Thursday, March 26, 2009

Around the League

First, let me just say: I think it's brilliant to have a 5-day layoff at the end of March. I think the league should seriously consider letting every team have this sort of break, kinda like Hype Week before the Super Bowl, to rest their players and let injuries heal.

One of the perks of this scheduling fluke is that it allows us to stop and take a breather from our own teams -- let's face it, 82 games is a lot and burnout starts to set in about halfway into the season. There's a lot going on around the NHL that's worth following, so now's a good time to take a look around the league.

In the Northeast Division:

After last night, it's understandable that Sabres fans are feeling a little giddy.

WTF happened to Montreal? The words "living nightmare" jump to mind... coach fired, stars wilting, playoffs in jeopardy, fans revolting, media trouble of all sorts. Lions in Winter gives us a fantastic breakdown of how the Bruins leapfrogged the Habs over the past couple of years, in the super-slow-mo chess match of roster management, to win this most unexpected of division championships.

Toronto's taking the worst possible approach to teambuilding: finishing too low for the playoffs but too high for a lottery pick. T.O. Sports has a look at their stock of prospects; if you're into that sort of thing, Stanley Cup of Chowder has a similar scouting report on the Bruins' college prospects.

Now that Ottawa has recovered from delusions of a playoff run, they turn to more important issues: the history of the Marsh Peg. Blogosphere 1, Mainstream Media 0.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference:

Litterbox Cats has a great perspective on Nathan Horton's career to date -- and his last-gasp attempt to prove he's not a bust in Miami.

Meanwhile, Simon Gagne has quietly come back from Bergeron-like concussion problems to be a key scorer for the Flyers. Something to chew on as the Bruins decide what to do with Patty.

Of the 3 division leaders, the Caps seem most likely to have an early exit in the playoffs. Puckhead's Thoughts explains that they might not be ready to handle the nastiness of a 7-game series.

We should absolutely fear the Penguins.

Out West

Fear the Fin has a great breakdown of even-strength play this season. Considering how important it is in the postseason (ever hear of a Game 7 OT power play?), the chart is a goldmine of insight for who to watch in April.

The LA Times prints an outstanding interview with Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. The topic -- a real-time account of what he's thinking during an offensive rush.

Some disharmony in the Canucks locker room after young players get loose-lipped about taking pay cuts.

In addition to all his other virtues, Cal Clutterbuck is also one hell of a trash-talker.

If you like Top 10 lists...

And who doesn't? Whet your appetite with THN's top 10 celebrations.

Then feast on the main course: a top 10 rundown of "goalies gone wild". If the world didn't already know the name Tuukka Rask, they do now.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

these pictures of the some of the best players on the Canadians probably haven't helped their cause either: