Tagged: Minnesota Wild

Season Preview: Ranking the Western Conference Goalies

Season Preview: Ranking the Western Conference Goalies

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...

Season Preview: Ranking the Western Conference Forwards (and Ashton Kutcher’s Two and a Half Men Debut)

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...

Season Preview: Ranking the Western Conference Bluelines

Season Preview: Ranking the Western Conference Bluelines

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...

Season Preview: The Impact of Coaching Changes Part 2 and Ranking the Western Conference Coaches

Season Preview: The Impact of Coaching Changes Part 2 and Ranking the Western Conference Coaches

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...

Canucks Review and Preview: April 4 to April 10, 2011

Canucks Review and Preview: April 4 to April 10, 2011

[Every Sunday, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@cayking).] Canucks Record 79 GP, 52-18-9, 113 points (1st in Northwest Division, 1st in Western Conference, 1st in NHL) Who’s Hot Remember earlier this season when people were saying that Alex Burrows was having an off season? Well, he now has 25 goals, 47 points and a plus-25 rating in 69 games. Burr scored the only goal against Edmonton and has 4 goals in his last 5 games. Who’s Not Raffi Torres has 1 assist in his last...

Canucks Review and Preview: February 14 to February 20, 2011

Canucks Review and Preview: February 14 to February 20, 2011

[Every Sunday, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@cayking).] Canucks Record 56 GP, 36-11-9, 81 points (1st in Northwest Division, 1st in Western Conference) Who’s Hot It was about this time last year that Mikael Samuelsson went on a hot streak, a way of showing Team Sweden what they were missing out on. To say that Sammy is en fuego as of late would be an understatement. He has 6 goals and 14 points in his last 8 games while adding a different look to the...

Out of Town Notebook: Salary Cap Woes, Long Shifts and Worried Fanbases

Out of Town Notebook: Salary Cap Woes, Long Shifts and Worried Fanbases

[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: nj.com Steve Simmons wrote earlier this week that the salary cap was hurting the league’s best players by forcing them play with AHL-level grinders. Noting how the cap has forced the New Jersey Devils to play with 15, 16 players, Dave Hodge argues in his latest Hodgemail that the salary cap should be abolished. Even before the season started, hockey writers were using the salary cap to suggest dynasties aren’t possible in today’s era. Just so...

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