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Saturday, October 27, 2007

The New Wave


The NHL has just gone through a huge change with the lockout, which was just a couple years ago. More goals, shootouts and new rules. Now, the NHL is going under a new change. The new wave of young talent.

The last generation of NHL players brought such greats as Teemu Selanne, Chris Chelios and Eric Lindros, but now those players are fighting for jobs, and their talent is deteriorating. But there are more than enough players to take their spot.

The draft this year brought 2 stand out players so far. Sam Gagner and Patrick Kane. Kane is right at home in Chicago, as he shares the pressure of the being the "next one" with fellow rookie Jonathon Toews. Kane already has 13 points in the season and Toews has a good 8 points. Another big rookie combo is in Edmonton, where Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner play.

Gagner was expected to play in the OHL for another year, but he impressed at the Super Series, and at Oiler training camp. Now, he is a full-time Oiler and 2nd on the team in scoring. Cogliano also made the team and is 2nd on the team in scoring as well.

But these are just the rookies. What about the sophomores in the league? Guillaume Latendresse, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Stall, and Anze Kopitar can all call themselves successful NHLers, and none of them are 25! Latendrasse looks to imprive on his rookie year and help the Habs get to the playoffs again. Malkin and Stall both had phenomenal rookie year, with Malkin getting close to the 100 point mark. Both will be key parts of the youth movement in Pittsburgh this year. Finally, Kopitar will try to get to the point-a-game mark this season while on the top line with Mike Cammeleri.

And lets not forget the 2 biggest young stars in the game, Alex Ovechkin, and Sidney Crosby. I really don't think I have to go into detail about these 2. Everyone already knows about their skill and ability. Both players are looking toget to the playoffs and win the Cup. Crosby will have the best chance of doing this, as he has an even better team than the 100+ point team of last year, and Ovechkin has Micheal Nylander and Nicklas Backstrom to centre him now. Both players will challenge for the scoring title.

There are a lot more players I could of covered, but I just did those to show you how much the NHL is turning toward their young players for points. This is the year that the new generation takes over and the last generation of players take a step back.

Canadiens Sink Hurricanes


Although it has been a long time since my last post, I'm still watching the sports world. Yesterday, I saw a great game that I had to cover.

The Montreal Canadiens were facing the Hurricanes in Carolina. But it didn't look like the Canes had a home-advantage, as Montreal scored 5 goals in the 1st period, to give them a 5-1 lead! From there on, Montreal just held back and kept the lead. Both teams traded goals in the 2nd, and Carolina got 2 i the 3rd, but the Canadiens ended up on top to win 7-4 for!

The key to the game was the Canadiens powerplay. Montreal scored five power-play goals, four in the first period, en route to its third straight victory. The Canadiens have scored eight of their NHL-best 16 power-play goals in two games in Carolina, both wins.

When Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau was asked what was working for the Canadiens with the man-advantage, he answered, "everything."

"There are no secrets to it," Carbonneau said. "We have guys that can move the puck and make plays. You can pass it around for two minutes, but you can't score if you don't shoot it. That's all we did. Just by shooting the puck a lot, it opened other options."

Montreal will now play Pittsburgh in the Saturday Night Hockey game tonight.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stepping Down


Joe Torre, the long-time manager of the New York Yankees, is stepping down from his job.

Today, Torre rejected a 1-year offer for $5 million dollars a year that still would have made him the highest paid manager in baseball. "It's a difficult day," general manager Brian Cashman said.

Don Mattingly , the bench coach for the Yankees is expected to replace Torre as manager next season, but broadcaster Joe Girardi, the NL Manager of the Year with Florida in 2006, is another top contender. Torre led the Yanks to 12 straight playoff appearances and won four World Series championships.

This was a day, that the fans in New York could see coming though. After getting to the World Series in 2003, the Yankees had high expectations for the next few years, but no rings came out of it... not even 1. Under Torre, the Yankees went 1,173-767. He trails only Joe McCarthy (1,460) for wins among Yankees managers.

This is the 2nd big loss to the Yankee organization in the past week, as owner George Steinbrunner stepped down and gave the Yankees to his sons, Hank and Hal.

"It is now time for the New York Yankees to move forward," Levine said

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Steinbrenner Stepping Down


George Steinbrenner, the legendary owner of the New York Yankees, is reportedly stepping down as the owner of the Yanks.

Members of the Yankees brass told the newspaper that Hank and Hal Steinbrenner (George's sons) will share leadership in an arrangement to be further ironed out in Tampa, Florida later this week.

"George has taken on a role like the chairman of a major corporation," Yankees president Randy Levine told the Post. "He's been saying for years he's wanted to get his sons involved in the family business. Both of them have stepped up and are taking on the day-to-day duties of what's required to run the Yankees."

Steinbrenner took over as owner of the Yankees when he bought them in 1973. Since then, Steinbrenner has been one of the most controversial owners in baseball history. Some incidents that have occurred include signing Dave Winfield a monster contract, and later called "Mr. May" (in reference to Reggie Jackson, "Mr. Octoer"), and faking the assault of 2 Dodgers fans on him during the 1981 World Series.

Both brothers are expected to have final say on baseball decisions, the running of the YES Network and the construction of the new Yankee Stadium.
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"There's always been a succession - and that's myself and my brother," Hank told the newspaper. "I'll pay more attention to the baseball part. The stadium, that's more Hal. But basically everything will be decided jointly."

Some people may be saying goodbye and good ridints to Steinbrenner, but I say that were are losing one of the best owners ever.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Boulerice Gets 25 Games


Maybe now Philadelphia will really get the message: The deliberate and dangerous hits that put two Flyers on the suspended list no longer have a spot in a safer NHL.

Jesse Boulerice is now suspended for 25 games for his vicious hit on Vancouver's Ryan Kessler. It ties Chris Simon's suspension last year for the longest suspension in NHL history.

Now Boulerice may have gotten off easy hear because he wasn't a repeat offender in the NHL. But in 1998, Boulerice was suspended for one year by the Ontario Hockey League for violent stick-swinging. He went to the American Hockey League the following season and was ruled ineligible until mid-November.

Boulerice is the second Flyer in two weeks to draw a long suspension -- rookie Steve Downie was suspended 20 games for an intentional hit against Ottawa.

Many are now making comparisons that the Flyers right now could be the a re-creation of the broad-street bullies. But the Flyers coach is saying that that is not the case. "It's almost implied that's the direction we're going when it couldn't be further from the truth," Stevens said.

The Flyers are now at risk at being fined by the the league, and I think they should be. There is now place in hockey for stick-swinging and cross-checking to the face.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Blake's Battle


Jason Blake was the Toronto Maple Leafs biggest signing this off-season, but through the 1st 3 games of the season, all Blake had were 2 assists. Well today he shared something with the world that may explain that.

“This morning I shared with my teammates news that I was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. It is highly-treatable, and I have begun taking a pill on a daily basis that has proven to be very effective in controlling this cancer. The prognosis, and certainly the expectations of my physician, myself and my family, is that I will live a long, full and normal life."

For those who don't know what leukemia is, well lets just say that he isn't joking when Blake says "cancer". It's considered chronic leukemia because it usually progresses more slowly than acute leukemia, sometimes over the course of years.

The pills Blake spoke of are helping him, but may be taking some of his energy away. The pills have been described as "chemotherapy-like pills", and we all know how chemotherapy takes away energy.

Blake missed the last 13 games of the 2000-01 season with the Islanders to be with his pregnant wife, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She gave birth in April 2001, two weeks early, to a girl and later had throat surgery to remove a tumor that turned out to be benign.

Blake isn't the only hockey player to ever have cancer though. Both Saku Koivu and Mario Lemieux had lymphoma and survived, which is uplifting to Blake. Lemieux even came back to win the scoring title!

"Overall I feel good. I'm still here and my goal this whole season hasn't changed. Obviously you take a step back and you kind of re-evaluate everything but for the most part I feel good. I think to get it off my chest and to move forward is a big weight lifted."

"My goal has not changed since I heard this news," Blake said. "And that's come to Toronto, bring another piece of the puzzle and hopefully win a Stanley Cup here."

Even though Jason says that the condition isn't affecting his play, something like this is sure to affect you mentally for a while.

Wish you all the best Jason and good luck with your battle!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Leafs Get 1st Win Against Habs


The Toronto Maple Leafs have high expectations for this season. They are expected to make the playoffs for the 1st time in 2 years, and contend for the Cup. But before yesterday, the Leafs didn't even have a win. They were looking to change that against the Canadiens.

The game started out fast, as Mathieu Dandenault scored on the Leafs just 2:43 into the 1st. But Toronto answered back quickly when Ian White scored his 1st of the season . The goals were just 2minutes a part! In the 2nd, the Habs once again opened the scoring when Andrei Markov scored a short-handed goal to give the Canadiens the lead. Montreal then padded the lead near the end of the 2nd with a goal from Andrei Kastsitsyn. But the Leafs wouldn't go into the break down 2 goals, as a bad play from Huet led to Alexei Ponikarovsky's 1st goal of the season. In the 3rd, Ponikarovsky struck again, firing the puck past Huet from the slot to tie the game up. The game would be scoreless from there until overtime.

In the O.T period, each time had it's share of chances, but it was the Leafs who capitalized on those chances. They had a powerplay late in the period, gave the puck to Kaberle, who scored his 1st goal of the season to win the game 4-3.

"Finally," Leafs forward Alexei Ponikarovsky said Saturday after the 4-3 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens. "We worked hard for it. The first two games we've been working hard but we didn't get the results we wanted."

Both teams look great, but in the end, it came down to goaltending. Vesa Toskala was the best player in the game and stopped shot after shot.

The Leafs will look for their 2nd win of the season against the Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Leafs Lose Opener in OT


Although the official season NHL opener was on Saturday, most of the NHL's teams were playing last night. Those teams included the Leafs and the Sens.

The game started out with some controversy, as Andrew Raycroft got the call to go in net instead of Vesa Toskala. That decision would later prove costly. The 1st goal of the game was scored by Antoine Vermette, who blew by the Leafs' defender and buried it by Raycroft. But the Leafs answered with 2 quick goals, both by Nik Antropov to get the lead. But that lead was later given up, when Daniel Alfredsson scored on an easy shot from the circle. In the 2nd period, the leafs dominated. They got powerplay after powerplay, and managed to get a goal by Matt Stajan by the end of the period.

Ottawa though, did not intentions of losing this game. They fought hard through-out the period, and managed to tie it up when Dany Heatley scored on another questionable shot. From that point, it was scoreless until overtime.

In that overtime period, both teams had some chances,a and the goalies made some great saves. But on another easy shot to the 5-hole, Dany Heatly ended the game. The final score was 4-3 for Ottawa.

The key to the game was goaltending. Th Leafs out-played the Sens in every way expect for goaltending. "We generated enough offence, except for our power play," said Maurice. "Defensively, we have to be better."

The crowd got on Raycroft after Ottawa's second goal.

"I thought the first two (goals) were tough," said Maurice. "They were good shots but . . . clearly he was not loved (by the crowd) early but I think he did a really good job settling into the game, and after that I thought he was very good."

The next game in this series will go tonight in Ottawa.