2012 Archives http://www.jibblescribbits.com/table/2012-articles/ Mon, 22 May 2017 15:26:56 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb My 1st Cutthroats game http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/november/my-1st-cutthroats-game.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/november/my-1st-cutthroats-game.html 08-09 Avs. Tapeleg has always been the Minor League Hockey savant.

Ryan Boulding over at Hockey on the Rocks and Cheryl over at Mile High Hockey have game write-ups, and I only have two thing to add to them: The Brahmas lone goal scorer was spectacularly named Ian Boots, who is required, by law I believe, to play for a Texas team. My first Avs game was this 8-1 win against Edmonton. My first Cuthroats game was a 7-1 affair. Good 1st impressions are good.

The hockey itself was better than I expected, given that the Cutthroats are two levels removed from the NHL. The players are still fast and big, and the hockey is of mostly good quality (the Cutthroats being a lot better than the Brahmas last night). Being a minor league hockey newbie, I wasn't sure what to expect but I probably wasn't expecting quite that high quality. Nevertheless there were moments where the difference between CHL and NHL were obvious, as players had more difficulty receiving passes on their sticks, which led to less fluid play. It made me appreciate how difficult it is to cycle the puck, as both teams had more trouble than an average NHL team. However, The difference was most pronounced when Kyle Quincey touched the puck. The superiority of his play compared to other players on the ice was obvious, as he was able to skate the puck out of his zone quite often.

The experience was top-notch, and I will surely attend more games, and bring along others (my 6-year old nephew in particular). I kid you not, the Cutthroats have a better Board screen than the Avs, which was really nice. I actually couldn't believe how much it enhanced the experience, as replays were actually viewable. While pro teams always have an air of distance, and in some cases indifference towards their fans (ESPECIALLY the Avs, but it was still prevalent in more fan-friendly arenas like the Shark Tank in SJ) the Cutthroats have done a good job of fostering the small-town feel and charm of minor league sports, without tackiness and unprofessionalism that infects other minor league teams. Friendly and professional is a great way to describe my Cutthroats experience. The embodiment of this would be the Cutthroats mascot: Gil.  He was fun and engaging but not too goofy. He came down to say hi to my 21 month old son, but recognized my son was freaked out by him. He then backed away and waved. That recognition of a weary baby is a small thing that allowed this family to have a fun experience, instead of a kid terrified of a green fish all evening, and something that stuck out in my mind. (My son spent the entire evening keeping an eye out for Gil to keep him at arm's length. I'd call their relationship "Love-Hate" right now)

This is my son's new arch-nemesis: Gil


I will definitely go to more games, but one thing I worry about is the ability to build an emotional attachment to the team, in the same way I can and do with other sports teams. Players names didn't match what was in the guide (4 didn't have numbers listed, #3 Markus Lauridsen was listed as #6. #13 didn't have a name on his sweater yet.) This kept me from building any kind of investment in players. One of the bigger complaints I have was that there was nothing that I could find to put the game in any kind of context. I couldn't find league or division standings anywhere. We downloaded the Cutthroats app mid game but still couldn't find basic stats or standings anywhere. It's early in the season, but not knowing how both teams have fared so far in the season gave the game a small sideshow affair.

The Cutthroats web presence could be increased as well. The Droid app is actually pretty good, and the Website is professional but like the in-arena experience there's little to put the Cutthroats season into any perspective. No "Standings" link and only one buried link to the CHL website. With the inability to watch them on TV and being forced to buy the CHL package on the internet ($150/season!) it's going to be hard to build those attachments without attending a ton of games.  $150 is almost as much as Center Ice, and I could get all Lake Erie games for $199. I had no idea the Cutthriats just waxed the worst team in the league, and have actually had a bit of a rouch start.

All-in-all it was a very pleasent experience, and a great hockey alternative in the Denver area. I hope the support for this team builds as I know they made at least 2 (maybe 3) new fans last night.
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jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) November Sun, 04 Nov 2012 15:04:54 +0000
What about Gaunce, Barrie & Elliott http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/july/what-about-gaunce-barrie-a-elliott.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/july/what-about-gaunce-barrie-a-elliott.html
I wouldn't worry too much. They three of them are 22, 20 & 21 years of age, respectively. Very young for defensemen.

I did some research on Defensemen this weekend for the last two blog posts, and here's who I looked at: Zanon, Hejda, O'Byrne, Colaiacovo, Garrison, & Carle. Of that group only Carle got any regular NHL time before the age of 25.

Just a reminder that if those guys stay in LE the next few seasons, they aren't busts or anything. It's pretty common for defensemen to need some seasoning.]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) July Mon, 02 Jul 2012 18:05:45 +0000
Avs man meat acquisitions 2012 http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/june/avs-man-meat-acquisitions-2012.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/june/avs-man-meat-acquisitions-2012.html
As of 10:00pm the night of June 30th, the Avs have $14M they have to spend on players. They also have 4 RFAs (O'Reilly, Johnson, Olver, McGinn). While they could spend $14M on those 4 (Johnson at $6M, O'Reilly at $5M, McGinn and Olver at $1.5M. Yes it's an overpayment, but in a world where David Jones gets $4M it's more than plausible) the chances are that the Avs will probably pick up at least one Free Agent.

So who should they get?

1st, lets go out and say I think they should sign both Parise and Suter tomorrow, but the chances are unlikely that they'll get either one, let alone both. If they do, well I'll be over the moon. So who should they go for if they can't get either of those guys? What positions do the Avs really need?

I'm here to answer that question for you (albeit, very very last minute)

Let's look at the Avs lineup right now (including the RFAs)

McGinn - Stastny - Jones 
Langeskog - Duchene - Downie
???? - O'Reilly - Hejduk
McLeod - Olver - Kobasew

Johnson - Wilson
Hejda - O'Byrne
Hunwick - O'Brien

Varly
Giguere

So, what do the Avs need from Free Agency tomorrow

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jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Sun, 01 Jul 2012 04:03:39 +0000
Jan Hejda: Avalanche unsung hero http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/may/jan-hejda-avalanche-unsung-hero.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/may/jan-hejda-avalanche-unsung-hero.html Denver Post on Jan Hejda. I was unimpressed with his analysis.

Let's first adress the (very slight) potshot at me:

Don’t believe your little league anonymous blogger — plus-minus is hockey’s best overall statistic,

Actually let's ignore the potshot and look at the content. You should question what I say. Always. You should be skeptical. Just because I say it, it doesn't make it true. An opinion is worth nothing until it can be backed up. So what's the basis for Mike's opinion that +/- is "hockey's best overall statistic"

because it’s how hockey players judge themselves

Oh. Well what about the people whose job is actually judging how well hockey players are playing.  Like a coach. Maybe an NHL coach. Maybe a Jack Adams and 2x President's cup winning coach? What would  a person with that kind of pedigree have to say about +/-:

"[plus/minus] is not ­really indicative of how a player plays"

Oh. And how much stock does the Avs coaching staff put in plus/minus:

 Hejda participated in all but one game, played a team-high 1,675 minutes and was second in average ice time (20:40 to Erik Johnson’s 20:50). So he was utilized. He was never in the dog house (except, maybe, for that one game the team said he had a groin injury when it was carrying eight D). Like it or not, and politics notwithstanding, the coaching staff had faith in him throughout the season.

(emphasis mine). So the Avs coaching staff ignored his +/- and kept putting Hejda out there. But not only did they keep playing him minutes. They kept playing him hard minutes. Cam Charron had a really good quick look at Hejda yesterday:

But I'd like to dig even further into Hejda's usage:

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jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) May Tue, 08 May 2012 03:58:08 +0000
Josh Kroenke speaks http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/april/josh-kroenkes-speaks.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/april/josh-kroenkes-speaks.html (This post will be crossed-posted at All Things Avs... I think.)

A couple days ago, Avs President & Governor (and soon-to-be owner) Josh Kroenke gave an interview to Adrian Dater about the state of the Avs (Dater posted a more in-depth version here). In many ways I agree with his assessment. I think the identity of the current Avs team is "Speed, energy & youth." I also agree that, with the CBA status currently in limbo, it makes planning for the future somewhat tricky.

At the same time, this is the second time in five months that Josh has come across as an owner who doesn't think all that highly of his fans (which are also his customers). The first time he came across as contemptuous towards fans was in the last interview he did, on December 18th, where he calledAvs fans "spoiled". Then, in the Dater interview, this statement really stuck out in my mind:

"If I was a fan, that's what I'd be saying too, to throw a bunch of money at something too," [Kroenke] said. "When you're sitting at the other side of the table, you want to do right by your fans, but you also want to protect your team a little bit, especially in a hard cap system."

The rest of his interview he seems pretty smart, but this statement strikes me as tone-deaf. I understand that, as president and governor, he's privvy to information that I'm not. I do have access to the Internet though, and I have a pretty decent knowledge of how a hard salary cap works (it's not all that complicated). I don't want Avs brass to "throw a bunch of money at it" but I would like them to throw more than the bare minimum amount of money possible at the problem(s). 

Having access to the Internet also gives me access to this February 21st blog post by Tyler Dellows of mc79hockey. The key graphic (posted below) is a record of every team since the last collective bargaining agreement. 

NHL CBA standings

I think one thing it's important to notice is that there's some correlation between how much money teams spend and how well they have done. Sure there are exceptions (Hello, Toronto) but the teams with bad records tend to be the ones who have continually skimped on salary. The more the Avsskimp, the more likely they are to finish towards the bottom of the standings. 

So, when do the Avs finally start putting money into their team to build a winner? Well Kroenke had thoughts on that too:

"With a young roster like this, we decided to let these guys develop and then at some point maybe we might try to surround them with other guys if we can't fill those voids through the draft while our other guys are developing. But I think we have a really good pipeline right now."

(emphasis mine) That sentiment makes a lot of sense. Josh went into more detail in the expanded interview:

"I know Duncan Siemens is coming along, and Tyson Barrie, Stefan Elliott and Brad Malone. Guys like that, as soon as our hockey people feel they’re ready to make a contribution, then we could add other guys."

A statement like that scares me a lot. Duncan Siemens will be 19 at the start of next season. Tyson Barrie & Stephan Elliott are older (both will be 21 to start the season). It is not uncommon fordefensemen to sit in the minors until they are 22 or 23 (Niklas Lidstrom didn't make the NHL until he was 21, Duncan Keith didn't start contributing until he was 22). Does this mean the Avs are going to wait wait 2-3 seasons for these guys to pan out before filling the roster voids? It sure sounds that way. What bothers me most is that the avs don't have to jeopardize the future to improve the team in the short term. Sure I'd love for the Avs to, ahem, throw money at Ryan Suter, but there are other UFA Defensemen that could make an immediate positive impact (Carle & Jackman, among others).

And Ryan Brad Malone is the only winger Kroenke mentioned there, and that's because the Avs are wafer-thin at wing depth. realize the "Hockey's Future" rankings aren't always that accurate, but the Avswing situation doesn't look all that promising. And yet there are winger free agents out there that could help the Avs a lot next season. Aside from the crown Jewel, Zach Parise, P.A Parenteau, JiriHudler, & Andrei Kostitsyn all would help this team do what they couldn't do well last season: score goals. 

As a fan I make an emotional investment into the Avs. By buying tickets, gear, beer, nachos etc I also make a financial one as well. I've waited patiently for the Avs to go through a rebuild and it feels like those investments are finally starting to pay off, and I think the Avs have the resources to accelerate that pay off. It would be beyond frustrating to squander that.
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jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) April Sun, 22 Apr 2012 13:28:35 +0000
Why goals are down (hint: it's not rocket science) http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/march/why-goals-are-down-hint-its-not-rocket-science.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/march/why-goals-are-down-hint-its-not-rocket-science.html
This is a monumentally stupid solution. Not just because the r allows teams to clog up the neutral zone (we've been through this remember) but speed through the neutral zone isn't why goals are down.

The answer's much simpler than that and the blame can be dished out to a party everyone has no problems scapegoating anways. As always, it's the referee's fault.

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jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) March Sat, 10 Mar 2012 16:11:15 +0000
Avs at the deadline http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/february/avs-at-the-deadline.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/february/avs-at-the-deadline.html
Personally, I don't think they are going to do a heck of a whole lot. David Driscoll-------Carrigan agrees. The Avs have holes, most noticeably at wing, but this season isn't the Avs management's main focus. Sure, if they can pick up someone that helps for relatively cheap they might go for it. But I wouldn't expect any blockbusters like the Stewart/Shattenkirk-EJ/McClement trade last season. If they do anything major, it will be aimed at the future, not to help out this season.

The Avs big deal this season was for Varlamov. And while I have been a pretty heavy Varlamov critic, the guy is 23 and has loads of talent. Plenty of goalies don't reach their potential until later in their career. The Avs also have boatloads of cap space this summer, and can pretty much address anything they need for the future in free agency. (And they will have to, because the Avs have no wing prospects). If toronto and Grabovski can't reach a deal, I think he's the best fit for the Avs in FA.

That said the Avs have a couple players that could be moved. Here's the note-ables:

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jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) February Thu, 16 Feb 2012 04:16:42 +0000
Statistical Profile: Greg Zanon http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/july/profiling-greg-zanon.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/july/profiling-greg-zanon.html
(*Matt Carkner excepted)

Let's start with some basics and work our way into the advanced stuff. Zanon's a difficult one to profile, since he was on two teams, sites like Behindthenet.ca  don't do as well with players who played for 2 teams. Zanon's career high in points is 15, so I hope no one is looking for scoring from him. But, he also plays a defensive role. Last season he was at a low for TOI/game, and he looks to have been recovering from injuries. On the whole though, he normally hits about 18:00/game.

Last season he was good for 1:46 PK TOI/game, which is usually reserved for defensemen on the second unit. However, the previous 3 seasons he averaged 3:02, 3:10, & 3:54. More along the lines of a #2 or #3 defensive defenseman. He only had 18 PIM last season, and in the last three seasons, he never cracked  (48, 36, 38). So we know he's pretty well disciplined (that's good) but he's probably more in the Hejda mold of being positionally sound, and not a physical punishing guy. And he blocks shots, a lot of them. The 3 seasons prior to last season; 212, 196, 237  For a Defensive Defenseman, those are really traditional stats that can give any kind of insight into how he's used.  He's a positionally sound defenseman who is unafraid of the puck, coming off an injury riddled season.

So let's go to the Advanced Stats. Last season in 39 games played for the Wild, he had a Shots, Fenwick, Corsi% of .493/.475/.459. That's not very good, but putting that into Wild perspective, that's better than every other Wild defenseman, and every Wild player other than Pierre Marc Bouchard (and very close, but slightly better) to Matt Cullen).  On the other hand, he was pretty protected last season (on the Wild), as he got 60.3% OZone starts.

But last season was an injury plagued year, how were his stats the previous 3 or so?
                Shots/Fenwick/Corsi  
2010-11:  .414/.407/.410 (Very poor, even for MIN)           
2009-10:  .457/.470/.452 (marginally below average)         
2008-09:  .489/.484.464   (Nearly Average for the team)  
            
              Zone Starts
2010-11:   39.36% (Heavily used in the Defensive zone)
2009-10:  41.0% (Lowest on team, Heavily used in the D-zone)
2008-09:  42.0% (Lowest on Team, heavily used in D-zone)

The good: Greg Zanon is an upgrade to the Avs defense. He's a defensive zone and PK specialist that will, at the very least, take some pressure off of Ryan O'Byrne and Jan Hejda. I think he could be a slight upgrade over O'Byrne. Even if he's not, the Avs now have 3 solid, but unspectacular, defensive defensemen.

The bad: He's coming off his worst year, and if you look at those stats, he's slightly degraded every season for the last 4. a 31 year old slowly degrading isn't always the best bet.

Verdict: Overall a low-risk moderate-reward signing for the Avs. He upgrades the Avs defense, and likely their PK. Not quite the Quincey replacement, but an upgrade nonetheless. I'm not really sure why the Avs are collecting defensemen and I have no idea if Barrie or Elliott are getting another chance this season. And this signing probably gives Guance at least another full season of Lake Erie. A solid, if unspectacular, signing, that makes some of the Avs previous signings (Wilson, O'Brien, Hunwick) a little peculiar.
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jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) July Mon, 02 Jul 2012 04:13:25 +0000
Birds of a Feather, Mock Together : Twitter and the Athlete's Psyche http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/june/birds-of-a-feather-mock-together-twitter-and-the-athletes-psyche.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/june/birds-of-a-feather-mock-together-twitter-and-the-athletes-psyche.html @JeffBlanco , and who sometimes goes by the Handle "Mean Sedins" won the Jibblescribbits playoff pool. For winning I let him have a post here. Unlike most previous winners, he actually cashed in in a reasonable time. Here it is)

There was a time, in recent memory, when the greatest advice a veteran athlete could offer his young teammate was simple: "Don't read the papers."  Say a team's on a 4 game skid, or Mr. Moolah Player X hasn't scored a goal for a month (Scott Gomez says hi).  It's safe to assume an athlete will find some negative, albeit objective, words in the local sports section.  Though it's the job of a sports columnist to be critical of the local teams, the often times prolonged scrutiny can take a toll on the organization, and more importantly -- the players.  But, hey. They're big boys, getting paid the even bigger bucks.  They can handle it.  Moreover, the criticisms are from a single, easily avoided source.  So no tears, or spilt milk for that matter; they can deal.  Now, let's bring things to the present tense.  Imagine the scrutiny is launched from not one, but hundreds or even thousands, of sources.  These chirps are targeted directly at an individual athlete, with a strong likelihood they will in fact eventually read it. And to round things out, the objectivity in criticism takes a jarring turn toward downright slander.  Yep, you got it.  I'm talking about Twitter.  With over 250 million tweets a day, an ever growing number of professional athletes are subjected to vile words of anger and hatred from the public.

(Ed Note: More after the Driscoll-Carignan Jump)

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jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Sat, 30 Jun 2012 12:40:16 +0000
Jibblescribbits Playoff Picks - West http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/april/jibblescribbits-playoff-picks-west.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2012-articles/april/jibblescribbits-playoff-picks-west.html my playoff pool)


(1) Vancouver Vs (8) Los Angeles Kings

I really like Vancouver as a team. The Sedins are great players, as is Ryan Kesler. They have a very strong 6-7 man deep defense, and a goaltending duo that rivals any in the NHL. Vancouver was the best team all season, and a worthy winner of the President's Trophy. They are no paper tigers as their Corsi Close was a very good .530.  Their defense may be the most underappreciated in the game. Hamuis, Bieksa, Salo, & Edler is a very solid unit. Havin Ballard, Grangiani & Rome rounding it out isn't so bad either.

The problem is, things may have conspired against them. I think the Kings are just about the worst possible opponent for Vancouver to face, especially in their beat up state.  (Daniel Sedin is hurt, which is a major blow)

The Kings have been red hot since fleecing the Columbus Blue Jackets out of Jeff Carter. Since the trade deadline their ESCorsi is a ridiculous ~.575. (I believe that is best in the league, FWIW) Meanwhile, Vancouver's is a very respectable ~.540. One of Vancouver's biggest advantages is always their goaltending, but Jonathon Quick certainly counters any advantage there.

The Canucks are battling injuries, incluiding to one of their best players, they have the added pressure of Vancouver and the ridiculous Luongo-Schneider situation (which, by the way is ridiculous). And they are playin an opponent that used the trade deadline wisely and became very formidable.

If there was a true upset, this is the one to be had. Kings over Canucks in 6.

(2) St Louis Blues vs (7) San Jose Sharks

Another series where there is no advantage to a great regular season, as St Louis pulls a very touch opponant in San Jose. Both of these teams are teams that no one could figure out this season. St Louis rode their goaltending to a great record, but they played very good hockey too. Their ESCorsi tied is a league-elite .540, so it wasn't just their goaltending.

Alex Pietrangelo created some Norris buzz (although he likely won't win it), but his development into an elite blue liner was a big reason the Blues felt comfortable trading away Erik Johnson. Although Chris Stewart hasn't worked out all that well this season, Kevin Shattenkirk chipped in another 43 points for the Blues. David Backes is a darkhorse for the Selke, and TJ Oshie, after missing practice and being suspended for a few games last season, quietly put together a solid campaign.

But the Sharks will be no pushover. Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, & Patrick Marleau will be their normal selves. And the Sharks finally have MAtin Havlat back. Dan Boyle anchors a defense that includes the solid Brent Burns and Mar-Eduard Vlasic. That said, with all that talent, the Sharks have not been able to put ot together this season. Their ESCorsi is ~.510, and since the trade deadline it hasn't gotten better (or worse). I can't figure out why, but the Sharks are an above average team this season, but nothing more.

So I think St. Louis is the better team, and while anything's possible, I don't think it's likely that Niemi is going to steal a series.

Blues in 5

(3) Phoenix Coyotes vs (6) Chicago Blackhawks

How in the world did Phoenix win their division? Mike Smith, and a little bit of luck. Frankly, I don't think Phoenix is a very good team. They got a very improbable 77-point season out of Ray Whitney, and an even more improbable season out of Smith, who may get a Vezina nomination. Shane Doan had 60 points, and Keith Yandle is still a very very good hockey player. But other than that, I just don't know how these guys did it (it helps that they won their division with less than 100 points).  Their < .500 Corsi is easily the lowest in the western conference.

Meanwhile, Chicago was 4th in the guantlet that was the Central. Don't let that #6 seed fool you, this is a very good hockey team. They had a ~.535 ESCorsi on the season. They played a good chunk of those games without  their captain and best player, Jonathon Toews. They still have a very very talented core in Toews, Hossa (who had 77 points himself) Kane, Sharp, Keith & Seabrook. Their biggest weakness is goaltending, where Crawford is probably the worst goalie still playing in the conference.

So I think it's more likely that Smith will steal a series than Niemi (And Crawford could blow one), I think Chicago is going to dominate this one.

Blackhawks in 4

(4) Nashville Predators vs (5) Detroit Red Wings

Nashville had an ok group of skaters, defying and ESCorsi of ~.470 (weakest of the playoffs). Obviously a big reason they are able to overcome their skaters is the somehow still underappreciated Pekke Rinne. Obviously, Weber & Suter are possibly the best 1-2 defensive tandem in the NHL, & The predators have some talent up front, with Erat, Fisher, athe Kostitsyn bros, and David Legwand.

Meanwhile the Red Wings are the Red Wings. Another season of ESCorsi in the ~.540 range. Another season of Lidstrom, Zetterberg, and Datsyuk holding onto the puck toying with their opponents. Valteri Filpulla actually also had a very nice unheralded season, and a defensive corps that is 5 deep with Lidstrom, Stuart, Kronwall, Quincey, and Ian White, along with Jonathon Ericsson gives them a defense every bit as deep as the Canucks, and maybe even a bit deeper. Jonathon Franzen has picked up for the ghost of Thomas Holmstrom.

I think the bigest question for this series is: How big an impact will Alexander Radulov have? It's impossible to predict with numbers, because the sample size is too small. He was the best pickup the team could have made, but is it enough to turn their, frankly, average group of skaters into a goroup that can hold their own with the Red Wings

Unfortunately, I don't think he'll be enough. Rinne has as good a chance as anyone to steal a series, but I think Detroit is the better team

Red Wings in 6
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jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) April Wed, 11 Apr 2012 03:37:08 +0000