Pulling the Trigger

Everyone knew that the Lightning’s defense would have a hard time keeping up with the rest of the league. After a poor offensive start, the Lightning did a little shake-up by swapping the tougher Shane O’Brien for Lukas Krajicek to get more mobile on defense. It was assumed that Andrej Meszaros, Paul Ranger, and Matt Carle, one of the key pieces in the Dan Boyle deal, would handle the puck-moving duties. However, the three of them have only combined for 9 points and a harmless -1 rating. Meszaros has yet to score this year, and Ranger and Carle both have

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Thoughts…

1 – Alexander Semin had some choice words for the NHL’s poster boy, Sidney Crosby. The Caps forward is off to a hot start and with the team being hailed as favourites to win their division again, didn’t hold back any punches. In short, Semin believes Crosby’s overrated – and that Chicago’s Patrick Kane is the superior player. He believes that stats, in particular Crosby’s, have made him out to be a better player than he actually is. I’m never turned off by some good sound bytes, but this sort of personal trash talk doesn’t really stoke any fires for

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Quick Hit Rumours

– Marian Gaborik‘s name will be a fixture in the rumour mill from now on, and I can safely say that at least 10 teams are seriously interested in his services. The sniper has recently rejected a multi-year contract (6+ years) at around $8m/season (although the folks at Hockey Central don’t believe this rumour). The Gaborik camp is reportedly looking for a contract that will pay him $10m/season, or somewhere close to that neighbourhood. Doug Risebrough isn’t a man who just throws money around – he did lose Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston this summer after all – but if

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Captains

Much ado has been made about the Canucks making Roberto Luongo their captain. The move was very surprising, considering goalies are not allowed to wear the traditional ‘C’ on their jersey and there hasn’t been a goalie captain since Bill Durnan in the 1940s. One of the reasons it became illegal was because of the inefficiency of being both a captain and a goalie. Captains are designated by their respective teams to provide an on-ice voice for the team with the refs, and because the game is so fluid and the refs are constantly moving, it made it very difficult

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Minnesota Wild

No other player in the league holds as much stake in a hockey team’s future as Marian Gaborik. The oft-injured Slovak sniper is in the last year of his contract worth $7.5m and had a career season last year, to one’s surprise, because it was the first year Gaborik played more than 70 games since the 2002-03 season. After GM Doug Risebrough committed to re-signing Brian Rolston over Pavol Demitra, it was speculated that Gaborik was not happy with the organization’s decision to not re-sign Gaborik’s closest friend and teammate. Risebrough’s plan backfired and he ended up losing both, much

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Quick Hit News

The Thrashers were interested in Mathieu Schneider, but felt that given the veteran’s price tag and current skill set it was just too expensive. Don Waddell claims that Schneider’s age was not a factor in the decision. Nikolai Khabibulin is looking forward to the start of the season, but admits he was surprised when the Hawks signed Cristobal Huet to a multi-year deal. He also admits that even though he hasn’t been at his best, he didn’t have a “championship calibre” team in front of him either. Not exactly the words management wants to hear, but Khabibulin has to make

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Gaborik Makes Wild Push

Losing Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston hurt. Doug Risebrough was obviously disappointed that both chose to leave for greener pastures, after being optimistic that Rolston, or possibly both, would be back in Minnesota next year. While Demitra’s in Vancouver wondering when Mats Sundin will be his linemate and Rolston’s in Jersey wondering if he could potentially lead the team in goals (Zach Parise was the only player to top 30), Risebrough wasted no time in making sure that he wouldn’t be letting Marian Gaborik go without a fight. The oft-injured Gaborik had a career season last year, posting 42 goals

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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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Nashville Wants More Punch, Doughty Signs

Mark Parrish and Glen Murray may find a new home soon. The Predators counted on Alexander Radulov entering the season as one of their main scoring threats, but now that the emerging sniper has returned to Russia, it leaves a big hole on their offense. Although the Preds have decent offensive punch, without Radulov they really lack a game-breaker forward. Even with Steve Sullivan back, their wingers remain largely undersized and only above average. The Preds have never blown teams away with their offense, but rather with their grit and determination (losing Darcy Hordichuk will hurt, trust me), deep defense,

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Northwest Division Preview

Calgary Flames Strengths: -Excellent depth at forward and defense -Top tier goaltending with Kipprusoff -Excellent size and physical play Weaknesses: -No true #1 center -No proven backup goalie if anything happens to Kipprusoff Question Marks: -How will the players get along with new hard-nosed coach Mike Keenan -Can Huselius repeat his stellar season last year which was well beyond the typical Huselius season. Outlook: -The Flames have an excellent mix of skill and toughness, forwards and defense, experience and youth and in my mind should be one of the best teams in the NHL. That didn’t quite work out last

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