Sunday, September 28, 2014

Are you ready for some hockey?

I will admit I don't have the same copious amounts of time that I used to for devoting to my love of hockey.  When I can I do and that is just how it is right now.
The draft was a cool experience.  It was great to see fans from all around the league and it was ok to wear other jerseys.  There was not much to photograph in a way so I left it to be as is an event sans photos.  Plus that is one more thing in my list of events down.
I am ready for hockey to start and to watch it everyday if I want to watch.

Also I am making a plea for someone to please sign Danny Syvret.  AHL camps open this week.  I hope some team somewhere gives him a chance.  My roadtrip planning depends on him being signed somewhere driveable please.

Ok talk to you all soon and hopefully more regularly.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I am a slacker and I admit it

I truly have failed at keeping this blog up to date.  I still stand by my last post.  I hope in the new Hextall era of the Flyers that we see great improvement.  Also for my Flames I think Brian Burke took his time to find the right guy to be the GM.  Having to move the AHL team again choosing a more central spot like Glens Falls is a win too.

I am going to the NHL draft next weekend in Philadelphia.  It should be a great experience to see many new players join NHL teams.  I hope there is excitement other than just drafting players.  I think the trading market has been a bite quiet it should heat up in the next week.

Here are some links for pictures if you missed them on my Flickr.

10/29/13 Ducks at Flyers

11/1/13 Capitals at Flyers

12/23/13 Wild at Flyers

1/28/14 Red Wings at Flyers

2/1/14 Bears at Phantoms

2/8/14 Flames at Flyers

2/22/14 Sound Tigers at Phantoms

3/24/14 Kings at Flyers

3/28/14 Springfield Falcons at Hartford Wolfpack

3/29/14 Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Hartford Wolfpack

3/30/14 Hartford Wolfpack at Bridgeport Sound Tigers

4/13/14 Carolina Hurricanes at Philadelphia Flyers

Ok that makes us all caught up right now.  Look for post draft post and pictures.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Armchair GM

First let me say my intention back in July was to shut this off completely.  I rethought that and am keeping this up and open.  I have a secondary blog that will cover broader topics but we are going to keep this strictly the place for me for hockey.

I had a little road trip on Saturday.  I went to Hershey, PA to see the Wolf Pack take on the Bears.  If you would like to look at the pictures they are here.

On my little road trip this weekend the discussion with my fellow trippers was what would we do to fix the Flyers.  This topic is the inspiration for my post.  Yes, I have not nor will I ever be a professional hockey player.  I may never work in hockey either.  What I do have is years in business and tons of hockey watching experiences.  I know a few weeks ago When Mr Snider was asked if a culture change was needed he said that the Flyers did not need a culture change.  I would agree.  Not a culture but a philosophy change.

Hockey today as we all know is big business.  It is important in business to have a plan.  Not just one plan but many and the plan needs to have room for changes in market conditions.

I think that is where the Flyers have gone astray.  They did not calculate for changes in market conditions.  Both financial markets and hockey markets.  Flyers have always spent generously on their teams.  They have also always employed former Flyers.  I have no problem with the taking care of your own practice.  I think it is commendable and one of the reasons hockey differentiates itself from other sports.

What the Flyers need is plans not just for this season but 3, 5 and 10 years from now.  In this salary cap environment you are not always going to be able to trade for the pieces you want when you want them.  Flyers need to look at what the team will need to look like 5-10 years from now and draft for that future.  Not just draft for that future but be willing to take time and money to develop that future.  This means greater resources for scouting and player development.  I think the Flyers have taken steps towards this but it needs to look more concrete than it does now.  Have succession plans in place for every position.  Let these pieces grow together in the AHL have time to become a team and learn to win together.  It is about chemistry and time.  If a piece is not working as well fix that in the AHL do not wait until he is supposed to be in your starting NHL lineup.

The Flyers need to stop chasing the current Stanley Cup Champions style.  They need to create their own identity and stick with that plan.  This is our style this is our way of playing.  Yes you will have to make minor adjustments based on your opponent but keep one style.  Either be finesse or be the bullies. To me the Flyers have always been blue collar work ethic.  When you scout players to sign and draft players need to echo that blue collar attitude when they come to play.  They need to "be happy to be here".  Blue collar work ethics to me also include grit and toughness.  Or as a coined phrase of a famous GM "Truculence".

Toughness does not mean oh you want the bullies.  No I want the guy who plays for the guy next to him and has his back when it counts.  If that means I have to throw down then so be it.  I need to be able to go to war for these guys that are here with me.

Now that Blue Collar thing that is not limited to a certain play style.  You could have all kinds of players that meet that standard.  You just need to find the type of system that works the best in today's NHL.  Something with crisp passing and constant movement seems to be the answer.

Going back to drafting you are going to need more scouts.  Scouts will need to go where other scouts are not going to look for those hidden gems.  I think there are more Matt Read's out there waiting to be happened upon.  The nice thing about players like that is you can sign them with out drafting.  This may need to be done for some time until you regain some of the picks that have been given away so often in the past.

I think scouting needs to be a combination of stats and intangible things.  You need stats to identify who you want to see in person.  Are they the real deal?  Just because they have stats does not mean they have that blue collar effort you are seeking.  You are going to have to meet with the player and those around them to find out for sure.

I also feel the NHL and hockey in general would benefit from trying to find more players overall.  Make hockey more affordable to more kids to give you a larger sample size to pull future talent from.  Invest in the future of hockey.  Some of that takes place in bits and pieces but could you imagine if team grew their players from pee wee?  Years and years together with the same message and system.  Could be an amazing experience.  

That is my take on the armchair GM.  Sorry for the manifesto approach I am just tired of seeing the same mess year in and year out.  Yes the Flyers are competitive.  The goal is to win a Stanley Cup.  If you do not have a crafted blue print for now and the future that dream will always be just that a dream.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

What a slacker I am....

I think that the reason I have slacked on this blog is mostly that I know this gig is not my path.  Once I came to that conclusion it makes it hard to post here.  Do not get me wrong I love hockey.  I love sharing my passion of hockey with others.  Yet we all can't be hockey blogs, media, and commentators.  There are other roles in life out there that need to be fulfilled. 
What I am is a hockey fan.  I am not the wildest or most dedicated I fall somewhere in between all of that. 
Would I love give back more to my hockey community through coaching or some other contribution absolutely!
Right now it is just not happening. 

With all that said I am going to shut this down and start over with someplace that is more me and not solely hockey related. 
Thank you everyone for reading and I hope to see you continue to follow my exploits and pictures. 

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

NHL Hockey is back

Welcome back hockey fans!

I am glad the lockout is over for the NHL.  The one thing that I have found to be disingenuous lately is the use of the #hockeyisback.  I think you the readers know that this space is not just dedicated to my two NHL teams but their AHL affiliates, the local ECHL teams, and pretty much anything hockey related.  The lockout gave us more coverage of those lower tiered leagues as well of the European leagues where so many NHL players fled to play while the lockout was happening.  This was so nice to not have to scour the internet for some of this information.  It was a luxury.  Yet saying #Hockeyisback to me would apply all hockey seasons regardless of league.  Only the NHL had the late start everyone else went on as expected.  Let's use #NHLhockeyisback instead ok. 

The other part of the lockout the fans were disrespected in all of this that it was expected hockey fans would come back more than ever and spend more money than ever.  It seems the NHL had that right.  I would say that I am greatly disappointed in the number of people that have gone and done that. Especially after so many were so angry about the lockout and the lack of negotiations and other posturing.  I am as happy as anyone to have top level hockey back on a daily basis.  I am not purchasing any NHL gear this season and most likely next season.  I boycotted the home opener.  I don't even go to a game until February.  I will spend as little as possible when I go to games meaning concessions only if there is no other choice.  As long as fans continue to throw more and more money at the NHL the more things like this season's lockout will continue to occur.  I hope that people realize that we the fans to quote That Detroit Red Wings Executive  are "the cattle" just like the players are to them.  The fans even more so as people's jubilant response to hockey being back shows them they are able to do this whenever and make more money each time because of it. 

Ok a little hockey talk then.  Flyers are 1-3.  Yes a win helps to make things easier and the Flyers are a bit banged up already.  I would say if they continue loosing at such a pace to look for a coach change to occur.  The signs are all there in place with Terry Murray coaching the Phantoms.  Be prepared Flyers fans be prepared. 
Flames still have that 2nd period problem.  I guess it wasn't the coach then huh?  Hopefully now they have a few games played that will work itself out.  Glad to see Kipper in true January form over October form.
Knights, Phantoms, & Heat all just keep rolling.  Hopefully good things will happen for all of them. 

My first game this hockey season will be February 9th.  Check back afterwards for updates and pictures.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

How are you surviving without hockey?

The title of this blog is the question I am asked the most on a daily basis.  Those that know me well know I eat, breathe, sleep, dream and anything else you can think of about hockey. 
My answer to the question is that I am fine there is plenty of hockey to watch.  Now I will say right now on the nights I have class I miss west coast games the most.  To me the best way to unwind the day is at least a period of hockey watching.  If I am not home til 10 that is a little bit difficult these days.
Things that I find hopefully for hockey fans these days is the KHL on ESPN.  I watch a game today.  It was so nice to see hockey on my TV.  Plus not just the Ovechkin and Malkin on the ice but former Flyer Dennis Tolpeko.  The KHL is kind of a who's who of  lost hockey players to me in the little bit I have watched. 
The AHL season also officially started.  The Abbotsford Heat took their weekend series and the Adirondack Phantoms split their weekend.  Tj Brodie and Danny Syvret back in action, not much more pleasant a time then that.  I was excited to hear AHL games on my Xm radio.  Just wasn't all the games I wanted to hear.  Progress is progress though and I won't knock a bit of it. 
I do fine irony in the Flyers now providing more coverage to the Phantoms while the Flames have been pretty consistent on coverage. 
I guess just different strategies. 
Well take care for now and good hockey. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Its been quite a while......

Yes I know I have become a slacker when it comes to this blog. 
This is a hockey blog.  There is no NHL season.  That doesn't mean that hockey has died.  Hockey is alive and well in many places worldwide. The NHL players are skipping town in most cases and giving us a world hockey education in the process.  If the time change is too much to handle in watching the KHL, Elitserien, SM-Liiga then there are plenty of leagues right here. 
You have ECHL, AHL, CHL, FHL, NCAA all as choices of hockey to watch.
 With the NHL being closed for business your top league is going to be the AHL.  Tickets in most of these teams are much more reasonable in price than their NHL counterparts.  The atmosphere is generally very kid friendly.  Many teams do special nights geared specifically for kids. Plus the hockey is still pretty good.  The overrall bonus is that you get to know some future players for your NHL team which could help you in fantasy hockey down the road.
The next level down is the ECHL.  This level will also have some of your NHL teams prospects and many who are just trying to work their way up to the show.  I have seen some really good ECHL games and some really bad ECHL games.  This level is much more likely to be a brawl filled game.  Their existing fan bases are quite passionate as well.  Still very worth watching and highly recommended. 
Then the next pro level is the FHL.  This tends to be more regional in focus.  For me this is close.  There may be another similarly leveled league close to you.  These guys aren't playing at this level for the money.  Truly the ones working hard to get just up to the next level. 
The hockey isn't bad the fighting is frequent.  These games can be highly entertaining. 
Then you go to amateur levels such as the CHL and NCAA.  Canadian Junior hockey is great.  Often you can watch their games online and it is truly exciting.  Sometimes it can be a bit rough but you will definitely enjoy seeing these young guys leave it all on the ice.  College hockey can go either way.  Some teams are club vs being an actual sport for a particular school.  Most programs the teams are decent and can help those in need of a hockey fix. 

Truly I am disappointed as an NHL fan that this lockout is happening.  My gut feeling is that this will be a lost season.  I can understand it from the players perspective.  They are not the types to roll over and play dead.  These are the guys we root for night after night year after year.  They are tough.  Many seem to have planned in advance where they would pick up some money this season to wait things out.  The players were prepared this time to go toe to toe with the commissioner and his tactics.  We the fans are just bystanders in all this battle.  We have a voice too.  Except that is not what either side will listen to, our voices.  What really and truly gets their attention is revenue.  That is right the money.  My recommendation is to spend less money on the NHL if and when it returns.  Do not buy gear.  Do not buy full season ticket plans.  Do not get center ice.  This is what will get their attention.  If we do not all do this as a hockey fan community what is happening right now will happen over and over and over again because the owners think that it doesn't matter if they lock their players out our fans are loyal and they always come back.  The owners see us as easy targets to get money from now and always.  Personally I don't want to be anyone's easy target.  I would rather see my money go to the ECHL & AHL then to continue to give money to the NHL.   We all know how much an empty arena makes a statement.  I think that is the statement we need to make to the NHL if this whole season indeed becomes lost. 

Thanks for visiting. 

I will hopefully have some hockey adventures to AHL cities near and far this season.  Plus maybe a few lower leagues too.