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NHL Games to Watch; March 14

NHL games to watch

Tonight I will be going to the Providence Bruins game so I will not be able to see too much to tonight’s action, but I will be checking the boxscores and so on later on after I get back home. Tonight the Providence Bruins take on the Worcester Sharks at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI.

So onto today’s list of games to watch.

Ducks @ Avalanche 9 PM ET|6 PM PT (FS-W|ALT2)

This should be a great battle between two excellent teams out West, and if it is anything like opening night for these two teams at the end then you can expect a bit of a bleep show to take place. Which if that indeed happens, will make me a pretty happy man since I enjoy an occasional bleep show in the NHL, it keeps it interesting and different. But if it doesn’t happen, this will still be an excellent game because both teams are playing so well, and both teams have a great balance of offense and defense though I think Colorado has the better of the defenses featured tonight. I’ll predict a 5-3 win for the Ducks, they are looking to lock up a playoff spot early this season.

Honorable Mention(s)

Canucks @ Capitals 7 PM ET|4 PM PT (SNET-P|CSN-MA|RDS)

This could be a high scoring affair, both teams need this game badly to help their playoff hopes.

Flames @ Stars (SNET-W|SNET-CGY|FS-SW)

Don’t look too hard because the Flames won’t make the playoffs but the Flames are playing some good hockey recently winning 4 of their last 7, which doesn’t sound very impressive, but they just destroyed the Ducks in Cowtown 7-2 on Wednesday night. Conversely the Stars are winners of 4 out of their last 5 games which has helped them take hold of the second wild card spot out West.

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NHL News and NHL Games to Watch; March 11

NHL games to watch

Blue Jackets-Stars game postponed over Medical Issue

The Columbus Blue Jackets @ Dallas Stars game was ended early last night because of a medical issue with Rich Peverley who collapsed on the bench during the game. The medical staff for the Stars were quick to give Peverley medical treatment in the hallway by the team bench before sending him off to the hospital. Peverley is said to be in stable condition, and it is unlikely that he will miss tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues.

Devils @ Flyers 7 PM ET|4 PM ET (MSG+|CSN-PHI|RDS)

Both of these teams are playing well as of late, and both teams have a mild rivalry going as of late. The Devils are fighting furiously for their playoff lives and wins are at a premium.

Honorable Mention(s)

Capitals @ Penguins 7:30 PM ET|4:30 PM PT (NBCSN|TSN2|ROOT)

NHL Games to Watch; February 5th

Games to Watch

Blackhawks @ Ducks 10 PM ET (WGN|FS-W)

The Blackhawks and Ducks will do battle as the top two teams out West being separated by just 3 points playing the same number of games. Not only that both teams tend to play physical styles so there could be a good amount of hitting between the teams. Another thing that should be featured is goal scoring, these teams can score with the best of them and neither is really known for being great defensively. I feel confident predicting a 5-3 Ducks win.

Honorable Mention

Stars @ Sharks 10:30 PM ET (FS-SW+|CSN-CA)

NHL Games of the Weekend; February 1st and 2nd

Games to Watch

Saturday February 1st

Flyers @ Kings 4 PM ET

TV: CSN-PHI|FS-W|NHL Network

This game sticks out to me, I am not sure why, but there is just something about it that I like. I think it has something to do with the fact that they both play a physical style but LA is the better team on defense. The Flyer however have a solid offense despite their early season struggles on offense. This game should be a hard hitting game with some solid defense, however don’t be surprised if the Flyers can get something going on offense but they have more speed than LA I believe so it might work out to their advantage if they can get odd man rushes. I’ll predict a 4-3 Flyers win.

Other Saturday Games of note

Oilers @ Bruins 1 PM ET (SNET-W|NESN)

Senators @ Maple Leafs 7 PM ET (CBC|NHL Network US)

Stars @ Ducks 10 PM ET (TXA 21|FS-W)

Blackhawks @ Sharks 10:30 PM ET (CSN-CHI|CSN-CA)

Sunday January 2nd

Red Wings @ Capitals 12:30 PM ET

This game could be very entertaining, though admittedly it doesn’t truly excite me because I am not a huge fan of either team so the incentive for me to watch is lacking. However any time the national fans can watch Pavel Datsyuk and Alex Ovechkin it is always certainly a treat for the fans. The NHL has a huge chance to cash in on a couple stars in this battle. And don’t sleep on Jimmy Howard, he is a stud goalie.

NHL Games of Night; December 10th

Games to Watch

Kings @ Canadiens 7 PM ET (FS-West/TSN/RDS)

Both teams are playing great hockey as of late, the Kings are 6-1-3 in their last 10 whereas Montreal is 9-0-1 in their last ten. The Kings are 4th in the West and the Canadiens are 3rd in the East. Therefore this game deserves to be on the list, despite the lack of a rivalry.

Blackhawks @ Stars 8:30 PM ET (CSN-CHI/FS-SW)

Another Western Conference game on the list, there is literally not a day that goes by and there is not a Western Conference game on this list. The Western Conference all year long has been amazing.

Bruins @ Flames 9:30 PM ET (NESN/TSN)

While this is not a great match-up there is plenty of reason to give this game a shot. It will mark the first time Jarome Iginla comes to Calgary since being traded to Pittsburgh last season. Not only that, this game could be a goal fest, the Flames have a good offense, but their defense is atrocious as well as their goaltending.

December 7th, 2013: An ugly day in the NHL

Zac Rinaldo, James Neal, and Shawn Thornton probably got themselves in the line of fire with their actions yesterday. The NHL got off to a bad start in yesterday’s NHL games with a bad incident in Dallas, and then things picked up later in the day in Boston.

Read the rest of this entry

NHL Game to Watch; November 26th

Games to Watch

 

Ducks @ Stars 8 PM ET (TSN2/NBCSN)

The only game on tonight and it should be a good one. The Ducks and Stars have a long history of bad blood dating back to the 1990’s and while it has cooled down quite a bit, the steam is still there for things to break out in a physical way. Last February there was a game between these teams with a lot of nastiness, so I will be hoping and looking for more of them same. Because lets be honest, if there is one thing about rivalries that make it interesting and fun it has to be the physicality of the games. Not necessarily fights, but big hits and chirping at one another, that is what makes some of hockey’s best rivalries so appealing especially in the case of Boston and Montreal or Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

This rivalry isn’t to those ones, but it is noteworthy especially in the days where they had a couple brawls the teams hated each other. I mean seriously, guys like Darryl Sydor don’t make habit out of fighting, but they had their battles against the Ducks in years past and it all really started when Craig Ludwig elbowed Teemu Selanne in the head on March 13th in 1998 in what sparked two brawls in the final five minutes of the game. The score at the time of the hit was 5-1 and the game for all intents and purposes was over when the hit happened, so as they say, all hell broke loose in the latter portions of the third period.

And while the rivalry is more civil now than it was then, it is still a little nasty as of last season, so hopefully, for people like me, it still has a taste of bitterness to it tonight and all season long.

NHL Games to Watch; November 5th

Games to Watch

Dallas Stars @ Boston Bruins 7PM (NESN/FS-SW+)

If the last two games between these teams in Boston are any indication you can expect a physical game tonight, last time these teams played in Boston their were 3 fights in the first 4 seconds of the game. But even if not the headline of Tyler Seguin making his return to Boston for the first time as a member of the Dallas Stars will be interesting to see. Loui Eriksson returns to the line-up tonight for the Bruins. The Bruins have lost 3 of their last 4, while the Stars have gotten points in 3 out of their last four games picking up two wins in that span.

Vancouver Canucks @ Phoenix Coyotes 9PM (Sportsnet Pacific)

Both of these teams are off to great starts so this game deserves to be on the list, even if I have a hard time getting into the Coyotes, or watching a team coached by John Tortorella. Regardless both teams deserve credit, not so much because of dominance as both teams have a goal differential of plus-5. Both on the surprising side, both teams average over three goals per game scored and allowed. Which means clearly either Tortorella’s defense first style has disappeared or the most likely option is that the Canucks have not learned it well enough yet.

NHL Preview: Teams Trending Up/Down

NHL Season Preview

 

 

Trending Up

Edmonton Oilers

I think the Edmonton Oilers are due for a break out season, their draft picks have all matured, and they’ve added a couple pieces to the puzzle. The Oilers probably won’t make the playoffs, but I do think they’ll be in contention. The lock out season was hard to get a gauge on how good the Oilers are or can be. But I think with the full season they can really make a good run for themselves. Adding Ference and Perron were key additions this off-season but they also bought in Boyd Gordon and Eric Belanger to shore things up. I think the biggest decider this season will be Devan Dubnyk in net.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers were in bad shape going into last season with numerous injuries to their defense, and they struggled to rebound from it. The person to get held responsible was goalie Ilya Bryzgalov who was bought out of his contract due to a compliance buyout. And the Flyers have had an active off-season in addition to that when they signed F Vincent Lecavalier and G Ray Emery. With the addition of D Mark Striet coming via a trade with the Islanders and a healthier defense the pressure could and should fall on Ray Emery who was almost perfect as the back up to Corey Crawford in Chicago last season.

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes I think will have a much better season, without a 1-13-1 stretch last season the Hurricanes probably make the playoffs. So even with no significant roster additions I think the Hurricanes will be a contender for a playoff spot, they have too much firepower not to make it with the Staal brothers and Cam Ward in net. I think the only thing that might hurt the Hurricanes would be the defensive side of the puck.

Trending Down

Calgary Flames

I know, I know, the Flames were bad last year too. But I think the Flames might actually get even worse. Without Mikka Kiprusoff in net and an offense that just never seems to get it done even with some good scorers such as Cammalleri and Iginla in prior seasons, it is hard to figure out the Flames offensive struggles. Surely they weren’t entirely balanced, but with those two players the Flames should have had a chance to do some damage on the scoreboard. With Iginla gone and the lone scorer in Cammalleri, the Flames offense looks like it could get even worse in a year where they are without a true number one goalie.

Vancouver Canucks

What is this pick on Western Canada day or something? But no, it’s not that. I just don’t think John Tortorella’s coaching style fits the Canucks at all. Tortorella is a defense first type of coach whereas the Canucks have been notoriously known for their offense over the last several seasons. I just don’t think the type of players the Canucks have fit his scheme and I can see serious problems for the Canucks this season. And the pre-season has only set this in stone for me to this point. Do I think the Canucks will make the playoffs? Sure, but I don’t think they’ll go far. It will mostly be determined by how much the players buy in to Tortorella’s system.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets had a good season last year and that is no small accomplishment for this franchise. However I think last season was a somewhat of a fluke and somewhat benefiting from the shortened season. I do think the Blue Jackets have a good team but I just don’t see them making too much noise during a full schedule, there is just something about them that I can’t put my finger on about them that screams to me that they are not that great of a team. I think part of it has to do with the fact that they really do not have that one player that I think will carry an entire team on his back for a year.

Last season was a product of great goaltending and getting contributions from players such as Vinny Prospal and Mark Letestu, and who knows how the team would have done if Brandon Dubinsky was healthy all year long. But the big story for the Blue Jackets was Sergei Bobrovsky winning the Veznia trophy last season as top goalie in the league but without him they probably don’t even sniff the playoffs.

Teams to Watch

New Jersey Devils

I think teams to watch this season could be Dallas and New Jersey, both teams missed the playoffs and it is rare that they both miss the playoffs in the same season. The Devils lost David Clarkson and replaced him with Ryane Clowe who signed a ridiculous contract. Clowe is a similar type of player to Clarkson except for not nearly as good of a goal scorer. The Devils also lost Ilya Kovalchuk to retirement which was a surprise to many outside the organization. The Devils ended up signing Jaromir Jagr after the fact though to hopefully off-set the loss of talent in addition to signing Michael Ryder. The Devils also bought in G Cory Schneider via a trade.

Dallas Stars

The Stars will be an interesting team to watch out for after acquiring Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley despite losing Loui Eriksson in the trade with the Bruins that came together on July 4th. The Stars still have Ray Whitney, Erik Cole and Jamie Benn up front to complement those two players along with Sergei Gonchar, Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daly in the back end. The Stars might make the playoffs this season, I like their chances of replacing the Red Wings in the Eastern Conference’s top 8 teams over the likes of the Oilers and Blue Jackets.

NHL News and Notes July 4, 2013

When I started today I was going to take today to relax and just enjoy the holiday. But the NHL teams had to screw with that idea hahaha. So here is a re-cap of news and notes from the NHL.

Devils Re-sign Elias, Zubrus

Patrick Elias and the New Jersey Devils have agreed to a 3 year, $16.5M deal that will keep in New Jersey until 2015-2016.

Meanwhile Dainius Zubrus was also re-signed, I can’t find contract terms anywhere. Will update tomorrow if I hear anything.

Bruins, Stars rumored in blockbuster

There is a report that links the Bruins and Stars to be in discussions that would send Tyler Seguin to Dallas for Louie Eriksson in a reported 5 player trade. From a personal stand point this seems odd that the Bruins are pushing so hard to deal Seguin, there must be something that he is doing that they really dislike. Because if they trade Seguin for Eriksson and the other players are a wash then the Bruins lose this deal. So we’ll have to wait to see the deal and how it plays out, but this just strikes me as odd that the Bruins are pushing Tyler Seguin out of town sort of like Phil Kessel.

MacLean exteneded

The Ottawa Senators have extended Paul MacLean to a 3 year deal keeping the Jack Adams winning coach in Ottawa for the foreseeable future.

Grabovski Waived to be Bought Out

Mikail Grabovski has been waived and is expected to be bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Grabovski would be the second of two compliance buyouts the Maple Leafs would have to use this summer or next summer.

Montoya re-signed by Jets

Al Montoya has been re-signed by the Winnipeg Jets to a one year, $601,000 contract.

NHL Draft day News and Note (Quick Piece)

Today is the NHL Entry Draft, and despite all the rumors that were going around yesterday no trades have been made but there are still plenty of rumors.

News

Kris Letang and the Pittsburgh Penguins reportedly have agreed to an 8 year, $58M ($7.25M per season) deal. According to a tweet from capgeek.com the deal gives the Penguins 7 players signed at the total cost of $44.3M starting in the 2014-2015 season, which leaves approx. $20M to fill the remaining 13 roster spots it would need to fill. Next summer could be interesting in Pittsburgh especially if the cap doesn’t go up that much. As it is the Peguins would need to average about $1.4M to fill the roster spots, which could end up having to be minor leaguers on the third and fourth lines. Ray Shero is smart, he’ll figure something out.

The Tyler Seguin rumors have died down it seems with no one really reporting anything on that as of late, it can still happen but things would need to pick up considerably in order to see a deal go down. If a deal is made and the Bruins take on a draft pick it could come from Tampa Bay or Calgary according to reports, those teams have the 3rd and 6th overall picks respectively. Also word out of Boston is that Nathan Horton has told the Boston Bruins that he plans on testing the Free Agent market next week when it opens. Reports are out there saying the Horton never gave Boston a chance to make a contract offer to him.

Vincent LeCavalier has met with several teams since yesterday including the Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues with more meetings to come during the NHL Draft today. Teams can’t sign anybody until Friday when Free Agency officially kicks off.

Draft Order

1

COL

2

FLA

3

TBL

4

NSH

5

CAR

6

CGY

7

EDM

8

BUF

9

NJD

10

DAL

11

PHI

12

PHX

13

WPG

14

CBJ

15

NYI

16

BUF

17

OTT

18

DET

19

CBJ

20

SJS

21

TOR

22

CGY

23

WSH

24

VAN

25

MTL

26

ANA

27

CBJ

28

CGY

29

DAL

30

CHI

You can read my draft preview piece here. And come back tomorrow for a recap of the draft and any trades made during the draft.

A look ahead to the NHL Entry Draft and Rumors

Just as the season ends, the off-season begins. With little to no time off from the NHL season for the teams playing in the Stanley Cup finals, there will be tough choices ahead.

With NHL Free Agency starting this upcoming Friday on July 5th and tomorrow is the NHL Entry Draft, it will take place at 3 PM ET on TSN and NBC Sports Network, or in Newark, NJ if you have tickets to the event then you’re lucky and most likely looking forward to what appears to be one of the best draft classes in long time. 

Here are teams that could make a big splash in this years draft:

Calgary Flames

The Flames have 3 first round picks in this years draft. In a draft so deep in talent this could transform the team from bottom feeders to a success in a few years if the Flames decide it is worth doing a complete rebuild. The Flames brass could look to trade the 22nd and 28th pick to move up in the draft, it might be doable. But without a second round pick the Flames might be better off keeping those two and drafting late in the first round. 

In terms of needs I’d like to see the Flames add a goal scoring and a defenseman or two. They already have Leland Irving in net as the replacement for Mikka Kiprusoff who retired at seasons end. 

Current Top 3 Prospects:

Sven Baertschi LW

Max Reinhart C

Markus Granlund C

Buffalo Sabres

With two picks in the first round (8 and 16 overall) and two picks in the second round (38th and 52nd) the Sabres have a lot of chips on the table, whether they stay there or move up remains to be soon. It will depend a lot on how the Sabres feel the draft can or will benefit them and their needs. 

For the Sabres I think they need to add a little defense in the farm system perhaps the 8th pick can help that position because this draft appears fairly deep in potential for goal scoring so the Sabres could afford to hold off on adding one until the 16th pick.

Top 3 Prospects

 Mikhail Grigorenko C

Brayden McNabb D

Matt Hackett G

Dallas Stars

The Stars have two first rounders (10th and 29th overall) and two second rounders (40th and 54th overall) so they will be in the mix in the first couple of rounds. The Stars already have a really good system so there is really no need to move up in this draft, but if they want to they might move the two second round picks for a late first round pick. 

The Stars could be looking to add some scoring in this draft or even add a goalie or two without the depth in the farm behind Jack Campbell. 

Top 3 Prospects

Jack Campbell G

Radek Faksa C

Joe Morrow D

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal has six picks in the first three rounds including a late first round pick, two early second round picks, a late second round pick and two third round pick which could set them up for a decent draft with the depth in this upcoming NHL entry draft. Montreal also has the stock to move for players or move up in the draft, it all depends on what the Canadiens strategy is for this draft, do they want to move up and get a potential elite player, or do they feel comfortable with where they are?

Montreal might be on the market wingers, they have depth at center and defense, so wingers might be a good place to start. 

Top 3 Prospects

Alex Galchenyuk C

Nathan Beaulieu D

Sebastian Collberg RW

Winnipeg Jets

Like Montreal the Jets have one first, three seconds and two third round picks, but the second round picks come fairly late in the second round, so they are below Montreal on the list. But they can still do some wheeling and dealing to move up in the draft, or try using the depth of this draft to stealing a first in this draft or a future draft. It all depends on how the talent pool is remaining for the Jets. 

This draft can actually benefit the Jets though, a team that lacks any real depth at wing in the farm system this could be the draft that allows them to fix that if they want to take the risk of moving up and snatching a prospect elite scorer. The ball is in Winnipeg’s court.

Top 3 Prospects

Mark Scheifele C

Jacob Trouba D

Zach Redmond D

Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers are in great position in this draft, they draft 2nd and 31st in this draft and for a team that is already the top spot on Hockey Future’s team rankings, they have a fantastic chance to get higher up on the list. Also in Florida’s arsenal is three 4th round picks, and in this draft it could mean more trade chips or depth players in the system. If done right the Panthers can add to their already great depth that includes Jonathan Huberdeau (C), Jacob Markstrom (G), and Rocco Grimaldi (C/W). Florida is poised to make Seth Jones or Nathan MacKinnon the second overall pick which adds another potential elite player to what is already an impressive collection of prospects in its arsenal. 

I think Florida could use a winger or two in the draft and potentially a defenseman. They already have two great centers in the system and will possibly add a third with MacKinnon. So defense and scoring wingers could be in the Panthers future. 

Teams that could make a splash

Boston is a team that could be active on draft day, if not for picks than in trades. It is rumored (see below) that Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton on the trade block. With Tyler Seguin the Bruins are probably going to ask for a lot of pieces since he has a lot of potential. Horton might land a 1st or 2nd round pick, but I think the Bruins would take a 3rd rounder as well in this draft for an expiring contract. Draft Chips: 60th, 90th

The Oilers are a team to watch, will they try to move up in the draft? I heard a rumor of them and the Flyers working on a deal, so there is some room for talk in Edmonton, especially if draft picks are included. The main trade piece appears to be Magnus Paajarvi. Draft Chips: 7th, 37th, 56th 

The Flyers seem to be in the news lately with buy outs and contracts, so there is little shock when they are involved with trade rumors. Especially coming off of a disappointing season. Braydon Coburn appears to be the main target from the Flyers that other teams want. Draft Chips: 11th, 41st, 72nd

 

Further observations

Those five teams have a good chance at making a major splash at this years draft. But other teams as of the time of this writing who played in the NHL playoffs lack good picks, these teams include Pittsburgh, Boston, and Chicago who traded picks for players to add depth to their teams for a serious playoff run. For example Pittsburgh doesn’t draft until pick number 77 whereas Boston drafts 60th (would have been 59th but Winnipeg got a compensation pick for not coming to terms with a prior draft choice) while Chicago drafts 30th but doesn’t have another pick in the top 91 selections or the first 3 rounds.

This draft is very deep, if you have a pick in the first two rounds you will more than likely get your hands on a future very good to great NHL player, and if you have a pick in the third through fifth rounds than the chances are that good players will still be there.

Trade Rumors

TSN is reporting that Boston is shopping Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin. Horton not so much a surprise, but Seguin is a surprise. If Seguin gets dealt it will probably be a Phil Kessel like deal from July 2009. Calgary could be a landing spot if they were willing to deal the 6th pick to the Bruins along with either or both the 22nd or 28th picks. We’ll see what happens here in terms of trades.

TSN also reports that the Pittsburgh Penguins and Kris Letang’s agents will meet this weekend to hammer out a deal. Yesterday it was reported that Letang turned down a 8 year, $56M offer from the Penguins.

Vincent LeCavalier is picking up interest from as many as 15 teams, and it is reported that he will meet with teams over the next 3-5 days. 

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