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The 25 Ugliest Jerseys in Hockey History

25 of the worst alternate jerseys in hockey history

25 of the worst alternate jerseys in hockey history

Alternate jerseys were introduced to the NHL in 1992, when the Original Six clubs wore throwback jerseys in the league’s 75th inaugural year. They’ve taken on a life of their own in today’s NHL, where clubs release new alternate sweaters every few years.

This may bother those purists who believe that it’s just a cash cow for the league, but it gives the chance for those teams to atone for any previous jersey “faux pas.”

Some of these sweaters are so horribly bad that you’d be hard pressed to believe an actual NHL team wore them.

Outside of the NHL, you’ll also see some of the funniest or ugliest sweaters that you could ever imagine, especially in smaller market venues and, of course, overseas.

Here are the 25 Ugliest Jerseys in hockey history.

Originally posted by myself on May 24, 2011 to Bleacher Report, see the full slideshow here.

Buffaloed

gratts1

Buffalo would probably like to redo the events that led to this jersey’s design and release, because it’s pretty ugly.

The logo brings an almost garish feel to the sweater, and the BUFFALO along the bottom is just icing on the cake.

Almost Any International League

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Having worked in the field of professional sports, I understand the bottom line and the need to generate revenue.

So sticking ads or company logos on your jerseys or players gets a small part of the job done—I get it. But at some point, you’ve got to say enough is enough, because this is ridiculous.

Quacked Up

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The new Ducks jerseys are infinitely better than their previous Disney-themed ones, but their third jersey isn’t much to look at.

The logo and the scheme don’t get it done for their alternate jersey, but then again, the Ducks haven’t always had the best of luck with third jerseys.

Ho Ho Ho?

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The Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL donned these festive Santa jerseys, but it’s not their only jersey to make this list.

The beard in front and the Wranglers logo on the belt are funny touches, but it’s hard not to laugh when you see Santa playing hockey.

King Me

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The Kings’ retro jersey isn’t all that bad, but the logo in front doesn’t quite get the job done for Los Angeles.

It reminds me of a checker piece, and while it’s simple, it makes the sweater look incomplete somehow.

Don Cherry Night

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Don Cherry is as entertaining of a personality as you will ever find if you manage to look past his ego and political views. So when the Kingston Frontenacs honored “Grapes” in 2009 by celebrating “Don Cherry” night, you couldn’t really blame them.

You can blame them for the jerseys, however, because these things are something else.

AHH MAH EYES

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Looking at this picture for long periods of time makes me physically ill. It should be outlawed as a form of torture. After starting at it for more than 10 minutes, you’ll want to kick someone.

I cannot imagine trying to play hockey against this team, I would throw up before I took the ice.

It’s Better Than the Flying V

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When you take the Canucks logo and put it on this color scheme with the gradient stripes, it makes for a horribly ugly combination.

The flying V jerseys aren’t a favorite of mine either, but this alternate jersey makes those sweaters look like a masterpiece on ice.

Rainbow Power

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The Cleveland Lumberjacks of the IHL’s tie-dyed hockey jersey is certainly colorful, but also very ugly.

The early Gund Arena era jerseys were actually pretty sharp, but the beaver holding the hockey stick jokes would get old quick with this sweater.

To Heck with It

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That’s what I imagine the designer for the Las Vegas Wranglers thought at the moment he created this marvel, and it makes me dizzy just looking at it.

Admirably Ugly

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The Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL either stumbled across a picnic sale gone wrong or were inspired by the Maple Leaf waffle incident.

Either way, this guy doesn’t look too happy to be playing in this jersey, and I don’t blame him.

Southwest Disaster

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While I happen to like the Coyotes franchise and wished their story of expansion would succeed, I was never a fan of their early jerseys.

The Southwest decor is understandable and meshes as well as one can expect, but the broken neck, abstract Coyote logo always confused me.

Awww

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Hockey’s a tough sport, and I imagine it’s a lot tougher when you have to play in this jersey.

You can call this jersey effeminate, or you can call it feminine—just don’t ask me to play in it.

What Is That Thing?

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The Rocky Mountain Rage are an inactive team in the CHL who have yet another Christmas-themed jersey to grace our list. While the art isn’t bad in and of itself, would you pull this sweater on to play in front of friends and family?

And what creature is that masquerading as Santa Claus, and why is he so angry?

Snaggletooth

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The color scheme of this alternate jersey is bad, but the logo completes its transformation into one of the worst NHL jerseys ever.

The logo fails to inspire anything but the confused look or uncomfortable chuckle. Hope Nashville got its marketing dollars’ worth with this one.

Oh Man…

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I’m not even sure where to start with this one. The color scheme, logos and palm trees don’t flow well at all on this sweater. Someone in the marketing department either has a very good sense of humor or a very bad sense of style.

The Florida Everblades of the ECHL donned these jerseys in the spirit of Christmas, but there’s nothing jolly about these hideous things.

We Want Fishsticks

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When these alternate jerseys were released, I honestly thought the New York Islanders had lost their damn minds.

As time has gone on, however, I’ve warmed up a bit to the fisherman and don’t blame him for his actions in the movie I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Having said that, however, it’s still plenty bad.

Barber Pole

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This jersey should come with a seizure warning because I don’t know where Carey Price’s arm starts and his torso ends.

While it’s a part of hockey heritage, the Canadiens should have left his jersey where it belongs…in the past.

Bruined?

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This Bruins jersey lasted quite some time, but I felt it looked too soft to represent a franchise like the Boston Bruins.

The logo looks too tame and ruins the sweater. Spelling out the team name on the shoulders in a weird font also clashes.

On a player and on ice, it made the Bruins look like a group of cartoonish characters—not a good look at all.

Yikes

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Dallas unleashed this horror in 2003, designing a logo that was supposed to be the stellar representation of Taurus.

Nicknamed the “Mooterus” for resembling the female organs, it’s an embarrassing moment in Dallas Stars history. The rest of the sweater doesn’t look half bad, which is truly a shame, but with a crest like that it’s hard to take it seriously.

Just Awful

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Tampa Bay’s early alternate jersey is really bad. There’s just too much going on on this jersey for anyone to really appreciate.

Less would really have been more in this case. With the fringed font and the streaks of lightning coming down the player’s arms, it’s almost comical.

Cow Patties

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The El Paso Buzzards played in the Central Hockey League before closing their doors in 2002.

Much like the Mallards, the Buzzards made their mark in hockey history with one of the ugliest jerseys ever made.

If the cow print jersey didn’t get your sides splitting, the fresh, steaming cow pattie did. Nothing says competition like fresh cow dung, and the Buzzards left their “mark” with this sweater.

Angry Burger King Dude

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I don’t know what the Kings were thinking with this jersey, and where do you start if you want to complain about it?

The Burger King logo looks angry on this sweater, but not half as angry as Wayne Gretzky, who probably had to refrain from laughing wearing this thing.

Singing the Blues

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Thank goodness for Mike Keenan, who smartly killed this sweater concept in 1996 as the coach of the St. Louis Blues, because it is just comical.

Words just do not do justice in explaining how atrocious this jersey really is.

If the three raging trumpets in the front aren’t enough, the cheery notes just don’t look inspiring on any competitive level, let alone the NHL.

Mighty?

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This epic fail of a marketing scheme is the single most hideous sweater in all of hockey history, donned by the “Mighty” Ducks of Anaheim.

This sweater is the very definition of hockey fashion fail, and thank goodness the TV show based on the character never got off the ground.

With the expansion of hockey in its infancy and millions of Eisner dollars, some of the world’s very best artists spawned this?

What did you think of my The 25 Ugliest Jerseys in Hockey History list? Think I missed any? Let me know below!

– Banner photo credit – www.puckedinthehead.com

NHL 2012 Lockout : Can the NHL survive?

The sound you hear is the steady marching of feet, at a plodding yet undeniable pace. Many feet shuffling toward the cliff of no return, this 42nd day of the fourth NHL lockout in 20 years.

One of the greatest sports in Northern American history is imploding before our very eyes. Make no mistake, this lockout will permanently damage professional hockey far worse than the debacle of the 2004-2005.

Y’know the first ever professional sports lockout that resulted in an entire season being lost? This lockout has a lot of the same feel to it folks, and it’s looking more and more like a repeat to me.

Today the NHL wiped the month of November out, which means with no collective bargaining agreement, and no plans to resume negotiations, it’s not looking like there’s going to be a season at all.

The owners are blindly following Gary Bettman and playing hardball with the NHLPA, which is a bad omen for hockey fans. They wasted no time once their proposal deadline passed, and they seem dug in for the long haul. The NHLPA attempted to resume talks this weekend, but the NHL would only come to the table if their previous deal was the starting point.

The manner in which the NHL continues to lie about regretful actions, while talking in resolutes and wasting no time in cancelling games makes their words ring hollow and sound disingenuous at best.

“The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement.

The translation :

“The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to bother explaining ourselves to you dolts. Shut up and wait until we tell you hockey has returned, rich people are busy making themselves richer.”

While most of the free world hates Gary Bettman ( give it a shot, it’s liberating ) he takes his directions from the owners. The very same rich idiots who signed many players to long term contracts and in the summer demand for a salary rollback.

I’d rather listen to the puppet

“The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have cancelled another slate of regular-season games,” union executive director Donald Fehr said in a statement. “This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. But it comes as no surprise.”

I hate Donald Fehr, but he couldn’t be more right… or more smug. Fact is the rich are getting richer, but the fans are the ones that suffer. The owners want more salary rollback, and definitely do not want any revenue sharing framework in place.

A shortsighted vision… to be sure.

WEEE!!! THIS IS FUN!!!!

Could the day come when even the hardest of NHL fans turns it back and walks out the door permanently? The NHLPA also seems intent in sitting back and waiting, as many prominent players seem to be saying.

`We’ll see what happens in the next little while and see where it goes from there.”Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said.

I’ll tell you what happens from here… the shuffling of feet becomes a run.

A run nobody wins in the end.

San Jose Sharks : Top 3 Reasons why Sharks should pass on JVR

Kevin Kutz from CSN Bay Area recently wrote a piece that hinted at James van Riemsdyk being a good target for the San Jose Sharks, rather than Rick Nash.

We’ve reviewed the potential Rick Nash trade, and the many points as to why we do not need him especially for the price tag (Logan Couture ++++) that Scott Howson seems hell bent on.

Here’s an indepth look at all the possible angles behind the San Jose Sharks acquiring the young winger.

Why the Sharks could get him

I’d like to say I’ll miss this guy… but I’d be lying.

  • Philadelphia’s once stout and deep defense that powered them through the 2010 playoffs seems significantly less deep and stout than it once did.
  • Chris Pronger’s career may be over due to concussion symptoms
  • Kimmo Timonen turns 38 next season
  • Matt Carle looks determined to test the free agent market, where he could command upwards of 5-6 million
  • The Sharks have defenders to spare after signing Brad Stuart, namely Douglas Murray who carries a friendly cap hit ( 2.5 million ) and plays the kind of rough and tumble game the Flyers love to emulate.
  • The free agent pool of defenseman was pretty thin to begin with, but after the Sharks signed Stuart, it’s even thinner.

Why the Sharks won’t be able to get him

  • Ryan Suter is sure to command most of Philly’s attention.
  • Murray has just one year left on his contract after having a rough season a year ago.
  • Do the Sharks really need a winger that produced less than Devin Setoguchi did, all while costing the team more and being more of a defensive liability?

Why the Sharks should NOT get him

  • In three seasons with the Flyers, JVR has 99 points (47g, 52a) in 196 career regular season games.
  • Devin Setoguchi had 82 points (42g, 40a) in 125 career regular season games
  • JVR is young, and does not fit in the team’s “win-now” mode.
  • Van Riemsdyk skated in just 43 games in 2011-12 because of a broken foot, a concussion, a strained oblique and a strained rib, so he ended up with a lackluster 11 goals and 13 assists
  • At 4.25 million a year, he’s expensive for his production from a year ago.

Care to take any guesses at my opinion of Kevin’s recommendation? JVR is not a good fit here in San Jose for the upcoming season, while his youth and promise certainly are attractive, that’s the problem… “promise”

This team needs a proven scorer that will come in and put the puck in the net and eat top six minutes, not a inconsistent, injured young winger.

Did I mention JVR is currently injured and awaiting surgery?

So…. to make a long story short… JVR? I’ll take a pass… Thanks

Go Sharks.

San Jose Sharks Sign Brad Stuart – New look Defense the Answer?

As expected, defenseman Brad Stuart has signed with the San Jose Sharks to the tune of 3.6 million per for 3 years. It was no small secret that Stuart wanted to return “home” to his wife and daughter, who had to live in California during Stuart’s Red Wing tenure.

Stuart had 21 points and a plus-16 rating in 81 games for Detroit this past season, while playing huge roles in the penalty kill.

With the addition, it reshapes the Sharks defensive corps quite a bit while giving the Sharks a solid top 4 with Boyle, Burns, Vlasic and Stuart. Given Boyle’s age, some may be quick to relegate 22 to the second pairing…. not so fast I would counter.

Boyle struggled a tad early in the year due to injury ( broken foot ) and while fans were heaping dirt on the veteran, he answered and quieted his critics by rebounding nicely after the first month of the season.

With the 8th best Fenwick score on the team and best 5v5 rating from any Sharks defender, it’s clear that Boyle is as important as ever to the Sharks even strength success. Boiler also posted a team high 1.199 Corsi REL QoC, and was fourth on the team with a +1.7 RelCorsi.

Depending on how close you feel the team is to reaching the ever elusive Stanley Cup Finals ( shut up LA ), you may be inclined to see the Sharks roll out :

  • Boyle – Burns
  • Stuart – Vlasic
  • Braun – ????

Top Five Questions after signing Stuart:

5. How many minutes will Boyle play?

He’s led the team in minutes the past 2 seasons, and he still averaged 19.26, good for 2nd on the team. With his age as a factor and the kind of game he plays, the added depth will most certainly give Boiler a chance to be fresh come playoff time.

4. How hard will the coaching staff push Burns?

Brent was up and down in his first season with the Sharks, and it’s a fair question to ask whether or not the coaches gave him more minutes because of Doug Wilson. Given the high price the Sharks paid, it’s a fair question for a defender that led the team in giveaways, turnovers and looked lost some nights.

Burns did turn it up late in the season, scoring 24 points in 36 games from Jan. 7 through March 24, but overall I think it’s fair to say the Sharks haven’t gotten what they expected out of Burns.

Question is, how much are they willing to sacrifice to make sure Burns nets the proper return? If it’s merely a situation of giving him his minutes, I’m all for it. But take minutes away from Braun or possibly Demers, in the quest to pad Brent’s stats and that’s where I draw the line.

3. Will Jason Demers ever show up?

Pretty simple huh? After showing promise and being trusted more and more in late crucial situations in 2010, Demers fell on his face this past year and is quickly becoming an afterthought. With the addition of Stuart, and assuming Crankshaft does not get moved, Demers will have his work cut out for him to earn a roster spot.

2. What impact will Stuart have?

Sadly, I think he’ll just be marginally better than Burns was this year defensively, and won’t approach Brent’s production offensively. Depth and a big minute muncher, but at this stage of his career, it’s a long shot to expect Stuart to make a HUGE impact.

1. What other trades will go down?

Douglas Murray is quickly looking like the Shark without a seat when the music stops, and if so, who will Wilson bring in?

San Jose gave up a promising youngster in Devin Setoguchi, top prospect Charlie Coyle and dropped the team’s first pick in this year’s draft for Burns, and the lack of forward depth made the team look pedestrian.

In fact, one can argue the Sharks are worse off than when they made the Heatley trade, when we were looking for that scorer in the playoffs, remember that?

Whatever trades are to come, I am hoping that it won’t involve Rick Nash. Here’s to hoping against  hope.

Go Sharks.

San Jose Sharks trade for Brad Stuart’s rights – Win, Lose or Draw?

In an early and surprising move, the San Jose Sharks sent forward Andrew Murray and a conditional seventh-round draft pick to the Detroit Red Wings for the rights to unrestricted free agent defenseman Brad Stuart ( according to CSN Bay Area )

Brad Stuart Vitals :

Brad Stuart, Defenseman #23
32 Years Old (November 6, 1979)
6’2″, 215 lbs
12 Full NHL Seasons (876 career regular season games played) – the last four seasons and change with Detroit
Drafted 3rd overall in 1998 by the San Jose Sharks

While it may appear on the surface that the Sharks win in this lopsided trade, the acquisition ( pending a signed contract ) of Stuart will most certainly raise more questions than solve them.

Before weighing in on the move, let’s be clear in that while this wasn’t a “hockey” trade and the Red Wings most likely weren’t going to bring Stuart back, it’s still a huge win for Doug Wilson and a win for the Red Wings as well.

After all, Holland moving Stuart for almost little to nothing surely reveals the level of interest in re-upping with the Red Wings.

While Detroit GM Ken Holland may have landed some late round keepers, it’s safe to assume that this move was done for Stuart, who wanted to be back with his family, given the likelihood of Murray making the Red Wings roster ( little to none ).

While Stuart is on the wrong side of 30 and was never a fluid skater to begin with, he brings depth, experience and ability on the PK. Brad Stuart, had six goals and 15 assists in 81 games last season, while posting a solid +16 rating while leading the Red Wings in hits 177.

Most importantly, he can be counted on from day one to step in and help correct a horrible penalty kill unit that floundered last season.

Sharks Win 

  • On the Penalty Kill – Stuart is more than capable of being a rock on the penalty kill unit, having logged 257:16 of penalty kill minutes.
  • Depth – Stuart allows the Sharks to roll multiple different pairings, depending on which Sharks stay and go. Boyle, Stuart, Vlasic, Murray, Burns is a pretty good top 5 so far.
  • Experience – Stuart has been through many battles and knows what it takes to win in the postseason. His role and experience can do wonders for youngsters on the team like Justin Braun.
  • While he’s not really known for it, Stuart can lay the wood and do it in crucial situations :
Sharks Lose 
  • Brad Stuart is on the wrong side of 30, and won’t add to overall team speed. In other words, he’s not going to be taking a puck on a  Drew Doughty end-to-end rush anytime soon.
  • Stuart allowed a team high 30 PPGA, shorthanded goals against as a defenseman.
  • Stuart was also second worse on the team in PPGA/30
  • Stuart didn’t look like himself late last season for the Winged Wheel, and struggled against Nashville with a -5 rating in the playoffs.
Sharks Draw?
  • Dan Boyle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Douglas Murray, Brent Burns and Justin Braun are penciled into the defensive pairings, could someone be on the outside looking in? ( more on that later )
  • Stuart’s signing means it’s unlikely the Sharks get involved in the Suter Sweepstakes.

With the expected signing of Stuart, you can bet that the Sharks blueline will look a lot tougher next year. Paired with Burns, Boyle or Vlasic would be a terrific duo with Stuart on the backend, the problem is will someone be moved?

The obvious target is fan favorite Douglas Murray, who looked a step too slow last year and struggled through injuries. And at 2.5 million a year may be priced too high for a bottom pairing defenseman, but priced just right for a trade scenario.

While Crankshaft may be the target and may end up being moved, I think the bolder move would be finding a trade partner for Dan Boyle. He’s still a high impact defender who can move the puck and add punch to a powerplay.

Boyle is signed through 2014 and is being paid almost $7 million a year, and will be 36 this upcoming year. After June 12, 2012 Boyle’s NTC has an exclusion that allows the club to move him to any one of the NHL teams, outside of a select eight that Boyle can dictate.

He’s a natural leader, a saavy puck handler and has been a terrific leader in the locker room for years….. But it’s time to move him while the Sharks still can and maximize the return.

My take?

It’s a huge win for the Sharks, let’s not try to confuse the issue. It would be nice to see Stuart come in, and start laying the wood and taking the team by the horns. If he is a first or second pairing defender that can eat 20+ minutes a night and play serious minutes on the pk, it’s a huge win. While many Sharks fans are quickly jumping on the negative bandwagon, saying that Stuart doesn’t hit anyone despite being having a huge frame, I say who cares?

Even if he reverts back to the big young defenseman who didn’t like to hit people, as I remember him last in teal, it’s still a big win.

Mike Rathje part II? a little harsh Sharks Fans.

Bottom line? trading A. Murray (a UFA) and a 2014 7th isn’t like giving up a roster asset, so little of value was spent to have exclusive negotiating rights.

Go Sharks.

NHL Playoffs 2012 : Five Reasons the Kings Sweep the Canucks

Canada’s lost sons, the Vancouver Canucks may be getting their leading scorer in Daniel Sedin back in the lineup after quite an absence. Having lost their last six playoff games, a seventh loss means the Canucks will be golfing a tad earlier than they had planned.

While the Canucks put up a great effort in Game 3, they were unable to solve Jonathan Quick or put the clamps down on either Mike Richards or Dustin Brown.

This team is still extremely talented, and figures to come out firing on all cylinders. Problem is, they are still going to be swept tonight, and here’s five reasons why.

5. Dustin Penner is alive

The last time I saw a Dustin Penner play this way in the playoffs was when he was wearing a Duck sweater. Let’s just stop talking there #badmemories.

mmmm.... pancakes.... OW MY BACK!!!

4. Roberto Luongo is still Alain Vigneault’s man.

Easy enough to figure out right? Lu is still the man for head coach Alain Vigneault, despite the fact that Schneider has been superior than the over-rated Luongo. Vigneault claims to have already made his decision, but is not ready to claim his starter as of noon Wednesday.

3. Ryan Kesler and Dustin Brown

After winning over some critics last year with his play in the postseason, Kesler has reverted back to the same whining, diving antics that often detracted from what tremendous skill he did have.

All the little things this guy does on the ice are no good when he’s flopping around and allowing his emotions dictate his actions. He’s been held without a goal for the last 16 games, and it’s clear the Kings are completely in his head.

Dustin Brown

I’ll admit, I’ve said my share fair of barbs when it comes to the Los Angeles captain. I’ve called him overrated, a poor leader, and a choker, but not this year. After being dangled at the trade deadline, GM Dean Lombardi has certainly lit a fire under the captain.

He’s had an up and down year so far, but is putting it together when it counts. With four goals in the series, he has the same amount of goals as the entire Canucks roster.

2. Special Teams and Defense

Once one of the strongest teams in the NHL, the Canucks just aren’t the same on defense and the power play / penalty kill anymore.

The Kings have racked up five of the team’s nine goals via special teams, which also includes two shorthanded scores.

Alex Edler has also made some horrible mistakes this series, just a small snapshot of what exactly is wrong with the Canucks blueline.

1. Jonathan Quick

And you were expecting???? Quick has quietly joined the elite ranks of NHL goaltending this year. In stark contrast to his performance against these very same Canucks two years ago, Quick looks dominant and in the zone.

He’s allowed four goals in three games, and with four in his last 11 games he’s got as good of an Conn Smythe argument as anyone in the NHL right now.

Best of all? the Canucks don’t seem like they believe they can solve Quick, especially after Game 3 where Vancouver clearly outplayed LA but failed to get the job done.

Yes, the fourth win is the hardest. Yes the Canucks will be fighting for their lives. Yes this is uncharted territory for the Kings.

No, none of this sways my pick of LA sweeping Vancouver out of the playoffs

If you own a business in Vancouver, now might be the time to sell.

 



NHL Playoffs 2012 : Raffi Torres to spin the NHL Wheel of Morality

We’ve all seen the signs, the disturbing hits and cheap shots that have seemed to ramp up lately in the NHL. Things that cross the line of competitive fire and balance, into an ugly gray area of dirty play, cheap shots and intent to injure.

It’s been a disturbing trend of declining respect among their peers for NHL skaters, but last night’s hit on Marian Hossa is one of the more disgusting plays I have ever witnessed on NHL ice, even for a dirtbag like Raffi Torres.

I hate Raffi Torres, with every fiber of my being despite the fact he no longer pulls the Canucks sweater over his head before games.

Early in Game 3 of the Blackhawk-Coyotes series, Raffi “Soul Patch” Torres left his feet, delivering his shoulder squarely into the face of Blackhawk forward Marian Hossa. Hossa was immobilized and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Hossa was nowhere near the puck when the hit occurred.

With the cheapshot hit, Torres makes himself the next contestant to spin the NHL’s Wheel of Morality.

Problem is, the changes we were all promised last year with Colin Campbell’s resignation haven’t seemed to materialize.

Shana-ban has looked inconsistent with the surprisingly rough and tumble first round of the NHL playoffs.

In the first 22 playoff games, teams have racked up 804 penalty minutes, with the Flyers-Penguins series topping the charts in Game 3 with 158.

Shanahan has clearly missed on several opportunities so far, but this is the one clear chance for him to make Raffi Torres a shining example.

Make any excuse you wish for this hit, because it has no place in hockey. period.

Banning him for the rest of the postseason would be reasonable, the Hockey Files believes Torres should be gone for 10 days, but sadly I think that a repeat offender like Torres gets nothing but a slap on the wrist.

Here’s to hoping I’m wrong.

UPDATE : It looks as though Shanahan is serious about Torres, as the NHL just announced he’s been suspended indefinitely pending a hearing. As I’ve said before, this guy needs to be suspended for the duration of the playoffs as an example of his stupidity.

The hearing is set for Friday, April 20th.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=628445

NHL Playoffs 2012 : Byron Bitz spins the NHL Wheel of Morality!!

Vancouver Canucks right wing Byron Bitz was suspended for two games today for his hard hit along the boards Wednesday night on Kings wing Kyle Clifford.

Yes, just 24 hours after their latest disciplinary gaffe, the NHL felt as though there wasn’t enough outrage or backlash to suffice. In order to restore balance to the universe and raise the fans’ level of scorn for the league and it’s haphazard method of discipline, the NHL sent Byron Bitz to the ever popular Wheel of Morality.

Wheel of Morality… turn turn turn

Here is the play in question : Bitz was given a 5 minute major and suspended for 2 games.

Let’s compare that to this play, where Shea Weber not only punched Zetterberg in the back of the head with a sucker punch, but grabbed his head and slammed it into the glass Hulk Hogan style.

Zetterberg avoided injury, although his visor was cracked from the hit and cheap shot from Weber. The fact that he was not injured was taken into account in the decision not to suspend Weber, said Brendan Shanahan, the league’s chief disciplinarian.

Clifford was wobbly after the Bitz hit, and was escorted off the ice, but was skating and had his wits about him just moments after the hit, whereas Zetterberg laid there crumpled to the ice for several moments.

I’d like to recall another dirty play from the playoffs a year ago, when Bobby Ryan was suspended for 2 games after stomping on the skate of Nashville defenseman Jonathan Blum.

Blum was not injured on this play, no penalty was called.

Let’s see… Weber called for penalty, no injury, no suspension. Bitz called for a major, no injury, 2 game suspension, Ryan not called for penalty, no injury, 2 game suspension.

Want more NHL disciplinary fail? Look here at an article I wrote a year ago following the Rule 48 implementation.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/585992-nhl-a-look-back-at-rule-481-at-the-all-star-break

I have a funny feeling I’ll be writing a few more of these kinds of blogs before this postseason is through. Stay tuned.

 

San Jose Sharks Game Day #82 – Winning the Pacific Division. I said it.

It’s easy to spout out any number of sports clichés when you think about the magnitude of the last game of the season. It’s also incredibly predictable, so to spare you the trouble feel free to insert any “game of the season” clichés you wish.

It’s a game San Jose wants to win in order to avoid the daunting task of taking of the Canucks or Blues in the first round.

It’s a game against a rival that you have a long history against, especially a very recent one…..

Hahaha…sorry to those who are King’s fans.. sorta.

So against that kind of backdrop we look forward to Game #82 against the Kings in what is again the game of the season.

Or rather game of the postseason, because game #82 will go a long way in determining San Jose’s odds and lifting Lord Stanley’s chalice.

The win in LA was huge, and coming back from down 3-1 and the ensuring back and forth action made for tremendous hockey.

You couldn’t help but be happy about how the team played in Los Angeles, because that LA team is loaded with offensive talent. The first half was a complete onslaught with the Kings outshooting the Sharks and the boys stood in there and fought back for the crucial win.

I couldn’t help but compare this Kings team to the one the Sharks often had difficulty with in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals a year ago.

Y’know…. the “ever-potent-Westgarth-Ponikaravsky-Lewis” line that dominated at stretches…. the horrible shot selection that made Quick look like he had a piece of plexiglass behind him?

Ponikarovsky?? really???

So when I say the Sharks are going to win the Pacific title, please understand I don’t mean to disrespect the Los Angeles Kings. I respect Dean Lombardi and Darryl Sutter what they did in San Jose, and they will be a tough out for someone else in the first round.

In many ways as a Shark fan, you can sit back and look at that team and wonder what could have or would have.

But I believe the San Jose Sharks will be winning their fifth Pacific title, and facing either the Blackhawks or Red Wings in the first round. The 2000 playoffs was an awesome time for any San Jose fan, but I remember how badly Halak owned the Capitals that year in the playoffs.

How Halak’s 52 save performance turned in the fourth best performance Montréal Canadiens history.

no thanks to facing this guy...

The Sharks want no part of that. Trust me.

Yes this team is without its flaws, I’ll be the first one to tell you that. I can go on and on about declining depth, stubborn personnel decisions, top heavy nature and often questionable shot selection can snowball into an angry poopball of maddeningly inconsistent and frustrating play that defines your fanhood.

But the game against the Kings showed just how this team knew how to rebound from adversity and rise to the occasion.

But still many points of the huge win are reasons for any Sharks fan to hope that maybe, just maybe this year would be the one when we’d actually get it done.

The adversity, the horrible officiating and fast pace of the game all faced the Sharks, and they rose up to meet the challenge. Continue that type of play and who knows where this team can go.

Here’s to coming home Saturday and winning the Pacific Division.

Let’s go Sharks.

What has to work :

A Fast Start – This key almost feels too old but if you are a Sharks fan, you know why. The Sharks must jump out to a fast start and dictate the pace and play their game of puck control.

The .111 winning percentage that the Kings own in the season series against the Sharks when being down by 1 doesn’t hurt either.

Be ready for Quick – As much as I like to tell you hate this guy, I really can’t because he’s just too damn good to hate. His stats and nine shutouts this season don’t begin to measure how important he is for the squad. You can expect him to come to HP looking for vengeance, add Ryane Clowe’s moment and you can bet the Kings will be ready to play.

The Sharks need to be smart about shot selection make sure that Quick knows they are there, stay in front of the net and pay the price to get the job done.

Anze Kopitar – Shark Killer Extraordinaire with 12 goals and 22 assists in just 38 games against the Tiburones. Containing him is always difficult, so we’ll need to be ready to put the clamps down.

Martin Havlat – He’s been a catalyst since his return from injury, showing his speed and tenacity not to mention a great set hands ( and dish passes! ). He needs to keep doing what he’s doing, or whatever he does just please Marty… stay healthy.

Possible X-Factors for the Game

San Jose Sharks – I really liked TJ Gagliardi‘s jump last game even though he failed to register a shot and rode the minus train (-1).

Los Angeles KingsJonathan Bernier, yes we’d love to see him.

Stay on Rob Scuderi – the veteran has a bad against the sharks this year, registering a -4 despite logging top pair minutes.

San Jose Sharks Game Day #79 – Shooting out the Stars

San Jose shutdown the Stars last Saturday 3-0, allowing them to leapfrog into the 8th spot in the Western Conference. Things got chippy between the two rivals late, and you can expect more of the rough stuff tonight.

With a 4-0-1 record against the Stars this year, San Jose has taken care of business both on the scorecard as well as in the faceoff dot. On paper the Sharks clearly outclass the Stars, who are thin down the middle and lack punch on the power play ( last in the league ) having scored twice in their last 10 games in 25 man advantages.

San Jose has also outscored the Stars by a margin of 20-8, providing an illusion of comfort that belies the true challenge at hand.

However skewed this contest may look on paper, on the ice and more importantly for the Sharks, on the road, the story has been quite different this year. On the road the Sharks have been putrid, losing 17 of their last 21 and four straight at the worst time of the year.

Yes, this has the look, smell and taste of yet another trap game.

Dallas will not be coming off a game the night before, as they did this past Saturday either. Playing at home, in front of their own home crowd, in the biggest game of the season, you know the Stars will come out to play hard and fast in the first period.

The Sharks looked sharp last Saturday, jumping out to a one goal lead behind Joe Pavelski’s wrister just 58 seconds into the contest. Fast starts have been far and few between for the Sharkies, but why?

Head Coach Todd McLellan’s seat has been warming up lately, and for good reason. The Sharks aren’t quite as loaded with depth as previous versions have been, but the lack of consistent focus and energy is certainly alarming.

While McLellan doesn’t skate, shoot or pass, he is the head coach and ultimately this season’s poor performance lies directly at his feet.

Want some more good news? Niemi took the ice first at warmups according to the CSN crew on Twitter, which means he’ll be taking his 19th straight start tonight. Managing workload? what’s that??

The Kings overcame their own “trap game” by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 2-0, and if the Sharks want to avoid missing the postseason for the first time since 2003 they need to put their best game forward.

Lose this game and it’s not the end of the world but it’s damn close. With a home and home against the red-hot Kings still on the schedule, the margin for error is smaller than ever.

Keys to the Game :

3. Contain Mike Ribiero – Pretty simple, this guy is a Shark killer and the only forward in the top six that can hurt us consistently. Did I mention he likes big games? Put the clamps on him early and often.

2. Stick to the game plan – Don’t allow the Stars chippy play or more specifically Steve Ott derail the game plan. Chip the puck deep, control possession and dominate the dot are all keys of the game plan.

Bitching to refs, playing out of your role, and getting caught retaliating aren’t.

1. Score early – Once Pavelski buried the early goal against the Stars Saturday, you could almost see the boys lighten up and get their feet moving. On the road the Sharks must shed the “fragile” label and get into gear quickly for results.

After scoring early, San Jose must also guard against the cute plays or high neutral zone turnovers that plagued them late Saturday.

How this talented team continues to struggle with consistency is beyond me, but the manner in which they turn the puck over with the lead is maddening and too cavalier to be championship play.

Trap game time folks, here’s hoping I’m wrong this time.

Go Sharks