Month: April 2011

Second Round Stanley Cup Predos

Before we kick into the next round, how did I do in the first found?

Canucks in Six, Canucks won in Seven

Sharks in Five, Sharks won in Six

‘Yotes in Seven, Red Wings won in Four

Ducks in Six, Predators won in Six

Caps in Six, Caps in Five

Flyers in Six, Flyers in Seven

Bruins in Five, Bruins in Seven

Lightning in Seven, Lightning in Seven

Perfect for winner of the series in the East and got the Bolts-Pens series dead on, while I went 50% in the West and was upset by the Red Wings and Predators

One last kudos to Teemu Selanne who lead the first round with six goals and who knows if the flash will be back in the NHL next season.

So without further adieu, here are my second round predos:

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(1) Vancouver Canucks vs (5) Nashville Predators

While I was surprised that Nashville dealt with Anaheim so easily, I wasn’t surprised by the Canucks overcoming their daemons to get past the Chicago Blackhawks. That being said, I was impressed with the work ethic of the Predators and am less than impressed with the Sedin twins and the play of Roberto Luongo.

Pekka Rinne will be looked to by his team mates to continue his stellar play, but if Luongo finds his game then the backstoppers will be quite evenly matched.

This series will be another battle and the Canucks will need to dig deep to match the hard hitting, gritty Predators who dealt with a talented Ducks team with ease.

The key to this series will be the Sedin twins waking up and the third and fourth lines of the Canucks continuing to battle hard every shift.

Key Player(s): Sedin Twins, they need to score or else he Canucks are saying seeya later to the playoffs.

My Prediction? Canucks beat the Predators in Six, but drop the first game.

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(2) San Jose vs (3) Detroit Red Wings

With the San Jose Sharks still battling to get rid of their ‘choke specialists’ tag, the veteran and experienced Detroit Red Wings continue to do what they do best: Win in the playoffs.

The aged Red Wings dealt with the ‘Yotes easily and have had enough time to get their old bodies healthy for the next round and that’s something the Sharks don’t want.

Datsyuk was a stud in the first round and this team is once again built for the playoffs, not to mention Jimmy Howard has grown into a reliable goalie behind a strong defensive unit.

On the other side of the ice, there is an unproven group of super talented players that continue to battle their past in the playoffs.

Antti Niemi may have won a cup last year but he didn’t’ exactly steal many games, he had more than a few goals put past him against he Kings and is the clear weakness in this San Jose team.

I’d love to see the Sharks meet the Canucks in the Western Finals but unless Joe Thornton throws the team on his back and scores a hat-trick a game, they will find it hard pressed to get past Hockey Town.

Key Player: Leaning on their experience, Nicklas Lidstrom will need to lead by example and get his team past a talented San Jose side.

My Prediction? Detroit is too much to handle, they win in Six

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(1) Washington Capitals – (5) Tampa Bay Lightning

A matchup of two of the best shooters in the game with Ovechkin and Stamkos squaring off in this series, but it may just come down to goaltending once again.

Old man time is no issue for Dwayne Roloson and he will look to continue his strong post-season play and hope that other veterans Vincent LEcavalier, Martin St. Louis and Mattias Ohlund can drive their team past a locked-and-loaded Capitals team.

Down the other end of the ice, it’s Bruce Boudreau’s defence-first Capitals who are showing a new side and allowed just 8 goals in the first round against the Rangers.

The usual suspects will need to get it done for the Captials, reline on NIcklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green to get the job done.

Key Player? Alexander Semin will need to score goals and keep converting the chances that Ovechkin is setting up for him.

My prediction?  Tampa Bay will battle hard but the Capitals are on a mission and are all business this post-season, Caps win in Five

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(2) Philadelphia Flyers – (3) Boston Bruins

The Bruins enter the series after winning an emotional series against Montreal but still have a lot to prove.

A historic collapse against the Flyers in last years playoffs will be in their minds as they face a team injected with a healthy Chris Pronger but plagued by inconsistent goaltending.

After using three goalies, all looking horrible at times, the Flyers will hope to get solid play between the pipes to compete with the perennial maverick Tim Thomas, who let in a few soft goals himself in the first series.

This will be the best series in the second round and will be an all out battle; whether it is Chara vs Pronger, Horton vs Briere, Lucic vs Hartnell or Thomas vs whoever stays in the Flyers net the longest.

Key Player: As usual, this Flyers team lives and breathes by the example set by Chris Pronger and will rely on the wily veteran’s example to win this series.

My prediction? Flyers in Seven, with at least three of the games going to overtime.

Agree? Disagree? Think i’m crazy? That’s fine, chime in with your 2-Cents below in the comments section and let us know your predictions and thoughts for the second round of the playoffs.

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Henry is a contributor to Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Tuesday Morning at 11. You can follow him on twitter at HenryWhitfield, where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads games

Fun While it Lasted…

Well, that was fun.

Last night, in the championship game between the Lawton-Fort Sill Calvary and Rochester RazorSharks at the Great Plains Coliseum not only did fights break out between fans, but referees were attacked and accusations of match fixing.

The game was called with .06 seconds left in the game, with the Calvary trailing the RazorSharks 87-84, while having 37 fouls called against in comparison to their opponents.

With the fouls being so one-sided, fans became upset and at one point a fan was ejected from the building after getting involved with the referee.

The circus did not end there, with foam basketballs being thrown onto the court and a technical foul being assessed to the fans but the worst was yet to come.

Eddie Smith stole the ball for the Calvary and the home team broke down the caught, with Smith going to the basket the ref called a foul, however, another referee came over and overturned the call and instead the play was called out-of-bounds. It was a blatantly bad call and the final straw for many fans, who bashed the officials for the rest of the game and have fuel accusations of match fixing.

To fuel the complaints and the confusion, the Calvary returned to the floor after the game and announced themselves as the 2011 PBL Champions to the delight of the home crowd.

The Premier League Basketball side has yet to update the final score and announce a winner, while the RazorSharks organization has since posted their own recap and announced their championship.

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**Update**

Both Halifax and Saint John have pulled out of the Premier Basketball League.

“”After watching the final playoff series and analyzing the statistics, I have decided to withdraw the Halifax Rainmen from the Premier Basketball League. I am appalled by the officiating that took place during the playoffs, and am ashamed of the PBL’s operations this season. I want nothing but the best for our city, our fans, our sponsors, and our players, and I can say with confidence that the best is no longer found in the PBL.” – Halifax Rainmen President and CEO, Andre Levingston
“The manner in which the playoffs were handled was unconscionable and we want no part of it. We do not recognize the Rochester RazorSharks as champions, nor do any of the other teams in the PBL I am sure. We are more excited than ever about the future prospects for professional basketball in the City of Saint John next season. We will be working hard in the coming days and weeks to decide our best options.” – Saint Jhn Mill Rats President and General Manager Ian McCarthy.

Henry is a contributor to Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Tuesday Morning at 11. You can follow him on twitter at HenryWhitfield, where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads games


First Round Stanley Cup Predos

Stanley Cup Predictions, 2011 Edition

The defending champion Chicago Blackhawks are in tough against the top team in the NHL when they face off with Vancouver tonight.

While in the East, it’s a battle of proving your worth with the top seeded Capitals trying to break away from their playoff woes against the Rangers.

I’m sure many of you will disagree or have your own opinions, so feel free to share them in the comments section and let me know your predictions.

Without further adieu, here are my predictions for the first round of the playoffs and who I think can change the course of each series.

The West

Vancouver Canucks – Chicago Blackhawks

While Chicago has had Vancouver’s number the last few times they’ve duked it out in the playoffs, this years edition sees the Canucks more confident and ready to go.

The Sedins are once again on fire and Roberto Luongo is playing some of the best hockey of his career while the Blackhawks slipped into the playoffs and have battled injuries down the stretch.

Key Player: Jonathan Toews, Captain serious has the potential to steal the series if he gets hot and throws his team on his back.

My prediction? Canucks in Six

San Jose Sharks – LA Kings

The Sharks broke their playoff duck last year and are locked and loaded for another drive deeper into the playoffs, the Kings have fought well the last few weeks despite key injuries but are not at the level needed to beat the Sharks in a best of seven.

With everyone chipping in, the Sharks looked primed for the playoffs and ready to build on last year’s success.

Key Player: Joe Thornton had a quiet season scoring goals by his standards, but his big body presence and ability to pass the puck will push the Sharks over the edge.

My prediction? Sharks in Five

Detroit Red Wings – Phoenix Coyotes

Experience verse youth in this battle, the Red Wings pipped the Coyotes in game Seven last year and many expect them to do it again this year.

However, with the Coyotes showing great confidence and an old, fragile Red Wings team not looking like their former selves i’m giving the edge to a Yandle led Phoenix team.

This is my upset of the first round and it’s but a pipe dream.

Key Player: Jimmy Howard picked up a win in his final appearance of the regular season and Howard will  have the ability to steal this one for the Red Wings.

My Prediction? Coyotes in Seven

Anaheim Ducks – Nashville Predators

With what may be the best top line in the NHL right now, the Ducks were carried on the back of Cory Perry straight into the playoffs.

Nashville will have their hands full not just shutting down Perry but his linemates and a rejuvenated Teemu Selanne who finished 8th in scoring despite his age.

Goaltending is the big issue for the Ducks, with both their choice starters battling against time to get fit for the playoffs.

Key Player: To beat the Ducks, the Preds need to shut down Cory Perry. Goodluck. The kid has been on fire and his scoring touch will be the key to the Ducks overcoming their goaltending woes.

My Prediction? Ducks in Six

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The East

No Sidney Crosby to light up the playoffs, a Halak-less Habs and lots of upset potential litter the first round in the East.

Washington Capitals – New York Rangers

This matchup has upset written all over it, but i’m willing to give the Caps the credit that winning the East is due.

Look to Ovechkin to play supporting star in this series, with Semin leading the offensive charge.

King Henrick has the ability to steal a game or two, but it’s Washington’s year to prove they are the quality they believe they have .

Key Player: Sorry, this is a battle between the coaches. Tortorella and Bruce Boudreau will be providing some of the best sound bytes for decades, don’t turn away.

My Prediction? Capitals in Six

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Philadelphia Flyers – Buffalo Sabres

Sorry Ryan Miller, the Flyers are built for the playoffs and itching to make good on falling short last season.

Lead by the tandem of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, this Flyers team has just one big question mark: Will Chris Pronger play or not?

Pronger is the key cog in the Flyers wheel and the Sabres will catch a huge break if the big man doesn’t get his usual ice-time.

Miller will need to stand on his head to steal a few games in this one.

Key Player: The big X-Factor for the Flyers is Chris Pronger and his health will help decide this series.

My Prediction? Flyers in Six.

Boston Bruins – Montreal Canadiens

The one matchup the Habs didn’t want and they’re stuck playing the Boston Bruins.

Last year the Habs rode the unflappable Halak and will need Carey Price to stand on his head, build a brick wall and cross his fingers to beat the Bruins.

Boston is bigger, faster, stronger and have offensive weapons on all four lines.

Over a seven game series, the Habs don’t seem tough enough to compete and will have a hard time competing in every game.

Key Player: Carey Price. He needs to continue to be outstanding like all season and will have to do everything in his power to keep his team alive.

My Prediction? Bruins in Five

Pittsburgh Penguins – Tampa Bay Lightning

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are out, but the Penguins have been winning as a team for a while now.

The team has shown a spirited resiliency fighting into the playoffs and as a team have really come together.

The offensive firepower of Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecalier and Martin St. Louis will be looking to push their team Marc-Andre Fleury, while the Pens will be looking to exploit the Lightnings biggest weakness: Dwayne Roloson.

Key Player: Steven Stamkos was on fire early on in the season and will need to get back to his high flying offensive ways, if Stamkos is scoring and the powerplay is clicking the Lightning can win this one.

My Prediction? Lightning in Seven, with lots of overtime hockey.

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Henry is a contributor to Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Tuesday Mornings at 11. You can follow him on twitter at HenryWhitfield, where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads games

 

Women’s Hockey takes another Shot; Jordan let go by Tigers

CIS Coach of the Year, Jordan spent 9 season's behind the Tigers Bench

This afternoon word leaked out to the AUS community that Dalhousie Tiger’s Women’s Head coach, Lesley Jordanhad been let go by the the school.

Lesley had been outspoken during the recent controversy surrounding St Mary’s Huskies Women’s Hockey program, while her sister Lisa has just recently taken over duties behind the bench at Ryerson University.

The former CIS Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year had been the coach of the Tigers for nine season and been involved with the national team program.

Players and sources close to the team have confirmed that the Head Coach was let go and that the team was informed this afternoon.

UPDATE, April 13th: In response to inquiries, Lesley Jordan, had the following to say:

“I am leaving the Tigers. It was an awesome 9 years. When I look back at all the players and people who I crossed paths with during my time at Dal I feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment. There are no hard feelings on this one.”

Henry is a contributor to Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Tuesday Mornings at 11. You can follow him on twitter at HenryWhitfield, where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads games

A Present For The Fans

The future is certainly bright for Frk and Abeltshauser.

By: Henry Whitfield

Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune

The Mooseheads are getting a Head Coach.

And no, it’s not a late April Fool’s joke.

Present

Christmas came early for Moose Country this weekend, with Owner Bobby Smith announcing that the Halifax Mooseheads Organization would be clearing house behind the bench and stepping away from Head Coaching duties.

This will be exciting news for Mooseheads fans who have seen their last two Head Coaches start with little to no experience in their role.

After a disappointing start to the season Smith took over behind the bench, but never got the team playing to it’s potential.

Frustration was felt by the fans all season as they watched a young, talented core of players fail to develop and progress under an inexperienced and clearly ineffective coaching staff.

With Smith’s announcement that the team will be starting fresh, both Assistant Coaches Chris Donnelly and Jason Troini will be leaving and General Manager Cam Russell will be staying upstairs, the organization can look forward to a bright future.

While the team showed flashes of brilliance at times this past season, a stunning win over Drummondville stands out, the team lacked consistency and failed to pick up any momentum.

It is now time for the Moose Country Head Coach Watch.

Get excited Moose Fans.

Henry is a contributor to Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Tuesday Mornings at 11. You can follow him on twitter at HenryWhitfield, where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads games