Tag Archives: Calgary Flames

2013 NHL Draft: The Newark Shake

At the end of the Top 10 in the First Round of the 2013 NHL Draft, it all got shuffled.

The Avalanche sent Joe Sakic and Partick Roy out on the floor to pick the not-surprising offensive power rookie, Nathan McKinnon. Sakic is a classy guy, and I was disappointed by the NJ fans booing Sakic thanking Lou L for hosting. Boo you!

Surprise in the NO.2 pick, as Aleksander Barkov is selected by the Florida Panthers. That was a surprise, but Florida feels they need to beef up a line with a big Center.

Tampa Bay shook it up picking Joanathan Drouin, as Steve Yzerman likes the kid. Interesting pick as TB bought out Vincent LeCavelier, and indicating Drouin may see ice time next season.

While Seth Jones waited patiently, the Nashville Predators were making their plan and pressing the jersey for this defensive pick of the draft. At NO. 4, a defender is good, but are the D-men losing respect? Don’t forget how important the defenders can be when your offense sucks. Shea Weber and Seth Jones means Nashville has seen the light.

The Carolina Hurricanes at NO. 5 pick slot, did not trade up or down, but selected Elas Lindholm. A Swede who will go to train before joiing the team. He will play in Sweden next season.

In NO. 6, the Calgary Flames need to ignite their team and their quest for the Cup. So, as it goes, the Flames pick Sean Monahan. Expected pick who can overcome adversity, which really means that he played on bad teams before. Go Sean!

Edmonton has had the first picks for the past few seasons, and the fact that they are picking the NO.7 shows that top draft picks do make a difference. Darnell Nurse gets to go play with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins! A defenseman is exactly what the Oilers need. Darnell, you won the Lottery too.

Buffalo has had its better days.  With the NO. 8 pick there have not been many trades or dealings.  Many speculated the Sabres would make some type of deal or just pick a big player and defender…and they did in  Rasmus Ristolainen.  He’s a hard hitter with a hard shot and a great name.

And just as NJ Devils were about to make their NO. 9 pick, they trade it to Vancouver for Cory Schneider! Vancouver get the pick. Bo Horvat from the London Knights has been compared to Avs player Ryan O’Reilly.

And the final pick in the Top 10, goes to the Dallas StarsValeri Nichuskin is a strong addition to the Stars who already have Jamie Benn as a weapon.  The question is whether he will be on the ice next season.

That’s it for me. Follow more hockey info and in-depth article on the draft picks at The Hockey Writers.

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Surprises and Scares

Wow, the first week and a half of the NHL season provided some surprises and shocking situations. So much speculation has surrounded the Cinderella team Toronto Maple Leafs’ undefeated season. They’ve only played four games, so come on…they will lose and the Leafs may not be able to keep it up. The Tormented Toronto Maple Leafs can sing praise as their team has turned a corner with a 4-0-0 start to the season.

The Nashville Predators have just as good as a start as Toronto, as well as down in Dallas bouncing back without Mike Modano or Marty Turco. Impressive games have been played in Tampa Bay and Denver as well.

In the Eastern Conference, Toronto, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh lead the standings. Florida, Boston and New Jersey sit at the bottom. New Jersey was expected to be a contender but with all the drama, the team has been worn down. New Jersey has paid a high price to ensure a winning team but can they recover? Of course.

Pittsburgh’s goaltending has swayed to the No. 2 seat with some positive outcome behind Brent Johnson. Despite what seems like a slow start, the Penguins will fix any kinks as they do every year. Just wait.

The New York Rangers are down Marian Gaborik and captain Chris Drury after a loss to the Maple Leafs Friday. Hockey critics have kicked both the Islander and Rangers downstairs. Rangers D-guy Del Zotto has had a good start.

In the Western Conference, Nashville, Dallas, and Colorado sit supreme. Calgary, Columbus and Phoenix will climb as more games are played. Calgary is under great pressure especially after Toronto has seemingly turned their bad karma upside down. Calgary’s talent is undeniable with Mikka Kiprusoff in goal, Jay Bouwmeester on the blueline and Jarome Iginla leading the charge. The Flames are usually hanging in near the playoff run with the same expectations as last year to finish in the No. 8 seed just above the Colorado Avalanche.

The San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks look shaky as Cup contenders early on. Ryan Kesler posted 10 PIMs for a misconduct call after the LA Kings beat the Canucks again on Friday, but Kesler has been null in points. With Alex Burrows sidelined for the first few weeks, the Canucks lost some steam.

I’m still betting on some gained ground this season from Atlanta and St. Louis. With the youthful talent on both teams, the surge may come later in the season, but both are sitting in the middle of their division waiting and watching. Monday night the St. Louis Blues met up with the Anaheim Ducks and totaled a whopping 50 PIMs for misconduct, 35 for fighting 24 for roughing an 4 for slashing. Atlanta’s Anthony Stewart scored a hat trick to lift the Thrashers over the Ducks at home Friday.

In Los Angeles, the Kings are holding steady with Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and active play from Dustin Brown over the Canucks, the beachfront view sits just behind Colorado in the West. Colorado’s T.J. Galiardi, Paul Stastny and Chris Stewart are strongholds for the team.

A new lease deal with Chicago investor Matthew Hulsizer will lead to a good deal for the Phoenix Coyotes to remain in Glendale. Last season, the Coyotes rivaled the Avs for young gun status but have a slow start. Watch the Czech line emerge in the desert plus great talent such as Stempniak, Wolski and Lombardi.

Detroit’s Johan Franzen went to Dallas and all he got was a hit by Mark Fistric. Franzen called it a concussion, but coach Babcock said it wasn’t that bad. Franzen was sidelined much of the latter part of last season, so is he being cautious or being a crybaby? Is Babcock cracking the whip and going forth for the Cup? Yes, the Wings are known for being tough and they cannot falter now.

Beware of counting the pucks yet. Shakeups are bound to happen when least expected. It’s too early to call the season yet.

Let the Season begin….

The Colorado Avalanche stunned the Stanley Cup champs in the Avs NHL season opener.  Predicted to finish low in the Western Conference standings, the Avalanche took it to the Hawks with a win on the first day of the 2010-11 NHL season.

Winger Chris Stewart scored first for the Avs with an unassisted goal, after an opening power-play goal by Bryan Bickell. Goals by Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny put Colorado up approaching the third intermission. Patrick Sharp rallied for the Hawks making the game even. Forced to go into overtime, Paul Stastny scored the game-winning goal in the Avs season opener at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Continuing the celebration in the West, the Edmonton Oilers debuted their new look and new rookies. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi took the ice in the season opener in Edmonton. The Oilers are counting on rebuilding their team and fan base by highlighting an exciting list of young players expected to make an impact in the NHL.    Eberle scored a short-handed goal in the third period to claim his first NHL goal and Edmonton’s first rookie goal. Hall and Paajarvi did not score, but logged significant ice time for fans to view their future stars.  The battle of Alberta wasn’t even close with a shutout by the Oilers over the Calgary Flames.

In the East, some gains and pains. Pittsburgh opened their new season in a new arena, but lost to the Philadelphia Flyers by a goal. Crosby failed to score. Minnesota’s Guillaume Latendresse scored the first NHL goal of the season, but the Minnesota Wild could not win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The success of the Hurricanes continued winning their second game over the Wild. Toronto passes a huge roadblock by winning over the Montreal Canadiens at home. New captain Dion Phaneuf assisted on the opening goal.

It was an exciting opening night and many teams have taken the first step on their road to success, others fell short.

Wingin’ the Playoffs

The big question is whether the Detroit Red Wings can pull off the upset and work there way into the playoffs past the Calgary Flames and the Nashville Predators.But the Wings lost to the Flames 4-2, but were able to beat the Buffalo Sabres in OT, 3-2. Then the clincher came beating the Flames Monday night 2-1.Will the Wings maintain the momentum and give Motown something to cheer about?

Playoff rounds in Detroit are the norm.If there are no games this season, then the Frozen Four in Detroit will be only event rocking energy in the Motor City.The Red Wings know that not playing for the Stanley Cup is not an option, and has not happened since the 1989-90 season.President Steve Yzerman is taking his triumphs for Team Canada and pushing the pizzazz at the Joe. The Wings have won

The Wings have gone to the Stanley Cup finals the last two seasons.  Twenty continuous years in the playoffs is not an option for the Red Wings.They lost last year to the Penguins and won the season before that to those same Penguins.

So who’s to blame for this rumpling of the hockey feathers? Two stars, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk haven’t had the scoring seasons they have had in the past.

Zetterberg has clocked 19 goals as opposed to his 31 last season.His assists reign with 38.  Datsyuk has tallied 22 goals this year, while he had 32 last year.He also is doing well in the assist category with 36.But these guys were not signed on to be assist leader.Datsyuk has had a scoring run lately and has been revived- since March 1st, he’s scored three goals, and four assists. He scored six points in February.

No one can dispute the loss of Johan Franzen during most of the season due to injury.He’s had seven goals this year, while captain Nicklas Lidstrom has eight.But what happened to the confident spark of the Wings? Hossa, Hudler and Samuelsson evidently made more of an impact than originally thought.It’s like a Frankenstein created with all the best parts, but something went awry in the process.A few limbs were lost.The team clicked but it cost too much to maintain.Bargains are not always the best buys.

So who’s stepping up?Let’s talk Tomas Holmstrom with 20 goals, 13 assists and the gung-ho attitude expected of the boys playing on the ice at Joe Louis Arena. His late goal against the Calgary Flames burst the Wings into the eighth bunk in the Western Conference.

No one can debate the excellence of play in net for rookie Jimmy Howard, a Calder Cup candidate.But he may need more of a break.There is a huge debate in the Motor City on the Howard-Osgood goalie controversy.

With three Stanley Cups, 396 career wins and a 16-year career in the NHL goaltender Chris Osgood has been sitting, while Jimmy Howard exhausts his play in net.Remember last year when Ty Conklin was the hero going into the playoffs?The fans turned on Ozzie because of some downed games, but they were singing his praise as the Stanley Cup was in sight.Red Wings fans still love Ozzie.

Maybe there is no magic formula but the Wings have had the magic touch for years, making them one of the most despised teams in the NHL.Losing isn’t an option for the Wings and they will fight to the end to earn a chance to redeem their valor.

Rangers Reroute

One of my New York Rangers fan groups has this ongoing discussion, for over a week, about Chris Drury’s leadership.  The call was to offer Drury for someone better.  That’s not a bad idea.  But recently rumors of trades have not involved the captain, rather performers Ryan Callahan and Ales Kotalik.  Really?  Allegedly. And what the Rangers will get in return is putting a big pile of mess on the ice at the Garden.

Talks with the Calgary Flames turned heads in New York as fans were hoping to get the call for Dion Phaneuf. Suggestions were Drury and Donald Brashear for Phaneuf.  Is that even an equivalent assessment?  I had to remind some of my fellow Rangers fans of the “sloppy seconds” debauchle involving Dion and Sean.  Phaneuf has been dealt out of Calgary, so the two bad boys will eventually have more battle time on the ice when Phaneuf plays the Rangers on March 27th.  Early blogs raised the question of the Ranger’s spark and was it possible to revive with a trade.  Maybe the wrong guy is being traded.  A captain’s job is to ignite the team into the best team they can be.  Drury seems like a nice guy, but a pushover.  Maybe he needs to go to Calgary.

His skills were apparent with his peak in Colorado, when the Avalanche had their dream team. He played against his former team Sunday night with a 3-1 win. Drury has landed his dream job, being a Connecticut native his aspirations as a kid was to play with the Rangers.  Could this mean that even a superstar such as Chris Drury suffers from complacency on the job?   What’s worse is his under par 19 points, then throw in his –11.  Go back two years previous when Drury posted 58 points.  If Drury can’t lead the troops into battle, then someone needs to suggest that another commander lead the call.

So if the Rangers bring in the big prize, Olli Jokinen, who has slumped lately can he become a team leader?   Good player at the start of the season as Calgary was displaying, but it went up in flames. Trade options for the Rangers are limited: Brashear’s a bust; the blue line is badly drawn, and seems to be invisible.  Sean Avery is battling back but frustrations are showing.  Acquiring a Center puts some pressure on Olli to come in, take the lead and prove he’s worthy.  It could happen if the trade happens, but some wheeling and dealing is happening to benefit both sides.  Fans are buzzing over the flurry.

The only saving grace of the Rangers, like last year, is King Henry.  The Swedes are all over the ice in domination, so let’s put goaltender extraordinaire Henrik Lundqvist in as team captain.  Honestly, look at what Roberto Luongo has done in Vancouver.  The goalie seems a natural captain.  The team puts the knuckles in the faces of those who greet Lundqvist brutally.  He’s the reason we were in the playoffs last year, he’s the reason the Rangers still sport some respectability.

Stay tuned for more drama from the New York Rangers.