Hockey Games To Play Online

Hockey Arcade Online Games

As the world of hockey winds down for the summer, a hockey fan can begin to get bored before the new season starts. What to do? Well, lucky for you, I have found an online arcade site where you can play hockey games online. And the best part, it’s all free!

Hockey Arcade has all kinds of fun little flash hockey games to play from the comfort of your computer without having to download any additional software. Should be good to starve off that boredom as we wait for the hockey season to resume.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your virtual stick and skates and head on over to play some fun games today.

Where Do The Boston Bruins Go From Here?

 

Boston Bruins Hockey Logo

Well it’s been a while since the Bruins lost their bid to advance to the conference finals to the Montreal Canadians, and now the shock is gone and the dust has settled.  So, where do the Boston Bruins go from here?

It’s hard to say.  After a stellar regular season that say the Bruins at the top of the Eastern conference a lot of people in the know had Boston pegged to go to the NHL finals for a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

But how much blame can be put on this hockey team juggernaut?  In the playoffs a hot goalie can make or break a series and Montreal’s Carey Price was on top of his game.

I would hate if the Bruins just hacked up their roster, made a ton of front office changes and just gutted the team.  I don’t think it’s needed, but some retooling definitely needs to happen.  Here is my take.  First off the untouchables, the core, the soul and the heart of the Boston Bruins that should stick around next year and give the Bruins another shot.

GM Peter Chiarelli -When a team fails, the GM can quickly find himself in the hot seat, but Chiarelli needs to stay in Bean Town.  Since joining the Bruins, he has brought in some great players, put together some of the best 4 line teams hockey has seen in a while.  Made some great trades and has even made some tough trades in the case of Kessel and Seguin, two young players you would hate to trade away, but did not fit the team.

Coach Claude Julien – Julien and Chiarelli work in tandem and both have a great idea of the big picture when it comes to the Boston Bruins.  His coaching style of being responsible in both ends of the ice and capitalizing on the mistakes of opponents is what the Bruins are all about.  Julien has had a lot of success in Boston during the regular season and has already brought Boston to the big dance twice in his 7 years behind the Boston Bench.

Zdeno Chara – Chara is the cornerstone of the Bruins defense.  He is getting older, but still has a few years left of Norris level hockey.  Getting rid of Chara would be a huge no no!

Dougie Hamilton – Young defenseman Hamilton still has some learning to do, but has already proven himself as a top defenseman capable of great things.  He has flashes of offensive brilliance that are reminiscent of the Bruins great Bobby Orr and it would be insane to get rid of this young talent.

Torey Krug – Krug, another young defenseman probably won’t turn into the next Zedno Chara, but he is going to be a great second line defenseman with lots of up potential.

Patrice Bergeron – Bergeron is the heart of the team amongst forwards.  One of the great two way hockey players and a tour de force at the faceoff circle, there is no Boston Bruins without him.

David Krejci – Krejci is one of the most underrated players on the Bruins squad.  His ability to slow or speed up the game and create open ice is bar none.  He has a ton of hockey vision and can create plays out of nowhere and is the most creative player on the team.

Milian Lucic – Lucic needs to stick around for a variety of reasons.  One he is a brute that can tire out and intimidate any opponent and he can also score which is a huge bonus.

Tuuka Rask – Rask is proving himself to be a premiere goalie with each and every season.  Still a young goaltender, he is only getting after every season.  After Tim Thomas left Boston, Rask took the goaltending reins and proved himself.

Other then these untouchables, the rest of the team is under the gun.  Lately Boston has been a working class team where the sum of the parts are what matters.  They play as a well oiled machine so it’s just a matter of swapping a few pieces to kick it up a notch.  Hopefully the Bruins pick up a good UFA or two during the off season and get a good trade in to bring the team to the next level.

Goooooooooooooo Bruins.  See you in October!

And The Stanley Cup Is About To Begin

Stanley Cup PLayoffs Chart

The Road to the Stanley Cup

Tomorrow (Wednesday June 4th) The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are about to begin.  I thought I could call the shots and predict who would be playing and I could not have been further from the truth.

I just figured it would be a Boston Bruins vs. Chicago Blackhawks repeat.  Turns out I picked the wrong ponies and am now sadly looking at a New York Rangers vs. LA Kings final.  Let’s just call it the Media Series since it’s the American east vs. West media hubs.

First of all, I did not see this final coming at all.  I had zero faith in the Rangers and I felt the west was just too strong to allow LA to sneak through.  I didn’t see it coming so much, that my playoff hockey pool is really going to go downhill fast as I only have two LA players on my roster!

I don’t know if this is going to be a good series, but New York has been surprising this playoffs.  After Montreal took out the Boston Bruins I thought they would have rolled right over the Rangers, but New York persevered   I guess the morale is, never count out any team in the playoffs.

Of course, if I have to guess, I would predict that the LA Kings will win the cup in 6 games.

Let’s see how wrong I am!

Round 2 of The Playoffs – Tonight

Tonight marks round 2 of the NHL playoffs.  With round 1 still fresh in a lot of peoples minds, especially since round 1 just ended for a few teams last night that forced a game 7, round 2 is shaping up to be quite the hockey melee.

We are now left with 8 teams. The Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadians will be the series to watch.  These original 6, divisional rivals have met each other in the playoffs an astounding 34 times.  Montreal has the historic edge of winning 24 of those series, but history plays no role here.  Things are tilting in Boston’s favor since they are now a dynasty in the making team.  Regardless, it will be a hard hitting series filled with a ton of animosity between fans and players alike.  This will be the series to watch.

In the west the LA Kings and Mighty Ducks will also be a great series to watch.  I couldn’t even begin to pick a clear winner in this series and it’s probably the closest match for skilled players.  I think Anaheim might edge out the Kings, but this is definitely going to game 7.

We’ll have to wait and see how these playoff matches work out, but I am excited for some great hockey as I’m sure all of you are as well.

Stay tuned for an exciting round 2.  Can’t wait to see who ends up playing for their conferences.  If I had to guess, it’s gonna be Boston vs. New York in the east and Anaheim vs. Chicago in the west.

NHL Playoffs and The Dreaded Instigator Penalty

We are about a week into the NHL’s playoffs and I’ve tried to catch as many games as I can.  There have been some good series so far.  Montreal Canadians vs. The Tampa Bay Lightening has been a wild ride.  Not as wild as Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Pennguins and The Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings is showing a lot of promise.

With all this great hockey, you’d think there would be no complaints, but I have one major complaint and thats the damn instigator penalty.

I don’t know what Gary Bettman, The NHL and everyone else involved was thinking when they brought forth the instigator rule, but it needs to go and it needs to go right now.  Just watching the playoffs you see how valuable this would be.

The on ice shenanigans thats been going on in these playoffs is getting out of hand.  Players are laying cheap shots left, right and center.  Plenty of hits from behind and skilled players like Sidney Crosby just can’t do what they do best because of pests like Dubinsky.  Just look at a guy like Matt Cooke who is looking at a suspension for his hit last night.  This is just getting out of hand.

Time was, there was a certain respect amongst players in the NHL.  Even if you had a player without any respect for the game he had respect for his own well being.  You messed with a guy like Gretzky and you’d have your nose broken by an enforcer.  This is hockey and it should still be today.

Instead we are left with players running wild and taking all kinds of cheap shots.  And why wouldn’t they?  A mere 3-5 game suspension means nothing in the grand scheme of things and even less considering that the recipients of these cheap shots are looking at their playing careers ended or injuries that last weeks.  In the playoffs it’s even worse since someone will take a run at one of your players and the team is left defenseless.  There is no retaliation.  No retribution since teams are afraid of getting that extra two minute penalty for putting a clown like Matt Cooke in his place.  In the world of playoff hockey, a lot can change in those two minutes and a penalty can mean the difference between moving on to the next round or playing a round of golf in the off season.

Looking at a guy like Crosby, he is getting knocked around this playoff round.  Now Crosby is actually a pretty tough guy and plays his game without complaints even though he’s being rubbed into the boards and slashed every chance the opposition gets.  Now if we got rid of the instigation penalty, the Penguins could actually have a guy patrol the ice and be a warning.  If you mess with Crosby, I’ll break your nose.  You would then notice players lean off him a bit out of fear and let the man play his game the way he knows how.

And if Gary Bettman is really that concerned about fighting and the instigator rule and demands on keeping it, then the only real viable option would be to bring in more officiating.  Give the ref’s more power to give out double minors for gutless hits or force them to make more calls.

Because right now there is no downside to playing gutless hockey.  A two minute minor means nothing in the grand scheme of things if you can use it to either knock a team off their game, box in a star player or end someone’s career of playoff run.

You want to protect hockey players?  Then give them the power to actually fight back and get rid of this ridicules rule!

After The NHL Trade Deadline

Well the dust as finally settled after another frenzy of a trade deadline.  Once again there were winners, losers and some casual swaps this year.  Now that we’ve had some time to process the trades, let’s take a look at how some of the teams and players where affected.

The Winners:

Montreal Canadians

Montreal is already riding 2nd in the Atlantic division, has a strong team and is looking to parlay goaltenders Carey Price’s Olympic gold medal into a Stanley Cup win.  There only problem?  They don’t score many goals.  In fact at this time, they have just as many goals as they do goals against.  Thus bringing in Thomas Vanek from the Islanders might just be there missing piece of the puzzle.  Vanek, a gifted goal scorer might just be the rental player to help Montreal pick up their scoring game.  They didn’t have to give up too much to get him and if he ends up resigning in Montreal after this season, Montreal will be a true contender next season and this trade will have really paid off.

Florida Panthers

Florida has no chance on making the post season this year, but that didn’t stop them from laying down a top trade.  They already had a great goaltender in Tim Thomas, but instead of thinking about the present, the Panthers thought of the future and decided to acquire Roberto Luongo.  Luongo has been plagued by controversy in Vancouver for some time now and Floridia capitalized on that controversy by obtaining Loungo at rock bottom prices.  They now have a premier goalie for the next several years, didin’t put up much to get him and Vancouver will still be paying part of his monster salary.  A win for the Panthers and a big move forward in rebuilding their team into future contenders.

St. Louis

St. Louis pulled the trigger on a monster trade bringing in Buffalo cornerstone Ryan Miller.  Already in 1st place in the Western conference, St. Louis became a team to be reckoned with by bringing in an elite goaltender to round out their team.  This team was already on fire and Miller is going to put them over the top.

The Losers: 

Vancouver Canucks

Some teams became a bit stronger, some picked up draft picks to improve their future and some teams just filled in the missing gaps that their team needed.  Except Vancouver was the only team that fell apart after this trade deadline.  Last year Vancouver’s problem was having 2 of the best goalies in the NHL, now their problem is they have none.  As well they are still picking up some of the tab on Luongo’s salary.  Don’t be surprised if you find Canucks GM Mike Gillis looking for a new job next season.

Tit for Tat

Tampa Bay Lightening and New York Rangers

No-one seems like a winner or a loser in this trade that swapped Martin St. Louis and Ryan Callahan for each other.  Both players are highly skilled forwards and great players and on paper, no one benefits from this trade.  The only thing that seems to stand out from this deal is that St. Louis might have had some problems playing for Steve Yzerman’s Tampa Bay after St. Louis was initially snubbed by him on the Team Canada Olympic roster.  This is a morale trade and that’s it.

Of course there where lots of other trades that happened at this years deadline, but these were in my opinion the most important.  Now onto the last part of the season.  Let’s get these playoffs started!

 

Is This The End of The NHL Olympic Hockey?

As it stood, Vancouver 2010 was the last time the NHL was “supposed” to be sending NHL players to the Olympics.  Sure, they are going to attend Sochi for this years Olympics, but only because top stars like Alexander Ovechkin and Evengi Malkin called out the NHL and said regardless of their decision, they would be attending the games in their homeland of Russia.  With enough Russian players playing in the NHL, they had no choice but to head to Sochi for 2014 or face a mass exodus of Russian born hockey players for 2 weeks.

However, the 2018 Winter Games are being slated for South Korea and there is no deal in place at the moment to send NHL players to compete for Olympic gold in men’s hockey.  And I for one, don’t think there will be.

South Korea is not known for it’s hockey players.  I can’t think of a single player in the NHL whose heritage is Korean.  So the NHL will not be bullied into going to the 2018 games since only the fans will put pressure on the league.  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman barely bows down to his players and even less to it’s fans, so I doubt that would have any effect.  After all, the NHL HATES the Olympics.

But why does the NHL hate Olympic hockey?

Number 1 money.  As far as the NHL is concerned, it’s lost revenue.  Their players are playing for someone else and not making the NHL any money.  As well the league has to virtually shut down during the Olympics and cannot gain any revenue for over two weeks.

Another factor is injuries and insurance.  Even though the game isn’t as physical in the international realm or with the more open ice, injuries still happen.  Especially small injuries like groin pulls.  It happens every Olympics.  Some of the best players get injured and miss the last 20 games of the season or even worse the playoffs.  The leagues best players are represented in the Olympics and the best players are also at risk of injury.

Even though there is a risk and a loss of revenue, the NHL should think twice about not attending future Winter Olympics.  Right now Hockey is considered to be North America’s 4th largest sport.  The NHL is constantly trying to grow the game and revenues.  This can be witnessed by them starting the season with some teams playing in Europe or any of the outdoor style games.  You’d think that the Olympics would only raise interest in the game of hockey on an international level.

But it seems that Gary Bettman just doesn’t get it.  After all he is the man that’s been at the helm of the NHL for far too long and just doesn’t seem to understand what fans want.  Whether it’s trying to break into an American market that just doesn’t want a team or ignoring Canadian markets that do, Bettman only works for the team owners.  And the team owners do not want to see their players risk anything outside of their teams clubhouse.

Olympic hockey, I’ll enjoy you this year, because it might just be your last.

 

Countdown To Sochi Hockey

Sochi 2014

The countdown is on.  As the NHL winds down for a mid season break, everyone is starting to put focus on Olympic hockey.  Soon NHLers will be reuniting with their countrymen and hitting the ice in the quest for gold.

As it plays out right now, Canada is always a contender for the gold medal in Hockey, but with the Olympics being in Russia this year, you know guys like Pavel Datsyuck, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin are just chomping at the bit to bring the gold to home ice.  After all, if they don’t, I’m sure Putin will put the whole team into a Gulag somewhere in the outskirts of Siberia.

Gold is never guaranteed in the Olympics for any country (even Canada).  You never know which european country can make for an upset or if the Americans have another Miracle on Ice up their sleeves!  So who’s going to stand out at this years Olympics?  Let’s try and break it down.

In my opinion all great championship teams are built from the goaltender out.  Without a great goaltender, you automatically become a mediocre hockey team, no matter how much offence you produce.   So which Men’s Hockey team is comprised of the greatest goalies?  As much as I hate to admit it, I think team USA is bringing the best Goalie squad.  Here are my top 3 teams based on goaltenders.

1. Team USA – Jonathan Quick, Ryan Miller, Jimmy Howard – For so long Canadians (mostly Quebecers) have been the premiere goaltenders.  Not any more!

2. Team Finland – Tuukka Rask, Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi – Finland has always had slightly better than average goaltenders, but the addition of Tuukka Rask to the team kicks them up several notches.

3. Team Canada – Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Mike Smith – Canada used to have the elite goaltenders, but they have all become older and the younger ones just don’t have what guys like Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur had.  As well, Luongo is always iffy when it comes to high level hockey and can easily blow a game.

Defenceman

Your goaltender always needs a little help.  Guys to slow down the forwards and keep shots to the outside.  Without good defence, your goalie doesn’t stand a chanche.  So which teams have the better team in terms of defence?

1.  Team Canada – Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Shea Weber – Big guys, punishing hits and explosive shots.  Team Canada stands out head and shoulders above the rest with this crew of defencemen.

2.  Team Sweden – Alexander Edler, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Erik Karlsson, Niklas Kronwall, Johnny Oduya, Henrik Tallinder – Guys like Karlsson, Kronwall and Oduya will set up a solid wall against anyone trying to score.

3.  Team USA – John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Paul Martin, Ryan McDonagh, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Suter – USA has a strong mix of defencemen.  Guys of all ages and each one brings a different element to the game.

Forwards

They say a good defence is a good offence.  You can’t win games without scoring goals and on the over sized Olympic hockey pad, their is more room for speed, creativity and getting yourself into open ice.  So which teams will take full advantage of this?

1.  Team Canada – Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews – There is so much scoring ability on this team, it’s absurd.  So many gifted goal scorers where left off the roster, Team Canada could have easily sent over a second squad of players that could compete with this group.  The talent runs that deep!  Even though it’s unlikely Steven Stamkos will play, a replacement won’t be hard to find.

2.  Team Sweden – Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas Backstrom, Patrik Berglund, Jimmie Ericsson, Loui Eriksson, Johan Franzen, Carl Hagelin, Marcus Kruger, Gabriel Landeskog, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Jakob Silfverberg, Alexander Steen, Henrik Zetterberg – The Sedin’s have grace, Alferdsson is a leader, Steen a gifted scorer and Zetterberg is one of the best players to shovel home garbage goals.

3.  Team Russia – Artem Anisimov, Pavel Datsyuk, Denis Kokarev, Ilya Kovalchuk, Nikolai Kulemin, Evgeni Malkin, Valeri Nichushkin, Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Popov, Alexander Radulov, Sergei Soin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexei Tereshenko, Viktor Tikhonov.  Guys like Datsyuk, Malkin, Kovalchuk and Ovechkin will give nightmares to goalies throughout the Olympics.  The squad is not as deep as others, but features some of the best forwards in the game today.

Thats my roundup.  When all is said and done, I think the Olympic podium for men’s hockey will consist of:

GOLD – Canada

Silver – Russia (Only because home ice is going to be a huge factor for these guys)

Bronze – Sweden

Loser of the Bronze medal game – Team USA

Those are my picks.  Love them or hate them, let’s see what happens in the next few weeks.

Shootout or Coin Flip? Overtime Rules Need Changing

overtime shootout win

65 minutes wasted in a heartbeat

The shootout has been around the NHL for almost 10 years since it was introduced in the 2005-2006 season and I for one am sick and tired of it.

There is nothing worse then watching a solid 60 minutes of exciting hockey where 2 evenly matched teams end the game tied.  Then they get a measly 5 minutes of overtime to try and finish the game and if that fails, we are awarded with the dreaded shootout.

Some fans find the shootout exhilarating.  A cool mini skills competition that puts skater against goaltender.  But once you get past the initial cool factor of the shootout you realize that many hockey games in the NHL are decided on nothing more than a coin flip.

Because really that’s all the shootout is.  A coin flip.  After two teams pour their blood, sweat and tears onto the ice, it becomes pretty much a 50-50 shot on who is going to win this game.

I for one would love to see the NHL adopt a new way of handling overtime.  Because in the regular season, 2 points can mean the difference between making the playoffs or not.  Every point counts and it’s disappointing that so many of them can come from the shootout.

Granted, a shootout is much more exciting and a better outcome than it used to be in the NHL.  Remember when teams would actually tie and get just 1 point each if a winner wasn’t decided after the 5 minutes of overtime?  That sucked even more!

Of course it wouldn’t work to have a playoff style of overtime where the game isn’t over until someone scores a goal, even if 100 extra periods are needed.  Over the course of a 82 game workload, it would just be overkill to have players play those kinds of minutes.

But something still needs to be done.  Two thoughts I have on the matter would to adopt a longer overtime.  Maybe 10 minutes of 4 on 4 overtime before the shootout would give teams a better chance of settling things on the ice where they belong.  Or even 5 minutes of 4 on 4 overtime followed by 5 minutes of 3 on 3 overtime would work.

Either way 5 minutes alone just isn’t enough time to settle a close game.  Especially when only two goals have been scored over 60 minutes of play, how do we expect to get a victor in a measly 5 minutes of overtime?  Hopefully something gets done with overtime in future hockey seasons.

And while we are on the subject of overtime rules, the single point awarded to a team that makes it to overtime needs to be abolished right away.  Why award a team for being close?  Close enough only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades and not amongst a game played by men!

If you have any thoughts on the subject, please leave a comment and let’s get a discussion started.

 

Joe Thornton Snubbed By Team Canada

Hockey Player Joe Thornton

No Joe? Say it ain’t so!

First of all, let’s face it, Canadian Hockey talent runs so deep in this country that we could legitimately send two Team Canada squads to Sochi and be serious contenders.  There are just so many players for Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman to choose from, it’s outrageous.

While I can’t argue with the selections Yzerman made, I can safely say, “WHERE THE HELL IS JUMBO JOE?”

Obviously there are going to be Team Canada players that end up getting “snubbed”, but Joe Thornton is one of the great playmakers in hockey right now.  He is consistently in the top 10 for points year after year and is an assisting machine.

But Steve Yzerman had to make some tough decisions.  He even didn’t give another great player Martin St. Louis a roster spot and St. Louis plays for his Tampa Bay Lightening.  The team that Yzerman is the General Manager of during the NHL season.  (Can’t wait to see the animosity and backlash that decision creates!)

At age 34, Joe Thornton is at the height of his career and when the winter Olympics come around again in 2018, he’ll be 38 and probably too old to play at a competitive level for Olympic hockey so really this is his final chance and Yzerman blew it.

As long as you put a half decent winger beside him, the goals will come.  Let’s hope this roster omission doesn’t end up coming back to bite Canada in the butt.  We don’t need a repeat of the Turin Olympics!