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Posts Tagged ‘canadiens’

20mar07_antropov

Dear Glen Sather: This dude is a beast. Love, 5-hole.com

It’s that time of the season again.  Yes, the annual trading frenzy as fading teams try to get something worthwhile for their unrestricted free agents.  The NHL trade deadline is March 4.  Take a look at this list of the top 50 UFA’s from the 8 worst teams in the league.  I like the Maple Leafs’ big power winger Nik Antropov.  And, with a cap hit of just over $2 million, I hope the Rangers like him too.

Let’s take a look at the games tonight.  We have some good matchups (i.e. Rangers-Ducks, Wings-Coyotes) and some complete mismatches.  Speaking of mismatches… in my opinion, the standard play for the *Gimmie* is to bet on the biggest mismatch, which would presumably be the safest bet.  Tonight, we have the Canadiens taking on the Thrashers (#5 vs #29) and the Capitals playing the Senators (#4 vs #28).  While we all agree on the picks (Habs and Caps), none of us picked either team as our gimmie.  Does that mean we smell upsets?  Or do we all just hate the Habs and we’re just too afraid to pick the inconsistent Caps on the road?  In other news, Eric picked the Hurricanes as his gimmie against the Penguins.  He must know something I don’t.

On to the picks!

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Watching that game, I felt like I had just been punched in the gut. Recapping it feels like something not as bad as passing a kidney stone but not as good as slipping on an icy sidewalk and cracking your head. I also have a massive hangover, so I’ll try to keep this short.

It would be easy to blame the referees for some of the Rangers problems, but let’s be honest, the Rangers defense looked terrible. The Penguins were faster and caused about 10,000 turnovers in the defensive and neutral zones. The Rangers need to be more confident with the puck and, as my Canadian college hockey coach would say, they also need to stop treating the puck like a “hot potato.” There were stretches where 3 or 4 shifts went by with the puck spending 90% of the time in the Rangers zone. The other 10% consisted of the Rangers softly dumping the puck to be picked up by the Pens defense in the neutral zone and rushed back towards the overwhelmed Rangers defense and the suddenly vulnerable Lundqvist… not exactly a winning strategy.

Still, the Rangers managed to build a 3 goal lead… only to see it disappear in about the time it takes my buddy Spivack to pound an Irish car bomb. But I digress.

And you know what, while I’m on a roll, I think I will complain about the officiating. My problem is that it was inconsistent, and it has been throughout the playoffs (not just in Rangers games). Sometimes it looks like a classic playoff hockey game, with the refs swallowing the whistle to allow 2 elite teams to really play some hard-nosed hockey. But, at other times, the refs suddenly decide to call the game like its a November matchup between Tampa Bay and Atlanta. It’s completely inexplicable and there’s no way to know when they make this transition. It’s almost like the refs slip into their usual playoff mode for a chunk of the game until they realize, “oh crap… If I want to keep my job, I better start calling penalties.” The result is the weak penalty called on Martin Straka at a crucial point of the game. 3 minutes left in a tie game and you call that? Really?!? The same thing happened in Montreal on Thursday. No penalties for a while, then they call a questionable one and change the outcome of the game. Why is it so difficult for the NHL to let these guys play 5-on-5? [I’ll be right back. I have to go slam my head against the wall for 10 minutes]

[Okay, I’m back]. Here’s what Brendan Shanahan said. “I think it’s a weak call at that time in the game. Sidney embellished and you could make the call that he was interfering with Martin Straka. . . I think it was a tough call for the referee to make at that time in the game.” Ding ding ding.

Oh, and one more thing… Jarkko Ruutu is a [expletive deleted]. Now I know how other teams feel about Sean Avery. There’s no doubt that Ruutu waving his stick in Rozsival’s face during a faceoff should have been an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Maybe I’m missing something, but didn’t they just make a rule about that? The ref went over and actually pushed Ruutu’s stick down but didn’t call a penalty! What’s up with that? Then he scored. I have to go slam my head against the wall again. See you tomorrow.

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son of a bitchAfter the refs swallowed their wistles for the second half of the second period and all of the third, who else but Tom Poti would get called for tripping in OT? That’s just what happened and the Flyers scored a Power Play goal just 9 seconds before the penalty was over. Oh well.

Now the second round matchups are set and it will be the #1 Montreal Canadiens against the #6 Philadelphia Flyers and the #2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the #5 New York Rangers.

We’ll update once the NHL releases the schedule. Steve Zipay thinks that the first two games will be Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

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The second round of the Stanley Cup playoff picture is starting to come into focus after Montreal put the hurt on the Bruins in game 7.  But everybody in the East is still waiting on the Flyers and the Caps.

After a big time game 6 road win, and after fighting their way out of a 3-1 hole, the Capitals have earned the right to play in a game 7 in Washington tomorrow night.

If the Capitals win, it will be Rangers-Canadiens and Caps-Pens. (haha, pen caps!)

If the Flyers win, it will be Rangers-Penguins and Flyers-Canadiens.

Whenever we figure out the matchup, we will bring you another series preview.

P.S. I don’t want to gloat or anything, but I totally got Round 1 right.

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Tonight’s games include Game 7 of the Bruins-Canadiens series and Game 6 of the Flyers-Capitals series.

The Rangers can still play any team that is left except for Boston. Here are the scenarios:

  • If Boston wins, the Rangers will play the winner of the Flyers-Capitals series.
  • If Montreal wins and the Flyers win, the Rangers will play the Penguins.
  • If Montreal wins and the Capitals win, the Rangers will play the Canadiens.

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Pittsburgh = Scary

Not only do they get Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to plug into their already dangerous offense, they go out and get Hal Gill to solidify their D. Uh oh. Now they’ve got a line with Crosby and Hossa, a line with Malkin and Malone, and they’ve got Jordan Staal to fill in on the wing. Then, you add Gill, who has the ability to shut down opposing teams’ top forwards. I believe Jagr once called Hal Gill the best Defenseman in the world. This team is going to be really good scary.

Montreal = North of the Border-line retarded?

I really don’t get this move. Montreal unloads their #1 goalie, Cristobal Huet, to the Capitals for a 2nd round pick. What? Somebody please explain this move to me. Where is the sense? Huet has been a solid backstop all year, and management up in Montreal has to think they have a chance at a Cup run. Why get rid of your #1 netminder? I understand that Carey Price is the goalie of the future, but he hasn’t exactly been a brick wall this year, and he is definitely untested. Unless they plan on scoring 4 goals a game, I could see them going out in the 1st round.

 

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I’m kind of at a loss for words about this game. Halfway through the 2nd, I thought I’d be writing in this space about the Rangers finally scoring some PP goals, or Jagr’s 4 assists. But now all I can think about is how those smug French Canadians, who boo-ed every single whistle in the game (including icings) and threw their garbage Habs handouts on the ice, are currently smugly basking in the glow of an all-time great comeback — smugly.

Yeah, I realize the Rangers were just completely outplayed the entire 2nd half of the game, and if you really pressed me I would admit that the Canadiens deserved to win that game. If not for Lundqvist coming up huge in a few spots, it could have easily been 6 or 7 goals in regulation.

My only question: Where were the hockey gods on this one? The only things that should be thrown on the ice during a game are hats (in the event of a hat trick only), possibly an octopus, and maybe some plastic rats. That’s about it.

Oh yeah… congratulations to Alexei “Tin Man” Kovalev, who apparently got to see the Wizard, and found a heart sometime after leaving the Rangers.

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