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Tue, 01 Oct 2013 02:18:32 GMT
NHL Western Rankings

1. Chicago Blackhawks (Cup Contender)

When you win the Stanley Cup, you often lose a lot of players to free-agency and have to retool. Stan Bowman appears to be great with tools, cause I don't see why this team isn't still the bet to win the Cup again. This team still has Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford.

2. Los Angeles Kings  (Cup Contender)

This team is loaded with talent. They'll finish near the top of the conference. Supreme goaltending; Jonathan Quick. The real key on this team is the party boys; Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Hang out at the clubs in on Los Angeles next playoff to find out if this team is gonna challenge for the Stanley Cup. If Richards and Carter show up at the clubs, then they won't show up on the ice.

3. Vancouver Canucks (Cup Contender)

Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Roberto Luongo. I don't see this team missing the playoffs. When Roberto starts slow this season, there's nobody to take the reigns. He'll struggle thru the first month, then catch fire and this team will move up to the top of the conference. Add a solid top 4 defenseman set (Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison and Dan Hamhuis) and you have a really good team.

4. San Jose Sharks (Playoff Team)

Years after year, the Sharks have one of the best teams on paper, but always fall short in the playoffs. This might be the last year you see Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle leading this team. They're all UFAs at season end. All three are likely looking at pay cuts going forward unless they return to their all-star statuses or produce in the playoffs. Not sure what else can be said, except SAME OLD.

5. St Louis Blues (Playoff Team)

Ken Hitchcock doesn't score a lot of goals and neither does he block a lot of shots, but the Blues' coach doesn't like missing the playoffs. I don't expect anything different. The key to this team competing for more than a playoff spot is Jaroslav Halak. If he returns to form and their scoring by committee continues to work, then this team could move up. Unfortunately, their lack of big scorers makes a Stanley Cup a pipe dream.

6. Anaheim Ducks (Playoff Team)

The Ducks look like a playoff team, but a couple key injuries could easily put them out. They are already missing Sheldon Souray for the 1st half and their 2nd line may require geriatric care; Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. That said, I don't really see this team competing for the President's Trophy or the Stanley Cup.

7. Edmonton Oilers (Playoff Contender)

Loaded with talent at forward and defense. If they can just convince these superstars to play a team game, then we might be looking at the next NHL dynasty. It's really up to their top 4; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle. They will define where this season takes them. They could win the President's trophy or miss the playoffs.

8. Nashville Predators (Playoff Contender)

Pekka Rinne is everything for this team. He's good enough, he can steal games to put this team in the playoffs. He's also good enough to steal some playoff games. Outside of Shea Webber, the skaters on this team are very weak. Don't expect a lot of goals. I wouldn't qualify any forwards on this team as NHL quality power play material. If Rinne gets injured or struggles, this team could be looking at a high draft pick.

9. Dallas Stars (Playoff Contender)

The forwards are mostly refabs from other teams, but the Stars have a premier top 4 d-man lineup; Sergei Gonchar, Alex Goligoski, Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley. Keri Lehtonen is no all-star goalie, but he's good enough that with their defensemen, they might be able to sneak into the playoffs.

10. Winnipeg Jets

There's enough good pieces here for this team to compete for a playoff spot. Some good years from Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd and Evander Kane could actually put them into the playoffs, but I'm guessing they'll be on the outside of the playoffs when all is said and done.

11. Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes will finally have stable ownership this season, or at least we hope. This could turn around the franchise, but it could take a few years before they contend for anything. Mike Ribeiro and Shane Doan are quality leaders, but they are both in their mid-30s. Their experienced defense (Keith Yandle, Zbynek Mahalek, Rostislav Klesla {concussion} and Derek Morris) is what could save this team. And Oliver Ekman-Larsson is an up and coming potential all-star on their defense.

12. Minnesota Wild

Ryan Suter is a great defenseman, but they don't have too much on defense beyond him. They are gonna need big improvement from their 2 thru 4 defensemen (Jared Spurgeon, Keith Ballard and who) to make the playoffs. They surely aren't gonna have a hard time scoring goals with Zach Parise, Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville. Might be a struggle just to make the playoffs.

13. Colorado Rockies (Lottery Team)

Upfront, the Rockies have a lot of good forwards. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said between the pipes and on defense. The defense is led by Erik Johnson, whom many thought would be an all-star defenseman. He's still a good d-man, but he's no power play quarterback, nor is he a shutdown d-man. He's a good 3-4 d-man on most teams in the NHL. The rest of the Rockie defense is stop gap at best and Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere are not gonna steal many games for this team. I suspect they'll have fall short of the playoffs once again.

14. Calgary Flames (Bad Team)

A bad start to the season could quickly degrade. Karri Ramo is an extremely good goalie, but unproven in the NHL. If he doesn't win a few games early for the Flames, his own performance might start to suffer, especially with the weakest lineup in the NHL standing in front of him. Then it becomes all too possible their 1st line (Mike Cammalleri, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak are all UFAs) gets traded for prospects. Even if Ramo performs like an all-star, this team has no chance of making the playoffs.

Mon, 30 Sep 2013 02:15:12 GMT
Your 2013-14 Toronto Maple Leafs

Da Leafs

Forwards    
James Van Riemsdyk Tyler Bozak Phil Kessel
Mason Raymond Nazam Kadri Joffrey Lupul
Nikolai Kulemin Dave Bolland Carter Ashton
  Jay McClement Colton Orr
Frazer McLaren   David Clarkson
Defense    
Carl Gunnarson Dion Phaneuf  
Paul Ranger Jake Gardiner  
Morgan Rielly Cody Franson  
Mark Fraser    
Goaltenders    
James Reimer    
Jonathan Bernier    

David Clarkson is suspended for 10 games. I'm guessing that Lupul will move back to LW, Raymond down to 3rd line and Kulemin back to RW when Clarkson returns as the 2nd line RW.

McLaren currently has a broken finger. McLaren will slot in on the 4th line when he returns.

Assuming he clears waivers, John Michael Liles can be called up at any time when he fits into the salary cap. If Rielly is sent down to juniors, then Liles fits in. If Ashton Cater is sent down, then Liles fits in, but they would be carrying 8 d-men. If Ranger is sent down, then Liles fits in.

Update: I don't understand why you would keep Ranger over Liles. I assume, if Liles is claimed, then the Leafs bring up one more forward. Otherwise, Liles is kept on the team and Ranger is sent down.

Wed, 01 May 2013 02:15:09 GMT
2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

A series by series predictions for the 1st round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and a glimpse into the next 3 rounds. The NHL playoffs since the 2004-05 lockout has been a unpredictable beast. You make the playoffs on the last day of the regular season and you find your way to the Stanley Cup finals. What makes a good regular season team is clearly not what makes a good playoff team. Here's my sense of what might happen this playoff season.

Wild v Blackhawks

The Minnesota Wild have badly underperformed and scratched their way into a playoff spot. That said, a hot goalie and some timely scoring might give them a chance. But goaltending and scoring have not been their forte this season. They do have some grit with Cal Clutterbuck, but on the whole this team is soft. Not a recipe for winning the Lord Stanley's mug. An underdog to win a series and a longshot to win it all.

And the Wild are playing the recent Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks are loaded with talent; Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane. Their was the question of goaltending at the start of the season, but Corey Crawford has been great. The consensus is that the Hawks are the team to beat in the West.

Winner: Blackhawks

Red Wings v Ducks

This isn't the Red Wings we knew in years past. There's no Nicklas Lidstrom. End of story. It's just not the same team.

The Ducks have been an off-and-on team for years with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. They even won a Stanley Cup a few years back. I don't think this team has the depth to make it far in the playoffs, but I do think they have enough to handle the Wings. Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne are getting older by the day.

Winner: Ducks

Sharks v Canucks

For the 1st time in a long while, the Sharks aren't expected to do anything this playoff. They're suppose to boy out to the much better Canucks. And with perenial non-playoff performers like Joe Thornton, they have every excuse. But remember, they are very deep in talent and someday, if Joe is willing, they might surprise in the playoffs. And don't forget, that's a Cup winning goalie between the pipes; Anti Niemi.

The Canucks are very much like the Sharks of a few years ago. Some playoff success, but everybody expected so much more. And because of injury, they'll be starting the playoffs with long-time playoff disappointment Roberto Luongo in net. Whichever team loses this series, will cement their reputation as playoff losers.

Winner: Canucks

Kings v Blues

An extremely talented team that should have little problem taking care of the Blues. But I'm not sure a team led by the party boys (Jeff Carter and Mike Richards) can make it two years in a row. I'm thinking the hangover from last summer hasn't quite warn off yet.

The Blues are... well... a blue colar team. No stars and a lot of names even I don't recognize. Just a lot of hard work. Their goaltending load was split between three goalies. It's very rare that teams with no talent advance in the playoffs.

Winner: Kings

Islanders v Penguins

The worst run organization in the NHL made the playoffs on the back of their one superstar John Tavares. That's about as far as they'll get. I doubt they could handle an injury riddled Penguins lineup in a seven game series. And the Pens are getting healthy.

If Sidney Crosby returns to the form he displayed early this year, then we might see a 16 game winning streak. Unless... remember last year... total collapse of the flower.

Winner: Penguins

Senators v Canadiens

Senators played way over their heads all year. Now they have a healthy Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson. They can steal a round, at most.

The Canadiens are looking back between the pipes and putting their faith in Carey Price. A career 8-15 playoff record. This might be Price's last chance. If he falters again, then the fans in Montreal might start calling for a change.

Winner: Canadiens

Rangers v Capitals

I really liked the makeup of the Rangers at the start of the season. Things didn't go as expect and the team was rebuilt mid-season. Mid-season of an already short season. Henrik Lundqvist could put the team on his back lead them thru a few playoff rounds, but I doubt it. Teams rebuilt mid-season rarely go anywhere in the playoffs.

Alex Ovechkin is on fire and we're heading into the playoffs. This team is gonna live and die on his stick. I don't see much problem dispensing the Rangers. Then... in the 2nd round, it's OV time or bust.

Winner: Capitals

Leafs v Bruins

As a long-time Leafs fan, what a relief. Playoff games. Everything sits on James Reimer's shoulders. They're a tough and fast team that can score. Can they keep the puck out of the net? Reimer did it all year.

The Bruins are either the toughest team in the playoffs or the 2nd toughest. And the Leafs are either the toughest or 2nd. Expect a lot of hitting. Fighting. Injuries. Whomever wins is likely gonna get beat the next round anyway. This is war.

Winner: Bruins

Wed, 24 Apr 2013 02:11:32 GMT
NHL Awards

Here are my choices with a couple games left in the NHL season for the individual award winners. In a couple cases, my choice is partial based on the assumption that the team will or will not make the playoffs and if that changed, then my opinion would change. But I doubt it. You'll find my choices a little different that the conventional people who think they know hockey.

Hart

Had Craig Anderson not been injurred, his sneeking the Senators in the playoffs with a 1.71 GAA and .941 SV% would've won him the Hart, but I can't give it to a goalie that only played half the season? Can I? Without Anderson's heroics early in the season, this injury riddled team could very well be competing for the 1st overall pick in this summers entry draft instead of being in the playoff race. Still, I can't believe

How about a forward that played only 3 quarters of the season? Sidney Crosby was still leading the NHL in scoring and 2nd in assists with 3 games left in the season. His linemates are #1 and #2 in the plus-minus leaders (he's currently 4th) and he's in the top 15 in faceoff wins.

Can you give it to two forwards, Martin St Louis and Steve Stamkos, who may win the Art Ross for most points while leading their team to a lottery pick instead of a playoff spot? These two players rank last and 2nd last on their team in plus-minus for forwards. This isn't new territory for this pair. These are two players that I would absolutely not consider for the Hart. In fact, I doubt this team will ever make the playoffs until they break up their core group of offensive players who don't skate in their defensive zone.

Alex Ovechkin is by far the Hart winner in the 2nd half of the season, but is that enough to overcome a very bad start? Remember 2 months ago when everybody was saying OV was washed up? Now he's gonna win yet another Rocket Richard trophy and is a prime candidate for the Hart as well.

Other players I would consider voting for are Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Toews and John Tavares. All four elevated their teams to new heights this season, but none stood out as much as Crosby or Ovechkin.

Winner: Sidney Crosby

Vezina

Let me start by repeating the same argument that Craig Anderson would've won here too had he not been injured.

That said, people are starting to talk about Sergei Bobrovsky as the prime candidate for the Vezina. And I agree. Without Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets would not be in the playoff picture.

I'm also gonna make a case for another goalie that took a team that hasn't made the playoffs in a decade into the playoffs this season; James Reimer. In the game that clinched the playoffs for the Leafs, they were outshot 50 to 22 by the Senators, yet won the game 4-1 on 49 saves by Reimer. Getting outshot isn't a rarity in Toronto these days (years).

You could also make a case for Tuukka Rask, Henrik Lundqvist, Cory Schneider, Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford, but Bobrovsky and Reimer were the best this season in my opinion.

Winner: Sergei Bobrovsky.

Norris

He's hated, just as much as he's loved, but this year he became a true all-star and Norris candidate; P.K. Subban. He hits hard, he leads all d-men in goals and points and has a nice plus-minus to boot.

How about Brooks Orpik? If he could only score. But how about 10th in hits and 6th in blocked shots? This guy is a true unsung warrior.

And then there's Dion Phaneuf. Twenty-sixth in blocked shots, 6th in hits, 6th in points, 3rd in goals, 5th in ice-time. Now those are some impressive numbers.

Ryan Suter is another possibility, but his team has under-performed even with Ryan playing his best season yet and they don't look playoff bound.

My finalist are Phaneuf and Subban.

Winner: P.K. Subban.

Calder

Jonathan Huberdeau leads all rookies in goals and points and he's nearly leading a bad Florida offense in both categories as well.

Justin Schultz leads all rookie defensemen in goals, assists and points, but he does have a lot of offensive help on a very talented Oilers team.

Cory Conacher is a nice story and does lead all rookies in assists and points. That said, he accumulated most of those points playing along side the offensive-minded Lightning.

I'm deciding between Huberdeau and Schultz.

Winner: Justin Schultz.

Lady Byng

I don't really care.

Selke

This is by far my favorite award. Mostly because I think it's histerical that the most recent winner of the award doesn't even play much on his teams short hand unit. Pavel Datsyuk may very well win this award again, but in my opinion he isn't even in the top 20 best defensive players in the NHL. If he's so good defensive, then how come he only ranks 3rd on his team in short-handed ice-time per game for forwards? And how can you even give the award to a player that isn't played much in defensive situations like power plays?

Let's look are real defensive players, not just great offensive players who are reasonable defensively. The real great defensive players are those that hog most of the short-handed ice-time and are on the ice in the last minute when your team is winning by a goal.

This guy should've won the Frank J Selke most every year he's been in the NHL. No other player even needs to be named. He leads the league in short-handed ice-time by a forward with 163 minutes. No other player has more than 131. In those 163 minutes, the power-play has only 11 goals. His new team joined this season had their penalty kill go from 24th last year to 3rd best this year. He plays every shift against the other teams best offensive players and maintained an even plus-minus. And does he play in the final minute in one goal games? He must. He has 3 empty net goals this season. No player since Michael Peca has scored such a high percentage of his games into empty nets (just saying, didn't double check that stat).

Winner: Jay McClement.

Adams

The Ottawa Senators have been devastated with key injuries, yet the team still managed to stay in the playoff hunt. Paul MacLean deserves consideration for the Adams for holding this team together all season.

John Capuano deserves a gold medal for managing to put the worst managed hockey organization in the NHL into the playoffs. His team has Tim Thomas, Alexei Yashin and Rick Dipietro accounting for $11-12 million of the cap space. Without these players, who aren't even on the team, they wouldn't meet the CBA team salary floor for 2012-13.

The Columbus Blue Jackets suck. If they make the playoffs then Todd Richards is another candidate for coach of the year. This team is made up almost entirely from players unwanted otherwhere in the NHL.

All three coaches have taken a bad team to the promised land.

Winner: Paul MacLean.

GM of the Year

The Penguins added Jarome Iginla, Jussi Jokinen, Douglas Murray and Brenden Morrow to an already stacked team. Ray Shero must be using a different math then the other General Managers in order to fit so many stars into the same salary cap every other team struggles with. Their backup goalie Tomas Vokoun is better than most NHL starting goalies and he signed him for next to nothing.

Not as impressive as the Penguins, but the Bruins added Jaromir Jagr and Wade Redden at the deadline. Peter Chiarelli also managed a very skillful trade to free up salary room by trading Tim Thomas to the Islanders. The trade was clearly made to circumvent the salary cap for both teams, as the Islanders were under the salary floor and the Bruins needed some room to work with.

I can't put my finger on a 3rd GM that stood out as much as these two.

Winner: Peter Chiarelli

Thu, 13 Dec 2012 09:05:25 GMT
Madden NFL 13 Social

madden13socialFor years, I've killed my time playing online Facebook games. I've done all the biggies; Farmville, Sims Social, Sims City Social, War Commander, etc. But eventually with all of these games, you hit a static point where there's little progress in the game and it gets boring. This is true of all social games on Facebook that I've played. Add this to the fact that I'm not really interested in building farms, apartments or cities and you have a recipe for getting bored in less than a month. Then came War Commander. I really liked this one, because at least it's something masculine. Unfortunately, I hit a point where I'd attack a resource and get attacked back within a few days. Then I'd attack back and they'd attack back. Then I'd attack back and they'd attack back. Got bored! Stopped playing.

Introducing Madden NFL 13 Social. I love sports. I don't think this game is much different. You still build something, in this case, a football team. When I first started playing it crashed all the time and I was gonna quit, except that I had finally found a sports social game on Facebook. I was playing football games against other users and winning some and losing some. That was fun!

I've hit a wall in building my team. I rarely find a replacement player that's better than the one I'm currently using. In fact, the last time I upgraded a position, I found the new full back wasn't as good as my previous and eventually switched to my old full back. In a later post, I'll give you a run down of my team.

In the meanwhile, I'm still playing football games against other real people on Facebook. I win most, but lose some. I generally have a straight forward run 95% of the time strategy that seems to be working for me. I've won my last 16 games.

The game is broken into four components.

  1. madden13social2Game Play
    This is where you either challenge a friend, are challenged by a friend or enter into a random game with someone who is most likely not your friend. When your team has the ball, then you can run one drive, before you have to hand over the ball to the other player. When the other player is on offense, you sit back and wait for him to complete his drive. There's enough time for about a dozen scoring drives in one game, but games will last much longer when teams punt or turn the ball over. You can chat during play, but only if the other user is your Facebook friend. A player has four days to complete a drive before he forfeits, but most players play their drives within a half day. Sometimes, if both players are online at the same time, games can be completed very quickly.
  2. Team Management
    Here you can select which players are in your starting lineup. You can purchase new players by exchanging your winnings for player packs or in the auction. I find more value in the auction, then the player packs, so I haven't purchased any player packs since my first few days building my team. There's also the option to purchase player packs with "REAL" money. I haven't explored that option, but you could build your team much quicker, if you have a few Facebook bucks to spare.
  3. madden13social5Auctions
    The auction house allows you to buy and sell players. You can search thru the auctioned players and bid along side other player or simply buy a player straight up. I tend to buy straight up because the auction process can be time consuming.
  4. Predictions
    The last element of the game is predicting this coming weeks NFL games. You earn extra experience and cash based on how many games you predict, how many friends you have that also played and how many friends you beat by predicting more games correctly. The game are straight up and there's not spread used in selecting the winner.

I've used EA Sports Answer HQ to help my play. The forum itself is not user friendly at all. I had a very difficult time creating a username and now I have login issues. The forums are very difficult to read and posting isn't eay either.

This is by far the best game I've played on Facebook, but that's because I'm a sports nut. I've tried other sports games and didn't like them anywhere near as much as I luv Madden 13 Social.

Links

Sat, 05 May 2012 23:50:50 GMT
NFLWeather.com

Interesting website called NFLweather.com, which spammed me BTW. But I thought it interesting enough to blog about it. It's a website with the local weather of all NFL games.

http://www.nflweather.com/

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:28:30 GMT
Vezina Nominees
Quite a battle for the Vezina this year. And who do I think should win? All of them and more.

Luongo simply had an amazing season. But so did most of the Canuck players. They dominated the NHL. Any other year and he'd be a lock. Already considered one of the best, he posted he's career best GAA and SV Pct. Still might not be enough.

Thomas, like Luongo, posted his career best numbers and even better than Luongo's. I can't see Luongo winning over Thomas. The Bruins struggle offensively and rely on Luongo a lot more than Vancouver. If it were not for Thomas, the Bruins may not have made the playoffs.

Rinne had a break out season. He plays for a bad team and single handledly put his team in the playoffs. Without Rinne, the Preds would've been in contention for a high draft pick.

Lundqvist didn't get nominated and won 11 games for the Rangers via shutout. Rangers, like the Preds, could easily have been fighting for a high draft pick had their goaltending had yet another great season. I understand why Lundqvist was left out, but I'm gonna mention him anyway.

All said, Thomas' .938 save percentage is what convinces me to award my vote to him as the Vezina winner. Not to mention his GAA was in fact below 2 (1.998), but rounded up to 2.00 in the stats.

Sat, 23 Apr 2011 03:53:37 GMT
Lady Byng Nominees

The Lady Byng, like many other trophies, has a duel purpose. Although the trophy is supposedly given to the most gentlemanly player, the truth is that it's really given to the most gentlemanly player who is also an all-star. A lot of players get few penalty minutes playing a lot of minutes, but they don't get nominated unless they are all-stars as well. The nominees this year are St Louis, Eriksson and Lidstrom. What do they have in common? They played in the all-star game. Isn't there a gentlemanly player in the NHL that didn't play in the all-star game?

Anybody hear of this player name John Madden. He's a defensive specialist. Defensive specialist normally take lots of penalties and he only got 10 minutes all season. What about Mike Grier? He's a hardnosed player who only got 12 penalty minutes all season. Now that's impressive. St Louis and Eriksson don't have to worry about penalties, cause neither of them backcheck anyway. Maybe they should award the Lady Byng to the player that floats the most in the NHL. I could go on-and-on with better candidates.

Who should win? Of these three? None. The voters should be embarassed. OK, I'll give it to Lidstrom, cause at least he plays defense.

Notes: Kyle Wellwood completed his 4th season with zero penalty minutes. If only he could play enough games, the trophy should be renamed after him.

Sun, 17 Apr 2011 06:50:45 GMT
Post Game 2 Roundup

Bruins v Habs (0-2)

The biggest surprise of the playoffs is the Bruins complete lack of offense; one goal in two games. This is due to three reasons; solid play from the Canadians defense (Gill, Subban, Sopel, Spacek, Hamrlik, Wisniewski and forwards Moen, Plekanec), good goaltending from Carey Price and weak shoots from the Bruins. As much as Carey Price has made the saves, the shot difficult is making Price look even better. Down 2-0 and going to Montreal, this series could be over quickly.

Pens v Lightning (1-1)

Not a surprise, without Crosby and Malkin, the Pens will be hard pressed to win this series. One great goaltending performance by Fleury has kept this team in the series. Interesting side note; Craig Adams has 6 goals in the last 3 regular seasons (207 games) and 6 goals in the last 3 playoffs (39 games). If Crosby comes back, then they still have a chance, but I see the Lightning taking this now that they have home ice advantage.

Caps v Rangers (2-0)

I didn't expect the Rangers to be able to keep up with the Capitals and they haven't. Only Matt Gilroy has scored for the Rangers. Lundqvist is gonna have to steal a game or two to get this team back in the series. Looks like a Capitals sweep is possible.

Flyers v Sabres (1-1)

Miller stole game one but the Flyers offense was too much in game two. With Miller injured, I didn't think the Sabres had much of a chance, but stole home ice advantage. The biggest difference in this series may turn out to be the lack of Chris Pronger. Normally, Pronger would be wearing down the Sabres forwards. Add something redundant about Flyers goaltending here. This looks like a 7 gamer. Then flip a coin.

Wings v Yotes (2-0)

It's called the Pavel Datsyuk show. Even without Henrik Zetterberg, the Wings are simply too much for the Yotes. Bryzgalov hasn't been at his best. He really needs to step it up at home and steal both games for his team or it's over. I doubt the Wings will sweep and that's all I got for the Coyotes' fans.

Sharks v Kings (1-1)

There's no reason the Kopitar-less Kings should be in this series. Well, except that Joe Thornton is up to his playoff disappearing act once again. In game 2 on the power play, Big Joe was fed the puck in the slot. He didn't even try to shoot. He skated behind the net, then out to the half boards and shot from there. Going the other way, Drew Doughty scored 4 pts giving him 11 points in 8 career playoff games. I see this going 7 games.

Canucks v Hawks (2-0)

Kane, Toews, Sharp and Hossa have combined for 1 assist in the 1st two games of this series. It might simply be fatigue. All four players have played an enormous amounts of hockey over the last 2-3 yrs. The Canucks look like he team to beat. Three lines are contributing and six d-men. And they have a pretty good goalie. Unless the Hawks win both at home, they could be done in 5.

Ducks v Preds (1-1)

Mike Fisher stole game 1 for the Preds and now they have home ice advantage in this series. The Ducks Big 4 (Selanne, Ryan, Perry and Getzlaf) showed up big time in game 2, each scoring a goal. This series is gonna be a showdown between the big 4 and Pekka Rinne. The series should go 6 or 7 games.

Tue, 12 Apr 2011 13:33:52 GMT
2011 Western Round #1 NHL Playoff Predictions
These are my, Randy Charles Morin's 2011 western conference round 1 NHL playoff predictions.

Canucks v Hawks

This is just a crazy match-up. This time, Hawks can't move Byfuglien up to forward on the PP. But its still gonna be a major mental challenge for Luongo. Can he beat the team that has always beat him.

The Hawks are a lot better than their 8th placing. They are defending Stanley Cup champs. They may have lost a lot of parts, but the core is still intact.

I've gotta believe the Canucks will finally pull it out. They are simply that good. Most goals. Least against. Olympic gold netminder. Hart and 2 Art Rosses.

Canucks in 7

Sharks v Kings

This is a no-brainer. After a great start, the Kings held onto a playoff spot. No Kopitar.

But wait, this is the playoff no-showing Sharks led by the playoff disappearing show himself; Joe Thornton.

Still, its the injured Kings.

Sharks in 5

Wings v Yotes

One question. Can you name a skater on the Coyotes? I betcha many of you can't. Lidstrom, Zetter, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Rafalski.

If you look at the skaters only, then you wonder the Yotes made the playoffs and how they might steal one game in this series.

The answer is the Bryz. In goal, this series is just as much a landslide against the Wings. How many games can Bryzgalov steal? Four? Maybe not.

Wings in 6

Ducks v Preds

The Ducks are the hottest team in the NHL and Corrie Perry, the hottest player. And the core of this team still won a Cup together a few yrs back.

The Preds are a consistent team, that made the playoffs on team effort and great goaltending. Now we find out if Pekka can do this in the playoffs. Unfortunate he ran into the hottest team and goal scorer. Maybe next year.

Ducks in 6.

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 16:11:08 GMT
2011 Eastern Round #1 NHL Playoff Predictions
These are my, Randy Charles Morin's 2011 eastern conference round 1 NHL playoff predictions.

Caps v Rangers

This is a no brainer. Without Lunqvist's best season ever, the Rangers may have been favs to finish overall. Unless Lunqvist steal games, I don't see the Rangers getting to game six.

The Caps are relatively healthy, although several players including Ovechkin missed games late in the season due to injuries. The Caps played great hockey down the stretch. There only weakness might be between the pipes where they have relatively inexperienced youngsters.

Caps in 5.

Flyers v Sabres

Very similar to the Rangers, where would the Sabres be without Ryan Miller? It wasn't Miller's finest season and worse, he may be experience the symptoms of a concussion. Without Miller, there's no series. Enroth has looked great all season, but he's no Miller.

Flyers may have the best overall playoff lineup, if and this is a big if... You don't look between the pipes.

Flyers in 5

Bruins v Habs

Finally, a big time goalie matchup; Price v Thomas. And why not the most celebrated playoff rivalry of all time.

The winner will be the team that finds a way to score. Give the edge to the Bruins, since Price has been a playoff zero to date in his career.

Bruins in 7. And trust me, I want the Habs to win.

Pens v Lightning

To play Crosby or not to play Crosby? That is the question. If he plays and is healthy and plays to his capability, then Pens win, else who knows. That's quite an if. Even if Crosby returns, the Pens are hardly Cup contenders without Malkin.

Roloson is key for the Lightning. Since the Bulin wall left Tampa, they've been a loss in net. Roloson is kinda old, is putting it mildly. Lightning can score, but can they keep the puck out?

Pens in 5

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 00:27:31 GMT
Rookie of the Year

We have some race this year. I can identify 7 legit candidates; 3 of which scored 30 goals.

Jeff Skinner

One year ago, Skinner wasn't on anybody's NHL radar.  He wasn't drafted and wasn't even projected in the 1st round of the draft. He scored 20 goals in 20 games during last years OHL playoff and he became a 7th overall pick. Twelve months later, he has 30+ goals in the NHL and is the choice of many to win the Calder Trophy.

Logan Couture

Nineth overall pic in 2007, he stagnated for the next 3 years. Out of nowhere, he's regained his top prospect form and put 30 pucks in the net. Unlikely to win, as he doesn't have the most goals, nor the most points for a rookie, which is the prime criteria for a forward.

Michael Grabner

Grabner was the 14 overall pick back in 2006. Like Couture, he struggled after his draft year. He played the last 3 years almost entirely in the AHL. A brief 20 game tryout at the end of last season was successful, potting 5 goals. The Canucks traded him to the Panthers, who then waived him before the season started. He was claimed by the Islanders and the rest is history; 30 goal rookie campaign.

John Carlson

Drafted 27th overall in 2008. Note that all these rookies to date have been drafted in the 1st round. Somebody might wanna inform Brian Burke of these facts. Played half a season in the AHL and he's an NHLer. Fits in well, on a very talented Capitals team. Unlike to win.

Cam Fowler

Tell Burke that Fowler was drafted 12th overall in 2010. Ya, that's last year. And he scored 40 points this year as a defenseman. His -26 plus-minus rating is gonna keep him away from the Calder Trophy.

P.K. Subban

Drafted in the 2nd round of 2007. I have to think his skin color and mouth kept him out of the 1st round. How many defensemen score 56 points in their OHL draft year and don't get picked in the 1st round? He's improved every year since, is now a household name for every hockey fan and a twitter fad (#blamesubban). PK's stats might not get him the Calder, but I watch a lot of hockey and from what I see, this guy is already a leader on the Canadians. He's my Calder pick, but I doubt many will agree. They'd rather blame him for something.

Corey Crawford

I always hate it when a goalie qualifies as a rookie, yet he played games in 4 NHL seasons. This is actually his 5th season playing in the NHL. The numbers are there and he resurrected the Hawks season. He'll get votes, but he was drafted in 2003. Hardly a rookie.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 17:01:41 GMT
Who won the Trade War?

Who won? Lot's of team. Forget all the small trades, let's go thru the big ones. I'm only going to discuss those made on trade day.

Otherall winner is Florida. Picking up Evan Oberg, Samsonov, Hauswirth, Bergfors, Rissmiller, Kennedy and three 3rds. No blue chip prospects, but a lot of them. Unloaded salary and they are gonna suck for the next 20 games. Sign players in the off-season and start all over. I  like it. Fans aren't gonna like the remainder of the season. But this is how you build. Brian Burke?

Sat, 21 Aug 2010 06:52:06 GMT
Pocono Truck Racing

Summer Vacation, Day 23, July 31st 2010.

The Saturday of the Pocono weekend was the 1st Camping World Truck race held there. Big day. But let's start with breakfast. Like my setup? That's my propane grill on top of my mounted dual purpose firepit-charcoal grill. I have it all.

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I refer to my kids as ABC (their 1st initials), so when we say ABC hashbrowns, we bought in.

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Gotta love this bar slash golf cart. NASCAR fans have the greatest golf carts.

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View from the rooftops. Some of these rooftop contraptions are amazing.

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Let's go truck race.

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My tat. LOL! Temp. Lame. FAIL!

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Awesome M&M golf carts.

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The neighbors on the corner had the Nationwide race on TV for all to watch. My kids took advantage. These neighbors always occupy the same spot opposite fenceline site #1.

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They also host beer pong and flip cup games. I rock at flip cup. After the guys lost about six games in-a-row, I showed them a couple tricks, joined in and we kicked the girls asses. I hit my 1st and only flip. I'm king of flip cup. I would've played longer, but I had the three kids.

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Pics of all the Spring Cup favs during practice earlier in the day.

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Tue, 15 Jun 2010 22:36:41 GMT
Singing the National Anthem

A week ago, two of my kids sang the national anthems at the Blue Jays games. It was the 2nd time that they done this. Pic and vids follow.

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Excuse the shaky video. The camera was on super zoom.

Wed, 12 May 2010 14:30:00 GMT
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