Sunday, February 24, 2008

Random thoughts

With a lot of hockey taking place this weekend, I figured I'd bring back my total randomness and give you a little insight. So, here goes:

1.Some HNIC announcer pointed out that Detroit doesn't have much offensive depth up front outside of Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Holmstrom. Well, you don't say. It's much easier to conclude that when Lidstrom, Rafalski, Chelios, Hasek, Cleary and Kronwall are out. How many teams can play good hockey when so many key contributors are out including Detroit's best player? There's no doubt that they could use a little more toughness up front. Maybe Darren McCarty's comeback pans out. You sure hope so.

2.How bad is the Devils radio cast? It's already sad enough that they have the worst announcers in the overmatched Matt Loughlin and Sherry Ross but they were just about to go to commercial and screwed up. God. How can a successful franchise that's won three Cups and produced such great players like Brodeur, Parise, Elias, etc. have such an awful radio broadcast?

It was a much better listen when John Hennessy and Randy Velischek were calling games. Sure. Velischek accentuated the positives but he was a decent analyst and Hennessy was a real play-by-play man. Isn't it about time the Devils scrap this failed experiment? Loughlin's a solid studio host where he worked extremely well with Stan Fischler in the infamous Matt & The Maven segment which always were a blast. Ross is a much better hockey writer for the Daily News than color commentator.

3.For NBC to be airing golf today instead of hockey is a joke. The network's done an admirable job in its third season covering the sport. The team of Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire is a big improvement. They're really good and not afraid to pull punches. However, with the trade deadline looming, you'd think the NHL's network TV station would have some games on. It's disappointing.

4.Coach of the year candidate: Barry Trotz, Nashville. This guy is just a phenomenal coach. He loses his No.1 goalie along with arguably his best defenseman because of the franchise's uncertainty and still has this team in the playoffs if the season ended today. Oh. He still has good players. J.P. Dumont has been terrific and Alexander Radulov is an emerging star. Jason Arnott has assumed the leadership role and played very well. His best hockey since he helped the Devils win their second Cup. Still, with Chris Mason and Dan Ellis sharing the No.1 goalie duties and an alright blueline which has seen Shea Weber miss a lot of time and no Steve Sullivan up front, this team is overachieving. Trotz really deserves a lot of credit. Especially if they get in in an extremely tough West.

5.Say this for the Kings. They might not be making the playoffs this year but they sure boast an exciting crop of young forwards which will make them an improved team for the future. If Jonathan Bernier develops into the top netminder the franchise expects, they'll be much better. Patrick O'Sullivan has joined a talented roster which features Anze Kopitar, Alexander Frolov, Michael Cammalleri and Dustin Brown. Jack Johnson will get better on the blueline. He made a great hustle play yesterday to allow his team to rally from four down to force OT before falling on Patrick Sharp's rebound goal.

6.Did anyone have Sharp leading the Hawks with 29 goals including an NHL best seven shorthanded?

7.Brodeur's stoning the Caps here. He's made at least four great saves including a big one on league leading finisher Alexander Ovechkin.

8.Do the Canucks have enough scoring to make the playoffs let alone go far? Mats Sundin sure would look good playing alongside countrymen Markus Naslund, the Sedins and Mattias Ohlund.

9.Where will Marian Hossa land?

10.He won't get much recognition but Rick DiPietro has been extremely valuable to the Islanders. The stats say otherwise but anyone who watches that depleted team as they grind their way to stay in this race knows better. How about nominating him for the Vezina alongside Brodeur and Roberto Luongo? It won't happen.

11.I've been pushing him for a while but Andrei Markov needs to be up for the Norris even if it's going to Lidstrom.

12.Hidden superstar: Ryan Getzlaf. If you see any of the Ducks, then you know why. He just does it all. The definition of a power forward who makes teammates better and strikes fear into the opposition.

13.How are the Canes still winning without Rod Brind'Amour and Justin Williams? Plus they unloaded Cory Stillman and key cog Mike Commodore to the Sens. That's a great coaching job by Peter Laviolette.

14.Paul Martin won't be up for the Norris but he's having his best season and really means so much to the Devils' success. A very solid skater who's extremely smart in his end. Now he's finally jumping into the play and finding offense.

15.When Jaromir Jagr decides to play, he's still pretty tough to stop. Too bad his confidence in his ability to score is shot.

16.Who would you rather have? Daniel Briere or Derek Roy? Looks like the Sabres made the right choice.

17.Underrated defenseman: Meet Mike Green. Don't let him wind up or you could pay the price.

18.Jonathan Toews has really raised his level since returning to the Hawks.

19.How does Radim Vrbata have 27 goals in The Desert?!?!?!?!?!

20.Wayne Gretzky's done an unbelievable job with the 'Yotes. Remember when they were a laughingstock? Not anymore.

21.The Sharks still don't look like they have enough scoring to win more than a round.

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