New Article on The Pens Nation

New post on ThePensNation: Stamkos Acts, Canadians Don’t Swear, and Ovi is the Ochocinco of the NHL

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NHL ’13 Cover Vote

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Brace yourselves hockey fans. A bracket is heating up. No, I am not talking about March Madness, I am talking about EA Sports’ fan vote for the NHL ’13 cover. This is the first year fans will be able to vote for who they think should be on the cover of the much awaited game. In the past, cover-players have been announced as a surprise to NHL fans. Previous cover-players include: Alexander Ovechkin (’07), Eric Staal (’08), Dion Phaneuf (’09), Pat Kane (’10), Jonathan Toews (’11), and Steven Stamkos (’12). At http://www.nhl.com/covervote, fans are able to choose between two candidates given for each team. The two candidates from each team are pre-selected. Fans are allowed to vote up to 10 times a day for either every teams’ players or just one player if they so choose. After April 11th, players will re-enter a new bracket of choices based on who ‘won’ their category. Most of the selections of players seem fairly obvious, highlighting the key players from this year’s season.

Here are photos of the first round choices:

Twitter is taking a big role in the NHL ’13 cover discussion. Using the hashtag #NHL13Cover, the NHL is maintaining an active conversation about who should win. Players are tweeting and asking fans and followers to vote for them. Some of the players are joking around about making the decision about which teammate to vote for. See NY Rangers’ Brad Prust’s tweets from this morning: 

Is there anyone you think deserves the cover the most? Any teams that have the wrong players as choices? Do you think players tweets that ask for votes will actually make a difference?

Even I could do better than Jeremy Roenick’s game analysis

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Dear Jeremy Roenick,

You should not be allowed on television to discuss NHL hockey. Yes, you may know a lot about the game and the players, you might appeal to an American audience who really has no one to piggy back on now that Pat Kane is playing so badly, and you might be a great announcer for the Blackhawks or the Flyers, but you should not be talking about the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Not only are you incredibly biased in your hatred for the Penguins, you have even made Mike Milbury come out and speak highly of the Pens (another fairly shocking occurrence) in order to give some truth to pre/mid and post game shows. See last night’s tweets:

Last night, you argued that a clear head-hit against Letang was legal and it was actually the Penguins’ defenseman’s fault for not knowing how to ‘properly take a hit’. I am not saying to take the hits out of hockey, or going soft, but this was clearly a dangerous hit to the head. I can’t say I was upset when Mike Milbury started to shoo you off the show. See that video here: 

Jeremy, you are still too vested in the game. I can understand caring about your team, but to be a good analyst you should not be so biased. It is like watching a current player trying to talk about the opposition and why they aren’t as good as the home team. I can say this Jeremy because you cried when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2009/2010 season. You need to step away from the game for a second and try to think about your current role representing the NHL. I mean, you were sad when Oduya announced he would wear ’27’ for the Blackhawks this year. Here is what you said on twitter that day, “Really???? Nothing against oduya… But seriously??? Not really happy about that at all. Gotta be honest” So Jeremy, what I have to say to that is: get over yourself, you aren’t playing hockey anymore.

Another time we saw your bias come out shining was during the past winter Olympics. When everyone was disucssing the Ovechkin vs. Crosby showdown, you took it to another level. See that video here:  The first thing you said on the comparison was, “How can you compare Ovechkin with Sidney Crosby”.Well, Jeremy- here is how, they were going into the Olympics with the same amount of goals in the lead. Both teams were strong, and if I remember correctly, Sidney Crosby scored the game winning goal in the Olympics for Canada to win the gold. Can you say that about Ovechkin?

You should reconsider the way you speak about hockey and try to separate yourself from your playing days. It is annoying to watch, and incredibly biased.

Sincerely,

FiveforBoarding

Ovechkin Skipping All-Star Weekend

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Alexander Ovechkin announced last week that he is skipping the NHL’s All-star weekend. After his announcement, many mixed reactions surfaced about his decision. His statement said, “My heart is not there. I’m suspended, so why I have to go there? I love the game; it’s great event. I’d love to be there, but I’m suspended. I don’t want to be a target. I feel I’m not deserving to be there right now. If I’m suspended, I have to be suspended, so that’s why I give up my roster [spot]”

Ovechkin was still upset about his suspension for his hit on Penguin Zbynek Michalek. Even Verizon Center owner Ted Leonsis and Capitals GM George McPhee came out to say that they both disagreed with Ovechkin’s suspension. You can see the suspension hit and explanation video here: .

Players weighed in on Ovechkin’s decision through twitter. Andy McDonald of the St. Louis Blues was especially upset with Ove’s decision (see tweet below). Another NHL player who took a different approach to Ove’s decision was twitter-addict Paul Bissonnette of the Phoenix Coyotes. He tweeted: “Hey, it’s too bad Ovechkin isn’t going to the All Star Game. NHL could have added a rap battle to the skills competition.”

Clearly players have different options on Ove’s decision, but what about the NHL’s viewpoint? Well, it seems to be wishy-washy. In 2009 the NHL started to crack-down on players deciding not to attend the All-star game. Both Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk were suspended for a game because of their decision not to go. In addition, an injured Sidney Crosby  avoided suspension by flying out to the game and doing promotional work for the NHL even though he wasn’t playing. But this year, the NHL has not suspended anyone for not attending the All-star game. Ovechkin did not prove he was hurt (a stipulation enforced in 2009) and he did not go to help out with the promotions for the NHL.

The NHL’s decision to not suspend Ovechkin, Selanne, and Lidstrom (both Selanne and Lidstrom sited their age as their reason not to play in the game) could mean increased all-star back-outs in the future. If all-star players decide not to participate in all-star weekend it could mean a serious annual revenue loss for the NHL. Sponsors might back out, fans wouldn’t get hyped about the event, and merchandise sales would plummet. I mean, who would watch an all-star game with no all-star players?

Another argument regarding the NHL’s decision not to suspend Ovechkin is he is no longer as important to the NHL as he was a couple of years ago. For the past year and a half Ove has been in a major slump that has begun to eliminate his role as one of the main ‘faces of the NHL’. Without putting up the numbers, how can Ovechkin be viewed as one of the most important all-stars? Would the NHL be as accepting to a player like Evgeni Malkin or Pavel Datsyuk if they made a statement that they would not attend the All-star game?