OTT v. NJD, Game 3 Discussion

Martin Brodeur is simply too good. He made 32 saves tonight in a losing effort, as the Sens took a 2-1 lead in the series. Realistically, that number should've been 33 saves. Don't get me wrong, I'm probably the biggest Senators fan on the blogosblogs, but that goal probably should've been disallowed. Brodeur was clearly interfered with, and had no chance to recover prior to Preissing's shot/goal.

That being said, I thought the Ottawa shot that went in after the whistle (Heatly, period 2, I believe) should've counted, since Sutherland (or maybe it was Watson) blew the whistle a bit quickly. So I guess it all comes out in the wash.

I really don't know how Ottawa is going to win this series if Brodeur continues to play so well. They've got to keep throwing shots at the net, and hope Emery can continue to play at the top of his game.

Different Words for Different Colors

This is a bit of a departure from the regular sports/auto-related content found within this blog, but there's no need to be pigeon-holed.

An article found today on Nature indicates that the language you speak (and specifically, the vocabulary contained within said language) could change how you perceive colors.

American linguist Benjamin Whorf predicted (in the 1930's) that our language decides how we categorize things in our lives. The Nature article describes an experiment performed in which English and Russian-speaking test subjects were shown pictures of 3 blue blocks, 2 of which were identical. The Russians, who have different words for light and dark blue ("goluboy" and "siniy", respectively), had an easier time separating the different colored block from the two identical ones, especially as the difference between the shades was lessened.

Once the Russian-speakers were asked to recite numbers as they picked the colors (thus negating the language part of the experiment), their advantage was eliminated.

Angela Brown, a color-perception researcher (really?) at OSU has stated a case for a more physiological reason behind these results. She states that the cultures which have languages that separate "dark" and "light blue" are found at more northern climates. Apparently many tropical cultures cannot distinguish between blue and green, due to the retinal damage sustained from increased sun exposure (hypothetically). So, as you move further away from these tropical climates (and therefore have less exposure to the sun), there may be an increased ability to distinguish between blue and green. There was no rebuttal to the decreased abilities of the Russian-speakers when their linguistics were negated.

Regardless of whether the Russian-speakers were better able to distinguish between the colors due to language or due to physiology, it's incredibly interesting information. I'd like to see if an individual who spoke Russian as a second (or 3rd) language were better able to differentiate the blue colors. I believe this would determine whether the effects were linguistic or physiological.


The BMW Travesty

It was announced somewhat recently that BMW would be bringing the 1-series to North America as an '08 model. As both a fan of BMW's, and a fan of small cars, this excited me immensely. The 1-series, in it's hatchback form, is the perfect entry-level Bimmer. With a wide selection of engine options available (including the VW-killing 2.0L diesel) and (IMHO) beautiful body styling, it was a BMW that the young professional could purchase early in her/his career, and manage to feel sporty, classy and environmentally friendly all at once (plus still having room to carry her/his bike/groceries/hockey equipment/etc).

But then it all came crumbling down. The latest rumours around the proverbial water cooler have mentioned that us unworthy North Americans won't be getting a chance to purchase the 1-series hatchback. Originally, I hoped (but doubted) the diesel option would be available here. BMW currently doesn't have any diesel offerings, and Brian Jessel has mentioned that the company would be pursuing economical diesel engines instead of hybrids. A new car to the market would be the perfect opportunity to introduce a "new" engine technology in a USDM BMW.

To be perfectly honest, I see the 1-series, if offered in its current form, to be a niche vehicle. The BMW owners that I "know" either scrimp and save their middle-management wages to buy a 3-series (so they can appear more wealthy and important than they really are), or have enough money that they're buying higher-end vehicles (5's, 6's, 7's and M's). The 3-series consumer would see the 1 as a "step down" (i.e. they wouldn't look as "good" in it), whereas the high-end customer would have no reason to spend mid-$30's on a car.

Perhaps that's why BMW has decided to throw the 1-series into the market as a coupe/cabrio (see left). This car is being touted as a "pure driver's car", which means it will likely be stripped void of all options that I found enticing in the European-only 1-hatch (i.e. i-Drive). It's also been rumoured that the 1-coupe will receive no 4-cylinder engine options, but higher-performance V6's only (including the bi-turbo 3.5L mill which currently serves the 535i, and ever-so-sexy 335i). So essentially, BMW is taking away everything I love about the 1-series (styling, options, environmental appeal), and replacing it with a more "palatable" version for the semi-retarded North American (specifically USA) population. The same customers who complained that the M5 only came with DSG (with no option for a standard-shifting 6-speed), and then complained again when the 6-speed had traction issues (which is why it was never offered in the first place!!)

So what does this mean for the BMW consumer (current and potential)? Probably not much. Given my basic understanding of economics and price points, I predict the 1-coupe to be priced somewhere around the 320 (given the bigger engine, etc.) That being said, however ... it will be difficult for a salesperson to convince a customer that her/his moneys are better spent on a "lower number" car. Regardless ... price prediction (by me) is around the $40,000 mark (CDN). Given this, I'd (personally) rather spend a bit more and get a better looking (again, in my opinion) 328ci or 335ci. But: if the 1-series were priced properly (under $40k properly), I'd definitely consider purchasing one, simply for an entry to the "pure driving experience".

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Roberto Luongo is a disgrace to the game of hockey. He's flopping around like a landed-bass trying to get a goaltender-interference call, when nobody's touching him.

The unsportsmanlike conduct call for diving needs to be extended to envelope goaltenders who flop to the ice anytime somebody comes near them.

David v. Goliath: Game 5 UPDATED

Things aren't looking promising for the underdog Prince George Cougars. After their stunning come-from-behind series win against the CHL's #1 ranked team, the Everett Silvertips, I expected their momentum to propel them deeply into their next series. Sadly, this hasn't been the case. Vancouver has been all over the Cougars (like crap on a blanket, as my grandpa would say), and Prince George has been able to muster only one win in 4 games.

Game five is currently in the 2nd period, with Vancouver leading 4-0. To be fair, it appears as if PG is throwing everything they have at Tyson Sexsmith, just trying to get a puck in the net, but to no avail. Shots, at press time, are 28-10 in favour of the Cougars. With that kind of effort, I suppose there's a chance they could get back into the game ... but it seems unlikely. They seem to be giving the Giants a few too many powerplay opportunities (VAN is 2/5 so far in the game), which is something you want to avoid when your head is on the chopping block.

I'll update at the end of the game. In other WHL news, the Medicine Hat/Calgary game has just entered overtime in a 3-3 tie. That series stands at 3-1 in favour of MH, and chances are they'll put it away tonight.

Update #1: Medicine Hat's Tyler Ennis scored the winning goal at 5:13 of OT to give the Tigers the series win
Update #2: PG managed to get 1 goal, but VAN got another one as well. Final score, 5-1. Series over. Also, I was mis-reading the scoresheet: final shots in the game were 46-10 for the Giants (not vice-versa). Ouch.


NHL Draft 07: All Things Intriguing

It's that time of year again. Central scouting has put forth their list of the predicted top picks in this year's NHL entry draft, and a few things have stuck out to me. Or at least stuck out enough for me to want to write about them.

Chicago has the #1 pick this year, thanks to the good ol' lottery, and CSN has listed Kyle Turris as the #1 choice. Turris (whom I've personally watched play in Burnaby, for the Express) is a high-scoring forward (66 goals in the BCHL this season), which fits perfectly in with what is required in Chicago. He will allegedly be playing next season with NCAA powerhouse Wisconsin, but I expect him to make a quick jump into the show (a la Jack Johnson). This is interesting to me for a couple reasons: firstly, as previously mentioned, is the fact that Turris is playing this season in Bby. Secondly, and more importantly to the rest of the hockey world, is the fact that Jonathan Toews (you may know him from previous WJC national teams) is also going to Chicago. Meaning that both of these young centers will end up in Blackhawks uniforms, which could be the answer to the woes of the windy city.

Phoenix, with pick #3, is allegedly looking to Keaton Ellerby to fill their gap in defense. Ellerby is currently playing with the Blazers (though he apparently wasn't good enough to help them get by PG), and has proved to be a physical presence in the WHL. He also happens to be a cousin of the captain of the Coyotes, Shane Doan. The downside of Keaton Ellerby is his size: he's a lanky 6'4", 185lbs. However, once Phoenix gets him onto a decent workout plan, he might help the Coyotes defend their ever-open net.

Lastly, Kamloops Minor Hockey product Casey Pierro-Zabotel has been listed as the #75 North American player (#87 overall), and has been officially invited to the NHL combine (the actual draft event, in Columbus). He's had a stellar year with the Merritt Centennials (yes, you read that right: he plays for Merritt), with 116 points in 55 games (3rd overall in the BCHL). Pierro-Zabotel has signed a letter of intent to play with Michigan Tech in the WCHA against my beloved Golden Gophers. Regardless of that fact, however, it's impressive to see a young player from Kamloops (who chose to play his junior hockey close to home) succeed.


Yamaha Falls off Earth: Ducati Takes Advantage

The weekend started out so promising for the Fiat Yamaha team. Solid results after FP2; good positions on the starting grid after qualification. And then ... tragedy. Rossi had tyre issues; Edwards had Colin Edwards issues; the team ended up earning a combined six (6) points. Ouch.

As mentioned in a previous post, I felt Ducati would have a solid weekend. Which is kind of a no-brainer. It's like predicting the Canucks will lose to Anaheim in the next round. The bookies aren't going to give you very good odds on that kind of gamble. But still, for Stoner and Capirossi to both be on the podium has to make the owners in Bologna happy. Stoner has been absolutely amazing this year, and I'm sure Ducati is enthralled that they have him under contract. He's a young rider, and will serve as an excellent franchise rider once Capirex retires. It saddens me that Sete has disappeared, but all good things must come to an end.

Nicky Hayden, still rocking out that #1 plate (you'd think that he'd be superstitious enough to get rid of that by now) finished in 7th position, earning him 9 points. He now sits in 7th position in the World standings, a full 35 back of Stoner. It's still too early to make any comments about the World Championship, but Ducati must like their chances with Stoner.

PG is Shut-Out: Season Looks Over

EDIT: Apparently I'm a bit of a gimp, and didn't realize that when I was writing this the game was not yet over. Real final score was VAN4 PG1. Better reporting next time, I promise
Well, that was a bit of a bust. I was thinking that since the game was going being played in Prince George, the Cougars might have the home team advantage. And perhaps they did, but it was a fairly weak game. Only 16 shots per team, only 2 goals total, and only 1 powerplay for the Giants (unlike last night's other Vancouver game). Prince George had 6 powerplays, and apparently managed very few shots on these. Vancouver started a steady parade to the box at 2:08 of the first (with 4 unanswered penalties to follow), yet still managed to out-shoot the home team 9-7 in the period.

Prince George obviously didn't bring their "A" game tonight. Referees Chris Savage and Pat Smith tried to give them a chance, but they just wouldn't take the bait! I'd say this series is pretty much over ... if you can't win at home, with that many powerplay opportunities, you're sunk.

Game stats here


I have to be in full agreeance with TD. That was the most poorly called game in the history of professional sports. Giving Vancouver 11 powerplays is bad enough (honestly, giving any team 11 powerplays is questionable), but when you're just pulling our phantom calls for the sake of blowing your whistle, it gets kind of irritating for the fan.

Game 7's are the last game of the season for a team. These are the games in which the teams are playing their hardest, trying to pull out the win. The team who plays the best, who brings the most to the rink on that night, should be the team rewarded with the win. The officiating should be a non-factor. It's like overtime: you have to be a real asshole of a ref to call anything but a complete rape in overtime.

I feel that in this game, the win did not belong to Vancouver. It was not earned on the backs of players such as Luongo, or The Purse ... it was handed to them on a silver platter by an overzealous official.


Game Seven Haiku

A low scoring game
Dallas got the needed win
I'm stoked for Monday

Grand Prix of Turkey - Qualifying

After FP2, I felt that the Ducati team would have a solid race. And it appeared as though the Fiat Yamaha had some work to do. Apparently, the bike set-up team of Yamaha did their job well, since Rossi and Edwards finished 1-2 in qualifying. Also surprising was the rise of Dani Pedrosa to the #3 position to finish off the front row. Fellow Repsol Honda rider, and returning champion Nicky Hayden could only muster 6th position (though considering his ~14th place after FP2, that's fairly impressive).

The 2 Ducati bikes start the race in positions 4 and 5 (Stoner/Capirossi), while Hopkins, De Puniet and Vermeulin make up the 3rd row. One has to be impressed with the work of the Suzuki team to get 2 riders in the top 10 after qualifying in this the 3rd race of the season.

I feel that Rossi/Edwards should both have decent races (maybe not a 1-2 finish, but it could happen), and that the speed of the GP7 Ducatis will be enough to keep them Stoner in the top 5.

Updates to follow.

Who loves Turkey?

It's kind of a trick question ... because everybody loves Turkey ... both the poultry and the country. Specifically, I'm referring to the Grand Prix of Turkey that's taking place this Sunday in Istanbul.

Hopefull this weekend will be filled with GP updates, since this is the first race in 26 days (or somewhere in that range). Here are a few things to look for in Constantinople Istanbul.

- Casey Stoner on the Ducati GP7 finished FP2 in 1st position (.779 seconds quicker than fellow Ducatisti Capirex). I feel Ducati will have a good race and end up with at least 1 bike on the podium. Lest we forget Qatar '07.

- John Hopkins finishes FP2 in 3rd. Suzuki is trying hard to make a name for themselves in GP this year, and there's really no reason that they shouldn't be able to. But if I know JH, he'll have a break down and kick his bike (literally).

- The Fiat Yamaha lads finish 4th and 15th (Rossi/Edwards, respectively). Come race time, look for a hard fighting Rossi (probable podium) and Edwards around 6th spot.

- Nicky Hayden a wicked great 14th position. pfft. He has to do something sooner or later, but I'm not sure that it will be this race. Fellow Honda rider Dani Pedrosa finishes in 9th.

- Olivier Jacque in the top 10 (6th position) after FP2. Promising for Kawasaki, but they still have a way to go before they can be fully competitive (see: Suzuki).


ARod ... what?

Am I the only one who's surprised at Rodriguez' performance this year? After an incredibly dismal performance at the plate in '05-'06, I thought the gentle citizens of New York were about to lash him 20 times with a wet noodle.
But now, with another 2 dingers against the Bo Sox tonight, ARod is on pace for ... 130HR. He has a hit in each and every of the NYY's first 15 games. Could it be that he's actually earning his astronomic wages? I wouldn't get that carried away. Maybe it's the fact that he's been wearing his socks hauled up around his knees, all Chipper Jones style. Maybe it was the razzing he received after last season. Maybe it just took him a year or so to get comfortable in the Big Apple. Who knows.

With his 2 HR tonight, Rodriguez tied a 1976 record for the quickest to a dozen (15 games). Of his 23 hits in the first 15 games, 18 of them are of the extra-base variety. His worst AB against Schilling tonight was a 380ft shot to the warning track (which was caught by the center-fielder). He was simply on fire tonight, and indeed has been so this entire season.

So where will it end? The Major League record for home runs in April is 14, set by Albert Pujols in '06 in 67 at-bats. The American League record is 13, by Griffey Jr in 1997, in 76AB. So far, Rodriguez has been to bat only 62 times (as of the end of tonight's game). The Yankees still have 9 games this month, and given Rodriguez's start, it's safe to say he'll probably hit a couple of dingers in those 9 games.

I have to admit, I'm kind of a fan of ARod. In my prime of baseball watching, when I had access to Fox Sports Northwest, I could watch every Mariners game ... and did. That was when Seattle was a veritable dream team of Griffey Jr, Rodriguez, Ken Cloude, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez ... the list goes on. Now, they seem to be a bit of a 1-trick pony with Ichiro. But that's for a different post.

Here's hoping ARod can silence the critics (self included), and go on to have an incredible rest of the season.

WHL Western Final - Game 1 Recap

As mentioned in previous posts, I'm fully pro-Prince George in this series. It's nothing against the Vancouver Giants, the city of Vancouver, or any of the team personnel ... I just prefer to cheer for the underdog. And there's no dog more under than the Cougars. During the regular season, the Giants finished with 26 more points than the Cougars ... so there's an obvious favourite here.

The Giants started the game with some heavy-duty forechecking, which led to a Lance Bouma goal just over 4 minute in. Vancouver continued the pressure throughout the opening frame, lodging 19 shots against Real Cyr, while Prince George managed only 7. Ouch.

It took until almost halfway through the 2nd period before Prince George managed to get on the board, and tie up the game. Ty Wishart took a pass from Nick Drazenovic, and fired a shot towards the net, which was deflected past Giant's goalie Tyson Sexsmith by Evan Fuller.
Sadly, this tie lasted a brief 55 seconds before Kenndal McArdle put the Giants back into the lead with a tip-in of his own. Then, about 6 minutes later, a wonderful display of passing by the Vancouver team resulted in a Michal Repik goal. 3-1 Giants lead. Shots in the 2nd period were 12-7 in the Giant's favour.

The third period didn't go much better for PG, though they did get a solid PPG with about 3.5 minutes left in the game. This was too little, too late, however. The Cougs did managed to keep Vancouver off the scoreboard in the 3rd period, and the Giants managed only 6 shots in the last 20 minutes (it should be noted that Prince George only fired 7 shots at Sexsmith).

Final score: VAN 3 - PG 2

Prince George really didn't come to play this game. When you're outshot 37-21, you really don't have a choice. Sexsmith is a decent enough goalie that PG has to fire a lot more rubber his way if they want to have any chance in this series. Hopefully we can just chalk this one up to experience, and hope for a Cougar's win tomorrow night at the rink on Renfrew.


Like Hank Williams, the Sens are "Moving On"

Well, my predictions were slightly off as to the final score of this game, but not horribly so. Ottawa kept rolling throughout the 2nd and 3rd periods, and the Pens really stood no chance. As great as the game, and really the series, was for the Senators, I can't help but feel that they'll somehow manage to choke before they get too far into the playoffs.

Speaking of choking ... VAN/DAL was the single-most boring game this year. I was just glad it ended early (and with a Dallas win). There's no way I could've handled 3 overtimes worth of the neutral-zone trap. Incidentally, the 'nucks are now 0-5 when the have the opportunity to eliminate a playoff opponent.
updated prediction: Dallas in 7

OTT vs PTS - 1st period ponderings

After a dismal start, Ottawa finally seems to have their shit in gear. They've been moving the puck well, and generally getting a lot of decent chances.
I think Pittsburgh would be completely screwed without Fleury this evening. He's made a tonne of big saves that have kept the score close. The PTS defense are doing some shot blocking action which is helping out Fleury a lot too.

Prediction: 4-1 OTT win


Prince George: city bad, Cougars good

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Ever since the 1st round ass-kicking the Blazers received, I've been cheering equally for the Vancouver Giants and the Prince George Cougars. Now is the time where I have to choose ... and I choose PG.

I suppose it's the whole "cheer for the underdog" theory. Plus, the Giants already have a berth in the Memorial Cup as the host team, and it will make me feel better if the team who knocked off the Blazers goes all the way.

I didn't think PG had any chance against Everett (the #1 team in the CHL), but they proved their worthiness with a decisive 8-2 trouncing of the Silvertips. PG took a stunning 6-0 lead against the champs, and held on for the win. Irving started the game in net for Everett, and was chased out at 11:14 of the 1st, after allowing 2 goals in just 5 shots. His replacement, Reekie, faced only 17 shots, and allowed 6 goals. So either Everett's goaltending choked hugely, or PG was on fire. I like the thought of the latter.

Prince George is in Vancouver for game 1 on Friday, and I'd love to catch a couple of those games. I personally feel that Prince George can win this series, and eventually go on to the Memorial Cup (where they'll be smoked, no doubt).


Canucks Lose, Giants Win

I guess at this point it's kind of old news, but I felt that I should comment on the games nevertheless.

After the 4-OT marathon Game 1, the Canucks were apparently too "tired" to do anything in Game 2 (even though Dallas didn't seem to be as affected). Vancouver couldn't buy a goal (probably because they spent too much on Luongo), and Dallas went on to win 2-0.
Updated prediction: Same as before ... Dallas in 6

In pro-Vancouver news, the Giants had a great game against Seattle, and took Game 5 in that series to move on. The Giants will face the winner of the Prince George/Everett series, which is currently tied at 2-2.

Ottawa, after 40 minutes, up 2-1 on the Pens.


Ottawa Dominant, Vancouver Lucky, P.G. Surprising

Yesterday was a great day for hockey, to paraphrase Badger Bob Johnson. The start of the NHL playoffs (as well as the continuation of the WHL playoffs) led to me spending a large portion evening parked in front of a TV. Brief recaps/analysis to follow.

Game 1: OTT 6 vs. PTS 3
The Sens came out strong, and jumped to a solid 6-1 lead, before deciding to sit back and let the Pens gain some self-esteem. Ottawa, in a solid team effort, had no players who scored >1 goal, and 3 who notched 2 assists. Pittsburgh saw goals from Recchi, Staal and Crosby, in an effort that can only be described as "lackluster".
While I'd love the rest of the series to go this way, there's no way I can expect Ottawa (who's known for choking in the playoffs) to keep up that kind of a pace against the Pens. Pittsburgh and Ottawa were dead even throughout the entire regular season, and I expect this series to be a long one.
Initial prediction: Ottawa in 7.

Game 2: VAN 5 vs. DLS 4 (4OT)
Jesus. What a way to end my night. Well, and start my night. Puck drop was 7pm(PST), and Sedin1 scored the winner at about 12:40am. Nearly 6 hours of Canucks hockey. Honestly, that could last me an entire season.
Vancouver was outplayed for most of the game, and really didn't deserve to win. They had a solid 2 goal lead, which they squandered, and only managed a victory thanks to Luongo's 72 saves throughout the night.
I believe that Dallas just needs to figure out a way to beat Luongo, and they've got this one in the bag. And break the knees of Sedin1 and Sedin2.
Initial prediction: Dallas in 6.

WHL Game 1: VAN 3 vs. SEA 1
Now here's something rare: Casey cheering for a Vancouver hockey club. Not to go all the way, or anything. I personally would love to see PG in the Memorial Cup. But in this specific series, I'm a Giants fan. Don Hay seems like a good guy, and the team works hard every night ... can't fault that.
Seattle jumped to an early lead in this one, scoring at 0:31 of the 1st period, but Vancouver kept working hard and scored 2 plus an empty netter to take the win. Well, maybe they didn't actually work hard. Yeomans only had to make 14 saves (well, he should've made a couple more, maybe), while Sexsmith was fairly amazing for the Giants. Regardless, the Giants picked up the win in game 4, and look to take the series tomorrow night at the Rink on Renfrew.
Initial prediction: Vancouver in 5

WHL Game 2: PG 4 vs. EVT 3 (OT)
Man, what a surprise this series is turning out to be. I knew that the Cougars had some heart, based on their playoff run of a couple seasons ago. But Everett is the #1 team in the CHL currently. And PG? Wellll ... let's just say they're not in the top 10.
But, as a Minnesota Golden Gophers fan, I'm the first to admit that rankings mean absolutely nothing when it comes to playoff hockey. Prince George is a tough team, that's willing to work hard, and aren't afraid to face up to the #1 team in junior hockey. Every game in this series has been won by a single goal, with the exception of the 5-1 spanking Prince George administered to Everett a couple nights ago.
Initial prediction: PG in 7


Frozen Four spites me

Given my current luck with sports teams, it makes sense that the NCAA men's hockey final would feature Boston College and Michigan State, 2 teams about which I could not care less. Oh, I'm sure that both teams have decent followings in their respective communities ... but not here. After Boston College beat North Dakota 6-4 in the semi-final, I stopped paying attention to the tournament. Well, to be honest, I stopped paying attention after Minnesota was sent to play golf. So really, all that needs to be said is that Michigan State beat B.C. 3-1 in the final, to take the national championship (though to be fair, it sounded like a thriller of a game, with the GWG coming at 19:41 of the final frame).

In other NCAA hockey news, North Dakota's Ryan Duncan won the Hobey Baker award as the top college hockey player in the U.S. and A. Duncan (a good Canadian boy, from Calgary) finished up the season with 31 goals/26 assists for the Fighting Sioux, thanks to a stellar line-mate in co-Canadian phenom Jonathan Toews. Duncan is only the 2nd N.D. player to have ever one the award, following Tony Hrkac who grabbed it in '87. As we all know, Hrkac went on to a completely forgettable career with St. Louis, Quebec, San Jose, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Long Island and Anaheim (not to mention many stops at various AHL teams along the way). Now those are some big shoes to fill ...


It's the Freakin' Weekend

With a wonderful 4 days off, and +25'C weather all across the province (or at least the cities I'll be in), I predict few posts until Tuesday.

That being said, it's Frozen Four time, and I'm a sucker for college hockey. So there will probably be a few updates as long as I'm in range of non-dial-up innertubes.

Michigan State played the Maine Black Bears today, and pulled off a 4-2 win to make it to the finals. Maine came out hard, and took a VERY quick 2 goal lead (how's 3:24 into the first suit you?), but then apparently sat back and turned on the cruise control. It took until the 17 minute mark of the 2nd for State to tie it up, and 2 goals before the halfway point of the third put them in a good position for the win. Maine pulled Ben Bishop for the final minute and a half, but to no avail.

Both goalies made 29 saves on the night, which leads me to believe that Maine's Bishop didn't perform when they needed him to. That being said, I never watched the game, and I never saw highlights ... so all the goals may have been impossible to save.

North Dakota is just taking the ice against Boston College currently (8pm EST start). I'm looking for a ND win, both in this game, and in the final.


Everybody loses, except for the team that should

So the Canucks came back from a 2-0 deficit to win 4-2. I'm not too happy about that. Plus, the Senators lost in overtime to Jersey. Double unhappy about that, since I hate Lou. But Pittsburgh lost too, so there's no overall change in the 4th place race in the East.

While there's an epic race for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern conference, a race that matters to millions of hockey fans, all the Vancouver media can talk about is the "mathematical possibility" that Vancouver will win the West (they need to win all 4 of their games, and have Detroit lose all 4). This is such a Canuck-centric city ... I really find it hard to handle. Though, without being in any other city, I can't tell if that's the norm or not.

So, in summation: Vancouver wins, nobody cares
Montreal/Toronto both win, no changes in rank there
Ottawa/Pittsburgh both lose, no changes in rank there

What a boring night in hockey


Claude Julien canned for no apparent reason

So here we stand, in the twilight of the 2006/07 NHL season. Many teams are happy with their performance, eager to start the playoffs, and prove themselves worthy contenders for Lord Stanley's cup. Other teams see that they have work to do. Some off-season conditioning, perhaps the addition of some key players or personnel to make their team a contender next year (like bringing Smyth back to Edmonton). One team, however, has combined both of those elements into one bass-ackwards attempt at spurring their team to the cup finals.

After an exceptional season (thanks in no small part to Martin Brodeur's career performance between the pipes), New Jersey Devils' GM Lou Lamoriello has decided to fire Claude Julien. The Devils currently sit 1st in their division, and 2nd overall in the east with 102 points (5 back of 1st place Buffalo). What could possibly be the reason for this move?

Forbes is reporting that Lamoriello didn't feel the team was ready to make a competitive run for the cup, and that there needed to be "better focus going forward". Lamoriello also lamented "you don't always judge by wins and losses as far as where you are at". Apparently.

This is not the first time Lou has decided that he'd be a better choice behind the bench going into the playoffs. He also fired, and replaced Larry Robinson in December of the 2005/06 season, and Robbie Ftorek with 8 games remaining in the 1999/00 season.

My personal feeling is that Lamoriello is making a huge gamble. You have a team that's playing exceptionally well, and has a solid chance at making a run for the cup. Their scorers are just starting to get into full swing, and put the puck into the net, and everybody knows how good the defense/goaltending of the Devils can be. I think it's probably difficult to watch from the press box every night, and have a clear understanding of how "focused" the team is "going forward". Maybe if you hit the playoffs, and lose your 1st 3 games straight, you make a change. But not after a season of building chemistry, and putting your heart and soul into a team. Nonsense.

I hope this move comes back and bites Lamoriello in the ass. I'm not sure who the Devils will be playing first round, but I know who I'll be cheering against ... Lou.


The Curse of Smyth

The Edmonton Oilers have entered an unprecedented realm of suck since trading Ryan Smyth to the NYI. I mean, they're really bad. 1 win in 17 games bad. Tonight they lost 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks (who are equally as bad), which puts them squarely in 25th position in the NHL (based on points). Granted, they're not as bad as Philly yet ... and probably won't be by the end of the season. But one has to wonder if Smyth will be coming back to the City of Champions next season.

Kevin Lowe's reasons for trading Ryan Smyth are ... confusing, at best. While they got a couple of decent draft picks out of the deal, pissing this season into the wind really couldn't have been worth it. It Lowe were smart (and I'm assuming he is), he'd make whatever deals necessary to get Smyth back into the line-up, stat. Chalk it up to experience, learn your lesson, don't trade a franchise player ever again.