Archive for the ‘Chicago Blackhawks’ Category

Is Ray Emery Brian Burke’s Answer Between The Pipes?

February 20th, 2012 15 Comments

There has been a lot of talk lately about the future of both of the Toronto Maple Leafs goaltenders. Jonas Gustavsson is an unrestricted free agent this summer which brings into question whether or not Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke will attempt to re-sign the Swedish goaltender, while James Reimer’s future with the Toronto Maple Leafs has been slightly compromised due to injuries and some sub-par numbers this season. Brought over from Sweden via free agency, Gustavsson has amassed a record of 38-40-12 through 97 career starts, including a 16-12-1 record this season. Gustavsson’s rookie season saw his post a 16-15-9 record, but he struggled in his second season, amassing a paltry 6-13-2 record. A heart ailment and the death of both of his parents were key factors in Gustavsson’s struggles. That and a change in goaltending style that

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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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NHL Trade Rumors: Who Will Replace Tomas Kaberle?

February 13th, 2011 No Comments

The Time for Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke to trade Tomas Kaberle was never better than last summer. Void of his no-trade clause, Kaberle was susceptible  to a move but Burke failed to pull the trigger on a deal, suggesting the returns being offered up by opposing GM’s were underwhelming. Given the lack of interest in Kaberle from NHL circles, Burke happily held onto Kaberle, where he has watched his veteran defenseman have an ordinary season on a team that has once again fallen short of expectations. Even with Kaberle struggling at times this season, in a league with few defenseman that can play upwards of 25 minutes per night, make a terrific outlet pass, run the power play and play with poise, Kaberle is expected to be sought after by several NHL teams. The Boston Bruins, New

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Brian Burke Deals Francois Beauchemin, Who Is Next To Go?

February 10th, 2011 No Comments

Yesterday, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke dealt veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin to the Anaheim Ducks for defensive prospect Jake Gardiner, a conditional fourth round draft pick in 2013 and the apple of Burke’s eye, Joffrey Lupul. Lupul, who has battled back problems and a serious blood infection over the past two seasons, has three 20 goal seasons to his name, scoring 28 goals in 2005-06, 20 in 2007-08 and 25 in 2008-09, respectively. In Gardiner, Burke got a converted forward who is known for his quick outlet passes, puck control and skating ability. All in all, Gardiner is regarded as a tremendous prospect who may very well emerge as a top four defenseman in a few years. At yesterday’s press conference, Burke said he was not done dealing and while he was non-committal about the number of trades

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Ritter’s Rant: News And Notes From Around The NHL

November 5th, 2010 No Comments

Net Gains: With about a dozen games in the book in the 2010-11 NHL season there are a ton of surprises out there, none more prevalent than the number of goaltenders that are succeeding early on. Boston Bruins netminder Tim Thomas (one season after losing his starter’s role) is putting up some pretty unbelievable numbers, going an incredible 7-0-0 to start the season to go along with his mind blowing .977 save percentage and minuscule 0.72 goals against average. As good as Thomas has been, there are a number of goalies out there that have been lights out. St. Louis Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak is putting to rest any debate over which goaltender (Carey Price or Halak) is the better goalie, posting a 7-1-1 record, 1.53 GAA, .940 save percentage and three shutouts. The biggest surprise would be the play

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NHL Division-By-Division Power Rankings: Southeast Division Weak No More

November 2nd, 2010 No Comments

Three weeks and one calender month into the 2010-2011 NHL season, we’ve already begun to be able to pick out the surprises and disappointments of the year. Teams like Buffalo and New Jersey, two top-ranked teams from the Eastern Conference last season, have both struggled to get going and posted a combined 0-8-2 home record, while franchises such as Montreal, Boston, and Tampa Bay have burst onto the stage with a combined 20-7-2 record. Meanwhile, in the West, Nashville, Edmonton, and Dallas started out strongly but have faltered lately, while, on the other hand, youthful squads such as St. Louis, Colorado, and Los Angeles have already begun to prove their legitimacy. But how does the NHL look from a divisional standpoint? Which five-team groups have been the toughest to play in so far, while which divisions have struggled despite their

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