Closing Time

The greatest trophy in all of sports has once again been lifted. This year, by the LA Kings.

Talk about one hell of a way to win the Stanley Cup. Alec Martinez coming in the clutch AGAIN with the series-clinching goal, just like he did against the Blackhawks.

Alec Martinez

In all sincerity, congratulations to the LA Kings. That win was beyond well-deserved, especially considering the hole they dug themselves out of in the first round.

Forgot about that already? Logan Couture sure didn’t.

But at the end of the day, no matter what team you’re rooting for, the greatest sight every year is watching the Stanley Cup being hoisted over the head of the team captain and his teammates’. There is no emotion more pure than in that moment, and it’s special to watch. (Even from at home, on the couch.)

Then, there was the super heart-warming scene when Darryl Sutter’s son, Chris, got to raise the Stanley Cup; it was the highlight of the entire night. Also, since the entire LA Kings team considers Chris as their brother, it made it all the more special.

Chris Sutter Raises Stanley Cup

It’s all of these moments added up together that make me love being a hockey fan, even when it stresses me out. I have never seen celebrations year after year where the players excitement slowly dulls, simply because it is what they had worked so hard for their entire lives. The Stanley Cup is described to be the most difficult trophy to win, and seeing player’s reactions after winning it supports that theory.

Even if they’ve won it before, it’s still pretty special. We saw that last year with the Blackhawks.

And to be honest, I’m totally looking forward to seeing what Dustin Brown’s kids do with the Stanley Cup this summer. In case you forgot, they blew chocolate milk bubbles  in 2012.

Season after season, this is what 30 teams are attempting to win. For their moment of glory and a place in history. Season after season, fans hope that “this year” is the year when their team is the only one left standing. (And to see awesome moments like this.)

But no matter who is left standing, watching the Stanley Cup be hoisted is the perfect closure to each season. It’s the ultimate sign that the following day, all 30 teams are heading back to the drawing board for the next season.

So here’s to the LA Kings: 2014 Stanley Cup Champions.

(via King Doughty tumblr)

Especially Jonathan Quick for this gem. He’s seriously representing our home state, Connecticut, so well.

But also, here’s to the countdown til next season. Does anyone have an official countdown yet? I could really use it.

The American (Un)-Hero

So at this point if you don’t know who T.J. Oshie is, then you’re clearly not a United States citizen. Or you potentially live under a rock.

this should be the background on every phone in the nation. it is on mine.

If these facts are true of you, here is yesterday’s unbelievable shootout between Team USA and Team Russia. Or T.J. Oshie versus Sergei Bobrovsky. Whichever sounds more appealing to you.

USA v. Russia Olympic 2014 Shootout

But don’t call him an American hero. He’ll just tell you otherwise.

oshie hero tweet

There’s nothing more amazing when a newly made hero humbly deflects this new-found attention and stardom. I mean, T.J. Oshie is now a common household name here in the States. If hockey was not something you were interested in before, his going 4 for 6 on the shootout has made you 110% invested in the remainder of the Olympic tournament.

Now that you’re all T.J. Oshie fans, here are some of his top moments from his NHL career.

First NHL shootout attempt.

Luongo no longer feels bad about this happening.

T.J. has also beat his USA teammate, goalie Jonathan Quick, one-on-one a few times.

Then, when you think he decided to show-boat, he doesn’t, because T.J. couldn’t be more of a down-to-Earth, humble guy.

oshie tweet

Thanks for being perfect! As if I needed any more heart break!

If you don’t catch my drift, the 27-year-old is recently engaged and about to become a daddy. Al Michael’s made it a point to awkwardly bring that up at the end of his post-game interview yesterday.

T.J. Oshie Post Game Interview

Oh! In case you weren’t completely aware of this either, Oshie amd Jonathan Toews attended the University of North Dakota together. Yeah, they were on the same college hockey team. Can you imagine the parties? Well, kinda.

Best part: They’re still friends.

Ok, back to the Olympics.

don’t forget Quick’s unreal play as well

Whether he wants to be called a hero or not, T.J. Oshie is officially an American icon and will forever be remembered for his unbelievable shootout performance.

You all should be hardcore Team USA fans and cheer them on when they play in the quarterfinals in a few days.

Preview: Sochi 2014

In a few weeks the Olympic hockey team rosters are due.

Team USA and Team Canada have quite a bit up in the air and the players haven’t been making their roster decisions any easier. We’ve decided to take a little look at some of the players around the league that may (or may not) have a chance at making it to Sochi.

Team USA

Goalies:

Ryan Miller

While not playing as well this season as he has in the past, Miller has made the saves that he’s had to make. He’s currently at the top of our list for making the team given that there really isn’t anyone else that is stepping up for the spot. And after all, he’s just so damn American.

Jonathan Quick

A groin strain has had Quick out for a while and the Kings are being relatively vague about how much longer until he’ll be playing again. At the beginning of the season he was USA’s number one choice, so if he can get back out on the ice in time there’s a chance that he could still be considered… but most likely not.

There are obviously other goalies that are being considered such as Ben Bishop and Jimmy Howard. With Howard’s recent injury that’s going to have him out for 2-4 weeks there’s no telling what Team USA is going to end up doing. They’re going to have to consider not only who’s the most skilled but who’s going to be the healthiest and in best shape when it comes to game time. (No I didn’t forget about Timothy Thomas… I just don’t want to talk about him).

Defense:

Team USA is going to look at getting defenseman that work well together as pairs and not necessarily players who are good individually. There are a lot of options out there for Team USA to choose from so pulling players that already have chemistry is going to be where they start from.

Ryan Suter

As a veteran on Team USA, Suter is going to play a big role at Sochi. You’ll find him leading the teams defense and most likely getting the most time defensively on the ice.

Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin

While both of these players are currently out with injuries, there’s no way that you can count them off Team USA’s roster. If there’s any chance that they will be healthy by the Olympics, Poile is going to make sure that they’re going to be making the trip.

Some other players that have a good chance of making team USA on defense are John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Jack Johnson, and Erik Johnson. Young players like Torey Krug and Seth Jones are most likely being considered as well.

Forwards:

When it comes down to deciding which forwards will make the roster there isn’t much controversy. It’s going to be the last few spots that are going to be a tough decision for Poile. Some of the men that have a pretty solid chance at making the roster are Zach Parise, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Kane, Phil, Kessel, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Callahan and Dustin Brown.

David Backes

Our favorite goon of a forward that is most likely headed off to Sochi is the David Backes. A mysterious upper-body injury that forced him to leave the game on Thursday against the Senators hopefully won’t hamper his opportunity.

Team Canada

Goalies:

Carey Price

As expected, Price is doing an alright job with the Montreal Canadiens so far this season. He currently has a record of 15-10-2, save percentage of .935 and a goals against average of 2.00. He has the potential to be the teams starter, but thank goodness back-ups are a thing.

Roberto Luongo

Luongo has been playing better as of late, but his overall stats are no better than those of Price’s. With a record of 16-8-5, save percentage of .921 and goals against average of 2.19, it’s going to be a tough decision for Coach Mike Babcock to decide who will be Team Canada’s net-minder. However, the positive is that he was the starting goaltender in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Oddly enough, Marc-Andre Fleury may potentially be an option for Team Canada as well since he currently leads the league in wins with 18. However, Steve Yzerman has some tough choices because Braden Holtby, Mike Smith, and Corey Crawford were also invited to camp this past summer. None of these choices are outstanding, but they’re all a solid choices for the team.

Defense:

Duncan Keith

Keith currently has 28 assists and 30 points in 36 games. He can quarterback a powerplay and shut down the oppositions offensive threats. He would be a perfect fit for Team Canada.

Shea Weber

Most famously known for having the second hardest slapshot in the world (next to Zdeno Chara of course), he is a strong stay-at-home defenseman that Team Canada will need if there are going to be some offensive defensmen on the roster as well.

Kristopher Letang

When he is in the Penguins line up, he is a difference maker seeing as he quarterbacks their powerplay and also is not afraid to jump into the offensive rush. However, he is currently on the IR with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Meaning there is room for guys like, Drew Doughty, Brent Seabrook, and Alex Pietrangelo.

Forwards:

Jonathan Toews

Since the 2010 Olympics, Toews has done nothing but impress. Winning two Stanley Cups and taking home the Selke Award for Best Defensive Forward, proving that he is capable of leading teams to championships and being a great two-way player that is key to every teams success.

Mike Richards

Another strong, aggressive player who is excellent on the penalty kill as well as the power play. He’s proven his ability to win at all levels with having a Stanley Cup, World Junior Championship, and was a member of the 2010 gold medal winning Team Canada.

Sidney Crosby

Since he was Mr. Golden Goal back in Vancouver and is currently leading the league with 47 points I suppose I have to put him on the list. He is the first layer of the offensive threat that Canada is going to be able to bring.

There are many other options available to Steve Yzerman like Chris Kunitz, Matt Duchene, Patrice Bergeron, and John Tavares to name a few.