Tag Archives: Marian Hossa

Top Sens #11: Marian Hossa

Before Dany Heatley, it seemed as if Marian Hossa was destined to be the team’s first 50-goal scorer.

Marian Hossa was always a threat to score.

After dominating in junior, Hossa didn’t join the Ottawa Senators until December of the 1998-99 season. Yet, he still managed to finish as a runner-up for the Calder trophy.

His 15 goals as a rookie was the worst during his time with the Sens. The next season, he jumped up to 29 goals, and never looked back. He scored at least 30 goals the next four years, including a career high 45 goals in 2002-03.

Hossa was so good, that some were comparing him to Jaromir Jagr.

In his last two seasons with the Sens, he scored 14 powerplay goals a season.

Overall, he ranks fourth on the Sens in career goals, sixth in assists and sixth in points. He is also tied for fifth all-time in points-per-game.

He played in two all-star games as a member of the Sens.

In the playoffs, Hossa started to shine during his latter years with the club. He led the team in points in 2003, when he had 16 points in 18 games. He is fifth all-time in Senators playoff history with 34 points.

Hossa was such a dangerous threat to score, that most people overlook his defence. A strong defender, Hossa would capitalize on turnovers in the defensive end to lead to scoring chances.

Hossa may not have scored 50 goals with Ottawa, but he was their biggest goal-scoring threat for a number of years. It’s easy to see why he is one of the top 20 Sens of all time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Top 20 Senators

10 overrated hockey pool picks

Yesterday, I listed 10 sleepers that can win you a hockey pool.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Zdeno Chara should not expect to get 40 points this year.

But bad drafting will take you out of a hockey pool pretty quickly. No amount of sleepers can make up for a three or four bad picks, or picking guys too early.

Below, in no particular order, you’ll find 10 overrated players when it comes to your pool this year.

Zdeno Chara- There are several reasons why you should stay away from Chara. He played a long season last year, and he’s in trouble of a Stanley Cup hangover. I think he finished below 40 points.

Alex Tanguay- Had 69 points last year, so someone will draft him three rounds too high. Don’t be that person. Expect him to finish in the 50-55 point range.

Jordan Staal- Sure, he’s always ready to break through. Every season, he’s expected to play with Crosby or Malkin, but it never happens. He’s a great third-liner, but will finish with below 50 points once again.

Mike Richards- He’ll get more points than he has the past few seasons, but that’s mostly because he’s playing with Anze Kopitar. But he’ll still finish with about 70 points, so don’t draft in rounds when you can get 80-point guys.

Derick Brassard- With the BlueJackets bringing in more offensive help, he’ll probably slip down the depth chart. With less ice time, expect less points.

Michael Grabner- Had a great rookie season last year. But with Kyle Okposo back from injury, Mark Streit back and taking up a lot of powerplay time, and rookies Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Strome possibly making the team, Grabner’s ice time will be taking a big hit.

Eric Staal- Easily the most overvalued player. People treat him like a 90-point player, but his true value is in the 70-point territory. Don’t believe the hype and draft him too early.

Logan Couture- Won’t be able to replicate what he did last year. Expect a small setback.

Marian Hossa- Battling too many injuries the last few years. If healthy, could get 65-70 points. But more realistically, expect 50 points and 65 games.

Milan Lucic- Came really out of nowhere to score 30 goals and 62 points last season. He’s a bruiser, a brawler and a Bruin. Don’t expect a repeat of those numbers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sports blogs I like

Chicago Blackhawks preview

Overview: Probably never in the history of the NHL has there been such an upheaval right after a team has won the Stanley Cup.

Dropping at least seven regulars from their lineup would mean a lot of trouble for a lot of teams, but not for the Blackhawks. Thanks to a horrible 2000s (minus the last two years), the Blackhawks had a lot of high draft picks. And because of that, they have a lot of depth in their organization.

What depth they didn’t have, they were able to acquire in the deals this past summer.

Best offseason move: Signing Marty Turco. The Blackhawks had to make a ton of moves this summer, and in many of the deals, they got role players, draft picks or prospects. But they got nothing in return for letting Antti Niemi walk. And they had to replace him. Turco is going to make the best of a bad situation. Playing with a better offence and defence in front of him, Turco will probably finish with 40 wins and seven shutouts.

Worst offseason move: Not managing their cap well enough. Even with getting rid of Colin Fraser, Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd, Antti Niemi, Cristobal Huet, Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel and others, they are still only about $1 million under the cap. And they already have $48 million spent for next season, with some free agents to re-sign, including Brent Seabrook. They can’t have a fire sale every year, unless they want to become the Montreal Expos of the NHL.

Dark horse trophy candidate: Kyle Beach for the Calder

Pool pick: Viktor Stalberg. As a rookie in Toronto last season, Stalberg put up 14 points in 40 games. But now he’ll be expected to be a top-six forward, see lots of playing time, play on the powerplay, and bask in the aura of Jonathan Towes and Patrick Kane. He should be good for 60 points or so. Who to stay away from: Troy Brouwer. There are some who are saying he’ll be on the top line this season. Don’t count on it. Yes, his numbers have improved in each of the last few seasons, but they won’t this year, or not enough to make an impact in your pool.

Sporcle quiz: Can you name all the Chicago Blackhawks forwards of the 2000s?

Best hall of fame choice: Marian Hossa. Hossa has the Stanley Cup, and has been to the finals three straight years. He’s scored 40 goals or more three times, and at least 30 goals on seven occasions. If he plays out the end of his contract, he’ll only need to score an average of 12 goals a year to reach 500 (and only needs to average 22 goals a season to reach 600). So barring some type of long-term injury, he should hit those numbers and make it to the hall of fame.

Blog to follow: Committed Indians

My Prediction: Second in the Central, fourth in the West

Famous celebrity from that city: Jenny McCarthy

Leave a comment

Filed under Hockey preview

A look back on the NHL playoffs

With the Stanley Cup playoffs now over, I figured this would be a good time to look back on how I did this postseason.

I started off the playoffs with 10 predictions, something a bit different than what most experts would do (they’re too busy talking about how this will be the year for the San Jose Sharks).

Here’s how I did:

#10: There will be at least four goaltending controversies in the first round

I just missed out on this one. There were goaltending controversies in Montreal (Halak was replaced by Price), Washington (Jose Theodore was replaced by Varlamov) and Ottawa (Elliott was replaced by Leclaire). But that only gave us three.

#9: Jaroslav Halak will be brutal in his first two playoff games, and will be replaced by Carey Price for Game 3 of the first round.

I’ll take this one as a win. Halak was brutal in the second and third game, was replaced by Price in Game 3, with Price starting in Game 4.

#8. The team that wins the Stanley Cup will not have a goon on their team.

That’s also a win, as the Blackhawks don’t have a goon.

#7. Daniel Carcillo will do something stupid to allow the other team to take control at the wrong time 

This is a loss. He never did anything really stupid, and didn’t have much of a chance to in the finals, as he only played two games against the Blackhawks. But he was solid against New Jersey in the first round, and played every game against the Devils and the Bruins.

6. Marian Hossa will once again lose in the finals

So close to this. On the flip side, if Chicago had lost this series, this one would have been a win, and #8 would have been a loss. So they cancel.

5. The Sens will lose an important game by taking a too many men on the ice penalty.

Who could have predicted that this season would have seen so many too many men on the ice penalty? And no one has been able to explain why. Sure, you hear some of them talk about how the game is faster, and there’s line matching, etc. But you know what? There was plenty of line matching last year, and we saw less than half of what was called this year. If line matching (and the faster play since the shootout) were the reasons, we would have seen a steady increase since the lockout. Yet we haven’t.

Anyways, the Sens had a game where they took two too many men on the ice penalties, but they didn’t lose the game because of it. I’ll count it as a loss.

4. Roberto Luongo will have a game where he lets in at least seven goals. 

Again, so close. He had one game where he let in four goals on 16 shots before being pulled with 27 minutes left, a game where he let in six goals (with an empty-netter that gave the other team 7 goals), and two games where he let in five goals. Not sure what it is, but Luongo tends to suck come playoff time.

3. An underdog team will make it to the finals.

Thank you Philadelphia Flyers. Win for me.

2. No player will get more than 30 points.

This is the one that most people would have laughed about at the beginning of the playoffs. Sidney Crosby had 14 points in six games in the first round. Jonathan Toews had 20 points after two rounds. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Danny Briere both made a push to get more than 30 points (Briere finished with 30 exactly). But none of them did. Win for me.

1. Alexander Ovechkin will be the subject of a suspension controversy.

This would have happened if Ovechkin had decided to show up for most of the playoffs (yes, he had 10 points in the first round, but only two points in four losses). I was expecting it to happen against Pittsburgh, but #8 had other plans.

So in the end, four out of 10 right, with another three that I just missed out on. I’m happy with those results.

Other predictions

In my actual round by round predictions, I finished with 10 wins and five losses, mostly thanks to six wins in the first round. That’s better than most of the experts out there, who have a tendency to look at final standings and pick the “favourites” with no regards to matchups.

As for my playoff pool, I won by more than 30 points, and will soon be enjoying a new PS3. I am now 4-0 in the last two years in playoff pools. So if anyone needs any advice, let me know.

2 Comments

Filed under Sports blogs I like

Stanley Cup final predictions

Because of life becoming busy (my sister-in-law was married on the weekend, of which I was the MC), I haven’t had a chance to make my predictions on the Stanley Cup finals.

So I figured I should make a quick pick before Game 2 begins tonight.

Originally when the playoffs began, I figured the Blackhawks would battle hard to get to the finals, only to lose because of the Marian Hossa jinx.

But as they playoffs have gone on, Chicago has gotten better and better. They seemed more in danger of losing to Nashville in the first round then they did versus the Sharks in the third round. Part of that has to do with matchups (one of the reasons why Montreal did so well this postseason was a favourable matchup against the Penguins and Capitals). But Chicago seems to be getting stronger as they go along. They’ve had no injuries to key guys, all the lines are rolling, the goaltending is solid enough and the defence is playing exceptionally well.

The Flyers have been a different story. They’ve had some key injuries (Brian Boucher, Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter missed some time), their lines aren’t as strong (there are quite a few nights when it’s only one line playing well), the goaltending has been great (though injury-prone), and the defence has been excellent as well (if only they could find someway to have Chris Pronger play 60 minutes a game).

But in the end, the Blackhawks are too strong a team. I expect them to pull out a series that will be great, but short.

Chicago in five.

1 Comment

Filed under Sports blogs I like

NHL playoff predictions

Before I make my predictions for each round, here are 10 general predictions for the NHL playoffs.

#10: There will be at least four goaltending controversies in the first round

There are at least six teams in the playoffs that have had some sort of goalie controversy this year (Washington, Ottawa, Boston, Montreal, Chicago and Detroit). Either the #1 goalie didn’t do his job, he got injured or a combination of the two.

With so many teams having problems in net, it stands to reason that a few of them won’t have good playoffs. That’s going to lead to fans and the media calling for the backup when their team goes down two games to none. Especially since five of those teams listed above are going into the playoffs with goalies hardly any playoff experience.

Some years you only see one or two problems in nets, but most years there aren’t any. Even when teams get swept, they stay with their #1 goalie. But that’s no longer the case. So expect to see at least four teams experience some sort of controversy there.

This also leads us to the next item on the list.

#9: Jaroslav Halak will be brutal in his first two playoff games, and will be replaced by Carey Price for Game 3 of the first round.

Yes, I know all the statistics. Halak has a better save percentage and a better goals against average. But Halak is a streaky goalie. He goes on huge winning streaks against poor teams, which inflates his numbers. For example, last October he went on a four-game winning streak, defeating the Rangers, Thrashers and the Islanders twice. He won six of seven in December/January, beating the Islanders, Thrashers, Hurricanes, Leafs and the Panthers twice, but losing to the Sens. And in March, he went on a six game winning streak, winning against the Kings, Ducks, Lightning, Oilers, Bruins and Rangers.

Notice any patterns? During those streaks, he played against some of the worst teams in the league. Add up those streaks, and he won 16 games. And of those 16 wins, only two were against playoff teams.

In total, of Halak’s 26 wins on the season, only nine came against playoff teams. But his 13 losses, eight came against playoff teams. When it came to playing the tough teams, the Canadiens leaned on Price. Price has played all four games against the Capitals, played three of four games against the Penguins, and played the team’s lone games against Detroit, Chicago and San Jose.

So the Habs will more than likely be playing a powerhouse team in the first round. And Halak can’t hack it against them. He’ll suffer in the first couple of games, and Price will be back in the net for when the series shifts to Montreal.

#8. The team that wins the Stanley Cup will not have a goon on their team.

Only one team from the last four Stanley Cup winners have had a good (George Parros of the Anaheim Ducks in 2006). I’m not saying they don’t play a role, but that role diminishes a lot come playoff time.

And if their role diminishes, that means their effectiveness takes a big hit as well.

So any team that has a goon (Buffalo, Ottawa, Philly, L.A.) won’t be successful come playoff time.

#7. Daniel Carcillo will do something stupid to allow the other team to take control at the wrong time 

This guy could be the most talented goon since Bob Probert. He can use his hands for scoring and punching.

But he’s also a loose cannon, and does some stupid stuff on the ice, and at the wrong time.

Last year, the Flyers were dominating a playoff game against the Penguins until Carcillo decided to fight. Carcillo won the fight easily, but it fired up the Pens, who came back to win the game and the series.

He’s been suspended a few times, and has been kicked out of games. There are times when he grabs a penalty at the wrong moment.

Look for that to happen at least once this series.

6. Marian Hossa will once again lose in the finals

First off, if the Blackhawks get to the finals, it will be a great success for Hossa. It’s not as if Hossa disappeared in the playoffs. Two years ago with Pittsburgh, he had 12 goals and 26 points in 20 games as the Pens lost in the finals. Last year, he had six goals and 15 points in 22 games as the Red Wings lost in the finals.

Now he’s on another team that can go far. And they will. The Blackhawks needed to lose last year in the playoffs to get a bit more of an edge, similar to the Penguins a few years back.

Look for the Blackhawks to get to the finals, but they’re not quite ready to win it all yet, leaving Hossa to lose in the finals for the third year in the row.

5. The Sens will lose an important game by taking a too many men on the ice penalty.

I don’t know what it is, but the Sens have taken a lot of too many men on the ice penalties this season, more than normal it seems.

I don’t know if it’s because of the more-aggressive style the team plays under coach Cory Clouston, but there have been plenty of games where they’ve gotten caught.

I can see it happening a couple times in the playoffs as well, and one of them will cost the Sens a game when the other team scores on the powerplay.

4. Roberto Luongo will have a game where he lets in at least seven goals. 

Last year, Luongo got smoked against the Blackhawks in a playoff game, allowing seven goals in the deciding game. A few weeks ago, he let in eight against the Kings.

Even in the Olympics, he never looked that solid. He’s struggled some nights, and when he doesn’t perform, the team generally loses.

Not to mention the fact he may be suffering from some sort of Olympic fatigue. Throw in the 14-game road trip the Canucks played around the Olympic break, and it could mean one very tired goalie.

3. An underdog team will make it to the finals.

This is because of the aforementioned Olympic break.

In 2006, Edmonton and Carolina faced off in the finals. In 2002, it was Carolina and Detroit. In 1998, it was Washington and Detroit (back when Washington wasn’t that good). Not sure if it’s because the good teams have more players at the Olympics, or if it’s just a coincidence.

Look for that to continue. Every Olympic year has seen an underdog Eastern conference team make to the finals. This year, I choose Montreal to be that team.

2. No player will get more than 30 points.

Since the underdogs will be winning most of the series, they’ll have to do it with defence against high-powered offence such as Chicago, Washington and San Jose.

It will come down to teams with their offence spread out over four lines, good powerplays and timely goals.

1. Alexander Ovechkin will be the subject of a suspension controversy.

I’ve wrote about him before. He’s the dirtiest player in the game. And the longer he plays in the postseason, the greater the chances he will run someone from behind or go knee-on-knee with someone.

When that happens, the league won’t want to suspend him. But since he’s already been suspended twice this past season, they may not have any choice. But if they do, look for it to be a one-game suspension, and it won’t be for a game seven.

Quick first-round predictions

Washington Capitals vs Montreal Canadiens: Canadiens in 6

New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers: Philly in 6

Buffalo Sabres vs Boston Bruins: Sabres in 7

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Ottawa Senators: Penguins in four

San Jose Sharks vs Colorado Avalanche: Sharks in six

Chicago Blackhawks vs Nashville Predators: Blackhawks in five

Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings: Kings in six

Phoenix Coyotes vs Detroit Red Wings: Wings in seven

4 Comments

Filed under Sports blogs I like

2009 preview: Chicago Blackhawks

In Phoenix, there’s the whole situation of selling the team. In Ottawa, trading Dany Heatley dominated the news. But when it came to the sheer amount of unique stories, the Chicago Blackhawks easily led the league.

Patrick Kane allegedly beating up a cab driver for 20 cents. Having the league investigate the Marian Hossa signing. Forgetting to send notices to some players, allowing them to become restricted free agents, and then having to sign said players for more money, which led to the general manager being fired. Letting Martin Havlat walk, and then hearing him complain about the way he was treated in Ottawa.

Without a doubt, if it weren’t for the Blackhawks, it would have been a dull summer.

Story of the season:With having to sign so many players this past summer because of the mistake this past summer, does this team need to make trades this winter to free up cap space for next summer? With Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith set to become free agents next year, the Blackhawks need to find some way to keep them.

Former Habs: Cristobal Huet

Blog to follow: Blackhawk Up

TV commercial:

Pool Picks: Patrick Sharp. He sometimes gets ignored because of all the scoring prowess on this team. But he’ll be on the first or second line. True, he’s only cracked 44 points once (when he got 62 in 07-08), but if he’s healthy, he’s good for 70 points.. Stay away from: Dustin Byfuglien. He really made a name for himself in the 2008 playoffs. But he’s a checker and a banger, not a scorer. He’s never had more than 36 points in a season, and will probably finish somewhere around 40-45 points.

Award nominees: Brian Campbell for the Norris.

Expected Finish: Second in the central, fifth in the west

Cheerleader:The Blackhawks have an ice crew, and they are one of the most popular. I wonder why.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hockey preview