Tag Archives: NHL

Quite a Riot

17 Jun

I’ve avoided talking about the riot in general, both on The Puck and at work/home/bars/the street (at least as much as one can avoid talking about these things).  But in the end, like everything else, it turns out I have an opinion on it!!

“Smile, shitheads!” *CLICK*

 

Those aren’t real Canucks fans!

Yes they are, shut up. Professional rioters don’t buy $200 vintage Trevor Linden jerseys before they turn over a garbage can.  But don’t fret Van-City, it’s ok that they’re Canuck fans, this is not a phenomenon unique to Vancouver.  Get a large enough group of people together and you’re going to have some idiots.  Make that group trend towards young, add in some alcohol, whip them into a frenzy and cram them into a small area and guess what? A few cars are going to get turned over.

Legacy

I think my biggest problem with the riot is that we may be beginning to set a precedent. Last year in Montreal, this year in Vancouver, I’m worried this may become a thing that we do, like putting maple syrup on sausages.  I sincerely hope that’s not the case because, while the occasional unruly mob doesn’t bother me, the idea that hockey playoffs will become tied with rioting is really terrible.  If for no reason other than I want to be able to stay downtown and drink after a game without being run over by a cop on a horse.

At the end of the day…

It wasn’t that bad.  Vancouver woke up the next morning as if from a horrible one-night stand, shook it’s head, looked around and was thoroughly embarrassed.  Now it’s dealing with the aftermath in a very Canadian way.  Hopefully the city’s memory is long enough that this doesn’t happen next year when Chicago beats them out of the playoffs in the first round.

Also, it’s not like Vancouver has the post-sporting-event-riot market cornered.

Vancouver riot police after Game 7

How do you know you’re at a Canadian riot?  The police wear hockey gloves and carry broom handles for clubs.

A man cheers in front of a burning car at the Vancouver riot

Nothing says “annoying riot dad” like a front-backpack, wrap-around sunglasses and a baldness hiding haircut.


Men standing in front of a burnt car

What’s the best way to look even dumber while having you’re photo taken in the middle of a riot?  Dress like Tank Girl.


Asian kid with a hockey stick at the riots

I have nothing that to say that could be as funny as this picture.




There Can Be Only On*AAAHH* HE BIT MY FINGER!!!

15 Jun

Patrice Bergeron and Alexander Burrows

It’s hard to believe I have to work hard just to come up with a post about Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals….but…here we are.  I realized last night that the second you decide that you’re not going to write about Roberto Luongo, you’re almost out of stories.  At least that’s what the lamestream media would have you believe.   It turns out, surprisingly, that you can’t make it to the last game of the season without having a couple of interesting storylines.  And so…this is the story…of those stories…

– I heard a professional hockey analyst describe these finals, without any sense of irony, as “classic” because “it’s not like any other finals I’ve ever seen”.  So there you have it, these finals…classic-ly un-classic.

– 43 year old Mark Recchi is tied for the scoring lead in the finals.  If Boston wins you have to think he retires, but what if they lose?

– Vancouver is either a really fucking good hockey team or a really fucking lucky one.  Like it or not, they’ve made it to game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals with a goalie who’s been pulled 4 times (I know it’s technically only 3, but I count an 8-0 game as a pulling) and a minus rating as a team! Imagine how good you have to be, to be outscored and still win.

Bodog has 5 to 1 odds that Luongo gets pulled tonight.

– Downgoesbrown has a great deconstruction of the run each of these teams had to put together that, for me, really highlights the idiocy of cheering for a jersey on any serious level.

Question of the Day: “Should a team that’s fallen so short on so many levels -biggame production, personal comportment, class -and which is (so we hear) unloved by many in the Rest of Canada be given the hero treatment if they rebound from their Boston embarrassments and win tonight?”

Answer of the Day: “No.”

– Let us pray, that in a year full of idiotic gestures and acts, this game isn’t decided based on a ridiculously stupid play by a ridiculously stupid player on one side or the other.  On the other hand…maybe it would be a perfect ending, it wouldn’t be the first time the Hockey Gods have shown us the error of our ways.

– I’ve never heard so many hockey fans talk about how they just want the season to be over.  To all those fans…I would have them be reminded of this.

That’s it, I’m out of here. Go Hockey Team!!

The Luongo Dilemna Pt. 2 – Electric Boogaloo

9 Jun

Roberto Luongo Gets Scored On

Back in the first round I wrote an article called “The Luongo Dilemna” talking about what the Vancouver Canucks organization needed to consider heading into game 7 against the Blackhawks, including whether or not to pull Luongo…we’ll, a few weeks later and who thought we would be here again!  After another one-sided loss to the Bruins, people are talking about Luongo, and what to do with him.  As usual, a couple of thoughts.

1 – You play Luongo, it’s absurd to talk about not playing him in the next game.  First of all, the game’s in Van-city, where Luongo’s numbers have been great. Second of all, your team has scored one goal in two games, so it doesn’t really matter how well your goalie plays….which leads me to….

2 – The Canucks are being completely outplayed right now. Completely.  Not only are Boston’s top players beating Vancouver’s top players.  But Boston’s pests are completely outplaying Vancouver’s pests.  Think about it, what’s Burrows remembered for right now? Biting someone’s finger?  Why’s everyone talking about Brad Marchand? He’s treating the Sedins like they’re his kid brothers and is busy scoring short-handed goals and playing like this

3 – The Bruins scored 4 goals on Bobby Orr night and 8 on Cam Neely night! Apparently they’ve already put in a call to Andy Moog for game 6.  Vancouver shows just how out of it they are right now and brings in Kirk Mclean for game 5.

Andy Moog Covering a puck

Andy Moog was contacted after the Bruins thought it might be a bit arrogant to go with Ray Bourque night.

4 – Boston has outscored the Canucks 12 – 1 in the last two games, a record for the Stanley Cup finals.

5 – Henrik Sedin is pointless in this series and had his first shot on net in game 4!!

6 – The Canucks need to man up and stop with the childish chippy bullshit.  Having Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows lay a couple of slashes and then run and hide only makes the Bruins more angry and more confident.

7 – The fans at the Rogers Centre in BC actually cheered when Luongo was pulled.  When asked about it after the game, Luongo gave the old “next question”. That has to hurt.

8 – Tim Thomas is quickly becoming my favourite hockey player. How can you not love this guy? In the last two games, at home, in the Stanley Cup finals, he’s let in one goal and has one fight and one hit.

Horton hears a *WHOMP*

7 Jun

Nathan Horton on Ice after Aaron Rome hit

 

In case you missed it, for the second year in a row, the Boston Bruins are losing one of their top players for the rest of the playoffs to a crushing hit.  Last night Aaron Rome might as well have used a trampoline to launch himself at an unsuspecting Nathan Horton, not just knocking him out, but knocking him right out of the playoffs.

Everybody’s clambering to weigh-in on the hit, what it means and what the suspension will be so I figured…why not join in?

The Hit

Ugly.  So fucking ugly.  It was late, high, to the head and caused a severe injury.  If Rome’s not sweating, he should be.  There’s no defence for this hit, Rome committed to it at the same time Horton passed the puck off, there was time to call it off, or even tone it down, but he didn’t.  Rome had arguably the Bruins best player in his sights and he hit to hurt him.  Which brings us to…

The Suspension

Rome will be suspended.  This has all the ingredients of a serious suspension.  The fact that it’s already been announced that Horton will be out for the playoffs is going to hurt Rome big time.  I’m thinking 2-3 games, which since it’s the Stanly Cup Finals, is about 10-15 regular season games.

What it means…

The Bruins now have to play without a top line guy for the rest of the playoffs, the Canucks will have to play without a middle-tier defenceman for a minimum of two games, which on the surface doesn’t seem very fair (which is why I’m praying for a longer suspension, in the 4 game range. UPDATE: 4 it is.) but consider that the Vancouver D is already stretched thin with injuries, and Rome was playing on a top defensive pairing with Kevin Bieksa, and this becomes kind of a big deal.

This is also the first suspension since Colin Campbell announced he was moving out of the supplementary discipline game, so it’s a chance to set a new tone for suspensions. Three or four finals games would definitely do that, and nobody could argue with it.

Editorial Note: A lot of people are comparing this to the Stevens v. Lindros hit in 2000, saying that what was legal then should be legal now.  Two things; first, they’re completely different hits (Lindros had the fucking puck!! See video below). Second, laws change, get used to it.  We used to smoke on airplanes and drive without carseats for our kids. There are 90 guys in the NHL today that can hit as hard as Scott Stevens on his best day.  I don’t like the idea of a zero tolerance rule for head shots, but the players are changing, the rules need to change with them.

 

 

Stanley Cup Finals – Betting Odds from a Guy who Knows Nothing about Betting Odds

1 Jun

I’ve been more and more interested in hockey betting in the past couple of months, so I thought it would be interesting to see what the odds look like throughout the finals this year and learn a few things, things which I’ll share with all of you.

So, looking at the odds below, using my terrible math skills and naive knowledge of sports betting in general, it looks like the bookies aren’t giving the Eastern Conference champs much of a chance this year.

NHL Finals Betting Odds

What this horribly confusing chart basically means is this….if you bet $100 on the Bruins, you’ll win $200 on top of your bet, give or take, (for a total of $300).  If you bet $100 on the Canucks, you’ll only win 45 bones on top of your initial 100.  I’ll have an article explaining how these numbers work some day, for now, go here for a tutorial.

As for game 1, the Canucks are even heavier favourites (which makes sense seeing as they’ll be playing in front of a rocking Rogers Arena), coming in at -200 to the B’s +170.  This means I need to bet 200 dollars on Vancouver if I want a 100 dollar return but the same bet on the Bruins will net me 140 dollars, a 70% return on investment, vs. a 50% return for the Canucks bet.

Math, right?

Keep in mind Boston fans, the Flyers were even bigger underdogs last year at +200 to the Blackhawks -200 and they managed to push it to OT in game 6 with some major injuries. And Philly didn’t exactly have a Vezina winner in net.

Other interesting notes from looking at the odds….

– Kesler is FAR AND AWAY, the odds-on favourite to win the Conn Smythe.

– The series will likely end in 6 or 7 games. (not really going out on a limb there)

– You’ll get 15-1 odds if you want to bet that a player from the losing team will win the Conn Smythe.

– If you bet 250 dollars that there will be a 5 minute major at some point during the finals, you’ll win 100 bucks.  With Lapierre, Lucic, Torrer, Kesler, Horton, Marchand and Bieksa playing, that’s money in the bank!

 

B-B-B-Ettman and the Jets!

1 Jun

Burton Cummings as Winnipeg Jets Captain

Burton Cummings, the embodiment of Jets fans everywhere right now.

First off, congratulations to Jets fans everywhere, and the city of Winnipeg.  Second, my condolences to Atlanta and all Thrashers fans.

I’ll have more to say on this in the future but here are my initial thoughts on this whole thing…

Bettman, no matter what he does, will never have any fans in the hockey world.  People complained that he would never allow another Canadian team under his watch, now they’re complaining that he wasn’t happy enough at the press conference announcing another Canadian team under his watch.  Well I’ll give you an idea as to why he may not be all that happy, he just watched a team move from the 9th largest metropolitan area in the United States, to Winnipeg.  Which brings me to my next thought…

Winnipeg is now the smallest market in the NHL. Because Winnipeg’s rink is so small, even if the Jets sell out every game next season, it will finish no better than 24th in attendance across the NHL, based on figures for the 2010-11 season, trailing the likes of Nashville, Florida and Dallas, all money-losers last year. (link)

– The issue of moving teams to Canada seems to be more about U.S. vs. Canada, or everyone vs. Bettman, than it does about the actual long term viability of a market or the overall health of a league.

– A lot of players do not want to play in Winnipeg, rightly or wrongly.  The response to the team moving to Winnipeg has been unprecedented; we’ve seen analysts, agents, players and more players all speak up about how much players do not want to play in Winnipeg.  That being said, you know there are lots of guys out there dying to play their hearts out for a rabid Canadian crowd that will hold them up as gods if they can only win a few playoff series.  It’s also going to depend on what kind of culture this team builds, if they win, players will come.  So we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out, but in the meantime, prepare yourself for story after story of players not wanting to move to Winnipeg.

– Everybody wants this team to be called the Jets.  Everyone.  Now just do it.  Why start this whole process by pissing everyone off, and possibly making a very poor decision about names, jerseys and logos?  You would think the owners would have enough on their plates without having to worry about whether or not they’re creating the next Wild Wing?!?

 

Anaheim Ducks Wild Wing Jersey

The "Wild Wing" jersey. There are no words.

You have a logo, colours and a team name that are popular enough (after 15 years of that team not existing) that they still sell merchandise based on it, and you’re going to try to outdo that. On top of all that, you’re going to have to deal with the accusations that you’re just trying gouge your fans by asking them all to buy new jerseys, hats, pennants, bedsheets and underwear.  Good luck.

The More You Know…

30 May

Stanley Cup Finals Logo

For the first time in a long time, I’ve been left without a clear favourite heading into the conference finals and, subsequently, the finals, finals.  I languished in a sort of hockey-fan purgatory, not entirely ready to hate or love any team I was watching in the semis.  I love Joe Thornton as much as I love Roberto Luongo.  I respect a team with a grand history and commitment towards building a winning hockey team, as much as I love the idea of hockey fans in the south being rewarded once again with another hard-working, uber talented cup contender.

It wasn’t until the elimination games in the respective conferences that I started to figure out who it was I actually wanted to win each series.  And I got what I wanted in the East.

You see, I live on the East coast and don’t get to see much of these Western monsters, so the playoffs are a really good chance for me to get aquainted with Western teams.  And this year I learned one very surprising thing….I don’t like the Vancouver Canucks.

The more I watch the Vancouver Canucks the more I dislike them.  In the space of a single playoffs I went from good old Canadian boy, hoping for Canada’s only Stanley Cup hope (featuring Canada’s Olympic gold medal winning goalie) to win it all.  But after actually watching this team play, I find myself wishing for another swine flu epidemic more than a Canuck Stanley Cup.

I used to see Luongo as the guy who stared down a hockey world and delivered us a gold medal at home. Now I see him as the guy who needs a backup to cover him when things get a little too tough, or any time he plays against Dave Bolland.

I used to see the Sedins as a pair of durable, workhorse, point-a-game men who were beginning to break out of their Mats Sundin shell and become true hockey giants.  Now I see them as two truly skilled players who can really deliver, as long things don’t get all that tough on them, or they’re playing against Dave Bolland.

I used to see Ryan Kesler as….well, Ryan Kesler.  Now, I see Alex Burrows as Ryan Kesler light…and Max Lapierre and Ryan Kesler Bud Lime.  Point being, they’re all unbearable.

So now I’m left with what? Sami Salo? Rafi Torres?  Jeff Tambelini?

When I have to think hard about which player I hate most on a team, that’s not a team I can pull for.

As for the Bruins…who doesn’t love seeing Cam Neely in the press box?!? Who can argue with those classic jerseys and that consistent, Big Bad Bruins, persona? Sure, the Bruins have their share of shitheads (Marchand, I’m looking at you) but even a Canadian hockey fan must find it difficult to Look at the Lucic-Krejci-Horton line, standing in front of Tim Thomas, and not cheer for that team.

P.S. If you’re ever in an argument with a Canucks fan about why you should or shouldn’t be cheering for them…show them this gif.  There is absolutely no comeback for how goofy this celebration is….

Henrik Sedin Celebration Animated Gif

R.I.P. Boogeyman

14 May

Derek Boogaard Celebrates with teammates

Earlier this evening, feared NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard was found dead in his apartment.

Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Michael Russo first reported the news via Twitter on Friday evening. According to the New York Daily News, foul play is not suspected.

Crank’s Corner – Q&A

30 Apr

Two NHL Referees

"Two Zebras surveying the game they're about to ruin." - Crank

The Crank takes time out of his busy schedule (yelling at the ducks in the park and trying to teach his dog to bark at that neighbour he doesn’t like) to answer your questions/comments/email about his Last Column.

Your last article was typical “my era was better than yours” bullshit. This is hockey now. Maybe youd like the players to stop wearing their helmets?

NO, this has nothing to do with ” eras “. I happen to think that the hockey being played now is the best of all time. My main gripe is and has always been that the main shortcoming of the NHL is the officiating. It is an embarrassment to be the best league in the world at your sport, the ”showcase ” for professional hockey, and have officials who can’t show enough consistency to make the same call on two basically identical plays. There are many reasons for this but the main one is the NHL itself has pretty much stifled any criticism of the chosen few they deem good enough to officiate their product. They fine anyone who dares to question a call in any way other than a roundabout statement, i.e. ”I didn’t see it that way “.
They allow the referees to decide when an infraction is or isn’t a penalty, based on many different factors like what the score is; who the guilty party is; who the recipient of the infraction is; what the time in the game is; is the team already shorthanded; do they “owe you one ” for a previous bad call; do they “owe you one ” for a previously missed call; what the penalty count in the game is (they seem to think that as long as the count is close they have done a good job) and the list goes on and on.

This leeway granted the men in stripes is unfortunate for many reasons, but the most significant is that it allows them to be instrumental in determining the outcome of the games. This means that not only playoff match ups are changed, but actually making or not making the playoffs can be determined, especially in today’s NHL where positions are often not known until after the final whistle in the final game (read: PHILLY and NYR last season). This also spills over all the way to actually affecting the individual performances of the players themselves. With the number of power play goals being scored each year, imagine the change as a result of two or three (and I’m being conservative) different calls per game. The scoring race is affected, the goalies stats are affected and as a result all of the major individual trophies are affected, not to mention the individual contracts of the players themselves. Many have bonus clauses for reaching certain levels of achievement.

Bring it home Crank…..we won’t have time for any more questions!

So this has nothing to do with which era of hockey you like more, as this has been the case in the league for as long as I’ve been watching hockey. What it deals with is the inability of the officials to do their job in an unbiased and fair, just way. A penalty is a penalty whether the score is 10-0 or 1-1, whether it is 8:04 in the first or 19:55 of the third, whether it is 5 on 5 or 5 on 3,etc. It would appear that the league has even instructed the networks to limit their criticism of these employees in stripes as you rarely if ever hear anything but occasional mild questioning of a call from the numerous analysts on the many different shows. Even the “decider of discipline” himself, Colin Campbell, shows no consistency in his handing out of suspensions. Because of this you have the best player in hockey sitting out three months of the regular season and the playoffs because the league didn’t want to tarnish their “showcase” called the winter classic by handing out a suspension for the infraction that was seen over and over by true fans for what it was,a cheap shot, but handed out countless games after that hit for deeds no more vicious.

My plea would be to the so called hockey experts like Bob McKenzie, Dave Hodge, Don Cherry, Ron Maclean, and all the other numerous panelists on the shows to show some balls and unlike the referees, call ‘em as ya see ‘em. Lets start holding these employees accountable for their incompetence, or admit that they are only following the leagues mandate by calling the games as they are told.

If, after doubling their staff per game, a player carrying the puck can lose two teeth and leave the ice bleeding from a high stick, and no penalty is called, then what the fuck is going on? Oh yeah, his team was leading 6-0 and he had reemed out the ref earlier for another missed call.

There you have it, who would have thought that the subject of referees would have set The Crank off on such a rant. I guess all of us. Until next time!

Crank’s Corner

16 Apr

Here at Primitive Puck we have a few…..friends, who have some things to get off their chest. The man known only as Crank is one of these friends. At first I thought about asking this guy to start his own blog, but then I remembered I have a pickup game with him next week and I’m running out of my own teeth. So, without further ado, I bring you….Mr. Crank.


The Linesmen.

NHL Linesman

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!"

WHO ARE THOSE GUYS??? Can any of you hockey fans out there name your all time favorite linesmen? I didn’t think so. Is that the reason that all of the present day linesmen seem to have a distinct hankering for the spotlight? There was a time when their main job was to call offsides as close as possible, even when no advantage was being gained and a delayed offside was a better option. Well now they have found a way to elongate their moments in the spotlight by refusing to drop the puck until the camera has been on them for a minimum of ten seconds. If things are lined up correctly before they get their face time, they simply kick one center out of the circle. This happens over and over during every game but, oddly enough, only ever happens one time per face off. You see, there is a rule whereby you must assess a penalty if someone from the same team is banned from the circle twice at the same face off. How quickly and obediently todays hockey players learn their lessons!! These same players who scrum after every freezing of the puck and are admonished repeatedly for it, not by a lowly linesman but by a red striper, and are repeatedly sent to the box for all sorts of other infractions apparently fear the dreaded face off penalty more than any other, because they never commit it. How can it be that so many times in every game they dare to line up incorrectly, not place your stick just so, have a skate over the line, or commit one of what must be a huge list of indiscretions ONCE, BUT NEVER TWICE. The only explanation is the linesmen want more recognition and this is their way of getting it. Apparently yelling out non infractions such as NO ICE or OKAY when a play is NOT offside isn’t getting enough people to talk about the job they are doing so poorly.

I LONG FOR THE DAYS WHEN A LINESMAN WAS ONLY HEARD FROM WHEN HE BLEW HIS WHISTLE, AND NO ONE KNEW THEIR NAMES.