Hockey Headlines

Friday, 24 April 2015

Gotham Defeats The Penguin

Five games were played by the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Rangers will advance on the strength of four 2-1 victories in the series. While some will point to the New York Rangers' outstanding record in the regular season as being proof enough that they were going to advance easily over the Penguins, the games were much closer than a lot may have predicted. In the end, though, Gotham triumphs over the Penguins as the Rangers move onto Round Two.

People can talk about the injuries to the Penguins as being an excuse, but there aren't any teams who can lose their top three defencemen, a first-line winger, and a second-line centerman superstar without feeling a few effects. Malkin was hurt, Pascal Dupuis' loss in the lineup was never made up, and having all three of Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, and Christian Ehrhoff out of lineup forced players into roles in these playoffs that they were never supposed to see.

It also didn't help that David Perron, Maxim Lapierre, and Daniel Winnik did nothing to help the team when they were needed most. Perron had one helper and was a -1, Lapierre went pointless and -2, and Winnik was held pointless and recorded a dreadful -6. These were three players the Penguins traded for this season, and none of them showed up in the playoffs.

In the end, you can blame Malkin or the injuries or the lack of production from some key players, but the one player that the Penguins seemingly never replaced this season was Pascal Dupuis. Make no mistake that Dupuis is the engine that makes the Crosby-Kunitz-Dupuis line so good. He chases down loose pucks, he forechecks like a demon, he battles in the corners, and he can score. Dupuis is the hustle guy the Penguins sorely needed, and his loss early in the season to a blood clot was clearly evident in how the Penguins finished.

“We're missing some guys. All year. It's tough to get your rhythm as far as team identity. I'm not using that as an excuse by any means. We still found a way to get ourselves into the playoffs,” Sidney Crosby told reporters after Game Five.

However, we must give the Rangers credit for doing what they had to do in dispatching the Penguins. Lundqvist was solid in net and they got great contributions from guys like Derek Brassard, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, and Carl Hagelin in putting the Penguins out. Rick Nash, who had four goals in 37 playoff games with the Rangers prior to this series, had a goal and three assists while Martin St. Louis had just one assist. Clearly, the Rangers were getting major contributions from players outside their two superstars. That's playoff hockey.

Defensively, the Rangers look solid. McDonagh and Dan Girardi are anchoring this very mobile unit that features Keith Yandle, Marc Staal, Dan Boyle, and Matt Hunwick. They gave the Penguins very little ice to work with in this series, and they like to play physical. Only Hunwick didn't record a point in the series from the Rangers' rearguards, so this bodes well as the Rangers press on. With Lundqvist's outstanding play, this team might be poised for another deep run if they can get their offence to start firing on all cylinders.

In the end, Marc-Andre Fleury deserved better, but the team in front of him was held together with duct tape and chewing gum. You can point fingers at GM Jim Rutherford for the salary cap issues at the end of the season, but there's no way that he could have predicted that he'd be without his three best defencemen, a top-six forward, and employing a superstar playing through pain. Forcing depth guys like Rob Scuderi, Ben Lovejoy, and Brian Dumoulin into top-six defencemen roles was asking for trouble.

The Rangers were the better team, but only because Pittsburgh couldn't ice their best team. Like The Penguin in Batman, though, the Penguins will go back to the drawing board as they were vanquished by the Blueshirts of Gotham.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Hockey Show - Episode 136

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is back tonight with a fun show. Yes, the Jets were eliminated in four-straight games last night and we will talk about that, but tonight will bring together the worlds of hockey and music! There have been lots of hockey-related parodies of hit songs over the years, and Beans and I will look at a handful of them tonight as we dive into the hockey parodies!

While Weird Al Yankovic won't appear on tonight's list, he's probably the greatest artist when it comes to parodying hit songs. I will say there are some duds in the hockey parody world and we'll look at a few of these, but we'll focus on some of the better ones as we look at hockey's greatest parodies. We'll feature songs about the Jets, the Flames, the Canucks, the Oilers, the Senators, the Leafs, the Red Wings, and a couple other that don't really fit into a team song category. There are some excellent parodies in the groupings we have, and we'll debate the merits of each of the songs we feature on The Hockey Show tonight!

The phones will be open tonight so you can weigh in on the parodies as well, so call us at 204-269-UMFM (204-269-8636) and we'll put you on the air! Of course, we will be live on 101.5 UMFM on your radio dial in the Winnipeg region or you can listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage! You can tweet me anytime you like by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show. It's an all-music show tonight as we look at hockey parodies on The Hockey Show!

PODCAST: APRIL 23, 2015: Episode 136

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Bandwagon Jumping

That'll do it. The Jets fell tonight in Game Four of their series with the Anaheim Ducks by a 5-2 score, and were swept out of the playoffs. Let's give credit where credit is due: the Ducks are a helluva team. Ryan Kesler was a force to be reckoned with every night, Jakob Silfverberg showed up in a big way, Perry and Getzlaf were their point-producing selves, and Fredrik Andersen was as good as he needed to be to end this series in four games.

The Jets showed as much fight and moxie as possible when you consider that they were taking on a powerhouse Ducks team, but it was too little in the end. Despite doing all they could to upend the Ducks, it wasn't to be in this year's playoffs. The experience, though, will be invaluable from both the last month of the season and this one week of playoff action for the young Jets, and that bodes well for the future.

The question now is to whom do I shift my loyalty? There are a few teams that deserve a follow for the way they play the game. I like the way the Flames play the game, the Blackhawks have always been a team I've followed thanks to the number of local kids playing for them, I'm a Penguins fan, and I secretly root for the New York Islanders because they never seem to get any love. So who becomes my de facto "go team go" team?

I'll probably end up cheering for all of these teams as the playoffs progress in one way or another. It's just hard to be so invested in your local team to have to swap allegiances so quickly. We didn't even get a week of playoff hockey to celebrate as the Jets were ousted in six days to become the first team voted off the island. That's how the cookie crumbles, though, and the dream is now over.

Hey now, hey now, don't dream. It's over.

Until next season, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Hawaiian Tropic

Thee have been rumors of expansion in the NHL, but there needs to be some serious consideration to an idea floated in 1989 that has Chad Gretzky's support. Who is Chad Gretzky, you ask? Back in 1989, Wayne Gretzky starred on an episode of Saturday Night Live where he starred as Chad Gretzky in one skit that involved him being a busboy at a restaurant where he used a hockey stick to help clear tables. He gets recruited by the Coconut Kings to play against the Flying Yachtsmen, and it seems hockey in Hawaii becomes very popular.

In all seriousness, there was no serious expansion plan whatsoever. However, this skit with Gretzky has some extremely cringe-inducing moments. Watch through to the end, though, as Wayne lip syncs a parody of Elvis Presley song. He honestly looks extremely uncomfortable through this whole thing, but it's worth six minutes of your time.
Pretty horrific, right? Jan Hooks as Kitty gets a few marks, but that was cringe-worthy.

The next time someone wants to talk about expansion in a tropical climate, I'm going to point everyone back to this video. If Gretzky can't make it look good, there's no point in pushing forward. And I'll even throw an apology out to the Calgary Flames for being represented as the Flying Yachtsmen. That wasn't deserved.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Finally...

... the whiteout has come back to Winnipeg!

Lee Stempniak scored the first goal at MTS Centre in this era of Winnipeg Jets playoff hockey. And while the Ducks would spoil the party with their 5-4 overtime win, there isn't a person on the planet today who wasn't impressed by the whiteout tonight. Winnipeg, you did yourself proud with this outpouring of civic pride, and with Gary Bettman in the crowd you've shown the NHL why they were justified in coming back to the Manitoba capital.

I'm proud of my city tonight. Well done, Winnipeg!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!