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Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Welcome to the Neno's Place!

Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


I can be reached by phone or text 8am-7pm cst 972-768-9772 or, once joining the board I can be reached by a (PM) Private Message.
Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Many Topics Including The Oldest Dinar Community. Copyright © 2006-2020

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NHL Trade Rumours: Matt Duchene - Sun 05 Feb 2017, 8:56 pm

[size=39]Matt Duchene to the Predators, from the Dept. of Obvious Fits[/size]
Greg Wyshynski,Puck Daddy Fri, Feb 3 3:33 PM EST 


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Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 6 A7e5c298efea931b8c0da898b67d5675

The Nashville Predators waived Mike Ribeiro on Friday, after he reportedly asked for a trade . Obviously it’s Nashville’s fault he has his worst points per game average since 2002  despite starting a league-high 50.3 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone …
Clearing Ribeiro’s salary opens up an even larger chunk of cap space  for the Predators, as well as a roster spot at the forward spot. Which brings us to one of the most obvious bits of NHL matchmaking in recent memory: The Colorado Avalanche potentially sending center/winger Matt Duchene to the Predators.
Pierre LeBrun of,  who was recently admonished by Tyson Barrie for his Avalanche-rumormongering , pushed these whispers in the conversation this week:
Poile’s team’s performance over the next three weeks will likely drive his trade-deadline decisions. The GM obviously would not comment on any trade speculation, but other sources have suggested that the Preds have already checked in with the Colorado Avalanche regarding Duchene and will probably monitor that situation moving forward. The Preds just can’t resist the big fish, right? 
Now, let’s inject some reality as well. A long list of teams have reportedly reached out to Avalanche GM Joe Sakic regarding Duchene. Second of all, do the Predators have the young, high-end defenseman the Avs would covet in return for Duchene? Third, it’s not a certainty that Sakic will even move Duchene before March. Perhaps he will decide instead that the blockbuster month of June is a better time to ramp up the auction on the 26-year-old center. 
Let’s take those last points one by one.
1 No, the Predators can’t resist a big fish, especially when that fish is a star center under contract through 2019 and looks great in a cowboy hat.
[size=16]2 – According to Bob McKenzie, the price tag for Duchene is:

“If it’s three high-end pieces, we’re talking about a player that’s established in the NHL already – between 20-24 years of age – as well as a first-round pick, as well as a top prospect. If the young NHL isn’t established, if it’s all prospects, then the price goes up to those four high-end pieces.”
Yes, the Predators do have the young, high-end defenseman the Avs could covet in return for Duchene. The question is which ones they’d want to part with for Duchene, and which ones Joe Sakic would covet.
If you want established defensemen, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis are both 26. Ekholm has a wonderfully manageable cap hit ($3.75 million) through 2022, and Ellis is signed through 2019. (I’ve read some Predators fans thinking Roman Josi could go straight up for Duchene, but despite their recent success without him that’s a serious ante I might not make.)
If you want prospects, Samuel Girard is a blue-chip prospect in the QMJHL that projects to be an offensive force in the NHL. Dante Fabbro was taken No. 17 overall last summer.
From On The Forecheck, more Duchene matchmaking:
The Predators have the pieces to be in the conversation for Duchene. Dante Fabbro and the aforementioned Girard are two highly touted defense prospects in Nashville’s organization. They also have Vladislav Kamenev, the Predators #1 prospect, who recently made his NHL debut. It is unlikely that Poile would part with Kamenev, who is expected to be a 2nd line center in the near future, but Poile is not shy to make big splash trades.
The Predators probably have the pieces to make that work, depending on what the Avs want.
3 – If Sakic is going to move Duchene, better to do it now. There are some awfully thirsty teams – Montreal, Ottawa and Nashville – that view him as a major puzzle piece, and would be willing to part with multiple pieces to get him. And the Avalanche need multiple pieces.
Where do you think Duchene ends up?


Ottawa Senators - Sun 05 Feb 2017, 4:05 pm

Lehner symies Senators shooters...again
February 5, 2017, 8:46 AM ET [3 Comments]

Jared Crozier
Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 6 Ott  Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSS  • Archive  • CONTACT

The Ottawa Senators have a nemesis in one of their own, or at least one that used to be their own. Robin Lehner's rush to get into the spotlight resulted in his early rise to the NHL, hastening the trade of Ben Bishop at a point when the Senators goaltending was at its deepest. His rush to be a #1 goalie hastened his departure to Buffalo when the Senators chose Craig Anderson over him (and they put a little too much faith that the run that Andrew Hammond had that fateful spring would at least make him a viable backup).  

Since that trade, all Lehner has done is stone the Senators. He has played in 7 games against the team that drafted him and the organization he led to a Calder Cup championship, getting decisions in 5 of them. His numbers against Ottawa are ridiculous - 3-0-2 record, with a 1.18 GAA and .961 SP, and put the cherry on the sundae Saturday night with his first shutout against the Senators. Considering his career numbers are 2.74 GAA and .918 SP, it is safe to say he gets up to face Ottawa. 

Ottawa fired 37 shots on the Sabres goalie, and carried the play for the most part, but the fact that they had a difficult time getting a lot of traffic in front of his vision, completing passes and holding onto the puck it was a frustrating game to watch from the Senators standpoint. They had almost as many shots blocked (17) or missing the target (17) as they got on goal, while the Sabres made the most of their 26 shots, beating Mike Condon 4 times before he was pulled mercifully in favor of Andrew Hammond. 

Jack Eichel has had his season derailed by the high ankle sprain suffered on the eve of the season, but he was easily the best player in the ice, and although probably not quite in the league of Connor McDavid or even Auston Matthews, he will be a force to be reckoned with and a thorn in the Senators' side for the next ten to fifteen years. He had 2 assists and showed some flashy stickhandling and puck control on occasions. 

Not that it was Condon's fault, except for the last goal that resulted in Boucher's hook coming out, it was a night where the Sabres were scoring some highlight reel goals. Kyle Okposo beat Marc Methot and Ryan Dzingel on a drive to the goal and put it upstairs to open the scoring, Ryan O'Reilly tipped home a shot from Rasmus Ristolainen right in front of the net and Sam Reinhart made a ridiculous curl and drag move in close for the third marker. Condon probably should have had Marcus Foligno's shot that resulted in the fourth goal, coming moments after a Dion Phanuf turnover and the Senators goalie wasn't quite set for the shot that went right through his 5-hole. 

After a substandard first period, Boucher put the lines in a blender for the rest of the game, throwing out numerous different line combinations looking for something to click. All four lines were affected and the team responded with some dominant offensive zone time, but couldn't solve the big Buffalo goalie. 

The Senators return home, having been away since the loss to Calgary before the All-Star break, and they will have a couple of days off to get re-acclimated to the home life before they host the Blues on Tuesday at Canadian Tire Centre.


Arizona Coyotes - Sat 04 Feb 2017, 9:11 pm

Coyotes at Trade Deadline : Everything Must GO 
February 4, 2017, 12:03 PM ET [31 Comments]

James Tanner
Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 6 Pho  Arizona Coyotes Blogger • RSS  • Archive  • CONTACT

Players! Get your Players here! We got NHL players, we got guys who should be retired! Get your Players. We have big players, little players, injured players.......etc. 

With the possible exception of the Colorado Avalanche, the Coyotes are set to hock as many assets off on the rest of the NHL as possible.  

Mike Smith

Shane Doan

Radim Vbrata

Martin Hanzal

Mike Stone

Connor Murphy

Luke Schenn 

If you want em, come and get em because EVERYONE MUST GO.  

The Toronto Maple Leafs have shown something I've been writing about for years to be true: the only thing stopping a whole bunch of rookies from being successful in the is the chance to play. 

I have no doubt the Coyotes have noticed this and I expect to see some similar lineup construction next year.  

Dylan Strome, Christian Fischer, Clayton Keller, Chychrun, Duclair, Anthony DeAngelo, Max Domi, Christian Dvorak + maybe (fingers crossed) Nolan Patrick could all be in the lineup next year for Arizona.  

In the meantime, the Coyotes have a whole bunch of players who they should be willing to move at all costs. 

Mike Smith is showing that he could definitely help a Nashville or St.Louis reach their potential.  

Vbrata has to be one of the most desirable adds in the league. Hanzal would help anyone.  

Would someone want to take a chance on a right-handed Dman with mobility and a great shot? They have one of those. Maybe even two.  

No team is more poised to cash in on the deadline than the Coyotes. In my opinion they should start the sell-off sooner than later so that they can try to catch the Avs for the best shot at the #1 pick. 


Tonight the Coyotes will be facing off against the Sharks!! Let's go San Jose!! 


In breaking news Craig Morgan reports that the Arizona State University has pulled out of the arena deal the Coyotes announced a few months ago. I told you at the time it was horse ___ 
and that they would never build yet another state-of-the-art sports facility in an area jam packed with about ten of them all ready. 

So there is that.


Ottawa Senators - Fri 03 Feb 2017, 7:40 pm

Senators bounce back in Tampa; What is their #1 trade deadline need?
February 3, 2017, 11:25 AM ET [25 Comments]

Jared Crozier
Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 6 Ott  Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSS  • Archive  • CONTACT

"I love it when a plan comes together" - Col Hannibal Smith, the A Team

Perhaps a cheesy line from an equally cheesy 80's TV show (or for the younger readers a mediocre but entertaining movie), but it seems to fit and I could imagine Guy Boucher uttering something like that last night. 

As I said in the preview yesterday, the Senators need to get back to the game plan and take care of the defensive end first, and also give Mike Condon some help given his recent two month workload. Check. The Senators limited the Lightning to just 21 shots and capitalized on chances of their own en route to a 5-2 victory.  

Pretty much what the Senators needed to happen to recover from consecutive losses sandwiching the All-Star break happened. Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris, the Senators best players, were indeed the Senators best players and most of the other guys filled their roles. They went 2-for-5 on the power play, were perfect in killing off three Tampa man advantages. Condon was good when he had to be, even if there was almost another cough-up behind his own net remarkably similar to the game-changer in Florida, but fortunately the puck didn't end up in his net this time or it could have been a drastically different outcome. 

Tampa scored first on a Tyler Johnson goal but Ottawa answered that one pretty quickly with a Stone marker and Ottawa never trailed again. The power play went to work and in the middle of the second, when Turris' shot got through the glove of goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to give them the lead, and then Hoffman also counted with a power play goal early in the third. After Brayden Point got the Bolts within on, Stone again had the answer in short order to restore the two goal cushion and snuff any Tampa momentum. Chris Kelly iced the game with the empty netter, his 122 goal in his 800th game.  

The Senators won one that they were supposed to win, and looked pretty good doing it, playing the system they are deployed to play. They will try to do that all over again on Saturday, when their trek home from the Sunshine state lands them for a stop in Buffalo before returning home for a four game homestand. The Blues did the Senators a favor by downing the Leafs so Ottawa opens a 5 point gap on their most likely first round opponent at the moment and used one of their games in hand on the Bruins. With Montreal also spinning their wheels a bit at the moment, Ottawa is just 7 points behind the Habs with three games in hand for first in the Division, although looking at potential matchups 2nd might be a more favorable position because at this point in time it looks like the Atlantic winner will get one of Pittsburgh, Columbus or the New York Rangers, while second place (assuming it is the Senators will get one of the Bruins, Leafs or Panthers. 

But the playoffs are still a long way away, and the next big moment is the upcoming trade deadline. Ottawa has a number of areas they could improve upon, but what is the single most pressing need, and who is available to fill it. And finally, is the price to be paid worth it? 

I will look at it from the net out. The goaltending is adequate, with two capable goalies (once Craig Anderson returns) and either one of them are capable of going on a hot streak that could carry into a playoff series. Not really a need to go out and get a goalie. 

On the blue line, the Senators seem to have everyone slotted properly and the top 4 is pretty solid, despite what the underlying numbers say about the Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci pairing. With Freddie Claesson stepping in and showing he can be a good 5-6 player, they have 7 guys they can choose from and be relatively satisfied. If there is a need on the blue line it would be for a veteran who can play in the top 4 should the need arise due to injury, and can stabilize or improve the bottom pair. It would be nice to have, but if they enter the playoff run with that group of 7 healthy, I would be ok with that. 

The Senators biggest need is elite level scoring. Not just a top 6 forward, but a legitimate top 3 guy. Bobby Ryan was expected, and is paid, to be that guy, but for whatever reason he just can't seem to get his game together for any significant length of time and is on pace for somewhere around 40 points. Ryan Dzingel has stepped up and filled a role nicely, as has Zack Smith but should one of the current top 6 go down to injury, there isn't a ready player to step in. The Senators addressed the need to add depth to the bottom 6 with last weeks acquisition of Tommy Wingels, but there is a need at the top end.  

That certainly won't be an easy spot to fill, either with a rental or by way of opening the wallet for an established, signed player with term. 

If you look at TSN's Tradebait list, Colorado is ready to deal, either Matt Duchene and/or Gabriel Landeskog. Both come with contracts in the $5.5-$6M range, with Duchene (26) having 2 years left and Landeskog (24) having 4 years left after this season. Either would be a nice fit and you could argue Landeskog could really use a change of scenery and was maybe given the "C" a little too early in Denver.  

The same thing for a guy like Jordan Eberle in Edmonton, who also appears on TSN's list of players either likely to be moved or players teams are dangling. Eberle also carries two more years at $6M so Ottawa would have to shed some salary in a trade involving any of these guys with term.  

If you were going the rental route, one that might not be as costly, there are a pair of Coyotes available, centre Martin Hanzal and winger Radim Vrbata. Vrbata is intriguing because he plays the wing, is a pretty consistent 50-60 point guy and is cheap ($1.5M this season then UFA). 

The Senators aren't in a position to take on a bunch of salary, and any deal bringing on term would rely on someone being willing to take Bobby Ryan and his salary off Pierre Dorion's cap. I don't know how many takers there would be at that price tag, unless it is problem for problem. 

In a perfect but unlikely scenario, someone finds the magic elixir to get Ryan back to his 30 goal Anaheim form, and while they are at it find out what is wrong with Lazar and fix that so he can fulfill his expectations which are certainly higher than a 2 point season, and Colin White's college campaign ends earlier than he would like and he turns pro at the end of the season to join the club for a playoff run. Then there isn't much need up front and they can maybe look for that stabilizing defenseman.  

Second best scenario would be to bring in an upgrade while moving Ryan and his salary out, even if it means adding other pieces to the deal to make it happen. There is apparently some interest in Lazar, to give him a new start, and that could be one of the pieces. 

The club's lack of depth, of NHL ready prospects and a couple of bad contracts are standing in the way. And while a potential Ryan/Lazar for Eberle swap might be good from one side, Edmonton can't afford to take the chance that Ryan just didn't fit in Ottawa and they probably can't afford the contract either without Ottawa eating some of his salary.  

In the end they will probably do what Ottawa does, bring in a middling rental or do nothing at all.  


Ottawa Senators - Thu 02 Feb 2017, 7:41 pm

Game Day: Senators @ Lightning - Boucher's homecoming & help Condon out
February 2, 2017, 11:32 AM ET [9 Comments]

Jared Crozier
Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 6 Ott  Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSS  • Archive  • CONTACT

Guy Boucher will make his first appearance in Tampa since being fired on March 24, 2013 after, ironically, losing to the Senators. He brings his current team to town in a great situation while his former team is struggling to tread water.  

The Lightning are six points out of a playoff spot with a boatload of teams standing between themselves and a playoff spot. They are coming off a loss to the Bruins on Tuesday night, managing just 21 shots in a 4-3 loss. Of course they are without Steven Stamkos, who has not played since mid-November with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. Take a perennial 30 goal scorer (40-50 when healthy) out of any team's lineup and they will take a hit, but the Lightning have played without him before to some success but haven't been able to get their game in sync without their captain. Also absent from the lineup for most of the season has been Ryan Callahan, who has had a difficult couple of seasons in Tampa and has been limited to just 18 games with a hip injury. He has just 4 points in those 18 games. 

On the plus side for the Bolts, Victor Hedman is having a Norris-calibre year, (at least in any year where Brent Burns wasn't having the season he is currently enjoying) with 41 points in 48 games Hedman is on pace to shatter his career high of 55 points. 

Former Senator Ben Bishop, who was nominated for the Vezina Trophy last season, has had a tough year that included a recent stint on the IR. He is 2-2-1 since returning on January 12th, but has allowed 9 goals in his last two starts, including 5 goals on 17 shots to the lowly Arizona Coyotes before being pulled after 40 minutes two starts ago (Jan 21).

With rumors that Bishop, who will be a UFA at the end of the season, might be made available at or before the trade deadline with Andrei Vasilevskiy ready to be a #1 starter and a comparably adept alternative to the much more expensive Bishop. Big Ben would be a big coup for a team heading to the playoffs looking to shore up their goaltending, provided he can show before the deadline that he has his game back, but he won't get the chance tonight against his former club. The Senators will face Vasilevskiy in the Tampa goal.  

From the Ottawa perspective, there are no more excuses about pre- or post-All-Star break distractions, it is time to get down to business. They had their 6 game points streak snapped with a loss to the Panthers on Tuesday and need to get back into the win column because things are tight behind them. No team is more than 7 points out of a playoff spot at the moment, and there is no true separation as of yet. Boston lost last night, which means they are still tied with Ottawa but the Senators now have 6 games in hand, many of which they will use over the next couple of weeks as Boston has a thin schedule including their mandatory "bye week". Even with a 6-2-2 record in their past 10 games, the Senators haven't gained much ground and back to back losses won't help matters. 

I said it before the Florida game, and the same holds true for this one. It isn't a "must-win" game by any stretch of the imagination and they will still be in a good spot win or lose. But if they continue to leave points on the table against teams they should be beating, it will catch up with them eventually and games later in the season that shouldn't be, will become, "must win". 

Mike Condon had an off night, as did many of the players in front of him, on Tuesday. The last time he had a game like that was the 7-6 loss to Columbus and he answered that with a 31 save shutout of the league leading Washington Capitals. He will set a franchise record tonight with his 26th straight appearance, and even with the recent All-Star break the fatigue might just be catching up to him. He has allowed 15 goals in his last 4 starts (and than includes the shutout of the Caps) and has had sub-.900 save percentages in three of his last 4, and 5 of his last 8 games. That is why I was such a proponent of resting him for that home game against the Blue Jackets that ended up being a 7-6 track meet.

The Senators as a club have been getting away from their game plan a bit lately, giving up 29 or more shots in 5 of their last 6 outings. Normally that isn't the end of the world, especially for this franchise, and they have been successful on the whole in spite of it. However when your goalie is playing every night for the foreseeable future (at least a couple of weeks or so), and has been for the better part of two whole months, you need to do everything you can to help him out and minimize his workload. By comparison, the Senators only gave up more than 30 shots once in the first 10 games of the current streak that has seen him start 16 straight games, with the 17th to come tonight. 

While the higher-scoring games of late have been super exciting to watch and back-and-forth, the Senators find themselves on the wrong end of a lot of them. They need to play the system Boucher has designed - take care of your own end and the offense will take care of itself, even if it dulls the excitement a bit. They have the ability to score on the counterattack, but you can't transition when you are fishing the puck out of your own net, and usually two points in the standings is better than the excitement of an 8-7 or 6-5 loss. 

As for the Senators lineup, Boucher said that Mark Borowiecki will be back in the lineup, and that he may try out the 7 defensemen, 11 forward strategy that he used with success behind the bench in Tampa. If so, that means that Chris Neil and Curtis Lazar could sit. (EDIT: Lazar draws back in, Neil is out. Borowiecki in, Claesson out - 12 F, 6D)


Ottawa Senators - Thu 26 Jan 2017, 8:51 pm

Game Day: Flames @ Senators - its a trap! & front office shakeup
January 26, 2017, 11:08 AM ET [14 Comments]

Jared Crozier
Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 6 Ott  Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSS  • Archive  • CONTACT

With one eye toward escaping the city for the All-Star break, the Flames and Senators will square off at Canadian Tire Centre for one last battle before they head to Vegas, Bermuda or whatever destination they have for a quick weekend getaway (although Erik Karlsson is heading to Hollywood for the game itself). The key for this one might be whatever coach can keep his players' attention the longest and even get off the mark the quickest tonight might be the one who walks away with the two points. 

It is a classic trap game for the Senators, not only because of the impending mini-vacation, but also because they are riding a wave of success, coming largely against very good teams, and they will be staring across at a team that is in a downward spiral.  

The Senators should get Mike Hoffman back from the flu that kept him out of Tuesday's win, while new acquisition Tommy Wingels will make his debut in a Sens uniform. The Senators sent Casey Bailey back to Binghamton and it remains to be seen which remaining forward will sit out (barring another flu victim), but my money would be on Curtis Lazar, at least for the first game. It could be a revolving scratch between he and Chris Neil, but I think the veteran has done enough to stay in the lineup and brings an element that the team would miss, while Wingels plays the type of game Lazar has been playing, but an upgrade on it. 

On the blue line, Freddie Claesson has impressed on the third pairing with Mark Borowiecki out for an extended period of time with the flu. It will be interesting to see if Claesson continues in the lineup or if Borowiecki is good to go, if he gets back in. Borowiecki skated before practice, but stuck around for the morning skate as well.  

One thing that is not uncertain is that Mike Condon will appear in his 24th straight game (15th straight start) and the first game after the break will tie the record of 25 straight appearances set by Damian Rhodes in 1996. One question that will be answered in due time is how the Senators will work when Craig Anderson returns. Condon has done enough to be a #1 goalie for this team, and after Anderson's mini-camp to get back into shape, how will the duties be split. Signs are pointing to the mini-camp possibly starting as soon as today as Pierre Groulx, the Sens goaltending coach, is apparently in New York to work with Anderson. It will be a good problem to have, finding enough starts to keep both goalies busy. I don't know the answer, but I think it is suffice to say that there won't need to be any further lengthy streak for consecutive appearances when Anderson does come back and both should be fresh for the playoff run. 

While Ottawa has points in each of their last 5 games (and 6-1-1 in their past 8), the Flames are reeling from four straight losses, giving up 20 goals in that span. They are 0-2 on their Eastern Canada swing that will wrap up tonight, losing 4-0 to Toronto and 5-1 in Montreal on Monday and Tuesday, with the goal in Montreal coming with one second left in the third period. The choice word coach Glen Gulutzan chose to use in describing his team's play was "Pathetic" following the loss in Montreal, and he called out his team and primarily the best players who have failed to show up of late. 

Which is kind of a good news/bad news scenario for the Senators. On one hand, facing a team that is struggling and in disarray at the moment should be an advantage, but they can't afford to have a let-down in their game to play at the level the Flames have been playing at. Because professional athletes tend to have a bit of an ego and don't necessarily like to be called out in public and the Senators have to be ready if that tongue-lashing via the media has its intended effect. It is his first season behind the Flames' bench and he might be feeling the heat already, no pun intended, and the Flames sit outside the playoffs looking in having played more games than those around them. 


The Senators made some off-ice headlines yesterday, bringing in former MLSE boss Tom Anselmi into the fold as the new President and CEO of the Senators. It won't affect the on-ice product, but Anselmi's construction history and his experience in helping to build the ACC and BMO Field in Toronto was a major reason he was brought in, given the task ahead of building the Senators' new arena at LeBreton Flats, along with the accompanying development. 

With the move, Cyril Leeder, who has been with the franchise from day 1 and is a big reason Ottawa is still an NHL city given some past issues, was ushered aside and will no longer be part of the Senators organization. 

Also, there is rumours that the Senators will begin the 2017-18 season in Sweden, possibly against the Colorado Avalanche, as well as the long-rumored outdoor game is now almost a sure thing.


Chicago Blackhawks - Wed 25 Jan 2017, 7:18 pm

The Thin Blue Line
January 25, 2017, 10:21 AM ET [48 Comments]

John Jaeckel
Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 6 Chi  Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSS  • Archive  • CONTACT


I'm going to avoid going to deeply into the negative following last night's fairly deflating Blackhawk loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

To my eye, it just goes to show a few things: mainly how narrow the margin is between winning and losing—convincingly either way—in the NHL. Except when you are a truly deep and 100% healthy team, which dear readers, the Chicago Blackhawks are not. Not at this point anyway.

There were a lot of failings last night: Jonathan Toews getting cleanly beaten on a face-off leading to tampa's tying goal early in the third. Trevor van Riemsdyk and Duncan Keith getting soundly beaten, and overall lackadaisical almost, effortless (and that not in a good way) commitment at times. Ditto Richard Panik as well. Corey Crawford still clearly not at the top of his game.

So chalk it up to a bad game, if you want, but I am going to stick by at least one observation I made a few blogs back: Keith does not look 100% or close to it. Every defenseman, even a 2-time Norris/Conn Smythe winning defenseman, makes bad decisions now and then. But again, Keith seems to lack the world-class explosion and short area quickness he has always been able to rely to rectify those errors.

What that does is make the Hawks' collective margin for error that much more precarious game to game. 

And to be frank, I will just pose this question to readers, what if Crawford (like Keith) is very slow to regain form after this injury? At what point does Scott Darling (assuming he continues to play lights out), become #1 at least for a handful of games?

You can argue Crawford needs to play through his current issues—and that is likely the right argument. The question is, how long would you ride that assumption? 

As for the Jekyll/Hyde team as a whole, you can focus on the bright side, 65 points and "second place" in the conference by virtue of points, and the fact that maybe on more nights than not, the Hawks margin for error is good enough. But I will submit to you that is against the aggregate average of all NHL teams the Hawks have played—not likely playoff teams, which this morning, the Lightning are not.

But all you can do is keep suiting up and working on things in practice and games. And the Hawks get back to business versus Winnipeg tomorrow night. I will have a preview tomorrow. 


Arizona Coyotes - Wed 25 Jan 2017, 6:07 pm

Coyotes' Burmistrov isn't huge waiver-wire steal
January 25, 2017, 3:18 PM ET [20 Comments]

James Tanner
Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 6 Pho  Arizona Coyotes Blogger • RSS  • Archive  • CONTACT

The Coyotes are riding high on a two-game winning streak (season high) that has seen prized rookie Christian Fischer score in each of his first two NHL games. 

While it's not much, the Coyotes, the (by the standings) second-worst team in the NHL will take what they can get.  

In the vein of finding positives wherever you can, the Coyotes and media are very excited about Alex Burmistrov's five points in his first five games as a Coyote.  

I don't want to get anyone upset, but there is nothing to be excited about. Burmistrov was a total bust in Winnipeg and while 5/5 is nice, there are a couple of red flags. 

Red Flag #1: Burnistrov has no goals, only assists. One of which is on the PP and two of which are second assists. So really, he has an OK two assists in five games. 

Red Flag #2: His Corsi-For Rating ifor every player he's been on the ice with in a Coyotes uniform is 46% or less, and it always gets better for the other player when they get away from Burmistrov.  

Yes, it's only been five games, but it follows the exact pattern of his time in Winnipeg where most players saw their possession numbers skyrocket when they were not on the ice with Burmistrov. 

This isn't bad and it's not meant to detract from decent production. It's just meant to point out that the Coyotes didn't score a big steal on the waiver wire. If anything, playing Burmistrov will help them get a better shot at the first-overall pick they desire.  

In other news, I am still mad at Bruce Willis.  

Also, Shane Doan and Mike Smith are nursing day-to-day injuries and may miss tomorrow's game, which is against the Canucks tomorrow at home. 


Anaheim Ducks - Mon 23 Jan 2017, 3:04 pm

XN28D+ & Game Night
January 21, 2017, 2:18 PM ET [12 Comments]

Ed Stein
Topics tagged under 1 on Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality - Page 6 Ana  Anaheim Ducks Blogger • RSS  • Archive  • CONTACT

Accentuate the Positive

Just in case you didn't get the headline. I'd like highlight some of the positives at the half way point.


As of late John Gibson has been lights out. He hasn't given up more than three goals in a start since December 13. In that stretch, he is 9-1-4, 1.61 GAA, .945 SV% and two shutouts. Those are amazing numbers. Gibson has clearly established himself as the the Ducks #1 goaltender. Its the type of play that if done in the post season can propel a team far. 

They Have Overcome

Its no secret that Anaheim doesn't have a traditional second line to provide offensive support to Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry. Despite that fact, clutch offense has come from some surprising sources. Jakob Silfverberg has had an outstanding first half; scoring 29 points, 24 of which have come at even strength or man down. He and the other members of his line, Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Kesler have stepped up their offense while maintaining their defensive prowess.

Ondrej Kase has come from seemingly out of nowhere to provide skill and scoring to the third line. Speaking of the third line, center Antoine Vermette is the glue of the bottom six. His 56 faceoff win percentage as well as his mentoring of the younger forwards on his line has been invaluable. Vermette has justified the faith GM Bob Murray placed in him when he signed a two year, $3.5M contract in the offseason.

Leaders of the Pack

48 games in and the Ducks lead their division. Although their offensive output has been lacking on many nights, Anaheim also leads the division in goals scored. Imagine where this team would be with a top notch left wing added to the mix. 

Murray has managed his tight cap room with guile and moxie. He put together a team that is “in position to be in position” at the stretch run and trade deadline. The foundation is present to go far in the postseason. A significant acquisition or two makes this team a title contender.

Ducks @ Minnesota

It's hockey day in Minnesota. Tonight the Ducks are in St. Paul to take on the Western Conference leading Wild. Anaheim look to avenge the 2-1 home loss the Wild handed them 12 days ago. Unfortunately, they will play without Silfverberg, who did not make the trip due to an injury sustained in Thursday night's game. Logan Shaw will move up from the fourth line to take his spot. Cory Tropp and Shea Theodore have been recalled from San Diego. Both may play tonight. Here is the expected lineup:





Leafs vs Sabres - Tue 17 Jan 2017, 7:26 pm

The Toronto Maple Leafs open a four-game home stand, as they take on the Buffalo Sabres at Air Canada Center on Tuesday. 

The two franchises have been linked since the Sabres entry into the league in 1970, not just because they are a 90-minute drive from each other or because former Leaf icons Punch Imlach and Tim Horton continued their careers in Buffalo, but because their fan bases in Southern Ontario and Western New York live next to each other.

Except for a meeting in the 1999 Eastern Conference Final, the two clubs have never competed for anything more than bragging rights, and most of the time that battle has been won by the Sabres.  

Buffalo and Toronto are traveling down the same path of rebuilding, but in spite of getting started later than their QEW counterparts, early returns are showing that the Leafs are ahead in the race to return back to respectability.  

Each club has followed a similar blueprint. The Sabres drafted top pairing defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen in 2013 and used consecutive 30th place finishes in 2014 and 2015 to acquire franchise cornerstones in Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel. 

The Leafs selected Morgan Rielly fifth overall in 2012 and finished 27th and 30th the last two seasons to snag Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews.

Both have drafted a Nylander (20-year-old William selected eighth overall in 2014, 18-year-old Alex selected eighth overall in 2016) and have hired Stanley Cup winning head coaches in Mike Babcock and Dan Bylsma. 

It appeared that the Sabres were ahead of Toronto at the start of this season, with Eichel and Reinhart having successful 20+ goal rookie campaigns and the addition of All-Star winger Kyle Okposo via free agency, but things have fallen into place for Toronto and have decidedly not done so for Buffalo. 

The Leafs believe they have found goaltending stability with Frederik Andersen, acquired from Anaheim for a first and second round pick last June, while Robin Lehner’s injury problems since being acquired from Ottawa have the Sabres wondering whether they have their #1 or not.  

Both clubs have effective top pairings in Ristolainen/Jake McCabe and Rielly/Nikita Zaitsev, but are in need of upgrades on the blueline. 

Buffalo expended significant resources to improve their defense; signing former Leaf Cody Franson to a two-year, $6.65 Million contract, trading with Montreal for veteran Josh Gorges, swapping youngster Mark Pysyk for Dmitri Kulikov and acquiring Zach Bogosian in the big deal with the Winnipeg Jets. 

The Leafs added Zaitsev as a free agent from the KHL, re-signed defenseman Roman Polak and added youngster Connor Carrick.

For nearly $17 Million in payroll, Buffalo has just one goal and 13 assists from the four defensemen, while Zaitsev at $925,000 has outscored them all with one goal and 15 assists in 41 games. 

Buffalo GM Tim Murray has not been shy about making big moves in the trade market and spending big money re-signing his own free agents or going outside of the organization; signing Okposo away from the NY Islanders, re-signing Matt Moulson (after trading him to Minnesota) and Tyler Ennis, stealing Ryan O’Reilly away from Colorado and acquiring Bogosian and Evander Kane from the Jets for Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford. 

O’Reilly and Okposo have produced, but Moulson had a career-low eight goals last season and just nine this year, Ennis and Bogosian have been injured more than they’ve been in the lineup and Kane has been involved in two embarrassing off-the-ice incidents.  

Toronto has not added high-priced free agent in the Brendan Shanahan era, opting instead to promote from within and adding Nikita Soshnikov, Polak and Matt Martin via free agency as role players. 

Unlike the Sabres, who are burdened by the contracts of Ennis, Moulson and veteran Brian Gionta, the Leafs went to the bare wood and cleared out the big money deals of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf and used their financial wherewithal to alleviate the financial burden made by previous regimes, such as dealing David Clarkson for Nathan Horton and making Joffrey Lupul and Stephane Robidas fall off the radar. 

This salary cap management/financial advantage will serve the Leafs well in the near future, as Lamoriello can acquire players in free agency or make trades with teams with expansion draft/budget constraints. 

Buffalo has been slowed by key injuries this season and only with the return of Eichel have begun to play up to expectations. Unless they make a second-half charge, Murray will likely trade his expiring contracts for futures and concentrate on getting Eichel and Reinhart signed to extensions next summer.

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