Tag Archives: Rangers

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.

Top Tough Guys

Every team has the player who is the scrapper, the guy who causes trouble for the opposing team.  But not only do some of the top tough guys cause problematic penalty points, these guys can score.

David Clarkson- New Jersey Devils

Never was a fan of the Devils, rather was a New York Rangers fan.  Anyone living in the tri-state area can tell you, it’s not an option to be a fan of both. My nephews played hockey in New Jersey and often met the Devils in their junior leagues.  Still wasn’t a fan.  Then, last season I picked up David Clarkson on my fantasy hockey team because he got into a fight every week; he was a guaranteed five for fighting.

After a lengthy stint on injury reserve, New Jersey Devil’s David Clarkson returned packing punches for ten penalty minutes for fighting twice with Calgary Flame’s Jamal Myers.  The right-winger has a total 16 points for the season, which may not seem like much but Clarkson can score with the best of them.  He has 54 penalty minutes thus far, but that stat should climb.

The NHL Network named David Clarkson one of the top tough guys, ever.  He’s not afraid to pick a fight to turn the momentum to his team and it’s showing as the Devils are heading into the playoffs in a comfortable fourth position in the Eastern Conference.   He has been the main reason I am a fan of the Devils, but will follow Clarkson whatever team he plays for in the future.

Sean Avery- New York Rangers

I put Avery on the list because he has 133 penalty minutes, and seems to get into a scruff any chance he can.  I’ve seen Adam Foote back down from a charge from Avery.  He has the ability to score as he has 25 points this year.  Though the Rangers are fighting an uphill battle this season sitting in ninth in the Eastern Conference and will most likely miss any playoff run, Avery hasn’t backed down. But Avery will have to take his energy elsewhere once the playoffs begin if the Rangers are not able to perform a playoff run miracle.  Perhaps his previous internship with Vogue magazine could offer him some part-time seasonal work.  The day Sean Avery works the runway at Bryant Park is a proud day for Rangers fans, at least the ladies.

Daniel Carcill0- Philadelphia Flyers

He taunts the crowd after he’s won the fight on the ice.  He’s a dude you want in your corner if you like the penalty minutes and tough energy.  Carcillo has 156 penalty minutes and 16 points this season.  He’s prone to suspensions, and is the bad kid on the team who behaves for a game or two then lets the fury out of the bag.  You either love him or think he’s overrated.

Colton Orr-Toronto Maple Leafs

As a Rangers fan, Orr was the other tough guy to complement Avery.  The NHL Network also named Colton Orr one of the best tough guys.  Orr ranks third thus far in penalty minutes with 170.  Scoring isn’t his priority with four points, so it’s safe to say he’s the pummel hound no matter what team he’s with.  Now with the Leafs, Orr has kept his image intact in Canada.

Alex Burrows- Vancouver Canucks

The Western Conference is riding high with top talent this year, and Burrows lays claim to the much of the Canucks’ success.  Having been moved to the top line with the Sedin brothers, Burrows has become one winger who can split the stats between plays and punches.

Alex Burrows fought his way to the NHL up through the ranks, and now boasts 55 points, 94 penalty minutes and an amazing plus-32 rating.  Though Burrows seemed to be in a slump early in the year, it’s been my experience that he heats up later in the year.  I picked him up when someone dropped him last year and have never looked back.

Cody McLeod- Colorado Avalanche

This is more of a personal choice because I live in Denver and know more about Cody McLeod from local stories, Avs skates and training camp.  McLeod is a true hockey player in the sense that he just wants to play the game and loves every minute of it.  He’s not into the flashy lifestyle as Sean Avery, rather he’s a Canadian boy who takes one for the team.  For fans, he’s available for autographs, usually walking right into the sea of fans to shake hands and pose for pictures.  Fans love to thank him for taking the punches and scraps against other players to defend the honor of the Colorado Avalanche; it’s just part of his game.

These are just some of my favorite tough guys, because without these guys hockey wouldn’t be the same.  Avery, Burrows, and even McLeod add some spunk to the competition and in many ways adds valor to the game protecting the honor of their teammates.  And there’s nothing better than a great hockey fight.

Glows and Blows- Week 8

Glows-

Wonder guy Marian Hossa returned to the line-up for the Blackhawks Wednesday night.

 

Would the Windy City have something to be thankful for?  Hossa showed up with a short-handed goal and a goal, but by weeks end, three shots on goal weren’t enough to deliver Friday night.  Half glow, half blow.

Avs rookie Matt Duchene scored his first home-ice goal at the Pepsi Center Saturday, but not enough to beat division rival the Minnesota Wild, but staying in the hunt for tops in the West.

 

Sid the Kid roped up his fourth hat trick in a slugfest against the New York Rangers.

Blows-

A two game suspension for Flyer Daniel Briere for a hit on Avalanche defenseman Scott Hannan.  Those Avs fans were mad.

 

Buffalo Sabre Craig Rivet, 35, and Philadelphia Flyer Daniel Carcillo, 24, took out frustrations twice on each other posting 20 minutes for fighting. Carcillo topped that with a game misconduct call for 10.

 

Out 4-6 weeks winger David Clarkson is a huge deficit for the Deveils. But Clarkson isn’t the only bruiser; Saturday, the game tallied 20 minutes of fighting with Pelley vs. Thompson and Corrente vs. Jackman.  Deep bruisers.

 

The New York Rangers have been turning the fists and digging in.  First, fighting with Tampa Bay earlier in the week posting 8 for roughing, 20 for fighting and 30 for misconduct.  Next night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, both hooked for 15 for fighting and 30 for misconduct.

Avery Again

New York Ranger Sean Avery has been at the top of my shit list for a few years, but this year, Flame Dion Phaneuf, has achieved the top status.  As I draft my fantasy team every year, I always pick up a New York Ranger.  I’ve drafted Dubinsky, Callahan, the best goaltender, Henrik Lundquist, even Sean Avery years back before the battle with his cheap shots and loose talk.  But my moment of humble pie set in when I had to draft two players due to IR status for David Clarkson and Joffrey Lupul.  Like a kid in a candy store, I was able to pick up two freebie players to try out for a few weeks to months.  My fist pick was Wayne Simmonds of the LA Kings whose impressive play stood out.  Wayne would take care of goals and assists.

The next best type of player to have on your team is the PIM guy, the fighter.  So I popped in the roster stats to PIM and found a list including Sean Avery.  Had I gotten over his behavioral issues with that chick from 24 who now ironically is with Phaneuf?  Did what he say really matter?  Isn’t he just like any New Yorker, whose attitude I defend because I like it and appreciated the bluntness and their matter of fact way?  Not exactly.

Before making any move I cruised the Rangers roster to make certain I wasn’t missing anyone I couldn’t live without.  Brandon Dubinsky was on IR, Ryan Callahan was taken in both leagues, and I’ve broken up with Chris Drury for good after last year. Del Zotto was gone and far away from my reach in my leagues.  Defensemen Dan Girardi, Michal Rozsival, and Wade Redden didn’t exactly have the chutzpah I was looking for in defending my blue line.  I wanted a fighter.

Earlier in the year I posed the question in my story, Juicing Up the Big Apple, was Donald Brashear, punk or player?  I went on to say: Really?  Some say he’s the best defenseman in the league, but all I’ve seen is bashing. I’m a fan of fighting when it’s making room for the players to play, but some of his antics seem bullying.  He’s tallied one point yet 54 penalty minutes.  Still wasn’t interested.

Sean Avery raged 19 PIMs Saturday against the Penguins and caught my attention. So, alas, he has taken a LW seat on my roster being challenged for starts against Alex Burrows, Michael Cammalleri, and Tuomo Ruutu.  With 11 points on the season and 44 penalty minutes, he’ll get his start on Monday.   I think Sean will have a few weeks to prove himself or it’s back in the bin.

Who’s Got the Luck?

Week 7 of the NHL brings both talent and luck to the top of the Conference standings.   Shots on goal, staking claim on the blue line and goaltending has contributed to the unpredictable rankings as we move past the first quarter of the season.

Eastern Conference:

1.

The Washington Capitals top the Eastern Conference despite having lost Alex Ovechkin for a brief stint.  Enter Mike Green, Brooks Laich and Brendan Morrison, among the few who had an opportunity to keep their team afloat.

Goaltending has been a round robin with Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov netting the top jobs, but thirdster Michal Neuvirth stepped into a game this week against Montreal. Neuvirth’s opportunity fell short with a loss of  2-3.

My prediction preseason comments:

Washington Capitals- Alexander Ovechkin rocks, we all know that, but I’ll be watching to see if the young goalie, Semyon Varlamov can hold it together.  Critics doubt the strength of this goaltender for the full-season impact, but what I saw last year in the unraveling of the New York Rangers was impressive.   And, Don Cherry loves to rip on Ovechkin for his grandstanding.  How ironic.

2.

When you talk about the New Jersey Devils, Martin Brodeur gets the high five, but the Devils have a strong base and have climbed up in the Eastern Conference because of good play.   The depth of players such as David Clarkson has proven a wise investment with 7 goals, 8 assists and 33 PIMs.  Zajac and Parise have held a stake in the play, but new faces have emerged as pickups in the fantasy world due to productivity.  Right-winger Niclas Bergfors has 5 goals and 9 assists. Defenseman Andy Greene nabbed 3 goals, 6 assists, not the highest stats, but a name that is popping up more frequently in commentary during the game.

Goaltending by Martin Brodeur has been consistent and spot on with a 12-5-1 record.   With a 98% ownership in Yahoo leagues, he’s expected to be great and it’s showing.

Preseason scoop:

New Jersey Devils– So I’m more of a fan of those New York teams, but I have to give it up for the Devils.  Despite Brodeur, I like most of the players.  Travis Zajac, Zach Parise and David Clarkson have all caught my attention like no other New Jersey team in the past.  I’ll be watching and drafting from this team.

3.

The Buffalo Sabres should have won the Stanley Cup in 1999, and I still have issues with that, therefore I am elated to see the Sabres sopping it up in the Eastern conference sitting in third.  Players like Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Jason Pominville have provided a base, with Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford being picked up in fantasy leagues more frequently.

Ex-Michigan State Spartan Ryan Miller has been stellar for the Sabres.  His play has put the team where they are. His record stands at 12-3-2 with a GAA of 1.97 and two shutouts.

Didn’t see the Sabres as contenders but were interested in the team on my own accord.  My recommendations for Buffalo revolved around the D in Craig Rivet and Steve Mantador who have proven to keep the lanes clear for scoring.   Talent hidden in the depths of Buffalo

4.

Pittsburgh Penguins sits in 4th carrying a ton of injuries.  Sidney Crosby has done his best, but one man cannot carry it all. There are some lucky charms being utilized. Actually it’s amazing that they are holding on, but expect the Penguins to rise as soon as everyone is healthy.  Fleury could step it up a bit as his stats state 11-7-0 and a shaky GAA of 2.67.

My New York teams sit in 9th and 10th.  The NY Rangers were expected to perform better, but their talent is not delivering. One exception for the Garden is Michael Del Zotto with an impressive debut showing 4 goals, 11 assists, and14 PIMs.  The NY Islanders put a great deal of hope in rookie John Tavares and that has proven to keep the team as swimmers, not bottom feeders so far.

Western Conference:

1.

In the Western Conference many fans out west would like to see the San Jose Sharks break their bad playoff karma once and for all.  This year may be it by the hardcore play and dedication towards the playoff run.  That is said every year, but acquiring winger Dany Heatley was a gamble that has paid with 17 goals, 9 assists and 18 PIMs.  Center Patrick Marleau has 14 goals and 12 assists, then you have veteran Joe Thornton with 30 points. This type of scoring creates star power.  Plus, add great depth players in Manny Malhotra, Joe Pavelski, and a strong blue line headed by Dan Boyle co-starring Jason Demers and M-E Vlasic wins games.

Evgeni Nabokov gets respect because he can complete the task in net.  So far he’s achieved 13-3-4 but needs to gain ground in his 2.2 GAA.  Not bad, but could do better.

This was my scope for the Sharks preaseason:

The San Jose Sharks-Because who won’t be watching? Now that Dany Heatley is in, and ineffectual Jonathan Cheechoo is out, the team may have a chance.  Players like M-C Vlasic, Ryan Clowe, and of course, Joe Thornton will try to gain back the fierceness in the Shark Tank.  All hope is on Heatley.  But that may not be enough.  I’m watching from afar.  I’ll be keeping track of Dan Boyle‘s stats.

2.

Now that everyone is using the title of young guns for the Colorado Avalanche, seems the team is losing some ammo power slipping to second place. Much hype has revolved around the new overhaul and future accomplishments of the new and improved Avalanche.   Panic attack or another victim of injuries?  J-M Liles was on rotating IR for a few weeks, T.J. Galiardi was out, Adam Foote was out, and so on.  The Avs reportedly have the one of the lowest SOG and GAA stats.  Good defense and goaltending has helped keep the Avs in place.  And they’ve gotten some lucky shots due to Matt Duchene’s accuracy.  Fantasy owners were warned about picking up Wojtek Wolski , but lucky owners have benefited with 9 goals and 11 assists.

Peter Budaj was out with the flu, but did that really matter?  The star of the Avs is Craig Anderson who hit a 12-6-3 record, but a 2.52 GAA, which has slipped.

No one can dispute the Colorado Avalanche are performing well, but so many would like to see them fall down.  Is it that unbelievable that a better mix of players and management can make that much difference?  If you can get the right chemistry, there’s no telling what you can do.

3.

Chicago is a great town and an awesome sports town, so it’s a plus to see one of the Original Six teams doing well. In 3rd for the race, the past is the past and the Chicago Blackhawks are here in the now.  Though Marian Hossa is out, the Hawks have the train rolling.  Great players and I’m a fan.

My thoughts on the team preseason:

Chicago Blackhawks– Take no prisoners.  Out for blood.  Now that the Hawks have Marian Hossa the team should be amazing.  Right?  Let’s hope so after all the hoopla surrounding the team or Toews, Kane and Keith and some other good players that don’t get noticed as much: Dave Bolland, Andrew Ladd, and Brent Seabrook.  Deep dish pizzazz or digging deeper into a cheesy situation.

4.

Fourth place goes to the Los Angeles Kings who I enjoy seeing kicking the sand in everyone’s face.  A beach team has caught my eye with players like Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll, veteran Ryan Smyth and numerous guys I had never seen but introduced to by their notable play: Michal Handzus, Jack Johnson and Wayne Simmonds. Goalie Jon Quick is holding up with a 12-7-2 record, but will need to turn up the heat on his 2.62 GAA.

The St. Louis Blues got lost on their way to practice and sit in 13thplace.  David Backes has been a late bloomer and goaltending problems have been a shock to everyone.

Surprises?  The Detroit Red Wings rank 8th, while the Phoenix Coyotes are ahead in 7th.

Luck can be an amazing helper for teams with mounting injuries and sloppy shooters, but all teams have lucky games.  True skill and talent lie within all teams but don’t produce if the alignment is off or non-existent.  One top scorer can carry a team, but it’s the teams with depth taking it to the playoff run.

Big D in the Big Apple

The New York Rangers recently held their early “look” camp for  the media who had the task of  speculating how the players would impact the season; most importantly, who was to be the breakout candidate in New York.  Great promise in prospects with some moving up from the Wolfpack and into the Garden have put the #9 NYR prospect, Matt Gilroy as the top rookie to watch.  As the Hobey Baker winner last year, and Boston University player, Gilroy has the pedigree of a classy yet productive player.

Ryan McDonagh and Bobby Sanguinetti are considered to be the possible blue line boys in the secondary to cover Dan Girardi and Marc Staal.

Mike Roszival and Wade Redden will start on the blue line for the Rangers.

Avery will be the stand up guy on the line, but the goal scoring is where the Rangers are counting on his attack. Torts wants to run this Broadway show with speed and grit, therefore has Brashear sporting the enforcer tag.