Sunday, December 30, 2007

Figren's Finale?

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Just a quick thought here... something Dean and I talked about on the last TPS show before Christmas. I'm wondering, and feel pretty confident in predicting, if/that Robin Figren has played his final game as a member of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Think about it. The WHL deadline is January 10th, the final day of the WJC is January 5th. Give a guy a couple of days to rest and recoup from the travel and that would mean the only possible game he plays with the Oil Kings would be January 8th against Saskatoon.

That is, IF you don't think he'll be dealt before then. I sure do. What good does it do the Oil Kings not to move him? It's not like they're in contention to make the playoffs. Bob Green is a smart hockey man and he'll do what's best for his club long term. In this case that means moving his best player for either picks or young player(s) from a current contending team.

How about a return to the Calgary Hitmen for Figren?

And one more thing about Figren... that lacrosse style goal he scored against Denmark seems to have some people upset. They don't like that he pulled a trick play on a weak opponent when the game was already out of reach. My thought?

QUIT WHINING! Personally, if a player can do cartwheels down the ice and end it off by scoring a goal I say FANTASTIC. It's entertainment and I'm 100% for it.

It was a beauty goal and if you haven't seen it, here it is:

Happy New Year Evderybody! TPS is back on the air January 15th.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Czech Please!!!!!

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As the World Junior Championship inches closer, I am really looking forward to a few player match ups. One is, Jakub Voracek of the Czech Republic vs. Kyle Turris of Canada. To me, Voracek is, and I think will be the best player in the tournament. Will he turn out to be the best player of all time, when compared to those who will lace them up starting Boxing Day? Probably not. But for this tournament, I consider him the best right now. Sure he was drafted 4 spots behind Turris, but he was still taken 7th overall, and very easily could have went 6th to the Oilers. What I think gives the Halifax Moosehead forward the edge over Turris right now, is where he's playing. Voracek, in my opinion is facing better competition than Turris is in Wisconsin of the NCAA. He's playing in a more physical league, and playing more often. He has a ridiculous 50 points in 25 games, compared to Turris' totals of 19 points in 16 games, of which 11 came in 3 early season games. Don't get me wrong, Turris is a phenomenal talent, but I think he missed the boat by not taking the offer from the Vancouver Giants last year or this season. Now, I'm not saying by playing NCAA that Turris won't develop into a great player (I still see him in a Coyote uniform next year) but I think he would have been farther ahead of the game playing under Don Hay in Vancouver. I also think Voracek will get a boost from playing at home and could lead the Czechs to a podium finish.

The other match up I'm drooling over is Victor Hedmen Vs. John Tavares. For so long we've heard about Tavares and his buckets of talent. Sure inside the offensive zone he's like Jimmy Walker from Good Times used to say, Dynamite. But to be that good you have to get there, and Tavares isn't a great skater, which might hurt him on the big ice. There are some inside the hockey world who have told me, if they had the first overall pick in 2 years, Victor Hedman would be their selection and not Tavares. Hedman is 6 foot 5 and 210 pounds, and playing a regular shift in the Swedish Elite league right now. I have been told by one hockey insider that he's better than Chris Pronger was at the same age. If that's the case, than I can't see many teams taking Tavares instead of the Swede first overall.

When Canada takes on Sweden, this will be a match up that will get plenty of attention, so you'll be able to judge for yourself.

Enjoy the tournament...it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy Holidays to all.

Deano

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Silvertip Shutout!

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Shutouts involving the Everett Silvertips aren't really news and the talented WHL club has usually been on the positive end... but not this time.

If you had asked me in September to pick Canada's WJC roster there would have been 3 Silvertips on the club. Certainly goaltender Leland Irving would have been there as well as 2006-07 WHL leading scorer Zack Hamill. I also would have thrown Kyle Beach's name in the mix, he was the WHL rookie of the year last year and is pretty much a concensus top 5 pick in 2008.

All pretty reasonable candidates but low and behold, as the invites to Calgary camp were issued, Beach wasn't even asked to come out and then both Hamill and Irving were cut when the week ended.

Now this isn't a article of outrage that Hockey Canada has made a horrendous mistake, it's more to express my shock that 3 highly touted players had spots likely to lose... and lost them!

Anyone who knows me knows that Zack Hamill is one my personal favorite prospects, I even made sure to draft him in my keeper league. But when the defending scoring champ doesn't even rank in the top 25 the next season (as of Dec 14th anyway) then clearly something is up. My theory is that Hamill benefitted hugely from Peter Mueller and the attention teams had to pay him last year.

Irving has struggled right from the get-go this season. One has to wonder if the massive contract signed by Miikka Kiprusoff and the overall depth of the Flames goaltending (one of the best in the NHL in my opinion) is weighing on him. That plus a less than stellar performance during the Super Series seems to have knocked Irving back down to mere mortal status. (Another shot to my fantasy keeper squad...)

Lastly, Beach, for all his on ice talents obviously has some issues to overcome. I've met him, talked to him and was impressed with the way he'd owned up to some of his past mistakes and his candor in regards to trying to get himself on the right path. Since then there have been more incidents (off ice) and the more NHL people I talk to, the more often I am hearing that he's a bad apple. He's going to get drafted and very high, hopefully by a team that has solid leadership that can help mold a still maturing 17-year-old into a better adult.

Now, on the show I picked Everett to win the division. Sure doesn't look like that's going to happen but I wonder if this 0-3 loss to Hockey Canada might provide some extra motivation for the trio of 'Tips players.

I hope so, because if Millard's Wheaties end up winning their division and Everett fails... I'll never hear the end of it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Flaming's Picks for Team Canada

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OK, Dean's headed down to Calgary to take in WJC camp so I figured I'd better get in my picks before it begins... just to prove how smart I am.

Goalies

1. Jonathon Bernier - This might be the kiss of death for hiim though because I picked him to be the starter last year too. He's not exactly lighting it up in Lewiston this year but he's got NHL experience now and to me, seems to be the most reliable after watching the Super Series.
2. Steve Mason - He is having a great year with London and I know that there were some in Columbus who felt coming out of camp he deserved to stay ahead of Fred Norrena. Mason's got the Super Series experience too, although was really hot and cold there.
3. Leland Irving - Might have been my top choice prior to the Super Series but he wasn't great then and has struggled in the WHL this year as well. Might have a leg up considering he's one of the few returning invites but at this point I think the other two are ahead of him.
4. Tyson Sexsmith - The WHL has sent the starter and the back up for the last 3 years (Price/Irving, Pogge/Dubnyk, Glass/Beauchemin) but I think that streak comes to an end now. Sexsmith was blown out in the ADT Canada-Russia challenge and would need a heck of a camp to make the club in my opinion.


Defence

1. Karl Alzer - You need some experience, he's got it... plus he's pretty good too.
2. Drew Doughty - I really liked his performance throughout the Super Series and he's more than a point/game guy in Guelph.
3. Thomas Hickey - The L.A. Kings like him more than me but he's still more than good enough to get the nod for the WJC team.
4. Logan Pyett - The competition will be fierce and I'm not saying it's what gets him on the team but it can't hurt that Pats head coach Curtis Hunt is on Canada's bench. Familiarity with players is a good thing.
5. Luke Schenn - Outside of Alzner, the guys I picked are on the smallish side and 6'2 Schenn would help balance that out. Plus he was impressive in the Super Series.
6. Ty Wishart - Statistically having a career year in Prince George and I find it too tough to ignore that 6'4.5 frame.
7. Josh Godfrey - Played well in the Super Series and like Pyette, is well known by this coaching staff.

Forwards

1. Zack Boychuk - I'd really like to see a line of these first three guys, at least in camp.
2. Zack Hamill
3. Claude Giroux
4. Brandon Sutter - Centers my shutdown line with the next two guys.
5. Colton Gillies - Always better on the international stage than in Saskatoon.
6. Stefan Legein - caught my eye in the Super Series for sure.
7. John Tavares -
8. Kyle Turris -
9. Steve Stamkos -
10. Brad Marchand -
11. Shawn Matthias - Can't ignore that OHL prodcution this year (56 points in 30 GP)
12. Brett MacLean - Racking up the numbers in Oshawa playing with Tavares, why not here?
13. Nick Spaling - Tough choice here for me between him and Emmerton but Spaling is having the better year statistically.

MY cuts: Irving & Sexsmith... Bodnarchuk, Ellerby, Marshall, Smith & Subban... Esposito, Halischuk, Holzapfel, Perreault, Simmonds, Emmerton, White and Tyrell*.

*If Tyrell is healthy, he makes my team ahead of Spaling.

That's it... now it's just a matter of seeing "who is right and who is wrong". See Dean's list below to have a sneak peek at the "wrong" winner.

Monday, December 3, 2007

No Alex The Great???

1 comment:
So Hockey Canada has released it's list of invitees to it's World Junior Championship training camp, and now it's time to release the hounds as Mr. Burns would say. A quick scan of the team and one thing is obvious, a lack of vets. Only 3 to be exact in Brad Marchand, Karl Alzner and goaltender Leland Irving. But there is still plenty of talent in the squad, which always makes it hard to argue about players being left of the list. But this would be a pretty boring blog if I didn't.
I have to wonder where defenceman Alex Pietrangelo's name is on the list? Did they not know h0w to pronounce it, so they decided against an embarrassing moment when calling it out? Some have pronounced it (PEE-Tran-Jelo). For the record, I believe it to be (Peeter-Angelo) but I could be wrong as well...it's only happened a million times before.
I just can't wrap my head around the fact that a kid who I believe could go first overall this June, or 3rd at worst, doesn't even get an invite to camp. It's not that he doesn't have the offence, he's a point per game guy with Niagra in the OHL. He has the size at 6-4, 210 pounds. And he plays a great all around game that some compare to Nik Lidstrom, who only has 5 Norris trophies to his credit.
Pietrangelo is a great passer who can quarterback the power play and will surely go atleast top 5 in this year's draft, doesn't that atleast warrant an invite. No. Instead, Hockey Canada invites 4 D-men who are under 6 feet tall. I'm not saying that Pietrangelo should have a name plate in the Czech Republic already, but at the very least should be getting off a plane Sunday night in Calgary. I know he's young, but what better way to get him used to how Hockey Canada works then invite him to camp, even if he doesn't make it.
While I'm on the subject, I'm starting to wonder if there is something wrong with Logan Couture. The one time consensus first overall pick in the OHL - until some guy named Tavares opted into the draft early - was a first round pick, 9th overall by San Jose last June in the NHL entry draft. Yet he didn't play in the Canada -Russia Super Series, and didn't get an initial invite to Calgary, although with an injury to Dana Tyrell he may still get the call. Couture is 21st in OHL scoring with 38 points in 27 games. He seemed like a good kid when THE PIPELINE SHOW interviewed him last year, and from those who watched him in the OHL there are no stories of him being a bad apple. He was supposed to play for Canada at the Under 18 one year, but a bout with mono scratched that plan. Couture is a terrific all around player, who can score, kill penalties and check the other team's top line. While he isn't as physical as Brandon Sutter he is somewhat similar to the Red Deer Rebel, who will surely make this team. I would have invited Couture over Angelo Esposito, who will be at his 3rd camp and looking to make the team for the first time.
Then again, maybe I shouldn't second guess Hockey Canada, after all they've only won the last 3 tournaments. Having said that, here is my prediction for what Team Canada will look like when they board a plane for the Czech Republic on December 14th.

Goalies
Jonathan Bernier
Tyson Sexsmith

Defence
Karl Alzner
Josh Godfrey
Logan Pyett
Luke Schenn
Drew Doughty
Thomas Hickey
Brendan Smith

Forwards
Zac Boychuk
Colton Gillies
Claude Giroux
Zac Hamill
Brad Marchand
Shawn Matthias
Steven Stamkos
Brandon Sutter
John Tavares
Kyle Turris
Stefan Legein
Cory Emmerton
Brett MacLean

Enjoy the World Junior Championship, and don't miss THE PIPELINE SHOW
December 18th, for our 2 hour preview show.

Cheers,

Dean Millard
The Pipeline Show
TEAM 1260
Tuesday, 7-9 PM MST
http://www.thepipelineshow.com/

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hey Ho... Lets Go!

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TPS has finally caved.

We've been thinking about getting into the whole blogosphere for a long time but now that the show is in the middle of its 3rd season we figured the time was right to finally jump in.

Over the next few days we'll be fine tuning but should you stumble across our little blog here before we officially launch it... feel free to say hello.

Cheers!

Guy