Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Teebz's Magazine Club

It's an annual rite of August for me in which I venture down to my local magazine stand and acquire the one magazine that has been purchased since 1995. Ok, so there's no magazine stand, but the pharmacy's magazine rack that I was in when I saw The Hockey News' newest edition of its annual Yearbook was good enough for me to shell out a few bucks. The fact that they finally put a Winnipeg Jet on the front of the regional cover is a step towards progress... even if a Vancouver Canuck is also on the cover. Nevertheless, let's roll through this solid piece of literature that has been an annual purchase for me for over two decades. If this edition is like any of the others, there should be some solid pieces of reporting along with some fun and the annual NHL team forecasts!

I have to disagree with some of the picks that Ken Campbell lists as "Hidden Treasures". Vincent Trocheck has scored no less than 23 goals in each of the last three seasons, and he's one of the bonafide scoring threats that Florida can boast after they let Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith make their way to Vegas. I also disagree with Brayden Point's addition into this grouping after he scored 32 goals and 66 points in his second season to go along with 16 points in the playoffs with the Lightning. There are others on the list that deserve to be called a "hidden treasure", but these two men certainly are better known than what Campbell may believe.

The fan poll that The Hockey News publishes always is an interesting insight into what the fans believe. The Hockey News asked fans about which team would win the Stanley Cup and President's Trophy in two separate questions before polling the fans on the winners of the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy, the Norris Trophy, the Calder Trophy, the Richard Trophy, and the Vezina Trophy. I'm not going to reveal the results - buy the magazine! - but there's one team who the fans believe will be really good while one player is your MVP and leading scorer in the fans' eyes.

The NHL Top-50 is a very interesting look at who The Hockey News believes are the best of the best. There are two defencemen, five centermen, one right-winger, and two left-wingers in the top-ten, and your first appearance by a goaltender comes at #12. And no, it's not the goalie who you'd think it is. My guess would be this player wouldn't even be mentioned in the first five guesses by fans. Two players who didn't make the Top-50 last season are in the top-ten this season while last year's fourth-ranked player took a major tumble down the rankings. Who ended up where? Buy the magazine and we can discuss!

Jared Clinton checks in with an excellent article on Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck that sheds some light on just how meticulous the netminder is in his preparation both on and off the ice when it comes to finding any advantage. Wayne Fish pens an article on Philadelphia's Claude Giroux whose maturity and bounce-back season last year were both on display. Clinton comes back with a solid piece on Los Angeles' Drew Doughty and his extension he signed with the Kings. Ken Campbell adds a fantastic article about Vegas' Marc-Andre Fleury and how he went from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas and found his game again with the help of Dave Prior. Ryan Kennedy chips in a piece about Toronto's Mitch Marner, and Matt Larkin adds a nice overview of Aleksander Barkov to wrap up the reporting portion of The Hockey News Yearbook.

Finally, the team report section of the magazine occupies the last half of the publication, and there's the always-entertaining prediction by The Hockey News as to who will win the Stanley Cup. Last season, The Hockey News predicted a Pittsburgh-Edmonton Stanley Cup Final with Pittsburgh three-peating in a 4-2 series win. Obviously, that didn't happen as the Washington Capitals, picked by The Hockey News to lose to Pittsburgh in the second round, flipped the script and ousted the Penguins. You're probably aware that Edmonton didn't even qualify for the playoffs, and the two teams they had in the Western Conference Final - Edmonton and Nashville - didn't play in the third round. In fact, The Hockey News didn't have either of Winnipeg nor Vegas making the playoffs last season. Predictions can be difficult, it seems, as eight of the sixteen teams they predicted would make the playoffs actually missed the playoffs.

This year's prediction of the Stanley Cup Final is both bold and intriguing. I'll go on record in saying that The Hockey News does not predict a repeat championship parade for the Capitals. The winners of both the Pacific and Metropolitan Divisions are surprising, and THN feels that each division will send four teams to the big dance. I'm going to say this only once: don't put money down in Vegas with any of The Hockey News' predictions from this publication. I have a feeling the return on that gamble will be low.

In any case, head down to your local store and pick up a copy of The Hockey News Yearbook. It's a solid publication with a ton of great information, and I find it can be a useful resource for fantasy hockey pools as well! Either way, you won't lose if you buy this magazine as The Hockey News Yearbook is always a quality publication!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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