Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
2) With the Stanley Cup Finals to (Finally!) get underway tomorrow we at FAUXRUMORS felt it time for us to weigh in on what we believe will occur over the next 2 weeks. Since almost every other hockey blog has had their say, its time for us to have ours. The Pittsburgh-Detroit series. No Cinderellas in this year's Finals. Looking back these ARE the Two best teams!
- The Stars: Crosby/Malkin-vs- Datsyuk/Zetterberg. All four are amazing players in their own right. All have greatly contributed to their teams' regular season AND playoff success. They are not coincidentally the overall top point getter's in the playoffs. Any of these 4 will probably be the playoff MVP, depending upon whom has the best Finals/wins the Cup. It wasn't long ago that the Detroit duo were being castigated for their playoff disappearing acts. Not this time around as both have scored/assisted on critical goals in all 3 series wins. The pens dynamic duo of Malkin and Crosby are scarily so young and amazingly talented that we are reminded of a similar duo of centers out of Edmonton in the early 80's(Gretzky and Messier). The Wing forwards may have a slight edge in experience/defensive prowess, while their Pitt counterparts are slightly more explosive. Should prove to be an exciting matchup of some of the NHL's best talent up front. Edge: Even
- PP QB's: Nicklas Lidstrom-vs- Sergei Gonchar. Two of the most gifted offensive defensemen in the game today. Both are long time NHL vets, with Gonchar playing in his 15th season. 'Gonch' has significantly elevated his game this season and in the post season especially. Not only is he contributing as the team's PP QB, but his defense has been nothing short of excellent. He has previously been overlooked for Norris consideration due to his defensive weakness, but not so anymore. Therrian uses Gonchar as his 'shut down' defender, and should no longer be looked upon as one dimensional. Lidstrom is in his 18th season, ALL with the Wings, easily should win another Norris, and legitimately should been a Hart Finalist this past season. He is the epitome of what a 2-way defensemen should strive to be; The shut down/reliable defender in his own zone and the team's PP specialist at the other. No one combines/excels at both better. Edge: Detroit
- The aggitators: Jarkko Rutuu-vs- Tomas Holmstrom. Although Rutuu is more an agitator and Holmstrom more a power forward type both play the role as the teams' forward most likely to get under the opposition's skin. Jarkko is just better at it. However, the Redwings being a veteran team are less likely to respond to his nonsense than other more inexperienced teams. Both players are not relied upon to score huge number of goals, both possess some offensive ability that shouldn't be overlooked, but Holmstrom is far more productive. Edge: Detroit
- The Goalies: Chris Osgood-vs- M.A. Fleury. Before the playoffs/season no one would have placed these two as likely opponents to play for the Cup. Certainly NOT osgood, as we outlined in the linked post. Since replacing Hasek he has been a steadying influence and merely done what was asked, win. Both goalies still struggle for respect and you can bet many will be asking if one, or both, will fold under the pressure of being here. As always goaltending will be a factor, but it remains to be seen who will step up their game another notch. Thus far we are more impressed with what Fleury has accomplished against what would seem to be tougher opponents, and he has answered the call and them some. Some have been waiting for the former first overall pick to become the superstar goalie the Pens believed they drafted in 2002. Thus far he is answering in the affirmative. Edge: Pittsburgh
- Secondary scoring: Both of these teams are obviously loaded offensively, but if there is a weakness with Detroit, it is scoring balance. Since playoff sensation Johan Franzen was injured after the Wings' second-round win over Colorado, the RedWings has struggled at times to score. Infact, Franzen still leads all players with 12 goals and five game-winners. Without him, the pressure will clarly be on Detroit's top line of Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Holmstrom. Shut them down, and the Penguins could have a good chance to win. The Penguins offensive depth is much more evident and down right impressive. If Franzen comes back the stark edge for the Pens will be mitigated to some degree, but we'd still say they are better. Edge: Pittsburgh
- Team defense: Here is where Detroit has a stark edge. For one, the Red Wings are one of the best puck-possession teams in the NHL. No slap at Pittsburgh's blueliners; They have performed admirably, however they have no answer to the 'other Niklas' back on defense. Kronwall. He has been a difference at both ends of the ice. He leads all playoff defenders with 12 points.(One more than Gonchar) As important he also has the potential to deliver devastating hits and punish opposing forwards in the Detroit zone. We feel he may the key to containing the speedy Penguin forwards by giving them something to fear as they cross the Detroit blueline. Edge: Detroit
- The Intangibles: Experience-vs- Youth. This spring marks the fifth time the Wings have advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in past 13 years, and have won the Cup three times in their last four appearances. Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Kris Draper, Darren McCarty, Chris Osgood, Dominik Hasek, Tomas Holmstrom and Kirk Maltby played on previous Detroit Cup teams, while Rafalski won two Cups with New Jersey. Only Petr Sykora (NJ), Darryl Sydor(Dallas) and Gary Roberts(Calgary) have played on a Cup champion. Edge: Detroit
4) What this series will come down to is will the Redwings be able to play their puck possession game or will Pittsburgh be able to play their up tempo, more wide open style? Regardless of their edge up front, we believe that defense wins championships. As such we see the Redwings as having enough offense and a strong enough defense to stifle the Penguin attack. Perhaps not entirely, but at least contain it enough to eke out 4 victories. Also we do NOT underestimate the experience factor. Many more Wings have been here and know what it takes to win. The Penguins are far too young and shown immature streaks/lack of killer instinct at times this post season. This will NOT be a sweep by either team. However, we believe the Penguins time to win will have to be put off at least another season. Detroit in 6
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
3) At first Kolzig accepted the new guy graciously. Avoiding saying anything that might have come off as selfish or negative. Appearing to look at his new mate as a friendly rival that would help him elevate his own game in the process. That initially appeared to be so as both men alternated games. However once Huet established himself as the team's #1 goalie, Kolzig's demeanor changed, and by the end of the Caps brief playoff run he had come to his decision to leave. Making it clear the moment the final game abruptly ended in OT by removing his name plate from his Verizon Center locker, in a symbolic termination of his tenure with the Capitals. Clearly his ego had been badly bruised, but until yesterday it was unknown if that injury would lead to the severing of ties
5) So what now for the 38 year old? While their certainly is a market for starting goalies in the NHL, its doubtful that a contending team will sign Olie to a contract to be their starter. Its not only his age, but his declining stats. He was among the worst goalies in GAA and save% who played more than 40 games. Its also uncertain what kind of a backup he'd be. Kolzig hasn't played that role in a dozen years. On the positive side, outside of recent events, he is a good team guy, who won't hurt the locker room. He certainly won't hurt any organization from an off the ice perspective (Ray Emory). His second half before the Huet run, was actually fairly decent, but unspectacular. Our guess is he signs a 1 year incentive laden deal with a team like Ottawa or LA. We at FAUXRUMORS wish Olie well whatever he decides/happens.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
2) Thus far through 2 rounds and 12 series we at FAUXRUMORS are 8-4. Not quite as impressive as the 11-1 we were this time last season, but not too terrible nonetheless
- Montreal vs. Philadelphia. We, for the second consecutive time underestimated the Flyers (Or did we over estimate the Canadiens?) We predicted a short series win for the Habs, but we saw a short series win for the Flyers! While we don't underestimate the price effect, is there any word on whether anyone has found Kovolev or Higgins? They were MIA all second round. We have blamed BG for trading away Huet, but the entire Habs team deserves some blame for not showing up against a very ordinary Flyers team and making Biron look like Bernie Parent. Hint, he's NOT!
- NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh. We pretty much nailed this one. We saw the Rangers perhaps giving the Pens a tad more fight, but we figured the Ranger defense would be over whelmed by the Pens onslaught. We are impressed with Marion Hossa. Last season with the Thrashers he was a no-show against the Rangers. This year he scored important goals and was dominant. Ranger fans should take solace that their young players (other than Jagr) were their best players. We see them improving and taking the next step up next year.
- Sharks vs. Stars: Much like the Flyers we either underestimated the Stars or over estimated the Sharks. (Again)http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2007/05/final-four.html#links As we discussed Tuesday, big-joe Thornton was again a non- factor in the playoffs. Another disappointment for a Ron Wilson led team. However, marty Turco as we discussed Monday was a huge difference. He's earned his pay this post season already.
- Red Wings vs. Avalanche: Not a big surprise other than how over matched the Avalanche appeared to be. We figured this series would last 6. The way the Wings manhandled the Av's they could have played 10 more games and Detroit would have still swept. The boys from Mo-town appear to be firing on all cylinders.
3) Which brings us to this round:
- Pittsburgh-vs-Philadelphia: The 'Battle of Pennsylvania', should prove to be the better/more exciting of the 2 semi final matchups. Both these teams hail from the Atlantic division so they know eachother well, and the near-hatred is pretty clear whenever they faced off. We hope we see a few scraps! You can bet the Flyers, who won five of the eight matchups against Pittsburgh during the regular season, will try to quickly establish the tone of the series as physical. Will they try to run/rattle Fleury like they effectively did to Huet then Price? The Flyers simply can NOT win a skating game with the Pens so their best chance is to try to intimidate the Pens and hope they continue to get timely scoring and good goaltending. Speaking of goaltending, we have been bashers of both tenders at times in the past, but both up to this time have earned their pay. The Flyers can't continue to be the most penalized team in the playoffs and win. The Penguin Power play will bury the Flyers if they continue that trend. We see this as being an exciting, for the most part close series, that won't be short, but in the end the team with the most talent should prevail. Key players from both teams. For Philadelphia:Braydon Coburn. For Pittsburgh: Jarkko Ruutu. Penguins in 6
- Detroit-vs-Dallas: Another seemingly 'turn back the clock' series matchup from the late 90's. Hopefully this time, unlike the last Detroit series it will be a competitive matchup. First we have to give the Stars credit for getting this far. Dallas has beaten the defending Stanley Cup champs and then hottest team heading into the playoffs, the Sharks to get here. WE love how Brendan Morrow has carried the Stars. Showing clearly why he is the team captain. Can he do it again? Having said that, we believe the Stars' Cinderella run will hit a RED wall in this series. The Red Wings, as mentioned earlier appear to be playing as well as they can (or are they?) If its possible, they look even stronger than during the regular season. The emergence of Johan Franzen is one of the stories of these playoffs. We already previously discussed Marty Turco, but overlooked by many is the goaltending of Chris Osgood. Since coming in to replace Dominick Hasek against Nashville he has only won and played well. (When will he get the recognition he deserves?) Overall we'd have to say that this Detroit team which is healthy, rested and deep, will be too much for the Stars to handle. If Turco plays like the first 2 series, it won't be easy. Key players from both teams: For Dallas: Marty Turco. For Detroit: Tomas Holmstrom Redwings in 6
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
4) As our blog has pointed out in just the past week, an actual news paper reporter did exactly what Costas and Bissinger were railing about bloggers. yellow-journalism. The NY Daily News Rangers beat writer, in our opinion, libeled, Sean Avery when they stated/inferred that his emergency hospitalization was due to his life style and not hockey related. (All later refuted) If a blogger had written such nonsense no doubt it would have been used by these guys as proof why blogging is bad, etc. It appears that what Deadspin said is true, most of the anti-blogging crusaders are older guys (most over 50) who are probably not computer literate, or lazy. See their monopoly of spreading opinion/ideas being challenged and as such are reacting like a cornered wild animal; lashing out in fear without knowing all the facts.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
2)When your team underachieves, usually your best player has underachieved. To succeed in the post season a teams' best players have to BE their best players. Thus far Big Joe has been anything but, for his teams. This was one of the primary reasons the Bruins traded him 3 years ago. Citing his playoff disappearing act, lack of finishing touch, as well as being a tad soft for a player of his size. (6'4" 240). Expectations were high when the Bruins chose the London Ontario native 1st overall in the 1997 draft. He seemed to be able to succeed in the regular season, but never in the playoffs. SJ hoped that a change of scenery would alter this perception/reality.
3) Unfortunately, the trend only continued with great regular seasons followed by disappointing post seasons. Now, we can forgive his lack of physicality IF he made up for it with scoring big/timely goals. In the past 3 post seasons for SJ, after being among the top 5 NHL regular season scorers, Joe has managed to be 2oth, 45th and thus far 23rd (with 2 rounds to go) in the post season. The playoffs are the time that separates the best from the rest. If we were SJ we would consider putting Joe on the market and see what he might bring back. It seems that he is not going to suddenly grow a heart. Perhaps they might want him in Ottawa?
Monday, May 5, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
- Pittsburgh -vs- NY Rangers: The BlueShirts staved off elimination last evening. Might they be able to do what their cross town rivals did to Pittsburgh 33 years ago? Like the Isles they have the goalie who could potentially do it. Then it was Glen (Chico) Resch who was 'The man' who carried the Isles. Could Hank become the new King of the come back? We never say never at FAUXRUMORS, but we will stick with our original predictions and expect to see the Pens advance.
- SJ-vs-Dallas: The Sharks were able to get out of Dallas with a close game win on Wednesday night. They return to the Shark Tank tonight to try to extend the series. Thus far the Stars have outplayed/out worked the Sharks in every game (even the one the Sharks won) We believe this is the series to watch for a possible/improbable come-back. Can Joe Thornton shed his playoff dissapearence persona? We could definitly see this as a possible 7 game series and once it gets that far its a 50:50 proposition. Stay tuned as the Sharks are hoping that 33 is a lucky number!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
For all those from other media outlets and newspapers who have sarcastically dismissed our initial web story about Sean Avery's hospitalization since the Rangers refuted it Wednesday afternoon, I wonder: Was your initial reaction that the story couldn't have been correct or did you simply race up to the MSG Training Center to get player reaction? And, did you call the hospital and/or Avery's representatives to get the real story or did your "reporting" simply consist of taking the team's word for what happened? Fortunately, the intrepid men an women of the press who have exposed baseball's steroid problems didn't similarly regurgitate what they were told by people who understandably want their businesses viewed as beyond reproach.