Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Hey, a new feature on TGWB, Hockey Friday! Every (or on an occasional) Friday we'll have all the surprises! Plus The Good, The Bad, the Ugly. And a feature sure to piss lot's of people off... The All Time Best. So without further ado:
Carolina: The biggest surprise of the new season has got to be the Hurricane. With a record of 9-2-1 and a nice mix of youth and experience, the 'Cane's are making a lot of noise in the east. They are currently in second place in their conference, and tied for fifth over all. Former Wing Ray Whitney is having a really nice season (which I predicted he would), after a less than stellar year in Motown. Former Wolverine/Wing defenseman Aaron Ward, after almost being cut at the end of camp, is having a great year, currently +4. And talk about surprises! My, oh my.....
Eric Staal: With a league leading 23 points, Staal's breakout season is the biggest reason the ''Canes are making waves around the league.
Jason Labarbera: Before this season, he had played in only 4 NHL games. Now he is 6-1, with a great 1.78 goals against, and a 9.38 save percentage! Small wonder the Kings are in first place in their division
Jason Williams: With 5 goals and 13 assists, Williams has been a huge part of the Wing's offense! He has also been very strong defensively! Maybe their best player so far!
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY, AND UGLIER
The Detroit Red Wings: 12-1-1, including streak of 9 in a row.
Manny Legace: Wing's goalie sets record with 10 wins in Oct.
Manny Fernandez: Minnesota Wild goalie with an incredible 9.48 sv pct.
Jaromir Jagr: Leads league in goals, playing his best hockey in years.
The Flames: Last seasons Cup finalists, Calgary was expected to be one of the three best teams in the west! They are currently ranked #11, three places out of the final playoff spot.
Jeremy Roenick: Kings forward has only 3 points in 12 games
Marty Turco: The former Wolverine is just not doing the job for Dallas: A 3.64 goals against and 8.76 save percentage.
Ditto for the Jacket's Marc Denis: he is blessed with as good a set of physical skills as any goalie in the league, but consistently under achieves. Columbus really upgraded on the blue line this year, so he can't use lousy "D" as an excuse anymore!
UGLY: Thy name is the Chicago Blackhawks. You hired your radio color man as your GM. He promptly spent the mortgage on goalie Nickolai Khabibulin, defenseman Adrian Aucoin, and winger Marty Lapointe. So how's that working out for ya?
Let's see, the Bulin Wall is allowing almost 4 goals a game. Aucoin is a -4. Only the former Wing Lapointe is earning his keep, with 8 points.
UGLIER: The St. Louis Blues. Look up butt ugly in the dictionary, the Blues logo is there. This is just a God-awful team. I'm sure Bill Wirtz says a little prayer of thanks every night that the Blues are in the same division as The Blackhawks!
UGLIER part 2: The new NHL scheduling. I HATE IT! The Wings play Chicago, Columbus, and St. Louis 8 times each. Besides the 'Hawks, we don't play a single game against an original six team! You would love to get a chance to see a great young team like the 'Canes, yet we only play them once..away. The NHL really needs to rethink this.
BEAR'S LIST OF ALL TIME GREATS
Bear's note: I have an advantage at this one, being old enough to have seen everyone of these guys play.
TOP 10 GOALIES OF ALL TIME
1. Ken Dryden* - never saw him have 2 bad playoff games in a series, 5 straight Stanley Cups
2. Dominik Hasek* - 2 Hart trophies (MVP), 5 Vezina Trophies (best goaltender), 2 Lester Pearson trophies (best player, regular season), dozens of awards in Europe, Olympic Gold Medal, several world championships, a Stanley Cup, lifetime .924 save percentage
3. Vladislav Tretiak*- Central Red Army (Soviet Elite League) - dominated Soviet and International hockey for a decade and a half, three Olympic Golds. Ironically, benched after dispute with Russian coach, he wasn't in goal for the "Miracle On Ice". Thankfully (for the US).
4. Terry Sawchuck*- Best goalie in days of the original 6! 5 Stanley Cups, second in all time NHL victories, holds record for career shutouts (103), most shut outs in one postseason (4 ). In Red Wings 1952 Stanley Cup playoff run, he allowed 5 goals in 8 games!
5. Jacques Plante - 6 Stanley Cups, 7 Vezina Trophies, 1 Hart Trophy, lifetime 2.38 ga, first goalie to don the mask
6. Patrick Roy- brilliant when on his game, but would have extended streaks when he was awful, often in the playoffs! More NHL victories that any other goalie, 3 Stanley cups,
7. Glenn Hall - known as Mr. Goalie, first to perfect the butterfly style, 2 Stanley Cups
8. Martin Brodeur - 4 Jennings Trophies (fewest goals allowed), 2 Vezina trophies, 3 Stanley cups
9. Grant Fuhr - As good a playoff goalie as any in history (except Dryden), has 4 Stanley Cups
10. Tony Esposito - Best goalie never to win a Stanley Cup
Hon. mention: Gerry Cheevers, Bernie Parent, Billy Smith, Ed Giocoman, Gump Worsley
* These 4 are probably interchangable, could be 1, 1a, 1b, 1c
NEXT WEEK: TOP 1O DEFENSEMEN OF ALL TIME
And not to be a stickler for spelling but Jacques's last name is Plante. But I'll forgive you, tu es un american. :o)
Both my boys are heavily into fantasy sports, especially my oldest, who ususally has at least two football and hockey teams, plus a basketball team.
'Yotes should have woke up after Tuesdays practice! The Great One went all Herb Brooks on them, made them do an 45 min of sprints before holding practice!
Not to split hairs, but when you made your post, Staalsy actually had 25 (not 23) points.
Again, not to split hairs, but Staalsy is only a part of why we're making waves. I would say the biggest reason is our improvement on the power play units. Two years running we were dead last in the league. Through 13 games so far this season, we're fourth BEST in the league. Getting those power play goals has been the difference in winning close games. Brindy has been the man in that category, and it's been real nice having Whitney on the PP as well.
By the way.... Jack Johnson was recently CCHA player of the week!
I tried to make this comment earlier, but it vanished....
You're a little off the mark about AWard "almost being cut at the end of camp". It wasn't quite like that. BEFORE camp, there was a little bit of talk about maybe dealing him or Glen Wesley or Bret Hedican for someone more youthful, but once camp started, it was clear that AWard was a dominant player. He's in better shape now than he ever has been and he's a better player.
I worked on the post a couple of days before I actually posted, which is why the Staal discrepancy.
From what I understand, and I should have noted it, the improved goaltending of Martin Gerber has also played a significant part in the 'Canes success.
I wish we'd get a chance to see something of the east coast teams here. i dispise the new scheduling format, although I love what the new rules have done for the game.
I meant to drop you a note the other day concerning Johnson. If you get a chance to see a Michigan game on CSTV, be sure to catch it. He is as impressive a freshman "D" as I have ever seen. Very mature, makes very good decisions with the puck, technically very sound. So far, he has played a bit better on the road than at home, but chalk that up to the pressure of playing in his hometown. But he has been very impressive.