Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Biggest Move of the 2009 NHL off-season

Without a doubt, the biggest and most impactful move of the 2009-2010 off-season was the Philadelphia Flyers trade for former Norris and Hart Trophy winner Chris Pronger. 

The Flyers gave up quite a bit, as they always seem to do, but it will be well worth it if they win the cup this year or next.  They gave up a proven scorer in Joffrey Lupul, a highly touted prospect Luca Sbisa a 19-year-old defenseman, two 1st round draft picks and a conditional pick dependant on them winning the cup.

Paul Holmgren wasted no time in getting Pronger signed to a $34.45 million contract extension through the 2016-2017 season, which gives them an annual cap hit of around $5 million.

What makes this transaction so intriguing to me is that it gives the Flyers a stopper for Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby or whatever big gunner Philly has to face in the playoffs.  Pronger is the meanest, nastiest, dirtiest player in the NHL and he never takes a night off. 

What most people overlook when it comes to Pronger  is that he usually pockets about a dozen goals per season and chips in another 40 or so assists.  He truly is one of a kind.  The closest player to him in my opinion is Nashville defenseman Shea Weber.  What a powerful pair they would be to play against.

Last, but not least when it comes to Pronger and what will truly prove to be the most significant detail in his tenure in Philadelphia, will be the leadership and attitude that he will bring to the franchise.  This guy is a throwback and the Flyers made a great, great move in picking him up.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Old Man Chelios

The only thing old about Chris Chelios is the birthdate on his birth certificate, after that it might be the odd fleck of grey hair, but who doesn't have a few of those after age 30.

The story of Chris Chelios has always been amazing and it just keeps getting better and better. The path he took to the National Hockey League was filled with many road blocks, detours and a few chopping blocks that had his head on them.

Chris may very well be the mentally toughest player that has ever played in the NHL and professional sports for that matter. He has perservered with his love of the game and a never say die or quit attitude. People talk about how he takes care of his body and how he works out with TR Goodman in Venice, California in the summer, but it is his mental toughness that keeps him getting out of bed every morning to workout, skate and play the game with that very nasty chip on his shoulder edge every single game.

How long will he play? I don't care, in my opinion very few players have ever played such a consistent style of game their whole career. He may not have the numbers he once had offensively, but he has never changed the way he plays without the puck. He still hacks and whacks every single shift, gets in physical and verbal altercations on the ice and still gets pissed at the coach when he doesn't have the right guys on the ice.

There has never been a teammate of his that has said a bad word about him and there have been a lot of teammates. His friends, family, teammates and coaches have always idolized him and it has nothing to do with age, it has to do with his loyalty, passion and I am who I am attitude every single day.

What a great player, teammate and person.

People like Wayne Gretzky, Mike Modano and Chris Chelios are why hockey has the greatest people in professional sports from top to bottom.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

NHL Winter Classis is a HUGE HIT!!!!

The National Hockey League came up big with Winter Classic in Buffalo yesterday.

This may have been the NHL's finest hour in decades, the roar of the crowd, the huge snowflakes and the always amazing Sidney Crosby at his best. A true hockey fan couldn't ask for much more than was provided in this game. There was end to end action, solid goaltending and the ambiance of the blowing snow. This game had it all and then to finish with a very exciting overtime and shootout highlight that will be shown for decades, was hockey heaven.

Way to go Gary Bettman, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the great hockey fans of Buffalo and their hard-working and exciting Sabres.

I have talked with so many hockey fans about the game yesterday and more importantly non-hockey watching people that watched the game and absolutely loved it.

I know yesterday that I missed being a kid playing shinny hockey on the outdoor rinks in Edmonton, Alberta where I grew up.

This was a great moment for the National Hockey League and all of those ever associated with the great game of hockey.

Thanks to the NHL, NHLPA and most of all to the players on both the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins for putting on such a great show.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

McRae vs May Feb 21, 1993

Odgers vs May Feb 9, 1992

Washington Capitals / Pittsburgh Penguins line brawl

The Best Coach in the NHL is? Dave Tippett

The Dallas Stars were floundering in the standings on November 13th when they fired then General Manager Doug Armstrong, since then the Stars have been on a tear and have moved to 3rd place overall in the league as of this post.

What Tippett has done with this team of average Joe's for the most part is absolutely phenomenal. He has taken a team average skill, with the exception of aging superstars Mike Modano and Sergei Zubov and made them one of the best penalty killing teams in the league and fairly successful team on the power play.

How does he do it. He has a great knack for spotting other teams weaknesses through hours of watching video and finding new and creative ways/systems that take advantage of these weaknesses. Tip is also a great and fearless communicator, he will tell anyone in the franchise from owner to player how he feels and what he expects from them.

If the Dallas Stars can find a way to obtain a high-end goal scorer, they certainly have the coach to lead them to Stanley's Cup.