Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Western Conference 2015-16 Overview

Seems like the Western Conference is always in the discussion as to who the Stanley Cup favorite resides. The CHI-ANA-LA combination seems to work well in the media. And with the recent shifting to So Cal as a "hockey hotbed", we may see another year of Western teams dominating the year. Will Chicago defend their Stanley Cup or will a new team rise up and usher in new superstar faces for a new generation?

Anaheim: With Horcoff the only significant acquisition, this team is just going to give it another shot at the Chicago dynasty machine for the best team in the league. Even

Arizona: A rebuilding franchise that needed to get tougher added John Scott and Steve Downie. They didn't add any scoring so look for them to value another lottery pick this year. Downgrade

Calgary: Frolik might be a great fit into a team that will challenge again for a playoff spot. This is what a team with a lot of grit and youngsters should be.Even

Chicago: A lot of players were shown the door in this off season. Sharp, Timonen (to retirement) Versteeg just to name a few. If Kane can't play it's all of a sudden looking very strange to see a lot of fresh faces on a team that's supposed to be defending their championship.Downgrade

Colorado: Blake Comeau thrived in Pittsburgh for cheap salary. Hopefully he can provide a goal scoring clutch that will supliment the young core players here. But they lost Ryan O'Riley.Downgrade

Dallas: A team that collected up a bunch of players from other winning systems should be a playoff contender for sure. Look for Sharp and Oduya to return winning ways back to the big D. HUGE Upgrade

Edmonton: They've got McDavid, but who's going to go? Eberle seemed to temporarily fix that with being on the IR. Their goaltending situation improved with Talbot trying for the starting job after his playoff heroics.Even

Los Angeles: They lost a few players to controversial news stories Richards and Voynov. They didn't replace them in the free agency market. Erhoff is aging and Lucic will add the grit. Enroth is a valuable back-up in case Quick needs a break. Upgrade

Minnesota: This is where the Dubnyk trade from last season will pay off if it is going to be a success. Is he the franchise goalie they need there? Downgrade

Nashville: I don't see anyone new here on this roster. Not even one possible replacement for Weber. They'll ride goaltender Rinne until his wheels fall off.Even

San Jose: Joel Ward brings his clutch playoff scoring touch to San Jose. But will they even make it to the post-season in time for him to use it? This may be the last hurrah of the Thorton-Pavelski-Marleau era. Even!

St. Louis: They adjusted their roster for more consistent role players. Brouwer is the key to rounding out the offense. Can Bortuzzo look like the blue-chip prospect he was in the Penguins system?Upgrade

Vancouver: They shipped out their young developing goalies and threw a bunch of money at unproven Brandon Sutter. Downgrade

Winnipeg: The Myers-Stafford trade that everyone was surprised by last year's trading deadline will get it's chance to shine all season long here. Look for them to continue building a playoff contending team.Upgrade

Eastern Conference 2015-16 Overview

I've decided to bring back this series in the begining of the year to encapsulate the Eastern teams and assess the progress (or lack thereof) during this off season. Will any of these teams finally dethrone the Chicago dynasty? The balance of power has shifted a little more back to the east with thanks to some of the Eastern conference teams building for the future. Youth movement seems to be the way to go with a lot of these franchises. Soon these teams collecting up high draft picks will mature and built around them.

Boston: They've traded away their core to again keep back from the cap and make room for the roster turnover. Lucic and Hamilton are gone with an aging Chara to work the blueline. Their coach is already on the hot seat even before the season begins. Downgrade
Buffalo: So many additions to this roster from new owners to coach, general manager, and to several franchise players. Eichel is definitely looking like an elite player in Buffalo. Look for him to make a splash with Ryan O'Riley. UPGRADE!
Carolina: What little they could do was attempt to shore up the blueline and make Eddie Lack challenge for Ward's starting position. Wisniewski and Versteeg are good veterans to help this new generation along. Even
Columbus: They dumped a lot of players along the way that held them back. They need to grow the game in Ohio and the only new player of note is Brandon Saad. Rebuilding continues. Even
Detroit: A team that holds on to their players longer than they should is again realizing that you shouldn't need to fix that isn't broken. New coach can show the players a fresh new perspective while Eric Cole is the old man in the "NHL's retirement center"Even
Florida: Youth movement. Marc Savard will bring his Boston luck to south beach. But the roster remains mostly the same.Even
Montreal: They've shifted a few players out and picked up some more role players in hopes to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. Semin is a streaky player often criticized for his non existent work ethic, but maybe this set of players will motivate his scoring. Upgrade
New Jersey: It's a new regime for the NJ Devils. Stempniak will keep the puck moving in a defense first system. But it's not enough to get any better than last year. downgrade.
NY Islanders: Their new home is the most interesting storyline of the year. New dashers and environmental sounds to get used to. It's another "don't fix it if it aint broke" team. Even
NY Rangers: Raanta will be the backup which brings a winning program over to the Rangers. Stoll is from the LA Kings who needed to get their centermen in order. Marty St. Louis retired and won't be replaced with his intangibles. They lost more than they replaced. downgrade
Ottawa: It's the same roster this year from last. Do we expect any better with a year of veteran seasoning? Even
Philadelphia: They are always looking for that one steady goaltender to count on in the clutch. Can Nieuvirth bring what he learned in DC? They also get Umberger back. He likes it there. Upgrade!
Pittsburgh: Having one of the elite wingers in hockey right now and giving up almost nothing for him was a real steal. Kessel will keep up with Crosby and Russian import Plotnikov will get Malkin's line. They've balanced out their team from being centerman heavy to a more balanced attack. Upgrade!
Tampa Bay: Will this be the year that Tampa wins it all again and follows history's trends? They've kept their team in tact for another deep run to the Stanley Cup finals provided everyone stays healthy. Even
Toronto: They are clearly in a rebuilding phase and going to stock their farm system until it's time to use them. Parenteau is going to be a decent replacement on the top line and the biggest acquisition is their coach Babcock. Hopefully, it will mean a better watchable product worth the price of admission while they stock up on talent. Downgrade
Washington: In the biggest steal of the NHL century, the Capitals have got themselves the "American hero" TJ Oshie and brought him to the nations' capital. He should work well as a secondary scoring threat when they need it most. I'm interested in how well Penner will do for them the whole season since coming over in the deadline. Upgrade!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Game of the Week (Season 2) - New York Islanders vs Minnesota Wild

Well, Here comes season 2 of the Game of the Week series in which I move over to play NHL 16. The upgrade to graphics and rosters are even better and hopefully will be kept up with all season long.

The goal this year is to have a better record against the computer in these games. I'm not obviously going to win them all, but improving on my skills that I have been lacking. Faceoffs and bodychecking should be two that I need to get better. Also, I hope to earn a few more trophies on the PS system.

Who would you like to see play in next week's game of the week? Do you want me to feature your own favorite team?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

St. Michael's Day 2015

On Sept. 29th, I always talk about the University programs that honor the namesake. In the past, I've kept up on a couple of programs, but since the Majors have dissolved into the Steelheads, here's the continuation of the tradition. St. Michael's University Purple Knights of Colchester, Vermont.

The Men's team have new third jerseys, they're that mustard gold color that has been controversial with another NHL team. And they've taken the Purple Knight's logo off of the jersey and just had a purple stripe across the chest. The player number on the front is smaller and less visible - almost the direct opposite of the purpose. While it's not the worst jersey in the world, it's the one with the least amount of imagination.

First off, the Men's team has taken some serious strides within their conference. They're now accomplishing things in the NE-10 post season by reaching the championship game back in February. And to top it all off it was hosted in Cairns Arena! They unfortunately came up short again, falling to St. Anselm, but hopefully the program can take this as a success and build around it for this upcoming season. It could hopefully also take hold with any new recruits out of high school.

The Men's Purple Knights finished the year at 9-16-2. AJ Pieprzak was named Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year and also gained the respect of his hometown Barrie, ONT fans. Their goal production is 74g and 122a for 196pts.

As for the Women, they've been on a decline since the rest of the season. They lost to #1 Franklin Pierce in the ECAC Open Tournament, that they hosted! They were even routed on senior day to those rival St. Anselm girls. Their goal production is unfortunately inadequate with their last season totals 38g and 59a for 97 team points. 26 GP (5-20-1 .212). But when their opponents for the season score 188 team points for the season, it casts a harsh warning light as to where they need to improve for next season.

Some of the significant accomplishments this calendar year since the last Sept. post was how much the school can impress with their academic achievements. The Men's team have a press release on their website stating that they've accomplished a school record of 11 players earning all-academic EACA East honors, while 5 of them have gotten on that list multiple times.

The St. Michael's Men's team begins their 2015-16 season at University of New England on Nov. 16th while the Women's Lady Purple Knights start their season at home against SUNY Potsdam on October 30th.

Monday, September 14, 2015

NHL 16 by EA Sports Midnight Release Party - LIVE!!!

After a midnight release of the much awaited NHL 16 by EA Sports, it is my duty as a fan of the franchise and as a pioneer hockey blogger to feature the new game here on my blog so that all over the world can get live broadcasts of the Confessions of a Hockey Fanatic review and for the first time on live streaming!

Of course, I've been a Playstation fan since the first version and continue to be amazed by the upgrade in graphics and design. I'm sure there will be some more things to criticize in the game, but I just have to praise the EA team for making a really great looking game so real to the real life counterparts.

The NHL 16 live-stream party starts approximately 12:30 AM once I get my hands on the copy and uploaded to the system. We all know just how long it usually takes to get everything into the complex PS4 system. I hope they take this into account and make it one of the smoothest transitions possible!
Thank you to everyone who could watch and attend the live event. Of course this will be uploaded in it's entirety to for those who didn't want to be up that late.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Game of the Week - Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers

In this week's episode, we are solemnly remembering the tragedy that occurred on 9/11/01. So, I chose the teams from both cities that were affected the most. I had blogged about the tragedy once it happened that the news revealed the NHL hockey community had lost two of their own

New York and Washington D.C. might be a growing rivalry as both teams had given their all in a 7 game series in the 2014 playoffs a few seasons ago. Ovechkin needed to move on to the next round very badly and the NY Rangers desperately needed to prove that their change in roster and coach could be more fruitful.
Thanks for watching the final broadcast of the game of the week series in NHL 15. I know it was a short season, but NHL 16 is going to continue to be the upgrade in what the series needs. Let me know in the comments section how I did with the broadcast!

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Game of the Week - Pittsburgh Penguins vs Chicago BlackHawks

This week's game was a request made to us by one of our fans over on the Facebook fan page. Remember, you too can make requests to see the match-up of the week on that page too or through the comments section.

"Pittsburgh Penguins vs the defending Stanley Cup champions"

So, here it is!!!

I chose the NHL Stadium Series jerseys for this one believing that I hadn't used the Penguins jersey they only used once for the stadium series. Considering what a disaster that game was for the Penguins, I could certainly see why no one would want to remember that game.
So, how did I do? Is there anything I can do better with it? Is there any ideas for new broadcasts as Game of the Week? Please, leave it on the comments section below or on the Facebook fan page.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Game of the Week - Erie Otters vs Soo Greyhounds

I don't know what happened to the original version of this week's game. When I went back to listen to my commentary to see if everything worked, the audio was not on at the time and missed a lot of what I had said during the game. The video below is actually a re-taping of the live feed from my twitch broadcast.

This week's episode was inspired by the re-broadcast of my Game 4 appearance at the Erie Insurance arena.

If you would like to see an idea or a match-up for Game of the Week episode, leave a comment below or on the youtube channel page. Or through the proper social media channels.