Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rangers Round Out Preseason With Win

Marc Staal made an impact on last night's Rangers vs. Flyers game, scoring the game winning goal with 1:11 left in the 3rd period to give the Rangers a 3-2 win. The game was fast paced, and a little feisty at times. After Orr squared off against Jason Smith, Mike Richards hit Jaromir Jagr late in the first period after the whistle, leading to Chris Drury dropping the gloves and receiving 17 PIMs. Later on in the game, Smith took a run at Nigel Dawes, leading to Shannahan challenging him, although Smith got the better of him in the fight. Seconds later, Strudwick and Riley Cote fought in the Ranger's defensive zone.

Other than Staal, Brandon Dubinski recorded a power play goal in the second period and Nigel Dawes recorded his own power play goal in the third. Lundqvist played the entire game, giving up the two goals on 28 shots.

Ryan Hollweg was again the center of attention. While trying to establish a physical game, he took a boarding penalty in the first, and a charging penalty in the third. While the boarding call was borderline, and most likely deserved, there was no reason for a charging penalty in the third. Hollweg has earned a reputation for playing a hard nosed game, and it led to him being scrutinized after every hit he throws.

Chemistry between Gomez and Shannahan was again strong, and Drury and Jagr looked well playing together. Over the next four days there will be three more cuts, all of them tough. I'll be back when those happen.

Game 2 of the BoC London Showdown

Game 2 of Ducks-Kings at 12PM on VERSUS. Not sure who's doing a liveblog today, I'll update it if I see one.


I'll leave you with this...

London calling to the faraway towns
Now that war is declared-and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look at us
All that phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

CHORUS
The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Engines stop running and the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
London is drowning-and I live by the river

London calling to the imitation zone
Forget it, brother, an' go it alone
London calling upon the zombies of death
Quit holding out-and draw another breath
London calling-and I don't wanna shout
But when we were talking-I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain't got no highs
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes

CHORUS

Now get this
London calling, yeah, I was there, too
An' you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!
London calling at the top of the dial
After all this, won't you give me a smile?

I never felt so much a' like

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Devils Wrap-Up Pre-Season with win over Isles B-Team

Zubrus and Parise score for the Devils, Kip Brennan scored for the Islanders.

Devils more than doubled the shot total of the Islanders tonight.

I'll be back with a pre-season wrap-up tomorrow.

Devils Lineup Tonight, Remaining Players

After 19 players were dumped on Friday, Matthew Corrente was sent back to Juniors today, so here's what's still left. Coming is the rest of the roster along with new player #'s when indicated. New #'s are indicated with a *. Not included on the roster are Colin White, Jamie Langenbrunner and Cam Janssen, who are out with injuries for an extended period of time.

Goaltenders:
#30 Martin Brodeur

#1* Kevin Weekes

Defenders
#2 Vitaly Vishnevski
#6 Andy Greene
#7 Paul Martin
#24 Richard Matvichuk
#27* Mike Mottau
#28 Karel Rachunek
#29 Johnny Oduya

Forwards
#9 Zach Parise
#10* Rod Pelley
#11 John Madden
#12 Nicklas Bergfors
#14 Brian Gionta
#16 Dainius Zubrus
#17 Mike Rupp
#18 Sergei Brylin
#19 Travis Zajac
#20 Jay Pandolfo
#22 Aaron Asham
#23* David Clarkson
#26 Patrick Elias

Here's tonight's Devils lineup, without Elias and Oduya, courtesy of Islanders.com

Goaltenders
1 Kevin Weekes
30 Martin Brodeur

Defensemen
28 Karel Rachunek – 6 Andy Greene
2 Vitaly Vishnevski – 7 Paul Martin
24 Richard Matvichuk – 27 Mike Mottau

Forwards
9 Zach Parise – 19 Travis Zajac – 14 Brian Gionta
11 John Madden – 10 Rod Pelley – 22 Arron Asham
17 Mike Rupp – 18 Sergei Brylin – 23 David Clarkson
20 Jay Pandolfo – 16 Dainius Zubrus – 12 Nicklas Bergfors

Better Late than Never

Sorry for the late update, but the Rangers topped the Islanders last night in a rematch of Monday's brawl filled affair by a score of 4-2. The Islanders dressed only the required 8 NHL players, and the Rangers had most of their opening day roster in the lineup so the game was tilted from the start. Very little of Monday's game spilled over, with only the usual rivalry tension. The last 15 minutes or so got a little heated, with a few misconducts handed out, Hollweg and Orr right in the middle of it as usual, and even Fedor Tyutin dropping the gloves. Gomez got the scoring started for the Rangers, followed by two straight from Shannahan and an empty netter for Prucha. Bergenheim and Hunter scored for the Islanders.

The biggest things to take away from the game last night were the chemistry between Gomez and Shannahan, an increased level of play from Lundqvist and Nigel Dawes playing extremely well. Gomez and Shannahan looked great together, and that only helped out Dawes, who was playing on the other side of that line. Dawes is making a strong case for himself with the final roster cuts happening shortly after tonight's game against the Flyers. It's a toss up right now between him and Dubinski, who didn't really show much last night playing with Hollweg and Orr besides having another impressive scrap with Johnson of the Islanders. Lundqvist wasn't tested much, but after an initial bad goal allowed, looked sharp. His side-to-side movement looked better than previous games and his movement of the puck was minimal, but much better as well.

Jagr is playing tonight, but Avery and Anisimov will not. Anisimov will most likely be headed down to Hartford immediately following the game, and then Renney and the rest of the coaching staff are left with the tough decisions of Dubinski or Dawes, Montoya or Valiquette and Pock or Staal. We'll see what comes of it.

Also, if you get a minute, there is a real interesting read for Rangers fans over on Blueshirt Bulletin about the league and it's view on Hollweg, Simon, Downie, etc. I enjoyed it so I figured I'd pass it along.

I'll check back in later after I get the recap of Rangers and Flyers tonight.

Don't Sweat It

I think sometimes, the rivalry between our teams can be so intense that it gets the best of us. There's no question that the recent history has had an impact there. And it's clearly obvious that the history between Hollweg and Simon isn't going away anytime soon.

In watching some of last night's game, I will say that Hollweg's hit on an Islander was cheap because it was late and near the boards. I do think sometimes he pushes the envelope. So, I am not going to take him off the hook when he does stuff like that. He needs to keep his head. He also got a dumb penalty for high sticking.

This game is very intense and everyone is battling. I just didn't expect it to be at such a feverish pitch in exhibition. There's eight regular season meetings still between these teams and I'm certain those will be very exciting.

Anyway, I also want to apologize for causing any animosity. It's a long season and hopefully will be a lot of fun for everyone involved.


And on that note, the Ducks drop the opener to the Kings 4-1. Mike Cammalleri scored twice and Jonathan Bernier notched his first win in his NHL debut.

Bobby Ryan tallied his first career NHL goal for the Ducks.

The rematch is tomorrow in London.

An Apology

I understand that some of my fellow bloggers felt that I was a bit over the line in the agitation department regarding the Chris Simon - Ryan Hollweg feud. Suffice it to say that I was trying to spice up the dialog and prime us for the regular season ahead. It was an exciting week, especially for pre-season, and I guess I was a bit too into the whole feud. I respect all of the bloggers here and if anyone was offended, I truly apologize.

Rob

Hockey is Back


That's right! They're in the second period in London with the Kings ahead of the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks 2-0 on power play goals by Mike Cammalleri and new Los Angeles captain Rob Blake.

Not surprisingly, there's been a ton of penalties called as the teams have already had a combined 11 power plays and we're not even through the 2007-08's first 40 minutes!



What would you expect with Gary Bettman in attendance?


The best part of this game though was the beginning. The first ever NHL game in London and what happens? A half hour delay due to bad lighting!!!!!!

You got to love it. Only could happen to the NHL.

One thought on this game. The Ducks miss Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne. Their power play has looked out of synch thus far which would help explain their 0-for-5 output as we near the end of the second.

Two quick others:

1.The Kings D looks really good. They're getting in lanes blocking shots and breaking up plays. So far so good for them.

2.The rookie Jonathan Bernier who impressed so much in the preseason has looked very steady stopping all 16 Anaheim shots. If this is any indication, the 19 year-old 2006 first round pick (11th overall) should get his shot at being the No.1 goalie for L.A. It would also be in their best interests as a franchise.


Well, maybe we'll be back for more later. Happy puck day!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Devils Bloggers Town Hall

Thursday night, I had the privilege to be in the midst of greatness. Well, Patricia and Josh from 2 Man Advantage and John from In Lou We Trust, to be more accurate. We traded witty barbs and hockey insight on the Devils and the entire NHL. Here’s what transpired.

A Reminder...
SL - Yours Truly
PG - Patricia Greuter from 2 Man Advantage
JB - Josh Burnett from 2 Man Advantage
JF - John Fischer from In Lou We Trust

We begun the big show by speaking about Scott Gomez, and his legacy as a Devil.

John Fischer : Scott's legacy? He was a winner with a winning team.

Patricia Greuter: I certainly appreciate the little bastard's contributions, no doubt.

JF: That should detract from what he did in, say, 2000 and 2003.

Steve Lepore: he gave this team as much of a personality as they've ever had under Lou.

PG: But he also turned into somewhat of a diva this past season, it felt like.

SL: But if i remember correctly, he was awful in the '00 playoffs.

PG: I mean, come on, dude doesn't even know what backchecking is.

JF: I didn't get that impression at all, Pat. And he was a rookie in 2000.

SL: He tore up the league in 2000 though, and he had AlMo on his wing, didn't he?

PG: Oh he was great in 2000. He and AlMo's chemistry was amazing

JF: It was amazing how Mogilny did even better in 2001 whereas Gomez hit the sophmore slump hard.

PG: Gomer had been benched for poor play a few times over the span of his career in NJ.

SL: Lets not get into Gomez v. Burns.

JF: Overall, Gomez gave the Devils depth at attack - someone not named Neidermayer leading breakouts was nice, as well as a specific playmaking center.

PG: Like I said, on a defensive minded team, Gomez was stifled. And that's quite awkward coming from a guy who doesn't like shooting the puck.

JF: Now, now, he shot the puck plenty of times 2 years ago.

SL: anyway, how do you think a new centerman will affect Elias and Gionta?


JF: Which is what probably convinced the Rangers to spend $10 mil. Thinking gomez will return to that year, and all that

PG: He's pretty set on the fact that he can dazzle the opposition with his puckhandling, which he CAN do. I think he will shoot more, yes.

JF: He'll have to. Jagr likes to dish too.

PG: I don't think you're going to see some miraculous breakthrough though

Josh Burnett: I need to type faster, points I'm on th verge of making are made before i make them!

PG: Anyway, in terms of Zubrus

SL: I dont want to deny you the excitement of discussing Dianus Zubrus

JF: Dainius Zubrus.

SL: Eh, fair enough, let's talk some Zubi.

PG: Dainius, Steve

SL: I'm going with Zubi for the rest of forever

PG: Let's let Josh field this one first

JF: Chere's article indicates he's fitting in well. He'll have to given his contract and role on the team.

JF: Oops, my bad

SL: Does anyone think Zubi's going to play center on the top line? He's really more comfortable on the wing

PG: Yeah, but who are you going to put there otherwise?

JB: No problem. I like Zubi personally. I think his size complements Patty and Gio well.

SL: I really want to say Zajac, but im not splitting him and Parise.

PG: I wish Zubrus would use his size more to his advantage.

SL: And your right on the size factor.

JB: I don't think you put Parise or Zajac on the top line, so Zubi's your top center by default.

SL: Is Zubrus the 2nd coming of Viktor Kozlov?

JF: I do NOT want to see Elias centering the top line again. And I will cry if I see the second coming of Viktor Kozlov. Zubrus has proven more so far in his career.

PG: Although it seems Kozzie has had somewhat of a re-birth in his career

JF: He isn't afraid to use his body and he's versatile enough to fit on a first line.

PG: He was just awful with New Jersey

SL: Alright, lets talk about the other defector. Brian Rafalski hasnt taken the abuse it seems that Gomez has taken.

JF: Because he's now in Detroit. Do they even play NJ this year?

SL: Is it more that he went to Detroit, or that Lou probably could've signed him. No, NJ does not play Detroit this season


PG: Well, as I previously said, Detroit will be kicking themselves about three years into THAT contract

JB: I think it's because he went to be closer to home. Whereas NYC is only about 6mile sfurther from home for Mr Gomez.

JF: Well, then, I can only hope the Devils do meet Detroit this coming season then. It doesn't even have to be Detroit, come to think of it. Any Western Conf. team will do.

PG: Raffi doesn't have too many years left in the tank

JF: I don't know, Rafalski doesn't have to be the #1 guy in Detroit. He'll get less minutes than he did in NJ

JB:That might work for him though.

PG: Yeah, but he ALREADY got hurt in preseason

JF: He'll be in the top 4, something he's more than capable of doing. For what it's worth, I think he's better than Mathieu Schnieder. So Detroit upgraded there.

SL: Well, Raffy will have the benefit of not being counted on as the #1 guy

PG: And he never should have been a #1 guy...which made me hate him in New Jersey

SL: He’s not even the best offensive deffenseman on the team.

JF: Where as the Rangers didn't really need both Gomez AND Drury. But I can't really find much hate for a guy taking a lot of money late in his career to a team not even in our conference.

SL: He was never quite the same after Stevens couldnt play anymore

JF: Gomez on the other hand, well, it's the opposite. And Rafalski doesn't have to be the #1 two-way defenseman, Detroit still has the commanding defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom

JB: Maybe in other years Raffi would have gotten at least some grieg for signing elsewhere.

SL: Alright, lets talk about the rest of the replacements we found during the offseason.

PG: I didn't really want Rafalski retained, to be honest. I was sad to see him go, but I don't think he was all that needed here. The Atlantic has a weak defense as a whole, we could get by with what we have.

SL: So, Karel Rachunek.

PG: Rachunek has impressed me so far.

JF: If I could see more the preseason games, I could say more about Karel. I hear good things, though

SL: Absolutely. I’ve heard hes more of a body presence than originally intended.

JB: I hope what we've seen so far can hold up. Because the assists he's gathering and teh plays he's making look real good right now.

PG: I think Rachunek was in a bad situation in New York. He wasn't that bad of a defender, he got a bad wrap (like so many players do in Manhattan), and they feed into it. He'll be a helluva lot better here.

JF: I do worry that his unluckiness/positioning will hurt NJ like he did in NY (to the Devils' benefit at times).

SL: Alright, lets talk Vitaly Vishnevski.

JF: Well, if you like BIG BODY PRESENCE (tm Pierre McGuire), you already like Vishnevski.

PG: Definitely, John.

JB: I really want to see VV succeed. I think he's exactly what this team should have had last year.

JF: To be honest, he's a third-pairing defenseman who I really think is there to add size to the blueline and to push Oduya/Greene a little bit.

PG: He's a bruiser, fo' sho'. He's not going to be some great diamond in the rough though

JF: I don't understand why the Devils went out for more size considering how craptacularly bad the offensive production was last season. But I guess the market dictated that option moot quickly enough.

PG: I think he is what he is, and that's just fine.

PG: We need size, end of story. He's size...end of story.

SL: My only worry about him is...will we have Janssen colored glasses for him, ignoring his actual play despite his awesome hitting power.

JB: that story ended twice.

PG: Yeah, SO? It'll end as many times as it damn will, Josh!

SL: Fine, end of story then. [Laughs]

PG: END OF STORY.

JB: Don’t hurt me.

JF: Just because Anaheim won the Cup doesn't mean size is the way to go. And I would love to see one of our burgoning young RWs take Janssen's spot.

PG: Yeah, but Ottawa pushed us around John

JF: They also outscored us, Patricia.

SL: That's the main reason they won that series.

JF: Yeah, goals kind of determine wins. Not hits.

PG: The scoring will come. Size can't miraculously appear

SL: Yes, but physical play led to goals in that series

JF: No it didn't. The Devils failing to be aggressive for the puck meant Ottawa had all day to do whatever they wanted in whatever space they wanted. There's a difference between size and aggressiveness. Just look at, say, Viktor Kozlov.

SL: Well, that transitions us well into the man who plans to fix all that

JB: But when you've got a stature like brian gionta, your agression can only be so effective

PG: Look at the guys we've brought in though -- they bring size AND aggression to the table. You need to find a parallel

SL; moving on...who here doesn’t like Brent Sutter.

JF: I love Brent Sutter as the head coach because he's instilling that aggressiveness without sacrificing the talent necessary to get goals. The size helps him do this, yes, but aggressiveness is also seen in the gameplan - which we didn't much of with Claude Julien.

PG: I don't want to give Sutter all the accolades in the world just yet, I mean, dude does have to prove he can win games with this team first.

JB: I do like what I see from Mr. Sutter. I'm not going to proclaim him king savior of Devilland, but the spirit the team is showing so far is a nice change. Yeah, what she said.

JF: But I am serious. Getting big alone doesn't address the problem, the mindset in terms of forechecking and puck possession is also a key in being aggressive. And Sutter has been doing that with the team so far this preseason.

JF: So, for what I know of what he's doing, I think he's been solid. Now to see him do it in games that count.

SL: I think sutter's the right guy at the right time, with the relatively young team we have right now.

JF: Are the Devils really that relatively young?

PG: Not really, but they ARE younger.

SL: Elias is what, 30?

JB: Keeping in mind the his first game coaching in the NHL will be October 4th, I'm cautiously optimistic as to the prospects of Sutter as an effective, winning coach.

PG: 31, actually

SL: Gionta, Zajac, Parise, likely the 4th line, Martin, Whitey, Greene, Oduya

JF: Gionta isn't too far behind from 30. Martin has entered the prime of his career. Yes, the Devils do have some youth - but it's not a young team.

JF: It's a mix. And isn't White also 30?

PG: Right, but they are younger than the past few seasons, John. Not a young team though.

JF” Yes.

PG: I think White is 28

JF: If only there was a resource where people could access data at their fingertips really fast. On computers. Hmmm...

SL: But everyone agree, right now he looks like the guy for the job? knowing that it's without having played a game

JB: Well he's played a game.

JF: Preseason games.

PG: I don't think we can proclaim him the "right" or "wrong" guy for the job until we see how he fares behind the bench. Give it 15-20 games. Then ask me

JF: But for now, he's the guy. It makes no sense to call for his head now.

PG: Am I?

SL: Give it 79 games, or as i call it "The Lou lamoriello Barometer"

PG: I'm just saying, don't call it either way until we see how he does

JF: No one is calling for anyone's head. Well, except maybe me wanting more out of the marketing people, but that's another rant.

JB: except sean avery's...dammit stop being witty faster than me people.

JF: Fun fact: White turns 30 in December.

SL: anyway...simple, 2-part question

PG: That's not that fun.

SL: Yes it is, it means Whitey's one year closer to retirement :-)

JB: the hell was that...?

PG: Yeah but there's still too many years left on his nine-million year contract.

JF: Yeah, but it's $3 mil/year, Pat. For a #2 d-man, that's a bargin. Also it's a bargain.

PG: Yeah, but he shouldn't be a #2 (=

SL: he takes too many penalties to be a #2

PG: I dub thee Mr. Anger Management!

SL: Here's a 2-part question, as we move on from hate for whitey

JB: $3 million a year will by good psychotherapy.

JF: He took 69 PIM last year! Janssen had more minutes!

PG: Yes, but how many of those were DUMB penalties? Quite a few, my black and red lovin' friend.

JF: I don't know, but he's been improving by lowering his penalty minutes every season he's been in the league.

SL: Janssen has those things that go for 5 minutes

JF: Stupid fights, I know. As he gets older, White gets better with calls - I got no problem with that.

JB: To be fair, I think White's due for a good year. Then again, I thought that last year.

SL: That hit on Avery in La - however, worth at least half that salary

JB: But on with the two-parter, Mister Lepore...?

PG: Yeah, but as you already mentioned, he's almost 30. There's only so much time he can continue to improve. He still takes a lot of dumb penalties. Cut the dumb penalties, he's capable, but not solid. Just my opinion.

JF: That too. For a while, White has been the sole non-goon hit machine.

SL: Yes

PG: So, uh, 2-parter?

SL: How many games do you want Martin Brodeur to play this year, and how many will he play? 70 & 75 here

PG: Out of the 82 games, he will play 94.

JF: He will play....let's say 68.

PG: He should play 65-70 games.

JB: Want: 65ish. Will play: 72

JF: I do think that Brodeur has earned the right to play 70+ games if he wants to, though. I didn't think fatigue was his problem last playoffs as it was bad luck and a defense that got ripped to shreads by opposing offenses.

JB: I think his playing time is directly related to how tight the division/playoff races in February and March are, though.

SL: Whats everyone think about marty's playing time?

JF: I agree with Josh. If the Devils are in a big fight for the division, Marty will get more games.

PG: I just don't want to see Marty get hurt. His knee worries me, he's dealt with a few MCL sprains the past few seasons. I don't mind him playing as much as he wants to play. If he can do it, more power to the man. He's our God.

JB: I was okay with his playing time last year honestly. Part of the reason I want to see him play 65 games this year is because I'm really liking Kevin Weekes and would like to see him get some shots.

JF: Marty played well over 80 total games last season, I think he'll be fine with respect to legs. Weekes is a big upgrade over Clemmensen/Doyle, so the Devils can rest Marty without a big dropoff in net.

SL: Patricia loved Clemmer more than any human being alive, will you admit its an upgrade?

JB: I'm sure his mother loves him...

PG: John, he's had a couple knee injuries in the past. His MCL isn't as strong as it should be. With age as well, it's always a concern.

SL: Not as much as patricia

PG: Not a big concern, sure, but a concern.

JF: None of those injuries has stopped Brodeur from playing, I don't think it's anything to worry about.

PG: Not true.

JF: No?

PG: Even though he played through them, he played mediocre at best. He struggled through them

JF: Oh, right, Brodeur was injured for that one game last year...or was it two? Mediocre? Last season?

PG: Over the past two seasons, he has injured his knee twice

JB: End of last season. Philly game, late March, specifically.

JF: Could have fooled me given how amazing he's been in those last two years.

PG: John, it's something to watch out for. He's not getting any younger. You just need to make sure you're number one is feeling his best. John, he had stretches of mediocrity. When he was healthy, he played stellar. Trust me.

SL: Okay...lets talk some Around the League issues

PG:...or not...[laughs].

JF: Controversial Point: I don't hate Gary Bettman. Controversial Point #2: I don't think Canada - or any place - deserves a hockey team.

JB: I agree with one of those controversial points.

PG: Controversial Point #3: Mayonaise is overrated.

SL: As i run out of the way, whats everyone thinking as we head into Year 3 of The NHL on Versus and The NHL On NBC

JB: 2 out of 3 now.

JF: I'm glad it's not ESPN.

PG: Hey, as long as we have hockey broadcast somewhere, I'm content.

JF: That's my opinion. No ESPN, hockey's on TV somewhere, I'm good.

JB: I'm glad to see NBC trying to do something to grow the game, even if it is out of needing something to show on new year's day

PG: With that said, though, I wish Versus would upgrade the quality of its broadcast. The camera angles are still awful.

JF: I also want Brian Engbloom to see a hairdresser.

PG: Like I said in that SFM interview, I'd like to watch the play as it happens, not three seconds after.

PG: Sidebar: If I see one more Levitra spam ad, I'm going to personally go to the makers of Levitra and murder them all.

PG: Josh will get it.

JF: Cialis would love your murder spree.

SL: factoid: Bill Patrick's cell-phone ringtone is "Brass Bonanza"

JB: i added the aol email address to my list, he hasnt been on yet.

SL: I like him over Clement already

JB: good for bill patrick I guess. mine is Stronger by Kanye West. aw yeah.

JF: Anyone who doesn't grunt as a part of his commentating style is an improvement over Bill Clement.

PG: Mine is Freak Out by 311. I win.

JB: you really don't.

PG: I really do. TIMES INFINITY. Now I do win.

JF: You can't win with cell phone ringers.

JB: n-n-now that that dont kill me, can only make me stronger...

JF: Like you can't win hockey games without goals.

JB: we really ought to move on.

SL: Thank goodness

SL: What’s everyone think of this outdoor game?

JF: I think it's a great idea. A big hockey game which will sell out thousands more than 2 arenas combined on a day where there isn't much sports-wise. Great call.

PG: I get it in the sense that NHL's golden boy is playing and that Buffalo is the logical destination for nice, cold outdoor hockey...but I still don't like the choice of teams.

JB: Like I said before, glad to see NBC trying to grow the game, even if it's only for their ratings.

PG: But the idea is brilliant, even if copied

JB: Casual American sports fans won't understand the significanc ebut might get drawn to the gimmick if they're flipping by.

PG: True.

JB: It's great for hockey fans though, and that's what's important.

JF: The league NEEDS casual fans though, to grow. Hopefully the game will turn a couple of them into hardcores.

PG: Sad though, I don't think it will. I think it will bring more casual fans, if anything. And we need all we can get, so that's good.

JF: Well, it's still people. If the NFL still reaches out to the casual audience, pretty much every league has to.

SL: BoNY friend Jodie Lemaster of Battle of PA and the SIdney Crosby Show will be there in person

JB: it's a gimmick based in history. in theory, it should be great for hockey fans and casual/non-fans alike. hopefully it draws some of those fans who stop on it because they see an outdoor hockey game into the game. into the game of hockey in general rather, beyond just the one game.

JF: Exactly. Nothing wrong with a spectacle. the NY Red Bulls drew a lot of people to Giants Stadium to see one player and even if only a hundred stay as fans, it's a benefit.

SL: Lets face it, 1PM has a bunch of meaningless bowl games

JF: Oh, there are bowl games that day? Like...the Meinike Car Care Bowl? Yeah, minor bowls aren't a thing (unless Rutgers is in one, then, well, you know...go RU but...)

SL: Alright, real quick...how far can NJD go this year?

PG: They can go as far as their little hearts desire!

SL: Be honest, is this a team that can go further than round 2?

PG: This is not a team equipped to win the Cup.

JF: All the way. They can go all the way. But they'll likely end up losing in the Eastern Finals.

PG: But, what Cup winning Devils team HAS been equipped to win the Cup?

S: 2001

JF: Good point, Patricia. 2003 was quite unlikely considering the flaws on that team

PG: Well, we didn't win the Cup in 2001, Steve.

SL: 2001 was more equipped to win a cup than 2003

JB: I think that this team CAN win the Cup. Whether they will depends on all those variables falling into place. Which seems highly unlikely.

JF: Definitely, but they ran out of gas. I do think they can advance beyond the second round.

SL: Alright, lets talk atlantic division

JF: I just don't see them dodging teams that have their number for 3 straight rounds. I also don't see another division title...the Devils will narrowly miss their third, I think.

PG: It feels comforting knowing that if the boys really need a boost at the deadline, it's possible to go out and grab something because there's cap room

SL: rank 'em 1-5

JF: Pittsburgh will capture it now that they dumped some of their trash players for better ones. Penguins, Devils, Rangers, Flyers, Islanders in that order.

SL: Pens, Rags, Devs, Failures, Isles

JB: 1, 2, 3, 4, are all interchangable between Philly, NYC, Pittsburg, and NJ. The only definate in this division is the Islanders finish dead last.

JF: You're not making many friends with that Rangers over Devils prediction, Steve.

PG: Agreed with Josh

JF: The Flyers can finish last. Trust me.

PG: I think the Flyers will do considerably better.

JF: It'll be a tough division.

SL: I do to, I have them pegged at 7th

JB: I don't think they can John, because I don't think the Isles can finish 4th.

PG: Biron is a better goalie than people think.

JF: We all could be wrong. And don't doubt the failing possibilities of a team.

PG: I wouldn't mind seeing DiPo keep the crap outta a Rangers goalie again though.

JF: The islanders weren't "supposed" to make the playoffs last year either.
.
Incudude530 (9:25:56 PM):
I’ll be killed if i reveal my top 8.

JF: I have a hard time gauging each team year to year, admittedly.

SL: Because...i dont think the sabres will make the playoffs

JF: What.

PG: I don't really like making predictions [laughs]

SL: I think there are 8 teams in this conference better than the sabres

JB: I haven't tried to come up with a top 8. there's too many teams that are too evenly matched to come up with a definitive prediction.

SL: alrite, lets do some quick hits before we go

JF: Very quick.

SL: Simple question, simple answer

JB: I can't even tell you if the Devilswill finish first or fourth in the division let alone the rest of the conference

SL: Eastern Conference Champ.

JF: Not the Rangers.

SL: Penguins

JF: Probably the Senators. Again.

JB: Devils, of course? (non-homer answer: Senators)

SL: Western Champ? Ducks here.

JF: No. Let's say...Crap, who do I want to say...

SL: C’mon, even without Nieds an Teemu, they still are tops in the west

JB: I'll say Detroit, mostly because I don't want to say Anahiem.

JF: San Jose. A sleeper pick if there ever was one.

SL: Stanley Cup Champ? Based on your two conf. winners...i say Ducks

JF: San Jose because I want to continually laugh when Ottawa gives up another own goal in a SCF game.

JB: I'll go Detroit again.

SL: MVP of the league

JF: Crosby.

SL: Sid the Gentleman

JB: sigh...Crosby

SL: MVP of the Devs

JF: Poor Ovechkin. Brodeur.

SL: Zach

JB: Brodeur. Taking him out, Gionta.

SL: Devs Top Scorer...Patty here.

JB: goals or points?

SL: points

JB: Elias

JF: Elias. Again.

SL: Top Rookie

JB: Greene still qualifies as a rookie, so...Andy Greene

SL: Clarkson

JF: I'll guess Pelley.

SL: Marty's ballpark # of wins

JB: 40

JF: 40. To keep that streak going and to make Roy sweat.

SL: 39-44. Finally...Number of times Jay Pandolfo makes Gomez & Jagr cry this season

JF: Can't answer, Gomez won't cry. But...twice. If you must have one.

JB: I'll tell you that one when the season's over.

SL: alright boys

SL: Thank you so much, this hasnt been a total failure, and at the end of the day, i think thats all we can ask for

JF: Thank you. This was a lot better than typing all by myself.

SL: say goodnight felas

JB: goodnight felas. sorry, couldn't resist.

SL: damn you, beat me to it

JF: Goodnight.

PG: Alright, have a good night boys, had fun.

Shut Up and Play Time

Kings-Ducks at Noon Today. Awww Yeah.

HDNet for those who have it in America
CBC in Canada.
Center Ice for all.

Enjoy.

Oh, and enjoy Battle of Califonia's liveblog done by the superbly named Rudy Kelly.

Back with a cap after the game.

Round 2 Tonight?

The Rangers and Islanders square off again tonight following a game that provoked fights on the ice, and debates in the blogging world. Over the last 4 days, points have been made here by both Rangers and Islanders bloggers, myself included. Some were very valid, including several in the last Islanders' post by Frank. And while it got a little heated with Rob, he also has some points that I agree with. Both also said some things that I disagree with, but hey, I'm a Rangers fan, they're Islanders fans, it's going to happen. I welcome the healthy debate.

Moving on from that, tonight's game will most likely not have quite so much explosiveness as Monday's game. Chris Simon and Rick DiPietro will not dress tonight for the Islanders, and Avery will not dress, and Montoya is reserved for backup duties for the Rangers. Don't expect nothing to happen, however, as it is still Rangers v. Islanders and players like Sutton, Witt, Brennen, Orr, Hollweg and Strudwick are all expected in the lineup. Personally, I think someone owes Sutton a big, crushing hit (legal of course) for his elbow to Callahan, but that's just me.

For the Rangers faithful out there, Jaromir Jagr is nursing a hip flexor, and will not skate tonight, but is probable for tomorrow's preseason finale against Philly. Sean Avery is also less than 100% with a minor groin injury. Steve Valiquette's chances at making the team are also dwindling as he is still recovering from a cut on his hand suffered when he was altering his goalie pads. Thanks to Sam Weinman, we know that Mara and Pock will not be skating tonight on defense, and that the third pairing will be Staal and Strudwick. Artem Anisimov will not skate, but Dubinski will. Lundqvist is penciled in to play the entire game.

That's it for now. I'll be back tonight with some updates on the game. For those in the New York area, the game is on MSG at 7pm. Hopefully tonight's discussions of the game are a lot more civil than the last few days'.

It ain't tennis boys...

I know I am a little late coming to the aid of my fellow Islander fan Rob on the fracas between the Islanders and Rangers the other night but I will try to give some of my own "insight" if you will. First and foremost, why was Chris Simon playing? Granted I am an Islanders fan but I don't see how a suspended player, especially one who was suspended for swinging their stick like Simon did, is allowed to play pre-season games let alone a game with a heated rival.

And I get it Hollweg "plays on the edge," yadda, yadda, yadda. Obviously somewhere along the line Hollweg upset Simon enough that every game Simon will have a vendetta against him and that folks is hockey, even more so in what creates a heated hockey rivalry. But here is the thing, if Hollweg wants to be an energy guy and throw his body around he is going to need to be accountable and defend himself when another team's enforcer steps in with the proverbial enough is enough hand-to-hand combat routine.

The issue here is between Chris Simon and Ryan Hollweg, not Colton Orr, and certainly not Jason Strudwick. From the video it looks as if Hollweg and Simon were paired off and Simon had a slight advantage in the 1 round bout. Why Jason Strudwick felt the need to get involved is beyond me. Hollweg is a big boy who played Major Junior so I am sure he knows about fisticuffs, Strudwick should've let the two fine gentlemen have at it.

And please Jeremy Colliton, take off your skirt next time everyone pairs up on the ice, you embarrassed Islander fans during the melee. The least Colliton could've done to prevent Strudwick from getting involved was drop his gloves and try to hold back his man. Ricky D. was doing the right thing to help out his guy when Strudwick was trying to play "Peace Maker" and hold back Simon's arms so Hollweg could get a few shots in, now that was not a "punk" move at all.

Also, lets not forget a little trip down memory lane where Dan Cloutier "disrespected" Tommy Salo while punching him when he was defenseless on the ice, I am sure Ranger fans weren't rooting for an injury there Mr. Kovy274Hart. Montoya got what was coming to him, he was not baited into anything. Not to mention the fact, the Referees could've easily stepped in when the 2 netminders were squaring up.

I've looked at the tape and I believe I've looked at it objectively as well. Like I said in the beginning Simon had no right playing in this game and this could have been avoided or at least prevented until Simon's suspension is over. Strudwick was wrong for trying to get to Simon, Ricky D. was right in standing up for his teammate, and Jeremy Colliton is a little girl. So put on the foil and think Eddie shore, because I doubt we've seen the last of this bad blood.

Hollweg On and On

Well - Kovy's subjectively assumptive interpretation of my previous statements, while totally ignoring the truth continues to muddy the Chris Simon situation.

Kovy states "Not from behind as you claimed countless times as if to justify the ridiculous retaliation if you can actually call it that."

I have never tried to justify Simon's infraction against Hollweg and thought the action was abominable, and have said so. But if you objectively look at Hollweg's boarding against Simon and all of Hollweg's continuous cheap shots from behind, it is easy to see who the dirtier player is.

And your claim that Simon shouldn't have played is ridiculous. He is getting ready for the season and as he has to sit out 5 more regular season games, of course he needs pre-season playing time. Hollweg played, right? If you watched the game, you'll see that the Rangers actually incited the riot. But, I understand your lack of objectivity and desire to stick up for your goons just because of the color jersey he wears.

Well, I guess this will go on and on as the Rags bloggers continue to attempt to re-write history and paint Hollweg as a character guy. Whatever.




Random Thoughts

Just for our Islander blogger Rob who is here to give his slant on things, neither myself nor Lenny is debating the fact that Ryan Hollweg plays the game on the edge and sometimes catches guys from behind.

The fourth line energizer plays the game hard and is out there throwing his body around to inject energy. Not much different from most fourth liners with little skill. There have been instances where I've taken him to task for some undisciplined penalties. Because when you play that kind of aggressive physical game, you have to play it smart and not wind up in the box for boarding costing your team.

I feel where we differ on the whole Hollweg-Chris Simon saga is that the Ranger side feels the winger caught Simon from the side with a shoulder. Not from behind as you claimed countless times as if to justify the ridiculous retaliation if you can actually call it that.

Nobody here is calling the former Ranger evil. But his actions were uncalled for then. And for him to get back in the Islander lineup in a meaningless preseason game and continue to take cheapshots igniting a brawl, it makes us lose respect for the guy.

As it is, I feel Simon is a solid player and can add a good element to any team. He's got some ability to score a few goals too unlike most fourth liners. We got a chance to see that here where he fared well and won plenty of respect on Broadway.

When a character player resorts to cheapshots on another team no matter who it is or the situation, it changes the perception.

If he did that on our team, I'd be equally as appalled and want him off my team. There's no place in this game for that shenanigans.

So, if you want to stick up for him because of what color jersey he wears, you're more than welcome to. Just don't expect myself or my co-blogger who's brought a lot to the table to agree with you.

I'm way past the point of this being about what's an entertaining and great bitter rivalry which is good for the game. This is about a player who screwed up. Plain and simple. Much like Donald Brashear and Marty McSorley and much like Todd Bertuzzi.

I am all for hard fought ultracompetitive games between our clubs and hopefully it won't become as disgraceful tonight or in the meaningful eight this season as it was this past Monday at Nassau Coliseum.

If the situation is reversed and a Ranger does it, I'll have no problem taking them to task.


Hope we are clear here.

Best of luck this season.


As for my one random thought, this is for Lepore:

If the Sabres miss the playoffs, I'll walk from my home to the Verrazano Bridge.

Any chance Doc and Eddie have been talking too much to my crazed Buffalo friend Brian?

There's no way that team misses. And that's a guarantee!


P.S. Fedor Tyutin and Dan Girardi are higher on the depth chart than Paul Mara and highly anticipated Marc Staal.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

26 Reasons I'm Excited about the NHL Season

I can't believe we're two days from seeing hockey again.

Hockey, I missed you.

After a Summer filled with Michael Vick, Tim Donaghy, Barry Bonds, Milton Bradley, Terrell Owens (I'm sure he did something), Donovan McNabb, Shawn Marion, Kevin Garnett, Jose Canseco, Jason Giambi, David Beckham and a whole other load of crap that I'm sure I haven't mentioned, I'm ready to love you again hockey.

So now, I present to you, 26 (in honor of Patrik Elias...sure that works out) reasons I'm excited about the NHL season.

1. We'll start with rookies. Once Chicago leaves it's current surrealist "I can't believe I'm not running through the streets with bottles of tequila" state after the death of owner Bill Wirtz, they can get excited for Patrick Kane (hopefully) and Jonathan Toews (Who will manage 80 points this year, that's my first garantee). However, of all the "super-rookies" each NHL blogger told me about during my series of SFM Previews (Keep reading), I think I'm excited more about Jack "MF" Johnson than any other.

2. Gretzky keeps aging. Have you ever looked at a photo of George W. Bush in the year 2000, and then compared it to a photo of him now? Check a pic of The Great One in 2005, and one of him in April 2008, after a 3rd season of the black hole of hopelessness that is Phoenix.

3. NHL Previews. Including mine, Greg Wyshynski, John Buccigross and others are able to entertain as well as inform. John's for his ability to fill up my iPod. Greg's for the fact that he listed Dainius Zubrus as "The Worst Excuse For a Player on the Washington Capitals" in 2005. There's one I'll never forget, Greg.

4. Zach Parise. I'm more excited than Ja Rule at a Focus on the Family meeting to see how 'THE ZACH' progresses in his third season in red and black.

5. New Uniforms. You know, the ones that will come in 08-09 after all the complaints about these ones.

6. Figuring out who has the best Top 4 defenseman in the Atlantic Division. It's so hard to choose between Malik-Rozsival-Staal-Mara, Martin-White-Matvichuk-Vishnevski, Hatcher-Timmonen-Smith-Coburn, Gonchar-Sydor-Orpik-Whitney, or Witt-Bergeron-Sutton-Campoli. Man, good help is hard to find.

7. On a complete opposite note, Brodeur-Lundqvist-DiPietro-Fleury-Biron is more exciting than any other goalie fivesome in the league.

8. Guys like the super-human Greg Wyshynski, the entertaining Derek Felix, the incredible Paul Kukla, the hilarious Daryl Reaugh, the [thesaurus broken] Eric McErlain and all the guys at all the Battle sites and Fanhouse will be talking hockey again on a daily basis.

9. Versus continues it's transition from "What's that network?" to "That channel we tried to V-Chip".

10. The Islander blog box. I'm jonesin' for a Larry Brooks-Eklund showdown.

11. I'll admit it...Sid the Young Gentleman and Alexander the Still Great are still reasons 1-25 to love hockey.

12. The Dallas Stars. Because you all know they're one playoff-less season away from Willa Ford changing addresses.

13. Hockey-bashing newspaper columnists. They angry up the blood. Whenever I go to a game, I read about 6 or 7 columns from America's greatest hockey-bashers (Kornheiser, Mariotti, Norman Chad, etc.) and watch Tim Cowlishaw get punished for talking hockey on Around the Horn, and frack I'm in the mood to yell and scream at The Rock that night.

14. More and more hockey references in pop culture. The Daily Show, CW's "Reaper" and The Simpsons all featured some form of hockey reference on episodes this week. From Raffi Torres' hilarious interview with Dan Bakkedahl on TDS, to the awesome Zamboni scene in Reaper (Watch it Thursday at 9, it's legitimately shocking), to Homer's Red Wings jersey (albeit in a parody of Feris Beuller), hockey's becoming more acceptable - so much so that Mike Myers' next movie is based in the world of pucks. Where apparently Justin Timberlake plays hockey, and Jessica Alba owns a team coached by Mini-me. But any press is good press, right?

15. The Northwest, Southeast, and Atlantic Divisions, where all five teams have some form of hope for a post-season bid.

16. The Sabres not making the playoffs. Both "Doc" Emrick and Kevin Greenstein have said this week that there is a very good shot it could happen, and I kinda believe them. Not really that exciting, just wanted to mention that somewhere.

17. The Florida Panthers. Could Tomas Vokoun do what Roberto Luongo couldn't, making this team a playoff one for the first time since being trounced by NJD in 2000? True story...I had tickets to game 5 of that series. I was a heart-broken 11-year old, it was birthday gift to see playoff hockey. Of course, I did end up with tickets to a game in the Toronto series that year. But still...damn you Panthers!

18. Liveblogs. Oh, we're going to do a bunch this year, trust me. And it won't be just the 6 of us humble servants here.

19. The return to an All-Star Weekend. All-Stars on Tuesday and Wednesday just doesn't seem right. Hopefully Atlanta does the game justice. L'il Jon performing the national anthem? I don't think it can not happen.

20. My job at the Meadowlands paying for Devils tickets at The Rock. Mmmm...sleeping with the enemy.

21. My top 8 in the East and West
EAST: PIT, OTT, CAR, NYR, BUF, TB, NJ, PHI
WEST: ANA, VAN, DET, SJ, COL, MIN, LA, STL

Yeah, I have Calgary and Dallas (and Nashville) and Atlanta out. That's the exciting part.

22. My Conference Champions: The Anaheim Ducks and The Pittsburgh Penguins

23. My Stanley Cup Champion: The Anaheim Ducks, in 7 Games

24. My Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Sidney Crosby (Oh, you know it would totally happen).

25. My League MVP: Okay, so Crosby probably get it again. Who cares.

26. Beginning anew, hockey-wise, here in New Jersey. Let's create something big, eh' Devils fans? Don't Stop Believin'.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Devils Spank Isles, 6-1

The Devils beat the Isles 6-1 tonight at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Ma. Brian Gionta took Wade Dubielewicz to school 3 times on the game, while John Madden added a pair and Travis Zajac chipped in one.

Richard Park scored the lone Isles goal.

The teams meet again on Saturday in Bridgeport.

Here were the line combos tonight:

ISLANDERS
Goaltenders
34 Wade Dubielewicz
35 Joey MacDonald

Defensemen
4 Bryan Berard - 8 Bruno Gervais
14 Chris Campoli - 24 Radek Martinek
44 Freddy Meyer - 2 Aaron Johnson

Forwards
16 Jon Sim - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
15 Jeff Tambellini - 29 Ben Walter - 57 Blake Comeau
20 Sean Bergenheim - 51 Frans Nielsen - 28 Tim Jackman
54 Gordie Dwyer - 10 Richard Park - 27 Darryl Bootland


NEW JERSEY
Goaltenders
30 Martin Brodeur
1 Frank Doyle

Defensemen
6 Andy Greene – 28 Karel Rachunek
2 Vitaly Vishnevski – 32 Mike Mottau
29 Johnny Oduya – 42 Matthew Corrente

Forwards
52 Nicklas Bergfors – 16 Dainius Zubrus – 14 Brian Gionta
9 Zach Parise – 19 Travis Zajac – 48 David Clarkson
11 John Madden – 49 Rod Pelley – 22 Arron Asham
17 Mike Rupp – 18 Sergei Brylin – 47 Barry Tallackson

Devils Blogger Town-Hall-O-Rama

I promise that won't be the real name.

So far, myself, Patricia and Josh from 2 Man Advantage and John from In Lou We Trust will be discussing all the key issues surrounding the Devils, the Atlantic Division and the NHL on Thursday at 8pm. I'm not sure you'll be able to watch it live, but a transcript will be posted on all 3 sites.

SO, I ask that you head to the comment section and submit some Q's that we can give some A's to.

Check out John Buccigross' debut column of the year:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview2007/columns/story?columnist=buccigross_john&id=3036832

Devs Season Preview Tonight

FSN NY is airing a Devils Season Preview tonight at 7PM till 8PM.

Okay...

Everyone, a reminder. It's just a game.

Devils won 3-1 on Monday. Nik Bergfors potted 2, Rod Pelley added the other goal and Brodeur played for the 1st time.

Devs take on the Islanders tonight in Lowell

Rangers Drop Third Preseason Game in a Row

There was no broadcast of the game again last night, but the Rangers lost 6-1 against the Detroit Red Wings. Henrik Lundqvist was again sub-par in his performance in net. Scott Gomez tallied the only goal for the Rangers on the powerplay from Jaromir Jagr in the 3rd period. This game was a little disheartening, even though it is only the preseason, because it was played with several more Rangers regulars in the lineup. Henrik obviously still has some summer rust to still shake off, Jagr and Gomez need to start clicking, and the Rangers defense needs to tighten up. We have two more preseason games left, as well as 10 or so more cuts to make. We'll see what happens towards the end of the preseason.

Also, just to clarify a few things. I am a die-hard Rangers fan. Along with that, I despise the Islanders, Devils, Penguins and Flyers. It's a rule. While many of my views and opinions will be pro-Rangers, I have no problem pointing out when a Ranger does something wrong. It was in my opinion that what Simon did to start the brawl on Monday was completely unnecessary and uncalled for. I had all the respect in the world for Simon before his baseball bat swing to Hollweg last year. I respect any guy that is willing to drop his gloves and protect his teammates. But not when it is from behind, with a stick, or in an unnecessary situation.

Rick DiPietro's antics also came off as unnecessary. Sure he was caught up in the whole moment like the other 10 players on the ice, but it was even strength. There were five Rangers on the ice and five Islanders on the ice. When Strudwick and Orr jumped on Simon, which they probably shouldn't have done, it is the job of the other skaters to separate that. Ricky D. jumping in made the sides uneven, forcing Montoya to come down. Montoya didn't want to fight, and DiPietro baited him in, then saluted the crowd when it was over.

Ryan Hollweg plays hard. Does he play safe? Not all the time. Does he go out with the intent to injure? Not at all. He knows that he is a replaceable player in the NHL, and he needs to keep his energy up and keep the crowd going. He doesn't do that with goals, and he's not even all that good at fighting, but man, he can throw a big hit. Players who play as hard as he does will occasionally do something dangerous. When that time comes, it will be addressed. But Hollweg has never swung sticks at people, which I feel is a whole lot worse than what Hollweg is known for.

Again these are my views on things. I welcome a good debate, and will admit when I am wrong. But I would like to keep it as civil as possible when it comes to Rangers v. Islanders (which sometimes does include a brawl or two).

Blah Blah Blog

Thankfully, most readers of this blog site are hardcore fans who actually watched the game, otherwise one might think the Isles were the second coming of the '75 Flyers.

Reading these Rangers blogs is kind of like watching the Fox News channel. Fun for a couple of chuckles, but with biases that run that deep, all objectivity is out the window. When Hollweg is defended regularly, you know that the looking glass is a bit foggy. Hollweg will hurt someone the same way McAmmond got hurt, and then we'll revisit this discussion. Funny that Hollweg averaged 1.7 pims per game last season vs Simon's 1.1 pims per game. How can that happen? Hollweg is a future Lady Bing candidate. And Simon is Charles Manson.

Anyway, it has been funny being tag-teamed by the Rag Bloggers the way Simon was double-teamed by Strudwick and Hollweg. Maybe one day Hollweg will fight his own battle without needing help from a teammate. Hollweg = Gutless Puke.

Let the games begin.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Let's clarify something

The only punks I saw were the ones in Islander jerseys last night. We respectfully disagree. What a shock there.

The Islanders had every intention of starting that brawl and of course it would come courtesy of a cheapshot from the biggest punk of them all who shouldn't have even been playing. A "one-time incident" for a stick swing which could've inflicted a lot more damage? Biased much?

Let's be honest. Simon should have been kicked out of the league for that and would've if Hollweg had his career ended. Instead, he got a reprieve.

There are no excuses. And what does this idiot who's been in the league over a decade do? Punches Hollweg in the head from behind. Typical crap from a bush league team which is what the Islanders are. And their best player sure leads in that category with his disrespect for Montoya hitting him while he was defenseless on the ice.

The Isles have been known for stuff like this. Now, they got a blatant cheapshot artist in Sutton added to the mix of trash which includes Witt.


The fact you would cheer for injuries to opponents speaks volumes. There's nothing funny when that stuff happens. You sure didn't see me applauding Avery's antics when he shoved Oduya into Weekes last Friday. That was inexcusable. At least I realize what Avery's action was. Classless.

That btw is the difference between a Ranger fan and an Islander fan. We don't root for injuries.


This entry might've been a little animated but when my fellow Islander blogger can't be objective and takes this rivalry too far, then he deserves this.

I honestly don't care anymore. Your dirty team will get theirs. Keep celebrating your "big" preseason comeback win because that's all you're going to have to get excited about.


Kind of tells you all you need to know really about the Islanders.

Steve Downie Destroys Dean McAmmond

This is just brutal. The kid's trying to make an impression but come on. That is just idiotic.

My Take on the Rangers vs. Islanders Game Last Night

Chris Simon. He did his job. He rightfully gave Hollweg a taste of his own medicine. We have seen Hollweg's dirty play time and again, and it is just a matter of time before he ends someone's career with a cheap shot from behind. As I've said before, Simon's cheap shot on hollweg last year has no place in hockey and Simon has affirmed this repeatedly since the incident. but let's not forget Hollweg's face slam of Simon's head against the glass that could have caused serious injury as well. Simon's stick chop to Hollweg's face was a one time deal. Hollweg's cheap shots from behind happen regularly. So good for Simon. Sitting this game out would have shown softness from the Islanders and would have continued the Hollweg saga from last season. Simon was eligible to play, he played, and he played his game well.

Ted Nolan. His job is to get his players ready for the season. Maybe Renney should have sat Hollweg last night in order to avoid "half the fisticuffs" as our Broadway leaning blogger has stated.

Rick DiPietro. The only concern I had was for his previously concussed head. According to Lenny, DiPietro should have let Strudwick and Hollweg continue their double teaming of Simon. Yeah, okay. And to berate DP because he baited Montoya into a fight? If Big Al is going to skate all the way down ice to join the fray because DP is involved, then Big Al has to be ready to take the DP beating. And he did!!

Let's give it up to the Isles for their comeback win against the Broadway punks. Way to wipe that silly grin off of Renney's mug. Get ready for more Hollweg. Keep hitting from behind and see where it gets you. At least the new Isles got the chance to see how dirty he plays and can be ready for him when the season starts. I predict that Hollweg hurts someone badly this year. I also predict that someone beats the #%& out of him this season as well. I for one won't be sad when that happens as hollweg is one of the dirtiest players in the league by far.

Ugly stuff continues


Dean McAmmond was taken out on a stretcher in the second period after being on the receiving end of a dangerous high hit to the head from Flyers rookie forward Steve Downie during the Ottawa-Philadelphia preseason game tonight.

The underrated Senator had just released the puck behind the Philly goal when he was leveled by Downie, a former 2005 first round pick who is trying to make the Flyers.

It was determined that the 34 year-old McAmmond suffered a concussion but was moving his extremities thankfully.

If Downie made the Flyers, he'd be subject to a suspension pending a league review. The 20 year-old forward has never played a game for the club.

This latest incident comes on the heels of an ugly brawl during last night's Rangers-Islanders exhibition at the Nassau Coliseum. On one hand, diehards like myself love the occasional scrap. But much like what one of our other bloggers Lenny noted, when it gets that out of hand, it's embarrassing and a detriment to the NHL.

Downie's dangerous hit came at a bad time. With more and more of these types of situations happening in meaningless games this Fall, it might be time for the league to consider cutting down on the number of preseason contests. Especially when it puts key players at risk before what's a grinding 82-game schedule.

I've been on record as being in favor of seeing that schedule cut down a few games. But the odds are slim to none that the league would go from 82 to say 74 or 76. Especially with them reconsidering the unbalanced schedule and looking to insure that fans see every team in the opposite conference at least once.

They should also be paying more attention to these exhibitions which get out of hand. It's time to slice the schedule down to four or five max.

The growing question is can these types of incidents we're seeing an increase in be prevented? Yes. By making coaches accountable. Have them submit lineups that don't guarantee a melee like last night. What did Ted Nolan expect to happen when he dressed suspended forward Chris Simon who still has time left to serve on his suspension for his baseball swing on Ryan Hollweg?

There's just no reason for this stuff. It's one thing if it's a heated regular season game but quite another in a pointless exhibition where you're supposed to have players competing for roster spots.

It's time for the league to step in.

My Take on the Rangers v. Islanders Game Last Night

By now anyone who follows hockey knows about the Rangers v. Islanders game last night. A fight filled affair that saw the "enforcers" as well as the common players, and goaltenders drop the gloves. On one hand, it was great to see the players, preseason or not, stick up for each other. On the other hand, it was disgraceful to watch. Here's my take on everything:


Chris Simon. We'll start with the worst I guess. Because of loopholes in the NHL rulebook, Simon was able to play preseason games, even though he still has an outstanding suspension to serve. One has to think, if Simon is not in the lineup last night, half of the fisticuffs that occurred would have been avoided. Give it up for Orr, who stuck up for Hollweg by scrapping with Simon early in the first and then again on Simon's unnecessary, dirty hit from behind on Hollweg setting off the brawl. The league should be reviewing tape right now, and tacking on 10 more games to Simon's suspension.

Ted Nolan. The Rangers had their lineup posted 3 days in advance. Each team plays about 6 preseason games. Simon could have played in any of the other five and not this one. He knew there would be fireworks if Simon was in the lineup. It surprises me that with the players that he did dress, that Brendon Witt wasn't also in the lineup.

Rick DiPietro. Was there any reason for him to jump in? And why did he have to bait Montoya into the fight. It was apparent the Monty didn't want to fight, he has a spot to win. I give him all the credit in the world for sticking up for his team.

Tom Renney. Anyone read his post game comments? Sure the elbow to the head of Callahan was dirty. And sure it was probably a contributing factor to the rest of the night's activities. But to dismiss blame on Simon just makes no sense to me. He did it with the stick incident last year and then again last night. He should be saying how much Simon should be suspended, and how proud he is of his players for sticking up for each other. Here's to hoping Orr, Hollweg, Strudwick and Avery are all in the lineup come the first regular season game between these two.

Just my opinion on the game. Give it up to players like Dubinski, Pock, Hossa, Strudwick and Orr. I enjoy the occasional scrap. Especially when it comes from sticking up for your teammates. Without them, there would be no way to police the sport, ridding the league of incidents like Marty McScorley, Todd Bertuzzi or Chris Simon. I don't even hold anything against the rest of the Islanders, minus Simon and Sutton. Anyone else feel like sharing some thoughts?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Islanders take it in OT

The Islanders scored the last four as they cameback to defeat the Rangers 5-4 in overtime. Ruslan Fedotenko netted his second power play goal of the night, converting down low on a 4-on-3 to give the Fishsticks their first preseason victory.

Brendan Shanahan lost his cool as he was baited in by Freddy Meyer, who also got a minor penalty with Shanny getting the extra two.

Chris Drury had the Rangers' best chances late in regulation and in OT before Fedotenko won it. He was very active and played well. Also looking good were Marc Staal and Nigel Dawes as they bid to make the club.

As for who didn't impress, defenseman Andrew Hutchinson struggled and was undressed by Vasicek in the third for the Isles' tying goal.

The Isles had to be pleased with the play of their top unit of Fedotenko-Comrie-Guerin as they scored four of the five goals and had good chemistry. Also playing well was Vasicek who netted the tying goal and got a couple of more chances.

The New York rivals will meet once more this preseason on Friday night. The game will be aired by MSG if you want to check it out.

Preseason game turns nasty

When the Rangers and Islanders get together to renew their bitter rivalry, it's always worth watching because you never know what might happen. Even a meaningless exhibition game has proven yet again why this is one of the best rivalries going.

It didn't take long for things to turn nasty as new Islander defenseman Andy Sutton cheapshotted Ryan Callahan with an elbow resulting in Ranger enforcer Colton Orr getting retribution by pounding the ex-Thrasher in a scrap.

It escalated from there as Chris Simon and Ryan Hollweg fought as did goalies Rick DiPietro and Al Montoya later in a second period marred by fights, penalties and seven combined power play goals with the Rangers leading 4-3.

Here's what the penalty festlooks like thus far:


Penalty Summary
1st Period
NY Rangers fighting - 5 min 3:08, C. Orr served by A. Anisimov
NY Islanders fighting - 5 min 3:08, A. Sutton served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Islanders fighting - 5 min 3:11, K. Brennan served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Rangers fighting - 5 min 3:11, C. Orr served by A. Anisimov
NY Rangers roughing - 2 min 3:41, D. Byers served by A. Anisimov
NY Islanders roughing - 2 min 3:41, C. Simon served by L. Aquino
NY Rangers roughing - 2 min 5:18, R. Hollweg served by A. Anisimov
2nd Period
NY Islanders high sticking - 2 min 2:21, S. Ogordonikov
NY Rangers fighting - 5 min 2:21, C. Orr served by R. Hollweg
NY Rangers fighting - 5 min 3:58, T. Pock served by A. Anisimov
NY Islanders fighting - 5 min 4:20, A. Sutton served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Rangers fighting - 5 min 4:20, B. Dubinsky served by A. Anisimov
NY Islanders interference - 2 min 4:40, T. Hunter served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Islanders - 2 min 5:04, A. Johnson served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Rangers goalie leaving crease - 2 min 8:11, A. Montoya served by A. Anisimov
NY Rangers game misconduct - 10 min 8:11, J. Strudwick served by A. Anisimov
NY Islanders fighting - 5 min 8:11, K. Brennan served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Rangers fighting - 5 min 8:11, C. Orr served by A. Anisimov
NY Rangers game misconduct - 10 min 8:11, C. Orr served by A. Anisimov
NY Islanders goalie leaving crease - 2 min 8:11, R. DiPietro served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Islanders game misconduct - 10 min 8:11, C. Simon served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Rangers game misconduct - 10 min 8:11, A. Montoya served by A. Anisimov
NY Rangers roughing - 2 min 8:11, J. Strudwick served by A. Anisimov
NY Rangers charging - 2 min 8:11, R. Hollweg served by A. Anisimov
NY Islanders high sticking - 2 min 8:44, B. Guerin served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Rangers charging - 2 min 8:44, R. Hollweg served by A. Anisimov
NY Islanders holding - 2 min 12:20, F. Meyer served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Rangers hooking - 2 min 13:42, A. Hutchinson served by A. Anisimov
NY Islanders hooking - 2 min 16:28, S. Bergenheim served by S. Ogordonikov
NY Rangers interference - 2 min 17:19, T. Pock served by A. Anisimov
NY Rangers cross check - 2 min 18:08, A. Hutchinson served by A. Anisimov
NY Rangers holding - 2 min 19:36, M. Malik served by A. Anisimov
3rd Period
NY Islanders tripping - 2 min 2:33, A. Hilbert served by S. Ogordonikov

Orr also got the better of Simon in a scrap continuing to look very impressive. It should be noted that in an easy win over Jesse Boulerice this past Saturday against the Flyers, he busted the former Canes' nose.

The Ranger enforcer is quickly building a reputation as one of the league's toughest guys since he KO'd ex-Flyer Todd Fedoruk concussing him.

We caught the always entertaining goalie scrap courtesy of Islanders TV as Montoya came across the ice and eventually obliged DiPietro by taking his mask off and engaging in battle which the Islander netminder won not surprisingly. But while he did win, he also lost some respect by getting in a couple of cheapshots while Montoya was on the ice breaking the code. It was a bush league move.

As for the game itself, Hollweg has one of the Ranger goals which probably ticked Simon off because he then punched him which started the chaos.

Even Thomas Pock and Andy Hilbert dropped 'em.

The game is currently still going on at Nassau Coliseum in the third with the Rangers still ahead by one.

Goals so far:

Rangers- Drury, Hollweg, Pock, Callahan
Islanders- Fedotenko, Comrie, Guerin


Bryan Berard who is trying to make a comeback with his first team where he won the Calder a decade prior setup the first goal with a brilliant rush behind the net before passing it to a vacated spot in front for Fedotenko to find.


Out for the Rangers are Jaromir Jagr, Marty Straka, Scott Gomez, Petr Prucha and Sean Avery.

Josef Vasicek has tallied for the Isles to tie the game.


More later.

Kasparaitis and Liffiton placed on Waivers

Breaking news from Sam Weinman. Both Darius Kasparaitis and David Liffiton were placed on waivers at 12 noon today. It's unfortunate that given all of the positive things we were hearing about Kaspar up until the start of preseason, he did not make it further into camp. I was a big fan of his when he first came to the Rangers and was really pulling for him to make a comeback, but the lockout and the salary cap were too much for him to handle. Hopefully he passes through and goes into Hartford to tweak some skills and maybe make it back to us later in the season. If he gets claimed, good for him and I'll wish him all the luck in making that team's roster.

With the demotion of Baranka the other day, this leaves Malik, Roszival, Tyutin, Girardi, Mara, Pock, Strudwick, Hutchinson and Staal as the remaining defensemen. You have to imagine that five of those spots are filled by the first five names, and the latter four will be battling it out for the last starting spot and the 7th defenseman spot.

Rangers vs. Islanders is not on tv tonight, but I have heard that it might be shown on the Fishstick's website. I'll check out the box score and look around the web to see how they fared later on and comment on it then.

It maybe preseason, but its still a rivalry...

Thats right folks, the Islanders and Rangers resume their rivalry this evening with a pre-season match up at the coliseum. The Isles recently lost to Montreal in OT while the Rangers were shut out by the Flyers on Saturday night. I've yet to see an Islanders pre-season game so I cannot really comment on who looks sharp, I can only rely on the articles from their time spent up in Canada. And from what I have read it seems when Mike Comrie isn't buying $100,000 SUV's for his girlfriend he is lighting up his teammates in exhibition games. Good for Mike, even better for his girlfriend Hilary Duff.

The Islanders will use this game and the remaining 5 exhibition contests to decide who they will keep on Defence and what the regular season line combos will be. On Defence the Isles have a few difficult choices to make with Berard in camp on a tryout and only two players with 2-way contracts (Aaron Johnson and Bruno Gervais). Up front Nolan and co. will have to decide if youngsters Blake Comeau, Jeremy Colliton, and Sean Bergenheim are ready for top 2 line minutes or if they would be better served getting a ton of ice in Bridgeport.

Despite this game not counting for anything in the standings you will still have a lot of players battling for roster spots and some tough guys trying to prove their worth, both of which could make for some entertaining hockey.

SFM Preview: Los Angeles Kings

Part 2, Rudy Kelly of Battle of Cali previews the Kings:

http://www.sportsfanmagazine.com/sfm/articles.html?id=3522

SFM Preview: Anaheim Ducks

First of a long, long series of previews for Greg Wyshynski's SFM. Derek and Frank will show up soon enough. Enjoy. First of, our friend at the BoC Earl Sleek previews the champion Ducks with me:

http://www.sportsfanmagazine.com/sfm/articles.html?id=3521

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Some Observations from Last Night's Game

The score was lopsided in yesterday's Rangers vs. Flyers game, but there are several positives that could be seen on the ice. Along with those positives, however, there were negatives. Let's start with those. Keep in mind that this was preseason game number two, so there is still time to work the kinks out.

Michael Roszival looked flat and out of position several times. He also coughed the puck up on several occasions.

There was little chemistry with the Rangers' top line of Gomez, Jagr and Dawes. A little more playing time could fix that, but it might be better to have Hossa or Avery playing with them to at least start the season.

Henrik Lundqvist was out of position towards the latter parts of the game. Maybe it was fatigue, but especially the couple of times he went to play the puck, he had to scramble to get back in position. No doubt he'll be fine to start the season.

Drury made some nice defensive plays, but was otherwise unnoticeable on the ice.

Some positives that were noticed last night:

Petr Prucha. One of the best players on the ice last night. Offensively and defensively he looks great. He looked faster if that's possible.

Blair Betts on the penalty kill was like Betts of last year. Faceoffs as well.

Colton Orr not only fought well, but looked better offensively on the ice. He parked himself in front of the net several times and almost had a great scoring chance as he cut through the middle of the ice in the 2nd period.

Paul Mara shooting. He was also a little shaky with positioning and giveaways, but he needs to shoot more during the season. He has a nice slap shot that was blocked several times last night, but he was trying, and if that gets through it's a nice asset to have.

Jessiman, Baranka and Liffiton were all sent to Hartford after the game. Look for more of a regular season lineup in on Monday against the Islanders.

Flyers look sharp in 5-0 shutout of Rangers


While the Rangers made some big offseason news on the first day of free agency landing the center duo of Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, the Flyers were making news of their own by revamping their team up front and on the blueline.

If tonight's 5-0 beatdown of the Rangers which featured their two key offensive additions is any indication, then the new look Flyers are going to be heard from this season.

New Flyers such as ex-Sabre Daniel Briere along with former Preds Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen looked sharp as Philadelphia succeeded in shutting down the Ranger offense with plenty of attention to detail.

Sometimes stats are misleading. Despite getting outshot 33-23, the Flyers were in control of this one from almost start to finish capitalizing on sloppy Blueshirt turnovers for most of their goals.

After Sami Kapanen failed on his shorthanded penalty shot against Henrik Lundqvist, he scooped up a Michal Rozsival turnover and roofed one past the Ranger netminder to get the Flyers on the board.

As Tom Renney later indicated in a postgame conference, it was that kind of night for his club which despite having Jaromir Jagr, Petr Prucha, Drury, Gomez, Lundqvist, Rozsival, Fedor Tyutin and Paul Mara struggled mightily with several mishandles leading to transition opportunities for the Flyers.

Blair Betts and enforcer Colton Orr also dressed. Orr had the lone Ranger highlight when he KO'd Jesse Boulerice with one punch using the same right hand which knocked out former Flyer Todd Fedoruk unconscious last season. Orr definitely won some more points from his teammates and Garden supporters who appreciate what he brings to the table.

The problem for the Rangers was that was about it as they couldn't solve Martin Biron who looked like a brick wall in his new jersey (see above). Was it me or did the ex-Sabre resemble the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters in stopping all 19 Ranger shots the first two periods?

And you thought this epidemic was over with. Just look at him! I thought those "formfitting jerseys" were supposed to resolve this issue.

Not only do these new jerseys come apart during fights, they also fall apart literally. Just ask Gomez as his 'A' fell off and had to be sewn back on. You can't make this stuff up.

But hey. Bettman Inc. tested the jerseys. I can see it now. That cool NHL slogan:

New NHL. New Jerseys. Not only do they come apart but they're overpriced!

:as someone can be heard laughing in the background like Jack Nicholson's Joker character in the first Batman: "Care to dance with the Devil in the pale of the moonlight?"

Suckkkkkkkkkkkka!!!!!!

Couldn't resist.

So what else could be said about what was one of the most unwatchable games we've seen? And no. It's not because the Rangers lost. It really was that bad. From all the penalties to the choppy play and whistles, it was very slow and could've put fans to sleep.

Well, the Flyers were sharp. Ex-Ranger and current killer Mike Knuble scored twice. The Rangers were careless with the puck on a Mike Richards goal with a brutal coverage down low. Jagr also turned it over for Knuble's first goal which was one of his patented tip-ins of a Simon Gagne shot who btw was flying all night.

Even agitator Steve Downie got into the act. He beat Hugh Jessiman in a scrap and scored a goal. Not a bad night for the 20 year-old former Philly first round pick. Somewhere, Bobby Clarke was smiling with a bottle of scotch.

So what can concluded other than the Flyers were just superior all night playing their trademark physical brand of hockey down low and using their speed to generate goals?

Well, for starters, Drury's line stunk and was victimized three times at even strength. On Kapanen's goal, his backpass put Rozsival in a tough position and the top defenseman who had his own rough night coughed it up leading to the first goal.

Marcel Hossa was fairly quiet. Prucha on the other hand was more active despite the minus-three and created a few chances. He looked stronger on the puck.

Gomez was teamed with Jagr and Nigel Dawes, who did have a couple of early PP chances on a nice set play where Gomez threaded the needle in the slot and Dawes tried a misdirect tip and rebound but Biron stopped both.

Gomez looked alright. He made some good passes on a couple of power plays and generated some chances. He also missed wide on a chance from close in on a backhand before setting up another which just missed.

Rozsival and rookie Ivan Baranka had tough nights. Fedor Tyutin who also was minus-three looked alright compared to his D partner.

Positives came from Betts along with Hartford duo Hugh Jessiman and Lauri Korpikoski. The pair of former first rounders generated a cycle down low and worked very hard during their shifts. Korp also used his speed to create a break in but his backhand from in tight was kicked away.

Dane Byers had his second straight active game taking rhe body and playing north/south hockey.

Also not making many glaring mistakes on a mistake-prone night was the pair of Thomas Pock and David Liffiton who are fighting for spots.

But this was mostly a Flyers night as most of their regulars dressed and impressed to improve them to 2-1 on the preseason while the Rangers dropped to 1-1.

Things are looking up for Marc Staal and Michael Sauer.


One other random thought: Why the hell would you schedule meaningless exhibition games on a college football Saturday? Only the NHL. But hey. That Hockey Heritage game up in Buffalo will be competing with good college Bowl Games on New Year's Day. You gotta love it.

The Puck Stops Here

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