Friday, March 30, 2012

Hockey Awesomeness

After reading Neil Pasricha's book "The Book of Awesome" it got me thinking about all the things I love about the game of hockey. Hockey is a part of my daily life, even in the middle of the summer it's on my mind. I'm sure even when I have a kid I'll be thinking of cool hockey names they could have or what number they will wear. There are just so many memories and feelings I have surrounding the game that me just think "Hockey is fucking awesome."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Greatest Tank Battles: Toronto Maple Leafs

With playoff contention out of reach, many teams fans have turned into Tank Nations in which they cheer for their team to lose in order for them to get a better draft pick. Greatest Tank Battles will look at these teams and their tanking data to see where they might finish this year.
Another season is in the books for the Maple Leafs as they were officially eliminated from playoff contention for the 7th consecutive year which means another year of  "What's Happened Since The Leafs Last Made The Playoffs" and "How To Fix The Leafs" posts from just about everyone. Well a good start would be to secure a top draft pick this year and at the rate they're going they have a chance to make that happen. After coming out of the gate strong and even climbing to the top of the NHL standings in early November, the Leafs  tailspinned out of control in February on a disastrous 5-16-3 stretch that sent them all the way to 14th in the Eastern Conference Standings. While things in Leafland are not the best right now, if they continue their poor play, they could make a big step in the right direction come draft time in June. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Does Brian Elliott Get A Vezina Nomination?

These are some impressive stats. Brian Elliott has a 0.42 GAA lead on his goaltending partner, Jaroslav Halak, and a .009 SV% lead over Cory Schneider. His 9 shutouts lead the NHL, but Brian Elliott has only appeared in 36 games this season. While his stats are phenomenonal, he's only started 34 games, and is that enough starts to earn him a chance at winning the Vezina Trophy for best goaltender in the league?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Good Will Playoff Hunting 2012

Thanks to the loser point, the NHL playoff races are closer than ever. With only a couple of points separating 7th-11th in both conferences and the #3 seeds no locks to make the postseason, the last few games of the season will be closely watched as bubble teams either float on or burst. It will be an exciting stretch run and we'll take a look at what teams will need to do to keep their season going coming mid-April using advanced mathematics and algebraic graft theory (just kidding).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Greatest Tank Battles: Minnesota Wild

With playoff contention out of reach, many teams fans have turned into Tank Nations in which they cheer for their team to lose in order for them to get a better draft pick. Greatest Tank Battles will look at these teams and their tanking data to see where they might finish this year.
Once a team that had a 17-4 stretch from November to mid-December, the Wild have plumetted to the bottom of the league standings and currently sit 27th overall in the NHL. They were once first overall in the NHL standings in late November, now they're near the bottom, which is one of the biggest falls of any team this season down the standings. They will miss the playoffs for the 4th consecutive season, and while they're not that awful with a 31-34-10 record, they will finish the season with their worst record since the lockout.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Low Expectations Rise Above This NHL Season

Looking at the NHL standings there are definitely a few surprises sitting in playoff positions or at least competing for one that nobody expected to see when making their season predictions at the beginning of the year. Like most people, you've probably lost that piece of paper you wrote all your predictions down on, or purposely misplaced it when you saw the Bruins in last place after one month. Well it's a good thing that most of my predictions lined up with the Puck Daddy Prognosticators and I can find the Bodog Stanley Cup odds from October 6th, 2011 so we can see that some of the teams with Lowered Expectations are actually performing pretty damn well this year.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

We Have To Ask....

After seeing the "selfie" Radulov tweeted on his way over to North America, I couldn't help but think of how hideous Radulov really is. He's up there with Ovechkin, but was hidden away in the KHL for none of us to know. Well, now that he's back, we have to ask, who's uglier? Alexander Radulov, or Alexander Ovechkin?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wax Stain Rookie: Keith Yandle

Wax Stain Wednesday is a regular feature on Dirty Dangle. Our pal Dave at Wax Stain Rookie is an avid autograph and card collector and has some amazing experiences to share with us. WARNING: these posts may make you want to buy a Beckett and get those dusty hockey cards out from under your bed that you hide from your girlfriend like a secret porn collection.
Keith Yandle is a defenseman that I have been a fan of for a number of years now. He was a superstar in the only season he played in the QMJHL for the Moncton Wildcasts which helped launch him into the NHL. In his one year in the CHL, he won the QMJHL top defenseman award, the top defensive player award and made the QMJHL First All-Star team. A year after putting up 84 points in 66 games in the Q, he was playing for the Phoenix Coyotes. It would be two seasons of bouncing between the AHL and NHL before he was a permanent fixture in the lineup, but since 2009-10, Yandle has consistently been one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL. 

While I Was In Cuba...

Yesterday I returned from Cuba where I took off for a week to learn Spanish at the pool bar. While it's always a great time, a little bit of me dies inside not being able to follow the NHL for an entire week as I normally would. I've only ever bought internet time on vacation once, and that was to check who won Game Six of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals and whether I would be able to watch Game Seven when I got home - I did, and it was glorious. Anyways, I didn't check anything this time around and came back to a few surprises around the NHL. I also tossed in some hockey observations I noticed around the resort.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Greatest Tank Battles: Montreal Canadiens

With playoff contention out of reach, many teams fans have turned into Tank Nations in which they cheer for their team to lose in order for them to get a better draft pick. Greatest Tank Battles will look at these teams and their tanking data to see where they might finish this year.
The Montreal Canadiens have had quite the season. Trading for Tomas Kaberle and his awesome contract in early December, firing Jacques Martin in mid-December and facing a barrage of controversy because their interim head coach, Randy Cunneyworth, doesn't speak French, Mike Cammaleri being traded in the middle of a game to the Calgary Flames and who can forget Scott Gomez's one year without a goal? They sure are exciting off the ice, but on the ice, they're battling to stay out of the Eastern Conference basement with only a few bright spots to reflect on as they will miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Matt Cooke: A Rehabilitation Success

You rarely hear about the success rates of criminals returning from prison who go on to lead meaningful lives in their communities without re-offending. It's a story that evades headlines whereas recidivists make front page news when they re-offend and spark controversy about justice failing the public. The sentencing principles in criminal justice are no different than the NHL's in my mind - denunciation, deterrence, separation of offenders, rehabilitation, reparation and promotion of responsibility - and Matt Cooke has been a shining example of how suspensions in the NHL should be carried out. It should not only be the NHL's responsibility, but the team of the offending player should shoulder some responsibility for educating and rehabilitating the player. Through his success on the ice this year and transformation as a player, Matt Cooke has earned him the well-deserved Pittsburgh Penguins nomination for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the local media and how this came to be needs to be examined.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Greatest Tank Battles: Edmonton Oilers

With playoff contention out of reach, many teams fans have turned into Tank Nations in which they cheer for their team to lose in order for them to get a better draft pick. Greatest Tank Battles will look at these teams and their tanking data to see where they might finish this year.
After picking first overall in both the 2010 and 2011 NHL Entry Drafts, the Oilers will have another chance to get #1 this season as they are destined for the Draft Lottery and should lock down 29th overall in the NHL. If the Oilers were to land the #1 overall pick, they would become the 2nd NHL team to have 3 consecutive #1 picks, the first being the Quebec Nordiques who selected Mats Sundin (1989), Owen Nolan (1990), and Eric Lindros (1991). While landing top draft picks doesn't promise wins, the future does look bright in The City of Champions with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, and Jordan Eberle expecting another young stud to join them for some entertaining hockey.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Unbreakable: Career +/- Rating

This is a feature that will showcase an NHL record that we believe is unbreakable. And no, these won't just be "Wayne Gretzky is God" posts, they will be records from a wide variety of players.
Record: Career +/- Rating
Holder: Larry Robinson with a career +730

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fun In The Sun During The NHL GM Meetings

Brutal suit tans.
With the GM Meetings in Boca Raton where the 30 custodians of the game sit down to discuss rule changes about safety and scoring more goals, you can expect the GM's to take advantage of the warm weather and hit the beach when possible. Well luckily, I had a stopover in Palm Beach County on my way to Cuba for the Fantasy Hockey GM Meetings and managed to snap some pictures of the the guys having some fun in the sun. Take a look!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Greatest Tank Battles: Columbus Blue Jackets

With playoff contention out of reach, many teams fans have turned into Tank Nations in which they cheer for their team to lose in order for them to get a better draft pick. Greatest Tank Battles will look at these teams and their tanking data to see where they might finish this year.
Starting things off, we will look at the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have been a season-long favourite in the #FailForNail campaign and have been in last place in the NHL since the puck dropped in October. They've been a big disappointment this season after making some offseason moves and spending lots of money to appear like an NHL team. Despite starting the month of March with 4 straight wins, the Blue Jackets are still considered a shoe-in for last place and have had lots of time to scout this years top picks for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Let's take a look at their tank data:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Marcus Kruger Is Jonathan Toews Light

Some people like chugging Molson Black label and getting buzzed from a few sips, which is a common trend among todays youth in parks and ravines on Friday nights after shoulder tapping in a Beer Store parking lot. Others like a lighter beer that gets you to your goal of being drunk, but just takes a bit longer. In the NHL right now, Marcus Kruger is looking like the light version of Jonathan Toews.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hockey Chirping 101

Anyone who has played the game of hockey knows all about the chirping that goes on from the bench and on the ice. There's been some memorable ones throughout hockey history such as Brad Richards "Fantasy Camp" and Bryan Trottier and Kevin Stevens ripping into Brian Bellows. It's part of the game, and you'll still find it during Sunday night beer leagues where verbal exchanges can get pretty heated.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wax Stain Rookie: Tyler Seguin

Wax Stain Wednesday is a regular feature on Dirty Dangle. Our pal Dave at Wax Stain Rookie is an avid autograph and card collector and has some amazing experiences to share with us. WARNING: these posts may make you want to buy a Beckett and get those dusty hockey cards out from under your bed that you hide from your girlfriend like a secret porn collection.
Taylor vs Tyler, it has been nearly two years since that initial debate was settled with Lowe picking Taylor as his number 1 pick in 2010. Was it the right choice? Certainly time will tell on that one, but I think that most people were willing to agree at this point last year Taylor was the supreme player between the two. However, Tyler did show some great flashes during the playoffs including a stellar game in round three of the playoffs where he had 2 goals and 2 assists.

What Will Yzerman's 2014 Team Canada Look Like?

It was announced earlier this week that Steve Yzerman will return to every fantasy poolies dream job of being the man in charge of picking Team Canada's entry for the 2014 Olympics. His official title is Executive Director and he will be assisted by Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland, Edmonton Oilers President Kevin Lowe, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong, Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson and Hockey Canada VP, Brad Pascall.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How Do Players Perform Pre- and Post-Concussion?

It's hard to expect a player to return to true form after suffering a concussion, especially after all the information we now know in surrounding the traumatic brain injury. We've seen players like Eric Lindros, Pat LaFontaine, Mike Richter, Keith Primeau, and Adam Deadmarsh leave the game of hockey before they had to because of concussions. Now a new generation of concussed players have their careers in jeopardy: Sidney Crosby, Chris Pronger, Marc Savard, and Ian Laperriere are all out with concussions and no timetable for return. Some call it an epidemic, some say they're just being reported more, but it's interesting to see how concussed players this season have performed since returning from their injury, and if NHL GM's might pay closer attention to a players concussion history if performance declines are evident.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Toronto Maple Leafs Don't Buy Local

"Good things groooooow, in Ontarioooooooo"

Foodland Ontario might promote the shit out of their Ontario produce, but that message isn't being heard in Toronto these days. On the most recent Coaches Corner, Don Cherry ripped into Brian Burke for not having a single Ontario-native on the current Maple Leafs roster. Cherry was fired up as during the Hockey Night In Canada pre-game show, Brian Burke had said in an interview with Ron MacLean that the team often faces adversity in playing teams with lots of Ontario players who try their hardest in front of friends and family in attendance. So why wouldn't you get Ontario-born players to do the same for your team?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ron Wilson Fired.

Brian Burke must have shed some tears today when he fired his long time friend, Ron Wilson. Wilson is fired just 2 months after he was given a 1 year extension from Burke for Christmas.

A Lottery Pick Can Save This Maple Leafs Season

As the Toronto Maple Leafs approach seven years of not making the playoffs, you would think that they would have been able to score a top 3 pick at least once. Well, they did come pretty close two years ago with a 2nd overall draft pick. Unfortunately for Maple Leafs fans, they didn't have that pick as it had been traded to the Boston Bruins earlier that year.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ray Whitney Is Mr. Consistency

"With the 23rd overall pick, the San Jose Sharks select Ray Whitney from the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL"

That was over 20 years ago at 1991 NHL Entry Draft when the San Jose Sharks just joined the NHL and were participating in their first NHL draft. Whitney was the Sharks 2nd pick in the draft as they took Whitney's Spokane teammate Pat Falloon 2nd overall in the draft. Falloon was a bust and played parts of 9 NHL seasons and even though Whitney didn't last that long in San Jose, he has become a very consistent point getter in the NHL ever since.

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