Monday, June 30, 2008

Rookie Camp Signing night

My Autograph page from the night.
I see Nick Ross!!!! (second from right in red). I can't remember who the guy next to him is, but he had a cut on his lip. We asked him if he got into a fight with a hockey puck and lost. He laughed and said yah...
A shot of the table from line.
Kyle Turris and Brett Hextall (KT make my brain shut down!)
Mikkel Boedker, our first round pic.

Oh wow, the rookie camp signing night was soooo much fun. We got there early and waited in line outside but it was so worth it. We were some of the first few in line. We ended up having a seat on the cement (surprisingly warm) and had a picnic. One person took her free coyote duffel and brought us all the free hot dogs and pop. We watched the clips from last season’s games and I got a little sad every time I saw a huge Ballard hit.

Well, when we finally got to through the line I somehow ended up between Odin and Mrs. O. (I think Odin actually preferred that, he was rolling his eyes at us!) First up, I asked Mueller why he was there. I said are they punishing you? What did you do? They making you be a rookie one more time? He just laughed and said I don’t know. Mrs. O really liked Scott Darling’s last name. He thought that was quite funny.

The best was when we got to Viktor Tikhonov and she started telling him that she took Russian in college but all she can remember is “I love you”. Josh Tordjman looks up and goes, “Can you teach me how to say that so I can say it to him?” I just started cracking up. I guess Tordjman was just cracking everyone up that night.
We would also look at a name and Mrs. O would go are you American? We actually guessed most of them right! We also complimented those with 4 consonants in a row and asked Juha Uotila how to pronounce his name. Yah, I still don’t know how.

Kolarik and Porter were sitting next to each other and I said, “I’m glad you are Coyotes now. I had a hard time watching you at Michigan”. They looked at each other and went, what are you a buckeye? I got a horrified look on my face and gasped, NO, I’m a Badger! They were like oh ok.

At this point, I can’t remember much else. That was last Wednesday.

Freaking Dylan Reese. I liked the dude until he signed the page as number 2. That’s Bally’s number, you were assigned 45 for rookie camp and that’s what you should have used!

This year was a lot different from last year. There were a TON of fans there. The line took up almost the whole length of the rink. I think I had a lot more fun this year but I did miss Carcillo. He was great at Rookie Camp and Rookie Signing last year.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Coyotes traded for Brian McGrattan of Ottawa for a 5th round pick in 2009 that we aquired from Boston. It looks like we got our heavy weight to take the pressure off of Daniel Carcillo. Carcillo will now be able to focus on scoring, being a pest, and fighting only those he has to (or really wants to). He will no longer have to take on the heavyweights (although he holds his own quite well).

I am liking this trade. We didn’t give up much but we got a player who knows his place and sounds like he wants to be here. He knows he is here to protect the young guys.

Some quotes and stuff from the Arizona Republic:
The new Coyotes enforcer Brian McGrattan figures that he and Daniel Carcillo, who led the NHL in penalty minutes last season, could be a potent one-two punch.
"He can concentrate on other things, and he can stir things up a bit, and I'll finish it off for him," he said laughing.
He said he wants to come into training camp and work hard and try to get into the lineup every night. He thinks a realistic goal is five to seven minutes a game, adding it would be "great" if it exceeded that.
I like that he wants to increase his playing time from 2 min/game to 5-7 min/game. He’s got a goal and to reach it he knows he has to work hard. This could be a great addition to our team. He is also rumored to be good friends with Ray Emery. If Ray wants to come to Phoenix and party, I would welcome that and would volunteer to show them around! I would love to meet Ray again. That boy is fine!

Ok, back to some hockey news..
Tjarnqvist will most likely not be a Coyote this coming season. At first I was shocked. Our penalty kill would really take a hit (no TQ, no Bally, probably no Ziggy – he will probably be back in SA) but after watching the rookies, they are good and they have speed. They could easily steal a puck and go racing down the ice. I don’t really know who will be willing to block a shot like Bally and TQ besides Z though. We will have to wait and see.

It sounds like Maloney would like to see Vrbata back but will shore up the blueline first. Looks like we will get at least one, possible tow, young veteran UFA blueliners. Yandle, Ross and Jones probably will get long looks in training camp. That worries me. I like Ross and he looked good in rookie camp but is he ready for the big time? Yandle, well what can I say about him? The boy cracks under pressure. He has tons of potential but isn’t using any of it. Jones just needs to figure out what kind of dman he is. He needs to either hit more or get more offensive, just find his niche. He’s just kind of middle of the road last season, not doing anything that made him really stand out.

Weller was offered a two-way contract. No word on what he is going to do. He may just test the waters of UFA. I would love to see him back as a Coyote and learn to plant his bug body in front of the net.

Speaking of that, Toc was not offered a new contract. Looks like he will be going to the Lightning. From what I have heard his leaving was fairly mutual. I wish him all the best. He will be a great head coach someday and may get a chance sooner with another team.

Qualifying offers were giving to the following RFAs:
McGrattan, Carcillo, Montoya, the defunct Russian, Perrault, and Jones. Baby Hossa was not given a QO. I wonder where he will end up? Back in Europe?

July 1st is only a few days away. I actually have to be at work that day, since it’s a Tuesday. Last year the 1st was a Sunday and the next day was my flex day. Hopefully we know something right away. I hope Maloney already has a dman or two already lined up. If not, we could end up spending a lot more than wanted or just using the rookies.

Ok, well I think that about just covers all the news. I am going to go upload some pics and work on cropping some. Pics to be posted later!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Coyotes Rookie Camp and My Own Top 30 Hockey Hotties

I went to rookie camp yesterday and then at home saw a video a girl put together with her top 25 hockey guys that she thought were hot. I was inspired…

First up, Rookie Camp.

Wow oh wow. Our future is going to be a-maz-ing. There are some really talented kids there. And after just a week, they are really starting to get a great feel for each other. Porter and Kolarik already have it, but Turris, MacLean, and Tikhonov were great together.

Ross and Summers kept catching my eye. They are going to be some great dmen in a year or two. It sounds like Maloney is keeping an eye on Ross and we might see him on the big team for a look-see.

Gistedt was fun to watch. He has a lot of talent too. Tordjman was great, as usual. Darling was funny to watch. He is sooooo tall (6’6), he looks almost awkward in net. He has a tendency to slide very far when crossing the net I noticed. That could be a problem if he gives up a lot of rebounds and can’t recover quickly enough.

There was a small group (besides the goalies) who arrived earlier and worked on their skating. MacLean and Staal were some of them. I wish I would have written this right after camp, as now I can’t remember everything I wanted to say. I took a few pictures. I haven’t uploaded them yet, but when I do, maybe I will post a few (if they are any good, I was having difficulties yesterday morning).

I am getting so excited for the season. 3 more weeks and the schedule comes out! End of August is the unofficial camp and then its training camp and preseason games in September! Man-oh-man, the summer cannot go fast enough.

Ok, so this girl made a youtube video of her top 25 hot players. She was obviously a Pens fan, as the list was dominated by Pens players. I disagreed with a lot of her choices (Malkin, Zetterburg, Staal etc). So I decided to try and put together a top 30 and get one player from each team and rank them. Feel free to discuss and disagree as looks are totally subjective.

So here is my list of the Top 30 Hockey Hotties (with a few honorable mentions at the end):

1.Daniel Carcillo – Phoenix Coyotes
2.Ryan Suter – Nashville Predators
3. Taylor Pyatt – Vancouver Canucks
4. Vincent Lecavalier – Tampa Bay Lighning
5. Keith Ballard – Florida Panthers
6. Ilya Kovalchik – Atlanta Thrashers
7. Derek Roy – Buffalo Sabres
8. Rick DiPietro – New York Islanders
9. Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
10. Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers
11. RJ Umberger – Columbus Bluejackets
12. Jason Spezza – Ottawa Senators
13. David Steckel – Washington Capitals
14. Dustin Penner – Edmonton Oilers
15. Cam Ward – Carolina Hurricanes
16. Grant Stevenson – Calgary Flames
17. Andreas Lilja – Detroit Red Wings
18. Jose Theodore – Colorado Avalanche
19. Eric Ersberg – Los Angeles Kings
20. Scottie Upshall – Philadelphia
21. Adam Burish – Chicago Blackhawks
22. Nolan Schaefer – Minnesota Wild/Houston Aeros
23. Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks
24. Milan Lucic – Boston Bruins
25. Brooks Orpik – Pittsburgh Penguins
26. David Clarkson – New Jersey Devils
27. BJ Crombeen – Dallas Stars
28. Marcel Goc – San Jose Sharks
29. I honestly could not find any good pics to make a decision – St. Louis Blues
30. Vesa Toskala – Toronto Maple Leafs

And a few honorable mentions:
Ray Emery – Currently with no team
Jim Slater and Tobias Enstrom – Atlanta Thrashers
Martin Gelinas and Dan Ellis – Nashville Predators
Fredrik Sjostrom – New York Rangers
Mike Green and Jeff Schultz – Washington Capitals
Kyle Brodziak – Edmonton Oilers
Eric Lindros – Retired (my first hockey love, I had to include him)
Mark Smith – Calgary Flames
John-Michael Liles – Colorado Avalanche
Chris Conner – Dallas Stars
Zach Parise and Brian Gionta – New Jersey Devils
Dominic Moore – Toronto Maple Leafs

This ended up being a lot harder than I thought. Some teams definitely have the better looking players! And some teams are really homely. Also, it’s a lot easier to spot a hottie in person rather then looking at their mug shoots and then googling to see if they are good looking. I welcome any and all suggestions! I’m sure there are players I missed.

I started trying to rank them by hottness but it ended up being random after about number 14. Even then some of the earlier ones can be switched around, so really this list is in no particular order!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Some Random Updates/Rumors

Ok, in my fervor over Ballard, I forgot a few other important updates.

The Predators have signed Ryan Suter. He got 14 million for four years.
From the article on the Predators website: “Ryan has established himself as an integral part of our team and one of our core players moving forward,” Poile said. “He has shown the ability to play in all key situations, including both special teams units.” He is a good dman and I will continue to follow him while he is in the NHL.

Also, the Preds trade goalie Chris Mason to St. Louis and resign Dan Ellis! It looks like they signed him to two years, 3.5 million. A nice quote from the Preds site (apparently he just turned 28): "For this to fall on my birthday is pretty special. I got the call from my agent last night, so that made yesterday one the better birthdays I've had and definitely one that'll remember for quite some time."

Ray Emery cleared waivers. Look for him to resign elsewhere (Spector’s mentioned Kings, which I wouldn’t mind). Teams are in desperate need of goalies and he has admitted he had some personal problems this last season. He can (and will) bounce back. He is too good of a goalie to not go anywhere. Maybe this was his plan all along. He gets bought out by Ottawa and then resigns elsewhere? Nice way to get out of Ottawa and make a little extra cash in the meantime!

According to Spector’s, Avery may be let loose by the Rangers. I also saw on there where he may go to Dallas. Do the stars really need a player like Avery? Do we really want Avery back in the West? I liked him just fine with the Rangers, we don’t have to see him all the freaking time and he seems to leave Doan alone!

Spector’s also says Hossa is still interested in Boston. I think he would be too expensive for us anyway. Not necessarily money wise, but terms wise. He would probably want a 5 year deal or something. Maloney isn’t one to hand out much more than 3 years.

This week is rookie camp. Unfortunately, my work will not let me have anytime off this week so I will be going only to the Saturday public practice. I will also be going to the signing on Wednesday night. As far as I can tell, the schedule has not been released yet, but I will post it when I get it.

The preseason schedule is out now. Again, there are three home games here and one in Winnipeg. Here is the schedule (from the Yotes website):

09/22/08 at Los Angeles Kings 7:30PM
09/24/08 (Winnipeg home game) Calgary Flames 5:30PM
09/25/08 at Calgary Flames 6:00PM
09/27/08 Anaheim Ducks at Arena 7:00PM
09/29/08 San Jose Sharks at Arena 7:00PM

09/30/08 at San Jose Sharks 7:30PM
10/03/08 at Anaheim Ducks 7:00PM
10/04/08 Los Angeles Kings at Arena 7:00PM

It looks pretty boring this year. Same damn teams we see all the freaking time. No home game until September 27?!? I may not make it that long...

The regular season schedule should come out sometime next month (fingers crossed). Once that comes out, I have some trips to plan. I also need to figure out when all my girls can come visit and take in a hockey game or two! We are so stoked about their visits already.

Well, I think that is about it for today.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

One of the saddest days of my life...

Last night was the first two rounds of the NHL 2008 Entry Draft. It took place up in Ottawa while I was at the Coyotes draft party in Scottsdale. Hey Wayne, there was way more than 9-10 fans there! Our group alone was 9-10 people. But it was nice to hear a shout out from the Great One. *edit* I guess Gretzky actually said 910 am or something similar. He needs to work on his enunciation. That and we were all clapping and cheering for our team, so it was difficult to hear.

So before the draft even started a trade was announced. When I saw the first part of the trade, I was happy. We were all screaming and clapping. Then I noticed what we gave up and I was just in shock. We traded Keith Ballard, Nick Boynton and I believe the 49th (or 39the) pick to Florida Panthers for Olli Jokinen.

Ok, so we got a great center. His stats from last year:
GP G A Pts +/- PIM GWG Shots
82 34 37 71 -19 67 5 341

Ok, so he has a lot of points and he shoots a lot. But what about that -19? That worries me a little bit as the Coyotes expect their offense to be defensive minded too. And what else worries me, now we only have 2.5 true NHL defensemen. (I count Jovo only as a half, as he is not the most defensive defenseman. He tends to have a lot of turnovers). We have DMo and Z. Then there is Jones and Yandle. No way in hell do I want those two on the team full time next year!

I keep going between emotions on this trade. I am not upset about Boynton, even though I like him. I am just so upset to see Ballard go. I will miss his hipchecks. I’m glad I got my pic and autograph. I will probably be upset again come training camp and preseason. We will be missing an important aspect of the team.

So, leading up to the draft Maloney talked a lot about we were going to draft defense. Instead we trade away two d and draft a forward with our 8th pick! Granted all that was left was Myers and no way in hell did we want him but what the hell. Are we just going to spend more time in the other team’s zone? Yah, we may score a lot more goals but with no defense, we are going to let the other team score a lot more!

Maloney better have something up his sleeve, either another trade or a big UFA defenseman signing. And it better not be Campbell. He did jack for the sharks this year. I am hoping for Orpik. The guy’s a checking machine. We will need at least two more defensemen though. We don’t have enough NHL ready defensemen in our closet! I don’t think Ross is ready, maybe the Swede, maybe Stephenson.

It looks like we drafted three d in the later rounds. They definitely won’t be NHL ready this year. They may never be NHL ready. We also took the last of the Staal brothers.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Probably the Best Hockey Game I Have EVER Watched!

Holy shit, what an amazing Game 5! I was literally on the edge of my seat after the third period! The pens were up 2-1 and the wings made it 3-2. I was pretty sure the game was over and the cup was going to make its way to the ice. Watching the clock count down the final minute of the game, I was surprised to see the puck go in with about 25 seconds left. I sat straight up and screamed. Did that actually go in? Did I see that right? It did! Holy shit holy shit the pens had tied the game!

I sat nervously through the first two overtimes. Could the pens really pull this off? Could they force a game 6? I was praying to the hockey gods to send this series back to Pittsburgh. Finally, about half way through the 3rd I saw the puck going in the net. I know it wasn’t actually in slow motion, but I swear I saw it going in in slow motion. It was just amazing. I couldn’t believe the Pens had just pulled off the win. Wow.

This game 5 had the highest TV audience for a game 5 since 2002. Wow, that has got to be good for the sport. Unfortunately there are people like Tiger Woods who say unintelligent things like, “I didn’t know anyone still watched hockey”. To that I say, go to hell Tiger Woods. If I was a golf fan, I’d no longer support you. I hope you get bad. And by the way WHO THE HELL WATCHES GOLF?!?!?!?!?!? That has got to be one of the most boring sports to watch on TV. Do they even get a good TV audience for that?


From Ek - Spezza and the LA Kings is still out there, but don't rule out the Calgary Flames who may make a bold move for Spezza if they fail to land Jokinen.

Why the fuck would Spezza go to LA? If he does, at least I will see him more often but the kings? Jesus.

Not much else, Spector reports the Avs may resign Jose and shop Budaj.

Well, I am going to finish watching game 6. I’m hoping the Pens pull out the win and force game 7. It’s not looking like that’s going to happen. They couldn’t get anything going for a 5 on 3 and Detroit is up 1-0 in the second. C’mon Pens!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Stanley Cup Finals, Wheeler is UFA and Rumors

Four games down in the Stanley Cup Finals. Detroit is up 3-1.

Detroit came out strong in the first two games. The Penguins entered unfamiliar territory at Joe Louis Arena. These teams did not meet once this season (I am so glad the schedule is changing next year) and the Penguins were definitely not prepared for the Wings. Crosby and Malkin were invisible the first game. Crosby came back in the second, but going into the fifth game, Malkin is still pretty much MIA. He is not the force he was during the season.

Osgood denied the Pens any goals those first two games. And he also did some damn good acting (Holstrom did some pretty good acting too)! Once at home the Pens seemed to wake up. Their first home game, they played a physical game and really beat down the wings. They were able to solve Osgood and pull of the win. The second home game for the Pens wasn’t nearly as pretty. They got the first goal, played physical and then died. They can not keep up with the Wings for a full 60 minutes (not many teams could this season).

The series moves back to Detroit. Based on what I have seen, the Pens just aren’t going to be able to pull this off. I would love to see this go to seven games and the Pens win, but that’s not going to happen.

Brooks Orpik is a monster. He has hit any wings player that moves. I swear to god. I have actually found someone on the Pens that I enjoy watching. I also like his name. I read on that his dad wanted to name his Herb (after Herb Brooks) but his mama vetoed it and they settled on Brooks. That is just a cool story!

In Coyotes news…Wheeler has opted for free agency instead of signing with the Coyotes. It seems he wants his choice of where to play and not the money (as Coyotes are the one team that can offer him a ton of money because of the old CBA). A lot of people are very angry about this and hoping that he gets his ass kicked. I just hope he doesn’t go to a division rival and end up being an amazing player in a year or too. A lot of people also think he wants to go to the Wild. From what I have read that is just speculation since he is from Minnesota. Other speculation is he wants to go to a worse team the Coyotes in order to have a shot at the NHL right away. Here he would have a lot of competition and have to fight for a spot with the big club. I would have loved to have seen Wheeler in a Yotes uniform but I guess that won’t be happening. L I wish him well and hope this turns out to be the right decision for him.

There was an open house the other night. The usuals were there, DMo and Fuhr. I went but only to check out some stuff at the den and talk hockey with some people. I was going to talk to Ryan about my season tickets, but that boy is always busy! He is definitely one of the more popular ticket reps, along with Neils. I didn’t get a chance to say Hi to him either. I did get a free pop, hot dog and popcorn though! I was about to fall over by the time I got there.

Here is good article. It’s an “as told to” by Daniel Carcillo. So, fighting in his own words!

Some Rumors that interest me:

Looks like the Preds may have another fire sale this summer…(from Eklund, not the most reliable):
Dan Ellis The Senators are the likely team that will sign Ellis who is quite the commodity right much so that the Preds may be out of the bidding soon. Don't rule out the Red Wings as well who got a very good look at Ellis these playoffs.Shea Weber or Gary Suter Speaking of the Preds......Shea Weber talks are very heated reportedly. I do expect the Preds will get Shea signed, but if they can't long term look for them to trade his rights prior to July 1. If Shea is signed, the Preds will likely move Suter....

I’m thinking he means Ryan, not Gary. Gary would be Ryan’s uncle, similar style but different players. Ellis was phenomenal for the Preds this year (I would die if he became a wing! I could handle a senator but then I’d never see him). I would love to see him stay there. And Ryan should stay too unless he comes to Phoenix!

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators could buy out goalie Ray Emery as soon as within 48 hours of the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs but if they pass on that would have to wait until the buyout period of June 15-30, and because he won't be 26 until September, Emery's buyout would be at one-third the remaining value rather than two-thirds. Garrioch cites sources claiming the Sens have tried to shop him but received only mild interest from one or two teams and it's doubtful any club will take his full current salary.
SPECTOR'S NOTE: It'll be surprising if the Senators don't avail themselves of the opportunity to buy him out for one-third his remaining value of his contract. No team will take him off their hands right now.

I would like them to buy Ray out, have another team give him a small contract and see what he can do. He may just have had an off year because of his wrist surgery and apparently some personal problems were involved too.

BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports the impressive physical play of Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik could make him an attractive target in this summer's UFA market by teams seeking a physical presence on their blueline. Dupont suggests the Penguins might not be able to re-sign him and Orpik could command up to $5 million per season on the open market.
SPECTOR'S NOTE: At 42 Roberts could opt for retirement, and if the Penguins win the Cup I believe he will retire, preferring to go out a winner.Orpik is in the prime of his career and will attract a lot of attention as a UFA this summer. It doesn't appear as though he'll be re-signed as it's believed he's clashed at time with head coach Michel Therrien.

Holy crap, if we can’t get Suter maybe we can get Brooks! That is too funny that I found that after espousing my new found love for him!