Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why defense wins chapionships

If there's anything we've seen during these NHL playoffs its that offense sells tickets, but defense really does win championships. I'm not only talking about D- men either; the defensive forwards and goaltenders also. Defense seems to be the achilles heel of all Cup winning teams, from the 1937 Boston Bruins, with the likes of Dit Clapper, Eddie Shore, Jack Crawford and Frank Brimsek, to the 2001 Colerado Avalanche and Alex Tanguay, Ray Bourque, Greg DeVries, and Patrick Roy. This year looks to be no different, with the Detroit Red Wings having the most experienced and most tenacious defensive corps, and being up 2-0 on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
But what about the teams that looked like they had it all put together but still lost out? Take a Look at the Minnesota Wild, who were riddled with injuries along the blueline. The Wild played a total of six playoff games, and played a total of nine defenseman. They had a total of 13 man- games lost due to injuries, which hurt the play of goalie Nick Backstrom, who saw a total of 170 shots and had a 2.83 GAA, averaging to him facing about 28 shots per game, whereas he had a 2.31 GAA in the regular season.
Let's take a look at the Philadelphia Flyers now, who got pounded with injuries in the Eastern Conference Finals. Kimmo Timmonen was a catalyst for the Flyers on the blueline, until he got diagnosed with a blood clot prior to the Finals. He only played one game, game five, and at nowhere near 100%, although he did play 44 minutes. Brandon Coburn was also injured, playing only 2 games in the Finals. Timmonen and Coburn made up the first defensive pairing for the Flyers, and with them being out, it opened up the door for inexperience. Kukkonen also played just two games in the Finals, which meant AHL'er Ryan Parent had to step in and play, forcing more minutes on Hacher and Smith, which is never a good thing and will catch up to a team eventually, and it did.
Finally, lets look at the West Champion, the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings have the best defensive corps in the league, which is why they'll beat the Penguins. The Wings have everything you look for in a team defense: leadership, skating ability, offensive skill, and toughness. Lindstrom is still a very good defenseman with a great shot and unbelievable hockey sense. His partner, Lebda, is also a solid physical defenseman. Chelios is a still a serviceable defenseman who provides leadership and demands accountability and is always in position. Lija is a solid physical blueliner who came through the Wings system; their ability to develop players overseas is unmatched. Let's not forget about Kronvall, who bangs the bodies like no one else in the NHL, and is really coming into his own. The list of great defenseman in Detroit goes on and on, no wonder they keep winning.

Friday, May 23, 2008

FSN North TV demos

I know all television stations are trying to do is kill time, but do they have to do it in such a painful way? The FSN guys are always telling you you how to do something or reenacting something and its so boring to watch most of the time. I think tonight its Roy Smalley and Ron Coomer showing you how to argue with an umpire. Ho hum. During the Wild and Gophers hockey seasons its even worse though, with Darby Hendrickson and everybody's favorite Kevin Gorg telling you how to do things. Now, Darby knows how to do things, and Gorg likes to think he does. Gorg coached hockey at St. Thomas for like five minutes, but still. The only reason I watch those things is for when Gorg and Darby give a clinic on bodychecking. Seriously FSN, is this your idea of entertainment?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who are these guys?

Anyone paying attention to the Twins lately? they're on a tear. Who would have guessed the Morneau's and the Mauer's of the world aren't leading the team? It's Howie Clark of all people. A 17 year veteran who has only 900- some at bats. Lets not get overblown here, but when pitchers get hits that win you games, you've got a good thing going. We looked pretty impressive winning 11-4 last night, but we're still around .500. Imagine if we could get Morneau and Mauer hitting?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vengance.....Next Year

It kind of defeats the point that I'm talking about the orange and the black on a site called Bleed Green and Red, but deal with it. It's too bad the Flyers couldn't get it done, but to be honest, they didn't deserve it. They played terrible all series against the Penguins, and we only played up to potential one game-- no, one period, the 1st period of game 4. Other than that, we sucked. Biron was off his game and outside of Umberger and Briere, we got no offensive production. Yeah, we got hit hard with injuries to our defensive corps, but I'll give credit where credit is due: Crosby and Malkin were the real deal.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I am so dumb

I've had my dumb moments in my life, but this might top them all. I made what could be construed as a drunk call, except I was stone- cold sober. Yesterday, I was watching the Red Wings game with my boy at his graduation party, and with 10 minutes left, I called my brother to ask him to pick me up since he had the car. Anyways, the Red Wings got a 2-1 rush right then or something, and I looked up at the TV while I was dialing him. Or I thought I called him. It turned out it was this random friend that I hadn't called in like a year. I was like "hey bro, wanna give me a ride in like 5 minutes?" thinking I was talking to my brother, but it turns out I wasn't. So there I was, 5 minutes later without a ride. It took me a while to realize the error of my ways and to call the guy back and apologize. So yeah, needles to say I was pretty embarrassed.