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Islanders Have Tough Off-Season Decisions to Make

With the New York Islanders heading into another off-season without a playoff berth, the team will look to solidify its young core through the NHL draft, trades, and signings of free agents. (Robert Kowal/Flickr)

While the Isles might not be fortunate enough to land Nail Yakupov in this year's NHL Entry Draft, the team should focus on trying to scout the best defenseman out of this year's draft. Names like Trouba, Dumba, Rielly, Murray, and Reinhart are headlining the list of premier d-men that will be available to the Islanders come draft day in June.
Drafting a young defenseman will probably be the right choice for the Isles, but one can't simply ignore that New York has holes to fill for the 2012-2013 NHL Season. Mike Mottau, Milan Jurcina, Mark Eaton, and Steve Staios tried to do their jobs as veteran rearguards, but it was painfully obvious on certain nights that the Islanders' d-men were simply outmatched. If the Islanders want to stay in contention in a highly competitive Atlantic Division, then General Manager Garth Snow must exhaust all of his resources toward signing or acquiring a top 4 defenseman.

Trade Deadline Creates Frenzy in Philadelphia

The trade winds are blowing all over the NHL and its pipelines. Twitter is ablaze with rumors, Facebook is full of propositions, and everyone is on pins and needles.

It’s what makes the NHL trade deadline among the most frantic and fun days of the sports year. Every team has problems and every follower of the team knows exactly what the cure will be for their woes.

When the trade finally goes down, many will ooh and aah over the new shiny toy in the home sweater.

In Philadelphia, it’s a little bit different.

The beast that is the media climate of the City of Brotherly Love seems to remain at a fever pitch. If it’s not about what right-handed bat the Phillies should acquire, it’s about what the Eagles should do with their disgruntled wide receiver.

It goes on and on and it never stops.

Trade Deadline: Even A Defenseman Can't Save These Flyers

The Flyers are considered to be buyers in the coming weeks as the trade deadline rolls near.

Players like Nashville’s Ryan Suter and Shea Weber as well as Toronto’s Luke Schenn have been mentioned in numerous possible trade situations and rumors. But in the end, will it all matter for the Flyers?

Before this turns into a column writing off the Flyers, take a step back and look at the situation the team is in. They are currently eight points behind the Rangers for the Atlantic Division lead while resting with the fourth seed.

But on the other side of the Flyers, they are only eight points ahead of the ninth place Capitals. The Flyers could very easily be in the bottom half of the playoff tree when April rolls around and their possible match ups could spell doom.

Simmonds' Hard Work Pays Off

It’s not hard to see.

Even the most casual of fans can tell you that Wayne Simmonds is the classic example of the kind of athlete that Philadelphia fans love to call their own.

Hardworking, physical and largely underappreciated away from Philly, Simmonds is the kind player that doesn’t always come to the forefront of your mind when discussing skills, but is always number one when you talk about heart.

However, that doesn’t mean that Simmonds doesn’t have skills.

Although it may not be his forte, it’s ill advised to underestimate the 23-year old’s ability to contribute to the offensive phase of the game.

This was made evident on Thursday night when the gritty forward scored two goals against the Nashville Predators.

Will Nashville Trade Suter?

With the 2012 NHL All-Star festivities in Ottawa finally over, teams are gearing up for the second half of the season.  The crème of the crop is rising in both leagues, and with the February 27th trade deadline fast approaching, teams will soon assess whether they’ll be buyers or sellers.  Some teams will reload for the grueling playoffs, and some teams will re-stock for the 2012-2013 season.

During the all-star festivities, Predator defenseman Ryan Suter felt like getting personal.  Suter notified the hockey world on Fridays media day that he wouldn’t sign an extension until after the season.  This remark was rather surprising.  The t...

A Matter of Defense

While the Philadelphia Flyers have a successful record halfway through the season, there are still things that need to be improved upon down the stretch -- namely, defense.

The Flyers are 26-13-4 heading into their 43rd game of the season. They have the offensive depth it takes to make them Stanley Cup contenders, but a team needs to be balanced throughout the entire roster to go all the way.

The struggles of Ilya Bryzgalov in net for the Flyers has been highly publicized.

He is not playing at the level expected of him.

However, the 128 goals allowed by the Flyers so far this season have not all been Bryzgalov’s responsibility. The defense has struggled, and struggled mightily in some cases.

Why Wings Fans Should Want Pronger Healthy

Adam Foote might be the only NHL defenseman more despised by Wings faithful than Chris Pronger over the past 15 seasons. That's a big might. Pronger is strong, mean and skilled; he's a player you hate for your squad to play against but would love to have him on your team. Whether it was with St. Louis, Edmonton or Anaheim, Pronger gave the Wings trouble in the postseason with crunching hits and booming point shots. His battles with Tomas Holmstrom were epic and memorable.

Unfortunately the concussion epidemic sweeping the league also struck Pronger who is shut down for the remainder of the season with post-concussion syndrome. It's a detriment to the league when any play...

In The Rear View: The Sharks' First Month in Review

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It was almost exactly a month ago when the Sharks kicked off their 2011-12 season with an opening night win against the Phoenix Coyotes at the Shark Tank. San Jose dominated that game by a score of 6-3, which doesn't really do it justice, considering just how much better the Sharks actually were. This was the first time fans and coaches alike had a chance to see just what this new, and hopefully improved, Sharks team would look like, and it looked good.

 

But then there were the dark times. A three game stretch where the Sharks played Anaheim, St. Louis, and Anahe...