Red Wings


Guest Post: NHL Playoffs Preview

If I need hockey news from someone I know personally, it is usually down to three people and two of which I went to high school with. One of those two has written a guest post on the upcoming NHL playoffs that get underway on Wednesday with 3 Eastern Conference series and 1 from the Western Conference.

I have bolded his series predictions below and added mine [in blue]. I think it just might be a nice contest throughout the playoffs to see who predicts the series more accurately.

Here is an analysis from Rusty Moke who is an avid hockey fan since as long as I can remember and has been in attendance for more hockey games this year alone than I even I got to watch:

The NHL playoffs are finally upon us; if 82 games weren’t enough get ready for a couple more.  Now, I’m no NHL scout or hockey analyst, (just an old high school buddy of a specific angry brown guy, who I’d like to thank for making room for me in his intelligent blog) but as an avid hockey fan/player you might be able to find a morsel or two of decent predictions among all of my ranting.

There are 8 different matchups, so I’ll make it short and sweet for each one.

(8) Montreal vs (1) Boston – The Bruins have surged forward this season, from 8th playoff seed last year to 1st this year.  The Canadiens have limped down the stretch, Markov is injured, and Price needs another year or two to become an outstanding goaltender.  Although I believe Boston is overrated and Tim Thomas is garbage, I’ll say Boston wins the series 4-1. [Boston – 4-2]

(7) New York (R) vs (2) Washington – My hatred of the Rangers aside, they are going to have a tough time with the Caps.  Washington has too much firepower for Lundqvist to handle between Ovie, Semin, Green, and Backstrom.  Theodore is Washington’s weak point, but the Rangers season long scoring problems shouldn’t give him much of a problem.  Having the #1 penalty kill in the league doesn’t win games.  Washington sweeps 4-0. [Washington – 4-2]

(6) Carolina vs (3) New Jersey – I’m obviously going to be biased towards the Devils.  Yes, we’ve had problems with the Canes all season long.  Yes, since Marty broke the record he hasn’t been at the top of his game.  But, Marty finally has rest and we have too much history with Carolina to drop this game.  Keep an eye on Babchuk, he’ll make things interesting.  NJ wins in 7. [Carolina – 4-3]

(5) Philadelphia vs (4) Pittsburgh – Not much to say here.  Since the coaching change Pittsburgh has been nearly unstoppable.  Everyone recognizes the names Crosby and Malkin.  Philadelphia has always been an unpredictable team, I don’t think they can hold onto this series, Biron isn’t very reliable.  Pittsburgh wins 4-1. [Pittsburgh – 4-2]

(8) Anaheim vs (1) San Jose– Not much to say here, get out your brooms.  Keep an eye on Cheechoo.  San Jose in 4. [San Jose – 4-1]

(7) Columbus vs (2) Detroit – Look no further for an upset.  Columbus has fought too hard to lose to the Wings in their first post season appearance.  Osgood isn’t as good as he is made out to be, Nash’s leadership is better than Datsyuk’s.  Mason isn’t done with shutouts this season.  Columbus in 7. [Detroit – 4-1]

(6) St. Louis vs (3) Vancouver – The Canucks faltered during the middle of the season, they won’t during the playoffs.  Congrats to the Blues for making it to the playoffs, they better enjoy it while it lasts.  Luongo has this one.  Vancouver wins 4-2. [St. Louis 4-2]

(5) Calgary vs (4) Chicago – Another close series.  Chicago has youth; they can make a run at the cup next year.  Calgary’s trades this year were invaluable.  Calgary wins 4-3. [Calgary 4-1]

Don’t go placing bets on my predictions, but then again who knows.  The playoffs always find some way to keep things interesting.  My cup prediction:  New Jersey vs Calgary.  That’s probably biased, but I’ve seen it all season.

I will probably add my own analysis tomorrow but once again big time appreciation and thanks to Rusty for some fantastic analysis. Once again, if any of you wanna jump in and add your predicitions, feel free to comment below and just let either me or Rusty know wha you think of the guest post.


The Long Weekend (of Sports)

I went up to Canada for the long weekend on Thursday morning and came back late last night on a drive that lasted much longer than I had anticipated. Sure there was going to be some traffic considering the number of people coming back from their 4th of July holidays but an 8 hour drive ended up taking nearly 12 – there was a stretch early on by the border where it took well over an hour and a half to cross a one mile distance to get into the United States.

Anyway Canada was good as usual. I went to a wedding, played some basketball, cricket and Halo as well as hearing about the wacky Yankee/Red Sox series and catching the first two plus sets of the Nadal/Federer Wimbledon final. Unfortunately I had to leave to comeback and miss arguably the greatest tennis match ever played. Go catch an online clip of it if you can, I’ll put up an update later tonight.

Baseball news before the NHL stuff. Brewers really surprised me in acquiring C.C. Sabathia for four prospects and giving themselves two top of the line starting pitchers (Ben Sheets). Sheets is 10-2 with 2.77 ERA – by far the best start of this career to go with CC who is only 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA. Keep in mind though that the Indians scored two runs or fewer in 11 of his 18 starts this season. Brewers stand at 3.5 games behind the division leading Cubs but are tied for the lead in the Wildcard with their division foes St. Louis Cardinals. This race can get real interesting with those three teams having the top three records in the National League but only two spots are available to them and the race could get even more crowded if the Mets finally decide to heat up a little and the Phillies continue their decline.

As for the NHL news today that there will be second New Year’s Winter Classic Day game – this time at Wrigley Field between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. It was a fantastic game last year especially with the large crowd outdoors and I was kinda hoping they would do it at Yankee Stadium this year so maybe I had a chance to go see it but that didn’t pan out. Anyways, I’ll make sure to catch this game on tv just as I did the one last year.

Last New Year’s Day, more people tuned in to see the NHL play outdoors than any other regular-season game in more than a decade.

The Penguins-Sabres game in snowy Buffalo — the first regular-season outdoor NHL game in the United States — drew a 2.6 overnight rating and a 5 share on NBC. Each ratings point represents about 735,000 households; the rating is the percentage watching a telecast among homes with televisions, and the share is the percentage tuned into a broadcast among those households with televisions on at the time. Overnight ratings measure the 55 largest TV markets in the United States.

The 2.6/5 were the best numbers since a six-game regional telecast on Fox drew a 3.0 overnight rating and a 7 share on Feb. 3, 1996.

The Winter Classic ratings also surpassed Wayne Gretzky’s final game, which was broadcast on Fox on April 18, 1999, and drew a 2.5/6. Article

P.S. The MLB All-Star game from Yankee Stadium is coming up. I’m sure this media coverage on that in the tri-state is going to be crazy. Hopefully its a memorable one.


NHL Resurrection in America?

The Stanley Cup Finals deserve more than one post. So they’ll probably will end up getting at least two.

What a Stanley Cup Finals it has been so far. With Game 6 slated for 8 PM tonight in Pittsburgh, one can only hope it goes to a decisive Game 7. The ratings for the triple-overtime Game 5 were through the roof and can only help develop the game in the United States once again.

Crosby and company have their work cut out for them and they can’t expect to get outshot 2 to 1 and think they’ll pull out another victory tonight. Marc-Andre Fleury and his 55 saves really did save their season Monday night and I have a feeling he’s gonna be on top of his game yet again. The Penguins are a +2 goal differential in their 2 wins (you do the math, that means they won each game by a goal) but are an awful -8 in their 3 losses (0-4, 0-3, 1-2). They’ll need to generate a lot of offense and will need to be led by Evgeni Malkin who just had a tremendous regular season with 47 goals and 59 assists in 82 games and has a respectable but not great 9 goals and 20 points in the post season.

I knew their streak was long but I did not know that the Red Wings have finished 1st or 2nd in their division in points for a remarkable 16 consecutive seasons – reaching triple digit points in all but 4 of those seasons.

The Penguins on the other hand were basement dwellers for 4 consecutive seasons in their division with 69, 65, and 58 points twice before getting 102 and 105 the past two seasons. They have gone from worst to first in just 3 seasons and would have had it last year – losing out the division title to the Devils by a mere 2 points. Let’s not have too much pity for the Penguins who had made it to the playoffs (and won two Stanley Cups) in the previous 11 seasons before their miserable streak started in 2001-02.

I don’t know how many teams have done this but the Penguins when they won back to back Stanley Cups in 1990-91 and 1991-92, did it under two different coaches (Bob Johnson and Scotty Bowman) – Bowman who would later coach the Red Wings to 3 Stanley Cup Championships himself.

So what’s it gonna be? Are the Red Wings gonna close it out on the road or do the Penguins have it in them to completely turn this series around and put Detroit’s backs against the wall and force a Game 7?

Game 6. Tonight. 8 PM. NBC.

P.S. Wrote this post for my buddy Rusty who every now and then leaves me a reminder to ABG this or ABG that. Last night, it was “ABG the Stanley Cup Finals”.