HOCKEY UPDATE # 9:
Well, we are almost at the end of the international playoffs, and only Germany and Russia haven't decided a championship as we speak. This week:
CZECH REP: Zlin took their 2nd title in their 86-year existence, beating Kometa Brno in their final 4-1. Petr Cajanek, who scored 46 goals from 2004-7 with the St Louis Blues, and had a 20-goal season with SKA in 2009-10, had a shorthander to ice the game for Zlin.
FINLAND: Trailing Tappara 3 games to two, Karpat rallied for 3-2 and 1-0 OT wins and took their fifth "Canada Cup" Finnish championship. The final, series winning score belonged to Juhamatti Aaltonen, sending Tappara to their second straight final series defeat.
ITALY: Ritten (Renon in Italian, it's a German speaking town in the Tyrol) won it's first championship since its founding in 1984, defeating my Val Pusteria team 4-2 and 4-1 to take the series 4 games to 2. The series heroes were Matt Siddal, a Canadian who netted three goals in the last to games; and Patrick Rissmiller, a vet of 192 NHL games, who scored in each.
SLOVAKIA: The winner take all game seven last Monday went to Kosice over Nitra 6-0. Ratislav Stana, who came over to Kosice after spending the regular KHL season with Red Army, posted the shutout. The win gives Kosice 7 Slovak titles to go with the two Czechoslovak titles they won since their founding in 1962.
SWEDEN: Skelleftea finished their sweep of my Farjestads team with a 3-0 win in game four. Markus Svensson posted the shutout, which gave Skelleftea their fourth title- and third in a row. Farjestadts missed out on what would have been their tenth Swedish title.
And now, the leagues still playing:
GERMANY: ERC Ingolstadt took game 5 of their battle with Kolner Haie, the winning goal coming from Travis Turnbull, son of former NHLer Perry Turnbull, who had 188 goals in 9 seasons in the eighties, mostly with St Louis and Winnipeg. But Kolner wins game six 1-0 with a goal by hometown boy Mirkko Ludemann. This set up game seven this Tuesday.
RUSSIA: Magnitogorsk pulled into a 3-2 series lead with a 2-1 OT win over Lev in game five. Scoring champion Sergei Mozyakin has totaled 4 goals and seven assists in the five games (including one in which his team was shutout), including both goals in the game five win.
NHL: Chicago recovered from the two opening losses to take the next three- 2-0, 4-3 OT, and 3-2 OT- and hold a 3 to 2 lead with game six today.
FT WAYNE KOMETS: Took 5-1 and 3-1 upset wins over Reading to go out to a 3-1 series lead in their first round ECHL matchup, also with game five today.
AUSTRALIA: Adelaide took a 4-0 win over Newcastle and a 6-5 SO win over Sydney's Bears in their opening weekend. They are now in second place, 3 points behind the Melbourne Ice.
HOCKEY UPDATE # 8:
3 new champions crowned this week- and two of them are MY teams! Here we go:
CZECH REP- The finals start out surprisingly one-sided between 4-seed Zlin and 6-seed Kometa Brno. Zlin took a 2-0 with a pair of 3-0 wins behind the goaling of Liber Kasik and three goals in the two games by Antonin Honejsek.
DENMARK- My SonderjyskE boys, from the tiny town of Vojens (pop. >8,000), win their second straight title and fifth in their 11th season under the name, winning the seventh game against Herning 4-2. Thomas Spelling scored twice and hometown boy Kim Lykkeskov hit a shorthanded tally in a 4-goal second period explosion. In addition to the five titles under the SonderjyskE name, they won titles under the village name in 1979, 1980, and 1982.
FINLAND- #2 Tappara leads #1 Karpat 2 games to 1.
GERMANY- the Cinderella story of ERC Ingolstadt seems to have run its course... Kolner Haie has won the first two 4-2 and 3-1 with one of the stars being one Rob Collins, a Calgary native who spent most of the season on the Brampton Beast of the CHL, before coming over just in time to qualify for Kolner's playoff roster. He had played in Dusseldorf and Hamburg previously.
ITALY- My Val Pusteria team is tied 2-2 with #1 Ritten after their second 2-1 win, this one in OT. The winner came from another hometown boy, Armin Hofer (that hometown being Brunico, "Val Pusteria" being the collective name for about 5 little villages of which Brunico- about as far north as you can get in Italy, with a pop under 16,000- is the chief.)
NORWAY- My Stavanger's Oilers win their 3rd straight Norwegian title, and fourth of five, taking the 4six-game series from Valerenga with a 1-0 win. The only goal came from Jean-Michael Daoust, a Quebecois who has travelled Europe in the DEL (Germany) and the EBEL (Austria).
RUSSIA- Lev Prague and Magnitogorsk are tied at one game apiece in the KHL finals after Magnita won 4-1 on a goal and 2 assists by Sergei Mozyakin. The first game went to Lev 3-0 with Finn Petri Vehanen posting the shutout. Lev is already the first non-Russian team to make the Gagarin Cup finals, trying to be the first non-Russian winner out of the current six non-Russian teams in the league.
SLOVAKIA- #1 Kosice and #2 Nitra will play the deciding game seven of the Slovak championship Monday.
SWEDEN- Not looking good for my Farjestadts team against #1 Skelleftea. The first placers have won 3-0, 6-2, and 8-1 decisions thus far; the last game featured 3 goals in under 5 minutes in the 1st period, 2 in under 2 1/2 minutes in the second, and 3 in the first 3 minutes and change of the third.
SWITZERLAND- Zurich, more properly the ZSC Lions, win their sixth title since their formation in 1930- all but two of them since 2000- in a four game sweep of the Kloten Flyers. The scores were 1-0, 2-1, 5-2, and 2-1 in a shootout. The shootout star was Robert Nilsson- son of former NHL great Kent Nilsson- who netted both his attempts. Nilsson is a vet of 252 NHL games, with the Islanders and Edmonton, and spent the last few seasons in the KHL with Ak Bars and in the Finnish Liiga with Lukko. Kloten was going for their sixth title- four of those coming in a row from 1993-6.
NHL- Chicago drew the St.Louis Blues in the first round, and they do have the St. Louis blues after dropping the first two games, both in OT, one going into the third overtime.
ECHL- The Fort Wayne Komets, just squeaking into the playoffs, drew the conference champ Reading team in the first round. The K's got a 2-1 game one win, but dropped #2 last night 4-2.
Well the Australian Hockey League kicked off this week. I'm not planning on doing the weekly update like last year, but will be keeping up with the Adelaide Adrenaline like last year.
In our other leagues:
ASIA: just to bookmark that my team (Tohoku) missed the playoffs.
AUSTRIA: Bolzano wins the EBEL title in their first season in the league, upsetting top seed Salzburg 3 games to 2 with a 3-2 OT win. The OT winner was scored by Ziga Pance, a Slovenian who prior to this year spent 5 seasons with his home country's team in the league, Olimpija Ljubljana. It was Bolzano who put my VSV Reckord team out in the semis.
BELARUS: 2nd seed Neman Grodno upset top seed Yunost Minsk 4 games to 2 with a 2-1 OT win in game six. There, the winner was scored by Vyacheslav Lisichkin, a 16-year vet of the team. Grodno wins its fourth league title, while denying Yunost Minsk their seventh.
CZECH REP: Zlin put together 4-3 OT and 5-1 wins to eliminate my Trinec team 4-2 in the semis. They will await the winner of game seven of the Sprata Prague/Kometa Brno semi tomorrow.
DENMARK: SonderjyskE got 2 goals apiece from Canucks Corey Quirk and Jason Walters to take a 6-1 win today and a 3 games to two lead over arch rival Herning Blue Foxes in the finals.
FRANCE: My team, Rouen, lost in the semis to runner-up Angers.
FINLAND: The finals between #1 Karpat and #2 Tappara start Tuesday. My Jyvaskyla team went out in the quarters.
GERMANY: Kolner knocked out my GA Wolfsburg team with a 2-1 OT win in game five of their semi series Thursday. The finals will feature the 5th seed Kolner vs #9 ERC Ingolstadt, who beat Hamburg 5-3 today to upset the top seeded Freezers 4 games to 2.
ITALY: Matt Saddell, a Canadian with seasons in the UK and Austria under his belt, scored twice to lead Ritten over my Val Pusteria team 4-1 in the opener of the Elite A finals.
NORWAY: Stavenger beat #1 Valerenga 2-1 today to take a 3-2 lead in a series that has seen 3 4-2 games and 2 2-1 matches. My boys can win it all tomorrow.
RUSSIA: Lev Prague shut down my Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team 4 games to one and advance to the KHL finals to face Metallurg Magnitogorsk, who similarly rolled over Salavat Yulaev in their semi series.
SLOVAKIA: With my Martin team not making the playoffs, the finals so far have featured a one-goal game, an OT game, and a shootout finish as top ranked Kosice holds a 2-1 lead over Nitra.
SWEDEN: My fifth seed team Farjestads won 3-2 and 3-2 OT games to beat Vaxjo in their semi series, leaving them to face #1 Skelleftea starting Tuesday. The climactic OT game featured 2 goals- including the OT winner- by Rikard Wallin, a Phoenix draftee who spent parts of two seasons with the NHLs Minnesota Wild and the 09-10 season with Toronto's Maple Leafs.
SWITZERLAND: #1 Zurich finished a 4-3 series win against my Servette team with a 4-0 win. This sent them to the finals against the #3 Kloten Flyers, two cities just 15 minutes drive apart; and today Zurich won the opener 1-0 behind a second straight shutout by Lukas Flueler, a 7-year vet with Zurich who now has a 120:26 shutout streak.
UK: Of Course this was won last week by my one champ so far, the Sheffield Steelers.
NORTH AMERICA: The playoffs are being finalized itn both the NHL and the ECHL as we speak; I'll have a report next week.
HOCKEY UPDATE # 6:
This week, I get my first winner, as Sanok takes the Polish title, rallying from 2 to 1 down to beat season champs Tychy 7-1, 4-3, and 2-0 to take the title 4 games to 2.
Tomorrow morning I may have #2. Sheffield won its semi-final game in the UK Elite League, downing Braehead 3-2 on Robert Dowd's game winner. Sunday 7 AM they face season champ Belfast. The Giants topped Fife 1-0 today to advance to the final.
AUSTRIA: Newcomer Bolzano took down VSV 5-3 to knock my team out in the semis 3 games to 1. They moved on to face top-seed Red Bull Salzburg, and upset them 6-1 in game one on a hat trick by David LaLibertie. David, who started the year with Gwinnett of the ECHL, bounced around the Italian and Austrian minor leagues before catching on with Bolzano for the last 4 games of the season, recording one assist. He's been a ringer in the playoffs, though; the hat gives him 4 goals and 8 points in 9 games.
BELARUS: Neman Grodno beat Yunost Minsk today 3-1 to take a 3-2 lead in the finals.
CZECH REP: Trinic has won the first two games of their semi with Zlin, winning the opener 4-0 behind a pair from Vojtech Polak, a former Dallas Stars draft pick who started the year with Dinamo Riga in the KHL. They won game two 5-2 behind a pair from Radek Bonk.
DENMARK: The same old story seems ready to repeat. SonderjyskE and Herning blasted their way into the finals, and Herning has taken first blood. Tomas Petrusk, a Bowling Green alum who spent last year with my Martin team, putting up a 20-goal season and repeating that this year, scored at 1:45 of OT to win game one 4-3.
FINLAND: SaiPa finished off my Jyvaskyla team in the quarters with a 6-4 win in game seven of that series. They have since fallen behind top-seed Karpat 2 games to 1, with the Tappara/Lukko winner in the finals.
FRANCE: The final continues back and forth, with Briancon taking game five 2-0 and Angers evening things with a 3-1 win in game six. That series will be decided Sunday.
GERMANY: Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg and Kolner have split a pair of 4-1 games in their semifinal series. Meanwhile, top seed Hamburg is in big trouble- 9th seed ERC Ingolstadt, who upset two-seed Krefeld in the quarters, won the first two of their series.
ITALY: Ritten finally eliminated pesty Asiago with a 5-3 win today, thanks to Dan Tudin's two goals, and won the series 4-1. They'll face my Val Pusteria team in the finals, after they outscored Cortina 18-4 in sweeping them 4 straight in the semis.
NORWAY: Stavenger put together 3-2 and 6-2 wins to salvage a 4 to 3 win in the semi series versus Lillehammer, and set up the expected 1/2 matchup in the finals against Valerenga. But the season champs netted three power-play goals and an empty netter to beat Stavenger 4-2 in game one of the finals.
KHL: Lokomotiv has managed just one Yegor Averin goal in losing 3-0 and 2-1 games to Lev Prague in the KHL semis. On the other side, Magnitogorsk has won two 3-2 decisions, the second on league leading scorer Sergei Mozyakin's goal at 1:05 of OT, to lead Salavat Yulaev in the other semi.
SLOVAKIA: Kosice and Nitra open their final series Wednesday.
SWEDEN: Farjestads beat Vaxjo today 4-1 to take a 2-1 lead in their semi series. It looks as if they'll meet #1 Skelleftea in the finals, as they have steamrollered to a 3-0 lead in their series against Linkopings.
SWITZERLAND: Zurich beat Servette 2-0 today to take a 3-2 lead in their semifinal. My boys from Geneva need a win Tuesday to force a deciding game seven.
HOCKEY UPDATE #5:
Let's lead off with a couple items I'll likely touch on in Monday's main blog post.
Lokomotiv has upset #2 seed SKA St. Petersburgh. They won game five 3-2 in a game where SKA's Patrick Thoreson pulled it within one shorthanded with less than a minute left. Ilya Kovalchuk's failed attempt to tie in the last second, though, touched off a brawl that saw Kovalchuk get a 2, a 5, and a 20 minute match penalty- meaning their biggest name would sit out the final game. With his 16 goals and 40 points on the bench, Loko's Curtis Sanford, who faced but one SKA shot in the first 20 minutes, posted a 2-0 shutout to eliminate the second favorite in the KHL playoffs. Loko goes on to face Lev Prague, who dumped homeless Dombas Donetsk 4-2 in the quarters. The winner will go to the Gagarin cup against either Metallurg Magnitogorsk or Salavat Yulaev, who downed arch-rival Barys Astana today with a 3-2 win in game 7.
And in the Polish finals, my Sanok team blasted Tychy 7-1 to tie the series at a game apiece. Top seed Tychy had taken a 2-1 lead earlier with a 4-1 win in game three.
Next up, we have our first champion. After the Oji Eagles opened the Asia League finals with a 9-1 win over Nippon Paper, the Cranes came back with 4-1 and 1-0 OT wins, and finished things off with a 4-3 win in game four to win the series 3 to 1. Canadian Eric Regan, in his first Asia League season after 2 years with the sadly deceased Hannover Scorpions of the German DEL, led the charge with a goal and three assists over the three wins.
Alphabetically through the rest:
Austria: Red Bull Salzburg swept Linz 3 to 0 to go to the EBEL finals, awaiting my VSV guys and Bolzano. Bolzano leads 2 to 1, but VSV won game 3 5-1. Game 4 is Sunday.
Belarus: After season champ Yunost Minsk won the last three to knock out Gomel in the semis, they topped Neman Grodno 4-2 in game one of the finals today (Saturday).
Czech Rep: After my Trinec team lost game one to Pardubice in the quarters, they won the last four, taking the series with a 6-3 game five in which both the former NHLers, Radek Bonk and Martin Ruzicka, scored. They open the semis against Zlin on Wednesday.
Denmark: SonderjyskE wins the first two games against AaB's Pirates, 7-2 and 4-1. Thomas Spelling collected 4 goals in the two games. Spelling, a 21-year-old in his first season with SonderjyskE played in 2011-12 with arch rival Herning as an 18-year old, but stayed in the juniors the last 2 seasons.
Finland: My Jyvaskyla team won back to back games, 2-1 and 5-2, to tie their series with favored SaiPa at 3 apiece. The final is Monday, with Tappara awaiting the winner.
France: The Ligue Magnus championship has so far been a back and forth affair with Briancon blowing out Angers at home 7-2 and 6-2, while Angers wins their home games closely, 4-3 and today's 3-1 win.
Germany: Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg broke open their quarters series against the Ice Tigers of Nurnburg with 6-2 and 8-3 wins to take the series 4 to 2. They open the semis against Kolner Wednesday.
Italy: Well, the most retarded playoffs ever designed roll on, with Asiago advancing to play Ritten. The pair have split 5-0 (Ritten) and 4-3 (Asiago, today) in their semifinal matchup. Val Pusteria drew Cortina and have won 4-1 and 6-0 games. A name I noticed on my VP team is one Kiel McLeod. When I first started following international hockey, he was a mid-level star on my Austrian VSV team (In fact, a publicity photo of him in a bearskin warrior's outfit led me to follow VSV in the first place.). Apparently the previous season he was in Cortina in Italy, then the next after the season in Austria he returned to North America and the ECHL. He went back to Europe, playing in the German minors the next year, and last year, he was in Norway with Frisk Asker, before coming back to Italy with VP this season. The 32-yearold Canadian scored a goal in game one, and added assists in both games.
Norway: It's been a struggle for Stavenger, and a 1-0 loss today dropped them 3 to 2 down to Lillehammer. Valerenga continues to roll, leading Storhamar 3-2 in their semi.
Slovakia: Kosice and Piestany are tied at 2 apiece in their semi; Nitra leads Banska Bystricka 2 to 0.
Sweden: Farjestads won their QF series against Brynas, 4 to 1; They open the semis against Vaxjo on Tuesday.
Switzerland: Servette lost came two of the semis today to Zurich, 5-3, after winning game one 5-0. Alexandre Picard, a Quebecois who had 2 assist in 67 games over five seasons with Columbus in the NHL, scored twice in game one, and again once in game two.
And finally, a north American update:
The Fort Wayne Komets continue to hold the 8th and last playoff spot in their conference in the ECHL at 26-23-16.
In the NHL, My NY Islanders, amidst talks that their owner is looking for a buyer before next year's move from Nassau on Long Island to Brooklyn, continue to fade. Their 18-35-20 record puts them 14 points out of the last playoff spot with but 9 games to go.
The Chicago Blackhawks, meanwhile are fifth in the other conference at 37-18-20, and 7th overall.
HOCKEY UPDATE #4:
In addition to the news you got on the main blog about Lokomotiv knocking off #1 this week, here are the headlines:
ASIA: The best of 5 finals opened today, with Oji's Eagles getting a different scorer for each goal as they rolled to a 9-1 win over Nippon Paper.
AUSTRIA: VSV completed an upset of top seed Vienna with 7-3 and 4-2 wins, and move on to take on league newcomer Bolzano, while traditional powers Red Bull Salzburg and Black Wings Linz face each other in the other semi. Between them, VSV, Salzburg, and Linz have won 8 of this century's championships- Salzburg claiming 4 of them.
BELARUS: Second seed Neman Grodno has advanced to the finals, and await the Yunost Minsk and Gomel- which is 3-2 in Minsk's favor.
CZECH REP: Trinec lost their first quarterfinal game to Pardubice, but came back in game two 5-1, and in an NHL twist, former leaguer Martin Ruzicka scored on an assist from fellow former NHLer Radek Bonk in OT to give Trinec a 2-1 win and a 2 to 1 lead in the best of seven.
DENMARK: The second round opens Tuesday, and it will be SonderjyskE vs AaB, and Herning vs Frederikshaven.
FINLAND: Rolls into the quarters with my Jyvaskyla team down to SaiPa after 2-1 and 4-3 OT losses.
FRANCE: Sigh... Rouen fought it's way back to a 3 to 2 deficit, but lost game six and the series to Angers 4-1. Canadian Braden Wall scored twice in the series clincher for Angers, who will take on Briancon in the finals.
GERMANY: Also in the QFs, Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg won 4-1 and 4-0 games in the first 2, but lost the third match to Nurnburg's Ice Wolves 5-2 and now lead the series 2 to 1.
ITALY: Here is perhaps the dumbest playoff setup I've ever seen. In the first round the 1-3, 2-4, 5-8. and 6-7 seeds played each other. #1 Ritten and #3 (and my team) Val Pusteria won their games, and get a bye in the second round. The LOSERS of those series- #1 Asiago and #4 Valpellice- MOVE ON to play the winners of the 5-8 and 6-7 series- who will THEN play Ritten and VP. This means that repeats of the Asiago- Val Pusteria and Valpellice-Ritten first round series may well occur in the semis!
NORWAY: Valerenga won game one of it's semifinal matchup with Storhamar 4-0, while Stavenger beat Lillehammer in their game one, 6-2. Storhamar took out Michael Forney's team, Sparta Sarpsborg, 4-1 in the first round. For as hot as he was at the close of the season, Forney managed just 3 assists against Storhamar.
POLAND: Sanok finished off it's opening round (and thus semi-final) series and will face #1 Tychy in the championship series starting Monday.
RUSSIA: Loko moved on to face #2 SKA St. Petersburg in round two. Game one went to SKA 1-0, but Vladimir Kartayev, a once-Loko who returned from Metallurg Novokutnetsk late in the season (and managed a lonely assist in 12 games), scored just past the halfway mark of OT to give us a 5-4 win and a series tie.
Also of note was Sibir Novosibrsk winning its first-ever playoff series, knocking off conference second-seed Ak Bars Kazan 4 games to 2. The celebration may be short lived; they are already down 2 to 0 to conference #1 seed Magnitogorsk.
SLOVAKIA: This league will be starting its semis Monday, without my already-eliminated Martin team. I guess I'll pull for Banska Bystrika, who drew Nitra, while top-seed Kosice plays Piestany.
SWITZERLAND: Geneve Servette wins the last two, both by 2-1 scores, against Lugano to move to the semis. That last game went to a shootout; and out of ten shooters, only Noah Rod, a center/right wing who scored a measely 3 assists in 28 games, managed to score.
UK: Still in their season, with Belfast (38-6-8, 89 points) and Sheffield (27-16-8, 66) having a firm grip on the top two seeds.
Hockey Update #3:
All of the foreign leagues with the exception of the UK's EIHL are now in the playoffs. There, Belfast's front-runners had a bit of an off week- in three games, they lost one in a shootout to my Sheffield team, and got whupped 6-2 by ninth-place Fyfe. Which trimmed their lead over the rest of the league to a "razor-thin" 23 points.
In Austria, My VSV boys have top-seed Vienna down 3 to 1 after a 7-3 win spurred by Canuck John Hughes' hat trick. The only team to advance to the quarters so far is league newbie Bolzano (former member of Italy's Serie A), who beat Alba Volan in five games.
Belarus- my Lida team was swept out by first-place Yunost Minsk, who is now tied at 1 apiece with 4th seed Gomel.
Czech Rep.- My Trinec team is still waiting the outcome of the Pardubice/Slavia Prague series, currently tied at 2 each. The only team advancing so far is former champ Vitkovice Steel, who swept Liberec and will face Sparta Prague next.
Denmark- My SonderjyskE team is up on Esbjerg Energy 3 to 1 in a series that has seen only 14 goals, as well as two OT games. In the meantime, arch rival Herning awaits, having disposed of last-seed Herlev in 4 straight.
Finland- just started their ten-team, six bye playoff. Only two games so far, including world-renowned Jokerit getting swamped 5-1 by Hameenlinna. My Jyvaskyla team doesn't play until the next round, where they face fellow bystander SaiPa.
France- My Rouen team was staggered by three straight losses in the semis to arch-rival Angers, 2-0, 2-1, 3-2. But today they woke up to stay alive with a 4-0 win. Second-place Briancon has already advanced to the finals, sweeping Dijon 4 straight and outscoring them 23-4 in the 4 games.
Germany- The first round of their ten team set is over with Iserlohn's Roosters knocking off Munchen and ERC Ingolstadt eliminating defending champ Eisbaren Berlin. GA Wolfsburgh will open against Nurnburg Sunday.
Italy- Val Pusteria knocks out arch-foe Asiago 3 to 1 after losing the opener. They'll next place seventh seed Vipiteno, who beat 6th place Milano in the first round.
Norway- the second round showdown between Stavenger and Valerenga is set after Stavenger swept Rosenberg and Valerenga beat Frisk Asker in five. Usually this would be the championship round with these two; probably should have been this year, seeings as they were 1-2 in the season standings. But the winner will be facing a lesser light in the finals- and neither of those two series are decided yet.
Poland- Sanok had to do a lot of playing to put down Jastrzebie, winning a five game series that featured two shootouts and an OT final. They'll find out whether they face #1 Tychy or Osweicim on Tuesday.
KHL- given up for dead, Lokomotiv rallied against top-seed Dynamo Moscow, winning 6-0 Saturday to take the series to a decisive game 7 on Monday. This was only the third time all year that Loko scored five or more goals in a game. Teams that have advanced so far include SKA St. Pete, Lev Prague, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and Barys Astana.
Slovakia- My Martin team gets to go home, swept in four by season champ Kosice. They'll face Nitra, who likewise blanked Zvolen.
Sweden- Well, the two former powerhouses I mentioned last time had split results. HV 71 moved on to the quarters, while MODO was eliminated buy Linkopings. Tomorrow (Sunday) my Farjestads team opens against Brynas.
Switzerland- Servette took a 2-1 lead in their opening series today after a 7-1 rout of Lugano.
Asia- The finals open next Saturday between Oji's Eagles (who swept High 1) and Nippon Paper's Cranes (who swept Sang Mu, thus making an all-Japanese final).
So that means my teams have won 3 series, are winning 3, 4 are still waiting to play, one hasn't ended the season, two are knocked out, and one Tohoku) didn't make it. Tune in next week for the latest updates!
HOCKEY UPDATE # 2
Most of the foreign leagues have hit playoff time, so let's go alphabetically.
Asia- Last report was the end of the regular season, so Tohoku finishes 6th and out of the playoffs. First place Oji Eagles opened their best of three semi with an 8-1 win over High 1, while Nippon Paper Cranes upended rookie team Sang Mu 2-1 in their opener.
Austria- VSV was the six seed and opens with #1 Vienna. The Caps' 4-2 win over VSV was the only non-OT opener in round one.
Belarus- Lida is out early, dropping 4-1, 9-2, and 5-1 games to top ranked Yunost Minsk.
Czech Rep- Ocelari Trinec forged their way to a second-place finish and draw the bye into round two. The Extraliga is one of a handful of leagues that have a 10-team, 6-bye playoff. Trinec will either face Pardubice (7th) or Slavia Prague (8th).
Denmark- my top-ranked SonderjyskE, for whatever Danish logic was used, drew 5th seed Esbjerg Energy. Denmark has a 9-team league with only one team (Rungsted at 8-30-2) staying home. So who gets 8th-seed Herlev? Why, rival and second seed Herning, who easily took game one 6-1. In the meantime, SonderjyskE needed an OT goal by Corey Quirk to beat Esbjerg 1-0 in their game one.
Finland- Their season has two games to run, and Jyvaskyla still trail Karpat (125 points), Tapara (114), and Lukko (98). Jyvaskyla (92) unfortunately doesn't have any of them on the remaining schedule.
France- Rouen finished off Chamoix 5-1 to sweep their best of 5 second round series and move on to face arch-rival Angers starting Tuesday. All four top seeds make it to the semi-finals.
Germany- Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg (25-19-8) finishes sixth and gets a bye in the 10-team playoff. Only two series (Munchen/Iserlohn and Eisberen Berlin/ERC Ingolstadt) in round one; GAW awaits the start of their series with Nurnburg next Sunday.
Italy- Val Pusteria finishes behind Ritten and Asiago in the regular season. They draw arch-rival Asiago in round one, and lost to them 5-2, while Ritten beat Valpellice 5-0 in their opener.
Norway- Valerenga stunned Stavenger 7-1 in the season finale to take the regular season finish. The #2 then get #8 Rosenburg, winning 6-2 in their opener. Valerenga drew 7th seed Frisk Asker and won 4-1.
Poland- Sanok finished off Katowice 6-0 to sweep them 3 to 0 in the first round. Their second round series versus Jastrzebie starts Monday. 1st place Tychy (34-11-9) also swept their first round series.
Russia- The KHL playoffs also started this week. Lokomotiv, 8th seed in the West, gets stuck with #1 Dynamo Moscow, but has been competitive in 3-2 OT and 2-1 wins for Dynamo. In an ironic twist considering the international situation, Donbas (representing the Ukraine) has a 2 to 0 lead over Latvia's Dinmao Riga; if Donbas wins, they'll likely play Dynamo Moscow in round 2... and won't that be a pretty pickle?
Slovakia- Martin (15-27-14) squeezes into the playoffs, mainly because Dukla Trencin went 0-4-1 at the end. They drew top-seed Kosice (39-13-4), and the #1s ripped them 6-1 in game one of their series.
Sweden- they finish up Saturday, and Farjestad surged into 5th- like Martin, mostly because next in line Lulea went 0-4-1 in their last 5. They will also apparently have a 10-team, 6-bye playoff. Traditional and world-known former powers MODO and HV71 finish 7th and 10th, respectively.
Switzerland- Geneve Servette wins 4 and ties one of the last five to finish fourth in a season where 2nd through 6th are separated by only 6 point... though 1st place Zurich (32-9-9) wins by 20 points. Servette opens against 5th place Lugano Tuesday.
UK- Belfast has rolled to wins in their last 5 games and the lead over second place Shefflield (my team) by 24.
I'll update the North American teams occasionally until playoff time.
As we are closing in on the end of Hockey, I am going to post once a week about it here on the Football page. If any of my teams make it to the finals, I will post results on the main blog, but until then, I'll spare the majority of viewers and put things here.
Last time I mentioned things, I said Rekord VSV in Austria's EBEL and Lida in the Belarus Extraleague are both in the winners/losers stage. Basically, they play a chunk of season to determine playoff seeding. In Austria, VSV is in the winners stage after a 23-16-5 regular season and a 6th place finish behind the Vienna Caps, who won the league by the margin of one extra win over Black Wings Linz. They are 3-4-2 in that winners stage, which sucks because being the last of six teams in the mix, they get no bonus points as the top 4 do. The quarters start Friday. In Belarus, the losers stage rolls on with Lida having so far posted a 7-6-3 mark. Hard to tell, but I think they are done with the nonsense and ready for the playoffs.
Two other leagues have hit the playoffs, thankfully without winners and losers stages. In France, my Rouen team took first yet again with a 19-3-4 record, beating out Briancon by 4. The top four teams got a first round bye, and have moved to round 2. Rouen faces Chamoix, who finished 9th but swept Epinal in three straight to move on. Rouen won game one 7-3 and tipped them 6-5 in OT of game two. If they win, they get the winner of arch-rival Angers and Gap in the next round- and Angers is also up 2-0.
The other league that is done is the Polish League, with my Sanok team finishing 2nd at 32-11-5, but well back of champion Tychy (39-7-2). They drew 7th seed Katowice, and whipped them 11-0 and 13-2. That may be a best of 3 series, but I'm not sure.
In the mean time, I have two more teams in first, and 3 in second. Stavanger continues to roll in Norway, at 30-7-7, while SonderjyskE continues at 28-8-4 to lead arch-rival Herning by 4 points. The second place teams include the Chicago Black Hawks, second overall in the NHL at 31-12-19, the Czech-Rep team Ocelari Trinec who has stormed into second at 28-17-3, just 2 points back, and the UK's Elite League Sheffield Steelers are second at 22-15-7, though waaaay behind league leading Belfast (35-5-6).
Val Pusteria is third in Italy's Serie A at 23-13-5; Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg in Germany's DEL (25-18-8) are fourth, as are Geneve Servette in Switzerland (21-16-12) and JYP Jyvaskyla in Finland (24-19-12). Following them are the Fort Wayne Komets (8th in their conference in the ECHL at 21-18-15), the fast-closing Tohoku Free Blades in Asia, who just pulled into a 5th place tie, 3 out of a playoff spot (18-17-7), the KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (8th in their conference at 22-21-10), Sweden's Farjestads (19-19-14), Slovakia's Martin (hanging onto a playoff spot by a thread at 15-26-14), and the NHL's NY Islanders (14-31-17).
And finally- China Dragon is still winless at 0-42-0, averaging getting beat 8 to 1.4. Their top scorer has a plus/minus score of -100. This is a measure of the teams goal margin when the player is on the ice; in other words, this guy, a Japanese-American dual national named Rick Soo, has been on the ice for 100 more goals against than goals for. By contrast, the worst mark on ANY of my teams is the -19 of Colin McDonald of the Islanders, and China Dragon has only five skaters out of 21 better than -19, and 14 of them are worse than -50!
Here's the final standings.. details on the main blog.
Week eleven scores
Angels 49, Aguas 38
Greenwoods 47, Beagles 34
KCAs 32, Rangers 30
Ducks 49, Clock BBQs 27
Porkchops 40, B2s 24
Buzz 23, Elks 22
Marshawn Lynch, Porkchops 18
Calvin Johnson, Angels 15
Cincinnati D, KCAs 14
Robert Griffin III, Aguas 13
two at 12
LAST WEEK OF THE SEASON
Angels vs KCAs
Beagles vs Rangers
Greenwoods vs Aguas
Clock BBQs vs B2s
Ducks vs Buzz
Elks vs Porkchops
Week ten scores
Angels 49, Beagles 36
KCAs 20, Aguas 19
Greenwoods 68, Rangers 21
Elks 40, Clock BBQs 38
Ducks 40, B2s 31
Buzz 54, Porkchops 34
Weeks leading scorers
Demaryus Thomas, Greenwoods 18
Stephan Haushka, Buzz, 16
Drew Brees, Angels 15
Peyton Manning, Elks 15
St. Louis D, Angels 14
Next week's games
Angels vs Aguas
Beagles vs Greenwoods
KCAs vs Rangers
Clock BBQs vs State Ducks
B2s vs Porkchops
Elks vs Buzz.
Week nine scores
Angels 38, Rangers 25
Beagles 20, Aguas 13
Greenwoods 34, KCAs 30
Porkchops 48, Clock BBQs 39
Buzz 52, B2s 44
Elks 33, Ducks 31
Weeks top scorers
TY Hilton, B2s 21
Andre Johnson, Greenwoods 21
Tom Brady, Buzz 15
Jimmy Graham, KCAs 15
Andrew Luck, CBBQs 14
Next week- three to go!
Angels vs Beagles
KCAs vs Aguas
Greenwoods vs Rangers
Clock BBQs vs Elks
B2s vs Ducks
Buzz vs Porkchops
Week eight scores
B2s 66, Angels 36
Beagles 62, Ducks 52
Elks 36, KCAs 31
Greenwoods 27, Buzz 23
Aguas 29, Clock BBQs 21
Rangers 41, Porkchops 29.
Weeks leading scorers
Drew Brees, Angels, 18
Denver D, Beagles, 17
Dez Bryant, Ducks, 15
Golden Tate, Beagles, 15
Jordy Nelson, B2s, 15
Next weeks games
Angels vs Rangers
Beagles vs #3 Aguas
KCAs vs Greenwoods
Clock BBQs vs Porkchops
B2s vs Buzz
ANNNND #1 Ducks vs #2 Elks, round two!
Week seven scores
Greenwoods 46, Angels 41
Beagles 29, KCAs 12
Aguas 30, Rangers 20
CBBQs 52, Buzz 39
Elks 59, B2s 19
Ducks 44, Porkchops 38
Week's top scorers
Matt Forte, Elks 21
Calvin Johnson, Angels 15
Vincent Jackson, Ducks 15
Andrew Luck, CBBQ 15
New Eng D, Elks 14
Next week's games
Interdivision round two
Angels vs B2s
Beagles vs #1 Ducks
KCAs vs #2 Elks
Greenwoods vs Buzz
#3 Aguas vs CBBQs
Rangers vs Porkchops
Week 6 scores- the halfway point!
Beagles 41, Angels 35
Aguas 30, KCAs 10
Rangers 24, Greenwoods 21
Clock BBQs 28, Elks 20
Ducks 59, B2s 43
Buzz 46, Porkchops 41
Week's top scorers:
STL Defense, Angels 24
Knowshon Moreno, Buzz 18
Vernon Davis, Ducks 15
Mason Crosby, Aguas 14
Steven Gostkowski, Beagles 13
Angels vs Greenwoods
Beagles vs KCAs
#3 Aguas vs Rangers
Clock BBQs vs Buzz
B2s vs #2 Elks
#1 Ducks vs Porkchops
Week 5 scores:
Angels 47, KCAs 28
Beagles 30, Rangers 28
Aguas 47, Greenwoods 40
Buzz 50, Clock BBQs 40
Elks 48, B2s 33
State Ducks 43, Porkchops 32
Leading scorers this week:
Peyton Manning, Elks, and
Alex Henery, KCAs, 18
Matt Prater, Elks 16
Justin Tucker, Angels, TY Hilton, B2s,
and Mason Crosby, Aguas, 15
3 at 14
#3Angels vs Beagles
KCAs vs Aguas
Greenwoods vs Rangers
Clock BBQs vs #2 Elks
B2s vs #1 State Ducks
Buzz vs Porkchops
Week 4 scores:
Angels 51, Porkchops 39
Elks 62, Beagles 39
KCAs 36, CBBQs 31
Ducks 53, Greenwoods 42
Buzz 34, Aguas 20
B2s 48, Rangers 15
We have now had 5 of the last twelve losing teams score exactly 39 points! Which is funny because the last two weeks, 39 would have beaten 4 winning scores and 6 losing scores!
Seattle D, Greenwoods, 16
Greg Jennings, Elks 15
Adrian Peterson, Ducks, 15
9 at 12 each.
Back to in-the-division games
Angels vs KCAs
Beagles vs Rangers
#3 Greenwoods vs Aguas
Clock BBQs vs Buzz
B2s vs #2 Elks
#1 Ducks vs Porkchops
Week 3 scores
Angels 41, Greenwoods 29
KCAs 46, Beagles 39
Rangers 41, Aguas 39
CBBQs 23, Porkchops 22
Buzz 25, B2s 15
Ducks 41, Elks 39
Week's top scorers
Drew Brees, Angels, 15
Matt Prater, Elks, 14
Mason Crosby, Aguas, 13
6 tied at 12
Angels vs Porkchops
Beagles vs #3 Elks
KCAs vs Clock BBQs
#2 Greenwoods vs #1 State Ducks
Aguas vs Buzz
Rangers vs B2s
Rangers 32, Angels 27
Beagles 41, Aguas 32
Greenwoods 50, KCAs 16
Ducks 64, CBBQ 30
B2s 45, Porkchops 41
Elks 61, Buzz 29
Top five scorers this week (starters only):
Peyton Manning, Elks, 24
Adrian Peterson, Ducks, and
Victor Cruz, Porkchops, 21
Demaryous Thomas, Greenwoods, 15
4 players with 12
Next week- Angels-Aguas
Week 2 scores
Aguas 42, Angels 25
Greenwoods 35, Beagles 33
KCAs 31, Rangers 22
CBBQs 45, B2s 13
Ducks 43, Buzz 41
Porkchops 56, Elks 40
Top scorers week 2
Eddie Royal, Buzz 18
Marshawn Lynch, Porkchops 18
Calvin Johnson, Angels 15
Minnesota D, CBBQs 14
4 at 12
Next weeks games:
Angels vs #2 Greenwoods
Fiery Beagles vs KCAs
Aguas vs Rangers
CBBQs vs Porkchops
B2s vs Buzz
#1 Ducks vs #3 Elks