The Anaheim Ducks have got this whole creative video thing down to a science. Remember Teemu Selanne’s comeback announcement from last summer?
The Ducks are back at it, this time featuring Cam Fowler, their American representative at the Sochi Olympics. “Cam America” struts around in a cap, a cowboy hat, sunglasses and a whole lot of “whoos.”
Still, this one hits its peak when Selanne makes his appearance.
Thomas Vanek’s days with the New York Islanders appear to be numbered. Newsday’s Arthur Staple cites sources claiming Vanek rejected a substantial offer in the range of his current seven-year, $50- million contract.
Staple claims GM Garth Snow is now entertaining offers for the 30-year-old winger. The Islanders acquired Vanek earlier this season by shipping Matt Moulson, a conditional 2014 first round pick and a 2015 second round pick to the Buffalo Sabres. Snow could seek a similar return for Vanek. The Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins could have interest in Vanek as a playoff rental player.
Last month, Vanek said he would understand if Snow moved him at the trade deadline and didn’t rule out returning to the Islanders this summer as an unrestricted free agent. Considering he dismissed such a lucrative offer from the Isles, it’s unlikely they’ll seriously pursue him via free agency.
It’s as good a time as any to write about it, what with the three California teams losing on home ice in one evening last night. (I never thought that could happen this season.)
Throw in the fact Vancouver lost in Detroit and it’s becoming crystal clear. Mike Cammalleri is going to the coast. The West Coast.
The Calgary Flames sniper will be one of the most sought-after acquisitions as the calendar moves closer to the March 5 NHL trade deadline. And boy, oh boy, will there be a battle between the four teams on the left coast for his scoring services.
It’s interesting to see how new terms infiltrate themselves into the hockey consciousness. It used to be the puck went along the boards, but now it’s the wall. Teams that control the play are said to have good puck management. Forwards who follow up the play properly are showing good puck support.
The latest word to enter the conversation is ‘heavy.’ (And we don’t mean heavy the same way Marty McFly did in Back to the Future. To which Doc replied, “There’s that word again. Heavy. Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the earth’s gravitational pull?) Big teams that control and cycle the puck and are difficult opponents and are said to play a ‘heavy’ game. Read more
The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kimgs made history Saturday night by playing the first ever regular season outdoor NHL game in California. It provided a much different look and feel than the snowy sub-zero climates that have hosted outdoor games before it.
First of all, a nod to the great Vin Scully, who has been calling Dodger games in both Los Angeles and Brooklyn for 65 years. Sixty-five years! Any Dodger Stadium experience isn’t complete until the Scully’s voice is splashed across the stadium. He is pictured here with Kings announcer Bob Miller.
On CBC’s coverage, Scott Oake did an interview with Scully in which the West Coast broadcaster told a story about skating with Jackie Robinson. I could listen to Scully tell stories all evening. Probably should have just given him the mic and let him talk.
Nearly 55,000 people were in attendance, burying any notion these outdoors games are tired and old. On the contrary, the outdoor game in California was a smashing success. Seeing players enter with tropical trees, green grass, a beach volleyball pit and people comfortably wearing t-shirts and light clothing in the background was surreal.
At Dodger Stadium, there was a roller hockey rink placed in the infield, a volleyball court in left for intermission entertainment and a stage for performances by KISS out in right field. Read more
Poor Mike Gillis. The problem is obvious: his Canucks are 18-0-4 when they score three goals or more and 8-17-5 when they don’t (excluding the shootout).
They’ve managed to win three of their past seven games, despite scoring only eight goals in regulation/overtime. But they’re still just 3-6-2 in their past 11, with 18 goals scored, and sit in the NHL’s bottom third overall in goals per game.
Gillis tried to find offense without giving up anything, when he attempted to coax Vaclav Prospal, who will turn 39 Feb. 17, into a professional tryout with Vancouver’s American League affiliate in Utica.
Not including the outdoor game at chilly Dodger Stadium, the Anaheim Ducks play seven of their next eight games going into the Olympic break at home. Considering they suffered just their first regulation time loss of the season at home Wednesday night, you’d have to think the Ducks are sitting pretty in their quest to win the Western Conference.
Unless, of course, this loss is the start of a downward trend. Nah.
With that, we present this week’s thn.com Power Rankings, with last week’s rankings in parentheses.
1. ANAHEIM (1): In a development that might raise a slight red flag, Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller said of giving up three goals on eight shots against Winnipeg Tuesday night: “I didn’t feel like I was into the game,” citing the Olympics and upcoming outdoor game as distractions. If those things are going to distract him, how will he react to the pressure of a Stanley Cup final?
2. CHICAGO (4): After finally winning a shootout in a 3-2 victory over Boston on the weekend, the Blackhawks left another point on the table when they dropped a 5-4 shootout to Detroit Wednesday night. Still, the Blackhawks have points in each of their past six games. The Blackhawks have nine games until the Olympic break, but only one of them is at home.
3. SAN JOSE (6): Quick, who the heck is Eriah Hayes? Well, he’s one of a host of guys who continue to contribute to the San Jose Sharks through all their injury woes. The Sharks have returned to the heavyweight category with four straight wins. Joe Pavelski has been an absolute beast with six goals in his past three games and 27 on the season to put him among the leaders. Read more
I once ate an amazing cheeseburger that had grilled cheese sandwiches for buns. Combining two great things often makes for one really, really awesome thing.
While recently pondering my two favorite pastimes, hockey and movies, I realized my pre-season Stanley Cup pick had not changed at the season’s midway point. It was still the St. Louis Blues. I also decided my pick to win the 2013 Oscar for Best Picture was 12 Years a Slave.
That gave me an idea. Why not compare the remaining eight Best Picture noms to my remaining top eight Cup contenders? With that, I present to you a literary grilled cheese sandwich burger, a.k.a. a breakdown of Stanley Cup frontrunners as Oscar-nominated films. It’s go time, in alphabetical order.
ANAHEIM DUCKS: Philomena
What does hockey in Orange County have in common with an elderly woman searching for her long-lost son? Both are targeted to niche markets, neither is a box-office smash and both are excellent entertainment for their few loyal supporters. The Ducks are the NHL’s best team, led by powerhouse seasons from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Philomena is a charming tale led by powerhouse performances from Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Does any one really expect Anaheim and Philomena to take home the hardware? Probably not, but underestimate them at your own risk.