Thursday, May 31, 2007
We, of course, will be doing Awards coverage June 13-June 15.
June 17-June 22, I will be revealing #'s 30-1 of my NHL First Round Mock Draft. Derek will have his analysis as well, and we will likely liveblog as much of the draft as VERSUS broadcasts, if there is no Devs draft party.
June 23 we will be keeping an eye on Day 2 of the Draft.
June 25 - June 30 We will preview UFA day.
July 1 We will be liveblogging UFA Activity.
July 2 - July 8 We will keep you posted on UFA activity as it happens. Press Conferences and such.
On July 9th or until all the Devs and Rags UFAs are signed (As late as July 30th), Battle of New York will go on a long-deserved and long in length hiatus, as long as Scott Gomez has signed by then.
I cannot promise that all 3 of us will be back next season, but I can tell you that Battle of New York will return on September 1st once the hiatus begins.
Until all of this, Enjoy the hockey!
Monday, May 28, 2007
Check out my preview, including a further look at Elgin Alexander Fraser, at SFM
For more Finals coverage, including BoNY Friend Greg Wyshynski's liveblog of Game 1, head to the NHL Fanhouse over at AOL
Here's our friend Earl Sleek from Battle of California with an exclusive look at why the Ducks DESERVE to win this series:
Why the Ducks deserve Lord's Stanley's Cup
On a personal level, we have Teemu Selanne, playing in his first cup finals at age 37. Teemu has been a tremendous story for the league, starting from his 76-goal rookie performance, to his winning the inaugural Rocket Richard trophy, to his international scoring for Team Finland, to the Masterson resurgence of last year. He has been heavily checked, cut up, and bruised this playoff year, but he can't hide the excitement of playing for the ultimate prize.
Add to that J.S. Giguere, Chris Pronger, Rob Niedermayer, and Sammy Pahlsson, four veteran NHLers who have all fallen one game short of Lord Stanley's Cup, only to watch another team savor it.
From a team perspective, Brian Burke and Randy Carlyle deserve a Cup for their aggressive and no-nonsense approach to team-building, especially for a team whose budget puts them significantly below the salary cap ceiling. They have incorporated talented kids in with talented veterans, providing clearly defined roles and a hard-working attitude. The team architects are certainly cup-worthy.
Anaheim fans have endured the mockery of all "legitimate" hockey fans throughout their first decade, and have watched a team fight its way through early (necessary) playoff defeats—the team has lost in all four rounds of the playoffs. No team on the left coast has ever won a Cup, somewhat thanks to travel disadvantages; should hockey's ultimate prize finally extend coast-to-coast, it should mean promising things for the health of the Anaheim hockey market and the whole western continent as well.
Thank you very much Earl, for even more info check out our linemate sites Battle of California and Battle of Ontario
Enjoy the game everybody!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Littlest fan's final joy sees Ottawa Senators off to Cup
Katie Lewis, with files from Ken Warren, Ottawa Citizen CanWest News Service
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
CREDIT: CanWest files
OTTAWA -- In the end, it was a hockey game Elgin-Alexander Fraser was not going to miss.
The three-year-old spent his last hours at home, nestled between family and friends on a mattress on the living-room floor in front of the television watching the Ottawa Senators reach the Stanley Cup finals.
His right lung had collapsed and he breathed loudly, wheezing. When it became too hard to keep his heavy-lidded eyes open, because of the morphine, his family whispered the play-by-plays to him.
"Go if you want to go now bud," said his father, Hamish Fraser to his wee son, who weighed just over 30 pounds. "You don't have to hang on."
But that night, Elgin saw the Senators win.
Two hours later, as his mother and father tightly held his hands and told him they loved him, he softly closed his eyes.
Afterwards, his mother Victoria Fraser washed him, clipped his nails and dressed him in a grey Senators jogging suit. She then cradled him in her arms for over an hour.
"Everything that happened just seemed to fall into place and everything felt right at that moment," she said.
Elgin died of a rare form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma, and had captured the emotions of thousands who raised funds to fight cancer at charity events for him.
"He went peacefully," said his father, adding that his son loved hockey "more than anything," and was the Senator's biggest fan.
And they loved him too.
Elgin met the Senators after his family was introduced to Chris Phillips, a defenceman and father of two, and his wife, Erin Phillips, through mutual friends.
In April, Elgin found himself in a front-row seat at a practice as part of one of his final wishes. At the time, Mr. Fisher held Elgin while skating around the ice. Elgin also got a tour of the dressing room. Since then, Elgin had been to more than eight Senators games, including their final home game against the Buffalo Sabres last Wednesday.
Elgin's father said his son's room is littered with Senators paraphernalia -- from jerseys, to hockey sticks, to goalie masks."He loved to tear around and pretend to be players on the team," he said.
On Thursday, Senators centre Mike Fisher visited Elgin at home in Carleton Place, Ont. They watched a movie and played with toy cars, because Elgin was too weak to pick up his hockey stick.
Fraser talked to his son on the phone during the visit and asked Elgin to ask Fisher if the Senators were going to win the Stanley Cup.
"Okay, Dad, hold on," said Elgin over the phone.
"Mike," said Elgin, "You're going to win the Stanley Cup, right?"
"We sure are buddy," came the reply.
"Dad, he said yes," said Elgin, recalled Fraser.
Sunday, Fisher said he was saddened by the news and that he had thought about Elgin before the hockey game on Saturday night.
"The impact he had on me was incredible. With the things he went through and how well he handled them," said Fisher. "I was blessed to spend some time with him. He's in a better place, for sure."
Elgin was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system, when he was nine months old. He went through a flurry of treatments, radiation, chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant and finally went into remission. Bad news came in January, as the cancer came back as the growing tumours took over his stomach and vertebrae.
By the end, Elgin's back was almost a solid mass of tumours, with fluid leaking into his lungs.
His doctors had told his family on Monday they didn't expect him to make it through the weekend.
Despite his pain, Elgin still managed to go to the Senators game on Wednesday, along with his mother, father and eight-month-old sister Alysston.
The brave little boy was decked out in his red Senators jersey, a sawed off hockey stick clenched tight in his hand.
"He didn't take his eyes off the game," said Fraser.
After the game, Elgin met some of the players, including Fisher, Ray Emery and Chris Phillips.
Phillips told Elgin that night that the Senators were going to win the next game on Saturday for him.
Elgin's funeral will be held on Thursday at the Carleton Place Arena.
If you're not in tears yet, watch this TSN report, and you will be.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Perhaps Jay Jardine or Earl Sleek will pop in and give us a little insiders perspective if their kind enough, or if I'm not too lazy to keep from asking.
We'll be blogging more frequently as we get to Monday.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Frankly, Derek wanted it to start earlier. I wanted it to stay on 5/29 like it was originally planned. We would've had to wait 5 days for the final, but then we'd have only had 1 2-day break instead of two. It'll be really hard to get into this series. At least the two 2-day breaks will be travel days, so the more media members can attend.
Advantage Detroit if they can win two in a row.
Game 6 is tonight. There is a precedent for this. 5 Years ago, down 3-2 to Colorado in the height of that rivalry, on the road, they get the win at Pepsi Center and go on to the Finals. I think they can win tonight. Good luck to our friends on both sides, like Paul Kukla and the KK gang, and Earl Sleek and Co. at Battle of California. 9PM Tonight. It is on!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I'll just cut to the chase as to why:
1.Alfredsson, Spezza and Heatley couldn't be contained. All Spring, the dangerous top line trio has been unreal. It continued in this series. Buffalo did accomplish a minor miracle by shutting them out in their one-goal win in Game 4. Right now, no line is better. Alfredsson in particular has really raised his level. He's silenced many critics.
2.Ottawa defense wasn't broken. If you watched this series, you know what I'm referring to. Steve can certainly relate as can Pens' fans. The Sens D was very stingy against Buffalo preventing great scoring opportunities and limiting shots. With blocked shot machine Anton Volchenkov getting in the path of many and breaking up plays, it made Ray Emery's life much easier. The Ottawa netminder hasn't had to steal many games. Today was one of the few he was required to make some tough saves.
3.Special teams not so special. Sure, Buffalo found a way to silence Ottawa's power play the last three games. But their PP was nothing special only connecting twice all series with both coming via the two-man advantage. They had a couple of chances to win today's game in regulation on it but couldn't. In Game 2, they had a PP in OT but got nothing done before losing on a Joe Corvo blast. It hurt them at key instances.
4.Role reversal. Plain and simple, Buffalo was victimized the same way they upset Ottawa as a fourth seed last year. Three one-goal defeats and lost twice in OT. Last year, they won all three games which went to OT including Jason Pominville's shorthanded clincher. Every game aside from Game 1 (4-2 loss) was decided by one goal. It was eerily similar last year. And also, the road team after winning the first three dropped Game 4 on their own home ice only to win on the road in sudden death and clinch. Go figure.
5.The Sens were the more determined team. Buffalo showed this in the last two games, finally doing whatever it took to win including blocking 21 shots to only Ottawa's 7 yesterday. Problem was they didn't have that same will or desperation early in this series which put them in the 0-3 hole.
For more Game 5 analysis and series discussion, please check out our commentary over at Hitting Back.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
They crave for people to watch? Then maybe they shouldn't have locked out the players! It really did a lot of good. And no. I'm not referring to three years ago but back in 1994 instead. They had a hot product back then which was getting people talking. Even rappers such as Snoop Dogg were wearing jerseys. Who could forget the Canucks one he wore?
The sad truth is the NHL screwed itself here. They will never ever get the kind of media attention they want. Is the sport exciting? I think so. Is it great? Depends. If you took away the 4 blind mice, it could be.
The playoffs are still great and arguably the toughest in all sports to win. The players sacrifice their bodies in an attempt to get their hands on the most prestigous trophy aside from the Wimbledon crown. The Stanley Cup!
But as the game continues to remain where they are, it's awfully hard to get the kind of attention it deserves.
Here in the city that never sleeps, you have this thing called baseball and as long as the Mets or Yanks are good, they'll steal the backpages. It was a freaking disgrace that Michal Rozsival's multiple OT winner didn't make the back page for one paper. It's just sad in general how much what the baseball teams so early in their season dictate what goes on.
They want ratings? Go fucking watch baseball or football. I give up.
Ratings are never going to happen with our sport. It's time for this absurd talk to finally die.
I'm Derek Felix and I've spoken my piece!
2-0 Senators, and the NHL haters lick their lips at another Canadian team in the finals to diss the ratings of. Pray for Detroit!
Friday, May 11, 2007
This series will feature all three Norris candidates as Ducks’ tandem Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger are set to do battle against Nicklas Lidstrom. The 37 year-old Lidstrom has won the Norris four times during his illustrious 16-year career. The Swede is arguably the best defenseman of his era. In terms of consistency, no one has been better. Offensively and defensively, the Detroit captain has been a tower of strength on the blueline.
Pronger and Niedermayer have also both taken home a Norris in their outstanding careers. Both are perennial All Stars who can impact a game both offensively and defensively. Pronger does it with sheer physicality while Niedermayer does it with effortless skating and speed. They certainly pose a huge challenge to Lidstrom and Co. if they’re to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
Just a note. I went 4-for-4 in Round 2 on my site. Not too shabby after an inauspicious first round.
This also is the first time Detroit has seen Anaheim since Giguere stoned them in that shocking first round sweep in 2003.
New Jersey Devil forward Patrik Elias has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in New Jersey Federal Court against his former agents, Mark Gandler and Todd Diamond, sources tell TSN.
The court documents were reportedly filed yesterday in New Jersey.
In the suit, Elias alleges fraud, embezzlement, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of US Federal Securities Laws.
Elias has not been represented by Gandler and Diamond for several years.
Elias is being represented by San Francisco lawyer Ed King, who specializes in cases involving professional athletes suing their representatives.
Details to follow.
An excerpt from last night:
2.Special teams was the difference:
PP: Ott- 2 of 6 Buf- 0 of 5
PK: Ott- 5 of 5, 1 SHG Buf- 4 of 6, 2 PPG allowed
3.With a PPG tonight, for the first time in his postseason career, Alfredsson has scored in three consecutive games. Clearly, the Ottawa captain is playing the best hockey of his career in an attempt to silence many critics.
4.Due in large part to all the penalties his team killed, Buffalo top center Daniel Briere took only 20 shifts (15:33 TOI) and was a non-factor finishing minus-two with no shots.
Hope ya'll check it out!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Last year, the Sabres despite as many as four starting defensemen hurt lost to the Hurricanes in a hard fought seven games. I’ll never forget my diehard buddy Brian’s reaction when Carolina won. It was a tirade of epic proportions. Who could blame him?
A Buffalo fan could only take so much pain and heartache.
The Sabres’ opponent knows something about that. Since coming to the NHL as an expansion team in 1992-93, Ottawa has built a solid foundation by making the postseason 10 consecutive seasons since ‘96-97 when they upset the top seeded Devils in six games.
I will be covering the Eastern Final, while Derek will check in with the Western series between Anaheim and Detroit.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
So why did the outcome turn out this way?
1.Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson couldn’t be stopped. The Devils continued to insist on matching the Madden line against them. They should’ve seen that it wasn’t working. I’d have scratched the plan tonight. They needed to do whatever it took to score goals and win. Lamoriello and his assistants failed here.
2.In this series, Brodeur had the clear edge over his younger opponent at the opposite end of the rink. He admitted that he had to be better after Game 4. It just never materialized. Whatever rebounds Emery let out were cleared by his D. And Marty might have been overworked because he continued to let in odd goals which hurt his team. He definitely needs a lighter load next year.
3.In the first round victory over Tampa, Parise was awesome scoring six goals. The super soph was blanketed in this round against a more defensive oriented opponent. Credit the checking of Mike Fisher because he saw a lot of Zach’s line. The Ottawa blueline also did a solid job along the walls shutting them down.
4.As predicted, the Ottawa blueline was more involved offensively. More active on the forecheck due to effective pinching, they made an impact. In particular, Preissing who just killed the Devils in key moments such as Game 3 and tonight. They also were more steady in their end and didn’t turn the puck over as much.
5.Devils’ captain Elias tried hard in the four games he got into but couldn’t find the back of the net. He was sharpest in the elimination game tallying an assist and also getting robbed point blank by Emery in the final minute. Clearly, he wasn’t himself in this series and hurt the play of linemates Gomez and Gionta. One goal in 10 playoff games isn’t very Elias-esque. Even if he did finish 1-9-10, they needed him to finish more.6.Anton Volchenkov. End of discussion. The Russian tower on the Ottawa D dominated this series by blocking a ton of shots including four more tonight. His teammates also chipped in and made it extremely difficult on the Devils to get shots through. In the clincher, they blocked 25 or 14 more than their desperate opponents. In fact, Volchenkov, Wade Redden (6) and Preissing (5) combined to block four more shots than the entire Devils roster (15-11).