Tag Archives: nhl

“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.

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?

Does the Crime Fit the Punishment?

By Ellen Chlumecky

February 23, 2015

Star player for the Dallas Stars, Tyler Seguin was hit on February 13th. The results for the Tyler Seguin hit came out on Monday, February 16th. Dmitry Kulikov is suspended for four games and in accordance with that will forfeit more than $93,000 in salary. While on the other hand, Seguin has a lower-body injury and could miss up to three to six weeks. Seems fair, right? It does not exactly add up in my mind, but maybe that’s just a personal opinion.

While I know it’s completely unrealistic to award Kulikov a three to six-week suspension, it also doesn’t seem fair taking into the account the brutality of the hit. A knee injury is a very detrimental to a hockey player’s game. Their knees help them skate fast, use the force from them to hit other players, and are needed for the general premise of practicing and improving themselves on the ice. They’re pretty important if that wasn’t already obvious.

The Miami Herald seemed to describe the incident as an “accident.” They stated the “Kulikov appeared to mis-time his hip check and took out Seguin at the knees with his upper body. They did point out that Seguin did not see Kulikov coming. I just find it difficult to believe that you can make that kind of hit on someone without an intention of hurting them seriously.

Patrick Burke, an NHL player-safety director, said, “It’s illegal to throw a body check below the knees. Kulikov delivered a dangerous hit that is excessively low leaving the opposing player no way to defend or brace for the contact.” I completely agree with him. A hockey player cannot brace themselves when a player comes at their knees especially when they don’t see the player coming. Which is why I’m personally surprised that there wasn’t a bigger penalty given to Kulikov when he could’ve very well done permanent damage to Seguin.

I am not the biggest fan of Tyler Seguin. I am not oblivious either, though. He is a talented and tough hockey player. The Dallas Stars losing him for three to six weeks is a huge detriment to their game. Yes, they have Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, Antoine Roussel, John Lingberg, Erik Cole, but at the end of the day Tyler Seguin helps pull that dynamic together. While Jamie Benn will probably try to take the lead while Seguin is out, it’s going to be a huge setback for the Dallas Stars.

Super “Star” Fallen: Tyler Seguin

By Ellen Chlumecky

February 16, 2015

I have said it once and I will say it again, hockey players don’t understand how to hit people without permanently injuring other players. There is a difference between a clean hit and a cheap shot. Hockey players start to practice hitting other players as soon as they are out of squirts and pee wees. Hitting is a part of the game, there is no way to get rid of hitting in the game of hockey. There also seems to be no way of convincing bull-headed players to stop making these kinds of moves.

This cheap shot placed Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars on injured reserve on Friday night. On Saturday the 14th, Coach Lindy Ruff stated that Seguin had a knee injury and could miss two to four weeks. The Stars officially announced on Sunday, February 15th that Seguin has a lower-body injury and now could miss up to three to six weeks.

Seguin was hit by Dmitry Kulikov of the Florida Panthers and had to be helped off the ice. As you can see in the video, Kulikov went low and hit Seguin on his right knee right after he made a pass. Kulikov was ejected from the game. While it’s not official, it looks like Kulikov will be suspended indefinitely pending the hearing but could be suspended for more than five games.

Coach Ruff and players were irate with the whole situation. Teammate Vernon Fiddler described the play as “gutless.” Coach Ruff said it’s a play that “I don’t like” and, “It’s a dirty low play that the league doesn’t like, and I want to see the league deal with it.” I completely agree.

I don’t know how many times a player has to get injured the way Seguin currently is before players get it through their heads that they can’t keep making hits like this. Hitting is one of the entertainment factors for many fans of hockey. I would never say to remove hitting from the game. I would enjoy seeing players hitting people smarter than they currently are hitting fellow players.

The NHL Department of Player Safety needs to review these tapes further in-depth, consider the injury and the length of the time the injured player with be out. Then they need to assess the injury accordingly. Clipping is a type of hitting that could permanently end a player’s career. It is not something they should take lightly. Players need to be smarter about hitting or abstain from it if they can’t learn the correct way to do it.

 

 

 

Hockey: A Numbers Game?

By Savannah Malnar

February 2, 2015

Statistics play a large role in sports. People are hired just to analyze stats and make team and player predictions based on simply numbers. For a long time, baseball has been the frontrunner in using more advanced statistics as a part of the game. Whenever a player is up to bat, dozens of numbers appear on your television screen; combinations and decimals all formed from a few swings of a bat. While baseball has embraced this sort of statistical nature, other sports have been slow to adopt it. One of these sports is hockey.

When it comes to hockey, most fans have only wanted to know three things on a player-to-player basis: goals, assists, and penalty minutes. As for teams, they just want the points and maybe some fact mentioned by their Fox Sports announcer about a winning or losing streak. But that has been slowly changing over the past few years.

Analysts have emerged themselves in the sport of hockey taking advantage of and perfecting some of the more “fancy” stats that have always existed. The most predominant being corsi and its variations. For being an advanced stat, corsi is extremely simple (and maybe that’s why it’s become attractive to the hockey community): blocked shots + missed shots + shots on goal. Usually shown as a percentage or a decimal compared to total shots in a game and is the best available statistic to measure puck possession. Mess around with the numbers a little and you can calculate individual corsi, team corsi, and see how it changes in different stages of the game.

Now with that sliver of context, it’s time to ask: why does it matter? And the answer is an honest one, it hasn’t, at least to the league. Until now, these stats have been calculated and distributed by fans. Some coaches and players have said they pay attention and use them, some had no idea what they meant. But fans have a growing desire of a better understanding of the game past the “score goals and maim the other team” mentality, and the NHL has decided to cater to that. The league has promised a revamp to their website’s stat page, and it will include corsi and many other statistics that seem ridiculous to the casual fan but craved by the diehard fan.

This news isn’t getting much coverage. Yahoo! Sports and NBC Sports both featured a short article about it, but that was it. No local media from any team picked up on the fact that the NHL is finally accepting that the game is moving towards a more statistical standpoint thanks to a fan-based push for it. This should be a much bigger deal, it shows just how powerful the fans of any sport can be in determining how it is analyzed and, eventually, coached and played across professional leagues.

From Goalie to Front Office: Always a St. Louis Blue

By Ellen Chlumecky

January 29, 2015

Playing as a goalie for the New Jersey Devils and the St. Louis Blues for almost 24 years, Martin Brodeur has decided to retire. While he has only played about seven games with the St. Louis Blues, his time with the New Jersey Devils was anything but short or ordinary. In his career with the New Jersey Devils he lifted three Stanley Cups, has won two Olympic gold medals, and several other medals with Team Canada in other international competitions. He is currently the NHL’s all-time leader in regular season wins. He is also the only goalie in NHL history with eight 40-win seasons.

Martin Brodeur will be hanging up his skates and his goalie pads and will be stepping into a suit as he becomes the assistant general manager for the St. Louis Blues. Brodeur has developed a positive relationship with the Blues since his started as their replacement goalie. It seemed only reasonable to take a front office job with them, right?

While it may have seemed to be a smart move, most Devils fan are left scratching their heads. Brodeur spent about 21 years with the Devils. He still stays in contact with their general manager, Lou Lamoriello. He left on great terms with them, as well. Why wouldn’t he take a job with the front office of the Devils?

Lou Lamoriello made a public statement saying that Brodeur has a position with the company, whenever he decides that he wants the job. Lamoriello said, “he’ll be back here, in my opinion, as long as he wants.” Lamoriello sounds pretty confident that he knows where Brodeur’s loyalty lies. He believes that Brodeur is only taking the job because he doesn’t want to leave having bad blood with the Blues.

Doug Armstrong, general manager of the St. Louis Blues, confirms this suspicion. He had spoken to Lamoriello because he didn’t want to appear to be “stealing” the star goalie away. He will continue the job for the rest of the year and see where he stands after that. Lamoriello stated he’d be very surprised if he stayed there longer than that.

Brodeur has always been a dedicated player and I believe that he applies that to his business personality as well. He won’t leave without finishing out the season and I believe that’s what he’s doing with the Blues. Brodeur has been named one of the best goalies of all time, can you blame the Blues for wanting him to stay? Maybe getting him at the end of his career was the smartest move they could’ve made.

The Crashing Toronto Maple Leafs: Is it Really the Coaching?

By Savannah Malnar

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a great history as an Original Six hockey team in the NHL. Unfortunately lately they have had more downs than ups and have not won a Stanley Cup since 1967. With this drought has come a multitude of personnel changes. Toronto fans are used to coaches being temporary, so it was no shock to them when coach Randy Carlyle, coach of only roughly two and a half seasons, was terminated.

His success with the Anaheim Ducks (who he led to a Stanley Cup) did not transfer to the Leafs. Fans and management hoped his defensive mind would bring a new perspective to the Leafs’ locker room, but instead the team only made the playoffs once under his coaching and then in the 2013-2014 season went 2-12 to end the season and fall out of what looked like to be a clinched playoff spot.

This was when management and fans really began to look at Carlyle’s effectiveness. The decision to fire Carlyle followed a barely winning record of 21-16-3 that left the Leafs grasping onto a wild card playoff spot to start the 2014-2015 season; it was most likely heavily influenced by recently hired (as of the end of the 2013-2014 season) President of the team, hall of fame player and previous Director of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan.

Prominent hockey writer Greg Wyshynski for Yahoo! Sports authored an article titled: “Randy Carlyle fired by Toronto Maple Leafs, finally.” A writer for CBS Sports says this shows the Leafs have “learned from their mistakes.” So it seems the national media agrees with the call. A different view comes from an article from a more local source, the Toronto Star. Rosie DiManno instead goes straight to the top, calling out Brendan Shanahan for not doing enough in his first season as President. She stated she believes General Manager Dave Nonis could be the next piece to go if Shanahan really wants to turn Toronto around. In her words, “And Carlyle, for his sins, was miscast as the old-style coach who could reach deep inside this lineup and come up with a fistful of guts. That’s on management, those who’ve departed and those still here.”

DiManno appears to be among the loyal Toronto fans and media who are desperate for a turnaround for a team with such a strong past. Perhaps Carlyle being sacked will be the beginning of that, or maybe they just have to wait for something bigger.