Posts Tagged ‘Steven Stamkos’

Dany Heatley’s Decline Reminds Us We’re All Human

July 4th, 2011

Michael Russo from the Star Tribune wrote a terrific article earlier concerning Dany Heatley, his trade to the Minnesota Wild, and his time with the San Jose Sharks.

As fans it’s easy to get caught up in liking/disliking athletes. Dany Heatley’s “heal turn” in the summer of 2009 represents that better than virtually any other example I can think of.  His departure from Ottawa was well documented here, and by pretty much every other blog and sports outlet in North America.

As Russo points out, Heatley’s time in San Jose will largely be viewed as failure. The Sharks didn’t win any Stanley Cups and twice lost in the Western Conference finals (both times fairly convincingly too). Heatley’s playoff numbers aren’t amazing either. In fact, the former 50-goal scorer managed just 22 points in 32 games over his two post-seasons with the Sharks. Frankly, those stats are somewhat flattering too. Only five of Heatley’s 22 points were goals.

Disappointing stats? Absolutely, but it’s not that simple. While it’s clear the new NHL – the way the game is played, the younger and faster players, and the new rules – don’t bode well for Heatley and his style, he’s still an elite goal scorer at this level. Consecutive injury plagued seasons have certainly played a significant role in Heatley’s decline. From torn groins to broken hands, Heatley has probably seen more trainers and medical rooms in the last two years than most nurses.

» Read more: Dany Heatley’s Decline Reminds Us We’re All Human

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.

What kind of hockey player are you?

August 27th, 2010

I’ve been talking about my rec hockey life a little bit lately. Today I’m going to do more of that so let’s have some fun with this. There are two rec hockey seasons: summer and winter. Winter runs from September to April and summer runs from May to September. As you’ve probably surmised, summer rec hockey is coming to an end.

That means I’m trying to figure out which teams I will play on for the winter season. In addition to that, I recently decided to add another team to my schedule. And so, the “interviews” begin. Every team leader asks a series of questions like “How good are you,” “What leagues have you played in” and of course, “What kind of player are you?”

I usually say something like “Uhh, I’m OK. I don’t suck.” I never know how to explain what kind of player I am. To help with this issue – and hopefully get some sort of resolution before all the winter teams cut me – I’ve created a list of player descriptions. I’ll start with the straight forward descriptions and move into the more specific examples after.

The Goal Scorer
Description: A strong forward who has the capability of scoring a goal every time he steps on the ice. A player who’s best single season goal total almost beats the Edmonton Oilers points total from last season.
NHL Comparables: Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Matt Moulson.

The Playmaker
Description: A player who has great on-ice vision and knows how to control the pace of the game. A player who does everything Craig Conroy was supposed to do in Calgary. A player who can actually pull off no-look passes without fans screaming “Dammit Spezza!!”
NHL Comparables: Nicklas Backstrom, Patrick Kane, no current Toronto Maple Leafs player.

The Difference Maker
Description: A player who would no doubt would be subjected to benchside interviews from Pierre McGuire… if, you know, he had slightly less credibility.
NHL Comparables: Mike “Monster” Richards, Dion “Monster” Phaneuf… those are the only two comparables, ever.

The Really Good, Young Player
Description: A young and strong player the entire team loves… except the guy who makes decisions. Largely because he’s a poor evaluator of talent and doesn’t know what an offer sheet is… yet!
NHL Comparables: James Neal, Bobby Ryan, Marc Staal.

Those are all pretty simple descriptions. But sometimes team leaders want even more information about the kind of player you are and what you bring to their team. Here are some more in depth descriptions I’ve been using (with little success, of course).

The Mike Milbury
Description: An extremely special player that you could build a team around and expect years of success with. A player that no other GM would even think about trading (even for a great return).
NHL Comparables: Roberto Luongo, Jason Spezza, dozens more.

The Don Cherry
Description: A player no one really acknowledges for anything and yet, some crazy old man feverishly campaigns for Team Canada to pick him for the Olympics.
NHL Comparables: I dunno, I never noticed a player like this.

The Dave Andreychuk
Description: By far the oldest guy on the ice who is someday bound to win something (for the love of God!!!!).
NHL Comparables: Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel Alfredsson and uhh… Dave Andreychuk.

The Doug Maclean
Description: An overrated (read: not scouted well enough) forward picked from a very strong pool of players in which he was clearly the worst.
NHL Comparables: Gilbert “still a great pick” Brule.

The Don Waddell
Description: A player with so much talent and such a bright future who the Atlanta Thrashers would only screw up, trade or do nothing with 5/10 times.
NHL Comparables: Patrik Steffan, Alex Bourret, Braydon Coburn, Kari Lehtonen, Boris Valabik.

Hey readers: Have some fun with me – What kind of hockey player are you? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay classy, hockey players.

Signs your hockey team is in trouble

June 23rd, 2010

It’s a busy time in the hockey world. The NHL Entry Draft and the start of Unrestricted Free Agency are both days away and teams are actively trying to better their rosters in any and every way possible. This even includes making trades, something I’m not accustomed to after last year’s “trade deadline”.

For most teams it’s a very exciting time. For others it’s a time of hopelessness and despair. Here are some signs your hockey team might be in trouble:

  • You recently traded for a player who once won a Stanley Cup for your franchise. Problem is he’s twice as old as your best player, Zach Parise.
  • Glenn Sather is still employed by your organization.
  • Your designated number one goalie for next season has averaged just 42 games played in each of his last five seasons.
  • Your GM is heavily considering offering the league maximum salary to Lebron James.
  • Recently Pierre McGuire was considered a finalist for your vacant GM position. I’m looking at you, Minnesota.
  • Your head coach just stepped down to be a (another) team advisor. Between you, the braintrust of Kevin Lowe, Steve Tambellini, Mike Sillinger and others, you are one really old guy away from becoming the Toronto Maple Leafs.
  • It’s been more than a full season since you last had a team Captain. Even the Leafs recently named a Captain!
  • You resigned Matt Cooke to a 3-year contract extension.
  • The core players of your franchise were the considered core players of your team before the lockout. I think one those core players might retire this summer too.
  • Steven Stamkos’ 2010 Rocket Richard trophy win is probably the highlight of your team’s season, next season.
  • It’s been almost a week since I last heard a ‘truculence/tough’ speech from Brian Burke.
  • Doug Wilson, your General Manager, intends to follow the Flyers goaltending model by “not paying very much for it.”  This should help you get closer to the Stanley Cup and finally not choking next season…
  • You legitimately believe “he didn’t object to the fact that maybe it’s time – the way (he’s) been received – now maybe it’s time” makes any sense to anyone.

Stay classy, troubled NHL teams.

Surprising NHL goal scorers

January 23rd, 2010

When looking at the NHL’s leading goal scorers, there are the typical names like Alex Ovechkin (32 goals), Patrick Marleau (35 goals – current league lead), Ilya Kovalchuk (30 goals), Dany Heatley (29 goals), and others. There’s also a few names that might come as a surprise to hockey fans. Let’s take a look at some of the lower profile top 30 goal scorers this season:

Alex Burrows – Vancouver Canucks
Why this is a surprise: Alex Burrows has scored 23 goals this season for the Vancouver Canucks while averaging 16-20 minutes of ice time per game. Burrows has scored 13 goals in his last 10 games and is probably the best bargain in the NHL with a cap hit of $2 Million for the next three seasons.

Ryan Malone – Tampa Bay Lightning
Why this is a surprise: Should we really be that surprised Ryan Malone has 21 goals this season for the Tampa Bay Lightning? After all, he is playing with stars like Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, and others. I guess it’s the fact that Malone’s six goals shy of his career high (27) and has almost the same number of goals and points as he did in all of last season.

Patric Hornqvist – Nashville Predators
Why this is a surprise: Patric Hornqvist could probably be the most unknown 20 goal scorer in the NHL right now. He’s 23 years old and was selected 230th overall in the 2005 Entry Draft. This is Hornqvist’s second NHL season and he’s tearing it up on a low scoring Nashville team.

Stephen Weiss – Florida Panthers
Why this is a surprise: Stephen Weiss is already one goal away from tying a career best in goals for a whole season (20, back in 06/07) and is finally living up to expectations in Florida. For whatever it’s worth, Weiss’ shooting percentage is currently better than double what it’s been for the last two seasons.

Stay classy, surprising goal scorers.

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Champ’s Whammy of the Week!

December 4th, 2009

Afternoon sports fans, this week’s WHAMMY is an early candidate for WHAMMY of the Year. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kyle Quincey nails Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos and sends him flying into the bench. Great hit, enjoy!

Stay classy, readers

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Thoughts on last night’s Senators-Lightning game

October 30th, 2009

Last night’s game was a bit like the day after Thanksgiving dinner. You really want to eat the rest of that food, and you know you’re capable of doing it, but you take forever, and it really doesn’t taste as good as the night before. You’re lazy, lethargic, and in a semi food-induced coma once it’s all said and done, and you haven’t even touched your stuffing. Yeah, that was last night’s game.

Coming off a victory in Florida the night before, Ottawa marched its sorry butts into Tampa Bay missing the team’s #1 centre, #1 goalie and best shutdown defencemen. So, not to say the odds were a little against the Senators, but they might be able to find some excuses for last night’s game.

The first goal against Ottawa was an absolute fluke (a Powerplay goal no less), bouncing three ways before it found the net, but it helped to set the tone for the game. After that, the Senators just weren’t able to muster the strength to mount a comeback. There were two late goals from Kovalev and Ruutu, but they were meaningless other than to make the final score look better. Steven Stamkos was really the story of the game, and while he was credited for two goals, it was really his second goal– the top right corner shot–that wowed the half-empty arena.

One thing to take out of this game is that it looks like there might finally be some bad blood between these two expansion cousins. So there is that to look forward to for the next matchup.

The bottom line for this game was that Ottawa was a tired squad that was missing key bodies. Tampa was most likely seeking retribution for the 7-1 drubbing in Ottawa a few weeks ago, and it was just too much for the Sens. So here is what you have all been waiting for: the Classy, Non-Classy and Could-Have-Been-Classier from last night’s game.

The Classy

I really wrestled with this one. I mean, it would be easy to say that Stamkos was the star of this game last night. But that would take away from my Classy list that I’ve been developing this season. This is about the Senators, and while Stamkos played well, he was not a classy guy for the Sens.

So, last night’s Classy goes to the guys who weren’t in the lineup. And more specifically, the Classy goes to Jason Spezza’s value on that team.

There just seemed to be something missing (like a faceoff win), but also the intangibles that Spezza brings to the table. I’ve always been an ardent supporter of #19, but I think games like last night show how valuable he really is, even off the scoreboard. The team just seems to have more fun when he’s on the ice. He is a legitimate superstar, and when he plays, the rest of the players know that they can just focus on their own games. Plus, he’s virtually always laughing at something, so how could you not have fun when he’s in the lineup. Last night’s game demonstrated the important role that Spezza plays on this team, and that my friends, is Classy.

The Non-Classy

Oh man, was I ever having to pick through the garbage on this one. The fact is, this was not a very Classy game for the Senators. And to be honest, I had a very different player here for two periods of hockey (he has since been bumped to the Could-Have-Been-Classier).

Last night’s Non-Classy goes to Alex Kovalev’s face after being run into that stantion. Good on him for getting up and looking for who did that to his nose, and good on Foligno for standing up for his teammate, but it was the aftermath that was the Non-Classy of the night.


Make a list…

But seriously, there was one player that stood out a bit who Could-Have-Been-Classier. And unfortunately for him, he’s on a two-way contract. So being anything but Classy doesn’t necessarily bode well for him.

Brian Lee, you need to be a bit Classier. That play down low when you let Steve Downie (that’s right, Steve Downie) out hustle, out hit, and out play you to set up that second goal is inexusable. I know you’re not a huge guy, and I know that your game is about finesse and outlet passing, but please don’t let that happen again. You definitely Could-Have-Been-Classier.

Next up, a Halloween afternoon matchup against the Atlanta Thrashers. Hopefully, with a day of rest, Ottawa might be able to get at least two bodies back into the lineup and forget about last night’s game in Tampa. This should have easily been a 4-point trip through the Southeast division teams, so I would expect nothing but a win on Saturday. However, a loss might cement the Cory Clouston as the scariest costume on Halloween.

Stay classy tired, injured and sore Ottawa Senators.

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