Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

The Winter Classic is coming up.

There's one problem. I have a feeling the word Winter should be put in quotation marks, because the weather looks awful. As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 51 degrees, and a 70% chance of showers. According to several sources, rain is not good for the ice surface.

The NHL has said if it can't be played on New Year's Day, it would be played the day after. Luckily for them, Mother Nature says mostly cloudy with a high of 35 degrees. That's better, but it's no true "Winter Classic".

In years past, the WC has been in Boston, Chicago and Buffalo. There's a key and significant similarity between these locations--they are consistently cold. With it a little bit more south than in years' past, the NHL took a gamble on it being a little warmer, and with questionable weather as a side effect.

The choice to have it in Buffalo in the midst of lake effect snow season was genius.

Problem is, that created expectations beyond what's conceivably possible.  It should be snowing.  It should be freezing cold.  But it shouldn't feel like Spring and it shouldn't be raining.  For the NHL, this is a disaster.  If it doesn't happen on New Year's Day, that alone, I feel is a disaster.  If the NHL were smart in this instance, they should start putting the rain date in their advertisements.  If someone turns on NBC when the game were on and they see other programming, they won't know what happened.

Let the fans that aren't privy to that information know that it will be played the next day.  I'm not sure why the NHL hasn't said that at all yet.  That may be partially because they aren't counting their chickens before they hatch.  Either way, it should have crossed their mind at this point.

A few suggestions for next year...pick a more established rivalry, not a manufactured rivalry.  And pick a better location.  I could go on about how the League should spread the wealth in different teams instead of having Pittsburgh twice, but if anything,  I just feel like they should have picked a better location.  Stay north.  The mid-atlantic is a mess this time of year.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stupid Shootouts

I'm sick of the shootout.

You've heard both sides of the argument before.

One side says it's great for the game. It's great to showcase the talent of the stars in the League. It decides ties in a timely manner. It's exciting. I mean, we've seen some pretty dazzling goals in the shootout, like Marek Malik's stunner through the legs in the umpteenth round against the Washington Capitals, or Mike Ribeiro's through-the-legs-one-handed-shot, or Brad Boyes' sheer dangles on a few occasions.

But I'm just sick of it.

There's only so many times you can dedicate your life to a hockey game, watch a really good one go down to the wire, head to overtime, and just get the feeling that you're destined to go to a shootout. So many tight checking games with low scores go to shootouts where the tight checking is out of everyone's hands. It's up to a skills competition to decide it.

Case in point, tonight's affair between the Penguins and Capitals.

That's not fair.

For those who do or don't know, I'm a Flyers fan. I know for a fact that the sole reason the Flyers made it to the playoffs was because of a shootout on the last game of the season. It was an unforgettable moment. But that isn't how it should have happened, in the true spirit of the game. I can't say I'm a hockey purist, but what I can say is if a game is an example of hard work, then let the hard work continue. Let overtime be five more minutes. Ten minutes of 4-on-4 will give a better chance for a game to end.

Five minutes is enough to make a sandwich, but it's not enough to solve a hockey game.

Make the overtime longer. We'll see less of this shootout gimmick, and more hockey games solved by the game of hockey itself. If a team is more of a grinding team, let them grind out the win. If a team is more of a skill team, let them dazzle you to the win. But don't make it a skills competition. Because it's not in the spirit of the game.

Do you think shootouts should exist?

I don't think so at all.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hockey Passion At Its Finest

HBO just recently premiered its flagship sports program for this winter: Penguins/Capitals 24/7. I got a chance to watch it recently, and I didn't know how I was going to feel about it going in. Candidly, I'm a Flyers fan first and foremost, but a fan of the game of hockey overall. I enjoy watching the game and every team fight their heart out night in and night out.

And that's exactly what HBO encapsulated in its first episode of this four-part special. I don't like the Penguins, I don't like the Capitals, but the passion that these hockey players exhibited in the show, right from the start, was extremely refreshing. These are two really good teams in the NHL--admittedly overplayed in the media, but...HBO captured the essence of these two teams really well.

Since it's presented as a drama, there are times where people might think that the producers scripted some of the moments, but as a hockey fan, I'd like to think that's not true. Sometimes, you can't script using the f-word 15 times in a span of 1:22. We know Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals is a hothead to start with, and we know that Alexander Ovechkin is rather flamboyant with his mouth too. We know that this is entirely conceivable.

And the Penguins seem to have so much fun together. Everyone seems to love to hate Evgeni Malkin (and I can see why). As I was watching this program, I just grew to have this gigantic respect for these two teams. You could see how confidently serious the atmosphere is when a team is on a gigantic roll, and you could see how depressingly desperate a team is when they can't find the answers (and as of the 3-2 loss to Boston tonight, they haven't found them yet).

On the broadcast side of things, you see the game. As a broadcaster, I bring you the game. But as the HBO cameras roll behind the scenes, you can clearly see the frustration, the passion, the determination, and the sacrifice that goes into every single game that these players play. Broadcasting seems so simple when you see the game as it is. It's a back and forth affair, trying to accomplish one goal.

But this special has added a new-found appreciation of the game for me. And I hope that it has for everyone else too. It's wonderfully produced, expertly shot, seamlessly's just a beautiful program that captures why we all love hockey. Even if we don't like the teams involved.

Give it a watch if you have HBO, or if you hit the NHL's YouTube channel, you can watch it there.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Avs Make it 4 Straight In Windy City

4 Straight. Twice in 2 days.

Two great stats there. The Avalanche's current streak, and the number of times they've dealt the hawks a loss. Today's recap will have a special element to it. We here at MHS have a man on the inside. Friend of the blog Tim Vander Tuuk was nice enough to forward along some audio from the Avs room.

Craig Anderson was a different goalie from the other night in Denver. I said after Monday's game that tonight would be a tigher affair. Anderson seems to read my stuff, or he came up with it on his own..He also took responsibility on himself for the two he let through..

I mentioned the streak above, Andy has a bit about that, and on new acquision Tomas Fleischmann (CTL C/V'ed once again)who had a hat trick tonight.

If you sense a re-occuring theme here, it's defensive tightning. Matt Duchene talks about it, and how the team started and ultimatley ended tonight..

The Avs try and make it 5 in a row Friday night when they face Ottawa at Pepsi Centre. It's an important home stretch for the club, as they don't play on the road again till Dec 30th where they travel to St. Louis. But we're not going to look ahead quite that far.

What's better than 4?

- Jaye

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Guest Post

Thanks to Matt from Down Goes Spezza

So as we get close to the start of 2011, we're beginning to see what teams are in it, and what teams are out of it. Needless to say, that's gonna make the trade market the place to be. We've got a few possible deals that might begin to go down. We think they're plausible. (All salary numbers from CapGeek)
Free Agents:

Evgeni Nabokov (G):

Possible destinations: Tampa Bay, Toronto, Florida (Pending a Vokoun move), NYI (Pending Rick DiPietro's annual stint on LTIR), Colorado

Tampa: Needs goaltending, has an amazing offense but suspect D after the top pair. Also has the cap space to make a move happen.

Toronto: Needs goaltending as well, but has a suspect offense and underachieving D, could be the fire Ron Wilson needs to help the Leafs move forward

Florida: Could use Nabby to finish off the season if Vokoun gets moved.

NYI: He's the best option short of trading away the young future forwards of the team for Vokoun which I can't see happening.

Colorado: If Anderson can't stay healthy, having a Nabby/Budaj would work for them.

Now trades:

The Flyers need to unload salary to keep under the salary cap. Any of the 4 players above could be moved. (Ed. Note - You knew this was coming)

Matt Walker (D):
He's in a rehab assignment with AHL Phantoms right now, could be back next week or so. (Note: Walker was re-injured during this assignment, he's now on LTIR)

Possible Partners: Jiri Hudler for Nik Zherdev and Matt Walker

Like last year when the Flyers sent Tollefsen for Leino, Hudler could come for Zherdev and Walker. The cap hits would wash because of the LTIR exception on Walker.

Brian Boucher/Mike Leighton (G): One of these guys is the odd man out in Philly with the emergence of Sergei Bobrovsky, who's early Calder Trophy worthy performance has the Flyers sitting with the 2nd best record in the NHL as of the writing of this post,

Possible Partners:  

Mike Leighton (G) and Daniel Carcillo (LW) to the Bolts for Steve Downie (RW)

Bolts have the cap room for this deal, it solves TB's goaltending if they can't sign Nabby. Also, Carcillo for Downie basically trades the same type of player but allows PHL to stay under the cap.

DGS Dream Trade:

To DAL: Andrej Meszaros (D), James van Riemsdyk (LW) Mike Leighton (G), Nik Zherdev (LW), 1st round pick

To PHL: Brad Richards (C), Trevor Daley (D)

Yeah, it fits under the cap per cap geek.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

We're Back, So is Stammer.

Oh, hello there. It's been a while hasn't it. My apologies, my day job has ramped up and hence, my blogging time has been reduced.

Tonight we had a bunch of games on the sked. The Penguins kept their unreal streak going (12 games now) and Sidney Crosby extended his points streak. (but what's with the 'stache?) 4 games went to OT and one went to shootout. The Avalanche extended their winning streak to two and the Capitals losing streak to 5.

In one of those overtime games. We welcome tonight's Man Crush.

He came in on a 6 game goalless drought, that ended tonight. Two ginos.

Tonight was supposed to be all about Markus Naslund. His number being retired by the Canucks for reasons still unexplained.

Steven Stamkos came in, said 'fuck it' as the Canuck fans said 'fuck you'

3 points tonight, welcome back.

(Yahoo! Images/Getty)

- Jaye

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I've Decided To Take My Talents To...

First, before I spill all the beans, the site will NOT be going anywhere, PKLC still remains a priority of mine and I will be updating it accordingly. Those of you who just wait for the 'New PKLC' message to pop up on twitter or facebook will not be disappointed. Now, for the decision..

Monday, December 6, 2010

Caps Make 'History'

There once was a time where there was really only two teams in the East, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. (and 13 'other' teams)

The Penguins have been rolling this season, winning their 10th straight against the Devils. Crosby has been on fire, and this is without Evgeni Malkin or Jordan Staal.

The Capitals, on the other hand, while they're still sporting a record 9 games over .500 and second in the East and 1 point behind the aforementioned Pens, they're hearing footsteps in division a they've always seemed to dominate. Teams like the Thrashers and Lightning are making waves and the Southeast might not be the cake walk it use to be.

I mentioned above how Crosby has been rolling this season, his counterpart in Alex Ovechkin has been..lacking, compared to other years. This has sent some fans into a tizzy.

If Caps fans had their fingers quivering over the panic button before tonight's game against the Leafs..well...look at's special..

I've spent the past few minutes (half an hour) pouring over a game log of every game since the lockout. There is nothing that shows this team blow a 3 goal lead and consequentially lose EVER. That's insanity. Granted the Caps sucked before two years ago, I mean when you're an expansion team since 2005..Wait..the Caps have only existed since 2005..right? oh shi...

- Jaye

Sunday, December 5, 2010

PKLC Man Crush - Another Hat Trick?!

In today's NHL, we seem to be living in a world of Shut Outs and Hat Tricks. If we had Tim Thomas, Sidney Crosby & Stevie Stamkos in our fantasy hockey leagues, we'd all be laughing. Who ever had tonight's Man Crush..well I'd like to meet them and shake their hand for pulling one over on us.

Not to be outdone by the above superstars, is Chris Kelly. He had exactly 3 goals in 27 games before tonight, so said 'what the hell' and doubled it in one. His 3 tonight came a man down, even strength and to cap it off, into an empty net. (almost as good as Sid's 4 goals done 4 different ways, and Mario's 5) has his SV% at a blistering 100% tonight against the Rangers. Biggest Question..can Chris Kelly keep it up?


- Jaye (Big Announcement in the coming days, so stay tuned)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Ol' PKLC Switcharoo

We continue with our Guest Man Crushes. Tonight we've got Matt from the Flyers blog Down Goes Spezza.

Today Chris Pronger played a glorious game leading the Flyers as they fought the good fight against the evil New Jersey Devils. Pronger had one assist, as Mike Richards had a beautiful deflection-goal on a slap shot from Chris Pronger. Chris Pronger was +2 and he played very effective defense against the Devils today. His active stick and monster body were working well as they kept Devils players away from Flyers Goaltender Czar Sergei I. Assistant Captain Elbows also made usage of his nickname by elbowing many Devils players behind the backs of the referees so he never got sent to the box. At the end of the day, Chris Pronger was amazing, and the Flyers made easy work of the Devils 5-3.

Threw that out the window the second this happened...

Taylor Hall is becoming the Matt Duchene (2 points tonight) of the Oilers. His last two weeks have been beastly (at least in comparison to the start of the season, Magnus who?)...his points aren't mind blowing like Crosby (31 points in 15 games) or Stamkos (who's gone ice cold all of the sudden) but they win you hockey games, get you back into games. They're momentum shifters. The Oilers are going to need that going forward if Hemsky is out for the long term. To think I shit all over this kid. Now I just shit all over Matt. Boom.

- Jaye

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Man Crush December 2nd

We're going to jazz it up tonight. The NHL was full of blow outs so we're going to blow this Man Crush out of the water and triple up the Man Crushes.

For the second time in less than a week, he had another hat trick, a natural one this time. Like we've said before, HT's are automatics here, so no doubt MC #1 goes to Sidney Crosby

(Yahoo!/AP Images)

This second one pains me. I think this next player is incredibly over hyped on a team that is going nowhere, but he got a couple geno's against a Leaf team that is..also going nowhere. Second MC goes to...ugh..Taylor Hall.

(Yahoo!/Getty Images)
The explanation for our third Man Crush comes from Jason whom you may remember from a little blog called Discard What You Don't Need...
Andrew "No one believed in me, including every Stars fan in the US" Raycroft threw up 37 saves on the one and only #1 team in the NHL, Washington Capitals.  He not only extended Alex Ovechkin to a new career high 9 game goaless drought, but denied Mike Greene (who was playing on his natural position of wing) of 4 shots as well.  The man deserves not only a mention in the Man Crush of the night, but considering everyone assumed Marc Crawford was trying to phone in the game and blame the inevitable loss on goaltending, he deserved the title "Master of the Universe" (right after He-Man of course).  Bravo sir...even if your first periods highlights included incredible saves of giveaways that you obviously induced to pad your stats.

(Yahoo!/AP Images)

- Jaye

(NOTE: If you're doing nothing tomorrow around 10 ET hop on Skype to talk some puck with some of the PKLC Crew and guests. Find me @horbayj on twitter for the details)