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Sports 🥌 2021 - 2021 NHL Hockey Season Discussion Thread

michaelskis

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Yes folks, the 21-21 season will be fully contained within the limits of the 2021 calendar year as games will start January 1 and the Wings will hoist the cup in game 5 at Pizza/Pizza Arena.

BUT...

There is still awesome puck related stuff to talk about now. Despite the Red Wings getting screwed and only having the 4 pick while the Rangers (who were in the bubble) got the first pick, there was still a really cool moment last night when the Sharks announced their round 1 draft pick when they "announced" that they were drafting Ozzy Wiesblatt with sign language. Ozzy's mom is deaf to it was a way to really include her as well.


What are your thoughts on the 21 NHL season? Do you think the Lighting will take the cup back to back? Do you think that the Canadians will finally just give up trying to claim hockey as their own and relinquish the cup to the sun-belt states? Do you think that whiny punk with the C on his jersey in Pittsburg will finally grow a decent beard?
 

Doohickie

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Sabres have a new GM. He's made some good moves but many were disappointed with his first round pick. We'll see if Buffalo finally breaks their playoff drought.

At least the Bills are good this year.
 

kjel

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Vegas signed Pietrangelo for $61.6 7 year contract :eek:

Devils have been super quiet during free agency....they bought out Schneider's contract, signed Cory Crawford to share goal tending duties, and brought back goalie Scott Wedgewood who will spend most of his time in the AHL. Rumor has it the Isles are trying to work out a deal with Schneider which makes sense since Lou Lamoriello is GM there.
 

kjel

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Sabres have a new GM. He's made some good moves but many were disappointed with his first round pick. We'll see if Buffalo finally breaks their playoff drought.

At least the Bills are good this year.
Buffalo is getting Taylor Hall. Will be interesting to see how he and Eichel play together.
 

Doohickie

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Buffalo is getting Taylor Hall. Will be interesting to see how he and Eichel play together.
Yep. Buffalo fans are already planning a Stanley Cup parade.

Well not quite, but earlier frustration has dissipated.
 

Planit

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Doohickie

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Uniforms-

Obviously love the traditional Buffalo unis they're going back to this year. Kind of original six-y.

The original Phoenix Coyotes is one of my favorite designs. Uniquely theirs.

My other fave is the steampunk Civil War inspired Columbus Blue Jackets thirds. Canon logo is great, and the colors- blue and off-white ("natural wool") is also very unique.
 
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NHL investigating possibility of selling ads on players' helmets


Ads on jerseys will come eventually, but there is a desire to be careful with it. The other reason the league may “test drive” with helmets is to get an idea of where the market stands during COVID. You don’t want to rush into a below-market deal.

Yesterday the board of governors brought up the subject.
Team presidents to be briefed next Monday.
Don't expect "formal" comments until then.
 

Planit

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On the day of the season starting, here is the NHL season uniform and helmet ad preview.



I like that the Canes will still honor the Whalers although I understand why others do not appreciate that.

The Stars and Canucks have some - ugh - 'interesting' options.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

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And I have just come to realize that the Dallas Stars have now existed longer than the Minnesota North Stars 27/26 years and just about as many regular season games with 2,053 vs. Minnesota's 2,062. Would have eclipsed if not for the shortened seasons due to Covid and lockouts.
 

Doohickie

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Sabres have a new GM. He's made some good moves but many were disappointed with his first round pick. We'll see if Buffalo finally breaks their playoff drought.
Two games in.... they're a hot mess.
h0f6pas019sz.png
 

AG74683

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Hurricanes are freaking GOOD this year. Top 5 in just about every statistical category that matters, and that's with our starting goalie out for some time with a hand injury.
 

kjel

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Two games in.... they're a hot mess.
h0f6pas019sz.png
Doing better more recently. Sorry my Devil's gave your team, coach, and the linesmen the 'rona. Detroit and Ottawa are doing worse than both our teams.
 

Doohickie

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The only team we can beat is the Devils. Against the rest of the division we pretty much suck.

Having said that, last night's game it wasn't as much of case of the Sabres sucking but somehow still winning. They actually looked like the better team which is kind of a novelty for us. We actually had........ scoring chances. (and what? FOUR loud pings off the goal posts?)
 

Planit

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A few of us were discussing a ruling in different sports, but none of us knew the answer for hockey. So Hockey fans, we have a question.

Game Over - time expires, when is the ball/puck dead?

Football - if a play is being run and time expires, that play can be completed and can result in a score.
Basketball - if shot is taken and is in midflight when time expires, the shot can count if goes in or is dead when a player touches it.
Soccer - no matter when the final whistle blows, the match is over and the ball is dead at that point, even if the ball goes in the goal afterwards it doesn't count.
Baseball - doesn't matter, there's no clock.
Hockey - ???


I tried to call mskis, but he won't answer your phone
 

michaelskis

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A few of us were discussing a ruling in different sports, but none of us knew the answer for hockey. So Hockey fans, we have a question.

Game Over - time expires, when is the ball/puck dead?

Football - if a play is being run and time expires, that play can be completed and can result in a score.
Basketball - if shot is taken and is in midflight when time expires, the shot can count if goes in or is dead when a player touches it.
Soccer - no matter when the final whistle blows, the match is over and the ball is dead at that point, even if the ball goes in the goal afterwards it doesn't count.
Baseball - doesn't matter, there's no clock.
Hockey - ???


I tried to call mskis, but he won't answer your phone
I was in a meeting...

Buzzer goes off and everything stops. If the puck is shot before the final buzzer, the puck has to cross the line before time expires for it to be a goal.
 

kjel

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My poor Devils. Not that I had any great expectations, but this wasn't it either.
 

Doohickie

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The Sabres are counting down to firing Coach Ralph Krueger. Will he make it to the end of the this road trip?

giphy.gif
 

Doohickie

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Well that took way too long, but the Sabres finally fired self-help guru and self-proclaimed hockey coach Ralph Krueger. What an awful coach he turned out to be. They also fired Steve Smith who predated Krueger but had overstayed his welcome. It's widely believed among the fan base that Smith has been detrimental to the development of #1 overall pick Rasmus Dahlin who seems to be regressing.

Assistant Don Granato takes over as interim coach (with an emphasis on the interim tag). Development coaches Matt Ellis and Dan Girardi are interim assistants.

As an aside....
I mention Matt Ellis. he's a bit of a local meme among Sabres fans. He played for the team during the "tank years" when they purposely sucked to get get Jack Eichel (shooting for Connor McDavid). He epitomized the Sabres of those years as a guy who was good enough to be in the NHL, but only barely. He caught a lot of good natured flack for that. He was undrafted and only made it to the NHL by virtue of his amazing work ethic. He was never a star but always played the best he was capable of. He was a plugger.

After his playing career he remained with the Sabres on and off, most recently as a player development coach. He's well respected in that position because he tries to teach young players with more talent that he had the work ethic that will make them even better.

But as a player, he became meme-worthy. On the Sabres forum there's a whole thread about him where people describe perfectly capable, but not flashy items, as Matt. For an example: Cafeteria coffee........The Matt Ellis of morning drinks.

Apparently that good-natured ribbing dates back to his days before the Sabres when he played with the Red Wings. There are dozens of Matt Ellis t-shirts available that poke good-natured fun at his image.
 

AG74683

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I was in a meeting...

Buzzer goes off and everything stops. If the puck is shot before the final buzzer, the puck has to cross the line before time expires for it to be a goal.

If you shoot the puck AFTER the buzzer, it's a great way to instigate a fight.

Hurricanes finally dropped one, against the Wings of all teams. They had an 8 game win streak going into that game. I've been unable to watch most games this season because Sinclair Media is a horrible evil company who refuses to negotiate rights to local Fox Sports Channels. I discovered that the Fox Sports Go app works and I can use my parents Spectrum account to get games now, so that's nice.
 

michaelskis

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If you shoot the puck AFTER the buzzer, it's a great way to instigate a fight.

Hurricanes finally dropped one, against the Wings of all teams. They had an 8 game win streak going into that game. I've been unable to watch most games this season because Sinclair Media is a horrible evil company who refuses to negotiate rights to local Fox Sports Channels. I discovered that the Fox Sports Go app works and I can use my parents Spectrum account to get games now, so that's nice.

In regards to the Wings/Canes, every once in a while, even a blind squirrel finds a nut. I however am happy anytime the Wings get the 2 points.


On a side note, did anyone catch the story about the Russian MHL player that passed away after taking a puck to the head. It looked like it was nearly point blank form a center ice shot. Shows how dangerious that can be.
 

AG74683

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In regards to the Wings/Canes, every once in a while, even a blind squirrel finds a nut. I however am happy anytime the Wings get the 2 points.


On a side note, did anyone catch the story about the Russian MHL player that passed away after taking a puck to the head. It looked like it was nearly point blank form a center ice shot. Shows how dangerious that can be.

It wasn't even a significant shot. It was a standard dump in. There wasn't much power behind it, if any. Completely fluke occurrence really. I suspect we might see some changes to the helmet design soon, primarily to cover the temple. That's where he got hit.
 

michaelskis

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With only a couple of regular season games left... and Zero chance of the Wings making the playoffs, I think it is time for the first annual...

[announcer voice]
Cyburbia NHL BRACKET CHALLENGE
[/announcer voice]

If you are interested, please go to:
 

Doohickie

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Assistant Don Granato takes over as interim coach (with an emphasis on the interim tag). Development coaches Matt Ellis and Dan Girardi are interim assistants.

Sabres had a terrible season. The good thing is they finally booted Coach Ralph Krueger to the curb following a 12 game losing streak. They then proceeded to lose another 6 games under interim coach Don Granato before he managed to right the ship. Since then they've been around a .500 team.

That's actually pretty good, considering Granato hasn't had Jack Eichel who's out for the season with a lower body injury, their top veteran stay-at-home defenseman, Jake McCabe, and the Sabres are on their 6th goaltender.

Their original goalie tandem, Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton, are both out. Linus was in and out but just as he was doing better he suffered another injury. He's back on the ice but may or may not play. Hutton has been out due to a combination of injury and personal matters. So their goalie corps has been:
  • Linus Ullmark
  • Carter Hutton
  • Dustin Tokarski - AHL callup
  • Jonas Johansson - a prospect they gave up on and traded
  • Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen - a prospect, got a few games but then got injured
  • Michael Houser - a career ECHLer who is currently their starter
  • Stefanos Lekkas - signed to a PTO contract just to fill the bench as backup
Houser has been a feel-good story. A 28-year-old rookie, he became a goalie because he was born with 2 clubbed feet, had several surgeries but still didn't skate well enough to play anything else. He's played two games in the NHL, both against the playoff-bound NY Islanders. He faced 84 shots in those 2 games, allowed only 5 goals, and won both of them. Last night he got the team to the shootout where he stoned all three shooters he faced to get the win.

Granato is a decidedly different coach than Krueger. He has the team playing fast and loose. The East Division probably has more top tier teams than any other division, so they haven't done terribly well under Granato, but they look better. In the absence of Eichel, Granato typically puts all his veteran forwards (Jeff Skinner, Sam Reinhart and Victor Olofsson) on the top line, then constructed a second line of players that were considered prospects coming into the season but are now fulltime NHLers: Rasmus Asplund, Casey Mittelstadt and Tage Thompson.

Then there's a line of kids/players seeing their first NHL action- Anders Bjork, Dylan Cozens and Arttu Ruotsalainen, and then a 4th line of spare parts. The key here is that he's giving very young players increasing minutes and responsibility and it's working. He tinkers a bit with those lines; for instance Cozens had a couple blah games so he moved over to the wing and Granato put vet Riley Sheahan out to center that line.

The other surprise is that, although he came up as a center, Samson Reinhart has been playing wing, primarily with center Jack Eichel. With Eichel's injury, Granato moved Reino to center and he's actually doing very well. In this pandemic-shortened season he's tied his career high with 25 goals. A good chunk of those have come with a wicked wrist shot that he hasn't previously displayed to this extent. Without Eichel, Reinhart is actually better.

This is all very interesting, and worrying. Assuming the team would stay the same, just that injured players would return, it's easy to picture a team with a heavy infusion of youth, led by Reino and Eichel. But with NHL contracts what they are, there may be reason to move at least one of Reino and Eichel. In Reino's case, he's a restricted free agent for the coming year but unrestricted after that. To lock him up for a longer term may put a cash crunch on the Sabres in the future. Considering the season he's had, the Sabres might be able to get handsome return if they trade him now.

Eichel is on a long term contract, but his no-movement clause will kick in after this summer, so if they're going to move him, this is the time. The team has a lot invested in him and when healthy he's clearly their best forward, but if they move him now the return may be diminished by his current injury situation.

I haven't even touched on the defense, but there's a similar youth movement going on there, and the future is very bright.

All this has happened under interim coach Don Granato. Has he done enough to earn the permanent spot? Or is their uptick a case of fools gold after playing for such a terrible coach at the beginning of the season? I would be comfortable with keeping him on, or trying to do better (Gerard Gallant?) if they can land the right coach.

So, just like the last 10 playoff-less seasons, the Sabres leaving us looking ahead to next year, hoping it's finally the year they are good again.
 
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