Last night I paid my debt to the boys on the Backhand Shelf Podcast and settled in to do my Forced Watching duties, which entailed watching and writing about the Colorado/Calgary game. That post will run shortly after this one, but Giguere’s comments seemed a little more newsworthy than my thoughts, so we’ll start with those.
* The Colorado Avalanche are in 30th place of 30 NHL teams, a full three points behind Florida & Calgary for 28th/29th
* Last night they lost to Calgary, moving closer to their “goal” of last place and the highest pick in the draft
* A draft system that rewards team for losing is bulls**t
* Any man or woman who doesn’t have enough personal pride to say “I’m too proud to roll over and not give it my best is also bulls**t, and JS Giguere called his team on it last night.
In two of my four college seasons, our team finished last in the conference. It’s not fun. Last most bad teams, the cause was mostly being less talented than our opponents, but problems snowball, and that’s what Giguere got at. The games move from your top priority to a hindrance to your social schedule (especially for young bucks), and when you have some guys checked out and others not…inner-dressing room fireworks ensue.
After a lengthy quote about them having to be better in their d-zone, here’s what he said to Adrian Dater (full post here): Read the rest of this entry »
Early in the NHL season, the hockey is sloppy. Linemates and d-partners are new to each other, some players are new to their coach’s systems, and nobody has seen high-end game play since the previous season, as much as they may have tried to replicate it in the summer.
For first year offensive players, the NHL starts out as a dreamscape. They’ve achieved their biggest goal, they pull on that NHL sweater, then BOOM: breakdowns and chances and gumdrops, oh my. If your conversion rate on scoring chances is even remotely good you can get yourself in the Calder conversation. Though they’d never admit it, there had to have been a couple players this year thinking to themselves “I’ve got this NHL thing, I can hang. There’s potential here for me to have a great, long NHL career.”
And then, things tighten up.
Not all at once, not over the course of a week, but slowly but surely like a Boa Constrictor around your offensive neck, the life gets sucked out of guys. Read the rest of this entry »
Players use a number of different techniques to try to maximize their odds of scoring on a penalty shot (or shootout attempt) aside from “skate down, look for hole, shoot at hole.” But you knew that.
Today we’re going to talk about the use of speed. (That sentence made me feel like a high school teacher.)
Last night Steve Ott scored in the shootout while skating mach five, which was impressive because hey neat, Steve Ott can skate fast, and he managed to control the puck at that speed. Friend of the blog @DragLikePull tweeted something along the lines that he was surprised we don’t see more of this, for the purpose of getting the goalie moving, which is a fair question.
Here’s the Ott shot at 5:05 of this video, if you care to see it: Read the rest of this entry »
People seem to be interested in this (in the wake of our Bobrovsky post), so I thought I’d quickly explain what you’re seeing above (from 6th Sens), even though you likely have some idea that Mark Borowiecki is huffing “smelling salts.”
Here’s how Wikipedia defines what’s in that stick guys pass around:
[Smelling salts] are chemical compounds used for arousing consciousness. The usual active compound is ammonium carbonate, a colorless-to-white, crystalline solid ((NH4)2CO3·H2O). Because most modern solutions are mixed with water, they should more properly be called “aromatic spirits of ammonia.” Modern solutions may also contain other products to perfume or act in conjunction with the ammonia, such as lavender oil or eucalyptus oil.
The only thing I can tell you as a non-scientist ex-hockey player, is that they are excellent, and for a brief second, they make you feel like you’ve been punched in the brain. Sounds healthy right? …Whatever, I seriously need to see if I can find some of those for writing.
By “punched in the brain,” I mean there’s a little stinging “woosh” feeling, then clarity. Like, your eyes focus better, you feel more alert, and you’re 63,000 miles from yawning (still writing about smelling salts here). It doesn’t last or anything, it’s just a little less violent than a slap in the face. Granted, that may not be the case long-term, but athletes are generally willing to trade some of the future for a more productive now. Read the rest of this entry »
With apologies to one of my Twitter friends, as I forget who asked the question, a tweet from yesterday re-hashed an old issue for me. The tweet I’m referring to asked (roughly): if you’re the Oilers and you see the terrible Unrestricted Free Agent market coming this summer, would you rather sign Ladislav Smid for eight years at three million, or half the term at $4.5 million? You want to keep him, after all.
Ignore the numbers, ignore Smid, but take note of the idea that with a seven-year max-term on contracts under the new CBA, and the fact that players who re-sign with their current team can get eight, we can expect to see more average-to-pretty-decent players getting longer term deals as teams use what incentives they have to get reliable guys to stay. If you don’t use that incentive, you’re going to have to overpay a bit.
Here comes the lots-of-max-length-deals era of the NHL.
In the case of Ryan Getzlaf, you lock up a talented guy for eight years, but you’ve also given him job security beyond his wildest dreams. I say too much. Not everyone is capable of motivating from within.
For that reason, I’d think twice about pulling the trigger on these tempting long-term contracts were I an NHL GM.
Read the rest of this entry »
It was reported first by San Jose Sharks beat writer David Pollack, first with a question mark…
Which it absolutely does, but when his spot in the lineup persisted, it didn’t appear that “conditioning” was the reason:
Which led him to remind fans…
Which takes us to where we are today:
Boom. The San Jose Sharks (once) All-Star defenseman Brent Burns is going to play forward tonight for the San Jose Sharks, on a line with Scott Gomez and James Sheppard.
He played forward for the Minnesota Wild (Jacques Lemaire was quite the fan of having him up there, as noted by Pro Hockey Talk), but was eventually moved back, found success, and has been a d-man ever since. Burns is a 6’5″ dude who tilts the scales at 220, for a little context.
I’ve seen this experiment a number of times, so some thoughts:
Desperate times, desperate measures
This is not a move a team makes when things are going well, and for the Sharks “not going well” is a fair description of late. Read the rest of this entry »
As most people are aware, NHL sweaters have tie-downs sewn into the lower back portion on the inside of their jerseys. Hockey pants have a loop on the back, and it is mandatory that you run that strap through the loop, then re-attach it so your jersey is locked into that loop (most straps have both velcro and a double button). If you’re caught not doing up the strap, you’re immediately ejected from the game. Which is kinda harsh, but that’s the decision that’s been made.
The purpose of this strap is two-fold:
1) It’s supposed to stop guys from being able to get “jersey’d” in a fight (have their sweater pulled over their head), which can be dangerous, and…
2) Some fighters (mostly Bob Probert) were wearing extra loose sweaters so they would come right off in fights, and their opponent would have nothing to hold on to. That’s a pretty sizable disadvantage.
Both are dangerous situations, so it’s understandable that the NHL would want to eliminate them. Read the rest of this entry »