Thursday, April 30, 2009

Capitals and Penguins Defense: Doppelgangers?

Let's look at this objectively, without our Black and Gold or Red, White, & Blue sunglasses on. Line up the bluelines between the Pens and Caps, do you see much of a difference? Cause I don't.

1. Offensive Machines

Sergei Gonchar - 6'2" 211 lbs.Mike Green - 6'2" 208 lbs.

Here's one of the obvious comparisons; Green and Gonchar. Both run the powerplay, both have great point shots, both create quick breakouts, and both play high minutes. Pens fans will say Gonch is more responsible in his own end, Caps fans will say Green is no slouch either. Can you statistically measure that? I can't, but the Online Sports Betting people might be able to.  Gonchar was a +6 (in only 25 games), while Green was a +24 (in 68 games), so take that for what it's worth. Where they differ? Green is more apt to carry into the zone, while Gonchar will dump it in. But seriously, these guys are uniquely similar.

2. The Big Men

Hal Gill - 6'7" 250 lbs.John Erskine - 6'4" 216 lbs.

These two giants are stalwarts in front of their own nets. Why? Well, because they're both too slow to move anywhere on the side wall, zing! But seriously, these guys rarely get out of position, play the body, and do a good job clearing out the crease. They definitely aren't the quickest fillies in the race, but good positioning and active sticks can make up for that.

3. The Other Offensive Guy

Kris Letang - 6'0" 201 lbs.Tom Poti - 6'3" 210 lbs.

Tom Poti and Kris Letang play very similar games, both run a secondary powerplay, both join the rush, and both execute a solid, but not great, breakout. They both have been known as liabilities in their own end, but both are proficient enough to make plays.

4. Steady As She Goes

Rob Scuderi - 6'0" 218 lbs.Shaone Morrisonn - 6'4" 210 lbs.

Has there been a more dependable defensive player for the Pens than Rob Scuderi all season? Has there been a defensemen that you didn't notice on the ice (because he wasn't screwing up) more for the Caps than Shaone Morrisonn? Maybe, but you catch my drift. Both these guys lay down in front of shots, play the wall hard, and are generally dependable in their own end. What more can you ask? Pens fans absolutely love the Scud Missile, don't know if I can say Caps fans have the same affection for Morrisonn, perhaps they should.

5. The Boom Stick

Brooks Orpik - 6'2" 219 lbs.Milan Jurcina - 6'4" 233 lbs.

Brooks Orpik broke a guys back for God's sakes. Milan Jurcina plays a steady physical game in front of the net. They both are apt to pitch in offensively as well, Orpik had 19 points and Jurcina had 14.

6. The Injury Prone

Mark Eaton - 6'2" 204 lbs.Brian Pothier - 6'0" 200 lbs.

Brian Pothier just came off the IR, he was out 14 months with a concussion. Mark Eaton played 68 games this year, only 3 less than the prior 2 seasons, combined. These guys can both pitch in and both are steady. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, they get beat up.

Now here's the conundrum. Who would you rather have? To me, it's really a toss up. Is Pothier healthy? Which Letang shows up? Is Mike Green still hurt/sick? Is Eaton dependable enough right now? Lot's of questions dot both blue lines, looks like we'll find out on Saturday.

Round 1 Predictions: How Did We Do?

Well now that Round 1 has been over for what seems like 5 years, and Round 2 starts tonight, we figured we'd take a look back to our prediction brackets and see how we are fairing thus far.

Vance's Bracket

So over in the West, Vance goes a dismal 1/4 missing out on Calgary upsetting Chicago, which many probably didn't see as much as an upset but Chicago did away with Calgary with relative ease. We'll give him a break missing the Sharks because I'm sure 95% of people missed that one...but then we have to make fun of his EPIC FAIL pick of St. Louis over the Canucks. St. Louis was that feel good team though, and I'm sure had Vance been right, we'd never hear the end of it. You showed some balls sir.

Vance made up for his EPIC FAIL, however, by going 4/4 in the East. Good for you my friend. Here's a pat on the back. I almost got you with that Rangers pick too. Damn.

Vance goes a combined 5/8. Tear.

On to mine (Denson):

I, like Vance, also missed out on the Sharks pick, but nobody really cares about that because you readers missed it too. You know you did, dont't lie to yourself. But that totally F'd me since I *GASP!!!, went against my hometown team and had the Sharks beating the Pens in the finals. Ah well, 3/4 in the West isn't too shaby.

The East pisses me off. I was O so close to having that Rangers upset pick correct.

Again, 3/4. Pretty surprising both Vance and I took the Canes the beat the Devils, but they were playing some amazing hockey...and look at Eric Staal, finally scoring against good teams! Touche my friend. Touche.

So in the end I one-upped Vance going 6/8...but in the grand scheme of things, I'm screwed. More Onus Seed updates to come...Vance is getting all pissy.

Round 1 Review: Onus 6 Seeds

These are succccccccccchhhhhhhh a pain. But I've gotta do 'em, keeps us in check. Check back here to see our picks for the 6 seeds, and the justifications. If you want, whatever.

NameCarolina HurricanesGradeSt. Louis BluesGrade
VanceErik ColeWell this one, plain dead wrong. Carolina didn't need him at all apparently. 0 points, -2, 6 PIM. Vance = FAIL.TJ OshieHey, lookie there, I shit the bed twice. 0 points, Even, 2 PIM, only 6 shots on goal. Christ, I look like a douche this round.
DensonEric Staal5 goals, 2 assists, led the Canes in scoring in their upset of the Devils. At least he stood up to the challenge of beating Marty Brodeur.Keith TkachukWorse than the freakin' Oshie pick. 19 skaters for the Blues, 19th statistically. Tough showing Keith.
JToBEric StaalOh those two goals in the last minute were something special weren't they? Eric scored one of 'em, good enough.Andy MurrayWent out on a limb with a coach here, and you know what, EPIC FAIL.
ReedCam WardWard bested Brodeur, not much else you can say about that.TJ OshieLike myself, Reed loved how this kid played in the last 2 months, well TJ apparently forgot how to play like that.

So really, we kinda sucked on the 6 seeds. I mean, Staal and Ward, outside of that, we were shit terrible. We need some redemption picks, which I'm sure, will be coming up shortly. One thing we can say though, is that no one wants to play the Canes, and St. Louis has a bright future.

Round 1 Review: Onus 7 Seeds

I need to fire these out today, Christ there's playoff hockey tonight. So for your #7 seeds, the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers, one went with nigh a whimper, the other put up a fight only Denson believed could happen. We move to the picks. Take a look back if you wanna see what we originally thought.

NameNew York RangersGradeColumbus Blue JacketsGrade
VanceChris DruryHow the hell was I supposed to know he played the entire series with a broken hand?!? But that is the kinda guy Drury is, a fierce competitor. He did score the GWG in Game 4, which everyone though put away that series. Otherwise, ouch.R.J UmbergerWell this was a rather unconventional pick, but guess what, it turned out. Umberger accounted for nearly 50% of his entire teams scoring, but then again, it was only 3 goals.
DensonSean AveryTough call, game 1 he played great, Rags won. Game 2, he played ok, squeaked it out. Games 3, OK. Game 4, yikes. Game 5, BENCHED. Game 6, non-factor. Game 7, too little, too late. A mixed bag here. Steve MasonOh boy oh boy, the Vezina candidate sure needed to step up against those Wings, oh boy oh boy, he sure didn't.
JToBHenrik LundqvistJToB has an affinity for callin' out goalies, well this is like 50% right too. Hank stole the first couple games, but then managed to get yanked in both the 5th and 6th games of the series. Did what he could, but with no offense in front of him, what more could you ask?Rick NashRich had his chance to prove his stardom on the big stage, 1 goal, 2 assists. Tough luck Rick.
ReedSean AverySee above. I will say this though, games 1 & 7 he played very well. In game 1 he got in Green's head, in game 7 he was a forecheck machine. But he didn't get into Simeon Varlamov's head.Nash and MasonJust take the prior 2, throw 'em together, slap chop 'em around a bit, and realize that man, Columbus's playoff debut was a freakin' unmitigated disaster.

Ok folks, there's a look back at who we thought needed to step up to win their series. Obviously none of us truly thought the BJs could beat the Wings, but man, they didn't even give hope. At least the Rangers gave hope.

The Crosby - Ovechkin Hype Machine Rolls On

And we're here to mock it.

This morning's lede 'Malkin Laich's Semin for MVP'

So everyone saw the front page of NHL.COM this morning right? The totally homo Ovechkin-Crosby splash page, why, something about that sure does make you want to make a homosexual alteration doesn't it? Done and done.

Glen Sather saw that and got upset, while Marc Staal and Dan Girardi finally feel like they belong. Wooooooooooooooo.

Come on now NHL, this game isn't even until Saturday, you've got a Kane/Toews, Luongo matchup tonight.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hulk Smash!; Poor Tobias Enstrom

We might be a little behind on this, maybe not, don't care...but this shit is nasty...and just a tad bit dirty. During the IIHF World Hockey Championship game between Latvia and Sweden on Monday, Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Tobias Enstrom was crushed from behind by Martins Karsums (one of the prospects Boston traded over to Tampa for Mark Recchi). Enstrom was in la la land all bloodied up and apparently had to leave with a shoulder his jaw didn't explode is beyond me. Gross.

And for anyone following the Championships...Latvia upset Sweden in a shootout 3-2.

Fan of the Week: Columbus Blue Jackets

I can't decide which is uglier. The guitar or the handlebar stash. Doesn't matter, the stash is probably fake...just like the state of Ohio. Zinnnnngggggg

Conn Smythe Nomination: 4/28/09

In a night that featured two game 7's, one game featuring a goalie with 176 career playoff starts, the other featuring a netminder with 12 career starts, and guess which one is going home?

You can tell they both got a little "Stall" in them.

Well, thanks to last night's Conn Smythe nominee, Eric Staal, Marty Brodeur and his precious records are being sent packing. Staal scored the game winning goal with 32 seconds left to send Carolina into the 2nd round, and into the waiting arms of the Bruins. Staal finished the night with 2 points, while logging over 23 minutes worth of ice time. He's currently tied atop the playoff goal scoring lead with Alex Semin, with 5 tallies.

Honorable mentions go out to Sergei Federov for being the only skating Capital who looked good last night, Jussi Jokinen for another clutch goal, Simeon Varlamov, who after being scored on early in the first, played nearly 55 minutes of shutout hockey the rest of the way, and finally Sean Avery, who played as well as any time I've ever seen him and for finally going away.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jersey Foul of Epic Proportions

We caught one red handed. A Rangers fan, and presumably, New York's greatest misinformed Bon Jovi fan. Shall we job him? Here and now? Text and Comments? Absolutely, of course.

Now I'm not one to make accusations. But, wasn't John Bon Jovi born in New Jersey? So wouldn't he presumably be a Devils fan? So, yes. That's fail number 1. But wait, Jon Bon Jovi is also owner of a Philadelphia sports franchise, the AFL's Soul, so wouldn't that potentially make him a...Flyers fan? Whoops, there's fail number 2. And finally, Bon Jovi isn't even his real God damned name, it's John Bongiovi, Jr., douchebag, there you have it, 3 fails.

I guess the 1 stands for "Best Band Evarrrrrrrrrrr" but in all seriousness, Bon Jovi? At least the guys next to you were sporting Graves and Messier sweaters, even if #11 was crying with 2 minutes left (exaggeration...or was it).

So have at him people, exactly how much of an efstick have we got here?

Looking Back: The Onus #8 Seeds

So Anaheim and Montreal, how'd you fare? .500 for the 8's? That's a good year. How'd we do? Well I suppose it's time to take a look back at the ONI for the 8 seeds, I guess I'll have to let Reed and JToB know that they sucked too.

NameMontreal CanadiensGradeAnaheim DucksGrade
VanceThe PP PointWell, the Habs scored a total of 6 goals while getting swept out by the Bruins. I said whoever was going to man the point on the PP was going to be key to their success, making the most of their opportunities, etc. etc. The result? 0-8 on the PP during the course of the series. If they would've stepped up, would it have mattered? Maybe, but I doubt it. Not with Carey Price in net.Jonas HillerWe all know how well he did, freakin' awesome. 2 shutouts, currently leading the playoffs in save %. Think this series hinged totally on him, it did. They won.
DensonAlex KovalevWell Kovalev did lead his team in postseason points...with 3. It was a good pick, and he did what he could, but it wasn't enough.Bobby RyanHe led the Ducks with 4 goals, and in shots with 23. He supplied 4 of 18 Ducks goals, can't complain with the kind of production from a rookie. Good pick.
JToBCarey PriceWell he called him out. Had to play well to have a chance against the B's. He didn't. That's 15 goals in 4 games. Ouch. He needed to step up, but he didn't. JToB called it.Giguere or HillerI guess JToB was half as right as I was. We talked about Hiller, he dominated.
ReedPrice or Halak.Well, Price faltered. Maybe Reed was on to something when he said Halak may make an appearance? Maybe the Habs were just that bad? Again, good pick by our guys, and bad execution by the player.Ryan GetzlafLast night's BP Conn Smythe nominee, Getzlaf is currently tied for 2nd in postseason play in points. Is that stepping up to carry your team to victory? Damn right it is. Good pick.

So how do you guys think we did? Obviously the Hiller pick worked out for all of us. Am I right for saying we called out the guys who needed to step up, but sucked, and still saying we were right? Can I do that? DAMN RIGHT I CAN.

Can Anybody Stop Detroit?

Now that the San Jose Sharks have been ousted another early exit from the playoffs, we shift our attention to the likely front runner to represent the West in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Detroit Red Wings.

Detroit's success this season has been in many ways over shadowed by the Sharks. The Wings are by no means a sexy pick to win the Stanley Cup...again...but they are probably the most logical. The Wings absolutely DESTROYED the Blue Jackets in the first round. Aside for maybe game 4 where Flopsgood looked shakier than Mohammed Ali handling a new born..but still...the Wings were a far superior team and were able to sweep the Jackets...and managed to make rookie of the year candidate Steve Mason look like a sieve.

Mason's regular season GAA: 2.29
Mason's post-season GAA: 4.26

OUCH. And that GAA is not due to Mason's lack of skill or he showcased that all season. The credit deservedly goes to the Red Wings ability to pin-point and shut down any particular team's strength, expose their weaknesses, and then dismantle the team with perfection. It's almost sickening.

So now the question is can anyone stop this freight train from rolling its way through the playoffs again? Well lets take a look at the teams with that Oh so coveted opportunity.

Anaheim Ducks - Well, we'll actually get to see this first hand very soon, as the Ducks have drawn the Wings as their 2nd round foe.

Why they could win: THEY BEAT SAN JOSE! So obviously they'll roll through Detroit as well. Ha! In all seriousness the Ducks do have the veteran leadership experience and skill on the blue line with Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Whitney, Chris Pronger, James Wisniewski, and Francois Beauchemin. Playoff experience will aide them as well. They have a killer first line anchored by Getzlef that was superb against the Sharks. And that Jonas Hiller kid ain't too shaby either.

Why they won't win: Jonas Hiller. It's unfortunate that after having such a stellar first round, Hiller is likely to be exposed this next round against the Wings. Plus, all the Wings really have to do is match up one line against the Ducks. The Wings are way deeper and their 3rd line is more capable of winning games. Plus, does anyone outside of Anaheim really expect the Ducks to upset both the #1 and #2 seeds?

Chicago Blackhawks - I actually look at this team and am reminded a lot of the Penguins run last year. If the Hawks end up meeting the Wings in the WCF, there's no doubt it'd be an entertaining series.

Why they could win: Offense offense and more offense. The Hawks are equipped with a very potent offense, once that could prove to be a nightmare for Flopsgood on the other end. Their top 3 lines may be some of the best in hockey.

Why they won't win: Inexperience. Yah it's a cop out but you can't really argue against it. There are only five members of the Blackhawks who were playing in the NHL the last time they made the playoffs in 2002. Campbell, Havlat, Nikolai Khabibulin, Sammy Pahlsson and Brent Sopel. It didn't matter against the will matter a great deal against the Wings should they meet.

Vancouver Canucks - To me, this is the only team that I truly believe has a shot at upending the Wings.

Why they could win: Two words. DA GOALIEEEEE!!!! Roberto Luongo can win games on his own. One of the few goalies left in the playoffs that can. He'd likely have to steal a couple for the Canucks, but Luongo plus his D-men should be able to stifle the Red Wings potent offense. The Wings don't like to be hit, and the Canucks love a physical, defensive low scoring game. That favors Roberto and his team.

Why they won't win: Secondary scoring. After you get past the Canucks 1st line, there isn't a whole lot of help coming from their offense. Luongo would be able to keep the Canucks close but on most nights you have to score more than 2 goals to beat Detroit...and without some secondary scoring, you're dead in the water.

Conn Smythe Nomination: 4/28/09

Well, they freakin' did it. Probably the most dangerous 8 seed in who knows how long pulled it off in 6 games, as the Ducks shit all over the Sharks. While a tad earlier in the evening the Blackhawks put together another dominating performance, making smokestacks of the Flames. Two clinchers, two 4-1 wins. So who gets the Conn Smythe nod for the evening?

Well, that'd be premature balding center Ryan Getzlaf. Although his goal was simply icing on the cake that was the upset of the Sharks, he also set up Corey Perry's tying goal halfway through the first. But what stood out was what happened 0:02 into last night's game.

Getzlaf put up with Thornton's attempt at exciting his teammates, but it just turned out to be another notch in Big Joe's playoff failure belt. He has one of those. Getzlaf, does not. Thus far Getzlaf has 8 points, 2 goals and 6 assists, as they move on to face those Detroit Red Wings, which if I may say so, will be a fantastic series.

Honorable mentions go out to Jonas Hiller for putting away the series with a 36 save performance, Khabibulin's 43 save gem putting away Calgary, and Dustin Byflugien, coming out of nowhere with a 1 goal, 2 assist night.

Penguins Make Disco Dan Head Coach

The Pittsburgh Penguins removed the "interim" tag from Dan Bylsma Tuesday making him the Penguin's newest Head Coach.

No details released yet on the multi-year deal...although I expect it to be similar to what Therrien had previously signed on for.

Bylsma has done a remarkable job since taking the reigns from Therrien back on February 15, when he took over a struggling Penguins team. Bylsma has certainly been a breath of fresh air for a team that a few months ago, was looking more at the draft lottery than a return to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Pens posted a 18-3-4 record in their final 25 games him behind their bench and are now on their way to the second round of the playoffs.

Reason why Pens fans should be happy:

As everyone will say and has said, the numbers don't lie. Ray Shero really didn't have any reason not to make Bylsma head coach. His coaching tactics seem to fit this Penguins team perfectly, reimplementing an offense that attacks rather than sitting back and waiting....and waiting...and waiting. His line juggling combos have been pretty damn good too. And that overall record of 22-5-4 is pretty damn sexy.

Reason why Pens fans should be cautious:

When the Pens experience adversity and their next slump in the season/seasons to come, Bylsma's "players coach" reputation may not get the job done like it did this year. He won't have the ability to start fresh...with a locker room of players looking for ANY sort of change. Next season will be completely different than this year...and we all know the players inside the Pens locker room are capable of playing to get their coach fired. The Penguins haven't really experience much adversity since Bylsma's hiring besides Game 6 against the Flyers where they faced a 3-0 deficit. He got the job down there. It'll be interesting to see how this team reacts,however, once they are really faced with some do-or-die adversity.

What do you guys think? Is the man they call "Disco Dan" right for the job?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pat Sajak and your Wheel of Discipline

Ok real quick...

Not a suspension.

Not a suspension.

Not a suspension.

A one game suspension.

Another one game suspension.

And another one gamer.

Now how about 6 games for this one.

I'm not saying Brashear doesn't deserve a suspension, he definitely does. But we have butt ends, cross checks to the face, etc. getting nothing, but this gets 6. Is there anyway there can be some sort of criteria for these things? Since when did Brashear play for the Flyers? Oh yeah, he did. Imagine that. Woooooooooo.

If Bett's doesn't have a cracked orbital bone, is this a game? You tell me.

Scotty Upshall Suspended 1 Game at Worlds

Now this is a ugly. No if's, or's, or but's about it. This is unwarranted and dangerous. Headshots are bad enough, and this is lining up a guy, plain and simple. Whether he caught the guy with his elbow in the jaw, whatevs, not the point.

He skates across half the Olympic Rink (bigger than an NHL rink for you n00bs) and absolutely clocks him. This is effing Hungary dude, settle down. What's the point? Oh you wanted to prove Canada's hockey superiority to Hungary? Point taken? Or was the point taken when you won 9-0? Dick.

He got a 5 minute and a match for that nonsense, which equates to an automatic one game suspension. No world on any other penalties for him.

This we can say for sure, if he was still on the Flyer's roster, he would've been suspended by Bettman.

The Vezina Finalists

See look at that, we're back on schedule. The Vezina Candidates: Steve Mason, Tim Thomas, and Nik Backstrom. Uhhhh whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? No Roberto Luongo? Uh oh, Vancouver weeps tonight. But hey let's go ahead and look at the stats, shall we?

Go ahead, click on there, super size that. They didn't really pick the top 3 right in a row did they? Nah, they wouldn't...right?

I only see 1 workhorse in there too, should voters skew towards a guy that played more games? This race is by far more interesting than the Lady Byng. Is BanginPanger gonna go out on a limb and make a pick? Of course, it's going to be Thomas. Hey, let's waste some time and watch some highlights in a spiffy NHL video.

But hey, what do you all think? Will the feel good story of the BeeJays rise to playoff sweepdom put Mason over the edge? Is Thomas's numbers, even while splitting time with Manny going to be enough to win the bugger, let alone playing in Julien's system? Does Backstrom get the benefit of a doubt when he has a blueline anchored by...Kim Johnsson? Weigh in.

The Lady Byng Nominees

I'm late. Oh well. I couldn't post on Friday, get off my back.

Your finalists: Marty St. Louis, Pavel Datsyuk, Zach Parise.

No one wants to win this award. It's like ordering a Appletini at an Irish Pub, and because of that, I think Zach Parise deserves it. Why? He seems like a guy who would order an Appletini at an Irish Pub. End of story.

But in reality Datsyuk wins, cause he's Datsyuk.

The Dialogue: Goodbye Marty

Dialogue; Marty Biron staring aimlessly into the void where an average of 2.56 pucks ended up over the series. You know Biron's weird, what's he sayin' right now?

I Just Wanted to Share this with You

I'm pretty sure there will never be a point where I can use this picture other than just posting it for the hell of it. But seriously. He is 8 right? Like, did he (or mommy) really draw hundreds of dots on his face? But could it be a dwarf? Based on secondary chins and gut, he could presumably be a middle aged homunculus right? Well, at least he's fan.

I need more to do.

Conn Smythe Nomination: 4/24 - 4/26

Let's get to this. Quick and painless. By the way, the 3 goaltender shutout duel is over, and we're going to hand the award to Marty Brodeur. Get over it.

Friday 4/24

With only one game, it's kind of tedious to hand out a nomination, but we'll weight it later (no, we won't). Friday's Caps/Rangers tilt can only go one way, and that's to Simeon Varlamov, again. He pitched another shutout, this time in an elimination game in the Phone Booth. 20 shots, 20 saves. Honorable mentions on this night go out to Matt Bradley for his 2 goals, Alex Ovechkin for his highlight reel moves, and Sean Avery for his epic night in the press box.

Saturday 4/25

This was by far the toughest one to pick, but Sidney Crosby gets the nod. Why? Well, obviously he had 2 goals (yes, one was an empty netter, I hate them too) but he notched almost 24 minutes of ice time (2nd to Gonchar) while winning 20 of 33 faceoffs. It was probably his most complete game of the series, the series that sent the Flyers packing.

Sunday 4/26

Shifting Chad LaRose up with Eric Staal and Ray Whitney obviously benefited the Canes, who absolutely pummeled the Devils yesterday. But who do you pick? Eric Staal's 2 goal (3 point) night, Ray Whitney's 1 goal (4 point) night, or Cam Ward's elimination game shutout? Hmmmm, let's go with Cam Ward, because his 28 save performance only leaves him 20 shutouts shy of Brodeur's record. I changed my mind. Ray Whitney's batting out of mid-air GWG is bad ass, plus I don't like Cam Ward (for the same reason Marty Gerber does).

Weekend Roundup

Even though it's playoff season, we stick to our guns, and not post on weekends. Unless it completely warrants it, like Carolina's oral fixation fetish. But now we can take a look back at the weekend that was, and provide some not so fresh commentary. Woooooooooooooooooooooooo.

- On Friday, there was only one game on the docket, and boy was there some fun to be had there.
The Capitals 4-0 shutout of the now listless Rangers was punctuated by a fan altercation with none other than John Tortorella. Now for Game 7 on Tuesday, the Rangers wrote to the league asking for extra security measures. Hear that? I believe that's the Comeback Train rolling into Choke City Station.

- Oh, yeah, Ovechkin added another to highlight reel. Ridiculous.

- Now check out this quote from Jim Schoenfeld on Tort's comebacks...

“You can say what you want to Torts ... call him whatever you want. He’ll tell you what to do with your horse, but he’s OK with that. Don’t get down on the people he cares about. He will fight for them, and that’s what he did.”

Now I really want to know what Torts told that guy to do with his horse. I don't even know what that means.

- Saturday saw the Comeback Train roll through Philadelphia, where the Penguins came back from a 3-0 deficit to take the cake and series from Philly, 4 games to 2. It's only a matter of time before the Tomas Vokoun to Philadelphia rumors start to get spread.

- Then Chicago may have played the most complete and dominating game of any series thus far, with a 5-1 dismantling of Calgary. This video, compliments of P Diddy, shows just how focused, and utterly badass, Chicago was during game 5.

- Then the late game no one watched? Amazingly enough, both Joe Thornton AND Patrick Marleau put goals on the board, and imagine that, they won. My guess Angier and Borden will both pull their greatest trick yet, and disappear from the playoffs tonight.

- Yesterday? This sums up yesterday.

Oh, I have tickets to game 7 in Washington. Word is it's Water Bottle night in honor of Torts' return to the bench. Nalgenes for everybody! We'll have the Conn Smythe Nominees up later, plus a Dialogue, aren't you excited?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Keepin' It In The Family

Via PuckCentral, and Wyshynski's (Puck Daddy) Twitter account. But let's get serious, what the hell? Isn't that a boy? Isn't that oral? Isn't that in public? Isn't that oral with a young boy in public? With their power's combined, isn't that illegal? Yikes.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

John Tortella: He's a Crazy Bitch

...and he throws so good he's on top of it? Lame I know, but seriously. What just happened here? Penis envy? Frustration? Avery envy? We may never know.

This series is getting better and better.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Out of Town = No Posts

Sorry folks, was out of the office today (you would've known that had you been following the Twitter thing <------ over there), and imagine that, Amtrak doesn't offer free wifi.

Either way, it's too damn late to be posting anything funny or new now. I just need a beer. Or 9. woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Also, does someone have a picture or video of Brodeur's leg bleeding last night? There's a wealth of strawberry jelly and ketchup jokes there.

Conn Smythe Nomination: 4/24/09

This one is too close to call for me. 4 games, 3 shutouts? That's somewhat incredulous. But with three of em on the night; Biron, Brodeur, and Hiller, who should we choose? Well we're going to ask for some crowd participation. Cause I haven't a clue.

First off, gut instinct is to go with Biron, with their backs up against the wall, elimination game, he pitches the shutout. But in reality, he didn't face all that many phenomenal chances, but 28 saves is 28 saves.

Then you have Marty Brodeur, who according to some, had his best playoff performance ever, while shutting out the Canes 1-0. With his 23rd postseason shutout (Jesus Christ!) Brodeur ties Patrick Roy for the most in Stanley Cup history. In a defining Game 5, Brodeur led the Devils to the win, stopping 44. That's ok.

Last but not least you have the late game, you know, the one only the Battle of California guys watched. But for the 2nd time in 5 games, Jonas Hiller pitched a shutout of the mighty Sharks. 31 shots, 31 saves. And a big 3-1 lead out there in that series.

So who you got? Yeah, you know how this works. Vote.

Honorable mentions out to Bobby Ryan, David Clarkson, and Marian Hossa.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Return of Satan...Sykora Out.

Per the Pens website, there will be some lineup changes tonight for Game 5 between the Pens and Flyers.

Petr Sykora will be out of the lineup tonight. According to Sykora he was "surprised" to find out he wouldn't be playing tonight. Well Petr, you shouldn't be. He has been below average the entire series, hell, it even stems back to the tail end of the regular season. I counted at least 3 times in the Pens 6-3 loss that Sykora had the puck on his tape and he either hesitated too long or double clutched his stick before firing and having it blocked. I realize he may be injured, which is why I'm willing to give him a break. Hopefully a couple days rest will allow Petr to regain his confidence and maybe down a few pain killers.

With Sykora out, the long, much anticipated (I kid, I kid) return of Miro Satan is finally tonight. Satan was playing some of his best hockey prior to being sent down to the minors where he still performed pretty well. I can't say I'm excited to see him back but at the same time, if he comes up and does nothing...he won't be any less than what Sykora was doing right? Ok...maybe he'll do less backchecking...

Other side not, Kris Letang may also not be in the lineup tonight. He's battling another one of those pesky "undisclosed injuries" and will be a game time decision. If he can't go, look for Philippe Boucher to replace him.

The Norris Candidates

Today we have your Norris Candidates, and on a completely non surprising note, Nik Lidstrom, Zdeno Chara, and Mike Green are your finalists.

Unlike the Calder Trophy, this one is a little tougher to decipher. Denson and I probably disagree, but my pick is going to be Mike Green. Why? PEEP this shit.

Green is forced to be the offensive threat from the Capitals blueline, and just like Ovechkin, how he goes, the Caps tend to follow. Without Green, would the Caps blueline of Poti, Erskine, Jurcina and co. survive? I tend to think not.

Can he unseat Lidstrom who as per usual, had another phenomenal year (not as great as some in the past, but still), or will the darkhorse Chara roll in the Norris glory? What do y'all think?

Thanks to JapersRink for the data/graph.

Montreal Canadien Fans: Douchebags 101

Well, there you have it folks. The 100th B-day for the Montreal Canadiens is finally over, as they finished their shitty season by getting dominated, blown out, and swept by the Boston Bruins.

What's better? The Montreal fans were giving it to their "goaltender" Carey Price for playing like...well...Carey Price...real real shitty. Well... Price taunted his d-bag fans back after making a routine save. Now we here at BanginPanger always give Price shit, but this is just funny. PEEP it.

You want to talk about joke fans...I mean yeah it's 4-1 at this point but you still have the whole 3rd for a comeback right? Hah. Chant Carbo! Carbo! Carbo! all you want, while you're watching Boston in the 2nd round.

Ah well. Here is our present to you. Happy 100th Birthday Montreal.

Why Do People Come to BanginPanger?

Probably because we Google takes everything we write out of context, and I swear, we get the funniest damn search keywords landing here. I'll do this every now and then, go through the statcounter search phrases and see what we come up with. This time, I'm tellin' you, there are some good ones in here this morning.

Now seriously, who the hell searches for "carey price retarded drunk shitty"? That's just hilarious. "Photo of Carey Price vomitting"? Really? Who wants to see that? What does "hockey red headed step child" even mean; Chris Osgood?

I can't disagree with the last one though, as Scott Hartnell is a douche, hell I probably literally wrote "Scott Hartnell is a douche" in multiple posts throughout the past couple months. So there you have it, people are effed up.

Conn Smythe Nomination: 4/23/09

Although last night I only focused on one game, I caught bits and pieces of most of them. There were a number of great performances that came out last night, but the tale of sweet revenge brings Michael Ryder's 2 goal, 1 assist, +3 evening to the top of the list.

He continued his torrid play of late last night, tying Evgeni Malkin for the most playoff points and goals thus far. He had the game tying goal last night (funny thinking an equalizer is important 2 minutes into a game), assisted on the eventual game winner from Krecji and just put the icing on the cake in the 2nd with his second tally.

Right now it's hard to pick anyone out of the Bruins because they are running like a well oiled machine. With so much depth, the Bruins easily sent the Centennial Boys packing.

Honorable mentions from last nights game go to Henrik Lundqvist (again, who with the help of each post, made 38 saves to put the Caps on the brink), Olli Jokinen (who's 2 goals, 1 assist, +4 showing, in that wild game helped Calgary even it up with Chicago), and Eric Nystrom for his GWG goal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Live Blog/Chat: Caps - Rangers Game 4

This is your umpteenth reminder for this. Tonight over at, we'll be chattin' it up hardcore during the game. Gettin' started around 6:45 or so and lasting right up until we all leave and go watch South Park.

This is your reminder, join us for a little hockey talk, both Caps and the rest of the remaining series, tomorrow night. You have all day to think of your best Avery insults, I want them mean, vulgar, and at times, explicitly homosexual. Do it.

I hope the little prick in the comments shows up. Hopefully parental controls on his parent's computer won't block him.

It's Videos Like This That Make Us Males

...and for the ladies, sorry, you can probably sympathize with her or something. I don't know. Whatever. Video.

Would anyone had really noticed had poor Lindsay Soto not been so awkwardly grasping for her sweater to cover her chest? Or would we have had the same old, same old non-Christine Simpson inconsequential on-ice interview? Either way. Funnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

The ubiquitous Deadspin with the find. Well maybe not the find, but they have people sendin' them shit all the time, why don't you guys ever send me funny videos?

What Pisses Off Sean Avery? Ignoring Sean Avery.

This is from the brand spankin' new Puck Daddy chat with Alex Semin and Simeon Varlamov. We'll just disregard the Semin part (mainly because he doesn't antagonize Crosby) and focus on Varlamov's explanation, reaction, and thoughts about the whole Avery situation. Keep in mind, this interview is conducted in Russian, and then translated from Russian to English.

Q. Tell us about the episode with Avery.

VARLAMOV: Well, everyone knows that he skates around trying to get everyone fired up. And I know about it. We talked about it at the team meetings as well. That's why I do not pay attention to such incidents. Yes, I know and actually saw how he was swinging his stick in front of Brodeur. I am ready for his provocations.

It appeared that you hit him with your stick when he fell on you.

No, I just touched him a little bit. And that's it. But he reacted with a lot of emotion. He started yelling something. Of course, I didn't understand half of it. And then, when the incident appeared to be over, he skated to me and hit me in the face.

What exactly did he tell you?

Well, I don't want to tell the media what he said. But he said some unflattering things.

And then he hit you and it appeared that it even moved your helmet a bit.

Yes, it did. He hit me with some force.

It looked like he hit you really hard.

It was a good [punch]. It didn't feel nice. But there's nothing serious. A game is a game.

And you didn't react at all!

No. Why should I react? My main objective is to catch pucks and concentrate on my own game and not to notice what he does.

You just know Sean Avery is sitting at his penthouse, amidst his Vogues, Glamours, and Good Housekeeping's, Googling himself, only to see the quote "No. Why should I react?" and throwing a shit fit that would make Tim Thomas blush.

If you caught any of game 3, or watched that video, you'd have seen that Varlamov completely and utterly ignored any "provocation" by Avery over the span of the entire game. The fact that Simeon realizes this is absolutely key, and managed to keep his calm and wits about him, has to kill Avery. Not this kind of kill Avery, but the egotistical "Look at Me" Avery that Rangers fans love.

Avery played fantastic in Game 1, decent in game 2, and horrendous in game 3, notice the collective shift in how the Caps played over those same 3 games. It'll be interesting to see a) if Torts lessens Avery's ice time b) how Avery reacts and c) to see if all the recent coverage and stardom has gone to Varlamov's head (he still is only 20).

Either way, you can join me (I told you, I'm plugging the shit outta this) over at Capitals Kremlin for the game and we can all talk a little puck.

Fan of the Week: Colorado Avalanche

Low blow? Perhaps. Oh well, you have Raycroft. HEHEHEHEHEHEHE.

TSN Would Like You to Know Something

Look at this here snap shot we found up on, Denson pointed it out to me. Notice anything?

To reiterate, the top-seeded Boston Bruins will try to complete the sweep of their division rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, as the top seeded Bruins make the trek all the way from Massachusetts, across New Hampshire and Vermont, to the Bell Centre, located in beautiful Montreal, Quebec, where they will go for their 4th win in a row to complete the sweep of the best of 7 series against the 8th seeded, Montreal Canadiens, who, as we all know, are competing in their Centennial Season in Montreal, where the Eastern Conference regular season champions, the Boston Bruins, look to move on to the next round.

Apparently, the fact that Boston is going for the sweep is overlooked by so many people in Canada, that they felt the need to repeat the fact. Now I'm not going to say it's bush league, but it's definitely something ESPN would do. Way to go TSN, now I had to go and equate you to The World Wide Leader.

UPDATE 3:23 - TSN changed their page. Silly ducks. We've got visual evidence though, too late.

Awards Finalist Schedule: Calder Nominees

So there is your schedule of announcing the finalists for each of the 2009 season awards.

Today's is the Calder Trophy for this season's best rookie. It started off as Derrick Brassard's trophy to lose, until he got hurt that is, and Steve Mason willed the Blue Jackets into their first playoff appearance. Bobby Ryan sure made a late season charge, but will it be enough?

Your nominees: Steve Mason, Bobby Ryan, Kris Versteeg

BanginPanger's Pick: Steve Mason

Duhhhhhhhhhh. Here's's bio, because I don't feel like writing it myself.
Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets -- To put it in historical context, Mason's rookie season rivaled or exceeded those of Calder winners Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Tony Esposito, Roger Crozier, Glenn Hall, Terry Sawchuk and Frankie Brimsek. His 10 shutouts led the NHL, the first rookie leader since Esposito had 15 in 1970.

Mason ranked second with a 2.29 save percentage, eighth with 3,664 minutes, ninth with 33 wins, 10th with 61 games and 11th with a .916 save percentage. He led all rookie goalies in every category except save percentage, finishing second to the .917 posted by Nashville's Pekka Rinne, whose fine season included seven shutouts.

Mason started the season with the AHL Syracuse Crunch after knee surgery last April. He was called up after six games and won his first three starts. Mason was 9-5-1 after stopping 48 shots, his season high, in a Dec. 17 win over the San Jose Sharks. His season best four-game winning streak from Dec. 27-Jan. 2 included three shutouts.

Mason got better as the season went along. He had a 2.72 GAA after five games, but had it down to a season-low 1.66 on Jan. 2. While it rose to 2.29 at season's end, his save percentage remained the same since Feb. 21, suggesting he was consistent and playing a little better than his teammates.

Mason won three games against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings after the NHL All-Star Game, including a 46-save effort March 7 in an 8-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena that his coach considers the most important in franchise history.

Conn Smythe Nomination: 4/22/09

Although his numbers thus far don't rival the upper echelon of goaltenders, but it can't be denied that last night Marc Andre Fleury nigh stole that game, and put the series nearly out of reach for the Flyers.

Here comes last night's stat line. 45 saves. .978 save percentage. 1 GAA. 16 PP saves. With each passing period the Flyer's poured it on and poured it on and poured it on, finally breaking through late in the 3rd. Pens fans must be relieved, after seeing 6 put up in game 3, Fleury comes back and scores himself a defining win, and his Conn Smythe Nomination.

Overall for the series, Fleury's got a .937 save %, on a 142 shots (the most any goaltender has faced thus far), sporting a 2.09 GAA.

Honorable Mentions go to Alex Burrows (5 hole snap shot in the waning seconds of OT to send Vancouver to the next round), Jussi Jokinen (you all know that deal), and Patrick Marleau (who scored the GWG halfway through the 3rd to give the Sharks new life, he was previously pointless in that series).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jussi Jokinen Evokes His Inner Drury

.2 seconds left? To tie up the series? Against the be-all-end-all Marty Brodeur? That's the stuff that makes up Little League World Series Champions, not shootout specialists.

Here's the goal, and subsequent tame celebration from fans (I'd be flippin' shit like no other, I guess in Carolina they're used to this kinda stuff, being with the NASCAR and all) but what we don't see is Martin Brodeur's absolute meltdown. When that video comes to pass, believe me, we'll have it. We have to. We make a, hobby, outta this.


Update: They asked for it. So here it is.
69.4 Contact Outside the Goal Crease - If an attacking player initiates any contact with a goalkeeper, other than incidental contact, while the goalkeeper is outside his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact.

When a goalkeeper has played the puck outside of his crease and is then prevented from returning to his crease area due to the deliberate actions of an attacking player, such player may be penalized for goalkeeper interference. Similarly, the goalkeeper may be penalized, if by his actions outside of his crease he deliberately interferes with an attacking player who is attempting to play the puck or an opponent

Update: Oh this warrants a post from the "Situation Room" (what a joke) and they, imagine that, agreed with the ruling on the ice.
Interpretation of goalie interference rule: New Jersey at Carolina - 19:59 of the third period
04.21.2009 / 10:34 PM ET

The NHL's goalie interference rule sets a mandate to protect the goalie in the blue ice – to let the goalie do his job. In the white ice, it is a more delicate matter, including who moved into whom. The referee has one split-second look at it and it is a judgment call. NHL Hockey Operations has no video review capacity in this instance. Hockey Operations officials agreed with the call on the ice, that it looked like the goalie, Martin Brodeur, moved out toward the skater.
Oh yes, now it gets fun, and here I go stirrin' up controversy again. Is that "accidental" contact or have we got ourselves another blown call? Did Brodeur move out towards Juicy (yes, spelled like that on purpose) or did Juicy initiate the movement towards the crease? Who initiates movement in hockey? I've got a movement in my pants just thinkin' about it. Well, ahem, anyways, what say you random Googlers, what. just. happened.

Oh and don't forget, tomorrow, live blog, over at CapitalsKremlin during the game, make it happen.

Cabbie Spends Some Time With the Caps

We've talked about Cabbie here before, and that dude is freakin' funny. Well he was up in MSG with the Caps this week, and naturally the NHL's flavor of the week Simeon Varlamov was front and center.

That dude is funny. You can follow his exploits here at TheScore. I think the DCSportsBog has got it right, that dude is definitely the "Kenny Mayne" of Canada.

Dominik Hasek Returns To Hockey

This isn't a joke, I repeat, not a joke. It sure sounds like a joke, a pretty bad joke, like, even worse than the lame ass commentary that goes on around here. But it is in fact...fact. Dominik Hasek, the 44 year old former Sabre will be returning to the ice for HC Moeller Pardubice in the Czech Republic's top league.

This is how I'll always remember this bastard.

This is the same club that he began his career, way back when in 1981-1982, well before I was even born. Oh, he provided a quote? I'm sure.

“I'm really glad I could sign a deal with this club,'' Hasek said. "It's a club where I spent the most years. I've never even thought I could play for any other club in the Czech Republic. I'm looking forward to the next season.”

Well folks, do we have a Claude Lemieux part 2? I sure hope so, the Flyers might just need a goalie next year. Imagine that, Kukla's Korner found it first. H/T

Conn Smythe Nomination: 4/21/09

Well now that I've finally caught up with this, we can go back to doing a daily update. I think it's going to be fairly obvious who gets the nomination for last night's games; Simeon Varlamov.

His stat line for the night? 33 saves. 0 GAA. 1.00 save percentage. 1 shutout. 1 punch to the face. He faced 8 shots on the powerplay, stopped them all, and made some absolutely fantastic saves (and the right post made a nice one as well).

So with this game, Varlamov takes over as the lowest GAA and highest save percentage in the playoffs with a .982 SP and 0.5 GAA, while riding over a 110 minute shutout streak into Wednesday night's game 4 (where you can join me and Capitals Kremlin for a live blog, I'm going to pimp that out incessantly). Varlamov outplayed Lundqvist last night, and gave the Caps new hope.

Honorable mentions go out to David Moss for his 2 goal performance, Niklas Backstrom for his 3 assist night (and goal saving deflection), Alex Semin for his 2 goal, 1 assist game, and Michael Ryder's GWG.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sean Avery: Garbage as Usual

This got me all kinds of fired up. In the waning moments of the Capitals 4-0 game 3 win, Sean Avery decided he would go ahead and try to get into 20 year old rookie Simeon Varlmov's head. Why? Because he's Sean Avery. To the video!

What does Avery expect to do? Varlamov speaks English worse than Evgeni Malkin does. It's one thing to wave your hands and stick in front of the goalie, but punching him in the face, while you're not even looking at him in the eye, nor he looking at you, is just such cowardice it makes Bertuzzi/Crosby/Eager/Ott/insert who you hate most here look like a saint. As it is, Avery received 2 and 10 for that little maneuver.

Now if you'd recall, Colin Campbell has said they are going to take action against players that are "trying to send a message when the outcome has already been decided."

Now is less than 3 minutes left in the game considered late enough for a losing team to be trying to send a message?

What do you guys think? Will we be seeing Avery grace the ice on Wednesday night (where you can join me over at Capitals Kremlin for a live blog of the game) or will he be taking a seat?

Conn Smythe Watch: Weekend Update

Sorry this is so late, I've had to catch up on stats, highlights, lowlights, etc. to get myself an informed decision for BanginPanger's Conn Smythe nominees for the weekend past. In lieu of picking one each night, we'll go with just 3 guys over the past weekend who's performances have stood out. In no particular order...

1. Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh Penguin

The best player on the Pens (oh I went there bright and early) registered 3 goals and 2 assists on the weekend, including the late tying goal on Friday, and 2 in the loss Sunday. Although his team dropped 1, they still lead the series 2-1. He has been the best player in that series thus far.

2. Henrik Lundqvist - New York Rangers

Not only did Hank steal game 1, well he posted the shut out on Saturday, effectively stealing complete home ice advantage from the heavily favored Capitals. 19 Ovechkin shots, 0 Ovechkin goals. Is that unto itself not worth mentioning? He's got a .957 save percentage and a 1.5 GAA against the Capitals team with the franchise scoring record. Everyone knew the Rangers needed Lundqvist to be competitive, you have to say he is.

3. Chris Osgood - Detroit Red Wings

As much flack as we've given him, can you deny a .978 save percentage, 1 shut out, and a .5 GAA? Unless you're a Pens fan, you just can't. He's been inconsistent at best, but not unlike years past, the perpetual playoff performer has stepped up his game when his Wings needed him most, allowing a single goal this playoffs, while picking up that shut out on Saturday, landing him here on the Conn Smythe watch.

Honorable mentions? Roberto Luongo, Marc Savard, Jon Toews, Simeon Varlamov, Claude Giroux

So far we have Dan Sedin (who we picked for night one, just didn't tell you), Jonas Hiller, Malkin, Lundqvist, and Osgood.

Who will get tonight's Conn Smythe nomination? Barring some fantasmic play out in the Stampede City, my guess it'll be a rookie netminder from Washington.

ZZ Top at Blackhawk Playoff Games

No, not really. But it sure as hell looks like they are. Apparently some people aren't allowed to grow ridiculously terrible beards where they work so they (ahem, me), or like Pat Kane and Jon Toews, they can't (ahem, me). Well I guess that's where this new fad in Chicago came from; and it's spreading like Gonorrhea at band camp.

Well you can blame these knuckleheads for the craze. Now look, it's even spreading to the ridiculously priced seats in the front row. PHOTO GALLERY FTW!

"When she boogie, she do the tube snake boogie" - ZZ Top

"She wanna Pearl Necklace" - ZZ Top

"You don't have to worry cause takin' care of business is his name" - ZZ Top

I don't even really like ZZ Top, but I do think the Blackhawk's videos are about as good as they get in the league. There are so many questions to ask here. Does anyone know if the team is giving out those fake beards? Outdoor vendor? A.C. Moore Crafts? They aren't for sale inside the United Center are they? How do you drink beer with one of those on? Does Patrick Kane even know who ZZ Top is?
Fact: BanginPanger is not meant as an insult to the one and only Darren Pang, nor do I claim to be him. The views and opinions presented on BanginPanger are of my own, and no other namesake of the site, the NHL, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, or anyone else.