November 30, 2005
A big thanks to Patrick for telling me about The Power Play Post Show. This is a podcast dedicated to the AHL. One of the participants is the B-Sens Grady Whittenburg! And checkout Patrick’s website for more AHL coverage.
November 29, 2005
Welcome to a belated Weekly Crosscheck brought to you by John of the Pucknuts.
The other John has traveled north, presumably in search of penalty minutes. He was last seen trying to coax Rob Ray out of retirement.
The premiere matchup for the week (because it involved my team, of course) was Pucknuts vs Ice Bats. What started as a close match turned into a blowout. The turning point of the week? Andrei Markov’s 10 minute misconduct penalty for shoving the referee. Once the Bats lost the lead for PIMs, the team collapsed and almost fell 9-1 after Auld gave up 6 goals Sunday night. The affect of losing the penalty category to a shield wearing Hab was too much for the Bats to bear and they released Brian McGrattan in shame. Coach Rayburn was quoted on Sunday as saying “If my goons aren’t willing to rough up a few zebras to win, then they don’t deserve the paycheck”.
In the “You Can’t Defeat Him, but Only Hope to Contain Him” category, the Monks put up a spirited battle against the Phlamers and held the first place team to winning 6 categories due in large part to an excellent week by the Rangers. It is unfortunate that they did not have Marek Malik on the Monk roster or they could have swept as detailed in rule 136-B subsection 4 of the THB All Stars rule book.
If any player pulls a game winning, trick shot out of his ass in the 15th round of a shootout his team shall be awarded victories in all 10 categories and his opponent must be dragged behind the zamboni for 3 turns of the rink wearing nothing but his opponents jock. Location of the jock to be determined by coin toss (head/tail).
Around the rest of the league Oochamkunutk pulled out a 6-4 win in a tightly fought match against the the Sublimators while the Moonshimers whooped the ever slacking Badabings 8-1 even with DePietro in the lineup (although he was promptly dumped at the end of the week).
Sublimators vs Phlamers
Looking ahead to next week it is the Sublimators turn to try and reel in the Phlamers. They are in luck with Forsberg out for most of the week. It will be interesting to see just how many goals Gagne can score without him.
Ice Bats vs Badabings
The Ice Bats have a week to lick their wounds and rack up some wins against the Badabings.
Moonshimers vs Oochamkunutk
The Moonshimers will be taking on the second place Ooch in an attempt to get above .500. Watchout for Coach Shimers four goalie tactic. It may just work since one of them is NOT DePietro.
Pucknuts vs Monks
The matchup of the week features the two Rangers fans going head to head with the Pucknuts going against the Monks. Unfortunately for the Monks the Rangers only play two games this week. Jis only hope is that Coach Howell is too busy trying the Malik shot in the driveway to do his lineup.
I have investigated the playoff format. The top six teams will make the playoffs with the top two getting a first round bye. I think a special award may be in order for the poor team to finish 7th and to share the basement with the Badabings.
That is all!
November 28, 2005
We missed the Turkey Day game due to the weather and lack of good snow tires, but made it for both weekend tilts against Wilkes-Barre and Philly.
The first period of Saturdays game may have been the best period the B-Sens have played all season. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalize on their efforts and leave it to Dennis Bonvie to take the wind out of their sails. After Bonvie scored the first goal, the B-Sens just slipped back into the same lazy effort and Penguins ran over us for an easy win.
Sundays game was a continuation of the last period of Saturdays game. The B-Sens just didn’t bring their A game. For a change, their penalty killing looked much improved, but the penalty was the worst it has been all season. This was the third time the Sens had faced off against Philly and I think they knew that our PP would collapse under sustained pressure from a good PK unit.
Now the B-Sens need to regroup and get their legs back and find within themselves what it takes to win.
November 25, 2005
On Thursday Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) proclaimed that as much as one third of NHL players were taking performance enhancing drugs and that the NHL’s drug policy “looks as though they found an early copy of the baseball policy on the floor somewhere”. To this I tell him to get a clue and do the math.
For starters, if 1/3 of NHL players are juicing up, it must be the bottom third. NHL players have participated in the last several Winter Olympics and were subject to the same drug tests as every other Olympic athlete. To date I have not heard of a single NHL player failing these tests and the players who are participating are the best in the league.
Now for the math. It is obvious from his statements that Dick Pound is not very smart so I’ll try to keep it simple. He ripped on the current NHL drug policy which calls for 20 game suspension for the first offense, 60 for the second and lifetime ban for the 3rd. The drug policy introduced before the last baseball season called for 10 games for the first offense, 30 for the second, 60 for the third and a year for the fourth. The latest baseball policy calls for suspension of 50 games for the first offense, 100 for the second, and a lifetime ban for the third. It is obvious that the NHL policy was much stricter than baseball’s first attempt and at first glance the latest baseball policy seems stricter than the NHL, but here comes the math.
First time offense for the NHL is 20 games or 23.8% of the season. Baseball is 50 games or 30.8% of the season. Baseball is a bit stricter here.
Second offense is 60 games in the NHL or 73.1 % of the season. Baseball is 100 games or 61.7% of the season. Now the NHL is stricter.
Third offense is lifetime ban for both leagues. Seems pretty obvious that the NHL took a strict stance on drug testing from the get go. The WADA code calls for a 2 year suspension for a first offense, but what Pound fails to realize is that this is a professional league. These players earn a paycheck for what they do. A 2 year suspension to an average player is basically the same as a lifetime ban.
If Mr Pound feels that the NHL suspensions need to be longer or that the frequency of testing needs to increase then fine, meet with Bettman and the NHLPA and work on it. Making such obviously false and petty statements to the public serves no one except his own ego.
November 24, 2005
Still no word on who Ottawa will call up for Fridays game, but Binghamton wasted no time preparing and signed Mike Pandolfo to a PTO. He’s been playing well in the ECHL and will go against his former team tonight. Let’s hope he’s got a bone to pick with them and nets a few as revenge.
Some more good news is that Bryan Smolinski is expected to return to the lineup for Fridays game. Wade Redden and Martin Havlat are still expected to be out.
November 23, 2005
Add Wade Redden and Martin Havlat to Ottawa’s growing injured list. Denis Hamel was already recalled to fill in for Bryan Smolinski in Tuesdays game in Carolina. Chris Neil also missed the game after the unexpected death of his mother, but the Senators opted to go with 7 defensemen instead of calling up another forward. With Redden and Havlat out it is likely that the Senators will call up one or two players from Binghamton to fill the holes in the lineup for Fridays tilt against the Islanders.
None of the defensemen in Binghamton are ready for serious ice time in the NHL so my prediction is that Ottawa will go with the six healthy defensemen they have (meaning Schubert gets more ice time) and they call up two forwards instead, most likely Patrick Eaves and Steve Martins. Keep an eye on the transaction wire and don’t be surprised if the B-Sens are either shorthanded or have a quick fill in for tomorrow nights game.
November 23, 2005
My 3 year old, Ethan, has been on a Mike Richter kick since he is “mommy’s favorite goalie”. Richter has been eating dinner with us, watching hockey games with us, and right now he is exercising in my basement. With all the Richter talk I figured we need a new wall paper. Found this nice tribute wall paper on the NY Rangers site.
November 23, 2005
Denis Hamel was called up on an emergency basis to fill in for Bryan Smolinski who injured his shoulder in Ottawa’s last game. A fitting reward for Hamel who has come up big for the B-Sens over the last couple weeks. This is also an opportunity for him to go to Ottawa without having to clear waivers on the way up and the way down.
Patrick Eaves had been Ottawa’s go-to man after a strong training camp, but he has looked a bit sluggish in recent games and his defensive play has been unimpressive. I think the faster pace of the AHL game and the more intense schedule is taking a toll on him, but give him a few weeks to adjust and he’ll be flying high again. It is very common for rookies, especially ones coming from college, to hit a wall in their first season.
The B-Sens play on the road tonight and I would not be surprised to see Hamel back in the lineup. If he is back, that will mean 3 games in 3 nights for Denis so we’ll need some of the other players to step up with the offense.
November 22, 2005
Last night me and the boys put the liner in the Fenton Ice Palace, my backyard ice rink, and we turned the hose on. Forecast for Central NY is looking a little chilly so I’m hoping to get the base setup in our rink over the next week.
Setting up the rink was much easier and cheaper this year. I reused everything from last year: boards, screws and plastic. I also went with a much simpler setup that will require less maintenance. This year’s Ice Palace is 16 x 24, smaller than last years 24 x 24, but this allows me to use one piece of my leftover plastic and not have to fight with a seam. This size will also be much easier to shovel. May sound small, but my oldest is 3 so I think it will work.
My plan is to expand on the rink each year and I think the goal for next year will be to add real hockey boards and make the rink a little longer (which will require more fill to level the yard).
I’m hoping to put two inches of water into the rink over the next couple of days and then get it frozen over the weekend. If the weather cooperates I can then get out the rink rake and work on building up the ice and getting a good surface. I’ll let you know how I make out and will put some pictures up. If anyone has any backyard ice rink advice or questions, please post them in the comments. I learned a lot last year from trial and lots and lots of error
November 22, 2005
Sorry for the delayed posting on last Fridays game, but I went out of town for the weekend.
As you can tell by the score, the big improvement of this game was DEFENSE. The Sens PK units were outstanding and Kelly Guard was fantastic in net. They still took way too many bad penalties, but the penalty killers got the job done.
The Sens had a setback the following night against the Albany River Rats, but returned to form with a 1-0 win over Springfield on Sunday.
The B-Sens are finally coming together on defense and we’ve got enough scoring punch, but the biggest problem is still penalties. Kelly Guard has made a huge improvement with his level of play and hopefully this will spur on Bill Thompson to do the same. After two days rest the Sens will have 4 games in 5 days, 3 of which will be at home. This will be the perfect time to turn their season around. After a dismal start they are only four games under .500 and there is plenty of hockey left to turn this club into a contender. The parts are there, they just need to find the way to put them together and build a winner.