Hello there ladies and gentlemen,

Have no fear I am back from my three week writing hiatus and have good news for all of you. In an attempt to keep me writing on a consistent basis Trent and I have decided I will pick up a few more teams to write about. So with out further ado my list of new teams and my three favorite players on the team :) <3

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS

This is only fitting because the Sharks were my number 2 team for a long time. When I was 13 I found a plaid flannel shirt with Sharks colors on it. One of the most beautiful things I own :) <3

    On to my San Jose Sharks

1. Ryan Clowe

He used to play for the Cleveland Barons (AHL) back in 2003.  I’ve always enjoyed the fact that when Clowe gets mad he really gets mad. There is no holding back. Especially if he is seeking vengeance for a hurt teammate.

2. Marc-Edouard Vlasic

As many of you know I really like Vlasic pickles. Sadly, this was the reason why I started to like Vlasic. Lucky for me he is pretty good at assisting fellow teammates.

3. TJ Galiardi

I enjoyed watching Galiardi play when he was with the Lake Erie Monsters. He is one of those understated play makers. Definitely a pleasure to watch.

 

 

 

 

WINNIPEG JETS 

I was sad when the Atlanta Blackhawks Thrashers moved out of Georgia. I had mapped out a road trip that year to see my lovely Blackhawks Thrashers. Then I was sad because that meant I would rarely see Natalie Taylor report. In the end it worked out. Natalie came to the Columbus and the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg. With the exception of the Canucks I like all Canadian teams. In fact, I’d like to see the Jets win a Stanley Cup. The cup needs to go back to Canada at least once right?

1. Jim Slater

I really loved watching Slater play in Worlds this summer. He was a nice addition to the team. Plus, I’m a huge fan of his work on “Saved By the Bell”. ;-)

2. Dustin Byfuglien

You can knock Buffy all you want for being a big dude but that doesn’t take away from his defensive skills. Buffy knows how to use his body size to his advantage. The moment you don’t take Buffy serious he will score or set up a beautiful play that leads to a score. I love Buffy so much I own a shirt that says “I LIKE BIG BUFFS”. I’m not ashamed to say I changed the words of “Baby Got Back” to “Baby Got Buff”.

3. Grant Clitsome

Grant was one of the most beautiful human being to ever play for the Columbus Blue Jackets. When the Jets signed him you could hear women and gay men crying all over Columbus. Grant may not have been the best player on the Jackets but there was something fascinating about his style of play. You couldn’t take your eyes off of him. Unfortunately, neither could opposing teams.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

I’ve spent a lot of my life flip flopping when it comes to the Rangers. I love them. I love them not. I love them. I love them not. Then I joined twitter and discovered Dave Lozo. Seriously this man never ceases to make me giggle.  (click here for an example of his awesomeness ). The point is Dave Lozo is a Rangers fan.

1. Henrik Lundqvist

Lundqvist is truly one of the best goalies to play the game during my lifetime.  That’s all that needs to be said.

2. Rick Nash

Here’s the odd thing about Nash being in my top 3 Rangers players: He was my least favorite Columbus Blue Jacket. There is a huge part of me that doesn’t want Nash to do well. At least this season. Then there is this other part of me that enjoys watching him. It seems as though Nash re-found his love for hockey in New York. Which is great. Everyone deserves to love their career.

3. Michael Del Zotto

Del Zotto is an all around good guy. On the ice. Off the ice. How can you not like him?

 

 

Well there you go guys. It’s going to be an interesting ride. :)

 

 

 

 

 

The Chicago Blackhawks are off to an incredible start to the season banging off seven wins in nine games with the only blemishes on their record being two shootout losses to Minnesota and Vancouver, respectively

With a match up coming against San Jose on Tuesday, there have been a few questions on who should start in goal against the Sharks.

Corey Crawford who boasts a 5-0-2 record with a 1.66 G.A.A and a save percentage of .934 or Ray Emery who came off the best performance from any goalie so far this year who is 2-0-0 with a 2.88 G.A.A. and a .921 save percentage. Many coaches would go with the hot hand but the issue here is, both goalies are hot to start the year which is obviously a great problem to have.

For me, there is no question on which of the two you would go with in goal. With these being the top two teams in the NHL you have to go with your best and that would be Corey Crawford. Amongst goaltenders who have played at least 7 games, Crawford ranks second in goals against, tied for third in wins and fourth in save percentage.

 

Rookie Brandon Saad has stepped in and played his position remarkably well filling in for the injured Daniel Carcillo.

The subtraction of Carcillo had me worried for the wellbeing of Toews and Hossa simply because of how opposition would feast on those two considering there is no tough guy on a line with them. We did see both players get pushed around in the first game having Saad on that line but surprisingly Toews and Hossa have been left alone in that regard.

What happens when Carcillo comes back? Well, someone has to sit in the press box or be moved to Rockford of the AHL. Stan Bowman recently said that Brandon Saad will be with the team the entire season but the bottom line is that he has to produce. He is a bit snake bitten, similar to Michael Frolik last year, but it’s not rare that this happens to a rookie. Again, he’s played extremely well and he is getting scoring chances. One thing to remember is a GM’s word is never bond, remember Bowman’s comments when it came time to sign Niemi and Hjalmarsson? Stan said they weren’t going anywhere, well, he made a promise he couldn’t keep, obviously.

Let’s hope the Blackhawks can step their game up and keep their unblemished regulation time record unscathed!

Hat tip to Zimbio.com for the use of your photos.

Thanks for reading,

TK0N

 

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.

 

 

Daniel Winnik’s third period tally ended a personal scoring drought and propelled the San Jose Sharks to a 2-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Briuns.

Following a stagnant middle frame in which the Sharks allowed Boston too slowly and didactically gain momentum, San Jose’s checking line scored an early third period goal, providing an energy boost and some much needed insurance.

It was Winnik’s first goal wearing a Sharks uniform, a game-winning wrist shot that snuck under the crossbar and over goaltender Tim Thomas’ outstretched blocker. After coming to San Jose from Colorado hours before the trade deadline, the gritty winger had registered only one point in 12 games.

After Andrew Desjardins back checked and intercepted a David Krejci pass, the Sharks’ fourth line darted towards the offensive zone, creating an odd man rush. As Joe Pavelski attracted the attention of both Boston defenders, the rookie slipped a pass to Winnik who buried his first goal in 44 games.

“I’m not a guy that racks up the points,” Winnik said in a post-game interview.” I thought since I came here I’ve been making some nice plays setting guys up. I know it’s just a matter of timing.”

Winnik’s goalless streak dated back to Dec. 15, 2011, when he recorded a “Gordy Howe hat trick” against the Sharks as a member of the Avalanche.

Although the Sharks controlled the stat sheet for two periods, outshooting the Bruins 20-9, the lone goal came in the early stages of the first period.

Sharks grabbed a 1-0 lead 3:57 into the game when Joe Thornton pounced on a Boston turnover in their own end. The Sharks captain and former Boston center cycled the puck behind the net before dishing to Patrick Marleau, who one-timed the feed. Thomas made the initial save but could not control the rebound, which landed on Joe Pavelski’s stick before ending up behind the sprawling netminder.

Following that goal, Thomas made several diving saves, keeping the game close and giving the Bruins a fighting chance heading into the third.

“The first half of the game we didn’t generate enough in the offensive zone,” Defenseman Zdeno Chara said. “We were playing a lot on the outside. We were better as the game went on and started creating traffic and putting a lot of pucks on the net. The first half we did not play up to our potential and it was still a close game. But to win, you can’t rely on playing well for 30 to 40 minutes; you have to go all out for 60 minutes.”

Chara netted a late third period goal, his 11th of the season, but it was too little too late, as San Jose won by a final score of 2-1.

The victory keeps the Sharks in 10th place in Western Conference, one point behind now eighth place Dallas, and two points shy of the third place Kings. San Jose will have an optional skate Friday as they prepare for Saturday’s Pacific Division showdown against the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.

Follow me on Twitter at Alex_Soulier

Thanks for reading

 

This is a broad look at the playoff picture with just over twenty games to be played by each team. There is still much hockey to be played but let’s dream while we can. So here is an overview of where teams currently stand and which teams I think will be the eight in the playoffs come April.

As of Sunday night, divisional leaders are the league leading Detroit Redwings(84), Vancouver Canucks(82), and San Jose Sharks(69). Similar to the Eastern Conference, there is one division leading the rest. The Central Division commands the 4th through 6th seeds, all of currently surpass the Sharks in points. The St Louis Blues, sitting in 4th with 79 points, were just recently rated by the players as the most underrated team in the league. Players Poll here. Nashville(74) and Chicago(71), who have not been great as of late, are still staying ahead of the surging Coyotes(67). Calgary(65) is sitting in 8th is just above four teams: LA Kings(65), Dallas Stars(62), Colorado Avalanche(62), and Minnesota Wild(61). The Ducks have also managed to make themselves slightly relevant over the past twenty games, climbing to within five points of the playoffs. Since this is a playoff discussion, the one and only time Edmonton and Columbus will be mentioned is in this sentence, stating that they will not make the playoffs.

Detroit has been unstoppable at home this year. 26-2-1 over the season at home and currently on a record setting twenty-three game streak. Away from their dome, the Redwings are much more mediocre, 15-15-1. For the love of everyone outside of Detroit, someone (yes, all of us in Central) needs to go on a huge hot streak so that the old guys in red have to travel away from Michigan to play their games. But otherwise, short of a few of their guys dying of old age, Detroit is a lock for their 21st consecutive post-season trip.

Vancouver is 8-0-2 in their last ten. Bobby Lou is playing well recently, which contributes to their battle against Detroit for the lead. They have no worries about seeing games in mid-April with Calgary, who is 17 points behind, is the 2nd team in the Northwest Division. Hawks fan’s need not worry about this team to the north, as Bobby Lou will fail as usual.

Swimming along in mediocrity, the Sharks are third in the conference only because Phoenix had a rough beginning part of the season. They are a good team but can’t seem to put together consistency this season. The red-hot Coyotes are surging along and will overcome San Jose by the end of the season. The only question is whether they can keep the lead over the Sharks once they take it. My guess is no and the Sharks will remain in 3rd.

The Blues will see the playoffs this year and most likely have a first round home advantage in the playoffs. As the most underrated team, they are a strong, defensively focused team that has improved on their scoring from last year. The Blues have the lowest GAA in the league and will rely on that strategy to pull them all the way through. To make any headway through the playoffs however, they will need to step up their scoring just a little bit.

Nashville is playing great, but not wonderful. They are holding onto 5th and will make it into the playoffs. Their scoring is slightly better than the Blues, but they allow many more goals against. Surprisingly, the Predators, with one of the best goalies, Rinne, and their highly touted defensemen have let in more goals than Phoenix. Their pickup, Hal Gill, will improve their defense and their PK. They could hang onto 5th but more likely end up at 6th.

The Blackhawks should regain their early season form and climb the rankings once again to overtake Nashville. The Hawks only downfall is their lack of depth on defense. After taking a 9 game losing streak, they have won three straight. Things that I have seen are an increased willingness to block shots, an improved PK which has been great over the past 4 or 5 games and not letting in any while shorthanded, but Chicago still cannot seem to score with the man advantage. If they don’t correct that soon, they will have a very tough time advancing in the playoffs.

This leaves us with our 7th and 8th seeds. Currently occupying those spots are Phoenix and Calgary. A quick reminder to who is sitting right underneath them; LA Kings, Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, and Anaheim Ducks. With information from the Stars that they traded Nicklas Grossman and Starstud’s article on how the Stars will be selling over the next week, you have to think if they have given up already, despite being just 3 points behind. With the trade deadline looming in just over a week and so many teams still in the hunt for a playoff spot, which other teams are going to toss in their hat this season and continue to build for the future. I see the Avalanche and the Wild joining the Stars as sellers over this next week. Anaheim will continue to make a run for it as well as the Kings.
Now, as far as which of the four teams will make those last two spots; Phoenix will not, as they were hot too early and will stop just short in the end, LA Kings will find some scoring over the next few weeks and pick it up to end up in 7th. Can Anaheim climb a 5 point deficit over Calgary with 24 games to go? Yes, and they will have made a run from 14th spot to 8th to let Teemu Selanne have one last chance at the cup. Unfortunately for them, they will be playing the Red Wings in Detroit.

Here are the playoff standings to where I see them sitting come April.
1. Detroit: 116
2. Vancouver: 114
3. San Jose: 99
4. St Louis: 111
5. Chicago: 103
6. Nashville: 99
7. LA Kings: 96
8. Anaheim: 95

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