Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The Penguins are trying to make the fancy play instead of the simple play and that is what is killing them in this series. Instead of trying to put the puck on net in the first two games, they tried making that final pass to get the highlight reel goal and Detroit is just too good for that too happen. The Penguins played much better when they got the puck on net and just tried to grind it in. Hence the Game 3 win.
A lot has been said about Detroit's domination in Games 1 and 2 but I think that if Pittsburgh can keep this intensity and pace they could make a series of it. This was a more entertaining game than the first two and I think that the crowd had a lot to do with that. In that 7 minute stretch in the middle of the third period, the crowd in Pittsburgh was just loud enough to drown out Bob Cole's play by play. The back and forth action of Game 3 will make for a more entertaining series and most likely if this continues, we will see an overtime game here in this series and nothing is more entertaining than overtime hockey.
Tomas Holmstrom has to be frustrating Hal Gill and the Penguin defenders and it definitely showed during this game. The two consecutive cross-checking penalties in front of the net were just plain undisciplined and stupid. Holmstrom has been crashing the net all series and is just getting under the skin of the Penguins defenders. I counted at least three times that Holmstrom's helmet came off during the pushing and shoving after the play.
It is always good to see the CBC coverage of these games because it is just so seemless and produced so much better. Pierre McGuire annoys me between the glass and I have never been fond of Doc Emerick. His calls are alright but the pitch of his voice just seems to get on my nerves. Bob Cole has done an alright job of calling this series but has stumbled a bit. The one thing that Cole can do though is frame a scenario and he did that pretty well during the third period of Game 3.
Friday, May 23, 2008
The Calgary Herald has an article up about the life of owner Brad Bannister and the world of hurt that the Roughnecks seem to be in. Its interesting to read just to see what state the Roughnecks seem to be in.
Kurt Silcott was surprised by his firing from the Roughnecks according to NLL Insider.
The Oregonlive blog has the questions in the offseason that the Lumberjax now have to deal with, the biggest being what is going to happen to their three Arizona players.
Finally, NLL Insider has a post from a Lumberjax fan who made the trip to Buffalo for the Championship game. Its a good read to see his feelings on Bandit fans and his experience here. Thankfully, it was all good.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
There will be a Bandits Championship Rally at the opening of Thursday in the Square next Thursday May 29th. It will occur between the two sets of the acts and will include the Bandettes and Rax.
Two articles from NLL Insider today, one being a synopsis from Jim Jenning's State of the League speech and the other being the ten players that have seen their stock rise in 2008. Thompson's 9, Vyse is 8, and Hill is 6. Article 1, Article 2
Amy at Shots off the Crossbar had a link up to an article written about why women should not be hardcore fans of sports. Good reading if you ask me.
The Blueland Blog has a good post on the pros and cons of keeping your coaching search secret.
Notes from Bruins Blog on the extension of Aaron Ward from Ward himself and GM Peter Chiarelli
Fanhouse found an article from the Sporting News based on an interview with the Carolina Hurricanes current dentist. Definitely not for the lighthearted.
The Blackhawks have signed deals with three restricted free agents, Adam Burish, Dustin Byfuglien, and James Wisniewski. Story from the Daily Herald
Adrien Dater at All Things Avs is feeling good about the ratings news and publicity that the NHL has gotten in the last few months. Knowing Dater, he's going to say something about it too.
Mike Modano is looking to come back for at least one more season with the Stars with a little help from co-GM Brett Hull. Overview from Fanhouse.
Bettman was on a Detroit radio station today saying that the NHL's scheduling conflicts between the Finals in Detroit and Pistons/Celtics series is less the NHL's fault as compared to the NBA. Honestly, you screwed up, just admit it. Just like you screwed up when you made us wait a week for the Finals to start. Story from Red Wings Impact
The Panthers seem to be interested in Penguins assistant Andre Savard. Story from the Palm Beach Post
The rest of the league should come tommorrow along with a Finals preview.
In most cases, the explanation that is given is that the increase is going to be able to compete with the big market teams in terms of players salary. This is what the salary cap was originally meant for when the CBA was signed in 2005. Small market teams being able to compete with the big market teams. These ticket increases then increase the total revenue of the league, which then increases the salary cap and allows for teams to pay more for their players which then most likely means that a team is going to increase their ticket prices again which creates the cycle all over again.
Does this make any sense to anyone though? The league went through a lockout in 2005 to be able to return parity to the league and have all 3o teams compete on a semi-level playing field. But for most of these teams to be able to get the funding that they need to get this parity is to raise ticket prices. Now I know that there is a revenue sharing process as well but some of this can be alleiviated by sitting all 30 GM's in a room and whacking all of them across the side of the head by giving out crazy contracts that we see. If teams stopped overpaying for players this cycle would not have to continue. Also, we would not have salaries at the same level as they were before the lockout. Just now everyone is bearing the load
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Aaron Ward signed a 2 year. $5 million dollar extension with the Bruins today. Brief coverage by Bruins Blog.
The Sporting News has announced its players of the year, with Ovechkin getting Player of the Year, Patrick Kane getting Rookie of the Year, Mike Babcock with Coach of the Year, and Bob Gainey getting Executive of the Year. Press release seen here.
The Star-Telegram is reporting that Dallas coach Dave Tippett is going to get an contract extension soon. With the deep run that the Stars made this season, this is no shock.
According to Behind the Jersey, the Wings sold 8000 tickets for the Stanley Cup Series in 10 minutes. 5 hours later there were 100 tickets left. Nothing like the 8 minute run on tickets that Buffalo had in 1999 but just as impressive.
According to the CBC, Wayne Gretzky is not going to be leaving the Phoenix Coyotes for the President job for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Scott Mellanby is going to be joining the Vancouver Canucks organization as a consultant. Mellanby played for 20 seasons after finally retiring with the Thrashers. Story from the Province.
NBCSports.com believes that with Crosby being in his first Stanley Cup Final may bring more attention to the Finals. So far the playoff ratings have increased and with a dream final matchup for the league, Finals ratings can only have high hopes.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look at the cap issues that the Penguins will have during this offseason trying to keep as many players as they can from this playoff run.
Johan Franzen is improving for the Red Wings and may be ready to play in Game 1. Story from the CBC.
Finally, it seems that the Rangers and Jaromir Jagr are starting negotiations for a new contract. With the issues in consistency that the Rangers have seen out of Jagr, it would not shock me that these two parties split ways. Jagr has been all right as of late, but the Rangers seem to focus all of their plays with Jagr being the finisher. Hence why the Pens made quick work of them. Story from the CBC.
Monday, May 19, 2008
The Willful Caboose has a great post about the experience of the Bandits game on Saturday night and how completely different it would be in the case of the Sabres. Kate is completely right in this case. A Bandits championship was amazing in its own right with the complete pandemonium that occured afterwards. But that atmosphere would be ten times crazier if the Sabres won a Cup and would completely mask this celebration.
Getting Caught From Behind has a great post about the state of Buffalo sports talk radio. Good read.
Finally, The Ultimate Sports Road Trip has a great post about the atmosphere at the Bandits game and the response of the League. Banditland makes out well again.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The Bandits are the 2008 NLL Edge Champions. They did it with hard work and and superior goaltending. By taking the lead within the first minute on the Johnny Tavares hidden ball trick goal, again, the Bandits took control of the game the whole night by not giving up the lead for the rest of the game. Mark Steenhuis won the MVP but it really should have gone to Mike Thompson who played out of his mind in the fourth quarter to essentially keep the Bandits in the game. Steenhuis scored 5 goals by the way.
In the case of the Portland Lumberjax, they played a game that markets the game perfectly. They kept the game close, with scoring in the final minute to bring it within one, and played with the same amount of passion that the Bandits were oozing to start the game. Dan Dawson led the Jax all game but was eventually held to 3 goals and 9 points which is good considering his 12 goals that he had in his first two games.
Final thought leads with the fans. Banditland brought their A game last night and it definitely showed. The fans waved their orange pompoms like the crazy fans they have been all season. 18,690 strong showed their support for this team and the team responded with an amazing performance. The Bandits gave this town a run that they are most likely not to forget for a while to come. It definitely has been a fun trip go on.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
This is the whole kit and kaboodle here. The Bandits and the Lumberjax face off Saturday night at HSBC Arena for the Champions Cup. The Lumberjax have had a pretty hard road to get here beating the San Jose Stealth in San Jose and then knocking off the Roughnecks in Calgary. The Bandits havent had an easy road either. They beat the Wings and Titans in Buffalo.
The Jax have been basically led by Sting rental Dan Dawson. Dawson has 12 goals and 10 assists, 7 goals against the Stealth and 5 against the Roughnecks. The next closest player is Ryan Powell with 8 goals. Basically the Jax have a few shooters and can pound inside as well. In their last trip to Buffalo at the end of the season, the Jax gave the Bandits a run for their money eventually losing 14-10.
The Bandits have been led by the play of Transition Player of the Year Mark Steenhuis. Steenhuis basically carried the Bandits on his shoulders with 7 goals against the Titans. While the Jax have a few heavy shooters in their last two games, the Bandits have seemed to pass it around with their leading scorer being Steenhuis's 7 goals, but Accursi has 6 goals along with Kevin Dostie. Tavares leads the team in points with 15, including the 10 assists that he had against the Titans.
The goalies in this matchup are going to be Mike Thompson for the Bandits and Dallas Eliuk for the Jax. Eliuk last won a championship in 2001 with the Toronto Rock and is looking to end his career on a high note. The Bandits have tapped Thompson after Ken Montour gave a solid performance against the Titans. The one-two combo for the Bandits have proven strong all season.
While both teams have been pretty evenly matched in the playoffs, I think that the sixth man in this case will help. The Bandits have never won a championship since moving to HSBC Arena. I think that the stars have aligned for the Bandits but the Jax have been too hot as of late to overlook them.
Monday, May 12, 2008
The Red Wings are up 3-0 over the Stars while the Pens are up 2-0 over the Flyers. While I have caught bits and pieces of both series, I can say that the Pens and Wings have been the dominant teams in these series. The Stars and Flyers havent really had the chance to get the momentum and are just going to get blown out of the water. I thought that the Flyers were going to put up a fight and they still have a chance with the series going back to Philly. The Wings were dominant against the Avalanche and Osgood has been a rock in net for them. The Stars are on the ropes and may take game 4 but they dont have a chance in the series.
The Sharks fired Ron Wilson today. Wilson has been the winningest coach since 2003. His problem is that the Sharks havent gotten out of the second round of the playoffs. The Sharks have been good in the regular season but just do not have the fight in them to win in the playoffs. This was a good move for both sides, Wilson needed a change of scenery and the Sharks need a coach that can put some fight into the team.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
The big Sabres news was the signing of Nathan Gerbe. The 5'5 forward from Boston College became a phenom during his amazing Frozen Four. He has since tried out for Team USA in the Worlds and now has decided to opt out of his final season at BC to go pro. He will be paid the rookie maximum of $850,000 if he makes the Sabres. Here is the wrapup from the News.
The AHL was set to vote on the change in ownership of the Rochester Americans and subsequently Rochester Knighthawks. Curt Styres is set to become majority owner of both teams by holding a 60 percent share which he acquired from Walter Turek and Randall Latona. While this is a step in the right direction, Steve Donner is still the other part owner, though it is not known whether he is going to continue with day-to-day operations. Here is the article from the Democrat and Chronicle.
Pavol Demitra has most likely decided to leave the Minnesota Wild since he is a pending UFA this season. He visited Vancouver yesterday and scoped out the organization and the city. New Canucks GM Dave Nonis was Demitra'a agent before signing on with the Canucks. Article from the Star Tribune
The Florida Panthers resigned Wade Belak yesterday. This is a head scratcher to me because Belak I thought was nothing more than a pain in the ass for the Panthers after he was traded there from the Leafs. Apparently, the two parties have reconciled their differences. Article from the Palm Beach Post.
The Predators set an attendance goal of 15,000 for next season after reaching the 13,500 mark for this season. After the Predators went on a save our team campaign last season, the team is still showing signs of not being able to hold their fanbase. While the attendance increased in the latter half of the season, it needs to continue whether the team is going to excel or not. Only time will tell if the Predators and new ownership are going to make a lasting relationship in Nashville. Article from the Tennessean.
Good article from the Phil Sheridan and the Philadelphia Inquirer about Danny Briere's training habits with a World's Strongest Man. Article
Great post from the guys over at Bfloblog about the Bucky Gleason article from Sunday about the Flyers. You can reference their comments here and my comments here.
Article from the San Jose Mercury News on whether Ron Wilson should stay with the Sharks after another early exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. For what its worth, Wilson has won the most games since 2003 but the Sharks just cannot seem to get over that hump. Something needs to change there, whether its going to be the coach or the style the players play.
Top Swedish free agent Fabian Brunnstrom has narrowed down his search to four teams according to the Toronto Star. These teams include the Leafs, Canadiens, Red Wings, and Stars. Is it any shock that a top prospect would only want to sign with the best?
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
This is what Sabres fans have to look forward to for years to come:
In my haste this morning, I posted a Balsille article rather crudely while I was running late for class. It looks ten times better now and you should read it only for the fact that it is the only Sabres news for a while.
The idea that Jim Balsillie would want to buy the Sabres makes more logical sense than trying to buy the Penguins or the Predators. If Balsillie was really wanting to make an effort to move a team to Hamilton, then taking a team that basically has a small fan base there would be easier on the attendence for the first few years. Also, because the team was so close, the backlash may not be as huge because if a person wanted to, they could make the trip to Hamilton to see them.
The Sabres and the Leafs are Balsillie's main competitors in the Hamilton markets. They are also the main sticking points because he would need explicit approval from the Leafs and the Sabres. Moving the Sabres would take away part of that issue and the MLSE would get part of the Hamilton action by most likely being one of the exclusive producer of the TV action. This move makes logical sense.
There is one final point that could be taken as good news here. The article mentioned that Golisano would be interested in selling the team only as long as the team was not being moved. This does bode well for the interest of the Sabres and its owner. Many people in the Sabres community have expressed reservations on where Golisano's interests lie and whether he ultimately cares about the team or the almighty dollar. This interest at least points in the direction that Golisano still has interest in the area and that he feels that it is in the best interest of the team to stay in Buffalo. At least I feel a little more confident in the direction of the Sabres' future.
The CBC article I posted is based off of the original Toronto Star article that is here.
Jim Balsillie wanted to buy Sabres: report
Billionaire Jim Balsillie contacted Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano earlier this season about the possibility of purchasing the franchise, a sign he's still seeking an NHL franchise after two unsuccessful attempts.
Balsillie, the co-chief executive officer of Blackberry maker Research in Motion, phoned Golisano around Christmas, a source familiar with the matter told the Toronto Star.
Golisano indicated he would be open to selling the club, but not if Balsillie was planning to relocate it.
Golisano has long ties to the western New York area.
The founder of payroll processing company Paychex, based in Rochester, N.Y., bought the Sabres out of bankruptcy in 2003.
Balsillie had a tentative agreement to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006.
But he withdrew his offer after learning the NHL would restrict his ability to move the club.
His next attempt was to buy the Nashville Predators.
That was scuttled last summer after Balsillie indicated he would move the club to Hamilton and began taking deposits from prospective season ticket holders.
This comes from the CBC reported today
Monday, May 5, 2008
I'm speechless on this column. You just have to read it yourself.
It was good to hear Sabres owner Tom Golisano’s plans to shell out $5 million to candidates he supports for the state Legislature. Like he said, he can afford the donation and wants to help out. But wouldn’t the dough be better spent on something that actually affects Western New Yorkers, such as the Sabres’ blue line?
7/7 Column Not sure what to take of this article.
Pro: Campbell for Rivet was basically the deal once the draft picks were exchanged and Steve Bernier took the scenic route from San Jose to Vancouver, via Buffalo. The Sabres yearned for a veteran defenseman at 2007 prices, and Regier landed a good one in Rivet.
Con: News alert: The Sabres have a poor reputation among players. It has become increasingly evident that the only way to get quality veterans into Buffalo is to force them here through trades. It’s an unpleasant way to survive.
6/15 Column Well this has been awhile but here we are
Sabres GM Darcy Regier’s name also has been tossed around in the revolving Toronto rumor mill. He has another year remaining on his contract. Given his close relationship with Lindy Ruff, Regier isn’t likely to go anywhere unless he grows tired of watching other teams sign free agents and decides to become one himself.
5/21 This one is a little delayed and honestly, Getting Caught From Behind did the analysis so well, so I'll let you read it from him.
Two in a row, looking good.
Sometimes, he can write without being condescending. He came close but nothing postworthy.
No wonder they’ve awakened a fan base that for years has lived with a sense of dread. Believe me, having lived and worked in Philly, the fans there have more in common with the fans here than either city would like to admit. Both are tortured sports towns, ours more than theirs, longing for a run toward a title.
FYI: Fans there cheered the tears out of former Flyers center Jeremy Roenick during a brief ceremony this season after he scored his 500th career goal. Fans here booed the Sabres’ ex-captains after they took Buffalo to the conference finals in consecutive years.
Because we all know that Philly fans are the greatest fans in the world. The same people who booed Santa Claus, threw batteries at J.D. Drew in his return with the Cardinals, and caused Tie Domi to hop the glass in the penalty box.
Interesting master plan, wouldn’t you say?
Dig number 1 at management.
And you wonder why players don’t want to deal with these guys.
Dig number 2 at management, in the same column, and they wonder why no one returns their phone calls.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
The 2008 NLL season was about as crazy of a season that the fans could get. The top four teams in the East were tied at 10-6 with Buffalo winning the four-way tie breaker and getting home field throughout. In the West, the Roughriders and Lumberjax both ended up with losing records but because the top four get in the playoffs and Edmonton was that much worse, they were able to make the playoffs. With all that being said, one could not possibly think that the playoffs could get an crazier. Well, sort of. Here are the games.
Philadelphia vs. Buffalo
This being the game that yours truly here attended, 9000 strong in Banditland cheered on Buffalo to a 14-12 win over the Philadelphia Wings. The keys to this win were a combination of things. Starting with Buffalo goaltender Mike Thompson. Thompson stood strong all night, allowing 12 goals on 58 shots, which is obviously monumental because his offense could not find their stroke in the beginnings of the halves, with Philadelphia outscoring Buffalo 8-3 in the first and third quarters while the Bandits outscored the Wings 11-4 in the second and fourth quarters. The second key was the play of Mike Accursi. Accursi acquired at the trade deadline from the Edmonton Rush was absolutely key in changing the momentum of the game all night long. Accursi netted four goals, his first coming when the Bandits were down by 2, second down by 1, the third to take the lead in the fourth quarter and his fourth to help keep that lead. His goals definitely put a spark back into this offense which he has been doing since he was acquired. The play of Rob Blasdell hurt the Wings in that he allowed 8 goals in the first 30 minutes on 22 shots. This led to the replacement to start the second half by Brandon Miller who played a solid game in net but it just was not enough to hold the Bandits off.
New York vs. Minnesota
The Titans have been the streaking team in the regular season, going 9-2 in their final 11 games to cement the third spot in the playoffs after starting the season 1-4. This momentum really carried against the Minnesota Swarm who started 6-0 but ended the season on a 4-6 note. The Titans really took charge in the fourth quarter, scoring three unanswered goals to beat the Swarm 11-8 in Minnesota. The Swarm have done nothing but struggle in the playoffs, not getting out of the first round in the history of the franchise. Tradition held true by the stick of Casey Powell who scored the first two of the three unanswered goals to keep the momentum on the side of the Titans. Overall, Powell had 4 goals and another 3 assists on the night to really lead the Titans and have them move on in the first ever playoff appearance for the franchise.
Calgary vs. Colorado
The first of the two shockers in the Western Conference saw the Roughnecks taking the win over the Mammoth in front of a stunned crowd in the Pepsi Center 15-13. Led by the strong play of Kaleb Toth who scored a hat trick and following the same formula the Bandits did by spotting the opponent the lead in the first and third quarters while stepping on the gas in the second and fourth, outscored 9-4 in the first and third compared to 11-4 in the second and fourth. Steve Dietrich started for the Roughnecks who look to be the favorite in winning the Western Conference title.
Portland vs. San Jose
In front of just a handful of people at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, the Stealth drop the second shocker of the playoffs by losing to the Lumberjax 18-16. The main player of the game was Sting rental Dan Dawson who scored 7 goals and had another 5 assists to carry the Lumberjax to the win. Dawson's final goal put the Lumberjax up 16-15 with about 4 minutes left and had Peter Morgan assist on the final two goals to take the lead. Morgan had 7 assists on the night while the Lumberjax as a team had 43 total points. For the Stealth, Anthony Cosmo was the victim for all 18 goals on the night, allowing them on 58 shots.
This sets up the Eastern and Western Conference finals for this weekend with the Titans traveling to Buffalo for the East final on Saturday while the Lumberjax travel to Calgary for a game to be announced. Another note of interest is that it is reported by being seen on a banner during the Wings/Bandits game that ESPN2 is supposed to carry the NLL Championship game. No word on when that will be or whether the game will be shown live because the league has not officially announced it as of yet.