Posted on: May 13, 2010 10:49 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2010 11:13 pm
 

Pittsburgh Pengnuins in the offseason

So with the end to the Penguins season with their dissapointing game 7 performance, it is time to start talking revamping the team for next year and what moves they make in the offseason.  So if you are Ray Shero, what do you do?  Here is what you have to work with:
  • 11 forewards (Crosby, Staal, Malkin, Kunitz, Dupuis, Talbot, Rupp, Godard, Kennedy, Adams, Letestu)-30.95M
  • 3 defensman (Letang, Orpik, Goligoski)-9.083M
  • 2 goalies (Fleury, Johnson)-5.6M
  • 12.187M left with the salary cap (5.8M)-just a guess saying its going up 1M
  • Needs: 2 forewards, 3 defensman
Guys whos contacts are up and what I do with them:
Cap space left: 9.287
Needs: 2 foreward, 1 defensman

Next thing I do?  Take a look at the farm system.  Tangradi is our top prospect for a reason, and I think its his time to join the big club.  Bring him up and put him on the top 6 and see what happens.  Saves us money and will only cost 0.833M against the cap.

Then on defense, I try my hardest to bring Hamhuis here.  He won't be cheap, but I think he can be had for 3.3M.  We would still be slightly under the cap, giving us room for some more moves

The first is trade Godard.  He isn't going to crack this line-up on a regular basis and will probably be a waste of a spot.  Trading him leaves us with about 4.204M of cap space. 

Needing 1 foreward now, we should look at a guy like Maxim Afinoginov.  0.8M last year and will probably get a raise, and I give him 2M per year.  Then I lure Selanne here for one last season to make a run at the cup.  He can still play and I say give him 2M as well. 

Thats leaves us with 0.204M under the salary cap, but we would probably send Letestu down and save 0.5M against the cap and even though we would be tight against the cap, its a pretty solid line-up:
Kunitz-Crosby-Selanne
Tangradi-Malkin-Afinoginov
Cooke-Staal-Dupuis
Kennedy-Adams-Rupp
Talbot-Letestu
Letang-Orpik
Goligoski-Hamhuis
Leopold-Eaton
Fleury
Johnson

Thats a pretty solid line-up, got a solid top 6 and we have depth.  I think this is a cup competing team and better than what we finished with this year.




Posted on: January 8, 2010 11:10 pm
 

PittScores Rankings: Midseason Version

Well  we are officially past the halfway point in the season, since each team has played at least 41 games.  These rankings are a little different then the ones I posted on the NHL board though, because only each teams first 41 games are taken into account in this version and there is nothing taken into account about who has been hot lately, because they are for the season as a whole.  Here are the rankings:

1. New Jersey Devils

  • 3.0802 rating

2.  Chicago Blackhawks

  • 3.0648 Rating

3. San Jose Sharks

  • 2.6364 Rating

4. Washington Capitals

  • 1.9994 Rating

5. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • 1.8372 Rating

6. Buffalo Sabres

  • 1.7842 Rating

7. Vancouver Canucks

  • 1.3764 Rating

8. Phoenix Coyotes

  • 1.3029 Rating

9. Calgary Flames

  • 1.2801 Rating

10. Colorado Avalanche

  • 0.9987 Rating

11. Nashville Predators

  • 0.7801 Rating

12. Los Angeles Kings

  • 0.6213 Rating

13. Boston Bruins

  • 0.3838 Rating

14. Detroit Red Wings

  • 0.1945 Rating

15. Dallas Stars

  • -0.2839 Rating

16. Ottawa Senators

  • -0.3518 Rating

17. Atlanta Thrashers

  • -0.5347 Rating

18. Philadelphia Flyers

  • -0.5347 Rating

19. Minnesota Wild

  • -0.6779 Rating

20. New York Rangers

  • -0.6932 Rating

21. Montreal Canadiens

  • -0.8660 Rating

22. St. Louis Blues

  • -1.2999 Rating

23. Florida Panthers

  • -1.3567 Rating

24. Tampa Bay Lightning

  • -1.4200 Rating

25. Anaheim Ducks

  • -1.5808 Rating

26. Edmonton Oilers

  • -1.8373 Rating

27. New York Islanders

  • -1.9197 Rating

28. Columbus Blue Jackets

  • -2.1000 Rating

29. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • -2.1671 Rating

30. Carolina Hurricanes

  • -3.6548 Rating



Notes:

  • Only 1 Original 6 team in the top 10 (Blackhawks)
  • In the top 10, there are 6 Western Conference teams and 4 Eastern Conference
  • The Southeast Division owns 3 of the bottom 10 positions (Panthers, Lightning, and Hurricanes)
  • 2 Canadian Teams in the top 10 (Canucks and Flames) and 2 in the bottom 10 (Canadiens and Maple Leafs)
  • I think I will be renaming 30th place the Hurricanes award, since they have held the spot since these rankings were created
  • I was gonna put more, but this took long enough and I'm lazy


Posted on: October 13, 2009 8:10 pm
 

Improving the NHL

Last April I did a blog about how you could improve the MLB which you can find HERE , but hockey is where my heart lies when it comes to sports.  I can watch any game any time, no matter who is playing.  That is why I wanna see a couple of things change, to make the game more exciting for the fans.

Less Teams:

Many people think that there are to many teams in the NHL, and while I do not necessarily agree, I think the NHL would be better off if they cut the league down by 2 teams.  The 2 teams I think the NHL would miss the least are the Phoenix Coyotes and the Florida Panthers.  Neither of these teams have been really successful and their fan support has been weak.  If they got rid of these 2 teams, hold a draft to redisperse the players from these teams to the 28 remaining teams.

No More Conferences:

In the NFL you have the AFC and NFC, in the MLB its the AL and NL, in basketball its the East and the West.   Right now the NHL is like the NBA while having the east and west, but I think it would be unique and be something that a lot of people could enjoy if they got rid of conferences.

My idea is to get 4 different divisions of 7 teams.  The 4 divisions names should be the Adams, Patrick, Smythe, and Norris to go back to the ways things used to be before the 1993-1994 season.  The NHL is most history based than any of the other major sports (with the Stanley cup and other tropheys) so why not bring back the old school names?

New Divisions:

With the bigger divisions and the fact that 2 teams are gone, the divisions need to be fixed.  I would go with the following 4 divisions:

Patrick Divison:
This division has the 6 teams that were in the Patrick division before the relignment, so they already have natural rivalries (especially with 5 of the teams being in the current Atlantic Division).  I also put the Blue Jackets in because they would have a natural rivalry with the Penguins and I think they would develop into a good rival for the rest of the teams.

Smythe Division:
Since I couldn't include the Winnipeg Jets since they have moved to Raleigh, I had to add 2 new teams to this division.  I chose the Ducks and Avalanche since the Ducks are on the West coast and new to the league since the old divisions and the Avalanche used to be the Nordiques and have moved a lot more west.

Norris Division:
The Red Wings, Blackhawks, Blues, and Maple Leafs were all apart of this division 17 or so years ago, and it was a great one.  Adding in 2 more of the original 6 (5 total) just makes this division more heated.  I added the Sabres because I had to put them somewhere.

Adams Division:
Other than the Stars (well North Stars at the time) and Senators, none of these teams were in this division because they are either new to the league since then or have moved.  This division may have some some travel issues, but I like the other 3 divisions how they are so these are basically the rest of whats left.

New Scheduling/Points:

The first thing that would have to change would be the schedule.  Currently you play every team in your division 6 times, all other teams in your conference 4, and everyone in the other conference 1 time (and 3 of those teams you play twice).

For a new scheduling, I would still have you play your divisional opponents 6 time (36 games).  The other 21 teams I would have you play them twice each (42 games).  So far this is a total of 78 games, but you will play a total of 84.  The other 6 games depend on how you finish the year before.  You would play every team that finished in the same place in their division as you 2 more times.  So if the Penguins and Blackhawks won their divisions one year, the next year they would play 4 times instead of 2.

The other change I would have is the points system.  I think it is time to adopt a 3 point system in the NHL.  Getting basically half the points you get for a win just by going to OT is not right, and needs to be changed.  I believe it needs to be as follows:
  • 3 points for a regulation win
  • 2 points for an OT/SO win
  • 1 point for an OT/SO loss
  • 0 points for a regulation loss
This point system would help discourage teams to take it easy at the end of the 3rd period because they want to secure 1 point, and could lead to a lot more exciting finishes.

Playoff Format Changes:

A lot of people might not like this idea, but I do.  Instead of the 16 teams with the most points making the playoffs, there would be a divisional playoff first.  The top 4 teams in each division would make this round.  What would happen is each division would have a tournament to see which team is the division champ.  For example in the Patrick Division say it ended up these final standings:
  1. Penguins
  2. Flyers
  3. Capitals
  4. Devils
  5. Rangers
  6. Blue Jackets
  7. Islanders
The Penguins, Flyers, Capitals, and Devils would play in a mini tournament to see who is the division champ.  The Penguins would play the Devils and the Flyers would play the Capitals.  The 2 winners would play each other, and then the division winner would be crowned. All of this would be just like the playoffs and be 7 game series.

Once all 4 division winners are crowned, then those 4 play to see who the Stanley Cup winners are.  They would be ranked 1-4 based on the amount of points earned outside of your division, and the tie breaker would be total points.  Then it would be just like the current conference finals, the 2 winners go on to the Finals to see who would play for the Cup.

Rule Changes:

There are a few rules in the current NHL that I would want to change:
  • Get rid of the instigator rule, no explination really needed.
  • When a player is called for diving, don't put both players in the box.  Either the other player took a penalty or there was a dive, punish them for diving instead of making it even.
  • Get rid of the trapizoid.  Goalies that can stick handle well shouldn't be punished by putting a place in where they can't handle the puck.
  • Make the goalies pads smaller.  I was always on the fence about this, but after seeing some goalies pads they need to be smaller.  When you watch an old school game, their pads were so small its rediculous.  I am not saying make them that small, but a little bit smaller to inscrease scoring.
  • If a goalie goes behind the net to play the puck, he should be free game for hits.  Would make a lot of exciting plays behind the net.
  • When a penalty shot is called, the team gets to decide if they want the penalty shot or 2 minute power play.


Thats all I got now, feel free to leave a comment about what you agree/disagree with and any other rules you would like to see.
Posted on: October 1, 2009 7:49 pm
 

5 Burning questions: Pittsburgh Penguins

In about 24 hours from now, the Pittsburgh Penguins will open their season against divsion rival the New York Rangers.  This is the game the Penguins will be raising their Stanley Cup banner, but right after that it is time to put last year in the past and time for these 10 questions to be answered:

1.  Will the Penguins suffer from a Stanley Cup hangover?

I am not a big believer in Stanley Cup hangovers.  Yeah there have been signs of it in the past, but how this team is built I don't let see the coaches and captains letting that happen.  They are hungrier than ever after getting that first taste of winning it and won't slow down because they are satisfied in getting it last year or tired.

2.  Who will be the right winger on the Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko line?

Since we have learned that Maxime Talbot had shoulder surgery over the summer and is going to miss the first couple of months of the season, this has been a big question.  The leading cantidates right now are Tyler Kennedy (who was on the line during training camp/preseason) and Pascal Dupuis (who is going to start the season on this line).  Then we have a couple of guys down in the minors in Eric Tangradi (top prospect) and Luca Caputi (#2 winger prospect).  Then there is Chris Bourque, who the Penguins claimed off of waivers from the Washington Capitals.

Of the five players listed above, I think Kennedy has the best shot at taking the spot.  He is a player just like Max Talbot, plays hard every shift, decent shot, good speed, helps create space for the other 2.  He has the potential to be a 20-25 goal scorer and putting him with Malkin could be a great fit.

Dupuis, like I said earlier, is starting on this line.  I don't think this is gonna stick though.  He has horrible hands and not a very accurate shot.  He is a 3rd-4th liner that has good speed and plays good defense. 

Tangradi is gonna be the winger for either Crosby or Malkin for years to come and looked really good in the preseason, but he needs a year in the AHL before making the jump to the NHL.  This is his first year of professional hockey after spending the last few years in the OHL.  He is gonna be an absolute stud someday, just not right away.

Caputi is a good power foreward that isn't the best skater.  He has the potential to be a 20-25 goal scorer and is gonna end up a decent 2nd liner playing with whoever Tangradi is not.  After watching him in the preseason, he needs to spend a little more time in the NHL before making the jump into the NHL.

Chris Bourque is an interesting player.  I do not no much about him, but he was a point per game player last year in the AHL and has never really got a shot at the NHL.  He is a small guy listed at 5'8" and I have read that he is a high energy guy, like a Kennedy or Talbot.  He will be staying with the team (because we can't send him down after claiming him off waivers) and could be the darkhorse for the position on the second line.

3. Can Marc-Andre Fleury stay healthy for the whole season?

Fleury has been bitten by the injury bug the last 2 years.  Even though he played in 62 games last year, he missed 12 games with a "lower body injury" last season and 27 games the year before with a high ankle sprain.  Injuries are probably the most unpredictable thing in sports so its hard to say if he will, but I think this is the year he stays healthy and shows why he should be on the olympic team.

 

4.  Will Bill Guerin end up like former veteran wingers?

The Penguins have not had the best of luck with vetaran wingers in the past few years.  First it was John LeClair who we signed to play with the rookie Crosby, and it worked well the first year.  He scored 22 goals and 51 points, but was nothing special.  The next yera he scored 2 goals and 7 points in 21 games before being placed on waivers.

Then came Mark Recchi for his 3rd stint with the team.  He had a very good first season scoring 24 points and 68 points, but the next year he scored 2 goals and 6 assists in 19 games.  He was better last year scoring 61 points, but that wasn't for the Penguins.

Now we have Bill Guerin, who scored 12 goals and 27 points for the Penguins in 41 games.  Now that he is a year older and the fact that we play such a fast paced system might mean he could have similar fates that Recchi and LeClair had.  I don't see it happening and could see him ending up a lot more like Gary Roberts (who was not a great player for us, but great tough leader that was a fan favorite).

 

5.  Will Jordan Staal take his game up another level and show why he was a first round pick?

Jordan Staal has been one of the best penalty killers in the league the past few years and had his best point-total season last year, but still has a lot of room to improve.  He wiffs on a lot of shots and isn't as consistant as you would like him to be in the offensive zone.  Him, Matt Cooke, and Tyler Kennedy was a great line last year and was probably the best third line in the NHL last year and was looking really good in Dan Bylsma's new system.  I think if he plays like he did at the end of last year, he will score 30 goals and get 60 points.



There are a lot more questions that are to be answered about the Penguins this year, and you can waste a lot of time debating them but you won't know you are right until the season starts.  Some final questions that I am not gonna answer, but feel free to do so in the comments:
  • How will the losses of Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill effect the Penguins blue line?
  • How will Crosby using a new stick this year effect his game?
  • Who will be the Penguins biggest competition in the east?
  • Who will be the Penguins MVP: Crosby, Malkin, or someone else?
  • Will the Penguins and Red Wings meet again in the Stanley Cup for the 3rd year in a row?
Posted on: July 24, 2009 8:32 pm
 

QOTD 7/24/09 Olympic Players on Your Team

What players on your NHL team will be playing in the olympics this Winter? Canada:
Russia:
  • Evgeni Malkin- Like Crosby, no explanation neded.
  • Sergei Gonchar- Defense is one of Russia's weakness', so he is pretty much a lock to make the team.
Ukraine:
  • Ruslan Fedotenko- Played in the last olympics for team Ukriane, and its not the most talented team so he should be another lock
United States:
  • Brooks Orpik- Looking at the defense for the US, he is definitely one of the better defensemen on the team and brings a physical/defensive presense to the U.S. blueline. 

Posted on: July 20, 2009 9:37 pm
 

QOTD 7/20/09 Must see sports events


What are the top 10 events in your opinion that are a must see before you die?
  I have seen a few of these lists written lately, so I thought I would chime in on the subject.  I may not have attended all (or any for that matter haha) but they are the top 10 events I want to see before I die.

  1. Stanley Cup Finals game- I have tried the past 2 years and have failed to get tickets both times.  The greatest sport in the world being played at its highest level.
  2. Official UFC event- I have just recently became a fan of UFC a few months ago, but I am already hooked and really wanna go to one of the events.  Hopefully they come to Pittsburgh when the new arena opens up!
  3. World Series game 7- I won't ever see one with my team, but it would still be amazing no matter who the teams are.
  4. NHL winter classic- After watching it on TV the last 2 years, it is a great sight to see.  I can't imagine how amazing it would be in person.
  5. baseball game on the green monster- This has been one thing I've always wanted to do.  I am not a Red Sox fan, but I haven't had a chance to visit a ballpark other than PNC and the view from the monster looks like it would be the best view of any seat in baseball.
  6. NCAA Basketball Final 4- Not a basketball fan by any means, but I always find myself watching the final 4, mostly because of my bracket but I can actually enjoy the tournament unlike the regular season and the NBA.
  7. US Open- I couldn't really enjoy watching golf until the past few years when I started golfing, but I guess to reallly enjoy golf you have to golf yourself to understand everything that is going on.
  8. Super Bowl- I have become less of a football fan each year, butI would still love to go to it sometime.  Most watched/overhyped sporting event there is.
  9. Home Run Derby- Well, only if I was in the outfield.  I was one of those young kids that loved bringing my glove to the game and trying to catch a ball!
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates game in October- To much to ask for? hahaha


Posted on: July 17, 2009 10:40 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2009 10:44 pm
 

QOTD 7/17/09 Games You are looking foreward

What games are you looking foreward to in the 2009-2010 NHL season? Sorry for the long hiatus fot QOTD, hasn't been much to talk about and I have been lazy with it.  Todays question involves the schedule that was just recently released.  What games are you looking foreward to?  Here are some of mine:

  • October 2 vs. Rangers - Home opener, raising the banner.
  • October 3 at Islanders - Tavares' NHL debut and will get to meet Orpik, Cooke, Kunitz, and Rupp Laughing .
  • October 8 at Flyers - First game between the 2 teams, will be a battle.
  • October 30 at Blue Jackets - I really like watching the Jackets play, and may go down to Columbus for this game.
  • December 5 vs. Blackhawks - Young, fast team.  Was a great battle last year and I expect an even better one this year.
  • January 31 vs. Red Wings - Red Wings first regular season game back at the Mellon Arena since the Finals.
  • March 20, 22, 24, 27 vs. Hurricanes , at Red Wings, at Capitals , vs. Flyers - Penguins play all 4 teams they played in the playoffs last year in 4 staight games.  
  • April 8 vs. Islanders- May be the last game at Mellon Arena.
* All of those games are Penguins games haha

** Your picks do not have to involve your team, I don't really look foreward to other teams games so thats why mine are all Penguins games.
Posted on: June 27, 2009 11:48 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2009 11:53 pm
 

QOTD 6/27/09 Post-Draft Thoughts

What do you think of the draft?  Who won?  Who lost?  Which are  your thoughts on your teams draft? The draft got done earlier today, and there were a lot of picks that had to be made (Tavares, Hedman, Duchene ) and there were the questionable picks (Ulf's kid).  I will be the first to say that after the big 3, I know basically nothing about the players that were drafted.  I may know a name here and there, but not much so I can't really pick a winner or loser.

After looking over some scouting reports of the Penguins draft, there are some picks I am still unsure about.  The main one is our first round draft pick Simon Despres, but I am still not sold on us taking him.  Yeah he was ranked #18 and we picked him at #30, but from everything I have read it seems to remind me of former Penguins defensman Ryan Whitney.  He has offensive potential and has a big body but refuses to be physical.  I hope he turns out better, but I have my doubts.  I was hoping for them to draft Landon Ferraro, who I think is gonna be stud in a few years.  Its to bad the Red Wings drafted him.

The other Penguins pick that left me puzzled is Philip Samuelsson in the second round.  Most experts didn't have him going until around the 4th round, and its not like he is gonna like his father.  He sort of reminds me of Hal Gill.  He is a big body, not the best skater but is good with positioning, and not big on offense but can bring a heavy shot because of his size.  A lot of better options available at the time.

One pick I really love is 3rd rounder Ben Hanowski.  He was a stud last year in high school scoring 135 points in only 31 games, which is over 4 points per game.  His competition was probably horrible, but if you are playing at the high school level and score 3.5 points per game over 4 years, you got some talent.  I guess we will see how he does in college, but this is really a low risk pick that could have a huge reward.

How about your teams draft?  And what teams do you think won and lost in this years draft?


Also, sorry for the lack of QOTD's the past few days.  I've been busy and there hasn't been much to talk about.  Remember to leave your suggestions for new topics in the QOTD thread on the hockey board.  Over the next few days, the questions will be all about free agency.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com