Archive for January 2012

Flames; Ducks dominating early

The Western Conference is normally the domain of the San jose Sharks in the regular season. The perrenial powerhouse have captured more regular season titles than can be counted off the top of ones' head, but this year those same Sharks could be in tough to repeat last seasons dominating 134 point effort.
 
Starting the year 7-3-2 is a good start, but the Sharks face stiff opposition from the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks, two teams who have underachieved at times in recent yeas themselves.
 
The Flames are rolling along on a nine-game winning streak at the moment and sit tops in the WCHL with a a12-2 record. During their nine game onslaught, the Flames have torched the opposition, outscoring them 42-18 along the way. Five of those wins have come against conference opponents.
 
"We are playing the way we should be," said GM Lawson Cham. "This team is a beast and I've just let them out of their cage, baby. Roooaaaaaarrrrrrrr!"
 

 
Flames GM Lawson Cham was in full groove mode with girlfriend Ivanna Humpya after the Flames won their ninth straight game.
 
Leading the way are forwards Steven Stamkos, Mike Richards and Daniel Briere, who have combined for 29 goals and 65 points in 14 games this season. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has posted 17 points in 14 games as well to rank second in league scoring for defensemen.
 
"I'm just giving 100 per cent every night, sticking to our system, when we play our game we can compete wth anyone, give respect to the opposition, insert cliche here," said Steven Stamkos who is the only player in the WCHL still to have scored in every game of the season for his team.
 
Mike Richards just shook his head while listening to Stamkos sound off.
 
"What a dork," said Richards to his young teammate. "We are hotter than a habinaro pepper and we'll burn your ass even worse. Booooyyyaaaaaaaaa!"
 
Richards then gave a shout out to Carolina Hurricanes GM Mike McFarland for no apparent reason.
 
"The Canes are doing a good rebuilding their team. Looks like the Cornrow Kid is getting smart. Maybe he stopped being a cheap (deleted) bastard and learned it's not just (deleted) who should be pumping his (expletitive deleted)...I mean gas," said Richards of the Hurricanes who are leading the Adams Division currently.
 

Mike "Cornrows" McFarland was the subject of praise and scorn from the Flames' Mike Richards.
 
The Flames aren't alone in their hot streak though, as the Anaheim Ducks are also rolling along on their own seven game winning streak, leaving them just two points behind the Flames with a record of 11-2.
 
"We rock out with our sticks out," said the normally bashful Sidney Crosby.
 
Crosby has a lot to brag about though, as he leads the entire league is scoring with 32 points in 13 games, a pace that will see Crosby score 202 points if he maintains the pace for all 82 games. The next highest total is 24 from fellow Ducks teammate Logan Couture.
 
The Ducks and Flames have a lot more to prove other than they are hot right now though. Both teams have been blessed with talented rosters for several seasons, but in recent years have failed to do much in the playoffs. The Flames have been bounced in the first round the past two years, both times in five games. The Ducks have reached the second round both years after struggling to even make the playoffs, including knocking out th Flames last year. Both times though the Ducks have been dropped in the second though, including a four-game sweep at the hands of the Sharks last year.
 
"We want that silver mug. Beer tastes good out of it," said long-time Duck Duncan Keith. "The ladies love you long time too when you win it. They think it's hot. When we won it a few years back, I partied so hard the day I had with the cup. It was crazy, like The Hangover movies or something. I woke up in Switzerland sleeping with Kathy Bates under a sheepskin blanket with a pet orangutan named Jim and a tattoo of a she-male on my left butt cheek. It took four days for the cup to turn up in Mongolia. No idea how it got there but when they found it it was full of only orange Reese Pieces and had cobra fangs sticking out of it. It was a really messed up time and I had to go through detox for a meth addiction. It was awesome."
 

 
Duncan Keith has no memory of it, but he was spotted in the German gay pride parade during a wild bender with the WCHL Cup.
 
The Ducks and Flames will be eyeing getting their hands back on that prize this post-season, but until then it's time to make some hay in the regular season nd earn a good seed.
 
"Yep, you want that top spot," agreed Ducks netminder Martin Broduer. "It's key. It means you get to face some crap team that sucks monkey balls. That reminds me of a story about the Pittsburgh Penguins cup celebrations after Season 12 year. Long story short, (Penguins GM) Patrick Matthews has a restraining order against him from the San Francisco City Zoo. That monkey still sits in the corner. Just smokes cigarettes all day, shake uncontrollably and scream if you show him a banana. Really weird."
 

 
George the monkey hasn't been the same since a visit from the Penguins Patrick Matthews last summer.
 

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League full of GM's; activity

The pace continues to heat up for the WCHL, as a new season has bred a flurry of activity.
 
The league has started off on fire, as a very active waiver draft was followed up with a busy first week of the season. Several teams have combined to commit to over a dozen deals since the season started, all in hopes of bettering their squads for a playoffs push - and beyond.
 
"This deal will set us over the top for sure," said Otto Graf, fan of the Nashville Predators, following his teams five-player swap that saw the Predators nab forwards Chad LaRose and Greg Campbell, and defenseman Dennis Wideman. "Greg Campbell is awesome!"
 
What a tool Fulmore is," said Heywood Jabuzzoff, a fan of the San Jose Sharks. "He deals Glencross and Daley for that. What an idiot."
 

The Sharks three cup titles are long in the rearview mirror.
 
Clearly not all fans are proud of their General Managers.
 
But at least now all fans have a GM, as the Columbus Blue Jackets finally filled their open seat with Serge Niles. Niles is expected to do big things for the Blue Jackets.
 
Blessed with talent such as Claude Giroux and Jason Spezza, firepower up front shouldn't be a problem. With Nikolai Khabibulin and Johan Hedberg in net though, the Blue Jackets have moreto be concerned about when it comes to keeping the puck out.
 
"It's like a retirement home between our pipes," said Blue Jackets fan Harry Nipples. "It's the Shady Pines Blue Jackets."
 
It will be just one of many situations to keep your eyes on for the rest of the season, as teams continue to mold their ever-changing squads in hopes of post-season glory.
 

 
Bad goaltending has always been a problem for the Blue Jackets.

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Predators land new GM; Allen ends sabbatical

After a year away from the General Managers chair, Trent Allen is back in the hot seat.
 
The veteran GM announced he has accepted the task of turning around a disfunctional Nashville Predators team, signing on to be their General Manager for the season.
 
"It's good to be back in the thick of things. Hopefully I can help the team out," said Allen.
 

 
Trent Allen was all smiles after being named the new GM of the Nashville Predators
 
Technically this will be the fifth team Allen has managed in the league, by far the most of any GM in league history. Allen though refutes this claim, pointing out that stints of one season in Anaheim, and just three games with the Panthers last year, were more custodial duties than anything else.
 
Indeed, Allen will likely be best remembered for seven seasons at the helm of the Calgary Flames, where he helped reconstruct a broken franchise into one which would go on to have three 100-plus point seasons and capture the WCHL Cup in Season 12.
 
Now Allen is hoping to replicate that success in Nashville.
 
"I think this team is actually better off than Calgary was, by far," said Allen. "That team had Petr Prucha, Jiri Hudler and then pretty much nothing. I remember Jason Ward as the top winger on the team. It was pretty slim pickings. Here, there is Zach Bogosian, Ondrej Pavelec, there are pieces. "
 

Zach Bogosian is deemed a piece of the future for the Nashville Predators by Allen, but the new GM quickly added that "no one is safe here."
 
"More importantly though, the Preds are in better shape off the ice than the Flames were. Calgary was almost bankrupt when I came onboard, and we had to gut the payroll severely for two seasons just to correct that problem. I remember trading draft picks for cash at one point."
 
Allen wasn't ready to determine any plans for the club, but did state there will likely be some trades done in order to turn around some issues for the club he's noticed. The primary focus will be to get some assets added to the club's farm team and prospects chart, both of which are pretty thin.
 
"You build a team from the draft out, I've always beleived that. I call it the revolving door, where if you draft well and properly, you should most of the time have a player who can step in and play in place of one that leaves for whatever reason. That's essentially what we built in Calgary, and we did it with only one first round pick. Granted that was Stamkos, but still, it can be done, it just takes hard work," said Allen.
 
Allen only signed a one-year deal, but said he was open to the possibility of extensions to the deal if both sides agreed. For now, he's just ready to get the work started.
 
"No one is being shopped, but at the same time no one is safe here," said Allen. "For to long this team has been at or near the bottom of the league standings. That has to change. I'm not saying it's the current crop of players' faults, but something needs to give to make this work here. I'm here to see that happens."
 

 
It's time to do some clean up in Nashville.
 
 

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Blues claim big prize of off-season

Gaborik expected to provide huge results after signing huge contract
 
In what was a very active free agency period, the St. louis Blues feel they landed the biggest fish in the pond, as star forward Marian Gaborik elected to bring his goalscoring prowess to the moonshine state of Missouri.
 
"I'm excited to be here. I feel this team can do good things next year and I hope to be a part of it," said the Slovakian sniper.
 
The Blues are a work in progress under General Manager Jesse Funkster, missing the playoffs last year by a narrow margin in the Western Conference. The hope is Gaborik will help push the Blues over that hump and into the post-season.
 

 
The golden-sticked Gaborik will be living like a King off his $51.25 million dollar deal he signed with the Blues.
 
"We feel we have added a great deal to our offense," explained Funkster. "With Ales Hemsky and Mike Cammalleri already here, this adds another top line element to our team and takes a lot of pressure off of our current players."
 
Gaborik, whose five-year, $51.25 million dollar deal was the largest of the off-season, is well accustomed to having success with a team. In Season 11, Gaborik was part of the Calgary Flames squad which found their way to winning the WCHL Cup.
 
I hope to repeat that here. It'd be a thrill," said Gaborik.

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