Sports by Randy Charles Morin.
Copyright 2005-10 Randy Charles Morin
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We have some race this year. I can identify 7 legit candidates; 3 of which scored 30 goals.
One year ago, Skinner wasn't on anybody's NHL radar. He wasn't drafted and wasn't even projected in the 1st round of the draft. He scored 20 goals in 20 games during last years OHL playoff and he became a 7th overall pick. Twelve months later, he has 30+ goals in the NHL and is the choice of many to win the Calder Trophy.
Nineth overall pic in 2007, he stagnated for the next 3 years. Out of nowhere, he's regained his top prospect form and put 30 pucks in the net. Unlikely to win, as he doesn't have the most goals, nor the most points for a rookie, which is the prime criteria for a forward.
Grabner was the 14 overall pick back in 2006. Like Couture, he struggled after his draft year. He played the last 3 years almost entirely in the AHL. A brief 20 game tryout at the end of last season was successful, potting 5 goals. The Canucks traded him to the Panthers, who then waived him before the season started. He was claimed by the Islanders and the rest is history; 30 goal rookie campaign.
Drafted 27th overall in 2008. Note that all these rookies to date have been drafted in the 1st round. Somebody might wanna inform Brian Burke of these facts. Played half a season in the AHL and he's an NHLer. Fits in well, on a very talented Capitals team. Unlike to win.
Tell Burke that Fowler was drafted 12th overall in 2010. Ya, that's last year. And he scored 40 points this year as a defenseman. His -26 plus-minus rating is gonna keep him away from the Calder Trophy.
Drafted in the 2nd round of 2007. I have to think his skin color and mouth kept him out of the 1st round. How many defensemen score 56 points in their OHL draft year and don't get picked in the 1st round? He's improved every year since, is now a household name for every hockey fan and a twitter fad (#blamesubban). PK's stats might not get him the Calder, but I watch a lot of hockey and from what I see, this guy is already a leader on the Canadians. He's my Calder pick, but I doubt many will agree. They'd rather blame him for something.
I always hate it when a goalie qualifies as a rookie, yet he played games in 4 NHL seasons. This is actually his 5th season playing in the NHL. The numbers are there and he resurrected the Hawks season. He'll get votes, but he was drafted in 2003. Hardly a rookie.
I thought it'd be interesting to list my 20 NHL all-stars for this season.
We just updated all the NHL rosters.
Southeast Preseason Preview
Notes: Antropov and Poniko are +13 to lead the team. Stajan and White are +6. Sundin and Harrison are +5. Wellwood is +4. No other pluses.
Notes: Watching the replays of all the games on TV, Burke for the Lightning looked horrible.
I think I just listened to the best Leaf game since Gerry Valk put the Leafs in the semis. Would have loved to watch that!
Down to four team. Usually at this point in the season, one team would stand out from the rest as a clear favorite to win the Super Bowl. This is untrue this season. We have four team, we equal chances to with a slight edge to the home teams.
|Sunday, Jan. 22|
|AFC -- Pittsburgh at Denver||3:00||CBS|
|NFC -- Carolina at Seattle||6:30||FOX|
Let's start with the Broncos, who have looked awesome in their last two games against the Patriots and the Chargers, knocking both teams out of contention. But they are playing the Steelers, who in two playoff road games have held the Bengals and Colts, the two top offenses in the NFL to less than 20 points. Now, if you remember Roethlisberger injured his throwing hand in the 2nd half of the Colts game. That and home field advantage seem to be the only reason to pick the Broncos over the Steelers.
In the second game, we have the Seahawks who are likely the best team over the entire course of the season. In their one playoff game, they held a pathetic Redskins offense to 10 points in there win and their MVP running back, Shaun Alexander sustained a concussion. The Panthers on the other hand destroyed the Giants 23-0 in New York, then out offensed the best defensive team in the NFL, the Bears 29-21 in Chicago. The Bears lacking offense scored 3 touchdowns on 3 long drives in 4 consecutive possessions. There's reason to pick and not pick either team. Toss a coin, with a slight edge to the Seahawks, playing at home.
Jags v. Pats
Redskins v. Bucs
Panthers v. Giants
Steelers v. Bengals
It's all decided, the wildcard games are...
|Saturday, Jan. 7|
|Washington at Tampa Bay||4:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Jacksonville at New England||8:00 p.m.||ABC|
|Sunday, Jan. 8|
|Carolina at N.Y. Giants||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|Pittsburgh at Cincinnati||4:30 p.m.||CBS|
I predict the New England, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Panthers.
The Patriots are maybe the best team in the NFL at this time, unfortunately they'll have to win two road games to repeat (tough task).
After losing to the Bengals at home, the Steelers began destroying their opponents. Bengals on the other hand, haven't played a significant game since that win over the Steelers.
Redskins haven't won a road game against a good team since their first road game of the season. Bucs last three losses were to division winners. On the other hand, the Bucs have had an easy schedule otherwise. I'm going with the Bucs, because they are at home, but it's a coin flip.
The Panthers have struggled in the second half the of the season, after winning six in a row early. You have to get hot at the right time. Fortunately, they are playing the worst defense in the playoffs. They should win.
The byes goto Indianapolis (AFC), Denver (AFC), Seattle (NFC), Chicago (NFC).
New lines today