Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ten Questions

...for the NHL as the season gets ready to begin.

1. Can the Ducks be mighty once more?

The defending Stanley Cup champs went into camp not knowing if two of their veteran leaders were going to join them in defense. Still, with Mathieu Schnieder coming in to replace Scott Niedermayer and Ryan Getlaf emerging as a star to supplant Teemu Selanne, hockey should be pretty intense in the O.C. again this year.

2. Do the Rangers have enough to win it all?

Offensively yes, defensively the Blueshirts appear to be seriously challenged. Fans in New York are obviously jacked about the Rangers chances and with solid goaltending, this team should challenge to win the East.

3. Did Buffalo's Free Agent Fallout ruin the Sabres?

No, not with the offensive firepower still at Lindy Ruff's disposal. The Sabres aren't as talented as they once were, but that doesn't mean they won't go far. There's still plenty of difference-makers in Buffalo, and they'll be back in the playoffs.

4. How good, really, are the Penguins?

They are the chic choice in the East again, much like last spring when the playoffs started. Pittsburgh is only OK in goal, but look to have the pieces elsewhere to make a run. Will they? Quit asking all these questions!

5. How far do the Thrashers fall?

Atlanta had as rough an offseason as the Sabres and Islanders, only it wasn't as talked about. Atlanta paid a price to make the playoffs last year, and its flop resonates with this year's team. The Thrashers could be the Southeast's first-to-worst team.
Questions 6-10 can be found >>> here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Outdoor Game in Buffalo

The NHL finally gets one right.
by Dave Feschuk
The regular season, let's face it, is a dreary, mostly meaningless slog punctuated by scarce highpoints. But this – even if they're calling it, rather lamely, the Winter Classic, and even if it comes with some inherent risks – this might get somebody excited about watching the NHL before April.

As a sell-the-game strategy – compared to, say, the league's time-wasting season-opening trip to England – it's perfect. New Year's Day, ever since U.S. college football decided the date wasn't as important as it once was, is a virtual void on the sports calendar. The NBA, clearly attuned to the off-court habits of its fun-loving employees, doesn't play on Jan. 1, presumably because it doesn't like the idea of the continent-wide staining of hardwood by projectile vomit. So it'll be a hockey afternoon to remember, which is why ticket sales have been brisk.

Cox, a compassionate humanitarian, wrote of his concern at the prospect of frostbite on the feet of forlorn goaltenders. Try socks, fellas. And don't forget that Orchard Park, N.Y., isn't exactly Antarctica. Yes, Buffalo is the lake-effect blizzard capital of civilization, that a flash flurry can have them tunnelling out of the Tonawandas and rationing the chicken-wing supply in Cheektowaga.

But Buffalo's got shovels and plows. Blizzards cancel indoor games, too. And as for concerns the playing surface is likely to be crappy, as it reportedly was in Edmonton when the Oilers played their Commonwealth Stadium tilt with the Canadiens a few years back, the ice is sub-standard in a long list of NHL buildings every day of the season. And besides: A goalie in a tuque, the enduring image of that memorable Edmonton moment, is a picture worth the trouble.
I totally agree.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hockey Gone Wild #16 a continuing series.

Anatomy of a brawl...

...a classic hockey case of, one thing, leading to another, to another, to another, to another.

More >>> Hockey Gone Wild.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Is Friendship Overrated?

Personally, I'd say no. But I guess it would depend on the circumstances...

...and the friends.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

NHL Will Re-Format the Format

Goodbye and good riddance...

NHL plans to ditch unbalanced schedule
CHICAGO -- The twain will meet in the NHL next season, after the league decided yesterday to adopt a more balanced schedule between the Eastern and Western Conferences.

However, after their meeting, the NHL governors did not agree on how the 82-game schedule will be changed, only that the current one, which emphasizes play within the divisions, will be scrapped.

A decision will be made at the governors' next meeting in late November and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said two options are being considered.

One choice is to drop one of the eight divisional games and make that a game against a team from the other conference. Under that proposal, teams from opposing conferences would travel to each city every other year. The current schedule has teams playing only teams from one division in the opposing conference every year, which means stars such as Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins are seen in western cities once every three years.

The second choice will drop the divisional games to six and have full interconference play with a home-and-home series between every team.
I'd vote for option #2 if I could.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wild Women

Occassionaly I'll take a hard left turn and go off the beaten path of this blog towards whatever has caught my attention. I got a feeling I'll be doing more offroading of that sort around here in the near future. I hope my regulars stay around for the ride. Hockey still will be #1 but sometimes there'll be detours. Like this one...

Women driving motorcycle sales
After decades of riding on the backs of bikes often driven by men, women in growing numbers are sliding to the front of the saddle and driving themselves, a movement Schmitt fosters as president of Women Riders Now, based in Livingston, Mont.

Women account for at least 10 percent of motorcyclists in the U.S. today, and they're the fastest-growing segment in the graying $9.7 billion motorcycle industry.

You go girls...

On a related note. Is it just me or are women getting wilder?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Season Begins

...the 07/08 hockey video gaming season that is.

NHL 08 Ships To Retailers

The revolutionary Skill Stick System evolves in NHL 08 and delivers an unparalleled level of control. An all-new deking system enables you to move the puck off your stick, to walk around a defender and give you space in front to challenge the goalie. For all the goaltenders out there, an all-new Goalie Mode feature lets you strap on the pads and be the last line of defense in net for the first time.

Showcasing true next-gen horsepower, an all-new intelligent CPU called On-The-Fly AI functionally coaches against you to counter your tendencies, and forces you to adjust your strategy. With Create-a-Play, you can hit the whiteboard and showcase your own strategic wisdom by customizing plays, recording them in practice mode and bringing them into game to outsmart your opponent. Innovative new online features such as Online Custom Leagues and Online Team Play that links up to six players anywhere in the world, gives you a new level of online depth.
Let the games begin.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

"The Gladiator of Hockey Movies"

The Rocket won nine Canadian Genie awards including best director and best actor as well as the Canadian equivalent of the Oscar this year. If you get a chance see it.

"Bold, gripping, passionate. Punctuated by the most exciting hockey scenes ever presented in a feature film.:
-Jason Anderson,
EYE WEEKLY (Toronto)

"Hugely entertaining and invigorating… a story not just of a sports star, but of a working-class hero and champion of the oppressed.”
-Matthew Hays, CBC

"This terrific film is as much about language and resistance as the forging of an icon. The Rocket's rise as the first French-speaking idol coincided with the Francophone search for identity in postwar Canada. From a backdrop of seething language oppression comes this film's depth, elevating the movie above the genre of sports biopic.”
-Erik Floren, EDMONTON SUN

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Breakdown

As far as my guys go...
Colorado Avalanche: Avs GM Francois Giguere was among the big winners in the off-season, adding star winger Ryan Smyth and top defenceman Scott Hannan while losing nothing from his core group. Smyth, aka Captain Canada, joins a potent offence that includes Joe Sakic, Andrew Brunette, Paul Stastny, Milan Hejduk, Wojtek Wolski and Marek Svatos. Hannan brings much-needed muscle and physicality to a blue-line that has puck-movers John-Michael Liles, Brett Clark and Jordan Leopold. There remains a question mark in goal - where Peter Budaj and Jose Theodore reside. The latter is in a contract year after doing little to earn the monster deal he signed in Montreal. Perhaps that will bring out a big year. Look for Giguere to make a trade if neither Budaj or Theodore answer the bell. Otherwise, this is a dangerous team that almost certainly will return to the playoffs.
That sounds about right to me.

Here's the rest of the teams and their breakdowns for the 07/08 season.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Puck Rock Goldie Oldie

...a classic protest song from the NHL's dark era.

A truley bleak period in the history of hockey indeed.

Cool song though.

More >>> Puck Rock.