Posts Tagged ‘NHL’

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Gary’s picks

DAL 31 MIN 20

TEN 17 STL 14

CAR 28 ATL 21

NYJ 27 NO 24

KC 24 BUF 10

SDG 31 WAS 17

OAK 24 PHI 10

SEA 27 TB 7

BAL 14 CLE 13

NE 20 PIT 17

IND 31 HOU 16

GB 35 CHI 24

Zevs picks

BUF 31 KC 21

DAL 35 MIN 17

TEN 28 STL 21

SDG 42 WAS 10

CAR 31 ATL 28

NYJ 21 NO 14

OAK 17 PHI 3

SEA 25 TB 17

CLE 35 BAL 21

NE 35 PIT 21

HOU 28 IND 21

GB 31 CHI 28

Orens Picks

DAL over MIN 35-17

STL  over MIN 20-17

CAR over ATL 30-14

NO over NYJ           31-24

KC over BUF           26-20

SD over WAS 23-20

OAK over PHI 17-13

SEA over TB           21-17

BAL over CLE        20-14

NE over PIT            27-19

IND over TEX         27-24

GB over CHI 27-21

Daniels Picks

KC over Buf 42 – 35

ATL over Car 10 – 7

Dal over Min 28 – 3

NO over NYJ 28 – 10

Ten over Stl 14 – 10

Was over SD 35- 28

Oak over Phil 21- 17

Sea over TB 42- 3

Bal over Cle 14 – 10

NE over Pit 17 – 10

Ind over Hou 28 – 17

Chi over GB in OT 38 – 35

Avis Picks

KC 24

BUF 13

ATL 20

CAR 31

MIN 17

DAL 28

NO 34

NYJ 23

TEN 17

STL 13

SD 24

WAS 28

PHI 27

OAK 20

TB 9

SEA 31

BAL 23

CLE 17

PIT 21

NE 24

IND 28

HOU 14

CHI 17

GB 28

Jeremys Picks

CAR 24 ATL 21

DAL 31 MIN 16

NO 38 NYJ 14

TEN 21 STL 10

KC 24 BUF 7

SD 38 WAS 31

OAK 28 PHI 27

SEA 35 TB 9

CLE 17 BAL 14

NE 21 PIT 20

IND 35 HOU 17

GB 34  CHI 17

Gary goes after the New York Jets after their 49-9 loss

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Tonight, big news shocked the hockey world, as the Buffalo Sabres finally dealt Thomas Vanek. He was dealt to the New York Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson, a first round pick in 2014, and a second rounder in 2015.

Lets look at what each team gets with this blockbuster:

Islanders – They get a top scorer in the prime of his career. Vanek, 29, in his first 8 full seasons in the NHL has scored between 50-80 points per season, and led the Sabres to a couple of playoff races, with stellar offensive play. Up until now, he co-led the Sabres with 9 points in 13 games with Cody Hodgson, on a struggling team trying to find some kind of footing. The Isles are getting a very dangerous scorer that will be a great complement to John Tavares.

Sabres – Matt Moulson has been a very solid piece for the Islanders since they acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings. In the last 4 seasons, he missed 1 game total, and scoring 48-69 points per season, and at an increasing rate. At 29, he seems to be reaching his prime now. It does remain to be seen if he can carry an offense on his own, joining a struggling team trying to find an identity. The Sabres are getting a reliable scorer, and a durable player who will help the team for years to come. Buffalo also received 2 draft picks, a first and a second. Nothing to be said of those but speculation, but draft picks for a team rebuilding can prove invaluable.

Conclusion and Verdict: Sabres win this deal. The Isles may seem like they are taking the best piece of this pie, but only short term. Vanek and Moulson almost cancel out the deal, and the Sabres picked up 2 potentially key picks that will go toward their future.

For those of you not feeling watching the NFL on Sunday, or looking for something to watch until Sunday gets around, here are a few hockey games worth watching this weekend. There are some good ones to keep an eye on.

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Friday night:

New York Islanders (3-3-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (7-2-0). This matchup has become an underrated rivalry. A few years back, if you can remember, these two teams had 2 games in 9 days resulting in several hundred penalty minutes, and bitter feelings ever since. Last year, they skated to one of the more entertaining first rounds, where Pittsburgh won 4 games to 2, in a series much closer than the final count. This year, the Islanders retooled for success, with pickups of Cal Clutterbuck and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, as they take on the always dangerous Penguins for the first time this season.

Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks (7-3-0) at Ottawa Senators (4-3-2). This is the second matchup of these two teams who made one of the bigger trades in the off-season, with the teams swapping Bobby Ryan to Ottawa for young stud Jakob Silfverberg.  The first matchup was in Anaheim, where the [Mighty] Ducks won 4-1, putting a team record 56 shots on poor Craig Anderson. It remains to be seen how the Sens will respond.

Saturday night:

San Jose Sharks (8-1-1) at Montreal Canadiens (6-4-0). San Jose just tasted regulation defeat for the first time this season last night in Boston. With a team as strong as they seem to be, they should be back with a vengeance Saturday. However, the Sharks have been notoriously streaky the last few years, hitting slides where they seem stuck in a funk with no way out. Montreal is coming off of a great showing against Anaheim, winning 4-1, and look to keep that rolling Saturday night at Le Centre Bell. Michael Bournival is the player to keep an eye on, with 2 points against the strong [Mighty] Ducks, and seems to be emerging early in the season.

Minnesota Wild (5-3-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (6-1-3). This is another first round of the playoffs rematch, but unlike the Isles-Pens series, this one wasn’t as close, with the Hawks taking the series 4-1. The Wild have tinkered with their team since, adding young talents of Nino Niederrieter and Mikael Granlund. The Hawks are defending Cup champs, and haven’t changed their team much. Look for a tough grudge match.

Sunday night:

Winnipeg Jets (4-5-2) at Colorado Avalanche (8-1-0). This matchup features two very young cores, in different stages of development. The Jets have a great nucleus of young players, but are still growing, and showing signs of it. The Avs have an even better young team, with a couple top 3 draft picks and other top tier offense. The Jets have a good offense, starting with Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, but look out for the Avs’ Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, and Nathan MacKinnon among other guys to tear apart the Winnipeg D, and also for Winnipeg to strike back in this divisional matchup.

It’s gonna be a fun weekend in hockey, so happy watching everyone!

Player Safety in the NHL

Posted: October 23, 2013 in NHL
Tags: ,

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Hockey is one of the most physical and exciting sports, and it shows with violent collisions, speeding pucks, and even fisticuffs. But this game, when played at such high speeds, can get out of control, and someone can get really hurt.

Within the last couple of weeks, there have been a few instances where players delivered hits on other players, that seemed to be directed at the head area, or against the boards in a questionable position. For example: The New York Islanders’ Michael Grabner delivered a hit to the head of Carolina’s Nathan Gerbe, subsequently earning a 2 game Shanaban. Also recently, Colorado’s Cody McLeod hit Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall from behind into the boards, thus earning him a 5 game suspension. Kronwall was stretchered off the ice.

Other “preventable” injuries include Montreal’s George Parros’ concussion sustained from a fight, where he was dragged to the ice and knocked out cold (hasn’t returned, no timetable given either), and last year, New York Rangers’ Marc Staal getting hit in the face by a slapshot, when not wearing a face shield.

The real question is: Even though the NHL is doing what they can to prevent concussions and neck injuries, sustained from collisions that seem dangerous and reckless, how can they further stop these hits from happening? Even though innocuous hits to the head garner a 2 minute seat in the sin bin, people still do it, whether by accident, or with intent. Also, what can they do about injuries sustained in fighting, and injuries sustained from getting a puck or a stick in the face?

The answer? Not too much more than they are already doing.

First, lets look at the hits to the head. While there are those hits that seem like they have malicious intent, with the player’s head in the cross-hairs (see Grabner’s hit), they usually don’t. If you ask me, there isn’t much the hitter can do when they already commit to the hit. When you’re on ice, or even when you aren’t on ice, it’s hard to stop your momentum on a dime when you see the opposing player suddenly change to a more prone position, where their head seems to be in a place where it’s easy pickin’s. This kind of hit actually used to be legal, and encouraged. The hit Scott Stevens put on Eric Lindross in Game 7 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals, one which may have ended the better portion of Lindross’ career, was legal, and looked on with amazement. Nowadays, it’s hard to believe that he wouldn’t have gotten suspended. Stevens’ career was made with those kind of hits, being known as one of the most vicious open-ice hitters in history. Since his retirement, however, the NHL has really tightened down on this kind of hit. It should be a suspension-worthy offense. But it’s hard to blame the player after they’ve committed to making the hit, especially if its’ been a part of their game their entire lives.

Hits from behind, like McLeod’s fine example,  have no place in hockey. The boards aren’t made of pillows, and the human neck and spine aren’t reinforced with steel cables. It’s a simple formula, if you see the numbers, don’t make the hit. Just ask Steve Bernier, because he got a ton of it from Devils fans in the Cup finals (myself included).

Fighting has been a huge debate over the last few years, whether it’s the necessity of it, or the players who regularly engage in the tradition of dropping the gloves in a gentlemanly manner and proceed to punch the other dude in the chops. While I do understand the (un)-safety procedures, it’s very different than checks to the head. How? Simple. Both fighters agree to settle their differences, as opposed to a check to the head, or a check from behind, which is oh so obviously not consensual. Besides, fighting has it’s place in the game, and not just for fan entertainment or as an outlet of stress from a player’s perspective. It’s meant to garner some energy and momentum for a team, and to protect the big guys from going after the little guys. Fighting is fine, and it’s not like boxing, where people look like http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/11/10/sports/10boxing.jpg after a good tilt. Usually, the two agree to the fight in the manner of, “Hey wanna go?” “Sure.” They fight (usually turns into a wrestling match anyway), get a couple of hay-makers in, acknowledge the other guy, and go sit in the box for 5 minutes. Almost entirely harmless.

The visor mandate is fine by me, but will it really do much more than it has? In the [2012]-2013 season, approximately 73% of players in the NHL wore visors. The other 27% were grandfathered in, so that they only choose whether they want it or not (see helmet mandate in 1979). Rest assured, though, there won’t be a Craig MacTavish, who ignores the rule for 17 years. I digress. Consider how a puck hits your face. It’s gotta lift off the ice. Same with a stick. The only direction that isn’t protected, is where the puck or stick will hit you. If you really want player safety in that department, mandate college-style face shields. Since I know they won’t, I’ll give up on that argument now. But if you look at the ways a puck or stick can hit the face, a visor only covers the eyes, where the player usually gets hit in the mouth or below. A visor will only do so much.

To wrap it all up, the NHL is doing a great deal of things to prevent those injuries deemed preventable. I know there is a much safer way of playing hockey, but that involves roller blades and a small orange ball in a street somewhere. Injuries will happen. Preventable injuries will happen. That’s why there is supplemental punishment. But I don’t think the NHL DOPS can do much more to keep the game where it is, and make it as safe as possible.

Gary and Jeremy go around the NHL, talking about everything hockey related