Interview with Riley Armstrong!

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We recently caught up with Riley Armstrong of the Utah Grizzlies. He was undrafted in 2004, but worked his way to a contract with the San Jose Sharks. He has played for many teams throughout his career (we’ll get to that later). Many may know him for his brother, Colby Armstrong, but Riley is an accomplished player too, spending time in the NHL as well. Just a little self promotion as well, like us on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog , and you can follow me on Twitter: @hkyblogger. You can follow Riley on Twitter: @RilesArmy

We’re not going to delay it any longer, here it is: 

We are in bold.

So how has your day been?

Hi my day has been good so far right now my team (Utah Grizzlies ) are on the road to Las Vegas to play a couple game this weekend so I have been killing time hanging out with the guys and texting my girlfriend Amber. She is probably sick of me already.

Some of our readers might not know you, so who is Riley Armstrong, and is there a cool fact that most people might not know? 

A fact people might not know about me is that I used to figure skate from the 3rd grade til the 10th grade before I starting taking hockey seriously.

What’s a day in the life of Riley Armstrong?

A day in the life of Riley. Lets see, usually get up around 8:30 and text amber to make sure she is enjoying her morning, since she has to be up at 6:30 for work. Have some breakfast, and then head over to the rink by 9:30 and start practice at 10:30. We have a sweet locker room in Utah with a sauna and hot tub, so after practice I usually hang out around the room and relax. Then the afternoon and evening is free to hang out Skype or Facetime with family and friends, cook dinner maybe have a tan or mix in a nap pretty much as people say live the life. 

How old were you when you first laced them up?

I was 2 years old. I had the double blades on and I was living in Paradise Hill, Saskatchewan at the time.

Who’s the better player honestly, you are Colby?

Well this is a tough question. I think if you were to make one player out of both of us it would be the perfect player. I would say I’m more skilled and more of a goal scorer then Colby but he sees the ice better and is really good with his stick and a better passer. We both work with each other in the summer to always improve our games but since he has played over 500 NHL games I would say he is the better player!

You’ve played for 15 teams in your career (according to hockeydb.com). Can you name them all? 

Yes
  • Yorkton Mallers (SMAAAHL)
  • Kootenay Ice (WHL)
  • Everett Silvertips (WHL)
  • Cleveland Barons (AHL)
  • Worcester Sharks (AHL)
  • San Jose Sharks (NHL)
  • Abbotsford Heat (AHL)
  • Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
  • Brighamton Senators (AHL)
  • Elmira Jackals (ECHL)
  • Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)
  • Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL)
  • Augsburg Panthers (DEL)
  • Saipa (Finland)
  • Barys Astana (KHL)
Where’s your favourite place to play?
 
I would have to say Worcester I was there for 3 years got to meet lots of great people and fans and also got to go up to San Jose .
Now being in Utah I have started to love it here winters are mild and the mountains are great to wake up to every morning.
 
What has been the highest point of your career?
 
The highest point is after a game in providence I got a call for my coach and Worcester saying I got called up to San Jose. It was a dream come true to have a chance to play in the NHL with a great team and organization .
 
What has been the lowest point of your career?
 
Lowest part would have to be after my 2nd season in the AHL. I had such a bad season that San Jose didn’t even invite me to training camp. It was a tough pill to swallow.
 
How did you persevere from that?
 
I went into that season with a fire under my ass and put up 19 goals and earned another NHL contract from San Jose.
 
Any advice for aspiring hockey players?
 
I would have to say to younger hockey players a quote that I live to this day and it’s from my dad. “Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut ” – Wayne Armstrong.
  
In the second part of the interview, I love to learn more about the personal life of the players, cause even non-hockey obsessed fans find this part interesting:
 
Food you can’t live without?
 
Steaks
 
Android or iPhone?
 
iPhone
 
Right Handed or Left Handed?
 
Left handed
 
If you didn’t become a hockey player, what would you be right now?
 
I think I would have went to school to take law either be a lawyer or agent 
Who has the worst taste in music on the team?
 
Chris Donovan 
 
Every team does pranks, what’s the best prank you’ve been part of?
 
Soaked a guys clothes while he was on the ice and then put it in the freezer which made a ice ball he wasn’t pleased.
 
Why did the Chicken cross the road?
 
To get to the other side hahaha
 
Favourite class in school?
 
English
 
Final questions:
Anyone you suggest me to interview?
 
Brad Mills
 
Brad Joslin
 
We’d like to thank Riley for his time. If you have time, check out Riley’s clothing line, Donnybrook here: http://donnybrookhockey.com , and Shades of Pale here: http://www.shadesofpale.com
Photocreds: wikipedia.org
 

Mid-season Thoughts: The Toronto Maple Leafs

What’s that? The Leafs are in a playoff position? This must be our year! Plan the parade! Alright, alright, perhaps it isn’t time for histrionics (yet) but for now, the Leafs are in top 8 (6th, to be precise) and life is good. However, if we’ve learned anything from last season’s catastrophic late-season spin-out, it’s that we shouldn’t be holding our breaths just yet. Still, the Leafs have done a good job staying in the top 8 throughout most of the season and so, barring disaster (knock on wood) they should be in a position to make the playoffs this year. Let’s take a look at how they got there:

Surprises
1. Nazem Kadri

The biggest story of the pre-season must have been Nazem Kadri heading into training camp with “unacceptable fat levels”, as Marlies coach Dallas Eakins was criticizing his conditioning. Fast forward a couple of months, and nobody’s calling the talented young forward chubby. His 25 points in 28 games are good for second on the team, and his +12 rating is first among forwards. The hat trick he scored against the New York Islanders on Feb. 28th epitomizes the breakout season he has been having, as he is consistently creating chances and being rewarded.

2. James van Riemsdyk
As the 2nd overall draft pick of the 2007 Draft, right behind Patrick Kane, James van Riemsdyk has been burdened with high expectations. Aside from a few bursts of brilliance, he never really found his game in Philadelphia. However, after a trade sent him to Toronto in exchange for Luke Schenn, he was given a new lease on life, and has responded by scoring a team-leading 14 goals in his first 28 games as a Leaf.

3. Matt Frattin
Although injuries have kept him out of the lineup for over half of the Leafs’ games, Matt Frattin has collected 7 goals and 11 points in 13 games played. His shooting percentage is at an astronomically high 35.0%, however, so it remains to be seen if he can keep up this kind of production.

4. The Penalty Kill
Since the lockout, the Leafs’ penalty kill has been, to say the least, atrocious. Over the last 6 seasons, the Leafs’ penalty kill has been perennially sub-80%, putting them among the bottom-3 in the league each year (with the Leafs’ PK taking dead last in 2008-09 and 2009-10). However, so far in this abbreviated season, their penalty kill has been successful 84.4% of the time, good for 6th in the league. Recent additions Jay McClement and Mark Fraser can definitely be credited for this improvement.

Disappointments
1. Mikhail Grabovski & Nikolai Kulemin

Two short seasons ago, a troubled, talented centre, a promising young power winger and an enigmatic free agent were placed together on a line. Thus the “KGM” line was born, the “M”, of course, standing for Clarke MacArthur. The line, which combined for 177 points that season, was one of the bright spots of the Ron Wilson era, at one point being considered by the coach as the team’s top line. MacArthur has since found his place on a line with Kadri and Leo Komarov, but his former linemates have just 11 and 13 points, respectively, across 28 games each. In addition, they each have just 1 point and no goals in March, and their +/- ratings of -7 and -6 place them both below the oft-criticized Phil Kessel. Although Kulemin may just be proving that his 57-point season was an anomaly, the Leafs cannot afford this level of production from Grabovski, who is signed for 4 more years at a cap hit of $5.5 million.

#FreeJakeGardiner?
Meanwhile, as the Leafs’ defense have been playing as a cohesive unit, there has been one man who has been sitting quietly from the outside looking in: Jake Gardiner. Coach Randy Carlyle simply could not find a place to put him as he recovered from a concussion, and so he was sent down to the Marlies. However, with the Leafs’ recent slump, Gardiner’s agent has taken to Twitter to plead for his client. Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh, in which defensive lapses caused the Leafs to relinquish three unanswered goals late in the 3rd period, had fans questioning the revolving door that is Dion Phaneuf’s defensive partner. With inexperienced blueliners such as Mike Kostka and Korbinian Holzer sharing time with the captain on the top pairing, one has to wonder if it’s time to free Jake Gardiner.

Interview With Colin Wilson!

e86c54f2f36712f6c62068a8e31e9492 (1)We had the pleasure of interviewing Colin Wilson of the Nashville Predators. He was drafted 7th Overall in the 2008 NHL Draft. He has also represented Team USA multiple times, whether it be the World Under 18 (2006,2007), World Junior Championships (2008,2009) or the World Championships (2009), Colin Wilson has a plethora of international experience. Follow him on Twitter: @ColinWilson33. You can follow me on Twitter @HkyBlogger and you can also “like” us on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog

As usual, we are in bold.
What’s a day in the life of Colin Wilson?

Go to the rink from 8:30-1:00 then grab lunch with the guys and play video games or read the rest of the day.

Not everyone might not know who you are, so who are you, and maybe a cool fact about yourself?

I am just a laid back person who is generally focused on hockey. I am extremely into music and have mixed a few of my own songs.

Being drafted 7th overall, what was it like? Your feelings, what you saw, what you heard?

It was very exciting, I had been anticipating the draft since the end of the season that year. I just remember hugging my family and thinking to myself to not fall.

Who’s your favourite linemates to play with?

I enjoy playing with anyone on my current team. When I was younger I really enjoyed playing with James Van Riemsdyk.

What’s been the highest point of your career?

Highest point was reaching the NHL and becoming a regular.

Lowest?

Probably just when I was sent to the minors the first time, I hadn’t been cut from a team since I was 14, so it was tough to handle.

How did you persevere from this?
Just started enjoying the game more and stopped worrying about the things I can’t control

So every hockey team does pranks.
The Nashville Predators are probably no different.What’s the best prank you’ve seen/done?

I am just a huge fan of the classic leaner against the hotel room door. Seen it done various ways and it is funny every time.

Any advice from aspiring hockey players?

To always enjoy the game because it turns into a job when you don’t. If you want to be a top player do everything within your power to be the best.

Anyone you suggest for me to interview?
James Van Riemsdyk.
We’d like to thank him for his time.

Predators vs Stars Recap

With the looming realignment that is set to being next season, the Nashville Predators were left to wonder who their new rival would be. Since the Detroit Red Wings are leaving for the East, Nashville no longer has that divisional opponent who you knew everyone would be geared up to play. Luckily it seems that the Predators and their fans have found a new team who they can love to hate…the Dallas Stars.

Considering the Predators were without two of their top forwards (Hornqvist and Wilson, both on injured reserve with upper body injuries) it seemed that the bad luck would follow. After their meeting a little over two weeks ago, you knew this game promised to be high in physicality and emotion, and it did not disappoint! The first period started off slow, well slow compared to the previous game, and it wasn’t until a bit past the mid-way point that someone would find the back of the net. Nashville’s Matt Halischuk (who was recently recalled from Milwaukee) had a pretty sweet takeaway in the netural zone. Halischuk fed the puck to teammate Nick Spaling, who put the puck past the Stars’ Kari Lehtonen.

During the second period things would begin to heat up. Nashville would convert a power play goal thinks to Shea Weber, and it wasn’t his rocket shot that did it, but rather a heads up backhander that Lehtonen wasn’t prepared for. A few minutes later, Nashville’s Rich Clune would get whistled for roughing and sent to the box. What looked like a bad call, actually worked to the Predator’s advantage. Once Nashville killed off the penalty, Clune jumped from the box and grabbed the puck on a breakaway. Dallas’ Jordie Benn hooked Clune to which the officials awarded Clune a penalty shot. Clune, making it look easy, beat Lehtonen though the five hole and put the Predators up 3-0. At that moment you could just feel the air being let out of the Stars’ bubble.
If you thought things couldn’t get any crazier than a Rich Clune penalty shot, then all you had to do was wait for the third period. With about seven minutes left in the game, Dallas could not hold back their frustration. Stars’ Eric Nystrom went after Predators’ defenseman Ryan Ellis and both players dropped the gloves. You should note here that Ellis isn’t prone to fighting, especially considering that the majority of players are twice his size. Nystrom would serve 5 minutes for fighting as well as 2 minutes for roughing, which put the Predators on another power play. Oh but wait, the fighting was far from over. After being cross checked in the back several times, Nashville’s Mike Fisher laid into Dallas’ Stephane Robidas. It looked like Fisher got in about seven punches to Robidas zero, but who’s counting. While that was going on, Weber fought Dallas’ Antonie Roussel and Nashville’s Bobby Butler fought Brenden Dillon. Once everything was sorted and the players were in their respective boxes, the Stars’ Jamie Oleksiak tried to go after Clune immediately after the face off. Clune, rather smartly, had no part of it. Oleksiak would receive a 10 minute major and leave the game. Now, back to hockey play, with the Predators still on a power play, Nashville’s Gabriel Bourque would add another goal on a beautiful shot from close range.

Nashville would go on to win 4-0, giving Pekka Rinne yet another shutout. Rinne now leads the NHL with five shutouts this season. To say that Rinne was in true from last night would be an understatement. While everyone was fighting each other, Rinne fought that puck like a ninja.

Here are some of my thoughts after the game…

1. Rich Clune?!?
At the beginning of the season, I was as bad as everyone else. The idea of Rich Clune being a Predator didn’t excite me. When Clune didn’t get off to a great start and was taking bad penalties, I was yelling for him to be benched. My how things have changed. I’m not sure for the reason, but Rich Clune has been playing good hockey lately. He now has three goals on the season (as many as Martin Erat, let that sink in) and seems to be playing with more hockey smarts. While I’m sure Clune will more than likely take bad penalties at the worst time, it’s nice to see the good that Coach Trotz had been talking about.

2. Injuries
While last night’s win gave the Predators a much needed boost in the confidence department, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Faceoff specialist, Paul Gaustad went out with an upper body injury. The Predators have a tendency to struggle in the faceoff department when Gaustad is a no-go. Injuries were going to be a problem in this shortened season, but you just hope for Nashville’s sake that they can continue to overcome.

The Predators continue their road trip with back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday. Thursday they will be in Vancouver to take on the Canucks before they travel to Calgary to take on the Flames Friday night. The goal has to be for the team that showed up last night to keep going and pick up some much needed points this week. The Predators are usually good for having a great game, and then lose it before the next game even starts. Nashville has to have confidence in the way they played in Dallas, now they just have to contain that momentum and keep moving forward.

We’re #1!!!

So the NHL season is officially at its halfway point and the Montreal canadiens are sitting on top of the eastern conference! Yes you read that correctly. If you had came up to me before the season had started and said Montreal would be leading the conference at the seasons half way point i probably would have laughed in your face. Here are 5 reasons why Montreal are currently number 1.

5. Andre Markov. Ladies and Gentlemen he is back. There were many questions about Markov before the season started but he has proved so far he is still the same old markov who is a former NHL all star and 64 pt producer.

4. The gallys. Alex Galchenyuk And Brendan Gallagher earned there  spot with the habs and for good reason. These two youngsters have proven there ready for the big leagues and we can only imagine what they will bring to the canadiens for many years to come.

3. Carey Price. Time and time again Carey has been himself this season…amazing. There is usually one thing that seperates good teams from great teams and that is great goaltending and carey has yet to dissapoint this season. He is the backbone of this team.

2. In prust we trust. Brandon Prust is provong that montreal needed to add a little toughness to be more competitive. The current PIM leader is quickly becoming a fan favorite for his hard nose style play, he has even seen some mins on the PP and on the top line.

1. New management. There has been nothing that has changed the habs this quite like new GM Marc Bergevin or the second coming of a matured Michel Therrien. They have quickly made everyone forgot about last years train wreck and have brough a winning attitude back to the canadiens.

Id love to hear your thoughts on my list, let me know if you agree or disagree. you can tweet me @Synyster_sparx and as always like our facebook page :http://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog

Only time will tell if Montreal can keep up and clinch a playoff spot, there is still some hockey to be played, until next time take care and hope I you enjoy reading my hockey blog 😀

Mid-Season Thoughts

Now that we’ve reached the halfway point of the season, we’re going to list five things that have surprised us so far, and five things that have dissapointed us. If you disagree with us, comment below, but don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook, share with your friends, and follow me on Twitter @hkyblogger!

Surprises

Alex Galchenyuk: Heck, for that matter, the entire Canadiens team. After tanking last year and getting the third overall pick, the Montreal Canadiens have done an amazing job this year. I had them ranked pretty low in my pre-season rankings, and boy was I wrong. I give a lot of credit to the new coaching staff but in particular to GM Marc Bergevin. He basically rebuilt this team in a year. Kudos to you Mr. Bergevin!

Jiri Tlusty: I, along with many Leafs fans, believed he was another bad move that former GM John Ferguson Jr. made. Remember, he was drafted before guys like Michael Grabner, Claude Giroux, and Semyon Varlamov. However, he has turned his game around this year. I just have one wonder about this. Can he sustain this pace? If he can, this is a nice steal for the Carolina Hurricanes who traded AHL’er Philippe Paradis for him.

Nazem Kadri: He has gone off the charts this year with 10G and 14A in just 24 games. That might not seem a lot, but consider this. From 2009-2012, he played 51 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but only had 8G and 11A. If he can maintain that pace, I truly believe he can be the #1 center that the Leafs are looking to anchor the team along with Phil Kessel.

Chicago Blackhawks: Yes. This one was probably the most expected one. You may know about the streaks but did you know this? The last time that the Blackhawks didn’t get atleast one point in a game was March 23, 2012. Yes 2012. Yeah I know many of you might say, “Oh but there’s been a lockout.” But consider this. when your backup is 8-0-0, you know your team is playing well. How long will the streak last? Who knows, but I love the streak. It gives the fans a reason to watch the regular season. The regular season has been called irrelevant by many people, because all that matters to them is who gets hot in the playoffs. However, many people are not tuning in to watch the regular season. Why? Because they want to watch the Blackhawks. Other teams might not enjoy getting beat, but this is fun hockey to watch.

Competition in the West: Might not be spoken of that often, but I love this. The West is very competitive right now. Did you know that there is only a two point difference between 10th place and 5th place? Man that makes it FUN! 

Dissapointments

Cory Schneider: I guess you can put this as a surprise for Roberto Luongo. I thought that this would be the year where it all ends. Luongo gets traded and Schneider is the undisputed #1 goalie, but this seems not be the case. Scheider hasn’t played up to expectations and as a result, we have the circus known as the goalie tandem…

Washington Capitals: I had them pretty low during the pre-season rankings, but not this low. Ovechkin had a bad start to the season, their goalie situation is a mess, and they’re now 28th in the league. This is not what Adam Oates had in mind. They better catch up. Fast.

Florida Panthers: They’re now 29th in the league. Remember, they made the playoffs last year. With Jose Theodore now out for one to two months, you might as well kiss goodbye to their playoff hopes. Maybe next year? But think of the bright side, Jacob Markstrom will get some great playing time that can only benefit his development.

Buffalo Sabres: All was going well until last year. They said that last year was rock bottom. But they hit rock bottom this year. Firing Lindy Ruff. The team has some great talent with Miller, Pominville, Vanek, just to name a few. But they’ve all under preformed  Take Ville Leino as an example. He’s just under preformed since he signed his contract with the Sabres. There is hope though, the Sabres are only four points from 8th and final playoff spot.

New York Rangers: I had them ranked near the top of the league, but man have they been bad. Barely clinging on to the final playoff spot. Now with Marc Staal out with that gruesome injury, it’s going to be hard to cling on to the last spot. I do believe that the Rangers are feeling the pain of losing Prust and his “truculence”. They need to add some grit to the team, and if they can, I do believe they can maybe move up to the 4th or 5th spot by the end of the year.

Well that’s what I think of the year so far. What about you? Comment below, share with your friends, do your thing!