Northeast Division: Road to the Cup

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from dhitch. Show dhitch's posts

    Northeast Division: Road to the Cup

    Usually one of the deepest divisions in hockey each year, once again the NE is proving such. Four out of five teams in the NE are in a playoff position right now. Check out my analysis below as we head into the second half of the 09-10 season:

    TORONTO
    • Not sure anyone predicted Kessel to be so snake bitten by his former team, but he has been a catalyst for scoring in Toronto, Matt Stajan has been just short of an elite level centerman since Phil's arrival on his line. Toronto needs to swap Toskala for a true #1 (Roloson-like) while the monster learns the ropes, before they can compete with their NE rivals. Over-Achiever: Matt Stajan (11-18-29) looks to finally be evolving into a top 6 forward. Has been a proven scorer on an average talented team. Believed to be being shopped earlier this year, Toronto may just want to keep him now.
      Under-Achiever: Mike Komisarek/Vesa Toskala. Vesa was so promising as SJ's backup, the experiment seems to finally be at its end, and Toskala is probably playing his final games as a Leaf. On the other hand Komisarek was offered a huge payday, and has been either injured or insignificant when on the ice.
    OTTAWA
    • One can assume Ottawa wont keep pace with Spezz and Alfredsson down for the count..both will be injured for several more weeks. Mike Fisher has emerged as the true secondary scoring they've always needed, but not a deep enough team to handle major injuries. Over-Achiever: Mike Fisher (15-15-30), although he is achieving at about where he should each year as a second line centerman, he has just never been able to get there. Under-Achiever: Jason Spezza/Pascal Leclaire. One has produced nowhere near the necessary amount for a first line center, and the other who needed to prove himself a franchise goalie and steal games this year, hasn't. To make matters worse, both have had injure-riddled seasons.
    MONTREAL
    • Dont look now but Montreal is a whole new team with Markov back. Winners of 4 straight, they do have more games played, but are sitting just 2 points behind Boston. Montreal is another team I can see making a splash at the deadline. Halak will no doubt be shipped out ala Huet and I am hearing they, like Boston, are looking for a top six forward. How bout' that Glen Metropolit (10 goals so far). Over-Achiever: Glen Metropolit (10-9-19) has provided solid secondary scoring despite making league minimum. He has been effective killing penalties, AND scoring PP points.
      Under-Achiever: Carey Price. 0-2-1, 3.04, .890 in his last 3 games. (9-13 on the season) And they want to trade Jaroslav Halak?
    BUFFALO
    • Buffalo continues to be the surprise of the year although I dont see them staying ahead of Boston or Montreal come end of year. The fact that Vanek, Roy and co havent been great this year, speaks volumes about how amazing Ryan Miller's been. He has dethroned Thomas as USA starter in the Olympics next month, and will no doubt dethrone him as Vezina winner come summer. Over-Achiever: Ryan Miller. Simply put has been the best goaltender in the National Hockey League this year, bar none. Under-Achiever: Jochen Hecht (5-9-14) in 31 games, was supposed to be prime secondary scoring, but instead has proven he is nearing the end of his career as a solid points producer.
    BOSTON
    • Thomas is coming around after an average start to the year, he does however have more shutouts. Lucic' return will boost the team, which has been offensively challenged most of the year without a true first line winger for Savard. I believe they deal for one at the deadline...this team isnt deep enough to run with the Washingtons and Pittsburghs this season...and they have more draft picks than any other team over the next two seasons, including 4 first round picks over the next two years, and 19 picks in total. Over-Achiever: Tuukka Rask. We might see a similar problem Montreal is facing: How long can they keep Rask (9-2-1) happy riding the pine? Under-Achiever: Blake Wheeler. Talk about sophomore slump. Wheeler (7-10-17) couldnt get anything going despite being on a first line with Savard for several weeks. Bostons lack of scoring has brought Ryder Sturm and Wheeler's struggles to the forefront. Wheeler in particular though has looked out of key all year and could find himself prime deadline bait if Boston wants that big name scorer.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from BlueEyedGuy. Show BlueEyedGuy's posts

    Re: Northeast Division: Road to the Cup

    Take off the blinders and raise the periscope and look around the league for a minute or two (preferably a lot longer).  The Northeast is not the deepest in the league so far by any stretch.  A very cursory look at the NHL standings will tell you a few things readily: 1) The leader of the NE division has the lowest point (Buffalo 48) total of any of the six division leaders.  2)  A couple of divisions (Pacific and Atlantic) have two teams above the 48 points that Buffalo has.  3) The NE division has the lowest spread between the top team and its bottom team at 13 points.  This means it's not the deepest; it's the divsion with the most parity and most competition for every spot in the division--no real standouts, where any team can beat any division rival on any given night. 4) On straight points, only one team in the NE would be a playoff team in the West, Buffalo.  Boston at 43 points would be TENTH in the West.  My money is on the Pacific, Central (Detroit will make a run down the stretch once the injured starters have returned), and the Atlantic as divisions that are deeper than the NE.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from VicRattlehead. Show VicRattlehead's posts

    Re: Northeast Division: Road to the Cup

    Have you even looked at the standings dhitch?

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/standings

    Or was this whole diatribe just a veiled excuse as to why the Bruins have been so lackluster this season? 
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from BadHabitude. Show BadHabitude's posts

    Re: Northeast Division: Road to the Cup


    I see the Caps, Pens and maybe Devils from the East.
    The west has the likely cup winner in the Blackhawks, SJ is due to drop their annual playoff chokes.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Bruinfaninnewjersey. Show Bruinfaninnewjersey's posts

    Re: Northeast Division: Road to the Cup

    This time last year... NO ONE SAW THE PENS EVEN MAKING THE PLAYOFFS! A healthy team with the best PK and low GA... anything can happen.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from tenderbroccoli. Show tenderbroccoli's posts

    Re: Northeast Division: Road to the Cup

    The Penguins went to Finals the year before you numbskull, they also have 2 guys named Crosby and Malkin. It's getting late, time to put on your Bruins feety pajamas and go night night
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from BlueEyedGuy. Show BlueEyedGuy's posts

    Re: Northeast Division: Road to the Cup

    >This time last year... NO ONE SAW THE PENS EVEN MAKING THE PLAYOFFS! A >healthy team with the best PK and low GA... anything can happen.

    These sort of kneejerk responses "if they can do it, we can, too!" always make me laugh.  What Pittsburgh did last season was an aberration, out of the normal.  They made a trade, a signing, and a coaching change and then went on an unbelievable tear (18-3-4 under Bylsma) through the rest of the season, especially in March, and kept it going in the playoffs. Look back over the history of the NHL and see how often this has happened and I'll bet it's pretty rare that a team 5 points out of a playoff spot in mid-February (in the post-1967 expansion era--don't count the Original 6 years) has gone on to win the Cup.  Yes, it IS possible for another team to do so, but the odds are not good.  The Cup is the hardest trophy/championship to win because there are FOUR rounds of intense playoff hockey (no shootouts, remember) and any momentum and health (staying injury-free) must be carried over from the season or built up in the playoffs.  To think that "lightning in a bottle" can happen simply because it's the Bruins (or whatever team) is absurd.  I think you'll find that the Cup winner usually has had a consistent season and has carried that over in the playoffs.  It's not a product of fans' wishful thinking or blind optimism. 
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from scottm50. Show scottm50's posts

    Re: Northeast Division: Road to the Cup

    ALL BETS ARE OFF WHEN THE PLAYOFFS START!!!!   Its a brand new start for every team who makes it in ....and any of the 16 teams can win it!!  Boston has to make it and we will see what happens.  You can't predict a Cup win by the way a team plays during the regullar season...if that was true San Jose and Detroit would have lots of hardware over the past few years.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from BlueEyedGuy. Show BlueEyedGuy's posts

    Re: Northeast Division: Road to the Cup

    >ALL BETS ARE OFF WHEN THE PLAYOFFS START!!!!   Its a brand new start for >every team who makes it in ....and any of the 16 teams can win it!! 

    In theory, yes.  In actual practice, no.  It's rare for an eight seed to make it to the Finals (Edmonton did a few years ago) and most Cup winners (or any Finalist) are a 4 seed or higher.  Don't let the facts get in the way....
     
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