2 Down, 2 To Go For the Wings

Sunday, May 31, 2009

What a disappointing start to this Stanley Cup Finals if you're a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, or a player for that matter. Two games, two losses by the same score of 3-1. Not very good! For the Red Wings, all is fine. Two big wins and now they are heading into Pittsburgh up comfortably in the series just looking to steal one game to take total control of these finals.

The first game was Detroit at their best! Get the lead, play New Jersey Devils style trap defense, and shut your opposition down. The same exact thing happened in Game 2. However, this time the Red Wings got a lot more help from the officiating. On the 1st goal by Detroit, a Detroit player clearly interferes with a Penguin off of the face off and there's no call. On the 2nd Detroit goal, Pascal Dupuis stick gets slashed out of his hands by Marian Hossa. Still, there's no call. Seconds later, Valtteri Filppula scores... come on, give me a break! Just poor officiating, period. Now, I save the best for last... the Henrik Zetterberg "save". How is he allowed to fall on a puck on the goal line to make a save and there is no penalty/penalty shot awarded? I knew right away that it was an illegal play, but the referees on the ice sure f***ed that one up too. Why that is important is because it's the rule you idiots, get it right!

Not exactly the best game for the officials and it deserves a much needed look by the NHL. It's embarrassing to watch. Oh well, enough of my rants. Can Pittsburgh get back in it? Sure. But I don't feel very good about this one anymore. Over and out!


Penguins and Red Wings To Do It Again

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Well it was really just a matter of time wasn't it? Detroit took care of the young and upcoming Blackhawks in OT in Game 5 by a score of 2-1. Which in turn set up a do-over for the Pittsburgh Penguins - who systematically dispatched the Carolina Hurricanes in one fell swoop with a 4-1 victory in Game 4. The Penguins have just too much talent. My hats off to the Hurricanes for the great run, but the talent overcomes all and they were clearly lacking in that department. As for the Hawks, the talent is there - but the experience factor wasn't and in the end that's what was the deciding factor that tilted the series in Detroit's favor. Talent and battle tested, that's Detroit in a nutshell.

So, here we go again! A rematch of last years final in which the Red Wings took care of the Penguins in 6 games. It was inevitable that these 2 would collide once more for Lord Stanley. It's almost funny to me that all the exhibition and regular season games meant nothing to the rest of the league... almost as if the season doesn't count and they are just playing another 7 game series again.

Pittsburgh is one year more battle hardened, on a roll, and Marc-Andre Fleury is playing great. Detroit on the other hand, is Detroit. They have no real weaknesses in their game (maybe injuries?). They just smother you and feast on your mistakes. I believe this one is a toss-up. Both teams are very talented, but goaltending will be the deciding factor. Who are you betting on? Fleury or Osgood? Over and out!

EDIT: On a sad note, my condolences go out to the Zezel family on the passing of former NHLer, Peter Zezel. It's always sad to lose someone, especially at such a young age. Rest in peace. 

EDIT 2: Also make sure that you guys check out the new poll. It's on the right hand navigation, towards the bottom. Thanks!


Penguins and Red Wings in Control

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Well, it looks like the Carolina Hurricanes great run in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs is just about over. With a convincing 6-2 win over the Hurricanes, the Pittsburgh Penguins were led by the awesome two-headed monster of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Pens are now 1 win away from heading back to the Stanley Cup Finals. Carolina just doesn’t have enough talent to deal with Crosby, Malkin, and company. Sorry, but if you think they do - then where has it been? I give the Hurricanes great grades for their run in the playoffs, no doubt. They had to beat the best team in the Eastern Conference all season long in the Boston Bruins, as well as the Atlantic Division champion New Jersey Devils. However, to play and win against the Pittsburgh Penguins you have to be perfect and the Canes have been far from that. Malkin, who woke up towards the end of the Capitals series, is on fire right now! Also, as usual, Sid “The Kid” is playing like the star that he is - tough tandem, wouldn’t you say? Even with the Canes scoring first and the Raleigh crowd as loud as ever, the Pens were too much once again. The Pens outshot the Canes by a 40-34 margin. That is becoming a habit for the Penguins in this year’s playoffs. Can the Hurricanes win one? Sure. Can they win the series? Forget about it!

Onto the Detroit Vs. Chicago series. Try to bear with me a little bit here as I’m trying to condense 2 stories into one! Here it goes… In Game 3, the Chicago Blackhawks looked like a lost hockey club for almost 2 full periods. However, they still managed to pull out a dramatic 4-3 victory in OT. Patrick Sharpe became the hero of the night as he snapped a Samuel Pahlsson pass (which was a beauty) past Chris Osgood 1:52 into the first OT session. The Hawks did a little growing up in this contest as they were able to rebound after blowing their commanding 3 goal lead in the game. I’ve gotta tell you, Chicago definitely looked like the inexperienced team that I thought they were. At times during the game it seemed like the rink was cut in half in Detroit’s favor for the entire 2nd and 3rd periods. Detroit just shot down any and all Hawks efforts to attack offensively. One last point about this game: Niklas Kronwall. I usually jump on this guy all the time due to the fact that the majority of his hits are illegal (he leaves his skates like there’s no tomorrow). In Game 3, however, I have got to lean on his side with his hit on Martin Havlat. It hurts me to say it, but it was a clean hit (Marty, keep your head up).

In Game 4, the Detroit Red Wings proved what I suspected all along. The Chicago Blackhawks youthful inexperience finally came to the forefront. The Hawks looked very nervous, slow, and shockingly tentative after coming off the big OT win in Game 3. Detroit showed it’s poise and experience in a commanding 6-1 win. The Red Wings have now placed the stranglehold on the young Hawks and this series with a 3-1 lead. Detroit is just too good for the Hawks. With the rules of the NHL being what they are, the Red Wings have built their team according to suit. I personally don’t care for this style that they play and I could debate anyone in the NHL on it. But, it is what it is and Detroit plays it perfectly. The Blackhawks on the other hand got a little flustered and frustrated trying to exact some physical punishment on the Wings. Sorry, it doesn’t work in today’s NHL! The Wings may be the most talented team, I will admit that. On the flip side, they are also the game’s best actors and fakers. Oh well, enough for today. Game 5 in Detroit doesn’t look very good for the Hawks - this series may be over soon. Over and out!

EDIT: New poll added. Go vote! The last poll has closed: "Who Will Win The Stanley Cup", the majority of the votes went to the Red Wings and the Penguins. They definitely have the best shot as of now!


Malkin, Pens Take Care of Canes, 7-4

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Evgeni Malkin possibly heard that Alex Ovechkin had won the Sporting News Player of the Year Award for the 2nd year in a row. Malkin proceeded to own the Carolina Hurricanes with a hat trick and a 4 point performance in Game 2. This is not what I had expected, especially on the Hurricanes behalf. Wide open pond hockey with nary a care for defense. The Pens outshot Carolina 42-28 and in the end they deserved this win, no question about it. I just keep thinking that how could the Canes be lured into Pittsburgh's strength? Their strength is wide open offensive hockey. At least against Carolina, the Pens have that advantage in my eyes. I give Carolina an "A" for answering each of the Pens goals early in the game with one of their own, but this is a recipe for disaster - and that's what it became. Crosby and Malkin... and the Hurricanes are gonna match them with who? Eric Staal? Not quite! Looks to me like we might be heading towards a rematch of last years final, unless the Canes re-group at home in Raleigh (which is not out of the question). They will have the crowd on their side (loudest in the league), but they have to get back to what they do best! Pressure, play good D, and capitalize on mistakes. If the Hurricanes do not rebound, much like the Western Conference Finals - this one will be over quick.

Speaking of the Western Conference playoffs, Detroit won again (yawn), 3-2 in OT. Damn those Red Wings! Just when most of us thought Chicago was going to steal a game in Detroit and tie the series up at one. The Red Wings took advantage of the Blackhawks like playoff experienced teams do. They turned a huge blunder by Brian Campbell into a game winning goal in OT. First off, what in the world was Campbell thinking? Let's see... he had 3 options. 1) Shoot the puck on the net, 2) Dump it in the corner, and 3) Make a pass across the blueline with the Red Wings in the way? We all know what number Campbell chose in this scenario. Detroit is a tough enough team to play as it is... but jeez, don't make it easy for them! That's the game in a nutshell. Coach Joel Quennville has to be horrified by the turnovers in the first 2 games by his defensemen (which in turn led to Detroit goals). My last count is at least 3 goals have been scored by the Wings off of Blackhawk turnovers - including the OT winner. The Blackhawks played much better in Game 2, probably good enough to win. But, you can't, and I repeat you can't make dumb plays like Brian Campbell did against Detroit. If you do, like I said in my previous blog, this series will be over in a blink of an eye. Let's hope not! Over and out!

EDIT: http://greschnersports.com/ is now up. It's the sports Memorabilia website started by my good friend Ron Greschner, as well as Nick Fotiu and Vic Hadfield. If you want authentic autographed memorabilia, this is where to look! Go ahead and spend your money, people!


Let the Games Begin

Monday, May 18, 2009

The games are now on! The Pittsburgh Penguins escaped Game 1 against the gritty Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 3-2. If not for some outstanding goaltending by Marc-Andre Fleury, the outcome of this game could have been quite different. Pittsburgh struck twice in the 1st period in a span of 1:24 on goals by Miroslav Satan and Evgeni Malkin. Satan’s goal was on a breakaway after serving a penalty for holding. What were the Cane’s thinking as the PP was winding down? They did not keep check of the time left on the penalty… big mistake! Malkin then fired a screened backhand past Cam Ward to give the Pens the early 2-0 lead. At this point in time, I thought this game was going to be a blowout. The game most definitely would have been a blowout if it wasn’t for Cam Ward’s save on Billy Guerin early in the 2nd period. Fortunately for Carolina, the Hurricanes were able to re-group and really outplay Pittsburgh for the majority of the game that remained.

The Hurricanes finally struck gold on a goal by Chad LaRose making the score 2-1. LaRose was able to outwait Fleury on a situation where it appeared there was one too many passes going on (Carolina had many of these throughout the contest). Now, heading into the 3rd period things were starting to look better for the Canes. Unfortunately, about midway through the 3rd period, Matt Cullen took a delay of game penalty in which the Pens capitalized on. Philippe Boucher took a Sidney Crosby pass and squeaked one through Ward to give the Pens a crucial 3-1 lead. Still, the game wasn’t over yet. Late in the game with Carolina on the PP (thanks to Brooks Orpik’s elbowing penalty) Joe Corvo was able to blast one by Fleury - who got a piece of it, just not enough. These turn of events helped set up a very wild ending. The Hurricanes still had their goalie pulled for the extra attacker down by a goal and had really 2 or 3 great chances to score the equalizer. Eric Staal had the best shot at tying the game, but unfortunately the puck jumped off his stick blade right back into Marc-Andre Fleury. The net was wide open! This series is looking like it’ll be a good one. How long it will go? I can’t say. Pittsburgh had their chances to bury the Hurricanes, but in typical 08-09 Hurricanes fashion - they came storming back. This was a good one to watch, but I believe the best is yet to come.

Now, onto the Western Conference Finals. Detroit sure took Chicago down in workman-like fashion by a score of 5-2. Even after giving up the 1st goal to Adam Burish early in the 1st period, the Red Wings really were never threatened by the young Hawks. I thought that early in the 3rd period when the Hawks tied the game at 2 on a PP goal by Kris Versteeg… that maybe, just maybe the Blackhawks had something going. Unfrotunately for them, it was not to be as Detroit answered the Blackhawks push at every level. Dan Cleary was the star of this game with 2 goals (Although Khabibulin should have had the first one) and the veteran team was too much for the Hawks to handle in the end. Hey, even Osgood played great when he was needed. The Wings outshot the Hawks 42-32 overall and there was no question in my eyes who was the boss in Game 1. Chicago had better tighten their game up if they want to make this a series. Detroit is too good (and that hurts for me to say) for Chicago to play wild and reckless hockey. The Wings really feast on that style of play. We will have to see what new strategy that coach Joel Quennville will come up with for Game 2 and beyond. The Hawks are down, but not out! Over and out!

Oh yeah, also check out the poll below on the lower right hand navigation. There will be poll questions weekly, so be sure to give your opinion!


Sean Avery & The Final 4

Friday, May 15, 2009

I was fortunate enough to be invited once again by Ron Duguay and Ken Daneyko onto their weekly radio show, "Ice Breakers" on Sirius XM Radio. Sean Avery was the first guest and I won't get into everything that was talked about, but what I took from Avery is that he's one cool dude who understands the baggage that he carries. I also stand by his coming back to NY. This is where he thrives and belongs. Ron and Ken handled the interview like 2 seasoned pros and Sean seemed real comfortable in this, his first big interview since he came back to the Rangers. Good job guys! Larry "Ratso" Sloman was another guest and Ron, Ken, and I talked about a book that was groundbreaking at the time, "On Thin Ice", a year about the New York Rangers (I was in the book). "Ratso" is a good friend of mine, as well as many other former Rangers (My wife adores him). It was a good time had by all. I want to thank Ron, Ken, and Rob Raju (President/CEO of AXIOM Sports & Entertainment) for keeping me in the mix. Check out the damn show... it's great!

The Final 4

The Pittsburgh Penguins will take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals. Who would of thought that the Carolina Hurricanes would be in this position? Wow! Boy, did they shock the hockey world with a 3-2, OT victory in Boston. You just have to tip your hat to this team. They continue to impress me with their speed, style of play, and superb goaltending. As for the Penguins? What an ass-kicking they put on the Washington Capitals. Sidney Crosby, who may stomp his feet and whine at times, proved without a doubt that he is the best player in the NHL. Sorry, Alex. Maybe next time! For now, Sid "The Kid" rules the roost as he played big in a big-time game in a hostile territory. Alexander Ovechkin, on the other hand, came up with an unclutch performance after doing a little chirping about how it would be to the Caps advantage playing at home. Oh, really? One more thing... I wonder what Alexander Semin has to say now about Crosby after trashing him earlier in the year? I like Pittsburgh in the ECF, but Carolina has defied all the experts - so what do I know?

Now that Detroit took care of Anaheim on a lousy goal (controversial?), the Hawks and Wings are meeting in an Original Six Western Conference Final. You have to like this if you're a historian of the game. The question is, can the Hawks rise to the level of a team that is hardened with experience and has Stanley Cup rings? I really like this Chicago team. They have a lot of talented players up and down their roster, but Detroit has been here before. Can the youthful exuberance overtake the grizzled veterans? We will have to wait and see. Over and out! 


Game 7 Anyone?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins may look back at Game 6 as the turning point of their season. The Washington Capitals came through, in what was the best game of the series by far, 5-4 in OT. David Steckel deflected Brooks Laich's shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to send the Penguins faithful abruptly to the exits. What a game. There were lead changes and a total disrespect for defense in the 3rd period when 4 goals were scored in a 10-minute span. If you're a Penguins fan, boy, a 5 on 3 PP early on in the 1st that went nowhere when they were up by 1. Also, the real killer was not being able to connect on a crucial PP with just over 2 minutes to play in regulation when the game was tied at 4. That, my friends, may come back to haunt the Pens. Opportunities lost! Give the Caps credit though, they stuck around - even though they were outshot 42-24. Varlamov was fantastic and some of the lesser Capitals players came through. With Game 7 being in Washington, you never know. But it will be hard for the Pens to rebound from this in my estimation.

The Chicago Blackhawks fought back and closed their series with a 7-5 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Just when it seemed like Vancouver was ready to take it home for a Game 7, Chicago really stepped up. The Blackhawks answered twice in a span of 49 seconds to erase a 5-4 Canucks lead. What a wild 3rd period it was! Sort of made the Pittsburgh and Washington 3rd period look like child’s play! 6 goals were scored and Vancouver had the lead not once - but twice! However, Patrick Kane's hattrick lead the Hawks past a much more veteran laden team in the Canucks. I've said this earlier, this Blackhawk team reminds me a whole lot of the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s. This is a talented group of youthful exuberance. It may not be their time now, but I would be real careful about how you approach playing this team. Calgary and Vancouver found out! Who's next?

Well, well. Something or someone has stirred and awakened the Boston Bruins. With a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Bruins have put a stop to all the talk of early hibernation. The series now heads back to Beantown all even at 3 games a piece. The Bruins set the table early with 2 goals in the first 5:04 of the 1st period. Mark Recchi (still productive!) and Steve Montador gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead after one. In the 2nd period, the Canes cut the lead to 1 on a goal by Matt Cullen. However, the Bruins would answer with 2 goals - one by Marc Savard and the other (a late goal) by Chuck Kobasew. The goals gave the Bruins a commanding lead heading into the final stanza of play. In the 3rd period Carolina would get one back when ex-Bruin Sergei Samsanov scored, but that would be it! The Bruins would be outshot 14-4 in the 3rd, but Tim Thomas continued his good play and basically shut down any hopes of a Carolina comeback. What a huge turn around in this series! Games 2, 3, and 4 the Bruins looked slow and completely out of whack. Now they have fought back and head home for the all-important Game 7. Can the Hurricanes shock again? Or will the Bruins, the best team all year, find their stride?

Wow, what a wild ending in Anaheim! The Ducks have forced Game 7 with a 2-1 victory. But what definitely got my attention was at the end of the game. It almost turned into old-time hockey as Ryan Getzlaf and Marion Hossa tussled. This then led to Scott Niedermayer and Pavel Datsyuk exchanging punches, as did Corey Perry and Brian Rafalski. Wow! What a set-up for Game 7 in Detroit! The Ducks controlled most of this game as Getzlaf had a goal and an assist on Corey Perry's tally. Detroit cut the lead in half with just over 2 minutes to play on a nice passing play with Johan Franzen finishing it off with his 8th of the playoffs. Jonas Hiller was superb in the nets for the Ducks and made many spectacular saves to help the Ducks force yet another Game 7. Three of the series left remaining are now headed to a Game 7... you gotta love that (Chicago ruined it a little)! Over and out!


Playoffs? You Talking About Playoffs?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I stayed up late on Saturday night to watch Game 5 of the Canucks vs. Blackhawks. With a 4-2 win, the upstart Blackhawks proved once again that this team is one to be feared. It may or may not happen this year, but I see a young, talented, and physical hockey club who has now pushed the Vancouver Canucks on the edge of elimination. The Canucks looked to be in control when Mats Sundin blasted a shot past Nikolai Khabibulin to give Vancouver a 2-1 lead. But, later Dustin Byfuglien tied it up late in the period to set up a crucial final period of play. When Kevin Bieksa took a really dumb high-sticking penalty (And it wasn't his only one), the Blackhawks took advantage of it with a beautiful tick-tack-toe passing play that ended up on Dave Boland's stick who found nothing but an empty net. Marty Havlat then finished off the Canucks with an empty netter to make it a 4-2 final in the favor of the Hawks. A couple of things from this game... Vancouver is supposed to be the more veteran and experienced team - well that's not happening! The Blackhawks have shown more composure and refuse to retaliate. Good coaching job by my former teammate, Joel Quennville. The other thing I want to talk about, is Dustin Byfuglien. How much money has this guy added to his next contract? He's big, tough, physical, hits, skates, and actually leads his team in hits. Oh yeah, almost forgot - he's a very skilled player for a big 

Over in the Pens and Caps series, Game 5 was a beauty. Evgeni Malkin's attempted pass to a wide open Sidney Crosby was deflected in by Tom Poti past Simeon Varlamov to give Pittsburgh the 4-3, OT victory. Alexander Ovechkin, who was not suspended (what a joke) for his intentional knee-on-knee hit on Sergei Gonchar, lead the Caps with 2 goals and 1 assist. However, it was not enough as Pittsburgh outplayed the Caps for the most part and deserved the win. It was nice to see if you're a Pens fan, the waking up of Jordan Staal along with his linemates (Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy). That line really gave the Caps fits all game. I also think that Bruce Boudeau's gamble on putting Sergei Fedorov on the defense backfired as Malkin flew around him on the winning goal. Second guessing? You betcha! Give the Pens credit, odds were against them with no suspension on Ovechkin and missing your best PP defenseman in Gonchar. Good job!

Game 5 in Detroit with the series tied at 2, was a yawner to me (The Wings won by a final of 4-1). Someone forgot to tell the Ducks the game starts in the 1st period and not halfway through. If not for a nice bounceback game by Jonas Hiller (and 3 goalposts), this one could have been much worse. Goals by Franzen and Hudler for Detroit gave the Wings a 2-0 lead. In response, Anaheim showed a bit of life on a goal by Ryan Whitney on the PP. I guess you would call the save by Chris Osgood a game saver a little bit later on Erik Christensen. However, I never felt that the Ducks were in this game at all. The shots on goal prove my point - Detroit 38, Anaheim 17. Case closed. Late goals by Darren Helm (goalie interference?) and an empty netter by Henrik Zetterberg topped it off for the Wings. I question Randy Carlyle's continuing to put Ryan Getzlaf on the ice, shift after shift. If he's hurt or sick, he should sit down. Getzlaf looks lethargic at best. In fact, he looks terrible. No drive, energy, or zip in his skating. The Ducks may be done, Detroit is too good of a team to play half speed with. If the Ducks don't wake up in Game 6, the Red Wings will have no problem putting them out of their misery!

The "Big Bad" Bruins in Game 5, well they played like the Big Bad Bruins should play - tough and physical. They really took it to the Carolina Hurricanes with a 4-0 shutout. This is the Bruins team that we all expected to see in this series. Lucic and Chara were nasty. Phil Kessel netted 2 with Lucic and Recchi getting the other goals for Boston. No questioning this one, Boston needed it and they stayed alive. Now the series shifts back to Carolina for Game 6. Can the Bruins find the same recipe for victory? Or will the Canes finish off the Bruins at their crazy confines in Raleigh? Over and out! 


Icebreakers and More...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Well, yours truly was in New York this past Thursday at the NHL Store in Manhattan. I was invited by my good friend and former Rangers teammate, Ron Duguay, as well as Ken Daneyko (Mr. Devil himself) to appear as a guest on their weekly radio show called, "Icebreakers". It was a super night of talking mostly hockey and chatting with the HOF Pat LaFontaine, Zach Parise, and Ryan Bayda of the Carolina Hurricanes. Do yourself a favor, if you get Sirius XM radio or already have it - check out the show on Thursday's from 7-9PM EST. Oh, I almost forgot! I finally got to meet NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, we shook hands before we aired. I wonder if he reads my blog (LOL).

The battle for Lord Stanley's Cup continues. I'll start off with the comeback tie and win in OT for the young Chicago Blackhawks. Martin Havlat saved Chicago's season with a late game tying goal to force OT. In the OT session, the Hawks' Andrew Ladd tipped in a Dave Bolland turn-around shot past Roberto Luongo to send the series back to Vancouver all tied up at 2. Boy, it sure looked like the Canucks had this one wrapped up. Unfortunately for them, a poor clearing attempt gave Chicago the chance to tie the game and they didn't miss. In OT, Nikolai Khabibulin made a game saving stop on Henrik Sedin just before Ladd's game winner. The game of hockey is 60 minutes of regulation and the Canucks failed to play the full 60 and it cost them. Instead of going home up 3-1, they are now face with all the pressure to win - not the Hawks. I can't wait for the next game.

Now, onto Detroit and Anaheim. The Ducks looked to take control of the series up 2-1 with Game 4 being at home. Not a chance! The "Big Red Machine" looked well oiled and it really was a laugher as the Wings clipped the Ducks, 6-3. The only good thing that happened for Anaheim was a TKO in a fight between Francois Beauchemin and Tomas Kopecky. It was a really lopsided scrap, Kopecky got pounded. On this night Detroit was just too fast, strong, skilled and looked like the overall better and more energetic team. The Wings had to like the fact that Marion Hossa finally woke up and netted 2 goals to make himself a factor in this series. The Ducks, on the other hand, were not the same team that we had seen throughout the playoffs. Jonas Hiller had a clunker, but he was not alone. The bus was full in that department. The Ducks had better pick it up or Detroit will make them go away faster than you think! Here's to hoping this one goes the full 7 games.

Over in the Eastern Conference, how about those Carolina Hurricanes? They have taken the hockey world by storm - no pun intended. With a resounding 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 4, the Canes are looking mighty fine. Carolina is simply "outspeeding" the Bruins and they have no answer for it. Eric Staal scored 2 goals to lead the way and having Cam Ward in between the pipes certainly doesn't hurt. The atmosphere in Raleigh is crazy and the fans have to be the loudest in the league. I'm pretty shocked. The Bruins are definitely shocked and have that bewildered look about them. Game 5 in Boston will tell it all!

Lastly, the battle of the NHL poster childs is now evened up at 2. The pens won Game 4 by a score of 5-3 in a terribly officiated game for both sides. The Pens finally showed that Simeon Varlamov is, in fact, a human. In Game 4 Varlamov allowed in some soft goals. One of them was by Ruslan Fedotenko and the other was the final goal for the Pens by Maxime Talbot. Marc-Andre Fleury started himself off in a horrible way by letting in what I also felt was a soft goal by Nicklas Backstrom only 36 seconds into the game. Fortunately, his team bailed him out with a PPG by Sergei Gonchar and Billy Guerin's 3rd of the playoffs (along with the earlier goals that were discussed) to give the Pens momentum. Chris Clark narrowed the score to 3-2 heading into the 3rd period, which was probably a little too wide open for both head coaches. Sidney Crosby later gave the Pens a 2 goal cushion, but it was erased on a horrible non-call on Matt Bradley who clearly hammered Brooks Orpik into the Penguins net. As a result, Fleury got distracted and Milan Jurcina blasted a shot toward the goal that found the twine! The last goal of the game was put in by Maxime Talbot (he should of had 2 more in the 3rd period) and that was it!

Now, I want to get to talking about what I think is an intentional knee to knee hit by Alex "The Great". How much longer is the league gonna protect this guy? Yes, he's a star and an exciting player. Yes, he's a pure scorer. But you know what else he is? He's a cheap shot artist. Ovechkin definitely intended to hit Gonchar with his knee, the replays do not lie (lunges to the right into Gonchar's knees). He should of received a 5-minute major for his actions and a game misconduct. What is the league watching if they don't review this one! What say you, Colin Campbell? If Gonchar can't participate in the rest of the playoffs, how does Ovechkin escape this unharmed? Over and out!


Kotsy's Korner Re-Design

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tonight Kotsy's Korner will be undergoing a re-design. Hopefully everything will be up and running by the morning. So if things look all out of sorts, you know why. Over and out!


Random Thoughts

Monday, May 4, 2009

Now that things have settled down since the Rangers bowed out in 7 to the Capitals, I have some thoughts about the series itself. First, the lack of scoring is really the reason that the Rangers could not move forward into the second round. Sure, we can point fingers in other directions. But really folks, Rangers fans have known this was the number one problem stemming all the way back to the start of the season. This will have to be addressed in the off-season, cap willing! Also, size and toughness is something that the Rangers have lacked for the last 2 years. If you look at the teams that have moved on into second round... my God! It looks like the old sci-fi show, "Land of the Giants" compared to the Rangers. With Naslund officially hanging up the skates, the Rangers will get some relief capwise and let's hope the problems I stated will be fixed.

Now, onto the second round of the NHL playoffs. In the Western Conference you gotta like the job that Joel Quennville has done with his young Blackhawks. This team sort of reminds me of the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s. If you remember back then the Oilers were stocked with young and fresh talent - we all know how that turned out. Chicago is loaded with youth: Kane, Sharp, Toews, Etc. Vancouver has their hands full with this group.

How about those Anaheim "Quack Quacks"? What a game it was for the Ducks to prevail against the Detroit Redwings in the 3rd OT. This was a fun game to watch! Speed, skill, great goaltending, and very physical as well. I believe the Ducks have a shot at winning this series. How would Ryan Getzlaf look in a Rangers uniform? For that matter, you could include Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan as well. Oh yeah, when do you think Colin Campbell will take a hard look at Niklas Kronwall's leaving his feet when he delivers a hit? Just wondering.

In the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Bruins and Hurricanes are tied up. Boy, you got to give some love to Carolina. Nobody even talks about them, but if you go back about 30 games or so - they've been real hot. Sure, they got lucky a few times against New Jersey (Nice meltdown Marty!) but they are still playing. It's like they are irrelevant to the media during the playoffs, but I think they have caught the eye of the Big Bad Bruins who now know who the Hurricanes are about.

Last but not least, this is in fact a Hockey Fan's dream (I know Gary Bettman thinks so anyway). The Pens and the Caps on prime time TV. Two of the games biggest stars are going head to head in this series. The first game was a game that I thought the Penguins were the better team, but Varlamov sort of stole the show with the highlight save of the playoffs on Sidney Crosby. The Caps went on for the eventual 3-2 win, taking the 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 of the series just ended and Washington won by a score of 4-3, lead by Alexander Ovechkin's hattrick, the Capitals were able to top the Penguins and Sidney Crosby's own hattrick. Hey, both of the big time players played lights out tonight. However, in the end, Simeon Varlamov's goaltending is what really won the game for Washington. The Pens once again played a stronger game, in my opinion, outshooting the Caps 36 to 33. Ovechkin will get all the props he deserves for his virtuoso performance, but trust me - right now the Penguins are asking themselves "Who is this guy?" regarding Varlamov (just like the Rangers did). The Caps are on a roll and now lead the series 2-0 and the dream match-up may fizzle out soon if Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal continue to be invisible. Over and out!

*Also coming soon is "Greschner Sports". It will be a Sports Memorabilia website started by my good friend Ron Greschner, as well as Nick Fotiu and Vic Hadfield. If you want authentic autographed memorabilia, this is where to look! The site will be up very soon and when it launches I will add the link to the right hand side.


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