December 29, 2005
I was reading an article that mentioned one of the Islanders bad trades from recent years and I decided to do a little homework to look at what the Islanders might have looked like if they had passed on a couple trades.
Let’s go back to June 2000. Mike Milbury in his infinite wisdom decided to trade Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha. They then used their #1 overall pick to draft the grossly over-rated Rick DePietro and passed on Dany Heatley who was taken #2 by Atlanta.
Milbury would then beat that move the following year by trading Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt, and the #1 pick for Alexei Yashin. Wow…even straight up, Chara for Yashin is a bad deal, but guess who was taken with the #1 pick…Jason Spezza.
So just imagine the Islanders with Luongo in net, Chara on the blueline and Jokinen and Spezza centering the top two lines with Heatley on the wing. Pretty nice. Too bad Milbury couldn’t hang up the phone instead of making those deals, but what do you expect from someone who’s biggest claim to fame is clubbing a fan with his own shoe.
December 26, 2005
I’ve mentioned that this is my second year with an ice rink. Most of the advice I’m dishing out on building a backyard rink is based on things I did wrong last year. Some might say the first thing I did wrong was building a rink at all since my yard is not level at all. I had to build a huge frame and then get 80 tons of fill delivered in order to create a spot level enough for my 24 x 24 rink. Here’s the framing:
How did I move 80 tons of fill? I rented a bobcat of course, but thats a story for another post.
December 25, 2005
Merry Christmas from The Hockey Blog!
As a special present, here is my favorite fight:
December 23, 2005
Hugh Jessiman has been excelling in Charlotte and know has 10 goals and 9 assists in 18 games. He is tied for 2nd in team scoring with fewer games played. This tour in the ECHL is just what Jessiman needs to build his confidence and get lots of ice time. He has also been doing well on the power play with 6 PP goals. I know Ranger fans are eager to see Jessiman get closer to MSG, but give the kid some time and let him spend a full season in the ECHL. Only call him up to Hartford if there is an opening for him on one of the top two lines so he can get equal ice time. After missing so much of last season due to injury, Jessiman simply needs to play and right now the ECHL is the place where he’ll get the ice time he needs.
December 23, 2005
I’m not an expert at backyard ice rinks, but last year I made a lot of mistakes and I figured I’d pass along what I learned.
Here are my top ten backyard ice rink mistakes:
1) Using 2 Tarps - I tried to go with a 24 x 24 rink and using 20 ft plastic sheeting. I bought some adhesive and tried gluing the pieces together, but it was a disaster. Even if I HAD bought the correct glue (the stuff I got did not stick to the plastic), I had a helluva time keeping the plastic on the ground. The slightest breeze messed it all up. So I decided to lay down the plastic with a nice 10 ft overlap. No good…the water kept leaking out and creating ’shell ice’. What a nightmare. Note: Two tarps might work with the correct adhesive and duct tape. If you’ve gotten it to work, let me know what you used.
2) Adding water from the hose - That water from the hose may feel cold on your skin, but it is much warmer than your ice. Just putting the hose in your rink to try and build layers is asking for trouble. The water will melt a hole and the warm water will find its way to the bottom. Worse yet, after it melts under your ice it will leave air pockets and create, you guessed it, shell ice.
3) Leaving the hose outside - Yeah, a no brainer, but who knew what a royal pain in the ass it is to thaw out a 20 foot section of hose! My solution…put the hose in a rubbermaid to make carting it in and out easier and with no drips on the floor.
4) Using a sprinkler - Seems like a nice even distribution of water when you’re trying to dodge the water, but on the ice it just melted lines and made a rough surface to skate on.
5) Leaving a running hose on the ice - Seems innocent enough, but you’ll be amazed how fast the how will start melting into your ice. It is cool in a Mr Wizard kind of way, but the rut it leaves will give someone a nice toe pick.
6) Dumping garbage cans of water to build ice - Seemed like a good idea and I know it can work, but the sudden dumping of warm water will crack the ice thus giving it an opening to seep underneath and create more shell ice.
7) Leaves - I didn’t think much of the leaves that blew onto the rink. Well, I didn’t think much of them until the next sunny day when the leaves had magically sunk an inch into the ice and left some nice holes. Dark colors + sunlight can do bad things to your rink.
Branches - Make sure you rake the yard well before you put your liner down. I had to do a quick patch with duct tape when a branch poked through my liner as I was filling it this fall. The duct tape worked well, though!
9) Shovel - You might get away with leaving an inch of snow on your driveway, but if you walk on your rink after a light dusting you’re going to end up with frozen footprints to skate on.
10) Ow, my back! - Another reason why I went from a 24 x 24 rink to a 16 x 24 was the snow clearing. A large rink is like adding a second driveway to shovel…except this one is covered in ice! Maybe next year I’ll build a ramp for the snow blower.
There you have it. Hopefully this list will prevent someone else from repeating my mistakes. If you have one to add, post it in the comments.
December 22, 2005
Did anyone else experience a rise in blood pressure when they read Jeremy Roenick’s complaint about being left off the Olympic roster for the US hockey team?
The bitter Los Angeles Kings centre called those associated with USA Hockey disrespectful, adding (USA Hockey has) “been blackballing me since September.”
The 36-year-old figured he would be named to the team headed to the Torino Games based on past performances.
“To not have the opportunity to go back one more time and try and win the gold is, obviously, in my opinion, very disrespectful,” said Roenick, who has 1,133 points in 1,156 NHL games. “They can beat me down and say I’m over the hill or say that I don’t have it anymore. But to me, I know that I do.”
For starters, an attitude such as this just proves that leaving Roenick off the US team was the right decision. I was just stunned that Roenick thinks he should be on the team based on his past performance. The Olympics are not about what happened 4 years ago or 8 years ago, they’re about winning the gold THIS time. Sure, he has some great numbers, but so does Brian Leetch and John Leclair and Tony Amonte. US Hockey is making the move to bring in the next generation of players because A) the 2002 team came close, but did not get it done and B) the 2002 team is now four years older.
A sad side affect of the lockout and the new rules in hockey is that a generation of stars has faded. Many retired and others have struggled to keep up after the long layoff and being another year older. Roenick is one of these. He may still be able to contribute in the NHL, but he just can’t keep up with young guys who have taken advantage of larger roles on their teams this season. Roenick may be able to take a puck in the jaw better than anyone else, but he sure can’t handle a shot at his ego. Suck it up and wish them well. Whining to the press is a disservice to the guys who are, rightfully, taking your place.
December 22, 2005
Just when things were looking bright here in Bingo, the Sens put up one stinker of a game. To give you an idea, here’s some new franchise records:
Shots on goal in a period: 24
Goals in a period: 5
Shots allowed: 52
Goals allowed: 8
If that sounds bad, it gets worse. The Senators actually had the lead THREE times in this game! Their defense was horrible and Billy Thompson had his worst game of the season. Players were trying to play the puck and no one was taking the body. Well, no one except Jan Platil who made a statement in the third period when he levelled an Admiral and shot a look at his own bench that seemed to say “See, THIS is how it’s done!”
The other bright spot was the play of newcomer Brad Norton. The Senators picked up the big defenseman off waivers and he was a welcome addition on the blue line. Norton had several big hits, a great fight, and played the puck well to finish, amazingly, with a plus one. I hadn’t realized just how small our defense corps was until I saw Norton on the ice. This team desperately needed a big defenseman and Norton seems to fit the bill.
Anyone notice AJ Baines’ stick fly into the crowd in the first period? Well guess who caught it? People told me it looked scary going into the stands, but it was actually going as slow as a soft toss and if I hadn’t seen it coming it would have landed right across my legs. My three year is still convinced the players threw it into the stands just for him.
December 21, 2005
Just another reason why the Leafs suck…not that we needed one.
December 19, 2005
The Binghamton Senators finally broke out of their slump and picked up 5 points from three games over the weekend.
Friday night against the Norfolk Admirals the B-Sens once again started strong and played well to gain a lead going into the third period. Unfortunately, they seemed to have no clue how to play with the lead. Norfolk battled back and tied the game 5-5 to force OT. The B-Sens once again took some terrible penalties and were lucky to survive until the shootout where Norfolk took the win.
Saturday night they started strong again, but fell behind early. The wheels started to come off the bus again until something strange happened…the B-Sens suddenly had a second line! Danny Bois, Grant Potulny, and Gregg Johnson came out in the third period with a mission. They provided the energy line the B-Sens have so desperately needed and scored 4 hard working goals to give the Sens a come from behind victory against the Providence Bruins. This was exactly the type of play the Senators will need to make the playoffs.
Sunday night was an away game in Rochester where the Sens were able to get their first back to back wins since November 11 and 12. It has been a long time coming, but the Senators seem be to getting their act together. All they need to work on now is improving their defense so these come from behind wins in the third period aren’t necessary.
December 19, 2005
The Weekly Crosscheck is back!
Sorry for the absence, but it could not be avoided. During my time off, I did file one press release, although it did not get published. For those of you who missed it, here it is:
Birchcliff Icebats Press Release
Dec 15th, 2005
During the past two weeks the Icebats players union has issued a “skate to rule” decree in response to the management absenteeism. Icebats players have stopped scoring goals, taking excessive penalties, or even shooting the puck in the general direction of the opposing goaltender. Icebats goaltenders have decided to protest by playing only two games a week. Following the example set by the Canadian Parliament the players are expected to issue a vote of no confidence later today. If the vote is carried it is expected that Icebats fans will hold an immediate election between Coach Johnny and a suitable contender. The leading contenders at the moment are thought to be recently available Eddie Olczyk, a Chicago native, former Winnipeg Jet and Stanley Cup winning New York Ranger, with three months coaching experience and Seleen Dion, who knows absolutely nothing about hockey, but is in fact Canadian.
It is not know if Coach Johnny (the only currently registered Icebats fan) would vote for himself over Eddie O., but would undoubtedly give up hockey forever if Dion were ever to enter Birchcliff Arena.
Now, at the end of Week 11, there is a very different picture of the HBAS standings. The Icebats turned things around at the expense of the Sublimators. The Phlamers continue their mid-season slump. The Pucknuts finally pull ahead of Oochamkunutk. The Moonshimers need to get it in gear if they are going to make the play-offs.
I won’t go into great details of it all (I don’t really have the time). Most of the team strategies have remained the same. Most teams are sticking with their preferred line-ups, and only trading when injury makes it necessary. Most teams, that is, expect the Pucknuts, who seem to think the HBAS is the futures market. I must admit, that with his 74 trades as of the time of this report, Coach John is beating the odds. Team loyalty may not pay off for the Moonshimers, however. Even without DiPeitro, the team has four goalies and four Islanders. That may work out during this abbreviated week, if Blake can screw his head back onto his body…. but I think it’s a big gamble.
I have received last week’s stats total, and the only major note to mention is that the Icebats are no longer PIM Kings. The Pucknuts now lead that in both overall minutes, and best week. (Dang it, he bested me by two minutes!)
Since time is running short here at the Icebat Cave, I’ll get onto this weeks predictions. This is going to be tough because most points are going to be earned on Friday, and there are no games on Saturday and Sunday.
Icebats vs. Moonshimers:
We’ll have to see what happens with Blake. This may be a close race. The Icebats now have only goalies from two teams, whereas the Mooshimers have goalies from four teams. Which of us is crazier than the other? Hard to say. With Limeaux pretty much out of it, and Spezza acting goonish, I have to give most of the points to the Icebats (assuming they can squeeze in three goalie games by Friday).
Pucknuts vs. Oochamkunutk
The Pucknuts are only ahead by one point, so this is for big bragging rights. Ooch is sticking with her computer picks. Pnuts are trading players fast and furious. Weekes is back and Gerber, Rolston, and Heatley are hot. The trade for Drury was a pretty wise move too. I have to say that the Pucknuts are better set up for the short week, and will probably take at least 7 points, unless he makes a rash, and unwise trade after drinking too much Eggnog at the office party.
Monks vs. Sublimators
Here are two teams trying to catch up to the Icebats. I think they both have a good shot at it. The Monks have strengthened their Ranger position, which is cool and all, but the wrong week to do it, Billy. I give this week to the Sublimators with the unstoppable goalie line-up, and a good mix of players. Burtuzzi may be the only thing keeping the Monks ahead of the Sublimators by the end of the week.
Phlamers vs Badabings
This is the week the Phlamers finally put the breaks on their loosing streak. Count on Detroit staying hot and giving the Phlamers more than enough points to shut the Badabings down completely. What I want for Christmass is for the Badabings to activate just one more goalie, and at least make it a little challenging. I feel sorry for all the pressure Raycroft is under.
Well, that’s it for now. I’m leaving the Icebats in the capable hands of assistant coach Juliet, while I work hard, and then hide for a week. I’ll check in from time to time, but that’s about it. We may call up a couple of rookies from the Reber Volunteer Fire Department (our minor league affiliate) if we pull too far ahead of the Moonshimes by the end of the week. Have a good holiday, keep your stick on the ice, and don’t forget to put on your toque.
That is all.