Category Archives: NHL

NHL: Same Game, Different Season

by Brandon Busuttil

With the NHL season underway, a lot happened this off-season but all teams have the same goal: make the playoffs and win the almighty Stanley Cup. So, how have all those off-season moves and predictions been looking after the first few games into this NHL season.

I think it is important to start with the new overtime format. Instead of the 4-on-4 overtime format, that resulted in only 35% of games tied after regulation ending in overtime, and the rest of the 65% of tied games ending in a shootout; the NHL has decided to move to a 3-on-3, 5-minute overtime format followed by a shootout. Overtime periods just got a lot more exciting. With a lot of ice and some of the most talented NHL players in that open space, you can expect a lot more overtime goals, and that is exactly what happened. The excitement about a game going into overtime has gone way up, and now has fans watching with large rushes of adrenaline. The NHL definitely got it right with this overtime format change.

Mike Babcock has moved on from the Detroit Red Wings to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It can easily be determined Babcock gave up success with the Red Wings for a lot more money and a much bigger challenge. The Detroit Red Wings is one of the most renowned teams in the NHL making the playoffs 24 years in a row. Now with a rookie head coach, Jeff Blashill, can the Red Wings keep it up or will they crumble? With the amount of talent Detroit has, along with the fact Blashill coached the AHL affiliate team of the Red Wings the Grand Rapids Griffins to a Calder Cup trophy (much of those players he coached are now playing for the Red Wings), I think the team will be in good hands. Blashill follows a system very similar to Babcock, and if it is truly similar to Babcocks, that means the team will stay successful. So far into the season it has been proven that the Red Wings are exactly where they left off with Babcock, continuing to be successful with two goaltenders whom are good enough to both be starting.

The Toronto Maple Leafs on the other hand, are still struggling. To put this team in perspective, their first line players would be on a third line at any decent NHL team. It will be interesting to see what Mike Babcock can do with this team, but I would not expect a quick fix. Babcock has been signed to a 8 year deal to see if he can be the magician to change this Leafs team around, and it is predicted that it will take a long two or possibly three seasons until we hear of the Maple Leafs making noise in the NHL. This has proven true because the Leafs have continued their losing woes in this 2015-2016 NHL season.

The last big story-line that is looked at is: what is the deal with the Chicago Blackhawks? Coming off of a Stanley Cup championship, can Chicago do it again? Unlikely. They lost some key players due to free agency and trades, but they will still be a force to be reckoned with considering their star players that have stayed are going to make up for the lack of those whom left.

Overall, it should be a great and interesting season this year, filled with some great goaltenders all looking to make a name for themselves and some trying to keep their name as one of the best in the game right now. We have top-notch rookies such as Connor McDavid, whom is compared to Sidney Crosby when he entered the league. Lastly, we have teams that could make a push to be a force this year such as the Florida Panthers, whom have come out this year with a lot of determination and force.

Look for an exciting year of hockey, and one that will probably be filled with the unexpected.

 

“No Wusses Play Hockey”

By Ellen Chlumecky

April 6, 2015

Football, rugby, lacrosse, wrestling, boxing, field hockey, and of course hockey are all very rough, high contact sports. There is always debate on what the roughest sport is and most importantly what sport has the toughest athletes. I’m sure there’s cases for all the above but most recently hockey has proven it’s worthiness for the toughest sport overall. This recent prestigious honor is due to Drew Miller of the Detroit Red Wings.

Drew Miller is the most recent example of the toughness that is demonstrated daily by hockey players. This incident was so fatal that Miller and his teammates feared he’d lose his right eye. On Tuesday, March 31st, the Red Wings played against Ottawa. Miller was standing behind Mark Stone and took a skate to the face, because Miller wears a visor it cut up the majority of his face pretty bad. Miller needed 50 to 60 stitches to close up the gash on his face. While Miller initially thought that he had lost his eye, the doctors cleared him and mentioned that his vision is fine. Miller wanted to go back in for the third period against the Senators but the doctors and his wife advised against the decision because of the fear of ripping the stitches.

Miller is now sporting a deep scar from his right eyebrow across his cheekbone. The whole cut was very deep especially in the cheek area. The eye itself is fine. Doctors have enforced him to wear a protective cage for a while, but he is convinced that he can still perform his duties on the ice.

If that wasn’t enough, Drew Miller suited up to play for the Red Wings in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Boston at Joe Louis Arena. The day he decided to suit up for the game was only just two days after a skate to his face. While this may seem absurd to most, it would be more painful for most hockey players not to play than to sit out with an injury. That’s how badly they want to play and help their teammates.

Hockey players push the boundaries beyond belief. Their passion to their craft is unmatched by any other sport. While I’m sure other athletes have shown just as much dedication, there is a unique aspect to hockey players’ dedication. Coach of the Red Wings, Mike Babcock, called the incident the definition of team building. While fellow teammate of Miller, Brendan Smith, stated, “I’m not sure how to say this, but no wusses play. It’s a tough sport and I think that’s why it’s ingrained at a young age. If you don’t want to play a tough game, you go play tennis or golf.”

 

The King is Back in his Throne: Henrik Lundqvist

By Ellen Chlumecky

April 1, 2015

You may remember that the king of goalies, Henrik Lundqvist, has been out since February 2. Lundqvist missed 25 games due to a serious vascular injury. A great loss for the entire New York Rangers organizations and their fans. Not that they are without their star players: Martin St. Louis, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, and Derek Stephan. However without a solid goaltender, we know that you’re as good as gone in the NHL. Thankfully for the Rangers, Lundqvist is back in action. On March 28th, Lundqvist was able to make his return back to his kingdom in the net. They played the Bruins at TD Garden and even though the energy was thrilling, the results weren’t exactly what the Rangers were looking for in return.

http://www.blueshirtsunited.com/video/rangers-fall-beantown-highlights-analysis

Lundqvist and the New York Rangers fell to 25-12-3 with a 4-2 loss to the Bruins. Lundqvist finished with 26 saves against the Bruins. He faced 14 shots in the first period and allowed three goals. The first came only 1:41 into the game when Milan Lucic of the Bruins was credited with a goal after the pick was redirected in with his skate to give Boston a 1-0 lead. The play was reviewed but it was confirmed that the goal was allowed because it was determined not to be a distinct kicking motion.

The second goal of the game was at 9:26 of the first. It was also scored by Lucic. The Bruins took a clean breakout and a series of quick and crisp passes through the neutral zone before Lucic finished with his second goal of the night and 17th goal of the season. The third goal of the game by the Bruins was also scored in the first period and was scored by Carl Soderberg. The fourth goal of the game by the Bruins was scored by Reilly Smith early in the second period.

Lundqvist was obviously not happy with his performance but looks at this game as a chance for improvement. It didn’t help that the first period was clearly dominated by the Bruins and was a tough place for the Rangers. Lundqvist thought he did well in the second and third but will obviously learn from what went wrong in the first. First game back in 25 games would be hard for anyone in the game.

The Rangers have eight games left in their regular season. Lundqvist should be receiving a few more starts to try to regain his strength to the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We wish Henrik Lundqvist in his return back to Madison Square Garden. If anyone deserves a win, it’s him, with hard work and a massive amount of will power he will be as good as new.

Mike Richards Returns Home to the LA Kings

By Ellen Chlumecky

March 24, 2015

On March 22, the Los Angeles Kings made a decision to recall Mike Richards from their AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs. The Kings recently added the veteran back on to its low-scoring lineup before opening a five game road trip against the New Jersey Devils on Monday night with their playoff dreams looming in the near future. After three losses in their past four games, the Kings sit two points behind Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division.

Richards was waived and immediately sent to the minors in January when the Kings lost their patience with several seasons of his poor performance on the offensive production. Once Richards cleared waivers, he accept the minor league assignment. He gained 14 points in 16 games for Manchester. He is currently in the middle of a 12 year contract through 2020 that carries an annual cap hit of $5.75 million. General manager of the Kings, Dean Lombardi, had said that Richards had been sent to the AHL reluctantly because of his efforts. They made a statement saying that they would recall the veteran for the playoff push if his replacements didn’t excel. His replacements didn’t succeed, so here Richards is now.

Mike Richards is no stranger to being a strong player. In fact, he’s gotten in trouble for it several times. He’s a hard-hitting player who a multitude of players have to frequently look out for on the ice. He tends to dominate physically and is more than often called a bully on the ice. Before he was on the Los Angeles Kings, he was previously the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers. he was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Flyers and 24th overall. He has been the member of two Stanley Cup winning teams with the Los Angeles Kings. He has also been on numerous championship teams, including: the Memorial Cup, World Juniors, Calder Cup, and Olympic Gold.

The Kings have been having a rough year. A player who has consistently been a goal producer for the team wasn’t performing so they thought it was the best idea to send Richards back down to the AHL. Maybe they thought that sending Richards down to the AHL would light a fire under him. It’s really crunch time for the Kings right now so calling Richards back up might be a good option for them right now. The Kings really need to light a fire underneath their players right now.

From BGSU to the NHL: Andrew Hammond

By Ellen Chlumecky

March 19, 2015

The Bowling Green State University hockey program is no stranger to exceptional alumni. We have the notable Dan Bylsma who is a former professional hockey player and the former head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Two of their alumni, Rob Blake and Ken Morrow were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. George McPhee received the Hobey Baker Award when he was a hockey player here at Bowling Green. Gino Cavallini scored the winning overtime goal for the Falcons in the NCAA National Championship game. Most recently we gained an alumnus who is quickly making a name for himself on the Ottawa Senators. That rookie hockey player is Andrew Hammond.

Or one might know him as Hammy, Ham, Hammer, Hamsie, or the Hambone. More recently he might be referred to as “The Hamburglar” to his teammates and NHL and Ottawa Senators’ Twitter followers. You might know him as this because the National Post did a whole story on the development of his name and how he’s been having a breakout season as a rookie. Now like I said, the Bowling Green State University hockey program is no stranger to standout rookies and players who numerous accolades.

However, it’s especially exciting for someone who went to Bowling Green State University while he was playing, even if some of us only got to see him play when he was a senior. Besides the attention he’s been receiving on Twitter and his article in the National Post and one in Sports Illustrated, he’s having a great year for himself. Hammond’s current record in the goal right now is 9-0-1 including his win against the New York Islanders, only letting one goal in during the game. He is now only the third goaltender since 1928 to allow two or fewer goals in his first ten NHL starts, an incredible feat in and of itself.

Andrew Hammond has remained incredibly humble in all of his post-game interviews. His respectability not only on the ice but off the ice is another truly great feat for the Bowling Green State University hockey program. It makes me proud to go to a university that not only tries to raise tremendous athletes but athletes who go off and try to make respectable careers for themselves whether they continue to pursue their chosen sport or not. I wish Andrew Hammond luck in the rest of his hockey career and I know that he will continue to make his alma mater proud of his accomplishments.

 

Patrick Kane’s Recovery Coming Along

By Ellen Chlumecky

March 16, 2015

I do not need to reiterate the struggle that Chicago sports have faced this year. The Bears have been going through a new structuring system with a new coach and new staffing decisions. The Bulls have been through some major injuries. Specifically the stars of the team, forcing other teammates to step up in a big way. The Blackhawks have been having a pretty good year. They were definitely headed for the playoffs. All seemed well for this one Chicago sports team.

Now, here’s where that Chicago curse hit home. Patrick Kane had a freak accident on the ice where a combination of a little shove and he seemed to trip on his skate and fall straight into the boards. While this may have seemed like any ordinary hit in hockey. Unfortunately, Patrick Kane ended up hitting the boards with his shoulder. Which resulted in him fracturing clavicle. I do not need to talk about how important one’s shoulder is to someone much less a hockey player.

Chicago Blackhawks fans cringed in horror when they realized that one of their star point scorers was going to be out for several weeks. Patrick Kane has been vital in the past two Stanley Cup championships and the past few playoff runs. The majority of the fans and Blackhawks’ analysts believe that his injury will be a negative impact on Chicago’s chances of winning another championship.

However, there is one person who is truly positive that his recovery from the fractured clavicle won’t count him out of the season completely. That person is number 88 himself. He’s hopeful because there is still some time left in the season. He truly is aiming to play in the playoffs, while he is not positive what his plans will be for playoffs. However, he personally is optimistic about the success of his team without him.

Kane underwent surgery on February 25th and was put on a twelve week time-table to return. He told ESPN he is still on that time-table as of this week. He has been going to rehabilitation training every day and actively working out his lower body. It seems as if he is doing every thing he can in his power to be back at 100%. You can tell that he hates being injured. He is one of those players that wants to be playing and wants to be trying to help his team in every way he can.

In recent years, Patrick Kane has endured criticisms and has made his fair share of mistakes. Most young hockey players are susceptible to this but he was under the spotlight because of his tremendous talent and rookie status. I believe this personal excerpt shows that he’s actively trying to change this unpopular opinion of him. He has matured as a player and wants to bring home another Stanley Cup for his team.

 

Calling All Goalies: Florida Panthers Looking for Practice Goalie

By Ellen Chlumecky

March 10, 2015

On Thursday, March 5, the Florida Panthers announced that they will be holding open tryouts for any goalies or even fans to be hired as their practice goalie for one day. This whole experience is a contest proposed by the Panthers. The Panthers executive chairman Peter Luukko is hopeful the contest expects a great turnout for such an amazing ultimate fan experience. Successful applicants will invited to a tryout on March 16th. Two finalists will then go head-to-head during an intermission of Florida’s game against Montreal on March 17th. The winner will then get a contract.

This is a dream come true for any aspiring goalie that never got the opportunity to make it to the big leagues or even a fan whose dream is to experience what it’s like to play in the NHL. So what inspired this somewhat unusual contest? If you weren’t watching the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs game, you might have some insight on what inspired the contest.

During the game, both Panthers’ goalies – Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya – suffered injuries. Not having another backup goalie, the goalie coach for the Panthers had to quickly suit up to serve as the backup. Robert Tallas last played against the New York Rangers in 2001.

In the first period, Luongo was injured by a shot from Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov. He stayed in a game till the end of the period. Then he was replaced by Al Montoya. Early on in the second, Montoya gets injured as well. This meant that the Panthers were without a healthy goalie.

It was believed that Derek MacKenzie and Scottie Upshall might dress as emergency goalies as they both went down the tunnel to the locker room while Montoya was struggling on the ice. Luongo was also seen in the tunnel in street clothes as they were trying to figure out who was going to be put in. However, the person who ended up suiting up was Tallas. Two years prior he was put in the same situation so it was not too unusual to ask of him.

At the end of the day, Montoya attempted to play through his injury until Luongo suited up again to finish the game. The team was trying to get Tallas cleared by the NHL to play in the game but during this process, they realized that Luongo would just have to finish off the game.

It’s unfortunate that a hectic and panic-inducing event had to occur for the Panthers, especially since they ended up losing 3-2 in spite of the situation. In the end, they got a great promotional deal out of the event. So I guess it’s about looking at the glass half full, right?