Posts Tagged ‘Henrik Sedin’

2011 Stanley Cup Final Predications

June 1st, 2011

As we get ready for the start of game one of the Stanley Cup finals, I thought it’d be wise to drop in my predictions. I know I haven’t done any predictions for the 2011 playoffs like I have for previous years, mostly because it’s been a crapshoot this year, but I’m weighing in now. Here we go.

2011 Stanley Cup Finals logoWhile these two teams are closer than a lot of people are willing to admit, I think there are two key areas (that everyone else hasn’t already mentioned) that separate the Vancouver Canucks from the Boston Bruins.

Top Lines
There’s no doubt that the Bruins have some terrific offensive depth. It’s a large reason why they are in the Stanley Cup finals. However, their top line of Lucic – Krejci – Horton isn’t quite a top line. It’s more of a strong second line and it pales in comparison to the D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Burrows line of Vancouver. It’s not even a debate. When you break down the Bruins second line of Marchand – Bergeron – Recchi, it’s solid, but no better than the Canucks second line of Raymond – Kesler – Higgins. Boston are rocking a 2a and 2b type set up for lines. Sure, it’s good enough to get you through the East, but not the Western Conference champs in Vancouver.

» Read more: 2011 Stanley Cup Final Predications

The Vancouver Canucks. Wait, who???

October 4th, 2010

Recently I was asked to write an article about the Vancouver Canucks. I figured “why not,” I’m always up for a challenge. Trouble is, I really didn’t (and still don’t) know much about the Canucks, beyond the fact they are easily Canada’s best shot at a Stanley Cup.

Obviously that doesn’t say much since everyone knows Canada’s next best hockey team might not make the playoffs. Despite my embarrassingly poor knowledge of the Canucks, I’m reasonably comfortable stating the Canucks are the best team in the Western Conference with identical twins.

Image of the Vancouver Canucks

I’m a bit of an optimist (well not really, but still), so maybe this will be one of those “fun” posts where I do research and learn something new about the team. OK, I’m totally in for doing a Canucks article. I’ve convinced myself! *Begins research*

Researching and learning about Vancouver’s hockey team started out well, too. For example, I just read the team cut Brendan Morrison from his pro tryout. Instantly, I’ve learned the difference between the Canucks and the Calgary Flames. But that was the only “easy” information to learn. I started reading more about the on-ice tendencies of all Canucks players and got really confused. The article described how hockey goalies often dive and flop around on the ice. I found this weird and confusing because I didn’t think Alex Burrows was a goalie. What the hell???

Then I discovered there’s a small controversy over who the new team captain will be. I even talked to several Canucks fans about the issue. It seems the consensus choice is either Ryan Kesler or Henrik Sedin. Both seem like great choices to me, especially since neither of them will require a bilingual stepping stool in order to jump over the boards for each shift.

Throughout my research, it was clear the Vancouver Canucks are considered a top contending team for this year’s Stanley Cup. No one has declared this an “all or nothing” season (although typically that’s something you do to justify signing a checking center to a $7.5 Million contract, or something like that…), but this year probably stands as the year the Canucks Stanley Cup window begins to close. I’m told this window will shut far quicker since it doesn’t have to close over top of Shane O’Brien and Kyle Wellwood. Wellwood is apparently going to the KHL. O’Brien, well, I’m guessing he’ll just hibernate over the winter months after being placed on waviers.

Perhaps the biggest reason many see this year as Vancouver’s chance to win the Stanley Cup is because the arch-rival Chicago Blackhawks lost some of their depth and skilled players during the off-season. Of course, Dustin Byfuglien’s trade to the Eastern Conference means Roberto Luongo will only have to worry about his own teammates trying to kill him.

It also means Luongo has one less person to blame during the four or five times he fakes an injury each game…

After doing all this research, I’ve concluded this will be an interesting year for the Vancouver Canucks. The pressure is on to win, but the players and management should be used to that since Canucks fans have expected a Stanley Cup win for the better part of the last decade. Even if they don’t win, the Canucks can take comfort knowing they still have their first round pick in 2011′s Entry Draft.

Stay classy, Vancouver Canucks.

Saturday Chat Roulette Sessions (May 15 edition)

May 15th, 2010

Since last week’s Chat Roulette debut was an awesome success (kidding… more like nonsense…),  I’ve decided to keep my word and continue with this feature. But before getting to the new Chat images, a huge congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers who staged a truly amazing come back against the Boston Bruins. For the Bruins, it’s going to be a painful summer… *PING* Sorry, but the Bruins hit so many posts/crossbar’s in game 7. It was ridiculous. I can just see this becoming the newest “History will be made” NHL commercial, “What if Philadelphia didn’t fly?”. I even predicted it last night around 8pm EST.

Anyways, we have Chat Roulette escapades of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Zdeno Chara, Alex Ovechkin and the Boston Bruins this week. Enjoy.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with the Sedin twins.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with Zdeno Chara and the Bruins bear

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with Alex Ovechkin and Lebron James

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with the Boston Bruins

Stay classy, NHL Chat Rouletters.

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The Good UFAs

May 4th, 2010

Close to 1 million search results come up when you Google “Worst NHL contracts“. I know – ouch.

Upon clicking through the first few links (Puck Daddy has a good one, as does NHL Snipers… and so does a little site named Stayclassy.net), it’s apparent a fair chunk of these so called “worst contracts, ever” were signed on July 1st. I know – ouch, again.

I’m not all that surprised, and I’m guessing you aren’t either. For all the crappy (and I mean really crappy) contracts July 1st seems to breed, there are some good ones, too (I stress some). Today, I want to look at two UFA signings from last summer that are fair in length and dollars that have made a very big impact on their respective teams.

Mikael Samuelsson - one of the good UFA signings in 2009!

Mikael Samuelsson – Vancouver Canucks
For whatever reason, Mike Gillis seems to have a knack for getting Swedish born players to put on a Canucks jersey (Sedins, Mats Sundin, Samuelsson and others). Gillis has signed some great deals for Vancouver, but perhaps none better than Mikael Samuelsson’s 3-year $7.5 Million contract last summer. That’s a cap hit of $2.5 Million per season for a player who scored 30 goals and registered 53 points in 74 games this year. $2.5 Million for a top 6 forward who brings leadership, a Stanley Cup ring and the ability to score clutch goals is an absolute steal. Money and contract aside, this was a great signing because Samuelsson gives the Canucks different options on line combo’s and is very responsible defensively – a nice trait many Canuck forwards have. He’s a great fit with the team and an excellent UFA signing by the Vancouver Canucks.

Mike Cammalleri - one of the good UFA signings 2009!

Mike Cammalleri – Montreal Canadiens
In my opinion, the biggest reason the Calgary Flames missed the 2010 Playoffs was due to a lack of goal scoring from an underrated forward named Mike Cammalleri. Essentially, the Flames chose Jay Bouwmeester over Cammalleri last summer and are now paying the price. Meanwhile, Cammalleri has been one of the Canadien’s top goal scorers, hitting the back of the net 26 times in a shortened 65 game season. Cammalleri is more than capable of being a consistent 40 goal scorer in the NHL if healthy. People have said a lot about Bob Gainey this year, but this was one the better signings he’s made in years. Cammalleri will be a Montreal Canadien for at least 4 seasons and carries a cap hit of $6 Million (the same cap hit Alex Sem0n carries…). Cammalleri is helping lead the Canadiens on and off the ice in a somewhat surprising Playoff run this year. Cammalleri is a dynamic forward, very versatile and doesn’t give up on plays. It’s also worth noting Cammalleri’s willingness and availability for interviews (good ones – not crusty Scott Gomez interviews) and the way he’s embraced the city of Montreal by tweeting everything in French and English. A solid signing last summer by the Montreal Canadiens.

Aside from Cammalleri and Samuelsson, players like Brian Gionta, Taylor Pyatt, Todd Bertuzzi and Craig Anderson have been key signings from last summer as well. Who are your top UFA signings from 2009?

Stay classy, Mikael Samuelsson and Mike Cammalleri. There are such things as good UFA signings… sometimes.

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If NHL players used social media…

May 2nd, 2010

Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors made headlines on Friday for using Twitter as a means to help figure out his basketball future. As stupid as it sounds, it made me wonder what some of our favorite NHL players would do if they employed Bosh-like attention seeking social media practices.

I have it on pretty good authority that the following bullet points are pretty accurate. But I’ve been wrong before. Anywhooo… If NHL players used social media:

  • Locating Alex Semin in the post-season wouldn’t feel as much like “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?”
  • Kyle Wellwood’s YouTube channel would require hourly updates to answer the question “What is Kyle eating now?” And before I forget, #KyleWellwoodIsSoFat.
  • Henrik Zetterberg would tell you via direct message that his doppleganger — Jared Leto — doesn’t have a Stanley Cup ring. Pro Tip: I will fight anyone who says these two don’t look alike.
  • Using a variety of different methods, players of the Chicago Blackhawks could remind Stan Bowman to send their RFA offers on time this summer.
  • David Booth might tweet about the “dangers of concushions” every now and then, but a few words of wisdom: he doesn’t respond well to negative feedback!
  • Miroslav Satan could participate in social media for 1 or 2 months per season, like he does in his NHL career.
  • Matt Cooke would likely use the ‘elbow’ feature on Facebook far more than the popular ‘poke’ feature.
  • Henrik and Daniel Sedin might make a video to help everyone figure out which twin is which and how the hell to tell them apart… only 9 years into their NHL careers.
  • Tim Thomas could use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and any other outlet to remind the hockey world he’s still alive (and won last year’s Vezina trophy!).
  • Ryan Kesler probably wouldn’t hesitate to use the “hate” button on any Canadian’s Facebook Page.
  • Carey Price could blog live from the players bench 5 1/2 out of every 7 Montreal Canadiens games.

Stay classy, NHL players using social media.

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The NHL’s 2010 Yearbook

April 28th, 2010

The NHL likes to do things a bit differently than other pro sports leagues. Shortly after the end of each regular season, the league releases it’s annual yearbook complete with typical “Most Likely To” and “Classy Photo” sections. Usually, most players receive their yearbook in the last week of April.

Apparently a lot of time is put into this tradition and players themselves vote on various categories. Don’t ask how, but I’ve manage to obtain a screenshot of a few pages from this year’s NHL yearbook. I’ve cut the left and right pages into 2 separate images for your viewing pleasure (below is a link for the full version)…

The NHL’s 2010 Yearbook (left page)


The NHL’s 2010 Yearbook (right page)


I highly recommend viewing and downloading the high-res image here.

Stay classy, annual NHL yearbooks.

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Unpredictable playoff outcomes

April 13th, 2010

It’s an exciting time of year in the sports world with the return of Baseball and hockey games that finally matter! I kid, I kid. With the Stanley Cup playoffs set to get begin on Wednesday night, analysts, bloggers and anyone else are already making 1st round predictions. At Stayclassy.net, we’re no different… except I won’t shove predictions down your throats like others. (If you are really interested in my predictions, I’ll have some on Wednesday).

In saying that, predicting series winners is one thing – anyone can do that. But predicting unpredictable events is quite another. Here’s a few unpredictable playoff outcomes you’d be wise to bet on:

  • 2010 finally being the year the Ottawa Senators come up with a lame cool playoff slogan.
  • The majority of people tweeting #ThrowTheSnake don’t actually know what the hell it means.
  • City mayors will make playful bets with each other featuring a local town offering. No word if any city is interested in Tim Thomas and the remaining 3 years of his contract yet.
  • Jarome Iginla might succeed at convincing people he wants to continue playing for the Sutter brothers in Calgary.
  • The 50/50 odds of Marc-Andre Fleury making a massive blunder in a critical 2010 playoff moment might be modest considering the Stanley Cup winning save made in the dying seconds of last year’s game 7 final.
  • The notion of “It’s Carey’s fault” t-shirts being a top seller in Montreal is as sure-fire as the idea of an upside down car outside of the Bell Center being… well… on fire.
  • Many hardcore Senators fans will try to pick Anton Volchenkov as their hockey pool goaltender instead of Brian Elliott or Pascal Leclaire.
  • Because of strong performances by Edmonton and Calgary in the “race for Taylor Hall”, Alberta won’t have to worry about the Province collectively holding their pee from April to June.
  • Fans of the Vancouver Canucks will continue to inundate everyone with reasons why Henrik Sedin should be the NHL’s MVP. They’ll start by reminding you inconsistent playoff performances aren’t supposed to matter for a regular season voted trophy.
  • Lee Stempniak missing the first Phoenix Coyotes playoff game thinking “post-season” was a euphemism for “going golfing”.

Stay classy, NHL playoffs.

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Does Henrik Sedin’s breakout season make Sweden an Olympic gold medal threat?

January 25th, 2010

Watching the transformation of Henrik Sedin this season has been amazing. He’s always had an incredible chemistry with his brother Daniel but I never really saw Henrik as a true number 1 centre in the league. He had incredible talent, but I never really saw him as an incredible player. In fact, I always saw Henrik and Daniel as the best 2nd line in the NHL. Maybe that’s because I don’t watch the Canucks play as much as I should, and maybe it’s because I live in Toronto and there isn’t much Canuck coverage here. Or maybe they just seemed so comfortable in their role on the 2nd line back when the Bertuzzi-Naslund-Morrison line was ripping it up. Am I really getting that old? It’s hard to say.

Vancouver Canucks star Henrik Sedin leads the NHL in points this season, classy.

Vancouver Canucks star Henrik Sedin leads the NHL in points this season, classy.

Regardless, while I applauded Mike Gillis for resigning the Sedins to reasonable contracts this past summer (cap hit of $6.1M over 5 years, each), the lingering thought in my mind was that they would have to really earn that money now. Those new contracts meant first and foremost, that the Sedins had now absolutely become Vancouver’s top line. And they have definitely stepped up, especially Henrik.

Henrik currently leads the NHL with 74 points in only 51 games, including 23 goals. Assuming he stays healthy, that puts him on pace to score 36 goals and 118 points, both of which would be career highs. In fact, Hank has already achieved a career high in goals this season – as the 22 goals he scored last season was his best previous tally. You can attribute his goal scoring explosion this season, in part, to the fact that he’s simply shot the puck more. He’s taken 105 shots this season compared to 143 in all of last season. I think he’s also played a much stronger defensive game, which has made him a tougher player to shut down and play against. He’s +23 this year, which is a currently a career best as well. Finally, he’s done a lot of this while Vancouver have battled two significant injuries: Roberto Luongo was out for a couple weeks and brother Daniel missed 18 games – at the same time. Henrik’s emergence as one of the top players in the league has come from the simple fact that he’s become the go-to player for the Canucks and that’s kept them in a tight battle with Calgary and Colorado for the division lead. There’s a quiet argument out there that Hank should be a serious contender for the Hart Trophy this year and it’s an argument that’s quickly gaining momentum. At the very least, Henrik Sedin has been one of the best and most consistent players in the NHL this season.

All of this leads me to one question – Does Henrik’s emergence as one of the NHL’s best players make Sweden a real threat to win gold in Vancouver next month? I’ve believed all along that the fight for the gold medal will be a three-horse race between Canada, Russia and a dark horse American team. But like most, I hadn’t really considered Sweden a real threat, despite the fact that they took gold 4 years ago in Turin. To me, the thing that’s always separated the Canadians, Russians and Americans from the rest of the pack was the fact that they all have two, maybe even three lines capable of being their number 1 line. Their depth of high-end talent up front seemed to be too much for the teams from the Czech Republic, Finland and even Sweden.

Yet, when you look down at Sweden’s roster, their top 3 lines look like this:

Daniel Sedin –  Henrik Sedin –  Henrik Zetterberg

Daniel Alfredsson – Nicklas Backstrom – Loui Eriksson

Patric Hornqvist – Peter Forsberg – Tomas Holmstrom

That’s a pretty strong top 9 and I think they’ll be a very good team. I think they’ll be a much stronger and tougher team to play against than most people think. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them earn a position on the medal podium. They’ve got strong goaltending and pretty solid defense, so it could happen. And when you’ve got an emerging world-class player like Henrik Sedin riding a major hot streak, it could definitely happen.

Your Reporter in the Field,

Fantana

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A closer look at the NHL’s leading scorers

January 9th, 2010

When taking a closer look at the NHL’s leading scorers (after all Friday night games), there are a number of things that stick out for various reasons.

First and foremost, who could have predicted Henrik Sedin to be the first player this season to hit the 60 point mark? Or how about Nathan Horton being in the top 20 in league scoring? A lot of the NHL’s top scorer are the regular household names we know and love, but even mainstays like Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby reveal interesting mini-stories. Let’s take a closer look at some of the league’s top scorers.

Vancouver Canucks star Henrik Sedin leads the NHL in points this season, classy.

Vancouver Canucks star Henrik Sedin leads the NHL in points this season, classy.

Henrik Sedin: To all the geniuses who predicted Henrik Sedin would lead the NHL in points this season, did you think it could be done without Daniel Sedin? (Daniel missed 18 games after suffering a fractured foot back in October). What’s even more remarkable about Henrik Sedin’s 61 points is 45 of his points come from even-strength play. That’s approximately 10-15 more even-strength points than the majority of the other league leaders (many top scorers generate far more powerplay points than Henrik Sedin does).

Sidney Crosby: Love him or hate him, most hockey fans expect to see Sidney Crosby’s name at the top of league scoring every year. What’s interesting this season is the number of goals Crosby has (26). He’s known as a playmaker, but is shooting the puck far more regularly this year. In fact, Crosby is only two goals shy of the league lead (Marian Gaborik and Patrick Marleau have 28 goals each) and is on pace to crush his previous best of 39 goals from his rookie year.

Patrick Kane having a terrific NHL season... very classy.

Patrick Kane is having a terrific NHL season... very classy.

Patrick Kane: I’ve always liked the way Patrick Kane plays and although I’ve thought of him as a great player, I’ve never considered him a world class star. Until now. At this point in the season, Kane leads the Chicago Blackhawks in most offensive categories (goals, points, game winning goals, etc…) and is seventh in league scoring. The scary part about Kane is his age. Kane, who’s still developing/maturing, just turned 21 in November and is easily the youngest player in the league’s top 20 point scorers.

Tomas Plekanec: Here’s another player who’s producing at a rate far higher than any of his biggest fans could have imagined. Coming off an off year last season, Tomas Plekanec has returned on fire with 46 points already this season. He’s already surpassed last year’s total and is quickly approaching his career high from the 2007/2008 season. The most impressive part of Plekanec’s scoring this year is the fact he’s done so without Andrei Markov and Brian Gionta (both lost significant time due to injuries). Add in the inconsistent play of Scott Gomez and you have to admire Plekanec’s point-per-game scoring rate.

Nathan Horton: Along with Plekanec and Henrik Sedin, here’s another pleasant surprise. Nathan Horton is enjoying his best start to a season ever. He’s tied for 17th in league scoring and is only three points shy of his total from last season. What’s interesting about Horton’s point tally is the fact that the Florida Panthers only have one other player who’s scored more than 30 points (Stephen Weiss). The majority of Horton’s points are assists, yet no Panther has scored more than 18 goals and only four Panthers (including Horton) have 10 or more goals this season.

Alex Ovechkin: No list or write up of NHL scoring leaders can be considered complete without mentioning Alex Ovechkin in some shape or form. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Alex Ovechkin is right up there in total points and goals (of course). What’s interesting is Ovechkin’s production is coming at a rate far higher than any other elite point scorer. In some cases, Ovechkin has played as many as nine games less than other top scorers (due to injury and suspension), yet remains one goal back of the league lead in goals scored with Patrick Marleau and Marian Gaborik.  Ovechkin averages 1.51 points per game – an NHL best – when most of the top point scorers average approximately 1.10-1.20 points per game. Yes, Ovechkin plays on one of the league’s best teams, but it’s still pretty impressive.

Honourable mentions to Dustin Penner, Brad Richards, Maxim Afinogenov, Ryan Kesler, Duncan Keith, and Paul Statsny for breakout or comeback seasons to remember.

Stay classy, NHL point leaders.

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The stupidity of these so called Tampering charges

October 7th, 2009

Recently, Mike Gillis and the Vancouver Canucks filed tampering charges against Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Before I get into the stupidity of tampering charges, I’d like to remind everyone that Gary Bettman and the NHL rarely do anything without 3-4 months of courtroom drama which ultimately leads to no decisions and takes far too long doing so. End result: no one really cares anyways. Good luck with the filings, Mike Gillis.

I don’t get Tampering.

It seems pretty silly to me.

I guess it started earlier this summer. The Toronto Maple Leafs pissed off the Gills and the Vancouver Canucks when coach Ron Wilson suggested Burke had interest in Daniel and Henrik Sedin (who at the time were scheduled to be unrestricted free agents on July 1st). I don’t really see what’s wrong with that. Aside from Burke’s obvious history with the Sedins (he did move mountains to draft both Sedins second and third overall at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft), the Leafs needed (and still need!!) high end offensive players and the Sedins are pretty damn good. Makes sense so far, right?

Instead of getting mad about Wilson’s comments or Burke’s intents, Mike Gills should of said, “Yeah, duhh” and moved on. Every GM probably wanted the Swedish twins. I don’t see a problem publicly stating that.

Then more recently (and ironically!!), Toronto’s official Leafs TV revealed Burke ousting a potential Vancouver Canucks-Tampa Bay Lightning trade at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The rumored deal included Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows and their 2009 22nd overall pick (Jordan Schroeder) for Tampa’s 2nd overall pick (Victor Hedman). Side note: Probably a good thing Tampa didn’t take the trade. Vancouver’s Team1040 has the actual clip, here.

Now, I really like Mike Gillis (read why here). But is this whole tampering thing a not-so-clever way to divert attention from the 0-3 Canucks and their poor start to the 2009-2010 NHL season?

Gills has reason to be upset about Burke outing players names in the trade mentioned above. Brian Burke is guilty of bad judgement – kind of a GM no-no. But it also shows others were in the know and told Burke.

I don’t see this as tampering. Perhaps poor judgement and brutal honesty are more reasonable accusations.

Before I end, I wanted to point out several points of stupidity in this mess:

  • Why would Leafs TV release potentially damaging audio of their Presdient/CEO? Definite Career-Limiting-Move.
  • Why would the Lightning/Canucks organizations not keep a tighter lid on this his profile trade? What does this say about their organizations?
  • Would Mike Gillis have known about Burke’s ‘tampering act’ had it not been for Leafs TV?
  • Every GM/Agent talk to each other prior to July 1st. How else do you think big dollar/long term deals are announced 1 minute into free agency?
  • Aren’t the Canucks still under investigation by the NHL for the Roberto Luongo deal?

What a disaster. Glad I can still make fun of it.

Stay classy, NHL tamperers.

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