NHL Heading Into Winter PART III

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Updated: December 19, 2013
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Metropolitan Division

By:- Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter

POPSICLE BROTHERS REPORT NUMBER 4

The Northeast Hockey corridor finally has become to reality. When the New York Islanders move to Brooklyn, New York and the Barclay’s Center in 2014 there will be four teams within 80 miles of each other.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are once again reloading to try for another Stanley Cup Championship. With wingers Sid “the Kid” Crosby and Evgeni Malkin they are in good hands. This team scores goals in bunches then swing into droughts. The other question is which side of the bed goalie Marc Andre Fleury got out of. Somebody better turn the switch on Fleury when the playoff begin. Left wingers Neal and Kunitz have to help Crosby and Milkin. This team could be in the finals once more.  

Former New York Ranger head coach Tortorllia could be wishing he were in the East because his Vancouver Canucks are just treading water in the new and improved Pacific Division.    

Meanwhile The Broadway Blueshirts turned the page in 2013 with their new head coach Alain Vigneault from the Vancouver Canucks. The Two teams just traded hockey philosophies and style. The Rangers seemed to have turned a deaf ear toward their former coach Tortorllia and it showed at the end of last season.

Winger Rick Nash started the season injured and it showed in the Rangers offense. Goalie “King” Henrik Lundqvist had a great season last year. The Rangers are going to ask him to repeat his performance in 2013.  They called him KING but nobody is saying a word. Lundqvist is in a contract year and the Rangers might let him go before the trade deadline if the Blueshirts can’t get above 500. New York’s weak link is their defense so they have to outscore people. Right winger Ryan Callahan and Centers Richards and Boyle have to light the lamp.

Here is some advice for Ranger fans go to the movies or take a walk to the park. This is going to be a very long season at Madison Square Garden. 

The Washington Capitals are an enigma nobody knows who is going to show up on the ice. When Ovechkin plays well the Caps win, when Alex does not score Washington is in trouble. Mike Green has to stay healthy the whole season if this team plans to get to conference finals. Center Nicklas Backstrom must keep scoring and lead the Caps to the playoffs. Goal Brother Defenseman Joel Ward will once again shine for the Caps. The Caps need to find a star goaltender because that has killed them in the playoffs. Goalie Braden Holtby is not the answer.

The Philadelphia Flyers finally got a heartbeat the last two weeks. The battle for the goalie spot may become intense with Goal Brother Ray Emery and Steve Mason. The Flyers have to make a decision and quickly to stabilize the team. They are playing better with screaming head coach Lovalette removed. The Orange and Black finally reached 500. Veterans centers Claude Giroux and Vincent Lecavalier have to lead this odd mix of young and older players. Goal Brother Right winger Wayne Simmons will continue to put punch in the Flyers attack. Left winger Scott Hartnall could be the secret weapon in January.

The New Jersey Devils might be in trouble again this year with the new and improved division. All Star and future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur might be hard to remove from the Jersey nets but he needs to give future starts to backup net-minder Cory Schneider. Center Zach Parise may still feel the weight of filling in the place of the departed captain and center Ilya Kovalchuck.

The Jaromir Jagr experiment may payoff as he continues to score goals. Jagr could be the first European to score 800 career goals.  Devil veterans Zajac and Elias are the backbone of this team after that good luck. Goal Brother Bryce Salvador will anchor the New Jersey defense. Can they make the playoffs again in 2013? It might be a long shot but the red and black are always around.

The Carolina Hurricanes Goalie Justin Peters held the fort for all star veteran Goalie Cam Ward to return. The Canes have not played well without Ward in net. Center Eric Staal and his brother Jordan have to carry the Canes to the playoffs. Love to see left winger Tuomo Ruutu play on the ice with energy all three periods. Center Manny Malhotra is the wild card on this team. This big man can bounce other players off the boards. The New Jersey Devils and Carolina will be battling for that last playoff spot.

 The New York Islanders are another team in transition. The move to Brooklyn next year might change the Islander’s energy on the ice. Center John Tavares was given the Captain “C” on his sweater, now he has to live up to the great captains of the 1970 Islander teams. Goal Brother right winger Kyle Okposo might have to score more to get this team to the playoffs. The Isles had a really good start but have faded into last place in the Metro Division. They are currently on a five game losing streak with no end in sight.

The Islanders continue to have a goalie problem with veteran Evgeni Nabokov and Kevin Poulin. The Orange and Blue have to make a decision in net. Nabokov was a free agent this year and the Isles took a chance signing him. There could be a trade before the deadline this month.

NEXT WE MOVE TO THE WILD, WILD, WEST

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist. Email at garyngray@blackathlete.com

Norris19@Wordpress.com 


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