NHL Contenders and Pretenders at the Midway Point of the Season

This NHL season, now almost at the midway point, has shown us some surprise contenders, such as the Devils, the Jets, and of course, the Vegas Golden Knights. Also, there have been teams that we are so used to seeing in the playoffs the past few years that have fallen short of expectations, including: the Blackhawks, the Penguins, and the Canadiens.

Contenders

The Vegas Golden Knights: The Golden Knights are currently the second best team in the league, and are first overall in the western conference. They are playing at an amazing level, never seen before by a first year expansion franchise. Not only that, for a good part of the first eight weeks of the season, without their top goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury. The Golden Knights have embraced the city, playing with passion and flair.

The New Jersey Devils: Nico Hischier is the third best rookie in the NHL, behind Arizona’s Clayton Keller, and the Islanders’ Mathew Barzal. Behind Hischier’s rookie campaign and strong showings from veterans like Brian Boyle, Taylor Hall, and Goalie Cory Schneider, the Devils have a real chance of going far into the playoffs.

The Winnipeg Jets: Last year the Jets were fifth in the Central Division with a measly 87 points. This year, they are leading the Central Division with 52 points, not yet even at the midway point. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck has been very good this year, earning the NHL’s most recent first star of the week. Behind strong campaigns from Blake Wheeler, Patrick Laine and Dustin Byfugelin, the Jets can shake up the power rankings in the West.

Pretenders

The Pittsburgh Penguins: The back-to-back Stanley Cup defending Penguins are having a bad year. They are sitting in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, with 41 points, and are 4 points from a wildcard spot. While the Penguins will still likely be in the running for one of the two remaining wild card spots, they will not win the Stanley Cup. Sidney Crosby is on pace for about 73 points, one of his worst career seasons. Now the Penguins must ask themselves if their dynasty is over, or if this year is just a hangover from back-to-back short summers.

The Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks dynasty is over. They had their run, but it ended when they were swept in the first round of the playoffs last year by Nashville. Patrick Kane and Johnathan Toews aren’t going to get younger, and they no longer have the same spark as they used to. In a few years they will contend again, as soon as young players like Alex DeBrincat mature and get used to the league, but for this season, they will not win the Stanley Cup or even make the playoffs.

The Montreal Canadiens: Last year the Canadiens were one of the top teams in the east, totaling 103 points and the number one seed in the Atlantic Division. This year, they’ve dealt with tons of injuries, and the Habs, who are reliant on their goalie, Carey Price, have not seen great production from him this year. The Canadiens won’t make the playoffs this year, but they may have a chance in future seasons.

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The First Ever PSF Athlete of The Year, and Awards show.

Welcome to the first ever PSF Athlete of the year/ year in review show ever. 2017 is rounding to a close so here are my picks for players, teams, and games of the year. Along with the PSF staffs pick for Athlete of the year. Enjoy.

Championship team of the year: New England Patriots

Tom Brady
You could argue the Warriors, Astros, or even the Penguins, but that would completely disrespect one of the greatest championship comebacks of all time. 28-3 will go into the sports history books in infamy, similar to the 3-1 collapse of the Golden State Warriors of just a few years ago. Tom Brady’s legacy, Julian Edelman’s catch, James White’s career game… these are just a few moments from this game that will be remembered for a lifetime. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the championship team of the year, hell, it might be the championship team of the century!
Sport of the year: Baseball
Coming from me, frankly, this is shocking. I’m just not a huge baseball guy but that has certainly changed this year. While some purist fans will argue that the game is changing for the worse, the next generation of fans will get the most exciting offensive baseball in the history of the sport. Home runs were up across Major League Baseball this year. The league has seemingly become more power-oriented, with more players going boom or bust than we’ve ever seen before. While some argue that this is bad for the sport, I would argue it makes the game more exciting to watch. I firmly believe the home runs record will be broken in the next four years flat, by one of the league’s best like Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge. So why not give baseball a shot this year? Watch some moon shots in the process!
Players of the year
NFL: Tom Brady
It’s hard to argue anyone else. Brady has revolutionized modern day athletic training and lifestyle choices as we know them. He continues to be a top performer even at age 40. There seems to be no drop off and absolutely zero gradual decline. I would argue he’s even gotten better as he ages. He has truly solidified himself as the greatest football player of all time, and he’s still chasing more. Why not? He may become the greatest athlete of all time.

Tom Brady
NBA: Kevin Durant
For as much hate as Kevin Durant has received over the last few years, he is the NBA player of the year for just that reason. He is perhaps the face of the sport right now. While Lebron James will always remain the King, KD has made a run for the crown. While he didn’t have the stats of a Russell Westbrook, Durant was still the key component that pushed the Warriors over the mountain and to another ring. KD won this award for one simple reason. Even if you don’t watch the NBA you know the name: Kevin Durant, snake, traitor, cupcake, Finals MVP, and quite possibly – the next face of the NBA.

kd
NHL: Connor McDavid
Has Connor McDavid set the league on fire this season? Not yet. This award pertains to last season though, a season where McDavid scored 30 goals and put up 70 assists for a grand total of 100 points. On top of that, he won the league MVP and took a playoff destitute team to the brink of making the Western Conference Finals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. McDavid has become the next face of the NHL. Crosby may have won the championship, but McDavid has defined the NHL’s next generation of player. Flashy, fast, fun, and impossible to slow down.

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MLB: Aaron Judge
Part of what made baseball the sport of the year, the emergence of the face of the sport. Aaron Judge quickly became the face of the Yankees and rejuvenated a franchise that had been largely dormant over the last few years. Judge brought the perfect mix of power and constant buzz-factor every time he stepped to the plate, and respect for the game so crotchety old baseball writers could root for him as well. Judge was on a historic pace through the first half of the season and had one of the greatest Home Run Derby performances of all time. Even though Judge slowed down over the span of the second half he remained a major staple of the MLB landscape. Judge might just be the next Jeter.

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PSF Athlete of the Year: Russell Westbrook
This really wasn’t close. The members of the PSF staff all voted on their favorite athlete of the year based on performance. Westbrook was chosen by sixty three percent of the staff and received 20 of 32 votes. The next closest? Tom Brady with just 7 votes. Westbrook had the best season a point guard has ever had. Breaking the record for the most triple-doubles in a season and being only the second player in NBA history to average a triple double over an entire season. These weren’t just 10-10-10 nights either. Westbrook posted the highest scoring triple-double in NBA history (57 points), put up a career-high 22 assists in a triple-double, and posted a career-high 58 points. It’s hard to argue for anyone else on the candidate list after what Russ did last year.

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2017 was a great year for sports. We can’t wait to keep you tuned here at PSF for 2018, here’s to an awesome sports year! Stay tuned!

 

NHL Weekly Recap: The Suddenly Surging Rangers and a Recap of the Duchene Trade.

1. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the best team in hockey and it might not even be close. The Lightning routed the streaking kings 5-2 Wednesday night as Nikita Kucherov scored his sixteenth goal of the year for Tampa. Yes, Saint Louis is playing well right now as well but I truly believe the Lightning are the number one team in the NHL especially when you can punish a good all-around team like the Kings the way they did. Not to mention that was with backup netminder Peter Budaj.

 
2. The New York Rangers have recovered from an early-season stumble and regained balance. It doesn’t hurt that Kevin Shattenkirk and Rick Nash have really started heating up over the past week. Not to mention depth scoring gained by players like Jimmy Vesey who had two goals against the Bruins on Wednesday. Though Henrick Lundqvist has given up 9 goals over the past 3 games that is less an indictment of him then it is the way the league is in 2017. It is rare to see a goalie with a GAA below 2.50 anymore just because right now it truly is a scorer’s league.

 
3. The Oilers have saved their season with back to back OT on their road trip. Connor McDavid’s beautiful OT Winner against the Islanders and his fantastic pass to Leon Draisaital to be the Devils in OT on Thursday night have been the difference. The problem for the Oilers though has been finding scoring from other players not named McDavid. Anton Slepyshev got off the snide against the Devils scoring his first goal of the season. Milan Lucic has three goals but is old and slow, a great grinder but no longer a playmaker. The Oil need to make a move this season to get another depth piece, a name that comes to mind is Mitch Marner who has seemingly been shelved in Toronto.

 
4. After a brief stumble, the Leafs are playing well and winning with depth Scoring. Over the past two games, Nazem Kadri has 3 goals. Not to mention Connor Brown who has 7 goals this year after being promoted to the third line. The Leaf’s are finding new ways to win, something the great teams find a way to do.

 
5. The Jets are suddenly a surging team in the central. You could talk about Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, and Nikolaj Ehlers who have a combined 50 points but the credit has to go to Connor Hellebuyck. The Jets brought in Steve Mason so Connor could develop and Mason massively flopped. Now Hellebuyck is the starter and the kid has put up fantastic numbers 2.12 Goals Against Average and a 93 save percentage. Pair that with 8 wins and no regulation losses, and 2 OT losses, Winnipeg is soaring.

 
6. Of course, we can’t forget the blockbuster deal that went down this week. Let’s break down who went where first: Defenseman prospect Samuel Girard to Colorado
Forward prospect Vladislav Kamenev to Colorado
Forward prospect Shane Bowers to Colorado
Goaltender Andrew Hammond to Colorado
2018 first-round pick from Ottawa to Colorado (with a condition!)
2018 second-round pick from Nashville to Colorado
2018 third-round pick from Ottawa to Colorado
Kyle Turris to Nashville
Matt Duchene to Ottawa
Now some winners and losers in this trade. Winner, the Colorado Avalanche, Joe Sakic Fleeced the Predators of two draft picks for nothing in return. Andrew Hammond another big winner in this trade Hammond is a great goalie, in my opinion, had that great playoff run a few years back and here is a bold prediction, the rebuilding Aves trade Varlymov next. Loser, the Senators, yes you got Matt Duchene but only for a year before his contract expires. You also gave up your future for the next three years. The Sens have to win the cup this year or next for this trade to be considered a success.

 
7. The top 5 teams of the week
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Toronto Maple Leaf’s
3. Saint Louis Blues
4. New York Rangers
5. Edmonton Oilers

The Top Ten NHL teams after Ten Games

We are now ten games through the NHL season so instead of a what we learned this week instead here are the top ten teams after ten games.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning: There really cannot be any debate about the one spot. The lightning night in and night out put up fantastic performances and the league’s leading point scorer, Steven Stamkos (21) and the league’s leading Goal scorer Nikita Kucherov (12) both have spots on this team. The Lightning have a tough stretch of games to start November, the Kings, Blue Jackets and Sharks but the lightning have already played some of the league’s toughest competition early. Right now there isn’t really a weakness on this team.

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2. Los Angeles Kings: Johnathan Quick is the best goal tender in the league again after a fluke 2016. Quick has a 1.88 goals against average and 2 shut outs. The Kings offense is there too. 36 goals for and a smoking hot Anze Kopitar who has 7 goals leading the team. However, while Kopitar’s stats don’t stand out they exemplify the tremendous depth on this team. 11 different Kings players have goals and 3 have five or more.

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3. Vegas Golden Knights: Do I expect this team to be in this spot ten games from now? No. They fully deserve this right now though the Knights are 8-1-0 one of the greatest starts for a first-year franchise in NHL history. Their doing it without their number one goaltender Marc Andre Fleury who has been out since game four of the Season. There are no all-stars on this team, but James Neal is an NHL vet and a fantastic leader. This team has chemistry and some time that can make up for lack of talent in the NHL.
4. Saint Louis Blues: Coach Mike Yeo has taken the success from the last half of the 2016 season and translated it into instant success in 2017. Jade Schwartz is the non Lightning NHL points leader with 17. Not to mention the fantastic early play of Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pitrangelo, both have 12 points. Jake Allen continues to be one of my favorite goalies to watch week in and week out. Colton Pareyko and Vince Dunn head up a solid defensive core for the Blues.

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5. Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins have a major problem at goal tender. Specifically their back up Antti Niemi who seemingly only gives up 6 goal games. A backup with some 7.50 goals against average is a recipe for disaster if Matt Murray gets hurt. However, the offense looks just as good as ever so the Penguins plug into the five spot, but there are weaknesses this year.

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6. Ottawa Senators: 41 goals and a top 5 pk in the league plus a high-flying Craig Anderson equal a team with promise. Not to mention they won 3 in a row without Erik Karlson that doesn’t happen most years.
7. Toronto Maple Leaf’s: The most fun, fastest team to watch in hockey has major defensive problems. The Leaf’s only regulation losses this year have come by a score of 6-3 that is a major problem. However, they are the second highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference right now. So, they can hide their deficiencies from the depth scoring of Connor Brown and William Nylander.

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8. New Jersey Devils: Another team no one thought would start this hot also has big defensive problems. Yesper Bratt has been a surprise though and the Devils are winning games so they grab a top ten spot.
9. Columbus Jackets: Sergei Bobrovsky has another hot start. Sonny Milano is suddenly a semi star in the NHL with 6 points.
10. Nashville Predators: There was a Stanley Cup hangover and then they woke right up. Thanks to Filip Foresbergs 12 points and Pk Subbans 9 points.

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Honorable Mentions: Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks.

NHL Week 2 Recap: Lightning Strike and Devils Blaze to Top 5 Team of the Week Spots

1. Nikita Kucherov and the Lightnings hot week: There may be no hotter team in the league right now than the Tampa Bay lightning. The Lightning have won two of their three games this week and there only loss came while picking up points in a shootout with another red hot eastern conference team in the New Jersey Devils. The Lightning are winning with everything. Nikita Kucherov is the hottest scorer in the NHL right now with 8 points in his last five games. Andrei Vasilevskiy has a shutout and a 2.57 GAA through 7 games played making him one of the hottest goalies in the league right now.

 
2. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the best offensive team in hockey right now with 34 goals over two weeks. Its incredibly impressive you start to worry about them cooling off at the wrong time but with Auston Matthews and newly promoted center Connor Brown the Leaf’s look unstoppable. Fredrick Anderson also looks to be figuring things out and had a shutout against the Capitols this week.

 
3. The New Jersey Devils are a fast young exciting team to watch: Nico Hischier scored his first 2 NHL goals against the Senators late this week, boy the Sens sure do like giving rookies big debuts against them, the Devils Yesper Bratt and Taylor Hall are just two more hot players this team has right now. It also helps that they have Corey Schneider in goal who has four wins in 6 appearances. This team is going to lean hard on the offense and though it may not work down the stretch in the beginning it sure is fun to watch.

 
4. Struggles in the old guard: To move to the new you must discard the old. The New York Rangers Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins are off to rough starts. The roughest of which is the Canadiens 1 win 6 regulation losses and 1 overtime loss does not bode well in one of the most hockey hungry markets in the league. Everything is going wrong for this team and I’ve been preaching a steep decline for years. If you lean on Carey Price this heavily and get no scoring pieces on your team eventually Price will break down. The Stats speak to that 33 goals against in 8 games. Perhaps its time for a rebuild in Montreal, that Starts with trading Carey Price for a king’s ransom for a team that feels they are a goal tender away. What about Calgary?

 
5. So much excitement in the east but don’t forget the west: The front runner right now is Saint Louis. Over the last week the Blues have two wins over two key division opponents. A 5-2 smoking of the Black hawks that featured a Jaden Schwartz hat trick and a 4-3 win on Thursday over the Avalanche who suddenly look like the team we thought they would be. The Blues are a top the central and cruising.

 
6. The Nashville Predators are back to the Nashville Predators: After a rocky start for the Stanley Cup runner ups this week everything really started clicking for the Preds. Who have won two straight and stole a point away from the Blackhawks in an overtime loss. The Puck movement is so much better looking this year and Pekka Rinne is silently having a Vienza year start.

 
7. The top five teams of week 2:
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Toronto Maple Leaf’s
3. Saint Louis Blues
4. New Jersey Devils
5. Los Angeles Kings

Week 1 NHL Takeaways: Hawks, Capitals, and Leafs hot Starts

1. The Great eights nine goals: In just the first week of the season Alexander Ovechkin has 9 goals and one assist. Ovechkin is off to one of the hardest starts of his career and if he keeps his current pace could score over 150 points. A long way to go but it’s a good start for the Russian whose team is now 3-1-1 and has the second most goals for (21) in the Eastern conference.
2. Toronto kids putting up all kind of goals: The Leaf’s have the most goals in the east currently with 22. The Leaf’s are averaging 5 goals a game, the best in the league. Leading the way is Auston Matthews with 3 goals and 3 assists. The Maple Leaf’s have had the hottest start in the Eastern conference as far as team goal scoring goes, 13 different Leaf’s players have goals and 19 Leaf’s players have assists. Frederick Anderson hasn’t had the best start to the season however allowing 16 goals in 4 starts thus far. That can partially be blamed on a defense that allowed a 3 on 5 shorthanded goal against the Devils, how? It’s one of the craziest things you’ll ever see in hockey.

Matthews
3. The Black Hawks of Stanley cup 2010s dynasty are back: Throw out a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota wild and the Blackhawks had the best first week of the NHL by far. The Hawks have a league high 23 goals and 10 of them came during a waxing of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Patrick Kane is playing some of the Best hockey of his Career right now. The Kanester gangsta has 7 points (2 goals 5 assists ) in 5 games. The Way he plays is so fast and precise look no farther than the spinorama assist to Nick Schmaltz or his beautiful no look backhand behind the net assist to Ryan Hartman and don’t forget his full speed beauty of a backhand snipe into the far-left corner from the bottom of the right faceoff dot. That was all in one game, against the penguins, come to think of it Patrick Kane loves the backhand.

 
4. Edmonton’s hot start and then collapse: The Oilers played their best game of the last two years against the flames in a 3-0 white wash. Then they collapsed, hard a bad 3-2 loss to the Canucks in which Cam Talbot was pulled in the early second when he let in the 3rd goal. A loss to the Jets where Nichola Ehlers scored a hat trick in a 5-2 win for Winnipeg was the nail in the coffin of an awful start for the Oilers. Side note here Connor Hellebuyck has played wonderfully for the Jets who were embarrassed by Steven Mason letting in 7 goals in the first game of the season. Hellebuyck has earned the Job in Winnipeg.
5. The Colorado Avalanche are out preforming expectations early: Former first overall pick and widely regarded draft bust Nail Yakupov is proving everyone wrong. Yakupov has 5 points in five games and along with Matt Duchesne the Aves have started 4-1 impressive for a team some didn’t expect to win even 30 games.

 
6. A great start for the Golden Knights and a great story for Vegas: After the awful tragedy earlier this month the Knight’s have played with an emotion of an entire city driving them forward and are 3-1. James Neal has been the driving force for Vegas as far as scoring is concerned with 6 goals in 4 games and Marc Andre Fluery has carried the Goaltending load starting every game thus far, as he may be asked to do this season wouldn’t shock me if he started 64 games, with a 92% save percentage and 2 goals against average. It’s an awesome story and hopefully the Knights can continue to be successful and bring their community together.

 
7. Top 5 teams of the week.
1. Chicago Blackhawks
2. Washington Capitals
3. Toronto Maple Leaf’s
4. Colorado Avalanche
5. New Jersey Devils

PSF NHL Season Preview

1. Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Nashville Predators
3. Edmonton Oilers
4. Ottawa Senators
5. Tampa Bay Lightning
Two big suprises in this top 5 that shouldn’t be. Nashville at two, James Neal and Collin Wilson were the only losses for this team in the offseason. What’s holding them back from making the playoffs and having another run for the cup? Second surprise, Tampa Bay. They shouldn’t be they lost one of the top five forwards in the league for most of their season last year and they still fought for a playoff spot. With Steven Stamkos back I one hundred percent believe this team can return to the cup chase.
6. Washington Capitals
7. Chicago Blackhawks
8. Toronto Maple Leafs
9. Montreal Canadiens
10. Minnesota Wild
The most interesting tear of the power rankings and most intriguing in my opinion. After a disappointing playoff exit yet again the Capitals decided to go with youth rather than veteran depth. In Chicago the Blackhawks shipped of Artemi Panarin and lost Marion Hossa to a skin issue that has his playing career in question. The Hawks gained back Brandon Saad, Chicago is clearly aware they have slipped from the NHL dynasty conversation recently and are loading up for a deep playoff run. Toronto has a ton of pressure on them but brought in vets like Patrick Marleau to bring veteran calm to a young locker room, the scary part is Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Morgan Rielly can only get better. The Canadiens finally went and addressed the offense with the acquisition of Johnathan Drouin and Minnesota ditched vets for younger depth like Tyler Ennis. Any of these teams could make a potential surprise run at the Presidents trophy and all should be considered Cup contenders.
11. Boston Bruins
12. Saint Louis Blues
13. Anaheim Ducks
14. Columbus Blue Jackets
15. New York Rangers
What do three of these five teams have in common? They are getting old. The Ducks offensive core with Perry and Getzlaf is still dangerous but they might start slowing down soon. The Rangers are no spring chickens either and Hendrick Lundqvuist only has so many years left. If the Rangers, Ducks, and Blues want to win a cup the window is rapidly closing.
16. Winnipeg Jets
17. San Jose Sharks
18. New York Islanders
19. Calgary Flames
20. Los Angeles Kings
Winnipeg is incredibly fast young and talented. That usually spells success in the NHL they got Steve Mason to shore up that goaltending situation it’s about time we take Winnipeg seriously as a playoff contender. Jordan Eberle joins an Islanders team in need of a bounce back year if they want to convince John Tavares to re-sign. Anders lee shores up a talented first line the question for the Islanders is there defense. Nick Leddy and Dennis Siedenberg aren’t necessarily the dream set of top two defenseman.
21. Florida Panthers
22. Philadelphia Flyers
23. Carolina Hurricanes
24. New Jersey Devils
25. Buffalo Sabres
Florida and Philadelphia will challenge for playoff spots. Lookout for Buffalo to be sneaky competitive Jack Eichel jus keeps getting better. Jason Borterelli sorting out a mess of a locker room will certainly help to.
26. Dallas Stars
27. Arizona Coyotes
28. Vancouver Canucks
29. Vegas Golden Knights
30. Detroit Red Wings
31. Colorado Avalanche
My father is an Aves fan so it pains me to put his team here but it is where they belong. At the bottom of the league. Matt Duchesne is most likely traded by midseason, the rebuild will be hard and long. The argument could be made Dallas should be in the low 20s but they have to prove they have improved first in my opinion.

Devan Dubnyk

Playoff teams
East
Pittsburgh Penguins
Tampa Bay Lightning
Washington Capitals
Ottawa Senators
Toronto Maple Leaf’s
Montreal Canadiens
Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Islanders
West
Edmonton Oilers
Chicago Blackhawks
Nashville Predators
Minnesota Wild
Saint Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets
Anaheim Ducks
Calgary Flames
Play off Predictions
East
Round 1
Pittsburgh vs New York Islanders
Though the Islanders will come in hot the Penguins have the experience and beat the Isles in 7.
Washington vs Columbus
The Blue Jackets have matured into something more than just a surprise team by the end of the year. The Capitals have lost there veteran depth and playoff chokes are what they do. The Blue Jackets “stun” the Capitals in 6.
Tampa Bay vs Montreal
Tampa makes its triumphant return to the playoffs with a bang. Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos become the leaders of this team and shut former Tampa sniper Johnathan Drouin down. Carey Price can’t do enough to win the series. Lightning in 5
Toronto vs Ottowa
Toronto’s young talent skates circles around Ottawa’s vets after dropping the first two games, Maple Leafs in 6.
Round 2
Pittsburgh vs Columbus
Columbus continues its hot streak and Joh Tortorella out coaches Mike Sullivan the Blue Jackets eliminate the kings of hockey in 7.
Tampa Bay vs Toronto
An extremely high scoring series that comes down to game 7 but Frederick Anderson closes the door on the series and the Maple Leafs go to the conference finals.
Eastern Conference Finals
Toronto vs Columbus
Wow neither of these teams are expected to be in this game what are you doing? Are the NHL playoffs ever what we expect? No that’s what makes them great. I love hockey for that reason and I love a hot Toronto to win in 7. Toronto the east rep to the Stanley Cup Finals.

crosby
West
Round 1
Chicago vs Winnipeg
While the Jets give the Hawks a scare Joe Quenville isn’t going to be embarrassed in the first round again, Blackhawks in 6.
Edmonton vs Minnesota
The Oilers are the number 3 team in the power rankings but they aren’t the number one seed going into the playoffs so they play the first wild card Minnesota. McDavid and the Oilers aren’t challenged though and the Oil take it in 5.

Nashville vs Saint Louis
Nashville is bigger badder and now more experienced they may not win the cup but they sweep the Blues.
Anaheim vs Calgary
Johnny Hockey and the flames win there first playoff series since 2014, Calgary in 6.
Round 2
Chicago vs Nashville
A fast furious and nasty series that goes the distance, the Preds were a great story but great stories don’t happen two years in a row usually. The Blackhawks win in 7.
Edmonton vs Calgary
Connor Mcdavid and a more experienced core win in 5 games.
Western Conference Finals
Chicago vs Edmonton
There are some things that just don’t change I am an Oilers fan but I am also a realist the Blackhawks went out and made a statement this offseason, they aren’t here to look flashy there here to win a cup. Chicago wins in 7 games.

PK Subban
Stanley Cup Finals
Chicago vs Toronto
The Blackhawks don’t show for game one of the series, then wake up for the next two, Mike Babcok can coach a team though and the Maple Leafs win there first cup since the 1964 season.
Champions
Toronto Maple Leafs

Matthews

Flyers Roster Outlook for 2017-18

The Flyers struck gold on April 29th, 2017. They were expected to pick 13th in the NHL Entry Draft, but defied the odds. They didn’t win the lottery, but they did the next best thing. They moved from 13th all the way up to 2nd. It was the biggest jump in the league’s lottery history. There was a 2.4 percent chance the Flyers would move up, but it happened. And with that 2nd pick in the draft, the Flyers selected center Nolan Patrick, who lots of experts say was the best player in the draft.

With the addition of Patrick, the Flyers are also expected to have two rookies start on defense this season. Obviously trades and signings could still happen, but according to Hextall it doesn’t sound like he’s going to make a move before the season starts. Players could also get injured, but barring any injuries, the Flyers defense will consist of Ivan Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere, Radko Gudas, Andrew MacDonald, and Brandon Manning. Manning is expected to be the 7th man, which means the Flyers have two open spots in the starting lineup. Look for rookies Sam Morin and Robert Hagg. Both were 2013 draft picks of the Flyers. Morin was taken in the first round, and Hagg was picked in the second. They each made their NHL debuts last season, as they both got their feet wet playing a game each. Don’t count out Travis Sanheim, either. If he has a good training camp, he could beat out one of the other two rookies.

The Flyers will have a new goaltending tandem this season. That’s nothing new. As any hockey fan knows, the Flyers have had goalie problems since the ’90s. Since 2010, when they lost to the Blackhawks in the finals and their goaltending was atrocious, they’ve used 10 different goalies, which is A LOT in just 7 years. They signed former Flames goalie Brian Elliot to a two-year deal. He’s coming off an up and down season. He started off the season slow, then played great the last couple months of the season, but struggled in the playoffs. Elliot led the NHL in save percentage in the 2011-12  season, as well as the 2015-16 season. He’s expected to split time with Michael Neuvirth. Anthony Stolarz will likely be recalled if either of the two ever get injured. Steve Mason, who has been the starting goalie for the Flyers for the past couple seasons has moved on, signing a new contract with the Jets. Mason was very good his first two and a half seasons in Philly, but was inconsistent in the last two years, and it was clear he wasn’t happy with how coach Dave Hakstol used him.

The forward core is where things get interesting. The Flyers made a few interesting moves this offseason. Brayden Schenn, who was 2nd on the team in goals, was traded to the Blues for Jori Lehtera and two high draft picks. The team also traded Nick Cousins to the Coyotes for a draft pick and minor leaguer. They lost Pierre Eduard-Bellemare to the Vegas Golden Knights. Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier, Valtteri Filppula, Travis Konecny, Jordan Weal, and Michael Raffl will all be in the starting lineup, as long as nobody gets injured. Jori Lehtera, Matt Read, and Dale Weise are three overpaid players, but will probably be on the roster. Whether they make the starting lineup is a different story. Nolan Patrick, who the Flyers selected 2nd overall, will likely be on the team, but he is only 18 (will be 19 when the season starts) and he’ll have to earn his spot. Oskar Lindblom is a rookie from Sweden, who has a good chance to make the team, but it won’t be given to him. Michael Vecchione and Scott Laughton will battle it out in camp to see who gets the last roster spot. Don’t count out Taylor Leier, who if he has a good preseason, could push his way onto the roster. The team really needs Giroux to have a bounce back season. The captain had a down year, scoring just 14 goals and 58 points. They need him to get back to scoring 70+ points or they don’t have much of a chance at the playoffs.

This would be my roster/lineup going into the season:

Weal-Giroux-Simmonds

Filppula-Patrick-Voracek

Lindblom-Couturier-Konecny

Raffl-Laughton-Lehtera

 

Provorov-Gudas

Gostisbehere-Morin

Hagg-MacDonald

Matt Read and Dale Weise would be my healthy scratches. Mike Veccione and Taylor Leier would be sent to the Phantoms, the minor league affiliate of the Flyers. Brandon Manning would be my scratched/7th defenseman. Elliot would be my starting goalie, backed up by Neuvirth. This training camp looks to be an exciting one for the Flyers.

Twitter: @travieballin26

Rank ‘Em: the 4 Major Sports Drafts

Draft season is coming to a close with the MLB, NBA, and NHL drafts finishing up as soon as yesterday. NFL was a few months before them. That being said, we probably all have the same outlook on each draft. NFL and NBA have almost the same amount of hype leading up to it, but the NBA only has 2 rounds, you start saying “who?” after the first 3 picks in the NHL draft, and in the MLB draft, you hear the name now but forget it until 2 years later. They all have their flaws and riches, but whose at the top? (P.S These are all opinionated so you may not agree.)

4. MLB

This is an easy one. Even if you love college baseball, then there is still no way you keep a high alert of the players your team drafted. Even the #1 overall pick won’t be seen in the big leagues until 2-3 years later. Maybe even more. The worst thing about the MLB draft is that if the player drafted isn’t finished with college, he has an option to stay for another year and get redrafted later. AFTER HE WAS ALREADY DRAFTED. I like the NBA and NFL rule in which if the player does not have an agent then he is able to withdraw BEFORE being drafted. Baseball is my favorite sport, but I don’t think you could force me to watch this draft.

3. NHL

The NHL draft is a huge jump from the MLB draft. At worst, the guys drafted past the 1st round are likely to remain in the minors for only a year. The first rounder is almost guaranteed to play his first year. One thing that separates the NHL draft from the NBA and NFL, is that besides the first few picks, no one has ever heard of the players. The broadcasting of college basketball and football make these players known. The lack of knowledge in the leagues below or above college really makes us wonder. But watching the NHL draft you are bound to say, “who?” a few times. Except for that Auston Matthews guy.

2. NBA

Number 1 and 2 could go either way. I only have one reason why I have to give the NBA 2nd. Busts. Too many of them. In the NBA, you almost know who will be a bust right out of college. It’s usually the players who leave after their freshman year. I think we’ll see more surprises than busts this year. Being a Bulls fan is exactly why I prefer the NFL draft over the NBA draft. It could go either way for me though and I could argue for each way.

1. NFL

It was a toss up, but I had to go with the NFL draft as the best draft in all of pro sports. Guys get to build year on year without worrying about being sent down. Plus, it’s right away, no D-League, no minors, nothing. Except if you’re put into a camp, which is not for development. Every pick matters as well because you almost get more value at a certain position you need. All the surprising move ups, and picks is what sets the NFL different from the others. Of course, again, you could argue it either way. The NFL is just more hyped up because we all need football in our lives.

These rankings aren’t based on this year. Just overall. If it was based off this year I would have to put the NBA draft at 1st.

 

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writer: @rycago

NHL 18 Gameplay And Cover Reveal 6/21 at NHL Award Ceremony – Pro Sports Fandom

During the NHL Awards Ceremony at 8PM EST/5PM PT, we will get the first real look at gameplay in NHL 18.  We will also get to see which player(s) make it onto the cover.

NHL 17 was a very solid game, although it did have some bugs that continued to never get fixed.  NHL 18 looks promising however, and EA will get it right this time.

If you are a normal Competitive Series player, you probably have faced booters/desyncers.  Although nothing has really been done yet, look for that to change and people who cheat at the game and exploit bugs to get banned.  EA has said they will do something about it, but they just have not gotten to it yet for some reason.

One handed dekes will be back in the game! Guys, EA finally listened to the community here! It’s a small start, hopefully they continue to listen to one of the most loyal fanbases of gamers out there.

Along with an action packed night, we will be able to see the full roster of the Las Vegas Golden Knights as their selections from each team will be announced during the awards show tonight as well.

I’m extremely excited to see who makes the cover for NHL18 at NHL Awards, as is every NHL fan.