NHL 2005-6 Starts.... Now

That Ottawa-Toronto game was great to watch. Intense, high flying, great goals and a shootout to end it all. :D

Now for Vancouver versus Phoenix

Screw that the Stars won! Wooooo! They went 4-0 in the first period and won 5-4!! Woooooooooo!!!

— Alan

What a game the Stars-Kings was! The arena had close to a playoff atmosphere and was as exiting a game as I’ve been to. Wow, that was great. I love the two line pass, the game seems faster now and the players had a bit more freedom to move the puck around with. I’m not wild about the penalties but I’m sure that will even out some, as long as they don’t back off completely.

Go Stars!

The players will have to adjust to the calls.

I’m not happy the Flyers lost, but the goal their rookie scored was testament ot the rules changes. He snapped up a puck and went right to the net. The defensemen couldn’t hold onto him or hook him and that made it so he could use his strength to get the shot off and beat Weekes.

As long as that kind of thing continues, the NHL will be absolutely fabulous to watch all season. I saw more great skating and stickhandling plays tonight than I think I saw in the last five years.

–Dave

Dear sweet mother of jeebus is hockey fantastic in HD. I was switching between OLN and the NHL Center Ice games in SD and the Lightning-Hurricanes game on InHD here in Florida and the difference is just stunning, more than any other sport I can tell. Everything is so much more vibrant, and it is easier to find the puck, especially in goulmouth scrums. But the sound, something I never really considered as part of the HD package, is also amazing. The InHD stuff is in 5.1, and the mics are put at the backends, presumabably by the goal and period lights, so you sort of hear things from the goalie’s perspective. Shots from the point sound faint and come from the rear speakers, but anything in close sounds loud and crisp, from the puck cracking off the dasher to the crunch of every stride. Just awesome. If the Center Ice stuff offered just a single channel in HD every night, regardless of who was playing, I’d pay $129 for that without hesitation.

The Stars/Kings game was a really great way to start the season. Loved it. :)

Zubov getting two goals is amazing in-of-itself. One of the great Stars crowd taunts, trying to get him to shoot from the point in a power play… glad he was able to do so again.

Christ, it feels the world has been righted.

— Alan

As for the penalty calling (hooking, holding, obstructions…), it’s clamped down on for the first 2 weeks/month of the season, then the refs start to let it slide, then the playoffs start and it’s tight again. At least, that’s the way it’s gone the last several seasons when the NHL has said they’re going to crack down on all the grabbing and clutching and let the skill players shine.

I’ll believe it’s for real in December.

Yes, there were a lot of penalties in the Preds game. But the Preds won! It was good to see Kariya in there, scoring, assisting, all that. He still looks fantastic. Vokoun looked rusty, but he only gave up 2 goals, so I guess he is doing better than most goalies under this new system.

If that happens again, I’ll be very surprised. If the referees stay consistent, don’t swallow their whistles in the third period and just keep on penalizing, the players will clean it up themselves because they won’t want to get called.

That happened in the Flyers game last night. By the third period, the Rangers woke up and realized it wasn’t 2003 anymore. That’s part of why they won the game.

–Dave

Boston vs Pittsburgh, it’s like they pulled both goalies.

HOLY SHIT.

I just watched the Preds in a shootout…who scores the winning goal? Paul Kariya! THAT’s why he was signed. I love the new hockey rules.

Watching Voukoun stop Fedorov was a thing of beauty.

Third period of the Oilers game was UGLY. Just constant stupid penalties, mostly by the Oilers. Hooking, retaliation, tripping… it’s a miracle they won, they tried so hard to lose by power play.

That’s good though. They were lucky. If they want to rely on the penalty kill to win their games, that’s up to them. As long as the officials keep calling it, they’ll either clean it up or face that situation over and over again this season.

It’s really kinda funny. These rules have always been there but now we’re applauding only because they’re enforcing them! How ridiculous is that?

–Dave

Man the offense in these games is really wild. Atlanta put up 8 on Washington the other day, five in the third period - albeit punctuated with a lot of brawls.

Just to give a measuring stick, in gambling the Over/Under was most hockey games used to be 4.5 - that is, that’s the number the sportsbooks figure will split the number of bettors in two, half will bet that the two teams will score under 4.5 goals, and the other half will bet over 4.5 goals. That number was fairly standard, sometimes it was 4, others it was 5…

The standard for European leagues was generally between 5.5-6.5.

This year the NHL is 6.0-7.0.

— Alan

What do you think is the biggest reason for that, Alan? I have to say the goalie pads, which seem to be really separating the good goalies from the mediocre (or flat bad). I’m just glad my team has a good one.

Honestly I’m not entirely certain; it could be partially based on pad-size, goalies just not used to having to increase their range… could be a slightly faster paced game and limited range of goalie movement…

— Alan

The reason for those 8 was a low talent Caps team playing with no energy. Putting Atlanta on the powerplay a billion times didn’t help either. Kolzig might have been personally responsible for 1 or 2 of those but when you are losing 6-1 it really doesn’t matter. Basically if you play lazy and hook guys you are going to get called and the other team is going to get powerplays and they will score if you give them enough. I think the Caps were shorthanded 37% of that game.

– Xaroc

Well the Thrashers also won 6-3 in the first leg as well so you could totally anticipate another high-scoring game for the return leg.

— Alan

Atlanta is going to be good this year. They have a lot of guys who can score and a ton of speed. Again, I don’t think the Caps brought their A game in the first matchup either but Atlanta is pretty talented.

– Xaroc