The start of the 2011-2012 NHL regular season is upon us. So it's that time again to try and predict who will finish where this season. A decade ago, only 18-20 teams had a real shot of making the playoffs, so it was easier to predict. Now, with a salary cap and parody throughout the league, you have just as much a chance of thoroughly plotting out who will get in correctly as you do of picking who makes it by pulling names out of a hat. So here's how I think the conferences will look after all 1,230 games have been completed.
1-Philadelphia Flyers-Why they're in-Despite a surprising overhaul in the offseason, their defense and goaltending will be too strong for them not to be around the top of the East.
2-Boston Bruins-Why they're in-Keeping as many pieces of a Stanley Cup winning team as they did only means another successful year.
3-Washington Capitals-Why they're in-This team has proven again and again that they are excellent in the regular season.
4-Pittsburgh Penguins-Why they're in-Crosby or not, this team proved last year with both Crosby and Malkin out that they can still compete, which they'll do again this year.
5-Buffalo Sabres-Why they're in-A solid team only got stronger in the offseason with key additions and has the best roster since the last season both Drury and Briere were on the team.
6-New York Rangers-Why they're in-Added the most sought after free agent in the summer and still have one of the best goaltenders in the league.
7-Tampa Bay Lightning-Why they're in-Too much fire power will make up for any off nights had by the defense or goaltending.
8-Montreal Canadiens-Why they're in-Carey Price plays big enough for a team of talented, although undersized forwards.
Earlier today 19 players were sent down to AHL Bridgeport as the Islanders made their second round of cuts today.
The Isles sent down forwards Michael Haley, Sean Backman, Casey Cizikas, Justin DiBenedetto, Brett Gallant, Tomas Marcinko, Tyler McNeely, Tony Romano, David Ullstrom and Tim Wallace. Defensemen Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan, Anton Klementyev, Aaron Ness, Benn Olson and Ty Wishart. And goalies Mikko Koskinen, Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin.
The biggest surprise of today’s cuts was the demotion of Michael Haley. Haley was not officially sent to Bridgeport until 12pm, the other 18 players were sent down earlier in the morning. Haley didn’t help his cause during the game against the Devils where he took several bad penalties. He racked up 26 penalty minutes in the 2011 preseason, along with tallying one assist.
Also hearing that some fans were surprised with the Calvin de Haan being sent down. After seeing him in camp this year de Haan still could use some touching up and the AHL will be a good spot for him. And there is no doubt that he will be called up at some point this season to make his NHL debut.no comments
The Islanders wrap up the preseason tonight in Bridgeport, Connecticut taking on the Boston Bruins. The Bruins beat the Isles in the first preseason game in Boston, 6-3, back on September 23.
Evgeni Nabokov gets the start for the Isles and Al Montoya will play back up for tonight’s game. Expect to see Montoya to get some playing time tonight. This will be the final opportunity for both net minders to show what they’ve got.
Here is the Isles lineup for tonight’s game:
Matt Moulson-John Tavares-PA Parenteau
Kyle Okposo-Frans Nielsen-Michael Grabner
Blake Comeau-Marty Reasoner-Micheal Haley
Jay Pandolfo-Casey Cizikas-Josh Bailey
Mark Streit-Mike Mottau
Andrew MacDonald-Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton-Dylan Reese
Tonight’s game will start at 7pm and will be streamed live on the Islanders website.no comments
The Islanders fell to the Devils, 1-0, at the Prudential Center. The game itself wasn’t monumental, but there were some interesting developments that happened in the 60-minute battle.
In the battle to see who will get the starting job in net for the Islanders, Rick Dipietro may have solidified his spot as the number one. Dipietro had another solid performance, stopping 20 of 21 shots for a save percentage of .952. He was not tested to often, but did make several nice saves including an impressive glove save on Adam Henrique during an Islanders penalty kill. The performance by Dipietro should solidify his spot as the number one goaltender, unless Evgeni Nabokov or Al Montoya has an outstanding performance tomorrow against the Bruins.
In an unfortunate turn of events Nino Niederreiter suffered a groin injury and left the game early in the second period. The team will evaluate him tomorrow. It was widely believed that Niederreiter would make the Islanders roster out of training camp, but that could be put on hold depending on the severity of the injury.
The Islanders played of their most penalty filled games of the preseason. Michael Haley took seven of the eleven Islander penalties. Most of which were penalties that could have been avoided. To add to it, Ryan Strome received a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding during the final minutes of the game. There is concern that the play could be reviewable by the league and Strome could face supplemental discipline.
The Islanders final preseason game will take place tomorrow when they host the Boston Bruins at Bridgeport, Connecticut.no comments
The New York Islanders have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with defenseman Steve Staios.
Staios, who originally was attending the Islanders Training Camp on a tryout basis, has played in each of the Islanders three preseason games this month and is set to dress against the New Jersey Devils tonight at 7 p.m. at the Prudential Center.
The Hamilton, ON native has played in 936 career National Hockey League games, scoring 56 goals and 156 assists for 212 points. He has also accumulated 1,269 penalty minutes over the course of his 15-year NHL career.
Staios, originally drafted in the second round (27th overall) of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, played the last two seasons with the Calgary Flames. In 57 games, he totaled four goals and nine assists for 13 points.
He played in 573 games over the course of eight seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. Staios recorded 35 goals and 111 assists with the Oilers. The 6’1, 200 pound defenseman also played two seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers, three with the Vancouver Canucks and two with the Boston Bruins.
Internationally, Staios has represented Team Canada at the 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007 World Championships. He tallied two goals and four assists for six points in 33 games.
Matt Moulson-John Tavares-Nino Niederreiter
Kyle Okposo-Frans Nielsen-Michael Grabner
Jay Pandolfo-Ryan Strome-Tim Wallace
Matt Martin-Josh Bailey-Trevor Gillies
Mark Streit-Steve Staios
Mark Eaton-Milan Jurcina
Aaron Ness-Travis Hamonic
Al Montoya, Kevin Poulinno comments