Thursday, April 30, 2009

Second Round. My Predictions

It's looks like one has much better chances to win lotto's grand prize than to get right winners at NHL playoffs. My 1st round predictions have shown this point perfectly. But anyway I feel obliged to do it. So...

Carolina vs. Boston 3-4
Washington vs. Pittsburgh 2-4
Anaheim vs. Detroit 2-4
Vancouver vs. Chicago 4-3

Let's go! Hope you understand that my predictions and my sympathy maybe different at some pairs (I was already called by my friends - Caps fans who want to kill me after my prediction. Sorry, guys)

1st Round. Who is Hot..


So who was hot during the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup? It’s the question of your test. Let me just mention such names as Alex Semin and Eugene Malikin, Ray Whitney and Roberto Luongo, Bobby Ryan and Sergey Gonchar, Marian Hossa and Henrik Lundqvist etc, etc... But my choice is coming to the Caps youngster Simeon Varlamov. The Washington goaltender is the main reason for Caps comeback from 1-3 deficit against New York Rangers. Now everyone can understand why Bruce Boudreau has his goalies switched after just the first game when Jose Theodore did not play well enough. “The team has great confidence in this kid” he said to the media. And next 6 games have proved he was right. I think he is the one who kept Washington alive during the game 7 first period when he played literally alone against much better played Rangers. It supposed to be tremendously difficult to step up after the home defeat and to play like this kid did. 21 years old, without playoffs experience with close to nothing NHL games played...WOW!

And what is it about the “hottest” team? Can I give you two of them? Thank you. These are Ducks and Hurricanes. Ducks dominated against the President Trophy winner San Jose Sharks. They have my prediction beaten completely (I said 4-0 to Sharks). Yes, I am ashamed, but not me only. It’s not so easy task now to predict Detroit vs. Anaheim result. Isn’t it?
Hurricanes have shown unbelievable spirit even for playoffs. The game winning goal they scored 0.2 sec to play and unprecedented comeback during last 80 seconds of game 7 is still beyond of my believe. And on the top of all – it was done against the Devils and Martin Brodeur! Enough, no more coments...

...and Who is Not...


It’s pretty long list of individuals who are, in my opinion, underachieved, underplayed, underworked etc. Significant stronger performance was expected by such players as Caps Mike Green, Sharks Patrick Marleau and Eugene Nabokov, Columbus Rick Nash etc. But for me this unpleasant number 1 position of this round is belonged to San Jose Sharks’ Joe Thornton. He finished the regulations with +16 and 18.0% goals/shots numbers. Now, look his playoffs stats: -3 and 5.9% accordingly. It says a lot. He was able to shake his team and has shown some lack of leadership abilities.

So which team has brought the main disappointment to us? The answer is closed to the previous paragraph. San Jose Sharks. President Trophy winner was completely overplayed by Conference 8 placed team in contrary to the most predictions, my own included. The Sharks official website has posted the pool “Is this the toughest playoff loss in Sharks history?” The 86% of the Sharks fans answered “Yes”. I don’t think whatever has to be added to it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hart Finalists - Russians All and Only

NEW YORK (AP) - Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is a finalist for a second straight Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player.
Fellow Russians Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings were also among the finalists announced by the league Wednesday.
The winner will be revealed June 18 at the NHL awards show in Las Vegas.
Ovechkin led the league in goals this season with 56, and could become the first repeat winner of the Hart since Dominik Hasek in 1997-98. Ovechkin finished three points shy of becoming the NHL's first repeat scoring champion since Jaromir Jagr in 2000-01.
Malkin was runner-up for the Hart Trophy last year and has already won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in scoring with 113 points.
Datsyuk is considered by many the league's most complete player after finishing fourth in scoring with 97 points. He is also a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward, both of which he won last year.

WOW! It's the first time when the representatives of one non-canadian nation have been elected to any NHL Trophy. It's double remarkable that this is the main NHL personal award - Hart Trophy - Nikale.

Pavel Datsyuk Nikale Photos

Today's hero - Cans Jussi Jokinen

New Jersey was literally 80 seconds away from advancing to a second-round matchup against the Washington Capitals -- who won Game 7 against the New York Rangers earlier in the night -- when Jokinen silenced the capacity crowd of 17,625 as he one-timed a cross-ice feed from Joni Pitkanen through Brodeur's legs to make it 3-3.
For those who thought that was unbelievable, they hadn't seen anything yet.
"It was pretty quiet after Jussi scored," Staal said. "We were on the bench and we were obviously the only ones pretty excited. When we went over the boards after that goal, we're like, 'Why not get another one?' It happened."

Nikale Photos

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today's hero - Blackhawks Nikolai Khabibulin

Nikale Photos

Nikolai Khabibulin brings playoff experience to the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks, who are searching to add some of their own.
"We know the important of goaltending and what it means to our team," Quenneville said. "We've got a lot of confidence in our goaltending all year and we've got to rely on it a lot."
Khabibulin has a career 22-5-2 regular-season record against the Flames. Three of those wins came this season as the Blackhawks swept Calgary 4-0 during this regular season.
Why is he so good against Calgary?
"I don't know," Khabibulin said. "Luck of the draw. Sometimes against certain teams you play better than against others."
Everyone knows that Calgary is especially good at home ice. They won both meeting with Chicago at home during this series. Yesterday Flames were stopped by Chicago netminder who has 43 saves against them. His solid play made his teammates confident and relaxed. Calgary forwards and even crazy spectators and fans quickly became frustrated realized that it was one of those nights when a goalie is simply able to stop everything. My “Hero of the Night” award comes to Blackhawks’ Nikolai Khabibulin

Nikale Photos

Monday, April 27, 2009

Brashear gets 6 games suspension

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington forward Donald Brashear has been suspended for six games by the National Hockey League and will miss Tuesday's Game 7 of the Capitals' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal round series against the New York Rangers for his action both prior to, and during, Sunday's Game 6.
Brashear was suspended one game for initiating contact with Rangers forward Colton Orr during the pre-game warm-up. Brashear was suspended for five additional games for a blind-side hit on New York forward Blair Betts at 9:54 of the first period.
"Brashear delivered a shoulder hit to an unsuspecting player," NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said. "It is also my opinion that the hit was delivered late and targeted the head of his opponent, causing significant injury."
Brashear's suspension will be served beginning tomorrow night when the Capitals meet the Rangers in Game 7 of the series. The suspension will extend through the Capitals' next five 2009 playoff games, the 2009-10 regular season, or both, as circumstances warrant.
Brashear has played in the last four games against the Rangers. His suspension could pave the way for Capitals' captain Chris Clark to join the lineup for the first time since Jan. 27 at Boston. He has been out since after having wrist surgery. Clark announced prior to Game 1 that team doctors cleared him to play, but coach Bruce Boudreau has yet to insert him into the lineup. Clark said Monday that Boudreau told him to "be ready," but that's what he has been telling him before every game of the series.
"It means the same thing it's always meant," Clark said. "If somebody got hurt, I would be in. I have been waiting for this chance."
Boudreau was non-committal about who would play for Brashear, either Clark or Michael Nylander, who has been a healthy scratch for the last four games.
"We've got a lot of players," Boudreau said. "Donald is a big part of our team, but so is Michael Nylander and Chris Clark and they haven't had a chance to play. We've said all year that if someone is not playing someone has to come in and do just as good a job."
Since it is Brashear leaving the lineup, it would seem appropriate for Boudreau turn to Clark, who plays with a little more of a physical edge to his game than the slick passing Nylander.
"Clarkie is a feisty guy so maybe he'll get in there and fill (Brashear's) spot," Capitals defenseman Mike Green said.
To a man, the Caps do think losing Brashear does hurt their team even though he is averaging only 3:25 of ice time and less than seven shifts per game.
"He's a big part of our team, for sure," Alex Ovechkin said of Brashear. "He's a big guy in our locker room."
"He obviously has a presence on the ice and makes guys look behind them whenever he's out there," Green said. "Not only that, but in the dressing room he's great helping us out. We're all going to have to step up our game and be a little more physical because we're missing that key component with him out."

Personally I think it was wrong move by Brashear. The Caps need him on ice and in the dressing room.

Ladislav Scurko murder case

A former Philadelphia Flyers prospect has confessed to murdering a referee in his native Slovakia.

Ladislav Scurko, 23, faces 15 to 20 years in prison after admitting to police that he stabbed Marek Liptaj and buried him in the woods near Kosice, Slovakia in January 2008. Scurko played with Kosice in the Slovakian professional league.
The body was discovered this past December and Scurko admitted to the crime after being questioned by police last week. Police would not reveal a motive for the crime, but the Globe and Mail reported Monday that Scurko might have had problems with gambling.
Scurko, a centre, played three seasons in the Western Hockey League from 2004-07 and was selected in the sixth round (170th overall) by the Flyers in the 2004 Entry Draft. He never signed with the Flyers organization and played the past two years in Slovakia.

What a night for Ray!

What a night for Carolina Hurricanes and Ray Whitney in particular! Dominated Cans tied the series. The opening goal was scored by Ray who participated in all four Hurricanes goals. The veteran player is one of the best of this battle.

Nikale Photos

Today's hero - Capitals Tom Poti

"Who knew Sunday afternoon would turn into the Tom Poti show. The former Ranger, who is always booed when he's back at Madison Square Garden, silenced the sellout crowd for Game 6 by scoring a goal and adding three assists to lead the Caps to the 5-3 victory."

So for the second consecutive year Caps managed to come back from the 1-3 deficit to force game 7 be played at their home ice tomorrow. The big part of this turning point is my Hero of the Day Caps Tom Poti.

For more photos go to Nikale Photos Albums or Capitals Album

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Check My Photo Albums!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Canada smashed Hungary 9:0

Martin St. Louis had three goals and an assist for Canada, which is simply looking to jell and develop some chemistry in the early stages of this tournament. The team will take a 2-0 record into Tuesday's game against Slovakia.

Nikale Photos

Pens advanced to the next round

-It was a huge comeback for the Penguins, who dug their way out of an early 3-0 hole made in part by their own mistakes. The Penguins continued their drive through the end of the second and into the third, when Gonchar became the hero of the day. "It's been a while, but in the playoffs, as a defenseman, you're not always thinking about goals," Gonchar said. "You have to keep shooting the puck, keep putting it on the net and one day it's going to come. Fortunately, today was one of those days." It can't be the sublimely skilled duo of Sidney Crosby and Eugene Malkin leading the offense every night. While Crosby had a pair of goals and Malkin added a pair of assists, teams win and lose in the playoffs as a team, which means contributions from everyone and everywhere. -

As I predicted Penguins advanced to the next round after the yesterday victory. Fleury played solid and the Pittsburgh offence is too powerful to be controlled. Flyers failed to do it. Congratulations, Pens fans!

More “My Photos” from this game can be found here: “My Photo Album”

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's not MY Photo, but just watch THIS!

"We're now a desperate team. We're losing. We don't have lots of opportunities to make some mistakes. You have to be all the time great. You have to be all the time 100 percent. We're still losing and (Sunday) is probably the biggest game in our year." -- Alex Ovechkin

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Today's hero - Capitals Matt Bradley

Nikale Photos

It looks to be easy to pick up right one for my “Hero of the Day” nomination as only one game was played yesterday. But it’s not right. To take to consideration phenomenal second period Ovechkin’s goal highlighted by everyone and everywhere. Or maybe it’s the second shootout in four career playoffs games registered by young Simeon Varlamov? I have to apologize. Sorry, my Russian countrymen and millions of Ovie fans (me included). Today’s Hero of the Day is Capitals forward Matt Bradley. His 2 second period goals in my opinion decided this game. I would like to underline the first goal. It’s the best example of real hard work while shorthanded fighting to the end with perfect execution of the finishing minor touch. Caps started the game uncertain and obviously nervous, when have got the penalty. Matt’s goal turned the whole picture to Washington. Silent leader probably is the best description of such a player. Well done, Matt!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Canada wins opener

Nikale Photos

The 2009 IIHF World Championship was started today in Switzerland. Canada has Belarus team beaten in the opening game this afternoon. The final score is 6:1. Canada brought some NHL stars like Spezza, St Louis, Heatley and young Stamkos to the roster. The Belarus team has Maple Leaf Grabovsky who scored the team only goal

Today's hero - Devils Martin Brodeur

Nikale Photos

The player of the day is Martin Brodeur. He left behind all bad emotions from the previous game when Davils gave up the decisive goal 0.2 sec to play. Yesterday he was fantastic. He stopped everything and everywhere registered another shootout with his career playoffs high 44 game saves. He is my Hero of the Day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's wrong with Capitals Green?

Nikale Photos

You might have the different opinion but I think that Montreal and Washington has at least one problem in common. The problem is absence of an offensive defenseman who can transfer the puck forward. To be more specific the names are Markov and Green to Montreal and Washington accordingly. Markov is injured and did not play. No more questions and as result of yesterday game Canadiens can book their flights to summer holidays. But what is about Caps Mike Green? I don’t know. Maybe he has an undisclosed injury or he is tired after long successful season, but something wrong with him. He is not skating, not shooting, not finishing his checks, he is losing his one on one battles, taking lazy penalties etc etc. Shortly, he is not himself. I don’t think Ovechkin, Semin, Kozlov, Fedorov and Varlamov are in any hurry to join Russian National team in Switzerland. So if Washington doesn’t want to join Habs and Blues something supposed to be done urgently. Do you know what's wrong with Mike Green? Let me know

You can find more MY PHOTOs here:

MY CAPITALS PHOTOs were updated:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today's hero - Canucs Alex Burrows

Alex Burrows scored his second goal of the game with 18.9 seconds to go in overtime. This goal has finished this series and the Blues season. Alex is my “Hero of the Day”. He said right after the game - "We had a limited line-up, we were up 2-0 but they really came back in our end and were pressuring hard, but we found a way," said Burrows, who was a pivotal part of the penalty kill playing just under four minutes shorthanded. "We killed six minutes of power play in overtime and that was huge and we found a way to get it done."

My Photos from this exciting game can be found at MY PHOTO ALBUM

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Keenan's plan works out

After two blown games in Chicago coming home Flames were angry indeed. They dominated during the home game got the gap narrowed 2-1 after game 3. Tooday I am featuring this game using MY photos.
Visit MY PHOTO ALBUM to find more.

Today's hero - Capitals Simeon Varlamov

Who was the hero of the last game day? Don't go far away. It's Capitals Simeon Varlamov. The 20 years old Russian goaltender played fenomenal during his very first two Stanley Cup games. You don't trust me? How it's about Pierre LeBrun from ESPN?
"That's a good thing if you're the Caps. Rookie Varlamov looked cool as a cucumber as he shoved aside 33 shots for his first career playoff shutout. Boudreau raised eyebrows when he replaced veteran Jose Theodore before Game 2 with a 20-year-old netminder with 329 minutes of previous NHL experience. Varlamov has responded by stopping all but one of the 57 shots he has faced. Guess the Caps coach knew what he was doing."

Nikale Photos

Dominik Hasek to play for Czech club

PRAGUE - Dominik Hasek is coming out of retirement to play for his former club in the top Czech league. The 44-year-old goaltender will play next season for HC Moeller Pardubice in the town where he was born and started his career. While Hasek will be the oldest player in the league, Pardubice has an option to extend the contract by one more year. "I'm really glad I could sign a deal with this club," Hasek told a news conference Tuesday. "It's a club where I spent the most years. I've never even thought I could play for any other club in the Czech Republic. I'm looking forward to the next season." The announcement comes less than a year after Hasek's retirement following winning won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings for the second time in June. "A year ago I said goodbye to the NHL but not to hockey," Hasek said. "After a year when I was engaged in other activities I felt like returning." Hasek helped Pardubice win the Czech title in 1987 and '89. "My return won't be easy," Hasek said. "We have big goals with Pardubice. I don't talk about my age but a return to top hockey will not be easy. I want to keep winning, I'm looking forward to it." Drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1983, Hasek joined the NHL in the 1990-1991 season and won 389 games with the Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres and the Blackhawks. He was a six-time Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goaltender and two-time Hart Trophy winner as the league's most valuable player. He previously retired in 2002 after winning his first Stanley Cup with Detroit but rejoined the NHL in the 2003-04 season. Hasek played two games for Pardubice during the 2004-05 lockout season. He also led the Czech Republic to gold at the 1998 Olympics - and is now hoping for an encore at next year's Vancouver Olympics. Hasek said he didn't know whether the Czech coaches are interested in having him on the team, but that playing in another Olympics "will be a motivation for me in training."

By Karel Janicek, The Associated Press

Monday, April 20, 2009

Last Night Hero - Travis Zajac

I have published MY OWN photos from the New Jersey vs. Carolina yesterday night game. Please, visit MY HOCKEY PHOTO ALBUMS.

Nikale Photos

Brodeur escaped from the record

Finally Brodeur has finished his really unpleasant consecutive series of loosing overtimes to Carolina. He was one lost shy of setting the NHL anti-record at this point. I don`t think that Martin is regret by not marking this kind of achievement. Now seriously, he was great.

Nikale Photos

Is it too late now?

Doing everything possible Blues cannot find the way to beat Canucs. Luongo is playing playoffs hockey for real – solid, steady with absolutely no mistakes. But, you know what, even against the outstanding goaltender Saint Louis was obliged to score on 5 on 3 situations which they had three times during this series already. Especially yesterday when Blues have it twice and looked helpless. They don’t lose the battles, they show strong spirit, but...they are not scoring. As result Blues are 0-3. Now is it too late?

Nikale Photos

Flyers shooting back

It looks like Phillis can play hockey. Not only sitting in the penalty box. Last game proved it. I am happy to have another series to be intrigued instead of falling down to 3-0 deficit.

Nikale Photos

2009 Niagara Nike Bauer Hockey Tournament

Welcome back, my readers. I have been away for 3 days. I hope you missed me. My boy participated in 2009 Niagara Nike Bauer hockey tournament. We advanced to the finals but lost the battle. Too bad. But the tournament was great. It’s the high ranked event so almost all the best “AAA” players of Ontario and some from the States shown up. So hockey was excellent, weather good, hotel acceptable and the falls are impressive as usual. Now let’s come back to hockey for the big kids. I mean the NHL.

Nikale Photos

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Montreal vs. Boston 2:4

Scott Thornton (22) has some conversations with George Laraque.

Boston leads 1-0. There is Makrov?!! Four penalties, no goals. And Chara scores game winner on power play - that's the key.

For more Nikale photos go to My Hockey Album


I have published MY OWN photos from the Rangers vs. Capitals opening night. Please, visit MY HOCKEY PHOTO ALBUMS. The quality is not perfect, but still fresh and, I hope, should be interesting.

The Start in My Photos...

Nikale Photos
Vancouver leads 1-0. The final score (2:1) is not reflecting the game. In my opinion Canucs overplayed Blues from the first minute till the very last. Thanks to Luongo, Kesler and Sedins brothers.

Nikale Photos
Devils lead 1-0. Brodeur was terrific. As usual, cannot say the same about Ward.

Nikale Photos
Penguins lead 1-0. I told that Pittsburgh seems to be better, but they were much better. All what Phillies could to put onto the table was test of dirty play.

Nikale Photos
Rangers lead 1-0. Ovechkin was flying, shooting and hitting but it’s not enough to win the game. Playoffs – it’s all about which team fewer mistakes do. Especially when it comes to goaltending. The worst scenario for Capitals has been played – Theodore’s performance was shabby.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Stanley Cup is started!

The first goal of 2009 Cup is scored by Crosby

The Stanley Cup Itself is...

The Stanley Cup (French: La Coupe Stanley) is an ice hockey club championship trophy, awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs champion. It is commonly referred to as The Cup, The Holy Grail, or facetiously (chiefly by sportswriters) as Lord Stanley's Mug. The Stanley Cup is surrounded by numerous legends and traditions, the oldest of which is the celebratory drinking of champagne out of the cup by the winning team. Like the Grey Cup used in the Canadian Football League and the MLS Cup in Major League Soccer, but unlike the trophies awarded by the other three major professional sports leagues of North America, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year; Cup winners keep it until a new champion is crowned. It is one of the only two trophies other than the Grey Cup in professional sports that has the name of the winning players, coaches, management, and club staff engraved on its chalice. The original bowl was made of silver and has a dimension of 18.5 centimeters (7.28 inches) in height and 29 centimeters (11.42 inches) in diameter. The current Stanley Cup, topped with a copy of the original bowl, is made of silver and nickel alloy. Today, it has a height of 89.54 centimeters (35.25 inches) and weighs 15.5 kilograms (34.5 lb).
The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America. Originally inscribed the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was donated in 1892, by then Governor General of Canada Lord Stanley of Preston, as an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. In 1915, the two professional ice hockey organizations, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), reached a gentlemen's agreement in which their respective champions would face each other for the Stanley Cup. After a series of league mergers and folds, it became the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926. The Cup later became the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Creatine Hockey Nutrition - To Whom It May Concern

Any athlete (professional, amateur or weekend warrior) searching for legitimate ways of enhancing their physical performance has undoubtedly heard of creatine. If used properly, this safe, legal and effective supplement will enhance your athletic performance in ways never before imagined.

Scientific research has shown that creatine promotes muscle growth, improves athletic performance and accelerates recovery following strenuous exercise. Moreover, new research is now showing that creatine enhances overall anabolic (tissue building) potential and promotes good health and longevity.

However, in order to reap creatine’s full range of benefits it is imperative that one first sets the stage - metabolically speaking. Unfortunately, this information is not easily accessed by the layperson. Moreover, many creatine informational websites misinterpret existing scientific studies and disseminate potentially harmful advise about the “proper” use of creatine.

I want to be honest - this is my affiliate product. But first of all, it's really good one and, you know, I am not pushing you, just look it up!

Ready to go?

So it looks like we're all about to start the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs that is in my opinion the most intrigued event around the sports globe. Are you, guys ready to put some first round predictions? I'll try my best, so...
Montreal vs. Boston. Without Markov I don't think Canadiens have real chances. Boston in five.

New York Rangers vs. Washington. I wasn't really impressed how Washington played last 6-8 games. It was, let say, sloppy. So the question is if Capitals are ready to playoffs type of hockey. If they are...Washington in six.

Carolina vs. New Jersey. Ward vs. Brodeur...hmmm...New Jersey in seven.

Philadelfia vs. Pittsburgh. Both team goaltending is somewhat questionable, but Pittsburgh's offence is so powerful. Pittsburgh in six (or five?)

Anaheim vs. San Jose. Sharks is better in each aspect. San Jose in four.

Columbus vs. Detroit. Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending...If it's not this miserable play by Osgood, but it's great "if" when you come into playoffs. Anyway, Detroit in six.

St.Louis vs. Vancouver. Pretty even. Let say, Vancouver in six (Luongo, Sundin, Sedins)

Calgary vs. Chicago. Calgary is the typical playoffs team with great experience in Keenan, Iginla and Kiprusoff. I like Chicago (I hope Canadian authorities who supposed to OK my citizenship application don't read this post), but they posses no playoffs experience. Calgary in six.

I will be happy to get your comments with your predictions. Just keep in mind that my predictions do not necessarily reflect my sympathy (like Boston Montreal pair, for example)

Some notes about Kovalev

My young friend HOCKEY3097 from community today asked me "Do you like Kovalev? I don't like Kovalev but my brother does."

Look, the answer is 'yes' and 'no'. I remember this player from Russia since 1992 when he was almost your age. He was amazing but had bad discipline. Like now a day people come to Washington to see Ovechkin, fans came to watch Moscow Dynamo to see this 16 year-old kid. I remember also Gretzky after playing with Kovalev in NYR said that Kovalev is the most talented player he has ever seen (and Grez, by the way, played with Coffey, Messier, Robitaile, Hull, Leetch and many many others great players)
The problem is his attitude to hockey. He loves hockey, no question about, but he also likes flying, playing saxophone, having fun with friends etc...Some days he is concentrated on the game and he is the best by far, other day - not so. He is probably the most gifted Russian player ever hit the NHL, but his impact - maybe 20% overall from his abilities. My favorite combination of player - skills + hard permanent work + team player (lets say Yzerman)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Russian invasion!

Russian invasion! This year again both Maurice Richard and Art Ross Trophies will be showcased in the middle of the Red Square in Moscow. Thanks to Russian superstars Alex ‘the Great’ Ovechkin and Gino Malkin. With 56 goals scored Capitals Ovechkin has this trophy taken home for the second consecutive year. The gap between him and the second sniper Flyers Carter is 10 (ten!) goals. That’s amazing in my opinion. Eugene Malkin wins the Art Ross for first time with 113 points, but he was second last year having only one skater passed him. Who? You right – Alex Ovechkin who came second with 3 point deficit this season. Let me guess, this summer NHL award will show the same picture as last one did. The Russian embassy will send their guards to help Russian guys to bring home most of the trophies. I hope you haven’t forgotten such names as Nabokov, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk and Slava Kozlov. Thanks God, it looks like we have Calder Trophy staying home this year. So, congratulations to Alex and Gino and... best regards to Don Cherry.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Snapshot from Detroit vs. Chicago game.

After two periods Blackhawks lead 2:0. Nikolai Khabibulin's exellent goaltending provides this two goal advantage to Chicago who faces Calgary at first round of playoffs starting next week. My photo shows Chris Osgood stops Chicago attack during the second period of the game

Today's trivia for my hockey experts

Who roared to NHL stardom as "the Golden Jet"?

Choose Your Answer:

A: Bobby Orr,
B: Wayne Gretzky,
C: Gordie Howe,
D: Bobby Hull

So, expert, have you got it right?

For more trivia visit "Hockey - the Question Is..."

Congratulations, guys!

I would like to congratulate Ian Laperrier (Colorado), Roberto Luongo (Vancouver), Niklas Hjalmarsson (Chicago) and Zac Parise (Nye Jersey)

Colorado’s Ian Laperriere skated in his 1,000th NHL game on Saturday, an accomplishment he'll always cherish. The gritty forward made his debut on March 3, 1994, while with the St. Louis Blues. He has played for four teams, and spent the last four seasons with the Avalanche. "It is meaningful," he said. "If I look back at my career, it's my effort that I'm proudest of ... I worked hard so I could play into my 30s, and I'm still playing hard at 35."

Roberto Luongo posted his second straight shutout, stopping 22 shots. Luongo, who blanked Los Angeles on Thursday, extended the franchise record with his ninth shutout this season. He has 47 in the NHL, tying him with San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov for fourth among active players. New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur is first with 101.

Chicago Niklas Hjalmarsson netted his first NHL goal

Zac Parise's goal gave him 58 points at home this season, tying the franchise record set by Patrik Elias in 2000-01.
I wish you all the best, guys, and good luck - Ian Laperrier in the next season and for rest of the guys – in playoffs.

Nikale Photos (Ian Laperrier and Roberto Luongo,left)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sharks win first Presidents' Trophy

Saturday, 04.11.2009 / 7:25 PM / NHL Insider / By Staff
The San Jose Sharks will enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the top seed after clinching the first Presidents' Trophy in franchise history on Saturday.San Jose was assured of finishing the season with the NHL's best record after the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins lost 6-1 at Buffalo. The Sharks (53-18-11) finished their season with 117 points after a 4-3 loss at Los Angeles; the Bruins have 114 points with a road game against the New York Islanders on Sunday. The Sharks will have the home-ice advantage for as far as they go in the playoffs -- an important consideration, considering that they were a League-best 32-5-4 at home.The 117 points are the most for the Sharks since they entered the NHL in 1991. Their 53 victories are also a franchise record.

Wings ink Franzen to 11-year deal

Saturday, 04.11.2009 / 1:30 PM / - News
Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland announced today that the club has signed forward Johan Franzen to an eleven-year contract. In keeping with team policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed. The eleven-year pact represents the second longest deal in club history, just behind the twelve-year contract signed by teammate Henrik Zetterberg in January.

“We are thrilled that Johan will remain a member of the Detroit Red Wings” said Holland. “His production over the past year and a half, both regular season and playoffs, has been remarkable and we feel, at 29 years old, that he is just now entering the prime of his career. We look forward to having him as a part of our core unit in Detroit moving forward.”

Franzen was originally a third round draft pick (97th overall) of the Red Wings in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He is currently in his fourth season in the National Hockey League. In 69 games played this season, Franzen has already set career highs in goals (34), assists (25) and points (59). He burst into the NHL spotlight last March scoring 14 goals and adding four assists for 18 points in just 13 games. Six of Franzen’s 14 goals were game-winning goals, eclipsing the franchise record of five in one month held by Gordie Howe and Zetterberg. ‘Mule’ would finish the 2007-08 regular season by scoring 15 goals over the final 16 games.

Franzen’s incredible run continued into the 2008 playoffs. He found the back of the net 13 times in just 16 postseason games. Along the way, he set or tied numerous franchise playoff records including most goals in one playoff year (13, with Zetterberg), most goals in one playoff series (9), most game-winning goals in one playoff year (5), longest playoff goal streak (5 games) and most three-goal games in one playoff series (2).