How did I get here?!+ ALFIE’s back for more!!

Yesterday I came across a great blog post by a girl from Pittsburgh about how she became a sports fan, specifically obsessed with hockey.How did she become one of those people who swore they would never be one of those who yell at the television?! here’s the link to her post:

It really struck a cord with me because that was and is me. I always said I wouldn’t be one of those crazy people who yelled at people running around on skates on the television(when the refs make a bad call or the players are playing poorly)…but that is exactly who I have become…just ask my father or anyone who watches the games with me. I started watching the games more regularly and quietly this game called hockey drew me in…and once in, there was no going back. I mean if I’m going to get into to a sport…then its all in…no halfway business. What fun is it to cheer for a sport if you don’t really know what’s going on? None…so once I became entranced…there was only one thing to do…learn everything. I can quote my teams stats backwards & forwards, understanding the rules for the game is a must, of course like any fan despise when the refs make bogus calls, I look forward to every October when hockey returns and going to #VancouverCanucks games have become fall & springtime musts & a birthday tradition. Game days require jerseys or some kind of Canuck color co-ordination and during playoffs…like any sports fan, I have my rituals! I never miss a game and keep up off opposition scoreboards(I find its best to know everything there is know about one opponent or another before each game). And how about that 2010 Olympic GOLD medal earned by Crosby, Luongo & company?!!(My favourite part about that medal…it was WON on #Canuck ice by LOUIE!!!). The summer Olympics while incredible athletic performances, do not the hold the same draw for me that hockey does. Its something almost magical when at the arena, the lights go down, the players line-up, the arena goes silent, and then the anthems begin, and 18000+ all their game apparel, join in…and then just as the puck drops the entire arena cheers in unison for the home team! There is nothing like it.  Other sports have caught my eye, football (BC Lions, NY Giants), basketball(LA Lakers, Dallas Mavericks), but none hold the excitement or the draw that hockey has for me. The game is fast paced and you never know what might happen…just because it team is down by 1 with less than a minute left doesn’t mean its over…until that final buzzer goes…its anyone’s game(Remember that game against Detroit in February #Canucks fans? that epic comeback & shootout victory to end that 23 home-game win streak?)! Like I said…I wasn’t always this way knowing every fact I can know…but its who I am. What’s the fun in not committing completely? It’s way more fun to know and understand the sport that I love to watch. Some games completely frustrate me…and others are so inspiring when an entire team plays so seamlessly. I bleed blue & green. Every October is a new opportunity for every team.

Did you hear Ottawa?! ALFIE’s back for one more! I think it would be extremely odd if Daniel Alfredsson was not in the Senator line-up in of the best team Captains in the NHL today. His leadership will be long remembered in the Ottawa franchise(captain since 1999!). Welcome back ALFIE!! The NHL wouldn’t have been the same without you! And once again we are STILL waiting on that official announcement from Doan…many sources are saying with the ever increasing unstable Phoenix franchise that is more likely he will sign elsewhere this season. He may still stay in Phoenix…but wouldn’t it be something to have a guy like that on your team?

#71moredays! Never say never, because anything is possible once that whistle blows & the puck drops onto the ice in the opening face-off. Until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

All eyes on Doan as the wait continues…& it feels eerily quiet on all fronts

What’s that?? Did you hear the news? Yes that’s right, the rumors are true! Doan is still pondering his NHL future. All eyes around the league are waiting for his official announcement of pen to paper and see which team he aligns with, if it is in fact not Phoenix. Rumor has it that his lack of an announcement has led many to suggest that the lack of certainty with the Phoenix ownership is starting to wane on Doan and he is seeking a team that will give him the best shot at winning the Stanley Cup. There are 5 teams aside from Phoenix, that are determined to land him : the VANCOUVER CANUCKS, the Pittsburgh Penguins, The Philadelphia Flyers, The LA Kings, and the New York Rangers. All of the fore-mentioned teams would be a great fit for him should he decide to leave Phoenix. All the league & the rest of us watching can do is to continue to wait some more.

Aside from all eyes watching Doan….all is quiet on the Western & Eastern fronts. It all seems eerily quiet in both conferences regarding trades & major signings, almost like the calm before the storm and a change is just around the corner. No major signings since the establishing of Weber as a lifetime Predator and still no announcement of a new CBA being reached(it must be reached by mid-September to prevent a delayed season or a lockout year). One of these days an announcement is going to be made and like any hockey fan we all hope that it is one that confirms the season start date as October 11th 2012…not one that is delayed.

In other news the Vancouver Canucks re-signed forward Guilliame Desbiens today. Bienvenu Desbiens, welcome back to the green &blue! We’ll have to see how he plays with the big club should he be called up or impress at training camp and during the pre-season. He’s been solid with the Moose/Wolves organization in the AHL.

That’s all. Until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.


Slowly still the off-season continues…73 more days!

This off-season seems to be dragging on by…ever more slowly as the days go by. Doan has yet to sign ink to paper officially…but with his ‘suggested’ payday it seems more and more likely that he will remain with Phoenix, at least if things with the Coyotes ownership are resolved. It will come down to who can afford to pay Doan the desired contract. His agent has been quoted saying that a decision could come as ‘early’ as sometime this week(funny I recall that a decision was going to be made by July 9! and yet here we all are still waiting 3 weeks later)

Many questions about the uncertain new CBA & remaining UFA’s are still in limbo. Cross your fingers that the NHLPA & Bettman & company can reach a new CBA agreement before mid-September…or else we’re looking at a delayed season or a lockout year…yuck! As for the remaining UFA’s, it is still to be determined as to where they will be playing next season. There are also questions surrounding each team as they continue to build and prepare for the upcoming season: Toronto’s goal-tending situation, the Suter/Parise affect in Minnesota, Nash’s chemistry in the Big Apple, Thomas taking a ‘one-year’ absence while constantly making controversial statements through his social media causing headaches for the Bruins who were hoping to trade him(but that’s looking unlikely with his constant commentary), D-day eventually arriving…as in the day Doan picks a team, the reunited Staals playing together, Nashville attempting to build around Weber while paying him nearly $26 million in bonuses next year, and the list goes on! Nothing will be resolved completely until the season begins & 2 teams battle it out next June.

Each new season brings new possibilities, you just never know what may happen. I do know that we will once again see some #sedinery & #17 in beastmode & #BURR creating magic #isitOCTOBERyet???!! first comes a CBA agreement, training camp, pre-season & the OCTOBER 11th!!! #73moredays!!

That’s all for now, until the next dramatic domino falls into place, nuck said!

Sarah E.L.

4 year deal breaker for Doan? other thoughts on this & that in the NHL

Today is yet another deadline set by Shane Doan to getting closer determining where he will play next year. Rumor has it that he is seeking a 4 year contract worth $30 million(or $7.5 million cap hit per year) before he will leave Phoenix. There has been no official statement yet as to where Doan will sign if indeed he decides to join a team other than Phoenix, but it will interesting to see which teams are willing to pay. I’m not sure why Doan keeps “setting deadlines” which is simply a way of saying “I still need more time to consider all my options”. It just makes the media go crazy until his next “setting a new deadline” announcement is made.

Philadelphia has yet to address their major issues on the blueline having lost Matt Carle to free agency, and  losing Weber to Nashville since they matched that lofty offer sheet. Still refusing to make any statements on Pronger’s status, it has many people questioning whether he will be able to play at all and what will the Flyers do to fill the holes in their defense. Philly did  however re-sign forward Jakub Voracek to a 4 year $17 million deal…a far cry from the $14 million they offered to Weber, but still a pretty good pay cheque.

Scotty Bowman and Pat Quinn are confirmed to coach the alumni game at next season’s Winter Classic between Detroit & Toronto. Anyone else wish that the Canucks would take part in one of these Winter Classic games?! How exciting would it be too see them play in an outdoor arena?! I’m not sure it ever will happen that the Canucks take part in this event, but I will say that I for one WOULD LOVE it, if they did!!

Rumor has Darryl Sutter(yes the one who led those pesky but determined Kings to Stanley cup victory in June) has stated to various media outlets that he believes that the Calgary Flames could have WON the cup every year during his time there, perhaps in 2004 that may have been true, but an interesting statement considering the franchise has missed the post-season the last 3 years(and 2 of them he was part of their coaching staff).

Questions are arising in Toronto regarding their goal-tending situation as to whether or not James Reimer will able to handle to pressure of becoming the bonafide starter, or after last year’s injuries & inconsistent performances should they look elsewhere (*******I would HATE seeing Lou in a Maple Leaf jersey or back in a Panther one with Florida!…like I have said previously I can understand the situation and Lou possibly wanting to leave the city. BUT I really don’t like the idea of him not a Canuck anymore, in fact I HATE the idea…part of me secretly hopes that he stays & steals back the reigns of starter. I really have nothing against Schneider, he’s a great athlete an impeccable goal-tender, and he deserves his own opportunities too. I’m just not sold on him as the #Canucks #1 just yet. Whatever does happen, to ME,  LOUIE will always be Canuck.

In other news Carolina has landed Alexander Semin by signing him to a one-year deal worth $7 million. It looks like Carolina is building a competitive team that aims to make the playoffs next year. They acquired Jordan Staal who is one of the best penalty killers in the league, spent the 1st six years of his career playing with the likes of Crosby, Malkin, & Geurin. Needless to say playing with his also talented brother Eric Staal next season will be yet another great opportunity for him. Carolina has also signed or re-signed the following players: Jay Harrison, Drayson Bowman, Zach Boychuk, Marc-Andre Gragnani, & Justin Peters.

Well as the day dwindles it appears the public is no closer to knowing where Doan will sign just yet…perhaps next week if what I hear is true, we will know his destination. Until next time, we wait for the drama to continue! nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Off-season ramblings & still waiting on Doan…..

The off-season in review:                                                                                                  Minnesota won the Parise/Suter sweepstakes.                                                                              Rick Nash was traded from Columbus to the New York Rangers, giving him a chance to benefit from offensive line-mates & have a realistic chance at playoffs.                                Weber created drama by signing a ridiculous 14 year $110 million offer sheet with Philadelphia forcing Nashville’s hand to either accept it or let him walk. 6 days after the offer sheet, Nashville decided to officially match the offer, making Weber a Predator for life(& perhaps setting a ridiculous precedent for other players future contracts).                    The NHLPA & NHL head honchos are in the thick of meetings regarding a new CBA agreement & hopefully to avoid a lockout next season(I would not deal with that very well, nor would any other hockey fan, BUT that hasn’t happened yet, so lets cross our fingers that it doesn’t!)                                                                                                                               Marty Brodeur signed a 2 year deal with New Jersey, which basically insures that he will finish his career in New Jersey, playing his whole career for one franchise. This guy is an incredible athlete.

Where oh where will Shane Doan sign? Will it be Phoenix? Or will he go somewhere else? Doan is really taking his time in signing a contract & really considering both sides, not who is trying to sway him with money but which team he will fit best with. Rumor has it that he has met with/or talked with many of the teams that have shown an interest in him. I think he’d be a great asset on any team, particularly in blue & green! But really wherever he ends will be lucky to have his experience and leadership. I would love to see Doan stepping onto the ice in Canuck jersey next year, but like everyone else I will have to wait until Doan announces his decision officially.

A big question remains for Philadelphia. If they were willing to take the plunge with that HUGE offer to Weber, what does that say about Pronger? Will Pronger be available to start the season or play at all next year? If they lose Pronger for an extended amount of time or permanently that leaves Philadelphia with a HUGE whole in their defense. I really hope that Pronger is not done, it would be a terrible way to end his career, to be forced into retirement because of his concussion. He was shut down pretty quickly last year, and his symptoms were quite severe. Pronger is a huge presence on & off the ice. Philadelphia has not addressed the possibility, but by making the offer to Weber that they did , it makes one wonder why they would go to such extremes to sign him if everything with Pronger is okay. I guess we shall have to wait for some sort of official word from Philadelphia, but I really hope that Pronger is not finished yet, that would be so unfair for him to lose the game he loves before he is .

In other news, the Canucks have agreed to terms with forward Dale Weise on a one year deal.

Philly vs. Nashville…will they or won’t they?…game, set & match?!

Its official as we all knew that would be by tomorrow. Nashville has matched Philadelphia’s offer sheet. Philadelphia set the precedent with that large offer & now Nashville must pay the price. WOW! The ridiculous pay cheque was coming to Weber with either team , but this is really going to limit the players that Nashville can acquire over the next 10+ years, and this fills only one void on their defensive back end. By setting a standard by which they are now paying Weber, I sure hope he’s worth the $14 million! (Yes he’s one of he elite defensemen in the league for sure! but he’s making more money then Suter, Parise, Kovalchuk, & CROSBY & the SEDINS[$6.1 million! steal of a deal for those Swedish twins!]?!) If there ever was any doubt as to who the face of Nashville is, there is no more…it is Weber who (even though he wanted out) is now a Predator for life. I’m just not sure that matching the deal from Philly in order to make the point of how Weber is an integral part of their organization was the way to go. This statement now puts them in a situation that will certainly limit them financially over the first 6 years($14 million years 1-4, $12 million years 5-6…or $80 million over those 1st 6 years of this lucrative deal! not to mention the bonuses that all nearly guaranteed). However if Nashville had let Weber walk, then that not only upsets fans BUT it costs them a high calibre player & no certainty in their defensive core& the value of their franchise goes down. I suppose Nashville didn’t want to give up Weber for merely draft picks…and having already lost Suter to free agency,  they couldn’t let go of another franchise player. Now Shea Weber who stated he wanted out of Nashville(or perhaps said to force Nashville’s hand) will be a Predator for life. Or will he? Most likely yes unless some absurd crazy block buster trade were to come up but the odds are low on that one. Weber who at one time said it wasn’t about the money, clearly let the money do the talking for him this time. Signed  & settled & Weber is a very very rich individual.

Rumor has it CBA talks have resumed. Lets all keep our fingers crossed that both sides can come to an agreement & we do not have to suffer through another lockout(like the 2004-2005 season).

Rumor has it that the drama of the off-season is not yet done & will continue into the season(I like to think positively that there will still be a season because thinking there won’t be just is unacceptable.)

Until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Columbus Captain is now –>Ranger NASH

Wow…its official. The Columbus Captain(former face of the franchise) is now RANGER NASH! The New York Rangers acquired Rick Nash today from Columbus in exchange for Erixon(defenseman), Dubinsky(centre) & Anisimov(centre) & a 2013 first round draft pick. A lot of teams have been rumored to have been in the hunt for Nash(since last year’s trade deadline) & it has been known that Nash has wanted out of Columbus. The Rangers have acquired a great forward in Nash, and when he is surrounded by players that are also capable of being play makers & goal scorers creating a lethal combination. In Columbus, Nash was depended on to score as often as possible in order to win games with hardly any support from his team mates, but in New York he has the support of players like Callahan, Gaborik, & Brad Richards. It is Columbus that will be hurting in the loss of Nash’s offensive prowess. Columbus acquired some great hard working players who hopefully can help to bring back some excitement in hockey to Columbus(that has been missing since their playoff appearance in 2009). The Rangers with this trade have become one of the big players in the off-season, along with Minnesota(Suter & Parise), & the Weber drama still to unfold. Congratulations to the New York Rangers & to Rick Nash who finally got his wish to leave Columbus.

Its still quiet on the Nashville front regarding Weber with time quickly dwindling down & no decision has yet to be made. There is no winning this battle for Nashville either they say good-bye to the 2nd 1/2 of their defensive pair having already lost Suter, leaving no certainty on the defensive core. OR they keep Weber by matching Philly’s offer but as I mentioned before that doing so would cripple them financially & prevent them from being able to afford the pieces to build a quality team around him. Ultimately by Weber signing this offer sheet, it states pretty blatantly that he DOES NOT want to be in Nashville any longer now that Suter is gone.

Rumor has it that Ryan Kesler could be ready for the Vancouver Canucks 2012-2013  season opener October 11th. That could be amazing if it is true. As he had surgery much earlier this year(end of April rather than June), returning in time for the season opener is certainly plausible(*4-6 months recovery). However I would like to state that should he not be 100% for the opener then I would rather he waits & comes back when he is 100% & able to fully activate beast mode.If Kesler is 100 % & beast mode ready that would be AWESOME but that day comes in later October or early November that will just make his debut more exciting.

That is all for now as the NHL still awaits the final word from Nashville and any other off-season drama to unfold. October 11th cannot come fast enough for me:)!!! Until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Still waiting….

Well the days are ticking away as the entire hockey world awaits the Predators decision regarding Weber, will they let him walk, letting him leave Nashville? Or will they match? As the days of will they or won’t they continue, this week begins the arbitration hearings for the RFA’s determining their salary & whether or not they re-sign with their current teams. Change or no changes prior to the start of the season can make or break you….look at Philly last year…they traded BOTH Carter[to Columbus] & Richards[to LA] before the season even began to 2 separate teams BUT both by the end of the year were celebrating as part of the LA Kings victory). For LA who picked up both those players….it made all the difference by June & Philly wasn’t so lucky.

Rumor has it Doan who the Canucks & five other teams are actively pursuing(having offered him a formal contract) & even more teams that have interest in him; is taking even more time to come to a decision that best suits him. In his case when he says he’s not in for the money, I believe it unlike say with Weber who said the same thing($14 million….seriously not in it for the money??! is he serious?! mind still = boggled by that number!!). I like that he’s wanting to see where he’d be the best fit & which ever team does land him, gets a guy who can still score & play defensively but also brings maturity & experience. I’d love to see him in Canuck colours next year, but odds are high that he stays with the one & only organization that he has ever played for. Doan is the type of player that you hope others emulate, and that everybody respects. Any team will be lucky to have Doan as a member of their team.

Each day gets us a little closer to October and you know that means?!It means hockey is finally back!! (heck I’d even settle to watch a pre-season game right now!) Just a warning I will get super excited when the 11th finally arrives & might drive a few of you crazy(my family would prefer that probably!) But I digress, until next time & more drama unfolds to comment on, nuck said!

Sarah E.L.

all quiet on the Western & Eastern Fronts…for now

Halfway through the off-season & all is suddenly quiet in both the Western & Eastern conferences. Parise/Suter sweepstakes, where will Doan land & the Weber offer sheet drama have kept people running around the rumor mills. Things have gotten eerily quiet as the arbitration period looms before us, almost as though something big is coming, the calm before the storm. All the GM’s are quietly biding their time to make that one move that will make their teams legitimate contenders, to find that one missing piece to complete the puzzle. Each team has the same goal, but ultimately when all is said and done, only ONE team can accomplish that ONE goal. I can never decide if I hate or enjoy the off-season of the NHL. Ultimately its exciting to see what new players will be joining the team & who stays, but then there’s also the losing of some players to other teams. This year so far the Canucks re-signed, Ebbett, Pinnizotto, Raymond & newly signed Garrison(SO much potential!!). However the Canucks lost Sami Salo to Tampa Bay, I always hoped he would finish out his career as a Canuck. I’m happy he got a great contract with Tampa, but I do think the price was slightly high at Salo’s age & his proneness to injury(however that last 1 1/2 years he was especially incredible for the Canucks). I am sad to see him go, but very glad the Canucks only have face his slapshot one time next year. As for this Weber drama, it would have been nice to see him finally don Canuck colors next year especially since he’s from BC and he’s a great defenseman, BUT the price was set by Philly & unfortunately for the Canucks and everyone else that bar is TOO high. Nearly 3 days have gone by with no reply from the Nashville camp….meaning they are edging ever closer to losing the 2nd half of their strongest defense pair, having already lost Suter. Nashville could still match the offer, but will they and should they? I think no. I mean yes it would help them immensely to have Weber on their team BUT it would also cripple the team financially making it nearly impossible to build a team around him. Philly possibly made this insane offer to insure that should Pronger not be available to play or forced to retire due to his concussion then they would have a guaranteed top notch defensive powerhouse in their pocket. Like I said things have gotten oddly quiet today with all 3o teams, not just the ones involved in any off-season drama, at least for  now. Until the drama ensues again, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Crazy Contracts

Well with this latest long-term deal that Weber is about to sign officially(whether with Philly or Nashville) it highlights even brighter that craziness that is these long term contracts. The last few years have brought about many of these long-term deals -Kovalchuk w/ New Jersey, Ehrhoff w/ Buffalo, Crosby w/ Pittsburgh, Quick w/ LA, Staal w/ Carolina, Suter & Parise w/ Minnesota & of course the potential Weber deal to name a few, all ranging from 10-14 years in length. These are becoming a frightening trend amongst big names & tend to be heavily front-loaded…Crosby, Suter, & Parise all will make upwards of $12 million next year whereas Weber will make $14 million….a hefty price tag for all teams involved. It blows my mind to think that Weber will not only be the highest paid defenseman in the league, but the highest paid player in the league period. Which when you compare these mega salaries to the Sedins who seem even more like a bargain @ $6.1 million per year. In the last 3 years, the Sedins combined have won 2 Art Ross trophies, 1 Hart trophy, & 1 Ted Lindsay trophy. It makes me appreciate them both even more every time another outrageous contract is revealed & if there ever was any doubt that they were not interested in where the most money will be offered but rather the team’s desire to win, that doubt should no longer exist. Crazy contracts seem to be the norm as there are more signed each year, & each year a new extreme reached such as with Weber. I’m sorry but $14 million for a defenseman?! Yes he’s one of the top defensemen in the league BUT that is more than ANY other player in ANY position! I think $14 million is too hefty a price tag for any player to demand from their team especially in this salary cap era. I think it an extreme for Weber to insure that he gets his way….and I’m sorry BUT $14 million still just boggles my mind!! I guess the absurdness of its length & worth will continue to shock until the next crazy contract comes to light(*pending the conditions of the new CBA when both sides finally reach an agreement).

Nuck said. Sarah E.L.

I must also mention that my prayers & thoughts go the families &friends of the victims of the Aurora,Colorado shooting. I cannot even fathom what that community & the families are facing right now, but I do know that the power of prayer is stronger than even we can realize.