Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:15 pm
This entry has been removed by the administrator.
This message has been removed by the administrator.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:46 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 5:26 pm
By: Adam Gretz
The Pittsburgh Penguins received a bit of a scare on Monday night during their 3-1 loss to Boston when Sidney Crosby ran into his teammate, Chris Kunitz, in the neutral zone. Crosby remained on the ice for a bit and slowly skated off in obvious pain, appearing to pay special attention to his leg.
He remained on the bench for a few shifts and eventually returned to finish the third period.
On Wednesday, the Penguins announced that their captain will miss the next two games against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders as a precaution.
Said general manager Ray Shero in a statement released by the team, "Sidney took a hard hit during our game against Boston Monday night and wasn't feeling 100 percent. He saw Dr. Micky Collins of UPMC today and took an ImPACT test, which showed no problems. However, we all think it's best that he sits out the next two games as a precaution."
Crosby, of course, returned to the lineup on Nov. 21 after missing nearly a year due to a concussion. In eight games this season he's scored two goals to go with 10 assists
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 9:05 pm
By: Adam Gretz
The Boston Bruins entered Tuesday's game against the Winnipeg Jets as the hottest team in the NHL, and they hit the ice without the services of their leading scorer, Tyler Seguin, as a result of the 19-year-old forward missing a mandatory team meeting and team breakfast earlier in the day, according to general Peter Chiarelli.
Said Chiarelli, via Joe Haggerty of CSNNE on Twitter, "Seguin missed team breakfast and team meeting this morning, an honest mistake, but we have team rules. He has to abide by them." Chiarelli also added that Seguin "didn't take it well," but understands why the rules are in place.
Entering Tuesday's action Seguin, the No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft, was leading the team with 13 goals and 25 points.
Seguin isn't the first player to be benched this season for missing a team meeting, as Washington's Joel Ward was a healthy scratch a couple of weeks ago because he overslept.
Jordan Caron entered the lineup in Seguin's place on Tuesday.
More Bruins News: Right now it's Boston, and then everybody else
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 5:11 pm
By: Adam Gretz
PITTSBURGH -- When discussing the best goalies in the NHL, Boston's Tim Thomas has to be at the top of the list, head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. With two Vezina Trophies and a Stanley Cup on his resume over the past three years, it's hard to argue otherwise. He's once again near the top of the NHL in every category among netminders this season, and he's playing at the top of his game for a Bruins team that continues to play at a level above every other team in the league over the past month.
Thanks to their 3-1 win in Pittsburgh on Monday night, the Bruins won for the 14th time in their past 15 games going back to Nov. 1. The only loss over that stretch came in a shootout against the Detroit Red Wings the day after Thanksgiving, and it was a game that Boston arguably had the upper hand in for much of the day.
Over the past five weeks, they have recorded a point in the standings every time they have stepped on the ice. Right now it's their league, and everybody else just happens to be playing in it.
What's been incredible to watch during this recent run by the defending Stanley Cup champs is that for as well as Thomas has played this season -- and he's been great -- they haven't had to rely on him to carry the load or win games for them on his own. For the season, the Bruins are currently the second-highest scoring team in the NHL -- behind only Philadelphia -- averaging over 3.40 goals per game, nearly a full-goal above the league average. During their 14-0-1 run they've been averaging over four goals per game, and have scored five or more seven times.
That sort of goal support makes life easier for any player in the crease, even one like Thomas that's put up numbers like few others have in the post-lockout NHL.
"It's been easier mentally because you have confidence that your team is going to find a way to come through," said Thomas on Monday night.
"If the team isn't playing well, sometimes the goalie can make the mistake of trying put all the pressure on himself and try to win a game all by himself. But with the team playing the way it has over the past five weeks, you don't have to go into a game feeling like that."
The Bruins' current run came after a sluggish start that was easily attributed to a "Stanley Cup hangover." After the first month of the season they were 3-7 and riding a four-game losing streak that included back-to-back losses to their long-time rivals from Montreal on Oct. 27 and 29.
They haven't lost in regulation since.
"I felt like in the first four weeks, we just weren't ready mentally," said head coach Claude Julien. "Our guys, although they wanted to, that switch hadn't been turned on yet for the season."
"What's been good about it is that we've found our game again, and we seem like we're a group that's excited to play that way every night. It seems like we've gotten up, i guess that good feeling again, and we're willing to do it night after night. That's the difference. We kind of knew what was going on, it wasn't just games, it was practice, it was hard to get ourselves going again. We were slow out of the gate, and the fact that we rebounded that way is pretty impressive for those guys."
The way they're playing is old-school Bruins hockey -- big and bad, tough and physical. They don't back down from anything, and if you punch them in the mouth they're going to come right back at you. And they also have plenty of skill. For as much talk as there is about their two-headed monster in goal with Thomas and Tuukka Rask, or their massive defensemen Zdeno Chara, they're also incredibly deep up front, rolling four lines, all of which can score, and they can play any type of game they need in order to win.
A skilled finese game. Physical. A 6-5 track meet or a 1-0 slug-fest. Whatever they need to do, they can, and will, do it.
Their leading scorer is still a teenager, second-year sensation Tyler Seguin, and Patrice Bergeron has the look of an early-season favorite to take home the Selke Trophy (he finished in the top-five in voting each of the past two seasons), playing the tough minutes and shutting down the oppositions top-players, opening up scoring opportunities for Seguin and the team's other top-scorers. It's difficult to find a weakness right now.
"We've done a good job just coming to play, coming to find a way to win," said Thomas. "We don't know how we're going to win every night, but we're going to do it different ways, with different guys, but all of us together at the same time. It's been pretty nice to be a part of this team over the past month."
"There's been times were we've fell out of exactly how we wanted to play a couple of times during this streak," Thomas later added. "But then at the same time other guys came through with big nights and bailed us out. That's what makes a good team; not everybody is going to be their best every night, but as long as everybody doesn't feel their best on the same night you're going to find a way to come out on top."
And that's all the Bruins are doing right now: coming out on top.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:07 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 11:27 am
In one hour of the Board of Governors convening in Pebble Beach, Calif., the NHL changed radically. It actually reverted back to the way it used to be, just with a lot more teams (you can thank expansion).
So with all that said, here's our Winners and Losers of realignment. Let's get right to it.
They wanted more games within their time zone and fewer trips to the West. Mission accomplished. Now those two will be with teams in Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Nashville, Minnesota and Winnipeg. With only one visit to every non-conference arena, that means each team will only play four games in the Pacific time zone as opposed to the eight they currently play.
In that same vein, the Stars have to be thrilled with this plan. Considering they have been playing 11 games in the Pacific time zone, they now also cut that down to four games. These things will greatly help the fan bases watch more games and, in theory, more fan support.
"Everyone knew our position on this," GM Joe Nieuwendyk said. "We wanted out of the Pacific Division. This makes total sense for us."
Particularly the Washington Capitals. Under the original four-conference format, the Keystone State rivalry was broken up and the Capitals and Penguins were in separate divisions. Not under this. Now the Atlantic Division is staying completely intact and it's adding the Capitals (Carolina Hurricanes, too). Who doesn't want to continue to see six games a season between the Flyers and Penguins? Now we'll also get six between the Penguins and Capitals. The Caps will now get to rekindle all those old Patrick Division rivalries.
"We understood, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region, which rivalries were very heavily embedded," Gary Bettman said.
Now if you're a Devils fan living in Los Angeles, you are guaranteed you will get a chance to see New Jersey play in person every season without having to hop on a flight. The same can be said for all of those ...
All those people from the Northeast and Canada that have their parents living in Florida? This will be nice for them. There are obviously a lot of people who migrate south for the winter and they will get an extra visit to the teams in Florida. The local scribes will appreciate this, too. Many have already dubbed this the snowbird conference.
The Florida duo
Of the four votes that were against this realignment plan, it's a good bet that two of them came from the Panthers and Lightning. The two teams still have each other, but that's it. Now their closest division foes are in Buffalo and Boston. There will be a lot of long flights to Canada and New England.
But there are two bits of good news for the Florida teams. They will sell a few more tickets, albeit to opposing fans. The Maple Leafs, Canadiens and Bruins will be much bigger hits for them than the Hurricanes and Jets.
The other bit is more games in Canada for the players. At least it's good news to Panthers center Stephen Weiss. “We do a lot of travel anyway. I think that would probably make it even more,” Panthers center Stephen Weiss said. “But that's the nature of the beast. It's where we live, and you've got to do what you've got to do.”
The only potential speed bump in all of this? The NHLPA. It won't be fond of all the increased travelling, which there will be or pretty much everybody. With guaranteed trips to every arena, that's a few additional trips cross country. It will hit players at some point, travelling is already one of the worst parts of the job.
Yes, this format seems perfect for either two more or two fewer teams. And contrary to popular belief, contraction isn't likely to happen. So more expansion is possible. The same cities will be the candidates; Kansas City, Quebec City (if they don't get the Coyotes to move to them), Seattle, Las Vegas and Houston. Arenas are needed in most of those places -- K.C. has that part covered -- first, so it wouldn't be for a few years at least. But it could happen eventually. Andy Strickland of True Hockey says that is already being discussed.
Islanders, Devils and Hurricanes
OK, all isn't completely perfect for that Atlantic Division. These three teams are at a pretty big deficit when it comes to resources vs. the other teams in their division. It's going to be tough sledding for these teams to get into the playoffs with the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers and Capitals around. This is probably akin to the Group of Death that you always hear about in the soccer World Cup.
Photo: Getty Images
Tags: Boston Bruins, Brian Stubits, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Expansion, Florida Panthers, Joe Nieuwendyk, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, NHLPA, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Realignment, Stephen Weiss, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals
Posted on: December 5, 2011 7:22 pm
Nothing says Miss Congeniality like rioting, am I right?
From the stories you just can't make up section, here's a real whopper. The first round of charges have been filed for the rioting in the wake of the Vancouver Canucks' Stanley Cup loss last summer, and among the 25 people charged is a woman by the name of Sophie LaBoissonniere.
Other than a long and interesting (and I submit nice) name, why would anybody outside of the LaBoissonniere family care? Well, she just happened to be named Miss Congeniality in a beauty pageant. Really.
Here's a little more from the Daily Mail:
She is also accused of being part of a group that broke into the London Drugs store that night, globaltvbc.com reports.
Naturally, this has brought out the cavalry in LaBoissonniere's defense, including Katherine Grefner, director of Miss World Canada.
"She's just an all-around good kid," Grefner told CTV.
I just don't see the need to rush to her, or anybody's defense on this. A lot of people did things they aren't proud of when they were young. Obviously this one might be a little bit more extreme than most, but it happened. Make your apology/pay your price and be done with it
And let us enjoy in the irony of the situation.
Photo: From LaBoissonniere's no-longer existing blog
Posted on: December 4, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 6:43 pm
It's about time we start taking the New York Rangers seriously, wouldn't you say?
The view in the Eastern Conference is that it's the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins followed by every other team. While that's still the case -- I mean, they have combined to win two of the last three Stanley Cups -- there has to be a setting at the table for the Blueshirts, no? (Yes, Flyers fans, Philadelphia too.)
It's amazing to think about a team from New York being overshadowed. Teams all across Major League Baseball wish that were possible in their sport. But this Rangers team is rather quietly just chugging along. The latest steamrolling effort came in Tampa, where Brad Richards returned to one of his favorite places and helped the Rangers take down his and coach John Tortorella's former team, the Lightning, 4-2.
Since losing to the Ottawa Senators 5-4 in a shootout on October 29, the Rangers have gone 12-2-0. They won seven straight games before dropping two on the road and then have since reeled off five wins in a row since being shutout by the Panthers on Nov. 23.
And how about Richards, the big acquisition in the offseason? In the most recent five-game winning streak he has four goals and five assists. Looking at the team's last nine games, Richards has points in seven of them. The only two he didn't get on the score sheet? The two losses.
Don't think he didn't savor a win in his old stomping grounds. From the New York Daily News.
I don't think anybody that's in the organization or is a Rangers fan is too unhappy these days.
The problem in recent seasons in New York certainly hasn't been the goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist has been outstanding in recent seasons and could have been a Vezina Trophy winner at some point if he had a little more offensive help. Let's be honest, team success is helpful in winning individual awards and the lack of offense wasn't helping the team achieve a whole lot of success.
But things are finally clicking. It's no wonder the Rangers have won 12 of their last 14 games. In six of their last seven wins, the Rangers have scored at least four goals.
Marian Gaborik is back to scoring like he did before coming to New York. He has a team-high 12 goals. It would appear he's beginning to thrive again now that there is somebody else -- Richards -- to take a good chunk of the spotlight and expectations off of him, somebody to share those heavy burdens with.
Start spreading the news, the Rangers aren't leaving any time soon.
The other team in New York, the Islanders, have been anemic when it comes to scoring goals. The offense has been horrible all season long. So of course they became the first team this season to have one of its players score four goals in a game.
The Isles needed all four scores from Matt Moulson on Saturday in Dallas, his final tally of the night being the game-winner.
"They [John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau] really gave me some good chances, all I had to do was sweep it into an open net," Moulson said. "The win's the biggest part. Score as many goals as you want, but the win's the most important thing."
The win in over the Stars caps off a very successful four-game road trip for the Isles. They picked up seven of the eight possible points, the only point missing came in Friday's shootout loss to the Blackhawks.
Yes, there is actually a hint of optimism on the Island again after another brutal start.
Good to have Gabby back
Bruce Boudreau's debut as the Anaheim Ducks coach was eerily reminiscent of his debut with the Capitals for years ago. His team was playing the Flyers, built a three-goal lead before losing it and going to overtime. The only difference was the Capitals won that game four years ago while a double minor in overtime cost his Ducks dearly as they lost in overtime.
But Boudreau had plenty of positives to take from the game, most notably the team's effort.
However it's what he said after the game that really caught my eyes and made me grateful Boudreau is already back in coaching. Having familiarity with the Flyers from his time in Washington, Boudreau said he was anticipating what Philly would do.
“I knew exactly what Philly was going to do,” he said. ”I knew the guys that were going to dive and they did. They got away with it. The only one that didn’t get away with it was [Wayne] Simmonds. It looked like he got shot. And he went down until he start peeking and no one was calling it and then he had to get back up.
“[Scott] Hartnell looked like he’d gotten shot by a bazooka. He didn’t miss a shift and then he comes in and scores the tying goal.”
Props for dropping a bazooka reference on us, Bruce. The implication is that the Ducks didn't really deserve all of the penalty minutes they accrued to contribute to the loss.
I'm sure Philly fans will love Boudreau as much as Rangers fans after this.
While the first leg of the Flyers' back-to-back was all about the opposing team and its new coach, the second leg was about one of the Flyers players.
For the first time this season, Ilya Bryzgalov started both ends of a back-to-back, and it's probably no coincidence that it involved playing in his former city, Phoenix (or Glendale, if you'd prefer). They saw the Bryzgalov they came to know and love, too.
The Flyers goalie was sharp enough to allow just two goals and lead his new team over his old team with a 4-2 victory.
"I was walking in the building, and I can't explain what I felt, but it's something," Bryzgalov said about his return. "I played here three-and-a-half years. Winning lots of games, losing lots of games. Part of my soul is left here.
"I was surprised if they were going to boo me because I don't think I deserved it. I think I did lots of good things for this city and for this team and same thing. They did lots of good things for me. I really appreciate everything they've done for me."
He shows his appreciation by beating his old team. Nice (we kid).
This is how you make people believe you're for real.
The Florida Panthers just made a quick cross-country trip for games in Los Angeles and San Jose. While they lost 2-1 to the Kings on Thursday, they outshot and pretty much outplayed the Kings.
On Saturday they went into San Jose and fell down early to the Sharks. The Panthers stormed back in the second period and eventually won the game 5-3. It was the first time this season the Sharks lost a game when scoring the first goal.
As is becoming common again, there were even a few plastic rats on the ice, even in California.
Of course, it was the top line of Kris Versteeg-Stephen Weiss-Tomas Fleischmann doing the damage again after Versteeg missed the Kings game with a bad neck.
Now the Panthers begin their third consecutive week (!) as the Southeast Division leaders by welcoming Tomas Vokoun and the Washington Capitals to Florida on Monday. Still quite stunning.
This is as great of a run as we've seen in hockey in a long time. The Bruins just finished reminding the Toronto Maple Leafs who the boss of the Northeast is. After beating the Leafs earlier in the week in Toronto, the B's took care of the Leafs a second time, this time back in Boston, 4-1.
With the win, the Bruins haven't lost in regulation since Oct. 29. That's an entire month (14 games) of earning points in every game. The only non-two-point game was the shootout loss to the equally hot Detroit Red Wings on Black Friday.
There are a lot of heralded players on the team. One of them, David Krejci, just received a big extension from the club. Another guy that could soon be getting a nice new contract is Chris Kelly, and he'd be on the unheralded side.
But his goal on Saturday, the game-winner, was already his 10th on the season. He came in to Boston as more of what people love to call a "role player." (Resisting urge to rant ...) Now he is only five goals from matching his career high of 15, which he set twice with the Senators, most recently in 2009-10.
We'll have more on the Bruins later this week from Adam Gretz, but this is one helluva run
Quote of the weekend
There were a few candidates this week. We shared them already, lines from Richards, Bryzgalov and Boudreau.
Like a lot of other players this season, Kovalchuk was booed in his visit to the 'Peg. What were his thoughts on the matter?
"They should support me, maybe I'm one of the reasons they moved here." Ouch. Sorry, Atlanta.
Photo: Getty Images
Tags: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Brad Richards, Brian Stubits, Bruce Boudreau, Chicago Blackhawks, Chris Kelly, Dallas Stars, David Krejci, Florida Panthers, Henrik Lundqvist, Ilya Bryzgalov, Ilya Kovalchuk, John Tavares, John Tortorella, Kris Versteeg, Los Angeles Kings, Marian Gaborik, Matt Moulson, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, P.A. Parenteau, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Scott Hartnell, Stephen Weiss, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tomas Fleischmann, Toronto Maple Leafs, Wayne Simmonds, Weekend Wrap, Winnipeg Jets
Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:08 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 11:05 am
By: Adam Gretz
The last time Ryan Miller was in the lineup for the Buffalo Sabres he ventured out of his crease to play a loose puck and ended up on the train tracks that were carrying the Milan Lucic Express. The result, as you may already know by now, was a huge collision that fired up the debate about how much protection goalies get, while Miller missed nearly a month of action.
He returned to the lineup on Saturday night in Nashville in a game the Sabres won 3-2, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced. Not a bad night, other than the fact he was on the receiving end of yet another big-time hit, this time as he was standing in his crease attempting to make a save.
With less than five miutes to play in yhe second period Miller was crushed by Predators forward Jordin Tootoo on a play that resulted in Tootoo receiving a five-minute major for charging, as well as a game misconduct.
Here's the video, via On The Forecheck:
According to Predators beat writer Joshua Cooper, Tootoo said after the game that he anticipates having a disciplinary hearing with the league as a result of the hit. Assuming that happens, it will be interesting to see the result.
Remember, when Lucic hit Miller outside of the crease back in November (goalies out of the crease are not "fair game" according to NHL rules) he recieved a two-minute minor penalty during the game, but did not receive any supplemental discipline, which drew plenty of criticism, especially from Miller and the Sabres.
The fear was that the lack of discipline would make it "open season" on goalies, and in the Sabres very next game Miller's backup, Jhonas Enroth, was inteferred with.
Previously At Eye On Hockey
Ryan Miller hit by Milan Lucic
No suspension for Lucic