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NHL 2010-11 Season

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(I don't think there's a thread on this or it would have probably shown up higher than the last playoffs topic)

Does anyone else here follow hockey? It's really the only sport I keep up with. I'm a big Vancouver fan, although I also cheer for the Predators, Capitals and yes, even the Flames (Iginla's my favourite player).

But the past few days have been filled with some pretty big trades including the most recent STL-COL deal. Anyone have any thoughts on the trades or on the season so far?

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Sorry, but my interest in hockey only extends to Onion Sports Dome stories.

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I'm a big Edmonton Oilers fan, so the years since the Cup run in 2006 have been particularly painful, with a management that seems more and more clueless, and the spineless MSM in Edmonton re-iterating the organizations talking points and failing to point out the myriad failures of management.

It's fun to watch Hall, Eberle, and MPS, and there's hope for the future. But it's also been painful watching the team burn the best years of Hemsky's contract, and trying to sell us on a scorched earth rebuild. If Tambellini trades Hemsky, he better get 100 cents on the dollar.

So, yeah. I care about hockey. ;)

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Lifelong Canucks fan so this year is especially fun for me. My family gave up cable years ago but this season has me seriously considering getting satellite to watch the scoring race (Go Sedins!) and the playoff run. I live a half hour south of the Canadian border and there's only one restaurant in town that plays game and the commentary on the American broadcast is less than satisfactory for me.

This is the best team we've ever had. The defense is in shambles but it looks like we could get them all back in time for the playoffs. Meanwhile, we keep winning!

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Well. the Blues have been disappointing this season, and they don't have a lot of scoring punch, so obtaining Chris Stewart from Colorado gives them the power forward they need. And the Blues scored nine vs. the Ducks last night, so they're getting some offense going.

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I'm surprised Daniel Sedin is at the top of the scoring race, despite the Sedins consistently being elite players post-lockout.

I'm thinking this is Vancouver's best shot in a while. They've got depth on defence (as evidenced by how the likes of Tanev, Sauve, etc.. are playing), a good offence, although Raymond could stand to elevate his game an extra notch, and two great goaltenders. I think one of the main keys of the Canucks' success last season, this season, and in the next few season, is the fact that they're finally getting young players contributing (Raymond, Hansen, Hodgson) and they will in the future if Vancouver keep drafting well (something sorely lacking from the Burke era). The young players also play on rookie contracts, which allows the Canucks some extra cap space to spend on areas they need improvement on.

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I'm a follower of the Columbus Blue Jackets and their worldwide fanbase (cough). Hey, I can't help it. They're the hometown team, and I actually work next to the arena, where I routinely curse the fans who make it difficult for me to escape the workplace.

I do wish they were in the eastern conference rather than the western conference (hint to future re-alignment experts: see, Columbus, Ohio is east, way east, of the Mississippi River). They'd be a shoe-in for the playoffs rather than sitting in 12th or 13th place.

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Andy, I agree with you that the Blue Jackets need to be realigned. There's a natural rivalry with the Penguins that can't be kindled when the teams play only once or twice a year. So much of sports fandom relies on having a team to hate as much as it does having a team to love, and one of the many problems of the NHL's over-expansion and relocation in the '90s is that it outpaced the development of natural rivalries for the new teams, while mostly destroying rivalries of the relocated teams. I think hockey can survive long-term in Columbus-- the NHL has plenty of smallish markets that can keep afloat with a salary cap tied to leaguewide revenues--but I think they need to go through a couple of playoff runs before the sport really will stick there.

I've been a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins since Mario Lemieux was a chain-smoking teen scoring phenom who learned to speak English by watching Three's Company reruns. (Aside: I wonder if Mario was the last elite athlete to be a regular smoker.) It's been an up-and-down ride over the past twenty-some years, but never more than in the last year. See the following:

Dateline, February, 2010-- Sidney Crosby scores the gold medal-winning goal in the Olympics. The team is the defending Cup champion, and is poised to become the first repeat champion since the Red Wings of '97 and '98. In the second round they go down in seven games to the Canadiens, punctuating it with a horrible home loss in game seven that is over by the end of the first period.

Dateline, December, 2010-- The team retools in the offseason and signs two high-end free agent blueliners to improve

team GAA. By December, after some early bumps, it's clear the strategy is working, as they run off ten wins in a row and sit at the top of the league standings. HBO does episode one of their pre-Winter Classic show, and portrays the Penguins as the cat's meow and the Capitals as underachievers coached by a slob.

The turning point comes in the Winter Classic: Evgeni Malkin converts a breakaway to put the home team up 1-0, then absolutely everything falls apart. The Capitals score the next three and win the game. Crosby is hit by a 6'8" guy's elbow at the end of the second period and either suffers a concussion or pre-concussion that will put him on the shelf for the rest of the year, in all likelihood. A month later Malkin tears two knee ligaments and is on the shelf until next year. Tons of other injuries strike, and while they're still among the league leaders in GA, they can't score enough. I suppose they'll still limp into the playoffs, and maybe they'll win a round or two on grit alone. But in all likelihood it's a lost year.

That's in keeping with a historical trend. Through well-timed lottery picks and some canny management, the Penguins are generally able to put together something pretty great to watch on the ice, but something thwarts them from really turning it up to eleven. Take the 1992-93 season, the next-to-last season where players could rack up Sega Genesis scoring totals. Mario's on a pace to shatter Gretzky's 215 season point total, which would have put him in the same conversation with Gretzky in spite of all the games he missed with various injuries, including nearly all of the '90-'91 season. Then cancer intervenes. He recovers from Hodgkins in time to win the scoring title, but the 216-point season is lost. On the team front, the team's coming off back-to-back Cups and after winning 56 games and the President's Trophy, they're a shoo-in to repeat. But the combination of Lemieux's Hodgkins recovery, a freak injury to Kevin Stevens and Glen Healy standing on his head adds up to a Penguin flameout in the second round against an Islanders team that hasn't won another playoff round in the intervening seventeen years.

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Russ, I was a fan of the Penguins, and those Lemieux/Jagr teams, before the Blue Jackets arrived on the scene.

The Blue Jackets would like to believe that their big rival is the Detroit Red Wings. There's a reasonable geographical proximity, and the two teams are in the same division, but I honestly don't think the Red Wings give the Blue Jackets a second thought. And really, they have no reason to think about them twice. A rivalry only works when it's two-sided, and when both teams have a reasonable chance to win.

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Andy, the next time the Penguins play out there, maybe I'll roadtrip out and we can catch a game. My sister lived in Hilliard when the team was awarded to Columbus, but she'd moved out to Indianapolis before they played a game.

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The turning point comes in the Winter Classic: Evgeni Malkin converts a breakaway to put the home team up 1-0, then absolutely everything falls apart. The Capitals score the next three and win the game. Crosby is hit by a 6'8" guy's elbow at the end of the second period and either suffers a concussion or pre-concussion that will put him on the shelf for the rest of the year, in all likelihood. A month later Malkin tears two knee ligaments and is on the shelf until next year. Tons of other injuries strike, and while they're still among the league leaders in GA, they can't score enough. I suppose they'll still limp into the playoffs, and maybe they'll win a round or two on grit alone. But in all likelihood it's a lost year.

I doubt the Penguins go far this season, but Shero's done a good job the last few days adding some players. Neal's a great young forward and Kovalev for a 7th rounder is basically acquiring a 50-60 point player for nothing.

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So, Canucks fans, did everyone watch the game? I'm still gathering my sanity. That was by far the most intense NHL game I've watched from beginning to end, almost as difficult and exhilarating as last year's Olympic gold match. Feels kind of crazy to be in this city at this time, coming on the heels of the Olympics. Just electric.

Being humbled and fighting back like this might just do what it takes to get them all the way to the end. I haven't paid any attention to Nashville this season - how do you think these two will stack up?

Edited by N.W. Douglas

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So, Canucks fans, did everyone watch the game? I'm still gathering my sanity. That was by far the most intense NHL game I've watched from beginning to end, almost as difficult and exhilarating as last year's Olympic gold match. Feels kind of crazy to be in this city at this time, coming on the heels of the Olympics. Just electric.

Being humbled and fighting back like this might just do what it takes to get them all the way to the end. I haven't paid any attention to Nashville this season - how do you think these two will stack up?

I watched it. Very good game, though I think that there's been a lot of good hockey so far this playoffs. As an Oilers fan, I'm not invested enough in the Canucks success to have felt it that intensely, but I did stay up until 1 am EST to see it through and Burrows rewarded. I admire Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks organization a great deal, but I'm happy to see the Canucks get that monkey off their back and sustain Canada's hopes of seeing the Cup return to our shores.

I think the Canucks will be able to handle Nashville. Anaheim wasn't a strong fourth seed, and the Blackhawks were a better team than their eighth seed would suggest.

Round 2 will be fun, but I'm also excited about the game sevens in the two series remaining in the East.

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Nashville has more depth and a better defense than the Blackhawks. They don't have a great offense - or any great offensive player - but they have good teamwork and most everyone contributes. I think it will be a good series.

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Nashville has more depth and a better defense than the Blackhawks. They don't have a great offense - or any great offensive player - but they have good teamwork and most everyone contributes. I think it will be a good series.

It's true that depth was the Blackhawks downfall. They gutted the team last summer. Past the top couple lines, there wasn't much there.

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The Preds strength has been and still is their defense and goaltending. It's not coincidence they have players nominated for the Norris Trophy and the Vezina trophy.

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So, Canucks fans, did everyone watch the game? I'm still gathering my sanity. That was by far the most intense NHL game I've watched from beginning to end, almost as difficult and exhilarating as last year's Olympic gold match. Feels kind of crazy to be in this city at this time, coming on the heels of the Olympics. Just electric.

Being humbled and fighting back like this might just do what it takes to get them all the way to the end. I haven't paid any attention to Nashville this season - how do you think these two will stack up?

Agreed, an amazing game from beginning to end. It was nice to be able to be happy at the end of the game, too, unlike the Olympics. :) (I'm a Canucks fan and an American.)

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I caught Game 7 but I was down south in Bellingham on an SSI missions trip for one of SFU's Christian clubs. One of the friends the team made down there invited the hockey fans on the team to catch the game in one of the common rooms in his dorms. The game certainly was close; I think the Blackhawks dominated Vancouver for the last 18 minutes of the third period. Fortunately, Burrows scored a beautiful goal and the Canucks were finally able to beat Chicago.

I doubt Nashville will be much of a threat. I think the games might lack some of the excitement of the first round because of the lack of storied rivalry between the two teams and the fact that the Predators are strong defensively but lack a potent offence.

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I doubt Nashville will be much of a threat. I think the games might lack some of the excitement of the first round because of the lack of storied rivalry between the two teams and the fact that the Predators are strong defensively but lack a potent offence.

So much for a lack of excitement. Rinne and Luongo played their hearts out tonight. This might end up being a low scoring series, but I don't think that means it won't be a lot of fun to watch.

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Game three tonight in one of the loudest stadiums in hockey. Just for my sake, I hope the game doesn't go into double overtime.

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So basically, Vancouver likes to fake their way into power play opportunities...sad.

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So basically, Vancouver likes to fake their way into power play opportunities...sad.

I missed the game due to a screening, but reading the reports now I assume you're referring to the Smithson penalty?

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Another year, another collapse by the Capitals. They're not out of it yet, but down 3-0 to a team they've generally outplayed but can't seem to beat on the scoreboard. I figured the Caps' coach was safe after the team's first-round win, but if they go out in four this round, I'm not so sure.

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So basically, Vancouver likes to fake their way into power play opportunities...sad.

I missed the game due to a screening, but reading the reports now I assume you're referring to the Smithson penalty?

That one and the one on Weber in OT for hooking Kesler. Kesler made a smart play there - I don't fault him for trying...well maybe I fault him a little, but I get why he did it. It clearly worked because the ref fell for it hook, line, and sinker. (Pun intended.)

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Wow. If I had known there was a hockey discussion board hidden in here, maybe I'd have stopped in here more often than I have lately. A true Canadian as I am, I live/breathe hockey.

Having said that, disappointing year for my Senators. Hoping the new goalie (Anderson) rights the ship that way. Impressed by the rapid demise of the Capitals. Impressed also by the Canucks still winning even with the Sedins pulling a disappearing act of Doug Henning calibre.

Watching with bated breath to see if the Thrashers or Coyotes will end up in Winnipeg this fall; if so, I'll have to buy tickets for their game against the Sens.

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