Saturday, November 22, 2008

Penguins and Canucks Line Brawl

Video and box score for your viewing pleasure. Thanks to Kramer at Fried Chicken's Hockey Fight Site for his Youtube efforts.

Vancouver fighting - 5 min 0:25, A. Burrows
Vancouver roughing - 2 min 0:25, A. Burrows
Vancouver fighting - 5 min 0:25, J. Hansen
Vancouver game misconduct - 10 min 0:25, J. Hansen
Pittsburgh fighting - 5 min 0:25, M. Cooke
Pittsburgh game misconduct - 10 min 0:25, M. Cooke
Vancouver roughing - 2 min 0:25, R. Kesler
Vancouver roughing - 2 min 0:25, R. Kesler served by S. Bernier
Pittsburgh roughing - 2 min 0:25, T. Kennedy
Pittsburgh roughing - 2 min 0:25, T. Kennedy
Pittsburgh fighting - 5 min 0:25, B. Orpik

Did 2MFB Talk Jonathan Toews Into His First NHL Fight?

You be the judge:

Audio where our question is presented to Toews. Toews says he ready when the situation presents itself.

A few nights later:

Bad Blood Games a Plenty Tonight in the NHL

If you have a buddy who is a casual sports fan and you want to get him hooked on hockey, today is the day.

A number of NHL matchups today/tonight have the potential to feature some serious battles.

Here the skinny (team fights in parenthesis; potential fighters listed by team):

Vancouver (21) @ Pittsburgh (10) - 1:00 est
Vancouver: Hordichuk, M Brown, O Brien, Davison
Pittsburgh: Godard

Hordichuk/Godard could be a pretty nasty tilt.

Potential - Highsticking minor

NY Rangers (15) @ Ottawa (7) - 3:00 est
NY Rangers: Orr, Voros, Dubinsky
Ottawa: Ruutu, Bass, J Smith

Get your rear ends in your seats. Jarkko Ruutu is in for a long night against a team of Rangers that want blood. This past Monday night, Ruutu missed on a penalty shot. Instead of going back the bench, he retrieved the puck in the corner and fired it at Rangers' goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. Bad move. Rangers tough guy Colton Orr wanted to get at Ruutu after the game; but the referees kept everyone separated. It's been less than a week... the memories are fresh.

Potential - Two fights at one time... ejection. Keep an eye on Voros who matches up nicely with Ruutu.

Boston (10) @ Montreal (12) - 7:00 est
Boston: Sh Thornton, Lucic, Chara, Hnidy
Montreal: Laraque, Kostopoulos, O Byrne, Begin

Superheavyweight Georges Laraque was brought into Montreal for a number of reasons, one of which was to keep the Bruins' Milan Lucic from running Habs' players. Laraque has been less than successful. Lucic ran Alexi Kovalev last game and beat the snot out of Mike Komisarek in a one-sided fight. Komisarek is now out for at least a month with a shoulder injury. Laraque asked Lucic to fight him; but Lucic politely declined and went about his way. Laraque force the issue today and jump Lucic. He should have did it last game when the Bs were blowing out the Habs. Maybe he was saving up for a performance on home ice today in Montreal?

Potential - Line brawl. Very nasty game.

Chicago (20) @ Toronto (9) - 7:00 est
Chicago: Eager, Burish, M Walker, C Adams?, Byfuglien
Toronto: Hollweg, Mayers

Hit the snooze button and choose another game. Hollweg and Mayers actually do matchup well with Eager (Mayers) and Burish (Hollweg). But there are too many other good games going on to waste your time here. Brian Burke can't get to Toronto fast enough to inject some toughness into that lineup.

NY Islanders (10) @ Buffalo (11) - 7:00 est
NY Islanders: Fritz, T Jackman
Buffalo: Peters, Mair, Rivet, Gaustad, Kaleta

Mitch Fritz meet Andrew Peters. Fritz bring his 6'8" frame back to the NHL. This the first meeting since these two teams had a line brawl in the preseason. Patrick Kaleta fought Brendan Witt, Craig Rivet jumped into the primary fight and got a third man in, Nate Thompson and Adam Mair scrapped. Look for Fritz to find Peters early to set the tone. Kaleta will be running around and it will take one cheap hit to send this game through the roof.

Potential - Elbowing major. Multiple fights.

Phoenix (15) @ Philadelphia (17) - 7:00 est
Phoenix: McGrattan, Fedoruk, Carcillo, G Murray, Hale
Philadelphia: J Gratton, Asham, M Richards, Hartnell

Tons of nice matchups in Philly today. Josh Gratton has been active since getting the call up to replace Riley Cote; but he hasn't been very productive. Gratton and Carcillo matchup quite nicely in size and could provide a spirited toe-to-toe battle. Gratton could also go with the Fridge or McGrattan (should he get a jersey tonight). A couple of middleweight matchups make this a game with some possibilities.

Potential - Two fight game.

Columbus (16) @ Atlanta (8) - 7:00 est
Columbus: Dorsett, Boll, Tollefsen, Commodore, Chimera
Atlanta: Boulton, Valabik, Thorburn, Exelby

Derek Dorsett, a very scrappy middleweight, is back with Jackets... he matches up nicely with just about any of the Thrashers. This has the potential for a random scrap or two as the Jackets also feature Jared Boll and KOT.

Potential - two fights.

St Louis (16) @ Minnesota (7) - 8:00 est
St Louis: Janssen, Crombeen, Winchester, B Jackman, Backes
Minnesota: Boogaard, Weller, Reitz

The Wild are horrific to watch. The have the scariest fighter in the league, Derek Boogard and then...... nada. So you basically have a guy no one wants to fight and then a bunch of guys that don't fight. You have just the opposite in St. Louis, with Cam Jannsen, B.J. Crombeen, and a number of willing combatants.

Potential - One fight involving two middleweights.

Anaheim (24) @ Dallas (15) - 8:00 est
Anaheim: Parros, May, Montador, Moen, McIver?, Perry
Dallas: Barch, Ott, Avery

Anaheim/Dallas have too many potential matchups to list. Kris Barch and Brad May have fought a number of times in the past two years. Avery and Ott are the league's superpests, but will drop the gloves too. Ott and Corey Perry scrapped the last time these two teams met. Travis Moen and Avery are a nice matchup as well.

Potential - Three fights, a slew foot, and a check from behind.

Detroit (5) @ Calgary (20) - 10:00 est
Detroit: McCarty, Lilja
Calgary: A Roy, Prust, Nystrom, Phaneuf, Iginla, Regher

A tough team against the softest team in the league. Hit the snoozer.

Colorado (16) @ Los Angeles (11) - 10:30 est
Colorado: Laperriere, McCormick, McLeod, Tucker
Los Angeles: Ivanans, Greene, O Donnell, Simmonds

Lappy, McCormick, and McLeod match up nicely with Green and O'Donnell. Raitis Ivanans, the Kings' heavy, should have a quiet night as there is no one to match him on the Avs.

Potential - One fight.

Washington (7) @ San Jose (14) - 10:30 est
Washington: Brashear, Erskine, Bradley
San Jose: Shelley, Clowe, D Murray

Donald Brashear -vs- Jody Shelley... lock it up.

Potential - One fight. See above.

Strap on the seat belts, hit the DVR/TiVo, grab some chips and a cold one. Bad blood hockey starts here in a few!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Get is Straight. Milan Lucic is Not an Enforcer.

It's a bit young to be defining or characterizing a 20 year old second year NHL forward.

That said, I am going to tell you what Milan Lucic is not.

Milan Lucic, the Boston Bruins "excitable" 6'4", 230 lb second year forward is not an NHL enforcer.

Photo by Stuart Cahill

Lucic took the NHL by storm last year, not with his smooth skating skills or wicked wrist shot, but by crashing and banging and fighting his way to earning a blue collar reputation and space on the ice. Lucic racked up an impressive 13 fights last year, winning or drawing in all but one (John Erskine of the Capitals left him with a broken nose). The brawler took on all comers including genuin heavyweights in Raitis Ivanans and Wade Brookbank.

Fast-forward to 2008-09... Milan Lucic... 18 games... 1 fight (a one-sided beatdown of Mike Komisarek).

So what gives?

Did Lucic use fighting to make a name for himself and got a bit tired of proving his toughness? Nah. He still runs around and hits like a train.

Is Lucic spotpicking his opponents as some in the hockey fight community have insinuated because he turned down dance invitations from super-heavyweights Steve MacIntyre and Georges Laraque (youtube from last year)? Doubtful. 99% of NHL players would turn down those two guys.

Is Lucic fighting less because Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton publicly said that it is his job to fight the heavyweights and not Lucic's? Now we're getting closer. I don't think Lucic would not fight a heavy if the situation called for it.

Or has Lucic been handcuffed and told to focus more on developing his game by Bruins coaches and management. Note the lack of a question mark.

18 games in to this season and Lucic has racked up a little less (11 points) than half the points he put up all of last year... good for fourth on the Bruins in scoring. He is on pace to score 50 points in only his second season. Even more impressive, he is on pace to be a +32 this year... not bad for a kid that was getting mop up fourth line duty in his rookie year.

So why would anyone in their right mind question why a kid that is well on track to becoming (not yet!) a very good power forward in this league is not fighting as much as he did in his rookie year?

The answer is simple... Milan Lucic is not, was not, nor will he ever be an enforcer in the NHL. That would be an absolute waste of talent.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jon "Nasty" Mirasty Update

Just wanted to give a quick update on Jon Mirasty, the centerpiece for a E-Ticket story Patrick Hruby inked last year for ESPN's Page 2. Mirasty continues to see regular ice time for the Syracuse Crunch, the Columbus Blue Jackets's AHL affiliate. Mirasty has skated in all 16 games, registering no points and 84 PIMs. His PIM total are second in the AHL to San Antonio Rampage tough guy, Francis Lessard. Mirasty is far ahead of his PIM pace from last year when he totaled 181 for the season.
Mirasty's legend continues to grow in the AHL with each fight. The bowling ball head, steel knuckled brawler recently scrapped with Paul Bissonette, who was sent down by the Pittsburgh Penguins last week. Mirasty once again showed that his fighting skills are NHL-ready against Bissonette as he overwhelmed with quick left and rights showing his ability to switch hands.

With yet another impressive performance, hockey fight finatics are waiting for the day Nasty gets the call up. Jared Boll, the Blue Jackets' current resident tough guy has been active lately, but very tentative due to a string of injuries including a broken hand. And while Boll is an effective middleweight for the Jackets, his size doesn't allow him to stand in with the impressive heavies in the Western Conference including Derek Boogaard, Jody Shelly, George Parros, and Raitis Ivanans. That is Mirasty's opportunity. Word out of Syracuse is he continues to work hard to strengthen his skating skills to make sure he isn't a liability on the ice. Mirasty is a -1 this year, indicating his ability to remain responsible and keep up with the pace of the game.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bloggers/Versus Team up for Podcast with Jonathan Toews

A few weeks ago, a number of hockey bloggers were invited to participate in a telecom with Blackhawks sensations Jonathan Toews. While I was a little late to a grab a spot on the conference call, my two questions were asked first. Many thanks to Versus for opening up the doors to a number of great bloggers including Mike Chen and Paul Kukla. I was a boy amongst men!

Here are the Toews' podcasts:
Part I
Part II
Part III

It appears as though my questions were enough to net me a spot on their next podcast. So if anyone has questions for Hockey Central Analyst, Brian Engblom, let's hear them.