*Nashville's fall from playoff grace continues. They are arguably the worst team in a division that, for the last five years, wore the hairshirt distinction of being the worst in the NHL. More problematic is that three of their divisional foes (St. Louis, Chicago and Columbus) are rife with young talent - while the Preds are not. The team and league cite the lack of corporate sponsorship locally as a major roadblock to fiscal progress for them. But are we surprised that Piggly Wiggly isn't falling all over themself to sponsor the team down there?
*Speaking of the Central...before the season there was talk about whether or not we could see a single division send four teams to the playoffs. It was thought that the Northwest has four teams WORTHY of the playoffs. But no one figured it would be the Central that might be able to pull off the feat.
*The Rangers have no excuse for their season-long inability to score. And now guess what?! Jagr's unhappy! I'll bet Coach Renney is taking delivery of a case of Tums daily right now.
*Tough time to be a defenseman in the Northwest division. Vancouver (Salo), Calgary (Phaneuf), Edmonton (Souray, Pitkanen, Green, Roy) and Colorado (Leopold) all have or have just had injury trouble on the blueline.
*The Penguins have disappointed so far, and there are two major reasons why. 1) Fleury has been all stinkeroo and 2) other than El Cito, Geno and Sykora they have had zero secondary scoring.
*Not only did the Devils survive their 9-game road trip to start the season, but they've been playing pretty well in their new digs too. Yes, they're in last place in the division, but they're only 4 points behind Philly. Oh yeah, and Brodeur is starting to play like, well, Brodeur. Coincidence? I think not.
*So let me get this straight: Sheldon Souray leaves Montreal and signs with Edmonton, but has been hurt for a month and the Grease stink. Meanwhile, the Habs' power play is nearly automatic? Crazy game, this hockey.
*The Caps got off to a quick start but have since cooled dramatically. Kolzig, who looked so good the first couple games, just looks old and slow now.
*Eric Lindros retired. So much promise, and he was undoubtedly the Shaquille O'Neal of the NHL for a few seasons. But the concussions absolutely robbed him of a chance to fully realize that potential.
*The Hockey Hall of Fame induction weekend starts today. And what a class for 2007: Mark Messier, Al MacInnis, Ron Francis and Scott Stevens are the players. Perusing a profile page on tsn.ca, I count:
3 Lady Byngs
1 Olympic Gold medal
3 Conn Smythes
47 All-Star Game appearances
17 NHL All-Star Team selections (first or second team)
12 Stanley Cup rings
6538 games played
0.897 career points per game (two of these guys are DEFENSEMEN!!)
*HTP completed the second reader poll. The question was: should the organEYEzation be held responsible (ie financially) when a player does something stupid/injures another player?
Among the 20 votes, 8 (40%) said yes, 3 (15%) said no and 9 (45%) said that it depends on the situation. For the record, I say that it depends on the situation, but that it should absolutely be a possibility. Thanks for voting!
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I took a week off to tweak the system, and came back last night with three games. I took the Devils, Canadiens and Hurricanes - and decided NOT to take the Rangers at the last minute. I went 2-1 - though the 'Canes sandbagged me.
Season record: 9-11
Winning %: 0.450
Last 10: 4-6
For this weekend, I like the Avs on the road tonight against the Canucks. Saturday I like the Hurricanes on the road in Atlanta and maybe the Predators at home against the BJs.
I'm holding off on the Bruins and Coyotes on Saturday - which means both will win and I'll feel dumb.
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