Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Anything could happen but the Stanley Cup is probably staying out west again. Probably best four teams in the league right here.
In Like Flynn
Hawks - a million things could happen, mostly injuries, but Chicago is the team to beat again. Pretty well the same squad is back with only Frolik, Stallberg, Bolland and Emery hitting the road. They need to figure out who will take Frolik's minutes on the PK but that's probably their biggest issue. A bunch of new kids have moved into the lineup and that doesn't even count Pirri who was hurt at the start of their camp and never got traction. I suspect we will see him between Sharp and Hossa before too long.
Anyhow last year they had the best offence and best defence and its basically the same team and with the exception of Hossa and a couple of the supporting cast its still a relatively young club. If they're healthy I think they repeat.
Kings - the Kings will be in the mix again of course, they are just so good. I think their only issue might be depth on the wing, they don't score a ton after that top six and while their top end talent is fantastic I think that deeper teams with the equivalent top end quality (so, um, Chicago and maybe Boston) can beat them. Of course as I noted that's two teams and Boston's depth is not what it was so, well, one team.
Sharks - maybe the most interesting team to watch this season as Thornton, Marleau and Boyle's contracts are all expiring. The Sharks are in danger of becoming the Sens or the Canucks, a very good team that never won it all, this is their last shot or at least this group's you would have to think. I think they will be there again, a key for them might be home ice and they may have the offence to win their division and get that. They are a bit of a popular pick this autumn, I think like LA they may be just a titch below Chicago but I could see them going all the way in this gang's last hurrah.
Blues - I have the Blues just below the big three but they're close enough that they could roar right through the West if the other big boys have bad luck or injury woes. For me the difference between St Louis and the others is the lack of a gamebreaker. They have the best defence corps in the league, I like Halak and their forwards are quality as well but while Chicago had Kane and Toews and Hossa and Sharp and San Jose had Thornton and Marleau and Couture and Pavelski and the Kings have Kopitar and Carter and Williams and Brown the Blues have ... Steen?
Without that pure offensive talent the margin for error when playing those top teams is almost none.
Canucks - Their window has closed for this team I think, the big issue for them is there are no young quality players coming up behind to support the Sedins, Kesler and Burrows. The D is certainly too good for this team to fall apart and I am sure Luongo will bounce back as well but their depth up front, once such a strength, is non existent. Who is their best young forward? Kassian? Yikes. With that said though they are still a shoo in for the playoffs.
On The Bubbles
I miss Bubbles. 'Jesus Fucking Christ Julian you mean one of those big cocksuckers out on the ocean!'
I do a mean Bubbles. Hard to do with three young kids around though.
Anyhow the three remaining spots out west are pretty wide open. Here are the three who I think will make it.
Ducks - Anaheim was lucky last season, big time lucky, but with the Wings and BJs (heh) gone from the second division I think they're probably the best of the rest. They have a pretty nice group of forwards and quality goaltending. I think their D is their biggest weakness, especially with Souray out, if something happens to Beauchemin then they'll be in big trouble.
Oilers - *gasp* I know, I know, hard to believe. I'd feel a lot more comfortable if Gagner and RNH were available and that fourth line has to be the worst in the league but my guess is Eakins rides his big horses for these first few weeks and they tread water long enough to survive until the centres return. I like their goaltending (note this was written before last night's disaster), I would love another top four D but with that said I think Ference and Belov will help and that Schultz younger will be improved as well. And they have a lot of firepower up front. Hall is a superstar, Hemsky is proven quality, Eberle, Gagner, RNH, Yakupov and of course Perron who I think is a big addition. Finally I also think the team took a big step backwards under Krueger and we'll see Eakins make a difference.
Stars - I'm going to say the Stars will make the playoffs as well. I like their roster, they have some quality vets all through their lineup and of course Benn and Seguin to lead the way. Its Dallas so I hate them but then again ... Horcoff!
And the three that might sneak in.
Coyotes - Can't stand this team, the drama around a club nobody cares about, the NHL grifting Glendale, the way they choke the life out of every game. With that all said they will ikely be in the mix, they're like the Wild, every year they're hanging around, one year they're in, the next they are out and nobody cares or remembers either way. They have a nice blue but Ribiero is their number one centre, really, and they have almost nothing on the wings at all. Still with all that said ... Tippett. If any of the teams ahead of them falter they might sneak in there.
Wild - they snuck in last year they might sneak in again this year do you care about this anonymous bland McFranchise no I didn't think so I certainly don't
Preds - like the Coyotes and Wild you look at the roster and there's a lot of meh but with that said they have a workmanlike group of solid forwards and Shea Weber of course and most of all they have Barry Trotz. Never underestimate the guy.
Bringing Up The Rear
There's some serious junk in the west.
Jets - Jets couldn't make the playoffs playing in the east and in the worst division to boot. Love Ladd, Kane, Byfuglien but goaltending is bad and so is the team. Claude Noel is getting so fired.
Avs - They have some wonderful young talent, Duchesne, Landeskog, O'Reilly, MacKinnon. And then a whole pile of garbage everywhere else.
Falmes - lol
Posted by Black Dog at 10:02 AM