Eariler today, a plane containing the roster of the KHL hockey club, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, caught fire and crashed shortly after take-off, merely 4 kilometers from [more…]
I am a big believer of creating teams by having the players grow up together. It's exactly what we have here. Our core is extremely young and everybody is developing, maturing together. It creates a bond which cannot be duplicated otherwise. Psychologists will tell you that having players (young men) go through stuff together in roughly the same period of their lives has an unparalleled bonding effect.
Teams that are put together in that manner are almost always successful. And those that are the exception to that rule certainly canâ€™t be blamed for their lack of team spirit or â€œtogethernessâ€. More often than not, just putting together a group of talented players, or big money free agents gets you nowhere, except maybe in a big hole you dug up for yourself.
September 9th 1936. Bob Baun is born in Lanigan, Saskatchewan. Baun was a Leaf for a total of 739 games in two stints with the club between 1956 and 1972. He was one of the Leafs "Big Four" on defense during their Stanley Cup dynasty years in the early-mid '60's.
Baun was one of the hardest and cleanest hitters of his time. He was not considered an offensive threat by any means, having never scoring more than 20 points in a season in the NHL. His highest single-season goal total was eight in 1959â€“60. However, Baun will always be remembered for his performance in game six of the 1963â€“64 NHL season Stanley Cup finals against the Detroit Red Wings.
With the passing of Wade Belak I thought it would be a good time to remember players we admired most. It's a sad time that's also perfect to remember the players who put a smile on our faces throughout the years because they, like everything else, wonâ€™t be around forever. Nothing makes that more clear than a loss.
Here are my all time top 5 favorite Leafs (sure some of them didnâ€™t make that much of an impact and are on the list because of entirely trivial personal reasons that might seem dumb, but hey, you donâ€™t choose who you remember). Here goes:
Not many words today guys, but we've got a ton of links prepared for your reading pleasure. Stories ranging from Leafs training camp battles and a story about Tyler Biggs to arguing the validity of the charity point with Greg Wyshynski.Â MLHS' Morning Mashup has it all. Enjoy.
Days until... Training Camp: 14 / Pre-Season: 21 / 2011-2012 NHL Season Opening: 38.
Players don't come with better hands than those of Nazem Kadri. Talent. That's his game. The kind of free flowing hockey mind that can crack any system, work against any scheme and open up space with a single deke or pass.
Unfortunately, there have been too many cases where talent just didn't come to fruition. Talent has the ability to seduce, to make one take it for granted. If you possess enough skill, ability in something, anything, you do it's just a matter of time when certain thoughts come creeping in. You inevitably start noticing and recognizing the difference between you and other players and it shows. Not only do you gain more confidence but as a side effect you truly start to believe you could do this with less effort.
Ryan posted a very interesting article this morning, and it got me thinking. This isn't my response to that topic, but rather a question which has a direct relation to that particular subject. How exactly do rule changes affect our perception of player ethics?
My topic brings me back to the Scott Stevens vs. Matt Cooke scenario. In short, Scott Stevens is still considered an All Star NHL defenseman and a legend while (honourable mention to Sean Avery) Matt Cooke currently holds the mantle of the most hated man in hockey. [more…]
Yes, my fellow puck lovers, October is approaching fast. Donâ€™t know about you, but one of the things that gets this writer back into the swing of things usually involves fantasy hockey drafts, player projections and some great discussions around making those fantasy picks.
Besides being fun, fantasy hockey is a good chance to see how your player evaluations fare in the real world. That to me is the biggest reason why I love playing it. You go with a hunch, you believe in your player and it pays off or he proves you wrong in the worst possible way. That and weird, funny team names.
Alexander Ovechkin might be a more frightening sight coming down the left wing, Sidney Crosby may be the best player in the world, Pavel Datsyuk might be the most complete player in the NHL but as it stands now, nobody is a greater goalscoring threat than a 20 year old kid from Unionville, Ontario. His name - Steven Stamkos.
As much as Alex Ovechkin might be offended by this notion it is absolutely true. Ovechkin has, looking at the overall skillset, more natural talent, arguably because of a physical game that is a bit better than that part of Stamkosâ€™ game. But, when comparing their speed, defensive play, power play contributions, offensive play and shot there are a good number of things going Stevenâ€™s way.
I'll start off by saying that the NHL is, in my book, the greatest of all the sports leagues in the world. But hockey is also the greatest game. Lately, thatâ€™s exactly why I'm having a really tough time accepting or justifying the NHLâ€™s debate about letting NHL player participate in the next winter Olympics in Sochi, 2014. Iâ€™m really not sure why the debate even exists.
Is it a really sneaky revenge aimed at the IIHF because of all the accusations about the NHL, CHL, OHL development programs stealing Europeâ€™s best and brightest prospects and making them a part of the North American game? Letâ€™s just clarify. I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s the case at all, since every player has a choice, and they choose to come to North America. Why is that?
Itâ€™s because the development programs in place throughout the continent are unmatched in the world of hockey. Itâ€™s because it gives players healthy competition against best players their age in the entire world which in turn makes them better players. And yes, itâ€™s because one day, they just might make it in the NHL. You can hardly blame the NHL, or the North American game for a) being the best, having the best programs or b) the fact they offer more hockey education to players neglected in their home countries which put hockey not second or third, but forth, fifth on their list of sporting interest.
Given the limited amount of hockey articles lately I've decided to write one. So, Â no Mashup today, but hopefully you'll like the article more than the links.
Born on October 24th, 1984. Jonas Gustavsson stands at 6-3 (191 cm) and weighs 192 lb (87kg). Dimensions of a monster, sure. But has he played like one? Well no, not yet.
How can that be when the monster was clearly advertised as, well, a monster of a goalie that averaged a .932 save percentage and 1.96 goals against average during the 08-09 regular season with FÃ¤rjestads BK, plus having an otherworldly playoff run with a GAA of 1.03 with a SV% of .961, 5 shutouts in 13 games for that club.Â Sure enough, but what became painfully clear is that the NHL is a different animal, one with a very short temper when it comes to mistakes and adjustment periods. Heart problems aside, winning is everything.
When looking towards next season, I see a lot of teams like the Rangers, Buffalo, especially Philadelphia, all of which were extremely active during or prior to July 1st, struggling with major questions. How will Jagr's 50 KHL points transition to the NHL? Will he be a 60 point producer playing wing on a line with more talent than his Omsk one, or will he find the pace of the North American game a tad too much at this late stage of his stellar hockey career?
Is Ilya Bryzgalov the answer in goal? With an NTC and $5,666,667 per year until 2020, he has to be. Undoubtedly, whatever conspiracy theories exist in Philly, cool Bryzâ€™s paycheck (or a change in Holmgrenâ€™s hockey philosophy, be it one highly directed by Ed Snider) is the main reason behind the two trades that shocked the hockey world not even 2 months ago, trades in which two â€œcornerstoneâ€ pieces of that franchise were moved to LA and Columbus.