Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

nathan gerbe

If we’re cutting to the chase: shooting the puck between your legs is not just Not Showboating, but it’s also not that hard (for anyone who plays the game for a living, anyway). And as a righty, if i’m coming across the net right to left, it’s also a damn effective way to protect the puck, shoot across the grain and beat the goalie on his left, my right. I personally believe that using the move is both practice and effective.

The problem, is that North American coaches see it as the opposite, meaning if you try it and miss they think you pissed away a scoring chance trying to make yourself look cool, and you’ll be stapled to the bench. It’s incredibly frustrating.

Earlier this year Tomas Hertl caused a stir by scoring his fourth goal of the game(!) as a rookie(!) by going through his legs and beating Martin Biron (¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Apparently a few people took issue with this, people that are terrible sad untalented jealous old? have differing views on how the game of hockey should be played.

Here’s what the NHL’s 7th leading scorer in the history of the game, Jaromir Jagr had to say about Hertl (which surely applies to Gerbe’s recent goal too):

“I heard some things — ‘It’s not good, it’s embarrassing.’ …No way. Guys who are saying he’s trying to embarrass them, they would never be able to pull that move so they’re jealous that he can do that.

“It’s just a very smart move. You’re just protecting the puck with your body so the goalie cannot poke-check you … It’s harder to score like that, but it’s more safe. Some people calling it a cocky goal, they don’t really understand that.”

Without further ado, here are the 10 (actually, 11) best “through-the-legs” NHL goals of all-time. Feel free to put your own submissions in the comments, and for the love of Pete, can we name this move please?

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The 5 best goalie fights of all-time

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Hockey fans love their goalie fights. Something about the combination of gigantic equipment and actual animosity makes them feel like something out of a cartoon. It’s sumo-suit wrestling, if the people in sumo suits were taking it seriously. How great is that?

Yesterday I stumbled across “14 minutes of pissed off goaltenders,” and it entertained me for 28 minutes of so.

So, along those lines, I thought it’d be good to rank the five best goalie fights of all time. Read the rest of this entry »

dollah_bills_yall-2

One of my all-time favorite hockey stories to tell – and tell, and tell, and tell, I know – is about a conversation I once had with Bill Guerin. We were sitting across the table from one another, and he was talking about all the things his (I believe four) kids were into. One’s riding horses, one’s in hockey, and so on and so on.

Me: “Man. Four kids that active, that must be expensive.”

To which Guerin politely responded with a half-smirk “Well not to be a dick, but I’m rich.”

Ah. Yes. Yes I suppose you are.

Guerin made $57,398,591 over the course of his career, and at one point, was receiving checks from three NHL teams (St. Louis, San Jose and the Islanders). That puts him 50th in all-time career earnings. I know this, because CapGeek tells me so.

Yes, CapGeek, the site that lets you know how much cap space your favorite team has and how much your least favorite player gets paid has put together a “career earnings” list that uses info all the way back to 1990. So “all-time” isn’t quite accurate, but I’m fairly confident if it were an “all-time” list, the names would be the same, just shuffled thanks to some 80′s salaries.

I find the list mesmerizing for some reason, and you might too. Some of the names are absolutely stunning. “[Blank] made [blank]? That can’t be.”

Those conversations are always fun to kick about, so I thought a Friday would be a fun day to share this: The Top 10 Holy S**t That Guy Made That Much Money? Surprises. Read the rest of this entry »

Datsyuk no

These days the most commonly used euphemism for the NHL’s tie-solving shootout is “the skills competition,” given that the All-Star Game’s meaningless version is the only other time fans are exposed to the one-on-one, player-on-goalie multi-attempt action. The major difference with the NHL’s in-game version is that it’s the opposite of meaningless, which as a professional wordsmith I have come to learn is “meaningful.” Just last year the Columbus Blue Jackets missed playoffs by a single point and had four shootout losses on their resumé. Another goal or two in those contests would’ve really come in handy, as most teams wind up finding.

People laugh (myself included) at the change in player tone during post-game interviews depending on a team’s win or loss in the “skills comp,” but I kinda get it. When you lose you’re frustrated at putting yourself in a position where it comes down to something that seems out of your control at times, and guys are aware how much each point matters.

With the importance of the shootout in mind (like it or not), I took to the interwebz to see which players have been helping their teams grab full two, and which have been costing their teams points. And my word, was I surprised at the latter group.

The list below is ranked in order of performance versus expectations, not raw numbers. As in, Sidney Crosby being 0-for-3 would be looked at as worse than some plug being 0-for-5 or 1-for-8 or whatever, in this imaginary world where plugs get lots of attempts. (Crosby, for what it’s worth, is 1-for-2, and 23-for-55 lifetime – that’s 41.8% total – well above the league’s current shooter average of 32.79%)

A few notes on the shootout before we jump in

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fastest skater

Made possible by Lexus.

You don’t make the highest level of professional hockey without being a high-end skater. It’s generally well accepted that it’s skating the separates the minor leagues from the bigs, and the players that fans tend to think aren’t good skaters – Douglas Murray, Ryan Smyth, Hal Gill, and Colton Orr come to mind – are better skaters than your average hockey player by miles (the biggest difference tends to be balance). The current speed of the game throws context all out of whack.

So to be able watch NHL games and notice players that are quite clearly faster than others is a real compliment to those exceptional few.

With the 2013-14 NHL season taking shape it seemed like the right time to pay homage to the 10 most exceptional skaters in the NHL today, from household names to burgeoning stars. In the interest of narrowing down the list, we went with straight-up speed as our focus.

From the top:

#10 Mason Raymond

Mason Raymond

Mason Raymond might be the most pure north-south skater on this list. It’s not that he’s not great at the east-west stuff, he’s just a machine built for a drag race, not NASCAR. Which is to say, if the 10 players on this list were to hop on a frozen river and race for 500 feet or so, there’s a good chance his nose is in the mix at the finish line.

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matt duchene

There’s a certain type of hockey players that you hate to go over the boards to face. Not because they’re big, intimidating or mean. Not because they yap, chirp and slash. Not because they’re the most talented, unstoppable forces in hockey. But because they’re just so f***ing tiring to play. Physically and mentally.

I think the most commonly used name for a player like this would be “buzzsaw,” but that’s not exactly what I’m looking for. I’m talking about the guys you’d least like to face in a game where you’re “playing guilty” (hungover), or on the tail end of back-to-backs, or after a long travel day.

When you’re not feeling your best and have trouble getting up for a shift, you don’t not want to be lined up against these guys.

For an example, let’s look at the guy who inspired this list: Matt Duchene.

Matt Duchene somehow manages to make you a frisbee-chasing puppy between two people who never intend to give it to you…only he’s both people. He’s the guy with the laser pointer, and you’re the cat. He’s whatever metaphor you want to use to explain that chasing him to get what you want is a fruitless endeavor. His ability to change directions makes video game players look slow.

“Annoying to play” can mean more than “quick” too, so the list is pretty subjective. Feel free to submit a few of your own recommendations below.

Without any further ado, the following are the 9 other forwards (in no particular order) I would least like to defend on a physical off-day:
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(Len Redkoles, Getty Images)

(Len Redkoles, Getty Images)

Today at 11 am, Daniel Alfredsson will finally hold a press conference in Ottawa after shocking Senators fans by signing with the Detroit Red Wings a little over a month ago. It’s likely that it will be a fairly unsurprising affair: Alfredsson will thank Senators fans for all their support over the years, express how much he loves the city of Ottawa, and explain that it was a tough decision but he felt he had to do what was best for his career.

Except for Senators fans seeking closure, it will likely be bland and boring. In other words, it will be a press conference with a hockey player.

But what if it wasn’t bland and boring? What if it was a surprising and unexpected, full of flights of fancy and bizarre occurrences? What if Alfredsson’s press conference was actually entertaining? I imagined such a press conference in my head and here are the 20 things I want to see:

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