Monday, July 3, 2017

Hockey Season

TigerBlog had a busy June.

After all, Netflix released the new seasons of "House of Cards," "Orange Is The New Black" and "Wentworth" in June (technically, "House of Cards" was released on the last day of May, but TB didn't watch it until a few days later).

There were 13 episodes of the first two and only 12 of "Wentworth," or a total of 38 episodes for the month. Here, then, would be his mini-reviews of each, with no spoilers, so don't worry if you haven't seen them yet:

* "House of Cards" - Netflix has a really successful series with some great characters. That's the plus side. The downside? It seemed to have drifted just a little too far away from what made those characters great (and hence the show great). The Underwoods, especially Frank, went from wonderfully manipulative and cunning to simply evil. Grade - C

* "Orange Is The New Black" - The first episode was really good. The last episode was great, but it should have been the second episode. The 11 in between were too obvious. Also, the show now has far too many characters. It also isn't sure if it's trying to be funny at any point. Grade - C+

* "Wentworth" - this is the best show on TV right now. If you haven't seen it, make sure you do. Start from Season 1. This is the Australian equivalent of "Orange Is The New Black" in that it is set in a women's prison, but whereas "OITNB" has plateaued or even regressed, this show just keeps gettinb better. The character development has been extraordinary. So too has the risk taking by the writers. Also, the end of the last episode of this season is up there with anything you'll ever see on TV, excluding, maybe, the third-to-last episode of "Breaking Bad." Hurry up and finish it. Grade - A+

Another note - TB will still watch each episode of the first two next season. Shows reach a breaking point where you give up on them; those two aren't anywhere close to that - yet.

Anyway, that's those three shows and June. Now it's on to July.

This of course is July 3. On this day back in 1776, the act of declaring independence from the British had already happened (one day earlier) but the Declaration of Independence had not yet been adopted (that would be the next day).

Fast forward to the present day, and most people aren't sure whether or not today is a work day, what with the holiday tomorrow. Princeton University is open for business today, though TB is guessing today won't be the busiest day of the year.

If you think about it, July is the only month of the year that doesn't have any Princeton Athletic events. June has the NCAA track and field championships. August has the first event of the year - a women's soccer game on Aug. 25.

July? It's all about vacations, summer camps, beaches, planning for the coming year. And heat. Lots of it.

The temps of late around here have touched the 90s. So what sport is TB talking about today?

Hockey, of course.

He'll start with Mike Condon. The former Princeton goalie has had a great start to his NHL career after being tossed into a starting role in Montreal two years ago and Ottawa this past season, each time by circumstances that he couldn't have anticipated, replacing two of the best goalies in the league.

He's responded with some big-time performances and has established himself as a legitimate NHL goalie, one who clearly belongs. Ottawa didn't want to lose him, and so Condon signed a three-year, $7.2 million dollar contract last week as free agency started.

Condon doesn't figure to be the starter in Ottawa just yet. Craig Anderson is the starter, but he just turned 36. Condon appears to have found a really good situation with the Senators.

Taylor Fedun also resigned with his current team, the Buffalo Sabres. From the story on Fedun on
Fedun played in 27 games with the Sabres in 2016-17 and had seven assists and a team-best +3 on-ice rating. He led the Sabres defensemen in assists per game with 1.16 and was 5-for-5 on shot attempts percentage (53.7) which ranked 23rd among all NHL defensemen with more than five games played in 2016-17. Fedun also appeared in 29 games for AHL affiliate Rochester Americans, where he had 23 points on 18 assists and five goals. His .79 points per game were the most by Amerks defenders and ranked him fifth among all AHL defenders with at least five games played.

Speaking of Princeton hockey, the schedule for the 2017-18 season was announced last week as well. You can see it HERE.

Among the highlights are visits to Hobey Baker Rink by Bemidji State and St. Cloud State and two games at, of all places, Arizona State.

Princeton won 15 games between the 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons. The Tigers wet 15-16-3 a year ago, including 15-10-2 after an 0-6-1 start, and hosted an ECAC playoff series, in which the team defeated Colgate.

There are some holes to fill - four-year starting goalie Colton Phinney among others has graduated. The Tigers do bring back an army of young players, and this should be a fascinating season of men's hockey at Princeton.

And guess what? It starts in little more than three months. How nuts is that?

In the meantime, enjoy the summer. And have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

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