Friday, December 30, 2011

The Top 10 Hockey Stories of 2011

On the other hand, here's a guy who hasn't been in the news at all this year...

2011 is on life support today, and by tomorrow night, it'll be just another year that has come and gone.  It did, however, produce a tremendous number of dramatic news stories in the hockey world.  Let's have a look at the 2011 Year in Review in the hockey world (stories are in chronological order).

1. SIDNEY CROSBY'S CONCUSSION - The 2011 NHL Winter Classic was supposed to be a celebration of the league's two best players: Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.  Neither player was relevant in the game itself, except for Crosby getting drilled in the head by David Steckel, which is the likely initial trigger of Crosby's concussion.  Luckily for the Penguins, if you add up the rest of their roster, they almost come close to the offensive production of Crosby.

2. THERE'S A NEW OWNER IN BUFFALO - In February 2011, Terry Pegula was approved to be the new owner of the Buffalo Sabres.  He seemed to bring a new attitude to the franchise and emphasized winning multiple championships.  The Sabres went on a shopping spree in the summer, but let's just say that Ville Leino probably wasn't worth 6 years...or even one.  Pegula says he wants to win in Buffalo, but he never really provided a time table...

3. THE BOSTON BRUINS' RUN TO THE CUP - The Bruins run to the Stanley Cup wasn't easy: they were taken to a Game 7 three times, including the Finals themselves.  Rookie sensation Tyler Seguin exploded when he entered the lineup, thus...gaining on Phil Kessel in terms of playoff points with the Bruins.  What's more: Tomas Kaberle became the first player - other than his own brother - to win a Stanley Cup despite doing absolutely nothing for the team he won with.

4. VANCOUVER CHOKES, CITY RIOTS - Despite finally getting past the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs, the Canucks failed to win the Cup again.  Although they were the number one team in the league in the regular season, Roberto Luongo insisted that he wanted to retain the honor of being the laughing stock of the league.  To celebrate the Canucks' epic Stanley Cup Finals collapse, Vancouver fans took to the streets and rioted violently all over the city, but they can do that because that shows that they're passionate, right?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Who are the worst players in the NHL?

Well, worst players other than this guy...

A common hockey discussion could center around who the best player in the NHL is right now.  Of course, it's always amusing to discuss the flashiest goal scorers and the best defensemen and goaltenders in the league, but sometimes those talks can become boring after a while.  That's why I've decided to dedicate a post all about the worst players in the NHL this season, as in players who either don't do anything or don't have it anymore.  Take a look at some of my nominations.

Brad Staubitz (MIN) - Here's a guy with no goals and no assists in 34 games this season.  Then again, considering the team he plays for, he isn't too far off the lead in scoring on his team.

Aaron Palushaj (MTL) - He's played 15 games this season and has yet to record a point.  Why is he still in the organization, then?  Well, at 5'11", he is one of the tallest forwards on the team.

Philippe Dupuis (TOR) - He may be pointless through 30 games this season, but Phil Kessel laughed and snapped his photo when he was picked last for a team scrimmage.

Eric Boulton (NJ) - It seems Lou Lamoriello signed Boulton simply to show his young players, such as Larsson and Henrique, what not to do on the ice during a game.

Trevor Lewis (LA) - After a career-high 13 points last season, it seems Lewis is suffering from Kings-syndrome with just a single point this season.

Monday, December 26, 2011

NHL Christmas Gifts Recap

Maybe Ilya Bryzgalov should have gotten one of these for Chris Pronger to use.  You know...with a visor...

Many people spend the day after Christmas counting up their gifts.  NHL players do that as well, and some players received some interesting gifts this year.  Here's a look at what some of hockey's best players received for Christmas this year.

Henrik Lundqvist -
Gift: Two tickets to a Knicks game.
Problem: His buddy, Justin Bieber, has been hanging out in Toronto lately...

Ilya Bryzgalov -
Gift: A trip to the moon...obviously via the Russian space program, since NASA doesn't use shuttles anymore.
Problem: He's gotten lost in the woods.  Imagine how lost he would get in outer space...

Phil Kessel -
Gift: A new phone with an HD camera, just in time for the upcoming All-Star Weekend.
Problem: The captain of the team Kessel isn't on will definitely pick Alex Ovechkin way too early.

Drew Doughty -
Gift: A new contract that doesn't include the "everyone on the team must stop scoring" clause.
Problem: Dean Lombardi has no idea how to successfully sign a star player.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Other celebrities that practiced with an NHL team

Celebrities visiting NHL practices are nothing new, actually.

This week, two major figures in pop culture, Michael Buble and Justin Bieber, practiced with NHL teams: the Canucks and Maple Leafs, respectively.  While I'm not sure if Jake Gardiner personally requested to meet Bieber, I can tell you that celebrities and hockey teams have mixed in the past.  Take a look and you'll see what I mean.

New York Rangers - Some claim he plays hockey professionally, but either way, the New York Rangers have invited fashion superstar Sean Avery to many of their practices.  He's even made it into the Rangers' lineup a few times.

Los Angeles Kings - The Kings reportedly invited Leonardo DiCaprio to one of their practices, however the players and DiCaprio seemed to bond when the topic of never winning a major award was brought up.

Carolina Hurricanes - As training camp began for the Hurricanes last fall, a rumor was floating around the locker room that the Jonas Brothers had been invited to their camp, judging by the spike in teenage girls surrounding the team.  Then Jeff Skinner arrived and it all made sense.

Washington Capitals - President Obama met with the locals, the Washington Capitals recently, since he hasn't met with them over a Stanley Cup celebration.  At the end of the day, most people agreed that Obama and Alexander Semin have something in common: people want them out of town next year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The NHL's Best Rivalries

Oh oops.  My picture editor forgot this is my rivalries post, not Team Nobody's Ever Heard Of post.
 With tonight being the first meeting of the season between the Devils and Rangers, I thought it would be a good opportunity to highlight some of the other big rivalries in the NHL.  You know, rivalries that have rich histories of playoff battles and brutal moments, many of which date back 30 years or more...or 30 months in the case of Washington and Pittsburgh.

Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks

  • When these teams meet, the Sedin's always ask the Canucks coaching staff who they'll be matched up against.  When the coaches tell the Sedin's they'll be matched up against Calgary's top line, they always draw a blank stare from the Sedin's.
  • Roberto Luongo often makes Calgary's top line look better than Vancouver's.

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens

  • Every rivalry has an "X-factor" to it.  With the B's/Habs rivalry, we know Boston has the size advantage and we know Montreal has the speed advantage.  Montreal also owns the X-factor: the Bell Centre stanchions.
  • I wonder if Habs fans realize that the Bruins coach speaks French and the Habs coach doesn't...

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins

  • They say it's a rivalry, but I always thought both teams had to show up for it to be considered a rivalry...
  • This rivalry is nothing more than fan hype.  After all, Peter Chiarelli and Brian Burke are always doing each other favors.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

NHL Power Rankings - Week of December 18th, 2011

It's that time of week again.  It's time for DGA's Week 10 NHL Power Rankings.  We saw a lot of offense this week, which means teams are playing more wide open or goaltenders are just awful lately.  I think it's safe to say it's a combination of both.

1. Boston Bruins (+2) - The absence of Gregory Campbell has really hurt the Bruins.  Something like that...

2. Detroit Red Wings (-1) - The Wings' 13-2-1 home record doesn't even account for their absolute demolition of all opponents recently.  If only Shea Weber hadn't happened to them...

3. Pittsburgh Penguins (-1) - Sidney Crosby's time off has allowed him to teach the rest of the team how to score goals.

4. Chicago Blackhawks (+3) - Patrick Kane's shootout goal on Niklas Backstrom was cool and all, but nobody seriously wants a shootout because of that, right?

5. Minnesota Wild (-1) - It's remarkable that the Wild lost in another shootout considering the Islanders don't have Patrick Kane.

6. St. Louis Blues (+2) - Jaroslav Halak must have realized that he's been outplayed by Brian Elliott this season, so he's decided to start playing.

7. New York Rangers (-2) - Brad Richards is the first free agent Glen Sather has ever signed to successfully bindly throw a puck to the net and win a game with 0.1 seconds to go.

8. Florida Panthers (+1) - The Panthers are either really good or the New York Rangers are the only team that takes them seriously.

9. Vancouver Canucks (+2) - The Sedin's are trying to make sure the Canucks will win with any goaltender better than Toskala.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

DGA Special - Q&A with Ken Daneyko

Ken Daneyko knows how Scott Niedermayer felt when #27 was raised to the rafters.

Ken Daneyko's name will forever be synonymous with the Devils.  Nicknamed "Mr. Devil," #3 spent all of his 20 seasons as an NHL player with the Devils.  He played 1,283 regular season games in New Jersey, the most games ever played by a defenseman with one organization, as well as 175 playoff games, winning three Stanley Cups in the process.  He now adds "Q&A with Down Goes Avery" to his resume...okay, maybe not, but he was generous enough to answer some questions I had for him.  Enjoy a very special Q&A with #3.

Q: First off, your playing career: Which coach would say had the greatest influence on you as a player?

The most influential coach I had was Tom McVie early on, and then Jauque Lemaire and Larry Robinson.

Q: Which was your favorite/least favorite visiting arena to play in?  Which had the best atmosphere?

My favorite was Chicago.  Least favorite: the old Capitals arena and best atmosphere was Montreal.

Q: You're one of very few players who was fortunate enough to spend his entire playing career with one organization and had great success with that organization.  What does it mean to you to spend your entire playing career with the Devils?

It was very important to me to start and play with one team.  I was very loyal as the organization was to me, so it meant a lot to stay my whole career.  I had no interests of going anywhere else.

Q: For several years now, you and Scott Stevens have been the only two players that Devils management have honored by retiring your numbers.  What does it mean to you to see #3 in the rafters every time you're at the Prudential Center?

It's very humbling to see my number in the rafters, and I'm extremely honored.  I think nights like that are as important to the fans as the player, because of their great support.

Q: As you know, #27 now joins #3 and #4 in the rafters.  What was your reaction when you heard that the Devils decided it was time to retire Scott Niedermayer's #27?

I feel very fortunate to have played with one of the best defenseman of all time.  He deserves this special honor and I was very excited for him and the organization when they announced his number going up.

Q: The NHL has changed a lot over the past few seasons.  How do you think, as a player, would be different if you played in today's NHL versus the pre-lockout NHL?

It has changed and I, along with a lot of players from the past, would have to adjust to the new rules, but I felt no matter which way the game was played, players from the past, including myself, would do it.

Q: Since your retirement, the Devils have not been back to the Eastern Conference Finals or beyond, which is actually the longest stretch in franchise history without such a playoff run.  Why do you think the Devils have been unable to win in the playoffs in recent years?  What needs to be done for the Devils to make another Stanley Cup run?

It's very tough to win as we all know, and you cherish those great teams we had; I think because we had such a great defense and Marty was a big reason we were successful.  I don't really have a great answer to what needs to be done except play with heart and passion and develop within the system.  They need a little more depth to win.

Q: Since the 2005 lockout, the Devils seem to have moved away from each defensive pairing having a puck mover and a stay-at-home defenseman.  Why do you think that model has changed?  Is it all about the personnel or has the effectiveness of the Devils' old system declined in today's NHL?

I think that's because they just don't have the personnel we had back there.  Not many teams do.  You can't duplicate something if you don't have Scott Stevens,Scott Niedermeyer etc., so you have to find different options.

Q: Some fans believe that NHL referees have held a grudge against the Devils due to the infamous incidents of Jim Schoenfeld and Robbie Ftorek.  Did you ever feel that refs were being unfair to the Devils?  Do you think there's any truth to that today?

I don't really think refs hold a grudge, maybe for a game or two after, that's it.

Q: Do you think the Devils made the right decision by putting Adam Larsson right into the NHL lineup or do you think he should have developed in Albany for a season?

I believe Larsson was ready now, but because the D isn't as deep gave him a better opportunity right away.

Q: Now the big question: How important do you think it is for the Devils to re-sign Zach Parise?

They will do everything they can to re-sign Zach.  He is the heart and soul [of the Devils], but let's not forget and the business side too: so he has to want to be here as well.

Q: What's the best part of your job with MSG since you retired as a player?

Just still being involved in the game, talking hockey, which i'm so passionate about.

Q: Finally, have you ever thought about another hockey-related job, such as coaching or scouting?

The only thing that interests me is developing a team similar to a GM or along the line of President of an organization, which you're involved with a little bit of everything from player decisions to fan interaction!

Thanks again to Ken Daneyko for taking the time to do this!  It's nothing short of an honor to have such an icon of the Devils answer these questions.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Top 10 Video Special - Scott Niedermayer Moments

Every news piece out of the NHL lately seems negative.  There's either someone getting suspended, a coach getting fired or a player suffering a concussion.  Because of that, the fact that I haven't had a post dedicated to the Devils in a while and Scott Niedermayer Night this Friday, I decided that now would be a good time for the 14th DGA Top 10 Video Special in the series: Scott Niedermayer's Greatest Moments as a New Jersey Devil.  Scotty was an amazing skater and playoff hero.  This was by far the easiest video special I've ever put together.  Enjoy.


I included this one because of the fact it's a Devils defenseman scoring a power play goal against the New York Rangers.  That makes it special.


Scott Niedermayer scored 112 goals as a New Jersey Devil, and it all started with this one.  Here's his first NHL goal, and a spectacular goal as well.


The 2000 Eastern Conference Finals will always go down as one of the greatest playoff series in Devils history, and it all started with this Niedermayer goal, 55 seconds in to Game 1.

#7 - WIN ONE (or 400) FOR MARTY

As the Devils tried to clinch a playoff spot in the Spring of 2004, Scott Niedermayer scored this overtime winner that also turned out to be Martin Brodeur's 400th career win.


Scott Niedermayer goes to work on 5 Boston Bruins, thus proving that quality is better than quantity.


One of Mike "Doc" Emrick's greatest calls in his career game in the 3rd overtime of Game 5 of the 2003 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.  Scott Niedermayer's shot ended up being jammed home by Grant Marshall and the Devils won the series, and eventually, the Stanley Cup.


After returning to the Devils in time for the 2000 Stanley Cup playoffs from a suspension, Scott Niedermayer put a rebound of John Madden's slapshot past Mike Vernon for a rare 3-on-5 short-handed goal that tied the game at 2!


The unsung hero of Mike Rupp's game-winning Game 7 goal of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals has to be Scott Niedermayer.  Watch as he keeps the puck in the offensive zone and sends a wrister towards the net that Rupp is able to deflect through J.S. Giguere.


After a crushing loss in triple-overtime in Game 5, the Devils went to Dallas with a chance to win the Stanley Cup.  Scott Niedermayer opened the scoring with a sweet short-handed goal.


Welcome to the Scott Niedermayer Show.  During Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Detroit, a 21-year old Scott Niedermayer showed the world that a legendary career is just getting under way.

#27 joins #4 and #3 this Friday! 

Thanks to McKay4429061 and 0zachNJDparise9 for uploading all of the classic Devils footage that they do on YouTube!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The NHL's Other New TV Shows

NBC Sports recently launched NHL 36, a 36-hour look into the life of an NHL player.  There's also the return of HBO's 24/7 series, but even with those two shows, some NHL fans are still left wanting more.  Luckily, I've been able to put together some ideas for some new NHL TV shows, and after making a few phone calls, I think I can get at least one of them on the air!  Take a look and tell me which one you'd like to see on the air.

They always say you should love what you do.


Program description: NHL star Kyle Wellwood takes you into the kitchen where he shows fans his second passion: really fattening desserts.

Starring: Kyle Wellwood and anyone not named your nutritionist.

Airs: Weekly, all year.

"Hey, look, we're on TV!"


Program description: A comedy series that follows one of the NHL's best teams around during the playoffs.

Starring: Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and a special visit from Dany Heatley.

Airs: Every Spring. Arena is the best building nobody's ever heard of.


Program description: Bob Saget hosts a multi-part documentary about the Arena.

Starring: Everyone who's ever tried to re-locate the Phoenix Coyotes and failed.

Airs: 41 nights per year.

Some say his elbows actually require Performance-Reducing Drugs
just to stay healthy.


Program description: A comedy that looks at the life and career of a large and irritating and self-concussing NHL defenseman.

Starring: Chris Pronger.

Airs: Between Chris Pronger injuries.

"Look mom!  No teeth!"


Program description: A plot-oriented story in which Pittsburgh radio hosts randomly accuse hockey superstars and their Russian mothers of using steroids.

Starring: Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Ovechkin's mother, John Steigerwald and a special guest appearance by Ryan Lambert.

Airs: Any time John Steigerwald says something stupid.  So constantly.

Prizes may be rejected due to the spirit of the CBA.


Program description: A fantasy game show where hockey players with huge contracts grant people three wishes to see who wins prizes.

Starring: Ilya Kovalchuk.

Airs: The 17th day of each month.

I guess it should be re-named "Tampa Bay Snore" now...


Program description: The show is often mocked at by the rest of the league, but this is reality TV at its finest.  It's a TRAP.

Starring: Jacques Lemaire, anyone to ever play hockey in New Jersey.  Except Mattias Tedenby.

Airs: When you're asleep.

"Umm, Colie, you're way behind on your suspension quota."


Program description: A look into the NHL's War Room and discipline department and how the league is a flat-out mess.

Starring: Gary Bettman, Colin Campbell, Brendan Shanahan and whoever else is about to be unemployed.

Airs: The day after Andy Sutton tries to kill someone.

I know dogs with longer leashes than this guy.


Program description: Hockey players in Vancouver are given next-to-impossible tasks and expected by their fans to complete them, or else riots break out.

Starring: Roberto Luongo, occasional visits from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Airs: Every April in Vancouver, British Columbia or Chicago, Illinois.

1967 was a long, long time ago.  Just saying...


Program description: A look inside Toronto's prized NHL franchise and trying to find out just what has gone wrong over the last 40+ years.

Starring: Lots of hockey players.

Airs: Will air from now until the Leafs' next Cup.

Due to available space (or lack of), we couldn't
show you the rest of Brian Gionta.


Program description: A look at Canada's three eastern NHL teams and why one of them is a little shorter than the rest.

Starring: The Senators, Maple Leafs and Canadiens.  You figure out who the "half men" are.

Airs: Every Hockey Night in Canada.

A lot of Rangers players get stuck on the easy questions,
such as "what is the Stanley Cup?"


Program description: A new game show in which Rangers management opens its wallet to the best and usually most expensive contestants to play for their hockey team (and sometimes their basketball team, too).

Starring: James Dolan, Glen Sather, Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Wade Redden and MANY more!

Airs: July 1st, annually.

So there you have it.  The NHL has a lot of options for its new television shows.  I hope I have helped the league find a new way to market the talent in the NHL!

For a complete list of sources in which many of the pictures are from, click here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

NHL Power Rankings - Week of December 11th, 2011

It's that time of week again.  It's time for Week 9 of DGA's NHL Power Rankings.  This week features a new #1 and a new #30.  Yeah, be excited.

1. Detroit Red Wings (+1) - Now that's December, the Red Wings have decided to start humiliating their opposition again as a holiday present to their fans.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins (+2) - I was planning a Sidney Crosby joke, but I don't think that's appropriate...

3. Boston Bruins (-2) - Were recently shut out at home by the same Panthers team that allowed 6 goals last night.  Boston is terrible.

4. Minnesota Wild (+1) - Matt Hackett will definitely win Vezina at his current pace.

5. New York Rangers (-1) - Did their best NFC East impression with Artem Anisimov getting an unsportsmanlike penalty on a celebration.

6. Philadelphia Flyers (+1) - Following the concussion he gave Chris Pronger, Chris Pronger has now injured every player in the NHL at least once.

7. Chicago Blackhawks (-1) - I had forgotten about Marian Hossa's existence until very recently.

8. St. Louis Blues (+2) - If they keep winning under Ken Hitchcock, they might accidentally make the playoffs.

9. Florida Panthers (-1) - Getting blown out at MSG last night was only because the coaches had no complaints with this team prior to last night.

10. San Jose Sharks (-1) - Someone tell the Sharks this isn't the playoffs yet...

11. Vancouver Canucks (+4) - Alain Vigneault would normally pull Roberto Luongo after allowing three quick goals, but the Montreal native stayed in the game and his team rallied to win against the Habs.  He's making progress.

12. Dallas Stars (--) - Stars owner Tom Gaglardi says there's a huge fan base in Dallas.  He wouldn't, however, specify which sport he was speaking about.

13. Toronto Maple Leafs (-2) - Time to let Phil Kessel start running the penalty kill...

14. Nashville Predators (+4) - The Preds are coming off of wins against Columbus and Anaheim.  They face Calgary next.  I guess they're enjoying the difficult part of their schedule...

15. Phoenix Coyotes (-1) - Falling behind 5-0 in the first period to the Red Wings isn't part of Dave Tippett's system, is it?

16. Buffalo Sabres (--) - The Sabres are really hurting from Ville Leino's suspension...

17. Washington Capitals (--) - Alex Ovechkin is back to being controversial, and thus, relevant.

18. Montreal Canadiens (+1) - Tomas Kaberle is averaging two points per game with the Habs game.

19. Los Angeles Kings (-6) - As a team, they've collectively scored roughly as many goals as Phil Kessel this season.  I wonder if that'll change under John Stevens...

20. Ottawa Senators (+2) - The Sens have gone from best third period team in the league to back-to-back blown third period leads, kind of like how Milan Michalek went from irrelevant to world-class sniper overnight.

21. Winnipeg Jets (-1) - *Bad Joke of the Week:* The Jets are preparing to celebrate the First Noël.

22. Calgary Flames (+4) - The Flames' recent hot streak, led by........well, I'm sure someone is playing well in Calgary.

23. Colorado Avalanche (-2) - It's a good thing the Avs have so many young forwards who can make the Avs' defense better.

24. Edmonton Oilers (-1) - Andy Sutton received his daily Shanaban today.

25. New Jersey Devils (--) - The Devils have to be considered Stanley Cup contenders with the addition of Kurtis Foster, no?

26. New York Islanders (+1) - The Islanders are picking up points lately, which has Charles Wang furious.

27. Tampa Bay Lightning (-3) - Martin St. Louis snapped his consecutive games played streak at 499.  His shoes are big shoes to fill...although not literally.

28. Columbus Blue Jackets (+2) - Upon Steve Mason's return to the lineup, expect Columbus to fall back to #30 in everyone's power rankings.

29. Carolina Hurricanes (-1) - Tomas Kaberle left town, and somehow, nobody realized it...

30. Anaheim Ducks (-1) - Mark Fraser and Rod Pelley are the best ex-Devils to play in Anaheim since Sheldon Brookbank.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top 10 Video Special - Paul Steigerwald-isms

Welcome to Down Goes Avery's 13th edition of the Top 10 Video Specials.  This edition will take a look at some of Pittsburgh Penguins announcer Paul Steigerwald (and Bob Errey)'s top idiotic, biased at and times weird comments (and yes, sometimes he is right).  Why?  Well if you missed it earlier today, Yahoo! Puck Daddy writer and Twitter sensation Ryan Lambert (@twolinepass) went at it with Paul's brother and radio host John Steigerwald.  If you have half an hour, it might be worth your time.  If not, just know that John basically asked Ryan for examples of Paul Steigerwald being biased, because he couldn't think of any.  Luckily for them, I did some YouTube hunting, and here's what I found (as dumb as Paul is at times, it was actually considerably difficult to find 10 clips).

#10 - A little bit of 'Flower'

Steigerwald and Errey go Fleury-happy.

#9 - Matt Cooke, part 1

The Pens announcers tend to defend Cooke.

#8 - Matt Cooke, part 2

You know, more of the same.

#7 - Craig Adams dumps Alfredsson

Craig Adams plays the role of Matt Cooke.

#6 - "Whack and Hack"

Bob Errey must think he's funny.

#5 - "The Islanders are stupid," part 1

Steigerwald and Errey rip on the Islanders.

#4 - "The Islanders are stupud," part 2

This one's a bit more colorful.

#3 - Losing your mind

I guess they weren't playing baseball.

#2 - The Hobey Baker...winner

Paul Steigerwald decided it's cool to make fun of plane crashes.

#1 - Country music culture

I can't tell if Paul is just being stupid or mocking Nashville.

So there you have, John.  I hope you all enjoyed the Top 10 Special.  Remember to send me your Top 10 Special suggestions for future countdowns!  Thanks for watching.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Inside a night at the NHL War Room

Alex Semin would make a decent NHL official, considering he's always asleep on the job.

In the wake of a number of questionable reviewed goal calls throughout the NHL recently, I began to wonder to myself what exactly goes in in the War Room on game nights?  My question soon became an answer, as I once again swiped Down Goes Brown and Down Goes Spezza's "Super Spies" for the day and had them find out for me.  Here's what I found.

6:57 PM - The officials all arrive at the War Room, running late of course.  Gary Bettman yells at someone for wearing a Caps hat.

6:58 PM - After ten seconds of technical difficulty, one of the officials says "screw it," turns off his assigned monitor and logs onto's box score for the Islanders-Devils game he's been assigned from his Smartphone.

6:59 PM - Most other officials do the same.  Gary Bettman opens an apparent closet door that turns out to be a massive flat-screen high-definition TV for the Penguins game.

7:00 PM - Some guys who speak French come into the room, but despite claims that they're here to work the Habs game so Montreal can get fair officiating with people who speak French, Bettman kicks them out.

7:02 PM - The guy assigned to the Vancouver Canucks game walks in, saying he had just spoken with some angry French guys.  Riots break out in the parking lot.

7:07 PM - The Penguins game gets under way after a slight delay as Sidney Crosby's phone went off following a "good luck" text from Bettman.

7:08 PM - Similarly, Gregory Campbell checks his phone and views a text from Colin Campbell.  Gregory is issued a minor penalty for delay of game.  Colin Campbell sits helpless in Brendan Shanahan's office, hand-cuffed behind his desk.

7:13 PM - After five uneventful minutes, Gary Bettman falls asleep.

7:14 PM - Bettman is startled awake by the Penguins goal horn...but wait!  The goal is under review.

7:15 PM - Bettman decides the goal looks good.  After awarding Pittsburgh of a goal, some Rangers players become upset, and they are penalized accordingly for caring.

7:39 PM - Brendan Shanahan is called into the War Room due to a questionable hit.  He immediately shows the footage to Colin Campbell.  Campbell recommends no suspension.  Shanahan thanks Campbell for the advice and begins his explaination video, deciding on a 5-game suspension.

8:05 PM - Another goal is under review on a Versus game, but the arena's referees can't get in touch with the War Room, because they have the National Anthem from the United Center on the big screen with the volume on maximum.

8:08 PM - After several tries of calling the War Room, the goal is waved off, as the league requested lower scoring games to annoy the Versus network.

8:23 PM - There's another goal under review!  This one is between the Predators and Coyotes.  The War Room officials scramble around, but can't find any video footage from the game.  They resort to the box score.  No goal.

8:25 PM - Bettman becomes bored and orders a pizza.

8:46 PM - Bettman's pizza is delivered by a guy wearing a Canadiens t-shirt.  Bettman slaps him and the man leaves.

9:07 PM - Most early games are entering the third period, so it's time to focus to make sure no calls are missed.  All officials refresh their box scores.

9:10 PM - The Montreal Police call Bettman to inform him that they are investigating his hit on the pizza delivery guy.

9:26 PM - There's a goal under review in New Jersey!  The Devils have tied the game with two seconds remaining!  Officials immediately call in a Photoshop expert to edit the image so it looks like Zach Parise has kicked the puck in.  No goal.  Devils lose.

9:34 PM - Following the conclusion of the Penguins game, officials review each Pittsburgh goal and decide since Sidney Crosby was on the ice for one of their goals, he is awarded an assist.

9:47 PM - Lou Lamoriello calls Bettman to appeal his decision of no-goal, but Bettman fines him and threatens to take draft picks from the Devils.

10:21 PM - Officials are reviewing how a puck got past Roberto Luongo, but everyone is genuinly confused.  The goal stands, though, despite not knowing how it is physically possible to allow such a goal.

11:43 PM - A tired Gary Bettman heads out for the night, bringing an angry Colin Campbell with him.

12:23 AM - All games have concluded.  Officials turn off all War Room phones to block angry complaining callers.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NHL Power Rankings - Week of December 4th, 2011

By my count, Week 8 of the 2011-12 NHL season is in the books.  Unfortunately, Sidney Crosby did not make another return to the lineup this week.  Instead he stayed in the lineup.  David Perron and Ryan Miller returned to the lineup, though.

1. Boston Bruins (--) - I wonder if Zdeno Chara made Phil Kessel look as helpless as he did in Toronto Saturday back when they were teammates in practice.

2. Detroit Red Wings (--) - While the Wings are washed up, too old, too slow and have too many big contracts, they're also busy being the hottest team in the NHL.

3. Pittsburgh Penguins (--) - When healthy, Pittsburgh's "Big 3" is an unbelievably dynamic trio.  Who knew?

4. New York Rangers (+3) - After many years of failures after signing big ticket free agents, perhaps it's time to realize that Glen Sather got it right with Brad least for now.

5. Minnesota Wild (-1) - After backup goaltender Niklas Backstrom was lifted from the game against New Jersey due to injury, Josh Harding shined to steer the Wild to victory.

6. Chicago Blackhawks (--) - To those who may have forgotten, the Blackhawks have Marian Hossa, and he's ridiculously good.

7. Philadelphia Flyers (+2) - The fact that Scott Hartnell plays on one of the best lines in hockey is just weird, but it's true.

8. Florida Panthers (+2) - No Panthers forward even has half of the points as Versteeg, Fleischmann and Weiss do each.

9. San Jose Sharks (-4) - The Sharks have been in three shootouts this season: all wins against Eastern Conference teams.

10. St. Louis Blues (+3) - David Perron scored in his first game back in the NHL after 97 games missed from a concussion.  Didn't someone else pull a similar feat recently?

11. Toronto Maple Leafs (-3) - I wonder if James Reimer will be able to beat the Bruins.  I guess we'll find out in March.

12. Dallas Stars (+5) - The Stars are thankful that Matt Moulson doesn't still play in the Western Conference.

13. Los Angeles Kings (+2) - Dustin Penner is heating up again.  I'm pretty sure he had a few shots on goal this past week.

14. Phoenix Coyotes (-3) - Ilya Bryzgalov left Phoenox thinking "ha, the Coyotes miss me."  The thing is, though, they don't.

15. Vancouver Canucks (-3) - Roberto Luongo came in to relieve Cory Schneider against Nashville.  He eventually collapsed and the Canucks lost late, so order is still restored in the world.

16. Buffalo Sabres (-2) - Terry Pegula will definitely look to acquire a 'tough guy' to be Ryan Miller's personal bodyguard.

17. Washington Capitals (+1) - Dale Hunter was very excited to learn that he'd be coaching such elite players like Jason Chimera in Washington.

18. Nashville Predators (-2) - In their latest attempt to imitate the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, the Preds wear gold jerseys and have their players run over Ryan Miller.

19. Montreal Canadiens (+2) - There is something ironic about Max Pacioretty getting suspended for a nasty hit after his experiences from last season.

20. Winnipeg Jets (+3) - Don Cherry predicted the Jets would miss the playoffs.  Winnipeg is determined to prove him wrong just to make him admit he's wrong about something.

21. Colorado Avalanche (+4) - The Avs spent their week learning how to score goals at home, and well, it worked.

22. Ottawa Senators (--) - Isn't it weird that Milan Michalek already has 16 goals, but he's third on his team in points?

23. Edmonton Oilers (+1) - Randy Jones is the latest Oiler to do his Wayne Gretzky impression for a game.

24. Tampa Bay Lightning (-4) - Brad Richards and John Tortorella returned to Tampa Bay this past week.  The team is about as good as after the two of them left.

25. New Jersey Devils (-6) - Martin Brodeur spent his week making sure nobody will ever catch his most losses record.

26. Calgary Flames (--) - Jarome Iginla insists that he wants to win in Calgary.  I guess we'll see if he'll still be playing in 15 years, then.

27. New York Islanders (+1) - Matt Moulson decided he's sick of his team not scoring, so he went a bit insane in Dallas.

28. Carolina Hurricanes (-1) - If Paul Maurice was leaving a note for John MacLean instead of Kirk Muller, you'd think if probably would have read "I already got them a bad record, so you can't really screw up much worse."

29. Anaheim Ducks (--) - After completing an anonymous poll following their first game under Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim players are in agreement that Boudreau is "f$%&ing" awesome.

30. Columbus Blue Jackets (--) - Nail Yakupov reportedly owns a blue jacket...not that there's any signifiance to that...

Friday, December 2, 2011

How the NHL can prevent shootouts

This week marked the 1,000th shootout in NHL history, which seems like a lot of shootouts, considering the format was established in the fall of 2005.  For some people, a skills competition is not a fair way to decide the outcome of a regular season game, but what can be done to avoid shootouts?  I've come up with a list of ways teams can prevent shootouts.

Washington Capitals - Tell Alex Ovechkin and Semin that Bruce Boudreau has indeed been fired and that it's okay if they start playing and scoring goals again.

Vancouver Canucks - In a tie game at any time, insert Roberto Luongo between the pipes.  *Note: this does not work well if the Canucks plan on winning the game.

Nashville Predators - At the end of overtime, all Predators players should just leave the ice, because they've already lost the game.

Toronto Maple Leafs - Host Kyle Wellwood Night at the Air Canada Centre when the Leafs play Winnipeg and invite the Leafs fan who threw waffles onto the ice last season back and bring a bunch of friends.

Montreal Canadiens - Request that the NHL make a rule that anyone shorter than 5'10" not be eligible for the shootout.  The Habs would be forced to forfeit, by default.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Have Sidney Crosby ask the refs to keep overtime going.

Dallas Stars - Scratch Mike Ribeiro.

Tampa Bay Lightning - Tell Steven Stamkos he's taking a penalty shot.

Boston Bruins - If Tuukka Rask is playing, ask him how he liked shootouts when he was in Providence with the AHL Bruins.

New York Rangers - Tell Brandon Dubinsky that Jody Shelley likes shootouts.  Dubinsky will then refer to shootouts as "idiotic."

New Jersey Devils - Ask Ilya Kovalchuk if he remembers scoring on Ryan Miller in a shootout last season.

Detroit Red Wings - Automatically disqualify Pavel Datsyuk.

Buffalo Sabres - Have Milan Lucic start every shootout when the Bruins play Buffalo.

Colorado Avalanche - Tell the officials that the Avs will blast their goal horn upon each shootout goal scored.

New York Islanders - Tell fans that they'll be charged double for the game if it gets to a shootout because that's how long it would take for someone on the Isles to score.  Or maybe they do that already...

Columbus Blue Jackets - Inform Jeff Carter that scoring a shootout goal will activate a full no-movement clause on his contract.

Philadelphia Flyers - Any Flyers player that scores in the shootout will be first in line to be traded to Columbus.