[NHL] Ice This!

NHL Ice This!

Steve Price, the Frosty Addict
For Inside Pulse Sports – 11.26.05

Welcome, one and all, to the return of my latest endeavor in the world of Inside Pulse Sports. I’m your Host with the Most for another exciting adventure into the world of La La Land, also known as the NHL. If you didn’t get a chance to read the garbage-laden primer for this bad boy, you may do so by clicking… wait a second… there we go, right here. Warning: reading this column may result in hair loss, and general stupidity. And remember: erections lasting longer than four hours, though rare, require immediate medical attention.

The National Hockey League is back, for the less astute of you readers out there. Considering the shape of the league in its first full months back, I’d say there is plenty to talk about. Inside Pulse already has an excellent NHL columnist in Omar Padilla, and with both Dave Savior and Patrick Nguyen following the NHL season in their columns as needed, all you hockey nuts out there should have plenty of reading material for the next seven months or so.

A Quick Aside… – By the way, for those of you who have played the game (or are not previously biased against the game), has anyone else become addicted to EA Sports’ FIFA Soccer 2005? I know that there’s a 2006 version out (or on the way at least), but I finally picked up the title on Saturday, and haven’t done anything else except play that damn game. I’m into my second season in the Premiership with Birmingham City, and I’ve literally scored 86 goals (allowing only one) in twelve games so far this season. And for anyone reading this in the U.K… is Emile Heskey as much of a beast as he is in this game? His form starts out at like 5.9, and yet he’s scoring at least five goals a game for me with a form up to 9.7 now. The Create-a-Player engine is a trifle to run through, but when you can shell out cash for Thierry Henry (!) and Ronaldo (!!), you really don’t need to create your own little Pele imitator. God, I love football. Both the NFL and “soccer”.

First Period!

News from the around the league.

Let’s see, we’re coming off the lost 2004 season vis-à-vis the Lockout. We’ve got a potential Gretzky heir in Crosby (or so we are lead to believe), unusual trades shocking the casual fan, and new rules that seem to end every other game in a shootout. Yeah, I think we’ve got plenty to talk about today. So let’s jump on it… Tonto!

The Headlines
Fischer Released from Hospital … Jiri Fischer, a defenseman for the Detroit Red Wings, has been placed on injured reserve for the foreseeable future after collapsing on the bench during the first period of a Red Wings/Predators game in Detroit on Monday night (11.21.05). Fischer, who was released Wednesday from a Detroit hospital, collapsed on the bench during the first period on Monday night, and the team doctor was forced to resuscitate Fischer with a defibrillator after he detected no pulse on the player. Play was suspended for the night, with a makeup date expected by Wednesday, the 23rd (no information on this date is available at this time). Fischer is reported to have been responsive and stable upon his arrival at the Detroit hospital, where he was observed. There is no time-table set for his return as mentioned earlier, and defenseman Kyle Quincey has been recalled from Grand Rapids AHL. [Credit: SI.com]

Fedorov a Blue Jacket … This one isn’t exactly new, but it is worthy of coverage, nonetheless for obvious reasons. Sergei Fedorov, the former center of the Mighty Ducks, was traded two weeks ago along with a fifth round pick in next year’s draft for forward Tyler Wright. This coming after a slow start for the six-time All Star.

Mighty Ducks Receive:
– F Tyler Wright
– Defenseman Francois Beauchemin

Blue Jackets Receive:
– Center Sergei Fedorov
– 2006 5th Round Draft Pick

The deal serves purposes for both sides. Columbus is very much in a building phase, with young talent that are still coming together as a team. Despite the injury-prone Fedorov and his problems so far this year, the Blue Jackets are hoping that he can provide not only leadership on the ice, but help spark an offense that ranks dead last in goals. Along with new Blue Jacket Adam Foote and highly touted center Rick Nash returning in December, GM Doug MacLean hopes to position the franchise for a possible playoff berth by the end of the season.

For Anaheim, this move is merely a cost-cutting procedure. The Mighty Ducks needed cap relief in a hurry, and managed to execute the trade without losing more face than they already have. The Ducks land a solid center in the deal, and a rookie defenseman in Beauchemin that has some potential given time. To date, this is the biggest trade post-NHL return to the ice. [Credit: ESPN.com]

Noronen, Forsberg, Cloutier Injured … Mika Noronen, goaltender for the Buffalo Sabres left Tuesday night’s game versus the Rangers with an unspecified groin injury. Buffalo lost the game 3-2 in a shootout. He joins Dan Cloutier, primary goalie for the Vancouver Canucks on the recently injured list. Cloutier will miss three games with a knee injury – backup Alex Auld replaces him during his absence.

Also on the injury list, the highly touted Peter Forsberg, one of Philadelphia’s biggest off-season acquisitions, left last night’s game against Boston (Friday – 11/25/05) with a mild groin pull. Forsberg, a key part to the Flyers machine, scored two goals and assisted in a third before injuring himself. Forsberg was benched for the duration of the third period, though Philadelphia added an insurance goal by Michal Handzus en route to a 5-3 win. The injury isn’t thought to be severe, though Forsberg will be monitored closely for the next few days. [Credit: ESPN]

Ovechkin the Centerpiece in Moscow/Washington Conflict … In a story that if broken fifteen years ago, would have peaked the interest of national media outlets, Russian Alexander Ovechkin, a left wing in his rookie season with the Washington Capitals (and one of the top candidates for the NHL’s Rookie of the Year honors) has become embroiled in a struggle between the Capitals of the NHL, and the Dynamo Moscow franchise in Russia. Ovechkin, 20, spent three years with Moscow, and after being drafted #1 overall in the 2004 NHL Draft, made the move to Washington after opting out of his contract with Avangard Omsk.

Dynamo Moscow claims the right to Ovechkin, and has partitioned a U.S. court to uphold the ruling of a Russian arbitrator, who found that the Moscow-based hockey organization still holds the rights to the Capitals’ leading scorer. Legal representation for the Washington Capitals proclaim that the arbitrator’s ruling has no grounds for authority in the United States, and that Ovechkin will remain a Capital. [Credit: Associated Press]

Mario Lemieux Questionable for Turin Games … After an interesting progression of events leading up to and immediately after the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Mario Lemieux is calling into doubt the possibility of his return to the Olympics in Turin in 2006. Lemieux, 40, is firmly entrenched in as muddy a situation as he was in the 2002 Winter Games, where he captained the Canadian Nationals to their first hockey gold medal in half a century. Despite his team’s success in Utah, Lemieux was so severely injured upon his return that he failed to play in more than one or two games for Pittsburgh, leaving the Penguins in a dire hole that they failed to climb out of (they finished dead last in their division).

This year, Lemieux is again befuddled by a host of problems. At the age of 40, and his skills declined from his more youthful years, Lemieux acknowledges that there is a good chance that there will be a range of young talent far more deserving to make up the squad than he, though that he would take part in the games if called upon. Also important to Lemieux is the potential reaction from Pittsburgh fans if he were to leave. The Penguins have become the centerpiece of a growing controversy in the city over whether or not the team should seek residence elsewhere. The team, which is owned in part by Lemieux himself, is seeking permission to operate slot machines in an effort to fund a new arena, which would replace the dilapidated Mellon Arena. The lease on their current venue expires next year, and threats to move have been made public if a new arena is not funded. With public relations vital to the franchise and its roots in Pittsburgh, a “vacation” to the Turin Olympics (in essence, the abandonment of the Penguins in the eyes of the fans) could be construed as a bad business move for the team.

When asked about the idea of giving his spot up on the Olympic squad, Lemieux said he was open to it, even going so far as to not only conceding his spot to teammate Sidney Crosby if he were asked to do so, but also noting that Crosby should be invited to the team “with his own spot secured”, noting the success that Crosby has had in his short time with the league. [Credit: ESPN.com]

Second Period!

NHL standings to date, plus up-to-date scores.

NHL Standings – Eastern and Western Conferences
Atlantic – Northeast – Southeast / Central – Northwest – Pacific Divisions




NHL Standings – Text Format
Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division

Team Games W – L Points
1. NY Rangers 25 15W – 07L 33
2. Philadelphia 20 12W – 05L 27
3. NY Islanders 22 11W – 10L 23
4. New Jersey 21 10W – 9L 22
5. Pittsburgh 22 07W – 09L 20

Northeast Division

Team Games W – L Points
1. Ottawa 19 16 – 03 32
2. Montreal 22 14 – 05 31
3. Toronto 22 12 – 08 26
4. Buffalo 22 12 – 09 25
5. Boston 23 08 – 10 21

Southeast Division

Team Games W – L Points
1. Carolina 21 14 – 06 29
2. Tampa Bay 24 12 – 09 27
3. Atlanta 22 08 – 12 18
4. Washington 22 08 – 13 17
5. Florida 22 06 – 12 16

Western Conference
Central Division

Team Games W – L Points
1.Detroit 23 16 – 05 34
2. Nashville 20 14 – 03 31
3. Chicago 21 19 – 12 18
4. St. Louis 20 04 – 13 11
5. Columbus 22 05 – 17 10

Northwest Division

Team Games W – L Points
1. Vancouver 23 15 – 06 32
2. Calgary 24 14 – 08 30
3. Edmonton 24 13- 10 27
4. Colorado 22 11 – 08 25
5. Minnesota 21 09 – 10 20

Pacific Division

Team Games W – L Points
1. Los Angeles 23 15 – 07 31
2. Dallas 21 14 – 06 29
3. Phoenix 24 11 – 11 24
4. San Jose 22 08 – 10 20
5. Anaheim 23 08 – 11 20

NHL Game Scores – Thru Saturday (11.26.05 – 6:20 PM)
Friday, November 25th, 2005
– Philadelphia 5, Boston 3 (Forsberg – 2 Goals, Assist in Two Periods)
– Minnesota 5, St. Louis 3 (Bouchard, Gaborik score in win)
– Carolina 4, Toronto 3 (Shootout – Cullen leads the way in a shootout victory)
– New Jersey 8, Tampa Bay 2 (New Jersey scores four unanswered early.)
– Buffalo 3, Montreal 1 (Biron: Forty Saves)
– Edmonton 2, Calgary 1 (Shootout – Pisani with the winning goal in the shootout.)
– Ottawa 6, NY Islanders 2 (Six goals from six different players.)
– Anaheim 3, Detroit 1 (McDonald, Hedstrom score in the win.)
– Colorado 5, Columbus 0 (Sakic, Svatos score, Columbus dealt 7th straight loss.)
– Florida 6, Pittsburgh 3 (First hat trick for C Olli Jokinen.)
– Phoenix 4, Dallas 1 (32 Stops in Curtis Joseph’s 406th Career Win, 8th in NHL History.)

Saturday, November 26th, 2005
– NY Islanders 4, Philadelphia 2 (Blake with the Hat Trick in a Road Win)
– Boston @ Ottawa (7:00 PM EST)
– Florida @ Atlanta (7:00 PM EST)
– Columbus @ St. Louis (8:00 PM EST)
– Vancouver @ Phoenix (10:00 PM EST)
– Detroit @ San Jose (10:30 PM EST)
– Montreal @ Toronto (7:00 PM EST)
– Washington @ NY Rangers (8:00 PM EST)
– Dallas @ Nashville (8:00 PM EST)
– Chicago @ Los Angeles (10:30 PM EST)

Sunday, November 27th, 2005
– Buffalo @ Washington (4:00 PM EST)
– Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay (5:00 PM EST)
– Vancouver @ Colorado (9:00 PM EST)
– Atlanta @ Carolina (5:00 PM EST)
– Chicago @ Anaheim (8:00 PM EST)

Intermission!

NFL Picks, plus thoughts on the MLB Hot Stove.

MLB Hot Stove Thoughts
A brief bit on some of the dealings so far in the 2005-2006 Hot Stove season. The Hot Stove, for the uninitiated, is the period where free agent signings and trades take place during the off-season of Major League Baseball. Generally, at least one major trade can be counted on during a productive Hot Stove season. To date, there have been several big trades, all with varying levels of importance. Here’s a few more noteworthy acquisitions:

– Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell to Boston for Prospects (Red Sox – Marlins)
– Jim Thome to ChiSox for Aaron Rowand (Phillies – Chicago AL)
– Delgado to the Mets (Mets – Marlins)
– Mike Cameron for Xavier Nady (New York Mets – Padres)
– B.J. Ryan expected to sign five year deal with Blue Jays, Wagner to the Mets
– Braves’ cap situation improving, a bid for Furcal forthcoming
– Matsui to remain a Yankee, Piazza receives interest from Minnesota
– Konerko eyeing Chicago, Anaheim and Boston

The two biggest deals so far have been the Beckett/Lowell trade and the Cameron for Nady deal, both which directly and indirectly affect Boston. The obvious ramifications from the Beckett/Lowell deal are that Boston now has another potential ace to supplement Curt Schilling in the rotation, along with a young core of pitchers that includes Bronson Arroyo, Matt Clement, and Jon Papelbon. Mike Lowell, though coming off his worst offensive year, is a gold-glove winner at third base, and will be able to replace the departing Bill Mueller, or possibly take over first base if Mueller is resigned (at this point uncertain). And, let’s not forget the third pick-up in the deal: Guillermo Mota. Mota will provide another quality arm out in the bullpen, in what will definitely be a rebound/rebuilding year. With a returning Keith Foulke and some young arms (like the aforementioned Papelbon) ready for the big leagues, Boston has upped its bullpen without taking on the huge contract of a free agent like B.J. Ryan or Billy Wagner.

The other trade, Cameron for Nady, seems to eliminate the suspected blockbuster deal that would have sent Mike Cameron to Boston for Manny Ramirez. It would take much more complicated negotiations now to orchestrate such a deal with Cameron out of the equation, unless San Diego has entered the pursuit of the coveted slugger. For the time being, it appears as if Manny is not being shipped to the Mets, which means that, given a healthy and productive Lowell, the Red Sox have managed to upgrade their lineup. At the very worst, they’ve kept their two integral cogs in Ortiz and Ramirez at Fenway for another year.

The Thome for Rowand trade is not only baffling, but suggestive that Paul Konerko may not be returning to Chicago. Thome, injured for most of the 2005 season, would either be replacing Konerko at first, or could be the new DH in the wake of Carl Everett’s departure. However, Carl Everett is far cheaper to resign than Konerko is, which lends credence to the notion that Everett may be resigned before Konerko is. Nevertheless, the Phillies pick up a solid centerfielder in Rowand, who’ll be tapped to replace the aging Kenny Lofton at Citizens Bank Park.

There are still some big name free agents left in the pool; we’ve barely even scratched the surface on this year’s talent pool looking for new homes, or looking to resign new deals with their old homes. Johnny Damon and Paul Konerko highlight the field, though there are some valuable players that certain clubs may pick up. Nomar Garciaparra is a big question mark heading into the winter, as his health brings concerns with his services. Frank Thomas, Tim Salmon, and Carl Everett all have their services on the market (and a good DH is pretty indispensable in the current American League landscape). Also, Juan Encarnacion and Preston Wilson are both available in the free agent market. So is Mike Piazza and Rafael Furcal.

The pitchers’ pool is a little thinner than in previous years, though there is still help to be found if one looks hard enough. Esteban Loaiza, Jarrod Washburn, Jose Lima and Kevin Millwood will be picked up by teams looking for a second or third starter in their rotation, while Bob Wickman and Felix Rodriguez highlight a group of relievers that will find open arms in places like New York, Boston, and St. Louis.

NFL Week 12 Picks
A semi-regular feature, which means “until there’s no more football left to predict”, the NFL/NCAA picks section is pretty much my poor excuse at parlaying a good week of predictions way back when into a column feature to kill some time. I’ll leave the major stuff to Nick Pomazak, and the T.O. stuff to Patrick N. It’s about the picks now, baby.

NFL Week 12
Baltimore @ Cincinnati
Cincinnati takes care of the weak Ravens at home. Chad Johnson walks like an Egyptian following two TD receptions.

St. Louis @ Houston
In Houston, look for the Texas to upset the lukewarm Rams.

Carolina @ Buffalo
Delhomme bounces back after a trademark off-week, and Steve Smith returns to the Carolina Playbook in a sound win.

San Francisco @ Tennessee
A Pick ‘Em: San Francisco wins, but fails to cover the spread.

New England @ Kansas City
Kansas City 28 – New England 20

Chicago @ Tampa Bay
Chicago has the best defense in the league, and will match Orton for Simms. Bears win!

San Diego @ Washington
Washington is coming off a loss to Chargers’ in conference rival Oakland, and will have something to prove. But Brees and Co. too much for Washington – Redskins’ playoff hopes dashed after a loss to San Diego.

Cleveland @ Minnesota
Minnesota can do just enough to get by against Cleveland at home. Provided no sex cruises make up the film sessions this week.

Miami @ Oakland
Oakland secures a nice win to keep their slim hopes alive, while Miami loses valuable ground in the AFC East race.

Jacksonville @ Arizona
Jacksonville needs a win to keep their playoff dreams alive, and Arizona is looking not to be blown out at home. Jacksonville takes it 17-6.

NY Giants @ Seattle
A statement game for Seattle: a win at home versus a decent Giants squad cements them as the best the NFC has to offer. They win at home, 21-10.

Green Bay @ Philadelphia
McMahon gets his first win of the season against a terrible Green Bay team, and Brett Favre has playoff flashbacks from Philly circa 2003-2004.

New Orleans @ NY Jets
Curtis Martin can keep the Jets in the game if he plays, but New Orleans may secure a win in the Meadowlands otherwise.

Monday Night Football
Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis
Indy outscores Pittsburgh, matches defenses enough to win.

Third Period!

“Voices from the Crowd”, plus some thoughts on the season to date.

“Voices from the Crowd”: An Interview With the Fans, For the Fans, By the Fans
This segment, a product of the first column some time ago, is an adaptation of a running joke between a couple of the staffers here at Inside Pulse. Our first interview was with Matt Savino, a referee/player who is almost as passionate a hockey fan as anyone. This time around, we switch tracks with a pure fan of the sport: Eric, of Louisville, Kentucky.
Eric, when asked of his hometown: “Yep, I’m from Louisville, home of fast horses, faster women, and Steve Cook from that other site.” He has an incredible knowledge of many sports, and even took up a debate on Rene Descartes with yours truly. Thankfully, we stick to Hockey today, and what follows isn’t so much an interview, as it is a conversation. And Eric is quite adapt to carrying on a good conversation. For him, this is how we begin:

I quote Patrick Roy: “Tell Jeremy it’s hard to hear him with my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.”

Steve: First question – At what point in time did you really get into following Hockey?

Eric: I’d say, somewhere around 1994 when Fox got the rights to broadcast the NHL

Steve: Do you remember the first game you saw?

Eric: On TV, or in person?

Steve: Both, if you can remember the TV game as well.

Eric: I seem to remember the TV game was a Rangers game. The first game I saw in person was the old Louisville Ice Hawks, but I don’t remember who they were playing.

Steve: Are you a Rangers fan now?

Eric: No, Red Wings and Maple Leafs. My dad is from Michigan, and I was drawn to them by my blood. I fell into being a Leafs fan due to the fact that they had the coolest alternate jerseys on the video games I played. Then, one of my best friends told me he was a Leafs fan, and I became hooked.

Steve: It’s funny, because the last person interviewed was a diehard Avalanche fan, so it’s nice to get a change of perspective. Now then, for the people reading this that have never had the privilege of attending a hockey game live, can you tell us about the atmosphere of your first live game?

Eric: It was rather exciting. Especially as the game progressed, and turned into a pier 6 brawl.

Steve: Nothing like a good ole fashioned brawl to really get your money’s worth, right?

Eric: There were five or six fights in that game. It was against the old Dayton Bombers. Crazy amounts of Pims handed out.

Steve: There’s nothing like attending a game. Now, you said that your favorite two teams, professionally at least were Toronto and Detroit. Who’s your favorite player from each squad, and is there a favorite of the bunch?

Eric: Vladimir Konstantinov stands out in my mind, because of what happened to him after the ’97 Cup victory. He holds a special place in my heart, because he’s still considered a part of the team, even though he can’t play. Currently though, I really love Steve Yzerman. He’s the Captain, and he, more than anyone on Detroit’s team can capture my attention. Well anyone, with the exception of Nicky Lidstrom.

[Ed. Note – Vladimir Konstantinov was involved in a serious car crash after the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, and is unable to ever play again as a result.]

On Toronto, I’m fond of Domi, because he’s a tough little bugger. I love Belfour, and have followed him, off and on, since his days as a ‘hawk. I love Sundin, but I wish he’d prove Don Cherry wrong, and go in the corner more. But I just love the team as a whole. Keep in mind though, guys like Dino Ciccarelli, Darren McCarty, and Paul Coffey were the ones who really made me sit up and take notice.

Steve: Well, keeping with the Maple Leafs/Red Wings motif, there is a brief bit that I want to get your opinion on. The last time that the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup was in 2002 I believe, against the Carolina Hurricanes. Considering that the Hurricanes had to defeat the Maple Leafs en route to the Finals –

Eric: Ah, the team that used to be the Whalers

Steve: The Hartford Whalers! What was your emotions going into that Stanley Cup Finals? Did you feel cheated out of a Maple Leafs/Red Wings Finals, or were you elated that Detroit kicked the crap out of Carolina?

Eric: No, that was really, before I fell hard for the Leafs. I was happy to see Colorado bite it in 7. Especially that 7th game shutout Hasek had. Yeah, 2002 was a wild year. But consider that the Leafs and Wings have a bit of a storied history, facing each other. You know about ’42, right?

Steve: Refresh our memories for those who may not be aware.

Eric: Way back in 1942, the Leafs met the Wings for the Stanley Cup. Detroit ran up a quick 3-0 lead in the series. Then, they managed to come apart in a glorious fashion, only matched by the Yankees, in ’04. That was to appeal to you, the Red Sox fan you are

Steve: And how glorious that choke job was. At least our Yankee fans know they have company in the annals of massive gags.

Eric: There are many a Leaf fan who still believe they’re the best franchise in all of sports history, because they accomplished that feat, first. But remember, those were the Original 6 days. When the Blackhawks still had talent.

Steve: Poor Chicago gets no love anymore. Switching gears a bit now. We’re almost two full months into the return of the NHL, and the game is quite a bit different from the way we left it in 2004. Any thoughts on the state of the game, post-rules changes? I know you’re happy to be rid of the trap.

Eric: Hey Detroit used a variation of the trap. It was the Left wing Lock. The rule changes have taken a bit of getting used to. But I’m quite a bit upset with the over usage of the interference calls and obstruction calls. But that will lead me into hating how Bettman won’t let the players police themselves.

Steve: The scoring seems to be up, which was their wish when implementing the new rules, but a lot of the fears that detractors of the new policies seem to be coming true, vis-à-vis the interference/obstruction.

Eric: Yeah, but Sidney Crosby still sucks. One of my friends and I both believe they’re giving that kid points, just for being on the ice when a goal is scored. Whether he touches the puck or not.

Steve: Sidney has some serious competition from Ovechkin (Omar Padilla thinks he’s the man), but Sidney is really not choking like I thought/hoped he would.

Eric: I do like the delay of game call on the goalie touching the puck. As well as the altered rule on icing. Did you hear about that?

Steve: No, I haven’t heard about the change to the icing call.

Eric: If the play is judged to be a pass that got away from the guy it was intended for, it’s not called icing. It’s only if the ref feels that the puck was intentionally iced.

Steve: Oh, right. It all goes hand-in-hand with the new interpretation of the rule book. Some people love the new rules, others disapprove. I’m just happy to have hockey, in any form back.

Eric: As am I

Steve: Even if OLN’s coverage is less than perfect.

Eric: NBC gets the rights to games, after the All-star game and the Stanley Cup too, if I remember correctly. I haven’t seen very much of Ovechkin. I’m too busy watching Kariya tear it up in Nashville, and laughing at Fedorov flounder in Columbus. I hope they show more than ABC did.

Steve: Speaking of Fedorov, did you see the Columbus trade coming?

Eric: Nope, I stopped caring about Fedorov after his hold-out in ’98. Fuck him. And Yashin too for that matter. They should play in the NBA with the way they whine and bitch.

Steve: Patrick Nguyen, a noted Mighty Ducks sympathizer was less than thrilled with that particular trade. Alright, ready for some word association?

Eric: Try me.

Steve: Alright, first things that come to your mind with each. We’ll start off with an easy one: the Detroit Red Wings.

Eric: Gordie

Steve: Colorado Avalanche

Eric: bastards

Steve: Patrick Roy

Eric: Not on Sawchuk’s level, but good in his own right. Especially when making fun of Jeremy Roenick

Steve: Gary Bettman

Eric: Game killer

Steve: Vladimir Konstantinov

Eric: Fallen hero. Greatly missed

Steve: Nashville Predators: Contenders (?!)

Eric: Definitely

Steve: Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Carolina: Favorites to win the East?

Eric: Ottawa, could. But they’d have to overcome their long-standing futility against Toronto in the playoffs. Besides, they haven’t touched the Cup since 1927, if I remember correctly. Besides, I think Heatley is still a murderer.

Steve: Strong feelings! No love for Heatley, eh?

Eric: None at all. Very sure, too

Steve: Wayne Gretzky as the Coach of the Coyotes

Eric: It’ll be more than a year before we see just how good he is

Steve: Finally, an old favorite: Your favorite nickname for Jaromir Jagr and/or Roenick.

Eric: When I think of Jagr, I think of Don Cherry’s various butcherings of his name. My friend Danny and I both believe that Grapes hates Jagr. Roenick, loud-mouthed tool. He’s got a glass jaw, and someone needs to break it again

Steve: Ha ha! And with that, you are off the hot seat, my friend. Thanks so very much for your time, and hopefully we can do this again soon.

Eric: Anytime you’re interested sir. By the way, keep an eye on Nashville, they may be the Cinderella story for the season.

Steve: Will do.

Special thanks to Eric for his time and patience as I danced around the best questions I could make up on the fly. Eric and I plan on revisiting this interview in the coming weeks, and if you would like to be a guest on “Voices from the Crowd”, send an email detailing why to PegasusX@InsidePulse.com!

The New NHL: Roller Hockey on the Outdoor Life Network
We’re almost two full months into the return of the NHL, and as I’ve said numerous times before, I’m just glad to have hockey back. Sure, the blackouts for Hurricanes/Thrashers games piss me off to no end, and the coverage on OLN is less than stellar, but can we really complain all that much? I think a lot of us realized how monotonous the NBA regular season was last year, with no NHL to stand along side it. Sure, the rules changes will take some getting used to, but there’s a youth movement right now in the NHL, led by Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Duncan Keith and Dion Phaneuf. Scoring is up, and the game is back. We really can’t ask for more right now.

Back in September, I kind of dismissed Ottawa as being an imitator, rather than a contender. I may not be ready to put them atop my list of favorites in the East, but I am definitely impressed by Heatley’s play so far, even if my friend Eric is not. Carolina is improving every time out on the ice, while the two big draws in the East heading in, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, have been slight letdowns. Calgary has yet to really find its form, while a few newsworthy trades have kept life interesting. A scare in Detroit with Fischer’s collapse has mellowed with the news that Fischer is expected to be okay, and there is the looming cloud that is the Pittsburgh Penguin situation. But at the end of the day, hockey is back. Wayne Gretzky is back… sort of. And our escape from the NBA is back… thank God. Here’s to Hockey, however different it may (or may not) be.

Overtime!

What’s on tap for the week ahead, plus the pimps and the closer.

What’s on Tap for the Week Ahead
The College Football bowl picture will clear up a bit as the week progresses, while the NHL and NBA season beat continues. One or two big names may sign their fates to the hopes of new teams in the week to come, while the NFL playoff chase begins in earnest.

Pimping the Puck
Nick Pomazak has his usual goodness with the approach of another weekend of showdowns. Also, Nick gives props for calling the SC-Florida game two weeks ago. Now, I only have to pick 5,870 games correctly to catch up with you. Pancakes in the Age of Enlightenment – I Have an Enchanted Jockstrap … and George W. Bush is constipated in your picture.

Really good writing… check. A kickass writer behind it… check. A splendid pimp and a miniature ego trip… mmm, must be a column from gloomchen. Summertime Blues, News, and Views. A special thanks to Patrick N. for showing me that there were other zones at Inside Pulse besides sports.

It occurs to me that I failed to pimp Reverend Sick on Turkey Day. Thus, he gets the apology pimp today. Into the Pit: A November to Remember. It’s Cooler than Jive Soul Bro!

Speaking of things cooler than Jive Soul Bro, Dan Hevia is more badass than a Halloween edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event! The Turkeyfix.

I miss Saturday Night’s Main Event, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because they played that cheesy intro music, and the cheesy graphics, and… anything cheesy, I guess. Anyways, here’s Matthew Michaels with some Deep South Results for your pleasure.

If I sleep with your mothers, and Patrick N. sleeps with your girlfriends, then Mathan Erhardt whips your ass, pisses on you, steals your wallet, and then sleeps with your future girlfriends. More Reasons Why Being Deaf Sucks/Rocks

Game Over!
That’s it! Finished, kaput, done, complete, finis, fin, adios, hasta luego, peace out, we’re done, we’re through, blah! I sincerely hope you enjoyed this little trip into the realm of the spectacular, as I tried to keep the garbage to a minimum. We’ll work around with some of the flaws as the weeks progress, but hopefully Inside Pulse Sports will only continue to improve its lead over the rest of the sporting news world. Keep a lookout for the return of IP Radio this week, as Patrick rules the airwaves, with the lovable misfit known as Steve Price, the Host with the Most in tow. Until we see again, this is the Speed-turned-Frosty Addict, signing off in 3…2…1…

Peace.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2006

The Return of Lord Stanley’s Cup

Western Conference Playoffs

Darkness will rule the land.

#1 Detroit Red Wings vs. #8 Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Wins 4-2

Darkness will rule the land.

Game 1: Edmonton 2, Detroit 3 (2OT) (4.21.06 – Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan)
Game 2: Edmonton 4, Detroit 2 (4.23.06 – Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Game 3: Detroit 3, Edmonton 4 (2OT) (4.25.06 – Rexall Palace, Edmonton, Alberta
Game 4: Detroit 4, Edmonton 2 (4.27.06 – Rexall Palace, Edmonton, Alberta
Game 5: Edmonton 3, Detroit 2 (4.29.06 – Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Game 6: Detroit 3, Edmonton 4 (5.01.06 – Rexall Palace, Edmonton, Alberta)


#2 Dallas Stars vs. #7 Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Wins 4-1

Darkness will rule the land.

Game 1: Colorado 5, Dallas 2 (4.22.06 – American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas)
Game 2: Colorado 5, Dallas 4 (OT) (4.24.06 – American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas)
Game 3: Dallas 3, Colorado 4 (OT) (4.26.06 – Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado)
Game 4: Dallas 4, Colorado 1 (4.28.06 – Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado)
Game 5: Colorado 3, Dallas 2 (OT) (4.30.06 – American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas)


#3 Calgary Flames vs. #6 Anaheim Mighty Ducks

Series Tied 3-3

Darkness will rule the land.

Game 1: Anaheim 1, Calgary 2 (OT)(4.21.06 – Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta)
Game 2: Anaheim 4, Calgary 3 (4.23.06 – Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta)
Game 3: Calgary 5, Anaheim 2 (4.25.06 – Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California)
Game 4: Calgary 2, Anaheim 3 (OT) (4.27.06 – Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California)
Game 5: Anaheim 2, Calgary 3 (4.29.06 – Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta)
Game 6: Calgary 1, Anaheim 2 (5.01.06 – Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California)
Game 7: Anaheim @ Calgary – 5.03.2006 – Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta


#4 Nashville Predators vs. #5 San Jose Sharks

San Jose Wins 4-1

Darkness will rule the land.

Game 1: San Jose 3, Nashville 4 (4.21.06 – Gaylord Entertainment Center, Nashville, TN)
Game 2: San Jose 3, Nashville 0 (4.23.06 – Gaylord Entertainment Center, Nashville, TN)
Game 3: Nashville 1, San Jose 4 (4.25.06 – HP Pavilion, San Jose, California)
Game 4: Nashville 4, San Jose 5 (4.27.06 – HP Pavilion, San Jose, California)
Game 5: San Jose 2, Nashville 1 (4.30.06 – Gaylord Entertainment Center, Nashville, TN)


Eastern Conference Playoffs
Darkness will rule the land.

#1 Ottawa Senators vs. #8 Tampa Bay Lightning

Ottawa Wins 4-1

Darkness will rule the land.

Game 1: Tampa Bay, Ottawa (4.21.06 – Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario)
Game 2: Tampa Bay, Ottawa (4.23.06 – Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario)
Game 3: Ottawa, Tampa Bay (4.25.06 – St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida)
Game 4: Ottawa, Tampa Bay (4.27.06 – St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida)
Game 5: Tampa Bay, Ottawa (4.29.06 – Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario)


#2 Carolina Hurricanes vs. #7 Montreal Canadiens

Carolina Leads 3-2

Darkness will rule the land.

Game 1: Montreal 6, Carolina 1 (4.22.06 – RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina)
Game 2: Montreal 6, Carolina 5 (2OT) (4.24.06 – RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina)
Game 3: Carolina 2, Montreal 1 (OT) (4.26.06 – Centre Bell, Montreal, Quebec)
Game 4: Carolina 3, Montreal 2 (4.28.06 – Centre Bell, Montreal, Quebec)
Game 5: Montreal 1, Carolina 2 (4.30.06 – RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina)
Game 6: Carolina @ Montreal – 5.02.06 – Centre Bell, Montreal, Quebec

#3 New Jersey Devils vs. #6 New York Rangers

New Jersey Wins 4-0

Darkness will rule the land.

Game 1: New York 1, New Jersey 6 (Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, NJ)
Game 2: New York 1, New Jersey 4 (Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, NJ)
Game 3: New Jersey 3, New York 0 (Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Game 4: New Jersey 4, New York 2 (Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)

#4 Buffalo Sabres vs. #5 Philadelphia Flyers

Buffalo Leads 3-2

Darkness will rule the land.

Game 1: Philadelphia 2, Buffalo 3 (4.22.06 – HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York)
Game 2: Philadelphia 2, Buffalo 8 (4.24.06 – HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York)
Game 3: Buffalo 2, Philadelphia 4 (4.26.06 – Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA)
Game 4: Buffalo 4, Philadelphia 5 (4.28.06 – Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA)
Game 5: Philadelphia 0, Buffalo 3 (4.30.06 – HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York)
Game 6: Buffalo @ Philadelphia – 5.02.06 – Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA