I just wanted to give a nice welcome back to the NHL to Pierre-Marc Bouchard. I like him because he’s a little guy and has great dangles. He only played 1 game last year because of a concussion and for a while return was uncertain. Concussion’s are a tough thing to come back from, I know from experience, and I have mad respect for PMB keeping it real for the little guys.
5. Crosby is not leading the nhl in goals or points. Steven Stamkos has emerged as quite possibly the next Joe Sakic with his amazing release of that snap shot. Stammer does nothing but rip goals at a near 50 in 50 rate. I hope he can do it.
4. Hemsky is still healthy. Right around this point last season Hemmer suffered a season ending shoulder injury. Although the Oiler’s are in a rebuilding stage in their franchise, Hemsky is a lethal scorer and playmaker on any given night and I love watching him out there.
3. Claude Giroux has put himself up there as an elite scoring talent. Giroux never tallied less than 100 points in any of his years at Gatineau. Giroux is in my opinion the most talented Flyer this year and is proving it with 23 in 23. Hopefully G keeps at an 82 in 82 pace.
2. Chicago is suffering the effects of giving away an emerging net minder in Niemi and settling for a washed up, second-rate goalie in Turco. Nothing personal against Marty, but he is at the tail end of his career, which was decent but nothing amazing. Niemi has the potential to be a game changer every night like he did last year in the playoffs as a rookie. No repeat in my crystal ball for Chi town.
1. The Philadelphia Flyers are tied for the NHL lead in points. I love it. Everything the flyers are doing right now makes me smile. From our offense putting up 5 or more goals a game, to BOB only letting up 1. The Flyers are proving that they are a team to be reckoned with and I for one, can not wait for the playoffs. Although I do wish for a Bob shutout.
Thanks for reading everyone and enjoy your Turkey Day!!
Now I don’t mean to offend any serious fans by saying these are players you’ve never heard of. This is just my list of the top ten players in the league that no one talks about or appreciates but do their jobs the best. Every team has a couple of players that do things crucial to winning but don’t show up on the score sheet so they don’t get talked about.
10. Milan Lucic (Boston Bruins). If you don’t live in the New England area, you may not have heard of Milan Lucic. This 6’4″ 220 pound left winger is one of the most dominating forces on the forecheck. Lucic uses every pound he has to his advantage when taking opposing defenders to the board with force. Lucic disrupts play and causes hell for a defender trying to make a clean break out pass. This creates room for his very skill team mates like David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron to create scoring chances.
9. Travis Moen (Montreal Canadiens). Travis Moen is a big winger who is great along the boards. He works the ugly area’s and isn’t afraid to sacrifice his body for the team. Also, Moen is one tough customer. If you go after one of his team mates, be sure that you’ll be hearing from Travis Moen. at 6’2″, 215, he has a lot of size to throw around. Continue reading
5. Ales Hemsky is healthy. Without Hemsky the Oilers offense
turns to mush. Dustin Penner is the only Oiler who can score consistantly without Hemmer. Hemsky, after scoring 22 points in 22 games last year, went down with a season ending shoulder injury. He is the puppeteer of their powerplay. He organizes their rushes, keeps the game at his pace, and not to mention is a very smart hockey player. Continue reading
The Philadelphia Flyers skate into Raleigh, North Carolina tonight for a conference showdown. The Flyers will look to stumble the Hurricane’s dangerous young scoring attack. The Hurricane’s come in third in their division, looking to gain some ground on the high-flying Capitals.
The ‘Cane’s are incredibly dangerous 5 on 5, scoring 32 of their teams 43 total goals this season at even strength. They’ll look to bounce back from the last meeting between these two teams where the Flyers skated away with a 3-2 victory thanks to a pair of goals by Scott Hartnell.
The young guns of the ‘Cane’s will be leading the way offensively. 18-year-old Jeff Skinner is tied with captain Eric Staal for the team lead in points with 15. Skinner, a first round pick in this past draft, is a talented kid with a great skill set and offensive vision. I’ll definitely look to him to have an impact tonight.
On the other side of the puck, the Flyers are also led in points by some youth. Claude Giroux has started this season on a tear much like he ended the last one. 14 points in 15 games for Giroux. Also on the offensive attack for the Flyers will be Danny Briere. Looking to rebound from a questionable suspension call, Briere has not scored since his return after a very hot start. Look for Briere to chip in on the offense as he does so often.
In between the pipes for the Flyers will most likely be Sergei Bobrovsky. This rookie Russian phenom has taken the NHL by storm so far and looks to keep up his pace with a win against a conference foe. Last game Carolina gave the start to Justin Peters who, despite playing very well, came back with a loss. I would expect the ‘Canes to go with Cam Ward in this one. The former Conn Smythe winner may be just what Carolina needs to go two games above .500.
Neither of these two teams have been very impressive on special teams. The Flyers are at just 17.9% on the power play, a narrow edge over the 15.1% of the Hurricanes. This game will come down to the penalty kills. Both teams have struggled on the power play so whoever can limit the other teams chances when up a man will be successful.
My prediction? Danny Briere has a very good history against Carolina, so I’m picking Philadelphia with a 5-3 win. Briere getting first star honors for the night.
An Eastern Conference battle sets our stage for the game of the night tonight. The Penguins play host to the Bruins tonight on the NHL network. This is the first meeting between the two teams this season. Pittsburgh took three out of the four meetings last season outscoring Boston 11-9.
This should be a firecracker of a game because of the two teams rough history with each other. After Matt Cooke’s vicious hit on Marc Savard the series has been full of tension. In between the pipes for Pittsburgh will most likely be Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has had a rough start to his season posting a 3.55 GAA and a .853 save percentage but is still the same dangerous goaltender that can steal a game like he did time in and time out in the ’09 playoffs. For Boston I expect Tim Thomas to get the start with his 7-0 record. Thomas has returned to the Vezina winning shape he was in ’09. Thomas has a 1.05 GAA and a remarkable .967 save percentage.
He doesn’t need to be mentioned because he does it so often it’s practically clinical, but of course big Z will be a factor tonight. Obviously Zedeno Chara is a dominant force every game he plays. He completely shuts down his side of the ice every shift. I think he’ll be able to contain Crosby and the rest of the Bruins will do their job in turn.
I believe this game comes down to the special teams. The Pen’s have struggled on the power play so far this season at just 13.3%. The penalty kill has not been much better for Pittsburgh at 87.5%. The Pens will have to stay discipline to give themselves a chance in this one. It’s going to be a hard-hitting game with both teams throwing the body quite a bit. Nathan Horton leads boston in points, and I believe he will have a big game tonight. I’m also calling Tyler Seguin having a big game. He’s a talented young player with major offensive abilities and with a struggling Fleury, Seguin could put on a shooting clinic.
My prediction is a hard fought and rough bout but with Boston edging Pittsburgh 4-2 with an empty netter. I think the Pen’s are having a rough go at it right now and the Bruins have a hot goalie and a young talented team with a D core that is up there with the best of them in the league.
Star of the game? Nathan Horton with his great vision and offensive skill set.