Saturday, February 28, 2009

"The Hockey Spy" Has Been Relocated! http://MVN.com/hockeyspy


The Hockey Spy's identity has been compromised! Under a Sports Secret Agent Relocation program, I have been relocated to a safe zone...

Actually, I've just been recruited by a website or network of sports writers!

New link:
http://mvn.com/hockeyspy

I am now part of the Most Valuable Network (basically a site with a bunch of sports writers/bloggers)

The site uses a base template, so different look for me. I'm honestly new to the writing/blogging platform they use, so I'll need sometime to fine tune things to my liking.

Anyway, guys/gals, it's been a pleasure to have you as readers of my blog here. I hope you will join with me on my journey to MVN:
- This is a time when I could really use your support.
- Please visit whenever you can.
- Posting comments and "recommending" (by clicking that feature on the site) posts would be huge for me! ;)
- There are some other great writers on there as well for hockey and other sports.

As always: any ideas, feedback, criticism...let me know!

Thanks yet again,
Chris!
aka
The Hockey Spy

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Formula For Success: Cup Winning Trade Deadline Moves

I had a request to do a post with respect to key deadline deal moves made by eventual Stanley Cup winners of the past. I was intrigued by this given task, but wondered if time restraints would allow me to do adequate justice to this topic. Fortunately, TSN has done the ground work for me and I, therefore, have no need to reinvent the wheel. Their article From Traders To Champions highlights some roster solidifying transactions that have taken place from 1980 right up to last season.


Here are my personal two favourites:


1. "1979-80 Season

March 10, 1980 - New York Islanders obtain C Butch Goring from Los Angeles for RW Billy Harris and D Dave Lewis (trade completed one day before the deadline).

Harris was the first player drafted in Islanders' history and had been with the club since its inaugural season, 1972-73. Lewis had been a steady presence on the Islanders blueline for seven seasons. With Goring, the Islanders went undefeated in their last 12 regular-season games and went on to capture their first-ever Stanley Cup championship."

2. "1990-91 Season

March 4, 1991 - Pittsburgh Penguins obtain C Ron Francis, D Grant Jennings and D Ulf Samuelsson from Hartford for C John Cullen, RW Jeff Parker and D Zarley Zalapski (trade completed one day before the trading deadline).

The Penguins went on to capture the 1991 Stanley Cup, the first championship in franchise history. Francis was tied for the team lead with four game-winning goals and tied for fifth in scoring with 17 points during the 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Francis played in Pittsburgh for eight seasons, posting 100 points in 97 post-season games and was also traded at the deadline again in 2004 by Carolina."


Last season, the Red Wings acquired Brad Stuart, who added to an already deep blueline, but played a really strong, physical defensive game. He was a key cog defensively for Detroit.

What will be the Holy Grail of trades this season?

1. Will it be Niedermayer & Niedermayer (Scott and Rob) landing in Beantown, to strengthen the surprisingly powerful Bruins?

2. Will it be San Jose landing Mike "Underwood nee" Fisher to strengthen the 3rd line?

3. Will it be Chicago landing Keith Tkachuk to provide some power forward presence, experience and leadership to such a youthful team?

4. Will it be the Penguins landing Mark Recchi and Milan Hejduk to provide experience and more wingers for Sid the Kid and Malkin (along with the newly aquired Chris Kunitz)?

5. Will it be Philadelphia landing Jay Boumeester to give them a true #1 d-man?

The above, course, are some speculative deals I've thrown out on the table. Feel free to comment below on potential deadline deals you see that might put your favourite team over the edge in their quest for Lord Stanley.

"Rarely imitated, Never duplicated"

The Hockey Spy




Read more...

Formula For Success: Cup Winning Trade Deadline Moves

I had a request to do a post with respect to key deadline deal moves made by eventual Stanley Cup winners of the past. I was intrigued by this given task, but wondered if time restraints would allow me to do adequate justice to this topic. Fortunately, TSN has done the ground work for me and I, therefore, have no need to reinvent the wheel. Their article From Traders To Champions highlights some roster solidifying transactions that have taken place from 1980 right up to last season.


Here are my personal two favourites:


1. "1979-80 Season

March 10, 1980 - New York Islanders obtain C Butch Goring from Los Angeles for RW Billy Harris and D Dave Lewis (trade completed one day before the deadline).

Harris was the first player drafted in Islanders' history and had been with the club since its inaugural season, 1972-73. Lewis had been a steady presence on the Islanders blueline for seven seasons. With Goring, the Islanders went undefeated in their last 12 regular-season games and went on to capture their first-ever Stanley Cup championship."

2. "1990-91 Season

March 4, 1991 - Pittsburgh Penguins obtain C Ron Francis, D Grant Jennings and D Ulf Samuelsson from Hartford for C John Cullen, RW Jeff Parker and D Zarley Zalapski (trade completed one day before the trading deadline).

The Penguins went on to capture the 1991 Stanley Cup, the first championship in franchise history. Francis was tied for the team lead with four game-winning goals and tied for fifth in scoring with 17 points during the 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Francis played in Pittsburgh for eight seasons, posting 100 points in 97 post-season games and was also traded at the deadline again in 2004 by Carolina."


Last season, the Red Wings acquired Brad Stuart, who added to an already deep blueline, but played a really strong, physical defensive game. He was a key cog defensively for Detroit.

What will be the Holy Grail of trades this season?

1. Will it be Niedermayer & Niedermayer (Scott and Rob) landing in Beantown, to strengthen the surprisingly powerful Bruins?

2. Will it be San Jose landing Mike "Underwood nee" Fisher to strengthen the 3rd line?

3. Will it be Chicago landing Keith Tkachuk to provide some power forward presence, experience and leadership to such a youthful team?

4. Will it be the Penguins landing Mark Recchi and Milan Hejduk to provide experience and more wingers for Sid the Kid and Malkin (along with the newly aquired Chris Kunitz)?

5. Will it be Philadelphia landing Jay Boumeester to give them a true #1 d-man?

The above, course, are some speculative deals I've thrown out on the table. Feel free to comment below on potential deadline deals you see that might put your favourite team over the edge in their quest for Lord Stanley.

"Rarely imitated, Never duplicated"

The Hockey Spy




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Views From The Sin Bin: Markus Naslund's 1st "Waltz" (aka fight) in 15 years!



In a touching moment, in Tortorella's coaching debut with the Rangers, Markus Naslund and Ian White couldn't hide their passion in last night's affair. This was Naslund's first "scrap" in 15 years. Click here to see that epic battle - trust me, Naslund fairs much better against Ian White!

The funniest moment was actually the little smirk towards the end of the clip as Tortorella reviews a replay of the Naslund-White tilt on the jumbo-tron. Let the Tortorella era in the Big Apple officially begin!

Read more...

Views From The Sin Bin: Markus Naslund's 1st "Waltz" (aka fight) in 15 years!



In a touching moment, in Tortorella's coaching debut with the Rangers, Markus Naslund and Ian White couldn't hide their passion in last night's affair. This was Naslund's first "scrap" in 15 years. Click here to see that epic battle - trust me, Naslund fairs much better against Ian White!

The funniest moment was actually the little smirk towards the end of the clip as Tortorella reviews a replay of the Naslund-White tilt on the jumbo-tron. Let the Tortorella era in the Big Apple officially begin!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

T-Radar: Canada's Teams Trade Talk - Vancouver Canucks


{Note for an explanation of T-Radar, click here}

Vancouver Canucks
:

'Nucks 1st year GM Mike Gillis is giving the impression he will not make a deadline deal. Of course, he's already made a crafty move in bringing in Mats Sundin. It didn't look promising in the beginning but the big Swede is rounding into form just in time for a playoff surge. Even with that statement from Gillis, I'll be surprised if he makes no moves at the deadline. Apparently, he has the green light from ownership to spend add 3 million in salary.

Needful Things:
- A defenseman - almost all of the Canucks' d-men have a history of injuries, especially Salo and Bieksa.
- A top 6 forward might also be in order. At the very least, Vancouver should be looking to add a top 9 forward.

Candidates: Mikael Nylander (4.5/10) {add to the Swedish flavour}, Ryan Smyth (3.5/10), Guerin (4.5/10), Keith Tkachuk (3/10), Jay Boumeester (2.5/10), Chris Pronger (2.5/10), Dan Hamhuis (3.5/10), Ville Koistinen (3/10)

Next up:
Canada's Eastern Conference teams

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T-Radar: Canada's Teams Trade Talk - Edmonton Oilers

Colorado Avalanche v Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers
: What does GM Steve Tambellini have up his sleeve for this his first trade deadline since joining Oil Country? The infamous Jagr heading to Edmonton from the KHL rumour fizzled faster than it got started. The Oilers find themselves in a playoff race in which only 5 points separate 5th from 10th. To their chagrin, unfortunately they sit in 9th currently, but just 1 point out of 8th.

Needful Things:
- To be serious contenders, The Oilers need a top 3 forward - preferably a front line LW to play with Hemsky and Horcoff. They likely need to add another depth forward as well.
- With Visnovsky and Grebeshkov out (although Grebeshkov apparently will be back sooner than expected), Edmonton will likely look to add another defenseman as well.

Candidates: Alexei Kovalev (4/10), Milan Hejduk (1.5/10), Tim Connolly (4/10), Slava Kozlov (2/10), Marty St. Louis (1.5/10), Ilya Kovalchuk (5/10), Lecavelier (0.5/10), Bill Guerin (4/10), Jason Spezza (4/10)
Dmen: Filip Kuba (4.5/10), Brendan Witt (2.5/10), Boumeester (2/10)

The Edmonton Journal's Dan Barnes raised the possibility of one of Kozlov, St. Louis and Hejduk, but Spector nullifies this speculation stating all three have no-trade clauses and not prepared to lift those clauses.

Eric Cole's (7/10) name has been all over the trade rumour circles, with Boston as a possible destination. One rumour had highly touted young d-man Matt Lashoff and Vladimir Sobotka coming to Edmonton in return. The Penguins also are believed to have interest in the under-achieving Cole, as a wing man for Sid the Kid.

I suspect Tambellini wants to make a big splash should he have a dance partner.

Read more...

T-Radar: Canada's Teams Trade Talk - Calgary Flames


{Note for an explanation of T-Radar, click here}

Just over 7 days to D-Day (Trade Deadline Day, that is!)


Calgary Flames: GM Darryl Sutter, like a seasoned poker player, likes to keep his cards close to his chest to go with his unreadable poker face. He also tends to like to close any deals well before the trade deadline. Before last week's contest against the Wild, the Flames were realistically only looking to fine tune the roster unless something to good to pass up fell into Sutter's lap. How things can change in a hurray! With breakthrough forward Rene Bourque and his 21 even strength only goals and Mark Giordano, the steady puck-moving defenseman, out for extended periods of time, Sutter's hands may indeed be forced to do more than he first intended. See my post from Feb 12/09 and my views have changed as well. Darryl has previously stated what he has on the farm are better options than what's available. The following week will put that theory to the ultimate test.


Needful Things:

Primary: Top 4 puck-moving d-man - Not only to make up for Gio's injury, but Flames could use help on the recently futile powerplay.

Candidates: Derek Morris (5/10), JM Liles (4/10), Jordan Leopold (4.5/10), Ryan Whitney(2.5/10), Jay Boumeester (1/10), Ville Koistinen (2.5/10)

Secondary need: Top 9 Forward - Most are calling for a top 6 forward, but I think the cost will ultimately be too high. The Flames have guys who can step up into a top 6 role with the likes of Curtis Glencross and Dustin Boyd. Sutter will likely want to have some depth in the event of another unforeseen injury.

Candidates: Chris Neil (6.5/10), Nik Antropov (2/10) {Please NO!}, Steve Sullivan (2.5/10), Olli Jokinen (0.5/10) {Never say never, I guess}, Mark Recchi (2.5/10)

*I don't think he will, but I hope Sutter doesn't sacrifice any youth, especially Mikael Backlund, other than Kris Chucko to make a deal.


Check out articles from The Fourth Period and the Globe and Mail for further insight.


Read more...

T-Radar: Canada's Teams Trade Talk - Vancouver Canucks


{Note for an explanation of T-Radar, click here}

Vancouver Canucks
:

'Nucks 1st year GM Mike Gillis is giving the impression he will not make a deadline deal. Of course, he's already made a crafty move in bringing in Mats Sundin. It didn't look promising in the beginning but the big Swede is rounding into form just in time for a playoff surge. Even with that statement from Gillis, I'll be surprised if he makes no moves at the deadline. Apparently, he has the green light from ownership to spend add 3 million in salary.

Needful Things:
- A defenseman - almost all of the Canucks' d-men have a history of injuries, especially Salo and Bieksa.
- A top 6 forward might also be in order. At the very least, Vancouver should be looking to add a top 9 forward.

Candidates: Mikael Nylander (4.5/10) {add to the Swedish flavour}, Ryan Smyth (3.5/10), Guerin (4.5/10), Keith Tkachuk (3/10), Jay Boumeester (2.5/10), Chris Pronger (2.5/10), Dan Hamhuis (3.5/10), Ville Koistinen (3/10)

Next up:
Canada's Eastern Conference teams

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T-Radar: Canada's Teams Trade Talk - Edmonton Oilers

Colorado Avalanche v Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers
: What does GM Steve Tambellini have up his sleeve for this his first trade deadline since joining Oil Country? The infamous Jagr heading to Edmonton from the KHL rumour fizzled faster than it got started. The Oilers find themselves in a playoff race in which only 5 points separate 5th from 10th. To their chagrin, unfortunately they sit in 9th currently, but just 1 point out of 8th.

Needful Things:
- To be serious contenders, The Oilers need a top 3 forward - preferably a front line LW to play with Hemsky and Horcoff. They likely need to add another depth forward as well.
- With Visnovsky and Grebeshkov out (although Grebeshkov apparently will be back sooner than expected), Edmonton will likely look to add another defenseman as well.

Candidates: Alexei Kovalev (4/10), Milan Hejduk (1.5/10), Tim Connolly (4/10), Slava Kozlov (2/10), Marty St. Louis (1.5/10), Ilya Kovalchuk (5/10), Lecavelier (0.5/10), Bill Guerin (4/10), Jason Spezza (4/10)
Dmen: Filip Kuba (4.5/10), Brendan Witt (2.5/10), Boumeester (2/10)

The Edmonton Journal's Dan Barnes raised the possibility of one of Kozlov, St. Louis and Hejduk, but Spector nullifies this speculation stating all three have no-trade clauses and not prepared to lift those clauses.

Eric Cole's (7/10) name has been all over the trade rumour circles, with Boston as a possible destination. One rumour had highly touted young d-man Matt Lashoff and Vladimir Sobotka coming to Edmonton in return. The Penguins also are believed to have interest in the under-achieving Cole, as a wing man for Sid the Kid.

I suspect Tambellini wants to make a big splash should he have a dance partner.

Labels: , ,



Read more...

T-Radar: Canada's Teams Trade Talk - Calgary Flames


{Note for an explanation of T-Radar, click here}

Just over 7 days to D-Day (Trade Deadline Day, that is!)


Calgary Flames: GM Darryl Sutter, like a seasoned poker player, likes to keep his cards close to his chest to go with his unreadable poker face. He also tends to like to close any deals well before the trade deadline. Before last week's contest against the Wild, the Flames were realistically only looking to fine tune the roster unless something to good to pass up fell into Sutter's lap. How things can change in a hurray! With breakthrough forward Rene Bourque and his 21 even strength only goals and Mark Giordano, the steady puck-moving defenseman, out for extended periods of time, Sutter's hands may indeed be forced to do more than he first intended. See my post from Feb 12/09 and my views have changed as well. Darryl has previously stated what he has on the farm are better options than what's available. The following week will put that theory to the ultimate test.


Needful Things:

Primary: Top 4 puck-moving d-man - Not only to make up for Gio's injury, but Flames could use help on the recently futile powerplay.

Candidates: Derek Morris (5/10), JM Liles (4/10), Jordan Leopold (4.5/10), Ryan Whitney(2.5/10), Jay Boumeester (1/10), Ville Koistinen (2.5/10)

Secondary need: Top 9 Forward - Most are calling for a top 6 forward, but I think the cost will ultimately be too high. The Flames have guys who can step up into a top 6 role with the likes of Curtis Glencross and Dustin Boyd. Sutter will likely want to have some depth in the event of another unforeseen injury.

Candidates: Chris Neil (6.5/10), Nik Antropov (2/10) {Please NO!}, Steve Sullivan (2.5/10), Olli Jokinen (0.5/10) {Never say never, I guess}, Mark Recchi (2.5/10)

*I don't think he will, but I hope Sutter doesn't sacrifice any youth, especially Mikael Backlund, other than Kris Chucko to make a deal.


Check out articles from The Fourth Period and the Globe and Mail for further insight.


Labels: , ,



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Monday, February 23, 2009

Operation: Vancouver 2010 - 29th Anniversary of USA's Miracle On Ice, Part II


Part I covered the goalies and defensemen - here's the rest of the squad:








Forwards:

1st Line: Zach Parise (LW) - Paul Stastny (C) - Patrick Kane (RW)

2nd Line: Phil Kessel (LW) - Joe Pavelski(C) - Bobby Ryan (RW)

Checking Line: Dustin Brown (LW) - Ryan Kesler (C) - Jamie Langenbrunner(RW)

4th Line: Drew Stafford (LW) - Scott Gomez (C) - Brian Gionta(RW)

13th Forward: Peter Mueller

Second only to Ovechkin in goals this season and 5th in league scoring, Parise is now the leader of the forward ranks. Stastny (if healthy) and Kane will make for a dynamic #1 line. Pavelski's superb 2-way game will compliment Kessel's and Ryan's offensive game. Brown is 3rd amongst the NHL's "hitmen" with 213 hits and also knows how to finish, with 23 goals on the year so far. Kesler and Langunbrunner round out a difficult to play against 3rd line. The 4th line combines youth with experience, with Stafford joining the reunion of Gomez and Gionta. Mueller is the wild card amongst the forwards. Selected not so much for his play this season, but more for his potential and skill. The next 12 months will be huge to determine if he survives the cut.

Honorable Mentions: Jason Blake, Chris Drury, Mike Modano, David Booth, Jason Pominville, Blake Wheeler

Team USA will be one of the contenders in Vancouver, but with the depth of USA hockey at present time, a gold medal in 2010 will not be a miracle any longer - American fans expect their team to be going for gold!

Comments welcomed, as always, and why not take your shot at selecting your country's projected roster.

Read more...

Operation: Vancouver 2010 - 29th Anniversary of USA's Miracle On Ice

Part I:
Yesterday marked the 29th anniversary of the amazing Miracle on Ice. "On Frozen Blog" posted a great story yesterday on this crowning glory moment in Team USA's hockey history.

I thought I'd do my part to celebrate this great moment in sports' history by revealing who I forecast should be on Team USA in Vancouver 2010, on the 30th anniversary of the miracle. Here is my previous posts predicting Team Canada one year out. Part I covers the goalies and defensemen, with the forwards to be revealed in Part II

Goalies:
1. Tim Thomas
2. Ryan Miller
3. Cory Schneider

"The Tank" Thomas has played his way to the #1 netminder position - an obvious Vezina candidate this year. Ryan Miller, another top NHL 'tender, gives USA a dynamic duo between the pipes. His recently suffered high ankle sprain should be a non-issue. Schneider likely raises the eyebrows. The reasoning is to give the top young goalie out of the US some exposure to international hockey on the big stage. The kid has been lights out in the AHL and didn't look out of place in a brief stint in the NHL this year when Luongo was out.

Honorable Mentions: Ty Conklin, Jonathon Quick and Craig Andersson

Defensemen:

1st paining: Keith Ballard & Brian Rafalski
2nd pairing: Ryan Suter & Eric Johnson
3rd pairing: Paul Martin & Mike Komisarek
7th d-man: Jack Johnson

Ballard, a plus 15 with Panthers this season, brings solid 2-way play, while Rafalski is the silky smooth offensive d-man, who makes great breakout passes.
Ryan Suter is getting better in his own zone and possesses an excellent 2-way game. EJ's health may be an issue, but if he is healthy this kid will be an anchor on the blueline.
Martin quietly leads the Devils defensemen - he's solid in his own zone and has sound instincts in the offensive zone. Komo (Komisarek) is having a down year after setting lofty expectations last year, but Team USA will need his physical play and shot-blocking come 2010.
Jack Johnson is the wild card having great skill and plays a very good physical game. Will he have put it all together by next year?

Honorable Mentions: Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney, JM Liles, Matt Niskanen

Part II will follow shortly, revealing the forwards.

Read more...

Operation: Vancouver 2010 - 29th Anniversary of USA's Miracle On Ice, Part II


Part I covered the goalies and defensemen - here's the rest of the squad:








Forwards:

1st Line: Zach Parise (LW) - Paul Stastny (C) - Patrick Kane (RW)

2nd Line: Phil Kessel (LW) - Joe Pavelski(C) - Bobby Ryan (RW)

Checking Line: Dustin Brown (LW) - Ryan Kesler (C) - Jamie Langenbrunner(RW)

4th Line: Drew Stafford (LW) - Scott Gomez (C) - Brian Gionta(RW)

13th Forward: Peter Mueller

Second only to Ovechkin in goals this season and 5th in league scoring, Parise is now the leader of the forward ranks. Stastny (if healthy) and Kane will make for a dynamic #1 line. Pavelski's superb 2-way game will compliment Kessel's and Ryan's offensive game. Brown is 3rd amongst the NHL's "hitmen" with 213 hits and also knows how to finish, with 23 goals on the year so far. Kesler and Langunbrunner round out a difficult to play against 3rd line. The 4th line combines youth with experience, with Stafford joining the reunion of Gomez and Gionta. Mueller is the wild card amongst the forwards. Selected not so much for his play this season, but more for his potential and skill. The next 12 months will be huge to determine if he survives the cut.

Honorable Mentions: Jason Blake, Chris Drury, Mike Modano, David Booth, Jason Pominville, Blake Wheeler

Team USA will be one of the contenders in Vancouver, but with the depth of USA hockey at present time, a gold medal in 2010 will not be a miracle any longer - American fans expect their team to be going for gold!

Comments welcomed, as always, and why not take your shot at selecting your country's projected roster.

Labels: ,



Read more...

Operation: Vancouver 2010 - 29th Anniversary of USA's Miracle On Ice

Part I:
Yesterday marked the 29th anniversary of the amazing Miracle on Ice. "On Frozen Blog" posted a great story yesterday on this crowning glory moment in Team USA's hockey history.

I thought I'd do my part to celebrate this great moment in sports' history by revealing who I forecast should be on Team USA in Vancouver 2010, on the 30th anniversary of the miracle. Here is my previous posts predicting Team Canada one year out. Part I covers the goalies and defensemen, with the forwards to be revealed in Part II

Goalies:
1. Tim Thomas
2. Ryan Miller
3. Cory Schneider

"The Tank" Thomas has played his way to the #1 netminder position - an obvious Vezina candidate this year. Ryan Miller, another top NHL 'tender, gives USA a dynamic duo between the pipes. His recently suffered high ankle sprain should be a non-issue. Schneider likely raises the eyebrows. The reasoning is to give the top young goalie out of the US some exposure to international hockey on the big stage. The kid has been lights out in the AHL and didn't look out of place in a brief stint in the NHL this year when Luongo was out.

Honorable Mentions: Ty Conklin, Jonathon Quick and Craig Andersson

Defensemen:

1st paining: Keith Ballard & Brian Rafalski
2nd pairing: Ryan Suter & Eric Johnson
3rd pairing: Paul Martin & Mike Komisarek
7th d-man: Jack Johnson

Ballard, a plus 15 with Panthers this season, brings solid 2-way play, while Rafalski is the silky smooth offensive d-man, who makes great breakout passes.
Ryan Suter is getting better in his own zone and possesses an excellent 2-way game. EJ's health may be an issue, but if he is healthy this kid will be an anchor on the blueline.
Martin quietly leads the Devils defensemen - he's solid in his own zone and has sound instincts in the offensive zone. Komo (Komisarek) is having a down year after setting lofty expectations last year, but Team USA will need his physical play and shot-blocking come 2010.
Jack Johnson is the wild card having great skill and plays a very good physical game. Will he have put it all together by next year?

Honorable Mentions: Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney, JM Liles, Matt Niskanen

Part II will follow shortly, revealing the forwards.

Labels: ,



Read more...

View From the Bench: Renney Wins the Race!



Not exactly the race Tom Renney will be proud to have one, but readers of The Hockey Spy hit the nail on the head in the latest poll which still had one day left before voting closed. 61% of readers selected Renney to be the next coach axed after reading this edition of Off The Iron last week. If the writing wasn't on the wall before hand, there's a whole novel written on the walls of Madison Square Gardens as the Rangers have dropped 10 of 12. The Slapshot blog on the NY Times web site has more on this breaking story.
The Rangers still sit 6th in the tight Eastern Conference, but it's far from a comfort zone. A mere 5 points separate 5th through 10th. The Penguins sit in that 10th position and one has to believe GM Ray Shero is burning the phone lines to improve his team chances of moving into a playoff position at the least. Already icing two of the planet's best players, and after firing head coach Michel Therrien, the Pens might be just a forward or two away from jostling their way back into a playoff position.
On the Rangers front, I'm not sure what in the name of Ken Holland, can GM Glen Sather do to right this ship. Bon chance, Mr. Sather.

Read more...

View From the Bench: Renney Wins the Race!



Not exactly the race Tom Renney will be proud to have one, but readers of The Hockey Spy hit the nail on the head in the latest poll which still had one day left before voting closed. 61% of readers selected Renney to be the next coach axed after reading this edition of Off The Iron last week. If the writing wasn't on the wall before hand, there's a whole novel written on the walls of Madison Square Gardens as the Rangers have dropped 10 of 12. The Slapshot blog on the NY Times web site has more on this breaking story.
The Rangers still sit 6th in the tight Eastern Conference, but it's far from a comfort zone. A mere 5 points separate 5th through 10th. The Penguins sit in that 10th position and one has to believe GM Ray Shero is burning the phone lines to improve his team chances of moving into a playoff position at the least. Already icing two of the planet's best players, and after firing head coach Michel Therrien, the Pens might be just a forward or two away from jostling their way back into a playoff position.
On the Rangers front, I'm not sure what in the name of Ken Holland, can GM Glen Sather do to right this ship. Bon chance, Mr. Sather.

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Read more...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

View From The Broadcast Booth: Peter Maher Honoured On Hockey Day in Canada

Unless you're from Calgary, live here or have lived here, you may not be familiar with the Hall of Fame radio broadcaster, Peter Maher, of each and every Calgary Flames's games."The Voice of the Calgary Flames" has not missed calling the action of a game and has over 2800 games under his belt. The Campbellton, New Brunswick native has mixed emotion today, as today Hockey Day in Canada is being celebrated by CBC from there, the host town this year. Peter stated earlier today:

"Everything is revved up to a fever pitch," Maher said, noting spirits are high despite the cold and snow that's greeted all on hand." I would say this is probably the biggest stage Campbellton has had from a national point of view. It's a great chance for people across Canada to see how passionate Campbellton is for its hockey."

Maher is one of the class acts of the world. Having moved from the East Coast myself 4 years ago, I was elated to discover the FAN960 and with it Peter Maher's broadcasts of Flames games. Having been a rare Flames fan in Newfoundland, I only wish I had discovered this radio network sooner! "Maher in the Morning" is featured every weekday morning on Mike Richards' morning show. He offers up valuable inside information on the Calgary Flames not even The Hockey Spy could uncover! He has great relationships with players, coaches and other media personnel, and is well respected by all.

In Peter's blog yesterday, he reflected on how he got his start in broadcasting in Campbellton, NB. Before the start of CBC's broadcast of the final leg of their coverage of Hockey Day in Canada, they interviewed Maher live. In a touching moment, while Peter was live on air, the folks of Campbellton, NB revealed they had honored Maher by renaming the press box in the arena the "Peter Maher Broadcast Booth".

I recall one hilarious story a couple of weeks back when Mike Richards of the Fan960 had Pete, Jim Peplinski (co-captain of the Flames 1989 Cup-winning team) on at the same time. "Pep" told the story of when they were on the road and at a restaurant when somehow a bunch of the team had Pete in the washroom and got Pete's pants off, while covering his "nether" region with paper towels. Maher, being the great sport he is, came out of the washroom and went up to the saloon style doors to the main part of the restaurant. He, of course, thought, he was covered by paper towels, but this wasn't the case and because of his stature, he was actually exposed to everyone in the restaurant! Needless to say, the restaurant patrons cleared out in less than 5 minutes!

"YEAH BABY!!!" and "You can put it in the win column!!!" are just a couple of Peter Maher's war cries that the Flames Faithful have come to love to hear, and look forward to hearing a lot more of in the future.

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View From The Broadcast Booth: Peter Maher Honoured On Hockey Day in Canada

Unless you're from Calgary, live here or have lived here, you may not be familiar with the Hall of Fame radio broadcaster, Peter Maher, of each and every Calgary Flames's games."The Voice of the Calgary Flames" has not missed calling the action of a game and has over 2800 games under his belt. The Campbellton, New Brunswick native has mixed emotion today, as today Hockey Day in Canada is being celebrated by CBC from there, the host town this year. Peter stated earlier today:

"Everything is revved up to a fever pitch," Maher said, noting spirits are high despite the cold and snow that's greeted all on hand." I would say this is probably the biggest stage Campbellton has had from a national point of view. It's a great chance for people across Canada to see how passionate Campbellton is for its hockey."

Maher is one of the class acts of the world. Having moved from the East Coast myself 4 years ago, I was elated to discover the FAN960 and with it Peter Maher's broadcasts of Flames games. Having been a rare Flames fan in Newfoundland, I only wish I had discovered this radio network sooner! "Maher in the Morning" is featured every weekday morning on Mike Richards' morning show. He offers up valuable inside information on the Calgary Flames not even The Hockey Spy could uncover! He has great relationships with players, coaches and other media personnel, and is well respected by all.

In Peter's blog yesterday, he reflected on how he got his start in broadcasting in Campbellton, NB. Before the start of CBC's broadcast of the final leg of their coverage of Hockey Day in Canada, they interviewed Maher live. In a touching moment, while Peter was live on air, the folks of Campbellton, NB revealed they had honored Maher by renaming the press box in the arena the "Peter Maher Broadcast Booth".

I recall one hilarious story a couple of weeks back when Mike Richards of the Fan960 had Pete, Jim Peplinski (co-captain of the Flames 1989 Cup-winning team) on at the same time. "Pep" told the story of when they were on the road and at a restaurant when somehow a bunch of the team had Pete in the washroom and got Pete's pants off, while covering his "nether" region with paper towels. Maher, being the great sport he is, came out of the washroom and went up to the saloon style doors to the main part of the restaurant. He, of course, thought, he was covered by paper towels, but this wasn't the case and because of his stature, he was actually exposed to everyone in the restaurant! Needless to say, the restaurant patrons cleared out in less than 5 minutes!

"YEAH BABY!!!" and "You can put it in the win column!!!" are just a couple of Peter Maher's war cries that the Flames Faithful have come to love to hear, and look forward to hearing a lot more of in the future.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Miikka Kiprusoff AMAZING Save [Multi-Feed] {Slo-mo}

From Ovechkin's "Goal of the Year" to Kipper's "Save of the Year"! Fan-freakin'-tastic!!!

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Alexander Ovechkin Goal Against Montreal February 18 2009

No words need to go with this highlight really! Unbelievable!!!
Funny thing is Ovechkin went on to say he doesn't think it is even one of his top 10 goals! Are you kidding me?!?

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Miikka Kiprusoff AMAZING Save [Multi-Feed] {Slo-mo}

From Ovechkin's "Goal of the Year" to Kipper's "Save of the Year"! Fan-freakin'-tastic!!!



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Alexander Ovechkin Goal Against Montreal February 18 2009

No words need to go with this highlight really! Unbelievable!!!
Funny thing is Ovechkin went on to say he doesn't think it is even one of his top 10 goals! Are you kidding me?!?



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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thoughts From the Sin Bin: Hockey Fights



My opinion on fighting in hockey is quick and to the point: I'm all for it! However, the growing trend in the league of a guy jumping in for a teammate after he has been hit legally should, in my opinion, be at the top of the league's brass agenda of things to deal with and correct. See the video shown here for an example. Phaneuf nails Duck's forward Andrew Ebbett legally (his elbow was down folks!), and Pronger jumps in on Phaneuf immediately thereafter. I have seen this time and time again and it has to be taken more seriously by the league!

I just recently discovered a blog by Georges Laraque hosted on Sportsnet that unfortunately has since been discontinued due to a Canadiens' team policy. The Rock's Last Word is a lengthy but intriguing post on a unique perspective on hockey fighting from one of the, if not the, best enforcers in the league.

The article reminded when I met former NHLer Brant Myhres after a pre-season game with Edmonton in September '05. His eye was swollen shut (not sure where the guy got this pic) and I was after listening to the game on the radio on the Fan960, so I knew he was after being in a scrap with Laraque. I discussed the incident with him and he told about how it went down: "Being a long-shot at making the roster, I wanted to make my mark," Brant explained "Behind me I heard a voice say 'Hey, ya wanna go?'; I turned around and said to myself 'Oh f%^k!' and replied sure, why not". The result was quite obvious. Myres missed a lot of time that season, but did later play 34 games in the AHL, but never set foot on an NHL ice surface thereafter.

Laraques begins his post showing sympathy for the family of Don Sanderson who dies in from the tragic incident in December of last year after hitting his head on the ice during a hockey fight. He then sums up perfectly some sentiments that I found I share with Georges. He chimes in on some important debates that this incident brought forth. He goes on to talk about unwritten Code amongst hockey players, especially scrappers. He shares a couple of great stories about former heavyweight NHL champ, Dave Brown. Lastly, he talks of his opinion of the toughest guys in the league now, along with the toughest guy pound-for-pound. I see a book from him in the future when he retires!

The Hockey Spy
"Rarely imitated, never duplicated!"

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Thoughts From the Sin Bin: Hockey Fights



My opinion on fighting in hockey is quick and to the point: I'm all for it! However, the growing trend in the league of a guy jumping in for a teammate after he has been hit legally should, in my opinion, be at the top of the league's brass agenda of things to deal with and correct. See the video shown here for an example. Phaneuf nails Duck's forward Andrew Ebbett legally (his elbow was down folks!), and Pronger jumps in on Phaneuf immediately thereafter. I have seen this time and time again and it has to be taken more seriously by the league!

I just recently discovered a blog by Georges Laraque hosted on Sportsnet that unfortunately has since been discontinued due to a Canadiens' team policy. The Rock's Last Word is a lengthy but intriguing post on a unique perspective on hockey fighting from one of the, if not the, best enforcers in the league.

The article reminded when I met former NHLer Brant Myhres after a pre-season game with Edmonton in September '05. His eye was swollen shut (not sure where the guy got this pic) and I was after listening to the game on the radio on the Fan960, so I knew he was after being in a scrap with Laraque. I discussed the incident with him and he told about how it went down: "Being a long-shot at making the roster, I wanted to make my mark," Brant explained "Behind me I heard a voice say 'Hey, ya wanna go?'; I turned around and said to myself 'Oh f%^k!' and replied sure, why not". The result was quite obvious. Myres missed a lot of time that season, but did later play 34 games in the AHL, but never set foot on an NHL ice surface thereafter.

Laraques begins his post showing sympathy for the family of Don Sanderson who dies in from the tragic incident in December of last year after hitting his head on the ice during a hockey fight. He then sums up perfectly some sentiments that I found I share with Georges. He chimes in on some important debates that this incident brought forth. He goes on to talk about unwritten Code amongst hockey players, especially scrappers. He shares a couple of great stories about former heavyweight NHL champ, Dave Brown. Lastly, he talks of his opinion of the toughest guys in the league now, along with the toughest guy pound-for-pound. I see a book from him in the future when he retires!

The Hockey Spy
"Rarely imitated, never duplicated!"

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Off The Iron: Hockey Spy's Fav Quotes (Coaches)


In this edition of Off The Iron, the theme of the quotes are "Coaches". given the recent dismissal of Michel Therrien in Pittsburgh and Craig Hartsburg just a short while ago.

"You can't keep on trading foot soldiers. Sooner or later the general has got to go!"

Pat Burns, after being fired by Toronto Maple Leafs

"This is my third time. They say you're not a good coach 'til you've been fired. I must be getting pretty good!"

Terry Simpson, after being fired by the former Winnipeg Jets.


Now that Therrien and Hartsburg have been given the axe, what other current NHL coaches are one step away from the firing squad. Let's take a quick glimpse:
  • Tom Renney (NY Rangers): Rangers have lost 3 in a row and are 2-6-2 in their last 10.
  • Guy Carbonneau (Montreal): The Canadiens are 3-7 in their last 10, Carey Price sees the puck as a marble these day, Alexei Kovalev was more interested in impressing at the All-Star game than the meaningful games...BUT would the Habs ever really fire Carbonneau? I seriously doubt it; he would have to resign or there would have to be a "re-structuring" within the organization.
  • Wayne Gretzky (Phoenix Coyotes): Yes...I said it! Similar to Carbonneau, Gretz would never be flatout fired since he is a minority owner as well. However, he might soon want to consider taking a step back as his Coyotes are a disasterous 1-9 in their last 10. I thought Olli Jokinen would thrive with Coyotes, but Olli has somehow found a way to drown in the desert!
Vote now in the latest poll on who you think has the highest chance of being "replaced" before season's end.

Keep your stick on the ice!

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Off The Iron: Hockey Spy's Fav Quotes (Coaches)


In this edition of Off The Iron, the theme of the quotes are "Coaches". given the recent dismissal of Michel Therrien in Pittsburgh and Craig Hartsburg just a short while ago.

"You can't keep on trading foot soldiers. Sooner or later the general has got to go!"

Pat Burns, after being fired by Toronto Maple Leafs

"This is my third time. They say you're not a good coach 'til you've been fired. I must be getting pretty good!"

Terry Simpson, after being fired by the former Winnipeg Jets.


Now that Therrien and Hartsburg have been given the axe, what other current NHL coaches are one step away from the firing squad. Let's take a quick glimpse:
  • Tom Renney (NY Rangers): Rangers have lost 3 in a row and are 2-6-2 in their last 10.
  • Guy Carbonneau (Montreal): The Canadiens are 3-7 in their last 10, Carey Price sees the puck as a marble these day, Alexei Kovalev was more interested in impressing at the All-Star game than the meaningful games...BUT would the Habs ever really fire Carbonneau? I seriously doubt it; he would have to resign or there would have to be a "re-structuring" within the organization.
  • Wayne Gretzky (Phoenix Coyotes): Yes...I said it! Similar to Carbonneau, Gretz would never be flatout fired since he is a minority owner as well. However, he might soon want to consider taking a step back as his Coyotes are a disasterous 1-9 in their last 10. I thought Olli Jokinen would thrive with Coyotes, but Olli has somehow found a way to drown in the desert!
Vote now in the latest poll on who you think has the highest chance of being "replaced" before season's end.

Keep your stick on the ice!

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Operation: Vancouver 2010 Quest For Gold Part III: Forwards

Feb 16/2010: 1 year from now the Olympic Men's Hockey Tournament begins!


Here's where the extremely difficult decisions lie for Steve Yzerman and "The Hunting Party". There are some sure-shot forwards, but ultimately some exceedingly tough cuts will have to be made amongst the forward ranks. If I were "King" of Hockey Canada for just a day the following are are the forwards I would go with:



1st Line: Rick Nash - Sidney Crosby - Jarome Iginla
2nd Line: Lecavelier - Marc Savard - Mike Cammalleri
Checking Line: Shane Doan - Mike Richards - Ryan Getzlaf
4th Line: Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Jeff Carter
13th Forward: Jonathon Toews


Besides when he plays with Malkin, Iggy (my pick for team Captain) and Nash make dream linemates for Sid the Kid. It should be amazing to see the creativity he creates with these two making plenty of space for him.

The 2nd and 4th lines are interchangeable and I'm sure most would put Thornton's line as the 2nd. However, I just have a hunch about this one and love the way Savard "The Catalyst" is playing this year (has to be in consideration for the Hart Trophy) and his passing will be received quite well by Cammalleri whose one of the hottest players in the league and knows how to finish. Lecavelier should make for an interesting compliment for these two.

I really wanted to put the Newfoundlander Ryan Clowe on the LW of the checking line, but couldn't with good conscience leave Doan off the squad. The checking line will be extremely difficult to play against and will be able to score and be creative as well. Doan is likely an Assistant Captain to Captain Jarome. Mike Richards can play in any situation and is a great young leader. I would actually hand him the second "A". Getzlaf's size, skill and physical play makes this line agreat 2-way threat.

Carter, currently tied for 2nd with 34 goals behind Ovechkin in the Rocket Richard Trophy race, should be great on Thornton's and Marleau's right wing. Marleau has had a huge rebound year, currently tied for 10th in league scoring, after a sub-standard campaign last yr. Jumbo Joe will present "huge" matchup problems for whateven nation Canada plays.

Toews joins the squad as the 13th forward and will fit in wherever needed in the lineup. Already a captain at the NHL level, this will give him invaluable experience as he will be counted upon to be one of the leaders going to Russia in 2014.

Honorable mentions: This is a tough list to keep to a minimum, but I will highlight the toughest decisions.
  • Dany Heatley: He's done well internationally for Team Canada at several World Championship tourneys. My only reservation is the fact that the Senators are doing so poorly, but definitely can't blame everything on him. Most would likely replace Cammalleri with him.
  • Ryan Clowe: See above; I think this guy is so tough to play against and would be great in a checking line and energy type of role.
  • Brendan Morrow: If he returns from his injury to his former self, he's going to be a big contender on that same checking line.
  • Other names I took into strong consideration include: Simon Gagne, Eric Staal, Marty St. Louis, Corey Perry, Devin Setoguchi, John Tavares, Milan Lucic, Steve Stamkos (obviously not on his current play, but would watch him closely over the next 12 months).
Pierre Maguire has just picked his All-Canadian Monster Team for the Olympics on TSN. Click the link to see how his picks compare to The Hockey Spy's. At first glance, Carey Price and Brent Burns??? You have to be kidding me!!! I respect Maguire tremendously, but has he actually followed those guys this season?!? In the words of Barrack Obama, "Let me make this perfectly clear", Pierre: Burns and Price would NOT be on Team Canada II, if we were, in fact, allowed two entries, let alone our one and only entry at the Olympics in Vancouver 2010.

Keep your stick on the ice!

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