Apr 17, 2011

Blackhawks feelin' the love...or not?

Patrick Kane on their current stay in Vancouver: "...an elderly lady was in a car, and she had the oxygen tubes up her nose and she rolled down the window and gave us a certain gesture."

I guess Kane and the rest of his teammates are pretty well-known for someone to give them the finger.  This will do nothing but motivate the Hawks to put the past two games behind them and win on home turf tonight.

Re-blogged from: Ms. Blackhawks
Original source: Chicago Tribune

Apr 16, 2011

Childish play

You can view the stomp at 0:40 seconds

It looks like Bobby Ryan from the Anaheim Ducks has been suspended for two games after pulling off such a childish move. 

There was a scramble for the puck between Ryan and Jonathan Blum from the Nashville Predators behind the net.  Ryan then stomped on Blum's left foot out of nowhere.

It was a very immature and unnecessary thing to do, let alone a very dangerous move.  These guys are grown men.  I would expect them to know better.  It was like watching young kids fight for an ice cream cone or something.

The NHL was right to suspend him for two games, maybe even more, since the act could of caused injury to Blum's ankle.  Thankfully it didn't.

Toews, Sharp, Kane M.I.A.

Mar. 2011: L to R - Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Patrick Kane celebrating
            a  goal together on the first line. (Photo courtesy: www.blackhawks.com
The thing that I am wondering most about right now is the Sharp-Toews-Kane trio.  Where were they these past two games?  I personally disagree with Coach Quenville’s decision to bump Kane down to the second line and Hossa to the first line with Toews and Sharp.  I mean, it does make sense to have two strong lines on your team in order to shut down the Canucks’ first line with the Sedins and the second line with Kesler, but this decision has not worked well for the Hawks so far. 

I remember when Toes, Kane, and Sharp were on the first line together and they  dominated every play, every game, and mostly every team in the regular season.  What happened to them? What happened to Toews’ constant presence and play-making skills on the left side of the opponent’s net?  Where’s Kane’s ability to suddenly show up in front of the net, receive the pass from Toews and score?  And where are the plays and goals that Sharp makes from the point?  Where is this first line that every team used to fear?

There are other players on the team such as Hossa and Brouwer, who are just as skilled, but the Hawks’ first line is what brought them to win eight games in a row before the playoffs.  If it weren’t for Toews, Kane, Sharp, and the two other defensemen (Keith, Seabrook) in the regular season, the team wouldn’t have done as well as it did.  This Hawks team is nothing like they were last year when they won the cup.  But from what I’ve seen, if their first line starts to play like they did during the regular season, it’ll get the whole team going.  Maybe they wouldn’t be outplayed as much as they were in game one and two either.

Separating Toews and Kane is like separating the lemon from the lemonade - they can’t work without the other.  

*More Blackhawks and playoff coverage here.

Playoff beard day 3

Okay, let’s not press the panic button yet.  Yes, Vancouver is leading the series 2-0 but that’s common when a team has home ice advantage.  You can read more about it here.

I wasn’t able to catch the Lightning/Pens and Capitals/NYR game tonight due to a family dinner but here are the scores:

          Lightning  3                                       Blackhawks  3
                            Penguins                                        Canucks  4
                            (Series tied 1-1)
                                (Canucks leads series 2-0)

                            Ducks  5                                            Capitals  2
                            Predators                                       NYR  0
                            (Series tied 1-1)                                (Capitals lead series 2-0)

Apr 15, 2011

Playoff beard day 2

Forget the hype of the Original Six rivalry between the Habs and Bruins.  What really stood out tonight were the goaltenders in all three of these games.  It’s only the second day of the first round  and four teams have already been shut out.  Could this round be the battle of the goaltenders?  Perhaps they will be the ones to determine whether their team will move on to the second round.

Three games were played tonight - Bruins/Canadiens, Flyers/Sabres, and Sharks/Kings.  Here are the final scores:

       Bruins: 0
                              Sabres: 1                                   Sharks: 3 (OT)

       Canadiens: 2                       Flyers: 0                                     Kings: 2

       (Habs lead series 1-0)       (Sabres lead series 1-0)          (Sharks lead series 1-0)

More on day two of the post-season and videos of saves made by the goaltenders here.

Apr 14, 2011

Playoff beard day 1

Three out of the five games that were played tonight were low scoring games or a shutout.  Here are the final scores. Looks like my round one predictions are still considerable: 

                      Vancouver 2
                                        Tampa Bay 0
                      Chicago 0
                                            Pittsburgh 3
                      (Vancouver leads series 1-0)             (Pittsburgh leads series 1-0)

                      Washington 2 (OT)                             Detroit 4
                      New York Rangers 1
                          Phoenix 2
                      (Washington leads series 1-0)          (Detroit leads series 1-0)

                      Nashville 4
                      Anaheim 1
                      (Nashville leads series 1-0)

More on last night’s games here.

Apr 13, 2011

2011 round one playoff predictions

Photo credit: www.nhl.com

The post-season is finally here and it's time to grow that playoff beard (unfortunately I'm incapable of that). Here are my predictions for the first round:

Eastern Conference:
Washington Capitals (1) vs. New York Rangers (8) - Capitals in 5
Philadelphia Flyers (2) vs. Buffalo Sabres (7) - Flyers in 5
Boston Bruins (3) vs. Montreal Canadiens (6) - Canadiens in 7
Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (5)- Lightning in 7

Western Conference:
Chicago Blackhawks (8) vs. Vancouver Canucks (1) - Blackhawks in 7
Detroit Red Wings (3) vs. Phoenix Coyotes (6) - Red Wings sweep
Nashville Predators (5) vs. Anaheim Ducks (4) - Predators in 6
San Jose Sharks (2) vs. Los Angeles Kings (7) - Sharks in 5 

More on the 2011 playoffs here.

Apr 9, 2011

The boys of summer are back

Blue Jays home opener vs. Twins - April 1,  2011
 It’s that time of the year again - hot dogs, peanuts, the smell of the baseball turf, and the sound of a roaring stadium.

It’s time for home runs, RBIs, double plays, strikeouts, grand slams, sweat, heartache, frustration, grit, grind, pride, mid-season slumps, and loyalty for sticking by your team through thick and thin.

All in all, it’s time to put on that baseball cap and jersey with pride and root for your home team.  Summer’s here, which only means one thing - LET THE BASEBALL SEASON BEGIN!

Apr 7, 2011

Looking ahead...

Contrary to my last post, on the bright side, the Leafs look very promising next year.  All Burke’s gotta do is re-sign MacArthur, Schenn, and Grabovski and sign a top six centre on free agent day (crossing my fingers for Brad Richards).  There isn’t a lot of depth on the team yet but I see a possible eighth place finish and maybe a chance to take the first round in the playoffs next season.

We also have a few young players from the Leafs' farm system:  Kadri, Aulie, Crabb, and Boyce are all promising players for a permanent spot on the roster next year. 

And lets not forget James Reimer, a.k.a. “Optimus Reim”.  I think he will be the one to revive this team and the key to their rebuild.  Since Wilson announced that Reimer will be our starter, he has made saves no goalie after Curtis Joseph or Ed Belfour has ever made before.  His vision between traffic in front of the net is crystal clear and he has an amazing ability to eliminate any chances for a rebound.


So for the forty-fourth year in a row, “There’s always next year”.  But at least this gives Leafs Nation a little room to breathe knowing that the Leafs finished strong in the second half of the regular season with a net-minder everyone can feel confident with.  

We made it through and supported the boys during their eight game losing streak and survived the frustration of “when will this streak ever end?” Us blue and white fans can withstand anything.

The countdown to the Leafs’ 2011-2012 regular season home opener begins now, Go Leafs Go!

Apr 6, 2011

Once reality hits, it’s over...literally

Devastation is what you can call this kind of feeling hovering over Leafs Nation right now.  It’s one thing to know that your team is eliminated, but it’s another to actually see it happen.  

It was just a matter of time.  For the past month everyone has been be-LEAF-ing and saying we still had a chance to make it to the playoffs (no thanks to Carolina and Buffalo).  But I think deep down, everyone knew it was coming but no one wanted to admit it.   

To support your team through thick and thin, ups and downs, injuries and controversial trades, players’ slumps, losing streaks, winning streaks, the boos from fans at home, and of course the waffle tossing, “elimination” is definitely something that’s hard to accept.  It’s the worst feeling in the world and a feeling that’s tremendously hard to swallow.  
The Leafs played their heart and soul out for the past few months barely clinging on to any playoff hope.  Just when we thought the playoffs were out of reach, the Leafs surprised everyone after the All-Star break and began winning the games that mattered the most.  Every game for the past month was a “must win” and every win brought us closer and closer.  Even watching the standings and knowing that you couldn’t do anything about it except pray for the Rangers, Hurricanes, and Sabres to lose was nerve-wracking enough.  Unfortunately those teams knew how high the stakes were and kept racking up points which made it even harder for us to catch up.  I would use four words to sum up this season: emotional roller coaster ride. 

Like I said earlier, this is definitely hard to accept.  It will take a few days for Leafs fans to really process this and move on.  But for now, let me crawl into my hole with my Maple Leafs jersey and cry ......