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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Random Tuesday Musings

It's Stanley Cup Playoffs Eve! While I'm still gathering names for the petition to make the opening day of the Stanley Cup Playoffs a national holiday here in Canada, I've been bouncing some thoughts around in my head. I'll admit that most of these thoughts deal with how to properly weave bacon together so that I can wrap a pork roast in succulent bacon before throwing the whole thing into a smoker, but I digress. I have some hockey thoughts as well, so let's put pens to paper and get this show on the road!

I happen to be on the boat that says that if the San Jose Sharks fire Todd McLellan, they've fired the wrong guy. It's not that Doug Wilson has done a poor job in San Jose, but he's certainly not done himself any favors recently. His comments about removing Joe Thornton's captaincy and his poor free agency record (John Scott???) in recent years should be enough to facilitate a change.

  1. If McLellan is fired by the Sharks, how fast would the Bruins jump at the opportunity to have him coach the Bruins?
  2. If Claude Julien is fired by the Bruins, would he pull a Boudreau and head west? San Jose could be in the market for a fiery guy like Julien.
  3. I don't see Peter Chiarelli going to Toronto if he's fired. I don't see him wanting that hassle in terms of trying to piece together that radioactive roster. And he'd be saddled with Kessel again. Although, if anyone knows about trading Kessel, Chiarelli is your guy.
  4. Toronto has a lot of overpriced pieces based on the returns they saw this season, but I could see teams taking a run at either Joffrey Lupul or Tyler Bozak this summer. If Toronto is truly looking to unload these guys, they can probably get a decent return. Kessel and Phaneuf are going to be challenges.
  5. If Arizona misses out on Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the rebuild there will be set back once more. I love some of their young players, but they need that catalyst to really give their youth movement a shot in the arm. Jack Eichel would be a huge piece in the desert, and would fit comfortably between Domi and Duclair in the near future.
  6. Edmonton desperately needs to improve their defence, and Noah Hanifin should be the only guy they are looking at if they have a chance to draft him. Goaltending could be improved as well, and they would do themselves a big favor in signing Boston University's Matt O'Connor. O'Connor is scheduled to meet with Edmonton during his cross-country tour.
  7. O'Connor will also meet with Ottawa who seem to have brushed aside both Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner with Andrew Hammond's play. If the Senators can trade one of those two away during the summer, Hammond would platoon with the guy who stays. O'Connor would have a good shot at being "the next guy" in Ottawa if he wants it.
  8. I'm unsure how much hockey a lot of people are watching in their average lives, but those who have watched the Washington Capitals in recent weeks know that Barry Trotz will have his team over-prepared in their meeting with the Islanders. If Holtby continues his outstanding season and the Capitals can neutralize John Tavares' effectiveness, that could be a short series.
  9. Not having Travis Hamonic will hurt the Islanders more than they think. He's not a Karlsson or Doughty, but he's the guy who sets the table for the Isles. In their series with the Penguins, Hamonic threw a couple of monster hits that gave the Islanders a ton of confidence. Missing him for more than a game will hurt the Islanders in a big way.
  10. Tampa Bay has the ability to sweep Detroit. I don't think they will. While Detroit won't likely win the series, I can see guys like Nyquist, Tatar, Pulkkinen, and Jurco stepping up to provide offence while Datsyuk's shadow is all over Stamkos. With Mrazek starting Game One for Detroit, things could south quickly if the goaltending fails the Red Wings.
  11. The Rangers, while winning the Presidents Trophy, seem a little overrated in my view. Rick Nash's four goals in 37 playoff games with the Rangers is a worrying stat. Can the Rangers' MVP find a way to break through this season? If he does, last season's run to the Stanley Cup Final in spite of Nash will be forgotten quickly. If he doesn't, the Rangers will struggle.
  12. The Penguins will most likely play five games in this year's playoffs. There are too many eggs in a few baskets, and that has to change if they want to see more games. David Perron, Chris Kunitz, and Daniel Winnik need to be a lot better, but their playoff lives will hang on the defence. Personally, I'm not sure those guys could beat a high school team right now.
  13. Montreal will literally go as far as Carey Price will carry them. You can make arguments for guys like Pacioretty, Subban, Markov, and Plekanec, but this is Price's team. If he hits a cold streak, the Canadiens could suffer.
  14. There is no easy way out of the Central Division. St. Louis, Chicago, Nashville, and Minnesota
     all have a shot. Nashville, in my opinion, has the worst chances of the four simply because they aren't as physical. Pekka Rinne could be the reason they emerge as the winner, but the last few weeks of hockey they played don't convince me they have what it takes. And that includes getting past Chicago in the opening round.
  15. Chicago seems to be a consensus favorite now that Patrick Kane is scheduled to return for Game One, but there's always the fatigue factor that one must consider. Chicago was second only to Los Angeles in playoff games-played in the last four years, and that has to take a toll. When you factor in the physicality of running into either St. Louis or Minnesota in the second round, you have to wonder if they have the gas in the tank to finish off another run. They have the talent and the tenacity, but we might see Chicago play some ugly hockey to stay alive.
  16. I like Minnesota, but I fear that they're going to burn out. They've been playing playoff hockey for nearly two months, and goaltender Devyn Dubnyk has started nearly every game in that time. Fatigue could roll into the picture here as well - both mental and physical. Running into a team like St. Louis could pop that Wild bubble.
  17. St. Louis looks like the real deal with the talent they have, and this certainly could be their year if they can survive two rounds of overly-physical hockey. They have a ton of solid talent up front, and they have experience on their blue line. Elliott and Allen are solid goalies, but they can be beaten at their own game. All you need to do is punch them in the mouth first.
  18. Vancouver has relied on the Sedins and Vrbata all season, and the playoffs are no place for one-line teams. While I like some of the other players on the Canucks' roster, the vast majority of their offence comes from Sedin-Sedin-Vrbata. They will have their hands full with the Flames' speed and their solid goaltending. If they Swedes catch fire, though, they could be dangerous.
  19. Fast, skilled, unrelenting, and not a care in the world about what anyone says. The Calgary Flames are that team that, if taken lightly, will shock everyone. They get contributions from all over the lineup, and they have great goaltending. Calgary could upset a few teams before all is said and done in this year's tournament.
  20. Anaheim comes in with no pressure on them as they skated to the best record in the Western Conference. Goaltending has become a bit of a question mark in recent weeks, and there's some concern about the blue line's foot speed. They have enough offence up front to be a contender, but the questions about their own zone shouldn't be ignored.
  21. It seems that everyone's comfort pick in this year's playoffs is the Winnipeg Jets. They're big, they're fast, they're getting contributions from everywhere, and they've been playing playoff-style hockey for the last couple of weeks. They could upset the Ducks, and, if they do, they seem to be a favorite for the Western Conference Final. I like the Jets' chances if, and only if, they play the series against the Ducks one game at a time. If they deviate from how they've played in the last few weeks, the Ducks will prevail.
  22. Friend of The Hockey Show and current Boston Blades forward Janine Weber has her Austrian team at a 2-0 record at the IIHF Division 1 Women's World Hockey Championship. They battle the 2-0 Czech Republic tomorrow as she looks to keep the good times rolling. Way to go, Janine!
  23. The roster for the Canadian team for the upcoming men's World Hockey Championship was released with the first 19 players. It's a star-studded lineup thus far as players like Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, and Claude Giroux will anchor the Canadian entry. With the Erie Otters advancing in the OHL playoffs, it appears that Connor McDavid will not be joining this squad, but it would be interesting to see how he fit in had he been available.
  24. Have you entered the HBIC Playoff Pool yet? Why not? It's free, there are prizes, and it's fun. Get in there and get yourself some free gear!
  25. Playoff start tomorrow. Only one team will stand at the end! PSYCHED!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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