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.
Tagged: Toronto Maple Leafs
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.
[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.
Out of Town Notebook: Ryan vs. Seguin, Carrie Underwood’s Husband’s Fresh Start, Some Concussion and Vezina Trophy Talk
[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] Call it the tale of two second overall draft picks. When Bobby Ryan was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in 2005, he was already a dominant junior scorer. With a terrific combination of size and skill, Ryan scored 89 points in 62 games for the Owen Sound Attack in his draft year, and may have won the OHL scoring title if not for an injury. Touted as an elite offensive prospect, then-general manager Brian Burke took Ryan after...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: 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...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.
[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.] Leading up to this game, the 4pm start time was a bone of contention among Canucks fans. Ever afraid of The Eastern Bias, an elusive swamp monster (pictured) that feeds on national inequality, many claimed the afternoon puck drop gave the Maple Leafs an unfair advantage. But thankfully, the Canucks...Click here to read more.
It’s no secret that I don’t like the Leafs. Every season, when the NHL schedule comes out, I immediately circle the nights of the Leafs games. I’m not sure when my irrational hate for them started. Maybe it was after the Canucks beat them in 1994 en route to the Stanley Cup Finals. Maybe it was the year before that when I considered myself as much a Habs fan as a Canucks fan. Or maybe the hate came after being force fed Leafs games every freaking Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada. I’ll admit though that I haven’t minded...Click here to read more.