Posts Tagged ‘nhl forecast’

Welcome to What the Deuce Eastern Conference Style!!

A lot of teams are Hot and a lot of teams just went Cold. Lets start with the most noticeable Hot suprise.

The Flyers!! Who would have thought that they would be in the playoffs picture. Giroux finally woke up and and decided to live up to his huge contract and Goaltending and Defense has start playing better because they realized that their great aquisition by the name of Lacavalier is a dud. I don’t know if they can continue this pace, I see them more of slowly falling back down the standings.

Yeah...a picture is worth a thousand words

Yeah…a picture is worth a thousand words

Who is running cold in the East? None other than the mighty Maple Leaf’s. I know what Nonis was thinking when he signed Phaneuf to that stupid contract…he was thinking…hey…he is the best Defensemen available…well yes…that is true, but he is not worth the money. Why am I talking about Dion’s contract instead of what is wrong with this team? Like the Oilers of the West, there are so many problems with this team; Management, Coaching, Forwards, Defensemen, and Goaltending…I could write a whole article just on this one team, but I will not…I would rather go cut my toenails.

The reason why I am talking about Phaneuf is because he is suppose to be the Leader of this team, he wears the “C” right? and with the “C” comes great responsibilties…like actually Leading your team by your words or by example. He doesn’t do any of these things…he is just satisfied with getting his paycheck and going back to his wife. I remember when players use to care about winning and losing. You know…having some love for the game instead of having the love of the good life.

Here are the current rankings at the Halfway mark starting from number 1 – 8, while one team in the East that is not part of the playoff picture will get a: ‘What the Deuce’ from me to you.



1. Pittsburgh Penguins – Wow…got beaten by the lowly Oilers…at least Crosby final had his first goal against them. Still in first place in the East even with all the injuries shows the depth of this team.


2. Boston Bruins – Didn’t fair very well with the California trip. If the Bruins were playing in the West, they would just be considered an ABOVE AVERAGE TEAM. Reilly Smith is a pleasant suprise as a secondary scoring threat; not so pleasant is Rask’s play as of late in net, maybe he needs a little rest.


3. Tampa Bay Lightings – St. Louis is showing why he deserved to wear the “C” for all his hard work over the years.  The fact that he is also carrying the team while Stamkos is out shows that he also deserves a spot on the Canadian Olympic Team a lot more than Nash. He has character and heart, the Olympic Team has enough large bodies on that team. What they need a a little guy running around causing havoc on the ice and on the scoreboard. Just my 2 cents.


4. Montreal Canadiens – The second best hope for Canada to bring home the Stanley Cup. Does anybody really believe that they have a chance at that though? I say a couple more years and they will be primed as legit contenders once their prospects mature.


5. Washington Capitals – Ovie needs to work on his Defensive Game. A -15 just won’t do. Come playoffs, teams will not be scared that Ovechkin is scoring because they know that they can and will score with him on the ice as well. It’s not just Ovie either, for this team to go far, they will need to step up on Defense and Goaltending.


6. Philadephia Flyers – What the heck…I and most other smart people who write about hockey, but can’t play worth shit left this team for dead. Are they really this good or is it because the teams that were ahead of them couldn’t get their acts together. I will go with a little from combo A and a little from Combo B.

nhl-rangers  7. New York Rangers – Lundqvist is playing like an average goaltender right now. What is wrong with the supposedly best goalie in the world? Only he knows for sure. Whatever it is, the Rangers need to just plug away and hope that their #1 goalie can find his form again or else they might not even make it to the playoffs.


8. Detroit Red Wings – With all the injuries that have occured with this team, it is a wonder that they are still in the playoff picture at this point in the season. Could this be the year that they do NOT make the playoffs? Naw…I think they will, just need Howard to step up his game and steal some games for them while the injuries heal. Once at full strength, they will start climbing the standings again.

Get out while you can Tavares...stop wasting your time with another rebuild

Get out while you can Tavares…stop wasting your time with another rebuild

And finally I just have to say…what the deuce to the New York Islanders…Management.

What the hell were you thinking when you traded Moulson for Vanek? Moulson and Tavares had great chemistry and you blew it up! What your team needed was a goaltender!!!

Your young team was progressing just fine. Like most people, you were too impatient and havested the fruit just before it had rippened and now you are fighting for a lottery pick. You pretty much set your team rebuilding back 4 years. I don’t know how your fans are taking this, but if I were them…I would call for Garth Snow to be fired.

The reason why Raincity Predicted your Team to be second in the Metropolitan Division was based on this. I guess we should have factor in your stupidity.

Enjoy your high draft pick, ask for a trade Tavares…get out of this shit hole that is the Islanders.


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Well would you look at this…the Canucks are back in the playoff picture. Was there any real doubt? Not from us at Raincity…no sir…we Canucks fans know that they usually have a slow start, but then they ramp it up come December. While the team in Toronto is doing what we all expect them to do at the 45-48 game mark…that is leave the playoff picture.

I would like to say congratulations to all who have made the Canadian Olympic team. Lets bring home the GOLD!!! When the Olympics are here, we Hockey fans can put away from hating each others respective NHL teams and cheer for OUR team…TEAM CANADA!!

Play big minutes; shut down the oppositions top lines. +10. that's what makes a great Defenseman

Play big minutes; shut down the oppositions top lines. +10. that’s what makes a great Defenseman. Congratulations Dan. Make Canada proud

Good to see Hamhuis making the team for the first time. He is not flashy, but he will shut you down…sort of what you expect from a shutdown Defenseman. Points are not everything for a Defensemen, that’s why I thought Chara should have won the Norris last year instead of Subban or Karlsson the year before that. The Norris is suppose to be awarded to the best defenseman right? I would rather play against Subban or Karlsson all day every day over playing against Chara, and I am a Canucks fan that should not give praises to a Bruin.

Also some more good news!! Burrows is almost ready to come back from injured reserves. The Canucks sorely miss him…more so than Edler. Now the Sedins can finally play their game and all the forward lines will be as they should be. It’s funny how one player can have such impact on a team.

Here are the current rankings after the halfway mark starting from number 1 – 8, while one team in the West, usually the last place team, that is not part of the playoff picture will get a: ‘What the Deuce’ from me to you.




1. Anaheim Ducks – Best in the league. With that first, second, and third line…this team is deep…deeper than a Chicago deep dish pizza.

nhl-blues2. St. Louis Blues – Hit’em Hard…Hit’em Fast. The Blues are playing such a hard nose game. They will make you their forest bride. Don’t know what that is? Look it up.

nhl-blackhawks3. Chicago Blackhawks – I am surprise that Corey Crawford didn’t make the Olympic team, I would have chosen him over Smith any day. Does a Stanley Cup and consistency mean nothing to the Olympic Selection Committee? Maybe there was a quota for the amount of players that you can select from one particular NHL team. If this has the case, then this makes sense. I would choose Sharp and Toews over Crawford. Oh wait, I was suppose to say something about this team…ok…they will make the playoffs.

nhl-sharks4. San Jose Sharks – This seems like the right place for them. Not the best, but still an elite team. Let’s see what they can do in the playoffs. Like the Canucks, Playoffs or bust.

nhl-kings5. Los Angeles Kings –Backups coming back to earth and they are fighting tooth and nail for a playoff position. This team is built for the playoffs, but you have to first make it there. All and all they might just squeak in this year like before.

nhl-avalanche6. Colorado Avalanche – This team is showing that their fast start was no fluke, they are still in the playoff picture. Fun Fact: most teams that are in the playoff picture at the halfway mark of the season tend to still be there when playoffs actually start.


7. Vancouver Canucks – Last minute breakdowns are hurt my team badly. Mental Lapses or Brain Farts…whatever you would like to call them. Mental toughness is what you need for the playoffs…if they keep playing this way…they might not make it to the playoffs. Lucky for them, the teams below them in the standings are stumping. It’s sad though when your only chance to make the playoff is to wish and hope that the teams below do worst than you. PICK IT UP BOYS!!!

nhl-wild8. Minnesota Wilds – They are in…they are out…they are in again. Like the story of my life, but unlike the Wilds…I could be in if I wanted to, I just choose to be out at the moment.

The WINNER for What the Deuce West is!!!! The Nashville Predators. What has happened to this team, oh wait…Rinne happened. They have taken

No Rinne; No Playoffs

No Rinne; No Playoffs

a big step back ever since Pekka’s injury and the team does not have the consistent scoring to get the job done. Shows you what an elite goalie can do for a team. Take note Oilers Management…you need an elite goalie to compete in this league…or should I say in the West. If you don’t have that, it doesn’t matter how good your forwards or defensemen are.  You need to build from the crease out.





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I know that our Canucks are on the outside looking in right now, but I have to say…(this is a Canucks dedicated website after all)…I like the new looking Canucks. Thanks Torts for making this team exciting again and also the fact that you are good with protecting your players from the press. Don’t think that this has gone unnoticed by us at

Exciting hockey is what this man brought back to our fair city

Exciting hockey is what this man brought back to our fair city

Raincity Hockey. Your dynamic coaching style has gotten this team playing hard till the game ends…the majority of the games I have seem at least. So we from Raincity Hockey welcome you to the Canucks.

Ok, enough of this mushy stuff…I don’t like it and John doesn’t like it either because we are both Alpha Male types. And no John, I will not ask you for permission to call you John because that’s what us Alpha Males do.

The Western Conference, especially the Pacific Division, has been eating the East alive and is the toughest Conference in the League period. Any team; with the exception of the Alberta teams have a chance of making the playoffs. I like you Calgary and hope to see you in the playoff picture sooner rather than later. Oilers…you can eat a fat one.

Here are the current rankings after the quarter mark starting from number 1 – 8, while one team in the West, usually the last place team, that is not part of the playoff picture will get a: ‘What the Deuce’ from me to you.


nhl-ducks1. Anaheim Ducks – Wow…were we ever wrong about this one AGAIN!!! What is wrong with us? We can’t seem to see the birds from the trees even when there are no leaves on those said trees…but there are still pretty little birdies around though. Great Goaltending, forwards that can score…and…a Defense that has Scott Niedermayer as a coach? Yeah…we messed up, but I don’t think the Ducks fans are too mad about that…the rest of the conference might be though…

nhl-blackhawks2. Chicago Blackhawks – Ready to defend their Stanley Cup title like a true champ. This team is good…are they as good as last year’s team? They are very close to it…and hey…all the players went to the White House and were smiling. It good to see players putting the team before themselves.


nhl-sharks3. San Jose Sharks – the Sharks are the Sharks, good in the beginning, but they are starting to tail off a bit. They need to pick it up again, but I really don’t want them to. Not because they own my Canucks as of late…the last 2 years…I don’t want to see what Joe Thorton would do if he won the Stanley Cup…I mean if he was gonna pull his dick out and whack it if he were to score 4 goals in a game…imagine what he would do if he won the Stanley Cup? I wouldn’t want to be the person with the white gloves that has to handle it after he was done celebrating with it…yeesh…

nhl-coyotes4. Phoenix Coyotes – I guess a new lease on life in the desert was what this team needed to playing hockey. The addition of Mike Ribeiro and the emergence of OEL also had a lot to do with this. Mike Smith is giving Luongo a run for his money for the Olympic team. All the pieces seem to be there for a good team. I wouldn’t put them in as an Elite Team just yet though.

nhl-avalanche5. Colorado Avalanche – The Mike Holmes of the NHL. “Build it Right”




nhl-blues6. St. Louis Blues – Alexander Steen is in the lead for the Rocket Trophy? What gives? I thought the Blues were a defensive first kind of team? I don’t know if Steen and his team can keep up this pace for the whole season, but with Nashville faltering…anything is possible. This guy is liking what he sees in this team though.

nhl-wild7. Minnesota Wilds – Urgh…do I seriously have to write about this team? Ok…need to find something about this team to write about…hmm…Josh Harding…yeah…ok…I know I had a thing against you in the past about you not being that great and stuff, but how was I to know that you were sick and shit? In a relationship there needs to be communication…jeez man…ok…good luck to you, but not your team. Cheers

nhl-kings8. Los Angeles Kings – the definition of a grinding team, they are still a team to contend with that will play the body hard. Not a lot of blow out games for them, but a win IS a win…they don’t have to be pretty…like Yakupov’s manicured eyebrows.

The WINNER for What the Deuce West is!!!! The JUNIOR team formally known as the Oilers!!!!…looks like it’s time for another Oil Change…speaking of the shows…does the team get any money for the show? Does anyone know? It has been like 5 seasons of this show already right? Do they play this show in other countries like they do with shows like Friends,

Would rather watch this than the Oilers play

Would rather watch this than the Oilers play

Fraser, and Night Court? Man I use to love watching Night Court…

…yeah I am talking about syndicated television in other countries…it’s better than talking about a crappy team like the Oilers because I wouldn’t know where to begin…should I start with the Owner? The GM? The Coach? The Forwards? The Defense? The Goaltending? The Waterboy? Everything sucks except for the Waterboy…he is cool…that is all.




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Welcome everyone to the What the Deuce?!?

This is where I go through what has been happening throughout the NHL, some might call it a “Power Ranking”, but I just call it a ranking…you know from 1st place to “Oil Change” in each conference…yes I used this last year, but hey…why mess with a good thing. And besides I like to humble the once great franchise known as the Oilers a little bit…well not actually just a little bit.

I am going to compare the current ranking of teams to the 2013-2014 Predictions that Sandro and I made. You can see our predictions for this season if you follow the white rabbit into the Rabbit Hole…

We will look at the East first because…you know…the league and the teams on the east think that they are the only teams that matter. I like how the players in the east are complaining about the travel they have to do now…we in the West have been doing this for years you whiney little bitches…get over it.

Roughly a Quarter of the way into the 2013-2014 season and Raincity’s Predictions have been good. What have we missed? Well there IS 1 team in Florida that caught us by surprise…but are we really surprised? Yes and No…here is why…No real Goaltending…but they have a guy that goes by the name of Stamkos…like a true Superstar…following in the footsteps of people like Cher, Clooney, and Niedermayer…is known by only one name…yes there is only one Niedermayer that matters. Back to the topic; Stamkos and the Lightings…we didn’t think that the Lightings would go anywhere with their defense and goaltending, but like Crosby, Malkin, Lundqvist, Brodeur, and only a few others in this league…he can literally carry a team on his back and win games on his own.

Scott Niedermayer

Hall of Fame Ring…another well deserve accolade. One of the best ever

Speaking of Scott Niedermayer, I would like to congratulate him on a great career and a bright future as an assistant coach in Anaheim. A lot of the kids in the NHL can learn a lot from former players like him. You can be this good and still be humble. He has won everything under the sun when it comes to Hockey. Talking to kids like Yakupov, Kadri and Evander Kane…you cocky little pricks have not won anything yet…so you shouldn’t be walking and talking like you have. You earn your ice times; it is a privilege to play in this league. Yes you have tons of money because your GM’s are stupid…you have to ask yourself, why you play this game? Is it for money or Stanley Cups? Because if it is for money…then at the end of your careers…you won’t even be a footnote in the history of hockey. You will just be a bunch of Iverson’s…practice? Yes I am talking about practice…

Ok…back to the Eastern conference Standings and Rankings where we are 5 out of 8 in our predictions thus far. Here are the current rankings after the quarter mark starting from number 1 – 8, while one team in the East that is not part of the playoff picture will get a: ‘What the Deuce’ from me to you.


nhl-lightning1. Tampa Bay Lightings – St. Louis deserved the “C” for all his hard work over the years. Their goaltending has been enough off the opposing teams’ offense so that Stamkos can do his best and his best is quite pretty to look at. Too bad he is out with a major injury, but the team is still winning without him. How long will this last? Who knows, but lets just say the team will not be at the #1 position the next time I write the next What the Deuce article.

nhl-bruins 2. Boston Bruins – Big Bad Bruins, they are not going anywhere with key players signed for the long term. They are playing gritty hockey, they may not be dominating other teams like in the past with the lost of Horton and Sequin, but hey…the teams in the soft East still have no answer for the Western Conference style of play that this team plays on a daily basis.

nhl-mapleleafs3. Toronto Maple Leafs – A lot of key injuries down the middle and it is starting to show. Tinker all you want Carlyle with the lines, but your team is not that deep. Some good things to say about this team…hmmm…thinking…thinking…oh yeah…glad Mason Raymond found a home and good call on not making Dallas Eakins your coach when you had the chance…now I need to take a shower…I feel so dirty after this…

nhl-redwings4. Detroit Red Wings – Now that I am squeaky clean after a 2 hour shower…Well would you look at that, Detroit in the playoff picture surprise…surprise…even in a sort of rebuild and cap issue season they still are contenders. East, take some advice from us Westerners; the Red Wings DON’T rebuild…they RELOAD.

nhl-penguins5. Pittsburgh Penguins – Still goaltending and defensive issues to work out…plus secondary scoring as well. If you shut down Crosby and Malkin…what then? They really miss Jordan Staal as their 3rd line centre.


nhl-capitals6. Washington Capitals – Ovie goes…so do the Caps…like every year…Green is out, but that doesn’t really matter because he hasn’t scored while he was in the lineup anyways. When your second leading scorer is Joel Ward…you are in trouble…and I like Joel Ward too. I just don’t think that he should have more goals than Backstrom and Green.

nhl-canadiens7. Montreal Canadiens – Not living up to theirs or our expectations. They think that they are a better team than this…as our predictions shows…we thought they would be worst than this. Like buying stuff in a Turkish Bazaar…let’s barter and meet in the middle.


nhl-rangers8. New York Rangers – Was a little worried about this team in the beginning, but the team seems to finally understand the complex system of coach AV. You will see this team move higher in the standings as a result of this. Good luck Alain Vigneault, looks like you landed on your feet.

And finally I just have to say…what the deuce to Buffalo. HAHAHAHAHA this is what happens when you have Hodgson as your #1 Centre…just

I know that the US has loads of talent in net, but my vote is still for Miller time!

I know that the US has loads of talent in net, but my vote is still for Miller time!

doesn’t work. I feel sorry for Ryan Miller, he gives this team a chance to win pretty much every game and they reward him by hanging him out to dry. I know my word means nothing the US Olympic Committee, but my vote is for Ryan Miller in net. He deserves it with his play on this team.

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Welcome everyone to the What the Deuce?!? version

This is where I go through what has been happening throughout the NHL, some might call it a “Power Ranking”, but I just call it a ranking…you know from 1st place to “Oil Change” in each conference.

I am going to compare the current ranking of teams to the 2013 Predictions that Hattrick, Jacques and I…the Hoff made before the season started…

Before I start with the breakdown of the rankings, I would first like to acknowledge some things that happened in the NHL. First I would like to congratulate Milan Hejduk and Wade Redden for playing in the 1,000th game and also to Henrik Sedin; Henrik is 1 point behind Markus Naslund for all time point leader in Canucks history. Here is to all 3 for a job well done. And special congratulations from us at Rain City Hockey to Henrik, we know that you don’t want the attention on you, but you deserve it. And also…our site is not that big anyways so this will probably go unnoticed but for a hundred people who read this.  Kudos to you.

Canucks silent but deadly Captain. He will probably become the most point producing Canuck this coming week.

Canucks silent but deadly Captain. He will probably become the most point producing Canuck this coming week.

Now to the meat and potatoes of this write up. A Quarter of the way into the 2013-2013 season and Raincity’s Predictions have been good with a few minor errors…i.e. Chicago and the Rangers…major errors as in the Kings, Washington and Anaheim. And I see some apple pies flying towards our faces. But wait folks…as much as we at Raincity loves pies in all shapes and flavours, it has been only 12 games into this shortened season.

I have noticed one thing that has happened over the course of these 12 games. Most teams that were hot in the beginning of the season were also the teams with the most players playing else where while the lock out was going on. Now, that the other players got their legs back to game standards; the competition is a lot better. I.e. the Oilers, most of those youngsters were either playing in the AHL or the Juniors so they had a step up on the competition…not anymore boys…looks like it’s time for another Oil Change…man…Mr. Lube must love you guys.

Here are the current rankings after 12 games starting from number 1 – 8, while the rest of the league standings get a: ‘What the Deuce’ from me to you.


First I’ll start with the Eastern Conference, slap me silly and call me Nina because I would NOT have predicted New Jersey is first in the conference. And Washington is last in the league…with teams like the Blue Jackets, Islanders and The Flames and you are dead last in the League…man…nothing is working there it seems. They need to give the ‘C’ to someone else who can actually lead and the coaching job to someone who can coach. Not to be disrespectful to Mr. Oates, sometimes a Hall of Famer a good coach does not  make.

newjerseydevils1. New Jersey Devils – On top of the Eastern Standings? Just when you thought this might be another down year for them, Brodeur decides to stand on his head while Kovalchuk decides to come back to the NHL. I was very surprised that they are this high in the standings, it just goes to show you; Systems work.


bostonbruins2. Boston Bruins – 3 words. Good Bye Timmy. Good Bye Distraction.



tampabaylightning3. Tampa Bay Lightning – Lights out shooting, the highest Goals For in the League. With so many scorers clicking at the same time; the only question is will they also slump at the same time?


pittsburghpenguins4. Pittsburgh Penguins–The two headed monster that are the Pens. Two of the best players in the world playing for one team and yet they are in 4th place? Give it time Pens fan, they are very close to the 1st spot.


torontomapleleafs5. Toronto Maple Leafs– What? I’m confused…didn’t we predict this team to be dead last in the Conference? Ah…JVR and decent goaltending in Reimer? Looks like Burke was right in holding on to Reimer after all.


ottawasenators6. Ottawa Senators– Anderson is lights out in goaltending. With a SV% of .950 and a GAA of 1.49. Wish you kept him don’t you Colorado?


montrealcanadiens7. Montreal Canadiens– Sorry, but this team is not deep enough to go to the playoffs. The shorten season and the tight schedule are already showing signs that they are a tired team. They have only played 3 away games. Look for a further slide once this starts catching up to them.


carolinahurricanes8. Carolina Hurricanes – Ward is back to his stellar self and the Staals are showing us that we need more Staals in Hockey or at least playing together on the same team. Trade Semin for the other Staal straight up. I’m kidding, with a +6 rating…i say keep Semin.

Vanek shows his teammates his angry face. Why is he doing this you ask? Read on...

Vanek shows his teammates his angry face. Why is he doing this you ask? Read on…

And finally I just have to say…what the deuce to Buffalo. You thought I would say The Capitals didn’t you? No…I figure that would be the most logical choice, but then again…I’m not in a very logical frame of mind right now.

For a team that has Thomas “the Machine Gun” Vanek on their team…I’m suprised that they are not in the Playoff picture yet?  Other than the top line, no ones seems to be producing on a regular basis. Come on Hodgson, you play on the top line with Vanek…how can you still be a (-) player? On the Defensive end, other than former Canucks…everyone else sucks at D.

So far the panel at Raincity have 5 out of 8 right from our pre-season prediction, but 2 of the teams that we predicted would make it into the playoffs are only 1 to 2 points out of the top 8 so I say we did pretty good. Let’s see how we fair in the West.

imagesCA5J02GYThere are a few surprises, but not many. We at Raincity are 6 for 8 on this one. Looks like we are better at predicting the West. Why? Probably because we can actually watch these games without calling in sick for work everyday. As usual, from 6th place to 11th place is a tight race. Looks like it will come down to the last game of the regular season to decide who will make it into the playoffs. Sorry Flames and Oilers…not this year. The Flames really need to start some rebuild soon. Yes, you don’t believe in rebuilds…i guess you don’t believe in the playing for the Stanley Cup either…sheesh…

Buddy can score, Going to see a lot of this so better get use to it

1. chicagoblackhawksChicago Blackhawks – Everyone is healthy and scoring. Kane, as much as I do not like his cocky attitude. Like Kid Rock said, “it ain’t cocky if you back it up”. They are a force of nature out there, I’m just glad that the Canucks beat them in the shootout.

anaheimducks2. Anaheim Ducks – Wow…were we ever wrong about this one, we let our hate blind us to the fact that Hiller is an outstanding goalie when healthy and that their first line is still scary. Hopefully Hiller is finally wearing an NHL approved helmet instead of the one that his friend made…

vancouvercanucks3. Vancouver Canucks – What can we say? We expected this to happen, we just didn’t think the Canucks would still be this good and the other Northwest division would suck so bad. Don’t blame us for the “weakest division” we cannot help the other teams with their team building. And a final note, congratulations to Schroeder for his first two goals of his NHL career.

sanjosesharks4. San Jose Sharks – Slumping, but don’t worry Sharks fan…the team has built up enough points in the 1st quarter of the season to cruise into the playoff picture.


detroitredwings5. Detroit Red Wings– Detroit Rock City, they keep on going like it’s just another day at the beach.



nashvillepredators6. Nashville Predators– They need more scoring if they want to hold a playoff spot at the end of the season. Watching Rinne in net makes me feel sorry for him. He has to play a perfect game every time for his team to even have a chance to win. I know this is what a goalie is suppose to do, but other teams have players who can show up when their goalie is having a bad day…Pekka doesn’t.

stlouis7. St. Louis Blues– Halak…Great…Elliott…Sucks



dallasstars8. Dallas Stars– It was classy of the Stars to let Hejduk score in his 1,000th game. With Benn back, and Jagr being immortal…the city of Dallas are finally gonna have a team to cheer for…yes I’m talking to you Cowboys fans

Now the West’s ‘What the Deuce’, the LA Kings. The current Stanley Cup Champions are having a rough season thus far, I’m guessing this is because teams are not taking them lightly anymore. Quick looks average and Doughty looks confuse. Don’t worry though Kings fans, they will eventually get their game back…they might not finish high in the standings…they might just squeak in at 8th again, but there is hope…or not.

Dazed and Confused…so are we Doughty..so are we…

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Bergeron and the Bruins are rested, healthy, and young enough to remind everyone that they're still the best.

Bergeron and the Bruins are rested, healthy, and young enough to remind everyone that they’re still the best, as much as we hate to admit it.

Things in the Eastern Conference are looking a bit dicy, considering the hotly contested Atlantic Division will see most of those top three teams, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York, split wins and losses.  The true beneficiary will be a rested Boston Bruins team, with, possibly, a better team than the one which won it all in 2011.  Rounding out the playoff contenders are some old favourites and some new surprises.


1. bostonbruinsBOSTON BRUINS:  The beneficiaries of a soft Northeast Division, and tighter competitions within the other two divisions, the Bruins will cruise to first overall in the East without much trouble.  They’re healthy, and they’re hungry.  They are the equivalent to the WWE’s Ryback, screaming “FEED ME MORE!” No worries on the Tuuka Rask front either.  This is a great team, and Bergeron has been flying in international play.

Newyorkrangers2. NEW YORK RANGERS:  At the end of the day, Rick Nash will tip the balance, and the Rangers will ride the great goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist, who learned how to speak last year, as well as the D of a healthy Eric Staal.  Can we splice the Staal gene and just create a new league?  They’ll win the Atlantic, but not by much.

carolinahurricanes3. CAROLINA HURRICANES: It’s easy to forget that this team won a cup with many of its current roster.  Adding another Staal will definitely help, and the addition of Semin certainly accounts for some secondary scoring.  They should be much better than we’ve seen them in a while.

pittsburghpenguins4. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS:  Crosby, Malkin and Chris Letang are all healthy and ready to go.  Is M.A.F.?  Fleury looked stupendously bad against Philadelphia in last year’s playoffs.  That kind of performance is not soon forgotten or forgiven in Pittsburgh.

philadelphiaflyers5. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: The Flyers lost Jagr to free agency last year, which most people seem to be disregarding.  We didn’t.  After running out of gas against a poised New Jersey Devils in last year’s playoffs, the Flyers need to figure out what went wrong.  There are problems here.

washingtoncapitals6. WASHINGTON CAPITALS:  Remember them?  They’re the team with arguably the world’s best player.  If Ovechkin can keep the form he had towards the end of last year, and D-Man Mike Green can return to some semblance of form, Adam Oates will have his team playing hard, and fast.

ottawasenators7. OTTAWA SENATORS:  We here at Raincityhockey salute the Sens for being the easiest other Canadian franchise to cheer for, if only because they hate the Maple Leafs as much as we do in Vancouver.  They also have the best defender in the game in Erik Karlsson, and a bevy of outstanding forwards.  Pencil them in for another playoff run, but a little softer after losing Zenon Konopka.

montrealcanadiens8. MONTREAL CANADIENS:  Claude LeBut won’t be happy, as a Nordiques die-hard, but the Canadiens will definitely sign P.K. Subban, have better seasons out of Pacioretty and Desharnais, while Andrei Markov will finally fulfil his destiny as rookie Alex Galchenyuk goes on to win rookie of the year. I just noticed how many “if’s” those are.

buffalosabreslogo9. BUFFALO SABRES:  This was more as a result of realizing that Cody Hodgson was Buffalo’s number one Centre than anything else.  Losing Derek Roy to Dallas hurts, and the health of Christian Ehrhoff is doubtful.  Miller should be better than last year, and newly acquired Mikhail Grigorenko has all the makings of a dominant NHL’er.  This year though?  D-man Tyler Myers needs to show that this is the year he steps up.

newjerseydevils10. NEW JERSEY DEVILS:  The goaltending tandem of Brodeur and Johan Hedberg is a combined 78 years of age.  The team lost Zach Parise, Ilya Kovulchuk didn’t want to report, and star rookie Adam Henrique has a torn ligament in his thumb.  In a shortened season, it appears the Devils have too much to sort out and not enough time.

winnipegjets11. WINNIPEG JETS:  Our old Smythe division rivals have a similar look to last season, which means that they haven’t solved any of the problems which kept them out of the post season last year.  Lack of depth will hurt them again, despite good seasons out of Byfuglien and captain Andrew Ladd.

floridapanthers12. FLORIDA PANTHERS:  The team most responsible for expensive contracts for mediocre players just to meet their floor, actually got results last season.  Consider it an aberration.  They’ll be looking for help at about the 12 game marker.

tampabaylightning13. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING:  After Steven Stamkos, this team has precious little to show on offense.  The D is hoping for a leap in Victor Hedman’s game, but is also depending on fragile veterans Sami Salo and Mattias Ohlund to log big minutes.  Still no goaltending in Tampa, as Vinny Lecavalier cashes in enormous paycheck after enormous paycheck.  The balance askew, and results absent, expect TB to deal.

newyorkislanders14. NEW YORK ISLANDERS:  They are the Oilers of the East — a once great franchise struggling to find their way again.  The new location could translate to a bit more buzz about this team, and eventually some of these draft picks have to start panning out.  Out of playoffs, but not for long.

torontomapleleafs15. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS:  The Buds just fired Brian Burke, which means other moves could be imminent.  Long time Burke acolyte, GM Dave Nonis, is a pretty cautious guy though.  The real chip is Carlyle.  Have the Leafs bought in to Coach Carlyle’s system?  Burke might get the last laugh though.  Another down year for the Maple Leafs, until they can shore up some key areas, i.e. goaltending and Defense. 

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Niemi started poorly last season, but he won't let that happen again in 2011.


Dany Heatley's tenure in San Jose is finally up. Not that anyone in San Jose cares.

Ben Eager, LW
Kent Huskins, D
Jamal Mayers, C
Kyle Wellwood, C
Ian White, D
Dany Heatley, RW/LW
Devin Setoguchi, RW


Michael Handzus, C
Andrew Murray, C
James Sheppard, C
Ben Guite, RW
Martin Havlat, LW
Brent Burns, D
Matt Irwin, D
Matt Pelech, D
Nick Petrecki, D
Jim Vandermeer, D


You have to like gold medalist, Joe Thornton's tenacity in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Joe Thornton, C:  It was a bit of a down year for Jumbo Joe in terms of points, but he finally erased any doubts about being able to win big games or coming through for the team when they needed him the most.  With a separated shoulder in game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a downcast Joe pulled through with 7 shots on goal in over 30 minutes of ice time.  He ended the night without points, but played with the heart of a champion and earned the respect of his teammates and the league.  Expect Thornton to bounce back to the 80+ zone this season with the re-tooled Sharks, who are expecting better days ahead in 2011-2012.

Dan Boyle, D:  He still has a lot of offensive game left in the tank at 35, so expect nothing less than 50 points from the gracefully aging D-Man from Ottawa.  His near point a game pace in the Stanley Cup playoffs was a key reason for the Sharks’ success.  With San Jose adding five new blueliners to their lineup, including the stalwart Brent Burns, Boyle can return to being more of a weapon on offense, and let the stay-at-homes cover up when he’s caught up ice.

Patrick Marleau, C/LW:  He still sees a lot of minutes on the first line with fellow 1997 draft pick Joe Thornton, but occasionally takes draws and plays behind Joe on the second line when coach Todd McLellan wants to mix things up.  He is still going strong at 31, and should have a solid 70 point campaign this coming season in San Jose with the addition of solid role players at depth positions.

The tenacious all-star Brent Burns will add some bite to the already potent Sharks offense.

Joe Pavelski, C:  Pavelski had career highs in  assists last season ending up at a career best 66 points.  At 27, Pavelski has finally figured out where he fits in.  His chemistry with Devin Setoguchi was one of the main reasons for his success, but expect Pavelski to maintain 60 points this coming season because of his role on the team.  His secondary scoring is crucial to San Jose’s success.

Ryan Clowe, LW/RW:  Clowe is exactly the kind of hockey player you need to win games.  He’s big, physical and can hold his own in the scoring department these days as well.  He doesn’t scrap as much as he used to, but 100 penalty minutes combined with 65 points is a nice combination to have on your team.  Expect the same again this season.

Brent Burns, D:  You have to like this trade for the Sharks who get big Brent Burns to patrol the blue line with Dan Boyle.  Expect 50 or so points from the defender who will play powerplays, kill penalties and see lots of even strength opportunities.  Owns a booming point shot and can shut down forwards with ease.

Antti Niemi, G:  The Canucks seemed to have his number in last season’s playoffs, but other than the slow start to 2010, Niemi was lights out for San Jose down the stretch.  Expect a stronger start in goal this season, and something in the neighbourhood of 43 wins for yet another incredible Finnish goaltender.

Couture could be an all-star in the making in San Jose.


Logan Couture, C/LW:  Expectations are huge for this Junior scoring phenom.  He is projected to be a second coming of Marleau, able to get goals and make plays as well as backcheck and shutdown opposing players.  His 30+ goals were no fluke.  Take him and you might be surprised this season.  He’s only 22.



Martin Havlat, RW:  He will see first-line duties, has truly gifted offensive abilities, and can burn most defenders in the league with blinding speed.  The problem is he’s about as durable trampoline made out of balsa wood, elastic bands and tissue paper.  I am extremely wary of taking Martin Havlat for this simple reason.  He never plays a full season.  If you think San Jose fans were excited to see Heatley go, Minnesota fans were so thrilled to see the injury plagued Havlat leave that they forgot they lost Brent Burns in the deal.

Jason Demers, D:  His projection as a number one offensive D-man just took a bit of a side track with the addition of Brent Burns.  I would expect him to be about the same as last year in point totals, so don’t draft Demers too high expecting a 40 point season.  Won’t happen, at least not this year.



The Sharks are banking on Havlat feeling less pressure to carry the offense, and thus remaining healthy all season. Good luck.

Hattrick Payne says:  The Sharks look to have replaced the old, broken line of teeth from a season ago.  They’ve done good things to their lineup in adding some tough, stay at home defensemen to solidify the back end, and some gritty in-your-face forwards to assist with a lackluster penalty kill of a year ago.  San Jose’s already very deadly powerplay just got a lot meaner, so expect this team to challenge for most goals in the league this season.  Niemi will be better to start the year, and wins will come easily on most nights for this team.  I expect San Jose to challenge for President’s trophy honours, and the Stanley Cup seems more within reach than years past.  If they nurse the crystalline Havlat along the season, clean up their woeful penalty kill of a season ago, and get the goaltending/defense they need, the Sharks have an excellent opportunity to do something special this season.  They’ve deserved better fortune in the past.  This year they will make do on promises.

Claude Lebut Says: If I am a San Jose fan this season I am very excited to see the puck drop.  They have everything you need to win a cup in San Jose, including the stinging pain of a loss to their new rivals, the Vancouver Canucks.  The Canucks Achilles heel is big teams who get them off their game with hard-nosed (sometimes borderline cheap) hockey.  The Sharks have a Boston-like team this season in San Jose, with more offensive weapons.  They will be good for many years too.  As Thornton, Marleau Boyle and Havlat get older, Demers, Vlasic, Burns, Coutoure, Niemi and Clowe move into their primes.  I like San Jose to dethrone the Canucks at the top of the West this year and keep doing their thing for many years.

Mark Twain says:  It is better to deserve honors and not have them, than to have them and not to deserve them.

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