Wednesday, September 30, 2009
1. Chicago Blackhawks - Because they only have to the play the Red Wings 6 times during the regular season. I'm not going to say these guys are a regular season squad, but I will say that Detroit has got their number. Adding guys like Hossa and Madden will offset the losses of Havlat and Pahlsson, but like the conundrum facing the Flyers, is how will the goaltending hold up? If Huet can get it done, which he has shown he can in the past, the Hawks can pull this one out. I'll go with 51-22-9 for 111 points.
2. Detroit Red Wings - The naysayers are pointing to all the personnel losses that went down this summer as to the reason why these Wings are on the downside of their run. I'd have to say that the personnel losses and losing the Cup is going to make this a hungry bunch. This will be a race to the finish. 48-24-10 for 106 points.
3. St. Louis Blues - The Blues and BJs tied up last year at 92 points, the difference this season? A healthy Andy McDonald and Paul Kariya, these vets will help bring along the Crombeens, Perrons and Oshies of the world, and these guys will be, once again, a great story heading into the playoffs. 42-31-9 for 93 points.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets - I'm still not sold on the offensive prowess of the Jackets. With defenses constantly keying on Vermette and Nash, it'll force the 3 young guns; Brassard, Filatov, and Voracek to really pick up the slack. Can Steve Mason avoid a sophomore slump? Time will tell. 40-31-11 for 91 points.
5. Nashville Predators - The Predators aren't a bad team, just not strong enough to compete with the rest of the Central. Can Pekke Rinne continue his play? Can a team whose best offensive players reside on the blueline really make a dent into the Central Powerhouses? More questions than answers here. 38-33-11 for 87 points.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
So let's start with the Atlantic; everyone's favorite division. Or not. Whatever.
1. Philadelphia Flyers: A trendy pick for Cup Champ, the Flyer's are simply brutal. Strong up front with gobs of leadership oozing from Mike Richards (or is that gobs of Pierre McGuire's man seed oozing from Richards, erroneous), Briere's resurgence (you just wait and see), and another year of experience from Carter and Giroux. With two franchise d-men (at least they're paid like it), this team is as strong as any on paper. Until you look in net, Emery is such a wild card that the Flyers could fall all the way to 4th in the Atlantic. I don't think so, we've seen plenty of teams with so-so 'tending make waves, see Redwings, Detroit; Capitals, Washington; Penguins, Pittsburgh. I'll go with 51-23-8 for 110 points.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins: This team has gone through ups and downs every year since Crosby and Malkin arrived. The defending Champs were as far as 12th in the standings last season before finishing the season on that unstoppable run. Will the revamped defense hold up? Will the injury bug strike? Can the Flower consistently play like he did during last year's playoff run? Those are the questions I'd be asking myself as a Pens fan, but they're not, they're too busy yelling 'woooooooo!' in everyone else's faces. Let's say 47-28-7 for 101 points.
3. New Jersey Devils: A healthy Martin Brodeur gets them this far. But there's still so many questions; like, how does Andrew Peter's get a 2 year contract on this roster? Have they no depth? But with Elias a year older (and hurt) and the main offensive talent being undersized (look out for those flying elbows Zach), I can't see them being the same team that won the division last year. Hell I didn't even mention the reversion back to LeMaire's system. Lord, boring times at the Rock. That said, they'll still go 46-31-5 for 97 points.
4. New York Rangers: There is no doubt in my mind that prized free agent signing Marian Gaborik will light the lamp multiple times, in his first 21 game season with the Rangers. Having Lundqvist saves the day, but when you couldn't score last season, and you follow up with Drury and Dubinsky as your top centers, you won't score much again this year. 41-33-8 for 91 points. I don't see them cracking the top 8.
5. New York Islanders: The Isles probably have the deepest 3 deep in net in the league. But does that even matter? No not really. Will they be better than last year? Yeah, probably, but I can't say by all that much. This division is stacked, and these guys are stackless. It'll be a rough one for Tavares and co., that's for certain. 27-45-10 for 64 points.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
When football players retire, they want to try their hand at MMA (just look at this season's The Ultimate Fighter lineup, I think there's 7 or so former NFL players). I guess now NHL players will be trying their hand at racing. I always thought of hockey as a more blue collar sport (aside from how utterly expensive everything is), but not quite that redneck.
"It's a great team sport, like hockey," Brisebois said of auto racing. "Your mechanic is kind of like your coach, and there's a game plan, race strategy, so it's a bit like a hockey team. I'm going to try and go as far as I can in auto racing. I'd love to be able to move on to the Nationwide or Sprint series, but it's going to be very tough. Another dream of mine would be to do the 24 hours of Le Mans."So off to the Canadian Tire Series Patrice goes; searching for sponsors. I guess good luck, hope in his this endeavor he doesn't crash and burn. Too soon?
Thursday, September 24, 2009
This picture is floating around the web right now. I saw it in a tweet from @grizzlyblair to Pensblog, but now Empty Netters has got it. Shit's goin' viral yo.
My guess is that the hippies at the protest try to turn his cup into a bong. Then do hippie things with it.
If I had time, or motivation, or energy, I'd so be putting together photoshops of Gretzky's new occupational endeavors (Dancing With The Stars anyone?), but I don't. Sooooo, piss off.
Word is old Dave Tippett is the front runner to replace Gretzky. Damn him, we're all rooting for Ulf Samuellson to take over.
New rumor: We've got a sneak preview at Wayne's future plans.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The San Jose Sharts. Looks like we've got ourselves a new nickname for the Teal and...black? What is their 2nd color? Orange? Black? Stupid Sharts.
I've been told that I'm too hard on every team out there. F that shit. Of course I am. Everybody knows the strengths of every team. What do you want me to do, write the same fluff post about Crosby's uber ice vision, Luongo's supremacy, Datsyuk's defensive dalliances, Ovechkin's offensive onslaught? Nay, I say, nay. I bring you the low points. When you set low expectations, then exceed them with mediocrity, then everybody wins. Great Success.
Speaking of winning, hi there Washington. Shall we discuss departures? We shall. Russia Southeast doesn't seem so Cyrillic any longer no? Watching...er, waiting for...Kozlov and Federov to head to the KHL hurt a lot of Caps fans. But let's be honest, outside of Fed's Game 7 playoff goal against the Rangers, and that one time Kozlov did something, what exactly are they bringing to the team at 35 - 40 (who cares how old they actually are) years of age, compared to some of the young guns that led Hershey to a Calder Cup last season? Say leadership, say effing leadership and see how much I care.
One weakness that may come back to haunt them is the departure of the Don. I'm not going to go as far as to say that an enforcer is necessary in this league. But I think on this team, yeah, an enforcer is necessary. John Erskine will not drop the gloves at the behest of Boudreau for going after Semin. Is Matt Bradley really going to be the sandpaper for that lineup? Those big, bad Atlantic teams, hell even those truculent Leafs could have a field day without being held accountable for what they can get away with. Boys with delicate features (looking at you Backstrom) don't stand up well when they're flattened face first into a corner, choke slammed, then curb stomped by the Prongers and Charas of the world.
But naturally of course, any team that has 8, 28, and 19 are going to be fine. They'll score 13 goals a game and everything will be just peachy. As for their acquisitions, I can't even begin to exclaim how genius signing Mike Knuble was. He may not be the fastest dude in the world, but I'll be damned if he won't score 40 goals this year playing with Backstrom and Ovechkin. Easiest job in the world, stand in front of the net and try to clean up the other 12 shots Ovechkin misses the net on...or toughest job in the world, as those pucks are flying at his face.
The Caps will be good again, probably 2nd in the East again. But I'm still not sure they're ready to make the next step. I'm not going to get into the whole defense issue, but I don't think they're strong enough, literally, I don't think they're physical enough to last 4 rounds after playing 82 games.
Would I be mad if I was proven wrong? No, I go to bunches of Caps games. See this is me trying to be nice. I'm not really feelin' it.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Last night he had a goal and an assist, thumping the minor leaguers that make up the Florida Panthers.
Now the question is, is this a feel good story? Or is this just another ill-fated attempt to cling to what was once?
I'm just curious the feelings of the hockey populace, we all know I really wanted him to come back, of course, in a facetious and jocular (demeaning?) manner. Do you want to see Theo suiting up alongside Langkow and Glencross this season?
Friday, September 18, 2009
Is that not the most egregious, yet still slightly humorous, jersey foul you've ever seen?
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Okposo left the ice on a stretcher. He wasn't moving, but apparently he phoned his dad after the play to tell him he was OK.
So first off, is this a legal hit? Secondly, is this really necessary in a preseason exhibition game?
But this year, we're starting the Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond for All Star campaign early. So get ready.
So basically here's how we're gonna do this. We'll resume that there schedule you see over on the right. Monday's will bring the Dialogue back (this time with more reader participation? RIGHT), Tuesday's I'll go back to hating on your hometown, you know what, I don't feel like typing these all out, just read the side bar.
One thing we will have that's new: What If? Basically, when I moved down to DC my mom dumped hundreds upon hundreds of hockey cards on me. From 94-98 or so, so we'll take those and ask "What if he stayed on this team? What if he didn't get traded?" Then we'll concoct the most ludicrous situation possible, have fun with it, include Ahmadinejad and Ho Chi Minh for all I care. Think about it. It'll be sweet.
I just got so excited about hockey coming back...I have to change my pants.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
You can go through this lineup and see the superstars; Luongo, the Sedins. You see the budding talent; Burrowes, Edler, Kesler. You see the cagey veterans; Mathieu Schneider, Demitra, Salo. The shutdown D; Erhoff, Bieksa, Mitchell. Goaltending? Check. Not to mention the only man that makes me lay off Martin Brodeur for being a slovenly beast; Kyle Wellwood. See what I'm talking about? You know all those guys, this should be a roster to be reckoned with, with or without Mats Sundin. Hopefully without, ef that guy.
Anyways, where do the Canucks go wrong? Well usually they can't score for shit. We all know that, outside of that top pairing, aka whoever gets to cycle with the Sedins, there isn't much to brag about. Between Wellwood (if he's in shape), Bernier (if he embraces the power forward role), and Mason Raymond (if he learns to harness his incredible speed, a la Luis Mendoza) But this year could see Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner make the leap into the NHL, both of whom were dynamic for the AHL runner-up Manitoba Moose last season, a team Captained by 40-something wonder Mike Keane.
Which is a perfect segue into my next point; God, I'm awesome. This has been harped upon by all kinds of people, from anonymous bloggers to John "Marleau to the Kings" Buccigross. But how can Roberto Luongo provide the on the ice leadership a roster needs? At what point does Bieksa, Willie Mitchell, or Ryan Kesler grab the C? Roberto can have all the attention in the locker room that he wants, but when it comes down to it, no Captain (outside of Mark Messier, freaking pussy) should be crying after a loss. There's no crying in hockey.
Donald Brashear didn't cry. Steve Moore didn't cry. Even your teammate Kesler didn't cry when he took a crosscheck to the face. They could've cried. But you, you Robbie, you cried. You cried.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
|Forwards||Last Season's Salary ||'08-09 stats||Scuttlebutt|
|Miroslav Satan||$3,500,000||17-19-36 in 65 GP||Satan has been among the NHL's most consistent scorers for the past decade. But he didn't mesh as a linemate with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin and is coming off his worst season since 1995-96. He'll have to prove his scoring touch hasn't disappeared.|
|Robert Lang||$4,000,000||18-21-39 in 50 GP||Lang turns 39 in December and is coming off an Achilles tendon injury, potentially cutting down on the number of interested teams. But before he got hurt, he showed he still had something left in the tank.|
|Michael Peca||$1,315,000||4-18-22 in 71 GP||The former Selke winner may still have some value as a checker, penalty-killer, faceoff man and leader. But he's now 35, and injuries have taken away most of his offensive ability.|
|Ryan Bayda||$475,000||5-7-12 |
in 70 GP
|Bayda, a college star at North Dakota, finally managed to play a full season in the NHL after bouncing up and down between Carolina and the AHL for five seasons. He's going to camp with Pittsburgh.|
|Blair Betts||$615,000||6-4-10 |
in 81 GP
|Betts and Fredrik Sjostrom (who signed with Calgary) formed one of the NHL's best penalty-killing tandems last season. But Betts is coming off a serious facial injury, and no one is rushing to sign checkers and penalty-killers. He's going to camp with Philadelphia on a tryout contract.|
|Maxim Afinogenov||$3,500,000||6-14-20 in 48 GP||Afinogenov's play has dropped off severely in the past two seasons, during which he's also been plagued by injuries. He's all but certain to be somewhere else in the fall.|
|Dominic Moore||$900,000||13-32-45 in 81 GP||Moore, a mid-tier center, was having a decent season for Toronto before being dealt to Buffalo at the trade deadline. He's a nice No. 3 center but might be stretched as a No. 2.|
|Petr Sykora||$2,500,000||25-21-46 in 76 GP||The 32-year-old is coming off his 10th consecutive 20-goal season, but he was a non-factor in the playoffs, playing in only seven games (just one in the Final) and producing only 1 assist. After a long wait, he received a camp invite from Minnesota.|
|Mats Sundin||$8,600,000||9-19-28 in 41 GP||The Canucks hoped adding Sundin at midseason would be the last piece needed for a long playoff run, but he never really found his game after joining the team in January. At 38, he's in the twilight of his career and may not return.|
|Rob Niedermayer||$2,000,000||14-7-21 in 79 GP||Brother Scott is staying in Anaheim, but Rob's future is still undecided after an up (14 goals) and down (minus-17) season with the Ducks.|
|Manny Malhotra||$1,500,000||11-24-35 in 77 GP||Malhotra has never lived up to his lofty draft status (No. 7 in 1998), but he's a competent third-line center who's had to play a line or two above his offensive ability with the Blue Jackets. He'd be a good fit and a good value in the right situation.|
|Kyle Calder||$2,700,000||8-19-27 |
in 74 GP
|He's now 30 and hasn't reached double figures in goals since 2006-07, so Calder is going to have to take less money and a short-term deal if he hopes to keep an NHL job. He was invited to Anaheim's camp.|
|Andy Hilbert||$700,000||11-16-27 in 67 GP||Hilbert is a hard worker in all three zones, has some offensive ability and can also kill penalties. He'd make a solid bottom-six forward for someone. He'll try to earn a job with Minnesota.|
|Defensemen||Last Season's Salary||'08-09 stats||Scuttlebutt|
|Martin Skoula||$1,900,000||4-12-16 |
in 81 GP
|At 29, Skoula doesn't bring a lot of offense to the table, but he's been a reliable minutes-muncher for years and owns a Stanley Cup ring from his days in Colorado. Florida has invited him to training camp. |
|Marc-Andre Bergeron||$1,691,000||14-18-32 in 72 GP||Bergeron owns one of the NHL's biggest slappers from the point but struggles in his own zone. He could thrive in the right situation with a team that can maximize his strengths.|
|Christian Backman||$3,400,000 ||2-5-7 |
in 56 GP
|Backman was something of a disappointment for the Blue Jackets, who acquired him from the Rangers last summer. He got a training-camp invitation from Florida.|
|Darryl Sydor||$2,500,000||3-12-15 in 73 GP||At 37, Sydor's resume includes a couple of Stanley Cup rings. He can serve as a mentor for young defenders and still contribute on the ice. He got a camp invite from St. Louis, which has several young defensemen.|
|Francis Bouillon||$1,875,000||5-4-9 |
in 54 GP
|Bouillon is coming off an abdominal/groin muscle tear that kept him out for the last two months of the season (except for a brief playoff cameo appearance). He turns 34 in October, so the pickings are slim.|
|Jassen Cullimore||$830,000||2-8-10 in 68 GP||He's now 36 and has never produced more than 5 goals or 17 points in a season. The 6-5, 240-pounder will get a look from Anaheim.|
|Goaltenders||Current team||'08-09 stats||Scuttlebutt|
|Manny Fernandez||$4,750,000||16-8-3 2.59 GAA||With Tim Thomas firmly in place as the starter in Boston and youngster Tuukka Rask as the backup, Fernandez will have to look elsewhere for a job. He's played more than 44 games in a season just once in his career (2005-06, with Minnesota).|
|Olaf Kolzig||$1,500,000||2-4-1 3.66 GAA||"Olie the Goalie" has 303 career wins -- but he's 39 and coming off an injury-plagued season. To extend his career, Kolzig will need to find a team with a young starter that needs an experienced backup/mentor.|
|Kevin Weekes||$700,000||7-5-0 2.42 GAA||Had the first winning season of his career in 2008-09, but he couldn't hold the starting job in New Jersey after Martin Brodeur was injured and will likely have to go elsewhere.|
|Manny Legace||$2,500,000||13-9-2 3.18 GAA||One season after making the All-Star Game, Legace spent the last half of 2008-09 in the minors after Chris Mason took the No. 1 job. The 36-year-old got a camp invite from Atlanta.|
It's real interesting to see the different dynamics behind why each of these guys doesn't have a job yet.
There's the fading star; in some cases it's really the false sense of self-entitlement that indeed at one point or another you might have been on the verge of stardom. Guys like Robert Lang, Max Afinogenov, and Miro Satan, who probably are lobbying for salaries around $2 - 3 million, and frankly no team has the space to give them what they want.
Then you have guys that think they're worth far more than they really are. We can look Dominic Moore straight in the eye right here, hell, maybe even Andy Hilbert too. Though I wish I knew what Marc Andre Bergeron is looking for, it must be extravagant, because there are at least a dozen teams that could utilize an offensive defensemen like him.
Let's not forget about our friends on the edge of retirement. Mike Peca, Mats Sundin, Rob Niedermeyer, and Olaf Kolzig, all were players in their time, but their time has past, so get the hell out of the league already. Mats; GO AWAY K THX.
But now there's a couple guys that it just doesn't make sense they haven't landed on their feet yet. Manny Malhotra could benefit plenty of teams, he couldn't be asking for more than $2.5 million right? Francis Bouillon's not worth $2 million? A big PK guy like Blair Betts can't find his way onto a roster? That doesn't make a lick of sense.
One guy I root for though, is Kevin Weekes, he's a good dude, and deserves somewhere to play in the NHL. Sooooooo Darcy Regier, dump that sack of shit Lalime and sign KW. Thanks much.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Even though it says no one is "Out" let's be honest, the rest of those guys who were free agents aren't coming back. I was really tempted to make some sort of Out + Tom Cruise zinger there, but decided not to, didn't want Burkie to level down a tongue lashing.
But what we have here, after not even a full season at the helm, is the Brian Burke mold coming to fruition. He signed the overrated yet still effective Komisarek to the contract that we all knew he was going to get. He signed the underrated yet still effective Beauchemin to the contract that we all hoped our GM would sign him for. So obviously with Kaberle already on board, that creates a pretty strong blueline. But up front, that's a different story.
I always ask, who the hell is gonna score? The guys over at Pension Plan Puppets then spout off things like "We were 10th in total goals scored!" "Grabovski!" "Blake doesn't have cancer anymore!" Ok they didn't say that last one, that was for comedic effect. But of course, Burke did trade away Nik Antropov, so their top pivot (and greatest defensive liability) has gone the way of the dodo.
So I'll humor you Leafs Nation, sure, let's say they do repeat and come in between 10th - 15th in scoring this year. Will the shiny new defensive corps be able to stem the fact that Toronto finished 30th, oh yeah, that's dead last, in goals allowed per game (3.49), total goals allowed (286), and 5 on 5 goals allowed (186)?
You can claim Toskala will rebound, you can clamor for the Monster to come in and replicate his success against the Joe DiPenta's of the world over in Sweden, or you can pray to God that they don't suck as much as they did last year. But hey, at least you don't have to worry about Pogge anymore.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tampa: you suck. You once again prove that by adding a gajillion year old player with a gajillion year long contract to mentor another high profile rookie. You added another guy in Tanguay who stays healthly less than the time it takes me to drop one after my morning cup of coffee.
That said, good luck. Yeah, you can tell, I don't feel like doing any actual research, or even backing up what I said with facts. Too much work..too little time...too little interest in the Tampa franchise.
Oh, by the way, your old logo looks like a lightning bolt on top of a flaccid dick. Not surprising, since Florida's full of dicks, looking at you Len Barrie.
Edit:: Shit the blue in the image is wrong. Whatever, I don't care.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
That same team that surprised everybody last season is back again, with about the same line up as last year. Except perhaps, they could actually get better. Allow me to explain.
Well, first things first, their "star," Paul Kariya, is back and healthy for 2009-2010. After playing just 11 games last season, Kariya is back and ready to roll. You know who else is back? Defensemen Erik Johnson. After missing all of last season after that ridiculous, yet hilarious, golf cart injury, Johnson is ready to bring his transition game to the Blues...blueline. One last guy, St. Louis Captain Eric Brewer, who's still battling some issues after multiple surgeries in the offseason, might just be back early in the season after playing just 28 games last season.
So let's see that's a free star, free highly touted prospect, and your captain, while only losing Jay Mckee? I think what we've got here is a team that got better, without doing shit. Whether or not that translates into 6th in the conference or 10th, well I can't say. But we do know that it'll come down to just one guy: Chris Mason.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
So hey, how bout a video.
Ok the only funny one was Dale Hunter against the Islanders. The rest were just...sad.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Dear San Jose,
Until you trade away Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton and bring in players who have experienced the thrill of the Stanley Cup chase, whether or not they crashed and burned, you will never, ever, get over that proverbial hump. I would know.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
See the majority of those guys on that free agent list? Ever hear of half of them? No? That's a good thing. The "core" of the defending Cup champs (vomit) are locked up, leaving nothing but secondary (hell, tertiary and quaternary really) pieces to fill out the roster.
They did lose the single guy on that roster whom I liked (I said liked, not respected, semantics bitches) in Scuderi. That dude was a warrior, he took more shots to the face than your mom (that's a sex joke, not an abuse joke, just to clear that up), but in all seriousness, he did lead the Pens in blocked shots (164) and did a fantastic job during the playoffs against teams top lines. Whether or not his exodus to LA was a consequence of too much money to too little players (31.4 million to just 5 guys), that playoff performance pricing himself outside the Pens budget, or super fly bitches on the Hollywood scene, well that can be debated another day (ef that, no it won't).
They didn't bring in any world breaker superstars, like Max Talbot, but role players win championships right? Jay McKee becomes the #1 shot blocker, Mike Rupp brings the knuckles and male pattern baldness, while Brent Johnson brings inside knowledge on how to beat the Caps. Guess they don't really need that though.
Eh, I'm done writing about Pittsburgh, it gives me a headache. Don't leave yet though, Hal Gill is still trying to finish reading. Get it? He's slow.