David Backes Fights Canada

Do not anger the American

Okay, well maybe not the entire country, but it sure looks that way.  About two weeks ago, St. Louis Blues forward David Backes learned that he would be representing the United States in the upcoming Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.  Since then it appears he is on a mission to drop the gloves with every player on Canada’s roster before the games begin.  I like his style.

As you know, I’m a huge Blues fan and Backes is my favorite player.  I tend to admire the players who are A) from the United States B) score goals and C) are willing and able to drop the gloves every now and again.  A power forward, if you will.  And not a Tomas Holmstrom power forward.  He’s just fat, unskilled and too wussy to get in a scrap.

Anyway, Backes certainly isn’t known for his fighting ability (he’s gotten in 13 fights in four years) but he can certainly hold his own.  Since 2010 began, however, that is a different story.

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WaB’s Annual Hockey Post

I think Weller had a post in the works for everyone, but as it turns out, someone broke into his car and then he lost power.  Priorities, I guess.  Anyway, since my St. Louis Blues dominated squeaked out a 1-0 win over the hated Detroit Red Wings tonight, I’m in a hockey mood.

One horrible thing about being a hockey fan is that it’s never on TV.  Ever.  Even Blues games, which are local here, get blacked out due to some stupid squabble between Mediacom and Fox Sports.  I’ve seen maybe six games this year.  (Side note to Gary Bettman – Hard to get the sport back to prominence when no one can see it!)  Horrible TV contract aside, I actually got to watch the Blues play the Islanders a few weeks ago.  I was treated to this gem from David Perron:

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NHL Playoff Previews – Semifinals

I’m a little late on this since the Detroit Red Wings already downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in their opening game.  It’s a long series, though, so this is still a valid preview post.  Plus, I think this is going to mostly be about why I hate the Red Wings anyway.  Feel free to add your reasons in the comments.

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NHL Playoffs Round 2 Preview

Alright after a double dose of Game 7 last night, the first round of the NHL Playoffs has come to a conclusion.  In the preview of Round 1, I managed to pick six of the 8 series correctly and I got the game total corrent in four of them (Boston in 4, Carolina in 7, Pittsburgh in 6, and Detroit in 4).  I missed the Canucks’ sweep over my Blues and the Ducks upsetting the Sharks, though I almost picked that.  Too bad almost doesn’t count.  Anyway, on to Round 2. Continue reading

NHL Playoff Preview

Playoff Ice

Playoff Ice

Tomorrow is the start of the two month haul known as the NHL Playoffs.  The first round presents us with some interesting match ups and I’m going to break them down for you.  Since there are only about eight people who watch hockey, I’ll try to keep it short.  No promises, though.

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Stat of the Day (15-0)

The Chicago Blackhawks have emerged as one of the better teams in the NHL this year and they are doing it in a fairly simple way: by beating the teams the should beat. Although, half of the teams on this list are playoff teams right now.

This season, the Blackhawks have gone a combined 15-0 against the Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars. That would put the Hakws at 7-8-7 against the rest of the leauge.

The Hawks take on Colorado tonight, let’s see if they can push it to 16-0.

Next Year’s Winter Classic

The NHL’s Winter Classic is about to take place on New Year’s Day from Wrigley Field in Chicago. Featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. But I’m not here to talk about that game, as exciting as it will likely be. Now that game is all about the matchup. And the Blackhawks and Red Wings are pretty evenly matched right now (especially with how hot Chicago is – a franchise-record 9 wins in a row heading into tonight’s game).

The Winter Classic will take place next season (and probably season after season for a while). The outdoor hockey game is a cool thing no doubt, and brining in famous venues from other sports makes it all that more intriguing. Here are a few proposals I have for future Winter Classics. Continue reading

Thoughts on Hockey’s First Week (Plus a little)

I know hockey started overseas a little while ago, but In all reality, the NHL as we know it started about a week ago.  Since hockey never gets any coverage at all, I figured I’d throw out my observations from the first week.

  • The New York Rangers are 5-1.  The Rangers lost for the first time last night with the Sabres beat them 3-1.  The Rangers are led in points right now by enforcer Aaron Voros and second year man Brandon Dubinsky who each have 7 points.  If anyone tells you they saw this coming, they’re lying.
  • The Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks are a combined 0-7.  Not the start that Anaheim had in mind with their high powered offense.  The Ducks have given up a league-high 17 goals through 4 games.  In Colorado, goalie Peter Budaj has a paltry .824 save percentage.  I kind of expected a down year from the Avs, but this start from the Ducks is shocking.
  • Alexei Cherepanov.  Cherepanov was a former 1st-round pick of the Rangers who collapsed and died on the bench during a Russian League game on Monday.  The 19-year-old had a heart condition and was a victim of cardiac arrest.  This is very similar to what happened with Jiri Fischer a few years back but the medical care here in the States is better than it is Russia.  Unfortunately, this tragedy has been the biggest story in hockey this year.  Truly a shame to see this happen.
  • This morning, the Blackhawks fired their coach, Denis Savard.  We knew Savard’s seat would be a little warm if the Hawks started slow, but I think management was a little quick on the trigger after a 1-2-1 start.  They promoted Joel Quenneville to the head coaching position.  Coach Q spent 8 years in St. Louis and has the most coaching wins in Blues history.  Quenneville’s first game comes on Saturday against the Blues at the Savvis Center.  It will be interesting to see the reception he receives.
  • The St. Louis Blues powerplay.  You knew I was going to mention them somehow.  Through three games this year, the Blues have gone 7/14 with the man advantage.  Keith Tkachuk has four powerplay goals to lead the NHL.  Unfortunately, since they have scored 7 of their 11 goals in the powerplay, they are -32 as a team, which is killing my fantasy team.
  • Ryan Hollweg.  He got suspended for two games in the preseason for his third boarding major in 41 games.  Upon his return, Hollweg promptly crushed Alex Pietrangelo and received his fourth boarding major in less than half a season.  He was assessed an automatic three game suspension by the league.  I think they really dropped the ball here by not suspending him for more.  Hollweg has proven to be a thug and should be punished as one.  10 games would have been a start.

It’s about time for the Blues and Stars to drop the puck, plus the Rays are leading the Sox 2-0 in the 2nd, so I’m going to end this.  Let me hear your comments…that is, if anyone out there still watches hockey.

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