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Chops Night In San Jose 04/20/2009

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
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The eight seeded Anaheim Ducks defeated the top seeded San Jose Sharks 3-2 Sunday night to take a 2 games to none

Ducks Bobby Ryan scores the first goal in game two.

Ducks Bobby Ryan scores the first goal in game two.

 series lead in their best of seven NHL first round playoff matchup.  Both games were played in San Jose.  The Sharks are now in danger of becoming the eighth top seed to drop a series to the 8th seed since 1994.  The series shifts to Anaheim for games 3 and 4. 

Sundays victory by the Ducks featured the first ever Stanley Cup Playoff goals in the career of 3 Ducks players.  Bobby Ryan, Andrew Ebbett and Drew Miller each picked up their career first markers.  All three played earlier this season for the AHL Iowa Chops in Des Moines.  Ryan opened the scoring just 3:45 into the first period with a power play goal.  He took a rebound off Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov and beat him  to his stick side.  The shot, however, was just wide and bounced off of the left goal post.  Ryan then dove, and while airborne redirected the rebound with his stick from behind Nabokov and into the goal. (See Ryan’s goal at http://www.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?hlg=20082009,3,152&event=S.J29)

The Sharks Ryane Clowe tied the score at one 5:38 into the second period.  It was the first goal in the series for the

Former Chops Bobby Ryan (top left), Andrew Ebbett and Drew Miller (bottom)

Former Chops Bobby Ryan (top left), Andrew Ebbett and Drew Miller (bottom)

Sharks, who lost game one 2-0.  The score remained tied at one until 9:44 of the third period when Ebbett took a rebound off the boards behind the San Jose goal and slapped an odd angle shot off Nabokov as he moved from the left of the goal to the right to cover the near post.  The goal gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead.  They made it 3-1 three and a half minutes later when Miller stuffed a rebound off Nabokov just left of the net through traffic past the goaltender’s glove and just inside the far post.  The Ducks then held on for the 3-2 win.

Random notes from a weekend of Sports:

Clean Sweep.  Saturday was a rare day in Chicago sports.  It was the first time in 17 years that both the Bulls and Blackhawks won playoff games on the same day.  The NBA  Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics 105-103 in overtime while the NHL Blackhawks defeated the Calgary Flames 3-2.  In addition, Baseball’s Cubs defeated the St Louis Cardinals 7-5 with a walk off 2 run homer in the bottom of the 11th and White Sox beat the Rays 8-3 making the Chicago teams 4-0 for the day.

Rocky relief.  The Colorado Rockies are off to a 4-7 start.  While the schedule has been brutal (series against the Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs and Diamondbacks) with only 3 games played in Denver so far, pitching has been poor for Colorado.  The team era of 5.74 is too high, and only Jason Marquis has been consistent among the starters.  He is 2-0 with a 1.93 era in his two starts.  The bullpen has been a horror show, allowing 53 hits in 36 2/3 innings of work  including 11 home runs and has only 2 saves in 4 opportunities.  This team will hit and score runs.  But it will go only as far as the pen will take it.  It is early, but improvement must be significant.  And soon!

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Hockey Chops 04/14/2009

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
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The Iowa Chops ended their  season Sunday.  The Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate finished 33-33-4-10.  Sunday’s

Bobby Ryan, potential NHL rookie of the year, started the season as a Chop

Bobby Ryan, potential NHL rookie of the year, started the season as a Chop

 crowd of  12,136 set a new record for a game in Des Moines.  That means that the 3 largest single game crowds in franchise history assembled during this season.  The season per game average of 4,322 was a significant  increase over the average of 3,789 last season.  The Chops had several successful fund raisers this season, including pink ice and pink trimmed Jerseys for Susan Komen breast cancer foundation in Februry and yellow ice and Jerseys for Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong and Mercy Hospital cancer center here in Des Moines Sunday.  And the Wendy’s Family Night promotions were well attended all season.  These promotions made the hockey experience affordable and enjoyable for families.

This was the first year that the Ducks had an association here in Des Moines.  New President Steve Nitzel, VP Alex Kyrias along with the front office staff are all to be commended.  They walked into a situation where attendance was falling and the season ticket base was on shaky ground.  Many, if not most,

The season ended with a large crowd and yellow ice

The season ended with a large crowd and yellow ice

of the current season ticket holders felt unappreciated and ignored by the management at the time.  The wholesale changes made after the Dallas Stars ended their affiliation here made this season much more enjoyable from the fan’s perspective.  The quality of action on the ice and the interaction off of it has been reflected in the rise in attendance and bodes well for the future of hockey in Des Moines.  In addition, the support of the Chops for junior hockey here has helped to publicize that program, and raise money for it’s support.  To be fair, I am not sure if the Stars had the same level of association with the Des Moines hockey community or not.  They surely did little to raise awareness if they were involved.

Majority owner Schlagel Sports surely will be looking for bigger things next season, and a return to the playoffs after a two year absence would be nice, but the franchise foundation appears more solid than it did at the end of last season.  If hockey is here for the long haul there needs to be more crowds of  over 10,000.  Before February, 2009 there were none in franchise history.  Within the past 2 months there were two with a third just shy of the mark.  The previous high was under nine thousand back in 2006.  Central Iowa hockey fans hope that trend continues.