May 7, 2011


The one constant in this year's Stanley Cup race is that great goaltending will carry the day.    Having less than perfect goaltending has proven to be a disaster.  Ryan Miller was a question mark for the Sabres and that turned out bad.  Fleury succumbed to pressure again for the Pens and now they are playing golf.  Of course, all our readers know about the goaltending  problem in Philly.  Their net minding mess when from damaging to crisis level against the Bruins.  Philadelphia goaltending imploded and the Flyers looked like a Pee Wee team in their series against the Bruins.
A great goalie makes an average team look even better.  This was the case with Montreal.  Carey Price did everything but stand on his head for the Habs and it still wasn't good enough.  Montreal did pick up their game 100% because of Price but unfortunately for them, Tim Thomas was at the other end of the rink for Boston.  The Bees have a skilled team and the guys are looking like superstars in front of Thomas. The Bruins are rolling into a series with the Lightning and Tim Thomas should be the difference one more time.  The guy is a work horse and a high pressure performer.   Boston is on a roll and we like them more and more to become champions.  Momentum is a big part of the sport and being good is one thing but good and lucky can make you a champion.

The goaltending issue has been a key driver in the success of the Canucks.  These guys were almost embarrassed by the Black Hawks.   The Black Hawk comeback was solely on the back of Roberto Luongo.  His collapse could have buried Vancouver but he managed to turn it around and sew up the series for the Canucks in a hard fought game seven.  Against Nashville, Luongo has been key in holding off the Predators.  His game two performance allowed Vancouver to stay in the series.  The Predators could have buried Vancouver and put them up on the ropes.  The 2-1 victory by Nashville was not a blow out and Vancouver was able to rally for a game three victory in the Predators home building.   Again the series' outcome is in Roberto Luongo's hands.  We expect him to stay the course and take the Canucks forward. 
Good goalies are the difference between Cup contenders and winners.  Thomas and Luongo look good for their squads.  Stay tune and time will tell us which one of these warriors gets to put their name on Lord Stanley's cup.

May 6, 2011


The one thing we could count on in the first round of the playoffs was how unpredictable things were.  That held true as multiple games went to OT and double OT.  The unpredictable theme sailed into the next round with a new twist. Parity was now out the window and it was time for some ass kicking.  The Bruins which had fought so hard with the Habs were now crushing the Flyers.  The Sharks which had gone back and forth with LA were now walloping the Red Wings.  We think that the demolition of Philadelphia and Detroit was unexpected but as we said the new norm seems to be to expect the unexpected. 

It seems to us that this should continue into tonight.  The Bruins smell the blood in the water and the Flyers seem unable r unwilling to put up a decent fight.  The Bruins play Flyer hockey better than the Flyers and the Philadelphia team can't even seem to play catch up.  The forwards for Boston are right in Boucher's face and the result has been demoralizing for the entire team.  We think Bergeron and company will play hard in front of Thomas and put this one away.  A good team is made better by momentum and the momo is behind Boston right now.
The Sharks are in the same mind space as Boston right now.  They have the ability to bury Detroit and it will be hard for the Red Wings to put up any credible fight this evening.  The Europeans for Detroit have the world on their shoulders and the heroics will be slow in coming.  We think it will be tough for Hockey Town but this year , the Sharks have their number.  It is time to step aside and start rebuilding.  The Sharks want to dispatch the Wings and that desire will have Detroit pinned firmly against the wall.


The Stanley Cup is the center of the hockey universe.  Players from St-Petersburg to Sault St-Marie grow up dreaming of winning the Stanley Cup.  It is what they do when they get that chance that separates the heroes from the footnotes in hockey history.
This year has been no different.  Some very good performances are making fans go nuts while supposed superstars are dropping the ball.  Guys like Ovechkin, the Sedins and Scott Gomez have been big disappointments.  Their 2011 Stanley Cup highlight reels will be tucked away for no one to see.  However there are players on all remaining teams which deserve a shout out for stand up play.  
Ryan Kesler has been a standout for the Vancouver Canucks.  His relentless energy has led to many crucial goals in both series that the Canucks have played.  The guy is a role model for all him teammates.  Another unlikely Stanley Cup hero for the Canucks is Chris Higgins. Chris Higgins who is a cast off of the Montreal Canadiens has come back to life and showed a lot of character during the games against Chicago and Nashville.  His play in the corners and in front of the has set the bar for his team mates to follow.

Martin St-Louis and Sean Bergenheim are carrying the day for the Bolts.  These two have been lighting the lamp for Tampa Bay at a furious pace.  Their heroics help put away Pittsburgh and Washington which in theory should have buried the Lightning.  The win against Washington was especially important given that they pounded them out of the rink in four straight.  Boston should be next to face the TB LIghtning shooting gallery.  Tim Thomas is going to have to shine like never before if Boston hopes to compete.
Speaking of Tim Thomas he is the #1 reason the Bruins are still devouring the competition in this year's Stanley Cup race.   This guy had to outlast Carey Price and just the other night he faced a barrage of 50+ shots and still took down the Flyers.  This could be the year of Tim Thomas if Boston finds itself lone wolf standing at the end of this playoff race.  Tim Thomas is the epitome of hardnosed hockey.  he is a strong competitor who wants this for the fans and his teammates.  Time will tell how things turn out but his 2011 Stanley Cup performances will last in fans memories forever.


The big bad Russian express has left the Washington Capitals sitting on the sidelines as they lick their wounds from the ass kicking they received from the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The Ovechkin led pack of European hotshots were unable to come to life at any point during the series.  They were man handled by the Canadian connection of Lecavalier, St-Louis, and Stamkos.  The heart of the Bolts team completely dominated the hapless Capitals and it looks like they will be a handful for their next opponent.  

Tim Thomas and the Bruins seem headed for an eventual showdown with the Bolts.  This will be a harder team to pull apart for Tampa.  The Bruins are "old style" hockey and they won't shy away from Tampa's Canadian superstars.  Hitting with be more intense against Boston and Tampa may be afraid to stand in front of the net when required.

Europeans have longed been tagged as "chokers" during the playoffs.  Don Cherry has been riding Europeans for years and Overchkin and his buddies made Cherry look like a genius with their performance against Tampa.  We like Boston to finish off the Flyers but we think the Bolts are up for a real fight against the Bruins with no clear winner in sight, right now.  Assuming the Bruins stay healthy and don't tire out; we think they could put an end to the Bolts "Cinderella" run. 

2011 is a warm up for Tampa Bay.  They are building a dynasty.  Unfortunately for hockey fans in the sunny south , we think it will be a wait till next year scenario once the next series is over.   

Chris Pronger - The Best Playoff Defenseman

Since the lockout Chris Pronger has been the best playoff defenseman in the game. His success cannot be disputed. He has appeared in 3 of the 5 Stanley Cup Finals and won once since the NHL took its yearlong break in 2005. What makes his contributions more impressive, is that he had been to three finals, with three different teams (Edmonton 2006, Anaheim 2007, Philadephia 2010). Never has he been more valuable than this year. Take a look at the Philadelphia Flyers with and without Pronger in the lineup. The team lacks leadership and misses his nastiness on the blueline. Last year Pronger would play between 25-30 minutes per game, and shut down the opposing teams best line on most nights. This year, he has only played in three playoff games. 

Back in March Pronger broke his right hand blocking a shot. Since then he has not been the same, nor have the Philadelphia Flyers. Without him, the Flyers have struggled in the playoffs, barely beating the Buffalo Sabres in 7 games, and currently losing in the conference semi-final to Boston three games to none. 

In the playoffs matchups are key, and over a 7 game series Pronger wears teams out with his gritty, often dirty play, and his uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. He is a guy you hate when he is on the opposing team, and love him on yours. Pronger is a master of mind games, and as proficient a defenseman as there is on the power play. He is most missed when the team begins to break down in their defensive zone. Pronger is the type of player that makes everyone around him better by covering up mistakes made by other players. Without him in the lineup, those mistakes are magnified. Great defensive pairings are broken up, and players that look great with him on the ice, look below average without him.

The most obvious place where Pronger is missed is in net. Everyone knows what a circus the Flyers have been in goal, but last year they made the Stanley Cup Finals with the almost the same below average goaltending. Pronger was vital is making sure the opposition only got one shot. He clears the front of the net, and is a master of intimidation. There is no doubt the Flyers are a different team without him in the lineup. Did anyone know they would miss him this much?

Send comments or questions to me on twiiter @chyz1

Tonight’s schedule

San Jose @ Detroit 7:00pm EST

Philadelphia @ Boston 8:00pm EST

May 3, 2011

Habs – Bruins Post Mortem Thoughts

Habs – Bruins Post Mortem Thoughts

Yes, I know, I need to get over the disappointing outcome of the Canadiens - Bruins series, but the Boston sports media isn't letting it go so I'm not either. Here are a few post-mortem thoughts:
ñ It's very difficult to win a playoff series when you can't score 5 on 5. The Canadiens last scored an even strength goal in Game 5, and credit the Bruins and Tim Thomas with shutting them down in the final 2 games of the series. On the flip side, it seemed like the Habs scored on every one of their power play chances. Their execution on the man advantage was superb, and with all the personnel turnover on the point over the last few years, the power play remains a strength of this team.
ñ With PK Subban, you have to take some bad with all of the good. I'm not a fan of falling/diving to try and get calls, and for whatever reason, this seems to be part of PK's game. Regardless, the kid is electric and I look forward to him antagonizing the Bruins for years to come. His goal late in Game 7 punctuated an excellent series for him.
ñ On the topic of diving, let's not get carried away by saying this is a team strategy or characteristic. That's projecting the actions of a few onto the entire team and that's not fair. Go through the roster and I think you'll see that there are about four players who use this tactic: Roman Hamrlik, Andrei Kostitsyn, Benoit Pouliot, and PK Subban. Of these four, I'd like to see the first three gone from this team next season. Kostitsyn and Pouliot are particularly useless and beyond frustrating to watch as a fan.
ñ And sticking with the diving topic, is there a writer who has exploited this topic any more than Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald? He's certainly guilty of projecting (as stated above) and he does nothing but get Bruins fans needlessly riled up by serving them emotional red meat that. I find his columns to be willfully ignorant and undignified. A great rivalry like Boston - Montreal doesn't need his classless contribution, and I suspect even Jack Edwards would take umbrage with the outrageous and baseless nature of Harris' conclusions.
ñ At the outset of the Habs - Bruins series, I was skeptical of Tim Thomas' ability to be counted on in the playoffs. After the first 2 games, that skepticism appeared warranted as the Bruins netminder was simply average and his playoff record was an unimpressive 10-10. However, the fact is that he got better as the series moved along. The nervous starts that characterized the first few games were gone by the end of the series, and now the Flyers are getting Thomas' best. That's bad news for Philly. Thomas looks supremely confident and the Flyers aren't seeing much of the net.
ñ One difference between this Bruins team and the one that relinquished a three games to none lead versus the Flyers last year is the quality of goaltending. While Tuukka Rask had a very nice season in 2009-2010, he didn't play well in the Philly series. In contrast, Thomas has looked dominant in the first two games. For Philadelphia, their goaltenders played better in last season's playoffs than they have thus far in this campaign. It seems like they use two goalies in almost every game and that isn't a recipe for success.
ñ The Canadiens surpassed pre-season expectations with their finish in sixth place in the conference, and for that, they should be proud. Many experts had them pegged at 10th. Considering their struggle to score goals and the decimation of their defense through injuries, a 6th place finish was remarkable. To improve next season, GM Pierre Gauthier will have to spend his summer addressing the lack of offense. With limited cap room, it will be interesting to see what moves he can actually make.

OK, I feel better now that I get that off my chest. On to the second round (finally), but I'm not sure these matchups can produce the same kind of drama that we witnessed in the first. We can only hope.
- Bryan Lomax

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The stage is set for some hometown heroics as Nashville confronts Vancouver on their home ice.  Vancouver has been coasting on the heroics of the Roberto Luongo .  Tonight is the night were the Predators can open up a mental gap on the Canucks by putting them away with a big victory.  Legwand and Fisher could be the spark which the Preds need in front of their hometown crowd.  The Canucks seem uninterested in this Stanley Cup race and the blame goes to the European snipers on the team.  These guys look like they don't care about the playoffs.  The Sedins are the biggest disappointment of all for Vancouver.  Without the Sedins lighting the lamp, it could be a very long night for Vancouver.  Barry Trotz has his troops fired up and we can say with some certainty that they won't want to let their coach down.  The man is hockey in Nashville and this could easily be the biggest night in Nashville hockey history.  You put those two together and we think a Predators victory is a given. 

If you are liking the action in the playoffs and you have been right with your picks; you might want to check out :
We like the Preds, Bruins, Bolts, and Sharks going forward.  There could be surprises with turnarounds with Vancouver and Washington but don't count on it.

Calling all NHL Collectors - How Much is this Stanley Cup Ring Worth ?

Get Real Hockey picked up this ring from a collector in Montreal.  This ring belonged to Maurice Richard.  He won it as a member of the 1953 Canadiens.
We are looking for input from all hockey collectors in the blogosphere.  How much could this ring be worth?  

Tim Thomas Spanks Flyers - No Comeback This Year

The Boston Bruins head home with a 2-0 series lead after a wild 3-2 win in overtime against the Philadelphia Flyers last night. The difference in the game was goaltending as Tim Thomas stole the show making 50 saves, many of them were great, game-saving chances.  People will point to the Bruins collapse of last season against the Flyers and say that the series is never over until it’s over. This year will be different!

The tide has turned from last year to this year. It was the Bruins that had injury problems last year. Now, it is the Flyers. David Krejci has been on fire in the first two games with 3 goals and 2 assists. After being knocked out of the playoffs by a Mike Richards hit last year, Krejci has come back with a vengeance to take down the Flyers. Philadelphia could not handle Krejci’s line with Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic at home when they had the ability to matchup against them. Going home to Boston will make that matchup much more difficult.
The loss of Chris Pronger cannot be understated. Pronger missed last night’s game, presumably due to the hand injury that cost him the first five game of round one. Pronger is a stabilizer, a physical force, an agitator, and a leader.  His playoff success cannot be disputed. Since the post lockout NHL, Pronger has been to the Stanley Cup Final three time (06,07, 10), winning in 2007 with Anaheim.
Jeff Carter seems to be a forgotten name. Carter left game 4 in the first round series against Buffalo with a knee injury. Pronger has been the focus but losing a 36 goal scorer has taken away a big threat and neutralized the Flyers biggest asset in having 3 lines that can score at any time. The difference between Dan Carcillo playing on a line vs. Jeff Carter cannot be dismissed. This once again shows the fault of GM Paul Holmgren. He is willing to a pay a forward like Carter $5.5 milllion, yet not have any stable goaltending. Forwards get hurt in the playoffs, goalies rarely do. If the other team gets better goaltending than you every round, it is incredibly difficult to win the Stanley Cup.
Tim Thomas has Philadelphia’s number as he ran his record to 8-0 in Philadelphia. He stopped 46 consecutive shots and gave his team the performance needed to win on the road. The Flyers do not have the goaltending to beat Thomas, in Boston two times on the road in order to win the series. Thomas was hurt last year and the Bruins melted down with a young Tuuka Rask in goal. Look for the Bruins to sweep the series. Cast aside the collapse of last year. The Bruins are on a roll, and with the way Thomas is playing, they will roll right into the Stanley Cup Final.

- Mark Chyz
Send questions or comments to me on twitter @Chyz1.

May 2, 2011

We bought this Stanley Cup ring from 1953 - What do you think ?

May 1, 2011


Looks like the Habs ghost is dead and gone in Montreal.  The team got the boot from the post season last week and the chanting and cheering has died down to zero in tdowntown Montreal.  The boys in red , white , and blue are gone now and the traditional wait till next year is ringing loud and clear.
Montreal bowed out to Boston in the playoffs but it was clear that the core of a great team lies below the surface of this current squad.  Guys like Subban and Price clearly showed that they are ready and able to take the Habs to the next level.  Subban's blue line leadership brought back memories of legendary defensemen like Savard and Robinson.  Subban can carry the puck like no other defenseman can in Montreal.   Markov should be jettisoned by Montreal as the habs will have to make tough financial decisions to make in the next 12-24 months.  The big cash has to be spent on players like Subban and Price who have brilliant futures.

Price is a King in Montreal , now.  The Halak episode of last year is a distant memory and Carey should find himself in nets for Montreal for a very long time.  This young man showed immense character by overcoming the chorus of boos at the start of the season.  He did everything but stand on his head all year long and if Montreal had been a little steadier defensively , they could have competed for the Cup.  While Subban was a standout on the Montreal blue line, Gill and Hamrlik were like ghosts.  Price was often left alone to defend against some pretty heavy offensive minded teams.  The Habs can help themselves by getting younger and more skilled on the blue line.  It will help Price and Subban out in the long run.  Markov, Gill, and Hamrlik should be gone and the door should be left open for players who play every game well into the end of May.       


The playoffs look set to dispatch another hockey dynasty to the sidelines.  Detroit fell to the Sharks today by a 2-1 margin.   The Red Wings played a dull game with little to no spark.   Datsyuk is a non entity so far in this series and Jimmy Howard is doing his best to keep the Motor City crew from getting crushed.   The Sharks are young and aggressive and they could start filling the puck with goals if Detroit doesn't wake up.   We think Detroit is fighting an uphill battle and the Sharks might be in a position to close this off sooner rather than later.

The favourites in the Stanley Cup playoffs are becoming clearer as it evolves.  The Bruins look to strong for Philadelphia; Nashville seems ready to send the Canucks packing, and we are still holding out slim hope for the Capitals.  This year's playoffs victories are being earned by youngsters and hustlers while superstars and veterans watch by the sidelines.  Goaltending is giving us a bushel full of OT games and we think the trend will continue right till the Cup is hosted by the victors.    

Ovechkin, Boucher, and the Sedins - Where are the superstars ???

The 2011 Stanley Cup race has been a roller coaster for all the teams which are in the post season.  The parity in the NHL is evident with the number of OT and double OT games.  Just last night we saw the Canucks and the Predators battle in a double OT  showdown crowned by the play of Roberto Luongo.
Some astute NHL fans don't buy the parity argument.  They think the number of OT game is directly linked to the under performance by some of the key players and stars from some teams which are still battling and/or have been knocked out.   We can see how this argument can make sense for fans of teams like Philadelphia, Vancouver, and Washington.
Vancouver leads the parade of underperformers.  The Canucks had terrorized the NHL in the regular season in a string of high scoring victories.  The run and gun Canucks look a lot like the Capitals from last year.  The Sedins which were on the scoreboard all the time in the regular season are nowhere to be found in the post season.   Roberto Luongo is the reason the Canucks are still a threat in the playoffs.  If Vancouver doesn't get the big guns scoring, they will fall by the wayside just like the Capitals in last year's playoffs series.
Boucher, Boucher, Boucher !!!!  This guy is giving the Flyer faithful fits.  He is playing like swiss cheese and this problem needs to be fixed.  The goalie is key and confidence in the goalie is a priority for a playoff team.  They need Brian Boucher to wake up from his coma and start supporting the forwards.  This is a good team but without a decent goalie they are doomed !!!

Ovechkin is the Boucher of Washington.  His success on the ice is critical to the Caps.  It is going to be interesting see if the hot and cold Russian has the ##### to play up to his ability.  Crunch time is the time for superstars to show up.   We like Washington for an appearance in the finals.  However, with Ovechkin firing blanks; Tampa will destroy the Caps and send them packing.
It is time NHL stars take the game seriously and perform when it counts.  Fans spend good money going to the games and they deserve the best at playoff time.    


Sunday is going to be an exciting day for hockey fans.  The Red Wings and Capitals are up @ bat and their fans will be watching to see how they deliver.
The Wings are up first against the San Jose Sharks.  The Sharks are young and aggressive and they will be a handful for Detroit.  Hockey Town USA is a tough place to be on the losing end of a series so the 2011 Red Wings are going to have to pick up their game.   San Jose is not Phoenix.  If Detroit goes down 2-0 today, they will have the almost impossible task of battling back.  If Jimmy Howard cracks under pressure, the Sharks will pounce and put this one away.
Washington plays later today against the Bolts.  Tampa smacked the Caps around in their first match up and you can be sure that Bruce Boudreau's men will want some payback.  Ovechkin has to come to the rink today for Washington.   If Washington can get everyone ticking along, they should dispose of Tampa easily.   Without Ovechkin, Washington will fold like a deck of cards and Stamkos and the boys will take them out to the woodshed. It could get ugly.

There is nothing like the "good old hockey game" !!!  Turn this tune up , grab some beers and warm up the couch !!!!
Watching the Stanley Cup playoffs is like the holy grail for hockey nuts everywhere.   Get Real Hockey wants you to have fun watching the showdowns and maybe make some money at the same time. Join the Get Real Hockey family on @


Saturday was another day of surprises in the Stanley Cup playoffs.   Both games played yesterday saw the favourites fall by the wayside with stunning loses. 
The Flyers were first to go down with a crushing lose of 7-3 to the Bruins.  Boston jumped all over the Flyers and never let up.  Every half decent shot found the back of the net for the Bees and Philadelphia was half hearted in trying to stop the melt down.  Tim Thomas was not nearly as good as he was against Montreal so there is hope for the Flyers for the rest of the series.  The power forwards for the Flyers can only do so much though;  the Flyers will need net minding to compete.

Vancouver was both lucky and unlucky in yesterday's match up with Nashville.  They were lucky that someone else than the Sedins' showed up and unlucky that the Sedins' didn't show up.   The Canucks led by Luongo played a strong defensive game and looked like they were going to sneak out of the building with a 1-0 victory.  The Preds kept up the pressure and just before the end they managed to tie it 1-1 and that set the stage for OT and a 2-1 win for Nashville.  This victory could be a momentum changer.  Vancouver seems help bent on doing things the tough way.  They let Chicago back into their series and now they seem ready to do the same for Nashville.  Vancouver's coaching staff needs to wake up the stars on the Canucks and get them scoring goals.  Vancouver was #1  in scoring during the season.  They need to go back there if they want to win the Cup.
The pendulum is definitely in favour the Bruins and the Predators in their respective matchups.  Their opponents will have to redraw the battle plans to keep up.  Stay tune because this will be interesting to watch.  Expect the unexpected in the 2011 Stanley Cup race.