Archive for the ‘five questions’ Category

Five Questions: Couch Tarts (Sharks)

April 17, 2009

(Our pals at Couch Tarts sent a Five Questions our way for the Sharks, so even though we’re not going wall-to-wall for the BoC at CLS, we at least will have a hearty bowl of preview soup for the two teams. Make sure to follow the saucy pairing as they follow the strongest San Jose team ever.)

What will your team need to do to beat the Ducks?

Gray: Brass knuckles. Someone needs to put Pronger and Perry in their place. Also, airbags for Nabby. When Perry tries to tackle him (and he will) the airbags will shoot out protecting Nabby in a comfy, airy bubble while Perry gets knocked back into the Stone Age. I’m also in favor of anti force field spray for whichever of the two Ducks goaltenders gets the start.

Mina: The Sharks need scoring from at least their top two lines. They need to make sure they keep their special teams playing the way they have been late in the season. But most importantly, they need to score even strength. They have not scored an even strength goal in goal in almost 3 games and that needs to change in order to secure victory.

They need to match the Ducks in physicality and make sure not to take any stupid retaliation penalties. While it’s true that the Sharks are benefited from a closely called series, they need to no panic if the refs let the Ducks play their game. The Sharks are big and powerful and they can stand up to any team in the playoffs. If they don’t let the Ducks push them around and have their scorers score, the series could be short. But it won’t.
What would need to happen for the Ducks to win?

Gray: Perry sits on Nabby and deflates him. Pronger’s elbows go on a rampage and take out half the arena, including fans in attendance.

In all honesty, the Sharks need to respond to what will likely be physical play from the Ducks. No sitting back, no getting beat by a few rough hits. Hit back and keep going. Also? Score more.

Mina: The Ducks need to play their game. By physical, create space for their scorers, and hope that the refs let the players play. A free-for-all series will help the Ducks to win. Both of their goaltenders can steal a series and the Ducks need that too. Even though they look different from the Cup winning team, they aren’t a long way off from that group. If they get scoring from all lines and keep the Sharks on the ice with physical play, they and their goaltenders can steal the series from the Sharks.

Fan Favorite

Gray: Sharks fans have so many people to choose from. From the loveable brick wall that is Douglas Murray, the ever puzzled and slightly worried Captain Patrick Marleau, to the awesomeness that is Seto. Not to mention JR, who has settled in well here and has a huge fan base in SJ. Shelley and his can of beans perhaps?

Can I say everyone?

I’d love to highlight some of our rookies, but I’m not sure which of the woo-sta Sharks will be seeing playing time. (Go McGinn!)

Mina: The Sharks fans love themselves some JR big time. Since arriving with the Sharks last season, he has been an injection of pride and passion into the team. Plus having a guy who has so much fun with every game gets the fans excited. I love myself some Doug(las) Murray and owe him $1 for every big hit that he gives (a promise that I made last year). But I have made no secret I would love to see Torrey Mitchell get into the game sometime during the playoffs. He is my favorite and the favorite of many of the ahem..younger girls. (I would rather see the Sharks win than see Torrey play though.)

Your team’s Goat-to-Be:

Gray: I think most people would choose Semenov, since he’s been the fans favorite whipping boy all season. But I feel kinda bad for the guy so, I’m going to say Semenov’s beard instead. His beard is an independent entity. It will take an important 2 minute penalty and cost the Sharks a goal.

Mina: Despite improved play from both of them, both Alexei Semenov and Christian Ehrhoff look ripe for goat hood. Semenov has had his issues: the glove of doom, being a teal traffic cone, and just all around looking like he doesn’t belong. But somewhere in the middle of the year, the Russian Bear really picked up his game has and has had some impressive moments. But the moment he takes a stupid and costly penalty, the fans will forget all that good work and remember the old Alexei.

And despite a career year (8G 34A), Christian has an amazing and terrible shot. Sometimes it hits the net, the goalie, or even goes in, but more often it goes somewhere miles from the net. If he continues to shoot wildly, he may hear some boo birds.
Top storyline:

Gray: The brutality that will be shown in this series. If the brawl at the end of the last regular season match-up between these two teams is any indication, this is going to be an MMA style match up.

Mina: Can the Sharks show the promise that they showed during the regular season and dispatch the Ducks in a manner befitting of the President’s Trophy winner? (In all honesty, I expect this series to go at least 6 or 7 as the Ducks aren’t really a typical 8 seed.)

Five Questions: Girl with a Puck (Ducks)

April 16, 2009

(Although we’ve decided to leave the San Jose – Anaheim blogging to the experts [see the Anaheim vs. San Jose tab on the right … also, if you have a San Jose/Anaheim blog that you feel deserves representation e-mail me at], we DO have a Five Questions post from one of our favorite Anaheim bloggers, Christy from Girl with a Puck. Christy is one of the many talented female bloggers in the hockey blogosphere, so make sure you check her stuff out. I mean, she carries a puck in her purse! If that isn’t commitment, then what is?)

1. What will your team need to do to beat the San Jose Sharks?
Um, win. No, seriously. WIN. Anaheim only nabbed two wins out of the six showdowns we had with San Jose this year. In two of those four losses, San Jose successfully shut down all offensive attempts and shut us out. We’re gonna need all our boys taking every possible shot and really working to get that puck past Nabokov. The series, if the year was any indication, will be a pretty physical one and since Anaheim’s never been a team to take bullying all to lightly, they’ll need to be aware of their tempers and reactions. By no means do I mean to say that the Ducks ought to settle back into some kind of comfy zone. No. In fact, I want them to crash and bang bodies all over the Shark Tank… I just want them to do it without elbowing someone in the head, slashing someone’s face, or taking a penalty pile-up and migrating the bench to the box. They’ll have to be physical without being stupid, and they’ll definitely need to find a way to get past Evgeni Nabokov. Oh, and they need to keep that puck off the stick of Jonathan Cheechoo and Big Joe Thornton. I’d be wary of Michalek too.

2. What would need to happen for San Jose to win?
If San Jose shuts down Anaheim’s offense, we’re done-for. Or, if Anaheim’s netminder (whoever gets the nod) collapses in net, we’re totally screwed. San Jose doesn’t seem to have a problem getting past the first round, but going deeper than that has historically proven to be very daunting for them. The last time San Jose lost in the first round was 2001 to St. Louis. For Anaheim, the first round early exit is still a fresh memory from last season when the defending Cup champions were unceremoniously given the boot by the Dallas Stars. San Jose may need to get down and dirty to dominate Anaheim before they can swim away from this first round, but like Gatorade asks, “Is it in you?” No, Sharkies, I think not.

3. Fan Favorite
The Ducks are pretty packed with fan favorites, beginning with the flashy, cheeky Fin Teemu Selanne and spanning the bench to the big-hearted brawler with a brain-behind-the-‘Stache, George Parros. You can’t discount the fandom power of fearless leader Scott Niedermayer, who gets the job done one way or another, or fever-pitch fan-love for all things Bobby Ryan who’s just about usurped the place of Ryan Getzlaf in the hearts of teenyboppers everywhere. (Hey, it sort of helps that B-Ry’s got hair and Getzy’s got that glaring bald spot working against him.) Perhaps a personal playoff fan favorite would be Francois Beauchemin, who’s been missing much of this season with a torn ACL, but came back to play in the home closer in front of a crowd that cheered his every stride on the ice! Beauch is a big boomer who’s past playoff performance nicknames include “Boom Boom” and “Rocky” thanks to instrumental huge hits he’d punish the opposing team with, not to mention that fantastic house-rocking fight he had with Jarome Iginla that is still considered a pivotal turning point in the series — and perhaps, even the fate — of Anaheim’s 2006 run.

4. Your team’s Goat-to-Be
This is probably going to sound ridiculous, but I don’t have a goat-to-be anymore. In fact, perhaps the only person I am nervous about when they touch the puck are the netminders. Why? Because there have been a number of blunders behind the net when a goalie is trying to handle the puck — or even when a netminder makes a decision to play the puck and it ends up backfiring. The playoffs sometimes have what seems like an inordinate amount of odd bounces, strange goals, and goalie miscues or misplays. I shudder each time I think about a goaltender doing anything else except stopping the puck! How many times have I seen a goalie accidentally pass off the puck to an opposing forward who then scores on a defenseless net? How many times have I seen a goaltender get caught out of position when he was just trying to clear the puck from behind the net? No, no, no… that’s the stuff of nightmares, my friend.

5. Top storyline
The San Jose-Anaheim showdown will be the first time ever that these teams have battled against one another in the post-season. Why is that a big story? Well, none of the three California teams have ever squared off with one another, and the last true Battle of California happened with a team I never knew existed. The Oakland Seals played the Los Angeles Kings in 1969, back when the Kings were, you know, kind of good. And I wasn’t even born yet, so it’s like it never happened — at least in Finny-land. Nevermind that this is the #1 team in the league vs. the #8 Western seed, these teams already have an established division rivalry going for them. Playoffs will only deepen the despise each teem feels for the other, and fuel fueds between the fans. For once, California hockey might get a little raucous as each fandom wages its own private war against each other in one another’s respective arena — surely since the teams are separated by a mere 6-hour-drive, there are bound to be fans of each team present in both arenas. This one is bound to be physical and for the passionate fans residing in sunny California, it just might cross over into personal. May the better fandom and team (ahem, ANAHEIM) win!

Five Questions: Detroit vs. Columbus

April 16, 2009

Everyone, welcome Joe, our Columbus-Detroit blog editor. You might know him as “IAMJoe,” a frequent and quality commenter at Battle of California and Mirtle’s From the Rink. He wrote a 5 Questions post from the Red Wings perspective. Here’s a slice of it:

“Detroit has a rich history, but part of that history over the last several years is walking a goalie out in front of a firing squad, when his defense may be more to blame for a playoff loss than he is. This was the case with Curtis Joseph in 2003, and with Manny Legace in 2006. Both goalies may not have played their absolute best (though CuJo did better than Legace, I think), but the problem was more to do with the Wings complete inability to score goals, combined with allowing opponents to own the front of their own net.”

If his posts and comments are any indication, running the mini-blog might bring Joe into the vortex of full-on hockey blogging. It’s a disease, Joe, but it’s one that might end up being as fun as anything you’ve ever done. Well, almost anything.

Five Questions: Chicago vs. Calgary

April 16, 2009

Some really great stuff for the Flames vs. the Blackhawks at the satellite blog.

For the Flames, we enlisted our tenured scholar of Calgary, Kent of Five Hole Fanatics and Matchsticks and Gasoline fame. He provided us with yet another great contribution. Here’s a bite:

“The organization spent a lot of money this season and expectations were elevated by the club’s high budget and relatively good results in the middle of the year. If Calgary once again flames out in the first round, there’s going to be a lot of hard questions asked and I’d guess at least one head is going to roll.”

Once again, the Blackhawks bloggers gave us not one, but TWO great contributions. The first comes from Clare from All Hawks – who, by the way – might just edit our Calgary/Chicago mini-blog. Check out this excerpt:

“The Blackhawks web crew has really out-done themselves this year, and Burish has been a main part in many of the videos on the website. Between the Prankster Parts 1, 2 and 3 and the Ladies Man video it is hard to miss Burish. He can always provide a laugh and his overall likeability is what make him so endearing to Hawks fans.”

Finally, our buddy CT from Hockeenight wrote his responses, too. We had an absolute ball sharing our reflections on the Hawks (but more so on man boobs) with CT and forklift during the Hockee Night podcast if you haven’t heard it yet. Here’s a piece of CT’s post:

“For some reason, Joel Quenneville has got it into his head that journeyman defenseman Matt Walker is a top 4 guy. He’s been playing big minutes this season, often while paired with Brian Campbell, and he’s awful. His only tangible asset is his size, but he’s too slow to catch anybody and hit them. He’s pretty bad covering in his own zone, and even worse, as of late he’s gotten it in his head that he’s Phil Housely, making crazy cross ice passes to no one in particular.”

Just a great trio of posts. Read them all here.

Five questions: Boston vs. Montreal

April 16, 2009

To kick off our satellite blogs in style, we enlisted some of our favorite team bloggers to answer five questions about their teams (and the series ahead).

For the Boston Bruins, we “outsourced” to our OG contributor Stanley Cup of Chowder. Here’s an excerpt of his post:

“Bashing Manny Fernandez has become Boston’s new favorite pastime. It seems like years ago that I wrote “The New England Hockey scene hasn’t seen a goaltending tandem like this since Bob and Walt Tenor” in my Cycle Like the Sedins Hockey Orphan post. Chances are that Manny will not see any ice time in this series unless god forbid Thomas gets hurt (knock on wood). If Fernandez does play, he could easily be the goat.

This is Boston, so anyone is eligible to be the goat. The slightest miscue could label you as a goat for the rest of your life. Just ask Bill Buckner or Glen Wesley.”

You can read the full post on our Boston-Montreal satellite site.

As for the Montreal Canadiens, we asked Four Habs Fans to offer another contribution and they didn’t disappoint:

2. What would need to happen for the Bruins to win?
The sun to come up

Here’s a link to the full offering from Four Habs Fans.

More series previews to come …

Five Questions: St. Louis vs. Vancouver

April 15, 2009

OK, so here’s the last preview of Wednesday:

Thanks a bunch to Laura, who came through with the St. Louis Blues angle once again.

Let the games begin … in about 45 minutes.

Five Questions: New York vs. Washington

April 15, 2009

Scotty Hockey and Rob Yunich were cool enough to take part in our Five Questions series.

You can read both missives at our Rangers/Capitals mini-blog.

Go ahead and click won’t ya? You wont be any smarter after reading it but we promise you wont be any dumber either*

*offer void if post is read off of a computer screen

Five Questions: Pittsburgh v Philadelphia

April 15, 2009

To kick off our satellite blogs in style, we enlisted some of our favorite team bloggers to answer five questions about their teams (and the series ahead).

While we weren’t able to get/are still waiting on a Flyers contribution, Frank D from Pensburgh gave us the Pittsburgh side of the coin. Check out this selected passage:

“In all honesty the Pens need to stay strong on the PP and not allow guys like Mike Richards to pester them when THEY have the man advantage. He is dangerous on the PK and needs to be contained and/or avoided all together. Pitt also can’t afford to take stupid penalties that in turn allows Philly to put their PP out there. Way too many guns in the Philly lineup.”

Our take on the Battle of Pennsylvania.

Five Questions: Carolina vs. New Jersey

April 15, 2009

To kick off our satellite blogs in style, we enlisted some of our favorite team bloggers to answer five questions about their teams (and the series ahead).

Ashley from The Life and Times of a Caniac supplied a nice Carolina Hurricanes preview. Here’s an excerpt:

“Probably the top storyline is the master-padawan struggle between Cam Ward and Martin Brodeur. In the last playoff series, there was a lot of hype about the rookie Ward facing his childhood idol. Does this chapter end the same way? Or does Brodeur show that he’s still got the skills to pay the bills?”

John Fischer from In Lou We Trust came through with an in-depth look at Canes-Devils from a New Jersey perspective. Here’s a sample:

“Even if Carolina does respond, the Devils will have still the confidence to regain or re-take the lead. With two lines (Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner, Elias-Zubrus-Gionta) capable of giving the opposition defense a lot to handle, along with some chipped-in efforts from a third line (usually whoever David Clarkson is with), New Jersey usually makes a lot possible. They just need to close the deal more often – be it in even strength, shorthanded, or on the power play.”

Click here to jump to the New Jersey vs. Carolina mini-blog.