Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Before we begin I'd like to take the opportunity to show you all this goal by Ryan Smyth making Doughty look like an amateur defensemen at best. I have been watching the Avalanche a little closely since the 5-2 victory against the Flyers. That was when the Avalanche were 0-3-0 and nobody knew what could possibly be worse, Raycroft, Budaj, or the empty net. Since then the Av's are now 4-3-0 Raycroft has been OK and Budaj is playing much better. They currently lead the Northwest and tied for first in the in Goals (28) and in third with goals against (23).The offense has been absolutely amazing this week Stastny is white hot right now 2 goals 9 assists. Hejduk is a goal scoring machine with 6 goals. Hejduk and Stastny really do have some good chemistry with eachother right now and they are exciting to watch especially on the power play. Ryan Smyth is looking better this year than he did last year, and Sackic does not appear to be slowing down much at all, he is second on the team in points with 2 goals and 7 assists.The Northwest can be in big trouble if this team gets any better than they are playing now and especially if Budaj or Raycroft can become solid goaltenders. They do have other players who can at any moment erupt offensively, guys like Wojtek Wolski, Marek Svatos, and Darcy Tucker.The Avalanche faces a tough task tonight against the Buffalo Sabres who are looking as good as they were in 06/07. This will be the measuring stick to see just how good the av's really are. Even though they are on a 4 game winning streak, 3 of those 4 games were against the Philadelphia Flyers who's defense (if you want to call it that) is hurting badly and were getting no favors from their goaltending, The Dallas Stars where Marty Turco has been playing as if it were the playoffs and the Stars almost came back and won the game, and The LA Kings. Something to note, even though they had started out the year 0-3-0 all of their losses were 1 goal games. The season is still young, they have a good test tonight and many more to come throughout the season.- M. PatotaSource

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Contraversial "no goal" call allows Wild to escape with 2-1 home victory over Columbus

In some ways, tonight's game is like a story of two siblings. The older (in this case more traditional) sibling goes on to have great success. While the other sibling is annoyed at being in the shadow of the other. For the Columbus Blue Jackets, they have been in many ways the antithesis of the Minnesota Wild. While the Wild steadily improved since their first season in 2000, Columbus has languished in mediocrity and in the words of the team's beat writer Aaron Portzline, "has yet to play any meaningful games in March." Blue Jackets fans have tried to be patient, but its clear the patience is wearing thin. Attendance has been steadily falling, and the fans are growing restless of being out of the playoff hunt more or less by the end of the February. The organization recognized the need to win now; so it made some moves this offseason by making trades for RJ Umberger, Fedor Tyutin, Raffi Torres (who is currently hurt), as well as free agent defensemen Mike Commodore and center Kristian Huselius. Yet frustratingly, the Blue Jackets enter tonight's game just 3-4-0. The Wild were expected to have a bit of a setback this season as the team let 9 players leave via free agency; but so far the team has continued to showcase the ability Minnesota's defensive system as well as its coaching staff, to be successful despite the plethora of changes to the roster. Minnesota is coming of a disheartening late 3rd period collapse at the hands of the red hot Buffalo Sabres; which team will get revenge tonight in this battle of expansion rivals?The Blue Jackets had good speed to start the game and Columbus had the first good chance when Kristian Huselius wove his way into the high slot before uncorking a slap shot that Niklas Backstrom would knock down and cover up for a save. Colmbus kept swarming in the Wild zone and their youngsters line of Derick Brassard and Jakub Voracek would force a turnover in the Minnesota defensive zone and Backstrom had to make good save on a point-blank range chance by Voracek. The Wild tried to respond with its top line and a nice play along the boards by Antti Miettinen pushing the puck to a waiting Andrew Brunette almost behind the Columbus goal who gave a little pass to Mikko Koivu whodrove to the crease and he attempted to jam it through Pascal Leclaire but he held on for the save. The Wild would earn a power play on a strange decision by RJ Umberger to hook Owen Nolan as he appeared to be headed for the Minnesota bench. On the power play the Wild moved the puck well but were unable to create many quality shots on Leclaire, and the Blue Jackets would get the key early penalty kill. The Wild would showcase some strong defense in their own zone and this would lead to a chance in transition as Mikko Koivu was quick to push a puck up to Miettinen who raced up the ice in a 2-on-1 with Nick Schultz but the Columbus defenseman played the pass and Miettinen unloaded a shot that whistled over the net. A minute later the Blue Jackets woulget their first power play when Marc-Andre Bergeron got a minor for elbowing when he got his arms a bit high on RJ Umberger. The Wild's power play was solid, keeping the Blue Jackets to the outside and Columbus was only able to fire a few shots from the perimeter that did not give Backstrom many troubles earning the kill. Minnesota would be given another power play when Marc Methot was called for hooking. On the man advantage the Wild were working the puck from high to low rather well and when they finally worked the puck to the slot they'd draw another Columbus penalty when Rostislav Klesla hooked Andrew Brunette as he drove towards the Blue Jackets' crease. With the 5-on-3 the Wild were moving the puck as Columbus was sitting in a triangle fairly close to the crease and Minnesota was blasting shots, the best one coming from the stick of Koivu that Leclaire deflected away with a pad save. In the waning seconds of the power play Minnesota would get one last quality chance when Eric Belanger found Owen Nolan in the slot who rifled a shot that Leclaire kicked away. Minnesota was playing with some good physicality as Cal Clutterbuck and Brent Burns were taking their opportunities to deliver some big hits. The State of Hockey kept attacking and and their persistance would pay off as a nice little pass by to Owen Nolan who was all alone and his shot would bounce off Leclaire and Nolan would knock the puck down with his glove but he could not get his stick on it for a shot but the puck would pop back out to the point where Marek Zidlicky would fire a shot from the point. The puck would strike the boards but the puck would bounce to Pierre-Marc Bouchard who chipped the puck in mid-air into the Columbus goal to give the Wild a 1-0 lead with under 30 seconds left in the period. The Blue Jackets had some good jump in their skates to start the 2nd period, as well as trying to take the body early but Minnesota would quickly match Columbus' intensity as Craig Weller nearly checked Christian Backman back into his own bench. Minnesota had good strength along the boards and this led to a great chance for Nolan who one-timed a shot that struck Leclaire in the shoulder causing the big French Canadian goaltender some discomfort. The Wild kept attacking and Mikko Koivu would make a great move to get around a Blue Jackets' defender but could not get a shot on goal. Pascal Leclaire who has struggled against injuries throughout his career appeared to be wincing and finally signalled to his bench he needed to get off the ice. During the next stoppage the Blue Jackets' Head Coach Ken Hitchcock pulled Leclaire in favor of Fredrik Norrena. The Blue Jackets would create some good chances by moving the puck down low and this would have the Wild scrambling a bit but Backstrom bailed the team out with a few close-range saves. Minnesota would pay the Blue Jackets back with two incredible shifts where the Wild operated in the Columbus zone for almost 2 minutes firing pucks on the net but Minnesota was unable to get their sticks on the rebounds. It was a great show of puck control but despite the excellent pressure the team still only carried a one-goal lead. The Blue Jackets tried to ramp up the pressure and for a short time they controlled the Minnesota defensive zone but the Wild did a great job at harassing Columbus so they could not set anything up. Columbus would show some off some of their ability to create turnovers and this would yield a few shots on Niklas Backstrom and the steady Finn came up with the saves. The Blue Jackets had a great chance with about 2:30 left in the period when Jason Chimera gave a little saucer pass to a charging Derick Brassard who moved in all alone on Backstrom but his bakchander was denied by the Wild goaltender. The Wild suffered an odd casualty of sorts as the team's head trainer Don Fuller who was struck by a stray puck fired by a Blue Jacket player; and he would retreat to the team's lockeroom. It was a roller coaster of a period, but Minnesota had to feel good still carrying a 1-0 lead going into the 3rd. Columbus would get a terrific chance early in the period when Rick Nash would move in on a breakaway but his attempt was stonewalled by a great save by Niklas Backstrom. Jakub Voracek would get called for tripping. One player who was not happy during the power play was Jason Chimera who took a stick to the face that caused him a cut but no call was made and he had some choice words for members of the Wild once he got to the bench. The Wild had a great shift from Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Stephane Veilleux and James Sheppard who cycled the puck effectively in the Columbus zone. Minnesota would continue to pressure down low with Mikko Koivu driving beneath the Columbus goal line for a quick pass to a waiting Owen Nolan about 10ft from the Blue Jackets' crease who blasted a one-timer by Norrena to give the Wild a 2-0 lead. Shortly after the goal, the Blue Jackets' young agitator Derek Dorsett blatently tripped Niklas Backstrom behind the Wild goal with no call, and the Wild goaltender was clearly feeling some discomfort but he would stay between the pipes for the duration of the game. Dorsett also was a bit worse for the wear after the collision and he would leave the game and not return. The Blue Jackets would cut the Wild's lead in half on a rather innocuous wrist shot by Rostislav Klesla that Backstrom apparently did not see. Columbus could sense a change of momentum as the Wild and started to press the attack. Columbus would pull Norrena for an extra attacker with about a minute left, and there would be some controversy early when Christian Backman wound up and fired a puck that Rick Nash reached out to deflect causing the puck to bounce along the ice and beat Backstrom. The goal was reviewed and after a some very tense moments Referee Dan Marouelli announced was a "no goal" much to the consternation of the Blue Jackets and understandably so. In the replay; Rick Nash who is a taller player at 6'4" reached out to deflect Backman's shot, and the stick appeared to be slightly beneath his shoulders which would likely have been over the cross-bar which does constitute a high stick but there was no real high quality camera angle to capture that making the call a rather speculative one at best. The Blue Jackets clearly were insensed and they would squander the last few seconds as the Wild would escape with a 2-1 victory. Derick Brassard personified his frustration by breaking his stick over the back of the Wild goal and there is little question this will be one the Blue Jackets will likely be yelling at the league offices in Toronto about for some time. Despite the controversy, the Wild got great goaltending from Niklas Backstrom who made 25 saves on 26 shots. He was a huge source of stability for Minnesota and made several great saves from shots taken from in close. The Wild's defense again allowed a team to get dangerously close to eliminating a lead in the 3rd period but early on the team did a good job at limiting the Blue Jackets' scoring chances. Minnesota continues to get great work out of the top line of Koivu, Miettinen, and Brunette but the other lines need to find ways to contribute more offensive pressure. Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a solid night as well, but still could use a finisher on his line and perhaps Owen Nolan will be that guy. Wild Head Coach Jacques Lemaire summed up tonight's game when he said, "You know why we lose our hair, this is the reason" adding "sometimes less is better because we try to do too much." The win was big, and perhaps makes an already bitter Blue Jackets squad that much more nauseated by their more successful sibling but Wild fans sure won't be complaining. Minnesota stays at home for a game against another young and dynamic team; the Chicago Blackhawks when they come to town on Monday. The Wild must be prepared to take on a team that can transition the puck well and are hungry to pull themselves back towards the top of the Central Division. Wild Notes:~ The Wild lineup tonight was: Owen Nolan, Mikko Koivu, Antti Miettinen, Andrew Brunette, Stephane Veilleux, Derek Boogaard, Benoit Pouliot, James Sheppard, Cal Clutterbuck, Eric Belanger, Craig Weller, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Skoula, Nick Schultz, Kim Johnsson, Marc-Andre Bergeron, and Brent Burns. Josh Harding backed up Niklas Backstrom. Colton Gillies, Tomas Mozjis, Erik Reitz were the healthy scratches and Marian Gaborik is still out of the lineup with an injury. ~ The 3 Stars of the Game as selected by Let's Play Hockey were: 1st Star Mikko Koivu, 2nd Star Niklas Backstrom, 3rd Star Owen Nolan~ Owen Nolan's goal in the 3rd period was his first regular season goal in Minnesota since 1991 when he scored as a member of the Quebec Nordiques against the Minnesota North Stars. ~ In WCHA action, the Minnesota Golden Gophers men's hockey team tied their game yesterday (2-2) and won tonight's matchup against arch-rival Wisconsin Badgers 5-2 at the Kohl Center in Madison. The Badgers are still winless this season at 0-5-1. Source

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sabres in Denver

DENVER -- Despite coach Lindy Ruff saying Friday that Patrick Lalime will be getting a start "sooner rather than later," it's Ryan Miller in the crease tonight against the's top-scoring team. Expect Lalime, then, to start Monday at home against Ottawa. The Avalanche has started 4-3 thanks to its offensive weaponry. The Avs have scored 28 goals, a league-best 4.0 per game. The Sabres, meanwhile, are tied for fourth with 3.43 goals. It’s goals against where the teams differ so far. The Sabres are third in the after giving up 1.71 per game. Colorado is 23rd because it’s allowed 3.29 per outing. I wrote late last season about all the places I had seen fans in Sabres gear, and I can add another place to the list today. Went over to Golden, Colo., and took the tour of the Coors Brewing Factory and there were Sabres fans in there. Can't beat a little free Rocky Mountain refreshment on game days. Also, noticed the main story on our Web site had Mayor Brown getting the snowplows out in Buffalo. It was 73 in Denver today. ---John VoglSource

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

With Games Winding Down.....Sunday Bloody Sunday!

Sadly it is coming to an end but what a great day of hockey it was! I saw a great day of 60 shots on goal on Long Island, a stink bomb on the ice (see Mike's video), a comeback at MSG, and so much more. The late games are providing just as much excitement folks...so if you can check out the final moments of an awesome night of the coolest game on Earth.Oh and how often do you see this decide a game in the closing second???? Yeah that was something else!Then there was the frenetic ending at MSG.......nice recap too. Add in shootouts in the Detroit-Chicago game and Buffalo-Colorado....and you had a whale of a day. I was even playing Brass Bonanza in the background after the Avs won. You have to love when the games are this good...this early! That can only help the parties and get togethers. Hopefully everyone had a blast tonight enjoying a sport that so many of us love...hockey.Now of course for all the good, all the fun everyone has had tonight...there comes Sunday's stark reality. There is no hockey tomorrow...NOTHING...not one single solitary game. Yes there are some big football games and a World Series Game 4 but no hockey still leaves a bitter taste on the palette. I am admittedly humming "Sunday Bloody Sunday" from U2....and I guess in an hour or so I really will feel that way once the euphoria of 15 games erodes from my soul.Time for a flashback to lament a bit.... That does make me feel a bit sad listening to that song. The first line alone folks...always gets me right there in the heart. Here is the first little bit of the song...yes you know the words.Yes...I cant believe the news todayOh, I cant close my eyes and make it go awayHow long...How long must we sing this song?How long? how long...cause tonight...we can be as oneTonight...So with a heavy sigh and a chug of my cider...it is pretty much time to put this night in the books. It was no doubt a night to remember for some good, bad, and ugly reasons. Now what can you do on Sunday with no hockey? That is a good question. There are podcasts you can listen to like our Fantasy Hockey Hour and The Program With Chris And Rick. There is also some good old standbys like Puck Podcast for the hard core fan, and so many other great podcast and radio show options. Why not surf XM, the/nhl Network, even the good internet streaming sites. There are some KHL and Juniors action going on. Also, you can go on youtube or hulu for some games and highlights. Catch up on the season or the classics.Other options include fishing through the old video and dvd collection, read a hockey book, or even call a friend. Hang out with some hockey fans....have some fun with it. It definitely sucks right now major donkey poo....but Sunday is not the end of the world...even if it is disappointing. Without a doubt, no hockey on Sunday is. So don't say wake me up when Sunday ends...just make the best of the day. Catch up on hockey and more importantly life folks. Life's too short sometimes.Source

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sabres-Avs recap

BY JOHN VOGL News Sports Reporter DENVER - Ryan Miller told the referee to watch Ryan Smyth. He kept skating by and brushing Miller's stick, the goaltender said, knocking him off-balance and disrupting his focus. When Smyth did it again on the game-changing play and the ref didn't care, Miller was livid and chased the official. He was still angry after the game, but that's to be expected. After all, it was Smyth who sunk the Buffalo Sabres in the shootout. Colorado used a frantic rally - and a little bump - to earn a 2-1 victory over the Sabres on Saturday. The Avalanche scored with 6:24 left in regulation to tie the game, then outgunned Buffalo in the extra session to drop the Sabres to 6-0-2. The tying goal is what stuck with Miller. Smyth has long been able to skate near the net with impunity, and he did it again Saturday. Replays showed he brushed Miller as a deflected puck came near the goal, and the distracted netminder couldn't catch up. "He did it a few times and I just told the ref, 'Hey, I just don't want the contact. I don't need the penalty, I just don't want the contact,'" Miller said. "When he comes by and twists me out of position ... tipped puck or whatever, that's a slow-moving puck that I would have reached if I'd been set. I have no idea why he's allowed to do it. I had the ice. I was there first. Don't touch me." Miller said the ref simply rolled his eyes when the goalie came to complain. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, while backing his goalie, could simply shrug his shoulders. "It's a great play if you get away with it," Ruff said. Even with the setback, the Sabres had a lot to be happy about it. They had just five defensemen for most of the game, yet they still held the's most potent team to one goal through 65 minutes. The Avalanche is a test for even the healthiest of defenses. Colorado came in averaging four goals a game, tops in the league. It had won four straight and scored at least four goals in all of them. So when Henrik Tallinder suffered a deep cut above his ankle and didn't play after the first period, it was easy to assume Buffalo's blue-liners were in trouble. But they responded despite the increased workload. "We only allowed one goal, and this is a good team we just played against," defenseman Toni Lydman said. "I guess you just have to take that point and be happy about it." Tallinder's injury isn't serious, and there's a chance he could be back Monday when the Sabres host Ottawa in HSBC Arena. "There's enough reasons that he could sit out as come back and play," Ruff said. Of course, it helps the defense to have one of the league's top goaltenders playing at his best. Miller was again sensational, this time stopping 28 shots before an amped-up crowd in Pepsi Center. "Millsie obviously stood on his head for us," defenseman Nathan Paetsch said. "Obviously, we're so fortunate to have such an amazing goaltender. We've got an All-Star guy in net, and it makes a difference every night." Though Miller felt he could have made a difference on the tying goal, it came as part of an impressive Colorado rally. The Avalanche tried desperately to tie, attacking as if it were the closing seconds of a playoff-elimination game. Jordan Leopold took a shot from the point, and two Sabres slid to block it. Clarke MacArthur was second in line, and the rubber caromed off his helmet and found the top part of the net. "We went down to five D-men, we battled hard, and to work that hard and have a kind of chintzy little play be the difference to getting us to overtime, it's pretty brutal," Miller said. The Sabres built their 1-0 lead with a stellar second period. They finished it with a 16-7 shot edge, including Daniel Paille's goal with 9:18 gone. The shootout was a wild one that went to two extra shooters after each team scored twice. Smyth beat Miller with a high shot, and Peter Budaj stoned Clarke MacArthur to end it. "It's unfortunate in the shootout we couldn't pull it off," Sabres forward Drew Stafford said. "To keep it that close is definitely a pretty good accomplishment, and to finish the road trip with three out of four points is pretty good."Source

Friday, January 16, 2009

USA Hockey Press Conference

I found this tidbit on the Buffalo Sabres website:USA Hockey will make a major announcement at 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 27 at HSBC Arena.The announcement will be streamed live on Sabres.comAmong the speakers at the press conference are: Dave Ogrean, executive director, USA Hockey, B. Thomas Golisano, owner, Buffalo Sabres, Gary Bettman, commissioner, National Hockey League, Larry Quinn, managing partner, Buffalo Sabres, Jim Johannson, assistant executive director, USA Hockey.I will have more later on.3:20pm ETPress ReleaseCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey announced today it has selected the Buffalo Sabres and HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y., as the host for the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-20 Championship (commonly referred to as the IIHF World Junior Championship). Dwyer Arena on the campus of Niagara University will serve as the secondary facility for the event. The 10-nation tournament features the world's best players under 20 years of age and is a 31-game event that takes place over the course of 10 days."Buffalo is a wonderful city and we could not be more pleased to be bringing the World Juniors to western New York," said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. "The Sabres are a first-class organization and the participants and fans from around the world will have the chance to experience that first hand.""We are honored that USA Hockey has chosen the Buffalo Sabres and HSBC Arena as the host for the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Tournament," said Tom Golisano, owner of the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres. "All of Western New York will benefit greatly from this world-class event being staged right here in Buffalo." “The interest level of the World Junior Championship continues to grow,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “The tournament is a crown jewel within international hockey circles and an event at which fans will see the future stars of the National Hockey League and Olympic Games."The United States has earned five medals in the event's history, claiming gold in 2004, silver in 1997 and bronze in 1986, 1992 and 2007. Team USA has played for a medal in each of the last six World Junior Championships.2011 IIHF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP TICKET PACKAGE INFORMATIONBuffalo Sabres season ticket and mini-pack holders will have the first opportunity to purchase ticket packages to the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship and will be notified with details by mail. Other fans should visit www.buffaloworldjuniors.com to purchase ticket packages. A $200 non-refundable deposit per seat is required. Should seats not be available, all money will be refunded. An on-sale date will be announced in the future. Additionally, individual game ticket information, including an on-sale date, will be announced at a later date if tickets are available.NOTES: Tentative dates for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship are Dec. 26, 2010 - Jan. 5, 2011 ... The IIHF World Under-20 Championship was founded in 1977 ... USA Hockey conducted site visits with the three finalist cities in September -- Buffalo, N.Y., Grand Forks, N.D. and Minneapolis/St. Paul ... The International Ice Hockey Federation granted USA Hockey the rights to host three IIHF World Championships in May of 2007, including the 2009 IIHF World Men's Under-18 Championship (which will take place April 9-19, 2009, in Fargo, N.D. and Moorhead, Minn.), the 2011 World Under-20 Championship and the 2012 World Women's Championship (at a site to be determined) ... Tony Rossi, vice president of USA Hockey and a member of the IIHF Council, oversees all aspects of international competition for USA Hockey.I will have more later, the video kept buffering on me so I will have my own personal thoughts later.4:35pmAlright I just finished listening to the Q&A session. One thing that stood out for me is the fact Dwyer Arena the home of Niagara University only holds 2,100 fans. That leads me to believe USA and Canada will be in the same grouping. They have been in the same grouping in 2007, and 2009. Now 17 games will be played at HSBC arena, I am assuming that Sweden and Russia will be in the opposite group, but will they play at HSBC or Dwyer? I could see TSN having an influence of making sure that game is at HSBC.This was truely a team effort on the Buffalo Sabres part. The.nhl had no say in the matter which makes sense because I am sure the Minnesota Wild were involved in trying to get the bid to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Region.TSN has an Canadian Press article up. The fans are certainly happy up North. Niagara University has their own press release up on their athletic website. This is great news for the University as it can be a recruiting tool. I read the arena was remodeled back in 2000, I assume the arena is all set with all bells and whistles. I am sure the coaching staff will use it to their advantage in recruiting.That's My Take(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at fourniern@students.nescom.edu)Source

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

World juniors coming

Before we applaud USA Hockey and the Sabres for putting the 2011 world juniors in Buffalo, let's clear up a few "facts" from the news conference in case any of you heard it or saw it: 1. The Sabres did not sell out every game last season. 2. Tom Golisano was not involved in building HSBC Arena. 3. Gary Bettman is not the commissioner of the NFL. 4. As unbelievable as this region is, Detroit is still Hockeytown. Its youth programs are legendary, and its team has control of the Stanley Cup. OK, with that out of the way, it's great that the world juniors are coming. It will bring millions of dollars into the community (and the guess here is most of them will be loonies and two-nies). And it's a wonderful chance to see intense hockey by the future stars of the. Larry Quinn, who by all accounts did a masterful job selling Buffalo to the decision-makers at USA Hockey, also said the waterfront will have stores there by the time the teams from 10 countries arrive at Christmas 2010. It will be nice to showcase the area. "This is a huge win for Buffalo and all of hockey-loving Western New York," Sen. Charles E. Schumer said in an e-mail. "As soon as the puck hit the ice, all hands -- especially the Sabres -- fought hard to bring the 2011 world junior hockey championships to Buffalo because this marquee event will bring much-needed tourism dollars and first-rate hockey talent from around the world into Western New York." My only concern for the locals is the price. According to the tournament Web site, a Gold Package with seats for all 31 games is $1,240 ($40 per ticket). Lower-bowl seats for just the 17 games in HSBC Arena come to $833 ($49 per ticket), while 300 level ducats are $493 ($29). Seems like the prices are geared more toward the folks in Toronto, who certainly will scoop them up. Still a good day. ---John VoglSource