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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

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:28:30 GMT
Vezina Nominees
Quite a battle for the Vezina this year. And who do I think should win? All of them and more.

Luongo simply had an amazing season. But so did most of the Canuck players. They dominated the NHL. Any other year and he'd be a lock. Already considered one of the best, he posted he's career best GAA and SV Pct. Still might not be enough.

Thomas, like Luongo, posted his career best numbers and even better than Luongo's. I can't see Luongo winning over Thomas. The Bruins struggle offensively and rely on Luongo a lot more than Vancouver. If it were not for Thomas, the Bruins may not have made the playoffs.

Rinne had a break out season. He plays for a bad team and single handledly put his team in the playoffs. Without Rinne, the Preds would've been in contention for a high draft pick.

Lundqvist didn't get nominated and won 11 games for the Rangers via shutout. Rangers, like the Preds, could easily have been fighting for a high draft pick had their goaltending had yet another great season. I understand why Lundqvist was left out, but I'm gonna mention him anyway.

All said, Thomas' .938 save percentage is what convinces me to award my vote to him as the Vezina winner. Not to mention his GAA was in fact below 2 (1.998), but rounded up to 2.00 in the stats.

Sun, 17 Apr 2011 06:50:45 GMT
Post Game 2 Roundup

Bruins v Habs (0-2)

The biggest surprise of the playoffs is the Bruins complete lack of offense; one goal in two games. This is due to three reasons; solid play from the Canadians defense (Gill, Subban, Sopel, Spacek, Hamrlik, Wisniewski and forwards Moen, Plekanec), good goaltending from Carey Price and weak shoots from the Bruins. As much as Carey Price has made the saves, the shot difficult is making Price look even better. Down 2-0 and going to Montreal, this series could be over quickly.

Pens v Lightning (1-1)

Not a surprise, without Crosby and Malkin, the Pens will be hard pressed to win this series. One great goaltending performance by Fleury has kept this team in the series. Interesting side note; Craig Adams has 6 goals in the last 3 regular seasons (207 games) and 6 goals in the last 3 playoffs (39 games). If Crosby comes back, then they still have a chance, but I see the Lightning taking this now that they have home ice advantage.

Caps v Rangers (2-0)

I didn't expect the Rangers to be able to keep up with the Capitals and they haven't. Only Matt Gilroy has scored for the Rangers. Lundqvist is gonna have to steal a game or two to get this team back in the series. Looks like a Capitals sweep is possible.

Flyers v Sabres (1-1)

Miller stole game one but the Flyers offense was too much in game two. With Miller injured, I didn't think the Sabres had much of a chance, but stole home ice advantage. The biggest difference in this series may turn out to be the lack of Chris Pronger. Normally, Pronger would be wearing down the Sabres forwards. Add something redundant about Flyers goaltending here. This looks like a 7 gamer. Then flip a coin.

Wings v Yotes (2-0)

It's called the Pavel Datsyuk show. Even without Henrik Zetterberg, the Wings are simply too much for the Yotes. Bryzgalov hasn't been at his best. He really needs to step it up at home and steal both games for his team or it's over. I doubt the Wings will sweep and that's all I got for the Coyotes' fans.

Sharks v Kings (1-1)

There's no reason the Kopitar-less Kings should be in this series. Well, except that Joe Thornton is up to his playoff disappearing act once again. In game 2 on the power play, Big Joe was fed the puck in the slot. He didn't even try to shoot. He skated behind the net, then out to the half boards and shot from there. Going the other way, Drew Doughty scored 4 pts giving him 11 points in 8 career playoff games. I see this going 7 games.

Canucks v Hawks (2-0)

Kane, Toews, Sharp and Hossa have combined for 1 assist in the 1st two games of this series. It might simply be fatigue. All four players have played an enormous amounts of hockey over the last 2-3 yrs. The Canucks look like he team to beat. Three lines are contributing and six d-men. And they have a pretty good goalie. Unless the Hawks win both at home, they could be done in 5.

Ducks v Preds (1-1)

Mike Fisher stole game 1 for the Preds and now they have home ice advantage in this series. The Ducks Big 4 (Selanne, Ryan, Perry and Getzlaf) showed up big time in game 2, each scoring a goal. This series is gonna be a showdown between the big 4 and Pekka Rinne. The series should go 6 or 7 games.

Tue, 12 Apr 2011 13:33:52 GMT
2011 Western Round #1 NHL Playoff Predictions
These are my, Randy Charles Morin's 2011 western conference round 1 NHL playoff predictions.

Canucks v Hawks

This is just a crazy match-up. This time, Hawks can't move Byfuglien up to forward on the PP. But its still gonna be a major mental challenge for Luongo. Can he beat the team that has always beat him.

The Hawks are a lot better than their 8th placing. They are defending Stanley Cup champs. They may have lost a lot of parts, but the core is still intact.

I've gotta believe the Canucks will finally pull it out. They are simply that good. Most goals. Least against. Olympic gold netminder. Hart and 2 Art Rosses.

Canucks in 7

Sharks v Kings

This is a no-brainer. After a great start, the Kings held onto a playoff spot. No Kopitar.

But wait, this is the playoff no-showing Sharks led by the playoff disappearing show himself; Joe Thornton.

Still, its the injured Kings.

Sharks in 5

Wings v Yotes

One question. Can you name a skater on the Coyotes? I betcha many of you can't. Lidstrom, Zetter, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Rafalski.

If you look at the skaters only, then you wonder the Yotes made the playoffs and how they might steal one game in this series.

The answer is the Bryz. In goal, this series is just as much a landslide against the Wings. How many games can Bryzgalov steal? Four? Maybe not.

Wings in 6

Ducks v Preds

The Ducks are the hottest team in the NHL and Corrie Perry, the hottest player. And the core of this team still won a Cup together a few yrs back.

The Preds are a consistent team, that made the playoffs on team effort and great goaltending. Now we find out if Pekka can do this in the playoffs. Unfortunate he ran into the hottest team and goal scorer. Maybe next year.

Ducks in 6.

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.

Wed, 14 Apr 2010 13:43:19 GMT
Western 2010 NHL Playoff Predictions

Sharks v Avs

This series comes down to one player, Joe Thornton. Joe rarely shows up to big games and usually gets pushed around, which is odd considering he's one of the biggest players on the ice. I doubt Joe will show and the Avs are good enough to beat the playoff-hapless Sharks. Avs in 7.

Hawks v Preds

The Hawks have the Preds beat in every facet of the game, except goaltending. But neither team is impressive in net. The Hawks could lose on goaltending, but otherwise, they far outclass the Preds. Hawks in 5.

Canucks v Kings

The Kings have no playoff experience to draw on. Most teams with little playoff experience simply don't know that they have to play better and harder in the playoffs. They'll know next year. Canucks in 5.

Coyotes v Wings

The Wing were the best team down the stretch. They are back. Contending for the Cup. The Yotes are happy they actually made the playoffs. Bryzgalov might steal a game or two. Not enough to beat the Wings. Wings in 6.

Mon, 19 Oct 2009 17:31:54 GMT
NHL Eastern Conference Predictions
These are my predictions for the NHL Eastern Conference.

Rangers

The Rangers are off to a great start. Nothing new. Lunqvist does this every year. Don't credit anybody but Lunqvist and laugh at hockey analysis who make anything of the Rangers fast start. Lunqvist comes back to Earth as the season wears on him.

Senators

If Leclaire keeps it up, then expect the Sens near the top of the Northeast division.

Capitals and Penguins

The Pens and Caps will shoot it out again for the conference title.

Sabres

If Miller remains healthy, then the Sabres are playoff bound.

Thrashers

Great start. Maybe they can make the playoffs. Maybe. It's 50-50.

Devils

Still getting worse and relying on Brodeur more than ever. Brodeur will likely get them into the playoffs yet again. Someday he won't.

Flyers

Amazing team outside of management and goaltending. How do you put Randy Jones up for grabs? How do you gamble on the Emery headcase? If Emery doesn't implode the team, then they make the playoffs.

Bruins

Should easily make playoffs. GM is executive of the year for the Kessel trade. Last 12 months have put them into Stanley Cup contention for the next 10 years.

Lightning

They can't play defense. I feel sorry for their goaltenders.

Hurricane

Getting old. Need to surround Cam Ward with younger players. This is likely a good year for them to exit from the playoff picture and get a good draft pick. Ward may make that difficult.

Panthers

They suck again.

Canadians

Too much change in team personel, plus Andrei Markov not heathly, equals a lot of unfair doubt on Carey Price's skill and no playoff.

Islanders

The Isles will never make the playoffs until Garth Snow is fired.

Leafs

This franchise is turning into a joke. The Ducks cup win obviously had little to do with Brian Burke.
Wed, 15 Apr 2009 01:43:27 GMT
NHL Playoff Predictions

Here's my 1st round predictions for the 2009 NHL Playoffs.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 05:41:41 GMT
What Should Burke Do?

If you were Brian Burke, then what would you do in the off-season? Here's my take.

Buyouts?

I'd be tempted to buy-out Blake and Finger, but I wouldn't. The Leafs aren't going to win the Stanley Cup next year and every year we keep either player removes two years from their salary impacting the Leafs cap. Tucker's salary cap hit for buying him out last year was $1M this year and will be $1M for the next 5 years. I don't want that mistake repeated. I wouldn't buy anybody out. It's a short-term fix and we need long-term solutions.

Goaltending

The biggest problem is in goal. Toskala has one year left on his contract and I think he's worth the $4M. Let's keep him as our backup or part of a 1-2 tandem and maybe we can trade him at the deadline.

The Leafs should focus on signing the best free-agent goalie they can. Tim Thomas? Khabibulin? Craig Anderson? Martin Biron? That's a pretty good list. I wouldn't trade for a starting goalie unless it was a steal. Why trade what you can sign for free? Martin Gerber is another free-agent option, but I'd give him 1 year max. I wouldn't give anybody a no-trade clause.

I wouldn't put much stock in Justin Pogge anymore. Let's leave him with the Marlies for now and test him again in 2010, unless he pulls off a miracle in the AHL playoffs. That would change everything.

Defense

Set ($19M). Kubina, Kaberle, White, Finger, Schenn, Van Ryn are the starting six. Frogen is the 7th. Stralman could fill-in for injuries and I might even give him a shot at making the club.

BTW, if we give $6M to a 2nd goaltender, then we are already at $29M and $29M for an NHL defense is rather high, especially for one that isn't all that good.

Forwards

Returning fowards ($16M); Blake, Hagman, Ponikarovsky, Stempniak, Stajan and Kulemin. We'll have to resign Grabovski for about $1.5M. I would keep Jamal Mayers and John Mitchell as fourth liners and 13th forwards with the club or with the Marlies. I wouldn't be afraid to lose either on waivers either. I'd also give Jeremy Williams and Jiri Tlusty shots at making the big club next season.

This leaves us 4 forward positions to fill. One of these will be filled by our first round draft pick. The Leafs should get a high pick and most of the talent is at center. I would do everything to move up in this draft, as the talent is thick. Tavares, Hedman and Duchesne are the prizes. It might be difficult to trade up and get Tavares. Both Hedman and Duchesne might be available for a reasonable price. 

Now we have 3 forward positions left to fill. I really like Andre Deveaux and we can have him for minimum. The Leafs need a right-handed centerman that can win faceoffs (Dominik Moore $1.5M?). This leaves us a little bit of room to pick up a free-agent forward to fill out the lineup with a tough guy that can play.

Bonus

Sign Ponikarovsky to an 2-yr extension at $3-3.5M. Sign Stajan to a 1-yr extension at $2M.  They are unrestricted at the end of 2009-10.

Result

Still not a great team. If we re-signed Gerber to a $1.5M deal instead of going for a #1 goalie, then we'd have salary room to go after a premier forward, but I think you build from the net out.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 03:49:43 GMT
Maples Leafs Grades

Here's my final grades on your 2008-09 Toronto Maple Leafs.

  1. A+ Alexei Ponikarovsky - 23 goals on less than 16 minutes per game and best of all he was +8 on a mostly minus team.
  2. A Luke Schenn - In limited ice-time, he finished 18th in hits thrown.
  3. A Mikhail Grabovski - The rookie tallied more points than Stamkos.
  4. A Niklas Hagman - Good two-way players and we have him locked up for 3 more years.
  5. A Nik Antropov - Career high goals and good trade bait.
  6. A Andre Deveaux - He played 21 games on the big club. Who'd a guessed that last September.
  7. A Dominic Moore - Claimed him off waivers and traded him for a 2nd round pick in just over a year. Not bad.
  8. A Jeremy Williams - According to Ron Wilson, he doesn't play well defensively from the press box. WTF!?
  9. A Carlo Calaiacovo - Finally turned into the NHL player we new he would be. Unfortunately, we traded him first.
  10. B+ Ian White - The + is for effort.
  11. B Tomas Kaberle - He didn't step up and become a leader.
  12. B Matt Stajan - He's not a #1 center, but was forced to fill-in as one.
  13. B Pavel Kubina - Solid d-man
  14. B Nikolai Kulemin - 10th in rookie goals.
  15. B Jonas Frogen - Good start.
  16. B Phil Oreskovic - WOW! He played 10 games in the NHL.
  17. B Anton Stralman - Improving.
  18. B Brian Burke - Interesting moves.
  19. C Jason Blake - Better, but still not earning anywhere near his salary.
  20. C Jeff Finger - Didn't earn his salary, but not entirely his fault.
  21. C Mike Van Ryn - Looked good on the ice, not so much in the medical room.
  22. C Vesa Toskala - Leafs won't get better unless the goaltending gets better.
  23. C Brad May - Great team man, but he's a candidate for retirement.
  24. C John Mitchell - Has the talent to play in the NHL, but doesn't show it during the games.
  25. C Tim Stapleton - First NHL goal and great AHL rookie season.
  26. C Jeffrey Hamilton - Good depth player.
  27. C Martin Gerber - I think we got brownie points for taking his salary.
  28. C Curtis Joseph - Stunk before Christmas, but played better since. Retire already!
  29. C Ron Wilson - Didn't have much to work with.
  30. D Lee Stempniak - Do we really have to pay this guy $3.5 million next year?
  31. D Jamal Mayers - Kulemin threw more hits.
  32. D Jiri Tlusty - Finally clicked in the AHL. He might get another chance next year.
  33. D Kris Newbury - Injured!
  34. D Alex Steen - Lost patience with him and got traded.
  35. D Jay Harrison - Leaving for Europe was a bad career move.
  36. D Staffan Kronwall - Lost him on waivers. Not a biggy.
  37. D Jamie Sifers - Didn't progress.
  38. D Boyd Devereaux - He stunk with the Marlies.
  39. D Ben Ondrus - HuH? They didn't have anything better when they played him in 11 games?
  40. D Ryan Hollweg - We actually traded a 5th rounder for him.
  41. D Mark Bell - Contract is over. Bye!
  42. D Justin Pogge - Horrible.
  43. D Cliff Fletcher - Stunk.
Thu, 30 Oct 2008 00:39:36 GMT
Conn Smythe Lottery

Most likely because of the lateness of the pick, quite often the winner of the Conn Smythe aware is not who it should be. Remember, they have to pick the winner in the 15 minutes following the game. I think if they waited a day, then you'd get a different winner almost half of the time. Here's my four disputes in recent history.

  1. J.S. Giguere v. Scott Niedermeyer in 2007. Red Wings killed the Ducks in the semi-finals and only lost because of superior goaltending by Giguere.
  2. Rod Brind'Amour v. Cam Ward in 2006. Rod led the Canes with 12 goals while taking almost every faceoff and playing almost half of every important game.
  3. Steve Yzerman v. Nicklas Lidstrom in 2002. Yzerman was the person that scored the goals when they were most needed.
  4. Mark Messier v. Brian Leetch in 1994. Leetch only won because he's American. This was an absolute joke. On the brink, Messier guaranteed a win and scored two goals in that game.
Tue, 24 Apr 2007 13:46:32 GMT
Round 2 Western Predictions

Red Wings vs Sharks

The Red Wings made it to the 2nd round on a horrible performance by the Flames. Unfortunately, they now have to play a much better team. The key to this series is Pavel Datsyuk. After a quick start in the playoffs, he's once again pulled his playoff disappearing act with 1 assist in his last 4 games. If Detroit wants to win, then Pavel has to show up. Go with the Sharks.

Goaltending: even
Defense: +Wings
Offense: +Sharks
Coaching: +Sharks
Heart: +Sharks

Ducks vs Canucks

Both the Canucks and Stars should've been eliminated in the first round but one of them had to win. If the Canucks are gonna win again, then Roberto Luongo is gonna be the reason, but that won't be enough. The Swedes are the key to this series. Can Markus Naslund, Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin score against the best defense in hockey; Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin and Scott Niedermeyer?

Goaltending: +Canucks
Defense: +2 Ducks
Offense: +Ducks
Coaching: +Ducks
Heart: +Ducks

Sun, 22 Apr 2007 20:03:52 GMT
Round 2 Eastern Predictions

Sabres vs Rangers

The Rangers really don't have much chance here. They will need an amazing performance by Lundqvist to stand any chance. The key is gonna have to be Avery running Miller in the first 5 minutes of game one. The Rangers can't win this series straight up.

Goaltending: +Sabres
Defense: +Sabres
Offense: even
Coaching: +Sabres
Heart: +Rangers

Senators vs Devils

The Devils played really bad against the Lightning and Brodeur bailed them out. The key to the series will be Emery. If Emery plays well, then the Senators should win, because the Devils simply don't compete outside of the crease.

Goaltending: +2 Devils
Defense: +Senators
Offense: +2 Senators
Coaching: +Devils
Heart: +Senators

Note: In the six series decided to date, I'm 6 for 6 in my predictions.

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 22:40:21 GMT
2007 NHL Playoff Predictions Western Conference

Red Wings vs. Flames

This looks like the easiest upset prediction in world history. The Red Wings are proven chokers and now minus Yzerman. The Flames on the other hand are known for playoff grit. The goaltending should be spectacular with Kiprusoff and Hasek. The key to the series is Datsyuk. He usually disappears in the playoffs and is likely the biggest reason that the Red Wings are known chokers.

Goaltending: +Flames
Defense: +Red Wings
Offense: +Red Wings
Coaching: +Flames
Heart: +2 Flames

Ducks vs. Wild

There's a lot of people predicting upset here, but honestly, it just can't happen. The Oilers went to the finals last season on Pronger's back. He's now on the Ducks. Add Giguere's spectacular 2003 playoff, Scott Niedermayer (what can I can?), Teemu Selanne gets better in big tourney's and this team is loaded with playoff performers. The key is going to be the Wild's goaltending (Backstrom or Fernandez). Somebody between the Wild pipes is gonna have to play the best seven games of his life.

Goaltending: +Ducks
Defense: +2 Ducks
Offense: +Ducks
Coaching: +Wild
Heart: +Ducks

Canuks vs. Stars

This is a difficult one to predict. I wouldn't expect either team to go very far in this years playoff. This'll be the first time the Sedin's (Daniel and Henrik) are the go to guys on offense. This is also Luongo's first playoff go, but he's proved himself in World tournament before. In the other net is known playoff choker Marty Turco. The key to this series is whether the Star bother to show up.

Goaltending: +Canuks
Defense: +Stars
Offense: +Canuks
Coaching: even
Heart: +Canuks

Predators vs. Sharks

This is gonna be a very unexciting series. Except for the key player to be named later, I would expect the Sharks to win and get knocked out in the 2nd round. Can Joe Thornton break his streak of playoff choking (only 27 points in 46 games)? The key to this series will be Forsberg. Forsberg has scored within one point of a point per game in 11 straight playoffs. This guy is a playoff god.

Goaltending: +Predators
Defense: +Stars
Offense: +Sharks
Coaching: +Sharks
Heart: +Predators

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 21:29:39 GMT
2007 NHL Playoff Predictions Eastern Conference

Sabres vs. Islanders

This will likely be a walk, since the Sabres are healthy and had good playoff experience last season. With DiPietro coming back off injury and not having played in a couple weeks, he might be stale for the first game. He is the key to the series. If he doesn't play his best hockey for six games, then the Islanders will be in trouble. The Islander push for the playoff was impressive, but nobody expect them to win and I think they've already hit their goal, just getting into the playoffs.

Goaltending: +Sabres
Defense: +Sabres
Offense: +Sabres
Coaching: +Islanders
Heart: +Sabres

Devils vs. Lightning

This series should prove what is more valuable. Great scorers or a great goalie. The Devils would not have made the playoffs without Brodeur and the Lightning would not have made the playoffs without Lecavalier and St. Louis. My money is on the Devils, mostly because of the massive goaltending advantage. Holmqvist is by far the worst starting goaltender in this year's playoff and Brodeur is the best. But, with the recent problems in the Devils organization, I wouldn't preclude an upset. The key to this series is behind the bench. Will the Devils play for Lamoriello after he fired their coach?

Goaltending: +2 Devils
Defense: +Devils
Offense: +2 Lightning
Coaching: +Devils
Heart: +Lightning

Thrasher vs. Rangers

This is looking like an upset. The Thrashers are new the playoffs and that usually means bad things. On the other hand, the Trashers have a scary defense and great scoring. Even if the Rangers win, they'll get beat up. Avery is the wild card in this series. He could lose it with the stupidity he's known for or he could play rough but smart and even up the Thrasher's physical advantage.

Goaltending: +Rangers
Defense: +Thrashers
Offense: +Thrashers
Coaching: +Rangers
Heart: +Rangers

Senators vs. Penguins

The Penguins are the team of the future, but the Senators could be the team of 2007. The Senators are prime for a good playoff. They've changed the team. Brought in players that have performed in big tournaments (Heatley). Like the Trasher series, 1st year playoff teams like Pittsburgh often don't play up to playoff speed. The key to this series will be Crosby. Duh!? He could just want to win now and it'll happen.

Goaltending: +Penguins
Defense: +Senators
Offense: +Senators
Coaching: even
Heart: +Senators

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