win since they took out the Canucks and I think this series is really a coin flip.  Either team could win but I have to pick somebody so I’ll go Blues.

What do you think?  What are your picks?

TTS

That Will Learn Him!

25 Apr

From Larry Brooks:

Stephen Walkom, part of crew that did not call penalty on Torres for blasting Hossa out of playoffs, gets rewarded with Game 7 assignment in Boston.

Are you f’in kidding me?  WTF?  Just when you think the NHL couldn’t do anything else to make you nuts you see something like this.

I guess he really learned his lesson.  I’d be pretty nervous if I were a fan of either team tonight.  Don’t forget he was the ref in game 2 of the Ottawa – New York series that got out of control.

How does this make any sense?

Can one of you explain this?

TTS

Misc Blackhawks news, notes and thoughts

25 Apr

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, seen here

Thinks Marion Hossa will be just fine with a full recovery in time for next season.

“We’ve had a lot of similar type injuries with players in the past,” Bowman said Wednesday. “It’s too hard to predict the recovery time on these things. There is no reason to think he’s any different than any other player that has that type of injury. We’re very optimistic that he’s going to be back.”

“We don’t approach that any differently than a different injury,” Bowman said. “We’re here in April and training camp doesn’t open until September. That’s a lot of time to be rested and prepared and training in the offseason.”

Bowman also concedes that the goaltending for the Blackhawks was not good enough.

“Our goaltending in general was not our strength,” Bowman said on Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame on one player. You win as a team, you lose as a team. I think we need to be stronger defensively and that includes our team commitment to defense, not simply the goaltending and not simply the defensemen.”

As far as looking for help on the free agent market:

“You don’t rule anything in or out,” he said. “We’re always trying to improve our team.”

Bowman also indicated that there would be no changes to the hawks “core” players.

Coach Joel Quenneville seems more open to some changes.

“You have a nice core here, a nice group of guys here,” he said after Bowman spoke to the media. “They give you a chance every year to win a championship. Whether it’s a tweak or you want to do more than that, but that’s something good to talk about.”

Here is where things get interesting.  Despite the fact that most hockey experts, the majority of Hawks fans and general NHL fans all agree that the Hawks need a 2nd line center…..Bowman doesn’t.  He seems to think that # 88 is a great fit.

“Our team’s best record, and it coincided with Patrick’s best performance, was when he was in the middle,” Bowman explained. “Patrick carried our team the last month or five weeks of the season. He kind of put us on his back and got us into the playoffs. He stepped up and was our No.1 center for all those weeks. … I think the notion that he can’t play center or isn’t good at center has been dispelled. Not only did our team play well when he was in the middle, he played well. He had his most productive time when he was there.”

Remember when he would talk about Patrick Sharp that way?  He would remind all of us that they won the cup with Sharp as a number 2 center.  Of course that was when our team was so deep it didn’t really matter.  We’re not that team anymore and now for some reason Kane has become the new Sharp.

When asked if he would look to the free agent market for a center Bowman said

“Kane in the middle is certainly better than any other center that’s available.”

TTS will explore free agents that are available in a later post.

What about the relationship between GM and Head Coach?  Plenty of eyebrows were raised when director of pro personnel Barry Smith was added to help the coaching staff for a while.  He was on the ice helping run drills.  Jobs normally done by the coaching staff.  He ran a lot of special teams drills too, an area that plagued the Hawks all season.  Barry used to be Scotty Bowman’s right hand man during his coaching days.

“We have great communication back and forth,” Bowman said. “We see things similarly in terms of things that need improvement. … Our relationship wasn’t strained at all. … Obviously there was a challenge when we had the long losing streak — if anything we came together as a unit.”

Coaching changes are up to Quenneville according to Bowman.  But he doesn’t sound happy concerning the special teams.

“The results speak for themselves,”  “They were a huge disappointment this year. It’s unacceptable to have the caliber of players we have and not have it work. Ultimately we have to improve that.”

They sure do.  How can that “core” be so poor at the power play?  If the Hawks were better than 1-19 in the first round against Phoenix then they would probably be playing in Nashville in round 2.

Expect Duncan Keith to play in the World Championships for Team Canada this spring.

“I’m really excited to go there and play,” Keith said. “I would have liked to have gone last year.”

I’m hoping that Bowman is using a poker face by not saying more about obtaining help for the goalie and center positions.  It wouldn’t be prudent to come out and say yeah we need them bad.  As a buyer, that would put him at a disadvantage.  However, he said Sharp was fine at center and that he wouldn’t get one and he didn’t.  He just put a different Patrick in the slot.  How many more Patrick’s are on this team to try at center?  Aren’t they running out of them?

Question:  How many Patrick’s does it take to fill in the 2nd line center slot for the Blackhawks?  If you know, let me know.

Back with more soon.

TTS

PS, quotes are from ESPN

….and now it’s all over

24 Apr

I can’t help but think of the end of the movie Goodfellas, when Ray Liotta utters those words.  “and now it’s all over”  He wants spaghetti and marinara sauce but now all he can get is ramen noodles and ketchup.

It is over.  Not just the season but this team.  Last year they had an excuse, the gutting of a championship roster due to the salary cap.  But not this year.  This year they don’t have that excuse.

A friend of mine called me this morning and said “ok, who do you blame?”  I said…..Stan Bowman.

None of the Hawks issues were ever addressed.  The Hawks have a roster that has too many small skilled players.  All the skilled puck possession teams in the Western Conference (Detroit, Vancouver and Chicago) are all reserving tee times and not travel plans for the 2nd round.

The Hawks need a 2nd line center.  We knew this before the season began, we knew this during the season and we certainly knew it at the trade deadline.

Then there is the goalie situation.

The Hawks have Crawford signed for 3 more years.  They also extended Ray Emery for 2 more years on the last day of the regular season.  Let’s also not forget Cristobal Huet.  That’s right folks.  He is on the books for next year as well at $ 5,625,000.  Yeah that’s right.  As bad of a need that there is, I’m guessing that the Hawks will not fix that problem.  Not until after Huet comes off the books.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.  There won’t even be hockey next year.  Donald Fehr has hypnotized the players association into believing that the millions they make is not enough.  There will be a lockout.

Whenever the lockout ends the Hawks will need to put together a roster.  Bigger more physical players, a goalie that can win a game for you here and there (and not let in super soft weak goals in the playoffs) and a legitimate 2nd line center.

Last night during the telecast Pat Foley asked Eddie Olcyk how many top 6 forwards the Hawks have.  Both agreed that they have 4, 3 without Hossa.

During Quenneville’s post game a reporter asked him if he can give an update on Hossa now that the playoffs are over.  He said he’s not doing well and hopefully he starts recovering.  That’s not good is it?  I wonder how serious this is.  What if he can’t play next year?  What if his career is over?  I hear it’s a combination of whiplash and a severe concussion.  Possibly a broken jaw too.

Mike Smith stole that game last night.  The Hawks completely dominated the first 40 minutes.  Well except for that power play goal.  6 shots on goal and Crawford let’s one in.  I’m pretty sure Mike Smith wouldn’t have let that one in….nor the other 3 crow let in during the 3rd period.  Smith stood on his head and made 39 saves.  Crawford faced 20 shots and let in 4.  I can’t remember ever seeing a save percentage that low in a playoff game.  There probably has been but not since I’ve been watching hockey.

Yeah the Hayes penalty was bad and poorly timed but I don’t blame the kid.  I think our kids were some of our best players.  Bickell, Frolik, our boy Shaw and Leddy.  The Hayes line was probably the best line the Hawks had in that game.  Toews played pretty well but didn’t have an impact.  They only time I knew Patrick Sharp was playing was when he was giving out body checks.  He led the Hawks in hits.  That’s a pretty telling statement right there isn’t it?  Why is our leading scorer the only guy hitting people out there?  Goes back to not having enough physical players.  Hawks sure could use Andrew Ladd couldn’t they?

What did Kane do to get a 10 minute misconduct in the final minutes?  I haven’t seen anything about that yet.  If you know, let me know.

I heard from a friend in Canada that the TV announcers commended Kane for coming out for the team handshake after the game.  They said that it’s easy for a player who has been kicked out of a game where his team was eliminated to not come back out of the locker room.   Kane did and that was a class act.

So next year there won’t be any hockey and the year after that….the Hawks will probably look pretty similar to this one.  A good team, a sometimes dangerous team….but not an elite team.  Enjoy the next 49 years folks.  Go have a beer with a cubs fan. That guy has got it worse then you do.

Who to root for now?  Obviously it’s Let’s go Predators.  Take these a**holes out.  Quick too, like a sweep so Torres can sit for plenty of games next year.  Let him get hit in the wallet, since he doesn’t feel that pain in postseason suspensions.

I’m also going to root for the Blackhawks south…aka the Florida Panthers.

Gee you know that GM in Florida has put together a pretty good squad.  Lot’s of character guys who know how to win.  Why cant the Hawks have a GM like that?  Oh yeah, they did but John McDonough ran him out-of-town.  He got too much credit for putting together a championship squad.  Now we have son of Bowman.  A guy who has given us a team that is too soft and has gone out of the playoffs in the first round in consecutive years.  Good times.

I’m too depressed to write anymore.  I’ll write more later.

Per TTS policy when the Blackhawks play so poorly that they don’t deserve to get their pictures up on this site then hot chicks go up instead.  Losing 4-0 at home in an elimination game fits that description.  We’ve had blondes and brunettes but no red heads.  Not until now.  Enjoy.

 

TTS