Ask many fans these days who think they know more than NHL executives themselves and most of them will tell you that the blueprint to build a winning team is through the draft. Well looking at these remaining eight teams, I'd say that there is no blueprint, as the evidence is inconclusive.
Now of course every team needs players that they've drafted on their teams. I haven't really seen a team built completely through acquisitions, at least not since the days before the lockout.
But looking at teams throughout the league, I've come up with three strategies that are used to build teams:
Through The Draft: These are teams where the main core and the majority of the supporting pla...
The Montreal Canadiens were the eight and final team to advance into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs following their stunning first round upset of the President's Trophy winners, Washington Capitals. Montreal will now face the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Boston Bruins will take on the Philadelphia Flyers.
Out west, the San Jose Sharks will have their hands full against the veteran filled Detroit Red Wings. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks will re-kindle their bitter rivalry in a re-match of last year's Western Conference Semi-Final. Detroit and San Jose kick off the second round tomorrow.
I'm supposed to be getting Leaf fans ready for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but for obvious reasons, that won't be happening. Other than Burke's hour long state of the union address and the signing of goaltender Jussi Rynnas out of Finland, there hasn't really been a whole lot coming out of Leafland.
So instead I will try to find other ways to amuse you until July 1st, which apparently is the Leafs new draft day. Obviously that doesn't sound very good because not only has the free agent route of building a team proven to be unsuccessful time and time again, but the free agent crop this year is thinner than Ben Roethlisberger's moral line between right and wrong.
So with that said, I'm g...
Continuing with their daily announcements of candidates for June's NHL awards in Las Vegas, the NHL has announced the three finalists for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the league's best defenseman.
The three candidates are Los Angeles' Drew Doughty, Washington's Mike Green and Chicago's Duncan Keith.
Who do you think will win? Vote here!
Doughty, only 20 years old, has established himself as the Los Angeles Kings top defenseman at a very young age. Coming off gold medal performance at this year's Olympics, Doughty finished the year 3rd in rookie scoring with 59 points, 16 goals (including 5 game winners, the best in the league), 9 powerplay goals (second behind Mike ...
The NHL has announced the three finalists for the Calder trophy, handed out yearly to the league's best rookie.
There were seemingly no surprises in this year's nominees. Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche, Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres and Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings will go head to on June 23rd from Las Vegas for the award.
Duchene led the league in rookie scoring with 24 goals and 55 points. He was a +1 on the year and only recorded 16 penalty minutes. Duchene was an integral part to the Avs' comeback season and a shoe-in candidate.
He will have competition, however, from Defenseman Tyler Myers, who established himself as a top pairing defenseman in Buffalo,...
The NHL continues to announce the nominations for this year's NHL awards, to be held June 23rd in Las Vegas.
Today, the league announced that Ryan Kesler, Pavel Datsuyk, and Jordan Staal will be up for the Selke Trophy in 2010.
Datsuyk will look to win his 3rd Selke in a row, having won it the last two years. Datsuyk led the league in takeaways in 2009-10 with 132, and held a -17 ratings, along with his 27 goals and 70 points. He is the leading goalscorer scorer amongst the three nominees, even though it was an off-seaosn by Datsuyk standards.
Kesler, who came in second place to Datsuyk in 2009, has 25 goals and 75 points in all 82 games this season, a career year. Although on...
The National Hockey League has announced the candidates for the 2009-10 Vezina trophy, which will be handed out in late June in Las Vegas.
Not surprisingly, Ryan Miller, who led the Buffalo Sabres to a Northeast Division championship, is among the candidates. He has a career-high 41 wins (18 losses, 8 overtime losses) in 69 games, posting a .929 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average. He was also named MVP of this year's Olympic Hockey tournament in Vancouver, leading the US team to a silver medal.
Joining him is Ilya Bryzgalov, a first time nominee who has been cited for the Phoenix Coyotes success and re-emergence this season. Leading the Coyotes to their first playof...
Interestingly, every team I picked to win their series lost their opening game last night, including the San Jose Sharks.
I'm not sure why I would even bet on the Sharks to win any playoff series at this point. They played flat and uninspired; typical of their recent playoff performances. Joe Thornton was once again nowhere to be found on the scoresheet when it mattered. Sure, he won the gold with Canada, but had only 2 assists in the whole tournament.
Expect more of the same from No-Show Joe.
Pens vs Sens
A less-than-stellar performance by MA Fleury propelled the gritty Sens to a 1-0 series lead last night. Not to take anything away from the Sens who dominated the Pens at ...
As promised in this morning's Eastern Conference Predictions, the first round of the playoffs in the West is next on our list.
The west is very interesting this year. Four series that we don't see very often, if at all, including several teams who are new to the playoff scene. While the powerhouses in San Jose and Detroit are present, and cup favorites Vancouver and Chicago are also there, some of these series could definitely go either way.
So, once again, here are the predictions for the first round in the Western Conference, from 10 TCL writers from all corners of the NHL, as well as TCL's Mascot, Checkers the Cat!
As promised, The Checking Line will have extensive coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs. From Scott Lowe covering the Caps to Phil Y and James Edington on the case for the Canucks, as many other writers to fill the gaps, you can be certain that the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs will be the top subject here at TCL.
As part of this coverage, we have polled 10 of our writers in order to come to a consensus on which teams will win their respective series. Knowing that some of these results would be biased, based on team affiliations, we recruited Checkers, The Checking Line Cat in order to remove these biases and make choices that would not be based on team affiliation, or, frankly, any knowl...