Thursday, May 20, 2010
Chicago -155 over San Jose
Yes the Sharks are the more desperate team being down in the series 0-2, and it may be dangerous to bet against them. However, we feel that Chicago is tired about hearing how poorly they have played at home this postseason and will learn from the last loss at home to Vancouver 5-0. Chicago is frustrating Joe Thornton as it appears that Dave Bolland is getting under his skin. The Sharks are not getting the secondary line production that they received in the first two rounds, while the Blackhawks seem to be clicking on all cylinders. Unfortunately, a series that most thought would go six or seven games is in danger of Chicago putting a stranglehold on San Jose.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Which team that is down 0-2 has the better shot of coming back?
San Jose Sharks: I live in the Bay Area and have heard the following from Sharks fans today: "We're done", "Give the Blackhawks the Cup", "Nabokov stinks"
Easy now Shark fans. I week ago they were planning a parade down Julien Street. Here are a few things in the Sharks corner heading to Friday nights game. Chicago has struggled at home this postseason including a thumping by Vancouver in their last game at the United Center. The Joe Pavelski line which was so key in the first two rounds is bound to start producing. Finally, perhaps the real Dany Heatley may actually show up.
Montreal Canadiens: Michael Leighton has to give up a goal sometime doesn't he? Maybe the Flyer fans yelling Ole, Ole, Ole, motivated the Habs as they return to the Bell Center. This team has been resilient all year and we expect them to play with the nothing to lose attitude that helped them beat Washington and Pittsburgh. Would it surprise anyone if Halak got hot again? If we have learned something from this postseason, it is that anything can happen. Enjoy the rest of the conference finals because they are far from over.
Manchester has tied the series with Hershey at 2-2 behind a shutout by Jonathan Bernier. Game 5 will be played on Thursday night.
Hamilton(Canadiens) leads the Texas Stars 2-1. Game 4 is on Friday night.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Lots went on in the hockey world this past week and I am filled with thoughts such as these:
Boston Bruins blowing a 3-0 series lead: Before this series began, most people thought that this series featured two evenly matched teams that would probably play six or seven closely contested hard fought games. Although the Bruins won the first three games, two of them were by one goal. As the series went on, it appeared the Bruins were a step slow and the Flyers wore them down. Still it is inexcusable what the Bruins let happen to them, but I am amazed by how well Philadelphia is playing right now. What is it about Chris Pronger during playoff time? Michael Leighton coming in after recovering from an injury and not playing in two months was unbelievable. I had no idea Ville Leino and James Van Riemsdyk were this good. What else can be said for Danny Briere and Simon Gagne? Looking at their roster it is evident that they underachieved during the regular season and are a team built for the playoffs. According to Philly newspapers, Jeff Carter may return for Game 3. Things only seem to be getting better for the Philadelphia Flyers. As for Boston, the future is bright as they hold the second overall pick in this years draft. They also have a solid goalie in Rask, and can dangle former Vezina trophy winner, Tim Thomas as trade bait. But they will have a long depressing summer thinking about what could of been. I think Claude Julien will keep his job, but it is certainly a dicey situation. The Bruins had trouble scoring goals all season, and it cost them this series. Miro Satan and Mark Recchi were great stories this postseason, but Boston, as most teams, need at least two top six forwards this offseason.
Pittsburgh exits, Montreal's amazing run continues: The effort from the Pittsburgh Penguins may have been the most pathetic effort in a Game 7 that we have seen in years. Perhaps, playing until mid June the last couple of seasons took its toll. Let's not forget, teams that miss the playoffs play less than over two months of hockey than the teams that reach the Stanley Cup finals. Montreal deserves all the accolades that they are getting for upsetting Washington and Pittsburgh in seven games. Even though they were blown out 6-0 last night, nobody should be writing them off. Michael Cammalleri did not appear to have as much room in the offensive zone last night as he did in the last two rounds. Look for the Habs to make adjustments, but Philly's defense is playing so well right now and their confidence level is sky high it appears that Montreal has a difficult hill to climb.
Finish Goaltenders: Like many, I was skeptical of Antti Niemi leading the Blackhawks in net. But after a 44 save performance yesterday, and watching him during the postseason, the guy is a pretty solid goalie. It made me think of all the exemplary goaltenders from Finland. How about this group that is scattered all over the league, Kiprusoff, Backstrom, Rask, Rinne, and Niemi. Not a bad group of netminders.
Niklas Backstrom signs 10 year contract with Capitals: The 22 year old Capitals center signed a 10 year, 67 million dollar contract today. Good for Washington for keeping one of their core young players on the team for awhile, but 10 years? I can't help but think of the Islanders disastrous investment into Rick DiPietro when I see clubs sign players for long durations. Still it's hard to argue with Backstroms' productivity as the center for Alex Ovechkin. As a 100 point scorer at that young of an age, the Capitals had to sign him, and if the 10 years got it done, than it's probably worth the risk.
Florida Panthers new GM: Dale Tallon, the former Hawks GM, and their current senior advisor was appointed general manager of the Panthers today. Good move by Florida, as they are one of those teams that has lots of young talent, but appears to be missing something to get over the hump of not making the playoffs. Tallon drafted Kane and Toews, and made some key trades that brought in Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg, but had a mess up last offseason of offering players qualifying offers too late which led to him being replaced as GM. Florida is one of those GM jobs that in my dreams, I would love to have. Beautiful weather, not a pressure hockey market, a delightful arena, and young talented players like David Booth, Stephen Weiss, and Nathan Horton. I guess I better keep dreaming!
Thumbs Up: Peter Laviolette: Along with the whole Flyers team, its amazing that this team clinched a playoff berth during the last game of the season in a shootout, and now are three games away from the Stanley Cup. Getting his team to come back from 0-3 is historic, and also after the Flyers were down 0-3 in game seven to come back is remarkable.
Thumbs Down: Pittsburgh Defense: I hate to keep harping on it, and we put the video on the website after the game, but Sergei Gonchar and the Penguins defense was atrocious in Game 7. Not the way anybody would envision the Stanley Cup Champions going down.