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.
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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 →
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.
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December 09, 2013 by
The sport of Hockey has its roots on the frozen ponds and lakes of North America, and many of today’s top players grew up learning the sport on local canals and other outdoor rinks. Invented by Canadians in the late 1700’s, and first referenced in print in 1799, the game had always been an outdoor sport. It wasn’t for almost another hundred years that Ice Hockey would first move inside, where it has largely remained ever since.
The first indoor game was held on March 3rd, 1875 in Montreal, Quebec at Victoria Skating Center, and was viewed as a novelty event. However, the indoor version of the game took off, and by 1920, Olympic Hockey was inside, although the 1924 Games were once again outdoors. International Championships would range between indoor and outdoor until the mid 1950’s, including an outdoor Gold Medal game in 1957 between Sweden and the Soviet Union, which boasted 55,000 people in attendance, a record that stood for 40 years.
The NHL has always been a strictly indoor league, but there have been a few notable exceptions. The first such game is probably the most curious, as the 1954 Detroit Red Wings accepted an invitation to play the inmates of the Marquette State Prison in a friendly scrimmage on a rink built by Warden’s mate Oakie Brumm. The Wings defeated the Marquette Prison Pirates soundly. So soundly no one remembers the final score, although it was 18-0 after the 1st period. The Wings even swapped a few players with the inmates to even it up a bit.
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