Archive for the ‘Player Profiles’ Category

Flyers Playoff Hopes Fading With Every Loss

March 28th, 2010 1 Comment

Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter The Philadelphia Flyers lost in embarrassing fashion to the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday by a score of 4-1, inching them closer and closer to becoming a team that is on the outside looking in come playoff time. Comparatively, the team that is chasing them—the Atlanta Thrashers— beat up on the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-0, inching them closer to the eighth and final playoff spot in the lowly Eastern Conference. For the Flyers, every game is crucial going forward. Over the past ten games the Flyers have completely fallen apart, completing the transformation from playoff contender to playoff pretender. Over the past ten games the Flyers have compiled a record of 2-6-2, proving once and for all what many fans and NHL pundits have felt about the Flyers for quite some time—the

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Looking Ahead: The Top Ten Unrestricted Free Agents Of 2011

March 24th, 2010 No Comments

Written By; Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter The NHL’s unrestricted free agent crop of 2010 is not a particularly strong one. Patrick Marleau and Thomas Plekanec make up two of the strongest forwards available while Nik Lidstrom and Evgeni Nabokov are two of the strongest players available on the back end. It is the belief of most prognosticators that Marleau, Lidstrom and Nabokov will all re-sign with their current clubs, with Plekanec being the most likely to move on. Given the suspected lack of movement and the belief that the 2010 unrestricted free agent crop will be very average overall, it may be wise for teams to save their cap space for 2011 (or so you’d think). When you look at the overall picture for 2011 UFA’s it mirrors 2010 very well—great talent at the top, but not much depth.

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Is Steven Stamkos The NHL’s Next Big Star?

March 13th, 2010 No Comments

Few players in NHL history have the kind of season that Sidney Crosby had in his rookie year, especially in this the era of defense first hockey. Crosby’s 2005-06 rookie season saw him post 39 goals and 102 points, making him one of the most proficient rookie scorers in NHL history. Crosby’s 102 point effort was second to only Alex Ovechkin’s 106 points, with current St. Louis Blues (now Boston Bruins) forward Brad Boyes a distant third with a respectable 69 points. For some players, their rookie season represents the pinnacle of their careers. Many players are never able to duplicate their original success, casting them from the spotlight and into the depths of players with missed opportunities. When Steven Stamkos arrived as a rookie in 2008-09 with the Tampa Bay Lightning he came with enormous, if not unfair, expectations.

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Ritter’s Rant: 15 Unrestricted Free Agents & Other NHL Notes

March 4th, 2010 No Comments

What is going on in Calgary? Why the sudden love affair with all the Toronto Leafs Cast-offs? The fact that the Flames decided to cut-bait with Dion Phaneuf was questionable enough, but now, after brining in former Maple Leafs goaltender (and an underachieving one at that) Vesa Toskala at the deadline, I have to question Sutter and Co. Nik Hagman is a decent player, Ian White can play the game and Matt Stajan is a good guy to have in the locker room, but none of these players ever had me thinking “championship” in Toronto and I don’t think for a minute any of them will bring a championship to Calgary either. Two words Calgary fans, “good luck”….. I have already chimed in on whether or not teams should be able to trade for cap space (dollars) at the deadline,

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NHL Trade Deadline Day: Two Hours To Go, Which Teams Improved?

March 3rd, 2010 No Comments

Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter Heading into Trade Deadline day many prognosticators lamented that they felt the biggest deals had already happened. Of course they were talking about the likes of goaltender J.S. Giguere and defenseman Dion Phaneuf being traded to the  Toronto Maple Leafs and Ilya Kovalchuk moving on to New Jersey to join the Devils. While there may not have been any bog name players traded on this, deadline day, there were a number of deals consummated today that, going forward, will impact the playoff races in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. With that in mind, with a little over tow hours to go before the trade deadline expires, let’s take a look at the deals that will most impact the playoff picture and which teams emerged as improved. Teams That Improved: Anaheim Ducks: Acquired

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Brian Burke Is Right: NHL Teams Should Be Allowed To Trade Salary

February 18th, 2010 No Comments

Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke is often looked upon as a bully in NHL circles. His crass demeanor and aggressive nature with the media makes Burke one of the most feared general managers in NHL hockey. Let’s face it, nobody is under the impression that the “P” in the middle of Brian Burke’s name stands for Penelope, however, you may find more than a few people in NHL circles that are willing to bet it is a five letter word that rhymes with “slick”. To be fair, Burke’s gruff nature is up for debate—I for one love his demeanor and swagger. One thing is definite, Burke is an innovator, the type of GM that looks outside the box for answers, the type of GM that is always willing to take calculated risks, and a guy that is always

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