CFN – The puck finally drops tonight. I was going to catch it at a Montreal hot spot tonight, but decided to not go. I’ve always loved the Habs since I was a kid. As a bigger kid I had the amazing opportunity to work with some of their greatest legends.
I even worked for the Habs before heading off to Hollywood (but that’s a whole other story)
Tonight is about the beginning of a new era of hockey. The NHL has changed. Fans have changed. It remains to see how this season does financially.
Before recapping the Canadian NHL teams I think that we Canucks are losing our National sport. This lock out was not Canadian. It wasn’t logical. You don’t wipe out half a season and put a whole year at risk over what’s come out of this mess.
All the sound bites in the world can’t bring back this dwarfed season to where we were before the lock out.
Will the league and players learn from this? Only time will tell.
And now for your humble scribblers look at our Amazing Canadian NHL Hockey teams!
Going from East to West:
It was a rough year for Hab fans. Scott Gomez was a total bust. Andrei Markov bust his knee, again, and finally Bob Gainey and his henchmen were busted out of Montreal.
Hab fans are excited by 3rd overall draft pick Alex Galchenyuk and frankly I have a buzz for Alex too. He’s going to get a looksy at the beginning of the year playing along with Tomas Plekanec and Captain Brian Gionta. If this combo clicks he may stick.
Line one is David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty, and Erik Cole.
Montreal isn’t that great a team, but it does have some interesting parts and pieces. Rene Bourque will get a chance to shine and if he likes Montreal he’ll have to prove himself night in and night out.
Lars Eller is a conundrum. I’ve never crunched him out as much, but darn he looks good in the process. I still don’t get the big buzz over acquisition Brandon Prust. He seems like a Rich Man’s Tom Kotsopoulos, which isn’t bad, but isn’t going to get your name on Lord Stanley’s Cup. Add in Travis Moen and one of my ol faves Colby Armstrong and there’s some players buzzing for new contracts. I like that Montreal is trying to give Brendan Gallagher some NHL time. An injury or trade can open some ice for the diminutive scorer.
Centre is still a problem for Montreal. They don’t have a real number one guy. Galchenyuk is penciled to be that but is on the wing for now. I love Tomas Plekanec, but he’s never really had a good winger to play with. It’s almost worth taking a flyer on fellow Czech Ales Hemsky who I’m sure Edmonton would be really happy to flip right now.
Defense is the biggest question mark. PK Subban should be playing tonight on the number one unit with shot blocker supreme Josh Gorges, but PK is busy being PK.
Tomas Kaberle gets the nod and if he’s smart he’ll crank up some production as his NHL stock right now is not where it was a few years ago.
I really like the Markov and Emelin combo. Markov doesn’t need to be his old self – a good form of his old self would be fine and I think he’d be much more effective on the second unit and manning the PP. Boom Boom Emelin should be good for another highlight reel worth of hits this season.
Frankie Bouillon’s return isn’t upsetting too many faithful. Raphael Diaz seems to be out gunning fellow Swiss Yannick Weber, and there’s some depth at this position for Montreal especially if and when PK rejoins the team. There’s some low level buzz about a trade to the Flyers or Oilers, but if you look at Montreal’s biggest need it’s at Centre and I think that Tampa and San Jose just might be possible destination as well.
Carey Price is in net. While I’m not his biggest fan, and still think the team should have traded him and kept Jaroslav Halak he is the stud. The Habs have very little goal tending depth.
Will Montreal win the cup this year? Nope. Will they make the play offs? Maybe, but a lot of strong factors need to kick in place. The first line needs to match last year and Plekanec needs some wingers to come back and have a better year. Markov needs to play 70 games and put up 40 points and if PK isn’t back soon they need a major boost on D.
I have to admit I like this squad a lot. I like what GM Bryan Murray has done with the squad although he’s been pretty quiet so far this season. The team lost a lot of toughness in Konopka and Carkner.
Up the middle Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris are a nice one two, but after that there are a ton of question marks. Peter Regin? Zack Smith? Even though this team is in the process of reloading last years run has created more expectations. The team is strong on the wing although is Captain Daniel Alfredsson going to last never mind come back next season? Guillaume Latendresse was a good pick up and should notch 15-20 goals before going down to injury.
Jakob Silfverberg is a wild card and the talented Swede may be the Sens next star. My fave Chris Neil is back and will have to do more of the heavy lifting this year.
Ottawa isn’t that deep. It should be interesting to see what kind of Magic Murray can conjure as the season rolls along. His depth is at goalie where started Craig Anderson should have teams that need a goalie salivating. Young guns Robin Lehner looks like the real deal and Ben Bishop has starting goalie potential.
On D Ottawa rolls Erik Karlsson who’s one of the best in the league even though he’s so young. With Philip Kuba gone Marc Methot gets the call.
After that it’s Chris Phillips and Sergei Gonchar. With Jared Cowen nursing an owie there are a lot of question marks.
Ottawa has some good pieces and continuity. If the team falters there are some key pieces that will be traded to help fast track the future.
Will they win the Cup? Nope. The Play Offs? Nope.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Ding Dong Brian Burke is Gone! A GM should never get more ink than his team and players. End of. Mr. Burke had some good qualities and some bad and I’m sure he’ll be back and maybe even win another cup. Not for Leaf Nation though.
What a mess. Dave Nonis seems to have started the rebuild process and the Leafs this year should play for the pick. Dump what’s dump able and let the kids worth keeping play. Right now Toronto is a light and soft team of fragile forwards. Mikhail Grabovski is a number 2 centre, not number one. I love the little guy, but he has rabies. He may be the most valuable trading chip the team has if they want to do a full redo.
Phil Kessel is a given, but not solution. He has one more year on his contract as well, and this scribbler thinks his Leaf days are numbered. Joffrey Lupal? Clarke MacArthur? Will James Van Riemsdyk shine in Toronto or play centre? Will he play more than 30 games this year?
The forward depth is non existent. Trading all those high picks away have left the cupboard bare for Leaf Nation.
On D there’s a bit more hope, but for some reason every one has it in for poor Cody Franson who seems to be the metaphorical bastard son of captain Dion Phaneuf. In otherwords a big mean head case. Mike Komisarek is another player who if he gets off to a good start might get traded. Jean Michael Liles whose first year with the Leafs led to his lowest point total and games played of his NHL career.
I like James Reimer who probably has recovered from his concussion and should be good to go, but short of Johnny Bower how can any goalie play for this squad and look good? Roberto Luongo certainly is no answer and this team needs a few years to rebuild. Trading for a 33 year old that chokes off in the play offs may be a text book Leaf move, but it’s not the stuff that champion teams are build on.
Will the Leafs win the Cup? lol! Will they make the play offs? LMAO!
I have no idea why I like this team so much? I’ve always liked Olli Jokenen. The big Finn brings his game to Winterpeg and is their big guy up the middle. With Nik Antropov, Bryan Little, Kyle Wellwood and Jim Slater around the Jets are covered if not glorious.
Blake Wheeler, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, and Alex Ponikarovsky round out the top six. If Mark Scheifele is ready to make the jump to the NHL the Jets should fly.
I’ve loved their D for awhile. Dustin Byfuglien is Fug. Ron Hainsey can come back and be Ron Hainsey. Zach Bogosian is a monster in the waiting. Tobias Enstrom can get the puck up to the forwards.
In net 25 year old Ondrej Pavelec is a stud. End of.
Can the Jets win the Cup? Weirder things have happened. Can they make the Play Offs? Yup and they will unless they self destruct. I really like this squad.
What the heck are they doing in Calgary? Are they trying to emulate Toronto and how does Jay Feaster keep getting GM gigs?
It seems the raison d’etre in Calgary is to try and get Jarome Iginla a cup in Cow Town by grabbing just about any talent floating by. Their number one centre may be a guy that’s never played in the NHL or Alex Tanguay. Yup. Mikey Cammalleri fled Montreal and should rebound, but Calgary is one scruffy looking bunch on forward.
On D they fare a bit better. They’ve been trying to trade free agent mess Jay Bouwmeester for a few years now and signed up Dennis Wideman long term.
I like Mark Giordano, but after that it’s who? What? Why?
Mikka Kiprusoff is still a great goalie.
If Calgary had traded off Iginla and Kiprusoff a year or two they’d already be heading in the right direction; or where Edmonton is right now.
Too many bits and pieces and no clear direction mean this team most like won’t make the play offs or the cup.
How can these guys not make the play offs this year? Really, with all the hype on Hockeybuzz.com alone!
Do they have the talent to match and can it be utilized in a way that will transfer to wins? Can they trade their rich excess to fill their needs? So far the jury is out.
Up the middle you have Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, and Sam Gagner. That’s not too shabby. Gagner is most likely one of those pieces you trade soon.
Taylor Hall, number one pick Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle, old man Ryan Smyth and even Ales Hemsky (who I still think will be a Hab soon, and break) round up one of the deepest top six and certainly the one with most potential in the NHL.
On defense it looks like things have improved too.
There’s some upside, especially if Ryan Whitney is ready to roll. The oft injured Whitney is not too shabby when he’s not injured.
Edmonton is a bit fuzzy in net. I’m not sure Devan Dubnyk is the guy and Nickey Khabibulin is hurt or about to be traded. The Russian had his best year as an Oiler last season and with a good team in front of him may still have some in the gas tank.
The Oilers have no shortage of trade assets to move to address their wants and needs.
Can they win the Cup. Possibly. Can they make the play offs? Someone should be fired if they don’t.
A lot of people are making a lot of noise about Vancouver not having a second line to start the season.
Two, two Sedins. Would Vancouver rather have Kessler & Booth rolling right now? Yes. Of course, but this team was already darn deep and darn talented.
Zack Kassian has a huge opportunity to help fill the void. Vancouver is deep all over. So now instead of trading Mason Raymond he gets to fill Booth’s slot. Vancouver added to their deep defense corps by adding Jason Garrison and his goals.
Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis, Alex Edler, Keith Ballard, Andrew Alberts and they even are trying to rehab Cam Barker’s career.
Cory Schneider is now the number one; but one Montreal native Roberto Luongo is still present. The Nucks are not rushing to trade him which is what former agents do when they become GM’s – they manage their assets and don’t panic.
Panic hurts teams. Buy low – sell high makes for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Will this team win the Cup? They’re a contender. Will they make the Play Offs? Without a doubt.
Hockey is back! Are you watching tonight? Are you at a bar? Are you at a rink?
Talk to us hockey fans? Where do you see your favorite Canadian team going this year?
Gee that Andi Petrillo on CBC is kinda hot…
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