In the aftermath of Washington’s stunning upset of defending champion Boston on April 25, it did not take long for the crap to hit the fan.

A number of Bruins fans took to social media to show their unhappiness with Washington’s Joel Ward, the man that scored the game-winning goal in overtime, sending the Capitals onto the next round and the Bruins to an early tee-time.

Let me say that I am all for some good trash talk online, but the comments (I edited out the obscenities, but you get the drift) made towards Ward went above and beyond that.

For example:

 

Charlie Cobb @Skoal_Banditt

Joel ward you f…..g n.g..r you suck 6 goals all season you f…..g plug n.g..r bitch

Chase Coulson @K1NGOFCRAZY

Joel Ward is the first n.g..r to score in game 7 overtime

Zach Silva™ @ZachSilva2

Well prime example of the n.g..r rule from NHL 12. F..k you Joel ward

@abrownn36

Can’t believe Boston just let a sand n.g..rr beat them #gobacktothejungle

 

Those are but a few of the Twitter pleasantries that were sent the way of Ward after he iced the game for the Capitals.

As someone that works in social media for my profession, I literally see tons of tweets and shares on a daily basis. While I would like to say nothing amazes me anymore these days, the outcry towards Ward after his goal went beyond disgusting.

Not liking Ward and/or the Capitals is perfectly fine if you’re from Boston, Pittsburgh, New York or any other rival hockey city. Denigrating an athlete just because of his skin color is a totally different thing.

While it is a known fact that there are but a trickle of minority players in the NHL, that does not mean that those there are should be singled out.

Those that chose to voice their immature thoughts on social media following the game should not normally be taken seriously.

First, they likely have the IQ levels of a light bulb. Secondly, they are more than likely not serious hockey fans, as such dedicated fans would rise above such childish behavior. Lastly, the venom with which they spewed their comments is probably a good indicator of how they live their everyday lives.

Why such comments, however, should be taken seriously is that we have a long way to go as a society.

For those fans that thought such comments were okay, take your racist attitudes and go sit in the penalty box.

 

Dave Thomas, who covers among other items workers compensation and small business loans, writes extensively for Business.com. He is also a freelance sportswriter.

 

It wasn’t too long ago that the Chicago Blackhawks were knocked out of the 2011/2012 NHL playoffs at the hands of Mike Smith…err..I mean the Phoenix Coyotes. Two days later, fans have gone batshit crazy in regards to the team holes and what the Blackhawks should do for their upcoming season.

There have been some questionable ideas thrown out there from various Blackhawks fans on what to do with the roster from top to bottom. Do I blame them? No. This is a natural occurrence for any team that doesn’t win the Stanley Cup and the fandom goes all loopy with some donkey ideas. Don’t get me wrong, not all of these ideas are bad ones but the majority of them most certainly are. I think our friend Justyna over at MidwayMadness.com can attest to probably the most outlandish trade hype and that has to do with one time hero, Patrick Kane.

It’s funny how Kane is the scapegoat now and also going back to the trade deadline as the pure answer to solve all of Chicago’s problems. Who do these people want? Rick Nash. They want Nash because he’s a scorer and plays with a physical edge, do we want that type of player? Of course we do. But not at the price of Patrick Kane who is four years younger, makes considerably less money and has scored 29 more points than Nash since Kane broke into the NHL. So do you want to spend 1.5 million more per year on a guy who scores less and is signed through 2018? If your answer is still yes after all of that, shame on you.

Let me remind you that Chicago outplayed Phoenix in each and every game with all but one game going to overtime. Would you have snapshowed like this if they lost in the next round to Nashville? How about the Western final or perhaps even the Stanley Cup final?

Yes the Blackhawks have holes on the team and any onlooker would even realize that. For the ones who watched them all season you probably lost a lot of hair like I did as I was constantly yanking it out of my skull in frustration.

Let’s take a look at the Blackhawks POSSIBLE lineup next year.

Sharp/Toews/Saad

Stalberg/Kane/Hossa

Shaw/Bolland/Bickell

Bollig/Kruger/Carcillo/Frolik

Keith/Seabrook

Leddy/Hjalmarsson

Montador/Olsen

Crawford/Emery

  • Brunette will probably retire but can’t see him being resigned regardless of what he does
  • Morrison. He gone.
  • Mayers. Probably gone, he played a solid role but there are many rookies on the rise.
  • Jimmy and Kevin Hayes will both be fighting for a roster spot next season.
  • O’Donnell. He gone.
  • Lepisto. He gone.
  • Oduya played well in his short time here but was not great in the playoffs. 30% chance he’s back
  • McNeill, Beach, Pirri, Smith and Morin can’t be written off either.

Not a lot of room is there? Of course you can package some talented rookies together and ship them away for some already seasoned players or you can dip into the free agent pool. You want to trade one of our core players? Get real.

Niklas Hjalmarsson has been absolutely ripped by many because he makes too much money. Why rip on him? People make mistakes, it’s not his fault that Bowman signed him to a pretty good contract based off of what he was projected to be. It’s not uncommon and I don’t think I need to list all the players that have bad contracts or were signed to a good deal because of what they were projected to be. “Hammer” is not going to be a Kronwall like some expected him to be. Bowman will deal with it somehow and my guess is a trade.

I haven’t seen this since the trade deadline but one of the more humorous scenarios that people tend to throw out there is packaging up a bunch of the Hawks’ lesser players to get a star player. It really doesn’t work that way.

Does anyone have any realistic ideas for the Blackhawks next season?

Please share.

Thanks for reading,

TK0N

 

Does Shanahan Have a Clue to What He’s Doing in the Playoffs?

As I see it, the most exciting thing in professional sports is overtime hockey in the NHL playoffs.

Unlike the regular season with that God-awful shootout nonsense, the playoffs are a different breed of animal. Sometimes not one or two but three OT’s may be necessary to settle a playoff game.

So, you can imagine my excitement this time of year with the playoffs upon us and already a plethora of first-round games needing an extra session or two to settle it.

What doesn’t have me excited, however, is some of the officiating going on in these opening-round playoffs. As the old story goes, if you don’t notice the refs, they’re doing the job.

Now I grant you that trying to oversee the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh series to date is like trying to get in the middle of a pack of hungry dogs with a T-bone steak on the ground. The officials have had their hands full and then some.

The other series, however, have not been nearly as volatile, so why am I sitting here about to go off on NHL warden Brendan Shanahan?

As I see it, the punishments and those not being handed out have left me scratching my head, much the same as Maple Leafs fans do yearly in early April when they can’t understand why their team doesn’t make the playoffs. Okay, that was a quick jab at Toronto and its fans, but they have enough problems to worry about regarding their product on the ice than they do about me.

In one week of play, Shanahan and his office have done the following:

  • Allowed Nashville’s Shea Weber to audition for a spot in next year’s WWE Wrestlemania with his cheap shot/s on Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg in Game One of their series. Given that Weber makes a cool $7.5 million, the meager $2,500 fine that Shanahan’s office issued is beyond a joke. A minimum one-game suspension and more like two or three should have been the order of the day. As Shanahan views it, since Zetterberg was not injured enough to prevent him from playing in the next game, essentially it comes down to no harm, no foul;
  • Suspended New York’s Carl Hagelin for three games for retiring Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson in Game Two of their series this past weekend. While I agree Hagelin deserved a suspension, was this worse than the goon tactics employed by Weber in the Preds-Red Wings series? To me, Hagelin’s actions were a one-game suspension at most. And in case you are wondering, I’m rooting for the Sens in the series, so I don’t have any love towards New York;
  • Speaking of Ottawa, Matt Carkner got the boot last Saturday in the same contest after turning Brian Boyle’s face into a piñata for several seconds. Carkner ended up with a one-game suspension, something I disagree with. A major fighting penalty and a game misconduct, but suspending Carkner I thought was a little much. In my world, Boyle, who targeted Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson in Game One, made it look 10 times worse by refusing to defend himself. If such an attack took place on the streets, yes, Carkner would be behind bars. That being said, I would hope Boyle would have defended himself a little better if that kind of incident happened in Central Park. I understand the reluctance at times for players to fight, but Carkner didn’t hit Boyle from behind, while Boyle certainly had a chance to defend himself;
  • Dustin Brown lined up Henrik Sedin in Game Three of the playoffs Sunday evening in Los Angeles as the Kings continued their domination of the Canucks in the playoffs. While Sedin has come out since and said it was a clean hit, at least the replays I watched on CBC said something else. If you watch the entire replay, Brown had more than a running (skating) start before nailing the Vancouver captain. While he did not lead with his skates in the air, you can clearly see Brown’s elbow coiled as he finishes the hit. To not draw a one-game suspension was bad, but even worse was the fact that Brown didn’t even have to spend major time in the penalty box. I got into several Twitter discussions the other night right after the hit, a number of people telling me I had no clue as to how hockey is played. Funny, I have been watching the NHL for 30+ years, so I think I have an inkling of how the game goes. Given that Vancouver is on life support and could very well get swept Wednesday evening, I would not be surprised if Brown gets a little payback from someone in Canucks white.

 

While Shany certainly factors whether or not a player is injured into his final ruling, he clearly missed the boat on the Weber and Brown plays, both of which deserved suspensions.

Meantime, giving Hagelin the boot for three games likely only happened because he hit Ottawa’s most notable player.

And as for the series between the Flyers and the Penguins, anyone expecting choir practice Wednesday evening in Game Four is nuts.

Although I do not think it will be a bloodbath, Pittsburgh is on the brink of elimination and has nothing to lose should it get behind a few goals in the third period or sooner.

Right now, despite being down 3-0 in their respective series, both Pittsburgh and Vancouver are probably the two last teams you want to play. They both have nothing to lose, so you may see the gloves come off early and often come Wednesday evening in Philly and L.A., respectively.

So, do you have a different take on how Shanahan has done his job into the first week of the playoffs?

 

Dave Thomas, who covers among other items advice on starting a small business and obtaining workers compensation insurance, writes extensively for Business.com. He has also been a freelance sportswriter for more than 20 years.

 

Yes, we all know how much predictions mean but they are fun to do aren’t they? They’re a crapshoot, if you’re wrong it doesn’t matter, if you’re right you look like a genie.

We’re going to try to look like a genie.

Let us know what you think.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

 

 

 

Ottawa won the season series 3-1.

The Rangers defence should be able to stop the scoring of the Senators. Lundqvist in goal only makes things tougher on Ottawa. Ottawa  handled New York well this season so they could make a series of it.

Rangers in 6

 

 

 

Washington won the season series 3-1.

The return of Nicklas Bäckström is key for Washington but is it enough to overcome the rest of the teams faults such as goaltending? Ovechkin need to play like the old Ovechkin but against the reigning Stanley Cup champions he will be in tough with the Bruins tight checking style. Boston lost 4 of 5 heading into the playoffs but we feel they will turn it up when it counts.

Bruins in 5.

 

 

 

 

Season series tied at 2.

Most will probably pick New Jersey to take this series but one can’t count out the Panthers and their upbeat style of play. With a nice mix of experience and youth we feel this has a chance to be an upset. The Panthers deny all odds and take out New Jersey.

Panthers in 7.

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia won the season series 4-2.

This will be a bloodbath between these two rivals. However, with a healthy lineup the Penguins should prevail in a lengthy fought out series. Philadelphia will try to pound Crosby and Malkin but the Penguins are won’t shy away from taking it out on Giroux and Jagr. With Pronger, this series could be different.

Penguins in 6.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

 

 

 

 

Season series tied at 2.

Los Angeles has the goaltender to steal the Kings some games and with a healthy lineup they should be able to score some goals. Can Quick overcome a deep squad like Vancouver who finished first overall in the league? Unless Daniel Sedin is still out and Luongo shits the bed, it’s doubtful.

Canucks in 6.

 

 

 

 

St. Louis swept the season series 4-0.

St. Louis dominated the season series and San Jose only scored three goals in four games. The young blues have some experienced players and a coach that has them playing an incredible system. The defence wins this one, easily.

Blues in 4.

 

 

 

 

Phoenix won the season series 3-1.

The Coyotes played well against the Blackhawks this season but even if Toews does not play, Chicago has the experience and speed to overcome Mike Smith and the Coyotes stingy style of play.

Blackhawks in 5.

 

 

 

 

Season series tied at 3.

This will be a tight fought battle. The Predators went all out signing free agents to bolster their lineup for a Stanley Cup run. Detroit is always strong and if they get hot at the right time they can go a long way. However, the problems with Nashville in the past is they could not score to match their incredible defence. Now, they can. Home ice advantage plays a big part in this one.

Predators in 7.

 

 

It was almost one year ago when San Jose Sharks Captain Joe Thornton trounced the Los Angeles Kings’ Stanley Cup aspirations.

Trailing 3-2 in 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals, the underdog Kings faced a “win or stay home” game six at the Staples Center. After 60 minutes, the scoresheet was knotted at three and–for the third time in the best of seven series–the outcome would again be decided by sudden death overtime.

Although Los Angeles began the extra session with 1:37 of power play time stemming from a Jamie McGinn 5-minute major and game misconduct, the Kings could not muster a single shot on goaltender Antti Niemi. Following the unprecedented kill, Sharks coach Todd McClellan wisely deployed his top line of Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Devin Setoguchi; the rest, as they say, is history.

Thornton’s series winning, “Are you not entertained!” ovation turned backslide over the the Kings’ center ice emblem did not sit well with the Los Angeles faithful and the noticeably peeved head coach Terry Murray, who spurned the customary post series-handshake.

345 days later, on the final weekend of the 2011-2012 NHL regular season, Los Angeles and San Jose will endure a final two game, home-and-home series to determine Pacific Division supremacy and Western Conference playoff seeding.

After beating the Dallas Stars 5-2 onTuesday night, the Sharks improved to 92 points and remained in the West’s top-eight, three points ahead of the ninth-place Stars. Los Angeles, meanwhile, blanked the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 on Monday, and currently sit atop the Pacific Division (third in the West) with 93 points, holding the tie-breaker over seventh-place Phoenix Coyotes and one point lead cushion on San Jose. All four Pacific Division contenders have two games remaining.

Barring back-to-back regulation losses to the Kings and two culminating Stars victories, the Sharks are an odds on favorite to, at worst, secure the West’s eighth seed, according to Sports Club Stats.

But, after last season’s abbreviated playoff run, Los Angeles is looking forward to an opportunity to send the Sharks golfing.

“I think even in the first game this year we all knew we had San Jose back-to-back at the end of the year,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said during a Wednesday interview with CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz. “We didn’t want it to come down to these last two games like it’s going to, but we knew it would be two big games. We definitely want to do whatever we can to knock them out of the playoff picture. We want third place, and that’s what we’re going to play for.”

If the Kings want to end the Sharks’ streak of eight consecutive playoff appearances, they will have to do so without one of their leading scorers. Recently acquired center Jeff Carter remains day-t0-day with a deep bone bruise in his ankle.  Carter, acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a trade-deadline deal in late February, has missed the past three games and has yet to participate in a full practice since sustaining the injury.

Conversely, if the Sharks want to extend their streak of four straight Pacific Division titles, they will not only need some help from the Coyotes, but they will also need to hurriedly reverse their road woes. Since Jan. 15, San Jose is just 5-13-4 in road games and they have yet to defeat the Kings at Staples Center this year.

San Jose’s last victory in LA was the result of Thornton’s game six, series clinching overtime winner; Big Joe and the boys will attempt to repeat history tonight.

For a more comprehensive–and somewhat nauseating–look at San Jose’s potential playoff clinching scenarios, check out CSN Bay Area.

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