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Road Apples



Covering the NHL, CHL, NCAA and pond hockey in North America. A collection of my published articles with occasional rants and raves...



Updated: 2017-11-05T01:06:29.657-05:00

 



SUMMARY

2011-06-04T17:19:08.501-04:00

This site now exists as a rather random/scattered collection of some of my hockey writings from 2005-2008.

In general the older entries (see right margin for index) are copies of my articles from SportingNews.com and Sportsblurb.com; many of the later entries are simply blogposts.

This is in no way a complete collection of all articles written - if anyone desires additional older Sporting News entries please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to retrieve and/or post them.


Here is a public link to my full NHL centers analysis for the 2007-2008 Sportsblurb.com NHL preview magazine:




Great Links

2008-05-13T14:41:00.752-04:00

Even now I still get some hits after taking nearly a year off - (thanks mom) - I'm enjoying being a bit more passive this year and reading everyone else's opinions. Anyhow, I'm still alive - I figured I'd throw out a few of my current favourite hockey links:

an old favourite:

BfloBlog - focusing mostly on the Sabres (and other Buffalo teams) but with a frequent eye on the big picture. Smart, sarcastic.

A fantastic new one this year that was/is worth a daily visit:

Top Shelf - Fantastic heartfelt look at the Sabres. Heather B kind of likes Henrik Tallinder.

Hockey-Reference.com just came online this spring and is a fantastic statistical source. Still awaiting college/junior/WHA compiled stats but I'm told it is just a matter of time.

first online stop every morning:

James Mirtle - great daily take on everything in the hockey world.


For a daily look at what games are viewable online: HockeyWebcasts

An in-depth look at what each team's salary structure looks like at NHL Numbers.


Finally, a look at an All-Time Hockey draft I'm involved in with some friends online. 17 teams: 3 forward lines, 2 defensive pairings, 2 goalies, 1 coach and 1 home ice. My team is "MaxWebster" and I had the final pick in the first round, taking Terry Sawchuk at #17 overall (with Nik Lidstrom at #18).

My most recent pick was The Aud. Teams won't want to fight me in the corners with Tim Horton and Sprague Cleghorn back there.



quick picks

2007-10-05T06:52:44.934-04:00

(image)
I like San Jose to come out of the top-heavy West...and it's hard to argue against Ottawa in the East (and winning it all, finally). I think Buffalo and Pittsburgh are the only other two that at this point wouldn't be upsets to win the East.

Team I wanted to pick for the playoffs: Montreal.

Sidney Crosby for the Ross and Hart (bold, I know. But I did pick him for both last year so I've earned it. Or something....). Jay Bouwmeester for the Norris (but likely to Nik Lidstrom again because Detroit could win 60 and rack up great individual numbers playing in that amateur division). Roberto Luongo for Vezina. Peter Mueller (Phoenix) for Calder. Phoenix has the potential to be legendarily-awful this year, and I think they'll need to put the vastly talented Mueller out there for big minutes each game to give the "fans" something to cheer.



Hiatus.

2007-10-05T06:52:32.815-04:00

Obviously my posting has been sporadic at best of late, when it should be ramping up (season starts in four days....). I've decided that I need a short but officially clean break for a while. To those (~3 people...) that do read, keep in touch via e-mail. I'll still be checking on the links listed in the blogroll below (right column) on a fairly regular basis and hope to be back soon.

...and I do have a shell of a prediction article - I should post that at some point so I can laugh at it in spring.

Enjoy the opening of the season - and I'll hopefully be back posting by the end of the month.



Experts league

2007-09-23T09:16:40.423-04:00

Click here for our league home page.

Click here for draft results.

We're going with the same format as last year, with G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP for offence and W, GAA, SV% for goalies.



I've got drafts the next 2 nights and then I'll be finishing up my season intro article with predictions on standings, since it went so well last year.



Experts draft tonight...

2007-09-21T07:19:12.121-04:00

As described in this post, I'm back in the industry experts league - our draft is tonight at 8:30pm EDT. With 14 teams this year, I have the opportunity to actually do *worse* than last year's cellar finish (12th place).I'll post draft results tonight or tomorrow.UPDATE: Roberto Luongo goes first! to Rotoworld. Shocker - Scott Cullen of TSN is thrilled as Sidney Crosby falls to him at the second spot. Goalies are going fast as Miikka Kiprusoff went #3. I got Joe Thornton with the 5th pick. And there are now 15 in the league. 285 players overall. I'd better start brewing some coffee......Earliest goalie run ever...6 goalies gone in the first round. I need to take one on the way back to me...(although Jason Spezza is still available).. Nick Backstrom gone. wow.Spezza went 4 pix before me - dammit. With 10 of the first 22 picks being goalies though, I had no choice but to jump on that train and I managed to grab Ryan Miller at the 26th spot. No less than 12 goalies are gone, and the 2nd round isn't complete.Amazingly i got Daniel Alfredsson in the 3rd round. Fantastic.UPDATE: 3rd round, 17 goalies are gone. With each of the 15 teams needing 2 goalies in the starting lineup, i've got to get another #1 right here. Peter Budaj is available, i'm up in 7 picks. It's either him or Cam Ward....I got Budaj. Unlike last year, my goalies are set.FINAL ROSTER: SportsGrumblings View All Round Pick Player Position 1. (5) Joe Thornton C 2. (26) Ryan Miller G 3. (35) Daniel Alfredsson RW 4. (56) Peter Budaj G 5. (65) Maxim Afinogenov RW 6. (86) Zdeno Chara D 7. (95) Nathan Horton C 8. (116) Brendan Shanahan LW 9. (125) Chris Neil RW 10. (146) Martin Straka C 11. (155) Wojtek Wolski LW 12. (176) Francois Beauchemin D 13. (185) Carey Price G 14. (206) Raitis Ivanans LW 15. (215) Mike Van Ryn D 16. (236) Marc-Edouard Vlasic D 17. (245) Kyle Calder LW 18. (266) Guillaume Latendresse RW 19. (275) Mikko Koivu CI was pretty thrilled at how the first 10 rounds went. Straka with the 146th pick, even Wolski at 155 when I still hadn't picked up a LW yet (a very thin position after the top ~10). Amazing how the talent thinned out dramatically after that - I took a future flyer on Carey Price as my third goalie (hoping he'll win the job and I can deal either Ryan Miller or Peter Budaj) and then went for some young defencement. Only 4 bench spots which makes it tough to take too many chances.[...]



more down time

2007-09-17T11:01:32.689-04:00

i'll be back up full-time (mostly) starting next week. vacations, renovations, etc. have kept me away a bit but with 3 league drafts in the next 7 days I should be back and ready for the season in a week or so.



Listing of every NHL trade since 1960

2007-09-11T15:34:56.757-04:00

Just came across this site: History Of NHL Trades which attempts to list every single trade in the NHL since 1960.



Edmonton holds rookie camp in Yellowknife

2007-09-11T07:38:58.908-04:00

Yellowknife is the capital city of the Northwest Territories, and is located precisely 632 miles (by air) north of Edmonton (which itself is over 300 miles north of the US-Canadian border):

(image)

Last week the Edmonton Oilers held their annual rookie camp in Yellowknife:

"I knew it was going to be somewhat remote. When we flew over I didn't see a piece of infrastructure till we got to the airport, but once we were here, the community embraced us," O'Marra said.

"Right from the time we got off the plane we had a warm reception. It was just a great experience, right from the first night until today," said defenceman Bryan Young.

"It's like a lot of things that you do," MacTavish continued. "You think it's a bit of an inconvenience to come up here then by the time you finish you think it's really worthwhile."

The Oilers' official website posted a slideshow of the city here (nothing hockey-related, just a flavour for the area)



7-0-1 for Canada

2007-09-10T08:11:51.545-04:00

In the so-called "Super Series" - Russia managed a tie in game 7, and that was it.

We're now within a month starting the NHL and CHL seasons.



Fantasy hockey prep - centers

2007-09-07T14:05:32.033-04:00

In preparation for the annual SportsGrumblings.com Fantasy Hockey Sourcebook, I did draft preparation on centers. Not knowing when it will be published, I thought I'd post (in a very crude format - spreadsheet!) my write-ups here:

Click here for my writeups on 143 centers for 2007-08.

I did a ranking of what I considered the top 40 - after that it was way too subjective so I listed the rest by team.

As I stated there, nearly all of these were written in late July so some inaccuracies may be found in terms of team assignments. Feel free to email me (address on right bar) with anything you might find.



Advanced +/- statistics

2007-09-07T13:17:00.609-04:00

To the anonymous commenter who inquired about better +/- stats, I'll paraphrase here what I left in the comments on that remote post:


I believe Gabriel Desjardins at Behind the Net has done exactly what you were looking for - check out these links:

Quality of Teammates - adjusted +/-

On-ice vs Off-ice +/-



Experts League shocker: they invited me back

2007-09-07T13:14:11.981-04:00

Last season Eric Maltais at TalentedMrRoto.com (since purchased by ESPN) started what we believe to be the industry's first ever Hockey Expert League, and I was lucky enough to get an invite as one of 12 teams. Here's how the draft went last fall.

Yeah, and here's how the league ended up...as I declared myself the 12th greatest fantasy hockey expert in the world.


Well Eric - who now writes for DobberHockey.com - has invited me back, and I've declared (to myself) that I will remember that this is NOT a keeper league. Something I obviously knew last season but I failed to adjust my usual drafting strategies. Anyways, our draft is in two weeks and I'll be sure to post the results - surely the first of many frustrating nights for me in the league.



Labor Day Hockey notes

2007-09-04T08:56:23.225-04:00

1. Team Canada has completely dominated Team Russia in the SuperSeries thus far, taking game 4 on Saturday 4-2 and winning each of the four games in Russia. The Canadian half of the series begins tonight at 8pm ET in Winnipeg.


2. It seems that John Tavares is, in fact, looking for a waiver to make him eligible for next year's NHL draft; he was born 5 days too late to be eligible for 2008. Tavares' agent, Bryan Deasley, is making overtures about playing in Europe next season if special consideration is not granted. Tavares would be a shoo-in for the number one pick in the draft - as of now that honour might go to Steve Stamkos.

3. So much for the rumours about Patrick Marleau being dealt - last Friday he signed a lucrative two-year deal to stay in San Jose, giving the Sharks an enviable top stable of forwards for at least the next three seasons (including Joe Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo, and Milan Michalek)



Perron's goal

2007-08-31T08:29:37.997-04:00

...as referred to from a few posts below:

(object) (embed)

It looks quite good until you see the final reverse-angle replay, as he no-look-touch-backhands it into the net.



Alexei Cherepanov out for series

2007-08-31T08:08:38.793-04:00

Cherepanov suffered a concussion when he collided with Canadian forward Brandon Sutter in the first period of Game 2. He was not on the ice for Friday's morning skate and according to team officials, remains in hospital.


Story here at tsn.ca.

Game 3 starts in one hour (8am, EDT). http://www.hockeywebcasts.com/



Fog game

2007-08-29T15:39:07.869-04:00

Thanks to the Globe and Mail for this great shot from game 2:

(image)
Photo: Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press

Team Canada's Cory Emmerson, right, keeps an eye on a Russian player during the second period.




Canada wins game 2 (3-0), takes 2-0 series lead.

2007-08-29T15:38:43.786-04:00

I was able to watch it through the tsn.ca link with no trouble this morning.

(borrowing/stealing style from Lowtide...)

This is David Perron:
(image)

after he scored the 3rd goal of the game, which was insane - I'm hoping to find a link to it soon.

The next two games are Friday and Saturday morning:

• Game 3 – August 31, Omsk, Russia (7 p.m. local, 8 a.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)
• Game 4 – September 1, Omsk, Russia (5 p.m. local, 6 a.m. ET, TSN/RDS)

====

Photo: Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press. Thanks to the Globe and Mail.




more Canada v. Russia hype

2007-08-28T13:16:51.589-04:00

here's a link to Donna Spencer's video report at the Globe and Mail on the series:
Canada v. Russia - 35 years of rivalry Canada's juniors feels a connection with the 1972 Series, even though most of them were born at least 16 years after it happened.



Canada takes game 1, 4-2. Karl Alzner is outed as a beaver.

2007-08-28T13:17:23.258-04:00

(image)

Karl Alzner wears the game MVP hat. Fantastic.
Canada eventually shed its rust and nerves to grab a 1-0 lead in the series, which celebrates the 35th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union.
tsn.ca report of game 1.

After Steve Mason of the London Knights backstopped Team Canada in game 1, game 2 will be Jonathan Bernier's (Lewiston Maineiacs) turn (the future saviour of the L.A. Kings?).





watching online outside of Canada?

2007-08-28T13:17:11.060-04:00

I make zero promises as to the reliability here, but those unlucky enough to live outside of Canada's restricted broadcast access may be able to watch through here:

http://www.freeproxy.ca/index.php

then plug in the TSN link:

http://www.tsn.ca/canadian_hockey/

Here are the next three games:

• Game 2 – August 29, Ufa, Russia (7 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)
• Game 3 – August 31, Omsk, Russia (7 p.m. local, 8 a.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)
• Game 4 – September 1, Omsk, Russia (5 p.m. local, 6 a.m. ET, TSN/RDS)

=========
edit: here's another link to try:

http://www.hockeywebcasts.com/
=========



Carey Price looking to make the Habs

2007-08-20T07:27:23.400-04:00

[Carey] Price has kept quite busy this off-season with workouts both on and off the ice in preparation for the Canadiens training camp this fall. “Every camp I got to is going to be the mentality of trying to stay, but if it doesn’t happen, they (Montreal) have a plan for me and their going to see that plan through.”
Read the article here.

It would be one hell of a story for Carey Price to actually make the big club this year - less than one year after:

a) backstopping Team Canada to the World Junior gold, winning tournament MVP.
b) setting the WHL's Tri-City Americans record for career wins with 83 and winning CHL Goaltender of the Year award.
c) turning pro with the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs, joining them on their playoff run, and earning playoff MVP as the Bulldogs captured the Calder Cup.



Junior Summit Series - Canada v. Russia

2007-08-21T07:17:22.288-04:00

Another fantastic hockey event that will get somewhere between zero and....zero press in the United States is coming up at the end of this month: a junior-age all star series between Canada and Russia:
This one-time eight-game series featuring the best Under – 20 players in Canada and Russia will take place from August 27th to September 9th.
All the info you need here at hockeycanada.

The schedule:

• Game 1 – August 27, Ufa, Russia (7 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET, TSN/RDS)
• Game 2 – August 29, Ufa, Russia (7 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)
• Game 3 – August 31, Omsk, Russia (7 p.m. local, 8 a.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)
• Game 4 – September 1, Omsk, Russia (5 p.m. local, 6 a.m. ET, TSN/RDS)
• Game 5 – September 4, Winnipeg, MB (8 p.m. ET, TSN/RDS)
• Game 6 – September 5, Saskatoon, SK (8 p.m. ET, TSN/RDS)
• Game 7 – September 7, Red Deer, AB (10 p.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)
• Game 8 – September 9, Vancouver, BC (8 p.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)


I wonder if you can:

a) order the Center Ice package that early and
b) if they'd even televise it.

Time to load up your favourite peer-to-peer network. Not that I necessarily condone such a thing (although if I could buy this TV package I would...)



Sabres fans still obsessed

2007-08-16T14:08:51.659-04:00

According to the Buffalo News:

The Buffalo Sabres lost less than 1 percent of their season-ticket holders from last season, and they have a waiting list of about 8,000 names.

The team now expects to sell out all its home games before the start of the regular season...

...The team lost roughly 100 season-ticket holders out of 14,800 in the off-season renewal process.

The Sabres cap season ticket sales at about 4000 seats under the capacity of the HSBC arena and expect such a strong demand when single game tickets go on sale September 15th that most, if not all, games will sell out.




Sam Pollock: 1925-2007

2007-08-16T09:03:55.224-04:00

Former Montreal Canadiens' General Manager Sam Pollock passed away yesterday at the age of 81. More than just the architect of the Habs from 1964-1978 - presiding over no less than nine Stanley Cup champion teams - Pollock was the first to understand the nature of the new NHL draft. The draft first came into existence in 1963 but took its modern form in 1969 (for the first six years of the draft the only players who could be selected were those not already claimed by NHL clubs via the draconian "C form" - almost a reserve clause for players signed at age 18 and essentially bound those players to the NHL clubs) when the amateur draft was opened up for all players under the age of 20. As written on habsworld.com:
The sponsorship system consisted of NHL teams sponsoring amateur teams. This system allowed NHL teams to scout pre-junior age players to a C form. Most of the players who signed C forms were young teenagers. By signing the C form that player was bound to his NHL club.
Before the inception of the draft, aggressive scouts would sign young players to these C forms and place them on their sponsored amateur/junior teams, thereby holding onto them for as long as they wished; Montreal had a corner on the entire French Canadian market. As the draft emerged and evolved (to distribute young talent more equitably, a bold concept in those days and one that should be noted to counter nostalgic arguments that claimed the "old days" of sports were better), NHL franchises would have to rethink how to build their teams, and especially Montreal who would lose exclusivity to the fertile Quebec territory.

While most GMs had little foresight in this new method of stocking their teams, Sam Pollock figured it out earlier than anyone else. He was able to craft ridiculously one-sided deals with unsuspecting (and clueless) teams for top draft picks, ones he turned into players such as Ken Dryden, Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, and Steve Shutt. In other words, the core of one of the most dominant teams in NHL history - the late '70s Canadiens.

The Canadiens won the Stanley Cup the year after Pollock left, and although they remained competitive for much of the next decade - winning the Cup in 1986 (and again in 1993) - their reign of dominance ended when Pollock departed.

Sam Pollock was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.