Judge gives Phoenix to….NOBODY Balsillie & Bettman lose – NHL round up Eastern Conference Predictions!

So much to write so little coffee….

Judge Redfield T Baum decided not to award the Phoenix Coyotes to either the NHL or Jim Balsillie.   Wild huh?


Balsillie said he would not appeal the decision. In a statement, Balsillie said, “nobody can deny that we are now a big step closer to having a seventh NHL team in Canada.  It doesn’t matter who owns that team.  When that day comes, I will be the first in line to buy a ticket to the home opener.”

While your humble writer is no lawyer it appears that the NHL is now in full control of the franchise.   It should be interesting to see which back room deal gets done now.  Odds are as good for the team to move to Winnipeg, Hamilton, or some other city as stay in Phoenix for the rest of this year.

I still think that it makes a whole  lot of sense to sell Jim Balsillie a team in Hamilton.  I think the ball is now in Jim’s court to either pay through the nose or post that apology to the NHL…

While I think Gionta will eventually wear the “C” for the Habs he’s starting the season with an “A” along with Gill & Markov.  Interesting pick in Hal Gill….Sergei Kostitsyn is on his way out the Habs door by demanding a trade.    I personally just don’t like players that do that.  It’s like hitching up with someone that cheated on their spouse to be with you.   You can’t be surprised when they Dany Heatley you after 🙂

Edmonton must be one desperate mess of a team because every player that becomes available seems to be targeted there.  In this case I think Sergei could fit in, but what the heck other than a bag of pucks could they send back?  He sure as heck isn’t going to get you a 1st or 2nd round draft pick.

Goalie Cam Ward of Carolina signed a wopping big contract extension. $37+ million over 6 years.

And what is it with these Russian players?  Ottawa’s Ilya Zubov is also throwing a fit after being sent down and demanding a trade.   Either off to the KHL or wanting trades.   No wonder they weren’t drafted that high this year.  The guy has 11 games in the NHL.  He’s lucky if he can demand soap in the shower!

And now for what you’ve been waiting for…. our fearless predictions for the top 8 in the Eastern Conference.   Please note that fearless predictions are based on rosters as of October 1st 2009.   I’m sure there’ll be lots of changes before this horse race is done.

jcarter 1st Place and Stanley Cup Champions –   Unless the plane crashes I don’t think anyone in the league can touch the Flyers.   The Flyers this year look like they’ll be able to do it all, and if they can’t for some reason I have a hunch their GM will get them the horses who can.

Ray Emery I am predicting here will be the hero of this team this season.  If the man can play for any NHL team this is the one and if gets out of line Chris Pronger is not someone I’d want upset with me.   When you look at Boston you look at Chara.  Well if Chara goes down, as giants sometimes do, Boston is cooked.   As good as Pronger is, even at his age, this team still has so many different ways to beat you; especially if Danny Briere is back, which it looks like he is.

It’s going to be a good year to be  a Philadelphia Season ticket holder.

2nd Place: Washington Capitals – Ovechkin, Ovechkin, and dem guys 😉   Actually Washington keeps getting better each year.  I really do like their defense.  It’s not glamorous , but effective, at least on paper.   If Pothier can regain his form that should take some pressure off of Greene.   And I think Theodore isn’t quite done.    Big question mark is Nylander.   That could make or break their season.  I just don’t see Washington besting Philly.

3rd: Pittsburgh Penguins – Crosby is already hurt; Malkin is Malkin.  This year Staal needs to get his game into overdrive for the Penguins to fly; and Gonchar has to not be hurt.  He’s also another year older and it’s a big vulnerability for the Penguins as their defense is looking very thin this year.

4th:  Boston Bruins – Darn that was hard to type.   As long as Chara is healthy the Bruins stay an elite team.  I like their coach.  I like their depth although this year a lot of their depth players have some holes or issues and I still don’t get Tim Thomas doing as well as he does.

5th: Tampa Bay Lightning –   Ownership silliness aside I do like the Lightnings top six forwards.  I think some of them have an awful lot to prove and I think the chemistry can be very good.  I also think that Steve Downie could have a break through season for the team.   Big question marks though on D and in the net.   This team can be fishing for a good draft pick or be a cup contender depending on how the season plays out.

6th: New Jersey Devilsmarty Marty Brodeur adds to his legacy as the greatest goalie in NHL history.  It’s been a long time since I took him to some of his first autograph signing sessions.    Jacques Lemaire taking over the reins of this team I think is acknowledgment by the Devils that their team depends on their Future Hall of Fame Goalie.   The roster looks like it’s built for their new coach and goalie’s type of game.   They’re not going to be flashy and the scoring isn’t really there, but Marty is going to get a bunch of Shut outs this year and whenever Marty is on the ice wins are not that far away.

7th: The Montreal Canadians – As much as I pick on bob Bob Gainey I think he’s done a heroic job of rebuilding this team, and when I say heroic I  mean it’s reflective of his style from when he was a player.   He’d get lots of opportunity to shoot, but would miss the net a lot.

You can never know unless you’re in the room how something plays out.   Almost none of UFAs the Habs had were resigned.   Most I can agree with, a few I don’t.   Question marks?  Not as many as you think.   Long term financial health of the team?  Well those top 3 signings this year are going to eat an awful lot of cap space for awhile.

My new favorite Hab Mike Cammallieri should do well if he gets to play with Gomez or the Habs find another 2nd line centre.   I’m just not sure that Tomas Plekanec is the guy.   The Habs  definitely have more character, and are very intriguing….  I think they are one or two pieces away from being ready to really contend and if I wasn’t a Habs fan probably wouldn’t even give them 7th on this list.

The question marks are many and large.  Carey Price, Josh Gorges, the nicely mixed defensive corps that’s missing a right handed shot.  I don’t see this as a cup contending team, but I do think somehow they’ll make it to the play offs.

8th: The Toronto Maple Leafs – I think Brian Burke’s team is going to surprise an awful lot of people.  You don’t trade away two 1st round picks expecting to be bad.   Yes, they still need to revamp their top six, but the current group won’t be boring and the D is very deep.  Keeping Kaberle is a blessing as someone needs to get Jason Blake the puck.     Mikhail Grabovski is always fun; albeit it more in practice than on the ice, but he’s not the worst forward in the NHL either.

And by the time Mats Sundin decided to come out of retirement Phil Kessel should be good to go so there’s a lot to look forward to.   Also, with the cap space the Leafs have I can see them taking some Michael Nylander type situations this year which will add depth.   They weren’t that far away last year from 8th for much of the season.   This year I  think they’ll squeak in.

Welcome to the 2009-2010 NHL Season – Puck drops tonight!

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