- 10/19/2010, 12:51AM ET
YODA said 10/19, 12:51 AM
I'll use the format Mad Max used for the West.
- Atlantic -
For the past 4 yrs, the Devils and Pens have battled for division supremacy with NJ edging out the Pens 3 out of 4 times.
NJ is strong as usual defensively and they can rest Marty if needed. With the additional scoring Kovie provides over a full season, the New Jersey Devils will take the division (as the Flyers and NYR battle for 3rd).
The only things I see holding back the Penguins from 1st is a lack of talent at the wing positions along with Jordan Staal's injury.
- NorthEast -
Despite the hot start, the Leafs are still a couple of years away from leading a division. I see the Buffalo Sabres holding off Boston for the divison title for another year. Ryan Miller is at the peak of his career and will steal wins for the Sabres as usual.
- SouthEast -
The Washington Capitals have the most firepower in the league.
They also benefit from playing in the NHL's weakest division.
Conference Champion -
Representing the East in the Stanley Cup Finals...
A team that's been there TWICE very recently...
THE PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Good luck, LGP.
LGP: Pensational! said 10/19, 11:51 AM
Always a pleasure to TD against such a worthy opponent. Good Luck to you too my friend.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS--Agreed. The no-brainer pick in this TD.
While New Jersey is always a safe bet, I respectfully disagree and have to go with the PITTSBURGH PENGUINS.
Staal is out, but is expected back soon. They added a prolific scorer to their wingers when Geno Malkin moved. Add Dman Paul Martin from the Devils and they got better at their rivals' expense.
NJ is up against the Cap with no margin for error or injury. That spells fatigue and burnout. They're big offseason acquisition, Anton Volchenkov, has NEVER played a full season, is injury prone and has already missed games this year.
Buffalo did well last year, but will come in second behind the BOSTON BRUINS.
Buffalo lost Tallinder and Lydman on Defense which will not be overcome by adding Leopold and Morrison. Those losses on D will adversely affect Miller's numbers.
Boston, with Rask and Thomas in net, are equal to the task.
As much as this pains me to say...and it hurts A LOT...I have to go with...
THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS
YODA said 10/20, 12:14 AM
- Atlantic -
Cap space or not, injuries and "what-ifs" affect all teams. But the Pens must contend with the reality of Staal's injury for at least the next mth.
Last yr, the Pens were 18th in goals against. Their off-season moves at D wil help, but Staal is also vital to the system. He was a Selke finalist last yr and brings key depth and 2-way play. They can't risk rushing him back.
The Devils led the NHL in fewest goals against. Volchenkov's an upgrade at D and the Devils are now amongst the most balanced teams (offense, defense, 2-way play, goalies) along with Vancouver and Detroit.
You call NJ "always a safe bet". I agree.
- NorthEast -
Yes, like Buffalo, Boston is fortunate to have strong goaltending and back-checkers.
But Boston CAN'T score. 29th in goals in 09-10? Brutal.
Led up front by Vanek, Pomminville, and Roy, the Sabres finished 11th by comparison.
Boston is at least a year away from turning it around and leading the NE.
Coming up in Arg #3: How THE PENS will make another playoff run in 2010-11 and rep the East.
And we'll discuss why you'll have to change your name from LGP to LGC.
LGP: Pensational! said 10/20, 01:44 PM
Yes, injuries and "what-ifs" do affect all teams, but NJ is playing with fire and is bound to get burnt. Hell, they only dressed 15 skaters for a game against the Pens. A short bench leads to fatigue which leads to poor performance or injury.
And these aren't the Devils' D of old either. After Volchenkov, Tallinder and White, they're a who's who of who???
Of the Pens' injured players, all are skating with Orpik and Asham expected back very soon. Staal and Michalek aren't too far behind.
Buffalo and Boston goal differential last year? 27. Boston went out and added perennial 20+ goal man Nathan Horton from the Panthers. If he can score at least 20 every year with that awful team, think how much better he'll be in Boston. They also added rookie Tyler Seguin, who scored 69 goals in 129 gms in juniors. They'll be a lot closer than 27 this year.
Boston has a deeper defensive corps and the goaltending to match. Plus, Buffalo lost too much from their D. Look for the Bs to win this division.
My heart says Penguins, but my mind says Caps.
LGC?? NEVER!!! But it was very creative on your part my friend. :)
YODA said 10/21, 01:09 AM
So you've put up several points in favor of Pittsburgh's 2010-11 roster. And you're using those points to say that the Pens will pull ahead of NJ...
But then why do you lose faith in the very same Pens team when it comes to the playoffs?
In hockey, more than any major sport, the playoffs are a different game. It's a MUCH grittier, rougher version of the sport. (Oh, and there are proper overtimes).
Most teams stuggle to find playoff experience. The Pens ARE a proven winner.
And they've continued to upgrade around their nucleus of 3 star centers.
They also chose the right time to let Gonchar head north to Ottawa. Paul Martin (and the under-appreciated Zbynek Michalek!) make a nice overall upgrade defensively while adding you.
Once the all-star break comes around and Dan Byslma has had the time to sort out the most effective line combos and units, the Pens will be rolling.
The Caps? It'll be the same old story.
Lots of scoring, but too many occasions where an average goalie is left hung out to dry. And until I see otherwise, I still give Sid the nod over Ovie when it comes to big stage playoff hockey.
The PENS will emerge. GL!
LGP: Pensational! said 10/21, 01:41 PM
"But then why do you lose faith...?"
Who said anything about losing faith? I'm not losing faith at all, but am instead showing a worthy opponent respect. Pens and Caps face off for the Conference title.
Plus, it's for all of the reasons listed by you and I that makes me believe the Pens will take the division over the Devils.
These are my concerns about the Pens in the Playoffs:
--scoring from the wings. Dupuis and Kunitz (first line wingers I don't know why) disappear in the Playoffs. Playoff #s with the Pens. Dupuis, 49 gms 4g 11a. Kunitz 37gms 5g 20a.
--Marc Andre Fleury. He was phenomenal during the Pens' Stanley Cup winning run, but he had a down year last year and is off to a really shaky start this year.
I think the Caps will learn from their mistakes and address defense this time around, particularly at the trade deadline. Plus, they improved their goaltending. They'll score goals in bunches, but if they can limit goals against, they'll be scary.
Without a doubt, Sid>Ovie in "big stage playoff hockey."
I totally agree with you about "proper overtimes." Nothing beats NHL sudden death Playoff hockey!
I hope your prediction is correct!
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