Prediction time…

We are only a couple of days away from the start of the NHL season so that means it is prediction time. I have thought long and hard about this and this is how I see this season shaking out.

Eastern Conference
1. New York Rangers, 108 points
2. Buffalo Sabres, 104 points
3. Carolina Hurricanes, 102 points
4. Ottawa Senators, 102 points
5. New Jersey Devils, 101 points
6. Philadelphia Flyers, 97 points
7. Boston Bruins, 95 points
8. Toronto Maple Leafs, 92 points
9. Atlanta Thrashers, 91 points
10. Florida Panthers, 89 points
11. Montreal Canadiens, 88 points
12. Tampa Bay Lightning, 85 points
13. Pittsburgh Penguins, 76 points
14. New York Islanders, 73 points
15. Washington Capitals, 65 points

For the Devils I am making the assumption that they find a way to keep Gomez, Gionta and Paul Martin. If they lose one of these guys they won’t end up so high in the standings and I’ll revisit this prediction.

Western Conference

1. Detroit Red Wings, 110 points
2. Calgary Flames, 104 points
3. San Jose Sharks, 101 points
4. Nashville Predators, 107 points (4th because division leaders get ranked 1-3)
5. Dallas Stars, 100 points
6. Anaheim Ducks, 98 points
7. Edmonton Oilers, 95 points
8. Minnesota Wild, 93 points
9. Vancouver Canucks, 92 points
10. Phoenix Coyotes, 86 points
11. Columbus Blue Jackets, 85 points
12. St. Louis Blues, 81 points
13. Colorado Avalanche, 80 points
14. Los Angeles Kings, 72 points
15. Chicago Blackhawks, 67 points

Eastern Conference Champion: Buffalo Sabres
Western Conference Champion: Calgary Flames

Stanley Cup Winner: Calgary Flames
Agree? Disagree? What are your predictions?

Posted in NHL

This article has 157 Comments

  1. I’m not quite convinced Ward can play 60+ games for Carolina close to the way he did in the playoffs, and John Grahame may be a competent backup but if he was to end up the starter Carolina could find themselves in some trouble. I also think that Chicago might surprise some people this year if they can stay healthy and if Havlat doesn’t let the expectations of being the go-to guy effect what will otherwise be (probably) a solid, 30 goal season. I wouldn’t pick the Hawks for second last in the league, though I still think they fall well out of the playoff picture. And, of course, Jagr has to show up again this year, as well as Shanahan duplicating or coming close to last season’s success, for the Rangers to take the East. But overall your predictions look pretty reasonable to me.

    I pick San Jose to win over Buffalo, especially if at some point they trade Nabokov for another D.

  2. I share your concerns on Cam Ward and I think that stopped me from making the Hurricanes the top team in the east. But I do think that John Grahame is a solid backup. He didn’t have a good year as a starter last year but as a backup in 2003-04 he was great and I think he the Hurricanes require him to play 30-35 games this year he will be up to the task. Remember, Gerber wasn’t great last year, he was just consistant and I think they can get goaltending close to that level again.

    I might be a bit hard on the Blackhawks but they don’t have a lot of talent outside of Havlat and many of their players are injury prone (including Havlat). I think only a stellar season from Khabibulin can pull them out of the cellar in the west and I am not sure if he is capable of that. He is one of those goalies that can be great for a month, horrible for another. Even in 2003-04 when he won the Stanley Cup in Tampa he almost lost his starting job to Grahame during the regular season.

  3. Think you are overrating Ottawa. No real reason to assume Gerber can succeed as a starting goalie, lost Chara who could be described as a force of nature, and lost team chemistry last year. See them as low 90s.

  4. I’ve wrestled with where to put Ottawa. I’ve had them higher and I’ve had them a bit lower. I think in general they underachieved last year (should have gotten more out of that talent I think) so the drop from last years total is reasonable. But it wouldn’t shock me if they only got 96-98 points. They will still score goals because of their big line but I think they have they might have some defensive/goaltending issues.

  5. Overall I like your picks. You always seem to make logical hockey scense which is one reason I enjoy this site. No stupid off the way predictions. I like that. Predicting is hard and pretty much impossible but I have like 20mins to post, i dont have point calculations so i wont post them, so here’s my thoughts in a nut shell..


    1. NY Rangers
    2. Buffalo
    3. Atlanta
    4. New Jersey (same assumption on signings)
    5. Ottawa
    6. Toronto
    7. Carolina
    8. Philadelphia
    9. Boston
    10. NY Islanders
    11. Tampa Bay
    12. Florida
    13. Montreal
    14. Pittsburgh
    15. Washington


    1. Nashville
    2. San Jose
    3. Calgary
    4. Detroit
    5. Anaheim
    6. Dallas
    7. Minnesota
    8. Vancouver
    9. Columbus
    10. Edmonton
    11. Phoenix
    12. Los Angeles
    13. St. Louis
    14. Colorado
    15. Chicago

    MVP: Jason Spezza, OTT
    CALDER: Wolski, COL
    VEZINA: Vokoun, NSH

    EAST CHAMP: TORONTO (optimistic playoffs, I know!)


    CUP CHAMP: all Canadian final…..TORONTO

    the streak ends at 40 years.

  6. Maybe accurate prediction is just too hard. I know I do not see Detroit having a very good year or see Colorado falling as far as both of you but being more of a middle of the road up to actual contender based on variance in goalie performance and honestly I am not at all clear where to rate Boston and the Islanders. Its probably safe to assume Florida, Washington and Pitt are years away but after that—

  7. Let me say a little more. Detroit has a very talented team but not better than Minn, Anaheim, or San Jose. Minn goaltenders is not worse and may be better. Anaheim and San Jose do have better goaltending so how can Detroit be any kind of favorite in the West. Calgary has a Good team and probably the best goaltending so where does that leave Detroit except as the team other teams most want to beat. How can anyone really know what happens with new management and a better team with I think inproved goaltending how far Boston goes. Have no clue how Toronto inproves until they at least have decent ice to skate on. Well—GL

  8. Notice that the free agents who went first this summer were goalies and defenceman?

    “Why is this?” you may ask.

    In the “new NHL”, where obstruction and clutching and grabbing are called as penalties, the ability to shut down the other team’s offence becomes paramount.

    I think the teams with great defence and goaltending will be really successful this year, even more than last. And goaltending will be king. So teams like New Jersey and Anaheim will be successful, even though they may have to trade star players to keep their goalies and defence.

    As far as Toronto goes, one of their goalies has to step up and take charge. Otherwise, they remind me a whole lot of Edmonton last year: three mediocre goalies who shuffle around all year and nobody gets the job done.

    The only difference is, the rest of Edmonton’s team was good enough to go to the finals, when they got a good goalie. Toronto’s in a rebuilding year. If Toronto has to trade for a goalie in February, it’ll be too late for them to make the playoffs.

  9. Gerber won 40 games in Carolina and the team in front of him is better all around in Ottawa. Chara was good but he was exposed in the playoffs. Corvo and Priessing make up for that, in terms of puck movement and offensive contribution, but granted, nobody will make up for the dominant defensive presence, although I think many will be surprised at how good Chris Phillips really is, as he was overshadowed by his large partner for many years, he will be out to prove that he wasn’t riding big Z’s coattails.

    The sens had 6 rookies last year and now they will be that much better.

    Here are my predictions:


    1. Carolina
    2. Ottawa
    3. NY Rangers
    4. Buffalo Sabres
    5. New Jersey Devils
    6. Atlanta Thrashers
    7. Philadelphia Flyers
    8. Florida Panthers
    9. Boston Bruins
    10. Toronto Maple Leafs
    11. Montreal Canadiens
    12. Tampa Bay Lightning
    13. Pittsburgh Penguins
    14. Washington Capitals
    15. New York Islanders


    1. San Jose Sharks
    2. Nashville Predators
    3. Calgary Flames
    4. Anaheim Ducks
    5. Dallas Stars
    6. Detroit Red Wings
    7. Minnesota Wild
    8. Edmonton Oilers
    9. Columbus Blue Jackets
    10. Vancouver Canucks
    11. Colorado Avalanche
    12. Phoenix Coyotes
    13. Los Angeles Kings
    14. St. Louis Blues
    15. Chicago Blackhawks

    Eastern Conf winner: Ottawa Senators
    Wastern Conf winner: Nashville Preds
    Stanley Cup winner: Nashville

    And to Mr. Hockey, to even suggest that the Leafs have any hope in “he double hockey sticks” of winning a playoff round you are the most optomistic Leafs apologist I have ever seen. Making the playoffs should be the Leafs’ stanley cup. Even every die-hard Leafs fan I know, and there are many, agree that they will be hard pressed to make the post-season.

  10. East (only doing top 8 for each conference)
    1. Buffalo
    2. Ottawa
    3. NYR
    4. Carolina
    5. Phili
    6. Atlanta
    7. Toronto (overachieve for a change)
    8. NJ/Florida (unsure)

    2. Anaheim
    3. San Jose
    4. Calgary
    5. Detroit
    6. Dallas
    7. Minnesota
    8. Columbus

  11. I guess there aren’t many Habs fans on this website…

    Leafs in the playoffs and not the Montreal Canadiens?

    At the moment, there is nothing to back this prediction up… I’ll just stop coming here since this proves me that you are biased.


  12. Don’t leave. That’s being a quitter. If you read some of the other comments around here you will understand why I think Montreal will not make the playoffs. It’s not like I have them way back. They are just 4 points behind the Leafs. That’s pretty insignificant.

    So tell me why the Canadians will make the playoffs and why they are a better team than last year because I don’t see it. Make your case. Some of us here may disagree with you but most of us here are open to hearing other peoples opinions and accept that other intelligent people might see things differently.

  13. The Canadiens are a lot better than last year, the only question mark is if they will get the same kind of goaltending out of Huet. The problem attitudes of Ribeiro, Dagenais, Theodore are gone. And the “soft” players Bulis, Sundstrom, Zednik are also gone. Last years rookies -Higgins, Plekanec, Perezhogin, Murray, Komisarik (first full season) – are…well they aren’t rookies anymore. If either Huet or Abeischer can provide steady goaltending, which seems probable, then this will be a very dangerous team that will surprise all the “analysts” in the GTA. The Carolina Hurricanes won’t be surprised – at some point in the Buffalo series they said Montreal was the toughest team they had played.

  14. I have to admit I can see the Canucks having a better year than what I’ve seen on here so far. I think with a top-echelon goaltender like Luongo in net, games that went 2-1 against them last year will go in their favour more often than not.

    Yes they did lose a huge chunk and their offense with Bert and Carter gone. And yes their defense did take a hit with Jovo leaving. But I think if you look at who they brought in on the forward corps, while they may not have the same star power, they have a lot more depth than in previous years. That depth will take a hit with Naslund playing on the same line as the Sedins, but if you look at the second line (Pyatt/Mo/Bulis), you have the potential for at least 3 20-goal scorers and possibly two (Mo/Bulis) 30-goal scorers.

    The entire face of their defense has changed. Where once they were free wheeling and offensively-oriented (Jovo/Baumgartner), their focus has now shifted to more defense-oriented, with Mitchell being the key. In the new NHL, the ability to defend your own zone and cut down scoring chances is key. With Mitchell and the still largely underrated Ohlund cutting down the chances and Luongo playing like he does, I think the Canucks have the ability to go as high as 5th in the West. If things don’t gel together fast at the beginning of the regular season, they could miss the playoffs this year again. But I’m thinking they’ll make it in somewhere in the 5-8 region.

  15. OK then.

    I think it’s logic to think that:

    – Michael Ryder posting 25+ goals this season (especially now that Koivu has shown us that he will be able to play as well as usual)
    – Chris Higgins posting 25+ goals this season (when he was put by the side of Koivu (just after the Olympics 06) he did get somethign like 1 goal every 2 games)
    – There is no reason to believe that the Koivu’s line should not do well.

    – Kovalev had surgery last season and missed more than a month… if healthy, he should score 30 goals.
    – Samsonov – I’m not sold on him… but he should easily get 15-20 goals.
    – Plekanec will play between these two higly talented guys and at 24 I don’t see why he wouldn’t do better than he did last year… he will bring defensive awareness to this line with speed and more agility too.

    – Johnson… I don’t know him well but why wouldn’t he do OK ?
    – Bonk… in my opinion he is pretty decent 3rd center.
    – Perezhogin… speed speed speed.

    This is a decent checking line that could score few goals this season.

    Latendresse – Begin – Murray

    This is a pretty good energy line…

    With 4 defensemen (Markov, Souray, Rivet, Niinima) getting UFA status at the end of the season I think we can say that they’ll play their best hockey…
    Bouillon and Dandenault are decent 5th and 6th defenseman and the jury is still out there for Komisarek’s contribution.

    Huet / Aebischer / Danis
    If Huet is 75% as good as he was last season the Habs should be a no brainer for playoffs contention.
    If not, Aebischer or Danis should be able to do a decent job.


    So for those who claim that the Leafs should make the playoffs while the Habs would not! You got to admit that there is some sort of bias there… if not
    Tell me who is going to score 25+ goals for the Leafs ?
    Other than Sundin and McCabe, it’s full of big IFs…
    If you give Steen a great year, then you got to give it to Higgins.
    If you give Wellwood a great year, then you got to give the same to Plekanec.

    As for the goalies… it’s a no brainer… Raycroft has done a little better than OK when he won the Calder… if he had been a rookie last year we would not even have heard of him.

    Finally, I’d like to know what you were saying about Kiprusoff in October 2005… if you’re saying the opposite about Huer right now there is nothing else to add than

  16. I dont wanna go on a rant here but im seriously tired of people always saying im an optimistic Leaf fan, they suck, they wont go anywhere, blah blah blah! first off, what happened last season and seasons before is just that. This is a new season, new start for every team. I dont think the Leafs have the best team on paper or overall in the NHL at all but I do know that Maurice will change the way the Leafs play hockey and come Novemeber or so the Leafs will turn it into high gear and make a run for the playoffs. No doubt in my mind. Me taking the Leafs to win the Cup is a long shot, i know this, im not an idiot. It is also my opinion and my prediction, other people got to post their opinions and predictions so why cant I?

    All I have to say is this…. at the begining of last season if anyone..i mean ANYONE predicted Carolina over Edmonton in the finals everyone would have laughed and disregarded their comments, opinions and predictions…dont kid yourselves. We all know what happened last season in the NHL….so on that note, MY opinion is the Leafs to win the Cup over Calgary. At this point of the season (which hasnt even started yet) no one has the right to say if my picks or anyone elses are correct or incorrect. point made.

  17. Columbus over Florida in six.

    Could happen though I don’t believe either team has the goaltending to have a lengthy playoff run. Goaltending matters most in the playoffs. Atlanta over Minnesota might be more realistic.

  18. tuck32 wrote: Detroit has a very talented team but not better than Minn, Anaheim, or San Jose. Minn goaltenders is not worse and may be better. Anaheim and San Jose do have better goaltending so how can Detroit be any kind of favorite in the West.

    Lets compare a few of these teams.


    Detroit: Datsyuk, Lang, Draper, Kopecky
    San Jose: Thornton, Marleau, Goc, Brown
    Anaheim: McDonald, Niedermayer, Pahlsson, Marchant
    Minnesota: Rolston, White, Bouchard, Walz

    I’d rank them as San Jose, Detroit, Anaheim, Minnesota


    Detroit: Zetterberg, Williams, Samuelsson, Holmstrom, Maltby, Hudler, Franzen, …
    San Jose: Cheechoo, Bell, Grier, Bernier, Michalek, Nieminen, Rissmiller, …
    Ahaneim: Selanne, Kunitz, Chistov, Perrt, Getzlaf, Hedstrom, Penner, Fodoruk, Green, …
    Minnesota: Gaborik, Demitra, Parrish, Radivojekic, Dupuis, Weinhandl, Boogard, …

    I’d probably rank them Detroit, Minnesota, San Jose, Anaheim though San Jose and (to a lesser extent) Anaheim could move up if some of their rookies really step up (but that is a big if).


    Detroit: Lidstrom, Schneider, Markov, Kronwall, Lilja, Chelios, Lebda
    San Jose: McLaren, Hannan, Carle, Ehroff, Murray, Davison, Biron, Georges
    Anaheim: Niedermayer, Pronger, O’Donnell, Beauchemin, Dipenta, Moran, St. Jacques
    Minnesota: Johnsson, Carney, Skoula, Shultz, Foster, Burns

    Detroit easily has the best defense with both quality and depth. Anaheim would be second with the big two but questionable after that. San Jose is probably next if Carle and Ehroff can take it to the next level and then Minnesota.


    Detroit: Hasek, Osgood
    Anaheim: Giguere, Brzgalov
    San Jose: Nabokov, Toskala
    Minnesota, Fernandez, ????

    Hasek was the best goalie in the NHL last year before he got injured. So long as he remains healthy and capable of playing 55 games this season I would probably rank Detroit at the top with Anaheim and San Jose real close behind. Those three teams are all pretty close. Minnesota is a step down from them because we really don’t know how Fernandez will handle playing ~65 games.

    So Detroit has the best wingers, best defense, possibly the best goaltending and second best wingers. Not too shabby. Overall I would rank these teams Detroit, San Jose, Anaheim and Minnesota. San Jose and Anaheim are very good teams but I just think they need another year or two for their young guys to develop before they are truly among the elite.

  19. How can someone predict that the Maple Leafs will make the playoffs this year? I dont see how a team with no top 6 forward other than Sundin and maybe, maybe Tucker can manage to score enough goals to win a game. Because to win a game you have to score more goals than the other team. If Toronto would have a Kiprusoff in the net i would not say so but Raycroft is no Kipper. Raycroft is a big question mark and im not sure he will be able to play as good as he did when he won the calder.

    Sure they have McCabe and Kaberle on defense but that’s not enough in my mind to consider this team as a offensive treat. For this reason, i think Toronto will miss the playoff, and by far, for a second year in a row.

    1- Carolina
    2- Ny Rangers
    3- Ottawa
    4- Buffalo
    5- NJ Devils
    6- Atlanta
    7- Philadelphie
    8- Tampa Bay
    9- Montreal
    10- Boston
    11- Florida
    12- Pittsburg
    13- Toronto
    14- NY Islanders
    15- Washington

  20. the reasoning u use to put the leafs into the playoffs totally contradicts how u put montreal OUT of the playoffs. it makes no sense whatsoever.

    toronto got better from last year, but u cant ignore the fact that montreal didnt get better. samsonov, johnson and latendresse is a pretty significant upgrade over bulis zednik and sundstrom. especially considering zednik sucked arse after the maclaren hit.

    and theodore ruined the habs’ first half of the season. if huet can play as good as last season (which is a fair assumption since leaf fans are assuming raycroft will play like his calder year and not last year) then the habs can finish as high as 4th. just look at huets stats, theyre sick 7 shutouts in less than 40 games. i think a 930 save%. anyway, the habs have huet for a whole season, which is an improvement. the rookie (higgins, plekanec, perezhogin) will be better this year. granted theyre not offensive rookies, their all around play will significantly improve. also, plekanec at #2 center is an upgrade over ribeiro. while he is not as talented, ribeiro was a lazy, soft, whining, bad teammate. he caused many off ice issues, and his mere departure is an improvement for the club.

    also, the habs have good defensive depth this year. markov will explode this year. he was on pace for 50+ points and he is in a contract year. he should get over 60 if healthy. the habs bottom pairing D is better than the leafs bottom pairing D. and if both teams end up with defensive injuries, i think the habs win out. with guys like bouillon and streit on the bench, who have NHL experience and are pretty good, and then guys like cote, who while not providing anything, dont look out of place.

    also, habs have more goaltending depth by far. after raycroft, the leafs have problems. tellqvist is a horrible backup, let alone starter. the habs have aebischer who is a decent starter, and capable of stealing a few games. and if someone goes down, danis is a good backup who, when played last season, put in some very strong performances. aubin is nothing more than an average backup. thats what he was years ago in pittsburg and thats what he is now. he wont be able to carry a team. i think though that he will be one of the better backups in the league, but thats it, a backup.

    now on to my predictions.

    1. buffalo
    2. rangers
    3. atlanta
    4. ottawa
    5. jersey
    6. carolina
    7. montreal
    8. philadelphia
    9. boston
    10. toronto
    11. florida
    12. tampa
    13. pittsburg
    14. islanders
    15. washington

    1. nashville
    2. san jose
    3. calgary
    4. anaheim
    5. dallas
    6. minnesota
    7. vancouver
    8. detroit
    9. phoenix
    10. edmonton
    11. columbus
    12. colorado
    13. chicago
    14. LA
    15. st louis

    carolina lost a lot of players (ward, weight, recchi) and are without stillman and kaberle for long periodsof time, and i hear rumours that cole is not 100%. atlanta will have a hot goalie, and kovalchk and hossa will tear up the league.

    also, keep in mind the standings barely resemble the year before, which always happens. theres always surprise teams that come up besides tlanta all odds, just like there are teams that falter against all odds. thats y i see detroit doing so poorly.

    anyway nashville buffalo final, if these teams dont finish atop their conference, they will meet in the final anyway, as i see them as the teams with the most depth and all around talent. nashvilles D is sick. and buffalo still has to trade biron.

  21. I don’t know how any Montreal fan can be happy with their centermen being Koivu (62 points), Plekanec (29 points), Begin (23 points) and Bonk (21 points). That’s pretty sad. That group of four totaled 135 points last year. Joe Thornton had 125.

    And good defensive depth? Only if they don’t suffer any injuries which can hardly be expected since many of them are injury prone.

  22. Let’s see how biased you are David.

    Higgins Koivu Ryder > Toronto 1st line ?

    Samsonov Plekanec Kovalev > Toronto 2nd line ?

    Johnson Bonk Perezhogin > Toronto 3rd line ?

    Latendresse Begin Murray > Toronto 4th line ?

    Markov, Komisarek, Souray, Rivet, Niinima, Dandenault and Bouillon > McCabe, Kaberle, Kubina, Gill, Kronwall, Wozniewski ?

    Huet and Aebischer > Raycroft and Aubin ?

    Carbonneau and Gainey > Maurice and JFJ ?

    … and as a whole you come up with Toronto having a better team than Montreal.
    Freaking funny.
    Good luck.

  23. David,

    The center depth concern is shared among Habs fans. The team is clearly giving Plekanec a shot at the #2 job, but you have to wonder what other options they are considering in the background as a failsafe. Currently Grabovsky and Chipchura are also in “line” internally in the depth chart. So far, Koivu has looked like he’s coming back from the eye injury with a vengence. And Plekanec looks like he will gel nicely with Kovalev and Samsonov, though more time is needed to see if he’s the solution for that line. I actually think he will be, because while he’s less talented than his wingers, he brings it on every shift and has great speed.

    If the Habs did get another scoring center, that would move Bonk down to the 4th line and give us 3 very dynamic lines.

    As for defensive depth – even with Boulion injured, Mark Streit is the 7th defensement. When Boulion returns, the Habs may have enough depth to actually deal a defenseman.

    By the way, I’d be interested to hear what Toronto fans think of Mike Johnson since he played over there for a while. So far I’m liking him as an upgrade over Bulis – though they may put up similar offensive numbers, Johnson seems like much less of a floater. I suspect we’ll appreciate him in the playoffs.

  24. Montreal is not as good as Toronto. Last night’s game didn’t prove anything, only that Montreal scored 2 shootout goals and Toronto scored 1, and hit 1 post and a cross bar in that session. The Leafs took a total of 79 shots last night, thats right I said 79 shots! Mind you only 38 hit the net. If the Leafs can get their hands on track and hit another 10-15 on net of those missed shots, the goal count should increase. You dont see “bad” teams taking 79 shots now adays in the NHL. Very good sign for the Paul Maurice and the Leafs. Overall the Leafs played a very good game, that’s 3 striaght good played games for the Leafs, but only 1 win. Personally, Im not worried at all, like I noted before, come at least November or so, the Leafs will be in tune with each other and play like a top notch team and make a run for the playoffs. Montreal did play a very good game last night as well, Aebischer played superb.

  25. David,

    yes i am worried about the center scenario. but imo i dont think its as big a problem as torontos goaltending, or their back 3 defense, or torontos spare D. sure u guys have better top 3, but markov will make a case for himself this year. gill still sucks and is only good on the PK cuz hes slow and big. if u think souray is a highlight reel wait for gill. woznieski and kronwall arent good, though kronwall might be pretty good in a few years, hes simply an average 3rd pairing guy at best.

    montreals D isnt as good in top end talent, but our 3rd pairing kicks torontos anyday. that means we could roll 3 D pairings. markov komisarek, souray rivet, and dandenault niinimaa. niinimaa was playing with a broken ankle last season so he should rebound nicely. hes a good 2nd pairing guy. and bouillon is an above average 3rd pairing D, and maybe a 2nd pairing guy, but hes capable of logging 20 minutes and playing well. then theres mark streit. hes on his second year, hes a good offensive D, just has to get used to the NA game. hes the captain of switzerland and he has lots of character. he works hard and he doesnt cost anything. presently hes better than the leafs 3rd pairing guy. also, mccabe is pretty bad defensively. not the worst, but i would feel uncomfortable with him protecting alead in the last minute.

    and what happens if the leafs get injuries on D??? concussion case coliacovo??ya right. ian white?? these are all unproven guys. montreal will have 8 D with NHL experience when bouillon comes back. the only guy that will hurt the habs if injured is markov, other than that almost everyone else is expendable.

    also, typical leaf fan u are, u look at nothing else but points. ever realise theres more to hockey than points?

    higgins is looking to be better than expected. he can score goals and he is already a complete player defensively. imo hes better than the offensive wellwood simply because higgins can play in more situations and brings mroe to the team. he has heart, character, great leadership qualities, a good scoring touch, incredible speed, hitting, amazing defensive play, amazing penalty kill play.

    and u make it seem like torontos centres are so much better. sundin is amazing, but after that?? sundin, 78pts, steen, 45, stajan, 27, peca 23. wow 173 thats so much better. u dont make the playoffs based on quality at center. there are many other factors. and if u ask me, the habs have more positives than the leafs.

    MR Hockey,

    i dont get how u say last nights game didnt prove anything, yet because they shot 79 times on thier THIRD game of the season it actually means something. every team has a few games where they shoot alot. that stat means absolutely nothing. it could be theyre taking good shots on net, but theres just a good chance that therye taking stupid wrist shots from the side boards or from far away, in which it will surely get blocked. that stat is totally useless.

  26. alright buddy just remember this come march when toronto is not in the playoffs. even your head coach says your a bubble team, finishing somewhere between 7-10.

    i dont wanna say the leafs will miss the playoffs for sure, cuz nothing is for sure. but chances are good that the team they have is not a playoffs team. aside from a few players upfront, u dont have enough scoring. it will be a major concern. defensive depth can hurt toronto. aside from the big 3, gill kronwall and wonseiski arent good defencemen, at least yet. and raycroft is a HUGE question mark. how do u know he will play like his calder year? anything less than that and the leafs have goaltending issues, with none of your backups able to assume a starting role.

  27. Let me state once again why I don’t like Montreal.

    1. I am not convinced that Huet can produce like he did last year for the full season and while Aebischer has shown himself to be a good goalie he isn’t a great one. So far this year Huet hasn’t shown the spectacular play he did last year.

    2. I am not convinced that Montreal will score a lot of goals. In fact, it is possibly come seasons end they won’t have a 70 point guy or a 30 goal guy. They likely will but it is no certainty. Kovalev’s a 25 goal guy, as is Samsonov. Ryder has the potential to score 30+ goals and Higgins looks like he can be good but neither are sure things at this point in their career and are probably more like second line type players. There is certainly no dominant offensive player on the team.

    3. They have a lot of injury prone players and not a lot of depth. Koivu rarely plays 70 games. Markov’s only played 70 games once in his career. Souray once in the last 5 years. Samsonov and Kovalev have had injury problems from time to time. And these are s0ome of Montreals most important players.

    Montreal was 20th in the NHL in scoring last year and I can’t see them being dramatically better. Montreal was 13th in the NHL in goals against and I can’t see them being dramatically better in that area either. So, that puts them about the same as last year, on the edge of being in or out of the playoffs.

  28. hahaha …you make me laugh Daniel. Obviously Maurice is going to say the Leafs are a “bubble” team, what is he suppose to say? That the Leafs are the best kept secret in the NHL and they will for sure make the playoffs? Come on kid use your head. No coach in his right mind will promise a playoff spot and put his job in jeopardy. You keep yabbing on about how Woznieski, White, Coliaicolvo and Kronwall are unproven players…did you forget the fact that Maurice had one full season in the AHL last season to coach these kids and knows exactly what they are capable of? That’s a big advantage and people tend to forget that. You also say the Leafs have “goaltending issues”…what issues are those? You mean Raycrofts 95.1% save percentage and 1 shutout this season?? or how bout the Leafs have no other goalie who can be a starter…obviously you mean Aubin who was 9-0-2 with a 92.4% save percentage and 1 shutout right?? ya good point kid. This season the Leafs dont have Quinn, Lindros, Allison, Khavanov, Belfour or Berg holding them back…the Leafs are a much more efficent, faster, more disicplined team on the ice and the stats and records will prove that. Perosnally I love how no one in the world of hockey is giving this team a chance and everyone is writting them off from the start. Again, the Leafs will silence critics come April 7th.

  29. i cannot begin to tell you how much i dissagree with everything…the ducks…even tho im a devils fan….are the number 1 contender as of now

  30. Another great game played by the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight in a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. I found fit very ironic that last 3/4 games, the goalies the Leafs have faced seem to always bring their best vs the Leafs (Gerber, Aebischer, Auld). It should have been easily 5-1 Leafs if it wasnt for Auld and his 47 saves. In the first 4 games this season the Leafs have totalled 160 shots on goals, an average of 40 per game. Someone please show me another team that averages 40 shots on goals vs Ottawa(x2), Montreal and Florida.

  31. oh my 3 games into the season and your already dubbing raycroft the vezina winner. dream on bud. after one shutout after u guys beat a demoralized and uninterested and imo overrated sens team u think raycorfts issues are all gone?? dream on bub last season was no fluke. if it was a fluke then so was his calder winning year.

    and yes about maurice he could just say nothing. notice not many coahces even mention when theyre gonna finish. he had to come in and say they were a bubble team to lower all u fans’ expectations. if not you;d have them winning the division, and he would certianly not meet those expectations.

    and come on dont expect the leafs to keep shooting 40 times a game. u should know damn well that teams go through up swings and down swings. right now im not judging ANY team cuz its too early. for gods sake chicago is killing teams like nashville. not suppose to happen. lets revisit this about 10-15 games into the season and let all the player get off their hot/cold streaks and assume their natural production. if u wanna get excited about 2 wins and 40 shots by all means, i understand leaf fans dont have much to get excited about these days, or in the past for that matter…. a 40 year drought does that to u.

  32. My discussion with you is over. Your not making any logical scense in anything you say. Your speaking all about assumptions. Watch some hockey, other than highlights, learn a thing or two, than return. Secondly stop calling me “bud” I sure as heck not your friend. later kid.

  33. no offense….if you think toronto is gonna be a contender in the playoffs….that is just plain funny. You have to look at the whole picture not just how well there playing. Carolina…NYR….NJD…PHL…ATL….SENS…HABS….Tampa…i also think that the penguins might MIGHT make a push and quite frankly…Toronto doesnt belong in the playoffs

  34. see this is exactly what i mean when you dont make scense when you speak. The whole picture??? not just how well their playing??? haha . sorry, the whole picture is what? last seasons stats and results? ok so you want to look at the “whole picture” right? ok lets look than….

    aside from Atlanta, New Jersey and NY Rangers as you stated …

    11.Ottawa 1-2-0 2 points
    12.Tampa Bay 1-2-0 2 points
    13.Philadelphia 0-1-1 1 point
    14.Carolina 0-2-1 1 point

    Leafs are seeding 4th in the East right now 2-1-1 5 points.

    Obviously its still very early:
    So your assuming that everything will go back to the exact same way as last year right? News flash, different year different outcomes. Anyone in their right mind whos actually watched the LEafs play this pre-season and season would know the team is actually pretty good…avg 40 shots on goal thru the first 4 games is no easy task. Apparently you think it is, and you seem to know more. Face the facts, the Leafs are not as bad a team as last year and they will contend for a playoff spot all season long (ultimatley making the playoffs). Im no asking you to admit the Leafs are the best team in the East, Im just saying so far theres been no reason to think the Leafs will suck, as you say. 1 season the Leafs didnt make the playoffs by the skin of their teeth and all of a sudden its a rebuilding process in Toronto lol…come on now. Look at the facts.

  35. Ok guys, can the two of you call a truce as both of you have made your points neither of you have anything intelligent to add to what you have already said. The truth is it is way too early to draw any conclusions about any teams or players and I think we will find a lot of parity in the NHL this year meaning any number of teams could finish as high as 4th or as low as 12th in either conference and the difference might just be a few key injuries.

  36. lol finally i agree with David… i never said the leafs wouldnt make the playoffs. i said they dont have a good chance. theres TOO MICH PARITY in this league. AND its way too early to throw stats into this discussion. trends have not settled the leafs averaging 40 shots a game for the rest of the season is just as outrageous as havlat scoring 200 points. and dont tell us were not making sense, when u spew garbage stats at us. who cares about the standings 3 games into the season?? honestly. 1 win and u move up 5 spots. what does it do showing whos in what place. THATS what makes no sense.

    with raycroft in nets how could u feel so confident to make the playoffs? how do u know what your getting with him? calder or flop? obviously if he plays well the leafs are in, but the fact that hes a question mark AUTOMATICALLY make the leafs question marks. and dont say the habs wont make the playoffs for sure cuz the same reasoning u use to put the leafs contradicts with what u say about the habs. both teams have improved during the offseason, and its the team that has less injuries and adapts to them the best, as well as goaltending that will ultimately decide things. the habs can finish as high as 4th and as low as 12th, depending on how things roll. same goes for the leafs. as a hab fan i am biased, but i admit that with all the parity, teams will be closer and the habs can finish out of the playoffs while the leafs can finish IN. y dont u understand that MR HOCKEY?

  37. True about the parity.

    But predictions have to be made by what you see on paper and if you are not biased there is absolutely NO reason to call the Leafs finishing before the Habs since on paper the Leafs really suck.


    Enjoy the season ! and do not forget to watch Chris Higgins on October 28th you all Habs haters.

  38. Only reason I threw up standings 4 games into the season is to show you the “whole picture” as you stated above. Bottom line is, all Im saying is the Leafs are a much improved team this season, and theres been absolutely no reason to believe they will not make the playoffs. Even last nights brutal 3 period callapse to the Devils, the Leafs won 2/3 periods and played a pretty good game. Aubin was extremely shaky letting in 3 very weak goals thru the 5 hole. Other than that, its been 5 straight games the Leafs have played an extremely solid game and grabbing points in 4 of those games. It is only 5 games into the season but the Leafs have over 10 shots in 12/15 periods, which is extremely good, so that should close the door on questions people had on “who is going to score goals for the Leafs”. Offense will not be a problem this season, nor will goaltending from Raycroft who has very impressive numbers so far. If anything, defensive injuries will make or brake the Leafs season, but I still feel the Leafs depth runs deep, contrary to what others think. Again, all im saying is there’s no reason to believe the Leafs will be a bad team this year. thats it.

  39. all i have to say….6-3 leafs goin into the third…..blow it to my devs….and they lose….u cant do that if ur gonna be a winnin club

  40. Well i watched the entire game and Id say the Leafs blew it to Gionta if anything. I like Gionta, always have, great Yankee player. Neither goaltender had a good game either, Aubin was just as bad as Brodeur was. Leafs won 2/3 periods very convincinly, just came out flat in the third. It happens. New Jersey is a solid club, never said they werent. Can you remember last team to score 6 goals vs Brodeur? I sure as heck cant. If Raycroft started the game, Leafs dont lose 7-6 in shootouts. I cant guess what the score would have been but definetly not 7-6.

  41. ok i see ur poin they both had terrible games…but lemme change somthin…lets say in was luongo and rycroft and luongos teams up 6-3 and they lose the same way the leafs did….that shouldnt happen….yet it does…

  42. Leafs have faced Ottawa twice, Montreal, Florida and New Jersey. All pretty good teams mind you. Thru 5 games, here are some stats to consider:

    -Leafs are tied for 1st in the NHL with 16 goals for
    -Leafs are 1st overall in shots with 197, leading this stat by 43 shots ahead of the next team
    -Leafs averaging 39.4 shots a game thru 5 games
    -Leafs have over 10 shots in 12/15 periods
    -Leafs are 8th in save percentage at 91.4%(mind you they dropped drastically due to Aubin’s 78% last night)
    -Leafs have one shutout, vs Ottawa
    -Leafs avg 3.05 goals/game and 2.48 goals against/game

    Not too shabby against some stiff competition.

  43. well obviously no team should blow a 6-3 lead going into the third. That loss made me sick. As a Leaf fan you hate to see that happen. Yet really, the Leafs didnt play all that bad in the third, Gionta just scored when the Devils needed to, which makes him a fantastic player without doubt. 2/3 of those goals by Gionta should have been handled by Aubin, but weren’t. I hate to “blame” losses on goaltenders but last night Maurice could not have asked more of the forwards and even the defense. A lot of bad, sloppy goals let in by Aubin.

  44. ok i see the stats u put up…but if u get 100 shots up and dont convert on them…it doesnt mean shit….they could have had the most shots ever and not score….that stilll does not mean a thing….and i kno there tied for scoring…but if they get all those goals and cant score in the clutch…theres somthin missin

  45. i see what yuor saying, and your right. The thing is tho, Ive watched all 5 Leaf games on Tv so far this year, and honestly, the Leafs must have the worst luck in the world cause game 1 vs Ottawa Gerber played amazing! game 3 vs Montreal, Aebischer completely stole the game by himself, and game 4 vs Florida, Alex Auld played one of the best games Ive seen in a while. It sounds unreal i know, but honestly other than the blow out in Ottawa game 2 (Leafs 6-0) and last night vs New Jersey, the Leafs have seen some amazing goaltending at the other end of the rink. Im not talking the Leafs taking 40 lazy, soft shots at Gerber, Aebischer, and Auld. Im talking some serious shots which these goaltenders managed to get a piece of or save. It happens. You can look it up if you like, Gerber was a star in game 1, Aebischer was 1st star when played vs Toronto and Auld was 1st star when played vs Toronto. Ironic.

  46. really all im trying to get you to see is the Leafs are not the same team as last year, and a pretty good year should happen. There’s no reason to believe other wise. They may not be in the top 3 in the East, but at this pace and they way theyve played all 5 games , they should be in the top 8.

  47. ok ok ok ill give it to ya….they are a good team…the only doubt i have is if theyll keep up with the pace of all the other teams

  48. thank you. that’s all i wanted. I know i sound like a pesky Leafs fan and all but really Ive never been this optimistic about a Leaf season like this one. The Eastern Conference is wide open this year as it was last year. Obviously Buffalo, New Jersey, and the NY Rangers should be atop this conference probably all season long, but after that, the next 5 spots are up for grabs. I dont feel Carolina is going to be good at all, as you can see from my predictions atop this page, nor do i think Phlly will be strong. So in reality, your right if the Leafs can keep up this pace and just play good hockey and be in every game on a nightly basis like they have been so far, they have a good shot to make the post season. They have to start winning more shootouts tho, they are losing important points which always come back to haunt a team come April.

  49. yes but (flashback) remeber the good ole days for the leafs….before the terrible season last year….wen they made alll the playoff pushes….good times….i think its stupid a canadain team didnt make the playoffs….they should all make it period………. my opinion….and i have jus come to realize how random that was im going…..

  50. Just a few words for all the guys and their predictions, for Montreal finishing 11th, 12th, and even 15th! And for all of you Leafs fans.

    1- Ryder has scored 30 goals last year while playing injured, look for him to hit the 40 mark this year, especially that his line is producing so far like crazy.

    2- Higgins scored 23, 16 in the last stetch, was #1 in the league during that period, he has continued this start of the season on the good path, another guy that can flurt the 30-35 golas mark.

    3- Kovalev scored 27 in 65 games, easily can reach the 30 glas mark.

    4 – Samsonov played with 2 teams last year, we all know how hard it is to adapt to a new environment, coaching, game plan so on… and he finished with 23 goals, he could be flurting the 30 golas mark too.

    5- Koivu, nothing really to say there, this guy battled Cancer, Knee injury, now playing with one eye and collecting points each game, could score 25 golas easily.

    6- Mike johnson, a regular 20-25 gola scorer, could reach 25 this year.

    7- Perezoghin, have all the assets to score 20 this year, remains to be seen.

    8- Plekanec, talking about centers? You think Gainey and Carbo and Kirk are stupid enough to put him with Kovalev and Samsonov if they didnt see anything in him? Give him time to adapt, wait and see, could be a 20 goal scorer.

    Now Deffense.

    Rivet, if he plays like he did last year, with the new NHL rules, he would be a very good asset, he has started good this year, weel established deffensman.

    Sourray, 2 seasons running with 10 goals or so, very strong, makes a few mistakes, just like anyone, well established.

    Ninimaa, played all last year with an injury, should be back to form, both Gainey and Carbo know him from Dallas, and could score 10 golas a season, well established deffensman.

    Markov, nothing really to say, this guy is the best you can have on any team, amongst the elite, if you watch him every game you know what I mean.

    Dandenault, a very good deffensman, well established, played for long with Detroit, enough to say he’s good enough.

    Bouillon, tailored for the new NHL, well established, good hitter and strong presence, even though small Physically.

    Komisarek, getting there, very strong and promissing, very responsible, doesn’t get many points but doesn’t let anyone past him.

    Streit, good acceptable 7th guy, well established internationally.

    Now goaltending.

    Huet, very calm type of goalie, showed us good talent last season, it won’t take him long to get back on trak and if he doesn’t;

    Aebisher, very solid, replaced Roy without rediculing himself, well established as well and if not;

    Danis, ready for the NHL, played few games last year, 1 shutout, 2 wins and a loss and;

    Price, p;layed better than all the above during the prseason.

    Well looking at ateam like this one, balanced, enough talent, very good speed, above average deffense, and extreemly good between the pipes, I say they finish 4rth with 101 points.

  51. OMG ENOUGH with the stats. its only 5 games they mean squat. who care how many shots they take or how many shots per period. the leafs could very easily get 20 shots or less for the next 5 games. theres no reason to think otherwise. teams havent started showing trends. i mean if we go by YOUR reasoning chicago will make the playoffs and be one of the top teams. if u ask ANYONE with a half a brain theyw ill tell u chicago sux and wont make the playoffs. theyre just on a hot streak. the leafs also COULD be on a hot streak. or they could really be that good. point is we dont know. let it rest for a few mroe games before u throw in shots per game and third period goals and points per turnover and crap like that lol.

  52. Jreij: You are pretty optimistic with some of your analysis.

    Ryder/Higgins: Both of these guys are capable of improving their numbers from last year. It would not surprise me to see them both get to 35 goals but I wouldn’t say it is a given either considering there are no real playmakers on the Canadiens team.

    Kovalev: Could hit 30 but remember he has never scored more than 27 goals when not playing with Mario Lemieux. Predicting 30 is being optimistic. He’s been somewhat injury prone in his career so predicting he’ll play a full season is also being optimistic.

    Samsonov: Has the skill but not sure he has the desire and he hasn’t shown that he can be a big time goal scorer. Expecting anything more than his 23 goals from last year is optimistic.

    Johnson: A regular 20-25 goal scorer? Hardly. He’s played 7 full years in the NHL and has scored 15, 20, 21, 13, 5, 23, and 16 goals. Seven seasons and 3 times he has reached the low 20’s in goals. Predicing 25 is very optimistic. 15-20 is more realistic.

    Koivu: 25 goals easily? You are joking right? Look, I like Koivu as a player but he ain’t going to score 25 goals. He has never scored more than 21 goals and has more often than not had 14-17 goals. Here are his seasonal goal totals over his career: 20, 17, 14, 14, 3, 17, 0, 21, 14, 17. Again, I like Koivu as a player but he is nothing more than a second line center.

    Some of you Montreal fans come here and criticize me and some of the Leaf fans here for being biased and then you post nonsense like this. I think you guys need to look into the mirror and ask yourself who is being biased.

  53. and the fact that they played 2/3s of the game well is totally irrelevant. the fact is they lost the game. the habs played 55 minutes of great hockey against the sabres. but they lost in shootouts. it doesnt matter how much of a game u play well. the main thing is u dont play the whole game well. i know its hard, but teams have to get it together at the end of the game where its all on the line. if u blow a lead u blow the lead. theres no positive in that.

  54. so your allowed to spew crap numbers but were not allowed to be overly optimistic as well??? come on. there is MAJOR bias in your numbers. sure steen can hit 80, and mccabe can score 25, and raycroft can post a 925 save %, but come on be realistic. u dont account for injuries in ANY of your projections. so really were being fair.

  55. When/where did I spew crap numbers? Where was I overly optimistic? I predicted the Leafs would have a season about the same as last year. Is that unreasonable considering they dramatically improved their defense and should have improved goaltending? I don’t know if Raycroft will have a .925 save % but I am confident he will provide better goaltending than Belfour did. BTW, Raycroft has had a .926 save% in the past so at least saying he would have a .925 save% isn’t as way out there as predicting Koivu will score 25 goals which he has never really ever come close to.

  56. Turco has started at Anaheim 12 in a row. I think it is likely they use the backup tomorrow at LA and play Turco at Anaheim Sunday but how badly that inpacts their chances at LA is not clear to me without some clue on the substitute.

  57. David’s right. Being a Leaf fan I come to terms with many people outside of Ontario really hating on the Leafs without any knowledge of the team really. David makes good points. I think I do too when speaking of the Leafs and stats and figures that prove what Im saying or trying to say. Numbers are not bias, they are factual and truthful. Not my problem people don’t want to accept them. I wouldnt say im optimistic about the Leafs this year because im a Leaf fan, I would say im optimistic about the Leafs because they actually have a pretty solid team front, front office, and farm system down the street. All the tools are there for a successful season…I can see it, David can see it, many other people can see it….why can’t other people?

  58. Another win for the Leafs tonight vs the Calgary Flames. Leafs totalled 43 shots on goal. Leafs had over 10 shots in all 3 periods so that makes it 15/18 periods the Leafs have had over 10 shots in a period. Sundin scored the game winner, hat trick and his 500th career goal. This makes it 5 striaght games the Leafs have at least 1 point…so DAniel the question is….when do you finally wake up and realize the Leafs are for real?

  59. and what about the habs? dont mention them. is aid the leafs were a good team yet i still dont think they have the depth to go a full season. the habs have 1 point in every game they played, and won 2 of them. 2 points behind with 2 games bhind. how u STILL manage to crap on them and deny their skill is still a mystery to me.

    and IF the leafs make the playoffs, montreal will finish higher than them. the habs just have too mich depth at all positions, with NHL ready prospects in hamilton ready to fill in if need be. not to mention montreals goaltending situation is alot better than the leafs, and a lot safer as well, as if both starter go down, the habs have the big advantage, plus the third strong, danis is pretty good.

    your a typical leaf fan u know. ignore everything outside of toronto. at least i can appreciate talent when i see it and can see if teams are good or not. the leafs are better than last year i never denied that. my beed is that everyone STILL thinks the habs are a crap team despite improvements over last years team in which they came in 7th place.

  60. ok people….this is really starting to get very annoying…so how bout we all shut up….wait till bout janurary…then we can start criticzing teams….cuz right now….ne team can do ne thing….so yea….

  61. David Johnson, you are a stupid boy.

    “[…] there are no real playmakers on the Canadiens team.”


    What is Koivu if he isn’t a playmaker ?

    You and your insights are jokes to me now.

    Good luck on Oct. 28th. YOU WILL NEED SOME!

  62. I am not sure being 47th in the NHL (2005-06) in assists makes you a true playmaker. He’s not bad but he’s no Forsberg, Savard, Sakic, Weight, Gomez, Thornton, Richards, Spezza, Wellwood, Datsyuk, Modano, etc. What Koivu is is a very good 2-way forward but he isn’t a true #1 center. He wouldn’t be the #1 center on most of many if not most teams. Not Toronto (Sundin). Not Ottawa (Spezza). Not Philadelphia(Forsberg). Not Florida(Jokinen). Not Tampa(Richards, Lecavalier). Not Carolina(Staal). Not Pittsburgh(Crosby). Not Buffalo(Briere). Maybe not Boston(Bergeron). That’s just the east.

    I realize that many Montreal fans believe that Koivu is an elite player but he isn’t. He’s a very good one and one that any team would love to have but he isn’t an elite player.

  63. This site has turned into way too much bashing. Especially between Habs and Leafs fans. Someone stop the insanity.

  64. u cannot name me 29 teams with a better center than koivu. he is a number 1 center for that simple reason. teams like calgary (langkow), edmonton, (horcoff), islanders (yashin), rangers (nylander), atlanta (rucchin), columbus (federov), chicago (handzus) washington (????), LA (cammaleri), and even anaheims mcdonald arent better centers than koivu. points arent the whole story. theres a reason that every international tournament koivu is either 1st team allstar or MVP center. he brings more to a team than points. brindamour didnt get THAT many points last season, he got quite a few, but his #1 attribute was his leadership. u cant measure those things. but theyre their nonetheless. the only knock on koivu is his health. if he can play a full season theres no reason to say he wont get 70 points, of not more.

    and please dont put welwood on a list with those players. me may have 7 assists but hes still too young to be put with all the big boys. maybe in the future but not now. hes far too young, and this is his first “real” season.

  65. hey dan…. back to some predictions. id lean more towards buffalo. miller is too good. and they could still get much better of they trade biron. theyre just a well coached team. if u want shockers, i think atlanta is gonna finish third and win their division. carolinas overrated, AND they got tons of injuries. ladd just got placed on IR, plus stillman and kaberle are on the longterm IR. the last 2 are big pieces of their team. not to mention they lost ward, weight, recchi. and cam ward is overrated. he was on a hot streak in the playoffs and i dont expect him to bring that same play for the season. atlanta’s lehtonen is just too good a goalie. plus with hossa and kovalchuk goalscoring can come at any time. and this season they seem to be getting secondary scoring which is a huge bonus.

    san jose wins it in the west, and calgary doesnt do as well as expected. i think minny will win the division. calgary STILL doesnt have any offense. aside from their top line, which isnt doing THAT well, they have no scoring. lines 2-4 dont have any punch and that will be a huge problem. they will win lots of one goal games though. and i think vancouver will make the playoffs. luongo is dynamite, he actually has a half decent team in front of him. the sedins are sick. they just get better every year. and naslund is always a solid 80 point guy or if he decides to have a big season he can approach 100 pts and 40+ goals.

  66. Questionable whether Koivu is better than Horcoff. Horcoff has more offensive talent and is still getting better.

    Craig Conroy is probably Los Angeles’s best center and he plays a similar 2-way game to Koivu. Koivu is probably a bit better but not much.

    But did you notice that most of those teams you mentioned really really suck and those that don’t really suck have superstar wingers (i.e. Jagr, Kovalchuk/Hossa) that Montreal doesn’t have.

    Leadership is good and all and certainly Koivu gets kudos for that, but how many teams without a star point producing forward made the playoffs last year? The only 2 teams are Calgary (if you don’t count Iginla) and Montreal and Montreal just barely made it. I expect this season will be similar for Montreal – in a fight of their lives for a playoff spot though I think this year they will fall just short as opposed to just squeeking in like last year.

  67. I personally like Koviu alot, always have but I agree with David, he’s not a first line centre. Koviu doesn’t have any legit wingers to play with, only possibly Mike Ryder and maybe Kovalev 5years ago. Koivu has 465 points in 573 career games with Canadiens, thats not first line centre numbers. I dont care how care you think leadership goes, 1st line centres need to produce a lot more. Koivu’s a second line centre put into a first line role this season. If he averages more than 1 point a game, he’s over acheived and good for him .

  68. ehhhh koivu was actually really good before he went out with stomach cancer….he still hasnt came back to his full potential…if he didnt go out with SC i belive he would be in that group

  69. Koivu had abdominal cancer and he’s been recovered for over 4 years now. If he’s not in this elite group now, he never will be.

  70. Interesting stat i found just now. The Montreal Canadiens have 3 players who have over 10 shots:

    Markov 10 shots
    Souray 10 shots
    Begin 10 shots

    The Leafs on the other hand have 12 players who have over 10 shots on goal, and 5 of those players have over 20 shots on goal:

    Sundin 29 shots
    Ponikarovski 25 shots
    Wellwood 21 shots
    Tucker 20 shots
    Steen 20 shots
    Kilger 19 shots
    McCabe 17 shots
    O’Neill 13 shots
    White 12 shots
    Kaberle 11 shots
    Stajan 11 shots
    Peca 10 shots

    As you can see the shots are pretty much distributed all over the team. Just something interesting I found is all.

  71. Well in response to David johnson who responded to my post.

    When you predict what do you do? You look at the team and what it accomplished last year, at roster change, any changes behing the bench, what happened around the devision and the conference and so on, than you try to come up with a prediction. You dont take possible injuries into account because that is somethig that can be beneficial for a team, or not benificial but in both ways it is something no one can control, which by the way helps the definition of the word prediction.

    Looking at the Habs, last year, they had several problems, amongst them and the 2 most important problems were:

    1- the Theodore gang in the dressing room, which was addressed and dismantled.

    2- the crew behind the bench who didn’t know how to handle that gang, and did not have the requiered experience to lead the team all the way.

    You ask the Carolina Hurricanes who was the toughest team to beat in their run to the cup last season, their coach will tell you like he has done publically, the Habs were. They were because of the adjustments behind the bench and inside the dressing room, not because they acquired 4 top ds and 4 top fs.

    This year and with the addition of Johnson, an upgrade from Bullis no doubt in anyones mind, and Samsonov an upgrade of Zednik, again no doubts, Carbo and Muller behing the bench, two 31 goalies between the pipes, the 31 line of Koive – Higgins – Ryder that was rocking the house last season untill the injury of Koivu, that again is rocking the house this start of the season, the penalty kill that was predicted to be amongst the best in the league, and is now in fact, a second line that can use a better center I agree, but nonetheless Plek diserves a chance, a 3rd line that is amongst the best 3rd lines in the league, a killing unit on the 4rth, a descent deffense… What else do you need to predict a better outcome?

    My numbers are not boosted foolishly, taking in consideration all that i’ve said, especially the team behind the bench, they should and most certainly are capable of reaching those numbers, the players I mentionned.

    looking at other teams in the east:

    1- Ottawa lost a couple of good key players, that is a downgrade.

    2- carolina had a very short vacation, and the guys won’t be as pumped as last season, plus i think dealing gerber was a mistake, because Ward is a tricky year ahead of him.

    3- Toronto have only upgraded on defense, goaltending is critical, up front nothing really, meaning no real upgrade.

    4- Washington and Pittsburg, need time, another 2 years.

    5- Flyers I pass, they need speed, flexibility, goaltending, their powerplay sucks, and if Forsberg doesn’t deliver an extreemly good year, gagne will score only 25 goals.

    6- Boston, I like a lot what they did, but they still need a spark or some freekin chemistry going. Savard will disapoint, in my opinion.

    who else? The rest are Buffalo, Devils, Rangers, Islanders forget about them, Atlanta maybe a bit better, Lightening are good, so on anyway i really don’t have time to elaborate more, it is a long discussion but anyway i hope i made my point, the Habs are only better, and i am not saying they will win the cup, not this year. But I won’t place them lower than 6th place in the east, even 5th.

  72. Johnson an upgrade over Bullis??? hahaha wow… ive had a bad day, that made my day tho, COMPLETELY disagree with that statement. I like Jreij’s overall post, I dont agree with alot of it, but he’s entitled to his opinion. Montreal’s strength is its goaltending and will get as far as Huet and Aebischer take them, no doubt in my mind. Montreal still has no elite scorer or a 1st line centre. They will win games, but close ones and shootouts…your not going to see Montreal blowing out teams like the Sens 6-0, they are definetley not the Leafs. I agree with David from previous posts…Montreal will battle for a playoff spot all year round, and my feeling is they will fall short this season. Just my opinion.

  73. Jreij: All I know is that Montreal was 20th in the NHL is goals for average and 13th in goals against average. So far this year they are 19th in goals for and 5th in goals against. I don’t see them improving much in their goals for because I don’t think Johnson will surpass Bulis’s 20 goals and Samsonov will probably at best pass Zednik’s totals by 10 goals but you lose out on Ribeiro’s 16 goals plus his playmaking ability (he had 35 assists). So if they aren’t improving offensively they will have to improve defensively. Any improvement defensively will be because you improve on Theodore’s 38 games while not losing anything from Huet’s more than outstanding 36 games. It is definitely possible that Theodore’s 28 games will be replaced by better goaltending. I expect it. But I don’t expect that Huet will repeat with his .929 save% in his 36 games. Over the course of the season Montreal’s goalies had a save% of .904 and I don’t see significant improvements in that. They could be a bit better but probably not so much that it more than offsets the loss in offense.

    I realize that you can never predict injuries but injuries do happen and a teams ability to withstand injuries has to be taken into account when predicting standings. I look at Montreal and don’t see a lot of depth. They were devastated last year when they lost a couple of defensemen at the same time to injuries. Adding Niinimaa helps a bit but there still isn’t a lot of depth there. One game last week Toronto had 5 defensemen injured and still have 4 injured. Certainly Montreal couldn’t withstand that many injuries. The trade of Ribeiro also leaves Montreal in a very tough spot should Koivu get injured. If Koivu goes down your top centers are Plekanec, Begin and Bonk. Not much offense there. And that is a risk because only twice in his career has Koivu been able to play more than 72 games. Koivu may very well play a full season this year but he generally hasn’t been very durable so I have my doubts that he will. We are not talking Mats Sundin here who has only missed a few dozen games in his whole career.

    You can say Toronto only upgraded on defense but it seems like the new coach and the new play style has improved the teams offense as well or at least they won’t be hurt at all by the loss of Allison and Lindros. Last year the Leafs were 9th in goals for average and so far this year they are 5th. Defensively is where the real issues were last year as they were 21st in goals against. But unlike Montreal, Toronto addressed their most glaring weakness but totally revaming their defensive ability by changing goaltenders (so far looks like a dramatic improvement), revamping their defense (and we still haven’t seen the best yet due to a rash of injuries – 5 defensemen injured at the same time) and adding one of the leagues top defensive forwards in Mike Peca. And so far it looks like it has paid some dividends as they currently sit 11th in the NHL in goals against average. It is still early but it appears that the Leafs have improved themselves.

  74. You make a lot of sense when you speak of the lack of centers in the Habs lineup, something I am more than positive that Gainey will address when he knows which of the 2 golaies stays and which doesn’t, as one of them could be bait along with a young prospect, since we have a lot them forward prospects and a couple picks. Down the stretch, a lot of teams will need to address their goalies issues, and having two of them good ones on any roster is always considered as good bait late in the season.

    Where you are wrong, if I may, is when you speak about the goals for average for this year. Remember that the second line, which is the most talented line we have, still hasn’t got to work yet and if it doesn’t soon Guy will address that problem too. So it is too early to start comparing those stats for not only the Habs but for any team. People are getting used to new players on their lines, but that doesn’t mean that they lost touch nor talent. It makes me laugh a bit how people don’t think Johnson is an upgrade over Bullis, the guy above you, obviously he hasn’t seen Bullis a full season. He is a good player, only if he shows up all the time and score more often. He is speedy, he shoots, but doesn’t score and doesn’t get his nose dirty. More of a coward. Johnson is not afraid to get close, he makes very good passes, his bigger and is fast too, his deffensive game is very goos as well!

    Also some don’t think that Samsonov is an upgrade of Zednik, and there too, are wrong. Why do people think Samsonov is done? I don’t see that at all, the guy changed teams last year, that’s freekin hard to adapt! And he still needs time to adapt here, only he played along Kovalev with the Russian team in the worldcup and they were awsome together, their centering needs to be addressed but as I said, Plek deserves a chance, and Guy knows when to adjust that.

    Anyway, I hope the leafs are as good as you say they are, more Canadian teams making the playoffs is just what we need and is something that actually makes me happy, my point was and still only is that the Habs are an upgraded team, something a lot of people are not seeing. The season will show us who is seeing things better.

    Have a good one, My game is starting, we gotto put the flames out tonight.

  75. Johnson is a nice player and is an upgrade on Bulis mostly because he’ll be more consistant. But he isn’t a dramatic upgrade and they will play similar roles. Bulis probably had more scoring ability and Johnson is probably has more playmaking ability. But neither are great players, just useful second and third line guys.

    Samsonov is an upgrade on Zednik but he isn’t a great player either. He’s got lots of talent but he hasn’t gotten much out of that talent during his career. It’s not that he’s ‘done’ but just that he isn’t all that great. He’s small, he’s had injuries issues in the past, he isn’t great defensively, isn’t a great playmaker and he only seems to be able to score ~25 goals. If he can’t score 30 goals playing with Joe Thornton he certainly isn’t going to score 30 goals playing with Plekanec.

    Kovalev is a similar type player. He’s a bit bigger but he isn’t great defensively, doesn’t show up every game, and aside from his years playing with Mario Lemeiux hasn’t produced much more than 25 goals and 65 points in any season.

    The one guy who I think could really add to Montreal’s offense is Higgins. If he can elevate his goal output to the 35-40 goal range then I would agree that Montreal is a bit better offensively than last year but that still is a big question mark.

  76. interesting..maybe its just me who think Bullis is a much better player than Johnson. Id like to see Bullis on the Leafs, wont happen i know, but he’s the type of player i can see doing very well in Maurices system.


  77. And what type of player you think he is?

    A lo tof people think Ribeiro is a big loss to montreal, well he has skills and all, but 2 things:

    1 – he is too freeking light and dishonest (The fake injury thing)

    2 – He has a very bad attitude in the dressing room, known to start gangs, Portugese as he is. Sorry no racism here my wife is Portugese.

    Talking about offense, I won’t elaborate on 2nights game.

  78. yes…well….the habs might not be the leafs….yet the leafs are not the sabers…..its all realative…

  79. yes…well….the habs might not be the leafs….yet the leafs are not the sabers…..its all realative..

  80. kovalev was on pace for a point per game last season, he had a rare knee injury which was adressed and going from last seasons stats theres no reason to assume he will continue his PACE, which should be an 80 point season. also, kovalev used to play with bulis and ribeiro, imo plekanec and samsonov is a much better combo.

    and as for montreals depth. they have 2 injuries, but once everyone is healthy, theres rivet, markov, komisarek, dandenault, souray, bouillon, niinimaa, streit. thats 8 NHL calibre D. all of whom could play. markov is a #1 D. hes been playing kinda slow this year, but he still has 4 points in 5 games. which is good pace for a D. he could end up with kaberle numbers this year. but i must say the habs 3-6 D are better than the leafs D, and im sorry but streit and bouillon are better than the leafs next 2 spares, i dont know who they are cuz of all the injuries, but i do know the leafs D trails off a bit. also, u overpaid for gill. too big, too slow. hes good on the PK but he leaves alot to be desired in the other aspects of the game.

    and i agree about the leafs improvements, they make sense. i just dont get how u talk about the leafs improvements and how they will help them make the playoffs, yet u completely refuse to acknowledge the habs improvements. higgins is the real deal. not only does he score goals, he is, at 23, an incredible PKer and a incredibly smart hockey player, and hes fast. ryder will show everyone is IS a first liner. he played injured ALL of last season with a herniated disc. he was slow, scared, and playing very cautious. he still managed to score 30 goals. he got surgery in the offseason, lost 10 pounds, and has been FLYING ever since. he CAN pot 40 goals this year.

    another thing about the habs is with coaches like carbo muller and jarvis, they dont HAVE to score many goals. defense will win them games. everyone out there, with the exception of the second line, can play defense. AND even they have been backchecking alot lately and showing a good 2way game. also, offense is coming from all 3top lines. which is a bonus. AND, u fail to acknowledge the special teams. montreal has the best PK in the league. and with souray at the point the powerplay will always be a threat. he has the hardest shot in the NHL, tie domi even agreed to that. tonight he made kipper look like a minor leaguer. he was ripping them from everywhere.

    the habs finished in 7th last season, and with all those improvements, it is only normal they would IMPROVE on last seaons totals. teams like philly, ottawa, tampa, and carolina are having lots of trouble this year. the only sure bets for the playoffs imo are buffalo, rangers, jersey, and my wildcard is atlanta who missed the postsesaon last year by 2 points and were without their #1 goaltender (and their #’s 2,3,and 4 for extended periods of time last year).

  81. “also, kovalev used to play with bulis and ribeiro, imo plekanec and samsonov is a much better combo.”

    Ummm, probably not. Plekanec hasn’t shown great offensive ability in the NHL or in the AHL (he had some decent years with ~65 points) and is certainly not near as talented as Ribeiro. And Samsonov if anything is a bit of a puck hog and isn’t known for his passing ability. Samsonov will probably take away opportunities from Kovalev. Just my opinion anyway.

    I realize you don’t like Ribeiro and he did have issues but he also was a significant component of Montreal’s secondary scoring and I don’t see how they have replaced that.

    “yet u completely refuse to acknowledge the habs improvements”

    It’s not that I refuse to acknowledge them, I just don’t believe they exist. Again, I don’t believe that Johnson is a significant improvement (if at all) over Bulis. I don’t believe that Samsonov is the offensive star Montreal needs although he will be better than Zednik. I don’t believe Montreal has any significant offensive ability down the middle after Koivu. Their defense is more or less the same and I just can’t see Aebischer or Huet repeating what Huet did the last half of last year. Huet has been pretty mediocre so far this year and Aebischer has proven himself to be a good but not great goalie and I think Montreal with their lack of offense needs a great goalie to be real successful.

    The only way I see Montreal improving is if Higgins and Ryder take big strides forward and become 35 goal players. Now that is possible but I am not convinced they will improve enough to make a big enough difference. And with Toronto and Boston both also improving it is going to be a real tough division to gather points in. They may not be a worse team than last year but they may not get as many points.

    Can we agree to disagree and see how things unfold between now and the end of the season?

  82. im talking about everything….sorry i was readin some comments above and i had to type when someone said the habs are no leafs. The point is…the habs and the leafs both cannot compeat with the sabers along with other elite teams like them. hence “habs are no leafs leafs are no saber”

  83. Again you only look at offense, deffence, and gaoltending, while you overlook more important aspects of the game like, PP, PK. Those two aspects are incredibly important especially this year in a very tight division, and the Habs are the best team in both those aspects. You keep saying there is a lack of offense while i wil keep clearing that point, even if you tend to look at things from a dark angle.

    1- Ryder is healthy, got his speed back, enjoys his linemate and will score more than 30. He scored 30 injured and slow.

    2- Higgins will reach the 30, almost certainly, already he has 3 and 2 shorthanded!

    3- Koivu is a great playmaker, you seen another example yesterday, and will score a 70 point season.

    4- Stop talking about rebeiro, we know him better than you do. he is a big underachiever mostly because of his bad attitude. They signed him up for speed skating courses to help boost his slow feet this summer, he only showed up 3 times. He doesn’t listen, he starts gangs in the dressing room, he fakes injuries, he hardly scores and he is a selfish player.

    5- Samsonov will score 20, I am happy, Zednik scores 10.

    6- Kovalev is still good no doubt on my mind, all the critics place him amongst the best in the league, he can change the outcome of the game all by himself, already has 2 goals with a line that is not working as it could, not yet.

    6- Johnson is not an upgrade from Bullis? How many seasons did bullis score 20 goals? 1. Johnson? 2 + a 16 goal season and a 15 goal season, in 2k2 2k3, he scored 23 goals and 40 assists!

    7- Bonk seems to find his way back to were he was with the senators so far this season, playing with no eslse than Johnson!

    8- Deffense is solid and true we have 8 ds capable of playing in the NHL, Streit is a more than capable 7th d, Bouillon is the 2nd line d, dandenault Rivet Sourray ninimaa Markov, Komisarek is becoming great, big and hits hard and responsible.

    9- Goalies? huet is good, not as good as last year but still good, Aebisher good, Danis ready and you can go down to the farm and find Price almost ready and showed us all this pre-season what he is made of.

    The only thing lacking is a big solid 2nd line center to replace plekanec if he doesn’t deliver, with a trade that issue could be addressed and we would have an almost perfect team capable of contending for 1st or 2nd place in the east.

    Behind the bench? EXCELLENT
    Team spirit? EXCELLENT
    Chemistry? VERY GOOD
    Will? VERY GOOD


  84. and i have an insight i belive that this years stanley cup playoffs are gonna be a rematch of the (my computers screwed up so i gotta type it) two thousad three final devs vs ducks

  85. “Ryder is healthy, got his speed back, enjoys his linemate and will score more than 30.”

    Ok, so lets give him 35. That’s +5 from last year.

    “Higgins will reach the 30, almost certainly, already he has 3 and 2 shorthanded!”

    I am confident he won’t score shorthanded goals at that pace but lets say he gets to 30 anyway. Thats +7 over last year.

    “Samsonov will score 20”

    $3.5 million for 20? Wow, talk about overpaid. Ok, so anyway, he gets 20. Zednik had 16 last year. So thats +4.

    Ok, so combined that is +16 over last year. Hey look, Ribeiro had 16 goals last year. Looks like you are breaking even.

    And yes, I realize that you hate Ribeiro but he did have 16 goals and 51 points and regardless of how little you like him Montreal has to replace his offense.

    “Kovalev is still good no doubt on my mind, all the critics place him amongst the best in the league, he can change the outcome of the game all by himself, already has 2 goals with a line that is not working as it could, not yet.”

    I don’t disagree with anything you have said. I have never said that Kovalev isn’t one of the more gifted and talented players in the league. What I have said is that his results rarely match the kind of talent and ability he has. Will that change at this point in his career? I doubt it.

    “Johnson is not an upgrade from Bullis? How many seasons did bullis score 20 goals?”

    It’s not about how many seasons Bulis scored 20 goals, it’s whether Johnson can match the 20 goals Bulis scored last year. Montreal barely made the playoffs last year and if they are to improve this year they have to get better. I am not sure Johnson will provide more offense than Bulis provided last year so I don’t see any net gain year over year.

    “Bonk seems to find his way back to were he was with the senators so far this season”

    I had high hopes for Bonk last year. I thought the change of scenery would turn him around. For the most part he was a flop last year. It’ll take more than one good game to change my attitude toward him now. He’s got the ability no doubt but not the desire.

    “Deffense is solid and true we have 8 ds capable of playing in the NHL”

    I actually do like Montreals defense now if they were all healthy. Unfortunately many of them are injury prone so I am not sure how often that will be. But the addition of Niinimaa helps a bit no doubt.

    “Goalies? huet is good, not as good as last year but still good, Aebisher good”

    Huet has not been very good this year so far and if he can’t turn it around Montreal will be stuck because they will be forced to play Aebischer who is good but generally not great but more importantly they will be stuck with both goaltenders on their payroll. Montreal might have been able to find takers for Aebsichers $1.9 million salary had Huet shown he can be the #1 guy but no one will take on Huet’s salary if he shows he can’t be the #1 guy. For a team with some of the least cap wiggle room that wouldn’t help.

  86. Dan…really you think its gonna be a rematch of 2003 Devils vs Ducks??? whys that?

    In my opinion I believe the cup is finally coming home to Canada this season. All 6 Canadian clubs have pretty solid teams thus far this season… anyone of those 6 teams could get hot with the Canadian fans behind them and streak right up to the finals (kinda like Edmonton did last year).

  87. Where is the effect of PP and PK in your argument, again? Or don’t you know that coaches do make a difference? The habs will definately have less goals against this year, and should have more golas because they are not run by a bold non-experienced Julien who is afraid of his own shadow. What difference did we see when Gainey and carbo took over at the end of last season?

    Again and again and again, all your arguments are based on last year, player by player statistics and that is no argument in my point of view.

    We might disagree, but I like the fact that in this forum people don’t disrespect eachother.

    Good croud.

  88. Jreij: if your not basing arguments on previous seasons and stats, than what are you basing your arguments on???? assumptions???? well, that is no argument in my opinion.

  89. “Where is the effect of PP and PK in your argument, again?”

    You want to talk PP and PK? Well last year Montreal was 5th in the NHL in PP. I don’t see them improving on that any. On the PK they were 21st in the NHL. They could improve on that but only if their goaltending is there. Interestingly, 4 of the top 5 teams on the PP were in the northeast division which explains why Montreals PK % isn’t as good as one might expect considering they are more of a defensive team.

    “Again and again and again, all your arguments are based on last year, player by player statistics and that is no argument in my point of view.”

    Well, if you are going to tell me that Montreal’s offense is going to be better you have to explain where that offense is going to come from. You can’t have a better team offense if none of the individual players get more goals. You can’t have a better offense if you can’t tell me who is going to make up for the loss of Bulis’s 20 goals, Ribeiro’s 16 goals and Zednik’s 16 goals. Who’s going to get those goals?

  90. Where from? Coaching, better team chemistry, more will, more devotion, Zednik 16? Samsonov minimum 20. Bullis 20? Johnson had 23 in 2k3, let’s say he score 20 not impossible, but more real. Ribeiro 16? Add 5 to Ryder and 5 to Higgins, another 5 to Kovalev, those are not impossible figures not talking about a very probable trade for a center yet to come, with again, BETTER COACHING, BETTER TEAM CHEMISTRY, MORE DEVOTION as we can see from the team since the Theo gang has been dismatled and Julien out. PP last year 5th, this year the same that’s great, PK was 21st, Now they are 1st. What does that mean? more points maybe?

    Now Mr. Hockey, if you only base your predictions on last year’s stats, you would come up with exactly the same results as last year, maybe worst because yother teams still improved they way you are all putting it. What you do is look at all improvenemnts, especially the one behind the bench that you guys are not feeling since maybe you don’t follow the team as much as I, add to that all what happened around the division and the conference, add to that a bit of salt and pepper and you come up with a prediction. As far as you predict you only look at last year’s stats and pick a wild guess, well that is not how it works.

  91. Bonk has 2 this season already, he had 6 all of last, let’s say he scores 10, that will cover more of Ribs small 16 goal production. It is not like we lost a freekin 50 goal scorer on a regular basis! His trade has done much more for the team as a whole than his freeking 16 goals.

  92. HIGGINS = top50 players in the NHL

    KOMISAREK = top50 defensemen in the NHL

    Get a life David Johnson.

    On paper, Leafs suck but they might surprise, who knows?
    But you can’t be serious in making such predictions.

    Oh and btw I like how you included Wellwood to a list filled by names like Forsberg, Spezza, etc. in order to say that Koivu isn’t a good playmaker.
    I have news for you, Saku Koivu is at least in the 20 best playmakers in this league… if you can’t see, find another sport to cheer about because you don’t know bizzack.

  93. elbeso: They are predictions and/or opinions. If you can’t handle my predictions with any sense of maturity go elsewhere. No one is forcing you to read my website and I am certain that most people reading this website aren’t interested in your childish immature name calling rants.

  94. I know i am not. Keep it clean, we are all intitled to have different opinions and views, that is what makes us unique! If we all agreed, life would be boring, and if we all faught instead of discussing, we would all be dead! So you have no choice really but to discuss, and with respect and maturity.

  95. Speaking of childish immature attitude…


    Oh and thank you for not answering my points…

    Wellwood playmaking abilities own Koivu’s. No doubt about it… Kyle is as good as Forsberg, Spezza, Datsyuk, Thornton in that department.

    If we would speak face to face you it would take 5 minutes to make you shut your mouth about the Leafs because there is absolutly no evidence whats so ever for predict them to do better than the Habs.

  96. Did I ever say Wellwood was as good as Forsberg, Spezza, Datsyuk, etc.? No. I just said he was better than Koivu. And yes, I do think he is better than Koivu in all areas of the offensive game (defensively Koivu is better).

    Unlike the Habs the Leafs actually did something substantial in the off season to try to improve their team. They totally revamped their defense and centermen, replaced the coach and are playing a brand new style of game. Sundin is the best player on either team by a country mile. McCabe and Kaberle are better than any defensemen Montreal has and Kubina might be too. And if Raycroft plays like he did in his rookie season (and so far it seems he is) then I’ll take Raycroft over either of Montreal’s goalies any day of the week. Now if that isn’t some evidence that Toronto could be better than Montreal I don’t know what is.

  97. You just keep signing the same tune.

    Hockey is a team sport and the Habs are a lot deeper than the Leafs in every department.
    Even if I don’t agree with all of the things you’re said I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.
    Sundin > Koivu, ok.
    McCabe & Kaberle > Souray & Markov, ok.
    Raycroft & Aubin > Huet & Aebischer, (lol how is it possible to be so biased) but ok.

    Tell me who is your Chris Higgins now ?
    Who is your Michael Ryder ?
    Who is you Alex Kovalev ?
    Who is your Mike Komisarek ?
    and the list goes on…

    Higgins > Wellwood
    Ryder > Tucker
    Kovalev > Steen
    Samsonov > O’Neill
    Plekanec > Stajan
    Johnson > Kilger
    Bonk > Peca
    Prezhogin > Suglobov
    Begin > Battaglia
    Murray > Pohl

    Komisarek > Kubina (by a country mile – just watch him play)
    Rivet > Gill
    Dandenault and Bouillon > any of the other unknown/unproven defensemen the Leafs got in their lineup.
    Niinimaa, can’t say yet but he did ok so far.

    I guess you will come up with some other so-called evidence that are “opinions”.

    Oh and mark my words here:
    Saku Koivu will put up as many points as Sundin this year… just like he did in the 2002-2003 campaign with much much less talented wingers.

    P.S.: I bet you’ll just comment the Komisarek-Kubina comparison and do as if you never read the rest.

  98. holy cow… this topic started a massive rant. Honestly, I gave up weeks ago, even David said it as well, lets give it some time like unitl January or so and then see how this Habs/Leafs comparisons measure up. Nothing else to say about it. We could all argue our points till our face is blue.

  99. “Hockey is a team sport and the Habs are a lot deeper than the Leafs in every department.”

    Really? The Leafs are playing with 4 injured defensemen and 2 injured forwards and are still managing to survive. And I am not sure guys like Garth Murray or Aaron Downey or Latendresse would be playing many games for the Leafs.

    “Who is your Mike Komisarek ”

    Kubina. Yes, Kubina is better than Komisarek. Komisarek has very little offensive ability while Kubina has 40 point potential (though he won’t likely get there on the Leafs because he won’t get enough PP time).

    “Bonk > Peca”

    You are dreaming right? Even Bonk and his family probably wouldn’t say that.

    “Begin > Battaglia”

    You are comparing apples to oranges now as Begin is a 3rd line center and Battaglia is a 4th line winger.

    Lets do a proper comparison now ok.

    First line:

    Sundin > Koivu
    Wellwood/Tucker = Ryder/Higgins

    This is a difficult comparison as Wellwood and Higgins and to a lesser extent Ryder are still establishing themselves. I do like Ryder/Higgins but Wellwood and Tucker have the ability to match them. Overall I have to give the first line edge to Toronto.

    Defensive center:
    Peca > Begin
    Pretty close though. I do like Begin.

    Stajan > Plekanec

    Stajan is very good defensively and has at least as much offensive potential as Plekanec. Stajan has looked better offensively this season over last.

    Kovalev = Ponikarovsky

    Personally I’d rather have Ponikarovsky because he is better defensively and more consistent and can still chip in 20+ goals but when Kovalev wants to play he is better.

    Steen > Samsonov

    Steen is a better all round player and has the potential to produce as much offensively as Samsonov.

    Johnson > Kilger

    I’ll give you that one though I think people in Montreal underrate Kilger. He has improved since his Montreal days. He had 17 goals last year and has 3 already. He might match Johnson’s goal totals.

    O’Neill > Perezhogin

    I might have put them equal a week ago but O’Neill seems to have gotten some of his game back and has played very well the last few games.

    So that is pretty much the first 3 lines and I have to give the edge to the Leafs. Neither team has great talent on the 4th line and thus neither team has a big edge. But when Antropov returns that would shift the edge to the Leafs.

    “Saku Koivu will put up as many points as Sundin this year… just like he did in the 2002-2003 campaign with much much less talented wingers.”

    Funny, when I check the stats I see that Sundin had 72 points in 75 games and Koivu has 71 points in 82 games. You can’t even get your facts right.

  100. Well I am a die hard Habs fan, and a Die hard Leaf hater, but reading those few last posts I came to realise this:

    The Hab fan, elbeso, is attacking with a lot of nonsense the Leaf fan, David johnson. David is writing arguments and facts, and elbeso is writing out of hate with little research.

    Now I would like to comment on David’s last post, the Leafs edge the Habs.:

    Sundin > Koivu
    Wellwood/Tucker = Ryder/Higgins

    This is a difficult comparison as Wellwood and Higgins and to a lesser extent Ryder are still establishing themselves. I do like Ryder/Higgins but Wellwood and Tucker have the ability to match them. Overall I have to give the first line edge to Toronto. (((Why?))) That’s not a proven point, if you give the leafs an edge please explain why? Where was wellwood last year? Higgins was here and posted 23 goals, 16 in the last stretch.

    Defensive center:
    Peca > Begin
    Pretty close though. I do like Begin. (((so are you ginving it to MTL?))) Casue i would for sure, Begin is not to be compared, he is the heart of theam, and I mean the heart. That guy would kill himself for the team, I don’t think Peca gives a flying F.

    Kovalev = Ponikarovsky

    Personally I’d rather have Ponikarovsky because he is better defensively and more consistent and can still chip in 20+ goals but when Kovalev wants to play he is better. (((I don’t know!))) Across the league, all the analyst place Kovalev amongst the best 5 players in many areas, he is extreemly watched on the ice and has almost always no room to breath, and still makes a lot of people look like rookies when he skates past them, some of the goalies are still lokking for pucks as we speaks, just ask Kip last game.

    Stajan > Plekanec

    Stajan is very good defensively and has at least as much offensive potential as Plekanec. Stajan has looked better offensively this season over last. (((I dont know Stajan, I’ll pass)))

    Steen > Samsonov

    Steen is a better all round player and has the potential to produce as much offensively as Samsonov.(((again why?)
    Steen score 2 points in his first year, played 7 games.
    Steen scored 45 points last year played 75 games, 18 goals.
    Samsonov scored 2 (75Points) season with 29 goals, another 3 seasons with 25, 23 and 23 golas for 51, 47 and 53 points,1 seasons with 17 goals and 40 points, last year changed teams and still scored 23 goals and 53 points. I don’t get this one really, yuo think he will score 5 this season for some reason.

    Johnson > Kilger

    I’ll give you that one though I think people in Montreal underrate Kilger. He has improved since his Montreal days. He had 17 goals last year and has 3 already. He might match Johnson’s goal totals. (((Kilger was so slow when he was MTL and that was the old NHL))) No thanks, this guy can be a power forward with his size but never achieved anything. Johnson is way better, we can also look at career stats if you wish.

    So all in all, the way you are putting it down, it comes out Leafs winning, the way I see it with your same arguments, some of which are missing reason, the Habs are winning.

  101. “Where was wellwood last year? Higgins was here and posted 23 goals, 16 in the last stretch.”

    Wellwood was playing for Toronto racking up 45 points, 7 more than Higgins.

    I’d give a slight edge to Peca over Begin because I think he has a bit more offensive potential (though he didn’t show it last year). And Peca was a key member of Edmonton’s playoff run last year. He was awesome in the playoffs. Begin doesn’t really have that track record.

    “Across the league, all the analyst place Kovalev amongst the best 5 players in many areas, he is extreemly watched on the ice and has almost always no room to breath, and still makes a lot of people look like rookies when he skates past them, some of the goalies are still lokking for pucks as we speaks, just ask Kip last game.”

    I agree with everything you said except you left out one extremely important point. He doesn’t do that consistantly. He can have one very good game followed by one where you hardly notice him. For that matter he can have one good period followed by another where he seems absent. No doubt he has the talent but without consistancy you can’t be depended on. Ponikarovsky is a dependable player with excellent speed, good size and a hard shot.

    The same argument can be given to Samsonov vs Steen. Steen is dependable. Samsonov is inconsistant. Steen had 18 goals, 45 points as a rookie last year, Samsonov had 23/53 playing half the season with Thornton and a number of games on a highly offensive Edmonton team. Considering goals and points were fairly close I’ll take the more dependable/consistent player.

    “Johnson is way better, we can also look at career stats if you wish.”

    As I said, I think Kilger is a different player now. And Kilger is not slow. He has pretty good speed and good size and strength.

    “So all in all, the way you are putting it down, it comes out Leafs winning, the way I see it with your same arguments, some of which are missing reason, the Habs are winning.”

    There is not doubt these two teams are fairly closely matched. How it plays out will largely be dependent on what kind of goaltending they get and how each teams youngsters develop.

  102. Ok this is becoming a lot of fun:

    Wellwood was playing for Toronto racking up 45 points, 7 more than Higgins. (((Wellwood score 11 golas, higgins 23))) Mind you, and again you don’t read well my friend, Higgins started off very slow, in the last 2 months alone he scored 16 goals and was 1st in the NHL during that stretch, still is racking them up this year, 4 so far, 2 of which shorthanded, is extreemly good on deffense, and has a heart of lions if yuo watch him you know. I give it to Higgins in a flash.

    I’d give a slight edge to Peca over Begin because I think he has a bit more offensive potential (though he didn’t show it last year). And Peca was a key member of Edmonton’s playoff run last year. He was awesome in the playoffs. Begin doesn’t really have that track record. (((Again, you talked about points now to deffend your argument, while i argued about overall value))) Peca had 6 Goals and 5 assist in 24 playoff games last year, what is soooo amazing about that? Begin is the caracter of the Habs, Peca is the shadow of himself. He scored 9 goals and 14 assists ln 74 games last year while Begin scored 11 goals and 12 assists, and planted around 300 oponent faces around the boards in the bell center.

    I agree with everything you said except you left out one extremely important point. He doesn’t do that consistantly. ((( he scored 23 Goals 42 Assists for 65 points in 69 games))) how is that not consistant, playing with freekin ribeiro and Zednik?

    As I said, I think Kilger is a different player now. And Kilger is not slow. He has pretty good speed and good size and strength. (((I don’t see that speed you talk about I am sorry))) While we have givin up on giving him chances a long time ago, you remind me of my old self still waiting for him to get better when you say he is getting better!

  103. That’s actually a nice stat figure, i just realised it on, the shots/goal career%

    samsonov 14.5
    Sundin 14.8

  104. “Mind you, and again you don’t read well my friend, Higgins started off very slow, in the last 2 months alone he scored 16 goals and was 1st in the NHL during that stretch”

    He had 6 points in 9 April games and 4 in 6 playoff games so he finished off OK but not real hot. He scored 10 goals in 16 games in March. Aside from that he never scored more than 4 goals in any month. Which month stands out as being abnormal?

    “still is racking them up this year, 4 so far, 2 of which shorthanded, is extreemly good on deffense, and has a heart of lions if yuo watch him you know.”

    And Wellwood has 8 points so far. He had 9 points in 10 games in April last year too once he started getting increased ice time with the Allison injury.

    Look, I have no doubt that Higgins is a good player. He plays a good energy game and next to Koivu is probably their best player. But he still has to prove himself that he can do it for a full season and I don’t think you can say either Wellwood or Higgins are better than the other at this point.

    “While we have givin up on giving him chances a long time ago, you remind me of my old self still waiting for him to get better when you say he is getting better!”

    If you watch Kilger you will see he is much better. The scouting report says “Has great size and skates very well for a big man.” Paul Maurice has said he shows great speed.

    “I think Chad got himself to a point where he respected the simple game,” Maurice, the Leafs coach, said. “He has a huge shot and great speed and it looked to me like he accepted last year that those were the two things he was going to rely on. He stopped playing that slow kind-of-find-a-hole game.”

    And yes Maurice is biased but he is generally a straight shooter.

    Shots/goal career% is not that valuable. Interesting but I am not sure it really says a lot.

  105. ok….ummm i can see that everyone here is arguing bout the leafs and habs…and what i can tell you right now, right this moment…if they had a 10 games series…it would be split…both teams are very balanced….good goaltending…(to an extent) got the scoring capability…(habs special teams) leafs(40+shots a game)and both defenses are descent…and yeh….and even tho this is really off topic….i wanna jus say somthin bout my team…nj devs……and this is a true stat……3 games down by 2+ goals going into the third…and came back all times…..good stuff

  106. I like the Devils too. They should have a really good team and I think they will compete with the Rangers for the division title though I think the Rangers might have a bit deeper lineup.

  107. yea i totally agree but the question mark for the rangers….and the devils to an extent is goaltending…as a devils fan i was getting quite scared about brodeurs play…but same with lundquist and weeks…

  108. David one last thing, you seam to know more of your team than mine, and vis versa but it seams to me most of all that Maurice has just met Kilger recently and saw the same things we gave up on long long long long time ago. Having said that, I would call it quit if you agree that I know my Habs better than you, i know that you know your Leafs better than I. This is your site man, you want to predict that the Habs won’t make the playoffs be my guest, only the end of the season will prove us both wrong. Imagine both teams out of it this year! i would LMAO.

    Dan, i wouldn’t worry about Brodeur a bit, it is not like he is the best goaltender to ever play the game. Last year he started slow, and finished like an ace. Year after year after year he wins around 40 games/sason, if he is starting slow again I assure it is because of the many Poutines he’s had during this past summer, and that will take a couple weeks to lose and get back in shape. Yes the Devils are always a threat, and a real one, no argument there, but I don’t like their offensive depth, only because last year nothing was happening untill Elias came back from injury. Ok what if he gets injured this year? Got Me?

  109. One more thing, what is wrong with your “Stat comparison of the day” post? Delete it dude and post it again once finished.

  110. Jreij you give yourself way too much credit. You know as much about the Habs as any other intelligent hockey fan knows about any other team. Just because someone hosts a website doesnt mean they know more than you either, its all opinion, just take it for what it is. Don’t agree with David’s opinions, don’t blog.

  111. David, did u ever consider making MAJOR changes (ie revamping, trades, signing free agents) can actually have a BAD effect on the team. u really really underestmate team chemistry. how ell players know eachother. how they play with each other. its a fact that the same group of guys will play better and better as the games go on. the habs have a very similar team as last season.

    and i dont consider gill a “revamp”…. it is not forward progress, ESPECIALYL at that price. gill is more of a lateral move.

  112. David, did u ever consider making MAJOR changes (ie revamping, trades, signing free agents) can actually have a BAD effect on the team. u really really underestmate team chemistry. how ell players know eachother. how they play with each other. its a fact that the same group of guys will play better and better as the games go on. the habs have a very similar team as last season.

    and i dont consider gill a “revamp”…. it is not forward progress, ESPECIALYL at that price. gill is more of a lateral move. and please y dont u understand that the same reasons your using the exclude the habs from the playoffs contradict what your using to put the leafs IN the playoffs.

    also, u dont take into consideration the natural improvements of players like perezhogin and plekanec, who will surely score more goals than last year (since u looove individual stats and nothing else) and also keep in mind kovalev was a point per game last season, so u HAVE to assume he will play 82 this year and thus have an 80 poits season, and his stats will thus be improved.

  113. im sorry u say steen is consistent. HOW IS A ROOKIE CONSISTENT if he has only played 1 season. your argument doesnt make sense. even if he plays the same game by game, it doesnt translate to year by year play. and samsonov DID NOT PLAY WITH THORNTON. he was on the same team, yes, but NOT THE SAME LINE. thornton always had the power forwards on his line. firs tit was murray and guerin. then when guerin left they replaced him with knuble. and last season samsonov was on the second line with bergeron. sure they might have played togehter for SOME shifts, but nothing on a regualar basis.

  114. David, did u ever consider making MAJOR changes (ie revamping, trades, signing free agents) can actually have a BAD effect on the team.

    Yes, I do agree with this. But the core of the team is still the same. Peca is the only real new player on the top defense pairing is the same and the 3rd defense pairing played substantial time together in the AHL last year. What’s the most new is the coaching style and if anything the Leafs should get better as they learn this new style and they have gotten off to a pretty decent start.

    and i dont consider gill a “revamp”…. it is not forward progress, ESPECIALYL at that price. gill is more of a lateral move.

    Well, changing 4 of your 6 defense positions is a revamp no matter how you slice it.

    im sorry u say steen is consistent. HOW IS A ROOKIE CONSISTENT if he has only played 1 season.

    You Montreal fans are funny. On one hand you guys think that Samsonov, Kovalev, and others are going to get better this season when they have shown remarkable consistancy in scoring 23-27 goals and then you dog me when I say Steen is consistent by saying he is a rookie and has no track record.

    So let me spell it out for you. I was not talking about year to year consistancy. I was talking about game to game consistancy.

    KOVALEV/SAMSONOV are not consistant on a game to game or even a period to period basis. They can have one outstanding game followed by 2 no shows.

    STEEN is far more consistant in that he plays a solid all round game day in and day out. Yeah he’s young and makes mistakes from time to time but he usually shows up and plays hard and plays a good game at both ends of the ice.

  115. Again you say Kovalev is not consistent, and again i tell you he had 65 points in 69 games, playing out of a knee injury last season with 2 pussies on his line.

    Samsonov too, i stated a bit higher his numbers, he is a consistent player, look at his career shot%, it matches Sundin’s, so if he ain’t consistent i donno why Sundin is. Samosonov has scored around 20 goals every season he played, it’s not like he scored 50 goals one year and then 5 the next.

    You say the leafs core is intact, well that core was terrible las season! Is it because of the coachng? there again, coaching in MTL was bad last year, this year is flawless!

  116. Samsonov too, i stated a bit higher his numbers, he is a consistent player, look at his career shot%

    What does career shot% have to do with consistancy? If I take 100 shots, score on the first 14 and miss on the next 86 I have a 14% shot% but am I consistant?

    Samosonov has scored around 20 goals every season he played, it’s not like he scored 50 goals one year and then 5 the next.

    Exactly my point. And Zednik scored 16 last year so Samsonov makes you 4 goals better offensively which will do squat for improving your team. Thanks for making my point.

  117. Your argument doesn’t stand because he did not take 100 shots, but 1175 shots, and that is a pretty good number to base a stat on. I could probable shoot 100 puck towards the goal and score 10, in a peewee league, that would not give me 10% shot/goal average i could talk about. But if I shoot 1175 time in NHL, and score 14.5% of those, that would make me a pretty good scorer.

    As far as your point around Zednik, I was the #1 fan of this guy, he was a killer in the playoffs, but since he his injury, the dirty hit down the right by Cole during the playoff season in 2003 against the Bruins, he never was the same. He seamed to be affraid of playing, plus he has a habbit of carrying the puck with one hand all the way to the corner to only lose it, that was his only play. He never again cut to the middle of the ice to shoot after that incident, annd these are solid realistic things that you have to look at if you are a coach or a GM. They know better than me and you, and if they think Samsonov is a better upgrade, they being Gainey – Carbo, and those are two people not to take slightly no matter what you think, than I would give the benefit of the doubt. I saw the change in Zednik, the same change we witnessed in so many players coming out of a bad injury, like Audette, Bertuzzi to a certain point. Zednik was done in MTL and needed to be traded, and Samsonov is deffinately a better offensive player, and an overall player. The problem is having 2 similar guys on the same lineup, and that is exactly why we witnessed Carbo seperating Kovalev and Samsonov in the last game against Chicago. They will both produce there is no doubt, it is only a matter of time, and compatible linemates.

    This could go on forever between you and I as it seams to me that we both like to argue and prove our points, but only time will tell, and I am, just like you, confident that time will prove me right. So ibetween brackets, let’s wait and see.

  118. Ok, you are completely confusing me. Are you talking consistency or having a good shot?

    “Consisteny: Reliability or uniformity of successive results or events”

    Shooting percentage has no measure of consistency in it because there is no way of determining whether all his goals came in the first 100 games of his career or spread out evenly throughout his career and there is no way of telling if he has some games with 6 or 7 shots and many games with zero shots.

    From what I understand Montreal really wanted Jason Arnott or might have gone after Jamie Langenbrunner had he become available. Either of these guys would have been much better additions. They lost out on both of these players (and probably others) and kind of had to sign Samsonov as a last resort. There wasn’t much left on the market when Samsonov signed as Carter wasn’t really interested in playing in Montreal. I don’t think he was their top choices.

  119. He played 10 seasons, that would be around 117 shots per.
    14.5% of 1175 shots is 170 goals. If he the highest he scored in a season is 29, that means he is pretty much a 20-25 golas per season scorer. As his stats in show, that doesn’t mean that he scored 175 goals in his first 200 shots and then gone blank. Come on man it is good to argue, but please try to make sense, as you have been before.

  120. I have no idea what point you are trying to make. I agree he is a 20-25 goal scorer. I’ve agreed with that throughout this whole thread. But that doesn’t mean he shows up for every shift of every game or is any good defensively. Those are the points I am making and you have done nothing to show otherwise.

  121. The point you were making was that he is not better or not an upgrade over zednik, I haven’t dobe the stats over Zednik, I need to sleep now, I will do them tomorrow and then we can compare. Just one last note for tonight, pretty interresting look:

    If you take the number of games played, not seasons, and the number of shots taken and the goal per shot % of a player, you get a pretty good Idea about his production, and consistency. So in fact that goal per shots career figure is pretty important, and is something to look at.

  122. If you take the number of games played, not seasons, and the number of shots taken and the goal per shot % of a player, you get a pretty good Idea about his production, and consistency. So in fact that goal per shots career figure is pretty important, and is something to look at.

    Shot% tells you mostly about how good of a shot a player has. Goals and points (per game played) tell you best about his production. Neither of these tell you anything about that players consistency. Just because someone scores 400 goals in 1000 games does not mean he is consistent because how do we know whether those 400 goals were in 400 different games or those 400 goals mostly consisted of 2, 3 and 4 goal games and a lot of nothing in between. He could have been a streaky player with lots of hot streaks and lengthy droughts in between. We just don’t know. The only way you can look at consistency is to look at how he plays each game. You can’t get consistency out of summary statistics and career totals. It’s as simple as that.

  123. so then most arguments made here are totally useless. u say zednik had 16 goals and sammy will get about 20. how do u know that zeds goals didnt come in spurts, which isnt consistent. so stop with the “habs have to replace ribeiros and zedniks goals”. it doesnt hold up. a team DOESNT HAVE TO score more goals next season to be better. it could score fewer, and just have a a better goals against. im sory but u talk about goals for and that it is a problem, well we had a shitty shitty theodore in nets alst season who completely burnt the habs. with 2 #1 goalies we should get good consistent goaltending all year, which is a huge upgrade over last seasons meltdowns. theo was streaky, he would have 1 good game, then play shitty for 2 or 3, then would simply be a non factor in another win, then play shitty for a few more. he hurt the habs and the fact that we have 2 #1’s, which ALWAYS gets u better performances from your goalies due to goalie competition, is a massive bonus.

    and about goals. well, plekanec has an increased offensive role, he should pot 5 or 10 more goals than last season. bonk could get 15 this year, thats 10 up on last seasons totals. perezhogin will get a few more goals. kovalev missed 20 games last season. he scored 25 goals, this year he could realisticaly get 80 points and 30 goals. i mean just look at PPG stats. its all there. even if hes inconsistent in his production. the fact that kovalev is on the ice provides opportunities for other players. sure he doesnt show up some games, but that doesnt mean that other teams could take him lightly. hes one of those players that u have to consistently keep under a tight leash. or else, even on a bad game, he will hurt u. then koivu could get 15, which he should be on par for, but so far with the production of the first line and their success, 20 is not unreasonable. higgins is on fire and can easily get 30 goals, if not more. ryder scored 30 goals while injured, getting 35 or even 40 is also not unreasonable. samsonov will get 20 goals, but hes also one of those players u have to defend well. on a bad night if hes given too much room he will still hurt teams. johnson can get 15 maybe even 20. he is playing like he can.

    i mean u talk about missing goals but u have to realize when u keep the same core, and more importantly, the same team (habs have sammy, johnson, latendresse who are new, and johnson and sammy are upgrades over bulis and zednik) that theres a natural improvement in players. everyone plays better, individually and as a team. everyones stats will be inflated a bit, its only normal. it happens in all sports.

    and also u fail to consider the “team spirit” part of the team. the leafs didnt replace allisons production. he was invaluable ont he PP and it will take a hit. but u cant say the leafs are worse with him gone. they are better. he was a nuissance in the locker room and caused problems. guys like ribeiro and bulis created rifts in the lockerroom and divided the team up. gainey made sure that everyone functions as a team, no groups. everyone is on the same page. no more cliques, no more disturbances.

    and shot % is as useful as +/-. sometimes its a good indicator of production. and sometimes its useful. a bad shot% doesnt mean ur a bad goalscorer. u take shots form everywhere, and still come out with 40 goals. taking lot of shots can be bad AND good. a good plus rating doesnt mean your a good defensive player. it means your scoring more 5 on5 that getting scored upon. it could be that a second line is average, but only gets played against other teams lower lines, in which a plus rating is inevitable. but they could be bad defensively. whereas, a minus rating isnt always bad. primeau almost won the selke with a -5 rating. if u manage to get a -5 and your playing against the teams BEST forwards that is incredible. stats dont tell the WHOLE story, they are very inconsistent and dont tell the whole story. u have ot watch the players play and react.

    ribeiro and his 16 goals are gone. even if theyre not replaced, its an improvement in montreal simply cuz of his other attributes. the fact that hes not there makes the rest of the team better. less goals againt, less division in the lockerroom, less media distractions, etc. stats dont tell us how many arguments a player has gotten in the lockerroom. so please dont depend on stats to make arguments. it is obvious that many here DO NOT watch montreal games, if u did u would see the obvious improvements in the team. just as it is me and jreij probably dont watch many leaf games. just know this, i make sure i am well informed in every aspect of hockey. i TRY to watch most games and keep myself informed, and i can usually tell when teams will do well. i know its still early but before the season i called minnesota and atlanta winning their divisions. everyone thought i was crazy. they could still choke, but those 2 teams are definately playoff teams. i also stated that caroline would have a bad start to the season. kaberle and stillman are too underrated players and too main pieces to the team. their loss is as big as if they lost staal and cole.

  124. hehehe, I guess you could keep on going forever there… Many of the things you said are true, that is exactly why I have called it off twice already, saying that only time will tell if the Habs got better or not. But i don’t think anybody listenned so far, that’s no problem, I guess this Habs Leafs discussion only tells about the great rivalry between those two franchises and their fans.

    I have posted on my Blog before the season started my predictions, and I had them as follows:

    1- Buffalo

    The Sabers are on course of becoming a real power in the eastern division and i predict for them the first place overall. The team hasn’t changed much during the off season and their speed and talent in both positions are a big advantage over the rest of the competition. Goalie wise as well they are pretty settled.

    2- Rangers

    The Rangers have added more talent offensively with the aquisition of Shanahan. Their deffense is better this year and in the net they should be more ok with Lundkvist and Weeks. It all depends of course on how Jager is going to perform.

    3- Ottawa

    The loss of Chara is going to be felt a lot, and the uncertainty behind the pipes is a big issue. Gerber played real good for Carolina, but showed no promise in the playoffs, remains to see how he comes back. Emery has not shown anything yet.

    4- Montreal

    You probably are going to say that I am being very optimistic about the Habs finishing in 4rth place, but the biggest improvement for the team comes from behind the bench. The Habs have not been a bad team for a couple of seasons now, but have had no good coaching staff throughout the late 90’s and early 2ks. With both Guy and Kirk, especially Kirk, they are set to have a very hard working team, very strong bond between the players and when the Habs have that going, they are always tough to beat. The aditions of Samsonov and Johnson are huge, especially Johnson who you guys will learn to love. Bonk is due for a descent season, and look to see a couple or more, maybe 4 players having 30 goals season. Kovalev, samsonov, Ryder and Higgins. In the Net no doubt, the Habs have the best tandem in the league. One of them will be dealt by the transaction deadline along with another player, let it be Ribeiro if again he puts out a regular effort, or Bonk since his contract ends at the end of the coming season and by the deadline date half of his salary would have been payed out. With those players the Habs will add a robust Center, a muchly needed player that will help them go to the next step in the playoffs.

    5- Carolina

    It’s always tough in today’s NHL to win the Stanley Cup and then come back the next season and put up great numbers. The new NHL is more demanding phisically and morally, the games are hard fought and the vacations are shorter, much shorter. All these facts and more, will brake the players commitment and dedication. Look for Ward to have a very normal season as well. I put them in 5th place although deep down i feel that they won’t even make the playoffs, but one can’t take away their achievement last year.

    6- New Jersey

    Brodeur started the last season, the new NHL, on a bad note but he surely adapted pretty well by the last stretch. As big a champion he is, he will again lead the team into the playoffs, along with a healthy Elias. Let’s see what happens with their salary cap, (Gionta Martin and Hale are still unsigned), before we put them in a higher position.

    7- Boston

    The Bruins have really reshaped themselves completely this offseason, the aditions of Chara and Savard are great for the Bruins, although i see Savard having a very normal season. But their biggest problem remains in the net. It has to be the year for Toivonen to shine and secure the pipes for them, i am not too confortable with Thomas.

    8- Pittsburgh – Toronto – Islanders

    The eigth spot is open to many teams in the east, and we are to witness a very hard battle between the Leafs, Pittsburh and Islanders. The leafs will fall short again this year and look to see some big changes upstairs if they do. The Islanders and the Penguins will fight it down to the last couple of games but i do love to see Pittsburgh making it to the playoffs this year, this team is becoming really tough to beat and will deffinately become a power house in the east within a few years.

  125. I will but only if you get your glasses on first and try to read before attacking:

    “I have posted on my Blog before the season started my predictions”

  126. in my opinion it is going to look like this in the east
    1. bufflo
    2. atlanta
    3. New Jersey
    4. New York
    5. Montreal
    6. Carlolina
    8. Pittsburg
    9. Tampa
    10. Toronto
    11. Florida
    12. Boston
    13. Washing
    14 New York Isles
    15 Philly (if they dont pull there crap together.) (

  127. OMG man are you watching the games? STOP telling me the Habs have no offense, they scored 8 tonight, 5 last game, they came back from a 3-0 deficit to score 8 goals, and there is still 7 minutes left to play! Freekin no upgrade my A**

  128. Yeah, on a goalie you just spent the last week trying to convince me was so horrible that the Canadiens have to be better with him not playing half the games this season. Montreal was 4 for 8 on the PP. The key to any penalty kill is having a good goalie. Bad goalie = bad PK.

    But let me say this. Montreal is not going to win too many games giving up 38 shots and 5 goals a game.

    Oh, and Montreal scored 1 last game, not 5.

  129. Yes I meant against Calgary, my bad, and you really don’t have to keep trying to find any freekin excuse to put them down, they scored freekin 5 against the best goalie in the league last season, and most probably this season with Kip. Tonight and let me tell you, you probably haven’t watched the game, but Theo was dressed up like a wall in front of his net, the game was won only by will and dedication, and of course again PP & PK. Kovalev line is freekin moving now, they got 2 goals, SOURRAY is leading the deffensmen in the league with freekin GOASL, he has 5, PK #1 in the league, COMON MAN, REALLY JUST COMON. Hiigins 5 goals already, just COMON OK?

  130. As I have said before, if the Canadiens are to improve on last year they will be dependent on Ryder and especially Higgins improving on last years performance and the goaltenders to play very well for the full season. So far so good on Higgins, Ryder improvement not yet certain and the jury is still out on the goaltending. Last night their offense was good but until last night they had scored at less than 3 goals per game pace or about the same as last year. One game is not enough to convince me they will have a substantially better offense this season.

  131. If the jury is still out on the Habs goaltending we can pretty say the same about the Leafs.

    You did not answer my point about Raycroft not being better than Aebischer in 2003-04.
    0.924 vs. 0.926

    Huet > Aubin -> No doubt about that.

    You points do not make any sense…

    Oh and btw… Souray might > McCabe.

  132. 2003-04

    Raycroft: 2.05gaa, .926save%
    Aebischer: 2.09gaa, .924save%

    Look slightly better to me though not a big difference. But I still think Raycroft has more upside potential.

    The difference between McCabe and Souray is McCabe plays 29+ minutes per game and Souray plays 22+ minutes per game, not even tops on Montreal.

    I have said on a few occassions during this thread that I do like Montreal’s defense if they are healthy. My concern about them is that many of them are injury prone (Souray included) and they will be in tough if a couple of them are out at the same time. My main concern for Montreal is scoring. I don’t think they will have enough to be a top team in the NHL and might struggle to make the playoffs because of it. Simple as that.

    Ok guys, I think we are going in circles here and not getting anywhere. I am going to close this thread to any further comments. Lets take a look at where things stand a few months from now.

    End of discussion.

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