Friday, November 10, 2006

New Article! + Rumours At The End

Thanks to our regular writer Adam Forsyth for his latest article. He will be a regular blogger when the new site finally launches. Thanks to everyone for the get well emails, im doing a lot better, though still have a ways to go. This not being able to eat as often as I'd like part is the worst!


Five Things That I've Noticed...

To start this rendition of "5 Things", I'd like to take a moment out to honour
this years crop of rookies. 2005-06 was a special year, in which we were
introduced to so many great first year players. With the lock-out of the
previous season, the NHL welcomed two full years of potential freshman stars.
The likes of Crosby, Ovechkin, Phaneuf, Lundqvist, Boyes and Svatos (among
others) jumped onto the NHL scene with the flair and pizzazz from a rookie
harvest that the league hasn't experienced since the early 80's.

This leads me to the first thing that I've noticed...Prior to the start of the
season, we knew that this years crop of Calder Trophy contenders was going to be
quite solid in it's own right. We knew about Malkin, and Wolski as being solid
players that would surely contribute in their first year. However, I'd like to
shine the spotlight on another Colorado Calder hopeful, in hopes of providing a
bit more exposure to what looks like a huge talent. His name, Paul Stastny.
Originally overlooked in his draft year, the Avs 2nd round pick in 2005 (44th
overall) is playing extremely well and has helped rejuvenate Milan Hejduk. His
smooth skating and slick playmaking skills has potted the rookie stud 13 points
in 15 games, placing him 3rd overall in the rookie race. From first view, it appears that the apple didn't fall too far from the tree, as the kid has displayed finess and creativity similar to that of his father Peter, and must have been included in the bloodlines. Stastny has bolted up the list of the NHL's top rookies for this year, and if the chemistry between his linemates continues, than he could lead the charge all the way to the Calder Trophy.

The second thing that I've noticed, is that a "Mighty" team has taken the power
of a strong Western Conference. While the Anaheim Ducks have indeed lost their
Mighty moniker, they haven't lost the fact that they are a powerhouse team.
Shooting their way up to the top of many critics charts and power rankings, as
they are arguably the best in the West. The Ducks seem to be doing everything
right, all the while limiting the wrong and continue to play a solid two-way
game. Still without a regulation loss, (sitting 11-0-4) the Ducks appear to be
the real deal. How are they doing it? Well, they are currently the 4th highest
scoring team, and don't have a player in the top 40 of the NHL for points. How
so? Well, it comes down to balance, and a total team effort with everyone chipping
in. Their prowess relates to how they keep the puck out of their net as well
though, as the "Quack Pack" are currently tied for 4th in least goals allowed. I
suppose that having one of their rosters two Norris Trophy worthy and past winning
defensemen on the ice at one point over the course of an entire 60 minute game has
to help in so many ways! (as both Niedermayer and Pronger are averaging close to 30
minutes of ice time each night) Furthermore, the steady goalkeeping that Anaheim
has been given thus far from Bryzgalov and Giguere has been nothing short of crucial
to their torrent start. While Giguere is getting the bulk of the starts in
Duckville, when Bryzgalov has been getting his spot starts, he has put up some incredible numbers. Statistics that should make everyone in sunny California look forward to another extended run in the playoffs. Perhaps even deeper than last years Western Conference Final run.

Quickly, it's really nice to see a rebirth in Alexei Yashin. After signing that
first Islanders long-term fiasco of a contract (10 year/$100 million deal) their
captain finally seems to be giving back something on Long Island. Peaking at 44
goals and 94 points in 1998-99, Yashin hasn't come close to anything in that
range since being set for life. However this year under the tutelage of Ted
Nolan, Alexei appears to be on his way to averaging a point a game for the first
time since his first year in the Big Apple. Unfortunately, this rebirth will
not dictate a playoff spot for the Islanders, as they are still one of the teams
on the fringe, and will probably remain there for Garth Snow's term as their
"deer in headlights" General Manager.

Something that I've noticed off the ice, and somewhat aside from the usual
hockey tidbits, is the news of the recent sale and misfortune of Darren
McCarty's personal belongings. As it's been reported in various news
publications, McCarty's possessions have been the subject of a public auction,
as the banks have seized his goods, which may have included his 3 Stanley Cup
rings and mini trophies. The list of goods up for auction weren't wholly
detailed, but were rumoured to include such personal memorabilia, as well as
cars, motorcycles and high grade televisions. After the gritty Calgary Flame
claimed bankruptcy earlier this year, it was reported that he had debts totaling
approximately $6.2 million while listing assets at $1.9 million, it was reported that he lost all control of what he could do, the banks stepped in and pretty much took whatever had a value. McCarty had no choice, or say as to what was his or what was to be placed up to the public. It was unfortunate to read this about someone who less than 10 years ago in 1997 was riding a career high, celebrating a Stanley Cup victory after tallying the Cup clinching goal for a Red Wings franchise (that hadn't won a title since 1954) had hit such a financial rock bottom. Considering the fact that he as a player has been battling demons his entire career, with reported substance abuse problems, alcoholism, tie in with an unfortunate divorce and his tough time in dealing with the loss of his father to Cancer, it's sure to say that McCarty has already had his turn with hard luck. Hopefully, we'll see the fan favourite turn things around and realize that there is so much more to live life for than a substance, or a possession. Perhaps there are even some good people out there, who decided to purchase such personal items in hopes of returning them to the rugged forward one day, instead of keeping them for their own enjoyment. D-Mac has such a likable personality, and brings so much energy to the rink on a nightly basis, that I'm sure that he will be able to recover. Best of luck with him on the next chapter of his career, and furthermore, in his life.

And finally, the last thing that I have noticed is that the Boston Bruins are
really a team in disarray. With the off-season head office restructuring, along
with the stellar free agent signings of Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard, things were
really looking up. Tie that in with the exciting break-out seasons from
Bergeron and Boyes, add to that the fact that they potentially have a pair of
first year aces, in Phil Kessel and Yan Stastny, this team at least seemed to be
headed in a positive direction. What may have been forgotten in Beantown, is
their current goaltending situation. This situation just got a bit more sticky
with the team recently sending Hannu Toivonen to the minors, and has been
consistently sending chills up the spines of frustrated Bruins faithful. Unfortunately, it appears that dishing Andrew Raycroft after a horrendous sophomore jinx season to Toronto has proved to be costly to the present, as neither Tim Thomas, or Toivonen stepped up and played as if they deserve to remain on an NHL roster. So, the B's sent down Toivonen and called up Brian Finley from the farm, in hopes of what I believe is to complete a trade in the near future to bring in some help and allow their loyal fans to relieve the head and heartaches that the "Killer T's" have provided thus far. With the possibility of Tuuka Rask (the 'tender they received back from Toronto in the Raycroft deal) being their number one still a few years away, the Bruins need to make a deal to help the now. Fortunately there are several quality 'keepers on the block, I'm sure that they will be able to upgrade with several attractive players to deal. Will it be Glen Murray, who since the B's dealt Thornton has been "the next one to go"? Are they interested in dealing any of the components that they feel provide them with some hope for the future? One way or the other, the Bruins need to regain some hope, in knowing that they have a chance in an extremely tough Northeast Division. If not, there will be several more long seasons to go through for fans of the formerly consistent franchise, who has long forgotten about the glory years.

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


Some rumours for you. Edmonton and LA are talking trade involving one of LA's blueliners. I'm hearing it could be Visnovsky, and what an upgrade he would be LA. LA is really trying to pry Shremp out of Edmonton, hoping to make this deal a big one. Eric Brewer is another name who has been linked to Edmonton, while I am unsure of what St. Louis would be asking for in return.

Boston is looking for goaltending help. Nabokov is the name popping up the most, while Toskala could be a possibility as well. The Sharks may be interested in Glen Murray, but rumours say Brad Boyes may be a more likely name to head to San Jose. I also have heard a Murray/Toivonen package was also a possibility.

The Flyers and Sharks are also talking deal, with Toskala the main piece to that puzzle. The Sharks really want one of Carter or Richards in this deal, and the Flyers are not budging. I don't see this happening unless more players can be added into the deal. At this point, the Flyers have very little value to offer anyone...

Finally several sites last night reported that Tampa Bay and a Western Canadian Hockey Team were working on a deal. I looked into it, and got a few different replies. One source told me they heard Calgary inquired about Vinny's availability, and the Bolts told him he wasn't available, end of talks. That being said, another source said that it's the Canucks talking to the Lightning, but didn't have any information on possible names involved. I'll keep my eyes and ears open