Let #SobFest2012 Commence

24 04 2012

I should have seen this coming.  After all, the Blackhawks are a Chicago sports team.  And what do Chicago sports teams know how to do?  Disappoint you.

We’ll always have 1908….right?

The problem with Chicago sports fans is this:  we’re eternally positive thinkers.  Every year is “our year”.  And if that were true, then the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks, and Bears would be the greatest franchises in sports because we continually keep the faith.  But back to the hockey.

It’s not like the Blackhawks played terribly, they’re obviously a talented team.  But the Phoenix Coyotes were simply better in one very important area:  goaltending.  I have to give credit where credit is due.  Mike Smith is one hell of a goaltender and was a true brick wall for the Coyotes.  Though some may criticize Joel Quenneville for not replacing Crawford with Ray Emery when things went sour, I trust his judgement.  Crawford was the smarter choice and more consistent one for the team right now.  He didn’t have the wonderful season that was last year, but he’s still young and will hopefully continue to grow and mature as a player.

I don’t want to think about the shakeup the Blackhawks might get, either in the front office or the team’s core because I love the team the way it is.  But, then again, I have to think of hockey as a business and come to terms with it.  But I don’t want to.  Somebody hold me :(

Wait. Now I feel better.

On the other hand, a big congratulations to Shane Doan and the rest of the Phoenix Coyotes.  You have to give props to a guy like Doan who has spent his entire career in a completely unconventional hockey market, to say the least, and has stuck by the team and the organization throughout.

Now if only Italy had Ben and Jerry’s….but I’ll have to settle for some cheesecake gelato to drown my sorrows.

-M

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Here We Go Again

18 04 2012

I honestly never thought I’d see this many suspensions handed out during the playoffs.  Yes, there’s something to be said for the fervor and passionate playing that gets kicked up a notch at this time of year, but this is completely out of control.  I don’t even know where to start, but let’s go with the most covered of them all:  everybody and their brother on the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.

I know this might not be a very popular opinion with everyone, but hear me out.  As a hockey fan that does not like the Flyers in the least bit, I’m honestly so disappointed in the Penguins for their behavior during that game.  You know what Philly is going to bring to the game:  grit and aggression.  They’re known around the league as a team and organization that likes to push its opponents’ buttons.  With that said, Pittsburgh gave an uncharacteristic and inappropriate reaction to them.  I mean really?  You’ve got Sidney Crosby picking fights with Claude Giroux now?  Kris Letang and Kimmo Timonen both got tossed out of the game before it really started.  It seems like Pittsburgh wanted to let their fists do the talking instead of their skill, which only hurt them in the end.  Philly instigated maybe one or two of those fights.  They sat back, chirped, and let the Penguins come to them and take the fall.  Now you’ve got Asham out for 4 games, Neal is suspended for 1 which, to be honest, could be the last game of the Penguins’ season if they don’t clean up their act.  It’s just disgraceful.  And again, I know this might not be the most popular of opinions, but that’s what it is.  Take it or leave it.


New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators

Matt Carkner got into it with Brian Boyle in Game 2 in New York to start his team out with a little more energy.  However, I don’t think this was the right way to do it.  It’s a completely one-sided fight.  Carkner takes down Boyle, who doesn’t respond, and throws these sucker punches at the bottom of an 8 player pile-up.  I understand fighting and its place in hockey, but I thought there was more of a mutual respect between players in terms of fighting.  If Boyle doesn’t respond, you let him go.  You don’t take him down to the ice and start punching him around.  I didn’t think there should be a suspension here, I just thought it was uncalled for and inappropriate.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Phoenix Coyotes

So I have two bones to pick with my team:  one in favor, one against.  This hit by Andrew Shaw on Mike Smith wasn’t, in my opinion, dirty in any way.  However, I completely see how this hit requires review by the league and, ultimately, a suspension.  If this had happened to Corey Crawford, I’d expect a suspension too, strictly because goaltenders are like the quarterbacks of hockey:  you can’t touch them.  And no matter how much I like Andrew Shaw and think he isn’t a dirty player, if anyone else did this I’d expect to see the same punishment for them, too.

Now, on a more serious note, I was absolutely furious last night when I saw the hit that Rafi Torres laid on Marian Hossa.

If he doesn’t get at least 4 games for this hit, Brendan Shanahan needs to have his head examined, because this was dirty in every sense of the word.  Torres left his feet, targeted the head, and is a repeat offender.  Hossa was carted off on a freaking stretcher, and there was NO PENALTY CALLED ON THE PLAY!  I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.  Torres did this last year too, with Vancouver, on Brent Seabrook.  This feels like last season when Aaron Rome laid that hit on Nathan Horton.  But, in case you forgot, here’s a video:

There is no way the refs can play ignorance on this.  Skip to 2:48.  The ref, who is standing right in front of the hit, lurched back as a reaction, then did NOTHING.  Absolutely disgraceful.  I’d like to think that players were past this, but it seems that Torres missed that memo.  I would love to see what the league does with this, because I think they need to treat as they did Matt Cooke.  He was a repeat offender, and after being suspended repeatedly, he switched up his game.  Torres needs to do the same.

What do you guys think of the scrappy nature of this first round of the playoffs?  Let us know in the comments!

-M





Sweet Baby Jesus…

16 04 2012

I was planning on waiting until the end of the first round to give my thoughts on who came out on top, but considering the way a few series have been going, all I have to say is this:

For the Vancouver/LA series:

For Pens/Flyers:

In the name of all that is good and holy, what the FRICK is going on?!

 

What do you guys think about these series?  Let us know!

-M





The Time Has Come.

10 04 2012

Am I the only one having a complex? NHL Playoffs start tomorrow and I’m already ready to vomit.

Why I thought this video was a good idea to watch, I don’t know … because now I’m borderline sobbing. Tomorrow, life will be put on hold for 2 months.

Dearest Friends — don’t ask me to come out to a bar unless the games will be on. You all know me…so this shouldn’t be a surprise.

To my Family — my apologies in advance because my butt will be planted in front of the television EVERY night.

And to all our loyal readers — stick around. It’s gonna be a hell of a ride. If you don’t have a team in the Playoffs…adopt one. If you do have a team in the playoffs, I have one thing to say: Bring It On. ;)

*L





It’s Knuckle Puck Time!

10 04 2012

Favorite time of year.  EVER.  Except for maybe my birthday (for those of you who are dying to know, my 21st is coming up on April 15!)  I love the playoffs, because it’s completely anything goes.  Every fan comes out with their predictions and hopes to God that they can say “I told you so” to their friends in the form of stealing their money from the pot.  My friend’s family does a pool every year, and even the dog gets picks.  Take a wild guess as to who has won the last 2 years.  The dog.

Always wondered how they did this without opposable thumbs

So, even though I’m your resident Western Conference girl, I’m gonna give you my picks for both the Eastern and Western Conference first rounds in two different posts just to give your eyes a break form reading my obviously riveting ideas.  Get pumped guys, $#!+ is about to get real.

That's right, Georgie. Time to put on your big boy pants.

Nashville Predators vs. Detroit Red Wings

This is definitely a matchup that will be an interesting one to watch.  The Red Wings are a staple in the NHL playoffs, having qualified for the playoffs every season since 1990-1991 (not including the lockout).  The Predators, however, have lost in the first round of the playoffs 5 years out of the 8 they’ve qualified in their short history.  But I think this year will be different.  They have home ice advantage, and Detorit is constantly riding the struggle bus on their road games.  Shea Weber and Ryan Suter can shut down Pavel Datsyuk, not to mention making major contributions on the power play.  Then again, the Red Wings are the Red Wings.  Their roster is stacked, with players like Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Kronwall, and Stuart, making them a very intimidating team on paper.  At the end of the day though, with their injury problems and road woes, I don’t think that this is Detroit’s year, especially with a first round against Nashville.  The Preds have waited long enough, and they deserve to make it through the first round, especially with their depth.  Predators in 7.

St. Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks

I’m still in shock that St. Louis is sitting just below Vancouver on the top of the Western Conference.  But this is why I love hockey:  any team could just be the one to win it all.  Alright, let’s get down to business.  In my opinion, it’s just this side of no contest.  The Blues are going to take this series.  They’ve dominated the regular season and took over the toughest division in the NHL, which, in case you’ve forgotten, holds 4 out of the 8 playoff spots.  Their goaltending tandem is completely solid, as opposed to the Sharks, whose goalies have struggled throughout the season.  Even given that, the Sharks are a playoff-built team.  They’ve made it very far in past years, but have yet to reach the coveted finals and seem to always fall short.  This might be another year for that.  Blues in 6.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Ah, the Canucks.  Anyone who has read my posts before knows what I think of the Canucks.  I’m not a fan.  However, they’re the President’s Trophy winners for the second year in a row, so you have to give credit where credit is due.  Truly, I think the Kings have a shot with a goaltender whose name should speak for itself.  Jonathan Quick is one of a few goalies in the league that send shivers down the spine of any player skating towards him down the ice with the puck on his stick.  But, aside form the goalie duel that will be one of the best, I think this will be one series that will absolutely go to 7 games.  Like everyone says, now the regular season doesn’t matter.  It’s win or go home, and I’m hoping for an upset on this one.  The Canucks aren’t drastically different than they were last year or the year before, aside from the acquisition of David Booth from Florida earlier in the season.  I think they can only make it past the first round if Roberto Luongo stays hot, because when he’s on he’s great, and when he’s not, it’s a collapsing Jenga tower of crap.  Their forwards are phenomenal, but they’re such perfectionists as well.  You can see it so easily when something doesn’t go their way, they start yet another collapse of frustration.  And for those of you reading this thinking I just want an upset because I’m not a huge Vancouver fan, just hold your horses.  I simply think the Kings’ cooler heads will prevail.  Kings in 7.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Phoenix Coyotes

I wish I could say I wished for this matchup.  If we’re being honest, I wanted both Phoenix and Chicago to make it to the semis, but unfortunately for me and one of these teams, they can’t both make it.  Now, given past experience, normally this would be a shoo-in for the Blackhawks to win the series in probably 5 games.  However, the Coyotes have won 3 of the 4 regular season meetings with the Blackhawks and have one hell of a solid goaltender in Mike Smith, who is coming off of an absolutely stellar 5-game run.  This is an underdog team, and the underdog fights a hell of a lot more because they feel they have something to prove.  Not to mention, poor Captain Sexpanther is still sidelined with an injury, which could prove to be a major break for the Coyotes.  With that said, I don’t believe that Phoenix is a playoff-built team.  They don’t have the playoff experience to survive against a team that is truly stacked.  Basically what I’m saying is forget the regular season.  The Blackhawks are the legitimately deeper, better, more talented team, and I think the only thing that can save the Coyotes is one hell of a performance from Mike Smith.  He’s their not-so-secret weapon.  With that said, if the Blackhawks don’t underestimate the Coyotes and Captain Sexpanther comes back healthy, they should be unstoppable.  Blackhawks in 6.

What do you guys think about the Western Conference?  Let us know in the comments, and get your playoff beards ready!

-M





Mad Scramble

27 03 2012

I have two favorite parts of hockey season:  the beginning of the regular season, and the end of the regular season.  Plus, at this time of year, I always feel like Yakety Sax should be playing in the background of a sped up hockey video and that makes me giggle.  Now, the end of the regular season does give M the sadz because that means that hockey is almost over, and then the summer of not knowing what to do with yourself begins.

That's some solid parenting right there, folks

That baby does what we like to call the “ugly cry”.  Anyway, I love watching that end of the regular season because, being a Western Conference kinda gal, they like to make it interesting and nail biting for you.  Who could forget last season, when the Blackhawks backed into the playoffs, and the Minnesota Wild’s homepage looked like this:

Did we at least send 'em a thank you deep dish pizza?

BAM.  And thank you again, Minnesota; even though my boys lost to those meanie pants Canucks in the first round, it was a heckuva series.  This year, the West is no exception:

LOOK AT THAT.  6 freaking teams that are within 3 points of each other?  WHAT?!  Also, quick side note, why is San Jose listed as 3rd in the conference?  Homeboys are in sixth, puh-lease.  Whatever.

Silly NHL doesn't know how to count

Looking at the way everyone is playing right now, and how many games are left, I’ll tell ya a few things:

1) Don’t expect Anaheim to make a dramatic comeback.  They need a recovery season, and I truly hope they make the playoffs next season.  They have too much talent on that team to lose out on another opportunity

2) What the frick is the matter with Phoenix?!  They’re my underdog team, I don’t want to see them collapse now!  If there’s a team that truly deserves to make the playoffs, it’s Phoenix.  They worked unbelievably hard this year, battled against the entire league, and came out on top much more than in past years.  Get it together boys, you can do it!

3) San Jose’s on a roll at the right time.  Let’s just hope they can keep on chugging and make it, they’re another team that does deserve it.  Whether or not they’ll make a deep run in the playoffs remains to be seen, but then again it’s the playoffs.  Anything goes.

I can’t wait until the end of the regular season just so I can make my playoff predictions!  What do you think about the end of the regular season?  Let us know!

-M