Sunday, 29 September 2013

Canada vs. Canada

So my good friend and hockey fan Vanessa and I were discussing the Olympics and some of the Canadian players who were left out, when she made the suggestion that Canada should have two teams.

Wouldn't that be interesting?  If Canada sent their "2nd" team to the Olympics, how would they fare?  Could they possibly be just as competitive in the tournament as Canada1? And perhaps the best question, who would be on it?

Well I'm about to tackle that question, and propose the possible lineup for Canada2.  To make it interesting, I'll only name players that were NOT at Canada's evaluation camp.  So the bubble players and outsiders on that roster wont be featured on this team either.  I'll also recap who was on the main evaluation roster as we go.  And I'll name enough players to fill the lineup with one or two bubble players, but not as many as the camp, so this will pretty much be the game-day lineup.

So first, we'll start with the goalies.


Canada1 Goalies
Corey Crawford (Chicago)
Braden Holtby (Washington)
Roberto Luongo (Vancouver)
Carey Price (Montreal)
Mike Smith (Phoenix)

Canada2 Goalies

Martin Brodeur (New Jersey) - This one is probably the most obvious.  Despite his age, and downgrading of skill, he has more than earned at least a chance to make the roster.

James Reimer (Toronto) - As I said in my Gold Or Bust post awhile back, I think he would have been a dark horse to make the team, but he deserved at least a chance.  Despite being on some poor Maple Leaf teams before last season, and being plagued by injury, he's posted great numbers for Toronto.  He also played great at the 2011 World's.  I think he could make this team.

Jake Allen (St. Louis) - This is were I'm probably going to lose some people.  There are plenty more experienced goalies, and more dependable.  Allen probably wont be in the NHL at the start of the season, even though he has so far outplayed Elliot and Halak.  But because of his recent international experience and just playing like a skilled vet so far in his NHL career, I think he could be my bubble goalie, much like Holtby for Canada1.

Canada1 Defence
Karl Alzner (Washington)
Jay Bouwmeester (St. Louis)
Dan Boyle (San Jose)
Drew Doughty (Los Angeles)
Mike Green (Washington)
Dan Hamhuis (Vancouver)
Travis Hamonic (NY Islanders)
Duncan Keith (Chicago)
Kris Letang (Pittsburgh)
Marc Methot (Ottawa)
Dion Phaneuf (Toronto)
Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis)
Brent Seabrook (Chicago)
Marc Staal (NY Rangers)
P.K. Subban (Montreal)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose)
Shea Weber (Nashville)

Note: I forgot how many D they took to camp.  Judging by how thin the defence is getting by the end of this list, this is probably where Canada2 will suffer.

Canada2 Defence

Cody Franson (Toronto) - 3rd in D-men points last season is probably a good place to start for our defencemen roster.  Young player with lots of upside.

Francois Beauchemin (Anaheim) - He's been a solid member of Anaheim and Toronto the last few years, and does have some international experience.  He has great stats and isn't a defensive liability.

Michael Del Zotto (NY Rangers) - Another young defenceman with lots of upside and international experience.  Had a bit of an off-year last season, but is slowly improving his game and being less of a defensive liability.  

Sheldon Souray (Anaheim) - What this lineup needs now is a veteran player, and Souray is a perfect fit.  He could pair up nicely with Beauchemin.  He was one of the best +/- players last season, which shows that he isn't a defensive liability and a strong defenceman for the team.  In fact, he was tied for 1st in D-men +/-, tied with none other than Francois Beauchemin.

Dougie Hamilton (Boston) - Last season in his rookie year he played great for the Bruins.  Although his defensive game seemed flawed at times, especially during the playoffs, he shows lots of potential for the big club.  He was a major piece in Canada's World Junior teams for the last two seasons, so the international game isn't new to him.  He brings size and physicality to the defence.

Mark Giordano (Calgary) - To find a good, defensive, physical partner to put alongside Hamilton is tough.  Giordano is Calgary's best defenceman, and plays a good physical game.  He also has a little bit of international experience.  He's not a rookie, so he's a bit more reliable and experienced against the best players than Hamilton, and could help keep him out of trouble defensively.

Jason Garrison (Vancouver) - He isn't a name you'd probably think of to put in this spot, but he is a good fit.  He's a vet, even though he doesn't have tons of NHL experience outside the last few years.  Last season in Vancouver he put up very respectable numbers, including one of the best +/- stats for defencemen. He plays a strong defensive game, and makes up for some of the holes created by defensive liabilities of the other defenders.

Canada1 Left Wing
Taylor Hall (Edmonton)
Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh)
Andrew Ladd (Winnipeg)
Milan Lucic (Boston)
Brad Marchand (Boston)
Rick Nash (NY Rangers)
James Neal (Pittsburgh)
Patrick Sharp (Chicago)

Note: In reality, most of these guys wont make the team anyway, as they'll be replaced by centremen.

Canada2 Left Wing

Evander Kane (Winnipeg) - Although he isn't always dependable, and is still improving, he has potential to be one of the biggest offensive threats on this team.  He has a ton of international experience to help his case too.

Mason Raymond (Toronto) - Maybe this is a surprise pick for some, but his speed will be a huge asset on an international ice surface.  He's a hard grinding guy who will give much needed character and grit to this team.  He also has some World Jrs. experience.

Dany Heatley (Minnesota) - He's fallen off the radar hard from his glory days, but he has a very impressive international resume, and is still one of the most skilled shooters in the game.

Ray Whitney (Dallas) - Why not?  He's 41, but the last two seasons he's gotten almost a point per game, in Dallas and Phoenix, so with not much help.  He has lots of World Championship experience, and could provide a good veteran presence to a primarily young team.

Canada1 Right Wing
Jeff Carter (Los Angeles)(C/RW)
Jordan Eberle (Edmonton)(RW)
Claude Giroux (Philadelphia)(RW)
Corey Perry (Anaheim)(RW)
Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay)(RW)

Canada2 Right Wing

Jerome Iginla (Boston) - This is where I'll cheat a little bit.  Even though he wasn't named to the evaluation camp, I named him on my Olympic team in my Gold Or Bust post.  Since he's not on the main roster, I'll steal him away for mine, and he'd probably be captain too.  Line him up with some skilled playmakers, and you'll have an endless supply of pucks in the net.  He's also a great leader with plenty of international experience.

PA Parenteau (Colorado) - Although he's only had 3 years as a full-time NHLer, he's spent lots of time in the AHL, and is anything but a rookie.  Once he cracked the NHL full time, he's put up some very impressive numbers for the Islanders and Avalanche.  He's had to work hard to find his place in the NHL, and I'm sure he'd be one of Canada's hardest workers on the team.  Oh, and he was 3rd in Canadian RW points last season, ahead of Eberle and Perry, just throwing that out there.

Shane Doan (Phoenix) - Like Iginla (and maybe even more-so), he is a great leader with lots of international experience.  He's not as prolific of a scorer as he used to, but he can still be a great asset to this team.

Brendan Gallagher (Montreal) - Unlike the other RW's here, he's young.  Last season he had a great rookie season with Montreal.  He does have some international junior experience, and he has a high talent level.

Canada1 Center
Patrice Bergeron (Boston) (C)
Logan Couture (San Jose)(C)
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)(C)
Matt Duchene (Colorado)(C)
Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim)(C)
Mike Richards (Los Angeles)(C)
Eric Staal (Carolina)(C)
Jordan Staal (Carolina)(C)
Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay)(C)
John Tavares (NY Islanders)(C)
Joe Thornton (San Jose)(C)
Jonathan Toews (Chicago)(C)

Note: Are there any left?  Theres enough centermen here for 3 teams! This will be difficult.

Canada2 Center

Nazem Kadri (Toronto) - So like Don Cherry, I might have a bit of a bias towards him.  I love how hard he plays, and he could really be a benefit to this team.  He has tons of skill, World Jr. experience, and could play a few different rolls for this team.

Jamie Benn (Dallas) - A young vet in Dallas, he has plenty of upside and experience.  He could be one of Canada's most dependable scorers.

Sam Gagner (Edmonton) - With lots of international experience even for a younger player, he has lots of things needed to be an important player on this team.  He isn't always consistent, but has flares of greatness when he's on his game.  

Mike Cammalleri (Calgary) - A very speedy player, with lots of experience.  Sometimes a bit of a defensive liability, but could give Canada some grit and extra options in the offensive zone.


Canada2 Projected Line-up

Whitney - Benn - Iginla
Kane - Cammalleri - Doan
Raymond - Kadri - Gallagher
Heatley - Gagner - Parenteau

Beauchemin - Souray
Franson - Del Zotto
Hamilton - Giordano



So what do you think of Canada2?  Would they be competitive?  I think they would have troubles on defence, but offensively they would have a shot to compete against the faster, more skilled teams.

Alright, so it has to be done.  Later in the week, look for this post to come back, and I'll document what happens when these two teams go against each other, via NHL14.

And if you have any line-up changes you'd like to make before I do the simulation, leave me a comment and I'll work it in.  

Once again, thanks for reading.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Guest Concepts, And An Early Goof Up

This is probably the earliest I've made a post, and theres a bit of a reason and story behind it, but I'll get to that later.

First, I'd like to give a shout-out to friend-of-the-site Ricky, from Buffalo Nickel Graphics.  He sent me his concepts wondering if I could display them on my blog.  Considering he's been very helpful to me by displaying my concepts on his own blog, I am more than happy to feature his work.

I like Ricky's work, and he is one of the few hockey designers I know that also does designs for other sports, as you will probably see in the near future.

But for now, I'll start with two concepts of the hockey variety, both involving some infamous jerseys:

Ah yes, the St. Louis Blues jersey that never was.  The best thing Mike Keenan has ever done for the NHL was preventing his players to wear this original set.  Ricky has a go at this set, and considering there really isn't a template to base this colourful jersey from, the effort involved is rather impressive.  I'm still not a fan of the design, but as far as execution goes, this was really well done.  I'd maybe suggest a more standard sports font, but thats just me.  And I should mention that I love what was done with the background of the concept.

This is 100% better than the current Buffalo alternates.  Getting rid of the blue "cape" went a long way to making a hockey jersey out of patchwork.  I like how he kept the new "C" patch, but coloured it so its not yellow on yellow.  I think the jersey looks better with this logo rather than the regular Sabres logo, although it looks a little high on this jersey.  Everything else looks really good on this design, and the detailing on the equipment is really nicely done.  This looks like a good alternate uniform set for Buffalo.


You'll probably be seeing more of Ricky's work in the near future, although he'll show us some of his concepts from other sports.

And to anyone reading who wants their work viewed on this site, don't hesitate to drop me an email and set it up.  I'd love to showcase other designers' work on here.

I'm also setting up a Guest Concepts page, where you can see concepts from other designers who have been featured here.  It's a work-in-progress right now, but it should be set up in the next few days.

Thanks again to Ricky for showing us his concepts.  Hopefully he doesn't mind my nitpicking, but they are very impressive designs.  I look forward to seeing more of his work.  And if you'd like to see more of his work for yourself, he has his own blog, Buffalo Nickel Graphics.  The link to that blog is on my Links page.


Now I get to explain how I done goofed.  Last night, when completing my HJC post for today, I set the schedule for 4:30am ET.  The post is SUPPOSED TO go live at 4:30pm ET.  Apparently someone (me) forgot about the whole 24-hour clock system.  Thankfully, the good folks at HJC caught the error this morning before too many people noticed, and saved the day.  I'll definitely have to pay more attention to that from now on.

For those wanting to see my HJC post later, it will be live on at 4:30pm ET, or 2:30 for my local friends.

I might have a second post today talking about that post, depending on my schedule for the day.  Until then, thanks for reading and have a good rest of your day.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dropping Helmets, Dropping Gloves, Dropping Games

So this NHL preseason has introduced several new rules to the game, most of which I find important, but not quite ironed out and reasonable as the players would wish.  Most are for the safety of the players, but safety is barely helped and is more of an inconvenience than a precaution.

Hybrid Icing?  It means well.  Its supposed to eliminate the rushes to the endboards caused by delayed icing calls, which can sometimes turn dangerous if one player catches an edge, or gets hit hard with his back turned.  Enter hybrid icing.  Now, if the defender is leading the race to the puck by the faceoff dot, then the whistle is blown and icing is called.  This is good because it does help speed the game up from players who slow right down to kill the clock.  And, if a slower player is leading but a faster player is catching up quick, then the play is blown dead to avoid a collision.

 However, if the attacker is leading the race, or its very close, play continues.  So effectively, the play will only be blown dead if there is a very LOW chance of a collision happening, but is allowed to play on when the play is most dangerous. Back to the drawing board, I'd say.

The Helmet Rule?  This makes sense from a safety standpoint as well.  Fighters cannot remove their own helmets during a fight, in hopes that players better protect their head.  As a fighter, of course you'd want to protect your head, but fighting tends to be very difficult without a head to punch, and punching a helmet will only hurt the puncher more.  The fighting regulars of the game have already started to take off each other's helmets before the fight, loopholing the rule and being able to put on a good fight.  Again, the rulebook's heart is in the right place, but the reception from the players tell me that this rule isn't going to last.

The Jersey Tuck Rule?  Poor Ovechkin, all he wants to do is tuck in his jersey, is that too much to ask? Apparently yes.  The NHL made it illegal to tuck in your jersey or do anything to obstruct the view of the full jersey, and will give out a minor penalty to those who don't comply.  I never thought that this was a huge problem in the NHL, given that jerseys have been around forever and such a rule has never come up.  But during the games I've watched in the preseason, the penalty is rarely enforced.  It just seems like more of a nag to look nice rather than a rule.

Leaving The Bench During A Fight?  I'm not 100% that this wasn't a clear, suspend-able offence before now, but its come up twice in the last few days and its a hot topic in the NHL now.  Right now, the first guy to leave the bench to get involved in an on-ice altercation will AUTOMATICALLY receive a 10-game suspension.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for trying to stop this action, and I think it should be suspend-able.  But 10 games?? Come on, man.  Most suspensions around 10 games usually involved hitting a player's head with a stick or a dirty hit, and causing serious injury.  10 seems a little much, especially if he is out there just to defend his teammate, and not cause injury.

So I propose an automatic 2 game suspension for leaving the bench and "dancing" OR delaying the game to do so, 4 games for being fully involved in a fight, and a MINIMUM 10 games for causing an injury OR showing overly-agressive behaviour OR instigating a fight.

So I did go back to 10 games, but I still think there should be judgment on how involved the player was.  In my mind, I don't see why Clarkson got a 10 game suspension, when he should have been out 2-4 games MAX.


Whats that?  You live under a rock and didn't hear Clarkson was suspended?  Then you must have totally missed the previous preseason game between Toronto and Buffalo.

Let's just say, it got kinda nasty.

(Video from YouTube, which was from 

That, my friends, is what I like to call a brouhaha.

To add some context, before this happened, there was another fight, which Buffalo felt Toronto sent a larger player to attack one of Buffalo's smaller guys.  The Buffalo bench wasn't thrilled, and sent out their goon line on the next shift.  Toronto, trying to cool the heat down, sent one of their top skilled lines to curb the aggression, but apparently John Scott didn't buy it.

Strike One: John Scott.  I don't care how much of a fighter you are, you don't just drop the gloves and start swinging at a guy off the faceoff, regardless who it is.  In this case, Scott practically attacked Phil Kessel, who probably is at least 1ft and 100lbs smaller.  It wasn't a fight, it was an attack, and I don't know how he escaped unscathed and without suspension out of all this (however, I'd give it relatively small, probably just a game or 2).

Strike Two:  Phil Kessel.  Yes, he was attacked and had to defend himself.  No, going Paul Bunyan style on Scott's ankles wasn't the best way to do it.  That is an intent to injure penalty all day long, and I think even if he turtled, he'd leave the game with more class than what he did by axing Scott's ankles with his stick.  And worse, once John Scott was held by the linesmen, Kessel went and speared him.  Thats a little like poking the sleeping bear, no?  He seems much tougher once Clarkson and the refs have a hold of him.  He got suspended a few games for his actions, and it was rightfully deserved.

Strike Three: David Clarkson.  Remember when nobody knew who David Clarkson was?  He was a good, hard-nosed grinder for the Devils, and didn't receive much stardom for himself.  The last few seasons, he's become on of the best and underrated power forwards in the league.  I firmly believed his acquisition by Toronto was the final piece needed for Toronto to become a potential powerhouse team. 

Well, I'm not giving him a strike for what he did, because essentially that is why they brought him there.  But "when" he chose to jump off then bench was questionable.  The situation was pretty much all handled before he got on the ice, and he should have known that he was getting the full 10-game treatment, since Paul Bissonnette got the same suspension the day before.  Now, the Leafs are without Clarkson's services for 1/10th of the regular season.  Was it worth it?

Overall, goalie fight included, it was a very entertaining game.  It showed the best of hockey, the entertainment value and sticking up for your teammates.  But because of these 3 people above, it might have also shown the worst of hockey. 

If this kind of thing is happening during preseason, then I'm really getting excited for the regular season this year.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Winter in Washington

Hello everyone, first a few quick notes before I get to the main topic today.

First, yesterday I had a new record for page views for one day at 79.  That's absolutely wicked! Thank you to all of the readers who made it happen! My blog usually averages around 20 views per day, some days much lower than that. But to get so many views in one day for me is really cool! I know there is no way I can keep up that number every day, but maybe if this blog keeps going, I can top that number again.  Hopefully with more content, which will be easy when the season begins, the community for this page will get bigger and bigger.

But just one day at a time for now.


Second, out of some captaincy news from the NHL, Jaime Benn has been named captain of the Dallas Stars, and Mark Giordano has been named captain of the Calgary Flames.  

If anyone remembers my "Oh Captain, My Captain" post from a few weeks ago, I predicted that both would be named captain of their respective teams.  I would have picked Glencross as captain for the Flames personally, but Giordano seemed like the heir to the "C".  Benn, on the other hand, was an obvious pick.  He's the face of the franchise, and it's about time that he becomes the distinguished leader of the team.  The perfect cap to the remodelling of the franchise.


And one last note, Ty Rimmer will get to play half of Edmonton's game against the Canucks tonight.  Rimmer is an undrafted goalie who spent some time here in Lethbridge last season.  Despite the Hurricanes not having a great season, Rimmer played well and had a few really good hot streaks through the season.  He also had a great season in Tri-Cities the year before, and also played in Prince George for the Cougars. 

An Edmonton-born prospect, he's so far looked really good during training camp for the Oilers, and will get his first NHL action tonight for his hometown team, sharing the net with vet Jason Labarbera. 

I've watched him play here in Lethbridge, and I'm really rooting for him to land a contract with the Edmonton franchise.  The game is on HNIC tonight, so I'll definitely be watching.


For the main topic of today, it was announced yesterday that Washington will host the 2015 NHL Winter Classic.  

It's not exactly a surprise choice.  Washington is a popular hockey market, and there are a host of teams that could make the game an exciting rivalry match.

The venue, nor the opponent, has been decided yet.  The problem is, most of the main "rivalry" teams that Washington should play have played in at least one Winter Classic.  

Rangers? They've played one in 2012, and are due to play two games in 2013-14. Probably not.

Islanders? Playing next season, but wouldn't be a bad option.

Philadelphia? They've already played two, last in 2012. They don't play one next season, so its likely they could be involved.

Pittsburgh?  The rematch? Would be cool, but I'm sure the NHL would want another match up.  Pittsburgh also plays next season, and has already been involved in a few Classics themselves.

Carolina?  An old "Atlantic" division matchup, that people may actually care about.  I'd watch if Carolina wore some green and blue.

Tampa Bay? An exciting team to watch, but are they a good draw for a large game like this?

Ottawa? Bringing back the Captial Cup would be a good idea, but Ottawa plays in a game next season, so its less than likely.

Columbus?  So no one really cares about Columbus, but from an NHL standpoint, this could help the struggling franchise, while maybe developing a new divisional rival.  I wouldn't rule this one out.


And I'd like to point out, that it is speculated that the 2015 Winter Classic will NOT be the only outdoor game next season.  There is talk that there could be 4-5 outdoor games.  I assume that will mean the NHL Winter Classic in Washington, 2-3 Stadium Series games, and a Canadian Heritage Classic.

It should be interesting to see who gets involved for 2014-15.  I'd love to see some western teams get involved finally. I know California gets a good taste of outdoor hockey next season, but where is Colorado, St. Louis, Minnesota, or Winnipeg? I'd love to see some outdoor hockey there.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves, we still have 6 games to watch this season before we get there.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Debut

Hello everyone.  After going balls to the wall the last few days for my school work, I finally have some time to update on my post.

Today was a pretty big milestone day for me, as I got to make my writing debut.  I'd say it went pretty smoothly, and the concepts I got to review were really good.  The reception by the writers for me has been phenomenal, and I'm really excited to have this first post done.

If you want to see my post, then go to


And speaking about jersey concepts, I've been really in a creative funk lately for my own designs. Other than the 2 contest designs I showcased a few days ago, I really haven't been able to sit down and make a design.  Part of this is because of my schedule, but mostly I haven't had any inspiration or motivation to make a design.  I simply don't know what team I should redesign, or have any cool redesign ideas.

I've been kind of thinking about doing a league-wide concept for the RMJHL.  Don't know what that was? Well it was the predecessor to the BCHL, British Columbia's Junior 'A' league.  My hometown Fernie Ghostriders started there, and many teams from the current BCHL and KIJHL began in that league.  That was the first hockey league I really watched and followed, so I thought it would be a cool, if not difficult, concept.  What do you guys (especially my friends from the area) think?

And if anyone has any other suggestions for designs or concepts, let me know and I'd love to give it a shot.  Maybe doing a few fan-suggested concepts will get me back into the swing of things for design.  Who knows.


One more thing I want to ask you, as my readers.  One of my next posts will be about the poll I just conducted, determining which of the Buffalo Sabres' jerseys were the worst designs of all time.  I could talk about the results, and compare the jerseys, in a standard blog format.  Or, I could also create a "Vlog" post, if people would be interested in watching a video for my blog rants.  If it gets enough interest, I could have a weekly video, or something like that, coinciding with this blog.  It could get me some practice in video editing (which is useful for my college program), and give this blog a bit more exposure.  That would be cool, but its not necessary.

Would you guys watch something like that?  Or would you rather me keep the traditional blog format?  I may do one or the other, regardless of opinion, but I really value my readers' (and friends') opinions on it.

So thanks for reading, and hopefully I can come up with another post soon.  Until then, enjoy the preseason!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Back In The USSR, and Anyone Up For Some Pool?

Hey gang. So I got my first set of concepts to post on HJC for Thursday, and I'm really excited to get this post out already.

In the meantime, here's a couple of jerseys I'd like to share.

This was for a contest I entered for HJC, where you had to submit jersey designs for the Anaheim Ducks, using the colours they proposed to use before going with black, bronze and orange. Orange was one of the colours involved in this contest as well, but I left it out because I thought the green and orange looked awful together.  Anyways, I picked out one of the old secondary logos, and gave the jersey a unique wing style to it. I wasn't sure how it would be received, but I came 7th out of 24 designs, so it must not have been too bad.

Here's one that I made today for the current HJC contest, asking for a new design for the Soviet Union. Really cool contest idea, so I gave it a go. I really like how it turned out, looking like their classic jerseys and staying simple, while having its own style.

What do you guys think?  I'd love to know your thoughts on these.


I don't exactly have much to talk about today, but I do want to point out that it didn't take long for Toronto's new contract for Nazem Kadri to look like a bargain deal.  Early in the preseason game against the Flyers, he absolutely undressed Hal Gill and scored a brilliant goal for Toronto.  He showed signs of stardom last season, and I think he has nowhere to go but up this season.  For a player under the microscope so much in Toronto, its nice to see for sure!


Theres only a few more days to vote on my poll for the worst Buffalo jersey of all time. For the few votes I'm getting, I'm not overly surprised how it's shaping up so far, although I'm disappointed how bad the Goat-head jersey is doing, as those were always my favourites.  Expect a discussion on these jerseys in a few days.


Now, just wanna give a quick question to those who read my blog.  I'm thinking about starting a hockey pool.  Would anyone be interesting in something like that?  Depending on interest, we'll figure out the rules and stuff later, if it does happen.  Its just a thought for now. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Game On!

Its almost time for the NHL pre-season, and you know what that means?

NHL 14 is here!

Yes, I am a huge fan of EA's NHL series. I've played pretty much every title since NHL99, and still try to boot that one up on my computer, for old times sake.  I'm usually the first person in the summer-time to admit that "the updates aren't really that different from last years and I probably wont buy it", but I usually end up getting the game anyway, or at least sharing a copy with a friend.

So for today's topic, I thought that I could name the top 50 players in NHL 14 by player rating.  EA is usually pretty good with player ratings, but every year there's a few players who seem to get misplaced, badly.  Remember in 2006 when Robyn Regher was a 95, or something like that?  They tend to over-sensationalize the playoff heroes, and demote the defensive players in the game, with a few exceptions (Datsyuk).

Anyways, lets have a look:

50. D. Girardi (NYR) – OVR 88
So brief note, to make this list, you have to be better than Dan Girardi. He wouldn't have been the first name I thought of, but it's not a total shocker either.
49. J. Voracek (PHI) – OVR 88
48, M. Pacioretty (MTL) – OVR 88
Pacioretty I'm actually surprised isn't higher on this list.  He's not a very glamorous player, I guess. But he has one of the best hands in the league, and also one of the fastest skaters.
47. D. Byfuglien (WPG) – OVR 88
Would probably be in the mid-90's if he could just stay in shape. Speed is a killer to his rating, but what can you expect from a guy this big. I'm glad EA actually gave an enforcer a good rating for a change.
46. D. Doughty (LAK) – OVR 88
45. P. Sharp (CHI) – OVR 88
44. J. Benn (DAL) – OVR 88
I'm one of the few people that think Benn is just slightly overrated. He will be an 88+ player, but he's not yet, in my eyes anyway. Looking ahead, is he as good as Staal and Getzlaf?
43. R. Getzlaf (ANA) – OVR 88
42. J. Carter (LAK) – OVR 88
41. E. Staal (CAR) – OVR 88
40. J. Spezza (OTT) – OVR 88
Spezza is really underrated in my eyes. He's one of the best playmakers of the last decade, and if he could have a healthy season next year, I have a slight feeling he could contend for the Hart next season.
39. J. Neal (PIT) – OVR 88
38. P.K. Subban (MTL) – OVR 88
On any given night, Subban is either a 85 player or a 95 player. If he was more consistent  he could become an elite defenceman.
37. T. Hall (EDM) – OVR 88
36. P. Kessel (TOR) – OVR 88
35. P. Kane (CHI) – OVR 88
Kane < Seabrook? I love Seabrook, and have said some big things about him in the past. But 1v1, Kane would win 9 times out of 10.
34. E. Karlsson (OTT) – OVR 88
Strangely for EA, they overlook his offensive talents and focus more on his defensive game with this rating, and I actually agree with this.
33. B. Burns (SJS) – OVR 89
Since when?
32. N. Kronwall (DET) – OVR 89
He's huge for Detroit. I wasn't expecting him to be up here, but I'm glad he is.
31. B. Seabrook (CHI) – OVR 89
Again, love Seabrook, but is he really better than Kane, Staal, and Getzlaf? I'd have him at ~85.
30. P. Rinne (NSH) – OVR 89
The first goalie I've come across so far. At quick count, he's 4th according to EA. That seems fair to me.
29. K. Letang (PIT) – OVR 89
28. H. Sedin (VAN) – OVR 89
Would it be taboo to say Henrik should be higher than Daniel? Just asking.
27. D. Sedin (VAN) – OVR 89
26. C. Perry (ANA) – OVR 89
25. L. Couture (SJS) – OVR 89
He's one of the best shooters in the game.  Unfortunately, the other flaws in his game have me thinking this is somewhat too high for him.
24. M. Hossa (CHI) – OVR 89
I'm gonna say he needs to be higher.  For the last 5 years or so, how significant has he been on strong playoff teams?  And how much did that team miss him if he was hurt? One of the most dynamic players in the league.
23. P. Bergeron (BOS) – OVR 89
See above, except just for one team. Should be higher.
22. Z. Parise (MIN) – OVR 89
21. A. Kopitar (LAK) – OVR 89
20. J. Tavares (NYI) – OVR 89
19. J. Thornton (SJS) – OVR 90
I've heard quite a bit of discussion over Jumbo Joe's rating, saying its too high. He can hit and pass better than most of the guys on this list. Deserves AT LEAST 90.
18. M. Gaborik (CBJ) – OVR 90
17. R. Nash (NYR) – OVR 90
90 seems fair up to this point, but I have a feeling he's going to really shine in New York this season under AV.
16. C. Price (MTL) – OVR 90
3rd best goalie? Okay sure. Just as good as Lundqvist, but a little more shaky at times. 
15. A. Pietrangelo (STL) – OVR 90
He's good. He's not 90 good.
14. H. Zetterberg (DET) – OVR 90
He's good, he's better than 90 good. 
13. C. Giroux (PHI) – OVR 90
12. D. Keith (CHI) – OVR 90
11. H. Lundqvist (NYR) – OVR 91
So theoretically Lundqvist and Quick are tied for the best goalies in the league. I think I'd knock Quick back 1 point, or give King Henrik an extra point, but I say he's the NHL's best goalie right now.
10. J. Quick (LAK) – OVR 91
Read above.
09. R. Suter (MIN) – OVR 92
Is Suter the 3rd best D-man in the league? Maybe, but I don't see it. I see him around ~89.
08. S. Weber (NSH) – OVR 92
Fairly the 2nd best defenceman in the league.
07. J. Toews (CHI) – OVR 92
06. E. Malkin (PIT) – OVR 92
I'd say he deserves an extra point or two, just from how dynamic and dominant he is as a player.
05. S. Stamkos (TBL) – OVR 92
I almost want to say he deserves to be higher, but I don't know if he was helped by the play-making wizard in St. Louis, or if Stamkos was the one who made St. Louis look good. Either way, 92 is fine.
04. Z. Chara (BOS) – OVR 94
Toe-to-toe against Ovie for 3rd? I agree with this 100%.  He is a monster player, the league's best defenceman by far, and one of the best leaders in the game right now, because he leads by example.
03. A. Ovechkin (WSH) – OVR 94
While I'm saddened he got beat out by Crosby, I understand where EA would have given Crosby and Datsyuk a point where Ovie got none.  However, if Washington did more in the playoffs, I think he would have topped this list, seeing how EA always seems to trend towards the players on successful teams.
02. P. Datsyuk (DET) – OVR 95
01. S. Crosby (PIT) – OVR 95
So we can't say who is better on the ice between Crosby and Datsyuk.  That is a very fair statement, both are dominant players in the game.  While Crosby is a bit better of a playmaker and goal scorer, Datsyuk is undeniably better defensively. I would also argue that, if Datsyuk's linemates were equal to Crosby's, than Datsyuk would likely be the better player. But it's too close to really call. Now that they're conference rivals, maybe we'll get a better indication of that this year.
One thing that strikes me odd in this ranking is that, unlike Madden, no one has a perfect rating. At first, I was kind of offended, but it does make sense on 2nd look. Crosby, while near perfect offensively, isn't perfect defensively. Datsyuk, while being the best 2-way player in the league, doesn't have the aggressiveness as one would expect from a "perfect" hockey player. 
Still, the parity of the players in the game is something extremely notable, compared to other sports.

So thats my post for today, if you have any comments on the player's ratings or my take on them, please don't hesitate to let me know. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Exciting News For All

Well, mostly exciting news for me, and Toronto fans, but I'll get to that in a second.


First of all, I've reached 1000 total views on my blog. I'm really excited to reach that milestone, and I can't thank you, the readers of this blog, enough for getting to this point.  My posts are, honestly, very sporadic lately because of my schedule, but I'll continue trying to write some interesting stories for you and keep this blog going for the foreseeable future.  Having said that...


In some more exciting personal news, I've been signed on as the Thursday Writer for, the very jersey concepts site I've mentioned before that has been reviewing some of my work.  This is an absolute honour for me to be part of this blog, as it's fed my interest in jersey design and hockey in general.  Of course, that doesn't mean this blog isn't my main blog anymore, it still is. But on Thursday's my posts will likely be a recap of the post I made for HJC.


Want more good news? Live in Toronto? Excellent. Nazem Kadri has finally signed a deal with Toronto. Who is this good news to? Everybody! The Leafs have locked up a player that will be huge in their future, and probably this season. Kadri gets a very nice paycheque (even though it isn't as much as he wanted, its still better than I'd even say he deserves). The fans have just a little more reason to be optimistic next season, and everyone else doesn't have to hear about the contract dispute between the Leafs and Kadri anymore. Its a win-win all around.

By the way, Franson is apparently still unsigned in Toronto. You'll probably hear a lot about it now. Just a heads-up.


Bryzgalov fan? Tim Thomas fan? You're also in luck. The Florida Panthers have given both a Pro Tryout Contract for training camp.  Its hard to see either of these guys sticking around in a back-up role, and competition isn't too fierce besides themselves. Wouldn't it be interesting if you had these two guys on the same lineup?

HBO is filming the sitcom as we speak.


Everyone else? Training camps started today, that means the season is getting close! It wont be long until puck drop for the opening game, and I'm already getting really excited. 

What are you getting excited for? Let me know on the comments or send me a message on Twitter (or Facebook, or wherever you can find me). 

And again, I have to thank you guys for helping me get to 1000 views.  If it wasn't for your interest in my blog, I wouldn't have an interest in blogging anymore.  If I didn't have that, I wouldn't get the opportunity with HJC like I did. It all starts with you, the readers. So thank you for reading, and have a good evening.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

What Happens at WBHockeyTalk, Stays at WBHockeyTalk

So I seen an interesting article showing the Vegas over/under odds for the next NHL season.  They predicted the point totals for all the teams.  I'm not a gambling person (because I'm awful at it), but its interesting to see predictions like this.

I made my own predictions a few months ago, if one would like to compare, go here. But for your convenience, I'll put my rank of the teams in parenthesis in these rankings.

Without further ado: (from

Metropolitan Division
Pittsburgh Penguins -- 108.5(1)
New York Rangers -- 98.5(3)
Washington Capitals -- 93.5(8)
Philadelphia Flyers -- 92.5(2)
New York Islanders -- 89.5(4)
Columbus Blue Jackets -- 85.5(7)
Carolina Hurricanes -- 84.5(6)
New Jersey Devils -- 79.5(5)

Really? Carolina AND Columbus ahead of New Jersey? I think New Jersey deserves much more credit than last here. Columbus is banking on a repeat performance from their young starter in Bobrovski. If Brodeur can't live up to expectations in New Jersey, Schneider surely will. Neither have a great team ahead of them, but NJ shouldn't be in the basement.  Also, I guess Washington warrants more love than I gave them. I want Ovie to succeed, but in this division he's going to have a difficult time getting open compared to when he regularly played against Florida, Tampa, and Winnipeg. Maybe I'm wrong though.

Atlantic Division
Boston Bruins -- 102.5(4)
Detroit Red Wings -- 97.5(1)
Toronto Maple Leafs -- 96.5(2)
Montreal Canadiens -- 94.5(3)
Ottawa Senators -- 93.5(5)
Tampa Bay Lightning -- 88.5(7)
Buffalo Sabres -- 83.5(6)
Florida Panthers -- 75.5(8)

Fairly close to mine, I'll take it.  I gave Boston less of a chance because they lost some key pieces this off-season.  But I think any team 1-4 has a good shot of winning the division this year.  This will easily be the most exciting division in hockey.  I think everyone can agree that Florida is the worst team in the division, Tampa Bay and Buffalo will struggle, and Ottawa will be one of the dark horse teams that could very well sneak into the playoffs.

Central Division
Chicago Blackhawks -- 105.5(1)
St. Louis Blues -- 99.5(2)
Minnesota Wild -- 94.5(4)
Colorado Avalanche -- 86.5(3)
Dallas Stars -- 86.5(5)
Nashville Predators -- 84.5(6)
Winnipeg Jets -- 82.5(7)

Besides switching Colorado and Minnesota, I pretty much called this division 100%, according to Vegas. Chicago should easily win the division, but it will be interesting to see how the rest of the division shapes up, because each team in here besides Chicago and Winnipeg are filled with question marks that will determine their season. This division could be flipped upside down by the end of the year.  I still think Winnipeg is missing a few parts to be a contender though.

Pacific Division
Los Angeles Kings -- 98.5(1)
Vancouver Canucks -- 95.5(2)
San Jose Sharks -- 94.5(3)
Anaheim Ducks -- 90.5(5)
Edmonton Oilers -- 89.5(4)
Phoenix Coyotes -- 85.5(6)
Calgary Flames -- 74.5(7)

Gah, so close again! Vegas switched Anaheim and Edmonton, putting them only 1 point apart. That's a fair assessment, both teams are young with lots of firepower that could have an excellent season or fizzle out if not handled correctly. LA should win the division this year, but Vancouver has a good enough team to keep close. Unfortunately, Flames fans are once again given the bad news for next year by being predicted to have the lowest point total in the league.  Embarrassing, but probably accurate. 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Nike, Staaaaahp (Part 2)

I didn't think my rant on the Olympic jerseys was going to garner it's own series, but here we are.

Although it's only speculation to this point as to whether or not it is the official Canada Olympic jersey, a picture was revealed yesterday with potential Canadian captain Jonathan Toews wearing what appears to be Nike's next attempt at Olympic hockey design.

3rd time isn't the charm, Nike.

Yes, I know, another rant on jerseys. Lately that is all I've been talking about. Its a slow off-season news wise, but jersey reveals have definitely taken over. With a few more NHL and apparently more Nike Olympic jerseys left to be revealed, its probably going to continue until preseason.

But right now, lets just take a look at what our nation will look like on the ice in Sochi:

Alright, so right off the bat, I'll say its much better than the American ones, about on par with the white Russian double-dragon one. 

What I like: Simplicity on the chest. Canadian maple leaf on white background stripe, with the word Canada below.  And one one arm, there is a Canadian flag, subtle but patriotic. I like it so far.

What I don't like: Sadly more than what I like. First, as if I didn't see this coming, we get another dose of Nike fake laces and glossy shoulder designs (I assume maple leaves). I've already said how cheap and tacky this looks, so I'll leave it as such.

But even worse, and correct me if I'm wrong, but why does one arm have a white stripe pattern, and one arm is blank?  Hopefully a better picture surfaces soon, so we get a better idea of what is going on, but if that is the case, then why has Nike gone to the book of Atlanta Thrasher design tips to make arguably the most important jersey in the world in 2013-14?  I don't like where this is going, but I'll leave it until better evidence is given.

One more thing, although the crest looks nice, the jersey as a whole looks really plain, as if it belongs on a practice jersey. Assuming the priority to keep the maple leaf red on the white jersey, this has the potential to be even more plain and open if they keep the design, unless like Russia they get a whole new style for their white set. I don't see that happening.

Overall, the jersey isn't awful, but if this is truly what Canada will be represented with, I'll be pretty disappointed.

I'll stop ranting for now. I'm thinking talking about either Vegas or Kadri tomorrow, we'll see. I promise no more jersey rants for a few posts at least. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Best Day In Hockey Since The Lockout

Sarcasm aside, good lord! What a day it has been.  Sure, the only thing that brings this blog back to life is a jersey reveal and a front office rumour, but thats enough for me to start writing again.

Seriously I do apologize for the lack of writing done the past few days, I've been camping, getting ready for my next semester of college, and finding away to get myself sick.  With that all taken care of (besides the sick, but the meds keep me awake enough to write.  Its a joke, really), I'm back to writing about hockey, and what a day full of things to write about!

First of all, Buffalo FINALLY unveiled their yellow 3rd jerseys for the upcoming season.  The picture that follows comes with a warning: It is a very graphic, offensive image, and reader discretion is strongly advised:

(image from

As Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson would surely say: What in the bluest of blue hell is this?

Where do I begin?  

1) Yellow on front, Blue on Back

Is this in some way supposed to be a cape?  A cape is the only way I justify having two different colours front and back.  A cape would be childish, unprofessional, and only slightly worse of an idea than the whole Buffaslug theme.  Alas, tis not a cape.  It doesn't even look like one.  So why?  Are we talking the Barry Melrose of jerseys? Business yellow in the front, party blue in the back?  Even the Melrose mullet couldn't make this jersey look better, which is hard to say.

2) You don't say...

One thing that irks me is the name "Buffalo" on the front of the jersey.  I don't like wordmarks on jerseys as a general rule, but classic college-style marks can give a good retro look.  This makes it look like a football jersey.  If the name isn't a main part of the logo, then don't include it on the jersey, I think everyone knows where this patchwork came from.

3) Letters and Numbers

At least the TV numbers and the main number match, but that is the only thing going good for this jersey now.  The numbers and nameplate don't match in colour, or style, or possibly font. Why?  This jersey is literally giving me the idea that several designers made parts of the jersey, and they just put it all together.  Not to mention that they look huge on the jersey, something most hockey players hate and most designers cringe upon seeing.

4) Silver

Silver as new colour on logo? Subtle and reasonable.  Silver as cuffs? Kind of strange but doesn't look bad.  Silver line dividing the two sides, and standing out awkwardly even in the silver cuff? What the hell man.  Patchwork I tell you.  It would make more sense if they did this, and went around the whole yoke too, but they didn't.  It just stops at the top of the shoulders.  Why???  And although it isn't a major complaint, I don't see any point in the silver in the bottom of the back either.  It adds nothing to the jersey other than making more of a coloured mess.  And while we're on the topic, what is with the silver in the bottom portion of the collar?  It looks tacky (matches the rest of the jersey in that regard) and seems to be insignificant.

In all, the only thing that is remotely cool about these jerseys is that they at least kept the old logo, and the hanger-effect thing, where it reads "Excellence" with above it (probably can't read it) reading "Belief Commitment Character Discipline Trust".  This is something that no jersey really has, and is actually classy, and not too out of the box.

But honestly, a box is maybe where this jersey belongs.


While I'm ranting, I've heard rumours that my beloved Flames are looking into Brian Burke's services.  This alarmed me in first, but I think good can come from it.  One, how much worse can the Flames really get?  I mean, really?  The only moves that could harm the team further in any way is either getting rid of Sven Baertschi, or getting rid of Cammalleri for someone other than solid young prospects or a better, solid vet.

Burke also has the uncanny ability to make a really good young team, and keep them unsuccessful until he leaves, so with the young foundation Calgary has started, one would hope that after Burke comes and goes, he'll leave a good team behind him.

However, in the meantime, I'm very scared for my Flames if this happens to come true.  While Burke can manage to get a good young team together, it takes a long time for him to do it, and I think the fans have been waiting long enough.

Mind you, it has to be an improvement.  Feaster traded half the team away, fiddled around with many young players without giving them a shot they deserved with the big team, made some bad management decisions, etc.  Last year at the trade deadline, groundhog Feaster popped out of his GM office and couldn't see his shadow, nor the players he left behind, and thus announced 6 more years of no spring hockey.

Okay, that last part may have been harsh and over-dramatic, but its a frustrating time to be a Flames fan for sure.


Well if I haven't offended you or scared you enough to stop from getting this far, congratulations, and thanks for reading.  Its good to be back, and I'll really try to keep up with my writing, especially with the season being near.

And by the way, there is a new poll on the right-hand side of the blog, pertaining of course to today's post.  What Sabres jersey is the worst, in your opinion? I'd love to see your answers.