Archive for May, 2009

STANLEY CUP PREDICTION

May 29th, 2009

DETROIT-PITTSBURGH PREVIEW

PENS YEAR TO COME OUT ON TOP

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the younger more feisty team and certainly with the injuries to all star defenseman Nik Lidstrom and top line forward Pavel Datsyuk the more healthier of the two finalists.

The Wings have been beaten up on the way through to the finals and getting great efforts from some call-ups and seasoned vets along the way pushing the veteran Wings to the Cup.

If Detroit is to win this series they would have to do it short staffed and in my mind the only way is for them to push this series to a seventh game at home at the “Joe” where they would have the edge of repeating as Champions.

But this is Pittsburgh’s year you can just feel it for Crosby and Malkin who will be asked and needed to out play Datsyuk and Zetterberg to win the Cup for the Pens.

Crosby and Malkin lead the NHL in scoring again in these playoffs all the while playing on separate lines for the dangerous Pens attack.

Crosby has veterans Bill Guerin and recent Cup winner Chris Kunitz playing on his wings which have been a major success.

Chris Osgood has three Stanley Cup rings- one as a backup:

He continues to prove that when the shit hits the fan and the games are on the line he stands up and plays very solid. With saying that the Wings won’t lose this series because of Ozzy but they will watch the Pens younger M-A Fleury slightly out match their tender in this series.

Fleury has gotten better and better throughout the playoffs and his confidence has grown with each series it seems to the point where he was so calm in the semi’s that the series was never in doubt and he was solid if not excellent at times.

The coaching aspect of this series is very interesting as the Wings Mike Babcock who won his first Cup last season is a high strong quality coach who loves his team and the depth they have with injuries or not.

But you can bet he is hoping that injuries do not play a part in this series because it’s one thing to beat the inexperienced Hawks and quite another to beat the Pens who have been here before and gained valuable experience by losing last seasons Cup.

Pittsburgh has to win one of these home games in Detroit and steal away home ice and they simply cannot allow this series to go past game six or the Wings will have the advantage.

This series has to be over in six or better for the Pens and rely heavily that the Wings injuries are to much this time to over come.

Dan Bylsma :

Has the players ears in Pitt without the NHL coaching experience to fall back on like Babcock. He relies heavily on the fact he is a players coach who stays calm, cool and collective during the games and seems to be very wired in on what is happening on the ice.

The edge goes to the Wings here I suppose but the Pens coach knows his team and has pushed all the right buttons ever since he took over and they have gone on an unreal run to the finals.

PREDICTION:

The Pens will take this series because they are healthier and ready to make the major step of knocking off the Cup winning Wings this time around and it will be Crosby & Malkin’s true coming out party so to speak as Stanley Cup Champions being added the their already impressive resume.

For Hockey God I’m Dave Frost

STANLEY CUP DATES

May 28th, 2009
2009 STANLEY CUP FINAL
SERIES O

#2 vs. #4
Network
Saturday, May 30 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
Sunday, May 31 at Detroit, TBD-Evening NBC, CBC, RDS
Tuesday, June 2 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Thursday, June 4 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm VERSUS, CBC, RDS
* Saturday, June 6 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
* Tuesday, June 9 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
* Friday, June 12 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS

CUP SET . . A SUTTER WILL COACH . . QUINN TACTICS . . NUCKS LIKE GRIT

May 28th, 2009

NHL PLAYOFF VIDEO, GOALS, HITS, SAVES…….CLICK ON H.Q FOR BETTER PICTURE

PENS-WINGS BACK IN THE FINAL AGAIN

Detroit used over-time for the second time in this series to knock off the Hawks and win the right to take on the Pens again this season all be it a completely different looking Pens team who ran over the Hurricanes in four straight games to get into the final.

The way the Pens top end players are playing this will be a much different series this time around not to mention the fact that two of the Wings best players are presently missing critical games.

Hockey God will have their Stanley Cup prediction on Friday’s blog with detailed reasons. Certainly the fact that the series gets started Saturday helps the Pens with the Wings current injuries. Then game two goes the next day because of television which will not be making the Wings very happy.

SUTTER WILL COACH

The fact that Calgary GM Darryl Sutter knows that it’s going to take a coach with some big balls to take over his Flames and deal and push his superstars, tells you that he does have the pulse of the team under his nose.

Sutter would be hard pressed to find a coach with his type of jam going into the season to coach the Flames but besides himself his brother who is currently under contract with the New Jersey Devils for another season where it’s been said that Brent is home sick and would like to come home.

Well, Calgary is not quite home for Sutter but it’s a helluva lot closer than the swamp in Jersey where Sutter lived alone without his family to coach the Devils the past two seasons.

This is one time where money is not everything because Sutter is one of the highest paid coaches in the league with what many believe is two million plus a season with Lou’s Devils.

In a perfect world Darryl would stay as GM while his tough coaching brother took over the bench in Calgary but failing that you can bet your ass Darryl will crack the whip next season behind the Flames bench and then the players will have no where to hide.

Regardless of which Sutter is behind the Flames bench the team will play with more accountability than last season which is exactly what the locals want to see with their team.

OILERS GET IT WRONG

While several hockey media are all giving the move the thumbs up either because they are just ass kissers or I suppose that some could actually believe that Pat Quinn has actually changed from his years with the Maple Leafs.

You see the Oilers explained the hire this way, that Quinn is a leader and that they have high respect for former Rangers head coach Tom Renney to come in as his associate coach.

So basically what that means is Renney who is a very good coach in his own right, very patient, player friendly coach who gives his players the rope to prove themselves will handle the chalk talks so to speak.

Quinn is known as a gruff prick that doesn’t do a whole lot of x-o’s but will hold the players accountable and carries himself in such a confident way that the players listen to him even though they know he doesn’t do a whole lot of tactic’s as coach.

Quinn, as the story goes did not believe in practicing the power play or just didn’t do it in his last years with the Leafs and that had many Toronto players shaking their heads.

I can’t see this working in Edmonton where the players will always be left wondering if this is Renney’s team or the old guy on the staff who in my mind the game has passed him by.

Quinn is happy and the Oil management are happy and Renney seems to be happy at the moment.

But Renney who the word is will be paid like a head coach along with the promise of the head job when Quinn leaves and finally retires may not be as happy once the season starts and there is not much of a plan put forth.

CANUCKS SIGN RIPPER

It really drives me insane that as knowledgeable as Canadian hockey fans can be that when Mike Gillis re-ups  the gritty Rick Rypien yesterday for a two year deal worth $550,000 a season there were fans mocking.

What fans don’t always understand in hockey is that it’s players like Ripper that not only help you win with their style of play come playoff time but that it’s these same players that create the space for the star players to do their thing.

Theses players don’t have to play on a line with the stars to make a serious impact it’s the fact that they are out there holding any player on the other team accountable that go after the star players.

The Ripper signing has a huge impact on the Canucks roster and will be met with smiles to the players that enjoy the fact that Ripper will fight for his teammates and grind away all season long.

Now Gillis just has to find a way to keep the kid in the lineup every-night and free from injury, but the kids salary will indicate he is underpaid by NHL standards with the grit work he will do over the next two seasons.

For Hockey God I’m Dave Frost

WINGS-HAWKS GAME 4 HIGHLIGHTS

May 27th, 2009

Hockey Loses a Local Hero

May 27th, 2009

Peter Zezel died yesterday afternoon at Toronto Western Hospital from complications of a blood disorder that he’d battled for a decade.

The former Toronto Maple Leaf will forever be remembered as one of hockey’s good guys and very popular Maple Leaf from his time in Toronto during the Pat Burns teams that always played very well in the playoffs.

I met Zezel in a downtown Toronto hotel lounge years ago with Mike Gillis who was his agent at the time and we sat and talked where I discovered a few things that have stuck with me since.

First Zezel was very passionate about soccer as he was hockey and spoke about both with such love as he excelled at both as a player.

Zezel came off as a very genuine good guy who obviously didn’t allow the fact that he became a very noticeable figure in Toronto to get to his head. He had a few fans come up to him that day in the hotel years after he was done playing in Toronto for an autograph which he handled with class and friendly chat.

As I sat there I quickly realized why this guy was so very strong on his skates and I’m sure just as strong on his feet in soccer,  he literally had legs like tree trunks that I have yet to see matched on any player since.

Peter Zezel will be sadly missed by the hockey community and was a great guy who was down to earth and friendly and I have to say this hit home with me as he is only a few years older than I and way to young to be gone.

“Peter will forever be remembered as a great teammate and a wonderful individual, who touched the lives of many both on and off the ice,” a statement from the Zezel family read. “In his typical character of generosity, Peter has donated his organs through the Trillium Gift of Life Network. We would like to thank all of Peter’s friends and family for their support and we ask for privacy during this difficult time.”

The family has requested in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the James Birrell Fund at the Hospital for Sick Children.