With the subtractions of Dave Bolland, Viktor Stalberg, Ray Emery, Jamal Mayers and Michael Frolik due to trade or free agency the 2013-2014 Chicago Blackhawks lines may look something like the following.






Outside looking in: Smith, Hayes, Morin, Leblanc and Beach

As we know, Quenneville’s lines are never set in stone but this is an early forecast of what they may look like to start the 2013 NHL season. Marcus Kruger (RFA) is yet to be signed but very early in the off-season Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said he will be signing Kruger to a new contract. However, we have all seen this before where Bowman has stated similar (Niemi) and the Hawks ended up losing him.

Could a team offer sheet Kruger? Possibly, the minimum that would need to be offered to Kruger would be a 105% raise of last year’s salary which I believe was 900k. That would put him close to the 2 million mark and not unreasonable for a player like Kruger. There would be no compensation for losing Kruger from the team using an offer sheet on him if that was the case.

I believe Kruger is looking for 2.2-2.5 million per season and if he does end up receiving that the Blackhawks will be completely out of cap space although they can go over the salary cap (up to 10%) until the start of the season.

Bowman could try to do something with Carcillo and Bollig who have a combines 2013-14 salary of $1,400,000 but still does not leave a ton of room, cap wise. Also, I’m not too sure what teams would have interest in either player.

As you can see in the lines I have Pirri slotted in on the 3rd line, however, with the cap situation it may be tough to add a young player in due to the cap hit. Pirri (2-way contract) has a hit of $870,000.

Kruger would need to sign a deal by December 1, 2013 or he will not be eligible to play the rest of the season.

How else could the Blackhawks make room if they want to sign Kruger?

Well, one can’t imagine any of the forwards being moved besides Carcillo or Bollig so one has to look below at the defenseman.





Outside looking in: Olsen, Clendening and Stanton

Chicago has a solid top 6 defense group but they also have a ton of money invested in them. Bowman could free up some cap space by moving Niklas Hjalmarsson or Johnny Oduya. I personally believe it would be much easier to move Hammer due to him being an unrestricted free agent next season.

The issue with moving one of our defenseman is that the Blackhawks are not as deep on the back end as they are up front. Sheldon Brookbank would step in to fill a spot but after that is a huge question for depth.

Crawford/ Khabibulin

Outside looking in: Raanta

The goaltending situation is interesting. Corey Crawford is the clear number one goalie in Chicago after proving to many critics that he’s one of the best “tenders” in the game today. The back-up situation was figured at one point to be freshly signed Antti Raanta’s job but Stan Bowman went and spent 2 million on 40 year old ex- Blackhawk goaltender and Stanley Cup winner (with Tampa Bay) Nikolai Khabibulin.

Raanta initially signed the contract expecting to be in Chicago for the 2013-14 season and earlier Stan Bowman did an online interview saying he expects Raanta to fill that role. This was only a few days prior to the signing of Khabibulin. In a recent interview, Raanta was questioned about where he was going to be playing next season and has mentioned that he is prepared to go to the Blackhawks AHL affiliate, the Rockford Icehogs.

It should be an interesting and possibly shocking off-season for Chicago with the reduced salary cap but Bowman has done an extraordinary job in the past managing players and contracts.

Thanks for reading,




I am not sure if anyone of you my dear American and Canadian readers have experienced the Nordic light during the summers that we have over this side of the planet.

It is just fantastic that there are such contrasts in the nature: From total winter darkness to total summer light.

There is still some hockey going on despite the summer time.

A lot of Boston Bruins and Chicago Black Hawk fans sitting on the needles and hope that their team will win. Wish both teams and fans good luck. May the best win!

I wrote my thoughts already at my main blog, and I can talk about it here as well. Why not? Or what the heck?

However, this is what I had in my mind:

Players are changing clubs the same way another change t-shirt. The “magic” around a trade is gone since a long time ago. A transfer these days are certainly not at the same level the trade that happened 1988. Yeah, you know whom I am talking about: the great one, Mister himself, when he moved from Edmonton to Los Angeles Kings.

Edmonton Oilers was my NHL team at that time, and still are even if I am not that hard core nowadays the way I was then. But you can imagine how I really felt when he decided to sign for the Kings. It took several months before I could let that go and move on somehow: Yeah, “somehow”.  Geez….

Well, I am not that totally indifferent about trades today. But it is not that huge that I’d shocked, shaken and disturbed. Life showed that it is not that bad if a player or several players choose to change from one team to another because they probably pay better or give them something else that they didn’t got from the club they wish to leave.

And my own coach experiences from the time when I was coach for a youth team in basketball (can you believe that I was coach? Well, that’s true) showed that the team has to run with those players that there is in one way or another and as coach I had to work with them, to make them believe that they really are better than they might think at the moment about them selves.

There is no other way and that’s the way it is, pure sport and life reality.

Furthermore, one player or a few players going away somewhere else is not the end of the world. If the case would be so after all, then it would be a good time to have an overlook at the organization and ask why it is so that exactly everything depends on one or two-three players?

But…. You know what?

Now I really wish you my dear reader a great midsummer holiday. We here in Scandinavia celebrate the midsummer evening on Friday.  Also I wish you a good week.

I am going to have a good time at the lake of Saimaa in Finland and hopefully catch some fish! And it will be visiting the sauna as well.

Greetings and see you soon!

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala at Betsafe 

Connecting the worldwide hockey family closer to each other by telling stories from the Finnish SM-liiga and national teams. 




After a game in which Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford played remarkably well and in all likelihood prevented the Minnesota Wild from absolutely kicking the shit out Chicago by a score of 7-2 or something in that range Corey, again, is the blame by many NHL fans and media.

Why not blame the goalie? It’s the easiest thing to do, right?

Give me a &*^$&@^ break.

People saying it doesn’t matter what Crawford did through the first 60 minutes of the game last night, think again. Sure, the end result is still a loss but to take anything away from Corey’s spectacular performance is an asinine thing to say.  The whole point is that Crawford gave the Blackhawks a chance to win even when the Hawks were thoroughly outplayed.

Here are just a couple examples of what “knowledgeable” goalie fans had to say about Crawford via Tracy Myers  Twitter.

OK, thanks for the life lesson, Chris.

Phil, you’re a good guy but “paper Mache goal”? I’m thinking that beer may have affected your goalie analysis just a bit. But that’s just my opinion.

OK, everyone is entitled to their opinions but I just happen to disagree with a few of them and I do realize you’re all dedicated Hawks fans but let me bring you a different perspective on this one goal.

Here is the video.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

Now, prior to the goal I’m going to bet most of you were yelling something like this “OMGZ COME ON GUYS GET THE PUCK OUT” and then followed up by a “FML CRAWFORD YOU SUCK”.

Start at the 49 second mark and let it play; use the pause as often as you wish. So from: 49 To: 55 you see five Hawks players scrambling around being dominated by three, yes THREE Minnesota Wild players. This went on prior to this point for a good amount of time, too.  (Clearly Crawford’s fault at this point…)

At: 54 seconds Crawford does what all goalies do nowadays and that is get the pad down to cover any type of wrap around or some little piddly shot that may trickle close to the post. PLEASE LOOK AT THE BLOG PHOTO AT THE TOP. SAME STYLE AND CRAWFORD MADE THE SAVE ON THIS ONE.

Please take note of Stalberg as at this point he is in front of Zucker. Zucker moves in front of Stalberg after Vik took a quick glimpse at Jason and lets him glide past him as Stally was watching the puck. Crawford at this point was still looking for the loose puck. Ever try looking through a mask trying to locate a puck behind the net? It is not easy.

The puck then caroms off the board directly to Zucker (yes the guy Stalberg let go freely) and Zucker snipes the shot over top of Crawford’s shoulder. All of this happened in a split second.

So tell me, after this mini analysis do you still blame Crawford? If you do, well, OK then.

But to me it is the five Hawks chasing 3 Wild players around and a Mr. Stalberg not tying up the eventual winning goal scorer. (This was one hell of a shot by the way).

I understand most of you know I’m a goalie and perhaps assume I’m protecting Crawford, well, I am in this case and I’ve called him out before on weak goals.

Know this though, every single other goalie in the NHL has let in weak goals and If I were a betting man I’d bet they’ve let in just as many or more than Corey has this year. Corey Crawford has been one of, if not, the best goalie in the NHL this season.

One last thing, goalies will often admit after a game if they should have stopped a certain shot (much like Schneider did last night saying he whiffed on the puck). Corey Crawford did not and why you ask? Because it wasn’t his fault.
Thanks for reading,




With the Calgary Flames currently looking at a pretty sweet lottery pick this year, much talk has been about the availability of star forward, Jarome Iginla. Iginla trade talk has been a hot topic for a few years now especially with the downward spiral Flames team where they seem to be limited in prospects and have an over-abundance of middle of the line and also ageing players. The Iggy talks have been beaten to a pulp with the majority, even hard-core Flames fans, begging to deal their beloved superstar to get some players for now and the future. The tough part is that most would assume Iginla would like to go to a cup contender and have a shot at taking home Lord Stanley and Jarome has not admittedly say he’d accept a deal out of Calgary.

So where would be a likely destination for Iginla? Most say the cap tight Philadelphia Flyers for starters, but are they even a cup contender with or without Jarome? In my opinion, the Flyers issues are in goal and on D. Detroit could be a landing spot as they’re somewhat desperate for a scoring forward and he’d look good playing along either Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg.

What about the Chicago Blackhawks? Well, at this time, I’d say there is no reason to make any type of deals although some fans opinions have gone the way of needing a goaltender or another player to step in for Patrick Sharp. Rumor mongers are in their glory now that Chicago has lost a couple games in a row and they’re throwing out ridiculous trades to almost revamp the entire team. It never ends does it? Anyway, my point of bringing up Jarome Iginla to the Blackhawks is because not many have mentioned them as a possible landing point for the superstar. My personal opinion is that the Blackhawks make no deals unless the wheels completely fall off or injuries start to pile up.

The Blackhawks are currently the favorite to win the Stanley Cup in most people’s eyes so why wouldn’t Iginla want to go play with a highly skilled team and skate alongside Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews? Jarome is that power forward Chicago would love to have but at what price? Would you ship an Andrew Shaw, Jeremy Morin and a high draft pick for him? Would Calgary accept something like that? Bowman can fit Iginla on to the team under the cap with a few tweaks here and there if need be.

Iginla brings possibly the most likeable personality in hockey to a youthful team with tons of skill; he’s a goal scorer, kills penalties, two-way player and drops the mitts if needed but obviously on the down side of his career due to his age.

Would Chicago be OK losing players/prospects for a one year rental player which would give them a better shot at the Stanley Cup? Some fans would want to keep Iggy but that’s not happening unless he takes a huge pay cut or we dump one of, if not, the best 2-way player in the game in Marian Hossa or some other highly paid Blackhawk.

I personally think the Blackhawks should play it out and see how they do closer to the trade deadline and give players like Hayes a chance and hope this great ride continues. Hopefully Patrick Sharp should be back by then, too.

What do you think? Should the Blackhawks make a plethora of deals or are you happy with this insane run they’ve had?

Thanks to Zimbio.com for the photos and thanks for reading.



Since TSN, Sportsnet and many other media types seem to be putting out their predictions on the rosters for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi for Team Canada. We little folk over at Crash the Net felt like we should do our own considering we disagree with most prognosticators out there, in some areas.


Please take a look at what we’ve put together for not just one Team Canada but two teams just for bits and giggles.


Please feel free to comment.




James Neal -Sidney Crosby-Steven Stamkos

Rick Nash-Jonathan Toews – Eric Staal

Claude Giroux –Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry

Patrick Sharp-Patrice Bergeron-Jordan Eberle

John Tavares

For these forward lines you have a nice mix of offensive players and a 2-way player on each line. Perhaps a little less on Crosby’s line and you could flip flop Eric Staal with James Neal on the wing. Needless to say there are centers that will need to play on the wing due to the overabundance of talent down the middle.



Duncan Keith-Drew Doughty

Kris Letang-Shea Weber

Brent Seabrook-Alex Pietrangelo

Marc Staal

Now that Ryan Suter and Shea Weber are split up, there’s no doubt who the best D tandem in the NHL is and that is, once again, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. However, we all remember how good Keith and Doughty were in the last Olympics so it wouldn’t hurt to start them out together. If Doughty has not improved his play by that time, there would be little hesitation moving Seabrook up with Keith.



Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Cam Ward,

As much hate as there is out there for Roberto Luongo, there is no doubt what he brings to the table plus he is a past Olympic gold champion. He’s arguably playing better than he ever has in his career right now and if he keeps it up there should be no doubt who is the starter for Team Canada.

Now here is a look at who would be Team Canada’s second unit from Crash The Net’s point of view. Obviously, several of these players could make a push for Team 1.



Jamie Benn- Joe Thornton – Patrick Marleau

Jeff Skinner – Mike Richards – Tyler Seguin

Logan Couture – Vincent Lecavalier – Martin St. Louis

Jarome Iginla – Brad Richards- Jordan Staal

Taylor Hall

Again, nice spreading out of offensive and 2-way players on each line with the possible exception of the Lecavalier line but there are options with these lineups where you can interchange some players.

Other notable forwards: Milan Lucic, Matt Duchene. Jason Pominville, Scott Hartnell, Dan Briere, , Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane




Michael Del Zotto – Dion Phaneuf

Justin Schultz – Tyler Myers

P.K. Subban – Brent Burns

Daniel Girardi

Other defencemen notables: Dan Hamhuis, Dan Boyle, Brayden Coburn, Kevin Bieksa,

Very young D corps here plus the future of Team Canada’s Olympic defencemen. How fun would it be to watch this group play together?


Marc- Andre Fleury- Martin Brodeur –Corey Crawford


Other goaltender notables Mike Smith, Brian Elliott

The goaltending in the NHL is American/European heavy for elite goalies but there are some top notch ones left. Many will argue Fleury could start for team 1 but let us not forget about cagey veteran Martin Brodeur who is still playing at an extremely high level and just coming off a Stanley Cup final appearance with New Jersey. Brodeur just played his 1200th NHL game the other night.

Are you in full agreement with these two teams? Would you like to see some changes? Please discuss and let us know.

Hat tip to Zimbio.com for the photos

Thanks for reading,





The Chicago Blackhawks are off to an incredible start to the season banging off seven wins in nine games with the only blemishes on their record being two shootout losses to Minnesota and Vancouver, respectively

With a match up coming against San Jose on Tuesday, there have been a few questions on who should start in goal against the Sharks.

Corey Crawford who boasts a 5-0-2 record with a 1.66 G.A.A and a save percentage of .934 or Ray Emery who came off the best performance from any goalie so far this year who is 2-0-0 with a 2.88 G.A.A. and a .921 save percentage. Many coaches would go with the hot hand but the issue here is, both goalies are hot to start the year which is obviously a great problem to have.

For me, there is no question on which of the two you would go with in goal. With these being the top two teams in the NHL you have to go with your best and that would be Corey Crawford. Amongst goaltenders who have played at least 7 games, Crawford ranks second in goals against, tied for third in wins and fourth in save percentage.


Rookie Brandon Saad has stepped in and played his position remarkably well filling in for the injured Daniel Carcillo.

The subtraction of Carcillo had me worried for the wellbeing of Toews and Hossa simply because of how opposition would feast on those two considering there is no tough guy on a line with them. We did see both players get pushed around in the first game having Saad on that line but surprisingly Toews and Hossa have been left alone in that regard.

What happens when Carcillo comes back? Well, someone has to sit in the press box or be moved to Rockford of the AHL. Stan Bowman recently said that Brandon Saad will be with the team the entire season but the bottom line is that he has to produce. He is a bit snake bitten, similar to Michael Frolik last year, but it’s not rare that this happens to a rookie. Again, he’s played extremely well and he is getting scoring chances. One thing to remember is a GM’s word is never bond, remember Bowman’s comments when it came time to sign Niemi and Hjalmarsson? Stan said they weren’t going anywhere, well, he made a promise he couldn’t keep, obviously.

Let’s hope the Blackhawks can step their game up and keep their unblemished regulation time record unscathed!

Hat tip to Zimbio.com for the use of your photos.

Thanks for reading,




I don’t usually write about my own incidents, but some people would like me to expand on a photo that I retweeted on Twitter involving a sensitive issue to many. I also felt that it would be appropriate to expand on the explanation I offered when this occurred.

Two days ago, after a Blackhawks game, there was a minor uproar from a small cluster of exceedingly sensitive people on a photo that I posted from a friend, who had retweeted it. Yes, I was the third party involved but that is beside the point.

The photo in question is below.

For those not involved in this convoluted situation you probably would like to know what transpired. Well, let me break it down for you.

1)      I was going crazy after yet another Blackhawks win as per usual (clearly headed for Twitter jail, again)

2)      Soon after, a friend posts this Peanuts cartoon

3)      I immediately retweeted the photo and then put it on my Facebook account.

4)      At this point, a surplus of people reposted the photo and had a  good chuckle from it and not one single complaint about it. Why would there be?

5)      Alas, a sensitive, flamboyant attention seeker decided to point out there is a word used in that cartoon that I didn’t think twice about and neither did any of the others that enjoyed the initial hilarity of the comic created by an unknown author. Then, a small handful of his groupies decided to call me out on being homophobic. Yep, can you believe that? I guess I’d better let my gay friends know immediately.

Moving on, the only thing that irked me a bit was about this asinine move was that this guy had the capability to speak to me in private on the matter and let me know his feelings about the cartoon and talk like a real man. Instead, he attacked openly, immediately blocked all means of communication between us and ran off like a little puppy with his tail tucked between his legs. Grow up, kid.

I received a countless number of direct messages on Twitter/Facebook about this certain individual and some of the atrocious things he has done or said to them.  The hypocrisy of this person is laughable if it weren’t so unbelievably sad but I will be the better man and not stoop to calling him out publicly.

After that a few of his boisterous friends did the same thing. They came attacking rather than talking in some sort of adult manner. Instead they bellowed and blustered, telling me how I should think and what I should do. Everyone loves that, eh? Funny thing is,  I have known these people for years and they know my character. I was then subtweeted repeatedly on numerous accounts, totally vilifying me. Not one of these people even tried to have a conversation. They simply went into attack and bash mode. Explain to me how they expect that behavior to “teach a lesson”. What could have been a moment of clarification for all involved, devolved into a moment of ugliness and angry words, on both sides of the issue.  Many friends sent messages in private supporting me yet sadly, they were afraid to speak out publically. Afraid of being viciously attacked by little group of big mouths.

Was there intent by me for posting that cartoon? Damn rights there was and it was to share something that I looked at quickly and thought it was funny. I wanted to share it with other Blackhawks fans. Was it a malicious intent? A hurtful intent? Absolutely not.

Should I have thought before I acted so quickly reposting about the wording of that cartoon? Yes, and I sincerely apologize to any of those I have offended.

Interestingly enough, I had a discussion with @GayCanuck on Twitter who was initially upset with the post, however, we spoke like gentleman and we came to an understanding like adults. Interesting how someone directly involved in the matter understands my sincerity over people who are supporting the cause.

People are wondering what my stance is on this issue.

My stance is, I don’t support it nor do I frown upon it. I stay out of the entire issue altogether and just treat people how I always have, equally and fairly.

I don’t tell people what to think or what they should do as my beliefs are everyone has their right to have their own thoughts and beliefs. Those are my PERSONAL thoughts and I do not push those on anyone like we see so many do.

In ending, again, I apologize for those that I unintentionally offended on this situation and I hope you can accept my apology.

For those who cannot accept my apology, I bid you adieu.

I’m sure people will find something to pick apart on this blog and then go into their little private messaging again to amuse themselves. If that’s what they like to do, so be it.

Now I’m going to go back to being myself on social media platforms.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. If anyone would like to further discuss this issue as adults, you  can speak your mind in the comment section below. Much easier rather than being limited on Twitter :)






It was a great game played by the Chicago Blackhawks today in the first game of the NHL regular season, defeating the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings 5-2.

Patrick Kane scored the first goal of the year and added an assist later in the game. Jonathan Toews, coming off a bout with the flu, was arguably the best player on the ice which is incredible considering the lingering after effects having the flu. Toews also added a goal and an assist. Marian Hossa, in his first game back from his concussion, had a great game adding two goals and one assist. The highly criticized Michael Frolik got off to a good start by scoring for the Hawks, too.

Another often criticized player is goaltender Corey Crawford. Crawford played extremely well. Goals scored against him were basically unstoppable, the first goal he was screened on and the second goal he was pushed over in his crease. Crawford was always in position, square to the puck at all times and his movement was very fast. This is what we want to see from Corey from now on and with it only being one game after his sub-par season, he’s definitely on the right track.

There was some bad news with the Blackhawks victory tonight. Dan Carcillo was caught in a “collision” as a lot are saying with Kings star D-man Drew Doughty and ended up injuring his leg in the process. Head coach Joel Quenneville expects Carcillo to be out for a lengthy period of time.

How do the Hawks replace Carcillo? It’ll be tough as Carcillo was out there as a player who could protect superstars Toews and Hossa. With “Carbomb’s” presence it allows Toews and Hossa to do more freewheeling on the ice, as seen in today’s game, plus he can actually play not too bad compared to a lot of so-called “goons” out there.

It sounds like rookie Brandon Saad will replace Carcillo on a line with Toews and Hossa. Saad is an unproven rookie with big upside (which we’ve seen with many young Hawk players); he notched eight goals and twenty one assists in Rockford and has played two games with the Blackhawks last season before being sent down. One can understand the excitement for Saad to play but people need to remember he’s just a rookie and he may not blow people away like Andrew Shaw did last season. Saad also doesn’t add much of a “toughness” factor so we could very well see “open game” on Toews and Hossa as early as tomorrow night against the Phoenix Coyotes.

All in all it was a great start for the Chicago Blackhawks and it’ll be a tough test tomorrow night against the chippy and defensive Phoenix Coyotes.

Thanks to Zimbio.com for the photos.





The lockout is finally over and we can now concentrate on the love of the game, statistics, rivalries, players and whatever else floats your boat about the greatest sport in the world.

I’m going to pass on any lockout talk as I’m sure you’re just as sick of all that as I am but I will offer you a personal point of view on a shortened NHL season.

Do I like the shortened season? Not really, however, its hockey and it’ll be something to watch on TV. Will I get right into the games?  Probably, how can I not get into the games? It’s a million times better than watching Honey Boo-boo or getting involved in a Twitter spat against some low life making fun of horrific world tragedies. I could delve right into my feelings on it but I will spare you the reading and do a short break down of something much better, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Projected line-ups:






Bollig will be in and out of the lineup and very well could do a shuffle with Frolik, Kruger and Mayers depending on the team the Hawks are playing. Example: Hawks vs Blues expect Bollig in.

Ben Smith, Brandon Saad and Brandon Pirri will get a good look and there is an outside possibility one of those three may start the season with the big club.

As you can see there isn’t a lot of change up front for Chicago.





If Montador is healthy it could mean a game in game out type of situation with Rosie, Leddy and Monty. The real interesting issue is when the Hawks signed Sheldon Brookbank to a deal they informed Sheldon and his agent that Brookbank would be a full-time roster player. Expect some movement by the Hawks this season. Likely man out would be Hjalmarsson as he would be the most sought after especially considering Montador’s health, overpaid Oduya and an aging Rozsival.




Expect a bounce back season by Crawford after a horrific sophomore season. A lot of goalies have poor second seasons which is usually their first year as a starting goalie; the added pressure is a lot on these guys. We’ve seen Crawford’s ability in his first season so we know he has the capability to be a number one goalie. With an improved defence in front of Corey that will also help him out.

With the cap going down next season I expect Chicago to be making moves; actually, I expect a lot of teams to be making moves. The Blackhawks may look at moving Marian Hossa who has a contract until he’s 80 years of age but still he’s one of the best 2-way players in the game. Hossa will be 34 this Saturday so if the Hawks can move him this season I’m sure they will. Of course the recent concussion he had may make teams shy away which may force Chicago to look at moving other pieces.


I will take a shot at some predictions for the final standings but really it’s a crapshoot in a shortened season.


Western Conference

  1. St. Louis Blues – Hitchcock will have these guys playing their defensive game again and with their ever improving abundance of skilled forwards this team will be tough to beat.
  2. Los Angeles Kings – The champs will be tough again especially with stud goalie Jonathan Quick and their nice crop of forwards. Expect Doughty to be better.
  3. Vancouver Canucks – Without Kesler it’s going to hurt but considering the division they’re in it shouldn’t be tough for them to capture another Northwest crown.
  4. Chicago Blackhawks – I expect Chicago to be right there with St. Louis especially if Toews stays healthy. Toews was on pace for an MVP type year before getting hurt. Improved D will vastly improve this team and could easily flip-flop with the Blues for 1st in the Central
  5. Nashville Predators – The same old stingy defensive team will be there again but will they change something up so they can move to the next level?
  6. Detroit Redwings – An aging team with big questions on the back end. Their skilled forwards will be enough to get them into the show, again.
  7. Edmonton Oilers – Yep, I’m going there. I feel that a shortened season will help these young gunners and if the team can stay healthy (especially Taylor Hall) they could make some noise this year. Dubnyk is a HUGE question mark and I wouldn’t count out Khabibulin just yet.
  8. Minnesota Wild – The additions of Suter and Parise will help this team out immensely, however, the Wilds forwards are fairly deep but the defence is still a big question mark.
  9. Anaheim Ducks – Bounce back years for Getzlaf and Perry are in order but are really not too deep at the forward positions. Defence are big and slow with the exception of Fowler.
  10. San Jose Sharks – Perhaps I’m not giving the sharks enough credit because on paper their forward lines are pretty darn good but the old legged Sharks might need 20 games to get going and in a shortened season that’ll be too late.
  11. Phoenix Coyotes – This is a massive team up front, big slow behemoths and the back end is decent at best. I expect Mike Smith to be holding them in a lot of games.
  12. Dallas Stars – I seem to underestimate this team year after year, skilled forwards with some real tough guys but the defence is always what worries me for these guys. When Aaron Rome is fourth on your depth chart you have issues.
  13. Colorado Avalanche – Stastny going to show up? The additions of Downie and Parenteau will help this team quite a bit but really I only see maybe 2 and a half decent lines here with an average at best defensive core. Goaltending is questionable.
  14. Calgary Flames – I’m guessing these guys are going to officially try to rebuild now? Who knows with Feaster. They do have some nice prospects and Baertschi should step right in but they have a ways to go. Kiprusoff may play all 48 games.
  15. Columbus Blue Jackets – Their best forward is R.J. Umberger and their starting goalie is Steve Mason. Sorry but this team is in for a world of hurt for a few years to come. Brian Burke maybe?

Eastern  Conference

  1. New York Rangers – On paper this team is pretty sick and with the best goalie in the world in Henrik Lundqvist this team would be my early Stanley Cup favorites. Will Gaborik stay healthy? Will the team gel?
  2. Boston Bruins – Seguin is going to have an enormous year and the rough and tough Bruins will be tough to beat. Is it Tuukka time?
  3. Washington Capitals – They say Ovie is a new man, funny, they said that last year, too. Nevertheless, the addition of Ribeiro and a pretty decent 4 lines should be enough to take down the Southeast division. Holtby should take the reigns as the number 1 goalie in D.C.
  4. Pittsburgh Penguins – They really did very little to bolster their team but if they stay healthy they’ll be a very good team through the regular season.
  5. Philadelphia Flyers – Claude Giroux will have another MVP type season and if Briere gets healthy this team could make some noise. No Pronger is going to hurt big time. Perhaps Bryzgalov can concentrate on playing goal rather than trying to entertain fans with his bizarre beliefs.
  6. Buffalo Sabres – They have a good mix of size and skill with a pretty deep defensive squad. If Ryan Miller can play like he can this team should be damn good.
  7. New Jersey Devils – How much does Brodeur have left in the tank? Going back to last year he’s still go it, wouldn’t you say? The Devils should be a good team this year especially if stud Henrique is healthy and Clarkson has a similar type year to last season. Solid Defensive group.
  8. Winnipeg Jets – It took me forever to slot someone into this final playoff spot. This hulking team should be able to pound their way through to nab the 8th spot. Travel shouldn’t be too bad for these guys this season.
  9. Ottawa Senators – A step back for these guys this season and is Alfredsson even playing? They need help on the back end.
  10. Tampa Bay Lightning – This team will score a lot of goals but keeping them out of the net is going to be their biggest problem. Stands should be full with $200 season tickets!
  11. Florida Panthers – Not too much change for them, Weiss may have a good half year so watch out for him. Probably a step back for the Cats this season.
  12. New York Islanders – I really like the forwards on this team minus Marty Reasoner and these guys should be an exciting team to watch. Defence is suspect and with Visnovsky staying overseas certainly doesn’t help.
  13. Toronto Maple Leafs – Firing of Brian Burke before the season starts, Toronto is already a mess and weak goaltending. Forwards are pretty decent but if they want a goalie they’re going to have to give up one of them.  If their defence can play like they should these guys might have a legit shot of making the playoffs but I suspect little confidence in Reimer no matter what the players/coaches say in their interviews.
  14. Montreal Canadiens – They’ve added Brandon Prust and…is that it? Same team, not sure about Markov as usual, d-men are still improving. Lucky they have one of the best goalies in the league in Carey Price. I don’t see this being the year of the Habs.
  15. Carolina Hurricanes – Team should score some goals but you never know what you’re going to get with Semin and staying healthy will be a question mark. Pretty decent forward crop but their defence stinks.

Stanley Cup Final: Chicago Blackhawks vs New York Rangers

Well there you have it, my fearless predictions that could be a complete fail like most peoples predictions are but they’re fun to do. Agree or disagree on any or all of these? Am I way off? Let me know.

Thanks for reading,






First off, I’d like to ask everyone to please remember the fallen ones and their families from the vicious attacks on those that lost their lives as well as their families due to the vicious attacks on
NYC, Washington, DC and PA on Sept 11, 2001. Remember the firefighters, the EMS workers, the police officers and the soldiers.

May they RIP and may their families stay strong


As first reported by the Chicago Blackhawks twitter account, Michal Rozsival, was signed to a reported one year deal by the Hawks’.

Rozsival, 34, played with the Phoenix Coyotes last season collecting one goal and twelve assists and ending up a plus eight on the year. Michal only played 54 games last year due to injuries and has only played in 119 games over the past two seasons also due to injuries.

Many will remember Rozsival from last year’s playoffs where rookie Jimmy Hayes had a controversial hit on him. See below:

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Defensive zone coverage and penalty killing is Rozsival’s specialty and that’s exactly what the Blackhawks needed. Chicago also signed Sheldon Brookbank earlier this off-season who is also a good tough d-man with very good shot blocking skills.

Chicago’s defensive core now is considered one of the league’s strongest and deepest which includes Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Nick Leddy, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, Michal Rozsival, Steve Montador, Sheldon Brookbank and youngster Dylan Olsen. This move almost guarantees Olsen will start the season in Rockford.

Many feel a trade is now in order because of the plethora of D-men that the Blackhawks have but don’t count on it. Depending on the health of concussed Steve Montador, you may see Montador and Brookbank rotate from the press box to the ice for a good part of the season depending on the health of the others along with injuries. You also might see Quenneville insert both Montador and Brookbank into the lineup when they play more physical teams such as against rival St. Louis. A team can never have too many defensemen.

Overall this is a fairly strong signing by Chicago and if the reported one year deal worth two million is indeed true, well, that makes it even better.

Thanks for reading,


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