Mid-Term Grades Set 2, KC and the Sunshine Band, Panthers Hockey, Flames Hockey
More mid-term on other
teams that reached the halfway point of the season. A pretty good set of teams to talk about.
KC and the Sunshine Band! Should Mario dance to the rythm and move to KC City for real? My answer to that is (censored).
Florida Panthers Hockey, who could the Sunshine Jacques go after? It’s a big name, could be a long shot, but never rule out anything that is bizarre in hockey.
Calgary Flames may lose Iginla for a little bit of time, so is their hockey any good?
By the way, check out the biggest bust in the NHL and no, it’s not Alex Daigle.Good day to all of you great hockey fans. I am sure some of you enjoyed last night with high scoring games. A 10-2 massacre in Boston. Ouch! There was no excuse, or reason, for Head Coach Dave Lewis to disrespect Tim Thomas and leave him out in the middle of a disastrous meltdown for eight goals. Absolutely ridiculous. The game was well lost when it was 6-2 and Thomas should have been pulled then. It does not even matter who the back up goalie is, the game was already lost, why put more pressure on your best goalie? Why get your best goalie to lose confidence? Why take the risk of getting your best goalie injured in a game where the whole team broke down? Disrespectful towards one of the most hard working goalies in the league. Just pathetic. And how about the Sharks putting up a great show after trailing 3-1 and finishing the game with a 9-4 win? Amazing. They demote their better rookies and yet the team manages to win big time. Cool game, cool night.
Washington Capitals: B-
— This is a team that should be looking at another top five pick in the Entry draft and yet they are really giving everyone a hard time with a .500 record and 41 points. Alexander Ovechkin could be looking to post another 50 goal season. Who was the last player to post two straight 50+-goal seasons anyway? Pavel Bure? Maybe he is not as explosive as he was last season, but this guy is doing everything all over the ice. He hits hard, he stands up for himself, he plays energetic, he scores, he makes plays, and even though he does not have a C (and rightfully so), he leads by example. His team obviously lacks talent (please, sign a playmaker!), but they work hard and when they work hard, they get the job done to earn points. This is how I gain respect for teams and players. When I expect them to have a bad season, yet they fight their way through it with effort, then there is nothing else to do but to respect that team. The players may lack skill, but they play as a team and Coach Hanlon deserves a lot of credit. GM McPhee should reward Hanlon by giving him a good playmaking center/winger to boost Ovechkin’s abilities. Good job Caps for exceeding expectations.
Tampa Bay Lightning: C
— I’d like to give this team a C-, but it would make it a biased opinion. So, let me get this straight. Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier, and Martin St. Louis. Correct? Salaries are: $7.8M, $7.167M, and $6M. Lecavalier and St. Louis aren’t playing badly either, but they are not getting the W’s for the Bolts. Brad Richards? I don’t think his name is worth mentioning again throughout the rest of the season. Just pathetic. John Torturella keeps having his feuds with players (Vaclav Prospal as of late), and he thrives on demoralizing his goaltenders. Okay, we get it. Torts got the team to win the Cup, but they looked bad last season and luckily made the playoffs. They look even worse this season and they may not even make the playoffs as they currently sit 19-20-2 and 40 points (4 points from 8th). Are players the real problem? I’d say they are part of the problem, but there is no doubt in my mind that Tortarella IS THE PROBLEM. A trade is tough to expect, but even if it does happen, what good is it going to do? Nada. Not until Tortarella gets fired.
Vancouver Canucks: B
— Are they finally calming the Nucks fans? With a 22-18-1 record and 45 points, leading the NW Division, by just one point, however, the Canucks appear to be following Veigneault’s system well. Roberto Luongo is obviously playing great, and maybe playing the way he did in Florida? Almost there. I won’t judge the Luongo-Bertuzzi trade yet, but I’d be the first Panthers fan/supporter (still a Rangers fan first of course), to shake GM Nonis’s hand and congratulating him on getting an elite goaltender. Markus Naslund seems a bit off, and possibly playing through an injury? The Sedins are the nucleus of the franchise, they must be kept. Brendan Morrison is proving me wrong and playing very well. Still, it’s a long road until the end of the season and the Canucks had their good streaks and bad streaks earlier in the season. So, don’t feel too good about this, Nucks fans. But, be happy that you have a team with a decent at best roster, yet is playing solid hockey.
Minnesota Wild: C+
— This team was playing very well at the start of the season up until Marian Gaborik got injured. Yes, he is the best player, but the Wild have been pretty easy to beat ever since his injury. What does that tell you about a team? With a respectable 21-18-2 record, and 44 points, the Wild are hanging on to the 8th seed. Good news? The record is pretty good. Bad news? It’s one of the most competitive seasons ever in the NHL with a few dominant teams and a lot of other teams staying very close to each other. And furthermore, the Wild appear to be too weak without Gaborik. That has to be fixed. They have a good roster, so what could be the problem? I hate saying this as he is one of the most hockey people I admire, but Coach Jacques Lemaire is outdated for this NHL. His system is just not allowing his team to reach its potential. Either that or the team is just not good enough.
San Jose Sharks: B
— As much as I like this team, I am a bit disappointed in it, as I expected better. Yet, they stand with a 27-14-0 record and 54 points. While that’s a very good record, I expected them to be around the 60 point mark, at least, and both Joe Thornton and Jon Cheechoo leading the league. Still, they are a big time dangerous team to play against and do not expect them to stay quiet. They will land an impact making defenceman sooner or later. I was also disappointed in the youngsters, who started hot, but slowed down way too much. Is it me, or do the Sharks of present day not look as scary as the Sharks of years past where they had nasty, rugged players that played physical? The Sharks need character, period.
Dallas Stars: B+
— I thought last season they were Stanley Cup material. Not even close, huh? Well, I am not getting fooled by these guys again this year (who knows, maybe this time they will win it because I said they won’t), but they are just such a tough team in all areas of the game. Goaltending may be overrated, but Marty Turco is still a solid, dependable goalie. The defense is absolutely superb, and the offense is solid, but needs help. A 26-15-1 record is really good and definitely scares the opposition. Coach Tippet is an underrated coach that doesn’t get recognized enough in the hockey world. He has this team focused, despite its inconsistent play as of late (due to injuries), and once healthy and with an added scoring forward, the Stars can be a scary playoff team. But, I thought that was the case last season and that definitely didn’t work out for me.
March of the Penguins III; Soundtrack: KC and the Sunshine Band
Remember that one article I wrote where it included the segment of March of the Penguins Part Two? I mimicked that Southpark episode of Tom Cruise and John Travolta not coming out of the closet and I made fun of Mario and Crosby. That was a fun part. But this time it’s for real folks. The Penguins may be marching westward to Kansas City. That’s not to be confused with the state of Kansas, whose capital is Topeka. Weird huh? Imagine if New York City was the capital of New Jersey, right next to the state of New York. ………….Riiiiiiiiiiiigggghhh……….tttt……. How about the Penguins just march to Springfield? aH-HA! Which Springfield, right? Ok, let’s get serious now (yeah…).
I was really hoping for the Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh, and I am still in favor of that. I really would not buy much into the governor of Pennsylvania meeting with Mario Lemieux. He’s a politician and politicians are more like “do as I say, not as I do”. Pittsburgh just has not done enough to keep the team there and so Mario should do what is best for himself as an owner. So, did I favor a move to Kansas City before? No. I actually would prefer if the team be moved in Hartford or in Winnipeg, with Columbus (Blue Jackets), moving to the Eastern Conference. Do I favor a move to KC now, however? Yes, I do (don’t worry folks, I am not saying that to practice for marriage). But have any of you really seen the Sprint Center? It’s a work of art. The futuristic styling is not my thing, as I am very traditional, but this stadium is just kick ass.
Go here: http://www.sprintcenter.com/arena_gallery1.php
And then navigate to the gallery pages and the pictures. That is too good of a stadium to pass on, especially when the first season is rent free. Imagine that, the Penguins would most likely sell out a season once moved there. Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury (possibly Staal too) merchandise will sell like crazy. Geee…. talk about CHA CHING$! It’s a no brainer. Go for it Mario! This stadium is all set and done by October, his team has a bright future and the potential to be a money maker. Just go for it. Now that there is this great opportunity, though, will Pittsburgh really have a strong reaction and say yes to all of Lemieux’s demands? If so, I’ll applaud that. If not, enough with this story. I’d be excited to see something new anyway. Even for the horrible fan based New Jersey Devils I have excitement for with their soon to be new home in lovely, clean, safe Newark (sarcasm alert). But have you seen that stadium’s planning as well? Gorgeous!
Mario Lemieux has a great opportunity in KC and he should just go for it and at least make money the first year there. Then if things get shaky, sell the team! Now, will a hockey team work there? I think if they market it well enough, yes. New stadium, new team, new planning, and if the team will make money (most likely), then it will be on the right track. Thing is, must they keep the Penguins title? Let’s do this. It is for you to decide which name the team should get once it goes to KC (if it does). But does anyone have any ideas? Share them.
The Florida Panthers have had their usual nervous breakdown in November, like last season, but since then they have been playing okay. They should be better, but they are not doing too badly either. Last night was a real mess up by Alex Auld as the Panthers totally outplayed the Calgary Flames. So, in a way it is obvious that Alex Auld will only be a decent starter, but a solid goalie to have. Bryan Allen is a great addition. And Todd Bertuzzi is greatly missed. So far, the Luongo trade hasn’t worked and the best thing for the Panthers to do is to re-sign Bertuzzi. The chances of that are not easy. So, Jacques Martin should play it smart and go for a Part Deux of the Luongo-Bertuzzi trade. Here, Sunshine Jacques. Dial 1-800-BC-NONIS and inquire on Markus Naslund for just $6M and free shipping and handling if you dial within the next half hour. Really, why not? Naslund could fit well in Florida and I can actually see him in a Cats jersey. That would motivate Bertuzzi to re-sign with the Panthers too. And, Naslund-Jokinen-Bertuzzi is a line that Martin would love to have. Thing is, despite Naslund playing so-so hockey and with some Canuck fans saying “yeah, we don’t mind trading him”, would he be available? Obviously, not right now as the Nucks are winning. But come closer to deadline when the Nucks could be interested in another player with a bigger contract, and ridding Naslund would make room for that player? Who knows. It seems complicated, and quite a long shot, but I would not rule out such a possibility. And, if not now or at the trade deadline, then maybe during the summer in June and July. If the Panthers don’t want to feel bad about losing Luongo, I think this is the best way to go.
For who would Naslund go for? I would not mind losing Stephen Weiss, or if it comes to a prospect, then Anthony Stewart could be part of the deal.
If not Naslund, then who? Jacques, you were hoping to get Jovanovski in the summer and the Coyotes apparently may not have a problem trading him at the deadline. Jovo would welcome a come back in Florida if the Coyotes ask him to waive his clause and deal him to the Panthers. That would persuade Bertuzzi to go for at least another year in beautiful South Florida.
I’ll make it short and sweet for the Calgary Flames. Without Jerome Iginla, this team looks ordinary and definitely not scary. Bottom line, sign Jason Allison or bring back Craig Conroy. That’s it.
By the way. We thought Alex Daigle was such a horrible bust. But can anyone beat this 1st overal bust?
Patrick Stefan, take a ticket out of the NHL. You are done.
Thanks for reading as always,