Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Arena Radio - Trade Speculation Extravaganza

Lots of good stuff in here! Speculation, scoring droughts, shitty defensemen and a sleepy Sutherland.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Arena Radio - The Superstitious Show

In this week's episode of Arena Radio, Holliday gets lost in the woods with Luongo, Tamby does his best to not jinx special co-host Imber, who showed up sporting his new Fargo pants.

As for LS?... He's late as usual.



Boom!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Arena Radio - Fat Ass Feature

In this week's episode of Arena Radio, we discuss...

- Blue Jackets Gone Mad
- Jagr's Butt
- Belak's Depression
- Byfuglien's Eating Disorder
- Shanahan Shenanigans
- Joe Nieuwendyk For President
- Dill Pickle Chips... again
- Ashtin's Professional Career
- and of course... Sir Mixalot!

... and much, much more.



Don't you dare miss it!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Arena Radio - Nickleback Edition

In this week's episode of Arena Radio, we discuss...

- Brad Richards/Alladin comparisons
- Flyers offseason bonanza!
- LS' "favorite" GM
- Brent Sutter's ears
- Team logos and jerseys
- Dill Pickle Chips
- Fantasy hockey
- and of course... Nickleback!

... and much, much more.



Set aside a couple hours... if only to hear our commercials.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Arena Radio - Law And Order

In this week's episode of Arena Radio, we discuss...

- The Playoffs
- The Entry Draft
- Offseason Trade Analysis
- The NHL Awards Show
- HHOF Candidates
- CBA Implications
- Islanders Arena Referendum
- and of course... Law And Order

... and much, much more.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Arena Radio - Reborn

In this episode, we discuss...

- Atlanta vs Phoenix
- Playoff Suspensions
- Green Men
- Derek Boogaard's Passing
- Oiler's 1st Overall Pick
- Coaching Vacancies
- Brad Richard's Future
- Player Nicknames

... and much more.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How The Money Has Changed

We have played 5 full seasons of NHL hockey since the big bad lockout of 2004-2005 and I still feel that the product that is the National Hockey League is better for the missed year of hockey then it was prior to the lockout. Obviously there was some immediate changes that affect the game right out of the gate such as the shoot out, the elimination of "clutch & grab", and the resulting special teams league that resulted from the fact more power plays are being handed out. One of the slower evolving changes however, has been the affect that the cap itself has had on the NHL.

In the immediate years following the lockout the free agency period played out as it always has. Top end players got contracts they can never live up to, the teams that missed out on the top tier players, gobbled up the tier two players, and as the summer played out the older UFA's and players that came with baggage, or those considered gambles, would be signed by teams that had no choice but to take a chance. 5 years later the impact many thought the cap would have, is finally upon us and I think it's a wonderful thing.

The first indication of what I'm talking about is crystal clear in the story of this years big fish in the free agent pool, Ilya Kovalchuk. It took almost 3 weeks for the best player available to sign a contract and even when he did finally find a deal he liked, it was so twisted in red tap the NHL rejected it. From what we are being told, the race for his services was really only a two horse race, when was the last time that was the case for the best talent in a NHL free agent period? Kovalchuk didn't get his choice of teams and didn't get to write his own ticket. The cap system has the money drying up, finally.

My next point is simply the fact that a pile of decent hockey players are still looking for work and training camps open in 1 month. That 2nd tier players I mentioned earlier isn't getting signed, not for the money they thought they would collect anyway. As things stand right now some very interesting names are still sitting on the sidelines hoping for the phone to ring. To name a few, Teemu Selanne, Bill Guerin, Marty Turco, Paul Kariya, Mike Comrie, Maxim Afinogenov, and Miroslav Satan. These guys aren't 4th line drones, I'd bet many of the mentioned can still do 40, maybe 50 point seasons. The thing is NHL teams have realized that giving a 20 year old kid a chance at 800,000 bucks might be the better path then paying a 40 year old Teemu Selanne 2 million or more. The money isn't there like it once was.

It's not a bad thing people, it's what we wanted as fans. A system where if a GM screws up and spends money to freely, and in the wrong places, they handcuff themselves and their hockey teams. A system where teams can't spend more money to get themselves out of messes they themselves created. It took longer then most would have guessed, but I believe the cap effect is now in full force. Can you imagine the pressure some teams will be under if the cap ever falls?

If it falls? Sorry, when it falls.

Either way, it should be fun to watch.

Then again, this is just another damned opinion.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pietrangelo: Should He Stay Or Should He Go?

The Blues went into the season last year trying to determine if Alex Pietrangelo was ready to compete in the National Hockey League. After eight games, they decided that Pietrangelo was not ready to play NHL hockey all season long and decided to send him back to his junior team, the Niagara Ice Dogs of the Ontario Hockey League.

Coming into this season, the Blues are in that same position in deciding if Alex is ready to play for the St. Louis Blues.

Now, I for one think Pietrangelo is more than ready to play for the Blues this year. He is bigger, stronger, and he thinks the game better than he did last season.

So where are we now? Seven games in and Pietrangelo has played one game. He didn’t really look out of place in this game but he didn’t really fit in either. He finished the game with 13:20 of ice time without recording a point. His +/- stat was at even and he didn’t record any penalty minutes.

After seven games, I expected to see Pietrangelo three, maybe four times. Only playing him in one out of seven games isn’t going to help him progress though. He needs to play and he needs to see ice time, which is something he isn’t getting.

Practicing in the NHL helps compared to his junior practices, but at this point, would he benefit more playing 30 minutes a night in Niagara or just in practices in the NHL? The Blues either need to figure out a way to get him into games with the big club, or send him to Niagara.

Pietrangelo’s OHL team, the Ice Dogs are already 12 games into their season. I truly believe that sending Pietrangelo back to Niagara could stunt his development as his game is miles ahead of the OHL level, but others disagree. Some say that playing Pietrangelo 30 minutes a night could help develop him into a true leader and a work horse. But when you think about it, having Pietrangelo play DOWN to the level in the OHL could hurt his game.

Pietrangelo, drafted by the Blues 4th overall in 2008, can play up to nine games before the Blues have to make a decision on his future, but at the rate things are going now, he might get nine games in around the team’s 63rd game of the season.

All I am saying is, sending Pietrangelo down could hurt his development, but right now, it’s probably better than him just practicing with the team. Unless the Blues can start fitting Alex in to real games, his development isn’t going to go along that well.

Andy Strickland has his opinion on Pietrangelo and his time here so far in St. Louis. You can read it here.

Randall Ritchey

randallritchey@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Around the League


I know it’s been a while since I have posted a blog, and today I have decided to run through all of the teams and talk about them, in my own opinion.

Starting with the Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

New York Rangers: I am absolutely surprised by this team. They lost a lot of their good players in the off season, and they are still pulling out the Ws. They are on a 5 win streak, and even though I don’t care much for the rangers, I hope they keep it going.

Pittsburgh Penguins: No surprise on the past Stanley cup winners. Not much to say, but I hope they won’t repeat last year. They need to lose.

Philadelphia Flyers: Has the flyers finally found what they were looking for last year? Starting out at 3-1-1 with 7 points and holding a third spot in the Atlantic Division, they are moving forward. I will continue to support the Flyers, only because Brian Boucher is there.

New Jersey Devils: A little surprised by this, but I won’t be surprised if they pick it up after some more games.

New York Islanders: I am not surprised by this team being at the bottom again. I don’t see Tavares producing that much, only 2 goals and 3 assists with a +1 rating. What happened to the guy that was all talk this off season? I would have expected a bit more, but then again it is early. NYI’s record is 0-1-3.

Northeast Division

Ottawa Senators: It’s nice to see Ottawa producing wins even with the lost of big time scorer Danny Heatley. Their record is 3-2 so far this season.

Buffalo Sabres : Two wins and one overtime lost. Will Buffalo be able to continue this sort of streak? I hope so; I want to see them continue to dominate.

Boston Bruins: They had a chance last year, they blew it. Now they are down a great scorer, and they are doing even worse. Can they turn it around? I honestly don’t think so, they will stay a mediocre team this year. Prove me wrong.

Montreal Canadiens: Not surprised at all by this. I expected the same showing we got from them last year, this year.

Toronto Maple Leafs: This is one of the teams that have surprised me the most. I honestly expected a showing of Toronto being on top of the Northeast, and riding strong. They had great structure in the off season, good scorers. Toronto scored Jonas Gustavsson over the off season, and he played in two losing games, but showed strong. I hope he comes back soon, or this team won’t survive.

Southeast Division:

Tampa Bay Lightning: I am happy to see them continue to dominate, showing a strong fight against any team they go against, even if they lose.

Washington Capitals: The newly dubbed biggest whining fan base and it rings true for the team. Six games, 2-2-2. What’s up Caps? I would have expected a better showing from Ovie.

Atlanta Thrashers: Three games, two wins and one loss. Honestly, I can’t wait to see them play again soon; they are on fire and will continue to be I think all season long, unless some major injuries come.

Carolina Hurricanes: I see these guys still struggling with their record of 2-3; I hope they can turn it around. They had long playoff runs last year, and they need to show everyone they are still contenders.

Florida Panthers: To simply put, it’s the Florida Panthers. Record is 1-4. Sorry Imber.

Western Conference

Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks: I would gladly write some good things about the Hawks, but they only seem to be posers to me after the off season and all of the hype that was after them. They lost in the playoffs, and they are talked more about than Detroit? Record 3-1-1, I am sure they will continue this.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Doing good, and I hope they continue their strong showing this season. 3-1 is their record.

St Louis Blues: Surprised to see them above Detroit so far, and I hope they continue to stay on top of them. Keep it going Blues.

Detroit Red Wings: I hate them. I hope they lose to put it simply. They are 2-2 and nearly at the bottom of the division. I hope THAT continues.

Nashville Predators: Also 2-2 with the Wings and Blues, I hope they will be able to bully Detroit around.

Northwest Division

Calgary Flames: No surprise here, good scorers and Krip is still in goal doing his great thing. I hope they will continue their strong showing. Record is 4-1-1

Colorado Avalanche: Very surprised by this, with their first game beating San Jose. I hope that Colorado will keep fighting like they are doing, and I see a playoff run. Record is 3-1-1

Edmonton Oilers: Great to see this team keeping a strong showing in this division. The Bulin Wall is a great addition to the team and they are showing a 3-1-1 record.

Vancouver Canucks: Very surprised here. I would have expected more from them, they showed great promise in the off season and pre season, and now they are riding a 2-3 record.

Minnesota Wild: I still hope this team will be able to pull themselves out of the hole that was made with their record, 1-3. I will always root for the Wild, being the, in my opinion, biggest underdog in all of the NHL.

Pacific Division

Los Angeles Kings: I like seeing big underdog teams from last year pulling off great wins, but my team is San Jose, and look at these guys. Hah. Anyways, I honestly think they kings will continue like this for a while, but I do not think they will be able to continue it all season. Surprise me, LA.

San Jose Sharks: So far, so good. I like what I see with the Sharks and their strong lines. All of their lines are producing great shots and goals. They were beaten by a couple of seemingly underdog teams, Colorado and LA just to name a few, but they pulled off great victories over Minnesota and Anaheim. With their Thornton and Heater lines, and some greater showing by Nabby, they will be contenders for the President’s Trophy and some more playoff runs, maybe without the first round exit please?

Phoenix Coyotes: I like to see this team pulling off wins, even their SO win last night over the Sharks. They were a major losing team last year, and nearly got bought out of Phoenix, and now they are showing their strong force against everyone in the NHL. Will this be able to fix their debt problems? Heck no, Phoenix is a horrible city for any sports, but I will continue to hope so.

Dallas Stars: Nothing surprising or new from this team, with a record of 1-0-3.

Anaheim Ducks: A tad surprising for the Ducks, but not that much. I am sure they will repeat like last year, minus the deep playoff runs.

Please join us at The NHL Arena and join in discussions about all of these teams on the boards. If you feel you need to comment on this, please feel free to comment on the blog, I will happily respond.



Interview with Aaron Palushaj


Many of you read my first Q&A session with Aaron earlier in the season. I got another chance to sit down and talk with St. Louis Blues prospects Aaron Palushaj and he was kind enough to grant me a short question and answer session. I tried to give a mixed array of questions to give a little wider variety of questions. My questions will be in bold while Aaron's answers will be in italics.

After my first Q&A session with you, you had just signed your first professional contract to play in Peoria. What was that experience like for you? Playing at a professional level?

The experience was incredible! After losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament, it allowed me to play in four regular season games with Peoria and in those games, I played in many roles. I ended up four games in the playoffs which was great. It really gave me a sense of the pro-game and it showed me what I need to work on in order to be a dominant player at that level and later on down the road. Everything was in a professional manner; meetings, meals, practices and rest/down time.You realize how much you need to prepare for everything practice and every game. It was also great to get some good quality time with some of the guys I will be seeing in training camp this September.

What do you think you need to improve on most to be ready to play in the NHL and how do you plan on going about working on that?



I have to get stronger. My core strength is there, I just need to add muscle to my legs and upperbody. I am in St. Louis for most of the summer and I'm working out with Nelson (Ayotte). He's doing a great job and I am not worried about being raedy in September as for strength wise.

Has your limited time in Peoria shown that you need to make any adjustments to the way you think the game, and if so, in what way?

No, I don't think I have to make any adjustments in the way I think the game. I think that's one of my better traits as a player and it's a lot different from college so it's just getting to know the system and catching on to what the coach is doing with the team.

What do you do to mentally prepare for a period, game and season?

I like visually preparing my self for games in periods. Go over plays in me head and think of plays I could have made better or maybe shouldn't have tried to do. For a season, the preparation just comes natural. Just go out every practice and get better every time you hit the ice and success in a season will come.



What type of line mates' compliment your game the best, and why?

I'm a pretty easy player to play with so it doesn't really matter. Someone who sees the ice offensively like me is a line mate I would prefer to play with. Someone with a good shot because I Can get them the puck from the corners or off the rush. I like having the puck in my possession and controlling and making the play.

The Blues website list you at 5'11; 187. Is that your actual size?

My actual size is 5'11.5 and 184 lbs.

Many fans; including myself; have a hard time pronouncing your last name. We've heard PUH-LOO-SHA and PUH-LOO-SHY. What is the correct pronunciation of your last name?

It's actually PUH-LU-SHY.

If you had to point to one person who has helped you the most in your development as a hockey player, who would it be and what has that person done for you?

I'd probably have to say my parents, with all the support and help that way. But if it had to be a coach, I think it would be my midget minor coach. He was really dedicated to making me a better player.

The Blues have a strong rivalry with the Red Wings; with you being a Michigan boy, and possibly a fan of the winged wheel, would you still be able to give 100% against them in a game?

Without question would I be able to give 110% against detroit. I am a competitor; I give 100% in everything I do.

I want to give a special thanks to Aaron Palushaj for taking the time out of his life to answer a few Blues fans questions.

I hope you all enjoyed this interview and I hope to have more for you soon.

Randall Ritchey

randallritchey@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

(OLD) Interview with Ian Cole

This is old. Ian Cole gave me the opportunity to have a little question & answer session with him and I figured that I'd post it on here for you all to read. This interview occurred a week before the Blues prospects camp.
So like I said, it's a bit old.



Ian was very kind enough to grant a Q&A session with him. So, just as with the Aaron Palushaj sessions, my questions will be in italics, Ian's answers will be in bold. I hope you enjoy the read.

Q. You decided to stay at UND for another year, what were the pros and cons you had to weigh in making that decision?


A. Well yes, I have basically said I was going to stay at Notre Dame for another year, though the decision has not been made in it's entirety. It is still somewhat open for discussion and that's the mindset I'm going to have as I go into next month's development camp. As for my time-line as to when I will be leaving school and what my plan is for the completion of my degree, I have not yet decided on either and both are still very much up in the air. I really haven't thought about it all that much and I don't see the point in me making it into too big of a deal. Honestly, all I have is time and I'm not in a hurry to make the jump from college, to the professional ranks. I'm having a great time at school and I really enjoy my teammates. So I think making a personally detrimental decision that isn't completely thought out would be rash.

As far as the pros and cons go, I can't really say that there were any in particular. The way I see it is that a pro in regard would be a con in another regard, and vice-versa. For example, staying in school and getting quite a few credits toward my degree would be a huge pro, but then on the flip side I woudln't have the chance (though extremely small, as many would say) to play for the St. Louis Blues. So really it is a very complicated decision that, though I have thought about it, have not exactly put together a pro and con list.


Q. Are you planning to develop more offensive skills and round out your game, or are you comfortable going all out on being a more physical, shut-down presence?

A. "Rounding out my game" as you put it, is in fact something I have been working on for the past few years while at Notre Dame. At ND, I have been put into many great situation where I could work on, and become successful offensively. Whether it's on the first power play, any 4v4 situation, late in a game when we needed a goal, or numerous others, I can safely say that I am an offensive threat. Though I wouldn't say I would be the most offensively gifted player on the St. Louis Blues line, I do believe I could hold my own in that regard and put up some sort of numbers that could help my team win games.

Q. What kind of things will you need to work on this year to further your development to being a regular Blues defensemen?

A. Especially in an organization with copious young, talented defensemen such as St. Louis, it would be very hard to rise to the top. This is why I think being able to be more offensive would help me out in a vast way. I also feel one of the most important skills a player in the NHL can have is reading the play, making a decision, and executing that particular play that was decided on almost instantaneously and this is something that takes time playing at an elite level to develop. I think that my next year and subsequent years following that will help me in gaining this valuable skill and hopefully help me have a long career with the Blues.

Q. What is is about the Blues organization you like and dislike?

A. Really all I can say about the Blues organization is that they are absolutely fantastic. Though my experience with many of the other teams have been limited, I can safely say that there is no other team that I would want to play for. Through every situation, the Blues organization, from top all the way down, have welcomed me with open arms and have been nothing but courteous and professional.


Q. In the Blues NHL draft special produced for the NHL Network, you described yourself as a "pretty solid 2-way defensemen who's pretty solid in his own end....intense, and plays with an edge." Strength and conditioning coach, Nelson Ayotte told you to work on the small muscle right about the knee to increase your speed. Jarmo (Kekäläinen) noted that the first time he'd ever heard Ayotte say "wow" was when you walked into the room. Jarmo said of you, "He's a horse....he's confident....he's 214 lbs. He's a man now, and he's only 17. I think he can be top-4...he plays hard and he plays tough and he can move the puck and he's got a bomb for a shot."

What did you think of the special when you saw it? Did you work on that muscle above the knee and increase your speed? In the last two years of physical and NCAA/WJC playing development since that self-description and the Jarmo description, how would you assess, expan on, or qualify the accuracy of all those statements?


A. First off, I saw the special and I have to be honest, it kind of embarrassed me. What those guys said was entirely too nice and way too many people saw and a queoted it back to me. I'm really not the guy to "toot my own horn" so seeing that was nice, but also embarrassing, though it was very well put together and an extremely interesting to look at draft process. Now that muscle on the side of my knee, the vastus medialis, is something that I absolutely have been working on and I really do think that it has helped my speed.
The past two years in college have been great for me. They work us extremely hard and going to Notre Dame has gotten me in the best shape of my life in more than just the physical aspects. I definitely still think Jarmo's statements ring true and I think it was a great honor that he would even feel it necessary to say them, though I still strive everyday to push the envelope and make myself a strong player and person.


Q. With being an NHL prospect, has life been any different for you? Are there more people recognizing you, or is life pretty much the same?

A. (laughs) Good questions, but no I am not a star by any means. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, Notre Dame is still a good football and basketball school, so really no one knows the hockey players as star athletes like the football and basketball players. I see this as a good thing because I feel a little strange and embarrassed when the few people that do recognize me come up to talk or whatever. I mean, they're great people and always really nice, but I'm just not used to people recognizing me the few times that it has happened.


Q. It takes a lot of skill to play in the NHL. When you do decide to leave college, are you willing to play in the AHL before you get into the NHL.

A. I feel that doing your time in the AHL is an essential part of becoming an great NHL player. The time taken there to develop and mature into a better rounded person helps immensely in being able to handle the professional life, and I am certainly not the type of guy to make any kind of demands from an organization and would be more than happy to play wherever the Blues organization needs me.

Q. St. Louis had a big season this past year. After sitting in 15th in the west at the start of the second half of the season, then finishing 6th in the west at season's end. Did you get to watch any Blues games this year, and if so, what was your favorite moment?

A. In fact, I did get to watch a few Blues games, both in person and on T.V. I would go to the seniors house, which had the Center Ice Package, and watch the majority of the ones over there. Then there I would be the ones on Versus that I could watch in my own room so that was a plus. I actually had the opportunity to take in a game in person when they played the Blackhawks. My whole mom's side of the family lives in Chicago and all have tickets to the Blackhawk games. So I brought a teammate up and when they offered the tickets to me, I drove up. Unfortunately they lost, but it was fun to see my (hopefully) future team play.

Q. Many NHL players started playing hockey around the ages of two and three, and the main reason they pursue a career in hockey is for the Stanley Cup, is that why you chose the path that you did?

A. Well, I did start skating when I was two and playing on a team when I was 4, so yes, I did start quite early, but is that, and the Stanley Cup the sole reason that I wanted to play hockey for a career? Absolutely not. I know plenty of people that had been skating just as long as I have and as they grew up, started hating going to practice and couldn't stand being on the ice anymore. See for me, this is what I love doing. I love playing hockey. If I were to dedicate my life to anything else, I don't think I would be able to hold my love and passion for hockey has, and if I didn't absolutely love what I was doing, than I wouldn't be doing it, simple as that. I feel that you can't fully immerse yourself into something that you don't completely love doing. For some people it's socks or insurance, for others its art, dance, or music. For me, it's hockey.

Q. It's a question almost every prospect is asked and I know there are quite a few Blues fans wondering this as well. Who do you try and model your game after? Is there a certain NHL defensemen you try and emulate?


A. Well, there are obviously a few guys that I think are great players and I see what they do and try to do the same things. Obviously I haven't been doing them all that well because if i had been, I would be in the NHL already. But seriously, I do have a few defensemen that I really like. I really like how Willie Mitchell plays in his own end. He's very hardnosed and is tough to play against. I really like what Dion Phaneuf does offensively and would love to be able to do what he does. Then there is Nick Lidstrom, growing up watching him in Detroit has been a complete honor and I think he is one of the best to ever play the game.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Going To Work With Brian Burke

Once Brian Burke took over as the general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs, you knew he'd get his work done as fast as possible.

So was it much of a surprise when Toronto turned from basement fodder to a possible playoff team just over one off-season?

It didn't surprise me either.

Burke works quickly and likes to build a tough team. He did just that this off-season by signing defensemen Francois Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek. Trading Pavel Kubina to the Atlanta Thrashers for the hard hitting defender, Garnet Exelby. Signing a hard-nosed forward from Sweden, Rickard Wallin. Then adding the big fighter from Winnipeg, Colton Orr.

Burke also landed the Monster from Sweden, goaltender, Jonas Gustavsson.

Burke had assembled a very tough core of players who could not only beat their opponents on the scoreboard, but also beat them physically as well. But something was still missing. They needed a natural goal-scorer, and they knew just where to find one.

Toronto had been rumored to be working a deal with the Boston Bruins. Rumors had it that Tomas Kaberle and a pick would be headed to Boston, but after some confusion of the pick washed that deal and started new talks.

The Leafs finalized a deal with the Bruins that would send the Leafs 1st round pick and 2nd round pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft, as well as their 1st round pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Phil Kessel.

Burke had done it. He had acquired his premiere sniper, who will be out until mid-November at best after a successful surgery on a torn rotator cuff and labrum. But this didn't stop them from re-signing Kessel to a five-year, $27 million contract.

Now Burke gets to decide on how his team will be iced this coming season. The Leafs had nine defensemen who are under one-way contracts. There are only seven spots available.

One plus for Burke is that defensemen, Ian White, can also play as a right-winger. This depth helped the Leafs last season as well. The often injured Mike Van Ryn is a big question mark as well.

This puts Burke in position to trade, which we've learned can be a fun thing to pay attention to.

Though some people question Brian Burke on his trades, his very vocal opinion, and many other things, one thing is for certain.

When you have Brian Burke as your general manager, you'll always be entertained.




Randall Ritchey

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Top Free Agents still available


The Free Agent Frenzy is nearly three weeks behind us, but there are still some solid players out there who can contribute to many NHL teams. Here's a list of ten players still available that can do that:

1.) Alex Tanguay, formerly of the Montreal Canadiens

Tanguay has seen his point production slip the past three seasons, and dealt with injuries in 2008/09. However, he is usually a lock for 20-plus goals and is a good playmaker who can play at either left wing or center. For a team that is looking for a complement to their star goal scorer, look no further than Tanguay, who will likely come at a reasonable cost for what his potential could bring.

2.) Sergei Zubov, formerly of the Dallas Stars

Zubov is 38, and only played in 10 games last season due to injury, but he is a smart veteran who can fill out a third pairing role with ease. However, his strengths still lie on the power play, where he can still lead from the point and fill that role effectively.

3.) Brent Johnson, formerly of the Washington Capitals

For a team looking for a backup goalie with starting experience, look no further than Johnny. He outplayed Jose Theodore last season to take over the starting job, then lost it when he suffered a hip injury. Johnson can play either as a backup, or like he did with the Capitals in a 1A/1B system. He'll be a bargain for any team looking to upgrade their backup, or push their current starter.

4.) Blair Betts, formerly of the New York Rangers

Betts went down hard in the playoffs from a hit by Donald Brashear, but he's one of the premier penalty-killers in the NHL. The penalty kill is the downfall of many skilled teams, so adding someone with the specialty skill that Betts brings to the table should not be overlooked.

5.) Petr Sykora, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Sykora turned in his 10th straight 20 goal campaign, so any coach knows he is going to get a consistent output from Sykora. However, he's more of a one trick pony at this point in his career, and a concern is that he was nonexistent in the playoffs. Still, a top six forward who can pot 20 goals is worth plenty to a team.

6.) Martin Skoula, formerly of the Minnesota Wild

Skoula brings with him a Stanley Cup ring from his time with the Colorado Avalanche. He's going to be very limited offensively, but Skoula is solid in his own end, and he's going to eat up plenty of minutes. Skoula is perfect for a team looking for a veteran to team with a younger defenseman, or as a stopgap until a younger guy is ready to make the jump.

7.) Mathieu Schneider, formerly of the Montreal Canadiens

Schneider brings basically the same benefits to a team that Zubov does. He's still a solid offensive defenseman, but his main value is going to be quarterbacking a power play.

8.) Martin Biron, formerly of the Philadelphia Flyers

Biron started for the Flyers last year, but without any starting positions available, Biron will have to settle for a backup job. He is extremely streaky, but when he's on a hot streak, it's hard to top him. Biron is, however, one player who is likely to end up in the KHL that is on this list.

9.) Mike Comrie, formerly of the Ottawa Senators

Comrie had by far the worst year of his career, and injuries didn't help him at all. He's had five 20 goal seasons for his career, and will be a bargain for a team looking for scoring depth as the season approaches.

10.) Maxim Afinogenov, formerly of the Buffalo Sabres

Injuries and being in the coaches doghouse never help a player, and Afinogenov has put up with both over the past couple years. He's also had high expectations that have not been fulfilled since coming into the league with the Sabres, so a fresh start somewhere will definitely help Afinogenov, as well as the team that picks him up.

Be sure to check out The War Room throughout the next week, as I'll be coming out with more free-agency related articles.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pittsburgh Penguins Win!


Pittsburgh Penguins Win!

After a remarkable comeback in the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins have claimed the Stanly Cup trophy as their own. Max Talbot scored twice in the second period, Fleury stopped 22 shots and the Penguins overcame an injury to Sidney Crosby to win their first Stanley Cup since 1991 and '92. The Penguins become just the third team in NHL history to win Game 7 on the road, improving the visitors' all-time record to 12-3. Jonathan Ericsson scored a 3rd period goal for Detroit to try and get them back into the game, but it was all for nothing, as the Penguins kept their lead to go on and win.

To come back late in the season and able to turn it around, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was very excited for the team and himself. When the Coach came around to the Penguins, they were 10th in the East and their playoff hopes look slim. But in the end, it was all turned around for a Penguin victory.

Come join us at The NHL Arena to congratulate the Penguin team and fans on our boards at The Penguin Congratz Thread!