Snipe City is a weekly hockey column by 36 Crazyfists vocalist Brock Lindow and PUCKHCKY founder Matt Marini.
We set out on the road again for the final tour of our cycle supporting our album, Time and Trauma, and joining our brothers in Killswitch Engage is the perfect way to put the icing on the cake for a very long successful touring cycle!
We are just over a week into this thing and the good times have been plenty. The crowds are huge and so cool to play for, grateful to say the least to Killswitch for bringing us back out with them!
My favorite time of the year is heating up and we are getting closer to the playoffs , the problem is my Flyers are hanging on by a thread on a day to day basis whether they sneak in to that wild card spot or not. I know one thing, if the Flyers do sneak in, they are capable of upsetting anyone of the higher seeds in the east. So the boys are getting hot right at the perfect time, fingers crossed the playoff picture will happen for the orange and black!
We have been watching as much as we can on the road and thank god for smart phones and the center ice package, I used to have to search high and low for bars with hockey packages and with modern technology it’s available at your finger tips, true sign of the hockey gods shining down on us fans!!!
Quickly glancing over the league and knowing how tight the final spots are in the east is crazy, the last week of the regular season will be nuts!
LA looks deadly in the west and I’d love to see Anaheim and LA meet at some point of the playoffs. Those two teams down right don’t like each other and it’s fun as hell to watch.
Thoughts on the current NHL game format: I used to love the shootout but always knew it was a weird way to settle the outcome, now that the 3-3 overtime has come into the regular season I’d much rather see it play out that way until someone scores.(not to mention my Flyers are absolutely horrendous at the shootout) my other thought is they should continue the 3-3 in the playoffs, I’m usually a purist and don’t care for much change to the greatest game on earth but the 3-3 is so intense and highly entertaining to watch. Just my two cents. Another thought is the goalie gear, I’m with everyone who thinks the pads should be smaller, these goalies like Tampa bay Lightning tender Ben Bishop, I mean the dude is 6’7″, his ass touches the crossbar, it’s hard to see daylight on him and with the big pads it really benefits the goalies of today. More goals is what our sport needs so I’m for the downsizing.
The next couple weeks will rule and I will be engulfed in hockey from sun up to sun down. Enjoy my friends and come see the Incarnate Tour if we come to your town!
With each team having about 10-12 games left in the regular season, its now CRUNCH-TIME for those that remain in playoff contention. With the salary-cap leveling the playing field between the teams, the NHL is seeing parity in both conferences that should make for an exciting finish to determine who makes the playoffs, and also who plays who in the first round. At this point the Eastern conference has more teams left in contention, and no team in the league has settled on a position….except Washington. As of now, the Caps have 107 points! The closest team in terms of points is Dallas with 95 – and they’re in the Western conference! Florida with 89 points is the “closest” in the East. So, beyond the Caps the other 7 spots are totally up for grabs between (realistically) 8 teams and (wishful-thinking) 11 teams. For fans of New Jersey, Carolina, and Ottawa, your teams pretty much need to win-out, or at least win 90% of their remaining games to secure a playoff spot. They would also need one or two of the teams currently sitting in playoff spots to totally crash-and-burn, but stranger things have happened so who knows.
In the West, its a little more clear as to the number of teams that have a chance to make it that number is 9. The final battle appears to be coming down to Colorado and Minnesota for the second wild-card position now that Nashville has been playing much better as of late. Buckle-Up kids….these last few weeks of the regular season are gonna be great. Interesting note: It actually appears that none(!) of the teams from Canada are going to qualify for the playoffs this year which is really weird obviously.
Another thing I would like to touch on is the rise of the young guys you may not have heard of yet. Many teams (both contenders and non-contenders) have added some players that haven’t been around the entire season yet they are making an impact in the short amount of games they’ve played. We all are plenty aware of the “big-name” rookies (Panarin, Eichel, McDavid, Larkin, Domi, etc…) that have been playing great all season, so if you get a chance give these guys a looksie too: Anthony Mantha & Andreas Athanasiou of Detroit, Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary & Scott Wilson of Pittsburgh, Andrew Copp & Connor Hellebuyck of Winnipeg, William Nylander & Nikita Soshnikov of Toronto, Shayne Gostisbehere & Nick Cousins of Philadelphia, Phil Di Giuseppe of Carolina, Mike Reilly of Minnesota, Louis Domingue of Arizona, Joonas Korpisalo of Columbus, and lastly Calvin Pickard of Colorado. These players represent another solid wave of talent and a few of them may wind-up playing minutes in the upcoming playoffs. This season we will have around 20 rookies with 20+ points in the league, and as of now there are 4 guys with at least 20 goals as rookies. Try and comprehend this one….there has been 196 rookie skaters and 26 rookie goalies to play in the NHL this season so far! A vast majority of these are only for a game or two, but still….lots of talent coming soon.
Random Thoughts: What is the deal gonna be with expansion in the NHL? Is it really going to be Las Vegas? On the surface a team in Vegas sounds great, but can a team there survive and build a fan-base? At some point you have to think Quebec is gonna be back too…that would be cool. Is this the year the Red Wings miss the playoffs? Philly is playing tough and may catch the Wings to end that 24 year streak. If the Oilers get the top pick again, how mad will all the other lottery teams be? Edmonton will definitely be making some roster moves this off-season regardless, but should they get the keys to Auston Matthews they will be moving a forward or two for some defense for sure. Is Washington for real this year? Is St. Louis for real this year? Those two franchises have a lot to prove. Pittsburgh is starting to look tough too….Crosby is on fire, and just wait until Malkin is back from injury. Speaking of tough…not sure an Anaheim vs Los Angeles playoff series is in the cards, but if it does happen look out cuz bodies will be flying. Anyone else notice how good Marian Hossa has been since he returned from injury? Oh yeah…he is also 2 goals from 500!! Want to see a pure goal scorer in action? Tune in to a Nashville game and pay attention to Filip Forsberg. This guy is quickly developing into a true NHL sniper with 29 goals so far. I’m wondering if the reduction in goalie equipment is going to make a difference next season…hope so. On a Red Wings broadcast this past week they showed a picture of former goalie great Chris Osgood holding the Cup above his head…his jersey was a tent!!! So much extra puck-stopping material! Ive seen an interactive video on what the differences will look like, and I will say the equipment isn’t so much reduced in size as it is more body-conforming. No more tent-sized jerseys or huge shoulder/chest protectors (ala Garth Snow!) next season. Lastly, the NCAA Frozen Four bracket is set and action begins this weekend! Be sure to tune in and check out as many games as you can because something CRAZY happens every year in the tourney. It just seems like every game in the Frozen Four tourney has an mysterious feel to it….plus there will be tons of talent (guys that have already been drafted, will be drafted or will be signed as free-agents) on display throughout the games.
Make sure to check out 36 Crazyfists on tour NOW with Killswitch Engage! Also take a look at the new collection of 36CF x PUCK HCKY merchandise only at www.puckhcky.com. NEW 36CF HOCKEY JERSEYS ARE COMING SOON!! We will also be giving away some pairs of tix for some of the shows, so pay attention for details!!