Last season the Florida Panthers traded for more-or-less every available B-level player and paid them like B+ guys to get to the salary floor, then won the Southeast Division. They had some pretty good names – Upshall, Versteeg, Skill, Weiss, Goc, Kopecky, Fleishmann and so on – so you could see how they finished on top at the end of last season, and how they would again this year.
Only this year…they were the odd team out. Hell, they’re last in the Eastern Conference (injuries!), which they’re probably okay with.
The rest of the division used Florida’s decline to take over the top spot.
All of them.
Now official. End of Jan, #Bolts led SE Division. End of Feb, #NHLCanes led SE. End of March, #NHLJets led SE. End of April, #Caps clinch SE
Florida won it last year, and every team has since had the division lead at the end of a month. The musical chairs resulted in the Washington Capitals finally putting together a run of good hockey and winning the division, and in turn, the three seed. They’ve now won the division five of the last six years, which is good if you’re into the whole “getting a good seed” thing.
Personally, I’m a fan of Brendan Shanahan and the suspensions he’s handed out in the NHL this season. It’s a seriously tough job, and I think he’s done a good job finding the fine line of allowing players to hit and hit hard, while punishing those players who take cheap shots and put others in danger. Today he put out a video that highlights the difference between illegal checks to the head, and plain old hard hits.
I get the impression, thanks to Twitter, that people think that every time a player’s head gets touched there should be a suspension. The reality is, if the head isn’t targeted or the principle point of contact, it’s not up for suspension, because you try to throw a body check and avoid head contact entirely. The way bodies are built makes that difficult.
Anyway, I wanted to share this so hopefully some hockey fans would gain a clearer understanding of what’s allowed, and what isn’t in the NHL.
It is, as it sounds, a website where you can go watch the latest highlight packages from NHL.com without the inevitable “I know how this game ends” spoiler. As in, the page is essentially blank except for the icons that take you to the games, where you can watch them in sizes small, medium and large, all without the score being visible anywhere on the screen.
Not everyone is able to watch every game every night, and most hockey fans like to know what’s going on around the league, so this is the perfect way to get your fill without having the fun being sucked out of it by knowing how it ends before you start.
With word coming down that the 2014 Winter Classic will go ahead as (it was) planned (in 2013), it’s officially time to focus on the fun stuff, like will HBO’s 24/7 be back, and what will the sweaters look like? Well, if SportsLogos.net is to be believed as it often is, the jerseys above are what you’ll be seeing. They’re not crazy popular in the office, but I’ll tell ya – I kinda like ‘em.
There’s something fitting about the sound “Yak” being associated with the sound “Jag,” but that could just be coming from someone who spends too much time at the pub. Anyway, today Nail Yakupov shared a picture of himself at 11-years old during the last lockout on Twitter, standing alongside then-NHL great Jaromir Jagr. I can’t believe Jagr is still in the league.
Really, the best part of the whole tweet is the wording though. If the picture’s not for you, I suspect you’ll enjoy the text.
According to the St. Louis Blues’ own commentators, specifically Darren Pang, the image you see above is Brian Elliot watching opponents’ shootout moves on an iPad before facing them. That’s pretty badass, and tonight, it worked out. As @m_welte tweeted at me, the Blues ain’t fuckin’ around this year.
If you missed this earlier in the week, I think it’s pretty spectacular: during intermission of a Houston Aeros game, the Minnesota Wild held a competition to see who would be their “emergency goalie.” It’s super rare one is ever needed, but sometimes things you can’t control all happen on the same day – a goalie has a child being born (or gets in a car accident, or whatever), and the AHL team is stuck in a snow storm, and the ECHL team is playing in Alaska….and…and…you get the point. Sometimes you need an emergency fill-in, as happened last year with the Wild, when Paul Deutsch had to fill in until the call-up’s plane arrived.
In the minors this happens more often, with call-ups being a factor (obviously a goalie going up means there’s a hole that needs to be filled in the league below).