“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Ice Men Are Coming!!!!!

It’s HOCKEY season again! (Oh, thank God…the withdrawls are over…no more shakes and flashbacks…just the rabid foam coming from the corner of my mouth I have to worry about.)

I’m not going to go over the whole league, just a few teams whose off-season moves I took a look at. I glanced at all of them. But, only a few really caught my eye. Yes…I have my own version of favoritism. And yes, I am aware that no sooner did I write this than most of it will be invalidated via trades, retirements, and a hsot of other things. But...SO WHAT? It's the best game on earth!

Sadly, I think Pittsburgh will probably occupy the basement again this year. I see a lot of great things on their roster. But, I don’t see anything bringing change to their motivation as a team. I am wondering who will be in the basement race with them this year. It seems to be someone else every year. And, St. Louis looks to have improved enough to move past the Penguins this season. (Go BLUES! (my old home town) Maybe…Chicago?...Well…Let’s just say they have a goalie that does incredibly well with a committed defense in front of him. Without that…They’ll be back in the race for the basement.

Just a word about the STARS (my area team). I think they did a little better than break even in roster changes. But, I don’t think they have a championship team at the moment. Playoffs definitely...championship?...Well…If they don’t solve Turco’s playoff motivation problems, they won’t do any better this year than last. And they made Morrow the Captain?!! Now, the Jason Arnott was probably a good thing for all sides. He got a good deal in Nashville, contract wise. Given the changes there, I think they did a little better than break even--barely. The Predators will probably make a return trip to the playoffs.

As for the rest of the West, I like what the Kings have done. If they can get the guys they have signed to play together (and stay healthy)…they’ll be a team to watch. I think the last time I said that about a team the Ducks went to the finals. And, I’m not holding out much hope for Edmonton to do anything big this year—other than probably make the playoffs. They lost too much in the off-season overall. Also breaking even, IMHO, were Colorado and Detroit. Well, maybe a little better than break even. Other than that, I don’t see much changing this year in the West.

In the East, I think Atlanta did well in the off-season. They aren’t playoff material yet. But, one or two good upgrades through the season and they could make it. And, like most Cup champion teams, Carolina gutted itself in the off season. I don’t see a repeat. (Pleasant surprise to see Tampa at least make the playoffs last year...I didn’t expect them to)

The Islanders did a lot of changing up this summer. Overall, I think they came out ahead. The Habs may have made out well, too—picking up Johnson and Samsonov. We’ll see how well that team decides to play together, too. Actually, I think the Rangers may be the team to watch in the East this year. It’s kind of like LA—if they can stay healthy and get these guys to play together…

And, that takes us to…..


UPDATE 9/30/06
I just saw the trade announcement between LA and Carolina. I retract everything i said about the Kings. They just gave it away for someone who won't play for at least two years. Too bad. Carolina blew an unbelievable future player away for a current cup--and this does give them distinct possibilities (IF they can all learn to play nice together)