NHL General

Tuesday Morning NHL Roundup

Red Wings 2, Sharks 0

Most people who’ve seen my ramblings on the Internet know my Sharks connection, but I’ll summarize it here: I’ve never even set foot in the city of San Jose, but in August of 1999, a scant two weeks before I went off to college, my dad and I were shopping for potential room posters. I came across a Sharks poster in the bargain bin and, liking the colors more than anything, I purchased it. I threw it up on Move In Day, and sure enough, the token “Awkward Kid Who Lives on Your Hallway” (everyone has one) was from San Jose in my floor’s case, and came in all atwitter. Over that year, we bonded – we once got absolutely hammered watching a Sharks game, which might have been the first time he ever got drunk – and actually became pretty good friends. It’s entirely based, at least initially, on the Sharks. I’m intrigued by the power of sports to bring people together in an almost religious way, and the Sharks were the first team I saw it with, which is utterly random but also fun in many ways.

So, I’m a “Sharks fan,” at least as much as one person can be without ever really watching an entire game of theirs sober. So, it hurt me last night when they got bounced from the NHL’s postseason boogie in favor of the Red Wings, especially knowing they held a 2-0 lead on said Wings at one point. A 41 year old goalie, Mr. Hasek, looked like he was 25 last night in stoning virtually everything the Sharkies threw at him. ‘Twas depressing, and yet again, the Sharks will not compete for Lord Stanley.

With the Red Wings win, the Conference Finals are set: Anaheim vs. Detroit, in a rematch of an interesting rivalry; and Buffalo vs. Ottawa, in a rematch of an utter bloodbath. I’ll write more about that later today for Sportscolumn. For now, I have to drown my Sharks tears with some Starbucks Coffee, which is roughly equivalent to sticking a hot brick of dirt in your mouth.

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

NHL General

Thursday Morning NHL Roundup

Senators 3, Devils 2
As the Senators take a 3-1 lead in this series en route to their likely bloodbath with Buffalo in the Conference Finals, I don’t think the whole “What’s happening to Martin Brodeur?” point can be belabored enough. He won his first-round series against the Lightning, sure; but Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier pretty much scored on him at will; the only reason Tampa didn’t win that series is because no one else could score (kinda reminds me of how the Houston Rockets play sometimes, no?). Last night he got smoked again by a team of very quick shooting attackmen, and the Devils are on the brink, much like Tony Soprano in his final season. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it sounded kinda cool.

Red Wings 3, Sharks 2
Two games, one night, one identical final. Spooky. But – they were quite different. See, I was at a bar last night (uh..), and right before I looked up, and Whoopi Goldberg was, for some reason, being interviewed by Michael Kay. Regardless of that image, the ticker on YES revealed Sharks 2, Red Wings 1 with about 17:00 left. I felt confident in that outcome – and the more pressing game in front of me, Phoenix vs. LA in hoops, wasn’t over yet, so I had to get home to watch that one. I wake up this morning, and what to my puck wondering eyes should appear but this outcome. Apparently, the Wings scored with 33 seconds left in regulation, then in OT to win this puppy. Series is 2-2, headed back to “The Joe” on Saturday. Remember when Hogan vs. Flair headlined Halloween Havoc ’94 at The Joe? I do. Hogan vs. Flair is, in many ways, an apt analogy for this series – both these squads have been around the block a few times postseason-wise. Hogan is probably the Wings – more glory in the past in the form of “world titles.” While Flair actually had more titles than Hogan, no one really gave a crap about that Crockett promotion, so his victories – like the Sharks’ – seemed less significant. If you’re scoring at home, please note I spent 3/4 of this post discussing MLB (Kay), NBA (Suns), and WWF/WCW, and about 1/4 discussing hockey. It’s a good thing Sportscolumn isn’t paying me.

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

NHL General

Friday Morning NHL Roundup

Sharks 2, Red Wings 0
I’ve written before about my fascination – perhaps of an unhealthy nature – with the San Jose Sharks. Long story short: a few weeks before my frosh year of college, my dad and I were buying posters; I liked the colors on the Sharks poster (you should have seen how I picked NCAA Tournament teams back then), and thus bought it; it led to an oddly interesting dynamic with a wallflower who lived down the hall from me. Basically, I think I made him throw up from drinking for the first time in his life (and the second, and third, but those are different matters). The Sharks, though, brought us together.

The one legitimate thing I liked about San Jose aside from their colors was how they manhandled Detroit that year they (SJ) were the 8 seed. Arturs Irbe? He was en fuego in that series. The image of those guys skating out of the shark’s mouth en route to a massive upset is something that really kept me tuned into hockey back in the mid 1990s.

It appears San Jose is still owning Detroit, because in Game 1 of the Western Semis last night, they hung a 2-0 win on ’em. Nabokov had 34 saves. Mike Grier and Matt Carle – whose name doesn’t even hyperlink off NHL.Com for some reason – provided the offense. I guess the moral of this story is, a shark will always eat an octopus (or, for that matter, a seal – you guys been watching Planet Earth?).

Senators 5, Devils 4
Two relevant things emerged from this game, in my mind, and I wouldn’t call myself a “puckhead” by any means (maybe a “puckbunny,” but that’s an entirely different tangent), so maybe I’m wrong.

1. What’s wrong with Marin Broduer? OK, he’s old. And OK, the Devils still advanced out of the first round, but Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis basically tattooed their names all over Brodeur’s back, posterior, and nether regions, smacking him around for 11 goals. The problem for Tampa Bay is, they only scored three other goals in all. Anyway, tonight he gives up a goal 90 seconds into the game – Jason Spezza – and then three more in the first period. The Devils are already in a 4-0 hole. How’s a band of brothers going to come back from that? Huh? Huh? It hurts so good, Marty.

2. If anyone cares, what’s the broader American sentiment on Dany Heatley these days? The guy is, for all intents and purposes, someone associated with murder. He also happens to be one of the best damn players in hockey; his two years in Ottawa, he’s had over 100 points per season. In this game, he was one of the Fatal Four that scored on Martin B. in the first period, after a solid first round. What’s your take: is Heatley a monster or a misunderstood offensive genius who was driving the wrong Ferrari at the wrong time? Frankly, I think mistakes happen, and sometimes they’re absolutely awful in terms of their ramifications. An Eastern Conference Finals battle between Chris Drury, the boy who can do no wrong, and Dany Heatley, the brotha who can do no right, would be an absolutely intoxicating battle of Good vs. Evil. Yea, I’m a smidgeon melodramatic.

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Feeling at Home on the Road

[Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Crashing the Zamboni”, a daily blog by Eric Caterina. Eric will be covering the NHL this year for Sportscolumn.]

1. Road Ice Advantage?
After losing the first two road games of the season, the Nashville Predators are feeling comfortably at home while away from the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville. With their 3-2 win last night over the Vancouver Canucks, Nashville has now won five straight road games, and seven of their last eight overall. None of their road victories have been overly dominating performances; four out of those five wins came in one-goal nailbiters. So what is the key to the Predators’ road ice advantage? Tomas Vokoun. The goaltender from Czechoslovakia is in his eighth year with Nashville (his fourth as a full-time starter). Even though the offense on this road stretch wasn’t tremendous, Vokoun picked up four of the five victories, never letting the puck slip into the net any more than two times. He’s given them a chance to win, and they’ve done just enough to walk off the ice with a W. This stretch of games could help Nashville tremendously in the longrun — it looks to be a two horse race in the Central Division between the Preds and the Red Wings.

2. Sharks Edge Panthers
Christian Ehrhoff’s last-minute goal gave the Sharks a 2-1 victory over the Panthers last night in Florida. The Power Play tally kept San Jose from slipping to third in the Pacific Division — where it’s possible that the Sharks and Stars could be playing catch up to keep pace with Anaheim for the year. Ron Wilson’s club has arguably the best special teams in the league, with an NHL best 28% on the Power Play this season. San Jose’s win put them at 7-0-1 in their last eight against the Florida Panthers (who eventually could get into the thick of things in a packed Southeast Division). This kind of dominance is similar to what we’ve seen in the Toronto-Atlanta series, as posted yesterday on Crashing the Zamboni.

3. Grinding It Out
Pure passion is hard to find nowadays in professional sports, where money is tossed around like a rag doll and the only basis for your expectations is your contract. That’s why it was refreshing to find this story on Florida’s veteran journeyman, Gary Roberts. In reading, it’s clear that this man is actually enjoying his time in professional sports, taking on an attitude unlike so many other big-time athletes. While the T.O.’s of the world are relishing in front of cameras and signing new shoe deals, sports’ real heroes continue to work hard just to spend that extra day in a big league jersey. Kudos to Gary Roberts for grinding it out, staying under the radar, and still going out and performing every night–he could teach some of today’s athletes a thing or two, if only they were patient enough to watch and listen.

Check It Out
It was hard not to laugh at this ridiculous report that Alex Auld got hurt “horsing around”. Not sure what’s funnier: the story itself, of Ed Belfour’s lame excuses as to why it happened.

Game of the Night: Nashville at Edmonton
Oilers look to stay undefeated at Rexall Place; Nashville has won five straight on the road.

The Last Shot
Montreal’s Chris Higgins scored his third shorthanded goal of the season last night, taking the NHL lead in that category.

Miami Heat

Odds and Ends for Tues May 16 2006: Miami Heat Dancers in FHM

It was only a matter of time after winning the dance team tournament that the Miami Heat Dance team would end up in a men’s magazine. FHM has a few members of the team in the obligatory bikini poses. Most interesting is this tidbit:

Karelix on hazing “If you do make the team, the veterans are usually nice. One year, though, we made all the new girls wear Depends during an entire rehearsal.

Too bad we can’t substitute the Miami Dance team for the Northwestern Soccer team. Hey, like we said before, we don’t make up the rules.

In other news…

[Yahoo]: San Jose mayor apologizes for anthem booing

[]: More out of the ordinary stats than you can shake a pink bat at

[Golf Blog]: Michelle Wie wins local qualifier to move one step closer to Men’s US Open

[Yahoo]: Judge rules that golfers aren’t eligible for errant golf shots… hoooray!

[120 proof ball]: Majerle told Fox Sports Net’s Best Damn Sports Show Period that Charles Barkley’s estimate of losing 10 million bucks gambling was a tad light. I think that’s being real conservative, because he lost about $5 million to (Danny) Ainge and I in shootarounds….When he left Phoenix, my income took a big hit.

San Jose Sharks

Settle down Sharks fans

Listen up Sharks fans. It’s not OK to boo the Canadian national anthem. What are you, a bunch of rednecks? What exactly has Canada ever done that deserves booing? Sure, they unleashed Celine Dion on the world but they make up for that by giving us good hockey players, good beer, and Rush.

You should be booing either Joe Thornton or the post…clang. Let’s recap. It’s game 4 and the Sharks are up 3-1. On a shorthanded attempt, Thornton hits the post. An inch (or a couple centimeters for you Canadians) lower and the game is 4-1 and the Sharks go home up 3-1 in the series in position to wrap it up. Instead, the Oilers score the next 5 goals and tie up the series. Maybe that’s why you were so angry Sunday night. But enough of a trip down memory lane.

So now, in a pivotal game 5, the usually good fans at the Shark Tank decide to boo the Canadian national anthem. Not exactly smart with 10 of your players being from Canada. The Sharks go on to lose the game in the third period with stupidity and misplaced agression. Kinda like the hometown fans. Karma is a bitch.

[San Jose Mercury News]: Canadian anthem booed; players upset