Tagged: Phoenix Coyotes

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...

Out of Town Notebook: Stanley Cup Favorites, Strengths and Weaknesses

Out of Town Notebook: Stanley Cup Favorites, Strengths and Weaknesses

[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] With two weeks left until the end of the NHL regular season, it’s pretty easy for fans to get caught up in the race for the final playoff spots. But those teams who scramble to the finish line rarely make it all the way to the Stanley Cup final. Vancouver, Detroit and San Jose in the West, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington in the East – these are your Stanley Cup favourites heading into the Spring. Each of these...

Canucks Review and Preview: January 31 to February 6, 2011

Canucks Review and Preview: January 31 to February 6, 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 50 GP, 31-10-9, 71 points (1st in Northwest Division, 1st  in Western Conference) Who’s Hot Alex Burrows is beginning to show signs of life. After a slow start – understandable considering he missed the first 10 games with a shoulder injury – he has 2 goals, 2 assists and a plus-4 rating in his last 3 games. As much as people like to say the Sedins make him better, Burr adds a lot to the first line....

Out of Town Notebook: Five GMs and Some Hard Decisions

Out of Town Notebook: Five GMs and Some Hard Decisions

[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: Forbes As the NHL All-Star Game approaches (yawn), so too does the trade deadline and the final stretch towards the Stanley Cup playoffs. While there is some significant separation between playoff and non-playoff teams in the Eastern Conference, the Western Conference is a dogfight. With this in mind, here now are five GMs facing important decisions at this stage of the season. Doug Wilson, San Jose Sharks The Challenge: Some questionable moves and a weakened backend...

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