Posted on: July 6, 2009 8:45 pm
The Minnesota Wild and winger Marian Gaborik have finally parted ways after 9 extremely rocky seasons. When it was good it was really good and when it was bad it was really bad. I'm referring of course to fan support for Gaborik over those 9 seasons. While I myself am a very open Blues fan I do live in Minnesota and have my whole life so obviously I watch a lot of Wild games and follow the team reasonable close and my opinion has always stayed the same about Marian which is that he is an offensive force and after the big three (Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin) he can be as good offensively as anybody in the league, BUT he only managed to play four full seasons in nine years for the Wild. To me a full season is 75+ games. So I can see why some Minnesota fans are happy about the arrival of Martin Havlat and the exit of Marian Gaborik but why exactly are some fans SO excited?
Last time I checked Martin Havlat hasn't been the poster boy for good health. He's played in eight NHL seasons and, to my standards, has had one full season. The good news is that his first ever 75+ season came last year with the Hawks the bad news that comes with that is the fact that he played a lot of third line hockey last year. He won't be a third liner for the Wild, second line is as far as he'll be allowed to drop so his ice time is going to increase and the wear and tear on his body will be more this year than last year. To me that equals a very risky signing.
Now to some stat comparisons.
I have to say that Martin Havlat is one of my favorite NHL players, I think he's really impressive offensively and his goal against Columbus two seasons ago was brilliant and showed how dominant he can be offensively. Then last year happened and my fanhood for him shrank a little bit. I always talked Havlat up big to my friends and always said that when he played a full season he was going to go nuts and have 90+ points and 50 goals. Well he did play a full season last year and not only did he not even hit 80 points he didn't even hit the 30 goal mark. So yeah my feeling about his offensive game has changed a bit. I mean three years ago when he played 56 games with the Hawks he netted 25 goals and last year with 25 more games played he only scored 4 more goals than that 56 game campaign. With that being said he is still a very above average winger offensively.
Now onto Marian Gaborik. Last year Gaborik only played in 17 games but in those 17 games he netted 13 goals and had 23 points. The season prior to last he played in 77 games and had 42 goals and 41 assists and that is one hell of a season. Gaborik has had 5 30 or more goal seasons in 9 years, not too shabby if you ask me. A lot of people who I have debated with have brought up the fact that they think Havlat is a much better two way player and all I have to say to that is that Gaborik is a plus 54 in his career so Im not sure Havlat is that much better defensively than Gabby.
In the end both Gaborik and Havlat get hurt A LOT and they both are REALLY good offensively. Only one of them has had a 40 goal season and only one has had more than one full healthy season. That one is Marian Gaborik. The conclusion I've made which was probably sensed the entire time is that I would take Marian Gaborik over Martin Havlat if I was starting a team from scratch. With all of that said and done I hope both players dominate next year for their respective teams so that we can really compare two full season for each in the same year and really see who without a doubt is the better winger.
Posted on: March 22, 2009 2:17 am
Well it's all over and the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs won the championship and made history in the process. The Bulldogs became the first team that went through the play in game and went on to win the tournament. I can't say enough about what the Bulldogs did. They upset CC in a sweep then went on to upset Minnesota, UND, and finally Denver. Oh and they did it convincingly. I'm still somewhat in shock at this unreal playoff run the Dogs pulled off. Stalock gave up all of 3 goals in 5 playoff games and only 1 in 3 final five games. His performance in net has to be considered one of the best ever. As amazing as Stalock was I have to give credit to the Bulldogs defense and many of their forwards who play ferocious two way games. The Bulldogs looked amazingly dissaplined on both sides of the rink, and guess what being techniquely sound pays off. Minnesota, UND, and Denver had no answer for the Dogs. The Bulldogs should be getting a 2 seed in the National tournament and if the Gophers don't make the tourney which it looks like is a very real possibility then I would imagine the committee would put the Dogs into the Minneapolis regional and that could be huge for the hottest team in all of college hockey.
I can't say that I think the Bulldogs are going to win the NCAA tourney this season but if they can carry this improbable run and their current inspired hockey into next weekends tourney then they have a chance to make some serious nose, and potentially get to the semi-finals which would be incredible since they were 7th in the WCHA at the end of the regular season.
My Top Five Bulldog Stars (Based on the Final FIve)
5. Josh Meyers - He was their best defender. Finished a plus 3 with 2 Assists. Logged a lot of ice time and simply got the job done.
4. Mike Connolly - 1 goal and 3 Assists. He was good offensively each game and was second to only Sharp in points.
3. Jack Connolly - Only scored one goal but it was in the championship. I thought he played the most inspired hockey out of anyone on the team. He was amazing in the face off circle and it seemed like he was making every play perfectly. He played great two way hockey each game.
2. MacGregor Sharp - 5 goals and an assist in the final five, and a hat trick in the championship game.
1. Alex Stalock - Held the Gophers to one goal then shutout UND and Denver. Unreal.
Posted on: March 15, 2009 3:30 am
Very surprisingly to myself the first round of the WCHA playoffs is already over. All five series were sweeps.
North Dakota swept Michigan Tech
Denver swept Alaska Anchorage
Wisconsin swept Minnesota State
UMD swept Colorado College
Minnesota swept St. Cloud State
My biggest highlight being a Gopher fan was Alex Kangas's game two shutout against the Cloud. Other highlights were Ryan Duncan's natural hat trick in game two against Tech, Wisconsin putting up 111 shots against MSU in their two games, Alex Stalock stopping 65 of 67 shots against CC, and my last highlight was seeing Denver fend off a charging Alaska Anchorage team and win both games in the third with big time goals.
Five Stars of the First Round:
5. Ryan Stoa - Goal and Assist in game one followed up by 2 Goals and an Assist in game two against St. Cloud
4. Rhett Rakhshani - Assisted on all 3 goals in game one then scored a big goal in game two against AA
3. Ryan Duncan - Assist in the first game then a natural hat trick in game two against Tech
2. Alex Kangas - Stopped 63 of 65 shots in the two games against Cloud plus posted a shutout in game two.
1. Alex Stalock - Stopped a total of 65 shots against CC and only gave up one goal each game.
Blake Geoffrion - Wisconsin / Jack Connolly - UMD / Jesse Martin - Denver
Posted on: March 11, 2009 10:52 pm
This has to be the greatest time of year for myself because not only has the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament begun but on Friday the WCHA Playoffs begin. Oh and the NHL is definately coming down the back stretch with a lot of great story lines arising. So basically if your a hockey fan in Minnesota this has to be the greatest time of year. For this blog I'll just give some quick notes and opinions about the up coming WCHA Playoffs.
1 North Dakota V.S 10 Michigan Tech
Obviously I'm picking North Dakota to win this series in a two game sweep. The first half of the season was god awful for North Dakota but wow did they turn things around. Since December 5th they are 18-4-3 and somewhat seem unstoppable. Tech on the other hand has only won 6 games all year and of those 6 only 2 were conference wins. This series should not be close, look for Duncan up front and Genoway on the blueline to take care of business for the Sioux.
2 Denver V.S 9 Alaska Anchorage
I am picking Denver to sweep this series. Denver has been pretty consistent all season and have gone on a couple nice win streaks along the way. I dont see AA upsetting them or pulling one out. I think Islander prospect Rhett Rakhshani will lead Denver to this sweep.
3 Wisconsin V.S 8 Minnesota State
I am taking Minnesota State to upset the Badgers in this one. State got screwed out of a NCAA bid last year mainly because one of the sections was being held in Wisconsin and I'm sure they still remember that and will want some revenge. Besides all that I think State has been playing better hockey than Wisconsin over the last few weeks. Berge and Davis are a good one two punch for State and it will be interesting to see if the Badgers can stop them. I say State in 3.
3 Colorado College V.S 7 Minnesota Duluth
No I'm not incorrect in labeling CC with a 3 cause they tied Wisconsin for the rights to a 3 spot in the conference. I'm taking CC in a 3 game series to win this. I think it will be the best series in the first round, but I think it will come down to goaltending and I have to give the nod to Bachman of CC. I'm pulling for the Dogs but I don't think they will have an answer for Chad Rau.
5 Minnesota V.S 6 St.Cloud State
Being a Gopher fan you know I'm taking the U to win this series, and I'm taking them in a sweep. I for see two very offensive games between these two teams but I think the Gophers will prevail based largely on the home ice advantage. St.Cloud does not play well in Minnesota and this year the Gophers are 4-0 against the Cloud. I have a lot of friends that go to St.Cloud so I'm really hoping that the Gophers pound them, but I realize that Roe and Lasch are going to be hard to stop.
Posted on: February 2, 2009 2:53 am
I watched the games with four of my good friends and unlike myself they all wanted the Cardinals to win. I'm not saying I wanted the Steelers to win, but what I am saying is that I think it is dumb for people to pick a team to cheer for when the Super Bowl comes around. I'm a Vikings fan and that's where it ends. Just because its the league championship doesn't give a fan the right to cheer for somebody else, at least not as passionately as people do during the Super Bowl. When Larry Fitz went to the house to give the Cards a lead late in the 4th my friends went absolutely nuts. If I didn't know any better I would have thought that they were die hard Cards fans and had been since birth. I understand it makes the Super Bowl a little more entertaining if you pick a team but come on going nuts for that team really seems wrong to me. When the Vikes have a bye week during the season I don't pick a team to cheer for that week, so it's no different to me when the playoffs roll around and the Vikes aren't playing. I don't just jump onto another team and hope they win, cause I'm a fan of one team and one team only so I can't get excited watching a team that is not "my team" win the league championship. I just hope for a good competitive football game to watch, and could care less who wins. It's no different for the Stanley Cup or World Series either. If the Blues are not in the cup finals then I want to see 7 great games of hockey, and if the Twins are not in the World Series then I want to see 7 great games of baseball. I don't want to pick a team and cheer for them. Truly upsets me.
As for the game itself I thought it was extremely boring until the fourth quarter rolled around. I didn't even think it was a competitive game until the fourth because the Steelers were pounding the Cards and containing Larry Fitz amazingly. Then we all know what happened which is Fitzgerald took over and brought the Cards close to a title until Big Ben drove the field and Holmes made a great catch to finish up a solid game. Again, until the fourth quarter I thought it was a terrible game. Oh and the refs really wanted to be part of the game cause they called as many penalties as they could. Some calls were correct and some were not, but wow did they enjoy throwing flags. The final play of the game is something I will always be pissed about though. Why was that play not reviewed? I'm not saying it would have been overturned, but wow that was close to being an incomplete pass and should have been reviewed for a while. It's the frickin Super Bowl and they didn't take time to make sure they got the call right? It's the principle of the matter that upsets me. Anyways, good game when it was all said and done. The commercials really sucked though, and honestly I thought Wipeout on ABC was better then anything the Super Bowl halftime show had to offer.
Posted on: December 8, 2008 3:26 am
Starting off with the Vikings win over the Lions. T-Jack came into the game and actually impressed me with his accuracy. He is making me want to see him start next week even if Gus is ready for action. Yes I know Detroit could go down as one of the worst teams in the history of the NFL but even so Jackson did his job and he did a fantastic job off the bench. The big story of the game however was Jared Allen who was cheapshoted and appeared to be seriously hurt, but he did what Jared Allen does. Right after he got off the ground he tried to fight the guy who did it then went to the sideline, got taped up, and came back to action to record 2 sacks and a forced fumble. The guy is a beast and his skullet is as beastly as he is.
Next up on my list is Chicago's 7-1 pounding of Phoenix. I'm not surprised that the Hawks won but 7-1 !!?? That's an embarrassment for any team. The most impressive thing about this game was Andrew Ladd's stat line when it was all over. He ended with 1 Goal, 3 Assists, and a plus 4 plus/minus. Now that's a big game. I was also happy to see one of my favorite players, Martin Havlat, get back in the offensive zone recording 2 Assists. I always told my friends that if Marty would have a healthy season he would be in the top five in points, but I guess I was sadly mistaken, at least so far. I'll leave that topic for another time however.
Last but not least, well actually maybe least, I want to comment on the Minnesota Timberwolves. I live in Minnesota and up until this season I considered myself a Wolves fan, but that ended when we decided to trade O.J Mayo away for Kevin Love. That was the last straw for me, and now I will not support or even watch the Wolves until they fire Kevin McHale. The guy has made some of the worst decisions I have ever seen someone make when it comes to GM's. He has now twice traded the player we drafted before that player even plays one game with the team, and oh yeah he dealt Kevin Garnett for garbage when I guarantee he could have got some major players for KG. The guy is bad for the team and once again they are at the bottom of the league, and now I hear they might make him the head coach again. This is becoming a joke to me and I have had enough. The next time a T-Wolves game is shown instead of a Wild game I'm calling my local cable provider to complain, and I'm not even a Wild fan.
Posted on: December 6, 2008 4:11 am
I just wanted to touch on a few topics that I'm sure many Minnesota sports fan's are discussing. The first being Kevin and Pat Williams suspensions, and well non suspensions. Im really anxious to see how this plays out. Currently the suspensions have been blocked by the court, but here's my problem with this. The Williams are going to play against the Lions because of the block but if they still end up getting the suspensions then the Vikings will have to play their first playoff game without the Williams wall and that would be devastating to our chances so I think this block could end up hurting the Vikings more than helping them, that is if the suspensions are upheld. I personally think the Vikings can slide into the playoffs without the Williams wall but I dont see us winning a playoff game without them, so I almost wish they just would have served the suspension, but again this is only if the suspensions are upheld after the court makes a decision on this.
Next up on my list is the potential Twins signing of Casey Blake. I am currently in an argument with two of my friends over this potential signing. They both say this is a typical move by the twinkies to bring in an old player who will do absolutely nothing to help the team. They reference players such as Mike Lamb, Adam Everett, Craig Monroe, Tony Batista, Phil Neven, Ruben Sierra, and Livan Hernandez. I am personally offended for Casey Blake that they would even consider putting him into this grouping. All of the players mentioned were coming off of terrible and I mean terrible seasons before the Twins signed them. The only exception is Batista who was not even in baseball the season prior to the Twins signing him. Blake is coming off of a 21 Homer / 81 RBI season which eclipses the rest of those players stats the season before they were signed. I always let them know that I dont think he will put these numbers up in Minnesota, but there is no evidence to show that he won't be productive in our lineup. They are completely basing their opinion on Blake's age while I am basing mine on his numbers. Giving Blake a 2 year deal for 6 mill would not be a mistake. I don't believe we should give him a third year which he wants since we do have Tolbert and Boucher who can play 3rd but if he will sign for 2 years we need to get the deal done. All this being said, I doubt the Twins get him signed.
Last but not least, Marian Gaborik. Gaborik and the Wild's relationship status is currently "separated." It's obvious Gabby wants out of Minnesota and I would argue that he's not even hurt right now, he's just waiting for the Wild to get a trade done. So why is the trade taking so long ? The Wild publicly stated that they are willing to trade him so why has nobody come up with a good enough deal yet ? I know Gaborik has a pretty nice injury list but he had a great season last year and can still be one of the best offensive players in the game when healthy. I'm really interested to see what the Wild actually get in return for him. I would guess a draft pick and a young player, or a draft pick and an established center, which by the way I personally would do if I was Minnesota. The only reason I can see for this deal taking so long is that teams want Gaborik to sign with them if they trade for him, and I really think Marian wants to pick his own team after this season, but if that's what game Gabby is playing them sell him for even a cheaper price so you can get another player to help your current team right now, and a 2nd or 3rd round pick and get this drama over with already. It's obvious the Wild don't need him to be successful since their defensive system is so good, so it's time to get this over with.