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

 

 

Remember, Remember the fifth of Movember.

For Phil Kessel Movember is more than mustaches and fundraisers. Movember is a reminder of his battle with cancer. During Kessel’s rookie year he was diagnosed with Testicular cancer. Most people would take a day off of work after finding out such stressful news. Phil Kessel did no such thing. Shortly after being diagnosed Kessel played in a 5-1 loss against New Jersey at home. Three days later he had surgery to remove his right testicle. Kessel was lucky. Further tests showed the cancer was confined to the removed testicle. After a two week  rehabilitation period Kessel was back on the ice and finished the season with 11 goals and 29 points. He also became the first NHL rookie to win the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Kessel might not have made history if he didn’t go to the doctor. Many men find out they have cancer too late. Don’t be afraid to go to the doctor. We can’t always stop cancer from taking form but we can keep it from spreading. Take a word of advice from what Kessel said to ESPN in 2006, ” If you’re not feeling well go get checked out and make sure you’re all right.”

It’s never to late to fight cancer. Please Join the Battle and donate to help put an end to Testicular and Prostate cancer here.

 

Crash the Net has compiled what we feel are the top 25 players at each position in the NHL. The rankings seen below are not necessarily based on the 2011/2012 season statistics and performances but were considered, of course.

Centers

It’s understood with the 2, 3 and 4 positions will be argued by many fans but there is no doubt who is the number one player in the NHL with that being Sidney Crosby. Toews brings the complete package with scoring, defensive play and the best face off player in the league. Malkin is an elite offensive weapon who is pretty decent in his own end as well and the similarities to retired superstar Mario Lemieux are uncanny. Stamkos is a pure sniper and no one comes close to having the shot or goal scoring prowess that he has. The final spot at the center position was between Mikhail Grabovski and Jeff Carter but we gave Grabovski a slight edge.

1)      Sidney Crosby

2)      Jonathan Toews

3)      Evgeni Malkin

4)      Steven Stamkos

5)      Pavel Datsyuk

6)      Henrik Sedin

7)      Jason Spezza

8)      John Tavares

9)      Eric Staal

10)   Nicklas Backstrom

11)   Anze Kopitar

12)   Patrice Bergeron

13)   David Backes

14)   Brad Richards

15)   Tyler Seguin

16)   Patrick Elias

17)   Ryan Getzlaf

18)   Mike Richards

19)   Ryan Kesler

20)   Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

21)   Jordan Staal

22)   Vincent Lecavalier

23)   Logan Couture

24)   Joe Thornton

25)   Mikhail Grabovski

Right Wingers

This was a tough one to choose for the top 3 in this category. Giroux has incredible offensive skill and is very good defensively as well; we believe Claude’s best is yet to come. Hossa is a great scorer and is often considered a top 3 two-way player in the league and the reigning MVP Corey Perry has turned his season around and is proving once again as one of the top players in the NHL. The Oilers Jordan Eberle edged out a tough field for fourth position, Jordan may be challenging Steven Stamkos for the Rocket Richard Trophy sooner than later.

1)      Claude Giroux

2)      Marian Hossa

3)      Corey Perry

4)      Jordan Eberle

5)      Patrick Kane

6)      Phil Kessel

7)      Marian Gaborik

8)      Jarome Iginla

9)      Teemu Selanne

10)   Ryan Callahan

11)   Jason Pominville

12)   Martin St. Louis

13)   Rick Nash

14)   Bobby Ryan

15)   Shane Doan

16)   Kris Versteeg

17)   Daniel Briere

18)   PA Parenteau

19)   Blake Wheeler

20)   Jaromir Jagr

21)   Dustin Brown

22)   Radim Vrbata

23)   Michael Ryder

24)   Teddy Purcell

25)   Joe Pavelski

Left Wingers

There’s no denying the skill of Ilya Kovalchuk but we won’t deny that we almost put Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic in the top spot. Lucic has all the tools and not one NHL team would deny that they would love a player like Lucic on their respective team. Alexander Ovechkin usually would take top spot here but after saying in the pre-season that he was in the best shape of his life and currently having a lowly season by his standards, we have “The Great 8” ranked number 10 in the left winger top 25.

1)      Ilya Kovalchuk

2)      Milan Lucic

3)      Daniel Sedin

4)      Zach Parise

5)      Scott Hartnell

6)      Patrick Sharp

7)      James Neal

8)      Jamie Benn

9)      Thomas Vanek

10)   Alexander Ovechkin

11)   Gabriel Landeskog

12)   Taylor Hall

13)   Matt Moulson

14)   Loui Eriksson

15)   Ray Whitney

16)   Henrik Zetterberg

17)   Joffrey Lupul

18)   Evander Kane

19)   Max Pacioretty

20)   Brad Marchand

21)   Alexandre Burrows

22)   Dany Heatley

23)   Milan Michalek

24)   Andrew Ladd

25)   Erik Cole

Defenseman

This was an extremely tough top 25 to compile because many wonder if players like Weber/Suter and Keith/Seabrook would be as good as they are without their partner. Perhaps next year we will see if Nashville is unable to sign pending free agent Ryan Suter. For now, how can you not put Karlsson as the number 1 choice? Erik is on a torrid scoring pace and has the ability to change the game flow on his own, his skills are incredible and one can’t be happier for the Ottawa Senators having a player like this to build their team around.

1)      Erik Karlsson

2)      Zdeno Chara

3)      Shea Weber

4)      Ryan Suter

5)      Nicklas Lidstrom

6)      Kris Letang

7)      Keith Yandle

8)      Duncan Keith

9)      Drew Doughty

10)   Alexander Edler

11)   Alex Pietrangelo

12)   Dion Phaneuf

13)   Brent Seabrook

14)   Brent Burns

15)   Dustin Byfuglien

16)   Brian Campbell

17)   Dan Boyle

18)   Dennis Wideman

19)   Niklas Kronwall

20)   Mark Streit

21)   Matt Carle

22)   Kevin Bieksa

23)   Kimmo Timonen

24)   Kevin Shattenkirk

25)   Christian Ehrhoff

Goaltenders

“King Henrik” got the edge here but to be honest it really was a toss-up between Lundqvist and Rinne, both of their respective clubs are very good defensively and both goaltenders are absolutely above the rest of the pack. It would be fair for this to be a 1A and 1B ranking or even better yet, a tie for the first overall ranking. Many will wonder why we have a goalie like Brian Elliott ranked low when he has been arguably one of the best goaltenders this season and our reason is because prior to this year, he’s hardly been a legit NHL goaltender and he now plays for the number 1 ranked defensive team in the NHL. Not taking anything away from him because he has been fantastic but we’d like to see another season with him as a starter and not on a split squad goaltending duo like he is now.

1)      Henrik Lundqvist

2)      Pekka Rinne

3)      Marc-Andre Fleury

4)      Jonathan Quick

5)      Carey Price

6)      Mikka Kiprusoff

7)      Tim Thomas

8)      Jimmy Howard

9)      Ryan Miller

10)   Mike Smith

11)   Ilya Bryzgalov

12)   Jaroslav Halak

13)   Cam Ward

14)   Corey Schneider

15)   Roberto Luongo

16)   Kari Lehtonen

17)   Jonas Hiller

18)   Antti Niemi

19)   Brian Elliott

20)   Corey Crawford

21)   Martin Brodeur

22)   Semyon Varlamov

23)   Craig Anderson

24)   Evgeni Nabokov

25)   Jose Theodore

That is our list, we hope you enjoyed our rankings and would like to know if you agree or disagree and why?

Kudos to zimbio.com for the use of the photos

Thanks for reading,

TK0N

 

    This is my first piece on Crash the Net, so I’ll take a moment to introduce myself. My name is John and I am an avid follower of the Chicago Blackhawks, but I love to watch all of hockey in general. I’ve been playing fantasy hockey for quite a few years now and in most leagues I like to think that I fare well and sit in the upper echelon throughout each and every season. The draft is always a very tough part of fantasy hockey but if you don’t do well, as I have occasionally in the past, through a little research you can make trades, pick up waiver wires, and create a formidable team.

Now we are reaching the tail end of the season for fantasy, most leagues with 5 weeks left, leaving only a few weeks for trades. If you are part of a keeper league, it’s time to make that decision; do you toss in the towel, or do you make one last push for the playoffs where anything can happen?

Choosing which one can be tricky and ultimately depends on the structure of your team and if your struggling team is seemingly out of the race, try to make some trades while you can. Decide which players you are going to keep until next year and then unload the rest. Attempt to get draft picks, which is something that I look forward to every year, as this is something to help you out into the future. Even if you are just outside of the playoff picture and you never give up, think about the possibilities of making a number of trades to secure upgrades in all of your picks. Some might not part with the top 1-3 picks, but you should be able to maneuver your way into a few top 4 through 8 picks. This year, such picks included Quick, Giroux, Sharp, Letang, Kessel, Hossa etc. If you were able to grab one of the aforementioned guys, you could form a solid looking team through them alone.

If you are part of the “never surrender” crowd, then the next 5 to hopefully 8 weeks will include nervously debating which members of your bench to get rid of and which players, who are starting to heat up, to add. Wisniewski came back onto the ice with a bang, making his debut since the injury with a goal and an assist, and a couple blocked shots as well. He is only owned in 39% of leagues, so if you need extra help on defense, he along with Hamhuis(60%) could help in a pinch on D. As for your forwards, there are a few more to choose from including David Perron(18%) Wayne Simmonds (29%) and David Clarkson (33%). These guys, along with a few more, are streaking right now, so for a little extra help, grab those guys. Simmonds and Clarkson also chip in those PIMs.

Inside the crease is a different story. If you are weak there, you are going to have to just wait it out, because goalies are all taken up pretty much in every league. Think you can be lucky? Pick up Nabokov(49%) who is playing very well right now. There is also always that possibility that they trade him away, which immediately improves his value.

Last thing, if you are part of a rotisserie league, keep an eye on your max games played per position, take the time and do a little bit of math. Figure out how many games left you have, and play your stars accordingly.

Please feel free to ask any questions here. I also can be contacted via my Twitter handle, swabs5030 I’ll entertain any Fantasy questions and do my best to help you out.

 

The Winnipeg Jets returned to the MTS Centre after a lengthy road trip, but they won’t be home for long, they take off again and head for Washington to take on the Capitals on Thursday night. The Jet’s opponents were the Toronto Maple Leafs, which were currently on a 3 game winning streak coming into the game, whereas Winnipeg had lost 2 in a row. The game marked the return of Winnipeg forward, Evander Kane, returning from a spell out with concussion symptoms. Based on recent form, you would have bet the Leafs would come away with the victory, but that was not the case with the Jets earning a well-deserved 2-1 win.

It was Toronto who opened the scoring through Phil Kessel. Kessel picked up a well-played pass by Joffrey Lupul and rushed into the offensive zone before firing the puck past Jet’s goaltender Ondrej Pavelec 11:06 into the first period.

Chris Thorburn recently scored his first goal of the season and he doubled his tally when he tied the game with 5:44 remaining in the first with another highlight reel goal. After some nifty work from Bogosian in his own zone which ended up in a pass to Thorburn on the blue line, Thorburn rushed straight to the net from the left side, dropping the shoulder and firing the puck past Gustavsson in the Leafs net.

Winnipeg scored the game winning goal 9:47 into the second period when Bryan Little smashed home the rebound after a good move and attempt at goal by Blake Wheeler.

This goal would prove to be decisive and thus ended Toronto’s 3 game winning run and hopefully got the Jets back on the winning track.

Final Score - Winnipeg Jets 2 – 1 Toronto Maple Leafs

Goalie Stats - 

Winnipeg – O. Pavelec – 17 saves from 18 shots

Toronto – J. Gustavsson – 27 saves from 29 shots

3 Stars -

1. Blake Wheeler(WPG)

2. Bryan Little(WPG)

3. Phil Kessel(TOR)

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