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Thursday, April 15, 2010

OT: NHL Playoff Thread

I estimate that only 10-12 Primates care about the NHL Playoffs, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: the NBA playoffs and Pavement’s discography.

Cabbage Posted: April 15, 2010 at 03:44 PM | 1758 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Latnam's first name is Bob Lemon's middle name Posted: April 23, 2010 at 02:14 AM (#3511654)
I think it'll either be a close Preds victory (like 2-1 or 1-0) or a 4+ goal blowout by the Hawks.

Quoting myself because here at the end of the second period, I think I was right on my guess, as far as the second part goes.
   202. Langer Monk Posted: April 23, 2010 at 02:20 AM (#3511662)
I want to thank the Devils for one of the most embarrassing efforts I've seen in 25 years. Maybe now they can all get brand-new golf clubs with all that hard-earned money. And at least I don't have to waste time watching a Game 6.
   203. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: April 23, 2010 at 02:34 AM (#3511673)
Maybe it's because of the Hawks overall lackluster play recently (though they are up 3-0 tonight), but the Preds-Hawks series has been the some of the most boring hockey I've seen in these playoffs. Niemi & Rinne have been very fun to watch at times, but the pace of the games have been off, the constant marches to the penalty boxes in game 3 was entirely frustrating to watch, etc. It seems like the less-worse team will end up winning this series.
   204. Yardape Posted: April 23, 2010 at 04:05 AM (#3511707)
It seems like the less-worse team will end up winning this series.


I guess the good news is that the other top Western seeds (San Jose, Vancouver) haven`t looked so hot either.
   205. Shredder Posted: April 23, 2010 at 04:51 AM (#3511723)
I'm sure it's old hat to NHL fans at this point, but it's still pretty awesome.
I hate dressing up for Halloween, so a couple years ago, for a friend's party, I got some cheap light-up devil horns and wore my Islanders Miro Satan jersey. I've always kinda liked him, but then again, I have a pretty big soft spot for Slovakians, since half their national team has played for the Kings at some point, and Peter Stastny is my favorite player of all time.
   206. JL Posted: April 23, 2010 at 01:11 PM (#3511830)
Quoting myself because here at the end of the second period, I think I was right on my guess, as far as the second part goes.

This was the type of effort the Hawks need. Their goaltending is not going to win many games for them, so they need to score.
   207. Russ Posted: April 23, 2010 at 01:23 PM (#3511836)
The Pens game last night was exhausting. Crosby was horrible in overtime... he looked totally spent. Malkin, surprisingly, was totally awesome in OT (as was Staal). Pens have to regroup and realize that they lost because they were forced to play a horrible player in Fedotenko and they ran up against a guy having the best game of his career. Leclaire will be talking about that game the rest of his life.
   208. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 23, 2010 at 01:39 PM (#3511852)
This was the type of effort the Hawks need. Their goaltending is not going to win many games for them, so they need to score.

Eh. 2 wins, 2 shutouts. So I won't say you're wrong, but I'll just disagree. Last night was a 33 shot shutout, so it was more Niemi than a lot of his previous shutouts (ie <20 shots faced). I'll mention the ice again, since I'd say each team lost out on a goal when the puck skipped over someone's stick in front of an empty net (Sopel for the Hawks, and I forgot who for the Preds later on).

Maybe it's because of the Hawks overall lackluster play recently (though they are up 3-0 tonight), but the Preds-Hawks series has been the some of the most boring hockey I've seen in these playoffs. Niemi & Rinne have been very fun to watch at times, but the pace of the games have been off, the constant marches to the penalty boxes in game 3 was entirely frustrating to watch, etc. It seems like the less-worse team will end up winning this series.

That's the style of play the Preds want. They're clogging the neutral zone (but god help you if you call it a trap) and it's causing the Hawks to be incredibly sloppy with their passing. The Hawks outclass the Preds in talent, but the Preds have looked better coached and prepared so far. The Hawks aren't able to play their game against Nashville (and really haven't been able to all season), but they've now beaten the Predators 6 times so they've shown they can win playing the clogging game. That doesn't excuse a lot of the dumb penalties.

Another factor (and I think it was Cabbage who mentioned it) that's causing a lot of the sloppy play has been Q's musical chairs with the lines. Bickell on the top line? Kopecky on the 2nd line? Both were practically invisible last night and it's a credit to Kane/Toews/Hossa/Sharp's talent that they were still able to generate offense.
   209. Papa Squid Posted: April 23, 2010 at 02:11 PM (#3511892)
I guess the good news is that the other top Western seeds (San Jose, Vancouver) haven`t looked so hot either.


Actually, I've thought San Jose has looked pretty good against Colorado the last three games. They've dominated large stretches of games and only last night did they get results. Colorado's lucky to still be alive. I know that's the style of play they've been playing all year (had Anderson in fantasy), but it's not sustainable.

Vancouver doesn't look so hot, but I think a lot of people underestimated LA. Before the series, you could get something like 3-to-1 betting on LA. They need Luongo to be better than the .910 goalie he's been all year long. That said, if Vancouver can survive this round and Luongo gets hot, all bets are off...

Was rooting hard for the Pens last night against the Sens. Despite the loss, if they just keep what they're doing, the series is over in Ottawa.
   210. Shredder Posted: April 23, 2010 at 03:06 PM (#3511940)
Vancouver doesn't look so hot, but I think a lot of people underestimated LA.
Vancouver has been much better 5 on 5 than the Kings, and that's based on watching pretty much every minute, even though the numbers back me up on that. The Kings arguably played their best two full strength periods of the series in game four, but still couldn't score without the extra man (the third goal came 4 on 4, with a fifth skater on the ice for a delayed penalty). The PP isn't going to continue to produce at a clip above 50%, but I think they'll be better 5 on 5 for the rest of the series. They picked a pretty bad time to lose their first game in regulation after taking a lead into the third period.

I don't have a great feeling about the rest of the series, but I also think I'll get over it pretty quickly. Replace Randy Jones with Vyacheslav Voynov or Thomas Hickey next season. They'll get better in net with Quick likely to be traded and replaced by Jonathan Bernier. The core gets a year better without the team as a whole getting much older. I wouldn't be surprised to see Wayne Simmonds score 25-30 goals next season.
   211. Cabbage Posted: April 23, 2010 at 03:32 PM (#3511973)
Vancouver has been much better 5 on 5 than the Kings, and that's based on watching pretty much every minute, even though the numbers back me up on that.

Very much so, but the Kings have played hard and gotten some bounces. Playoff Hockey!

As for Chicago. I think Niemi has played very well. There was one soft goal early on, but he's been entirely solid, and certainly had an above-average game last night.

I'm convinced the Hawks will be fine if Q just calms the hell down.
   212. scotto Posted: April 23, 2010 at 03:36 PM (#3511978)
Does anyone know what games Versus is airing tonight? The website merely says NHL quarterfinal. Thanks.
   213. Backlasher Posted: April 23, 2010 at 04:20 PM (#3512016)
Versus tonight

Habs v. Caps early game; Wings v. Coyotes in the nightcap

NESN has the Bruins.
   214. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 23, 2010 at 04:27 PM (#3512027)
I don't know pro hockey well enough to decipher whey Crosby went MIA late. Malkin was all over the place. Staal broke up several Senator chances. And it was Pittsburgh still laying the hits late in the game.

But that game was a microcosm of the Penguins late in the season where they would get 10-20 more shots than the opponent but get little in return. And it's not like they just throw the puck at the net. Legit chances that don't happen.

Meanwhile, that shot to tie it late by Ottawa was a thing of beauty.
   215. Bunny Vincennes Posted: April 23, 2010 at 04:44 PM (#3512056)
Scotto,

I'll be at the Cubs/Brewers game tonight. I'd appreciate a scoring update now and then if you are watching.
   216. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: April 23, 2010 at 05:25 PM (#3512095)
   217. scotto Posted: April 23, 2010 at 05:27 PM (#3512101)
Thanks BL. Jack, I'll do what I can but don't count on me. If you can check the score at nhl.com you're likely to get the info in a timely fashion.
   218. Buddha Posted: April 23, 2010 at 05:42 PM (#3512117)
As a Red Wings fan who grew up during the Dark Ages (Pre-Stevie Y) and saw his team lose to the Hawks and Leafs over and over and over and over again, I still hate those two teams. However, there is a level of hate reserved for the Colorado Avalanche that not even the ########## of Belfour/Chelios/Larmer/Graham can touch.

Look, when you wait your whole life for your team to win the Stanley Cup, then they seemed ordained to win it, and then you see them beaten by a team fromm ####### DENVER that thinks it's God's gift to hockey when they've had a team for ONE YEAR (other than the Rockies, which left town early because of no fan support), it really gets to you.

And then watching Lemieux and Foote and Forsberg and Patty Roy talk #### sabout it for a whole year afterwards......UGH! Other than seeing Stevie hoist the Cup twice, my favorite memory in the history of the NHL was March 27, 1997, Darren McCarty pummeling Claude Lemiuex as he turtled like a little ##### on the ice, not getting thrown out of the game, then coming back onto the ice to score the winning goal in OT.

If there's a list of people who will never have to buy drinks in Detroit, it's Barry Sanders, Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Alan Trammell, Bill Laimbeer, and Darren McCarty. (Isiah used to be on the list, but now he pays half...same with Joe Dumars after this year).

As bad as the Avs get, they will always be in my pantheon of hate. Right there with Ohio State, Michigan State, and Duke. Hell, I even hate them more than the White Sox.
   219. JL Posted: April 23, 2010 at 05:42 PM (#3512118)
Eh. 2 wins, 2 shutouts. So I won't say you're wrong, but I'll just disagree.

But those shutouts came against Nashville. Not exactly an offensive power house.

Perhaps I overstated when I said the goaltending won't win any games, but it is the biggest weakness for the Hawks. I don't see that they can sit back and rely on it with any confidence.
   220. Buddha Posted: April 23, 2010 at 05:43 PM (#3512120)
Oh, and one more thing: #### Cindy Crosby.
   221. JL Posted: April 23, 2010 at 05:51 PM (#3512131)
I don't know pro hockey well enough to decipher whey Crosby went MIA late. Malkin was all over the place. Staal broke up several Senator chances. And it was Pittsburgh still laying the hits late in the game.

I have seen a couple of games from Crosby where he just seems to disappear for a large stretch and I can not figure out why it occurs. I see him skating around, even with the puck, but he is not doing anything.

But that game was a microcosm of the Penguins late in the season where they would get 10-20 more shots than the opponent but get little in return. And it's not like they just throw the puck at the net. Legit chances that don't happen.

I saw this a lot with the Wings on the 00's. Great puck possession and outshooting the other side by 20 but nothing to show for it. Some can be traced to not wanting to take the hurt (i.e., getting close in front of the net) and just sniping from the outside. The motivation to get dirty can be missing when you have just won the Cup.

Other than seeing Stevie hoist the Cup twice, my favorite memory in the history of the NHL was March 27, 1997, Darren McCarty pummeling Claude Lemiuex as he turtled like a little ##### on the ice, not getting thrown out of the game, then coming back onto the ice to score the winning goal in OT.

A beautiful day. Here is some nice footage of that event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kou0p5oI4Xk (sorry, can't get the link to work)
   222. Shredder Posted: April 23, 2010 at 06:17 PM (#3512158)
Wow. Drew Doughty: 20 years old, an Olympic gold medalist, and now a Norris Trophy finalist.
   223. Greg K Posted: April 24, 2010 at 09:54 PM (#3513190)
Hossa better hope the Hawks survive this power play
   224. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: April 24, 2010 at 10:00 PM (#3513200)
Erat better hope Nashville wins, one way or another. What a brutally poor play to center the puck leading to Chicago's rush the other way.
   225. Copronymus Posted: April 24, 2010 at 10:17 PM (#3513211)
Hossa better hope the Hawks survive this power play


Everything that happened from that point on was completely ridiculous.
   226. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: April 24, 2010 at 10:23 PM (#3513214)
The Hawks got lucky in one sense (late goal) and unlucky in another (Preds had four goals on 16 shots before the Hossa penalty). Still, it's yet another game this series where the Hawks have just not shown up for a huge stretch of minutes (period three of game one, all of game three, the third period of this game). Some of the credit certainly has to go to Nashville, but the Hawks have no shot at the Cup if they continue to play like they have. If there is a positive to take (besides somehow walking out with a W), it's that for the first 37 minutes of this game, the Hawks returned to that same puck possession & SOG domination that we saw much of the year.
   227. Greg K Posted: April 24, 2010 at 10:31 PM (#3513220)
Of all the top contenders who has played the best?

Washington, Pittsburgh, Chicago and San Jose have all looked fairly weak at times. This is why I love the NHL playoffs, no matter who seems to be a lock going in, there rarely seem to be uncompetitive series.
   228. Ryan Lind Posted: April 24, 2010 at 11:12 PM (#3513239)
Vancouver has looked excellent five-on-five. LA has stayed in the series by scoring at a ridiculous clip on the powerplay.

It stuns me how deep their forward depth is. To have a weapon like Pavol Demitra playing on your third line is just unfair.
   229. Cabbage Posted: April 26, 2010 at 03:17 PM (#3514335)
I agree, Vancouver has looked very strong.
   230. Russ Posted: April 26, 2010 at 03:42 PM (#3514358)
Washington, Pittsburgh, Chicago and San Jose have all looked fairly weak at times.


Pittsburgh has played a number of poor first periods, but they would have won in 5 games (or not needed overtime in Game 6) if Leclaire had not played completely out of his mind. The Penguins looked great overall in the series and Ottawa was always one of the teams I was most afraid of in the playoffs. Malkin has been about 500% better in the playoffs than in the regular season and Staal seems to be on the cusp of turning into a playoff monster. If Crosby, Malkin, and Staal continue to play at this level, I don't know how a team could win four games in a seven game series against the.
   231. Cabbage Posted: April 26, 2010 at 03:56 PM (#3514379)
I don't know how a team could win four games in a seven game series against the.


Marc-Andre Fleury.

If he plays like an average goaltender, they'll be fine. If he's a fraud who poops his pants? Well...
   232. Cabbage Posted: April 27, 2010 at 03:14 AM (#3515035)
This hawks game has been intense through the first 50 minutes
   233. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 27, 2010 at 02:22 PM (#3515222)
Crazy game last night for the Hawks. The Preds aren't built to play in that type of game, but I give them tons of credit for hanging around like that. That 2nd period with the Hawks having practically 10 straight minutes of PP followed by the Preds having 6 straight in the 3rd was disappointing, but predictable. I don't think any of the penalties were borderline (maybe the last hooking one on Sopel), so I'm not complaining about the officiating there. I do want to know why they killed that Hawks 2 on 1 to call too many men on the ice on the Preds. That seemed to really kill off the momentum the Hawks had. But whatever.

The Hawks/Canucks series should be fantastic. Bad blood, tons of talent, and plenty of recent history. If the team that wins escaping healthy, I'd like to predict the winner will win the Cup. I can't wait for it to get started.
   234. Cabbage Posted: April 27, 2010 at 02:29 PM (#3515232)
I'm still a bit worried about the Hawks PP. Frankly, they can suck for extended periods. I think they had what, ten minutes?, during the second period and really didn't have a lot of scoring chances. It seems like they ease up on the PP when they're leading, but maybe I'm just hallucinating.

Really great series by the Preds though. I hope they finally get a series win next year (against Detroit or something like that).

I'm really rooting for Montreal too. Just because.
   235. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: April 27, 2010 at 02:34 PM (#3515237)
Crazy game last night for the Hawks. The Preds aren't built to play in that type of game, but I give them tons of credit for hanging around like that.

The Predators totally managed to knock the 'Hawks off their game. By the end of last night's game, the 'Hawks were completely on the defensive, which is not something we saw much of during the regular season.

The 'Hawks are much more talented than the Predators, and in the end, talent won out, but I give credit to the Predators coaching for keeping it as close as it was.
   236. Gaelan Posted: April 27, 2010 at 03:01 PM (#3515266)
Pittsburgh has played a number of poor first periods, but they would have won in 5 games (or not needed overtime in Game 6) if Leclaire had not played completely out of his mind. The Penguins looked great overall in the series and Ottawa was always one of the teams I was most afraid of in the playoffs. Malkin has been about 500% better in the playoffs than in the regular season and Staal seems to be on the cusp of turning into a playoff monster. If Crosby, Malkin, and Staal continue to play at this level, I don't know how a team could win four games in a seven game series against the.


Quoted for craziness. What the Penguins are is a dirty, dirty, team. They are nowhere near the best team in the NHL.
   237. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 27, 2010 at 03:06 PM (#3515272)
I'm really rooting for Montreal too. Just because.

As a Bruins fan, tomorrow night will be the first time I have ever rooted for the Canadiens in any game against anyone.
   238. scotto Posted: April 27, 2010 at 03:35 PM (#3515302)
As a Bruins fan, tomorrow night will be the first time I have ever rooted for the Canadiens in any game against anyone.

Funny, I mentioned earlier that even though I'm a Bruins fan, I root for them. The Flyers are a team that I've historically hated, going back to the Bobby Clarke/Dave Schultz days. I'm up for a rematch.
   239. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 27, 2010 at 04:11 PM (#3515348)
I'm still a bit worried about the Hawks PP. Frankly, they can suck for extended periods. I think they had what, ten minutes?, during the second period and really didn't have a lot of scoring chances. It seems like they ease up on the PP when they're leading, but maybe I'm just hallucinating.

I feel the same way. During the 4 minute PP, it didn't seem like they had a good chance and couldn't keep the puck in the zone for more than 20 seconds. It was definitely not good coming into the playoffs, and I really didn't see a whole lot in this series to make me think they've fixed it.
   240. Russ Posted: April 27, 2010 at 04:15 PM (#3515352)
Quoted for craziness. What the Penguins are is a dirty, dirty, team. They are nowhere near the best team in the NHL.


Will the second Cup change your mind, or are you just pretty much dead set against them? The Pens aren't nearly as dirty as they were in past years. Obviously Orpik's a thug, but other than him and Malkin (when he's in a bad mood), I don't think any of the other guys are much dirtier than most players in the league.

Neil and Sutton were, by far, the dirtiest players in the series. I don't think any Penguin was even close (not even Orpik).

EDIT: And Ruutu. Whom I love, but who is probably in the Top 5 dirtiest players in the league.
   241. Russ Posted: April 27, 2010 at 04:17 PM (#3515354)
Marc-Andre Fleury.

If he plays like an average goaltender, they'll be fine. If he's a fraud who poops his pants? Well...


Fleury has been very good in the playoffs the past three years. Occasionally, he has a game where he pulls a Mariotti, but other than the odd game here or there, he has been really solid (and occasionally brilliant) in the playoffs for the Pens. During the regular season, I regularly want to throttle him. The most surprising thing about Fleury in the last series was his stickhandling... much, much improved from last year.
   242. The Original SJ Posted: April 27, 2010 at 04:23 PM (#3515360)
As a Sabres fan, I don't think they lost because of the officiating, but they sure seemed to favor the bruins side, all the way back to the Tomahawk Chop in Game 2.

Waiving the icing with 15 seconds left was just the capper.
   243. JL Posted: April 27, 2010 at 04:32 PM (#3515369)
The 'Hawks are much more talented than the Predators, and in the end, talent won out, but I give credit to the Predators coaching for keeping it as close as it was.

What are Hawks fans thoughts on Quennville? I have always thought he was outclassed, whereever he has coached (but I am a Wings fan, so readily admit I may be biased). I can't remember a time where I thought that he was the better coach, even for a game. Then again, maybe it is a sample size of when I have seen him.
   244. Jimmy P Posted: April 27, 2010 at 04:34 PM (#3515373)
Washington, Pittsburgh, Chicago and San Jose have all looked fairly weak at times.

Washington and Chicago both go into the playoffs with horrible goaltending. I think you could be looking at 2 teams with bottom 10 goaltending. It's a testament to how good the rest of those teams are that they can make up for it.

San Jose's just San Jose. That they won a first round series is a miracle unto itself.
   245. scotto Posted: April 27, 2010 at 05:00 PM (#3515407)
San Jose's just San Jose. That they won a first round series is a miracle unto itself.

If you somehow had worked Joe Thornton and fraud into that sentence, then I'd swear you were Kevin Paul Dupont.
   246. The Original SJ Posted: April 27, 2010 at 05:14 PM (#3515423)
Washington didn't lose the last two games because of terrible goaltending though, they lost because Halak was unreal. UNREAL!
   247. Cabbage Posted: April 27, 2010 at 05:24 PM (#3515436)
Fleury has been very good in the playoffs the past three years. Occasionally, he has a game where he pulls a Mariotti, but other than the odd game here or there, he has been really solid (and occasionally brilliant) in the playoffs for the Pens. During the regular season, I regularly want to throttle him. The most surprising thing about Fleury in the last series was his stickhandling... much, much improved from last year.

he was good in previous playoffs. But he's been pretty stinkin' lousy this year, and I'm not sure this whole Shaq approach is one I'd take towards goaltending.

What are Hawks fans thoughts on Quennville?

I'm nervous about him. He seems very good at building the team, prepping the players, and getting everything together. I am not sold on him as a tactician, and his in-game shennanigans worry me.

Basically, I'm afraid that he's the NHL's Marty Schottenheimer.
   248. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: April 27, 2010 at 05:25 PM (#3515439)
What are Hawks fans thoughts on Quennville?

Mopst 'Hawks fans are pretty positive about Quenneville, at least for the time being. The 'Hawks have done really well during his brief tenure as coach, and their playoff loss to the Red Wings last year was seen as inevitable (the Wings were probably the better team last year).

This year, the 'Hawks cruised through most of the season, and set franchise records in wins and points (yes, I'm aware that this is mainly because of the new overtime rules). Expectations are high - I think most 'Hawks fans are expecting the team to at least make the Western Conference Finals. If they lose to Vancouver, I think fans will start to blame Quenneville.
   249. Gaelan Posted: April 27, 2010 at 05:28 PM (#3515442)
Will the second Cup change your mind, or are you just pretty much dead set against them? The Pens aren't nearly as dirty as they were in past years. Obviously Orpik's a thug, but other than him and Malkin (when he's in a bad mood), I don't think any of the other guys are much dirtier than most players in the league.

Neil and Sutton were, by far, the dirtiest players in the series. I don't think any Penguin was even close (not even Orpik).

EDIT: And Ruutu. Whom I love, but who is probably in the Top 5 dirtiest players in the league.


How could this paragraph be written without a mention of Matt Cooke I don't know.

If Malkin plays like the best player in the world then the Penguins are as good as anyone. However I don't see why we should proceed on the assumption that Malkin is the best player in the world. The Capitals, Blackhawks, and Canucks are all clearly better than the Penguins. The Penguins are more on the same as the Red Wings and Sharks. If the Flyers didn't have so many injuries they would be clearly better than the Penguins.
   250. Jimmy P Posted: April 27, 2010 at 05:56 PM (#3515475)
Mopst 'Hawks fans are pretty positive about Quenneville, at least for the time being. The 'Hawks have done really well during his brief tenure as coach, and their playoff loss to the Red Wings last year was seen as inevitable (the Wings were probably the better team last year).

Part of it is how bad the coaching has been in Chicago prior to Q. Like every other aspect of a Bill Wirtz organization, the coaching hires were downright horrible. Lorne Mollekin?!?

If the Flyers didn't have so many injuries they would be clearly better than the Penguins.

You had me until this line (although, I'd toss the Canucks out of the 'clearly better' group). The Flyers are not better than the Pens, even when they are healthy. Even? You could make a good argument. Clearly better? No way.
   251. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: April 27, 2010 at 06:35 PM (#3515530)
Regarding the power play, I'm not as worried as you guys seem to be. Outside of the four-minute power play, I thought the Hawks looked pretty good and were unlucky not to grab another goal or two in the second period.

What worries me is the amount of penalties the Hawks are taking. Nashville only converted on one, but Vancouver will absolutely make the Hawks pay for going short-handed.

Regarding Quenneville, I don't think he's done anything noticeably good or bad as of yet. On the positive side, he took them to the conference finals last year, has handled the goaltending situations (of both seasons) reasonably well and had an excellent regular season this year. The one negative that I'd point out is -- and this was mentioned upthread -- his propensity to go to the random line generator when things aren't working. I honestly don't know why you would ever separate Kane and Toews for any extended period of time, as they are excellent together.

I guess my thoughts are that Quenneville hasn't done anything egregious one way or another. He's done well with this team, but you'd have to be a pretty bad coach to do poorly with this group. If the Hawks don't make the Finals this year the chirping will begin, and if he can't get this team a Cup in two or three years, folks will almost certainly start calling for his head.
   252. JL Posted: April 27, 2010 at 07:30 PM (#3515583)
I guess my thoughts are that Quenneville hasn't done anything egregious one way or another.

He clearly has done something well, as shown both with what he has done in Chicago, and his time in St. Louis. I know that Bowman got in his head quite a bit, so that may have colored my perceptions. I don't really dislike him, just have not been impressed in his in-game and in-series coaching. Thanks for the thoughts.
   253. Cabbage Posted: April 28, 2010 at 02:39 PM (#3516382)
I really do dislike the Red Wings.
   254. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 28, 2010 at 04:38 PM (#3516479)
I really do dislike the Red Wings.

Yep. I was really rooting for the Coyotes last night. I have no doubt they're going to take care of the Sharks. So if the Hawks are fortunate enough to squeak past the Canucks, Scum will be there waiting.
   255. JL Posted: April 28, 2010 at 06:56 PM (#3516646)
Yep. I was really rooting for the Coyotes last night. I have no doubt they're going to take care of the Sharks. So if the Hawks are fortunate enough to squeak past the Canucks, Scum will be there waiting.

If they play like they did in the second period of last nights game, there is not a team out there this year that can stop the Wings. Of course, they rarely play to that level.

I am cautiously optimistic about beating the Sharks.
   256. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 29, 2010 at 01:37 AM (#3517069)
as a Habs fan I was SHITTING BRICKS that entire third period.


wow.
   257. JustDan Posted: April 29, 2010 at 01:44 AM (#3517076)
Well, I'm totally depressed...so guess who I'm a fan of....







crap
   258. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 29, 2010 at 02:02 AM (#3517095)
Well, the Eastern Conference just opened up nice and wide for the Penguins.
   259. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: April 29, 2010 at 02:04 AM (#3517099)
I try to be a hockey fan. I'm REALLY not saying this to be a jerk, but am I the only one that finds it weird that one team can dominate another and still lose a 7 game series because of one player? I know flukes can happen in a baseball series, but I can't help but thinking it's too common in hockey. At least baseball is selective about who gets in the playoffs. Why let more than half the league in if the playoffs are such a crap shoot? Why not just have a goalie skills competition?

And I honestly would appreciate legitimate answers. I live in Michigan and would be more socially accepted at sports bars if I loved hockey.
   260. JustDan Posted: April 29, 2010 at 10:44 AM (#3517205)
Washington outshot Montreal 96-37 the last two games yet scored only two goals. Montreal had 6 goals (1 was an empty net). Plus there were numerous shots blocked by the defensemen and probably the forwards too. I know that SOG don't tell the whole story.. but this was ridiculous. I hope Halak plays like this against the Penguins.
   261. The Original SJ Posted: April 29, 2010 at 01:32 PM (#3517277)
I thought the Capitals played really well, except Green, who really cost them the series.

Ovie beat Halak 5 hole, but the puck hit the back of his leg and squirted wide. Semin hit the crossbar. It was a tremendous snakebitten situation.
   262. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 29, 2010 at 02:10 PM (#3517308)
I try to be a hockey fan. I'm REALLY not saying this to be a jerk, but am I the only one that finds it weird that one team can dominate another and still lose a 7 game series because of one player? I know flukes can happen in a baseball series, but I can't help but thinking it's too common in hockey. At least baseball is selective about who gets in the playoffs. Why let more than half the league in if the playoffs are such a crap shoot? Why not just have a goalie skills competition?

Well, there's a lot more to it than than, although that's the easy takeaway here. The Caps had the best PP in the league, but went 1 for 33 this series. And even though they peppered Halak with shots, I don't think an unusual percentage of his saves were of the extraordinary variety. Which means a couple of different things, IMO. The Caps didn't do a good job a crowding Halak and didn't get in his way. Just about every goalie in the league is going to stop most shots he can see coming the entire way. A byproduct of that also is that very few shots were redirected, and those are some of the hardest saves. A lot of the shots were from further away, I don't remember a whole lot of close looks the last couple of games. Even though the Habs didn't take a lot of shots, a high percentage of their shots were good ones. Take the 2nd goal last night. Green overskated the puck and it turned into a one on none from about 10-15 feet. A quick wrist shot, and the goalie has little chance to react. One thing I will give Halak a ton of credit for is that he doesn't give a lot of rebounds.

I can't speak to how often it seems to happen from your perspective, but I don't think it's much different that a dominating SP in baseball. If the Phillies could have started Lee every game last year in the WS, they might have won it. So while the goalie can have a huge impact, his team still has to score. Now, I'm not going to disagree that it may be too much to have half the teams in the playoffs, things like this happen. And an upset in a 7 game series is a lot harder to do that in a one game situation (NFL or NCAA), so I have no problem with the outcome here. If the Caps couldn't beat the Habs, they weren't going to win the Cup anyway.
   263. George Brett Barberie Posted: April 29, 2010 at 03:16 PM (#3517386)
Halak stopped 41 shots and the Habs as a team blocked 41 shots yesterday. Halak played well but the team was unbelievable defensively too. I thought the Caps were excellent. The notion that they choked is ridiculous. I just think the Habs adapted through the series and played them very well as a team.

One of the biggest sporting regrets of my life might turn out to be not having watched that game in Montreal...

The Pens are going to be tough. They pass and cycle the puck a lot more aggressively than the Caps. The Habs are going to have to adjust their system and it's going to be an even more challenging series.

All that said, the Canadiens are going to get their shot at the defending champs and I couldn't be happier for the opportunity.
   264. Jimmy P Posted: April 29, 2010 at 03:25 PM (#3517393)
If the Caps couldn't beat the Habs, they weren't going to win the Cup anyway.

This is true. The Blackhawks need to take warning, because they are pretty much the Western Conference version of the Caps.
   265. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: April 29, 2010 at 03:31 PM (#3517403)
And I honestly would appreciate legitimate answers. I live in Michigan and would be more socially accepted at sports bars if I loved hockey.

You need to enjoy the game for what it is, not what it's not. Watching a goalie stand on his head during the playoffs is one of the most exciting things in sports. I hate the Habs (Leafs fan) and even I ended up rooting for Halak to get it done. It's almost like watching a no-hitter in progress - everything is perched on a knife edge, you're constantly asking yourself if the guy can keep it up - except it means the difference between going on and going home.

The Habs are toast against Pittsburgh. They will exploit the Habs' lack of physicality, cycle, and get traffic to the net better than Washington did. It's no coincidence Brooks Laich was one of the 2-3 best Caps forwards in that series. But you never know...
   266. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: April 29, 2010 at 03:33 PM (#3517406)
Even though the Habs didn't take a lot of shots, a high percentage of their shots were good ones. Take the 2nd goal last night. Green overskated the puck and it turned into a one on none from about 10-15 feet.

Two other things about that goal: Max 'Gutless Puke' Lapierre did a good job pressuring Mike 'Why the hell were people crying he didn't make Team Canada again?' Green into turning it over, and Dominic Moore was wide open cause John Carlson was loafing and didn't get back on the play.
   267. Cabbage Posted: April 29, 2010 at 04:27 PM (#3517463)
Yeah I thought that 2nd goal was mostly on Carlson. If he had hustled back he'd have been in position to do something about the trailer.
   268. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: April 29, 2010 at 04:46 PM (#3517488)
The Blackhawks need to take warning, because they are pretty much the Western Conference version of the Caps.

This isn't true, is it? I don't follow the Capitals, but the knock on them seems to be that they don't bother to play defense. The Blackhawks have a very strong defense when they're hitting on all cylinders.
   269. thread killer Posted: April 29, 2010 at 04:49 PM (#3517497)
The only way the Sharks beat the Red Wings is if they keep the Wings forwards from setting up camp in front of their goal every game and if they can hypnotize Thornton and Marleau into thinking that this is still the regular season.
   270. JL Posted: April 29, 2010 at 04:57 PM (#3517507)
The Caps didn't do a good job a crowding Halak and didn't get in his way.

This. The Caps played pretty hard last night, but not tough. They were far to ready to take long shots from the point, and did not get to the net. Even average to bad goalies will stop those types of shots most of the time. The Caps need a grinder or two that will set up in front of the crease and not move.
   271. The Original SJ Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:04 PM (#3517516)
Caps also got screwed on a couple of calls. With about 7 minutes left, Carlson made a great move to get around a Canadien defender, and the Montreal defender (was it Roman? can't remember) just grabbed his stick and pulled it away from him. It was atrocious and unmissable, it happened right in front of the goal and on the puck.
   272. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:08 PM (#3517522)
The Caps need a grinder or two that will set up in front of the crease and not move.

Isn't that supposed to be Knuble and Fehr's job?
   273. Jimmy P Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:26 PM (#3517542)
I don't follow the Capitals, but the knock on them seems to be that they don't bother to play defense. The Blackhawks have a very strong defense when they're hitting on all cylinders.

Right, but they're still a team built on offense with no goaltending and their best player(s) are wingers. Also, the Hawks can be soft since a lot of their forwards play more of a finesse game and don't grind in front of the net.
   274. Jimmy P Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:30 PM (#3517548)
Isn't that supposed to be Knuble and Fehr's job?

Ideally, you'd want good players
   275. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:30 PM (#3517549)
Also, the Hawks can be soft since a lot of their forwards play more of a finesse game and don't grind in front of the net.

I was glad that they moved Dustin Byfuglien back to wing - they need someone to park in front of Luongo.

I think Antti Niemi can be a cromulent goaltender, certainly good enough to get the 'Hawks through the playoffs.

The Blackhawks have an excellent chance this year - it doesn't look like there are any world-beaters this time around.
   276. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:41 PM (#3517562)
Right, but they're still a team built on offense with no goaltending and their best player(s) are wingers.

Isn't Toews their best player? He's a C. I would say Keith and Seabrook are among their very best players too.
   277. Jimmy P Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:44 PM (#3517565)
Isn't Toews their best player? He's a C. I would say Keith and Seabrook are among their very best players too.

I would think their best player is Hossa probably followed by Kane. Keith is probably next. The offense is coming from the wings, though.

I think Antti Niemi can be a cromulent goaltender, certainly good enough to get the 'Hawks through the playoffs.

I don't know, he had some games that made the Preds look awesome. And the Preds are not a good offensive team. I'm absolutely amazed that the Hawks haven't done a damn thing for two seasons now to upgrade their goaltending.

Signing Huet was a fireable offense. Which is easily one of the reasons that Tallon was fired.
   278. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:47 PM (#3517572)
Isn't Toews their best player? He's a C.

Some would argue that Patrick Kane is their best player. He's probably their biggest threat to score a goal.

The overall criticism (that the Blackhawks are soft) has some merit. Other teams have learned that they can throw the 'Hawks off their game by being really physical, and it's resulted in some 'Hawks getting injured late in the season, as well as some pointless penalties by the 'Hawks. This is where coaching comes in, I think - they've got to figure out a way to not get beat up on the boards, the way they have been.
   279. Eddo Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:57 PM (#3517584)
Some would argue that Patrick Kane is their best player. He's probably their biggest threat to score a goal.

Kane's their best offensive player. Toews is their best two-way player. And Keith is in there, somewhere.

Hossa impresses me with his two-way play, as well, but I wouldn't put him quite on Toews's level.
   280. Gaelan Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:57 PM (#3517586)
The Capitals losing has sucked the life out of these playoffs. The Canadians victory was a fluke that can't happen again. Not only did they need the best goaltending in decades but they benefited from an egregious disallowed goal. I can't believe there is not more fuss being made about this. That call is never made.

The Penguins are now guaranteed a spot in the finals since the rest of the teams are all mediocre at best. Well the Flyers would be good if Carter and Gagne weren't hurt.

The West should still be really good but what was shaping up to be the best playoffs in years is now half a playoff. My prediction is that the Penguins win again as they defeat whatever exhausted team runs the Western gauntlet. Very disappointing.
   281. Gaelan Posted: April 29, 2010 at 05:58 PM (#3517589)
Toews is easily Chicago's best player. I don't think it is particularly close.
   282. George Brett Barberie Posted: April 29, 2010 at 06:06 PM (#3517603)
The Penguins are now guaranteed a spot in the finals


Absolutely. The Penguins are guaranteed a spot. Just like the Caps were guaranteed to sweep those useless Habs.

And if we learned anything from the first round, it was that if the Caps had been allowed just one more goal then they would have been an absolute powerhouse in the second round.

These things are absolutely guaranteed.
   283. Jimmy P Posted: April 29, 2010 at 06:14 PM (#3517617)
Hossa impresses me with his two-way play, as well, but I wouldn't put him quite on Toews's level.

I would. The only thing that Toews is clearly better than Hossa is faceoffs.
   284. Esmailyn Gonzalez Sr. Posted: April 29, 2010 at 06:18 PM (#3517622)
To me Duncan Keith is the top defenseman in the world, so I'd have to say he's Chicago's best player.
   285. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 29, 2010 at 06:19 PM (#3517625)
Jimmy, it appears that you just don't watch enough of the Hawks. I disagree with almost every single one of your posts about them today. So rather than quote and respond, I'll just say that.

Toews and Keith are definitely the 2 best players. They're not "built" on offense, they're a *great* defensive team. I didn't see the final standings, but I think they finished first in SOG allowed, which is the exact reason why they can get by with average goaltending. A lot of offense comes from the wings, but just as much from the blue line and from Toews. The best second line they've had all year has involved Sharp playing at C. In the Preds series, Niemi didn't allow many bad goals (I'd say 2 or 3 were goals that were unacceptable, which may be high for the playoffs but I don't think it's that bad), a lot of the goals were blue line lapses (or bad giveaways by the forwards trying to stick handle too much). Part of that was Campbell being out, then being rusty, and playing Buff out of position (even though he came up as a defender, he's out of place back there beyond the occasional game or two). Signing Huet 2 years ago was the damn thing they did to try and improve the goaltending, and that obviously didn't work. They didn't have any options to upgrade it last offseason or during this season, without severely damaging the other parts of the team (I think the Panthers were asking for Sharp, Versteeg, and Hjalmarsson for Vokkun just to start the discussions). Depending on what they can do with the cap (and for now, I trust the Bowmans until they prove otherwise), it might be a priority this offseason.

And I disagree that the Blackhawks are soft. And Campbell and Johnnson getting hurt are not evidence of that. They do occasionally take dumb penalties, but I disagree that the Preds (or anyone this year) through the Hawks off by being overly physical with them. The Preds forecheck did cause some bad turnovers in their own zone, but I don't think that makes them soft.
   286. Cabbage Posted: April 29, 2010 at 06:20 PM (#3517626)
Really, Gaelan? I'd say Keith. The advanced metrics (which are admittedly still in development) suggest that he was a borderline top-ten player (including goalies). As of today, I don't think Toews' offense is strong enough to say that he contributes as much as Keith.
   287. Esmailyn Gonzalez Sr. Posted: April 29, 2010 at 06:26 PM (#3517640)
Isn't that supposed to be Knuble and Fehr's job?

Ideally, you'd want good players


Good at what? Knuble, Fehr, Laich, Belanger, Scott Walker, are all guys I would love to have go stand in the crease and cause havoc. They can be good at something like that. Knuble and Fehr are both good NHL 2nd liners. Most 1st liners are 1st liners because of speed/shooting/stickhandling, none of which are important when your job is to go stand in the crease and be annoying.
   288. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: April 29, 2010 at 06:52 PM (#3517680)
I'm absolutely amazed that the Hawks haven't done a damn thing for two seasons now to upgrade their goaltending.

Well, they've put themselves in a tight spot capwise, which made it tough. I'd argue giving Niemi the starting job has upgraded their goaltending somewhat. I would have stuck Huet in the minors and tried to get a Vokoun or something, but most teams or loath to do that.
   289. JL Posted: April 29, 2010 at 07:12 PM (#3517701)
Good at what? Knuble, Fehr, Laich, Belanger, Scott Walker, are all guys I would love to have go stand in the crease and cause havoc. They can be good at something like that. Knuble and Fehr are both good NHL 2nd liners. Most 1st liners are 1st liners because of speed/shooting/stickhandling, none of which are important when your job is to go stand in the crease and be annoying.

I think Knuble and Fehr can do this for the Caps. But for whatever reason, they did not do it against the Habs. The Caps were content to snipe from the outside with little or no interference in front of the net. Halak had almost no obstructed looks at those shots.

Edit - I will slightly disagree on the first line comment. Holmstrom of Detroit, for example, is often the first line so that he obstructs the goalie's visions for the other Detroit players.
   290. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 29, 2010 at 07:23 PM (#3517715)
Well, they've put themselves in a tight spot capwise, which made it tough. I'd argue giving Niemi the starting job has upgraded their goaltending somewhat. I would have stuck Huet in the minors and tried to get a Vokoun or something, but most teams or loath to do that.

Like I said, the Panthers asked for a ton for him, something the Hawks just couldn't do this year. Maybe there's an offseason deal to be made. I don't think the Hawks would have a problem putting Huet in the minors, there just wasn't a deal out there that was a clear enough upgrade on Niemi for what it would have cost.
   291. Russ Posted: April 29, 2010 at 07:27 PM (#3517719)
But for whatever reason, they did not do it against the Habs. The Caps were content to snipe from the outside with little or no interference in front of the net. Halak had almost no obstructed looks at those shots.


For some reason, Hal Gill is able to move Caps out from in front of the net. He did it for the Penguins last year against the Caps and this year against the Habs. I get the feeling that the Caps are not really a down and dirty team... the nature of play in front of the nets drastically changes in the playoffs. Defensemen are much more physical and forwards are much better at coming in to clear people out. I think the Caps were trying to play regular season hockey and skate to space, but then they found out that there really is no space in the playoffs. Most of your offensive success is determined by what you can do in traffic and what you can do to generate traffic and the Caps did neither particularly well.

I also find that the Caps are extremely emotional when they play.... I don't know if that comes from Ovechkin or from the coach or what, but they absolutely deflated when the goal was disallowed. I told my wife right than that they would give up another goal and lose. You could tell by Ovechkin's body language that he had given up, so goes #8, so goes the Caps.
   292. Papa Squid Posted: April 29, 2010 at 07:40 PM (#3517753)
Just saw a replay of that no-goal... totally bogus call. You're right, Gaelan. Thing about the Habs is that for as long as I can remember, they've always gotten the breaks and the bounces. Just one of those things, I guess. I just shake my head. The hockey gods always smile upon them.
   293. Grunthos Posted: April 29, 2010 at 07:58 PM (#3517805)
I also find that the Caps are extremely emotional when they play

People sometimes lose track of how young the Caps are. Their *entire* talent core is 25 and younger.

Semin 25 (yes, I know he just turned 26... sticking with HRef season ages here)
Ovechkin 24
Green 24
Schultz 23
Backstrom 22
Varlamov/Neuvirth 21
Alzner 21
Carlson 20

Brooks Laich is 26. Fleischmann is 25. Fehr is 24. Boyd Gordon is 26. etc. etc. A dash of Mike Knuble here and Brendan Morrison there can't change the fact that these guys were going to overreact, blow hot and cold, do the things that less experienced players do. I thought they held up rather well, psychologically, given the pressures involved.

This seems to have been a classic "learning experience" loss. It may be bad news for other EC teams in the next couple of years, because these guys sure aren't going to be taking anything for granted the next time around.
   294. scotto Posted: April 29, 2010 at 09:06 PM (#3517927)
A lot of offense comes from the wings, but just as much from the blue line and from Toews.

I'll flaunt my ignorance here, but aren't most offenses geared towards getting goals scored from the wings, and play making from the center?

For some reason, Hal Gill is able to move Caps out from in front of the net.

When he played for the Bruins I disliked his play intensely. He seemed like a total wuss for a guy his size, never tough in front of the net and he went into the corners more daintily than a debutante at her coming out. I'm glad to see that he's more willing to muck it up.

Caveat: I'm a sucker for defense oriented defensemen, and the total power forwards like Terry O'Reilly and Cam Neely.
   295. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 29, 2010 at 09:14 PM (#3517944)
This seems to have been a classic "learning experience" loss. It may be bad news for other EC teams in the next couple of years, because these guys sure aren't going to be taking anything for granted the next time around.

Eh, this is good after the fact justification. How many years do they need learning losses? Or am I just spoiled because the even younger Hawks didn't need that last year?
   296. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 29, 2010 at 09:18 PM (#3517949)
A lot of offense comes from the wings, but just as much from the blue line and from Toews.

I'll flaunt my ignorance here, but aren't most offenses geared towards getting goals scored from the wings, and play making from the center?


Oh, can the false humility. Of course, that is my point, and so I'm not sure what exactly the original criticism means.
   297. Esmailyn Gonzalez Sr. Posted: April 29, 2010 at 09:34 PM (#3517975)
Edit - I will slightly disagree on the first line comment. Holmstrom of Detroit, for example, is often the first line so that he obstructs the goalie's visions for the other Detroit players.

No argument here. I almost made the caveat that he was the exception in my original post. He'd be a first liner even if he didn't touch the puck once all game.
   298. scotto Posted: April 29, 2010 at 10:25 PM (#3518021)
Oh, can the false humility.

Oh, up yours. There's not a single false note to my humility, at least when it comes to sports knowledge. I took a quick look at goal-scoring data to see whether wingers are more apt to score and centers to assist but gave that up when it started looking like work. Too, I was trying to figure out what Jimmy's point was and if it had merit.
   299. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: April 29, 2010 at 10:34 PM (#3518027)
Does that make the center more of a point guard and the wings the 2s and 3s?
   300. scotto Posted: April 29, 2010 at 10:59 PM (#3518052)
Take it to the NBA Playoff thread!
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