1/8 Of Teams Season Review

This season, after most of the teams played 10 games, there will be 8 reviews on every team in the NHL, and how each one is performing. This is the first review out of 8 in total, every ten games. Anaheim Mighty Ducks


Not that bad of a start for the Ducks. They played pretty well and some players are a surprise, like Matt Cullen. Kariya has been a bit disappointing by only scoring one goal, but he does have 5 assists. The defense is decent and Jason York has played well. The goaltending is decent too, but Giguere does have better stats than Shields. This team has a chance to compete for a number 8 spot if they continue to play like this. Their only major concern is Kariya. If Kariya is injured then they are in trouble. And, they have to decide whether or not Kariya will remain a Duck. If not, then they must trade him.

Atlanta Thrashers


This team is missing a lot of things, especially since the loss of Audette and Brunette. Kovalchuk has been more than outstanding, scoring 6 goals. This is a team to fear in the future. They got some great young players and Patrick Stefan will come around and start scoring sooner or later. The defense could be tough. If you play sloppy against the Thrashers, then you have a 30% chance of winning. This team will not make the playoffs this year, but fear this team if they get another top pick with another top rookie. The goaltending is weak, and it is unsure how good Hlinicka is. He can play like a star, as he did against the Caps by shutting them out, or he can play like a goalie who is struggling in the NHL. Give this team credit, they will not give every team an easy win.

Boston Bruins


Started the season surprising everyone, but slowed down a bit. The Allison trade was not a win for the Bruins. This is different than the Lindros situation. I think that because of Allison’s age, it was not a great idea to trade him, especially for the players the Bruins received. Glen Murray is a good pick up, but they could have avoided Josef Stumpel. If there was one main thing I would have looked for in an Allison trade, it would be the Bruins getting a very good defenseman. I think the Bruins could have pulled off an Allison and Axelsson for Murray and Vishnovsky trade. We have yet to see how this deal ends, so no real judgements. Back to the team. Bruins are a tough team. They are not a team with great talents, but they score. They are a typical old fashioned team. No big time fancy skaters, no big time play makers, but could still score big time. The offense looks tough to beat because they do well in defense, and they drive into the net a lot. The defense looks solid but not the best defense that you can have. Obviously a defenseman that could skate well and score would be very comforting. The goaltending is doing really well for this team and all they should hope is for Dafoe to have a complete season. I would give a lot of credit to the coach of the Bruins as well. This team looks like a playoff runner, but the Bruins cannot fall back on games, they must avoid 4 game winless streaks. So far, this team should score more, they have not done a great job in their past couple of games.

Buffalo Sabres


This team does miss Hasek, there is no reason to disagree with that. Hasek could have won a game for them all by himself. The Sabres look to be inconsistent. They play well, and they play badly, well, badly…and so on. Satan has been a disappointment so far, and Afinogenov has been their main scorer. It is awkward not to see Tim Connolly score, as he was expected to score more. The defense has been a little shaky, but Zhitnik is doing his job well. Goaltending could be a bit of a problem. No, Biron is not a disappointment, and don’t expect Biron to play well throughout the whole season, and that is why signing Essensa was such a big deal to this team. Biron is used to be a back up goalie, and now he just has to get used to being a starter. Sabres do have a chance to fall back and not make the playoffs, but the chances for that are low.

Calgary Flames


All I can say for this team is wow. Turek had an amazing start proving all those who criticized him that he is a starter, foolish are the Blues now who need a goalie. Flames have been more than surprising and outstanding. Even with the loss of their number one center, Marc Savard, this team can still win. How? How can this team win if they don’t even have big time players? Well, good coaching, good strategies, and good team effort. Iginla is performing exactly how I expected him to perform. There was no question on Morris, he is simply just good. The most surprising player of this team, and this is a personal opinion, is Igor Kravchuck. Here is a defenseman who seemed to go out of the NHL last season, but he has made one heck of a comeback. Everything seems to go well for this team, but their road to a playoff spot is very very very far with a heavy fog. They must be a team, play like a team, and show more than what they can do in order to make the playoffs.

Carolina Hurricanes


I don’t see how The Hockey News see this team as a non playoff contender. If it was last season, and it got better this season, how could they not? They have the same players, same coach, better back up goaltending. The surprising players of this team are Cole, Francis, and Vasicek. My favorite players of this team are Vasicek, Malik, and Tanabe. Keep an eye on this Cole, I seen him play and he is one impressive youngster. This team started off really well, and all the sudden just dropped, but picked up their game again. Irbe did not play at his best in his last two games, and without Barrasso, the Canes would be almost last. Barrasso has been playing really well, and it will only help Irbe. O’Neill has been a bit disappointing, but he could always start scoring later in the season. This team looks good so far, and they will only get better. It is hard to say whether this team will make the playoffs, but I think they will.

Chicago Blackhawks


Very surprised at how this team picked up its game. It started really slow, but it has been a hot team, a hot team that is still willing to trade their top scorer Tony Amonte. Amonte is not their top scorer this season however, and that is a sure sign that he will be traded anytime soon. To who? Well…the Avs, maybe the Penguins….Rangers, who knows…we hockey fans need more information on this. The defense is pretty solid and Thibault has done a good job. I think the Hawks will actually make the playoffs if they keep up at this pace, and if the team gets better with a future Amonte deal. Calder has been surprising, and finally, Daze is starting to play like he should. Stay on the look out on where Amonte will end up, my guess is Colorado.

Colorado Avalanche


A very slow start for a team that won the Cup last season. Sakic is playing well as he leads the team in goals, assists, and obviously in points. Forsberg is just not helping this team. If he plays in the Olympics then he must come back and play for the Avs. However, look for the Avs to land Amonte. Amonte and Sakic together could be a huge power offense. Who should the Avs give up? Keep Reinprecht, keep Drury, keep Tanguay, and trade Hinote, Hejduk, or Nieminen. Goaltenidng has done well enough to be just above average. Roy is day to day injury, but this is a good sign. Aebischer has to start playing and prove that he is a future starter. Defense could use some stronger players and Klemm was a big loss, personally, as he leads the NHL defensemen in +/-. Maybe Avs need to wake up and still start to gel. Don’t worry about this team, they will be top three in the league be mid-season.

Columbus BlueJackets


I am surprised, very surprised with this team…in a negative way. The Jackets should be having a decent start. They really are playing like an expansion team. Their major problem is scoring. Sanderson isn’t scoring and neither is Knutsen. This team has a very long road ahead, and it will take a very long time for them to become competitive. Goaltending is “ok”, but they need to be involved in trades. It would not be bad idea to trade Tugnutt to a team that needs a goalie, the Blues.

Dallas Stars

Has Neil Smith put a domino effect to teams that sign a lot of UFA? If he did, it is making a huge impact on Dallas. Last game was against the Rangers, and seen the one against the Islanders, this team has ZERO offense. Kamenksy Cantplaysky is not making a big difference. Audette is as good as effective as a 4th line player. Turgeon is doing half of the half of last season. Modano does a lot of defensive work, which keeps him away from the offensive work. The defense is not bad, it is just failing because of the effortless offense. Hatcher has gotten much slower, as almost every forward can get by him. Also, Hatcher could have been suspended for almost half the season because of an attempt to take a run at Lindros, from Eric’s left side, raised his elbow really high, as he just missed Eric’s face by 6 inches or so. If he would have made contact, I think Eric would have had a terrible broken nose, but not a concussion, but worse of all….probably a severe broken jaw. That is just plain disgusting and dirty…made me sick watching replays as it made John Davidson sick. Yes, hockey has a lot of toughness…but if you’re out there on the ice and you want to injure someone then get the hell out, this is a sport…not a brutal activity. Stars have been disappointing for sure, but Eddie the Pigeon, I mean Eagle, has been really good and is making some big saves…when I say big I mean big. This team needs to wake up, they have some great players. I still expect Audette to come up with some big goals.

Detroit Red Wings


Talk about an amazing team. If I were a goalie, I’d be scared to play against this team. Every time I see these Red Wings on a PP, I see three 90+ mph shots per PP…or per minute. Incredible. Offense is really scoring and Shanahan is having one fantastic year. Robitaille has been playing really well, so has the other players, but more expected from Brett Hull. The defense is still good and solid, and Hasek…Hasek is just Hasek. Whether you hate him or like him, Hasek is still a great goalie. I think the only mistake the Wings did was not trading Osgood, they just let him go on waivers. I know that two teams tried to make offers, one the Rangers, but Ken Holland refused any offers. How doe he win by dropping Osgood on waivers? Two picks, a few prospects or a good aggressive 3rd line player would have helped. If Osgood was on the Rangers, then you would have seen Richter gone to the Blues a while ago. But, Wings are still a great team now. The kid Datsyuk has been playing well too. This is definitely a team that should win the Cup this season, however, the Wings will head into a cold streak sooner or later, probably right after the Olympics. This will not show that the Wings are slumping and yeppie whooray they will stink in the playoffs. All the Red Wings need to do is make the playoffs, and I think they will be a stronger playoff team than a regular season team.

Edmonton Oilers


Compare this teams’ players to other teams, the high ranked teams especially. Believe it or not, this team leads the NHL in goals for. That is amazing. This team feared to have little offense because they lost some Weight at center position. So even if they are lighter, they still got Carter. Everyone predicted this team was not going to make it, or have a good start, but this team is not only 4th in the league, not only are they leading in GF, but they are the YOUNGEST team in the NHL. Talk about amazing. I have this team ranked as one of my tops after the Wings. This team will just get better and better. Smyth is leading the team in points, Carter on goals. The defense is strong and adding Poti on the roster is a big help. Give a whole lot of credit to this team, and the whole coaching, just great, really surprised.

Florida Panthers


Talk about the extinction of the panther species. What is this team thinking? Never would have I expected for Pavel Bure to have such a slow start, especially with the fact that his brother Valerie is on the team. I don’t see how people got so scared to see the Bure brothers together, they just had one great All-Star game together. This trade could have only gone two ways, and so far it went the way I predicted. The positive way: Bure brothers lead the NHL in points, Florida almost makes playoffs, but have an extremely powerful offense. The negative way, my way: If one Bure does not work, then this team has a huge problem. Why a huge problem? Now they are stuck with two brothers, who will be very hard to separate. What should they do now? They cannot do much. Trade Pavel Bure? Sure…but to whom, for who, and what effect will it have? So many missing pieces for this team that it is highly impossible for it to make the playoffs. Lack of defense, offense, but a pretty solid goaltender. The only thing the Panthers must do now, is to trade Kidd. They need something, if they want to win a game, they need something. Enough said, this team has been very disappointing.

Los Angeles Kings


Another disappointing team, but it was expected to have this kind of start, at least in my opinion. Weak offense after losing Robitaille and still a weak defense, with weak goaltending. Can it get any worse than that? This team should be thankful that they got Allison, but the question is…”if he on the right team? I don’t think sooooo. They need to find a better line-mate for Allison. The best conclusion about this trade is that they got a 26-year-old player, very young, who can score a range between 80-95 points. I am not sure if this already happened, but it would not be a bad idea to play Deadmarsh and Allison together. Defense is weak, and this team should look for a defenseman that can knock people down easily, someone who is feared by forwards. Goaltending is weak, but decent. Can’t expect Potvin to be awesome all the sudden, he will always be a decent goaltender. I still think it was a bad trade they did with Blake, including giving up Reinprecht. The only way the LA Kings can start winning is to find someone to play well with Allison. That should be Step One for this team.

Minnesota Wild


I am still very surprised with this team. This team made such a huge step that Columbus is not even close to make half of that step. The biggest player they got this off-season? Andrew Brunette. Gaborik is one of my favorite young players in the league, and he had a pretty good season last year. All this kid needed was a playmaker, a good passer. Brunette was a simple pick up, and he is a simple player. Gaborik will have a great season. This is one of the best-built expansion teams I’ve ever seen. They got some great players from the expansion draft, one heck of a coach (perfect for a young team), a good goalie, and good solid defensemen. They are starting to lose, but they really had a good and exciting start. The defense is solid, and yes they play the boring trap, that’s all Lemaire, but they are improving every spot little by little. Give this team credit, and it is a great pleasure to see one of the best hockey states, probably the best, to have a team back in the NHL. Keep an eye on this team and watch it get better.

Montreal Canadiens


If you want to see a team play with passion, this is the team. I think these are the Black Ages of the most classic team in the NHL, as it had its Golden Ages. But, it is normal for any team to fall into the pit. Canadiens miss Koivu a lot, but he will make one great come back as we all hope he will. Habs started really well, and Hackett was at the top of his game. Of course, and unfortunately, Hackett’s high injury prone proved to be true again. Does this team ever get a break? Savage is playing well, and the whole team is just trying to win. Rucinsky is always the disappointment of this team, and hopefully he will be traded. This team either needs a very talented center who can pass and score, or a BIG SIZE center who can score. They need a stronger offense. Defense looks decent, could be better. Look for this team to maybe make a trade if they go into a 3 game winless streak. Yet, I am still surprised at how well this team puts so much effort, do it for Koivu!

Nashville Predators


Not a bad start for a weak offense team. As I mentioned in one of my long articles once, this team is all about grit. The reason for that record was an awful start. The most surprising and unheard player, maybe a rookie?, is Orszagh. Eight points in ten games, not bad. Goaltending is a bit of a problem, not too much, however. The defense is pretty good and solid, so that is a good start. This team needs to find more scoring, they got enough toughness. I doubt they will make the playoffs, unless teams like the Stars and the Blues are not competitive enough, and it could earn Nashville a playoff spot as a just under .500 team. No one should have ever set high expectations on this team, as The Hockey News did by placing them 9th.

New Jersey Devils


Such a laughable start for this team, yet now the Devils are finally coming together. Brodeur is at the top of his game, Elias is scoring, and so is Arnott, and the defense is playing the so-called boring trap. Don’t think this team has now become a top team already, because there is one major problem for this team. The locker room. Holik has been criticizing his teammates for “stupid” penalties or etc… and some of his teammates are having a problem. Another problem is the salary issue. Since GM Lou told his players that the team did not have the budget for their wanted salary, after going to the Finals two years in a row (and that is the biggest BS ever said by Lou), and the team did not have the money for Mogilny. But the team had the money for Brodeur. Hey now! How did he get such a high contract compared to mine!? Ask GM Lou, because he lied. Elias is not happy with the team either, and not the player you’d want to trust when it comes to money issues. Scott Stevens now seeks to get a high offer from the Devils in the off-season, said to be as much as Al MacInnis’ new contract. I think it is insane to pay a goaltender 8.9 million dollars in one season. I don’t care if he is the best goalie ever, but goalies should NOT make that kind of money and neither should any player in any sport. This contract will cause goalies to sit out and want more money. This has put a lot of negativity for goalies. By the time Salo will become a free agent, do you think he will one a million more than what he is receiving now? “Wait, I am a top goaltender of the league, I led this team into the playoffs, and if Brodeur makes that much, then I can make about 7 million a year too.” Get my point? No, this is not an “anti-Devils” comment I am making here, face it…it is the truth. And I just used Salo as an example. So the locker room is the big negative part of this team. But, the Devils are starting to really play well on the ice. It is a thought, and it could happen, that Holik might be sent to San Jose and the Devils could get Selanne, unhappy in no-offense San Jose. Defense looks sharp, much sharper now. I still think the Devils are not at the top of their game and they somehow remind me of the old 95 Devils, when they won a lucky game against Buffalo by only taking 11 shots against a Hasekless Sabres team. Now they have a winning record, and improving, at a very slow pace for a team that went into the finals. But, they must fix the locker room and GM Lou cannot use “not enough team budget” as an excuse for the players.

New York Islanders


The only undefeated team in the NHL. Although they have been so very surprising, they played a lot of easy teams. Osgood is the best player of the team, because without him this team would have been way down. Imagine if the Wings asked a player from the Islanders? So, it was so far the best move done by Milbury this whole summer. Yashin has 7 goals, which is good. Peca played like he always did. Yes he is a money guy but he plays for the team, he just wants to be paid for that. Yashin could have cared less if the Islanders stunk, that’s the difference between Yashin and Peca. Parrish is the hot star of the team. I must give a lot of credit to the coach as well. They have been playing very well against not so tough teams, as they did lose to Detroit, in OT though. This is what I want every Islander fan to know. The Coyotes were one of the hottest team in the NHL last season, probably top 5 in the league. It is such a long way to go till mid-season and the end of season. So, and I actually hope not, the Islanders can fall backwards. If other teams start to get hot, and more than 20 teams are not hot, then the Islanders will face a very big challenge. They are the most surprising team in the NHL now, and finally…after seven painful years, the Islanders have a very good chance of making the playoffs. But, again, if the other teams start getting hot, and other teams start playing much better, like the Stars, Devils, Blues, Kings, Canucks, Boston (bit of a slump lately), and other teams, then Islanders have to take their game one step further. From a great hockey fan’s point of view, and one who respects all teams, I am glad to see the Islanders make a come-back. They were once a dynasty and a dominating team, they must be competitive now, so good luck to them.

New York Rangers


Hehe, now come on guys, I know what you’re thinking “Oh great….Micki talking about the Rangers”…..not fair! Come on, I’ll be fair with this one, very reasonable. An extremely slow start, but excusable. SIXTEEN new players on the team, and you cannot expect everyone to gel, and Lindros to score hat tricks, and Fleury to start scoring and the defense to be paired well together. Once some lines and some pairings started to gel, the Rangers went 4 games undefeated. Then the defense and the offense were not even an thought for the Rangers as they went 3 games, winless, allowing 15 goals, that is pathetic. So, Low figured out that the Rangers need a defensive trap-like system. Now, the Rangers won two in a row allowing just 3 goals, but scoring 6 goals. Richter has been my favorite player of the team along with Mike York. Gomez who? Compare what York’s abilities are with Gomez, much greater…and it is a fact. Gomez is probably the better passer, but he has a bad attitude, takes dumb penalties, does a lot of mistakes, and is weak not a good penalty killer. York can score, he can pass, he can outsmart anyone, out skate anyone, he can be great on the PK great on the PP, makes great defensive plays, and would do anything the coach tells him to do without saying “but…”. This kid does not get enough attention, but he will. Lindros has been playing pretty well. He is getting better, but he must practice his accuracy. I remember when Eric had the puck in front of the net, and took his scary wrist shots, the puck was either saved miraculously, hit the post, or got in. This time, as of now, the puck either hits the post or goes wide. It is a pity to read the articles on Lindros, all I read was criticism. So, I am disappointed at the poor defensive effort after the 4 undefeated games, but I am surprised at how well Richter played and Blackburn too. One thing that comes to my mind is, will Richter go? I know the Blues are drooling to have Richter now, he stopped 81 out of 84 shots in his last couple of games.

Ottawa Senators


This team had a very disappointing start. They traded their number one center for good defensive players, yet they were horrible in defense. Slowly they started to come together, and since that 7-2 win over the Flyers, the Senators are a tough team to beat. Hossa is putting up points, Lalime playing really well along with back up Hurme. The Swedes Arvedsson and Alfredsson are starting to play better. What this team missed in the Yashin deal was a scoring forward. They should have traded for Czerkawski, who I think is the perfect fit in Ottawa. Bonk has been disappointing, but he could always start scoring later in the season. This team lacks a strong center. Forget about Nieuwendyk because he is the Stars number one scorer. Nedved? Well, Rangers need Nedved because he adds depth to center, has one heck of a reach, plays good PK, good on PP, can skate really well, and his wrister is deadly. So, forget about Nedved. Ottawa needs to find a number one center, that is their major need as of now. Watch the Sens start winning and could possibly be top in the league.

Philadelphia Flyers


Cechmanek who? Who is Cechmanek? This is what irritated me when I talked to Flyers fans before season started. This is why I argued that Cechmanek should not have been put on top 10 goalies list. One season is NOT enough. This proves it. Now Cechmanek is below in the top 20 goalies of the league, if he is even on the list. I am thrilled to see Boucher play as the Flyers starter. Also, the funny thing is…I listened to Bobby Clarke when he said way before the season started “goaltending is my only concern”. When I talked about it to Flyers fans…forget it, it was impossible to even discuss it with them because they ranked Cechmanek so highly. And no, this is not to Flyers fans on HTR obviously, just a lot I have talked to. So, this team had a pathetic start. What made it more pathetic? Jeremy Roenick himself. Flyers must have a curse of having players who are (fill in the blanks) _ s s _ o _ _ s. Roenick told a story to the press after the humiliating 7-2 loss to Ottawa. Roenick said that he was just 2 minutes away from signing with the Red Wings. The contract was exactly the same offer, but Roenick was concerned with the Wings goaltending, before they got Hasek. So, all that BS he said to the press when he signed with the Flyers is just pathetic. Then, did Roenick really want to sign with the Red Wings? His answer….”I don’t know”. But, Roenick has been playing really well with the Flyers. He showed what he has, he just needs to score more. He is a hard worker, and even if he told that ridiculous story to the press, he won’t back down, so give him credit. Recchi has been a major disappointment. Finally he started to score, especially after that Hat Trick, but this guy should have been leading the league with assists. The offense needs to improve, and Desjardins made one heck of a stupid move. Now he does this? When the team is on a bad start, he steps down from captaincy? If Desjardins did not feel like a good captain, then he should have done it last season. I don’t think Primeau is a good captain, I would have chosen LeClair, and where is LeClair? I was right after all, Flyers fans were going to be very pleased with Kim Johnsson, and I guranteed in my comments on the Lindros trade, that Johnsson was the best player the Flyers got. Hlavac is playing well, and slowly adapting to the Flyers style. Brendl, well…did Kolzig make him feel happy with that soft goal or what? Flyers will get better as time goes on, but patience is not an option for this team. This team was selected as a Cup winner for this season, which I strongly disagreed when I looked at the Wings team, so they must win games, hopefully a 4 game winning streak will shake some players up. I still think it is a very good team, and I hope Dopita gets back soon, I want to study this European player.

Phoenix Coyotes


Very surprised with the start of this team. As predicted, a very weak offense. Shane Doan has proved he can score goals, without Roenick and Tkachuk. Berezin has been a bit disappointing. But, my favorite player out of all these, who was ignored and even sent down to the minors last season, is Briere. This guy can really help this team reach for a playoff spot. The defense has been decent, even after losing Carney. Burke has been pretty solid, although not the best start expected from him. The Yotes will finish just a few games after .500 or just lose at the end of the season like last season. A very quiet team, yet a team with a winning record.

Pittsburgh Penguins


A very bad start, a great record with new coach, and boy oh boy…injuries are killing this team, feel bad for the Canadiens now? If Lemieux did not get injured, then things would be different. Obviously, this team will go no where if Lemieux misses games for rest and games from injuries. He is already out a month, almost, and who knows how many more times he will get hurt. Kovalev is injured, then Straka, and so who the heck will score for this team? Oh yeah, Beech will do it. Applause for Craig Patrick, I wished I could have suggested him to accept Sather’s offer, because this team would be a whole different one if Hlavac and York were on it. Unfortunately, I did not get any support when I mentioned this a number of times, just because I am a Rangers fan though…darn you guys. This team has to make trades, and not for prospects. Trade Kaspiritis, trade Lang (to Ottawa), and trade Kovalev as soon as he gets back. Trade Kraft if you have to. This team needs trades, so Patrick is put on the test here. Streaky goaltending, weak defense, and an extreme weak offense = no playoffs.

San Jose Sharks


They do have a winning record, but what a disappointing team. Much more was expected from this team, and players like Nolan, Selanne, Damphousse, and Marleau did not do much at all. So, the Sharks just lost that Selanne trade because Temmu is unhappy with the way the Sharks are playing, duh. Sharks play a rough, solid, and not much offense, style of hockey…and they remind me of an old Flyers team, because they will beat down the opponent even if they lose. This team needs a wake up call. You cannot expect a scorer to join such a team and start scoring. Now rumors are that a Selanne for Holik deal could happen. Who knows, but it might not happen so soon. Goaltending is not that big of a problem, but it was not as good as last season. This is a wild and a very crazy rumor, that the Sharks are interested in Richter. So, bottom line is…this team has to win games, they cannot be streaky and they should go for a player like Holik. But, if they don’t want to give up on Selanne, then get a very good playmaker for Selanne. Playmaker + Selanne= GOALS. This team needs GOALS. So, not too much disappointed in them, just expected a lot more.

St. Louis Blues


Disappointing. Like the Sharks, much was expected from this team, and even if they have a winning record…this team should be in the top 5 at least. Started really slowly, extremely slow, and now it is starting to pick up its game. The problem is goaltending. Giving up Turek because of two just below average post seasons was just the most idiotic move ever. Now, the Blues are left with two goalies that cannot make the big saves. If this team wants Richter, they would have to trade more than what they offered last time. Since they lost Reasoner and Hecht, they are only left with Corso as their main trade bait. Rangers will not trade Richter, unless they know they can pick up a starter elsewhere, maybe a 3 way deal could happen, who knows. Richter is hot, so Rangers will not trade him. Hackett is injured, so…not much out there. The Blues will not start winning 5 straight games until they get a professional goalie. Give Hebert a chance. Much more is still expected from this team.

Tampa Bay Lightning


TB improved a lot this season, but they have to get it right…trade Lecavalier. He does not want to be there, it is obvious, and he is not scoring as much as he was expected to score, so get him out of there. Team would die to have Vinny on their team. You’d see teams like the Habs, Sens, Stars, Kings, Bruins, Panthers, and others make offers for Vinny if he is on the block. Richards is really playing well and the sophomore jinx did not seem to hit him. Khabibulin and the defense in front are doing terrific for a team like TB, allowing just 26 goals. Modin has also been quiet, but I think all this team wants are wins, and they will get more this season. Good job by Tampa, and if they trade Lecavalier, they can get a lot in return.

Toronto Maple Leafs


Curtis Joseph is just good, and probably the top three in the NHL. Three straight shutouts for this goalie, and a great job by the defense. Sundin is playing well, Mogilny just got lost somewhere, is he playing? This team actually surprised me. I thought that without Kaberle they would be worse, but they are just better in defense, seems like it at least. Now, they just re-signed Kaberle, so the defense should get better. One thing about this team that you should do, don’t put any trust in it. They were one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and they finished 7th. Could it happen again? Sure, anything can happen. But, the Leafs are playing well and if they keep going, then they will remain number two in the Eastern Conference. But, like the Islanders, the Leafs would have to step it up if the Devils, Rangers, Flyers, and Senators start winning games.

Vancouver Canucks


Every time I look at this team’s standing, I just don’t believe in it. But there is a reason for those 37 GA, goaltending. Yes, ok, they should have kept Essensa…blah blah blah, and whatever…can’t keep arguing that. What’s to argue is who should they trade to get one, they need one as bad as the Blues need one. So, it is a race for these two teams. A big mistake was to let Schaefer signs with a European team. If you can’t sign the guy, trade him. Schaefer could have been used in a package deal to grab a goaltender. I think the Nucks should give Hebert a try, why not? Or, how about good old Kirk MacKlean? I still think the Nucks should go after Trevor Kidd, why not? Cloutier is not ready for this job, and I still predict he will become a true starter at age 28. The offense is weak, as Cassels got hurt, again. So this team also needs another center, a playmaker. Most surprising player, Brendan Morrison, former Devils player. Most disappointing players, Sedin twins, but sophomore jinx hit them, they are good players and they will have a good career. So, this team has been very disappointing, but it is too early to judge this team. Once they get a better goalie, they will start winning. Don’t give up on this team.

Washington Capitals


No excuse for this team to have such a record. First of all, with or without Jagr, they are still the same team. They are not missing anyone. It is an awful start for the Caps, and no excuse for them to have such a record. What would be more than pathetic is that the media might blame Oates for this poor start. Forget about the Hrdina for Zubrus deal because the NHL disapproved it already. Jagr is not doing bad, but he is not helping this team win, because he is not even leading in any of the teams categories, not even assists. There is much to criticize this team after getting shut out by the Atlanta Thrashers and the Flyers. With such a strong offense, this team should rarely get shut out, especially when playing against a much lesser team. What is so pathetic about this too is that the media does not rank this team as low as it should be. A very bad and disappointing start for the Caps, and they just have to trade Oates. What should they get in return? Someone who can play with Jagr, and Nedved would probably be the number one player they would want, but Sather will never even think of doing that, after McPhee lied to him too. This team is not like the Rangers, Flyers, or Stars where they still have to gel. They should not even be at that stage, they have the same team, and they just added the most talented player in the NHL. I don’t think it is a matter of how much they gave up for Jagr, because they gave up nothing, but the amount of money they are investing in this guy is a lot, and it better be worth it.

Thank you all for reading this. It took me a lot of time to write it and a lot of observing to do. Comments are always welcomed, and I know I will get negative comments on my observations, but try to have mature and very reasonable comments, *coughcoughtitanscoughcough *. Not every team is updated, and any comments on updated team standings or players are acceptable.

Micki Peroni