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More NHL Thoughts from Lee Snowden

A lot has happened in the NHL in the last week whether it has been free agent signings or trades.

As such, I figured we would once again check in Lee Snowden (@SnowdenNHL) to get his latest views and opinions on all things NHL.

PH: So, a lot has happened in the last week or so in the NHL. What are your thoughts on what went down with the whole Shea Weber situation? Do you really think he wants to be with the Predators? Why or why not?
LS: I think he does want to be with the Preds and always has. With the uncertainty of the new CBA, and what type of contracts will be allowed, Weber just wanted to be paid. Philadelphia definitely wasn’t a bad option should Nashville not have matched the offer sheet. Weber has been in Nashville his entire career so I’m sure he’s happy staying put. If he truly didn’t want to be in Nashville, he would have forced a trade or signed a one-year deal and gone to unrestricted free agency next summer.

PH: What does Weber signing with the Predators mean for the Flyers? Do you think the Flyers will try and upgrade their back end since they lost Carle (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Pronger (concussion symptoms)?
LS: I think Holmgren will be looking to add someone back there for sure. Gervais and Lilja are decent number 7 guys, but there are better free agents still out there (Roszival, Hannan, Colaiacovo). He could also go the trade route, as I think he will be searching for a forward as well.

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  Tags: @snowdennhl, artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, calgary+flames, jarome+iginla, lee+snowden, los+angeles+kings, mike+cammalleri, nashville+predators, new+york+rangers, phoenix+coyotes, rick+nash, scott+howson+columbus+blue+jackets, shane+doan, shea+weber, tim+erixon

NHL Off-season Thoughts and Opinions from Lee Snowden

Popular NHL Tweeter Lee Snowden (@SnowdenNHL) was kind enough to take time out of his summer schedule to give us his thoughts on what is going on in the NHL in the off-season as well as his opinions on his favorite team, the Calgary Flames.

PH: What are your general thoughts regarding what has happened so far this off-season whether it has been a trade, signing, draft pick, etc.?
LS: Pretty slow, really. Just prior to July 1st, we were all expecting this to be a summer filled with trades, it hasn’t turned out that way. Lots of big names still being thrown around in the rumour mills and there are also plenty of free agents left. I still think we will see some action.

PH: How much of an impact do you think Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will have on the Minnesota Wild? Do these two signings automatically make the Wild a playoff team or is there still a lot of work to be done to make that happen? Why? 
LS: Obviously the signings are huge for the Wild as an organization. They had a nice sell-out streak going, only to see it end a few seasons back. As far as the playoffs go, the signings don’t hurt. Michael Granlund, Jonas Brodin, and Charlie Coyle coming soon also add to the Wild’s depth. While I don’t believe the playoffs are a sure thing, they will definitely be in the hunt. It’s a very nice looking group of forwards, but the back-end needs some work.

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  Tags: @snowdennhl, calgary+flames, lee+snowden, twitter

Flames’ and Postseason Thoughts with Lee Snowden

Lee Snowden, one of the best hockey Tweeters out there, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to give us his thoughts on the Calgary Flames, what has happened this postseason and of course, his Stanley Cup Final Prediction.

PH: What do you think of the Bob Hartley hiring by the Calgary Flames?
LS: Obviously, Jay Feaster is familiar with Bob. Hartley has had success at every level in hockey. Most recently winning a championship in the Swiss league with Zurich. Feaster has made it very clear the Flames goal is to get back in the playoffs, and an experienced coach like Hartley is a good first step. 

PH: How do you think that Bob Hartley can make the team better for next season?
LS: Maybe just a complete culture change. This team has been under the ‘Sutter influence’ the last 9 or so years. My thinking is a new attitude and identity will be the key to turning things around here.

PH: Besides the coaching change, what other moves do you see the Flames trying to make this off-season?
LS: Nothing too drastic. I think similar to what they did last summer. A few small trades could be expected. Continue to make solid draft selections and give the youngsters every opportunity to make the big club. No doubt free agency will be looked at to fill out some areas with a bit of depth.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, @snowdennhl, calgary+flames, lee+snowden, twitter

Going to Carolina

The New York Rangers will be in Raleigh tonight to take on the Carolina Hurricanes as the team looks to extend its winning streak to three games.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 2-0 shutout win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. The team allowed just 13 shots in Henrik Lundqvist’s eighth shutout of the season, which is just two more than their lowest recorded total on home ice back in 1981 against the Calgary Flames when they only allowed 11 shots.

It will be important for the team to play a full 60-minutes as things do not get any easier for the Blueshirts heading into the stretch. They take on the Hurricanes tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night and the Boston Bruins at MSG on Sunday afternoon.

Luckily for the Blueshirts, this team has played as a cohesive unit all season long. They battle for each other, they stick up for each other, they play together as a team and because of this, have been one of the league’s top teams all year.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, calgary+flames, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Timing is Everything

That was certainly the case last night for the New York Rangers as they scored with just over a second left in overtime to defeat the Calgary Flames by a score of 3-2.

Brandon Dubinsky did all the work to get the puck into the offensive zone and feed the puck to defenseman Dan Girardi, who then fired the puck wide off the boards for defenseman Ryan McDonagh to come in and put the puck into the open side of the net. Some might say it was a set play but it was really all about the timing.

In the team’s second straight win, the Blueshirts got solid performances from the likes of Marian Gaborik (1 goal and 8 shots), Brandon Prust (shorthanded goal), and of course, Henrik Lundqvist, who made 33 saves. The club also got a terrific game out of their penalty killing unit as the team was once again somewhat undisciplined.

The Blueshirts find themselves with two straight wins on this four game Western Canada road trip and should be feeling pretty good about themselves. With that said, there are still a few things that the team needs to work on such as staying out of the box, not allowing high quality scoring chances and getting scoring from their second line.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, calgary+flames, dan+girardi, edmonton+oilers, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh, toronto+maple+leafs, winnipeg+jets

Time for Biron to Play

Even though New York Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist has been terrific to start the season, team head coach John Tortorella should consider giving backup goaltender Martin Biron a chance to play one of the three games coming up against the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and the Winnipeg Jets.

On Twitter, there were rumors circulating that Biron might be starting tonight but considering that the morning skate has yet to take place, we probably will not know who is starting until early this afternoon.

With a healthy Biron, Tortorella needs to be willing to give him some playing time. The last thing the team needs is Lundqvist being overworked and tired heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs come April.

Biron is a solid netminder who had a very good shortened season with the Blueshirts and showed the team and its fans that he can be relied on in big games if need be. He also showed the organization what it is like to have two good netminders on the team, something the Rangers had not had in the past few years.

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  Tags: calgary+flames, edmonton+oilers, john+tortorella, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, winnipeg+jets

Always Consistent

Those two words describe New York Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s play as a Blueshirt since joining the National Hockey League in the 2005-06 season.

He showed that once again last night with a 40-save shutout performance of the Vancouver Canucks, helping lead the Rangers to their first victory of the season. It only made sense that he was the story of the game because since joining the league, he has been the franchises’s best player.

In last night’s 4-0 win, Lundqvist was calm, cool, and collected under pressure. He did a solid job of controlling rebounds, challenging shooters and making himself look big to some of the league’s best shooters in Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Sami Salo and many others on the Canucks.

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  Tags: brad+richards, brian+boyle, calgary+flames, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, michael+rupp, new+york+rangers, ryan+mcdonagh, vancouver+canucks

Are the Rangers In Trouble?

Obviously folks, the answer to this question is a resounding NO.

It is only three games into the season and while the the team is 0-1-2, thanks to a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders last night, it is certainly nothing to panic about. With that said, there are obviously things that the team needs to work on.

For starters, taking too many penalties. Throughout the team’s first three games of the season, it seems like the Blueshirts have constantly been making trips to the penalty box. Last night, the Rangers gave the Islanders eight power plays, some of them absolutely needless such as Marian Gaborik’s penalty in the third period.

Not only does going to the box put the team at a disadvantage man-wise, but it also kills the flow of the team. Last night, it was clear that the top line of Derek Stepan-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik was clicking and creating scoring opportunities. However, when the team takes too many penalties, there is only so much time that line can get out on the ice.

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  Tags: calgary+flames, edmonton+oilers, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, vancouver+canucks

An E-mail Interview with Calgary Flames Blogger Shaune Vetter

Recently, I was lucky enough to do an e-mail interview with veteran Calgary Flames/Northwest Division blogger Shaune Vetter of HockeyBuzz.com.

Shaune was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, how he became a hockey blogger, what he does for HB as well as his thoughts on hockey blogging in general.

PH: How did you get into hockey?
SV: Like most Canadians, I “inhertited” my love of hockey the natural way: through my father. I remember him bringing the TV into the dining room to watch the Canadiens during their Cup runs in the 70’s when I was just starting elementary school. I learned to skate when I was four and have loved the game ever since. I spent days on outdoor rinks and Saturday nights glued to the TV. I even listed my favorite TV show in a grade three social studies project as Hockey Night in Canada. Playing hockey was always the most enjoyable thing I did.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
SV: Originally, it was Montreal because that’s who my dad liked and in Alberta, the Hockey Night In Canada games we got were the Canadiens, but then the Oilers joined the NHL and I loved the style they played. Fast, high-scoring, brash. It was such a rush to watch them. I was from Calgary, but the Flames didn’t have a team yet and of course we saw all Oilers games for that season. I became a big Gretzky fan and we moved to Edmonton in August 1980. I was pretty happy to finally be in a city with an NHL team, but then the Flames moved to Calgary. Of course I had to switch allegiances! My favorite Flame was Paul Reinhart. Has to be one of the most under-rated defensemen of all time. He played all zones, all situations, and even moved up to forward on powerplays because of his superior vision. back injuries cut short his career, which was unfortunate because he could have been one of the all-time greats.

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  Tags: calgary+flames, hockey+blogger, shaune+vetter

A Closer Look at The Hertiage Classic with Scotty Wazz

Scotty Wasilewski of The Face-Off Hockey Show and The Strangest One of All, was kind enough to share his experience of covering the Heritage Classic with us.

PH: First off, tell us about your thoughts when you decided you were going to cover the Heritage Classic for The Face-Off Hockey Show?
SW: The only thought was that I was lucky enough to be living in Calgary and able to get the nod from the NHL brass (who were fantastic at this event, by the way) to be able to get into this experience. It really worked out well for the show as Jonny and Marc (the other co-hosts) were able to get up to Pittsburgh to cover the Winter Classic. We had “Classic” year, to use a horrible, David Caruso-esque phrasing.

PH: What was it like seeing McMahon Stadium turned into a hockey rink/arena for a few days?
SW: Football fields make the best hockey rinks, and McMahon is no different. They had to bring in some rafters for one of the endzones, as the CFL doesn’t have as much capacity as NFL field. The set-up was great, they did a bang-up job on making everything surrounding the rink very festive and capturing the essence of the outdoor game in Canada.

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  Tags: calgary+flames, heritage+classic, montreal+canadiens, scotty+wasilewski, the+face+off+hockey+show, the+strangest+one+of+all

Rangers With Great Response in Minnesota

After losing to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night, the New York Rangers were an entirely different hockey club on Saturday night in their 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

It was a 60-minute effort that saw timely goal scoring, solid defensive play and a good game from back-up netminder Martin Biron (25 saves). None of these things were present in Colorado on Friday night.

The Blueshirts got goals from Arterm Anisimov, Michael Del Zotto, Alex Frolov, Brandon Dubinsky, and Ruslan Fedotenko en route to the team’s seventh road victory (7-3).

Many fans were probably surprised that Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella went with Biron in goal, especially since Henrik Lundqvist only played a little more than half the game in Colorado on Friday night. However, Tortorella made the right decision in starting the back-up netminder and Biron responded by picking up his fourth victory of the season (4-2-0, 2.33 goals against average, .907 save percentage).

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  Tags: alex+frolov, artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, calgary+flames, derek+boogaard, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, ruslan+fedotenko

A Brief Interview with Millian of “The Blue Line: Hockey Talk Radio”

Millian, the host of “The Blue Line: Hockey Talk Radio”, was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to talk about the trades that took place in the past week as well another thought on our favorite sport:

PH: What do you make of Kovalchuk landing in Jersey? Does the deal automatically make them Cup contenders?
M: Kovalchuk, IMO, is going to be a rental player, and I feel he is is going to see what the KHL has to offer. Not many teams will be available to offer $101M dollars, so there is definitely more to that story. A lot is going to hinge on what happens in the Olympics as well. One twisted knee and he is out for the remainder of the year, and NJD gave away players for nothing.

I worry about the Devils chances in general simply because of the amount of Olympians they have, including their star goalie, who has been having a rough time lately. With Kovy, they add another Olympian to that equation.

Also, I am not sure how Kovy is going to mesh with Lemaire, both in terms of playing styles and of butting heads. Kovy does not really play defense, nor backcheck, and I dont see Lemaire looking the other way too much. If he butts heads with him, Ilya has no ties to NJ, and therefore, no reason to stay. In the KHL, they will be happy to smooch his rump, and in my estimation, he will command near $20M per year.

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  Tags: blue+line:+hockey+talk+radio, calgary+flames, millian, new+jersey+devils, nhl, toronto+maple+leafs

Make Sense for the Rangers?

According to an earlier post by our fearless leader, the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames are working together on a deal that would make Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust Blueshirts and Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins Flames’. You can check out the post here.

What would you folks think if this deal went through? Does it make sense for the Blueshirts? Could Jokinen (11 goals, 24 assists, 35 points) regain his scoring touch on Broadway? What kind of impact could Prust (1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points make?

Let’s hear your thoughts!

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  Tags: calgary+flames, new+york+rangers

Rangers Looking to Put out The Flames

So far, it has been a mediocre trip through Western Canada for the New York Rangers. They were beaten by the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Tuesday night and beat a struggling Edmonton Oilers team 4-2 on Thursday night.

Tonight, the Blueshirts look to beat the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledone, an area in which the team has struggled over the last decade or so. If the Rangers can win tonight, they’ll increase their point total to 23 and be one point behind the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins.

Every point is important in the “new” NHL. With shootouts being added to the game, any team (the slightly below average, average, and above average) has the ability to give themselves a chance to make the postseason. That certainly proved to be true for the Rangers last season as their month of October in 2008 really gave them a solid cushion.

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  Tags: calgary+flames, new+york+rangers

Cammalleri to Test Free Agent Market

From Sportsnet.ca:

Barring a sudden development, it appears Calgary Flames forward Mike Cammalleri will not sign a new contract with the club and will put his services on the open market when the free agent signing period begins July 1.

Cammalleri’s agent, Ian Pulver told Sportsnet Thursday, talks between Calgary and his client have grinded to a halt leading into the NHL draft this weekend in Montreal.

Click here for more.

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  Tags: calgary+flames, mike+cammalleri

Sutter: A Dirty Rat?

From Stan Fischler at MaxHockey.com:

Simply put, Sutter undermined the Devils organization in several ways and put his (former) boss in a most difficult position. To wit:

* CONTRACT: Brent was under contract for three years and ducked out after two. As we say in Brooklyn, “N.G.” NO GOOD! (Although maybe that’s how they do things in Red Deer, Alberta.)

* ALIBI: Sutter acted like a six-year-old, claiming he was homesick for the prairie life. Nonsense. He could have—and should have—brought his family with him to the Garden State. He knew that Alberta was far from New Jersey when he took the job. He knew the score when he signed his New Jersey contract. This blissful ignorance does not work in the East.

* DISRUPTION: Lamoriello had long-range plans for Sutter when he hired the man. Young players such as Zach Parise and Travis Zajac were to be developed under Brent. Free agents were to be lured to New Jersey BECAUSE of Brent. Instead, Lou may not have a new coach in place at the start of Free Agency, July 1st. That could be a major detriment to Devils’ plans.

Click here for more. That’s certainly an interesting take. What do you folks think?

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  Tags: brent+sutter, calgary+flames, new+jersey+devils

Iron Mike Expects to be Back Behind the Flames’ Bench Next Season

From TSN.ca:

Mike Keenan expects to remain head coach of the Calgary Flames next season and chalks up his team’s first-round playoff exit to injuries.

“I have another year left on my contract,” Keenan said Wednesday as his players packed their bags. “My expectation is to be here to fulfil my contract.”

Click here for more.

 

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  Tags: calgary+flames, mike+keenan

Iginla Admits to Not Stepping Up When It Mattered Most

From George Johnson of the Calgary Herald:

“It’s fair,’’ Jarome Iginla said of the criticism sure to be coming his way, voice barely audible through a thicket of microphones, notepads and TV cameras. “We’re expected to do more. The veteran players. The leaders. We’re the ones. I’m the captain. There’s a responsibility involved in that.

“I wish I could’ve done more.

“I didn’t do enough.’‘

Click here for more.

 

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  Tags: calgary+flames, jarome+iginla

Tough First Round Exits for Stars

From Dan Murphy at Sportsnet.ca:

I sure hope Jarome Iginla doesn’t take too much heat for the Flames’ first-round exit. He was widely viewed as one of the best captains and leaders in the game before the ‘Hawks series and just because his injury-riddled team fell in six games, that assessment shouldn’t change. There are very few athletes who are easy to cheer for, and Iginla is still near the top of the list. Give him the “C” for 2010, please.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, calgary+flames, jarome+iginla, joe+thornton, san+jose+sharks

The Flames are Flawed

From Jim Kelley of Sportsnet.ca:

My job is to inform in the best way I know how and when I mentioned at the start of the season and again at the trade deadline that there were flaws in the Calgary Flames as a team and in the way it was constructed that was true. That they looked very much like yet another edition of the one-and-out Flames was an opinion to be sure, but it was an opinion rooted in observation of fact.

It’s also true that several of the Flames’ flaws were not just exposed but exploited by the Chicago Blackhawks in the now ended season for the Flames. Chicago was the better team, they were a faster team and a better balanced team and, yes, they were healthier and they had the better goaltending but this won’t be a column about the Hawks or about what I’ve seen all season in the Flames.

Click here to read more.

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  Tags: calgary+flames, chicago+blackhawks

Where’s The D?

In a surprising turn of events last night, the New York Rangers finally lost to the New Jersey Devils by a score of 8-5.

Yes folks, you read that right: the Blueshirts allowed eight goals to the Devils.

For the past few weeks, the Rangers have struggled to keep the puck out of the net. On Thursday December 4, they allowed six goals in a 6-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Last Sunday night against the Calgary Flames, they allowed three goals in a 3-0 loss and obviously, last night wasn’t so pretty.

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  Tags: calgary+flames, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, markus+naslund, montreal+canadiens, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, scott+gomez, tom+renney

An Interview with an NHL Employee

Instead of talking about how the New York Rangers were able to beat a tough Pittsburgh Penguins team on Wednesday and lose to a team that was struggling to score goals on Thursday night (Montreal Canadiens), I am going to share an interview I did with Michael DiLorenzo, the NHL’s Director of Corporate Communications.

Mr. DiLorenzo was kind enough to take time out of his very busy schedule to talk to us about how he got into the sport, his role with the NHL, a look at the league’s marketing/promotion efforts, as well as his Stanley Cup Finals predictions.

Don’t worry, I’ll be back to discussing all things Rangers hockey soon but figured I’d give you guys something to enjoy before tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames.

Let’s hear your comments!

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  Tags: bobby+brooke, boston+bruins, brad+parl, calgary+flames, detroit+red+wings, michael+dilorenzo, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, nhl, pittsburgh+penguins

Records can be Deceiving

With a record of 17-8-2 and sitting first in the Eastern Conference, one would have to think that the team and its fans would be happy.

In the case of the New York Rangers, not so much. Looks can be deceiving folks and yesterday afternoon’s 4-0 clunker at the hands of the Florida Panthers proves that point.

Over at Sam Weinman’s (The Journal News) Rangers Report Blog, MSG’s John Giannone points out that of the club’s 17 wins, six have come in the shootout. If there were no shootouts, the team would have a substantially lower record and would be 11-7-8.

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  Tags: calgary+flames, chris+drury, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, john+giannone, markus+naslund, michal+rozsival., montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, ottawa+senators, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, sam+weinman, scott+gomez, tampa+bay+lightning, wade+redden

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