Sunday, February 28, 2010
Until today. I think I finally get it.
Right now I'm thinking about all the things that can go wrong. I'm thinking that Canada has shown vulnerability while the US have not. I'm thinking that the US have nothing to lose and Team Canada has the weight of 30 million people on their shoulders. I'm thinking that Luongo hasn't been as good as Miller, that the USA can almost match us in depth up front, and I'm thinking that this funny game of hockey taketh away and giveth in the most unpredictable of ways.
Now that that's out of the way...
This is gonna be one hell of an afternoon folks!
Friday, February 26, 2010
As far as the hockey, the Slovak's have taken 198 shots on net so far in this tournament. 75 of them have come from Gaborik (27), Hossa (23) Zednick (10) and Chara (10).
The Leafs and Sens are down to Ruutu and Kessel as far as BoO representation in Olympic hockey, as Don pointed out. But Nik Hagman was a Leaf until a week or so before the tournament so does he half count? He leads the Fins with 5 points.
If we want to go back further than this season, there are four ex-Sens still kicking: Hossa, Heatley, Meszaros and Chara.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Canada is still, on paper, the best hockey team remaining in these games. Nobody can match up at all positions with the red and white. Nobody has the mix of youth plus veteran players so highly decorated and nobody else has a fourth line that could be the first line on most of the teams in this thing.
We are alive and we haven't even scratched the surface on our best performance, which, in my opinion, means that no team still standing has a better chance to win this over us. It's all square, all even, and down to 8 teams. It's the beginning, not the end.
So pull up your bottom lips, stop bashing away at players for what they've done or haven't done in your opinion and just get behind them. Quantum Physics. Think good thoughts. It could be the most incredible night to be a Canadian in a span of time when there have been many. Lets drop the suckhole attitude.
Ra Ra Ra.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Brian Burke: Put together a USA team that got a lot of criticism for some of his player choices. Puts Ron Wilson in charge who many people think he should fire from the Leafs. USA then goes perfect in the round robin and beats the world's best hockey team in their own rink.
Bryan Murray: He drafted Getzlaf and Perry. Getzlaf takes a dumb and costly penalty in the game which the US shoves right down our throats with a PP goal. And later, Corey Perry lets Kesler score easily on an empty net to seal the game and kill what was at that point a barrage by Canada trying to tie the game up.
Lets make Burke GM of the Canadian team next Olympics. Who is with me?
Sunday, February 21, 2010
7:40PM. Battle of Ontario united and cheering for the same team on CTV. Go Canada!
Speaking of the TV coverage, which of these 6 TV commercials we watch over and over are starting to do your head in? The Tim Hortons one just entered the rotation and I already want to claw my eyes out.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
No, I think my first visit to the pub to watch Canada will be Sunday against the US, who just beat Norway 6-1 btw. Kessel with a goal and an assist.
So far it looks like the top teams in this tourney are Canada and Russia with everybody else a step back.
Looks can be decieving, so I won't be too cocky. Wait, what fun is that?
Canada 7 Switzerland 0.
I think Team Canada is going to get better and better as this thing rolls on.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
I'm heading from the office back to the hotel at 4pm local time to crack open a $12 minibar beer and watch this sucker online.
Leafs will face Steen and Colaiacovo, the latter a focus in some trade rumours. So if you're keeping track, he's motivated by facing his old team as well as performing for potential suitors at deadline.
Enjoy this one as it's the last for Leaf fans for a few weeks. Thankfully we'll have some good hockey to focus on over that time, when Canada's OTHER team starts working towards gold.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Toronto are 29th in the NHL with 22 games left to play. To make matters worse, they are a full 7 points behind 27th place, with the Panthers having a game in hand. In short, it's fucking dire. Sorry about the language.
As of late Toronto are playing better but in all the excitement I'm hearing some pretty crazy ideas floating around. And I'm not talking crazy as in "wacky", but crazy "you're out of your bloody mind".
So lets break down three potential goals for Leaf fans to have as the season winds down for Toronto.
1. MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.
Lets break the hearts of those who think this is still even possible. The Leafs need 41pts to get to 90pts [which is thought to be the playoff cutoff this season]. That would require the Leafs to finish the season 20-1-1. You're more likely to grow a tail between now and then. Let it go. No really. Let it go.
2. NO TOP TWO PICK FOR BOSTON.
With no playoffs Leaf fans can only cheer for Boston not to get the top pick. This goal requires finishing 24th in the NHL. Why 24th? Because even if the Leafs win the draft lottery they can only move up 4 spots. Finishing 24th means Boston can at best get the 3rd overall pick. To finish 24th it will require the Leafs to get around 80 points. That's a record of 15-6-1 from here on in. You're more likely to win a proline where you chose 6 outcomes, but that actually happened to my brother last week so lets call it stupid, odds-wise, but not impossible.
3. FINISH 4TH LAST AND PRAY
The lottery pick usually goes to the 30th place team who has the most odds. So, to stay out of the top three the Leafs need around 75 points. That's a final run of 13-9. This is still uphill all the way, but at least reasonable to hope for. You're more likely to grow an increased interest in the Raptors over this span of time, but if it's a goal you're looking for, this is one to root for.
Monday, February 08, 2010
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Well, the Senators completely mailed it in and gifted a win to the perpetually awful Leafs. I don't really understand why the Senators chose not to play very hard last night, but it's not for me to analyse why they elected to throw the game.
Whatever the case, it's still miserable for the fans of the playoff-bound team and especially me as I have to spend it in downtown TO listening to the blue-and-white fans talk about Giggy's pending Vezina, Phaneuf's Hart, and Kessel's Richard trophies that they're going to get this year. (If you think I'm kidding about the Vezina, you should check out some of the comments in the multitude of sports websites...)
Alas, I'm off to Spadina. At least last night will keep the Senators and their fans in check. Of course, the reverse is true of the baddies.
Friday, February 05, 2010
Launching @ ~6:45 pm
(assuming the regular outages all of blogger.com is experiencing today are fixed)
Here goes the 2nd round of live-blogging which should be a regular event for all BoOs. Comments are moderated so dickheads will be removed with extreme prejudice. If you're not an invited panelist, you may have to wait a few minutes to get your first comment posted and the rest should appear without moderation.
Enjoy folks. Have fun, but stay respectful, especially given the tragic loss of Brian Burke's son Brendan last night. Those not complying with that request will be banned from all future live-blogging events on the BoO.Panelists - If I'm not online @ 6:45 and you have the capability (as invited Producers), please launch!
As suggested by Steve in the comments section and confirmed by tsn.ca, Brian Burke's son Brenden was killed in a car accident today.
While I've never respected Brian Burke as a GM, I very much respected him for his openness and candor in discussion about Brendan. His support for Brendan, whom some of you may not know came "out" this past year in an interview with ESPN, was impressive for perhaps setting the tone from the very top of the NHL that homophobia would not be tolerated in a sport which has been called the least open to recognition of hockey players for whom they are off the ice.
The Battle of Ontario doesn't matter so much tomorrow, though one could not be surprised if the Leafs are driven to gift a win to Burke as a small measure of support for their dedicated GM.
Sympathies to the family of Burke and all who looked to Brendan as a trailblazer.
Brodeur in. Kovulchuk in. But it's the Sjorstrom/Wallin/Kulemin line that's been the best of the night - who would have thought the "spare part" in the Phaneuf deal would be this good after 5 periods? Powerplay working. PK working. Gustavsson standing tall which means the Sens will see Giguere, and Kessel has a pair of assists for good measure.
Hold on for the last 20 minutes boys...
Thursday, February 04, 2010
For the first time since Gee moved overseas I've got my drink on during a week night, and what a way to celebrate it.
11 wins straight to join only the somewhere-in-the-50s Habs and present day Washington as the only 10+ streaking teams. Fuck yeah, it feels good - just as good as that ice-pack must've felt on Glass's face after Carkner performed upper mandibular surgery thereupon.
I can't go to bed tonight. Fuck a rational posting, I'm heading *back out* to the Heart & Crown to celebrate.
I'll be back on sometime after my impending hangover subsides following next Zorfubvzutday.
Ok. Enough is enough. A 10 game winning streak, Spezza actually earning a portion instead of none of his paycheque... this simply has to stop.
Ottawa host the Vancouver Canucks tonight, a team that for a change isn't struggling.
Lets look at the teams Ottawa have gotten most of there recent wins from and those teams record in the last 10 games:
1 X Rangers: 3-7-0
2 X Boston: 1-7-2
1 X NJD: 3-6-1
2 X Montreal: 4-4-2
1 X Buffalo: 3-5-2
That's 7 of the 10 wins, or, 14 points, all against teams struggling mightily. Throw the Blues in there who are actually above .500 in their last 10, but not fooling anybody - they're a mediocre team at best.
That's 8 wins for Ottawa against bad teams or good teams playing badly.
Tonight it's a different story. The Canucks are 7-3 in their last 10 and boast one of the best goaltenders in the NHL and a top line whom, if they have even a decent game, will send the locals home from Kanata feeling every second of that drive back to Ottawa.
The disclaimer to all this is that God giveth and God taketh away, so while he has finally given Leaf fans Dion Phaneuf and JS Giguere, he might give the Sens #11 just to keep us from ever actually feeling pure joy.
Enjoy the game.
The Leafs were a better team with him in the line-up this year and he'll go down having only played 34 games for his new team. Not the start to his Leaf career anybody was hoping for. Lets just hope he doesn't become the next Mike Van Ryn.
So it's bad news for the rest of the season except the last two weeks of February for Canadian Leaf fans. Komisarek and also Martin won't be playing for team USA.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Yes. Here's why.
The first image below is the goal distribution amongst the top 12 most productive forwards from last year and this year. The percentages represent the fraction of total goals by the top 12 forwards by each player (numbered 1 to 12 of the left axis, decreasing by total points [next]).
% of total goals
This year is in red (for Senators!), last year is in teal (for douchebag). You can guess who holds the 23%. This year's distribution is better distributed at all stages - top 4, middle and lesser TOIers.
Next up is total points (I didn't bother with an 'assists' chart as its inferred by the other two).
% of total points
This one is actually really cool - last year the top three forwards (Alfie-Spezza-Heatley) shared 18% each of total points for a total of 53% of all points. This year, the top line each reduced total points percentage to ~14% for a total of 41% - a decrease of 12%. But since this is a % of total, where'd that 12% go?
Well, this is where it gets interesting: the next three forwards (Foligno-Fisher-Vermette) each had 8% of the total points scored for a total of 24%. The values have remained virtually unchanged for the 4-6 forwards this year (though the actual forwards themselves have changed) for a total of 23%.
As illustrated by the graph, that 12% reduction for the top 3 is now distributed very evenly amongst the 7-12 skaters.
1) much more balanced scoring;
2) greater flexibility of line combinations.
Both of these results illustrate that Ottawa is no longer a "one line team" which the critics (Muppet et al.) very rightly identified as the weak point of Ottawa's team.
1) Ottawa is no longer a one-line team;
2) Team chemistry enhanced thereby permitting greater line combinations and on the fly changeups;
3) Clouston has convinced all the forwards to buy in to his system and play less of an individual "pass me the puck 'cause I'm a one-trick shooter" game;
4) No one is openly fucking any teammate's partners.
*this years totals based on data prior to tonight's game.
I guess we shouldn't discount the 2nd round pick which would be 59th overall if draft was tomorrow.
Points-wise, if you look around the NHL here are some comparable forwards off other teams. Would you make any of these deals for Heatley??
ISLANDERS: Frans Nielsen - 25PTS, Sean Bergenheim - 13PTS.
DALLAS: Jamie Benn - 25pts, Tom Wandell - 15pts
PHOENIX: Martin Hanzal - 25pts, Taylor Pyatt 14pts
I know the Sens are winning but dealing a franchise player isn't about a middle of the season winning streak in season one. It's about the next 3-5 years.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Some might look at that and think that it was a PR job, but you didn't watch the game then. That's about as accurate a three star selection as I've seen.
What a team effort though.
Flames fans might be a little pissed off right now...
Giguere and Phaneuf make their debut's, as does Sjorstrom. The new faces didn't work for Calgary last night (how about ex-BoO goalies named Razor huh?) so Jokinen was officially shipped to New York today. Count 'em... that's 6 new forwards out of 12 for the Flames. Wow.
The Devils on Sunday lost their first game of the year when leading after two periods. Their game before that one, against the Leafs, also ended in a 3rd period meltdown for Brodeur and company, albeit a game they salvaged on the powerplay in overtime.
Kessel and Ponikorovsky have provided most of the Leafs points lately, so thankfully they are still on the team. The Leafs will apparently call up Christian Hanson for the game, but nothing official that I can find.
Lots of great links over at PPP. Expect this game to reach new records on Sportsnet weekday ratings as pretty much every wounded Leaf fan I know is crawling out from under their rock to see if anything will change.
Prediction: Leafs 4 Jersey 0.
Ya, a shutout. I'm calling it.
Monday, February 01, 2010
Not two short years ago:
- Vesa Toskala was considered "untouchable".
- Jason Blake was going to make Toronto "more balanced and more consistent"
Now Phaneuf is going to save the defense and generate tonnes of PP goals and Giguere is going to make the goal-tending corps solid.
Normally we don't get this kind of entertainment until pre-season at the ACC!
Vesa Toskala did not work with Francois Allaire this season. Because Vesa Toskala thought he couldn't change styles at his age and didn't want to try.
Is Toskala a moron, or is that a fair enough stance?
UPDATE: GIGUERE GETS THE START TOMORROW, and a good portion of the remaining schedule. He's officially the #1 guy.
I'm not saying Gustavsson isn't good enough to win the game. It's not about that. It's about Giguere. The pure adrenaline of being on a new team. The opportunity to put Anaheim behind him. The chance to get him gelled with his new team.
The biggest reason however has to be Giguere's ability to stand tall in must-win games. Well, welcome to Toronto buddy. All games are must-win at this point, even if just recouping some dignity is all that stands to be gained in the end.
Throw him in there Ron. What have you got to lose? You know, besides yet another hockey game?
UPDATE: In case you're wondering, Stajan skated on a line with Iginla, Hagman with Jokinen and Ian White took Dion's place and #3, skating with Regehr. Seems like everybody in Calgary is pretty excited about the players they got. Game is on Sportsnet West tonight. If I'm right, that's usually blacked out here in Ontario. Anybody know?