Cooke hit

Posted: March 20, 2011 in Rumors, Trades

For those who have not seen the latest gem from Cooke, here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emTQpD8jmuw

 

This is not the worst hit I’ve seen but he does stick out the elbow intentionally. Given his track record, the NHL should come down on him hard and let him understand there is no place for this in the game.

The reminder of the regular season would make a lot of sense for me. However, if the NHL drop the ball and either don’t suspend him at all or suspend him for 2 or 3 games only, I think Lemieux should react. An internal suspension needs to happen, or Lemieux will be looked upon as a hypocrite for his numerous rants against hits to the head. Either way, I believe Cooke is the dirtiest player in the NHL right now and somehow he should get the message. Suspend him, fine him, make him get it.

He is a pretty decent hockey player and penalty killer and he has a place in the NHL, if he can remove the dirt from his game. It is up to the league to find a way to deal with this, but something needs to happen.

I remember the Chris Simon suspension when he cross-checked someone in the face. That was a good example of the NHL setting a serious example against such incidents. Just because McDonagh got up quickly does not mean the hit wasn’t dirty. Happy the Rangers scored on the ensuing PP but this is not punishment enough. My best guess is that the NHL will make the right decision this time and remove Cooke for the reminder of the season. What do you think should happen? What do you think will happen?

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Here are the current standings. In brackets you will find the % of chance I believe each team has to make the playoffs. This is based on their current number of points, number of games remaining, current form and toughness of schedule.

East:

1 Flyers 94 (100)

2Caps 92 (100)

3Bruins 88 (100)

4 Pens 90 (100)

5 TB 88 (100)

6Habs 85 (97)

7 Rangers 78 (65)

8 Sabres 76 (50)

9 Canes 74 (35)

10 Thrashers 72 (15)

11 Leafs 72 (20)

12 NJD 70 (25)

Panthers, Islanders, Sens (0%).

 

West picture coming up later.

Recap of last night’s action

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Rumors, Trades

Busy game last night, with 11 games on the schedule. This is what happened:

  • Thrashers beat Flyers in OT. Flyers not looking like the team they were in the earlier part of the season. Pronger’s injury will hurt them. I think the Caps might finish 1st in the East.
  • The Wings beat the Jackets 2-0, pretty much eliminating them from the playoff picture. The Wings are getting hot at the right time of the year.
  • The Habs beat the Lightning 3-2 in a SO behind another stellar performance from Price. The team rallied to overcome numerous injuries and beat the Lightning for the 2nd consecutive time in under 2 weeks.
  • The Sens beat the Devils 3-1. The Devils have 4 regulation losses in their last 28 games. 2 of them are against the Sens. They cannot afford to blow points at this time, when they have come so close to a playoff spot.
  • Speaking of wasted points, the Leafs lost 4-0 to the Panthers. After an inspired effort, full of intensity vs the Canes, the Leafs did not show up against the Panthers.
  • The Preds beat the Bruins 4-3 in OT. Not the prettiest game, but definitely a lot of determination from the Preds who are really pushing hard for a playoff spot right now.
  • The Stars beat the Hawks 5-0. Lehtonen is quietly having a solid year. The Hawks have been sloppy lately, after their great run that saw them jump into 4th in the West.
  • The Flames got a huge win vs the Avs. They are in 8th right now, but need points desperately as they have more games played than any other team in the NHL right now.
  • The Coyotes beat the Oilers 3-1 and took a serious option towards making the playoffs. One of the most consistent teams throughout the year,  and having a very solid stretch right now.
  • The Blues beat the Kings 4-0. Not only that, but they DOMINATED the Kings. They were the only team on the ice. The Kings need to get their game together, because they did not look close to what a playoff team should look like last night.
  • The Sharks beat the Wild 3-2 thus consolidating their 3rd position in the West and dealing Minnesota a serious blow to their playoff hopes.

Playoff race heating up

Posted: March 13, 2011 in Rumors, Trades

The playoff race is heating up in a big way, with teams having less than 15 games to merit a place in the bout for Lord Stanley. Last night was extremely busy, with 10 games on the schedule, all of which had an influence on the playoff picture:

  • The Habs earned an important 2 points vs. the Pens, keeping pace in the race for first in the North-East. The Habs looked like they got their focus back for the first time since the injury to Pacioretty and I’m sure they would be happy to dedicate the win to Max. The Pens looked unmotivated and lost out there. They are simply not the same team without Crosby.
  • The Leafs won the most important game of their season vs the Sabres. A loss would have given a major blow to their playoff hopes, but they came out firing in the 3rd to erase a 3-2 deficit with goals from their best players: Grabovski’s 27th and Kessel’s 28th.Reimer was terrific in the won, stopping 39 of 42 shots faced.
  • The NJ Devils won their 2nd consecutive 3-2 game in overtime, by defeating the NY Islanders. They are 20-3-2 over their last 25 games and just 6 points out of 8th seed in the East. Many teams to leap frog however, so they have to concentrate just on keep winning.
  • The Thrashers beat the Flyers 5-4 in OT, after trailing 3-0 through 2 periods. Bobrovski was in net for the Flyers, who have to start considering going with Boucher as their starter once the post season starts. Leino scored his 1st career hat-trick in the loss.
  • The CBJ left Carolina with 2 points in a game that saw a sub par performance from C.Ward who gave up an awfully soft goal. The Hurricanes miss a nice chance, with the Sabres losing last night. Skinner recored his 50th point of the season in the loss.
  • The Panthers beat TB 4-3 in OT. The Lightning, who were in 2nd in the East about a week ago, are falling in the standings despite Stamkos scoring his league leading 43rd goal. The way the Caps are playing right now, I would be very surprised for TB to keep pace in the South-East race.
  • The Canucks got a huge win over the Flames to keep their hot pace. The Sedin twins combined for 5 points in the game to push the Canucks to yet another win. The Flames blew a 2 goal lead and are now in 8th in the West, but only have 11 games left to play.
  • The Wings beat the Blues 5-3. They scored 2 goals within 16 seconds in the 1st and even though the Blues came back to tie it at 3 in the 3rd period, the Wings proved to be too much. The Blues fail to go 3-0 on the week.
  • The Preds beat the Avs 4-2 to climb within 1 of 8th place Flames. The Avs look like they are playing for a lottery pick right now. No emotion in their game whatsoever.
  • The Rangers beat the Sharks 3-2 in a shootout behind yet another dominant goaltending performance by Lundqvist. Dubinsky scored the winner in the 6th round of the SO and the Rangers jump into 7th in the East.

Last night had 7 games on the schedule, 6 of which had playoff implication. While the East picture remains to an extent more clear, the West is still very much wild, 4 points separating the 4th place Hawks from the 11th place Wild. Here is a brief recap of last night’s games:

  • The Habs lost 4-1 to the Blues in the much anticipated C.Price vs Halak matchup, which was overshadowed by the Pacioretty incident. The Habs played without emotion, much like they did vs the Bruins in the 3rd period. It is obvious that their hearts are heavy, but Max would want nothing more than the team playing their best and surpassing the Bruins in the standings.
  • The Leafs lost 3-2 to the Flyers, and have cooled down as of late. Grabovsky continues his great year, scoring his 26th for the Leafs. However, they are falling off pace with the Sabres and Rangers. For the Flyers, Boucher was solid in the win. It is truly enigmatic at this point which goalie will be in front of the Flyers’ net to start the post-season.
  • The Canucks beat the Sharks 5-4 in a crazy game. The Sharks tied it at 3 with just over 2 minutes to go, on a spectacular goal by Mitchell. The Canucks recaptured the lead with 1:49 on the clock, on a goal from D.Sedin on the PP. Then the Sharks tied it again with just 21 seconds to go. In the end, the Canucks ended up on top, on a shootout goal from Borrows. The Canucks remain red hot and they know have an 11 point lead over 2nd place Detroit.
  • The Sabres beat the Bruins 4-3 in OT, after trailing all game long. This team never quits and they are really making an impressive push for the playoffs. After winning their 8 first games since the Kaberle trade, the Bruins have lost 3 in a row.
  • The Coyotes beat the Flames 3-0 behind an extraordinary performance from Bryzgalov. They seemed to have surpassed their slump and are right back at the thick of the playoff race. As for the Flames, they lose a great opportunity to take sole possession of  4th in the West.
  • The Preds beat the Wild 4-0. In a game that had huge implications in the Western standings, the Wild did not look ready to play. They had only 19 shots on Rinne, who recorded the easy shutout. Big 2 points for the Preds, who are now just 1 point out of a playoff spot.
  • The Sens beat the Panthers 2-1. Karlsson scored both goals for the Sens, he is really shining on this team and will be a Norris candidate in the near future IMO. Anderson has turned around his season since being traded to the Sens. He looks committed to resigning with the team in the summer, and should be their best starting goalie in a long time.

Chara’s hit goes unpunished

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Rumors, Trades

The verdict is out and Chara gets off without a suspension or a fine from the NHL for his hit on Pacioretty. Max has a broken vertebrae which could or could not require surgery. He also has a sevear concussion. All from an illegal hit administered by Bruins’ Zdeno Chara last night. For those that did not see the hit, here it is again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa0LUmShklY

 

This is a very shameful decision. Already from the start the fact that the discussion between Chara and the NHL was over the phone indicated the punishment would be minor. But to not give him anything is shameful for the game of hockey. This is why the NHL gets to credit in the USA, because they cannot establish a set of rules that would eliminate such injuries from the game. Because they truly have no place in the game of hockey.

 

The argument for Chara being unaware of where the hit took place on the ice is as true as the fairy tales you tell your kids before they go to sleep. Chara is a 943 game NHL vet, who would know where he was on the ice if he skated blind folded. Also the history between Chara and Pacioretty alone could have served as reason for NHL to impose a suspension. Here is Chara’s reaction after a shove by Pacioretty after he scored a GWG in OT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Me9YN9VnS0

 

Habs fans will riot after this decision. Given my ties to the Montreal Canadiens organization, my opinion could be biased but I do not see how at least a suspension between 1 and 5 games was not awarded.

My prayers go to Max Pacioretty and his family. His parents were at the game last night. Chara made sure they got their money’s worth… Here is the NHL press release explaining why Chara was not punished: http://canadiens.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=555526

And for those naive enough to believe Campbell did not have a say in this because his son plays for the Bruins, here’s a hot new rumor for you: the tooth fairy isn’t real.

Here is what went down last night in the NHL.

  • Won’t come back to the Pacioretty incident, other then adding news from today. After successful preliminary tests last night, some further testing shows that concussion could be more serious than thought. Also, there is a neck injury. Pacioretty remains at the Montreal General Hospital for observation. Jacques Martin will address the media today for an update. Chara will have a hearing with the NHL via phone today at noon ET.
  • Sens beat the Devils 2-1. Condra scored 2 goals, this giving him 4 for his career. His other 2 goals were also scored in the same game. Devils lose for only the 3rd time in regulation in 25 games, but this one might hurt their confidence and their motivation.
  • Islanders beat the Leafs 4-3 in OT. A defeat that hurts the Leafs that could have closed in on a playoff spot, with the Sabres losing and the Canes inactive. They do get a point out of it at least.
  • Flyers beat the Oilers 4-1, in a game they dominated outrageously. After the 1st period, shots were 17-1 in favor of the Flyers. Yes, they are back, but the last place Oilers is not exactly a measuring stick for a team contending for a Stanley Cup.
  • Pens beat the Sabres 3-1 remaining red hot. Since adding Neal and Kovalev the Pens have been firing on all cylinders and if the Flyers do not get their game together, they could contend for the #1 spot in the East. Scary team when Crosby gets back. If Sabres make the playoffs, Miller has to stand on his head and Stafford has to carry this team.
  • Panthers beat the Hawks 3-2 in a surprising game. Hawks were one of the hottest team going into this one. But the Panthers jumped to an early 3-0 lead and the Hawks comeback attempt came up short.
  • Wild beat the Avs 5-2 to help their playoff chances with a big 2 points. Havlat had a goal and an assist in the win. The Avs are in line right now to pick 3rd overall in this year’s draft.
  • Canucks beat the Coyotes 4-3 in OT. Canucks seem to really be getting their game together right now after a month of inconsistency. The Coyotes get a point from this and remain in the hunt for a playoff spot.
  • Sharks beat the Preds 3-2 in OT. Tough loss for the Preds who really played a great game. Both goalies were great in this one, and Rinne and Niemi are both carrying their teams right now. Sharks have been on fire lately.

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