Tag Archives: NHL

Not Playing Hard Ball.

Since the last CBA the NHL has had seven different Stanley Cup Champions in as many years. Los Angeles won their first title this year.

The current NHL collective bargaining agreement expires September 15th. At first it looked like a lockout was looming. The owners attempted to play some hard ball. They put their foot down with an outrageous CBA proposal obviously in the hopes that the NHLPA would give a strong reaction.

In the owners proposal, the players would take a 24% income cut. The owners, like in the previous NBA and NFL lockouts cite rising costs as a reason for a reconstructed CBA. This time however asking the players for such a sharp pay cut puts the responsibility of those heavy losses on the heads of the players. A thesis that is both flawed and unfair.

That’s why the NHLPA’s counter proposal is so surprising.

The players’ proposal by comparison sounds level-headed and open to compromise. Instead of looking to join the hard ball game, the players association offered to take pay cut, by reducing their share of hockey related revenue from 57% to 43%, and they decided not propose a softened or removed salary cap. A softened salary cap would be to the players’ advantage.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, has hinted on a couple of occasions that he would like the two sides to be able to negotiate through the season. The owners have made it abundantly clear that their stance is immovable. They will not start the season with the current CBA. This of course also puts the players in the lead of the public relations battle. As they should be.

If hockey is played, it will be due to the flexibility of the players.

If it isn’t it is the rigidity of the owners at work.

Less hockey means that the fans get screwed no matter what. Fan support has been up in the sport. Lockouts like this are always stupid. Since the last CBA was agreed upon the NHL has experienced an amazing $3.3 billion of growth. Fans always have to wonder, where’s the money? Can’t they split it and get along with their business?

They can. They won’t, but they can.

The players, owners, and fans want hockey. The fans don’t deserve this.

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-Carolina Hurricanes Jim Rutherford on the signing of Alexander Semin. Semin signed a 1 year $7million dollar deal with Carolina. Though enigmatic at times Semin has scored at least 25 goals in his past 5 seasons with the Capitals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5z-LLqnaRM

Alexander’s elite skill level and ability to score from the wing fill an important need on the ice, and we hope that a fresh start in Carolina will serve both Alexander and our team well.

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Daily Rain 5-18-12: Pacers Crush Heat, Chris Paul Stopped Again In San Antonio & Kings Keep Rolling

Dwayne Wade and the Heat Lay Get Stomped In Indianna

To say that the Miami Heat miss Chris Bosh would be like saying a construction worker misses his hammer or a singer misses her voice. It seems that important. Bosh apart from being the glue guy that makes many of Miami’s play work, is the closest thing that they have to a big man. This easy to notice in the difference in rebounds. Miami got their clock cleaned on the boards. They were outrebounded 52-36. An unencumbered Roy Hibbert contributed 18 rebounds alone.

George Hill played a great game with 20 points and 5 assists. He really stepped and easily played his best game of the series. While that was happening though, Dwayne  Wade scored just 5 points. Just 5. He was outscored by fellow teammate, non-superstar, and non-franchise player Mario Chalmers who scored 25 points. Wade and Spoelstra also had an argument in the huddle as the team unraveled. The Heat lost and for once the blame should be place no where near Lebron.

Wade was 2 of 13 from the field and seemed to be an offensive liability but, the Heat have no other options. Especially when fellow starters Dexter Pittman and Shane Battier combined for 0 points in total. They were 0 of 9 between the two of them.

Miami needs a more efficient way of scoring than 3 point shots of which they were 4 of 20 as a team. The Pacers out rebounded them and these bad shots are a part of the reason why.

San Antonio Wrote The Book On Basketball, Apparently.

If there is a kid that you know that wants to play basketball, make them watch the Spurs, specifically the Spurs in these playoffs. The Spurs play the game of basketball the right way. They move the ball to all the right places. They San Antonio plays, its just cool to watch because everything makes so much sense. Every shot they take is the result of an offense that has moved the Clippers out of place defensively that most of their shots are nearly uncontested.

With Tim Duncan looking like the 2007 version of himself the Spurs really do look unstoppable. Duncan had 18 points making 9 of 14 of his shots. Once Tim gets going it opens up things for Tony Parker who scored 22 points and the rest of the Spurs. Duncan was also a presence to be reckoned with defensively. He deterred many would be Clipper shots. He didn’t block any but just being there makes Los Angeles really think twice about going inside.

There’s been a lot of Blake Griffin hate lately. Not from me but it has been around. I like Blake as a player. I think he’s a better and more well rounded player than people give him credit for. He doesn’t have that many post moves or a consistent shot but, he is better on the low block than he’s given credit for and his mid range jumper, though not great, is a whole lot better than people give him credit for. Blake scored 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting and it wasn’t all just dunks. Offensively he played well. All of that being said though, Blake Griffin needs to rebound. His team needs him to. Griffin grabbed a single rebound. Just the one. This is nearly as shocking as Dwayne Wade’s 5 points. A big man must rebound. It should be a law. A guy with Blake’s size and jumping ability grabbing a single rebound in a playoff game is nothing short of a heinous sin. Especially when Chris Paul the team’s highest scorer is fighting multiple injuries. Having a few extra possessions could come in handy.

“All the King’s horses and all the King’s men kicked the Coyotes butts all over again.” — Barry Melrose

That about sums it up. In a game Phoenix had to win they didn’t. They weren’t able to stop the Kings in almost any capacity. The Kings out shot them 28-19. This is despite the fact that Los Angeles had more giveaways than Phoenix did.

If anyone still has doubts about how good Anze Kopitar is they should probably let go of them now. The guy is legit. At the beginning of the playoffs I didn’t know the guy from Adam but, in the postseason he’s really come on and is proving to be a threat that must be watched.

The eight seeded Kings are one game away from shattering expectations. I didn’t have them making it this far. The level of parity in the NHL is unreal. Even in the Playoffs its hard to know who can turn it on and compete and who can’t.

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Daily Rain 5-17-12: Celtics Destroy Sixers, Lakers Give Game 2 Away to Thunder & Devils Even Series

The Boston Celtics Amp Up the Defense and Embarrass The Philadelphia 76ers At Home

The Celtics trailed the 76ers by 5 points going into the 2nd quarter of this game but upon regaining the lead never trailed again. In fact, wether or not the Sixers would ever see the lead again was never in doubt as the Celtics rolled on to a 107-91 victory. There are two main differences between this game 3 and game 2.

The first difference is, that Paul Pierce was more aggressive and more productive. In game 2 Pierce scored 7 points while shooting an anemic 2 of 9 in that game. In game 3 Pierce started the game with two dunks. He would go on to score 24 points on 6 of 17 shooting. That’s the Paul Pierce the Celtics are going to need if they plan on winning this series or any future ones.

The second difference, is defense. Boston murdered Philadelphia on the defensive glass gathering 37 defensive boards. Also none of the Sixers starters scored over 20 points. In fact, none of them scored greater than 15 points. Philadelphia shooting guard Evan Turner was held in check as he scored just 4 points and made 1 of his 10 shot attempts.

The Sixers are not out of this series but will need to make some offensive adjustments to match the re-emergence of the Celtics defense.

 The Oklahoma City Thunder Erase A 7 Point Deficit In the Final Two Minutes to “Steal” A Game At Home.

In the first quarter of game 1 of this series it became apparent that the Lakers had a distinct size advantage inside over the Thunder. When the Lakers wandered away from what many perceive to be their game plan, pounding the ball down low, they spiraled out of control allowing the Thunder to run and hit shoot  often uncontested jump shots. In game 2 the Lakers stick to the game plan and control much of the game thanks to the dominating play of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. So L.A. wins right?

Not so fast amigo. A series of gaffes nearing the end of the game caused Los Angeles to surrender a 7 point lead in the final two minutes of the game. First Kevin Durant stole an inbound pass from Kobe Bryant and slammed home an easy 2 points. Then James Harden was allowed to go coast to coast for an easy lay up that brought the Thunder within 1 point. Kevin Durant hit the floater on the baseline that would give the Thunder a 1 point lead. The Lakers last possession was a flare for Kobe Bryant but Metta World Peace caught Russell Westbrook sleeping on the inbound pass and hit a wide open Steve Blake. Blake however would not hit the wide open 3 point shot and the Lakers lose by 1 point.

Steve Blake had a few options. He could have made the shot, he could have used the fact that Westbrook had to jump to recover to defend him and pump faked and then drove to the basket for a better look, or he could have passed it to Bynum who had emerged on the low block. He had 5 seconds. That’s more than enough time. Despite all of this to blame the loss on Steve Blake would be asinine.  The Lakers attempted 77 shots before that last one and if they had made more than 30 of those this game may not even have been close. If anyone is to blame it should be Kobe. He shot a an inefficient 9 of 25 from the field and hit none of the 6 3-pointers he attempted. None. Steve Blake played a hand in the loss but Kobe’s impact was certainly bigger.

New Jersey Devils Even The Series Against the New York Rangers

When the Devils took the ice in game 1 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals they got run over. Plain and simple. They didn’t look ready and the Rangers looked very ready. New Jersey did a great job of bouncing back in game 2. They were able to do something few teams this season have. Fool Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, arguably the league’s best at his position. This did so with a number of redirected shots including David Clarkson’s go ahead shot in the 3rd period. Clarkson has proved once again in the playoffs that he can be relied upon for clutch plays.

Speaking of clutch plays, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur made an amazing save. As Rangers right wing Marian Gaborik attacked the goal he tried to flip a shot over Brodeur who had fallen over. Brodeur raised his right leg up, as he was on his stomach, and kicked the puck away saving a goal. I gush about Henrik Lundqvist being the best in the league but it’s plays like those that remind us why the 40 year old Brodeur is a legend and one of the best to play the game. Ever.

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Daily Rain 5-13-12: A Tale of Two Game 7’s; Lakers and Rangers Advance

Rangers Top Caps Conclude Thrilling Seven Game Series

The Washington Capitals started the first period on the wrong foot. The Rangers scored their first goal 92 seconds into regulation and never looked back. This is due in large part to Henrik Lundqvist. He’s the best goalie in the league in my opinion and when he’s handed  a lead you can pretty much bet the farm that he’ll hold it. Nobody else in the league does it better. The Capitals were unable to get anything going really. They looked a little underprepared but the credit goes to New York’s defense.

Next up for the Rangers is the New Jersey Devils in the eastern conference finals.

The Lakers Defeat the Nuggets In Their Seven Game Series

The Los Angeles started game 7 with an intensity and effort that was 180 degrees in difference from the effort they started with in game 6. While some of this can be credited to the return of Ron Art . . . er . . . Metta World Peace, who brought extra defense and outside shooting, the Lakers seemed to just need their backs against a wall. Pau Gasol who had played softer than Charmin all playoffs like finally attacked the rim in a fashion not unlike his much tougher younger brother. There was a play when Pau seemingly rebounded the ball a billion times against the much smaller Denver Nugget front court.

The contributions of umm . . . Metta World Peace are not to be overlooked. He was very much able to control Danilo Gallinari. Gallo was unable to do anything against him and as a result he hit only 1 of 9 shots from the field, one open three point shot.

Next up for the Lakers is the Oklahoma City Thunder. A much more talented team than the Nuggets with nearly equal depth. I don’t believe the Lakers win that series. I’ve got Oklahoma City in 6 games.

Manchester City Wins The English Premier League In Unnecessarily Dramatic Fashion

Manchester City topped the Queens Park Rangers and won the English Premier League title for the first time in 44 years. Queens Park unexpectedly took the lead in the second half and then held their own for the rest of the game. They even did so a man down, no thanks to the buffoonery of Joey Barton who acquired a red card in what seemed a one man campaign to sink his team and his career when he kicked Manchester City’s Kun Aguero in the back of the leg.

Manchester City responded with two goals in stoppage time with an effort nothing short of incredible. The thing is, Manchester City wouldn’t have needed any of that if they had just taken care of business earlier in the game. They allowed a team that they were, at least on paper, better than to dominate the game and to do so with 10 men on the field. Manchester City’s lack of aggression and sense of urgency in the waning seconds of the game nearly did them in. Still, it was both a solid victory for Man. City and a very entertaining game.

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Daily Rain 5-10-12

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals Proves That NHL Is  More Exciting Than The NBA (in the postseason anyway).

As a fan of the Capitals I’m glad that they were able to force a game seven of this second round series. More importantly, I’d like to take this time to say that the NHL playoffs are better than the NBA playoffs.

The NHL is less predictable. In the NBA there are about four contenders for the title and we’ve known who they were about halfway through the season. Barring injuries, we know who will win in the NBA playoffs. In the NHL the eighth seeded Los Angeles Kings were able to beat the first seeded Vancouver Canucks and the second seed in the St. Louis Blues. The NBA may give us some great games but we know who is in and who is out most of the time. The first round of the NBA playoffs have been awful.

There are too many teams in the mix that have no chance of winning a title. Lebron can praise the strengths of the Pacers until he’s blue in the face. He knows the Heat are winning that series, I know it, and the Pacers are going to know it too soon enough.

In Hockey it really feels like anything can happen.

What’s Next For The Knicks?

The New York Knicks were run over by the Miami Heat. With the exception of game 4 in this series where Carmelo scored 41 points, the Knicks looked like anything but a playoff team. They were outclassed, pounded, and they seem to have very few options offensively outside of Carmelo. Coach Mike Woodson did a good job with what he had but, what he had wasn’t much.

The Knicks should consider moving Amar’e to add pieces around Melo. Stoudemire has a lot of mileage on him and he doesn’t seem to ever be healthy enough to be a viable number two option for that offense. Tyson Chandler doesn’t score consistently and J.R. Smith plays well but he is not dominant.

I know I’m piling on and it’s been said before but, Carmelo Anthony needs to show up next season in shape. He needs to add strength and stamina. Mostly stamina since, the thing that suffers the most when he’s tired is his defense and he wasn’t really great at that already.

The Clippers Are In Trouble. Big Trouble.

Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph started game 5 of the series like men on a mission. The two men had been successfully tamed for the greater part of this series however, they started last night’s game rebounding and attacking the bucket early. This lead to a big first quarter lead that proved to be the difference maker in the game. When Gasol and Randolph play their best basketball they’re a hard to team to beat and the Clippers are too soft inside to actually stop them.

Adding to the Clippers woes, Blake Griffin hyperextended his knee and Chris Paul re-agitated a groin injury. While Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro assured everyone that his two stars would be okay it seems that injuries, especially those two injuries would have some kind of effect. If Griffin can still jump the Clippers can still use him but Chris Paul cannot afford to be hampered. Especially since the speed of Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley has proven troublesome for the Clippers defense.

I think this series goes seven games.

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Why do fans say ‘we’?

I’ve been asked this question before when I root for any of my teams. Why do you say ‘we’? I guess it looks kind of ridiculous. Some guy at home on his couch. Probably miles away for the team he’s rooting for yelling at the top of his lungs, “WE WON!” When we all know that they had nothing to do with that victory. Is it okay to include yourself in as a factor of the team winning?

Yes. Yes it is. The fact of the matter is that the fans are a factor too. We buy tickets and merchandise and the money from these things go to the teams that we buy them from. Most of the revenue from the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL tend to come from TV deals which are guaranteed in nature. However these deals wouldn’t guaranteed if fans didn’t watch the games on TV. As fans we tend to get ignored and stepped on. We put up with a lot of crap and often times we say nothing.

The NFL labor negotiations and subsequent lockout are a perfect example. There are quite literally billions of dollars at stake and the players want their cut. The owners want even more than that. The crazy thing is that all of these topics end up on the table like the 18 game season and moving kick offs up to the 35 yard line, all of this happens without talking to the fans and seeing what they want. This literally works in no other industry. In no other industry is it acceptable to make decisions without thinking about the customer.

I think fans should be able to include themselves with their teams because they’ve earned it. They put themselves through a lot and they pay for it. The true worry for our major sports league’s should be that if the fans ever decided to work together we might be able to force some things to happen. Maybe.

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