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Showing posts from December, 2010

More Crosby & Gretzky

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Today is a perfect time to further compare the current exploits of Sidney Crosby to the greatness of Gretzky...no, not that Gretzky above, the mullet-laden one below (I'll take any chance I can to put a picture of Paulina on the Den).
Anyway rather than look at the streaks of each, I wanted to further examine just the raw season stats. Sid has now played 38 games and tallied 32 goals and 33 assists. In 1981/82, after Wayner had played 38 games he had 45 goals and 57 assists. Of course, the next game he went out and ventilated Pete Peeters and the Flyers for 5 goals and a helper. At first glance it's obvious that Gretz's 102 points in 38 games blows Sid's 65 out of the water. I am here however to provide more than a "first glance", that's where the calculator comes in. We all know that a straight-up comparison of different eras doesn't give a clear picture, especially the free-wheeling early '80s versus today's game. Over the entire 1981/82 se…

Don Simmons, 1962 Cup Winner

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On this evenings' Leaf broadcast, play by play man Joe Bowen offered his condolences for the recent passing of ex-Leaf goalie Don Simmons. The strange thing about that is the fact that Simmons actually passed away this past September. Apparently it was his wish that the news be kept low key. Simmons was a solid back up for most of his NHL career as well as a terrfic minor leaguer. He produced 321 professional wins over 18 seasons including 101 in the big leagues.

In January of 1957 he made his NHL debut with Boston when he was purchased from Springfield of the AHL. The Bruins Terry Sawchuk would be out for the remainder of the year with "nervous exhaustion". 25 year old Simmons filled in admirably going 13-9-4 with 2.42 GAA. He then lead them past the first place Red Wings before losing four games to one to Montreal in the final. The following year Simmons shared the net duties with Harry Lumley and once again led the B's to the finals. His 2.41 regular season GAA w…

Spengler Cup, Familiar faces

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The Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland kicks off today. I have always been somewhat interested in this tournament due to some of the names that resurface. Also, the rink in Davos is a spectacular looking facility that looks great on TV. Team Canada is usually a cobbled together "all-star" squad of players toiling away in the Swiss League. A look at this year's rosters seems to show even more recognizable names than normal.

Moscow Spartak Dominik Hasek,12-16-3, 2.68, 3 SO One month shy of his 46th birthday, The Dominator continues to ply his trade for the sub.500 KHL squad. Branko Radivojevic, 38-5-16-21 His third year in the KHL after scoring 120 points in 393 NHL games. Last season he
finished 7th in league scoring with 54 points. SKA St.Petersburg Mattias Weinhandl, 37-18-19-37 The ex-Islander and Wild sits 5th in KHL scoring the same spot he finished last year with 60 points. Alexei Yashin, 35-11-14-25 After finishing 3rd in scoring, two points off the lead last year, it appear…

Johnny Bower and Honky the Christmas Goose

Exactly 45 years ago, Maple Leaf goaltender Johnny Bower was approached by a CBC producer to make a Christmas record. Although hesitant, he soon recorded Honky the Christmas Goose with the help of his nine year old son Johnny Jr. and some neighbourhood kids. The record sold 40,000 copies during Christmas 1965, the proceeds of which were donated to charity.The Christmas break in the NHL is a good time look back on the year that was. The following are the top NHL scorers from last years Christmas break to now. (GP-G-A-PTS)Sidney Crosby 80-58-65-123Steven Stamkos 80-57-51-108Henrik Sedin 78-21-87-108Daniel Sedin 77-39-66-105Alex Ovechkin 80-38-66-104Martin St.Louis 80-36-62-98Niklas Backstrom 82-29-64-93Brad Richards 80-30-59-89Alex Semin 79-44-43-87Eric Staal 76-39-46-85The 123 points would represent a career season for Crosby, and Ovechkin's 38 goals would be by far his lowest full-season total.

Old Man Point Producers

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Teemu Selanne is a pretty special player, has been for a long time. What he's doing this season however is almost unprecedented. Only two men in the history of the NHL have scored at least a point per game in a season in which they were at least 40 years of age. Teemu is well on his way to becoming the third.

Selanne turned 40 this past July and has played 29 games for Anaheim this season. He has 32 points for 1.10 points per game. The first man to accomplish this was Gordie Howe in 1968/69 at 40 years even. He scored an amazing 103 points in 76 games for 1.36 Pts/GP. Howe would go on to score almost 700 more points in the NHL and WHA combined.

The second and last man to score at a point-per-game clip as a 40 year old was Johnny Bucyk of Boston in 1975/76 who was also exactly 40. The Chief scored 83 points in 77 games, at 1.08 Pts/GP just behind Selanne's rate. Bucyk almost repeated his productivity the following year with 43 points in 49 games before falling off the pace in hi…

Lynn Zimmerman, Goalie Assist Machine

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Years before Grant Fuhr set the NHL mark with 14 goalie assists in 1983/84, a minor league tender accomplished the same feat...and he almost matched it the following year as well.

5"8" Lynn Zimmerman from Fort Erie, Ontario began his professional career in 1966/67 with the Eastern League Charlotte Checkers and was a Second Team All-Star. He played most of the next eight years in the AHL, mainly with Rochester. By 1975/76 he was in the North American Hockey League with the Erie Blades. He had 30 wins in 54 games, and more impressively he also had 13 assists. He also spent three weeks filling in for the soon-to-fold Denver/Ottawa WHA team where he garnered another helper.

Apparently Zimmerman was so able and active with the puck, Erie coach Nick Polano devised a breakout plan around him. "This year Nick put in a system where I handle the puck instead of the defenseman. We work on it in practice everyday. When the other team comes in after the puck we just break out and tra…

Fed Up with Phil

I had my first chance to see Phil Kessel play in person last night. I sat 13 rows above Luongo's left side in the corner for two periods and had a terrific angle on most of the Leaf "chances" as well as the deciding 2-0 Vancouver goal in the second. The Canucks (rather lackadaisically) beat the Leafs 4-1 in a game in which the entertainment value was derived mainly from the atmosphere in the crowd. The Leafs simply do not have the talent to compete effectively against an elite team such as Vancouver, especially with Phil Kessel playing well below his potential. I'm starting to lean more towards the thinking that what we're seeing in fact is his full potential, and that makes me sad and angry.

Kessel certainly has dynamic hockey skills, great speed and a terrific shot. These are displayed far too infrequently however to have much of an impact on a game. His one move on a rush, the "outside/inside toe-drag" works far less than half the time. It worked once…

The Just Missed All-Stars

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I recently came across the official, end of season All-Star voting results from the late 1970's onward. It's interesting to look at the numbers to see where players were ranked and how the All-Star votes compared to individual Trophy voting.

Back in 1988 there was some strange voting for the Goaltender All-Stars and the Vezina voting.
Grant Fuhr won the Vezina and was named First Team All-Star by collecting 297 voting points, Patrick Roy was voted to the Second Team with a distant 64 points. In the Vezina voting, for some reason, Roy didn't fare as well. Fuhr won again going away with 78 points over second place Tom Barrasso (22 points) and third place Kelly Hrudey (17 points). Roy somehow only garnered 2 second place and 2 third place votes for 8 points total to finish EIGHTH overall in Vezina voting. Also finishing ahead of him was Mike Vernon, John Vanbiesbrouck, Rejean Lemelin and Roy's teammate Brian Hayward. Puzzling.

The 1983/84 season proved to be one of the more…

A 12 point night

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The Toronto Star recently had an in depth article detailing the Greater Metro Hockey League, and more specifically the Shelburne Red Wings. The GMHL labels itself as a Junior A (Tier II)league but is not officially sanctioned by Hockey Canada. The main reason for Hockey Canada's disapproval is the extremely unconventional route most teams went in filling their rosters. In the small town of Shelburne about an hour northwest of Toronto, the Red Wings 22 man roster consists of 19 Russian-born players.

The management of the team outwardly recruited in Russia, offering Russian youngsters a chance to develop their careers in Canada. Shelburne isn't the only team ignoring Hockey Canada's rules about Canadian content on their roster. Bobcaygeon has 11 Europeans on it's roster and the Jamestown (N.Y.) Jets have 23 Americans, 2 Russians and a Kazak on it's squad...zero Canadians. The Eliot Lake Bobcats have 7 Americans, 7 Slovaks and 2 players born in France and Bradford has…

NitzyLeaks

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As the WikiLeaks scandal unfolds, Nitzy's Hockey Den has just as damaging revelations that the hockey world would rather keep secret. Through a network of spies, moles and informants I present...NitzyLeaks.

1. Brian Burke has a secret 40% ownership stake in the Boston Bruins.2. Henrik Sedin and Tanner Glass have a personal bet on who scores more goals this season, loser has to wash Luongo's Trans-Am3. Marc Savard has removed Colin Campbell from his Christmas card list.4. Ilya Kovalchuk is being paid 6.6 million a year to acurately impersonate the scoring talents of long gone Lou Lamoriello favourite, Hector Marini.5. The entire Maple Leafs roster has vowed to not score goals while Jonas Gustavsson is in net, all goals are purely accidental. They apparently don't think too much of Giggy either.6. Mike Green is so intent on winning a Norris Trophy he has decided to score just like Rod Langway.7. This past summer, Tim Thomas broke into the Hockey Hall of Fame and stole the go…

Crosby's Dominance

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As of the morning of Dec.9 Sid the Kid has scored a point in 17 consecutive games in which he has scored 35 points, just over 2 points per game. He has tallied 50 points in 30 games, 10 clear of second place Steven Stamkos. Almost as impressive is the fact that after he started this year with only 3 points in his first 5 games, Crosby now has counted 47 points in 25 games. This works out to 1.88 points per match. If he were to continue at that pace over the remaining 52 games he will finish with 148 points while Stamkos is on pace for 117 points. This would be the largest margin for a scoring leader since the days of the original Kid, Gretzky. If Crosby is to win a scoring title by at least 30 points (remember, Ovechkin has been fairly quiet still so far) it would be the first time since Gretzky had 163 points to Brett Hull's 131 in 1990/91. Of course if he does end up scoring 148 points or anywhere near that many, that will be the real impressive story. Remember, nowadays goals …

Ilya Kovalchuk, The Worst Season in History?

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Is New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk in the midst of the worst single season for a forward in NHL history? At his current pace, he will finish with 79 games, 16 goals, 19 assists, 35 points and a minus 47 +/- rating. If so, he will be only the 12th man in history to have 16 or less goals and a +/- so low (remember +/- didn't become an official stat until 1967). A truly awful season for Kovy, especially considering the money he is getting paid.

Below are a few more seasons that would be in the running for worst all-time.

Jude Drouin,
Winnipeg Jets 1979/80
78-8-16-24, -38

At 31 years old in 79/80, Drouin was near the end of the line and would indeed play only 7 more games the following season. Drouin had just three years prior tallied 24 goals, and the year before 62 points. He topped out with 27 goals and 73 points in 72/73.

Eddie Joyal,
Los Angeles & Philadelphia 1971/72
70-14-7-21, -43

This would be Joyal's last year in the NHL after having seasons of 33 goals one year and 57 po…

Leaf woes....the numbers

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As awful as the Leafs have been recently, (and they have been awful) it's probably only going to get worse before it gets better...in the near future and distant future.
Here's a look at a few numbers:
over their last four losses their opponents collective Winning Pct. entering each game was .473, Leafs were outscored 15-4.their next five games are against teams with a collective Win Pct. of .667Leafs have only one more point after 24 games this season than last season, at this point last year they reeled off 6 wins in the next 9 games.they have been shutout 6 times in the last 16 games after being blanked only 4 times all last year.since starting this year with 4 wins, the Leafs have gone 4-12-4, they have scored 1.75 goals/game and allowed 3.05. If the last 20 games is a true indication of this team and they continue at this pace the Leafs will finish with 55 points this season. That would be the worst record since the heyday's of John Brophy in 1987/88At least, after fin…