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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.

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 nhl-penguins

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.

 nhl-bruins

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.

nhl-lightning

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.

nhl-canadiens

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.

nhl-capitals

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.

nhl-flyers

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.

nhl-redwings

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.

 

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nhl-ducks

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.

nhl-canucks

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.

imagesCA5J02GY

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.

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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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Henrik and Daniel Sedin worked out pretty well in the NHL.  Will Bo and Hunter be the next "twin" draftees for Vancouver?

Henrik and Daniel Sedin worked out pretty well in the NHL. Will Bo and Hunter be the next “twin” draftees for Vancouver?

The last time the Vancouver Canucks had two teens in their lineup is a long time ago.  Nearly 13 years later, Hank and Danny are two of the most prolific scorers in Canucks history, and well on their way to scoring 1000 points for their careers each if they have a point a game for the next three seasons, and remain healthy.  If Henrik and Daniel Sedin were from Medicine Hat, Alberta or Brampton, Ontario, they’d be the two most celebrated players in Canada.  As it is, they take knocks for being “too Swedish” even after showing an unsurpassed durability over the years.

hunter shinkaruk

Hunter Shinkaruk has shown glimpses of the kind of scoring the Canucks have lacked lately.

This year, the Canucks are keeping “twin” rookies, both from Canadian cities though unrelated.  Where they do seem to be related is in how they complement each other in games, somewhat like the Sedin brothers.  In Bo Horvat, the Canucks have a future defensive centre who has a nose for the net in big moments, and can be placed in positions of high responsibility.  Hunter Shinkaruk, now a household name in Vancouver, is a pure goal scorer with the happiest feet this side of the world of Emperor Penguins.  Shinkaruk scored two goals in pre-season and looked dangerous on several shifts.  Horvat, though not as prolific near the net, worked solid shifts on a fourth line, grinding with the likes of Tom Sestito and Dale Weise.

Bo Horvat

Bo Horvat will provide leadership and presence for the Canucks for years to come.

They might not stick with the club past their requisite 8 game trial period before being sent back to juniors, but the plan seems solid.  Have them play with the real twins, Henrik and Daniel, for a few weeks to show them the ropes and perhaps to remind the Sedins how far they’ve come since then.  Maybe the young blood in the lineup can serve as a reminder to the Canucks as a whole that time is short, and the team isn’t getting any younger.  And, who knows, if things go right in Canuckville, maybe they’ll stick around like those two other guys who were on the team as teenagers those many years ago.

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By season's end, Schneider will be second to none in the Devils' crease.

By season’s end, Schneider will be second to none in the Devils’ crease.

pittsburghpenguins

1.  PITTSBURGH PENGUINS —  Not trying to hedge bets here or anything, but Pittsburgh could also land outside of the playoffs if they have to rely on shaky goaltending from Marc Andre Fleury.  Truth is, as always, Pittsburgh has the makings of an impressive team, but some astounding things happened in last year’s playoffs to raise a few eyebrows.

newyorkislanders

2. NEW YORK ISLANDERS  —  Maybe Garth Snow isn’t so crazy after all.  It seems that this team is poised to have the envy of the league in young forwards, and they all play a disciplined style of hockey despite their youth.  Give credit to fourth year coach Jack Capuano for making this all fit together, and give Snow some credit for keeping his job after signing and buying out Rick DiPietro.

washingtoncapitals

3. WASHINGTON CAPITALS — Ovechkin will be leading the league in scoring by the time the Olympic break rolls around, and the team will be hovering around first overall.  After he returns, he will need about a month of detox while his team will struggle, and fall out of contention. After the trade deadline, they’ll be the hottest team in the league again and end up third and dangerous.

columbusbluejackets

4. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS— This should be the best year in franchise history, and the East will be very impressed with what this team has to offer.  Has high fliers, physicality, a Vezina trophy winner and a handful of bonafide NHL defensemen.  When Nathan Horton returns from his shoulder rehab, Columbus will make a push into the playoffs.

Newyorkrangers

5. NEW YORK RANGERS— Having watched the Rangers more closely than usual this pre-season, I can honestly say it’s going to take a little longer to figure things out AV’s system.  Unlike in Vancouver where the core of players grew up together, New York is a collection of mercenaries who will need to find a rallying point to buy into the system.  Expect changes in personnel and perhaps a wild card entry into the playoffs.

newjerseydevils

6. NEW JERSEY DEVILS — If the Devils figure out that Cory Schneider is already the number one goalie in New Jersey, then this team could go places.  It seems as though defense will be tight, and the goaltending will be expected to come up big.  Schneids can do it, but Marty might not be able to do what is needed.  Coaches like jobs.  Wins = Jobs.  Schneider = wins.  You do the math.

philadelphiaflyers

7. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS — Philly’s Claude Giroux is still recovering from a freak accident when a golf club shattered in his hands on a drive, while the goaltending conundrum is still unsolved.  Lately, it seems the Flyers have been clearing out players who go on to excel on other teams.  Zero depth on D, and huge expectations on Vincent Lecavalier.  Sorry Flyers fans, just because you hate everyone, doesn’t mean your team is any better than it is.

carolinahurricanes

8. CAROLINA HURRICANES — It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that everyone else in this division is that much better.  Eric Staal‘s knee will be tested, and Cam Ward’s shaky goaltending is a huge question mark this season.  After reconstructing their lineup in 2012, results haven’t gone as expected.  Probably a few more moves are needed.  Expect Carolina to be active at trade deadline.

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Iginla is a sure bet to keep on keeping on in Boston, where he's a nice fit for the Bruins.

Iginla is a sure bet to keep on keeping on in Boston, where he’s a nice fit for the Bruins.

bostonbruins

1.  BOSTON BRUINS  —  Boston may have re-jigged the lineup, but they look to be able to handle the season’s ups and downs better than with the team assembled last season.  D and goaltending are still strengths, and additions in the leadership department with Iggy and Eriksson certainly helps.

detroitredwings

2. DETROIT RED WINGS  —  With travel time cut in half, the older Wings should feel a little lighter on their feet.  By season’s end, the Eastern conference will be wishing their GM’s never voted for realignment.  Suits these guys just fine.  The Alfie experiment will be just fine.

torontomapleleafs

3. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS — Can’t really put the Leafs down anymore, as they boast a pretty respectable lineup top to bottom.  Additions of Bolland, Bernier and Clarkson fill important holes, while the Mason Raymond early results bode well for both player and club.  As long as Phil “The Slasher” Kessel can keep pace with his recent success, the Buds will be solid.

montrealcanadiens

4. MONTREAL CANADIENS— Les Habitants are positioned for a playoff push, but are still a little less rugged than they need to be in order to make any serious noise.  Price will be in the running for national duty as a starter, while the addition of Briere on the third line is a nice fit for the Habs.  Subban looked scary good in the pre-season.

tampabaylightning

5. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING— The departure of Vincent Lecavalier offers the team more flexibility to add personnel, but they are still a little thin in key positions.  The aging former Canucks, Sami Salo and Mattias Ohlund, as well as former stalwart Eric Brewer, occupy too much time on the ice at their age.  The development of Victor Hedman must happen now for this team to move up the standings.

ottawasenators

6. OTTAWA SENATORS — Bobby Ryan is a good pickup, but perhaps now we’ll see how good he can be without Getzlaf and Perry grabbing the attention of the other team’s best D.  I suspect he’ll be good, but not elite level. Not much after Spezza, Ryan, and Karlsson.  We’ll see if Craig Anderson can return to last year’s level.

floridapanthers

7. FLORIDA PANTHERS — Having Tim Thomas is something, but the rest of the team needs development from their younger players.  Being the butt of jokes about fan support in the NHL doesn’t help matters much either.  This team is in trouble, despite some nice pieces in the system.

 

buffalo sabres8. BUFFALO SABRES — This is more of an honorable mention, thanks for coming out.  When Cody Hodgson is your number one Centre you know you’re up fecal rapids without a paddle.  I really like our sister NHL city’s team, as a concept, but this year’s version has holes everywhere in the lineup.  Trading Vanek seems like strategy number one.  Then trading Miller.  Then Ehrhoff… you get the picture.

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