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: Winnipeg Jets
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.
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.
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.
[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] If you live in a wooden house, and you have someone obsessed with fire over to visit, you don’t give them matches. If you’re a party planner hosting a VIP party you aren’t inviting the guy who streaks naked when he drinks. If you own a bank, and a known bank robber applies to work as a teller, you don’t give him the job. These are all (terrible) metaphors for why the NHL, in the next round of collective...Click here to read more.
In the summer of 1985, in honour of my brother’s Manitoba wedding, my parents took me on a road trip. Living in Ontario, we drove West through the United States towards the wedding, and then East through Canada on the way home. I don’t remember a thing about the trip home through Canada. I do remember parts of the trip through the U.S. – in particular a visit to Wakefield, Michigan, and the purchase of a Rambo helicopter toy I played with endlessly. But what I remember most is my dad breaking us into the Winnipeg Arena. It was the middle of the day, and we clearly weren’t supposed...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.