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Old
07-18-2011, 09:14 PM
  #51
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07-18-2011, 10:20 PM
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07-18-2011, 10:27 PM
  #53
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Originally Posted by Jean_Jacket41 View Post
Unlike many Cup winners who lose key guys because of Cap reasons after their Cup win, the Bruins lost only Recchi (retirement), Ryder and Kaberle.
The only concrete example of this is Chicago.

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07-19-2011, 01:15 AM
  #54
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always tough to predict exactly since injuries can change everything, and of course there are still 10 weeks left before opening day rosters will be set, so things can change btw now and then... but up until now, this is how i'd put it:

Top-4 group: Serious Cup Contenders and Playoff locks


1- Washington
a veteran netminder of vokoun's caliber can bring up the whole teams level of play, ward/hamrlik/halpern are perfect additions to their young talented team.

2- Boston
i may hate the Bruins, but i think they are a team that will carry the swagger of being cup champions, horton wil be a ?, but they still have a talented group of young fwds that should only be better this year (Krecj, Bergeron, Lucic, Seguin, Marchand...)

3- Philly
Bryz lifted the Yotes from the basement to the playoffs, he should lift the revamped flyers back to the top of their division. Pronger/Lavioletter will control the room keeping everyone on the same page and despite their moves, they still have the deepest collection of fwd talent in the league

4- Pittsburgh
if they stay healthy, will challenge for conference title, injury concerns knocks them down a few pegs


5-9 Group: playoff locks, need things to go very well to contend, team that suffers worse luck/injury problems will fall out of playoffs


5- Buffalo
might take them a bit of time to gel (but Ruff is the kind of coach to make that a quick transition), but they are probably the most improved team in the conference after Washington. even without big stars, their fwd group is deep and talented, their defense is well-balanced, and Miller is among the leagues best in nets.

6- New Jersey
i think 2nd half was closer reflection to their potential, getting Parise back and Kovalchuk acclimatized should make them a very dangerous team, Brodeur will be ultra-motivated b/c he's close to the finish line (would have them higher, but their division will be toughest in the league, which will cost them points... swap them with Pitt if Crosby/Malkin are slowed by injuries).

7- Tampa Bay
Boucher will continue to get the most out of this group, but imo goaltending is a ?, can rolosson repeat last year's regular season heroics or will father time catch up to him...

8- Montreal
Price (supported by Martin's system) will continue to carry this team. If ever they were to fix their centre depth and scoring problems, they could contend with the top teams, but ultimately they are still far too thin in terms of offensive talent (and "toughness") to be a real contender... as much as I may love them.

9- New York Rangers
if Richards is/remains healthy, they could easily make the playoffs, but if not (or if Gaborik hits the IR yet again), they don't have the top-end talent to survive the toughest division in hockey imo. Lundqvist + a talented young defense is still their biggest strength.

10-13 group: not likely to make playoffs unless everything goes well AND a few teams above really struggle


10- Toronto
they are to thin up front to be a playoff lock, and Reimer will be a ? until he proves himself over a full season+. My prediction- they will stumble in the first 1/2, finally fire Wilson, and then go on a tear and narrowly miss the playoffs despite big deadline acquisitions by Burke.

11- Winnipeg
positive buzz will carry them through early goings, but ultimately the lack of depth up front and relying on too much youth will keep them on the outside looking in.

12- Florida
if I had to pick a dark-horse to surprise and make the playoffs, I'd go with Florida... no elite talent but lots of solid depth, but with a rookie coach, getting everyone playing on the same page will take time.


13- Carolina
last year they suffered virtually no serious injuries, and got solid seasons from all their key-personnel (not too mention Skinner's surprise explosion) and still missed the playoffs... unlikely that they will be that lucky again, losing Cole will hurt, and Kaberle won't be enough to lift them any higher.

14-15: basement teams

14- Ottawa
looking at their moves (or lack thereof), i think the internal plan is to stay in the lottery pick range for one more year... Konopka, Filatov & Auld aren't exactly the kind of players that will lift a basement team into playoff contention. counting on Spezza/Alfredsson/Michalek to stay healthy and carry the offense is optimistic at best.


15- NY Islanders
did not improve their roster externally (reasoner is a nice depth player, that's it), and while getting Streit and Okposo back for full season will help, they are still far to thin to deal with injuries and every team in their division will be as good or better than last year... another lottery pick is the best they can hope for

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07-19-2011, 02:18 AM
  #55
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1.Washington
2.Pittsburgh
3.Montreal
4.Boston
5.Buffalo
6.Philly
7.New York Rangers
8.Devils
-------------------------
9.Tampa Bay
10.Winnipeg
11.Toronto
12.Carolina
13.Islanders
14.Florida
15.Ottawa

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07-19-2011, 02:28 AM
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller Time View Post
always tough to predict exactly since injuries can change everything, and of course there are still 10 weeks left before opening day rosters will be set, so things can change btw now and then... but up until now, this is how i'd put it:

2- Boston
i may hate the Bruins, but i think they are a team that will carry the swagger of being cup champions, horton wil be a ?, but they still have a talented group of young fwds that should only be better this year (Krecj, Bergeron, Lucic, Seguin, Marchand...)
Not trying to nitpick, just keeping you in the know - Horton has reported no lingering after-effects from the devastating concussion he sustained in the Cup Finals. It's great news for Boston, this guy has the look of someone who's just going to continue to grow.

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07-19-2011, 08:00 AM
  #57
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Originally Posted by Juicy Rebound View Post
Not trying to nitpick, just keeping you in the know - Horton has reported no lingering after-effects from the devastating concussion he sustained in the Cup Finals. It's great news for Boston, this guy has the look of someone who's just going to continue to grow.
How was his session with Dr. Recchi?

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07-19-2011, 08:04 AM
  #58
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Originally Posted by theboss View Post
How was his session with Dr. Recchi?

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07-19-2011, 10:34 AM
  #59
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Awesome Pic!!!

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07-19-2011, 10:43 AM
  #60
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Originally Posted by Talks to Goalposts View Post
I say what would cause the hangover year is they had strong injury luck, abnormally good offensive years from their depth and a career season from Thomas that he is not likely to repeat.
Not so much a "hangover" as simple regression to the mean/playing to their actual talent level.

Of course, you can bet that "Cup hangover" will be the story and "the Bruins are going to explode any game now" to be an angle for quite some time.

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07-19-2011, 11:06 AM
  #61
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All predictions are, of course, barring freak injuries and weird luck. Predictions in such a highly-variable game as hockey are extremely iffy, and at least one team is almost guaranteed to have a much better or much worse record than their talent level would suggest.

I think that in the Eastern the teams that have no realistic shot at the playoffs are Florida, Ottawa, Carolina, Toronto, Winnipeg, and the Islanders. One of them may get lucky, get a really good year, and slip in... and honestly, I expect one will, but since it would be purely a fluke occurence, it's impossible to predict which one.

With six teams eliminated, that leaves 9 teams vying for eight spots.

In the Southeast, Washington is the best team in the conference. The addition of an elite goalie (on a ridiculously cheap contract!) really clinches it; Washington may well be the best team in the league. Tampa is very strong and unlikely to miss, especially since the division has three minnows (Winnipeg, Carolina, and Florida). I expect to see Washington in first place, and Tampa in 4-5.

The Northeast situation is interesting. Boston is bound to regress to the mean; it's liable to stay overrated for a while, being the Cup champion, but as a team they are likely weaker than the Habs (they probably already were last year, despite Montreal's much worse luck with injuries). Buffalo is better and while I don't think they are better than Boston yet, it's not outside of the realm of possibility that Boston ends up in third place in the division. With two minnows in the division, however, it seems unlikely any of the three actually miss. I would see the division go Montreal-Boston-Buffalo, but it's likely to be close. One of them will be in third, and the others in the 4-7 range.

The Atlantic is likely to be the most competitive division, with only one minnow in the Islanders. That means the unhappy bubble team will probably come from here. Pittsburgh is likely the second-best team in the conference unless Crosby's injury persist; they're most likely to win the division. New Jersey is much stronger than they showed last year, and will be strongly in the mix. Philadelphia tore apart a contending team and are now significantly weaker than they finished last season. It does not seem, intuitively, that they weakened themselves so much so that they aren't a playoff team anymore, but in so competitive a division, it just might be enough for them to land in ninth. (And I suspect throwing Giroux and especially Briere to the top-6 wolves will hurt them more than anticipated; they traded away their two matchup centers). If Philly doesn't miss out, then it's likely to be the Rangers, despite the Richards addition; they strike me as being in the low-end of that top-9, yet significantly stronger than the bottom-6 of the conference.

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07-19-2011, 11:51 AM
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theboss View Post
How was his session with Dr. Recchi?
Bwa Bwaaaaa!

<sad trumpets!>

FWIW - Right now I have Montreal winning the division... loved the Eric Cole signing (but injuries, roster shakeups, etc., could certainly adjust that by October)


Last edited by TooMuchMan: 07-19-2011 at 12:42 PM.
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Old
07-19-2011, 12:05 PM
  #63
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The Atlantic is likely to be the most competitive division, with only one minnow in the Islanders. That means the unhappy bubble team will probably come from here. Pittsburgh is likely the second-best team in the conference unless Crosby's injury persist; they're most likely to win the division. New Jersey is much stronger than they showed last year, and will be strongly in the mix. Philadelphia tore apart a contending team and are now significantly weaker than they finished last season. It does not seem, intuitively, that they weakened themselves so much so that they aren't a playoff team anymore, but in so competitive a division, it just might be enough for them to land in ninth. (And I suspect throwing Giroux and especially Briere to the top-6 wolves will hurt them more than anticipated; they traded away their two matchup centers). If Philly doesn't miss out, then it's likely to be the Rangers, despite the Richards addition; they strike me as being in the low-end of that top-9, yet significantly stronger than the bottom-6 of the conference.
Good analysis, I expect the Penguins and Devils to be 1 and 2 in the Atlantic. Even without Lemaire the Devils will make it, the lesson they learned last year will not be forgotten.

I think both Philly and the Rangers will be battling for the last playoff spot and I actually think it's a coin flip. Either team could prove me wrong though as they have a ton of talent.

It's gonna be a tight race again this season, I love it!

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07-19-2011, 06:08 PM
  #64
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Originally Posted by Juicy Rebound View Post
Not trying to nitpick, just keeping you in the know - Horton has reported no lingering after-effects from the devastating concussion he sustained in the Cup Finals. It's great news for Boston, this guy has the look of someone who's just going to continue to grow.
that's good news (as much as it pains me to say it)... hate to see a young player's career get derailed by concussion issues.

that said, even with a clean bill of health, as you guys know with both Bergeron/Savard, after one bad one the chances of getting another one go up exponentially, and the way he plays he certainly isn't in a low-risk group of getting his head rattled again.


if he is healthy all year, and comes back without any "side-effects" to his game, I'm worried as a habs fan. while he had a decent season, in the playoffs it looked as though he was finally putting it all together and emmerging as the dominant force he looked capable of being when he was drafted.

Horton as a 20-25g, 45-55pt player is one thing, but if he builds from the playoffs and breaks out as a 30+g, 60+pt player for the B's this year, that's bad news for the habs...

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07-19-2011, 06:25 PM
  #65
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I don't see the Pens finishing in the top 5. It's much more probable that Crosby doesn't play at all imo. His progression has been poor and if his condition hasn't substantially improved by now, it may never.

It pains me to say this, but we could be on verge of losing the best player in hockey again to concussions.

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07-19-2011, 06:30 PM
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juicy Rebound View Post
Bwa Bwaaaaa!

<sad trumpets!>

FWIW - Right now I have Montreal winning the division... loved the Eric Cole signing (but injuries, roster shakeups, etc., could certainly adjust that by October)
Ya can't take a joke or what? (That was a funny pic cmon)

As for "devastating concussion" ... He was back in the stands of a louder-than-hell arena next game and was on the plane by Game 7. I don't know where you stood on the Pacioretty-at-the-movies story, but that's the exact situation. He was concussed, but it isn't 'devastating.'

And oddly enough, you really think that odds are we win the division?! Boston and even Buffalo have arguably passed us up the NE Division chart.

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07-19-2011, 09:13 PM
  #67
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Ya can't take a joke or what? (That was a funny pic cmon)

As for "devastating concussion" ... He was back in the stands of a louder-than-hell arena next game and was on the plane by Game 7. I don't know where you stood on the Pacioretty-at-the-movies story, but that's the exact situation. He was concussed, but it isn't 'devastating.'

And oddly enough, you really think that odds are we win the division?! Boston and even Buffalo have arguably passed us up the NE Division chart.
Its a three team race that can go to any of the three but Montreal has the best defensive group thanks to the Markov-Subban combination, probably the second best goaltending, and I take Montreal's forwards as basically equivalent to the other two, maybe better in a good year.

Boston had everything break right for them last year except Savard's injury which ended up saving them from cap-hell. Buffalo made some flashy additions but I think both Leino and Ehrhoff were passengers on their last teams. Leino was the third man on a third line that got super soft minutes in Philadelphia. I honestly think he's a downgrade on Connolly. Ehrhoff was just the defenseman that played with the Sedins, he also got to play most of the game in the offensive zone. They're both decent players, but got severely over-hyped.

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07-19-2011, 11:23 PM
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I agree about Leino, but who knows with Vanek and their core, he might be able to break out. He'll forever be overpaid, but still.

Ehrhoff.. I'll give you that he wasn't the core, because that's Edler, but Ehrhoff was a rock last year. Pair him up with Myers who's due for a solid season after his sophomore "slump" ... I see great things for their defense once the chemistry builds up.

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07-19-2011, 11:25 PM
  #69
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1. Montreal
2. thru 8. Meh some other teams
9 thru 14. Some kinda crappy teams
15. Toronto

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07-20-2011, 12:01 AM
  #70
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I agree about Leino, but who knows with Vanek and their core, he might be able to break out. He'll forever be overpaid, but still.

Ehrhoff.. I'll give you that he wasn't the core, because that's Edler, but Ehrhoff was a rock last year. Pair him up with Myers who's due for a solid season after his sophomore "slump" ... I see great things for their defense once the chemistry builds up.
Ehrhoff was being sent out for the offensive assignments with the Sedins most of the time. Hamhius and Bieksa were the guys doing the real heavy lifting last year, and Mitchell, Salo and Bieksa were doing the year before. He's a decent defender, but his reputation got inflated by a very favorable situation in Vancouver. Regehr is the guy I'm more concerned about, although I'd take Markov-Gorges as a first pairing over Myers-Regehr any day, and Subban-Gill is probably better than Leopold-Ehrhoff as a second pairing.

Few teams in the East can match what having two number one calibre defenders like Markov and Subban on their defense. Philadelphia, Pittsburg and Washington are probably the only teams that can match up.

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07-20-2011, 12:05 AM
  #71
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On top of the Richards acquisition, which clearly makes the Rangers better this season at least, IMO they have some very good players at the age where they could take a major step forward this season. I'm thinking of Stepan, Anisimov, McDonagh and Del Zotto. At the other end of the spectrum, only bit players Fedotenko and Biron are at the age where you can expect them to decline. Most of the team are in their prime.

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07-20-2011, 09:29 AM
  #72
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1. Washington
2. Pittsburgh
3. Montreal or Boston
4. Tampa Bay
5. Boston or Montreal
6. Buffalo
7. Philadelphia
8. NYR or NJ
9. NJ or NYR
10 Carolina
11. Toronto
12. Florida
13. NYI
14. Winnipeg
15. Ottawa



IMO, the East is very wide open from the 3 seed to the 9th seed. I can see a bunch of possible playoff combinations this year and a very tight race.

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07-20-2011, 10:13 AM
  #73
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07-20-2011, 10:29 AM
  #74
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This exercise is harder than I thought it would be...

1. Pittsburgh
2. Washington
3. Buffalo
4. Boston
5. New Jersey
6. Montreal
7. Philadelphia
8. Tampa Bay

I don't even feel comfortable with that prediction. I think you could argue any permutation of 3-8 + the Rangers and Hurricanes. Makes me wonder how some Leafs fans can confidently say their team will make the playoffs this year. A couple of pretty good teams will probably miss out in the East.

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07-20-2011, 11:08 AM
  #75
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Its a three team race that can go to any of the three but Montreal has the best defensive group thanks to the Markov-Subban combination, probably the second best goaltending, and I take Montreal's forwards as basically equivalent to the other two, maybe better in a good year.

Boston had everything break right for them last year except Savard's injury which ended up saving them from cap-hell. Buffalo made some flashy additions but I think both Leino and Ehrhoff were passengers on their last teams. Leino was the third man on a third line that got super soft minutes in Philadelphia. I honestly think he's a downgrade on Connolly. Ehrhoff was just the defenseman that played with the Sedins, he also got to play most of the game in the offensive zone. They're both decent players, but got severely over-hyped.
Dude, if there is one team that is more loaded in offensive depth than the Habs in the east, it's Buffalo. I prefer our D too, but it's very close.

Teams who have a complete set (top 9 F, top 4 D, solid G) are many in the east this year... Washington, Pittsburg, Montreal, Buffalo, Boston, Philly... and even Tampa Bay.

I see those 7 teams as sure locks for the playoffs.

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