Sunday, March 29, 2009

Red Light District: Mike Ribeiro Silky Smooth Between The Legs Goal!

March 28, 2009 Versus Florida Panthers:

Are you kidding me? What else really needs to be said about the creativity and sick hands Ribeiro displays with that move.

From this goal, I'm reminded of a Rick Nash goal last year, and a shootout goal by none-other-than Marek Malik a couple years back.

"Rarely imitated, never duplicated!"


Ray Emery: 'Razor's Hummer Impounded and Future Outlook

Emery continues to try and solidify his place as the Top Dog Goalie Gone Wild. After spending a year in hockey's version of purgatory, you'd think he'd be playing life on the straight and narrow, doing whatever he could to be given another shot at the NHL.

'Razor' Ray, however, seems to have other ideas. As the Ottawa Citizen reports, Emery has a history of vehicle-related violations. In the latest incident:

"Emery was charged under the stunt driving provisions of the Highway
Traffic Act. Under Ontario law, police have the authority to seize a
vehicle going faster than 50 km/h above the speed limit, however they
would not confirm how fast the vehicle was going."
Just the day before, 'Razor' Ray's (photo courtesy of Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen) future was being discussed by the same newspaper. Emery had a solid season with Atlant Mistishchi of the KHL, compiling a 22-8 record with a 2.12 GAA and 0.920 save percentage. What NHL team might be willing to take a chance on 'Razor'? Prior to this incident, the Toronto Maple Leafs were the first team to come to my mind, with Justin Pogge's ability to reach his potential in question. Other teams interested in his service and willing to take a chance on his volatile personality may include the Flyers, the Islanders or the Lightning.

Take part in my latest poll (on the right) and weigh in on this issue. If none of these pan out for Emery, maybe 'Razor' Ray will go for an action acting career. Failing that, he could also become a stuntman!
ray emery hummer (Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen).jpg


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Top 10 NHL Goalies (Not Girls!) Gone Wild

After Martin Gerber's freak out last night (Read The PowerPlay's article here) and Tuuka Rask's outburst a couple days back (See my post), TSN was inspired with this excellent Top 10 Goalies Gone Wild highlight reel!

Ray Emery (surprise, surprise) make three appearances, with Ron Hextall making a couple himself. My favourite was 'little' known Neil Little at #3 (2:20 mark of the video), when he dives in on the action in a fashion that would make Superman himself proud! Enjoy!


Light My Fire: Flames Fail To Burn Penguins

The Hockey Spy has been out of commision for a couple days and just now starting to recover from a nasty flu. I just finished watching the Flames-Pens game and this 2-0 game is full of highlights that are definitely worth 4 minutes and 22 seconds of your time if you have yet to see them.

With this loss, The Flames give the Canucks even more life in their quest to overtake the once thought untouchable NorthWest Division title. The 'Nucks are now behind the Flames by just 3 points with a game in hand.

The Flames, in this one, I thought played fairly well against the red hot Penguins, but after Calgary defeated the Red Wings Monday night, I was looking for a feast of "Roasted Penguins with Frank's Red Hot Sauce". No such luck!

Here are the key points in the above video highlights:

  • At the 1:25 mark, Marc-Andre Fleury made an amazing save on Curtis Glencross, who thought he had a wide open net after a nifty pass from David Moss, who was easily the best Flame on the night. This save will go down as one of the better ones all year.
  • At the 2:15 mark, Malkin takes the puck behind his own blue-line and decides to take control - he weaves and winds his way through several Flames only to be denied by Kipper. Amazingly, Malkin ends up with a double-minor penalty as he took Vandermeer's helmet off with a high stick and cut him. He actually could've been also called with a high stick to Kipper at the end of the play.
  • At the 4:00 mark, Matt "I Ain't Gordon Ramsey" Cooke must've thought he was in 'Hell's Kitchen' as he could not convert on sure-shot empty-netter. The video only shows one chance by him, but he actually had a few chances to finish it off.
Next up for the Flames: The finally playoff-bound Rick Nash and his Columbus Blue Jackets.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Off The Iron: Tuuka Rask Loses His Temper After Shootout Loss

March 21, 2009: Anger management is likely in the future for Tuuka, the Bruins goalie of the future. After a 2-1 Providence Bruins loss in a shootout to the Albany River Rats (AHL), the 22 year-old Rask put on a John McEnroe-esque tantrum display. The River Rats scored 2 controversial shootout goals to clinch the victory and Tuuka proceeded to lose his mind.

He displayed outstanding samurai-like control of his goalie stick as he slashed and hacked at the goal multiple times. He followed that up with slamming his stick against the glass and when the glass didn't fight back (and a somewhat embarrassing falling to the ice - if the rest wasn't embarrassing enough), he flung his stick across the ice. Sometime after that he had time to heave a milk carton across the ice as well. All in all, an impressive display of intensity by the young netminder.

A somewhat clearer video can be seen by clicking here - from ABC Channel 6 in Providence.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Views From the Sin Bin: Hockey Fight From Game 1 Calgary Hitman Vs Edmonton Oil Kings

Great fisticuffs action from the Hitmen Game WHL playoff battle. The Hockey Spy had a great view of the battle. Ian Schultz (St. Louis Blues 3rd round draft pick) played possum for much of the fight against the imposing size of Drew Nichol. In the end though, it was the mohawk-sporting Schultz landing the most impressive blows.

Drew Nichol Vs Ian Schultz - More bloopers are a click away

I'm really looking forward to heading to the Saddledome tomorrow afternoon for Game 2. The Oil Kings might not be possessing the same enthusiasm. They are, however, a team with nothing to lose and likely consider themselves lucky to be in this situation. Thus, the Hitmen better not sit back and take these guys lightly.

Technorati Profile


Operation: Eagle Eye Scouting - 2009 Entry Draft

With a little over 3 months before the NHL 2009 Entry Draft, The Hockey Spy is filtering through loads of information on the draft-eligible candidates and will incorporate his own instincts and
intuition to bring you valuable draft previews, prospect profiles, and mock drafts. Operation: Eagle Eye Scouting will be your quintessential guide to this year's draft.

Until The Hockey Spy reveals information from the infiltration of the amateur hockey world for draft-eligible player rankings and projections, let's take a look at some preliminary rankings from some important resources:

1. Central Scouting Bureau's (CSB) 2009 Mid-Season Rankings: Of course, CSB's rankings are not segregated, rather than comprehensive. They are divided into North Amercian and Europe, and further sub-divided into skaters and goalies.

As Gare Joyce sates in his book 'Future Greats and Heartbreaks', CSB's preliminaryand mid-season ranking are of more use to professional NHL scouts. A quote from Blue Jackets' (at the time) head scout Don Boyd sums up the value of CSB rankings quite nicely:

"It's like a road map for us. That is, a list to cherry-pick from - names to chase down and see. The final list is useful for the media and the fans, but by the time it's issued NHL teams are more concerned about the lists offered up by their own scouts in the field."
2. International Scouting Services (ISS): released their latest Top 30 2009 rankings March 16.They also feature a list of 'Rising' and 'Falling' prospects.

3. TSN's Mid-Season Top 30 Prospects for the 2009 Entry Draft: actually features 31 players as Bob MacKenzie experienced a brain freeze and omitted Stefan Eliott from his initial list.

4. USA Today's Red Line Report: 2009 draft should be deep than 2008. Kyle Woodlief is a former NHL scout with the Nashville Predators. I admittedly often disagree with plenty of his ratings. Here he simply provides some insight on the 2009 draft and a Top 10 list.

5. DC Pro Sports Report: This site contains a mock draft database from various sources. Expect a preliminary version from The Hockey Spy to appear soon!

If you would like information on a particular prospect or have some insight into any prospects for the upcoming draft, feel free to comment here or email The Hockey Spy.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Operation: Hitmen Hockey (The Hockey Spy's Scouting Mission Game 1: Edmonton Oil Kings Vs Calgary Hitmen)

martin jones.jpgOf course the major March Madness event in the sports world is the incomparable NCAA basketball tourney. Hockey's version of March Madness has to be the start of the CHL playoffs!

The Hockey Spy will be attending and scouting Game 1 of the WHL (aka "The Dub") 1st round playoff matchup between the Edmonton Oil Kings and the hometown Calgary Hitmen. I am also attenting Game 2 this coming Sunday.

The 2nd ranked team in the CHL Top 10, the Calgary Hitmen have had a phenomenom year inwhat many thought coming into the season would be a rebuilding year with the loss of some key players like Karl Alzner and Ryan White to name just two. This season, they've amazingly established or broken 22 team records. gives an excellent breakdown of the Hitmen's season and players to watch for in this series.

View From: Behind Enemy Lines: Click here.

Stay tuned for a report an Eagle Eye Scouting report based on these games from The Hockey Spy


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brodeur Surpasses St. Patrick on St. Patrick's Day! No Luck Of The Irish Needed!

Martin Brodeur wasted little time eclipsing Patrick Roy all-time goalie win record since returning from his injury which has kept him out for most of the season. Marty has won 7 of 8 games in a triumphant return. Tonight was his 552nd win, a 3-2 victory over the Black Hawks, establishing the mark, but you know he's going to continue to build on that total. Interestingly, he has set the new benchmark in 42 less games than Roy played.

"It's unbelievable," Brodeur said of his achievement in front of a
roaring throng of 17,625 at the Prudential Center. "I'm so happy to be
able to make this [record] come at home for our fans who have been
great all year and throughout my [16-year NHL] career. This game is for
you. For me, just to be around these guys, I've been blessed to play for
a great organization, great fans, great teammates all my career, great
coaches. This is a lot of fun"

I reiterate what I stated in my March 12 post: "While Roy's accomplishments are 'formidable', Brodeur is the greatest of all time!" He is the new gold standard which all future netminders will be graded. 

I recall so vividly the 1990 entry draft - Marty's draft year. The Calgary Flames, my team, traded up to draft Trevor Kidd 11th overall. True - Kidd was highly touted as the top-rated goalie in the draft. But I had a grave feeling about swapping picks with the Devils when a guy like Brodeur would be still on the board at 20th. Of course, hindsight is 20-20 and I'm not a big fan of drafting goalies in the 1st round anyway, but look how this turned out!

Brodeur: A Winner Above All will air on the NHL Network on Thursday, March 19th and should be something special to watch for every hockey fan.

Congrats Marty!


Olli "The Joker" Jokinen


I couldn't resist posting this pic!

The "Jok" in Joker has to be pronounced as you would Jokinen for full effect!

Thanks to poster inferno from Calgarypuck for the photoshop wizardry.

Also, check out this link on "How To Draw Olli Jokinen". It'll bring out the artist in us all.

To make it an official current event post, Jokinen was named second star for the week ending Mar. 15/09, with 6 goals and 2 assists.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Quest For The Holy Grail: The John Tavares Sweepstakes

This time of year when you think of the Quest For The Holy Grail, you think of a gruelling Cup run to have members of the victorious team engraved on the chalice of Lord Stanley. Today, however, the Holy Grail is the prize position of the winner of the NHL 2009 Entry Draft lottery - John Tavares.  If you happened to forget just how talented this kid is, take a lot at the above video clip of a goal scored at this past year's WJC.

Coming into this hockey season, hockey experts projected
Victor Hedman would likely be the 1st overall selection this June.
An elite d-man with mammoth size and outstanding skill, he's the type of guy
you can build a franchise around. While that may very well still be the case,
Tavares has risen atop of this year's draft crop and is now the consensus #1
pick. The elite centerman is the Next "Next One"!

Tavares has just recently shattered
the OHL all-time goals record
with 215, after sniping a hat-trick on Mar. 8
in a London Knights 4-3 victory over the league-leading Windsor Spitfires.

As of Mar. 15/09, here's a lookout teams with the highest
projected percentage chance of landing Tavares, that is the 1st
overall pick in the 2009 Entry Draft (courtesy of TSN's Lottery Lookout ):

Team (% Chance of Winning):

1. New York Islanders (25%)

2. Tampa Bay Lightning (18.8%)

3. Atlanta Thrashers (14.2%)

4. Phoenix Coyotes (10.7%)

5. Colorado Avalanche (8.1%)

6. Ottawa Sentors (6.2%)

7. LA Kings (4.7&)

8. Toronto Maple Leafs (2.7%)

The Islanders could use a potential franchise player like Tavares to help try and turn this team around. The Lightning, with Vinny and Stamkos already patrolling the middle, might be tempted to grab d-man Hedman even if they win the draft lottery. One thing is for certain: the winner of all the losers will be one thrilled franchise!

Stay tuned as The Hockey Spy infiltrates the amateur hockey
ranks to uncover in depth previews, prospect profiles, rankings and mock drafts
via Eagle Eye Scouting - your source for inside coverage of the NHL 2009 Entry Draft.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Hockey Spy's NHL Awards Current Choices and New Trophies Revealed !

With the NHL heading into the home stretch, I thought it appropriate to look at the leading candidates for select trophies along with trophies I feel should be added to the mix to honour not only current players, but legends of the past as well.

The NHL actually just announced yesterday the Awards show is heading to Vegas - on a three year deal starting this year on June 18, with the post-season gala taking place at the Palms Hotel.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated yesterday: "Las Vegas specializes in shining the spotlight on outstanding performers. Its innate energy offers an exciting setting for our celebration of excellence."

Current Awards (Top 3 candidates and The Hockey Spy's current choice)

Art Ross: Malkin, Ovechkin, Crosby
Projected Winner = Malkin

Rocket Richard: Ovechkin, Parise, Kovalchuk (who I think will surpass Jeff Carter)
Projected Winner = Ovechkin

Hart Trophy: Malkin, Ovechkin, Parise (The 1st NHLer to 40G-40A this season is also +27)
Projected Winner = Ovechkin

Vezina: Tim Thomas, Steve Mason, Niklas Backstrom
Projected Winner = Steve Mason - put Chara and Wideman in front of this guy and his GAA would be <1.80 and he'd have 15 shutouts at this point. Mason makes the Blue Jackets a very dangerous playoff team.

Calder: Steve Mason, Bobby Ryan, Pekka Rinne
Projected Winner = Steve Mason - should be 1st guy since Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour to win Vezina & Calder in same season.

Selke: Datsyuk, Mike Richards, Mikko Koivu
Projected Winner = Mike Richards

Lady Bying: Pavel Datsyuk, Patrick Marleau, Dennis Wideman (like to see a d-man win this award)
Projected Winner = Patrick Marleau - to break Datsyuk's 3-yr hold

Jack Adams: Claude Julien, Joel Quenneville, Brent Sutter
Projected Winner = Claude Julien

Masterton: Phil Kessel, Craig Conroy, Rod Brind'Amour
Projected Winner = Phil Kessel - battled cancer and has had a major breakthrough offensive year proving naysayers wrong about his attitude and his zest for the game.

Lester B. Pearson: Ovechkin, Steve Mason, Malkin
Projected Winner = Ovechkin

Norris: Mike Green, Niklas Lidstrom, Dennis Wideman
Projected Winner = Mike Green

The Hockey Spy's Proposed Awards:
Bobby Orr Trophy (Replace Norris Trophy, but find another way for the NHL to honour James Norris):
Projected Winner = Mike Green

Rod Langway Trophy
(Best Defensive D-man - see Mirtle's interesting post for a stat-based analysis of this suggested award): Duncan Keith, Paul Martin, Nik Lidstrom
Projected Winner = Keith

Wayne Gretzky Trophy (Most Assists Per Game with >70% games played): Malkin, Crosby, Datsyuk
Projected Winner = Malkin

Mario Lemieux Trophy
(Most Creative Offensive Player - as voted by NHL peers, weighted on goalie and d-man picks): Malkin, Datsyuk, Crosby
Projected Winner = Datsyuk

Mark Messier Trophy
(Most Effective Leader/Captain): Iginla, Mike Richards, Niklas Lidstrom
Projected Winner = Iginla

Sam Pollock Trophy (Best GM)
: Peter Chiarelli - Boston, Darryl Sutter - Calgary, Lou Lamoriello - New Jersey
Projected Winner = Chiarelli - Boston. Ken Holland of Detroit could probably win this award every year and would likely win this award in reality. I'm basing candidates on what they've done this year and more recently to shape current team. Chiarelli is deserving on multiple levels. Firstly, the signing of Chara and Savard a couple years back now look brilliant indeed, along with off-season signing of former Coyotes draftee Blake Wheeler. Secondly, drafting gems beyond the 1st round: Bergeron, Krejci and Lucic are all major contributors. Thirdly and lastly, even without blockbuster trades the Bruins have made very effective trades which shape the current team. Dennis Wideman for Brad Boyes has worked out for both teams, but Wideman emergence this year as an elite d-man gives Beantown the nod in this one. Bringing in Recchi and Montador at the trade deadline were not the blockbusters trade rumour generators alike were predicting, but should prove effective for the stretch run and post-season. Maybe the best decision by Chiarelli was a NON-move at the trade deadline. Not giving up Phil Kessel for Pronger was the right move!

Post your comments and award winners below!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Take The TSN Quiz {The Hockey Spy's answers included}


3/11/2009 9:17:29 PM
Every week, the NHL on TSN panel voices its opinions on the hot topics of the day in the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz.

The Hockey Spy offers you the opportunity to chime in on the big issues with the Insiders. Read the questions and answers from TSN's hockey experts and The Hockey Spy and give us your thoughts in the comments section.

Question No. 1: Jason Spezza - should he have received an unsportsmanlike penalty in addition to his illegal stick penalty for trying to destroy the evidence on Monday night? An extra penalty - yes or no?

Ray Ferraro: No, one penalty's enough. Nobody understands the rule to the "nth" degree anyway - it seems like it's the most confounding rule on the planet. No, not more than one penalty. It's enough.

Darren Dreger: Yes, yes, it should have been the extra penalty! It's a pure admission of guilt - you make it so obvious as to destroy the evidence. Are you kidding me? At least do a better job than this. He was stepping on the stick right in front of the linesman, for heaven's sake. That deserved the extra two.

Keith Jones: The answer is clearly no, and the Maple Leafs should have had a penalty for trying to call one in a game between two teams that aren't making the playoffs anyway! So no would be the answer - I love the creativity of Jason Spezza.

The Hockey Spy: YES - without a doubt in my mind. He did it, got caught and then tried to bury the evidence. Worthy of at least a 4 minute stay in the 'Sin Bin'!

Question No. 2: Martin Brodeur is two wins away from equalling Patrick Roy's all-time record for regular season victories. So, simple enough, who has been the better goalie? Roy or Brodeur?

Dreger: Patrick Roy. Three Conn Smythe trophies and he's got one more Stanley Cup. No-brainer.

Jones: I played with Patrick Roy, too. This is a very tough decision but I'm going with Brodeur - phenomenal career. The hundred shutouts in his career have been nothing less than spectacular, and winning games by one goal. 549 victories, 237 victories have been one-goal victories for Martin Brodeur. He has been clutch all the way. For Patrick Roy? 137 one-goal victories. Brodeur gets my nod.

Ferraro: I'm going to say Patrick Roy and the reason I say so is, of the Stanley Cup championships that Patrick has, the '86 and the '93 Canadiens, really had no business winning the Stanley CUp. Conn Smythe trophy both times for Roy. He took teams that really weren't elite level teams and he pushed them over the top. That's why I vote for Patrick Roy.

The Hockey Spy: Marty Brodeur! While St. Patrick's accomplishments are 'formidable', Brodeur is the greatest of all time. Spending his whole career in Jersey thus far and maintaining super consistency even with the post-lockout rule changes, Marty is like a fine wine - getting even better with age. I wondered how he'd respond with such a long lay off after his 1st major injury in his career. Posting 2 shutouts in his 1st two games. Are you kidding me? This guy is unbelievable and is the new gold standard to which all other 'tenders will be judged.

Question No. 3: Which summer 2007 free agent signing has delivered less bang for the buck? Scott Gomez or Dustin Penner?

Jones: It's Dustin Penner for me. Bang for the buck is a term that's used for players who play hard and play physical, and when you're 6'4, 230 or 240 pounds, you need to be a power forward, much like he was displaying with the Anaheim Ducks. Dustin Penner has done a very poor job in that department with the Edmonton Oilers.

Dreger: No, no. It's bang for the buck and therefore, clearly it is Scott Gomez because Scott Gomez earns considerably more than Dustin Penner. Both of them have been a bust so far with their respective teams but, because Scott Gomez is averaging what, about $110,000 per point, he's the choice.

Ferraro: I'm going to say Dustin Penner. The only thing consistent thing about Dustin Penner has been how inconsistent he's been. Craig MacTavish has tried to coddle him, he's tried to kick him in the rear end. I don't know what's left, except he's got three years at $4.25 million left.

The Hockey Spy: Dustin Penner, but who cares really? With these FA signings, it's like picking the worst of two evils. I only go with Penner because he should be a monster, but he plays like Bambi!

Question No. 4: If you were Bob Gainey, who would you hire to coach the Canadiens next season? Marc Crawford, Bob Hartley, Don Lever or Patrick Roy?

Jones: Marc Crawford, without question. A phenomenal coach - had the opportunity to play for him while I was with the Colorado Avalanche following his Stanley Cup championship season in '96. Crawford knew how to get the most out of highly skilled players in that lineup like Forsberg and like Sakic. He does a terrific job and would be a great choice.

Dreger: Take it in a new and fresh direction - that means Don Lever. Bob Gainey, the general manager, called up Don Lever from the Hamilton Bulldogs for a reason. That's because of his connection with Montreal's younger player. Yes there's a language barrier in Montreal but Don Lever's a fresh choice.

Ferraro: I had a tough time with this - I looked at the four candidates and I really wasn't sure which way to go but Jonesy, you broke me down on this. He's president of the Marc Crawford Fan Club so I'm going to go along with Crawford as well. I believe Crawford can do a very good job in Montreal but no way should Bob Gainey just limit his choice to a bilingual coach. I understand that the language is an important part of the culture in Montreal - if the best candidate is an English-speaking coach, hire the English-speaking coach and have a translator with him.

The Hockey Spy: Patrick Roy - I got to make it up to St. Patrick somehow! So...the Habs retire his # in November of last year. But...have they really made it up to him since the embarrassing unforgettable moment when then Coach Mario Tremblay refused to pull him? This will truly bring the legend back and close that chapter. Off the board, does anyone else see Larry Robinson in the picture at all?

Post your answers in the comments section below!

The Hockey Spy


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Up In Flames: Don't Engrave The Names In Lord Stanley Just Yet

So...of course, unless you're busy scouting out the leading contestants for the Vancouver 2010 Men's Figure Skating medal round, you're probably aware the Calgary Flames landed Olli Jokinen and Jordan Leopold at the trade deadline. Now you know the honeymoon is officially over!

So...we don't have to start engraving the names of the Flames on the Stanley Cup just yet, but Flames faithful need not jump off the bandwagon either!

After a promising start to this 7 game road trip with 2 wins against Ottawa and Phili, the Flames have dropped 3 in a row. Last night they happened to lose to a netminder who just happens to be now only 3 wins away from surpassing St. Patrick Roy as the NHL's all-time win leader. You might've heard of him - one Marty Brodeur! Yeah - admittedly Miikka hasn't been that impressive in 2 of those losses (McElhinney getting the smackdown in the other loss), but he's been unbelievable for the past 3 to 4 months.
Of course, the Canucks are chasing the Flames for 1st in the NW division - now 8 points behind with 2 games in hand. Still...I'm not worried.

The Flames arn't the only top-performing team with 3rd quarter troubles.
- Devils lost to the lowly Islanders 7-3 this past Saturday.
- Red Wings lost Blue Jackets 8-2 the same day.
- Black Hawks lost the Avs 5-1 on Sunday.
- Bruins are 3-6-1 in their last 10 and have lost 2 in a row.
- Capitals are 4-5-1 in their last 10
*The Flames are still 6-4 in their last 10.

David Moss is back after the passing away of his grand-mother. Langer (Daymond Langkow) is back, albeit not yet 100%. Unfortunately, his other linemates, Rene Bourque (and his 20 even-strength goals!) and Bertuzzi are still out for extended periods. The injuries have finally caught up with the Flames, but they do have to fight through it and other guys have to step up. Langkow getting completely healthy will be a huge boost.

Jokinen and Leopold still have to acclimatize to their new surroundings and linemates. By the time this road trip is over, or even sooner, the Flames will be over this bump in the road. As many have said before, "the season is a marathon, not a sprint". It's definitely better to have a hiccup now, then during the playoffs!

Up In Flames will be another regular column for coverage of the Calgary Flames by The Hockey Spy. The Hockey Spy is MVN's correspondent covering the Flames in addition to the NHL in general.

The Hockey Spy


Monday, March 9, 2009

Carbonneau's Loss Is Montreal's Gain-ey!

Okay - so this title is not actually quite as feeble as my original: "Canadiens Look to 'Gain' In The Standings By Going On A Low-'Carb' Diet". See my previous post Off The Iron: Hockey Spy's Fav Quotes (Coaches) from February for a few great quotes on coaches and being fired. I then discussed the possiblility of Carbonneau being fired then and thought though he might worthy, it likely wouldn't happen. I could only see hime resigning or being "re-assigned".

Effective immediately, GM and long-time friend of Carbonneau, Bob Gainey steps in behind the bench. He stated in a press conference today (click on audio click above):

"I would have loved not to be with you today."
Gainey also said he did not think the Canadiens were "emotionally involved in games".

I was listening to Eric Duhatshek talk to Rob Kerr on the today on my drive home and they were discussing an apparent "no-no" about Carbonneau having his wife on the team plane rider home from Dallas. Apparently, French papers are speculating about every minute detail about this firing and this is one of the issues. I'm not so sure what that at all has to do with "Carbo" getting the axe, but maybe some reader out there can elaborate.

Carbonneau was likely part of the problem in Montreal, but GM Gainey not making any moves at the trade deadline with a team on a down-slide is also a key contributing factor. It's been a strange season in Montreal. Last month there was the Kostitsyn brothers linked with suspected member of organized crime Pasquale Mangiola.

Who will the coach hired possibly for next season? Why does Patrick Roy come to mind?

Keep your stick on the ice!

The Hockey Spy


Off The Iron: Hockey Spy's Fav Quotes (Top 10 "Hit" and "Shot Block" Leaders)

Courtesy of Chris McDonell's "Shooting From The Lip" book:

Hall of Fame goalie Jaques Plante, asked if wearing a mask proved that he was afraid:

"If you jumped out of a plane without a parachute, would that prove that you were brave?"

On the theme of bravery, let's take a look at this season's current Top 10 Hit Leaders and Top 10 Shot Block Leaders as of today:

The Top 10 "Hit-men"
1. Cal Clutterbuck - 258
2. Brooks Orpik - 246
3, Dustin Brown - 228 (pictured upper right)
4. Matt Cooke - 220
5. Milan Lucic - 210
6. Ryan Callahan - 209
7. Alexander Ovechkin - 206
8. Evgeny Artyukin - 204
9. Brandon Dubinsky - 188
10. Stephane Robidas - 184

Top 10 Shot Blockers:
1. Zybnek Michelak - 217
2. Brett Clark - 205
3. Greg Zanon - 193
4. Niclas Havelid - 164
5. Mike Komisarek - 163
6. Roman Hamrlik - 151
7. Jason Smith - 148
8. Anton Volchenkow - 141
9. Toni Lydman - 139
10. Matt Greene - 138

For previous "Off The Iron: Hockey Spy's Fav Quotes" posts, click here.

Feel free to email me your favourite hockey quotes (address - click "The Hockey Spy" below).

Keep your stick on the ice!
The Hockey Spy


Saturday, March 7, 2009

"Band-Aid To Stop A Gushing Wound!?!"

I heard this expression a couple days back and I immediately had a 'Eureka!' moment on how this phrase relates to the NHL this season...

The Top 5 Moves This Season In Hockey That Are Like "Using a Band-Aid To Stop A Gushing Wound":

1. Dallas Stars signing Sean "The Idiot" Avery in the off-season to a ridiculous 4 yr - $15.5 million dollar contract. We all know now how well that worked out. Even I was amazed how much the Stars improved after they ditched him. An example that best exemplifies "addition by subtraction".

2. NY Rangers strike again when they claim "The Idiot" (Don't make me say his name twice in the same post - if you want to know how I really feel read this post) on re-entry waivers from Dallas, who were the ultimate big winners in this transaction. This headline maddened me just to read "The Idiot" and "successful return" in the same sentence. Send this guy to Siberia in the KHL for a minimum of 1 yr and then I might accept giving him a chance back to the big leagues.

3. Steve Downie slashes an official and gets a 20 game suspension in the NHL. Are you kidding me?!? With his history, this is another slap on the wrist. Another Siberian solution might work for him - I kind of think he needs a minimum of 2 years though!

4. Maple Leafs sign GM Brian Burke in another version of hockey's worst kept secrets. I'm not a fan of this arrogant guy and I think he's gotten more credit than he deserves in some of his various NHL stops, I guess it is somewhat of a step in the right direction for the Leafs, who can't do any worse really. I was disappointed in what he wasn't able to do at the trade deadline. I agree with holding onto Kaberle, but I thought more moves could've been made.

5. NY Rangers firing Tom Renney. Do you really think Renney was the problem here? I'm amazed he had them in a playoff position. GM Sather and his misguided FA signings should've been the one to go. Good luck Tortorella!

Feel free to comment on the above or add your own events that qualify.


Friday, March 6, 2009

The Flame is Finally Out: Gary Roberts' Career Has Come to an end

My fondest memories of Roberts were, of course, as a valuable power forward for the Flames. He was an integral part of the team that went to the Cup finals in 1986 only to lose to the Habs, as well as the 1989 Cup winning dominant Flames team. Roberts is known as one of the fittest guys to lace up the skates and as Bob McKenzie mentions (see below), he actually retired previously in 1996 due to back problems, but after undertaking an extremely intense conditioning program he was actually able to return the next season.

Bob McKenzie had the following report courtesy TSN: "Roberts' retirement is expected from the Lightning.

Gary Roberts' NHL career is over.

Unclaimed on waivers on trade deadline day, the 42-year-old veteran will not play another game with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season. He had already announced that he would retire at the end of this season. 

A formal announcement of

Roberts' contract worked against him being picked up on waivers. His cap hit was more than $2 million and he has a bonus package that pays him $10,000 for each game he plays.

Roberts was Selected by the Calgary Flames 12th overall (1st round) in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

He went on to win a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1988-89.

In 1996, at the age of 30, Roberts announced his retirement from hockey due to injuries, but he underwent an intense re-conditioning program and returned to the NHL after the following season.

In 1224 career NHL games with Calgary, Carolina, Toronto, Florida, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, Roberts had 438 goals and 471 assists for 909 points, adding 2560 PIM."


A fearless leader, I've got to believe coaching or training is in Gary's future.

All the best, "Scary" Gary!

The Hockey Spy



Thursday, March 5, 2009

Trade Deadline Aftermath: The Winners, The Losers and The Miserable Failures

When the D-Day shakedown was all said and done, there were 22 trades involving 45 players. Throw in the 2 waiver pickups on D-Day (as well as 2 the day before), and the average of 25 trades for the previous 3 seasons post-lookout was almost duplicated. Some experts thought it might be a lull this year, with less transaction with the uncertain fiscal future.

The Winners:

Flames: Holy Jokinen!!! The obvious choice here, but, even surprising for me as a Flames fan, GM Sutter makes a major splash by throwing Jokinen a life-preserver to stop Olli from drowning in the desert. Darryl also managed to bring back Jordan Leopold to solidify the "D", giving the Flames an additional solid 2-way top 4 d-man. With 2 goals from Jokinen and 1 from Leopold tonight against the Flyers in Phili, the trade has had an instant impact. However, there's a lot of hockey to be played and we don't know yet how Jokinen and 1st yr Flame Mike Cammalleri will perform in a Cup run, since neither have yet to see post-season play. With the writing now certainly on the wall that Cammalleri won't be resigned in the off-season (not because of the Flames don't want him, but economics), the Flames brass are obviously showing they want to go for the Holy Grail this season!

Oilers: Flipping underachieving Eric Cole for the young and talented - with the best yet to come from - Patrick O'Sullivan and eventually skilled forward with a great shot Ales Kotalik, GM Steve Tambellini impressed me in his 1st D-Day as Oilers GM. I really thought Edmonton would reel in a big fish yesterday, but this was a solid move nonetheless. Does it make them a Cup contender? No, but this is a very good hockey move.
Bruins: No Pronger, no problem. The Bruins were likely expected to do more and a recent slide might have Bruins' Faithful nervous. However, Recchi still has some gas in the tank and brings his vast experience and great hockey sense which will be valuable in their quest for the Cup. Steve Montador is no Pronger, of course, but has been solid this year and has playoff experience, as a member of the '03-'04 Flames that took Tampa to a 7th game in the Cup finals. The Bruins have had a good thing going all year and a major shakeup was not the way to go, especially if it meant giving up Kessel to land Pronger.
Lightning: Not for now, but some surprisingly (for me, at least) solid moves by GM Brian Lawton. Picking up talented young d-man Matt Lashoff and the promising forward Martin Karsums in the Recchi deal was well done indeed. Getting Noah Welch and a 3rd for Eminger was solid. I'm still a little confused by the trade for Petiot from the Leafs, but it looks like the suckered the Leafs into taking on salary. Hopefully, they'll continue to take baby steps to get that franchise back on track. • Senators: If Leclaire can be healthy for next year, the Sens likely have the best goalie the franchise has seen. Not sure how they convinced Columbus to add on a 2nd round pick for Vermette as well.
Panthers: Sometimes the best move is the trade you didn't make. A lot would argue to the contrary, but holding on to Jay Boumeester is a solid non-move by the franchise. They're actually one of the hottest teams in the new year and need to make the playoffs to try and keep fans interested. From what I can see, J-Bo is enjoying himself and might just be inclined to resign with them in the offseason.
Coyotes: The Jokinen Experiment was a surprising failure, but they made the most of it landing speedster Lombardi, who unfortunately often leaves you wanting more, spunky Brandon Prust and a 1st rnd pick. They also somehow convinced the Flyers to give them Scottie Upshall and a 2nd rnder for Carcillo.

The Losers:

Canadiens: No moves from the Habs? Picking up Schneider before the deadline was a nice move, but it needed to be followed by a big name forward pick up. They're playing better as of late, but I'll be surprised if they go deep in the playoffs.

Canucks: Not immediately, but I thought they could've used some depth on the blueline. With fragile d-men such as Salo and Bieksa, Canucks GM Gillis might be kicking himself as the gruelling playoffs get underway.
Blue Jackets: I actually like the Vermette trade for them as well, but I think they really needed to land a Jokinen- type player - a true #1 center for Nash.
Capitals: Strong team, but could've used a couple more horses for the playoff run. I really thought they'd make a stronger play for Derek Morris.

The Miserable Failures:

Kings: The usually savvy GM Dean Lombardi brings in talented, but brittle Justin Williams for up and coming talented forward Patrick O'Sullivan plus a 2nd round pick.

Rangers: Okay, so they added a couple of the better players available in Derek Morris and Nik Antropov...Unfortunately, the cancer they added the day before in picking up Sean Avery in the worst kept secret transaction of the NHL season. Yeah - so NYC is about the only place for Avery, I wish there'd be some GM Code in which a loser like this would simply be understandably never brought back to the big leagues. I wish I could sit down with Tom Renney and have a beer and watch the Rangers NOT make the playoffs.

"Rarely imitated, never duplicated!"
The Hockey Spy


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

NHL 2009 Trade Deadline Crunch Time: 25 Trades That Make Sense

See a prior post for an explanation of Operation: T-Radar {The Hockey Spy's Trade Speculation System}

In the last three years post-lockout, there have been exactly 25 trades each year on trade deadline day, with an average of 43 players changing hands. These past 3 years are tied for the highest number of deals. Will Mar 4, 2009 surpass that number? Most "experts" seem to think not. I wouldn't be surprised if it goes either way. If some of the "seller" teams can accomplish what they may set out to do, we might even crack the elusive 30 trade plateau. With the likes of Gary Roberts, Brendan Morrison, Miroslav Satan being placed on waivers - the number of trades may be less as teams may seek to add without subtracting.

With great trade speculation coverage from TSN to The Fourth Period to Illegal Curve, I have no need to reinvent the wheel and re-hash what information is already out there. However, what I would like to do is to foreshadow 25 deals that make least make sense to The Hockey Spy! I don't have a crystal ball, I ain't no "Trade Whisperer", and don't even think about calling me a trade rumour generator! This is simply an exercise in speculating some reasonable trades that couple take place in the fading hours leading to the deadline. A vast majority of the ideas for the following deals are based on reports already out there in the hockey world.

I have previously posted trade articles on the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. I have also discussed the "Formula For Succes: Cup Winning Deadline Deals".

Without further ado, let's now uncover Operation: T-Radar 2009, in no particular order:

1. Jay Boumeester lands in the City of Brotherly Love, with the Flyers sending Joffrey Lupul , Matt "The Wanderer" Carle and Ryan Parent back to the Panthers. We will soon find out if J-Bo is on the move. Florida his hot these days, and it ain't just the weather! Is it just me or does J-Bo look happy playing there. Two weeks ago, I would've said the Panthers would be crazy not to try and get a great return for him, but now with the way they're playing, I finally see the light as to why they would simply keep him. The Flyers might just be the ones to sweet talk the Panthers into sending J-Bo their way. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Canucks land J-Bo either.
2. Steve Sullivan and a conditional draft pick to the Flames for prospect Kris Chucko. Sullivan is high risk, high reward acquisition, but if he can stay healthy (big if!) he'd be a solid pickup for the Flames. Chucko is only this year giving any indication as to why Flames brass made him a 1st round pick a couple years back, but he is still a ways away from making any impact at the NHL level.
3. Chris Pronger to the Bruins for Matt Hunwick, Joe Colbourne and a 1st round pick. Having one of Chara or Pronger on the ice for more than 90% of each and every game is too much to pass up for GM Chiarelli to pass on. If the Ducks hold out for Phil Kessel, the deal gets iced. If that's the case, a similar deal would land Tomas Kaberle from the Leafs. Another factor here is the Blues surprising interest in Pronger - Don't do it!
4. Pascal Leclaire to the Sens for Antoine Vermette. The speedy center has had a down year and could use a change in scenery. Columbus should be a good fit and he might get some consideration to play with Nash. Leclaire injury-riddled year has been disappointing as well and, of course, the emergence of Steve Mason. The Sens, with Leclaire and Elliott think they finally solved their goaltending woes - guess again!
5. Martin St. Louis to the Oilers for Robbie Schremp and Taylor Chorney. I just see the Oilers making a big splash with owner Darryl Katz on board.
6. Tim Connolly to Blue Jackets with Christian Backman and a 3rd round pick headed to Buffalo. Another big "IF", but Connolly if healthy, gives the Blue Jackets that center to play with Nash. Vermette still fits, just not on first line.
7. Mark Recchi to Pittsburgh for 2 third round draft picks in the next 2 years going to Tampa. Recchi playing great lately and further revitalized for a last stand in Steel Town.
8. Milan Hejduk to Pittsburgh with Alex Goligoski and Eric Tangradi heading to Colorado. Yes - GM Shero has already added Kunitz and Recchi, but he wants that true compliment for SC87 - Hejduk fits the bill!
9. Keith Tkachuk to Boston for a 2nd round draft pick going to St. Louis. They are on the cusp, and there are talks of the Blues being buyers. If this is the case, the Bruins may target Bill Guerin.
10. Mike Fisher to the Sharks for Logan Couture. I think Fisher (Mr. Carrie Underwood!) needs a change of scenery and he would flourish in San Jose. This is one proposed deal that I've hauled out of left field. No reports or rumours anywhere else allude to such a deal. A more likely scenario is Chris Neil going to the Sharks, with the Senators receiving a 2nd and 4th round draft picks.
11. Nik Antropov to Vancouver for a 1st round draft pick. This would give the 'Nucks some much needed depth at forward, despite what they may say or think. I'm just glad my Flames didn't trade for St. Nik.
12. Filip Kuba to Vancouver for Michael Grabner add a 3rd round pick. The Canucks defense are more fragile than a dozen eggs, especially Salo and Bieksa. Kuba gives them depth and adds a solid puck-moving d-man.
13. Derek Morris to the Capitals with prospects Oscar Osala and Sami Lepisto heading to the desert. Morris brings a solid 2 way game and I could see his game being elevated with the explosive Caps.
14. Scott Clemmenson to the Sabres for prospect Denis Persson. Short-term solution with Miller out. Lou rewards Clemmenson for his excellent fill-in play for Marty, by trading him to keep him in the NHL.
15. Marty Reasoner to Chicago for a 3rd and 6th rnd picks. Reasoner would be that solid depth forward, with experience and very good on the PK, that the Hawks could use.
16. Pavel Kubina (waive No-Trade clause) and Matt Stajan to the Rangers for prospect Bobby Sanguinetti, Artem Anisimov , a 1st and 2nd round draft pick. If Burke can somehow convince Kubina to fly to Broadway, the Leafs could include Stajan as well to get this deal done. Burke ends up keeping Kaberle, who should have plenty gas in the tank and can build the "D" around him and Schenn.
17. Olli Jokinen to the Habs for Chris Higgins and prospect Ryan McDonagh. The Canadiens want to make a splash and do just that. "The Joker" Jokinen should regain form with the presence of fellow countryman Saku Koivu. The Coyotes bid good riddance to a trade gone wrong. One would've thought Jokinen would've excelled under the tutelage of The Great One, but Olli found a way to drown in the desert.
18. Bill Guerin to the Capitals for a 2nd round pick. The Capitals could use Guerin's experience. You have to know what you're getting here though and it's not the Guerin of old. The Isles simply want to cash in on what few assets they have.
19. Michael Nylander to the Black Hawks in exchange for Dustin Byfuglien to the Capitals. With Patrick Sharp out, the Hawks are in the market for a 2nd line center. Byfuglien gives the Capitals more of a physical presence and shown some intriguing upside for a big guy. Conditioning and drive continue to be issues for him.
20. Dominic Moore to Washington for Chris Bourque and a 3rd round draft. Moore provides solid center depth for the Capitals and should be a valuable component for their playoff run, while the Leafs continue their rebuilding process, getting the son of the great Raymond Bourque.
21. Jay McKee to the Rangers for 3rd and 4th round draft picks. The Blues have been looking to move McKee and his pay cheque and have found takers in the Rangers and their leaky "D".
22. Jeff Halpern to the Panthers for Michal Repik. The Panthers add solid 2-way forward Halpern who should prove valuable for the franchise's much needed playoff push.
23. Ian Laperriere to the Canadiens for prospect d-man Mathieu Carle and a 3rd round draft pick. Laperierre will instantly be a fan fav in Montreal. Carle, in the minors, had requested a trade apparently.
24. Jamal Mayers to the Devils for a 3rd round draft pick. The Devils simply want to add some depth with this move.
25. Brendan Witt to Columbus for 4th and 5th round draft picks. The Jackets take on some salary, but get physical crease-clearing vet d-man who should make life easier for rookie Steve Mason.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Red Light Disctrict: Iggy is Now Flames All-Time Leading Scorer!

Eric Duhatshek reports from the Globe and Mail:

"I've been blessed to play here in Calgary for a long
time," Iginla told Rogers Sportsnet, following the second-period
intermission. "Counting down, I tried not to think about it, but it's in
the back of your mind and it's nice to do it at home. The guys were great about
it, the fans were great about it - and I appreciate it."

 Iginla eclipsed former linemate Theoren Fleury, who
previously held the mark with 830 points. Unfortunately, Iggy's 5 point effort
came in a 8-6 loss to the Lightning tonight in Calgary. I was driving home
tonight from ball hockey listening to Peter Maher make the call on the FAN960 - The
Flames Faithful rocked the 'Dome after Jarome scored and you could hear chants
of "Iggy, Iggy, ..." Another tremendous
milestone for the
Flames' Captain, and he also joined the 400-Goal club in this game as well - no
small feat!

Congrats, Iginla!

{Note: "Red Light District" is a regular column by The Hockey Spy featuring highlight reel as well as milestone goals. For previous Red Light District entries click here }

Keep your stick on the ice!

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