Monday, January 30, 2012

Stamkos More Relaxed After Break

Steven Stamkos seems to be feeling a lot more relaxed now after the All-Star break than before it. Before all of the festivities, he seemed somewhat nervous about the game, especially the skills. After doing pretty badly in the accuracy shooting (3 hits in 40+ secs) Stamkos stole the show and beat Price twice (no poetic scheme intended) and Tim Thomas once to go a perfect 3 for 3, eliminating Buffalo’s Pomminville to win the elimination shootout event. Stammer said he didn’t really have a set strategy in the shootout. He skated in and reacted “on instinct”...more.

The Most Failed Contract in Sports

I just read an article on The Hockey Writers today. A paragraph stood out to me regarding New York Islanders' goaltender Rick Dipietro. A stat stood out to me and I wanted to share it with my readers:

"It was recently announced that goaltender Rick DiPietro would likely miss the remainder of the season due to sports hernia surgery. DiPietro, whose 15 year contract signed in 2006 will pay him 4.5 million per season through 2021, has appeared in a total of 47 games since 2008, compiling a 14-24 record."

In my view, DiPietro's lack of ice time due to injury, coupled with his extremely long-term deal make his contract the most failed one in all of pro sports.

Source: paragraph 5 via The Hockey Writers.

Posted via Blogaway

Friday, January 27, 2012

Via Bolts by the Bay: Let's Review: Tampa Bay Lightning

As the Lightning rest during this much needed break, let’s take some time as fans to appreciate the current position. To be only three games under .500 and 9 points out of a playoff spot with 32 games left to play is actually not half bad. I mean, if you were to glance at our injuries list, you can see why. At one point, the Tampa Bay Lightning had nine players out due to injury. During the last game played Tuesday against the Blue Jackets, the team was jokingly called the Tampa Bay Admirals several times. It was appropriate, as the Lightning had four call ups playing for the Lightning. At one point, an entire forward line of AHL call-ups playing together at one point. However, there are your share of negatives attributes that the team must work on fixing if they want any chance at a playoff spot. With a four game win streak going into the All-Star break, it seems like the team is on their way to tweaking its issues..more.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Via Bolts by the Bay: Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars 8:30 pm EST

The Lightning and Stars meet tonight in Dallas for the first and only time this season. This rare match up features a couple of teams outside of the top eight in their respective conferences. As the Lightning look to build on a 5-3 victory Tuesday night over the Boston Bruins, the Stars look to end a 3 game losing streak. The Lightning have just ended their losing skid, and will look for a second consecutive wins for the first time since the late December home stand sweep... more.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In Pittsburgh, Geno Beats Sid

Okay, so let us speak about the Pittsburgh Penguins' star center. No, it isn't who you think. I actually want to talk about Evgeni Malkin. Malkin is tied for the league lead in points with 52. Now, this is without the presence of the oh-so-famous (or infamous) 'face of the NHL', Sidney Crosby. Sid has been sidelined with concussion like symptoms for a few weeks now (about a month if I'm not mistaken). But, before we get too far into Sidney, I'll stop right here and make this clear: this article is about Malkin, not Crosby. Malkin's stats so far this season: 22 G, 30 A, 52 pts, and  6 Game Winning Goals. If we look at where the Penguins are right now, we may be able to say that Malkin's play has barely kept the Pens above water. Pittsburgh is in 8th place, only 3 points ahead of the 9th place Maple Leafs. Forget James Neal, it's not about him. As well as Neal may be doing, it's not his team. In Pittsburgh, it's all about Evgeni Malkin, not Neal, and definitely NOT Sidney Crosby. In my opinion, it always should have been Geno's team, not Sid's. Below is an interesting article that was delivered to my Twitter account that I would like to share with everyone.

The article above points out some details that you could use to argue that either player had a better run. Sid's run included more points than Geno's, but Malkin also missed 7 games this year. In fact, of the 49 top scorers in the league, Malkin's 38 games played is the fewest (Conley, para. 19). Who knows what Malkin could have done for the Pens during those 7 games. As an overall player, I think Malkin is better. He's just been screened by a flashier (and probably better looking) Sidney Crosby.

Article on The Hockey Writers, written on January 18th, 2012, by James Conley.
Image: PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 17: Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his goal with the bench during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes on January 17, 2012 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Via Bolts by the Bay: Tampa Bay Lightning: The Solution? Patience

After the Lightning’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday afternoon, woes from fans rained down on the team. Fans were immediately complaining about all of the issues the Lightning have. As if those of us who pay attention to the team don’t already know what is wrong. Maybe it’s the defense? Or the goal tending? Sometimes, it seems like the offense is a weak point as well. How about the character of the team? Oh, and what about the lack of experience with the team? We can go on and on about what the Lightning are doing wrong this year. However, if I asked you how to fix those problems, how would you answer? Most people do not know what to do with this team, and yet they still complain about how terrible the play is. This is why Steve Yzerman has his job as Lightning GM. This is why Coach Guy Boucher is coaching the team. They know exactly what needs to be done. However, as fans, we live for today. We don’t live for the next few years...more.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Will New Faces and the Return of Old Ones Spark the Bolts?

As the Tampa Bay Lightning face off tonight against the Montreal Canadiens tonight at 7 pm EST, look for some returning players to make a difference in the Lightning’s game. Even after tonight’s game, Lightning fans will likely get their first glance at a newly acquired player during the next game at home versus the Vancouver Canucks. The next few games should be something for fans to look forward to, as we re accustom ourselves to old faces, as well as welcome new ones to the team...more.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Contenders and Pretenders of the Eastern Conference

As I look up and down the NHL Eastern Conference standings, I see both the usual and the.. well, unusual. As usual, the Rangers and the Bruins are both competing for position near the top of the conference. However, they have company: the Florida Panthers? That's right, the Florida Panthers are also giving the top two Eastern Conference teams a run for their money, but are the Cats serious? I've picked six teams from the NHL Eastern Conference. Three of which I think are serious playoff contenders, and three that I think will fall to the bottom of the top eight, or even out of it.


The New York Rangers made the playoffs last year as the number eight seed and were bounced early by then number one ranked Washington Capitals. As the have surged to the top of the Eastern Conference, they have shown three great attributes: great defense, great goal tending, and a solid offense. The Rangers haven't scored the most goals (110, 7th in the east) but they have allowed the second fewest amount of goals against (79). Needless to say, the Rangers' defense has been a wall thus far, and when a team manages to break through, Henrik Lundqvist is there to seal off the break. Not only that, but Marian Gaborik is also playing to a high standards, as he is second only to Steven Stamkos (26) in goals, with a total of 22 goals on the season. All in all, the Rangers look to be a very balanced team that will be tough to drop from the top spot in the East.

It was tough, but I chose the Boston Bruins as the second best contending team in the Eastern Conference. They have scored more goals than the Rangers, and have allowed the least amount of goals (123 For, 68 Against). However, in a head to head match up, I feel that the speed of the Rangers would help edge them past the power of the Boston Bruins. Nonetheless, the Bruins are an extremely close second to the Rangers in my book. Tim Thomas has kept up his torrid pace since winning the Stanley Cup last year, and has retirement rumors from resurfacing. Along with the usual great defense and goaltending, the Bruins have gotten great production from players like Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand. And of course, Zdeno Chara keeps up his normal pace. Not only is he solid as always defensively, but he also has been putting up some offensive numbers, scoring 23 points (16 assists).

Despite loosing out on Sidney Crosby for most of this season, the Penguins have played relatively well, as they set smack in the middle of the top eight in the East. The reason: James Neal. Neal has surprised everyone, as he is tied for third in goals scored in the league with 21. Neal leads the Pens' in goal scoring production, but Evgeni Malkin has also put up his impressive numbers. In fact, 'Geno' has probably played better without Crosby hogging the puck. The combination of Malkin and Neal on the ice has proven to be deadly for opposing teams. Coupled with solid goaltending as usual from Marc-Andre Fleury, the Penguins are in a position to compete legitimately in the Eastern Conference.

Now I look at pretenders. These are sorted out from smallest pretender to biggest pretender..

The Senators are currently the number eight team in the league, clinging to a one point lead over Washington. As the season continues, I see the Sens collapsing and falling out of a spot. It won't be a monumental collapse however. It will be similar to the Hurricanes dropping out of the playoffs last year on the last day. They will quietly be bounced, likely by a team beneath them with a better core of players and more experience. The Sens though have come a long way; they've been stuck near the bottom of the Eastern Conference for the past few seasons, so even competing for a playoff spot is a win for them. With players like Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, and Daniel Alfredsson leading the way, the Senators are a promising team. Not this year though.

It seems like the rise of Phil Kessel has fans suddenly believing that this year will be a successful one for the Maple Leafs. However, it seems that the Leafs have too many other holes that must be filled for the Leafs to make the playoffs. Toronto is not currently holding a playoff spot, and will likely finish out of the top eight as they usually do. Kessel alone, no matter how much of a great season he has, will not be able to carry the team. Alright fine, I just looked at the roster, and Kessel is receiving some help from Joffrey Lupul, but it simply won't be enough to propel the Leafs to the playoffs. However, with a little bit of time, maybe a move or two for goaltending, the Leafs may become a team to contend with long term. Like the Senators, this is not the year of the Maple Leafs.

My biggest pretender by far has to be the Florida Panthers. This isn't because I think they will drop out of the playoffs (which they likely won't) but because they won't hold on to the number three spot in the Eastern Conference. An 8-0 loss to the Bruins on December 23rd and a 4-1 loss to the Rangers just a week later have me believing that the Panthers do not have what it takes to remain an elite team throughout the season. The Cats are a minus four in goal differential, and have been saved for most of the season by goaltender Jose Theodore. He is quietly putting together a solid season, posting a 14-8-4 record with a 2.43 GAA and a .918 save percantage on the season. The Panthers will likely ride the performances of both their offense and goaltending, because there is not much in the defense department for the Cats.

NYR Pic: SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 30: Marian Gaborik #10 of the New York Rangers skates behind the net while being defended by Ed Jovanovski #55 of the Florida Panthers on December 30, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) 
BOS Pic: BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 23: Tuukka Rask #40 and Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins celebrate a shut out win against the Florida Panthers at the TD Garden on December 23, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
PIT Pic: NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 31: Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins plays the puck up ice against the New Jersey Devils during the game at the Prudential Center on December 31, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
OTT Pic: OTTAWA, CANADA - JANUARY 2: Daniel Alfredsson #11 of the Ottawa Senators raises his arms to celebrate his overtime winning goal against the the New Jersey Devils with teammates Milan Michalek #9 and Erik Karlsson #65 at Scotiabank Place on January 2, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
TOR Pic: WINNIPEG, CANADA - DECEMBER 31: Goaltender James Reimer #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts as Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates a second period goal at the MTS Centre on December 31, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Travis Golby/NHLI via Getty Images)
FLA Pic: SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 30: Brian Boyle #22 and John MItchell #34 watch as the puck shot by Brandon Dubinsky #17 (not pictured) of the New York Rangers scores past goaltender Jose Theodore #60 of the Florida Panthers on December 30, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Rangers defeated the Panthers 4-1. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Via Bolts by the Bay: Stamkos, Marty, Leading Once Again

As the Lightning Lightning finished off the 2011 calendar year, it was Steven Stamkos who lead the offense during a three game homestand sweep. Stammer has 6 goals in his last three games, including a hat trick on New Years Eve against the Carolina Hurricanes. His third goal Saturday night gained fellow linemate Martin St. Louis his 500th assist, one that Stamkos said neither he nor St. Louis would ever forget...more.