Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Well, yesterday's Men's Hockey Quarter Finals were riveting. Things got underway with the United States Men going scoreless through two periods with Switzerland, only to have the dual-citizenshipped Zach Parise light the lamp twice in the third, sending the Swiss packing. Ryan Miller fought off Team Switzerland in another brilliant effort, and posted the first American shutout in eight years (Mike Richter last accomplished the feat in a 5-0 win over Germany in Salt Lake, 2002.)
Up next was what was supposed to be the game of the night: Russia-Canada. Only, as Mike Milbury put it, the Russians brought their Euro-Trash game, and got sent home courtesy of a 7-3 ass beating.
Late in the evening the Fins and the Czechs battled through two scoreless periods as well, and Team Finland, like Team USA earlier, scored once in the third, then sealed it with an empty-netter. Still later, Team Sweden met Team Slovakia for perhaps the most entertaining game of the day, Team Slovakia escaping with a 4-3 win.
So where does that leave us? We'll have Team USA and Team Finland square off on Friday at 2 p.m. Central, and Team Canada and Team Slovakia will go at it around 8:30. The gold-medal game will then be the early tilt on Sunday, followed by the game for the bronze that evening.
How they stack up:
After their loss the the United States at the end of the preliminaries on Sunday, the Canadians had two choices: Get over it and play the brand of hockey that they know, or tuck their moose tails between their legs and let the Russians push them around, ultimately sending them home. They chose the former, and insisted, via their play, that they are still the favorite to take home the gold. If they did, by the way, they'd be the first team to do so on home Olympic soil since the Americans did it at Lake Placid 30 years ago.
Before we hand Canada the gold, however, there are two things to consider: 1) They did light the Russians on fire, but that was by no stretch your mother's Team Russia. The Russians, although significantly hyped headed into the Vancouver games, are relatively old both in age and style. Beyond Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin -- who, by the way, were completely shut down in this game -- this squad is not that deep. 2) The Canadian talent pool is a loaded weapon. You either use it as it was intended and execute it properly, or you might hurt yourself. The Canadians have the ability to put on a circus show out there that would make the Ringling Bros., the Harlem Globetrotters, and Siegfried & Roy all jealous. They really do. I wouldn't surprise me to see them jump through flaming (Editor's Note: I'm looking at you, Siegfried.) hoop while connecting on a one-timer pass dished up by a one-legged Canadian forward. Use it correctly and you could coast to gold, but tinker too much with the lines, or simply make poor choices in linemate selection, and you could find yourself in a tricky Carmelo/Iverson sort of pickle, where Mike Babcock is scratching his head wondering how it was possible that this didn't work.
It was a mere four years ago that the Fins sent Team USA packing in the Quarter Finals by a one-goal margin. Team Finland advanced to the gold-medal game, and lost to the Swedes by a goal. This is, more or less, the same Finnish team from Torino. The United States team, however, is almost totally revamped. The thing about the Fins is this: Despite their age, they're still quick, crafty, and they can make plays happen off the cycle. If the Americans want to exact revenge, they must not be fooled by Finland's ability to do exactly this. The other factor is this: Mikka Kiprusoff. For my money, Kiprusoff is the best goalie in Vancouver, and his 1.33 goals-against average should scare the pants off of the American forwards. He has saved nearly 95 percent of the shots he has faced, and this is no Olympic sort of whim. He's that good. Team Finland isn't going to score a ton of goals, but they could squeak a puck or two past Ryan Miller on Friday, which means the Americans had better find a way to beat Kiprusoff by at least one more.
This is the dark horse left in the competition. I'd bet nobody saw this club sneaking into the Semis, and I'll guarantee you the Swedish didn't. Having knocked off Team Sweden last night, this makes four consecutive winter olympics in which the defending gold-medalists have been eliminated. (Editor's Note: The Russians knocked out the Canadians (who won gold in '02) in 2006, and knocked out the Czechs in '02 (who won gold in '98 in Nagano, Japan), and Team Finland knocked out the Swedes (who won gold in '94 in Lillehammer, Norway) in 1998.) I read last week, a joke about Team Czech Republic playing Team Slovakia in the preliminaries, and how this was funny because they used to be the same country. What's funny is that the Czechs beat the Slovaks in that game (3-1), but the argument could be made the the Slovaks are the better team. I say that because the Czechs got pushed around by the Russians, barely beat Latvia earlier this week, then lost to the Fins yesterday. The Slovaks, however, gave up fewer goals in the preliminaries while scoring nearly as many as the Czechs did.
Now, the Slovaks barely made it past Norway, who was humiliated by the U.S. and Canada in the preliminaries, but then they show up and knock off a clearly better team in Sweden. The Slovaks, like the Fins, are a bit old, but they have some playmakers, and that's what could get overlooked by the Canadians on Friday. The Slovaks flat out make plays. The old St. Louis Blue "Slovak Pack" of Lubos Bartecko, Michal Handzus, and Pavol Demitra are in the mix, as are Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, and the towering Zdeno Chara. Aside from Gaborik, they're not super-quick, they're not entirely talented, but they have some kind of unbridled chemistry that enables them to click. It's quite an eccentric mix of talent, but Jaroslav Halak in net could be their Achilles'. He's their best option, and he's put up good numbers thus far and kept this team alive, but facing a point-scoring powerhouse like the Canadians could be too big a challenge for him.
Going young was the best thing that could've happened to this club. That's a fact, and now it's time for the young stars on this team to step up and prove it. This club has come some way in terms of gelling since they first took the ice against Switzerland in the preliminaries last Tuesday, but they've been hanging on to the play of their captains and their goaltender for too long. Ryan Miller has been the story of men's ice hockey thus far in Vancouver. He's played lights out. The other reason that the team is undefeated headed into Friday is because of the play of their captains. Of the 16 goals they've scored through four games, their captains have scored nine. The play of Parise yesterday was enormous in that it a) won them the game, but more importantly b) demonstrated the results his hard-fought, gritty effort had suggested he was capable of up until that point. It's time for Patrick Kane, Paul Stastny, and Ryan Callahan to step up and make some plays or this team's great ride will come to a halt. What's more is that the play of Team USA's defense has been good, but they have not been great. They'll need to take it to that next level if they're going to skate with the likes of Finland and Canada, not to mention the sneaky Slovaks.
Oh, and Ryan Miller, amazing as he has been, will have to be flawless. It's a tall order, and this kid is capable of doing it, but talk is talk. Getting out there and playing smart hockey to, and above, the level of your ability is the only thing that puts this team atop the podium Sunday night.
Like Jeremy Roenick (J.R.) and many hockey greats have said, "It's about playing to win, not playing not to lose." In there, my friends, is the key to American gold.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
KU's up by 16 at the start of the second half, and Morningstar has almost no stats, but you gotta love the fiery white boy.
Yeah. That's right. It's White Boy Day. Right here in the middle of Black History Month. Rock Chalk!
Friday, February 19, 2010
Join us, here inside this House of Georges for Olympic Live Blog III. It's USA/Canada. Six p.m. Central. Be there.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
We're about 14 hours away from Live Blog II of United States hockey, olympic-style. Join us. Why bother with this guy's live blog? I don't know about you, but I ain't interested in a super-star panel of producers and 30,000 viewers. Booo-ring! Stop in around twoish, Central. I'll guarantee you my undivided attention. The U.S. is the visitor again; Norway (who got smoked by Canadia yesterday) will call themselves home.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
I dunno if this video is called Amazing Awaits because you have to wait like an amazing eight minutes for it to fully load, but if you're a nerd like me, it's worth it.
U.S.A. Olympic hockey gets underway in 13 hours. Join us. We'll be live-blogging. It'll be awesome. The United States and Team Switzerland square off. Game. On.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
We made it, kids. It's the final installment of this get-to-know series, and we can now move to next Tuesday's first American Winter Olympic hockey contest with a bit more confidence in just who's representing the ol' red, white, and blue. We're proud of all of you for sticking through this cram session, but mostly, we're proud of the porn-site commenter that dropped by yesterday. You stay classy, Asian robot. Some quick tidbits on our third and final goaltender after the jump.
Jonathan Quick turned 24 last month. In 2005, he was taken in the third round of the NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. His home town is Milford, Connecticut, and he played his college stick at the University of Massachusetts, where his squad found themselves in the college national championship.
In three seasons at the pro level, Quick has seen action in 101 games, posting a 56-37 record, with a career goals-against average of 2.56, and a save percentage of .908. Just last season, quick led the league in wins with 34, and goals against with an impressive 134 through 54 contests. He has five career shutouts, and I imagine he will, regardless of recent successes, see only limited action in the upcoming Winter Games in Vancouver.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
And, BAM! Only one goalie entry left after this, and we've made it through all of your potential starters in Vancouver. The time to get busy is near. Very few eyes are on the United States as a team that could compete, which is just why they will.
Tim Thomas will turn 36 this spring, which, by account of the average age on this 2010 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, is old. He was taken in the ninth round of the NHL Draft by the Quebec Nordiques, if that clues you in. As in, before the Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche, and before the Avalanche won any Stanley Cups. Thomas comes from Flint, Michigan, he matriculated at the University of Vermont, and just so happens to be last year's winner of the Vezina Trophy (best regular-season goalie) , and is a co-holder of last year's William M. Jenning's Trophy (goalie -- with a 25-game minimum -- to allow the fewest goals).
The interesting thing about Thomas is that he spent a number of his early post-college years playing at the semi-pro level, as well as overseas, not making his NHL debut until the 2002 season. In six years at the pro level, Thomas has posted a 122-88 record, a 2.60 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage, and 16 shutouts. Through 18 post-season games, Thomas is 10-8, with a 2.16 G.A.A., and a .926 save percentage. He's been selected to two All-Star Games, and led the league in G.A.A. and save percentage during the 2008-09 campaign.
The stellar recent play of Thomas makes it hard on the Team USA coaching staff, in that, if the theme of the club is youth and potential, you go with Ryan Miller. The flip side of that is that Thomas, a late bloomer, if you will, might actually be the better netminder, the veteran with the experience and confidence. My angle would be this: Start Miller for all games in the early round, and if he's letting in should-be saves, you make the switch to Thomas, and stick with him. I'd opt out of this one game, rest, two games, rest sort of thing the U.S. has done in the last two Olympics.
And just like that, we're into the goalie segment. The numbers might not be the easiest to comprehend, but we have faith in you, precious reader. Suffice to say that you want a low goals-against average, a high save percentage, more wins than losses, and, uh, shutouts are a good thing.
Ryan Miller will turn 30 this summer. He calls East Lansing, Michigan home, and he was drafted in the fifth round of the 1999 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Miller, his brother, and three cousins all attended Michigan State University. It was Miller, however, who set an NCAA record with career shutouts (26) in 2001, and in that same season, he became only the second goaltender in history to win the Hobey Baker Award (top college player), doing so by way of the aforementioned shutouts, as well as leading the nation in wins, winning percentage, save percentage, and goals-against average.
Through seven professional seasons Miller has gone 175-100, with a career 2.58 GAA, a .914 save percentage, and wrangled 17 shutouts for the Sabres. He's 20-14 in the post-season, with a 2.40 GAA, and a .915 save percentage. He has been to one All-Star Game, led the league in 2007-08 with fewest goals against, and again led the league last year with a .931 save percentage.
The thing to know about olympic goaltending, at least in recent years, is that platooning has proved not to work. Were I the U.S. bench boss, I'd pick one guy, stick with him in all key games, and that guy would be Miller.
We made it. Yesterday we finished our look at the forwards. And this, my friends, is our final defenseman piece. We have three goaltenders to examine, and then it will be time (next Tuesday, the 16th) to drop the puck. Before we get to those wacky netminders, though, have a look at our final point man.
Ryan Whitney is not Paul Martin. Paul Martin broke his arm in late October and has not had sufficient recovery time. Ryan Whitney, on the other hand, will turn 27 just a few days after the games in Vancouver begin. The left-handed-shooting defenseman was taken in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He spent his college days playing hockey for Boston University, and played a short spell for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before being called up to the pros. In three-and-a-half seasons with Pittsburgh, Whitney amassed 173 points, but was traded last February to the Anaheim Ducks. Through 79 games as a Duck, Whitney, has accumulated just under 2000 minutes of ice time, while tallying 37 points. He has yet to reach the even mark in the plus-minus, and has 48 PIMs on the season. Through 13 playoff games with Anaheim last year, Whitney scored once and had five assists. Here's to hoping that Whitney's presence on the ice warrants his replacing Paul Martin.
How awesome is this section of defensemen? Pretty awesome. So awesome, in fact, that after this post, there's only one installment left. C'mon. That makes you happy. Skip past the leap for some olympic lineage, HoG-style.
Ryan Suter turned 25 last month. He was selected in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators. He hails from Madiscon, Wisconsin, and spent his college time playing for the University of Wisconsin. Like a handful of other members on Team USA, Suter has some family history associated with the NHL in that his uncle Gary logged an impressive 17 years in the pro. The familial standout for this young man, however, would be his father Bob, who happened to win olympic gold for America as part of, yes, you do believe in miracles, the 1980 team that shocked the world in Lake Placid, New York. The elder Suter's olympic teammate Jack O'Callahan calls the presence of the younger Suter on the 2010 squad a sort of "Olympic Kevin Bacon."
Suter has played no fewer than 71 games a season since entering the league, and is on pace to achieve that feat again in the current campaign. In terms of career numbers, he is steadily approaching 8000 minutes of ice time, and he has lit the lamp 25 times, while serving up 117 assists. His career PIMs have just crested the 300 mark, and his total plus-minus weighs in at a decent +15. Ryan Suter is your fourth and final alternate captain for Team USA.
Somehow, we hammered out half of the defensemen yesterday, which means we're on pace to get through the goaltenders by week's end, Monday at the latest. Today's first selection is a must read for all one of you readers that have been skimming these installments. Get crackin'.
Brian Rafalksi was born in Dearborn, Michigan in 1973. He is the first player we've examined in this feature not taken in the NHL Draft. He played all four years of college for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and subsequently travelled overseas to play as it appeared there were no prospects of him being signed by a professional club. In 1999, however, the New Jersey Devils signed him as a free agent, making him a 26-year-old rookie the following season. Since that campaign, Rafalski has done little more than being named to the NHL's rookie all-star team (that year), earn two All-Star Game appearances, play in five Stanley Cup Finals, and win three of them.
Rafalski was part of the silver-medal-winning U.S. Olympic team in 2002, and represented Team USA again in '06. In 10 seasons as a pro, Rafalski has found the twine 71 times, registered 382 assists, generated over 17,000 minutes of ice time, and put together an amazing career +160 in the plus-minus category. Prior to the 2007 season, Rafalski became a Detroit Red Wing, again through free agency. Rafalski will serve as one of four alternate captains in the Vancouver games.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The defensive-minded posts are writing themselves, so it would seem. Some American hockey, California-native style, just over the link.
Brooks Orpik plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He will turn 30 this September, and is in his seventh NHL season. The Pens nabbed him in the 2000 NHL Draft, with the 18th pick in the first round. In that time he (Editor's Note: By the way, he is likely the favorite olympic player of The Lone Reader. Remember that guy? Yeah. Pens fan. What other NHL team would a Kansas City native -- married to a gal from Ohio -- that lives in Canada fresh off of a move from Maine root for besides Pittsburgh?) has totalled 72 points, a -14 plus/minus, an impressive 511 PIMs, and nearly 8000 minutes of ice time. Orpik spent his college days as a Boston College Eagle, and the left-handed-shooting defenseman is an alternate captain along with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, which, as company goes, is pretty decent. We'll see how well this Penguin patrols the blue line and blocks shots once the international competition is in his grill. From the looks of this clip, he ain't half bad:
Installment three of defenseman slated to play olympic hockey in Vancouver next week, just after the jump.
When we talk about Jack Johnson in this feature, we don't mean the singer/songwriter, and we don't mean the boxer. We mean the 23-year-old left-handed-shooting defenseman that plays professional hockey for the Los Angeles Kings. Johnson was selected in the first round (third overall) of the 2005 NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, and you should know this: His numbers are terrible. For starters, he never suited up for Carolina. Instead, he was traded to L.A. for Oleg Tverdovsky, Eric Belanger, and (now-Olympic teammate Tim Gleason). He saw action in only five games as a rookie. In four years with the Kings, he has seen playing time in only 177 games. He has logged just shy of 4000 minutes of ice time, scored 15 career goals with 31 assists. He has earned a mere 182 PIMs, and currently holds a despicable -57 in the plus-minus. The native Indianan matriculated at the University of Michigan where he set some records, but has shown little flair for much of anything in the pros, save his ability to miss up some Canadians:
which I guess is reason for naming the guy to your squad. I guess.
This is the second installment of the defense portion of this feature. You know the drill.
Erik Johnson will turn 22 next month. As a St. Louis Blues fan, I can say that Erik Johnson was/is one of the highest-touted draft picks (first round, first overall in 2006) the Blues have had in some time. Like so many we've examined in this feature, Johnson is a native Minnesotan. He registers at 6'4", 225 pounds, and shoots right-handed. Through 126 games, he has tallied nearly 2500 minutes of ice time, registered 83 PIMs, and an unfortunate negative-eight in the plus-minus. Due to an altercation with a golf cart, he missed the entire 2008-09 season, but through 57 games this year, he is well on his way to career highs in both goals and assists. He is one of only five Americans to be selected first overall.
We made it! We're out of the forwards segment of this feature. We're done talking about guys that light lamps and dish scoring opportunities off to their teammates. That's right: We're on to the defense.
Your first installment is now; the scoop is post-jump.
Tim Gleason hails from Clawson, Michigan, yo. He is not Mike Komisarek. Mike Komisarek is out for the remainder of the NHL season due to a shoulder injury which will require season-ending surgery. Tim Gleason, however, just turned 27. He was drafted in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2001 NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators, with whom he skated for zero seasons, but instead was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in favor of Bryan Smolinski. In two seasons with the Kings, Gleason logged nearly 1400 minutes of ice time, 99 PIMs, and a positive plus-minus rating through 125 games. After the 2005-06 season, he was traded to Carolina, where he has seen increased, playing time, penalties in minutes, and plus-minus. Headed to Vancouver, he looks to patrol the slot, protect the crease, and stifle opponents that enter the attack zone.
Our final forward submission of the series matriculated at the University of Denver, where he helped the club earn a national title as a rookie. He also, whether he admits it or not, likes to give Canada the finger.
Paul Stastny was born in Canadia. No, that's not a typo. This cat turns 25 this year, and he came out of his mother's womb in Quebec City. Like his brother, however, Stastny has taken the path of most resistance, the path away from the dark side, and opted, via dual-citizenship status, to play for the United States in international hockey competitions. The Avalanche drafted Stastny in the second round of the 2005 NHL Draft, and in his rookie (2006-07) season, he played in all 82 games, amassing 78 points for Colorado. In three-plus seasons, he's logged over 5000 minutes of ice time, 236 points, and 124 PIMs. The left-handed-shooting center was allegedly mentored by Joe Sakic, who was mentored by Stastny's father Peter in Quebec. He holds the Avalanche franchise record for points by a rookie, as well as the team's longest individual-player game-scoring streak, a record previously held by his father. Hell, even this little rag reports on him.
We'll deliver our final two forward submissions today, and move right into defensemen, followed by netminders. We've got some ground to cover before play gets underway one week from today. You don't say? After the jump, feel free to take a walk by the bay, make some things out of clay.
Bobby Ryan will turn 23 next month. He is a right-handed-shooting right winger for the Anaheim Ducks, and he, like every other fellow we've examined, is a member of the United States 2010 Men's Olympic Hockey team. Ryan was a first-round pick (second overall) in the 2005 NHL Draft. The native New Jerseyan (Editor's Note: I'm guessing that, like Kevin Smith, he does not like "The Jersey Shore.") debuted in the pros in the '07 season, tripled his ice time the following season, and has already surpassed that number through 59 games in the current campaign. His career totals are such: 61 goals, 51 assists, 23 power-play goals and three game winners. Ryan won a national championship with the Los Angeles Junior Kings, and was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy (best rookie) last April. He has accumulated seven post-season points through 15 playoff games with the Ducks.
Monday, February 8, 2010
We're still familiarizing ourselves with the fellows tabbed to play forward for the United States in the upcoming Olympic games. Not to worry, though: Only two more before we shift to defense. Exciting, isn't it? After the jump, we've got another non-Minnesotan American. Ole!
Joe Pavelski is a 25-year-old right-handed-shooting center for the San Jose Sharks. The native Wisconsonian was selected in the seventh round of the 2003 NHL Draft. In four seasons in the league, he has tallied 73 goals, 88 assists, and nearly 4,200 minutes of ice time. He collected a high school championship with his Stevens Point Area teammates, and another with his fellow college matriculaters at the University of Wisconsin. Pavelski has been tabbed as a player capable of producing points on a consistent level, and has had several impressive scoring streaks in his short time as a pro. He is also not afraid to punch you in your helmet, or your face:
Friday, February 5, 2010
Just like that it's Friday again. And as expected, we're examining the young men that will represent your United States of America in the 2010 Olympic Games. Get on past the leap for today's kid.
Zach Parise is a 24-year-old left-handed-shooting left winger who logs his NHL ice time in a New Jersey Devils sweater. Taken in the first round (17th overall) of the 2003 draft, Parise has the honor of having been named an alternate captain for the upcoming games in Vancouver. The Devil has demonstrated consistent improvement in point totals since entering the game, tallying a career-high 45 goals and 49 assists a season ago. Like a number of his olympic teammates, Parise is a native Minnesotan, but he spent his college years at the University of North Dakota. Parise's father played at the professional level for the Minnesota North Stars, and Parise himself was voted MVP of the U-20 International Ice Hockey Federation Junior championship. He, like several others on the roster, has a hot girlfriend.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Every once in a while a good clip or two lands in the ol' e-mail inbox. This one's from the father-in-law:
And this one's from ma' herself:
More after the jump.
This one's from the goaltender on my rec-league team:
This week has just flown by, and the House of Georges has reached a milestone: Our entire front page is now covered with nothing but hockey posts for the first, and likely the last, time in HoGstory. That's good stuff, right there. We're nearing the tail end of our segment on the forwards. Skip past the leap for today's featuree.
Ryan Malone will turn 31 this December. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1999 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He logged four seasons with them before trading in his Pens sweater for a jersey with the Tampa Bay Lightning logo on it. He has 134 career goals, 121 assists, and is well on his way to 500 career PIMs. Like many of the fellows we've had a peek at, he registered significant ice time in Minnesota, but also played a few games in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He's a guy whose game is loaded with toughness and grit, and while there's typically no brawling in Olympic hockey, I wouldn't put it past Malone to get chippy out there on the ice. And speaking of chippy, these are allegedly photos of Malone's wife.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
In 13 days men's hockey will get underway at the XXI Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. The purpose of this series is to familiarize readership with the skaters that are on the American roster.
Jamie Langenbrunner will turn 35 this summer. That, in comparison with the rest of the men on this roster, is really old. Langenbrunner was drafted in the second round of the 1993 NHL Draft by the Dallas Stars. He spent almost exactly half of his career with the franchise and has been a New Jersey Devil ever since. He's a right-handed-shooting right winger, who's won two Stanley Cups and been close on a handful of other occasions. When he has hoisted the greatest trophy in sports, Langenbrunner has very much looked forward to his time alone with the cup, whether it has champagne in it or not. He has 223 career goals, 367 assists, and over 13,000 minutes of ice time, and represented the United States in the 1998 Olympic Games. Langenbrunner is the perfect fit for the proverbial veteran, locker-room leader role model type, and he has always come up huge in big games. It is for those, and many other reasons, that Jamie Langenbrunner is your United States Olympic Hockey team captain.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
This installment puts us at about the halfway point in the forwards section of the feature. We're officially two weeks away from dropping the puck in Vancouver, and I won't say that this is the year for the U.S. Men to take home Olympic gold, but I'm much more hopeful than I was in '04. Ultimately, I don't care if flippin' Canadians are predicting that Canadians will take home more gold than anyone else. Help your freaking selves. You win that luge. You dominate that ice dancing. Best of luck to you in the snowboard competition. What I'm talking about is your sport. The one you invented. The one you've dominated at for so long. The one you won gold in in men's and women's hockey in 2002. In our country. Now we're comin' to your house. We're bringing a solid, energetic version of your game. And we, Canadia, plan on embarrassing you moose fuckers. Be advised.
Phil Kessel is one of the only fellas on this roster who's experienced a trade in his young career. In the 2006 NHL draft, he was taken in the first round (fifth overall) by the Boston Bruins. He spent three seasons in Beantown and amassed 126 points in that span. Unfortunately for him, he was then shipped up to Canada, and now he makes a living playing offense for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has shown significant improvement with each successive season in the pros, and he's already more than halfway to season highs in goals, assists, and of course, points.
He matriculated at the University of Minnesota, but spent only one season as a Golden Gopher before being selected by the Bruins, and in his rookie season, he won the Bill Masterton Memorial (sportsmanship, perseverance, and dedication to hockey) Trophy. Kessel comes from an athletic family, as his pops was a Washington Redskins quarterback for a minute, his ma' ran her some track, he has a cousin and a brother in the NHL, and his sister can light the lamp as well. And by "light the lamp," I mean score. And by "score," I mean put some wood on it.
Monday, February 1, 2010
We're -- in the words of Kermit and Fozzie -- "movin' right along" with our get-to-know-me series here inside the House of Georges. Seeing as how it's now the first of February, we're 15 days from dropping the puck. This morning's featuree won't have to travel too far for the olympic games.
Ryan Kesler is a 25-year-old right-handed-shooting center who earns his keep by playing for the Vancouver Canucks. He's a former first-round pick (23rd overall) who has demonstrated significant improvement each season since entering the NHL in 2003. So far this year he's lit the lamp 13 times and tallied 35 assists. He matriculated at THE Ohio State University, and is a recovering cancer patient. In the 2009 campaign, he played in all 82 games, amassing 59 points and a Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) nomination. He will also body slam your ass to the ice if you punch him in the face.
Betta' ax somebody.