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

April 14th, 2010 No Comments

Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter

Beloved Burke:

You gotta hand it to Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke— he may not be the most beloved GM in the League, but he sure as hell is the most loyal.

At the trade deadline Burke could have asked veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle to waive his no-trade clause, he didn’t. Asked why he would bring Leafs head coach Ron Wilson back, Burke said he would because “he did a good job coaching”.

Burke had the opportunity to throw the likes of Jason Blake, Lee Stempniak and Alex Ponikarovsky under the bus and, thus far, has refused to and he had every right to. The Point is Burke is one class act and the Leafs are lucky to have him as their leader.

Six Pack:

Here a list of six things I’d like to see happen in the playoffs:

1. Shane Doan and the Phoenix Coyotes gets through the first round.
2. Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby go head-to-head at some point.
3. The Montreal Canadiens get shellacked by the Washington Capitals.
4. The Buffalo Sabres (I hate everything Buffalo) get upset by the Boston Bruins with Mark Recchi scoring the series winning goal.
5. One of the first round games go to a game seven double overtime.
6. That Drew Doughty emerges as the best defenseman of the playoffs.

Traitor Kozlov:

Atlanta Thrashers veteran forward Slava Kozlov recently vented to the media about Thrashers head coach (now fired) John Anderson stating “I don’t want to say any bad thing about coach (John Anderson) but I don’t have anything good to say.”

The quote was an act of disrespect towards a good man and a good coach. Of note: Kozlov was a healthy scratch for nearly 30 games, think there are some sour grapes involved? Get over yourself Mr. Kozlov, fact is, your game is weak, as were your comments.

Will “Iggy” Pop?

Jarome Iginla was quoted today as saying he would consider waiving his no-trade clause if the team asked him to. For all the good he’s done for the Calgary Flames organization it would be a blessing if they traded Iginla to a contender. Simply put, Iggy deserves better.

Stat Pack:

What do the Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators have in common? Yes, they are all going to the playoffs…and they all had 100 points or more on the season.

That’s right, 11 teams “earned” 100 points this season…and they say the shoot-out is a good thing…Fact is, the shoot out muddies the waters and presents team in a false manner—there should never be 11 100 point teams in a season.

For what it’s worth, here is a look at the NHL’s hottest teams coming into the playoffs:

Detroit Red Wings: 8-1-1
San Jose Sharks: 8-1-1
Ottawa Senators: 7-2-1
Washington Capitals: 6-1-3

Looking At My Crystal Ball:

It’s always tough to predict the Stanley Cup Final before we’ve a chance to look at the teams that made it for a couple of games. If I was a betting man (which I am not), my money would be on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference and the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference.

My reasoning? The Penguins have Crosby and Malkin healthy and Marc-Andre Fleury proved he can be a money goaltender in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are arguably the deepest team in the NHL, they can roll four lines, play just about any style and, despite their shortcomings in net, are built to win today and should do so.

As for which team wins it all, I will go out on a limb and suggest that the Penguins will repeat, wrapping up one hell of a year for Sidney Crosby.

Until next time,

Peace!

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