Archive for the ‘central division’ Category

Central Division Schtuff.

November 10, 2009

Wow, quiet week, apparently. Main stories? Hm.

Outstanding summary of Hull’s career and what he means to both St. Louis and hockey. The complete speeches of the gentlemen inducted into the hall are available at Hull’s was pure class, as was Yzerman’s. Congrats to the two reps most associated with the Central Division.

As a Thrashers fan as well as a Blues fan, I’m pretty sensitive to rumors of teams moving and reports of impending doom. Apparently there’re rumblings out of Columbus that the team is in financial trouble and could be looking at a move without a tax hike for the residents of the city. Well, Mike McLean over at The Cannon takes a look at the situation. Welcome to club of writers that has to defend their team constantly. Enjoy.

Apparently Jason Williams has broken his right fibula. Personally, I think it’s karma for putting Beyonce on a locker room playlist. But that could just be me.

Tuesday’s Tour Around the Central

November 2, 2009

You know it’s a slow news week when you do a Google News search for the Blue Jackets and every single thing that pops up has to do with Ovechkin and his wonky shoulder. And, as an afterthought, how they came from behind to win their game Sunday.

Anywho, let’s see what’s out there in America’s Heartland – and Nashville.

Our friends (and by friends I mean fellow smartasses who also write a gameday newspaper – they’re like Game Time’s cousins or something) over at Second City Hockey have a recap of what you can tell about the Blackhawks after one month in. Kudos to them for not doing what a lot of other Hawks sites are doing – “Wooooo! We’re in FIRST!” is not an in-depth analysis. Because, um, there are like 65 or so games left. Gimmie substance, please.

Hockey’s Future has the top 10 organizational rankings out, and the Blue Jackets are 4th (Blues are 1st and the Preds are 2nd, so the Central should be tough for some time to come). Nikita Filatov is their number one prospect and apparently will be a contender for the Calder this year. Someone might want to mention that to Ken Hitchcock.

Mirtle wrote an excellent six part series on the viability of the Nashville Predators as a hockey market. Excellently researched – as a fan of the Thrashers, I appreciate someone taking the time to visit Nashville to see what’s going on there first hand. I’m fairly tired of people writing stuff that usually sounds like:

“(Insert non-traditional market team here) doesn’t have the fan base to succeed. Their attendance is awful. They need to win in the playoffs or else (insert big name star) is going to leave in free agency. Since they’re located in the south, the team will automatically finish in the bottom of their Conference. Oh, and LOL @ rednecks!” is hoping that the Red Wings have turned a corner. That’s odd – so do I. Into a wall.

And finally, continuing the injury bug that has been harassing the Blues for the past few seasons, Andy McDonald does his best impression of me in high heels and takes a header into the boards:

Thank God he appears to be ok so far, though he probably won’t play Thursday as a precaution. No word yet on Sunday at Atlanta.

Gut Reactions: The Central Division

September 29, 2009

Sooner or later I’m going to stop finding funny pictures …

1. Detroit Red Wings
My biggest regret with slacking on these updates is that I didn’t get to jump on the “You’re Crazy for Counting Out the Red Wings” bandwagon before a ton of people already refuted the annual “this is the year Detroit won’t make it” hoopla. Darn.
Naturally it’s not good that the Wings replaced Marian Hossa and Jiri Hudler with the likes of Todd effin’ Bertuzzi, but few teams can match the Red Wings defense (Lidstrom-Rafalski-Kronwall) and unstoppable winning tradition.
2. Chicago Blackhawks
I haven’t been shy about criticizing Chicago’s off-season moves, but those mistakes will hurt the team from a longterm perspective more than anything else. Chances are the ‘Hawks will move some personnel before next summer, but as is, the team is loaded.
Brodeur is a Fraud has a way of consistently flipping the script on my goalie assumptions and the Contrarian Goaltender did just that with his “No Respect for Huet” piece. While tCG’s powers of numerical persuasion cannot change me from anti-Huet to Cristobal-iever (hey-o!), the posts did at least make me hesitate in calling him a true problem.
With scoring depth, solid defense and their three best players entering contract years it is difficult to imagine Chicago having a total meltdown.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets
As a Faceoff dork, CBJ could have been a dream team in the circle if they kept Manny Malholtra. Still, the team is strong down the middle and has that Rick Nash guy people seem to really care about. When you combine an improving fleet of forwards and a good young goalie in Steve Mason with Ken Hitchock’s top-notch defensive system, it’s tempting to put Columbus above Chicago.
That would be hasty, though, since their ceiling falls considerably if Derick Brassard deals with more injury problems.
4. St. Louis Blues
The Central division is good enough to send four teams to the playoffs (not to say that will happen), so this isn’t meant to be a slight to the Blue-notes. The team is jam packed with young forwards and could really see a nice jump with the (hopefully healthy) return of Erik Johnson. Factor in the remote possibility of a Paul Kariya renaissance and it’s hard not to be excited about St. Louis.
In fact, the more I talk about this the less comfortable I feel with this prediction. Let’s move on.
5. Nashville Predators
Barry Trotz must be an awesome coach, right? No one ever sees much in the Predators, yet they always seem to scrap their way to competitiveness.
Unfortunately, their division isn’t “Detroit + awful + awful + awful + Nashville” any longer. You’ve gotta love Shea Weber, but it just doesn’t look like they have the horses to grind out a playoff berth any more.