When the Tampa Bay Lightning signed Victor Hedman to a 5-year, $20 million deal earlier in the week, there weren’t too many people complaining. The online community, particularly Tampa Bay fans, applauded Steve Yzerman for keeping Hedman’s cost relatively low. According to the consensus, $4 million a year for 5 years is a great price for an improving, future franchise defenseman. There’s no question Hedman is an improving player, particularly on the defensive side of the game. But franchise cornerstone? Someone who dominates at both ends of the ice? I’m not so sure Hedman has that in him. I decided...Click here to read more.
Tagged: Tampa Bay Lightning
In part one we looked at the first quarter for teams in the Western Conference. Now let’s take a look at the East. Eastern Conference 1. New York Rangers – 27 Points Powerplay: 25 / Penalty Kill: 9 / Goals For: 15 / Goals Against: 2 What’s working: Henrik Lundquist for starters. He’s the biggest reason why the team is among the league leaders in goals against. In the absence of Marc Staal (concussion), Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi have capably stepped up on the blueline, while defenseman Michael Del Zotto has re-found his game. Marian Gaborik has gotten hot...Click here to read more.
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.
Eastern Conference Final Boston (2) vs Tampa Bay (5) Season Series: Boston (3-1) What we learned in Round 2 Boston: There is offense to be found in the Bruin attack. It’s name is David Krejci. Also, that Boston remains an incredibly difficult opponent to generate offense against. Tim Thomas is lurking in the Conn Smyth Trophy weeds. Tampa Bay: That the team’s 1-3-1 style has effectively neutralized their greatest weakness – a lack of defensive mobility. This Lightning team is playing as well as Montreal defensively right now, but they have the game-breakers the Habs lack to take advantage offensively....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.] The National Hockey League (NHL) is the world’s best hockey league. The question is, how much longer will it be the only destination for the world’s best players? The European invasion of the late 1970s, followed by the fall of Russian Communism in the late 1980s, opened the door for the world’s best to earn a substantial income playing NHL hockey. The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) certainly didn’t look like it would threaten this fact when it launched...Click here to read more.