Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sharks Choking.... Again?

1) While it would be unfair to totally characterize the Sharks as choking or imploding since they are playing a pretty dam good LA Kings team, it still seems this happens to this franchise almost annually.  To review the Kings became only the ninth team in NHL history to force a seventh game after trailing a series 0-3. Only three teams have come back to win a Game 7 after losing the first three games. The Detroit Redwings in 1941, the NY Islanders in 1975 and most recently, Philadelphia. They won four straight to win a seven-game series against Boston in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals. That  Flyers team by the way featured current Kings Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

2) The San Jose Sharks, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.... wait, no, they've never made the Stanley Cup Finals have they? Always the usher, never the bridesmaidThat pretty much sums up the existence of the San Jose Sharks over the last 10 or so years. They have been one of the best regular season teams in the NHL, remarkably consistent in their ability to make the playoffs only to suddenly perishThe Sharks are like that guy in a movie you recognize, but can't quite place what else he's been in. The Sharks are the guy in the red shirt they always sent down to search the planet on Star Trek who always ended up dying. 

3) This year was different, this year was special, this year was the year the Sharks were going to finally put it all together! Right? They looked amazing in the first 3 games, who could stop them? How low have they dropped? Well this is a team that has gone from chanting "We Want the Cup" to chanting "Beat L.A." Rumor has it next year they plan on chanting "Score a goal!" and if that fails, "Make a pass?” said in a questioning tone, since at that point they really are in no position to demand anything.

4) Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have this "choke" label that has been hung around their necks their entire careers. This of course comes from not winning "the big game" as they say, and not advancing to the Finals, ever!  To be fair Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are valued leaders who help make sure the team gets into the playoffs, but for many and varied reasons annually they never seem to have enough to get the team to the next level. We will find out tomorrow night if this team will be yet another to add their amazing long resume of epic fail, and yes, choking!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Miller's Stock Plummets!

1) With the ouster of the St. Louis Blues from the NHL playoffs the Ryan Miller experiment comes to a premature and disappointing ending.  It was expected that the acquisition of the former Sabre/US Olympic team star was the missing link in the Blues march toward their first Stanley Cup.  While Miller wasn't a direct reason why the Blues didn't advance, he wasn't the difference maker helping them to get into the next level either.  In the last game he faced 27 shots and let in 5 goals for a poor .815 save % and finishing the 6 games with a poor (for the playoffs) save % of 901.  Compared to Tuuka Rask's .961 his stats are very ordinary, and you can see  why some would ask couldn't former Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak have done as good if not better??

2) With that in mind we believe that Ryan Miller may have lost several million dollars in the up coming free agent market.  Teams may now think twice to give the UFA big money/ term to the soon to be 34 year old East Lansing, Michigan native.  If he had led the Blues to at least the Conference Finals (Final 4) we believe he would have received many offers of in excess of 5-6 mil/5+ years from teams feeling they are on the cusp of winning it all. Feeling they are a goalie away from making that step (Like the Blues this spring).  With today's, and the last 2-3 weeks results, we and many teams may be rethinking the worth of Miller and he may find his options and the amount of the UFA offers less than what he expects

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cooke a "Changed Man"?? Bullshit!

1) We read with a combination of laughter and anger when we heard/read Matt Cooke's apology after the NHL handed the oft suspended jerk his latest sentence of 7 games.  We don't have to (again ) rehash the litany of incidents that have surrounded Cooke over the past several years.   Suffice to say they speak for themselves. One incident or perhaps two might allow us to give Cooke the benefit of the doubt, but a dozen or more do not. In addition to the 6 suspensions, he has had many more on the line issues throughout his career that lead us to NEVER believe any apology Cooke ever gives. He's a piece of shit.  Period.

2) Cooke after injuring Colorado Avalanche defenseme (Tyson Barrie who is the Avalanche's top offensive-minded defenseman and suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament on the play) stated that he did not intend to injure the player and felt he should be considered a 'changed man' since he hadn't been suspended in 2 years.  To that we say bull shit!  The only "changed man" in Mr. Cooke's hockey life is Marc Savard who 's career was ended by Cooke.  Hopefully Barre won't have a similar fate and returns as good as ever, but there are no guarantees of that.     The distance that Cooke traveled with his knee out, plus the further extension of his knee and the severity of the injury combined to make the suspension the longest for a knee-on-knee hit since the department of player safety took over supplemental discipline in 2011!

3) Save us the crap Cooke. Just take your sentence and go away.  We don't need to hear about how you're a changed man, etc.  You are a piece of shit, and are again responsible for hurting another player. NHLPA, where are you here?  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pennsylvania Goaltending Woes Continue

1) What other conclusion could one gain after watching M. A Fleury of the Penguins and the day before Ray Emory of the Flyers give their teams sub par net minding allowing their opponents to cruise to victory.  In the case of Fleury it was especially egregious.  He allowed the Blue Jackets to make a unexpected come back from a 3 goal deficit.  The game tying goal scored after Fleury wandered from his net in the final 30 seconds, allowing the Jackets an easy lay-up to tie it. Then topping it off with a horrendous OT game winner that was as routine as it comes.

2) At least Philadelphia has another viable option if Mason is indeed healthy (if he backed up he must be right?)  Where as the Penguins, unlike last spring have little choice but to return with the shaky 'Flower' because Tomas Vokoun is probably no where near in game shape after missing months with a blood clot. Last season you may recall Vokoun saved the Pens bacon in their opening round 7 game series win over the Islanders when Fleury (again) was letting in goals from everywhere.  All teams need solid goaltending if they are to survive the Stanley Cup playoffs.

3) In the case of the Penguins, despite their obvious advantage in the standings and on paper, the great equalizer is their weakness in goal.  If they had reliable, solid tending, the Jackets would be done.  However, Fleury has been anything but solid, and not inspiring his team with confidence in front of him.  Meanwhile across the state in Philly the annual goaltending issue has again reared its ugly head.  In the case here, the Rangers would appear to be the better team, and in order for Philly to have a chance they would have to get superior goaltending. Something they haven't had consistently in the playoffs since Hall of Famer Bernie Parent wore #1 for the Orange and Black.  They thought they had this issue settled with Mason, but injury prevented him from starting the first 3 games.  Can/will he return and be a difference maker, or will he and Emory be added to a LONG list of Flyer goalies who had good regular seasons and flops in the spring?    Problems in net in Pennsylvania, indeed!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OOPs, He Did It Again.... redux

1)  For our regular readers the headline may sound familiar. Well, it is. Its the headline we wrote last year when we were reacting to Matt Cooke's latest dirty play. For those who may have missed it, here is a rehash of Cookes "accomplishments"  With the dirty kneeing against the Avalanche's Barre last night, the micro scope is yet again on the off (deservedly) maligned forward..

2)  With respects to Brittany Spear, its not the female singer/entertainer/strumpet we're alluding to, but our old friend Matt Cooke. Of course most are familiar with his "exploits".  During his NHL career Cooke has been suspended for several much-criticized hits, some involving head-shots that injured opposing players, most notably ending Marc Savard's career in 2010. Cooke was probably an important factor influencing NHL rule changes intended to deter such hideous conduct. 

3) To refresh memories here is a brief  "rap sheet" on 'Cookie'
  •  November 2008  he received a two game suspension for a check to the head of NY Ranger's Artem Anisimov.
  • 11/29/08 – Matt Cooke blind-sides Zach Parise into the bench. He chose to still hit him even though the bench door was open
  • In January 2009, he received another two game suspension for a hit to the head of Scott Walker.
  • 3/16/09 – Matt Cooke’s knee-on-knee hit on Zach Bogosian. Bogosian left the game in the 2nd period and did not return
  • 05/18/09 – Matt Cooke’s knee-on-knee hit on Erik Cole. In Game One of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals, the Hurricanes lost Erik Cole midway through the third period.  Matt Cooke caught him knee-on-knee in front of the Pittsburgh net. Cole managed to play only one shift after the hit.
  • 02/06/10 – Matt Cooke cross-checks Andrei Markov in the back from behind.
  •  March 7, 2010, in a game against the Boston Bruins Cooke delivered a blow to the head of Boston's Marc Savard, causing a concussion and Savard to miss almost two months. ( No suspension given!)
  • 11/26/10 – Matt Cooke drives Erik Karlsson’s head into the boards. (Remember that name!)Cooke drives Karlsson’s head into the boards and knocks him out
  • 12/21/2010 – Matt Cooke elbows Coyotes defender, Keith Yandle in the head
  • 12/28/2010 – Matt Cooke elbows Evander Kane in the head. Here is what should happen to Cooke after he tries this shit!----->  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLqpw_uKyds
  • 02/04/11 – Matt Cooke cheap-shots Buffalo's Steve Montador. In this incident, Cooke does a few gutless things. First, he cross-checks Jordan Leopold from behind after Leopold takes down one of his teammates. Next, after Steve Montador engages him, Cooke lands an overhand right punch to an unsuspecting Montador after the linesmen separate the two.
  • 02/06/2011 – Matt Cooke’s knee-on-knee hit on Alex Ovechkin. OV not injured, but pissed
  • February 9, 2011, Cooke was given a four-game suspension for a hit from behind on Blue Jackets' defenseman Fedor Tyutin
  • March 21,2011 Cooke was suspended for the final ten games of the Penguins regular season schedule as well as the first round of the playoffs stemming from an elbow to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh

    4)  Yes, after the last suspension it appeared that Cooke had indeed 'learned his lesson' and 'changed his ways', etc. However, we all know leopards don't change their spots.  The hit to Karlsson (seen here http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/blog/eye-on-hockey/21697901/video-erik-karlsson-suffers-lacerated-achilles-in-loss ) was no accidentas many would like to argue. Although we admit no one can know what was in Cooke's mind at the time, we feel the preponderance of evidence and past wrong doings show a clear pattern.  No F-ing way does a player lift his boot and on to the back heel of another on such plays.  An accident with 99.99% of other NHL players. Cooke has "earned" NOT getting the benefit of the doubt. And if he wasn't intending to injure Karlsson, then screw you for attempting/succeeding on injure so many others in your shit career!

    5) The amazing thing is, that since Cooke got away with injuring Karlsson last year over 18 months has passed since his last suspension, therefore under the CBA Cooke isn't a repeat offender. No, you didn't read that wrong. Cooke isn't considered a repeat offender. Holy shit. If Anyone deserved to be called a repeat offender its this piece of dung.  The discipline office should be renamed after Cooke.  Last night Matt Cooke's knee-on-knee hit will cost the Colorado Avalanche the services of key defenseman Tyson Barrie for this series and probably most of the playoffs.  Cooke deserves NO LESS than to be thrown out of the remainder of this years post season (and if its less than 10 more playoff games for the Wild, given 15 additional games to start 2014-2015).  Not a repeat offender, my ass! 

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Junk Calls?!?

    1) In a bizarre series of events early on in the NHL playoffs two individuals were fined for 'junk' manipulating. "Junk" is a euphemism for the male 'package' nuts and bolts, you get the picture?  First the above pictured Joel Quenville was fined $25,000 after the coach was enraged.   At the end of the second overtime, the Blues escaped what looked to be a clear delay of game penalty. Quennville responded by going ballistic with his mouth and exploring his nether regions with his hand — a dramatic 1-2 punch only a pro can make look cool. His heroics were wasted, though, as St. Louis went on to win in the third extra period.

    2) Meanwhile last night Boston Bruins Bruins forward Milan Lucic got away with a blatant spear to the groin area of Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser on Friday, but the NHL today reviewed the incident.  DeKeyser escaped injury on the play so Luicic got a mere slap on the wrist(better than a spear to the groin) and was fined $5,000.  So the message the NHL disciplinarians have sent the league is that its more egregious to grab your own junk than to spear an opponent's. Dicks

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    2014 Divisional Quarter Finals Predictions

    1) The most exciting time of year is upon us. The Stanley Cup Playoffs! The premiere tournament in ALL of team sports. We will go through each of the 8 opening round series. Predict the winner and the number of games it may take to achieve the results as well as discuss some of the factors that resulted in our prediction. 

    First The East

    1) Boston-VS- Detroit:  Amazingly the two teams last met in the 1957 Stanley Cup semifinals, with the Bruins winning 4-1. Here it is 2014 and most prognosticators/bettors have their money on the Bruins. And why not?  From top to bottom they have few if any clear weaknesses. Can roll 4 lines all capable of both scoring and preventing goals. Solid defense led by the ageless Z-Chara, and Vezina callibre goaltending in Rask. The Redwings on the other hand have an interesting mix of youth and vets (assuming Datsyuk is back) who will not be out worked.  With Babcock behind the bench they won't be outcoached either. All that said we don't think these Redwings will be able to withstand a much deeper team in Boston and despite the games being close, we expect the Bruins to win a short series.  Bruins in 5 

    2) Pittsburgh-VS Columbus:  The Blue Jackets' only 2nd ticket to the dance and the first since 2009. Columbus have been playing excellent hockey as of late, winning four of the past five to clinch a spot in the postseason. The primary reason why has been the amazing play of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who has carried his team down the stretch. Penguins have beaten Columbus in all five games they have played this year.  Columbus' only hope is if M.A. Fleury  is in 'playoff form'and 'Bob' can steal a game or two.  Else it'll be a short series. Penguins in 5 

    3) New York -VS- PhiladelphiaThe Rangers and Flyers have met 10 previous times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the two teams last met in the 1997 Eastern Conference Final when it seemed they played in the playoffs every season. While the name of the division may be different, it's now known as the Metropolitan Division,the intense rivalry between the New York Rangers  and the Philadelphia Flyers is just as heated as always. While both New York and Philadelphia have outstanding offensive units that can make serious noise, the key in this first-round series will be the special teams and goaltending, which is why we like NY. Rangers in 6

    4) Tampa Bay-VS- MontrealThe Canadiens and Lightning have met once before in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Lightning were on their way to their one Cup back in 2004. Two evenly matched teams, outside of the Habs’ PK advantage and Tampa’s advantage 5-on-5. While some see the injury to Bishop as a large detriment we do not. Anders Linback played the last 2 weeks as the goalie the Bolts thought they traded for 2 years ago; large and imposing.  With the huge win at the end the Lightning copped home ice advantage which in our opinion will be the deciding factor here.  Lightning in 7

    Next The West

    1) Colorado-VS- MinnesotaThis is the third meeting between the Wild and Avalanche, with each team winning once. The hockey world waits to see what comes crashing back down to Earth first: The Wild’s goaltending or the entire Avalanche hockey club.  We believe that for the first round anyway, the Avalanche possess way too much overall talent to be denied. Although Bryzgalov will undoubtedly play large in goal and Parise/Suter will do their thing, they won't be quite enough and the Avs will advance.  Avalanche in 5

    2) St. Louis-VS- Chicago: This is the 11th meeting between the Blues and Blackhawks in the Playoffs, but first since 2002. The overarching storyline in these contests would be the health of Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Both will play Game 1, but will they be 100%? While St. Louis has been excellent throughout the season, the fact that Chicago will be getting its two stars back in time for the playoffs and has the Stanley Cup experience from last year under its belt, and the fact that the Blues looked quite ordinary the last couple of weeks of the season. We believe those factors are enough to tilt this series the Chcago's way.  Black Hawks in 6

    3) Anaheim-VS- Dallas:This is the third meeting between the Stars and Ducks, the teams splitting the first 2 meetings.  Can Bruce Boudreau avoid another playoff flop? Dallas did a great job to over take the Coyotes towards the end of the season saving their best hockey for last.  Will that translate into playoff success?  We believe at best it will give the Ducks a run for their money, but in the end Anaheim simply has too many weapons on offense, and regardless who plays net, top notch goalkeeping to be denied.  Ducks in 5

    4) San Jose -VS- Los AngelesThis is the third meeting between the Sharks and Kings, each team having spit the first two.  Like we alluded to in a recent post, with a plethora of good teams out West, at least one would be dispatched in the first round.  Which California team will be golfing shortly?  The former champs in LA had an uneven season. Once again unable to score consistently, but getting great defense/goaltending to win their share of games. The Sharks on the other hand have multiple scoring weapons and their not shy using them.  Their goalie, Niemi is no slouch in net either, having already hoisted a Cup (in Chicago) As is usually the case it will come down to special teams and we believe that the Kings being more experienced and better at playing close games will ultimately prevail, but NOT easily.  Kings in 7

    The Annual Award For Sucking!

    1) The NHL will conduct its Draft Lottery today, Tuesday, April 15th. The lottery will take place in-studio with NHL deputy-commissioner Bill Daly revealing the results live on-air. This will be the 7th time the draft lottery will been aired live on television since the 'Crosby Draft' of 2005, and for only the 8th time in 18 years. The 2014 Philadelphia, PA draft Lottery, live at 8pm The lottery will also be simulcast live on the TSN.ca, NHL Network, NHL.com.  The bottom 13 (non-playoff) teams in the NHL will be eligible for the lottery, where odds are weighted by least amount of regular season points.  (It is normally 14 but the Devils lost their pick due to their punishment in the Kovolchuk contract idiocy a few years back

     The Devils will still receive the 30th overall pick a lessening of the original penalty where they were to get NO pick at all. The Devils will still be included in the lottery drawing with the same odds that would have normally been assigned to the club. In the event the Devils win the lottery, a re-draw will be conducted to select a different recipient of the first overall selection in the first round. Like last year tonight's lottery will feature the format where EVERY non playoff team (other than NJ)  could potentially WIN the lottery and the top overall pick. Representatives from each of the 14 teams eligible to win the first overall pick will be in attendance: Here's the breakdown: The top-seeded Buffalo Sabres (25.0%) have the best chance of winning the lottery, followed by Florida Panthers (18.8%), Edmonton Oilers (14.2%), Calgary Flames (10.7%) and New York Islanders (8.1%). The Vancouver Canucks (6.2%), Toronto Maple Leafs (3.6%), and Winnipeg Jets (2.7%) complete the group of five Canadian teams with a chance to choose #1overall  Daly will reveal the results in reverse order, alongside representatives from the league's five teams most likely to win the lottery.  

    Monday, April 14, 2014

    Racism Alive and Well in Canada?

    1) While we dislike throwing the r-word-Racism around we have to at least entertain that it may be playing a role in what we are seeing with respect to 2 talented players (of color) playing in two different cities north of the border.  Also to be fair, blatant racism in hockey isn't confined to Canada.  Who can forget the myriad of racist tweets Joel Ward received after he and his Capitals team dispatched the Bruins a couple of seasons back, or Wayne Simmmonds  receiving racist chants while playing in the Czech Republic during  last year's the lock out.

    2) That said, we have been monitoring with increasing curiosity the fates of two very talented players who in our opinion are getting an unfair rap.  Both possess oodles of talent. One has already received a major award for best at his position.  Yet both are not looked upon by their local press favourably. The two players we're referring to are P.K. Subban in Montreal, and Evander Kane in Winnipeg.  In the case of the ladder, our interest was first aroused last year when Kane signed a lucrative extension. Afterwards he was spotted posing atop a hotel in Vegas sporting wads of currency.  Now if it were a Caucasian (non Euro) it would have been laughed off, or at least dismissed as boys being boys, etc. But in the Winnipeg press you would have thought that Evander was brandishing a weapon or doing coke in the photo.

    3) More recently Kane was actually a healthy scratch for the first time in his career as the trade rumors swirl around Winnipeg as if the kid is soly responsible for the franchises failures to make the postseason (again) Meanwhile in Habitant-land for Mr Subban  the relationship between he and coach Michel Therrien continues to erode just a little bit more each night. He has actually benched his star defender for more than 10 minutes with games on the line. We understand its argueable/understandable to hold Subban accountable for his mistakes, but Therrien seems to delight in picking on him while letting other culpable players off the hook. With Subban’s contract coming up this summer, there’s reason to think he might be looking for a way out rather than a home run.  

    4) It seems that with respect to both players negativity surrounds them regardless of how they are performing.  Subban despite his short comings is still the defending Norris trophy defender. No, he's not Larry Robinson, but he's not  exactly Rory Fitzpatrick either.  He deserves FAR more respect than he receives. Would he were he Caucasian?  Certainly if he were Francophone he would, but one has to believe that at least part of the reason he is being treated subparly is due to his skin color.  With respect to Kane, he acts no differennt than many young up and coming professional sports stars. A bit reckless, but nothing overly offensive.  However Kane, like Subban is many times being singled out.  The difference?  You make the call. Our  opinion is that racism is alive and well north of the border (like everywhere)

    Sunday, April 13, 2014

    Week 26 Results

    1) The day, week, month and season (almost) are in the books. At least we're done with respect to our weekly picks here at Fauxrumors.  First, for the day/night we went our usual strong self and finished well going 7-2 to bring the final season totals to 188-94, or an astounding .667 winning %.  We also were 'Locked' in getting that weekly choose correct to finalize that ridonculous total to 24-2, which translates to a .923 winning edge.

    2) This will be difficult to match next season, but of course we intend to try.  In the mean time the most exciting tournament in professional or collegiate sports is about to get underway; The Stanley Cup Playoffs.  We of course will post our first round picks before the puck drops Wednesday.  Look for it.
    As always, keep it here for all the latest!

    Saturday, April 12, 2014

    Week 26 Picks

    1) Yes, the season it just about over. Almost all of the playoff spots are locked in, with only minor jockeying of position left up for grabs today. Thus far we have accumulated a season total of 179-92, or a .661 winning %.

    Buffalo at Boston: Bruins  (Lock of the Week)

     Philadelphia at Pittsburgh: Penguins

     NY Rangers at Montreal: Habitants

     Toronto at Ottawa: Senators

     Columbus at Florida: Blue Jackets

     Chicago at Nashville: Predators

     San Jose at Phoenix: Sharks

     Vancouver at Edmonton: Oilers

     Anaheim at Los Angeles: Kings

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Jagr Wants to Play in 21st Season!

    1) In what is probably not a shocker, New Jersey Devil Right wing and ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr has told sources close to Fauxrumors that he intends to continue his NHL career next season. The 42 year old Czech native has not only participated in the Sochi Olympics but also in every game the Devils have played thus far, leading the team in every offensive categories. Even posting an impressive +14 on a team with few plus players.

    2) The part of the story that we found interesting is that Jagr apparently intends to possibly move on to his 8th team (assuming he doesn't re-sign with a team he has previously suited up for) Not that he has any ill feelings toward NJ, but with their likely missing the playoffs and the future being cloudy, the veteren wants another chance to win a Cup.  We're told he would prefer to stay in the East where travel is far less onerous, but would consider one of the west coast teams if an appropriate offer from an East team fails to come to fruition.  Confidants of JJ tell Fauxrumors that he'd love to go back to NY and be part of the Rangers.

    Sunday, April 6, 2014

    Week 25 Results

    1) The second to last weekly picks post is completed. For the day we just missed perfection!!  WE went 10-1 with only missing the Sharks-Preds match up. This brings our season long totals to an astounding 179-92, or a .661 winning %. Unfortunately the one loss was also our 'lock to drop that stat to a still amazing 23-2.  WE  will complete the season next week when 9 games are scheduled on the next to last day of the regular season.
    As always, keep it here for all the latest!

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    Week 25 Picks!

    1) Amazingly, its the second to last weekend of the NHL season. Still many playoff spots yet to be finalized so today/nights games are super important for many teams. So far through 24 weeks we have a record of  169-91 for a .650 winning %.

    Boston vs Philadelphia: Bruins

     Colorado vs St. Louis: Avalanche

     Washington vs NY Islanders: Capitals

     Winnipeg vs Toronto: Jets

     Montreal vs Detroit: Habitants

     Dallas vs Tampa Bay: Stars

     Ottawa vs NY Rangers: Senators

     New Jersey vs Carolina: Devils

     Minnesota vs Pittsburgh: Wild

     Vancouver vs Los Angeles: Canucks

     Nashville vs San Jose: Sharks (Lock of the Week)
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