Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nighthawks fall to 0-2

The Nighthawks struggled against Los Hooligans, and followed suit with last week's result, a loss. As a whole the team looked better than they did last week. The problem seems to exist in the goal. Matt Roos started tonight and gave up 7 goals. Once Mike took over in net nothing got past him, but the Nighthawks were still on the losing end 7-4. Mike may be the answer in goal, but he will not be on time to most games so the team will have to make due without him. As far as the offense goes, the Nighthawks dominated in time of possession but they failed to capitalize. It seems a few practices will get this team flowing on offense. Also, if Kaitlin remembered to show her ideas before the game they might have been more prepared. Anyway, the physicality was still present in the Nighthawks as Andrew Willis had only three fouls, but also had a 10-minute penalty (there are rumors that he lost the "A" but it isn't true). The return of Travis was big morale boost for this team, but trying to shake off the rust left him with a low amount of playing time and a -1 on the night. John Mosley came to play as he had two goals and sits with a team leading three. Leanne added the other 2-point goal. The team has a lot of positives, and a practice will get them ready for their next game.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday's NHL picks

Game: Ottawa at Boston
Summary: The Senators come into today tied for the longest active win streak right now at five
games. During this span they have outscored their opponents 18-6, including a 5-1 victory over the Bruins. But before this winning streak, the Senators had lost five in a row, including a 4-1 loss to Boston. As for Boston, they have lost three in a row and find themselves slipping in the Eastern Conference.
Winner: Boston. I feel Boston wins this game and rights the ship, besides Ottawa has to lose sometime.

Game: Carolina at Philadelphia
Summary: The Hurricanes are sitting in last place in the league right now, while Flyers are in ninth in the Eastern Conference, just one point out of the playoffs.
Winner: Philadelphia. If the Flyers want to be a playoff team the have to win the games they should win, this a game they should win.

Game: New York Rangers at Montreal
Summary: The Rangers offense was non-existent against Philadelphia after scoring 14 goals in two games previous to that. As for Montreal, they are in tenth in the Eastern Conference and just one win from being the playoff picture.
Winner: Montreal. I feel that the Rangers will be looking ahead to their Monday night showdown with the Penguins, and this gives Montreal the edge.

Game: New Jersey at New York Islanders
Summary: New Jersey is still in first in their division despite losing four their last five games. They are facing an Islanders team that has won five of their last six, and hasn't lost at home since December 27.
Winner: New York Islanders.
The Islanders are on a roll right now; recording shutouts against the Red Wings and these same Devils. By the way, their one loss was against the Penguins.

Game: Phoenix at Washington
Summary: The Coyotes have been one of the biggest surprises this season. At this point they are fourth in the Western Conference. Now they have to go to Washington and play the Capitals, who have won five in a row. They also have the best home record in the Eastern Conference.
Winner: Washington. Washington has won eight of ten since entering the New Year, and it will take a lot to slow them down.

Game: Toronto at Florida
Summary: This is a battle between two teams that each have two game losing streaks. Florida has has the harder of the games, and if they can put together a couple of wins they will be right in the thick of things for the playoffs.
Winner: Florida. If Florida wants to make a push for the playoffs they need to win this game because their next couple of games won't be very easy.

Game: Los Angeles at Detroit
Summary: This is a seven vs. eight match-up in the Western Conference. The Kings come into this game winning three of their last four games. As for the Red Wings, they have only won two of their last five, but they got a point in two of those three losses. The last time these two teams met it was a 2-1 Red Wings win in L.A.
Winner: Detroit. The Red Wings have played some tough games lately and the score just hasn't come out in their favor. I'm sure they will be ready for this game, and pull out a win.

Game: Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Summary: Although Atlanta and Tampa Bay are sitting in 11th and 13th place respectively, they are still in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. A win tonight for either of these team will help them out.
Winner: Tampa Bay. I feel that being home gives Tampa the edge in this game.

Game: Anaheim at St. Louis
Summary: Both these teams have been playing very well lately. The Blues have won five of their last seven games, and the Ducks have won seven of their last nine. The Ducks have a terrible road record, but the Blues home record is worse.
Winner: Anaheim. The Ducks have been playing with a lot of confidence. In their last nine games they have beaten tough teams like Chicago, Nashville, and Detroit.

Game: Columbus at Minnesota
Summary: Columbus is coming off a win against Boston, and Minnesota has lost four games in a row. Minnesota has a good record at home, while the Blue Jackets are below .500 on the road.
Winner: Minnesota. Minnesota needs to get some confidence before Detroit comes back to town on Wednesday.

Game: Chicago at Vancouver
Summary: Chicago has won four of their last five games, and are right in the the middle of an eight game road trip. This road trip has nothing on the Canucks, who have to start a 14 game road trip at the end of the month. This is a big problem especially since the Canucks have a losing record on the road.
Winner: Chicago. I feel that the long road trip will be looming over the head of the Canucks. Besides, the Blackhawks are 3 and 1 on their current road trip.

Game: Buffalo at San Jose
Summary: The Sabers come into this game losers of three of their last four games. Now they have to go to the Shark Tank and face a San Jose team that has only lost four games at home in regulation all season. The Sharks also come in on a four game winning streak where the offense has scored 21 goals.
Winner: San Jose. There is a reason the Sharks are the top team in the NHL right now, they know how to protect their house.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Red Wings find themselves in unusual position

Although the Red Wings are not out of the playoff picture (in fact they are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference), they are in some unusual territory. The Red Wings are usually sitting either at or close to the top of the Western Conference at this point in the year. They have finished first in the Central Division for the last eight years, and haven't missed the playoffs since the '89-'90 season. They would usually be described as the hunted, but at this point in time they are the hunters. They have been plagued by injuries this whole season, including losing top superstars like Johan Franzen and Niklas Kronwall for extended periods of time. Despite the injuries, the Wings are still in the thick of things, but they need to scrap for every point they can get. The Wings have only won two games in their last five, but they have gotten six points out of it. They have been playing tough and that should help later in the season. The next eight games can really help out the Wings standings, they have five games against teams that are ahead of them in the Western Conference (also one of those eight is against the defending Stanley Cup champions). If the Wings can get some kind of win streak going they can find themselves in a very good position as they head into the Olympic break.

Nighthawks struggle in opener

In the opening game of the Winter 2010 season the Ball-busters did just that, busted the balls of the heavily favored Nighthawks by a score of 9-2. Andrew Willis, the teams alternate captain, lived up to his huge contract by scoring one of only two goals for the Nighthawks. The other off-season acquisition, John Mosley, added a goal as well. The first shot on goal for the Ball-busters went in, and it was just downhill from there for goaltender Luke Bahrou. He faced 10 shots and gave up 5 points. He was pulled for Matt Roos in the second half. In the second half Matt Roos injured his ankle, typical Rooses. The all-world defenseman and Captain of this team finished with a -4 on the night. Next week he will have his defensive partner back though, and he should be back to form. If you want to look at the positives, the Nighthawks had great physical presence. The team totaled 9 fouls that game, six coming from hard-hitting Andrew Willis. We will see if they can use this to their advantage next Thursday.

Championship Sunday

AFC Championship: Jets vs. Colts
In the AFC Championship game you have the old school rushing attack vs. the new school passing attack. The Jets had the number one rushing attack in the NFL this year, and the Colts had the number two passing attack in the NFL. The game has certainly changed over the past few years. There were 10 quarterbacks who passed for over 4,000 yards this year, a. eight player improvement from the two who passed for that mark in 2003. One thing that has always been a constant in Super Bowl champions is defense. In the last seven years, six Super Bowl champions have finished the season in the top 10 in total defense. The Jets are number one this year in total defense, and in pass defense. A rookie quarterback has only made it this far in the playoffs one other time, and that was Joe Flacco who lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers. Mark Sanchez hasn't had to do much in his first two playoff games because of the great rushing attack and defense of the Jets. For each team to win their strengths need to show up. The Colts need to find a way to pass on this defense, and get their young recievers involved in the game. The Jets need to be able to run the ball effectively. They cannot get in third and long situations.
Winner: Colts. I feel that Peyton will find a way to win. The inexperience of Mark Sanchez will also be a factor. Despite the great rushing attack, I feel the Colts will find a way to put Sanchez in passing situations, and that will be the difference.

NFC Championship: Vikings vs. Saints
In the NFC you have two teams that can hit a home run on any given play. This game features the top two scoring offenses in the league. Both these teams have explosive playmakers. While both these teams have high-powered offenses; I think the game will come down to defense. The Saints had to face the offense of the Cardinals, and they held them to only 14 points. The Vikings defense has always been good against the run, but they are facing an offense that likes to pass most of the time. This is not good for a Vikings pass defense that ranked 19th in the league.
Winner: Saints. I am a strong believer that a team's problems come out in the playoffs, and Adrian Peterson has had a problem with fumbling. Also, Brett Favre while he has made a career of throwing touchdowns, he has also thrown many interceptions. I feel that in a game that could come down to one or two defensive plays, I give the edge to the Saints.