Archive for April, 2011

2011 NHL Playoff Prediction: Western Conference

April 12th, 2011 No Comments

With my Eastern Conference playoff predictions out of the way, it’s time to set my sights on the Western Conference. Parity is alive and well throughout the NHL, but nowhere is it more apparent in the Western Conference where the difference between fifth and tenth place was just five points. Looking at the four Western Conference matchups there is not much to choose between most of the teams, that said, a few favorites should emerge, with the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings garnering a lot of attention from poolies and fans alike. With all this in mind, let’s take a look at the first round matchups and how it should all pan out. (1) Vancouver Canucks Vs. (8) Chicago Blackhawks Given the fact that the Chicago Blackhawks have ended the Vancouver Canucks playoff drives in each of the past

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2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions: Eastern Conference

April 11th, 2011 1 Comment

(1) Washington Capitals Vs. (8) New York Rangers: Despite a very successful regular season in which the New York Rangers won three of four games against the Washington Capitals it is hard to believe that the Caps will be upset in the playoffs for the second consecutive year. The Caps are a very different team from last season, choosing to concentrate on an all-round game, which includes an emphasis on defense and balanced scoring. The Caps won 16 of their final 20 games this season. Needless to say, it’s tough to get any hotter than that down the stretch, which should serve the Caps well in the playoffs. Despite not being known as an offensive juggernaut, the Rangers actually scored more goals than the Caps this season (233-224). The Capitals gave up one less goal on the season, but nobody

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NHL Playoffs 2011: Eastern Conference Playoff Bracket Set

April 10th, 2011 No Comments

All eyes on were a couple of key Eastern Conference matchups yesterday as both the New York Rangers/New Jersey Devils Match and the Carolina Hurricanes/Tampa Bay Lightning match had huge playoff implications. The Rangers kicked off Saturday by defeating the Devils by a final score of 5-2, giving them possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East—that is IF the Carolina Hurricanes did not pull off a win over the Lightning. Carolina went into their match with the Lightning on a 8-1-1 streak, but failed miserably against the Lightning, losing 6-2, including two empty net goals in the final minutes of the game. With the bottom end of the standings set, the focus was on the Philadelphia Flyers/New York Islanders game. The Islanders surprised us all by keeping it close for the first two periods, but the

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Toronto Maple Leafs: Ten Prospects That Could Pull a “James Reimer” in 2011

April 7th, 2011 3 Comments

Its official. With the Toronto Maple leafs 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night our beloved Maple Leafs have now gone without a Stanley Cup victory for 44 years. While the Toronto Maple Leafs organization has had a number of bright spots along the way, the fact remains that, for the most part, the Maple Leafs have been an organization marred in mediocrity for over four decades. For many years the Blue and White ignored the NHL Entry Draft in favor of trading for grizzled veterans. Needless to say, given the lack of Stanley Cups, that philosophy never really worked, often leaving the team void of any homegrown star talent, which, in turn, was a major reason the organization has suffered for so long. Since his arrival Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has endured an

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Toronto Maple Leafs: The Phil Kessel Deal Was Worth It…Really!

April 4th, 2011 4 Comments

There have been a number of controversial NHL trades over the years. The deal that sent Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings immediately comes to everyone’s mind, while others remember the Joe Thornton trade that saw Jumbo Joe traded from the Boston Bruins to the San Jose Sharks. In their own way, each trade changed hockey. In Los Angeles, Gretzky put the Kings on the hockey map, while in San Jose, Thornton lifted the franchise from also-ran into perpetual Stanley Cup contender. While not on the same level, the deal that saw Phil Kessel traded from the Boston Bruins to the Toronto Maple Leafs has also been deemed highly controversial—especially here in Toronto where, prior to this season, many Maple Leaf fans deemed the trade to be a disaster. On September 9th, 2009, Toronto Maple

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2011 NHL Playoffs: The Eight Most Dangerous Playoff Teams

April 3rd, 2011 No Comments

With only a few more games to be played before the NHL starts it’s playoffs, there are a few teams that are emerging as the definitive favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Goaltending is often key to a teams playoffs success, that said, the Chicago Blackhawks took home Lord Stanley’s Cup last year—even with inconsistent goaltending from Antti Niemi. Power play and penalty kill success also comes into play, as does a teams ability to gel at the right time. With all this in mind, let’s take a look at the NHL’s eight most dangerous playoffs teams of 2010-11. Philadelphia Flyers: Key Stats: Current Record: 46-22-10 (102 points)—Second in Eastern Conference GF: 245 GA: 207 Diff: +38 PP: 16.4% (20th overall) PK: 83.8% (Ninth overall) Key Players: Mike Richards (F) Jeff Carter (F) Chris Pronger (D) Sergei Bobrovsky (G) The

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