March 14, 2014 by
With a healthy Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins are a good bet to win the NHL championship.
This season’s NHL looks like being another very close run affair, with several sides appearing to real contenders for play-off success. It is no surprise to see names like the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins right in there amongst the betting favorites at bookmakers sites, as all of these are proven winners, but they all look to be in exceptionally strong form. The Penguins have outclassed everyone in the Metropolitan Division, where they are sixteen points clear at the top, and the other two are also top (albeit by closer margins), so which side should the smart punter pick?
It is hard to ignore the form the Penguins have been showing, and the bookies haven’t – as Pittsburgh are in place as hot favorites to win the Stanley Cup on 6/1. Chicago are the holders of the Stanley Cup though, as well as the Western Conference, and with the latter looking almost certain to be retained they will fancy their chances of keeping the former as well. At 7/1, the bookies see them as almost as likely as the Penguins to win it, while the Bruins are at 10/1. They could have a showdown for the Eastern Conference with Pittsburgh which, in turn, might give further indication of who will win the Stanley Cup – so waiting until then and playing ice hockey casino games is a strategy with much to recommend it. Read the rest of this entry →
February 14, 2014 by
Czechoslovakia was a hockey power during the 1940s and 1950s, winning gold medals in the World Championships in 1947 and 1949. The country’s national teams also won a silver medal in the 1948 Olympics, losing to Team Canada on goal differential. Unfortunately, two tragic events ended the careers of most of the players responsible for this success, launching Czechoslovakian hockey into a dark period where they did not win a major tournament for over 20 years.
The Plane Crash
In 1948, the Czechoslovakian team was on top of the world, having taken over as perhaps the most dominant hockey nation in the world. In preparation for the upcoming 1949 World Hockey Championships, the team scheduled a couple of exhibition games against Great Britain. The team would fly from Paris, where they had been staying, to London for these games.
Eight of the players flew out the day before the game and spent the night in a hotel. These players arrived without incident and made their way to Wembley Stadium the next day for the game. The remaining six players stayed in Paris for an extra night and left the morning of the game. These players, Miroslav Pokorny, Zdenek Svarc, Zdenek Jarkovsky, Karel Stibor, Vilibard Stovik and Ladislav Trojak, were never heard from again, as their plane vanished over the English Channel.
Read the rest of this entry →
January 23, 2014 by
The record books of the National Hockey League are filled with the exploits of living-legend Wayne Gretzky. As the all-time leader in categories such as goals, assists and points, Gretzky was the star of his time. Likewise, Sydney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin (when he’s playing hard) are the best the NHL has to offer right now. So, let’s see how today’s stars stack up against the greatest of all time.
As we know, the completed career of Gretzky gives him a clear advantage over the ongoing careers of Crosby and Ovechkin in terms of stats. Compared to Gretzky’s two decades in the NHL, the current stars would be roughly halfway through their respective careers with both playing in their ninth NHL season now. However, we can more fairly compare the numbers of Crosby and Ovechkin to that of Gretzky’s years as an Edmonton Oiler, where he coincidentally spent nine seasons.
As far as putting the puck in the net goes, Gretzky’s goal total of 583 in his first nine seasons overshadows Ovechkin’s 406 and Crosby’s 263. Gretzky’s stats through those seasons in Edmonton were greatly aided by a NHL-record 92-goal season in the 1981-82 campaign. Contrastingly, Crosby netted just eight goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2011-12 season due to only playing 22 games because of injury. Read the rest of this entry →
January 21, 2014 by
Sidney Crosby looks on his way to winning the 2014 Art Ross Trophy as the NHL scoring leader.
Sidney Crosby will take a two-week break in February along with every other NHL player as they head overseas to Sochi for the Winter Olympic games. As long as that’s the only time that Crosby takes away from the NHL this season, he should be a lock to win the Art Ross trophy. Crosby leads the NHL with 67 points in 47 games this season, and there is absolutely no reason to think he will slow down as he and the Pittsburgh Penguins continue to move closer to locking up the top seed in the Eastern Conference, which makes him a tremendous NHL futures favorite according to the sites that offer online betting software services.
As it stands, Patrick Kane has registered 23 goals and 56 points in 48 games. As impressive as that is, Kane is still 11 points back of Crosby for the league-lead, and as their current pace the difference between them actually stands to rise. Kane has been arguably the most dangerous offensive threat for the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and he is one of the most lethal pure scorers in the game. The fact that he is still 11 points back in the Art Ross isn’t a criticism of Kane as much as it is a testament to how excellent of a player that Crosby is. Read the rest of this entry →
January 03, 2014 by
Last year’s lockout, the cancelling of the 2013 Winter Classic and the seemingly endless amount of “special” outdoor games that will flood this upcoming year may have made the average NHL fan fairly complacent when it came to the 2014 Winter Classic held outdoors at the University of Michigan’s “Big House.” We had been promised spectacle before, but was there really anything new or more exciting the NHL could offer other than “It’s BIGGER!”? Turns out, the answer is a resounding YES, as this year’s Classic was not only the biggest, but one of the best. Let’s take a look at what went well without the usual metal roofs of NHL stadiums, and what didn’t:
The Weather: You couldn’t have asked for a more picturesque winter day in Michigan. For those who grew up playing on the frozen ponds and lakes, this struck a chord that made one long for the days of skating till the sun goes down. The producers always show the little kids skating montage in an attempt to warm our hearts, but this time it really worked. The snow buildup on the ice was cool, and watching professionals re-learn how to play on a different surface was really cool. What an atmosphere!
The Jerseys: Man those sweaters looked great. There’s something about a lot of stripes that just screams “Old Time Hockey,” and these sweaters were killer. Many non-Wings fans were overheard commenting that they would wear (or even buy) one of the 2014 Classic jerseys. The Leafs wore a throwback from the early 1930’s and Detroit sported a new creation that will be an instant classic. Top that off with the goalies wearing vintage brown “leather” pads and this was everything a classic hockey fan could dream of.
Read the rest of this entry →
December 31, 2013 by
Hockey is a game of “What Ifs.” What if Ken Dryden had a longer career? What If Brett Hull’s crease violation was called? What If Mario Lemieux didn’t get cancer? So many records and games could be changed by just the slightest details, and we often mull over them and ponder an alternate universe where Kerry Fraser doesn’t blow a call or Tim Thomas doesn’t go hide in a bunker. One of the biggest “What Ifs” involves the Pittsburgh Penguins and their constant injury issues. “What If the Penguins stars never got injured?” Ever since Crosby’s concussion in the Winter Classic, the Penguins have been setting records for man-games lost to injury. This season they’ve already racked up over 210 man-games lost, which is staggering not only in the amount, but the fact that it isn’t just 3rd and 4th liners, but some of their top stars like Malkin, Dupuis, Orpik and Letang. Fortunately, Pittsburgh is lucky enough to have one of the best farm systems in the NHL, and can pull from Wilkes-Barre Scranton and receive NHL-ready players while their starters watch the game from their physical therapy pools. Let’s take a look at a few of the call ups who have been outstanding in their time with the big club.
First, we’ll start with Robert Bortuzzo, who isn’t exactly a call-up, as he started the season with the Penguins, but injuries to regular starters required him to be moved up on a more permanent basis. Bortuzzo is like Brooks Orpik, only bigger and younger. He has the ability to deliver bone crushing checks, yet still has the heads-up awareness to move the puck well. This season has been his first real shot at staying on the roster, and he’s made a good case for an extension.
Read the rest of this entry →