Show 3: Goaltending Tandems

Well, just to keep you all in the loop, we decided to through you all this clip on our take on the goaltending tandems in the league. Well, it's more of John stealing the show because he seemed to thoroughly enjoy the topic and tried to rush my picks off parting for a commercial break. BUT annnyway, my in-depth analysis is quite clear if you ask me. But, enjoy this discussion on goaltending duos in the league.

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Sidney Crosby Hurt: Countdown to Impact?

The kid is hurt. The world stood still when he got up and limped off his injury right to the dressing room. An innocent looking play on a trip took him on a journey into the boards and straight to the injured reserve list for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The image of him limping and being helped off the ice directly after he suffered the high ankle sprain on his right ankle, this could be a true testament of his impact on the team.

20 goals, 43 assists, 63 points. Of the 135 goals scored by the Penguins, Crosby was involved with 63 of them! It's time for the real Penguins to rise and shine. I've had discussion (screaming matches) with some colleagues of mine over the impact of Crosby and its possible effects on the team. I'm going to go the opposite direction of most critics and state this: It's going to be fine.

Yes, I said it is going to be fine. Why would I say this? Because I believe that the team has learned a lot from Sid in many ways. The line of Armstrong, Malkin, and Crosby, is now a little modified, of course, with Sid missing, but I wouldn't fear. In last night's 6-5 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, goals were scored by Evgeni Malkin (twice), Maxim Talbot, Ryan Malone, and Petr Sykora. So, I say, no sweat. Dany Sabourin carried the team on his shoulders the other night against Montreal in a 2-0 shutout win the day right after losing Crosby and the game against the Lightning 3-0 with Ty Conklin in the net. Then again, Sabourin was pulled last night in the game against the Caps after he let in four goals on 13 shots in a period and a half. Conklin to the rescue! He allowed one goal on 17 shots, and missed two saves on three shooters. Ok, so 20 shots, three goals compared to 4 goals on 13 shots, Conklin is still looking good. I mean, come on, why wasn't Olaf pulled when he allowed four goals on less than 10 shots? Sabourin was not to blame, Conklin wasn't either, and the Penguins' offense wasn't either. They were facing a hot Washinton Capitals team. Yes, hot. Semin, Ovechkin, and Backstrom, all carrying the team onward to bury the hatchet of what has been a rocky few seasons for the team. 7-2-1 in their last ten, the Capitals are on a roll and the Penguins got in their way.

I don't think that scoring five goals against the Caps proves anything like that of saying, "Oh, if Crosby were here..." I honestly think Crosby would have replaced himself into the scorers sheet in place of Talbot and Malone! The impact is still yet to be seen, but given a few more games, we'll wait and see whether or not this will truly hurt the Pens. Three way tie for first in the Atlantic Division, and it's in due thanks to the 2-0 shutout over the Canadiens on Saturday. So, give it some thought, because I have and I think that Crosby's points that he would have put up in the last two games, they are surely there but have found new names. He has taught them well in the past two seasons. It shows now that he is missing from the lineup in the past two games, and I believe it will become a trend. The Penguins are still a force to be reckoned with regardless.

~The Rant Man~

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A Far Fetched League Scenario? or The Cold War of Northern Secession

There are a lot of scenarios that can be imagined to happy to any situation, including the NHL. Some of them are normal, steady as she goes, predictions of the future. This one is not. What if a radical series of events hit the NHL that would cause a complete change in everything we know as the National Hockey League. The following is a guided narration of that scenario, all of which has some basis in fact and historical precedent.

The NHL has recently stepped up unification of the league, in media, in appearance, in jerseys, in advertising, and so far the teams have complained little. There have been a myriad of problems with the switch to the new RBK Edge jerseys, with every team forced to adapt their design to the new cut, if not change it entirely. Then comes the website switch. Every team was to have a website that matches the template of the home site. The New York Rangers protested, refusing to switch, even filing a lawsuit against the NHL when the league imposed a $100,000 per day fine for not complying. The Rangers cited the NHL's inability to market the team properly, and that the "illegal cartel," as the Rangers called the NHL, couldn't market the Rangers as well as the Rangers could market the Rangers.

The lawsuit was thrown out, but it set a huge precedent: the teams could sue the league. This means that the teams must have some form of independence from the parent company.

The Rangers have been Fire Eaters of sorts, thwarting the NHL and RBK at every turn with their jerseys, opting to use their style from last year, and now sewing the hemlines, folding them to look like a regular jersey. They're the only team to do such a rebellious thing.

What if something bigger happened? What if something so huge were to occur that the Rangers said "no more"? The NHL was formed out of the ashes of the National Hockey Association, which folded after 4 teams left the league to form the NHL. Why did they leave? Eddie Livingstone, owner of the Toronto Blue Shirts, annoyed the other owners so much that they packed up and left. Could it happen again? Now that I've given the basis for my scenario, let's move to a narrative.

In the near future....
Commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL have decided that they are not reaching enough audience, and there isn't enough cash in the coffers with the much-expanded cap, which had reached pre-lockout levels just a few years earlier. Echoing the NHL of the 1990s, expansion is the answer, and two teams are being added: Las Vegas and Kansas City. In an effort to increase scoring at the same time, Bettman flexes his muscles and larger nets are implemented. This angers a vast portion of the league, and the New York Rangers begin to protest as goalies begin a mass exodus for Europe.

The Rangers sue the league, but their case is thrown out of court. The NHLPA sues on behalf of the goalies, threatening to strike, but things blow over as an undisclosed amount of money is given to the NHLPA for "damages." The NHL Board of Governors (NHLBoG) meets without Bettman, and the wheels are put in motion for something not seen in about a century.

The New York Rangers, complete with a team of lawyers to back their claims, secede from the National Hockey League. They would rather form their own league or join another than play in the sham of the new(er) NHL.

The NHL immediately takes the Rangers to court, but lose, and the Rangers are allowed to maintain their newfound independence. Following the decision, other teams begin to take interest. The Canadiens and Canucks secede the day the court case ended. The Flyers, Bruins, Oilers, Red Wings, and Blue Jackets join them within a week. By the start of the NHL season, the rebel teams are joined by the Wild and the Maple Leafs. The 10 seceding teams join together to make their own league, the Heritage Hockey League (HHL).

The NHLPA becomes torn as to how players are allowed to leave the league with their teams. It is decided that players who wish to leave with the team may do so without NHLPA benefits, and any who stay will re-enter the NHL as free agents. Though this appeals to a great many players, especially budding superstars who look to make more money by moving. however, goalies are chomping at the bit to join the HHL, who promises to return the game to its glory days and casts aside the new nets, the Edge jerseys, the shootout, and other new rules.

Both leagues begin their respective seasons, the NHL with just 22 teams (including the expansion Las Vegas and Kansas City) competes for the Stanley Cup still, and the HHL plays for the new Howe Trophy. The HHL, looking to start over, grovels to ESPN and gets a contract that guarantees them no money, but gives them exposure. The HHL matches the NHL for ratings, despite Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the first Stanley Cup of the new era.

Following the season, teams begin to defect after feeling mistreated by the NHL during the original secessions. The New Jersey Devils lead the charge, followed by the Senators, Blackhawks, and Islanders. despite losing many players during the defection, the teams find it worthwhile, and the HHL grows to 14 teams for its second season.

To counter, the NHL begins expanding, and adds teams in New York City, Seattle, Detroit (again), and Montreal. The North American hockey world has expanded to 40 top-level teams, the talent pool wears thin. Quality of play decreases. The HHL surpasses the NHL in ratings. The entire hockey world pressures the NHL to include the HHL in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The NHL refuses, and the Sabres win their first Stanley Cup.

The NHL is hemorrhaging money, the ratings are the worst in history, and the HHL is doing rather well. Cities can only support so many teams, and cities with both NHL and HHL franchises support the established teams: those who defected. The NHL teams that have been established are primarily southern, and their lack of financial support becomes painfully apparent with the absence of the Canadian teams.

The following season, the NHL agrees to allow the NHL Champion to play the HHL Champion for the Stanley Cup. The HHL Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins defect to the HHL following the season, although Sidney Crosby remains in the NHL. The 16 team HHL has won hockey's biggest prize, and won over the majority of fan support.

Gary Bettman finally gets fired, and despite hiring Wayne Gretzky as commissioner, it was too little too late. The following season, Sidney Crosby leaves the Tampa Bay Lightning to defect to the HHL, and the NHL's fate is sealed. With only southern teams (and a few northern expansions), the NHL declares bankruptcy after 3 more seasons of poorly played hockey and Stanley Cup losses. The HHL takes over, a 16 team league, playing the best hockey in over 50 years, dominates the North American landscape, and within 10 years of the NHL's demise, surpasses both the NBA and MLB in ratings.

Could it happen? I doubt it, a series of perfect events would have to coincide with court cases going in favor of the teams...but it's an interesting thought, no?

For Sci-Fi Channel Canada, I'm John Baranowski, Signing off.

Buffalo Sabres: Nine Losses in a Row and a Free Agent Waiting to Happen

I've been quite the staunch supporter of the Buffalo Sabres, but lately I'm beginning to take a step back and analyze why I've supported the organization. The basis for my support is no longer in the fold anymore, after finding that it was the players that made me excited to watch this team. Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, J.P. Dumont, Jay McKee, Mike Peca, Curtis Brown, Stu Barnes...and the list goes on.

This year, the name that can be put out there as the more appealing player to the fans is Brian Campbell. This young man will likely find himself suffering the demise of what many famed Sabres have in the past. His contract is running out at this season's end. He will then become an unrestricted free agent. What does an unrestricted free agent and Buffalo usually have in common? They, of course, don't make efforts to makes deals until it's too late. As I write this, he remains unsigned, the Sabres have lost 9 games in a row, three of the last being shootout losses. You can't make the playoffs by losing every game in a shootout for the point from now until the end of the season. Last year, the 90+ point range was needed to push into the playoffs, and with that in mind, the Sabres are looking at missing the playoffs after finishing out the best two seasons in their franchise history in a row. How does a team go from being on top after the lockout and come within inches from the Stanley Cup finals by appearing the Eastern Conference finals two years in a row, and now become a team barely looking to make playoffs? I think I have an answer...

Maybe it's time we take a look on the inside for this one. Larry Quinn and Darcy Regier are not the flashy, gutsy pairing duo that will go out a try to pick up someone through the trades or even through signing their own. Can you imagine if Alex Ovechkin was with the Sabres? Of course not. Why? Because if he were on the team this year, and being it the last on his contract, the Sabres' managing partners would wait until he became unrestricted before throwing out numbers to him. No more playing poker with the future of this team. You go to the conference finals twice in a row, 100+ point seasons twice as well, and then you lose the core of the success to free agency due to inactivity. It's time for a change Buffalo. Regier and Quinn must be held accountable for placing us in this situation. Vanek isn't producing and is way over-paid, Afinogenov needs to get traded for consistent talent, and leadership is needed from a strong veteran due to Teppo Numminen's no-longer anticipated return. Act now Darcy and Larry, or you may want to begin packing up.

~The Rant Man~

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Show 2: In Studio

From Friday January 11th, in studio, video podcast, blah blah blah, FUN!

Just kidding. Check out the real first podcast that gives you all the info and can only be seen here on the video podcast! So, check us out!

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Show 1: Promo and Look Ahead

This show is just a glimpse into the future of what kind of programming you'll see with this new and upcoming show.

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Welcome...from the other guy

I'm John Baranowski, Co-Host of Hockey Week in Review, and if you're reading this, I congratulate you. This is a new show on HurstTV Channel 19 in Erie, PA, and we're hoping you'll watch. Times and day of the week will be posted as soon as the 2008 broadcast schedule is released. Until then, keep looking here for everything.

The pilot is filmed and was on TV before Christmas break, and an edited down version of that will be posted here in the coming days. The set is sparse, the info is a little old, but our comments aren't too shabby for a first time, so watch and get a taste of what we're all about.

If you have any comments, good or bad (but hopefully constructive ones), email us at and we'll read them, and perhaps even address them in the next show. So take a look around and wear a hardhat, this is still a construction area. yinz come back here real soon, ya hear?

Welcome to the Hockey Week evolution!

Ahhhh, a first post. That's always a good thing to say because now I can be excused of making a horrible impression from the get-go. "Oh, it's only their first crack at it." That's what I hope you'll be saying...well, not really.

Anyway, welcome to our page first off. For those of you who are fortunate to tune in and catch us on Erie TV, glad to have you reading along. We're doing a lot with what John and I have going. Video podcast, Television, and blogging are the three things we have to offer you all. So, iTunes, Time Warner Cable, and Blogger are our plugs. We leave it open forum for all to interject their opinions and views on issues and happenings in the hockey world. Plus, we'd LOVE feedback on what you think of what we're doing. It's not just John and I putting this together, but we let the audience help us make this endeavor what it is.

So, lots to talk about. Posts, video podcasts, and weekly shows on Erie TV all happening real soon. So, stayed tuned and in touch.

Let us know what you want to see, hear, and read about! Questions, comments, and suggestions can all be sent to

~Rant Man~