Archive for April, 2011

Being radio voice of the Thrashers is an ‘honor’ for Dan Kamal

From the fall of 1999 to the final match of this past 2010-11 campaign, Dan Kamal has been in the radio broadcast booth helping to give voice to  Atlanta Thrashers hockey. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with The Grand Kamlian about the team, coach Ramsay, what he remembers most from this past season as well as a few other things.

Not surprisingly, he tends to accentuate the positives.

“From the broadcast booth, I had one of my most enjoyable seasons ever, primarily because of the style of play the Thrashers employed under coach Ramsay and the effort with which they played”, he said. “The pace was up-tempo and often end-to-end, and even when they couldn’t find ways to win close games in the second half of the season, the effort and intensity were almost always beyond reproach.”

“It was a very fun team to watch on a game-by-game basis.”

Dan then pointed to the first two games after New Years…a 4-3 overtime win in Montreal followed by a 3-2 win in …

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2011 NHL playoffs second round predictions

Just one day after the first round was finally wrapped up, round two of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals gets underway tonight. So we’ll not waste any time and get right to our predictions.

As you do so, also take time to look back at how your first round predictions turned out. Personally, I went 7-1 missing only the Flyers/Sabres outcome. What is interesting to note here, however, is that all eight teams that won a majority of the vote in the Fan Polls two weeks ago actually went on to win their round one series. So reach around and give yourselves a nice pat on the back as you all went a collective 8-0.

Now, let’s see if you can duplicate that effort.

Eastern Conference

#1 Washington vs. #5 Tampa Bay: Washington won season series 4-1-1.

These are not the same Washington Capitals as we’ve seen from the previous postseasons. They have a little bit more to them than simply being an offensive powerhouse. They get reliable play on the blueline these days and the goalkeeping has …

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NHL playoffs first round update: Canucks survive, pair of game sevens remain

The Vancouver Canucks never trailed in the series, building a three games to none lead before the Chicago Blackhawks fought back to force a game seven.

They never trailed in that game seven Tuesday night, grabbing an early 1-0 lead after Alexandre Burrows scored 2:43 in. It was a lead they held for the next 55:21 before Jonathan Toews notch a shorthanded goal to force overtime.

But even so, this year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners came this close to not advancing to the second round and having their season end in a most unfortunate manner, blowing a 3-0 series lead.

However, when Burrows found himself on the receiving end of a Chris Campoli turnover and blasted the puck over Corey Crawford’s right shoulder, the Canucks escaped a summer of second-guessing and “what-ifs”. The ensuing explosion of joy from the team, the coaching staff and the entire Canuck nation was not just a release of pressure built up from the past week, but also from the frustration from the past …

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NHL playoff round one update: Do you know what an orca sounds like when choking on a feather?

Do you know what an orca sounds like when choking on a feather?

An orca, or killer whale, is an apex predator of the oceans and can even maul large sharks. However, it seems it has a tough time when one gets caught in their throat. And if you are very, very quiet, put a hand up to your ear and listen toward the northwest, you just might be able to hear exactly what that sounds like?

It’s not a pretty noise, really…especially if you’re a Vancouver Canucks fan.

The Canucks…winners of the Northwest Divisions and the Presidents’ Trophy, collectors of 117 regular season points and winners of 54 games coming into the postseason…had the defending Stanley Cup champs right where they wanted them, down three games to none and four games in which to finish them off.

Make that only one now.

Ben Smith’s overtime goal last night in Chicago leveled the series at three games apiece and sets up a seventh and deciding game seven in Vancouver Tuesday night. They’ve outscored the …

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NHL playoffs round one update: Reaper’s busy weekend and Blackhawks stayin’ Alive

Wednesday night in Arizona, hockey’s Grim Reaper made his way into Arena and departed with the souls of the Phoenix Coyotes’ playoff aspirations. He then made his way up to Vancouver Thursday where for the second time this week he looked to harvest the Chicago Blackhawks hopes to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

However, as was the case Tuesday evening in Chicago, he once again left empty handed as the Hawks thumped the Canucks 5-0 to force a game six Sunday.

Roberto Luongo has given up 10 goals on 40 shots in the two losses to Chicago. Last night he departed after Marian Hossa’s goal 1:26 into the second period gave his team a 4-0 edge. Hossa finished with 2 goals, an assists and a +2 rating during 14:02 TOI.

Duncan Keith has a pair of goals and 4 overall points on the night while Corey Crawford stopped all 36 shots he faced to earn his first NHL playoff shutout.

Outscoring the Presidents’ Cup winners 12-2 in the past two games, the Blackhawks continue to …

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Is NHL about to desert the Arizona desert?

Since their one and only playoff appearance, the Atlanta Thrashers have finished the last four seasons with point totals of 76, 76, 83 and 80. Because of this, we here in Thrasherville have lamented how our team simply seems to wander aimlessly in the Desert of Mediocrity. But there is one fan base out there…out west…that now find themselves hoping that their team continues to remain in the desert.

No, not the fictitious type that we seem trapped in year in and year out…but the actual desert of Arizona.

Wednesday night the Phoenix Coyotes were swept to the curb in the opening round of the NHL playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings. But if would-be owner Matthew Hulsizer is unable to maneuver around certain roadblocks that hamper his efforts to buy the team, then it’s quite possible the Yotes will be jetting their way back to Winnipeg…the city that the franchise called home until 1996.

The Coyotes and their fans have struggled through this situation for a couple years now. …

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NHL playoff round one update: Blackhawks don’t fear The Reaper

After spiriting away the fourteen NHL teams that were not strong enough to make beyond the regular season, hockey’s Grim Reaper had a few days off to enjoy the opening games of the playoffs. But yesterday he had to gather up his hockey stick scythe, tear himself away from the Afterlife Bar & Café and make his way the windy city.

There the Chicago Blackhawks awaited his arrival, down three games to none in their matchup with the Vancouver Canucks

However, the Hawks were determined to not go quietly into the night and spanked the Presidents’ Trophy winners 7-2 to avoid being given the broom treatment.

David Bolland notched one goal and assisted on three others in the win while Patrick Sharp converted on a pair of power play goals in the third period to send the Reaper away empty handed on this night. Goalie Corey Crawford turned aside 21 of 23 Canuck shot for the win…and even helped out the offense by earning a secondary assist on Brian Campbell’s goal that broke a 1-1 …

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NHL playoffs round one update: Blackhawks face the broom

After five days and nights of action, we already find one team on the brink of being eliminated from the 2011 NHL playoffs. Following Sunday’s 3-2 loss in Chicago, the Blackhawks now stand one game away from being given the broom treatment by the Canucks.

But before they drop the puck on Tuesday night however, we will know if Vancouver will be without the services of Raffi Torres who delivered a ferocious shot to the head of Brent Seabrook behind the Chicago goal. Torres was playing his first game since returning from a four-game suspension after a similar hit on Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle.

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville certainly thinks Torres deserves more time to sit and think about what he has done. After the game he said, “I thought it was a major [penalty] live and after seeing the replay, clearly”.

Either way, the Fat Lady may be delivering her first performance of the spring tomorrow night in the windy city.

Elsewhere around the league…a pair of other …

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Bogosian not stressing over season, rift with Torchetti

To say that Thrashers defenseman Zach Bogosian had a down year would be quite the understatement. In his third NHL season he seemed to have slumped in almost all aspects of his game.

Offensively he scored only 5 goals, down from the 10 of last year despite duplicating the same 155 shots on goal total. His 17 overall points were 2 fewer than what he put up in his rookie campaign even though he played in 24 more games now as opposed to then.

But it was on the defensive end of the ice where his game seemed to take an even greater step backwards from his first two NHL seasons. Bogosian finished the year with a –27 rating, which continues his downward tend in that category. In his rookie campaign he posted a +11 then followed it up with a –18 last season.

Zach Bogosian looks to put this past season behind him, as well as the rift between he and associate coach John Torchetti. Bogosian scored 5 goals, 12 assists and was a –27 in the 2010-11 season (Photo/Michelle Rivers)

Zach Bogosian looks to put this past season behind him, as well as the rift between himself and associate coach John Torchetti. Bogosian scored 5 goals, 12 assists and was a –27 in the 2010-11 season (Photo/Michelle …

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2011 NHL playoffs first round predictions

The NHL playoffs are set to begin tomorrow, so now’s the time to pony up your thoughts and predictions on the eight matchups in the first round.

But first, for those who were asking about the “secret project” Audra Martin and I were discussing the other day, here it is. She produced this fine video about Dan Snyder and the award named in his memory. Bryan Little was honored with this award as the team unsung hero this season.

Nicely done, Audra.

Now…let’s just dive right in to our predictions, shall we?

Eastern Conference

#1 Washington vs. #8 NY Rangers: Season series won by the Rangers 3-1-0.

The Caps are coming off their fourth straight Southeastern Division championship. However, they so far have but one series win following the previous three. This year is a little different, as they seem to have discovered how to play a little defense. That, plus I think Bruce Boudreau and the Caps will come into this postseason with a bit of a chip on their shoulder looking to erase …

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