Posts Tagged ‘Stanley Cup Finals’

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

NHL.com Is Pretty Damn Accurate

May 25th, 2011

It wasn’t pretty, but none of that matters. Kevin Bieksa’s overtime goal on Tuesday night put the Vancouver Canucks into the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. It’s an incredible achievement for the NHL’s top regular season team, although Bieksa was quick to point out the goal was a bit of a “duck.”

For anyone who missed it, the puck took a crazy bounce off a glass partition known as a stanchion. No player on the ice knew where the puck had bounced to, except Bieksa, who took the quickest shot possible to beat San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi. Although the shot beat Niemi, the “duck” comment came from Bieksa in a post-game interview admitting he fanned on the slapshot.

What makes the unique goal even more incredible, however, is the accuracy of NHL.com’s game stats. In fact, I was so blown away how precise the stats were, I had to take a screenshot. Check it out:

(Click here for a hi-res image)

In all seriousness, congrats to the Vancouver Canucks. Boston or Tampa: you have your work cut out for you now.

Stay classy, Vancouver Canucks. Stanley Cup finalists.

Hockey players aren’t meant to do hot yoga

December 12th, 2010

I haven’t shared a story in a while. Yeah, one of those stories. I don’t force these kinds of stories, but it’s like I’m on this streak of embarrassing situations unfolding no matter what I do. Anyways I have a good one to share from this weekend. Or not so good, blah — whatever — here goes nothing.

Hockey players definitely aren't meant to do this

This story comes courtesy of a buddy of mine from hockey. He’s from Calgary and is a Flames fan. (Let’s not judge him just yet though.) For the sake of this story, he’ll be known as Flames guy. Before we get started you should know that “getting” sports or anything athletic has always come easy for me. I’m in good shape and am physically active.

Flames guy has been trying to get me to try hot yoga with him for months. I finally agreed to trying it figuring yoga would help me and my 60-year old back. He’s a pretty fit guy and said it helped loosen him up, so I said Why not, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

Famous. Last. Words.

On Saturday I joined Flames guy at hot yoga. We both brought our girlfriends too. (Brilliant, Kev.)  Before this momentous occasion I enjoyed a power breakfast consisting of coffee and whatever cereal I could find in the cupboard. Oh, and on weekends I swap cream with Baileys in my coffee. (Good one, Kev.)

The four of us got to yoga and entered the yoga room, studio-place-thing… and it felt like an inferno. I now know how Indiana Jones felt in the Temple of Doom. Flames guy warned me not to wear a shirt since the 90 minute class will have me dripping in sweat. That didn’t register for a second or two. Then it did, prompting me to quiver a “Uhhh, did you say 90 minutes??”

Within minutes of starting yoga I was sweating more than I ever have in my entire life. More than my NHLPA interviews this past summer. More than any hockey game I’ve played in. One particular exercise had us holding our arms out straight. I could see sweat dripping off my fingers and arms like I was having a shower. My stomach was feeling pretty rough after 30 minutes. Suddenly that power breakfast which was delicious an hour and a half ago (lesson number one kids: don’t eat less than three hours before hot yoga) didn’t feel like such a good idea. I continued with the exercises trying to tough it out. There weren’t any clocks in the inferno/Temple of Doom so I kept telling myself we were nearly done. (Silly mind tricks, Burgundy!)

Coach Reilly - Mighty Ducks Movie

My hot yoga instructor... what the hell???

You can probably guess where this is going. In addition to the inevitable vomit I felt coming, I started feeling incredibly dizzy and lightheaded. I left the Studio of Doom to do what I’d been trying not to do since the session started. I puked in the bathroom. A lot. As I was emptying my breakfast and soul into a bathroom sink, one of the instructors started knocking on the door and yelled that I’m “too young to quit… get back in there.” What the hell? Did that mean Hawks coach (coach Reilly) from the first Mighty Ducks movie have a sex change and start teaching hot yoga in Mimico, Toronto?

I gathered as much strength as I could and returned to the Temple of Doom. Not quite as triumphantly as Paul Kariya’s return in the Stanley Cup finals after a devastating Scott Steven’s hit, but still kind of epic. Well, for me at least. Although puking damaged my pride, I didn’t feel as dizzy. Considering how smashed my ego already was, I figured this was a fair tradeoff.

(Umm… this story gets kind of gross now. That’s your warning).

Round two of hot yoga started and I was doing okay for a bit. That changed quickly towards the end of the session when we started doing heavy breathing exercises. (Sidenote: who the hell does heavy breathing exercises anyways?!)  The breathing proved to be too much. As the session ended, I felt vomit come up my throat and into my mouth. People were leaving the Temple of Doom and I was at least a few minutes away from getting to the bathroom again. I swallowed the vomit. A temporary fix at best. Then one of the instructors came to speak with me to see if I was okay. It was a nice gesture but I needed to get out of the Inferno as quickly as possible. I felt puke come up my throat again. She asked if I was going to throw up. That was the nail in the coffin – now she had me thinking (even more) about throwing up. I tried to swallow the encore vomit but I couldn’t. I threw up all over myself, the shirt Flames guy warned me not to wear and my towel. My towel!

Flames guy was dying from laughing. I was dying from yoga.

Only one shower was left by the time we got back to the dressing room. Flames guy was kind enough to let me have it. I entered the shower fully clothed since my yoga outfit needed a lot of cleaning. After washing myself off, Flames guy and I were talking. I don’t completely remember this part, but I believe he said something to the effect of “I’ll let you tell the story to the [hockey team].” I laughed and said “Thanks. I’ll wait until most of the guys show up.”

On my way out of Hell the instructors checked again to see if, you know, I was still alive. They told me it’s common for people to feel like they might faint or pass out in the first session… or perhaps throw up… I’m pretty sure they were just saying that though. They went on to tell me that most men are guilty of trying to do too much in their first hot yoga class, assuming that was the case with me. I had to cut them off. That simply wasn’t the case. I told them “I wasn’t trying to do too much. In fact, I was trying to find ways to do even less. This just kicked my ass.” In all seriousness, this hot yoga stuff broke me down. It was pretty humbling.

My conclusion: Hockey players aren’t meant to do hot yoga. Now I have to tell this story to my hockey buddies tomorrow night. Wish me luck.

Stay classy, hot yoga. You totally owned me.

P.S – This post was the 500th blog in Stayclassy history. Wow.

Cannot support Stan

June 11th, 2010

Think back to a time in your life when someone or something offended you. Perhaps a time involving family or a particular incident. Or that time when Darryl Sutter said he knew what he was doing. Or maybe someone insinuating Stan Bowman was the primary architect of the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup win a few days ago.

Moments after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup (which was moments after we all figured Kane’s goal was actually a goal), a certain Canadian Broadcast Company (shall remain nameless) introduced Stan Bowman as the man who built the Chicago Blackhawks and credited him as the mastermind behind their prominent rise to glory in an interview lead in.

I was offended and got emotional – I was Jeremy Roenick without the tears. Maybe it was just a slip up in the broadcast. But the point is valid: “General Manager: Stan Bowman” will be engraved on the Stanley Cup some time this summer. Well, after someone’s kid poops in it. Dear God I hope Patrick Kane makes good on his word to “keep his shirt on!”

Virtually everyone on Earth knows Dale Tallon did the lionshare of work to build the newly crowned Stanley Cup Champions. But I don’t need to tell you what you already know. The only thing Stan Bowman did to alter Tallon’s 2010 blueprint was trade Cam Barker to Minnesota for Kim Johnsson and prospect Nick Leddy. If anything this salary cap related trade probably weakened the Hawks. Johnsson played only eight games with Chicago before suffering a concussion back in March.

My brother said it best after I calmed down from my tantrum on Wednesday, “Stan Bowman stick handled around some minor salary cap issues this year.” True but nothing will compare to this summer as Bowman tries to rebuild another Cup-caliber team for next season and beyond. The Blackhawks have at least nine key players to resign with less than $4 Million of cap space (approximately). [Figures based on info from CapGeek.com and NHLNumbers.com].

Not with me? How about an analogy to clear things up… Stan Bowman basically stick handled around a Philadelphia Flyers goalie. In dealing with the major cap issues this summer, it’s the equivalent to stick handling around … well, any other NHL goalie. Good luck! I’ll eat my words if Stan Bowman can get his team back to the Stanley Cup Finals next year. Making it back to the Finals next season would earn him that engraving he’ll get from this season’s win. Until then the Stanley Cup’s spelling of  Tallon — “B-O-W-M-A-N” — isn’t quite right.

Stay classy, Stan Bowman. You still get your name on the Stanley Cup.

Saturday Chat Roulette Sessions (June 5 edition)

June 5th, 2010

Hello and good Saturday evening. Is there anything better than getting a glimpse into our favorite NHL star’s Chat Roulette happenings on a Stanley Cup Final off-day? I think not.

This week’s Chat Roulette escapades feature Kerry Fraser-Jim Joyce, the always mature Jason Spezza and Taylor Hall with an MTV darling (sort of). Enjoy.

Stay classy, NHL Chat Rouletters.

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Reducing the number of games decided by shootouts

June 4th, 2010

Umm, apparently not everyone is in love with shootouts in the NHL. Take a moment to gather your thoughts. I’m as shocked as you.

According to Puck Daddy and other reports, a few NHL Executives are brainstorming ways to reduce the number of games decided by shootouts. And although respected hockey minds like Red Wings GM Ken Holland are heading this charge, I figure I’ll throw a few suggestions into the pot. You can thank me later NHL…

  • Don’t let the group in charge of deciding how to deal with headshots in on this debate. I have it on good authority that they’ll never arrive at a solution.
  • Get Chris Pronger to steal all the pu — Nevermind. No one will understand this joke… too obscure.
  • Do not under any circumstance allow Gary Bettman and NBC to brainstorm resolutions together!
  • Have the guys who control the Philadelphia Flyers goal siren review anything that resembles an overtime scoring opportunity. Then make sure the only person who could overrule their blatant error is Bud Selig.
  • Ask Tomas Kaberle for a list of shootout alternatives he’d be willing to accept. Please note such a list might be a few years old despite claims from “informed” sources.
  • Bare with me here, this one is kind of ‘out there’. Make overtime longer or eliminate shootouts altogether. Be gentle with me…
  • Assemble a crack team of brilliant minds lead by Jim Joyce and Kerry Fraser. I’m not sure what solution they’d come up with but I’m pretty sure it would stick. Perfectly.

Stay classy, NHL Shootouts.

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Since today’s post was shorter (and crappier) than usual, I’d like to offer several links to some recent blogs that I think you’ll enjoy. Happy Friday.

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Saturday Chat Roulette Sessions (May 29 edition)

May 29th, 2010

Good Saturday morning or afternoon! Today is a beautiful day – the weather is great and game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals begins in a few short hours! Before getting to the game, I urge you to treat yourself to a few laughs (at me or from someone actually funny!).

This week’s Chat Roulette escapades feature Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin, Chris Pronger-Dustin Byfuglien and Steve Yzerman-Montreal Canadiens. Enjoy.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette weekly feature starring Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin for the 2011 Winter Classic game.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette weekly feature starring Chris Pronger and Dustin Byfuglien.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette weekly feature starring Steve Yzerman and the Montreal Canadiens.

Stay classy, NHL Chat Rouletters.

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Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals – The final game this season

June 12th, 2009

Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings square off for the Stanley Cup.  The regular season is irrelevant and the future doesn’t matter.  It’s about making less mistakes than the opponent for the last 60 minutes of the 2008-2009 season.  That actually sounds pretty easy.  Pretty sure every professional hockey player would shake their heads if they thought I was serious.  Well, I am, sorta, but you know how these things are…

Who has the advantage going into game 7 tonight?  It depends who you ask, but I’d like to objectively point out two area’s I think Pittsburgh benefits from.  

Game 7 Experience
So much has been said about the Detroit Red Wings and their Stanley Cup experience from their recent Cup victories, however, most players on the Wings have never done so in a game 7.  So how is that an advantage for Pittsburgh?  Simple – the Penguins just don’t know any better.  This game is exactly like game 6: lose the game and you lose the Cup.  The simple fact the Wings haven’t been in game 7 territory might be enough to get them overthinking the situation.  Yes – these are pro’s of the highest level, but they are still human beings.  Every situation Detroit has faced in recent years, they’ve faced before.  Nothing is new for them… until now.  Pittsburgh’s youth could certainly provide an odd advantage here.

Improvements & Answers
Despite losing Ryan Malone in the off-season (note: next time you want to sign Malone; sign his dad first), Marian Hossa to some other team (can’t remember who…) and trading Ryan Whitney (maybe the Pens just don’t like Ryans, hence why they drafted Sidney Crosby over Anaheim Duck pick Bobby Ryan… alright.  Bad joke…), the Penguins are a deeper team than last year.  Every game they play (with exceptions to game 5…), shows they’ve learned from previous experiences.  They didn’t get shutout in games 1 or 2 at the Joe Louis Arena, like last year and they won game 6 in Pittsburgh, unlike last year.  They didn’t panick against Washington and completely dominated game 7 of that series.  The remarkable thing about the Penguins playoff run this year is that they seem to have an answer for everything.  When they look down and out, they play better.  They turn up the heat.  When Evgeni Malkin’s play is questioned, he gets better.  Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled in game 5, yet rebounds in game 6 for a huge performance.  You get my drift.  The Penguins Cup run hasn’t been a fairy tale, but when the clutch performances are needed most, the Penguins have come through every time.

 

I’m still thinking Crosby’s raising Lord Stanley tonight.  For the sake of this blog (We did say we might turn Stayclassy.net into a fishing blog if we’re not right on the Penguins winning…), I hope I’m right.  

*Gulp*
 

Stay classy, young Penguins

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Stanley Cup Final- Game 7- Keeping my Fingers Crossed

June 12th, 2009

I have to admit, it’s hard not to get caught up in the hype for this one. Stanley Cup Final rematch, Game 7, back at the Joe, a chance to build on a dynasty for one team, a chance for redemption for another team. The storylines are endless and the excitement has built to an all-time high. This is what the NHL wanted. Let’s hope they get it.

Why the cynicism?

I have no doubt that this game has the potential to be great; a game we will talk about for years to come. But, like Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 1 last year, it also has the potential to fall flat on its face.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQQaQGOSquo&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b]

This morning, the TSN Top Ten was the Top Ten Stanley Cup Final Game 7 moments. Not to give too much away, but there were only ten moments they listed. Yesterday, Ian Mendes at Rogers Sportsnet posted some of the best Game 7s in sports. Again, it was a short list. I’m sure in both cases there were many more. But there have also been plenty of duds. So here’s hoping tonight’s game doesn’t turn out like these travesties:

2009 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals- Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals
In what had been arguably the best series of the playoffs, there was no other option than a Game 7. Two of the best young teams in the East were going the distance, and we were promised fireworks. Well, except for a breakaway save by Fleury against Alexander Ovechkin, this game had about the same enthusiasm as Joaquin Phoenix’s recent appearance on Letterman. Pittsburgh skated away with this one, and I felt like I was watching pre-season in Switzerland. Not the Conference Semi-Finals.

2004 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals- Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Maybe this one stings a bit more because of my allegiance to the Ottawa Senators, but talk about another Game 7 letdown. In what was supposed to be Ottawa’s chance at finally beating the Leafs in the playoffs, a struggling offense, and stellar, if not incredibly lucky goaltending from Ed Belfour (remember when that Hossa shot hit the butt-end of his stick? Really Eddie? You meant to do that?), pushed this series to a Game 7. Well, we all remember how this one went. Current Stars GM Joe Niewendyk put two softies past Patrick Lalime and the game was out of hand and out of reach. The Sens bench, which used to turn defense into offense, was absolutely startled. They had no game plan after those goals, and we had to watch in utter dismay as Alfredsson led the charge to shake hands with the dreaded Leafs. In a series that had so much potential for Sens fans and the Battle of Ontario, this Game 7 was a dud.

2003 Stanley Cup Finals- New Jersey Devils vs. Anaheim Mighty Ducks
This one is being talked about as Dan Bylsma’s missed opportunity, but Game 7 was a complete bore. After coming back from a 3-1 deficit, most of the hockey world was cheering on Giguere and the Ducks as the cinderella story of 2003. But a shutout performance from Martin Brodeur and two goals from Mike Rupp made this less exciting than a John and Kate Plus 8 marathon on TLC.

1999 Western Conference Finals- Dallas Stars vs. Colorado Avalanche
Colorado took an impressive 3-2 lead over the future Stanley Cup Champions with a 7-5 victory in Game 5. After Dallas tied the series in Game 6, we all figured for some fireworks in Game 7. Well, 6 minutes into the third period and Dallas was already up 4-0. Only 7 minutes later did Colorado score its first goal, but Dallas had already wrapped this one up. They were on their way to the Finals. With a Colorado team that featured the likes of Sakic, Forsberg, Drury, and Fleury, we all figured we’d get a bit more out of this Game 7.

1996 Conference Semi-Finals- Detroit Red Wings vs. St. Louis Blues
I don’t know if you can call this a bad game, so much as a brutal way to end a series. We all know the goal. It’s replayed over and over and over. But Steve Yzerman grabs a loose puck that was coughed up by Wayne Gretzky, skates into the St. Louis zone, and fires a shot from the blueline that somehow handcuffs Jon Casey. It cements Yzerman as a great leader, player and playoff performer, sends Casey to who-knows-where, and ends the series. Good series, good hockey. Awful goal.

My age is beginning to show here, cause I’m sure I’m missing some other brutal Game 7s. Here’s hoping that tonight’s billing lives up to the hype, and doesn’t make my list next year.

Stay classy, Stanley Cup Finals Game 7. The NHL needs you.

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The what-ifs of the Stanley Cup Finals – Game 7 especially…

June 11th, 2009

 

This has been an incredible series to watch. Great hockey from both the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ups, downs, and lots of what-ifs. Really, this series has boiled down to the intangibles. Leading into Game 7, a lot of these questions are going to be talked about. And this series will undoubtedly come down to a few more. But I present to you, the best what-if moments of the Stanley Cup Finals.
 
What if:
 
- Malkin had scored on that breakway in Game 1, when the score was still notched at 2-1?
- Abdelkader wasn’t slotted into the lineup, and scored two clutch goals to put it out of reach?
- Abdelkader hadn’t been scratched for Games 3, 4, 5 and 6?
- Hossa hadn’t been silent for most of the series?
- Fleury hadn’t stopped Cleary on that breakaway?
- The Wings hadn’t embarassed the Penguins in Game 5?
- Scuderi hadn’t made 3 impressive saves at the end of Game 6?
- Staal and Kennedy hadn’t stepped up and provided that secondary scoring?
 
So, leading into Game 7 on Friday night, here’s a few more, which could essentially win the Stanley Cup.
 
What if:
 
- Crosby steps up and breaks the jinx at the Joe?
- Malkin provides another dominating performance to finish these playoffs?
- Zetterberg and Datsyuk put on a ‘defense turning into offense’ clinic?
- Hossa breaks out of his funk?
- Fleury makes another game-changing save early in Game 7 (see game-changing save in Game 7 against the Capitals)?
 
All of these factors, and many more, are huge for tomorrow’s game. I refuse to make a call or prediction in this forum. I’ve done it in the past, but it never works out. Just know that we are lucky enough to have a Game 7, and to keep an eye out for these intangibles. Man I love sports.

This has been an incredible series to watch. Great hockey from both the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ups, downs, and lots of what-ifs. Really, this series has boiled down to the intangibles. Leading into Game 7, a lot of these questions are going to be talked about. And this series will undoubtedly come down to a few more. But I present to you, the best what-if moments of the Stanley Cup Finals.

 What if:

- Malkin had scored on that breakway in Game 1, when the score was still notched at 2-1?

- Abdelkader wasn’t slotted into the lineup, and scored two clutch goals to put it out of reach?

- Abdelkader hadn’t been scratched for Games 3, 4, 5 and 6?

- Hossa hadn’t been silent for most of the series?

- Fleury hadn’t stopped Cleary on that breakaway?

- The Wings hadn’t embarassed the Penguins in Game 5?

- Scuderi hadn’t made 3 impressive saves at the end of Game 6?

- Staal and Kennedy hadn’t stepped up and provided that secondary scoring?

 

So, leading into Game 7 on Friday night, here’s a few more, which could essentially win the Stanley Cup.

What if:

- Crosby steps up and breaks the jinx at the Joe?

- Malkin provides another dominating performance to finish these playoffs?

- Zetterberg and Datsyuk put on a ‘defense turning into offense’ clinic?

- Hossa breaks out of his funk?

- Fleury makes another game-changing save early in Game 7 (see game-changing save in Game 7 against the Capitals)?

 

All of these factors, and many more, are huge for tomorrow’s game. I refuse to make a call or prediction in this forum. I’ve done it in the past, but it never works out. Just know that we are lucky enough to have a Game 7, and to keep an eye out for these intangibles. Man I love sports.

 

Stay classy, NHL fans

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