Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ahoj! Czech Republic!


The cool thing about having a blog is that you get to see how much traffic your website gets, and also where it is coming from. We get most of our hits from Canada and also a lot from the US. However we have had many countries surprise us. After we wrote about Dion Phaneuf’s injury earlier this season, and mentioned his girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert with a link to a hot picture of her, we got a lot of hits from Israel and Japan. This was from people just searching for that image. I hear that images of celebrities smoking get searched for a lot. So here is Elisha Cuthbhert smoking for all our peeps overseas.

After Canada and the US, the good ol’ Czech Republic is our 3rd follower. Maybe it was our great post about Tomas Plekanec and his turtle necks that brought the country out in droves to our site. We have become so popular that we have been invited to be guest judges at their New Year’s Day wet t-shirt contest (Mark will be looking for his future wife there).

I know it hasn’t always been a love affair between us and the Czech’s. When Dominik Hasek stoned Canada in the 1998 Nagano Olympics we hated you until the next Olympics (as well as Marc Crawford for not having Gretzky shoot). Then there was that time Jaromir Jagr bet me that he could grow his hair longer then mine and he won. I was pretty pissed. I later found out that Jagr wasn’t always so good at making bets and gambling. I am glad it caught up with him.

Well Czech Friends, here at Dirty Dangle we just wanted to say thanks for the support and for making us the 5th most popular website in your beloved country.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Where's the Truculence?


It’s the two year anniversary of Brian Burke coming to the Toronto Maple Leafs and taking over as General Manager and President. Burke's arrival two years came with an unforgettable press conference in which he inspired and gave far too much optimism to Toronto Maple Leaf fans. You can watch Part One and Part Two of that press conference if you want, however there were only a handful of quotes that stuck with Leaf fans today. Parts of these quotes would be overused by television commentators and fans for months, hoping the Leafs would finally turn things around and form a new identity than that of a last place finisher who got bullied every night.  

Some of the key quotes from that press conference included:

"We require, as a team, proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. That's how our teams play."
Old Time Hockey, couldn’t wait to see a team of power forwards competing every night. 
"I make no apologies for that. Our teams play a North American game. We're throwbacks. It's black-and-blue hockey. It's going to be more physical hockey here than people are used to."
The Leafs are more North American, with only 5 non-North American skaters on the team. But are they more physical?
"That's how you provide a fear-free environment for your young players. That's how you develop young players where they don't have to worry about picking their teeth out of the glass or getting their faces washed."
Development? Oh right… Kadri is drawing a lot of penalties and Andrej Sekera took some good runs at him on Friday night with no response.

Based on these quotes, we’ve decided that truculence and black-and-blue hockey include hitting, blocking shots and fighting majors.

So far this year:
  • The Leafs are ranked 10th in hits with 521
  • The Leafs are ranked 11th in block shots with 339
  • The Leafs are ranked 14th in fighting majors with 16
    • note on this: Mike Brown has more fighting majors than Colton Orr who is paid to fight, and only fight…
Last season 2009-2010:
  • The Leafs finished in 16th for hits with 1777
  • The Leafs finished in 7th  for blocked shots with 1218
  • The Leafs finished in 10th with 59 fighting majors with Colton Orr involved in 23
2008-2009 Season:
  • The Leafs finished with 1764 hits for 13th in the league
  • The Leafs finished with 1252 blocked shots for 5th in the league
  • The Leafs finished with 52 fighting majors for 15th in the league
Since the lockout and Before Burke (BB), the Leafs averaged only 26 fights in those 3 seasons, with their highest total being 29. The Leafs averaged 1738 hits BB for an average league rank of 7.3, and averaged 1087 block shots for a league rank of 12.6. After Burke (AB), the Leafs have averaged 1770 hits for a rank of 14.5 in the last 2 seasons, and averaged 1235 blocked shots for a league rank average of 6.

With this said, has Burke’s truculence and belligerence promises been met?

The top 6 forwards the Leafs roll out every night get pushed around and none of them fight back and stand up for themselves. Most of them don’t even hit. Nikolai Kulemin is the only one out of the top 6 that finishes his checks. It makes the Leafs a very easy team to play against. If the Leafs are going to get shutout out most nights, it would be nice for them to show some emotion and finishes their checks and drop the gloves once in awhile.

It is only fitting that Toronto was recently named the Most Miserable City in Canada

Here is a much better recap of Burkes past two years:


Fantasy Monday

Every Monday we will reveal our fantasy players for the past week, as well as our players to watch in the upcoming week for various types of pools


Here are your fantasy players by position for the past week:

Player
G
A
P
+/-
PIM
PPP
S
Sidney Crosby (PIT)
4
3
7
2
0
4
16
Dustin Byfuglien (ATL)
2
4
6
4
0
3
17

W
L
GAA
SV
SA
SV%
SO
Ondrej Pavelec (ATL)
3
0
0.67
97
99
.980
1


A lot of great fantasy numbers this week, especially on the goalie front. Pavelec is riding a 5 game winning streak in which he’s only allowed 3 goals… and he’s on Atlanta. He posted solid numbers and a shutout this week, easily the top goaltender Honourable mention has to go to Johan Hedberg who has filled in amazingly with Martin Brodeur out with a bruised ego... I mean elbow. I can’t remember the last time I was so into a points race this early into a season, but Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos are tearing it up every week. This time Crosby led the way with 7 points including a hat trick to push his point streak to 12 games and is now atop the league with 40 points through 25 games. With the numbers Dustin Byfuglien is putting up, I keep thinking they put him at forward again. With a 4 point game this week, he finished with 6 points and is riding a 5 game point streak. Not only is he an asset in Yahoo! Leagues because of his F/D positioning, but Byfuglien takes a lot of shots (10 in one game this week) and currently leads the league in game winners. Look for Big Buff to continue to be one of the best fantasy defencemen this year.

Guys to look out for this week

Forwards
Look for Ryan Getzlaf to have a big fantasy week. The Ducks have 4 games against LA, FLA, DET and PHO. Getzlaf is coming off a 4 pt game on the weekend and should continue to stay hot. In the East there are not many fantasy studs with 4 games and we're not going to go anywhere near Marian Gaborik ever again. So go with OV, Sid or Stammer.

Defence
Lubomir Visnovsky has missed the last 2 games with back spasms so we are going to stay away from him this week. A safer bet is Dan Boyle. The Sharks have 3 games this week and so far this season Boyle has 18pts in 22 games. In the East take a chance on Erik Karlsson who has been putting up solid numbers for the Sens with 12pts in 22 games. The Senators also have 4 games this week.

Between the Pipes
You don’t hear much about Jimmy Howard, but he keeps getting wins. In 17 games he has 13 wins. Everyone has been raving about Carey Price and his league leading 14 wins. But that is in 22 games. If you are looking for a goalie that plays 4 games this week, why not take a chance on Brian Elliott. He played well on the weekend getting a shutout against the Leafs, and the Sens play the Oilers tonight.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Recovery

After an eventful Saturday of hockey, and probably heavy drinking, its time to relax and recover on the action across the country. Catch up on some teams and highlights you may have missed while trying to get that blonde's phone number last night.
Ever hear about Chicago's John Scott? He just might be the best fighter in the NHL today.
Was a decent Saturday with a few matinee games and some stellar goaltending performances. Can't wait for the CBC tripleheaders to start soon.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dirty Dangle Video Game Review: Ice Hockey

This is a feature in which we will go back in time and remember all the late nights we stayed up playing video games with our eyes burning and all buzzed up on pop. It was always "one more game", and for that, we honour these classics with a review.


Year It Came Out: 1988
Platform: Nintendo

I can remember the first time playing this game and thinking it was the greatest hockey video game of all time. You had Fat Guys that could take slapshots from center ice and it would go top corner, little Skinny Guys that could fly around the ice like Pavel Bure, and you could even control your goalie.

Ice Hockey was one of those games I would always try and do real NHL goals in. I would take a Skinny Guy and go around the net for a wrap around, or set up my Fat Guy for a one timer. None of this ever worked, but I spent less time doing homework and more time trying to score these ways. This was also the year in school I was sent to the reading clinic.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Flashback Friday

Every Friday we will be adding one of our favorite hockey videos from over the years. Some might be painful, some might be just plain dirty, but they all have a story behind them that make them downright awesome and great to watch over and over again.
With all the buzz around Steven Stamkos lighting it up this year, and his potential for 50 goals in 50 games, we’ve been thinking a lot about Wayne Gretzky. Not only because he said Stamkos could score 50 in 50, but also because Gretzky did it 39 games. Wayne is one of those players whose stats are so fun to go back and look at. He scored 215 points in 1985-86, was a +98 in 1984-1985, and had 10 consecutive 100+ point seasons - the guy was unbelievable. Perhaps one of his most popular stats and records is when he scored 50 goals in 39 games.

Growing up, one of our favourite movies was Wayne Gretzky: Above and Beyond. It was a classic movie that we watched far too many times, but it never got old. One of the best parts in the movie is him discussing his 50 goals in 39 games. He mentions calling his father, Walter, who couldn’t watch the game because it wasn’t being televised in Ontario that night. Wayne told him the news of breaking the record, and received a jerky quip back from Walter: “Geez, what took you so long?” One of the amazing things about this record, is that in 37 games, he only had 41 goals. In his 38th game against the Los Angeles Kings, he scored 4 in a 10-3 rout. Three nights later on December 30th 1981, at the Northlands Coliseum, Gretzky would do the unthinkable that night: score 5 goals to reach 50 in 39 games.
#46 came off a missed shot the backboards, Gretzky buried it

#47 came off a slapshot from the slot

#48 came off a slapshot from the top of the left circle

#49 came off a slapshot from the top of the right circle

#50 came off a shot from the blueline on an empty net
Here is a clip of the goals and record breaker:


My favourite part of the clip is when the commentator says:

"He’s got 50 goals before anybody else got 30"

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sim Hockey Leagues - An Introduction

This is a section in which the world of Sim Hockey Leagues will be discussed. Everything from how to join a league, how they operate, to how to build a Championship team.
P.S. I am not a loser.

I was trying to write this post, but I kept getting distracted with trade talk. I have been shooting emails back and forth with another GM about Rene Bourque. My rebuilding Rangers were able to get him pretty cheaply from another team before the trade deadline and I was hoping he would start off the season pretty well in the real NHL and then deal him for younger pieces. Well so far it seems to be working out: Bourque has 10 goals and 16 pts in 19 games and should be on his way to a 30 goal season. My thinking is also that Bourque is very streaky and now is the time to deal him before he doesn’t score for 15 games.

I will let you know how the trade talks goes. On with the post.

So let’s get into how Sim leagues work. There are some leagues with more advanced features and some that are simple and easy to understand what is going on. The SLHL is one of the more advanced and detailed leagues I am in, with full stats for your Pro and Farm teams and every stat from hits, blocked shots, face off % and many more. It also has a very detailed box score like this one. My team is Washington.

I get this box score emailed to me after every game to let me know how my team did. Looks intense eh?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Things You Notice at a Live NHL Game


If you live in a strong hockey market, chances are that finding affordable tickets to see your favourite NHL team play are hard to come by. Most of the time, hardcore fans have to watch their hockey on TV. It could be a 52 inch or your old school tube TV at your cottage, anything will do as long as you get to see your team play. Unfortunately, television audiences miss out on a great deal of the action offered at NHL arenas. The view from the couch just doesn't compare to the atmosphere of seeing a game live. 

Here are some things you may notice while watching a live NHL game:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Did the Cheechoo Train Fall Off the Tracks?

Former 50 goal man Jonathan Cheechoo is still in his prime years of playing professional hockey. But instead of lacing it up in the NHL, he is playing for the Worcester Sharks of the AHL. Cheechoo has seen his goal production drop every year since he scored 56 goals and 93 points in the 2005-2006 hockey season. After that season his goal production has dropped to 37, 23, 12 and 5 last year in 61 games with the Ottawa Senators.

What happened to those magic hands and that quick release?  After his 56 goal Rocket Richard winning season he started to miss more time with injuries, but he still was playing close to 70 games a season. If this was baseball the first thing we would be thinking was that he scored 56 goals with a little extra help and got off the juice after the standout season and now his body is breaking down. (see Brady Anderson).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sid and the Peanut Prank


Found this cool article on Sidney Crosby posted over at Puck Daddy. Features some pretty interesting stories we've never heard before: pulling pranks on coaches, helping teammates after practice, and even bringing breakfast for fans while he was in junior.

Don't Trust Sidney Crosby with Your Car Keys - Pittsburgh Magazine

Our favourite is Crosby working with Letang on his shot after practice before a long road trip. The extra work resulted in this the next game.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Recovery

After an eventful Saturday of hockey, and probably heavy drinking, its time to relax and recover on the action across the country. Catch up on some teams and highlights you may have missed while trying to get that blonde's phone number last night.
Bobby Lou gets the hook after a shaky start against the rival Blackhawks
 

2008 NHL Draft Rewind - Defencemen and Goalies


Yesterday, we did the forwards and fantasized about what stud forwards you could have drafted with the 5th overall pick in 2008. Now let’s dive into what defencemen and goalies stand out from this draft.

Once again, we're not advocating that Luke Schenn was a bad pick. He is looking like a stud on the Leafs blueline this season. Obviously in every draft you never know how a player will pan out, there's always risk involved (see Alexander Daigle).

Each player is valuable to their in different ways. Some may be stay at home defencemen like Schenn, or some may be puck moving powerplay specialists like Karlsson. The thing is looking at what the Leafs needed then and if that issue is still a problem, and scoring is looking like an issue.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2008 NHL Draft Rewind

In life, there are always things that we wish we could redo and have another chance to rethink our decisions. Should I have dropped out of university to travel? Or did I ever over pay on that used car that clunked out after 8 months? Just like us, NHL general managers must look back sometimes at their draft picks and think: “What the hell were we thinking?”

In the 2008 NHL Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs had the 5th overall pick. They selected Luke Schenn who has been a pretty solid stay at home D-man. He can make some big hits and doesn’t give the puck up that often in his own zone. I personally didn’t like the pick as most of friends know. I don’t think you take a stay at home defenceman in the 1st round and should always try and take the guy with the biggest offensive upside that early. I think the Leafs were just worried about screwing up and took a safe pick. Schenn is a Canadian boy and has the size and tools to be a decent NHL player. They didn’t want to take a risk on a flashy player like Nikita Filatov, and as of right now it looks like a good move.

Friday, November 19, 2010

R.I.P Pat Burns: 1952-2010

Today, the sad news was announced that a legend had passed. The world lost a great man in Pat Burns.

Never backing down from a fight, Burns battled cancer three times in the past six years.

Burns is the only coach to win the Adams Trophy as the NHL's top bench boss with three different teams -- Montreal in 1989, Toronto in 1993 and Boston in 1998. Burns also added the Stanley Cup to his impressive resume in 2003.

Recently overlooked by the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee, Burns was a shoe-in for the Dirty Dangle Hoss Hall of Fame.

We'll miss you Pat.

Flashback Friday

Every Friday we will be adding one of our favorite hockey videos from over the years. Some might be painful, some might be just plain dirty, but they all have a story behind them that make them downright awesome and great to watch over and over again.

While this an iconic image of Jose Theodore from the 2004 Heritage Classic, this post is not about that game. Nor is it about the time Jose scored a goal, or his use of Propecia to take care of that sweet, sweet mane of his. This is a post for the hockey fan's dream.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

When is Brian Burke Letting Ron Wilson Off the Bus?

After a 10 game losing streak, the New York Islanders fired Scott Gordon earlier this week. This firing has prompted the question on most Leafs fans minds, is Ron Wilson next?

While Brian Burke continues to give Ron Wilson his vote of confidence, the calling for Ron Wilson's replacement in Leafland is still very loud.

However, Brian Burke has made it clear that he in charge of the struggling hockey club, and gave this fun quote last week with the calling up of Nazem Kadri and Keith Aulie:
“I drive the bus. I decide who gets on the bus. I decide who gets off the bus. If the bus is stuck in the ditch, then ultimately that’s my responsibility.”
With the Leafs ending their eight game losing skid with a powerplay comeback win against Nashville, the talks for Ron Wilson's firing have cooled until the next game. Wilson's future may remain unknown, however his past seasons with the Maple Leafs can still be used as a measuring stick to compare to the Islanders Scott Gordon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Encounter With... Rick Nash


The Date: May 29, 2004.  

The Place: The Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto for a Blink 182 con
cert.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Will Simon Gagne Ever Score 30 Goals Again?

"Yeah, but you know what Mike? You can make their heads bleed in this one."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fantasy Monday

Every Monday we will reveal our fantasy players for the past week, as well as our players to watch in the upcoming week for various types of pools


Here are your fantasy players for the past week


G
A
P
+/-
PIM
PPP
S
Alexander Semin (WSH)
4
4
8
4
2
2
13
Mike Green (WSH)
1
3
4
2
9
1
9

W
L
GAA
SV
SA
SV%
SO
Carey Price (MON)
3
0
1.00
96
99
.970
1





Semin is an easy pick for fantasy forward of the week. With strong offensive numbers and a +/- rating of +4, he was great in any form of fantasy pool this past week. Semin is riding an 8 game point streak in which he has 15 points, look for him to continue to put up strong fantasy numbers as Sasha usually gets PIMs and plenty of shots to boot. Tough competition to pick a fantasy defenseman of the week, with no D-men standing out too offensively, however Mike Green takes the honours. Strong in all fantasy categories thanks to a fight, Green continues to be one of the best fantasy D-men, not only because of the points he puts up, but because of his +/- and PIMs as well. Look for him to do well this week with 3 games on the Caps schedule. Carey Price is determined to prove his critics wrong, and he did just that this week. Posting up unreal numbers in his 3 wins this week, Price showed he can perform against the big teams as well, blanking the Canucks and stopping 34 shots against the Bruins.

Guys to look out for this week

Forwards
At forward this week we are going to go with Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks have 4 games against DAL, MIN, CBJ and EDM. Most of the teams they play this week have weaker goalies so look for the Ducks to put up some points (Ryan, Perry, and Selanne are solid secondary picks as well). In the East I am going to take a chance on Marian Gaborik. No guts no glory.

Defence
If you need a star D-man in a pool to double your points, go with Dan Boyle, who has 4 games against LA, COL, DAL, CBJ. Boyle is having another strong season so far with 12 pts in 15 games and is a solid pick in any pool when he has 3+ games in a week. In the East, Mike Green is once again a solid pick with 3 games, and Tobias Enstrom could also put up great offensive numbers with the Thrashers on a home-stand this week.

Between the Pipes
In between the pipes look for Jonathan Quick to get a few wins. He has 9 wins in 10 games so far for the Los Angeles Kings who are atop the Western Conference. In the East, it’s hard not to go with Tim Thomas right now with his 8 wins in 10 games. I want to bite on Ryan Miller who has a 4 game week, but safer picks might be Carey Price or even Jonas Hiller who continues to play strong for the Ducks as they heat up.
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