Penguins – The Penguins are the more talented team in this match up and it isn’t all that close. Pittsburgh is a very lucky team in terms of talent.
They will have a healthy Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, something questioned last season with Crosby coming off a broken jaw. Pittsburgh has a legitimate top six on the back end this season. It currently looks like the only player that will miss significant time in the playoffs is Marcel Goc and his return can be as early as next week.
(Disclaimer, this is not including Pascal Dupuis who is out from ACL surgery in February, there is no possible way he can return this season)
It has been a long week for the New York Islanders. The early season road trip has been an absolute disaster for the Isles and dropping a 5-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday continued the misery. Columbus came into the game losers of five straight, but clearly was a team that just wanted it more last night as they did something that has been the bugaboo of the Isles all season; they played the full 60 minutes.
Saturday night against Carolina, the Flyers dressed Kimmo Timonen, Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossmann, Kurtis Foster, and Bruno Gervais as their defense.
All six shared one thing in common -- not a single one of them were drafted by the Flyers.
In fact, the Flyers have a consistent issue with things like that. Since the lost season of 2004-05, the Flyers have not gotten more than 150 games played from a defensemen they drafted and only one home grown defensemen has played more than 200 games in a Flyers uniform since that time, Randy Jones, an undrafted defender.
(Pictured: Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Detroit Red Wings have somewhat of a comeback from their last game against the Blues on Saturday night. Safe to call it a victory? We think so. The Wings started strong. The first period gave a surge of energy to Red Wings fans everywhere. "We have our Wings back" was a common theme across social networking sites tonight. However, the Wings seemed to have a battle ahead. The game ended in a tie, sending the Wings to overtime and a shootout.
It almost seems like it's been the same story heading into the off-season year after year now; the Isles lack a top-six forward and top-four defenseman that could help make them a competitive team that could be fighting for a playoff spot.
They've tried free agency and have been shot down by guys like Paul Martin. They tried the trade market with James Wisniewski, who ended up being a major disappointment while wearing orange and blue. They even tried that route once more, gaining the negotating rights to Christian Ehrhoff. He didn't want to sign, and I think after seeing how he played under his very luxurious contract, most Isles fans probably don't care.
Although both trades were under different circumstances, they shared one glaring similarity. Not one of them involved any actual players leaving the Island. Ehrhoff's rights were acquired for a fourth round draft pick, and Wisniewski came on board in exchange for a 2011 second round pick and conditional 2012 fifth round pick. Despite the early signs of GM Garth Snow developing a pattern, there is reason to believe that could change heading into this summer's off-season.
Over the last couple of weeks, we've been ranking and rating the players of the Montreal Canadiens. First, we looked at the top-six forwards before rating the lower-tier forwards, or, the best of the rest. The next logical step is, of course, the defense.
I toyed with the idea of presenting the defense rankings first this year, since, as we all know, coach Jacques Martin tends to go with a defense-first system. We may hate it more often than not, but in reality, that system has brought the Canadiens most of their success over the last couple of years. Of course, it's argua...