Monday, March 30, 2009

CHL Playoffs early thoughts and Dallas Stars OffSeason needs

A couple of games into the playoffs for the Central Hockey League and a few thoughts about the playoffs so far. For the Texas Brahmas, the favorites going into the Southern Conference and they have won 2 close games against the RG Valley Killer Bees with the scores of 4-2 and 5-4, the top scoreer has been Jason Deitsch with 2G and 3A while the top goal scoreer Tyler Skworchinski with 3 goals so far in the playoffs. In the 1st game, the Brahmas pretty much had the game in control as the Brahmas were up 3-1 midway through the game and their defense was really good execpt for a Grant Gockner-Zoller goal with 13 minutes left in the game and then Texas came back just 3 minutes later with Tyler Skworchinski midway through the 3rd period and then Brahmas goalie Brett Jeager kept up the 4-2 mark to win game 1 in North Richaland Hills.

Game 2 was the next night and once again the Brahmas looked strong as the won again 5-4 and which included scoring twice late in the 1st period after Killer Bees forward Brennan Sarazin scored to give the games 1st goal to give them the lead. After that, Greg Mcconnell and Brandon Bennedict scored just over a minute later to go up 2-1. A wild 2nd period which included all sorts of penalties from several upsportsmanlike conduct penalties and slashing penalties opened up the scoring where Matt Byrnes scored to tie at 2-2 then the Brahmas scored 3 unanswered goals from Brandon Bennedict, and Jason Deitsch in the 2nd period and then early in the 3rd period Tyler Skworchinski made it 5-2. However, the Killer Bees Gockner-Zoller and Rankin scored to make it 5-4 and made it intresting near the end of the game but once again Brahmas goalie Brett Jeager came up big again to keep the win for the Brahmas and a 2-0 series lead. Today was a travel day for the two teams and the series will shift to the Dodge Center in Rio Grande City comming up on April 1.

Looking at this series, the Brahmas are showing their experience espically on goaltending where the Brahmas in which they are making a ton of big saves and getting a lot of help from their defense where they have only seen 20 and 21 shots on goal through the 1st 2 games. If the Brahmas goalies can step it up, it's seen that the Brahmas could end up being the Preisdents Cup Championship come May. Rio Grande Valley have had a great team with a lot of young talent and came back big time after finishing last in the Southern Conference last season. Their time to be a contender to win big is comming, just not right now.

Game 1 Report:

Game 2 Report:

A bit of a surprise so far in the Odessa Jackalopes VS. Laredo Bucks series where the Laredo Bucks won both games in Odessa to take a 2-0 series lead. This may be an issue of where the Southwest with the execption of the Jackalopes who won the division, might have been the weakest in the league this season where the other teams in the Southwest, the New Mexico Scorpions, Arizona Sundogs and Amarillo Gorillas all missed the playoffs. Amarillo finshied last in the Southern Confernce, New Mexico weren't much better and Arizona just missed the playoffs.

For Laredo, both games have been low scoring games where game 1 went to OT where James Hiebert opened the scoring late in the 1st, then Bobby Russell made it 2-0 midway through the game into the PP. Laredo has a ton of playoff experience and it shouldn't be left out. The 2nd game was a cake walk as the Bucks jumped the Jackalopes early as they went up 3-0 and scoring 2 of them late in the 1st period with both goals comming from Darryl Smith. After a slow 2nd period, the Bucks scored twice more in the 3rd to cement the 5-1 win. For the Jackalopes it was a pretty forgetable game where nothing went right which includes a dismal performance on the PP. If Odessa is going get back in this series, they will have to do back on the road and with the road record performance, the Jackalopes road record this year was 19-10-3 but most of the road wins came early in the season. For Odessa to comeback in this series, the offense needs to improve and I think they have the shot to do it with players like the CHL Scoring Champion Sebastien Thinel with 97 points but he's been no where to be seen in the playoffs so far, just one assist back in game one. If he dosen't get going and provide to his teammates, the Jackalopes will sink quickly.

Game 1 Report:

Game 2 Report:

Up in the northeast between the Mississippi Riverkings and Oklahoma City Blazers are currently tied at 1-1 apeice. In the first game, OKC Forward Ted Vandermeer scored the game winner to get the first game on the road. Then in game 2, Mississippi Riverkings came back and won 5-3 in a strong fashion which included 5 goals from 5 different players on the Riverkings in which the Riverkings scored 2 goals in 2 minutes in the 1st period with scoreeers comming from Darrell Stoddard and Jeff Alcombrack to score to set the stage for the Riverkings to help out after the OT Loss to Oklahoma City. For Mississippi, players like Martin Gascon and Louis Dumont who were both the top scoreers during the regular season and will be in what I will think it will be a long series and possibly the best of the Conference Semifinals in which the winner will play either the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs or the Colorado Eagles. Speaking of that series, the Colorado Eagles won game 1 of a very competivie game 4-3 over Bossier-Shreveport and game 2 is tonight.

Dallas Stars End of Season Needs

Tonight, the Stars will play the Phoenix Coyotes will be about to start up in Phoenix tonight, after losing 6 in a row. I'm offically counting the Stars are out of the playoff race, not only are the Stars 8 points out with 7 to play, their 5 points back of Minnesota for 11th place and starting to lose ground on the pack. Over the weekend, the Stars have called up Dan Jancevski from the Hamilton Bulldogs and Garrett Stafford from Grand Rapids under "Emergency Conditions" for basically the rest of the season. Jancevski has scored 28 points in 72 games this season, while Stafford has 42 points in 67 games this season for their AHL Teams. Looking at their stats, the only reason they have called up these players is because of all the injuries they have right now and haven't even sniffed an NHL Roster very much in their careers so don't expect much from them.

A couple of things I would like to see the Stars do is to call up one of their AHL Goalies to give Marty Turco a rest and see what they have in the minor league ranks to see if they have a chance to make the Stars roster in the future or if they need to get a trade done or work someone through free agaency this off season. Tobais Stephen needs to go and it appears he's going to get the start tonight against the Coyotes, this is just to give Marty a rest who has played a league high 71 games and over 4,000 minutes this season. All the playing has just tired him out as he only has a .897 SV% but a respectable 2.84 GAA this season.

Also, I would like some anwsers from Brett Hull on bringing in Sean Avery last summer. It was totally his idea to convince the Stars Org. to bring in Avery to be a pest and one of the few pieces left on what the staff thought could possibly make them a Stanley Cup Contender this season. Espically because we already had a player in Steve Ott who was becomming a pretty good pest for the Stars and is also finding ways to incrase his scoring. Reguardless of what you think of him, he was a big distraction in the locker room early on in the season and everyone knows about the sloopy seconds comment in Calgary back in December that got him basically off the team and out of the league from December through the end of Feb. Other then that, they don't need to do a lot when it comes down to major changes to the roster over the course of the off season. He was apart of the reason why the Stars got off to a bad start because of the distraction and antics off the ice that gathered attention away from the ice.

Finally, I know he's unavailable due to the WHL Playoffs, but if he were able to bring him down. I would like to see how ready for the NHL the teams top prospect Jamie Benn is. He's having a great season for the WHL's Kelowna Rockets and are preparing for the WHL Conference Semifinals series against the Tri-City Americans. It would be good to see if he may be ready for the NHL next season or if he needs to spend some time with the Stars AHL Affliate in Austin at least for a little while next season. He's one of the fastest players in the WHL right now and finished 15th overall in league scoring and is also heating up in the playoffs where he scored 10 points in the 1st round victory against the Kamloops Blazers.

News and Notes

The North American Hockey League regular season ended last night and the league's only Texas team in the league, the Wichita Falls Wildcats finished the regular season with a 24-25-9 record in which the Wildcats will be the #3 seed in the South Division. It's going to be a a tough road as they will face a Topeka Roadrunners team who won the South Division last year and want's to get back for a chance to win the Robertson Cup Championship. I'm not surprised that it didn't matter who the Wildcats would play as both the St. Louis Bandits and Topeka Roadrunners have the #1 and #2 overall records from the regular season.

As for the worst team, the Albert Lea Thunder finished the regular season with just 4 wins and their total record was a dismal 4-49-5 record for just 13 points and they scored just 108 goals while giving up 304 this season. (a -196 GD).

The 1st round schedules haven't been announced yet, but here's the Division Semifinal Matchups.

North Division

#1 USNTDP VS. #4 Alpena Ice Diggers
#2 Mahoning Valley Phantoms VS. #3 Traverse City North Stars

Central Division

#1 Bismarck Bobcats VS. #4 Alexandria Blizzard
#2 North Iowa Outlaws VS. #3 Owatonna Express

South Division

#1 St. Louis Bandits VS. #4 Springfield (Ill.) Jr. Blues
#2 Topeka Roadrunners VS. #3 Wichita Falls Wildcats

West Division

#1 Fairbanks Ice Dogs VS. #4 Kenai River Brown Bears
#2 Wenatchee Wild VS. #3 Alaska Avalanche

Sunday, March 29, 2009

FM Marcus comes up just short in the Regular Season Finale

The Marauders came up just a bit short in their regular season finale back on Thursday against the Plano West Wolves as the regular season comes to an end. In a evenly matched game that saw a fast pace game that saw Marcus fired first when David Wirth scored just 4 minutes on an unassisted goal off a turnover who just had a wicked wrist shot past Wolves Goaltender Chris Overton, then just 3 minutes later Wolves Forward Grant Willis scored on the PP with assist from Nick Appel and Dakota Stieber to tie it at 1-1.

Marcus contuined their scoring ways in the 2nd period with Dane Nichols scoring twice in the 2nd period with goals comming up at the 2:21 and 6:53 marks of the 2nd period where Marcus went up 3-2 with Plano West Elliot Polanchyck with an assist from Timothy Holt at 5:51 of the period. Both teams after Marcus went on 3-2 where both goalies made some great saves including Marcus Goalie Sean Garvey made stopped one that defelcted off the post just before the end of the period. Late Plano West Goals comming from Stuart Freiner and Adam Maurer scoring just over a minute apart late in the 2nd period to give Plano West a 4-3 lead going into the 2nd intermission.

In the 3rd period, both teams turned up the pressure to put the game away. With just over a minute left in the game, Marcus pulled Goalie Brian Scherer for the sixth man and it almost payed off with 27 seconds with a flurey of activity around West Goalie Ryan Medellin including a shot that just deflected over the cross bar. In the end Marcus fell in a close one 4-3 and paring this loss with a 5-1 Flower Mound Win over Dallas Jesuit saw the Marauders playoff seed from a #5 to a #7 seed and will have a short break while preparing for Frisco in the 1st round of the playoffs comming up on April 7 with the time and location TBD. As for the Flower Mound Jaguars, they have clinched the #5 seed in the upcomming playoffs as they will play the winner of the play in game between Keller and Mckinney.

Playoff Dates
Play In Game: March 31
1st Round: April 7
Quarterfinals: April 9
Semifinals: April 13
League Championship: April 15
State Tournament: April 17-19 in Austin

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dying Playoff Hopes for the Stars and Central Hockey League Playoff Preview

The Dallas Stars playoff hopes took a huge hit last week as they went 0-3 on their 3 game road trip with loses to Vancouver, Calgary and San Jose last week. What makes this fustrating is that these arenas that the Stars usually play well reguardless of the result and that didn't even happen last week.

First in Vancouver, the Stars went into the 1st intermission tied at 1-1 and then the Cancucks just went on a shooting barage, even though the 2nd period shots were only 9-6, but the chances they had were of high quality and were peppering Marty Turco and were down 3-1. The 3rd period brought some hope about 8 minutes in when Steve Ott scored his 16th of the year and then it looked like they could get a point of this game then with 5 minutes, an unlikey game winner from Steve Bernier from 2 other unlikey scoreers Mason Raymond and Kevin Bieksa which just put the teams efforts to wast basically, even though the total shots on goal were 26-25, the quality of the Vancouver Shots were very noticable and their effort on special teams made a huge difference in the game.

The Next night, the Stars made the short trip to Calgary where the Flames are in a battle with Vancouver for the Northwest Division title. The Stars looked better than in Vancouver which includes opening the scoring early in the 2nd period as Bredan Morrison just over a minute into the 2nd period, however only 3 minutes later with Jamie Lundmark's goal. After that, the game went into a defensive struggle as both teams seemed to be afraid to lose then go for the win as both teams needed the win for much different reasons. Going into the 3rd period contuined to be a defenseive struggle untill Eric Nystrom scored the game winner to make it 2-1. Later then in the 3rd period where the Stars seemed to have just no life at all and where they only got 19 shots on goal for the entire game and had a hard time exucting on just about any kind of play at all. I'm just about ready to declare the Stars playoff chances dead in the water, (more on that in a little bit.) because they have a lack luster roster that's banged up and some of the guys probally shouldn't be playing for the Stars right now.

Just on Sunday, the Stars have called up C Tom Wandell from the Sweden Elite League team IK Timira, usually you call up someone from North America, he's been good for Timira, but it takes a long time to get used to the NA Game from Europe.

This week, the Stars have a reletivy favorable schedule this week with a 3 game home stand against the Vancouver Canucks tommorow night, the Los Angeles Kings comming up on Thursday and then the Florida Panthers on Saturday. Vancouver is defently going to be the toughest matchup while the Kings are pretty much out of the playoff race and the Panthers are fighting it out to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. If the Stars don't win at least 2 of the 3 games this week, i'm declaring the Stars playoff hopes dead, espically if they don't get a win either against the Kings or Panthers. After this week, 5 of the final 7 games will be on the road and it dosen't matter the oppenents it's always tough to win on the road and the way they are falling like a rock, currently the Stars are in 12th in the Western Conference, but they are only 3 points out of 8th. However, with the way they are playing, nothing is going to help them out.

If I were coach Tippett, this would be my last major rush and if it dosen't work out this week, it will probally be time to give up on the season and let the injured players just focus on their treatment and focus on working for pontential players and line ups for next year. Their is one clear moment that broke the back of this team and that was in Early March when Brad Richards went out. With how imporant he is, espically on special teams the bite has been taken out of the PP and we don't a dangerous point man to get dangerous shots off on opposing goalies. As for the goaltender sitaution, Marty Turco will probally half to play ever game for the rest of the season. Comming up over the off season, back up goalie needs to be a poritiy, because Tobais Stephen is not only a less then average goaltender but he gives up big rebounds that lead to goals that could make the difference in games. Stephen needs to go come season's end.

This is a year that Stars Fans and the media need to give the team a pass because of all the injures and the Sean Averey fiasco in the early part of the year. Anyone who dosen't is a fool, because this team would probally be in a firece battle for at least the Division title, and possibly home ice in the West. No one should be fired because of what's going on and I think that owner Tom Hicks is smart enough to realize what happen and that this is a team that can have a great shot of getting back to Stanley Cup Contention this season. This team was very criticlised during the 5 year playoff drought in which they were outsted in the 1st round playoffs 3 times in a row, but this is a year that no one could have predicited with the off the ice news that happen. Reading the Injury reports at time just became such tired head and became soo bored with.

Central Hockey League Playoffs Kick off Tonight.

In just a little while from now, this year's Central Hockey League Playoffs will get underway with the Conference Play In Round. The Southern Conference should be refereed as the Texas Conference, because back on Saturday night, the Corpus Christi Icerayz clinched the final playoff spot with a shootout win over the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs 3-2 with goals comming from Justin Quenneville and Mark Tobin in the 2nd period. Then in the shootout, goals from Jereme Tendler and John Adams scored to win the shootout 2-1 to win the game and clinch the final playoff spot. Tonight, the Southern Conference Play In will have Southeast Division showdown as the RG Valley Killer Bees against the Corpus Christi Icerayz. In the Northern Confernce, the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs will take on the northwest Division runner up Rocky Mountain Rage.

With so many teams from the Southwest in the playoffs, this should provide the region a great oppurnity to play for a championship and hopefully some great traveling fan bases, espically in the South Division with every team from Texas in the playoffs. We will have some great matchups regaurdless of the teams comming up throughout April and May on our road to crown a Preisdents Cup Champion.

Northern Conference

Here's the schedule and Previews from the Central Hockey League Website.

Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs VS. Rocky Mountain Rage
3/23, Game 1, Bossier-Shreveport @ Rocky Mountain
3/25, Game 2, Rocky Mountain @ Bossier-Shreveport
3/26, Game 3, Rocky Mountain @ Bossier-Shreveport*

The Winner will take on the Colorado Eagles in the Conference Semifinals. The other semifinal will have the Mississippi Riverkings VS. Oklahoma City Blazers

*If Necessary

Southern Conference

RG Valley Killer Bees VS. Corpus Christi Icerayz
3/23, Game 1, RG Valley Killer Bees @ Corpus Christi Icerayz
3/25, Game 2, Corpus Christi Icerayz @ RG Valley Killer Bees
3/26, Game 3, Corpus Christi Icerayz @ RG Valley Killer Bees*

*If Necessar

The Winner will take on the Texas Brahmas. The other semifinal will be between the Odessa Jackalopes and the Laredo Bucks.

My Predicitions for the Central Hockey League Playoffs this season.

Play In Round
Bossier-Shreveport over Rocky Mountain in 2
Corpus Christi over RG Valley in 3

For Bossier-Shreveport, the competivies of the Northeast Division this year has prepared them well and a win should come easy over a team that for most of the 2nd half of the season pretty much had nothing to play for.

Corpus Christi has a lot of talent that has under achived a lot in recent years and they hungry to prove to the league that can make a run. RG Valley has a great future with their young talent but hardly any of them have much experience in the playoffs.

Conference Semifinals
Colorado Eagles over Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in 6 games
Mississippi Riverkings over Oklahoma City Blazers in 6 games

Texas Brahmas over Corpus Christi Icerayz in 5 games
Laredo Bucks over Odessa Jackalopes in 7 games

Conference Finals
Mississippi Riverkings over Colorado Eagles

Texas Brahmas over Laredo Bucks

Preisdent Cup Championship
Texas Brahmas over Mississippi Riverkings

News and Notes

The Playoff Dates for Texas High School Hockey Playoffs are now out. This year, the playoffs will lead up to the State Tournament which will be in Austin from April 17-19 at Chaparral Ice Center.

Here's a link to Chaparral Ice:

Here's the league playoff dates for Both Dallas and Houston.

Dallas/Ft. Worth

Play In Game: March 31
1st Round: April 7
Quarterfinals: April 9
Semifinals: April 13
League Championship: April 15


Division Quarterfinals: March 31- April 3
Division Semifinals: April 5
League Championship Round Robin: April 7-9
League Championship Game: April 10

Road to the RBC Cup

The first of the Canadaian Junior Hockey League Championships is now set and awaiting the schedule for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Credit Union Cup between the RBC Cup Champions Humboldt Bronocos against the Melville Millionares in which it will be starting up on Friday with the winner taking on the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Champions to play for the Western Region Championship and a spot at the RBC Cup National Championships in Victoria, B.C. comming up in May.

The Humboldt Bronocos will have home ice advantage with them being the #1 seed in the Itech Conference while the Melville Millionares were the #2 seed in the Sherwood Conference this season.

Here's the website for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League:

SJHL Credit Union Cup Championship

#1I Humboldt Bronocos VS. #2S Melville Millionares
3/27, GM1, Melville @ Humboldt
3/31, GM2, Humboldt @ Melville
4/3, GM3, Melville @ Humboldt
4/5, GM4, Humboldt @ Melville
4/7, GM5, Melville @ Humboldt*
4/10, GM6, Humboldt @ Humboldt*
4/12, GM7, Melville @ Humboldt*

Thursday, March 19, 2009

OU Hockey at ACHA Nationals and the Stars Injury Situation

The Oklahoma Sonners lost a close game against the University of Illinois 3-2 in a evenly matched affair as the game was tied at 1-1 midway through the game till the Illinois scored the only goal in the 2nd period. Then later then in the 3rd, Sonners forward Austin Miller early in the 3rd period. Then the Sonners and Illinois took not one but 2 OT Periods to settle the game before Johnny Liang on a PP to win the game and advance to the ACHA National Semifinals.

The Sooners were a very impressive 30-7-3 record and inclueded a very respetable trip to the Quarterfinals which almost saw them make it to the last 4. Nice job to the team and wish them luck in the future.

Sorry, for the lack of coverage, Late in the day on Saturday. Their was a relase of carbon minxode that forced the rink to be cleared out and was closed till late in the day on Sunday and becuase of that, the schedule was changed and updated by ear and was very hard to find an updated schedule for the tournament.

Here's the other scores from the Nationals

March 15

West Chester 6 Delaware 2 (2-0, 1-0, 3-2)
Ohio University 2 Penn State 3 (0-0, 0-2, 2-1)
Central Oklahoma 5 Robert Morris 1 (1-0, 4-1, 0-0)
Penn State Burks 2 Lindenwood 14 (1-5, 1-3, 0-6)

March 16

Liberty 1 Lindenwood 5 (0-0, 0-3, 1-2)

March 17
Illinois 3 Penn State 0 (0-0, 1-0, 2-0)

March 18
Illinois 1 Lindenwood 3 (0-0, 1-3, 0-0)

Congrats to Lindenwood University, ACHA Division 1 National Championships.

The Stars injury problem is causing some very uneven play late in the regular season. Some nights they look like they very healthy, other nights they look tired and can't push more then have given through all this. Last night's game against Calgary was a good example where it was a heavy emphais on defense and protecting Marty Turco. They lost 2-1 even after they opened the scoring with a goal from Brendan Morrison early in the 2nd period, then just 4 minutes later, Calgary Jamie Lundmark who scored only his 5th goal of the season. Then after that goal it was a defensive display with a emphais on protecting the goaltenders till Eric Nystrom scored the game winner midway through the 3rd period. After the goal that made it 2-1, it looked the Stars were gased at the end of the game and at a hard time posting any kind of attempt to at least force OT.

Their is some hope however, as Mark Parrish and Fabian Brunnstrom could be close to returning to the ice. But, Mike Modano and Brian Sutherby were out from last night's game, Modano with a lower body injury while Sutherby with an upper body injury and team doctors are looking to see what they may have and how long they could be out for. While Capatian Bredan Morrow, Defensemen Sergei Zubov, Brad Richards and Toby Petersen have been out for varoious amounts of time. Brendan Morrow it looks for him that he is getting ready for a possible playoff run, while Richards could be back for the last few games of the regular season and Petersen is working on a broken foot right now. It's also showing in their stats, espically on the PP.

Also with these so called lower and upper body injuries, the league should force teams to be more specific on what these injuries are so we can have an idea on how long a player will be out. The Stars coaching staff needs to force the players to come back earlier then maybe some of them should so we can get back healther sooner and give our younger players like Eriksson and Neal a break, if the Stars make the playoffs, I don't know if these players can hold up the pressure and pounding of a playoff run would do. Also for the last few games if the playoffs are out of the question, forget about the players comming back and let them focus on their recovery and getting ready for next season.

So overall, they will be happy just to make it this year and will probally be elimnated from the post season very quickly this season. Espically if they have to play Detroit or San Jose in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Here's the PP totals for the month of March as the totals are very low.

3/1 VS Pittsburgh 1/6
3/3 AT San Jose 1/6
3/5 AT Los Angeles 0/3
3/6 AT Anaheim 1/4
3/8 VS Montreal 1/10
3/10 AT St. Louis 1/6
3/12 VS Carolina 0/3
3/14 VS Minnesota 0/3
3/17 AT Vancouver 1/7
3/18 AT Calgary 0/3

Not one game where you have more than 1 PP Goal with the worst game on March 8 where they went 1/10 and could have put the Canadaiens in a hole early and didn't.

Here's some stats for the season on where the injuries have affected them the most.

Power Play: 25th 15.6 %
Penalty Kill: 25th 79.3 %
Goals Differental: 202-217 -15

Current Record: 33-30-8 74PTS currently 10th in West

With 11 games left in the regular season, here's their reaming schedule. All Start Times are Dallas Time.

3/21 AT San Jose Sharks 3:00 FSN Southwest
3/24 VS Vancouver Canucks 7:30 FSN Southwest
3/26 VS Los Angeles Kings 7:30 FSN Southwest
3/28 VS Florida Panthers 7:00 FSN Southwest
3/30 AT Phoenix Cyotes 9:00 Versus
3/31 AT Los Angeles Kings 9:30 MYTV 27
4/2 VS Calgary Flames 7:30 FSN Southwest
4/4 VS St. Louis Blues 7:00 FSN Southwest
4/7 AT Minnesota Wild 7:00 Versus
4/9 VS Colorado Avalanche 8:00 FSN Southwest
4/10 AT Anaheim Ducks MYTV 27

Here's the Western Conference standings from 4th through 12th with just over 10 games left

4. Chicago 84 PTS 13 GR
5. Vancouver 83 PTS 13 GR
6. Columbus 80 PTS 11 GR
7. Nashville 76 PTS 11 GR
8. Edmonton 75 PTS 13 GR

9. Minnesota 74 PTS 12 GR
10. Dallas 74 PTS 11 GR
11. St. Louis 73 PTS 12 GR
12. Anaheim 72 PTS 12 GR

If you look at the standings, the Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets are starting to assert themselves that look like they will be in the playoffs so it's starting to become a battle for the final 2 playoff spots.

News and Notes

The Western Hockey League finished up the regular season back on Tuesday night with only the leagues 4th ever tie break game for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It was the Prince Albert Raiders against the Edmonton Oil King in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan as the Oil Kings won the game 2-1 in OT to advance to the playoffs for the first time in their team history since entering the league 5 years ago.

Here's the WHL 1st Round Matchups.

Eastern Conference

#1 Calgary Hitmen VS. #8 Edmonton Oil Kings
#2 Saskatoon Blades VS. #7 Lethbridge Hurricanes
#3 Brandon Wheat Kings VS. Kootenay Ice
#4 Swift Current Bronocos VS. #5 Medicine Hat Tigers

Western Conference

#1 Vancouver Giants VS. #8 Prince George Cougars
#2 Tri-City Americans VS. #7 Everett Silvetips
#3 Kelowna Rockets VS. #6 Kamloops Blazers
#4 Spokane Cheifs VS. #5 Seattle Thunderbirds

In the Road to the RBC Cup, several leagues are nearing the start of the semifinal rounds of their league playoffs. Another league, the Maritime Junior A Hockey League will finish up their quarterfinal round tonight. In Mantioba, we have our first team that is nearing a spot in any of the league championship series as the Portage Terriers are up 3-0 over Dauphin Kings and are looking like a very strong contender to repersent the Western Region at the RBC Cup in May.

Here's of the league Semifinals that start this weekend.

British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL)

Victoria Grizzlies VS. Powell River Kings
Salom Arm Silverbacks VS. Vernon Vipers

Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL)

Grande Prairie Storm VS. Brooks Bandits
Spruce Groove Saints VS. Olds Grizzlies

Central Junior Hockey League (CJHL)

Nepean Raiders VS. Ottawa Jr. Senators
Pembrooke Lumber Kings VS. Brockville Braves

Maritime Junior A Hockey League (MJAHL)

Summerside Western Capitals VS. Woodstock/Miramichi Winner
Truro Bearcats VS. Amherst Ramblers

Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL)

Oakville Blades VS. Wellington Dukes
Huntsville Muskoka Otters VS. Kingston Voyageurs

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dallas Stars Weekly Round up and Oklahoma at ACHA DIV 1 Nationals

It's been a roller coster ride the last couple of weeks. Early in the week didn't look very good as Montreal beat the Stars 3-1, in the 1st period the Stars looked like that this was their night after an early goal by Loui Eriksson just 5 minutes into the game on the PP but that was all they produced as they falied to convert a 4 minute PP midway through the game which could have made a pontential easy night for the Stars. However, in the 2nd they fell on their face espically in during faceoffs where est. puck control was very diffuclt to do. Then Kostitsyn scored 5:00 into the 2nd period to tie it at 1-1 and then Alexi Kovalev put the Canadaiens in the lead with 5 minutes left in the 2nd period. Christopher Higgins put the game on ice with a 3rd period goal at the 5:27 mark of the 3rd period to win the game for Montreal where they were outshot by the Stars 32-19 during the game. The lowly 2nd period is what made the difference for Montreal in a game that both teams needed to stay in their conference playoff races.

On Tuesday in St. Louis, the Stars had no chance as Marty Turco was pulled midway through the 1st period as he gave up 3 goals in just 12 minutes as Blues goals by Backes, Perron and Winchester put the Blues in a huge hole early that they couldn't come back from. Stars goals by James Neal and Mike Ribeiro were hardly enough to make a comeback as the Blues just dominated the game from start to finish with an easy 5-2 win.

It started to turnaround when the Stars won 3-2 against another Eastern Conference Bubble team in the Carolina Hurricanes. With all 3 goals comming up in the 2nd period with goals from Mike Ribeiro to tie the game at 1, Steve Begin gave them the lead just 5 minutes with trade deadline accqurie Brendan Morrison who scored his first goal for the Stars to make it 3-1. Then in the 3rd period, the Hurricanes Ryan Whitney made it 3-2 to start up a frenzy from the Hurricanes to where the Hurricanes almost got the game to OT near the end of relegation but Turco was able give the Stars a critical win and to keep their playoff chances alive and to get the best possible seeding for the playoffs.

On Saturday against Minnesota, Steve Ott scored both times in relegation as he scored goals early in both the 1st and 2nd periods to give the Stars a 2-0 then Koivu and Andrew Brunette in the 2nd period where the 3rd period was a bit guarded to protect their chances as both the Stars and the Minnesota Wild to get precouis points as the Minnesota Wild is currently in the 11th spot and currently out of the playoffs while the Stars are in the 7th spot out west and would currently play the San Jose Sharks in the 1st round if the regular season ended today. Then in OT, an unlikely game winner from Nicklas Grossman to give the Stars a critical win.

Comming up this week, a 3 game road trip which includes 2 games in Wesetern Canada against the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames on Tuesday and Wedesnday then comming up on Saturday as they play San Jose for the 6th and final time this season and could be a pontential 1st round playoff matchup.

Oklahoma Sonners Update

A little bit of a change of plans for the some of the games in Cleveland as some of the games were pushed back due to a minor carbon Minxode outbreak delayed some of the 1st round games to Sunday espically later in the Day where the Oklahoma Sonners were affected by the schedule. So they played their first round game on Sunday evening against Kent State as the Sooners won the 1st round game against the Kent State Golden Flashes 9-4 where Justin King scored 4 goals and added an assist while Jesse Bryant added 2 goals in the game. Owen Brewer, Daryl Dee, Chris Nicolaou also scored goals in the win. Next up the Sonners is the University of Illinois where that game started @ 7:30 earlier tonight and will have that result on the next blog post.

Here's the scores from the 1st round

West Chester 4 Iowa State 2 (1-0, 3-1, 0-1)
Stony Brooke 3 Delaware 4 (1-1, 2-2, 0-1)
Ohio University 4 Rhode Island 3 (3-1, 0-2, 1-0)
Duquesne 2 Penn State 5 (0-1, 2-2, 0-2)
Robert Morris 2 Liberty 6 (0-2, 2-2, 0-2)
Central Oklahoma 1 Illinois 4 (0-0, 0-2, 1-2)
Penn State Berks 2 Lindenwood 14 (1-5, 1-3, 0-6)

I will give a showing of the Quarterfinal Matchups in the next post.

News and Notes

With the Central Hockey League Regular season ending this weekend. The matchups for the Conference Play In and Conference Semifinals are starting to become more clear. The seedings in the south where 4 of the 5 teams have been clinched as the Texas Brahmas and the Odessa Jackalopes have clinched the divisions titles while in the North, the Oklahoma City Blazers and Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs are fighting it out to stay out of the play in round with 4 games left to play this season.

In the American Hockey League, (Both in the West Division) will be fighting it out for the 2nd seed in the west with the Chicago Wolves, Peoria Rivermen, and the Rockford Icehounds are just 3 points seperatres 2nd through 5th place in the Western Conference's West Division while the San Antonio Rampage are currently in last place with 58 points where they are 14 points back of the last playoff spot and are basically out of playoff contention.

Most of the Major Junior Playoff matchups for the opening rounds (WHL, OHL, and QMJHL) are now set. The OHL and WHL are now all set while the WHL will finish up tommorow due to a 1 game tie break for the final playoff spot in the WHL between the Prince Albert Raiders and the Edmonton Oil Kings in Prince Albert tommorow night. The Spokane Cheifs have some work to do as well after a food poisoning out break which forced them to reschedule their final 2 games of the regular season against the Kelowna Rockets and the Tri-City Americans.

Here's the playoff matchups for the OHL and QMJHL as they start up later this week. I will show the WHL after the games end tommorow.

Ontario Hockey League

Eastern Conference

#1 Belleville Bulls VS. #8 Sudbury Wolves
#2 Brampton Battalion VS. #7 Peterborough Petes
#3 Ottawa 67s VS. #6 Niagara Icedogs
#4 Mississauga St. Micheals Majors VS. #5 Barrie Colts

Western Conference

#1 Windsor Spitfires VS. #8 Owen Sound Attack
#2 London Knights VS. #7 Erie Otters
#3 Saginaw Spirit VS. #6 Guelph Storm
#4 Plymouth Whalers VS. #5 Sarnia Sting

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Quebec West Division

#1 Gatineau Olympiques VS. #5A Acadie-Bathrust Titans
#2 Montreal De Junior VS. #3 Rouyn-Nornda Huskies

Quebec Central Division

#1 Drummondville Voltigeurs VS. #4 Lewiston Maineaics
#2 Shawinigan Cataractes VS. #3 Victoriaville Tigres

Quebec East Division

#1 Quebec City Ramparts VS. #4 Baie-Comeau Drakkar
#2 Rimouski Oceanic VS. #3 Chicoutimi Sagueneens

Atlantic Division

#1 Moncton Wildcats VS. #4 Prince Edward Island Rockets
#2 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles VS. #3 St. John Seadogs

Friday, March 13, 2009

High School Playoff Races and OU at ACHA DIV 1 Nationals

[B]Dallas/Ft. Worth[/B]

With 2 weeks left in the Dallas area high school season, the main goal since all the teams make it and play at least one playoff game is to get a first round bye and go stright to the Quarterfinals. Right now with most teams having 2 games left in the season, Plano Senior, Allen and Dallas Jesuit have clinched 1st round byes, the battle for the final spot will likely come down to the current #4 seed Mansfield Tigers with the FM Marcus Muraders and the Flower Mound Jagaurs who are both just 2 points back. Last night, the Tigers lost 6-0 to the Allen Eagles while Marcus won 5-3 against the Coppel Cowboys and the Jagaurs ended winning 9-2 over lowly Mckinney. With 2 games left for all 3 teams have 2 games left.

Here's the reamining schedule for the teams fighting it out for the final 1st Round Bye.

[B]Mansfield Tigers[/B]

3/19: VS. Frisco 7:00 at Duncanville Starscenter
3/26: VS. Highland Park 7:00 at Duncanville Starscenter

[B]FM Marcus Muraders[/B]

3/19: VS. Southlake Carroll 7:00 at Euless Starscenter
3/26: VS. Plano West 8:45 at Farmers Branch Starscenter

[B]Flower Mound Jagaurs[/B]

3/19: VS. Keller 8:45 at Euless Starscenter
3/26: VS. Jesuit 7:15 at Grapevine Polar Ice

If the playoffs were to begin today, these would be the seedings and matchups.

[B]Current Seedings[/B]

1. Plano Senior
2. Allen
3. Jesuit
4. Mansfield
5. FM Marcus
6. Flower Mound
7. Coppell
8. Plano West
9. Southlake Carroll
10. Frisco
11. Highland Park
12. Keller
13. Mckinney

If the playoffs started today, these would be the gold division playoff matchups

[B]Play In Game[/B]
#12 Keller VS. #13 Mckinney

[B]1st Round[/B]
#1 Plano Senior, #2 Allen, #3 Jesuit, #4 Mansfield would have 1st round byes

#5 FM Marcus VS. Play in Winner
#6 Flower Mound VS. #11 Highland Park
#7 Coppell VS. #10 Frisco
#8 Plano West VS. #9 Southlake Carroll

#1 Plano Senior VS. Lowest seeded 1st Round Winner
#2 Allen VS. 2nd lowest seeded 1st Round Winner
#3 Jesuit VS. 2nd Highest Seeded 1st Round Winner
#4 Mansfield VS. Highest Seeded 1st Round Winner

The full playoff schedule for the Dallas area League should be out soon. The only thing that's out so far is that the play in game will be on March 31 at the Farmer's Branch Starscenter.

To check out the Metroplex High School Hockey League, log on to Then click on the hockey section, click on all Amateur, then scroll down to the Dr. Pepper Starscenter webpage and then click on AT&T Metroplex High School Hockey League.

[B]Houston Area[/B]

To follow the Interscholastic Hockey League: log on to

The Interscholastic Hockey League (ISHL) is near the end of the regular season with just a handfull of games left to play. The league has 15 teams divided into 2 divisions north and south. In the North Division, Fair/Creek is currently leading the north Division with a 3 point lead over the Woodlands College Park where they have a 15-4-3 record (33 PTS) while the Woodlands College Park is 3 points back with a 13-4-4 Record (30 PTS) while a big gap rest between the top 2 and the rest of the North Division.

South Division wise, Austin High has a big 8 point gap with a very impressive 17-2-1 record (35 PTS) while F.B. Clements is back with a record of 13-7-1 record (27 PTS). The Houston's area power house Clearlake currently in 3rd place in the South Division and having somewhat of a down year at 10-8-4 (24 PTS). Cinco Ranch and Taylor are also tied with 24 PTS while the teams below them will have a big challenge of doing anything in the playoffs as they have the two worst teams in the league this season with Seven Lakes and Clear Brook/Clear Springs.

Here's the current seedings in Houston.

[B]North Division[/B]

1. Fair/Creek
2. College Park
3. The Woodlands
4. Klein
5. Cy-Woods
6. Kingwood
7. Memormial West

[B]South Division[/B]

1. Austin
2. Clements
3. Clear Lake
4. Cinco Ranch
5. Taylor
6. Pearland/Friendswood
7. Seven Lakes
8. Clear Brook/Creek Springs

If the Regular Season ended today, these would be the playoff matchups

[B][U]North Division[/U][/B]


#1 Fair/Creek would have a Quarterfinals Bye

#2 College Park VS. #7 Memorimal West
#3 The Woodlands VS. #6 Kingwood
#4 Klein VS. #5 Cy Woods

[B][U]South Division[/B][/U]


#1 Austin VS. #8 Clear Brook/Clear Springs
#2 Clements VS. #7 Seven Lakes
#3 Clearlake VS. #6 Pearland/Friendwood
#4 Cinco Ranch VS. #5 Taylor

The Playoffs schedule was recently relased.

Division Quarterfinals are March 31 thru April 3
Division Semifinals are April 5
The ISHL League Championship will be a round robin with the 4 teams left after the Division Semifinals. The Round Robin will be from April 7-9 with the title game on April 10.

The League Championship rounds will be at the Willowbrooke Aerodome on 4/7, Space City Ice Station on 4/8, Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center on 4/9. Then finnally the Championship game will be at the Willowbrooke Aerodome on 4/10.


With just 2 games left for the 5 team Austin League, RRISD A Team 1 have clinched the #1 spot with a dominting 12-2 record while the the rest of the fighting it out to stay out of the play in Game. While the #2 thru #4 seeds are just 2 points away from each other as the LISD team is currently in 2nd with a 7-6-1 record for 15 points while the RRISD B Team and Austin are currently tied with 13 points, while Bell County has just 1 win this season and 5 points.

To follow the playoffs in Austin, log on to then click on Amateur , then scroll down to the Chaparral Ice Center

Here's the current seeds in the playoffs.

1. RRISD A Team
3. RRISD B Team
4. Austin
5. Bell County

If the playoffs started today, Austin and Bell County would play each other in the play in game then after that it's a double elinmation format. The Austin playoffs will begin on March 30, the winner of the play in round game will play the #1 seed while the #2 and #3 seeds will play each other. Winners will advance automatically advance to the Semifinals while the losers will play an elimnation game where the loser will be out. Then the Semifinal Winners bracket game will have them advance to the championship, will the winner of the QF Elinmation game. The Final will be on April 9th, if the undeffated team loses, then the final game will be will be on April 10 to determine the Austin Champions.

Play In Game
#4 Austin VS. #5 Bell County

#1 RRISD A Team VS. Play In Winner

The State Championships this season will be from April 17-19 at Chaparral Ice Center in Austin.

The Oklahoma Sooners are in Celveland on the eve of getting their ACHA DIV 1 National Championship as that tournament get's underway on Saturday. The Full Schedule for the 1st round is now out and the Sooners will be playing Kent State at 7:30 PM.

Here's the full schedule for Saturday.

#6 Iowa State VS. #11 West Chester 10:30 AM
#3 Delaware VS. #14 Stony Brook 11:30 AM
#7 Rohde Island VS. #10 Ohio 1:30 PM
#2 Penn State VS. #15 Duquesne 2:30 PM
#8 Liberty VS. #9 Robert Morris University 4:30 PM
#4 Illinois VS. #13 Central Oklahoma 5:30 PM
#5 Oklahoma VS. #12 Kent State 7:30
#1 Lindenwood VS. #16 Penn State Brooks 8:30 PM

For the Oklahoma Sooners, Here's the roster when they the ice against the Kent State Golden Flashes and hopefully beyond.

Coaching Staff:

Head Coach: Tom Murphy
Asst. Coach/GM: Larry Donovan
Asst. Coach: James Ord
Asst. Coach: Mark Berge

During the season, the Oklahoma Sooners had a very impressive regular season by going 25-7-2 and have been among the #10 all season long and have been very good which includes a high profile preseason game against the NAHL Wichita Falls Wildcats and despite the 4-0 loss they were able to give the Wildcats a run for their money for most of the game.

News and Notes

The Road to the 2009 RBC Cup which will be hosted in Victoria, B.C. This season as we have the 1st league semifinal games tonight as the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Junior Hockey League Semifinals get underway tonight.

In Saskatchewan, the Sherwood Conference Final will have the Melville Millonares against the Weyburn Red Wings, while in the Itech Conference will have the Itech Conference the Flin Foln Bombers will take on the defending RBC Cup Champions Humboldt Bronocos.

In Manitoba, The Selkirk Stellers will take on the Winnipeg Saints. In the other semifinal, the Portage Terriers who just sweeped the Waywayseecappo Wolvirnes will take on the Dauphin Kings after the OCN Blizzard in 6 games.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Special Commentary: Keep fighting the way it is

This week in the NHL GM Meeting in Naples Florida, one of the biggest issues their talking about is the leagues fighting rules. Well I have news for them, you need to keep fighting the way it is. One of the biggest myths in the sport is that they will be able to nearly eradicate fighting away from the game without major changes to the sport. One of the big rule changes their considering is to give a a 10 minutes misconduct to a so called staged fighting where for the most part it would come just after a face off. If they were to put major restrictions or ban it all together, you would have a lot more incidents like the Todd Bertuzzi sucker punch in 2004 and the Chris Simon stomping incident in 2007. Fighting is needed as a important part of the game to keep the sports goons from getting out of control, not only ruining the sport but give the sport an image that the sport could never recover from.

It's amazing that Todd Bertuzzi is still allowed to play in the NHL where he only got suspended for the last 25 games of the 2003-2004 season that year. He had to file to return to the league after the lockout, he got in without much of a challenge and their was spouse to be a trail in British Columbia, but it has never happened and to me it's never going to happen. Playing for the Canucks while the Colorado Avalanche have gotten very little compensation (If any at all) to replace Steve Moore who's career basically ended with that play. This guy should have been banned for at least a full season, later he should have had a chance to get back in the league with much more scrutiny and to make sure he wouldn't do anything like this ever again. Even though he has been playing well since the lockout, he ended Steve Moore's career and that's something that should never forget about it.

The Chris Simon incident was a stomping incident that he used his blade that could have sliced his body open and possibly killed him if it's bad enough. Simon has been nothing but a talentless goon in the game. Unlike Bertuzzi, Simon's career stats include only 144 Goals and 161 assists in his career and has only played in 38 NHL games in the league since the stomping and probably justify ended his usefulness in the NHL and his hockey career overall.

If the fighting is ever taken out of the game, not only will they make the game more dangerous, but they would take a part of the game that's been around as long as the sport itself.

In some other leagues around NA, the QMJHL has it where fighting will get you a $100 fine and a game suspension. I could understand the junior leagues trying to curve it because these are young players hoping to make it to the NHL. However, it doesn't matter what level or age group you talk about, Fighting is never going to be totally rid of the game for good, No matter what the leagues try to do, to me it's not worth the time or the effort.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Texas Tech VS. Oklahoma Game at AAC

Back on Sunday night, the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Oklahoma Sonners Hockey teams played each other for the Big XII Challenge Cup at the AAC after the Dallas Stars game against Montreal. This is something that I only found about basically when I got to the game on Sunday afternoon. This is an amazing thing for the growth and development of college hockey in the southwest. In case your wondering what levels these teams are, Texas Tech is ACHA Division 2 while Oklahoma is ACHA Division 1. The ACHA is the American Collegiate Hockey Association which is the organzation that all College Hockey Club Teams play under, the game is an excellent example of the growth of the game across the state and the southwest region. It was a pleasent surprise of the talent of the players and that most of them come from the Lone Star State. This is something that I wished I could have stayed for the entire game because this one of the few levels of hockey that I haven't seen much of before and seeing the 1st period makes it hopeful that the schools from Texas and the rest of the Southwest can contuine to grow and help succed.

Here's a more indepth story from the AAC BIG XII Challenge Cup.

Here's links for the rosters of both teams and as you can see, most of the players are from Texas..

Texas Tech Red Raiders:

Oklahoma Sonners:

Team Websites:

Texas Tech:

As for the game itself, it close early with teams exchanging goals as the Sooners F Kyle Allen scored to make it 1-1 just 6 minutes into the game after the Raiders made it 1-0 just 3 minutes in. After the 1st period, the Sonners started to run away with it as they scored 3 goals in 5 minutes with goals from King, Borchgrevink and Dee in the later part of the 2nd period to make it 6-2. In the 3rd, the Sooners iced the game with 4 more goals in the 3rd period.

As for Texas Tech, this was their season finalle. The scoreline they were hoping would be better, but this is somthing that will be unforgetable while the Sooners also ended their regular season while looking forward to the ACHA Division 1 Nationals which will take place from March 14 thru 18 in Celevand, Ohio. The Sooners will play the Kent State in the 1st round of the 16 team single elinmation championship which will crown the champion on March 18.

Here's a list of seedings for the ACHA Division 1 nationals.

1. Lindenwood
2. Penn State
3. Delaware
4. Illinois
5. Oklahoma
6. Iowa State
7. Rhode Island
8. Liberty
9. Robert Morris (PA)
10. Ohio University
11. West Chester
12. Kent State
13. Central Oklahoma
14. Stony Brook
15. Duquesne
16. Penn State Brooks

For more info on both the American Collegiate Hockey Assocation and the upcomming D1 National Tournament.

American Collegiate Hockey Assocation:

2009 ACHA Division 1 Nationals:

The game times and rinks assignments have been announced, mtachups should be announced shortly.

Good Luck to the Oklahoma Sonners and the Central Oklahoma Broncos at the Nationals. Nearly all the games will be webcast on

March 14

1st Round Games

Game 1: 10:30 AM on Rink 1
Game 2: 11:30 AM on Rink 2
Game 3: 1:30 PM on Rink 1
Game 4: 2:30 PM on Rink 2
Game 5: 4:30 PM on Rink 1
Game 6: 5:30 PM on Rink 2
Game 7: 7:30 PM on Rink 1
Game 8 8:30 PM on Rink 2

March 15


QF1: 11:30 AM on Rink 2
QF2: 2:30 PM on Rink 2
QF3: 5:30 PM on Rink 2
QF4: 8:30 PM on Rink 2

Consolation Round
Game 1: 10:30 AM on Rink 1
Game 2: 1:30 PM on Rink 1
Game 3: 4:30 PM on Rink 1
Game 4: 7:30 PM on Rink 1

March 16

Off Day

March 17


SF 1: 5:30 PM on Rink 2
SF 2: 8:30 PM on Rink 2

March 18

Championship Game

7:00 PM on Rink 2

News and Notes

This year's #1 projected pick John Tavres just set a new record for goals in the Ontario Hockey League. He now has 215 goals in his OHL Career who went past Peter Lee who played for the Ottawa 67s from 1971-1976. As for his team the London Knights, they are currently in the 2nd spot in the Western Conference with 2 games left.

The Central Playoff Race is starting to determine what the playoff seeds will be. The Texas Bramhas, the Laredo Bucks and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees and the Odessa Jackalopes have clinched playoff spots. The Jackalopes have clinched the Southwest Division while the Bramhas have clinched the Southeast Division. The Corpus Christi Icerayz are 2 points up on the Arizona Sundogs for the final playoff spot in the Southern Conference. The Oklahoma City Blazers are currently in 3rd in the North and are hoping to fend off the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs for the 3rd spot and to stay out of the Play In Round.

Wichita Falls Wildcats are currently in the 3rd spot in the NAHL South division with 6 games left in the season, it's going to be a very tough Division Semifinal matchup as they will play either the St. Louis Bandits or the Topeka Roadrunners who both made the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament last year and are considered to be prehaps the top contenders for the championship this year.

The Metroplex High School Hockey League has revelled the playoff schedule and the playoffs get started on March 31 between the 2 lowest seeds at the Farmer's Branch Starscenter. The full schedules including dates and locations should be out shortly.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What a Turnaround by the Stars and Major Junior Playoffs Races

Dallas Stars Turnaround in California

The Stars needed a big week after the 1-5 homestand and they got it big time in California this week. The Dallas Stars with big wins over the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks. On Tuesday, the Stars got their 1st win of the season against the Sharks with a very convincing 4-1 win in the Shark Tank which is known as one of the loudest arena's in the NHL. They were lead by Jason Neal who scored 2 in the game while Modano and Brent Sutherbay also scoring in the win who were also the 3 stars of the game. Marty Turco also had a big game stopping 24 shots while the only goal he gave was a wicked wrist shot from Sharks Center Joe Thorton. The Sharks are a team that are most effective when they can get out of the zone on the 1st pass but the Stars always have given the team fits over having problems getting out of their own zone and this was a huge part of the win back on Tuesday.

Game Recap on the NHL Website.

Next up was the Kings back on Thursday. In recent years, weird things have happend to the Stars. Thursday night was no exception, as they were up 4-2 with just just 3:18 left in the game before Micheal Handzus scored to make it 4-3, then if it couldn't get any stranger, the team's superstar Slovenian Anze Kopitar scores with just 15 seconds with the extra man to tie then Handzus scores again in OT to give him the hat trick a minute and a half into the extra period. This was a game in which the Stars needed to get the win reguarding that it was the weakest of the 3 teams on this road trip, even though they get a point for the getting the game into OT.

Then last night, the Ducks in Anaheim in which they won a very gritty 3-2 win despite being out shot by Anaheim 38-16 but aided with a great night by Marty Turco, also with the addidition of Brendan Morrison they got at the trade deadline off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks. During the game last night, where Loui Erickson scored 2 goals including the game winner that J-S Giguere on a blooper that took a weird hop to get by the Ducks goalie which turned out the be game winner, it became more valueable when Bobby Ryan scored with 2 and a half minutes left in the game and then the Ducks went on a birage to attempt to get the game winner.

Getting 5 out of 6 points this week was a big turnaround from the bad homestand and reassured Stars Fans everywhere that they will fight for a playoff birth till the very end of the regular season where they need every win they can get. Right now the Stars are sitting in a 3 way tie for 6th place with 70 points with the Nashville Predators and the Columbus Blue Jackets, just below them the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks which are 9th and 10th which have 68 points each right now. On top of the Standings out west, it's going to be a battle between the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings which are currently tied with 94 points even though the Sharks have 2 fewer games right now. Out in the Eastern Conference, The Boston Bruins have an 8 point lead over the New Jersery Devils for the Eastern Conference lead.

Here's this week's Dallas Stars Schedule

3/8 VS. Montreal
3/10 AT St. Louis
3/12 VS. Carolina
3/14 VS. Minnesota

Major Junior Playoff Races

Up north of the border, the major junior regular seasons are comming down to the wire. With the OHL, WHL and the QMJHL Regular season's ending on March 15, most of the playoffs spots have been clinched and we have transionated into a race for seeding.

Ontario Hockey League

In Ontario, The Eastern Conference top seed is going to come down the final day probally as the OHL Leauge Runner ups from last year the Belleville Bulls are going to battle with the Brampton Battalion. Right now the Bulls are currently up by 2 points with 4 games left to play entering tonight's action. 2 other teams that have also already clinched playoff spots are the Ottawa 67s and the Mississauga St. Micheals Majors who will be battling for the 3rd and 4th spots in the Eastern Conference. The bottom of the playoff race is going to be very enteraing with the Barrie Colts and Niagara Ice Dogs looking good for playoff hockey as they are tied with 62 points. The last 2 playoff spots are going to be a battle between the Sudbury Wolves and Oshawa Generals which are tied for 7th with 56 points while the Peterborough Petes are 3 points back with 53 points with 4 or 5 games left to play.

The Western Conference is pretty much determined with a couple of acceptions. The Windsor Spitfires have clinched the top spot while the London Knights will be the 2nd seed, spots 3 through 6 will be a battle as the Plymouth Whalers, Saginaw Spirit, Sarnia Sting and Guelph Storm are just seperated by 4 points. The Erie Otters and the Owen Sound Attack will probally be the #7 and #8 spots out west as they attempt to fight with Sarnia and Guelph hopefully one of those teams slips.

Here's the current playoff matchups in the Ontario Hockey League

Eastern Conference
#1 Belleville Bulls VS. #8 Oshawa Generals
#2 Brampton Battalion VS. #7 Sudbury Wolves
#3 Ottawa 67s VS. #6 Niagara Icedogs
#4 Mississauga St. Michaels Majors VS. #5 Barrie Colts

Western Conference
#1 Windsor Spitfires VS. #8 Owen Sound Attack
#2 London Knights VS. #7 Erie Otters
#3 Saginaw Spirit VS. #6 Guelph Storm
#4 Plymouth Whalers VS. #5 Sarnia Sting
Western Hockey League
All but one of the playoff spots in the Western Hockey League have been clinched. All Year it's been about the 2 top seeds running away with both Conferences. The Calgary Hitmen and the Vancouver Giants are currently battling for the top overall seed. On the bottom, the only playoff spot left up for grabs is the final spot in the Eastern Conference most likely between the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Prince Albert Raiders.
The Eastern Conference is being lead big time by the Calgary Hitmen who have a staggering 57 wins out of 70 games and have a scored an incredible 320 goals this season. For the 2nd spot, it's going to be a great battle between the Saskatoon Blades and the Brandon Wheat Kings as the Blades have a 5 point lead but the Wheat Kings have been surging at the right time to get ready for a pontential long post season run. For the final home ice spot in the 1st round, the Swift Current Bronocos and the Medicine Hat Tigers are seperatred by just 3 points with 4 games left to play. the 6th and 7th spots will be between the Kootenay Ice and the Lethbridge Hurricanes that could be the dark horse and both hav the goaltending that could put up a 1st round upset.
Out in the Western Conference, The Vancouver Giants have a huge lead and clinched the west top seed with a huge lead over the Tri-City Americans who will be the #2 seed who have a 11 point gap over the Kelowna Rockets. The Spokane Cheifs have struggled the last few weeks from probally winning the U.S. Division to going down into 4th after winning just 2 of their last 6 games. The Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds will be the 5th and 6th spots while the Everett will be the 7th spot while the Prince George Cougars just clinched the 8th and final spot earlier this week. The lowly Portland Winterhawks will finish among the bottom of the league where they have been for most of this decade.
Current Playoff Matchups
Eastern Conference
#1 Calgary Hitmen VS. #8 Edmonton Oil Kings
#2 Saskatoon Blades VS. #7 Lethbridge Hurricanes
#3 Brandon Wheat Kings VS. #6 Kootenay Ice
#4 Swift Current Broncos VS. #5 Medicine Hat Tigers
Western Conference
#1 Vancouver Giants VS. #8 Prince George Cougars
#2 Tri-City Americans VS. #7 Everett Silvertips
#3 Kelowna Rockets VS. #6 Seattle Thunderbirds
#4 Spokane Cheifs VS. #5 Kamloops Blazers
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
In the Quebec West and Central Divisions, the Drummondville Voltigres and Shawinigan Catarctices are head and shoulders above everyone else in the leagues West and Central Divisions. Not only are Drummondville and Shawinigan are just fighting it out for the Central Division title, but for the top overall seed in the QMJHL Playoffs. The two 3rd place teams in both divisions have pretty much have no shot to move up or is they in any danger to move down to the last spots in the divisions as they are in playoff prep mode right now, the last place teams the Val-dor Floures and the Lewiston Maineaics are fighting it out to get into the playoffs as they are currently tied for the last playoff spots in the league with 46 points with both teams having 3 games left to play.
In the Quebec East and Atlantic Divisions, The Quebec City Ramparts have clinched the East Division title with a comfy 14 point lead over the Rimouski Oceanic. The Oceanic despite hosting this year's CHL Memormial Cup, they want a good showing the in the QMJHL Playoffs so they can give a strong performance come mid May as they compete for the championship. Chicoutimi will be gearing up for a showdown against the Oceanic but it will be a uphill climb with their shaky defense. The Baie-Comeau Drakkar are the minnows in the East Division as they will have to come up a way against the Ramparts. In the Atlantic, the Moncton Wildcats and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles are fighting for the Atlantic Division title as the Wildcats have a 4 point lead and a game in hand. The St. John Seadogs and P.E.I. Rockets will be the 3rd and 4th spots getting ready for the tough matchups in the 1st round. The Acadie-Bathrust Titans as the 5th place team will go into the Quebec Division that has the 2nd team elinmated. In the last spot, Halifax Mooseheads are 12 points back of Acadie-Bathrust and will be out of the playoffs after being in the League Semifinals last year.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Playoffs
Because of the different divisional aligment the QMJHL Layed out last year. The QMJHL has a much different playoff format then the WHL and OHL. The QMJHL will start out with the divisonal round, 1-4 and 2-3. The 5th place team from the Atlantic will go into the division from the West, Central, and East division teams that get's elinmated. Then after the Divisional Round, they will be seeded from 1 through 8 based on Regular Season Record.
Current Playoff Matchups
Quebec West Division
#1 Gatineau Olympiques VS. #4 Val-dor Floures
#2 Montreal De Junior VS. #3 Rouyn-Nornda Huskies
Quebec Central Division
#1 Drummondville Voltigres VS. #4 Acadie-Bathurst Titans
#2 Shawinigan Cataractes VS. #3 Victoriaville Tigres
Quebec East Division
#1 Quebec City Ramparts VS. #4 Baie-Comeau Drakkar
#2 Rimouski Oceanic VS. #3 Sagueneens
Atlantic Division
#1 Moncton Wildcats VS. #4 P.E.I. Rockets
#2 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles VS. #3 St. John Seadogs
Ice Hockey Meeting
Earlier this week, I had my meeting with the Principal of FM Marcus High School (My Old High School) as we discussed on how to promote and grow ice hockey at the high school level across Texas. It's finally refreshing that we have a principal that is willing to help out to make the sport more popular at the high school level. He's been to a couple of FM Marcus games throughout the season and has been very exicited about the oppurnity and the growth pontential that the sport has. We also talked about the different junior and college teams across the state and a few across the country that have great hockey teams. (Namely Colgate University where Austin Smith plays). I would like to think Marcus Principal Gary Shafferman for having the meeting and starting up a dileouge that will help out the sport in the future. Also, I know Randy Mayes whose the Lewisville Indendpent School District Atheltic Director who is also intrestred in making sure that ice hockey grows at the different levels across the state.
Some websites to check out.
If you want to find one of the best podcast's on the internet to discuss the NHL on the internet. Then check out . This website is a weekly show done by Eddie Garcia and Doug Stolhand, this podcast is the #1 hockey podcast on the internet and also afflaited with the Fox Sports website. The shows are usually done on Saturdays and last about an hour. I also send email's and comments on the website on a pretty regular basis so be sure to look out for me.
To dicuss ice hockey around the world. Be sure to check out . This one of the biggest and most all around international hockey websites in the world. We dicuss pretty much any kind of ice hockey around the world from the NHL to the top euro leagues to the different world championship events that take place. My username is tanman9 and I'm the North American Minor's Reporter on the forum.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Getting Ice Hockey in High Schools

When a lot of people think of Texas high school, they think of football. However, theirs a small but growing number of high schools across the state that have ice hockey as a club sport. My old high school Flower Mound Marcus has a club team that I was team manager during my junior and senior year's of high school. Tomorrow, I've got a meeting with Marcus Principal Gary Shafferman to discuss how to promote the sport at the high school level, also other major things like how to get attention from the UIL (University Interscholastic League) on the possibly in the future getting ice hockey as an official sanctioned sport in Texas High Schools.

This season in the Dallas area, they are 62 teams in the Dallas area (29 Varsity, 33 JV). This league may be one of the biggest hidden gyms in the sports in the state. Developing players like Austin Smith who played for Jesuit who moved on to play for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League, who was 2ND in team scoring for the Vees while helping lead to the BCHL League Championship last season. Currently he playing in his first year for Coalgate University located in New York State, in addition to playing well in high school, junior, and college careers, he was also drafted by the Dallas Stars in the 5TH round of the 2007 NHL Draft. This is a great example of players that are starting to develop across the state and the counting improvement. Even if he doesn't get the chance to play in the NHL, he's creating a path for future players to follow to play well and succeed. He's the state's Best example that a hockey player from Texas can get his name out their.

Other players of note include Kyle Clement who played for Flower Mound High. Right now, he's playing in his 2nd season with the Alexandria Blizzard (NAHL), he's style of play is like a Steve Ott type of player, a pest who is finding ways to increase his scoring ability. Last year, he had 12 G and 11 A in 47 games, this year he's upped to 14 G and 13 A through 44 games played this season with 9 games left to play this season. Clement also had 2 goals and 3 assist in 12 playoff games last year helping the Blizzard to a surprising run to the Robertson Cup Championship round robin last year after a terrible start to the season last year. Right now, the Blizzard are currently 4th in a very competitive central division which have teams like the Bismarck Bobcats, North Iowa Outlaws and this year's big surprise expansion team Owatonna Express.

Outside of Dallas, their are currently leagues in Houston and Austin. The league in Houston called the Interscholastic Hockey League. Currently the league has 15 teams in the league this season, some of the biggest name teams are the Clearlake Falcons and the Woodlands Highlanders. This year, the Clear Lake Falcons are currently 10-7-4 and 2ND in the Houston area South Division while the Woodland Highlanders are currently 3rd in the North Division with a 9-6-3 record. As for stats leaders this year, Kevin Engelking with a huge lead in the scoring lead with 77 points, which is an astounding 24 points over Austin High teammate Taylor Wind. For goalies, Austin freshmen Ashlynne Rando currently has a 1.36 GAA and a 90.36 SV%.

Down in Austin, the league is even smaller, their only 5 teams playing this year. Their has never been a team from Austin that has been that's been able to compete with the Dallas and even the Houston Teams. The league scorer this year in Austin is Brad Johnson of Round Rock I.S.D. with 27 points (15G, 12A) through only 12 games into the season with only 4 games left. Theirs a clear reason that the Austin area is not that good is because the number of rinks in Austin is very low right now and their is not a major need in the are to build more rinks.

It's amazing to me how this league can survive unless the league takes and the Austin area takes ice hockey seriously. Now, I don't know very much about the leagues in Houston and Austin, however the gap between the Dallas Teams and rest of the state is big and if this team which is based in Sugar Land makes the State Tournament this year, hopefully we will have a team that can challenge the Dallas area teams.

Websites used in this post.

North American Hockey League:
University Interscholastic League:
British Columbia Hockey League:
Interscholastic Hockey League:
Penticton Vees Hockey Team:

Metroplex High School Hockey League:
Once on the hockey page, click on all Amateur, then scroll down to the Dr. Pepper Starscenter webpage, then click on AT&T Metroplex High School Hockey League

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dallas Stars Upcomming Road Trip, Central Hockey League Playoff Race and Welcome to the Blog

Before I write about the Dallas Stars recent home stand, I would like to welcome you to my blog that will entilted "Texas Ice Hockey Expert". This blog will feature ice hockey news, commentary, and features from players, teams and leagues from around the state of Texas.

The Recent Dallas Stars homestead which ended Sunday with a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh. That was the teams 5th stright home loss, something that the Dallas Stars have never done in their team's history in Texas. Currently the Dallas Stars sit in 11th place in the Western Conference and would be out of the playoffs. The good news is that with the very tight race in the Western Conference, they are just 2 points behind the Anaheim Ducks for 8th place, but are just 4 points ahead of Los Angeles which currently sit 13th place. This is imporant because they are going to play both teams along with the San Jose Sharks on their California road trip comming up this week and if they contuine this slide, they could find themselves falling behind this tight pack which the gap between 5th place (Vancouver) and 13th Place (Los Angeles) is only 11 points right now.

They recently acquried Montreal Center Steve Begin (Pronunced Bay Zhin) in exchange Dallas Stars Defensemen Doug Janik to help with their offense, he's a pretty fast guy but the Stars needed to get someone to help out on the PP Espically with Brad Richards out. With about 20 games left in the season, the Stars need some offensive fire power with Brendan Morrow, Brad Richards, Landon Wilson, and Sergei Zubov are all out with injury with Morrow and Zubov basically done for the season, even though Morrow could be back if the Stars make the Playoffs.

Here's a story from the Dallas Stars Website regaurding Steve Begin:

Marty Turco finnally got a rest on Sunday, but backup Tobais Stephen basically did no good to help the team in his first start since mid December. Stephen has only played in 8 games this season and only has 1 win in his 8 starts and has a very weak 3.47 GAA and a .878 SVS% which will not cut it in the NHL. This is an area that the Stars need to look at come the offseason because Stephen is already 25 years old and is not living up to when he was the Stars 2nd round draft pick back in 2002. Turco needs to step it up if the Stars are going to have a shot at the playoffs this season, however, with the deep hole they dug early in the year and with the Sean Aver Situation with that being a horrible nightmare. They played extremly well in December and January, but after the All Star break was when the injury situation started to happen. This hole may just be too deep to come off and don't be surprise if they find themselves planning an early off season come April. I do think they can still make the playoffs, but they need to end this losing streak against the Sharks tonight to do it, if they don't play well in California this week. You could put their playoff hopes on ice for this season.

In the Central Hockey League, with about just 2 and half weeks left in the Central Hockey League Hockey Season. Serveral teams from the Lone Star State are looking towards post season sucess. The Texas Brahmas are currently on top of the Southern Conference with 79 PTS from 55 games (37-13-5) and with a 7 point lead over the Odessa Jackalopes with 72 points and have clinched the Southwest Division title with 9 games left (33-16-6). Down the Southern Conference Standings, the Laredo Bucks are sitting good in the #3 spot while the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in the 4th seed of the Southern Conference. Even the Corpus Christi Icerayz are battling it out with defending league champion Arizona Sundogs for the 5th and final playoff spot in the Southern Conference. The only team currently not in the playoff race is the Amarillo Gorillas who are currently in the bottom of the Southern Conference. If the Corpus Christi Icerayz make the playoffs, it would be all Texas teams in the Southern Conference when the Central Hockey League Playoffs begin in late March.

The Scoring Race is pretty much over in the Central Hockey League where Sebastien Thinel of the Odessa Jackalopes has a 9 point lead over teammate Dominic Leveille. The gap between 1st and 3rd in the CHL Scoring Race is 15 points where the Tulsa Oliers Jeff Christian currently has 68 points. Barring some great run in the last 10 games, Sebastien Thinel should be the CHL Scoring Title this season.

Playoff Format 10 teams make the playoffs in the CHL (top 5 in Both Conferences), the 4th and 5th seeds will start the playoffs in a best of 3 Play In where the Winner will play the top seed in the Conference Semifinals while the 2nd and 3rd seeds will play each other. Then the Conference Semifinal Winners will play each other for the Conference Championships, then the Conferences Championships will play for the CHL Preisdents Cup Championship. The format for the Conference Semifinals, Final and Presidents Cup are best of 7.

Here's the current standings with about 10 games left in the season.

Northern Conference
1. Colorado Eagles 80 PTS, 10 Games left
2. Mississippi Riverkings 77 PTS, 10 Games
3. Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs 74 PTS, 10 Games Left
4. Oklahoma City Blazers 71 PTS, 10 Games Left
5. Rocky Mountain Rage 62 PTS, 8 Games Left
6. Rapid City Rush 42 PTS, 10 Games Left
7. Wichita Thunder 41 PTS, 9 Games Left
8. Tulsa Oliers 38 PTS, 10 Games Left

Southern Conference
1. Texas Brahmas 79 PTS, 9 Games Left
2. Odessa Jackalopes 72 PTS, 9 Games Left
3. Laredo Bucks 66 PTS, 10 Games Left
4. Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 59 PTS, 10 Games
5. Arizona Sundogs 52 PTS, 8 Games Left
6. Corpus Christi Icerayz 51 PTS, 9 Games Left
7. New Mexico Scorpions 48 PTS, 9 Games Left
8. Amarillo Gorillas 35 PTS, 11 Games Left

Current Northern Conference Playoff Matchups

Play In Round
#4 Oklahoma City Blazers VS. #5 Rocky Mountain Rage

Conference Semifinals
#1 Colorado Eagles VS. Play In Winner
#2 Mississippi Riverkings VS. #3 Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs

Current Southern Conference Playoff Matchups

Play In Round
#4 Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees VS. Arizona Sundogs

Conference Semifinals
#1 Texas Brahmas VS. Play In Round
#2 Odessa Jackalopes VS. #3 Laredo Bucks

From the Texas notebook

For those of wondering about the Texas Stars which will make their AHL Debut next season, they website is now operarting. has been up and running for a couple of months now.

Wichita Falls Wildcats captain Brett Hartung recently signed with the Bently College Falcons of the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC). This is his 3rd season with the Wildcats playing in 62 PTS (34 G, 28 A) in 152 career games played for the Wildcats durin his time their. Currently Wichita Falls are in 3rd place with a 20-21-8 record which is good for 48 pts and have 9 games left this season.

Out of Texas

The Race for the RBC Cup is now underway up in Canada with league playoffs going on in 10 different leagues across the Canada. This season the RBC Cup will be in Victoria B.C. from May 2-10.

In the Major Juniors, the Regular season in a 3 Major Junior Leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) will end on March 15 and the playoffs get underway on March 20.