20 games in. Surprises an disappointments? Eastern Conference

Discussion in 'Hockey Talk' started by m_peroni, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. m_peroni

    m_peroni
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    By current conference standings:

    Pittsburgh: Surprise! For the sole reason that the team played amazing hockey without Malkin and Crosby. Staal elevated his game tremendously and now that Malkin and Crosby are back, it is a shame to see Staal again pushed back and used as a checking forward. Probably one of the best checking forwards, but nonetheless, not going to get as many points.

    Florida: MAJOR Surprise! Many expected a long wait for a brand new team to find chemistry and settle in, and even execute Dineen's game plan. But these guys have one of the best first lines in the league right now. Versteeg has found a home and is proving many people wrong, who thought he was just a third liner. So far everything seems to work, and even with some injuries the team manages to pull through. The PP is amazing. The defense has been stellar. It is still a young season and there is a lot more to prove, but so far Tallon looks like a genius.

    Boston: I would say neither. Such a terrible start and now they are the hottest team in the league. They are back in form. Which means, if they are back in form, why are the Nucks not? Seguin is lighting it up, but second half is a big test for the youngster.

    Philadelphia: Surprised. I thought the changes would backfire, but they are still a very good team. The offense is still putting up lots of points, Jagr seems rejuvenated. The defense, i think, is their biggest strength. Goaltending? Mediocre. But, they are making it work.

    Toronto: Surprised. If Optimus Reim was playing, this team would be battling for first place with the Pens and Panthers. I don't see how Kessel will stop scoring. He is just putting plenty in and when you see him not score a goal in a game or two and the team playing lousy then you think that the team is back to reality. Yet, they end up winning great games and Kessel still putting up points. This is fantastic for Toronto and they are hoping that they can ride out the storm with Gustavsson and Scrivens. So far it's going fairly well, but if Reimer will be out for a longer period of time, Burke has got to have at least a trade in mind because you DON'T want to lose points for poor goaltending.

    Washington: Disappointment. McPhee will have to make a decision. Trade Semin, or fire Bruce. It does not even matter anymore if this team loses nine in a row, and then wins 10 in a row and gets first place. They got swept last season. SWEPT. Ovechkin looks like a different player and there is obvious tension in that locker room. They should be in a much better seeding.

    Buffalo: Disappointment. I am not sure how this team is not in the top four spots in the EC. So far things are not working as smoothly. Miller has had a poor start. Enroth is definitely not going to make Miller expendable, as some rumor mongers thought last season. It is a very good team on paper, all across the board. Should be so much better.

    NY-Rangers: Disappointment. I know, it is odd that i say that despite their last 10 games. But, if you watched every one of those 10 games you would know that only once did they really dominate a game. Their PP is dreadful and the coaching staff is to blame. There is no excuse to have a piss poor PP with a goal scorer, one of the league's best play makers, and other players that are good in scoring goals from around the net. The Rangers got their asses kicked by Montreal. They got their asses kicked last night in Florida, and if it was not for Lundqvist, who is having an amazing season so far, the 2-1 loss would have looked more like 4-1...5-1. Players are not scoring enough on this team. How much more can Torts ask from Sather? He needed a back-up. He got Biron. He needed a goal scorer. He got Gaborik. He needed a playmaker. He got Richards. How much more will this guy want? Where does it end in terms of....realizing that the coaching is failing? The record is fine for the Rangers, but their game play has been very unimpressive and it is scary because they can only steal so many wins. If things don't turn around for the Rangers, expect a losing pattern and problems coming out of NY.

    NJ: Disappointed. I thought this team was going to fly to start the season. I still think it is a quality team and DeBoer is the right coach to bring back Devils hockey. They are not playing too badly, but I thought this team was going to come back big time after last season.

    Montreal: Disappointing. Seems like a .500 team that does not have the ability to pull through. They have a very talented line-up, but overall it is not good hockey. A very bad start to the season, and now it seems like a passive cruise control playing .500 hockey.

    Ottawa: Surprise. I thought this was going to be the worst team in the league from Game 1 to Game 82. They are not playing too badly despite their roster looking very poorly skilled. I still think they will finish last in the league, if not the conference. But, so far they are proving me wrong.

    TB: Disappointing. A very talented first two lines. A good defense, and yet....they are just .500. Goaltending is a major issue that needs to be addressed. This team is losing points due to the goaltending, but it is also disappointing to see the team as a whole underachieve with such talent.

    Winnipeg: Disappointing. I thought this team moving to a new area with excitement and energy would push them as overachievers. When Wellwood is your team point leader then it raises concerns regarding the rest of the team.

    Carolina: Disappointment. The offseason moves have no worked out as well. Eric Staal is looking depressed (guilty for his brother's injury?), and the team looks disconnected. Firing Maurice the solution? No. He can't play for Staal. He did not make the off-season changes either. Too easy to blame the coach on this one. The team could be better if Staal was putting up a point a game, but that is no one's control.

    NY Islanders: Disappointing. I thought they would be at least better this season to the point where Tavares woud be among the league leaders. He is not. The team looks like it is having consistency and work ethic issues. Unacceptable. It is a young team. They should be doing better than 15th in the East. Is it also about time that Nabokov gets traded (once healthy)? End this silliness, Snow.
     
  2. Die-hard

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    I don't see the Pens as a surprise - Malkin has played most of the season and looked good, not great. He's only been great once Crosby returned. Not a surprise that they are leading their division.

    I've only seen one Florida game so hard to comment, but they look much better than before. Hopefully they can keep it up.

    On Boston - they were awful, now they are scorching. They're a solid playoff team who win by beating up their opponents, that won't stop.

    Philly - I'm surprised they are as good as they are. Giroux seems like a top 10 player now, Philly seems to find these guys over an over in the later first round. We'll see if they can keep it up.

    The Leafs are doing it with smoke and mirrors, IMHO. They look solid offensively but very suspect defensively, and I'm not meaning the D corps as much as the forwards coming back and shaky goaltending. Kessel absolutely will stop scoring, he always does, as will Lupul. Still, I'm hoping they continue to rack up the points and make the playoffs - been too long for Leaf fans.

    The Caps have no heart - at least their top players don't. That's not going to change.

    Buffalo is horribly overrated - lots were picking them to win the east and maybe the president's trophy. They are a playoff team bit I don't see them as a true contender.

    The Rangers just can't create enough offense, still. It's the players, not the coaches - they just don't play to score goals and they don't have enough Callahans on the team. Lundqvist, IMHO, is the NHL's best keeper.

    The Devils just aren't that good - they'll be in touch to make the playoffs. Same with the Habs.

    Ottawa is very young and will be good in a few years, but not right now.

    Tampa has the same problems as before - a few world class forwards and zero depth. Until that is addressed they will only go as far as their stars get them.

    Winnipeg, again, just isn't very good.

    Carolina I haven't watched this year so can't comment on - from the highlights I've seen it seems guys like Staal need to pick it up.

    The Isles, again, aren't very good.

    On the Nucks - who you mentioned briefly - they are playing as well as anybody in the league right now. 6-2 in their last 8 is pretty darn good - it's just that they are held to a higher standard than others.
     
  3. rikster

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    I think very young teams like the Oilers and Avs and teams which missed the playoffs or had disappointing seasons tend to come out of the gate guns a blazing...

    More established or older teams tend to take a bit longer to get it going, so I think the next 20 games will be more telling than the first 20 games were...

    When I watch the Capitals I think to myself what a bunch of mis fits ...They don't seem to have a system or an identity and look like a train wreck defensively...

    The Sabrtes, how often does the media fall in love with teams that make a splash in the off season only to find out that spending doesn't always work out the way you had hoped?...

    I'm all over the map with the Leafs, some times I think they remind me of the Sabres teams from a few years ago which had the like of Briere and Drury which could run and gun with the best of them and then some times I watch them and think they are too soft up front and not mature enough on the back end...

    With the Canucks, I still think they need to find a more physical body for the blue line...If you envision the Canucks being able to represent the West again and the Bruins represent the East, the Bruins win again...

    The Bruins can beat you up playing within the rules and when the rules are relaxed as they are in the playoffs, they can really beat you up...

    I'd also like to see a more physical player on the Canucks 4th line wing position....

    Take care...
     
  4. Die-hard

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    I agree completely on what the Nucks need Riskter - one big tough dman who can play (very difficult to find) and one 4th line banger (much easier to find).

    Raymond is back next game, so if that's the case then the Nucks will have some forward depth to play with. I'm not sure who they can target as the dman but I do think Gillis knows what he needs as well - probably won't do anything else until the trading deadline though.
     
  5. m_peroni

    m_peroni
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    Hey..... this is EASTERN Conference talk!!!!

    I'll do a Western Conference one ASAP. Been busy pulling Christmas stuff out.
     
  6. Die-hard

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    I already gave my two cents on the east though - I get a ton of eastern conference hockey living in Toronto.

    Will be interesting to see which surprise teams can keep it up. I have my doubts - let's see them prove me wrong!
     
  7. Shakes

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    LOL on the smoke and mirrors with the Leafs. Sometimes I think the exact same thing especially after they are smoked by Boston so badly that they cannot look in the mirror the next day.

    Are the Leafs a top team in the EAST? No way......can they make the playoff's? ......I heard that since the All Star break last year + this years record the Leafs would be 3rd or 4th in the east. Actually what is shocking is that the Leafs would be something like 14 wins with 7 losses once you take away the Bruins games as they are the only team to give them a sound romping over and over again.

    Oh well I hope they continue with the smoke and mirrors for the season.
     
  8. generalleeiv

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  9. Die-hard

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    They sure haven't looked like the same team lately though, have they Shakes? Worldbeaters to start the year and they've been very average since then. They've actually got fewer goals for than against - and they are 15-10-3. That doesn't make sense and something has to give. The only team with a similar record that has a similar goal differential is Dallas - and to me they are the epitome of a smoke and mirrors team. Vancouver has a similar record as well - and they are +22 in goal differential.

    They are as good as streaky Kessel is - and he's been very good this year. He needs to keep up his pace for the rest of the year for them to make it. He's proving me wrong, I always thought he was a 60-70 point guy max, but he looks to be legitimately improving. Now if he could only play D consistently......

    Too bad about having to play Boston so much - I guess we can just remove all Boston games from their schedule right? I'm kidding of course, I do think the Leafs will be right in the mix for the playoffs, but when I wrote that they were either 2nd or 3rd overall in the league - and that's what I meant by smoke and mirrors.

    Their defense is not very good, their goalies are very average - but they have a good to great offense. They need that to continue and hopefully stay healthy or they won't make it.
     

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