Can we just fast forward to October? The summer sports scene is brutal now that the NHL and NBA are done. Baseball just isn’t doing it for me these days. Maybe because Chicago is like a black-hole of baseball talent. Is it me or was baseball better when guys were roided up? The Blackhawks schedule is out for 2011-12 and these are games that I won’t be putting on StubHub.
Saturday October 15th vs Boston Stanley Cup champs roll into town very early in the season. Marchand and Seguin will probably still be hung over and worn out from all of their paternity hearings. Great chance for the Hawks to announce their presence with authority as they begin to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Thanks for beating Vancouver and everything, but I hope they did those engravings in pencil…
Sunday November 6th vs Vancouver There is NOBODY I love beating more than Vancouver. Hopefully Luongo will be in net so I can dance to Chelsea’s Dagger all night. The Hawks nail Luongo, nail him right in his mind.
Friday December 2nd vs Islanders The Islanders are my darkhorse team to make the playoffs this year. They have a good thing going with Tavares, Grabner, Okposo, etc. They are an entertaining team to watch. Hawks better put on the foil for that game because the Islanders aren’t shy about throwing down. The game should have lots of talents and some fireworks.
Wednesday December 21st vs Montreal I love a good Original 6 match-up and the fact The Habs don’t come to the UC every year disappoints me. Both teams can really skate and it will be a battle of French-Canadian goalies.
Friday December 30th vs Detroit The crowds for the games over Christmas break are usually extra rowdy. College kids come home and drink and get a little excited. “De-Troit Sucks” will be said so loud that they could probably hear it in Michigan. Couple that with this being a Friday and right before New Year’s Eve and this might be the best party game of the season.
Monday January 2nd vs Edmonton Similar to the Islanders, the Edmonton Oilers are an exciting young team. Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle are great entertainment. Should be a high scoring game.
Wednesday January 18th vs Buffalo Shockingly, at least to me, the Buffalo Sabre fans travel about as good as any fan base in the league. They are kinda cute in a way. Trying to get their little chants going whilethe Blackhawks are smashing their faces in all over the ice. The Sabres are kinda soft in my opinion, but their fans are good people. I always enjoy hanging with them at the West End before hand.
Friday March 9th vs New York Rangers Chicago vs New York, always a good rivalry. The Rangers have a nice young core of guys that I’d like to see in person like Steppan and Dubinsky, and also plenty of guys to hate like Sean Avery and Marian Gaborik.
Sunday March 11th vs Los Angeles This could be a big match up in terms of seeding for the playoffs. I feel like LA may finally take the next and win the Pacific division so the Blackhawks could need a few points to lock down the number 1 seed. LA also plays hard and fast. Going to be a good show.
Sunday March 18th vs Washington This could really go either way. Saint Patrick’s Day…on a saturday followed by what will probably end up being like a noon start for the Blackhawks game. I am thinking that maybe I just won’t sleep and keep the party going through the end of the game. Hannge Uppe basement until 4am. Try to find some other party until like 6am. Head over to Nookies on Wells for an omelette bigger than my head. Take a shower, throw the Hawks sweater on and start heading towards Madison. If I fail at sprinting that marathon…there’s a real good chance I miss this game entirely. Ovechkin will be a blur regardless.
Often times people get caught up in the moment and proclaim that whatever is now is best. “Lebron James is the greatest of all-time”, “Green Bay Packers are on the verge of a dynasty”, “Dirk Nowitzki is the 2nd best Power Forward of all time”, etc. Hyperbole dominates our world in the 24 hour news cycle…so I figured I’d join in. I am not going to say that Tim Thomas is the best goalie of all time, but he did just have the greatest season of all time.
Heading into this season it wasn’t even clear that Tim Thomas would be the Boston Bruins full-time starter in net. He had suffered a hip injury in the previous season and lost his job to a bright young prospect, Tuuka Rask. Tim Thomas is a fighter. He rebounded from his injury and turned in a spectacular regular season.
Regular Season Stats
- Record: 35-11-9
- Shutouts: 9
- Goals Against Average: 2.00
- Save Percentage: .938
Those numbers are historically good. His save % mark of .938 is the greatest ever. What is even more impressive is that the Bruins gave up a ton of shots during the regular season. He is a slam dunk for the Vezina Trophy, and really should have been given serious Hart Trophy consideration. He was clearly the MVP of the Bruins during the regular season.
Post Season Stats
- Record: 16-9 (emphasis on the 16 because that is all that really matters)
- Shutouts: 4
- Goals Against Average: 1.98
- Save Percentage: .940
Tim Thomas’s post season is perhaps more remarkable than his regular season. Thomas played a ton of games during the regular season, and I sure thought that perhaps his 37 year-old body would wear down during the grind of the playoffs. That never happened. Then just when you thought Tim Thomas couldn’t play any better, he took his game to another level and dominated the Stanley Cup Finals. He hit was clearly in the heads of the Canucks. Vancouver lost their minds. They complained about being out of his crease. Bieksa had the nerve to call him “leaky” after game 4. Luongo told the world that Thomas sucks and that he is better after game 5. Thomas even nailed one of the Sedin Sisters and almost fought Burrows. The guy did everything and completely deserved the Conn Smythe. Nobody else was really in the discussion.
The numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole story either. Thomas is a hockey player. He is confident, aggressive, a battler, a leader, a class act, humble, clutch, and easily the most entertaining goaltender I have ever witnessed. Hats off to Thomas on the greatest season ever by a goalie.
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Before the Stanley Cup Finals Started I gave the Citizens four Locks of the Century. In those bets, I went 3-1. Let’s recap:
More Total Points
Before the series I said: “Burrows sucks. I don’t know how else to put it. The guy rides on the skirts of the Sedin Sisters and get points almost by default. Chara will be smashing them in the face all series long and I don’t see that line being a big factor. Kesler will be skating against the Krejci line most likely which means Bergeron will have plenty of space to score. Bergeron is without a doubt getting more points than Burrows.”
I am not even all that proud of this one to be honest. Burrows sucks and is completely gutless, and now everyone knows it. He had 3 points in the series, all of which game in game 2…a game for which he should have been suspended. So in my mind he really had 0 points. Complete non-factor. Bergeron, meanwhile was one of the Bruins better players and leaders in the series. He is a terrific hockey player. He has great character, plays two-way hockey and does all the little things right. By my count he finished with 5 points, and his performance in Game 7 will go down in Boston folklore. I think Bergeron will be thought of much like Dave Roberts, David Ortiz, Teddy Brushci, Ty Law, etc. Maybe not the best player on the team, but a guy who had spectacular moments that will be remembered forever. Its a little ironic that perhaps the 3rd goal of Game 7 which completely locked up the Cup appeared to go off the hand that Burrows bit. Karma is a bitch. Play with some class next time, asshole.
More Total Points
Before the series I said: “I am really confused by this one as well. Chara will most likely be parked in front of the net on the Bruins powerplay which will give him more opportunities to score than normal. He is also good in the transition game and should pick up a few assists when he isn’t murdering the Sedins.”
Again, picking an underdog that never should have been an underdog is nothing to write home about…but its nothing to sneeze at either. Erhoff finished the series with a grand total of…drum roll please…1 pt. Erhoff’s performance was…err–off. 1 pt in the series and a +/- rating of minus 7 for the series. Way to step up in the Stanley Cup Finals, real solid performance. Meanwhile, when Chara wasn’t smashing Thelma and Louise’s faces in, he was contributing on offense as well. He didn’t spend as much time in front of the net like I thought he would, but he still managed to chip in 4 points and was a +5 for the series. Great performance by an elite defenseman and a strong leader.
More Total Points
Before the series I said: “Ryder is good for a one big game a series, but he doesn’t get the minutes required for him to out score Bergeron for an entire series. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Seguin takes a few shifts from Ryder as well. Take Bergeron.”
Well if I was going to miss on one bet, I am glad it was the one involving two Bruins players. Full disclosure, I have never been a big Michael Ryder fan, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Ryder played a terrific series and finished with 6 points to Bergeron’s 5 points. Ryder used his size and great shot to be a very effective player for the Bruins. They probably couldn’t have won the Cup without him. Props to Ryder.
Exact Series Pick
Bruins in 7
Before the series I said: “My heart says Bruins, my head says Canucks, and my balls say Bruins. Usually when my balls and heart agree it’s a recipe for disaster…but I don’t care. Bruins in 7. Suck it Canada.”
I am quite proud of this one. The Bruins were big underdogs in the series. Vancouver had home ice advantage, had just come off an easy series against a soft San Jose team, had the best record, Vezina finalist in net, Hart Trophy Finalist, Selke Trophy finalist blah blah blah…I didn’t care. All of those awards are for the regular season, and they didn’t have a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate on the roster. Something deep down inside told me that the Bruins had enough sand to win this series and I have never been happier with a winning pick in my life. As Barry Melrose said last night on SportsCenter, it was will over skill. The Bruins simply had too much heart, pride, grit, and character to lose to this gutless Canucks team. This was a classic series and good won out over evil.
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After Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, I did a post on why I hate the Canucks. Well, one post on this subject isn’t nearly enough. This series has brought to light everything that is wrong with Vancouver. Every time I feel like I have reached a point where I can’t hate them any more than I already do, the Canucks baffle me and reach a new low. I was always acutely aware of their on-ice act. Whining, chirping, diving, flying elbows to the head, hair pulling, biting(well biting is a new one, but not shocking coming from scum like Burrows) etc were all to be expected when the Vancouver Canucks were on the schedule. However, I had no idea that they were this smug and this arrogant.
I am paraphrasing here, but these are some direct quotes from the Canucks after their Game 5 win:
“Look, it doesn’t matter that I gave up 12 goals in games 3 and 4…I am better than Tim Thomas. I would have saved that one he let in. It was an easy save. I am not going to sit here and keep giving Thomas compliments when he hasn’t said one nice thing about me all series. Tim Thomas is my hero and it really hurts my feelings.”–Roberto Luongo
“If I had a time machine, I’d still launch myself into Nathan Horton’s skull. Wouldn’t change a thing. It was only two seconds late and he shouldn’t have been looking at a teammate when trying to get ready for a return pass. Its Horton’s fault I tried to give him brain damage. I am the victim here. The NHL isn’t consistent with their punishments. I mean Burrows bites a guy and gets nothing, and I try to decapitate a guy and I get 4 games? How is that fair?”–Aaron Rome
“The fact that the Sedins haven’t scored one point and are like minus 23 combined for the series, doesn’t mean that they aren’t playing well or that Chara is shutting them down completely.”–Elaine Vigneault
If those three direct quotes didn’t convince you that the Vancouver Canucks are not only gutless, but also smug and arrogant maybe the story the Boston Globe is breaking will do the trick. Not only did the Canucks plan a parade that would take place after Game 5 victory, but they also tried to sell the broadcast rights to the event. So basically the Canucks just thought they could roll over the Bruins when it took them 6 games to beat Nashville, and 7 games to beat the Blackhawks. Arrogant. Hey guess what Vancouver…nobody wants to watch your stupid parade that’s 40 years in the making(that probably won’t even happen). America hates you, the rest of Canada hates you, Sweden probably hates you, so you’ll probably end up having to put it on Vancouver Public access TV or something. Maybe U-stream.
DROP THE PUCK. I am ready for blood. Rise up Boston. Bruins 4, Nucks 1. So it was written, so let it be done.
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Vancouver Canucks +130 @ Boston Bruins -130
I have so much confidence in the Boston Bruins tonight. The NBA proved that there are sports gods, and at the end of the day they will never let gutless teams like the Vancouver Canucks and Miami Heat win championships. They just aren’t worthy. The Bruins have too much pride to let Vancouver skate the Cup on their ice.
Everyday the Canucks give people another reason to hate them. After game 5, Roberto Luongo basically said that Tim Thomas sucks and that he would have saved that shot easily. I guess it was just the other 12 shots in games 3 and 4 that gave Roberto Luongo trouble. Then when the media pressured Luongo about those comments he cried because Tim Thomas hasn’t been telling the world how great Roberto Luongo has been. Luongo is just a greasy, count chocula look-a-like, cry baby. Tim Thomas is Wyatt Earp, Dominick Hasek, and Jack Bauer rolled into one. Then Aaron Rome says that even if he had a time machine, he’d still trying to give Nathan Horton brain damage with a late blind side hit to the head. There is nothing to like about this team.
For whatever reason the Bruins were unable to bring the same level of intensity in Game 5 that they brought in games 3 and 4. Now, with their backs against the wall and skating on home ice the Bruins will use their forecheck and hitting game to punish the Canucks and control the game. I love the Bruins as the favorite, and if they score first I would put a paycheck on them. The Canucks are front-runners and will quit in Game 6 if they get down early.
Boston Bruins +150 @ Vancouver Canucks -170
This line scares the absolute hell out of me. Anybody who saw the last two games would never have spit out a line like this. That makes me think Costa Rica knows something I don’t know…but then I realized that is impossible because I don’t think they even have the internet down there.
My biggest fear is that the Canucks will play Cory Schneider. Not only do I think that Schneider is just the better goalie, but he is also mentally stable. The Bruins would still have the edge in goaltending obviously, but not a 12-1 edge that they have enjoyed the past two games. Even if Costa Rica knows that Schneider is the starter, is Schneider and home ice really worth -170 on the moneyline? I don’t think so. My gut tells me Elaine will stick with the Veteran grease ball goalie with all the mental problems, but Luongo will have a short leash.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Sedin are terrible. They are like -32 combined in the series so far and I don’t think Henrik has a shot on net. Chara and the Bruins team defense has completely shut them down and Marchand is getting under their skin like only Dave Bolland has been able to do in the past. The Canucks are a gutless team and home ice won’t change that. Give me Captain America Tim Thomas and the rest of the Boston Bruins.
For more gambling picks go to www.youronlinesportsline.com
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I am not going to sit here and say I told you so, but I totally did. The Canucks are a joke. The softest team in the league. Unworthy of being in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Canucks are a classic “fake tough” team. They will push you and try to get under your skin by diving, chirping, biting, throwing head shots, and complaining. If you stand up to them and push back at them they will completely crumble. The Bruins took it to the Canucks physically and they whimpered away.
NHL Network was really rushing to the defense of the Canucks last night. “Kesler must be hurt. Luongo has vertigo. Burrows is menstruating, blah blah blah”. Truth of the matter is that this is just who the Canucks are. They are a group of cowards who barely beat an injury depleted Blackhawks team in a rebuilding year. They just suck.
Now I even think Vancouver is delusional. Bieksa called Tim Thomas “leaky” in the post game and said that they were showing him too much respect. Yeah, real leaky goalie in net for the Bruins. The Canucks have scored under 2 goals in three of the 4 games and on top of that Thomas has more hits in the series than the Sedin Sisters combined. Showing him too much respect? How, by trying to slash the stick out of his hand and running him every chance they get? Burrows even tried to fight Thomas. Who fights a goalie? Burrows is pathetic.
The only chance the Canucks have to salvage this series is to start Cory Schneider, but even the Boston native Schneider sounded like he wanted to part of the Bruins. ”None of the goals were Roberto’s fault. He deserves to be in there for game 5.” Come on now, Cory. You went to Phillips Andover and graduated from BC with honors in 3 years, you’re smarter than that. Luongo’s legs were more open than Lindsay Lohan’s on the Peverly goal. Ryder’s shot looked like a peewee shot it. The only goal that wasn’t on Luongo was Peverly’s second goal. Other than that Luongo was responsible. Maybe Schneider doesn’t want to alienate his hometown team. Maybe he is afraid of the Bruins. Maybe he is just as delusional as the rest of teammates.
This series is over. I originally predicted the Bruins winning in 7 games, but now I don’t think it will take that long. Long live the Original 6. AMERICA.
PS I love Milbury in between periods. Calls the Canucks “smug and arrogant” during game 3 and has the line of the year when he referred to the Sedin Sisters as “Thelma and Louise”. Just perfect. If NBC could replace Pierre McGuire with Darren Pang it would be the greatest hockey broadcast crew ever assembled.
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That felt great. The Stanley Cup Finals has displayed to the greater hockey world what the Vancouver Canucks are all about. They love to chirp, they play dirty, the dive, they bite, and they throw gutless blind hits to the head. Finally, somebody besides the Chicago Blackhawks has the sand to stand up to the Canucks and punish them for disrespecting the game of hockey. Now the Bruins have discovered the final piece to the puzzle that will let them beat Vancouver. If you punish them physically, out work them, and frustrate them…the Canucks will lose their cool, take dumb penalties, and quit. Luongo looked completely rattled for the last 40 minutes.
Last night’s game was an absolute beat down. The Bruins physically and mentally dominated the Canucks from the second period on. I feel vindicated by this series and I am 100% on the Bruin bandwagon. The Bruins are the opposite of Vancouver in so many ways. They have tough guys who are confrontational, but they are more than willing to answer the bell when challenged. I love the way they play. Even Tim Thomas got into the hitting game last night when he checked one of the Sedin Sisters.
The Bruins most likely will not score in abundance like they did in game 3, but they need to duplicate the level of intensity they brought for the duration of the series. They are still trailing and they must continue to attack Vancouver across all 200 feet of the ice surface. I was completely wrong about Shawn Thornton. I wanted Seguin in the lineup and I undervalued what Thornton brings to his teammates with his toughness and energy. Thornton is just flat-out scary and the ref tossing him out of the game mid way through the 3rd period may have save somebody’s life.
I have one final thought on last night’s game. Game exemplified why I love hockey and the NHL more than any sport. The NHL has an element of frontier justice. Burrows was a punk(and a difference maker) so Shawn Thornton smashed him early in the game to set the tone. Burrows takes a swipe at Tim Thomas late, so Milan Lucic turns into hockey’s version of Wyatt Earp and doles out the punishment immediately behind the net. No other sport or league has this mentality of self policing and standing up for your teammates. I can’t wait for Game 4 as I am sure the hatred between the teams is about to boil over.
Bruins in 7
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