Friday, December 24, 2010

World Juniors Championship Tournament

With the biggest tournament in the Under 20 league about to get started in Buffalo, NY I can't help but realize how is it the area is not banking on it anymore than they already are.

I am from the area and as I sit at home during the holiday break getting set to watch all the up and coming players play I can't help but think why does it seem the people up north are more interested in the tournament than the thousands of hockey fans that live in the area.

Yet in an article that was featured in a special World Juniors section, Bucky Gleason was saying how the "hockeytown" of Buffalo is like the "Suburb of Toronto, Ontario." My only objection is if the area is like Toronto then why are they just passing by when it comes to the World Juniors.

The tournament is a big deal for many reasons, it gives NHL scouts to look at up coming players from colleges and other countries for possible selections in the NHL draft. It also gives fans a chance to look at what their team has drafted. Point in case the Buffalo Sabres with Kassian playing for the Canadian team.

With the area being so close to Canada the U.S. vs. Canada game has a lot riding on it. It is a big rivalry and will showcase a great game as Canada looks to avenge the defeat they suffered in the gold game from last year.

Yes, I did watch it last year thanks to the NHL Network who will be showing the games again this year. I love to learn about the upcoming stars and who knows someone like the next Forsberg or Gretzky could be in my "backyard" playing. But the ticket sales along with overall talk of the tournament is a bit lackluster in the area.

2/3rds of the tickets have been bought by Canadians and aside from hockey pucks that represent the different countries I have yet to see any World Juniors merchandise. This raises a big question to me, is Buffalo a real hockeytown or is it no one cares about the sport unless its the Sabres?

In my opinion the area is a hockeytown, growing up I remember playing hockey almost everyday and we bleed the sport. With that said I have to admit I am disappointed the area hasn't banked on the event with more enthusiasm for the event, they talked about how it would bring millions to the area with hotelrooms and other attractions but include the experience of souvenoirs.

I truly hope the area prospers from the event and I am looking forward to watching hockey but I'm not sure that the area planned well and stayed organized for an event they knew they would be hosting for the past year. It might come down to just money and if so then thats sad. The World Juniors is great for these young players to show their skill and build on their potential hockey career and I would hate to see that get taken away because some big shot wants to make a few extra bucks.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Monsters pick up first win of the season

As the 75th season of the American Hockey league began Friday night the Lake Erie Monsters looked to pounce on the Syracuse Crunch.

The Crunch however, came out with their speed skates as they crashed the net and was able to score two goals in the first.

But the Monsters did not give up, there was a furry of opportunities in the second which saw two Monsters goals to tie the game up going into the third.

The third period was much like the other two but added a new element of physical play. There were a couple of fights in the third and by the end the back and forth play ended with a game winning goal by Matt Ford with just under three minutes left in the game.

The Monsters looked great and gave fans a lot to cheer about, according to the Monsters Web site this is the third time in four years the team started the season out a home. They played aggressively and looked great.

Second year Mercier started the scoring for the Monsters with his first goal of the season in the second period. The Monsters did a great job getting the puck on net, recording 35 shots on Crunch goaltender Timo Pielmeier.

The Monsters look to continue battling as they play the Crunch again tonight as they start a seven game road trip.

If the first game is anything like what we will see all season long the fans will have a lot to cheer about.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Place the Rink in the Q, Its Time for Another Great Season

Tonight marks the first game of the season for the Lake Erie Monsters. The team looks to try and get that franchise first, playoff spot by getting a win tonight. The team looks solid this year with some players coming back for another season including both goaltenders Jason Bacashihua and John Grahame.

Last season ended badly for the Monsters who looked to get that playoff spot by just needing one win in the last five games of the season. They could not accomplish this and fell off the map with a loss to the Abbottsford Heat to end the season.

The team will work on improving and need help. Last year the Monsters saw a key player named Brandon Yip start with them but end up in Colorado by years end. Yip has been a fan favorite in Colorado and has won a starting position with the team.

Another former Monster who is up in the big times is, Phillipe Dupois who played well here in Cleveland and loved it here as well. The fans had lot to cheer about from this guy as he created scoring chances as well as getting close to setting a points record for the team.

A big pick up this year for the Monsters was center Julian Talbot, he was seen playing the last few years in Peiora for the Rivermen. Look for him to lead the team and create scoring chances.

For the Monsters to have success they need to rely on their top line. Look for Matt Ford to have a break out season on the wing.

The blue line is stacked with many players, some are above average but young and unheard of. Look for leadership and skill to be key this season. With all the other teams in the league picking up some players and retaining others, it looks to be a tough league.

In my opinion I think the Monsters will fight to the death and get that final playoff spot. It looks to be a great year. With the Parent club Colorado Avalanche being picked as a threat in the Western Conference of the NHL, the Monsters are sure to get some help from them as well as from their new partnering club from the CHL the Tulsa Oilers.

First game for the Monsters is tonight at 7:30pm against Syracuse.

Look for breakdowns of not only the team but the games as well from me as the season goes along.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is a camera really going to help

Recently the MLB has been having the discussion of adding instant replay to their everyday game. But is this such a good idea and will it help.
 In yesterday's Yankees vs. Rays game Derek Jeter faked everyone out by apparently getting hit in the hand by a fastball, but when the telecast replayed it about a thousand times, they realized that the ball didn't hit his hand at all. Instead it hit the butt end of his bat. The sound alone was enough to make you wonder and Joe Maddon of the Rays came out to make that argument. Nothing was done and the Yankees would later hit a 2 run homerun but ultimately lost the battle.
  That is just one of many missed calls in the league that is giving question to should instant replay be established.
  I am not a big fan of the idea, I think that it would take away from the game. Baseball is a very different sport from football. Football is more controllable and giving the fact that the ball is bigger and the playing field is slimmer football has an edge on it. In baseball there could be any number of plays replayed. Think about it, how many times was there a call for safe at home plate when the right call would have been out or vise versa. Some important games have ended on calls like that and we still go on.  I also think that it takes away from the players. The players dictate the game, they move on a shift when a big bat comes to the plate or they call out other plays like where the ball is going to be thrown if a guy is stealing second.
 Yes it is hard to tell whether every call was the right call. I think a big help would be to get all the umpires in a meeting room and look each call over, give them a chance to explain and learn from the experiences, then help them call a better game. Give them more training. There are a million situations that an ump. may have to call on, but if they are more prepared then that could help.
 Like I said almost every play in baseball can be argued and taking the play away from the player lessens the sport and takes away from what the game really is. So as the playoffs set to begin lets look to making the sport exciting, not everyone wins, and when there is a call like the Jeter call, you see the passion in not only the fans but the players as well, and thats what it should be, we all know these players make lots of money, some more than what they deserve but its entertainment and its supposed to provoke emotion. Whether it is excitement, sorrow or anger.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Was it really that big of a deal

 The leaves are starting to change, the temperatures are starting to fall and the pigskin is being thrown once again for another season.
 Last night was the official start of the NFL regular season. To be honest, I really didn't have a point to watch it. Yeah I like watching Drew Brees light it up and I am happy the Saints won last year. In fact the picture of Brees and his kid in front of a sign saying champions to me is one of the greatest pictures in super bowl history.
 Besides the point, I felt like why should I watch this game, I hate the Vikings and once again who had to be the spotlight, Brett Favre. He seems to want the attention more than having class. It was great that the Saints played the first game of the season following their super bowl win and being on National television helps not only the team but the city as well. I was more than happy to see that, but really did Favre figure out that the first Vikings game was on national T.V. and he would be all the buzz.
 Favre did not show up last night and lost the game, really showing his age and that he is in it just for the money and fame. He used to be such a great quarterback. He was a god to Packers fans. I can remember watching him the Monday night football game the day after his father died and throwing 6 touchdowns. After the game he talked about the game being for his dad. That showed me that he was a person and cared about others. I liked him back then, he cared about others and hearing that it was heart warming but now, can we just put away the Favre stories and get back to covering whats important in the football league.
  One big thing that has received little attention is if the league will figure out a new collective bargaining agreement. Another thing I noticed was there were a lot of changes in the teams around the league, I mean Pete Carroll will be coaching his first NFL since leaving New England for college football this weekend, and that has received little press. Favre is now to me a joke of the league and unless its something important like he really gets hurt (god forbid), or he breaks another record, or gets into the super bowl then I think maybe the media should look at other stories.

Colorado Avalanche look to add to their depth

With this being my first post I am going to jump write into it.