Hello there ladies and gentlemen,

Have no fear I am back from my three week writing hiatus and have good news for all of you. In an attempt to keep me writing on a consistent basis Trent and I have decided I will pick up a few more teams to write about. So with out further ado my list of new teams and my three favorite players on the team :) <3

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS

This is only fitting because the Sharks were my number 2 team for a long time. When I was 13 I found a plaid flannel shirt with Sharks colors on it. One of the most beautiful things I own :) <3

    On to my San Jose Sharks

1. Ryan Clowe

He used to play for the Cleveland Barons (AHL) back in 2003.  I’ve always enjoyed the fact that when Clowe gets mad he really gets mad. There is no holding back. Especially if he is seeking vengeance for a hurt teammate.

2. Marc-Edouard Vlasic

As many of you know I really like Vlasic pickles. Sadly, this was the reason why I started to like Vlasic. Lucky for me he is pretty good at assisting fellow teammates.

3. TJ Galiardi

I enjoyed watching Galiardi play when he was with the Lake Erie Monsters. He is one of those understated play makers. Definitely a pleasure to watch.

 

 

 

 

WINNIPEG JETS 

I was sad when the Atlanta Blackhawks Thrashers moved out of Georgia. I had mapped out a road trip that year to see my lovely Blackhawks Thrashers. Then I was sad because that meant I would rarely see Natalie Taylor report. In the end it worked out. Natalie came to the Columbus and the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg. With the exception of the Canucks I like all Canadian teams. In fact, I’d like to see the Jets win a Stanley Cup. The cup needs to go back to Canada at least once right?

1. Jim Slater

I really loved watching Slater play in Worlds this summer. He was a nice addition to the team. Plus, I’m a huge fan of his work on “Saved By the Bell”. ;-)

2. Dustin Byfuglien

You can knock Buffy all you want for being a big dude but that doesn’t take away from his defensive skills. Buffy knows how to use his body size to his advantage. The moment you don’t take Buffy serious he will score or set up a beautiful play that leads to a score. I love Buffy so much I own a shirt that says “I LIKE BIG BUFFS”. I’m not ashamed to say I changed the words of “Baby Got Back” to “Baby Got Buff”.

3. Grant Clitsome

Grant was one of the most beautiful human being to ever play for the Columbus Blue Jackets. When the Jets signed him you could hear women and gay men crying all over Columbus. Grant may not have been the best player on the Jackets but there was something fascinating about his style of play. You couldn’t take your eyes off of him. Unfortunately, neither could opposing teams.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

I’ve spent a lot of my life flip flopping when it comes to the Rangers. I love them. I love them not. I love them. I love them not. Then I joined twitter and discovered Dave Lozo. Seriously this man never ceases to make me giggle.  (click here for an example of his awesomeness ). The point is Dave Lozo is a Rangers fan.

1. Henrik Lundqvist

Lundqvist is truly one of the best goalies to play the game during my lifetime.  That’s all that needs to be said.

2. Rick Nash

Here’s the odd thing about Nash being in my top 3 Rangers players: He was my least favorite Columbus Blue Jacket. There is a huge part of me that doesn’t want Nash to do well. At least this season. Then there is this other part of me that enjoys watching him. It seems as though Nash re-found his love for hockey in New York. Which is great. Everyone deserves to love their career.

3. Michael Del Zotto

Del Zotto is an all around good guy. On the ice. Off the ice. How can you not like him?

 

 

Well there you go guys. It’s going to be an interesting ride. :)

 

 

 

 

Last week I took a look at a possible Team Canada roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Today I’ll take a look at a possible Team U.S.A. roster.

Let me know what you think, perhaps throw your own roster out there if you have the time.

Forwards

Patrick Kane – Ryan Callahan – Zach Parise

Phil Kessel – Ryan Kesler – Bobby Ryan

Dustin Brown – Joe Pavelski – David Backes

Max Pacioretty – Paul Stastny – James Van Riemsdyk

Justin Abdelkader

In the mix: T.J. Oshie, Derek Stepan, Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, R.J. Umberger, Blake Wheeler and Nathan Gerbe

Pretty deep and solid forward lines but after the top 13 guys it drops off a bit.

Defence

Ryan Suter – Kevin Shattenkirk

Keith Yandle – Jack Johnson

Dustin Byfuglien – John Carlson

Ryan Mcdonagh

In the mix: Erik Johnson, Tim Gleason, Ryan Whitney, Nick Leddy, Matt Carle, Alex Gologski, and Keith Ballard

Solid group of D-men here, E. Johnson, Gleason or Keith Ballard could also easily step in.

Goalies

Jonathan Quick

Ryan Miller

Cory Schneider

In the mix: Tim Thomas, Craig Anderson, and Jimmy Howard

If Craig Anderson keeps his stellar play up from this year through next year, you may see him jump right in there, possibly as the #1. Blue Jackets, you mad about the trade? I would be. If Tim Thomas plays next year and has a Vezina type season, he might make a push as well.

All in all, could the States take home the gold medal? Absolutely they could, they have all the tools to win in a short tournament and they’re really not weak anywhere. Are they as deep as Team Canada and as full of big names? No, but they definitely have the talent to win and beat any team out there.

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

Thanks for reading,

TK0N

 

The Chicago Blackhawks have had nine rookies in the lineup this year and they have been impressive thus far in the 2011/2012 season. The forward depth for the Blackhawks has been questioned since the dismantling of the team after their 2009/2010 Stanley Cup victory in which they’ve lost the following players seen in a line-up view:

Forwards

  • Ladd/Kopecky/Versteeg
  • Brouwer/Ebbett/Eager
  • Dowell/Johnson/Pisani
  • Skille/Madden/Burish/Scott/Fraser

Defence

  • Byfuglien/Sopel
  • Campbell/Barker
  • Campoli/Hendry/Boynton/Cullimore

Goaltenders

  • Niemi/Huet

Looking at the Blackhawks departures as a team is almost comparable to a few teams currently in the NHL with one solid line and a good defensive core. Not too bad. Anyways, this isn’t a piece looking back at the departing players of the Blackhawks but a look at what the rookies have done so far for Chicago.

  • Marcus Kruger 59 games played, 8 goals, 12 assists, 20 points, +2, 20 Pims, 14:51 min/game
  • Andrew Shaw 24 games played, 7 goals, 4 assists, 11 points, -7, 27 pims, 14:20 min/game
  • Jimmy Hayes 24 games played, 5 goals,  4 assists,  9 points, -1, 11 pims, 10:49 min/game
  • Dylan Olsen 17 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -2, 2pims, 15:33 min/game
  • Ben Smith 13 games played, 2 goals, 0 assists, 2 points, -5, 0 pims, 09:48 min/game
  • Brandon Pirri 5 games played, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, +2, 0 pims, 13:31 min/game
  • Brandon Bollig 5 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -1, 19 pims, 5:01 min/game
  • Jeremy Morin 3 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -1, 0 pims, 8:51 min/game
  • Brandon Saad 2 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, 0, 0 pims, 14:01 min/game

For the fans that do not follow the Blackhawks closely, well, these stats won’t blow them away but for the loyal dedicated Hawks’ fans they will surely be appreciative as to what these youngsters have come in and accomplished during this rebuilding time for Chicago.

Marcus Kruger has filled in admirably at center throughout the entire season and has a respectable 46.3 faceoff percentage while playing in every situation for the Blackhawks numerous times this year.

Andrew Shaw has scored some huge goals for the Blackhawks this season and while not being a physical imposing player, he’s dropped the gloves on more than one occasion this year and at the same time he’s relentless in the corners on the forecheck.

Jimmy Hayes is a big kid, he stands at 6’5” and weighs in at around 210 pounds and has also chipped in offensively. Chicago would like him to use his size a bit more and become even more of a physical player; they’re also hoping he is the tough power forward that they have been searching for. Not a bad pick up considering Chicago traded away a 43rd overall 2010 draft pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs to acquire him and with that pick the Leafs selected Bradley Ross.

Dylan Olsen has been very good since being recalled because of the numerous injuries to the Blackhawks defensive core. While many mock him for being a slow footed skater, they fail to see the excellent ability he has for lateral movement and it’s quite impressive. Olsen has made some visible mistakes since being called up but he’s also made a ton of strong defensive plays and more often than not he makes the smart play.

Ben Smith was thought to be a shoe in on this year’s team but he just was not ready to crack the big club. He’s had a good year in Rockford up until suffering a right hip labral tear and a hernia and has recently had year ending surgery.

Brandon Pirri has had an excellent year in Rockford so far and played very well in his short stint with the Blackhawks. Pirri has all the tools to play in every situation for Chicago. He currently has 50 points in 58 games for the IceHogs.

Brandon Bollig is already becoming a fan favorite for Blackhawks fans, he plays a very physical game and if he’s on the ice and a scrum occurs, he is the first player in that scrum to protect his players. He isn’t the top enforcer in the game like John Scott is but Bollig is defensively responsible, he can skate, fight and is most definitely a physical presence. Bollig will bring the Hawks’ fans to their feet a lot more than Scott did simply because he has more tools than Scott and no one would fight John anyways.

Jeremy Morin, like Ben Smith, was also figured by many to make the Blackhawks opening roster but he’s been dealing with injuries a lot and has yet to get in a full year in Rockford. Morin has had a decent year in the AHL so far with 31 points in 50 games and a surprising 95 penalty minutes. It is only a matter of time until he is on Chicago full time but he’s just got to keep away from that injury bug.

Brandon Saad is probably the Blackhawks most prized prospect and he actually cracked the opening night roster and stayed with the big club for two games. He wasn’t quite ready at that time but he is currently ripping it up in the Ontario Hockey League with a remarkable 71 points in only 41 games and sits tied for 18th in the OHL scoring race. Brandon has also outscored projected number one pick in this upcoming NHL entry draft, Nail Yakupov, in the same amount of games. Saad has played 20 + less games than many of the scorers ahead of him in that scoring race.

Looking at all of these rookies and what they’ve done so far for Chicago, one wonders how active the Blackhawks will be this upcoming off-season. Sooner than later these youngsters will all be full timers in the NHL.

With the other promising prospects such as Kevin Hayes, Kyle Beach, Adam Clendening, Shawn Lalonde, Mark McNeill, Ludvig Rensfeldt, and Maxim Shalunov to name a few, the Blackhawks are looking good for young prospects. While some of the aforementioned players are still a few years away from being considered NHL ready, don’t be surprised if one or two of them are moved for an upgrade somewhere in the organization with it being a second line center, defenseman or goaltender or some sort of combination of those three positions.

It would not be surprising if the Blackhawks did nothing in the off-season and let the kids play but no matter what the Hawks’ brass does, the future is undoubtedly very bright for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Kudos to Zimbio.com for the use of the Brandon Saad, Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Bollig photos.

Thanks for reading as always,

TK0N

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