Archive for December, 2009

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Team Canada 2010 – Period Three

In Hockey Hits on December 31, 2009 by geespotting

Alright…it is after the fact, but, to be quite honest…I didn’t change my team from period two at all! So, let’s compare my team to that of Stevie Y. You will notice that our players that differ will be in CAPS. Got it!

Goal:

My guys: Brodeur, Luongo, Fleury.

Stevie Y: the above 3.

Comments: I think everyone across the country had those three. They are the best 3, and Martin should and will start. If he falters, Bobby Lou would be next to backstop our nation to a golden celebration.

Defence:

My guys: Niedermayer, Pronger, Keith, Weber, Boyle, Doughty, GREEN.

Stevie Y: Niedermayer, Pronger, Keith, Weber, Boyle, Doughty, SEABROOK.

Comments: Again, Stevie Y and I were on the same page, but, I liked the offensive skills that Mike Green brings to the table. He is usually criticized for the way he plays in his own end, but, given the fact that his role on the Caps is that of a rover, it is no surprise that he is caught once in a while. Despite that…he still has pretty good plus-minus numbers. As for Seabrook, I know that the Team Canada brass likes the way he plays with fellow Olympian Duncan Keith in Chicago. They are a great pair…but, I wanted the best of the best…and not the best pairings. Seabrook is a great player, but, if Keith were to get hurt, I hope Seabrook can pair up with another d-man and do it very quickly. Catch my drift on that one?

Forwards:

My guys:  Crosby, Iginla, Nash, Getzlaf, Perry, Thornton, Marleau, Heatley, ST. LOUIS, BRAD RICHARDS, PENNER, STAMKOS, CAMMALLERI.

Stevie Y: Crosby, Iginla, Nash, Getzlaf, Perry, Thornton, Marelau, Heatley, MORROW, MIKE RICHARDS, TOEWS, ERIC STAAL, BERGERON.

Comments: Well, we were off on 5 different forwards. The first 8 are pretty obvious, and nice to see that Team Canada thinks the entire top line from the Sharks should be there. On their own, each of those three snipers should be on the team. My philosophy was to pick the players that are hot right now. Last time in 2006, Canada picked a lot of guys based on their reputation, but, it back-fired in a big way. I also wanted guys that could skate. Guys like St. Louis, Cammalleri, Stamkos and even big Dustin Penner are great skaters. I also wanted to make sure to have enough natural wingers and centres.

As for Stevie Y? Well, they added maybe a little more grit than I have up front. Mike Richards and Brenden Morrow fit that bill, but, I am a bit worried about Morrow’s skating. I guess the NHL sized ice will help. I also noticed that Team Canada has a ton of centres on their squad. I think there at least 7! Maybe Stevie Y looked back at the great Canadian Canada Cup teams of the 80’s were a ton of centremen made the club, but, they became wingers and checkers. Speaking of checking, I kinda don’t like the philosophy of having a ‘checking line’. I guess there will be a group of three who may not play as often as some of the other forwards, but, if they use their skills like they do in the NHL, they should still own the puck, and therefore not be ‘checking’ as much. Our fourth line should be just as dominant as any other on the team…or in the tourny for that matter. The only line that can challenge that claim is the one that will Ovechkin on it. Chances are, that Ovechkin line may also have a Malkin, Datsyuk, or Kovalchuk on it.

To wrap up…whether Stevie Y and I differ on 1 player or 10, we should still be the frontrunners to win this little Olympic event. If Team Canada could ice a 2nd team for the tourny, I would even bet that they could win a medal.

No pressure guys…

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Articles

Team Canada 2010 – Period Two

In Hockey Hits on December 4, 2009 by geespotting

Ok gang…you know how this works. I had my picks for Team Canada 2010 a month ago…and will have my final picks at the end of the month…just before Stevie Y picks his team. Like over a million other fans in the country, I too believe that I have the perfect team for Gold in February. I have made some changes…but, here is my team after the 2nd period:

GOAL: (One change made)

– Martin Brodeur, NEW JERSEY. Ok…he had a great November…so, much so, that he is on my list…and is one of the top tenders in the world again.

– Roberto Luongo, VANCOUVER. Bobby Lou is healthy again…and his game is getting better…as are the Nucks. Should be a fun battle for that top spot.

– Marc-Andre Fleury, PITTSBURGH. He is on the Stanley Cup champs, and has been playing stellar again this season. Any one of those three could be the starter.

DEFENCE: (I have made only one change)

– Scott Niedermayer, ANAHEIM. He hasn’t been great, but, then the Ducks have struggled. His experience and speed can’t be beat.

– Chris Pronger, PHILADELPHIA. Some say he is the Norris Trophy winner so far this season. The Flyers are in a tail-spin, but, Pronger has the whole package, and is a must for Team Canada.

– Dan Boyle, SAN JOSE. He is an offensive powerhouse from the point and on the PP…and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Still on the team.

– Drew Doughty, LOS ANGELES. This sophomore has been twice as good as last year, and his mobility and youth have him on the team.

– Shea Weber, NASHVILLE. The Preds have been better in the past month…and no surprise that Weber is leading the way. Has a monster of a shot, and a mean streak too.

– Mike Green, WASHINGTON. A lot of ‘media experts’ don’t have him on the team. He is the Paul Coffey of the 1980’s Canada Cup teams. His pure speed and ability to jump in the play has to be a factor in him being on this team.

– Duncan Keith, CHICAGO. Many have the tandem of Seabrook & Keith from the Hawks being on this squad…but, Keith has to be there! He has been the best defenceman in the past month…and is a local boy from Penny Town!

CENTRES: (2 changes)

– Sidney Crosby, PITTSBURGH. For those that like to doubt…in your face. Sid the Kid is rolling…11 points in 3 games…let’s hope that roll rolls on in Feb.

– Joe Thornton, SAN JOSE. There should be 4 Sharks on this team…and 3 will play on a line centred by Joe.

– Ryan Getzlaf, ANAHEIM. He seems to start slow…and only has a handful of goals, but, paired with Perry, there are dynamite.

– Brad Richards, DALLAS. He is playing like the Richards that won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup MVP. I think a lot of us thought that that version of Richards was long gone. He replaces another Richards who is struggling in Philly.

– Steven Stamkos, TAMPA BAY. He just doesn’t slow down. He scores every kind of goal, and will replace another Flyer centre who isn’t scoring goals.

WINGERS: (2 changes)

– Rick Nash, COLUMBUS. He has slowed a tad on a Blue Jacket team that has hit rock bottom, but, you know with the right linemates, he will shine!

– Dany Heatley, SAN JOSE. Thornton gets him the puck, and he scores. Nice combo for Vancouver.

– Jarome Iginla, CALGARY. Iggy is flying right now, and he will fly for Canada. A true leader…he could wear the ‘C’ in 2010.

– Martin St. Louis, TAMPA BAY. Another Team Canada veteran who has the wheels and determination to win Gold.

– Mike Cammalleri, MONTREAL. One of those guys that a lot of others aren’t talking about. I still want him on this team.

– Dustin Penner, EDMONTON. Even after the fall of Ales Hemsky, Dustin is still playing strong and putting up points for the Oil. He is a month away from being a suprise starter on my team.

– Patrick Marleau, SAN JOSE. He has proven before (don’t just look back at last year) that he can score in big games…and he is a versatile player who can play centre or wing. I see him feeding on other countries with a pair of Sharks.

– Corey Perry, ANAHEIM. He is one of those players that is hated by other teams…but, every team would want him. He is big and strong, can skate, plays with an edge, and is among the league’s top scorers.

…Ok…that is my team after period two. Some not on the team;

– Once again, I have left off the duo of Bouwmeester and Phaneuf on Calgary. Despite the improved play of the Flames…still don’t like them on the team…and likewise for Brent Seabrook of the Hawks.

Up front…Toews, Lecavalier, Staal (all 3) and the Flyer duo of Richards and Carter are off at this point.

Should be a crazy month for hockey fans. The third and final period coming up New Year’s Eve.

…Still to come…”The Habs and 100 Years”…and “New Heroes on Heroes”.

Articles

…And The Award Goes To (Nov update)

In Hockey Hits on December 1, 2009 by geespotting

It has been awhile, but, time now for the NHL award tracker after the 2nd month of play:

MVP: Marian Gaborik, NEW YORK RANGERS

– Leads the league in goals, points, and has put up some nice plus/minus numbers too. Can the groin make it 82 games?

RUNNER UP: Ryan Miller, BUFFALO

– On a team with a ton of up front talent, it’s been Miller Time for much of the Sabre season.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Martin Brodeur, NEW JERSEY & Joe Thornton, SAN JOSE

TOP GOALIE: Ryan Miller, BUFFALO

– The top tender in the league so far, and a shoo-in to start for the U.S. in 2010.

RUNNER UP: Martin Brodeur, NEW JERSEY

– The Devils are back, Lemaire is back, and more importantly…Marty is back.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Miikka Kiprusoff, CALGARY & Antero Niittymaki, TAMPA BAY

TOP DEFENCEMAN: Dan Boyle, SAN JOSE

– Hard to believe, but, he is actually under-rated usually because of the top teams he has played with. Has been stellar for the Sharks.

RUNNER UP: Duncan Keith, CHICAGO

– The Penticton kid has seen his game improve in leaps and bounds each and every season. He is leading the young Hawks.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Tomas Kaberle, TORONTO & Mike Green, WASHINGTON

TOP ROOKIE: John Tavares, NEW YORK ISLANDERS

– Getting better game in and game out, and puts up points when you don’t even notice him.

RUNNER UP: Michael Del Zotto, NEW YORK RANGERS

– Still putting up good numbers despite the Rangers’ slide this month.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Ryan O’Reilly, COLORADO & James Van Riemsdyk, PHILADELPHIA

MOST SPORTSMANLIKE: Brad Richards, DALLAS

– Just one penalty this year…and back among the league’s top scorers.

RUNNER UP: Patrick Marleau, SAN JOSE

– Always  has low PM’s, and part of the Shark attack with Big Joe & Heatley.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Martin St. Louis, TAMPA BAY & Zach Parise, NEW JERSEY

TOP DEFENSIVE FORWARD: Zach Parise, NEW JERSEY

– Only player to be number one in his category for 2nd straight month. A plus 19 rating is remarkable, even on the stingy Devils.

RUNNER UP: Mike Fisher, OTTAWA

– He is no “Cowboy Casanova”, but, is healthy and back on track in the Nation’s Capital.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Jonathon Toews, CHICAGO & Marco Sturm, BOSTON

TOP COACH: Joe Sacco, COLORADO

– He is there again as the suprising Avs continue to roll despite a tougher month.

RUNNER UP: Terry Murray, LOS ANGELES

– Another Western team hanging in there with a veteran coach leading the way.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Lindy Ruff, BUFFALO & John Anderson, ATLANTA

…So, there you have it after November. Some surprises and some changes too. Speaking of changes, there will be a few when I unveil the 2nd period of Team Canada 2010 coming up tomorrow!