April 23, 2011



To fully appreciate this article, open this url http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8X76NRiQLQ and listen to the song in the background.

Year after year, fans, executives and the media question whether the Philadelphia Flyers will have the goaltending to win a Stanley Cup. Once again,these answers were provided come playoff time with a horrific performance by the Flyers goalie, this time by Brian Boucher in the first period of game 5 last night against Buffalo.  With a roster stacked with 3 scoring lines, a good checking line, and the best 6-man defense core in the league when healthy, general manager Paul Holmgren chose not to address his goaltending situation before this years playoffs. Boucher let in 3 goals in the first 11 Buffalo shots, two of which were not Pee Wee caliber goals. (Watch them here: http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2010030125).

Boucher was pulled for Michael Leighton, making him the 3rd Flyers goalie to play in this series! Sergei Bobrovsky started the series after a very good rookie campaign, and looked awful in game 2. He got pulled and hasn’t even been dressed since.
Does Holmgren, or any other person that has held the Flyers GM position over the years (Bobby Clarke, Russ Farwell) not understand hockey that much? THIS HAPPENS EVERY YEAR! Last year, the Flyers got to the Stanley Cup Final with a roster that showed heart and determination mixed in with a large amount of skill, but was letdown by goaltending in overtime of game 6…. a goal so bad, not even the announcers knew it was in. (Watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdVn42-vOt8).
It is just laughable that the same team can have the same problems every year, and be so stubborn to address these obvious issues. It reminds me of the Detroit Lions and the quarterback position.  Maybe some day, Holmgren will understand. In a day and age when you don’t have to pay $6 million per year to get a good goalie, that you could get one and still build a good team (see Anti Niemi). Instead they overload on contracts to forwards in hopes they will outscore and outmuscle the other team. They only have to win the next two games to advance to the second round, but even if they do come back against the Sabres does anyone believe they can win with this circus act?

Since the late Pelle Lindbergh took the Flyers to the Cup in 1985, and Ron Hextall won the Conn Smythe in 1987 (both losses to the Edmonton Oilers), here is the pathetic display of goaltenders the Flyers have paraded out in an attempt to win the Stanley Cup.

2010 – defeated New Jerey 4-1 Eastern Conf. quarterfinals, defeated Boston 4-3 Eastern Conf. semifinals, defeated Montreal 4-1 Eastern Conf. finals, lost to Chicago 4-2 Stanley Cup Finals (starting goalies – Brian Boucher, Michael Leighton)

2009 -- lost to Pittsburgh, 4-2, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals 
(starting goalie – Martin Biron)

2008 -- defeated Washington, 4-3, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals         defeated Montreal, 4-1, Eastern Conf. semifinals         lost to Pittsburgh, 4-1, Eastern Conf. finals  (starting goalie – Martin Biron)

2006 -- lost to Buffalo, 4-2, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals  (starting goalie – Robert Esche)

2004 -- defeated New Jersey, 4-1, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals         defeated Toronto, 4-2, Eastern Conf. semifinals         lost to Tampa Bay, 4-3, Eastern Conf. finals  (starting goalie – Robert Esche)

2003 -- defeated Toronto, 4-3, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals         lost to Ottawa, 4-2, Eastern Conf. semifinals  (starting goalie – Roman Cechmanek)

2002 -- lost to Ottawa, 4-1, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals  (starting goalies – Roman Cechmanek, Brian Boucher)

2001 -- lost to Buffalo, 4-2, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals  (starting goalie – Roman Cechmanek)

2000 -- defeated Buffalo, 4-1, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals         defeated Pittsburgh, 4-2, Eastern Conf. semifinals         lost to New Jersey, 4-3, Eastern Conf. finals  (starting goalie – Brian Boucher)

1999 -- lost to Toronto, 4-2, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals  (starting goalie – John Vanbiesbrouck)

1998 -- lost to Buffalo, 4-1, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals  (starting goalie – Sean Burke)

1997 -- defeated Pittsburgh, 4-1, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals         defeated Buffalo, 4-1, Eastern Conf. semifinals         defeated N.Y. Rangers, 4-1, Eastern Conf. finals         lost to Detroit, 4-0, Stanley Cup Finals  (starting goalies – Garth Snow, Ron Hextall)

1996 -- defeated Tampa Bay, 4-2, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals         lost to Florida, 4-2, Eastern Conf. semifinals  (starting goalie – Ron Hextall)

1995 -- defeated Buffalo, 4-1, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals         defeated N.Y. Rangers, 4-0, Eastern Conf. semifinals         lost to New Jersey, 4-2, Eastern Conf. finals  (starting goalie – Ron Hextall)

1989 -- defeated Washington, 4-2, Patrick Division semifinals         defeated
Pittsburgh, 4-3, Patrick Division finals         lost to Montreal, 4-2, Wales Conference finals  (starting goalie – Ron Hextall)

1988 -- lost to Washington, 4-3, Patrick Division semifinals  (starting goalie – Ron Hextall)

How many of these goalies went on to success with other NHL clubs after leaving the Flyers?

Here is the schedule for today’s games.
Tampa Bay @ Pittsburgh  12:00pm
NY Rangers @ Washington  3:00pm
Montreal @ Boston  7:00pm
Los Angeles @ San Jose  10:30pm
No in game tweets from me today. Follow us  at twitter.com @getrealhockey.

Follow my articles and tweets on twitter @Chyz1.

-Mark Chyz

April 22, 2011

Detroit Red Wings - First Round Sweeps – Good or Bad??

During my brief time writing about the Stanley Cup Finals I have encountered many different message boards, blogs, webzines, discussions and forums. I find these a valuable tool for my research as well as getting other fans perspectives on how games have gone, what they think will happen next and of course, who will win the cup.

It was on one of these discussion boards where a fellow ice hockey fan planted some sort of doubt in my mind that the Red Wings were on course for the Cup this season. It wasn’t anything to do with how the team were playing, injuries, potential match up’s and opponents that this fan’s comments related too but a fact they thought they had read or heard somewhere.  The comment was along the lines of no team had gone on to win The Stanley Cup after sweeping a team in the first round since changing to it’s current format.
I’m not exactly sure when the Cup did change to it’s current format but it certainly got me thinking – had there been a 4-0 winner in round 1 that had won the cup since I started watching Ice Hockey back in around 1993. I had an evening to spare, a comfy chair and a drink in hand so I was going to find out.
Its probably happened to all of us before. A Mate, fellow fan or work colleague will drop something into conversation about that nights sports games that bamboozles the mind. Half the time you don’t even think about it. If I was to tell you in one of my articles that no player has even won the cup on his birthday, Phil Housley has played the most ever games in the NHL without winning the cup or there has never been a penalty shot in a game 7 you wouldn’t rush out there and try and prove me wrong. Some of you might believe me, some of you might pass the fact on to someone else. Some (ok, most) of you probably couldn’t care less! (If you are thinking of rushing out there to prove those statements, 1 I think is correct, 2 I made up but might be right!).

I guess I felt the need I had to come back to the person this time round. If it had been any other team than Detroit I probably would have ignored it. The fact is the Wings are playing well and have just as good a chance as any team in this playoffs. Hey, they are the 1st team guaranteed a spot in round 2. They have one of their star players about to return fresh into the next round, they will have had extra rest days than the others and Jimmy Howard is starting to look comfortable in the playoffs!

I wasn’t going to let a silly historical fact that might or might not be true beat me. I was going to beat it. I didn’t even know and still don’t, why I had allowed this to get to me so much. I don’t believe in facts and stats. Just because no other team had ever done it doesn’t mean it isn’t ever going to happen. Figures and stats are there for breaking. For every record set there is a record broken, or something like that. I still didn’t know if this comment was even true!
Thankfully my research didn’t take too long and for my beloved Red Wings the dream of getting their hands on Lord Stanley’s Cup were still intact. I discovered there are quite a few teams since 1993 that have managed the feat. I have listed year by year how the teams who started with 4-0 victories went on and progressed that year, but if you just want to know the winners they were ....
1994 – New York Rangers
1999 – Dallas Stars
2000 – New Jersey Devils
2001 – Colorado Avalanche

I was quite pleased with my findings and I will be hunting out that post and putting my reply on there with a large grin on my face and a drink in my hand. From the start of this Playoffs my heart has been saying Detroit but my head has been saying Vancouver. Maybe this is a little victory for the heart. Maybe, just maybe that this should be added to the list above

2011 – Detroit Red Wings

(Ps .. for any of you who are interested in the full list from 93 of teams that have come away with a 1st round sweep, its below with who they were eventually knocked out by!)
Buffalo Sabres 4 v 0 Boston Bruins – Beaten by Montreal Canadiens 4-0 in Conference Semi Finals
St Louis 4 v 0 Chicago Blackhawks – Beaten by Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in Conference Semi Finals
New York Rangers 4 v 0 New York Islanders – WON CUP
Dallas Stars 4 v 0 St Louis Blues - Beaten by Vancouver Canucks 4-1 in Conference Semi Finals
No First Round sweep
Chicago Blackhawks 4 v 0 Calgary Flames – Beaten by Colorado Avalanche 4-2 in Conference Semi Finals
No First Round Sweep
St Louis Blues 4 v LA Kings 0 – Beaten by Detroit Red Wings 4-2 in Conference Semi Finals
Detroit Redwings 4 v 0 Anaheim Ducks – Beaten by Colorado Avalanche 4-2 in Conference Semi Finals
Dallas Stars 4 v 0 Edmonton Oilers – WON CUP
Buffalo Sabres 4 v 0 Ottawa Senators – Beaten by Dallas Stars 4-2 in Stanley Cup Final
Detroit Redwings 4 v 0 LA Kings – Beaten by Colorado Avalanche 4-1 in Conference Semi Finals
New Jersey Devils 4 v 0 Florida Panthers – WON CUP
Toronto Maple Leafs 4 v 0 Ottawa Senators – Beaten by New Jersey Devils 4-3 in Conference Semi Finals
Colorado Avalanche 4 v 0 Vancouver Canucks – WON CUP
No First Round Sweep
Anaheim Ducks 4 v 0 Detroit Redwings – Beaten by New Jersey Devils 4-3 in the Stanley Cup Finals
No First Round Sweep
Stanley Cup not contested due to lock out year
New Jersey Devils 4 v 0 New York Rangers – Beaten by Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 in Conference Semi Finals
New York Rangers 4 v 0 Atlanta Thrashers – Beaten by Buffalo Sabres 4-2 in Conference Semi Finals
Pittsburgh Penguins 4 v 0 Ottawa Senators – Beaten by Detroit Redwings 4-2 in Stanley Cup Final
Boston Bruins 4 v 0 Montreal Canadiens – Beaten by Carolina Hurricanes in Conference Semi Finals
Detroit Redwings 4 v 0  Columbus Blue Jackets - Beaten by Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 In Stanley Cup Final
Vancouver Canucks 4 v 0 St Louis Blues – Beaten by Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in Conference Semi Finals
No First Round Sweep
Detroit Redwings 4 v 0 Phoenix Coyotes – Beaten?? Stanley Cup Winners?? YET TO BE CONCLUDED...................
- Adam Yates

Bruins are #1 !? At Least in Andrew Ference's Mind

Looks like the Boston Bruins players love the spotlight.  Everyone remembers how Chara tried to grind Pacioretty into the boards late this season.   Now the boys in black and gold are being recognized for the antics of another one of their "dumdums".  It looks like Andrew Ference couldn't control his emotions on Thursday night and decided to give the Habs fans , the we are #1 salute !!!  This stupidity is part and partial of the Bruins road show.  The NHL seemed to take the disrespect in stride and fined Ference a paltry $2500 USD.  This was another situation where the NHL missed the spot.

It will be funny to see what Don Cherry has to say about his favourite team.  Nonsense is nonsense.  Maybe old Don will put on his glasses and see how bad Ference's actions reflect on the NHL and the Bruins.  We like the guts the Bruins showed by coming back against the Habs.  Playing at the Bell Center is not easy for anyone including the Habs.  Heck, ask Carey Price.  If Carey had flipped off the Bell center faithful every time he was pissed last season, Carey would have sent all his pay check to the NHL head office to pay for the fines.  Show some class Andrew the next time you don't like what you hear.  You represent the NHL and the Bruins;  ACT LIKE IT !!!!       


Although it is impossible to truly follow all of the games here are some reflections and opinions from last night’s playoff action:

 1)    Choke Jobs – Three series were in action on Thursday, and all three are staring at rather large comebacks, or choke jobs, depending how you look at it. The Sharks blasted the Kings in the 3rd period to take a 3-1 series lead, capitalizing on the momentum they gained from the comeback from 4 goals down in game 3 (which should have put the Kings up 2-1 in the series).  Just two games ago, the Bruins looked done and I was calling them playoff failures. Now, the series is tied at two games heading back to Boston. Montreal fans are going crazy, and now Boston believes they are every bit as good as they were supposed to be.  Confidence issues and questions about beating the Blackhawks have to be be going through the heads of the Vancouver Canucks players, especially Roberto Luongo. The Canucks goalie stood on his head in game 3 to give the heavily favored Canucks a 3-0 series lead. Now, just two games later, some are wondering if Luongo should even start game 6 in Chicago.  Two blowouts later, the Hawks are believing they can do what the Flyers did to the Bruins last year, and come back from an 0-3 deficit to take the series.

2)     Live and die with your best – No matter how bad Roberto Luongo has been in the last two games (.750 save %) you have to play him in game 6. It is on the road in a hostile environment, but he has played very well in Chicago over the years. Not starting him would show desperation and weakness. Getting over the Blackhawks hump looks much harder today, than it did Sunday night. The only way to do it, is with your best!
3)     OT goals – When was the last time an overtime ended with a really nice goal that showcased skill? Too often OT winners are decided because of mental blunders and bad bounces. P.K. Subban added to this list last night with his brutal line change that caused a 3 on 1. The Bruins did not score on the 3 on 1, but did immediately after as the Habs were scrambling to find their defensive zone coverage (Watch it here:  http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2010030134). Both OT winners from Wednesday were brutal. James Neal’s shot from the boards is one Dwayne Roloson will relive many times, (Watch it here: http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2010030144) and Marian Gaborik’s  error in taking the puck away from his goalie will haunt the Rangers as they are now down 3-1 (Watch it here: http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2010030114).  OT is great, but can we just see something remotely close to a brilliant play to end a game? Think back even to Patrick Kane’s goal to end the Stanley Cup last year….. utterly horrible! (Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdVn42-vOt8)

Here is the schedule for today’s games.
Buffalo @ Philadelphia 7:30pm
Nashville @ Anaheim  10:00pm

Tweets tonight of the Flyers/Sabres game @getrealhockey.
Follow my articles and tweets @Chyz1

-Mark Chyz

April 21, 2011

True Grit - Players Who Heat it Up !!!

There are a handful of players in the NHL who are known for a style of play focused on battling in the corners, open ice hits, and gritty work at both ends of the ice. Players like Milan Lucic, Matt Hendricks and Brandon Dubinsky are prime examples of current skaters who play with such a high level intensity. Guys like Lucic battle through every whistle, trying to create a chance out of nothing. With the 2011 playoffs under way, crowds all over North America are just waiting for exhilarating plays from these athletes to get them out of their seats.

Most teams in the NHL have at least one of these players on their rosters, and often look to them to provide a spark to the rest of squad. With teams putting their foot on the gas during the playoffs, they look to their grittiest players to get the crowd to their feets. However, there is a fine line between gritty and dirty. As we’ve seen in these playoffs, that line can be crossed. Hits like the one Steve Downie had on Pittsburgh defenseman Ben Lovejoy show the grey area that refs have to deal with both night in and night out. So when a player like Downie steps on the ice with the goal to energize his team with a thundering hit, he has to make sure he’s playing within the rules. From a fans point of view it can be summed up in one sentence; everyone loves the big hits, but no one loves the injuries.

Ian Laperierre was one of the pinnacle “sand paper” players in the history of the NHL. He killed penalties, fore-checked, back-checked, and most importantly, blocked shots. These are all common traits amongst the elite players in the NHL, but Laperierre became these traits. When asked about Lapiererre’s style of play Adrian Dater of the Denver Post responded by saying ; “He is Braveheart on skates, the guy who will throw his body in front of a screaming slap shot with no second thought or fight the guy who just hit a teammate a little too hard for his liking". Players like Laperierre bring teams together and motivate their teammates by their passion and exciting play. The NHL needs more Laperierre’s.

The only kryptonite to a gritty player is playing on a line without a skill player. No matter how much a line can cycle the puck, or press the defense to turn the puck over in their own end; without skilled players, goals wiould be few and far between. The excitement sand paper players bring to the ice is what makes the National Hockey League the dark horse of sports that it is. As long as players like Lucic and Hendricks jump into the heat of battle like their hair’s on fire, the NHLs fan base will continue to grow.

- Matt Gamelin

Live Blog of Bruins - Habs Game 4 - DIARY OF A MELTDOWN !!!

This post is a game blog of tonight's Habs - Bruins match up at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Canadiens' coach Jacques Martin said after Game 3 that he noticed in the morning skate that his team wasn't mentally ready. As someone who coaches mental performance, I find it hard to fathom that professional hockey players wouldn't be ready to compete at their best, but of course it happens. The lesson from Game 3 is that you have to bring your intensity right from the start so let's see how the Habs come out of the gate.

6:59 pm: OK, the first bit of bad news is that I have to watch the Bruins broadcast on NESN which means listening to the screeching of Jack Edwards. Ugh! Well, it's not the first time I have had to endure that so I shall survive.

7:02 pm: Great video from Annakin Slayd to get Montreal fans pumped up. Couple of nice digs at the Bruins included!

7:06 pm: Wish we got to see the pre-game activities at the Bell Centre. To Edwards' and Andy Brickley's credit, they recognize the special atmosphere that is the Bell Centre in Montreal.

7:11 pm: The fans are ready, are the Habs?

7:15 pm: It's time to drop the puck, are you ready???

7:16 pm: Good hit from Roman Hamrlik on Mark Recchi to get things going. Positive sign.

7:19 pm: Lars Eller scares me sometimes. Clearly, he has talent, but seems to turn the puck over a lot. Just made an errant pass coming out of the zone to absolutely no one.

7:21 pm: A fairly neutral start for both teams and Recchi just had a great chance in front of Carey Price. Habs have to do better there.

7:22: Monitoring Twitter during the game and theDAshow is worth following!

7:23: First screeching call from Edwards on hit on Kostitsyn. Helmet and head separation.

7:27: Moen with a chance in front of Tim Thomas. The line of Gionta - Gomez - Moen needs to play well.

7:28: Thomas with a great save on Moen, however I like the fact that the Habs are putting on some pressure now.

7:29: YES! Habs score and the Bell Centre explodes. A deserved 1-0 lead. Brett Sopel gets the goal and perhaps another questionable one from Thomas. You have to question his performances in the playoffs.

7:32: 10 minutes in and it's been a good start for Montreal. The early lead is so key to how they play. Will be interesting to see how much pressure they continue to exert.

7:33: Thomas looks very unsure of himself in the net. Keep firing at him!

7:38: Huge pressure on Thomas now. Bruins are reeling at this point.

7:39: 16-4 in shots now for Mtl. Looks like a B's power play coming up. That's unfortunate timing based on the flow of the game.

7:44: Good penalty kill for the Habs with 0 shots on goal. Time to put the pressure back on Thomas. Desharnais with a nice play tying up Chara in the B's zone on the PP! :)

7:46: Price stifles an attempt from Patrice Bergeron. Bruins mounting some pressure here at the end of the period. Dangerous. It's too early to start backing the bus in front of Price.

7:49: Bruins are finishing the period on a positive note with sustained pressure.

7:50: End of the first period and the Habs lead 1-0. Overall, a good bounce back effort on the heels of the Game 3 loss. Bruins didn't seemingly wake up until the period was about 18 minutes over. It will be interesting to see how the teams come out in the second period. Boston has to be happy that they are only down one goal and obviously that isn't an insurmountable lead. Habs have to continue skating and pressuring the puck. That will keep the fans in the game as well.

8:02: Bad timing alert - dinner almost ready and second period about to start. Don't think I can eat and type at the same time!

8:07: Back for the second period.

8:10: Lots of end-to-end action results in a goal from ex-Hab Michael Ryder. Ooof! Step up time right now. Good effort from Boston to come out well in the second period.

8:14: Thomas is complicating his evening by giving up juicy rebounds that the Habs are getting to.

8:15: 2-1 Habs with Cammalleri scoring. A just reward for the latest surge in pressure.

8:17: 3-1. Another quick counter by Mtl results in a goal from AK46. Bell Centre has exploded with noise. Smart by Boston to call a time-out at this point. They need to regroup big-time.

8:24: Bruins close the gap to 1 goal against the run of play. Ference blasts it over Price's glove - his usual weak spot. Habs have to be careful here and tighten up defensively. Bruins aren't going away - to their credit.

8:32: PK with some nice moves in the offensive zone. He was looking 5-hole, but Thomas closed it up.

8:33: Just read on Twitter from HNIC's Jeff Marek that Ference gave the finger to the Bell Centre crowd after scoring. I wouldn't call that professional behavior. Sounds like something Sean Avery would do.

8:37: I was just thinking how I'm not liking the trend of this game and all of a sudden the Bruins tie it up - ugh! The third period is going to be some battle - the series may be on the line.

8:39: OMG! Kaberle just took a shot on goal. His first since 1991. At least that's what Leafs fans think.

8:41: Bruins are taking a page out of the SJ Sharks playbook from the other night when they came back against the Kings in LA to win in OT. One more period to go - this is a bit nerve wracking. I'm not liking what's happening, but the intermission is probably coming at a good time. Montreal needs to settle down and come out hard in the last frame as they need this game.

8:56: Price needs to play at his most confident in this third period. His team is committing defensive lapses and they need to be bailed out by a confident net minder. It's Patrick Roy time!

8:59: Time for the 3rd period. Habs can't lose this game. They dominated Boston in 3 regular season Bell Centre games. It would be unforgivable to drop 2 to the same team in the playoffs.

9:00: Power play time right away.

9:01: PK! 4-3! The thorn in the Bruins side gives the Canadiens the advantage via the PP. Great shot by Subban going top shelf. Now, can they hold this lead???

9:07: AK46 with a nice move. A very talented player who often annoys me for his mindless play and bad penalties.

9:09: Price with some big stops to maintain Montreal's lead. I get the feeling that he's going to be called on a few more times before this one is over.

9:15: Krejci in all alone on Price and he can't quite get a handle on it. That's a close shave!

9:16: Cammalleri with a break away on Thomas, but he fires it right into the Bruins goalie. Good play by Thomas.

9:17: I hope the Habs aren't going into a defensive shell here. It's not the night for that. Bruins have shown resiliency this evening.

9:19: Glenn Healy enraged by Ference's salute to the crowd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjF9-rns5Ng&feature=player_embedded. To be clear, it doesn't take much to enrage Healy. I think he wakes up pissed off. Anyway, Habs have bigger worries than a moment of idiocy from Andrew Ference.

9:25: Conservative play from the Habs comes back to haunt them. Chris Kelly ties the game at 4. This is exactly what I feared. Bruins will not go away and you could almost see this scenario unfolding in the last few minutes. 5 minutes to go in regulation. Hello overtime?

9:28: Canadiens with a good rush, then Bruins come back with a point blank chance on Price. Difficult to watch now.

9:29: Bruins are getting the better scoring chances. If Habs are to win this game in regulation, it will be agains the run of play at this point. They need to start skating and pressuring the puck again. That's the formula for forcing a critical turnover.

9:32: Seidenberg with no stick is forced to take an interference penalty to stop Plekanec. Habs powerplay to finish regulation.

9:35: Heart pounding ending to this 3rd period. We are going to OT. Wow!

9:52: OT underway. Let's go Habs - come out hard!

9:53: Good early pressure from Mtl. Cammalleri has had a great game tonight - 3 points thus far.

9:54: Ryder ends it with a goal on Price as he is all alone in front of the Montreal goal. Critical defensive lapse again leads to a Bruins goal. The series is tied now as both teams have lost their home games.

Canadiens have somehow managed to blow a 2-0 series lead and a game in which they never trailed until the end. It will certainly be a mental challenge for this team as they go back to Boston for game 5. As good as the defense was in the first 2 games, it was decidedly poor this evening as Price was left all alone several times including on the game winning goal. If there is one thing that this team has shown throughout the season, there doesn't seem to be any connection from one game to the next. They're going to need that if there is any hope of pulling out this series.

- Brian Lomax


The unexpected is happening again !!!  Looks like the Cinderella special has kissed the Blackhawks on the lips again.  They have busted out and jumped ahead of the Canucks by 3-0 in the first period of game number 5.   These guys want it more than the Canucks and it is showing.  Vancouver will have to pick up the pace here before this game melts away like snow.  Luongo is a premier goalie and it is time he acts the part.  His teammates are asleep at the switch and he is going to hold the fort till Alain Vigneault wakes up his troops.

The Hawks are a tough team and more than half of their crew knows the taste of victory.  The Canucks have to remember that Chicago did not win the Cup last year by accident.  They can pull it out in the clutch and this game is clutch with a BIG C for the Hawks.  The goaltending for Chicago is super hot right now and the Sedins need to score a few in Vancouver doesn't want to become a footnote in history.  The regular season counts for zip in April.  Chicago was kissed by Cinderella last year and if Vancouver doesn't wake up , it might just happen again in 2011 !!
Chicago is too good to count out.   Crawford is on fire and if the Blackhawks keep blasting away like they have it the last 4 periods; the Canucks could find themselves playing golf.

The Bruins Steal One at the Bell Center and Head Back to Boston

It looks like lady luck kicked the Bruins in the backside and they managed to pull one out on the Habs in front of a sell out crowd.  The OT victory tonight has tied up the series at 2-2.  Chara was a complete mess and the Bruins were running all over the place in the first period.  Unfortunately for the Habs, a hockey game is not 20 minutes long.   The defence on this one was in la la land for Montreal and the Habs had to rely on Carey Price's ability to pull rabbits out of his hat to make sure they were even close by the end of the 3rd period.
Give credit to the Bees for gutsy play.  They fed off each other and gave the Habs defence some serious fits.  The boys on the blue line for Montreal were awful across the board.    Carey Price couldn't do it alone.  The crazy thing here is that some fans will blame poor Price.  He is trying to live down the Halak legend from last year and if he can only drag Montreal past Boston; the Habs could go far into the post season.  Price has been a star so far but he is showing signs of cracking under pressure.  He needs help from Subban and company !!!

Hopefully, the next game will be as intense as game four.  Both teams have been losers at home so it will be interesting to see where the chips land.  Ryder and Bergeron are the leaders for Boston and Price and Gionta are the ones to watch for Montreal.   This has been a heck of a series.  See you in Boston for Game 5 !!!

Let's Go Canucks !!! Put Up or Shut Up !!!

The Vancouver Canucks could not have gotten off to a better start in this best of 7 series with the Chicago Blackhawks. They came out and dominated the beginning of this series and took a commanding 3-0 lead. Feeling pretty confident with themselves and their game they thought that an injury riddled Blackhawks lineup would fold up like a lawn chair in game 4. The Canucks made a huge mistake not being prepared mentally for game 4 and not closing out the Hawks in Chicago and now are in grave danger of letting the Hawks back in this series. The emotion pouring out of the Blackhawks after every goal they scored in game 4 shows that this is a team that's starting to gain confidence.

Historically Roberto Luongo has a history of coming back strong after getting lit up and pulled the previous game and this had better be the case tonight. If the Blackhawks get out to an early lead and the crowd in Rogers Arena grows impatient, it could turn this seemingly cake-walk series into a tragedy for Vancouver. If the Canucks do not take control of this game early and get on the board first they're going to be in a world of hurt. This series cannot go back to Chicago, it must end tonight or the Vancouver Canucks are in a lot of trouble. The last 2 times the Nucks have had 3-1 series leads they have both gone 7 games( Min, Dal). It was a lot easier to regroup against a young and feeble Dallas Stars team to win game 7 than it would be to rally the troops against the current keepers of the cup. In game 4 Chicago's best players were their best players. Tonight the Canucks have to put Chicago in their place and shut Chelsea Dagger up forever. There is a lot of talk and chatter amongst the benches and the end of game 4 got nasty. I would advise the Canucks very strongly to shut their mouths and take care of business at home, do not awake the sleeping giant that is Marian Hossa. It's time to put up or shut up in Vancouver!!!

By: Nick Dreyer

Detroit Kicks Phoenix to the Curb - See Ya in The Peg !!!

The Phoenix Coyotes finally succumbed to post season pressure.  The hockey was terrible in the playoffs for the Coyotes as Detroit rip them to shreds.  These boys were out classed by a hard working Red Wing team which knows how to put up or shut up.   It was a sad end to the great Gary Bettman experiment in the desert.  The hockey czar tried to make hockey click in weather that could easily be suited for a camel.   Even Wayne Gretzky could not illicit the necessary magic to make Phoenix into a winning proposition.

It looks as though the Coyotes could be headed north before next year to find a new home in Winnipeg.  This would be a great move for everyone.  If this is allowed to happen, the NHL might get credit for thinking long term.  Coyote players would also benefit from playing in front of a crowd that understands hockey and doesn't attend games because they lost a bet to someone at the office.  Lastly, Winnipeg wins because they get back into the big leagues of hockey where they belong.  The glory days of Dale Howerchuk and Morris Lukowich  prove that the Peg is major league when it comes to the fastest game in the world.
If it is not this coming year it will come sooner or later.  The Coyotes will end up in Winnipeg.  Once in the Peg, Coyote hockey will be cooler, faster, and way better.  Detroit better watch out !!!

Good Luck Chara - You are Going to Need It !!!

The Habs are gearing up for an insane night tonight as the Montreal faithful get ready to pour into the Bell Center.   The Bruins always fill the building in Montreal and tonight will be extra special with Thomas and Chara trying to keep Boston alive.  The chants from the crowd will sound like a thunder clap to the boys in Black and Gold.  If Chara tries anymore goon tactics, the hometown crowd will be all over him.  The towering giant on the blue line for the Bees is a not known for good judgement or sportsmanship.  Zdeno finds it easy to throw his weight around.  I guess it his way to make up for the lack of talent.  His booming slap shot is not a measure of his skill but merely a function of his height and weight.  By his own admission, Chara is not the king of cognition.  In his interview following the Pacioretty hit; Chara admitted that he did not even know he hit Pacioretty with his oversized frame.

Anyways, this game promises to be a real barn burner.  Carey Price , the poster boy for Habs hockey, will have to come up large.  Mr.Price has done his best to imitate Halak's heroics from last playoff season.  He might as well have Halak 2.0 put on his back.  If he can put Boston away, the whole Halak thing will just be a distant memory.  It is time to go big or go home Carey !!!
This is going to be an insane game !!!    

April 20, 2011



To wake up this morning in utter shock after watching the playoff highlights is an understatement. Living in the Eastern timezone makes watching the games on the west coast a little difficult every weeknight. Last night’s Sharks/Kings game in Los Angeles is one I wish I could have made it through. Part of what put me to sleep was the abysmal effort of the Sharks, and the especially horrid play of Anti Niemi. After the first period the Sharks were down 3-0 on only 9 shots against. Niemi had no chance on the third goal, but in the playoffs you have to be ready from the start. Not only was he not ready from the start of the game, he wasn’t ready for the start of the 2nd period.  Niemi allowed the first shot he faced in the second period after losing his stick. Coach Todd McLellan had enough of this performance and pulled Niemi, down 4-0, 0:44 into the second period, inserting Antero Nittymaki.

At 4-0, I decided it was time to shut it down for the night. The Sharks are not a team known for their heart, so there was no point in delaying the obvious.  Getting sleep on this lousy night of playoff action, will benefit me for the next night of playoff action with 5 games on tap.  The Sharks proved me, and almost everyone else wrong. Not only did they fight back to win the game, but they tied the game 5-5 before the end of the 2nd period! The game went to overtime after a scoreless 3rd period, where the Sharks would win for the second time this series.  This is one of those examples of what makes the NHL playoffs, the best action in sports. The loss will prove deflating for the Kings and an incredible boost for the Sharks. I never leave games early, just because you never know what might happen. Maybe I should apply this to watching games as well! Sleep is overrated any way!
Here is the schedule for today’s games.
Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay  7:00pm
Washington @ NY Rangers  7:00pm
Philadelphia @ Buffalo  7:30
Anaheim @ Nashville  8:30pm
Detroit @ Phoenix  10:30pm
Catch my tweets tonight on the Flyers/Sabres and commentary about the other games  at twitter.com @getrealhockey.

Follow my articles and tweets on twitter @Chyz1.

-Mark Chyz

April 19, 2011


Although it is impossible to truly follow all of the games here are some reflections and opinions from the forth day of playoff action:

     1)  Hits are the big story of the playoffs so far. Raffi Torres did not get suspended, and he should not have been! Hockey is a contact game, and there are spots on the ice where players know they are in danger. People are up in arms about head shots. This was not one of them. Behind the net is an area that players know they will have to take a hit to make a play. Seabrook made the mistake of turning his head to look behind him. The interference penalty was the right call, as Seabrook did not touch the puck. If you are Torres, how are you supposed to stop yourself once committed to making that hit? Can we stop breaking down every hit now because of concussions? Two years ago this year would have made every highlight real for the right reasons. There will be hits in a game that moves as fast as hockey, and unfortunately, injuries will result. It is part of the risk of playing, and part of the beauty of watching.  Watch it again here: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=362743

      2) More hits to look at for the NHL – Aside from the Torres hit, the league has two very different hits to look at from last night. Steve Downie smoked Ben Lovejoy behind the net early in the first period. The hit would have been a great and very effective hit, had Downie not left his feet. Downie uses all shoulder and no elbow, but he has been guilty of leaving his feet in the past, and this is not acceptable. He should get one game. Lovejoy wound up getting an assist on the play and had no problem with the hit. Later in the same game Chris Kunitz threw a blatant elbow to the head of Simon Gagne. This is one of those “What were you thinking?” plays. Kunitz goes out of his way to raise his elbow to hit Gagne. He was trying to hurt him, no question about it. Kunitz will get at least one game, and probably two.  Watch both hits here: http://watch.tsn.ca/nhl/#clip452667

3) Carey Price threw one away. The Canadiens did not play anywhere near as well as they did in the first two games, but you cannot have your goaltender put passes on the tape of the other team with an empty net. That play put the Habs down 3-0. They woke up after that, but it was too late.
Watch game highlights here: http://watch.tsn.ca/nhl/#clip452666
     4) Tim Thomas has looked awful in the series. Last night, both goals were terrible. The goalie who will most likely win the Vezina trophy, has looked anything but the best goalie in the playoffs. If he is not better, the Bruins will be done in 5 games. Time for him to step up and improve his 11-10 playoff record.     Watch game highlights here: http://watch.tsn.ca/nhl/#clip452666
      5) Has anyone seen a goalie look more lost than Ilya Bryzgalov last night? He must have been stoned. He did not even move on two of the goals, one of which was a breakaway. How do you not see the puck on a breakaway? Bryzgalov is a free agent after this season. Going into the playoffs he was expected to get big money, even though there are not many teams in need of a goalie. Now, he will get a nice contract, but questions will come about his playoff performance. Hopefully we hear something health related that explains his poor play after the series.
            Watch game highlights here: http://watch.tsn.ca/nhl/#clip452682
Here is the schedule for today’s games.
Vancouver @ Chicago   8:00pm EST
San Jose @ Los Angeles  10:30pm

No tweets tonight.  I will also be  tweeting the Flyers/Sabres game  tomorrow @getrealhockey.

Follow my articles and tweets @Chyz1

-Mark Chyz

April 17, 2011


GetRealHockey.blogspot.com wants to Expand our Blogger Roster

The team @ GetRealHockey.blogspot.com wants to expand our roster of bloggers.  The group of bloggers keep growing and we expect to institute a new "co-op" platform for the blog starting May 1st, 2011.
The package will be based on performance.  GetRealHockey.blogspot.com will be  entering some new sponsorship agreements and joint venture partnerships which will allow us to monetize the blog.
GetRealHockey.blogspot.com is the starting point for the Get Real family of websites.  The big picture behind the "Get Real" themed family of websites is quite interesting. We have secured 400+ Get Real themed URLs and we intend to build a network of sites which will all support a brand. 
Some of the Get Real URLs we have secured include:
1)        GetRealHockey.com
2)        GetRealFootball.com
3)        GetRealBaseball.com
4)        GetRealBasketball.com
The  "Get Real" brand will be worldwide and it will be the destination for sports fans who want the "Real" info on their sports heroes and teams.
You can get a good idea of the Get Real theme by turning up this song.

This is going to be a heck of a ride.  If this goes as expected, we will be building a  $100 million brand.
If you want to be part of the team, please email us @ getrealhockey@gmail.com.  The "co-op" platform will distribute 50% of the monthly net revenue between our bloggers.  We will take all the articles written during the month and dole out the cash to the writers based on the percentage of articles that they wrote for that month.  If you write 10% of the articles you get 10% of the net revenue.  If you write 50% of the articles you get 50% of the net revenue and so on.  In order for payouts to occur, there will have to a minimum of 15 articles written per month.  Everyone will be given credit on the site so this will make it easy for writers to follow and track the potential payout.
This formula means that everyone wins.   Traffic increases with content which in turn drives revenue.  More content = more readers = bigger revenue= bigger payouts for writers.


Although it is impossible to truly follow all of the games here are some reflections and opinions from the forth day of playoff action:

1)   The Bruins are a playoff fraud! Argue all you want Bruins fans, the B’s have lost 6 straight playoff games, which includes the Fukushima like meltdown last year against the Flyers. Check out their playoff history http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news?slug=bostonpost. This link does not include this year or last year. Think about this… the Bruins have never seen what are called the “Eastern Conference Finals.” Their last conference finals appearance was in 1992, when it was called the “Wales Conference.”

2)  The Canadiens have a game plan, and they are following it to perfection. They are making sure Carey Price can see the puck, they are clearing rebounds, and they are letting the Bruins discipline problems crush them. The Bruins are taking too many penalties, and seem to be preoccupied with P.K. Subban. Time for players like Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic to score goals rather than chase P.K. around. 

3)  The NHL has the playoff schedule done perfectly! Who doesn’t like a Saturday when you can watch hockey from 1pm EST to 1am? What a day of hockey!

4)  Instead of using two goalies, the Flyers may use three this year. It took one game and 12:30 to see the Flyers use their second goalie. Coach Peter Laviolette waited one goal too long to pull Sergei Bobrovsky as he was  flopping around, looking very shaky. Buffalo capitalized with three goals on 7 shots, but had trouble breaking Brian Boucher once he came in. Boucher allowed only one goal on 21 shots, and made some great saves immediately after entering the game.  Boucher has to get the start for game three in Buffalo Monday.  Michael Leighton is back with the team after playing most of the season in the AHL with Adirondack. When will he see action?

5)  When was the last time you saw a period like the first period of the Flyers/Sabres game? It saw 6 goals, one fight, a disallowed goal that was blocked by a players head, and a goalie pulled. It was a very undisciplined period from both teams, but who cares, it was one of the most entertaining periods of hockey I have seen in a long time.
6)  Drew Doughty is back. All year there has been talk about Doughty regressing. Last night proved he still has it. The Kings climbed back to even the series at one game each. Doughty dominated offensively and defensively. Without leading scorer Anze Koptar someone on the Kings needed to step up. Doughty ended the game with 2 goals and 2 assists, and more importantly the Kings shutout the Sharks, winning 4-0.

7)  If you did not see the game, make sure you see the highlights of the Red Wings/Coyotes game. http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=35&id=109063
Pavel Datsyuk was a one man show. He finished the game with one goal and three assists, but that doesn’t tell the complete story.  Datsyuk owned the puck. He mesmerized the Coyotes defensemen all game and it was the best performance of the playoffs thus far.

Here is the schedule for today’s games.
Washington @ NY Rangers 3:00pm EST
Anaheim @ Nashville  6:00pm EST
Vancouver @ Chicago   8:00pm EST

Tweets tonight of the Canucks/Blackhawks game @getrealhockey.  I will also be  tweeting the Flyers/Sabres game  tomorrow @getrealhockey.

Follow my articles and tweets @Chyz1

-Mark Chyz