Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thoughts Before The Playoffs

With the puck about to drop on the Stanley Cup playoffs, here are some random thoughts in no particular order

--A couple of weeks ago I would have taken Boston to play St. Louis in the Cup final for the fact they were the best teams on the ice. Injuries have decimated St. Louis now to the point I don't think they can get past Chicago. I am now taking L-A to play Boston with the Kings winning because of their defensive play---especially if they go into the 3rd with the lead.

--If you are going to beat Boston, you will do it in the first round. They have gone to a Game 7 the last three years---of course they have won two of those series. Remember last year Leafs fans?

--Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are rested. That should spell good news for Chicago

--Anders Lindback won his last four games, games Tampa needed to clinch home ice against Montreal. If he goes in place of Ben Bishop, the Lightning are just fine.

--I could care less if there is one Canadian team in the playoffs.

--Patrick Roy is easily the coach of the year in my mind this season. How far can he take the Avalanche in the playoffs.

--Is this the year for the Sharks? A sentence uttered every year it would seem for the past seven or eight at this time of year

--Where is Maggie the Monkey?

--How long until Jeff Zatkoff replaces Marc-Andre Fleury in the Pittsburgh net

--How ugly will Sid's playoff beard this year be

--The Stars/Ducks series might be the best one of the first round. The Flyers/Rangers might be the most intense

--I can't decide if I like the new playoff format.

--Enjoy the run to the Cup!

NHL Draft Lottery Goes Tonite

The 2014 NHL Draft Lottery, a weighted system to determine the order of selection for the first 13 picks of the 2014 NHL Draft, will take place Tuesday, April 15, at 8 p.m., ET.

The League, in cooperation with TSN, will announce the results of the Draft Lottery live during a 30-minute program produced and televised by TSN in Canada. The special presentation also will air in the U.S. on NBCSN and will re-air on NHL Network U.S. at 8:30 p.m., ET.

Thirteen of the 14 Clubs not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs – or the Clubs that have acquired the First-Round drafting positions of those non-playoff teams – will have a chance at winning the right to the first overall selection. The New Jersey Devils will not be eligible to win the Draft Lottery and will select 30th overall in the First Round.

The odds of winning the Draft Lottery are determined by the teams’ regular-season point totals. The Lottery-winning team will draft first overall, with the remaining 12 teams that are eligible to win the Lottery slotted in reverse order of their regular-season point totals. The First-Round drafting positions of the 16 Playoff-Qualifying Clubs (picks 14-29) will be determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

To ensure that the odds of all 13 Clubs eligible to win the Draft Lottery are enhanced equally to reflect the Devils’ situation, the Draft Lottery this year is being modified as follows: the Devils will still be included in the Draft Lottery drawing on the same basis and with the same odds that would have normally been assigned to the Club based on and consistent with its regular-season finish. However, in the event the Devils win the Draft Lottery, an immediate re?draw will be conducted to select a different recipient of the first overall selection in the First Round. The same process will be conducted as many times as necessary to ensure that the first overall selection is awarded to a team other than New Jersey. The Devils will be entitled to the 30th selection overall in the 2014 NHL Draft (the last pick in the First Round). The Devils are not permitted to trade or transfer their right to the 30th overall selection.

Based on team finish, the percentage chance of being selected in the Draft Lottery is:

Buffalo Sabres - 25.0%
Florida Panthers - 18.8%
Edmonton Oilers - 14.2%
Calgary Flames - 10.7%
New York Islanders - 8.1%
Vancouver Canucks - 6.2%
Carolina Hurricanes - 4.7%
Toronto Maple Leafs - 3.6%
Winnipeg Jets - 2.7%
Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa) - 2.1%
New Jersey Devils - 1.5%
Nashville Predators - 1.1%
Phoenix Coyotes - 0.8%
Washington Capitals - 0.5%
The 2014 NHL Draft will be hosted by the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia from June 27-28. It will be the first time the city and facility host the NHL Draft.

Monday, April 14, 2014

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback, Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson and Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending April 13.


Lindback posted a 3-0-0 record with a 0.67 goals-against average, .975 save percentage and one shutout to help the Lightning (46-27-9, 101 points) earn four consecutive victories and clinch home-ice advantage in their first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens. He stopped all 25 shots he faced in relief of Ben Bishop in a 3-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs April 8. Lindback then made 34 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers April 10. He capped the week by recording 18 saves, and denying all three attempts he faced in the shootout, to pick up his third career shutout and first since Dec. 13, 2010, in a 1-0 triumph over the Washington Capitals April 13. The 25-year-old native of Gävle, Sweden, appeared in 23 games this season, compiling an 8-12-2 record with a 2.90 goals-against average and .891 save percentage.


Gibson went 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average, .954 save percentage and one shutout to help the Ducks (54-20-8, 116 points) post four consecutive victories and clinch the top seed in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history. He made 18 saves in a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks April 7, becoming the first goaltender to record a shutout in his NHL debut since April 1, 2009 (Al Montoya). Gibson then stopped 36 shots in a 5-2 triumph over the San Jose Sharks April 9, helping the Ducks clinch their second consecutive Pacific Division title and the third in franchise history. He closed the week with 29 saves, including 12 in the third period, in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Colorado Avalanche April 13. The 20-year-old native of Pittsburgh was selected by the Ducks in second round (39th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft and helped the team set franchise records for wins (54) and points (116) this season.


Johansen tied for third in the NHL with six points (2-4—6), finding the scoresheet in four consecutive games to help the Blue Jackets (43-32-7, 93 points) clinch their second playoff berth in franchise history (2008-09). He registered 1-1—2, including the winning goal at 3:33 of overtime, in a 4-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes April 8. Johansen then posted an assist in each of the next two games: a 3-1 triumph over the Dallas Stars April 9 and a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning April 11. He closed the season with 1-1—2, including his fifth game-winning goal and 16th multi-point performance, in a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers April 12. The 21-year-old native of Vancouver played in all 82 games this season, leading the Blue Jackets and posting career highs in goals (33), assists (30) and points (63).

Riders Sign Ryan Smith

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that import receiver Ryan Smith has signed with the team. As per club policy financial details of the contract were not released.


Smith (5’7 – 175) joins the Riders after spending four seasons playing at North Dakota State University. In 54 career collegiate games the 22-year-old amassed 1,783 yards and eight touchdowns on 147 receptions, as well as 271 yards and three touchdowns on 32 rush attempts. The Wahpeton, ND native also added 945 yards and three touchdowns on 82 punt returns and 773 yards and one touchdown on 30 kickoff returns. He was named to the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference second team in 2011, 2012 and 2013.   


The NDSU Bisons have won three consecutive NCAA Division I FCS National Championships.    


Recently, Smith was invited and participated in Riders mini-camp as a free agent after being scouted by Assistant General Manager Jeremy O’Day and Director of Player Personnel Craig Smith.     


First Round SC Playoff Matchups

Friday, April 187:30 p.m.Detroit at BostonNBCSN, TSN
Sunday, April 203 p.m.Detroit at BostonNBC, TSN
Tuesday, April 227:30 p.m.Boston at DetroitNBCSN, TSN
Thursday, April 248 p.m.Boston at DetroitNBCSN, TSN
*Saturday, April 263 p.m.Detroit at BostonNBC, TSN
*Monday, April 28TBDBoston at DetroitTSN
*Wednesday, April 30TBDDetroit at BostonTSN
Wednesday, April 167 p.m.Montreal at Tampa BayCBC, RDS, CNBC
Friday, April 187 p.m.Montreal at Tampa BayCBC, RDS, CNBC
Sunday, April 207 p.m.Tampa Bay at MontrealCBC, RDS, NBCSN
Tuesday, April 227 p.m.Tampa Bay at MontrealCBC, RDS, NHLN U.S.
*Thursday, April 247 p.m.Montreal at Tampa BayCBC, RDS, CNBC
*Sunday, April 27TBDTampa Bay at MontrealCBC, RDS, NBCSN
Tuesday, April 29TBDMontreal at Tampa BayCBC, RDS
Wednesday, April 167:30 p.m.Columbus at PittsburghNBCSN, CBC
Saturday, April 197 p.m.Columbus at PittsburghNBCSN, CBC
Monday, April 217 p.m.Pittsburgh at ColumbusNBCSN, CBC
Wednesday, April 237 p.m.Pittsburgh at ColumbusNBCSN, CBC
*Saturday, April 26TBDColumbus at PittsburghCBC
*Monday, April 28TBDPittsburgh at ColumbusCBC
*Wednesday, April 30TBDColumbus at PittsburghCBC
Thursday, April 177 p.m.Philadelphia at NY RangersCNBC, TSN
Sunday, April 20NoonPhiladelphia at NY RangersNBC, TSN
Tuesday, April 228 p.m.NY Rangers at PhiladelphiaCNBC, TSN
Friday, April 257 p.m.NY Rangers at PhiladelphiaCNBC, TSN
*Sunday, April 27NoonPhiladelphia at NY RangersNBC, TSN
*Tuesday, April 29TBDNY Rangers at PhiladelphiaTSN
*Wednesday, April 30TBDPhiladelphia at NY RangersTSN
Thursday, April 179:30 p.m.Minnesota at ColoradoCNBC, TSN
Saturday, April 199:30 p.m.Minnesota at ColoradoNBCSN, TSN
Monday, April 217 p.m.Colorado at MinnesotaNHLN U.S., TSN
Thursday, April 249:30 p.m.Colorado at MinnesotaCNBC, TSN2
*Saturday, April 26TBDMinnesota at ColoradoTSN
*Monday, April 28TBDColorado at MinnesotaTSN
*Wednesday, April 30TBDMinnesota at ColoradoTSN
Thursday, April 178 p.m.Chicago at St. LouisNBCSN, CBC
Saturday, April 193 p.m.Chicago at St. LouisNBC, CBC
Monday, April 218:30 p.m.St. Louis at ChicagoCNBC, CBC
Wednesday, April 239:30 p.m.St. Louis at ChicagoNBCSN, CBC
*Friday, April 258 p.m.Chicago at St. LouisNBCSN, CBC
*Sunday, April 273 p.m.St. Louis at ChicagoNBC, CBC
*Tuesday, April 29TBDChicago at St. LouisCBC
Wednesday, April 1610 p.m.Dallas at AnaheimNBCSN, TSN
Friday, April 1810 p.m.Dallas at AnaheimNBCSN, TSN
Monday, April 219:30 p.m.Anaheim at DallasNBCSN, TSN
Wednesday, April 238 p.m.Anaheim at DallasCNBC, TSN
*Friday, April 25 10:30 p.m.Dallas at AnaheimNBCSN, TSN
*Sunday, April 27TBDAnaheim at DallasTSN
*Tuesday, April 29TBDDallas at AnaheimTSN
Thursday, April 1710:30 p.m.Los Angeles at San JoseNBCSN, CBC
Sunday, April 2010 p.m.Los Angeles at San JoseNBCSN, CBC
Tuesday, April 2210 p.m.San Jose at Los AngelesNBCSN, CBC
Thursday, April 2410:30 p.m.San Jose at Los AngelesNBCSN, CBC
*Saturday, April 26TBDLos Angeles at San JoseNBCSN, CBC
*Monday, April 28TBDSan Jose at Los AngelesCBC
*Wednesday, April 30TBDLos Angeles at San JoseCBC

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Something To "Mitch"About

--The Edmonton Oilers didn't do a lot right this season, but they sure ended the season with a bang and I'm not talking about the on-ice victory. The ceremony surrounding the retirement of Ryan Smyth was simply spectacular. The Oilers never had the chance to say goodbye personally to the greats that have worn the uniform because they ended their career elsewhere, but they had a chance to say goodbye to Smytty Saturday night in a night that left many Oiler fans (like me) a little misty-eyed. I still believe his legacy in Edmonton was tarnished a little bit because of his last second trade to the Islanders a few years ago, but there was no doubting the love affair number 94 had with Edmonton and vice-versa.  It was very classy of Andrew Ference to give up the "C" for just one night to Smytty, it was bizarre, yet good to see the Oilers try to get him a record setting power play goal and it was extremely classy of the Vancouver Canucks to come back on the ice after it was over to shake his hand. Word is he didn't get out of his jersey until well after midnight as teammates and members of the organization wanted to get their picture taken with him.  It only makes me wonder what might have been planned by the organization had Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Weight, Fuhr etc. etc played their last NHL game in an Edmonton uniform. Thank you Smytty!! I'm guessing a job in the organization awaits.

--From Ron McLean Saturday night---206 of the 320 players on NHL playoff team rosters going into play Saturday are Canadian born. There will be a solid Canadian contingent in the NHL playoffs so lets stop this stupid talk of having to root for Montreal because they are the lone Canadian team.  That really gets under my skin and it did when Edmonton was in the Cup final way back when.

--The season is over and its time for the playoffs to start. Have you had your hockey draft  yet? We had a Sportscage draft Friday night and lets just say if I can have a Tampa-LA or a Detroit-LA final, I should be getting some money. I'm in another one tonight so we will see what happens.

 --Sidney Crosby was the first pick in our playoff draft. In a regular season draft, its a no-brainer, but would you take Sid number one in a playoff draft unless you know the Penguins are going far and there is no indication of that. I ended up with the number 7 pick and took Anze Kopitar with my first selection.

--Did you catch REDBLACKS quarterback Henry Burris on Sportscage Friday. Public enemy #1, (he still has that honor doesn't he ) was firing on all cylinders to get the hype machine going for the pre-season game between the two-----one that will see Ottawa serving as the home team.  Some of his comments....

         ----Henry reminded everyone he has worn #1 in the CFL thanks to Rider fans when he approached the Leader-Post asking for a story in which he asked them to decide what number he should wear. He's worn #1 ever since he's been a Rider thanks to you Rider Nation

          ----The team may be an expansion team, but he was real impressed with what he saw in his team's two day mini-camp.

       ----He has found out very quickly what type of football town Ottawa is
       ----He's looking forward to being at Mosaic for the pre-game contest in which his team will be the home team meaning they get the home sidelines. He jokes fans should be chanting "Darrrrrrrr-iiiiii-annnnnnn" and that he will have a map letting the Riders know where their bench is. He thinks it will be a great experience and that he looks forward to once again doing his thing in front of Rider fans.

--Bubba Watson was as cool as the other side of the pillow in winning the Masters. He just went out and got the job done Sunday to take his second green jacket. Did anyone miss a guy wearing a red shirt walking around Augusta National this weekend. I didn't. It was refreshing to watch other golfers play their rounds instead of having to see CBS give us Tiger overkill as they and the networks usually do. Yes, I realize Tiger is golf, but we are starting to see a changing of the guard and I'm all for it.
--I'm not big on baseball replay so far. There's too much delay as a manager decides whether or not to challenge and I really don't understand the blocking home plate rule. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was dead to rights in a game against Pittsburgh this week yet was called safe because the umpire ruled the catcher was blocking the plate. I don't know how that can be the case when the catcher was standing at the far edge of the plate waiting for Castro to slide into the tag but whatever.  This will be like pass interference in football----smost calls will be highly debatable.

--What type of circus will the Montreal Alouettes be if Chad Johnson plays for them this year. It can't be any worse than when Ricky Williams played for the Argos can it? Can it?

--I'm guessing John Tortorella and Bob Hartley won't be drinking beers together anytime soon. The hate these two have for one another is genuine methinks.

--If the Winnipeg Jets don't re-hire Paul Maurice they're crazy.

--Congratulations to Chris Cuthbert. Perhaps the best hockey/football combo p x p announcer on this planet has been locked up for 6 years by TSN.  Part of me was wondering if the CFL was going to need a new voice, but we need not worry anymore.

--Take note....Every day this week days is gonna be the same backwards:


--Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Oilers Fans Speak Out

The Edmonton Journal asked Oilers fans what they would do about their team and what the future holds for a team who seemingly is just spinning its wheels despite having the talent.  The answers aren't that much surprising. Click here for story