Sunday, October 22, 2006

Clarke, Hitchcock Now Unemployed

The Bobby Clarke era in Philly is over, as Clarke resigned today, while Hitchcock was fired. Nobody should be surprised, as the Flyers are a team that is expected to win, and when you currently sit last place in the entire NHL after eight games, something has to change. John Stevens has been promoted to head coach, while Paul Holmgren will become the team's new General Manager. I wish them both luck, it's going to be a long season in Philly.

The Leafs have been rumoured to be after another defenseman, but I don't see that happening. Bell and White both played very strong games last night and should be the teams new 3/4 pairing, which would leave Gill and Belak at 5/6. That being said, Kubina is back in about a month which would give the Leafs six very strong defenders. Don't expect Belak to be in the lineup for this entire week, as Colaiacovo is looking at a Tuesday or Thursday return. I expect him to challenge Bell and White for a bigger role.

The Blackhawks have lost Havlat for up to three weeks, which could hurt them. The blew a lead against St. Louis last night, which is not something they can continue to do if they want to continue to be a serious playoff contender.

Pittsburgh continues to look good, as the kids are really producing. Jordan Staal scored his 2nd and 3rd goals of the season last night. All three of his NHL goals have come shorthanded. I can't see how Pittsburgh can send him back to junior, and would be surprised if they did. Ryan Malone broke his arm last night and will miss -6 weeks, which should help Staal's case. Malkin also picked up his third goal in his third nhl game. Pittsburgh is 4-3 at this point, and with Philly, NYI and NYR struggling, they may have a chance to do some damage this year. Pittsburgh will be fun to watch.

Buffalo continues to roll, improving to 8-0 on the season. The Northeast will be one very good battle this season, as Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa cannot yet be counted out. Boston, however, continues to face injuries, goaltending problems, and just problems of all kinds. Here's hoping Chara can re-find his game and carry the Bruins up the standings...I'm not holding my breath.

Ottawa returned in a big way, beating New Jersey 8-1. The fact that Emery was in net makes things interesting, as he's been by far the better goalie in Ottawa thus far. A big home and home with Toronto this week will be fun to watch. Their season series is currently tied 1-1, with Toronto outscoring Ottawa 7-4 overall.

Thats all for now, have a great Sunday