One of the silliest debates to be waged across the NHL some time is Philadelphia’s “outrage” and in-game protest of Tampa’s 1-3-1 system. From Mike Milbury walking off the air to a quickie TSN poll of league GMs siding with the Flyers, the Lightning are taking a lot of heat for their passive forecheck. Here’s the thing. 1) The passive forecheck is employed all over the league, and has been for decades. Roughly half of all NHL teams use a 1-3-1 forecheck in their gameplan. The 70s Canadiens, the 80s Oilers, the 90s Red Wings – they all used a version of...Click here to read more.
Tagged: Buffalo Sabres
Dear Gary (aka Bettman-in-da-house, aka Mr. Commish, aka Saviour-of-Winnipeg), Not to go all Peaches and Herb (or Jeremy Roenick), but “realignment and it feels so good!” NHL realignment is the hot talk around the league right now, and I know reviews are mixed concerning your latest plan to re-shape the NHL. Personally, I like what you’ve reportedly done: The first round of the playoffs features divisional play (1 vs 4, 2 vs 3). After the first round, the remaining teams are seeded 1-4, with 1 playing 4, 2 vs 3, etc. Now, the Penguins and Flyers hate this proposal, because...Click here to read more.
After more than a month of review, analysis, and rankings, it’s time to predict what will actually happen in the upcoming NHL season. If you take all things into consideration, one thing becomes abundantly clear – parity. No team is very strong at each position (coach, goalie, defence, forward), and most teams are only a shade better or worse than another. It looks like all the same teams that made the playoffs last year have a good chance of making it again this year. As we’ve discussed though, it’s rare that there’s so little change in the standings from year-to-year. Injuries...Click here to read more.
Any discussion of the New Jersey Devils chances this year is riddled with questions: Is Peter DeBoer a good coach? Is the team going bankrupt or not? Do Adam Lambert and Adam Larsson look anything alike? Is this Zach Parise’s last year with the team? When will Travis Zajac be back? Yet the biggest question of them all is “what can Devils fans expect from Martin Brodeur.” Brodeur, arguably the best goalie of his generation, enters the season as a 39-year old. Like the rest of his team, Brodeur’s pre- (2.84 GAA, .895 SVPT) and post- (1.84, .919) all-star game...Click here to read more.
Yesterday I talked about the Western Conference (and Two and a Half Men..which I will never talk about again willingly). Let’s take a look at the Eastern Conference rankings today. A quick note on all of these rankings. Each likely starting player and coach was given a letter grade (in a player’s case based on their likely contribution, previous performance and ability). Each letter grade had a numerical value, and a team’s ranking is a result of a team’s total score in that particular area (coaching, defence, forwards, and goaltenders). A+ Grade Pittsburgh Last Year (A) If Sidney Crosby’s healthy,...Click here to read more.
There is no greater union in the NHL today than Brian Burke and Toronto Maple Leafs. For all his bluster, and for all his previous on-ice success, Burke’s greatest strength is jousting with the media. And if there’s one thing media saturated Toronto needs is a Maple Leaf general manager with an aptitude for soundbytes. During last week’s “state of the union”-type press scrum with Toronto media, Burke insisted the Leafs defence “stacks up really well against just about any other team in the East.” Does it really? Let’s take a look at Eastern Conference defence rankings headed into the 2011-12 season....Click here to read more.
Another September, another new coach for the New Jersey Devils. Peter DeBoer becomes the seventh coach the Devils have had since the NHL lockout, following Jacques Lemaire, John Maclean, Brent Sutter, Claude Julien, Lou Lamoriello and Larry Robinson. The question is – do these moves have any impact? I took a look at NHL coaching changes since 2005 and grouped them into three categories: Off-season change (one coach replaces another in the off-season) Mid-season change (one coach replaces another and finishes the season) Mid-season change-turned-permanent (mid-season coaching replacement sticks around, leading the team into the next season) Here’s what was...Click here to read more.
[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what's happening around the NHL.] THOUGHTS ON THE FLY Gotta give it to Bryan Murray – he’s an entertaining, horse-trading general manager in a league where many front offices are afraid to make deals. However, his off-season plans for the team, as expressed to local media this week, have to concern Sens fans. Quick fixes won’t get the job done, and players selected in the first round aren’t always ready to play in the NHL right away. As a courtesy for Sens fans,...Click here to read more.
Out of Town Notebook: Flames’ Rebuild, Leafs’ Mixed Messages, Ovechkin’s Slump and Unfortunate Injuries
[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what's happening around the NHL.] Photo credit: Calgary Herald So just how big a project is rebuilding the Calgary Flames? Countless articles and endless minutes of media coverage in Canada over the holidays talked about how Darryl Sutter left this team without the young or tradeable assets necessary to build hope for a better future. The bar is being set incredibly low for Jay Feaster. Basically, if he makes a couple of trades for draft picks at the deadline, columnists will award him...Click here to read more.
[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what's happening around the NHL.] Photo credit: oilers.nhl.com I never knew Santa was a hockey fan. And yet, when I sat on his lap at the mall this week, and asked him who he thought had been naughty and nice this year, he was quick to hand me the following list. Surprisingly, I agree with everything he wrote. Naughty – That Charles Wang continues to own and operate the New York Islanders franchise like it’s the Cleveland Indians from the film “Major League”....Click here to read more.