Author: Matt Reitz

Calgary Flames v Detroit Red Wings

Old and new: Seguin and Lidstrom reflect during Thanksgiving Showdown (Video)


Thanksgiving is a holiday when people take a step back and give thanks for all the good fortunes in their life. During today’s Thanksgiving Showdown, one of the oldest players in the league (not this guy) and one of the youngest shared their thoughts on their respective NHL careers. 41-year-old Nicklas Lidstrom talked about winning the Cup four times over the course of his illustrious career; while 19-year-old talked about what it was like to win his first Cup in his first season with the Bruins last June.

Take a look at both—it must be nice to have had as much success has Lidstrom has had throughout his career.
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And it’s must be nice for Seguin to already have a Cup under his belt…
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Sharks players weigh in on Canucks “arrogance”

Martin Havlat, Ryane Clowe, Drew Doughty

It was only about a week ago when retired NHLer Mark Recchi called the Vancouver Canucks, “the most arrogant team I played against and the most hated team I’ve ever played against,” over the course of his 22-year career. It’s easy for a guy like Recchi to say something like that—he’s made his mark on the league and he’s busy riding into the sunset. But what do some of the current players think about those comments? Are there others that think the Canucks are “arrogant” and “hated?”

It’s tough to know what everyone thinks—but there are some guys on the San Jose Sharks that agreed with his comments.

Sharks power forward responded to questions about Recchi’s comments in anticipation of the Canucks visiting San Jose on Saturday night. “They’ve got certain guys, and they have [Maxim] Lapierre there who is known for that,” the tough Clowe shared to CSN Bay Area. “He’s known to run his mouth and play that sort of game. He doesn’t really like backing that up. You have [Ryan] Kesler and [Alex] Burrows who used to do that a little bit more. Apparently the last year, and last couple of years, they’ve tried to not talk as much and just play.”

So not only did Clowe say that Lapierre is hated, but he challenged his manhood by saying he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t back it up on the ice. Is there a bigger insult to a fellow NHL player?

Rugged teammate Douglas Murray agreed with Clowe’s assertion that it’s only a few guys on the Canucks. When asked if he disagreed with Recchi’s public comments, Murray was clear in his response: “No. No. I don’t think so… it’s not the whole team. It’s certain individuals that give them that reputation. I’m not going to call out names. It’s obvious for anyone that watches the game.”

Yeah, tomorrow night is going to be fun.

Let’s throw this out to the readers for some conversation. Do you think the Canucks are the most “arrogant” or the most “hated” team in the league? The comment section awaits. Go!

Ducks find another way to lose, Hawks with comeback victory

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks

It looked like the Ducks were about to reach the end of the seemingly bottomless pit that has been the recent rough stretch of games. Going into Friday afternoon’s game, the Ducks had only won two of their last 16 games. But all that looked like it was going to change on Friday. Anaheim started the game with two of their best periods of the season. After the first two periods, the offensively challenged Ducks were leading 4-2 with only 20 minutes left.

Then game the third period.  By the time the dust settled, the Blackhawks were skating away with a 6-5 victory and the Ducks were left wondering “what happened?”

It’ only took 1:23 for the Blackhawks to tie the score at 4-4. Then Patrick Sharp scored his third goal of the game for this second career hat trick leading Randy Carlyle to pull Jonas Hiller. The next scene in the nightmare third period was Jonathan Toews scoring his second goal and fifth point of the game to increase the lead to 6-4. You know there’s a lot of scoring with a guy scores a career-high five points and he’s only the third star of the game.

The Ducks finally scored answered with goal in the final seconds, but it was too little too late for the team that desperately could have used a win today. They only have one win in their last 9 games (1-7-1) and only two wins in their last 17 games (2-11-4). A quick look at the standings shows that they are only three points ahead of the hapless Columbus Blue Jackets for last place in the Western Conference.

It’s hard to believe this is the same team that started the season 4-1-0.

Adjustment bureau: Vokoun learns to play with more rest

Phoenix Coyotes v Washington Capitals

It sounds like it should be an easier life for Tomas Vokoun. He’s starting fewer games in his first season with the Washington Capitals. He’s seeing fewer shots in the games in appears in for the Caps. Less games and less shots sounds like it should make for the easiest campaign in Vokoun’s career, right?

Vokoun talked to Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington about the lighter workload this season. “It’s a little adjustment for me,” the veteran netminder said. “For the past 10 years I’ve been used to playing 65-plus games… Saying that, maybe it’s a good thing. I’m going on 36 (years old) and maybe I can focus more on the games and you don’t get as mentally tired.”

He’s shown over his first fifteen starts that he should be able to seamlessly make the transition. He is tied for fourth in the league with 10 wins already despite the talented Michal Neuvirth waiting in the wings. But if you ask the Caps (and Vokoun), Vokoun’s workload is only going to decrease as the season progresses.

The goaltending coach in Washington says that the adjustment isn’t so much the amount of starts this season, it’s the amount of shots that the Czech netminder sees in each appearance. In Florida and Nashville, he’d see plenty of action from the minute he stepped on the ice until the final horn. With the Caps possess-style game, Vokoun can expect to see fewer shots against on an average night. Unfortunately, when the opponent gets a shot on goal, it’s oftentimes a high quality scoring chance. Fewer shots on goal and a lot of Grade A scoring chances is not a great combination for a goaltender’s statistics.

But like any elite team, the only goaltending statistic that truly matters is wins. If he can come up with timely saves show up when the Caps need to lean on him, they’ll be happy with his performance—not matter what the statistics say.

So far, so good.

Bruins prove they can do it all during 10-game winning streak

Boston Bruins v Buffalo Sabres

Remember when the Bruins lost back-to-back games against the Canadiens a few weeks ago? Well, that was the last time the Bruins lost and those games were played in October. It’s almost December. Sounds like a pretty good November, doesn’t it?

When the ten-game winning streak started, the Bruins were at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and were hanging out with teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Winnipeg Jets near the bottom of the NHL standings. Now? Now they’re in first place in the Northeast Division and only a two points away from the top spot in the Eastern Conference—with two games in hand.

Wednesday night’s 4-3 shootout win against the Buffalo Sabres was just the latest victory in a streak that has featured all flavors of triumphs. They showed they could take an opponent’s best punch early in the game, defend themselves when needed, and still come out ahead on the scoreboard.  Just last game they went on the road and won a hard-fought, 1-0 game against their archrivals in Montreal. The game before, they blew the Islanders out of the water with a 6-0 win. Before that, they proved against the Blue Jackets they could pull out a win even when they didn’t bring their best game.

Tonight, they proved they could withstand an early charge and come from behind to win.

They’ve shown they win high-scoring affairs by averaging 4.50 goals per game over the stretch. They’ve shown they can win tight checking games by only giving up 1.7 goals per game during the winning streak. They have three shutouts and another game that they only gave up a single goal. All that adds up to the best goal differential in the league.

What does that mean? It means the Bruins aren’t just winning—they’re dominating.

Up next for the defending champs is a date with the Detroit Red Wings in the Thanksgiving Showdown on Friday afternoon. Will they be able to continue their winning ways against the talented (if not inconsistent) Red Wings? We’ll find out on Black Friday—but I’m not about to bet against them.