Monday, October 30, 2006

Five Things Adam's Noticed

Here is a great new article by our very own Adam Forsyth, plus a few rumours from me at the end


Five Things That I've Noticed...

The first thing that I've noticed, is that the slow starts by teams like the
Ottawa Senators, and the Nashville Predators really tend to sway the pre-season
mentality that they may be two of the top teams to beat. Unlike the
Philadelphia Flyers, who may have reached their peak over the last 5-7 years,
these two teams are built for the now. They are well balanced squads that will
turn around their season and begin to play a simple and sound game, and make
their way up the standings. As a matter of fact, we've already seen the Preds
float on up to the top of a pretty weak Central division and the Sens are
starting to put the puck away while straight lining it to the top of the Eastern
Conference...Oh wait, that spot is reserved for the Buffalo Sabres, which leads
me to item number 2.

The second thing that I've noticed, is that these Buffalo Sabres are for real!
In tying the record with wins to open up a regular season ('93-'94 Leafs with
10) could this team go 82-0 and become the first professional team since the
1972 Dolphins whistled through the NFL season? Alright, let's not get ahead of
ourselves. The Sabres are a very well rounded team, with 3 deep scoring lines
and a stellar offensive attack lead by Drury, Briere and Afinogenov, youngsters
like Vanek & Roy chipping in also helps out quite a bit. The Sabres are
also blessed with a very solid defence corps, and an excellent goaltending
tandem with Ryan Miller & Martin Biron solidifying the confidence of a free
wheeling team built for the new speed of the NHL. With a tough week in
mid-November where they face Carolina, Ottawa twice and an up and coming Pittsburgh
Penguins attack, the surging Sabres could indeed become 16-0. A tough test as a
great another surprising early season performer comes to town to test Buffalo in
what could be there record breaking game. If only they could get rid of those
horrendous rags that they call jerseys! Man, those are horrible!

Speaking of horrible...The next thing that I've noticed, is that the trouble
that has finally reached the boiling point in Philadelphia has been bubbling up
and near explosions have been at it for several years. With the Flyers having
enough of the Hitchcock experience, letting go the coach that they so calmly
extended a contract with earlier in the year, and the significance of Bobby
Clarke stepping down, the team may now be headed for quite an overhaul.
Additionally, the significance of placing three players who were supposed to be
marginal players in at least keeping things status quo in Philly on waivers
(Baumgartner, Nedved & Dimitrakos) it appears that enough is enough, and
even Bobby Clarke himself realizes that the mess that he has made, may not be
able to piece itself
together with him at the helm. While it is no doubt in my mind that Clarke is a
very dedicated, passionate and very loyal executive, the fact of the matter is, that
Clarke may not know how to build a team for the new NHL. It was apparent after
picking up players like Hatcher and Rathje, that he may have missed the memo about
the importance of mobility and agility. Not saying that those players aren't
quality, but they have to be situational players, not guys that you build around.
Also remember the revolving crease factor, that the team had no stability in between
the pipes going into the playoffs the last (what seems like) decade or so. It is a
rarity in today's day and age to go year to year without a man that they can trust
(minus injuries) as a number one goalie. For the most part, goaltending
is a building block to franchise stability. The Flyers however, have taken a
revolving door approach and have come up snake eyes in doing so. Perhaps youngsters
like Gagne, Carter and Richards will be able to lead the new look Flyers to

A quick one...Is Joe Thornton EVER going to score again?

And finally, the fifth thing that I've noticed...The Pittsburgh Penguins are an
exciting team to watch. Just the other night, I realized that the raw energy
that youngsters like Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Fleury bring to this team, makes
this team one to watch for years to come. I don't believe that I am going to
confuse them with say that '81 Oilers or anything like that, with peach fuzz
faced players like Gretzky, Messier, Coffey and Fuhr breaking through a new
generation of the "coolest" game on earth. The Pens are however going to cause
some noise on their way up to the top of the standings. They will have to do it
in baby steps though, as last year was a rough go. This year, may be the first
of many steps towards a Stanley Cup championship though. Making the playoffs
isn't out of reach,
and it wouldn't be a stretch to consider a first round upset. Alright, alright, I
know that they've only played 8 games, and sit in the 7th spot in the Eastern
Conference, it's just that the potential of young players like that is not always
predictable. Malkin and Sid the Kid look so comfortable together, and Staal is
playing with the confidence of a 10 year veteran. I would be confident in saying
that this team is being built for a nice stretch of success and the Pens have done
it the right way. Through strong drafting, and touching up here and there in trades
and signings. It's too bad that Super Mario's health couldn't have stuck it out for
another year or two...

So, we'll see. Maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm wrong, but those are just some of the
things that I've noticed.

Adam Forsyth


With things quickly falling apart in Philly, there is a lot of trade talk. One rumour I heard this morning was the Flyers packaging Gagne and Esche together in hopes to bring in some defensive help. Do not believe Gagne is untradeable, as just about everyone on this team is.

Calgary's need for a center continues to increase, and Craig Conroy is a name that is coming up a lot. Conroy was the Flames main center a few years ago and he really helped Iggy's game. A Tanguay - Conroy - Iginla line would be dangerous if the Flames can swing this deal.

Jason Allison is still out there, and I am hearing it's down to the Hawks and the Kings. Guess we can't count Calgary out of this one either.

Phoenix is still looking for a goalie. A report this morning said Nabokov was close to becoming a Coyote, I am hearing this is not accurate. The Coyotes are still looking, but are really interested in Biron and seem to be waiting for the Sabres to struggle a bit before making a serious offer. Biron will be a UFA on July 1st