Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Coke Zero Fans First Ambush!

Tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs ran an awesome promotion giving some lucky Beer Leaguers the night of a lifetime. They took part in a practice run by Assistant Coach Keith Acton. They were skated hard and one player won a sweet VIP prize. Here are some of the pictures of the night. I was able to take place in the media scrum and chat with the Leafs. They were all in high spirits and treated everyone with respect. Classy all the around from start to finish!
Go Leafs Go!

Kris Versteeg in the Media Scrum

Colby Armstrong hard at practice
Colby even harder at practice
Assistant Coach Keith Acton and Mike Komisarek in the dressing room

Mike Komisarek sitting in the dressing room

Friday, June 11, 2010

What if Roy Halladay was still a Toronto Blue Jay?

I will be the first to admit I thought trading The Doc made sense. Roy Halladay had previously stated that he would most likely not resign with the Jays. What Alex Anthopoulos got in return is still years away from being an active part of the roster. All signs point to Kyle Drabek and Brett Wallace being very talented prospects that could play large roles in future years.

But what if Roy had stayed and played out his final year of his contract? The starting rotation would be Halladay, Marcum, Romero, Cecil, and Morrow. This would rival any rotation in baseball and be one of the most consistent squads in the Major Leagues. The worst part about Halladays time in Toronto always has been his run support. The Jays currently are +25 in runs this season and have a 34-27 record. If you add Halladay into the mix the Blue Jays would be the leaders of the AL East. If by some miracle the bats stayed hot for the full season they would win the division. Worst case scenario the wild card. This would have resulted in Halladay resigning in Toronto.

Hindsights a bitch.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Real Deal and the Pretenders: The NHL

The Real Deals

LA Kings:
Their hot start has continued and with a third of the NHL season in the books they are still marching into the playoffs. In their last 10 games they have a record 7-2-1, only the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota wild have as good of a record in the last 10(western Conference). The record on the road for the black, blue and gray shows that they are getting the job done when the going gets tough. They have as many road wins as the Flames, Sharks, Penguins and Devils. All cup contenders and obviously good company, the kings WILL keep this going and in the playoffs may be over-looked as a contender. No Ryan Smyth, a slumping Anze Kopitar? No Problem.

Buffalo Sabres:
A goalie who plays as well as Ryan Miller every night can keep you in every game, allowing a chance to win. Ryan Miller has to be considered the front runner for the Vezina and may give Team USA the goaltending it needs, allowing them to focus on their high powered offense and being a real force in the Olympics. The Sabres have won 4 straight and are 8-2-0 in their last 10, they are for real in the regular season. The Playoffs? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Colorado Avalanche


Atlanta Thrashers:
Sure it’s a contract year for Kovalchuk, but this team will not stay in the playoff picture for much longer. A Euro based team struggles with consistency, the month of December has definitely been an interesting one:
Dec.3 – NYI 4- ATL 1 a HOME loss to the Islanders
Dec.5 – ATL 2- FLA 1 a shootout win over the Panthers, talk about a squeaker
Dec.7 – TOR 5- ATL 2 bundled by the leafs and Kessel not much of a factor..ouch
Dec.9 – CAL3 – ATL 1 an obvious loss for most teams, except the real deals
Dec.10- VAN 4 – ATL 2 Not going to score more than 2 on Luongo without Kovi
Dec.12- ATL 4- MTL 3 an OT win
Dec.14- ATL 3 – NYR 2 Another shootout win

That makes 3 wins so far in December; 2 shootout wins and an OT win. These were against Florida, Montreal and New York. Atlanta is a team ready to fall.

Montreal Canadiens:
Sporting a record of 3-5-2 in the last 10 is not a way to keep a playoff spot. They are tied for 8th in the eastern conference with Florida and are only one win up on the rest of the eastern conference (talk about close). Oh wait I forgot the Hurricanes are 13 points behind them, 11 points behind the rest.
Gionta is out, Markov done and wasting a rare 3 point effort by a Andrei Kostitsyn on Saturday (to the Thrashers) has shown they will be falling quickly.

Phoenix Coyotes

“Let it snow. Let it snow, let it snow”

Monday, August 3, 2009


It's certainly come to a point where I have heard enough about steroid use in Major League Baseball. The recent reports of former Boston Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez, and current Red Sox DH David Ortiz testing positive for now banned substances in 2003 has been the final straw. These reports have circulated a few short weeks after Ramirez had just finished serving a 50 game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, to improve his mini-Manny's performance.

Here's the problem I have with these names becoming public knowledge. It happened in 2003, and during that time, these performance-enhancing drugs were not banned. Now, MLB commissioner Bud Selig has done an admirable job in developing a new program to punish those players who do not follow the rules. Nonetheless, this program was not in place in 2003, so why embarrass and tarnish the reputation of these ball players? Major League Baseball is currently down on the ground with regards to steroids, and releasing these names is only beating a dead horse.

Steroids was becoming very newsworthy, with the help of the release of Jose Canseco's best-selling novel "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big" in 2005. With this book, and several investigations, names like Canseco, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds were linked to steroids.

It was this time that I distinctly remember saying to people: "Well at least we know A-Rod won't test positive, he's been hitting home runs ever since he's been in the league." This proved to be true as his name was released prior to the 2009 season. I also remember saying in the past: "Ortiz isn't on steroids, he's fat."

But if you look harder, Alex Rodriguez had arguably 3 of his better seasons while he was considered to be on steroids. The Minnesota Twins gave up on a struggling Ortiz, and he broke out in 2003 with the Red Sox and became a feared power hitter. I am not a scientist, like one of my roommates is, but this is what I think:

Steroids won't make you hit home runs. That takes preicse hand-eye coordination and bat speed. But what it can do is make those long fly balls go a little further and over the walls. And this is an issue.

Now, my point. Stop bringing up these names from the past. You have developed a strong anti-doping policy, and if anyone tests positive, then they deserve to have their suspension. But when the MLB did not think steroids was a problem, (when they actually were) you cannot hold that against those who wanted that extra boost. It was not illegal, so forget about it.


  • Ken Griffey Jr. never tests positive and is considered the best (or cleanest) home run hitter of the last 20 years. That is until Albert Pujols takes over that title after passing Barry Bonds all-time HR record.
  • Jim Thome is the next high profile slugger to have his name reported as a past steroid user.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Sports Thoughts.

Hey there ladies and gents. Welcome to a new segment which will be updated with more frequency. My outlook on the current sports landscape.
  • So Michael Vick has been reinstated to play in the NFL. I can guarantee one team who will not sign him. The Cleveland Browns. Can you imagine Vick playing in the dog pound? The jokes would be endless. So i guess that also rules out the Ravens, Bengals, and Steelers since their division rivals. Speaking of this criminal, does no one else remember what he was like before all this happened? He was on a deep slide that everyone seems to forget about. He throws tons of INT's, has no accuracy, and was basically a glorified running back. Whichever team signs him is taking a huge risk. And in Cleveland that would include the mascot. I as a Packers fan really hope he goes to Minnesota. That team will not be as good as hyped.
  • I'll keep this brief as I'm was saving it for another blog. Brett Favre, thank god for staying retired. All respect would have been lost had you played in the terrible purple and yellow jersey. How could you even think about screwing the Pack like that. Stay retired and keep it at that.
  • Roy Halladay, the best athlete to ever wear a Toronto uniform. That is not just talking baseball either. If you can name a player who played for a Toronto team that has been this good for this long, and considered as the best across the league I'd love to hear it. This all said I would be pretty sad to see him go. I went to the so called last home game against the Tampa Rays and he was lights out. If I'm Philadelphia I trade whatever prospects the Jays ask for. With Doc the Philies could be dominant to another title. Whether the Jays should do it is another story. If we can't resign him, we may as well make the move. Get some prospects, and blow the team up.
  • Fire J.P. Riccardi.
  • Mark Buerle is a beauty. He also owes Wise a beer.
  • The Toronto Raptors have more euros then strip club

Friday, June 19, 2009

2009 NHL Awards - WTF?

I am a massive National Hockey League fan. That automatically means that no matter how the annual awards show is organized, I am going to enjoy it, at least to the extent that I can see who wins each award. So I'll mention the positives of the night before I completely rip into the "show" part of it.

A lot of the speeches were great. It was hard not to get at least a bit choked up listening to Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas deliver his Vezina Trophy winning speech. Thomas did not play his first NHL game until his early 30's, so to be rewarded with this trophy, alongside greats Terry Sawchuk, Patrick Roy and Jacques Plante amongst others, was certainly a great moment.

Steve Sullivan winning the Bill Masterton Award was definitely a feel-good moment. Sullivan had been battling back injuries and surgeries for parts of two seasons, only to come back last season to get 32 points in 41 games for the Nashville Predators. It was also a pleasure to see the eye candy Sullivan came with. (Although at times she looked as though she was constipated?)

Along the same lines, congrats to Steve Mason and Evgeni Malkin. Not for their awards (Mason with the Calder Trophy, Malkin with the Art Ross Trophy) but for their dates. I give the edge to Malkin, good on ya Gino. Special consideration to Jean Beliveau.

Finally, Brian Burke appeared on camera a few times. Never get sick of seeing that face. Felt like he was planning something, something big.

Okay, that I enjoyed.

But why was it in Las Vegas? Are there really any sports fans in sin city? Or is there just a lot of sports betters? Who in Las Vegas cares about hockey? Judging by the numerous times there was a section of 6 or 7 empty seats in a row, not many. Quit trying to "build" the game in places it will not work Mr. Bettman. (See Phoenix Coyotes) Oh and nice try on the joke Gare. Walks up to the microphone and says "I definitely need this lower." Hilarious. Next year, keep it in Toronto, or at least Canada, where it belongs.

Now onto the entertainment. I heard on the radio that The Arkells played a pre-awards show. However they did not play during the actual awards. That spot was left for world renowned superstar....Chaka Khan. Not only did we get one dose of the lovely Ms. Khan, but she returned for a second performance! Simply brilliant. She opened the show singing god knows what with who appeared to be a former member of the now defunct boy band LFO. Then, she returned for an encore performing her best hit, "Through the Fire." Epic.

Here's the part that annoyed me the most. I do not know for sure, but I cannot imagine Ron MacLean turning down the offer to host again this year. Then again, who knows. The lack of a host, created a lack of a flow and really hurt the show. The best parts of previous award shows was Ron MacLean and his quick-witted rhetoric. Ron would have made a knee-slapper about the Sidney Crosby "handshake fiasco" to ease the tension and acknowledge the ridiculous situation its become. Or he would have cracked a Jim Balsille - Phoenix Coyotes joke. But none of this happened. It was award, award, award, commercial. BOR-ING.

We had to rely on guys like Alex Ovechkin for humour, and unintentional humour from the weak English of Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk.

By the way, where was the NHL's posterboy? Celebrating the Stanley Cup? How dare you Sidney!

Next year, back in Canada, MacLean hosting and some good rock music please.

Wow, Russia is going to be good in 2010.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2009 Millar Mock Draft

One of the most exciting days on the National Hockey League schedule is fast approaching, and I thought I would give my best guess at how the first round is going to play out. Here we go:

1. New York Islanders: C John Tavares - London Knights (6.00, 195) 56GP 58G 46A 104P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 1st NA Skaters
This pick is not as easy as some suggest. However, with a possible new arena deal on the horizon, and a once proud franchise consistently amongst the league's worst, the Islanders decide to go with the firepower of Tavares. He has the best goal scoring ability in the draft, which will be huge for a team that finished second last in the league in goals for. Tavares - Okposo looks to be a scary dynamic duo for years to come on the Island.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning: D Victor Hedman - Modo (6.06, 220) 43GP 7G 14A 21P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 1st European Skaters
The Lightning would have been happy with either Tavares or Hedman, and even Tampa Bay could not screw this pick up. The Lightning are a team in serious need of some defensive depth, and Hedman should be able to play next season, and give the Lightning blue line a boost. The only knock is that Hedman does not use his freakish size to the best of his ability, but he's young, and I'm sure Rick Tocchet could fix that problem. 2-1 odds Ricky.

3. Colorado Avalanche: C Matt Duchene - Brampton Battalion (5.11, 200) 57GP 31G 48A 79P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 2nd NA Skaters
The 2009 Draft has a distinct top three. Many experts feel the order could go any way. With that being said, the Avalanche are thrilled to be able to have a player of Duchene's ability drop to them at the third spot. With Avalanche legend Joe Sakic nearing the end of his illustrious career, the timing is perfect for Duchene to take over the reigns of the franchise. He likely is the smartest player in the draft, and some even feel he may have the best career of the 2009 crop.

4. Atlanta Thrashers: C Evander Kane - Vancouver Giants (6.01, 176) 61GP 48G 48A 96P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 3rd NA Skaters
The Atlanta Thrashers struggle between choosing Kane and Brayden Schenn, but ultimately take the more offensive Kane. Landing a player like Kane can hopefully convince Thrasher superstar Ilya Kovalchuk to stay beyond next season. Kane has drawn comparisons to Jarome Iginla.

In a surprising move, the Toronto Maple Leafs trade the 7th overall pick, 2010 3rd Round Draft Pick and forward Alex Ponikarovsky to the Los Angeles Kings for the 5th overall pick and a 2010 4th Round Pick. The trade allows both teams to select the player they want, with a top 6 forward going to the Kings who are loading up for a playoff push next season.

5. Toronto Maple Leafs: C Brayden Schenn - Brandon Wheat Kings (6.00, 198) 70GP 32G 56A 78P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 4th NA Skaters
In what seems like a match made in heaven, the Leafs select a Schenn in back-t0-back drafts. Brayden Schenn is the opitimy of a "Brian Burke player." He has size, leadership skills, tenacity, pugnacity, truculence, beligerence, yada yada you get the point. Some say B.Schenn is built to the mould of Philadelphia's Mike Richards. Let's hope so, it's about time the Leafs had some high end prospects in their system. Now if Boyd Devereaux hadn't scored a hat trick in the final game of the season against Ottawa to drop the Leafs from 5th spot to 7th, they would not have had to trade up, and could have jumped even higher. Thanks Boyd, good luck on getting a new offer from the Buds.

6. Phoenix Coyotes: D Dmitry Kulikov - Drumondville Voltigeurs (6.00, 183) 57GP 12G 50A 62P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 11 NA Skaters
The Coyotes have gone off the board in the past, selecting Blake Wheeler at 5th in 2004, so this move seems appropriate as well. The Coyotes are looking to bolster their blue line, and they get a solid, offensively gifted defenceman in Kulikov. Don't be surprised either if the 'Yotes take Swedish defeceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in this spot either.

7. Los Angeles Kings: LW Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi - Timra IK (6.01, 201) 50GP 7G 10A 17P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 2nd European Skaters
The Kings get their guy in Paajarvi-Svensson, or Svensson-Paajarvi... whatever his name is. With not much depth on the wings in Los Angeles, especially with prospects, the Kings add a highly-skilled Swede who some feel is one of the more NHL ready prospects in the draft. Don't let his stats fool you. Svensson-Paajarvi was 17 years old playing with grown men in the Swedish Elite League. His stats all-of-a-sudden become impressive. His stock fell a bit with his performance at the U-18's this past year, but the Kings will get a dynamic player in MPS.

8. Dallas Stars: D Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Leksand (6.02, 176) 39GP 3G 14A 17P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 4th European Skaters
Joe Nieuwendyk surprises a few people with his first ever pick as the Stars General Manager, by passing on the previously injured, higher rated defenceman in Jared Cowen. However, with Sergei Zubov nearing the end, the Stars find the perfect puck-moving defeceman replacement in Ekman-Larsson.

9. Ottawa Senators: C Nazem Kadri - London Knights (5.11, 167) 56GP 25G 53A 78P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 15th NA Skaters
The Senators are not turned off from Kadri dropping to 15th from 11th in the mid-term rankings. Kadri had a strong OHL playoffs and some feel he outperformed London teammate John Tavares. However, even though the Knights lost to a very strong, Memorial Cup winning Windsor Spitfire team, some feel the Knights choked in their OHL semi-final series, meaning Kadri should fit right into the Ottawa system.

10. Edmonton Oilers: D Jared Cowen - Spokane Chiefs (6.05, 220) 48GP 7G 14A 21P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 9th NA Skaters
Before this season, many felt Cowen could challenge for the 3rd spot after a solid performance as a rookie on a Memorial Cup Winning team in 2008. However, a collison on Januaury 30th ended his season prematurely, and he did not play for the rest of the season. However, he will be healthy for training camp. The Oilers are thrilled with drafting Cowen this late, as he is full of potential, and some feel he has a shot at becoming a Chris Pronger-like hulking d-man. Hopefully he doesn't meet any news reporters out in Oil Country.

11. Nashville Predators: RW Jordan Schroeder - U of Minnesota (5.08, 175) 35GP 13G 32A 45P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 5th NA Skaters
Size has been Schroeder's biggest disadvantage when concerned with scouting. However, the Predators are not concerned, as Schroeder's dynamic shot, and playmaking ability will fit nicely into the Predatorss high tempo system

12. Minnesota Wild: D John Moore - Chicago Steel (6.02, 189) 57GP 14G 25A 39 P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 6th NA Skaters
Moore is a player who we could see easily climb into the top ten, going as high as 6th. All he did this season was improve. He could potentially be the steal of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Solid defenceman with great instincts at both ends of the rink.

13. Buffalo Sabres: RW Scott Glennie - Brandon Wheat Kings (6.01, 177) 55GP 28G 42A 70P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 7th NA Skaters
Some critics feel Glennie benefitted from playing on a line with Brayden Schenn all season. However, Glennie brings a denomination of size and vision to his game. The Sabres likely lack size up front, and Glennie could be a mainstay on the top 6 for years to come.
14. Florida Panthers: C Jacob Josefson - Djurgarden (6.00, 187) 50GP 5G 10A 15P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 4th European Skaters
Again, don't be fooled by Josefson's stats. He was a boy playing against men on a top team in the Swedish Elite League. He is a very electric player, who is a born leader, and will be a solid addition to the Panther organization and the preparation for moving on without Jay Bouwmeester. Vancouver's first a little later on in the first round doesn't look so bad now, does it Jacques? Oh wait, you got the hell out of there.

15. Anaheim Ducks: RW Zack Kassian - Peterborough Petes (6.03, 210) 64GP 24G 39A 63P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 10th NA Skaters
In Bob Murray's first draft as General Manager, he continues to trend of Brian Burke and selects a big, hulking power forward to hopefully help the Ryan - Getzlaf - Perry line with some secondary scoring within the next few years. Kassian jumped from 24 in the mid-term rankings into the top 10 for North American skaters. Big guy, who can skate well and put the puck in the net. Good choice for the Ducks.

16. Columbus Blue Jackets: D Simon Depres - St. John's Sea Dogs (6.03, 205) 66GP 2G 30A 32P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 8th NA Skaters
I'm not so sure the Blue Jackets keep this pick, with tremdous prospect depth, and a need to ensure another playoff appearance, especially a win or two. However, if they do, Depres would fit nicely in their system. With more offensive-minded defencemen Cody Golubef and Kris Russell coming through the sytem, Depres could represent the tougher, shutdown type.

17. St Louis Blues: D Ryan Ellis - Windsor Spitfires (5.09, 173) 57GP 22G 67A 89P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 16NA Skaters
That is not an error, Ellis did get 89 points last year as a defenseman. What scouts are worried about is obviously his size, as some think he he is not big enough to be an NHL defenceman. However, St. Louis, who has arguably the best prospect pool in the NHL, are thrilled to add the potential of Ellis to their organization. Fresh off his Memorial Cup victory, Ellis is ready to prove his critics wrong with a lenghty NHL career.

18. Montreal Canadiens: C Louis LeBlanc - Omaha Lancers (6.0, 178) 60GP 28G 31A 59P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 18th NA Skaters
Some Habs fans were upset two drafts ago when they passed on fellow francophone Angelo Esposito, and upset last year when their 1st round pick was traded for Alex Tanguay. The Habs here, get a solid two-way centreman that has speed and can maybe help fill the Habs void up the middle. That, or this pick is involved in a deal for Tampa Bay superstar Vincent Lecavalier...either or.

19. New York Rangers: C/RW Kyle Palmieri - USA U-18 (5.10, 191) 33GP 15G 15A 30P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 20th NA Skaters
With some interesting names still on the board, the Rangers select a kid from close to home in New Jersey. Palmieri is a fast, hard-working, offensive-minded player who could give the Rangers a boost in the scoring department in a few years, and can play both centre and right wing.

20. Calgary Flames: C/RW Landon Ferraro - Red Deer Rebels (5.11, 165) 68 GP 37G 18A 55P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 18th NA Skaters
I feel like the Flames could take Ferraro, Chris Kreider or Carter Ashton with this pick. However, with new head coach Brent Sutter, who also owns the Rebels, the Flames take a familiar face in Ferraro. Slightly undersized, Ferraro still plays with lots of energy, and accumulated 99 PIM last season. Should fit nicely into the Flames system.

21. Philadelphia Flyers: C Chris Kreider - Phillips Andover (6.02, 201) 26GP 33G 23A 56P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 14th NA Skaters
The Flyers get a big, tough player that can score, which is the type of player Philly likes. Kreider is the best U.S High School player in the draft, and many feel he is more than capable of transferring his game to a more competitive level with no problems, as his size and offensive ability are two of his greatest tools.

22. Vancouver Canucks: D David Rundblad - Skelleftea (6.02, 189) 45GP 0G 10A 10P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 6th European Skaters
I may have Rundblad a bit low, but apparently he is one of the most diverse players as far as positioning on scouts and General Managers list. However, with the Canucks only drafting 3 defencemen in the past 3 years, Mike Gills takes who he feels is the best defenceman left on the table.

23. New Jersey Devils: D Calvin de Haan - Oshawa Generals (6.00, 170) 68GP 8G 55A 63P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 25th NA Skaters
There's something about de Haan's play that screams NJ Devil. Last year, the Devils surprisinly took de Haan's teammate Kory Nagy in the 5th round. This defenceman has a lot of offensive potential from the back-end.

24. Washington Capitals: LW Carter Ashton - Lethbridge Hurricanes (6.03, 205) 70GP 30G 20A 50P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 12th NA Skaters
The Captials have a ton of young forward talent in the system, but they lack a true power forward type. Ashton fits the mould, and has the time he needs to develop into a power forward in the NHL for the Capitals.

25. Boston Bruins: D Stefan Elliot - Saskatoon Blades (6.00, 180) 71GP 16G 39A 55P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 17th NA Skaters
The Bruins are content drafting this late in the draft after a spectactular regular season. With the Bruins being a little light on defensemen prospects, they take the best available rearguard.

26. New York Islanders: C Ryan O'Reilly - Erie Otters (6.00, 200) 68GP 16G 50A 66P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 39th NA Skaters
It looks like the positions from 16-40 could more or less go in any various order. O'Reilly is a player that could go in the late first or mid-second. The Islanders elect to take him at 26 to inject a great kid, with tremendous leadership skills into their system.

27. Carolina Hurricanes: C Peter Holland - Guelph Storm (6.02, 185) 68GP 28G 39A 67P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 19th NA Skaters
In a recent interview, Holland was asked why a team should take him. He responded by saying he had "the most potential out of anyone in the draft." Obviously it's possible, but Holland certainly did not display that in the OHL playoffs, and that is why he has slipped this low in the draft. He certainly has all the tools though, it's just a matter of putting them altogether at the highest level. Confidence is clearly not an issue with Peter.

28. Chicago Blackhawks: RW Jordan Caron - Rimouski Oceanic (6.02. 202) 56GP 36G 31A 67P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 21st NA Skaters
The Blackhawks rich prospect pool gets even richer adding a player like Caron into the mould. He is a big bodied forward who can score, which will fit ideally into the Blackhawks crop of young forwards, including last year's selection, Kyle Beach.

29. Detroit Red Wings: LW Carl Klingberg - Frolunda (6.03, 205) 35GP 13G 13A 26P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 7th European Skaters
The Red Wings are certainly familiar with this drafting slot, and as much as they have their most success in later rounds, in this deep draft they should project to get a solid prospect. Klingberg is a big Swede who can score and muck it up in the corners and in front of the net. Detroit's usually, right, so Klingberg projects to be a future Hall-of-Famer.

30 Pittsburgh Penguins: LW Jeremy Morin - USA U-18 (6.01, 173) 46GP 26G 22A 48P
Final Central Scouting Bureau Ranking: 33rd NA Skaters
One knock against the defending Cup champs is that they have no wingers to play with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. This is why they signed Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko in the offseason, and acqurired Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin prior to the Trade Deadline. Usually teams draft the best player available and fix the holes through trade and free agency, but the Penguins want to insert a solid winger prospect into the system for the future, and Morin fits the bill.

So there you have it, let's hope I get at least one right, but based on the depth of this draft, and who will go first even, I just might not.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Much Respect for the Columbus Blue Jackets

If you have not heard this story, I highly recommend reading this.

Today, Columbus Blue Jackets superfan Ryan Salmons passed away at the age of 19 after a long battle with cancer. Who was Ryan you ask?

Ryan was a young man who had been battling cancer for about a year now. He had met several Columbus Blue Jackets players throughout various Columbus Blue Jacket charity and community events. He had become especially close with Manny Malhotra and Jason Chimera. With Ryan's condition getting worse, but his spirits as high as ever, Columbus General Manager Scott Howson inked Ryan to a one-day contract in late March, with a signing bonus of $3.

For that day, Ryan was officially a Columbus Blue Jacket, a dream Ryan never thought possible. On that day, Ryan would sit up in the press box as a healthy scratch, with the other Blue Jacket scratches. If you're a hardcore hockey fan and noticed Blue Jacket defenceman Marc Methot wasn't wearing #3 that night, it was because that was Ryan's number, and Methot was more than willing to allow Ryan to have it. #3 Blue Jacket "Salmons" t-shirt jerseys have also been created. Here's the press release from Howson with the signing of Ryan:

"We're very pleased to add a player of Ryan's caliber to our hockey club as he brings tremendous versatility to our lineup and can play either wing position or defense," said Howson. "He also has great character and is the type of person who inspires others with his courage, tenacity and positive attitude. We're lucky to have him on our team."

Powerful stuff from the Blue Jackets organization, and obviously they used Ryan's courage and determination for a strong playoff push and the franchise's first ever playoff birth. Ryan was there to see the Columbus Blue Jackets play playoff hockey for the first time. He fought as long as he could, to see that until he unfortunately passed away today.

The entire Blue Jackets organization made the last few months of this young man's life an absolute dream, and it just goes to show the power pro sports can have on a person's life in difficult times.

Look no further than Mike Fisher and the Ottawa Senators involving 3-year old Elgin Fraser in the 2007 Stanley Cup run before he passed.

Or the Tampa Bay Lightning drafting David Carle in the 7th round, just days after he found out he could no longer play hockey because of a heart condition.

There is much more to hockey than winning games that isn't show in the highlights, and every team should be commended for using their power as a professional sports team to help bring smiles to people in tough times.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

hmm. Well I guess if Vernon says must be true!

Apparently Aaron Hill is a racist and Vernon wells is a metro interior decorator...did not see that coming.

p.s. I have no idea who's interviewing him.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Vaughn Coyotes?

Recently, the idea of Phoenix relocating to the GTA has got a lot of newspapers and bloggers speculating the when and how the coyotes plan to move. But what they haven't touched on yet is the how much?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a territory claim on almost all of the GTA and Southern Ontario (whether or not the Buffalo Sabres have territory control over the Niagara peninsula is debatable). And if the Phoenix Coyotes eventually make the move into the GTA , hefty territory rights fees are going to need to be paid.

Keep in mind, Toronto's fan territory has been uncontested for almost 90 years now, and leafs nation is one of the strongest, biggest fan bases in all of the NHL. So what would it take for Phoenix (or Vaughn I suppose, for that seems to be the city that the rumor mill is circulating) to buy a portion of leafs nation?

Personally, I don't see this ending well. I can see Toronto asking for something along the lines of 3 or 4 first round draft picks and about 250 million dollars, as well as some other minor details just for the team to relocate into their territory. From then, the Coyotes organization will be broke, and reliant on a terrible at best team until the territory rights are paid off.

On the plus side, tickets to NHL games in that arena would be dirt cheap, but when you think about it, the last thing Ontario needs is another hopeless NHL franchise.