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Tue, 01 Oct 2013 02:18:32 GMT
NHL Western Rankings

1. Chicago Blackhawks (Cup Contender)

When you win the Stanley Cup, you often lose a lot of players to free-agency and have to retool. Stan Bowman appears to be great with tools, cause I don't see why this team isn't still the bet to win the Cup again. This team still has Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford.

2. Los Angeles Kings  (Cup Contender)

This team is loaded with talent. They'll finish near the top of the conference. Supreme goaltending; Jonathan Quick. The real key on this team is the party boys; Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Hang out at the clubs in on Los Angeles next playoff to find out if this team is gonna challenge for the Stanley Cup. If Richards and Carter show up at the clubs, then they won't show up on the ice.

3. Vancouver Canucks (Cup Contender)

Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Roberto Luongo. I don't see this team missing the playoffs. When Roberto starts slow this season, there's nobody to take the reigns. He'll struggle thru the first month, then catch fire and this team will move up to the top of the conference. Add a solid top 4 defenseman set (Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison and Dan Hamhuis) and you have a really good team.

4. San Jose Sharks (Playoff Team)

Years after year, the Sharks have one of the best teams on paper, but always fall short in the playoffs. This might be the last year you see Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle leading this team. They're all UFAs at season end. All three are likely looking at pay cuts going forward unless they return to their all-star statuses or produce in the playoffs. Not sure what else can be said, except SAME OLD.

5. St Louis Blues (Playoff Team)

Ken Hitchcock doesn't score a lot of goals and neither does he block a lot of shots, but the Blues' coach doesn't like missing the playoffs. I don't expect anything different. The key to this team competing for more than a playoff spot is Jaroslav Halak. If he returns to form and their scoring by committee continues to work, then this team could move up. Unfortunately, their lack of big scorers makes a Stanley Cup a pipe dream.

6. Anaheim Ducks (Playoff Team)

The Ducks look like a playoff team, but a couple key injuries could easily put them out. They are already missing Sheldon Souray for the 1st half and their 2nd line may require geriatric care; Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. That said, I don't really see this team competing for the President's Trophy or the Stanley Cup.

7. Edmonton Oilers (Playoff Contender)

Loaded with talent at forward and defense. If they can just convince these superstars to play a team game, then we might be looking at the next NHL dynasty. It's really up to their top 4; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle. They will define where this season takes them. They could win the President's trophy or miss the playoffs.

8. Nashville Predators (Playoff Contender)

Pekka Rinne is everything for this team. He's good enough, he can steal games to put this team in the playoffs. He's also good enough to steal some playoff games. Outside of Shea Webber, the skaters on this team are very weak. Don't expect a lot of goals. I wouldn't qualify any forwards on this team as NHL quality power play material. If Rinne gets injured or struggles, this team could be looking at a high draft pick.

9. Dallas Stars (Playoff Contender)

The forwards are mostly refabs from other teams, but the Stars have a premier top 4 d-man lineup; Sergei Gonchar, Alex Goligoski, Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley. Keri Lehtonen is no all-star goalie, but he's good enough that with their defensemen, they might be able to sneak into the playoffs.

10. Winnipeg Jets

There's enough good pieces here for this team to compete for a playoff spot. Some good years from Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd and Evander Kane could actually put them into the playoffs, but I'm guessing they'll be on the outside of the playoffs when all is said and done.

11. Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes will finally have stable ownership this season, or at least we hope. This could turn around the franchise, but it could take a few years before they contend for anything. Mike Ribeiro and Shane Doan are quality leaders, but they are both in their mid-30s. Their experienced defense (Keith Yandle, Zbynek Mahalek, Rostislav Klesla {concussion} and Derek Morris) is what could save this team. And Oliver Ekman-Larsson is an up and coming potential all-star on their defense.

12. Minnesota Wild

Ryan Suter is a great defenseman, but they don't have too much on defense beyond him. They are gonna need big improvement from their 2 thru 4 defensemen (Jared Spurgeon, Keith Ballard and who) to make the playoffs. They surely aren't gonna have a hard time scoring goals with Zach Parise, Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville. Might be a struggle just to make the playoffs.

13. Colorado Rockies (Lottery Team)

Upfront, the Rockies have a lot of good forwards. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said between the pipes and on defense. The defense is led by Erik Johnson, whom many thought would be an all-star defenseman. He's still a good d-man, but he's no power play quarterback, nor is he a shutdown d-man. He's a good 3-4 d-man on most teams in the NHL. The rest of the Rockie defense is stop gap at best and Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere are not gonna steal many games for this team. I suspect they'll have fall short of the playoffs once again.

14. Calgary Flames (Bad Team)

A bad start to the season could quickly degrade. Karri Ramo is an extremely good goalie, but unproven in the NHL. If he doesn't win a few games early for the Flames, his own performance might start to suffer, especially with the weakest lineup in the NHL standing in front of him. Then it becomes all too possible their 1st line (Mike Cammalleri, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak are all UFAs) gets traded for prospects. Even if Ramo performs like an all-star, this team has no chance of making the playoffs.

Wed, 01 May 2013 02:15:09 GMT
2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

A series by series predictions for the 1st round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and a glimpse into the next 3 rounds. The NHL playoffs since the 2004-05 lockout has been a unpredictable beast. You make the playoffs on the last day of the regular season and you find your way to the Stanley Cup finals. What makes a good regular season team is clearly not what makes a good playoff team. Here's my sense of what might happen this playoff season.

Wild v Blackhawks

The Minnesota Wild have badly underperformed and scratched their way into a playoff spot. That said, a hot goalie and some timely scoring might give them a chance. But goaltending and scoring have not been their forte this season. They do have some grit with Cal Clutterbuck, but on the whole this team is soft. Not a recipe for winning the Lord Stanley's mug. An underdog to win a series and a longshot to win it all.

And the Wild are playing the recent Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks are loaded with talent; Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane. Their was the question of goaltending at the start of the season, but Corey Crawford has been great. The consensus is that the Hawks are the team to beat in the West.

Winner: Blackhawks

Red Wings v Ducks

This isn't the Red Wings we knew in years past. There's no Nicklas Lidstrom. End of story. It's just not the same team.

The Ducks have been an off-and-on team for years with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. They even won a Stanley Cup a few years back. I don't think this team has the depth to make it far in the playoffs, but I do think they have enough to handle the Wings. Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne are getting older by the day.

Winner: Ducks

Sharks v Canucks

For the 1st time in a long while, the Sharks aren't expected to do anything this playoff. They're suppose to boy out to the much better Canucks. And with perenial non-playoff performers like Joe Thornton, they have every excuse. But remember, they are very deep in talent and someday, if Joe is willing, they might surprise in the playoffs. And don't forget, that's a Cup winning goalie between the pipes; Anti Niemi.

The Canucks are very much like the Sharks of a few years ago. Some playoff success, but everybody expected so much more. And because of injury, they'll be starting the playoffs with long-time playoff disappointment Roberto Luongo in net. Whichever team loses this series, will cement their reputation as playoff losers.

Winner: Canucks

Kings v Blues

An extremely talented team that should have little problem taking care of the Blues. But I'm not sure a team led by the party boys (Jeff Carter and Mike Richards) can make it two years in a row. I'm thinking the hangover from last summer hasn't quite warn off yet.

The Blues are... well... a blue colar team. No stars and a lot of names even I don't recognize. Just a lot of hard work. Their goaltending load was split between three goalies. It's very rare that teams with no talent advance in the playoffs.

Winner: Kings

Islanders v Penguins

The worst run organization in the NHL made the playoffs on the back of their one superstar John Tavares. That's about as far as they'll get. I doubt they could handle an injury riddled Penguins lineup in a seven game series. And the Pens are getting healthy.

If Sidney Crosby returns to the form he displayed early this year, then we might see a 16 game winning streak. Unless... remember last year... total collapse of the flower.

Winner: Penguins

Senators v Canadiens

Senators played way over their heads all year. Now they have a healthy Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson. They can steal a round, at most.

The Canadiens are looking back between the pipes and putting their faith in Carey Price. A career 8-15 playoff record. This might be Price's last chance. If he falters again, then the fans in Montreal might start calling for a change.

Winner: Canadiens

Rangers v Capitals

I really liked the makeup of the Rangers at the start of the season. Things didn't go as expect and the team was rebuilt mid-season. Mid-season of an already short season. Henrik Lundqvist could put the team on his back lead them thru a few playoff rounds, but I doubt it. Teams rebuilt mid-season rarely go anywhere in the playoffs.

Alex Ovechkin is on fire and we're heading into the playoffs. This team is gonna live and die on his stick. I don't see much problem dispensing the Rangers. Then... in the 2nd round, it's OV time or bust.

Winner: Capitals

Leafs v Bruins

As a long-time Leafs fan, what a relief. Playoff games. Everything sits on James Reimer's shoulders. They're a tough and fast team that can score. Can they keep the puck out of the net? Reimer did it all year.

The Bruins are either the toughest team in the playoffs or the 2nd toughest. And the Leafs are either the toughest or 2nd. Expect a lot of hitting. Fighting. Injuries. Whomever wins is likely gonna get beat the next round anyway. This is war.

Winner: Bruins

Fri, 30 Apr 2010 01:42:29 GMT
Stanley Cup Predictions Round 2

Wings v Sharks

Thornton, Marleau and Heatley combined for 1 goal, a combined -7 plus/minus and somehow they beat the Avalanche. Unless there big line wakes up and this isn't the 1st year the Thornton line sleeps thru the playoffs, then expect the Red Wings to win. Wings in 7.

Habs v Pens

OK, the Habs won the series, but solely on goaltending. As much as I think goaltending is the most important part of the game, you cannot win games consistantly when you are getting outshot 45 to 15 every night. Not to mention, they are playoff Sidney's Pens. Pens in 6.

Flyers v Bruins

The Flyers made the playoffs because the Rangers played worse. The flyers defeated the Devils because the Devils played worse. This isn't even a playoff worthy team. Marc Savard is returning to the Bruinds lineup that won round 1 without him. Bruins in 4.

Canucks v Blackhawks

A redo from last year. This series will likely produce the best hockey. I expect the winner to be in the Stanley Cup finals. I'm picking Luongo over Niemi, but it's pretty much a pick'em. Will Luongo and the Sedin's show up all series? Canucks in 7.

Fri, 01 May 2009 13:31:39 GMT
Hello Blackhawks?

The game winning goal for the Canucks over Blackhawks last night looked like a game of shinny hockey. Note, all five Hawk players rush to the top of the circle, four of them, including one defenseman, goes for a skate behind the goalline. Vancouver doesn't immediately turn the puck up ice, there was plenty of time for the four Hawks to recover, but it appears only one of them decided to make an effort to get into the play. Is this an NHL team?

Let's start with the pass. With all four Blackhawks deep, Versteeg passes it backwards, then proceeds to leisurely skate into the corner. Havlat and Barker crash the net, which is fine, but Havlat had all day to try and come back and is nowhere to be found. Barker is a defenseman, he shouldn't be going to the net and engaging the d-man. Oddly, Barker was the only Hawk deep that was engaged with another player. Barker skates all the way back but fails to pick up the Canuck standing right beside him who scores the easy goal. What is the point of skating back, if you aren't gonna try to stop them. All three other Hawk forwards made no attempt to backcheck. Kane missed the pass, which causes the turnover, but the puck goes to the far boards and it takes several seconds to turn up ice. Where is Kane? Walker was the only Hawk on this play that played any defense, but he fails to take the guy with the puck and allows him to make a pass thru the middle.

Question. How did these guys beat the Flames? Or worse, were they trying to lose?

Thu, 30 Oct 2008 21:51:58 GMT
NHL Update

We just updated all the NHL rosters.

New Jersey Devils
Chicago Blackhawks
New York Islanders
Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Rangers
Detroit Red Wings
Philadelphia Flyers
Nashville Predators
Pittsburgh Penguins
St. Louis Blues
Boston Bruins
Calgary Flames
Buffalo Sabres
Colorado Avalanche
Montreal Canadiens
Edmonton Oilers
Ottawa Senators
Minnesota Wild
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vancouver Canucks
Atlanta Thrashers
Anaheim Ducks
Carolina Hurricanes
Dallas Stars
Florida Panthers
Los Angeles Kings
Tampa Bay Lightning
Phoenix Coyotes
Washington Capitals
San Jose Sharks
Fri, 05 Oct 2007 17:18:09 GMT
Top Salaries - Episode #9

A new episode of the talk-sports.net podcast.  Our longest show to date.

Central Preseason Preview

http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-53113/TS-48426.mp3

Mon, 24 Sep 2007 17:53:10 GMT
Episode #3

A great live broadcast today.

http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-53113/TS-46551.mp3

I talked about 5 teams.

Fri, 27 Jan 2006 03:23:00 GMT
Oilers Trade for D

CP The Oilers first acquired Tarnstrom, who will help their power play, from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Jani Rita and defenceman Cory Cross. Then Lowe acquired Czech Olympian Spacek from the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Tony Salmelainen.

http://www.nhl.com/news/2006/01/254316.html

Randy: The Oilers may have the best D-men in the league; Pronger, Bergeron, Staios, Smith, Tarnstrom and Spacek. I don't like the Cross for Tarnstrom trade. Cross is a better 6th d-man than Tarnstrom. But Spacek for Salmelainen is a steal. The Leafs could've used some D, where's Ferguson?

Fri, 20 Jan 2006 00:52:42 GMT
Bruins claim Craig Anderson off waivers

PR: The Boston Bruins have claimed goaltender Craig Anderson off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks, it was announced today by Bruins General Manager Mike O'Connell.

Randy: This also means that Raycroft has been traded. Rumour is to the Oilers.

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