Posts Tagged ‘Maple Leafs’

Who Scores First?

Posted: October 6, 2011 by Crimespree Hockey in Hockey Fun
Tags: , , , , ,

There are three games tonight to open the 2011-12 NHL season, two at 7:00 (Philly @ Boston, Montreal @ Toronto) and the nightcap features Pittsburgh traveling to Vancouver for a 10:00 (Eastern) game.

Is Nathan Horton the NHL's first goal scorer of the 2011-12 season?

For a little fun, we’re going to pick who scores the first 2011-12 NHL goal.

The slight majority of us like the defending Cup champions to put the first goal on the board. Nicole picks Patrice Bergeron, while Gabbi took Brad Marchand. Bre is going with Eastern Conferference Final game 7 hero Nathan Horton.

Sticking with the same game, the Flyers picks are for former players of favorite teams. Former LA King Wayne Simmonds was Michelle’s choice, while Joey thinks Flyer new winger (and former Penguin) Jaromir Jagr will score 6:15 into the new season.

Dan and Rob figure that the Bruins banner raising ceremony will cut into game time and that the Maple Leafs-Canadiens game will have the first goal. Dan went with Canadiens newcomer Erik Cole, while Rob took Toronto’s top center Mikhail Grabovski.

Who is your pick?

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Last season: 37-34-11, 85 points, 4th in Northeast, missed playoffs.

Key Additions: C Tim Connolly, C Phillippe Dupuis, D Cody Franson, D John-Michael Liles, C Matt Lombardi

Key Losses: C Tim Brent, G Jean-Sebastian Giguere, C Christian Hanson, D Brett Lebda

Offense: The Leafs top line consists of Phil Kessel (32 goals, career high 64 points), Joffrey Lupul, who scored 9 goals in 28 games after being traded to Toronto last season and newcomer Tim Connolly. The injury concerns surround Connolly, but he’s been relatively healthy the past two seasons. The second unit may even be better than the first. Mikhail Grabovski (29-29-58) centers 30 goal scorer Nikolai Kulemin and Clarke MacArthur, who posted career highs in goals (21) and points (62).  Youngsters Nazim Kadri and Matt Frattin will battle for playing time.  Tyler Bozak (15 goals) and Colby Armstrong (8 goals) will solidify the third line.  If Matt Lombardi is healthy, it’ll help the depth.

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In this roundtable, Realdeal, Cujo and Joey discuss many topics on the NHL’s offseason.

RD: So who did the best this offseason?

Cujo: I would say the CBJ but that would be very homerish of me.

Joey: I like what CBJ did, Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski fit two points of weakness.

Cujo: They got the #1 center they have always wanted, that was the biggest piece it has taken 11 years to get.

RD: They also got the top pair d-man they desperately needed.

Cujo: But you cannot rule out what LA has done this offseason.

RD: They got that #2 center that they needed, even if they gave up the best prospect in hockey.

Joey: Washington had a solid offseason. Beyond just additions but the picks they got for Seymon Varlamov were huge.

RD: I really like Washington’s moves; they got some sandpaper.

Cujo: And Tomas Vokoun cannot forget him, a solid net minder.

Joey: Yeah when I heard Vokoun signed in Washington I hung my head and said ‘oh crap’.

RD: I think people are sleeping on the effect Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer will bring.

Joey: I really think Brouwer was a good pick up, I am a little on the fence on Ward just wondering if he is riding off a playoff showing.

RD: He’s overpaid but he’ll be a solid 2nd/3rd line producer.

Joey: Speaking of overpaid is Brooks Laich worth all that money? I think time will tell on that one.

Cujo: You’ve got to pay for potential, but he nearly had his 3rd straight 50 point season. He missed it by 2 points.

RD: Is he going to get much better? I think 50-55 points is what we’re looking at.

RD: So who’s a team whose moves were puzzling or needed to do more? I’m kind of curious to see how San Jose’s plan works out.

Cujo: I think San Jose thinks they have most of the pieces they need to make a big run at the Cup.

Joey: Buffalo giving 10 years to Christian Ehrhoff, someone who has never played a game in Buffalo?

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Enough with it. End the drama.

Is there a chance Stamkos doesn’t play for the Lightning next year? Surely, but it’s pretty small.  GM Steve Yzerman is trying to do everything in his power to keep Stamkos in Tampa.  Stamkos is the team’s biggest marketing tool, and the future of the franchise.  Trading (or letting Stamkos go) would be Stevie Y’s last resort, but there’s no rush at the moment.

Are teams like the Flyers, Maple Leafs, among other teams,  interested in adding Stamkos? Of course.  He’s one of the best players in the league, everyone’s going to have interest.  How much interest and whether they are willing to part with some pieces is a different story.

A lot of these types of rumors are started because the NHL offseason has hit a dead spot.  Everyone’s bored.  Fans are playing NHL11 and seeing how different players look in different uniforms.  Media members have written stories about “no new news” with the Stamkos negotiations and then fans begin speculating (despite the insistence of “no new news”).  Rumors start, such as that Stamkos “doesn’t want to play in Tampa”, even though no credible reports have said this.  Also, it has been denied over and over.  Yet the rumors persist.

So what do Lightning fans think?   (more…)

Some quick hits from the first two days of free agency:

-The Brad Richards saga is finally over, as he chose to sign with the New York Rangers for 9 years (and $60 million).  According to reports, he turned down more money from other teams (Calgary, Los Angeles and Toronto).  The Rangers have themselves a big money center to play with Marian Gaborik now.  They also added tough guy Mike Rupp from the rival Penguins.

-Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they added Tim Connolly for two years.  Connolly has averaged .83 points per game since the lockout, but has only played in 302 games in that time.  When healthy, he can form a nice duo with Phil Kessel, but how many games he plays is the question.

-Not going to go into much about the Flyers, who were very active on Day 1, as this post sums it up pretty well.

-The Panthers were also very active, adding over $31 million in salary for 2011-12 in the since the draft.  This includes over $21 million to 6 players in free agency the last two days.  They aren’t done yet, as the team is still $1 million under the salary cap floor. (more…)