September 01, 2006

Is it to early to make Predictions for the upcoming 2006-07 NHL Season?: What say you SportsFilter Folks? Is it? Howard Berger, writing out of Toronto and writes for that Eklund Guy's Hockey Blog seems to think it isn't. He had his out in early August. I've got mine ready, anxiously waiting to share them with the world but my own best hockey buddy (skydivemom) insist it's way to early. I've got a ton of "Hockey Happenings" (like the NHL not going to the tighter fitting {sleek} jersey we saw in the Olympics this year but waiting for 2007-08) I want to talk about and nobody to listen or debate. Maybe she's right, maybe I'm just a sick hockey addict experiencing withdrawl in need of a fix. I can't be the only one, am I?

posted by skydivedad to navel gazing at 11:40 AM - 86 comments

skydivepop, you are not alone. I got my divison winners. Atlantic Flyers, of course Northeast Ottawa, duh Southeast Carolina, duh Central Detroit, duh Northwest Vancouver, They got a new goalie Roberto something or other. Pacific San Jose, I loved the way they turned it on late in the season

posted by HATER 187 at 11:53 AM on September 01, 2006

I predict I will quickly become disgruntled.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:01 PM on September 01, 2006

Berger is the only reason to visit 'that' site. A pre-season tradition that I plan to keep up is picking the top 8 in each conference. I haven't worked my sweet 16 out yet, but if you want to spin your wheels on something, it is really a fun exercise. And don't get me started on the hideous lycra abominations.

posted by garfield at 12:03 PM on September 01, 2006

Atlantic: Rangers - Shanahan is the puzzle piece behind the couch, that makes the sky complete. Northeast: Buffalo - youth, speed, goaltending. This teams wins the Eastern Conference. Southeast: Carolina - as long as they don't have a 'Stanley Cup hangover'. Central: Nashville - Arnott will have a career year in this weak division, this team wins the Western Conference Northwest: Calgary - Jeff Friesen, nuff said. Pacific: San Jose - I'm tempted to say Anaheim, but I don't think they will have enough offense. I will be more disgruntled than DrJohn.

posted by MrFrisby at 01:05 PM on September 01, 2006

Dammit, I need more TIME. Is San Jose for real again? Is 'Couver a lock? What about Phoenix - look at that D! Detroit - who the hell is in net? Buffalo is looking like a sexy pick right now too. One thing I can tell you for sure. The Leafs are going to suck. Why mess with tradition? Here's hoping Philly sucks balls, too. Rangers have a second scoring unit. Look out for them. Nashville, and Minnesota - both look like the potential Buffalo, Carolina of last year. Montreal could be better. Boston should be way better. Devils? They still have to trade Gomez or Gionta or someone. And what about Anaheim?!? That team is a cup contender. This requires some rumenation.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:11 PM on September 01, 2006

This requires some rumenation. Fuck it dude, shoot from the hip and then blame the drugs when your picks go horribly awry.

posted by HATER 187 at 01:23 PM on September 01, 2006

In order of Finish Regular Season Eastern Conference Atlantic Rangers Devils Penguins Flyers Islanders Northeastern Senators Montreal Leafs Sabres Bruins South Eastern Canes Panthers Thrashers Lighting Capitals Western Conference Central Predators Wings Blackhawks Blues Columbus Northwestern Flames Canucks Oilers Wild Colorado Pacific Anahiem Sharks Coyotes Dallas Kings Playoff Bound Eastern: 1.Senators 2.Canes 3.Rangers 4.Devils 5.Montreal 6.Panthers 7.Leafs 8.Thrashers Western: 1.Ducks 2.Flames 3.Sharks 4.Nashville 5.Red Wings 6.Canucks 7.Black Hawks 8.Oilers

posted by skydivedad at 02:04 PM on September 01, 2006

7.Black Hawks I sense an extreme amount of optimism flooding out from your comment skydivedad.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:11 PM on September 01, 2006

7. Leafs 7. Black Hawks "I sense an extreme amount of optimism flooding out from your comment skydivedad." I thought someone here at LeafsFilter would call me out for the Toronto Pick before the BHawk pick. I have strong reasons for both making the playoffs. Toronto truely is a case of addition thru subtraction. They got rid of Allison, Lindros, Domi and Wilm from last years roster between these guys they had just 34 Goals certainly one can expect the newcomers to easily exceed that number and vastly improve team chemistry. The Leafs had 9 15 goal scorers last season. The Canes had 8 as did the oilers if you count Samsonov, the powerhouse Sens had 10 two of which are no longer with the team. The D scoring from Kubina, White and Colaiacovo makes a difference as will just a small improvement in save % from last years .897 and the Leafs are at the Big Dance. Chicago will make the playoffs behind the increased offensive prowess the presence of Havlat and Handzus bring with them but mostly the BHawks make the Dance because of the Play of a healthy Khabibulin in goal. Increased team speed and superior goal tending brings Chicago a playoff birth!

posted by skydivedad at 03:10 PM on September 01, 2006

Actually, I was going to call you out for your indecisiveness on using the team or city/state name. Btw, the Blue Jackets play in Columbus. ;-) The Blue Jackets site actually has a countdown, pretty cool.

posted by MrFrisby at 03:24 PM on September 01, 2006

I predict that the Hurricanes will start out very slowly, but end up winning the Southeast again. But they will start out very slowly. They're kind of hurt right now.

posted by NoMich at 03:59 PM on September 01, 2006

Atlantic: Rangers - Shanahan is the puzzle piece behind the couch, that makes the sky complete. Fris, a Lemonheads reference in a hockey thread? Rock the fuck on! (Mostly quietly, until you get to Mrs. Robinson, which does actually kind of rock.) Balls, dude. It's a bit early to be making these predicitions. All I know is that the Northeast will be the most interesting division. You could make a case for any of them winning the division, but they all have scary question marks. 1) Will Buffalo be able to continue their surprisingly winning ways without McKee and Dumont? 2) Will Montreal's additions like Samsonov and you know what? Fuck those guys, I hate that team and I hope they lose all of their games. 3) In Toronto, can Raycroft bounce back? Can the new guys like Kubina and Gill make an impact? 4) Every year, we all think Ottawa is the team to beat. They seem to beat themselves, and will the loss of Chara make a difference? 5) Boston has two goaltenders that posted good numbers last year, but neither have ever made a real case for starting in the NHL. Ballsy, but scary if you're a Bruins fan. I can predict winners with a decent amount of confidence in all of the other divisions. I'll definitely do that, just before the season starts. But if you think you know what the standings in the Northeast will be like at the end of the year, you are either psychic or from the future.

posted by Samsonov14 at 02:02 AM on September 04, 2006

I love a good hockey thread. And in true Hater 187 fashion, I'm shooting from the point--err hip... I'll stick to the East, because I'm a bit shaky on the West... NE: Sabres Senators Canadiens Leafs Bruins ATL: Rangers Devils Flyers Pens Islanders SE: Canes Thrashers Panthers Lightning Caps Playoffs: 1- Sabres 2- Canes 3- Rangers 4- Devils 5- Senators 6- Flyers 7- Canadiens 8- Thrashers ---------------- In the race for the 8 spot: Pens Leafs Panthers The Rangers will get off to a hot start, but in typical Jagr fashion, they fizzle when it matters. The Flyers will struggle a bit out of the gates, but once Forsberg gets back they go nuts. But it'll be the the Sabres representing the East in the Cup finals as they work out a few kinks... The Devils, well they're just the alien monster in the movies. They just won't go away no matter how seriously injured they seem. My not-so-dark horse pick to make the playoffs would be the Pens as they get Crosby with a year under his belt, Marc Andre Fluery with a year under his belt, Evgeni Malkin, a new GM. But they have to show me somehting before I jump on board.

posted by SummersEve at 07:20 AM on September 04, 2006

Weedy, email me at wfrazerjr AT gmail DOT com -- I emailed you a couple days ago, as I have some tickets for Tuesday's Jays game.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:50 AM on September 04, 2006

What! Keenan steps down as Panthers GM. Perhaps the powers that be weren't so thrilled about losing Luongo. Might have to move the Panthers lower in the order. Jacques Martin as GM and Head Coach. Oh boy this can't be good if your a Panther's Fan. I'm not but maybe they'll trade Okinen to Chicago! Hey I can dream can't I?

posted by skydivedad at 04:11 PM on September 04, 2006

Okay, okay - I have had half a bottle of whiskey (Canadian whiskey - should give me the power of hockey introspection, right?) and am ready for my predictions: NE: Two good teams and a bunch of decent ones - I wouldn't be surprised if the Bruins are better than the Leafs - but I can't actually pick them as such. Wait - yes I can. Senators Sabres Bruins Leafs Canadiens ATL: - I like the Rangers, but the rest is a bit of a crapshoot. I just can never root against Brodeur. the Pens have too much firepower this year to ignore, and Crosby is going to be top three in points. Rangers Devils Flyers Penguins Islanders SE - this is a hard one after the Canes - most of the rest of these teams are pretty even - or at least have similar shortcomings Canes Thrashers Lightning Capitals Panthers Cen: This is Musictowns year. So much speed and Detroit is finally on a downswing... Maybe. Predators Red Wings Blackhawks Blue Jackets Blues (and they'll be singing them) NW: Gotta like Vancouver, Great moves. Can score, lottsa potential. Canucks Oilers Flames Dive-alanche Wild Pac: The toughest division to predict. This one will be decided by injuries. (Just the) Ducks Sharks Stars Coyotes Kings Is it just me - or is this just getting harder to do? I can think of multiple scenarios where this gets totally topsy turvy. Playoffs: East: 1 - Canes 2 - Sens 3 - Rangers 4 - Sabres 5 - Devils 6 - Bruins 7 - Thrashers 8 - Flyers West: 1 - Ducks 2 - Canucks 3 - Predators 4 - Sharks 5 - Red Wings 6 - Oilers 7 - Flames 8 - Dive-alanche It keepoing with the 'Douches' idea of dark horses - for the respective 8 spots I'm going with: Leafs Penguins and Stars

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:32 PM on September 04, 2006

Crosby is going to be top three in points. OK, but who finishes 2nd and 1st?

posted by skydivedad at 05:08 PM on September 04, 2006

ok skydivedad here are my picks with penquins and wild being my upstart teams not to mention your beloved hawks making the playoffs ! Eastern Conference Atlantic Rangers flyers penquins devils Islanders Northeastern Montreal Leafs senators sabres bruins South Eastern Canes Panthers Thrashers Lighting Capitals Western Conference Central Predators Wings Blackhawks Blues Columbus Northwestern Flames oilers wild canucks Colorado Pacific sharks ducks kings coyotes stars Playoff Bound Eastern: 1.rangers 2.canadiens 3.flyers 4.leafs 5.senators 6.sabres 7.canes 8.penquins Western: 1.sharks 2.Flames 3.ducks 4.Nashville 5.Red Wings 6.wild 7.Black Hawks 8.Oilers of course i hate to say it , the wings will go out in the 2nd round this year ,no offseason changes of any greatness many that they let slip thru and could someone tell me why they love franzen so much ? i'd rather have dumont in red white then him .only way they make it past 2nd round if they play hudler,flippy,ellis,bootland,kopecky,quinceyand howard play all year !!osggod and hasek ?? stop living in the past holland .

posted by DADSQUEST at 08:04 PM on September 04, 2006

Crosby is going to be top three in points. OK, but who finishes 2nd and 1st? 1- Can you realistically pick anyone other than Thorton after what he did last season? Well, maybe you could because... 2- Sidney Crosby and his LW Colby Armstrong really started to click late last year, look for that to carry over. And he has a serious upgrade at RW with Nils Ekman. 3- Ovechkin. He'd be higher if he had anyone he could set up on a semi-regular basis. Could he place in the top 3 with more than 50% of his points being goals?

posted by SummersEve at 06:36 AM on September 05, 2006

I didn't put Jagr in the top three because I don't expect himn to stay healthy for a whole season. If he proves me wrong, than he'll most definitely be on that list.

posted by SummersEve at 06:39 AM on September 05, 2006

Mad love the Rangers in this thread. The real question is weather King Henry can play like he did last season? Also does Shanie have another 40 goal season in him? Do you play him with Jagr or try to spread out the scoring? How do the losses of some pretty solid role players (Rucchin, Moore, Ortmeyer) affect them? I think there are too many question marks to reasonably anticipate the Rangers winning the Atlantic. Maybe they finish second and get in as a 5 or 6 seed.

posted by HATER 187 at 09:31 AM on September 05, 2006

Remember, HATER, the Atlantic division was won on the last day of the season last year. Rangers, Devils, and Flyers were all within 1 point of each other. Out of those 3 teams, the Rangers were the only ones that seemed to improve over the offseason. IMO you play Shanahan and Jagr on different lines to balance out the scoring. Also, I don't think that Shanie needs to be a 40 goal scorer. He brings leadership (which will take some of that burdon of off Jagr) and championship experience. Sure the Penguins will be better offensively, but they need to learn how to play defense. The Devils have serious cap issues. They spent all they could resigning a few players and still need to sign Brian Gionta, David Hale and Paul Martin. As far as I know, the Flyers only made one small improvement trading Handzus for Calder. Who knows what's going on with the Islanders. They picked up some veteran D-men Witt, and Simon. Made a slew of changes in the office and coaching staff. Maybe this could be a dark horse team.

posted by MrFrisby at 10:22 AM on September 05, 2006

I just think that whole division got weaker while the Rangers made some improvements. Still don't ahve much of a blueline - but I didn't think the Canes did either last year. My scoring predictions are: 1. Crosby 2. Ovechkin 3. Spezza 4. Thorton This is of course, if everyone stays healthy.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:33 AM on September 05, 2006

My scoring predictions are: fucking crazy. 1. Joe Thorton-and cheechoo will score 50+ again. It's this nice little symbiotic relationship you see between set up guy and finisher. 2. Jaromir Jagr-He is the only player post lemieux who can singlehandily take over a game. He sees the ice like gretzkey. He can score and he can set up. regional bias over. 3. Danny Heatly-probably the most consitant scorer on that team (I'll give you spezza as a close second but so much of that was the result of his line mates) Remember, HATER, the Atlantic division was won on the last day of the season last year. Oh, how I try to. Fucking Buffalo in the first round. There sucess is based on Henrik having a replay of last season and filling those second and checking line holes.

posted by HATER 187 at 10:50 AM on September 05, 2006

I hear you Hater and Skater, In making my picks my concerns for the Rangers ability to win the division has more to do with Straka and Rozsival. I'll explain shortly. First lets look at the Jagr and Shanahan situation. Do you play them together? Really the question should be do you play Shanahan with Straka and Jagr? Straka had a renaissance year in 05/06 with 76 pts. in 82 Games many of which were by riding Jagr's coat-tails. Straka is a good bet to repeat these totals only if he stays healthy and gets his time with Jagr. Remember he only averaged 42 games in his previous 3 years with Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. If you think he can stay healthy there's no way you don't play him with Jagr and Shanahan isn't a LW/C like Straka. I guess the obvious answer becomes Shanahan plays without Jagr most of the time. I make this a positive for the Rangers as they can balance their scoring and relieve some of the pressure on Jagr. I have some concern of the loss of the roll players especially Ruchinsky his 26 PP pts in 52 Games will be difficult to replace but the Rangers have adequate bench depth and can add some young talent in their system (Artem Anisimov, Ryan Hillier, Eric Hunter and David Kveton) if needed. This front office also added Cullen and Hall this off season wasn't just about losing some roll players. Rozsival was certainly a surprise last year for the Rangers and the League for that matter, after he tied for the league lead in +/- at +35 with Redden. It should come as no surprise that I don't put him in the same level of player as Redden. A career high of 30 pts. last season but only a meager 11 pts. on the power play. Also consider he has only averaged 54 games the last previous 3 full seasons and some major injuries and a possible let down seems to be a high possibility. All this said I still believe the Rangers are the best team in this Division and the addition of Shanahan and the already spectaculer Lundqvist's probable improvement (if that's possible) with a year under his belt bodes well for a 1st place Blue Shirt finish. Skater I don't see the Islanders as nothing but mostly pathetic. The 12th place finish last year and the chaos created by inept ownership, well did they even have an offensive team MVP last year considering they had no player even reach the 70 pt plateau. I guess one could pick between Miroslav Satan and Alexi Yashin but they both had 66 pts. and an identical amount of shots. (253). Looking at their +/- Satan (-8) Yashin (-14) and both lack any PP Goals worth mentioning but I will anyway. Satan 17 Yashin 10. I guess Satans $4.25 million vs Yashins $7.6 million dollar salary speaks volumes about the ineptitude of this entire organization. To be considered a dark horse is a stretch in my opinion and they would have to see Hunter come out of his sophomore slump from last year scoring wise but he is certainly one of the most physical players in the NHL and his 230 hits was second only to Dallas' Brendan Marrow's (234). They do have some intriguing talent however this isn't an organization capable of maximizing what they have. I wont even mention the slowing development of DiPietro between the pipes. Ok I will. Last year seemed like a small set backfor him as he posted a 30-24-5 record with a 3.02 GAA, a .900 SV% and 1 shutout as opposed to his rookie season of 23-18-5, a 2.36 GAA, a .911 SV% and 5 shutouts. Better hope he stays healthy however with Dubielewicz as his back up. He only played in 7 games at the NHL Level. 2-3-0 with a 2.90 GAA and .897 SV%. I could go on but its the Islanders why bother. They finish last again.

posted by skydivedad at 11:39 AM on September 05, 2006

Not to waste too much time on the Islanders, but... The only reason I said Maybe this could be a dark horse team is because you never know how players will react to new coaches and managers. Yashin and Satan definitely under achieved last year. With that party animal Snow as GM, it could be real fun to play on the island again. The addition of a couple veteran D-men and a defensive center, Mike Sillinger, could also help those +/- and GAA numbers. I doubt it, I'm just saying you never know. I don't expect them to even sniff the playoffs, but I wouldn't be that shocked if they made it in as a 7th or 8th seed.

posted by MrFrisby at 01:38 PM on September 05, 2006

Ah, Hater - it's a young man's game again - and Crosby was just getting better - by the end of the year his production was higher than at the beginning. I'm putting him down for 130 points. Thornton and Jagr? Joe is good for 110+ - I just don't think it's going to be enough this year (I predict scoring will go up more), but Jagr was healthy last year for the first time in a long time. My bet is that he can't keep it up. If he is heathly all year, yes he's up there - especially now that their power play will have some combination of Shanahan and Cullen on it. Nope - Heatley is good, but the best PPG on that team was Spezza. Healthy, he's the best. He'll get even more ice this year with no Havlat and a one-year-older Alfredsson. Hell, I have Thornton in 4th - it's not like I forgot about him.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:11 PM on September 05, 2006

Weedy takes youthful exuberance over the Hater's "guys who've done it before". All this hockey talk is giving me the warm tinglies.

posted by HATER 187 at 02:44 PM on September 05, 2006

hey qbert Check your gmail. Thanks

posted by skydivedad at 03:11 PM on September 05, 2006

A lot can be said for youthful exuberance. For instance, the ability to heal faster. I am currently looking down at my toe wondering, "How long is this going to take to heal?" From what I have read, it's going to take about a month (self diagnosis says it's turf toe, confirmed by the plant manager). Go figure, that's when the NHL season will be starting.

posted by MrFrisby at 03:12 PM on September 05, 2006

ouch! Street hockey? Still have 3 spots left in the H2H League. How about it? Anyone interested?

posted by skydivedad at 03:15 PM on September 05, 2006

I wish it was street hockey, I haven't played that in almost a year. I did that at the usual place I like to hurt myself. I was planning to go to every park in the area over the 3 day weekend. Of course I do that at the first park I go to on Saturday and ruin my whole freakin weekend.

posted by MrFrisby at 03:27 PM on September 05, 2006

Also does Shanie have another 40 goal season in him? Isn't that big of a deal but its Shanny, not Shanie. Such a shame that he's gone...

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:35 PM on September 05, 2006

weedy:Heatley is good, but the best PPG on that team was Spezza. I'm trying weedy. I've looked at this all kinds of ways and just don't get it. We are talking Pts. here right or did I miss something? If it is overall play and pts. I still don't see it. The #'s dude, they just don't compute!

posted by skydivedad at 04:02 PM on September 05, 2006

Well, it goes like this. Heatley had 103 points in 82 games. He played every game and that was his total. Spezza had 90 points in 68 games, including an impressive 71 assists. Tracked out over the same number of games played as Heatley and Spezza finishes with 109 points. Spezza also led the AHL in scoring during the lockout and won the league's MVP. He's a playmaking machine that probably should score more goals- he only had 19, but half of 'em were total beauts, eh? Conclusion: It's breakout time.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:46 PM on September 05, 2006

NE: Senators Bruins Canadiens Sabres Leafs ATL: Flyers Rangers Devils Penguins Islanders SE: Panthers Canes Lightning Thrashers Caps Central Predators Red Wings Blues Blackhawks Blue Jackets NW Flames Wild Canucks Oilers Avs Pacific Ducks Sharks Coyotes Kings Stars Bold denotes the Final participants. The italics represent the Cup winner and best team ever of all time stamped it no erasees. And no, I don't think much of last year's final four teams, Ducks excepted.

posted by Succa at 09:01 PM on September 05, 2006

Also, Spezza's success as a scorer will be inversely proportional to the number of times per season he attempts the Junior B toe-drag dipsy-doodle move. You finally fooled someone (Souray) with it, after four years of trying. Time to find a new move this year, Jason...

posted by Succa at 09:04 PM on September 05, 2006

weedy: I figured you were going down that road and I hope it works that way. Spezza'a a fantastic player no doubt but the extra games could just as easily drop his per game Asst. totals as not, where as Heatley is a proven commodity for a full 82 games. I like his chances at the Art Ross this year over Speeeza for some of the same reasons you like Speeza's but it's probably going to Jagr or Thorton, all things being equal.

posted by skydivedad at 09:19 PM on September 05, 2006

Jagr not only has the health issues, he also has the tendancy to disappear if isn't happy. (The two probably go hand-in-hand.) Could be he's grown out of that, could be the new rules make him happy, but you can't change a leopard's diapers.... I'm not sold on him yet though there's no doubting his talent and his ability, so he can prove me wrong. Less than one month away....

posted by SummersEve at 06:34 AM on September 06, 2006

Ex BlackHawk Bell arrested in felony-hit-and-run.

posted by skydivedad at 07:53 AM on September 06, 2006

That sucks, sdd.

posted by willthrill72 at 08:47 AM on September 06, 2006

It sure does willthrill. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt apparently. Bell was an exceptional asset to the community when he was in Chi-Town maybe the trade sent him a little over the edge as I can't imagine him being the type of person to leave the scene of an accident. Awaiting further details.....

posted by skydivedad at 08:59 AM on September 06, 2006

Good thing he wasn't in San Diego...

posted by SummersEve at 11:19 AM on September 06, 2006

East Atlantic NY Rangers Philly Pittsburgh NJ Devils NY Islanders Northeast Ottawa Buffalo Toronto Boston Montreal Southeast Carolina Florida Atlanta Tampa Bay Washington West Central Nashville Detroit Columbus Chicago St.Louis Northwest Calgary Minnesota Vancouver Edmonton Colorado Pacific San Jose Anaheim Los Angeles Dallas Phoenix East 8 Ottawa Rangers Carolina Buffalo (Finalist) Philly Toronto Florida Pittsburgh West 8 Nashville San Jose (Champs) Calgary Detroit Anaheim Minnesota Vancouver Columbus

posted by garfield at 11:19 AM on September 06, 2006

Garfield: Way to go, Sharks will surely rule this season!

posted by billsaysthis at 12:00 PM on September 06, 2006

I don't understand all this Florida love. They have Belfour in net. And they're not even a good defensive team, let alone the great one they're going to have to be to even be a winning team. And now they have no GM. Bertuzzi/Jokinen/Horton should be good though.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:37 PM on September 06, 2006

Bill, the Sharks are as deep as Anaheim in net, have way more fire power, and have emerging stars on the blueline. Though, I'd take Anaheim 5-3 in the season series, maybe even 6-2, based on Pronger neutralizing Joey T. Remember when Belfour came to the Leafs. He had been sucking and hurt in Dallas. Then he got repaired and kicked major ass. Well, Belfour is on the mend, and I think he'll be really good again this year. Detroit shoud've picked him up. Of course, in about 60 days I could look like a complete dunderhead, but that is what this is all about...humiliating yourself. Don't forget Jokinen's Olympic linemate is coming over too this season. I picked Florida to make the dance last year, based mostly on Luongo taking the next step. Irony is a bitch. Plus, don't forget Weiss was injured/not up to speed for alot of last season too. They should have 3 very dangerous lines.

posted by garfield at 12:53 PM on September 06, 2006

Well, that and the fact that the East is wiiiiiiiiiiiide open. The good teams from last year have all taken steps back - Canes (who I've ranked too high), Sens, Flyers, Devils. Frankly I'm starting to think that Buffalo was the pick to make.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:04 PM on September 06, 2006

Agreed. Gaping. I failed to heed NoMich's slow start warning as well. I like Ladd and Larose though. And the Adamses. And Ruff will have Buffalo humming again. He should've won the Jack Adams, imo. Of course, if Miller signs. And if Connolly is back by Christmas. Most pundits have the Leafs in the tank, or dependent on Raycroft, but I think the Leafs, though buoyed by the powerplay/getting tons of calls, esp 5-on-3s, are a much better team than they played as last year.(read: didn't play a team game for 50% of the season) And not playing Kaberle and McCabe for half the game will have more of an impact than most realize. Peca should amplify the skills of whoever he plays with(just like he did with Pisani and Torres)...I'd even move Stajan to a wing to play with Peca.

posted by garfield at 01:41 PM on September 06, 2006

Now gang, I'm with succa on this one. Sens bring the Cup Home. Losing Havlat, Chara, Arnason, Smolinski, Hasek, Pothier and Morrison isn't taking a step back when you add Allison, Corvo, Gerber, McAmmond, Preissing. Consider it this way, they've defiantly improved the Goalie situation and with the departure of Havlat the door is open for RW Patrick Eaves to shine and shine he will remember he had 20 goals and 9 asst. in 58 games in limited ice time. Look for a huge jump in his pts. this season. Since the new Senators came into existence in 92-93 they had never had a 100 pt scorer (Yashin back in 98-99 was the closet with only 94 pts. 44g-50a) last year they had 2 Heatley and Alfredsson with 103 a piece. The special teams play is incredible PK 84.7% (4th in league) PP 20.8% (4th in league) but consider this, they could get you either way on Special Teams either SH or PP. They led the league in Shorthanded Goals last season with Vermette (6), Alfredsson (5) Schaefer (4) Fisher (4). Then Heatley and Alfredsson combined for 39 PPG. Even though Ray Emery (23-11-4, 2.82 GAA, .902 SV%) played more then adequate after the injury to Hasek they didn't feel he is capable of a #1 spot and went and signed Gerber off the UFA Market. Even though Gerber played inconsistently in the playoffs for Carolina last season (he did have the flu) don't forget he went 38-14-6, 2.78 GAA, .906 SV%. Gerber's got something to prove and the Sens are the team to prove it with. Wade Redden (10-40-50) was the MVP on the Backend for the Senators, with the new rules, Redden was able to open up his game and make a better 1st pass without the redline coming into effect and was amply rewarded a 3 year contract that keeps him in the Capital City. He's a monster and don't forget he lead the league with a +35. (Tied) He's only gonna improve upon that with Chara gone or if Phillips gets his head screwed on straight this year and uses the new rules to his advantage the Sens look powerful in all aspects of the Game! Speeza, Heatly, Alfredsson are a Goalies worst nightmare! Senators wreck havoc in the playoffs and the Cup goes North of the Border. I'll look at a few other possibilities and get back to you guys but the Sens look like they should be heavily favored.

posted by skydivedad at 02:18 PM on September 06, 2006

I don't get all the Buffalo love, truth be told. They were a Cinderella team on a miracle run last year, and Ruff can't count on the magic again, especially with key players missing this year. Also, I like Miller but one good season does not mean much. At the beginning of last season I saw predictions putting Buffalo close to last place in the East. Same with Carolina. For that matter, same with Edmonton. All those teams have lost important players and haven't added squat. It says here least two of last year's final four miss the playoffs. I agree that Florida could be surprising this year. If my above speculation is correct, Carolina will suck, and Florida all of a sudden looks like the best team in the division. I love the Bertuzzi addition and I agree with garfield about Belfour. He could be a great signing, and Auld is a dependable backup. I like them to make the playoffs this year.

posted by Succa at 02:27 PM on September 06, 2006

Succa, honestly, no offence, but is that a twinge of bitterness over the Sabres knocking out your Sens? They kicked my Leafs' ass all season long. Hell, I even started watching them in November simply because they were impressive. They scare me. Of the four finalists, I'd say they are the least Cinderellaishy.

posted by garfield at 02:37 PM on September 06, 2006

When it comes to Ottawa, I think Samsonov said it best: 4) Every year, we all think Ottawa is the team to beat. They seem to beat themselves,... It's true, I can't even remember how many times in the past 8 years I've said they will probably win it this year. Of course, now that so many of us are dismissing them as the best team in their division, they just might. On Edit: I agree with Garf, Buffalo finished the season with 110 points, not exactly Cinderella in my book.

posted by MrFrisby at 02:45 PM on September 06, 2006

There is absolutely no bitterness. Hell, I was cheering for them to make the playoffs and I was hoping they'd come out of the East after my Sens went down. But you can't convince me that a team that last made the playoffs in 2001 (with a better team than it had last year), and then puts together one nice season, is automatically to be considered a top team. If you'll grant me that last year's Sabres played at as close to 100% of their ability as a coach can reasonably expect, then unless Ruff can get the stars to line up like that again (which he could not between 2001-2006 with arguably better teams [lockout considered, of course]) there's nowhere to go but down, especially after losing Dumont, Grier, Pyatt, and probably Connolly, and adding nobody. I'm just sayin'. I don't see how things can get better for Buffalo than they were last year, or rather, I'll believe it when I see it.

posted by Succa at 04:02 PM on September 06, 2006

Cool. I figured you had a good reason and you make a solid point. Things went pretty well until the playoffs and the injuries on D started to mount. I just thought they played a team game that was tough to beat. Total greater than the sum, and all that. Though in 05-06 Briere only played 48. Hecht(64) and Dumont(54) were limited too. And look how spread out that offense was. That is what really impressed me. And frustrated me because I kept wanting to pick up Sabres for fantasy, but team scoring was too balanced to be effective fantasy-wise. And Fris is right, a buck-ten in the NE is nothing to laugh at. I liken the Sabres to the Oilers, stocked forward corp and more on the way, except with home grown goal-tending. But losing Grier is huge. That guy is always in the right place at the right time. Where is Pyatt? That slipped by me this summer. p.s. - thanks for that link.

posted by garfield at 04:23 PM on September 06, 2006

Pyatt ended up in Vancouver, traded for a draft pick. I forgot Jay McKee on that list too (now in St. Louis). I loved watching them last year too, but every year there are big surprises, and Buffalo was one.

posted by Succa at 04:33 PM on September 06, 2006

This has proven to be a great thread and has taken some of the sting out of hockey free living. Thanks to one and all, lots of fantastic comments and incredible predictions. I'm leaving for the Red Wings sponsored Rookie and Prospects Tournament early Friday AM. I was going to head up tomorrow but I was given a last minute assignment by a client this afternoon. Rats, but he pays promptly. There's 8 teams sending squads, have a look at the players the Rangers are sending and add 7 addition NHL Teams and you can see why I'm in a hurry for the weekend to start. My credentials were just approved and I'm looking forward to putting together some columns for you guys. If you have some suggestions for kewl questions to ask of some of these players, not just your typical Q & A stuff, I sure could use some help. I'll try to post some comments everyday if I can get my laptop working in time. Now how about some NHL Trivia. Which team had the most 18 Goal+ scorers in the 05-06 season? Bonus points if you can name the last team to match or exceed that total....

posted by skydivedad at 08:13 PM on September 06, 2006

Losing Havlat, Chara, Arnason, Smolinski, Hasek, Pothier and Morrison isn't taking a step back when you add Allison, Corvo, Gerber, McAmmond, Preissing. Boy, I hate to disagree but I wouldn't trade Havlat and Chara for all of Allison, Corvo, Gerber, McAmmond, and Preissing. That's a step back due to the reality of the cap, they've said as much.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:12 PM on September 06, 2006

Yea, your right weedy but I was stating a case that it's not as bad as some make it out to be, They still have the firepower to make a solid run at the Cup.

posted by skydivedad at 09:19 PM on September 06, 2006

Buffalo with idea on the last team.

posted by garfield at 08:22 AM on September 07, 2006

Buffalo is correct.........Way to go garfield....I'll let you guys work on the the Bonus Question for a few days.

posted by skydivedad at 08:53 AM on September 07, 2006

my guess for the bonus question is.....the 87-88 Edmonton Oilers. I believe they exceeded nine.

posted by HATER 187 at 09:12 AM on September 07, 2006

TOO SOON. I don't get into full hockey mode until the fall (it's still summer, technically) when all the memories of last season and the stats and the news of whatever trades and signings happened over the last few months catch up with me. Until then, my mind is mush for hockey. However, I will make one prediction. Leafs will finish 7th, 8th, or 9th in the conference. Thus, 66% possibly that they make the playoffs (though they will lose in the first round).

posted by mkn at 04:01 PM on September 07, 2006

Bad news for the Flyers as they can't work out a deal with Gagne and things are getting Lindrosy -- I mean testy.

posted by SummersEve at 06:49 PM on September 07, 2006

I know, I know - Clarke better figure out two things soon: 1 - the reality of the cap era 2 - Giant slow goons aren't going to win you hockey games anymore. They need Gagne HUGE.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:08 AM on September 08, 2006

It's been a great Red Wings Rookies and Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, MI so far and I've watched 8 Games of live hockey at a pretty high level of play. I've seen some really impressive young NHL Prospect. The Tournament ends Tuesday with the Championship Game. I've had an opportunity to talk lots of really impressive young men and here's a couple videos I put together for you guys. Chad Denny and Lauri Korpikoski of Finland. I gotta say after watching Chad Denny play 2 games I totally disagree with the rating he recieved in the link I posted about him. He really delieved some amazing jarring hits and scored to PP Goals from the Point with a Pronger like slap shot. Anyway Enjoy

posted by skydivedad at 10:25 PM on September 10, 2006

"he scored 2 PP Goals"..........sorry

posted by skydivedad at 10:57 PM on September 10, 2006

Good stuff sdd. Are you allowed to get video of the games, or just interviews? SportsFilter rocks, I love it.

posted by MrFrisby at 05:29 PM on September 11, 2006

There is some sorta kinda good news for the Devils. Brian Gionta is going training camp, even without a contract. How can you not like this kid?

posted by MrFrisby at 08:55 PM on September 11, 2006

Sigh of relief.

posted by HATER 187 at 06:53 AM on September 12, 2006

Indeed Mr. Hater, indeed. Or is it Mr. 187?

posted by SummersEve at 06:54 AM on September 12, 2006

You can just call me Hater or Hate, or El Haterino if you aren't into the whole brevity thing.

posted by HATER 187 at 07:07 AM on September 12, 2006

Oh my God in Heaven... The Islanders.... just, just.... The Islanders.

posted by Succa at 09:21 AM on September 12, 2006

Ho... Lee... Cow

posted by SummersEve at 09:37 AM on September 12, 2006

Oh my God in Heaven... The Islanders.... just, just.... The Islanders. A good friend and Islanders fan has been trying to convince this is a good deal. I still fail to see how. The guy isn't even that good to begin with.

posted by HATER 187 at 09:39 AM on September 12, 2006

but he's mobile and good with the puck

posted by garfield at 09:47 AM on September 12, 2006

I like DiPietro and all, but, don't they know that 25 (his age) + 15 (the length of the contract) is 40?

posted by Succa at 10:18 AM on September 12, 2006

El Haterino, what was the argument in favor of this deal? They have their next GM already under contract? They can spread the money out over several years so it doesn't hurt their cap space? I'm struggling to come up with a serious positive for the Islanders. Also curious if this has a ripple effect on other NHL contracts.

posted by SummersEve at 10:42 AM on September 12, 2006

His argument, verbatim: Thing is, it's at a manageable rate. he's good enough where you would probably want to keep him for that long anyway - you build your team around a goalie as far as i'm concerned - and if he went unrestricted free agent in 2 yrs, he would probably get upwards of 6mil a year. now, he's locked in at 4.5..... I'm struggling to come up with a serious positive for the Islanders. There is none. DiPietro just ripped them off. Not so much on his per year salary but 15 years! And its guarenteed if he is forced to retire because of injury.

posted by HATER 187 at 10:47 AM on September 12, 2006

There is none. DiPietro just ripped them off. Not so much on his per year salary but 15 years! And its guarenteed if he is forced to retire because of injury. Exactly. What happens if he has a one of those injuries this year? Wouldn't that be $4.5 million wasted cap space for 14 years? OK, that's a worst case scenario, but even if he suffers a career ending injury in 8 years, that is still wasted cap space for 7 years. I just don't get it. Who knows though, maybe in 15 years it will look like the smartest move by a GM ever.

posted by MrFrisby at 11:10 AM on September 12, 2006

Look at it this way... Patrick Roy was 37 when he retired. Marty Broduer would have to play to 2012 to reach 40. But I guess, come 2020, 4.5 million should be par for a back-up goalie. Seriously, I worry that the Islanders will have to fold to get out from under the mess Wang and Co are making.

posted by SummersEve at 12:37 PM on September 12, 2006

FlyersFilter: Primeau expected to retire and they make an offer to Ryan Kesler. The Canucks will more than likely match, but I would dance a li'l jig if Kesler comes to Philadelphia.

posted by SummersEve at 06:41 AM on September 13, 2006

That Kesler offer is brilliant, and also a total dickhead thing to do at the same time. Nothing like fomenting a little animosity between teams that don't usually see each other to make things more interesting. This weekend we were talking about the early offer given to Deion Branch, and I told 86 and Garfield that this type of shit would never happen in the NHL. My bad.

posted by Samsonov14 at 11:35 PM on September 13, 2006

skater: I've posted some game action vids from the Prospects Tournament on the latest FPP for your viewing along with interviews from Al Montoya and Chris Holt. (YouTube) I've also got some more game action video I'll be trying to put together soon. I've got some more stuff if anyone's interested let me know and I'll post it up.

posted by skydivedad at 11:09 AM on September 14, 2006

Are you ready for some rule changes? Here they are. Crazy rule regarding the challenging of a players stick in the shoot-out.

posted by MrFrisby at 04:09 PM on September 14, 2006

Fris, I hope they enforce that enhanced diving punishment that's mentioned in that link. Nothing in the game frustrates me more than flopping. Some of these kids get tapped in the skate and it looks like there are snipers in the rafters. As for challenging the stick, how could you possibly risk being wrong with those rules? I can't imagine anyone would ever challenge. Plus, 3/4 inch is quite a hook.

posted by SummersEve at 09:22 AM on September 15, 2006

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