Hockey Headlines

Friday, 27 November 2015

Time For A Chat

There are a few players who have running rivalries in the NHL when it comes to physical play. It used to be more common back in the day when teams had truer rivalries, but rarely do we see the kind of physical battle where player-vs-player runs from season to season. That is, unless you're Brandon Dubinsky and Sidney Crosby. These two seem to have a mutual dislike for one another, and it flared up again tonight.

Here's the video. It shows all you need to see.
While it wasn't as vicious as the Dustin Byfuglien cross-check on JT Miller, the similarities must be drawn because Dubinsky delivered the cross-check to Crosby's neck area. Here's the video of Bufuglien on Miller, and it's ugly.

Dustin Byfuglien was suspended four games for his rather brutal cross-check on Miller, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Dubinsky's wasn't as vicious, but he still cross-checked a guy who has a history of head and neck injuries to the ice and followed up with a second cross-check that broke the shaft of his stick. Whether it was the last cross-check, a combination of the two, or a number of other factors that went into the stick snapping over Crosby's prone body is irrelevant because the optics are bad on this one.

In saying that, the NHL's Department of Player Safety was quickly on the phone to let Dubinsky know that they'll be speaking with him tomorrow morning. Because it's a phone call and not an in-person discussion, the suspension probably won't be as severe as Dustin Byfuglien's suspension of four games was, but Brandon Dubinsky will have to face the fire nonetheless.

Personally, I think he gets hit with a game or two. The cross-check targeted the neck area of Crosby despite Dubinsky stating otherwise, and that will the deciding factor. Crosby was alright despite the infraction, but that's just irresponsible on Dubinsky's part.

Tomorrow's phone call should be interesting!

**UPDATE: Dubinsky was suspended for one game for his actions.**

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Hockey Show - Episode 167

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, returns tonight with a rather low-key show. We had everyone ramped up last week with a lot of hockey chatter to cover, but this week will be a breakdown on a number of hockey items. We might even work a little football into the show thanks to the CFL's Grey Cup Championship being in Winnipeg this weekend. And it's a pretty big day in the Lower 48 as Americans everywhere are settling down in front of their TVs with obscene amounts of food to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the USofA.

If we're talking about turkey, though, we'll have to mention the Winnipeg Jets and their 1-6-1 record in the month of November. Beans and I will discuss where this team has gone wrong, what it needs to do to right the ship, and where they need to be over the next month if playoffs are in their future once again. We'll talk about the Montreal Canadiens losing Brendan Gallagher and Carey Price once more and how that may affect them, and signing Marc Bergevin to a new extension and why that's good for the club. We'll chat about Nail Yakupov being injured by a linesman, some KHL news, and we'll bring to you another Connor McDavid injury update (hint: he's still injured).

There are also a few promotions you should be aware of that we'll rattle off tonight. First, friend of the show and TSN stalwart James Duthie is signing his new book, The Guy On The Left, at Chapters Polo Park this Saturday at 1pm if you're in or near the Winnipeg area. Get down there, grab a book, and meet James Duthie!

Secondly, friend of the show and skeleton racer Cassie Hawrysh will be in town next Saturday for TEDxKildonan, an event that aims to inspire Winnipeggers with ideas and create an all around better city. If you want to attend, it's $30 for registration, but I'm told it's a fun day of idea-sharing and collaborating between people who truly care about the city. Go see Cassie and hear her message on December 5!

Thirdly, The Hockey Show and UMFM are collecting socks for Siloam Mission to ensure that Winnipeggers have warm feet this winter! Bring your gently-used or new socks down to UMFM during regular business hours and toss them in the sock bin that we'll turn over to Siloam Mission on December 24th! Alternatively, you can call of text Megan at (204) 782-7677 and she'll come and pick up your stocking donation! Megan has already collected over 600 pairs, and we're trying to help her get to 1000 pairs before Christmas! Help out The Hockey Show and UMFM by tossing a pair of socks or two into the bin and keep all Winnipeggers warm this winter!

The phones are wide-open once again tonight, so call in and chat some hockey with us! Make sure you tune your radio dial in the Winnipeg region to 101.5 on your FM dial or listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage as well! Tweet me anytime with questions you may 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. We talk turkeys and American Turkey Day on The Hockey Showtonight only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: November 26, 2015: Episode 167

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Antler Banter: Season 1, Volume 30

The Moose split with the Chicago Wolves last weekend which, in a way, was a small victory considering how well Chicago has been playing this season. That being said, the Moose needed to keep their eyes on the prize, so to speak, as the Bakersfield Condors arrived in town for a two-game set. It was announced last Thursday that Matthew Ford, one of Bakersfield's leading scorers, would miss this weekend's games thanks to a suspension for a check to the head in a prior game, so the Moose were catching a break as the Condors invaded Winnipeg. Let's get to the action on these two games!

Game 14 - Vs Bakersfield

The Moose broke out a promotional jersey as they took the ice in camouflage for Friday's game, and there was some new blood in the lineup as Nic Petan, seen to the right, suited up for his first AHL game this season. However, it would be the Condors who struck first in this game as Ryan Olsen coughed up the puck in his own zone, and it found the stick of Mitch Moroz in the slot who went high on the glove-side past Hellebuyck for the 1-0 lead just 2:24 into the game. The Moose would respond 10:05 later, though, when a centering pass from the corner by Nic Petan found Brenden Kichton, and his wrist shot eluded Laurent Brossoit for the 1-1 tie.

This game became a bit of a goaltender's duel as Hellebuyck and Brossoit went save-for-save for the better part of twenty minutes, and some were of the unbelievable version. However, Bakersfield would find another goal midway through the second period. Brad Hunt's point shot would be redirected by Alexis Loiseau in front of Hellebuyck, and the deflection would get past the Moose netminder at 10:07 for the 2-1 lead.

The third period would be more of the Hellbuyck-Brossoit goaltending clinic as these two netminders put on a show, but neither team would dent the twine any further as Bakersfield earned the victory in a 2-1 game. Brossoit stopped 32 of 33 shots in the win while Hellebuyck made 28 saves on 30 shots. The Moose fall to 3-9-1-1 in the setback.

Game 15 - Vs Bakersfield

The Moose looked to rally back in winning the second half of the two-game set as they did a week before against Chicago, and they got things started the right way. Joel Armia broke in on a 2-on-1 and made a perfect pass to JC Lipon at the edge of the crease who redirected it past a sliding Laurent Brossoit for the 1-0 lead at 10:39. It appeared that the Moose would carry that lead into the intermission, but a late power-play goal evened the game up. Jujhar Khaira found Anton Slepyshev, and he beat Eric Comrie with 11 seconds in the period for the 1-1 equalizer.

The Moose would grab the lead again in the second period. Scott Kosmachuk spotted Austen Brassard streaking down the middle the ice, and hit him with a perfect pass as he had a step on Brad Hunt. A quick deke to the forehand past Brossoit allowed Brassard to deposit the puck into the open net at 18:58, and the Moose took a 2-1 lead into the intermission.

A turnover in the Condors' zone led to the the third Manitoba goal on this night. Marc-Olivier Roy coughed the puck up to Brenden Kichton just above the left face-off circle, and he went cross-ice to Scot Kosmachuk who one-timed a blast past Brossoit 2:10 into the final frame for the 3-1 Manitoba lead. Eric Comrie would shut things down the rest of the way in helping the Moose to the 3-1 win! Comrie grabs the win while Brossoit was tagged with the loss. With the victory, the Moose improve to 4-9-1-1 on the season!

The Infirmary

Defenceman Jay Harrison and forward John Albert are the only two players still on the sidelines for the Moose as both Matt Fraser and Thomas Raffl returned to the lineup. There's hope these two will be ready to go for the upcoming road trip, but it appears that Albert is closer than Harrison in returning to the lineup at this point.

How The Dominoes Fall

The Moose moved a few players this week to open up some roster room for the healed. There was also a couple of recalls that may affect how the Moose move forward. All in all, there was considerable player movement in one week for the AHL club.

First, Ben Walker was re-assigned to the Tulsa Oilers again. Walker played a pair of games with the Moose since being recalled, and he recorded two penalty minutes in those games. He was sent back to Tulsa on Saturday.

Sunday saw Connor Hellebuyck recalled by the Winnipeg Jets after the knee injury to Ondrej Pavelec. Pavelec was seen leaving MTS Centre on crutches following Saturday's game against the Arizona Coyotes, and head coach Paul Maurice stated this week that Pavelec has a knee sprain that will keep him out until January or February. In other words, Hellebuyck will have a great opportunity to prove he's ready for the NHL when he gets his chance.

To make up for the lack of goalies, the Moose signed former Manitoba Bison backstopper Joe Caligiuri to an amateur tryout contract on Sunday in time for the game against the Condors. Caligiuri was 24-16-2 in his time with the Bisons, and has been an emergency goalie at times for the Jets.

The Moose recalled goaltender Jesse Olkinuora from Tulsa on Sunday as well, but he was unable to get to Winnipeg in time for the game. Olkinuora sports a 2-3-2 record along with a 2.80 GAA and a .909 save percentage in seven appearances for the ECHL Oilers this season, and he was 7-5-0 with the IceCaps last season. He'll serve as the backup for Eric Comrie going forward on the road trip.

The Moose then released Caligiuri Sunday night with Olkinuora joining the team. If you want a cameo jersey, Caligiuri wore #30 for his one AHL game. I'm pretty sure the Moose let him keep his jersey as a souvenir of his one AHL game thus far.

On Monday, the Jets recalled Joel Armia from the Moose as they embark on a road trip. Armia has three goals and three assists in 14 games thus far, but I'm not sure he'll see much action unless head coach Paul Maurice is looking to add some offence to his bottom-six. Armia will be relied upon to step into the lineup if someone does go down on this road trip, though.

Finally, the Moose released Kevin Lynch from his professional tryout contract on Tuesday. In five games with the Moose, he recorded two penalty minutes. He will return to the ECHL's Florida Everblades where he had recorded eight points in ten games prior to signing the tryout deal with the Moose.

Who's Next?

The Moose hit the road for a pair of games in Cleveland against the Lake Erie Monsters. The Monsters are one of the teams ahead of the Moose in the Central Division standings, so wins against the Monsters are important. The Monsters are 10-4-0-2 on the season, and have a pile of balanced scoring through their lineup.

Markus Hannikainen, Sonny Milano, Ryan Craig, and Alex Broadhurst all have double-digits in points, so the Moose won't be able to target one or two players. Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo are both putting up impressive numbers in between the pipes, so scoring goals won't be easy either. Lake Erie is 2-0 versus Manitoba already this season as they downed the Moose at MTS Centre by scores of 3-1 and 2-0, so the Moose will have to come out ready if they hope to take a pair of games off the Monsters.

The Moose and Monsters play Wednesday and Friday, and then the Moose are off to Milwaukee. We'll have those updates next week right here on Antler Banter!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Finding Getzlaf

If you're an Anaheim Ducks fan or you play fantasy hockey, you know that Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf is consistent when it comes to gathering points in a season. Sure, he's never won an Art Ross Trophy, but he's consistently in the top-ten in scoring year after year. Until this year, it seems. Getzlaf and the Ducks have struggled mightily out of the gates, and it's no surprise that the Getzlaf and linemate Corey Perry have been absent from the scoresheet. Every team, though, seems to have an opponent whose number they have, and the Ducks have the Flames' number when playing in southern California. That match-up was what Getzlaf needed.

Ryan Getzlaf broke out of his scoring slump in a big way, assisting on all five goals scored tonight as the Ducks downed the Flames 5-3 tonight. It was the second time he's recorded five assists in his career with the last time coming against Detroit on October 29, 2008. It would mark the 21st-straight time that Anaheim has defeated the Flames in Anaheim as well as that streak also continues. And on this night, the Flames had no answer for the big centerman.

"That's what he brings to the table," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters after the game. "That's why he's played on Team Canada twice and won gold medals and a Stanley Cup. When he plays like that, he's a force to be reckoned with."

The coach's words should ring true in his player's ears as Getzlaf looked like an entirely different player tonight than the few times I've seen him this year. He seemed to be able to see plays as they were happening rather than reacting to the play in front of him. He clearly had vision to find players who were in good positions to score, and he looked like the dominant player every expects him to be. Needless to say, he was everything the Ducks need him to be on this night. And maybe a little more.

"Guys made some plays after I gave them the puck," Getzlaf said, deflecting any praise. He went on to say thathis line hasn't had a left winger in some time, and that Rickard Rackell fit perfectly on this night. I'd say he was correct as Rackell and Perry accounted for four of the five goals scored by Anaheim, and Getzlaf had a hand in all of them.

If the Ducks are going to do anything this year, the Getzlaf-Perry duo and whomever occupies that left wing slot will need to find a way to make plays happen. They're too important to be watching on any night, and they haven't ways to hit the scoresheet regularly to be threats yet this season. They were effective last season, but they've struggled this season thus far.

Perhaps it's a simply a confidence thing, and Getzlaf found himself a pile of it tonight. A five-point night will always do wonders for a struggling player. Now the only question will be whether this was the norm or just a blip on the radar of a poor season?

Until next season, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Huge Loss

I won't lie to you, folks: I'm a Brendan Gallagher fan. I love his gritty play where he's in the face of whatever defender has called him as his check. I love his heart as he goes to high-traffic areas and gets his hands dirty in looking for goals while paying the price. I love his speed, his checking, his tenacity. If there was a player I'd want to play with but not against, Gallagher would be the mold of that player. Clearly, the Montreal Canadiens and head coach Michel Therrien value him as well as he seems to be on the ice every second shift bringing his tenacious game to his opponents, but it might be a long time before we see him on the ice again.

Gallagher and the Canadiens were playing the New York Islanders last night, and things were going somewhat to plan midway through the second period when the game was tied 1-1. I'll let the video set this one up.
Gallagher blocked Johnny Boychuk's shot with his hand and was in immediate discomfort. It's well-known that Boychuk has a cannon of a shot, so you can imagine how that would feel to get a chunk of frozen, vulcanized rubber fired at you at close to 100mph.
Sacre bleu, check out that ring finger! Not good. At all. According to the Canadiens, Gallagher fractured two fingers on his left hand and is out indefinitely following surgery Monday. That's going to leave a big hole in this lineup as it's expected that Gallagher may be out six to eight weeks.

We'll see how the Canadiens react to this setback because Gallagher was having himself a career year before the injury. He was an integral part of the Canadiens' early success. And while there's no replacing a player of Gallagher's skill and tenacity entirely, the Canadiens will need someone to step up in his absence in a big way.

The only question is who will be that player?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!