The Blackhawks Marian Hossa leaves on a stretcher thanks to a headshot delivered by the Coyotes Raffi Torres
When is it going to end? What is it going to take for reckless shots to the head of defenseless players to stop?
We’ve seen the NHL attempt to crack down on such plays. Since Brendan Shanahan was appointed the new “Czar of Discipline”, he has been handing out suspensions and fines at an alarming rate. But what has it done?
Maybe some players have thought twice about targeting an opponents head, but until there is a black and white, no discretion rule, players are going to continue to act like idiots. If one day you hand out a $2500 fine for a star player smashing another star player’s face into the glass like he’s in the WWE, but then give a non star player a 3 game suspension for an elbow to the side of the head, what kind of message are you sending? Read the rest of this entry »
The best goaltending tandem in the NHL
If you follow the National Hockey League at all, it is hard to ignore the fact that the St. Louis Blues have been one of the hottest teams in the league ever since they made a coaching change in the beginning of November. Their new coach Ken Hitchcock, is their 24th coach in team history and is the one that is taking them to the top of the NHL and into the playoffs.
Many Blues fans (including myself) have been wondering when the Blues would once again become a playoff contending team. At the beginning of the season, I always come up with a playoff bracket and try to see how close I can get to predicting the Stanley Cup winner. I had originally guessed the Blues would make it to the second round of the playoffs. And that was before they started to win. Now I have them as a contender for the Stanley Cup and a tough team to battle in the Western Conference. Read the rest of this entry »
"The Flower" has won 17 of his last 21 starts
The old saying, “April showers bring May flowers” shows that Mother Nature likes to follow a pattern. This pattern allows the earth to show its true colors when spring comes around in May. Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins, with his last name meaning flower, has been in full bloom since the middle of winter.
With the Penguins struggling at the end of the calendar year and into the New Year, it seemed like Fleury was losing every game he played. During this six game losing streak “the Flower” had a save percentage of .890 and was letting up on average 2.3 goals per game. Only allowing a little over two goals a game isn’t bad, but he wasn’t facing that many shots and was letting in some weak goals. However, since that six game losing streak ended, Fleury has been playing some of the best hockey I have seen from a goaltender since Broduer was in his prime winning two Stanley Cups with the Devils. Since, January 13th, “the Flower” has won 17 out of the 21 games he has played in, and has a save percentage of .919, allowing only 45 goals on 561 shots. Marc-Andre also is second in the league in wins with 35 only one behind Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators. He along with the resurgent play of Evgeni Malkin have sent this Penguins squad atop many power ranks across the league.
He now puts his name into the running for the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to the most valuable player of the league, and the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the best goaltender in the league at the end of the year. Fleury has been showing his true colors since winter showing the rest of the National Hockey League that he has become one of the elite goaltenders in the league today.
While looking around on Twitter Wednesday, one of my Mets Twitter compadres, (@metsfanmurph) had posted his 5 worst sports losses as a fan. I knew I had read a column somewhere like this before, and then I saw he made a Bill Simmons reference. Light bulb goes on.
In my adult life, lets say since 1999, I have experienced exactly one championship and countless heart breaking, knife in the stomach, kick in the balls losses. Thank you 2003 Syracuse Orangemen for helping a brother out. That’s 1 for my last 68. Read the rest of this entry »
By @ttlsportsblog and @HookTSB
2011 was a great year for sports (aren’t they all?). So with the new year just around the corner, here are TSB’s New Year’s Resolutions for some of the biggest people/organizations in the world of sports. If you have any suggestions, please comment in the box at the end of the article and we’ll make sure to add them.
Carlos Beltran/Drew Brees – To get the growths/birthmarks removed from their faces, ears, or wherever they may be.
Metta World Peace – To get his name tattooed across his back like Vince Young.
Read the rest of this entry »
With the buzz of a possible new arena on the horizon, Garth Snow gave the residents of Nassau County another reason to vote “YES” on Aug. 1st for that arena. The Islanders General Manager inked his Calder Trophy Finalist, Michael Grabner, to a brand new 5 year deal. The NHL’s fastest skater will earn $15 million over those 5 years, for an annual salary cap hit of only $3 million untill the 2015-2016 season.
Snow gladly plucked the former first round pick up off of waivers just before the season started. For some reason, the Florida Panthers made the decision that Michael did not fit into their system. What that “system” is, nobody knows. But what we do know now is that Jack Capuano’s system fits “Grabs”, “The Gremlin”, or @Grabs40 as he’s known to his 18,000 + Twitter followers.
Grabner started off the season relatively slow with only 8 goals up untill December 31st. But once the calender turned over to 2011, Grabner caught fire. In January he scored 6 goals, in February he scored 10 goals (including a 6 game goal-scoring streak), and in March/April he scored 9 goals. He would wind up leading all rookies with 34. Read the rest of this entry »
The Islanders looked for some revenge against Brent Johnson and the Penguins
Oh We’re Not Gonna Take It
no, We Ain’t Gonna Take It
oh We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore
we’ve Got The Right To Choose And
there Ain’t No Way We’ll Lose It
this Is Our Life, This Is Our Song
we’ll Fight The Powers That Be Just
don’t Pick Our Destiny ’cause
you Don’t Know Us, You Don’t Belong
Those lyrics by 80’s hair band and Long Island natives Twisted Sister, have been blasted over the speakers at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for over 25 years now. But friday night, they were never so true.
Read the rest of this entry »
NY Mets owner Fred Wilpon has had discussions about buying the NY Islanders
So much for that rumor of not having any money. There have been stories about how the Wilpons had hundreds of millions of dollars pulled out from underneath them by wall street scumbag Bernie Madoff. During the offseason all you read about in the papers and on the net was that the Mets didn’t go out and get John Lackey or Joel Pinero or whoever because they took such a big hit with the Ponzi scheme. Well, I think this latest development has put that story on “ice”
Ever since 1986 (when I was 6 years old) I have bled the orange and blue, and somewhere in the late 90’s the black of the New York Mets. As I became a little older, I realized that on Sports Channel (one of the two regional sports networks in the NY/NJ area in the 80’s and 90’s), there was another team that I could bleed blue and orange for as well…the New York Islanders. Both franchises have the most die-hard of die-hard fans. I was immediately hooked. I have lived and died with every win and loss of both franchises for essentially the last quarter century. Since I have become fans of these teams, I have experienced some of the most incredible moments in sports history, but I have also seen some of the absolute worst.
The Mets and the Islanders have essentially played second fiddle to the Yankees and Rangers for most of my life. There’s always an inferiority complex that both franchises and fan bases have to deal with. This has come about even though the 1986 Mets may be one of the greatest baseball teams of all time and the Islanders are the last true dynasty (4 straight Stanley Cup wins 1980-81 to 1983-84 and an NHL record 19 straight playoff series wins) in professional sports. Of course in a city where the Yankees have a great team every year and have won 27 World Series, the Mets are going to be the red-headed step child. Then there are the Rangers who attempt to sign the big name to skate down broadway but always seem to come up short. Meanwhile the Islanders are Long Island’s only professional sports team, and during the glory years, there was no louder place to see a game than at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Well, the time has come and gone for the Coliseum to be torn down and dynamited. It is the oldest building in the NHL and is falling apart at the seams. Have no fear Islander fans, because if the town of Hempstead won’t approve a new stadium for your team, Mayor Bloomberg will. In an interview yesterday, Mets owner Fred Wilpon said that he has spoken to Islanders owner Charles Wang about building a hockey arena as part of a sports complex at Citi Field. What may be even better news is that Wilpon also expressed interest in possibly buying the Islanders from Wang. Now as an Isles fan, that might have been the best news I have heard other than “With the first pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft, the New York Islanders select Jonathan Tavares” . If Fred Wilpon was to buy the Isles (for what I would imagine would be a real good price since Wang wants to get rid of the team like a bad cold sore), this franchise would be reborn. The Wilpons (Son Jeff is the Mets president) have never been cheap, and are always looking for a good investment. They would probably get the team for around $125-$150 million. The Isles currently have the lowest payroll in the league and are the youngest team. The minor league system has been replenished and is full of talent. If there was ever a time for this deal to get done, it’s now.
For someone who is just like the other hundreds of thousands of Long Island natives who bleed orange and blue, this is a match made in heaven. So what if the new arena would be in Queens? Mass transit would be extremely simple. One proposed area for the arena would be the Willets Point site. This site already has subway tack access and could easily have LIRR rails attached as well. Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, would be ecstatic to have such a powerful ownership group in place for the biggest market in professional sports. If the Wilpons have ever done anything right, it was buying the low on the Mets. Here is that golden opportunity with the Islanders. As a fan of both teams, please make this happen.
Sorry it’s a day late…..
# 1 San Jose versus #8 Colorado
Once again San Jose has a #1 seed, and once again, they’ll be feeling the pressure to finally get the job done. Year after year they become their own worst enemy. The Sharks are red hot coming into the playoffs and face an Avalanche team that is very young. Avs goalie Craig Anderson got some rest in the last few games, and he’ll need it. The Sharks are a potent offensive team. I like the Sharks to move on to the 2nd round. Sharks in 6
#2 Chicago versus #7 Nashville
The Chicago Blackhawks may be the best team in the West, but injuries have really taken its toll on them. They’re #1 D-Man Brian Campbell, has been out for over a month after a bone crushing hit by Alexander Ovechkin. He may play in this series and would be a HUGE addition. The Preds are a scrappy team that doesn’t do anything special, but they do grind out wins. Especially at home. Based on nothing at all, I’ll take a flier on the Preds in 7
#3 Vancouver versus #6 Los Angeles
The LA Kings are my sleeper team to make serious noise in these playoffs. They are a real young, loose group of guys who can put the puck in the net. I know they are facing a very good defensive team in the Canucks, but I am not sold on goalie Roberto Luongo. He’s never really shown up in the playoffs and I don’t see how it will change this year. Statistically speaking, this has been his worst season since coming to Vancouver. I expect these to be tight games, and I just love this Kings team. Kings in 7
#4 Phoenix versus #5 Detroit
The Detroit Red Wings come into the playoffs like a steam roller. Since the Olympic break, they have a 16-3-2 record. This year marks their incredible 19th season in a row of making the playoffs. That’s the longest postseason streak in the four major sports. The Coyotes have been no slouch since the break either. They posted a 13-4-2 record. The ‘Yotes were not expected to turn it around this early in their rebuilding project, but the acquisition of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov 2 seasons ago, has really transformed this team into a stellar defensive team. I think the experience of the Wings will win over youth of the “Yotes in this series. Red Wings in 6
#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 Montreal Canadians
The Caps come into the playoffs as the overwhelming favorite in the East. They are a scoring machine that bullies everyone around. The +85 goal differential that they had this year, is one of the biggest in recent memories. Alexander Ovechkin is by far the most dominating force on the ice today. No disrespect to Mr. Crosby, but “Ovie” is a 6-foot 3-inch 240 lb freight train. Mark my words, he will put someone’s lights out this post-season. Canadians net-minder Jaroslav Halak is the Canadians only chance to take this series. He needs to channel his inner 1985-86 Patrick Roy, and take over the series. Too bad he won’t. Caps in 5
#2 New Jersey Devils versus #7 Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers needed a inept Rangers coach and some luck to grab a playoff spot on the final day of the season. Rangers coach John Tortarella inexplicably left top scorer Marian Gaborik, out of the shootout that had a playoff berth on the line. Needless to say, that didn’t go over too well. So here are the Flyers who limped into the playoffs, going up against arguably the greatest goalie in NHL History. Marty Brodeur had a shaky Olympics, but was very strong down the stretch. I think that the Devils acquisition of Russian sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, is going to pay off tremendously on their power play. Devils in 6
#3 Buffalo Sabres versus #6 Boston Bruins
This series features the 2 best goalies in the league this year. Bruins Goalie Tuukka Rask, led the league in goals against average (1.97 GAA) and save percentage (.931). USA Olympic goalie Ryan Miller was second in both categories with a 2.22 GAA and .929 save %. The Bruins don’t pack much offensive punch, so they’ll be riding Rask as long as he’ll take them. Getting 3 goals out of this team is like trying to draw blood from a stone. I like the Sabres in this series because they have the ability to get some goal scoring from the wingers. Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek scored 52 goals between them this year. Sabres in 6
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins versus #5 Ottawa Senators:
For the Pens to win this series, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will need to shoulder the load again due to goalie Marc-Andre Fleury not being on the top of his game for most of the season. The Senators can match-up pretty well with the Pens, but the Loss of scorer Alexi Kovalev will definitely hurt. The Sens have been a very streaky team this year and will need a good streak to win this series. An upset is possible here, but I do like the Penguins in a long series. Pens in 7