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Red Wings Fan

Red Wings have exceeded expectations at the break, challenging for top spot in Eastern Conference posted by Red Wings Fan

Many expected the Detroit Red Wings to be battling just to extend their playoff streak this season.

It turns out they have loftier goals. At the All-Star break, they're competing for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Who could have seen that coming after an off-season with no free-agent or trade acquisitions?

"When I thought about around July 5 when not much happened this summer, I was disappointed, like a few of my veteran players who called me were disappointed, too," coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't think any of us would have believed we'd be at this spot, the general manager and myself included."

The Red Wings (27-11-9) have won five in a row and are tied with the New York Islanders for second in the conference, one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Red Wings have accumulated 13 more points than they had after 47 games in 2013-14 (20-17-10). Credit this to better health, continued growth of younger players and more consistent goaltending. This is a faster-skating team than it was a year ago.

"The contributions of players that were out a lot last year due to injuries has been a real positive, and then the continued development of younger players," general manager Ken Holland said. "When you're in the playoffs 23 straight years it means a lot of picking late, and we're trying to accomplish two goals at the same time -- make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup. And we're also trying to rebuild the team on the fly."

Jimmy Howard regained his All-Star from following an inconsistent season and, after he suffered a groin injury on Jan. 10, Petr Mrazek has stepped in without much drop-off.Injuries enabled young players to step into key roles and most are playing just as well or better. Tomas Tatar (21) Gustav Nyquist (19) lead the way in goals, Riley Sheahan has developed into a dependable two-way second-line center and Danny DeKeyser has been one of their steadiest defensemen.

Continue reading "Red Wings have exceeded expectations ..."

Lightning Fan

Callahan leads Lightning past Avalanche in shootout posted by Lightning Fan

The Tampa Bay Lightning didn't have much time to dwell on giving up the tying goal late in the third period.

Ryan Callahan scored in regulation and got the decisive goal in the shootout to lift Tampa Bay to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, moving the Lightning back into first place in the Eastern Conference.

Ben Bishop made two big stops in the shootout and finished with 40 saves as Tampa Bay moved one point ahead of the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders atop the East.

"You've got to turn the page real quick," Bishop said. "I thought we did a good job in overtime."

Nikita Kucherov put the Lightning ahead in the first round of the shootout and Matt Duchene tied it for Colorado in the second round. Callahan then got the winner in the third round.

"It's tough, you know, because we killed some late penalties," Callahan said. "You know, they end up getting one in with 6 seconds left, and we had to regroup and ready for overtime right away. Then we had another huge kill at the end of overtime and end up winning the shootout, so we did a good job to regroup after that late goal."

The Lightning took the early lead on Callahan's 15th goal of the season on a power play just 1:58 into the game.

"That's the way it goes (losing in a shootout)," Varlamov said. "They scored goals and we didn't score enough until very late. . It was a pretty good move (by Callahan), and they scored in the shootout."

The Avalanche, outshot 15-5 in the opening period, turned the tables on the Lightning in the second with 20-9 edge.

Continue reading "Callahan leads Lightning past Avalanche ..."

Lightning Fan

Tampa Bay Lightning Strengths and Weaknesses and Stanley cup Chances posted by Lightning Fan

Tampa Bay Lightning finished 6th last season and made I to the playoffs before being stopped by the Montreal Canadiens. The team made it to this position despite facing certain challenges like the Captain’s injury that kept him off the team. Jon Cooper’s promotion to the team from the AHL, has proven to be a good decision.  His skills are important, given the development of young talent is key.

Pool of Young Players

The team currently has 14 players who are under 25. This has advantages and disadvantages for the team. Managing such young players with little experience is a challenging task for both the coach and the manager. 

Luckily the coach has experience dealing with such a young team. He is probably the bestt coach for the team at the moment. Additionally, the young team has speed, agility and the ability to score. Their ability to continue in the face of challenges, was demonstrated last season. 23 year old Victor Hedman is one of the young talents that the team can boast of. He finished last season with 55 points in 75 games.

Key Acquisitions

The team’s acquisition this year included a number of player among them Jason Garrison and Anton Stralman. The two are a boost to the pool of young player that this team has. The main issue with the two is whether they can adopt quickly enough and provide the support needed.


Captain Steven Stamkos is back on the team after the injury, but he is yet to recover fully. His hip joint is not yet back to its original form. Despite not having the forward in his best form, Tampa Bay Lightning can make it past the Eastern Conference. They will do better than last time and make it to the second round of the playoffs.

Continue reading "Tampa Bay Lightning Strengths and ..."

Goon Squad

From Russia, with love. posted by Goon Squad

Did I say love? My bad!

A huge fight that stopped a KHL Championship game just after four minutes of play has led to a criminal investigation being launched into the reasons behind the major brawl at the game between Vityaz Chekhov and Avangard Omsk on January 9th.

Match officials struggled desperately to separate the teams and eject the offending players before the game resumed, but another fight broke out after just seven more seconds of play.


The officials finally scrapped the match, with only seven and eight players, respectively, left on each team.

According to the Moscow Region’s Prosecutor's Office, the teams will be probed for disorderly conduct. "The players of both teams - using hockey sticks as tools to sort out their relationships – disturbed public order and the rules of the game, hurt each other and broke sporting rules. The match was stopped due to the fight and a lack of players in the teams due to penalties. As a result of the fight, ten Avangard players and three Vityaz men were injured, as well as the referee," the statement by the Prosecutor’s Office said.

After interviews with on-ice officials and witnesses to the game, and what the league's press release termed "the review of videotapes," the following sanctions were issued by the KHL: Both teams have forfeited the game and were fined one million rubles. (That's an American equivalent of $33,500.)

Continue reading "From Russia, with love."

Frederick Barry

Ovechkin Drops Gloves with Downie, But Bradley Does Dirty Work posted by Frederick Barry

There was no shortage of excitement last night when the Washington Capitals took on the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The best moment came late in the game when the gloves were dropped by Alex Ovechkin and Steve Downie.  Interestingly enough, Ovechkin and Downie never got down to business.

Things got heavy between Downie and Ovechkin early in the third period.  As Downie swept in to make a move, Ovie made a move of his own by cruising in to crush the right wing with a hard hit.  However, Downie's teammates contend that the hit was dirty because Ovechkin may have used his knee in the collision.

Tampa's Center Jeff Halpern said of the hit, "Downs makes a move. [Ovechkin] sticks his knee out, leaves his knee out's not the cheapest hit in the world, but it's still a dirty hit."

That said, it was not a penalty and some players never even noticed the controversial knee.  Even though Downie didn't comment after the game regarding whether or not Ovechkin stuck his knee out, he certainly behaved in-game as if that was the case.  After the collision, Downie took a swing at Ovechkin who swung back, clearly ready for a fight to ensue.  At this juncture a fight was not to happen, though, as the ref quickly stepped in and sent both men to the box for roughing - a two minute penalty.

After spending time in the box the penalty was in the past,  but the mens' agitation stayed high.  Ovechkin and Downie shared some words and the intent of the men became clear as Downie threw his gloves to the ice.  Answering the call, Ovechkin followed suit and even removed his helment in preparation for the throw-down. Little did Ovie know he wouldn't have to throw a single punch.

Continue reading "Ovechkin Drops Gloves with Downie, ..."

Jeff Ponder

Lightning Sign Mattias Ohlund to 7-Year, $24.5 Million Contract posted by Jeff Ponder

The Lightning have empowered their blue line even more this off-season.

After drafting young defenseman Victor Hedman last Friday in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Lightning have brought in a veteran to further along his progress.  Mattias Ohlund, who has spent his entire 12-year career with the Vancouver Canucks, has moved to the Eastern Conference to play with the young Tampa Bay defense.

Ohlund was expected to receive a lot of offers today, but signed early with a contract he liked.  Being known as the top-guy in Vancouver, Ohlund possesses great foot speed and the ability to move the puck out of his zone.  He has reached the 30-point plateau six times in his career, and has scored 36 career power-play goals.  Adding Ohlund to a power-play that ranked 19th in the league last season will surely improve their chances.

This signing, along with the acquisition of Hedman, will finally make teams fear the Lightning defense on both sides of the ice.Continue reading "Lightning Sign Mattias Ohlund to ..."

Jan Hoadley

Tribute to a giant of a horse posted by Jan Hoadley

Most people, even avid racing fans, have forgotten him. He's the horse Laffit Pincay called "the fastest horse I ever rode, the fastest horse I ever saw." From a man who won the Eclipe award for outstanding jockey four times and was seven times the US leading jockey this is high praise.

The horse? A bay lightning bolt named Chinook Pass. Named after a mountain pass of 5430 feet he made a highway through the sprinter division on the track.

Chinook is 30 years old this month and the bay gelding set speed records at several places, winning an Eclipse for sprinter in the early 1980s (not a misprint there!) before retiring after an injury incurred when he won the Longacres Mile. After some healing time Chinook took on a second career - that of a dressage horse and Thoroughbred ambassador. is a site that shows Chinook at 21 and now at 30 in the video clip he is perhaps an outstanding example of what the Thoroughbred can be. As the Derby horses head to Kentucky it's easy to get swept up in the excitement and forget those horses from the past still out there who made our hearts pound.

Chinook is a bay son of Native Born out of a *Turn-to mare, a grandson on top of Native Dancer. After sizzling 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.3 in the Potrero Grande Handicap at Santa Anita Pincay said "This horse is fast but he does it easy...he's just unreal." The horse initially overlooked as ordinary in a field of foals that included Washington standout Belle of Ranier, Chinook didn't ring any bells until he was gelded. At the track he marked 21 times on the board from 25 starts, with 16 wins that included the Washington Stallion Stakes at 2 and setting a new world record for 5 furlongs at 4 years of 5 furlongs in :55.1 as well as equalling the track record for the distance at Santa Anita with a :56 flat mark.

Continue reading "Tribute to a giant of a horse"

Earn Money Blogging

Inbound link contest winner announced! posted by Earn Money Blogging

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the "Inbound Link Contest".  We have a winner!  A big congratulations go out to Marija.  Thank you for all your hard work on this.  While we had a lot of people participate, Marija was able to win with only 4 links!  So it wouldn't have taken a lot to win this contest!  We'll be having another contest soon so stay tuned.

The whole purpose of this contest was to get our bloggers networking with other webmasters and to start to build up their inbound links which will help their traffic.  Even a few links can help you with the search engines as they will see you as more of an authority on your topic the more inbound links you have.

To learn more about marketing your blog check out this post:

Marija's blog can be found here.  If you're a Knicks fan, check it out:

The original post announcing the contest can be found here:

And if you're not already signed up with Google AdSense and making money from your blog, check out our Revenue Share FAQ page:

Continue reading "Inbound link contest winner announced!"

Earn Money Blogging

Inbound link contest - Win $100! posted by Earn Money Blogging

To try and motivate our bloggers to get inbound links we're going to have a contest to see which blogger can get the most inbound links to their blog. The contest begins now and ends July 31st, 2008. To be entered in to the contest all you have to do is go out and get as many websites to link to your blog as you can and at the end of the month send us an email listing all those links. All links must be active from August 1st through August 7th when we'll be judging the entries - a winner will be announced on August 7th. All entry emails must be received by Midnight on July 31st, 2008. You can email them to

We're going to impose some restrictions on the types of links you can get so please see below for the full list of links that do NOT count.

To get started simply go to Google and find other websites and blog that are about the sports and teams that you write about. Email the website owner and ask them for a link by explaining that you think your blog would be a good resource for their readers. Or offer to write a guest post for them with your by-line and URL at the bottom of the article. Or offer to exchange links with them by writing a quick write up of their site and a reciprocal link back to them. Some webmasters will be happy to add you to their blog roll even if you don't give them a link back (which is ideal) but some may want you to link back to them - you can easily do this with a quick blog entry on your blog about their website.

To learn more about inbound links and marketing your blog in general check out this post:

Continue reading "Inbound link contest - Win $100!"

Tony D

New Look Rangers in better position for Cup and Future posted by Tony D

The UFA season has largely been completed--aside from a few big names hanging around--and the NHL standings may look very different next season.

This year's make over awards go to the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.  First, the 'ning--as runners up.  For Florida's only relevant franchise, the makeover began weeks ago with the firing of John Tortorella and the hiring of Barry Melrose (aside: here's hoping Pat Burns makes it back to the NHL and squares off against Melrose.  Was there anything better than the barbs the two exchanged in the 93 playoffs?).  They then selected highly touted Steven Stamkos--a likely second line center behind Vinny the Becoming Great.  Those changes alone would make headlines.  But Tampa didn't stop.  They have since added Vaclav Prospal, Gary Roberts, Ryan Malone, Radim Vrbata, Olaf Kolzig, Ryan Hall and Wyatt Smith.  New look, yes.  The result, however, will be determined.  They've certainly added some size up front, but just how well that translates into success is anybody's guess.  If Kolzig has another super year in him, they have solved their constant goaltending woes and may be ready to take another run at a playoff birth and beyond.

Despite the shake up in Tampa, first place in the makeover pagent (once again) goes to the Rangers.  First, the departures: Jagr, Straka, Avery, Malik, Shanahan (most likely), Tutin, Backman.  The bad news of that group?  Avery.  The good?  Malik, Backman.  The even? Jagr (it was time--this wasn't his team as far back as LAST year), Tutin (the fate of this move lies in Zherdev's hands), and Straka (still an effective player when healthy, but he became replaceable).  Now the additions/retentions: Roszival, Mara, Valiquette, Redden, Zherdev, Kalinin, Naslund (and some other less impact players that we'll save for another time).  There are question marks galore among this group.  Can Roszival regain his 2006 playoff form--especially without Jagr?  Can Valiquette give the Rangers enough quality starts to keep Hank fresh?  Can Redden recover from a couple bad seasons in Ottawa?  Ditto for Naslund in Vancouver?  Is Zherdev on his way to being a league superstar?  Or is he Kovalev part deux?  Will Kalinin replace Malik and Backman as the team's tall, rangy, non-physical defensemen?  Is his shoulder healthy enough?  Like I said, plenty to worry about here. 

Continue reading "New Look Rangers in better position ..."

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