Sunday, July 7, 2013

Back Again! Free Agency and draft Recap?

So... It has been quite some time since I made any posts. A whole lot of things have changed for me and my family. My daughter is 18 months old, my wife and I are expecting again, and we got a house! Now that all of the hecticness has calmed a bit, I thought I could write again. Do tell the wife to check out her blog as well, Now back to business.

The draft and free agency period was just as crazy as I had assumed it would be. A few teams made a lot of noise where some didn't. There was a bit of surprise on my part on the Washington Capitals not doing anything at all really. In the spirit of doing an east and west recap, I thought I'd have a go! Now as always, I do disagree with a lot of their analysis so please do leave feedback.


Boston Bruins:

What do I think? I think that this talk of prestige over promise is a copout for Bruins fans to use against the critics who say they are the Blackhawks of the East. It is hands down impossibly people to have a team like theirs or the Blackhawks without moving out a significant player or two every offseason. They have great development groups in both cities and they are tremendous competitors. This makes the Nathan Hortons of the world look like top notch forwards. Please folks, lets remember that Nathan Horton is at best a second line winger. He isn't an elite forward, he will NOT make Marian Gaborik better in Columbus. Which leads us to Loui Eriksson. Is Eriksson better than Horton? No question in my mind. But, and this is a HUGE but, he played for an incredibly underachieving squad in Dallas. He will score more and he will be a bigger threat than Horton, but it cost them Tyler Seguin. Seguin is immature I will give you that, but this kid is 21 years old and at one point was considered the best prospect in the world with Taylor Hall. Boston knows that its days are numbered with aging players like Zdeno Chara and they need to compete today, but I would have done much better than Jarome Iginla. Tremendous player and a definite hall of famer but his tank is empty and he is no Jaromir Jagr. With no impact players drafted, I give Boston a C-.

Buffalo Sabres:

Buffalo is one of the aforementioned teams that did NOTHING with the free agency period. I will say that I do like the things they did at the draft. Everyone knows that Paul Holmgren had his eye on Rasmus Ristolainen at the draft as the most NHL ready defenseman after Seth Jones. Buffalo decided that with the logjam of defenders Philadelphia has raised, maybe Homer knows something and they swiped Ristolainen with the 8th overall pick. This kid is an absolute Finnish giant at 6'4" 207lbs. If he finds a way to back on a few pounds in the offseason, I do believe Buffalo has found their second anchor to pair with Tyler Myers. Nikita Zadarov will also be a force to reckon with some day in the next few years. His size is there and his physical presence, but a little fine tuning in the AHL will turn him into a mainstay. I give Buffalo a C.

Carolina Hurricanes:

No question in my mind, Carolina may have failed the worst here. Mike Komisarek, I get this signing. Cheap, physical, and possibly returning to form soon. Andrej Sekera? Sure he is a solid second line pairing but good god does everyone seriously believe this guy is that good? He was a second line pairing with average numbers in Buffalo where Ryan Miller was struggling and made his defensemen seem a little better with the help they tried to give. Not a really solid pickup in my mind. Anton Khudobin should be a decently solid backup for Cam Ward. He will never be as good as he was supposed to be, but nonetheless a solid signing. Onto the draft, Elias Lindholm should become a rather impressive third line center this year. I do believe he makes the club and I do believe he has a decently high ceiling, but he isn't quite the impact player the other top 4 picks were. Overall, I give the Hurricanes a D+.

Tune in tomorrow for the next three teams on the docket! The Colombus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings and the Florida Panthers!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pittsburgh Wins 9th In A Row

    The Penguins are on fire. We can all admit that they are the force to be reckoned with right now. To add on with my post about Crosby, I think their success is owed to his absence. When Crosby is out, his team feels like they need to play twice as hard because their "star" is out. Also, Evgeni Malkin gets all the attention which is never a bad thing.
    Pittsburgh could feasibly take the Atlantic division and the Eastern conference. Catching fir now is always great for teams but they have to hope they don't fizzle out before the playoffs. Well, hope that Fluery doesn't fizzle out before the playoffs. I still stand by my original prediction 5 months ago that the Flyers will hoist the cup this year.
    Bryzgalov is hot, Giroux is being Giroux, Simmonds is a beast with Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr is 17 again. This is the team to beat still but I do believe the Penguins are Philadelphia's kryptonite. The last few times they have met in the playoffs, the Penguins have strongly handled the Flyers in short series'.
    This offseason, if the Penguins and Flyers meet, Paul Holmgren's career will be defined. Good, bad, or ugly, Holmgren's fate will be decided this season. Whether or not this gamble on Bryzgalov will pay off is what will make or break it for Holmgren.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sidney Crosby Should Just Stay Hurt.

    I can't deny the talent, but jesus christ I am so tired of hearing about Crosby's journey back to the ice. Who the hell cares about him being able to take a hit in practice or maybe this time around he can actually make a comeback. I am so tired of hearing about him. Alex Ovechkin needs to catch fire so we can care about someone else for once.

    Or how about Evgeni Malkin who is killing it in the absence of Crosby? I mean seriously guys this is the second time he will have led the league in scoring while Crosby is out. Pittsburgh needs to realize that Malkin is the guy that should get all the ice time when Crosby finally returns. This guy has 38 goals and 81 points this year after totaling 37 in 43 games last year. There is no doubt that he plays better without Crosby in the lineup and is the better option to Crosby as your number one guy.

    Make him available and I can guarantee you that some team in the dumps of the league will sell their future to land a guy like him. Rick Nash stayed in Columbus because the asking price was what Malkin would fetch. If you don't want to give up such tremendous production then its time to close the book on Crosby. He is a great player but now his future is such a huge question mark. 

    It isn't just because I am a Flyers fan that I feel this way. I can recognize that Crosby does have tremendous talent and if he were to toughen up a little I would respect him as a player but because of his actions I just can't. I would take Malkin any day of the week coming to Philly but I would stop watching games in revolt if they landed Crosby. He is a disgrace to top players like Ovechkin, Malkin, Stamkos, and the Sedin twins with his antics. You play hockey Sidney this isn't touch football. Grow a pair of nuts and play like a man. Stop diving and crying at every hit. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and just stay hurt. It's a better league when you aren't in it.

Bryzgalov Blanks Another Team

     What a hell of a performance, 29 saves in the game and 3 in the shootout. Ilya Bryzgalov has returned to form. Such an unbelievable game by him. Big saves at important times and man is he on fire. 3 shutouts in his last 4 games and just 6 goals allowed in his last 6 games.

    It is pretty safe to say that if Philadelphia makes the playoffs this year, for once in the last 15 plus years, their least problem is goaltending. How brilliant does Holmgren look today after all the crap he was given about the contract. Good for him and good for this team. Its about time they had something to look forward to in net.

    I will post the highlights of the game below as soon as they are up. It is worth a watch. The save on Phil Kessel in overtime was my save of the game. Kudos to Jonas Gustavsson though for his stop on Jagr in overtime as well. What a great classic battle of netminders. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Bryz Celebrating the Win

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What A Difference....

    What a difference a few weeks can make for a player. Being trashed by every fan, local and national media, even some former teammates and friends, Ilya Bryzgalov still stayed tough and kept working. I guess the next time Peter Laviolette feels Bryz is overworked, he will start him in the next 10 games.

    After many attempts at rationalizing and probing the situation of why Bryzgalov was failing to perform up to his potential, the organization finally listened to him. Bryzgalov is a true workhorse goaltender and I myself thought that is why they felt comfortable giving him a 9 year deal. I mean the last few decent prospects of good goaltenders were worked into the ground by this team.

    Ray Emery was the most recent but guys like Robert Esche, Roman Cechmanek, Antero Nittymakii, and Michael Leighton were all beat to shreds with the workload that is the Philadelphia Flyers starting goaltender. So why you wouldn't overload a guy who has averaged 64 games a year with great success?

    In the 2009-2010 season, Bryzgalov played a career high 69 games and posted a record of 42-20-6 with a GAA of 2.29 and a save percentage of .920. His numbers over his career have improved significantly as his workload increased. He is currently on pace to play right somewhere around 60-65 games and I know Laviolette had to give Bobrovsky his shot, but you don't pay a goaltender $51 million to give a young kid a shot at the starting spot.

    Now to round back to the point of this blog. I would like to personally congratulate Bryz on his 4th shutout of the year and on winning over the fans of this city. That is far from the easiest thing to do here in Philadelphia and he worked so hard at getting our support as Flyer fans.

    With that said, gear up the bandwagon guys here comes all the Bryzgalov fans! I will say right here right now that if he stays healthy, Bryzgalov will win 45 games next year, win the Vezina, lead this team to their best season in franchise history, guide them to the presidents trophy and if all goes right, Lord Stanley returns to our beloved city.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hits to the Head.

    I'm not a real huge fan of all the suspensions and fines in sports nowadays. But with that said, if we can't change the rules they should be consistent. Intended or not, Niklas Kronwall completely destroyed Jake Voracek's head.

    No penalty call, no supplemental discipline, nothing. This is an absolute disgrace to the game. Kronwall is a repeat offender and he does nothing but hunt for people on the ice. Players like this should not get away without punishment.

    Matt Cooke is a great example. He is a tough guy forward who doesn't electrify much but gets the job done well. He also gets fined on a regular basis for borderline hits, sometimes hits that are completely legal. But because Kronwall is the cornerstone of Detroit's defense corps once Lidstrom retires he is allowed to do whatever he wants?

    Alexander Ovechkin, the best player in the league in my opinion, was fined and suspended for an illegal hit. This is a prime example of favoritism. Who knows why but there is some reason Kronwall wasn't disciplined correctly. Nothing outrages me more than favoritism about mandatory rules. These officials need to step up to the plate during the game and Brendan Shanahan needs to get his act together. I really liked him as head of discipline at first but he has lost a whole lot of respect from me.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tonight's preview: Buffalo at Anaheim

This is the first installment of many for the preview of the night game. I chose The Buffalo Sabres visiting the Anaheim Ducks. The game can be seen tonight at 10:00 PM. for Sabre fans, it will be on MSG-B and for Ducks fans it will be on Prime. Anaheim has been on a tear since the new year and doesn't seem to be slowing down. They are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and they are jockeying for the 8th and final playoff spot in the west. They sit at 64 points today, 6 behind the Dallas Stars who have 70.

Buffalo is in a similar position. After new owner Terry Pegula bought the Sabres from Tom Galisano for $189 million, expectations were incredibly high for the team. Pegula invested a ton of money into the team so they could increase payroll and really contend with better teams in the league. Especially after acquiring players like Ville Leino (Free agent signed to a 6 year - $27 million contract), Christian Erhoff (Free agent signed to a 10 year - $40 million contract), and Robyn Regehr (Traded from Calgary). Their pursuit of being a contending team is yet to yield results. Sitting at 62 points they are only 7 points out of 8th right now.

So tonight should be a really great battle of two teams fighting for their playoff lives with time running thin on the regular season. I have Buffalo emerging victorious by a score of 4-1. I feel like Thomas Vanek is going to have a really good game and Ryan Miller is going to return to his old form as the best goaltender in the world. Tune in to this one if you can guys.