Thursday, May 01, 2008


World Championships Tomorrow

Want to see the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Quebec? You know, the only tournament that you can see your favorite Devils (and one soon-to-be-ex-Devil)? Well, it's not going to be on TV here in the US. But you can see it through the power of the Internetâ„¢. WCSN will air all 56 games of the tournament. It's not free, but it's worth it if you want to see some international hockey. There's plenty to be interested in. You can see how the youth will work out for USA Hockey, you can follow it to see if Canada will retain their title, you can view Alexander Ovechkin play his heart out to win something this year, and you can witness who will be the better team: Denmark or France.

There will be 5 Devils at the WCs: Karel Rachunek and Patrik Elias will suit up for the Czech Republic and Paul Martin, Zach Parise, and Kurt Kleinendorst (yes, the Lowell coach!) will represent the Red, White, & Blue.

Not familiar with how the tournament is set up? That's OK, here's a helpful format explanation as to everything will proceed at the IIHF. Groups A and C are, uh, interesting; but Group B has Canada versus the USA in Halifax. That should be an exciting one, even though Canada will probably win given their talent and the fact they have home ice. If anything, Canada should be the favorites to win the WC. However, Ovechkin and Russia could easily rise up to contend for the title as well. I don't think I'll pay for that WCSN

Tom Gulitti reported the other day that Martin Brodeur will be a part of the Goalie Equipment Working Group. The group will make decisions on the size and regulations of goaltender equipment. With Brodeur on the panel, you can be sure he will make a big point of making changes while not putting his fellow goalies at risk. I'm happy to see that the other goalies named to the list are Rick DiPietro and Ryan Miller. All three goalies don't have particularly large pieces of equipment. Unlike, say, Jean-Sebastian Giguere.

James Mirtle runs some numbers and notes that the playoffs this season has had the same rate of goal scoring as the regular season. That's pretty impressive since playoff hockey is all about the struggle, the raised play of goaltenders, and ruthless defending. I wonder how that will impact calls to reduce goaltender equipment to increase scoring? Well, no, I actually don't. The NHL Competition Committee will take a look at it anyway. Which is the league's right. The NFL changes all kinds of rules every year that affects the game - recent changes have benefitted the quarterback (e.g. roughing the passer is heavily cracked down upon) and the passing game (e.g. cornerbacks can't obstruct receivers beyond 5 yards). That said, I hope the NHL doesn't take it to a ridiculous extreme.

Speaking of Mirtle, I agree with him about the latest announced award finalists. Ovechkin is pretty much a lock to win the Hart (and Nicklas Lidstrom should have been a finalist). And the Pearson (the NHLPA's MVP). All three finalists have an argument to win the Jack Adams Trophy; but I think it's clear that Bruce Boudreau is the favorite. He took a team that is young, not particularly deep, and in dire straits when he went behind the bench and turned them into Southeast Division winners. The team's turnaround this past season can be directly attributed to Boudreau and if that isn't deserving of coach of the year honors, then I really don't know what is deserving. Fair play to Guy Carbonneau and Mike Babcock; but their teams weren't sitting at the bottom of the league in November where it was thought that the playoffs would be a mere dream by February.

Lastly: This weekend, I give out the final shooting stats of the Devils. As you would expect, there's room for improvement. I'm not including the playoffs in the overall numbers; but I will address them to a degree.

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