Tag Archives: Joe Sakic

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.

Thanks Joe!

Last night, one of the greatest hockey players to grace the ice, was honored as an inductee to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Joe Sakic is a class act. His leadership in the sport of ice hockey has been monumental. He’s a great guy too.

Sakic was the gentleman leader who instilled playing an honest game with integrity. He was shy, yet always the ambassador to the hockey world. He brought the NHL and hockey to Colorado, where most poeple were transplants from elsewhere. I knew Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Pittsburgh Penguins fans converted into Avalanche fans due in large part to what heart Sakic and his team brought to Denver. They became one of us, on our team.

I remember seeing him ride along downtown Denver atop a fire engine hoisting the Stanley Cup. The thrill of hockey had been reborn in me. Coming from Detroit, I missed the games, the passionate fans, and the hockey players I followed. Joe Sakic became and will always be my favorite Avalanche player. I devoted much of my blog to how the Avalanche and Joe Sakic’s living legacy created competitive hockey and a strong community.

He had skeletons that he locked away and when asked about them in interviews, he would change the subject or conclude the interview. He was there to talk about his team, not a horrific day tha haunted him. Most journalists knew that event shaped his dedication and emotion for playing the game, and respected his privacy.

Sakic was a pioneer for the youth hockey advancement and development in Denver. Kids new to hockey looked to Joe for inspiration. Denver, primarily a football town, was unaware of young hockey stars in waiting.

The University of Denver Pioneers men’s hockey team had a brighter spotlight as hockey rose in popularity. DU groomed two NHL stars in Paul Stastny and Matt Carle, and became NCAA champions. The Frozen Four would never had been hosted by Denver in 2008 if Sakic hadn’t created such an affection for local hockey.

Players respected and emulated him. Fans wore his jersey proudly. We all knew Joe. And we knew Joe saw us too. We were not just a crowd, we were a community. We were The Avalanche.

As a staunch Red Wings fan, Joe was the only guy who could tear me away from Detroit. When the Detroit Red Wings came to town, it was really a battle between Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic. I was heartbroken that I had to choose between the two. Both men remain iconic representatives of a generation of NHL fans who can agree on their talented leadership and sportsmanship. Old school fans still ask, “Sakic or Yzerman?”

All the stats in his career can’t replace the years of happiness he has brought to the many fans around the world. He’s a class-act and his induction as a Hall of Famer is testament to the good guys out there making a difference. Thanks Joe!

How hot is it in Hockeytown?

It’s officially summer,  yet I’m writing hockey. I remember reading former Islanders PR guy Chris Nichols’ blog last summer and he was scolding readers about not being on the beach. He wasn’t sifting sand between his toes either. Plenty of time for beach and hockey since the NHL truly cranks year-round. You may get lucky and find some lag in the league in late July and August to enjoy ice in your drink, not on the rink.

The Canucks didn’t bring the cup home to Canada due to the scrappy Bruins outsmarting Vanouver in Game 7 of a phonemonal Stanley Cup series. Kudos to the Bruins for fighting through some tough obstacles to hoist the most prized award in all of sports. Still not as much on a Sedin bandwagon, but Ryan Kesler beating out Pavel Datsyuk for the Selke was an impressive feat. The unfavorable light of the reaction of the fans to the loss was sad. The Vancouver Canucks deserved a better reception than that for making the 2011 finals one of the highest ranking in years. Detroit has won championships but don’t burn the town down and we’re known for that in the Motor City.

Red Wings fans are aware that when Datsyuk is in tip-top form, the Wings will always be in contention. My focus of summer is how Detroit will rebound from Brian Rafalski’s retirement and rally for the inspired perserverace of Nicklas Lidstrom, who returns to Joe Louis Arena for a 20th season. The blueline will mantain strong leadership with Lidstrom and should be able to attract top talent if needed. The upcoming draft will also tell the future of the franchise. Detroit picks the starts only after the maturation period has peaked and the skill is ripe for the picking. Look for future Wings updates on the draft, signings and sightings as the summer dwindles.

I’ll say a few words about the Colorado Avalanche who got lucky with the No. 2 and No. 11 slot in the first round entry draft. Swedish winger Garbriel Landeskog will become a power forward the likes of what Chris Stewart brought to the team. Defenseman Duncan Siemens went as the No. 11 pick of the Avs. The Avalanche will be an interesting team to watch in a few years with Stefan Elliott, Ryan Stoa and Joey Hishon coming up through the ranks.

Joe Sakic has joined the front office and an Avs alumni group will be present for the Avs opener Oct. 8 when the Red Wings swoop in. The nice guy image of the Avalanche will prevail with Sakic as the vetern helmsman that Patrick Roy didn’t want to be. I’m ready for a team that isn’t so nice on the ice. C’mon, the Avs most feared fighter is Cody McLeod-a nice guy at heart who could double for Raggedy Andy. Blueliner, J-M Liles moves to Toronoto for a 2012 draft pick. My time writing about the Avs has been fun but will be tapering with this post as I prepare to move across the country to Rangers and Devils territory.

Great things are happening in New Jersey with prospects Jon Merrill from Michigan and the 2011 most NHL- ready draftee, Adam Larsson. The Flyers will hold interest for DU’s Matt Carle, and their spunk. I’ve been a Western Conference hockey fan most of my life so the Eastern Conference will be exciting. I’ll be near the city that never sleeps, and I will be losing sleep staying up for the Kings games.

All I want for Xmas is a….

Nothing could be better than the smell of pine wafting from the Christmas tree, presents, treats and festivities galore, except a Detroit Red Wings win over the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 27. After all the gifts are opened, Franzen needs to pull out a power-play goal, Rafalski must deliver the hits, and Justin Abdelkader needs to put on his boxing gloves for a present every Red Wings fan wants.  This game will be a celebration.

With the series tied 1-1; the Detroit Red Wings will hit the Mile High City two days after Christmas. The altitude and attitude of the feisty Avalanche should put the Wings to the test. Though the Avs have slipped in the Western Conference standings a few notches, they are still only two points behind Detroit, who sits in the top spot. The last meeting proved educational for both teams. Both proving they could keep up despite the age and experience level, junior or senior.

The Avalanche lost to the Wings on Nov. 13 at Joe Louis Arena, 3-1. No fights in the game, and only J-M Liles scored for the Avs. In a prior game played on Oct. 12, also in Detroit, the race was tight. Going into a shootout, Colorado was able to win off of a goal by Brandon Yip. Exciting game and a fight ensued between Cody McLeod and Doug Janik, now in Grand Rapids with Detroit’s AHL affiliate Griffins.

So it goes, with a new configuration it could go either way. But it must go the way of the tiebreaker. Grab your beer, jalapeno poppers and some grit because this one expects to be a battle. A renewed rivalry? Not so much. For those who remember the swagger of the old rivalry understands the modern NHL debate, Yzerman or Sakic? Some were blessed with both in the forefront of their hockey memories, not the history books.  If we look at the new faces, the pivotal figures haven’t clearly been established. Stastny vs. Zetterberg? The legends are on their way, but not to the extent of Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic. Stastny is by lineage a hockey power, and Z brings the dominance of the European play of Sweden.

No matter the outcome, these two teams will remain as the elite of hockey with their past wins and illustrious rosters. I leave you with the gift of five for fighting in this tremendous rivalry that has ignited such memorable moments.

From 1997, this is the classic hockey brawl:

Yes, even goaltenders want payback:

And to the recent brawl:

 

Happy Holidays and Go Wings!

 

For the Love of Hockey

American’s love of hockey is growing; nowhere near the sparkling thunder of Canada’s devotion to the game.  Russia and Sweden have great fanfare over the sport, yet the NHL has placed its roots in the States.

Every hockey fan can pinpoint the moment they fell in love with the sport.  Growing up in Michigan was close to living in Canada, literally a drive over the bridge or a car ride over a border of forest.  Michigan boasts seven college hockey teams, equivalent to rival hockey state Minnesota.  Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan, Wayne State, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State create a vortex of goons on ice that is impossible to avoid.  Not to mention minor leagues spanning from Grand Rapids to Saginaw to Calumet in the Upper Peninsula.

I always had a pair of skates.  Never remember not skating on a frozen pond, at Yost Arena or in my best friend’s backyard where her father built us a rink to practice every day after school.  I loved making figure eight tracks in the ice and the whoosh and scrape sounds my skates sang.  I was in training to be a professional ice skater because in my day, girls playing hockey wasn’t the norm.  Today, I know many women who strap on the gear for some non-contact ice time.  The big ice arena where I took lessons was in Muskegon where my dad would take us for Mohawk games.  The thrill of watching the pros move the puck on the very same ice I loop to looped was exhilarating.  I felt a kinship.

Years passed, college came and the Detroit Red Wings drafted Steve Yzerman.  To say that most girls in Michigan had a super crush on Stevie Y is an understatement.  His presence in Detroit hockey rivaled the previous generation’s love of Gordie Howe, who was a household name for most in the Great Lakes region.  Some of us may not have known all of Howe’s triumphs but we knew he stood for something great in our state and one of our greatest ambassadors for the sport and the state.   Howe still lives in Michigan.  We love him.

The Detroit Red Wings defined hockey for me beyond what I knew.  Super bad boy Darren McCarty defended the pride of the Motor City with his spunk and fists.  His scraps enlightened my view of fighting’s purpose in the game.  When some player rushed Chris Osgood or Dominic Hasek I awaited a brawl.  Defending your friends and your teammates seemed a viable reason to cause some stink.  I know obsess over penalty minutes for roughing and fighting drafting the toughest defenders for my fantasy teams.  I cheer when my guys rack up the PIMs, and devote my blog to the blue line.

So as I’m writing this in response to a recent posting of the 5 Reasons You Love Hockey, for Puck Daddy’s blog I’m reminded of another great influence of my fascination, Wayne Gretzky.  He may not have started my love affair with the sport but his dominance was eye opening.  Honestly, I never followed his career in Edmonton. I took notice when he went to the Los Angles Kings mostly because I couldn’t believe anyone would put a team near the beach.  Stats and news trickled in on my radar for the Great One yet my interest wouldn’t peak until after the Kings.  I recall a co-worker who was a St. Louis Blues fan thus the debate over our rival team’s greatness. He crashed into my office boasting of the acquisition of Gretzky.  I assured him it wouldn’t help his team.

Off to the bright lights of the big city, Wayne Gretzky landed with the New York Rangers. Comparable to the Stevie Y worship, Gretzky and NYC were irresistible.  My boss gave me tickets to a New Year’s Eve game when the Rangers came to Denver to play the young Colorado Avalanche in 1999.  My love for hockey infiltrated that job with a Boston Bruins fan and a San Jose Sharks fan all under one department.  If we had to stay late during the playoffs, we had a radio broadcasting the games.  Our boss, a Denver Broncos fan, couldn’t believe he had three voracious hockey girls in his office.

Gretzky’s retirement is held in high tribute in my home with a framed print plate from the actual New York Daily News front page announcing Gretzky’s departure.  My husband somehow acquired this for me, along with giving me his vintage Rangers jacket.  The New York Rangers are my Eastern Conference team.

I landed in Denver, Colorado before any NHL franchise planted its roots.  In 1996, I found a new hockey hero in Joe Sakic.  Walking downtown one day, the meager crowds were ambushed by numerous fire engines carrying men waving, and sitting atop one was Sakic hoisting the Stanley Cup.  Shining in the sunlight, my heart raced.  Hockey was finally in the Rocky Mountains in grand style.  I followed Sakic’s career, was an Avalanche season ticket holder in 1998 and wore my Avs gear with pride.  My Colorado hockey experience was born.

In 2002, I looked at graduate schools.  My interest fell on Cornell or the University of Denver based on their academics but a must was their hockey traditions.  DU was down the street from my house, so the choice was clear and what an amazing opportunity to see the DU Pioneers ravage the college hockey scene.  I watched NHL stars Paul Stastny and Tyler Bozak play in front of my third row season ticket seats.

Sometimes, the best time out is cozying up on the sofa with a beer and a hockey game.  I watch hockey every night.  I can’t live without knowing the scores and who’s kicked it on my fantasy hockey teams.  What the players do on their ice time is their concern, as I just want to experience the joy of their triumphs. My fantasy hockey team drives what keeps me watching hockey where stats and percentages finally make sense.  Few players on my team have been notified of their status, yet it’s always fun to tell them this fact.

Five reasons why I love hockey seem too few.   Mentally and spiritually the greatest game on ice fills a place like no other. Hockey has always been a large part of my life.  I never realized how influential the sport has been to who I am and how I approach people and situations.  Tell people you’re from Detroit may invoke a mixed response of sympathy and fear, but tell them you’re a Red Wings fan be prepared to defend your turf.