Monday, April 11, 2011

Playoff Predictions Round 1: Western Conference

Here are my picks for the West's first round.  Who do you guys have?
Be sure to check out my Eastern Conference Predictions too!

Playoff Predictions Round 1: Eastern Conference

Here are my picks for 1st round winners in the East, who do you guys have?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Win Your Kid a Day with the Cup!

Every hockey player’s dream is to hoist the Stanley Cup.  It’s what you play for in pickup as children, what you doodle in class, and what you make replicas of while you cheer on your favorite team.

For the first time ever, Discover is offering a chance for one player aged 13 or younger to spend a day with the Stanley Cup. Yes, the real Stanley Cup.  The NHL has never done anything like this before, allowed exclusive access to youth hockey players.

Here’s how to enter: send in a short video of your child’s most memorable hockey moment to before April 13th.  Between April 15 and April 21, the videos will be online for viewing and rating by fans.  The three videos receiving the highest number of votes will be the finalists, and those videos will be submitted to a panel of judges who will decide the winner.  The judges will decide the winner based on enthusiasm, appropriateness of theme, originality, creativity, and sincerity.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Neuvirth Epitome of Problem with Head Injuries

Hits to the head have been a hot topic in both the NHL and NFL for some time now.  Everyone has seen the research and potential effects.  NFLer, for example, have an average life expectancy of just 55 years old (and 52 for linemen).  The problem isn’t that life-or-death for most NHLers yet, but new studies are coming out implying fighters have the same kind of brain damage as NFL linemen.

The problem in both sports isn’t a judicial one.  Rules don’t necessarily need to be changed or suspensions handed down.  It needs to begin and end with respect, and it has to begin and end with the players themselves.  Part of the problem was evidenced tonight with Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth.

Early in the first period in the Caps game against the Lightning, Neuvirth took a puck to the facemask.  The force of the puck sent his mask flying, and Neuvirth needed to go to his backup.  He continued playing like everything was fine.

However, when the second period began, we didn’t see Michal Neuvirth between the pipes.  Instead we saw AHL call-up Braden Holtby.  When VERSUS asked Bruce Boudreau during the second period whether or not Neuvirth’s absence had to do with the shot he took to the head, Boudreau had a one-word answer, “Yes.”

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cornell Women take Second-Straight ECAC Title

Photo by: Robyn Wishna/the Ithaca Journal

The Cornell women captured the ECAC Championship on Saturday with a 3-0 shutout victory over Dartmouth.  Dartmouth had been the only team to beat the Big Red in ECAC play this season, but this time Cornell played a grinding game and gave up zero opportunities, ensuring their second straight title.

“They didn’t make many mistakes,” said senior Dartmouth defenseman Katie Horner. “We’ve been the kind of team that capitalizes on another team’s mistakes.  When you play a team like that, that doesn’t mess up often, there isn’t too much you can capitalize on.”

Dartmouth’s win over Cornell came with a lot of help from their power play, but Cornell had clearly been studying tape as they shut down all six extra-man advantages.  Cornell scored a goal in each period, with the first two coming from tournament MVP Chelsea Karpenko.  Hayley Hughes scored the lone goal in the third period.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wall Steps up, Calls Out Wizards Teammates

Last night, the Wizards were beat bad.  This isn’t was really qualifies as “news,” but a couple of things made last night’s game notable.  One was that the loss came at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, not exactly what one would call a powerhouse.  They remain at one road win for the entire season. And it’s almost March.

The other thing that made this game special is John Wall.  Not necessarily on the court, during the game, but his comments in the locker room after.  He did something rookies rarely do: he called out his veteran teammates on their lack of heart.

I will admit it does seem hypocritical that after I was critical of P.K. Subban for not knowing his place, I am now praising John Wall for an essentially similar thing.  Here is the difference; the instances I was referencing with Subban and Dallas Cowboys rookie Dez Bryant were incases in which they were being cocky, undeservedly flashy, and entitled.  Wall was being honest.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Caps Dev Camp Invitee and Miami Forward Miele Frontrunner for Hobey Baker

It’s hard to argue that the Caps don’t have a good eye for prospects.  They have been able to find good players late in the draft and late in rounds, where their position has been the last few seasons.  Now their eye is being complemented by another player: Andy Miele.

Though Miele isn’t a Capitals prospect, he was invited to the Caps Development Camp last July.  He was certainly one of the stand-out players, which is saying something considering he was playing among kids like Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson, and Stanislav Galiev.

He is drawing a lot of attention this season in his senior year with Miami University (OH).  In just 32 games this season, he has set career bests in goals with 17, assists with 39, and points with 56.  Miele currently leads the nation in scoring, and is just the second RedHawk to have a 50-point season in 14 years.

He is fast with smooth hands, a combination that certainly never hurt anyone.  Miele told Rock the Red over the summer that that player he models himself after is Pavel Datsyuk.  Given his defensive role, particularly on the penalty kill, and his leadership (he is an alternate captain for the RedHawks this year), that’s not a completely absurd comparison.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sharks @ Capitals Preview 2/8/11

Tonight the best in each conference get reacquainted at Verizon Center

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The "Super" Bowl

Today was Super Bowl Sunday. In America, that's pretty much all you need to know. Here is my explanation for why it is the most important sports day in America, and why its also possibly the biggest national event in the country.

Why do you guys think the Super Bowl is important? Or do you think its important at all?

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Judgement of Women in Women

Fair warning: if you don’t like controversy or strong opinions, check it at the door.  I have an opinion that is apparently a somewhat unpopular one among women, and it confuses me.

For all of the rights women have fought for in this country, there is still one that continues to be stifled to this day.  It is in fact hampered more so by women than it is by men.  That is freedom of expression.

It has been implied everywhere on the internet in various sports circles that people like Erin Andrews and Ines Sainz don’t deserve to be respected as sports journalists because of the way they dress.  Apparently, I’m the only one who sees a problem with that, and that scares me.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Cornell Women Sweep Weekend, Remain Undefeated in League Play

The Cornell women’s ice hockey team continued their dominance over the rest of the league this past weekend with shutout wins over both Union College and RPI, winning by a combined score of 14-0.  Freshman goaltender Lauren Slebodnick got a nine-save shutout Saturday night against RPI to equal Katie Wilson’s job the night before.

“I’ve definitely had more shots in a game, but it’s a hard game to stay focused in,” said Slebodnick, “You kind of find your mind drifting, so you have to make sure you’re still in the game.”

Saturday night was time for Hayley Hughes and Brianne Jenner to shine, each recording two goals in the team’s 6-0 victory.  It took a penalty kill to get the scoring going, when Jenner opened the game with a shorthanded goal off a 3-on-1 rush for the Big Red.  Cornell went on to score three more goals within two minutes of each other to bury RPI before the first intermission.

“It was kind of embarrassing, the whole arena was quiet,” a laughing Hughes said of her second goal, which seemed to slip in without anyone noticing, “It was good though.”

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cornell Women Rout Union 8-0, Extend Streak to 17

After a lethargic first period, the Cornell women’s ice hockey team was explosive in the second en route to an 8-0 rout of UnionKatie Wilson had a nine save shutout and Canadian Olympic Gold-Medalist Rebecca Johnston added a hat trick to power the Big Red to a win.

While nine saves may seem like an easy night, it wasn’t in the first period for Wilson. Cornell gave up several odd-man rushes, and Wilson had to be sharp from the start.

“We talk about with the goalies is its not necessarily how many saves you make, but when you make them,” said head coach Doug Derraugh “and that was huge for us to keep us in the game there early on, and then we got our feet under us and started rolling.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's Really Wrong with the Wizards?

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not keep close tabs on the NBA. I love basketball, played my entire life, but something about the NBA turns me off. This in turn means that I don’t follow our beloved Washington Wizards all that closely either. However, I’ve watched their last few games to see what all of the criticism is about, and to see if it is warranted. For those unsure, the answer is this: yes.

There are several problems with this team that stand in the way of that ever elusive first road win (or really, any win), the least of which being a lack of talent. Outside of John Wall (and possibly Andray Blatche and Nick Young when they want to be), this is not a talented basketball team. They don’t have the skills to go one-on-one against just about anyone in the league.

This wouldn’t be as big of a problem if they accepted this fact and adjusted their style to fit their lesser skill set. However, they don’t. They play as five individuals. When they go on runs during games, they are playing as one unit. As soon as they are put under pressure, they resort back to individuality. You can still win games like that with a team of superstars, like the Lakers, but the Wizards simply aren’t good enough to win that way.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rangers @ Capitals Preview (Video) 1/24/11

The Capitals look for a bit of redemption tonight as they take on the New York Rangers at Verizon Center.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Capitals @ Islanders Preview (Video) 1/20/11

A look at tonight's game between the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders.  This is the second of four meetings between the Eastern Conference teams this season, with the Capitals taking the first game 2-1.

As always, email for any questions, comments, or suggestions!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Senators @ Capitals Preview (Video) 1/16/11

I know its late. I made this preview video last night and forgot to post it before the game today. I know, I'm really on top of things. Here it is anyway for those of you who want to hear my thoughts on the matchup!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Capitals @ Lightning Preview (Video) 1/12/11

A look at the second game in a week between two teams tied at the top of the division. Who will take it this time?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

For Green, Being Named to the All-Star Game is a Long Time Coming

Despite not leading their division at the halfway mark for the season for the first time in two years, the Washington Capitals finally are sending a buddy for Alex Ovechkin to the All-Star Game in Raleigh: Mike Green.

It was a forgone conclusion that Ovechkin would be named to his fourth straight All-Star Game (even though his numbers have taken a hit this year), but Green was a bit of a surprise.  He is on pace for one of if not the worst offensive season of his career.  Leading scoring among defensemen didn’t help him when he was left off the roster in 2008.  Being on the road to 31 goals and an NHL record didn’t help him in 2009.  So, why now?

While his offensive numbers may be down (on pace for a 17 goal, 26 assist season), he is possibly having his best defensive season to date.  Defense is difficult to measure by numbers, so one has to judge it by something intangible: sight. 

Tuesday Puck Talk Week #12

Today I talk about Crosby's concussion and his implications, the All-Star game announcements, and the perpetual disrespect for Mike Green.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts and get involved by emailing

Monday, January 10, 2011

College Football

I love football. I dislike college football. Here's a rant explaining why as I suffer through the BCS "championship"

What do you guys think? Agree? Disagree?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Final Thoughts on HBO 24/7

Here are some of my final thoughts on the show. I love it, how about you guys?

And PArt 2, since I'm technologically challenged.

What were your thoughts on the show? Leave them in the comments or email!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Caps Kids at WJC: Day 11 (Wrap Up)

The 2011 IIHF U20 World Championship tournament ended today, as almost two weeks of high-octane, patriotic hockey comes to a close.  Five Caps prospects participated, with four of them earning hardware.  Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov won gold with Russia, Cody Eakin won silver with Canada, and Patrick Wey earned bronze with USA.  Here is a breakdown of how each did in the tournament.




Goaltending prospect Philipp Grubauer didn't have as much to work with as the other Caps prospects.  He played on a team that didn't qualify for the tournament last year.  They did about as they were expected to do: end up in the relegation round.  Grubauer did a solid job, but wasn't incredible and didn't catch much attention.  It was his first year in the tournament and he did what he could with what he had.

Grade: B-




Defenseman Patrick Wey was at times the best defenseman on the ice for the bronze medal-winning Americans.  He wasn't expected to play a big role on this team, a team that included four professional players and 8 players returning from last year's gold medal-winning team.  However, he put a role upon himself and took it.  He played a tough, sound game.  Wey put himself on the radar of a lot of people with his play in this tournament.  He caught a lot of attention, and he'll bring a bronze medal back to Boston College as a sign of his efforts.

Grade: A-




The Canadian team was considered an "underdog" going into the tournament (as much as one can be when the team has played in the last 10 gold medal games).  Cody Eakin, who was among the final cuts of last year's squad, was not suspected to be one of the standout players of the team.  He was.  He worked hard, created chances, scored, and brought 100% energy to every shift.  His dedication and effort earned him the honor of being Canada's Player of the Game for the Gold Medal game, a game in which Canada blew a 3-0 lead in the third period to Russia.  Eakin will go back to the Swift Current Broncos with a silver medal.

Grade: A




The Russians won gold this year, coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period against Canada in the gold medal game.  Both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov played huge roles on the Russian team that was able to come from behind late for the second-straight game.  Both earned all-tournament honors as well.  Kuznetsov established himself with drive and aggression, not to mention a nice set of hands.  He single-handedly brought the Russians back in the qualifying game, just as Orlov did in the semi-final game.  They simply dominated, and it looked like both were ready to come to North America.  Kuznetsov even looked possibly ready to battle for a Caps roster spot.  Orlov stepped up in more of a quiet leadership role, and while his skills were undeniable, he likely could have taken it to another level.  They will be returning to their respective KHL teams with well-earned World Junior gold.

Kuznetsov Grade: A

Orlov Grade: A-


The Caps prospects all played well in the tournament.  If this is what the future holds, the future looks bright.  Not everyone who has a good World Junior tournament goes on to do great things in the NHL, but with the talent and work ethic these guys displayed, the Caps can't go wrong with this group of prospects.  They will now return to their respective teams in their respective countries with memories from a great week in Buffalo.  We will get to check up on them again during Development Camp in July.

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Southleast" No More

For the last few years, the Southeast Division has been referred to as the “Southleast” Division, and not without good reason.  The Capitals have blown their competition out of the water and virtually won the division before Christmas the last two years.  Maybe two teams from the division make the playoffs each year (if even that), and the fact that they play in the Eastern Conference (thought to be the lesser of the two conferences) doesn’t help their case much either.

While that argument may have had traction in the past, it no longer does.  If the playoffs were to start today, three Southeast Division teams would make the playoffs, with a fourth (Carolina) in the 9th seed.  Florida currently holds the 10th seed as well.  Washington, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta have all spent some time at the top of the division standings.  Currently, Tampa Bay and Washington are tied at 51 points apiece, with Tampa winning in the tiebreaker.

Caps Kids at WJC: Day 9

The medal round began today with Russia taking on Sweden and Canada playing the US.  The winners of these games will face off Wednesday night for the gold medal, while the losers will play for bronze.

In the fist game were Dmirty Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov as Russia and Sweden played at 3:30.  The game was evenly matched the whole way through, and with about 3 minutes to go in regulation the game was tied at 2.  Then, Orlov took an ill-timed slashing penalty.  The Swedes converted on the ensuing power play, seemingly killing the Russian’s dreams of gold. 

However, Orlov then did what Kuznetsov did last night: made up for his mistake.  He shot the puck, and the rebound created a scrum around the crease.  In that scrum, the Russians were able to poke the puck through and tied the game with about a minute and a half to go. Orvlov’s effort earned him an assist on the play.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Recpaing my year and thanking all of you. You made it happen, and I really appreciate it!

Here's to hoping more is to come in 2011!

Caps Kids in WJC: Day 8

It’s a week later in the World Junior Championships, and today marked the beginning of elimination play as the two quarterfinals were played.  Philipp Grubauer’s Germany is in relegation play, with Patrick Wey and team USA receiving a bye to the semifinals.  Four of the five Caps prospects are still alive, and Evgeny Kuznetsov blew away the competition, bringing Russia back from the brink.

The first of the bunch to take the ice was Cody Eakin as team Canada faced off against Switzerland at 3:30 pm.  The Swiss jumped on the scoreboard first, less than two minutes into the game.  However, Canada tied it up by the first intermission, and the structured Swiss defense proved to be no match as Canada went on to win 4-1.  Eakin finished with an assist on Louis Leblanc’s third period goal.  He has continued his strong play showing off his speed and work ethic, even if he isn’t in the top 30 of the tournament in points, goals, assists, or plus/minus.  He’s showing Hockey Canada what they missed out on by cutting him last year.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov played in the 7:30 pm game between Russia and Finland.  Russia drew first blood, but Finland scored three straight to take a 3-1 lead in the third.  Kuznetsov’s frustration boiled over as his pushed a Finn’s head into the glass with his fist during the second.  He also came into a play after the whistle to throw a punch, though he wasn’t penalized on that play. 

Despite these setbacks, Kuznetsov single-handedly took the game over and brought the Russians back.  He scored a dirty goal in the third period to pull Russia within one, then dangled his way to a semi breakaway.  Maxime Kitsyn scored on the rebound of that breakaway to tie up the game at 3, then returned the favor by setting up Kuznetsov’s goal to win the game in OT.

Orlov had yet another strong game.  He is currently third in the tournament in points, and he leads team Russia.  He was defensively sound yet again while generating more offense.  We saw much more of his booming point shot this game, and the rebounds it generated provided several chances for Russia.  Orlov was named Russia's Player of the Game.  His maturity and leadership has also shown through this tournament, as he has been one of the most consistent players for Russia.  With the win, the Russians will play Sweden tomorrow in the semifinals.

Germany played its first game of relegation play today, losing to the Czech Republic 3-2.  Philipp Grubauer stopped 37 shots, but it wasn’t enough as the Czechs took the 3-2 lead for the win with less than a minute remaining in the third.  This tournament has been a learning experience for both Grubauer and the German team.  It wasn’t the best of tournaments, but they will get to continue their learning in the relegation round.

Tomorrow, the Gold Medal re-match everyone has been waiting for will take place…just a little sooner than everyone expected.  Canada will take on the US, who are working off of two days of rest.  That game starts at 7:30 pm, while Russia will take on Sweden in the other semifinal at 3:30 pm.  At least one more of the Caps prospects will lose their dream of World Junior Gold tomorrow.  Who will it be?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Heated History (Winter Classic Preview) 1/1/11

While everyone knows about the competition between Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin, this rivalry is rooted far deeper than those players. There have been many playoff meetings within the Patrick Division foes, including coaches being ejected and one of the longest games ever (4 OT). Here's a history lesson.

This is really about the two teams, two franchises, and two cities. Their AHL teams are even rivals. This goes beyond 8 and 87, and another chapter in this rich history will be written tonight at 8 pm at the 50 yard line under the lights.