The rich get richer

Let's see. The Pittsburgh Penguins boast one of the NHL's youngest and talented lineups. Now, the team drafts Angelo Esposito in the first round. If this kid lives up to even half of his hype, the Penguins could entertain thoughts of a dynasty in the years to come.



Just a couple thoughts

With all the hockey news that's been taking place over the past few days (Bruins firing Dave Lewis, Senators dumping John Muckler, etc.), the Philadelphia Flyers made the biggest splash. In trading a No. 1 pick to Nashville (the pick came from Nashville in the Peter Forsberg trade) , the Flyers added a quality forward in Scott Hartnell and a solid defenseman in Kimmo Timonen. Philadelphia keeps stockpiling talent, enough to make the Flyers a much more formidable opponent this season.

And, in Beantown

If Bruins fans believe that the hiring of Claude Julien solves all of the team's problems, it's going to be another long season along Causeway Street. Why? It's easy. The lack of sustainable offense, an easy-to-crack defense and a true starting goalie is simply too much for a coach to deal with. I wish Julien (who got a raw deal in New Jersey, if you ask me) the best of luck. He's gonna need it.

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Too hot to handle

On many a bitter cold day in downtown Boston, waiting for a visiting NHL team to board its bus for a morning skate, I'd use mental imagery to chase away the frigid temperatures. Now that I've spent the better part of a day outside, working on one of the Hound Central 2.0 summer projects, I'm thinking it's easier to deal with the cold than it is a muggy 90 degrees.


Sunday morning homily XXVIII

Not only did I nearly miss the "morning" part of this posting, but it'll be pretty brief, so to speak, as well. Between a trip to a boat show (just looking, thanks) and Round 2 of the inaugural water-balloon baseball series, we've got a pretty full day.

Besides, now that the season, save for Thursday's award ceremonies, the June 22 draft and the occasional summer free-agent signings, there's little to occupy a hockey fan's mind.

I'll have my chores, namely chronicling a season's worth of efforts and culling a pile of postings worthy of a future compilation. For the next few weeks, though, I'll be taking a lot of time off from Hound Central 2.0 to concentrate on updated summer projects. Make sure to check out my Baseball Mondays blog, too.

The season-in-review package should come within the next two weeks.

As always, and I'm sincere about this, I appreciate that people take the time, even if only for a couple seconds, to stop by.

Staying connected

Like spaghetti and meatballs, sunscreen at the beach, and Barry Melrose and John Buccigross, there are just some things, or hockey personalities, that belong together.

Take, for instance, the Rochester Americans and the Buffalo Sabres. Given the one-year extension to the NHL's longest-running (29 seasons) farm club affiliation, Buffalo prospects are less than 90 minutes away, give or take a few minutes, from a quick call-up during the 2007-08 season.

How long has this affiliation lasted? A quick count shows 13 out of the 30 NHL clubs have shorter histories than the memories and players shared between the Sabres and Americans:

~ Anaheim Ducks (first season: 1993-94)
~ Atlanta Thrashers (1999-00)
~ Carolina Hurricanes (1979-80, as the Hartford Whalers)
~ Colorado Avalanche (1979-80, as the Quebec Nordiques)
~ Columbus Blue Jackets (2000-01)
~ Edmonton Oilers (1979-80)
~ Florida Panthers (1993-94)
~ Minnesota Wild (2000-01)
~ Nashville Predators (1998-99)
~ Ottawa Senators (1992-93)
~ Phoenix Coyotes (1979, as the Winnipeg Jets)
~ San Jose Sharks (1991-92)
~ Tampa Bay Lightning (1992-93)

Canada does win a cup

It's not the Stanley Cup, but Canadians should take some consolation in the Hamilton Bulldogs winning the Calder Cup. Behind MVP goalie Carey Price, picked fifth overall by Montreal in the 2005 draft, the Bulldogs bested the defending champion Hershey Bears, 4-1, for the American Hockey League title.

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Hockey withdrawal

Less than two days after Anaheim wins the Stanley Cup and I'm bumbling around the house wondering what there is to do. Training camp is months away. It's hard, too, to get excited about the upcoming draft. I suppose, then, that I should start putting away some pucks.


Hockey Word Association 1.17

Now that the 2006-07 NHL season is over, and Lord Stanley's cup is bound for the Left Coast, we'll bring a close to these word-association drills.

So, until September, feel free to keep your mind sharp with these offerings:

1.) Anaheim Ducks =
2.) Scott Niedermayer =
3.) Ottawa Senators =
4.) Teemu Selanne =
5.) Training camp =

And, as always, thanks for playing.

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The mighty, mighty Ducks

Congratulations to the Anaheim Ducks for winning their first Stanley Cup last night with a decisive 6-2 victory over Ottawa. From the season's earliest days, the Ducks have been one of the elite teams. Now we know why. This team was too good and too deep not to win.

As much as I wanted to see the Buffalo Sabres win the Cup this year, I'll take some satisfaction from Anaheim's win. Having watched Anaheim's young stars Ryan Getzlaf, Dustin Penner and Corey Perry, as well as teammates Kent Huskins and Ryan Shannon, play for the Portland Pirates, the Ducks' farm club in the past, it was easy to make a connection.

It was also nice to see Teemu Selanne win his first Cup. Each year, it seems like one of the league's elder statesmen (isn't that a better phrase that grizzled veteran?) caps a career by taking a lap or two with Lord Stanley's cup.

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Daddy must be proud

Chris Bourque, son of NHL Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, scored in Hershey's 4-2 victory over Hamilton last night, earning a home-ice split after two games of the Calder Cup finals. The series heads to Ontario, with three games through Thursday. The Bears, the Washington Capitals' farm club, are the defending Calder Cup champs.

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Sunday morning homily XXVII

Though it's not exactly what I'd call contributing to the delinquency of a minor, I'll be introducing my son, Colin, to one of the best Southern rock bands later today -- .38 Special. Granted, the band doesn't have the catalogs of, say, Lynyrd Skynrd or the Allman Brothers Band. But many of the band's songs take me back to my first tour of duty in Florida, during the 1980s. And, for me, that's enough.

This afternoon's concert, at the Taste of Pinellas event at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, should prove to be a classic father-son moment. Given my ability to recall lyrics from many hits of the 1980s (a miracle, considering the nearly constant state of befuddlement I enjoyed back then) and Colin's love of music, we should have one heckuva time.

.38 Special isn't the only band that I've foisted upon the Goofy Dude. He sings along with songs by U2, Cheap Trick, John Mellencamp, Bob Seger, Johnny Cash and the Highwaymen. Sure, he listens to some of today's music, but we always make a connection through the bands of my, uh, younger years.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me, either. Because I was raised by my grandparents, I grew up listening to Big Band music as well as country & western. I'm just as apt to listen to Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Eddy Arnold and Charlie Pride as I would AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Rush or, for that matter, K.C. and the Sunshine Band.

As a father, part of my job is to teach my son. That task, I believe, goes far beyond right from wrong. Just as important, it's making connections like today's concert that will hopefully last a lifetime. And if he gains an appreciation for the classics, so to speak, all that much better.

Mile-wide mean streak

First it was Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom. Now, it's Ottawa's Dean McAmmond. It seems that Anaheim's Chris Pronger has a hard time keeping his elbows away from opponents' melons. Following Saturday night's nasty hit, I'll be curious as to whether any Ottawa player, be it Chris Neil or , even, Ray Emery, will have the cojones to challenge Pronger. We'll see Monday night, won't we?

Summer projects update

~ Some time ago, I wrote that I'd use my free time to put away a half-season's worth of hounding efforts. So far, all I've put away have been about 200 cards. All those pucks remain atop the display cases. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get to them this week.

~ Then again, I've started work on another project. Given that I've made nearly 500 posts over the season, I've started culling some of my better efforts for the possible publishing of a book. Though anything definitive is still weeks away, I do have a working title -- Goal Posts.



Ask any Bruins fan ...

... what they think of Mike Sullivan's abilities behind an NHL bench and you'll receive a less-than-favorable response. Now that the Lightning has ignored my advice (like they even know who I am) and hired him as an assistant coach, Tampa Bay fans will have to live with this decision.

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Sid's no longer a Kid

Though I'd hoped that the Penguins would allow Sidney Crosby even more time to mature, Pittsburgh named him as team captain for the upcoming season, making him the youngest ever in NHL history to wear the "C." Seeing that he already bears the burden of a sport, nation and RBK Hockey upon his shoulders, assuming the leadership role on this relatively young squad should come naturally.

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