Aeros Widen Margin

Aeros Widen Margin Despite McArthur

Brampton made it very plain coming into this game that they were going to set the tone physically and not be intimidated by the Aeros.  The second period stepped up this physical tone, led by their defense, specifically Krista McArthur, easily the best Thunder player on the ice this night.  Her play got stronger as the night wore on – a rock on defense, she logged more and more ice time the later it got, and in all crucial situations; she won more one-on-one battles than any player for either team.

McArthur even shined on the Thunder power play, making a great play in the last minute of the period to glove down a Beatrice dump out on the penalty kill at the Aeros blue line, then getting off a quick shot and crashing the net for her own rebound.

But it was not to be, McArthur or no McArthur, the Aeros pressure was unrelenting, and they found the back of the net again at the 10:40 mark of the second.  Aeros’ right wing Heather Logan managed a partial breakaway, and shoveled the puck on net as she was being hauled down from behind.  Kellough missed another make-able save, allowing the puck to slide underneath her for the marker.

Kellough continued to have problems down low as a goal-mouth scramble was blown down by the officials with about four minutes left in the frame, after they thought that she had frozen the puck.  It was loose and the Aeros promptly deposited puck in net for what would’ve been their fourth on the night.  The goal was disallowed – chalk it up to the refs not being able to see everything all the time.

Kellough really shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame for Brampton; the fact that the Thunder back checking was sporadic at best tells you that the Aeros forwards were in her face all night.  With that in mind, and the fact that Brampton had limited success with their breakout at times, especially in the first period and it’s fair to say that the goals resulted from team breakdowns.  However, all three goals were saves that could’ve been made.…

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NWHL’s Olympic Celebration

NWHL’s Olympic Celebration

The NWHL is proud to supply the majority of Canada’s National Olympic team for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Of the 21 players selected for the Winter Olympics 12 are playing or have played in the NWHL. Two of the three goaltenders are from the NWHL, specifically Sami-Jo Small of the Brampton Thunder and Charline Labonte of the Montreal Wingstar. Sami-Jo is the 1st and only goaltender to ever score a goal in the NWHL as she scored against the Ste.-Julie Pantheres 2 seasons ago. On Defense 4 out of the 6 defensemen are from NWHL teams.

Most notably, the Beatrice Aeros are contributing 3 of those 4 defensemen; Becky Kellar, Cheryl Pounder and last seasons “Championship Cup” MVP Geraldine Heaney. The fourth defenseman on the list is the legendary Therese Brisson of the Mississauga Ice Bears, Therese has represented Canada 95 times in her fabulous career. To round out the team we have 6 of the 12 forwards representing Canada. The Brampton Thunder are contributing 1/2 of the NWHL forward unit with NWHL stars Vicki Sunohara, Lori Dupuis and Jayna Hefford leading the way. Nancy Drolet of the Vancouver Griffins, Caroline Ouellette of the Montreal Wingstar and former Beatrice Aero Cassie Campbell fill out the forward unit. The NWHL is looking forward to assisting Canada to their 1st Olympic gold medal after winning Silver in ’98.

With the NWHL being the Elite level of Women’s hockey in North America, the NWHL is a breeding ground for the Olympic movement as little girls are joining hockey teams and coming out to see their heroes in the NWHL. At this point we have 12 of the 21 players from our league, but after the Olympics are over who knows how many more we will have next season.

Special congratulations should go to Cherie Piper, Gillian Apps, Amanda Benoit-Wark and Nathalie Rivard who represented themselves and the league proud on being in the running for the Olympic team right up until the end. We are extremely proud of you. On the International side of things, 3 NWHL players were still listed as being on their National teams; Maren Valenti formerly of Ste.-Julie and Tina Evers of TELUS were still listed on the German team and Sue Merz formerly of the Brampton Thunder was still on Team U.S.A., congratulations to those players as well. It has also been announced that NWHL officials; Julie Bissonette, Jacqui Palm and Sue Cassidy have been chosen as Officials for the Olympic Games as well. Congratulations on being chosen and showing the World that the NWHL have World Class Officiating as well.…

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Ducks Cup 2006 - 2007

Ducks Cup 2006-2007

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Anaheim Ducks are going to the Stanley Cup finals against the Ottawa Senators after beating the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in Game 6 of the NHL Western Conference finals. The finals start Monday in Anaheim.

The Ducks relaxed their “10-minute rule” that allows them to enjoy a win for just that brief span before concentrating on what’s up next. “It’s not something that happens every year,” goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said Tuesday night after the Ducks won.

“So we need to enjoy it until the end of the night tonight and then we need to move on, focus on Ottawa.”Said the Ducks’ Teemu Selanne: “Yes, I think we’ll take a little more time to enjoy this, but then we know we’ll really have to get back to work. The games will get harder now.”

The Ducks, who lost Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup finals to New Jersey, take on the surprising Senators in the NHL championship round beginning Monday in Anaheim.

“I’ve been there (to the finals) once and we weren’t able to win it all,” said Giguere, the MVP of those 2003 playoffs. “So these occasions don’t come every year. You have to try to take advantage of it.”

Giguere, one of only four players from that team who are still with Anaheim, played a big role in getting the Ducks to their second Stanley Cup finals since they came into the league in 1993.

He shut out Detroit for the first two periods as Anaheim built a 3-0 lead, then withstood a three-goal outburst by the Red Wings in the closing period of Game 6.

Samuel Pahlsson’s goal with 14:06 remaining proved to be the difference for the Ducks. Rob Niedermayer, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf also scored against Dominik Hasek as the Ducks took the conference crown 4-2. Giguere, who finished with 26 saves, insisted he wasn’t responsible for the victory.

“We have almost 25 guys on our lineup, so you need all these guys to win,” he said. “And it’s always the better group that’s going to get out of it, not the better goalie, and I truly believe in that.”

The 42-year-old Hasek, who had 25 saves, wasn’t so sure about that.

A six-time winner of the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie during the regular season, Hasek gave Giguere more credit than the Anaheim goalie gave himself.

“He played great. I hate to say he played better than me, but maybe he did,” Hasek said. “He stole Game 5, and that was the key to the series. “You have to be a little bit lucky, and he was. He won the series for that team.”

Hasek said wants to return next season, “But I want to talk to my wife and to the family and make a final decision in the next two or three weeks as to what is the best thing for my future and my family’s future.

“I don’t want to make that decision right after the last game of the season. All I can say is that I love this game and I have a passion for this game.”

Giguere had made 36 saves in each of the previous two games. He kept the Ducks in Game 5 until Scott Niedermayer tied it with 48 seconds left and Teemu Selanne scored the game-winner in the 2-1 overtime victory.

The Red Wings outshot the Ducks 16-3 in the third period this time and got one goal from Henrik Zetterberg and two — both on power plays — from Pavel Datsyuk, the last with 3:04 remaining.

They took the attitude that this was desperation and they started to control the puck,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “Our counteraction was that we didn’t skate. We stood still, and we just kept feeding them the puck.

“It’s kind of like a paralysis that takes over your team.”…

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Too Little Too Late For Thunder

Too Little Too Late For Thunder

Brampton had a great power play early in the third with Sommer West off for slashing.  They had a few good, low shots from the points and moved the puck well but the Aeros managed to kill it off and Kendra Fisher was there when needed in the Beatrice goal.

There was no scoring in the third.

Overall on this night, the Thunder showed that they were willing to challenge the Aeros physically, and had their chances late in the game on the power play.  Unfortunately for them, the Aeros got the jump on them early and after getting the first two goals, never really allowed Brampton back into the game.

The crowd was treated to an exciting, rough contest, with many odd-man rushes.  Normally this means two on ones or three on twos, but tonight it meant breakaways, and plenty of them. The goaltending was solid for Beatrice and a bit suspect for Brampton, but the bottom line is that your goaltending is generally only as good as the play in front of it.  Beatrice’s forwards were committed in all three zones, with the wingers, notably Annie Desrosiers and Sommer West, applying a lot of the pressure down low and also playing a strong positional game.  The Thunder forwards needed a wake-up call for their back checking and their wingers’ play without the puck.  They got that call on this night.

These two teams meet again next Monday October 22 at the IceGardens – a date to mark in your calendars.  If their first meeting of the regular season is any indication, it’ll be a dandy.…

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Legends Can Be Irritable

Legends Can Be Irritable

Q: So who’s having more fun these days, Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux?
A: Well, it’s probably a little easier for Gretzky to get out of bed in the morning than it is for Lemieux. So I’ll have to give the nod to the Great One here.

But the toughest thing for any Hall of Fame-caliber player — even harder than calling it quits, I would imagine — is to cope with losing. That probably explains why we’ve seen a more irritable side of both those legends in recent weeks.

Gretzky’s team in Phoenix — he’s a minority owner and the rookie coach — has won two of its last three, but the Coyotes still sit last in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division. Lemieux’s team in Pittsburgh — he’s the owner and team captain — also had won two of three before Monday, but the Penguins are last in the East’s Atlantic Division after a franchise-record winless streak to start the season.

Q: How are they coping?
A: Did you see Lemieux blow a gasket a couple of weeks ago after an overtime loss to Florida at home? It certainly was out of character for normally mild-mannered Mario.
Lemieux was whistled for a questionable interference penalty in the waning seconds of regulation with the score tied at 2.

Florida scored on the ensuing power play early in the overtime, and Lemieux came charging out of the penalty box to berate referee Stephane Auger, who isn’t making too many friends around the league. Lemieux refused to speak to the media after the game — that was the ninth straight loss to start the season — but addressed the outburst a day later.

“It was just a bad call,” he said, adding later: “It’s just … frustrating.”

Lemieux’s teammate, Maxime Talbot, a rookie who was born the same year Super Mario was drafted, offered his own analysis.

“He’s upset, I guess,” Talbot said. “He’s frustrated the way things are going right now.”

Q: OK, but Gretzky had to be smiling after Phoenix won in Detroit over the weekend, right?
A: Yes, and he can probably thank himself — along with a rejuvenated Curtis Joseph — for the Coyotes’ improved play of late.

A week ago, Gretzky was furious with his team’s effort in back-to-back losses to Dallas and Anaheim. So after a day off, his players arrived at practice the next day and found not a single puck on the ice — never a good sign. For the next 45 minutes, coach Gretzky skated the Coyotes until they were howling in pain.

“A little bit of a punishment thing,” said Gretzky, whose team is 1-5 against Pacific opponents. “I think we were getting too relaxed.”

The light came on in impressive victories against Los Angeles and Detroit, but Sunday was another one-goal loss that featured many of the same bugaboos from earlier in the season. Most notably, an erratic power play that couldn’t covert in overtime against Chicago.

“I’m not happy,” Gretzky told the Arizona Republic. “We didn’t even come close to scoring. And that’s just not good enough.”

Q: Why doesn’t he just put himself out there on the power play?

A: That idea probably has crossed his mind. But Gretzky has got enough to do as it is. Besides his coaching and front-office duties, he’s also the executive director for Team Canada. With the Olympics barely three months away, Gretzky and his staff are busy scouting players around the NHL, trying to come up with another gold-medal lineup.

Honestly, though, don’t be surprised if Gretzky manages to get Phoenix into the playoffs. It’s a young team with plenty of new faces — and a few key injuries early — that will take time to develop some chemistry. We’re not yet to the quarter-pole in the season, so check back in a month or two.

Q: Will Gretzky’s success or failure as a coach have any far-reaching effects on the NHL?

A: Sure it will. For starters, the NHL needs the franchise to succeed in Phoenix, one of the Sun Belt expansion cities Gary Bettman and the owners staked the league’s future on in the 1990s. And if the game’s biggest star — the guy who put hockey on the marquee in Hollywood, no less — can’t make it work, who can?

It’s also a test case for a new-era NHL coaching pedigree. More and more former players have joined the coaching ranks in recent years, but few have found much success. In fact, seven of the last eight Stanley Cup-winning coaches were guys who didn’t play in the NHL. Larry Robinson with New Jersey in 2000 is the lone exception.

Gretzky, 44, probably won’t buck that trend anytime soon, but with ample cap room, a sparkling new arena, plenty of sun and golf courses and a nine-time MVP behind the bench, there’s reason for optimism in Phoenix. And there are others around the league watching and waiting to see if it’s justified.…

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Trade Bingo

Trade Bingo

It’s back!  Last year I whipped together some simple Bingo cards to make Trade Deadline Day that bit more interesting.  There has been some requests this year for me to do the same so here it is.

Select a Bingo card, heck select a few and play along at home, if a player is traded then cross him off.  If you happen to get a card with a player on it that has already been traded then you are a step ahead of the rest of us.

If you are playing and are on Twitter be sure to spread the word and also call out BINGO! if you get a line. Shoot me a reply and you will win a prize.…

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Red Wings interested in JS Giguere

Red Wings interested in JS Giguere

Word today out of Detroit is that the Red Wings are interested in J.S. Giguere. Word is they have offered Randy Carlyle two old pucks and an all expense trip to downtown Detroit.. Carlyle was not available for comment, but its thought he fears Detroit is obviously up to something by offering so much for Giguere.

The other option that is being reported is to trade Giguere to anyone who will take him and spend the money on Sundin and bring up Bobby Ryan.

The rinkside view not only sucks it makes it impossible to enjoy the game. The arrogance of Fox Sports Management is unbelievable. May be time for a boycott of Ducks away games to wake these people up. After all making people sea sick and destroying the integrity of the game, can’t be a good thing for hockey.

Carlyle needs to wake up and start pulling Giguere as soon as he starts looking for the puck behind him after every shot. If you think this is bad, wait til next year when they adjust the pads again. Carlyle also needs to quit changing the lines on every shift, they are never going to get to work together if they don’t have time.

We at HNIC are looking forward to historical moment that has to come soon as Parros achieves the unthinkable and passes his all time goal scoring total with 3 this year. Good Luck, George.

The biggest question of this year will be how many times Perry can fall in one period. We are looking for a new record of 50 times. He surely will be able to replace Teemu Selanne as the all time great diver.

Stay tuned to HNIC for more thoughts on a weekly basis. See you at the next game.…

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WTN Goes Live

WTN Goes Live

The City of Brampton, host of the 2002 NWHL championship, could be the future home of the NWHL Cup.  The NWHL is comprised of eight teams, only four of which move on to compete in the 2002 championship games.  The Brampton Thunder is one of those four teams facing off in the semi-final airing Thursday, March 28.  Two teams will then proceed to the final round on Friday, March 29.

“The NWHL ladies are great hockey players,” says NWHL president, Susan Fennell, also mayor of Brampton.  “I can’t wait for the NWHL’s top teams to face off, and with the Brampton Thunder in the running for the Cup, these are two games I wouldn’t want to miss.”

NWHL fans will see the best of Canadian women’s hockey talent on the ice and in the broadcast booth.  Susan Rogers will act as Ice Host for both games while Kylie Richardson and Lisa Bowes return to provide play-by-play and colour commentary for the broadcasts.  Richardson and Bowes made Canadian broadcasting history when they performed one of the first all female play-by-play and commentary for the NWHL 2000 & 2001 championships, which have aired exclusively on WTN for the last two years.

Some players at the championship game may look familiar to Canadian hockey fans from their worldwide television exposure in Salt Lake City this year.  The Canadian women’s national hockey team features a large contingent of players from the NWHL.  These women will be in fighting form come March to represent their hometown teams in the NWHL championship.…

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