April 30, 2011


As predicted Roberto Luongo keeps playing tight like a drum and the Canucks are taking the Predators to school.  The Sedin brothers are non-existent tonight but guys like Kesler and Higgins are giving Nashville fits.  The "Blackhawks" scare has brought this Canucks team together and now anything seems possible.  Alain Vigneault has been forced to go with character  over flash and the Canucks are playing like champs.  The Predators are the epitome of team play and they still have not been able to break the spell from this team of destiny.

Nashville has been trying everything to shake up the formula with no success.  Tootoo and "Mr.Underwood" are doing what they can but the deck seems stacked against the Predators.   Legwand and Sullivan are also having zero luck against the Canucks and the Vancouver freight train shows no sign of slowing down.  If the defence or goaltending cracks for the Preds; this could become ugly.  Luongo has held opponents scoreless for five periods now and he gets stronger minute by minute.   This game is steady and boring but hell if Vancouver comes out on top, who cares !!!  This is going to be short and sweet business if Nashville goes home down 2-0. Nashville is not Chicago


The Black and Gold tidal wave which swept aside the Canadiens slammed into the Flyers in the first game of their post season series.  The Bees are on fire and the Flyers were just thumped 7-3.  Boston's attack made the Flyers look stupid.  The Flyer goalie merry go round was spinning on high when Brian Boucher was blown apart and his replacement could no better.  Horton, Campbell and Marchand are leading a team that is making a credible case for a run to the end.  It will be interesting to see if Philadelphia can wake up.  Today they looked tired.  Briere and the boys could be hitting the gold links if they don't wake up.  The Bruins can match the Flyers on size and firepower.  This could be ugly if there isn't a 360% turn by Philly. 

The Canucks and Preds should put on a good show for those of you who are going to tune in tonight.  Both these teams are very well balanced and a blow out is unlikely.  Luongo has tightened up his game and the Canucks are going to be tough to beat.  The crew from out West is carrying the hopes of a nation on their shoulders.  These guys have stared elimination in the face (vs the Blackhawks) which makes them game ready for just about anything the Predators can dish out.  Nashville is going to need some big plays tonight to shake up their opponent.  I don't think guys like Kessler, Higgins and Lapierre are going to let that happen.   If the Sedins come to life, it could make life very hard for Barry Trotz's men.  The Canucks look like a team of destiny and destiny should turn into a hand grenade for Nashville.

Philly is Ready To Ride !!!!

The 2010 Philadelphia Flyers came within two wins of hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1975. They were beaten by a strong, talented Chicago Blackhawks team led by the trio of Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews. Flyers faithful all over the country are hoping for those last two wins this season. However, doubts have risen amongst Flyers fans. Will another year of goalie shenanigans, the trade of Simon Gagne, and the limited playing time of Chris Pronger eventually end the team’s playoff steak, or will they be drinking champagne out of the Cup come June?

On Tuesday the Flyers finished off the Buffalo Sabres with a dominant, offensively strong win. There were times throughout game 7 when the Flyers looked like a team on a one way street to the Stanley Cup Finals. With the Bruins finishing off the Canadians, we will see a rematch of last year’s unforgettable Eastern Conference semi-finals. There are big differences between the Flyers and Bruins this season. The Flyers, a balanced, deep team focuses on aggressive fore-checking and solid team defense. However, consistency in net could be a problem for the Broad Street Bullies. The Bruins on the other hand have a world class goaltender in Tim Thomas, but not much more than that. Chara is an overrated, soft defenseman, who supposedly “leads” the team. Offensively, they’re about as boring as a weekend trip to the grocery store. In my opinion the Bruins are soft, untalented and HIGHLY overrated. Watch for Philly to ride their momentum through Boston, and into the Eastern Conference finals. Flyers win the series in five.

From there the Flyers would face the winner of the Washington/Tampa Bay series. Both of these teams would test the Flyers. Washington is just as deep as the Flyers, however they also have questions about their netminder. The other possible matchup in the Eastern Conference finals is Tampa Bay, one of the most underrated teams in the playoffs. They have an amazing power play unit, and an experienced goalie in Dwayne Roloson.  Defensively the Bolts are just too undermanned; Capitals win the series in 6.

The Flyers have to focus on playing physically, while staying out of the penalty box. If they can do this and their power play continues to produce like it did against Buffalo, the Flyers will be a tough matchup for any team remaining. However, Brian Boucher will have to be consistently at the top of his game for Philadelphia to make a run for the cup. Anything short of a strong performance from “Boush” and the Flyers will fall short. There are eight teams remaining, can the Orange and White rise again this year and fight through the Eastern Conference into June? Beginning Saturday at 3:00pm Eastern Time we’ll begin to get a sense of just how far they will go. Get up Philly!

- Matt Gamelin

April 28, 2011


Some playoff hockey pools allow for a redraft in round 2. Once again, you must keep in mind how many games you think each team will play and draft accordingly. The only series that will not go very long with be Washington and Tampa Bay. Past that, each series will go 6 or 7 games.  Here are my suggestions:


       1)Danny Briere - Phi
       2)Claude Giroux - Phi
       3)Pavel Datsyuk - Det
       4)Henrik Zetterberg - Det
       5)Daniel Sedin - Van
       6)Henrik Sedin - Van
       7)Alex Ovechkin - Was
       8)Ryan Kesler - Van
      9)Martin St.Louis - TB
     10) Johan Franzen - Det
     11) Patrick Marleau - SJ
     12) Joe Thornton - SJ
     13)  Steve Stamkos - TB
     14) Mike Richards – Phi
     15) Patrice Bergeron – Bos
     16) Alex Burrows – Van
     17) Dany Heatley- SJ
     18) Vincent Lecavalier – TB
     19) Logan Couture – SJ
     20) Ville Leino – Phi
     21) Alex Semin – Was
     22) Ryan Clowe – SJ
     23) Tomas Holmstrom - Det
     24) Mike Fisher – Nas
     25) James Van Riemsdyk - Phi


           1)Niklas Lidstrom - Det
           2)Shea Weber – Nas
           3)Mike Green – Was
           4)Dan Boyle – SJ
           5)Christian Ehrhoff – Van
6)Zdeno Chara – Bos
7)Brian Rafalski – Det
8)Chris Pronger – Phi
9)Alex Edler – Van
10) Andrei Meszaros – Phi


            1)Mikael Neuvirth – Was
            2)Jimmy Howard – Det
            3)Roberto Luongo – Van
            4)Tim Thomas – Bos
            5)Pekka Rinne – Nas
            6)Dwayne Roloson – TB
            7)Antti Niemi – SJ
            8)Brian Boucher – Phi

SLEEPERS – The playoffs have a way of bringing out the best in some players. Here is a list of players that may surprise you!

1)James Van Riemsdyk – Phi
2)Marcus Johansson - Was
3)Steve Downie - TB
4)Nathan Horton - Bos
5)Jordin Tootoo – Nas
6)Kris Versteeg - Phi
7)Chris Kelly – Bos
8)Valteri Filppula – Det
9)Darren Helm – Det
10) Rich Peverley - Bos

Send your questions or comments to me at twitter.com@chyz1

April 27, 2011


Last night was a night of deliverance for Roberto Luongo.  Everyone and his uncle were doubting his ability to come through in the big game and he finally put all the naysayers down by leading his team to a 2-1 victory, in overtime.  Cinderella abandoned the BlackHawks and the boys from ChiTown will now be hitting the gulf links.  Ryan Kesler was a thorn in Chicago's side all night and we think he could be a big factor in the next series encounter for the Canucks.  Vancouver went from a team of destiny to chokers to a team of destiny in just two weeks.  This kind of reversal is a solid sign of things to come.  The future looks bright for Canucks fans and a run to the finish line for Vancouver seems to be a definite possibility.

Another big game for Canadians last night was the showdown in Montreal between the Habs and Bruins.  Just like the Canucks, the Habs gave up a huge series lead to the Bruins and found themselves in a must win last night.  Carey Price has been nothing but amazing and he has kept the Canadiens in the series.  Last night, the Habs took it 2-1 and set the stage for a final game in Boston tonight.  This one is a toss up.   The Bruins have been unable to score on the power play during this series.  This could be the decisive point for game 7. Which ever way it turns out, the game will be one to watch.  This year's Cup race has been a real treat for hockey nuts and tonight's game in Boston won't disappoint.         

April 26, 2011

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Canucks Goaltending in Game 7 - Good Luck!

If you're a Vancouver Canucks fan, you can't feel good about the goaltending situation going into Game 7 versus the Chicago Blackhawks this evening at GM Place.  Corey Schneider was the surprise starter in favor of Roberto Luongo in Game 6 and that decision backfired as Schneider mishandled the puck twice, both instances leading to goals, and was unable to stop a penalty shot (a play in which he was injured and had to leave the game) which tied the contest.  Other than that, Schneider did play well, but you can't overlook the miscues (I thought Carey Price was the only goalie in the playoffs giving the puck away on a regular basis) and apparently Canucks coach Alain Vigneault isn't.  Luongo is back in the net for Game 7. But why was Schneider the Game 6 starter over Luongo?  On the Versus broadcast, there was speculation that Luongo was nursing a stiff back and that that may have been justification for the move.  The evidence doesn't support that theory and the only logical explanation that one can come up with is that Vigneault had lost confidence in his netminder.  After losing two playoff games in a row by 5 goals each, can you blame him?  That fact along with Luongo's poor playoff performances against the 'Hawks in recent years would lead you to believe that Chicago has the formula for disrupting his rhythm and play.  When Chicago lost Dustin Byfuglien over the summer, no one could have been happier than Luongo.  Byfuglien was seemingly his nemesis in the last couple of years and he was a major factor in Chicago's triumphs over Vancouver in the playoffs in 2009 and 2010.  Byfuglien may be gone, but 'Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has managed to plug new players into the role of Luongo agitator, and it's working.  Luongo is off his game and Vigneault is panicking.

Can Roberto Luongo be counted on in a big game?  That question came up early in this series on one of the Versus broadcasts, and analyst Daryl Reaugh insisted he could be counted on to deliver when needed, as he helped Team Canada win Olympic Gold in Vancouver in 2010 after all.  While that statement is factually correct, on closer examination, it may not stand up to scrutiny.  Yes, Luongo was in goal for Team Canada for the big games on the way to the Gold Medal.  However, his presence in net did not inspire confidence especially in the Gold Medal game versus the United States.  He looked extremely nervous in that tense contest especially down the stretch when he was bobbling the puck all over the place.  He seemingly couldn't control his muscles due to the nerves, and I would say that Team Canada won the Gold Medal in spite of its goaltending situation, not because of it (none of the goaltenders stood out).  I think Reaugh has missed the mark with his answer to this question, and I saw the same Luongo at the end of Game 6 in Chicago that I saw in Vancouver in 2010 in the Gold Medal game.  A goalie flopping around, unable to control the puck and giving up a crucial goal when his team needed a big stop.

So Roberto Luongo is the Game 7 starter, and no, you can't feel good if you're a Vancouver Canucks fan.
- Brian Lomax


If you are an avid hockey fan, tonight is a dream night. If you are a casual fan, you will be gripped. Playoff hockey is the best playoff in all of sports, and tonight is a classic reason why.
Game 6 of the Bruins/Canadiens series starts at 7pm from the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Game Info:
The pressure of the home crowd seems to get to Carey Price, as he has not won a playoff game at home since the first game of the 2008 series against Philadelphia (7 straight starts). Tim Thomas has improved greatly as the series has progressed. The leaky goals between the legs have disappeared and he is looking every bit like the Vezina Trophy candidate he was during the regular season. If the Canadiens can pull this one out, game 7 is tomorrow night in Boston. Montreal centre David Desharnais will miss tonight’s game while defenseman James Wisniewski is doubtful.
The Bruins will finish the series off tonight as the Habs are wearing down against the physically superior Bruins. Boston’s game has rounded into form and they will take a large step in ridding the monkey off their back from last years meltdown against the Flyers. Boston wins 4-2.

Game 7 of the Sabres/Flyers series is at 7:30pm from the Wells-Fargo Center in Philaelphia.
Game info: Brian Boucher will get the start for the Flyers in the deciding game of the series. The Flyers have started three goalies in the series, but Boucher has been the only one to win. The Sabres hold a major advantage in goal with Ryan Miller in net. He has posted two shutouts in the series, but looked very shaky giving up fat rebounds in game 6.  Buffalo has not played a game 7 since the 2006 Eastern Conference final vs Carolina. The Sabres will be without Tim Connolly and Jason Pominville. Connolly will not play after suffering an upper body injury from the controversial Mike Richards hit in game 6. Derek Roy will likely see his first game action since December when he tore a quadriceps muscle. Jeff Carter will almost certainly be out for the Flyers with a leg injury that has cost him the last 2.5 games. Chris Pronger looks to be more involved in his second game back from a broken hand. It remains to be seen if he does more than just play on the power play as he did in game 6.

Goaltending is always a question in Philadelphia. As long as Brian Boucher makes the saves he is supposed to, they will win. The Flyers experience, depth, and the advantage of last change will prove to be too much for the Sabres.. These teams do not like each other, so expect a nasty affair.  Flyers win 4-3.

Game 7 of the Blackhawks/Canucks series is at 10:00pm from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

Game info: The Canucks are on the verge of the worst playoff meltdown in history. They were up 3-0 in the series, and are the #1 seed in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks have no pressure on them. Since David Bolland came back in game 4, the Hawks have outscored the Canucks 16-5. Bolland is a (+6) , while the Sedin twins are a combined (-13).  Roberto Luongo will start after being benched for the start of game 6 (.738 save % since games 4-6). The $10 million goalie has to get the Blackhawks funk out of his system and outplay Corey Crawford tonight. The Hawks have eliminated the Canucks in each of the last two years with Luongo inexplicably falling apart in the each of the deciding games. Nerves will be key, and the fans will be tense.  A major statement will be made by the Canucks one way or another. Bryan Bickell is out for Chicago after breaking his hand in game 6.
Vancouver’s depth will win over late in the game., as the Hawks top players will wear down after playing so many exhausting key minutes in the series. Luongo will play well enough to win and the city can breath a sigh of relief. Canucks 4-2 with an empty net goal.

Here is the schedule for tonight’s games.
Boston @ Montreal 7:00pm EST
Buffalo @ Philadelphia  7:30pm
Chicago @ Vancouver  10:00pm
In-game tweets tonight of Flyers/Sabres game 7 at  twitter.com@getrealhockey.

Follow my articles and tweets and send questions me on twitter. @Chyz1.

-Mark Chyz


1) Setting up a crazy Tuesday night – With the Canucks and Sabres losing in overtime on Sunday, Tuesday night is set up to be the best night of the 2011 NHL playoffs.  It features Game 6 of the Bruins/Canadiens series at 7pm, Game 7 of the Sabres/Flyers series at 7:30pm, and Game 7 of the Blackhawks/Canucks series at 10:00pm. This will be on gripping night of TV for all of you hockey fans. Each series has featured wild momentum swings, crazy moments and hart hitting action, just like you would expect from the best playoff in all of sports!

2) Officiating and borderline hits – The consistency of the officiating in the NHL playoffs is puzzling.
Exhibit A) Take the Brian Bickell hit on Kevin Bieksa in overtime of last nights Canucks/Hawks game. What made this one any different than the Raffi Torres hit on Brent Seabrook? Conditions were almost identical. Both were blindside hits directly to the head, behind the net. Torres got an interference penalty, Bickell got nothing, and he left his feet.
Exhibit B) The interference call on Saku Koivu in the last minute of the Ducks/Predators game. By rule, Koivu set a pick, and it was interference. To call it at that stage of the game with the Ducks trying to make up 1 goal with the goalie pulled to stay alive is ludicrous. The refs were letting many similar plays go all game. Once they set the precedence, they must follow it. Seeing the Ducks get one last chance to stay alive would have been great….. too bad it didn’t happen. 
Exhibit C ) Mike Richards hit on Tim Connolly – Richards got 2 minutes for a questionable hit  on Connolly while the Flyers were already down a man. Connolly ended up hurt on the play, did not return to the game, and may not play in game 7. Buffalo fans and players were outraged that Richards didn’t get 5 minutes and a game misconduct for the hit. Personally, I think the refs got this one right. There is no way Richards was intentionally putting his team down 5 on 3. The hit was dangerous after Connolly turned hit body. We see these type of hits go without calls often. If Connolly wasn’t hurt, would it be worth the punishment of 5 minutes and a game? I doubt it.  

 3) Two more OT games, Two more garbage goals – More examples of how to score in overtime on Sunday. Players should just get the puck to the net. You never know what will happen.  Deflections lead to bounces to players in the right place, at the right time. Overtime is not the time to be cute.

4) Roberto Luongo – If he loses to the Hawks on Tuesday in Game 7, Luongo will go down in history with the likes of Scott Norwood, Greg Norman, Jean Van De Velde, Bill Buckner and Jose Mesa. For whatever reason, the Hawks are buried deep in his head, and he can’t get over the hump. Luongo is 20-20 in his playoff career, but only 7-11 vs Chicago. Benching him in game 6 was a huge statement by coach Allain Vigneault, but now he has no choice but to start Luongo Tuesday with Corey Schneider suffering from cramps. I feel for the guy, but when you are making $10 million per year, you need to be able to throw away your demons and step up in a big game!

Here is the schedule for tonight’s games.
Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay 7:00pm EST
San Jose @ Los Angeles  10:00pm
No live tweets from me tonight.  I will be back tomorrow tweeting the Flyers/Sabres game 7  @getrealhockey.

Follow my articles and tweets and send questions to @Chyz1 on TWITTER.

-Mark Chyz

April 24, 2011

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This year's Stanley Cup race has seen some strange turn of events.  Some of the most interesting include the ups and downs of the Canucks and the Flyers goalie merry go round.  This weekend was no exception to the rule with some very unusual action all over the league.
Last night, I sat there and watched the Bruins and Habs locked in a titanic battle of wills.  Carey Price did everything he could to keep his team in the game and Tim Thomas did the same.  This was a hockey game for the ages. The Bruins which have never come back from two down to win a seven game series are now on the verge of creating history.  The Bruins squad is psyching out the Canadiens and their will to win has been too much for Montreal.  The tide favours Boston and Montreal is going to need the top guns to show their stuff if they expect to advance.

Gomez is nowhere to be found for Montreal and the defense is laughable at times.  Stalwarts like Gill are running all over the ice and look lost.  It is going to take some doing but Montreal will have to tighten up or they could be crushed in their next encounter with the Bees. 
Today, Nashville stunned Anaheim and entered the 2nd round of the playoff for the 1st time by kicking the Ducks to the curb.  The Preds are a solid team with obvious talent.  They look and smell a lot like the Hawks of last year.  They are a team to watch in round 2 and we expect that their next adversary will be in for a hard fought series.
This is going to continue to be an interesting race, no doubt.  We favour Washington to go all the way but hell, this is the year of the unsual so anything is possible.

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