Friday, April 30, 2010

A Powerful Performance


by Jan Snyder
Pens Take Game 1 by a score of 6-3

In a game filled with power play chances, the Pens made the most of their opportunities, scoring no less than four power play goals. Add in Guerin’s empty netter at the end, and that leaves only one even-strength goal scored by the winning team.

Okay, we all knew Halak couldn’t keep up what he’d been doing against Washington. But as the Habs played on, as late as Wednesday night, the Pens have been resting and itching to get back on to the ice. Plus the Canadiens traveled a few more times and were definitely still dwelling on the remarkable game seven they played.

Fleury was by far the fresher and better goalie tonight, facing 28 shots. No one star shined as brightly for the Pens tonight, but 13 different players factored into the scoring.

Coming up with big power play goals were Gonchar, Staal, Letang and Goligowski. The even strength goal came from Craig Adams, on a nice set up from Cooke and Dupuis, and Guerin just sealed the deal with the empty net goal at the end of the game.

Gionta scored a power play goal for the visitors, as it began obvious that neither team should take penalties.

Crosby managed his usual two points, assisting on the first and fifth Pittsburgh goals. He got cut on the chin by a high stick, went off for some work on the cut, and was back with the team in no time. The same can’t be said about Jordan Staal, who sustained some type of leg or foot injury. We’ll learn more about that as time goes on. As for Sid, the stitches add a little character to his wispy beard!

Another strike against Montreal was the loss of Markov when he and Cooke collided and he obviously hurt his leg.

So after giving up five goals, Halak, the hero of the series against the Caps, was pulled in favor of Carey Price. One would think that with a couple of days rest, Halak would be ready to go again. Or will they start Price in the next game? We’ll see on Sunday.

Good line from the Versus announcer tonight. He mentioned that Gonchar was the quarterback of the Pens’ power play. “Right now, he’s the number one quarterback in Pittsburgh, with Roethlisberger’s problems.”

So the second race to four has begun! Hopefully, the Pens will keep it going on Sunday afternoon on NBC.

LET’S GO, PENS!!

Random Thoughts:

• I was happy to read that Buffalo signed Lindy Ruff again. He’s such a mainstay for the Sabres and a great coach.

• Since Buffalo is now out of the playoffs, Ryan Miller was able to shave off the awful mustache he was wearing. He looked like a pirate or something! But sad to see a great goalie like him out so early.

• Maybe the Caps need to bring in a veteran to help Ovie learn to be a better captain. That plan sure helped Crosby when Guerin came in and helped out. At first in his career, Sid had Mario has a mentor, but when 66 was forced to retire a second time, bringing in a steadying influence for Sid turned out to be a great idea. Keep in mind that Sid and Ovie are very young captains – they each needed a little seasoning.

Vancouver against Chicago promises to be a nasty little series. Can’t wait for it to start.

Flyers or Bruins? I’ll be interested to see which of those two teams come out on top of this series too.

The Sharks are up on the Red Wings 1-0 already. Who will come through in that one? Every time I think Detroit is fading, they come back.

Anyone who doesn’t watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs is sure missing something special.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Canucks Win Series, Kings Retreat into Castle



Canucks win Series 4-2

By Lisa Ovens

During games five and six, the Vancouver Canucks showed their fans just what their fans wanted to see: a team gelled; a team poised for what we hope is a long run in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Meanwhile the Los Angeles Kings have retreated into their castle until next season. And I am sure they will remember this first round experience for next season’s playoffs, because you can bet this talented, young team will be there, with their crowns on.

The Kings fans, what spirit and energy displayed! So many of them waiting eight years to catch the playoff fever again, and so many of them new to the game, and we can all hope the new ones come back in September. This is the greatest game on earth, and the more the merrier :o)

Captain Roberto Luongo appears to be over the 2010 Olympic Hockey hangover, and is becoming the goal tender Vancouver’s going to need for the next opponent. I hope Mikael Samuelsson has more goals in his bag of tricks. I'd hate to think he's used them all up in round one! We need to see Alex Burrows return to the score sheet beyond the empty net goal column. The Sedins, we'll hope they will continue to elude and baffle to opposition. As far as defense goes, well, please just do what you can back there and try to stay healthy!

Bring on the Semi Finals!
Go Canucks GO!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Whip It, Whip it Good!


Pens Take the Series and beat Ottawa by a score of 4-3

by Jan Snyder

What a shot by Dupuis to end the game in overtime! He whipped it alright and it blew by LeClaire for a goal.

The series ends and as Crosby said, the Pens needed ten periods to finally put the Sens away. They came out with everything they had and the first period was ferocious. This first round series could easily have been dubbed “Upon Further Review” as again tonight, the guys in Toronto got involved in two more rulings. Cullen began the scoring in the first and it was surprising that there wasn’t more scoring with the amount of chances each team had.

As the second period got underway, the Sens demonstrated why they were still playing at this time of year. Both Neil and Alfredsson scored, putting the Pens down 3-0. After all, the Pens finished fourth and the Sens fifth in the end of year standings. Ottawa was not about to go away without a fight. They proved that they were involved for a reason.

But Matt Cooke began chipping away at the lead when he fired the puck by the goalie and brought the score to 3-1. By the way, when the Sens get a goal, their announcer shouts it to the rafters, but when the other team scores, the announcer sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Waa Waa, Waa, Waa, Waa.” I could never understand what was being said.

Each goalie turned in stellar performances yet again. They each made some incredible saves. In the third, on a power play goal, Bill Guerin scored, followed by another goal from Cooke, tying the score at 3-3. As time wore down, the inevitability of another overtime game was looming. C’mon, Pens, we really don’t want to have to play a Game Seven in the first round, do we?

Overtime ended in just less than ten minutes as a battle of the Pascals. Pascal Dupuis, falling to the ground, whipped the puck past goalie Pascal LeClaire and that was all she wrote! No one could fault LeClaire. His play in these games was amazing and Fleury tuned in quite a performance too, making some big stops on the Sens.

Six hard fought games and the Sens are eliminated. I have to wonder what would have happened if they’d had Kovalev ready to play. But then again, Coach Dan the Man did a great job of moving players around, rewarding those with hot hands, and using every man available.

So who is the Pens next opponent? We won’t know until some of the other match-ups come to an end. In the meantime, the guys get some well-needed and much deserved rest before Round Two rolls along.

I really do hate to see Canadian teams taken out of the tournament, but in this case, I did enjoy it! We’ll have to wait until next season to hear the anthems sung so stirringly in Ottawa.

Stay tuned for further developments in Round Two!

Let’s Go Pens!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Flyers First to Move on, The Hockey News and CDC, NHL War Room and Doughty...



by Lisa Ovens

Get the keys, Pronger, you and the rest of the Fly Bunch are cruising into Round Two. And I actually picked them to win this series! The Philadelphia Flyers put an end to the New Jersey Devils' season Thursday night with a 3-0 shut out.

Bye Bye Devils :o)




The Power of Canucks.com affecting The Hockey News?

The fan message boards on Canucks.com has the biggest membership (59,500 members and over 4,000,000 posts) out of all the NHL teams with the online feature on their websites. Over the last few years, more and more sports media refer to the "CDC" boards during their coverage of hockey. It makes some Canuck fans feel special that the hockey media "hangs of their every reaction and opinion".

Well I just saw this blog post from The Hockey News: THN.com Playoff Blog: 10 reasons to plot a Canucks conspiracy.  It's full of juicy bits, taking shots at Vancouver Canuck fans and the city of Vancouver in general. Is The Hockey News just trying to pad their online stats with the hopes of landing another coveted topic thread on CDC? Or does The Hockey News really think of us as "latte-sipping, beachcombing, socialist Vancouverites" and that our home team should be eliminated in round one?

As of this moment, a new topic featuring THN's Canucks Conspiracy List on CDC has not been created. Will a member of the Canucks community take the bait??

NHL's War Room: Do They Have a Scheduling Problem?


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's pre-game press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday night offered a little more insight into Life in the War Room. After being grilled by several members of Vancouver's media about Game Three's dis-allowed goal and Mike Murphy's explanation of said goal, Bettman had this to say...

"I think Mr. Murphy was trying to explain at 1 o'clock in the morning as best he could exactly what was going on and if he wasn't as articulate as those looking to parse his words, so be it. But as I said, I have complete confidence in Mike Murphy, Colie (Colin) Campbell and the entire hockey operations department."

I bolded the time above, because that's how Bettman seemed to emphasize it. Is Bettman's saying it was way passed Murphy's and the other war room cronies' bed time? If they are having trouble speaking then perhaps they are having trouble making decisions, too? How do they combat the Pacific Time Zone? Conspire to have the Sharks and the Canucks eliminated in the first round? Or do they do the logical thing: schedule a LATE shift!!

Here's a video of Mike Murphy giving a tour of the War Room on Fox Sports

BTW, the official name of the War Room is The Roger Neilson Video Room. A nice tribute to the hockey man they called Captain Video. Neilson pioneered the use of video taped games as a learning tool for his players. He also waved a white towel on a hockey stick indicating surrender to horrible officiating during a Canucks playoff game in 1982. I like the irony there.


Drew Doughty Nominated for The Norris

Yes, my Canucks are officially lining up against a Norris Trophy candidate. Howdy Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings has been nominated, along with Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, and Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks. If Doughty wins, he will be the second youngest recipient (Bobby Orr is the youngest).

GM Place (during the Olympics: Gold was won here...now how about some silver cup?)

Game Five Los Angeles Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks goes tonight at 7pm PACIFIC...stay awake War Room Cronies....

Go Canucks GO!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One, Two, Three OTs and Your Out!

photo by Lisa Ovens

Pens lose Game 5 at home by a score of 4-3

By Jan Snyder

On a night when the Pittsburgh Pirates lost by the embarrassing score of 20-0, the Pens went down to defeat too in the third overtime period.

Things didn’t start out well in the first. Neither team seemed to be too into the game but the Sens managed two goals to none for the Pens by mid-period. The Versus announcers told us that the Sens GM, Bryan Murray, spoke to the team yesterday, telling them to back off the rough stuff a bit. Some people must not have been listening because just two minutes into the game, Ruutu was assessed a penalty for roughing! But in the long run, I guess Murray got it right because the Sens played better and won.

The War Room Giveth…

Near the end of period one, Letang scored on a power play goal and things were looking up as the home team began the second period on a power play too. Before long, Kunitz scored but the goal was waved off on the ice because the ref thought the net had come off. After review in Toronto, the disputed goal was declared a good goal, tying the game at 2-2. Okay, that’s more like it!

And the War Room Taketh Away…

Early into the third, again on a power play, it seemed that Kunitz had done it again, scoring on a pass from Gonchar. This one went to Toronto too because the ref ruled the puck was knocked in by a high stick. Toronto agreed and a much hoped-for Pens goal flew out the window.

But never fear – Sid is here! He and Geno combined for a nice goal to put the Pens up 3-2 and we fans began thinking we had this one. But that pesky Regin did it again and scored to tie the game and send it into the first overtime period.

The War Room Stays Busy

Why should OT be any different? Although it looked like Foligno scored for the Sens, replays revealed a “definite kicking motion” and once again, the War Room got it right and disallowed the goal. After a spirited twenty minutes, no resolution and the second OT was more of the same. Right at the end, Geno danced around the goal, bringing us all to the edges of our seats, thinking he would slap it in and end things, but no, it was not to be tonight.

By the third overtime, things were looking dire. The loyal fans chanted and waved their towels, trying to bring some inspiration and energy to the Pens. But on this night, the Sens were the winners as Carkner slammed a puck past Fleury to end it.

Let’s accentuate the positives. Sid and Geno each had two points. The War Room was three for three. None of the Pens seemed to get injured. Fleury played a great game, but Pascal LeClaire was just one play better.

In the “Who Would Have Thunk It Department", the Flyers eliminated the Devils tonight. The same Flyers who squeaked into the playoffs on the very last day of the season. The same Flyers who didn’t even know who their goalie would be. The same Flyers who looked to be going nowhere all year are the first to wrap up a series in the first round. Now the Pens need to wrap up their first round series too.

So let’s get ‘em in Ottawa on Saturday!

LET’S GO PENS!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Holy Third Period Again, Batman! Game Four Canucks/ Kings

The Big Book of Comeback by the Vancouver Canucks
                        
         
  Vancouver Canucks LA Kings series tied 2-2

by Lisa Ovens

The sound of silence engulfed the city of Vancouver  around 7:30pm Wednesday night: it was the Canucks first penalty kill in game four taking place over one thousand miles away in Los Angeles, California. Could they make it two minutes without a King scoring? Nope. But that would change.

Even if the Canucks didn't win Game Four, I was impressed with their tenacity in overcoming some of the foibles from games two and three, and there was no bigger issue than the penalty kill. Let's face it, since game three, the cheers erupting in Staples Center for every power play awarded, it was if the Kings had already scored. Could you blame the fans? No, because they had six consecutive power play goals to be happy about - it was getting to be automatic!

You know what else was getting to be automatic during this series: hearing the name "Doughty" every minute out of the over worked mouths of broadcasters Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson. But by the third period, that would change too. Less Doughty...more Sedin! When the Canucks play well, it's nice on the ears.

A third period Canucks comeback at Staples Center makes it number twelve  in the "CB" column since the start of the season for the boys. And it couldn't have happened in a bigger game.  The final score...6-4. Aside from all of the drama, action, great Staples Center atmosphere (again...nice work Kingers :o) the following are two of the more quirkier moments (I am drawn to quirky) that will surely bring a smile to my face over the next few days...

Third period fun with Kyle Wellwood, busy in the corner, protecting the puck up and down the boards, burning 47 seconds off of the clock, like he was channeling Sidney Crosby or something. Go Wellwood!

Third period Empty net action courtesy of the eventual game winning goal scorer Henrik Sedin: he shoots and misses the empty net, but stays with the puck as more and more black sweaters surround him behind the goal line. All of the Kings men and all of the Kings sticks couldn't poke out the puck from under good Henrik!

With the post game rough stuff , Game five in Vancouver on Friday night promises to be another spirited affair.
But with less Doughty...more Sedin!
And more Samuelsson,
and more Demitra,
and some classic Great Save Luongos!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

He Shoots…and Scores! He Shoots…and Scores! He Shoots and Scores! (etc.,etc.)

Game 4: Penguins were RED HOT at Scotia Bank Place


by Jan Snyder

Pens Take Game 3 by a Score of 7-4

Wow, what a game! If you like offense, this was the game for you. We had a little bit of everything – power play goals, a short-handed goal, a goalie replaced, a broken pane of glass, and a big melee at the end of the game. Not only that, history was made (as predicted in the NHL playoff commercials) when eight goals were scored in the second period alone. The only other time that has happened in playoff history was in 1993 when the Pens and Islanders each scored four.

After a relatively calm first period, the Pens led 1-0 on a power play goal scored by Geno, with Gonchar and Crosby assisting. But after the break, the second period started and the hockey gods decided this would be a good night to rain down goals in Ottawa. Sid and Cooke scored just twelve seconds apart and not too much after that, Sid scored yet again. He ended the game with four points, just another day at the office.

That concluded Brian Elliott’s participation in the game and Pascal LeClaire came in to try to stem the goal-scoring tide. The change in goal seemed to rev up the Sens and very shortly after LeClaire took his place in net, Alfredsson scored Ottawa’s first goal and fired up the crowd. The crowd was so fired up, that the Sens scored again, making it a 4-2 game!

What happens when you need a big goal? You find your Superstar!! No, not Sid, no not Geno – “THE” Superstar – Max Talbot! Taking a nice feed from Craig Adams, Superstar banged it home for a short-handed goal and the Pens grabbed back a 5-2 lead. We could breathe again – but not for long, because Cullen scored on Ottawa’s power play and just like that, it was 5-3. They just kept on comin’.

But a team is a team for a reason. The A-line of Crosby, Kunitz and Guerin teamed up for a beauty scored by Kunitz and it was 6-3 at the end of the wild and crazy second frame.

Ottawa was nothing if not persistent and they came back with goal number four by Spezza in the third. Just when you thought it was safe – aarrggghhhh! But the Pens were not about to be denied and Jordan Staal potted his first playoff goal this season. Finally, the craziness was over, except for a little free-for-all at the end of the game, and the Pens head back to the ‘burg up three games to one.

Despite good plays and determination, Ottawa now has lost both games in their home rink. They have to be feeling discouraged, but that sure doesn’t mean they won’t come out with guns blazing on Thursday. The Pens will need their crowd to help pull them through and hopefully wrap up this first series and get some much deserved rest.

LET’S GO PENS!!

Memories, Misty Water Coloured Memories...



     the late, great coach, Roger Neilson

   It will be 28 years ago, as of next week.

Yet for Canuck fans right now, it sort of feels like it was just yesterday.

    Here's to the original, white playoff towel and the man
who waved it...
                                                                   

Tips for The Vancouver Canucks


                        Los Angeles Kings lead the series 2-1
         
                         by Lisa Ovens

The Kings/ Canucks Quarter Final Game Three on Monday night was a toughie to watch. And losing two in a row during the Stanley Cup Playoffs tends to humble the positive thought train. But we Canucks fans have been here before. This should be "old hat" for us.

The Vancouver Canucks could try some of the following as they look ahead to Game Four on Wednesday, April 21st.....

Canucks can build on game three, starting with that much stronger third period. Plus, they need to let the fire in the belly from the disallowed goal fester, and I mean FESTER ( isn't that a great word?).

Re-tooling the special teams portion of the menu kind of goes without saying. The Kings have 7 power play goals in three games. Coach Alain Vignault says they've "got 48 hours to find a solution." He said that twice during his post game presser. Pretend you are solving a murder, Alain.

Jeff Vinnick's photo of the book "Hockey for Dummies" styled with LA King logos from what looks like a jacket: just take that off of Canucks.com immediately. This kind of "trash talk" can come back to bite us on the ass!
photo by Jeff Vinnick: maybe not the best choice
at this point in the round. I'm just sayin'...

Maybe Canucks GM, Mike Gillis ought to complain about the officiating in the media, just for something to do. Or craft a 2002 Salt Lake City Gretzky- like speech and take some of the heat off the team. This will also help difuse the Canuck`Fan-xiety that will most certainly flood the sports talk radio shows' phone lines and online "comment threads"  today and tomorrow.

And here's one, a good one from my buddy Andrew Lavigne..." Luongo's body language has to change. His wife is probably the only one who could talk to him about this one. When he lets in a goal, his whole body reacts, he hangs his head. He's acts out his disappointment. All I can say is "Luongo, you play poker...where's your poker face?"

Andrew hits the nail on the head: Roberto Luongo is the captain, the leader of his team. Time to be stoic, Lou. And the next best thing to actually being stoic, is acting stoic. I believe that's you there on the side of a hockey rink. Hey... Anybody have Gina's email address??

And finally, I'm on the hook to buy a Kings fan dinner when she comes on a hockey road trip next season if the Canucks don't get the job done, so come on Canucks...just get'er done!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kings/ Canucks Game Three Live Bloggin'




by Lisa Ovens

Well, I am set up on the couch watching the game. This is an attempt at live blogging....


9:48pm Disappointed? Yeah, but if my mom were alive, she'd say "Well, don't forget it's a best of seven series, dear."
9:45pm Game Over. Another HF Boards comment...

Only positive to take out of this game : At least we're not San Jose

9:42pm I've been at 2 playoff games where a tie it up goal was scored with less that 2 seconds on the clock. The Canucks have to get the first one now...
9:36pm I just visited the NHL's "Situation Room Blog" I wrote about yesterday, and they haven't updated it since April 18th, the Sens/ Pens game. Kinda lame, isn't it?
9:21pm Ah Man...5-3 now?
9: 13pm Atta boy, Daniel!!! Keep going now Canucks...it's time for your "come back close up"
9:11pm No goal. Jim Hughson says "That was an interesting call."
9:10pm What the heck is taking so long?
9:06pm Saw this comment on HF boards and had to share it while we wait for the goal decision
....
I am a good husband, a good friend, and I work really hard. I am not asking for the sun and moon and stars.
I am tired of all these shots going in, pucks curling, shots dropping inexplicably out of gloves and right to an open man.
The Canucks have done nothing to deserve being beaten by teams where no one gives a rats ass about hockey.
I want to know why?
Go Canucks Go.

9:05pm Woot Burrows scores!!! But wait time for the "Situation Room" on nhl.com
9:04pm Okay, I realize my live blogging is backwards. So for the third period I have started at the top, instead of going to the bottom.



_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_



7:10pm Okay, did I just see the Kings walk through some castle doors before walking on the ice? How Disney!! I was in the Kings locker room a couple of years ago, and I don't remember the castle theme.

7:15 pmYay...Kesler scores the first goal and the crowd cheers...sounds like lots of Canuck fans made the trip to Hockeywood at Staples Center!


7:26pm Live blogging is a challenge. Oh, just heard (from HNIC's Craig Simpson) this game has had 18 hits so far. This is definitely the season of the Hit! Oops make that 19 hits - Ryan Smyth just got rocked by Alexander Edler - hope that warrior Smyth is going to be okay...

7:33pm. Okay, the Canucks will be on a penalty kill in a minute or two. For now check out this pic of Dustin Brown in a Kings calendar I have...

7:35pm  Kings scored and it was Howdy Drew Doughty :o(
 Okay Canucks, Let's go and answer that goal with at least one more...BTW, great atmosphere in Staples Center!

7:41pm Canucks PP comin' up - Don't disappoint, boys. Somehow I have to blend making dinner into all of this. Here we go...Go Sedins, GO!!!

7:48pm Intermission...whew...that was action packed SCORE: 1-1, SOG Van 11 LAK 7 see you soon :o)

8:14pm...ooh my, the Kings are fired up! Canucks gotta score one, or at the very least get and keep the puck out of their zone for crying out loud!! I made dinner so I am going to eat now...hopefully my dinner is accompanied by a Kesler, Samuelsson or Wellwood goal, she says with a stern look on her face....

8:19pm Here's my Canucks Fanbangle for good luck....

8:40pm Okay, Kings score twice, Luongo gets the hook, not exactly the "hockey food" I was hoping for to go with my dinner. At least Samuelsson scored. Yay...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Today’s Column is Brought to You by the Letter "P"



by Jan Snyder


Pens defeat Sens, take Game Three 4-2


Playoffs
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated Ottawa to take the lead in the series, two games to one. Although the Senators fought hard and came with all they had, it just wasn’t enough to defeat the Pens tonight. Without Kovalev, Kuba and other integral players, the Sens just couldn’t keep up with the Power of the Pens, no matter how hard they tried, and they tried hard right to the very end.

Patience
Patience is a virtue as Alex Ponikarovsky found out less than two minutes into the game. He waited and debated – then shot and scored the first goal of the game. Crosby was rewarded for his patience too on the Pens’ third goal when he worked his way around the goal crease, just waiting for the right moment. He saw it, took the shot, and in it went.

Physical Pest
Tonight’s game was another bruise-inducing game for both teams. The hitting started early and never stopped until the final buzzer. Crosby slammed into the opposition’s Captain, Alfredsson, and took him out of the game for a few minutes. When Alfie came back, he went a little crazy on Staal, but was just trying to jazz up his teammates. The defensemen were hitting everyone all over the ice and Matt Cooke came dangerously close to another suspension when he hit a Senator from behind. Speaking of pests, Jarkko Ruutu garnered himself a ten-minute misconduct for his particular brand of peskiness. [Aside: Though he isn’t actually a “pest”, this Peter Regin guy, a rookie, is one of Ottawa’s best players in this series.]

Poke Check
Last game, Crosby saved a goal by poking it out of the blue paint with his stick. Tonight, Fleury didn’t need Sid to do it – he took care of a loose puck himself, knocking it safety out of his goal crease as it was trying its level pest to creep over the goal line!

Power Plays
Power plays for each team played an important part in this game. Mike Fisher scored Ottawa’s first goal on the power play. (Do you realize that when Mike Fisher marries Carrie Underwood she will be Carrie Fisher? Remake of Star Wars with Carrie as Princess Leia in the offing??) Crosby’s goal was scored while the Sens were short-handed too.

Pace
Sometimes, especially in the second period, the pace of this game was absolutely frantic. Up and down, back and forth rushed both teams, taking their best shots (at the goal and at each other) in the process. Geno scored during one of those crazy rushes and Guerin managed to break away from the onrushing pack to score his goal.

Persistence
The Pens played with persistence, pushing the puck with patience while playing physically at a phenomenal pace, putting up with penalties in the process!

Other Uses of the Letter P
Two other teams, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Phoenix Coyotes, won their games too. Philly is now up two games to one against the Devils, while Phoenix has taken the lead in the series from the mighty Red Wings. Sunday was a good day to root for a team with the letter P in their city’s name!

Come Tuesday, we’ll see if the Pens can win once more in Canada’s capital city.

LET’S GO, PENS!

From Too Many Men to the NHL Situation Room Blog...and Back

               Kevin Pollock, NHL Official photo courtesy of K. Pollock

by Lisa Ovens

I know once a penalty is called you can't do much about it, so I'm not prone to bitch and moan about it while writing (yeah, while writing...you are lucky you don't hear some of my rants and general whining - teehee). But over the course of my research on a "too many men" call in last night's Canucks/ Kings playoff game, I came across this blog on NHL.com...

The NHL Situation Room Blog

This is where Hockey Ops reviews and decides disputed goals. Plus, find out the "why" behind those calls. You get the NHL's official ruling first.

Yes, another page to bookmark and follow, along with your hockey twitters, blogs and fan message boards, all the while keeping one eye on the game!

And since the topic of referees is a hot one during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I invite readers to check out this informative two part interview with NHL ref, Kevin Pollock (pictured above), written by H&HH.com's very own Jan Snyder. You'll be directed to the old Lisa's Lounge at hockeyandhighheels.com. Enjoy!
Necessary Evil: Part Two                           

And now back to Too Many Men...

After listening to Canucks coach Alain Vigneault's post game comments about the Too Many Men call...
It was the wrong call... we got two referees on the ice with red stripes on their sweaters. They should make the call if they think it's a penalty and not the linesmen.- Alain Vigneault

...I thought I should post a little something on the linesmen/ referee relationship...(and then go write a song titled Too Many Men)

33.4 Reporting to Referee - The Linesman shall give to the Referees his interpretation of any incident that may have taken place during the game.
The Linesman may stop play and report what he witnessed to the Referees when:
(i) There are too many men on the ice
Rule 74 (ii) Articles are thrown on the ice from the players’ bench or penalty bench
Rule 75 (iii) When team personnel interfere with a game official
Rule 40 (iv) When a player or goalkeeper who has lost or broken his stick receives one illegally
Rule 10 The Linesman must report upon completion of play, any circumstances pertaining to:
(i) Major penalties
Rule 20 (ii) Match penalties
Rule 21 (iii) Misconduct penalties
Rule 22 (iv) Game Misconduct penalties
Rule 23 (v) Abuse of Officials
Rule 40 (vi) Physical Abuse of Officials
Rule 41 (vii) Unsportsmanlike Conduct
Rule 75 (viii) Double-minor penalty when it is apparent that an injury has resulted from a high-stick that has gone undetected by the Referees

For more on NHL rules, please visit the NHL rule book section at nhl.com

Happy Hockey Sunday :o)

"Holy Crap..."


"...Sunday is a BIG DAY for  Stanley Cup Playoff Hockey!!!"

Phoenix @ Detroit, Game Three noon PST

New Jersey @ Philadelphia Game Three 3pm PST

Pittsburgh @ Ottawa Game Three 3:30 PST

Nashville @ Chicago Game Two 5:30 PST

San Jose @ Colorado Game Three 6:30 PST



"Hell Ya, Doan!!!"


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Holy Third Period, Batman!





Los Angeles Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks
RD One best of seven series tied: 1-1



by Lisa Ovens

It's safe to say the Los Angeles Kings aren't the team to ease off the gas pedal on if you are the Vancouver Canucks. This became very evident during the 2nd period of Game Two at GM Place on Saturday night. The Canucks watched their two- nothing lead evaporate into the humid, evening air. And just like Game One,  Game Two had to be decided in overtime. But this time, it was the crowns enjoying a sudden victory in a 3-2 OT win.

Game Two OT Goal: Anze Kopitar at 7:28 1st OT Period
Game One OT Goal: Mikael Samuelsson at 8:52 1st OT Period

 Both overtime goals came in the first OT periods, which is a blessing for both teams. Better to get the OT goal scored fast in the playoffs (this coming from a fan who sat in the stands through a quadruple OT playoff game in 2007). We fans do not want to see our teams wear out in round one!

Anyay, back to game two... Holy third period, Batman! I love it when the crowd drowns out the broadcast booth! This was as exciting as a playoff period can get, just minus goals scored. And the OT period picked up the pace where the third left off. Unfortunately for the Canucks and their "two many men" penalty call, the Kings went in for the kill. Well, the kill ended up going in off of Luongo's stick.

A Few of My Highlights from Games One and Two

Alexander Edler's "Howdy Doughty" hit on Drew Doughty
Ryan's Smyth's nose
Jonathan Quick's big save OT Game One
Andrew Alberts This is actually a LOW light for the Canucks, because in two games Alberts took 5 penalties and a game misconduct, with three penalties in Saturday night's loss. This has cost us dearly and the only word I can think of right now is lunkhead-ish.
Roberto Luongo's back stroke save during OT Game One and then while on his stomach, struggling to get his stick that had become lodged in his pads.

And on this note, I had a discussion with former goaltender, current best hockey pal, Michelle about this play. She wondered if the play had not moved up the ice, would the ref had blown the play dead because of where the stick was caught in Luongo's pad. She felt it was similar to when the ref calls a play dead if the goal tender loses his helmet. it was obvious Luongo's stick was really stuck and if the play continued in his crease, the Kings would have scored. I argued that if a goal tender loses his stick, well that's his problem. Here's a poor shot of Luongo "swimming"...

Now the series heads to Los Angeles for games three and four.This is a curious series for me because I don’t exactly hate the Los Angeles Kings. I had the opportunity to work with this club for a Hockey and High Heels event, so they have a tiny piece of my heart for like, ever.

During that event I met some of the Kings very best fans – the women. Knowlegable, yes. Resilient, yes. They embrace the game as good as anyone else in this league. And because of this I am looking forward to watching Game Three: the first of two home games in Los Angeles, something we haven’t seen since 2002. I want to see Staples Center a rockin’, and my regal hockey friends caught up in the wonders of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

At least until my Canucks silence the room with a decisive win or two ;o)

And yes, Nadine...I'll take that bet!

The Green Men...Use them or Lose them?

                         green men working the box in Round One Kings vs. Canucks

by Lisa Ovens

The two green men are BCIT journalism students, and they are enjoying some huge face time in the media. But will putting “Green men at Canucks games” on their resumes help them score big time media jobs when school’s done?

“We’ll do anything to help the Canucks win. If we can get the Canucks fans fired up before a power play and it translates to the Canucks scoring goals, that’s what we’re here for.”

Quote from the article, Force and Sully on Canucks.com


                                 green men arrive late to their seats

I am on the fence with these two guys. I was at the game in December when they first achieved some exposure taunting Nashville’s Dave Scatchard in the penalty box. I had a good laugh. Anything they’ve done since then hasn't tickled my funny bone like that first time, so if the green men hype comes to a halt I won’t miss them. Maybe I just need to see Force and Sully take their schtick to another level. Perhaps they could add a green baby and a green girlfriend to the show. Come on boys, up the ante for your legions of fans!

And if you would like to give birth to your inner green man, or red man, or purple woman, here’s a place to order your suit....

begreenman.com

Or you could try...

 hello greenman.com

See, it's really easy to be green!

You Gotta Fight – For Your Right – To Parrrrrrty!

by Jan Snyder

Pens Take Game 2 by a Score of 2-1

Now that’s more like playoff hockey!  The boys came out like beasts ready to go at it and the crunching hit on Jordan Leopold by Andy Sutton poured jet fuel on the fire. If the Pens want to party like they did last summer, they’ve gotta fight. Tonight they did. Only Talbot got into a real fight, but the hitting was impressive by everyone, including Orpik, Kunitz, Guerin and Rupp. The Sens ended up with 31 hits but the Pens outdid them with 52. Since they played most of the game with only five defensemen, the way they were able to keep up the physical nature of the game seemed even more amazing.



But one can’t say “amazing” without saying “Sidney Crosby”. What did he do in tonight’s game? The better question may be what didn’t he do.

Sid scored the first goal, set up beautifully by Kunitz. He showed off his best impression of a goalie by making an outstanding “save”. He dove behind Fleury and stopped a puck that was slowly inching its way towards the goal line. He knocked Ruutu silly along the boards, and he set up Letang for the game winner. But that was after he performed quite the paso doble as the raging but graceful bull to Jason Spezza’s confused matador! Crosby danced around and around the goal, protecting the puck and keeping Spezza at arm’s length while wearing him out. (Maybe Sid can fit “Dancing With the Stars” into his summer vacation plans.) Then, from his knees, #87 got off a great pass to Letang who weaved the puck through several sticks and bodies, sealing the game for the Pens. Oh, and much of that happened after Guerin inadvertently smacked Crosby across the face with his stick!

The hardworking third line of Staal, Kennedy and Cooke created their special third line lightning and revved up the crowd and their teammates. Even if they don’t score, they cycle, create and work like crazy. It feels like Staal is right on the verge of scoring; maybe we’ll see that happen next game.

As we knew he would, Fleury came back and played his game, although not without a little scare. Only 18 seconds into the contest, Regin bounced one in over Fleury’s head. But our favorite French Canadian goaltender hung in there, making his share of saves and getting help from his captain and defensemen when he needed it.

In true keeping with Stanley Cup tradition, the Pens played a total team game with every facet working well. Geno didn’t score, but that didn’t keep him from being noticeable, doing some fancy dancing with the puck himself.

Now we’re off to Ottawa for Games 3 and 4, facing a hostile crowd who won’t be impressed by Sid and Geno’s antics. The intensity level will be amped up on both sides. We can expect more of what we saw in Game 2 on Sunday night.

LET’S GO, PENS!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Too Much, Too Little, Too Late

by Jan Snyder


Hello, fellow hockey fans! Here we are again starting the 2010 Playoff Season. I haven’t talked to some of you since that glorious June night when the Pens took the Stanley Cup. I’ve missed you and I’m glad we’re together again in cyberspace.


So Game One is history. Let’s all take a long, deep, cleansing breath and softly repeat: “Fleury will be fine, Fleury will be fine, Fleury will be fine.” Feel better?

Losing Game One isn’t the best way to start the road to the finals, but that’s what happened so we’ll deal with it. Despite the frantic push for a goal at the end of the game, the Sens won 5-4 sending the Pens home to ponder Friday’s game.

Let’s look at the bright side, shall we? Geno was awesome and Lord knows we need that from him to go very far. His two power play goals and one assist plus his physical play added a ray or two of sunshine. Scoring two power plays goals each at 13 seconds into the power play has to mean something – I just can’t figure out what! Maybe it signifies that Billy Guerin will score twice 71 seconds into a power play?

Sid was held down, but still managed three assists and we know he’ll work through whatever d-men the Sens put on him. Gologoski had a pretty good game, Max was involved picking up an assist and what about Craig Adams scoring his first goal in 112 games? The Pens managed a couple of slightly different looks on the power play and scored a couple of times, something else we’ll need as we move ahead.

A few other players need to step things up a bit but again, it’s only Game One. I liked how Coach Bylsma put it – it’s a Race to Four. Four games in four series and you take home Stanley. Let’s think of it that way and it’s a little easier to deal with.

Ottawa played well, even our old friendly rival, Jarkko Rutuu scored a goal. Alfredsson was quiet but that could quickly change. Their goalie, Brian Elliott, had a couple of rough patches too. Things will even out over the course of the series.

Since I was forced to watch the game on Versus instead of Fox Sports Pittsburgh, I heard different announcers than many of you. And I have to take exception with one comment that I heard during the telecast. I believe it was Billy Jaffe who said the Pens had to buckle down and not “feel entitled” to win the Cup. Maybe Jaffe has spent a little too much time in Pittsburgh over the past few days and has confused another Pittsburgh athlete with the Pens. No, Billy, that athlete with a feeling of entitlement plays for the Steelers. I’m sure the Pens know that a repeat of last year’s performance will take a Herculean effort from every man on the roster. I don’t think any of them are expecting another team to “allow” them to win. No referees are going to “give” them any breaks. They will go as far as their talent, hard work, and determination take them with no sense of entitlement.

Let’s look ahead to Friday and Game Two, another White Out Night at Mellon Arena. Will Sid score? Will Fleury bounce back? Will Carrie Underwood come to the game?

Whatever happens, we’ll talk about it again on Friday night.

What was your take on tonight’s game? Talk to me by email: texasjan@hotmail.com, or leave a comment below.

LET’S GO, PENS!

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are HERE!!!


by Lisa Ovens

I can't be the only chick out there who sets up a second TV on the entertainment shelf mid April every year, am I? Woot! The 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs have arrived!!

I enjoyed CBC Sports playoff intro featuring the sound bytes of champions expressing feelings about their playoff experiences. And as always, I pay attention to Hockey Night in Canada host Ron Maclean's first words on the playoffs. he likes to be eloquent, that Ron, and he always skates dangerously close to becoming a parody of himself with his poignant words...

"It's not the mountains we trip over, it's the pebbles."

"Tell someone about the things they treasure most, and you are on the road to their heart."

And on that note...let's talk Brady Bunch!! (like MacLean could pull off a seque like this)

The Seeding of Playoff teams, According to The Brady Bunch Kids

Eastern Conference

Marcia and Greg Teams
Washington Capitals
 New Jersey Devils
 Buffalo Sabres

Cindy and Bobby teams
Boston Bruins
Philadelphia Flyers
Montreal Canadiens

Peter and Jan teams
Ottawa Senators
Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference

Marcia and Greg Teams
San Jose Sharks
Chicago Blackhawks
Vancouver Canucks

Cindy and Bobby Teams
Los Angeles Kings
Nashville Predators
Colorado Avalanche

Peter and Jan Teams
Phoenix Coyotes
Detroit Red Wings

Wow...imagine that, the mighty Detroit Red Wings and defending Stanley Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins are Peter and Jan Teams. It just doesn't make sense!

Wondering what the seeding of playoff teams and the Brady Bunch have in common? The only way to know the answer is to read Hockey & High Heels!

Lisa's First Round Picks : Eastern Conference

Senators vs. Penguins

I do like the fact that Senators goaltender, Brian Elliot counts his childhood memories pretending he's playing in a game seven of the Stanley Cup Final during neighbourhood road hockey games as "playoff experience". It's rather endearing, but may not be enough to keep the Penguins from taking over this series.  

So, I'll take the Penguins, but only because deep down inside, the boys aren't ready to leave Mellon Arena just yet. (These playoffs games will be the last time they go to work at the Igloo, before moving across the street to the new arena for the 2010/11 season)

Flyers vs. Devils

I like the Flyers, because I lika the Orange Crush. That's a silly reason. I really don't know what else to say, as these two teams are my least favourite in the east. The Flyers are the lesser of two evils...get it? Devils, evil. Oh, whatever.

Capitals vs. Canadiens

Capitals...because if they don't, they'll be another step closer to becoming the "Sharks of the East".

Bruins vs. Sabres

For Ryan Miller's sake, I pick the Sabres. he was so awesome for team USA during the 2010 Winter Olympics, I'd like to see the city of Buffalo revel in some glory.

Western Conference

Avalanche vs. Sharks

What do the Avs have to lose here? Nothing. Wouldn't it be funny if that is the main reason they beat the Sharks? Seriously, I am cheering for the Avs to stop the all of the pundit wondering that goes on about the Sharks committment to winning in the post season once and for all.

Predators vs. Blackhawks

The Predators...they want to experience the "Peter and Jan Brady" round of the SC Playoffs, the Semi Finals, for the first time, really bad. (Could I use more commas??) Seriously though I admit I am still bitter from last year's playoffs and want those plucky Preds to boot the Hawks into next season, pronto!

Kings vs. Canucks

I am so happy for the Los Angeles Kings fans (especially for the ones that I know personally) that they will enjoy some playoff action after all of these years!! Yes, exactly one round of playoff action before my Canucks move onto the second round. Sorry girls, but if my Nucks don't get their butts into the Conference Finals, I just might have to become a Kings season ticket holder. That means someone has to get me a job down there and help me find a place to live. Girls, do you really want that on your list of things to do???

Red Wings vs. Coyotes

Whoever wins, I just want this to be a full seven game experience for the resilient hockey fans in Phoenix. They deserve that more than most people know. And by most people I mean those ones who are convinced there are only fourteen hockey fans in that city. BTW, Nice whiteout, Coyotes faithful!
It's hard for me not to pick the Red Wings to win this series. They just know how to deal, those Wings. They deal with everything so well; whatever the storm, they deal with it. They are by definition, Retrosexual Men.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Forty Year Wait...Congrats Henrik Sedin!

Henrik Sedin, winner of the Art Ross Trophy
the NHL's leading scorer 2009/10 season
112 points! (29 goals, 83 assists)



by Lisa Ovens

Since the 1947/48 NHL season, the Art Ross trophy has been awarded 62 times, and only 26 different players have won it. basically, the Art Ross has been won...in bunches! For example...

Gordie Howe, 4 times - 1950 to 1954
Phil Esposito- 4 times 1970 to 1974
Guy Lafleur- 3 times 1975-1978

Between 1980 and 1994, it was either Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux taking the scoring title. (Career wins:Lemieux six, Gretzky ten)

But since the Vancouver Canucks franchise entered the league in 1970, not one Canuck has won this award. Not one Canuck has won any of the major league scoring awards.

So it means so much to this Vancouver Canucks fan to see Henrik Sedin win the Art Ross Trophy for the first time. Woot! Scary to think what the Sedins could have accomplished if Daniel hadn't been out 19 games due to injury.

Daniel Sedin, wondertwin

Daniel Sedin still managed to put up good numbers (29 goals, 85 points), including a hat trick against the Calgary Flames during last night's final regular season game.

Next year's plan...Daniel wins the Maurice "Rocket" Richard, and Henrik takes the Art Ross again!

Go Nucks :o)

Friday, April 9, 2010

So Very Sick of Tiger

                                  The good kind of Tiger...

by Lisa Ovens

I've grown so weary of everything Tiger Woods that it's time to get it all out of my system...

I am so tired of hearing the name Tiger, which is sad for Panthera tigris (that's the proper name for the animal called tiger). In fact Tiger has given tigers a bad rap. If you type "tiger" into the google search, it the cheating Woods Tiger that comes up first, not the majestic Panthera tigris. I feel bad for those unfortunate people who collect tiger things. They may never look at their striped figurines the same way again.

The new Tiger Nike commercial was the final straw. How is Tiger's deceased father supposed to help? Wasn't he also a womanizer? I fail to see how 35 seconds of Tiger's close up in black and white will make his image seem any more acceptable. He looks foolish. It's a stupid commercial, and it frustrates me because I love Nike hockey commercials.

click here for the inevitable parodies of the Nike ad
I'm so tired of the golf fans too. I am tired of hearing men say "Tiger's a great golfer, leave his personal life alone." I'm sorry but you guys are wrong for saying that. Tiger put his face, his signature on all kind of products and corporate images, and it made his brand a billion dollars: if a person is going to put himself in front of the public eye that much, then yes, his personal life will be of interest to the public and it will be major fodder for the media.

I'm sick of Tiger's mistresses and their big mouths and their total lack of respect for Tiger's wife Elin and her two kids. (Yes I say her kids because how the heck did Tiger have any time or input into raising them thus far with all that boinking, texting and mistress juggling going on?) It saddens me that some women out there are content with having "mistress to a celebrity" on their lists of accomplishments, if you can even call it that. Plus, because of them, I have heard or read the word "skank" way too much, and that's just a nasty, nasty sounding word.

Why did Tiger even marry in the first place? What he has done is so low, he makes the Slap Chop guy look good.

What Woods should have done is come clean, but with his true colours showing. Like "I'm Tiger Woods, and what can I say, I F'ed up. I slept with all of those women, because the truth is I am not the marrying kind. I am beyond sorry for everything I have done to Elin, I should have never asked he to marry me because I was fooling myself to think I was even close to being ready for a committment like marriage. If she leaves me, I totally deserve it. If I can only see my kids on Sundays, I totally deserve it. I F'ed up real bad. And oh, I had sex with my neighbour's 21 year old daughter... "

At this point I would only accept a Tiger Woods that was the real Tiger Woods. The more he acts like "he cares", as he does in the Nike commercial, the less I believe he actually cares.

Dodging Tiger stories is challenging because they are peppered in with the hockey news on TV. And now we will hear about former NY Giants running back Tiki Barber, the latest cheating husband, who has now separated from Ginny, his wife of 11 years. And oh, she's eight months pregnant with twins.

Talk about the potential for ruining tiki statue collections everywhere...