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  #76  
Old October 25, 2013, 10:46 AM
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^^ Have fun bro.

We got back to back coming up. Isles tonight, at Leafs tomorrow. Looks like Fluery in tonight since its a divisional game ( matters more now ), which means Zatkoff tomorrow ! Talk about being thrown in the fire for his second ever NHL game. Game time decision though. They may flip flop.

Some shocking goaltending last night between Hawks and Lightning. Ovi scored again. So did Stamkos. The Rocket race is gonna be amazing this year. Cam Ward went down again and could be out for a month. Isn't that the same old story? Their fortunes sank with him last year.

When is the Leafs -Wings game coming up?

My two cents : While Wings have a close relationship with the city of Detroit, which is undeniable, but its also a fact that a professional athlete plays for a paycheck. He is expected to do community work while he remains in that city, but talks of any individual playing for the soul of the city and her fans is massively overblown. Teams will easily dispatch/cut/trade a player if his performance is not up to the par, no matter how special bond that player has for his community . He may have added incentive to play for his city and get himself in good standing with the fan, but in the end, performance is the only barometer for any professional franchise. I have no doubt that Wings have a special place for their fans, but it is unrealistic to expect a player ( any player ) to play for anything other than his professional duties. Now, special circumstances may rise, like a sudden calamity ( Katrina and NO Saints, 9-11 attack and the NY based teams ) which may indeed for a short term galvanize a team to play for their community, but NO professional team expects its players to play for anything other than WINS. As I said, it goes both ways, since a team will not hesitate to jettison any player no matter what resides in his heart or what he plays for. Being emotionally detached from external compulsions is the rule no.1 for a pro. I hope my bro Sohel doesn't misunderstand me. I am just opining from what I understand.

People in Pitt who were around in '70s for the glory days of Steelers and Pirates went through similar feelings from what I have been told. City was in ruins and people actually thought the blue collar Steelers reflected their heritage and played lunch pale, tough nosed football just like them toiling away in mines. They thought they played for them !Team was hugely successful and Steelers gladly paid lip service to its fans when it was convenient. But, as the team got older and started sucking beginning in early '80s, they didn't think twice about cutting /dumping hugely popular players regardless of what fans thought of him. That's how the story goes. Also, keep in mind, that in a pro team, you have players coming from all parts of the country ( and outside of country in hockey ) and you can not expect a Louisiana boy like Terry Bradshaw to be attached to the nerve of Western Pennsylvania. He may have said he played for the hopeless fans while he played, but he played for his paycheck and the team that employed him. Nothing more. If teams win and fans think that the team is playing for them, of course, that team is not going to go out of its way to say it otherwise.

Happy Friday.
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  #77  
Old October 25, 2013, 10:56 AM
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Agreed on all accounts. Over time, people mould to the culture of their surroundings.

Leafs-Pens will be amazing on Satuday. Over/Under on goals scored Beamer bhai?

I'm going with a 4-3 Leafs OT win
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  #78  
Old October 25, 2013, 11:17 AM
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Ha ha ..Pens 6-5 in OT : )) Is it HNIC? I wish I got their feed.

Zatkoff tonight. Fleury tomorrow. Official.
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  #79  
Old October 26, 2013, 04:20 AM
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As expected, Babcock has made some dramatic line changes to generate more offense. Huge early promotion for Tatar and I'm sure he'll take it with both hands. Nyquist is also a special enough player to do that when the time comes. Pivotal game against the Rangers tonight early in the season.

Excerpt for the voice of the RWN, George Malik:

Quote:
But the Wings would be wise to put a decent product on the ice for their paying customers and those at home, and when the highest-water mark of the past week's on-ice endeavors comes in the form of a 1-0 shootout loss to San Jose, sandwiched between a 5-2 collapse to Phoenix and a 6-1 drubbing by Ottawa, your team needs to get its act together.

READ MORE

Tatar's promotion

Wings-Sens
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  #80  
Old October 27, 2013, 04:23 AM
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Yep, a pattern has clearly begun to emerge here and we need to make some changes. Losing again at home, this time to a team also not playing well, by conceding 40 shots on goal and blowing the lead twice is troubling. There's more here than just "having a bad night".

Once again, I agree with Malik's wrap-up.

Quote:
Red Wings-Rangers wrap-up: rebuilding-on-the-fly team lays 4 consecutive eggs

The Detroit Red Wings' schedule ahead is a busy one: they'll leave town on Tuesday to take part in what is now a once-yearly Western Canadian swing, playing the Canucks on Wednesday, October 30th, heading to Calgary on Friday, November 1st, battling the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday the 2nd, heading to Winnipeg to finally play the Jets on Monday the 4th. Then the team returnshome for a 4-game home stand and a month in which the team will play 8 of their 11 post-Western Canadian swing games at home.

Something tells me that some of the Wings' players wanted to leave for Vancouver immediately after Saturday's game given the eggs the Wings have laid over the past week. The Wings followed up their 5-2 loss to Phoenix a week ago Saturday with at least something of an improvement, opening their 3-game home stand with a 1-0 shootout loss to San Jose, but the bottom's fallen out over the past two games.

Getting whacked 6-1 by Daniel Alfredsson's former employer on Wednesday was bad; I hate to say it, but surrendering 40 shots en route to a 2-1 OT loss to the moribund Rangers--with the Wings frittering away 1-0 and 2-1 leads, and yielding the final goal with all of 12.9 seconds left in OT--may have been worse.

As such, the Wings captured two of a possible six points at home and two of a possible eight over the past four games, and the Wings that returned home having just snapped a 4-game winning streak a week ago at 6-3-and-1 are now at .500, possessing a 6-4-and-2 record.

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Stats from the same link above show us just why we're concerned.

Shots: 40-34 Rangers overall. Detroit was out-shot the Rangers 16-13 in the 1st, were out-shot 16-8 in the 2nd, out-shot the Rangers 10-8 in the 3rd and were out-shot 3-0 in OT.

The Wings went 1-for-4 in 7:05 of PP time; the Rangers went 1-for-3 in 4:15 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 37 of 40 shots; Cam Talbot stopped 32 of 34.

Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji picked the 3 stars, and she picked Pavel Datsyuk, Jimmy Howard and Derick Brassard.

The Wings' goals: Miller (1) from Andersson (2) and DeKeyser (2); Alfredsson (2) from Datsyuk (7), PPG.

Faceoffs: 34-32 Detroit (Detroit won 52%);

Blocked shots: 7-5 New York;

Missed shots: 12-9 Detroit (total attempts 54-53 Rangers; the Wings fired 34 shots on Talbot and sent 23 wide/blocked);

Hits: 23-22 Detroit;

Giveaways: 10-1 Detroit;

Takeaways: 7-7.

Individual stats, TMR style:-

Faceoffs: Zetterberg went 9-and-10 (47%); Weiss went 7-and-8 (47%); Datsyuk went 7-and-7 (50%); Franzen went 5-and-3 (63%); Andersson went 4-and-3 (57%); Miller went 1-and-1 (50%); Bertuzzi went 1-and-0 (100%).

Shots: Franzen led the Wings with 7 shots; Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Quincey, Zetterberg and Cleary had 3; Datsyuk and DeKeyser had 2; Smith, Miller, Tatar, Tootoo, Bertuzzi and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked attempts: Alfredsson had 2 attempts blocked by Rangers players; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Quincey and DeKeyser had 1 attempt blocked;

Missed shots: Kindl, Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Quincey and Franzen missed the net 2 times; Datsyuk and Zetterberg missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Abdelkader led the Wings with 5 hits; Smith and Miller had 3; Tootoo, Lashoff and Quincey had 2; Tatar, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Kronwall, Cleary and Weiss had 1.

Giveaways: Smith and Datsyuk had 2 giveaways; Kindl, Datsyuk, Quincey, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Franzen had 1 giveaway.

Takeaways: Alfredsson had 2 takeaways; Datsyuk, Tatar, Lashoff, Zetterberg and Weiss had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Quincey and Kronwall blocked 2 shots; Lashoff blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Quincey took 2 minor penalties; Smith took 1 minor penalty.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -4. Kindl, Lashoff, Bertuzzi and Weiss finished at -1.

Points: Alfredsson and Miller scored goals; Datsyuk, Andersson and DeKeyser had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 27:52 played; Datsyuk played 22:14; Zetterberg played 21:42; Franzen played 20:34; Quincey played 20:18; DeKeyser played 20:18; Alfredsson played 20:03; Smith played 19:25; Kindl played 19:19; Weiss played 17:46; Cleary played 17:30; Lashoff played 17:18; Tatar played 15:11; Miller played 14:05; Abdelkader played 13:49; Andersson played 10:31; Bertuzzi played 10:15; Tootoo played 6:34.
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  #81  
Old October 27, 2013, 08:15 AM
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Bad week for Pens. Lost again last night. Not managing the puck well, and not scoring goals all of a sudden, despite outshooting opponents by a huge margin. Both can be corrected. We will score goals too. Getting great chances but not going in or the goalies standing on their heads, like the Boston series ! We do need Neal and Bennett back. The lack of forward depth is showing up. Likes of Kobasew just can't keep with Malkin. We will be fine and team should easily make the playoffs barring catastrophe. Hoping that Scuderi is not out long. Didn't look good. Looked like Clarkson came down on his back leg..We will see..
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  #82  
Old October 28, 2013, 02:06 AM
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The guy we really miss offensively is Homer, AKA Tomas Holmström. His masterful screens and deflections in front of goal made our team offense one of the most unsettling to play against in the league. It's no surprise that he won all 4 recent Cups with us. Always appreciated by the RWN, he, like Chelios and Murphy, also live in Detroit despite the city's downfall because they're that deeply committed to the community here.

Guys like Bert, Cleary or Sammy, even at their best, do only 25% of what Homer used to do night in and and night out, and we have yet to find, or in Kenny case, yet to look for a suitable replacement. Franzen despite his size was never going to be that kind of player, and neither are Andersson, Glendening, Tatar or Nyquist. They're "skill" players who do better with "havoc" players screening the goalie. Helm, Miller, Eaves and Tootoo are hustlers and grinders who provide energy and spark, not havoc players capable of playing with the top two lines.

A great prospect like Calle Jarnkrok is also a skill player, and someone like Rasmus Bodin has ways to go before being eased into the NHL. We have deep pockets and Kenny must go out there and spend money on havoc guys rather than useless has-beens like Bert, Cleary and Sammy until our homegrown prospects are ready to challenge them. The jury's still out on Weiss but so far, so good.

Defensively, it's impossible to replace possibly the greatest defenseman of all time alongside Bobby Orr, but our current group of guys can and will fill the skates of other great defensemen like Fetisov, Vladdy, Murphy, Chelios, Rafa and strictly in terms of shot-blocking, Brad Stuart. I have no doubt that guys like Kindl, Smith, DeKeyser and Lashoff will continue to develop quickly with guys like Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul and Mattias Backman waiting in the pipeline. Kindl, Smith and DeKeyser can be potential Norris candidates if they fulfill all of this early promise.
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Last edited by Sohel; October 30, 2013 at 02:36 PM..
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  #83  
Old October 28, 2013, 09:44 AM
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Beamer bhai what did you think of Phaneuf last night?

JVR and Kessel are on a different level right now. They know exactly where the other player is gonna be. JVR has made about 3 of those no-look passes to Kessel for easy goals near the front of the net. JVR worked with Barb Underhill this offseason on his skating, and the improvement is really showing. He can keep up with Kessel, and beat defenders to the inside more consistently with his speed in addition to that massive frame.
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  #84  
Old October 29, 2013, 08:54 AM
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I thought he was very good Sat night. Played physical and tough.

Worst news regarding Scuderi. He was brought back to shore up that defense. Now, he is out with a broken ankle. No time table. I am guessing, minimum of three months with rehab. He needs surgery. Looked innocent when it happened.

Finally a win last night, but once again, the forward depth is lacking. Need Neal and Bennet back ASAP.
Team played good defense without Scuderi.

What did you think of Vanek trade? Buffalo won big time.
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  #85  
Old October 30, 2013, 07:08 AM
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Phaneuf has been like that all season long. He was like that for the 1st half of last year too. This year, he should be able to maintain it though, as we've cut his minutes down by a bit thanks to the emergence of our young D. They aren't that good yet, but they're good enough to take some pressure off of him.

I thought NYI overpaid like crazy. To be honest, I think they would have been better off trading those 2 picks for a good dman. It's understandable why they paid so much though - they wanted to avoid the uncertainty of bidding against 10 teams at the deadline. A Tavares-Vanek pair could be deadly. Not the best skating duo though

Kessel continues to absolutely own. He scored a hattrick against the ducks, got a goal and an A against the Pens, and then went on to score 2 amazing goals with 2 A last night. The man is on fire right now, and sitting at #3 for points and #4 for goals. His production has shot up since JVR returned, and Kadri got promoted to that line. JVR-Kadri-Kessel has been absolutely lethal.

You have a model line there: PWF-PLY-SNIPER. Kadri has been better this year on the dot, and on the d side too. Hopefully RC keeps it like that when Blowzak returns. He has been utter crap so far.

After a bit of a sloppy start, the team played some good structured hockey last night. The Oilers really didn't have a chance after the first period. It seems like we are finally getting used to a consistent system. We have been playing good hockey from the Anahiem game and on. Columbus game was the anomaly. Tonight should be a good test to confirm that theory - we generally suck *** on the 2nd half of a back to back. Hopefully this group can shake that off.

Lost in all this is James Reimer. Ever since that crappy performance at the Sens game, Reims has been absolutely lights out. Last night he was huge during the first when the Oil were coming on a bit. He now boasts a .949 sv% - good for #2 in the league. Hopefully him and Bernier can keep this up. We can deal Reimer in the summer for a nice return in that case

The speed and offensive skill of the Oil is scary. This year they definitely need to pickup a d with their top pick, and trade one of their embarrassing riches of forwards for a top notch goalie.

Finally, RNH is an annoying little ****. This guy went around slashing everyone last night. If the kid doesn't stop trying to act tough, someone's gonna put him out for another extended period.
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  #86  
Old October 30, 2013, 02:20 PM
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Don't they all play well on a contract year?
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  #87  
Old October 31, 2013, 12:35 AM
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Solid but not entirely convincing win in Vancouver ends the month on an optimistic note for us as we start our trip across western Canada, once the league allocated recruiting hub for the Red Wings, alongside southern Ontario, during the O6 years. Our first win in 5 and the Nucks lose their first in 5, a big relief considering we played without regular starters Ericsson and Franzen.

Howard was clutch and the defense in front of him superb. Not counting the flurry of desperate shots after they pulled their overrated goalie, we held them to just 15 shots in their own building. DeKeyser has been promoted to the top defensive pair with Kronwall, and showed why he should stay there. The pace of his transition has been simply astounding. Being a Detroit native, all of this must be an extra special experience for him.

Our puck possession in the offensive zone was good, despite continued mediocrity from Bert, Cleary and the fading Weiss. Weiss hasn't come even close to filling Filppula's skates yet as the second line center. The big two and Alfie were great as were the third and fourth lines. Our offense continues to lack bite as soon as Hank and Pasha end their shift, two players also with major defensive responsibilities. But gotta hand it to Alfie's Quixotic and relentless effort to generate something on his own.

Andesson centering the third line was awesome. His consecutive faceoff wins in our zone were crucial towards the end. Tatar had a great game despite his GWG being yet another Roberto Luongo special

We threw pucks at the net but as usual couldn't screen their goalie well. That's a major concern when it comes to doing the basic things right. We need to find a real havoc guy ASAP to do just that. Having said that, it was great to see up compete in all three periods, especially during the second, a period during which we've failed to play anything other than glorified pond hockey all season long.

Helm is set to return in Calgary and all of us at the RWN are eagerly looking forward to having our spark plug back. Good to have Eaves back and hopefully Ericsson (partially dislocated shoulder) and Franzen (undisclosed) will also be back soon.

Last but not least, it is always sweet to beat the arrogant twit Tort, and a team whose loser fans riot and trash their own city after losing the Cup.
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Last edited by Sohel; November 2, 2013 at 04:25 AM..
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  #88  
Old October 31, 2013, 06:59 AM
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Yea players generally play well in their contract year. Bolland is playing too well right now, which might result in us having to pay him quite a bit of coin. As long as he can maintain this though, I wont complain. He was a legitimate offensive threat in junior, and has always been known for his work ethic. Given the opportunity we are giving him, I don't think his production will be that different from here on out.

Carlyle has, for the first time, said that if Kadri doesn't **** up, he will be our #1 center. Wonder what took him so ****ing long. Kadri produces, and makes the players around him better in the offensive zone. He can also help take some pressure of Kessel as Bozak does nothing but kill plays. Kadri-Bolland-Bozak-McClemment is a solid group of centers.

We played like absolute *** and still won. I will cut them some slack tonight as it was a back to back, and you could see the guys were gassed towards the end of the 3rd. Another 40+ shots given up. Edmonton got those many shots because we stopped playing in the 3rd after taking a 4-0 lead. Calgary got that many shots because they straight up outworked us.

The Flames have a very impressive unit going on there - much better than the Edmonton lot. They have a good mix of old and young, and they all just work their tail off. Not many coasters on that team, unlike the CHL Oilers. What they lack in talent, they make up for with their work ethic. I was very impressed with Monahan, Brodie and Colborne. This team has a very bright future if Feaster doesn`t **** things up.

The goaltending is the most consistent thing about our team, and it is also our biggest strength so far. Never thought I`d be saying this 2 years ago. These two are the first starter calibre goalies we have had since Belfour.
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  #89  
Old October 31, 2013, 02:23 PM
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Hopefully all this Varlamov allegations turn out false. The kid has a bright future ahead of him. It would be a real shame to see him toss his life away like this.

Dumb trade by Avs. Downie is worth more than Talbot.
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  #90  
Old November 1, 2013, 07:43 AM
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I read the Police report and the Denver Post column. Guy is an alcoholic sociopath and a women beater. They should lock him away. He drinks 12 hrs straight when he starts drinking according to his gf and gets violent and this was the third/fourth time he beat her bad. I have no sympathy for him.

Yes, Downie is probably worth more than Talbot, but Max has great intangibles that a young skilled team of superstars like Avs can learn from. He has played well with young superstars in past! Downie, I have no respect for. He is one of the most underrarted dirty player in the league. He is sneaky about it. But, usually runs away when caught. A total coward and perfect Flyer. There is always room for one more degenerate there.

Speaking of Reimer. He was spectacular in the game vs Pens last Sat. I thought he robbed us silly.

The Boston-Pitt game was just amazing hockey. They are such a great defensive team that plays a great structure and the goalie is tremendous. Its always a tough match.
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  #91  
Old November 1, 2013, 07:46 AM
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Bolland is an UFA? Really? Interesting. I thought he came to TO after signing a new contract.
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  #92  
Old November 1, 2013, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beamer
I read the Police report and the Denver Post column. Guy is an alcoholic sociopath and a women beater. They should lock him away. He drinks 12 hrs straight when he starts drinking according to his gf and gets violent and this was the third/fourth time he beat her bad. I have no sympathy for him.

Yes, Downie is probably worth more than Talbot, but Max has great intangibles that a young skilled team of superstars like Avs can learn from. He has played well with young superstars in past! Downie, I have no respect for. He is one of the most underrarted dirty player in the league. He is sneaky about it. But, usually runs away when caught. A total coward and perfect Flyer. There is always room for one more degenerate there.

Speaking of Reimer. He was spectacular in the game vs Pens last Sat. I thought he robbed us silly.
According to his friends, and people that know him, he does not drink alcohol. What you are hearing is 100% from his GF's side. It would be wise to hear the whole story, and the real evidence behind it before forming a judgement on the guy.

Agreed on Downie being a cheap shot artist. He is probably the best at hiding/timing his shots as he rarely gets caught compared to others of his type. He is possibly the most skilled of his kind as well. Lucic is probably the best mix of physical/scoring ability, but I don't consider him to be that cheap.

Reimer has been doing what he does best - making big stops when it matters. His rebound control, and play with the puck is still a huge issue, but our team does a good job of hiding that in general. It's against net crashing teams like the Bruins that he could potentially have trouble against. Hope it gets better with time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beamer
Bolland is an UFA? Really? Interesting. I thought he came to TO after signing a new contract.
Nope, he was traded last off season with one year remaining on his deal. That's why were able to get him relatively cheap (Late 2nd + 3rd I believe).
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  #93  
Old November 1, 2013, 09:52 AM
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You are probably right. I shouldn't trust a Russian gold digger and her motives until all the facts come out. Lol..Russian press is already crying Olympic conspiracy..LOL..I guess, if they need a goalie, Roy can suit up.

I am glad Max is out of there. It pained me beyond to see him in that orange rag. His best days are past him though. It won't shock me if he ends up in Montreal. MT loved that guy. He is a legend in PITT, and both on and off the ice.

Lucic is not a cheap player IMO. However, that rat Marchand is a big time cheap shot in that team. Tried to stick his leg out to Letang last game. Fortunately, he saw it at the last moment.

Bolland would look great here !
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  #94  
Old November 1, 2013, 10:43 AM
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They can bring in Bobrovsky actually, so that isn't much of a step down. That Russian politician is just a huge dumbass (I believe it was a politician who first had the quote) given the fact that the reigning Vezina winner is their other option. I'm pretty sure even Putin is facepalming at that.

Bob-Varly is a deadly 1-2 punch. Only if Russia had some dmen, they could be taken seriously. Their defence can't hold a candle to Sweden/Canada.
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  #95  
Old November 1, 2013, 11:26 AM
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I changed my mind. Bolland would not look good here. He would look great.

Bob was great when he was with Philly. I remember him well. I thought they finally got a good goalie. Homer thought otherwise.

Verly was with Caps the last time we played them in playoffs. I also remember his last game in Caps uni. It was game 7 vs us. We won 7-1, I think. That was the end of him there.
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  #96  
Old November 1, 2013, 11:42 AM
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Beamer Beamer is offline
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Caught up on some West teams. Here is my observation :

Blues: Tough tough team. Have scoring threat in every line. Great D too.
Chicago : The model franchise right now. From drafting to style and system.
SJ : They are always hot early. But, this looks like a Cup contender.
Coyotes : Best coach outside of Babcock. Love Tippet. We would fire danny boy for him anyday.
Kings : Quick. Enough said. Best goalie in league. He will take them far.
Ducks : I love watching them.
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  #97  
Old November 1, 2013, 10:44 PM
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Sohel Sohel is offline
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Another not-so-convincing win in Western Canada, but unlike in Vancouver, we again disappeared during the second period and blew a 2 goal lead in the process. Tatar's early deflection in the third set the tone before Abdel Kader's beautiful shot put us ahead by 2 again. We played well in the third until they pulled their goalie and scored on us with an extra man on the ice. The Flames are an energetic bunch and simply ran out of time before overcoming a 2 goal deficit again. They also played well in the first period despite going down 0-2 to Pasha and Hank. Weiss and Cleary ... again, despite excellent faceoff wins and a good shot respectively. Bert looked good better in the top line with Pasha and Hank but then again, who doesn't?

Anyway, a win is a win and I'm glad we've started November with one.
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Old November 2, 2013, 10:13 PM
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Sohel Sohel is offline
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Helm is back after 18 months and what a comeback! Gets the puck in the neutral zone, blazes past the Edmonton defenseman, and then 5-holes Bachman for a perfect finish. Tatar scores a few seconds later, his third goal in three games, to put ahead 2-0. Mrazek got the start tonight as Howard took a break and Gustavasson hurt himself again.
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Old November 2, 2013, 10:48 PM
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Sohel Sohel is offline
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No second period collapse tonight. Kindl makes it 3-0 as we head into the final period.
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Old November 2, 2013, 11:34 PM
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Sohel Sohel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beamer
Caught up on some West teams. Here is my observation :

Blues: Tough tough team. Have scoring threat in every line. Great D too.
Chicago : The model franchise right now. From drafting to style and system.
SJ : They are always hot early. But, this looks like a Cup contender.
Coyotes : Best coach outside of Babcock. Love Tippet. We would fire danny boy for him anyday.
Kings : Quick. Enough said. Best goalie in league. He will take them far.
Ducks : I love watching them.
Blues: strong team as always with all of the hallmarks of a traditional Blues team. Will make the playoffs easily. The challenge for them, as always, is to play deep into the playoffs.

Hawks: Bowman Jr. is doing in Chicago what his dad did for us as HC and GM. He has built a winning team and the foundation that'll keep them there for a long time. You don't draft high as a top team and need to rely on outside-the-box scouting and comprehensive player development. The fact that they go out there and spend money on the pieces that can make an immediate impact just adds to their strength.

Sharks: we've seen excellent Shark teams beat us in the playoffs and run out of steam. Well, we're not there anymore, so if they manage to time their peak in the playoffs, they can make it to their first SCF.

Kings: Quick, Doughty and Kopitar can get on a hot streak and simply take it away from you. Always a dark horse contender.
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