Saturday, November 27, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
As far as the rest of the Blues, they're playing extremely well in front on last season's prized off season signing, Jaroslav Halak. As you look at their crop of forwards, it's obvious they provide some serious match up issues. Their depth is impressive. Boyes, MacDonald, Backes, Perron, Oshie,Steen....all dangerous. On the back end, they're led by Eric Brewer, Baret Jackman and Eric Johnson. All big bodies, but not the most experienced group in the league. All quality younger players though, so take nothing for granted.
But things really begin and end in net for them, and Halak has been beyond impressive. Finally out of the shadows of "Jesus Price", and the nonsense of the Canadiens franchise, Halak is proving that last year's playoff performance was no fluke. In 9 games, he has a 1.53GAA and a .940 save%. Not too shabby at all. He's a likely Vezina candidate this year, along with our own Timmy Thomas of course.
Thoughts on tonight's game
Losing last night against the Caps should have come as no surprise. I certainly expected a better effort over the first 40 minutes, but I was impressed by the comeback attempt in the third. That "should" bode well for tonight. That effort has shown me that this Bruins team has more heart and pride than perhaps they displayed last year. I fully expect a better start to tonight's game, and if they lose, I doubt it will be because of effort.
It's expected that Tuukka Rask will get the start tonight. He, for his own state of mind, needs to have a good game. Even in a loss, if he plays up to his standard, that will go a long way towards getting him back on track. Of course, the team has to play better in front of him than they have the last couple times out. Having said that, I think he and the team all show up tonight. I'm feeling a 3-1 Bruins win, with Recchi, Bergeron and Chara getting the goals for Boston. And what the hell, I'm seeing Sobotka getting one for the Blues (which would be his first point of the season).
While the Blues aren't looked at as an overly "rough & tumble" team, they certainly have plenty of guys willing and able to throw 'em. BJ Crombeen, Brad Winchester and Cam Jansen are all more than capable fighters. Jansen (when healthy) and Crombeen being the primary tough guys, despite Winchesters size (6'5,230lbs). I don't see any way, after last night's stinker, that Thornton doesn't try getting the boys off to a quick start tonight. Look for Shawn to get the ball rolling early, probably grabbing Crombeen within the first shift or two. Winchester almost certainly will try to get involved as well, and it may be down to a Mark Stuart type to deal with him. I'd say Lucic, but not sure how often those two will be on the ice together.
So, welcome home SOB. There are plenty of us here that miss you, and wish you well. Just not TOO well tonight.
Just skate your wing,
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
At the recent New York Comic Con that was held couple weeks ago, Lee himself was on hand to present "The Guardian Project" as part of a panel discussion along with NHL commish Gary Bettman. The above image served as nothing more than a teaser for the project but a closer look reveals more than a few clues on each of these soon to be reveled team-influenced heroes.
Coming up, the full details on what the Hell this project really is, as some glimpses of Stan Lee's NHL superheroes; a.k.a. You'll Believe That a Man Can Flyer. The description of "The Guardian Project," which will no doubt inspire confidence about the chances for its massive success included a statement to the effect of "This unprecedented partnership, deemed Guardian Media Entertainment (GME), takes a cutting-edge approach to animation as all content is being designed for multi platform media applications. The plans for the project include "comic books, a novel, mobile applications, TV and film"
According to a recent article from USA Today on the project; Organizers are keeping a lid for now on the powers and likenesses of The Guardians, with plans to reveal them individually over time on the enterprise's website (http://www.guardianproject30.com/) before presenting them together at January's NHL All-Star game with each of the teams having a role in designing their clubs hero to reflect themselves, city and fan base.
Based on what's already been announced and that I've seen first hand, each hero will reflect the team itself, such as the Flyers being characterized by toughness (cheap shotting) the Montreal Canadiens by speed (and I assume the ability to flop at a moments notice...) the Toronto Maple Leafs by size and strength (and delusional fans) etc., Overall its been positioned that these NHL superheroes will work together and separately, although there will be friction between those representing traditional rivalries, such as that between the Flyers and the New York Rangers. With this in mind you've got to think that "Leafs Mans" superpower must be something like having the ability to massively disappoint for decades but somehow still lead the league in merchandise sales.
Personally I'm thinking that this innovative multi property effort will either be a HUGE hit or will quickly disappear with little notice but regardless I'll be sure to post more on this as well as any other info and photos of each of the individual teams "Heroes" as they are introduced. Until then though; Lets Go Broons! & "Excelsior! Bitches” -KingKrej46
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I know what you're thinking....."finally, a damn game preview blog. What the hell has this slacker Kynch been doing?". Simple answer is, I've been slacking. Longer answer is, I was in Prague for the first two games, and let's just say internet availability there is a little sketchy (plus I really didn't feel like blogging from my phone, my sole source of internet access). Saturday, I was totally slacking, playing some golf on the Cape (Cape Cod for you out of towners!). But hey, that's the past. I'm here now and ready to give this a whirl. So let's jump right into it, shall we?
Let's see, when you play against the Caps, what is your first priority? Obviously, it's containing that Norris trophy shoe-in Karl Alzner, right? No? Oh, that's right. They DO have some kid named Ovechkin, who I think is going to turn into a decent NHL prospect one of these days. Maybe the B's should focus on him. And from all indications, that is exactly what coach Julien is doing. Looks like Chara and Seidenberg will be the top pairing again tonight, to slow down the Caps top line (just as they were paired together to stop New Jersey's top heavy first line). "OV" is off to his usual hot start, potting 4G & 4A in Washington's first 5 games. He has a point in every contest. As goes Ovechkin, so go the Caps. As Tim Thomas (tonight's likely starter) mentioned, it seems as though when Ovechkin is flying, the rest of his team follows suit. If you slow him down, the others tend to lose a step as well. Sounds like a simple plan, but it's easier said than done. On the bright side, even if Washington, as the home team, is able to avoid Chara/Seidenberg with creative line changes, the Bruins may still be OK. In the preseason game, where the B's played very short handed, Johnny Boychuck had a HUGE game against Ovechkin. I lost track of how many times OV was thwarted in one on one situations against Johnny B. Even the Caps announcers were raving about his play. Let's hope that translates to tonight.
But Ovechkin, despite being the ring leader of that circus, is far from the only threat. Semin and Backstrum are both deadly in their own right. The B's catch something of a break, as it appears Mike Green will sit this one out. Not that I'm a fan of Green, as I think he is HORRIBLE in his own end, but some of the Caps fast break offense is missing without him in the lineup. However, the Caps have a suitable replacement for him, in Natick Ma.'s own John Carlson. The rookie is second in team scoring, with 1G & 5A.
From the Boston side of things, you can't ask for much more balance than they got Saturday against the Devils. After playing a sloppy first period, the B's rallied with four goals in the second period. One from each line. Tough to beat that, and makes for some match-up issues for Bruce Boudreau & company. If the Bruins play their simple, defense first style, they can absolutely beat the Caps, or anyone else. When they fail to pay attention to detail, like game one in Prague, they're very beatable. I expect nothing short of a solid effort from them tonight, as they're well aware this is their first real"test". They've played a struggling Devils squad, and a hit or miss Coyotes team. Tonight, they get to prove themselves against some of the iron in the Eastern conference.
Washington went out and got tough guy DJ King from St. Louis this off season. King is a legit middle-heavyweight. IF he's in the Caps lineup tonight, you can bank on him paying Shawn Thornton a visit. This is one of those match-ups that I love for Thornton. Should be a very entertaining bout when (and if) these two get together. Both love to trade punches, and in my book are fairly evenly matched. DJ King, while tough, isn't the kind of guy I was talking about when I praised the B's for signing McGrattan. This is the type of fighter Thornton should handle (or possibly Lucic, depending on the situation).
Whether King is in the lineup or not, I also wouldn't be surprised if former B's prospect Matt Hendricks drops the gloves as well. Hendricks is no heavyweight, but has definitely shown a willingness to "go". My gut tells me he does tonight, and Mark Stuart is the one to oblige him.
Well, since I've always been SO accurate with my predictions, I figured I'd keep it going this year. I see the Bruins winning this one (shocking, I know). Look for a 3-2 game, with Horton, Bergeron and Chara your scorers for the good guys. On the other side, old friend Mike Knuble scores against us, if for no other reason than he ALWAYS seems to score against the B's. Going off the map a bit with their other goal, but I see Eric Fehr getting it.
Keep your elbow tucked,
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Well, it's been awhile since I've posted anything, so I apologize for that. I was hoping to have a report from the Belfast game, but it looks like my Irish correspondent is still recovering (or still drunk). If he's able to give us the Irish perspective on that game, I'll post it. For now, I'll jump into my Prague experience a bit.
As everyone who has ever been to Prague will tell you, it is an absolutely beautiful city. The architecture, the history...all amazing. The people, while not exactly the "warmest" you'll ever meet are certainly not threatening in any way. You may not always feel "welcome", but neither do you feel overly "unwanted". But a funny thing happens when you get away from the heavily touristy areas. The people, especially late at night in one of the pubs, which seem to be every fifty feet or so, let their hair down in a big way. The gruff exterior of a long oppressed people is gone. Replaced with a fun loving attitude that can only come from a people who have known life when freedom, self expression and simple joys were a foreign idea. Bottom line, this is a population making up for lost time. Boy oh boy, are they making up for lost time.
It can feel at times that you've stepped into a time warp, and landed in a suburban mall somewhere in the US in the mid-80's. The fashion, the hair (they're HUGE fans of the mullet) and the music all scream 80's. Of course, like all their music, every 80's song they play seems to have the same annoying "dance mix-techno pop" treatment applied to it. Oddly, though most places etc played that awful techno garbage, the pubs with live music featured American jazz and blues. Let's just say I was a bit surprised walking into a neighborhood pub only to find a Dixieland Jazz band playing. Should have known then that things were going to be "interesting".
American "culture" is taking hold here, as evidenced by our most prominent export....fast food. Everywhere you look, KFC (some serving beer of course), McDonalds & Subway are intermingled with the more traditional Czech establishments. Shame too, because the Czech's actually have some very good food of their own.....albeit a bit heavy. Seems every menu item is tailor made to cure a hangover. Not surprising for a country that consumes more beer, by a mile, than any other. When incredibly tasty and fresh beer literally costs less than a soda, you can see why (roughly $1-$1.50USD).
OK, enough of the Travel Channel stuff. What about the game experience? Well, I only went to game one. I think we can all agree that from a hockey entertainment standpoint, that was pretty pathetic. I don't know who those guys in the B's jerseys were, but they certainly the team I was expecting to see.
As far as experience, it was great. The first thing that stands out is how many NHL fans were there. Not Bruins or Coyote fans (although to their credit, Phoenix did have a very large representation). I think every team in the NHL was represented by local Czech (and other Eastern Europeans) fans. So many different game jerseys, with their wearers proudly sporting painted faces, it was a bit bizarre. But they were hugely into hockey, no matter who was playing. Shame the NHL charged their usual NHL rates for the game, as this left the average Czech fan out in the cold. In my section, we were probably the only four speaking English. The rest was a mix of Czech, German, Austrian and any number of other languages. Many in attendance owed their allegiance to one team or another based solely on which, if any, of their countrymen played for them. Which explains how the Austrian next to me felt no hesitation being a Bruins fan, yet also being a big Sabres fan....because Tomas Vanek is "our best player" (as in, Austria's best). My attempt to sway him based on the behavior of Buffalo players and fans was futile. Oh well.
The O2 arena itself is very nice. It's sort of in the middle of nowhere, but the area seems to be going through some development, so there may be more pre and post-game eating and drinking options soon. I hope so, because the "bowling club" we had a beer at was a bit....sketchy.The pub where we ate was also one of the very few where NOBODY spoke or understood a word of English. But at least it's right off the train stop, so it's easy to get to (the Prague transit system is great...once you get the hang of it).
Having every person entering the building go through a metal detector is a little time consuming, and makes getting in a pain, but safety first I guess. Once inside, it wasn't much different than any other arena. The concourses all seemed like they could be slightly larger, and the beer was the much more expensive than at the bars (of course "expensive" is a relative term. Arena beers cost roughly $2.25....still much better than the Garden's $7-$8!).You know you're in Europe, when between periods the place absolutely empties out.....yet the concourse is oddly quiet. Yep, everyone was in the smoking area.
As far as game presentation, I'm kind of torn. Was it cool that the Bruins, as the "home team", were able to have their PA announcer present? Sure. But I also was looking forward to a 100% "Czech experience". They did announce everything in English and Czech, so that was OK. One thing I did enjoy was, no matter how hard they tried getting the crowd going with those foolish "noise" or "get loud" signs on the score board, the locals wouldn't bite. Give them a REASON to cheer, they will. TELL them to, not going to happen. But I really enjoyed it when they took THEIR chants, and applied them to OUR teams. Let's just say, the four of us at least, will be doing everything we can to carry their "Bos-TONE (clap clap clap)" chant to the Garden this season....and yes, you do have to do it with the accent.
Game two saw us watching from a downtown pub. When looking for a bar to watch a hockey game, I guess you can't do much better than a place called "Hockey Bar". So that's where we went. It wasn't as busy as we had expected, but before long we did have the various Czech, Germans, Austrian's and whoever else was there cheering for our beloved boys in Black & Gold. Fortunately, they gave us reason to be proud. THAT is how they have to play to be successful.
So what did I take away from the actual games? Let's see...
1)If they don't play a smart, aggressive style they have no chance. Soft passes, poor decisions and defensive confusion reigned in game one. And they blown out because of it.
2)when they skate, they win. Game 2 was a complete 180 from the previous day. They outworked the 'Yotes, so they won. Simple as that.
3)Nathan Horton could very well be everything the scouts thought he was supposed to be when he was drafted. Put him in a stable environment, with solid teammates and a focused coach and he could be one of the top scorers in the NHL. Deadly wrist shot, quick release, good size and the willingness to use it. He makes Boston a dangerous team, and should open things up for other lines.
4)I'm going to like the B's 4th line. I already like Thornton, that's obvious. But Campbell, I think, is a guy we're all going to learn to love. Hard worker, stand up guy, and has more skill than most 4th liners. He should be fun to watch. And with any of Paille, Marchand or McGrattan riding the other wing spot, there are a few different looks Julien could throw out there night to night. Personally, I'm already looking forward to McGrattan's first game as a Bruin.
5)The Tuukka-Timmy "situation" is going to be interesting to watch. While Tuukka certainly didn't get any help in his start, he also wasn't exactly on his game. Worse, his little tantrum after the second period (not sure if it was visible on TV) shows me that he's still got a good dose of that petulant, whiny little kid in him. Has anyone ever heard him say ANYTHING was his fault? Didn't think so, yet I've heard him plenty of times talk about the team in front of him. Timmy, on the other hand, looked sharp all day. And contrary to Tuukka, when Timmy gets pissed off, he plays better. He handles it himself, and takes ownership. This battle is going to be fun, and yes folks...it's actually OK to pull for BOTH of them. They're both trying to do the same job for our team, no reason to hate one or the other.
6)The kids are alright (wow....that's an over used line, even by my standards). Seguin's speed is impressive to say the least (not nearly as impressive as Kynch's Korner contributor Angela's timing though...she no sooner got the words "has anyone else been impressed by Seguin's speed?" out her mouth when he broke away for his first NHL goal). He'll make his share of mistakes, but his pure talent will get him off the hook for a lot of it. Jordan Caron may also open a lot of eyes. He's looked like a veteran since day one of camp. Now, I'm not trying to say he's going to be a Rookie Of The Year candidate or anything, but I can't help but think back to Joe Thornton's rookie year. All the hype (rightfully so) was on "Jumbo Joe". But Sergei Samsonov walked away with ROY honors. Again, NO...I don't think Caron will even be in that conversation. I just think at the end of the year, he may make a much bigger impact than most expected.
7)I didn't think it was possible, but I like Patrice Bergeron even more now. Everything about him oozes class. From the way he works on the ice, to the way he's clearly mentoring Seguin. From his vast community involvement, to his desire to remain a Bruin, and his willingness to take less money to stay here. This kid is the kind of guy every franchise needs, but most will never know. Take a moment to enjoy this guy folks, he's a special one.
Well, that's it for now. Still trying to get back on Boston time. With the next game not until Saturday, I should be fully recovered by then. In the mean time, I'll gather my thoughts and try to put something a bit more coherent for my next post. What can I say? Too many Pivo's!
Monday, September 27, 2010
As anyone that knows me, or reads this blog regularly knows, it doesn't take much for me to ratchet up the "hate" during any NHL season. The mere sight of a Canadiens jersey is enough to fire me up, and long for the days of the good old bench-clearing brawl. Ditto for Sabres, Leafs, Flyers and to a lesser extent, Rangers gear. As a Bruins fan, the "hatred" of those teams is obvious, and understandable. Particularly when it comes to Montreal, as there is a level of respect for the way they've managed to break my heart over the years. "Back in the day", the losses, while heartbreaking, were somewhat tempered by the fact that they were just good teams, with "honorable" players, for the most part. hate them as you may, it was pretty tough to disrespect guys like Larry Robinson, who was a class act. Sure, Guy Carbonneau was/is easy to hate, but every team in every era has guys like that. Of course, over the years some weird metamorphosis has taken place in La Belle Province. Now diving, cheating, hit and run cheap shot artistry has taken hold. Shame really.
But that's a team thing. My question is, who are the individual players that just get your blood boiling? The one guy in an enemy jersey that single handedly revs up the rivalry to the point where a win is nearly a secondary goal. A guy that, is so low, dirty and flat our embarrassing, despite relative "productivity", you would never want to see in a Bruins jersey? Here's my list, I'd be interested to see how it stacks up to yours. In no particular order (other that number one perhaps), I present the ten CURRENT NHL players I despise.
10: Jarko Ruutu- This guy is the ultimate cheap shot artist, a guy that is never afraid to take advantage of an unsuspecting, vulnerable player. The bigger the star, the more likely he is to unload a "questionable" hit. As evidenced by the brutal hit on Jaromir jagr in the 2006 Olympics, and the cheap shot, after the whistle knee-on-knee hit of Ilya Kovalchuck in 2008. The only thing that keeps this bum from being higher on my list, is because he will *sometimes* drop the gloves and actually answer for his actions. And by sometimes, I mean once or twice per year. Normally, he can be seen instigating a brawl, then hiding behind the refs flashing his goofy Joker-esque grin.
9:Steve Downie- This clown is an accident waiting to happen. From his blatant attempt to injure Sidney Crosby this past March, to the vicious head shot delivered to Ottawa's Dean McAmmond in a PRESEASON game in 2007 (a hit that earned him a 20 game suspension), Downie has demonstrated his lack of class wherever he's played. But at least he's an equal opportunity dirt bag. Downie has also served a 20 game suspension in the AHL, for slashing an official. Not to mention the 5 game suspension he received for a fight/hazing incident with a TEAMMATE in the OHL. He'd be much much higher on this list if he played in the division, or was still a member of the Flyers, as opposed to Tampa.
8:Patrick Kaleta- This pest probably deserves to be higher on the list, but frankly he's so pathetic to watch, I don't want to give him the honor of ranking any higher than 8. The fact that the ever delusional Sabres fan base considers him an "enforcer" is equally pathetic.....and yet another example of why I hate Buffalo. Their fans are beyond ridiculous. But hey, I guess living in that hell-hole, complete with exactly zero championships in anything, is enough to make anyone a little loopy. Kaleta, is generally the first guy to run his mouth....then run to the bench. He's also a world-class diver, which should come as no surprise. Buffalo seems to be taking a page out of the Montreal playbook in recent years. The slightest contact with Kaleta will send him sprawling. Plays and players like this need to be removed from the NHL. It's embarrassing.
7:Chris Neil- Neil is one of those tough choices. He's a guy you hate, but can't always put a finger on exactly why. Then, you watch him play and it all comes back to you. A decent fighter, who stands out from the others on this list in that he will fight anyone, any time. But his constant yapping, whining and inexcusable diving are just too much to leave him off any "pest" list. Neil has come full circle in his career. When he first broke into the NHL, he was nothing more than a fighter. A few years in, he suddenly decided he could score a little. He topped out at 16 goals in 2006, while adding 204PIMS. Decent production to be sure. But still, I prefer my "enforcers" to let their game do the talking, something Neil has never been able to do. His full time mouth, combined with his over acting ways earn him a spot here. Congrats.
6:Scott Walker- Do I really need to mention how Walker earned his spot on this list? Yes, sometimes all it takes is one despicable act to earn a lifetime in my dog house. And there haven't been many acts more gutless than the absolute sucker punch Walker threw on our (beloved) Aaron Ward in the playoffs in 2009. How he didn't get suspended is beyond me, and pretty much sums up what is wrong with the NHL's supplementary discipline system. Even before throwing that punch, he was essentially the third man in, and made his entrance by elbowing Ward square in the face. What a hero you are, Mr. Walker. Not enough bad things can happen to this punk as far as I'm concerned. (and yes, maybe I'm still a little bitter that he, of all people, scored the series clinching goal for Carolina).
At the half way point, and I'm already FIRED UP....the regular season can't get here fast enough!
5: Dan Carcillo. A RAT, period. Carcillo piled up 17 fighting majors last year, which on the surface would seem to remove him from the "pest" discussion. But since this is my "most hated", not "biggest pest" list, he's easily top 5 material. The fact that he only ranks 5th surprises even me. But as usual, this list is fluid, and any of these guys can rise & fall with the tides of the season. The number of bouts this dirt bag piled up last year is slightly skewed once you take a look at some of his hand picked dance partners. There was of course the blatant sucker punch of renowned heavyweight Matt Bradley. And lets not forget his monumental achievement in taking on legendary goon Marion Gaborik. Please. This guy picks his spots with the best of them. Not a fighter? He's your guy. At the end of a long shift? He'll be your huckleberry. Got your head down, and have no idea you're even in a fight? Yep, dance reservation is booked. Beyond the selective fighting is his history of questionable hits, and so many dives it would make a Canadiens fan blush is the fact that EVERYTHING this piece of dirt does is for show. He's an extremely selfish player, who will run his mouth, play to the crowd and take foolish penalties at the worst times. How and why he's considered by some to be a "good teammate" is beyond me. Not sure he knows the meaning of "team", and I'd never want him on mine.
4:Sean Avery- I know, 4 does seem low, doesn't it? But this ass hat's act has gotten so old and tiresome, that it almost seems like old news to rank him any higher. Avery's long list of, shall we say, "unfortunate incidents", has been well documented. From his cheap shotting, constant yapping, turtling and generally running away from nearly every incident he incites, to his ridiculous "look at me" comments off the ice. every part of him and his whole act are just plain played out. Another guy that somehow is considered a decent teammate.....until his act wears thin there, then it's on to the next. I have to believe his act wouldn't play well in Boston, where we prefer our guys to actually back up their words. Shame, because if he lost the circus side-show aspect of his game, he is a decent player. But one not worth all the negatives he brings.
3:Steve Ott- What in the world were the Dallas Stars thinking a couple years ago when they had both Ott and Avery on the same team. I feel bad for every player on that roster that had to put up with their nonsense. And more often than not, pay the price for their shenanigans (just think of poor Matt Niskanen getting filled in by Sheriff Shane Hnidy after Ott spent the night stirring the pot, and not answering for his own actions. To recap that night: Ott threw at least three dirty, very low hits (Yelle, Lucic and Savard). He flat out ran away from and refused to drop the gloves with Thornton, Hnidy or Lucic. That one game is a perfect microcosm of this ass's career. He's been cheap and dirty his entire career. And honestly, he isn't a good enough hockey player to get away with it. I'm still stunned he's been able to stick around as long as he has. A complete embarrassment, not only to the NHL, but to anyone with any shred of pride.
2: Matt Cooke- Obviously his gutless, predatory cheap shot hit on Marc Savard vaulted this gutless, worthless puke to the #2 spot on my list. For sheer violence of action, he should probably be ranked #1. Even without the Savard hit on his resume, he has a long enough history to be a top 5 most hated around the league. In an eerily similar hit to the Savard one, Cooke was suspended two games for a "targeted blow to the head" of Sergei Anisimov of the NY Rangers. Another blind side, head high elbow on a player that had already released the puck. Makes it even more amazing that this piece of trash wasn't suspended for the Savard hit. But Cooke isn't just a one trick pony. In addition to a series of head shots, he's also a bigfan of knee on knee hits (as Eric Cole), Slew Foots (see; Colin Fraser) and extremely late hits on players doing such threatening things as making a line change (as in, Zach Parise). Look these incidents, among many others, up on youtube. It's amazing he's still standing. Although I have to admit, I became a huge Evander Kane fan the day Kane scored a one-punch knock out on Cooke. Good times, should happen on a nightly basis. If anyone deserves to feel the effects of post concussion syndrome themselves, it's this head hunting coward.
Well, after all that ranting through the first 9, who could possibly earn my coveted #1 most hated player in the NHL? It may or may not surprise you....
1: Mike Komisarek- Now, don't let the fact that "Komi" wasn't around to cause much trouble last season cloud your memory of this gutless puke. One of my main criteria is, if you're going to run your mouth, take liberties and "act tough" out there, you had damn well better be willing to answer the bell every time. Komisarek, unfortunately doesn't believe he should be held responsible for anything he says or does out there. And as much as little guys running around acting tough drives me crazy, it's even more infuriating when a big kid acts like a coward. And Komisarek, at 6'4" 225lbs is certainly big enough to go with the big boys. If he's going to play "on the edge", he needs to step up. At the very least, if you aren't going to drop the gloves, SHUT YOUR MOUTH. He's constantly chirping and whining about something. He's big on waiting for the refs to get between him and whoever want to "talk" with him, then start making bug gestures like he's actually interested in going. Please. Everyone knows that is all for show. He really needs to just skate away with his tail between his legs like the beaten dog he is. Even after Lucic pounded him (FINALLY), Komisarek refused to let go of his jersey after the refs stepped in, in some lame attempt to look like he didn't just get his teeth kicked in or something. Of course the fact that all of this transpired while he was wearing a Canadiens sweater made it all the more entertaining. I can only pray that he's healthy this year, because that will put the Bruins-Leafs games over the top. With Komi "doing his thing", and Lucic looking to repent for last season's down year, things could get very interesting. (and with Colton Orr on the prowl protecting "komi", my man McGrattan would be well utilized freeing up Thornton, Lucic, Stuart or anyone else that can get a hold of Komisarek.)
Man, it's only September and I'm already in mid-season hatred form. So that's my top ten as of today. As I said, that's subject to change as the season goes on. Perhaps a new "villain" will appear, or one of these chumps does something even more outrageous. If they do, it's obviously an attempt on their part to climb higher on my list.
Man up and answer the bell,
Friday, September 24, 2010
A lot going on hockey wise these days (it's wonderful isn't it?) Here are some random hockey news stories worth checking out while you avoid doing any work on this lovely Friday afternoon:
** Interesting read. Bob Probert's brain has been donated to a research project at Boston University. No really, it has. The study focuses on head trauma and the possible lingering effects for athletes. Obviously this has been a hot topic here in Boston, especially earlier this week when it was discovered Marc Savard is still suffering from post concussion symptoms.
** Sick of the Sid VS Ovie business? Yeah me too. As we all know, this season's Winter Classic will feature The Capitals taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins. HBO and the NHL are both looking to cash in on the "rivalry" as much as possible by airing a special 4 week long documentary series leading up to it.
Personally I have mixed feelings about this. I have pretty much had my fill of the Pens and Caps being continually paraded around by the league. However, hockey being the "red headed stepchild" of the sporting world is not just a Boston phenomenon. Aside from your larger markets, your typical American sports fan doesn't pay much attention to the game. It also doesn't help that the NHL has been terrible at marketing it's product over the years. (Incredibly terrible)
A show like this is placing the entire league in the spotlight, and the possibilities are endless. I'm not personally familiar with the Hard Knocks show, which is the blue print for this series. How will it be executed, and what sort of audience are they targeting? Does "uncensored" mean I'll get to aquire an arsenal of Russian swear words? Guess we'll have to wait and see.
** Cue the Brass Bonanza! The Whale is returning! Sort of...This isn't really the return of the Whale as much as a clever marketing push to sell more tickets for the Rangers AHL affiliate. But hey, I'm sure the Whalers booster club is pumped they're getting an AHL team instead of the NHL team they were after. (Also, does anyone else find it strange they are waiting until mid season to make the name change?)
** "Score: A Hockey Musical" did not go over well at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month. I know. I was shocked to hear this myself. I mean what could possibly go wrong having Olivia Newton John Star in a musical about hockey?
Hm. Apparently a lot could go wrong.
Let's hope "The Goon", which started the pre-production process earlier this month, fares a bit better.
** Finally, let's all just take a moment to be jealous of the fans over in Phoenix. Not only will they get the opportunity to partake in special giveaway nights that include camo hats and wearable blankets, but they also get a special 80's night! (and I thought the Rene Rancornament night at the Garden was going to be awesome) Ah, hockey in the desert. It never ceases to amaze me.
Alright, that's all I've got for you. Enjoy your weekend folks! Please don't forget that NESN is actually going to be airing the pre-season game against the Panthers this Saturday night. If you can't make it over to the Garden to heckle Dennis Wideman in person, be sure to tune in. Puck drops at 7.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Let's get some of the awkward introductions out of the way so we can get down to business, shall we?
My name is Angela and I'm a lifelong Bruins fan (bet you've never heard that line before). Fact is, I love the game. Period. This season will mark my 4th year as a season ticket holder, and on any given game night I can be found yelling/cheering/complaining from section 316. If you're in the neighborhood, feel free to stop by and say hello. (bring beer!) People over at Sully's sometimes call me Chucky and I'm pretty sure it won't take you long to figure out why. Personally, I like players who crash the net and aren't afraid to get nasty in the corners. I also prefer my defensemen to come from the stay at home breed. (Not the sexy choice, I know.) I enjoy long walks on the beach and....wait. Wrong blog.
Let's move on.
When Kynchie asked me to join in the fun I asked myself "What could I possibly add to this fabulous blog?" Then it hit me. I've noticed a lot of the local fans I'm running into these days aren't staying up to date with the ongoings around the NHL. So I am going to take it upon myself to try and keep you lovely people informed. Remember kids, when going into any battle it's essential to know your enemy! Who knows, you might also get some fun fact sheets and rants/tirades from me as well. (Who am I kidding, you'll probably get A LOT of rants and tirades.)
It's important for you to know that I'm a newbie with this blogging business, so please bare with me. I'll do my best to update somewhat regularly, and hopefully keep it all "readable" as well as kid friendly (although I make no promises here).
Until next time, here's a little something to keep you busy:
Our old pal Nick Boynton got a one game suspension for this little show after his fight with Blair Jones during a pre-season game with the Bolts last night.
Your call: Classless and worth punishment, or just some old time hockey?
Shawn Thornton, as his 21 fighting majors last year will attest, is more than willing to drop the gloves for his teammates. Which is great, I respect that greatly. But the thing is, Thornton is also a pretty decent fourth liner. Great energy guy, extremely popular with teammates and fans alike. So, as much as I appreciate him handling the rough stuff, so the likes of Lucic don't have to (there will be more on Lucic later in the week), I want to see him be able to do LESS of that this year.
Again, no disrespect intended, but many, if not most, of Thornton's fights were of the "staged" variety. The gentlemanly type, where both parties agree ahead of time that there will be a fair and reasonable bout after the puck drops etc etc. Screw that. I think we can all agree that a spontaneous "what the F did you just do to my teammate!?" reactionary fight is much more enjoyable, and effective as a deterrent. The B's need to have at least the threat of some lunatic hopping the boards to keep the cheap stuff to a minimum.
Now I realize roster space is limited, and "wasting" a spot for a "goon" seems a luxury in today's NHL. And I agree. To a point. I don't see a McGrattan type dressing every night. Perhaps he's the spare, sitting in the press box most nights. Maybe he toils away in the AHL, protecting all the young, small high end prospects they will have on the roster. But if, and more likely, when, things heat up with the big club and some of the hammerheads in the East, he gets inserted into the lineup. If someone gets dinged up and needs a night or two off, he gets a shot to play a little. However they decide to use him, just having access to him could pay dividends. And it isn't like he's going to cost much.
Why the need all of a sudden for this kind of guy you ask? Simple. Look at the Eastern Conference this year. Where did all the tough guys end up? Yep, right here in the East, predominantly with some of the Bruins bigger rivals. Starting with the 6'7" Derek Boogard signing with the Rangers. As skilled a fighter Thornton is, I'd much rather he take a pass on having to deal with the Boogy Man.
Colton Orr, one of the hardest punchers in the game remains in Toronto. That rivalry is only getting more and more heated. And with the return (luckily) of a healthy Mike Komisarek, there will be even more fuel thrown on that fire (I'll delve into my deep hatred of "Komi" in a future post as well). If Lucic or whoever has an issue with Komisarek, you know Orr will try to intercede on the cowards behalf. The B's need someone to stop that.
Jody Shelley joins the goon squad known as the Flyers this year. As if the likes of Carcillo, Hartnell and company aren't yappy and annoying enough, now they have a legit heavyweight around to back them up. Thornton matches up ok against Shelley, but from a talent perspective, it's just not a good trade for the Bruins.
The Islanders brought in Zenon Konopka, he of the league leading THIRTY THREE fighting majors from last year. Konopka is not a good fighter. At all. He's the modern day Andrei Nazarov (I just threw up in my mouth a little typing that name). Sure, he sucks at fighting, but he'll do it constantly. He also can't play hockey. Do we want our "good" players wasting their time with this side show?
You got it, Enter McGrattan.
That's just a quick pass at some of the more prominent tough guys the B's will be facing regularly in the Eastern Conference. The way I look at it, if you allow a guy like McGrattan to worry about those types, it frees up the Lucic's, Thornton's, Chara's, Stuart's etc to deal with the "regular" dust ups against guys that can actually play. While allowing them to focus more on production on the ice, not spending half the night in the box. In no way does this mean I want or expect anyone else on the roster to turn into the run & hide type like a Komisarek. Every man on that roster has to be accountable and stand up for themselves and each other. But having a designated, go-to guy for the "main events" is the best option. Enter McGrattan.
Granted, it is comical to watch McGrattan skate....and trust me, if you saw him at camp, you'd appreciate just how hysterical it is. During drills, he looked less like he was skating and trailing the play, than he looked like a leg breaker chasing a guy through the park that was late paying his bookie. As awkward as he looks, he actually picks 'em up & puts 'em down pretty well. He can be a somewhat serviceable player, in a very limited role. Julien has mentioned it himself, that he's actually pretty quick on his feet. He's definitely not as good a player as Thornton, which is fine. I don't want or expect him to replace him.
But....isn't it possible that the addition of a McGrattan (and Jeremy Reich for that matter) could serve as great motivation for Shawn? As big a fan of his as I am, we have to admit that he had an off year last season. Again, the 21 fights don't impress me. His overall game, like nearly everyone's, was far better two seasons ago. The message being, "if all you're going to add is staged fights, we have a guy waiting in the wings that can do that for far less money". Do I think it will ever come to that? No, because Thornton has too much pride to suffer through another off year. But the B's can help him get back to form by providing him some much needed back up. Preferably in the form of a guy that would bring "crazy" back to Boston.
Puttin' on the foil,
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
While we'll always pine for the simple days of NES' Blades of Steel or the Spin O' Rama magic of NHL 94'! This years video puck edition of EA Sports NHL hockey all takes the old and familiar that we all still love to the next level by simply adding a few those small, detail level bits and pieces of NHL play that make the game so appealing to our audio and visual senses. Small details like now having sticks break in mid-slapper (like that never happens at least 15 times a night right?) making the play of the puck along the boards smooth yet still ferocious. They've also amped up the sounds of the game, things like skates cutting across mid ice and hearing crunching on top of the ice surface while you're trying to change direction in mid glide (yeah, I'm taking about YOU Siedenberg) The goal horns are all unique to each home arena, having to be aware and playing around broken sticks lingering on the ice to the point of wanting to yell at the ref to pick them up... There's even the edition of that truly GAY "Ole' Ole' Ole' chant...UGH... That aside though it's all here and more and because of these small adds alone makes this years NHL 11' release a MUST have for any video puckhead! With all this in mind here's my "quick and dirty" break down of the games better points from my view:
The Presentation: This is where NHL 11 really shines! Remember the the issue with last year's version having every replay dropping frames faster than a Boogaard opponent... Well not an issue this year with the added bits of frames and new buffering of the action. Top notch! Then there's the aforementioned sound of sticks breaking which is SUPERB! The new third-person fighting modes are perfectly designed as well, which makes the jostling for pucks up against the boards also seamless! This is video puck at its finest...Everything looks and feels real and is absolutely gorgeous! From the rink-specific team chants, to the goal horns buzzing, to the less than cluttered menus, to the numerous number of faceoffs, the excellent soundtrack that includes contributions from bands like 2 Unlimited, Bouncing Souls, The Ramones, the immortal Black Box and even our own Dropkick Murphy's Shipping off to Boston which is a PERFECT add! Then add to all that the HUGE roster of teams and leagues to select from the NHL, AHL, IHL, WHL, OHL, QMJHL even the Russian Kontinental Hockey League! Anyone up for a quick Dynamo Minsk/Spartak Moscow tilt?!
Commentating: The team of Gary Thorne and Bill Clement return from NHL 10 and they do they're usual solid job in the booth. Their commentating is accurate, however they do lack a bit of excitement which is odd for Thorne? Hearing him (Thorne) say things like "And he scores!" is for some reason bland even after all these years, but is still straight forward. Bill Clement on the other hand nails sticks with his old standards and because of that is still sharp and on point. Overall They are accurate, well thought out, and a bit abstruse, but you won't notice that anyway because your attention will be geared towards the beautiful ice rinks and wonderfully designed player models.
The Final Tally: While there's still more than a few small items and would like "to sees" that I could still pick apart in this years edition, I'd rather go with the opinion that when it's all said and done, this years NHL 11 addition is the one of the BEST video hockey games EVER released. It's alot of fun to play (and at times $%@! frustrating... Yeah, I'm talking about YOU Ryder!) and will suit everyones skill level regardless because of the easy to tailor levels of play, easy to find and learn tutorials and easy listing of the most basic controls within the manual itself, which most of us know is no longer a given these days. As of yet I've not seen or read that there are any major glitches, bugs, or slow downs (So its been all goodness so far on that front for a change!) and overall the game is still very fast paced, but not too much so to make it play like a 3 on 3 arcade style one (Yeah, I'm talking about like YOU Ovie!) all while giving you the total feeling of controlling everything that's happening within the game, how and when.
So all in all I'd give this the years release a winning mark of a 9 out of 10 and I'll go out on a limb and predict a 40 goal / 60+ assist season for the video David Krejci for sure! - If you think your man or Chucky enough, feel free to challenge me sometime on XBox Live by using my gamer tag of "KingKrej46" (stunner huh...) Until then though I'd suggest you keep your head up and mouth shut otherwise I just might have to "quick create" Stan Jonathan within the player add menu and roll him over the boards at you! Let's Go Broonze! - KingKrej46
What a long strange trip it's been. After "it" happened back on May 14th, I guess we should have expected a summer of weirdness (That, by the way will officially be the LAST time I mention that date). Before the ice had even melted at the Garden, the speculation, rumors and general grumbling began. So where to start? No better place than the draft.
All the "Tyler or Taylor" talk was, frankly, annoying. The B's were basically in a can't lose situation. Both are more than likely going to be excellent pros. And you have to believe Chiarelli was happy to be in that #2 slot, so Edmonton could pretty much make his decision for him. Sure, one will likely emerge as the "better" NHL player. But when drafting 18 year olds, it's impossible to predict when the talent level is so close. Personally, I'm more than happy with Seguin, despite early on being completely on the Hall bandwagon. As the draft approached, Seguin, to me, emerged as the hungrier, more humble prospect. Being passed over as the #1 will only motivate him. But PLEASE people, can we relax on some of the wild expectations? Sure, he very well may just pile up a ridiculous amount of points as a rookie. But it's just as likely he'll struggle to find his game, especially if put on a more defensive minded line. He has all the skill in the world, but he's still just a kid. A 40 point season, to me, is perfectly acceptable as a rookie. Would I be shocked by many more? No, but I won't crucify him if not either. As long as we see progress, I'm fine with him.
After the draft, the biggest stories obviously revolved around some baffling trade rumors. The rumor mill had Marc Savard going to half the teams in the league at one point or another. The never ending "Savvy for Kaberle" rumors were especially prevalent. From day one, I've been firm in my belief that trading Savard would be a monumental mistake. I mean hey, what do you do when your team is the worst in the league in scoring? Why obviously you trade your most productive forward! Makes perfect sense. Hopefully Savard's Post Concussion symptoms clear up soon. He's a huge piece to getting this team back to it's prolific scoring ways of two seasons ago.
The other trade rumor that left me scratching my head was all the Tim Thomas talk. Sure, I "get it" on some level. Assuming Tuukka is able to put up the kind of numbers he did last year over the course of a full season, he would definitely be a clear number one. Right??? Well, Thomas, when healthy, could easily put up the same stats. I know people either love or hate Timmy. But I don't understand it. So he "flops". He's "unorthodox". But he keeps the puck out of his net. And for a bonus, he's got a short fuse, which I always enjoy! There will be a time this season, even IF Rask establishes himself as the number one guy (not a lock by the way), that the B's will need Thomas. Injuries and slumps aren't uncommon. Personally, I'd much rather have a former Vezina winner coming off the bench than anyone the Bruins currently have in their system. An insulted, motivated Tim Thomas can be nothing but a good thing. Every time he's been doubted, he's proven them wrong. I expect nothing less this year. And let's remember, Tuukka only played in slightly more than half the regular season games last year. And he looked to get more and more fatigued as the playoffs went on. Is he physically capable of being "the man"? We'll see.
As usual, the trade that actually did happen was the one you didn't see coming. Wideman, everyone's favorite whipping boy, was dealt to the lowly Panthers. Good luck. In return, the B's picked up Nathan Horton and Greg Campbell. I'm still stunned Chiarelli was able to make this deal. from where I sit, he won this one big time. Horton, while always considered an under-achiever, has still managed 20+ goal season every year. Wish Boston had more "under-achievers" like that. Playing in a traditional hockey market, for a stable franchise stocked with better players make Horton the player everyone thinks he should be. 30 goals could be just a starting point for him.
As far as Campbell goes, he could be the Mile Lowell of this deal. A "throw in" in many people's eyes, he's a solid 4th liner who adds some "grit" to the Bruins lineup. He's also a lot more skilled than most people give him credit for. I'm real interested to see what kind of season he has. I think he may surprise a lot of us.
So now that summer is over, hopefully we can put an end to the ridiculous trade rumors (at least until Sturm is back I suppose) and focus on the on-ice product. Over the next couple days, I'll be chiming in with who I want to see make the final cut, and who I EXPECT to make it. Two different lists, for sure.
That's it for now.....lame I know, but whatever. Not like I'm charging you freeloaders or anything.
Chip it out, dump it in,
So, what do we have to look forward to in this space this year? Well, of course I'll still be handling all the goon/enforcer/tough-guy/policeman talk. Along with game previews, game recaps and my usual general rambling about things that nobody but myself probably cares about. Boy, can I sell a blog or what!
But this year I'm also planning on having several additional regular contributors. No names to be announced yet, but be prepared to be taught a thing or two about the game from one of the most knowledgeable and passionate female fans on the planet. Stay tuned for more guest commentary as well. Hell, I MAY even be open to some posts from the opposition (I'm looking at you, ALLHABS).
That's it for now, gotta get back to the day job. But spread the word, new & improved Kynch's Korner is here. Looking forward to hearing from you all this season.
Keep your sticks and elbows down,
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Our apologies for the let down but as we all know your only as good as your last shift (which for us frankly was more Widemanesque' than Neely) but we're hoping the upcoming trip to Europe & what's shaping up to be a SPICY 2010 - 2011 season will inspire us to new heights of blogging madness & hypocrisy! So with that our thanks again for your past support and let's get this F'r moving again! - KingKrej46