The NHL Goes Streaking

November 8, 2010 by

It’s early November, the time when most NHL teams are just getting their game together, except for the usual mediocre ones (cough, cough, Edmonton).  But for some reason, many teams in the NHL this season have decided to go on a streak (winning or losing).  As of November 8, 2010, 7 teams had a winning/losing streak of at least 4 games, and another 3 had streaks of 3 games.  Tied for the longest streak in the NHL right now is the impressive 7 game winning streak of the St. Louis Blues, who have surprised many by rocketing to 1st place in the league.  The next longest is held by the Vancouver Canucks, who have gone from 9th to 3rd place in the West thanks to a 6 game winning streak.  On the other hand, the New York Islanders have the longest losing streak, with 7 in a row down the drain.  Perhaps the most disappointing part about this is that before, the Isles looked like they just might put together a decent season for once.  Next is the Nashville Predators, who have dropped 5 in a row.  The Philadelphia Flyers had also won 6 games on a row, before they finally suffered a loss last night against the Washington Capitals.

The New York Islanders and the St. Louis Blues are tied for the longest streak in the NHL at the moment: The Blues have a 7 game winning streak going right now, while the Isles have lost a terrible 7 in a row

 

While winning streaks are great for NHL teams (not so much the losing variety), I find that plenty of people see a team on a streak and come to the  conclusion that that’s how that team is going to perform for the rest of the season.  Then when that team suddenly has their streak ended and do a complete 180, the fan has absolutely no idea what just happened.  Perhaps the best example of this in recent memory is the Vancouver Canucks’ dismal 10 game losing streak in 08-09.  The Canucks had dropped a significant number of places in the standings, and were on the outside looking in at the playoff teams.  They then promptly decided that enough was enough and went on to have 4 4-game winning streaks in a row to win the Northwest Division and make it to the playoffs.  So I say again, it’s early in the season, and don’t invest too much on a team that is really hot at the moment.  You can bet that after 82 games, they’ll probably be in a much different position.  That is to say, don’t bet your life savings on the St. Louis Blues winning the President’s Trophy.

Rick Rypien Given 6 Game Suspension

October 22, 2010 by

The NHL announced today that Vancouver Canucks’ forward Rick Rypien will be suspended for 6 games, due to an altercation with a fan. The fan, James Engquist is likely to press charges for the incident; Rypien pushed him while walking to the Canucks’ dressing room. Rypien will be eligible to play on Nov. 6, when the Canucks will be facing off against the Detroit Red Wings.

Rick Rypien Suspended Indefinitely

October 21, 2010 by

Vancouver Canucks’ enforcer Rick Rypien is best known for being tough and arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the NHL.  What he isn’t known for is being a repeat offender in the league.  But on Tuesday, October 19, he put a permanent mark his record when he went after a fan in the stands at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.  It all started when Rypien was ejected from the game during a scrum.  As he was escorted to the Canucks’ dressing room, a  fan above him shouted something, and Rypien snapped.  He jumped up at the fan, pushing him and tugging on his Wild jersey, before a number of people were able to separate the two.  The fan, later identified as James Engquist, told his side of the story after the incident. 

“I was just standing straight up applauding as he was getting kicked out,” Engquist told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  “He was out of control. And then I said, ‘Way to be professional,’ and he obviously didn’t care for that comment and decided to grab me and almost dragged me over the rail.”

After the altercation, Engquist was simply moved to a seat in front of the glass.  Rypien however, wasn’t so lucky with his punishment.  The NHL has suspended him indefinitely until his hearing on Friday, when the length of the suspension will be given.  Many experts and analysts have already given their predictions on what the length of the suspension will be, with most saying a minimum of 5 games. 

The Edmonton Youth Movement

October 7, 2010 by

The talented trio of Jordan Eberle (left), Taylor Hall (center), and Magnus Paajarvi (right) is quickly transforming the Edmonton Oilers from bottom feeders to contenders.

With the commencement of the NHL regular season, all 30 teams were announcing who was making their team, and who wasn’t.  Among those teams, the Edmonton Oilers probably had the most eyes on them, just maybe because they had 3 of the best prospects in the game.  This exciting young trio consists of 2010 #1 overall pick Taylor Hall, the 2010 CHL player of the year Jordan Eberle, and Swedish sensation Magnus Paajarvi (whose name has caused some confusion among hockey fans, as it went from Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi to Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson to just Magnus Paajarvi).  All three have had a great pre-season, cementing their spots on the Oilers roster, and are all serious contenders for the Calder Trophy.  I personally think that Jordan Eberle has the best chance of being the rookie-of-the-year, because he has had the most time to develop and mature as a player.   I’m not saying that he’s best of the three, quite the contrary.  All three are legitimate scoring threats and can each be relied to step up their game in big games.  Eberle may be the best example of this.  During the 2009 World Junior Championships, Canada was down 5-4 in the semifinals against Russia in the dying seconds of the game.  Just when all Canadian hopes of a fifth straight gold medal were virtually extinguished, Eberle beat the goalie on a backhand shot with 5.4 seconds to go in regulation.  He also scored the shootout winner to get Canada back to the final, and eventually win the gold medal.  The other two top Oiler prospects are no strangers to big games as well, with Hall winning the past two Memorial Cups with the Windsor Spitfires, and Paajarvi playing for Sweden in the World Juniors.  When a team has as much phenomenal young talent as the Edmonton Oilers, you can bet they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Here’s Jordan Eberle’s famous goal against Russia in the WJC:

Can Carey Price Bounce Back?

September 26, 2010 by

Last season, and even the season before that, Carey Price has been the model of inconsistent goaltending in the NHL, much to the dismay of Habs’ fans everywhere.  When Carey burst into the NHL for the 07-08 season, he was heralded as the new Patrick Roy by some.  But despite those lofty expectations, he delivered what was arguably the best rookie season by a goaltender since the lockout.  As a rookie, he carried the Canadiens through the second half of the season, outplaying long time #1 Cristobal Huet out of the starter position, and even brought the first seeded Habs to the second round of the playoffs.  Not a bad start to a career that was quickly getting Carey recognition as one of the best goalies in the league.  But all that great success had to end sometime, and unfortunately for Price, that time was his sophomore season.  08-09 was a dismal season for Carey Price, as it saw him lose the starting  job to share duties with up and coming goaltender Jaroslav Halak and post a surprisingly mediocre .905 save percentage and 2.83 GAA.   Price improved his save percentage to .912 and his GAA to 2.77 for the 09-10 season, but he posted a depressing 13-20-5 record.  These two seasons have definitely put a hamper on Price’s development, and we can only hope that he’ll soon return to his rookie form for the 2010-11 season.  

Although Carey Price's last two season's were somewhat less than spectacular, the Canadiens organization made it clear that he was their goalie of the future when they traded playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis this summer

But despite all the negative press that has been directed at him, Carey Price has handled it surprisingly, and was finally rewarded with an unmistakable sign that he was the Canadiens goalie of the future.  Just this summer, after a magical playoff run as the lowly 8th seed, the Canadiens traded away playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis, leaving Price as the Habs’ only elite goalie.  This may be a move that could rekindle Price’s career, or cause him to completely collapse under the pressure.  At any rate, Carey’s season is already off to a bad start, where in the pre-season opener against the Boston Bruins he let in 4 goals on 9 shots and was pulled early in the second period.    But it’s still only the pre-season and Price has 82 games to prove he’s the Canadiens number 1 goaltender.  And while perhaps the only thing consistent about his play as of late has been his inconsistency, there’s no denying Price’s talent and determination.  So that begs the question: can Carey Price bounce back?  I think so.

Luongo Gives up Canucks’ Captaincy

September 13, 2010 by

After 2 years as captain of the Vancouver Canucks, Roberto Luongo has surrendered his captaincy. Although Luongo has been the undisputed leader of the Canucks ever since he was brought in from Florida in 2006, I believe that him giving up the title of captain was in best interests of the team. Being captain and goalie of a team can be too much to handle for anyone, even a workhorse like Luongo. It seemed to me that after he assumed the captaincy in 2008-09, he seemed less focused and didn’t seem to have the same concentration in his game as he used to. If a team is going to be successful, they need their goalie to be as focussed as possible, and with the extra responsibilities that come with the “C”, it can distract a goaltender when he is needed to concentrate on more important things. Now that Luongo can focus on being just a goaltender, I believe that we’ll see a significant increase in his consistency and overall play. Who knows, he may even reach his past form of 06-07, when he had 47 wins and was nominated for the Vezina and Hart Trophies.

Early possible candidates for the Canucks’ captaincy include Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler.

With the weight of the captaincy off his shoulders, expect Luongo's play to improve for the 2010-11 season.

2010-11 NHL Standings Predictions

September 10, 2010 by

It’s a well known fact amongst NHL fans: you can’t start a season without your standings predictions, and us fans at NHLsource are no exception. So without further ado, here are our predictions on the NHL standings for the 2010-2011 season.

Western Conference:


1. Vancouver Canucks
2. Chicago Blackhawks
3. San Jose Sharks
4. L.A. Kings
5. Detroit Red Wings
6. St. Louis Blues
7. Colorado Avalanche
8. Nashville Predators
——————-
9. Phoenix Coyotes
10. Edmonton Oilers
11. Columbus Blue Jackets
12. Calgary Flames
13. Anaheim Ducks
14. Minnesota Wild
15. Dallas Stars

Eastern Conference 

1. Washington Capitals
2. Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Boston Bruins
4. New Jersey Devils
5. Tampa Bay Lightning
6. Philadelphia Flyers
7. Buffalo Sabres
8. Atlanta Thrashers
———————
9. Ottawa Senators
10. Toronto Maple Leafs
11. Montreal Canadiens
12. Florida Panthers
13. New York Islanders
14. New York Rangers
15. Carolina Hurricanes

And now for the moment everyone’s been waiting for: our predicted Stanley Cup winner!  There are many contenders in the NHL from both conferences, but in the end, we decided to go with a choice that some may be surprised with: The Vancouver Canucks.  After another successful season in 2009-10, the Canucks made many significant improvements to their roster during the offseason, signing/trading for defensemen Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis, and forwards Jeff Tambellini, Manny Malhotra, and Raffi Torres.  Mix these players in with a team that already has top notch players like Roberto Luongo, the Sedins, Ryan Kesler, and Alex Burrows, you have a team primed to make a serious run for the Cup.

And that concludes our 2010-11 season standings predictions.  If you have any questions or opinions, please don’t hesitate to comment.

Chris Chelios Retires After 27 Seasons

August 31, 2010 by

Chris Chelios has had one of the greatest and longest careers ever in hockey.  He won 3 Stanley Cups, 3 Norris Trophies as the NHL’s best defenseman, and represented the U.S. 10 times in international tournaments.  But at the ripe old age of 48, an age where most players would have been retired for 5 or 10 years, he’s finally hanging up the skates.  He is the second oldest player to ever play in the NHL.  But this by no means the end of his relationship with  hockey.  He is immediately taking up a position with the Detroit Red Wings staff as an Advisor of Hockey Operations (he’ll be working with prospects from the Wings’ AHL affiliate, Grand Rapids Griffins).  When Chelios made the announcement today, he put to rest any hopes of a comeback, saying ” I’m 100 percent sure that this is it.  I couldn’t play any longer than I did.”

Top 10 Bloopers of All-Time

August 22, 2010 by

Over the years, NHL fans have been treated to many great bloopers and mistakes from players.  And not the everyday pointless giveaways and fumbles.  We’re talking about the kind that make people all over the world cringe as some poor player makes a fool of himself on national television.  Some are so bad that you feel sorry for the player, others just too ridiculous to not laugh at and some are simply downright hilarious.  Here are the best of the worst.  Just sit back and enjoy…

1. Patrick Stefan

There’s a reason this is at #1, and it’s because it was basically the exclamation point for Patrick Stefan’s career.  After being drafted #1 overall in 1999 (before the Sedins!), Stefan never lived up to his expectations and this dreadful blooper sums up just about his whole NHL career in less than 10 seconds.  Patrick’s parents would be proud.

2. Dion Phaneuf

Although Dion Phaneuf is one of the best defenseman in the NHL, this attempted fight is definitely not one of his shining moments.  After dropping the gloves with Jarkko Ruutu, he suddenly stumbles to the ice for no apparent reason before anyone even throws a punch.  And to make matters worse, he has to skate right to the Canucks’ bench to pick up his gloves.  It doesn’t take much imagination to get an idea of what they’re saying.

3. Dennis Wideman

It’s not often that you get to see a blooper during a shootout, but when they do happen, they are absolutely hilarious.  And this is the cream of the crop right here.  Dennis Wideman, one of the most reliable D-men in the NHL, demonstrated why he isn’t the greatest offensive defenseman during a shootout against Chicago.  I really do envy Hawks’ goalie Corey Crawford; he had the best seat in the house to watch this mishap.   

4. Niclas Wallin

Niclas Wallin isn’t a household name around North America, but he definitely helped his name get out there with this gem of a blunder.  While the Martin Brodeur was off the ice for the extra attacker during a delayed penalty, Josef Vasicek passed the puck to Wallin, who then got chased by a Washington Capitals player to the neutral zone.  Then, for no apparent reason (I think he was trying to pass back), he dished the puck backwards and straight into his own net!

5. Vesa Toskala

Up until Vesa Toskala let in this crazy goal, he was one of the top goalies in the NHL.  Ever since then, it’s been all downhill for him.  Just watch the video below and you’ll understand how a goal like that (from 174 feet away) can ruin a goaltender’s reputation.

6. Doug Gilmour

Doug Gilmour is one of hockey’s greats, but one of his most memorable moments came when he was off the ice.  After being sent to the penalty box during a game, he slammed the penalty box door in frustration.  Much to everyone’s surprise, the glass shattered completely, causing the game to be delayed while a cleaning crew tried to sweep the fragments up.

7. Eric Belanger

Eric Belanger doesn’t often make highlight reels around the NHL, but this is an exception.  During a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Colorado Avalanche, Belanger was the target of a hit that caused his jersey to be stuck between the boards.  Needless to say, the game was stopped to give an astounded Eric a little assistance.   

8. Unknown Singer

OK, so maybe I cheated by putting in a blooper by a non-hockey player, but this is just too terrible to not have it on this list.  While at a hockey game between the U.S. and Canada, the singer brought out to do the national anthems messed up on the Star Spangled Banner.  With boos cascading down on her, she decides to restart, but when she comes back on to the ice, she slips!  Thankfully, she realized that enough was enough and walked off the ice for good.

9. Dion Phaneuf

Everyone knew Dion Phaneuf had a very hard slapshot, but no one realized just how hard until he shattered the glass at the Pengrowth Saddledome twice in one period!  The first shot was just intended to be dumped into the Minnesota zone, but instead he ended up delaying the game so the repair crew could replace the glass.  The second was another dump as the first period ended, but this time it was from behind his own blue line!  I feel sorry for anyone who has had to block Dion’s shots. 

10. Nate Thompson

We started this list with a missed empty net, and that’s also how we’re going to end it.  However, unlike Patrick Stefan’s epic failure, Nate Thompson actually showed some skill to give himself the chance to get an open net goal, but instead he just demonstrated an unbelievable lack of finish.  He also made us realize why we’d never heard of him before this mistake.

And that finishes our list of the Top Ten Bloopers Of All-Time.  If you have any questions or opinions, please don’t hesitate to comment.

Finnish Flash To Play Another Season

August 6, 2010 by

Teemu Selanne, nicknamed 'The Finnish Flash'

  

Teemu Selanne will be back in the NHL for the upcoming season. The Olympic hero told a Finnish sports magazine that he intends to return for ‘at least another year’ and a contract with the Ducks will be signed over the next few days. Selanne will be returning for his 12th season with the Ducks and his 18th in the NHL putting up 1,260 points in a 1,186 game career highlighted by a 132 point rookie season with the Winnipeg Jets. The 40 year old NHL veteren is a native of Helsinki, Finland.