Top 10 Hockey Moments from Winter Olympics – Round Robin


Well the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia are into week two and mens and womens hockey is in full swing.  There have been some exciting games thus far and The Hockey Fanatic is counting down the top ten moments in Olympics hockey from round robin play of the 2014 Sochi Games.

Top 10 Hockey Moments from Winter Olympics – Round Robin

  1. USA vs Russia in Mens Hockey – or should we say TJ Oshie vs Alex Kovalchuk?  With the United States and Russia tied after regulation and overtime, the two rivals went to a lengthily shootout after a tightly-contested preliminary game, where the St. Louis Blues centre took six shots, scoring four times, to lead his team to a 3-2 victory.  Over on Twitter the hastag #TJSochi became an instant hit.
  2. Canada vs USA in Womens Hockey – ah yes another great game between the two rivals.  This was in fact one of the best games that we have seen in years period.  Canada had a strong third period in which they trailed one nothing to start the third period.  The Canadian squad coached by Kevin Dineen put together a tremendous final 20 minutes, scoring three goals while outshooting the favoured American side 12-3 on their way to a 3-2 win.  This game had it all and in the end Canada’s passion shone through.  We cannot wait to see more of this in the medal round.
  3. Canada defeats Finland in OT – on an OT winner from Canada by Drew Doughty allowed Canada to get the victory over a very poised Finnish team.  The 2-1 victory for Canada seems them ranked third overall as they move into the medal round.
  4. Japanese Women’s Hockey Team Enjoying the Sochi Games with a big game vs. Russia – Earlier this week the womens Japanese hockey team played Russia giving the Russians a bit of a scare.  With Russia leading 1-0 early in the third period, Japan’s Ayaka Toko floated a fluttering knucklepuck toward the net. Bobbing and weaving over and around teammates and Russian opponents, the puck found its way between goaltender Anna Prugova’s glove and pads. The goal was the first Olympic goal from a Japanese player in 16 years. To celebrate the monumental feat, the players engaged in hockey hugs before circling up and bowing in unison. Russia went on to win 2-1.  It’s the second time the Japanese squad has qualified for the Olympics – the first was when they hosted the 1998 Nagano Games.
  5. Slovenia gets first Olympic hockey win over Slovakia -Slovenia beat Slovakia 3-1 in a massive upset.  Slovenia earned a spot in the Sochi Games by beating Belarus, Ukraine and Denmark in last year’s qualification tournament.  The hockey team is ranked 17th in the world from a nation with fewer than 2 million people, seven hockey rinks and only one professional team. Scoring for Slovenia was Rok Ticar who broke a scoreless tie 3:23 into the final period. Teammate Tomaz Razingar scored midway through the third and Anze Kopitar, the team’s only NHL player had a goal 23 seconds later.
  6. Goaltender Jan Laco of Slovakia’s great performance vs Team Russia – the Slovakian goaltender turned aside everything he saw with the exception of shootout goal from Alexander Kovalchuk.  A brilliant efforts as Laco stopped 36 Russian shots.
  7. Sweden upsets Finland in Women’s Hockey – technically this was not a round robin game as the Swedes upset the Finns in the Women’s quarterfinal game.  This game was a nasty affair as these two teams definitely do not like each other.  Sweden won the game 4-2 and will now meet the US in the semi-finals.
  8. Phil Kessel nets a hat-trick as the US defeats Slovenia by a score of 5-1.  Team USA complete the round robin with a 3-0 record having outscored their opponents 15-4.
  9. Austria claims it first Olympic win in 12 years in win over Norway – the Austrians beat Norway 3-1 to earn their first win at the Olympic games in on over a decade.  Michael Grabner scored twice for the Austians in the win.
  10. Team USA opens their Olympic tournament with a 7-1 win over Slovakia – Team US is focused on Gold and they just might take it at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  The team has a lot of firepower and solid goaltending.  Should they make it to the final, they will be a formidable foe.  Phil Kessel is on fire and continue to pile up the points.  Team USA is looking strong after round robin play.

Next up is the elimination round.  Is Russia playing possum?  We will have to wait and see as the next round of mens hockey begins this week. The elimination round for the Men’s side looks like this:

2014 Sochi Mens Hockey

Image:  Courtesy of the Globe and Mail

On the womens side a Gold medal rematch between Canada and the US is expected.  Should be another great game. #CANvsUSA

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Thoughts on the NHL Playoff Format


This season marks the first with the new divisions and as a result the playoff is a little different with wild cards.  Currently in the 30 team NHL the East has 16 teams with 14 teams in the West.  A little lopsided for the playoff seeds right?  Well the NHL has worked towards parity which I tend to disagree with.  I miss the days of the dynasty and while I don’t want to see the same four or five teams always winning the Stanley Cup, it would be cool to see some consecutive Cup wins.

So it will be interesting to see how the NHL playoff format works this year.  I personally have a recommendation for the playoff format.  It is something that the NHL used to do when it was a twenty-one team league back in the ’80′s.  At the end of the regular season, the top 16 teams would make the NHL playoffs regardless of division/conference with the seeds as follows:

#1 vs. #16

#2 vs #15

#3 vs. #14

#4 vs. #13

#5 vs. #12

#6 vs. #11

#7 vs. #10

#8 vs #9.

That way any given team might have the opportunity of playing against any other team in the playoffs.  Yes there are some cons to this method in terms of potential travel or playoff rivalries (although new rivalries could be developed).  So based on today’s standings (yes not all the teams have played the same amount of games at this point, but this is only for illustration purposes) if the playoffs started today, the match-ups would be as follows:

Anaheim vs. Carolina

Chicago vs. Phoenix

St. Louis vs. NY Rangers

Pittsburgh vs. Montreal

San Jose vs. Toronto

Colorado vs. Minnesota

Boston vs. Vancouver

Tampa Bay vs Los Angeles

Are you kidding me?  There are some great match-ups.  The Bruins and Canucks in the opening round?  Excelsior.  San Jose vs. Toronto?  The Lightning vs the Kings.  This would provide some great hockey.  It would also make the regular season seeding mean more as well.  Especially if you were one of the last couple of playoff seeds.  A few extra wins could mean drawing an “easier” opponent in the first round.

Hockey fans would love it.  Players would love it.  Probably the only ones who wouldn’t love it would be the League itself and the owners.  Unfortunately those are the two main components that would need to make this come true.  Well one could dream can they?

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2014 NHL Trade Deadline Player Movement Predictions


With the second half of the season underway and with a two-and-a-half week Olympic break coming up, the NHL’s March 5th Trade Deadline isn’t that far off and teams will be making decisions on how to bolster or rebuild their lineups.  As always there are a few rental players who are available, but it is unlikely that we will see any blockbuster deals.  Today’s NHL simply does not allow for that.  Too much parity in the League and too many teams who think that they have an actual shot at making the playoffs.  Not to mention that there appears to be a trend of General Managers who are fearful of losing their jobs so they are hesitant to make any major deals.  Oh how we long for the days of long ago where we saw seven player blockbuster deals.  Ah the digital age keeps us on top of all of the trade rumors so the days of a surprise blockbuster are few.  In an earlier post we discussed a handful of players that could be on the move prior to the trade deadline.  We thought that we would revisit this and predict which players may be wearing new NHL jerseys come March 5th.

2014 NHL Trade Rumors

 

2014 NHL Trade Deadline Player Movement Predictions

Here is a look at ten players whom could be on the move prior or at the NHL trade deadline on March 5th.  There are teams looking to add small pieces for a playoff run, others are looking for a top four defenseman or a top six forward.  Still others are looking for goaltending help.  Teams like the Edmonton Oilers are looking for all of the above.  Well here are ten players that we would expect to attract some interest before or around the 2014 NHL trade deadline.

  1. Ryan Miller – goaltender currently with the Buffalo Sabres. While Miller’s stock has fallen there are still a number of teams who could be interested in his services.  Potential Suitors:  St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers or Philadelphia Flyers.  There is no way the Oilers are on Miller’s list of teams he would agree to be traded to so St. Louis would make the most sense here.
  2. Dustin  Byfuglien – defenseman with the Winnipeg Jets.  Big “Buff” would be a welcome addition to any NHL team or would he?  Some say that he comes with an attitude and we all know that he is not the fitness freak that a Rob Brind’Amour was.  Regardless there are not too many top two defensemen who might be available.  Potential Suitors: Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres or Montreal Canadiens.  As much as we would like to see “Big Buff” in Buffalo with the Sabres, the Edmonton Oilers are one team that could really use a player of Byfuglien’s nature.
  3. Sam Gagner – former centerman now winger with the Edmonton Oilers.  Gagner is a streaky scorer who has yet to find his defensive game.  However playing with the right players and in the right system Gagner could be a 60-70 point man.  Potential Suitors:  Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks.  We could see Gagner going to either the Pens or the Leafs if Edmonton could get a roster player back in return.
  4. Paul Stastny – forward with the Colorado Avalanche.  This guy quietly puts up respectable numbers.  Another of those players who if given decent amounts of ice time can play well.  Potential Suitors:  Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets or Montreal Canadiens.  I could see Stastny landing in Toronto.
  5. Blake Wheeler – current winger with the Winnipeg Jets.  A big player who a number of teams have shown interest in.  Potential Suitors: Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils.  The most likely candidate to land Wheeler will be the team most willing to move a roster player.  This might mean the Oilers or Flyers might be the ones to land him although the Pens have shown great interest as of late.
  6. Matt Moulson – currently with the Buffalo Sabres.  Potential Suitors:  New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks or Carolina Hurricanes.
  7. Jake Gardiner – defenseman with the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Apparently the Leafs are not shopping him but there are some teams that would have interest in Gardiner.  Potential Suitors:  Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars or Philadelphia Flyers.  The best fit here might very well be the Edmonton Oilers.
  8. Michael Del Zotto – defenseman currently with the New York Rangers.  Potential Suitors: Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks.
  9. Andrew Ladd – forward and captain of the Winnipeg Jets.  Not sure if he will be moved but there are teams that are interested in acquiring the big center.  Potential Suitors:  Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers or Nashville Predators.
  10. Devin Setoguchi – forward with the Winnipeg Jets.  This guy just has not been the same since leaving the San Jose Sharks.  Potential Suitors:  Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks or Florida Panthers.  We could see the “Gootch” going back to San Jose for a playoff run.

 

The lower salary cap and tight budget for many teams explains why we have not see many trades this season and we may not see a lot happen during this year’s trade deadline.  Wouldn’t it be cool if we could see a could of blockbusters though?  Like a Shea Weber to Edmonton or Vancouver or a Pavel Datsyuk to St. Louis or Dallas?  One can dream can’t he?

 

 

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Hockey Fanatics Picks for Canada’s Men’s 2014 Olympic Hockey Team


canadian-flagIn approximately seven hours the 2014 Men’s Hockey Team for the Winter Olympics will be announced for Canada.  The 25 player roster will most likely include some questionable picks as Canada has enough great players to ice two Olympic teams. Like the media and sports channels we too have our predictions as to who should be on the team.  We may even have a few surprise picks.  Here is a look at The Hockey Fanatic’s picks for the Canadian Men’s Olympic hockey team.

Our Picks for the 2014 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team

 

Goaltenders

Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens

Cory Crawford – Chicago Black Hawks

Roberto Luongo – Vanconver Canucks

Defensemen

Duncan Keith – Chicago Black Hawks

Shea Weber – Nashville Predators

PK Subban – Montreal Canadiens

Marc-Édouard Vlasic – San Jose Sharks

Drew Doughty – Los Angeles Kings

Brent Seabrook – Chicago Black Hawks

Alex Pietrangelo – St. Louis Blues

Dion Phaneuf – Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning

Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins

Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks

Jonathan Toews – Chicago Black Hawks

Corey Perry – Anaheim Ducks

Joe Thornton – San Jose Sharks

Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars

Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins

Chris Kunitz – Pittsburgh Penguins

Patrick Sharp – Chicago Black Hawks

Corey Perry – Anaheim Ducks

John Tavares – New York Islanders

Taylor Hall – Edmonton Oilers

James Neal – Piitsburgh Penguins

There you have it, our pick for Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

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All-Time Greatest Hockey Nicknames


If you have ever been part of a sports team you will have at some point received a nickname from your teammates.  Athletes tend to be pretty creative when it comes to giving each other monikers and nicknames.  Well we have researched some of the greatest nicknames in all of hockey and compiled our list of the all-time top hockey nicknames.

All-Time Greatest Hockey Nicknames

This list consists of nicknames of players, coaches and even owners.  Here is a look at some of the greatest nicknames in all of hockey.

  1. Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe – no better hockey nickname than this for the man who played professional hockey into his fifties.  One of the top three greatest all around players the game has ever seen.  The man had the largest hand that I ever shook.
  2. Dave ” The Hammer” Schultz – set a league record for penalty minutes in a single season while playing with the Philadelphia Flyers.  The “Hammer” was as tough as nails.
  3. Don Cherry – Grapes – former coach of the Boston Bruins and Colorado Rockies
  4. Lorne “Gump” Worsley – a nickname that stuck with the goaltender from when he was a kid as a friend called him Gump because his hair resembled a comic character by the name of Andy Gump.
  5. Wayne Gretzky – The Great One – a fitting nickname for the greatest hockey player of all-time
  6. Chris Knuckles Nilan – former NHL pugilist.
  7. George “Punch” Imlach – Hall of Fame coach of the Leafs who earned his nickname after he was accidentally knocked out by an elbow to the head during a senior league game. Upon waking, the dazed Imlach tried to punch his team’s trainer, who was merely trying to help him out.
  8. Stu “The Grim Reaper” Grimson – a play off of his last name, this enforcer was not scared of anyone and had his share of tilts in the NHL.  At 6’5″ The Grime Reaper was a menacing presence.
  9. Henri “Pocket Rocket” Richard – the smaller, younger brother of Maurice “Rocket” Richard.
  10. Larry “Big Bird” Robinson – hall of fame defenseman with the Montreal Canadiens
  11. Hector “Toe” Blake – all because his little sis couldn’t pronounce his name; she called him Hectoe
  12. Bobby “The Golden Jet” Hull – blonde hair, fast skating and a big slapshot earned this allstar the moniker of The Golden Jet.
  13. Garnet “Ace” Bailey – perished during 9/11
  14. Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion – named after his big booming shot.
  15. Maurice “The Rocket” Richard – the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games.  According to Sports Illustrated, this Canadiens’ Hall of Famer got his moniker in 1942 after teammate Ray Getliffe remarked during a practice that Richard skated like a rocket.  The Montreal press ate it up and the nickname stuck.
  16. Ken “The Rat” Linesman – perhaps the most fitting nickname on this entire list.
  17. Guy “The Flower” LaFleur – graceful style with hair a flowin in the 70′s and 80′s.  His last name means “The Flower” in French.
  18. Teemu “The Finnish Flash” Selanne – this quick skating rookie scored 76 goals as a rookie for the Winnipeg Jets
  19. Bashin” Bill Barilko – Toronto Maple Leaf made famous in a Tragically Hip song
  20. Pat “Little Ball of Hate” Verbeek – one of our favorite all-time nicknames, this moniker is fitting for the man that could generate both goals and penalty minutes.
  21. Curtis “Cujo“Joseph – nickname was established by simply taking the first two letters of his first name and first two of his last name.
  22. Yvon “The Roadrunner” Cournoyer – small and fast forward who won ten Stanley Cups with Les Canadiens.
  23. Derek “The Boogie Man” Boogaard – many were scared to go toe to toe with this enforcer.
  24. Nikolai “The Bulin Wall” Khabibulin – appropriate nickname for this Russian goaltender.
  25. Georges “The Chicoutimi Cucumber” Vezina – this goaltender earned this nickname based on the expression “cool as a cucumber.”
  26. Brett “The Golden Brett” Hull – his dad was the Golden Jet so the Golden Brett only made sense.
  27. Ken “Wolfman” Morrow – find a picture of this Isles defenseman from the early ’80′s and take note of his beard.
  28. David Backes – Inglorious Backes – St. Louis Blues forward.
  29. Little Joe” Pavelski – San Jose Sharks forward; one of the Cartwright boys?  Also known as the Big Pavelski.
  30. Jumbo” Joe Thornton – San Jose Sharks power forward.
  31. Mark “Moose” Messier – one of our all-time favorite players
  32. Eddie “The Eagle” Belfour – one of the many nicknames that this goalie from Carmen, Manitoba had
  33. Al “Radar” Arbour – former coach of the New York Islanders
  34. Pavel “The Russian Rocket” Bure – named after his swift speed and ability to make great plays at high speed.
  35. Dave “Tiger” Williams – all-time penalty minutes leader, “Tiger” was a fan favorite in Toronto and Vancouver.
  36. Alex “Great Eight” Ovechkin – the Great Eight speaks to Ovie’s number on the back of his jersey
  37. Todd “Big Bert” Bertuzzi – dubbed this from his days as a Vancouver Canuck
  38. Fred “The Fog” Shero – hall of fame coach of the Broadstreet Bullies
  39. Doug “Killer” Gilmour – dubbed “Killer” by teammate Brian Sutter for his fired up intensity while playing in St. Louis.
  40. Felix “The Cat” Potvin – cat-like reflexes maybe?
  41. Johnathan “Captain Serious” Toews – why so serious all of the time?
  42. Colin “Soupy” Campbell – Campbell Soup anyone?
  43. Jim “Net Detective” Carey – shares the same name with the actor who starred in Pet Detective.
  44. Sid “The Kid” Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguin extraordinare
  45. Steve “Stumpy” Thomas – not sure why he was called “Stumpy”.
  46. Igor “The Professor” Larionov -the man was a professor on the the ice and looks like one off the ice.
  47. Wendel “Captain Crunch” Clark – this Leafs captain was known to crunch opponents into the boards.
  48. Howie “The Stratford Streak” Morenz – after lighting up his midget league while playing in Stratford, Ontario
  49. Kevin “Vish” Lowe – dubbed during the defenseman’s time as an Edmonton Oiler
  50. Johan “Mule” Franzen – this Detroit forward played a rugged style and was dubbed “Mule” by teammates.
  51. Ron & Rich Sutter – Squeak and Squawk, the Sutter twins earned this nickname similar to Brent and Duane Sutter who had earned the nicknames Dog and Pup.
  52. Max “Dipsy-Doodle-Dandy” Bentley – former forward that played with the Leafs, Rangers and Black Hawks
  53. Dave “Sammy” Semenko – former Oilers tough guy as known as “Cementhead
  54. Dominik “The Dominator” Hasek – this guy dominated the nets for the Sabres and Black Hawks.
  55. Wayne “The Intimidator” Belak – great guy no longer with us.
  56. Carson “Shovel-Shot” Cooper
  57. Mariusz “The Polish Prince” Czerkawski
  58. Pavel “Houdini” Datsyuk
  59. Michel “Le Petit Tigre” Bergeron
  60. Andre “Red Light” Racicot
  61. Charlie “The Big Bomber” Conacher
  62. Glen “Slats” Sather
  63. Alex “Fats” Delvecchio
  64. Marcel Dionne – “Little Beaver
  65. Lucky” Luke Robitaille
  66. Super Mario” Lemieux
  67. Marc-Edouard Vlasic – “Pickles
  68. Eddie “The Edmonton Express” Shore
  69. Lionel “The Big Train” Conacher
  70. Gary Unger – “The Iron Man
  71. King” Henrik Lundqvist
  72. Rod “The Bod” Brind’Amour
  73. Wally ‘The Whirling Diversh” Stanowski
  74. Sami “The Finnish MacInnis” Salo
  75. Keith “Big Walt” Tkachuk
  76. Ryan “Captain Canada” Smyth
  77. Jamie “Noodles” McLennen
  78. Harry “Apple Cheeks” Lumley
  79. Clark “Jethro” Gillies
  80. Harvey “Busher” Jackson
  81. Ted “Teeder” Kennedy
  82. Rod “The Secretary of Defense” Langway
  83. Glen “Chico” Resch
  84. Jonas “The Monster“Gustavsson
  85. Black Jack” Stewart
  86. Aurel “Little Giant” Joliat
  87. Steven “Stammer” Stamkos
  88. Terrible” Ted Lindsay
  89. Eddie “The Entertainer” Shack
  90. Jason “Gator” Smith
  91. Tony “O” Esposito
  92. Al “Wild Thing” Iafrate
  93. Frank “The Big M” Mahovlich
  94. Andy “Peaches” Moog
  95. Jason “The Mayor” Pominville
  96. Burnaby” Joe Sakic
  97. Curtis “The Sandman” Sanford
  98. Lanny “Stache” McDonald
  99. Alf “The Embalmer” Pike
  100. Reggie “The Riverton Rifle” Leach

Of course there are more, but there are so many good ones to choose from.  Let us know if we missed any and we will update our list of top hockey nicknames with next year’s edition.

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