Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Paul Kariya Is Hanging Up The Skates And Retiring

Seven-time all star Paul Kariya has called it a career and retired. Kariya played 989 games through out his 15 year career in the NHL where he grabbed 989 points with 402 goals and 587 assists, however did not play last season due to a concussion. 

Kariya released this statement, "Today, I announce my retirement from professional hockey. I would like to thank all of those who have been part of so many great memories -- my teammates, coaches, team management and staff. I am also very grateful for the support I have received over the years from the fans, especially those in Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville, and St. Louis. It was my dream to be a professional hockey player in the NHL from my minor hockey days in North Vancouver and Burnaby, through junior hockey in Penticton, college hockey at the University of Maine, and the Canadian National Team. I would not have achieved it without support from all of these people and organizations."

Kariya was drafted fourth overall by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the 1993 Entry Draft and came within one win of the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2003. Kariya then moved to Nashville for two seasons and spent his last three seasons with the St. Louis Blues where he scored his 400th goal.

He had two 100 point seasons, and six 80 point seasons, the last in '05-'06. Below are some of the marks Kariya has left on the league.

One of the biggest moments of his career came in game 6 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals where Kariya was knocked out cold by New Jersey Captain Scott Stevens but returned later in the game and riffled a rocket past Martin Brodeur.

Kariya's speed was very rarely matched by anyone in the NHL.

Try to look past the hideous jerseys in this next clip and enjoy the wrist shot from the young Paul Kariya.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kings Acquire Mike Richards From The Flyers

In a pre-draft trade, the Los Angeles Kings have acquired Flyers captain Mike Richards from Philadelphia, in return the Flyers picked up winger Wayne Simmonds and much sought after prospect Brayden Schenn along with a second round draft pick in the 2012 draft. 

Richards comes to the Kings with the remainder of a 12 year 69 million dollar contract extension that he signed in 2007. The Flyers pick up a less experienced Simmonds who has only been in the league for three years, while freeing up a significant amount of money, Simmonds made $525,000 last season. While bouncing around the AHL and WHL for the majority of last season, Schenn only played 8 games with the Kings acquiring only two assists, but has a lot of hype surrounding him after his dominating performance in last years International Ice Hockey Federation's World Junior Championships. 

In Richards, 26, the Kings pick up a seasoned veteran, who was drafted in the first round (24th overall) and was captain of the Flyers for the last three seasons. Over the course of his six seasons with the Flyers Richards recorded 349 points (133-216=349), while appearing in 453 regular season games. In 63 playoff games he added 50 points (16-34=50).

Simmonds, 22, was selected by the Kings in the 2007 draft in the sixth round (61st overall), played the last three seasons with the Kings grabbing 93 points (39-54=93) with 264 penalty minutes in 240 regular season games. Simmonds also played in every Kings playoff game during the last two seasons.

Schenn, 19, has only played nine games with the Kings over the last two seasons, and was selected in the first round (5th overall) in the 2009 draft. 

The Kings are losing a fan favorite in Simmonds, and perhaps the next big star in Schenn but have gained a lot of grit and leadership in Richards. Not to mention the playoff experience, Richards came just two games away from winning the Stanley Cup with the Flyers two seasons ago.

Watch for Richards to make an immediate impact both on the ice and in the locker room for the Kings.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Boston Bruins Know How To Party

While the citizens of Vancouver, British Columbia were participating in some good 'ol upset sports fan rioting, the Boston Bruins were in the visitor's locker room back at Rogers Arena celebrating their Stanley Cup win, and celebrating hard.

Coming from Boston, a town well known for its bar scene, the Bruins did not disappoint, celebrating their first Stanley cup in nearly 40 years with champagne showers, Cuban cigars, and smiles all around.

Below is Boston defense man Johnny Boychuk using his mouth to open a twist off bottle of Bud Light, and then pouring into the Stanley Cup which was already full of champagne. The lucky recipient of that shower of alcoholic beverage, Vancouver native Milan Lucic.

Ahh Stanley you bring out the inner party animal in everyone, even the very large party animal in 6'9" Zdeno Chara, who was handing out champagne showers like candy, just ask Andrew Ference (see below).

Both the Boston Bruins and the city of Boston will enjoy every second of this tittle, starting on Saturday when the city hosts their championship parade. On the other hand, they don't have too long to bask in the glory the 2011-2012 NHL season is just 109 days away.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Boston Bruins Win The Stanley Cup, Tim Thomas MVP

Boston Bruins fans have been waiting since 1972, but can once again call their team Stanley Cup Champions. The Bruins broke their 39 year drought beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, earning the right to etch their name on the Stanley Cup along with hockey legends, past and present.

The Bruins were anchored by another strong defensive performance by goaltender Tim Thomas and defensive core, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. Thomas posted his fifth shutout of the playoffs, two of which came during the finals turning away all 37 shots he faced.

Tim Thomas' performance through the finals earned him the coveted Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the most valuable player through the playoffs.

Thomas and the Bruins defense shutdown the Canucks' offensive talent once again. Star twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin were virtually non existent in both game 7 and the series. The duo combined for only 5 points in the finals, 4 of which belonged to Daniel.

Boston Bruins' rookie Brad Marchand proved to spark his team from the very first puck drop being a part of 3 of the 4 Bruins goals. He was the primary assist on the games first goal, beating the Canucks to the puck after an offensive zone face-off and fed the puck to Patrice Bergeron in the slot, beating Luongo off the far post.

Both Marchand and Bergeron would find the back of the net in the second period. Marchand netted his first of the game and 10th of the playoffs after a quick rap around bouncing the puck off a flailing Luongo, while Bergeron took more of an unorthodox route to scoring his second of the night.

On the penalty kill, Bergeron took the puck off of a wild bounce around the Canucks defense man while on the break a way Bergeeron was taken down from behind and the pile crashed into Luongo, shaking the puck loose and into the net. The play was reviewed however the call on the ice proved to be the right one and the Bruins jumped ahead by three.

Marchand would put the dagger through the hearts of the Canucks when scoring an empty net goal with under  3 minutes to go in the game.

Just minutes after that empty net goal the Bruins showered the ice with their gear, crowding around Thomas in his crease, now Stanley Cup Champions.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tim Thomas and the Bruins Even Stanley Cup Finals

The Boston Bruins came into game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals hoping some of their offensive explosion from game 3 would carry over. They got just that, blanking the Vancouver Canucks and winning game 4 by a score of 4-0, evening the Stanley Cup Finals at two games a piece.

Both Stanley Cup Finalists are now just two games away from hoisting the cup.

In a battle of the goaltenders, Boston's Tim Thomas has continued his stellar play, while in the other crease Roberto Luongo has looked human the last game and a half. Thomas turned out his third shutout of the post season, saving 38 of 38 shots fired his way. Luongo on the other hand stopped only 16 of 20 shots before being replaced by Cory Schneider in the third period.

The Bruins continued their offensive onslaught of the Canucks midway through the first period when Rich Perverly got past the Canucks defense and beat Luongo on what some would say a soft five hole goal. Peverly getting the chance after Nathan Horton was injured last game leaving a spot on the first line, where Perverly flourished.

Michael Ryder and Brad Marchand found the net just two minutes apart in the second period pouncing on a struggeling Luongo. However, Perverly would net his second of the game in the third period, which would result in Luongo being pulled and replaced by Boston College alumni Schneider.

In order for the Canucks to rebound from their game 3 and 4 meltdowns they are going to need a better effort from their star players. Henrik Sedin registered his first shot of the series, yes the series, in game 4 twin brother Daniel has been equally ineffective. While Vezina candidate Luongo has looked shaky in the previous two games.

Boston on the other hand has played with a drive that can't be matched, a catalyst which may have come in the form of an injured Nathan Horton. Since the Horton hit in game 3, the Bruins have outscored the Canucks 12-1,  and outplayed them in every aspect of the game.

The Canucks and Bruins take to the ice for game 5 in Vancouver on June 6th,  where the Canucks will look to rebound from the pounding they endured over the last two games in Boston.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bruins And Canucks Get Chippy In Game 3

The Vancouver Canucks came into Boston and game 3 of their Stanley Cup Finals Series with a 2-0 lead, but were not fortunate enough to come out of game 3 with a strangle hold on the Bruins. The Boston Bruins dished out an offensive explosion winning game 3, 8-1 and making the series 2-1 in the process.

Scoring four goals in the second period and at one point in the third being up 5-0 many would expect things to get physical. However, it did not take that long for the physical presence of the series to be felt. Just over five minutes into the first period Vancouver's Aaron Rome unleashed a viscous hit on an unsuspecting Nathan Horton who would have to leave the ice on a stretcher (see below).

Things would escalate later in the game, midway through the third period, the two teams had served up 60 hits all together crashing into anything that moved on the ice. Things got to the point where Bruins' goaltender Tim Thomas wanted to get involved in the fun.

Thomas lunged out of his net hitting Canucks' forward Henrik Sedin, dropping him to the floor and braking up the play (see below).

Along with brutal hits being dished out by both player and goalie, there was plenty of after the whistle tauting going on, stemming from the game one Alex Burrows bitting incident. In game 2 Vancouver forward Maxim Lapierre taunted Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, the initial victim of the game 1 bite by swaying his hand in the face of Bergeron. Well Boston's Milan Lucic stepped up the taunting game by removing his glove and shoving it in the face of bitter Alex Burrow (see below).

Boston will look to even up the series on Wednesday when things pick back up at TD Garden. Watch for most of the physicality to carry over into game 4.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Raffi Torres And The Canucks Win Game 1 Thriller

Coming into the series many thought it would be a battle of the goalies that decided the winner of the series and game one of the Stanley Cup Finals proved just that. Raffi Torres scored the only goal of the game with 18.5 second left in the third period to give the Canucks both the 1-0 win and series lead over the Boston Bruins.

The previous 59 minutes and 42 seconds the two goaltenders were flawless stopping a combined 99 shots but the Canucks needed just one to sneak by Tim Thomas to walk away with a game one victory. Before that shot Thomas had stopped 33 of 33 shot but the 34th shot was the straw that broke the camels back.

In a game that had everything from a crushing hip check by Dan Hamhuis on Milan Lucic, to Alex Burrows bitting Patrice Bergeron's finger it was only fitting that the game ended with some late game heroics by a player most would not suspect.

With under 20 seconds to play Ryan Kessler came across the Bruins blue line and passed across to Janik Hanssen who completed the play to a streaking Raffi Torres, not known for his scoring ability, and netted the puck behind a sprawling Tim Thomas.

Torres capped off a game where both teams had plenty of golden opportunities to score, including a five on three chance for both teams, and take a lead in the game but were turned away by the opposing teams goaltender time after time. Canucks' goalie Roberto Luonog turned away 36 Bruins' shots earning him the shutout and the games number one star.

The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks will take to the ice again in game two on June 4th where the Bruins will look to rebound and even the series.