Month: November 2010

English Premier League – Power Rankings

With all teams having eleven games under their belt and just over a quarter of the season done with, it’s time to look at which teams are hot and which teams have started to slide down the rankings.

Who’s Hot

Fergie continues to create greatness.

Manchester United, 2nd– Outside of fan circles, Manchester United continues to be underrated, despite not losing in any competition this season. The Red Devils are just two points behind Chelsea and although Wayne Rooney has been a distraction for much of the last few weeks, Alex Ferguson’s boys continue to push their way forward.

 

Newcastle, 5thDespite a few rough weeks, the Magpies have pushed forward and find themselves fifth in the standings. After a two goal comeback to pick up a point against Wigan on October 16th, Newcastle has scored 8 goals in their last three League games, and picked up a big victory over Arsenal this past week.

Liverpool, 9th With Fernando Torres firing on all cylinders this past weekend, blasting two goals past League Leaders Chelsea, the Merseyside team has picked up three straight League wins. A team that stuttered out of the gates and were quickly in the relegation zone, Liverpool has picked up its form and Roy Hodgson looks to be turning the ship around, but they still have a lot to prove.

Who’s Cold

He hasn't got a "Kalou"

Chelsea, 1st The League leaders looked a shadow of the team that stormed out of the gates at the start of the season. Missing Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Didier Drogba. Salomon Kalou continues to be lacklustre in front of net, scoring once since September 19th, and was a poor replacement for Drogba on Sunday.

 

Tottenham, 7th – Despite excellent European form, the team that were highly rated coming into the season have just two wins in their last six league games and the 4-2 loss to Bolton this weekend highlighted a season already filled with inconsistent play on the pitch. This is a team full of top rated players and I wouldn’t expect them to finish the season out of the top five but have a lot of work in front of them to improve on their current standing in seventh with 15 points, a total that five teams are sitting at.

West Ham, 20th – Just seven points this season and a total meltdown in the second half of this week’s game against Birmingham saw them give up a two-goal lead and settle for a draw. Robert Green has continued his fantastic World Cup form and lacks confidence in-goal for a team that looks destined for relegation.

 

 

—-

Quote of the Week – Despite a string of bad publicity for out of favor striker Wayne Rooney, England teammate Frank Lampard had this to say about the Manchester united player, “Confident, very good to be around, funny, and one you want next to you as a mate if you go to war or if you just want a laugh. He’s a lad’s lad and that’s what I love about him.


Player of the Week – Liverpool’s Pepe Reina faced a stern test against Chelsea, but turned away their talent with some spectacular saves and picked up the clean sheet for his team.

 

Owen Hargreaves: A synonym for injuries, let downs and heartbreak.

Disappointment of the Week – The highly anticipated return of Owen Hargreaves was a complete, utter failure, when the England Midfielder limped off the field just six minutes into his return. Fans for England and Manchester United will have reason to worry as Hargreaves suffers another blow to his career.

 

 

 

Henry Whitfield is a sports contributor to the Dalhousie Gazette and provides commentary on local sports in and around the HRM. You can follow him on twitter@HenryWhitfield or on his blog, Sports With Henry.

Advertisements

So, Do We Cut Sawyer Hannay Now?

 

Time to get rid of Hannay... Right?

(Photo Credit: Richard Lafortune)

By: Henry Whitfield

Summerside native Darcy Ashley was the standout for the Mooseheads, as Mathieu Corbeil made 29 saves and the Moose cleared out the Chicoutimi Sagueneens 6-2 on Friday night.

Although they won by four goals, the final few minutes of the game were infused with badblood and a few nasty fights that saw a number of penalties and fights go down.

With less than forty-five seconds left on the clock, Sawyer Hannay dropped his gloves after the whistle and went for Vermette, and was assessed an instigator penalty, five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct for fighting in the final five minutes.

And despite the 3-inch height advantaged, Hannay proved once again, that he is only good as a punching bag for the opposition.

My question is this: If the Mooseheads cut Garrett Clarke for taking dumb, needless penalties then what discipline should be given to Hannay when he has been suspended once and could see himself suspended once again for his latest bonehead move.

Hannay is probably half the athlete that Clarke was, has shown himself liable to bad defensive give aways and is facing his second suspension of the season.

So why let him stick around and take up space, when a player like Trey Lewis has proven himself a far more formidable fighter and far more responsible in his own zone.

If Bobby Smith and Cam Russell want to continue with their current path of logic, we should see Hannay packing his bags this week.

But then again this is Moose Country and anything can happen, right?

Henry Whitfield is an avid Mooseheads fan and you can find his thoughts on sports and more on his blog, or follow him on twitter @HenryWhitfield. You can also listen to him on air as a regular contributor to the Bill McLean Sports show on 88.1 CKDU.

Clarke is out, but is it the right move?

Clarke's future is up in the air

(Photo Credit: Richard Lafortune)

By: Henry Whitfield

After a year of issues where Garrett Clarke was benched numerous times by both Cam Russell and more recently new Head Coach Bobby Smith, it was only a matter of time before the young defencemen was cut or dealt by the team.

This week, the team announced that Clarke would be parting ways with the team and that his time in the uniform of the Halifax Mooseheads was over.

It is a confusing ending to the Moncton native’s time in Halifax and for many it was a move that came far to late, but comes at a bizarre time.

Although Clarke was guilty of taking a number of bad penalties in his last game on the ice, this is a player who came into training camp with a new mentality and much better play than last season.

At times last season it appeared that Clarke did not know what the team and coaching staff expected of him, when Spencer Metcalfe was traded in the middle of the season and Sawyer Hannay failed to make the impact needed of the enforcer, it often fell to Clarke to step up and defend the better players and pick up the edge that made him notorious for big, open ice hits but vulnerable to penalties.

The purpose of the Q is to develop these young, talented players into men that can play hockey at the NHL level.

The big question is right there waiting to be asked: Did the Halifax  Mooseheads do what they needed to in order to develop and help Garrett Clarke into becoming a better hockey player and defensemen?

Probably not.

This is a team that finished at the bottom of the league two years in a row and is heading down that path again, a team that has under performed and full of players that have the potential to be stars in this league but seem to be missing the coaching, mentoring and encouragement that young hockey players need.

Sure, Garrett Clarke had a large role to play in his own demise in Moose Country but the responsibility for this failed experiment lays squarely at the feet of Cam Russell and this coaching staff.

With the same staff intact, is it possible a player like Martin Frk, who plays with a very similar edge as Clarke, will go down the same road?

Only time will tell, but I wish Clarke all the best wherever he ends up and maybe he’ll find a coaching staff that can help him adapt his game and hone in that edge.

Henry Whitfield is an avid Mooseheads fan and you can find his thoughts on sports and more on his blog, or follow him on twitter @HenryWhitfield. You can also listen to him on air as a regular contributor to the Bill McLean Sports show on 88.1 CKDU.