I saw Jordan described somewhere (can't remember where) as "an angry little ball of hate." Love it! I love Tootoo and yes I even have the Tootoo train whistle!
I have 3 trips I'm hoping to make to Nashville this season, but none of them I would be on their end taking pictures. I'll have to figure something out.
Friday, July 31, 2009
I saw Jordan described somewhere (can't remember where) as "an angry little ball of hate." Love it! I love Tootoo and yes I even have the Tootoo train whistle!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Karri Ramo came through Blueland twice last season. The first time he rode the bench while backing up Mike Smith. The second time was our season ending game where he had to bail out McKenna. He won't be through at all this season as he will be playing for Russia.
Karri was born on July 1, 1986 in Asikkala, Finland.
Karri and Kari, how cute! Karri is Finntastic, just like our Kari. One thing that makes me have a soft spot for Karri is that he played for the Lahti Pelicans. Why do I like the Pelicans? Because their goalie coach, partial owner and member of the board is none other than my very first goalie love, Pasi Nurminen. The fiery tempered Finn has been in Lahti for several years now since his career ending injury.
In 2001-02 Karri started his hockey career at the age of 16 with the Pelicans' Junior-C club. He advanced steadily through the ranks and played 19 games the next season. In 2003-04, Kari played 18 games and made his SM-Liiga debut playing 3 games for the Lahti's men's team.
In 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected Kari in the 6th round (191st overall) in the NHL entry draft. Karri traveled to Traverse City that year to participate in the annual prospect tournament. Ramo shined with a 37 save performance in a 3-1 victory over St. Louis prospects in his first and only North American start.
At the end of the season, Karri returned to the junior ranks where he guided the team to a play off spot. The Pelicans were quickly knocked out of the playoffs, but Ramo's performance got the attention of SM-liiga powerhouse HPK who signed Ramo away from Lahti in the offseason.
Karri began the 2005-06 season in HPK in a tandem with Miika Wiikman, but soon claimed the starting spot and was leading the SM-liiga in GAA and SV% before a knee injury put him out for a month. The injury not only hurt Ramo's momentum that season, but hurt his quest to take Tuukka Rask's starting goaltender job in the 2005 U20 World Junior Championships. He ended up backing up Tuukka. In his one appearance in the championships, he let in 7 goals against a talent rich USA team. All wasn't lost for the season though. Karri returned to HPK and he and Wiikman led the their team to the SM-liiga championship.
In 2006, Ramo began his rookie season in North American pro hockey with the AHL's Springfield Falcons. He started as the back up to veteran Sean Burke, but quickly took top billing. After an impressive first half of the season, Karri was named to the AHL Eastern Conference All Star team and won the Best Goaltender Award at the skills competition.
Ramo also recieved a few injury call ups from the Tampa Bay Lightning. On December 2, 2006, in Ottawa, starting goal tender Marc Denis was not allowed into Canada due to visa issues. Ramo was called to back up Johan Holmqvist. Ramo made his NHL debut when he was put in after Holmqvist was pulled after letting in four goals on seven shots. Ramo got a total of 2 injury call ups that season. He finished the season with the Falcons with a 3.13 GAA and SV% of .906.
Ramo started the 2007-08 season with the Norfolk Admirals, but ended up spending most of his time with the Lightning. On December 20, 2007 Kari earned his first NHL victory with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Karri played 22 games with the Lightning that season earning a GAA of 3.03 and a SV% of .899.
Karri was a part of the bronze medal winning Team Finland in 2008, too. At the 2008 IIHF World Championships, Team Finland defeated Team Sweden.
Karri split last season (2008-09) pretty evenly between the Norfolk Admirals and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Though he started the season with the Admirals, he was recalled multiple times by the Lightning and finished the season playing 24 contests....with only 4 wins. (Come on, give him a break, he's playing for Tampa Bay!!)
I show Moose love all the time. It's no secret that Johan Hedberg is my favorite NHL player. It's extra exciting when you see NHL.com showing him some love though. As the back-up goalie for a team that is often in the bottom of the rankings, that doesn't happen much. So I will revel in this article.
Back up goalie on a crappy team you think? HA! Moose is a shoot out super star!
No goaltender who's taken part in more than five shootouts can match Hedberg's
career save percentage (.820, 11 goals allowed on 61 shots) or winning
percentage, (12-3, .800) in the breakaway competition that began in the 2005-06
season. Hedberg is also a perfect 6-0 in shootouts at home.
The article is a good read:
I thought I was making it through the summer pretty well without hockey. I have this blog to entertain me. There was the draft. I've been following the trades. I enjoyed prospect camp. But man this video made me realize how much I miss watching the game.
This is Cabbie's last installment for the 2008-09 season and it's a doozie! It's 25 minutes long but well worth it. Enjoy! (Damn I want this guy's job...or at least the job of his camera man)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
O Kaptain! My Kaptain! One big weight hanging around our neck this upcoming season is "will Kovy re-sign?" Of course I hope so. We came to Atlanta about the same time, summer of 2001. He is our super star and I can't imagine the Thrashers without him. I hope our organ-eye-zation has done enough to make us a good team capable of winning so we can keep Kovy. Kovy deserves to win. I hope it's with our team, but if he doesn't see it that way, I'll still be a fan.
Though Ilya was becoming one of the best young players in Russia as he grew older, the NHL wasn't on his mind until he saw the 1994 Stanley Cup finals on Russian TV. After seeing fellow Russian Pavel Bure play for Vancouver, Ilya wanted to follow in his footsteps.
Four years later Ilya came to North America for the first time to compete in a junior tournament in Ontario. NHL scouts that had heard Ilya's name mentioned before were finally able to see the 15 year old in person. They were impressed with his size, speed and slapshot but were also impressed with his nasty edge.
Once Ilya had been selected, the Thrashers had to decide whether or not to put Ilya directly into the NHL or let him return to Spartak in Russian to play. Don Waddell didn't want another Stefan situation where a #1 pick struggles in his first season, but didn't see much benefit in sending Ilya back to Russia. They decided to keep Ilya in the US.
That season Ilya and Dany Heately were in a race for the Calder Cup. Ilya led with 51 goals for most of the season. Unfortunately, Ilya went down for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder. Heately finished with 16 more games than Ilya and won the Calder Cup. Ilya was also named to the NHL All Rookie team. Ilya was also named to the 2002 YoungStars team. With 6 goals and 1 assist, Ilya was named the MVP.
Despite Ilya and Heatley's efforts, the Thrashers finished at the bottom of the NHL. Going into the 2002-03 season the Thrashers knew they had to make some changes. They added some veterans to the team to help the youngsters. Ilya got off to a slow start but finished the season with 67 points (38 goals and 29 assists).
Ilya struck a deal with Coach Bob Hartley: he would increase Ilya's ice time if Ilya promised to work hard in all three zones. Ilya kept up his end of the bargain and scored 13 goals in the first 15 games. Hartley began using Ilya for the full two minutes during power plays, double-shifted him at even strength and even put him on penalty kills. Heatley came back in January and by mid-season Ilya had 26 goals and 57 points. He was voted to a starting position in the NHL All Star games. Dany Heately was eventually traded to Ottawa at his own request and Ilya had a new friend to play with, Marian Hossa.
During the 2005 NHL lock out, Ilya played for the Ak Bars Kazan in Russia. In 53 games, Ilya scored 41 goals and 46 while racking up 72 penalty minutes.
Ilya had a great 2005-06 season. Ilya set career highs with 52 goals and 98 points. He tied his career best for assists with 46 to rank third on the team. Ilya was named NHL Offensive player of the week twice that season.
2006-07 was a banner year for both the Thashers and Ilya. Ilya played in a career high 82 games recording 76 points. Ilya led the team in power play goals for the third consecutive season and ranked third in the NHL. Ilya led the Thrashers to win the South East Division and an appearance in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a franchise first. On April 14, Ilya scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal.
During the 2007-08 Ilya led the Thrashers with 87 points, 52 goals and 35 assists in 79 games. He has scored the most goals (254) and most power play goals (93) of any NHL player since joining the league in 2001. We saw a little of that Kovy temper that season as well. Kovalchuk was suspended for one game without pay by the NHL on January 24 for a hit from behind on Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival. Marian Hossa was traded to Pittsburgh and the team continued to struggle.
The Thrashers had an abysmal start to the season. Even Ilya was struggling. On January 11, Kovy was finally named as the Captain for the Thrashers. That seemed to give him a spark. Also giving him a spark was the addition of a new center, Rich Peverley. The two had good chemistry and it showed on the ice. The rest of the team seemed to finally be getting new coach John Anderson's system down, too. These factors combined and even though the Thrashers finished near the bottom of the league, the Thrashers were one of the hottest teams during the final stretch of the season. Kovy finished the season with 91 points, 43 goals and 48 assists.
Kovy has found much international success as well. At 18, Ilya was the youngest pro on any hockey team at the 2002 Winter Olympics, he won a bronze medal.
In 2009 Kovy was awarded the Russian Athlete of the Year for 2008by viewers of the federal Russian sports channel. He brought the gold medal back to Russian by scoring the game winning goal.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Not my Stuie! Why should I care that Stuie got traded from the Leafs to the Flames? Because that means I don't get to see him this season. The Flames are not scheduled to come through Blueland. At least when he was a Leaf I'd get to see him.
Calgary traded forward Wayne Primeu and a second round draft pick in 2011 for defencemean Anton Stralman, my Stuie and Toronto's 7th round draft pick in 2012.
Good thing I never got a Stuart Leafs jersey. Guess I can enjoy this clip with no guilt again.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I see you seeing me and my sign Marty. Look out Marty, you are a glass tap from Tim Thomas away from falling to my #3 goalie. I've brought you 3 signs....one in my home arena, one that was dragged up to Jersey and another that was taken to a play off game where the Devils took a crap on the ice. I've gotten no acknowledgement. Poor Flower tapped the glass at me and he's #4 on my list.
Friday, July 24, 2009
One of the more interesting deals made this summer was Khabibulin going to the Oilers. I liked Khabi with the Hawks. In my mind he was like a grumpy old bus driver dealing with all of those babies on the Hawks. When the Hawks came through Blueland on February 11, I was excited to get pictures. One good thing about him going to the Oilers, I get to see him again this season!
STYLE: Open butterfly
STRENGTHS: Good size, solid fundamentals, plays angles effectively. Has great feet and is tough to beat low.
WEAKNESSES: Poor stickhandling. Inconsistent, perhaps due to fatigue
Николай Иванович Хабибулин/Nikolai Ivanovitch Khabibulin was born in Sverdlovsk, Russia on January 13, 1973.
Khabi began his pro career in 1988 playing junior hockey with Avtomo Sverdlovsk USSR.
In 1991 Khabi began playing for "The Red Army," HC CSKA Moscow (Central Sports Club of the Army, Moscow.) HC CSKA Moscow has won more Soviet championships and European cups than any other team in history.
In 1992, Khabibulin was selected by the Winnipeg Jets in the 9th round (204th overall) in the NHL Entry Draft.
Nikolai continued playing in Russia after being drafted. He played two more seasons with the HC CSKA Moscow and in 1993 played 12 games with the Russian Penguins, a touring Russian hockey club that competed in the IHL.
In 1994 Khabi hit the shores of North America and split the season between the Springfield Falcons and the Winnipeg Jets. Khabi stayed with the Jets for the 1995-96 season, playing in 53 games. When the Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes, Khabi moved with them. In his 3 seasons there, he was a work horse. He played 70 games in 2 of those seasons and 60 games in the other. That's a heavy work load for a goalie and while Phoenix made the playoffs each of these years, Khabi's possible exhaustion is thought to be one of the reason the Yotes never made it to the second round of the playoffs.
After the 1998-99 season, Khabi got involved in a bitter contract dispute. He ended up sitting out the entire season. I tried to find some more info on the dispute, but didn't find much. It must have been ugly though. I found one article that was saying to expect Khabi to sign a contract to be back in Phoenix after the club was sold to Gretzky and friends. Apparently Khabi offered to come to training camp with no contract, but the previous owners told him "he wasn't welcome." Ouch!
Khabi didn't lounge around on the beach while waiting for his contract to be settled. He spent the 1998-99 season back in his old stomping grounds of the IHL with the Long Beach Ice Dogs. Khabi had a fantastic season playing in 33 games and posting a 1.83 GAA and .930 SV%. He also won the MVP award.
Well we all know that love fest with Khabi and Phoenix didn't go as planned and on March 5, 2001 Khabi was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Khabi only played 2 games that season, but the following seasons saw him return to his status as a premier goal tender. Khabibulin lead the team to a playoff appearance in 2003 and then back stopped the team to the Stanley Cup in 2004, the first championship in franchise history. On April 23, 2004, Nikolai became the fifteenth National Hockey League goaltender to record four shutouts in a single postseason with a 4-0 blanking of the Montreal Canadiens.
In 2004-05 season, during the dark, horrible (for the fans) days of the lockout, Khabi played for the Ak Bars Kazan of the (then)RSL. After the lockout, Khabi was a free agent for the 2005-06 season. With a shiny new cup under his belt, he was a hot commodity. Chicago signed him to a 4 year, $27 million deal. Nikolai spent 4 seasons with the Blackhawks helping rebuild their team with such youthful draft picks as Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane. In the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Khabi back stopped his team to the Western Conference Finals against their fierce rivals, the Detroit Red Wings.
Khabi has played for Mother Russia (not Shauna, the actual country) as well. Khabi won a Bronze medal in Salt Lake City in 2002 and a gold medal in Albertville in 1992. He also won a gold medal in 1992 in the World Junior Championships when his team defeated Germany.
Khabi has seen his share of controversy. He boycotted the Russian team for several international games. Why? The coaches of the 1992 team stole his gold medal! Khabi was 3rd on the depth chart and never actually played in any of the games. When the medals were handed out, legendary Russian coach Viktor Tikhonov kept a medal for himself instead of giving one to Khabi. Coaches and management do not receive medals, only the athletes. It took 10 years to settle the matter. In a private dressing-room ceremony with his teammates and the Russian Hockey Federation, Khabibulin was awarded the gold medal that former coach Viktor Tikhonov took from him in 1992. You go Khabi! Don't take any shit.
* Although Khabi still guzzles coffee, he quit his nasty smoking habit when he went to Tampa Bay. At 32 years of age, he showed up for training camp with 9% body fat, the lowest of his career (at the time).