Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter Classic Prediction

Take the Capitals to win the Winter Classic over Pittsburgh

The Pick: Washington +120

After all the hype it's finally here, even if it will be starting seven hours later then planned. Both teams are relatively healthy, and both are playing well entering this years Classic. Since struggling badly in mid-December, the Capitals have won 4 of 5 and are playing much better defense. As a matter of fact, they have given up only seven goals in those five games. If Washington continues to commit to defense and receives solid goaltending from Semyon Varlamov they're a very difficult to beat. Pittsburgh is coming off a loss at the NY Islanders on Wednesday, but has won 3 of their last 5 games. There is an outside chance that Jordan Stall will make his first appearance of the season for the Pens which will bolster the already explosive offense. It's a very hard game to pick, especially with the uncertainty of the condition of the ice. It may prove to be slow and sluggish which may lead to a low scoring game. We like how Washington has played lately, and the fact they they will be looking to avenge an earlier shootout loss to the Penguins on December 23rd.

New Years Eve..

There are several games on tonight's schedule. Since we are both in New Year's mode, we really didn't go into depth on any games.

One that jumps off the page is Detroit at home versus the Islanders. The odds are -300 for Detroit and +250 for NYI. It's funny, the last two meetings have both gone to the Islanders. A 6-0 win at the Coliseum last season and a 2-0 win at Joe Louis the season before. The Isles are 5-1-1 in their last 7 and come off an impressive 2-1 shootout win at home over Pittsburgh where they stopped Crosby's streak. I wouldn't bet on Detroit simply because the odds are ridiculous and the Islanders have won the last 2 meetings and are playing well.

We like Atlanta over the Devils. Atlanta is actually +110 in this game and could give you a nice return.

We like Vancouver over Dallas tonight -120.

Have a happy and safe new year. We will see you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Colorado at Edmonton

Two teams both in slumps will get together in sunny Edmonton tonight. Combined losers of 7 in a row, something will have to give. The Avs currently sit in 6th place in the West but only 4 points clear of 13th place Minnesota. The Oilers are probably the only team in the Western Conference (Calgary soon as well) that you can count out of playoff contention.

With everyone in the west getting points almost every game, the Avs will step up tonight and beat a team they are better than to keep their playoff pace going.

Pick: Colorado -150

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Parlay Wednesday

Pittsburgh at New York Islanders -200

New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils -130

Pittsburgh heads into Long Island tonight to face the Islanders. The Isles had won 3 straight and were 4-0-1 in their last 5 before reality set in Monday night at MSG where the Rangers beat them 7-2. Pittsburgh doesn't play until their winter classic game New Year's Day at Heinz Field. The Isles have played them tough the last few years at the Coliseum but with Rick Dipietro back in the lineup, Crosby and Malkin who are both Islander killers will have their way with a young and undersized defense group.

The Rangers travel to New Jersey tonight. In 2 previous meeting this season, the Rangers have won both and outscored the Devils 6-1 in those contests. The Devils still look like the worst team in the NHL and Martin Brodeur looks like a player that has had the game pass him by.

Tonights Pick: Take Pittsburgh -200 and the Rangers -130 and parlay them.

A $50 bet wins you $82.69

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday Prediction

Philadelphia Flyers to win the Marquee Matchup of the night in Vancouver

The Pick: Philadelphia +120 over Vancouver

This could possibly be a Stanley Cup Finals preview with the teams with the second beat record in their perspective conferences facing off at Rogers Arena. The Philadelphia Flyers have not played in eight days since a rare 5-0 loss at home to Florida. They have still managed to go 7-2-1 in their last ten games, and have only lost twice in regulation on the road. Vancouver is also playing well in their last ten by going 7-1-2. The Canucks are starting to distance themselves from the rest of the Northwest Division and now have a four point cushion over second place Colorado. As well as the Canucks have been playing lately, we're expecting a well-rested and motivated Flyer team to win a hard fought road game.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Prediction

Boston Bruins to continue winning ways in Florida

The Pick: Boston -140 over Florida

Last week: 3-2

Let's start the new week with the Boston Bruins heading to Florida for the second time this season. The Bruins won in Florida 3-1 earlier this season, and have won 6 of the last 7 games in the BankAtlantic Center. Boston is one of those teams that started the season well and have tailed off a bit recently. They're better than the record indicates and perhaps the win over Atlanta on Thursday is a sign that it's turning around. Boston is known for a strong defense, and the Florida Panthers struggle to score. Florida has played better recently, but in this matchup, the Bruins are the better team and we're expecting extra motivation since some people are saying that coach, Claude Julien's job may be in jeopardy if they don't turn it around. Look for the Bruins to start their five game road trip with a win over a Florida team that they have had lot's of success against.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tampa Bay at Atlanta

The Thrashers are probably this year's most unnoticed team. Craig Ramsey has the perennial losers fighting for first place with the Lightning and Capitals. New GM Rick Dudley made some key moves in improving this team. The foresight to trade for Dustin Byfuglien and move him back to defense might be the best move any team has made all season.

Tampa comes into Atlanta after 2 overtime games in New York which saw them get 3 out of 4 possible points on the road. Steven Stamkos has entered discussions in comparison to Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin as a league top player. Tampa has been hot and is 6-2-2 in their last 10.
However, Atlanta will find a way to win this game at home and get back on track.

Pick: Atlanta -135

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
We would like to wish a happy and safe holiday season to all our friends and family and our readers. Thank you for checking on the site each day and making this more fun than we could have imagined.


We will have an exciting announcement coming soon about the future of this site.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday Prediction

Nashville Predators Will Get Back on Track at Home Versus Ottawa

The Pick: Nashville -150 over Ottawa

The Nashville Predators were one of the hottest teams in hockey a week ago, but have since dropped two straight including a 4-1 loss last night in Chicago. In their last two games they have been outscored 10-2 which is something that coach Barry Trotz will certainly address. The good news for the Predators is that they should have goalie Pekka Rinne back from injury tonight. As for Ottawa, they have all sort of problems going on as they are slipping out of playoff contention. They are struggling to get consistent goaltending from either Pascal LeClaire or Brian Elliot. The Senators have allowed the second most goals in the Eastern Conference. As for the Ottawa offense, although it has produced a bit more lately, it still struggles against good defensive teams which the Predators are. Nashville should be able to contain the Sens offense and end their two game losing streak at home.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Florida at Pittsburgh

The Panthers go into Pittsburgh tonight coming off an impressive 5-0 win in Philadelphia. Florida holds a 15-16 record and has at times played better than anyone thought. The Penguins also come off a blowout win. A 6-1 drubbing of Phoenix Monday night at home. Pittsburgh has been the hottest team in the NHL over the last month with just 2 losses in their last 15 games.
While Florida has a knack for playing hard and outworking their opponents, the Penguins won't take them lightly and will win this at home.

Pick: Pittsburgh -230

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday Prediction

Colorado's Six Game Win Streak Ends Tonight

Los Angeles at Colorado

The Pick: LA +109

The Colorado Avalanche enter tonight's game on a six game winning streak and are the highest scoring team in the league. These two clubs played once this season with LA winning 6-4 at the Pepsi Center back in October. The Kings will be playing their final game of a 5-game road trip and are 2-2 thus far. The Avalanche are the more faster team, but the Kings are the more physical team and may give the Avalanche defense problems, especially since the Av's are missing Kyle Quincey and Kyle Cumiskey on the blueline. Look for the Kings to cycle the puck in the Colorado zone and wear down the Avalanche defense. Jonathan Quick has been brilliant in goal all season and will be looking to end a personal two game losing streak.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Prediction

Tampa Bay will put an end to the Hurricanes four game win streak tonight.

Tampa Bay -150 over Carolina

Record Last Week: 5-2

We start the new week in the Southeast Division with the Tampa Bay Lightning hosting the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time this season. Both clubs enter the game on winning streaks. Tampa has won three in a row, while the Hurricanes have notched four straight victories. The question for the Lightning is who will be in goal as Mike Smith was injured in practice. Tampa should be able to muster enough offense to beat the Canes at home on Steve Stamkos bobblehead night. The Lightning are 10-2-2 when scoring first and are very productive at home with a 9-2-2 record. Carolina is playing very well lately and we love how Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner are playing but it won't be enough against the Lightning tonight.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dallas at Detroit

Dallas traveled to Detroit late last night after a 2-1 win in Columbus. The surprising Stars are 19-10-3 and just 2 points behind the Red Wings for first place in the Western Conference. Detroit however is proving that they are still one of the team's to beat in the West. The Wings own a 12-4-2 record at Joe Louis Arena and sat on their rear's last night as Dallas played in Ohio.

We look for Detroit to widen their mark in the Western Conference and keep Dallas off of their back.

Pick: Detroit -200

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Toronto at Vancouver

HockeySureShot looks to go 5-1 for the week after Saturday's action.

The Maple Leafs head into Vancouver tonight to face the Canucks. We are going to stay with our trend to bet against the Leafs on the road. Read about that in our previous blog here.
Vancouver is 10-3-2 at home while Toronto is 4-9-1 on the road. The Canucks have been hot lately going 7-2-1 in their last 10.

Vancouver is the better team and should win this game.

Pick: Vancouver -200

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ottawa at Colorado

Ottawa travels to Denver tonight to play the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs are one of the most impressive young teams in the league and look to continue their winning ways at home. The Avs hold an 8-4-1 record at home this season while Ottawa has won just 6 road games in 15 tries.
Colorado's young offense should outmatch the Senators D.

Our Pick: Colorado -165

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ducks at Islanders

The Islanders come into tonight's game losers of 20 of 21. Rick Dipietro will be in goal tonight. Rick has made an inspired comeback, his numbers are not. Rick ranks last and 2nd to last in the NHL in Goals Against and Save Percentage. The Islanders are having trouble scoring as well and are not playing inspired hockey.

As for the Ducks, they have won 3 straight and have tied Dallas for the Pacific Division lead with 38 points. They are also 7-2-1 in their last 10 and will travel to Long Island after beating the Caps in overtime last night.

Take the Ducks to continue their winning ways and the Islanders to keep up their losing ways.

Pick: Ducks -125

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Prediction

Injuries mounting for the St. Louis Blues.

Detroit -180 over St. Louis

Alex Pietrangelo is the latest Blue to go down to injury joining key players Andy McDonald, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, and Roman Polak on the inactive list for tonight's game at Detroit. The Blues are having trouble scoring goals of late and meet a Red Wings team that put up 51 shots on goal Monday night vs. LA only to lose 5-0. As a matter of fact, the Wings have lost 3 of 4 at home which rarely happens. We expect them to be angry and take out some frustrations on the Blues tonight. St. Louis is playing hard and still picking up points despite all the injuries and should keep this close. Jaroslav Halak has the ability to steal a game for the Blues, but tonight he will face a difficult challenge holding down the Wings explosive offense. Detroit has already defeated the Blues earlier this season 7-3.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Prediction

The Streak Ends Tonight!

Philadelphia -125 over Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won 12 straight heading into this tilt in Philadelphia with the rival Flyers. Philadelphia has defeated the Penguins twice thus far, and would want nothing more than to hand the Penguins their first loss since November 15th. The Flyers played well in their four games last week by winning three, and only losing to the Sharks in a shootout, a game in which they outplayed SJ. These two teams are only separated by one point, which should add to the suspense tonight. We like the way Philadelphia has played lately and still think they are the better team.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Prediction

Calgary -130 over Columbus

The Flames return home after losing both games in California to the Kings and Ducks. As usual they are struggling to score goals, but have been playing better at home of late. Columbus defeated NYR at home on Saturday and will be playing their first game on a 3-game Western Canada trip. Calgary defeated Columbus 5-2 earlier this season and should win a low scoring game behind goalie Mikka Kiprusoff.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Timeout

In the Western Conference it's not surprising to see the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings atop their respective divisions. What is surprising is seeing the Dallas Stars on top of the Pacific Division during the second week of December. This is a franchise that battled ownership issues over the summer, a reduced payroll, and are coming off a last place finish a year ago.

When the Stars started the season 4-0 they still had plenty of doubters. I saw them play live on Long Island, and they were pretty much the team I expected. A team that could score but had serious questions in their defensive zone. Kari Lehtonen was a big question in goal also, and Andrew Raycroft was an average backup at best. However, Lehtonen has made Stars fans forget about Marty Turco as he is 4th among goalies in wins. Raycroft has played brilliantly in the five games he has played thus far, posting a 1.65 GAA.

The defense, much maligned last season after giving up the second most goals in the Western Conference, has kept it together and is led by the 33-year old Stephane Robidas. He is a workhorse by playing 25 minutes a night and gives the team a veteran presence to help the younger defensemen Niklas Grossman and Matt Niskanen. Dallas has won ten games this season by one goal which is proof that coach Marc Crawford is finally focusing more on defense.

Even with the hot start and the development of promising young forwards James Neal and Jamie Benn, things are not all rosey in Dallas. Daily trade rumors surround leading scorer and free agent to be, Brad Richards. It is becoming more clearer that Dallas cannot take on more salary, and they may ultimately have to trade Richards. Fans are also not showing up in Dallas. If you watch a game on TV at American Airlines Center the front rows are almost always empty. The Stars rank 25th in attendance this year despite the fact they are a first place club.

Obviously, losing Mike Modano may have turned off some fans, but the Stars are better off in the long run. Hopefully, once football is over Stars fans will show up. This team has a solid core with the players we mentioned in addition to Loui Erikksson, who seems to always score big goals for Dallas. Definitely keep an eye on the Stars this season as it will be interesting to see if they're for real in the Pacific Division. With San Jose, Los Angeles, and Phoenix all having their ups and downs, this division is wide open.

Tuesday Pick: Boston -150 over Buffalo

Not sure what the deal is with Boston playing .500 at home thus far, but one would think they'll be a bit angry tonight after losing to Toronto on Saturday. This is the first of a three game homestand for the Bruins who handled Buffalo 5-2 during their first meeting. Ryan Miller was not in goal that night, but will get the call tonight and is coming off back to back shutout performances over Columbus and Ottawa. Look for the Bruins to win a tight game at home. In my mind Boston is the better team.

Season record: 4-0

Monday, November 29, 2010

How to make money on the remaining NHL season. (If you happen to be visiting Vegas of course)

Betting against poor teams on the road really raises your odds on making money. We did some research today on Anaheim, Edmonton, New York Islanders and Toronto to see where we would be come today profit wise. Lets take a look.

Anaheim so far has been unpredictable. However, with their poor defense, they haven't been great on the road. Anaheim is so far 4-9 (including overtimes/shootouts) on the road. If you had bet to win $100 on each road game, you would be up $140. You would have $900 in the bank based on the 9 losses. The money lines for their four road wins are as follows:

Phoenix -180
San Jose -200
Dallas -165
Philly -215

That's a total of $760. Take your $900 winnings and subtract $760 and your profits are $140. Nothing special, but whenever you are ahead, you'll take it.

Next up, the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers had 9 wins on the road last season and this year doesn't look like they will see much of an improvement. Edmonton is 3-9 on the road and with betting to win $100 on each of their 12 road games, you would have a profit of $290.

Edmonton has beaten Chicago twice and Anaheim on the road. Money lines:

Chicago: -185
Chicago: -245
Anaheim: -180

A money line total of $610 on the losers subtracted from $900 on the winners gives you your $290 profit.

Next up, Toronto.

Toronto has struggled so far this season, and still can't find the winning ways especially on the road. They are 2-8. Toronto hasn't won a road game since October 15th, losing 8 straight since. So say you bet to win $100 on each of their 10 road games. You would win $800 on their 8 losses. Toronto beat the Rangers and Penguins on the road with money lines of -140 at NYR and -165 for Pittsburgh. Take your $800 winnings and subtract your $305 from your loser bets and you have a profit of $495. Not to shabby on just 10 road games.

Last and least. The New York Islanders. In the last two seasons, the Islanders won just 20 of 82 roads games under Scott Gordon which is one reason why he may have lost his job. So far this season, the Isles who have had a road heavy schedule are just 2-11. The Isles beat Toronto and Tampa in back to back road games early in the season. Money line in Tampa was -170 and in Toronto -180 for a total of $350. Take $1100 for the 11 losses and your profit would be $750.
$750 is a pretty impressive number.

Let's add up the profits: Anaheim $140, Edmonton $290, Toronto $495 and NYI $750.

That's a total of $1,675.

Going forward, safe bets on road games against Edmonton, Toronto and the Islanders are the way to go. While Anaheim has produced a profit, it might be safer to stay away from them as they have been unpredictable.

We will take a look again at the progress come the halfway point of the season to see if your theory stays true.

Monday Minutes

The Atlanta Thrashers may only draw 12,000 fans on weekends, have perhaps the worst uniforms in hockey. Sorry, but the powder blue home jersey's have to go. But they are playing the best hockey of any team that I have seen lately by beating Detroit, Washington, Montreal, and Boston all in the last ten days. Not only are they winning these games, but they gave up a total of 2 goals in all those games combined. They embarrassed the Wings 5-1 and shut out the Capitals 5-0. Is this shocking to anyone? Since recovering from a concussion, Ondrej Pavelec has been tremendous in net. Moving Dustin Byfuglien to defense has been a brilliant move which has allowed him more ice time. Andrew Ladd is averaging a point per game, and Evander Kane is proving why he was drafted so high two years ago by already scoring 9 goals. Hopefully the fickle fans of Atlanta will start supporting this exciting team once it returns from a tough 3-game road trip against Colorado, Pittsburgh, and the before mentioned Capitals.

Another team that rarely gets any press and still continues to win are the Phoenix Coyotes. Phoenix recently had a seven game win streak snapped by Anaheim on Saturday night, but still sit atop the Pacific Division with 27 points. The Coyotes are doing this without Shane Doan, who is still injured, and with their leading scorer Ray Whitney only netting 16 points. Once again, Ilya Bryzgalov has been stingy in goal and Keith Yandle has really improved defensively for Phoenix. Teams such as Phoenix in the Pacific Division can ill afford to slump. The difference from first place to last point is a mere 2 points. Look for the Coyotes to get back on track Tuesday at Nashville.

It may only be the end of November, but have we mentioned how competitive the Western Conference is yet? Take Edmonton out of the mix, and the difference between first place and fourteenth place is only 12 points. That's why I think tonight's game between Minnesota and Calgary is important. Calgary, as with any Canadian team, is under immense pressure daily. Currently, the Flames sit in 14th place with 20 points. It will be extremely difficult to leap frog six other teams to make the playoffs with so many three point games in the NHL these days. The Wild have 24 points, and Calgary needs to stay within striking distance or major changes will be happening. Will Jarome Iginla be traded? The Kings, and the rest of the league could only hope.

Monday Pick: Calgary -145

We just mentioned that Calgary is a desperate team right now. They just finished a so-so east coast road trip 2-2-1 and return home to face their Northwest Division rival Minnesota Wild. Take Calgary to win a low-scoring affair at the Saddledome.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quick Hits from around the NHL

While attending last night's Kings-Sharks game it appeared to me that San Jose is sick of hearing about the Kings and are not ready to relinquish the Pacific Division that easily. Here's an interesting quote from Sharks head coach, Todd Mcllelan, " They've reset the bar, and they did it themselves. L.A. is obviously the measuring tool in our conference, maybe in the league." Give the Sharks credit last night. They got scoring from all four lines, scored two power play goals against the Kings vaunted penalty kill, and answered every time the Kings got within one goal. Perhaps the most surprising move of the night was by the Kings to not start Jonathan Quick against their division rivals. Although Jonathan Bernier did not play well, the Kings defense didn't really help him. The next time these two teams meet is on December 27th at the Shark tank which is must watch TV.

Can't say enough about Flyers goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky and his 11-2 record with a .934 save percentage. Great moves also for the Flyers by locking up Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux to long term contracts, and less money. They're clearing buying into what Philadelphia management is selling... Didn't expect the Blues to miss T.J. Oshie as much as they have since his injury. Blues are 0-3 since he got hurt... Another night and another loss for the Devils. Once again they were shutout, this time by the Bruins and Tim Thomas... Sean Avery proved once again why he is the league's most hated player. He ignited the brawl between the Oilers-Rangers on Sunday night by checking Colin Fraser into the boards which was clean, but was challenged by Ladislav Smid of the Oilers and waited till he was not looking to sucker-punch him. Avery is not only known for his "sloppy seconds" comment, but also as someone who backs down from anyone that challenges to fight him. His antics are sickening in my opinion. Speaking of the Rangers, Brian Boyle who has 8 goals thus far, is probably the biggest surprise of the season. New York appears to have more depth than in years past, and in a weaker Eastern Conference they could make noise in the postseason...Keep an eye on Detroit as they are flying under the radar as most of the Western Conference hype is surrounding the Canucks, Kings, and Blues. The Wings are 11-3-1 and in their customary first place position. They are relatively healthy, and getting brilliant goaltending from Jimmy Howard.

Tuesday Pick: Montreal -115 over Philly

The Flyers are white-hot right now by winning nine out of their last ten games. Montreal is 7-3 in it's last ten and is riding a three game win streak. It's difficult to bet against the Flyers, but keep in mind this is the first meeting between these two teams since the Flyers eliminated the Canadiens last spring. This game has been circled on the calendar for the Canadiens far awhile. We like the way Carey Price is playing in goal for the Habs and think they will beat Philly who is playing on back to back nights.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Islanders make coaching change, sorta.

A quick thought here tonight on the re-assignment (what a joke) of Scott Gordon. I can't kill Gordon although I don't love his system. He is without Okposo and Streit.

As a fan that follows the team closely and rarely misses a home game, two things are evident. The first thing is that for whatever reason, the players have simply quit the last 10 games during the losing streak. They can say whatever they want but the effort is not there and young players like Tavares, Bailey and Comeau have taken steps back when the Islanders needed them to take major steps forward. For a while, it looked like Bailey and Comeau had taken those steps forward. They had a combined 13 points the first 6 games of the season and routinely going to the net and keeping possession of the puck. However, they have recorded 1 point combined since those 7 games.

The 2nd thing is, the team sucks. You can't put Micheal Grabner (a waiver pickup) with 8 career goals on the first line with John Tavares and if that doesn't work try P.A. Parenteau. Am I blaming Gordon for this? No. I blame management for not doing what they need to do to get someone better than a waiver pickup to play with Tavares. Not fair. However the step back that the Isles youth has taken since last season is evident and some of that blame falls on Gordon.

What blows my mind the most is that the Islanders have basically replaced Scott Gordon with Scott Gordon. No disrespect to Jack Capuano, but if the Islanders were to make a coaching change because they felt Gordon wasn't doing a good job or the system wasn't working, why bring in their minor league Bridgeport coach that teaches the same system? It makes no sense.
If the Islanders don't go out and hire a real NHL coach with experience in the next couple of weeks, I will donate my tickets to the organization that best deserves them. In all seriousness, if you know of one that will give tickets to kids and families that normally can't go to games, let me know and I'll look into them.

Hopefully the Islanders make a major change in their organizational plight, but don't count on it. Wang will make Gordon work his contract out as an Advisor to GM Garth Snow and a coach with experience won't be brought in because Wang wont pay for one.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday Timeout

Read the Toronto newspapers and you would think Ron Wilson is on the verge of being fired as coach of the Maple Leafs.

Go to the Islander message boards and fans are calling for the head of the coach, Scott Gordon.

Devils president, Lou Lamoriello has already defended coach John Maclean after a poor start of 4-10-1.

Rumblings out of Buffalo mention that Lindy Ruff may be on the hot seat as coach of the Sabres.

Yes, a head coach in the NHL usually gets canned early in the season, particularly in November, but is 15 games a true test if a team is good or not? I like to think of Thanksgiving as a measuring stick to really assess teams. Just think two weeks ago the Islanders and Maple Leafs were in first place. Now their respective coaches are on the hot seat. The NHL is like no other sport as far as coaches go. I say let things play out and have some patience till the end of November and then decide on a coaches future.

Are the Blues the best team in hockey?

Look at the rankings on ESPN and TSN and they all have the Blues as the best team in the league. St. Louis has a record of 9-1-2 and has given up a league low 18 goals in 12 games. Even when Jaroslav Halak takes a night off, they still got a shutout performance by backup Ty Conkin on Sunday night. Obviously the defense led by Eric Johnson is tremendous, but they are also getting timely scoring from Alex Steen, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, and Matt D'Agostini. Watch this team the rest of the year.

Are the New Jersey Devils the worst team in hockey?

The standings certainly indicate that as the Devils have a league low 9 points. The good news is that they should be getting some players back in Colin White, Brian Rolston, and Marty Brodeur. However, they will not be getting Zach Parise back for awhile. In my opinion, until the Devils acquire a defenseman who is able to create offense by rushing the puck up the ice they will continue to struggle. The good teams in this league get offense from the blueline.

Tuesday Pick:

A decent slate for a Tuesday night in the NHL featuring seven games. We'll take a shot with Carolina at home over Edmonton. The Oil is in the midst of a road trip and shocked Chicago on Sunday, but lost captain Shawn Horcoff in that game and he is doubtful. Carolina is a better team and is coming off a win at home Saturday over Florida.

Carolina -140

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Flyers at Islanders 7pm EST

The Islanders have lost 6 in a row, and many of them in crushing fashion. The Islanders have given up 29 goals in their last 6 games including a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the Flyers last Saturday night. It got ugly at the end and we expect tonight to be chippy as well. The more chippy the game is, the more it lends to the Flyers who are a much tougher and physical team.

To make matters worse for the Islanders, they have beat the Flyers just once in their last 17 meetings. After watching the Islanders during this 6 game losing streak, you keep thinking they will come back with a hard and tough effort after a few butt kickings, but they haven't. They look deader than they have under Scott Gordon and we wonder if players have stopped playing for him, or if they don't like playing in front of Rick Dipietro.

Dwayne Roloson is the confirmed starter tonight and unless he stands on his head and makes saves like Jesus, the Islanders are in serious trouble.

Lock of the week: Philadelphia -150.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Video- Dustin Brown Hit On Antti Miettinen Tonight

Video- Dustin Brown Hit On Antti Miettinen Tonight

Tuesday Timeout

Quick hits from around the NHL as October is winding down. Please excuse one of us for not writing as much lately since he is enamored with the Giants being in the World Series. Anyway, here are some observations and things we have learned thus far in what has been an entertaining start to the season.

- The NY Rangers have been playing better, even without Marian Gaborik and Chris Drury in the lineup. NY has won three in a row and are getting production from Brandon Dubinsky, who has posted seven points in seven games this season.

- The team with the most wins so far are the Los Angeles Kings with six. The Kings have played three games without the injured Drew Doughty and have gone 2-1 in that span. Even though the Kings put him on IR he should be good to go for Saturday's home game against New Jersey.

- No team in the league takes more penalties than the Anaheim Ducks. With their struggling defense, it's not a good recipe to have, especially on the road where the Ducks are a league worst 1-5.

- Carolina will finally play a home game on Wednesday night after playing their first seven games on the road in three countries. The fact that they went 4-3 in that stretch is impressive. Really amazed by the way rookie Jeff Skinner has looked thus far.

- The Florida Panthers have given up a league low 12 goals. Go figure!

- Two teams that are a must watch anytime they are on NHL Center Ice are the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers. So much young talent, and both teams play an entertaining up-tempo game.

- The constantly over-looked Nashville Predators have yet to lose in regulation. When will people realize that Barry Trotz is a genius?

- Speaking of geniuses, everyone feel in love with Steve Yzerman's trade for Simon Gagne this summer. Gagne has yet to register a point through 8 games. That being said, Tampa is much better than last season. Guy Boucher looks like the real deal behind the bench.

- Would anyone want Colin Campbell's job right now? With all the attention surrounding hits to the head, he seems to be in a no-win situation. Clearly, this is the story of the season thus far, and obviously the referees have to make these calls even if they are borderline. Last night it was Dustin Brown who delivered a hit that was borderline. Was it worthy of a suspension? I'm not sure, but it really appears like we are splitting hairs as to what deserves a suspension and what doesn't. This is leading to constant second-guessing of any decision Campbell makes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carolina at Los Angeles

Los Angeles Kings (-200)

Carolina comes off a nice bounce back win in San Jose last night as they took care of the Sharks 5-2. The Hurricanes were severely outplayed in Vancouver just two nights prior. For a team to travel to Europe and not play a home opener until October 27, Hurricanes fans should be happy with the teams 3-2 start.

The Kings have started this season strong and impressed us with 2 wins over the Canucks, the team that beat them in last years playoffs. Jonathan Bernier will get the start tonight as the Kings might have the best 1-2 punch in the league between the pipes. The Kings are 2nd in the NHL during even strength goal differential and boast the 6th best penalty killing percentage.

Cam Ward played extremely well for the Canes last night and the Kings might see Justin Peters or a weary Ward which should give an advantage to LA.

Bottom line is the Kings who haven't played since Friday are well rested and have been home for a week while Carolina is in the midst of a brutal start of the season scheduling wise. The Kings will win this one.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Minutes

Parity, Parity, and Parity.

That's what sums up the first two weeks of the 2010-11 NHL season thus far. For instance, the Toronto Maple Leafs are hosting the NY Islanders tonight and both teams are in first place. Go figure. The Dallas Stars, the predicted weak link in the Pacific division, are 4-0 heading into tonight's tilt at Tampa Bay. The offensively challenged Minnesota Wild are the NHL's top team on the power play. Martin Brodeur is ranked 39th among goalies with a 3.18 GAA, and his Devils are 1-4-1 through six games.

Those are examples of how close the difference is between teams that were predicted to finish near the bottom of the league and the elite teams in the NHL. We don't want to come across as if we think the Stanley Cup finals will be Toronto-Dallas, but it does prove that games in October are vital, and that if a more talented team takes a night off, they will be beaten no matter whom the opponent is. Some hockey experts feel that it may take 100 points just to MAKE the playoffs in the Western Conference. The East is not any easier, as the struggling Devils and Sabres, need to start collecting points soon, or they will have difficulty jumping the teams in front of them.

Which brings us to the two most disappointing teams so far in the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres. As mentioned, Martin Brodeur is struggling and it is costing the Devils dearly. He has allowed numerous bad goals and at his age may not be able to handle the heavy workload as in years past. The Devils are paying backup, Johan Hedberg $1.5 million, which is a lot for them since they're so strapped with the salary cap. Hedberg needs to play more to validate the contract and to give Marty a break, which is something that is easier said than done.

What's hurting Brodeur also is the fact that the Devils defense is not the same. Anton Volchenkov is injured, and young players such as Matt Taormina and Alexander Urbom are being forced to play way too many minutes. Everyone wants to blame Kovalchuk, and his contract is a factor with the Devils being unable to dress enough players, but it's not the sole reason for New Jersey's struggles. Rookie coach John MacLean, has a lot of work to do, but thankfully for them its only mid-October.

The Buffalo Sabres haven't exactly gotten off to the start they hoped for either. The defending Northeast Division champs once again are having difficulty scoring goals. They have played six games and have mustered only 12 goals. Five of those 12 goals have been scored by Derek Roy. The HSBC Arena, which has been so kind to the Sabres in years past, has not been this year as the Sabres are 0-3-1 at home. Losing Jason Pominville to injury really hurts the Sabres because he can kill penalties, play on the power play, and score goals. Thomas Vanek needs to get going offensively and one would expect Ryan Miller to improve as the season goes on. Not ready to hit the panic button in Buffalo, but if they lose a few more games in a row Lindy Ruff is in serious trouble.

Monday Pick: Tampa Bay -130 over Dallas

Very impressed by the 4-0 start so far by Dallas, but tonight they face an angry Tampa Bay Lightning team who were blown out 6-0 by Florida on Saturday night. Still not sold on the Dallas Stars defense, as Tampa can score with anyone in the league. In what should be an entertaining hockey game, expect Tampa to rebound even without Vinny LeCavalier

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pominville gets hit from the behind and carried off on a stretcher 10-11-10

Dirty hit?

It's only one week into the season and the NHL is already dealing with a player being carried off in a stretcher from a dirty hit. Thankfully, Sabres forward Jason Pominville is doing OK after being hit from behind by the Hawks, Niklas Hjalmarrson on Sunday night. The suspension from the NHL is 2 games. Hjalmarrson is not known as a dirty player, and seems remorseful about the whole incident. However, Hockeysureshot thinks he probably should of received closer to a five game suspension. As Ryan Miller said, these kind of actions can not be taken lightly, and the league needs to have zero tolerance with dirty hits when players are left in vulnerable positions. Let us know what you think.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eastern Conference Preview

As the NHL season will finally get underway, let's take a look at the Eastern Conference and how we think they will fare. As we start to break down teams, it becomes harder to see how many teams will finish. After the top 4 teams in the Conference, the bottom 11 are very closely matched and might all finish within 10 or 12 points of each other. Teams that stay healthy this season will have a huge advantage.

1. Washington Capitals: The Capitals are virtually the same team that blew a 3-1 lead to Montreal in the first round of the playoffs last April. They are also the same team that notched 121 points and 54 wins in the regular season. Semyon Varlamov will start the season on IR but that will do little to hurt the Capitals chances of finishing first in the Conference. The Southeast is still without another elite team and the Caps will beat up on their Division rivals and win the East easily. The big question is can they play tough enough and can Varlamov be the guy that leads them in the playoffs?

2. New Jersey Devils: During a weird off season and the drawn out process for the resigning of Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils have improved their lineup. In the end, we feel like the Kovalchuk deal with eventually hurt the Devils, but when future hall of famer Martin Brodeur is still in between the pipes playing well, it's tough for the organization not to go for it which they have done. The Devils should fight all season with the Pens for the division but we feel the Devils are the better team and should get it done in the tough Atlantic Division.

3. Boston Bruins: The Bruins are coming off a playoff embarrassment as we all watched the Flyers come back from a 3-0 deficit in last year's playoffs. The Bruins will be hard pressed to duplicate their 2nd best goals against defensive performance from a year ago but a healthy Lucic and the addition of Nathan Horton should provide an offensive boost in the absence of Marc Savard. The Bruins aren't that much better than last year but we feel the division is worse. The Bruins will win the Northeast with the fewest points out of any division in the NHL.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins: One thing the salary cap era has done is limit the ability to build around superstar players. The Penguins have 2 of the top 5 players in the game on their team and yet still struggle to find line mates to flourish with them. Be that as it may, any team that has Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin is going to have success and this year will be no different. The Pens will be beat out by New Jersey in the division race but we like Pittsburgh to go farther come playoff time.

5. Buffalo Sabres: Every year people look at the Sabres and underestimate them. Buffalo still has one of the best coaches in the league and one of the most solid goalies in Lindy Ruff and Ryan Miller. The Sabres offense was by committee last season as 12 players had 10 goals or more and 4 had over 20. Expect the Sabres to have a similar type season but will be hard pressed to get to 100 points again.

6. Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers made a great run to the Stanley Cup Finals a year ago but in reality are worse off now then they were then. Micheal Leighton is hurt to start the season and the Flyers once again will start a season without a true #1 goalie. The Flyers lost Gagne and Asham and will be hard pressed to be higher in the standings and do much in the playoffs.

7. Atlanta Thrashers: Looking at the remaining teams in the East, not one of them jumps off the page and tells us they are a playoff team. One team that quietly competed until the final week of the season and made some solid pickups this off season are the Atlanta Thrashers. The Thrashers now have a solid group of players like Bergfors, Byfuglien, Eager, Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian just to name a few and finished last year on the rise with 83 points. The Thrashers will take another step forward this season and make the playoffs for the 2nd time in their history. Adding players who have been there before like Byfuglien and Eager will help the character of this team. Now, if only fans can show up and support them.

8. Ottawa Senators: Ottawa is coming off an up and down season which saw them get ousted in the first round of the playoffs. The loss of Volchenkov will hurt their toughness and all around defense but leadership of Daniel Alfredsson and a predicted turnaround season for Jason Spezza will find the Senators in the playoffs again.

9. Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price is already getting booed in preseason games and the Canadiens fans will get on this team early if they don't win. Remember, they barely qualified for the playoffs last season and made a magical run with a goaltender that is now on a different team. They are speedy and fast but in the end don't play defense well enough and don't score enough goals to lock up a playoff spot.

10. New York Islanders: The Islanders are a team that will surprise people this season. They made a 18 point improvement from two seasons ago to last season and their young players should all take a step forward in their development. 1st round pick Nino Neiderreiter has made the team and a brand new defense including Mark Eaton, James Wisniewski, Milan Jurcina, Mike Mottau and a healthy Radek Martinek is better then any they have had previously under Scott Gordon. What keeps the Isles out of a playoff spot is the loss of Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo. The Isles aren't deep enough to overcome those injuries and a notoriously brutal road team has 12 of their first 17 away from Nassau Coliseum.

11. Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes got off to a terrible start last season mainly due to injuries. They rebounded and found themselves with a respectable record but they did that with nothing on the line. The Hurricanes are average at best in every category and will short of a playoff spot.

12. Tampa Bay Lightning: Everyone is jumping on the Lightning bandwagon and we don't know why. The Lightning currently have one of the bottom 5 defense's in hockey and Dan Ellis has to prove he can carry a team on his back. We do like the addition of Simon Gagne but the Lightning don't have much scoring depth after their big 4. Tampa gives up too many goals to be competitive.

13. New York Rangers: If the Rangers stay healthy, they will finish higher but that will be a lot to expect from Marion Gaborik who has never played two full seasons in a row. Henrik Lundqvist is a terrific goalie but will struggle a bit more this season as the weight of carrying a team for years will finally get to him. The Rangers just don't have anyone that can score besides Gaborik and an injury to either him or Lundqvist would be devastating. If they do stay healthy, we still feel the Rangers will miss the playoffs and this will be Tortorella's last behind their bench.

14. Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs are a young team that blew it by trading their first round pick to Boston for Phil Kessel. The Leafs missed out on Tyler Sequin and stunted their growth by a season. The Leafs defense still gives up a ton of goals and their lack of scoring depth doesn't give much hope for a significant improvement this season.

15. Florida Panthers: The Panthers will most likely finish in last this season have taken almost all it's talent and traded it away again. Keith Ballard for Micheal Grabner was one trade and then Florida lost Grabner on waivers this week to the Islanders. It makes you wonder what exactly the Florida front office is thinking. Dale Tallon is now in charge who yes brought the Blackhawks to the brink of a Stanley Cup but also messed up basic paper work where his Restricted Free Agents became unrestricted. That cost him his job. Panther fans have had it tough and have watched player after player get traded away. Hopefully for them, Tallon does it the right way and the Panthers will have something to cheer about in a few years.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

NHL OVER/UNDER Season Points

One of our favorite things to do each season is look at the season points odds and predict the over or under. This will be the first time we will do it online and if anyone is making a trip to vegas soon, betting the over on your favorite team or any team for fun can bring some more excitement to the hockey season. from

Lets Look at the odds:

* all money lines are -115 except Phoenix which is noted below.

Anaheim 88.5 The Ducks had 89 points last season and failed to make the playoffs. No big changes have been made during the offseason. Jonas Hiller had a down year last year and looks to rebound. We don't like touching this one as the Ducks will finish about the same as last year.

Atlanta 83.5 The Thrashers seemed to get better as soon as Ilya Kovalchuk was traded to the Devils. The Thrashers came close to their 2nd playoff spot in team history but fell 5 points short with 83. This years Thrashers team has made several changes from last year including the addition of Dustin Byfuglien. The Thrashers are plenty capable of surpassing their output from last year and we believe the Thrashers to be in the 85-89 point range.

Boston 100.5 The Bruins finished the 09-10 season with 91 points mainly due to inability to score goals. The Bruins were last in the East in goals scored and the loss of Marc Savard won't help that cause though Nathan Horton should. The Northeast division is very competitive and although we feel the Bruins will win it, it might not be with 101 points. Take the Under.

Buffalo 91.5 The Sabres won the Northeast Division last season with 100 points. The Sabres haven't changed much and have one of the best goalies and coaches in the league. The Sabres should return to the playoffs and rack up about 94 points. We like the over.

Calgary 92.5 Love the under. Calgary has brought on re-treads in Jokinen and Tanguay and Kiprusoff is a year older. Calgary might be one of the weaker teams in the West. Take the under.

Carolina 86.5 The Hurricanes are very tough to judge. It was a tale of two seasons in one in 09-10, as the Canes suffered major injuries and got off to a horrid start. As they became healthy, they went on a very impressive second half run and finished with 80 points. We wouldn't touch this one, but if you had too, take the under.

Chicago 102.5 Our Stanley Cup Champions were ripped apart 2 weeks after the season was over. We almost feel bad for the fans but hey, they won. The Hawks still have Toews, Kane, Keith and Seabrook and their core is as solid as anyone in the NHL. They will still battle for first in the Conference and we like the over.

Colorado 89.5 Colorado surprised almost all of us last season and qualified for the playoffs with 95 points. While the Avs might have been a little ahead of schedule, they should be able to crack the 90 point plateau playing many games against weak teams like Minnesota, Calgary and Edmonton.

Columbus 79.5 Once again Columbus was unable to make an impact move this offseason. The Blue Jackets should get better goaltending from Mason and a 1 point improvement seems likely. We don't love it, but take the over.

Dallas 88.5 Dallas finds themselves at the bottom of a very tough division once again. Dallas finished last year with 88 points, and this season is destined to go very similarly. Take the under.

Detroit 106.5 Detroit found themselves looking outside the playoffs looking in during the Olympic break and took off late and still rang up 102 points. With the Blackhawks taking a step backward and the Wings heading into the season healthy, we like the over very much.

Edmonton 76.5 Can Edmonton have a 15 point improvement? We think it's possible after seeing the Islanders go from 61 points in 09 to 79 points last season. Taylor Hall and Jordon Eberle will help this young team but it's tough to put your faith in a last place team. Don't touch this one at all .

Florida 71.5 Toronto was last in the East in 09-10 with 74 points. Florida finished with 77 and we don't think they will make a 6 point dive. Vokuhn is a solid goalie and besides the loss of Horton, the team is the same. A healthy David Booth will help Florida be competative and be near the same point total as last season. Love the over here.

Los Angeles 101.5 The Los Angeles Kings finished their resurgence of a season last year with 101 points. We doubt the Coyotes will reach 107 points and doubt the Sharks can put up as many points last season. The Kings will compete for a division title and rack up 105 points or more. Take the over.

Minnesota 85.5 The Wild are pretty much stuck in the same spot they found themselves in last season. There is not a huge upside to this group yet and a season where they find themselves around 85 points make the most sense. We wouldn't touch this one.

Montreal 87.5 Montreal had a great playoff run on the back of now St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak. We believe that Montreal will get off to a rough start with Carey Price already hearing boos and fall short of their point total and a playoff spot this season. Take the under.

Nashville 89.5 Nashville is one of those teams that gets no respect from anyone. Barry Trotts is a fantastic coach and the Predators find themselves in the playoffs more often than not. The Preds have a terrific defense and goaltender in Pekka Renne. The Preds should make the playoffs again. Love the over on this one.

New Jersey 101.5 The Devils have had quite an un Devil like offseason with the Kovalchuk saga ongoing into September. However, the Devils have a solid team from top to bottom and if Brodeur can resemble his hall of fame self, New Jersey should fight for the Atlantic Division title and beyond. This is a close one, but we believe the Devils will have the over.

NY Islanders 78.5 Before the news of Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo going down with long term injuries, we loved the over on this one. The Isles will have to prove on the ice they are headed on the right path before the critics give them a shot. A revamped defense should help the Isles hold the many leads they blew last season and their goal total that was 20th in the NHL last season should improve as Tavares, Bailey, Comeau and eventually Okposo when he comes back are all a year older. The Isles had a 18 point jump from 09-10 (61pts-79pts last season) and an equal point output seems to be one of the better bets on the board. We love the over still.

NY Rangers 87.5 The Rangers finished with 87 points last season and missed out on an 89th point and playoff spot by a shootout. The Rangers rely on their goaltender as much as anyone in the league and haven't made any significant changes. The Rangers will be around come playoff time and 85-90 points is about their range. If Lundquist or Gaborik go down, the Rangers will go down with them. We wouldn't touch this one.

Ottawa 87.5 Daniel Alfredsson is a year older and the loss of Volchenkov will hurt this team. We are not high on Daniel Elliot and Ottawa will have it's poorest season in years. Take the under.

Philadelphia 97.5 The Flyers barely made the playoffs and then had a magical run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Leighton is out a month and Simon Gagne went to Tampa. The Flyers resemble the team that barely made the playoffs more than the team that went to the Cup Finals. Take the under.

Phoenix 92.5 The Coyotes are the most interesting case on this board. With 107 points last year, Vegas throws their point total at 92.5 for this season. Unless the Coyotes can prove us wrong, we agree. Phoenix will fall short of the playoffs and if you believe they will fall, take the under. The money line here is different from any team as well. It's -125 for the over and -105 for the under. Every other team is listed at -115 for the over or under.

Pittsburgh 104.5 Pittsburgh and the Devils will most likely fight for the Atlantic Division crown this season. They did the same last season with both teams having 103 points or less. We think the Devils will take it so take the under on this one.

San Jose 103.5 The Sharks once again had a disappointing playoff run, getting run over by the Hawks. The Sharks replaced long time goalie Evegeni Nabokov with Antti Niemi. Time will tell if that proves itself to work out but Niemi did outplay Nabokov in the playoffs. The Sharks will fight with the Kings for the Pacific Division and this seems like a good over to take. The Sharks had 113 points last season and a 10 point drop off is unlikely.

St. Louis 93.5 St. Louis is another young team on the rise, and missed the playoffs by one spot last season. We think the Blues will get in this year with the 8th seed. The Blues were .500 at home last year and we believe a two game improvement at home will get them from 90 points a year ago to 94 this year. Add Halak and this over looks better every time you look at it.

Tampa Bay 92.5 Tampa is a team we feel is getting the most hype from any non playoff team last year. We also don't believe the hype. The Lightning do have some great talent including Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman but are still a year or two away from being an impact team in the East. There is a huge drop off at the bottom of the roster which includes a suspect defense that gave up 3rd worst 260 goals last year in the Eastern Conference and Dan Ellis needs to prove that he can carry a team. Tampa will improve but 93 points is asking a lot. We love the under.

Toronto 84.5 The Leafs are another team rebuilding under Brian Burke. The Leafs roster will look the same but a full year with J.S. Gigure will help tremendously. The Leafs had an East low 74 points last season and are capable of an 85 point season but we don't love it. Stay away from this one. If you are a Leafs fan, take the over and try to have fun with it. The Leafs though are probably not a playoff team.

Vancouver 106.5 The Canucks are probably the most solid team top to bottom in the NHL. However they lack the explosiveness needed night in and night out to produce 107 points. We hate that the Canucks use this as an excuse but the travel situation does play into that. We think the Canucks will win the Northwest easily but 107 points might be tough. Don't touch this one.

Washington 108.5 The Capitals had 121 points last season and we see no reason why they won't come close to duplicating that total this year. All the same pieces are back and the Capitals are out to prove their first round loss was a fluke. Love the over.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Western Conference Predictions

15) Calgary Flames:

Probably a bit of a surprise to pick the Flames so low, but they finished the second half with a 16-20-5 record. They struggle mightily to score goals. They play a boring defensive system that does not work in the post-lockout NHL. They rely way too much on a 34-year old goalie, who has to be feeling the effects of playing over 70 games a season for the last few years. The focus this summer was to add offense and all they came up with was Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay. Not stellar additions. If head coach Brent Sutter decides to open the offense up, and let Jay Bouwmeester play a more offensive game, perhaps that would help Jarome Iginla, who is the Flames only offensive threat.

14) Edmonton Oilers:

The rebuilding has begun for the leagues worst team last year and new coach Tom Renney takes over a young team with lot's of potential on offense. The Oilers will be fun to watch with last years first overall pick, Taylor Hall, playing with fellow youngsters, Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle. Losing Ales Hemsky to injury last season was devastating to the Oilers. Hemsky and Dustin Penner(32 goals) are the only proven goal scorers on the roster. The defense is very suspect, and not really sure what to expect out of Nikolai Khabibulin who is coming off back surgery.

13) Columbus Blue Jackets:

Many what-if's surround the Jackets this season. Rick Nash is a wonderful player, and he proved during the Olympics what he is capable off when he has talent around him. Steve Mason had a wonderful rookie season in net for Columbus two years ago, but posted mediocre numbers last year. Derick Brassard has loads of potential on offense, but the 23-year old has yet to put it together consistently. Nikita Filatov is a dynamic scorer, but a project. They have a young coach in Scott Arniel, who is very energetic and is much more well-liked than former coach Ken Hitchcock. Still, there are too many variables with Columbus. The defense has nobody capable of providing offense and running the point on the power play. If they improve in that area, and the young players produce, Columbus could be a surprise team.

12) Dallas Stars:

It will be very different watching Dallas and not seeing Mike Modano in a Stars jersey. The Stars will also have a new goalie in Kari Lehtonen who replaces Marty Turco. Lehtonen, was once a top prospect in the league, but struggled with injury issues for years. Dallas has a decent group of forwards led by Brad Richards, who scored a very quiet 91 points last year. James Neal, Loui Errikson, and Jamie Benn all have potential to score 30 goals. The defense was a big problem last year, and remained the same this summer.

11) Phoenix Coyotes:

No team accomplished more and exceeded the low expectations league wide than the Phoenix Coyotes last season. Dave Tippet is a fantastic coach who realizes that Phoenix will not fly under the radar again this year. Phoenix will be in playoff contention most of the year, but will fall short. We just don't trust players such as Ed Jovanovski, Derek Morris, and Adrian Aucoin to have the same impact on defense as they did last year. Losing premier shot-blocker, Zbynek Michalek this summer will hurt them. Ilya Bryzgalov is solid in goal but will have trouble duplicating last seasons unbelievable numbers.

10) Minnesota Wild:

Minesota started very slow last season and never seriously contended for a playoff spot. They now play a more up tempo game which is opposite of what they played under Jacques Lemaire for most of their existence. Losing Pierre-Marc Bouchard after one game and getting minimal production from Martin Havlat seriously hurt the teams offense. With Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette, Guillaume Latendresse, and newly acquired center, Matt Cullen the Wild could have a decent offense in addition to Bouchard and Havlat. Niklas Backstrom is a better goalie than his stats indicated last year as the defense will need to improve.

9) Anaheim Ducks:

Anaheim boosts on of the best lines in hockey with Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan. The problem is their defense was horrible last season, and they're one of the most penalized teams in the league. The departure of Chris Pronger, and now the retirement of Scott Niedermayer has left the defense with gaping holes. This summer they added, Toni Lydman, Andy Sutton, Paul Mara, to compliment Lubomir Visnovsky and Luca Sbisa. Not good enough in our opinion to make the playoffs in the West, no matter how good Jonas Hiller is in goal.

8) St. Louis Blues:

Simply put, the problem with St.Louis is lack of goal scoring. The leading scorer for the Blues last season was Andy McDonald, with 57 points. David Backes and Brad Boyes did not produce like they expected and T.J Oshie, David Perron, and Alexander Steen have immense potential, but do not score consistently. Jaroslav Halak was a good pickup in goal, but the problem with the Blues is offense, and once again they are riding all their hopes on young players.

7) Colorado Avalanche:

Another team similar to the Blues in possessing loads of young talent. The difference is that Colorado has Matt Duchene and Chris Stewart who are dynamic scorers and only going to get better. Craig Anderson had a career year in goal, but he is capable of proving that it was not a fluke. The defense is not great, but should be good enough to make the playoffs for the second straight year.

6) Nashville Predators:

Nashville gave the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks all they could handle in round one last season only to fall for the fifth time in as many tries in first round play as a franchise. The goaltending and defense is as solid as any in the Western Conference. But as usual, the Predators struggle to find offense. Lot's of pressure with be on Martin Erat and David Legwand to rebound after poor years offensively. Matthew Lombardi was signed s a free agent to add speed to the offense, and they took a shot on Sergei Kostitsyn being able to rebound from a poor season in Montreal. Pekke Renne is on the cusp of stardom in goal.

5) Los Angeles Kings:

Last season the Kings were thrilled to finally qualify for the playoffs for the first time in eight years, but this season expectations are higher. The Kings will have basically the same offense, led by Anze Kopitar, who registered 81 points last season and may be capable of reaching 90-95. Once again he will be relied upon to provide goals along with Ryan Smyth and Dustin Brown. Last season saw the emergence of Drew Doughty as one of the best defenseman in the league. He is joined by the improving Jack Johnson, Matt Greene, Rob Scuderi, and recently signed Willie Mitchell. For the first time in years, the Kings found a true No. 1 goalie in Jonathan Quick, and have highly touted prospect, Jonathan Bernier as a backup to take some of the workload off Quick. Sky is the limit for the Kings who could win the Pacific Division if the offense improves.

4) Detroit Red Wings:

The Red Wings were one of the better teams in the league near the end of the season and should be even more improved this year. Detroit has three star forwards in Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Johan Franzen. They have solid secondary scorers in Tomas Holmstrom, Valtteri Filppula, and Dan Cleary. Plus, they will have skilled LW Jiri Hudler, back from Russia to add more offense. The defense is getting older, but is still solid with Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski leading the way. Jimmy Howard proved he will be the Wings goalie for awhile after being a runner-up for the Calder trophy. Keep in mind that the Red Wings have eclipsed 100 points for 10 consecutive seasons.

3) San Jose Sharks:

San Jose made strides last season by advancing to the Western Conference Finals, but still are awaiting that elusive Stanley Cup appearance. If they are to advance, they will have to do so without Evgeni Nabokov in goal. Yes they acquired cup-winning goalie Antti Niemi from Chicago, but he will still have to prove that last season was not a fluke. Perhaps the biggest concern with the Sharks is that beyond their top two lines there are serious issues. The Thornton-Marleau-Heatley line may be the best in the game. Ryan Clowe and Joe Pavelski are good players, but the drop off is huge on the third and fourth lines. San Jose is also a bit thin on the blueline after the top four led by Dan Boyle. They still play very well at home and in the regular season and should be good enough to squeak by the Kings, barely.

2) Vancouver Canucks:

Vancouver is certainly carrying the flag for Canada, as this may be the best hope for a Canadian team to win the cup since 1993. Vancouver is loaded upfront with the Sedin's leading the way. Alex Burrows and Ryan Kelser are very good players and Mason Raymond is poised to take the next step to being a top forward. Manny Malhotra was a good signing as he will strengthen the third line. On defense, the Canucks were exposed last postseason, but are hoping that Dan Hamhuis improves their defense. Roberto Luongo is a great regular season goalie who has had trouble putting it together in the playoffs. Many things to like about the Canucks this year as they have enormous pressure on them to advance deep into the playoffs.

1) Chicago Blackhawks:

It doesn't matter that they lost so many players due to salary cap reasons. They are still the champions, and we still feel that most of the core is still intact. Clearly, the Hawks biggest strength was their depth last season as opponents could not match them line for line. They won't have that advantage this year, but they still have Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane who are still going to get better. Kane is only 22-years old and scored 88 points. He could reach 100-points this season. Marian Hossa missed 22 games last year, and when healthy can score 40 goals. Patrick Sharp and Troy Brouwer both scored over 20 goals last season. We're expecting young players such as Jack Skille and Viktor Stalberg to step up and fill the void for some of the veterans that left. Last I checked, they still have a Norris trophy winner on the blueline in Duncan Keith. Brent Seabrook is as solid of a stay at home defensemen as anyone in the league. Niklas Hjalmarrson proved his value in the playoffs, and Brian Campbell is capable of having a better season than the 38 points he put up last year. After those four, it gets weaker on defense, which is the Hawks biggest concern. Marty Turco is the new goalie, and he will probably welcome a change of scenery from Dallas. We're banking on the Hawks getting production from the young players within the organization and defending their Western Conference crown.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

NHL Training Camp Starting Dates

Believe it or not but NHL players will be hitting the ice in less than a week for training camp. Below we list the starting dates for each club.

Anaheim Sep. 13th
Atlanta Sep. 13th
Boston Sep. 12th
Buffalo Sep. 13th
Calgary Sep. 12th
Carolina Sep. 12th
Chicago Sep. 12th
Colorado Sep. 12th
Columbus Sep.12th
Detroit Sep. 12th
Edmonton Sep.12th
Florida Sep. 13th
Los Angeles Sep. 12th
Minnesota Sep.12th
Montreal Sep. 14th
Nashville Sep. 12th
New Jersey Sep. 13th
NY Islanders Sep. 12th
NY Rangers Sep. 12th
Ottawa Sep. 13th
Philadelphia Sep. 12th
Phoenix Sep. 12th
Pittsburgh Sep. 13th
St. Louis Sep. 15th
San Jose Sep. 12th
Tampa Bay Sep. 12th
Toronto Sep. 12th
Vancouver Sep. 12th
Washington Sep 12th

With most camps opening in the next few days plenty of free agents are still available. Below we list the top five unrestricted free agents available:

Bill Guerin: Guerin skated with the Flyers earlier this month but still remains unsigned. He reportedly wants to remain on the east coast, but at 40 years old, they're not too many options.

Marek Svatos: Once a 30-goal scorer back in 2005, he only notched 7 goals with the Avalanche last season. Spent his entire career in Colorado, so perhaps a change of scenery may do him well. Still only 28 years old.

Owen Nolan: He was one of the top goal scorers for Minnesota last season, even at age 38. Lives in San Jose in the offseason and would love to play on the west coast.

Darcy Tucker: Heart and soul type of player that could give a team a lift on the 4th line even at 35 years old. He scored 10 goals for Colorado last season and battled injuries.

Stephane Yelle: Maybe a reach here as his skills have diminished, but he did win the cup and is a good presence in the locker room.

A few key restricted free agents remain unsigned including Marc Stall, Peter Mueller, James Neal, and Bobby Ryan. Bobby Ryan is the biggest name of the four and from what we have read, contract talks have remained stagnant.

With the Kovalchuk contract finally being approved by the NHL, the New Jersey Devils will need to shed 3 million worth of salary before the season starts. Should be an interesting September.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Which NHL teams fans would win in a fight part 2: Breaking down the Eastern Conference

Eastern Conference:
a preview of all 15 fan bases. the top 8 will be narrowed down in bracket form to see who has the toughest fan base in the east. the winner of the east will face the winner of the west to see which teams fan base would ultimately win a battle royale amongst the NHL fans.

Atlanta Thrashers:
By taking a look at the Thrashers fan group called the "Nasty Nest", we can draw many conclusions. One, they like Carp and Potatoes. Any time people bring a politely sitting dog to a gathering, they are coming in peace. If a battle broke out between fans, it doesn't appear that the Thrashers contingent would come out on top.

Boston Bruins:
Any fan base in the Northeast immediately scores points due to the cold winters they have to endure. Beyond that, the New England fan base spreads many miles through many states. They have power by numbers. They travel well as many Bruins fans can be found at opposing arena's. One fan stole Alex Kovalev's stick right out of his hand from the stands. The only negative we can find about the Bruins fan is this photo where Leafs fans are celebrating a goal in Boston only to see the Bruins fans do nothing. Overall, the Bruin fan is not someone to mess with as the brotherhood of fans will back each other up and ultimately make you pay a price. The Bruin fan should be a playoff team.

Buffalo Sabres
: Another Northern team where fans endure cold and tough winters and have nothing else positive to live for. The Buffalo Bills suck and no other professional sports teams reside in the area. Indoor Lacrosse doesn't count. The Sabre fan has always supported the team and the blue collar work ethic and dedication shown by the fans usually translates to a hard working team on the ice. Sabres fans are among the most loyal and toughest fans around. They will fight to the death and have trained in the cold to be able to handle tough battles.

Carolina Hurricanes
: As with most warm weather climate teams, the location of the Hurricane's home rink will hurt their toughness. Anyone can be tough while driving a NASCAR, but can these guys and girls get dirty when the Sabres fans come looking for blood? The Hurricanes have won a Stanley Cup in their brief history which gives there group a reason to keep fighting when the odds are against them. However, anytime your tailgating crew looks to have the average age of 60 and this kid represents your toughest fan, you have problems.

Florida Panthers: The most southern team in the NHL has fans that rather go tanning on the beach then show up to a hockey game. We can't blame them however as management has failed them time and time again to commit to winning. As with most teams in the Miami area, the fans will come out when the team starts to win. If a fight breaks out in downtown Miami, not enough troops would show up to back up the Panthers name.

Montreal Canadiens: Perhaps the most populous fan base, the Montreal Canadien fan is no joke. They will show up in gigantic numbers and travel anywhere to represent their team. Their weaknesses are cockiness and a feeling of invincibility. While the Habs fan army might be the largest, they sometimes don't take their opponent seriously. A surprise fan base could slay this dragon if the Canadien fan isn't careful. While we have great respect for the fans of the Canadiens, they have shown to brush off the voice and spirit of other up and coming fan bases.

New Jersey Devils: Have you ever been to a game in New Jersey? If not, trust us that you will be the loudest person there. The Soprano's persona of New Jersey hasn't made it's way to the Prudential Center and was nearly always absent from the Meadowlands. For a team that has had as much success as anyone, the Devil fan seems complacent to brag about Brodeur and Parise and not worry about the Ranger fan going after their head. They are also a small fan base in numbers and we worry the Devil fan would die a quick death.

New York Islanders:
For a team that has stunk since 1993, this fan base has as much heart and fight in them as anyone. They can take other fan bases by surprise with their unity, passion and blue collar work ethic and desire. The Islander fan is tired of being the laughing stock of the league and will use negative comments directed at them as fuel to bring you down. The Islander fan travels better than average keeping other fan bases off guard with their numbers. Their weaknesses include several fans who enjoy going to the Hamptons rather than fight with the rest of the fan base. All in all, the Islander fan should find themselves in the postseason unlike their on ice product and will give any opponent a good fight.

New York Rangers: Any team whose fan base shows up to games wearing suits and in their history had fan beaten with their own shoe by an opposing player doesn't give them much credit. However, the Ranger fan spreads over many miles, strong in numbers and is as loyal as any in the league. However when it comes to toughness, the shoe incident will never be forgotten.

Ottawa Senators
: The Senator fan is a sleeper. Going into the home of the Senators wearing an opposing jersey is not an easy task. You will get ripped by kids, woman, children, adults, ushers. It's no joke in there. The only slight weakness is that the people of Ottawa are decent human beings and don't have the killer instinct needed to take out the leagues toughest. However, come playoff time, the Senator fan should hold down a spot.

Philadelphia Flyers:
The preseason favorite to come out of the East. The Flyer fan is not only big, mean, rugged and travels with many friends, it is also an asshole. If the Flyer fan could bring death to any other fan in it's way, it would. The Flyer fan has cornered members of this website in a Canadian bar threatening our health. Why? Because we were rooting for the Carolina Panthers to beat the Eagles in Toronto. Seems reasonable. The Flyer fan will do whatever it takes to make sure it is known as the toughest around. A tough match for any fan base to take on. The Flyer fan is the favorite for the #1 seed heading into the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Another fan base with tough roots are the fans of the Penguins. This fan base from the steel city endured many years of poor on ice product and a very serious threat of re-location. However Penguin fans come out on top as they witnessed their team win a Stanley Cup. The Penguin fan is strong in numbers and will always defend their city and team. They will not attack unless provoked but are easily set off with comments regarding Sidney Crosby. The Penguin fan will protect their Captain like he is the God of all Gods. The Penguins should find themselves in a playoff spot and with their experience of dealing with adversity, could be a fan base to watch.

Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning fan street cred is dwindled with the fact that they are a southern team. The Lightning fan supports it's home team at home but doesn't travel well and is less passionate about their team then most spots in the Eastern Conference. They do show up in numbers however and is the NHL's equivalent to Switzerland. They worry about themselves and really find themselves in many fights.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs are arguably the strongest fan base in numbers in the NHL. The Canadiens might be in that argument. The Leaf fan will travel well and travel in big numbers to let their voice be heard. However, most Leaf fans you will encounter are friendly and the white collar type who goes to games wearing suits and has no interest in fighting. That doesn't make them bad, as they have one of the best fan bases in sports, but it just makes them bad in this competition. Go Leafs Go!

Washington Capitals:
Before Alex Ovechkin, we weren't sure if the Capitals even had fans. Now all of a sudden since they are good, the fan base has resurfaced. The Capital fan is about as stable as Washington DC is itself and another streak of poor play will have fans not showing up once again. The Caps fan will show up at home games but might not be willing to go the extra mile for the team and fans alike. It might be another year or two before we can take the Capital fan seriously as part of this competition. More consistent support is needed.