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Archive for the ‘Hockey’


Stanley Cup: Can Anyone Beat the Dallas Stars This Year? 0

Posted on April 13, 2016 by Andre Smith
Jamie Benn scored 41 goals and had 48 assists for the Dallas Stars during the regular season.

Jamie Benn scored 41 goals and had 48 assists for the Dallas Stars during the regular season.

The Dallas Stars have failed to make a major impact on the National Hockey League since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals series in back-to-back years at the end of the millennium. Back then, the Stars lifted the title in 1999 before coming up short the following year. However, they failed to build on their brief era of dominance and this is just the second time that Dallas have reached the playoffs in the last eight seasons. Can they go all the way and lift the Stanley Cup at the end of the grueling postseason? Only time will tell but they’re certainly good enough on current form.

Right now, the Stars are firing on all cylinders and Lindy Ruff’s side are looking strong ahead of the playoffs. Dallas won eight of their last ten regular season fixtures to ensure confidence will be high ahead of what could be a difficult seven-match series against the Minnesota Wild. As of April 11th, 32Red Canada price Dallas at 10/1 to win the Stanley Cup this season and, with a bit of luck, there’s no reason why the Stars cannot go all the way to the finals. After all, they’ve been one of the most impressive, exciting and consistent teams during the regular campaign.

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have both been simply sensational throughout the regular season and are key reasons for Dallas’ prominent position in the push for the Stanley Cup. While the likes of the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks both have impressive recent records in the NHL playoffs, the Stars can end the monopoly and win a second Stanley Cup if they perform at their best and tighten up defensively. Offensively, the Stars are one of the best sides in the league but they can be caught out at the back, especially with the inconsistent Antti Niemi in goal.

And although many Dallas supporters are pondering over Niemi or fellow goaltender Kari Lehtonen, it’s a no-brainer. It has to be Lehtonen. On his day, Niemi can be almost invincible but Lehtonen is the more reliable stopper and consistency is exactly what is needed in the playoffs. In a one-off game, it might be worth risking Niemi but when it matters most of all, Lehtonen has to start. In recent weeks, he has led Dallas to victories against the Kings, Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators which is no easy feat. Read the rest of this entry →

1980 USA Olympic Hockey Upset: Miracle on Ice 0

Posted on February 22, 2016 by Mike Raffone

MIKE Sports Comic - Miracle on Ice

February 22, 1980 marked a national day of pride in America.

It birthed a miracle in the highly competitive arena of international sports.

Known as the Miracle on Ice, an unlikely hockey victory took place at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY and lifted America out of its funk.

During that precarious era in our nation’s history, the 1970s was a decade comprised of war protests, a Presidential scandal, and a troubling economy.

In the midst of those uncertain and depressing times, Americans were nervous and ripe for a miracle to lift their spirits.

And, then came along an unexpected special moment in sports history.

The event produced one of the most amazing upsets the sports world has ever witnessed.

Team USA’s stunning win over the heavily favored Soviet Union National Hockey Team still stands as one of the greatest victories in the history of team sports.

This USA win remains an unforgettable highlight of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Read the rest of this entry →

#TBT Sports Blog: Former Philadelphia Flyers Bobby Clarke 1

Posted on January 28, 2016 by Mike Raffone

Today’s TBT sports blog remembers my favorite hockey player of all-time – Bobby Clarke – who once starred for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Seems like only yesterday that Clarke was skating effortlessly up and down the old Spectrum Arena ice in Philadelphia in his orange, black and white #16 Flyers jersey.

Now, long since retired and 66 years-old, this Flin Flon, Manitoba native became a three-time NHL Most Valuable Player and skated his way into the hearts of hockey fans everywhere.

That’s because Bobby Clarke personified old-school hockey. He played without a helmet and hit about as hard as any player who ever took the ice. The Flyers captain was easily recognizable by his wide, toothless smile, long curly blond hair and incredible skill on skates.

The 17th pick of the 1969 NHL Draft, Clarke played his entire career for the Flyers franchise. Even after retiring, Clarke continued with the organization for many years first as General Manager and most recently as a Senior Vice President. He’s still Philadelphia’s greatest player ever, holding team records in total points and games played. He also appeared in eight NHL All-Star games.

As the Flyers captain, Clarke excelled during the 1970s. In both 1974 and 1975, he led the notorious Broad Street Bullies to back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships. Read the rest of this entry →

The Zamboni: Baddest Maintenance Vehicle in Sports! 2

Posted on November 30, 2015 by Mike Raffone

The ZamboniMy guess is that the look and speed of the sports world’s most famous maintenance vehicle is the same now as it was back then, making it a perfect entry for today’s Sports Then and Now blog.

Driving this clunky ice resurfacing machine on wheels would satisfy nearly every hockey fan’s fantasy.

Who hasn’t yearned to climb behind the wheel of this giant tractor and take charge on the ice?

Perhaps the baddest maintenance vehicle in all of sports, whose top speed runs at just a mere 9 miles per hour, the Zamboni cruises in

The boxy Zamboni tractor scrapes, collects, washes, resurfaces and smooths the ice for hockey games and skating competitions.

In addition, the monster machine sprays and then squeegees 140 degree water and transforms once rutted and scarred ice into a shimmering surface that mirrors polished glass.

Founded by Frank J. Zamboni in Southern California in 1949, the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine has become the standard throughout arenas around the world. Approximately 200 custom made machines, at a price of $75,000 each, are manufactured each year.

The Zamboni’s iconic fame has extended beyond the boards of the hockey rinks it resurfaces. In the classic sitcom Cheers, Carla’s husband Eddie supposedly got run over by a Zamboni.

And, in a Peanuts comic strip, a fictional miniature Zamboni once cleaned the ice in a birdbath for Snoopi’s pal Woodstock

This heavy duty “bad to the boni” machine is dear to all who have watched it perfectly restore chunks and grooves in previously pock marked ice during intermissions at NHL, NCAA an biddy league games.

All the while these same hockey fans were dreaming they were ones behind the wheel of the Zamboni chugging down the ice at a speed most people walk…backward.

Now what fan could possibly argue that the Zamboni ranks as one of the best things about sports?

MIKE on sports!

Teaching Future NHL Players 0

Posted on October 11, 2015 by Jeremy Biberdorf

Youth HockeyTracing the growth of elite hockey players is more difficult in some ways than following their counterparts in football or basketball. Unlike the other two sports, hockey does not have a major college following in much of the United States, so it can be difficult to find the best up and coming players and track their development. In fact, the top NHL players come from many different places, not just elite hockey schools. Some play professionally overseas before joining the NHL, and others are recruited from semi-pro and varsity leagues.

However, those who prefer to follow players from college to the pros could do worse than the Canadian hockey school the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. This boarding school for boys and girls provides general education, but also has a top-notch hockey program that lures players from all over the world. The college has produced countless professional players over the years, including some of the biggest names in the NHL. Read the rest of this entry →

World Cup of Hockey 0

Posted on October 05, 2015 by Michael Ramos

hockey skatesAt this point it’s going to be something that they’re doing for the first time in 12 years and a lot isn’t known about it. There are several details that have been brought out by the NHL and a lot of fan and player reaction. In this article we’ll cover what it means for the regular season, what’s known about it at the time of writing and whether or not anyone’s going to tune in.

Fan Reaction

So here’s the thing: fans simply love hockey. They love to watch it, support it, talk about it, buy up popular merchandise, and remember all the best times that have happened in the history of the game. That’s precisely why this whole affair is going to be a bit of a mixed bag for the fans of the game. Part of the reason that they may love it: it’s hockey. But seriously, it’s going to be a whole bunch of the best players in the world competing at an extremely high level for country and for respect.

Here’s the problem though, the timing will cause it to coincide with pre-season. Although that doesn’t necessarily sound like a bad thing to the casual fan, as most people who follow the game know, there’s a huge amount of subtle teamwork that makes or breaks a season. Without the level of teamwork and cooperation that is engendered by gelling together during the pre-season (at the very least) players are going to be missing cues and making mistakes.

I mean just take a look at the Russian International team from the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was all the same guys. They were inarguably great players but they were made significantly better because they knew each other. They were able to read each other’s intentions and movements in ways that their opposition couldn’t. This allowed them to run circles around teams of talented people who didn’t know each other. Read the rest of this entry →

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