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The Play Off Battles in Full Swing

The play offs in the NBA and the NHL are well into the second round and with that comes the turn of the dial in intensity.   Each team in both sports must know that to win the big prize you have to be prepared to take on the physical toll and also dish it out.  The teams that can’t sustain the constant barrage of contact will be eliminated somewhere down the line.  Most shots and passes will be challenged with a fierce competitor contesting the play with contact.  Again, if you ain’t bringing the heat then get out of the kitchen.

Its gets to the point of being humorous concerning the refereeing in the NBA play offs. Guys are Read More →

Henrik Lundqvist , The King is Still Going Strong

I wanted to write a hockey article on goaltending so when I was doing my research, I tried to get a consensus of who is the best goalie in the NHL.   Time and time again the name that appears more often is Henrik Lundqvist.   There will be statistics that will say that another goalie is better on paper but what I hear and have watched that Lundqvist is a game changer.  A game changer is probably the most flattering thing one athlete can say about another.  His presence in front of the net assures the New York Rangers that they will be competitive in every game

Lundqvist is considered a butterfly style goalie though unorthodox because of the aggressive way he performs the butterfly.   The book on him is his fantastic instinct and quickness, athleticism and very strong positional play.  What else can you say to complement a goalie?  He also speaks five languages, not really…

Lundqvist of Swedish descent played in his country before joining the New York Rangers. He was the best goaltender in the country along with winning every award to be won in Sweden.   Lundqvist has played for the New York Rangers since 2005.  In his rookie season he got to start very quickly due to the injury of Kevin Weekes.  He started every game after that and went on the have a fine season. We ranked fifth overall in goals against average and was a finalist as the year’s best goaltender.  He probably would have won rookie of the year but there were a couple guys ahead of him named Crosby and Ovechkin.

He earned the nickname, “The King” earlier on in his career by his teammates and fans. He possessed spectacular athletic ability and a hardnosed work ethic that earned him a lot respect around the NHL.  He followed up the 2005 campaign with another solid season, coming in second for the Vezina Trophy, the best goalie award.

Henrik establsihed himself in the NHL from there on out. He began winning more awards, all-star selections and a hefty six year contract which made him the highest paid goalie.  The players and fans of New York have been spoiled to have such a rock solid and hardworking player in front of the net.   His work ethic is second to nobody and pays off with great play and durability.

The Rangers are going to be a force in the playoffs this year and having a healthy Lundqvist working the net will assure some forward momentum. After all, The King is leading the league in saves, a stat that becomes more important than any other.   At 34 years old, Lundqvist has hit a few rough patches this season, like most goalies.  Sometimes the defense in front of him can be blamed but Lundqvist is the type of player to take all of the burden.  Rangers know that when the playoffs start, The King will be their guy and the grueling road to the Cup will be in his hands.

 

 

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NHL – The Second Season

NHL playoff hockey is probably the most intense and physically demanding team sport in the world.   No other sport can claim the speed, power, agility and endurance needed to play in a playoff atmosphere. You can watch the whole regular season and not see what you see in the playoffs. Every check into the boards, power play and shot on goal gets contested with a higher speed and tenacity than the regular season displays.   The teams play all season long to get into the brutal playoff tournament in which 16 games most be won to hoist the championship cup.

Many surveys and studies have been done to determine which team sport is the toughest and many of the results are the same, its hockey.   Many of you would say football but that type of strength and toughness is usually displayed as brute force. In hockey the speed and power must also utilize creativity and skill. Take for instance, those players and defenders maneuvering a puck around the goal, in many times it appears like a bunch of guys flailing away with sticks and elbows. The strength and powerful legs and core needed to fend off players while trying to guide a puck is a unique skill set. Of course, being on ice skates make the whole operation that much harder and faster.

The playoff tournament in the NHL brings out the emotional level to a fever pitch as well. Remember, hockey is the only sport where you can punch someone in the face and only have to sit in a penalty box for a few minutes.   Even though teams try to avoid fights, the physicality and toughness is part of the game where one team tries enforce its will. The beatings that teams take are what really separate it from the other team sports. Not one player escapes without getting poked, jabbed, tripped, and punched and at least once at match.

The winner of the Stanley Cup usually has ridden the fortunes of their goalie.   It has been said that the goalies are among the finest athletes on their teams. The speed, agility and flexibility are the prime sources of their success.   Their hand eye coordination must be extraordinary to endure the rush in the playoffs. The scrums that evolve in front of the goal are like a mob riot and the goalie must see all of the strategy and puck movement through the chaos to give himself superior position to the shooter.

When a winner is crowned in the NHL, they have endured a multitude of obstacles and trials. The regular season is already long when preseason starts in September and the Lord Stanley Cup is awarded in June.   Your body is physically worn down; you’re mentally fatigued and you are sporting injuries that need to heel. The satisfaction comes with the battle that has been won with your team and coaches. After the final game, the teams shake hands because they know what is takes to withstand this type of sport, the sport they love.

Here are some of the players that you will see through the playoffs:

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Sidney Crosby –Pittsburgh Penguins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks

Jonathan Quick 1

Johnathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings