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World Junior Hockey SemiFinals

The World Junior Hockey Championships semi-finals have just been played.  A summary of the quarter-finals is here and the preliminary round is here.

The semi-finals pitted Sweden against Slovakia and Canada against Russia.

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World Junior Hockey QuarterFinals

The World Junior Hockey Championships quarter-finals went last night.  A summary of the preliminary round is here

The quarter-finals were USA matched up against Slovakia and Russia against the Czech Republic.

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World Junior Hockey Preliminary Round

First, I would like to apologize for a much longer than expected Christmas vacation from the internet. 

The World Junior hockey Championships are underway in Ottawa.  The preliminary round has been completed.  Here are the results.

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Team USA World Junior Championships

The World Junior Hockey Championships run from December 26th to January 5th in Ottawa, Ontario.  Team USA’s roster has been announced

Here it is:  (listed as player, current team, current league, NHL affiliation)

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Team Canada World Junior Championships

The World Junior Hockey Championships run from December 26th to January 5th in Ottawa, Ontario.  Team Canada’s roster has been announced

Here it is:  (listed as player, current team, current league, NHL affiliation)

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Dallas Stars Scapegoat

The Dallas Stars are not having a good season.  They are last in the West Conference with an 11-18 record (with four regulation tie points).  They have had the worst goaltending in the NHL with a .878 saves percentage so far this season.  Marty Turco has not played well (though his game is improving) and his backup Tobias Stephan does not appear to be an NHL calibre goalie.  This leaves Dallas with the third worst goals against average in the league at 3.45.  Their special teams have been bad.  Their 13.0% efficiency on the power play is third worst in the league.  Their penalty kill is also third worst in the NHL with a 76.9% success rate.  Their offence has been a little bit better.  It is ninth worst in the league with 2.66 goals scored per game.  Their top scorer Mike Ribeiro is the second lowest scoring player who leads his team in scoring (only Jay Bouwmeester of Florida has fewer points).  Their captain Brenden Morrow is injured and likely won’t play again this season.  Who is at fault for this?

Obviously, it’s Sean Avery.

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What Happened To The Senators?

As recently as 2006/07, the Ottawa Senators were one of the top teams in the NHL.  They had their fourth straight 100+ point season and went to the Stanley Cup finals.  This season, their 11-17 record (with 5 regulation tie points) puts them 12th in the East Conference.  How did this team fall apart?

The obvious problem when looking at the team’s statistics is the current Senators have no depth.  They have only three players (Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza) with more than four goals scored this season.  In 2006/07 they had 15 players on their team finish the season with 30 or more points.  The depth is gone.  Some of the depth players are gone in Wade Redden, Peter Schaeffer, Mike Comrie and Joe Corvo, but that is to be expected.  Teams cannot stay the same year after year in the salary capped era.  Some of the 2007 depth players remain in Mike Fisher, Antoine Vermette and Chris Kelly, but they are not scoring anymore.  Nobody has been added to the mix who is much of an offensive threat.  Nick Foligno, Jarkko Ruutu, Jesse Winchester etc. are not significant offensive players.

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Devils Fine Without Brodeur

When superstar goaltender Martin Brodeur was hurt for the Devils earlier this season, they were written off by a lot of people.  Brodeur had surgery on his torn tendons in his left bicep.  The surgery occurred in early November and with recovery expected to take 3-4 months, he would project to return in February at the earliest. 

Martin Brodeur has been the heart and soul of the Devils franchise for years.  His goaltending has been one of the main reasons for the Devils success.  Without an elite goaltender, the Devils might be in for a long season.

Not so fast!  The Devils have been 9-1 in their last ten starts without Brodeur.  Scott Clemmensen has filled in marvelously.  He has been the winning goalie for the Devils in eight of those nine wins.

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A New Surprise Vezina Leader

I have been picking Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins as the Vezina Trophy leader this season.  He is clearly having a good season and it is a surprise to see him doing as well as he is, but there is another goalie who has been playing even better and his status as my new Vezina leader is even more surprising.  I think Craig Anderson of the Florida Panthers is the current Vezina leader.  Anderson has taken over the number one goaltender job on Florida from Tomas Vokoun.  This is no easy feat as Vokoun is a proven All Star goalie.  Anderson currently leads the NHL with a .946 saves percentage and is second to Thomas with a 1.94 GAA despite facing significantly more shots per game.

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The Unbalanced Early Season Schedule

We are over two months into the NHL season.  That should be long enough to get a pretty good gage on how well teams are doing so far this year.  There are many factors which may need to be put into context to properly make sense of the standings.  One of them is a huge home/away imbalance exists at this point.  On one extreme, the Edmonton Oilers have played 18 road games but only 8 home games so far.  On the other extreme, the Los Angeles Kings have only 9 road games to go with 17 home games.  It should be clear that teams that have spent most of the first two months of the season on the road are probably performing below their expectations and teams that have spent most of their first two months are home are probably performing above expectations. 

While I do not expect that every casual hockey fan has noticed this fact, I expect better from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News.  He writes the misleading sentence:

In Edmonton, it’s difficult to be cheery, what with the Oilers having won just three home games this season.

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com

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