2.27.2007

Interesting trades

Well, well, it seems I'll have some writing to do before the deadline.
- The Atlanta Thrashers have just acquired some key pieces, yet guys like Adam Proteau say the Thrashers will bow out early. I object.
Keith Tkachuk is a key scoring player, and that should allow even more pressure to lift off of Kozlov and Hossa. However, there may be some controversy as to which left winger moves. Tkachuk, Kozlov, and Kovalchuk (talk about irony in all those 'k' pronunciations) are all natural left wingers. It will probably come down to one of Tkachuk or Kovalchuk moving, as Hossa and Kozlov have shown great chemistry as wing-mates. Tkachuk can play center, and Kovalchuk can play right wing. Who knows, though. It may become a major controversy.
As for the Zhitnik trade, it should help re-beef the defense corps. Zhitnik essentially replaces Vitaly Vishnevski, who went to Nashville for depth center Eric Belanger. Zhitnik was a key defenseman for Buffalo, especially in the playoffs, and that may have been the reason the Thrashers gave up Braydon Coburn for him. However, he has slowed since the lockout, and the fact that his playoff experience was before the lockout could be a worry.
Speaking of center, that is the only place, in my opinion, that Atlanta truly needs help. They should have pushed harder in the Forsberg race, and Belanger brings almost nothing. The names of this franchise's current centers sound good; Holik, Rucchin, Belanger, Slater, and Kapanen. But, Holik has lost a step, and Rucchin was good when he centered two stars in Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, but hasn't showed that kind of chemistry with Hossa, Kozlov, or Kovalchuk.
- In another trade, Craig Rivet went to San Jose for youngster Josh Gorges. Rivet brings a steady veteran presence to a Sharks defense that lacked of a veteran. Scott Hannan and Kyle Mclaren are good, but Rivet brings something the Sharks have been missing since Brad Stuart left for Boston.
- Richard Zednik was acquired by the New York Islanders, and is expected to boost the offense from the 3rd line. However, I think the trade was almost worthless. Zednik struggled last year with the Canadiens, and he hasn't exactly been Marian Gaborik this year, even though he had a groin injury.
- My SuperPens just picked up two good players in Georges Laraque and Gary Roberts. Laraque's job is obvious, he will surely get a role as enforcer so as Sidney Crosby doesn't get a Koivu-esque playoffs. Roberts, though, will also help the SuperPens a great deal. Roberts could provide Crosby with a sniper, although, if he doesn't, the he will allow John LeClair to go down to the 3rd line, and either way this should boost the Pens goal-scoring.
I will give a final team-by-team analyisis of every trade this season later.

2.25.2007

No specific title belongs here

I could say short notes, or I could say multiple long subjects. Doesn't matter, here goes.
- Dallas has quietly become the best defense in the league. Sergei Zubov, Phillipe Boucher, Darryl Sydor, and Stephane Robidas are all offensively inclined, while Jaroslav Modry and Trevor Daley are some of the teams best defensive players. The total defense includes Sergei Zubov, Phillipe Boucher, Darryl Sydor, Stephane Robidas, Jaroslav Modry, Trevor Daley, Jon Klemm, Niklas Grossman, and recent waiver pick-up Nolan Boumgartner. Can you say, New Jersey rivaled?
- Kristian Huselius is quickly living up to his potential as a leading scorer. He is currently ranked 4th on the Flames in scoring, behind only the Flames first forward line. He has reached career highs in goals, assists, points, plus/minus, power-play goals, short-handed goals, and shot %. He has been key for the Flames in dire situations, especially helping the Flames get a 7-2-2 stretch when Jarome Iginla was injured.
- At the beginning of this year, everyone thought Garth Snow would make the Islanders a total flop. I'll admit that I thought at least the first season would be disastrous. But Snow has turned around the Isles from a flop to fantastic. He has made several key deals, sending underachieving players Alexei Zhitnik and Mike York to Philadelphia for young guy Freddy Meyer and penalty-killing veteran randy Robitaille. Both trades freed up cap space while adding key players, but Snow wasn't done there. He dealt Russia-based prospect Denis Grebeshkov, expected to be a successful NHLer, to Edmonton for offensive defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, in a way saying, I want to win now. And his Isles aren't idle, either. On a good winning streak as of today, they are tied for eighth in the NHL, over defending cup champs Carolina.
- Speaking of Zhitnik, he is so underachieving that he is now on his 3rd team this year. The Flyers dealt him to Atlanta for Braydon Coburn. This trade is perfect for each team, as Zhitnik has good playoff experience in the past with Buffalo, and Coburn is sure to be another great defenseman in the future. Philly wants the future, and Atlanta should make the playoffs this year.
- Sidney Crosby not only leads the NHL in scoring, but he is also the youngest to do so, and has a Gretzky-like lead in scoring, as the next highest player is Vincent Lecavlier, and Crosby has a 13-point lead on him. Last year, Joe Thornton beat Jaromir Jagr by 2 points. Crosby has also equaled the totals of Martin St. Louis' Art Ross winning year before the lockout.
- Here is another perfect trade. Curtis Joseph/Manny Legace- This would be a good trade because both players are coming off great years, each have performed well this year, but they are on losing teams. Legace was recently re-signed by the Blues, but Joseph is up for grabs once a good offer is made.
- Another player in the Huselius mold would be Ales Hemsky. Hemsky is another relatively young player who has high expectations as a top scorer. The only difference between Hemsky and Huselius is that last year was Hemsky's only real good year, but Huselius has been consistent in his point totals. Hemsky was rated as a 60-point scorer, but he has only ever reached that total last year. It is still possible this year, but it wouldn't be as impressive. Huselius was rated as a 50-point scorer, and while he has only reached that total this year, he was almost always in the 40-point range otherwise. Hemsky is at 49 points, but with only 9 goals, it hasn't helped the Oilers much. Huselius is at 60 points, and his 28 goals are a career high and he should pass 35 if he stays healthy.
That's it for today, I might post tomorrow.

2.23.2007

Carter joins Canes, and the perfect trades

Before I get to my main subject, I will note that the Carolina Hurricanes have acquired Anson Carter, one of the most inconsistent scorers ever (he had 33 goals last year, but just 10 as of today) for a draft pick. This will help the scoring issue that I previously mentioned the Canes had, and leaves room for another deal involving one of Carolina's 10 defensemen.
Now, my main subject. I have thought of some 'perfect trades' that NHL teams could make. It wouldn't benefit the teams much, but it would be just a matter of swapping players that play almost exactly the same.
Garnet Exelby/Nick Schultz: This trade would do no more than have two players switch teams. Exelby and Schultz both are 2nd pairing defensemen with 1st pairing capability. They only slightly contribute to the offense, but are good defensively and both play physical. Neither of these teams would trade these players to a different team, but in this kind of deal, it would neither benefit nor downgrade either team. The only real difference this year has been Exelby's injury trouble.
Mark Smith/Kevyn Adams: These guys are less similar then Scbultz and Exelby, but would still make a good trade. Both are responsible defensively, and each had a career high offensive years last year. Adams, however, has been struggling this year while Smith should still reach 20 points or so. Again, each of these players is valuable to his team, and probably wouldn't trade them (although Adams was already traded from Carolina to Phoenix).
Christian Ehrhoff/Trevor Daley: These two guys match better than Smith and Adams, but less than Exelby and Schultz. Both are in their 2nd full season, and are relied upon despite being youngsters. Each can hold his own on defense, but both have unexplored offensive potential. The offense shines a bit more out of Ehrhoff, while Daley is relied upon more defensively. Both are considered future stars by their respective teams, and are probably untouchable.
Steve Sullivan/Kristian Huselius: The only reason I can include Huselius in this trade is because of his play this year, because otherwise he has been streaky, according to others. They are within 2 points of each other, although Huselius has played more games. They are both second fiddle behind star players, yet continue to gather accolades. Huselius has quietly put together a career season with 28 goals, 30 assists, and 58 points, while Sullivan should easily pass his career best 31 goals and 75 points, as he has 22 and 60 already. Each player has been brilliant beyond most expectations, and provide a solid secondary scoring. Both are likely untouchable unless a good deal is offered.
Martin Biron (of this year)/Johan Hedberg (of last year)- Hedberg and Biron have almost the same story. Last year, Hedberg went 12-4-1 in 19 games, and Biron has gone 12-4-1 in 18 games this year. Both are former starters with reasonable reputations, and have each won as many as 25 games before, and have a career GAA under 2.9 goals. Biron has actually requested a trade, and may be dealt before the deadline, but Hedberg is happy as Atlanta's backup and this trade will not take place.
Those are my 'perfect' trades for now, I may think of more later.

Sabres clash, Lighting strikes, and much more

Well, lots of stuff to write today. Let's check the NHL.
- The Buffalo Sabres, one of the NHL's best finesse teams, had one of the largest battles of the new NHL last night against the Ottawa Senators. The fight was started after the Sabres' leading goal-scorer Chris Drury was hit from behind by Ottawa's Chris Neil. On the next play, fights broke out all over, with the most significant being Martin Biron vs. Ray Emery, and Ray Emery vs. Andrew Peters. All 12 players on the ice at the time fought, and Biron, Emery, and Peters were each ejected from the game. I wasn't able to watch a replay of any of the fights, but I decided to watch some old Sabres fights instead. What surprised me most wasn't actually in the video, but that all the fights were under 'comedy'. These fights aren't necessarily funny. Sometimes guys actually hurt themselves pretty bad. Steve Ott might have ended his season getting an ankle injury while fighting Tom Kostopoulos. Going farther back, Brian McGrattan got stunned pretty hard while fighting Andrew Peters, and way back, John Ferguson and Bob Probert used to damage guys bad when they fought. Fighting isn't a comedy thing, but it provides spirit to a game.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning, originally predicted to finish out of the playoffs, are currently first in their division thanks to a 5-4 overtime win against Atlanta. The key players on the Lightning, at least to me, are Vincent Lecavlier, Johan Holmqvist, Martin St. Louis, Danny Boyle, and Ruslan Fedotenko.
Oops, I thought it would be long. Oh well, I might write more later.

2.21.2007

Short notes again

Well, here is some smaller stuff than last time I said 'Short Notes.'
- Here's a trade I never considered before. How about the Pittsburgh Penguins dealing off Ryan Malone for Keith Tkachuk, and then sending him to Los Angeles for Aaron Miller and Konstantin Pushkarev. The SuperPens need depth on defense, and Malone has been struggling this year. The Blues are going for young guys, and Los Angeles thinks they almost have all the right peices for a playoff push. In the St. Louis/Pittsburgh deal, it would pay off on the Blues as they are looking for a young guy who can score 20-30 goals, and while he hasn't done it this year, he still has the potential and has done it before. The SuperPens wouldn't necessarily need Tkachuk, as LeClair, Malkin, Staal, Ruutu, and Niklas Nordgren, if the Pens still own his rights, can all play left wing. Sending Tkachuk to L.A. for Miller and Pushkarev would be a perfect fit, as the Kings are looking to next season, and the SuperPens are still leaning towards the future. Miller provides a steady defensive style of play lost when Mark Eaton went down with an injury. Pushkarev is extremely versatile, as he is a natural right wing, was listed as a center in the THN Yearbook, and can also play left wing. The Kings are looking for a goal-scorer, and Tkachuk fits the bill.
- Keep the darn SuperPens in Pittsburgh! I think either the Rangers, Isles, or Devils should move. Really, like it's crowded up here. Move the Devils to Kansas, they've already been there once.
- Reading THN's Adam Proteau's Screen Shots about Doug Wilson, I realized how good of a team San Jose is, not only in the standings, but in names as well. Just a few years ago, the only names in the franchise that any fan knew were Marleau, Selanne, Nabokov, Stuart, Damphousse, Ricci, and Ekman. Now, the Sharks lineup is dotted with household names Thornton, Marleau, Toskala, Erhoff, Carle, Hannan, Cheechoo, and Michalek, to name a few. To borrow a phrase from Evan Grossman, this team is vesatoskular!
- I might have the luck of seeing two playoff teams in one area, but if it happens, it won't be the names you think it is. Instead of the Devils and the Rangers, it will be the Devils and the Islanders! Seriously, Garth Snow has the pieces of a playoff team with him, and if they don't make it this year, look for a serious push next season.
-Speaking of the Sharks, what happened to Lukas Kaspar? Wasn't he supposed to be one of their best prospects. He hasn't been called up to the Sharks, and his AHL stats say that he shouldn't be. He was supposed to make it next year, but that seems unlikely now.
- In a small note about EastSide Hockey Manager, I wish the QMJHL would allow players to be traded during the regular season. My team stinks, and the only way to improve it is to sign prospects who probably want more development time. Charles Cote looks to be helpful, though.
That's all for now. Hopefully, I'll make a good post tomorrow.

2.20.2007

Stafford story interesting in reality, EHM

Drew Stafford is a very interesting character both in real life, and in EHM.
In his real career, he is currently with Buffalo in the NHL on his ninth call-up. Talk about an insecure future right there. Stafford rates as a skilled goal-scorer with 70-80 point potential in my book. In his short career so far, he has played in the NHL, AHL, and NCAA as far as well-known leagues. He had a reasonable college career, averaging 42 points with a career high of 47. In the AHL, he might still count as a rookie, as this is first AHL season, but he has also played 3 years in college. He has 22 goals and 44 points in 34 AHL games, and was in the AHL All-Star game with PlanetUSA. In the NHL, he has played 20 games in 9 different call-ups, and has scored 3 goals and 6 points. He is a consistent player with a minus-1 rating in the NHL, along with 14 penalty minutes and 1 power play goal. Actually, if you pro-rate his totals, he would have 80 games, 12 goals and 24 points for a nice rookie debut. He would also have 4 power play goals, 56 penalty minutes, and probably either -2 or +2 on his plus/minus rating, more likely the -2.
In EastSide Hockey Manager, Stafford's story is way different. He was acquired by the Edmonton Oilers from free agency after playing 38 games in 06-07 with Albany in the AHL. He then played 27 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and finished the year with 18 goals and 26 assists. He was then released by the Oilers as a free agent, signed with them again, and is currently their 13th forward. He has been criticized by the fantasy media, and show nowhere near as much potential in EHM as he does in reality.
That's all for today.

2.19.2007

Short, short notes

A lot of small stuff happened in the NHL recently.
- A trade rumor is floating around that Martin Biron is going to Florida for Gary Roberts and Eddie Belfour. Some say this makes sense. I can find a better trade than that.
Let's say this trade does happen. On the Buffalo side of things, they just swapped a good young guy who is used to being a starter for a guy formerly a starter, and now used to being a backup. Sure, Belfour has a Cup, but other than around 3 years of good playoff experience as a starter in Dallas, he hasn't had to deal with the pressure of carrying the entire team on his shoulders. Now, Biron has even less playoff experience, but he knows how to deal with being relied upon all the time. After that, Biron did spend a lot of his younger years watching Dominik Hasek start, and he is surrounded with a better group than Hasek was. Roberts is the guy who makes this trade pointless. If Roberts does join Buffalo, he is a pure rental, no denying it. Really, the guy won't want 3rd line time behind Jochen Hecht and Thomas Vanek any longer than the playoffs.
Here is a better trade; Martin Biron to Atlanta for Johan Hedberg and Jon Sim. Atlanta needs a 20-30 game guy who can give serious insurance in case Lehtonen goes down, and they are also making a big playoff push. Hedberg has been used as a 15-20 game guy in the past 3 seasons, and that is what he would see as Ryan Miller's backup. Heberg also has a career 2.31 GAA in 20 playoff games, and a 10-10 record with a .912 save percentage. That would give the Sabres a comfortable backup position in the playoffs in case Ryan Miller falters. Again, the winger, in this case Sim, is the wild card. Sim already knows the 3rd line. The Sabres currently use Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, and Maxim Afineganov on the 3rd line, but they could bump the group up to #2 and and use Sim, Chris Drury, and Ales Kotalik on the 3rd. Sim could also probably deal with 2nd line time if Drury refuses to be sent down a line.
- Forsberg's debut was ruined by the Minnesota Wild, at the same time as Marian Gaborik showed he is still a great scorer by scoring twice and changing this season's total to 19 in 26 games. Had he played the 60 games like his team has, he would be at 35 this year. He is also clicking at 31 points in 26 games.
See, short stuff. More later as this was supposed to come yesterday.

2.18.2007

EHM get's bigger, and Two Stars Collide (not Ovie and Sid)

Yesterday, the phrase "two stars collide" took on a whole new meaning.
During the 3rd period of the Rangers-Flyers game, Brendan Shanahan of the Rangers and Mike Knuble of the Flyers were heading the same direction and, not seeing that each other were there, collided shoulder to shoulder. Shanahan fell backwards and landed on his head hard. He was hospitalized and given X-rays and a CT Scan. He was unconscious on the ice for several minutes, but was reportedly awake once at the hospital. He appeared to be OK, as he could move all his extremities and was alert. He was kept over night, but everyone on the Rangers believes that Shanahan will be OK. This was a major scare as Shanahan is older than most players that endure his style of play, and if he was seriously injured, it could have led to his retirement.
EastSide Hockey Manager.
Pittsburgh- I appear to have made a mostly wise choice by picking up Chris Kunitz and J-P Dumont, as the team started out 2-3-2, and Dumont and Kunitz were key to a Dominic Moore spark of 4 goals so far. The team could make the playoffs this year.
Rimouski- Started the season 1-8-0, but could have started a hot streak with a 5-2 win at my last game. Kris Letang is doing well, and Patrice Cormier proved to be a scorer once he was moved to the 1st line.
Prince Albert- Mostly level play as I started the season 5-6-1. Martin Hanzal was loaned back, and scored a goal in his Prince Albert debut.
Oshawa- I am expected to be the best team in the OHL, and I currently sit in 3rd with a start of 5-1-2. Tavares is doing excellent, and Christian Cundari could be the missing peice.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton- For being expected as the best AHL team this year, I am way below expectations. I started out 0-3-1. No one is helping as much as they should be able to.
Phoenix- I took over this team because they drafted Hanzal, and then realized that Hanzal was on St. Louis. Still, this team is good and I started out 3-3-1. Found out that I could call-up players from the CHL (Central Hockey League). Isn't that interesting.
St. Louis- Realizing that Hanzal was here, I took over them too and loaned Hanzal back to PAR. I hated to do it, but Hanzal was toiling in the minors doing an excellent job, I had no room on my roster for him after picking up Trevor Linden off waivers, and PA needed a forward. I figured he could go have one more brilliant year in the juniors and then make him an Alex Radulov with more playing time.
That's all today. Shanahan's story was first on www.thehockeynews.com, but I did not copy it, merely I paraphrased it.

2.17.2007

Deadline Day Predictions haven't told whole story

I've been reading a lot of TDD predictions and while most of them are likely, there is more to be told.
Tampa Bay has been reported as looking for a winger/goaltender, but I think that Jay Feaster may have his eye on re-acquiring Jassen Cullimore. Cullimore was a longtime Bolt from 98-04, and provided solid play during Tampa's Cup run. Chicago is willing to deal away Cullimore, and Tampa has not shown want of Doug O'Brien, so I see Cullimore for O'Brien plus a late draft pick as a potential deal.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are edging towards a playoff spot, and have been reported as looking for a center/defenseman. However, Andrew 'Razor' is still young and has Zero playoff experience, and J.S. Aubin has 13 total games of Pro playoff time, with just 1 coming in the NHL. The Flyers have made Robert Esche available, and the Leafs might offer Justin Pogge or Todd Ford in a potential deal.
When the Penguins were reported as looking for a defenseman/enforcer, I completely agreed. But it would also be nice if the SuperPens could have a veteran backup with playoff experience just in case Marc-Andre Fluery doesn't become the next Cam Ward. Brian Boucher performed well in the '00 playoff with Philadelphia, but the Pens haven't shown an interest in him. Curtis Joseph would be another choice, or perhaps potential UFA Ed Belfour. I think the SuperPens will definitely make an offer for the Blues' Manny Legace, and Patrick Elechner or Andrew Penner could be offered.
Those are my potential deals. Credits to www.thehockeynews.com 's article on deadline day. That's all for today. Look forward to Feb. 28th's article, as I will have lots to say then.

2.16.2007

EastSide Hockey Manager Pittsburgh roster

Here is my current roster for the Pittsburgh Penguins, plus the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton players that I own.
Goalies- Peter Budaj, Martin Gerber, Andrew Penner (WB/S), Jocelyn Thibault (WB/S), Dany Sabourin (WB/S).
Defensemen- Tim Gleason, Ruslan Salei, Bryce Salvador, Oleg Tverdovsky, Ryan Whitney, Andrew Hutchinson, Brooks Orpik, Mark Giordano (WB/S), Alain Nasreddine (WB/S), Rob Scuderi (WB/S), Matt Carkner (WB/S), Shane Hnidy (WB/S).
Left Wingers- Chris Kunitz, John LeClair, Ryan Malone, Nils Ekman, Dan Carcillo (WB/S), Libor Pivko (WB/S).
Centers- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Drury, Yanic Perrault, Dominic Moore, Stephen Dixon (WB/S), Matt Hussey (WB/S), Tommi Santala (WB/S), Ryan Stone (WB/S), Maxime Talbot (WB/S).
Right Wingers- Colby Armstrong, Jean-Pierre Dumont, Michel Oullet, Mark Recchi, Jarkko Ruutu, Jonathan Filewich (WB/S), Connor James (WB/S).
I have 1 defenseman, Paul Bissonette, with the Wheeling Nailers in the ECHL, but I don't plan to do much with him anytime soon.
As you can see, there is a lot of change, but then again, a lot of people still the same.
- Alexander Korolyuk's rights were traded back to San Jose from New Jersey. The once 19 goal scorer with the Sharks was nearly forgotten until this trade. I wonder if he would like the new NHL. Then again, he probably likes Russia better and will not join the Sharks.

Lots to write today, as excitement builds up

Philadelphia traded Peter Forsberg! To Nashville! For Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, and 2 draft picks! Wow! I'm going to have to look over this very carefully.
On Phialdelphia's point of view- Peter Forsberg was a great player, and captain, for those 40 games he played, but it was clear that Philly wasn't going where Foppa wanted to. The Flyers were also under severe pressure to go young, and couldn't reach an agreement with Forsberg on a contract extension. Nashville, despite being relatively strong at center, was ready to make a trade, and it happened. In return, the Flyers get two high draft picks, plus Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent. Parent is a strong physical defenseman in the OHL, and could be ready by next year. Upshall is a gritty winger with lots of potential, but he has already had 77 games to show his stuff, and he has only provided 29 points. The draft picks will help ensure that the Flyers get either Angelo Esposito, Logan Coutoure, Karl Alzner, Alexei Cheraponov, or James van Reimsdyk.
Nashville acquired Peter Forsberg, and here are some (fake) thoughts from team players.
Jason Arnott- "Same old, same old. Back to the 2nd line.
David Legwand- "I was just getting used to scoring again!"
Scott Nichol- "But I like Philadelphia!"
Paul Kariya- "Haven't I played with you before-- NO! I CAN'T PLAY LIKE THAT AGAIN!"
Martin Erat- "Cool.....right?"
Darcy Hordichuk- "Can I play on the 1st line? Please? I promise I'll score 5 goals. Isn't that enough?"
Sorry, I just had all that running through my head, and it's really funny and has a slight chance of being true. Arnott got stuck on the 2nd line for the longest time behind Modano in Dallas, and he'll be seeing that again. I think that the Preds should have traded Scott Nichol, and Paul Kariya had one terrifying year in Colorado on the same team as Forsberg, and Darcy Hordichuk's career high in goals is 7, from last year. Otherwise, the Preds have cut in line past Buffalo to be first for the Stanley Cup.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins roster has changed a lot. Seriously. In the 05-06 Yearbook from THN, their 12 forwards were Lemieux, Crosby, Palffy, Malone, Malkin, Recchi, LeClair, Pirjeta, Roy, Koltsov, Kraft, and VandenBussche. Others who played for them not in the top 12; Christensen, Armstrong, Surovy, Talbot, and Oullet. Malkin did not play for them. Top 6 D-men; Gonchar, Tarnstrom, Jackman, Orpik, Whitney, and Melichar. Others with significant time; Scuderi, and Cairns. Goalies; Thibault, Fluery. Others; Sabourin.
06-07 Yearbook, 12 forwards; Malone, Crosby, Armstrong, Ekman, Malkin, Recchi, LeClair, Christensen, Petrovicky, Ruutu, Moore, and Roy. Others that have come; Staal, Talbot, Oullet, and Thorburn. Top 6 D-men; Gonchar, Whitney, Eaton, Orpik, Melichar, and Welch. Others; Scuderi, and Nasreddine. Goalies; Fluery, Thibault. Others; None yet.
That's a lot of change. Then, here's something mind-blowing. My roster for the Pens on EHM.
Goalies owned- Gerber, Budaj, Thibault, Penner.
Defensemen owned- Salvador, Gleason, Tverdovsky, Hutchinson, Hnidy, Giordano, Orpik (I forgot he was still here), Whitney, and Salei. I might have forgotten some names here and I will post a full roster later.
Forwards owned- Kunitz, Crosby, Malkin, Dumont, Malone, LeClair, Recchi, Ekman, Perrault, Drury, Moore, Christensen, Carcillo, Santala. Again, might have forgotten some abnd will post full roster later.
That's all for now! February 28th will be a lot of writing like this. :-)

2.15.2007

EHM, and SuperPens?

Well, as you all know from reading http://www.nhl.com/ and http://www.thehockeynews.com/, The Penguins are no longer the Penguins. I shall call the the SuperPens. Cheesy, but accurate. The SuperPens are probably the youngest best team out there. Don't believe me? Let me read you a list of all the good Penguins youngsters and their points. Sidney Crosby, 88. Evgeni Malkin, 64. Ryan Whitney, 43. Michel Oullet, 34. Jordan Staal, 29. Colby Armstrong, 21. Erik Christensen, 19. Ryan Malone, 18. Maxime Talbot, 14. Robert Scuderi, 8. Kristopher Letang, 2. Noah Welch, 2. Now, some of these point totals clearly aren't league leaders, or anything like that, but think of it this way. Crosby is in his 2nd season, along with Whitney, Ouellet, Armstrong, Talbot, Christensen, and Scuderi. Malkin, Staal, Letang, and Welch are all Calder eligible. Only Malone has played more than 2 seasons, and he is in his 3rd. Then, if you want me to break it down further, how's this. Staal and Talbot's point totals are low, but each of them have around 4 short-handed points. Armstrong and Scuderi have also scored short-handed. Crosby, Malkin, Whitney, and Oullet have all scored more than 15 power play points. Here's something even more shocking. If you consider a true veteran as someone who has played more than 7 seasons, than the SuperPens only have 5 in Mark Recchi, Sergei Gonchar, Eric Cairns, Mark Eaton, and John Leclair. Then again, Eaton doesn't exactly count, as at least 2 of those 7 seasons were with 20 games or less. But doesn't that make you think, if they don't make it to the Finals this year (they probably won't as they are in the same conference as the Sabres), then they've got to do it next year. Seriously.
EastSide Hockey Manager
Pittsburgh- Speaking of the Penguins, I may have just acquired J-P Dumont, after the Predators put him on waivers despite a 63-point year. Mark Giordano, Shane Hnidy, and Dan Carcillo safely made it to WB/S, and I will probably try to send Tommi Santala down there if I do get Dumont. Season only started yesterday, am 1-1-1.
Rimouski- I am expected to be the best QMJHL team after a 14-40-13 season. Ouch. To make things worse, I started out 1-6-0. Kris Letang has helped those losses go back to 2-1 and stuff like that with his defense, and after I figured out that Patrice Cormier was playing defense, and I had no 4th line left wing, I quickly switched Oliver Fortier to LW, Cormier to center, and an actual defenseman to defense.
Prince Albert- Started the season 2-1-0, quickly tailed off to 3-4-1. No word on Martin Hanzal coming back yet.
Oshawa- Thanks to John Tavares and Ziga Pance, this is my only good CHL team. I am at 4-3-1.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton- Bryan Young was released by the Oilers while he was with me, and then I signed him to an AHL contract. I also offered contracts to Kyle Brodziak, J-F Jacques, and Drew Stafford. None of them have done anything yet. Started out 3-3-2.
See you later!
P.S. Forgot to mention that Marc-Andre Fluery rocks! He is another Penguin who should be good for a long while.

2.14.2007

Am I being watched, or am I a future-teller?

First, it was John Tavares. I posted on how Tavares, being that good and that young, should get more notice in the big time.
The Hockey News writes a detailed cover story on him, as if I told them to do something (I didn't).
Now, just recently, I wrote about the Staal brothers, and their ability to be key players anywhere.
Yesterday, Evan Grossman interviewed, and wrote a detailed story on, guess who?
The Staal brothers.
Granted, I am just a young blogger, and THN's and Grossman's stories were way more detailed and better than mine, but still.....
Two times I write a small story, two times a more detailed story on those same subjects appear on well-read hockey papers/websites. Am I seeing the future, or does someone from those organizations actually watch what I write? Doesn't matter, I'm still writing.

EHM, Nagy a Star, and Forsberg's future location

The Hockey News was right when it reported that Ladislav Nagy was a likely Coyote on the move. Nagy and his poor defensive play have come to the Dallas Stars in return for Mathias Tjarnqvist, an unimpressive youngster who was merely an extra, plus a couple of draft picks. For the Stars, they acquired a sniper in the form of Bill Guerin, who should be good for 20 goals a year when he has a play maker. Nagy also will help replace the loss of Brenden Morrow to injury, and will give the Stars good depth on the wing once Morrow returns. Tjarnqvist, on the other hand, will probably get regular playing time on the Coyotes and could be one of the young guys that can help turn Phoenix around. Nagy has 8 goals and 41 points this year, and averaged 20 goals per season before now. Tjarnqvist has 1 goals and 4 points this year, and has 4 goals and 12 points in 70 career games.
Peter Forsberg's next team has been debated for this whole season, and all sorts of places have come up. From Ottawa to Detroit, Vancouver to the Rangers, and even Anaheim have been mentioned as likely places. I say, Atlanta. The Thrashers aren't necessarily weak at center, but they lack a true set-up man. Steve Rucchin has filled that position in past years, but he is in his 12th season and hasn't put up the points after the lockout. Eric Belanger is also a good center, but is mostly a 3rd line player, not to mention that Alexander Frolov and an old Luc Robitaille are probably the best wingers he has centered. Bobby Holik was thought to be the right kind of player, but he has never broken 65 points. Forsberg is the answer. The Thrashers could deal off either Rucchin or Niko Kapanen, along with a prospect/draft picks.
EastSide Hockey Manager
Penguins- I just passed that time in the game where everyone is waiving people, and managed to claim Chris Kunitz and Mark Giordano, and then sneak Giordano and Shane Hnidy down to WB/S. I'll keep Kunitz up with me and send Dan Carcillo to WB/S also, as Carcillo is exempt from regular season waivers. That's 2 good youngsters in my pocket. I also won an exhibition game between me and Edmonton 7-2. Ryan Malone scored 4 times, and Andrew Hutchinson had 1 goal and 2 assists.
Rimouski- Patrice Cormier made it from camp, and Kris Letang was loaned back to me, so that should help after a 1-2-0 start.
Prince Albert- Getting Martin Hanzal loaned back to me would be the only good news if I hadn't started the season 2-1-0. Hanzal is still with the Blues, but the good start is real.
Oshawa- Signed a couple of youngsters to help fill in for the accidental loss of Cal Clutterbuck. I had news, but didn't read it. I released Clutterbuck, and the made another off to Nick Foligno. Then I read the news. Clutterbuck released. I knew that. Foligno signs with Ottawa. Darn! Bryan Lacey should help, though.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton- 5 players assigned to me by Edmonton, and 3 from Pittsburgh, so I technically have a roster now. Only 20 roster players, and 3 are goalies so that's 19, and 2 are injured, so that's 17.

2.13.2007

Not really weekend thoughts, but the same idea

More short stuff in the NHL, here goes.
- Wait a second, I'm looking at NHL.com, and is that 3 Philadelphia Flyers I see named the 3 stars of the day? Wait, Philadelphia Flyers?!?!? Wow, I'm shocked. What happened to Philadelphia the losers? And is that the Flyers getting front page online for winning? Wow. That is both cool for the Flyers, and weird for everyone else.
Hold on, I thought of something to write. My award selections as to the real ones.
Art Ross- Sidney Crosby. Duh.
Rocket Richard- I am going to say it's a tie between Alex Ovechkin and Vincent Lecavlier. I read about how only Lecavlier and possibly Ilya Kovalchuk are on pace to score even 50 goals this year, but don't you think Ovechkin will go on a late season tear despite his teams losing ways?
Selke- Surprisingly, if you go by plus-minus, Thomas Vanek would win. But Jay Pandolfo has been just awesome this year, and his plus-minus is only low because the Devils rarely score. Pandolfo should get this award.
Vezina- Roberto Luongo. Come on, you got to give it to this guy. The Vancouver Canucks are almost in the playoffs because of him. He has been having one of his best years, and I am tired of seeing players win it 50% because of their name. Broduer, Hasek, and Kiprusoff are all great players, but I almost want to say, Give someone else a chance!
Norris- Seeing as I just came off criticizing people for voting for name-players, I will contradict myself and give this to Nicklas Lidstrom, who is as deserving as any other player for this award. He is the true name-player, but in his case he does deserve it every year. He is Bobby Orr without the end-to-end rushes. Really.
Well, those are the awards I'll hand out for now. Maybe I will award my own awards, like the ones I posted earlier, at the end of the season.

2.12.2007

Staal's are key

When you talk about a car, you need the key's and you hate when it stalls. When you talk hockey, the Staal's are keys. I've done some watching on the 2 Staal brothers that are in the NHL right now, and here is a basic run-down of their skills.
Eric Staal- Eric Staal is the future of the Hurricanes. Last year he was one of the best adjusted players in the new NHL, as he went from 11 goals and 31 points in 03-04, to 45 goals and 100 points in just his second year. He was key for Carolina on the power-play with 19 tallies, and also had 4 short-handed goals. 4 of his 45 were game-winners, and that's just the regular season. In the playoffs, he had 9 goals and 28 points. 7 of his 9 goals were on the power-play, and 1 of those was a game winner. He also helped Carolina by only taking 8 minutes is penalties, and no fights. If it weren't for the fact that Cam Ward was a rookie, Staal would have been MVP of the playoffs.
This year, he hasn't been the Canes most publicized player. Rod Brind'Amour has been getting more coverage, and, truth be told, Brind'Amour is currently better. However, Staal has kept up his consistent strong play. He won't score 100 points, but he will end up in the 70-80 point range unless he gets injured. With 24 goals and 53 points, Staal is in 4th on the Canes in scoring. He has 10 power-play goals, proving that the foward-on-the-point system is continuously successful. 1 shorthanded goal as well, and 1 game winner gives Eric an A overall.
Jordan Staal- If you're a member of the 'team of the future', as I think of the Penguins, then it might be hard to get noticed, with all the Crosby's, Malkin's, Fluery's, and Whitney's, but Staal has made a name for himself. When the original announcement was made that Staal would be up on the team, there were some small questions. Would he live up to the hype that Crosby and Malkin were given? After all, he only averaged a point-per-game with the Peterborough Petes. That was good, but with Crosby at 168 points in 66 games, and Malkin scoring 47 points in 46 games with Magnitogorsk Russia, the pressure was on Staal to bring it. No matter, he simply scored the first 3 goals of his career short-handed. Staal now has 23 goals and 29 points. He is a highly skilled player who could be a defensive version of Rick Nash. While his play making skills could be questioned because of his small assist totals, nobody doubts that young Jordan, who leads the NHL in shots percentage with 28.3%, will be one of the Penguins bright spots for a time to come.
Notes....
- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and Marc-Andre Fluery have been identified as the future of the NHL. However, if we limit it down to the Penguins, they still have more. Ryan Whitney has defeated any rumors of the sophomore slump, already bettering last seasons points and goals mark, and equaling his assist totals. Maxime Talbot is another Penguin who excels short-handed, and Rob Scuderi is a good defensive defenseman. Lost in all the hype has been Kris Letang, who played 7 games in the NHL this year and scored 2 goals, with nearly 2 points-per-game with 42 points in 27 games with the Val d'Or Foruers.
- Kristian Huselius and his criticized stick have quietly placed 3rd in shooting percentage, with 25 goals on 109 shots for 22.9%. If you trim it down to players who have taken 100 shots or more, Huselius leads the league. How's that for a guy who didn't look so hot with his precisely cared for stick in the All-Access Pass from The Hockey News? Huselius has also averaged 20 goals a year over 5 years, with just one year of not scoring 20, the year before the lockout. He averages 43 points a year, and 73 games. And approximately 45% of his points have been goals. Pampered stick or not, the Flames made a good deal to acquire this guy.

I take over Oshawa, and Dallas finds offense

Well, I wish I had been in the majority of the U.S. that got to watch a 7-5 close game between the Avalanche and the Stars. Instead, I was stuck in one of the very few places watching the Devils and the Lightning, which I could have watched any old day on FSNY.
For those who did see it, the Stars scored a season high 7 goals after everyone criticized them as a defense-first team. A lot of young players were a factor, as Krys Barch, Jussi Jokinen, Mathias Tjarnqvist, Joel Lundqvist, and Loui Eriksson each got at least 1 point for the Stars, and Wojtek Wolski, John-Michael Liles, adn Paul Stastny had at least 1 point for the Avs. It was a very exciting game, and I wouldv'e had more to write if I had watched the game.
EastSide Hockey Manager.
I now have GM's in every league in the CHL, so now things will get more interesting.
Oshawa- For a long time, I have wanted to manage John Tavares' team, so now I finally remembered to make a GM for the OHL. Immediately I was frustrated my a strange rule that does not allow me to sign anymore overage players, no matter how many of them I release. This is unfortunate because with Oshawa, I was about to sign a 5th center that would have helped a lot in Nick Foligno when all of the sudden, "You may not sign any more overage players." No matter, Oshawa is still strong and I will find a way to get around that rule.
Rimouski- Having been desperate for another spark after knowing that Michael Frolik has only one year left with me, and Kris Letang is doing excellent in Penguins training camp, I made desperate inquiries that never would have worked. I asked about Jakub Voracek, Marc-Andre Cote, and some other clear franchise and/or future franchise players. No good. I do have a bright spot as Patrice Cormier is ready and doing well in camp.
Prince Albert- This team ran into the same problem of overage players when I tried to sign Nick Armand, an overage goalie with 44 wins and 6 losses in his one season with the QJHL1. Still have to figure out a bypass on that rule.
Pittsburgh- Training camp is in full swing, all though I don't have Jordan Staal participating. Kris Letang looks great, but so do all my other defensemen, so it's likely that he will go back to Rimouski (small cheers can be heard from the Oceanic). Erik Christensen will likely see AHL time, and possibly Dominic Moore as well while I try to figure out what to do with Malkin, Crosby, Perrault, and Drury all deserving of 2nd or 1st line time.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton- 6 tryout players with me in camp. Not much else, although I look forward to seeing Dan Carcillo, Erik Christensen and maybe Shane Hnidy with me.

2.11.2007

Trades are coming Fast and Furious

Now that we approach February 27, the trades are coming faster and faster.
Eric Belanger has been involved in 2 trades. First, it appeared that he was going to be a 3rd line center with the Hurricanes, but he ended up rotating between 3rd and 4th. Also, Josef Vasicek hadn't been off too well with Nashville, although better than last year with 4 goals and 13 points in 38 Preds games. The Canes are giving him a second chance. Back to Belanger, as of February 9th, with Nashville. The Predators are strong at center, with Jason Arnott, David Legwand, Scott Nichol, and Jerred Smithson with the team, and Vernon Fiddler on the farm. Clearly, Belanger probably wasn't going to fit with them. So, being slightly thin on defense veterans, Belanger was shipped to Atlanta for Vitaly Vishnevski. Now, technically, but not really, Belanger has tied a record by having been a part of 4 different NHL rosters this year. But that is nullified due to the fact that he will likely only play games for Carolina and Atlanta. He was traded from Los Angeles during the preseason or before, and was traded from Nashville to Atlanta the day after he joined Nashville.
Another trade, this one more surprising, was that Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau, two of the less likely San Jose to Boston players to be traded, were shipped to Calgary for Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew. I find this to be a slightly bad trade for Boston. Brad Stuart, despite his struggles this year, is still a 20-minute a night guy with a safe style of play, and would be a top-3 D-man. Primeau is a strong defensive forward who can contribute 5-10 goals a season. On the other side, Andrew Ference is probably a #5-6 defenseman who had a good offensive season last year, but otherwise has been low-scoring and stay-at-home. Chuck Kobasew is probably the key player on this side of the trade, as he is a young prospect with offensive potential. But this year he is struggling to be productive and he has some injury trouble.
In Eastside Hockey Manager....
Penguins- Not much has happened with this group, but I lost a few AHL players to free agency.
Rimouski- Again, not much, but I signed a couple new young goaltenders after losing Michael Chiasson and trading Maxime Roy-Dressiaux or however it's spelled.
Prince Albert- Martin Hanzal was signed by the St. Louis Blues, so I will only get him off a loan.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton- It's likely that Shane Hnidy and Erik Christensen will get sent to the minors.

2.09.2007

EHM, but not much else

A quiet day in the NHL. I would write about Karlis Skrastins breaking Tim Horton's record for consecutive games played by a defenseman, but I've seen 4 different stories about it already. I will, however, update my Eastside Hockey Manager game.
Penguins- I forgot to actually tell how different my defense is now. The old defense's names included Gonchar, Cairns, Eaton, Melichar, Orpik, Whitney, and Lannon. Now, it has a better group of names, such as Salvador, Gleason, Tverdovsky, Hutchinson, Hnidy, Salei, and still Whitney. Gonchar returned to Washington. Cairns went back to Florida. Eaton is still with me, but in the minors. I'm not entirely sure what I did with Melichar, but he went somewhere else. Orpik is also in Florida. Lannon is in the minors, but at times has wanted to leave. Ryan Whitney remains the only one to have truly lasted the whole time, with one small visit to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, when I thought that Eaton could remain a strong player. Now, I am considering sending him to the ECHL. Kristopher Letang will get a strong chance to join, as will Jordan Staal for the offense.
Rimouski- Speaking of Letang, I just acquired him from Val d'Or. Hopefully, if Letang does not make it to the NHL full time, then he will be the first of many acquisitions to improve this team. Not much otherwise has happened to Rimouski.
Prince Albert- Another big trade here, as Martin Hanzal, farther from his NHL debut than Letang, came to the Raiders for Cedrick Mckinnon, a 2nd round pick in the WHL bantam draft, and whom was only playing in a something like the HRJL, which was really small. I plan to acquire a key goaltender.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton- Well, everything that happens with this team depends on the Penguins, except that Chris Ferraro may decide to sign with the AHL counterpart instead of the NHL group.
If anything else significant happens today, I'll make another post.

2.08.2007

Respectable points amount raised

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but suddenly it doesn't seem good enough to score 15 goals and 45 points in one season, unless you are a rookie. I remember when we used to respect Pierre Turgeon for his totals that seem to end up in that range now. Here are some older and/or younger guys who used to score 40 points and get respect, but are now highly criticized for staying consistent.
Brenden Morrow- Now I'm not saying people disrespect this guy, but his expectations have been largely raised recently. Before the lockout, Morrow was a consistent 17-20 goals and 40-45 points scorer. Now, as captain of the Dallas Stars, everyone expects him to consistently repeat last year's 23 goals and 65 points. Unfortunately, in his first year as captain (he has worn an 'A' for several seasons) he has been limited to 10 goals and 20 points in 28 games due to wrist surgery.
Stu Barnes- Sorry to keep going with Stars players, but for Barnes, it's true. For 13 seasons before the lockout, he was a highly respected 30-40 point scorer known for his grit and physical defensive play. Now, people are hinting that they expect more offense from this vet. He has 9 goals and 18 points in 54 games.
Pascal Dupuis- For this Wild scorer, it hasn't so much been his points as his goals. He used to be a 10-15 goals scorer and provided good depth on offense. Yet, because of one 20-goal year, people are complaining about his consistency to score 10-15 goals. The reason is easily because Dupuis was a fast player, and now that the NHL is fast, he has seemed to slow.
But that's my point! Due only to the fact that the NHL is faster, somehow now everyone is supposed to be better. Few people respect how Radim Vrbata is consistently in the 15-goal 30-point range, they expect him to score 30 goals! And I find it hard to believe that the Carolina Hurricanes consistently scratch Andrew Hutchinson because in each of his seasons so far, which have been less than 40 games, he scores at least 3 goals and 8 points! This is before and after the lockout, so he's more consistent than a lot of players. What about Sami Salo? He is only recognized as a key Canuck once he's injured. Peter Schaefer gets criticized for only scoring 9 goals, but at least 7 of them came in the 3rd period, 4 of them on the PowerPlay, and a game winner. Chris Neil has always gotten to the 5-goal 10-points 100-PIM's club, yet is only recognized as a fighter. Manny Malholtra is Columbus' key defensive center, yet so little coverage goes to him, that I had to look up Rick Nash, and then find Malholtra off the list of teammates. I could go on and on, literally a player per team that gets either no coverage or too much expectations.
Man, I don't even have anything left to say.
Okay, sorry. I'm back now. I don't have much, but I will add one thing about the Pittsburgh Penguins. Reading up on my trade rumors for the day, I saw that the Pens are looking for a solid veteran defenseman. Here's something from EHM that won't happen, but seriously could help the Pens in every area.
Goaltending- The current Pens are slightly weak in that area. Now, the way I did it won't happen, but I dealt off Marc-Andre Fluery to Carolina (details in defensemen), and sent my struggling Jocelyn Thibault to the minors. Fantasy Ottawa had put Martin Gerber on the block, and I took him for the rights to either Ross Lupaschuk or someone like him, and then received Peter Budaj from Colorado for a few '08 and '09 draft picks. Using Budaj and Gerber in a sort of platoon system, that would help the real Pens in goal. The reason it won't happen? The real Marc-Andre Fluery is a hot star for the future and the Pens would need a huge deal for that to happen. Ottawa would rather keep Gerber, and Budaj is to the Avs as Fluery is to the Pens.
Defensemen- Here's where it gets both more realistic and more absurd. Fantasy St. Louis signed Brian Leetch, so Bryce Salvador was put on the block. I think I might have recieved Salvador for Noah Welch, or another AHL defensemen. EHM hadn't managed to include the Tverdovsky-Gleason trade, but did manage to give the Canes 9 defensemen anyways. I recieved Tverdovsky and Andrew Hutchinson from Carolina for Marc-Andre Fluery, so it wasn't a horrible deal. It did work in fantasy. Also, ironically, Tim Gleason was put on the block by Los Angeles, and guess who snapped him up for 2 draft picks in '08? Not Carolina. I did. So now, in EHM, instead of Tverdovsky and Gleason being swapped for each other, they both went to the Pens. However, this won't happen because the Blues won't sign Leetch, the Pens won't trade Welch, and no team takes draft picks for Tim Gleason unless he really struggles.
Forwards- On offense, I actually didn't change much, but the small stuff was big. Fantasy Buffalo put Chris Drury on the block, and I received him for whoever was the Pens second line center before they signed Malkin. Ronald Petrovicky was grabbed from waivers, but he wasn't necessary. Andre Roy was also put on waivers, but had Petrovicky's story. Evgeni Malkin was signed, but EHM didn't see him as the player he really is. Also, I coaxed Theoren Fluery out of retirement, and am currently looking at Chris Ferraro. This won't happen because Malkin is really good, Drury would rather go to an immediate contender, and Fluery might not want to come back just yet. Also, Dan Carcillo was recalled from the AHL, and Jordan Staal wouldn't come to me.

2.07.2007

Injury streaks turn on, off after lockout

Well, I've seen a lot of players who have either become or lost their injury-proneness. Here are a few significant ones.
Tim Connolly- Actually, it's hard to determine whether or not his has changed at all. Connolly had some serious concussion problems going into the lockout, but then played a little in Europe during it. During the 05-06 season, Connolly missed some games, but managed a career high 55 points in 63 games. Then, he received another concussion during the playoffs, where he was almost MVP and could have led the Sabres to the Stanley Cup. This year, his status has been largely uncertain, but now it appears as though he could return in March. If he manages to stay concussion-free and regains his playoff greatness, then the Sabres have a huge chance of winning the Cup this year.
Chuck Kobasew- Before and during the lockout, Kobasew was a consistent 70-75 game player. Even last year, he managed 77 games and scored 20 goals. The Flames are wondering where this Chuck Kobasew is taking his vacation, because the current Chuck Kobasew has missed as many games as anyone else on the roster. First, he was out with a concussion in January that lost him 10 games in. Now, a broken elbow has had him sidelined since his first game back from the concussion.
Frantisek Kaberle- Kaberle was a strong offensive defenseman who averaged between 50-70 games a year. Last season he was the Canes' best defenseman with a career high 44 points, and probably became one of the few defensemen to be credited with a Stanley Cup winning goal. That category includes Bobby Orr. Then, a major hit to Carolina's defense when they figured out he would need shoulder surgery. He missed his team's first 55 games with an injury only defined as "shoulder*". But, fortunately, he has returned to his offensive style, scoring a key goal in his first game back.
Gee, it's hard to find some players who have stopped having injury years. But one has prevailed........
Eric Lindros!- Yes, the original Next One has finally tossed aside his concussion-ed years. At least for now. Lindros is famously known for having a concussed career, but now he has almost played as many games as anyone else on his team. Sort of. But he has played more games than he did in his past two seasons. Through 43 games this year, he has not exactly been his dominating offensive force, only getting 5 goal, but 21 assists. He caused a small shock wave by joining a Southern team for the first time in his covered hockey career, and now he is causing some aftershock by staying healthy.
- Darcy Tucker was the most-wanted super pest in the league, according to people who read the polls for www.nhl.com. The other choices were Sean Avery, Matthew Barnanby, Ian Laperriere, Chris Neil, Jarkko Ruutu, and Jordin Tootoo. Tucker has 19 goals and 31 points, along with 63 PIM's. Avery has 10 goals, 29 points, and 116 PIM's, Barnaby has 1 goal, 7 points and 127 PIM's, Laperriere has 2 goals, 16 points and 100 PIM's, Neil has 10 goals, 21 points, and 115 PIM's, Ruutu has 4 goals, 11 points, and 93 PIM's, and Tootoo has 2 goals, 5 points, and 78 PIM's. Personally, I like Chris Neil, because he isn't a quote, provides some leadership, and doesn't focus on goals or assists, instead being nearly even on each of them.
- Sean Avery actually did quite well in his Rangers debut. He assisted on a tying goal, provided some roughness, got key playing time in OT, and kept his PIM's down to 2 minutes on a goaltender interference call. However, the one spot he is clearly not so skilled in, the shootout, caused the Rangers loss.
Later!

2.06.2007

New York owns loudest NHL mouths

Well, well, well, I have to say one thing right off the bat. Why Sean Avery? It's not as if he's doing bad or anything, but why do I have to have him in my front page now when he says something about diving penalties or whatever he's complaining about now? The Rangers now officially own 2 of the most publicized speaker-players in the NHL. Brendan Shanahan has done some talking in the past, and his most recent outburst was against referees. However, at the same time, Shanny has 27 goals and 51 points in 53 games. Avery, well, this year he spoke out against the NHL and/or the NHLPA when he received a diving fine, and his other outbursts are well known, specifically against Denis Gauthier and the whole french-players-=-no-backing-up-stuff. Avery though, has just 10 goals and 28 points in 55 games. As a final note on this subject, Shanahan has just 41 penalty minutes, showing that he is a loud, but clean leader on the Rangers. Avery has 116 penalty minutes and shows less leadership than Anze Kopitar (not that Kopitar doesn't try to lead anyone, but he is a rookie, and probably still has trouble speaking English like Evgeni Malkin).
IN OTHER NEWS....
- Tonight, American Idol will ruin the chance I have at watching the Dallas Stars play the Minnesota Wild, and I am pretty disappointed. This could be the start of a really good rivalry and I don't want to miss it, but, like with the All-Star game, everyone else would rather watch Simon Cowell and San Antonian singers. (Nothing against that show, but it really bums me that I can't watch the Stars.)
- Speaking of rivalries, Sean Avery will feel just at home when he plays against the New Jersey Devils. There is normally more physical play during this Hudson River showdown, and just this once I will be glad that the Rangers got Avery when they did. He is sure to provide some extra spark into that game, and the Devils should recall Cam Janssen so that way Avery and Janssen can have a good, entertaining bout.
Ok, ok, I can't even think of anything to write about except the Rangers getting Sean Avery, because I am here in New York. Really! I could have guessed that the Rangers would trade Jason Ward, but I didn't even suspect that Avery would get traded to anyone, much less the Rangers. By the way, this is the second move by a California team and a New York/New Jersey team. Last year, Scott Neidermayer received a lot of publicity by leaving the Devils for Anaheim, and now Los Angeles gives Sean Avery to the Rangers. I did hear that the Kings picked up some good prospects though.
Later everyone. Please post a comment if you read this regularly and I don't know.
P.S. I would hate to try and confirm something that probably isn't true, but I have a funny feeling that someone at The Hockey News is reading my blog. One more time, this probably isn't true. But just a little while after I said that John Tavares should be getting more coverage, THN writes a cover story on him. AGAIN, THIS PROBABLY ISN'T TRUE. PLEASE DON'T READ THIS AND THINK THAT I HAVE ANY INFLUENCE ON THE HOCKEY NEWS BECAUSE IT'S LIKELY THAT I DON'T, SO DON'T COMMENT THAT I SHOULD WRITE MORE STUFF FOR THEM TO COVER. But it's almost like I predicted the future. I say Tavares needs more coverage, and he appears on the cover of The Hockey News. Of course, it's probably just that THN has been watching Tavares all along, and has been waiting to fit him on a cover. Read the capital words one more time.

2.05.2007

More days missed, more short thoughts

Yeah, Yeah, I missed the weekend again! Oh well, here are some more weekend short thoughts.
- I'm so glad that the NHL doesn't have one single position that can take all the blame, because then we'd have the whole Peyton Manning/Alex Rodriguez playoff thing where everybody blamed them for not being able to win the big game (Manning fans, notice the emphasis on past tense words here, I know that he won the Super Bowl yesterday). If you say the goalie should take the blame, like Marty Turco, realize at the time that he may have had bad defensemen (or in Turco's situation, he has a bad case of repeat 1st round teams). If you say it's the center's fault, like Pavel Datsyuk, realize that he may have had low scoring wingers (or, in Datsyuk's case, a few bad sticks). For defensemen, like Adrian Aucoin, then maybe he was the only good defenseman on the team (or for Adrian, he needs to stop getting injured and sign with a winning team).
-I haven't been looking at http://www.nhl.com/ recently, but I have taken a liking to CTN, or Crash the Net. I like his opinion, and he isn't afraid to criticize anyone. (I probably also like the fact that he predicted some similar trades like I did.)
-Has anyone noticed how some teams are getting back to there trade-away-the-young-guys style. Boston got rid of one of its best blueline youngsters in Milan Jurcina, and then Brandon Bochenski found out that his third NHL team would in fact be the Bruins themselves. Karl Stewart, who is one of my favorite young guys to become a true power forward, is currently on franchise number 4. He started in Atlanta as a prospect, and was traded to Anaheim with a draft pick for Vitaly Vishnevski. Then, without playing a single game for the Ducks, they placed him on waivers, where he was claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins. After three games in the Igloo, he was traded to Chicago, where he currently has 5 points.
- I currently have East side Hockey Manager 2007 for my computer, and boy, if my computer ran the NHL, we would be amazed. This game is supposed to be realistic, and I'm not trying to criticize it. But really, I mean, I have had Brenden Morrow leave the Dallas Stars for the Los Angeles Kings, and The Buffalo Sabres have traded me (the Pittsburgh Penguins are my NHL franchise) Chris Drury for some draft picks, and he resigned with me for around just 3 million dollars over 3 years! Also, since I like Sidney Crosby a lot, I decided that I would try a game with 3 GM's. One of them would be for Pittsburgh, one of them in the QMJHL, with Rimouski, and a third would be unemployed, looking for a job. Well, now there are 4 GM's. The Pens' guy is still there, and the one guy who started with Rimouski is now with Prince Albert of the WHL, the unemployed man replaced him in Rimouski, and a fourth one is in the AHL with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton so I can demote players to myself. In the game, Brian Burke was given praise upon praise as a brilliant GM, and then resigned, while my assistant GM in WB/S was taken away to Anaheim to help out Dave Taylor. Talk about weird. My team records? Rimouski is 14-40-3, which explains the double GM thing, and WB/S is 33-36-8, the Pens are 31-40-4, and Prince Albert is somewhere near 27-30-14 (I just started that one). I have not finished a season yet, but I'll have some good draft spots (LOL).
If you read this consistently, please post whether or not I should keep showing my crazy fantasy game. Later!

2.02.2007

Rumors popping up again

Hey, I got another trade right. Boston traded one of it's blueline prospects, in this case Milan Jurcina, to Washington. Man, I hope this burns Boston bad, because Jurcina wasn't bad, and Washington's defense already has key D-men on the young side, such as Mike Green, Shaone Morrison, Steve Eminger, and Sasha Pokuluk. When these guys are NHL ready, you could hear 'good defense' and 'Washington Capitals' without the 'don't have' in between. Thanks to The Hockey News (www.thehockeynews.com), here are some more trade rumors floating around.
Ladislav Nagy- Did I already say this guy? Because I should have. He does have occasional greatness on offense, but you can almost predict how bad of defense he will play. The Coyotes are severely disappointed with his lack of defensive play combined with his large contract. He's almost like Ilya Kovalchuk, except at least Kovalchuk is consistent on offense. He does, however, lead the Coyotes in scoring with 8 goals and 38 points.
Marco Sturm- Boston not only short-changed itself by letting Joe Thornton go, but now there is talk of either Sturm or Brad Stuart leaving. Those two, along with Wayne Primeau, were acquired from San Jose for Thornton, but couldn't make up for what Thornton brought offensively. Sturm is more likely to go, because he is struggling on offense, has a good playoff history, and Stuart is part of Boston's big three D-men. Sturm has 13 goals and 23 points in 46 games.
David Tanabe/Niclas Wallin- Carolina has 10 D-men once all of them recover, so someone will get traded. Tanabe has only been an extra, and hasn't displayed his normal offensive talent. Wallin, however, was a key defenseman in last years playoffs, and is one of the most underrated defensemen around, and averages 18 minutes of ice time. Tanabe, you probably won't stick with Carolina the second time around either.
I don't want to feel like I'm copying The Hockey News, so, again, visit www.thehockeynews.com to see a better description of who's going to be traded. Later!

2.01.2007

Family Ice

Isn't it great how much bloodlines cross in the NHL? Players sons end up scoring a hat trick against their Dad's old team, or someones uncle is the GM of their nephew's biggest rival.
This year in the NHL, it's not so hard to find family ties.
Brothers- Obviously, the Staal brothers go right to this spot. Eric, the Hurricanes best player, and Stanley Cup winner and playoff points leader, is still doing great job this year with 46 points. Jordan Staal, the current Staal rookie, could be one of the best shorthanded players in the NHL. He has 22 points, including 5 shorthanded points, and 16 goals. Marc Staal is a key prospect for the New York Rangers. He is currently playing in the OHL, with 27 points in 38 games. He has 12 games of AHL postseason experience, and had 2 assists. Jared Staal is the youngest of the Staal brothers, and is eligible for the 2008 draft. He is a promising player, but his stats will cause him to be selected low unless he has a breakout year. He has a goal and an assist in 49 OHL games.
There are a few other brother pairs in the Pro leagues. The Ferraro brothers, Chris and Peter, both have significant AHL careers and have played in the NHL before. Martin Biron is the current Sabres backup and brother Mathieu plays for Hamilton in the AHL. Matt Cullen is a key player for the New York Rangers, and Mark Cullen is currently with the Philadelphia Phantoms. Sergei Fedorov is a Blue Jackets center, and his way less known brother Fedor Fedorov is currently in Russia, having played for the NY Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks. But no Brother group can compare to the Staal's. Yet.
Father/Son- This category is much more common. As of now, the most famous are Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche and retired Peter Stastny. Sam Gagner is a key 2007 draftee, while father Dave was a multiple-year 40-goal scorer. Also of the Avalanche, Tyler Arnason and his father Chuck have both played for NHL teams. Panthers rookie Gregory Campbell is the son of former NHL president Colin Campbell, and Ottawa Senator Patrick Eaves' father Mike had a long NHL career. Ron and John Grahame both have NHL resumes, and Greg and Ryan Malone and J.P. and Zach Parise round off my list, although there are so much more.
Relatives (a.k.a Uncles, Cousins, etc.)- This group is substantially smaller for current NHLers. Chris Gratton of the Florida Panthers and Josh Gratton of the Phoenix Coyotes are cousins, and Ryan Miller is the younger first cousin of the NHL Miller trio of Kelly, Kip, and Kevin. Ryan Suter learned his tough style of play from former NHL uncle (not that he is his former uncle) Gary Suter, while Manny Fernandez is coached by uncle Jacques Lemaire for the Minnesota Wild. Brent Johnson's grandfather is the great Sid Abel, while Guy Carbonneau and Brenden Morrow, Cory Sarich and Nick Schultz, and Shayne Corson and Darcy Tucker are all related by marriage one way or another.
Who knows how many connections you can make by just two names out of all of those. Later folks, I'm heading to the ice.