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West Wide Open; East A Nine Horse Race

I was reading the TSN postgame report on the Flames' win over the Canucks last night and was surprised that they were only 5 points out of a playoff spot. After all, everyone expects the Flames to miss the post-season but a few games winning streak to put them right back in it. And this is also true with virtually every Western Conference team chasing a playoff spot right now. A quick look at the standings lets us know how tight the competition is right now:

Only the dreadful Oilers are out of contention at this point, which should make for an extremely exciting finish in the West. The East is quite the opposite.

I don't think any team out of the top 9 has a...

The Top 5 Snipers In The NHL

Some players beat each other senseless with their fists, other players throw on pads and use their bodies as targets for 100 MPH frozen rubber bullets, and then there are those players who are born to score goals. The superheros of the hockey world. The crème of the crop. When you’re a kid playing street hockey outside with your friends, these are the guys you're pretending to be when you score. Here are the top five snipers in the NHL today: 5. CBJ – Rick Nash The Blue Jackets’ lack of success over the years has seemingly overshadowed Nash’s ability to score some tremendous goals. If he played for a better (and more offensively minded) squad, there’s no qu...

The Top 5 Fighters in the NHL

They're tough. They're fan favorites. They don't usually score goals but can change the momentum of a game with their bare hands. Without further ado, I present to you the top 5 fighters in the NHL today: 5. TOR – Colton Orr (6’3”, 222 lbs) After racking up 104 penalty minutes in only 44 games this year, Orr has now record 100+ PIM’s in five consecutive seasons. Even for an enforcer, that’s impressive consistency and durability. While Orr has certainly been on the wrong side of numerous fights, he’s also doled out his fair share of punishment. Orr has a knack for tying up his opponents early and being able to fire an endless fury of right hooks, just like the one t...

What's a First Round Pick Worth in 2011?

Mark Seidel, the head of the independent scouting agency NACS, caused a bit of a stir this week when he said that he and his scouts viewed this as the worst draft class maybe since that abysmal class in 1996. This perception isn't new. The Hockey News ran an article prior to the 2009 NHL Entry Draft that stated some scouts were looking ahead to the 2011 draft with a yawn. If the Draft has this kind of advanced billing, what does that do to the potential for picks to be moved? And if they are moved, what could they possibly be worth? Well, first, we shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves. First round picks are still first round picks and in the salary cap world, the ability to draft and ...

The Fall of the Russian Empire

What is wrong with Russian Players these days? I'm talking about the marquee players; the Malkins, the Ovechkins, the Kovalchuks, and how they seem to be struggling this season. Let's look at the stats, shall we? Alexander Ovechkin: 44 games, 15 goals, 30 assists for 45 points. Now, there's nothing wrong with being a point a game player, but that's not Alexander Ovechkin. There is nothing wrong with having 15 goals at this point of the season; but once again, that's not Alexander Ovechkin. He sits tenth in NHL scoring, which is low for him, and he has, get this, two powerplay goals ALL SEASON LONG. What the hell? Since when does the great 8 have less powerplay goals than say, Mark Rec...

The top ten Goaltenders in the league today

I'm a goaltender at heart and just love goalie discussions. I know that this will be subjective to everyone around here, but I feel that there can be some agreements. This list I am making is for this season who is the best goaltenders in the league. So just because they have had amazing seasons in the past or their career is better doesn't mean they will be high on this list, or listed at all. If I miss anybody or you disagree please comment and we can discuss why you believe what you do #10 Cam Ward Ward has had many up and down seasons since winning the cup and Conn Smyth trophy for the Hurricanes. This season however Ward is in the top ten for stats in almost every single ca...

Getting To Know NHL Player Agent Scott Norton

Most people don’t look fondly upon agents of professional athletes. In fact, the general consensus is that agents are only interested in procuring as much money as possible for their clients in order to maximize their own profits. NHL player agent Scott Norton of Norton Sports Management doesn’t mind the stigma surrounding his profession. “I’m always gonna be the bad guy,” he told the Checking Line in a recent interview. “If you look at it, there’s no way that I can make everyone happy. The client, the team, the fan…you can’t please everyone.” As far as Norton is concerned, his number one interest is to represent his clients in the best possible light. He wou...

NHL Recap and Analysis Week 11 - Between the Pipes

Hotlanta – The Thrashers, for a night anyway, found themselves in first place in the Southeast division proving just how far they have come this season. The deal with the Blackhawks this offseason has been instrumental to their success. Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd are currently the Thrashers' leading scorers. They also bring a winning experience to the team something the Thrashers haven't really had, unless you count Slava Kozlov. It seems likely that with Ladd and Byfulgein and Ondrej Pavelec's solid goaltending the Thrashers will make the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like Atlanta cares much, as the Thrashers have the third worst attend...

NHL Recap and Analysis Week 10 - Between the Pipes

Time for some changes – Of the four major sports in North America it always seems like hockey is the slowest to adopt new changes. It could be because of the steep tradition and hockey traditionalist that don't like changes but sometimes you just need to evolve the game. Watching games from this past Wednesday illustrated that point. First in Flyers vs. Sharks you had the Flyers seemingly win the game in the final seconds but it was ruled no goal because it just missed crossing the goal line before time expired. In basketball when a player shoots a ball after the clock expires it still counts as long as he got the shot off before time runs out. They don't say well time expired before th...