Monday, November 30, 2009

'Around The Horn'- First Edition

1) We at Fauxrumors had been discussing for a while the possibility of doing a semi-regular discussion/response to the Sunday hockey columnists. As many might already know the Sunday paper is where most of the better known hockey columnists do a regular column discussing various aspects of their home teams and the NHL in general. We read these folks for both insight and for humor (unintended sometimes). We sometimes agree and sometimes very much disagree with their respective takes, but at the very least many times its good fodder for blog discussion. Some of the aforementioned writers include but are NOT limited to:

  • Larry Brooks- NY Post

  • Kevin Dupont - Boston Globe

  • Bruce Garrioch - Ottawa Sun

  • Dave Molinari - Pittsburgh Post gazette

  • Steve Simmons- Toronto Sun

  • James Mirtle- Toronto Globe

  • Adrian Dater- Denver Post

2) The story this past week that got our interest was Larry Brooks' story concerning the shoot out. Or as we like to call the 'demonstration' that takes place AFTER the real game. We have been on record from the start against the silly way of determining the outcome of games. WE felt back when it was first instituted (after the last Bettman lockout) that based upon seeing the shoot out in minor league games that it was an anti climatic exercise after a good hockey game. Brooks apparently has not only come to that conclusion but gone a step further in saying that the silly way of deciding games is ruining the NHL. He mentions stats that show that the number of games going to the extra- extra session has been steadily climbing. Its risen to what it is now: An astounding 18% of ALL games are decided by this method!! Not hockey, but by a skills competition that has much to do with actual hockey as a home run contest does with a baseball game

3) It seems coaches (trying to keep the regulation losses to a minimum) have understandably instituted a conservative approach that has resulted in an amazing 27% of ALL games going to OT (where most end up in the SO). As most, including us, surmised years ago, coaches will adapt to the rules and in an attempt to keep their jobs try what means they can employ to minimize the damage, thus defensive first schemes that result in fewer and fewer games decided in 60 minutes. Not only are teams playing for regulation draws to get the guaranteed point, they do it more often late in the season, when playoff positions are on the line! So get ready, its gonna get worse! So in essence, when games are supposed to get more competitive, they actually get less competitive. Teams naturally do what the system encourages them to do: play for the guaranteed point, then take their chances during the brief overtime period that follows the real game.

4) So, what to do now? We can't see the NHL changing the shoot out. Its here to stay folks. In fact as we wrote 2 1/2 years ago don't be shocked to see it start to seep into consideration in the post season! In our opinion the number one flaw is that a victory in regulation is considered the same as a victory in overtime or shootout. That needs to change. Incentive to win in 60 minutes needs to be reclaimed. We'd prefer a 2 point system. You win in regulation you get 2, you win in the OT/SO, you get 1. You lose, you get ZERO regardless. That way no incentive to play for a 'tie' , and no gain for losing. Of course critics abound for that way of thinking so we'd be OK (although not enamoured) with the 3 point system. In that a regulation win would be elevated to a 3 point gain, and a OT/SO win 2 points. The loser point would remain unfortunately. At least that method incentivizes a team to win in regulation and the loser of an OT game comes away with something. One thing is clear, the current system is broken!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Week 9- Results

1) For the third consecutive week, we at Fauxrumors managed to go a very solid, if not impressive, 9-4 with our weekly picks. This brings our 9 week total to 75-43 on the season, or a .636 winning %. We also got our Lock of The Week correct to bring that stat to 7-2 on the year.

2) We will be back at the picks next Saturday when a whopping 14 games will be played. Also we are preparing a post about new Jersey. We should have it out later this week. As always keep it here for all the latest!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekly Picks- 9 Who Would Rick Pick?

1) Its week 9. So we figured we'd have (in spirit only) Rick Tochett make the picks for this week. So far this season we at fauxrumors are an impressive 66-39 for a .629 winning %.

NY Islanders at New Jersey: Devils

Ottawa at Boston: Bruins

Carolina at Buffalo: Sabres (Lock of The Week)

Washington at Montreal: Capitals

Philadelphia at Atlanta: Flyers

Calgary at Columbus: Blue Jackets

NY Rangers at Pittsburgh: Penguins

Detroit at St. Louis: Blues

Florida at Nashville: Predators

Tampa Bay at Dallas: Stars

Minnesota at Colorado: Avalanche

Edmonton at Vancouver: Canucks

Chicago at Los Angeles: Kings

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanks Giving!

1) On the Thanks Giving holiday here in the States we wanted to wish all our readers a great holiday and continue to thank God for all the many blessings bestowed upon us

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

(NOT) The Next Great One?

1) It came to us as we watched last evening's version of The NHL network's "On The Fly" when they were discussing their winners for Trophies based upon the first quarter of the season. Now, of course we got a chuckle out of the fact that we did that last week and mentioned how silly it is. However, forgetting the inaness of mentioning such a list what struck us as one of the ass clowns(that could mean any of the panelists there) mentioned their winner of Hart Trophy (based upon the first 1/4 of the season) was Sidney Crosby. We said huh? The other panelist also went, Huh? Then it really hit us, when the guy in favour of giving the league MVP award to Crosby mentioned he was 25th in scoring!! Not that this alone would disqualify him, but it was a real shocker that the player we thought of as the next great NHL player, and the one who we felt had the best possible chance of being the next Wayne Gretzky was that far behind the leaders.

2) Now, before the insults/hate mail from Penguin/Sidney fans starts streaming in we want to first put his career in proper perspective. We have been staunch defenders of his since he entered the league, now 5 years ago. He's had detractors from day 1 looking to take 'the kid' apart due to his overwhelming publicity even before he played an NHL game. He became the face of the league following the most recent Bettman lock out. He was going to be the game's saviour. A lot to ask of an 18 year old for sure! If taken into proper perspective he's had a very good start of his career. In fact it can be argued successfully that he has had one of the best possible starts one could ask for. If his name were other than Sidney Crosby that is. How many players even are playing regularly in the NHL by age 22? In his case he's now played over 300 games and has an impressive 419 points. Additionally he can add a Hart, Ross and Pearson Trophies to his resume, in addition to being a vital cog in helping his team win a Stanley Cup. All accomplishments worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, and all before his 22nd birthday!

3) However, when put into the perspective of how does he compare with Wayne Gretzky, The Great One(TGO), how does The Next One(TNO) hold out? Yes, we understand different eras, but still it would make for a proper comparison. Through his first 4 seasons TGO had 709 points, and didn't slow down from there with several more 200+ point seasons yet to come. By this time he had 3 Hart Trophies in his soon to be massive trophy case. The significant difference is that it took TGO an additional season to win his first Cup (First of 4). TGO had an astounding 11 consecutive seasons with 100 or more assists! Meanwhile Crosby after seeming to appear to be on his way to at least coming close to that kind of production with a 100 point rookie season followed by an impressive 120 point campaign as a 19 yr old. Then he seemed to hit the cruise control, unable to get tothe next level that Gretzky was able to. Injuries, something unknown by TGO in his first 15 or so seasons, hampered Crosby in his next 2 years when he totaled an impressive, but hardly Gretzky-esque 175 points total in those combined 2 seasons.

4) Which brings us to today. Through 23 games Crosby has a decent total of 22 points. Good for 25th in league scoring and a projected total of 78 points. Yes, his team has had some injuries, but if he is supposed to be 'The Guy' he should be making the players around him better? He seems to have leveled off and become just another one of about 10 or so players who are ones to watch, but certainly nothing 'generational' in his talent by any stretch. Yes, he will probably be a first ballet Hall of Famer when all is said and done, but it doesn't appear we will be talking about Sidney Crosby a decade after he retires like we do about Wayne Gretzky. Unfair perhaps on some levels, but when you're elevated to the lofty perch of being the game's saviour you have little place to go but down.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Results- Week 8

1) We completed week 8 of our weekly picks of each Saturday game. We had another very solid night, going 9-4 on the day/eve. that brings our season long total to 66-39 for a .629 winning %. We additionally got our Lock of The Week correct for a season record of 6-2 in that stat. Look for week 9 next Saturday when yet another 13 games will be on the schedule.

2) A short work week upcoming for the folks, but not for us at Fauxrumors. FR2 says they have a post about Sidney Crosby. We're promised it should be out by Tuesday. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week 8 Predictions!

1) Yes on to week 8. before we do we wanted to mention again that yesterday's post was NOT a prediction of the final standings folks. We received about 50 or so e-mails complaining/excoriating us that our predictions were 'full of shit' as one person told us. LOL Sorry we didn't mean to stir things up with that. Its a blog guys! We do this every season folks! Anyway on to today's games. 13 in all up for grabs, We go into today with a 7 week total of 57-35, or a .612 winning %.

Tampa Bay at Carolina: Hurricanes

Detroit at Montreal: Red Wings

Florida at NY Rangers: Rangers

Buffalo at Ottawa: Senators ( Lock of The Week)

Washington at Toronto: Capitals

Pittsburgh at Atlanta: Thrashers

New Jersey at Dallas: Stars

Philadelphia at Phoenix: Coyotes

Chicago at Edmonton: Black Hawks

San Jose at Anaheim: Shark

Friday, November 20, 2009

At The Quarter Poll......

1) With nearly all teams having now played 20% of their schedules we decided to project the finals standings. Obviously there is plenty of time for teams outside of the playoffs to get back in, but some trends are clearly becoming evident. This is NOT a Prediction!! We merely are projecting an 82 game season point total based upon each teams current point total/games played.

2) First in the East:
  • New Jersey- 119
  • Washington- 117
  • Buffalo- 114
  • Philadelphia- 114
  • Pittsburgh- 104
  • Atlanta- 100
  • Ottawa- 99
  • Tampa Bay-99


  • NY Rangers- 90
  • NY Islanders-90
  • Boston- 86
  • Montreal- 78
  • Florida- 78
  • Carolina- 51
  • Toronto- 49

3) Next the West:

  • Chicago- 115
  • San Jose- 114
  • Colorado- 108
  • Calgary- 107
  • Columbus- 107
  • Los Angeles- 100
  • Detroit- 99
  • Dallas- 94


  • Nashville- 94
  • Phoenix- 93
  • Vancouver- 86
  • Edmonton- 78
  • St. Louis- 78
  • Anaheim- 70
  • Minnesota- 62

4) To reiterate, these are PROJECTIONS NOT PREDICTIONS! With a relatively small sample size a few (more or less) games played can alter the point totals significantly. That said there are a few interesting developments thus far. Who expected teams like Colorado, NY Islanders, LA, Phoenix, Ottawa, or Tampa to be in the playoff race this season? Who could have seen Carolina, Boston and Anaheim be so low in the standings? Yes, plenty of time for 'water to find its level' but sometimes these trends do continue throughout the season.

5) Finally our (admittedly silly to mention) quarter pole Trophy winners.

  • Hart/Pearson: Anze Kopitar
  • Vezina: Ryan Miller
  • Norris: Chris Pronger
  • Adams: Joe Sacco
  • Calder: John Tavares

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gretzky Paid Off?

1) Seems we have a Gretzky related post about every other week. We would NOT be making this post if we didn't have news to share. We do not like to 'pile on'. Yes, we freely have admitted that we're not Gretzky fans, but we do acknowledge his significant contributions as a player, etc. However when we see hypocrisy, etc we will call it when we see it. In the case of The Great One (TGO) we have been one of the few bloggers/writers who have been up front in calling him out. At first concerning his abandoning his team. First with our gretzky-holds-out post, and then after he resigned with our best-news-in-phoenix-so-far-this-year post.

2) Following that episode TGO's greed was clearly on display when he threatened to be a no show at the annual Hall Of Fame Awards Ceremony. This despite having several former team mates and assumed friends being enshrined. As it seems is the case, its all about him and his ego/wallet being massaged. tgo=greedy-one. Apparently, as described in that post, Wayne was furious over the NHL's handling of his portion of Coyotes after the NHL purchase of the Coyotes was made official. TGO did finally show up to the awards ceremony in Toronto last Monday. We were initially happy to read that apparently Wayne was willing to put his self interests behind the importance of his friends big days. However over the weekend we were given some amazing information that dashed this.

3) Our source didn't even want their gender revealed, let alone where they are from/what their position within the league, etc is. Suffice to say they are with in the circle of folks who would know. By the way we were the one's approached/called. We didn't initiate the contact. Yes, we have talked with/received information from this source before, but to be clear we didn't initiate the call. Anyway enough of the cloak and dagger. The source tells us that Wayne didn't show up last week out of the goodness of his heart or because he was willing to put aside his differences with the league. The source tells Fauxrumors that TGO was bought off! Yes, you read that right. The NHL paid off Gretzky for his continued 'good will' as the source put it. They didn't want the black eye of the games greatest player being estranged, etc.

4) Now the NHL didn't give Gretzky a big cheque, etc but instead chose a more surreptitious route. Apparently the NHL gave Wayne and his agent a huge bone when they agreed that the NHL Network will begin to simulcast a late-afternoon show out of Wayne Gretzky's Restaurant in Toronto. Not only will that generate a huge, free exposure(free advertisement) for his restaurant, but more importantly the league will pay for the privilege via rent in excess of $8 million!! Yes, they are going to pay through the nose to do a show they could have done for pennies in their own studio! As with the abandoning the Coyotes story, it seems no bloggers/reporters are willing to state the obvious. Most are probably either not comfortable attacking TGO, or are worried their access might be restricted by a league all too happy to be petty with regard to folks who write negative stories about them. As a blogger who receive NOTHING in ad revenue (nor will we!), nor has any official ties to the NHL or its member teams we are free to write the facts, and not worry about any consequences.
As always, keep it here for all the latest. Accurate and Unafraid!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 7: Results

1) Lucky week 7 is completed. It certainly was a nice rebound weekend for our picks. Or perhaps the luck was with us? In either case we went a very nice 9-3 on the night to bring our season total to 57-35, or a .612 winning %. We also got our 'Lock' last night to make that figure 5-2 on the season.

2) We of course will be back at this next Saturday the 21st when 13 games are on the NHL docket. Later this week look for our 'Quarter Pole' post where we project the final standing based upon the first 25% of the season(yes its already almost 25% over!) Also we have some new/interesting info on the Gretzky-NHL situation you won't want to miss. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekly Picks-Lucky 7 Edition

1) Its week 7 of the NHL season and time for our weekly Saturday picks. We take our respectable record of 48-32, or a .600 winning % into today's dozen contests.

NY Rangers at Ottawa: Rangers

Anaheim at Detroit : Red Wings ( Lock of The Week)

Calgary at Toronto: Flame

NY Islanders at Florida Panthers

Boston at Pittsburgh Bruins

Los Angeles at Tampa Bay Lightning

Dallas at Phoenix Coyote

Montreal at Nashville Predators

Vancouver at Colorado: Canucks

Friday, November 13, 2009

Return To Quebec?

1) Many may have read recently that apparently there is an interest in bringing back hockey to Quebec City. As most of you know Quebec had an NHL franchise from 1979, when it was part of the WHA absorption/merger (along with Edmonton, Hartford, now-Carolina and Winnipeg), to 1995 when the team was sold/moved to Colorado. During their 16 or so seasons in La Belle Province the Nords had excellent fan support even through some lean years. The franchise did win a Cup, unfortunately for the faithful there not until the team left Quebec. Fan support wasn't the real reason for the NHL allowing the team to leave, but the aging arena La Colisée. At the time the local government refused to either refurbish or consider buildng a replacement for the out of date fascility. In recent years corporate sponsor and luxury boxes is as important for financial stability as a solid season ticket base. Thus the need for a modern arena. Back in the early-mid 90's the Quebec owner Marcel Aubut pushed the City to build one but was rejected, forcing his hand and eventual exodus to Denver.

2) Since then there have been many Faux-stories of an impending return of NHL hockey to Quebec (and to Winnipeg for that matter) There are several factors though involved in this story that lead us to believe that there is in fact a possibility that this story 'has legs'/isn't faux. The most important is the fact that Quebec City has announced plans for a new arena in order to "facilitate an NHL return to the city and one day hosting a Winter Olympics." Mayor Regis Labeaume said recently. That he's hired engineering firm SNC Lavalin to conduct a feasibility study. He hopes to see the arena built from 2010 to 2012. Labeaume expects the arena to cost $400 million, with the city contributing $50 million to the project. He wants the federal and provincial governments to each pony up $175 million under infrastructure programs. The mayor said Quebec City is at a "crossroads" and a new, multi-purpose 18,000 facility is a must. "We can't be an Olympic candidate city without it; we can't hope to realize a dream of the NHL returning without it."Labeaume, along with former Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut, met in New York with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly last month

3) When one puts those two facts together (a new arena being planned AND a meeting with the Commish we have to believe that there is some validity to this. Now we should caution that this is FAR from a done deal. Until a shovel is actually in the ground we would caution folks up north from too much optimism, yet. There are valid reasons why many are saying that a team just can't make it there. The one most reason is the size of the market. Right now the smallest NHL market is in Edmonton, where the metro area possess just over a million folks. While Quebec has a mere 800K folks i its metro vicinity. Many state that a team needs to have a minimum of a million folks to be viable in Canada and probably 2 million in the states. However we believe with the inevitable (in our opinion) expansion into Las Vegas in the next 3-5 years, the NHL will have to throw Canada a bone and the NHL/Bettman like a known quantity. With his past NHL ownership Marcel Aubut is liked and respected among the board of governors and unlike an outsider would be much more acceptable as a new member. Therefore we are convinced that Quebec City has the biggest chance of any other Canadian city to get a new NHL franchise.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free To Blog? Thank A Vet!!

1) As we like to remind readers: "Besides:

  • Ending Communism

  • Ending Slavery

  • Saving the world from Totalitarianism Fascism and Terrorism

War never solved a thing?!?"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Power Rankings! Early Season Edition

1) As we have done in the past we will rank each of the 30 NHL teams from best to worst. With each team having played 15-18 games, or approximately 20% of their schedules we felt enough games had taken place where a rankings was valid. Many sites offer one after a smattering of games and this is silly in our opinion. Of course some also write about possible trophy favourites after a week too! LOL Anyway, the rankings here, as in most blogs, are based upon overall record and recent play. In subsequent issues we will list the teams' previous position as well.

1) San Jose: After winning just three of their first seven games, San Jose has now won eight of its past 10, and Patrick Marleau is playing great hockey. For any other team this position would be a source of pride and a confidence builder. Not so in the Silicon valley where the Sharks are a perennial choker in the post season after posting strong regular seasons. So we are not going to get excited(and neither should they) about a good start.

2) Colorado: Very few, including us, figured we'd be placing the Av's anywhere near the top of the heap at any point during this NHL season, but thanks in large part to amazing goaltending from Anderson the boys from Denver find themselves tied for the Western Conference top spot. With recent losses we demoted them from the top spot, but many may have to reassess where they think they will end up as it would be difficult to imagine they will be anything less than a playoff contender

3) New Jersey: Another team that (as usual) we under estimated. Even a poor home record (3-4) can't keep them below the #3 spot. A impressive 8-0 away from The Rock says a lot about the Gum Chewers (Lemaire) squad. They are riding an impressive 8-2-0 streak in their last 10 games, which includes five straight wins. Their PP has help carry the day recently. Imagine how much better they might be if they start to win at home and with the return of Patrick Elias?

4) Calgary: Despite Olli Jokinen not contributing like many thought he would the Flame are still in the top 5 in goals/game. Jerome Iginla is playing as well as he ever has. Their PP with DION Phaneuf and Jay Bouwmeester on the points is running at a near 25% clip Add to that the goaltending of Miikka Kiprusoff and you can see why many may need to place the Flames (if they haven't already) as a serious Cup Threat!

5) Washington: Their fans might say their record is deceptive. However one can't overlook that they have the fewest regulation losses in the NHL. Jose Theodore seems to have regained his form and is carrying the team. They displayed their impressive depth against Florida last week when they scored 7 times without their 3 best offensive players: Ovechkin, Green and Semin. (Or perhaps the Panthers really suck?) They need to tighten up their PK to advance to the next level, but so far so good in the Nation's capital

6) Los Angeles: Anze Kopitar appears poised to become the player the Kings anticipated he would be. Right now he is a top the player point standings, and along with veteran Ryan Smyth is helping to carry the Kings. Drew Doughty is playing like a 10 year vet back on the defense. Now if they could learn how to kill a penalty or two and get more reliable goaltending from Quick we might have something here. All in all they are an exciting team to watch, and having a competitive team in the 2nd largest TV market is a good thing for the game.

7) Pittsburgh: The defending champs despite the loss of superstar Geno Malkin, Max Talbot, Sergei Gonchar,and Tyler Kennedy as well as Crosby not putting up big numbers (yet) still have the best record in the East! The rest of the conference better take notice also of the play of defensemen Alex Goligoski . The 24 yr old Michigan native has been a revelation on both sides of the ice. M-A Fleury has generally been solid in goal. Scary to think what they can/will do once healthy?!

8) Vancouver: After starting out the season looking awful they have turned things around rapidly in the past few weeks, going 7-3 in their last 10. If they can figure out how to win away from GM Place, they will compete for the West title. The Forsberg rumours persist. They might benefit from him, but he also could be Sundin's replacement (no help). Mean while Andrew Raycroft appears to have regained his Calder talent, helping carry the team in the absence of injured Roberto Luongo. A 936 save %, really Andy? Another team that could be formidable once healthy.

9) Philadelphia: If all games were decided solely upon special teams the Flyers would be a top the NHL. With The best power play and one of the leagues best PK units they are tough 5-4 or 4-5. That said they have been a tad inconsistent overall. Newcomers Chris Pronger and Ray Emery have contributed to the Flyer recent success, (6-3-1 in their last 10) Quietly(for Emery) he has put up good numbers. Pronger is helping to bolster one of the east's strongest defensive units. They will need players other than Carter and Richards to step up the offense a tad to be considered among the elite.

10) Chicago: In the preseason many, including us believed the Hawks were ready to become an elite team. Unfortunately off season pricey addition Marion Hossa has yet to play, and captain Jon Towes has misses most of the season with an injury. So the Hawks are having trouble scoring. Not what we expected. To make matters worse Huet in goal has only been ordinary. We wouldn't dig their graves just yet. Once healthy this team should be among the best out West and we expect they will turn things in that direction before all is said and done.

11) New York Rangers: Much like last season got off to a very hot start. Also like last year once that rush of adrenaline was gone the Blue Shirts have come back to Earth, going a very poor 3-6-1 in their last 10. Marion Gaborik has been every bit as good as the Rangers expected when they signed to Slovak to a big contract. As always though its not been his production but his brittleness that concerns us. Thus far he has missed only 2 games. If he can play 70+ a 50 goal season is possible. Also, are the Rangers in the Forsberg mix/ A good idea? Can Michael Del Zotto 1 year removed from the senior prom play a whole season as the team's PP QB?

12) Phoenix: Even playing near .500 is no small feat for the Yotes this time of year. In recent past seasons under Gretzky the desert dogs usually started off slowly only to find themselves too far out of it by the time they tuned things around in January. Ilya Bryzgalov started off the season on fire carrying the team. He has come back to reality somewhat recently, but still has solid numbers. Vets Shane Doan and Ed Jovanovski have been behind the offense which is a change from previous seasons when the Yotes relied heavily on a youth laden club. For this reason we think they will stay near .500 (or even better) throughout the season barring major injuries. Now will anyone show up to watch them?

13) Columbus: Despite a sophomore slump by goalie Steve Mason the Jackets remain right in the playoff mix out West. They will need him to regain his game for the team to stay in contention. Rick Nash is earning every penny of his new lucrative long term deal. On his way to a 50 goal campaign. If they can get regular contributions from other sources like Huselius and Chimera, etc as well as the aforementioned better goaltending they will stay right there.

14) Dallas: Much like Phoenix the Stars have played at or near .500 for much of the season. Better than we expected. Marc Crawford's group is producing goals: 3.18 per game, eighth in the NHL. James Neal is picking up where he left off in his rookie season, already with nine goals, but the main reason for the tepid success is the resurgence of Brad Richards and the strong play in net of Marty Turco. If they could somehow get decent PP/PK units they may actually compete for the playoffs.

15) Buffalo: Started off strongly, but have played inconsistently since the opening two weeks. The good news: The team has allowed the fewest goals in the NHL. Ryan Miller looks like an All star with an incredible 1.89 GA and .936 save %. The bad news: the team is having trouble scoring and their special teams have been anything but special. Injury prone forward Tim Connolly leads them in scoring. Not a good sign in our opinion. What happened to Vanek and Pominvile? If they are to compete in the East the Sabres will have to regain their balanced attack.

16) Detroit: We can't recall the Wings being anywhere but in the top 5 in any recent Power Rankings. They have 'earned' this position with a mediocre start to the season. Even a recent 'surge, going 5-2-3 has them only in 3rd place in the 'Norris' Division. As we expected goaltending has been an issue. Its not that Osgood has been bad (Backup Howard has been!), but with decreased scoring the Wings' margin for error is now minuscule compared with previous seasons. Despite this we expect them to rebound to some degree and compete for the division before all is said and done.

17) Montreal: They have yet to put together any meaningful win streak. Thankfully they have also avoided any prolonged losing skid. However the biggest red flag might be the fact that through 17 games the Habs have eight wins, and only one of them has come in regulation!! Their special teams have been anything but special, among the worst in both categories, where once they thrived in that department. The pressure is on everyone. from underachieving Scott Gomez(2 goals) to Carey price and his 894 save % to GM Bob Gainey for assembling this squad.

18) NY Islanders: Didn't think we'd see the Isles beyond the bottom 25 at any point. To their and Scott Gordon's credit they have been the hardest working team we've observed this season. Good thing as they have the weakest overall lineup. Have a very solid home record despite few fans showing up. They have but 1 win away from Uniondale. John Tavares has been what was expected. Decent numbers for a teen who is surrounded by a weak lineup. Biron/Rooson have given them enough to be competitive nightly

19) Tampa Bay: Haven't lost in regulation at home in 7. Too bad they have only 2 wins in 8 tries away from The Bay. Steve Stamkos and a sophomore slump? Apparently not as the 19 yr old has 12 goals already. Is that a misprint that Ryan Malone has 10 goals? Meanwhile reports out of TB say captain Vinny Lecavalier and his 2 goals and -4 is playing like he's regretting not being traded last summer. Biggest problem though is in goal where the expected #1 goalie Mike Smith has played below mediocre.

20) Boston: Wow, how bad have the Bruins been? Playing .500 through 16 games and with that talent has to make their fans uneasy. Their PP has been invisible thus far. Top add insult to this they are already without Marc Savard and Milan Lucic, but now forward David Krejci is out with swine flu!?! What was supposed to be their strong, point, deep balanced scoring, has yet to materialize. We can't blame their goaltending as its been reliable, but not enough to steal too many games thus far. We'd expect that once healthy the B's will surge back into the race.

21) Edmonton: The Oil have been decent/solid at Rexall Place, but a dreadful 2-5 away from home. Edmonton started strong, winning six of its first nine games, but has done a complete 180 the past two weeks losing five of six. Dustin Penner has been a bit of a revelation after being in the dog house much of last season, playing well, leading the team in goals and points (10-21). Nikolai Khabibulin hasn't been the problem, but neither has he been able to be the difference on most nights

22) Ottawa: Actually this is just about where we'd have placed the Sens in a preseason Power rankings. Not on the bottom, but not in the top 20 either. They largely have been a .500 team both at and away from Kanata. This despite Jason Spezza finally scoring his first of the season in Ottawa's 3-2 win against Tampa Bay last week. Jonathan Cheechoo is still looking for his first! Also pascal LeClaire after a decent start hasn't looked like the answer in goal for the Sens.

23) Atlanta: The Thrash have thus far survived the injury to super star Ilya Kovulchuk, playing at or near .500 since he went down. They actually have one of the better road records in the East (5-2-1), but have won but 2 in 6 tries at home. Bright spot has been Rich Peverley who has a team-best 17 points in 14 games. Meanwhile 22 yr old Czech Ondrej Pavelec is getting the lions share of work with the (annual) injury to Kari Lehtonen

24) Nashville: Might this finally be the end of the line for Barry Trotz? The Preds have an anemic attack that starts with an incredibly bad PP unit performing at 12%! Not that their PK unit is much better at 77%. When a defensemen is your biggest goal getter (Shea Weber-5) you know there's a problem. Ellis and Rinne have played adequately, but without much support they haven't been enough to keep the Preds in the playoff race.

25) Anaheim: The second best team in Southern California? That's the reality the Ducks find themselves in as the Kings are surging and they are sagging. Ominously they have 10 games at the Pond and won a mere 4 of them. J-S Guigere has clearly been demoted as the back up as Hiller has played the lions share of games and looking solid. (Trade bait?) Unfortunately the offense has been top heavy. Ryan Geztlaf has one goal! The big guy does have a ton of helpers, but they can't rely solely on Selanne-9, and Perry-11 to be the only goal scores. Might Carlyle be the fall guy?

26) St. Louis: One of the bigger dissapointments so far. They've been competative on the road, but have won but twice in 8 tries at home. They have one of the worst attacks in the NHL. When 45 year old Keith Tkachuk is your leading scorer with 9 points you know there is trouble. Unlike previous seasons when injuries could be blamed, this time they are relatively healthy. A change behind the bench, as much as JD would like to stick with Murray seems inevitable.

27) Minnesota: Thats no typo folks, the Wild are 1-8 on the road. Coupled with an anemic attack and not as tight a defense as in the past has placed them at or near the bottom of the Western Conference. The team has not transitioned well from Lemaire's close checking system to new coach Todd Richards more agressive system. So far its been a failure.

28) Florida: How bad have they been? They recently gave up 7 goals to Washington despite that team missing its 3 top offensive weapons! We wonder how they'd be doing if they'd retained Craig Anderson. Bet they are too as Scott Clemmenson has looked like the career AHL-er he was before last season! Horton and Weiss have never blossomed into the players the Panthers thought when they were drafted. Their 'make or break' season so far looks broken!

29) Toronto:Few expected the Leafs to compete much this season, but few figured they'd be among the bottom feeders either. They have more recently started to turn the corner with a 3-3-4 record in their last 10. Another team who's leading scorer is a defender, Kaberle-18. The return from injury of Phil Kessel will help the offense, but in goal things are unsettled as no one has played well and injuries have hampered both goalies the leafs were counting on before the season. The Leaf Nation will not be happy if they are a lottery pick team as that pick is owned by the rival Bruins!

30) Carolina: As FR outlined just last week things are bad in Raleigh. storm-warnings. Since that post things haven't improved as the Canes literally haven't won a game in weeks! Its almost at the point that the season is a lost cause. A far cry from what we anticipated for they were four wins from playing for the Stanley Cup just six months ago! From an invisable offense, a PP going at a 12.5% clip and after initally playing well Cam Ward has been mediocre at best which has sped the skid even further. Rumours are that former cane star, and now hall of Famer Ron Francis might replace Paul Maurice before long

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week 6- Results

1) On one side of the ledger we went a solid 9-4 on the day to bring our season totals to 48-32, or a .600 winning %, However that is tempered by one of the losses, a HUGE defeat of the Red Wings by the lowly maple leafs(our lock) to bring that total to a mortal 4-2 so far this season.

2) We will be back for week 7 next Saturday the 14th when a dozen games will be contested. In addition we're told that FR2 will be publishing their Power rankings this week. As always keep it here for all the latest!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Weekly Picks- 6

1) Its Week Six of our weekly venture of picking each NHL game. Thus far we have a solid-albeit weaker than before last weeks poor showing, 39-28, or a .582 winning % record.

Nashville at Los Angeles: Kings

Buffalo at Boston : Bruins

Tampa Bay at Montreal: Habitants

Atlanta at NY Islanders: Islanders

New Jersey at Ottawa: Senators

St. Louis at Philadelphia: Flyers

Detroit at Toronto: Red Wings ( Lock of The Week)

Florida at Washington: Capitals

Carolina at Columbus: Blue Jackets

Dallas at Minnesota: Wild

NY Rangers at Calgary : Flame

Phoenix at Anaheim: Ducks

Pittsburgh at San Jose: Sharks

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Storm Warnings!

1) With a lost weekend the Carolina Hurricanes dropped further, and as of this post a mere one point from into the basement of the Eastern Conference. A place no one in the preseason thought we'd see the former Final 4 team at any time this season. However with Sunday's loss the Canes haven't won in nine games and are off to their worst start (2-8-3) in franchise history! Whats more troubling is the fact that, according to coach Maurice, "it's a different fire each day", meaning its not one thing or player that is to blame but a collective failure.

2) Has bottom been hit the past week when they have been outscored 16-4 in their last three games? Or can/will it get worse because an injury has possibly been added to the insult when star forward Eric Staal left last night's game with an 'upper body injury'. If he is lost for any length of time it would further hinder an already anemic attack. Its very unlikely we'll see Carolina's GM, Jim Rutherford pull the trigger on a coaching change, as Maurice has only (re)-returned to go behind the bench less than a year ago (replacing the fired Cup winning coach Peter Laviolette) and he also just signed a contract extension this past summer. Its also unlikely to expect the Canes will/can make a major line up shake up. No fellow GM is going to volunteer and help out Carolina in their time of need. As it is almost every team is close to or up against the salary cap anyway, so a deal of any proportions would be unlikely. Of course with the wheels off its difficult to put a finger on what exactly that 'need' might be?

3) On the flip side as bad as they have been (and they have been horrendous) the Canes are really only a nice win streak away from playoff contention (6 points). There are still 69 games left to be played, and on another positive note they do hold a modest 2-1 record within their division. The same teams they'll play most so it won't be difficult to see them turn things around and get back into the race. However they better not allow themselves too many lost weekends (or in their case, lost fortnights!) because its not easy to quickly move up in the standing with loser points and to try to catch multiple teams is a daunting task. If we had to bet we'd say they WILL be right there by season's end. Perhaps not challenging the Washington Capitals for the division as we thought was possible when we made our preseason predictions, but they should at least be in playoff contention. When all is said and done they do have enough talent to get there. Lets see if they can play to expectations or if this season gets swept away like a storm force wind.

Monday, November 2, 2009

TGO = The Greedy One!

1) In yet (another) example of what TGO-Wayne Gretzky has become, the former Coyote coach has threatened to pull out of a scheduled appearance at the Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony scheduled next week (Nov. 9) in Toronto. Evidently from sources close to The Greedy One, Wayne is livid the NHL didn't guarantee he'd get his 'fair share' of the money allocated to unsecured creditors as part of the NHL purchase of the Coyotes. As a source told the press this past weekend, Wayne will have to fight his former co-owner Jerry Moyes to get anything, and at most he'll get 10 cents on the dollar minus legal fees. The ladder is the explanation why last week Gretzky decided to NOT block the sale to the NHL. As a source told us, "Gretzky had about a snowball's chance in hell of winning and it would have cost him tens of thousands to try". So when columnists like Bruce Garrioch and or Larry Brooks state that Gretzky's 'class' is why he didn't block the sale, we say, bull shit!

2) WE take no pleasure in stating what we feel is the obvious concerning the NHL's greatest player, but, in our opinion he already disgraced himself this past September. When his team needed him he disappeared without a trace when the Coyotes arrived in training camp because as we were told, Wayne had no assurances from the NHL that he'd get paid the same (HUGE!) salary from the new owners (NHL) as he had been receiving his previous (losing) seasons as the 'Yotes head coach. So now he's going to take his puck and go home despite having supposed 'friends' like former team mates Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille, etc getting inducted. Some friend indeed!! As usual for Gretzky, its all about him!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Week 5 -Results

1) The spooky results from yesterday's Halloween game picks are in. The results were absolutely ghoulish! We went a frightening 5-6 on the night to bring our season long total to 39-28, or a .582 winning %. We even dropped our first 'Lock' as the Pens lost at home to The Wild who were previously winless in 8 tries. That brings that stat to 4-1 on the young season.

2) We will be back at this again next Saturday when a whopping 13 games will be in play. Also FR2 promised that they should have the blog's 2009-2010 inaugural Power rankings out sometime later this week. They tell us they plan to post their Power rankings about 4-5 times this season, or about every 15-20 games. Also we are formulating/finishing up posts on the Quebec City issue and also one about Carolina. A always, keep it here for all the latest!
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