Monday, May 31, 2010

Hawks' Ladd to Miss Game 2

OK, hit the pause button on Barry Melrose before you did into the report from Scott Burnside of ESPN.com, who says the Blackhawks' Andrew Ladd will remain out of the lineup with the undisclosed, super secret injury.

On the Flyers' side of the coin, Daniel Carcillo will replace James van Riemsdyk in the lineup, according to Carcillo. No confirmation by Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette, so for now, that's where it stands heading into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Now just for fun, hit play and listen to Melrose get off a lame joke before talking as fast as that old FedEx commercial. The topic, Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton and whether this is a must-win game for Philadelphia.

Looking at the Cup, Back and Forward



The bookwork for Game 1 is below, as is "Coach's Corner" from the CBC for Game 1.

But before that, a few thoughts culled from the notebook of a man who had a few snacks, beverages and angry moments during Game 1. (I have the notes and stains to prove it.)

Did you see what you wanted in Game 1? Either my standars are way too high or my compass is pointing south when I should be heading north. Patrick Kane's game left me as cold as the adult beverages I was consuming in the first period.

A few good chances lost in what appeared to me as uninspired or confused play. I was looking for leadership and determined rushes, taking the play to the Flyers. Did not see that. Again, maybe I'm wrong, or maybe I was as confused as Mike Emrick, who kept saying Kane (a minus-3) when he meant Marian Hossa. (I wasn't confused about the two players; good glasses and an HD set helped me note the difference.)

I projected Kane as my game-breaker. If he doesn't change his ways, I'm going to have to downgrade my projection.



No projection change neccessary for Flyers defensman Chris Pronger, who did just about everything to thwart the line of Kane, Dustin Byfuglien and Jonathan Toews. Later, the Blackhawks recalibrated the lines, moving Hossa up to the big line and putting Kane with Patrick Sharp and Troy Brouwer.

On the NHL Network's "On the Fly," Pronger was his amusing and feisty self during the off-day interview session. When a reporter offered a murky question about the style of play the Flyers needed to play, Pronger came back with a polite, playful shove.

"What do you want me to say?" he said. "There are two parts to your queston." The reporter offered a clarification about being agressive versus being disciplined, and another offered some help. Pronger, satisified that he had not surrendered any information until he had played out this particular shift well, gave a clear response and managed to wink and tell the reporter "good question."



It was a good one. The Flyers were pulled out of their game, Pronger said, and that, more than anything else, meant that when it turned into a shooting gallery out there, there was little they could do but try to catch up or stay even.

He said it was just one game and that there was no need to get caught up in doomsday thoughts. That's what playing, winning and losing in Stanley Cup finals will do for you.

That little playful bit has me ready for tonight, when the teams resume the fight at 8 Eastern on NBC, CBC and RDS.

Enough for now. Like I promised, here's the usual Spreadsheet bookwork for Saturday's game and a moment with Don Cherry.

STANLEY CUP FINALS
Game 1
Best of 7
At Chicago 6, Philadelphia 5
(Chicago leads, 1-0)
Recap is here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It Was Too Much to Ask of David Shoalts

Put down the Twitter and do some real work, we asked. Instead, we get more lemons from David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail, via Twitter:

"Question for G. Bettman's NHL - if there was an all-Canada final, would they play U.S. anthem?"

And ...

"Fun night. Internet down for second time and they haven't even dropped the puck.Hamster powering UC network suffered lower-body injury."

And finally ...

"Why do some of the workers who clean the ice during breaks wear short skirts and leg warmers while others wear jackets and long pants?"

Some can handle a challenge with ease. Others come up all thumbs.

Back to the game.

Dave Shoalts Loves His Twitter Soap Box

The Globe and Mail's David Shoalts wants you to know that whatever is wrong with the National Hockey League, it's Gary Bettman's fault.

Just follow him on Twitter. He's @dshoalts.

"G. Bettman to hold next press conference at BP oil spill: all is just fine."

Or ...

"Proof that Preds can't tire anybody out. RT @dellis39: Last team we lost to in the first round also went on to win Cup. Detroit 2 years ago."

But the best from Mr. Objectivity is this: "Truth-teller. RT @Jeffiarmstrong: @dshoalts what's the most difficult position to fill in the NHL."

Well, @dshoalts is on the right track, but he needs to quit taking the lazy way out and just follow the money a la Watergate. (The owners have gotten a pass for far too long now.) Don't just stop at the owners' straw man, relieve yourself on him and then call it a day. Go get the real story. The first steps? Sign off Twitter, put the book of one-liners away and actually get to work.

That's all we ask.

Just Waiting for the Puck to Drop

It's less than an hour to go. I've done all of my chores (a short list, but they are done) and I have finished dinner.

I got through the Winnipeg/Quebec City expansion stories rather quickly and am now looking for someone from Hartford to ask when it gets a prime spot in the expansion queue.

Here's a thought. When someone says expand, you slap them. When someone says move a team, you give them a pop in the nose. And when someone says everything is on the table, ask them why their wallet, bank book and stock portfolio isn't.

Enough with these state of the union/state of the league/state of the business talkfests. Reminds me of a few cousins of mine when we were taking stock of our annual Halloween haul of candy.

"Hey, you should really have some of these," one would say. He meant, "These make me want to puke, but I really would like to see you do it rather than throw these pieces in the trash."

Another gem: "There is more chocolate in this bar than in that small one you have. Let's trade." He meant, "I remember finding this piece of candy in the gutter and the wrapper is torn. Your candy bar appears untainted. Give it to me, now."

And finally: "The next Pixie Stik I find is yours. I know how much I like them." Actual message: "I've already eaten 30 of them, and I can see in my bag there are no more. But if you would like to give me something for the promise of me some day handing one over to you, I can be bought. Give me something good."

Less than 30 minutes to go. No Andrew Ladd in the lineup tonight. Brian Boucher will be in uniform as the backup tonight. Let's get ready for some action.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Votes Are Trickling In

TSN.ca has picks from Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger available for viewing. At Puck Daddy, the theme is which team has the better captain.

The Canwest News Service, through the portal of the National Post, submits its scorecard for debate. Here's the verdict from USA Today, and I give Jacques Demers the last word on the series. At least, that is, until some more move on the high-speed sports wire.

Chicago Is the Pick to Click

A smart bettor/picker/forecaster/loudmouth takes in all factors before putting down the name and the money on the counter.

You look at players you trust (Jonathan Toews, Chris Pronger, Dave Bolland, Duncan Keith, Simon Gagne) and those you hold as suspect (Patrick Kane, Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell, Brent Sopel, Scott Hartnell).

If that doesn't make things more lucid, then you go to the off-the-wall stuff, like predictions from other journalists. Then if you are truly scratching your head, you look for stray thoughts and try to string them together.

I admire the spirit of the Flyers, their franchise, the fans and the felonious on-ice acts to which they still cling. The logo has always attracted my eye. In junior high, when the Broad Street Bullies were punching out victories like license plates, one Tracy Larson wore an orange Flyers T-shirt to school. The shirt looked good; she looked good in the shirt. Win, win situation for a teenage boy.

Again all this is just clutter that I wade through whenever I make my picks. And here is what I believe will happen.

Chicago Blackhawks over Philadelphia Flyers in 5 games: I see these two teams as twins. In the classroom, one had a better daily report; the other struggled with its focus and did not reach the level that was expected. But that was the daily classwork. They're on equal terms now. At forward, defense, in goal and behind the bench.

For me, it comes down to Patrick Kane. He is third in playoff points with 20, 13 of them being assists. So why do I struggle to see him on the ice? I expect goals off the rush, goals in tight and plenty of speed. I haven't really seen all of that through three playoff rounds. I expect I shall see all that in this round.

He and Marian Hossa (2 goals, 9 assists, 11 points) are at the point where they steal the show or they become the bit players they were not billed to be. If Pronger manages to hinder Dustin Byfuglien's ability to get his stick on the puck, then the goals have to come from somewhere else. Toews, who leads in playoff scoring with 26 points (7 goals, 19 assists), is doing his part. That leads us back to Mr. Kane. You are X in the equation of Y Chicago will win. Elevate your game, and it should be a runaway.

Punch up 5G on the jukebox. It's time for some Del.

The End of the Hossa Curse

A friend of mine is picking the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup final, in part because of what he believes to be The Curse of Marian Hossa. This will be Hossa’s third consecutive Stanley Cup final – all of them playing for a different team – and he has lost the previous two. It’s interesting information but I don’t think Hossa has that much karma to orchestrate these things. Of course, scoring twice in 16 playoff games provides its own karma.

Hossa, aside, the Blackhawks have depth, firepower, speed and enough bruisers to overpower the Flyers. Once all those elements are brought to bear on the Philadelphia defense, it could make for a short series. Chris Pronger, like Hossa, playing in a third final with a third team (at least he has won a Cup), will be one weary customer after this series.

In their unexpected run to the final, the Flyers have not seen anything like Chicago’s attack. The Hawks, meanwhile, have dispatched two pretty good teams in Vancouver and San Jose, and have done so with some authority. There is nothing about the Flyers that suggests they can derail Chicago at this point.

Blackhawks over Flyers in five games.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wait to Make Picks to Click



Today started off just fine. A nice breeze through the living room just in time for the morning bowl of cereal, the loving cup of Joe and Stanley Cup highlight films on the big screen in the living room.

Bad news, Blackhawks fans, or should I say Black Hawks fans. The 1965 and 1971 Cup finals were being shown on the NHL Network. In both cases, the Hawks still lost. Glenn Hall with no mask. You gotta like that.

Anyhow, moving to the rest of my day, which required a little work be completed throughout the day, the 2010 Cup previews are coming through and they are entertaining. Sportsnet has a report on the Flyers and the Blackhawks, and there is a prize to be won for one of the writers.

ESPN, the network that does not show hockey and when it shows highlights, it's with a large dose of Barry Melrose or Matthew Barnaby? Pierre LeBrun, who can be seen on the Web or on CBC (speaking of the CBC, check out this preview from the CBC and compare it with any ESPN preview involving Melrose), but not ESPN, the TV, has a view on the finals, which is right here. The picks of the ESPN hockey crew, all six, are here, along with a look back at who they said would win in each round.

The Hockey News, the Web site, has a preview and it has a video roundtable. No Barry Melrose here, so I'd click in just for the fun of it.

Wes Goldstein at CBSSports.com makes his call for Chicago, and it's here.

Sports Illustrated? Yeah, I remember when I cared about that magazine, even when Mark Mulvoy was doing all he could to ignore the sport. I believed in hallowed news media institutions like Sports Illustrated back then. I was young and a sucker. I am not subsidizing Golf Plus, Golf Extra or whatever they were trying to sell me. But online, Allan Muir and his colleagues do a lot with whatever small commitment the SI franchise gives them. Here's that preview.

Over at Puck Daddy, there are several good views of both teams heading into the finals, which start Saturday night. Here's one from Justin Bourne looking at the difference in forwards on the two teams. Greg Wyshynski also has an opinion on the forward lines. Compare and contrast, if you will.

As for me, the Lounge's picks to click come tomorrow, after I've consumed a few more previews, a few adult beverages and at least one more bowl of cereal.

And now, I urge you to make your picks smartly, or you'll be singing a song similar to this fine gem by The Deep Dark Woods. Enjoy.

The Thursday Spreadsheet

It's Hershey versus Texas in the Calder Cup finals. The Texas Stars put the Hamilton Bulldogs on the golf course for the summer with a 4-2 victory last night. After the statistical package below, you will see the schedule for the Calder Cup finals, which have the potential to extend well past the end of the National Hockey League season.

The AHL's finals will begin June 3 and, if needed, Game 7 would be June 16. Granted the NHL's season and playoffs do run long this year, but there was an Olympic break this season. No such Olympic break for the AHL, sooooo. Go figure. Or, if you are like me, just enjoy that there may be hockey into mid-June.

Two final thoughts. First, last night's result meant the end to P.K. Subban's wild ride of a season. The Globe and Mail, which has appointed itself as the opposition party in the Parliament of Hockey, offers up a nice look at Subban's final night, albeit with the odious fecal matter that the writer Jeff Blair used to introduce the second graf. Too bad. Other than that out-of-context ruse, it was a rather professional, classy production.

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
Texas 4, at Hamilton 2
(Texas wins, 4-3)
Recap is here.

Calder Cup Finals
Texas Stars vs. Hershey Bears
June 3: Texas at Hershey
June 5: Texas at Hershey
June 7: Hershey at Texas
June 9: Hershey at Texas
June 11: Hershey at Texas, if needed
June 14: Texas at Hershey, if needed
June 16: Texas at Hershey, if needed

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hawks and Flyers Rewind Tonight



The NHL Network is showing the one meeting of the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers this season. The Flyers, 3-2 winners at home on March 13, erased a one-goal lead late in the third period to down the Blackhawks, who did not look like world beaters in this one, which I saw live on the Center Ice package. (High winds and heavy rain? No problem. Just sat in the Lounge that day watching hockey.)

According to NHL.com, the March 13 game will be shown tonight at 8 Eastern. It will be shown again at midnight and Thursday at 4 a.m. 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. All times Eastern.

In case you don't get the NHL Network, the video highlights of the game is above. Here is the box and the recap of the game.

Nothing Like a Getaway

The days are warming up, which meant a quick trip to Boston to see a graduation and to listen to the sound of nature at Walden Pond near Concord, Mass. Did you know you cannot go swimming in Walden Pond? What would Zonker Harris think of that?

I guess it's best he sticks to Walden Puddle.

The only downside of the trip was that the hotel I was at did not have Versus in the meager 20 channels it offered. (Yeah, remember when you felt spoiled when there were more than four channels? I do.)

But the laptop came through with live audio coverage of the two NHL playoff series while I had a live Web stream of the Memorial Cup up and running. If I could have borrowed another laptop, I would have had the AHL playoff games online. Vacation does not mean having to do without hockey.

Nor did it mean missing out on good music. CBC's Radio 3 is a constant companion when my laptop is cooking, as is WRXP in New York, WFNX in Boston and KATC in Colorado Springs (nothing like a little country from the homeland to make one pine for days wandering the land where the Great Plains tuck into the mighty Rockies). I wish Indie 103.1 and Jonesy's Jukebox were still kicking around in Los Angeles and on the Web.

But you cannot have everything.

Oh well, at least I have hockey and the New Pornographers.

Here's a relatively new oldie (or an old newbie?) for your afternoon pleasure in the Lounge.

The Wednesday Spreadsheet



What, no games? Isn't that heartbreaking.

Well there is a game tonight, an elimination game between the Hamilton Bulldogs and the Texas Stars in the conference finals of the American Hockey League. The winner gets a best of 7 series against the Hershey Bears in the Calder Cup finals.

Hamilton is top affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. Texas is the farm club for the Dallas Stars. Hershey is the development team for the Washington Capitals, whom many expected to be playing in the Stanley Cup finals.

Well, the Bears held up their end of the bargain, even the Capitals' all-star scoring lineup could not.

And speaking of all-star lineups, how about those Yardbirds, with Jeff Beck still in the band before going unrestricted free agent, allowing the Yardbirds to slide Jimmy Page, who was a skiffle prodigy at age 14, from bass, in the clip below, into the lead guitar slot.



By the way, if you have not seen "It Might Get Loud," it's time to run to the store or get Netflix on the line and queue that one up. The only weak link in that lineup is the Edge of U2. Not that I don't enjoy the Edge's work, but Jimmy Page and Jack White bring a bucket full of blues to the party. The Edge, by comparison, seems to be the one responsible for the rather tame potato salad also on the table.



Still, a mighty fine effort if you like rock or the blues. And if you are a fan, yes it does get loud. Make sure you are in control of the remote.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Subban Heads Back to AHL

P.K. Subban will extend his playoff experiences at least for one more game. The Montreal Canadiens have sent the young defenseman back to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League.

The Bulldogs and the Texas Stars are locked into a 3-3 tie in their semifinal series, with the deciding game set for Wednesday in Hamilton. The winner will face the Hershey Bears in the Calder Cup finals.

According to NHL.com, Subban had a goal and 7 assists in 14 playoff games with Montreal. In two regular-season games with the Canadiens in 2009-10, he recorded 2 assists. Subban had 18 goals and 35 assists this season with the Bulldogs.

Game 7 of the Stars-Bulldogs series can be viewed on the AHL's pay-per-view Web package. For those less inclined to spend, it can be heard via the teams' Web sites at no charge. The games can also be heard on satellite radio.

Yzerman Named GM of Lightning

Steve Yzerman, who was tagged as a leader early in his professional career, takes another leadership post, this time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, for whom he will be the general manager.

According to NHL.com, Yzerman, 45, is the franchise's sixth general manager. The NHL.com report said that Yzerman was the leading canadidate "after Boston-based businessman Jeff Vinik became the owner of Tampa Bay on March 3."

Just for the sake of argument here in the Lounge, what will the hiring of Yzerman mean to those who wish or, let's be fair, take pleasure in the struggles of any NHL franchise south of perhaps Detroit. Do they still want this franchise to tank? Could such critics take delight in seeing someone as rooted in hockey as Steve Yzerman help get things back on track in Tampa Bay?

We shall see. Me? I am not such a big fan of the Red Wings, and did my fair share of loathing when the topic of Mr. Yzerman was raised. Regarding the Lightning, I don't recall ever thinking anything bad about them, but they rarely played heated games out West, where my interest is.

I do not like to see any of the current markets, if you will, struggle as a business. (Again, as a fan, I can name 29 teams that I would like to see maintain a Toronto-esque presence in the standings.)

So, I say good luck to Mr. Stevie Y and hope that he remains his youthful appearance a few years down the road. But if he comes back looking like Darren Pang, then we might want to say there's something fishy in the water down there.

The Tuesday Spreadsheet



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Philadelphia 4, Montreal 2
(Philadelphia wins, 4-1)
Recap is here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
Texas 3, at Hamilton 2 OT
(Series tied, 3-3)
Recap is here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stanley Cup Finals Schedule Set

P.K. Subban's season may continue, but it will have to be in the American Hockey League, where the Hamilton Bulldogs are trying to reach the Calder Cup finals.

In the National Hockey League, Subban's Montreal Canadiens have been eliminated in six games by the Philadelphia Flyers, which sets up the Stanley Cup finals with the Flyers taking on the Chicago Blackhawks, who dispatched the San Jose Sharks in four games.

The Stanley Cup Finals will begin Saturday night. All games will be shown in Canada on CBC and RDS. In the United States, NBC will have Games 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7. Versus will have Games 3 and 4. All games start at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Saturday: Philadelphia at Chicago
May 31: Phiadelphia at Chicago
June 2: Chicago at Philadelphia
June 4: Chicago at Philadelphia
June 6: Philadelphia at Chicago, if needed
June 9: Chicago at Philadelphia, if needed
June 11: Philadelphia at Chicago, if needed

The Monday Spreadsheet



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Chicago 4, San Jose 2
(Chicago wins, 4-0)
Recap is here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.



MEMORIAL CUP TOURNAMENT
Championship
At Brandon, Manitoba
Windsor 9, Brandon 1
Recap is here.
Windsor Spitfires, 2010 Memorial Cup Champions

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Cologne, Germany
Gold Medal
At Czech Republic 2, Russia 1
Bronze Medal
Sweden 3, Germany 1
Summaries and final standings (PDF files) are here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Sunday Spreadsheet



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
Philadelphia 3, at Montreal 0
(Philadelphia leads, 3-1)
Recap is here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Hershey 3, Manchester 2 OT
(Hershey wins, 4-2)
Hamilton 3, at Texas 0
(Hamilton leads, 3-2)
Recaps are here and here.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Semifinals
At Cologne, Germany
Russia 2, Germany 1
Czech Republic 3, Sweden 2 SO
Standings and summaries (PDF files) are here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Saturday Spreadsheet



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Chicago 3, San Jose 2 OT
(Chicago leads, 3-0)
Recap is here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Texas 2, Hamilton 1 OT
(Series tied, 2-2)
Recap is here.

EAST COAST HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Kelly Cup Finals
Best of 7
At Cincinnati 2, Idaho 1
(Cincinnati wins, 4-1)
Recap is here.
Cincinnati Cyclones, 2010 ECHL Champions



MEMORIAL CUP TOURNAMENT
Semifinal
At Brandon, Manitoba
Brandon 5, Calgary 4 OT
Recap is here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Friday Spreadsheet



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Montreal 5, Philadelphia 1
(Philadelphia leads, 2-1)
Recap is here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
Hershey 3, at Manchester 2 OT
(Hershey leads, 3-2)
Recap is here.

EAST COAST HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Kelly Cup Finals
Best of 7
At Cincinnati 3, Idaho 2
(Cincinnati leads, 3-1)
Recap is here.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Quarterfinals
At Cologne, Germany
Czech Republic 2, Finland 1 SO
Russia 5, Canada 2
At Mannheim, Germany
Sweden 4, Denmark 2
Germany 1, Switzerland 0
Summaries and standings (PDF files) are here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Wednesday Spreadsheet

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Texas 5, Hamilton 4 OT
(Hamilton leads, 2-1)
Recap is here.



MEMORIAL CUP TOURNAMENT
Round Robin
At Brandon, Manitoba
Calgary 5, Brandon 1
Recap is here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Wednesday Spreadsheet



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Philadelphia 3, Montreal 0
(Philadelphia leads, 2-0)
Chicago 4, at San Jose 2
(Chicago leads, 2-0)
Recaps are here and here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.



AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Manchester 1, Hershey 0
(Series tied, 2-2)
Recap is here.

EAST COAST HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Kelly Cup Finals
Best of 7
Idaho 4, at Cincinnati 3 OT(2)
(Cincinnati leads, 2-1)
Recap is here.



MEMORIAL CUP TOURNAMENT
Round Robin
At Brandon, Manitoba
Windsor 4, Moncton 3 OT
Recap is here.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Qualification Round
At Cologne, Germany
Germany 2, Slovakia 1
Russia 5, Finland 0
At Mannheim, Germany
Czech Republic 3, Canada 2
Sweden 5, Switzerland 0
Relegation Round
At Cologne, Germany
United States 3, Italy 2 SO
At Mannheim, Germany
France 5, Kazakhstan 3
Standings and summaries (PDF files) are here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Tuesday Spreadsheet

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Manchester 3, Hershey 2 OT
(Hershey leads, 2-1)
Recap is here.



MEMORIAL CUP TOURNAMENT
Round Robin
At Brandon, Manitoba
Windsor 6, Calgary 2
Recap is here.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Qualification Round
At Cologne, Germany
Finland 5, Slovakia 2
Belarus 2, Denmark 1
At Mannheim, Germany
Norway 3, Switzerland 2
Czech Republic 3, Latvia 1
Summaries and standings (PDF files) are here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Monday Spreadsheet



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
Chicago 2, at San Jose 1
(Chicago leads, 1-0)
At Philadelphia 6, Montreal 0
(Philadelphia leads, 1-0)
Recaps are here and here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.



AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Hamilton 3, Texas 1
(Hamilton leads, 2-0)
Recap is here.



MEMORIAL CUP TOURNAMENT
Round Robin
At Brandon, Manitoba
Brandon 4, Moncton 0
Recap is here.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Qualification Round
At Cologne, Germany
Russia 6, Denmark 1
Belarus 2, Germany 1 OT
At Mannheim, Germany
Lativa 5, Norway 0
Sweden 3, Canada 1
Relegation Round
At Cologne, Germany
United States 4, France 0
At Mannheim, Germany
Italy 2, Kazakhstan 1
Standings and summaries (PDF files) are here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Time for Third Round Picks to Click

First off, can anybody produce a remote that can automatically turn off Mike Emrick? No? Didn't think so, but don't be surprised if I hope for short tournaments and the fewest number of broadcasts involving MIKE I CANNOT STOP SHOUTING EMRICK. It's another reason to avoid watching the New Jersey Devils during the regular season.

Please, where is Ray Scott, he of "Starr ... Dowler ... Touchdown," fame. I want to hear the crowd roar, not Emrick telling me that IT IS TIME FOR A BUD LIGHT COMMERCIAL!!!

O.K., with that rant out of the way, let's just say that I see a fun road ahead.

Philadelphia Flyers over Montreal Canadiens in six games. Have to say that I have loathed the Flyers all these years as much I have fondly admired the success and history of the Montreal Canadiens. Knowing all that, let's be clear that the Flyers have survived any number of injuries to get this far. I don't doubt that their goaltending does not compare with that of the Canadiens. But their heart and their physical strength will get them past the Canadiens, who will be shut down. I know I said the Canadiens' small forwards would be squashed by the Penguins. Pittsburgh did not have everyone on the bus in the last series. Philadelphia does. A TastyKake to the Flyers.

Chicago Blackhawks over San Jose Sharks in six games. Evgeny Nabokov is playing on borrowed time. Count on the Blackhawks to rub him the wrong way any number of times. I know that Joe Pavelski finally got some help in the last series, but I don't see that holding up. The Hawks will play in traffic and learn to enjoy the danger. San Jose is counting on Dany Heatley to get into traffic and not look like a deer staring at headlights. Chicago plays like road warriors. San Jose? Road kill.

The Sunday Spreadsheet



AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Hershey 3, Manchester 2 OT
(Hershey leads, 2-0)
Recap is here.

EAST COAST HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Kelly Cup Finals
Best of 7
Cincinnati 1, at Idaho 0
(Cincinnati leads, 2-0)
Recap is here.



MEMORIAL CUP TOURNAMENT
Round Robin
At Brandon, Manitoba
Calgary 5, Moncton 4
Recap is here.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Qualification Round
At Cologne, Germany
Russia 3, Germany 2
At Mannheim, Germany
Switzerland 3, Czech Republic 2
Relegation Round
At Cologne, Germany
United States 10, Kazakhstan 0
At Mannheim, Germany
France 2, Italy 1
Standings and summaries (PDF files) are here.

On to the Conference Finals

When the playoffs started, I thought both conferences would play out according to their regular-season rankings. But if I had been pressed, I would have thought the Western Conference might have undergone some upheaval. There were pretty good teams in the bottom half of their alignment, teams quite capable of causing damage.
Those teams are sitting at home right now and it is the Eastern Conference that has been the cauldron of upsets, with a conference final featuring the seventh (Philadelphia) and eighth (Montreal) seeds. In the West, the top two seeds (San Jose and Chicago) are playing for a chance to move to the Stanley Cup final.
So, there. You've been warned. My picks and the reality of this spring have largely been running in parallel lines. Like that would stop me from more prognostication.
Montreal Canadiens over Philadelphia Flyers in six games. At this point, picking Montreal is as much an emotional reaction as a logical one. Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak and his defense are almost fused as one, they are so in sync. Montreal continues to conjure offense, the link I keep thinking will be exposed as they continue in the playoffs. At this point, Halak is the new Ken Dryden but Michael Leighton of the Flyers is fashioning quite a story for himself, too. Philly would seem to have better scoring punch but I have picked against the Habs twice now and I'm starting to learn that lesson. Whatever happens, I hope Montrealers don't react as they did after the series victory over Pittsburgh. Keep it classy, folks.
Chicago Blackhawks over San Jose Sharks in seven. The Hawks will bump you and they can outrace you. Their defense moves the puck as well as San Jose's does. This could be a great series but the Hawks have shown an ability to elevate their game in the other team's building and I give them the nod for that alone. Chicago can also get by with so-so goaltending from Antti Niemi, while the Sharks will need unbelievable play from Evgeni Nabokov to move on.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Schedule Set for NHL Conference Finals

If you are not watching the Memorial Cup right now, then your missing your daily fix of hockey. But, if you must wait until Sunday, you will get right back into the action when the Stanley Cup playoffs reach the conference final round.

San Jose is the top seed in the West and Philadelphia is the top seeded team in the East.

The following is the schedule of games for the next two weeks.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens
Sunday: Montreal at Philadelphia
Tuesday: Montreal at Philadelphia
Thursday: Philadelphia at Montreal
May 22: Philadelphia at Montreal
May 24: Montreal at Philadelphia, if needed
May 26: Philadelphia at Montreal, if needed
May 28: Montreal at Philadelphia, if needed

San Jose Sharks vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Sunday: Chicago at San Jose
Tuesday: Chicago at San Jose
May 21: San Jose at Chicago
May 23: San Jose at Chicago
May 25: Chicago at San Jose, if needed
May 27: San Jose at Chicago, if needed
May 29: Chicago at San Jose, if needed

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Saturday Spreadsheet



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Second Round
Best of 7
Philadelphia 4, at Boston 3
(Philadelphia wins, 4-3)
Recap is here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Qualification Round Robin
At Cologne, Germany
Denmark 6, Slovakia 0
Finland 2, at Belarus 0
At Mannheim, Germany
Canada 12, Norway 1
Sweden 4, Latvia 2
Summaries and standings (PDF files) are here.

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Hamilton 3, Texas 2 OT
(Hamilton leads, 1-0)
Recap is here.

EAST COAST HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Kelly Cup Finals
Best of 7
Cincinnati 3, at Idaho 2
(Cincinnati leads, 1-0)
Recap is here.



MEMORIAL CUP TOURNAMENT
Round Robin
At Brandon, Manitoba
Windsor 9, Brandon 3
Recap is here.

A Video and Friday's Picks to Click



A Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers would normally be enough to make my night complete, but the Memorial Cup starts tonight with the Windsor Spitfires playing the Brandon Wheat Kings.

So, let's just say I am working hard in the office while I sneak a few peeks at my homework for tonight's events. As a helpful primer, here's a video study of the Memorial Cup field from the folks at Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet.ca.

Listen closely. You'll be tested on this later.

My picks to click tonight: Take the Flyers and the Spitfires.

The Friday Spreadsheet

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Preliminary Round Robin
Group A
At Cologne, Germany
Russia 3, Belarus 1
Slovakia 5, Kazakhstan 1
Group C
At Mannheim, Germany
Norway 5, France 1
Czech Republic 2, Sweden 1
Standings and summaries (PDF files) are here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Memorial Cup Express Lane: 6 Items or Less



That's right. No need to bog you down with any number of thoughts on the best junior hockey tournament in North America. It's the Memorial Cup, and the four-team, week-long event presents an opportunity to watch the future of the National Hockey League perform at a high level.

These players have already been through 70-plus regular season games; bus travel across Canada, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maine; all-star games; international tournaments; four rounds of league playoffs and now this. This is the show. The stage is Brandon, Manitoba.

You shouldn't miss it. It's on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS in Canada, but of course those of you up north know that already. For those in the United States, the games are on the NHL Network, starting Friday evening at 8 Eastern when the host Brandon Wheat Kings face the Windsor Spitfires, champions of the Ontario Hockey League and the defending Memorial Cup champions.

Also here to battle for the trophy are the Moncton Wildcats, chammpions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and the Calgary Hitmen, champions of the Western Hockey League.

OK, got that? Now enter the express lane.

1. Patrick King of Sportsnet.ca has written previews of Moncton, Windsor, Calgary and Brandon.

2. The home site, which has a full schedule and a live scoreboard, is here. En fran├žais? Il est ici.

3. The Wiki watch. Wikipedia, for all its warts, remains a good place to visit for junior hockey. The 2010 tournament site on Wiki has rosters and the brackets on just how Calgary, Windsor and Moncton reached Brandon. As for Brandon, well, the host city gets a berth, and the Wheat Kings did reach the WHL's Western Conference finals before falling to the Hitmen.

4. Bonus Wiki. The Memorial Cup has been around since 1919, and the list of winners is a storied one. Wikipedia writers have attempted to break it down into digestible chunks.

5. The Brandon Sun will be your local newspaper of record for the tournament. You'll need to register to read all the articles. Easy to do. No charge.

6. First here and then off to Los Angeles: Yes, three of the top prospects for the 2010 NHL draft are in the tournament. Taylor Hall, Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley are just a few of the players to follow over the next 10 days or so. After the tournament, they will most likely be in Southern California, standing on the big stage while trying on your team's sweater after being selected in the first round of the draft.

Cincinnati and Idaho in ECHL Finals



The Cincinnati Cyclones came from three games down to defeat the Reading Royals in seven games and secure a spot in the Kelly Cup Finals, which begin Friday night in Boise.

The Idaho Steelheads, the top-seeded team in the East Coast Hockey League, defeated the Stockton Thunder in six games to reach the finals.

The Kelly Cup series is best of seven. The dates are as follows:

Idaho Steelheads vs. Cincinnati Cyclones
Friday: Cincinnati at Idaho
Saturday: Cincinnati at Idaho
May 18: Idaho at Cincinnati
May 20: Idaho at Cincinnati
May 21: Idaho at Cincinnati, if needed
May 25: Cincinnati at Idaho, if needed
May 26: Cincinnati at Idaho, if needed

The Thursday Spreadsheet



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Second Round
Best of 7
Montreal 5, at Pittsburgh 2
(Montreal wins, 4-3)
At Philadelphia 2, Boston 1
(Series tied, 3-3)
Recap is here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.



WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Preliminary Round Robin
Group D
At Cologne, Germany
Germany 3, Denmark 1
Finland 3, United States 2
Group B
At Mannheim, Germany
Latvia 5, Italy 2
Switzerland 4, Canada 1
Summaries and standings (PDF files) are here.



AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Hershey 4, Manchester 2
(Hershey leads, 1-0)
Recap is here.

EAST COAST HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Cincinnati 1, Reading 0
(Cincinnati wins, 4-3)
Recap is here.

UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE
Clark Cup Finals
Best of 5
At Green Bay 5, Fargo 3
(Green Bay wins, 3-2)
Recap is here.
Green Bay Gamblers, 2010 USHL Champions

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AHL Western Finals to Start Friday



The Texas Stars needed overtime to eliminate the Chicago Wolves, perhaps ending the professional career of Wolves defenseman Chris Chelios. We should know more about that situation by the time hockey camps open in the fall.

For now, what we do know is that the Stars have a date with the Hamilton Bulldogs in the American Hockey League's Western Conference finals. The series, which is best of 7, begins Friday in Hamilton. The Bulldogs are the higher-seeded team. The winner of this series will face either the Hershey Bears or the Manchester Monarchs in the Calder Cup Finals.

The schedule for the Western Conference finals is as follows:

Hamilton Bulldogs vs. Texas Stars
Friday: Texas at Hamilton
Sunday: Texas at Hamilton
May 19: Hamilton at Texas
May 21: Hamilton at Texas
May 22: Hamilton at Texas, if needed
May 24: Texas at Hamilton, if needed
May 26: Texas at Hamilton, if needed

The Wednesday Spreadsheet



NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Second Round
Best of 7
Chicago 5, at Vancouver 1
(Chicago wins, 4-2)
Recap is here.
Three stars by Puck Daddy.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Preliminary Round Robin
Group A
At Cologne, Germany
Russia 4, Kazakhstan 1
Slovakia 4, Belarus 2
Group C
At Mannheim, Germany
Norway 3, Czech Republic 2
Sweden 3, France 2
Summaries and standings (PDF files) are here.

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Second Round
Best of 7
Texas 6, at Chicago 5 OT
(Texas wins, 4-3)
Recap is here.

EAST COAST HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Third Round
Best of 7
At Idaho 7, Stockton 5
(Idaho wins, 4-2)
At Cincinnati 6, Reading 3
(Series tied, 3-3)