Over the years friends and acquaintances have asked me many questions about the Bruins and Hockey. I get the question from co-workers, family members, people and friends I watch games with live, in a sports bar or sometimes at home on TV. As time has passed, I seem to be the one everyone expects to know, understand or have a resource for an answer. The Hockey Guru first came up at work. I work in an environment where nicknames are frequently used and I have several. Not all of them publishable! As I read many websites, I noticed most online pundits had nicknames and I punched in Hockey Guru. I saw several references on Googgle. I chose NHHockeyGuru because I'm from NH and also a big UNH Wildcat fan in addition to the Bruins. I though as I started writing I would not only report on what I observe, I'd try to teach the game as I wrote as well. I think this is important for two reasons. One, Hockey is fast and hard to follow if your under informed. Two, Informed fans that understand the game are more passionate and appreciative. I thought I'd like to help in that area.
Question: What do I look for in a good hockey player? I look for players that are involved in the flow and want the puck. Duh! What it really means is that I'm looking for the player who keeps skating and not gliding. Even without the puck you can support your players by skating into areas to receive the puck or when you don't have possession, skating into areas that denies an opposing player spots on the ice that have an advantage.
Question: People hear me say "Go to the white ice" a lot when I'm watching a game. What do I mean? During offensive chances, most players look and skate or glide towards the player with the puck. The best example is during power plays. There is always an area of ice that is open and it is defined as white under the ice, players clutter up areas. If a player moves into ice away from the puck and other players; he's not being watched, nobody can easily reach him and if he gets a good pass, he can shoot before defenders can react. Often a goal is scored this way. Alex Ovechkin and Brett Hull are masters at scoring goals that way. They seem all alone when they get the puck and are shooting as the puck gets there. It's in the net before anyone can react. I don't feel it's an area that's taught often enough in developmental leagues.
Question: Who's gonna win the Cup this year? I don't know! I make predictions at different points in the season. At the start of a season, I tend to pick the teams that make the playoffs. By the trade deadline, I refine my picks based on the moves made and advantages. Once the playoffs begin, I pick series winners based on match-ups. Usually, the winner of the Cup is the team that's healthiest with the better defense and/or goaltending. The less healthy on defense teams or talented usually lose each series. The Bruins on paper should have beat the Canadians, but the Canadians in the series had the better, healthier and experienced defense, hence they won! If you look back at all the playoff series over the last five years, you'll see the truth of that statement.
Question: Who's the best player ever? First, I think there should be some understanding, that there have been different eras of hockey and a few players during each era dominated. Next what made a player dominate. I break it down to this; Best shot, Best passer, Best Skater, Best Competitor and Having the puck. For me for best overall it comes down to 5 players. Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Richard in his hey day was tops in shot, compete and having the puck, a 3. Howe was best at shot, compete and having the puck, a 3. Lemieux was best at shot, pass, compete and having the puck, a 4. Gretzky was best pass, shot, compete and having the puck, a 4. Lemieux and Gretzky washed each other out though in the same era. Orr, was shot, pass, compete, having the puck and best skater bar none and he was a defenseman. That's a six! Bobby Orr best of all time!!!
Question: Who's the best Goaltender of all time? It comes down to 5 again. Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur. For me it's results, 6 Stanley Cups in 9 years, Ken Dryden! Without Dryden, I don't think they win any Cups.
Well, there you have it. Have some questions on my opinions or on how the game itself is played? Ask away, I'm here to help!
Until Next Time!
Just a few writers from Boston passionate about their sport's teams. Feel free to comment and leave your own opinion. I hope you enjoy! NHHockeyGuru