Saturday, May 19, 2012
The opening game of the 2012 Memorial Cup pitted two sides that were likely very happy to be facing off against each other to kick off this year's tournament. The Shawinigan Cataractes were coming off a month long layoff and were probably thrilled at having the opportunity of facing a weary Edmonton Oil Kings side in their opening match. On the flip side, the Oil Kings were likely more then alright with facing the Cataractes in their opener and allowing themselves time to adjust to their surroundings before taking on the London Knights and Saint John Sea Dogs in their final two games.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Whenever Team Canada takes part in any sort of international hockey tournament, they are always expected to compete for a gold medal. Having said that, the World Hockey Championships is one tournament that they typically struggle to win. Despite winning only four times since 1994, Canada is still looked upon as being one of the favourites to take top spot in this yearly event. After going 6-0-1 in the preliminary round, Canada was bounced by Slovakia in quarterfinals and forced to leave the World Championships empty handed, yet again.
With the Edmonton Oilers making it official, that they would not be bringing back head coach Tom Renney for another season behind the bench, the time for speculating whom the organization could or should bring in as the next head coach is upon us. While the name mentioned most often in recent weeks has been former Calgary Flames head coach Brent Sutter, he is far from a slam dunk to being Renney's replacement. Moving forward, it is essential that this franchise goes out and not only finds the right man for the job but ensure he is someone who is willing to coach a certain style. The Dave Tippett's of the world is not what this team needs. In fact, they need the complete opposite.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Like most people, I am finding it rather difficult to watch the last two rounds of the NHL playoffs. The hockey isn't great and a lot of nights it is frankly boring to watch. Many have attributed the lack of excitement and scoring chances to teams willing to do anything to block shots. While that does play a part, it is a very small one at best. Teams have always blocked shots like mad come playoff time and they always will...it is the nature of the sport. Blaming the lack of scoring chances on guys that are willing to sacrifice their bodies for their team is not only the easy way out but it is also completely off base. That being said, there is reason for concern with the current state of the game and two glaring reasons as to why these playoffs have reached the point they have...first round upsets and poor on ice officiating. It's that simple.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Every year it's the same song and dance at the World Hockey Championships. Once the tournament gets going, everyone is simply waiting for the nothing games to come to an end so the elimination round can get underway. One can only bare to watch the likes of Kazakhstan and France get thumped by Team Canada and the other top nations in the world. Thankfully, these match-ups finally came to an end for Canada on Tuesday morning with a 5-1 win over Belarus. Ryan O'Reilly led the scoring parade with a pair of goals and Duncan Keith picked up to more assists, making him Canada's top point man with eleven points in seven games. The victory means Canada finishes atop Group H with a 6-0-1 record in the preliminary round but still have to wait and see who their quarterfinal opponent will be. They could still potentially face any of Slovakia, Finland or Team USA in their final eight matchup on Thursday.
Monday, May 14, 2012
When one looks at the Edmonton Oilers current roster, you see a collection of elite level talent that has some glaring weaknesses around them. While the organization still has a fair bit of "tweaking" to do before they are ready to compete with the better teams in the league over an eighty-two game schedule, they do have two glaring needs that must be addressed. Those being a top flight NHL defenceman to add to their backend and a young second line centre with size and skill that would compliment Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Back in 2007-2008 the Edmonton Oil Kings were re-born, as junior hockey returned to the City of Champions. Fast forward five years and those same Oil Kings are now Western Hockey League champions, after defeating the Portland Winterhawks 4-1 in Game Seven of their classic WHL series. Ironically, when the original Edmonton Oil Kings left town back in 1976 they relocated to Portland, Oregon and became the Winterhawks. The win puts Edmonton into the 2012 Memorial Cup, that kicks off on May 18th in Shawinigan.