- Well the NHL playoffs are in full swing, and with a quarter finals featuring the Rangers, Devils, Kings and Coyotes I find that I really could care less.
Of the four teams I guess I have the most interest in LA and the Devils, but neither team is playing a style of game that I find anything remotely like 'watchable'.
That said, Kovalchuk is worth the price of admission. Nobody is bitching about his contract now.
One pundit on the morning radio sports show said they should change the name of the NHL playoffs to 'Goaltender' - but I think that almost misses the point. The trap is back with a vengeance, and teams are blocking 30+ shots a game each. At least we had the batshit insane Philly - Pittsburgh series to start things off. How crazy was that first round matchup? Giroux still leads the playoffs in scoring despite not having played a game since the second round.
How low has my interest dropped? I've been more invested in the Oklahoma City Thunder than any of the teams remaining in the NHL playoffs, and I have much more hate for the Heat than I do for the normally loathsome Rangers. (My prediction; OKC vs Indiana in the finals, with OKC taking it in 6 - the Thunder's best four players; Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and Harden are the superior core, with Durant being all but unstoppable offensively. That said, the OKC will have to face the NBA's version of the trap in San Antonio next and that will likely be a tougher matchup for them than whoever eventually comes out of the East).
How to fix things? My first choice is to do what Bob Gainey suggested, make it a penalty for players to leave their feet to block a shot (i.e. no dropping to one knee or lying in front of the shot). Instantly offense would increase as more shots, and more screened shots get through to the goaltender.
- The Flames have signed this guy Roman Czervenka out of the KHL to an entry level contract, which is just an awesome move. The Flames are incredibly thin for talented pivots, and while Jokinen has rehabbed his career to become a very decent #2 center, he no longer has the offensive ability to drive things forward. Czervenka had some great stats playing with Jagr the last few years, but he also has very decent stats playing without him (over a ppg in the KHL playoffs). Undrafted originally because he was so slightly built (roughly 140lbs in his draft year), he has packed on some weight (180+) and flashed enough skill to be a potential scoring line component in the NHL. The value of this signing is that it costs the Flames nothing but cap space (which because it includes bonuses is triple what Czervenka will actually claim in salary - unless he wins a series of major awards like the Hart and Art Ross - in which case, Boo Yaa!).
- Speaking of Jagr, I expect him to resign in Philly and continue to act as Giroux's wingman of choice. His early season stats were excellent until about half way through when he had his annual groin injury-DTD period after which he dipped statistically. Still deeply weird to see him in a Flyers jersey.
-Interesting prospect draft coming up as a number of teams don't need to pick any (Brian, Mike G), while several only need one (Chris, Collin, Darrell). Perhaps not coincidentally, this looks by my estimation to be a rather weak year overall for prospects, in part because this year has already been picked over at the top end (Yakupov, Forsberg, Grigorenko, and Murray).
Bladerunners - Promotions: Benn, Subban. Need: 0
Great Whites - Promotions: 0, Need: 4
Ramapithicines - Promotions: Neal, Wilson, Del Zotto. Need: 3
Highlanders - Promotions: Fleischmann, Eberle, Carlson, McBain. Need: 1
The Edge - Promotions: Duchene, The Nuge, Kulikov: Need: 2
Barbarians - Promotions: 0, Need: 4
Personal Vendetta - Cuts: Boychuk Kindl, Promotions: Kane, Plecanek, Need: 1
Knights Templar - Cuts: McLeod, Zucarello, Horak/Omark, Promotions: 0, Need: 0
Wolves - Cuts: Kadri, Schroeder, Promotions: Kulemin, Anisimov, Need: 4
Scourge - Promotions: Neidereitter, Myers, Need: 2
Severed Heads - Promotions: 0, Need: 4
Shadowmen - Cuts: Pulkinnen, Josefson, Promotions: 0, Need: 7
- Speaking of Murray, the Oilers brass (Lowe/Tambellini) may have been too cute by half in having Murray join the WC roster for Canada. He looked way over his head playing against NHL caliber players, and appeared to be in full panic mode the entire time. If nothing else though, it probably made choosing Yakupov all that much more obvious for them. He's now considered the clear front runner head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
- Bob and I also discussed the top probable FP possibilities (in no particular order);
Restricted Free Agents
Previous candidates still hanging around:
Last but not least, you should notice that the banner of the blog has been changed to reflect the Price-Green combination that Dan didn't even really bother to use for his Predator Cup win.