This is just going to be a quick update of what has gone down in the NHL over the past week, those of you who read some of my earlier posts, know I like to do these on Fridays during the summer. But a lot has happened this week around the NHL; From the Winter Classic, to racial slur I'm going to cover it all, including some world junior highlights. I'm going to do my best to keep this blog short and sweet.
The fifth edition of the Winter Classic kicked off in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon, a game that saw the Rangers beat the Flyers 3-2. It was a great game from the second period on; Lundqvist came up big for the Rangers and ultimately kept them in the game early on, Brayden Schenn got his first career NHL goal, and the Rangers found an unlikely hero in Michael Rupp. Sorry if you want the full in depth recap you can read my, Winter Classic 2012 blog. Unfortunately, fans didn't buy into the who Rangers vs. Flyers rivalry and this edition of the Winter classic became the lowest rated edition; it earned a 2.4, which is lower than Gretzky's last game and was watched by just 3.74 million people. Some reasons for the event not being successful; The game got moved from it's usual Jan. 1, to Jan 2. which is not an actual holiday in the states, the game started 2hrs late, and their wasn't enough hype about the game. Whatever the reason, the NHL will want to reconsider some things, before the 2013 Winter Classic in Detroit.
Next up, I'll wrap up the World Junior tournament; Canada was able to work together as a team and kick some Finnish butt, to win the bronze medal. Canada beat the Fins, 4-0 goals by; Scheifele, Pearson and Howden (2) helped seal the win for Canada. But let's not forget the amazing play of Visentin, who really stood on his head, to record a 27 shot shutout, despite not facing a huge number of shots, Visentin faced difficult shots. His best save of the tournament, perhaps of his whole career, came when the puck bounced up, then rolled down the back of his jersey and landed in Visentin's catching mitt tangled behind his back. Here is the link to the save; epic save! Good job boys, way to bring home a medal!
So the gold medal game did not involve Canada for the first time in 4 years, so instead it showcased Russia and Sweden. Russia was looking to repeat, as they won the tournament last year, and Sweden hadn't won gold in 31 years. It was a fantastic game, that ended in a 0-0 tie at the end of 60 minutes, in those 60 minutes Sweden dominated Russia, who only managed 18 shots all game, Russian goalie Andrei Makarov played fantastic, managing to keep Russia in the game, Makarov made 57 saves. I the third period each team had chances to break the 0-0 dead lock but neither capitalized; a shot from the point found it's way behind Makarov, hit the post and then hit Makarov's rump, then narrowly missed the other post. Russia had a chance with 30 seconds left, on a phenomenal pass, but Swedish goalie Johan Gustafsson stood his ground and denied to point blank shot forcing the game into OT. Then 10:09 into the extra period, Mika Zibanejad came streaking in off the right wing, after a Russia mishandled the puck, Zibanejad then made a beautiful back-hand that finally broke the scoreless game. The drought is over, 31 years later Sweden has won a gold medal! It was a great game but Sweden deserved to win, as they played a much better game than Russia. Congratulations to everyone who got to play for their countries at this years tournament, and I wish you all the best with your pro careers!
In case you missed the announcement, 6 players have automatically been voted into the All-Star game in Ottawa. Now 4 of them are Senators, which proves that 1) home town stuffed the ballot. 2) fans shouldnot be given the right to vote; there were far more worthy players. I could understand 1 or 2 Sens, but 4?! Non the less; here are your starting 6; Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek. Joining them will be; Toronto Maple Leaf defenceman Dion Phaneuf and Vezina and Stanley Cup winning goalie Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins. I agree with having Thomas, Karlsson and Michalek, The rest I'm not too sure about, it just proves that fans can not be trusted with the vote. If you want to see the Senators play, go to a stinking Senators game!
Next up, Brian Burke; When they mode those commercials for the most interesting man in the world, I think it was modelled after Burkie! The GM who can pull off blockbuster deals, find players that no one else wants, Strike a deal that mainly benefits the Leafs, can call a hockey player a rat and hold a press conference with his tie off and hanging around his neck. Burke was visible upset after having to demote Colton Orr to the Toronto Marlies; “When a player the character of Colton Orr can’t contribute in this league, I’m not sure I like where the league is going.” “I know the Greenpeace folks will be happy with this,” Burke said, “but I wonder where we’re going when [NHL vice-president of discipline] Brendan Shanahan’s got six hearings every two days.” “if we don’t have the guys looking after each other, then the rats will take this game over.” There will be, in his words, “no checks and balances.” Sadly enough I have to agree with Burke, there is no accountability or respect in the game anymore, players now know they can hit/hurt someone and not have to fight or be gang tackled anymore. The worst that happens is a 6 game suspension. The game we all know and love is taking a dangerous turn for the worse! I for one will not watch a hockey in which hitting and fighting are not allowed, but the way the game has turned players like Colton Orr who fight and stand up for teammates, no longer have a spot on the roster.
I've gone long enough without a single mention of the Buffalo Sabres in a blog, so I must end this madness. Tonight the Sabres will get a much needed player returning to the Lineup, Tyler Myers will return from wrist surgery tonight agains the Hurricanes. Sabres have had some struggles on their blue-line lately, and getting the veteran Myers back could help and some stability, and even help ol' Miller out between the pipes. Myers missed 19 games after undergoing surgery on his wrist.
I'll wrap things up with a quick update on any and all suspensions from this week;
Let's start off with Rene Bourque, who received a 5 game suspension for delivering a chicken wing elbow to the head of Capital's Nicklas Backstrom.
Next up is Dan Carcillo, who has just been suspended for the 5th time in his NHL Career and the third time this season; Carcillo received 7 games for driving Oilers Tom Gilbert into the boards. Both Carcillo and Gibert left the game with knee injuries.
Krys Barch received 1 game for alleged racial slurs made to Montreal defenceman P.K Subban.
Hope you all enjoyed this blog, there were too many mini stories that I wanted to briefly touch upon so I thought this was the easiest way to do so!