Posts Tagged ‘Montreal Canadiens’

Web Savvy Hockey Fans Aren’t Always A Good Thing

March 23rd, 2011

As far as sports fans go, the NHL’s are regarded as some of the most web savvy on the planet. It’s probably one of the biggest reasons why the NHL has gained popularity in the US in recent years.

It’s not like the NHL and its teams don’t know this or take advantage of it either. These days virtually every team has an official Twitter account. NHL.com is cutting edge. The New Jersey Devils invite fans to a social media-charged box during home games. The NHL’s COO John Collins set out to make the best online sports portal in NHL Center Ice and pretty much succeeded. The list goes on and on.

Collins and the NHL have quickly racked up 1.4 Million fans on Facebook too. That’s more than double what Major League Baseball has, despite the fact that hockey is nowhere near as popular as baseball in North America and beyond.

That’s all well and good. The NHL has loyal online fans and has worked some great initiatives to further engage them. All this feel good online love can’t possibly turn to bad… can it?

» Read more: Web Savvy Hockey Fans Aren’t Always A Good Thing

The NHL Just Got Chara’d

March 13th, 2011

About a year ago, when I wrote about a hit in the OHL, I have to admit that I was close to writing a blog proclaiming that someday, an NHL hockey player will be killed on the ice. I’m not talking about a heart attack, or some one-off freak play involving a skate and a jugular vein (a.k.a. Clint Malarchuk and Neck Guards).

Zdeno Chara hitting Max Pacioretty into arena stanchion

Chara on Pacioretty: One hand off the stick, guiding Pacioretty's head into the stanchion.

I’m talking about a collision. Involving players. Perhaps an unmovable board. Or even a moveable iron hockey net. Or how about a stanchion, a term which until last week, wasn’t even in the vocabulary of most casual hockey fans?

» Read more: The NHL Just Got Chara’d

Some Random Hockey Thoughts

November 20th, 2010

Good evening.

I’m not very good at remembering to post links to my other (less ridiculous) work. So instead I’m going to post several links below with the hope that you read them, as well as the promise that I’ll try to update these links daily on Stayclassy. Anyways…

I’d like to bring your attention to some random hockey thoughts I recently wrote. The thoughts concern Carey Price’s strong play this year and how I think it’s masking how badly the Montreal Candiens screwed up the Jaroslav Halak trade, in addition to whether Steve Stamkos can hit the 70 goal plateau this year (for the record, I put this up before everyone else started the 50-50 club talk… followers!) and the sweet, sweet irony of Marc Savard’s eventual return to Boston (hint: it’s going to affect both Greg and Colin Campbell).

Read the whole thing here.

As well, I wrote about the former 2007 2nd overall pick James van Riemsdyk and why I think he could be the odd man out in Philadelphia sooner than later. There doesn’t seem to be room for him, considering the strong group of forwards the Flyers have (in addition to the emergence of Claude Giroux). If (and that’s a big if) the Flyers traded JVR, I believe they could get some salary cap relief, in addition to a mid-late 1st round draft pick.

Read “James van Riems-Trade” here.

Lastly, when you think of teams who sign their core players to long-term contracts, you think of the Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Obviously the Penguins and Blackhawks are recent Stanley Cup Champions, while the Flyers came pretty close too. And then you have the Vancouver Canucks who have locked up their core players, minus the same kind of results as the teams I mentioned. Interesting. And then you see “buzz teams” like the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings doing the same thing, with even less results than the Canucks. NHL General Managers are in a tough place these days.

Read “Long-Term Faith” here.

And one final note today… RIP Pat Burns. Burns was a terrific coach who made such a huge impact wherever he went. The hockey world lost an amazing ambassador yesterday.

Stay classy, Pat Burns.

How to tell if your favourite team is struggling

October 26th, 2010

So maybe your favourite hockey team is having a hard time so far this season. It’s important not to jump to conclusions or overreact too early in the young 2010-11 season. That’s why I’ve posted this article today and not last week.

But the thing is, unless you are a Senators fan, it’s not always easy to tell if your team is struggling. In fact, it is possible not to know or recognize the signs. To help confused fans, here are several ways to tell if your favourite hockey team is struggling:

  • After selling out 409 consecutive hockey games, the arena’s promotions team comes up with a 3D effect to make fans feel like players are “popping out from benches and grabbing them.”
    Note: this promotion comes with a free seat upgrade to front row too.
  • The General Manager is quoted stating the Head Coach’s job is safe, but was later heard muttering “If only I could find a way to get the Coach’s sweet corner office view.”
  • Clarke MacArthur jerseys enjoy a 200% sales spike in October, but 205% of those jerseys would later be returned in November.
  • The arena marketing department has a new intermission game called “Find an offensive play in Jacques Martin’s hockey system and win $1 Million, plus a coaching job with the Canadiens.”
  • The back-up goalie continues to struggle forcing teams like the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins to overplay number one goalies Robin Lehner and Brent Johnson, respectively.
  • Referee’s won’t call goaltender inference penalties on opposing teams because Scott Clemmensen is not an NHL goalie and therefore not eligible. (Courtesy of @warwalker on Twitter)
  • The new team motto resembles something like “The uglier twin is the captain, but the better looking one is scoring more.”
  • The General Manager was finally able to find more than 15 skaters actually willing to play for the New Jersey Devils, but the Coach still hasn’t figured out how to convince the team’s best player to dress every night.
  • The General Manager claims he’s recently received two solid trade offers, despite only having five more wins than he had in June – a time when he couldn’t give away his top player.
  • Ticket sales continue to drop despite filming live Grey’s Anatomy scenes on the ice with paramedics and fainting goalie plot lines.

Stay classy, struggling NHL teams.

Things to consider when picking a new team captain

September 29th, 2010

On Wednesday morning, the Montreal Canadiens officially announced Brian Gionta as their new team captain. It’s a great selection too, even though it took the Canadiens way too long to figure it out and announce it. I think the long awaited announcement took longer than most of their Centennial pre-game ceremonies last year… ouch.

Brian Gionta - Montreal Canadiens newest captain

Is it Captain... or "Chaptain?"

Anyways, choosing a team captain for a storied franchise can’t be easy. There’s literally hundreds of thoughts and factors that go into such an important decision. A good friend of mine, who is very connected with the Canadiens, recently sent me some interesting criteria the Habs had for picking their new captain. With today’s news, I figured many fans would be interested to see how Gionta ended up with the “C.”

Consider: Is the player American?
Reason: The last Habs captain who was American played in the NHL until he was 100.

Consider: Is the player 25 or younger?
Reason: Historically, the last two Stanley Cup winning teams have had very young captains.

Consider: Is the player a goalie?
Reason: Fans will forever wonder if the “C” on the face mask stands for “Canadiens” or “Captain.”

Consider: Can the player fight?
Reason: It’s important that the captain be able to occasionally defend teammates on the ice or in dark alleyways.

Consider: Does the player have a strong sense of humour?
Reason: He’ll need to know when and when not to laugh during Carey Price interviews.

Consider: Does this player have any Stanley Cup experience?
Reason: We’re not picking captains for the Toronto Maple Leafs…

Consider: Is this player’s name easy to spell?
Reason: Spelling C-A-M-A-L-L-E-R-I or P-L-E-K-A-N-I-C-H-X is a pain in the ass.

Consider: Is this player photogenic?
Reason: Former Canadiens captain, Saku Koivu, didn’t always have his eyes open in some pictures.

Consider: Can this player speak French?
Reason: He needs to be able to hold conversations with media and fans like “Je suis d’accord, nous aurions dû garder Halak.”
(Translation: “I agree, we should have kept Halak.”)

There you have it! That’s how Brian Gionta ended up as the Montreal Canadiens captain. Please don’t hate me, Habs fans.

Stay classy, NHL team captains.

Linkshare day (Sept 27)

September 27th, 2010

We’re getting closer and closer to the NHL regular season starting. I don’t know about you, but I’m pumped. I think we’re just a few weeks away from the opening puck-drop. With that in mind, let’s do some catch up with Linkshare day.

This Linkshare post will probably be a recurring weekly or bi-weekly thing. I haven’t really figured out what yet, but it won’t be focused on me. I’ll link to my work on The Score, but more importantly, I’ll link to other blogs I recently enjoyed that I think you’ll like too. If you read something hilarious or great, email me a link and I’ll put it up in Linkshare (yay). Let’s get to my Houses of The Hockey stuff first.

Over the weekend, I wrote an article about Toronto’s hockey media covering Nazem Kadri like various newscasts did in the great  “Panda watch” from Anchorman. Here’s an excerpt from the post:

“… Toronto’s sports media think hockey fans need to know when Kadri tapes a new stick or has a new linemate because Grabovski was busy beating up some dude at a bar…”

Click here to read the rant, “Kadri watch.”

Still on The Score, here are links to my Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leaf season previews, respectively. There’s a bit of discussion in the Tampa post about whether the Lightning can make the playoffs or not. Check it out.

*         *         *         *

Now that we’ve got the (shameless) self promotion out of the way, I’d like to share a few other blogs I recently enjoyed.

This is pretty clever… Intent To Blow have a pretty good article about the Montreal Canadiens trading Halak instead of Price by mistake. Here’s a small sample of the post:

“Apparently our fans knew it the whole time,” Gauthier said. “But recently they’ve only been communicating to us through smoke signals sent from cars they’ve lit on fire, so it’s easy to ignore.”

Click here to read the whole post. Tip: It’s not actually serious… or is it?

Down Goes Brown recently put out another gem, this time with tips on how to dominate your fantasy hockey draft. Here’s a small preview of the hilarious post:

“Don’t be ‘that guy’ who goes to a hockey game and yells at the players to let them know they’re on your fantasy team. To really get their attention, you’ll need to whisper it from under their bed just as they’re falling asleep.”

Click here to laugh your ass off.

The Score’s Scott Herkes recently put together a series of charts and graphs to depict some statistical findings around the NHL. I don’t want to mess the post up so I won’t quote it. You have to check it out! Also, it’s all pictures so it’s pretty “read friendly.”  Click here to laugh even more. Note: this is awesome.

Puck Daddy put together a summary of quotes following Jonathan Cheechoo’s release from the Dallas Stars (he was there on a pro tryout). While I don’t blame the Stars for releasing him, it came with a heavy dose of bullshit from Marc Crawford and others. Get a read on this quote:

“Jonathan is a good pro and is a real honest person. He gave us great effort and we could have very easily kept him, but we felt it would be better to let him try to find something else.”

Click here to read the rest of the article and more ridiculous quotes.

Finally (and still on Puck Daddy), Justin Bourne put out a pretty funny “10 things I learned playing hockey” post last week. It’s definitely worth a read with a few great quotes like this:

… I once had one full year to try to get five words into print, somehow. I don’t remember them exactly now, but they definitely included “octopus” and “cowabunga…”

Click here to learn what you missed out on if you didn’t play hockey as a kid or young adult.

Stay classy, other great blogs.

Unseen NHL Center Ice Press Release

September 9th, 2010

Recently the NHL issued a press release for the 2010-2011 Center Ice TV package. The actual news release seems pretty normal but it’s definitely a polished and more refined version.

Like any other press release, several drafts were probably written before any such polishing could happen. Somehow I’ve managed to get my hands on a draft version of this press release… check it out below. It’s probably a good thing they changed it.

NHL Center Ice Press Release | Stayclassy.net

If you would like to download a hi-res/totally awesome version of the image above, click here.

What do you think? Did the NHL do the right thing by changing it? Were they onto something with the draft? Who knows…

Stay classy, NHL Center Ice.

Tales and rumours from the NHL’s RDO Camp!

August 20th, 2010

I know, I know. A week between posts and I’m still talking about the Research, Development and Orientation Camp held earlier this week. The truth is, it’s pretty much the only hockey news happening right now. UFA’s aren’t being signed, players aren’t saying anything too stupid and everyone’s calmed down from the big news event of last weekend: the Comrie-Duff wedding (OMG!).

The RDO wrapped up on Thursday with mostly positive feedback… on the surface. You see, there were many other tales and rumours that haven’t been published anywhere else about the Camp. Because I have super-secret, super-awesome sources, I’m going to reveal some of the not-so-good talk from the past few days.

  • There are rumours swirling that the concept of having a second referee watching from above the ice came from CBC’s Jim Hughson. Although he didn’t come up with the idea himself, Hughson frequently motions for lots of infractions without actually doing anything. A perfect fit for the new NHL!
  • Event organizer Brendan Shanahan revealed behind closed doors on Thursday that a “Trade all your goaltending prospects except the guy you can’t sign” rule suggestion from the Montreal Canadiens was denied because no team would actually be that stupid.
  • When asked about reducing the number of faceoff circles to three, Jason Spezza’s feedback reportedly went something like this: **giggles** “Uhhh…” **insane laughter ** “THREE BOOBIES!!!”
  • Some people associated with the RDO had the job of thinking of new rules and changes for hockey to try. It’s understandable why they were upset about not receiving exaggerated praise for doing a decent job like that Yzerman guy when he was handed Simon Gagne on a silver platter. (That one goes out to BladesofFunny).
  • Since the majority of the players who took part in the R&D Camp are 17 years old, there were concerns from dozens of hockey mom’s whether the kids should be using Warrior’s “Johnson-Grip Stick.” (Seriously, that’s an actual stick).
  • When asked why the NHL would be interested in exploring several radical rule changes, an event planner who spoke on the condition of anonymity said “It was easier to change all the rules than hire referee’s who can actually read the rule book.”
  • A number of event organizers were forced to keep the hybrid icing talk to a minimum around Ken Hitchcock. Those who participated in the R&D event say Hitchcock continually asked “Guys, seriously, does this hybrid icing have less calories than normal icing?”
  • A source who took part in RDO planning explained Brendan Shanahan’s grand vision as “Giving hockey a Roger Clemens boost.”

Stay classy, NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp (again).

Thoughts on the recent NHL activity

August 2nd, 2010

I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers apologizing for the lack of updates recently citing “a lack of hockey news” as their primary reason. It’s not that I disagree, I just refuse to apologize. Mostly because I’m a jerk. But a pro tip I’ve come to discover: the less you post, the more there is to talk about. It requires less work and minimizes how much of me you – the good reader – have to put up with! So win-win, right?

OK here’s some actual hockey thoughts from recent NHL activity. Things got pretty interesting today!

Who does arbitration hurt more?

Marty Turco - Chicago Blackhawks | Stayclassy.netWhen talking about arbitration, typically it’s looked at in terms of how much it damages a player’s ego. Many have suggested teams taking their players to arbitration fractures the team-player relationship in the eyes of the player. It basically represents the team saying they don’t believe the player is worth what he think’s he’s worth and that gets ugly fast. If we’ve learned anything from the Antti Niemi fiasco, it’s that it can be the other way around too. Niemi rejecting a multi-year deal prior to arbitration forced Stan Bowman’s hand, made such a process a reality and probably pissed off the Hawks enough to ensure a standing contract was made with Marty Turco prior to Niemi’s hearing even starting.

Price with Niemi

I’m so clever. You don’t actually think I meant dollars did you? Of course not! Obviously I meant Carey Price. Contract talks between he and the Montreal Canadiens don’t seem to be going anywhere. Makes you wonder why Montreal would trade Jaroslav Halak without signing Price first. I don’t think Bob Gainey is still running the show in Montreal anymore…  Anyways, with a better and slightly more proven goalie on the market, one has to wonder if Carey get’s his act together and signs with the Canadiens sooner than later. Although if the Habs can swoop in on Niemi, I’d pay big bucks to hear him say (with Finnish accent and all) “The price is wrong bitch” to Carey Price.

Still on Niemi…

It should be interesting to see where Niemi lands. Like everyone else I’m guessing San Jose. Touche Doug Wilson. That was a pretty sly move signing Niklas Hjalmarsson to a slightly high offer sheet last month. Wilson knew this offer sheet would make resigning Hjalmarsson and Niemi nearly impossible for Bowman and the Hawks. It’s my understanding that the Sharks have wanted Niemi all along. I reserve the right to retract that statement if Niemi ends up somewhere else.

Tim Kennedy on waivers… Huh?

Earlier on Monday, the Buffalo Sabres placed Tim Kennedy on waivers with the intention of buying out his $1 Million arbitrator awarded contract. The confusion comes for two reasons. One: why are the Sabres buying him out if they just signed him to the contract awarded by an arbitrator? That answer can be found here (in short, they have no choice). Two: The Sabres have a problem with paying $1 Million/year for a 24 year old hometown kid who scored 26 points in 78 games last season? I’m thinking someone claims him in the next 24 hours.

Marty Turco’s $1.3 Million salary

Congrats to Turco on landing a gig with the Chicago Blackhawks this coming season. I guess turning down the Flyers a few weeks ago wasn’t such a bad decision after all. But it’s not all roses for Turco – New York Rangers star Derek Boogaard makes $350,000 more than him. For three additional years. Ouch. On the plus side, Turco’s name hasn’t been discussed this much since well, ever. Oh and speaking of which, can the Blackhawks drama finally be over soon? I’m kind of sick of talking about them.

Stay classy, slow NHL news stories.

If LeBron James played in the NHL

July 9th, 2010

Finally the LeBron James fiasco is over. James, Dwyane Wade and some other “star” have all signed with the Miami Heat. I guess that’s the NHL equivalent of Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Manny Malholtra all signing with Washington (or some other team). Man, what a disaster for sports. Anyways I’m sure hockey fans around the world were wondering the same as me on Thursday night: “What if LeBron James played in the NHL?” Luckily, you have your answers:

  • TSN would air a day-long broadcast complete with instant analysis from Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and two former NHLers named Mike who no one remembers.
  • The Ottawa Senators wouldn’t show interest in a non-Russian born star who isn’t far removed from his prime.
  • If Darryl Sutter hasn’t signed him before, he’s not going to now!
  • The Vancouver Canucks would offer to retire his jersey with a nice ceremony set for next season. Even if his career ends up being just OK.
  • Simon Gagne would still be asked to waive his no trade clause for completely unrelated reasons.
  • The Los Angeles Kings wouldn’t have interest in him. But then they would. And then they wouldn’t. And then they would… Oh god! Make it stop already!
  • LeBron James is definitely the solution to get the Lighthouse Project afloat.
  • The Montreal Canadiens bid for James would inevitably come up short.
  • Strangely, Philadelphia-based “insiders” would rate the odds of James ending up a Flyer a solid e4 or higher.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs would have little to no interest in James. Not because he’s an excellent player or financial commitments to other players but because he’s not a defenseman.
  • Gary Bettman would declare the intense coverage of LeBron-gate a successful part of the NHL’s expansion strategy.

Stay classy, LeBron James.