Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yotes and Rangers back in Action

It has been a few days but the Coyotes and Rangers are back in action. The Rangers are looking for their 4th straight win tonight as they take on the Atlanta Thrashers at MSG at 7pm EST. Rangers have been on a roll and need to grab as many points as possible now for the stretch run at the end of the season. These games may not have meaning right now but come February and March every point counts. Atlanta is coming off a 7-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. It will be interesting to see how they play tonight although you can bet they would like nothing more than to beat the best team in the NHL. Check out the beat writers for notes on practice and line ups.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Coyotes are playing their first game since this past Saturday when they lost to the Calgary Flames. Tonight, they get Cindy Crosby and the Penguins at home. It is a tough schedule but the Coyotes need to string wins together if they want to have any hope of making the playoffs this season. If they want to take some positives into this game, they did beat the Washington Capitals, a high flying team that they held to one goal. So why not tonight versus the Penguins?
Coach Wayne Gretzky has changed up the lines for tonight's game:

Fedoruk-Jokinen-Doan
Carcillo-Hanzal-Mueller
Porter-Reinprecht-Boedker
Winnik-Turris-Tikhonov

I would love nothing more than to see Turris and Tikhonov both break out big time tonight. Ilya Bryzgalov will be starting in net as he looks to get his focus going in a consistent way. Ken Klee, who the Coyotes picked up off waivers a few days ago will make his debut tonight. It will be good to get some more veteran presence on the back line and Ken Klee is a guy who can definitely provide that for a young team. I am looking forward to see how he plays on his new team. From the interview on the Coyotes website, he sounds excited to be in Phoenix. 
Yotes Penguins....Rangers Thrashers. Lets hope for wins tonight. Also make sure you get your tickets for the Danbury Mad Hatters season opener that is on Saturday. I went to the preseason game on Tuesday night and I have to say it was great. Click the link in the upper right hand corner of the page to find the information needed to purchase tickets. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blues to the Desert on WVOF Today!

Our show is on WVOF today at 1pm EST! Make sure you tune in online under live webstreams and clicking the second link. You will also be able to call in at 203-254-4002 during the show. We would love to hear from you. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Nikky Z Comes Through

On a night where the Rangers were looking for some revenge for last year's 2nd round loss to the Penguins, they sure did it with irony. The Penguins came back in Game 1 of the series to beat the Rangers...fitting that the Rangers do the same in the first meeting of the season between the two teams. 
The Penguins got out to an early lead with a Darryl Sydor shot bouncing off two different Rangers before finding its way behind Henrik Lundqvist. It really was all Penguins for the first two frames of this game as Sidney Crosby scored their second goal when a loose puck was found behind Lundqvist. 2-0 Pittsburgh. All seemed lost when the Rangers could not convert on a 2 minute 5 on 3 advantage at the end of the 2nd period.
But Petr Prucha drew another penalty in the third period and the Rangers took advantage. Scott Gomez found Markus Naslund in front of the net and Naslund smacked it through Marc Andre-Fleury. 2-1. The third period continued with back and forth play. The Rangers pulled Lundqvist with less than a minute to go and needed a goal. Chris Drury right? Nope. Nikolai Zherdev took a pass and went down the right wing side and fired a wrist shot high glove side on Fleury with 8.1 seconds left. Tie game. We are going to OT.
In overtime it was Sidney Crosby vs Henrik Lundqvist for the most part. Crosby had plenty of chances to end the game but Lundqvist denied him and his Penguins time and again including a cross crease save and an unbelievable glove save. To the shootout we go.
Zherdev and Nigel Dawes both tried low stick side shots on Fleury which he easily stopped. Lundqvist stopped Kris Letang on the first shot and then Petr Sykora. Fredrik Sjostrom was the third Ranger shooter and the Sjo delivered. Forehand, backhand and a quick flick slipped the puck under the pad of Fleury. Whether Freddie was looking to lift the puck up or not is unknown but he scored. 
Sidney Crosby vs Henrik Lundqvist....again. Game on the line. Crosby needs to score to keep Pittsburgh alive. He moves in and stops skating, choosing to try and wait Lundqvist out which is something not very many people have been able to do. Crosby can't as his move to the backhand is stopped by Lundqvist. 
A huge victory for the Rangers who continue their great start as they move to 8-2-1 on the season. Their next game is tomorrow night on Long Island as they take on the New York Islanders for the first time this season. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coyotes Face Tough Schedule Ahead

Well the Coyotes are 2-3 right now. After 2 wins to start the season at home, they went on the road and dropped 3 in a row to the Blackhawks, Senators, and Canadiens. Now the young Coyotes return home for a 4 game home stand where the competition doesn't get any easier.

Coming in Thursday, Alexander Ovechkin and the high flying Capitals. This is the first trip to Phoenix for Ovechkin since his unbelievable goal he scored 3 years ago. Mikael Tellqvist will get his first start of the season tonight. The Coyotes need to get back on track and beating a difficult team such as the Capitals will certainly help get their confidence back. 

Unfortunately, the Coyotes will need to be on top of their game early and need to get some offense from their younger players. Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker are the big names but I am sure Coach Gretzky would love to see Viktor Tikhonov and Kevin Porter get on the scoresheet in the goals column. Ed Jovanovski also needs to get going offensively for Phoenix if they want to have an effective offense.

Taking advantage of mistakes made by teams is how great teams are made and Phoenix will have to definitely utilize this mindset against very good teams over the next couple of games. The powerplay has to be effective while the penalty kill needs to shut down the opposing offense. A strong forecheck will promote mistakes among the other team as it will be hard for them to break out and create offense. 

The defense needs to stick to their assignments and not just rely on their goalie to keep them in the game. Players like Kurt Sauer and David Hale, who are not really looked to provide offense need to step up and make sure their defense is top notch. Physical play helps but being in position to break up opposing scoring chances is just as, if not more important. 

The Coyotes play Washington, Calgary, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota on this home stand and a is an early season test of their home ice play which was not good last season, one of the worst in the league in fact. They need to step it up at home if they want to reach their goal of making the playoffs. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Danbury Mad Hatters Release Training Camp Roster and Preseason Game

Danbury Mad Hatters

Goaltenders

Mike Ronan, BraintreeMA

Jeff Hill, CranstonRI

Rob Lemelin, South HamiltonMA

Derek MacIntyre, StanwoodMI

 

Defensemen

Matt Herutun, Greenwood Village, CO

Joe Morrison

Phil Hinrichs, RaleighNC

Zack Kane, JamestownNY

Shawn Breaker, Strathmore, ALTA

Mike Payne, BurlingtonMA

Erik Linkowski, Mt. VernonNY

C.J. Schneider, OaklynNJ

 

Forwards

Erik Kent, NewburyportMA

Duane Whitehead, The Pas, MAN

Drew Madeiros, TewksburyMA

Mykul Haun, Oakland. CA

Patrick Forshner, NatickMA

Sean Hannifin, MedfordMA

John Lamken, WarehamMA

Alex Redmond, San JoseCA

Brett Riley, RochesterNY

Anthony Becker, North TonowandaNY

Igor Karlov, Huntingdon ValleyPA

KC Caudill, TustinCA

Obi Aduba, WalpoleMA

Gerald Cioffi, RevereMA

Tim D’Orzaio, JamisonPA

Jason Borsella, Cortland Manor, NY

Bill Haas, WilliamstownNJ

Andrew Scampoli, IslipNY

Billy Tibbetts, ScituateMA

Jeffrey Ratt, La RongeSASK



Check it out! 


The Mad Hatters will be playing a preseason game on Tuesday October 28th at 7pm vs the Jersey Rockhoppers at Danbury Ice Arena. Tickets are $5 available at the door. If you are a season ticket holder, you get in free when you present your season ticket holder card. CHECK IT OUT! SEASON STARTS 1 WEEK FROM SATURDAY! 

From the Blues to the Desert today!

Make sure you checkout from the blues to the desert on WVOF today at 1PM EST! Go to the WVOF website (at the right), click Live Webstreams, and then the 2nd link. If you want to call in, the number is 203-254-4002.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

check it out!

I was interviewed by Zach Sanders at 24/7 Sports stop. Read the interview here which is in three parts. Just scroll down until you see the Puck Talk entry. Enjoy! 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Too Much Too Soon?

Coming into this year, Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney believed this year's Coyote team would challenge for a playoff spot and would get in. There are a couple of reasons why. 
The acquisition of Olli Jokinen at the draft was the first time a legitimate number one center had been in Phoenix for a long time. He was brought in to be the spark for Shane Doan and Peter Mueller who both had good years last year and make them better. So far he has played well with 6 points, 1 goal 5 assists, in only 5 games. I am sure they would like for him to put up some more goals but I am sure Jokinen knows that. 
Having a number one goaltender to start the season was another reason. Getting Ilya Bryzgalov off waivers was a divine miracle for the Coyotes who were looking at a great future in net. Bryz had a good year last year with the Coyotes going 26-22 with a 2.43 GAA and a .921 save percentage and was a reason that the Maloney and company were excited about this coming year. Having a legitimate number one goaltender for the first time since Nikolai Khabibulin was in net for Phoenix is important, especially in a tough division like the Pacific. 
Other reasons include the young players like Kyle Turris coming in along with returning players like Peter Mueller, Shane Doan, Dan Carcillo and so on.
But have the expectations been stacked too high? The Coyotes started off the season with two good wins versus the Blue Jackets and the Ducks but have really lost it on this road trip losing to the Blackhawks, Senators, and Canadiens. Of course, those are three very tough teams and losing to them is not a shame. However, the Coyotes were seriously run over in these games, losing 4-1, 6-3, and 4-1 respectively. The lack of offense is something that needs to be addressed and defense as well. Teams are getting way too many good chances against the Coyotes defense and is making it very hard for goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to keep them in games like he did last season. 
One thing that has certainly picked up is the physicality and toughness of this team. Shane Doan has been an animal recently and physical play from guys like Kurt Sauer is destroying the notion of the Coyotes as push overs (Yes Habs fans, Sauer's check was clean). 
The point here is that management needs to understand that this team is very young and it will take time to gel. The season is still very new so the panic button should certainly not be in sight but if things continue the way they are going, look for Don Maloney to be looking towards the draft and acquire some draft picks for veteran players such as Steven Reinprecht, Derek Morris and Mikael Tellqvist at the deadline. 
The tough schedule continues for the Coyotes as they come home for the Capitals, Flames, Penguins, and Wild. I hate to be a negative Nancy but the season for these young guys could be over by the All Star break at this rate. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Sjo Fits...On the Road Again

Last night, the Rangers won. I don't care how they did it despite the fact the balcony of the 400s looked like a good jumping off point many times last night. They won. 1-0 final in the shootout was the way they won. The team was forced to go back to basics and play against a team that is likely to finish towards the bottom of the standings. Vesa Toskala was the brightest spot for the Maple Leafs last night as he brought his A-game but unfortunately for him, the Leafs couldn't get the puck past Steve Valiquette who continues to play well when he is given the nod. Fredrik Sjostrom scored the decisive goal in the shootout to win for the Coyot....I mean Rangers. 
No offense last night? They won. Get over it. 
Coming to tonight, the Rangers will be playing one of THOSE teams that you don't expect to beat. In fact, scoring a goal against them is some sort of accomplishment in and of it self. The Blueshirts are in Detroit to face the defending Stanley Cup Champions. On the good side of things, Henrik Zetterberg will not be playing today due to a groin injury. The bad news is Pavel Dastyuk, Marian Hossa, Tomas Holmstrom, and Nicklas Lidstrom are playing. The Rangers will have to come out prepared tonight if they want a chance to win in a very tough arena. This is certainly a water mark game. Henrik Lundqvist will be starting tonight and he will certainly have to be on top of his game against a high powered Detroit offense. 
The Ranger offense just has to keep looking forward and focusing on the game at hand especially the powerplay which is the cause of indigestion and frustration for any Ranger fan. Three words. SHOOT THE PUCK. Just throw the puck on net because you never know what is going to happen and against a tough team like Detroit, you have to put the puck on net as much as possible because they won't give you many chances. The power play better score one goal tonight...at least. 
Korpikoski, according to Ranger Rants may be playing tonight, otherwise expect pretty much the same lineup. Game is at 7 PM EST. 
The Coyotes lost 6-3 last night. Enough said.
They have another tough test tonight as they stroll into Montreal to face the Habs.....it isn't going to be pretty. 

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rangers and Coyotes Both Looking to Bounce Back

Wednesday night wasn't a good night for me as both the Rangers and Coyotes were handed their first losses of the season. Although Phoenix apparently played well enough for Chicago to fire head coach Denis Savard. 
The Rangers looked absolutely abysmal on Wednesday night and need to bounce back tonight. They will be hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs at MSG with Steve Valiquette getting the start tonight. Henrik Lundqvist is surely being rested for tomorrow's contest vs the Red Wings and Monday when Sean Avery returns to MSG. Ryan Hollweg is not making his return to New York because of a suspension that he has from the league.
The Coyotes are in Ottawa tonight looking to get back on the winning side of things after losing to the Blackhawks. Dan Carcillo has been suspended for two games by the NHL for grabbing someone while on the bench so his spot will be filled by either Brian McGratton or Enver Lisin. Don't be surprised to see big man McGratton in there. Bryzgalov will be getting the start while Derek Morris will be starting despite suffering a hand injury in the loss to Chicago. 
Rangers at 7 EST and so are the Coyotes. I will be at MSG for tonight's game so here is to a win for both of my teams. 

LETS GO RANGERS!
GO YOTES GO! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Show WVOF TODAY

From the Blues to the Desert will be on WVOF today at 1pm EST. Make sure you tune in online on the WVOF website...click live webstreams and then click the second link on the following page. You don't want to miss it! 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shock and Awe On and Off the Ice


Today was as up and down as the stock market on Wall Street.
First the Rangers learned that Alexei Cherepanov, the top prospect in the organization, had collapsed on the bench while sitting next to Jaromir Jagr after a failed 2 on 1. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Jagr was reportedly crying and telling Cherepanov to wake up. After failed attempts to fully revive him Cherepanov was pronounced dead. He was 19. From a hockey perspective this is horrible but from an objective view, it is even worse. A kid no older than myself simply collapsed and died and it really is grounding to younger people who may think that they are invincible when they aren't even close. Tom Renney had a nice quote during the post game interview:

"Just stay humble. Work hard. Work harder than the other team every game, and work harder in practice,” Renney said. “Take nothing for granted, especially on a day like today. How could you? It’s a gift to be playing in this league. It’s a gift to walk the planet. So you know what, leave it on the ice every single night and let the results take care of themselves."

I don't think I could put it any better than Renney did right there. Thoughts and prayers go out to the Cherepanov family who are probably suffering one of, if not the, worst thing that could possibly happen to a family. 
Before tonight's game, the Rangers organization called for a moment of silence which was something that was great to see. Cherepanov was an important part to the organization's future and it was nice to see the Rangers recognizing that. I teared up while watching on TV, the atmosphere at the Garden must have been something else. 
The game went on as scheduled and the Rangers played a game that certainly looked like they were dedicated. the entire second line continued its absolutely stellar play as Aaron Voros took the reins tonight. He scored 2 goals, both on the powerplay with another assist while Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and 2 assists. Henrik Lundqvist continued his stellar play versus the Devils with 26 saves, improving his record against the New Jersey Devils to 13-2-4 life time with all of those games versus Martin Brodeur. 
The Rangers are off until Wednesday when they take on the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden. 

Picture found on HFboards here

Rivalry Renewed: Rangers Host Devils..Updated 2:08PM

Tonight will be the first regular season meeting between the Rangers and Devils, a rivalry that Ranger fans have come to know very well. 
The Rangers come into tonight 4-0 and will be looking to extend their winning streak. Last year, they went 7-0-1 vs the Devils, with the only game lost in a shootout on the final day of the regular season. After that, the Rangers beat the Devils in the first round of the playoffs in 5 games. 
Of course, this rivalry may take a bit of a turn with so many new faces on the Rangers especially with the loss of Sean Avery but there are a couple of guys who could take his place in annoying Martin Brodeur and the rest of the New Jersey Devils. Aaron Voros will be standing in front of Marty all night he is on the ice. Ryan Callahan is a guy who is never afraid to back down from anyone. Colton Orr will obviously not hesitate to drop the mitts and Paul Mara's new found grit will certainly up the ante. 
But the important thing here is for the Rangers to keep playing the way they have. They must put plenty of pressure on Marty and the Devils defense to force turnovers. The powerplay will have to be clicking tonight and the penalty kill will have to stay at the level it has been. Face offs will be key and the Rangers need to improve on that considering they are at a face off percentage of 47.2%. That number has to go up for the Rangers to have an effective offense and defense against a Devils team that relies on the other team making mistakes in all three zones. 
The game will be on MSG tonight at 7pm so make sure you tune in. LETS GO RANGERS! 

UPDATE 208: According to the beat writers, Dan Fritsche will be in today as Patrick Rissmiller has a swollen ankle, making him unfit to play tonight. Petr Prucha and Nigel Dawes will remain scratched. 

Coyotes are 2 for 2

Tonight, the Coyotes were put to the test as they took their act on the road for the beginning of a tough trip with the first stop in Anaheim where the Ducks were looking for their first win of the season after losing to the Sharks earlier in the week. 
Phoenix wasted no time as Mikkel Boedker got his first NHL goal. He picked up a rebound and looked up to a gaping net which he took advantage of and put Phoenix on top. Steven Reinprecht and Todd Fedoruk got the assists. 
Shane Doan wanted to get on the board and he did early as he wads sprung for a breakaway and put the puck past JS Giguere to give Phoenix a 2-0 lead early in the second period. Reinprecht would get his second assist while Kurt Sauer got his first. Shortly there after, Kyle Turris found a loose puck around the net and back handed it into the net for his first career NHL goal. 3-0 Coyotes.
The Ducks started to make a bit of a comeback as Ryan Carter scored but Shane Doan answered on the powerplay for his second goal of the night. The Coyotes would hang on to win 4-2. 
Ilya Bryzgalov had a much better game tonight than he did opening night as he made 34 saves to improve his record against his former team. There is alot of guts out there for Phoenix which is helping them win these games but look for Gretzky to find plenty of things to fix between now and the Yotes' next game in Chicago on Wednesday. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Danbury Mad Hatters Add Two More Players

The Danbury Mad Hatters have added two more players to their roster:

(DANBURY, CT) – The Danbury Mad Hatters of the Eastern Professional Hockey League (EPHL) have announced the signings of forward K.C. Caudill and defenseman Eric Lind. As per club policy, the terms of the deals were not disclosed.


Caudill, 29, is a 6' 3", 210 lbs native of Tustin, CA. He has spent the last 3 seasons playing in Knoxville and Jacksonville of the SPHL. In 165 games in the SPHL, he has scored 49 goals and added 71 assists with 142 penalty minutes. Caudill also appeared in 15 total playoff games in the SPHL scoring 1 goal and adding 2 assists while winning a championship with Knoxville in 2006. Before going to the SPHL, Caudill played one season in the UHL with Kalamazoo. In that season, Caudill had 2 goals and 6 assists with 32 penalty minutes in 42 games.


"K.C. has a history of hard work and strong play," General Manager of Hockey Operations Brendan Tedstone said. "He’s a big, strong player that can play both wings and center, or he can drop to defense if we need. He has 1 year in the USHL, and has 211 pro games under his belt. His 130 points as a pro is probably more than a few of the teams in the league has collectively. He’s one of our 3 vets that players will look to for assistance."


Lind is a 30 year old, 6' 2", 195 lbs native of Stamford, CT. He was drafted in the 9th round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 7 professional seasons Lind has played for Mississippi, Greenville, Reading, and Elmira of the ECHL, Fort Worth of the CHL, Kalamazoo of the IHL, Richmond, Danbury, and Elmira of the UHL, and Valley Forge of the MAHL. Lind has also played 1 season for Manchester, England in the ELITE Ice Hockey League. In a total of 229 professional games, Lind has accumulated 17 goals, 44 assists, and 278 penalty minutes. He has also played in 9 playoff games scoring 1 goal and winning a championship with Greenville of the ECHL in 2002.


Most recently, along with playing professionally, Lind has been an assistant coach for Yale University's hockey team.


"This is a guy that I’ve been working on since day 1 when the Mad Hatters were announced. Anytime you have a chance to pick up an NHL draft pick at this level, you do it," Tedstone said of Lind. "Eric is from the area and is very excited to come to camp. His hockey sense is second to none. He has a cannon for a shot, and is a very smart, fluid skater.


"We just got a ton stronger on the blue line with Eric."


Also, the Mad Hatters have announced that one of their players is taking part in a AA training camp. Mykul Haun has been invited to take part in the Bossier-Shreveport training camp of the CHL. If Haun makes the Bossier-Shreveport club, he will be the first signed Mad Hatters player to have advanced to a AA league.


KC Caudill I do not know much about but Eric Lind should be a familiar name to those who were Trasher fans. He had a short stint with them before moving on. 

Rangers and Coyotes Both Hang On for Wins

Last night was a good hockey night. First, the New York Rangers traveled to Philadelphia where the Flyers had their home opener for the 2008-2009 season. Coming off their win over the Chicago Blackhawks the Rangers were looking for a fast start which they absolutely got. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period, getting 3 of their goals within the first ten minutes. 
Nikolai Zherdev got things going as he banged in the rebound of an Aaron Voros shot to beat Martin Biron who did not have a good start to his season. Just over one minute later Blair Betts stood in front of the net and Zherdev fed him a pass. Betts redirected it through the 5 hole of Biron to put the Rangers up 2-0 in just 5 minutes. 
Just over 3 minutes later Fredrik Sjostrom showed why he is so dangerous and that is because of his speed. A dump in from Betts took a good bounce off the corner boards. Sjostrom swooped in and went around the net, putting the puck in before Biron had any idea what was happening. The Rangers continued their dominance and put the exclamation point on their first period when Michal Rozsival ripped a shot from the point past Biron for a powerplay goal and a 4-0 lead. 
The Ranger proceeded to hang on to this one winning by a score of 4-3. Steve Valiquette was in goal and made some spectacular saves in the third period to preserve the Ranger lead. Despite a bad non-call that led to the Flyers second goal, Vally got the win and gave Henrik Lundqvist a good rest. The Rangers are now 4-0 and will put that record to the test on Monday vs Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden. 
Out in the desert, the Phoenix Coyotes had their season opener at home vs the Columbus Blue Jackets. Plenty of young guys began their NHL careers with Phoenix as Kevin Porter, Viktor Tikhonov, and Mikkel Boedker all made their debuts while Kyle Turris starts his first full professional season. Olli Jokinen was making his Coyotes debut and he didn't disappoint.
Just six minutes in, Kyle Turris made a great pass to find Jokinen in the slot who whipped it by Pascal LeClaire for a 1-0 lead on the powerplay. This was a good start considering the Coyotes powerplay was horrendous last year. Kevin Porter got his first NHL point on this play getting the secondary assist behind Turris. 
With another powerplay towards the latter part of the first period, the Coyotes capitalized again. Off the faceoff, Peter Mueller was fed the puck and he used his great slapshot to beat LeClaire for a 2-0 lead. A very good start for the Coyotes. 
The second period was not a good period for Phoenix but Ilya Bryzgalov kept them in it letting in only one goal during the frame to Derick Brassard on the powerplay.
In the third, Keith Yandle got his first of the season as his slapshot found its way through the crowd and into the back of the net. The Coyotes went on to win by a score of 3-1.
A big piece of the Coyotes win was the physicality of the game. Ed Jovanovski, David Hale, and Daniel Winnik all had big hits in a very physical game. It was a good start for Phoenix but Wayne Gretzky will surely make the team improve on playing a full 60 minutes. Bryzgalov has to work on rebound control a bit more because team will not always miss those opportunities. 
The Coyotes travel to Anaheim tonight as they start a 4 game road trip that will make stops in Anaheim, Chicago, Ottawa, and Montreal. This will be a tough test for the Coyotes who were a very good road team last year. They will not have an easy time of beating any of these teams. Playing the Ducks tonight in their home opener it will be very hard to come away with a victory. The Quackers are coming off a loss to the San Jose Sharks this past Thursday to the Sharks and will be looking to get on the winning side of things as soon as possible. 
It has not been announced who will be starting this game for Phoenix but you can bet JS Giguere will be in the for the Ducks. The Coyotes will really have to put in a hard effort to make sure they come away with two points tonight. They will have to play a much better defensive game and capitalize on the powerplay. The Ducks don't have alot of big names on offense but they can still put goals up on the board. Look for Wayne Gretzky to possibly put in Brian McGratton with Todd Fedoruk certainly staying in for tonight's tilt. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rangers Off to Best Start since 89-90 Season- Coyotes Open Up Tonight

The Garden was rocking last night as the Rangers returned from Prague to their home at Madison Square Garden in New York City as they hosted the up and coming Chicago Blackhawks. The Rangers came out to a drum roll and lined up on their blue line. Many players received big ovations while an Irish guard tapped snare drums to the entrances. It was absolutely awesome to see and I am so happy to have gotten back the MSG. 
Wade Redden, Aaron Voros, Brandon Dubinsky, and Nikolai Zherdev scored for the Rangers as the second line was on fire last night. The speed of the team is amazing making it hard for teams to cover them. Dubinsky was easily the best player on the ice for the entire game besides Henrik Lundqvist who did his part in keeping the Rangers undefeated. 
But getting back to the second line. Dubinsky and Zherdev were all over the place as their quickness was unmatched. Both played very physical games which may not be surprising for Dubinsky but Zherdev was never really known for being physical....maybe he watched some Ovechkin videos over the summer. Voros was great last night as well being the big body on that line. His goal was very nice and his celebration even better as he jumped up against the glass and acknowledged the fans. 
The first line didn't score last night save for Wade Redden banging in a puck that Blackhawks goalie Cristobal Huet had left on a silver platter. Ryan Callahan and Paul Mara both showed the grit of this team as they both decisively won fights they were involved with. The Rangers are off to their best start since the 1989-1990 season.  
Of course, not everything was 100% positive on the Ranger side. There were periods of time where the Chicago Blackhawks were controlling the puck and play. This young team has alot of good things going for them and I saw why people in Chicago were excited for their team. Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith were the two goal scorers for the Blackhawks as they certainly made it a tough home opener for the Rangers. Good luck to them as they grow up together. Like I mentioned at the game, the Coyotes and Blackhawks will be 2 of the top teams in the Western Conference in 5 years. 
Speaking of the Coyotes, they have their first game of the season tonight as they host the Columbus Blue Jackets for their home opener. Here are the projected lines tonight for Wayne Gretzky's Coyotes:

Shane Doan-Olli Jokinen-Peter Mueller
Dan Carcillo-Kyle Turris-Kevin Porter
Daniel Winnik-Martin Hanzal-Viktor Tikhonov
Todd Fedoruk-Steven Reinprecht-Mikkel Boedker

Derek Morris-Ed Jovanovski
Kurt Sauer-Zbynek Michalek
David Hale-Keith Yandle

Bryzgalov
Tellqvist

Gretzky has put some of his guys back together like the top line. It is surprising to see Mikkel Boedker way down on the 4th line but it seems like any of these lines can put the puck in the net. The speed will be key to the Coyotes as they are looking to get off on the right foot. They will have to make sure Rick Nash is contained and that the forecheck is strong. The Blue Jackets may not have alot of names but they have the talent and skill to beat you. The Yotes will need to keep the pressure high and make sure Nash doesn't run wild on them again like he did last year. I am predicting a Coyotes win by a score of 5-1. Kyle Turris will get his first official NHL goal as will Viktor Tikhonov. Jokinen will get his first goal as well. It will be a fun game and I hope the Coyotes get a good start to the season. 

Rangers are in Philadelphia tonight as their schedule continues to be painful. Make sure you tune in at 7pm on MSG.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Show on Youcastr at 5:30 PM!

Mike and I will be on Youcastr at 5:30PM EST today to preview tomorrow's game vs the Chicago Blackhawks. Make sure you tune in!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

SHOW ON WVOF AT 1!

Hey everyone. Chris and I will be on WVOF today at 1pm EST for our weekly show. Make sure you tune in online through the WVOF website! Click on Live Webstreams and then the second link on the page. Were going to go around the NHL with the news of the week, review the NHL Premiere Series and take a look at the Yotes Opener and the Rangers Home Opener! Call in if you would like to talk to us...the phone number will be announced on the show as always.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Little Jab at Fairfield

As many readers here know, I go to Fairfield University. I love it here and I never want to leave.
Being the insane hockey fan I am, I wear a New York Rangers jersey everyday. I'm not joking. EVERYDAY. I switch between #30 Henrik Lundqvist and #19 Jean Ratelle, both blue CCM jerseys. 
So why am I mentioning this on my blog? Well I'll use this blog, as you know, to write whatever so here is a little off the path. 
People have started to notice that I wear these everyday (took you long enough) and I am sure people think I am weird, gross, insane, dirty,  or whatever other adjectives you want to throw at me. I really don't care what people think. I really don't care what words people say behind me about this kind of thing. If you think it is stupid, that is your opinion and good for you. You can have that opinion. 
So why do I do it? I am passionate. Call me insane, passionate, whatever word you want to use that lets you sleep at night. The point is I am being myself. I don't care what people think. I am a New York Rangers (and Phoenix Coyotes...I wear a hat everyday as well) fan through and through. There are very few things that I am passionate about in my life but this is one of them. So what is wrong with showing my passion everyday? What is wrong with showing who and what I am everyday? 
I know people who are very passionate about different things but they are afraid to show it. I'm not afraid to show it and I am never going to stop. And yes...the jerseys are clean. 

Coyotes Release Official Roster and Shuffle Lines

The Coyotes have put up their official roster for opening night on their website here. A very interesting roster that includes both first round picks from the 2008 draft...for now. As hockey fans know, a player like Mikkel Boedker can play up to 10 games in the NHL and still be sent back to juniors for that season. Viktor Tikhonov, who has been receiving high praise from Coach Wayne Gretzky, made the team. Rookie Kevin Porter is on the team as well as Kyle Turris who was pretty much a lock since the end of last year. 
Right off the bat, the Coyotes have 4 rookies in the forward lines. Now throw in young players like Peter Mueller, Martin Hanzal, Enver Lisin, Dan Carcillo, and Daniel Winnik and you have 9 out of the 14 forwards on the roster 23 years old or younger. The average age of the 14 forwards is about 24 years old. Talk about a youth movement. Ranger fans think they have a young team, they should look at the Phoenix Coyotes. 
On defense, the team is going with 6 defensemen which are the six most people expected. Ed Jovanovski, Derek Morris, Kurt Sauer, Zbynek Michalek, David Hale, and Keith Yandle are the starting 6 for the Coyotes blue line. Of course the pairings are still unknown but really no surprises on the part of these selections. The Coyotes have a few young defensemen like Jonas Ahnelov and Chris Summers but both need more playing time in the AHL and in the NCAA respectively.
Ilya Bryzgalov will be starting his first full season as a full time starter with Mikael Tellqvist backing him up. Although that could soon change depending on how the goaltending battle down in the minors plays out between Al Montoya, Josh Tordjman, and Joel Gistedt. Tellqvist is a great team guy and a very good backup but he will have to watch his back with those three young goalies fighting for playing time. 
For any Coyotes fan, Wayne Gretzky is known for shaking up the lines. So it should come as no surprise that he has already shuffled the lines after the last preseason game but I disagree with what he has done.
Since about the third preseason game for the Coyotes, the lines have been like these:

Doan-Jokinen-Mueller
Carcillo-Turris-Boedker
Winnik-Hanzal-Tikhonov
Reinprecht, Porter, Lisin, Fedoruk, McGrattan

This mostly concerns the top 2 lines. Since draft day fans have been drooling over that first line that I have posted above and during the preseason it was really starting to come together. The 2nd line was also developing some nice chemistry. Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker already had developed chemistry from prospect and rookie camps during the summer. Adding in Dan Carcillo who will be looked to for more offense makes for a young but interesting line. 
Gretzky has now moved to this:

Doan-Turris-Carcillo
Boedker-Jokinen-Mueller

It is unknown which one of these will be the #1 line but here is the problem. The Coyotes have lacked a legitimate top line since Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk and Mike Gartner were the top 3. Why would you break up Doan, Jokinen, and Mueller who have really made some chemistry during the preseason and have developed into a potentially dangerous offensive line? The young guys like Turris and Boedker weren't put on the top line so they wouldn't have to go up against the really big bodies in the Pacific division and Western Conference. Put the old lines back together and see what happens. They have been working pretty well to this point so there is no reason to disband them and start all over. 
However, I will give these lines a shot. It may not be much of one but they have a chance to work. 

Don't Fret!

So things have been a little rough for the EPHL in the last few days. Yesterday, they announced that the Copper City Chiefs were folding and the New Hampshire Freeze were suspending operations until the 2009-2010 season. A new team, the Hudson Valley Bears, is joining the league after establishing solid financial ground and league tests I am sure.
Being down to 4 teams isn't the worst thing in the world. Having 4 financially solid teams that will last through the season is better than having 6 teams with 2 dropping out midseason. The EPHL made a wise decision doing this move as much as fans may want to see more teams. 
You can bet that Jim Riggs, Tim Kolpien, and the rest of the EPHL brass have learned from this experience and will certainly apply it when new teams are started up in the future. Support these teams because this league could turn into something really special. For Danbury fans, we have wanted hockey back at the level the Trashers were. The Mad Hatters need support if they are going to do that and I have seen the support that Danbury can give. Buy your tickets. Try at least one game and if you don't like it then fine. Click the link in the upper right hand corner of the blog to purchase tickets to the Hatters!!! 

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rangers Sweep Europe


The Rangers are off to the best start they could have possibly had. Rangers are coming off another 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in which they dominated the play for much of the game, especially in the second period. But lets look at these 2 games as a whole.
New York out shot Tampa Bay 80-40 in both of these games combined, scoring on 76 of the 80 shots. Is scoring something that needs to be worked on? Yes it does. Goals win games. But the important thing here is the defense held up very well against a team who has some firepower to their offense. The penalty kill was a perfect 9 for 9 this weekend against Tampa. Goals win games, but defense wins championships. The goals will come but the fact the Rangers have learned to play a very good overall defense first is an important block in getting through the season and a good sign.
One person who may be helping the defense settle into their groove is Henrik Lundqvist. He played very well this weekend, saving the day for the Rangers when they needed him to. So much for all that stuff about his knees.
Markus Naslund played very well this weekend. He scored the first goal yesterday and made a nice pass today to the slot to find Wade Redden who tied the game up. After that, the 2nd period was all Rangers as they continued to dominate the play for the whole period. Another hardworking goal was scored later as Scott Gomez banged in the rebound of an Aaron Voros wrist shot. Gomez and Redden both finished with a goal and an assist each. Dmitri Kalinin played a much better game today as he looks to fit in with the team. Fans may have been disappointed in his play yesterday but he looked the best he has in a Ranger uniform today. Hopefully similar play will come from him in the future. 
The Rangers are now off until next Friday when they play their home opener at Madison Square Garden against the Chicago Blackhawks. We will have more on this in the coming week. Mike and I will discuss this past weekend on our show Wednesday at 1pm on WVOF and then Thursday, we will have a special edition on our show the very next day on Youcastr. Time will be announced. It is a good start for Ranger fans and will hold us over for the week. Make sure you watch the news because you never know what is going to happen. 

Image found on NYR website here

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mad Hatters Individual Tickets on Sale Now!

Everyone should head here to purchase your tickets for individual games for the Danbury Mad Hatters inaugural season. Opening Night is On Saturday November 1st at 7:30 PM. BE THERE! You can purchase tickets online at the link. 

Friday, October 3, 2008

Oh Captain, My Captain


I can hear it now:

"Please welcome to the ice...the 25th Captain in Ranger history...#23....CHRIS DRURY!"

According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post here, Chris Drury has been named captain of the New York Rangers by Tom Renney. Scott Gomez and Markus Naslund will serve as the two alternate captains. 
Okay...so this isn't really a surprise to anyone but Drury's performance vs Metallurg Magnitogorsk certainly solidified Tom Renney's decision to name Drury the captain. Along with Scott Gomez getting a letter on the sweater, Renney and the Ranger organization has completely moved on from last year's team. This team is now TRULY in the hans of Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. Their big signings more than a year ago foreshadowed this would happen but it is now real.
In Markus Naslund, the Ranger coaching staff has made a very good decision. Naslund served as captain of the Vancouver Canucks for many years and he was certainly considered to get the C. 
But it really doesn't matter what letter, if any, is on the shoulder of players. Renney and the coaches will be expecting leadership to not only come from these new captains but also younger players like Brandon Dubinsky, Marc Staal, and Ryan Callahan. Guys with lower roles such as Blair Betts and Paul Mara will also be relied on adding some leadership for this team whether it is on or off the ice. 
Leadership will be looked to come from almost every facet of the team but having Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, and Markus Naslund at the top of the heap will help facilitate leaders down the chain. Having Nikolai Zherdev, someone who has had problems feeling like a valued member of a team, and Dmitri Kalinin to go up and accept the Victoria Cup was a great way to make these guys feel like they are apart of this team and are important to the success. 
The Rangers also made their final 2 cuts with Corey Potter and Brian Fahey being sent down to Hartford. Both of them had excellent pre seasons and certainly would have made this team if the top 6 hadn't already been set. Either one of them will be the first to be called up if injuries do arise. Miika Wiikman will be the 3rd cut but he is kept on the trip as a precaution. He will be the starting goalie for Hartford for sure. 
Like I mentioned before, our Youcastr episode for today has been cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. We will be back on WVOF on Wednesday and then have a Youcastr show next Thursday to preview opening night next Friday. Make sure you tune into MSG tomorrow and Sunday for the two games in Prague as the Rangers take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Image found on NY Post here

Show Change

Sorry everyone but today's Youcastr show has been cancelled due to some scheduling conflicts. We will put something up here for your reading pleasure later today as Tom Renney announces the final 3 cuts (2 of which look to be Corey Potter and Brian Fahey per Zipay), his captain, and one last look at the final roster of your 2008-2009 New York Rangers. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Youcastr Tomorrow!

Hey everyone. If you didn't hear our show on WVOF yesterday, we announced that we will be doing a special segment of From the Blues to the Desert on Friday October 3rd at 4 PM EST on Youcastr. If you don't remember how to get there, just click the link "From the Blues to the Desert" over on the side of the web page and listen from there. We hope to see you guys in the chat room.

We will be going over that amazing game vs Metallurg and taking one last preview look at the Rangers as they begin their regular season on Saturday. TUNE IN! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rangers Come Back with a 4-3 Win over Metallurg


What a comeback. I caught the 2nd and 3rd periods of the game vs Metallurg Magnitogorsk and it was unbelievable. We saw the worst of the Rangers and the very best. The comeback that happened is amazing. 

Going down 3-0 in the second period is nothing easy to come back from but the Rangers persevered. Chris Drury was fed a nice pass by Nikolai Zherdev for the Rangers first goal. A very enthusiastic Drury got the Rangers rolling. 
Later in the period Dan Fritsche, who has had an up and down camp, certainly made a case for his staying on the team when he drilled a slapshot past Metallurg goaltender Andrei Mezin through the five hole. 3-2 Metallurg. 
Of course, Ranger fans are very pessimistic so we thought it all ended here. Magnitogorsk started pressuring right after that goal but Henrik Lundqvist, who has had a rough preseason including the first half of this game, made some big saves to keep the Rangers close. This all set up the only man who could possibly tie the game. You got it. Chris Drury. A shot was taken by Scott Gomez which was stopped by Mezin but he couldn't control the rebound. Drury, standing in front of the net as always, banged the puck home and did his best Bobby Orr impression as he celebrated tripping over Mezin. 
So now what? I have class at 4pm and it is about 3:30...things are getting tight. Al Trautwig mentions that the teams will go through continuous overtime if the game does head in that direction. 
Well there was no need for that. Ryan Callahan intercepted a pass by a Metallurg defenseman and skated in one on one with Andrei Mezin. A nice fake to the forehand and then back to the backhand gave the Rangers their first and only lead of the game with 21 seconds remaining in the game. Obviously Callahan was pumped...as seen by the picture. The comeback was made complete. 
I will have more on this game later. If you missed the game, there will be a replay at 8pm on MSG and a Rangers in 60 at 11pm.

Picture found on TSN here

From the Blues to the Desert on WVOF!

Hey everyone. Mike and I will be on WVOF today at 1pm EST for our weekly show. Make sure you tune in online through the WVOF website! Click on Live Webstreams and then the second link on the page. It is going to be fun! Call in if you would like to talk to us...the phone number will be announced on the show as always.