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David Puddy

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Posts posted by David Puddy

  1. And baseball's totally different because defensive positioning is relatively rigid, so that doesn't even matter.

    My problem with this whole thing is Bettman doesn't seem to understand that the puck going in the net is not the exciting part. It is what happens to get that puck in the net... or even the near miss. It is the SCORING CHANCE, not the GOAL that makes a play exciting.

  2. I'm definitely getting an authentic this summer, and I can't decide whose name and number to get on it. I've narrowed it down to a shortlist of five candidates:







    If you can't help, feel free to tell me what name and number you're wearing on your jersey.

  3. Anyway, the great players have always been able to break down the D. Just watched the '91 highlights on ESPN Classic today, and that goal where Lemieux broke through 2 defenders then deked Casey to score was AMAZING! Increasing the net size doesn't suddenly increase offensive ability, which is what makes certain goals more exciting than others.

  4. Here's the main problem with making the nets bigger:


    So, more goals will be scored. BUT THEY WILL BE CHEAP GOALS. Making the goals bigger will not give skill/finesse a chance to make more creative goal scoring plays. That would make the game more exciting, not pucks that would usually hit the post suddenly going in.

  5. Resizing the nets is a dumb idea. The size of the nets -- 6 feet by 4 feet -- is standard throughout ALL levels of hockey, from 4 year olds to NHL.

    Force the goalies to use smaller equipment. That's a better solution.

    Or how about this: Change to roller hockey rules. 4-on-4, no icing, blue lines, and red lines. Roller hockey games regularly have scores like 12-8. That'll be awesome.

    (Does anyone think Bettman just hates Brodeur and doesn't want him to break Sawchuk's shutout record?)

  6. Devils Think Goals Are Big Enough, Thanks

    Joe LaPointe


    (registration required)

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 27 - Before the Devils defeated the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 3-0, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals tonight at Continental Arena, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman absorbed the verbal slap shots, wrist shots and backhanders of the news media.

    The gist of the interrogation was what to do about all the low scores and formatted patterns that have drained some excitement and creativity from the sport during this defensive era.

    One possible solution, Bettman suggested, would be to increase the size of the nets. Under the current dimensions, there are six feet between posts and the crossbar is four feet off the ice.

    "At some point, it might get more serious discussion," Bettman said. "Then again, it might not." Had the idea been immediately implemented, Petr Sykora of the Ducks would have given Anaheim a 1-0 lead early in the first period. Instead, his slap shot from the top of the left-wing circle hit the post to the glove side of Devils goalie Martin Brodeur.

    That is as close as the Ducks came to scoring in a tepid effort in which they generated only 16 shots on goal. The game's goal total was even less than average in this tournament, which is 4.7 a game, down from 4.8 last spring.

    During the regular season, goals a game went up from an average of 5.2 to 5.3.

    Bettman said that he and Colin Campbell, an N.H.L. executive vice president, had talked casually about enlarging the size of the nets but that no formal plan had been drawn up to present to general managers or the league's board of governors.

    "It has been a whimsical musing," Bettman said of their discussions, although others who work in the N.H.L. office indicated that the idea has been talked about in a serious vein.

    Other discussions about the scoring issue include eliminating the center red line in offside passes and limiting the height of goalie pads. Bettman said it was a conversation about the size of goalie equipment that led to the idea of expanding the size of the net.

    Tonight's game evolved much like many games in these playoffs - with caution and with both teams waiting patiently to capitalize on mistakes. The Ducks were outplayed, perhaps in part because they had been idle for more than 10 days after sweeping Minnesota, and perhaps because they were awed at their first appearance in the finals.

    For the Devils, it is their fourth visit in nine seasons; they are seeking their third championship. Devils Coach Pat Burns said of the Ducks: "You could see they had a bit of rust on the blades."

    The Ducks scored only nine goals in their four victories over the Wild. Some of their forwards are small and not known for aggressiveness, so the Devils came out hitting. In the first period, Jim McKenzie took a penalty for charging Jason Krog and Colin White went off for cross-checking Sykora.

    In the second period, Pascal Rh

  7. Ducks must be better in Game 2

    ESPN's hockey analysts break down Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals between the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and the New Jersey Devils:


    Barry Melrose

    I loved the Devils. They looked fresher than the Ducks, believe it or not, and they're coming off of a tough seven-game series with Ottawa. Even without Joe Nieuwendyk, and Turner Stevenson in the lineup, the Devils looked faster, hungrier and much more prepared. Patrik Elias made a great play on the Grant Marshall goal. Jeff Friesen knows Jean-Sebastien Giguere, they played together in Anaheim, and he knows you have to go upstairs on Giguere and he did just that -- and I think you'll see the Devils continue to shoot high in the next game. The Ducks definitely looked rusty after 10 days off. They've been very good on draws, but they were terrible on draws in their own zone, one of which resulted in a goal. Giguere kicked out a lot of rebounds and one of those resulted in a goal, and that just doesn't happen to the Ducks. It was by far the worst game they've played in the playoffs. They'll be better the next game, no doubt about it. The Ducks will regroup -- they know they weren't sharp -- and Giguere wasn't happy with his performance. He'll be ready for the next game as well.

    Darren Pang

    I thought New Jersey did an excellent job of crowding Jean-Sebastien Giguere -- there were bodies in front, he lost his stick a couple of times, it looked like he lost a little balance. But he still kept the Ducks in the game -- when the shots were 25-8, it was still a 1-0 hockey game. I think he'll make the adjustment. I think he'll work on tightening up his stance and his crease movement, and I think, as a team, he's got to be really disappointed with the way they played. On that second goal, I don't think he was out of position, he thought the puck was in his arm. I think he was shocked to find that the puck wasn't between the side of his body and his arm -- and then he was out of position to stop Grant Marshall on the second attempt. But, he made a great save on the first shot. There were several situations where he ended up over moving, and he won't be happy with that, but that's an adjustment that's easy to make. He makes adjustments very well. He's not happy with flamboyant saves, he's happy with efficient saves. He's going to want to tighten things up.

    It's never difficult for Martin Brodeur. I've never seen a guy that can handle 8 shots or 40 shots the way that he can handle it. I found he kept himself in the game, he was still very good with the puck in front of the net, he took a stick high early in the game from Jason Krog. It was inadvertent, but it hurt him. And after that he did a really good job of protecting his net. He wasn't heavily tested, obviously, but he stays in the game somehow. I don't know how he does it. It's a remarkable ability to have.

    Bill Clement

    I saw the Devils playing textbook Devils hockey, right on top of their game, doing all the things they need to do to win. And I saw the Mighty Ducks not looking anything like the team that I saw in every playoff game up until now. They were extremely sloppy, the cobwebs, the rust, all of that stuff. We'll see if that was the cause of it, because in Game 2 they've got to be way better. Their mental decisions on the ice, they pinched and got caught. The odd-man rushes against were just atrocious; I lost count of the times they positioned themselves on the wrong side of the redline to create a two-line pass against themselves. There was just nothing cohesive about their effort and obviously Giguere looked as bad as he's looked since the regular season.

    The $64 million question is: can they fix this in 24 hours? They have to fix it. And if it was just a matter of the layoff, then yes, they can fix it. But this is the first dose of adversity they've had in the playoffs. They've never trailed in a series, they've opened on the road and they've always won. So, we'll see what they come back with. Now, not only do they have to shake off the cobwebs, they have to understand that they're behind a game early against a really good team.

    Brian Engblom

    I was shocked that the Ducks gave up that many odd-numbered attacks. The playoffs have not been just about J.S. Giguere. He's been brilliant, but this whole team, probably since about Game 2 of the Detroit series, they just shut down everything. They tighten everything up and they don't give up anything. Tonight, they gave away quite a bit.

    Did they lose their game feel? Absolutely. Were they rusty? Oh, yeah. The rust was falling off all over the place because of the out-numbered attacks. They weren't even getting into the offensive part of the game and trying to create, which is usually the first part of the game to go when you're rusty. They say, "Go out and be creative" but how do you do that when you've lost your feel for the game?

    On the other side, when you're not feeling well about yourself and your ability to make plays, you draw back and try to win a game 1-0 and steal a game. They weren't able to do that. There were breakdowns all over the place. There were breakaways from the blueline. There were two-on-ones. They lost their game, and it showed right through to Giguere. I thought that the Ducks would be technically better than that, just play solid, nothing fancy, keep the parts tight. But even Giguere -- his emotions were pumping and he lost himself a few times, and for the first time in the playoffs, he looked human.

    The Ducks have to forget about this one for the most part. They have to start identifying situations, identifying what guy likes to do what, identifying who Scott Stevens and Marty Brodeur and Patrik Elias are, getting the feel and getting that match-up set in their heads.

    Ray Ferraro

    I thought Anaheim looked sluggish. They didn't get the loose pucks like they normally do, but I thought New Jersey skated very well and they did a great job cycling the puck offensively in Anaheim's zone. Because the Ducks are in their own zone all the time and they're slow when they get the puck, they're not able to attack. New Jersey made a lot of cross-ice passes that were very good. When they skated, they got out pretty quick. A lot of their stuff comes off of hard work, and they were clearly the harder working team. I thought they were going to miss Joe Nieuwendyk a lot, but I though Sergei Brylin did a great job with Jeff Friesen and Brian Gionta. Gionta looked great skating down the wing and getting a couple of shots. Also, Scott Gomez's line was very good. They created a lot of chances as well. This is one game that Anaheim just has to throw out the window. They have to work harder in Game 2, and I think they'll be able to because they'll have their game legs back. You can practice all you want, but it's just not the same. I expect them to play much better in Game 2.

  8. Ducks lay Devilled egg

    New Jersey dominates Anaheim in Game 1 of Stanley Cup final

    Al Strachan


    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It was much more one-sided than the score would indicate.

    The New Jersey Devils, looking every bit like the confident, experienced team that they tend to be at this time of the year, totally outplayed the Anaheim Mighty Ducks last night to win the opener of the Stanley Cup final "The score could have been a little bit more than it was," Devils coach Pat Burns said.

    "We lacked some finish and (Ducks netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere) made some big saves, too."

    The Ducks, meanwhile, did not look at all like the team that fared so well in the first three series, partly because of their own ineptitude but mostly because the Devils shut them down .

    Even Giguere, who has been virtually technically flawless throughout the playoffs, had his problems. On both goals against him (he was on the bench for a sixth attacker when the final goal was scored), Giguere made the kind of errors he had avoided throughout the post-season.

    The Ducks were playing their first Stanley Cup final game in their 10-year history and their first game in 11 days after sweeping Minnesota in four straight.

    "In all fairness to them, you could see they had a little rust on the blades although, as the game went on, they got better," Burns said. "And as the series goes on, they will get better."

    Mighty Ducks coach Mike Babcock refused to blame the lengthy layoff for his team's performance.

    "A layoff is an excuse," he said.

    "We had a big opportunity here tonight. We didn't execute and they were better. We're not going to use any excuses."

    Jeff Friesen scored twice for the Devils, including the empty-netter, while Grant Marshall added the other.

    For long stretches, especially in the second period, the game appeared to be a total mismatch as the Ducks were unable to mount any hint of offence. When they did manage to get the puck into the New Jersey end, the Devils had little trouble moving it out again.

    Nevertheless, this territorial domination didn't translate itself into similar domination on the scoreboard.

    The Devils did indeed open the scoring in the second period but, considering how one-sided the play had been, the Ducks had to be happy when they found themselves entering the third period down no more than 1-0.

    "I thought the second period the rink was tilted badly," Babcock said. "We had an opportunity going into the third period that we probably hadn't earned."

    Giguere rarely makes a mistake on an angle, but on the game's first goal, he appeared to be anticipating a shot from the middle.

    However, the puck never got that far and when Friesen fired from the spot, he had a lot more open net than Giguere usually allows scorers to see.

    "It was a big goal with Jiggy in there and everybody talking about him," said Friesen, a former Duck.

    "I had a chance to play with him and I know a couple of his tendencies. I was able to get a shot and get a goal."

    After that, the Devils took control and often seemed to be toying with their opponents.

    In the third period, Giguere made another mistake. He thought he had made a save on a Patrik Elias shot and knelt on the ice clutching his gloves to his chest.

    But the puck had bounced out.

    Elias pounced on it and sent it over to Marshall, who slammed it into a yawning net.

    The Devils have no trouble holding on to a lead of that magnitude. In fact, they hold on to leads of any kind. They have now won 26 consecutive playoff games when taking a lead into the third period.

    Martin Brodeur made 16 saves for the shutout. Giguere faced 30 shots, 15 in the second period.

  9. After Rest Stop, Ducks Stall

    Kelly Hrudey


    I was pretty impressed with the way the Ducks started off after that 10-day layoff. In that first period, I was thinking, they were supposed to be rusty, but they played OK. But then, in the second period, they let their guard down. They slid. They forgot how to read situations. Now it may seem silly to some people that would happen to a team after a whole season, but 10 days off is a long time when an organization is thrown into a pressure situation like the Stanley Cup finals.

    Still, I'd rather be rested, even if it means being rusty for one game. Really, it was one bad period based on the inactivity. You just can't reproduce the intensity of a game in practice.

    And New Jersey was there to take advantage, especially on the second goal, scored by Grant Marshall. The focus was on Duck goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and the fact he seemed unaware he had failed to control the puck after blocking the previous shot. That was not the key factor. The key, and again this may go back to the rustiness, was all-around bad communication. The players got complacent when Giguere blocked the shot, thinking everything was over. That's a case of players failing to remember their roles when the puck is in the defensive zone. Once players start chasing the puck and fail to play their positions, the team is doomed. A team will never have any success that way. On the first goal, scored by New Jersey's Jeff Friesen, the Ducks basically fell into little bit of a lull and weren't reading the play very well. Friesen was in perfect position for a one-timer, but instead, he waited, hesitated and threw Giguere off, froze him. That allowed Friesen room on the short side.

    Friesen said he had learned a few things about Giguere when he was a teammate of his on the Ducks. There's something to that. When you face a guy all the time in practice, you pick things up. When Yanic Perreault and I were both members of the Kings, he figured out that my weakness was my glove hand. Then I got to the Sharks and my first game was against the Kings. Perreault scored two goals on me, both over my glove hand. That really annoyed me.

    While Giguere had plenty of work, the Devils' Martin Brodeur faced only 16 shots. That might seem like an easy night for a goalie, but it's not. A goalie can have a tough time staying sharp when he doesn't face a lot of shots, especially a lot of quality shots. But Brodeur is solid. He isn't concerned with the shots, just the results.

    The Devils looked incredibly strong on defense. And that's not something that can boiled down to just Brodeur. Defensively, everybody on that team plays well.

    The Ducks' Paul Kariya had only one shot on goal and it would be easy to say all the credit for that should go to the Devils' defense, but I wouldn't agree with that. Kariya has to generate scoring opportunities no matter what the Devils do. When you have that sort of skill level, it's up to you to get it done. I've noticed Kariya has learned to take his defensive responsibilities very seriously. That's commendable. That's honorable. And I know he's heard players such as Joe Sakic praised for becoming solid defensive players. But Kariya still has to be an offensive player as well. Being an all-around player is great, but you can't give up your offense.

    The Ducks have to figure that, in Game 2, having put the long layoff behind them, they are going to be better. But they have to recognize that the Devils are also going to be better. For one thing, they should have more confidence. They proved something in Game 1. They proved they can score on Giguere. Everybody was asking, is this guy beatable? Now they know he is.

    Kelly Hrudey is second to Rogie Vachon in games and wins on the Kings' all-time goaltending list, but Hrudey stands alone in one category. He is the only goalie to lead the Kings to the Stanley Cup finals. That was 10 years ago when they lost to the Montreal Canadiens in five games. Now a television hockey analyst in Canada, Hrudey lives in Calgary. He is serving as The Times' guest columnist for this year's Stanley Cup finals.

  10. Friesen gives ex-team the chills

    Terry Jones


    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- You never want a guy you trade to come back and bite you in the tail feathers.

    But Jeff Friesen came back to chomp the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on the butt big time in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.

    Friesen, who struggled with the pressure of being the player the Ducks acquired for Teemu Selanne, came to the Devils along with Oleg Tverdovsky in a trade for Petr Sykora.

    And last night he bit back at The Quack, scoring the winner and adding an empty-netter in a 3-0 Devils victory.

    "I was playing my old team,'' said Friesen. "I had some jump. It felt good to get (the game's first goal). It turned out to be a big goal and the game-winner. I played against Anaheim a lot when I was in San Jose. They were our big rival. All the games were big games.

    "Playing with that team last year, I got to know some of Giguere's tendencies. It's nice to get that first goal. You don't expect the first one to be the game-winner but with Marty Brodeur in goal, it happens a lot.''

    He said it was great to do it for the Devils.

    "This is the best team I've ever played on. It was a great opportunity when I came here and to have something like this happen feels good. I'm one step closer to my dream and winning the Stanley Cup. Hopefully I'm not done yet. Hopefully I can continue to score and help win the series.''

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