Why Seguin’s lack of ice time isn’t all Julien’s fault

Let’s get one thing out of the way, really quickly.

Yes, Claude Julien should be playing Tyler Seguin more. The kid has proven that, in the right situation, he can be a tremendous offensive talent.

Should he be playing 20 minutes a night? Probably not. But he should definitely be playing more than the 9:02 that he played on Friday night, and certainly more than the 12 seconds of power play time that he received. So, yes, Julien might be mismanaging a player that could potentially be a game changer in a series that has, with the exception of two games, been very tight defensively for Vancouver.

But it’s not entirely his fault.

When I was in high school, I was on the basketball team and getting a lot less playing time than I felt I deserved. I thought I could help the team a lot more than I was being allowed to.

I was venting my frustrations to my dad one afternoon, and he said something that stuck to me. He said, quite simply, “Well, make it impossible to keep you on the bench.”

That’s exactly what Seguin needs to do.

So, yes. Julien should be playing Seguin more. The kid can flat out fly and he can make things happen for a team that has looked offensively challenged with the exception of Games Three and Four. But, you know what? Seguin needs to give Julien a reason to play him.

After the second intermission of yesterday night’s game, both Keith Jones and Mike Milbury made mention that Seguin should have been played more than the four minutes and change he had seen to that point and should see more power play time, and I completely agreed with them. But, the thing is, I hadn’t realized Seguin had gotten that much ice time. I hadn’t realized Seguin had been on the ice at all.

He simply wasn’t doing anything.

Heck, through two periods Shawn Thornton was more noticeable than Seguin and Thornton played a grand total of four minutes in the entire game.

It’s perfectly clear that Julien doesn’t trust Seguin on the ice in just about any situation, and it’s up to Seguin to change that. It’s simple. If he wants more ice time, he’s going to have to show that he deserves more ice time. For better or for worse, Julien isn’t just going to hand him the ice time, so he’s going to have to be noticeable in the small amount of ice time he gets.

So, yeah. The Bruins need Seguin to play more and Julien needs to play him more.

But Seguin needs to prove that he’s worthy of playing more first.

Live Blog! Habs @ Pens, Game 1

What an intriguing series we have here.

On one hand, we have the defending Stanley Cup Champions, who struggled more than most thought they would against a surprising Ottawa Senators team.

On the other hand, we have a Montreal Canadiens team that is the surprise of the playoffs thus far after downing the Washington Capitals in seven games.

Can Halak and the Habs do it again? It starts tonight!

Early Round Two Live Blog Schedule

Alright.  Second round, here we come.

There were some (read: a lot) of surprises in the first round, and the second is shaping up to be quite intriguing.

So, without any further ado, here are our live blogs (which will, again, include myself as well as live blog extraordinaires Justin Bourne and Ms. Conduct).

Thursday, April 29 – Well, this would be tonight and a LOT of short notice.  While I will not be live blogging, I will be watching the first game of the San Jose Chokes and Detroit Red Wings series with my little girl (who, for the record, chose the Red Wings to make the Cup Finals at 19 months).  The puck drops on this one at 8 p.m. Central Time.

Friday, April 30 – Montreal Canadiens @ Pittsburgh Penguins, 6:00 p.m. Central (CBC, RDS, Versus)

Saturday, May 1 – Unfortunately, prior plans have gotten in the way of my blogging of the start to the two most intriguing series’ in these playoffs.  BUT, you will definitely want to check out the two games today between Boston and Philly and Chicago and Vancouver for maximum playoff enjoyment.

Sunday, May 2 – No blogging today, but again there are two very fantastic games. Pittsburgh and Montreal in the afternoon and San Jose and Detroit in the evening.

Monday, May 3 – Vancouver Cancks @ Chicago Blackhawks, 8:00 p.m. Central (CBC, Versus)

Tuesday, May 4 – No dice tonight, for a family night, but once again Montreal and Pittsburgh are lining up and Detroit and San Jose are too.

Wednesday, May 5 – Prior plans have this night shot for the live blogging, but by no means should that stop you from checking out Game Three of the two series’ on.

Thursday, May 6 – San Jose Sharks @ Detroit Red Wings or Pittsburgh Penguins @ Montreal Canadiens, based on which is available in my area.

Friday, May 7 – Chicago Blackhawks @ Vancouver Canucks, 8:30 p.m Central (CBC, Versus)

There you go.  I’ll have the next week’s games up as we see how these series’ go!

Live Blog Action: Predators @ Blackhawks

There Will Be Blog: Live Blogging Schedule for the Next Few Games

First of all, allow me to apologize for the lack of coverage last night.  I spent almost all of yesterday curled up on the couch catching up on the family DVR (read: sick as a dog) and was hoping that I would be feeling better in time for the 6 p.m. CST puck drop of what turned out to be one of the best playoff games to date. 

Alas, I was not and was bed ridden by six, unable to do anything more than just lie in bed like a lump. 

But now that I’m back in the saddle, I figured it would be beneficial to toss up a schedule for what we’ll be doing for this coming week.  Keep in mind, though, that now this schedule is extremely subject to change with the first round winding down. 

Thursday, April 22: There will be no live blogging today, as tonight will be a daddy/daughter night.  There are a couple great games to look forward to (and believe me, I’ll be watching as long as they keep the little one’s attention for).  The Devils and Flyers will be playing in Game 5, as the Flyers will be trying to close out the series in New Jersey without the services of Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter.  The Pens will be trying to eliminate the Senators in Game 5 of their series in Pittsburgh.  Nashville will take the ice against the Blackhawks, trying to get a two-game lead over the heavily favored Chicago team.  The night cap will involve San Jose trying to get their first lead of the series over the upstart Avs. 

Friday, April 23: No live blogging this day either.  The games should be intriguing, though, as both Boston and Washington will be looking to close out their respective series’, while a team will be looking to gain the advantage in both the LA/Vancouver series and the Phoenix/Detroit series. 

Saturday, April 24: Nashville @ Chicago, 2 p.m. CST.  This is tentative at the moment, but we should be live blogging what should be an exciting, exciting Game 5.  San Jose @ Colorado is the only other game for sure on this night, but should Pittsburgh/Ottawa need another game, it will this night as well. 

This is our schedule for the rest of the week.  We’re not going to make plans past this, just because the games aren’t for certain, but you can be sure there WILL be live blogging for the late-series games.

Referees Becoming Focal Point of Playoffs

Okay, Canuck fans. 

Take a deep breath and settle in, because you’re going to have a bumpy ride until Game Four. 

Last night, in Los Angeles, the NHL blew a call—plain and simple. 

Allow me to set the scene. 

With the Canucks down by two in the third period, the team was pressuring the Kings and their line of Sedin, Sedin and Burrows was showing life for the first time all game long. 

Alex Burrows drove around the outside of the net and attempted to jam home the wrap around. The puck slid off of his stick and off of the skate of Daniel Sedin, between Jonathan Quick’s pads and into the net. 

A clear goal. 

What was not so clear, initially, was how the puck was directed into the net. 

Rule 78.5 (ii) of the NHL rule book clearly states the following: 

“Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee and the appropriate announcement made by the Public Address Announcer for the following reasons: 

… 

(ii)  When the puck has been kicked using a distinct kicking motion. 

Now I am admittedly biased against the Canucks. I’m a Wild fan. I just don’t like ‘em. 

But that, last night, was a goal. 

Even Mike Murphy’s comments on CBC seem to scream that Toronto made a mistake that they didn’t want to own up to: 

“It had to be propelled in some way. Not with a distinct kicking motion, but with a kicking motion, that made it move back the other way. It wasn’t a deflection. It wasn’t a redirect. It was a kick. That’s the decision we came up with.” 

What’s interesting about this statement is that Murphy single handedly re-writes the NHL rule book in one statement. 

It wasn’t a distinct kicking motion. Just a kicking motion, which surely had nothing to do with Sedin trying to stop before plowing through Quick, or trying to keep the defensemen behind him out of position to clear away a possible rebound attempt. 

Furthermore, what really bothers me about this call is that it was a good goal on the ice, which means that there had to be conclusive evidence in order to overturn the call on the ice and I, for the life of me, can’t find a single thing conclusive about any angle of any of the replays that I saw. 

So Canucks fans, you are justified in crying foul. It was a bad call at the worst of times. It was a call that changed the complexion of the game. 

But it speaks to a larger problem in these playoffs. 

No, it’s not some grand conspiracy to ensure that the Kings win the Stanley Cup. 

{Author’s Note: Puck Daddy already addressed this issue quite well, with all of the rationale I would have used, so I won’t beat a dead horse here—but, in any event, go check his out because 1) he’s right on the money and 2) he’s right on the money.} 

What this speaks to is that the level of officiating in these playoffs has been much, much lower than what you would like to see when every mistake in every game is amplified tenfold (just ask Dan Boyle). 

The playoffs are still young, but the blown call last night was the third egregious blown call that I had witnessed in the last three days of playoff hockey and the second that completely shot any momentum gained in the foot. 

Take the game between Washington and Montreal on Saturday, for example. 

The Capitals are down 4-2 and pressuring Montreal hard.  I believe it was Tom Poti who pinched in deep before deciding to take a shortcut, following the puck into the crease. Poti collided with Jaroslav Halak with little to no effort exerted trying to avoid him. 

No call. 

The ensuing scramble for the loose puck that was in the crease saw a Montreal player make a hand pass with no Caps player near the puck… 

Resulting in a whistle? 

While the goalie interference call might have been debatable, there’s no doubt that the hand pass wasn’t. There was no Caps player even attempting to reach down and swipe at the puck with his hand and the puck was lying directly between two Habs players. 

Look. I get it. 

Referees are human. They miss calls. They make mistakes. 

But in the playoffs the stakes are higher and the players raise their games to the next level. 

Quite frankly, I think it’s time that the refs do the same. 

No one knows what the outcome of Vancouver’s game would have been had the goal been allowed. 

It could have just been 5-4, or it could have sparked a Vancouver rally. We simply don’t know. 

But what this shoddy refereeing is doing is placing the spotlight on the referees, not on the players where it should be, and that is a large problem.

Wild Nation Playoff Live Blog: Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles

Here comes the live blog again!  Tonight, we’ve got the Kings/’Nucks game in all of its glory.  It will be the same opinionated drivel with myself, Justin Bourne and Ms. Conduct talking hockey and making fools of ourselves all at once.  The series is tied at 1-1, so it should be an increasingly fun game as playoff hockey comes back to LA for the first time in 5 years.  The festivities start at 9 pm CST.

Enjoy!

Some Early Postseason Playoff Thoughts

Heading into the end of the first week of playoff hockey, there are some surprises and some not quite so surprising surprises. In both cases, my brain is running over with thoughts of mine that are just begging to be shared. So…Here you have it, in a neat and tidy bulleted format.  Enjoy! 

  • When is Marty Brodeur (or his coaches, for that matter) going to realize that it probably isn’t a smart idea to play 1,382 to the fifth power games during the regular season? I get that he’s good. I mean, the guy is arguably the best goalie ever to play the game and his ability to play 70+ games in a season has saved the Devils tons of money on a passable back up. The problem? By the time it comes down to it, in the playoffs, the guy is flat out gassed. Even though Sunday’s debacle against Philly was by no means Marty’s fault, might it not be wise to, say, give the guy a break every once in a while during the regular season? I’m sure it wouldn’t harm their playoff standing THAT much.
  • And continuing with my mental diarrhea about the Flyers/Devils series, this is a perfect example of what happens when a team under intense pressure and expectations meet up with a team with zero pressure or expectations. Don’t get me wrong. I picked the Devils to win this series and I stand by that prediction (at least until the Flyers are on the cusp of closing out the series—I then reserve the right to break both ankles and possibly a rib or two diving off of the bandwagon) but right now the Devils are playing like they’ve got a two-ton weight on their shoulders while the Flyers have realized that they’re lucky just to be there.
  • Speaking of pressure vs. no pressure, what the heck is up with the Caps?! I get that their defense hasn’t necessarily been stellar, but it’s been an absolute train wreck through two games and that’s being very, very generous—Mike Green in particular. Now I’ve always been a fan of Greener. Personally, I’ve never thought he was as bad as everyone claims defensively. There are definite holes in his defensive game, but I’ve never really seen him to be Skoula-esque in that department. But, so far, in these playoffs he has been exactly as bad as everyone claims he is defensively and there have been a handful of Montreal’s goals so far that were a direct result of this ineptitude.
  • Sticking with the Caps/Habs series, does anyone else thing that Scott Gomez’s “What the hell were you thinking?” moment might have awakened a sleeping giant in the Caps? They looked like a completely different team after that fight. As in, they realized “Oh yeah, we’re good!” It certainly hasn’t hurt that Jaroslav Halak suddenly turned into the Michael Jackson of goaltending—meaning that he has a glove on his left hand for no apparent reason (I swear to God, this is the last time you’ll hear me use this line, though this time it is very, very appropriate).
  • And, as far as the Rumble in the Capital between Gomez and Poti, I’ll say it once again. Gomer! What the hell were you thinking?? I understand what Gomez was trying to do—I truly do. But you’re the team’s number one center. If you’re going to drop the mitts in the playoffs, you darn well better take on someone that is going to have as large of an effect on the Caps when they’re missing for five minutes as you will have on your team. Instead, he chooses Tom Poti. Mr. Gomez, your check from the Capitals is in the mail.
  • This next topic is going to be contentious, and I know it. I’m going to throw myself out there as a piñata for all of the Pittsburgh faithful, but it needs to be said. HOLY ANDY SUTTON! Look. I’ve always felt that Sutton is a great player to have on the roster……………….Of the other team, but that hit on Jordan Leopold was spec-freaking-tacular. I feel bad for Leopold, because I truly like him as a player and I hope that he’s going to recover fully from it, but my GOD. I think Sutton may have momentarily detached his brain stem from the rest of his body. Keeping that in mind, the thing I liked most about this hit? IT WAS CLEAN. Yes, Mike Rupp, I’m looking directly at you. I can understand where people can think that Sutton got his elbow up, but I stand by my assertion that it was a clean hit. His elbow, while it may have been high, never actually made contact with Leopold. This was entirely a case of Jordan just having his head down at the wrong time and getting hit by a lumbering defenseman with an entire zone’s worth of built up speed heading at him. And, if you want a firsthand account by an expert of exactly how that feels, check this out.
  • I initially picked Ottawa to win this one in seven because they came into the playoffs hot and, when they’re hot they’re REEEEEEEEEEALLY hot. While I’m not yet backing away from that pick, I probably should have realized that they came into the playoffs hot…Meaning that they were due for the obligatory cold streak that ultimately follows.
  • It sounds like Thomas Vanek is going to be out for game three of the Bruins/Sabres series for Buffalo. There’s only one piece of news that could be worse for Buffalo, and that would be if Ryan Miller was going to miss game three. Also, I’d like to make a request to any television station covering any part of this series. Please, for the love of God, STOP SHOWING THE SLASH!
  • It really shouldn’t be any surprise that Boston is competitive in this series. They were one of the hotter teams in the NHL heading into the playoffs and we all know that defense and goaltending wins championships (we’re looking at you Washington). Don’t forget that this is a Boston team that was the class of the Northeast for the last two seasons (sans Kessel). The playoffs are a brand new season and anything can happen. But mostly, I just want to be able to scream LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCH at the top of my lungs.
  • On to the West now, if you hear any gagging, it’s coming from San Jose. In all seriousness, though, I can’t imagine how much pressure is on the Sharks in their locker room right now. Just like with the Devils and the Caps, it’s a case of pressure vs. no pressure, except for this time magnified by 10-million. Dan Boyle’s gaffe in their last game didn’t help any, as it pretty much epitomized San Jose’s luck in the playoffs over the last few seas—decade.
  • Even though San Jose is doing their yearly choke, it shouldn’t take anything away from how brilliant Craig Anderson has been in this series. If the Avs are going to win it’s going to be on his back, and right now he looks like freaking Atlas balancing the world on his shoulders. To shut out the Sharks is no small feat, but to do it on 50-plus saves? One, you have to tip your hat to that performance and two, you have to wonder where the hell the Colorado defensemen were for those 50-plus shots.
  • Did it surprise anyone to see the Blackhawks rebound and respond to an embarrassing loss last night? The only thing that really surprised me, after seeing the looks on the ‘Hawks faces after that loss, was that last night’s game wasn’t an absolute blood letting. Even little Patty Kane’s mullet looked pissed after that one. It was a great rebound performance for the ‘Hawks against an opponent that, truthfully, shouldn’t really give them a lot of trouble. Then again, the Predators “shouldn’t really be in the playoffs” either…So I’m guessing that this series is going to be a classic.
  • How good are these two young Finnish netminders? Believe me folks. Antti Niemi and Pekka Rinne are the real deal for sure. They’re both young and just entering their prime years. What’s that mean for us? That this is going to be one fantastic series as far as goaltending is concerned. In fact, Rinne was one of the biggest reasons that last night’s loss WASN’T a blood letting by the ‘Hawks. The thing I want to know, though, is how I can get an NHL team to pay me $5.5 million to be a spectator. Anyone know?
  • If there’s anyone that doesn’t think that the Phoenix/Detroit series isn’t one of the most intriguing of the playoffs, they haven’t been paying attention. It’s essentially the NHL’s franchise against the NHL’s model franchise and, guess what? So far, the NHL’s franchise is winning the battle. The reason why? They’ve come out and skated like they have a pack of rabid Coyotes on their tails. They’ve come out and skated hard, played physical and won battles and, if you’ve been watching the series so far, it’s no wonder why they’re ahead. They’ve flat out out-worked a team that prides itself on its work ethic.
  • Detroit might be kicking themselves for winning that couple of extra games now. On the other hand, they showed in Game 2 what they’re capable of if they get rolling sooooooo…Yeah, they’re probably not kicking themselves. If they’re going to win, though, they need better play from their top players. So far, Zetterberg and Lidstrom are the only ones who have shown up to play and contribute on a regular basis.
  • How about those Los Angeles Kings? I don’t know if anyone was giving them a snowball’s chance in somewhere really, really warm to do anything these playoffs, but they not only don’t look out of place…They look goooooooood! Jonathan Quick hasn’t looked out of place opposite Roberto Luongo in this one and the Kings are doing more than hanging with the Canucks. If the Kings keep up this inspired play, this could easily be the series of the first round.
  • The best part of watching this series is watching the speed at which these two teams play. On one hand, you’ve got the youthful exuberance of the Kings who don’t realize that a) they’re supposed to be nervous because it’s the playoffs and b) they’re supposed to be a less talented team and on the other hand, you’ve got the savvy of the Canucks, led by the Sedin twins who continue to ply their trade by making six opposing players look silly all at the same time. 

That’s all for me today folks! If you’re checking this out on Bleacher Report, make sure to check in to Wild Nation tonight for a live blog of the Kings/Canuckleheads game tonight at 9 p.m. Central Time. If you’re checking this out on Wild Nation, make sure you’re back as we’ll have friends of the blog, Justin Bourne and Ms. Conduct with us!

Wild Nation Playoff Blog: Montreal Canadiens @ Washington Capitals

Game one was a resounding success for the Habs, as they downed the Caps 3-2 in overtime, with Tomas Plekanec scoring the game winning goal.  Tonight’s game will see Alex Ovechkin try and rebound from an uncharacteristically poor outing in Game one and lead the Capitals to victory to even the series heading back to Montreal.  Join myself and Justin Bourne (and more) in the live blogging fun tonight, only found on the Hockey Primetime network!

Our Wild Nation Live Blog Playoff Schedule

Well, Wild Nation-ites, the season is over.  The tee times are booked and the Xcel Energy Center ice is empty. 

It’s a sad day to be a Wild fan. 

But, starting tomorrow, it’s a glorious day to be a hockey fan. 

I’ll have my Wild post-mortem up in a few days, after I’ve had time to collect my thoughts and digest it all, but in the meantime we’ve got playoff hockey to look at, so we’ll be hitting up some of our famed (or infamous) live blogs here on Wild Nation! 

We’re going to shoot for a one per week minimum here, for sure, but we’ll likely have a few more than that, so here’s our preliminary schedule: 

Wednesday, April 14: Detroit @ Phoenix, 9 p.m. CST, followed immediately by Colorado @ San Jose 

Thursday, April 15: OFF, though I would recommend checking out Montreal @ Washington and Los Angeles @ Vancouver. Just because I’m off, there’s no reason you should be. 

Friday, April 16: OFF, recommended viewing includes Ottawa @ Pittsburgh and Nashville @ Chicago. 

Saturday, April 17: Montreal @ Washington, 6 p.m. CST. There’s a possibility of Boston @ Buffalo in the afternoon, but it’s looking doubtful at the moment. 

Sunday, April 18: Sorry kiddies, you’re on your own for this one.  I will be enjoying the sublime tunes of Angels and Airwaves live this evening. 

Monday, April 19: Vancouver @ Los Angeles, 9 p.m. CST 

Tuesday, April 20: OFF. Recommended viewing includes New Jersey @ Philly (if you have TSN2), Pittsburgh @ Ottawa, Chicago @ Nashville, and Phoenix @ Detroit (again, if you have TSN). 

Wednesday, April 21: Buffalo @ Boston, 6 p.m. CST, possibly followed by Vancouver @ Los Angeles if I’m able. 

So there you have it.  The first week of playoff coverage laid out for all to see.  Enjoy, and as the playoffs continue we’ll have more coverage available!

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