Ryan Smyth Retires

One of my favourite hockey players, the Edmonton Oilers’ no#94 has decided to hang up his skates after 19 seasons in the NHL. (from TSN.ca) Smyth said Friday his body was still willing, but with his young children getting older, his mind was wandering. “The mental side of the game, I didn’t have it at times,” Smyth told a news conference at Rexall Place, with his family on hand. “I’ve got a wonderful family that I miss out on a lot of their stuff. That (became) a factor. “There comes a time in my life where you have to turn the page.” Smyth and his wife Stacey have two daughters & 1 son.

The 38-year-old known for his famous mullet was also a stalwart on Team Canada. He was drafted sixth overall by Edmonton in 1994 and spent most of his 18-season career in Alberta’s capital. He mixed grit with a scoring touch and became the face of the post-Wayne Gretzky Oilers, leading the team to a Stanley Cup final appearance in 2006. Smyth thanked everyone from former teammates to the Oilers’ massage therapist in a speech that saw the scrappy forward fight back tears. Sitting beside him at the news conference was Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish. Smyth has 386 goals and 456 assists and 974 penalty minutes in 1,269 games heading into Edmonton’s Saturday season finale against the visiting Vancouver Canucks. He added 59 points (28-31) and 88 penalty minutes in 93 career playoff games.

He also earned the nickname “Captain Canada” for his loyalty to Canada’s men’s national team. The team is preparing a tribute to the Banff, Alta., native during Saturday’s game. Asked what he’ll miss the most about the game, Smyth said the it will be the journey itself. “Being on the ice surface, the adrenalin, the excitement, obviously your teammates,” he said. Smyth played at least 40 games as an Oiler in 14 of his 18 seasons. He blossomed in his first full season with the team in 1996-97, when he had 61 points (39 goals and 22 assists) in 82 games. Smyth was a steady force up front in Edmonton early in his career. The six-foot-two 191-pounder played a key role in the Oilers’ 2006 Stanley Cup run. Smyth had 16 points (7-9) in 24 games that post-season as the Oilers dropped a seven-game series to the Carolina Hurricanes.

He was shipped to the New York Islanders at the trade deadline during the 2006-07 season. Long-term contract negotiations between Smyth’s agent, Don Meehan, and Oilers then general manager Kevin Lowe went to the 11th hour but the two sides couldn’t reach a deal. With Smyth due to become a free agent that summer, Lowe didn’t want to risk losing him for nothing in the off-season. Smyth said goodbye to Edmonton during an emotional news conference at the city airport. He played two seasons with Colorado and two more with Los Angeles before he asked Kings GM Dean Lombardi for a trade in 2011. A deal was finalized in June of that year. He has provided some veteran leadership on a young Oilers squad over his last three seasons. Saturday will be Smyth’s last chance to set a team record for power-play goals. Smyth and Glenn Anderson have 126 each, one ahead of Gretzky. Internationally, Smyth played at two Winter Games, helping Canada win gold at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. Smyth also won gold at the World Cup of Hockey in 2004 and represented Canada at seven straight world hockey championship during his prime.

Hello Hemsky

Not really the player I wanted to be traded to the Ottawa Senators but the Edmonton Oilers have traded forward Ales Hemsky to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2015 third-round draft pick and a 2014 fifth-rounder. Edmonton is believed to be retaining half of Hemsky’s remaining 2013-14 salary to complete the deal.

In 55 games with the Oilers this season, Hemsky has scored nine goals and added 17 assists. Hemsky has long been a subject of trade rumours that had him moving on from the Oilers, who made him the 13th overall selection in the first round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He is in the final year of a two-year, $10 million deal he signed with the Oilers prior to the 2012-13 season.

In 652 NHL games, Hemsky has scored 142 goals and 335 assists, he has also played in 30 playoff games during his career. The Pardubice, Czech Republic native has two 20-goal seasons in his career and also produced a career high 77 points during the 2005-06 season, helping lead the Oilers into the Stanley Cup Final where they were defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Ottawa Senators have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $2.5 million per season with defenceman Chris Phillips. Phillips’ deal reportedly includes a no-trade clause. The 35-year-old has appeared in 52 games with the Senators this season, scoring one goal and 12 assists.

Instant Karma?

Today’s blog prompt was something on “karma” but instead of a response to that question, I’ve chosen to blog about an incident I remember from a few years ago:

Back in 2007, the Chicago Blackhawks were in a match against the Colorado Avalanches, and Blackhawk Steve Sullivan was having a rough game. He had to leave for a short time after his face was cut open from taking a high-stick to the nose — which would put any normal man in the hospital for a week but merely warrants a short time-out for a hockey player. Plus, a Colorado fan apparently found Sullivan’s injury hysterical and hurled insults while Sullivan was taken off the ice, gushing blood.

The guy heckled Sullivan, an injured man, relentlessly. He appeared to genuinely enjoy the concept of a serious head injury. Well, far be it from Fate to keep a man away from the things he loves …Sullivan re-entered the game and scored two goals on Colorado goalie Patrick Roy. Roy, desperately trying to clear the puck from the goal, accidentally shot it over the boards and hit the fan with the world’s most punchable face right in the head.

Sullivan, couldn’t resist going over to give the dickish fan a little grief back. As Sullivan later noted, the shot was practically a miracle — where the fan was sitting made him almost impossible to hit, accidentally or not. Just to rub salt in the proverbial head wound, the fan also ended up needing more stitches than Sullivan. To rub lemon juice in that salt, here’s the fan’s own girlfriend laughing and giving Sullivan a thumbs-up while her boyfriend bleeds out into a T-shirt.

Karma is a bitch laughing at your face buddy! Here’s a video – enjoy!

Ottawa Senators Update, 24th Oct 2013

After the emotional down of seeing longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson refusing to sign a new contract with Ottawa and leave for Detroit and sign with the Red Wings in who he thought had more chances of winning the Stanley Cup, this result could not have been any more justice to the Sens fans. Jason Spezza was tasked with taking over for Alfredsson as captain, and newly signed Bobby Ryan with filling the void as a scoring winger. In the Senators’ first game against Alfredsson and the Detroit Red Wings, Spezza and Ryan fittingly spearheaded an impressive offensive display in a 6-1 blowout at Joe Louis Arena. The only thing that could make the win sweater is if the game had been in Ottawa.

Those performances made it easier to forget about Alfredsson. While the players & coach Paul McLean might play down the significance of facing the former face of the franchise, the results are certainly welcome. Ottawa hasn’t had a great start to the season but seem ready to make a push to make the playoffs this season as well. After 9 games played the Senators have 10 points and sit in the 8th spot of the Eastern Conference. But they have 4 wins and 5 loses, 2 of which were in OT. I seem them slowly getting more wins and racking up the points and could easily finish 5th or 6th.

Last 9 games (latest game first)

6-1 vs Detroit Red Wings (away)

1-3 vs Edmonton Oilers (home)

5-2 vs New Jersey Devils (home)

4-3 vs Phoenix Coyotes (away)

1-4 vs Anaheim Ducks (away)

2-3 vs San Jose Sharks (away)

3-4 vs Los Angeles Kings (away)

4-5 vs Toronto Maple Leafs (away)

1-0 vs Buffalo Sabres (away)

Miikka Kiprusoff Retires From Active Hockey

After much reflection, Finnish goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has decided to hang up his skates for good. The Calgary Flames goaltender announced his retirement from the NHL on Monday, a move that was expected by both the team and many of its fans. The 36-year-old spent the last nine seasons with the Flames, the biggest highlight being an integral part of the club’s memorable run to the 2004 Stanley Cup final. Kiprusoff said he made the decision at the end of last season, but took the summer to be “100 per cent sure.”

A native of Turku, Finland, Kiprusoff holds team records for wins (305), games played (576) and shutouts (41). With the Flames well out of the playoff picture, the team discussed dealing the veteran netminder at last season’s trade deadline. Although he didn’t have a no-trade clause, Kiprosoff indicated that he would not report to another team if dealt. The Toronto Maple Leafs pushed hardest to acquire his services but were unable to convince Kiprusoff to leave southern Alberta. Calgary general manager Jay Feaster said Kiprusoff was adamant that he wanted to end his career with the Flames. “Miikka has been up front with us since the trade deadline that he wanted to finish his outstanding playing career as a Flames player, and that the 2013 season was going to be his last,” Feaster said. “We, as an organization, made it clear to Kipper that we did not want him to make a rash or hasty decision.

Kiprusoff spent parts of three seasons with the San Jose Sharks before being dealt to Calgary for a second-round draft pick in November 2003. The deal would help shape the franchise for the next 10 years. Kiprusoff finished that regular season with a modern-day NHL goals-against average record of 1.69 and continued his stellar play into the playoffs. He won 15 post-season games and had five shutouts while leading the Flames to within one victory of a Stanley Cup. He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy that season and won the award two years later after finishing the 2005-’06 campaign with a 42-20-11 record, a 2.07 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and a team record 10 shutouts. Despite the lack of team success later in his career, Kiprusoff’s numbers are still impressive. In 623 career regular-season games with Calgary and San Jose, he had a 319-213-71 record with a 2.49 GAA, a .912 save percentage and 44 shutouts. Kiprusoff also represented Finland at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

RIP Shawn Burr

Retired Canadian professional ice hockey player Shawn Burr passed away yesterday, 5th August 2013. Burr, who played 11 of his 16 NHL seasons with Detroit, died at age 47, as announced by the Red Wings. Burr played in the NHL for parts of 16 seasons from 1985-2000. Burr was drafted 7th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. Burr played 878 career NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings,Tampa Bay Lightning and the San Jose Sharks, scoring 181 goals and 259 assists for 440 points. He also garnered 1,069 penalty minutes.

The Sarnia, Ontario native was elected president of the Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association in 2007 and was active in its efforts to raise money for children’s charities in Metro Detroit. While Burr had a lengthy battle with cancer, Dave Goetze, who heads up the Shawn Burr Foundation, told the Detroit Free Press that Burr died following a fall in his home that caused massive brain trauma. He created his foundation to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society after he was diagnosed with myelogenous leukemia two years ago. He successfully completed chemotherapy and was reportedly cancer free, however it returned the following year.

Shawn Christopher Burr (July 1, 1966 – August 5, 2013)

Souray @ Home & Making Pizza

Sheldon Souray has long been one of my favourite defenceman playing in the NHL. He’s currently lacing his skates up for the Anaheim Ducks in California but he’s has stints with Dallas, Edmonton, Montreal & New Jersey where he was drafted as a junior by the Devils. Here’s a video of how he lives it up at the beach near Anaheim

Here’s an older video of Shouray making pizza at his Edmonton house. He owns a pizzeria with Devil’s legend Martin Brodeur.

Bye Bye Alfredsson, Hello Bobby & Clarke

I tweeted “Say it ain’t so Alfie” last evening hoping that the news wasn’t true. But it was and it hurt. After 17 years as a Senator the captain chose to go with a team who he thought had more chances of winning the Stanley Cup. The Daniel Alfredsson era in Ottawa came to an end after the Senators long-time captain agreed to a one-year, $5.5 million deal with the Detroit Red Wings. A few hours later, the Senators made another splash, landing star forward Bobby Ryan in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks. In exchange for Ryan, the Senators sent Jakob Silfverberg, forward prospect Stefan Noesen and a first round pick to Anaheim. Alfredsson had spent his entire 17-season NHL career with the Senators. He scored 10 goals and 16 assists in 47 games last regular season and added four goals and 10 points in 10 playoff games.

The native of Gothenburg, Sweden has spent his entire career with Ottawa, scoring 426 goals and adding 682 assists in 1,178 games. The 40-year-old veteran was originally selected in the sixth round by the Senators at the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Ryan scored 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points last season. The Senators also brought in free agent left-winger Clarke MacArthur, who signed a two-year, $6.5 million deal. MacArthur, who was originally drafted 73rd overall by Buffalo in 2003, scored eight goals and 20 points for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season.

Blackhawks Win 2013 Stanley Cup

Woke up this morning and almost skipped watching game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals thinking “it’s in Boston and the Bruins are gonna win this and we’ll have a game 7 back in Chicago where the Blackhawks will win it”! Lucky for me I decided to catch the 3rd period of the game. Until the dying moments it was 2-1 to Boston. See? I was right!

And then 2 goals scored 17 seconds apart and an adrenalin rush and then it was over. Chicago were crowned the 2013 Stanley Cup champions! What a great finals it has been. Congratulations to everyone in the Blackhawks team, coaching staff, front office, other crew and the fans!

Now down to business – Bettman ensure that the Phoenix Coyotes are sold & moved to Quebec City. This is ridiculous!

It’s Boston vs Chicago

Wow, I did not see that one coming. The Boston Bruins lam-blasting the favoured Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 and white washing their way through to the Eastern Conference title and hence the Stanley Cup Finals which are to start on the 12th of June. Honestly I am shocked that the Penguins who looked heavy title contenders lay down like sheep and were mowed down by the physical brute force of the Bruins. The Penguins will have some name changes in the squad during the offseason and some players will be looking for new homes for the next season. Expect some trades and some free agents to not get offers to stay.

Meeting the Bruins in the finals will be the Chicago Blackhawks and although they had a much tougher conference finals against the defending champions the Los Angeles Kings, I think it will be the Hawks celebrating on the ice at the end of the finals. Atleast I hope so as I do not much like the Beantown bullies. Chicago had a 4-2 series win against the Kings and will be a bit more tired than the =ir opponents but having done it all in 2009 the franchise will want to drink from Lord Stanley’s bowl once again. I hope it’s a 7 game series with Chicago coming out on top.

2013 NHL Playoff Lineups – Conference Finals

The Conference finals of the 2013 Stanley Cup are upon us. It might have been a shortened season due to the new CBA being sorted out but it hasn’t been short on entertaining. Looking back on my predictions of the semi-finals or the round of 8 I was quite close to predicting things as it came to be. And the conference finals, it must be noted, are being contested by the teams that won the last 4 cups. Are we seeing a big 4 being formed here?

Eastern Conference Finals: It’s gonna be 2011 champs Boston Bruins vs 2009 champs Pittsburgh Penguins. I had predicted the New York Rangers to win their series against Boston in 7 but instead the Bruins won in 5 and showed how hungry they were to win the cup back again. And as I predicted the Pittsburgh Penguins did beat my Ottawa Senators in 5 game. Pittsburgh seem very strong, with scoring depth throughout the lines. They seem set to win their 2nd cup in 5 years. And they are a strong team. I predict that they will win 6-2.

Western Conference Finals : This one was a lot tougher and took longer to be completed. The West outshines the East in stronger teams. Anyways, I picked the Blackhawks to win in 6 and they did it in 7, after staging a comeback against the Detroit Redwings. Chicago is primed to repeat their success of 2010 and they seem eager & hungry. But can they get past the strong Los Angeles Kings, who are the defending champs? Speaking of whom they fended off the San Jose Shark, who I  thought could win but this was one series I was sitting on the fence for. It was hard to predict and rightly so as it went down to the wire in 7 games.

Prediction: It will be Chicago vs Pittsburgh!

2013 NHL Playoff Lineups – Round Of 8

playoff image from Fansided

That was an eventful Stanley Cup quaterfinals. The Vancouver Canucks folded and were beated 0-4 by San Jose. Favoured Montreal Canadiens were beaten 1-5 by my Ottawa Senators and the Leafs battled it to 7 games before blowing a 4-1 lead and losing to the Boston Bruins. Detroit made it through, although they had some scares and so did Los Angeles & New York. Now on to the semi finals for both conferences.

Senators vs Penguins – I don’t expect the Senators to win this round. But then I didn’t expect them to beat Montreal either. This squad is fighting like a team and if they can score enough goals they might squeak through. But in all honesty I expect the Pens to win in 6 and go on to win Stanley’s cup.

Bruins vs Rangers – expect it to be high scoring, expect it to be heavy hitting and some battles on the ice. I expect the Rangers to win it in 7 games. This could go down to the wire and it could be a very entertaining series.

Blackhawks vs Red Wings – Detroit are always there in the thick of things, always expected to go far in the playoffs and be regular contenders. They failed to impress this season but that’s due to the very high standards they have maintained. Still I pick Chicago to win in 6.

Kings vs Sharks – Maybe this is the year of the Sharks. If they do go to the finals I’d support them over the Penguins who I also expect to win the Cup in the end. But first San Jose has to get through defending champions LA and this is not gonna be easy. Expect lots of goals and the series to go down to the wire.

2013 NHL Playoff Lineups – Round Of 16

Well the shortened 48 round regular season is over and the playoffs are upon us. I think this year was quite exciting and there was a rush at the end for some teams to catch up on points and make the playoffs. Sad news again this year for the Winnipeg Jets, my second adopted team (read all about the reason why in the archives; just search for Winnipeg Jets in my blog), as they just missed out on qualifying for the playoffs. They seemed to have the points in place but it just didn’t happen for them as they finished at #9 in the East. Calgary & Edmonton failed miserably and the former has some rebuilding of the squad to do this off season (who ever say the Flames trading off Jarome Iginla before the season started).

The Toronto Maple Leafs make it to the playoffs for the first time in 9 years and they look good enough to reach the semis. No playoffs for regulars Philly & New Jersey – look for those teams to be trading some players – and no playoff for Tampa Bay & Carolina again. In the West it seemed for a while that Detroit wouldn’t make it but they knocked in enough goals and wins to finish 7th in that conference. Phoenix failed to qualify and we could finally see that franchise being relocated after 4 years of no ownership & being run by the league itself. What a mess in Arizona, sell the team and relocate to Quebec City already! Dallas doesn’t qualify either.

My Senators did well but they started failing badly towards the end and finished #7 in the East. They play the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. Can Ottawa pull a win here? Who can say? I really wanted the team to trade for some big name & scoring players in order for us to have a chance. I don’t see it happening this year. Can they pull off an upset and beat the Habs? Time will tell.

Calgary Trades Iginla To Pittsburgh

The Calgary Flames have traded Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins. A few years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine the  Flames without Jarome. Now, it’s reality. Iginla, the face of the Calgary Flames franchise for more than a decade and captain, was traded Wednesday to the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night in exchange for a couple of forwards currently in the NCAA ranks — Kenneth Agostino and Ban Hanowski — and the 2013 first-round draft choice.

Iginla, who was acquired in the 1995 trade that sent then captain Joe Nieuwendyk to the Dallas Stars, would end his Flames career with 525 goals, 570 assists for 1,095 points in 1,219 regular season games. He has twice won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, claimed the Art Ross Trophy in 2001-02 and the Leaster B. Pearson Trophy in 2001-02 – the players’ award for most valuable player. The deal is the start of a much-needed rebuild for a team which appears destined to miss the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season, and been criticized around the hockey world for seemingly being unwilling to go away from icing a veteran-laden team while other clubs are turning to more and more younger players.

With the trade, he joins a Pittsburgh team that’s a legitimate Stanley Cup contender and can team up with Sidney Crosby, with whom he combined for the golden goal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Other players who could be potentially dealt include defencemen Jay Bouwmeester and Mark Giordano, forwards Lee Stempniak, Alex Tanguay and even Curtis Glencross, who also has a no-trade clause. As sad as it to see a committed player & beloved by the fans leaving a team he had always intended to stick around with for the entirity of his career, the Flames badly need to shake things up and rebuild. I fully expect the team to be very active in the summer, making a lot of trades and trying to go for younger players and prospects from the juniors.

Ottawa Senators Update, 10th Feb 2013

Ottawa has had an eventful 7 games since the last update. The Senators closed off January with 2 successive wins on successive nights – a 3-2 against Washinton & a 5-1 against Montreal. But February didn’t start on a good note as they lost 0-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes which was followed by a 1-2 loss to Montreal two days later. After those two away loses, the Sens players were grateful to come back home and score a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. This respite was short-lived however because they welcomed the Hurricanes to the Scotiabank center and lost 3-2 in overtime two days later.

And then last night there was the 0-1 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Jets who will be happy for the revenge for the season opener loss. After 12 games player Ottawa have dropped two spots on the standings (since the last update) and now sit at 6th in the East just below hated Ontario rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ottawa has 6 wins, 4 loses and two OTs for 14 points. In the East New Jersey leads the pack with 17 points and sit at the top but Chicago has 20 points, leading the Eest and the league. In two nights we pay the Sabres at home and the very next evening we travel to Pittsburgh to play the Penguins. With Spezza injured, Kyle Turris & Erik Karlsson lead the points tally for Ottawa with 10 & 9 points respectively. Guillame Lantandrese is also out injured so we need Alfredsson & Michalek to get more goals for us.

Go Sens Go!

Ottawa Senators Update, 28th Jan 2013

Time to take a look at the Ottawa Senators and the way their new season has been going. Well this half season since there was a lockout between the NHL & the NHLPA and therefore until a new deal could be agreed upon there were no games! Finally the shortened season started on January 19th and after 5 games played let’s look at the Senators, shall we?

On the 19th the Senators were in Winnipeg for the season opener with a 4-1 away win against the Jets who were celebrating their second season in the league after moving from Atlanta to Manitoba. Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists as the Senators spoiled the Winnipeg Jets’ home opener and pleasing coach Paul McLean. Milan Michalek, Kyle Turris and Chris Neil scored Ottawa’s other goals. Dustin Byfuglien scored for the Jets. Craig Anderson stopped 27 shots for the Senators, while the Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec faced 37 shots in front of a sellout crowd of 15,004 at MTS Centre. Guillame Lantandrese made his debut for Ottawa. Two days later Kyle Turrisis was back and raring to go as he scored two goals, while Jim O’Brien and Jakob Silfverberg added two more as Ottawa beat the Florida Panthers 4-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 19,952 Monday night at Scotiabank Place. Turris now has three goals in two games, while Silfverberg’s goal was the first of his NHL career. 3 days later the Sens went to Florida and beat the Panthers 3-1. Anderson made 25 saves, and Chris Phillips and Erik Karlsson scored as the Senators improved to 3-0 while Jason Spezza added an empty netter.

The last two games haven’t gone their way at all though. Friday Jan 25th saw them go down to Tampa Bay 4-6. Eric Condra, Spezza, Karlsson & Turris scored and kept the Sens ahead 4 goals to 2 heading into the 3rd period but the Lightning struck back and won. And just last night they lost in a penalty shootout to the Pittsburgh Penguins which atleast sees them earn a point. Colin Greening had the lone goal for the Senators, who dropped to 3-1-1, cancelling the lead that James Neal had given the Pens. But the Pens came out victors in the shootout.

This leaves us 4th in the Eastern Conference with 7 points.

New York Islanders To Move To Brooklyn

With the NHL in a lockout, there’s no new season for 2012-03 (as of yet, we might still get half a season if a new CBA agreement is reached soon) and hence I’m low on news hockey wise – till now!

The New York Islanders are set to announce that they will be moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York when their lease expires at Nassau Coliseum after the 2014-15 season. The team has called a news conference for this afternoon at the new arena, which will be home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets this season. The news conference will be attended by Islanders owner Charles Wang and general manager Garth Snow, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg among others.

Wang has been lobbying for a new arena for his team for several years. The Nassau Coliseum has been home to the team since it was built in 1972. Wang has been frustrated in his attempts to find a new location in recent years. Last summer, his proposal to build a new arena and keep the Islanders on Long Island was voted down in a referendum by local residents.

This should be a case of same team, same players & staff, same owner but new city, new arena and there they should get a new name by then. It’s a shame as the NY Islanders have such a great history with their dynasty team winning  4 Stanley Cups in the 80s.