Archive for June, 2009

GRIT BEATS SKILL AS THE PENS WIN THE CUP !

June 13th, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins gritty performance proved the most skilled team doesn’t always win in the end.

It’s the team with the most will to compete and block shots, drive the net and basically do whatever it takes to win.

Friday night in Detroit at the “Joe” the Pens did what almost no one outside of them and their fan base thought, beat the Wings in their own building to take the Cup.

I’m happy to say that Hockey God predicted a Pens win at the start in this series but even I thought it would be difficult if the series went seven as this WAS very much a home and home series with the home team winning every game except the most critical one last night.

Pittsburgh did out play the Wings for most of the night for a very deserving victory but there were some moments where M-A Fleury had to come up big against the Wings skill.

I for one love the fact that Grit beat Skill last night as I believe that a team should be built with your top 6 skill guys combined with your gritty plumbers spread out across the balance of the forward lines. Same thing on D combine skill with grit with the willingness to sacrifice your body game in and game out.

Detroit is a very well coached hockey club and is full of skill but in my mind outside of Daniel Cleary they don’t have the grit in their line-up that they have had years ago.

Long gone are the Stevie Y’s, Brendan Shanahan’s and long in the tooth are the Kris Drapers and Darran McCarty who were around for the Wings big Cup wins previous. The Wings are trying to get back to that with guys like the youngster Darren Helm who has more than proven that he should be an everyday player next season.

In the end the Wings are so over skilled and talented but the Wings management may want to go about adding some muscle like most other teams do in today’s NHL because in the end they lost and that’s the reason why.

Pens Sidney Crosby is the youngest captain ever to lift the Cup and did it on a bad knee as he was hurt in game seven but it didn’t seem to bother him when he took the Cup the first time around the ice. For me that was great to see because he takes so much abuse from the genius media about his play to which most of them know nothing about.

Crosby and Mike Babcock had an interesting exchange at the end of the handshakes where Babcock said “you played great” with the two of them to be guaranteed to be joining forces later this summer for Canada’s Olympic team camp in August.

But today the very young Pens are Stanley Cup Champions and that sounds great !

For Hockey God I’m Dave Frost

PRONGER WILL BE TRADED ?

June 12th, 2009

Chris Pronger and his family are staying in California and will continue in LA LA Land !

The Los Angles Kings have landed Pronger but not without paying a large price.

Pronger to Kings for Jack Johnson and the Kings first round draft pick which is fifth over-all.

This trade should be made official before the NHL Draft as per the CBA.

According to the NHL’s collective agreement, no trades can be completed until after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

COACHING CAROUSAL

June 11th, 2009

MARC CRAWFORD COACHING THE KINGS

CRAWFORD LANDS STARS JOB

For me personally I usually like when a GM goes out and gets a young fresh face coach that has put in his time and deserves a chance to show what he can do just like Stanley Cup Finalist Dan Bylsma did along with the Florida Panthers head coach Pete DeBoer he was plucked -taking him fresh out of Major Junior.

Stars named Marc Crawford as their new coach Thursday, bringing in a well-traveled NHL veteran to replace the fired Dave Tippett.

The coaching change is the first significant move by general manager & former Leafs player and recent executive Joe Nieuwendyk since he was hired May 31.

Crawford is the exception of my “younger fresh rule” of hiring recycled coaches that need to move over and make room for new blood.

Crawford’s last gig was in L.A with the Kings where he got shafted and was let go and not allowed to stay the course and develop his young roster which still leaves many scratching their heads.

This hire by GM Newy is a very good one and was obviously something that was important for Newy if you look at how fast the turn around was with these moves.

Tippett in my mind no matter which way you cut it threw one of his own players under the bus whether Sean Avery deserved or not is not the question. When you are the coach you deal with your players issues internally and never with the idiot media who will blow anything that is said so far out of proportion that is said anyways.( Please refer to every article ever written by suns simmons)

Tippett can coach but what he did going public on Avery rubbed me the wrong way and I’m sure as much as players would like to kick Avery in the teeth themselves wouldn’t want their own coach to do the same thing publicly. It’s just not the way to handle your dressing room and probably a main reason he is looking for work today.

SUTTER FROM SWAMP TO FARM

Believe me speaking from experience it ain’t easy for someone to walk away from Devils boss Lou Lamoriello unless it’s done his way with his blessing.

It would probably have been easier for one to walk away from New Jersey Mob Boss Tony Soprano in the hit TV show than tell Lou ” Um yeah Lou I’m quitting”.

Sutter will bide his time if that’s what it takes and wait the season he has left on the contract with the Devs, but in the end whether it’s this Sept or next he will coach the Calgary Flames. That will all depend on how Lou determines how he wants this to work with his former very high paid coach at $2 million plus a season on a three year deal.

Sutter is tough gruff guy just like his bothers and specifically the one in charge already with the Flames GM Darryl. The two Sutter’s will be a great fit once the Jersey Boss allows it to take place.

Maybe the Sutter’s need to go to Jersey for a good old fashioned ” Sit Down” to complete the deal.

LEAFS HIRE GEM

Toronto Maple Leafs boss Brian Burke has made a massive move by landing Patrick Roy’s former coach to take the Leafs goalie coaching/consulting job.

The Toronto Maples Leafs hired Francois Allaire who was working with Burke’s former team in Anahiem and you just know to leave that weather and lifestyle in CA there must have been some serious dollars changing bank accounts.

“We consider Francois to be one of the best in the world at his craft,” said Burke in a statement. “He brings a tremendous amount of experience and I know that he will make an immediate impact with our goalies.”

Burke with this move has just improved the all important goaltending position with one hire showing once again he is a very savvy General Manager while working his way through the issues at the ACC.

For Hockey God I’m Dave Frost

GAME SEVEN IT IS

June 10th, 2009

PENS TAKE GAME SIX

If last nights game is any indication for the younger Pens the Wings are very beatable in game seven even at the all dreaded “Joe” in Detroit.

This series as I was afraid of at the start for the Pens would be a home and home and now it has happened with Friday’s game seven @ 8pm.

With saying that if you asked the Pens if they could play one game in June for the Stanley Cup even if it was in Detroit they obviously would take it.

These Pens are better and smarter than last year to that there is no question but to beat the Wings on home ice for the Cup they will have to score if they can manage to dominate AGAIN early in the game like they did in Detroit in game five.

Not scoring after out playing the Wings in that game along with the weak goaltending of Fluery especially on the first goal put an early nail in it for the Pens who need to stay calm and play a smart game that includes playing and staying very physical like they did last night.

Now last nights game was won by the grinders with not only getting goals from role players Staal and Kennedy but some great physical play from the normally gutless Matt Cooke made a huge difference as he ran over several Wings.

So the Pens will play a game seven for all the marbles no thanks to the brutal calls by ref Bill McCreary who called two calls with under 10 minutes left to try to allow the Wings to tie the game.

The Pens beat both the ref and the Wings killing off both penalties to hold on to the lead. Unless it’s a scoring chance or attempt to injure the refs should put the whistle away and let the teams decide the outcome of the games when the stakes are this high.

Nothing pisses players off more than marginal calls late in games or any time really by cocky refs who think they are somehow the reason fans watch the games. Trust me with all the players I’ve been around for years as a coach and player agent the game is about the players, they are the entertainment and don’t like the league mandating shitty petty calls deciding games.

For Hockey God I’m Dave Frost

NOW WE HAVE A SERIES !

June 5th, 2009

GAME 4 HIGHLIGHTS

PENS 4 WINGS 2

In hockey when you are coaching your team you often think to yourself that your best players who’s job it is to score, have to score for your team to have any chance in the big games.

Well, last night in Pittsburgh the Penguins tied the series at two games a piece in the Stanley Cup Final that now heads back to the “Joe” for game five.

How did they do it? They did it from huge performances from the best players starting with finally a solid performance from Marc-Andrea Fleury in the net along with the usual suspects Crosby, Malkin, Staal and a ton of grit work done by the plumbers.

If the Wings win this series it won’t be like last year because the Pens lost an early home game in that series that cost them the Cup.

Now with the series knotted at two a piece the Wings better show up at home and not get out worked as they did last night by a wide margin.

The Wings power play was brutal and it cost them a shorthanded goal by Staal who may have changed the series around with that key goal to tie up the game. Then the Wings could not stop the bleeding as the Pens rolled over the Wings in every facet of the game there after.

Shockingly last night HNIC’s Don Cherry said he thought that the Pens Malkin would win the MVP of playoffs mostly because of his point production but what is so surprising is Cherry is no fan of Russian players.

My question is why does everyone dis Crosby so much, he only leads the league in playoff goals with 15 and has been dynamite consistent the entire playoffs for the Pens.

Speaking of CBC coverage of HNIC on television here in Canada there is always something going wrong with their audio breaking up with static during games.

It happens so often on their coverage that any time the game is also on another channel I will watch that over HNIC. To make matters worse they have chosen to add to their intermission lineup this very odd i-desk portion with a good reporter Morrison but what the hell is this useless little shit Jeff Marek doing on TV?

My wife who wouldn’t know Marek if she fell over him ( She actually could he is so small) asked me who is this idiot did he win a contest to do this ? As I laughed all I could think of is why the hell would Morrison be a part of this or at least why not allow Morrison on his own to bring some professionalism or belief to the thoughts, cause Marek just doesn’t do it for anyone that I have talked to about this segment.

Wow- here’s hoping TSN gets the rights to hockey full time in Canada over the low rated CBC.

SACCO TO COACH AV’S

I hate to say this because I like when teams give new fresh blood the chance to take over teams like the current Cup finalists Pittsburgh Penguins did with Dan Blysma.

The list where it has worked goes on & on and has been a success around the league look at also the Capitals improvement under Bruce Boudreau or the Sharks under Todd McLellan this season. Panthers much improved season under Pete DeBoer who did an outstanding job right out of Junior.

But this hire of Joe Sacco is simply to keep the seat warm until the team is better and is ready for Patrick Roy who turned the job down a week earlier with the Av’s.

For Hockey God I’m Dave Frost