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NHL Heading Into Winter Part V
By:-Gary Norris Gray-BASN – Staff Reporter
POPSICLE BROTHERS REPORT NUMBER 6
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks could be the third or fourth best team in the western conference.
The Bulin Wall (Nikolai Khabibulin) moves into the United Center to backup goalie Corey Crawford. Khabibulin has to stay healthy and injury free. Once again he went down with groin injury and now on the injury reserve list. The Hawks have played well the past three years and now hockey fans are waiting for them to fall off this fast pace.
The Hawks just outscored everybody last year and that won’t happen in an 82 game season. Right winger Patrick Kane has to grow up and lead this team and veteran right winger Marian Hossa has to score more goals this year. The Hawks strength is up the middle with centers Toews, Shaw, Kruger, and Pirri. The Chicago defense remains solid with Goal Brother Johnny Oduya, Keith Duncan, and Brent Seabrooks as they keep the Hawks in the race with low scoring games. At the beginning of the year the injury to Captain Jonathan Toews hurt the Hawks, but now he has returned, and they are playing better leading the Central Division.
The St. Louis Blues are right behind the San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, and Anaheim Ducks. The Blues are early darlings of the league with the leadership of center Derrick Roy and the two headed monster in net goalies Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. The Blues have perfected the two goalie system; Halak and Elliott have the even temperament to make it work. St. Louis is the only team that injects the two goalie system for the complete year, including the playoffs. Goal Brother Chris Stewart has to step up his game for the Blues to move beyond first round. They have bolstered their defensive corp with Jay Bouwmeester and Kevin Shattenkirk. They are the Dark Horse to win the Western Conference.
The Colorado Avalanche might have done it the right way from within the organization with old man Jean Sebastian Giguere in net. The Aves could “Get Giggie With It”, all year long and could make waves in the west. Their head coach and former player Patrick Roy told his players that we are not going through the motion and that when we play we intend to win. Roy picked a fight in the first game against the opposing head coach and it sparked the team to an opening night victory. The Aves have cooled off and maybe the players are tired of the yelling day in and day out of Patrick Roy.
Right Winger Alex Tanguay currently is the leader of this team. Center Paul Stastny is the scorer and Andre Benoit the great defender. They have a new young captain Gabriel Laneskog sending a message to the other players that this team is headed in a different direction.
The Goal Brothers of The Winnipeg Jets will make noises in the west, with Byfuglien, Kane, Montoya, and Setoguchi leads the United Nations of Canada on ice. Captain Andrew Ladd will lead the Jets who have a strong defense but just can’t seem to score. Now, if the Winnipeg Jets ever find a goaltender, look out Western Conference. The Jets will not be taking the frequent flyer miles of the past three years so maybe they can concentrate on the fundamentals of the gameinstead of airline time tables.
The Nashville Predators are the new exciting team with their hot new stars, Goal Brothers Rookie defensemen. Jones and Diaby enter the league with a new bigger, stronger group of younger players. They will be expecting a lot from young Seth Jones.
Goalie Pekka Rinne now has the help he needed last year. Centers Matt Cullen and Craig Smith will have to score more this year. Left winger Eric Nystrom has to be the leader of this Southern team. Nashville has a very odd mixture of veterans and rookies and this team will be up and down all year long. Playoffs are possible but the golden boys have to work very hard
could be becoming a power in the Western Conference left winger Zach Parise and right winger Jason Pominville are the leaders of this team. Goalie Josh Harding might have to carry the load in net this year. Defensemen Ryan Suter will continue to light the lamp all year long. It’s about time the Wild go deep into the playoffs.
The Dallas Stars might have changed their uniforms, changed their coaches, and changed players but they are still the same old team and will end up in last place in the west. Goalie Kari Lehtonen will be the star of this team. Veterans left winger Ray Whitney and right winger Eric Cole will have to help the younger Stars this year.
It is still too early to pick any winners in the west even-though the San Jose Sharks seem to be on a mission from God just like Jake and Elwood (Blues Brothers) of Chicago. It’s going to be very interesting to watch because there are many teams bunched together ready to make that Stanley Cup run.
This should be exciting for the fans and a positive note for the National Hockey League, enjoy the season.
May all of you have a happy and healthy holidays with your love ones
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 firstname.lastname@example.org