Oil Spills in Anaheim, and Weather Forecasts. Plus, Booing the Boos

The Oilers are helping my opinion of them way back before the playoffs. But, will they beat the Ducks?

Why didn’t San Jose win?

Weather forecasters actually predict hurricanes will heat the Northeast, for real!

And….correcting the news about the Canadian anthem getting booed. Should the NHL take away the national anthems at the start of each game?

Also, why hockey is the best game in the world.If some of you recall, I used to say that the Oilers will be this year’s 2004 Calgary Flames. Of course, I started to doubt my opinion when the Oilers acquired Dwayne Roloson thinking “this guy is far from being a Kiprusoff”.

But, Rolly has revived my belief in that opinion and I truly believe the Oilers can defeat the Ducks. This is the kind of series that will be won in six or seven games. Even if that won’t be the case, the Oilers remind me of the 2004 Flames as the underdog playoff team that could beat anyone. Also, there is no question in my mind that the best thing that could happen to the NHL this season is if the Edmonton Oilers make it to the Finals. So, I’ll be rooting for the Oilers!

How do they match up against the Ducks? I think of both teams being quite similar. The offensive stars? Ryan Smyth and Teemu Selanne. The Defensive stars? Scotty Neidermeyer and Chris Pronger. Heroes? Horcoff, Pisani, Roloson and Penner, Lupul, Bryzgalov.

Both teams are young, Anaheim being younger, I believe. The only exception is that the Oilers have an advantage in playoff experience and veteran leadership. So, it seems like the Oilers match up fairly, but they have the slight advantage that can make the difference. What can Anaheim do to win though? Keep the game as simple as they’ve played it. The Ducks are very responsible with attention to small details. They don’t do the fancy passing and wait for the perfect play to happen on the power play. The Oilers can overdo their passes with Ales Hemsky and Sergei Samsonov. Size DOES matter here. This can become a nasty series. The Oilers are more banged up than the Ducks, but they are also in game form. The Ducks? Well, unlike Devils GM Lou Lamoriello who said that his team was not prepared to play the Hurricanes because of the easy and quick finish against the Rangers, Coach Carlyle knows his team well enough that he will get his players to be ready on Friday. So going back to size, the Ducks have the size and they have the attitude, just like the Oilers.

Prediction? None. I don’t want to jinx anyone, and I rather not see too many people making predictions that are biased because of their liking. Let the guys battle it out.

Why didn’t San Jose win? How could this team possibly lose four games in a row? Where was Joe Thornton? Jonathan Cheechoo? The defense!? This deserves the chance for me to bring up an argument I used to have with some hockey fans in regards with Joe Thornton. Playoff performance. Where is this guy in the playoffs? Last time with the Bruins, ehhhhh yeah he was hurt but I won’t accept that as an excuse or as a reason. There are so many stories about historic players who played with all sorts of injuries and managed to become heroes. JT? He has not shown me the same heroism that he brings in the regular season into the playoffs. And, this year he had all the opportunity to be San Jose’s playoff leader and to prove critics wrong of him. Sure, Chris Pronger did an awesome job, but come on .The guy was invisible in four straight games. And, what is Cheechoo without Thornton? A much better version of a Brendan Morrow who could net 30 a year, but really is a 2nd line winger. Does Thornton have what it takes to be a playoff performer? So far, he hasn’t proven anything yet.

The captain, Patrick Marleau, was not visible at all. The defense was just lousy and looked scared. The Oilers just went out hitting and Ville Nieminen could not do all the hitting by himself. Usually, sharks attack when they smell blood. But, the sharks bled and the Oilers smelled blood and went out to get them. The Sharks should not look away and feel like failures, though. They managed to make a great trade to get Big Joe, they made a miracle run to make the playoffs, and there is room for improvements. They are a very attracting team, one that will grab the attention of UFA’s this summer.

How odd was it for me to read an ABC.com Headline that said hurricanes could target the Northeast. Hey, we got Hurricane Cam moving up North to upstate NY. That’s after the Sabres come in as visitors in Raleigh for games one and two. This is a very interesting match up. The Sabres had the tougher opponents against the Flyers and the Senators. The Hurricanes got a bit lucky when Saku Koivu left the ice, yet totally destroyed a Devils team that looked so strong yet so fragile.

What do the Hurricanes face? If you think about it, you could look at the Sabres as a blend of Canadiens and Devils for Carolina to face. Speed, check. Talent, check. Grit, check. Goaltending, check. One thing the Sabres have been able to do is to surprise their opponents. Most times they come out hitting with speed and skating all over the ice for the first few minutes of the game to get the momentum on their side. Sometimes, the Sabres come out patient and responsible, which slows the game down and does not allow the opponent to keep a fast paced game.

Carolina must be ready for both, and the best way to start Game 1 would be to put Brind’Amour on the ice, win the face off, dump the puck in the corner and start crashing and banging. It’s Carolina’s ice, they have to remind the Sabres that it is not theirs to claim. Cam Ward is a rookie, like Ryan Miller, but he does not have the same experience. Remember, Miller claimed himself as a top goalie during the regular season. Ward claimed himself as a top playoff goalie only and he could be overwhelmed by the force that Buffalo will push forward with.

For the Hurricanes, they have a team that is speedy, gritty, and more skilled, plus more experience with Recchi and Weight. So, the Sabres must keep to their same plan of action. Tight defense, and a very fast paced game especially in the neutral zone. I’ve noticed the Carolina Hurricanes are not that strong in the neutral zone when the opponent is so quick in transition.

This series is much like the Oilers vs. Ducks series. A toss up, and maybe this one is much tougher to guess as well. Out West, you can make easy arguments as to why the Oilers will win, or why the Ducks will win. But between these two teams, total guess.

All I know is that this year has been one of the best post-seasons than in years past. Yes, we miss the top teams making the Finals, but the sport would get somewhat dull if we never get to see the smaller market teams have a chance to success.

The national anthem must be respected. Does not matter what country, but the national anthem deserves respect.

Now, bleedpenguins had a very well done report on this story; however, it was not the full story.

It’s not like the Sharks fans just decided to boo the Canadian national anthem for the heck of it. The press’s article, on TSN.ca, said that Sharks fans reacted to the booing of the US national anthem in Game 4.

Ah, now that changes things around a little bit. Still, the Sharks fans were pathetic to lower their level of class as their stars are Canadian. It was stupid, immature, then again….it’s California! But, why on earth would few Oilers fans boo at the US anthem in the first place?

I recall hockey game stories in Quebec where the Québécois were very disrespectful towards the US just for political reasons. But, Alberta is not Quebec and in fact, I remember many Albertans being very friendly to the USA. I even remember a regular season game where the Flames fans cheered the US anthem, for no reason other than “we’re good neighbors”.

So, that puzzled me….and it angered me that Sharks fans retalliated in a very low class way where instead the Edmonton fans reacted in a very classy way.

But, let’s set the record straight here. I don’t want the Canadian media to feel appalled and disgusted by this story. First of all, it was a few Oilers fans who started it all. Second, it’s nothing new as unfortunately our hockey world of fans includes dumb, immature, and disrespectful people who cause such stupid and useless stories to be told.

Now, I know some hockey fans opine towards the idea of pulling the national anthems out. Why? I heard a few reasons, one being that we have so many European players that if we have the US and Canadian anthem, they should get theirs.

I completely disagree with that. I want the Canadian anthem to stay and the US anthem to stay. I want to hear them at the start of every game. And really, I love the Canadian anthem, great words in it. Very patriotic. I love the US anthem, of course. I finally got to go to thirteen Panthers games this season and my feeling when the fans rise and stand up with the players to listen to the national anthems, is a feeling of unity. Sure, I may sound like a hippy, but it’s a good feeling. It’s almost like we’re preparing to all have a good time.

Aside from that, I immediately discard the idea of the Euro players being the reason why the anthems should be removed. Who cares. This is OUR game. OUR game on OUR ice on OUR land! The Euro players must be reminded of that. The Euro players must recognize that the NHL and its fans welcome them to fulfill their dreams of playing in the best hockey league in the world, with the best fans, and we cheer them on…to succeed. They get paid with our money, and they get to live where we live and play where we also play. They must be reminded of all that in order for them to respect. Because, let me tell you something….

This now connects to my segment of why hockey is the best game in the world.

I am a soccer fan and I watch my Italian League team, Juventus FC. So, every Sunday I got to watch some soccer games on my Italian channel on the satellite. Every game never starts with the Italian national anthem. And what does the Italian League have so much of? Foreign players. Every top Serie A team is full of foreign players. I think AC Milan has less than half the starting lineup of Italian players.

Does it even become an Italian team anymore? Am I even watching Italian soccer anymore? No. There is little identity to the league being Italian. And, I am sure this goes for other European top soccer leagues.

But that is the point I am getting across. The league has to keep its identity. The NHL has to keep its identity. It is not a world league. It is a North American league of Canada and the US.

This a reason why hockey is the best game in the world. It has class and with aggressiveness and hard play, it comes with respect and honor.

I have to say, OLN (Outdoor Life Network) has bought me well as its customer. I have not seen a national US channel give so much time to the sport of hockey. There is hockey programming before and after the game. Fearless, Mark Messier’s Leadership Camp, The Tournament, and the best…. Legends of Hockey.

Legends of Hockey is one of the best series of hockey episodes I have ever seen. The stories, and the legends. It exposes so much history to the game of hockey, and I am one who really likes history in general.

I have come to the conclusion that hockey is the most rewarding game, specifically in the NHL. Tell me, what other sport has a trophy that lives so long throughout history? What other trophy has endured so many crazy stories and has been almost all over the world? What trophy is so old and keeps on living with signs of age yet shine of new? None. What spot offers such a glorious trophy that is an artifact of history? What sport offers so many other trophies? I mean, so many trophies are handed out to its top players, rewarding them for so many reasons. For being the top scorer, the top defenseman, the top class act, the most generous, the best goalie, and so on.

No other game offers that. As a big sports fan who has followed almost every sport as a kid to try and find the love and passion for only one, hockey tops everything. I remember learning football and watching the New York Giants win. I remember the first baseball team I saw that won the World Series (Minnesota Twins). I’ve watched my soccer team, Juve, win so many championships. I watched the glory days of Michael Jordan.

All that yet the glorious year for Montreal to beat the Great One in 1993, and following was another one with a legend in Messier. Nothing beats this sport. The history in it too, so awsome. I’d really encourage OLN to sell those Legends of Hockey episodes on DVD because some stories were so amazing. Like when Rod Gilbert was dead for a few moments and the nurse went “we lost him” and he felt like he saw himself from above and he could still hear Emile Francis, the GM at the time, saying “Bring him back, he is my best player!”

Such stories give this game so much value and we’re all young here on HockeyTradeRumors.com. And, it will be our duty to share this stories with the next generations.

Hockey should not be named as just the coolest game on earth, but the best game on earth and the most rewarding on earth.

Thanks for reading,

Micki Peroni

Vice-Administrator of HTR.com