Archive for the ‘Chris Pronger’ Category

Re-Draft Steals: Round 1

August 4, 2009


With the fourth round underway, it seems like there is enough separation to have a little fun with the CLS League Re-Draft.

To revive your memories of the first round, there were some big surprises amid the expected decisions.

Obviously, the biggest surprise was most likely Cassie‘s pick of Henrik Lundqvist at #3. It wasn’t the only pick that defied expectations, however, so there were some top-end players going toward the end of the first round.

Calling Evgeni Malkin (#4), Nicklas Lidstrom (#6) or Pavel Datsyuk (#7) steals might be a bit much, even if they were great picks. So for the sake of argument, we’ll go into the teens before we consider anyone a true “steal.” Feel free to vote and comment on whom you think ended up being the Hamburglar of the first round.

It’s not crazy to call Geno a steal at #4

11. Roberto Luongo

Perhaps it wasn’t a banner season for Bobby Lou after he faced a tough mid-season injury and fell victim to a Patrick Kane hat trick in the playoffs, but it’s still surprising that he was not the first goaltender taken.

16. Jarome Iginla

It’s been a while since Iginla powered the Calgary Flames to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, but he hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down as one of the premier power forwards in the game. He does everything you’d want, from scoring to fighting to being a charismatic leader.

19. Martin Brodeur

His stock is sliding a bit, but Brodeur is still one of the biggest names in the NHL. He’s won Stanley Cups, Vezina trophies, gold medals and oh yeah, the most games of any netminder ever. Couple that with a reasonable cap hit ($5.2 million) and what was a staggering workhorse streak before the 2008-9 season and he has to at least be considered a steal.

23. Chris Pronger

Pronger might be the most hated player in the NHL, considering that he poses a far more legitimate threat than Sean Avery‘s mouth. But for my money, if I want to win a Cup next year I’d either go with Pronger. He might not be as cerebral as Lidstrom, but that doesn’t mean he cannot think the game. He might not be as large as Zdeno Chara, but he makes up for their small size difference with an indifference for human life. Oh, and he’s also a helluva powerplay quarterback to boot.

25. Joe Thornton

Yes, he gets a lot of crap for his playoff chokings (whether that perception is fair or not) but Jumbo Joe is a guy who’s made millionaires out of solid forwards ever since he got comfortable in the league. He’s huge, awesome in video games and puts up huge numbers every year. In my book, he’s easily a top-15 player.

26. Henrik Zetterberg

Zetterberg can do it all. He’s one of the league’s best two-way players, can shift between center and LW with ease and score tons of points. His durability can be a bit of a concern, but other than that he’s a guy who has no business dropping to the later part of the first round.

Which player was the steal of the first round?(opinion)

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With the 23rd Overall Pick, the San Jose Sharks select….

July 27, 2009

Captain Elbows to the San Jose Sharks by Jason at Fear the Fin.

A still image from the unreleased Chris Pronger sex tape.

Cap Hit: $6,250,000

Is the Atlantic now the best division in the NHL?

June 29, 2009

So, with the draft behind us and our free agency coverage ready to begin tomorrow, we don’t have much time for general NHL meandering. But with the mammoth Chris Pronger trade and John Tavares going to the New York Islanders, we couldn’t help but wonder:

Is the Atlantic Division now primed to become the best division in the entire league?

Let’s look at the “Pros” for such an argument.

1. Everything the Penguins bring to the table

It never hurts to have the reigning Stanley Cup champions in your division, especially since they’re obviously not a flash in the pan after going to two SCFs in a row. They might not always be great in the regular season, but it’s hard to deny their heart, hustle and talent.

2. All kinds of elite talent, most of it young

Pronger gives this division the one thing it truly lacked: an elite defenseman (with all due respect to Sergei Gonchar). Pittsburgh features two of the three best forwards in the league. New Jersey saw Zach Parise jump to an elite level and also employs a goalie with more wins than any in NHL history.

Along with Parise and Pittsburgh’s dynamic duo, the Flyers have Mike Richards and Jeff Carter while the Islanders even landed a blue chip in Tavares.

3. Four quality teams

In addition to the Penguins, the Atlantic produced half of the Eastern Conference’s playoff representatives with the Rangers, Flyers and Devils also making it to the postseason.

4. Enigmatic, but potentially outstanding goaltending

Every Atlantic division team has a goalie who could be somewhere between above average to outstanding. Obviously, one must assume that Brodeur is still an outstanding goalie but it goes beyond that.

Henrik Lundqvist consistently puts together borderline Vezina caliber seasons. Marc Andre Fleury was erratic at times in the postseason, but a lot of people will probably remember his save on Nicklas Lidstrom a long time after they forget about some of those awful goals he allowed against the Washington Capitals.

Even the question mark goalies have potential. Sure, Ray Emery is a head case who eats bugs and potentially consumes other harmful toxins in his free time, but let’s not forget that he was often excellent in the Senators’ run to a SCF berth. Say what you want about his lifetime contract, Rick Dipietro was once the future of American goaltending and might still have a chance to be a solid franchise goalie if he can get over his injury concerns.

***

Again, this is looking at the situation before what typically changes the league the most: July 1st. Still, it’s interesting to ask: at this moment in time, did the Atlantic division leapfrog the Pacific and Central as the class of the NHL?

We’d love to hear what you think about that.

Pronger: kryptonite for the Super Wings?

April 30, 2009

Great stuff from Joe at the Detroit-Anaheim blog: taking a look at everyone’s favorite gap-toothed, elbow-throwing defenseman’s effect on the Red Wings. Make sure to check it out.

Twinsies: MLB dead ringer for the Anaheim Ducks

April 9, 2009
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The Anaheim Mighty Ducks are quite a bit like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays

1. Name Diets

Does this Mighty make me look fat?

Both Anaheim and Tampa Bay trimmed down their names to be more credible/so that ESPN would make fun of them less often. Let’s be honest, though. It wasn’t the names that made these teams a joke.

2. Mickey Mouse Organizations

The Ducks literally made good on the infamous Wayne Gretzky quote, while the Rays were a perpetual drum that MLB teams just loved to beat. (Don’t worry, Tina Turner, we’re not going to make a joke about you this time)

3. Whoa, wait, they’re GOOD?

Anaheim didn’t sneak up on us in the post-lockout era since they signed Scott Niedermayer and then benefited from the … uh, weather in Edmonton to snatch Chris Pronger. But few people saw Anaheim coming the year the Ducks (then mighty) shocked the Detroit Red Wings and came within a game of winning a Cup.

That lines up better with the Rays’ shocking run last season, a year in which Evan Longoria became more famous than his hot-ass Tony Parker banging family member (at least with one demographic, namely baseball dorks).

As if Tony Parker‘s tear-drop layups weren’t infuriating enough to begin with, he sees her naked on at least a weekly basis. Ugh, those damn Spurs.

4. Certain inexplicable factors

Both teams play in warm climates, where many potential fans would rather go to the beach, amusement parks or have sex with vapid individuals than watch these teams. Many people question the existence of the Ducks, asking how there possibly could be three professional hockey teams in California. Many people question the existence of the Rays, wondering why that team would work when the Florida Marlins struggle enough on their own.

***

So, those were the parallels, but baseball isn’t exactly our area of expertise. Any other similarities? Does Lou Pinella share some mystical kinsmanship with Mike Babcock? Let us know if there’s anything we missed.

Pronger or Niedermayer for the All-Decade Team? Sleek chimes in…

February 14, 2009

Hey, CLSers. It’s Earl Sleek, resident Duck fan at Battle of California, here to offer my thoughts on James’ All-Decade Team. Specifically, Who gets to play alongside Nick Lidstrom — Scott Niedermayer or Chris Pronger? In a lot of ways, this is really a Coke vs. Pepsi debate — no real wrong answer — but I’ll offer some perspective from a guy who’s watched a lot of them the last couple of years. Perhaps if I’m convincing enough, we can leave Nickleback Lidstrom on the sidelines (kidding, of course).


Sadly, I didn’t make this picture. Credit to Hodge from Waiting For Stanley… ages ago.
I’ve decided to do a point-counterpoint format, as I apparently like arguing with myself. SN is the Niedermayer supporter in me, and CP is the Pronger advocate.

SN: In the 2007 postseason, when the Ducks won the cup, captain Scott Niedermayer won the Conn Smythe trophy. He scored the OT-winner to eliminate the Canucks, an OT-winner to even a series with Detroit, and the biggest goal of Anaheim’s postseason — the last-minute game-tying goal in G5 against the Red Wings, which ironically enough, deflected off Nick Lidstrom’s stick. Pronger wasn’t around for G5s against the Red Wings or the Senators thanks to his elbows, but Scotty led the team to victory each time.

CP: Sure, Pronger’s elbows disqualified him from trophy consideration, but quite simply: nobody was better than Chris Pronger in the 2006 or 2007 postseasons — he arguably could have won back-to-back Conn Smythes. Sure, Niedermayer scored some big goals, but in the 2007 postseason, in all situations, Scotty was on the ice for 24 GF and 26 GA. Pronger, in all situations, was on the ice for 32 GF and 15 GA. In the Ducks’ toughest playoff series, the Red Wings didn’t score an even-strength or a power-play goal when Pronger was on the ice.

SN: Leadership matters, though — remember when Alfredsson shot a puck at Niedermayer and he did nothing? That story could have unfolded quite differently had hot-headed Pronger been the target. And that’s the other aspect to the story: while Pronger has had good results, he’s always been paired with a veteran. Scotty, on the other hand, has been shepherding first- and second-year partners around and still keeeps his head above water. He probably hasn’t played with a veteran since his days back with Ken Daneyko.

CP: Sure, leadership matters, but so does training camp. Anyways, since we know that we’re talking about being Lidstrom’s partner, let’s talk about skillset. Pronger definitely brings a nasty edge that Lidstrom lacks, and with Pronger’s booming cannon (something that Scott Niedermayer doesn’t have in the least), a Pronger-Lidstrom combination would be murder for opponents on both ends of the ice. Perhaps literally.

SN: You’re definitely right about the shooting — that’s not Scotty’s specialty at all. But mobility and puck-smarts definitely would make a Lidstrom-Niedermayer pairing a joy to watch. Niedermayer would run goal-line to goal-line, disrupting defensive coverage like crazy and letting Lidstrom anchor and orchestrate from the blue line. Defensively, they might not own the front of the net as well as Pronger would, but there’s no out-racing Scotty. And they wouldn’t take many penalties, either.

CP: That’s it. Get over here where I can stomp you.

So, I dunno. Scotty’s got more cups, Pronger’s got a Hart, I really could go either way on who really deserves it. I think what probably decides it for me is the notion of partnering with Nick Lidstrom. Certainly both candidates would make an awesome pairing with the Swedish Hockey Robot, but I think in the end I’d go with Scott Niedermayer. The two cup-winning captains would be dazzling, I have to think.

But I’m only 56% convinced. What say you, comments section?

All-Decade Team: D

January 27, 2009

The cliche “defense wins championships” especially fit the first half of the ’00s, as trap-heavy teams such as the New Jersey Devils raised the Cup and generated many Cinderella stories. But even once the lockout expired, great D were still at a premium. Although the Carolina Hurricanes managed to win the Cup without a dominant shutdown D, both the Ducks (Pronger and Niedermayer) and the Red Wings (Lidstrom and Rafalski) allocated huge chunks of cap space for top notch D.

Is there any point in even going on with a charade that Lidstrom wouldn’t get the first defensive spot? My answer is an emphatic “no” but if you feel differently (or if I left anyone out) say so in the comments.

Nicklas Lidstrom
Points: A Shitload
Awards: A fuckton
Respect: Oodles and noodles of,

With six Norris trophies, plenty of points and two Stanley Cups is there really any way to deny Lidstrom is the best defensive player of the decade? Honestly, it’s not crazy to ask if the guy is the MVP of the ’00s, period. It’s difficult to quantify Lidstrom’s immaculate abilities until you get the chance to watch the surefire Hall of Famer in person.

Just a Beautiful Hockey Mind.

Chris Pronger

401 regular season points, 69 playoff points
Four All-Star games, one First-Team All-Star, one Norris and one Hart(!) trophy. Won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim; was a huge factor in the surprise SCF run of the Edmonton Oilers

If there’s one elite D who rubs/elbows people the wrong way, it’s the man who has been known as “The Orbs” and “Stompy” during his impressive career. Right around the turn of the century, Pronger accomplished the rare feat of winning not only a Norris trophy but also an MVP trophy to boot.

Along with being one of the most intimidating D in the league, Pronger’s shown some impressive chops as a powerplay point man. Although he left Edmonton prematurely and on bad terms, his work with the Oilers proved he could take a team to the Finals without much help.

Scott Niedermayer
385 regular season points, 58 playoff points
Four All-Star teams, one Norris trophy, one Conn Smythe trophy, three First Team All-Star selections

While Scott Stevens and Pronger intimidated forwards, Niedermayer combined great defensive instincts with sublime offensive skills to collect three Stanley Cups in a dominant decade of hockey. He plays well in big game situations, hitting double digits in post-season scoring three times including an impressive 18 points in the 2002-03 Cup run with New Jersey.

Niedermayer also accomplished the rare feat of snaring a Norris trophy during Lidstrom’s reign of terror.

Brian Rafalski
401 regular season points, 74 playoff points
Two All-Star games

It’s stunning to see that Rafalski actually outscored Niedermayer in the playoffs and the regular season in this decade, but it shows just how quietly impressive the American born offensive defenseman has been. Much like Niedermayer, Rafalski earned his last Cup playing outside of New Jersey alongside a star D (in his case, Nicklas Lidstrom).

Rafalski was one of the best free agent signings of the post-lockout era and is enjoying another great season in 2008-09.

Rob Blake
408 regular season points, 43 playoff points
Five All-Star games

This year’s been a bounce-back year for Rob Blake. After struggling for a few years on some bad Los Angeles Kings teams, it looks like Blake will make at least one more significant run at adding another Stanley Cup to his resume with the Sharks. Although he’s not the dominant combination of intimidation and skill he was in the earlier part of the decade, Blake’s terrifying point shot and physical presence are still hard to top.

Honorable mentions: Wade Redden (kind of), Zdeno Chara (kind of), Dion Phaneuf (too young), Andrei Markov, Dan Boyle, Mathieu Schneider and a few who missed time with injuries.