Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 NHL All-Star Weekend recap

Patrick Kane doing his best Vancouver Canucks impression.  Something like that.

Another All-Star weekend is in the books.  This year's festivities in Ottawa concluded last night with the All-Star Game exhibition.  Although many hockey fans claim that they don't really care about the All-Star Game, most die-hard hockey fans watch it anyway.  Since you're reading this, you probably watched at least part of the weekend, so here's a recap in case you missed any of it.

  • Carey Price knelt in his crease, Tebow-style and then turned his back to the shooter in the breakaway competition.  This is also known as "Steve Mason-syndrome."
  • Patrick Kane's Superman cape was the highlight of his career, based on goals scored on goalies other than Michael Leighton.
  • The car Logan Couture won for being picked last in the All-Star draft was the second fastest machine in Ottawa during the weekend to Zdeno Chara's slapshot.
  • The arena security had trouble identifying Scott Gomez at the gate, so they didn't let him into the building.
  • The league announced that the 2013 All-Star Game will be held in Columbus, where Jeff Carter will inevitably make his return to Columbus. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Reviewing the Boston Bruins' day at the White House

"What's that, Timmy, you want me to bring you a doggy bag from the White House?"

Today was the annual Stanley Cup Champions' trip to the White House to meet the President of the United States, Barack Obama, for those who didn't know.  It was filled with some unusual controversy, due to Tim Thomas' absence.  I wasn't at the White House today, but I can tell you that the day went something like this:

7:16 AM - Claude Julien takes attendance of his team getting on the bus.  Everyone is accounted for...except Tyler Seguin.

7:17 AM - Zdeno Chara hits his head trying to get on the bus.

7:18 AM - Mark Recchi diagnoses Chara with concussion-like symptoms, just to clear that up.

7:27 AM - Tyler Seguin arrives.  "Sorry coach, my alarm clock was set for Washingon D.C. time."

9:15 AM - Tim Thomas says he's hungry.  The bus driver pulls over and Thomas checks into Dunkin Donuts.

9:18 AM - Someone with a large mustache gets on the bus, so the driver figures Thomas is back.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Players who may be on the move

No, sorry, Tomas Kaberle has already been traded this season.
(By the way, he isn't about to take a shot in this picture.  That would be weird.)

It's that time of year again: NHL trade rumor time.  It's the stretch around the All-Star break when the media and fans (well, mostly fans) start coming up with trade rumors for every team in the NHL.  Who stays?  Who goes?  Who comes in?  I've piled up some of the rumors I've heard and included my take on each possible trade senario.  Take a look.

Luke Schenn to the Flyers for James van Riemsdyk - This trade absolutely makes sense.  Brian Burke gets another American player on the Leafs and the Flyers get a defenseman to threaten the opposition if they take a shot on Ilya Bryzgalov, so it helps their goaltending situation.

Bobby Ryan to the Rangers - Early in the season, this was the hottest rumor in hockey.  How did this trade break down?  Did Anaheim balk or did Glen Sather think Bobby Ryan was too under-paid to be a New York Ranger?

Jarome Iginla to the Penguins - Everyone in Calgary says Jarome Iginla is staying in Calgary.  That's exactly why everyone outside of Calgary is speculating that Pittsburgh will trade for him.  Plus, nobody wants to see him in Pittsburgh because he'd inevitably end up on I.R. a week later.

Monday, January 16, 2012

NHL Power Rankings - Week of January 16th, 2012

Well, it's that time of week again.  It's time to randomly shuffle all 30 teams into an order that seems logical in some ways and illogical in other ways.  I like to believe that this isn't random and that it's my DGA NHL Power Rankings.  For last week's rankings, click here.

1. Boston Bruins (--) - Their recent loss to the Hurricanes hurts their chances at scoring double the amount of goals as their opponent this season.  Another 9-0 win this week would get them back on track, though.

2. New York Rangers (--) - Henrik Lundqvist's ability to stop everything makes you wonder if someday, he can stop world poverty and hunger.

3. St. Louis Blues (+2) - Jaroslav Halak's recent shutout of his former team, the Montreal Canadiens, brought memories of his playoff run in Montreal and being a backup goal--...well, I guess some things don't change.

4. Vancouver Canucks (-1) - Only Roberto Luongo could have a puck hit him, roll down every piece of goalie equipment on him and steer itself into the net...

5. Detroit Red Wings (-1) - Jimmy Howard recently won his 100th career game, which isn't that much if you compare him to Chris Osgood, but it does make him the second-best American-born goalkeeper with the last name "Howard" right now.

6. Chicago Blackhawks (+1) - Jonathan Toews recently blinked, but it was only because he saw Patrick Kane only had 10 goals this season and thought he misread something.

7. San Jose Sharks (-1) - Patrick Marleau already has 5 game-winning goals this season, which is kind of a shot to the gut of Jeremy Roenick.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Other trade ideas including Calgary and Montreal

What?  Me, ask for a trade?  No, I love losing for Canadian hockey teams with red jerseys!

It seems like Pierre Gauthier, the Habs' general manager, decided mid-game, that he was going to trade Mike Cammalleri, even though he didn't know where he was trading him to at the time.  Either way, Cammalleri is now back in Calgary, as well as Kari Ramo and a 5th round pick.  Montreal adds Rene Bourque, a prospect (Patrick Holland) and a 2nd round pick.  It's a trade that raises more questions than answers, but here's something you didn't know: Gauthier and Jay Feaster had other trade ideas.  Here's a look at some of them.

  • Gauthier considered making a huge splash and trying to land the first overall draft pick to draft Nail Yakupov, but then he remembered Montreal's long-standing tradition to not have a Russian sniper who tries.
  • A trade fell through between the Kings and Habs that would have sent Dustin Penner to Montreal.  Penner was especially excited about the trade due to the especially delicious maple syrup in eastern Canada.
  • Glen Sather decided that he wanted Olli Jokinen back in New York, especially for shootouts, but after Feaster asked for some of the Rangers' most notable minor leaguers, Sather rejected the deal, because he didn't want to give up Sean Avery and Wade Redden.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Top 10 Video Special - Devils shorthanded goals

As bad as the 2011-12 Devils have been on the power play, including allowing the most shorthanded goals in the league, they've been that good while they're shorthanded.  Adam Henrique's shorty last night in Calgary was the Devils' 10th shorthanded goal of the season.  10 of anything means it's time for a DGA Top 10 Video Special.  Here's the 15th Top 10 Video Special, and it's the Devils' shorthanded goals this season in chronological order.  Enjoy.

#10 - PARISE'S FIRST PENALTY SHOT - October 21st, 2011

The Devils' first shorty this season actually came on a penalty shot.  It's the first penalty shot Parise ever took in the NHL, and it succeeded.

#9 - PATTY'S SHORTY - October 22nd, 2011

The night after Parise's penalty shot goal, the Devils scored another shorthanded goal.  This time, Ilya Kovalchuk found Patrik Elias in Pittsburgh.

#8 - ZACH'S SLAP-AROUND - November 16th, 2011

This goal in Buffalo was the first of many shorthanded goals involving Parise and Adam Henrique.  I call it the slap-around as Zach spins around and blasts it in.

Monday, January 9, 2012

NHL Power Rankings - Week of January 8th, 2012

After a two-week absence, DGA's NHL Power Rankings returns.  A lot has happened since the last edition of power rankings, so I'll start over without considering where teams were before the little break.  Take a look.

1. Boston Bruins - The Bruins are to the rest of the league as Zdeno Chara's height is to every other Bruin.

2. New York Rangers - Since John Tortorella is obsessed with conspiracies recently, maybe it's time to remind everyone how the Rangers cleared cap space for Brad Richards (hint: he's an overpaid defenseman currently in the AHL).

3. Vancouver Canucks - Cory Schneider gets the win in Boston?  Imagine what could have been last June...

4. Detroit Red Wings - Detroit rallied in Toronto on Saturday, but then realized they were on the road.  So they lost.

5. St. Louis Blues - Brian Elliott might be the best goaltender in hockey right now, but he has no chance to be an All-Star, because he is no longer an Ottawa Senator.

6. San Jose Sharks - The Sharks have been rather quiet lately.  Maybe they're trying to draw less attention in the regular season to minimize the impact of their inevitable playoff collapse.

7. Chicago Blackhawks - Pierre McGuire said that Brent Seabrook is the Hawks' versions of Nick Kronwall, although Sea-brook'ed doesn't sound as good as Kron-wall'ed...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Signs of an upcoming NHL labor war

"Why did the NHLPA not approve our new re-alignment format?  I don't know.  They're always so good to us..."

Last night, the NHL Player's Association did not approve the league's newly proposed conference/playoff format that would accommodate the move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg.  The re-alignment was viewed as bad for travel and an unfair playoff format.  This could be viewed upon by fans as the start of long labor negotiations between the league and the players, but in fairness, there have already been some signs of that.  Here's what I mean.

  • The Vancouver Canucks benched Roberto Luongo in favor of Cory Schneider for the team's game in Boston, thus hurting the league's desire for higher scoring games.
  • John Tortorella keeps accusing NHL officiating as being "disgusting," but then apologizes, because he remembers that saying something interesting could generate better ratings.
  • The Player's Association continues to threaten NBC and the NHL by telling them that if they don't get what they want, they will make sure the Florida Panthers make the playoffs. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Guide to major hockey events in 2012

The NHL Skills Competition has just one rule: Alex Ovechkin has to win.

The calendar just turned to 2012, but the new year has already seen its fair share of major hockey events.  I might be a little late with it, but I've designed a guide to help the casual hockey fan understand what is going on with hockey's major events this year.

What is it - The NHL's only outdoor game of the year.  It's the biggest regular season hockey event in the universe.  ...yes, Ilya Bryzgalov, I'm pretty sure: in the universe.
When is it - New Year's Day January 2nd, 2012
Where is it - Outside in the Philadelphia desert
How it's significant - It makes ESPN SportsCenter...and it's hockey, which is like watching Daniel Carcillo and saying "wow, there's a really clean player:" you don't see that very often.

What is it - An international hockey event for rising stars between the top hockey countries in the world, plus Latvia and Demark.
When is it - Late December - early January, except for Team USA, who decided not to show up at all this year.
Where is it - Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, making for the first meaningful hockey played in Alberta in several years.
How it's significant - Usually Canada wins gold, unless they're playing Russia and a dramatic comeback is involved...or John Carlson scores in overtime.

What is it - A chance for the NHL's top hockey players to show off their skills, except for the New Jersey Devils, who do just that at the end of every regular season a shootout.
When is it - January 28th, 2012, two days after Phil Kessel attempts to embarass Alex Ovechkin at the Fantasy Draft.
Where is it - The capital of Canada., the capital of Canada is not Toronto...
How it's significant - It's a way for fans of the host team to watch the best players in hockey on the same ice as some of their team's own players, and for Ottawa fans to watch real NHL goaltenders for the very first time.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Previewing the 2012 NHL Winter Classic

Here's the 2012 Winter Classic logo.  Wait, that's not right...

As the calendar turns from December 2011 to January 2012, the latest edition of the NHL's annual outdoor game, the Winter Classic for those who have never heard of the event, will take place between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers tomorrow at the Phillies' Citizens Bank Ballpark.  Before the main event, however, let's take a look at some of the recent history of the teams.

  • Last year's HBO 24/7 series took us into the life of many Russian superstar players, including one that many people accuse of not always caring about the game.  This year's series showed us a Russian who spends way too much time studying poetry and the universe.
  • People have been questioning Ilya Bryzgalov's dedication to the team and his game right now.  Then you remember that Alexei Kovalev was once employed by the Rangers...
  • Each of the previous Winter Classic games have featured exciting young teams that the hockey world has fallen in love with since the lockout.  This year's Classic features a pair of teams that are generally despised in the hockey world.