Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:55 am
By: Adam Gretz
Seeing as how there were only three penalties called during Wednesday's Anaheim-Carolina game, a 4-3 Ducks win in overtime, it's not much of a surprise that Corey Perry tripping Jussi Jokinen behind the net, resulting in the turnover that led to the game-winning goal, was missed by referees Tim Peel and Don VanMassenhoven
Or perhaps ignored is more like it.
It's no secret that drawing a penalty in overtime is a difficult task, especially as the NHL continues to hand out fewer power plays per game than it has in over a decade, but that is an obvious trip that needs to be called. The fact it's a play that resulted in a game-winning goal makes it even more noticeable, even if it involved two teams that aren't likely to be a major factor in the playoff race the rest of the season.
For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:39 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 10:20 am
You don't just slash Selanne in the face and get away with it. Of course Jones was sent to the sin bin for four minutes on the double minor and he could likely be getting a little more attention from the league.
To be clear, it in no way appeared to be intentional from Jones, but he hit Selanne in the face, and he hit him pretty hard. He was clearly disgusted with himself after the play, enough to signal to me that he was repentant.
But Brendan Shanahan has shown that he will still call on guys who are reckless with their stick. Intentional or not, you have to be responsible for your stick at all times.
Besides, that's no way to treat a legend like Selanne.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 4:37 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 4:38 pm
The Anaheim Ducks' answer is Yes!
Not long ago, the Ducks were playing so poorly that their general manager Bob Murray first fired well-respected head coach Randy Carlyle then threatened to trade anybody not named Saku Koivu or Teemu Selanne. The most discussed player was Bobby Ryan.
Since then, the Ducks have been one of the hottest teams in the league. They recently went through an 8-1-1 stretch. Still, they are 10 points behind the Minnesota Wild for the last playoff spot with four more teams between them.
You'd have better odds fielding an Olympic hockey team from Brazil than you would the Ducks do of making the playoffs. Too extreme? OK, I'll just go with what Orange County Register columnist Jeff Miller who compared the Ducks' chances of making the playoffs to Ron Paul earning the Republican presidential nomination.
But don't tell the players who, as plainly seen above, still believe.
Don't get your hopes up, fans. Oh sure, you can hope all you want they pull of a miracle down there in Disney land that could inspire the next Mighty Ducks movie. I'm referring to the getting your hands on the shirt. Sorry, it's only for the players. Because, you know, they have to make sure everybody knows they believe, maybe they'll convince themselves it can happen.
Posted on: January 28, 2012 11:28 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2012 11:35 pm
By: Adam Gretz
The NHL wrapped up its Super Skills competition on Saturday night with Daniel Alfredsson's team, loaded with all of the hometown Ottawa Senators, picking up the overall win by a 21-12 margin. Below is the complete list of winners in all of the invidual events, including Patrick Kane in the Breakaway challenge and Zdeno Chara taking home yet another championship (and record) in the hardest shot contest, as well as some of the highlights (and lowlights) from the night.
Zdeno Chara makes the hardest shot contest the must-see event: I understand what the NHL is trying to do with the breakaway challenge (it's basically the Slam Dunk contest, in hockey form) and at times on Saturday night it was the highlight of the night, whether it was Kane putting on the Superman cape, Anaheim's Corey Perry busting out the knee-hockey stick and using it to score a goal, or Montreal's Carey Price stopping a shot with his back turned to the shooter. Great stuff.
But the must-see event, at least as long as Chara is taking part in it, remains the hardest shot contest, If for no other reason than to watch in amazement at the freakish speeds these guys can fire a piece of frozen rubber across the ice. Watching Chara in this event right now is like watching a home run hitter get himself in a rhythm and hit one titanic fly ball after another in a home run derby.
At this point it's his event, and everybody else is just taking part in it for his amusement. Even Shea Weber, a guy that hit 106 on the radar gun Saturday night, couldn't get near him. Chara has won the event five years in a row, and not only does he keep winning, but his shots keep getting faster and faster, and he keeps shattering his own records.
It's worth asking if 110 MPH is in play next season in Columbus. I wouldn't bet against it.
Change that wasn't an improvement: The NHL used a new format for the fastest skater contest this season, having the players line up side by side, skate in a straight line down the ice, make a narrow, short turn, and then head back in the opposite direction. In years past the players would simply skate all the way around the ice, the complete length of the rink, making it easier to compare players and their times from year-to-year. The new approach almost seemed to slow the players down because it didn't give them enough of a chance to really show what they can do speed-wise.
On a positive note, for the second year in a row goalies competed in one of the rounds, with Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick blowing away Detroit's Jimmy Howard. And yes, they have to skate with all of their equipment on, which definitely adds a bit of unintentional humor.
Fortunately for the two keepers this year neither one of them took a spill in the corner like Boston's Tim Thomas did last season.
Event that doesn't seem to work: The Skills Challenge relay. Dump it. It's basically a giant obstacle course that involves just about every skater on the two team's taking part in a series of events, including passing, one-timers, shot accuracy and puck control. Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem to work or generate much excitement.
It's by far the longest event from start to finish, taking nearly two-and-a-half minutes for one team to complete the course, and it seems to suck a lot of the life out of the crowd.
Helmet camera's are always cool: St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott, who received a nice ovation from the Ottawa fans as one of the many former (and current) Senators to play in the game, had a helmet cam throughout the night -- along with Howard -- to give a first-person look at some of the events. That included during the breakaway challenge when Elliott was in the cage attempting to stop Kane's slapshot with what turned out to be a trick puck that broke into four pieces on its way to the net.
Of course, given the way that Elliott is playing this season for the Blues it's not much of a surprise that none of the pieces ended up in the back of the net, while he even managed to glove one of them out of the air.
Previously at Eye On Hockey
Kane's Superman wins breakaway challenge
Chara sets another record
More 2012 All-Star Game coverage
For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Tags: 2012 All-Star Game, Adam Gretz, Anaheim Ducks, Brian Elliott, Carl Hagelin, Corey Perry, Dallas Stars, Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit Red Wings, Jamie Benn, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Patrick Kane, Shea Weber, Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, Zdeno Chara
Posted on: January 28, 2012 5:00 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2012 5:03 pm
By: Adam Gretz
The video above features Mike Ribeiro of the Dallas Stars scoring an absolutely insane shootout goal against the Colorado Avalanche a couple of years ago. It's a pretty amazing goal, leaving then-Avs goalie Peter Budaj completely confused. Throughout his career, Ribeiro has made a habit out of scoring highlight reel goals during the regular season skills competition that is otherwise known as the shootout.
He seems like he would be the type of player that would excel in the All-Star skills competition, particularly any of the breakaway challenges. But because he's not an All-Star this year, we don't get an opportunity to see what he's fully capable of when the spotlight is on. The NBA brings in players that aren't on the All-Star rosters to take part in their skills competition, and I wouldn't mind seeing the NHL try something similar.
With that in mind, let's take a quick look at some of the players not in the All-Star game this season that could be favorites to win the various events, or at the very least, put up a solid showing.
1. Darren Helm, Detroit Red Wings
2. Andrew Cogliano, Anaheim Ducks
3. Mason Raymond, Vancouver Canucks
Cogliano has actually already won this event, taking it back in 2009 with a time of 14.31 seconds, but I would put Helm up against any other skater in the league in terms of pure speed. He doesn't score much, but everything he does on the ice, including his penalty killing, seems to be a complete blur.
1. Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils
2. Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals
3. Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres
Kind of a tough one to figure out, and it's not as easy as simply looking at a players shooting percentage because that doesn't necessarily mean a player with a high number is an "accurate" shooter, but Kovalchuk and Semin are obvious snipers that can pick their spots and hit the corners from anywhere in the offensive zone.
1. Sami Salo, Vancouver Canucks
2. Jason Garrison, Florida Panthers
3. Sheldon Souray, Dallas Stars
Jason Garrison has more goals than any other defenseman in the NHL this season with 13, and eight of them have come by way of his booming slap shot, more than any other player in the league. I don't know if he has what it takes to challenge Zdeno Chara or Shea Weber, but I imagine he could put up some impressive numbers, and the same could be said for Salo. At the Canucks team skills competition earlier this week he hit 102 MPH, which would have been harder than any other participant in last year's event with the exception of Chara and Weber.
1. Mike Riberio, Dallas Stars
2. Todd Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings
3. Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets
We already addressed what Riberio can bring to the table, but when the Red Wings are involved in a shootout they tend to be quality entertainment, not only because of the presence of Pavel Datsyuk, always a human highlight reel, but also because of Todd Bertuzzi, who has some pretty underrated skill. It's not uncommon to see him bust out the spin-o-rama move, but he has quite a few additional tricks up his sleeve as well. And don't underestimate the skill and hands that Rick Nash has for a big, power forward.
Any other players that didn't participate this season that you would like to see?
For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Tags: 2012 All-Star Game, Adam Gretz, Alexander Semin, Anaheim Ducks, Andrew Cogliano, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Darren Helm, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jason Garrison, Mark Streit, Mason Raymond Vancouver Canucks, Mike Riberio, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Pavel Datsyuk, Sami Salo, Sergei Kostitsyn, Shea Weber, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, Zdeno Chara
Posted on: January 20, 2012 5:08 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 5:25 pm
You can add defenseman Francois Beauchemin to that do not move list.
The Ducks announced they re-signed the 31-year-old defenseman to a three-year contract on Friday. The Ducks didn't release the salary numbers, but multiple outlets did, including Eric Stephen of the Orange County Register. The contract calls for $10.5 million spread evenly across the three seasons.
“Francois is a dedicated, versatile and hard-working defenseman who is committed to our organization,” Murray said. “We are extremely pleased to have him under contract for the next three years.”
Beauchemin came to Anaheim a little less than a year ago in a trade that is looking more and more lopsided by the day for the Ducks. Not to say that Beauchemin has been a bust in Anaheim -- clearly he hasn't if they are extending him -- but the return package of Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner.
This season for the Ducks Beauchemin has six goals and 12 assists while carrying a plus-1 for a team that has struggled for virtually the entire season.
What's interesting is that this is Beauchemin's second stint in Anaheim and he left to Toronto via free agency. This time he was willing to ink a deal to remain with the Ducks.
It's all in all a pretty good contract for the Ducks, not a terrible cap hit to pay for Beauchemin. But more importantly it says a lot about the Ducks and what management thinks about them.
It gives you the impression that Murray is willing to chalk this one up to a fluky bad season and that the team's recent 6-0-1 record is indicative of how good they can be. Remember, most every saw them as a playoff team this season.
Still, it doesn't mean they are all out of the woods yet. Looking at the defense, Beauchemin might be under a new deal but Lubomir Visnovsky could still be available, if they can find any takers. He has seen his production take a major dive this year as he turned 35 while still under a $5.6 million per year contract through next season. Visnovsky has just 15 points this season after totalling 68 just last season.
Previously at Eye on Hockey
Posted on: January 20, 2012 12:57 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 3:50 pm
Thanks to the scheduling quirks of the NHL, it has taken us until the end of January to get a dose of some real New York-Boston feuding in hockey. No offense to the Devils and the Islanders, but the city-to-city rivalry is reserved for pretty much only the Rangers against the Bruins.
This season, though, the wait has seemed even longer than it really has been. That's because of the little fact that for the first team in a long, long time, the Bruins and Rangers are the best two teams in the Eastern Conference.
There has been some bemoaning lately of the lack of rivalries in hockey. Well this isn't on par with Yankees-Red Sox in baseball, but there's always a little extra flair when it's New York vs. Boston. This one should have a lot of extra flair.
Nobody at this point will dispute the Rangers are one of the best teams in the league this season. You'd be foolish to try. But there are people, myself included, who are still wondering exactly how good are the Rangers? Well what better way to find out than to send them to the hornets’ nest that is TD Garden in Boston to face the defending champs?
Although it’s too bad we could have had this game a week or so ago. By their standards this season, each of these teams has lost some steam going into the game. The Bruins are only 6-4-0 in their last 10 (gasp!) while the Rangers just slightly better at 7-3-0. I laugh about it a little but it was just in the last two weeks that each of these teams had won nine of 10 games.
One of the tricks for each of the coaches is to find ways to keep pushing their guys in the middle of the season, particularly when you've had as much success as these two Original Six squads have. Sometimes that can be as simple as finding a bear to poke (pun clearly intended).
"Horton has got to pick up his game. No ifs or buts about it," Julien said after the shootout win at Florida. "A guy his size needs to get more physically involved. He needs to compete a lot harder. He's skating hard, you can see it on the backcheck ... but we need more from him. When he's emotionally engaged, he scores goals and he's a difference-maker. He's got to find his game. We're at the point where we're a little shorthanded and we need him to step up."
Horton responded by scoring twice in the loss to the Lightning and then one more in the win on Thursday night against the Devils. That might be mission: accomplished.
It looks like Rangers coach John Tortorella has his own target to try and prod.
Brad Richards was the star they brought to New York this summer to give Marian Gaborik that other scoring threat and finally give Henrik Lundqvist some much-deserved support. In that regard, Richards has been alright. But that's it.
In 45 games he has 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points while carrying a minus-3. That stat still means very little, plus/minus, but on a team like the Rangers, it's tough to be negative. He and Ruslan Fedotenko are the only players on the team with more than 10 games played that are in the red.
Going into the game against the Bruins, Richards hasn't tallied a single point in the last six games. Obviously that's not very good, particularly for a guy making $6.7 million per season.
While Tortorella didn't go anywhere close to the level of criticism that Julien did with Horton, he at least made it known that Richards needs to step up some. From Ranger Rants:
Coach John Tortorella said he didn’t want to analyze individual performances after the game when asked specifically about Staal and Brad Richards. But he acknowledged that Richards’ game wasn’t spot on right now (he was a minus-1 in 16:46 though he won 12 of 16 faceoffs).
If the Rangers can get a point-per-game pace out of Richards like he has been doing for most of the past few seasons, then watch out.
This will be the first of four matchups between the foes this season and each will very likely go a long way in determining who gets home-ice advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
If that leaves you wanting more ...
... Then you'll get it. There is no better way to spend Saturday if you're a hockey fan than to tune in to the NHL Network. Once that Rangers-Bruins tilt is done it's on to the next, but it takes no backseat to the first game.
The Vancouver Canucks seem to have a lot of rivalries these days. We all know about their ongoing feud with the Bruins, they have a fierce battle with the Chicago Blackhawks and pretty much any team from Canada.
But don't forget about their rivals to the south in San Jose, too. They've had some damn good playoff battles as well, including that Western Conference final matchup a season ago where Kevin Bieksa was the only person on the ice who knew what the heck was going on.
The Sharks are an interesting team to me. Perhaps it's a situation of just getting used to it, being desensitized to them, but once again they are right there in the race for the Presidents' Trophy this season. Remember, they have games in hand on every single Western Conference team.
Yet they are just quietly trudging along on the West Coast. It's expected from them now to be honest. That's a great compliment to give to the ownership and front office in San Jose.
Unlike the Eastern powers mentioned above, these Western heavies have already met three times this season, so when they dance on Saturday night in Vancouver, it's the last time they'll see each other until next season. Unless ...
Hot, hot, hot!
When they looked at the itinerary for the road trip, they had to look at the Saturday visit to Anaheim as a little bit of a reprieve on the tough trip. Not anymore.
It took a while, but Bruce Boudreau is seeing the Ducks play the way we all thought they would this season. All of a sudden, these are the two hottest teams in the NHL (what?!?). The Ducks are 6-0-1 in their last seven games in their own right.
It's likely well past the time for them to get back into the playoff picture. Even with these 13 points in seven games, they are still 13 points behind Colorado for the eighth spot in the West. What a really strong finish can do, though, is affect the way general manager Bob Murray views his team and thus how much of a seller the Ducks will be at the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
In the meantime, each of the Sens and Ducks gets a heat check in one of the few places in either the USA or Canada that it's actually warm right now, Southern California.
Friday night will feature some old friends facing off as the Florida Blackhawks visit the Chicago Panthers. Wait ...
Since Dale Tallon took over in Florida as general manager, the Panthers have taken on quite a strong feeling of the Blackhawks. They currently carry five former players from Chicago: John Madden, Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky and Jack Skille. Of them, only Skille wasn't a contributor to the Stanley Cup a couple of seasons ago.
To make that happen obviously Tallon had to send some of his Panthers players to GM Stan Bowman in Chicago. It's not as strong the other way but the Blackhawks currently employ former Panthers Michal Frolik, Steve Montador and have Rostislav Olesz and Alexander Salak in the system.
But the player to watch in this battle? How about Andrew Shaw, who is quickly making a big name for himself in Chicago. The 20-year-old forward who was a fifth-round pick by the 'Hawks has five points in the last four games on the strength of a goal in each game. That's led to the Twitter hashtag of #ShawFacts where fans have taken their best Chuck Norris jokes and tailored them for Shaw.
Something else worth watching: With weather conditions as bad as they are in Chicago this weekend, will the Panthers have any problems getting out of town and into Winnipeg in time for their game Saturday against the Jets?
Speak of old friends ...
The Bolts will get the chance to see firsthand what has happened to Smith since he moved to the desert this offseason. For those not in the know, what has happened is that he has become a quality starting goaltender for the Coyotes.
The Lightning are giving up more goals than any team in the league. Don't you think Smith and his 2.41 goals against average would be handy in Tampa Bay this season?
Then again, it probably wouldn't be too much different if the defenders in front of Smith were playing the same/as injured as they are in front of Roloson and Mathieu Garon.
Fun doesn't stop Saturday
On Sunday there is a nice pair of battles for matinee games in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins will take on another one of the I-95 corridor powers in the Philadelphia Flyers while the Pittsburgh Penguins will host the Washington Capitals for their final bout this season. It might be a bit watered down without Sidney Crosby playing, but it's still worth watching.
Both games are worth it, so get ready to wear out the "last" button on your remote.
We're going streaking!
A look at the winning and losing streaks heading into the weekend.
Penguins: Remember how they just lost six in a row? This is how you rebound from that. The Pens take a four-game winning streak into Friday night's game against the Canadiens before the game against the Caps.
Detroit Red Wings: For the moment, they have taken the lead in the Central Division, which is an unbelievable race this season. Their five straight wins will be put on the line Saturday vs. the Blue Jackets.
St. Louis Blues: They are doing what they can to keep pace with the Red Wings and Blackhawks, and they're doing it just fine. They ride a three-game run into a home game against the Sabres, losers of 10 straight on the road.
Buffalo Sabres: As just mentioned, 10 straight road losses, four in a row overall. Only the one chance in St. Louis to snap it this weekend.
Panthers: They haven't won a game in their last three chances but they have picked up points in two of those three. The double dip this weekend is at Chicago and at Winnipeg.
Minnesota Wild: The ship keeps on sinking. Remember when they were first in the NHL? I hardly do either. Four straight losses and Dallas on tap this weekend.
Dallas Stars: Misery loves company, I suppose. Dallas brings its own losing streak of three games into the weekend, but they get Tampa Bay before facing the Wild.For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.
Tags: Alexander Salak, Anaheim Ducks, Andrew Shaw, Bob Murray, Boston Bruins, Brad Richards, Brian Campbell, Brian Stubits, Bruce Boudreau, Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Claude Julien, Dale Tallon, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Dwayne Roloson, Florida Panthers, John Madden, John Tortorella, Kevin Bieksa, Kris Versteeg, Kyle Turris, Mathieu Garon, Michal Frolik, Mike Smith, Minnesota Wild, Nathan Horton, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Rostislav Olesz, San Jose Sharks, Skille, St. Louis Blues, Stan Bowman, Steve Montador, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tomas Kopecky, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, Weekend Preview
Posted on: January 9, 2012 9:52 pm
As usual, here's Shanahan's video explaining it.
This video has a lot of the same verbage we've heard from Shanny this season. Going into the slot, Umberger can expect a good check, but should not expect one to the head and in this case that was the principal point of contact.
"J.F. hit a player that was vulnerable after shooting the puck, and he needs to be more aware in those situations," Ducks GM Bob Murray said. "We accept the league's ruling and will move forward."
Leading to part of the three-game punishment is the fact that Jacques was handed a suspension in the preseason too.
That was just the first of two hearings on the day for Ducks players. The one a bit more concerning to Ducks fans was a hearing for defenseman Francois Beauchemin for his hit that left Jeff Carter with a separated shoulder.
Shanahan elected to come down with no additional punishment for Beauchemin, be it a suspension or a fine. That's the good news in it all for Anaheim.