Mixing and Matching

Training camp’s all about establishing chemistry and figuring out which players go where. ESPN’s Sean Allen provides some insight and here are the highlights: Zach Bogosian seems to be penciled in to make the team, and Allen figures him to hit the 40-point mark, but I highly doubt it. I think their top powerplay quarterbacks are going to be Ron Hainsey and Tobias Enstrom. With Justin Williams out for most of the season it means a spot has opened up beside Eric Staal. The likely candidate is Patrick Eaves, although Sergei Samsonov, who has rejuvenated his career in Carolina, may

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Detroit Red Wings

Where to begin? The defending Cup champs are so well-balanced and talented from top to bottom that the fact they managed to land Marian Hossa means they’re the heavy favourites to repeat again, which hasn’t happened since 1997 and 1998 when, you guessed it, Steve Yzerman and the Wings did it. It almost came as a shock to some that the Wings won the Cup, in part because 1) they had an European captain, and 2) their best centre had been labeled as a playoff “choker” the last couple of years. They were labeled as a team that didn’t scare

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Rogue Agent

Todd Bertuzzi has yet to find a home. Since his Vancouver days, the burly winger has never spent more than a full year with any team. First, he was traded to Florida for Roberto Luongo, but promptly shipped to Detroit at the deadline. He wasn’t as effective as Ken Holland had hoped for, despite putting up 4 points in 8 games. He then promptly signed a lucrative contract with Anaheim, re-uniting him with Brian Burke, and with the promise of possibly playing alongside Ryan Getzlaf or Andy McDonald, things looked pretty bright. But with Scott Niedermayer notifying the team of

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THN Rankings – West

The Hockey News’ Rankings in the Yearly Yearbook were released, and for the West they’re as follows: 1 Detroit Red Wings 2 San Jose Sharks 3 Minnesota Wild 4 Dallas Stars 5 Anaheim Ducks 6 Edmonton Oilers 7 Chicago Blackhawks 8 Calgary Flames 9 Nashville Predators 10 Phoenix Coyotes 11 Vancouver Canucks 12 Columbus Blue Jackets 13 Los Angeles Kings 14 Colorado Avalanche 15 St. Louis Blues Detroit at the top is an absolute no-brainer. They won the Cup and somehow got better by adding Marian Hossa. They’ve got Pavel Datsyuk locked up for awhile, and it’s hard to see

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Central Division Preview

Chicago Blackhawks Strengths: -Two prime young prospects in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. -Good talent with Martin Havlat and Tuomo Ruutu Weaknesses: -They added Sergei Samsonov -Lack a quality top pairing defenseman -Lack depth up front -Khabibulin makes way too much money. Question Marks: -Can Ruutu and Havlat stay healthy? -Are Jonathan Toews and especially smallish Patrick Kane ready for the NHL Outlook: -With a couple of high draft picks the past two drafts the Blackhawks have added a couple of quality young prospects in Toews and Kane which gives Blackhawks fans something to be optimistic about down the road

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Western Conference Team Rankings (Updated)

I was going to write up team by team reports, and I may still do that for some teams, but I decided to first post some numerical evaluations of each team in nice and easily readable table format. I have divided each team up into Forwards, Defense and Goaltending and then divided each of those groups into Talent, Depth and Experience/Leadership and ranked each of those nine categories based on a score out of 10. I then summed up all 9 categories to get an overall team score. Below are my results for the western conference. Let me know what

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Good and Bad Off Season Moves…

Ok, it’s time to get back in hockey mode and start looking to the upcoming season which is less than a month away. But first, let me look at a handful of good and bad off season moves. The Good Ryan Whitney: While Whitney doesn’t get the media attention of his teammate forwards Crosby, Malkin and Staal, he is one of the best young defensemen in the NHL and had an excelleny year last year with 14 goals, 59 points and a +9. The Penguins made a very smart move locking up Whitney for the next 6 years at a

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Second Round Predictions

Time for the second round predictions. Like the first round, the second round features some intriguing matchups and also like the first round, none of those match ups are divisional rivals. NY Rangers at Buffalo NY Rangers (road) Buffalo (home) Predicted Winner Buffalo (Good) Fair Odds +135 -155 Overall Record 42-30-10 53-22-7 Home/Road Record 21-15-5 28-10-3 Last 10 Games 7-2-1 7-3-0 Past Games 2006/10/14: NY Rangers 4 at Buffalo 7 2006/11/05: Buffalo 4 at NY Rangers 3 (OT) 2006/11/26: Buffalo 3 at NY Rangers 2 (OT) 2006/12/01: NY Rangers 3 at Buffalo 4 (SO) My Opinion: Buffalo has been my

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Western conference first round predictions

Here are my first round predictions for the western conference. My eastern conference predictions will come later today. What is interesting about the western conference matchups is that the the home team has won every single game of each of the regular season series except for the final game of the San Jose-Nashville series in which Nashville won the game on the road in a shootout. That might lead you to believe that the home teams should win these series, but I wouldn’t be too eager to jump that that conclusion. For the most part, all the games were close

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Western Conference First Round Playoff Preview

Today and tomorrow I am going to post my first round playoff previews/predictions. Here are the western conference preview and tomorrow I’ll post my eastern conference preview. Detroit vs Edmonton Season Series November 3: Edmonton 4 at Detroit 3 (OT) November 17: Detroit 5 at Edmonton 6 (OT) March 18: Detroit 4 at Edmonton 3 (SO) April 11: Edmonton 0 at Detroit 2 These two teams matched up fairly well during the regular season with both teams wining 2 games and 3 of the games going to overtime. If that sort of thing happens in the playoffs we are in

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