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: Colorado Avalanche
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.
A collection of hockey thoughts and observations as one settles into a new NHL hockey season: It should be clear to anyone who has watched the Senators play that Paul Maclean hasn’t had any more luck than Cory Clouston at motivating Sergei Gonchar. No one gives up on puck battles quicker than he does. One week doesn’t make an NHL season, but as of today the Senators look an awful lot like the worst team in the NHL. Speaking of NHL defensemen, Sheldon Souray’s big shot has already helped the Dallas Stars. However, Souray also looks a step slower than he...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.
Yesterday it was the Eastern Conference goalies. Today, the Western Conference as we wrap up our positional previews. A+ Grade Nashville Last Year (B-) A stellar playoff performance proved Pekka Rinne is more than just a product of an elite defensive team. He’s the Conference’s best goaltender right now. If injured, Anders Lindback is a more-than-capable replacement. A- Grade Anaheim Last Year (B) Vertigo derailed what was shaping up to be a Vezina-worthy season for Jonas Hiller. Symptom-free, he’s an elite goaltender. Dan Ellis is an okay backup in the short-term, but any injury to Hiller and the Ducks are...Click here to read more.
Season Preview: Ranking the Western Conference Forwards (and Ashton Kutcher’s Two and a Half Men Debut)
What do Michael Ryder and Ashton Kutcher have in common? Both have previously enjoyed success in supporting roles, and now both are being asked to replace bigger stars that left town after difficult contract negotiations. It’s doubtful either will make anyone forget who they’re replacing anytime soon. Last Monday, more than 27 million viewers tuned in to see how Two and a Half Men would replace Charlie Sheen with Ashton Kutcher. For those that missed it but wondered how it went, allow me to summarize: blandly juvenile. Granted, juvenile jokes and innuendo are a big reason why Two and a...Click here to read more.
The other day, we looked at the Eastern Conference bluelines. Today, let’s look at the Western Conference defence rankings. A Grade Chicago Last Year (A+) A slip in the ratings heading into 2011-12, as neither Duncan Keith nor Brent Seabrook were quite as good last year as they were the season before. Meanwhile, Nick Hjalmarsson also disappointed. However, Nick Leddy looks like a future top-4 stalwart, and there’s some veteran depth now with the signings of Steve Montador, Sean O’Donnell and Sami Lepisto. Los Angeles Last Year (A-) This is assuming Drew Doughty signs. Otherwise they drop a grade. Doughty...Click here to read more.
As discussed in yesterday’s post, changing a coach at mid-season, rather than in the off-season, seems to have a greater positive impact on team performance. Examining all the coaching moves since the start of the 2005-06 season reveals some other interesting tidbits: Only four coaches hired at mid-season led their teams to a worse performance than the coach they replaced: 2009-10 Philadelphia: Peter Laviolette (.535) replaced John Stevens (.540). One could argue these are almost equal results. 2008-09 Tampa Bay: Rick Tocchet (.397 winning percentage) replaced Barry Melrose (.438). Funny how Melrose was ridiculed for his performance returning to the...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: canada.com They say you can teach a player to play defence, but you can never teach a player offense. Offense comes from within – from a player’s imagination, intellect and feel for the game they play. Two professional sports leagues seem to understand this, and have changed their rules to cater to the offensive side of their game. Over the last decade, the NFL has gone out of its way to protect the player on-field through...Click here to read more.
[I Watched This Game is a recurring feature at Pass it to Bulis, the hockey blog that knows who needs the puck. It chronicles the insights and observations of two guys who watched a hockey game. To view all the other wonderful stuff PITB does, visit Pass It To Bulis.] Give the Canucks credit for showing up to play this one. After a horrendous outing in Minnesota exposed their tired road legs, the excuses for a second consecutive poor performance were readymade. Instead, the Canucks vehemently defied the wishes of their bodies in Colorado, and kept up with the speedy...Click here to read more.