Monday, August 31, 2009

"Heart" or Heat ???

...so Marty St. Louis finishes camp last week playing on a line with Crosby and Nash. Is he in? If he's in, is Heatley out?

...I hear rumblings...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Board Bet Won!!

6-2 in a shooutout ...so maybe it wasn't like I called it, but a board bet is a board bet...and I win.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Breaking news from camp

Calgary, Alta. - Dany Heatley has once again requested a trade, only this time, it's from his orientation camp team.

Upon hearing that he would be playing on the second power play unit for Team White in the inter squad scrimmage tonight, Heatley demanded to be traded to "Team Red, or the Slovaks".

When told about the trade demand, power play coach, Lindy Ruff had this to say, "That's a joke, that's an absolute joke, is what it is. Get him out of the game. I've seen enough of him, it's a joke. "

This has been a busy summer for Heatley. This drama comes after he demanded a trade out of Ottawa after the 2008-2009 season after he felt his role on the Senators had "diminished" after new coach, Cory Clouston, took over the bench for the Sens in early February.

Not much is known about whether or not Heatley can be traded. Team Canada GM, Steve Yzerman, could not be reached for comment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The forgotten...

Since the start of camp (just yesterday), I've yet to hear the name "Ryan Smyth" whispered even once... whatever happened to "Captain Canada"?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What a sin...line.

Two things:

1 - As Dewey reported here earlier today, Simon Gagne will sit out the rest of the orientation camp. What a sin for a guy who has been dynamite for Canada in past Junior and Olympic tournaments, but is also clearly on the bubble to make the twentyten team.

2 - As has been reported by all hockey insiders; Sidney Crosby, Jerome Iginla and Rick Nash have been practicing together over the past two days. What a S.I.N. line that would make: The Sid / Iggy / Nash line would certainly be dynamite in twentyten.

WHAMMO!!

The first one bites the dust...

Darren Dreger has just tweeted that Simon Gagne was injured the first day of camp and is not expected to return. Jeez, maybe they were right about the whole insurance issue?

I doubt this seriously impedes his chances of making the team, but as a guy who's definitely on the bubble, it's got to kill him to not be out there.

For more hockey twittering goodness, you should try following @CTVOHockey, who is live blogging the orientation camp for all of us to enjoy.

The good, the bad, and the ugly... Gimme the Whites!

Yesterday, Matty made it personal by putting the scrimmage between the red and white teams at orientation camp Thursday "on the board"*. He made the first move, taking the Reds, and surely, it will be another board loss for him. Here's a look at how my team looks after the first day of camp:

Forwards:
Line 1: Crosby, Iginla, Nash
Line 2: Richards, Heatley, Morrow
Line 3: Toews, St. Louis, Gagne
Line 4: J. Staal, Doan, McDonald

Defense:
Niedermayer, Weber, Bouwmeester, M. Staal, Keith, Burns, Beauchemin and Green

Goalies:
Brodeur, Mason, Fleury

Not too bad a squad I have. I've decided to take the classic "good, bad and ugly" approach to evaluating my squad.

The Good

As is very apparent, my team is loaded with talent on the first line. Crosby, Nash and Iginla are as much of locks as there are on the team. They're probably the three most gifted offensive players attending the camp, and will no doubt cause a ton of problems for the Reds on Thursday.

At the back end, you have three more locks in Nieder, Weber and Bouwmeester. All three provide great defense, but are also talented offensively. They're some of the best skating defensemen in the NHL and are fully capable of handling the top forwards on the Red squad. Even after my top 3 D-men, I've got all the confidence in the world in guys like Mark Staal (a very good sleeper to make this team), Brett Burns and Duncan Keith to keep up with the Reds offensive pressure.

Marty Brodeur, who has been in nets for us in the previous two Olympics, headlines my list of goaltenders. I have no doubt that if Brodeur plays the whole game (as it looks like Luongo will do with the apparent back injury to Cam Ward), my team will dominate at both ends of the ice.

The Bad

I hate to be so negative because all these players are very immensely talented, but Andy McDonald? Martin St. Louis? Shane Doan?! These are all guys that either don't belong at camp, or have legitimate shots at making the team, who I don't believe should even be considered for the spots that are available. I've gone off about how much I hate the whole "but he has heart" argument before, and I won't again, but these guys are bringing my team down. Put them on their own line and let them make a big impact... on the bench!

The Ugly

The only real "ugly" part that I wanted to discuss was the ugliness that will be the beatdown on Thursday, when the Whites beat the Reds 7 - 3 and I chalk up another victory on the board over Matty, so I repeat, "PUT IT ON THE BOARD!!"

* the board is a list of bets on sports that Matty and I make and keep in our apartment. Currently I lead the board something in the neighborhood of 11 - 3, but that's what you get when you give me the field in all 4 majors and you take Tiger, and you also bet on Scott Gomez to have an 85 point season... just terrible...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Put it on the board - Matty takes Red

Pack your bags we're goin to camp.

This household, for one, is eager to see what happens this Thursday night during Team Canada's Red vs. White game.

Now, since I got on the topic first...I get first pick. I take the Reds...Put it on the board Dewey, the Reds will dominate when the puck drops Thursday.

And why you might ask??? Because they'll need to. Take a peak at the Team Red line-up and you'll see a whole whack of guys who are sitting on the bubble, or who as of yet are on the outside looking in when it comes to a roster spot this winter.

For quick reference, this is how I have "Team Red" lining up:

Goaltenders:

(Starter) Roberto Luongo
(Back-up) Cam Ward

Defensive Pairs:

1 - Chris Pronger & Dan Boyle
2 - Dion Phaneuf & Robyn Regehr
3 - Brent Seabrook & Drew Doughty
4 - Dan Hamhuis & St├ęphane Robidas

Forward lines:

1 - Jeff Carter & Eric Staal & Milan Lucic
2 - Corey Perry & Vincent Lecavalier & Patrick Sharp
3 - Ryan Smyth & Joe Thornton & Patrick Marleau
4 - Dan Cleary & Jason Spezza & Derek Roy

It's pretty safe to say, at least I'll say it, that Spezza is a long shot for the final cut. But I also think that there is just not enough room for all three of E. Staal, Lecavalier and Thornton either. Especially considering that Carter is a Centre-iceman himself. Should be interesting to see how they make out at camp.

I think that both Lucic and Perry can do themselves a lot of good with a strong camp and a strong scrimmage against the likes of Crosby and Iginla, but in the end, I think the two of them are fighting for the same spot, and may be both on the outside looking in.

Either way, I take the Reds (only times I'll ever cheer for a team names the Reds) in a 6-5 victory. Lucic with the winner at 18:54 of the third, on a pass from a streaking Staal.

Put it on the board.

WHAMMO!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Is Heatley on the team?

One player I've had on my second line since we started this debate was Dany Heatley. He'd be playing alongside of Rick Nash and Ryan Getzlaf on said line, providing a nice mix of finesse and physical ability.

It has come to light recently though that Hockey Canada is none too pleased with the way Heater's trade demand / no-trade blockage has been handled by the superstar forward. He's been dodging these questions all summer and in this article by Jim Kelly, he mentions that the brass plan to have him answer the questions, one and done, but there's no telling he'll actually cooperate.

What's even more interesting is the way Heatley has performed before in what Kelly calls a "best-on-best" situation. We all remember the 2008 IIHF championships, where the aforementioned Heatley-Nash-Getzlaf lineup racked up the points, with Heatley leading the way with 12 goals, adding 8 assists, and thinking "these guys are there in 2010". However, in these other "best-on-best" situations (where every country ices their best players, not just who's available), Heatley has struggled, with only 3 points (1G, 2A) in the 2006 Olympics, and 2 points (1G, 1A) in an even longer series at the 2004 World Cup of hockey (writer's note: the best time 15 kids from the East Coast could ever have, in the Montreal portion of the tournament anyway).

Now, I'll be the first to admit I hated the 2006 team. I didn't like the direction it took from the get-go, so I'm willing to forgive Dany for that. In 2004, Heatley was only a pup, and had been involved in a terrible accident which limited his season to 31 NHL games, so he probably wasn't at his best at this time. Both of these facts should make it easy to overlook Heatley's weak performances at the big time competitions. Add to this the fact that he's answered the bell and played for Team Canada just about every time he's been asked to, and he should be on the team.

With Stevie Y in charge of this year's team there's really no knowing whether anything in the past will make a huge difference, and if he only looks at the present, he's looking at a guy coming off a season in which he played only 71 games (due to injury), and is being followed by a whole lot of drama.

I still think he makes it though...

Camp on Monday!

WHAMMO!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The devil apparently wears a "Hockey Canada" logo


It was last November that it was reported that the IOC, in their infinite wisdom, would not allow team Twentyten to wear the traditional Canadian hockey jerseys for the Vancouver Olympics when they begin in 2010.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant on how utterly stupid it was to not allow the Canadians to wear the jersey they've worn at every international competitions for the last umpteen years because they didn't like the fact that Hockey Canada would be receiving the revenue for the sales of such a jersey, so I won't. But the point of this post is that in the newest "scandal", photos of what the new jerseys will look like have leaked (as you can see above).

Hockey Canada was set to announce the new look on Monday, but thanks to the modern wonder that is the internet, everyone will already know what our boys will be wearing when they take to the ice in Vancouver.

We like to focus more on hockey on this blog than fashion, so I think jersey design is probably the least important issue that can be discussed on this team, and really at the end of the day, there's only going to be one fashion statement that matters with this team, and that of course is the gold around our team's neck next February.

WHAMMO!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

They probably wanted to make sure there were still some "Z" on the jerseys at camp.

Several things about this:

1 - He won't be taking Getzlaf's place when things are all said and done come this winter.

2 - He shouldn't be there over Savard.

3 - Spezz...watch out for Lucic in the corners.

Will be very interesting to see how the "sometime" wonder responds to this.

More to come on this for sure.

WHAMMO!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This again???

Common guys...seriously, the only player who will need insurance for camp this summer is...well...anyone who goes into the corners with Lucic.

Did we mention that WE LOVE LUCIC?!

Also, the Russian defense is gonna get pasted in Vancouver...but will it matter with all the goals they have the potential to put up?


WHAMMO!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The "other" best team in 2010...

I've made it clear from the start of my conversations with Matty about the Canadian Twentyten team that the Russians have to be the team to give Canada the most trouble at the games in Vancouver.

Yesterday, the invitees to the Russian camp were announced, and they definitely have a solid group of players going to their own little camp.

Obviously, the list is headlined by Ovechkin, Malkin and Kovalchuk. I'm not "wowed" by their goaltenders, with Nabokov really being the only one with a proven track record (though not when it matters), although Varlamov really showed some resilience in the playoffs this year, until game 7 when he put on his best Roman Cechmanek impression in game 7 versus the eventual cup champs. I was surprised to see Khabibulin not even on the camp invitee roster. Their defense will definitely have skill, but I don't know they'll have the physical ability to really challenge a lot of the players they'll have to deal with from our Canadian squad.

All in all though, with the offensive fire power these guys have, they're going to be tough to stop, but I have to believe that our boys are better than theirs.

WHAMMO!!