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EASTERN CONFERNCE – Northeast Division
September 8, 2011Posted by on
1st – Buffalo Sabres
Coach Ruff has proven he can coach in Buffalo as he goes into his 14th season. He’s always had average teams and made them competitive, but now with new ownership and money to spend he’s got something to work with. Ehrohoff, Kotalik, Leino and Regehr all make them better. Vanek, Pominville, Ennis, Stafford and Leino will be dangersous. Depth up front, size and speed on the blue line and world class goaltending in Ryan Miller make Buffalo the team to beat.
2nd – Boston Bruins
Coach Julien may have a tired team to start the season after a long road to the Cup, but we doubt hes complaining. Loss of Kaberle and addition of Corvo on blue line is an upgrade but even with Chara they’ll need to get a little better on the back end. Seguin and Marchand will get better this year.
Tim Thomas in the pipes alone makes everyone on the team better with his work ethic and attitude, not to mention his play. Julien is in tough to repeat with another Cup, but should have the horses to go deep again into the playoffs.
3rd – Montreal Canadians
Coach Martins reputation as a great coach is more fiction than fact. He starts his third season with his fourth team, was bounced in the first round last year, has never won a Cup, and has only gotten a team past the first round 5 times in 16 yrs. Price will prove he was the right choice again this year. Cole is a nice addition up front to compliment Plakanec and Cammalleri, but they need some size and toughness to go with the speed of their top 6. Subban needs to show a lot more maturity and Gill is just not very good, the lead the D with minus 8 and 9 respectively and numbers 2 and 3 on the team in that department. If their penchant for injuries to key players shows up, it could be a long ,long year….good thing it’s a terrible division.
4th – Toronto Maple Lafs
Sorry for the typo. Coach Wilson must have pictures or something for Burke to keep him…then again Burke must have pictures for him to still be there. He’s done nothing to make them better the past two years and this summer was invisible……and Wilson is not the guy for a team trying to find its identity. Additions Connoly and Lombardi both have big concussion issues. MacArthur had a career year last season and wont repeat it. Kadri may be a nicer role player one day, but not today. Kessel and Grabovski are the only players with any flair. The blue line is weak beyond Schenn and Pheneuf. Reimer should prove he’s here to stay in the NHL with another good year.
5th – Ottawa Senators
Bryan Murray is in a rebuilding year….again; he needs to find a way to finish the project one day. Coach MacLean is charged with developing another set of young, fast kids up front. Alfredsson an Spezza are going to be workhorses and you have to wonder how long Alfy can take it before asking to move on to a contender…and he probably deserves it. The blue line isn’t all that bad on paper with Gonchar, Phillips and Karlsson leading the way. Anderson is going to see some major rubber and prove he is a top NHL goalie. All in all though the worst plus minus team in the NHL stays in the basement.