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07-05-2011, 11:09 AM
Chapin Landvogt
Hockey's Future Staff
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Germany
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Originally Posted by PatientlyWaiting View Post
1) The Penguins have a Jack Adams nominee one year, and a winner the next. Dan Bylsma had this team playing top notch hockey without their two best hockey players. Most think Fluery is overrated, this is a guy who is more than capable of being the guy they rely on until the other "big 2" get there act together. The Pens are an absolute lock for the playoffs, and I'm almost positive that 1 of them will be ready by training camp.
Fleury played out of his mind. I believe it was his best hockey to date.

Look at how many 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 victories he had during the time C and M were out.

This doesn't continue over 82 games. Bylsma doesn't get that award without Fleury's performance. In addition, Pittsburgh was already doing A OK in the standings when Crosby went down.

Nice work, but not necessarily repeatable.

2) They are banking on Giroux and VanReims to take the natural progression forward. Giroux is an absolute stud, who were he on the Islanders,would be our second best forward behind Tavares. JVR is a BIG body with SICK hands. They got back the best prospect not in hockey, Schenn, Voracek (big boy with tons of talent) and they sured up a position they will only go to regret come the playoffs. They are a lock.
I love their new look and I think they will likely make the playoffs. I'm not giving them a spot yet.

As good as Giroux is, he was able to do that with Richards and Carter around and taking off some of the pressure. Having Leino didn't hurt either. They're all gone and as nice as Voracek, Simmonds and Schenn may be, they have much to prove if they wish to fill those shoes.

In addition, they can't afford to have Bryzgalov disappoint.

3) We hate on the Rags all the time. I don't view them as a Stanley Cup contender, but they will be in the playoffs. They do have one of the best pairings in Staal-Girardi (Sum over the parts, here) and Henrik is always, the X factor. He has reduced his bad streaks and sometimes goes months on months as an absolute wall. Anyone saying the Rangers won't be there come game 83 is, well, being foolish and naive.
Agree, well, with the exception of the last line. They're being in the playoffs looks fairly likely, but is not guaranteed. I'd say those guaranteeing it are closer to foolish and naive.

4) Buffalo has Ryan Miller in net, one of the best goaltenders in the world, and although I do not agree with the contracts handed out this offseason, they still were able to get better. Ehrhoff makes them better, Leino makes them bigger, stronger.. and better. There defense is deep.. and when a guy like Myers is Number 2 on your D-Chart, you are in fabulous condition.
Well, Leino and Erhoff are nice additions, but bigger and stronger? Hmmm. As is, Leino simply makes up for the loss of Connolly - maybe. Roy has to come back form injury and Erhoff has to prove he can also play in the East. We haven't seen that yet. What if he puts in a season like Bouwmeester has in Calgary???

Miller should will them to the playoffs, but on paper this club isn't any less questionable than the aforementioned teams and could easily be outdone by a Carolina or Florida.

5) Carey Price and Subban would be two of the Islanders' best players. Montreal receives criticism every off season, and I can't figure out why.. because they always make it. Gomez, although overpaid and overrated, is still a solid top center for them, and Cammy, although small, will still be good for 60-80 points.
Well, they've spent two seasons just barely making the playoffs and were good on the back of Halak a year ago. Tough first round loss this year.

Still, they have made it at least four years running. They'd have to be seen favorably to at least make it this year.

All in all though, there are surprises EVERY season, so we can't just be assuming all the same teams are gonna make the playoffs again.

Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a team like Tampa looking form the outside in next spring.

Carolina is always tough and you've gotta think that Jersey will bounce back, especially if they get Parise in the line-up.

I personally think Florida will be better and that Toronto is not geared to take a step back.

All this said, it's time for the Isles to make it. The next step in progression is there and in my mind's eye, the injury situation is the key, key, key thing we have to have under control in order for this team to slip in at spot 7 or 8.

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