Yearly Archives: 2007

my thoughts on the Roenick signing

A few thoughts on the Roenick signing by the Sharks, from the guy who’s been standing here for the last few months saying “Jeremy. go home. it’s over”.

It is, but there are aspects of this deal I find intriguing. Roenick is playing for minimal money, so this doesn’t really cost the Sharks anything. He has things to prove (that it’s not over, for one), so I expect he’s going to work his butt off to earn that money. He has a significant milestone close, so that’s going to add to the motivation, but is also close enough that it won’t hang over his head or the team’s head long — and if it isn’t working out, once he passes it, makes it easier for everyone to call it if needed.

So the risk here is low. The important thing is to set the proper expectations. Given the low money value – that’s easy if you think it through.

If there was one thing missing from the team last year, it was an attitude of consistent grittiness, of not being pushed around. There were times when the Sharks were unstoppable, and there were times the team got too passive.

One thing Roenick is not: passive.

So the way to view this deal is see the contributions as off-ice. As a setter and teacher of attitudes, a locker room influence. Anything Roenick does ON the ice is a bonus; his primary job, in my mind, is teaching the kids how to play more like he does, to help draw out their potential.

At some level, I’m not expecting much out of this deal. He’s effectively replacing Mark Smith, and while I don’t think this is an upgrade off of Smith, it’s now downgrade, and he in-locker-room aspects can help this team. He’s also the kind of guy the local reporters are going to love to have around, and heck, that can’t hurt.

So I’ll give him a thumbs up for now, and we’ll see what happens. And, you know? it’s good to see him get a shot at his milestone. Let’s see how he returns the investment the Sharks are making in him.

(and I see the hand of Mike Ricci in this; since they played together last season).

Moving into the offseason

well, it’s now the off-season. Time for all of us hockey geeks to take a breather, relax, and wait for something interesting to happen.

Not. they may not be playing, but it sure isn’t quiet or boring right now, is it?

Anyway, I’m starting to firm up my off-season plans. With any luck at all, here’s what you’ll see at Two for Elbowing during the offseason:

First — as previously threatened, I’m going to start my series of articles on what’s wrong with hockey. And also what’s right, because there’s a bunch of both. I won’t pretend to have all of the answers (or even all of the questions), but I do think what I have planned will be interesting and make folks think. And since (if you don’t read my personal blog) I’m leaving StrongMail friday, until I get a new job one of the things i plan on working on is my writing portfolio — and this is one big piece of that. So hopefully, you’ll find it worth reading.

Second — a project I’ve wanted to do for a long while: get my various collections online; Laurie and I own about 60 jerseys, almost a hundred pucks and probably a similar number of pins, we have about 450 volumes in our book collections (including all volumes of Trail of the Stanley Cup), and Laurie’s collection god knows how many program books, and I’ve been wanting to put some of the more historic highlights online for a while, whether it’s classic images of Peter Puck or our personal friend, Big Head Referee.

Maybe even some “can you name this poor schmuck” based on their program pictures. Wait until you see the one we found of Wayne Thomas — if I can find it again…

So hopefully hockey off-season will be anything but boring around this place…

Prediction: stanley cup final

Two for Elbowing: Third round predictions…:

So, I’m 9 for 12 for the playoffs, my best run in years.

The two conference finals:

Anaheim/Detroit: Anaheim in 5.

Ottawa/Buffalo: I’ll pick Buffalo in 7. (now, watch Ottawa sweep…)

And, because I didn’t believe in Ottawa quite enough, I went 1 for 2, and 10 for 14 so far in the playoffs (too bad I didn’t have money down this year…)

In the final?

Ottawa in 5. I think they’re playing better right now. but there are so many wildcards, you could flip coins and get it right. Guigere outplaying Emery? Or will Emery start getting recognition for how well he’s played? Wlll Pronger be the good witch or the bad witch? will he focus his game or go *pop* again? The ducks are doing a “win it for Teemu”, which, if Teemu plays well, could make this interesting.

I think it’s going to be a fun series, no matter what. Either team could win it in five, but I think it’s Ottawa’s year.

My conn-smyth candidates: Alfreddson if Ottawa wins, Guigiere if Anaheim wins.

Third round predictions

Time for Conference final predictions.

I was 6 of 8 in the first round.

In the second round, I picked:

I picked San Jose in 6. sigh. whine. moan. grump.

Actually, I said:

Detroit/San Jose: San Jose in 6.

Going to be a fun series, but I think San jose is better. but Detroit worries me if the Sharks falter a bit, and Hasek is, well, Hasek.

Which hit it on the head wonderfully, except for the fun part. the Sharks DID falter, the Red Wings didn’t, and Hasek was, well, very Hasek-like. Damn him, anyway.

Anaheim in 7: thanks to Luongo, it was almost that close.

Buffalo in 6: but congrats to the rangers for a great run.

Ottawa in 6: and New Jersey found it was just not like the good old days, Lou behind the bench or no. Ran out of pixie dust, Lou.

So I ended up 3-4, missing the one series I really wanted to get right. Of course.

So, I’m 9 for 12 for the playoffs, my best run in years.

The two conference finals:

Anaheim/Detroit: Anaheim in 5. Hasek can’t be hasek-like enough to beat the Ducks, and with Schneider out — I don’t know about you, but Chelios playing 25 minutes a game doesn’t worry me, but after seeing him in game 6 against the sharks, Chelios on the power play does. I don’t think this’ll be as close as some people do.

I heard on XM today that one of the ways Chelios stays in shape is that he spends a lot of time on the exercise bike — in a sauna. Holy hyperbaric chambers, Batman, I get heatstroke thinking of watching him…. Kids, do NOT try that at home.

Ottawa/Buffalo: I have very good friends who are senators fans. I very much want to see the Senators move on. The Sabres haven’t shown their best hockey yet (but win). This one can go either way. My heart says Ottawa, my head says buffalo. I’d call it a coin flip, but I can’t, so I’ll pick Buffalo in 7. (now, watch Ottawa sweep…)

Second Round Playoff Predictions

Two for Elbowing: Playoff Predictions:

Here in the west, there are no underdogs, there can be no cinderella, no upsets. the teams are too closely matched. Of course, having said that, we’re going to lose at least two teams in the first round that will consider that a season failure. that’s how strong the west is.

My cut on the matchups:

First, a look at how I did in the first round…

Detroit/Calgary: I chose Calgary in 7.

I’m a little surprised Calgary didn’t do better. Veteran motivation beat out younger legs; Calgary just didn’t seem able to compete; too defensive, not enough offense. Too much of the Sutter thing, perhaps, without Sutter behind the bench forcing it to work through force of will. Not that I’m blaming Playfair — this team merely didn’t over-achieve like a Sutter coached team does.

Anaheim/Minnesota: Anaheim in 5

Minnesota simply couldn’t trap Anaheim to death.

Vancouver/Dallas: Vancouver in 5

We can stop wondering if Turco can get it done in the playoffs. Even in a loss, he was the only thing between Dallas and disaster. The only way he could have helped the team more was skating up to Luogo and breaking his arm… It’s time for Modano and Lindros to ride into the sunset — to standing ovations.

Nashville/San Jose:

Nashville was a better team than last year. the Sharks were a MUCH better team, once the kids got their playoff sea-legs. I think the big risk for sna jose going into the playoffs was whether the younger players could handle the pressure. They exit this series bloodied and battle hardened, and the rest of the west is not going to send the Preds flowers for doing this. It makes the Sharks scary tough, as long as they stay focussed and healthy. Nashville’s main fault was a lack of discipline — or perhaps it wasn’t doing a good enough job of making sure the players they whacked stayed whacked. Either way, the team needs some tweaking, but not major retooling. they’re ALMOSt there.

3-4. Not bad.

East:

Buffalo/NY Islanders, Buffalo in 5.

The Islanders played much better than expected to me, and turned themselves into a team that we didn’t expect to serously compete into one that looked like it snatched defeat from the hands of victory. And for once, that’s a compliment.

New Jersey/Tampa: Devils in 5

Tampa simply doesn’t have the depth, and gassed out. can’t win a 500 mile race by driving real fast for 490 miles. Tampa needs to re-think how it pays players so it can add depth. New Jersey was beatable, and then Brodeur realized it was the playoffs and woke up, and it was all over.

Atlanta/Rangers: Atlanta in 76

And Atlanta proves that it’s different in the playoffs, and the pressure can get to people who aren’t used to it. They’ll be back, but I’m not sure they have the right mix of players.

Ottawa/Pittsburgh. Ottawa in 6.

The penguins pushed the senators harder than I expected, but the better team won. But pittsburgh is close.

3-4

so I’m 6 of 8 in the first round. Not bad at all.

2nd round:

Detroit/San Jose: San Jose in 6.

Going to be a fun series, but I think San jose is better. but Detroit worries me if the Sharks falter a bit, and Hasek is, well, Hasek.

Anaheim/Vancouver: Anaheim in 7.

I’m tempted to pick Vancouver; I think Luongo is the better goaltender — but I also think Anaheim has enough to overtake that different. But I think it’ll be close.

Buffalo/Rangers: Buffalo in 6.

honestly? the rangers are playing better than I expected. but I don’t think it’ll be enough, but it’ll be a series, and one worth watching.

New Jersey/Ottawa: Ottawa in 6

well, Brodeur is awake and making folks crazy. But Ottawa should win out. I won’t be surprised if they don’t, though, not much. Probably the closest series in the 2nd round.