Friday, October 22, 2010

Best Logo's in NHL Hockey History.

I am kinda bored so I thought it would be fun to tell you about my favorite hockey logos.  Now you might think these rankings are a little biased but thats ok.  Some of the teams are not around anymore, and I hope they come back soon, hint hint Gary Bettman. So without further a-do:

1. Chicago Blackhawks - Chief Blackhawk - How can you go against Chief Blackhawk?  The face is great, the 4 feathers are great.  The fact that they actually used different colors on each feather could not have been cheap in the beginning.  The other thing that is great about this is that its honoring Chief Black-Hawk which was a real person.  To go historical on you, there wars between the Indians and the settlers in the Illinois region during the Andrew Jackson administration.  Andrew Jackson sent out the troops to put down the Indians in what became known as the Chief Blackhawk War in 1832.

2. The Buffalo Sabres - The Buffalo Above the Two Sabres - The color scheme in this logo is really good, and I love the Buffalo above the swords.  Unfortunately, the Sabres went away from this logo for awhile, trying a red, black and white thing, I did not like that at all.  They have actually brought this logo back in an alternative jersey. I think that ownership in Buffalo is trying to get this back into the team, because lets face it, its a great logo.

3. The Hartford Whalers - The W with the Tail at the top - This was a great idea, but too bad that the team folded in 1997.  Also Pucky the Whale that was featured on the jersey on the shoulder patches, was also a great part of this jersey.  Its funny that really simple logos like this one and the Sabres logo that are really really cool.  Its sad that the team folded like I said, hopefully the NHL will come together get some of these teams out of non-hockey markets and bring the whale back to Hartford.

4. The Minnesota North Stars - The N pointing to the North Star - I just want to say the North Stars was a great idea for a team name.  Its original and its not like Tigers, or Wildcats or something that is over-used.  The fact that the logo points to the North Star makes it even better.  Besides the NFL Packers I do not know if green and yellow has looked so good together ever in the history of man.  This another dream of mine, that the Dallas Stars come up with a new name so that the Minnesota Wild can change their name back to the North Stars, it would be great.

5. Vancouver Canucks - The Red, Black, and Yellow/Gold Logo - Called the "Flying Skate" this is another dead logo that most people do not remember if they were not around in the 1990s.  Vancouver did away with this logo in 1997, funny the same year that the Whalers had their final season.  Since then the Canucks have gone with a C with a killer whale at the top of the C.  This logo sucks in my opinion, I did not know there were a bunch of killers whales rocking it in Vancouver.

These are my top five favorite logos in NHL, if you agree, disagree, or just like something else, you could comment in the section below.  Thanks, have a great day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Opening Night in the NHL

What a great night of hockey to open the NHL season yesterday night.  There were 5 games on opening day including the first game between Minnesota and Carolina in Finland.  While ESPN was busy bashing the NHL for having a game in Finland.  They failed to realize the reason for the game was due to the high number of Finnish players on both squads.  Also featured on day one was some great rivalry games between Montreal vs Toronto and Pittsburgh opened up a new barn against the Flyers.  Edmonton also played Calgary, I would call it rivalry but the Oilers have not been exactly out standing in the last couple of years.  The night was capped off by an OT thriller in which the Avs bettered the new-look Blackhawks.  Lets take a closer look at each game.

Minnesota vs Carolina - Carolina won the game 4-3.  Carolina took control of the game with 3 goals in the second period.  Minnesota put up one goal in each period but it was not enough to take down the Canes.  Brandon Sutter for Carolina topped all players with 2 goals.  Carolina players took all three stars of the games.  Neither team is thought to do much in their divisions this year and I think thats why ESPN was hating on this game.  It was a good game at least in my eyes.

Toronto vs Montreal - In a heated rivalry game the Leafs took care of the Canadians 3-2.  The Leafs took a 2-1 lead after the first period.  The Leafs would score again in the 3rd to make it 3-1 before the Canadians could answer to make it 3-2.  It was a pretty evenly matched game, shots favored the Canadians 28-24, and faceoffs won 23-20 Canadians.  Toronto forced the Canadians to defend 5 power plays in the game.  Both teams again I do not think are expected to do much in their divisions, but they still will fight hard all season.

Flyers @ Penguins - The Penguins opened up their new barn with a visit from in-state rivals, the Flyers.  The Flyers would kill the party winning the game 3-2.  The scoring started in the 2nd period when the Flyers jumped on the Pens with 2 goals by Briere and Betts.  Kennedy would get the first goal for the Pens in the 3rd periods.  The Flyers would get a shorthanded goal to make it 3-1 but the Pens were not done as Goligoski found the back of the net.  Crosby and Malkin were both held in check and posted a -1 on the night.  Both these teams should make it deep into the playoffs.

Calgary @ Edmonton - Who would have thought that the worst team last year in the could come in and start the season by blanking the Flames 4-0.  The Oilers started scoring in the first with a goal from Brule.  They would have to wait until the 3rd period to get their second goal.  The goal was an awesome goal by rookie Eberle, a sweet backhand.....and it was shorthanded.  The Oilers scored two more quickly and closed the scoring 4-0.  Khabibulin was a perfect 37 for 37, and the Oilers beat down the Flames.

Chicago @ Colorado - The best game of the night by far, the Avs beat the Hawks 4-3 in OT.  The Hawks got the first goal from newcomer Bickell.  Chris Stewart would answer for the Avs knotting the game 1-1 as the period ended.  Colorado would get two more in the second period making it 3-1 and the Hawks were not looking very good.  They were able to make it 3-2 on a goal late in the second from Hossa on a nice deflection.  Patrick Sharp would tie the game in the 3rd off a rebound and tie the game.  Stastny would get his 2nd goal of the game in OT to win it for the Avs.  The Hawks defense was a little suspect all night, giving up too many odd man rushes.  Turco played well in his first game in net for the Hawks.  Andersen as well, played brilliant for the Avs.  Both teams played well for the first game, and boy it was a very exciting one.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NHL Preview - Eastern Conference - Southeast

Easily the worst division in the NHL last year, only Washington made it into the playoffs.  The rest of the teams Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Florida did not have over 85 points.  The Capitals though were surpised in the playoffs by the Canadians.  It was a down year for this division hopefully they can get it back to together this year or Washington again will easily get 100 points.  Lets take a closer look at the teams:

The Washington Capitals - The Capitals had the most points (121) in the NHL regular season last year.  I am surprised they did not receive a bailout from Obama after the epic collapse in the playoffs against the Canadians.  All the usual suspects are back for the Capitals this year.  Its going to be hard for any other team in this division to over take the Caps.  The other teams just do not have talent and they lack organization.  The Caps easily win this division and I think they get deeper into the playoffs this year.

The Atlanta Thrashers - They were the real winners in the Blackhawks garage sale. They finished 2nd in the division last year but they were almost 40 points behind the Caps.  40 points??? That is equal to 20 wins.  The Thrashers are having a horrible preseason at 0-5-1.  Hopefully that does translate into a long regular for the Thrashers but this division is so bad anything is possible.

The Carolina Hurricanes - They finished 3rd in the division last year.  In my opinion they should be moved back to Hartford but since that will not happen they will continue to lose in Carolina.  They just do not have enough players on this team to compete with the likes of the Washington Capitals.  This division is really a race to see who finishes 2nd.  The Caps are just far and away a much better team.  Hopefully for the Canes, Cam Ward can have a great season in net, and they can step their game up.

The Tampa Bay Lightning - They have not been the same since the league handed them the Stanley Cup.  They only had 80 points in the regular season last year.  They are having a great preseason (4-1-1), hopefully they can keep it up into the regular season.  It would be nice to see one of these teams challenge the Caps for the division title.  Their big pickup in the off season was Simon Gagne from the Flyers.  This was a good pickup for the Lightning, giving them experience and another LW that can do some damage.  I think Tampa Bay is poised for a run at the Caps this year.

The Florida Panthers - They were the 3rd worst team in the NHL last year, and the 2nd worst team in the Eastern Conference.  They have been pretty average in the preseason 2010 (3-2-1).  They just do not have a bunch of big name or any big name players to compete in this NHL.  This team was a product of the NHL's southern expansion, and I think it also time that the NHL brings back some of these teams to traditional hockey markets.  Its going to be another long season for the Panthers.

NHL Preview - Eastern Conference - Northeast

The Northeast division had the most playoff teams in 2010.  Thanks mostly to the easiest division in the NHL is the Eastern Conference's southeast that only had one playoff team.  The surprise team last year in the playoffs was the Montreal Canadians led by Halak in net.  They upset Washington and Pittsburgh, totally unexpected by anyone in the NHL.  Other teams from the Northeast that made the playoffs Ottawa, Buffalo and Boston.  The only team that did not make the playoffs was Toronto.  Lets over analyze the teams now:

The Montreal Canadians - The Canadians definitely over achieved in the playoffs last year but I do not know if they will be able to get back to the promise land again.  They lost Halak to the St. Louis Blues in the off season.  He was unbelievable in the playoffs last year.  Right now the Canadians are 4-3 in the preseason 2010.  They get all the rest of their stars back from last year.  Hopefully, Carey Price will be able to come in net and at least get them back to the playoffs.

The Buffalo Sabres - They won the division last year with 100 pts, it was the 4th highest total in the Eastern Conference.  Ryan Miller has been a staple in net for the Sabres.  I think fans were a little disappointed with the team not getting further into the playoffs in 2009.  They did not lose many star players from the team last year and they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Northeast again this year.  They will be definitely looking to get deeper into the playoffs and I think Ryan Miller will be the reason they get there.

The Ottawa Senators - The Senators got into to playoffs last year like everyone else from this division besides Toronto.  They have some star players but overall they have alot of players that are just really good.  They were bounced from the playoffs by the Penguins last year.  This year they have opened the preseason with a record of 3-4-1.  Unless they get some serious fire power via free agency I think the best they can hope for is 2nd or 3rd in the division.

The Boston Bruins - The Bruins finished the season last year with 94 pts and that was good enough for 3rd in the division.  The preseason has been a little bit rough for the Bruins with a record of 1-3-1.  They have not been scoring many goals this preseason.  I do not think there is much worry in Boston right now.  Chara is back this year ready to crush the opposition, literally.  The man is a beast at 6'8" on defense for the Bruins.  I think the Bruins are poised for some great things this year.

The Toronto Maple Leafs - The Leafs finished dead last in the Eastern Conference last year with 74 points.  If it was not for the Edmonton Oilers they would have been the worst team in the NHL.  This is sad for a team that has so much tradition in this league.  All hope is not lost though, they are playing pretty good in the 2010 preseason with a mark of 5-3-1.  They were able to sign Kris Versteeg in the offseason from the champion Blackhawks.  They should be able to improve leaps and bounds over last year.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

NHL Preview - Eastern Conference - Atlantic

The next part of my NHL preview thats us to the NHL - Eastern Conference, specifically the Atlantic division.  New Jersey won the division last year but it was the Flyers that got all the way to the cup finals.  It was Pittsburgh the darlings of the NHL who bowed out to the Montreal Canadians of all teams.  This was all after the Flyers got into the playoffs on the last day of the season in spite of the NY Rangers.   The NY Islanders brought up the rear of the the division in 2010.  Lets take a look at the teams closer:

The New Jersey Devils - The story of the off season for the Devils has been centered around the voided contract of Kovalchuk.  Everyone knew it would get voided by the NHL because it was like a 20 yr deal.  The Devils still have the ageless wonder that is Martin Brodeur that is in net.  The question will be how much long can he go?  They still have big time players Parise and Elias on the left side of the ice.  They have a lot a fire power, including recently signed Jason Arnott from Nashville.  They will be in a three sided war with Philly and Pittsburgh for the title in the Atlantic Division.

The Philadelphia Flyers - If the Flyers could have gotten better goal tending in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2009 they might have won the cup.  But that did not happen when Leighton let in a pretty soft goal in game 6 to close it for the Blackhawks.  The Flyers seem to be putting that whole thing behind them as they have started the preseason 2010 5-1-1.  Leighton is injured right now and will miss at least the first month of the season.  Most of all the same characters from last year will be back including top liners, Richards, Hartnell, and Pronger.  They even asked the always entertaining Dan Carcillo to come back for his instant energy.  I think it will be another good year for the Flyers.

The Pittsburgh Penguins - Who would have thought that they would be taken out of the playoffs by the Montreal Canadians.  The team with the NHL's chosen one Cindy Crybaby Crosby.  Personally, though I hate the Penguins, I have always thought that Malkin was the team's best player.  The Penguins have also been having a very positive 2010 preseason with a mark so far of 4-1.  I truely believe if the Penguins want to win another cup with the current goalie Fluery must play a lot better then he did in the playoffs last year.  The Penguins really did not lose that many key parts of last years team and they are expecting big things from Pittsburgh this year.

The New York Rangers - The New York Rangers were knocked out of the playoffs on the last day of the season, and I think it was also in a shoot-out.  The New York Rangers will have an up hill battle to get into the playoffs being in the hardest division in the Eastern Conference.  The Rangers have decent players but no players in my mind that will be able to take them over the top.  They might want to look into trading some players if they want to make a real push this year.

The New York Islanders - They finished last in 2009, and there is not much hope for this year.  The preseason tally so far is 1-4 in 2010.  Its a good thing that it does not count but it does give me any warm feelings about how this team will fair in 2010.  Maybe they are just trying to get their fans ready for a long season.  After looking over their depth chart for this year, I only recognized one name and that was Doug Weight and I had to ask myself, How old is that guy now?  This will be his 18th season or something close to that.  Unbelievable.  Its going to be a really long season for the Islanders, sorry for not being more optimistic.

NHL Preview - Western Conference - Pacific Division

The 2nd hardest division in the Western Conference is the Pacific Division.  This division has been highlighted in recent years by the top team the San Jose Sharks.  The Coyotes in PHX have been going through financial troubles, and almost moved back to Winnipeg.  The other three team in the division include the Anaheim Ducks, The Dallas Stars, and the LA Kings.  It should be an interesting year in the Pacific but it might be dominated again by the Sharks.  Lets go deeper into the Pacific:

The San Jose Sharks - The Sharks known for early exits in the playoffs, they at least won a couple of series before being swept by the champion Blackhawks.  If I was a Shark's fan I would have liked to see a little bit more fight against the 'Hawks.  The Sharks did help themselves out by signing a former 'Hawk Niemi, the goal tender that stood on his head for all of the 2010 playoffs.  The Sharks get all their star players back from last year and it should be another great campaign for San Jose this year.

The Phoenix Coyotes - The Coyotes in the wake of severe financial troubles, still made it in the playoffs last year.  There were alot of rumors going around about the state of the team, even a rumor of the team moving back to Winnipeg but it looks like the Coyotes will stay in Phoenix for a while.  They had a great year in 2010 and finished 3rd in pts in the Western Conference.  I would expect more of the same in 2010, as they improve as a team.  I think they will pose a major threat to the Sharks if they can stay healthy.

The LA Kings - They finished third in the Pacific last year and sixth in the Western Conference.  The Kings are another team that really does not have a bunch of flashy names but they have alot of talent.  They are like the Minnesota Wild but with more talent.  They are 2-1-1 in the preseason in 2010.  I think it will be hard for them to overtake the Sharks or the Coyotes but they are definitely better then the Ducks and the Stars.  This team will be able to make it back to playoffs this year, and hopefully they will get past the first round.

The Anaheim Ducks - They finished 11th in the Western Conference last year with 89 points.  The Ducks look to improve from last year and get back to the playoff level in 2010.  They are 2-4 in the preseason this year, hopefully this does not translate into a long season for the Ducks.  With all the inexperience the Ducks have they will be leaning on Hiller to have a solid year in net.  I hope they can come together this year and challenge the Sharks.  PS They need to put "Mighty" back in the name.

The Dallas Stars - In terms of points they were the best 5th place team in the NHL with 88 pts.  They also lost the face of the franchise Mike Modano to the Red Wongs.  They have been pretty decent this preseason putting up a mark of 3-2 so far.  I think the improvement continues for Dallas, hopefully they do not have a hungover from losing Modano.  The guy was with the team before the move from Minnesota, and he was there when they won the cup.  Its going to be hard to move up or down in this division though, unless one team has a rash of injuries.

NHL Preview - Western Conference - Northwest Division

Yesterday we took a look at the central division today we are going to move out to the Northwest Division of the Western Conference.  This division includes Minnesota, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Colorado.  Based on playoff teams from last year this would be considered the weakest part of the Western Conference.  While saying its the weakest Colorado had a great showing in the playoff last year given how young they are.  Vancouver has been staple in the playoffs from this division for the last couple of years.  Lets take a closer look at the teams in this division.

The Vancouver Canucks - The Canucks won the division last year, and for the 2nd time in as many years were bounced from the playoffs by the Chicago Blackhawks.  This was after Luongo the goalie had some choice words for Patrick Kane at the olympics.  Vancouver's lineup is highlighted by the Sedin brothers and Ryan Kelser from OSU.  The Canucks should have a great chance to win this part of the division again, they did not lose many pieces from last year.

The Colorado Avs - They stunned alot of people with their playoff run last year.  This a young team with alot of talent and a great goal tender.  Any time you can get great goal tending you have a chance to be really good.  This team should continue to improve this season, and might be able to challenge the Canucks for the division title this year.  It will be mostly up to Craig Anderson in net to keep the Avs rolling down the hill to the promise land.

The Calgary Flames - The Flames did not make the playoffs last year in what was a disappointment in many people's mind.  The Flames are trying to make up for it already in 2010, they are 6-0 in the preseason.  The Flames are still led by the feisty Jerome Iginla.  They have a decent goal tender in Kiprusoff that will keep them close.  They might still need to add some talent before the trade deadline if they want to get out of this division with the title.

The Minnesota Wild - The Wild did not have a very good season last year, and they hope to improve upon that this year.  The Wild are a tough team that make you earn every inch of the ice.  They also space the ice very well which usually creates odd man situations into the attacking zone.  The Wild have not been very good this preseason (0-4-2).  They had alot of chances when they played against CBJ but they could not cash in.  The Wild do not have a bunch of big name players but they have a lot players that know what their roll is and they play together very well.

The Edmonton Oilers - It was a horrid season last year for the Oilers.  They had the worst record in the NHL by over 10 pts.  They need The Great One to come back to Canada and put the skates on.  Things though might be on the up and up, the Oilers are 4-1 in the 2010 preseason.  The Oilers will need all the wins they can get to change the mentality of losing that has taken over Edmonton.  They cannot get much worse then they were last year, so hopefully they will get it together in 2010.

Friday, October 1, 2010

NHL Preview - Western Conference - Central Division

The baseball season has been going on forever, and we are not at the playoffs yet.  The NBA does not want to play defense anymore, thank god for Hockey.  Time to get out that sweater thats been in the closet since last June.  I know personally I still have not washed my Patrick Kane jersey I was wearing during game #6, and I do not think I will ever wash it.  Its going to be a very tough road out of the Western Conference this year, because it seems like all the good teams got better.  Even the St. Blues signed Halak from Montreal, they might finally get out of the basement.  Let's take a little bit closer look at the Western Conference Central Division:

The Chicago Blackhawks - The Stanley Cup Champions, wow that sounds great just writing that, might have lost half of the team due to the cap, but they did sign Marty Turco.  Kane and Toews return this year to lead this team that still has great players like Keith and Seabrook on the first line defense.  Also back is Sharp and Hossa.  The Hawks are still going to be a power to be reckoned with this year in the Central division.  The Central division looks to be the toughest of the Western conference and maybe the NHL all together.

The Detroit Red Wongs - The Red Wongs will be tough next year, they suffered alot of injuries last year putting them at a disadvantage in the playoffs.  They will be fresher this year which is a total disappointment if you are a fan of any other team in this division.  Mike Modano was also signed in the off season after playing his last game for the Stars.  I am not very happy with his decision but that is life, when you think of Mike you think of that Star on his chest not some wheel with a flame.  Oh well, with that said that is about as objective as I can be about the Detroit Red Wongs

The Nashville Predators - A team that I feel strongly that is a player or two away from really doing some damage in the playoffs.  They ran into the Blackhawks last year in the playoffs and if it was not for some bounces that went the Blackhawks way they would have taken them down.  Especially the bounce off Kane from almost center ice that fooled the goalie and went straight into the net.  The Predators play solid defense and you have to earn every goal scored on them.  I really like this team, should be another good season for the Predators.

The St. Louis Blues - Like I mentioned before the Blues got busy in the off-season signing Montreal goal tender Halak.  This should greatly improve their team and they should be able to win alot more games.  This also should help them get out of the basement of this division.  They have had a rough go of it the last 10 or so years.  They are doing very well in the 2010 pre-season at 4-2-0 and they are leading the division at this point.  Unfortunately this does not count so hopefully they will be able bounce back this year, and be competitive.

The Columbus Blue Jackets - Entering their 10th season in the league,  the Blue Jackets look to get back to the playoffs and win a game.  This is easier said then done though.  I have been a little critical of the team for their lack of signing big time free agents.  Rick Nash is not getting any younger and I worry that his and the Blue Jackets opportunity window is closing fast.  He is hands down the best place on the team by far.  I think he could be even better if he had more quality help.  Honestly though with all the teams in this division its going to be hard for the Blue Jackets to make a push this year.  I hope that they get it together and play well.