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.

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
  

 Fantasy players for the past week:
Player
G
A
P
+/-
PIM
PPP
S
Jarome Iginla (CGY)
5
1
6
3
4
2
14
John-Michael Liles (COL)
2
5
7
5
0
2
8

W
L
GAA
SV
SA
SV%
SO
Carey Price (MON)
2
1
1.00
98
101
.970
2




Lots of great offensive performances this week, honourable mention goes to Rick Nash who put up Roy Halladay numbers this week (6-0), and Mike Richards (3-4). Iginla put the trade rumours to rest with back to back 3 point nights including this hat trick against the Blackhawks. Iggy is a good guy so we hope he can keep this going. Liles was very solid on the blueline this week, posting 3 multipoint games and helping his Avalanche win 4 in a row. Liles has been very consistent this season and is looking to have a career year. Starting to get a little tired of writing about Carey Price, but hes forcing us to do it every week. Price is consistently stopping 30+ saves a game and it makes you wonder where the Habs would be without him right now. Price is among the league leaders in GAA and SV %, and with his 2 shutouts this week, he is now tied with Timmy Thomas for that lead. More importantly, he is tied for the most wins in the league, putting him in the good graces of Canadiens fans.

Guys to look out for this week

Forwards
Look for Brad Richards to have a big fantasy week. The Stars have 4 games against TOR, OTT, and two games against STL. Another forward that seems to be heating up, is Jarome Iginla. The Flames also have 4 games and Jarome seems to be playing better after the Flames shot down trade rumours and told Iggy that he won’t be going anywhere this year. Also to be noted. Stamkos, OV, Crosby and my best friend Rick Nash all have 4 games this week.

Defence
Kris Letang and the Pens have 4 games this week so look for Letang to keep racking up the points on the powerplay. So far, Letang has 18 pts in 21 games. Another D-man that can’t be forgotten is 40 year old Nik Lidstrom. Old Saint Nik has been on fire of late and has 20pts in 18game so far this season to tie him with John-Michael Liles for tops amongst defencemen.

Between the Pipes
Carey Price is hot like Megan Fox right now. The Habs have 4 games this week, unfortunately they are all not against the Maple Leafs, but look for at least 2 wins from Price. You could also roll with Timmy Thomas. The Bruins have 4 games this week, but look for Tuukka Rask to play at least 1 or 2 of those games as the Bruins try and get him playing well again. In the west I am going to take a chance on Pekka Rinne. The Preds have 4 games this week against CBJ, STL, MIN, NYR.

Also I would like to thank Joe Thornton for getting just 1 point last week and dropping me 200 spots in my Score Bench Boss Pool.
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