Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
1. Calgary Flames -- still holding at number 1, although it's tough to hate a goalie as good as the Kipper. Plus I really like saying "Phanoof".
2. New York Rangers -- number 2 with a bullet. I watched most of the Rangers-Flyers game yesterday and realized I really don't like this team. Jagr and the boys in blue are a mediocre team at best, yet the media treats them like cup contenders.
3. Vancouver Canucks -- a slight drop, but I can't see this team dropping anymore. I have this theory that the Sedin twins sometimes change uniforms to throw opposing goalies off.
4. Dallas Stars -- again, this is just a vote because I hated hearing over and over again how much they love hockey in Texas.
5. Buffalo Sabres -- this may be just another "overexposed" vote, but something tells me this team isn't going deep into the playoffs, and I really don't trust Ryan Miller yet.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
1987: Calgary sends Steve Bozek and Brett Hull to St. Louis for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley.
Prediction for tonight: Wild 8 (Gaborik 6, Pavol 1, Boogaard 1), Flames 2 (Leopold 2).
Thursday, January 25, 2007
2000 (3rd overall) Marian Gaborik -- groin aside, this was a great pick. No arguments here. Grade: A.
2001 (6th overall) Mikko Koivu -- again a great pick. Mikko took several years to arrive on the scene, but he has shown tremendous improvement each year and will be a solid, solid player for this team for many years to come. Grade: A-.
2002 (8th overall) Pierre-Marc Bouchard -- another good pick. Bouchard was highly-touted coming out of juniors and has been pretty much as advertised, a great set-up man. Should be on the roster for several years. Grade: A-.
2003 (20th overall) Brent Burns-- it's difficult to find a superstar at #20 overall, so I'll give him some latitude here. Burns stepped into a roster spot right away and eventually was moved to defense. Still young and learning, but I'm happy with his progress. Grade: B+.
2004 (12th overall) A.J. Thelen -- this is Doug's most disappointing pick. I'll cut him a little slack here because Thelen had a great freshman season at Michigan State just prior to the draft and he was a puck-carrying defenseman, but this was not a good pick. Thelen is nowhere near the NHL and may never make the team. Drew Stafford (13th), Alexander Radulov (15th) and Wojtek Wolski (21st) were all picked after.
2005 (4th overall) Benoit Pouliot -- the jury's out on this one, but the 4th overall pick should be a superstar, and I'm not quite sold on Benoit yet. They just missed out on Jack Johnson at No. 3, so I'm not too upset here. We'll have to keep an eye on Carey Price (5th), Jack Skille (7th) and Anze Kopitar (11th).
2006 (9th overall) James Sheppard -- again, they just missed out on who I would've liked, Kyle Okposo (7th). Again, WAY too early to grade this pick.
Overall, he's done a great job drafting, although the recent 3 picks raise some concern; get back to me in 2 years and we'll know more.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
In lieu of any real interesting I offer a classic quote from Coach Lemaire on the Wild's injury bug:
“We’ve got Ramsey on defense, and Tremblay playing the wing. We’ll be okay.”
Saturday, January 20, 2007
1. Calgary Flames -- from top to bottom there isn't a player outside of Jerome Iginla that I really care for on this roster. It also doesn't help that they are run by a Sutter and that they are a division rival.
2. Vancouver Canucks -- do I really need to elaborate here? Despite the departure of Jarkko Ruutu they still have Matt Cooke.
3. Dallas Stars -- no, I'm not just bitter that they left Minnesota, I really don't like this team. Mike Modano is a smooth-skating weasel on ice.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs -- I don't have much of a reason here, just a general dislike like most everyone outside Toronto.
5. New Jersey Devils -- Marty Brodeur is a good goalie, but the greatest ever? I'm tired of talk from the "experts" that has proclaimed this so. He is a better than average stopper who plays for a very good defensive team.
Others receiving votes: Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers.
Friday, January 19, 2007
(*) Yes, I know Sammy's now has locations in the Twin Cities, but it isn't quite the same. I can't put my finger on it, but their pizzas down here just aren't the same, maybe not greasy enough.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
It all started with the whole "State of Hockey" thing. Sure, that's a cute little motto we got here and I like the logo. Even the song they sing before each home game is ok by me; it's full of schmaltz and vinegar, but what the hell right? So we like our hockey here, that should be the end of the story.
Well, apparently that's not enough for the brain wizards at Fox Sports. Next Saturday, January 20th, has been proclaimed "Hockey Day Minnesota", a cheap copy of the enormously successful "Hockey Day in Canada" that's been going on for years. On Saturday they're going to show 3 hockey games in a row on FSN: a high school game played on a bay up north, the Gopher game and the Wild-Stars game to wrap the day.
Please don't take this the wrong way. I will stand and applaud any time they decide to show 3 consecutive hockey games on TV, that's a great thing. But to imply that no one loves their hockey like we do here is ridiculous and embarrassing. Rant over.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
Marian Gaborik in the lineup:
With Gaborik: 9-2-1
Without Gaborik : 15-17-2
My mites team is the same way with our premier player, I'll call him "Dave". When Dave shows up, we're good for at least 10 goals, but when Dave sleeps in we're only getting around 6. Now that the cold weather has arrived we practice outside on Wednesday; I told my son to wear all three pairs of his Star Wars long underwear on that day.
Update 1-17-07, 9:50 PM: Cold, cold practice. Strong winds made it much nicer to skate north than face the wind and skate south. 5 of 9 kids skipped practice, including mine, who was home asleep on the couch. For punishment I plan on making him watch a Flyers game this weekend.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Let notice be served to the rest of the Northwest Division that the Minnesota Wild have righted the ship. Last night's 4-2 road regulation victory over the Edmonton Oilers gave the club their second consecutive road victory and proved to the world that Marian Gaborik's groin is the most important thing in the upper midwest. This team is significantly better with #10 in the lineup, that much is clear.
I'll be the first to say that I don't understand why the return of Marian (a) makes the Wild a great forechecking team when he's not on the ice or (b) makes the club a much more physical, punishing team in the corners or even (c) wakes up the BIG SAVE MACHINE that Manny Fernandez has become.
I told myself when the Wild were at the bottom of the division (only a few days ago) that I wouldn't get too fired up after a win and I wouldn't get too dejected after a loss, but I've got to say I'm pretty jacked about this team at the moment. That may or may not have anything to do with the large latte I just finished(*).
One other thing about last night's game: it was not televised locally, so I watched it via the Edmonton feed on Center Ice. I'm really starting to like that techno-elevator music they play on the Center Ice channels before and after games. It sounds sort of like a Falco cover of a Neil Diamond song.
(*) We had a 6:30am practice this morining. You try and convince a 7 year old that it's a good idea to get up at 5:45 and go out into the dark, frigid air to skate Herbies.
Friday, January 12, 2007
1. The Wild currently play in St. Paul, population 275,000 and have sold out every game. Minneapolis has a population of 372,000. Surely they'd sell out all the time as well.
2. A great rivalry would be born. I'd maybe start a new blog called "Battle of Minnesota".
3. The drive to the arena for me would be cut in half from 40 minutes to about 20 minutes.
4. Think of the great possible nicknames -- The Wild 2: Across the River, Minneapolis Frozen Nuts, etc...
5. The team could play at the Mall of America and offer a free Cinnabon with every ticket purchased. You could go ride the rollercoaster and buy a new pair of shoes during the period intermissions.
That's all I've got; give it some thought.
1. Manny made several key saves in the 2nd period, including 2 that were Buffalo Hasek-like. If you're going to win on the road consistently, you need your goalie to steal a game here and there.
2. Marian with 2 goals. Anyone feel the need to question his impact?
3. Check out Jes Golbez's game experience. I think he had a good time at the game.
4. Teryaki salmon isn't good hockey-watching food, so I called an audible and went with a heaping bowl of Fruitie-Tooties (*). Nothing like a good bowl of cereal during a late night hockey game.
(*) The generic equivilent of Froot Loops. If you don't mind getting your cereal in bags, this is the way to go.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
In any event, tonight's game (9pm CST) will have huge ramnifications for the Northwest Division race. If the Wild continue their losing ways, Vancouver will extend its lead and the Wild will slip into the abyss that is the bottom tier of the Western Conference. With the Coyotes red-hot and the Blues, Jackets and Hawks all on the upswing, the Wild need to right the ship and right it soon.
Tonight I'm making teriyaki salmon and aspargus, topped off by a Guinness or three, depending on how the game goes.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
How bad are the Wild on the road? I get the feeling that they'd play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers to a tie at Mariucci Arena. Even the road woes are getting applied to Derek Boogaard, who lost a fight last night and never returned to the game. The Wild have 1 regulation win on the road all season, earlier in San Jose. I don't know what the answer is, but if it doesn't come soon they'll be home watching the playoffs.
Other impressions from last night's loss:
- Calgary coach Jim Playfair is one snappy dresser. His suit/shirt combinations are straight out of GQ or at least the Men's Warehouse.
- Pavol is looking dejected. He seems like the type of player who'll get down on himself if things aren't going well.
- Daymond Langkow. What kind of first name is "Daymond"?
- The only way to beat Kipper is via a deflection or screen.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Well, after all that build up Marian returned to the lineup last night and the Wild lose in the Shootout 2-1 to Colorado. My quick impressions of the game:
- It's cliche as hell, but Marian looked a little rusty. I was waiting for one of the TV guys to say he wasn't in "game shape" yet and they didn't disappoint. Marian played about 13 minutes, looked good and had a few good scoring chances. He should improve game by game.
- Manny made a couple of huge stops with the glove tonight. It looks like he's settled back into the starting role again and hopefully his confidence will stay high as the team hits the road.
- I was watching the HD feed of the game on Comcast channel 206 and they forgot to break to any commercials on the HD broadcast. They'd go to commercial, but then they just stayed with the live ice feed. It was comical to see Mike Greenlay check himself out on the monitor and adjust his tie ten times during the breaks. I was waiting for a Blyleven-esque gaffe, but it never came.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
All indications are that Marian Gaborik and his groin will return to the Minnesota Wild lineup tomorrow night against the Nordiques. This is huge for the Wild. If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that Marian would miss all but 6 games of the first 40 and the team would still be within 1 point of the division lead I'd have told you you were criminally insane. While Rolston is this team's leader and best all-around player, Marian is its most explosive. When healthy he is a comparable talent to Ilya Kovalchuk, to Marian Hossa. He is that talented, but for some reason he's got a gimpy groin.
If Marian can stay healthy (a BIG if by the way) this team is a top 4 team in the Conference. The big question for Lemaire is "where do you put him?" It makes no sense to break up the always reliable Rolston-White-Bouchard line, and the Parrish-Demitra-Koivu line's been on fire, so where does he go? If I were Lemaire I'd move switch Koivu with Gaborik and move Mikko to the Walz checking line.
I can't wait for tomorrow night; seeing No. 10 back in the home green. The only question is how many goals will he score...I'm going with 4 because this is only his first game back.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
In Lemaire's idiotic rotating captaincy system, the coach named Brian Rolston captain for the month of January. Rolston had previously been captain this season for October and November, but lost the position to Keith Carney in December. It is ridiculous to think that the possibility of being a captain motivates these players; it's time for Lemaire to abandon this rotating system and install No. 12 as the full time captain of the team. No one is more deserving.
Monday, January 01, 2007
Side note on the weather: after my rant yesterday about global warming, the rain changed to snow and we ended up with a good 4 inches. Time to fire up the snowblower and spray my neighbor with fluff. Roy out.