The 2013 NHL season is no longer an 82 game marathon, but instead is a 48 game dash to the finish line.
Will teams that had multiple players skating in Europe fair better? Will veteran squads win because they will have fresh legs all season long? Only the next few months will tell.
Here are my Eastern Conference power rankings.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins – A healthyEvgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will lead Pittsburgh deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The addition of veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun gives Coach Dan Bylsma a solid option if Marc-Andre Fleury falters.
With an NHL lockout looming, fans all across North America are stumped trying to figure out what they're going to do for the next eight months if Gary Bettman and the League of Shadows NHL owners decides to lock out the players after the September 15th deadline. Of course, you can play a few rounds of NHL 13, set to hit the PS3 and Xbox 360 on September 11th, but that game can only last you so long. Personally, I get tired of those games a couple of weeks after I tear off the shrink wrap. But the NHL lockout and, quite frankly, gamers with short attention spans shouldn't mean that EA should be worried about their sales. Instead, they shoul...
By the end of his rookie campaign, the 19-year-old was utilized as the Flyers top shut-down forward and was given the weighty responsibility of facing the opponent’s top scoring competition. The most notable instance of this came in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins was virtually non-existent thanks to Couturier.
Naturally gifted, fluid skater, exceptional puck handling, and devastatingly accurate shooting are some of the greatest aspects of top NHL players.
Conversely, lazy, unmotivated, self centered, and poor locker room presence are the worst possible aspects of an NHL player.
With a light load of free agent talent, it is no shock that a player who encompasses all of the descriptions above still remains unsigned. Alexander Semin is easily the most intriguing free agent of the entire 2012 free agent class. In 469 regular season games Semin has acquired 408 total points (197 goals and 211 assists). In comparison Zach Parise, now of the Minnesota Wild, has 410 points in 502 reg...
After tallying up the 25 million votes submitted, the results are finally in: Claude Giroux will be on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 13. The results were announced live at the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.
Giroux beat out Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne in the final round of voting, and follows in the footsteps of recent cover models Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane.
The tournament began with 50 cover vote candidates, and was eventually whittled down to 16 nominees, set up in a bracket format. Giroux surpassed such big names as Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, and Anze Kopitar on his way to the final round.
The Flyers will have to try and close out their first round match up against the Penguins without defenseman Nick Grossmann.
Grossmann was lost due to a concussion after being hit by Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin in Game 4. Grossmann is leading the Flyers in blocked shots, an asset he brings to the table that the Flyers had sorely lacked most of the season before acquiring him.
In Grossmann’s place will be the 23-year-old rookie Erik Gustafsson, who has been a top choice for 7th defenseman all season when healthy. He will most likely be paired with Andreas Lilja.
Heading into the third game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Philadelphia Flyers have momentum on their side. Despite trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins by two goals or more in the first two games, the resilient group battled back in both and have taken a 2-0 series lead.
On Sunday, the two teams will meet for Game 3. The Flyers have already established their dominance over the Penguins, and have done so in dramatic fashion. They will be looking to make it three wins in a row, while the Penguins will hope to find their footing and earn their first victory of the series.
The Flyers had a 2-1 record against the Penguins at home and a 22-13-6 record overall in the Wells Fargo Center during the regular season, while Pittsburgh had a 22-15-4 road record.
Pittsburgh was the 2nd highest-scoring team on the road this season with 127 goals, while the Flyers were the 3rd highest-scoring home team with 139.
As the seconds ticked off the clock in the second period, the Flyers trailed 3-1 to the Penguins in Game 1.
It was a seemingly insurmountable deficit with the way Pittsburgh controlled the play through the first two periods with their physical bullying style of play.
The Flyers needed someone to step up and stand up to the bull and Brayden Schenn did just that, both metaphorically and literally.
Schenn was charged by Penguins forward Craig Adams with only seconds remaining on the clock. Schenn turned around and absorbed all of the hit, knocking Adams on his rear-end as Schenn stood over him and smiled.
Schenn then got in the face of Adams, goading a shove to the face that wasn’t called and skated away with a smirk on his face after the referees separated the two.
That could have been the turning point for the Flyers, who came back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in overtime.
I have said that I believe it would be better for the Islanders to finish between 10th and 12th place in the Eastern Conference as opposed to going the 'Fail for Nail' route and trying to get a top-five lottery pick for this summer's 2012 Entry Draft. But if the season ended today, the Isles would go into the lottery with the fifth pick in the draft. Although that is the least likely position to be in when hoping to move up to number one, the Islanders are almost guaranteed to at least have a selection in this year's top 10 class.
With the playoff picture painting itself out on a permanent canvas over the next two weeks, let's put ourselves in the shoes of some NHL scouts and take a quick glance at what the Islanders will be looking at in between game 82 and draft day.
Nail Yakupov is the clear choice for first overall, having a lot of Alexander Ovechkin comparisons made about his play. After Nail comes Mikhail Grigorenko, who has often been compared to Evgeni Malkin. Both of these Russian prospects will probably be out of the Islanders grasp barring a significant change on the day of the lottery. After these two goal-scoring forwards lie plenty of top-rated defenseman.