Kings or Sharks in Game 7?

Who takes game seven? Can the Sharks fight off the demons of losing 3 straight? Or does LA make it 4 straight and blow up the Sharks franchise?

I think the Sharks are fish food and done. The team morale is at an all-time low after blowing a 3-0 lead. The Kings have all the momentum.

What do you think?

Follow your passion!

Posted in Hockey Tagged with: ,

Canucks to Hire Linden After Gillis Fiasco

Finally the Vancouver Canucks made a good decision by firing Mike Gillis.  Anyone that says Gillis turned the Canucks into a contender after the firing of Dave Nonis has no idea how bad this guy was as GM.

Gillis

In his first season as GM in 2008-09, Gillis got one solid draft pick in Cody Hodgson, but where is he now?  He signed Pavol Demitra which was a good addition and also signed Mats Sundin at $8.6m and he only played half a season in Vancouver.  I will give Gillis kudos for signing David Backes to a 3-year offer sheet that unfortunately the St. Louis Blues matched.  The team won the division after missing the playoffs but were ousted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round.

The 2009-10 Mathieu Schneider and Mikael Samuelsson and drafting Jordan Schroeder and Kevin Connauton.  But the claim to fame in this season was re-signing Roberto Luongo to a 12 year extension!  The Sedins were signed to extensions this season as well and Samuelsson turned out to be a good signing with a career high 30 goals.  Ryan Kesler was also signed to an extension for 6 years/$30 million.

The 2010-11 season started with getting absolutely nothing in the draft as the highest player taken was 115th overall and his name was Patrick McNally.  Who?  Exactly.  After all the extensions and signings and giving up draft picks, the Canucks were to make a run.  Did Gillis really architect this team or were most of the pieces just in place and he just signed them to longer more expensive extensions?  As it turns out the Canucks made the Stanley Cup final but couldn’t close out against the Boston Bruins.

In 2011-12, his fourth season as GM, Gillis was starting to feel the pressure of not winning.  But coming so close.  Personally I think he took the pressure to hard and pushed the team into a downward spiral at this point even though the Canucks won their second consecutive President’s Trophy.  Gillis biggest mistake was trading the best player he ever drafted in Cody Hodsgon to the Buffalo Sabres for basically Zack Kassian.  Might have looked good on paper at this point as Vancouver to get bigger and Hodgson was having trouble staying healthy.  We all know how it turned out though.  The Canucks lost in the first round of the playoffs and big changes were warranted or heads would roll!

The 2012-13 season brought another couple of extensions from Gillis.  Alex Burrows signed for 4 years/$18 million and Alex Edler signed for 6 years/$30 million.  Another two players that basically all Gillis did was re-sign and give too much money to.  The team struggled and Alain Vigneault lost his job, although Gillis should have been the one that got canned.  Ryan Kesler and David Booth were both injured for most of the season.  The goaltending controversy between Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider was a massive soap opera.  Derek Roy another super signing by Gillis was invisible in the playoffs.

Then he trades Cory Schneider in the off-season at the draft and turns around and trades Roberto Luongo as well?  Talk about pushing the panic button.  The Canucks go from having probably the best goalie tandem and deepest depth at the position to starting Eddie Lack!  In the end Gillis didn’t have enough patience to handle the GM duties in a hockey mad city where losing the Stanley Cup means torching police cars.  Maybe he was honestly fearing for his life and pushed the panic button.  Or maybe he was basically just a person re-signing players that were already put in place without replenishing the cupboards with young talent.

The Canucks have a long way to go and maybe with Trevor Linden, Mr. Canuck coming in at the helm the ship will be pointed in the right direction.

Remember to follow your passion.

Jordan Powers

Posted in Hockey

Next Stop the Hall of Fame for No. 5

Nicklas Lidstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom was honoured on March 6th in Detroit with his famed No. 5 jersey being retired by the original six franchise.  Lidstrom is the first defenceman to have his jersey retired by the Red Wings.  He joins six other famed Red Wings: Gordie Howe’s No. 9, Steve Yzerman’s No. 19, Ted Lindsay’s No. 7, Terry Sawchuk’s No. 1, Alex Delvecchio’s No. 10, and Sid Abel’s No. 12.

Lidstrom was drafted in the third round (53rd overall) in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft and amassed 1,142 points on  264 goals and 878 assists in 1,564 games.  The trophy case includes 7 Norris Trophies, 1 Conn Smythe Trophy, and 4 Stanley Cups.  Other career marks:

  • Ranks 2nd all-time in Red Wing history in GP and 4th in points
  • First European born Captain to win a Stanley Cup
  • First European born player to win Conn Smythe Trophy
  • NHL All-Rookie Team (1992)
  • NHL First All-Star Team – 10 – (1998-2003, 2006-2008, 2011)
  • NHL Second All-Star Team – 2 – (2009-2010)
  • James Norris Memorial Trophy – 7 – (2001-2003, 2006-2008, 2011)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy (2002)
  • Olympic All-Star Team and Gold Medal (2006)
  • Played in the Olympics – 4 – (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010)
  • Played in NHL All-Star Game – 11 – (1996, 1998-2004, 2007-2008, 2011)
  • Stanley Cup Winner – 4 – (1997-1998, 2002, 2008) (2008 as captain)

The one stat that is so amazing to me is that in 20 seasons he was a minus player only one time in 2010-2011.  His total plus-minus for his entire career is a plus 450.  I read during the 2010-2011 campaign that Lidstrom was upset that he was a minus player.  This shows how much Lidstrom put into his game and how proud of player he was.

The story of how No. 5 came to be is very funny actually especially for a Red Wing historian.  When Lidstrom signed his first contract with the Red Wings he didn’t know much about the team coming from Sweden.  Basically he knew that Steve Yzerman was the captain and played in Detroit a long time.  The trainer asked Lidstrom what number he would like and Lidstrom said, “I wore No. 9 in Sweden and it’d be great to be No. 9 again.”  The trainer said, “Kid, that just ain’t gonna happen.”  So he just took whatever number was given to him and that is how he became No. 5.

Number 5

Next stop the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The K2LFGM Team

 

Posted in Hockey

Which team made the biggest splash at NHL trade deadline day?

Please vote below and feel free to comment on your selections.  Only takes 30 seconds to sign in.

Trade Poll

[yop_poll id=”11″]

Posted in Hockey

Are the Canadiens a Cup Contender with Vanek in the Fold?

Does the addition of winger Thomas Vanek push the Montreal Canadiens into Stanley Cup contention?

Thomas Vanek

With the Habs sitting in second place in the Atlantic Division this definitely is a nice piece to the puzzle for the Canadiens.  Vanek is a gifted goal scorer who adds size to a smaller team and gives two solid lines with punch for Montreal.

They only gave up prospect Sebastian Collberg and probably a 2nd round pick in 2014 (if Montreal makes the playoffs) for a proven commodity.  Although Vanek is an unrestricted free agent this summer I could see him staying in Montreal.  With Vanek’s European heritage (Austrian) he will find a nice fit playing in Montreal, not that New York was bad!  But playing in Long Island is no New York City!

Please feel free to comment on your thoughts and vote in the poll.  Follow your passion!

Jordan Powers

[yop_poll id=”10″]

Posted in Hockey

Martin St. Louis Moves to Broadway

The NHL trade deadline is once again upon us.  Some big names moved today.

The biggest deal of the day involves the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Martin St. LouisRyan Callahan

Martin St. Louis gets his wish and packs his bags for New York.  The Rangers give up captain Ryan Callahan, a 1st rounder in 2015, a conditional 2nd round pick in 2014, and a conditional 7th round pick in 2015.  A nice haul for Steve Yzerman who was put under the gun with St. Louis wanting out of Tampa because he didn’t make Team Canada.

I think we can all understand why Yzerman has now stepped down as the Executive Director of Team Canada.  It wasn’t as though Yzerman was the only one who could say no to St. Louis being on Team Canada, there was a whole gamut of NHL executives choosing the team and Yzerman was the spokesperson.  Needless to say a nice haul and good luck finding a NHL General Manager wanting to take the helm of the Canadian ship in 2018!

Heading to the New York Rangers
Martin St. Louis

Heading to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Ryan Callahan
1st round pick (2015)
2nd round pick (2014) – conditional
7th-round pick (2015) – conditional

Please vote on the who you think won this trade.  Also feel free to comment on the trade and discuss!

[yop_poll id=”9″]

Posted in Hockey

Olympic Hockey Injuries of Note

Are injuries to NHL players at the Olympics the final nail in the coffin for participation?

I personally hope not but there were some pretty big injuries at the 2014 Winter Olympics including John Tavares out for the remainder of the season.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka)

(Photo by Streeter Lecka)

Who pays the remaining portion of the contract?  Insurance companies or does the NHL team still have to pay

Apparently Carey Price is hurt now after leading Team Canada to the gold medal.  Some injuries like Henrik Zetterberg were aggravated by the Olympics but this did not actually cause his injury.

Let’s look at the biggest injuries from the Olympic Games.

Tomas Kopecky, Florida Panthers

Kopecky took a nasty elbow to the head from Slovenia’s Sabahudin Kovacevic and suffered a concussion.  His date of return is unclear at this time.

Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

I mention Zetterberg because of his star status in Detroit.  Zetterberg already missed 13 games during the NHL season with a herniated disk and aggravated it during the Olympics.  He would have most likely aggravated the disk regardless if it was at the Olympics or not but it is still worth documenting.

Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers

The exciting rookie suffered a knee injury in a preliminary game against Norway and could be out four to six weeks depending on surgery.

Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks

Kesler injured his hand blocking an Ilya Kovalchuk shot in a game against Russia.  Although he continued to play in the Olympic tournament, hand injuries can linger for a while and Vancouver needs all the help they can get.

Fedor Tyutin, Columbus Blue Jackets

Tyutin sprained his ankle and should be out two or three weeks.  Not a huge blow by any means.

Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers

Zuccarello fractured his left hand and could miss three to four weeks of action.  Once again hand injuries can be tough especially for offensive players.

Paul Martin, Pittsburgh Penguins

Another hand injury, this one affects the team a little more, as Paul Martin will be missing from the Penguins line-up from four to six weeks.  Martin broke his hand during the USA’s quarterfinal game with the Czech Republic.  Pittsburgh is already missing Kris Letang on the blue line due to a stroke. Images

John Tavares, New York Islanders

This is obviously the biggest injury from the Olympic Games.  It looked like a very innocent play honestly but Tavares is out for the remainder of the season after a hit from Arturs Kulda of Latvia.  The good news is no surgery is required for the torn MCL and meniscus but this obviously is a huge impact for any team, especially one like the Islanders who count so much on their top player.

Come and discuss and follow your passion!

The K2LFGM Team

Posted in Hockey, Olympics

Yzerman Stepping Down as Team Canada Architect

As Canada still celebrates the sweet victory of another gold medal for the Canadian men’s hockey team, Steve Yzerman has already raised a question on what happens in 2018.  There is monumental pressure in Canada to win gold at the Olympics in hockey, whether it is men or women.  That immense pressure has been put on the shoulders of Steve Yzerman as General Manger in 2010 and 2014 with perfect results.  Now, as we are a few days removed from the Winter Olympics it has been released by the media that Yzerman will step down as the Canadian General Manager.

Steve Yzerman

Steve Yzerman

How do we replace Steve Yzerman?  Yzerman was an instrumental piece of the puzzle for the first hockey gold for Canada in 50 years when they won in 2002.  Yzerman was also on the 1998 team in Nagano, Japan and after injury left him out of the 2006 Olympic Games, Wayne Gretzky announced as Canada’s GM that #19 would be retired for Team Canada.  In 2009 once Yzerman took the reigns as the Canadian GM and in typical Yzerman fashion he un-retired his #19 for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver while winning the gold medal.

When asked after winning gold in Vancouver if he would consider coming back as the Canadian GM, Yzerman said, “I loved it, but it was very stressful. Given the chance to represent Canada and be the guy in charge, if somebody offered it to me, I didn’t hesitate the first time, I wouldn’t hesitate again.”

2014 is history now and Yzerman after dealing with all the pressure of not only being the spokesperson for the picking of the Canadian team and dealing with every backyard GM, he also had to deal with something else.  Yzerman had to deal with the repercussions of not choosing Martin St. Louis for the team, a player he has on his very own Tampa Bay Lightning and a player that was very much criticized for not being chosen.  In the end with Steven Stamkos being injured and not being able to play, St. Louis did end up making it to Sochi and helping Team Canada to the gold medal.  But the repercussions may still be heard as we reach the trade deadline in this year’s NHL season.

But I digress; this is a question about who takes over as Canada’s GM for the 2018 Olympics.  If the NHL lets the players play, but that is a whole other question!  The obvious choices that come to mind have already been in place; Doug Armstrong (St. Louis Blues), Peter Chiarelli (Boston Bruins), Ken Holland (Detroit Red Wings), Kevin Lowe (Edmonton Oilers)

There may be others that are on the outside of this group and deserve a shot for sure, but to me there is no question at all.  The person to take over should be Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings, the man who groomed Steve Yzerman as a NHL executive, the man who has led the Red Wings as General Manager since 1997.  Detroit has won the Stanley Cup 4 times with Holland at the helm; the first in 1997 as Assistant GM, and the latter as GM in 1998, 2002 and 2008.  The Red Wings have also never missed the playoffs under Holland as he continues to keep a competitive team on the ice year after year.

What do you think?

Follow your passion!

Jordan Powers

Posted in Hockey, Olympics

Who Should Canada Start in Net?

[yop_poll id=”7″]

Posted in Hockey, Olympics

Norris Trophy Candidates at the NHL Olympic Break

Let’s look at the potential Norris Trophy candidates during the Olympic break in Sochi, Russia.

Norris Trophy

Erik Karlsson, OTT

Karlsson leads all defencemen in scoring with 55 points and 25 PPP also sits third in the league in ice time with 27:17.  The -14 rating might downgrade him but he is definitely in the running at this time.

Duncan Keith, CHI

Keith is having another banner year with a +19 rating and second in the league for defencemen scoring with 48 points.  With only 8 penalty minutes Keith is playing some perfect hockey so far this season.

Dustin Byfuglien, WIN

With trade rumours swirling around Big Buf and the trade deadline approaching it is amazing he is still producing the points like he has.  With 43 points he is third in defence scoring while 2nd in goals from the position with 14.  A -17 rating and the fact he plays in Winnipeg will hurt him with voters.

P.K. Subban, MON

The defending Norris Trophy winner from last year is having a solid season again in 2013-14.  Albeit it isn’t quite as nice as last year.  He is still in the running sitting fifth in defencemen scoring and having a +6 rating.

Alex Pietrangelo, STL

This guy is having an amazing season.  Picked for team Canada and producing 41 points on 6 goals and 35 assists.  The biggest thing about Pietrangelo is he makes Jay Bouwmeester look good!  That is how good this guy is!

Others

Shea Weber, NAS 15 goals and 38 points with a -10 rating

Matt Niskanen, PIT 7 goals and 27 points with a league leading +29 rating

Victor Hedman, TBL 11 goals and 26 points with a + 8 rating

[yop_poll id=”6″]

Posted in Hockey

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