commentary & opinions on the sports and political scene
NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE – ATLANTIC DIVISION
September 7, 2011Posted by on
After many hours of professional studying, debating and researching all NHL teams over the summer ( a big thanks to Boston Pizza patio staff ), this is what we came up with.
EASTERN CONFERENCE – Atlantic Division
1st – NEW YORK RANGERS
Coach Tortorella is a no no nonsense guy who knows the game and how to handle players with passion. He doesn’t accept losing and doesn’t baby players, that will rub off. Richards is overpaid but the real thing. Rupp and Thuresson are decent additions to a solid offence. Bottom end of the defence is questionable, but Torts systems and player discipline should ensure the forwards stay involved in their own end and they will add some d men during season. Goaltending is solid.
2nd – Pittsburgh Penguins
Coach Bylsma showed he can coach last year, not just admire Crosby , Malkin and Fleurry playing shinny as he was devastated with injuries and kept his team rockin.
We’re not sold that Crosby, Malkin and Staals health issues are behind them and without them 100% it’s too tough a division…one or two of them will miss serious time this season. Defensively they are very good, and the net is well taken care of. They will miss the toughness of Talbot, Rupp and Godard which they might have to address during the season.
3rd – Philadelphia Flyers
Coach Laviolette has proven he can make teams compete, but can he get them to win is the question. They faded bad the second half of last season and completely lost their edge in the playoffs almost falling to Buffalo in the first round. They have a mixed bag of forwards including grandpa Jagr, kindergarten kids Schenn and Simmonds, and tough guy Talbot…..can they gel is the question. Defensively they are good with Pronger and his back as the key. In net Bryzagalov is ( you heard it here first) not the answer. He was blessed in Phoenix with 5 defenseman on the ice each shift…poor rebound control and not a lot of second and third shots to deal with.
4th – New York Islanders
Coach Capuano is by all accounts a nice guy and the players like him. That’s good if you’re an assistant coach or the trainer, but this is the big leagues and that will wear thing real quick, these kids need a coach not a buddy. They have a nice, young group of players led by Tavares up front….if they gel they will find the back of the net a lot. Defensively they hurt losing Ehrhoff, Gervais and Martinek….all decent NHL defenseman, so they’ll need more team defence to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot. DiPietro in goal has always been interesting, he’s one of the best goalies around not to take the final step forward in becoming a top guy.
5th – New Jersey Devils
Coach DeBoer is in for a long year. He wants a defencive structure, with great puck pursuit and player accountability in both ends….and I want more hair and a nicer car. He better introduce Kovalchuk to Brodeur and Hedberg in training camp, it’s the only time they’ll meet. They have a skilled forward group representing almost every European country in existence and have the “New Jersey” style of play in the neutral zone to keep defensively honest…but it’s not near enough. They won’t score very much, the defence is AHL quality and Brodeur just qualified for senior admission rates at Ciniplex….but he insists on paying and playing full rate and time. Not good.