Tag Archives: Liles

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.

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Best of Both Worlds

It’s absolutely frigid in the Rocky Mountains on a day of hockey feuding. Bound for Joe Louis Arena, the Colorado Avalanche are flying to Hockeytown.  The Detroit Red Wings sit as state heroes this year and every year before that. Diana Ross and the Supremes blast from the speakers in the aged arena, and every Detroit band has their moment when the puck stops at the Joe. Even if “we” lose, Wings fans never die. Yes, we. But the best of both worlds is writing about two hockey teams that have been influential for many years. Detroit is a historical legend, the Avs manifest destiny.

Newly anointed Avs  LIffiton, Van Der Gulik,  Dupuis and Mauldin have all scored their first NHL goal as an Avalanche player. Signs of growth and curiosity in a young team without pretense came to play the Red Wings on home ice. Wings fans span the US, so it’s no surprise to see a sea of red in Denver.  A power-play goal by Todd Bertuzzi got the game rolling. Todd would have been served a round of boos at the Pepsi Center for his crippling hit on, then avalanche center, Steve Moore.  Back from the KHL, Jiri Hudler scored his first goal back as a Wing. Despite the Avs looking dazed, they were able to score on a 5 on 3 power- play with J-M Liles scoring on the advantage. The Colorado Avalanche rank number one on the road in the West for points scored.

The series sits even. The Avs beat Wings in OT on October 12 in Detroit. 5-4. Detroit, winner of game 2, 3-1, ties it up for the next game after Xmas. The Avalanche hustled, but they were also puffing as Detroit was sprinting down the ice. The geezers were leading the chase. Here’s a blast from the past:

The Red Wings are hot right now, and in Denver the tone is that this game was a test to see how good the Avs really are. What they really are choking down is that the Wings are rocking the ice and humbled in the rivalry for now. Not saying the Avs aren’t doing well, but the Colorado boys are humbled by their youth and growth spurts. The youngest team in the NHL certainly is not the dumbest team in the NHL. What the Avs have are realistic expectations, but a positive cohesion.

Hat-tricks and Hits

The NHL and the NFL have come to a head, literally, with both looking at serious consequences for head hits in the game. The NHL has even gone beyond hits on the ice- they’ve gone to the fans. Suspensions came for taking aim at the fans taunting players, such as Rick Rypien who was suspended 6 games for grabbing a Minnesota Wild fan. Rypien was already in a bad mood losing to the Wild and double points for roughing plus a misconduct call. Though he didn’t apologize, Bettman did.

Daniel Alfredsson, Rene Bourque and Steven Stamkos scored hat-tricks early in the week. Alfredsson scored three times in a duel with Buffalo, and the first to score over 1K with a hat-trick. Good news for Ottawa. Up in Calgary, Bourque bounced three in the net rolling into Columbus. Stamkos scored three as a souvenir in Atlanta. Then Alex Semin strolled right in with a hat-trick of his own when the Caps met rival Atlanta over the weekend. The Islanders Tavares picked up a trio despite losing to the Panthers. But don’t forget Brad Richardson‘s triple threat over the Avs at the Pepsi Center.

In the East, The New York Rangers fought hard Saturday in Boston. Sean Avery powered a misconduct call with an instigator and fighting cherry on top. In the first period alone, 30 PIMs for fighting hit the stats. The Rangers are climbing.

The Buffalo Sabres slump is barely in its third week, but feels like a lifetime. Could the high expectations of Myers and Miller be setting the Sabres up for failure? Give it time for this all to work- because it will. Saturday saw a spark with a win by Miller and a goal by Myers.

New Jersey is fighting back, at least David Clarkson that is. Clarkson, who is guaranteed a fight a week met his quota this week with Travis Moen in Montreal. Last week he took on two fights when Washington got on his nerves taking it out on Jason Chimera and Matt Bradley. Another good slugger, Dan Carcillo, finally used the gloves and got his five for fighting in Toronto.

Way out West, cheerleaders will come to Canada, Edmonton sets the trend for some reason. Sad or sexy, obviously Taylor Hall isn’t performing the way they expedcted. So, maybe some T&A will help.

Franzen returned with a bang. Red Wings fans are happy. Detroit has its secret weapon back. The Wings are sitting in the standing nicely right now and should stay with strong play by the Mule. Zetterberg amd Holmstrom are hitting their stride to put the Wings back in a confortable place in the race. After the win at home against Anaheim, third straight win, the Wings goalie Howard continues to perform like a top netminder.

Colorado continues to have fun and maintain some wins, but hovering mid to low pack in the West. Don’t have too much fun if the job doesn’t get done. Even Liles has figured out that he’s a defenseman, so he posted five for fighting with Justin Williams. The Kings are just in front of the Avs, but look out St. Louis Blues hanging with these two talented young teams.

San Jose Sharks scrapper Ryan Clowe has risen from the dead and slugged for five. When Calgary came to town, it put the Sharks on edge, especially when the Flames went up 4-zip in the first.

So the story goes. Jumping into the third week will be an interesting jumbling of predictions that have been set aside for new ones. Don’t be surprised if your team slumps now and again as they all do. It’s a long season- hunker down with your remote and plenty of whatever keeps you going. Load up on candy too for Halloween.

Avs in the Morning

It’s Tuesday November 24th and for breakfast I slam down a cup of coffee and head to Avs morning skate. The best breakfast ever.  I was glad to see twenty-five fans in the stands.  Play was lively and a lot of smiles.  The Colorado Avalanche have found their chemistry on the ice.

Defenseman Kyle Quincey and superstar rookie Matt Duchene chatted amongst themselves along the boards, while Adam Foote was supervising puck drills.  J-M Liles repeatedly plowed the puck toward the net, but frustration was apparent, as his shots didn’t fire head on.  With Liles on the IR twice this year, his spot on fantasy teams has caused frustration, me included.  Wojtek Wolski seemed tired, as I observed for my fantasy line-up and his potential against the upcoming Predators.  He was smiling and talking with Duchene between drills, so I hope he can hold my LW spot for Wednesday.

I was impressed with defenseman Ryan Wilson who had good shots and was extremely persistent in achieving an accurate shot.  His puck handling skills were tight and skilled.

The last players on the ice were Ryan O’Reilly and Chris Stewart having a blast challenging goaltender Peter Budaj.

After the morning skate, I went to hang with the group of Avalanche fans eagerly waiting for the team to sign autographs and get pictures.  As each car crept through the gate, fans swarmed politely.  These Avalanche fans were very bonded in their love for their team and courteous to the players. As Budaj drove out of the gate, fans wanted to know if he would be starting against Nashville. He said he wasn’t.

I had a chance to give my blog card to Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly.  I approached Stastny as fellow DU alumni, while I approached O’Reilly with “you’re on my fantasy team.”  He liked that.  I asked them both to check out my blog.

Shout out to Cody McLeod who got out of his truck to take pictures with everyone.  We were all glad he didn’t fight with ex-Av Lappy on Monday against the Flyers.

I’m not the best photographer with my camera phone, but here’s a few photos of Cody McLeod, Darcy Tucker and Ryan O’Reilly.

Until next morning skate, don’t cross my blue line!

Glows and Blows- Week 5

This week I had two tough fantasy match-ups, so most of my time was keeping track of my players. Thus, here’s the week’s overview:

Glows-

Canuck Alex Burrows, a winger with a punch, came out of his shell with an empty netter and shorthanded assist in a convincing win over the Minnesota Wild.

The Detroit Red Wings have delivered some great wins recently, including Chris Osgood’s 50th shutout of his career against the Boston Bruins.

Big D guy Zdeno Chara scored his first goal of the season, finally! He continued with a Gordie Howe hat-trick, an assist and 12 penalty minutes.

Minnesota Wild’s Marek Zidlicky scored his first goal of the season, incidentally the game-winning goal.

Blows-

Blues winger David Backes is back posting five for fighting despite the loss to the Calgary Flames.

Devil Clarkson took it to Islander Tim Jackman in the first 40 seconds of their match up. Clarkson took 7 PIMs for the hits.

Avalanche D guy J-M Liles is out again with a soldier injury.  I just got him off of IR.