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Our Post on Puck Daddy – SCF Preview: Best Beards

30 May

If you go seven months without seeing an acquaintance, you might greet them with, “Wow, you look so….” The word the Devils and Kings need here is hairy. These teams last met in October and it’s a wonder if they’d recognize each other now without the numbers on their backs.

Each team has been presented with one trophy this year. Both captains opted not to touch their Conference chalices, but only one will lift the Cup in 2012.

Will a playoff beard be the first to kiss Lord Stanley’s prize, or find itself waiting to see whom the captain hands the Cup to next?

Click [HERE] to read more…

Captain Brown vs. Captain Parise.

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(un)Leashed Fury

17 Apr

Remember when Harry Potter got so angry at Dudley that he made the glass disappear and unleashed a snake into a room full of kids?  I wanted to disapparate the glass in the Verizon Center last night and let the fans go berserk.  I have never been so worked up at a game.

As the old adage goes, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t talk to opposing teams’ fans during the playoffs.”  Since I can’t say anything about the Bruins that couldn’t later be used against me in a court of law, I will instead focus on what I did and didn’t like about the Caps game 3 effort last night.

1) Karl Alzner

I love you. This was stupid in a hundred ways but I love you.  [video]

He’s the third man into this scrum for sure – just the 857th penalty not called last night, on either team, including about five in the ten seconds prior.  The Caps were already shorthanded and this could have really put them in a tough… oh wait, they lost anyway.  So I don’t care!

“I don’t even know what to say on my side to show I’m not a crybaby,” Lucic said with a laugh. “That’s a lot coming from a guy who I think has two roughing penalties in three years.”  – Washingtonpost.com

That is exactly why this was awesome. Get in there, Karl! What are you going to do, make Looch play tougher? Not possible. Make him fight you?  Like he needs a reason, and even now you’re not at the top of his list.  Overall this was harmless to everything but the fact that we’ll remember it.  Put it with the “shhhh” and the salute as a little something that can go a long way for your team.

Can't wait to see your beard in Round 2.

2) Up-Tempo Hockey

The first period was blistering.  Caps fans live in fear of the surprise appearance by that team from this season who didn’t care, the one with cement skates and a hangover.  But last night we got the zip, and we got it early.  Too bad for Ovi he used 90% of his energy in the first period, checking everything that moved, then ran out of gas.  Get him a Power Bar, Dale, and get him back out there!  Great hustle from the forwards last night – especially Brouwer and Brooks.

3) Defense

DISLIKE.  There is a Jeff Schultz-sized hole in our blueline.  Is this guy really our best option?  Every time he comes near the puck, Gator yells, “Schultz!” like Seinfeld yells, “Newman!”  Orlov is a spastic 7th grader, but at least he’s quick.  Also, Mike Green – he managed four more shots last night, but still seems to go from great play to complete lapse every possession.  The Bruins can play tighter and the Caps better figure this out before they do.

4) Cross-Ice Passes Down Low

The Caps seem to have finally conquered their demon of consistently getting into the offensive zone.  It’s not always clean, but it’s better.  Now they are hung up on cross-ice passes below the hash marks.  It nearly worked in the first, but the Bruins closed that hole.  The Caps continued to try ad nauseum – their game needs to be more adaptable/unpredictable.

5) Crash the Net

You know the game where you guess how many jellybeans are in the huge jar and if you win, you get the jellybeans?  No one can guess how many times Russian Machine Never Breaks has implored this team to crash the net all season – it’s well over a billion.  The Caps should replace #4 with this idea, because I like jellybeans.

And) Nicklas Backstrom

We know you’re frustrated, Piglet.  We know Thomas clocked you with a blocker after a whistle in game 1 and didn’t get called.  That’s why it felt so damned good when you beat him for the double-OT winner next time.  Please continue to respond as such… if you get the chance.

This is just dumb.  The game is over.  Everyone has been running everyone for free but Backstrom decides to make himself the price of a cross-check that gains nothing.  Hunter expects the NHL to rescind the match penalty and automatic one-game suspension that was assessed to Nicky because it “was not that bad.” [link]  Maybe not – I can’t tell from the video if he gets Peverly’s face or his arms.  But there’s no question that it’s stupid and he’ll be lucky not to sit the next one out.

Sh*t Nobody Says – Pittsburgh Edition

15 Mar

As the resident Ovechkin fan, I’m used to being odd-man-out so I’m just going to go for it today in this edition of:

With the return of Crosby, is it REALLY a good idea? I give you the following reasons:

1. Chemistry – Malkin is ON F*CKING FIRE. His run for the Hart trophy could be stifled too. Fair? Discuss.

2. They are, already, pardon my Charlie Sheen re-hash – WINNING!

3. With only a few games left and a tough schedule, Rangers, Philadelphia, no one is going to treat the kid with, ‘kid gloves’ so why, with the above points, bring Sidney back? Let him completely recover and start fresh next year.

4. Pittsburgh has so much depth in their line-up and I’m not suggesting this because I want them to lose, I just honestly can’t go through another CROSBY’S RETURN -THE DECADE, two years was honestly enough.

5. On a brighter note, I have it on VERY GOOD AUTHORITY, SEXY SHOW PONY …

What's that you say?

I told you, I'm playing tonight. Got it? Not, girls love. But they do.

So he no longer needs a hobby because he's baaaaaaack! But I'll wear a leash and he can walk me!

 

 

So, you’ll know where I’ll be about 4:00 PM PDT today. And if MY PRETTY PONY is still sidelined, I still have my Sidney Crosby drinking game to keep company! 🙂

Cheers! DC

Mayday!

12 Mar

MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

Help!

The Bruins are teetering precariously on the edge of the abyss…and they are threathening to take me with them.

Saturday, they lost to the Capitals.  Yesterday, they got violated by the Penguins.  Patrice Bergeron and Adam McQuaid both got injured.  With Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley, Beniot Pouliot, and Tuukka Rask already out, it only to the dire situation the Black and Gold find themselves in late in the season.

Can I get a prayer circle?

Never have I seen a sadder face. Never.

McQuaid took a hard hit from James Neal in the 1st and did not return for rest of the game.  Bergeron took a shot off the leg and labored badly to try to battle through, but did not return.

Obviously, goaltending is a SERIOUS issue for the Bruins.  Serio, people.  I knew losing Tuukka would be tough but I had not fully realize it until this weekend.

And when I did, this was me.

Luckily I managed to pull myself together and attempted to analyze this mess of a situation the Bruins are in.

In an ideal world, Tukkaa would have played Saturday’s matinee versus the Caps, allowing Thomas to rest up for the game against the Pens.  But with Rask recovering from a groin injury, the Bruins were up Crap Creek without a paddle.  

Hell, they didn’t even have a boat.

Then you add in the clocks springing forward for daylight savings, and  you have a recipe for a grade A+, #1 disaster of epic proportion.

Yesterday’s game was that unmitigated disaster.

The Pens jumped all over Thomas from the first whistle scoring 3 goals in the first.  It was ooglay.

I was ready to rage every time the Penguins touched the puck out of sheer frustration.

Normally, I have no issues with the Penguins.  While they are not my favorite team, I respect them and like alot of their players but yesterday, I want to kick all of them in the shins.

Like really hard.

Bruins managed to stauch the bleeding somewhat at the beginning of the 2nd period by pulling Thomas and putting in Marty Turco.  TURCO TIME, YA’LL!

Turco played well in his first NHL game in over a year and no one threw smelly fish at him.  He only allowed 2 goals (if that can be considered a postitive) and made some great saves, including this gem on JStaal.

Poke Check.  Stack the pads.

I don’t know how it could get any worse for the Bruins but if they hope to have any chance to make a run for defending their Stanley Cup, they need to do something.

I have a suggestion.

Bubble wrap.

And lots of it.

Call Mike Green.  I’m sure he has some extra lying about.

Edge of Glory

23 Feb

It’s about that time – 20-24 games left to play and the pressure is on.  Sure the Rangers lead the East by 7 points and have won 7 of 10 games this month.  Detroit’s inevitable juggernaut hasn’t lost at home since the Clinton Administration.  But if Chicago’s 9 game slide and subsequent 4-game wining streak prove anything, it’s that you’re definitely sure you’re not sure.

Here’s a look at teams on the brink of post-season dreams:

Eastern Conference

The gap between 7th and 8th places is widening at Ottawa puts on the moves with 4 wins in a row.  It could be a 4, 5 or even 8-way death match for the final playoff spot.

Toronto – The Leafs put together a nice 5-0-1 run, then promptly dropped 6 of their last 7 (1 in OT).  Kessel’s still hot and Lupul’s having a great season (career-high 39A + within 5 of his goal-high mark).  They’re currently 8th, which is how many years it’s been since Toronto made the playoffs.  They need to rebound like J Lo. with a jailbait boyfriend, and quick – their last 18 games are against Conference foes.

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

Winnipeg – In the last 4 games they’ve scored 17 goals.  That’s as many as in the 10 games prior.  Not bad considering their leading scorer, Evander Kane (definitely a Ravenclaw) has just 23 goals.  Can their goals-per-game possibly stay so high?  Their geographically means 5 out-of-conference games left, costing them time while other teams play 4-point games.  Opportunities for points vs. the East will quickly become necessities.

Goals and goals and goals.

Washington – For the love of Haagen-Dazs, what is going on?  They haven’t just lost 3 straight.  That implies they tried, which is not true of Monday’s Carolina game.  Troy Brouwer called it an “embarrassing effort” [link].  Last night’s 5-2 loss to Ottawa was marginally salvaged by Semin and Green, plus Perreault’s face.  It literally scored when no one else could.  But… drum roll please… the Caps are only 2 points out of a) a messy tie for first in the Southeast and/or b) a messy tie for 8th in the East.  So it’s not over until they let it be over by playing this badly ever again.

Vokoun's been pulled in 2 consecutive games - look at Karl Alzner's face. We know.

Tampa Bay – Not sure here.  The Bolts have won their last 3, each by 1 goal.  Stamkos is a machine (42G, 28A).  But Yzerman’s has been standing at the trade table yelling “Hit me!” – Kubina for draft picks, Downie for Quincey then Quincey for a 1st Round pick [link].  What about this season?  With Lecavalier out indefinitely (broken right hand) – well, we’d never count Steven & Squishy out when it comes to a fight.  If they get hot at the right time… Pens and Caps fans shudder at the memory of being steamrolled in last year’s early rounds.

Count? Not out.

Buffalo – The law of averages says that average play will not win playoff berths.  The Sabres 5-of-10 performance in Feb (inc. 2 SO losses) has only kept them on the radar while other teams fall apart.  Pominville’s been as strong as in any of his last 4 years, but Thomas Vanek’s totals career totals are all over the place [link].  He’ll struggle to match any highs since his rookie season, and beyond those two the goal production drops like a rock.  I don’t like their chances unless other, deeper teams continue to under-perform.

This little Sabres fan believes.

Down, but not out: NY Islanders,  Montreal, Carolina – Just 1 or 2 points behind Buffalo, any of these teams could throw a wrench into a struggling team’s plan.  The Isles and Habs will have to pull it together – they’ve each lost 6 of 11.  The Canes could finally be gelling after a rough season – they’ve won 7 of 12 and EStaal has 10 points in 5 games.  Too late?  Maybe not – teams are flailing and there’s blood in the water.

Captain Waited Too Long?

What do you think?  Who makes the stretch count and who falls apart?  Tomorrow, a Western Conference rundown.

Around The League In Milestone Minutes

9 Jan

 It was a banner weekend ladies as many of our men made history and milestones: chillin in the dome with Jerome: Iggy got his 500th goal.

 Teemu got his 651st goal by the end of the night.

 Little Danny Briere put on his big boy pants and got in his third ever fight and had a hat trick to boot.

Shane Doan got his first hat trick EVER with .o1 to go – YES and the Coyotes have really needed SOMETHING to get their party started.

And faster than you can say “Excuse me but does this stick in the face make me look fat?” the PA put the hammer down on the realignment and the Blue Jackets have fired their coach. Whew. There was a crap load of exciting hockey happening this weekend and I didn’t even cover Corey Perry’s hat trick  – wait I just did.

So if you missed any of it, I suggest you watch the above because it was pure hockey magic. A banner weekend of nuggeted hockey gold wrapped tightly like a firecracker that exploded a little late for the new year but we’ll take it any way!

Breakin’ It Down: ImPACT Testing

15 Dec

Here on Injury Island, we have a whole mess of NHLers suffering from concussions.

Intern Jeff Skinner, Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Chris Pronger, Mike Richards, Milan Michalek, Marc Staal, Joni Pitkanen, just to name a few.

(We’re really upset about Jeffy thought. Our office is a mess and we just ran out of Mexicola.)

We miss you. Come back soon. We're thirsty.

With all talk about concussions, hockey coaches, writers and pundits you might have heard the term “ImPACT Test.”

So what exactly is the ImPACT test?  What does it test?  Why should we care?

Apologies ahead of time because this post is long and chock full of information, but as true hockey fans, I feel strongly that it is something that we should all be educated about.

Knowledge is power, people.

What the heck is this “ImPACT Test”?

  • ImPACT stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing.
  • It  is a computerized concussion evaluation system developed in the early 1990s.
  • It is the most widely used computer-based testing program in the world, and is utilized by high schools, collegiate, and professional sports to assess players who may have a concussion.
  • It is a 20-minute test that measures the cognitive functioning in athletes including attention span, working memory, attention time, response variability, non-verbal problem solving, and reaction time.
  • The test is administered by an athletic trainer, team doctor, or team psychologist who has completed training in how to administer the test.
  • The test should be taken before any injury has occurred, say at the beginning of the season to determine the player’s “baseline” score.  The test should be re-administered 24 to 72 AFTER injury/concussion has occurred.
  • The team trainer or doctor is able to use this test as part of a more broad process to objectively evaluate a player’s post-injury condition.  It helps them to track a player’s recovery with a set of measurable scores and hard data.
The Test Itself
The test has a total of 5 sections.
  • Section 1 requires the athlete to input basic demographic information and descriptive information through a series of easy-to-follow instructional screens.
  • Section 2  asks questions about the athlete’s most recent concussion date, hours slept last night, and current medications. Then the athlete is to rate the current severity of 22 concussion symptoms via a 7-point Likert scale (0 being “none” , and 6 being “severe).
    • Concussion symptoms evaluated are:
      • Headache
      • Nausea
      • Vomiting
      • Drowsiness
      • Numbness 0r tingling
      • Dizziness
      • Balance problems
      • Sleeping more than usual
      • Sensitivity to light
      • Sensitivity to noise
      • Feeling slowed down
      • Feeling as if ‘in a fog’
      • Difficulty concentrating
      • Difficulty remembering
      • Trouble falling asleep
      • More emotional than usual
      • Irritability
      • Sadness
      • Nervousness
      • Other
  • Section 3 involves the Neuropsychological tests, and is broken up into 5 modules:
    • Word Memory – evaluation of attention and verbal memory
    • Design Memory – evaluation of attention and visual recognition memory
    • Xs and O’s – measures visual working memory and how fast the player can visually process images
      • for those of you who watched HBO’s 24/7 last night, you might have seen Claude Giroux doing this test after his knock to the head from Wayne Simmons.
    • Symbol Matching – evaluates visual processing speed, learning and memory
    • Color Match – measures impulse control and response inhibition.
    • Three Letter Memory – measures working memory and visual-motor response speed
  • Section 4 allows the player to input details about their concussion like point of contact, symptoms, description of injury, even info about the type of helmet and mouth guard they were wearing.
  • Section 5 is the actually test scores themselves.   There are 5 ImPACT test scores that are displayed graphically.  Trainers and/or Team doctors can then use this data to determine what additional steps need to be taken with the player.

So all of this is all well and good, but the larger question remains….

Why should we, as hockey fans, care about any of this?

Aside from the obvious reason which is making ourselves more educated and knowledgeable hockey fans, we should care because this test strives to protect players.   To protect them from returning to play too soon. To protect their health, their well-being, and most importantly, their quality of life.   Guess you could say that the test also protects teams who have made substantial investments in their athletes in the hopes of attaining the penultimate prize.  But when it comes down to it, I’d like to believe that no NHL team, owner, or coach with jeopardize a player’s quality of life to win a trophy.

They may be gruff and rough on the outside but on the inside, hockey people are just as warm and fuzzy as the rest of us.

They care about each other and we should care about them.