Archive for September, 2010

NHL: 2010-11 Eastern Conference Playoff Picks

September 30th, 2010 2 Comments

With the regular season just a few days away from commencing there are still a lot of roster decisions to be made. That said, for the most part, the top three lines on most NHL rosters are all but set, which makes it all the easier to make some solid predictions for the upcoming 2010-11 season. The following is a look at the Eastern Conference teams and where I see these teams finishing. Washington Capitals: Prediction- 1st In the Eastern Conference. After an excellent regular season which saw the Capitals earn the Presidents Trophy and set all kinds of franchise records along the way, the Caps fell victim to Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak’s superb goaltending in the first round of the playoffs. Consdering just how poorly the Capitals season ended,  you just got to believe that the Capitals will come back with a

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NHL Pre-Season: Nazem Kadri Scores Two- Is It Enough?

September 29th, 2010 No Comments

Heading into the summer of 2010 Nazem Kadri knew he had to make a number of changes to himself and his game if he was going to crack the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup. First Up? Gain some much needed weight on his smallish frame so he could compete with NHL forwards. Kadri succeeded doing just that, adding around 15 pounds of muscle, bringing his weight up to an acceptable 188 pounds on his 6’0” frame. Maple Leafs general manager was quite clear about Kadri’s chances of making the team all summer long. If Kadri put his time in at the weight room, developed his game away from the puck and still managed to contribute offensively he had an excellent shot at making the team out of training camp. Failure to do so would likely see Kadri end up with the

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Toronto Maple Leafs: Tim Brent, Who Is This Guy?

September 29th, 2010 1 Comment

With the regular season just over a week away, speculation is swirling that Tim Brent, a relatively unknown player, has all but secured his place on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster as the third line centre. For Maple Leaf fans, Brent’s rise comes with mixed emotions as many fans were hoping that rookie forward Nazem Kadri, who has been criticized by management for his paltry play thus far in the pre-season, would emerge as the team’s number three or number two centre. Brent, who hails from Cambridge, Ontario, honed his craft in the OHL as a member of the St. Michael’s Majors from 2000 through 2003, amassing a total of 78 goals, 142 assists and a +50 rating in 238 career OHL games. Originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft (37th

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Toronto Maple Leafs: Analyzing The Pre-Season Results

September 28th, 2010 1 Comment

The Toronto Maple Leafs iced a very strong lineup last night, leading to a 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, who did not play all-star goaltender, Ryan Miller. With the victory over the Sabres the Maple Leafs now own a record of 3-2-1 in the pre-season, good enough for second overall in the Eastern Conference. Having finished amongst the League’s worst in just about every conceivable category during the 2009-10 season Maple Leafs fans are encouraged by the Leafs goals for (12th overall), goals against average (first overall) and power play, which ranks 15th overall. Between the pipes Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson has received the bulk of the workload, playing in a total of four games, registering a record of 1-2 to go along with his lofty 3.53 goals against average and .907 save percentage. With NHL pre-season rosters lighting

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Toronto Maple Leafs: Centre Of Attention, Who Will Play Down The Middle?

September 28th, 2010 No Comments

Earlier this week I speculated that Nazem Kadri, while a decent prospect, may not be ready for prime time NHL duty—at least not yet anyways. Today, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke was quoted in the Toronto Sun as saying, “He’s (Kadri) not anywhere near to the level we (the Leafs) had hoped for and expected,” Burke said on a conference call. “I don’t know why that is, but he’s running out of time.” Which begs the question—if Kadri is not ready, than who the heck is going to step up as the Leafs’ third line centreman? With sophomore Tyler Bozak expected to take on the first line duties between Kris Versteeg and Phil Kessel and the ever disappointing, Mikhail Garbovski’s all but a lock to fill the Leafs’ second line centre duties, there are few options the Maple Leafs

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Toronto Maple Leafs: Jerry D’Amigo in Right Place with Marlies

September 28th, 2010 No Comments

As is the case every preseason, Toronto Maple Leaf fans tend to overvalue many of their prospects; such was the case with Jerry D’Amigo. Listed at 5’10″, 200 pounds, D’Amigo looks to have the size to be an effective NHL-calibre winger. But with very little professional experience D’Amigo lacks the well-rounded game that NHL clubs demand of their players. Originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (158th overall), D’Amigo showed flashes of brilliance in training camp, including his ability to create offense and undying compete level—two traits that will carry him far in the NHL some day. Unfortunately for D’Amigo, “someday” will not be for a little while longer, but there is still plenty of hope that the 20-year-old can crack the Maple Leafs roster, perhaps as early as Christmas. With the Maple Leafs painfully

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