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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ribeiro Dealt to Dallas

According to TSN, the Dallas acquire center Mike Ribeiro and a 6th round pick for defenseman Janne Niiminaa and a 5th round pick.

Latrappe's take: That's a terrible trade for Dallas. I saw Ribeiro for years and this guy was terribly overrated. He doesn't show up every night and his defensive play is pretty bad. What ever Niiminaa will give to Montreal; they acquire a decent defenseman for, almost, nothing. I have no clue why Dallas made that deal.

Matt's take: This is a good deal for Dallas. Ribeiro was always an under achiever in Montreal, but hopefully his full potential will be shown in Dallas. This is a low risk, high reward situation for them. As for Montreal, this deal is horrible. As much as I hate Ribeiro, he has some potential to be a good player. Niiminaa was a 7th defenseman in Dallas, and won't be the savior to the blueline. Montreal panicked and traded a quality player for an ok one. But finally, we don't have to deal with Ribeiro anymore, but it would've been nice to see Chara wreck him.

Game Notes

Only 2nd intermission, but some quick game notes. The Bruins haven't played a very good game. Way to many penatlies, which is why they are down 4-1. The 5 v 5 play has been fairly even, and Lundqvist has made some spectacular saves, one of Donovan. The Bruins would be in this game if it weren't for timely penalties. The PK has been horrible, and the PP hasn't been very great. Newcomer Marc Savard has looked awesome today though, and have made some dazzling passes. He has created plays on his own, and like I told you all, surprise player of the year. He was injured on a block shot at the end of the period, and the degree of the injury is not known at the time. More to come on that one.

Game on Today!

Today has finally arrived. Today at 4, we will finally get to see our B's play! Can't wait, and I hope you all watch the game. Very excited.


Boston: 5
Rangers: 2

Burnside to Get Burned

Yes, this week was a tough one for the ESPN's hockey writer. I followed his column this week and things didn't get better for Scott. His ranking had no logic and you wonder, does this guy have a clue? Sometimes it was bizarre comments from nowhere; sometimes it was pure bashing. Let's take a look at 3 statements that our good friend Scott made this week.

1- The B's will finish 12th in the conference: Yes, of course. The B's will be mediocre this year and what's the reason for that mediocrity? Too many faces. Yes, after saying that the team add depth with Chara, Savard and Mara, good'ol Scott said that the team will not perform and will miss the playoffs. Funnier was the predicition of the Habs who will finish 4th with a less better team. Even, in Montreal, especially in the papers, the seniors sports writers place the B's before the Habs in the standing. You didn't have a clue Scott.

2- Lewis not good as it looks: In his B's preview, good'ol Scott said some very intriguing things about the new coach. Arguing that he' soft (yeah, we saw that Thursday when he skated the hell out of the players) and didn't find answers to make Detroit win. Ok. Let's take a look at it.

1- If i follow the same logic, Jacques Martin is a mediocre hockey guy. This guy took a pathetic Ottawa team and tranformed it into a contender. But Martin never won the big prize. Does it mean that all the work Martin did is non-existent. Look at Ottawa, this year. There's still pretty much in the ball game. I guess long term perspective didn't suit well good'ol Scott.

2- Lewis was for many years Bowman's assistant coach. Lewis had the chance, on a daily bases, to learn from the master. Learned all the little things to reach the next level and, finally, be a contender for the cup. At the end, winning a cup is about details. Execute the little simple things right and you will contend. I don't know for you guys but I won't discard a guy who comes from a winning organization like Detroit nor that I would mess with someone who had an extended teaching from Scotty. That was bizarre and poor evaluation of Lewis. Scott, a bowl of fresh air?

3- Savard hiring doubtful?: What happended here Scott? Did you get a bad service in a Beantown's restaurant? Why are you so negative about those signings. Once again, I will have to make it right for you.

- Savard was the best center avaiable this summer. Overpaid? Not a #1 centerman? Thank you to inform y we signed him. This guy will make that 2nd scorinus that Savard is a #2 centerman because that's exactly whg work and will play on the PP. Savard filled a need (#2 legitimate centerman) and, sometimes, you have to spend more to be able to fill that need. There was, at least, 5 teams who did make the same offer as the B's for Savard. Do it means that those teams are dead wrong? Of course not, they are not because they rely on people who works in hockey. Repeat Scott: 3-2-1, work in hockey. Good, now say it 100 times.

Really, this week, Burnside burned his credibility. I wish I could be the little bird on his window to see the logic behind those predictions. There's no way a serious hockey writer will make some comments as he did, not only on the B's, on teams without having fact to backup him up. I don't have the pretention to be an expert, not at all. I'm a fan who followed hockey for more then 30 years. But I have the pretention to look things for what they are. On paper, the B's have a really good team. So I will evaluate them on those statistics and see the result at then end. Montreal in 4th place. You really don't have a clue Scott; will you ever?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Those Stupid Islanders

I have decided to make a list on which quality players the Islanders have lost under Wang.

-Todd Bertuzzi
-Zdeno Chara
-Bryan Berard
-Roberto Luongo
-Olli Jokinen
-Jason Spezza (pick form)
-Roman Hamrlik
-Mark Parrish
-Chris Osgood
-Dick Tarnstrom
-Zigmund Palffy
-Bryan Smolinski
-Tim Connolly
-Oleg Kvasha
-Janne Niiminaa
-Raffi Torres
-Dave Scatchard

I know that not all could have been kept due to salary cap, and some were traded, but overall you get the picture. Because of Wang, this team has lost TONES of quality players. That list alone could compete with the best of the NHL.

Bench Analysis

The final piece of the Bruins roster analysis. The bench.

Wade Brookbank-Known mostly as a tough guy, Brookbank will provide that role for the Bruins. He is a forward conturary to those who thought he was originally a defenseman. Brookbank will split time between Providence and Boston, and will only see 4th line action. He will also be a healthy scratch many games. Brookbank is one of the only tough guys the Bruins have this season, and look for some scrappy fights from this guy.

Jeff Hoggan-One of the finalists to make the roster, Hoggan will provide more depth in case of injury. Hoggan recorded 8 points in 52 games last season with the Blues. At 28 years old, Hoggan only has 1 year of pro experience. It looks like he will likely play most the season in Providence.

Petr Kalus-A lot of news surrounding him recently with the ruling on whether he will go back to his junior team or Providence, but the ruling is that he will be allowed to play in Providence this season. Kalus is a up and coming star forward for the team, and will likely spend most if not all the season in Providence. We could see Kalus come up late in the year if necessary.

Petr Tenkrat-At 29 years old, Tenktrat is no longer a prospect. He hasn't played well the last two seasons, but many have said that he looks like a completely different player this season. In 2001-2002, he put up terrific rookie numbers of 8 goals and 16 assists, but only in 54 games. Tenkrat will definately be called up if an injury occurs to the offense.

Konowalchuk Retires

From TSN,

DENVER - Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Konowalchuk announced today that he's retiring from the game of hockey after a 13-season career in the NHL.

Konowalchuk made this decision official after undergoing an additional series of tests relating to his heart condition. This condition was detected during medical tests that all Avalanche players underwent prior to the start of training camp. Results from a standard EKG test revealed an abnormal reading.

''In Steve's case, the abnormal reading prompted further tests which revealed he has Long QT Syndrome, a genetic disease involving electrical conduction which can lead to irregular heart rhythms,'' said Dr. Steve Friedrich, Avalanche cardiologist. ''Steve and the physicians in Rochester conferred with multiple national centres in order to form a consensus regarding his condition.''

Konowalchuk agreed that it was best that he retire from the game he loves.

''After a complete evaluation from a number of different physicians and experts associated with this condition, we decided that this was the best and only alternative for me,'' said Konowalchuk. ''As much as I'll miss the game of hockey and all that it's provided for my family and I, my health was the number one priority.

''This has been a very painful process, but I'm very proud of a long NHL career and happy to have a lifetime of special memories and friends to take with me.''

Konowalchuk, 33, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah was originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in the third round, 58th overall, in the 1991 Entry Draft. He was acquired by the Avalanche from the Capitals along with the Captals' third selection in the 2004 Entry Draft in exchange for Bates Battaglia and the rights to Jonas Johansson on October 22, 2003. Over his 13 NHL seasons, he appeared in 790 NHL contests, amassing 171 goals and 225 assists. He made 52 NHL playoff appearances tallying 21 points (9g/12a).

''Steve is a true professional and will be known for playing the game as it should be played – with passion and a strong commitment to his team and his teammates,'' said Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Francois Giguere. ''We will treat him with great respect, the same way he treated the organization since his arrival here in Colorado.

''Our organization will support Steve and his family any way we can,'' added Giguere.

Matt's take: Very sad to see this happen to a player. I will always remember Konowalchuk from his days with Washington player with Peter Bondra. Always a Bruin killer.

Brenden Morrow Named C

Newly resigned to a 6 year, 24.6 million dollar deal, the Dallas Stars have named Brenden Morrow the new captain of the team. He will take over duties of Mike Modano, who has been captain since 2003.

''I really believe in this organization and the commitment they've made to me and to winning,'' he said.

Morrow has 120 goals and 149 assists for 269 points and 748 penalty minutes in his career.

Matt's take: I am a little surprised that Modano isn't captain anymore, but then again, teams need to move in different directions, and it seems like this will be a better fit.

'Canes Deal Johnson

The Carolina Hurricanes have traded their top D prospect Jack Johnson to the Los Angeles Kings for D Oleg Tverdovsky, C Eric Belanger, and D Tim Gleason. Johnson was drafted 3rd overall in the 2005 draft. The trade rumors of Johnson have be heavy as of late, and the Hurricanes were having extreme diffuculty signing him.

(TSN) Tverdovsky scored three goals and had 20 assists (12 on the power play) last season. In 687 career NHL games he has 77 goals and 236 assists. He has two years and $5 million remaining on his contract.

Gleason scored two goals and assisted on 19 others last season. The Kings re-signed Gleason, who will earn $1.2 million this season, as a restricted free agent to a two-year deal this past offseason.

Belanger put up 17 goals and 20 assists with the Kings last year. In 323 career NHL games he has 63 goals and 87 assists. He will make $1.3 million this season.

Latrappe's take: I know that Carolina is banged up at the blue line but it's always dangerous to trade a prospect like Jack Johnson. I didn't see Tim Gleason play but it seemed to me that Caroline may have traded some future for an immediate relieve which is not very good. I think they could have gotten more elsewhere for Jack Johnson.

Matt's take: This was an ok deal for the 'Canes. They did add a lot of depth to their team without dealing anyone on the current roster, but they already have tones of depth. Their blueline is a little thin, but Tverdovsky isn't going to be their savior. The Hurricanes could have gotten more than what they did, and from asking for a top line F and a top-4 defenseman, they didn't quite get that. Tverdovsky is way past his prime, while Belanger is an average forward. Gleason I don't know much about, but he doesn't look like anything special either. Johnson could very well turn into a all-star defenseman for years to come, or another Lars Jonsson. But as of now, the Kings got the better of this deal.

NHL News

- The Boston Herald reports that the last cut on the team will be make Sunday or Monday. They also report that the team will likely decide, today, who will be team's captain.

- According to Spector's web site, Sweet Lou is in New York, at the NHL headquarters, to talk about the Malakhov and Mogilny situation. Spector thinks that Lamoriello might be able to write off the salary of Mogilny but that it will be very unlikely that he can do the same with Malakhov. According to Spector, the relieve of Mogilny's salary will help the Devils to retain their player and remove the possibility of a major trade.

- According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Nashville predators are shopping Scott Hartnell and/or Scotty Upshall. McKenzie says that the Predators are loaded in the upfront and the possibility to lose Hartnell, for nothing, in the free agent market may force a trade.

- RDS's web site report that forward Guillaume Latendresse have signed a 3 years/2.55 million dollar contract with the Habs. Head coached Guy Carbonneau already stated that Latendresse will spend the complete year in Montreal.

- ESPN's Good'ol Burnside has this comment regarding Savard: "Take Marc Savard. He is being paid as a No. 1 player in Boston, but he's not a No. 1 player five-on-five or killing penalties. Are the Bruins going to get full value for him? History suggests they will not ".

Latrappe needs to say: Shove it Burnside.
Matt add's: Actually watch an NHL game.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

3rd Line Analysis

Last line to analyze. Been putting this one on the back burner as of late, but here it goes. I will also be doing the reserves analyzation.

Wayne Primeau-Acquired in the JT deal, Primeau was thought as the "thrown-in" player. Primeau did better than expected and solidified the role as the checking line center. Primeau provides size, but he also has great hockey instincts and great hands. If anyone remembers that dazzling goal against Philly, that is where he caught my eye. Primeau, on a good year, can give you 30-35 points. Around 12 goals and 25 assists. That is all you can ask from your 3rd line center. Primeau is one of the better defensive forwards the B's have, and will be used in key penalty killing situations.

Shean Donovan-Signed this year as a UFA, a 2 year/1.95 million dollar deal. Here on the East Coast, we don't really know much of Donovan, but he was a well liked guy in Calgary and scored 20 goals two years back. Talking to people who watch the Flames and are fans, have told me that he is known to go on hot streaks, but also known to go on cold streaks. Donovan is like a P.J. Axelsson, and they will provide one of the best checking lines in the NHL. Donovan could put up from 10-20 goals and 15-20 assists.

P.J. Axelsson-The longest tenured Bruin, Axelsson will be a canidate for the A this season. Axelsson year in and year out has been one of the best defensive forwards in the game. He should have been in consideration for the Selke trophy many years, including lasts. Axelsson can score, and bother the other teams defense a lot. Axelsson is the teams top PK, and we will see lots of that from him this season. Axy is a grinder and expect another solid season from him this year.

Yzerman Named VP

Fomer Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman has been named Vice President of the Detroit Red Wings. He has was captain since 1986. Wow long time back. Stevie Y scored 692 goals and had 1,755 points.

Matt's Take: This great for Yzerman, the Wings, and the fans. It is great to keep in the game and the team. Always a fan favorite. I have lots of respect for this guy.

Minor Moves Galore

Some Minor moves over the last few days I haven't bothered to post.

-The Philadelphia Flyers have waived forward Marty Murray.
-Sean Burke has cleared through waivers.
-The Sabres designated former Bruin D Jeff Jillson to assignment, he refused to go, and is now a UFA.
-The Penguins have claimed Karl Stewart off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.
-The Edmonton Oilers have signed D Sebastian Bisallion to a 3 year entry level deal.
-The Los Angeles Kings have signed G Dan Cloutier to a 2 year contract extension worth 3.1 million a season.
-Former Penguin Ryan VandenBussche has signed a 1 month deal contract with the Jokerit Helsinki, a SM-Liiga club.

Blue Jackets Sign Zherdev

The Columbus Blue Jackets finally signed holdout F Nikolai Zherdev. They signed him to a 3 year, 7.5 million dollar deal. The deal will pay him $1.75 million for this season, $2.5 in 2007-08 and $3.25 in 2008-09.

Matt's Take: Finally we can all rest. This was a great deal by Columbus, and a fair deal for Zherdev. Look for the revamped Blue Jackets offense to be steller this upcoming season.

Around the League

Taking a look at whats been going on lately.

- Bobby Clarke is saying that shopping for a backup goaltender is not a priority. He's looking for a cheap option and might look at Sean Burke who cleared waivers recently. report that Clarke might take a look at San Jose's Toskala as well.

Latrappe's take: I might take some heat here but Clarke is a stubborn idiot. For a decade or so, his club didn't manage to go deep in the playoffs because of a lack of solid goaltending. I cannot believe that Clark didn't make an offseason effort to get that #1 goaltender. Esche and, maybe, Burke are not the solution. Keep an eye on Clarke this year since the owner Snider put a lot of pressure on the front office to get it done. It could be Clarke's last year.

-The Montreal Gazette reports that the Habs might look for help at their blue line. Bouillon will be on the shelf for 2 months and Sheldon Souray just hurt his shoulder. What ever who will come to help the Habs, there's no quality D-man on the market. But don't worry since Scott Burnside said thay they will finish 4th anyway. Matt needs to note...Scott Burnside should shove it.

Latrappe's take: The Habs never had a great defensive squad and they were saved; night in , night out by their goaltending. That's why lots of hockey writers overrate their defense. Whatever the help they will get, the loss of Bouillon will be costly since Montreal has no depth at all, at the blue line.

Kalus in Providence?

According to the Herald, Peter Chiarelli would like to see Peter Kalus in Providence this year. The problem is a technicality related to the draft where when a player is drafted from the CHL, he have to be return at his junior team if he is 18 or 19 years old. Since Kalus was drafted from his junior club in Czech, there is a chance that the B's can send him to the AHL. Chiarelli stated that Kalus might be "too strong " for the junior league.

Two cuts remaining for the B's before the opening game. Kalus has his ticket to leave Beantown and the other winner of the lottery could be Wade Brookbank. However it's unclear,at this point, who will be cut.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

NHL's Biggest Busts: Part II

Being pick at the #1 spot could be lethal. It's do or die. Lots of them will never raise to the expections that teams have for them. Sometimes, the player cracks under the pressure. Sometimes it's work ethic; sometimes it's the scouting squad who simply make a mistake.

Our second player, in NHL biggest busts, can fall in that last category where scouts are so high on a player that they becomes blind. Because he deserved it and, mostly, because Stefan is Matt's "secret" guilty pleasure; Patrik Stefan is our second winner in NHL biggest busts.

Draft in 1999, The selection of Patrick Stefan is a bit puzzling considering that the Sedin Twins, Tim Connelly and Martin Havlat were all avaiable that year. When you look at Stefan's numbers, there's nothing to be excited. His best NHL season was in 2003-2004 with a grand total of 40 points. When you look before that season, Stefan was able to have seasons of 15 and 35 points (IHL) and 25,31,23,34 with Atlanta. Stefan was a no show since the beginning, but people, in Atlanta, had faith (it's tough to admit a huge mistake like this). Faithful there were until Ilya Kovalchuk make his debut with a 51 points rookie season followed by a 67 and 87 points season. In only 3 seasons, Kovalchuk was able to surpass the total of points of Stefan who played 6 season in Atlanta. From there, Stefan was nothing more then a ghost and when Marc Savard arrived in Atlanta in 2002-2003 and delivered a 47 season points, the choice of Stefan was even more embarassing. Stefan was not the forward Atlanta though and his defensive play was, at time, horrible since he manage to put an astonishing -41 (career total). Finally, Atlanta had enough and traded him, this year, to the Dallas Stars for Niko Kapanen.

Stefan is the best example of a team who made an horrible choice due to a blind scouting team. When you look back at the numbers of Stefan; there's no way this guy could have been an impact player in the NHL. Of course, the selection of Heatly and Kovalchuk were excellent but can you imagine what Atlanta could have been if they had selected Martin Havlat instead of Patrik Stefan?

Chat Tonight

I will be holding a special chat tonight at around 8:30 until 10 pm or so EST. We can all talk about the game we heard tonight, or those with the Center Ice Package can tell us what they saw. Hope to see you all in there. I am going to change the scheldued Friday chats to Wednesday due to conflicts, but it will still be at 7 pm EST.

I am going into the chat NOW, until whenever, so I will see you all in there.

The Hockey News Bruins Preview

From The Hockey News Magazine-

By David Walter, Contributing NHL Editor

(Sports Network) - After a disappointing season last year, the Boston Bruins made the biggest move this offseason in the National Hockey League: literally.

The Bruins, who were extremely busy this summer re-tooling their roster, made the most significant splash in free agency signing the 6-foot-9, 260-pound mammoth defenseman Zdeno Chara away from fellow Northeast division foe, the Ottawa Senators.

The Chara signing was just the beginning of a brand new start in Beantown.

Boston, which finished 13th overall in the Eastern Conference last season, has made changes from the top down in the organization in hopes of rebuilding a competitive franchise. With new general manager Peter Chiarelli in the fold, along with Dave Lewis serving as the new head coach, Boston is hoping the changes made in the front office as well as on the ice, will get the club back into the postseason.

Along with Chara, the Bruins added the highly coveted center Marc Savard in free agency to give them a strong playmaker down the middle and bolster an offense that was ranked 24th overall in the league last season.

After trading away its franchise star player in Joe Thornton last fall, Boston never recovered offensively and the club hopes Savard can build off his career-year with Atlanta last season.

With adding two of the best players available in free agency in Chara and Savard, a franchise that looked lost and without direction last season, suddenly looks like it is back on track with a fresh new culture and commitment to winning.

Chiarelli also made several other moves to bolster his roster, including acquiring solid two-way defenseman Paul Mara from the Phoenix Coyotes and trading away goaltender Andrew Raycroft to the Toronto Maple Leafs on draft day for netminding prospect Tuukka Rask.

With Chiarelli bolstering the roster of the club with new talent, it will be up to Lewis to fit the pieces together and implement a strong system to get this storied franchise back to playing meaningful games come spring.

FORWARDS - Rising star Patrice Bergeron gives Boston a top play-making center and will form a nice one-two punch with Savard down the middle. Bergeron led the team in goals (31) and points (73) last season and clicked with linemates Brad Boyes and Marco Sturm. Boyes had an impressive rookie campaign last season and along with the shifty Sturm, formed a top scoring line with Bergeron for a club that featured speed and scoring.

While the talented Savard will not be able to provide the Bruins with the all- around physical game that Thornton brought to the ice, the nifty playmaker will supply the team with a go-to guy who makes the players around him better. Savard's 69 assists last season were third-best in the league and the wingers on the Bruins should benefit from Savard's playmaking ability.

Winger Glen Murray will be most excited to play with Savard as his production dropped off last season. Murray averaged 37 goals in his three previous campaigns and last year saw his goal-scoring production dip to 24 goals. Murray brings a solid veteran presence and a willingness to work the corners and crash the net, and should see his production bounce back with Savard getting him the puck.

Role players P.J. Axelsson, Wayne Primeau and Shean Donovan supply Boston with some experience and character as well as some scoring depth.

Keep an eye on 18-year-old Phil Kessel, who was Boston's first-round pick (fifth overall) in this year's draft. The youngster could make the team out of training camp with his excellent speed and scoring ability.

DEFENSE - Chara and Mara will immediately improve the Boston defense corps as both players will log a ton of minutes, taking pressure off of Brad Stuart, who often approached 30 minutes of ice time per-game last season.

Besides adding a physical presence in the defensive zone, Chara and Mara will also significantly improve goal-scoring production from the back end for the Bruins. The two combined for 18 power-play goals last year and should bolster a power-play unit that was ranked 25th in the league last season.

After Chara, Mara and Stuart, things in the defensive zone become a little foggy for Boston. Milan Jurcina was a pleasant surprise last season for the club, playing an all-around solid two-way game and will benefit from playing with one of Boston's top three defensemen.

From there on out there are no certainties as Boston will roll the dice with youngsters Andrew Alberts and Mark Stuart, who have spent significant time at the American Hockey League level. Tough guy Wade Brookbank could also see action as well as veterans Jason York and Nathan Dempsey.

While Boston's defensive unit will be much improved in front of its own net and provide some added scoring depth, the Bruins still lack quality speed from their defenseman and their transition game could suffer and frustrate their speedy forwards by not getting them the puck.

GOALTENDING - With the erratic Raycroft being shipped to Toronto, 32-year-old journeyman Tim Thomas and 22-year-old Hannu Toivonen will share the goaltending duties.

While Thomas' unorthodox style kept the Bruins in several games last season, he has never played a full season in the NHL. Boston rewarded Thomas with a three-year contract extension in the offseason and he is expected to split time between the pipes with Toivonen.

Toivonen is projected to be the goaltender of the future for Boston and very well could start the season as Boston's No. 1 netminder. The Finnish goaltender has quick reflexes for a big netminder and is technically sound.

Rask, who was acquired from Toronto in the Raycroft deal, is just 19-years-old and a solid prospect, but the Finn is still a few years away from playing in the NHL.

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE - The Bruins are taking the proper steps necessary to get the franchise back on track, although the fruits of their labor might take some time to show on the ice.

Boston should be a better overall team this season, but playing in the Northeast Division with Ottawa and the Buffalo Sabres, the Bruins face some stiff competition. Lack of depth on the blueline and inexperienced goaltending could haunt Boston, but if they overachieve in those areas there could be playoff hockey next spring.

Lars Jonsson

Anyone remember this kid? Continuing on the line of busts, this kid was drafted in the 2000 draft by the Bruins 7th overall. He never played one NHL game. Do the Bruins still own his rights or anything? What ever happened? Hopefully Phil Kessel isn't an Alexander Daigle or Lars Jonsson.

NHL's Biggest Busts: Part I

Yes, reaching the NHL is not an easy task. There's so many levels you have to pass, that when you finally get drafted, it's a dream come true. But, for some players, this dream turn into a nightmare; especially when you've been drafted at the #1 spot. There's lots of stories regarding how sad and spectacular those #1 have crashed their careers. I will write a series of column regarding the best NHL busts in recent memory. I will start this series with a spectacular one: Alexandre Daigle.

Drafted by Ottawa in 1993 at the #1 spot, Daigle was the "Sidney Crosby" of his time. He played for the Victoriaville Tigers in the Quebec major league hockey and terrorized league's goaltenders game after game. He was spotted very fast by scouts.

The context was crystal clear in Ottawa. The franchise need to return, after a few horendous years, and they needed someone to sell tickets. Like every expension team, the team would have to go through some tough seasons before being able to compete. It was the Mel Bridgeman (Mel who?) era and the front office was full of incompetent people (sounds like last's B's front office). The first season of the team (92-93) was horrible since they managed to win only ten times (10-70-4). After that horrible season, everything was set to draft Daigle. In his first season, Daigle did good for a rookie, managing a total of 51 points but was down the abyss with an incredible +/- of -45 ! In fact those 51 points will be the higher amount of points he will ever get in his career. When you look after that season, Daigle produced respectively 37-17=51. For a guy that signed, at the time, the richest contract (5 years/12.25 millions) for a rookie, it was not enough. The Sens traded him to Philadelphia in 97-98. The overall result: a waste of money and the fact that they passed on players such as Pronger and Kariya.

Daigle's results were puzzeling. For a guy who, basically, burned his major junior league, his NHL production was less then impressive. Lots of times, his work ethic and motivation were questionned and there is no doubt that Daigle liked the spotlight more then the red light. He made probably one of the most stupidest comment ever, when he said, "Nobody remembers the second draft pick." For sure, but everyone will remember the incredible failure he was.

The key of Daigle's mystery was revealed during an extended interview he gave to RDS (sports french network). The interviewer askedim about his "little secret". Daigle smiled, waited, a couples of seconds, and drop the bomb,"Well before I got drafted, I didn't have any passion for the game anymore". In fact, Daigle said, at the times, that he was pushed so hard to make it, that he lost the fun of playing the game. Of course, in his last year, just before the NHL draft, everything was buzzing around him (media, agents, spotlights, sponsorships) and he suffered a tremedous pressure to produce. He talked to his coach about his doubts regarding his career but the perspective to deceive his father (who had the dream to play in the NHL) and the fact that he could assured his future with a lucrative contract finally rush him to the NHL draft. From there, eveything was clear. His lack of motivation and work ethic, The fact that he was more interested in off ice activites then hockey, his evident taste for "famous people" like actors and so on.

The story of Daigle is sad. It's an history of an immature boy who decided to live a life that he didn't want to. He got paid and never delivered and that's why he tried a comeback. After all those years, he probably, at some point, would have tought it was time to look at him the mirror. Did he screwed the system? No! Did he screw with the Sens and the fans? I think he did. But, at his own discharge, the situation in Ottawa was ugly. There was no competent people in place; the front office was more then willing to give him the money he wanted because they saw him as their franchise player and finally, Daigle had no veterans (Randy "the thrill" Cunneyworth) to turn to and, at this age, it's important to be surrounded by experienced people. Especially, when you are immature like he was. Luckily for him, Yashin came a year later and people could talk more about Yashin and less about him. But history will retain that Daigle signed the richest contract for a rookie at the time and that he failed tremedously to rise to the occasion. Finally, people will remember the 2nd drafted player. He's in Anaheim and he will be a future Hall of Famer...Chris Pronger.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Projected 4th Line

I have seen many comments on what people believe the 4th line will be, and by looking who is still on the NHL roster, I have come to this lineup.

-Mark Mowers signed a 2 year, 925,000 dollar deal, which is one way, so he is a given.

-Yan Stastny is another given since he played on the line last year, hasn't been sent down, and is the type of players the B's want on that line.

-The final LW has been a tricky one. According to some sources, and viewing what the roster is right now, Petr Klaus is the most likely canidate to play there. He has shown great presence and is going to be a solid NHL player in the future. Others also think Tenkrat could possibly play there, but I don't beleive so. He is an injury replacement. Wade Brookbank will also get some considerable time filling in for any of the 3.

Projected Line:


No Playoffs For the B's This Season

According to Espn Scott Burnside, the B's will finish 12th in their conference and will miss the playoffs. Burnside says that there are too many new faces to make the team successful this year. The funny thing about that is that Burnside says that Montreal will finish 4th in the conference. Yes, ladies and gentlemans, 4th in the conference without having a #1 defenseman in their lineup and a legitimate #1 goaltender (Huet cannot be consider as a #1 until he play a full season behind the pipes).

Latrappe's take: I don't know how Burnside analyzed the whole thing but I don't see how the signing of Chara, Savard and Mara should have a negative impact on the team. Burnside says that it's too much to ask for that team (too many new faces) to reach the playoffs? Why? Was Carolina was that good before the lockout? I don't think so and according to Burnside's theory, they shouldn't be in the playoffs because they had lots of "new faces" too. His evaluation of Dave Lewis is intriguing. According to him, Lewis is a soft guy who didn't find a way to make Detroit win in the playoffs. I don't know where Burnside was, last spring, because Babcock get an early exit from the playoffs in the first round.

Matt's take: Scott Burnside can shove it. Get out of your mom's basement Scott, smell the fresh air. These so called "experts" don't ever get anything right. They all go with what the majority thinks or that sexy pick (aka Dolphins to beat the Pats in the division). I'll tell you this, if the Bruins finish 12th in the conference, the TD Banknorth Garden will be in ashes.

4th Line Analysis

This analysis will be a tough one since we don't know exactly who will be on this particular line. But, for the sake of the discussion, let's assume that Mark Mowers and Yan Stastny will be on that line.

Mark Mowers: The classic 4th line grinder who will gives you a 100% performance every night. An energy player who will not hurt your team while being on the ice. His +13, last year will be very appreciated by the team since we all know that last year, our 4th line killed us way too many times. Mowers will also provide veteran leadership.

Yan Stastny: Stastny is not the classical grinder. He has speed, limited skills and a good sense of hockey. His defensive play will have to be better if he wants to stay all year in Beantown. Stastny showed some signs of a solid player last year, and hopefully will take his game up another level.

This line should not be overlooked because, let's face it, those guys are minute killers. Their performances will determine how much the coach will be able to rest his first two lines. Those guys will have to keep their game simple and make sure score more than the other teams scores on them. By doing so, they will relieve some pressure from the scoring lines and assure a good balance within the team.

B's Send Players to Providence

According to the Herald, the B's reduced their roster to 25 when they sent down: Martins Karsums, David Krejci, Pascal Pelletier, Tyler Redenbach, Nate Thompson, Kris Versteeg, Ben Walter, Bobby Allen, Matt Lashoff, Jay Leach and Jonathan Sigalet and goaltender Brian Finley.

Matt's take: Only one surprise, Martins Karsums. I thought he looked good from what I heard and saw. But saying that, it would be better for him to play on the 1st line in Providence than the 4th line in Boston. This also means that the 4th line will likely look like Petr Klaus, Mark Mowers, and Yan Stastny.

Cap Pressure to Force Devils Trade?

According to Bob McKenzie, the Devils situation has become more and more complicated since Sweet Lou will have to be under the cap for October 4th. There's no relief who can be make on Malakhov retirement or Mogilny injury since those guys were 35 years old when they signed (multi-years contracts) and this means that their salary will count against the cap. These two guys are eating 7.1 million of cap space this year. McKenzie also pointed out that it will be interesting to see if a GM would be gutsy enough to pull the trigger on an offer sheet for Paul Martin, Dave Hale or Brian Gionta.

Latrappe's take: Iv'e already stated that the Devils are the first example of mismanagement of the new CBA. Sweet Lou is painted in the corner and he will probably have to deal, at least, two players to stay under the cap. The bad news is that he will have to deal those guys for draft picks or low cost prospects which is not enough for those quality players. By waiting that long, Lamoriello reduce his negociating power to nothing. The next couples of days will be very interesting.

Matt's take: Please Lou trade someone instead of bullshitting your way out with "injuries" and retirements. Come to reality, lets go.

Lewis Tinkering

According to the Herald, Dave Lewis would like to start the season with a first line compose with Bergeron-Boyes-Kessel and a second line with Savard-Murray and Sturm. It looks good to me but I still think that it would be dangerous to separate Sturm from Bergeron since they were so productive together last year.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bruins First Line Analysis

Patrice Bergeron: The top center of the team. He made a good impression in his first year and since then, his play had gradually improved. Bergeron is a good two way center with speed, skills and work ethic. His defensive game is very good and he manages to be a good hard checker without taking bad penalties. Smart in the three zones, there's no doubt that Bergeron will become the dangerous sniper the B's see in him. Bergy is young and the arrival of a veteran like Chara will only accelerate the maturity process. Bergeron makes players better around him. That's enough to tag him as "the franchise" player. Yes, Beantown have a heck of a center, in his lineup, and it's for 5 years. Expect a 40 goals and 55 assists for Bergy this year for a total of 95 points.

Marco Sturm: In San Jose, Sturm was considered as a 20 goal scorer. Last year, Sturm showed speed, skills and a very good wrist shot. His chemistry with Bergeron was undeniable. The two players gelled together very fast and the two of them were a permanent threat on the ice. Bergeron will probably transform Sturm into a potential 30 or even 40 goal scorer. If Sturm can improve his defensive game a bit, he will become a very complete forward who will be in demand next year on the free agent market. If Sturm stay healthy, he can reach 33 goals and 40 assists for 73 points.

Brad Boyes: Obtained in trade from San Jose, Boyes was a prospect until....he played with Bergeron. Boyes is a natural center and he started the last season as the #2 center of the team. Of course, without a real #1 scoring line, Sullivan had to make an experiment and he put Boyes on the first line with Sturm and Bergeron. Boyes is a skilled speedy forward who create space for his teammates. Boyes is a polyvalent player and, in the case of an injury of Savard, there's no doubt that Boyes will fill the void very quickly and make this 2nd line works perfectly. Expect a season of 30 goals and 40 assists for Boyes.

There's no doubt in my mind that the B's first line will be lethal with the new NHL rules. There's a mix of speed, skill and intelligence that could makes them very productive. With a legitmate #2 scoring line, they will be more dangerous then ever.

Teams Putting to Much Faith Into the Unknown?

This year will be interesting. Many teams are putting faith into playoff hero goalies, and I am not so sure it will work out. Even the Bruins are doing that a little, but that aside, teams like Anaheim, San Jose, and Carolina are putting WAY to much faith into these guys.

San Jose- Why not give Nabokov the starting job. If you didn't like this guy, why did you sign him to a huge deal last season? Toskala was an unknown until late in the season, and you can't ride your franchise on guys like this, aka Tim Thomas, forever. If San Jose deals Nabokov, they will regret it.

Anaheim-This one isn't as bad. J.S. Giguere is still a great goalie, and like others, he struggled last season. Ilya Bryzgalov, who is on my fantasy team, is an awesome goalie, but still, he hasn't even played a full season and Anaheim is ready to deal Giguere. Anaheim may not regret trading Giguere if they do, but it could turn out disaterous.

Carolina-This one pisses me off the most. Cam Ward. Come on. He barley played during the regular season, Martin Gerber carried this team, and he started 57 of the games, posted a low GAA and a high SV%. Cam Ward only got a chance because Gerber went down in the playoffs and he put together a great streak of a few playoff games. Well earned job Ward, nothing against him, great performance, but why let Gerber walk for a few million, and take a REALLY UNPROVEN Cam Ward into the season to defend the title.

Burke Placed on Waivers

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced that G Sean Burke has been placed on waivers. Any team can claim him within 24 hours, and then he will be sent to the minors. The Lightning are set to go into the season with Marc Denis as the starter, who was acquired from Columbus for Fredrick Modin, and Joham Holmqvist. Burke could get interest from the Canucks, who still haven't found a backup for Roberto Luongo. The Bruins could possibly inquire, but his salary is a little steep, and with the lack of cap room they have it is unlikely. He could become a trading piece if he is not picked up on waivers for teams where the goalie situation doesn't work out.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bruins 2nd Line Analysis

Me and Latrappe are doing an anaylsis of the B's roster piece by piece. We already did the goaltending and the defense. Now on to the 2nd line.

Phil Kessel-Selected 5th overall in this draft, Kessel is probably going to turn out to be one of, if not the best player in this draft. At one point he was rated higher than Sidney Crosby. Kessel has all the tools and ability to become an NHL star, and he will likely be playing with Marc Savard and Glen Murray. Savard will be great for Kessel, since Savard likes to dish the puck and Kessel is a natural goal scorer. At only 18, Kessel will be a part of one of the youngest teams in the NHL. Look for a 50-60 point season from Phil the thrill.

Marc Savard-Savard signed a 4 year deal worth 20 million this offseason after posting 97 points with the Thrashers last season. Many people have mediocre expectations for him, believing he only scored those 97 points since he had Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk as his wings. Savard is made for the new NHL, and will post around 80-9o points this season. Savard will provide a 1b line center that the team lacked last season after the departure of Joe Thornton. Savard has been known to be irratating to coaches, but it seems like that hasn't been a problem so far.

Glen Murray-The million dollar question; can Murray reenvent his career? Is he anything without Jumbo Joe? The answer. Yes. Murray is not a playmaker, he is a sniper. He has a cannon for a shot, and if he has the the right guy dishing him the puck, he can pot 40 goals. Murray will be Savard's favorite target this season, and this line will make a top 1-2 punch for the team. Muzzy still has the gas left in the tank, but he isn't as potent without a playmaking center. Expect to see this line for years to come.

Orszagh Out

Blues forward Vladimir Orszagh has had surgery on his left knee, which could sideline him for the entire season. The team said Orszagh, who had been slated to play on the first line, will be re-evaluated next month.

Season Awards Predictions

Here they go. I will also be doing a mid season awards prediction.

Stanley Cup Champions-Boston Bruins (have to go with them), Anaheim Ducks

Eastern Conference Champions-Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes/Buffalo Sabres

Western Conference Champions-Anaheim Ducks

Hart Memorial-Alexander Ovechkin

Jame Norris Memorial-Zdeno Chara

Calder Memorial-Phil Kessel

Frank J. Selke-Jere Lehtinen

Lady Byng Memorial-Daniel Alfredsson

Vezina-Roberto Luongo

Jack Adams-Dave Lewis

Art Ross-Alexander Ovechkin

William M. Jennings-Mikka Kiprosuff

Bill Masterton Memorial-Paul Kariya

King Clancy Memorial-Mats Sundin

100 Point Man Needed

This is what the Bruins need, a 100 point man. No team can win the Stanley Cup, exception Carolina due to emense amount of depth at all posistions, without a 100 point man. Players such as Ovechkin, Crosby, Jagr, and Thornton are what I am talking about. When the Bruins signed Savard this is what they were looking for. A 90-1oo point a year man. Now, Bergeron will eventually, in my opinion, become a 100 point guy a season regularly in my opinion, and Brad Boyes could become a 80-90 point guy regularly soon also. The Bruins may not have their 100 point man now, but that doesn't mean he isn't on their roster. The Bruins have a lot of depth, and will contend for the cup this year, but they will not be at their peak of contention until around 2009-2010.

What's With All the Injuries?

What's going on? It seems like more players this pre-season than others have been injured. Knock on wood, it isn't any Bruins players. Players like Ruutu, Corvo, Federov, and Malkin have all been hurt. Is it that they are out of shape, or more of a fluke play type thing. My guess is a combination of both. That is one thing I hate about pre-season; injuries. Just an idea to think about.

Tuomo Ruutu Out

More bad news for Hawks fans. Newly resigned Tuomo Ruutu will be out again. He will miss 4 weeks of the regular season after spraining his left knee in a pre-season game vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Pacific Division Analysis

Dallas: They get ride of Guerin (which is a very good news) and lost Kapanen. Kapanen is the key here and I'm not sure that they will be able to replace his presence. They add a couple of players like Patrick Stefan (who was deceiving with Atlanta) and Jaroslav Modry, but nothing spectacular there. The resigning of Brendan Morrow is an excellent news for the fans. Their goaltending is solid and you can expect Dallas to contend for the #1 spot of the division.

San Jose: They made their biggest move, last year, acquiring Joe Thornton from Boston. From there, Jonathan Cheechoo become a dangerous sniper and JT made players around him better, which is funny, since he was never able to do so in Boston (expect for Glen Murray). They lost Brad Stuart in the JT trade and let go Tom Pressing in the Mark Bell deal. The net is in good hands but everybody knows that your goaltending is good as your defense. San Jose will be an offensive threat with a good PP unit. The 100$ question: Do this fire power cover for their defensive mistakes?

Anaheim: The Ducks will have the best one-two punch in the league at the blue line with Pronger and Niedermayer. Last year, they had a good surprise with Selanne but the offense could be their biggest problem. They have two very good goaltenders but the controversy between the two keepers could affect the team and destroy the lockeroom atmosphere. With his huge contract, Giguere will be tough to move but, because goaltending could be an issue for a couples of teams, Burke will be able to find a suitor for him. Still, the Ducks will compete but they are like the Thrashers; you never know what kind of team will show up in a particular night.

Los Angeles: The Kings will be the same team as last year and they will have to find an answer for their tremedous collapse of last year. Maybe the answer will come with the arrival of Dean Lombardi who will replace Dave Taylor, who took all the blame for the team's collapse. The addition of Dan Cloutier may suggest that the front office was not satisfied with the goaltending situation but Cloutier never reached the expectations Vancouver had for him. I don't expect Cloutier to be a factor for the Kings this year. They added veterans like Scott Thornton and Rob Blake, who will help them on the PP, but Blake is on the verge of retirement so his impact will be limited.

Phoenix: The addition of Ed Jovanovski and Nick Boynton should help them a lot on the defensive side but their goaltending is a huge question mark. Curtis Joseph did well last year, but the teams around the league made their adjustments to the new rules and the game will become quicker and quicker. I don't expect Cujo to have the same season as last year. I don't think that David Le Neveu or Phillipe Sauve can take the slak here. In this very competitive division, having premium goaltending will be the key. Phoenix gave big contract to Jovanovski and Boynton and it remains to be seen if the team will be able to land an impact goaltender if something goes wrong with Cujo.

1- Dallas
2- San Jose
3- Anaheim
4- Los Angeles
5- Phoenix

Bruins Goaltending Analysis

The Bruins goaltending situation will be interesting this season, I will take a look at each of them and give you my thoughts.

Hannu Toivonen-Hannu has shown flashes of brilliance at times, but he isn't a number one goalie yet. One of the top prospect goalies in the league, Toivonen will get the shot at number one this year. Toivonen is one of the most flexable goalies in the league, with the ability to do a rare Chinese ankle split. This gives him the ability to cover post to post without moving. One of Toivonen's major weakness's is he is injury prone. To be a number one goalie, you obviously have to stay healthy. Goaltending is often underrated, but it is one of not the most important posistion. We all saw what happened to the Lightning and Flyers.

Tim Thomas-Where is the love? When Thomas replaced an injured Hannu Toivonen, he went on a tear. After signing with Boston from Europe, he started the season in Providence. Thomas did show flashes of a number 1, including an extremely hot streak in his first 10 games. But, he is more valuable as a backup, and is possibly one of the best in the NHL. Thomas signed a 3 year/3.3 million dollar extension with the B's after his streak at the end of the season, one of MOC's last moves. This didn't seem like a bad deal to me at the time, but now to me, it seems that 1.1 million a season to much for a backup in the new NHL. Thomas will get the duties of number 1 if Toivonen fails to keep the job.

Tuukka Rask-Widely known as the best puck stopping goalie in the world at only 18. Chiarelli pulled one off "stealing" him for Andrew Raycroft, who slipped down to 3rd on the depth chart. Rask will not be playing with the big club this year, but in a year or two he will definately be up here. Rask could see some time in Providence, but will likely play with his college team.

Brian Finley-Will be the starter in Providence this year. Once regarded as one of the top prospects in the game when he was with the Blues. He started his career off well, but he was injured and never bounced back. After returning, he was horendous, and later went to Nashville where things were no better. He has been playing well in the pre-season, and could be heading in the right direction. Finely could be up with the Bruins if an inury occurs.

Jordan Sigalet-Brother of Jonathan Sigalet, Jordan will be the backup in Providence, but could be promoted to starter if Finely doesn't stay up to par. Jordan has been very good this pre-season, and is one the Bruins better goaltending prospects. Sigalet will probably not see any ice time with the Bruins, but down the road that may change. Sigalet could also be trade bait at the deadline due to the "young" depth the Bruins have at the goaltending posistion.

*Note: Chiarelli has stated that if Thomas and Toivonen don't work out, he will be shopping for a starting goalie such as Evgeni Nabokov, Martin Biron, Robert Esche, J.S. Giguere, and others.

Bruins Defenseman Analysis

I just reed a good column about Alberts in today's Boston Herald. It gave me the idea of a little blue line analysis.

Zdeno Chara- The General. He was brought to eat lots of minutes but he was also brought for his great work ethic and his leadership. A great signing for the B's considering the youth at the blue line and the fact that there's more prospect (Lashoff, Stuart) to come.

Brad Stuart- Since his arival in Beantown, he's stepped up big time and his game has reached a new level according to many hockey writers (espn, RDS, TSN). Iv'e always consider Stuart as a work in progress. I liked him in San Jose and I was surprise that he was included in the JT since a defenseman take a lot of time to reach their potential. TSN rated him as a potential #2 D-man; I think he will become a solid #1. Expectations will be very high this year, but the presence of Mara and Chara will remove pressure on him. I expect a very good season from him.

Paul Mara- Mara is a tough client to evaluate. Some peoples like him, some don't. In Phoenix, they said that he had tough time in his own end but he showed in the pre-season, that it's not the case. He will, certainly, contribute offensively but expect him to work on his defensive side because that's what the B's need the most.

Andrew Alberts- He played in a lots of games last year but was clearly not the favorite of the coach. Alberts is a stay-at-home defenseman and from what Iv'e seen from him so far is good. He improved his "own end" game and will have to be careful about penalties. He improved his foot work and he's not afraid to hit the guy in front of him. I think he deserves a spot on that blueline.

Milan Jurcina- Played a lot, last year, since Sullivan liked him a lot. He has a hard shot for sure but, in the pre-season games, he showed that he needs to work on his speed and footwork. The best example was the one-on-one against Latendresse where he was undressed but the young rookie beat him. It will be a tough decision in his case considering that you have veterans like Dempsey or York who can play his role.

Jason York- Experience, experience, experience. This guy have more then 700 NHL under his belt and his presence will help the young D-man. I expect him to have a spot on the team as a 5th or 6th D-man and from the few clips I saw from him, he didn't look foolish at all.

Matt Lashoff- A prospect well rated by the TSN staff. He has good speed and takes very good decisions in his own end. I still think he have a chance to make the team as a 6th defenseman. People will blast me as they will say that he's way too young but remember what we said about Mark Stuart last year; he's not ready. So not ready that this guy finally had a regular spot on the blue line.

Mark Stuart- He's on the shelf right now but he showed, last year, that he can play with the big guys. He will probably stay in Providence all year considering the fact that he will have to rehab and the fact that there is depth at the blueline. So, there's nothing to rush here and the team should give, to this good prospect, the time to heal and play good minutes in providence.

Nathan Dempsey- The fifth wheel, the spare tire. He's a 7th defenseman. I don't know how he's doing in the pre-season since I didn't see anything from him. That said, I don't see him on the regular roster of the team.

Fun Fact

Read this on Spectors, and 20 of the 30 teams have payrolls over 40 million. Amazing to see what the salary cap has done.

Site Behavior

Let's make some statements here:

1- Matt is working is ass off to make a good site.
2- No one here, and I'm sure Matt feel the same way, pretend to be a hockey genius.
3- This site is about the Bruins and Hockey in general.
4- This site is young and improvements will be made time to time.
5- We do it in our spear time.

For those who post publically that Matt has stoled ideas and so on.. I was a webmaster and had my own site way before writing on Matt's site. When it becomes to codes; there's no stealing or so IF there's no copyright. The procedure is to write to the owner of the site, tell him about a particular idea you like from his site and ask him if you can put it on your own web site. Of course, you will put a link (of his site) to give him the credit for his idea. Lots of sources are "open" one and people can use it as they want it to. Thanks to Jason who straightened things out.

If you have any comments regarding grammar, content or anything else; please use our personal e-mail address to contact us. They are there for that purpose. Matt and I will be glad to hear your suggestions and that's the best way to improve the site. Bashing or bitching publically will only remove the credibility of a critic who can be very constructive.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Boucher Signs with Hawks

Goalie Brian Boucher has inked a one year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. He was invited to training camp, and they liked what they saw. He will back up Nikolai Khabibulan while Patrick Lalime is returning from injury. Once Lalime is back, the Flyers could be very interested in Boucher.

Key Additions/Losses: Pacific Division

Today is the Pacific Addition. This will be the last piece on key additions/losses. I hope it gave you an idea on which players replaced which, how teams filled voids, and what teams improved player wise.

Dallas Stars
Additions: Patrik Stefan, Jeff Halpern, Eric Lindros, Matthew Barnaby, Darryl Sydor, Jaroslav Modry
Losses: Bill Guerin, Niko Kapanen

San Jose Sharks
Additions: Mark Bell, Mike Grier
Losses: Scott Thornton, Alyn McCauley, Nils Ekman

Anaheim Ducks
Additions: Chris Pronger
Losses: Jeff Friesen, Vitaly Vishnevski, Joffrey Lupul

Los Angeles Kings
Additions: Rob Blake, Scott Thornton, Dan Cloutier, Alyn McCauley
Losses: None

Phoenix Coyotes
Additions: Owen Nolan, Jeremy Roenick, Ed Jovanovski, Nick Boynton
Losses: Mike Johnson, Paul Mara

Kessel on 1st Line?

Could Phil Kessel play on the first line? Before you lose it, I know you don't want to mess with Sturm, Bergeron, Boyes connection, but Dave Lewis may be pondering this idea. In tonight's game, the 2nd line was Sturm Savard Murray. The idea could be that Savard needs 2 proven playmakers to be successful, and Sturm and Murray will provide that. Kessel would then play LW with Bergeron and Boyes, a future tandom for years to come. Bergeron would also help Kessel develope more than Savard could possibly, another reason why it could happen. The players and Lewis have also said that they are not sure yet what the lines will be, we can only assume. This is just an observation, but do you agree?

Bruins Win 3-2

The Bruins won their 4th straight game, beating the Islanders 3-2. The Bruins scored all their goals in the 1st period, starting quickly Tyler Redenbach scoring 2:01 in the game, assists to Matt Lashoff and Shean Donovan. Glen Murray scored at 14:33 on a 3-on-2, assists from Marc Savard and Marco Sturm. Jordan Sigalet finished the scoring at 16:04 on the PP, assists from Nathan Dempsey and other one by Marco Sturm. Overall a good game, and I noticed something intriguing that I will talk about. Good to see the B's winning.

Youth or Experience?

I followed B's training camp since the very beginning and one thing hit me. The team has depth at the blue line. In fact, it looks like the team will have to face some very tough decisions regarding who will be in the roster at the beginning of the season.

York and Dempsey are experienced defenseman. They respectively have 708 and 203 NHL games under their belt. According to reports, they play very well. Still, it seems that Matt Lashoff and Jordan Sigalet are doing very good, which mean that a decision will have to be made. I always liked Lashoff for his speed and the good decisions he take in his own end. The new NHL is based on speed and, of course, veterans like Dempsey and York , but they are on their last leg. When I look at the blue line with Chara, Stuart and Mara, I think there is enough veterans to help Jurcina, Alberts and Lashoff to complete their development in the big league. It doesn't mean that Dempsey or York could be useless, it simply means that in this new era, where speed IS the difference, you might go in another direction then focusing on aging veterans. If a guy like Lashoff deserves to be on the team, he should have the spot. The only question here is, whether or not, guys like York or Dempsey will accept to be the 7th defenseman. Do we start the season with more veterans and keep Lashoff and Sigalet in Providence in case of an injury? Do we bring them later in the season? What about Mark Stuart, on the shelf right now, who showed great things last year. He will have his stint in Providencem, but after that?

We were all afraid of our defensive corps last year arguing that they were way too young. It was tough, indeed, and the result was ugly. This year, we found ourselves in another position where a competent front office give the team many options. Youth or experience? I'm willing to be in the line of fire, considering the talent at the blue line, and says...youth.

Friday, September 22, 2006

B's Win 5-1

The B's beat the Islanders 5-1. Nate Thompson, Brad Stuart, Pascal Pelletier and Martins Karsums scored for the B's. That's the 3rd win in a row for the team. Chara was not in uniform tonight for the B's like the other 3/4 of the normal roster.

Key Additions/Losses: Northwest Division

Today is the Northwest Division.

Calgary Flames
Additions: Alex Tanguay, Brad Ference, Jeff Friesen
Losses: Jordan Leopold

Colorado Avalanche
Additions: Ken Klee
Losses: Rob Blake, Alex Tanguay

Edmonton Oilers
Additions: Daniel Tjarqvist, Joffrey Lupul
Losses: Chris Pronger, Radek Dvorak

Vancouver Canucks
Additions: Jan Bulis, Taylor Pyatt, Yannick Trembley, Willie Mitchell, Roberto Luongo
Losses: Dan Cloutier, Todd Bertuzzi, Alex Auld, Ed Jovanovski

Minnesota Wild
Additions: Mark Parrish, Keith Carney, Kim Johnsson
Losses: None

Going Into Chat

Going into the 7 pm chat! Come on in!

Central Division Analysis

Detroit: The gap left by Stevie Y retirement will be difficult to fill. You cannot lose that kind of future Hall of Famer " without an impact. The departure of Brendan Shanahan will have an impact too. Manny Legace was let go and it was clear that the front office thought that Legace was responsible for Wings's playoffs collapse last year. But I'm not sure that an aging Hasek is a part of the solution too. Still, they have Lidstrom to lead their defense and they surely have one of the best explosive young forwards in the league. Detroit's position in their ranking will largely depend on Hasek's performance.

Nashville: The addition of Jason Arnott will help them a lot. He will bring size and some toughness to a team that was consider pretty soft by some hockey writers. They lost Brendan Witt and decide to not re-sign Yanic Perreault, which is puzzling me because he had good statistics and his cost would be very affordable. The goaltending, with Vokoun, is superb and the addition of J.P. Dumont will help the offense. If there are any teams who can legitimitely contend for the first spot in the division, it's them.

Columbus: Doug MacClean did a good job to address his needs in the upfront by getting Frederick Modin and Anson Carter. If the Blue Jackets wants to win this year, they will have to count on a breakout year from their young sniper Gilbert Brûlé. I think it will happend considering the number of veterans who can help him through the process. The Holdout regarding Zherdev is a negative shadow surrounding the team. It could be a good idea for MacClean to resolve that problem sooner than later. Still, the Bluejackets are the great unknown in this division.

Chicago: If there is any home for mediocrity, it's Chicago. Last year was terrible since all their signings were bust: Aucoin was on the shelf almost all season; Khabibulin didn't deliver the goods; the same can apply to Barnaby, Lapointe and the list is very long. They trade their lockeroom cancer Tyler Anderson and send Mark Bell to San Jose. The addition of Havlat and Handzus should help them a bit. But the goaltending situation remain a question mark. If guys like Lapointe, Aucoin and Khabibulin can deliver; it could be a very interesting season in Chicago. Do I think it will happend? No!

St. Louis: Every division has a project and St. Louis should be considered as the Central Division Project. The addition of Ruscinski (without Jagr), Guerin (on the verge to be considered a pile of dead wood) and Weight are interesting, but those guys are on their last leg or so. So, it remains to be seen if their presence will have a real impact on team's performance. However, the addition of hard working and grinding defenseman Jay McKee is an excellent signing. I think St. Louis will have a decent team, but there is lots of question marks and I don't see them competing seriously in their division since everyone made some moves to improve their situation.

5-St. Louis

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chara Injury Update

Zdeno Chara was injured last night after blocking a shot. He is okay, and x-rays were negative. He wanted to come back in the game, but managment thought it would be better if he sat out. Chara may not play next game, but his injury is minor, and Bruins fans, we can relax.

Rumors and News

200th post!


-Former Habs defenseman Todd Simpson has signed in Europe with the Hannover Scorpions, located in Germany.
-Vancouver Canucks resigned foward Josh Green. In 33 games, he recorded 6 points.
-The Philadelphia Flyers have signed head coach Ken Hitchcock to a three-year contract extension.
-The Los Angeles Kings have resigned restricted free agent foward Dustin Brown and defenceman Tim Gleason. Both received two year deals.
-Evgeni Malkin was injured in his NHL debut, he dislocated his shoulder, but will be okay, and will be ready intime for the beginning of the season.
-Sergei Federov hurt his shoulder in a preason game, and could miss up to 2-4 weeks of the regular season.


-Theo Fluery may try to make a comeback to the NHL next season, but was drunk when he was interviewed and when he said he may come back.
-Brian Leetch will not sign with the Rangers, and still hasn't decided whether to retire or play another season.
-Nikolai Zherdev wants either a 3yr/9 million dollar deal, or to be traded. He may also spend the season in Russia. More details soon...
-Jason Allison will sign with a Western Conference team, and the Blue Jackets and Flames are the leading canidates.
-The Sharks may move G Nolan Schafaer. Toskala may be the most likely to be dealt due to his low contract, and Nabokov's deal is so huge he is almost untradable.
-The Dallas Stars could deal D Janne Niiminaa. He is making 2.508 million this season, and could be attractive in teams in need for a 3rd or 4th defenseman. He was acquired from the Islanders for a draft pick last year.
-The Maple Leafs could deal G Sebastian Telqvist, with Raycroft slated to be the starter and Aubin being the backup.

Key Additions/Losses: Central Division

Moving on to the Western Conference. Today is the Central Division.

Deroit Red Wings
Additions: Danny Markov
Losses: Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shannahan, Manny Legace

Nashville Predators
Additions: Jason Arnott
Losses: Brendan Witt, Yanic Perreault

Columbus Blue Jackets
Additions: Fredrick Modin, Anson Carter
Losses: Marc Denis

Chicago Blackhawks
Additions: Martin Havlat, Bryan Smolinski, Patrick Lalime, Michael Handzus
Losses: Kyle Calder, Matthew Barnaby, Mark Bell

St. Louis Blues
Additions: Martin Rucsinky, Bill Guerin, Doug Weight, Jay McKee
Losses: Patrick Lalime, Dean McAmmond

Preds Sign Hamhuis

The Predators announced the resigning of RFA D Dan Hamhuis to a 4 year/8 million dollar deal. Hamhuis, 23, posted career highs in points last year, and is one of the up and coming defenseman in the NHL. Great signing by Predators.

Brian Savage Retires

Brian Savage announced his retirement from the NHL today. The 35-year old winger played 12 seasons in the NHL. Posting 192 goals and 167 assists.

Bondra to Detroit?

According to many website, and a source of mine, the Red Wings are heavily considering bringing in veteren RW Peter Bondra. Last season, Bondra played for Atlanta and put up respectable numbers, and with the Wings need in offense, he could be a perfect fit. There are two types of deals he could sign. A one year/1.5 million deal. Or a base salary of say 750,000, with incentives to earn up to 2 million per say. These are the two possible contracts the Wings are looking at.

New Chatroom

Thanks to Jason over at thenhlline, I was able to find a chatroom that is a LOT better than the current one. It has colored fonts, italitcs, bold, smiles, the whole shabang. Those familiar with AIM, it is a lot like that, so you can easily see who said what. Please check it out. I will be holding a special chat today from 8-9ish. Join, check out the new room. I hope you like it.

*Don't pay attention to the Password thing that comes up once you enter your name. Just say, "go without password".


Morrow Signs Extension with Dallas

TSN is reporting that the Dallas Stars and forward Brendan Morrow have agreed on a 6 year/24.6 million dollar deal.

Latrappe's take: This is a great news for Dallas fans and for the team. Morrow is a great two way forward and they are tough to find in these days around the NHL.

Worth It or Not?

Matt's biggest surprise post underline is very good question among fans. Are players worth what they are paid. That's an interesting question but, LOTS OF THE TIME, the angle to analyze the question is wrong. Remember when the B's signed Chara and Savard in the same day? Every fans around the NHL said that the B's were overpaying for those players. But what is overpaying? It is so money related? I mean, you overpaid a player when he didn't deliver the goods right? When the B's offered 7.5 per to Chara it was for many reasons. They want from him, of course, his talent but the team expect that Chara will be their general at the blue line. They expect Chara to stabilize the defensive corps; to help the young defensemans in their learning curve and assure a very good blue line for the next couple of years. If Chara delivers all of those things mentioned above, did the B's overpay him? I don't think so. When you sign a player you expect something. When those expectations are fullfil, you can consider that you have a return on your investement. The same can apply to Savard. They expect him to be a #2 centerman and help Murray to get right on track. If Savard is sucessful, he's not overpaid.

On the other hand, you have the classic overpay. The Habs are probably the best at this game. Let's throw few names as an example: Bonk, Samsonov, Koivu. They are all overpaid because they will not fullfil expectations for what they were signed. The Habs signed Koivu and expect him to be their #1 centerman. Koivu never was and never will be a #1 centerman in the NHL. Leadership wise, he could be their man but on the ice, he doesn't fit the bill. They signed Samsonov to a 3.5 million per contract and expect him to make Kovalev produce as a machine. It will not happend since we all know that, even if Sammy is a very dynamic player, he takes, in 80% of the time, the bad decision around the net. Playing with Ribeiro with not help either. Bonk is a bust for so many years. Ottawa expected from him a 40 goal scorer and it never happend.

Finally, you overpay when the player you have signed didn't deliver the goods. Whatever the amount, if those expectations, from the team, are not fullfilled, you've overpaid. In this new cap era, evaluating talent will be crucial. Are we are glad, now, that the B's made that front office overhaul?

Southeast Division Analysis

Carolina: Carolina is the reigning Stanley cup champion and no one expected it. They've lost Martin Gerber, Mark Recchi and Doug Weight, and this will have an impact on the leadership in the lockeroom. It will be difficult for the 'Canes to win the big prize again. Lots of teams have adjusted to this new NHL and the 'Canes will face a tough opposition inside the conference. They are basically the same young and speedy team and you can expect them to have a very good season. The big question is : Can Cam ward can repeat his performances of last year?

Florida: With Keenan as a GM, everything was possible including the worst, that's why he got fired too late. He basically destroyed the team in St. Louis and the Panthers fans are very lucky that he got the gate sooner then later. The Panthers trade of one of the best goalkeeper in the NHL, was because of the bad relationship between Luongo and Keenan. Now, the Panthers are stuck with an aging Ed Belfour and an unproven Alex Auld to keep the puck out of their net. The addition of Bertuzzi won't help them since he's not the same player as he was before the Moore incident, but Ruslan Salei should stabilize and help the young defensive corps. The Panthers are young and skilled but i don't see them in the playoffs; not with the kind of goaltending they have this year.

Washington: Basically the same team and they didn't add a lots of players since Brashear, Pothier and Zednik cannot be consider as "premium" players. They have the rookie of the year in their roster and, oh boy, did he make some special goals, last year! Like the Pens, Washington is a project but with a guy like Ovechkin to build on, Washington will be fine in, 2 or 3 years, if the proper work is done.

Atlanta: The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the NHL. You never knows what kind of team will show in a particular night. Sometimes, they are flying, buzzing around your net and play like Stanley Cup champions. In another game, they are flat and lazy. The team have snipers like Kovalchuk and Hossa but they have the same problem as the B's had last year. The threat will come from one single line. They re-sign Lehtinen which is very good but the addition of Steve Rucchin will not replace the loss of Savard at center. A good team without consistency and until they find a solution regarding their rollercoaster performances, I don't see the Trashers in the playoffs.

Tampa Bay: Lecavalier, St. Louis and Richards are sure values and they will have to produce if the team want to make the playoffs. The addition of Marc Denis is very good but it's tough to evaluate his impact on the team. In Columbus, Denis was inconsistent but had a so-so defensive corps. Will he will be better in Tampa? The lost of Pavel Kubina will have an impact and I don't see Luke Richardson or Filip Kuba as the solution. The offense will be OK but all the teams in the conference have adjusted to the new NHL rules. Will the Tampa Bay's defense will step up and rise to the occasion?

1- Carolina
2- Tampa Bay
3- Atlanta
4- Washington
5- Florida

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Who Will Be Your Biggest Surprise?

Who will be your biggest surprise on the Bruins this season? Mine is Marc Savard. People are all saying he isn't worth 5 million a year, and only got 97 points because he had Hossa and Kovalchuk on the same line. Well, I don't fully agree. Savard is made for the new NHL. He has speed, and is quick to dish the puck. He will definately prove doubters wrong and will be a welcoming surprise to Bruins fans with mediocre expectations. He will help Kessel get into Calder Trophy contention, and reenevent Murray's career. I'm interested in who will be your biggest surprise.

B's win 3-1

The B's are 2 on 2 since they win 3-1 against the Habs. Chara, Hoggan and Boyes did the damage. An impressive win where, this time, the team played a full 60 minutes.

Matt's Take: Chara has been lighting it up the 1st two games so far. This is looking like a great start to a hopefully great season. I know we are not supposed to take much from these games, but you can't help but be excited to see this guy in a B's jersey in October when the season starts.

Prospect Writer Wanted

Just letting you know, I am extremely interseted in having a Bruins Prospect Writer on this site. It would be great if you could give any in-depth anaylsis on a prospect. Maybe 1-2 prospects a week or so? Leave an email if you are interested.

Key Additions/Losses: Southeast Division

Today is the Southeast Division.

Carolina Hurricanes
Additions: John Grahame
Losses: Mark Recchi, Doug Weight, Martin Gerber

Florida Panthers
Additions: Todd Bertuzzi, Ed Belfour, Ruslan Salei, Alex Auld
Losses: Roberto Luongo, Sean Hill

Washington Capitals
Additions: Richard Zednik, Donald Brashear, Brian Pothier
Losses: None

Atlanta Thrashers
Additions: Niko Kapanen, Steve Rucchin, Vitaly Vishnevski
Losses: Marc Savard, Patrik Stefan, Peter Bondra, Jaroslav Modry, Thomas Vokoun

Tampa Bay Lightning
Additions: Filip Kuba, Marc Denis, Luke Richardson
Losses: Pavel Kubina, John Grahame, Fredrick Modin, Darryl Sydor

Site Milestone

We have had 12,000 hits on this site in only 1 1/2 months. When I started this site in early August, I had no idea how much success it would have, and thanks to you all, it has become a well known site. I am very glad and proud of this, I hope it continues to grow and keep spreading the word.

The C

Who will be the Bruins new captain? Well, I've talked to some people who are close to the Bruins and other people I know. I also asked my friends what they thought. They all agree. Zdeno Chara is the best and most likely to be captain. He has the biggest contract in team history, and is the number 1 defenseman on the team. He's going to be here long term, and is already showing leadership during practice. They don't want to give it to Bergeron because he is to young, and they don't want a Joe Thornton repeat. 95% chance he is captain. He is what the Bruins are all about, and soon Chara will be wearing the C.

Other canidates that were thought of:
Patrice Bergeron
Brad Stuart
P.J. Axlesson
Glen Murray

Tonight's Matchup

The B's will use their 2 top lines tonight which means that Bergeron, Boyes, Sturm , Savard, Murray, and Kessel will be in the lineup. It will be interesting to see the result of those two lines. Toivonen will play the first two periods. More update to come on tonight's matchup.

Morning Smile

You know that I read a lot from the french canadian press and it's was funny this morning to see fans rip off their team because of that training camp game: Trade Huet; Huet is a no good bastard; our best elements were not on the ice (euh.. Boyes, Bergeron and Savard were not there too) etc etc. Everyone knows that those games means very few and the purpose of those games is to see the future players of your organization play against real NHL players. Training = evaluation. But, still, it made me smile this morning to see the fans and the media hammering the Habs after one training camp game.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

B's Edge the Habs

Boston beat Montreal 5-2, Marco Sturm lead the offense with 2 goals. Phil Kessel look very good in that game (he had two assists) and the young players (Kalus and co.) didn't look foolish at all. Tim Thomas stopped a penalty shot and was pretty solid for two periods. Bergeron and Savard were not in the lineup for this game.

Game Update

Bruins 2, Habs 0

Sturm scored on the PP, assisted by Phil Kessel. Newcomer Mark Mowers also scored in the PP right after.

Tie Domi Retires

Former New York Ranger and Toronto Maple Leaf Tie Domi will announced his retirement fro the NHL today. He will also be joining TSN Canada. Last season, he scored only five goals, assisted on 11 and had 109 penalty minutes. In all, he played 1,020 NHL games in 16 seasons for Toronto, the New York Rangers, the Winnipeg Jets and the Leafs again. He scored 104 goals and had 141 assits. The Leafs honoured him for his 1,000th game in an on-ice ceremony last season. Domi ranks 3rd all time in penatly minutes.

Key Additions/Losses: Atlantic Division

Today is the Atlantic Division.

New Jersey Devils
Additions: None
Losses: None

New York Rangers
Additions: Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka
Losses: Martin Ruscinksy

New York Islanders
Additions: Mike Sillinger, Viktor Kolzov, Sean Hill, Bredan Witt, Chris Simon, Tom Poti
Losses: None

Pittsburgh Penguins
Additions: Mark Recchi, Evgeni Malkin
Losses: None

Philadelphia Flyers
Additions: None
Losses: Brian Boucher, Keith Primeau, Eric Desjardins

Atlantic Division Analysis

New Jersey: The first year of the CBA was a tough one for sweet Lou. Stuck with Malakhov, McGillis, and Mogiliny contracts, the GM will face some tough decisions. The re-signing of Scott Gomez and Patrick Elias was crucial but still, players like Gionta and Paul Martin are not sign yet. The Devils show a pretty balanced team and they can count on Mr. Shutdown himself: Marty Brodeur. Brodeur is the heart and soul of this team for many years, now, and I don't expect that to change. Having the best goaltender of the NHL in your net is "the edge". We will have to wait and see about the change that sweet Lou is about to make to keep his team under the cap. But still, the Devils is the team to beat in the Atlantic division largely because of their great goaltending.

Philadelphia: Primeau and Desjardins have retired and it will left a gap regarding leadership in the lockeroom. The resigning of Gagne will help the offense a lot and quite frankly, Clarke had no choice to resign him. There's no way you can be sucessful without your best goalscorer in the lineup. Like Ottawa, Philadelphia is a great regular season team but crumble in the playoffs. For a decade, Clarke failed to add a legitimate #1 goaltender who can bring his team to the next level and it's killing him year after year. Clark will have to fill the void at center and it will not be easy to do since the best free agents are gone. Snyder have express his displeasure regarding team's composition and it will be very interesting to see what will happend with Clark if things aren't going the way Snyder expect it. Still, Philadelphia is a very good team, but this year will be the same as the last one...a good regular season, but an early exit in the first or the second round due to a lack of solid goaltending.

Rangers: The addition of Brendan Shanahan will help the team, leadership and offensively wise. The Rangers will have a good offense with Jagr, Ruscinski and Straka leading the way. They produced well, last year, under the new rules and I don't expect them to stop this year. The goaltending is stable with Lundqvist and Weekes and the addition of Marek Malik will add depth to the blueline. Can the Rangers repeat their regular season success of last year? I say, Yes.

Islanders: Some people will never learn and Wang is a part of that category. He put a huge mortage on his team by signing DiPietro to a 15 years contract and fill up his front office with peoples who cannot handle the job. But do we have to be surprise since Wang keep Milbury so long behind the desk while he destroyed the team on a daily bases. The roster on the ice is still decent but off ice problems will plague the season. With a guy like Wang, everything is possible and you can expect the very worst for a team when hockey operations is controled by an owner who have an ego who make him think that he's an hockey genius. Garth Snow damage his credibility in this adventure as "ghost" GM.

Pittsburgh: A project: This team is full of talent with Crosby, Fleury and, maybe, Malkin. They have veterans to surround them but they still missing some pieces. The possible sale of the team will be a constant distraction and there's no indication that the head coach Michel Therrien will remain behind the bench all season long. Still, it will be a mistake to take the Pens too lightly and think that they will handle the 2 points graciously. A team full of young hungry wolves is always dangerous.

1- New Jersey
2- Rangers
3- Philadelphia
4- Pittsburgh
5- Islanders

Monday, September 18, 2006

Top 10 Worst Signings in the New NHL

This will be interesting. These are my top 10 worst signings by teams in the last two offseason. Give me your take.

1. Alexei Zhamnov 3 yr/12.3 million dollar deal with Boston. Injury plagued, has to retire, 10 points last season. Horrible, horrible.

2. Nikolai Khabibulan 4 year/27 million dollar deal with Chicago. After thinking they took one of the prizes of the UFA market, Khabibulan turned into one of the worst goalies in the NHL. One year wonder anyone? He was a total bust and will cost the team dearly capwise for years.

3. Alexander Mogiliny 2 year/7 million dollar deal with New Jersey. Why not a 1 year deal for this risk? Overpaid, and now is causing trouble in the Devils cap this season.

4. Brian Leetch 1 year/4 million dollar deal with Boston. A good signing at the time, but overpaid. Leetch never lived up to the hype, and was a bust in many peoples eyes. Was also injured and couldn't take control of Boston's PP.

5. Zigmund Palffy 3 year/13.5 million dollar deal with Pittsburgh. Palffy was hurt all season, and retired early into it. He never got the chance to unite with Crosby and Recchi. Waste of money.

6. Hal Gill 3 year/6.3 million dollar deal with Toronto. Since when to you pay your 4th defender 2.1 million a season? Especially when your offense is in trouble, lack of cap space, and Gill didn't really "play up to expectations" in a horendous Boston defense last year.

7. Dan McGillis 2 years/4.4 million dollar deal with New Jersey. Another horrible signing by Lou. He wasn't that great in Boston, and now he is in the minors.

8. Pavel Kubina 4 year/20 million dollar deal with Toronto. Another overpaid D-man on Toronto. Since when do you pay a 3rd defender 5 million a season? He wasn't anything special in TB, and will be a slightly above defender in Toronto. Another mistake by JFJ.

9. Michael Peca 1 year/2.5 million dollar deal with Toronto. Another mistake by JFJ. Why overpay for a 20 point 3rd line C, when Eric Lindros and Jason Allison would come back for less money? Don't ask me. Peca will be another bust/disappointment in a old, and overhyped Leafs roster.

10. Vladimir Malakhov 2 year/7.1 million dollar deal with New Jersey. ANOTHER mistake by Lou. Not his greatest offseaon. Malakhov wasn't anything great in NJ, and retired during the year. He could still come back, but his money still counts against the cap. Another should-a-been one year deal.

*Hmm...a trend anyone? (Hint: Toronto, New Jersey, Toronto, New Jersey, a few MOC blunders...)I hope GM's around the league will learn from Lou and JFJ's horrible signings and come to their senses on overpriced vetern and over hyped talent.

Key Additions/Losses: Northeast Division

I will be doing a key additions/losses column this week on each division. Starting with the Northeast.

Montreal Canadiens
Additions: Sergei Samsonov, Mike Johnson
Losses: Richard Zednik

Buffalo Sabres
Additions: Jaroslav Spacek
Losses: Jay McKee, J.P. Dumont, Rory Fitzpatrick, Taylor Pyatt

Boston Bruins
Additions: Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard, Phil Kessel, Shean Donovan, Paul Mara
Losses: Nick Boynton, Andrew Raycroft

Ottawa Senators
Additions: Joe Corvo, Martin Gerber , Dean McAmmond
Losses: Zdeno Chara, Martin Havlat, Bryan Smolinski, Dominik Hasek, Tyler Arnason

Toronto Maple Leafs
Additions: Pavel Kubina, Hal Gill, Andrew Raycroft, Michael Peca
Losses: Eric Lindros, Jason Allison, Ed Belfour, Tie Domi

Northeast Division Analysis

Since the training camp is on its way, it's time to look at the division where our beloved B's will compete.

Ottawa: It will be a though year for Ottawa since they have lost Havlat and Hasek. The goaltending will be a question mark even if the two goaltenders did do very good in the regular season last year. But, Gerber and Emery are still unproven regarding the playoffs. The big focus in Ottawa is performing in the playoffs. This team didn't find a way to win even when their team was packed withl talents. I don't expect them to do better in the playoffs, this year, since I didn't see on this team, character wise, what it takes to win it all. That said, Ottawa will be a tough client to handle with the like of Alfredsson, Heatley and Spezza and we will have to wait, and see if their goaltending can put them on top or make their season under expectations....

Buffalo: If the name of the game is goaltending, Buffalo have definitely the best one-two punch in goal this year. Miller is solid and will be the future #1 goalkeeper of the team while Biron proved, last year, that he's a legitimate #1 especially when he came out of the blue after the injury of Miller to pull out a long strecht of wins for the team. Performing under pressure is something teams are looking regarding goaltending. If the right offer comes, through the season, Biron is a goner. The team was able to keep their defensive squad almost intact, McKee left for another paradise, but the core remains pretty solid. They have played very well last year, and I don't expect the situation to change this year. The upfront is almost the same minus Dumont. We will have to see what will be the impact of that loss on the team but with Briere, Afinogenov and co., they should be fine. Tim Connelly will miss the start of the season and it could slow down a bit their offensive punch at the beginning of the season. With their solid goaltending, I don't see Buffalo anywhere but at the top spot of the division.

Montreal: What can we say about Montreal since, in all the newspaper, they think that the signing of Samsonov will bring them the cup. Overrated is probably the word who can define the most the Habs this year. Expectations are always very high in Montreal but there will be no Lord Stanley parade this year. Their defensive squad still missing a legitimate #1 defenseman and I don't think that the likes of Souray or Markov are fitting the bill. This defensive corps is OK but speedy team will be able to create lots of opportunities against them. The key against Montreal is to pressurse those defensemans who had the tendency to panic under pressure. The goaltending is a question mark even with the success of Huet last season. Huet was a no show before last season and he will have to repeat what he did last year to make the team competitive. I don't think he will be able to do so and Aebeschier is as well. The upfront is loaded with overrated player like Bonk and Ribeiro. The addition of Sammy will add an element of speed but Samsonov is recognized, around the league, to make bad decisions around the net. Don't expect Sammy to change that this year. According to RDS and all the papers, Sammy will play with Kovalev and Ribeiro. The habs expect that the magic between Sammy and Kovalev (in the Olympics) could be repeat in the NHL. Wishful thinking, indeed, if there is anyone. I don't expect the Habs to be better then the B's this year even if, in all the papers and the media, peoples are fully convince that Sheldon Souray is a better defenseman then Brad Stuart... I tell you... Overrating is the key here.

Toronto: Quinn has left and he paid for last season mess. Very few players were added but some bad decisions will haunt the team like the signing of Gill (3 years/6 million) and the signing of McCabe where Toronto had to overpay him to retain his services. In that case, Ferguson cannot be blamed since there was a tremendous pressure from the fans and the media to re-sign him. The defense is, in my perspective, lacking of depth and I expect a very long year from that defensive corp. The goaltending is a HUGE question mark with Raycroft in goal. Do you think Razor will be able to bounce back with a defensive corp worst then what he had in Boston? You can toss a coin on that one. The upfront is very similar to last year except for the addition of Peca. The leafs have to find a player to play with Sundin because O'neill didn't fit the bill, right now. The season could be very long for Leafs fans and I expect John ferguson to be fired if things are not turning around which I highly doubt.

Boston: The most pro-active team this summer. They add Chara and Savard as their new high profile players. They addressed the depth of the team by signing Donovan, York, Dempsey and Mowers. The arrival of Savard will bring to the team a well needed scoring 2nd line. If Kessel make the team, it will be very intesresting to see what kind of chemistry will develop between those 3 guys. The success of the team will depend on the production of that line. The line of Bergeron, Boyes and Sturm will be a permanent threat, night in, night out and the third line composed by Primeau-Axelsson-Donovan should be very good in their role. The defensive squad have finally a legitmate #1 defenseman and they have one of the best. The arrival of Chara will stabilise the squad, remove the pressure of Alberts and Jurcina, and add leadership to a squad that was lacking of that, last year. The signing of Dempsey and York is good since it will permit to Alberts, Jurcina, and Mark Stuart to have to time to really focus on their developement. The question mark is definitely in the net where Toivonen show great skills and composure that he showed last year. The next question is: Will he will be able to repeat?Thomas proved last season that he can play in the NHL but it's always the same thing about Thomas: Which Thomas will be in the front of the net in that particular game. Do it will the stunning Tim saving the day save after save or the other Tim who can make a pass a goal from the red line. The same old question regarding Thomas is the same old question that prevent him to be a legitimate #1 goaltender in this league.

When you look at the division, the B's is the most improved team. The top teams will stay at the top but for the rest, it could be anyone's ball game. Therefore, here's my standing for the next season in the Northeast Division.

1- Buffalo
2- Ottawa
5- Toronto
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