Monday, September 27, 2010

If I had a loonie for every time I heard, "The Price is Wrong"...

...You'd better believe I'd keep them all in my Scotiabank Stanley Cup Savings Tin!

Anyway, this isn't a post defending the abilities of Carey Price. Like everyone else on the face of L'amerique du Nord, I do not feel that Montreal made the right decision in trading Halak to the St. Louis Blues, nor do I feel like Price will redeem himself with a breakout season this year. All I'm saying is that this guy deserves the chance to do so. He has the potential to prove me wrong, but apparently no one else, according to Toronto Sun writer Eric Francis:

Two games into the pre-season and it’s clear there’s no possible way for Carey Price to succeed in Montreal.

And in the year 20xx, Carey Price has established himself as the go-to guy in Montreal, most notably highlighted by his 56-win, 15-shutout performance over sixty games this season. Alas, amid his breakout and Vezina/Jennings nominations, he will receive no merit. Carey Price is a failure in the NHL, and once again the Vezina/Jennings trophies will be split by the Detroit goaltending tandem of Howard/Liv.

Given the way the relationship between Price and the fans has deteriorated over the last two years, it’s to the point there’s nothing he could possibly do to appease fans who are hell-bent on reminding management they traded the wrong goalie.

Price was the guy that every girl wanted. He would show up on your doorstep with a bouquet of tudaisies and gracefully carry you to his SABRES!-drawn carriage. From there, he led you into his thoughts with sweet words and darling recollections of the past, always making sure to remind you that "I've always been here, and I always will be". It was at that point, when everyone nestled into the comfort of who was "The One", a strange figure arose from the pricker-bushes outside your door. At first, you thought nothing of it. This other guy doesn't speak much English, he drives a '98 Ford Taurus and generally seems leagues (as well as two years and 263 draft picks) behind your hero, Carey. Yet, as lovely as things seemed with him between the pipes (and for you risqué readers, between your pipes), this other guy kept showing up... and as time moved along, you began to notice him more and more. Sure enough, Carey took offense to your meandering, and it reflected in his actions. He defended your pipes with less honor and confidence. He took offense to accusations that he just didn't care about you anymore, but his efforts to redeem himself just were not strong enough. Before long, this other man stole the heart of every lady (and gentleman) throughout La Belle Provence. His style and improved English left Carey on the sidelines, wondering what went wrong. However, just as he had settled into the role of the torn soul he had become, a ray of hope shined down upon him. As quickly as the man they called Jaro stole the love of everyone in sight, he vanished into thin air. Just like that, Carey has now been left with the greatest of opportunities to redeem himself. He has the chance to win back the hearts of the many that had fallen for him in years past. Not only is he willing, but he is confident. He is going to make this happen.

In parts of two horrific preseason outings he’s allowed 10 goals, prompting Canadiens fans to boo unmercifully.

NO LOVE FOR YOU! You had your chance, and much like you did with Niklas Kronwall, Y__ Bl_w _t! Wanna buy a vowel?

(The previous excerpt was taken from the best-selling novel, Carey me Home: The Price of Love.)

Now that I got all that mushiness out in the open, let's be droll and unflattering for a moment. Price allowed four goals in his first game against Boston, and all six against Ottawa in his next start. From a black and white and re(a)d all over perspective, that constitutes as ugly play. There were definitely a few goals he should have stopped. However, perhaps this is also a testament to the lack of skill on Montreal's backend. In their game against Ottawa, Jaro Spacek burned all of about fifty calories that evening, with his most effort coming from trying to reach the pack of Cheez-It crackers that were stuck in the vending machine. He was directly responsible for at least one, probably two goals. Josh Gorges did keep an open-net shot from going in, but he was also responsible for giving Sens rookie Bobby Butler a penalty shot that would lead to their fourth goal. This was the same story in Montreal's game against Boston. While Carey could have stopped many of these goals, it was the lack of effort and support from his defendres that left him in tough situations and on the wrong end of the scoreboard.

If the organization is going to move forward and build on the momentum of their unlikely playoff run Price needs to be moved by Habs GM Pierre Gauthier immediately.

Definitely, just let Alex Auld carry the load. FINALS! Do they seriously pay this guy to write for the Sun? I'm done.

Too much damage has already been done and the controversy surrounding Price threatens to become the sort of distraction organizations can do without.

This just in: Carey Price stopped 19 of 21 shots in a 6-2 exhibition victory over the Florida Panthers. Everyone's boners grew back and Montreal was set on fire shortly after the match. Peace and harmony, restored.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Guess what guys?! ESPN in fact DOES care about the NHL!

You read it. Despite popular belief, ESPN does care about the NHL. They talked about it today on Pardon the Interruption. It was awesome. Here's how it all went down, paraphrased:

Bill Simmons: The NHL preseason has started already, how is that even possible? Is it too soon to start the preseason?
Tony Kornheiser: Absolutely. I mean come on, it was 92 degrees today in DC, it's way too early to be playing hockey.

Isn't that amazing?! OMG, look how awesome ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports is! I love their thorough analysis of one of the four major sports.

Kornheiser does have a point though. They shouldn't be playing hockey when it's 92 degrees somewhere. I mean come on, how dare the NHL play a game when it's that warm. It's obviously their fault it was 13 degrees higher than average that day. From now on, before each NHL game starts, they need to check out the weather channel and see if it's above 50 degrees anywhere in the country. And what are they even thinking playing hockey in September anyway? I think(and I'm pretty sure PTI agrees!) the season should be from December-February, including the preseason and the postseason, that way we don't have any problems like the mammoth we ran into today. There. Problem solved. Man, I've been putting out fires all day.

As PTI rolled on, their discussion went from the NHL to MLB's Ubaldo Jimenez. Here's how that went down, again paraphrased:

TK: The Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez is starting tonight against the Diamondbacks, going for his 20th win of the season. Do you think he'll be able to get it?

Well, I don't really think wins are as important as people think, since they're not a great indication of how good a pitcher really is.

TK(obviously flustered): Um, OK. I'm gonna try this one more time. Will...Ubaldo Jimenez...get...his 20th win tonight?

BS(sternly): I...don't care...I'm more interested in what his WHIP is.

Atta boy Bill. I forgive you for not knowing a damn thing about the NHL.

Toronto Fans: Aim Higher

How is anyone supposed to talk hockey with a Leafs' fan when there is nothing to debate? Toronto fans know exactly what they're talking about 147% of the time. Just read some of these comments posted on last night's game summary:

I love it when I hear people saying they had 5 NHL deffencmen (sic) 5 NHL deffencemen (sic). 3 of those Phanuef (sic), Kaberle and Gunarson (sic) played together last year all on different lines. The other 2 are new to the Leafs and for the most part probably will be playing for the Marlies. Lashoff and Lebda. Lebda might be on the 3rd line deffence (sic) with Gunarson (sic). Let (sic) be real here, Komisarek, Schenn, Beuchemin, are the other half of the deffence. They are only gonna have 6 deffencemen (sic) on the team and 3 of our top D men sat out. Ill (sic) be honest Wilson or whoever chose to play the guys they did last night messed up. They need to start partnering up some of these guys. Creating lines, and while they tried with the Kadri, Versteeg, Armstrong line .. that line never clicked. Armstrong is still dump and chase minded and Kadri wants to dance with the puck. Versteeg goes to the net. The line is messed up. I thought the Brown, Rosehill, Hanson line looked good they got chances too. I also thought Damigo (sic) looked good too bad no one else on the line did a thing. You can see the Leafs have pieces but no full lines. We will see the Kessel line .. I think that will be a good line. Maybe Versteeg gets moved to the first line and Kulemin goes to the second.

I'm so sic, I need to go see a doctor!

... ... ... Now that I'm done throwing up over how perfect the grammatical structure of this comment is (FLAWLESS!~), I can see that he tried to make some valid points. The Leafs' makeshift first line of 'Steeg, 'Strong, and 'Dri did not do so well last night. Mike Brown looked like an idiot; he was a non-factor. Hanson knows how to fight, and we all know that this is the most important aspect of hockey, which is further solidified by this comment:

wintoon: We already beat them up last night, we did not play well and we did not win the game BUT we kicked the stuffing out of some of your players. By the way you started this conversation, not I. Score 5-0, Fights B&W 6 Ott 0. for what it is worth.

In terms of fighting, the only fight I noticed was between Hanson and Ottawa's Zack Smith. Hanson clearly won the fight, but I wouldn't consider Smith a blown-out turkey gut after a Thanksgiving meal. I saw one solid hit from Hanson, followed by a lot of jersey-grabbing (followed by dinner, bromance, and season two of Weeds). Aside from that, great shutout by the Leafs! 6-0! And they did that without Kessel, Kulemin, Beauchemin, Schenn, Stajan, Ian White, Hagman, Blake, Lindros, Steen, Aki Berg, Rary Roberts, Sundin, Tucker, Zezel, Mike Foligno, Salming, Steve Thomas, Battaglia, Jeff O'Neill, Peca, Komisarek, Rask, Raycroft, Belfour, Leetch, McCabe, Francis, Nieuwendyk, Gerber, McCauley, Devereaux, Pohl, Finger, Frogren, Bozak, Toskala, Hoglund, Cu-Jo, Berard, Antropov, Ponikarovski, Cory Cross, Danny Markov, and Sergei Berezin! (UPDATE: Gary Leeman participated in the warmup, but was a last-minute scratch.)

In reality though, the Leafs were missing a lot of their starters, as well. They may have had more impact starters than Ottawa, but a majority of those starters were new faces to the organization (Brown, Versteeg, Armstrong, Lebda.) If you throw in Kessel, Kulemin and Bozak, the Leafs play a much better game. The point of the preseason is to give prospects and has-beens a chance to show they can (still) play well on the highest level. Ottawa may have dominated, but their offense came from their regulars (Winchester Foligno, Neil, Kelly) with the exception being Corey Locke. Had this offense came from late-round prospects like Mike Hoffman or Roman Wick, or from 2-way FA signings such as Andre Benoit or David Hale, a 5-0 win might have been more convincing.

I don't really have much more of an argument. I just thought those two comments were funny. I'll close out with another gem:

Anybody who puts any relevance to a win or loss in preseason hockey with ridiculous statements shows how ignorant they are with their hockey knowledge. I guess Chris Neil will lead the NHL in scoring with that 3 pt performance last night? LOL Give me a break people!!!!

I sure hope that's the case! I want to dominate the CNP (Chris Neil Points) statistic in the Ultra-Serious Hockey League. He ALMOST hit a post on a breakaway last night, too! What a well-rounded fantasy star!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Great, Expectations.

Because I am now a 21st Century Digital boy, I’ve been able to revisit some of my favorite FJM posts. And well, though this may surprise you, they’ve always been somewhat of a peripheral influence on our microscopic corner of the internet. So let’s hear what someone has to say.

This week one of the most hotly debated subjects surrounding the Canucks reached its course,

Whether to give Peter Schaefer a tryout? Where Kevin Bieksa will play next year? How the poor aren’t hungry now that Kyle Wellwood has skipped town? If 00 is a valid jersey number?

as it was announced Monday that Luongo had relinquished the C.


Was the decision to award the Vancouver net minder the job of Captain the correct thing to do in the first place?

Meh, probably not. But really does it matter? As a goalie you’re already a face of the franchise, and we all know he let it all hang out to the media prior to his captaincy. Plus, “leadership” is so incredibly overrated. How many wins do you think that actually accounts for? Half? 5? 40? Seriously. Players on the team know who the
leaders are whether you’ve got extra letters on your jersey, your helmet or whatever else.

The last time a goalie was named Captain was in the nineteen forty’s [sic]. Since then the league has made rule changes that mean goalies can’t officially fulfill the role. Something that initially would have been an honor and given him a certain status ultimately came back to haunt Luongo.

Goalies aren’t allowed to be on-ice captains because they kinda sorta have to stay near the net (Cechmaneks notwithstanding). Captains are the ones designated to speak with the referees (right Burkie? -54 second mark-) so having Luongo either skate to centre ice or having a referee skate to the net to discuss things is a waste of time and stupid and I smell.

And since it has been since the “forty’s” for a goalie to be named thusly, how is that not an honor anymore? I’m sure this’ll be made clear in a moment, so hang on.

The world of professional sports is often a highly pressured environment where athletes are scrutinized and an individuals every move can regularly be put under the microscope.

And just to pull an example out of the blue, the antiquated ideas about leadership from bloggers?

Due the nature of sport, players and teams sometimes have to face criticism from fans, media and management and this requires a large degree of fortitude. Like Quarterbacks and Pitchers, Goalkeepers are often relied upon to steal that all important win or pull the team back from the brink of loss.

Hear that Scott Norwood? It was Jim Kelly’s fault!

The expectations are much greater, so is the pressure placed on those positions; with the added responsibility of team Captain the pressure would have been huge.

Would it? How much huger? Sure, being an athlete is stressful. And again, players and media know who the leaders are. Luongo was a leader far before any meaningless designations, as he will continue to be, despite his relinquishing of the stupid letter.

Also, stop capitalizing the word “Captain”. We aren’t aboard the SS Proper Nouns, here.

Luongo has long been considered one of the premier goalies in the league so at times when he has struggled people have wondered if being the Captain was more of a hindrance or burden to him.

In 2008-09, the first year he was captain, Luongo turned in the best season of his career. 2.34 GAA, .920 SV%, and 9 shutouts. He got hurt in the middle of it (groin I think) and anyone who has watched him can note he hasn’t been the same since. I’m not saying injuries are the only reason here, but it makes a lot more sense than the unbearable pressure from an appointment he more or less had already.

Wearing the C isn’t just about being the best leader on a team or the most vocal player in the locker room. The role also dictates that the Captain has to be held accountable for the clubs actions. Facing the media scrum after a big loss could be a daunting task especially in a microcosm like Vancouver.

Anyone who is a star player on a team is going to be “held accountable for the clubs actions.” It has more to do with talent level than it does team-appointed leadership roles. Why didn’t the ’09 Capitals get past Pittsburgh? ANSWER ME CHRIS CLARK IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.

In a months time the Vancouver Canucks will likely have a new Captain and a goaltender that has been freed from what could have been the shackles of Captaincy.

So now we usher in the thought of this being hypothetical and a waste of time. Great.

It’s believed that Luongo’s workload will be reduced, as this has also been an area of concern. The 2010/11 season is fast approaching and the stakes are high for a Vancouver team that has not progressed past the second round of the play offs in the previous two seasons.

Why is that always such a big deal? Ohhhh…the 2nd round curse! Only good teams with true leaders and great coaches and Hall of Fame goaltenders get past the vaunted 2nd round! In the previous two seasons (since that was the time period you chose) 8 teams have made the 3rd round. Making the conference finals is kind of a big deal. And let’s be honest, the West is π times more competitive than the east. 22 teams (out of 15) in the East haven’t made the playoffs since the Cold War ended.

The Canucks star keeper can’t afford to have a poor season this time around, but without the C he may actually have an even heavier weight on his shoulders because now there is less reason for failure and the Captaincy cannot be used as an excuse any more.

So they should let him keep it? What are you arguing for? Do you even know at this point?

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I’m starting to think that Vancouverites are an archaic, outmoded folk who think that Lucky Charms are made out of real magic and Zeus was real. I’ve never actually been there though, so maybe I’m way off.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bob McKenzie, Doctor Draft

Now that I think about it, maybe the title of Dr. Draft should belong to me, since that's as far as my blog posts ever go!... at least Spezza got a big kick out of it.

Anyway, our friend at TSN, Bob McKenzie, came out with this year's first piece of 2011 Entry Draft coverage. I'm so excited!

"Taylor versus Tyler" was a catchy slogan to set up last season's race between Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin for first overall in the National Hockey League entry draft.

Good luck trying to come up with a snappy label for the 2011 draft.

From my friends at the church, "It should be Adam and Eve, not Adam and Sean!"

"You would take Couturier? That would be Larsson-y!" Larceny! Get it!?

I see what he's getting at, but my first concern with the 2011 entry draft is not going to be how to refer to the top prospects in a catchy way. Let's hear some relevant details!

This year's battle for No. 1 could not be more wide open, shaping up at the starting line as at least a three-man race. In fact, for the first time ever, TSN's pre-season ranking of the Top 10 NHL Prospects has produced a dead heat at No. 1 overall.

Drummondville centre Sean Couturier and Swedish blueliner Adam Larsson finished with identical results in the annual survey of 10 NHL scouts by TSN. Remarkably, they each had four first-place votes, three seconds and two thirds. The only other prospect to get top-dog consideration was Red Deer centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who was No. 1 on the other two ballots.

It's the first year in quite some time when there hasn't been a consensus No. 1 to start the season.

What if there were four players shaping up at the starting line? Wouldn't that be a more wide open race? What about ten? No? Three is as wide as it can be? I understand. What irks me is how he states that it couldn't be more wide open, yet the pre-season rankings produced a dead lock between two players, with any other solid consideration going towards only one other player. It would be interesting if, say, ten players each received a first, second, and third place vote, rather than three (essentially two) players garnering all of the attention. SO MANY OPTIONS!

"All three guys have something special," one scout said. "Couturier is a big, skilled centre, Larsson is a total package defenceman and Nugent-Hopkins is a tremendous offensive talent with elite skill. It's going to be the most interesting race for No. 1 we've seen in a long time."

I don't know how to say this any more vividly, but it's September, morons. Rankings are going to change. Here are the preseason rankings from last year's draft class. There was definitely some movement involved here. Most notably:

-John McFarland, ranked number 5, was drafted 33rd overall.

-Stanislav Galiev, ranked number 11, was drafted 86th overall.

-Jordan Weal, ranked number 13, was drafted 70th overall.

-Teemu Pulkkinen, ranked number 19, was drafted 111th overall.

-Tom Kühnhackl, ranked number 27, was drafted 110th overall.

Note: Kirill Kabanov was drafted 65th overall after being the top-ranked prospect during the pre-season. This is because of his work-ethic (or lack thereof) and erratic behavior. If it weren't for these issues, it is cited that he could have been a first round draft pick, more specifically a top-ten pick.

To go along with these players, there were players drafted in the top ten that were excluded from these preseason rankings, including Dylan McIlrath (10th overall), Nino Niederreiter (5th), and Ryan Johansen (4th!). Although rankings should not be viewed as the ultimate authority, it is important to note that while these three players (Couturier, Larsson, Ted Nugent-Hopkins) are the top of the class thus far, all it takes is a one strong (albeit, very strong) season to bring another prospect into the mix.

I'm going to do some skipping around. Forgive me.

Not surprisingly, with his size, skill and ability to play without the puck, Couturier is said to have some Staal-like qualities -- Eric or Jordan, take your pick.

Well, if he has tremendous offensive ability and strong defensive tendencies, wouldn't that encompass both Staal-brothers mentioned? Or are you saying that whoever is fortunate enough to draft him will have to choose between his offensive or defensive abilities? From the sound of it, this kid could become more prolific than any of the Staal brothers have the potential for.

Here's some golden script about Larsson:

Larsson is a mobile, skilled and physical defenceman who has a terrific all-around game and has already played a full season in the Swedish Elite League against men.

Does that mean he has MENERGY!?!?!?!?!? This is kind of a redundant statement. I think it's safe to assume that the SEL is a men's league. SEL Junior and Junior 2 exist for a reason.

Larsson obviously isn't as tall as Hedman but he's still 6-2 or 6-3, very thick and his game has more natural bite to it than Hedman. He's also better offensvie [sic] than Hedman, he's got a cannon of a shot. He has the ability to control the pace of the game when he's out there.

Great use of counter-points, Kenzie! Not only does Larsson come in a more convenient size (he fits in your car, refrigerator, AND your closet!) than the Hedman model, he also comes with more natural bite! Is he made with real sugar, rather than high fructose corn syrup which is great in moderation? I sure hope so, since whoever drafts this organic stud will likely use him excessively.

How about some info on the other guy?

Nugent-Hopkins is said to be no more than 6 feet tall, but he's extremely thin and physically immature compared to the other two elite prospects, but he's considered an electrifying offensive talent who is able to bob and weave through heavy traffic and rarely, if ever, get hit directly.

Hm, he sounds like he could be a fantastic player if he develops a bit more.

Scouts say he's as good a playmaker as he is a goal scorer and while some say he has similar offensive capabilities as Chicago star Pat Kane, others rave about his shot and quick release, which may be reminiscent of another Vancouver area product, future Hall of Famer Joe Sakic.

Hm, he sounds like he has some offensive ability and a lot of upside. He looks good so far!

Nugent-Hopkins scored the only goal for Canada against the United States at the gold-medal game of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Under-18 tournament in August.

Sold! Why wasn't this mentioned in the title!? Just imagine if a team like Florida got a hold of this kid: he could have 50 goals in his first season, since you'd know damn well that any time Florida loses 2-1, 4-1, or 8-1 (in the words of Joe, "Vamos, Clemmensen!"), he would be the hero to get his team on the board.

Beyond the top three, this year's draft race continues to be ridiculously wide open. Only one other prospect -- Swedish forward Gabriel Landeskog of the Kitchener Rangers -- got votes from all 10 scouts, but Landeskog still ended up in a dead heat for fourth place in voting points, with Saginaw Spirit forward Brandon Saad, a Pittsburgh area native who played for the U.S. national team development program last season. Saad was on nine of 10 ballots. Just as there was some separation between the Big Three and Landeskog/Saad, there appears to be a discernible gap between those two and the rest of the field. Landeskog and Saad had 53 voting points apiece, the next prospect had 28.

So even fourth place in voting was shared!? I can't get over how wide open this is! Nothing or no one has been this wide open since Elisha Cuthbert in 2008 (apparently Vogue Avery has some girth, and we already know that Phaneuf has a "rocket").

Skipping around, again.

Unbelievably, 27 prospects received at least one vote in the survey, where scouts were asked to rank their top 10 pre-season prospects and two honorable mentions. That is, by far, the most prospects who have received top 10 consideration in the pre-season Top 10 survey.

This could mean a few things. While it could represent a deep draft class, it could also represent a group of voters that is fairly undecided on who has potential to become a top draft choice and more significantly, NHL-caliber talent. While it's great to see that McKenzie is optimistic about the possibilites that arise in a wide-ranged draft ranking, it's far too early to consider voting trends outside of the top five as relevant. Get back to me in December... or April, or May, or mid-June, sweet lips.

All donations to this blog post will go towards fresh board paint at Young Patriots Park.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Most Likely to Succeed?

Hockey season is almost here! What's that mean? That means fantasy hockey season is almost here! As a result, the folks over at are doing a "most likely to succeed" series for every team, choosing the player from each team they think will have a breakout season. Guess who they picked for Minnesota? If you guessed Guillaume Latendresse, you're right! What a ballsy prediction, picking a player who played barely more than half a season with Minnesota last year, but still managed to score 25 goals with the club. Hats off to them for being so bold. Here's what they had to say.

Of the skilled players, Guillaume Latendresse looks like the most likely to succeed following 25 goals in only 55 games. More impressively, the former Montreal Canadien mostly played on the second line with offensive dynamos like Andrew Ebbett and James Sheppard. If he could play with a decent center like new signing Matt Cullen he could possibly even improve from there.

Wow, he scored 25 goals playing on a line with Andrew Ebbett and James Sheppard? He must have gotten a lot of unassisted goals, since Ebbett and Sheppard combined for 10 assists last season. You're right though, he did play on a line with a bunch of bums. In case you need some help finding that power trio in the link above, make sure to scroll down a bit to the part where it says .11%. Maybe you'll find it there. Don't look at the fact that he was on a line with Martin Havlat almost 70% of the time(67.16% if my figures add up correctly, which they do cause I'm perfect). Don't worry about this. Or this. Or this.Or THIS.Or this. Or this. Or this. You want a few visual aids? How about this? Or this? Or this?

Don't get me wrong, I think he's a decent player who obviously found a good fit in Minnesota. He had nothing to do with James Sheppard though. And now that I think of it, it wouldn't really be considered a breakout year if he scored 30 goals this year like they predict, since he netted 27 last year. I guess that'd be like predicting James Neal to have a breakout season and score 30 goals this year, when he had 27 last season. Or like predicting Antoine Vermette to have a breakout season the year after he posted career numbers in every scoring category. Let's see what they had to say about that...

He may go through slumps but the Quebec native may be finally reaching his potential. An improvement on his 27 goals and 65 points could almost be expected… after-all someone needs to score in Columbus.

Not necessarily, my friend. When a team is really bad(25th in the NHL in goals scored), their opponents don't just let them score goals out of pity. That is good though, "someone needs to score in Columbus." That's some solid analysis. Care to give any sort of information to back that claim? No? I didn't think so. Let me help you out. You could have mentioned that he was only 6th on his team in power play time on ice despite the fact that he was 2nd in total points, only two points behind Nash. Add to that the fact that when he does get power play time he's without Nash almost 75% of the time. As a result, he only had twelve power play points. It's safe to assume a larger role on the power play could really help his offensive production. But don't worry about using stats to back yourself, just go ahead and keep making blind predictions.

So tell me, who is the dark horse in Nashville? Which player do you think is going to have a real breakout year for the Predators? Oh, it's Shea Weber, you say? Wow, I've never heard of him. Tell me, who is he?

He has led all Nashville defenders for the past two seasons, after both Kimmo Timmonen[sic] and Marek Zidlicky were dealt.

Oh, so he's already been pretty good then?

During the Olympics he was regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.

Wow, that's a high honor. That's gonna be pretty hard to top. He was one of the best defenders in the world last year, and he's going to be better this year? That's interesting.

Next season the Predators may or may not make the playoffs. Their one constant for the past few years has been Weber; it should continue to be Weber.

That's great, but the whole point of the article is to tell us who is "poised to increase their point totals" isn't it?

So what's the overall moral of this story? Martin Havlat is my hero.