yankee hockey

PLAYOFFS WEEKEND UPDATE

I’ve watched two periods of the much anticipated Pittsburgh/Washington series and something really stands out to me. The Capitals, and most importantly Alexander Ovechkin, do not get frustrated. I’ve seen many of the Penguins, including Sydney Crosby, lose their game because of frustration. Whenever Ovechkin misses the goal or gets checked or can’t find the puck he just gets right back into the play. When Crosby gets hit you can see in his eyes that he would love nothing more then to complain about it to someone (an official maybe?).

Frustration is one of those intangibles that can be the difference in a series. In the first game so far it hasn’t been a big deal because there hasn’t been a bigger lead then one, but consider in Washington could get a two or three point lead. A frustrated team cannot come back from that kind of deficit. If Pittsburgh were to get that lead I don’t see the Capitals being up against the wall at all, I believe they would continue to play their game and get back the lead in their way. Of course, this is just game one and the Capitals are playing much better then the Flyers did so Pittsburgh may just need a game to adjust, and it’s not like they are getting beat (yet) so there is no panic.

This is an interesting goalie match-up. Both Varlamov and Fleury will give up bad goals, both Varlamov and Fleury will make amazing saves. The biggest difference is that Fleury gives up more rebounds and that may be the difference in this series.

As for the other series man was Carolina out played. It’s hard to believe that the team that beat Brodeur and the Devils in six could get rocked by anyone including the Bruins. The Bruins are out to prove they are more then just a goaltender and a 6’9” defenseman. Scoring four against Cam Ward and allowing only one against the high power offense of Carolina is a good start.

Detroit found out just how hard the Ducks can be to play against but they still won. That’s what good teams do, win against any odds. San Jose couldn’t do it because San Jose is not as good of a team as one would expect from their regular season record. As I said in this series preview, Detroit takes advantage of their opportunities, something Anaheim isn’t used to after facing the Sharks.

I’m really looking forward to the ‘Nucks/’Hawks game later tonight. Can Chicago win game two? I think they need to or they will find themselves risking a sweep from Vancouver who have become a real post-season powerhouse this year.

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SPECIAL PLAYOFFS WEEKEND UPDATE

I’m currently watching the Rangers/Capitals game. This has been the best series in the East. I expected Washington to win both games at home but they’ve run into a monster goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist. The more I watch this Rangers team, the more I believe they can go really far into these playoffs. They remind me of the Sweden team Lundvist won a gold medal with. They have some speed, some skill, some size… the only thing they are missing is a really good puck moving defense. Nik Antropov was the perfect pick-up (and for only a second!), he can complete the plays started by Scott Gomez, Markus Naslund, and Chris Drury. Even if New York wins today, I still think this will be a long series, Washington is too skilled offensively to allow a single goaltender to sweep them.

The series in the East that was supposed to be the most exciting, Flyers/Penguins, has been so very boring. Yes I know they went into overtime yesterday, but there was no drama, it was obvious the Penguins were going to win. It’s too bad, for awhile it seemed that the Flyers had it figured out, but then they started playing scared again. When you play scared you start making mistakes and taking penalties… see the overtime 5-3 for an example. The Flyers really need Darrien Hatcher to come back from his injury. Hatcher is such a great defensemen, he made me want to like the Dallas Stars. I couldn’t, of course, because how can they take a team from Minnesota and move it to Dallas? Plus, in ’99, Brett Hull’s foot was so in the blue paint (it was a stupid rule, but it was still a rule). Hatcher isn’t afraid of anything. If I had to travel through the mystical Realm of Spiders (where everything is spiders) I’d want Hatcher there to carry me. If I had to perform an exorcism I’d want Hatcher there to hold the possessed down. They should make stuffed Darrien Hatcher dolls for children who are afraid of the dark. The point is Hatcher wouldn’t let the Penguins run all over the place like they have been. If the Flyers can’t start playing with confidence it’s going to be a short boring series.

In the West the Blues/Canucks series is the best hockey I’ve ever seen. I guess that’s what happens when the two hottest teams in the league meet in the post-season. The Canucks are up 2-0 in the series, but there should be no shame in the Blues lockerroom. They haven’t lost a game, the games were won by the Canucks and Luongo. Luongo is proving that he really is the best goaltender in the game now. Whatever is in the water in Vancouver the two teams need to bottle it and bring it to St Louis cause these teams are playing better then anyone could have imagined. I hope it’s as electric in St Louis as it was in Vancouver. Last night the players couldn’t even hear the whistles.

I’m looking forward to the second game of the Flames/Blackhawks series. The ‘Hawks started the first game very nervous, but by the end were playing with the confidence they had in the regular season. Calgary is going to see a different team at the start of game two. I wonder if they can match the intensity and tenacity of the young Chicago stars.

WEEKEND UPDATE

Posted in NY Rangers, Vancouver, Weekend Update by yankhockey on December 22, 2008

This week there was one thing that nearly every hockey personality on the planet got wrong: Sundin going to New York. Hell, even hockey analysts in Toronto thought so. But not a bunch of stalwart ‘Nucks fans. Vancouver knew what was what, even while the rest of us were sure he was one his way to Broadway.

There is a bit of a bias in the United States. We think everyone would rather be in New York, given the chance. The Yankees and Knicks play a part in that bias with their ability to sign nearly anyone for nearly any price. The Rangers have also been that team in the past, and are again to a small extant this year. It’s nice to see the West Coast getting some respect, and it’s nice to see New York miss out for once.

WEEKEND UPDATE

Posted in Weekend Update by yankhockey on December 14, 2008

Gee, you set it up so you are doing weekly weekend updates about mistakes in the US media… and then in just the second week you can’t find any mistakes to point out! I’ve been on the lookout all week and I haven’t seen a thing so… you get a pass this week US media! But don’t get comfortable because you’ll make a mistake sooner or later and then BAM! I’m there to point it out and laugh.

YANKEE HOCKEY WEEKEND UPDATE

Posted in Weekend Update by yankhockey on December 7, 2008

One of my inspirations for starting this site was the awful hockey coverage here in the States. Specifically, the constant mistakes made by American media when it comes to hockey. Mistakes like when an AP reporter described Roberto Luongo as having won 48 games for the Panthers, or the constant chatter about how fighting is detrimental to the game. But I’ve been having a hard time finding a way to fit it in with the rest of the news worth reporting. Well, this weekend inspiration hit me like a sack of door knobs: Why not have a quick weekend post where I describe mistakes I have encountered during the week! So I’m pleased to bring you the first Yankee Hockey Weekend Update.

Thanks to my new digital cable I’m finally able to watch highlights and hockey coverage from such sports stalwarts as ESPN. And wouldn’t you know it but within a few days of getting said cable that ESPN made a stunning string of mistakes.

While describing the game between the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild on Friday, the ESPN anchor managed to pronounce ever Canuck player’s name mentioned wrong. First he calld Kevin Bieksa (pronounced Be-ek-sa), Kevin BEEX-a, followed by Jannick Hansen (Yan-nik Hansen) as Yawn-ick HON-son, and ending with Jason Jaffrey (Jaf-free) as Jason JOF-free. I know that these guys don’t get much practice pronouncing hockey names, especially not names on Canadian teams, but how about a little professionalism eh?

Actually, I shouldn’t be that hard on the guy, even Canadian commentators pronounce Bieksa wrong, mostly as Bieska. And now that Barry Melrose is back that will help put the ship back on the right course. I miss NHL Tonight, it was nice having a dedicated hockey show on with people who knew what they were talking about, since that time US hockey coverages has really gone down hill.

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