Archive for the ‘Wow’ Category

Let’s take a quick second to fawn over Anze Kopitar’s off-hand one-timer that made it 2-0 last night.

Off-hand one-timers are the most difficult shot in hockey, especially if you’d like to get the puck up. And, if you know anything about today’s goaltending styles, you do.

The majority of people who attempt this shot lose it off the toe (“the majority” is a massive understatement – it’s damn near “all”), and it ends up being a weak flip into the corner.

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Not happy

The first goal of game three was dubious. A scrum in front of the net leads to a puck under the pads of Martin Brodeur. A ref with an obstructed view doesn’t blow the whistle with said puck under said pads and after a number of whacks the puck goes in and the Kings go up thanks to Alec Martinez.

Now, these are all up for debate and biases will undoubtedly play a factor. All I know is, there have been some incredibly quick whistles in this postseason and that scrum was rather elongated in comparison to those. There are arguments to be made on both sides but neither change the fact that the whistle wasn’t blown and the Kings did score.

Martin Brodeur was rather heated about it as you can imagine.
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Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Radko Gudas plays for the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL, who happen to be a decent hockey club. They smashed professional hockey’s longest win streak this season - once 19 - by winning 29 straight hockey games. They’re in playoffs now, and find themselves in the midst of another five game winning streak.

But this post isn’t about them.

It’s about THIS:

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Enjoy this one

Oh, Tampa Bay. You had to know you were getting a good one, right? You had heard the comparisons to Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman and saw the videos of this kid with the bee on his jersey doing impossibly complex things for a teenager on skates. Surely there was some cautious optimism given that your captain never fully turned into the next Super Mario, but the stars were lining up for the kid to be one hell of a player. At the very least he inspired more confidence than Riku Helenius.

It wasn’t readily apparent that this baby faced blonde kid who had just officially become a professional hockey player shaking the commissioner’s hand would be one to make history in your jersey, but time has a way of hashing those things out. Plenty of things have changed since then. For instance, the team that drafted second isn’t purple anymore and the team that drafted third doesn’t exist. The kid didn’t change much though – just got a bit older, a bit better and grew a better haircut to match the lethal shot.

Smile.

That’s what so much of this was about – the lethal shot. What started as 20 became 50 all too quick for the league to process. The kid was supposed to be good, but not 50 good this fast. Time to tighten the screws on the kid and bring him down to a paltry 45. It’s almost comical how good he is at scoring goals for someone who was born at the same time as “Ice Ice Baby“.

Still though, you didn’t really NOTICE him in the playoffs, right? This team played three series and he only mustered 13 points – Sean bloody Bergenheim had nine goals. Hardly star material. Just your typical one dimensional guy. A kid. Not ready to take that next step.

As it turns out we, the viewers, may not have been his biggest critics. He, the player, was. Another hard hitting offseason with the guy who turns young stars into machines and he was ready to blow away that doubt. To silence those critics. To one-up himself.

The team took a step back, what with an aging goaltender among a host of other issues, but the kid forged on, pushing forward, trying to get back to where they were. Could he have done more? Probably not without strapping on a set of pads but I don’t fault him for that. Can you?

The thing about being 50 good is you’re already among the best. Being 60 good is hardly processable these days out there shooting dead pucks. But, he did do 60 good, and not with a whole lot of help. It’s silly to think about the fact that 48 of them came with all five guys on the other team trying to stop him. It’s silly to think that only three other people playing have hit that mark. It’s silly, if not poetic, to think the last guy to score that many goals and miss the playoffs is his boss.

What’s next for the kid? 70? That seems unlikely, but do you want to be the one who bets against him? Against that shot?

I don’t know if he wants to hit 70, but one thing is perfectly clear.

“You trade this stuff in a heartbeat for winning a championship”

With some people, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. He was never supposed to be 50 good this fast. He was never supposed to be 60 good this fast. Joe hit 50 and did it. Stevie Y hit 60 and did it.

Do you want to bet against #91?

Bro.

You know, if you’re a fan of unheralded goaltenders, the Pacific Division is the place for you. Between Jonathan Quick, Mike Smith and Jonas Hiller you’ve got some guys who are legitimately among the talk for best guys to have between the pipes on any given night. Fitting right in with them of course is fellow Pacific netminder Kari Lehtonen.

Lehtonen has silently put together one of the most impressive campaigns in the NHL this season, sitting in the top 10 for wins, save percentage and goals against average. All of this was done in spite of the fact that he spent a portion of the season on the injured reserve. If you want to know why the Stars are on top of the division right now? Look no further than number 32.

Check out this save he made in overtime tonight. Read the rest of this entry »

A man, alone.

Is there any doubt that Sidney Crosby is a little too good for this game? Seriously, the guy has now come back from multiple head injuries with some serious pizzazz and just keeps racking up the points. With a three point game against the Devils today – all assists, but he should have had a goal – he now has five points in two games since his latest return.

THIS GUY IS SUPPOSED TO BE “RUSTY” FOLKS.

Perhaps the most impressive part of his return has been that he is really showing off what a physical menace he can be. You just can’t knock him off the puck, and if you make an attempt to close him down with multiple players his phenomenal vision allows him to pick out players most guys can’t actually see.

Exhibit A: This play that sets up an Evgeni Malkin goal is just insane. Watch. Read the rest of this entry »

Seriously, tell him he's wrong

This picture crossed my browser thanks to the good people of Reddit Hockey and it is easily the greatest thing I have seen all day.

What’s your favorite fan moment at an NHL game? Pictures, stories and videos are all welcomed.

Comment, Tweet, Facebook.