Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

Please Shut Up, Bob

May 14th, 2011

Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson bitched and moaned on Friday after Canada was eliminated by Russia at the 2011 World Hockey Championships earlier this week. Nicholson’s comments – saying the results are “totally unacceptable” – are fueled by the fact that Canada hasn’t won a single medal in the last two tournaments.

Bob Nicholson, President of Hockey Canada

Nicholson also took a shot at several young Canadian players who declined playing in the tournament for reasons that were a “little lame.” Thanks, Bob. That was very insightful. Here’s another gem of a quote from Nicholson:

“This team was good enough to win, but with one or two more players (it could have been different). You know what, Hockey Canada and Canada have been pretty good to those players through the under-18, the juniors and an Olympics Games. I thought they would have thought about that before refusing to come this year.”

Is this guy freaking kidding me? That has to be the most ridiculous and obnoxious thing I’ve read in weeks. In my opinion, that’s worse than anything Jeremy Roenick said over the last few days. Let’s break down several reasons why Nicholson’s comments are so absurd:

» Read more: Please Shut Up, Bob

Improving the NHL: Things we’ve learned from the Olympics

March 5th, 2010

It’s been a busy week, hasn’t it? The second the Olympics ended, the NHL trade deadline came and went… and sucked. This year’s trade deadline reminded me a lot of the TV show Lost – far too much anticipation leading up to it, not nearly enough transpired within the time frame, I’m left with more questions than answers and I’m hoping the next one will be much better.  Not very funny? OK, fine. This year’s trade deadline reminded me of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy – a bunch of things happened, but none of it really mattered. Still not very funny? OK, fine. I’m just an idiot.

Anyways, now that the NHL’s regular season has returned, it’s made me realize we could all learn a few things from the Olympics. Here’s a few things I’ve noted. Feel free to add your observations in the comments section, too.

  • 4-on-4 overtime is the way to go for every game. It’d be nice to see the NHL adopt this rule for the playoffs.
  • Marian Hossa can’t win in International Hockey, either. The 4th place finish at the Olympics marks the 3rd major championship he came so close to winning. This has to be one of the cruelest curses ever.
  • Jaroslav Halak still isn’t a number one goalie. He’s almost there, but crumbles when such a title is within reach.
  • This year’s winner of the Robert Reichel award: Pavel Demitra.
  • Less is more. Let’s reduce the number of teams that make the playoffs to increase the quality of series’. Or reduce the number of teams in the NHL. I’m actually serious on this one.
  • Gary Bettman can still screw things up, even when he’s not running the tournament. Look no further than how he answers the question “Will the NHL be involved in the 2014 Olympics in Russia?”
  • Shorter broadcasts was great. Reduced breaks between whistles, one TV time out per period and shorter intermissions saved me a lot of time. Watching hockey on TV should never be a 3 hour event. Also, the shorter intermissions meant less camera times for certain TV analysts who can seemingly talk forever!
  • Judging by select goaltending performances, I’m confident the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks won’t be getting far in the playoffs this year. Just a hunch.
  • Ron Wilson *may* actually know what he’s doing. Not 100% sure yet.

What did you learn from the Olympics, now that the NHL has returned?

Stay classy, NHL.

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Rumour commentary

February 10th, 2010

With twice the number of deadlines as usual, trades and trade rumours have come early this year. In fact, we’ve already seen a few trades involving some pretty big names (Kovalchuk, Phaneuf, Giguere, Jokinen) with more expected over the next few days/weeks. Here’s a few thoughts from the trades we’ve seen so far, potential fallout and well documented rumours.

  • With the Dallas Stars acquiring Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen last night, one has to wonder what the future holds for Marty Turco. There are all sorts of rumours out there, but I’m assuming bringing in Lehtonen means they are done with Turco this season. Regardless of that, goaltending is a huge question mark for the Stars moving forward. Turco, Lehtonen and Alex Auld all are free agents at the end of the season (Turco and Auld are UFAs while Lehtonen is an RFA).
  • When the New Jersey Devils traded for superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, they traded a pretty handy defenseman in Johnny Oduya. Frankly, if the Devils are serious about going for the Cup this year, they’ll need a better defense than what they currently have. And something tells me they are serious about winning this year. It’ll be interesting to see if they move on any defensemen in the rumour mill (salary cap numbers aside, players like John Michael Liles and James Wisniewski come to mind).
  • New Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier says otherwise, but it will be interesting to see if Jaroslav Halak or Carey Price is traded before the deadline. The bigger question I have for Montreal is whether Gauthier has his own plans or intends to carry out Bob Gainey’s vision. Time will tell, I guess.
  • Per Andy Strickland (as of last week), the Carolina Hurricanes were asking for a 1st round draft pick (for this summer’s draft) as well as a good prospect in return for Ray Whitney. I wonder if A- they’ll end up getting what they’re asking for and B- which team is actually willing to give up that much for a 37 year old forward. It’s also been reported players like Matt Cullen and Tuomo Ruutu are of interest to a few teams. Could they be available?
  • What are the chances the Edmonton Oilers actually move Sheldon Souray and Ethan Moreau? To be blunt, they’ll be lucky to get anything back for these two players. Getting one or both contracts off their payroll would be a coup for the Oilers, regardless of what they get back (assuming they can dump salary and not trade one bad contract for another). To me, the only Oiler player who’s known to be available that could fetch any return is young forward Andrew Cogliano. There is a market for him (it’s believed the Senators, Rangers and others have shown interest in the past).
  • The New York Rangers were busy last week trading Alex Kotalik and Chris Higgins and replacing them with Brandon Prust and Olli Jokinen. One has to wonder if they are done making moves for the season. I look at Brandon Dubinsky as a player who will be traded between now and this time next season. Dubinsky has a two year contract (this season and next) with a cap hit of $1.85 Million, however, the deal was awarded to him in arbitration. It’s clear he expected a lot more from the Rangers and didn’t like the idea of going to arbitration. I’d imagine his relationship with Glen Sather isn’t great (just my speculation).
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs have a number of players who could be traded prior to March 3rd. Players like Lee Stempniak, Alex Ponikarovsky (who I still believe will end up in Pittsburgh), Garnett Exelby (not sure if there’s a viable market for a slow defenseman who’s cap hit is $1.3 Million) and potentially Tomas Kaberle. According to Brian Burke, Kaberle won’t be traded, but I’m still listing him as a possibility.
  • There are loads of rumours circulating the Washington Capitals and their desire to add a quality defenseman. No idea how accurate the rumours are, but with a number of good defenseman available, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Capitals add another defender. The Capitals have nearly $4 Million (in cap space) to work with, according to NHLNumbers.com.
  • Despite the tailspin the Boston Bruins are currently in (hopefully for their sake getting out of), will they make any shake ups to their roster? I’ve heard the Tim Thomas rumours and I don’t believe them at all. Regardless, scoring is an issue for this club. Maybe they miss Phil Kessel more than they thought they would? Maybe they could trade back their lottery pick to the Leafs for Kessel? Obviously that was a joke.
  • Will any other playoff bubble teams like Detroit, Dallas, Anaheim, St. Louis, Boston, New York Rangers and Atlanta make any moves before the deadline? I’m assuming they’ll be buyers in hopes of adding the final piece to secure a spot in the playoffs. That probably means there will be 3-5 sellers including the Leafs, Blue Jackets, Hurricanes, Oilers and maybe one other team that will soon bow out of the playoff mix.

So, what do you think will happen between now and March 3rd? I wonder what kind of implications will follow from the Olympics? I’m betting a few important players will return from the games with significant injuries. Anyways, what’s your take? Discuss!

Stay classy, NHL trades and trade rumours.

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A fifth open letter to Marian Hossa

February 4th, 2010

Dear Mr. Hossa,

Wow. Long time eh? Well, not so much for you. But it’s been awhile for me. I mean, you still haven’t responded to any of my four letters that I wrote to you. You know the ones. The first one when I introduced you to the hockey gods, the second one when I told you to sign with Ottawa, the third when I questioned your decision to sign with Chicago, and the fourth when I informed you that you had essentially cursed Chicago from winning the Stanley Cup.

Anyways, as I said, I feel like we’ve sort of lost touch. I mean, you were out of the lineup for awhile there after that whole surgery thing. And now, with you in the Western Conference for a second season (and 12 friggin more seasons), I really don’t have the patience to stay up and watch your games. But, from what Burgundy tells me, your team is doing pretty good.

The reason for this letter though is to talk to you a bit about the Olympics. From what I gather, you’re going to be playing again. And while this may seem like a bit of a backward request for a number of reasons, can you please keep an eye on Patrick Kane?

First of all, he’s heading to Vancouver, which, as you may or may not know, has some pretty loose morals when it comes to inhibition inhibitors. I’m not sure what kind of effect this might have on the American Hockey Team, but it can’t be good. Now I’m not saying that I want the U.S. Hockey Team to do well, but it would be at least entertaining to watch them play Canada in the Gold Medal Game again (Lord knows I don’t want to play Russia or Sweden). I thought that since Slovakia probably won’t make it that far, you could at least keep Kane out of trouble. I speak to this more as a fan of hockey than a fan of the U.S. team. You understand right?

That brings me to my second point. I really don’t think the Olympics needs any bad press in Vancouver. I’m really hopeful that this is going to be a great Games for Vancouver, and more importantly, for Canada. Have you heard of Cindy Klassen? Don’t worry. You will. Bottom line, I’d rather the news be focused on how great Canada is, rather than the crazy adventures of the American Hockey team.

Anyways, I really hope you have a chance to enjoy Vancouver. This is your second Olympic appearance if memory serves me correctly, so take your time out there and enjoy the experience.

If you need anything from me in the meantime, I’d be more than happy to sit down and talk.

Best regards and remember to stay classy out there,

Tambland

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The Senators toying with everybody all this time?

January 26th, 2010

Oh how quickly things can change in today’s NHL!

Afternoon sportsfans, Champ here feeling the winds of change (insert mandatory Scorpions plug here) in the Nation’s capital with the Ottawa Senators suddenly rolling over opponents like a fat kid at the all you can eat buffet (chubby & blimpy kids association please send your hate mail to the following email address mantooth@stayclassy.net).

Daniel Alfredsson - Ottawa Senators

Daniel Alfredsson has a lot to do with the Senators recent success. Classy.

The Senators, winners of 6 straight, are looking like the Harlem Globetrotters of the NHL right now. With Daniel Alfredsson, Milan Michalek, and Jason Spezza now all back in the fold, they really look to be pushing for a top 4 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Goaltending, which was horrendous for about a 10 game stretch (almost Red-Light Rocicot-ish), is suddenly quite solid and providing the Sens with a chance of winning every night. Even the powerplay is putting pucks in the net – something Senators fans haven’t seen all season long.

The are even reports that Bryan Murray will be an active buyer at the March 3rd NHL trade deadline. Murry has made no bones about wanting to add additional scoring depth to this seemingly potent lineup. It’s believed he’s looking for a top 6 forward (Carolina’s Ray Whitney or Edmonton’s Andrew Cogliano come to mind) without changing the current roster.

It should make for an interesting conclusion to this hockey season after the Olympics. Either the Senators will keep plowing through teams or will suffer another bi-polar episode and go on a losing streak of epic proportions. It will surely keep fans glued to their televisions to see how this season plays out.

Until next time,

Stay classy, Ottawa Senators Fans.

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Who’ll be the worst team in the NHL this season?

August 19th, 2009

It’s going to be an interesting year in the NHL, that’s certain.  With the 2010 Olympics coming in less than six months, the first 20-30 games of the 2009-2010 could  decide who makes Olympic teams and who doesn’t.  Will Jason Spezza stop drinking the Redbull Turnover Cocktail and prove to Steve Yzerman and co he deserves to be on the Canadian squad?  Will Rick DiPetro stay healthy for more than two weeks to compete for a Team USA goaltending position? Will Mats Sundin figure out if he wants to unretire again to play for Sweden?

But those aren’t the only questions.  Of course, other and more typical questions surround the Pittsburgh Penguins – can they repeat as Stanley Cup champions?  Will they play Detroit in the Cup finals, again?  (Probably not, but worth the question, given the fact its been a long time since there was three Cup finals with the same two teams.) Will John Tavares save the New York Islanders?

Alright, enough with the questions.  What everyone really wants to know is, who’ll be the worst team in the NHL this year?  That was my last question, I promise.

I’ve got it down to a few teams who I believe will “contend” for this prestigious  honour.  Let me know if I’m missing any teams.

  • Colorado Avalanche – Terrible season last year and it might get worse this year.  Joe Sakic retiring is a big blow.  He simply cannot be replaced.  The Avalanche defence is half decent, although recent rumours suggest Scott Hannon could be leaving soon.  Two primary concerns are forwards and goaltending.  Even if Matt Duchene makes the big club, he can’t do it all in his rookie year and something tells me Darcy Tucker will have yet another sub-par season.
  • Atlanta Thrashers – GM Don Waddell has done a good job building up young talent, but its really a question of when it will come together.  Priority one has got to be getting star Ilya Kovalchuk signed to a long term extension.  Upcoming talent like Zach Bogosian, Evander Kane (the Kane who doesn’t beat up cabbies), Angelo Esposito, Tobias Enstrom and Bryan Little may mean the Thrashers may not suck for much longer.  They still need a top center to play with Kovalchuk – Todd White cannot be your top center (surprisingly, he did get 73 points last year…).  Finally, goaltending… Kari Lehtonen is still the unknown.  Ultimately, if the Thrashers aren’t the worst team in the NHL this season, it could very much point to Lehtonen playing much better or the Thrashers finding a new goalie.
  • Florida Panthers – Jacques Martin left.  Jay Bouwmeester left (finally).  I don’t even know who’s still there.  Nathan Horton needs to step up and be the dominent forward he was projected to be.  David Booth will need to have a lights-out year and well… I don’t know… this Panthers club could be a major challenger for 30th place.
  • Phoenix Coyotes – Unlike the Panthers, the Coyotes have some great young talent.  Guys like Peter Mueller, Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker and captain Canada Shane Doan (not that he’s young, but whatever) need to lead the way.  The ‘Yotes were in the playoff race for the first half of last season but will need to stay healthy and more consistent in order to keep out of the NHL basement and in the thick of things come April 2010.  Hopefully the off-season distractions won’t hurt the club too much.  And if they do, maybe Jim Balsillie can… urrgh.  I’m so tired of talking about him.

Stay classy, bad NHL teams.  I’m Ron Burgundy?
(damnit, I promised no more questions!)

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Chicago Blackhawks Sharp Armageddon next summer

July 21st, 2009

If you’ve been following the Chicago Blackhawks at all, you know they are about to hit a massive NHL salary cap problem. Like that massive asteroid from the movie Armageddon. Note to Barry Bonds, Alex Rodrigues and Manny Ramirez: I said asteroid, not a steroid… cheaters.

Anyways, with the asteroid, you know it’s coming but don’t know what to do. And I don’t think the Blackhawks staff anyone like Bruce Willis who can heroically save the day by sacrificing just one person. Unless Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has a background in asteroid drilling I’m not aware of…

And since you’ve been following the Hawks well documented salary cap troubles, you are probably aware the Hawks will have to free up significant cap space this season if they hope to resign Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane next summer.

The easy name out there is Patrick Sharp, who’s annual cap hit is $3.9 Million until the conclusion of the 2012 NHL season. According to the rumor mill, he’s going to Ottawa, Montreal, blah blah blah. Sure – Any team would love to have Sharp. A $3.9 Million cap hit is pretty reasonable considering the kind of player Sharp is and the kind of intangibles he brings.

I’m a pretty big Hawks fan. I’m a fan of their talent, their history and the way they built this team (patience, proper drafting and building slowly). I think it’s unfair to claim Sharp as an expendable piece of the Hawks system.

Did you know Dustin Byfuglien makes $3 Million a season too? His contract is just as long as Patrick Sharp’s.

Ask yourself who’s a more important contributor to the Chicago Blackhawks. Now ask yourself if Sharp is worth the additional $900,000.

I believe Sharp’s a big reason some of Chicago’s younger stars were able to fit in so well and so quickly. He’s a character player with skills and experience players like Toews, Kane and Kris Versteeg can continue to learn from. Sharp is part of the Hawks leadership group and was even mentioned as potential candidate (low probability) for Canada’s 2010 Men’s Olympic hockey team in Vancouver.  I can’t remember, but was Byfuglien ever rumored to be Olympic-bound?

I’m not saying the solution to Chicago’s salary cap problems are easy. There are some tough decisions that have to be made and sooner than later. I realize decisions will likely include more than one or two roster players. The reality is if Kane, Toews and Keith are all resigned, their combined ‘at market value’ could cost around ¼ of the NHL salary cap per year.

All that said,  I think Sharp is a guy who the Hawks should keep. There are other pieces that are far more expendable in my books than Patrick Sharp. Regardless, it’s clear multiple players will be sitting on the Hawks asteroid when it comes time to make sacrifices… or decisions.

Stay classy, Patrick Sharp.

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