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Found 137 results

  1. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 36 Matthews$, Offer Sheets, Pettersson Slam and Teams in Trouble Brad Burud and Blake Friars are fired up to talk Austin Matthews money. Is his future in Toronto? How much will he get paid? Can the Leafs afford him? What is the chance of an offer sheet on him or William Nylander? Then they dive (or slam) into the Elias Pettersson injury and what should happen. Suspension or not? Well its not a secret that they disagree on this one… Actually they totally disagree. Then to wrap things up they discuss what teams have played themselves into trouble this early in the season. PODCAST
  2. INSIDE EDGE HOCKEY NEWS – RADIO SHOW | EPISODE 10 Player Survey, Calgary Flames Outlook, and Dirtiest Player Brad Burud talks about a NHL player survey done by Kevin Allen of USA Today. What do players think about concussions, surprise teams, expansion, and the potential lockout. The answers may just surprise you. Then Auddie James joins the show to breakdown the Calgary Flames. The positives and negatives and expectations for this season. Other NHL news such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary arena problems, and sports collectables. Then in this episodes poll we breakdown the dirtiest players in the league. PODCAST
  3. The Instigator |Episode 16 1,260,162 Thank You’s to the NHL Well the wildly overpaid goon for the Washington Capitals is back at it again, but this time the National Hockey League makes him pay for it. In the Capitals final preseason game, forward Tom Wilson landed a vicious head shot on St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. The was needless and extremely dangerous. This time the NHL got the suspension right. PODCAST
  4. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 35 Hot Starts and Controversy The NHL season is one week old and its time for Brad Burud and Blake Friars to discuss what went down in week one of the season. Who is off to a hot start and who is struggling. Injuries are taking their toll on numerous teams. I think we are all in agreement when we say we are tired about hearing how great the Toronto Maple Leafs are…. we discuss. And, don’t forget the controversy. Gudbranson, Marchand and Byfuglien all walking a thin line. Check out THE DEBATE Hockey Podcast. PODCAST
  5. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 34 The Hot Seat, Injuries, and Young Roster Breakers Brad Burud and Blake Friars prep for the start of the NHL regular season. What coaches and general managers are on the hot seat. There are definitely a few that better be looking over their shoulder. Injuries have already plagued some teams heading in to night one of the regular season. Well preseason hockey is done and it was better than expected. The reason, the abundance of young talent. Blake and Brad talk young rookie roster breakers. Who makes it and who dose not. PODCAST
  6. #1 SAN JOSE SHARKS Coincidence is funny sometimes. A few hours before I was writing this article, news broke out that Erik Karlsson gets traded to the Sharks. I also had San Jose slotted in to go #1 even before the announcement of the blockbuster trade so this was mean’t to be. This team keeps finding ways to get good players on the team whether it’s trade or drafting, GM Doug Wilson gets the job done and he is the reason why the Sharks have been a consistently great team. Even with Thornton, Pavelski, Burns and Couture getting older, the Sharks keep drafting excellent talent that will back those players up and provide a great future for the club. Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi and even Kevin Labanc have provided great secondary support for Couture and Pavelski, who had average seasons compared to what they can achieve. The Sharks now have Evander Kane for a full season as well. He came in as a late season pick up from Buffalo and was able to fit in like a glove in Northern California. This is easily the best team the Sharks had on paper in many years and I’ll bet this team is better than the one they had in 2016 when they went to the Stanley Cup finals against the Penguins. Expect them to take advantage of a very weak Pacific division and tear up the Western conference. #2 CALGARY FLAMES The Flames I see as a team that can come together and play well as a cohesive unit if they put their mind to winning. The Flames have a very good team on paper but last year they had no emotion nor spark to drive them to a playoff spot. That prompted a shake up in the off-season as the Flames acquired two players who feel they have something to prove in Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. They’ll provide the fire the Flames need as it’s their last chance to prove they can play up to their potential. Dougie Hamilton and Michael Ferland were subsequently shipped to Carolina as a result of the trade. The Flames also signed James Neal, who has been to the Stanley Cup Finals in two straight seasons, offers character and an insight of what the finals are like. He’ll be an asset going forward. The Flames have a very good defensive core plus a fast, skilled, and speedy top 6 forward group. If they can find chemistry and get a good rhythm going, they’ll easily be a playoff team. I think they’ll struggle early on in the season but will find their groove from there on in. #3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS The best expansion season from a major league sports team in history is under the books and what a thrilling journey it was for the Vegas Golden Knights. The team of “Golden Misfits”, a team that had players that were outcasted by their former NHL clubs came together and played an incredible brand of hockey that nobody expected. Now we’re in year two and already this team is going through a shakeup. Perron and Neal are gone but they now have Pacioretty and Statsny. If you ask me, I think the latter is far more valuable than the former. Patches needs a rebound year and he’ll get one with Vegas without question. Fleury needs to continue to be his superstar self if Vegas wants to make the playoffs this season and I think he’ll be successful. He’s been better in the last 3 seasons than he has been his entire career. Signs point that he’s one of guys who goes through his prime later than most athletes. Luckily for Vegas, that time is now. It’ll be a tougher year for Vegas, as they can’t sneak on opponents anymore plus Nate Schmidt is suspended 20 games for a supposed drug violation. Schmidt was a valuable asset for Vegas last season and his services will be missed for the first quarter of the season. That’s unless they prove the suspension was unjust and reversed during training camp. #4 EDMONTON OILERS Last season, a lot of people have claimed high expectations that the Oilers were going to be a force to be reckoned with last season. Sadly for the Oilers, it didn’t come to be. McDavid was the only bright spot the Oilers had last season as he won the NHL scoring title even on an under-performing team. Not much has changed since the off-season and the same glaring holes in the Oilers weak spots are still there. The special teams were dreadful for the Oilers the prior season placing dead last on the powerplay and 25th on the penalty kill. Goaltending isn’t where it’s supposed to be and the defencemen for the club give opposing forwards too much space on the ice. A big positive is the fact that the Oilers have the best player in the world in Connor McDavid and studs such as Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Regardless, this team still needs a few areas improved if they want to be a playoff team and I doubt this year will be their year. #5 LOS ANGELES KINGS The Kings pride themselves by playing very sound defensive hockey. They were #1 in both goals against (203 GA) and penalty kill (85%) last season. When you’re the best at both of those categories, your defense is like a wall that can’t be run through or climbed over. Goaltender Jonathon Quick has been outstanding plus the coaching structure contributed to the success on defence. L.A. will continue to be great defensively but not as good as they were a year ago. It’s hard to see Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown continue their amazing play as they age. Even with Ilya Kovalchuk signed to a 3-year deal in July, teams like Calgary, St. Louis and San Jose have made strides ahead of L.A. this summer as they’ve acquired more impact players than the Kings. The team itself isn’t worse, but they did get 1 year older and in today’s game, age means a lot and is more crucial than ever before as players are having shorter careers because of how fast the game is played. Unfortunately, the Kings are not a fast skating team so that could be a problem for them. Signs indicate that this might be a trying time for the Kings this season. #6 ANAHEIM DUCKS The Ducks were one of the better defensive teams last season. They’re usually in the playoff hunt more times than not but were easily dismantled by the Sharks in 4 games last season during the Western conference quarter-finals last season. Fast forward 5 months and the Ducks haven’t changed their team very much. Their outlook isn’t overly favourable because Getzlaf and Perry are already 33 years old. Their best years are behind them. Kesler has a brutal hip injury he may not ever recover from. He may even miss the entire 18/19 season because of it. Their defensive core is in good shape and are a tough group for forwards to compete against but their depth up front is an issue. Rickard Rakell is Anaheim’s only bonafide goal scorer and besides Getzlaf, nobody on the Ducks scored over 50 points. The scoring won’t go up with the current group and that lack of offensive punch is what will bite the Ducks during the season. Goaltender John Gibson has to be outstanding in order to give the Ducks a chance but he is simply not a brick wall. Expect a downward trend for the Ducks this season. #7 ARIZONA COYOTES Another year, another chance of scoring a draft lottery pick. I want to be excited for the Coyotes. I really do. But, even for a rebuilding team, they don’t have a lot of high-end prospects. Dylan Strome is the exception and he has a fantastic opportunity to make the team this season. Clayton Keller can build off his successful rookie campaign plus Alex Galchenyuk is away from the drama that’s happening in Montreal. He has a chance at a fresh start and be an integral part of the Coyotes in the future. If the Yotes can get a win in their first 10 games of their regular season this season, they can consider themselves more successful compared to the same stage of last season. It took the Yotes 12 games to get their first victory and it took them 21 games to get their first win in regulation during the 17-18 campaign. Surely they can do better right? Let’s pray for them. #8 VANCOUVER CANUCKS Let’s face it, the Canucks suck. But, it’s not all that bad. Unlike bottom-feeders like the Coyotes, Habs or Senators, the Canucks have an amazing list of prospects that tell the tale of what the future is in store for them. Elias Petterson is an insanely great talent and will make the team out of camp (pending injuries of course) and Thatcher Demko is arguably the best goaltending prospect in the NHL. They also have a great defensive prospect in Olli Joulevi as well. They have players currently on the roster that are still growing in their own too. Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat shined last season and have a great opportunity to be the leaders of this club as the Sedin twins are now retired. The 2019 draft is in Vancouver next June and consensus is that the Canucks will be very involved in that draft. They might even score a lottery pick and draft Jack Hughes as their new franchise centerman. Regardless how Vancouver performs this season, the future is bright on the West Coast and they’ll be a great team once again. For more articles, predictions and more.... check out https://oilfieldjerseys.com/
  7. #1 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS The perennial offensive powerhouse is back and ready to attack once again for another exciting season coming our way! It was a relatively quiet off-season for the Pens but they didn’t need to make many moves. They signed Jack Johnson to a multi-year deal to shore up the blueline which is one of the team’s weak spots. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Pens make it to another Stanley Cup Final and what’s different this year compared to the last couple of seasons is that they’re on the outside looking in. They were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup winners, the Washington Capitals, in 6 games of the Eastern conference semi-finals. The Pens will be fresher because of the extra rest compared to years before when they won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. There’s no doubt Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and company will still be at the top of their game to cement another great season in the best era of Penguins history. They have the deadliest powerplay as they were ranked #1 in that department last year plus they were #5 on offense. There’s no reason why that won’t change as of right now. Look for some exciting, high-flying games by them, especially against the Flyers and the Capitals. Mark it on your calendar when they play! #2 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS This might come as a surprise to some but I think the Flyers have a team that is a force to be reckoned with. Giroux, Voracek and Couturier had outstanding seasons last year. With Nolan Patrick on the verge of a breakout plus the signing of James van Riemsdyk, they now have a very scary offense that has great mix of skill, physicality and speed. On the back end, Ivan Provorov has established himself as a solid two-defender for years to come and Gostibehere (aka Ghost Bear) had a terrific season as well. Ghost Bear’s numbers might see a dip but he’ll still put up big numbers from the back. The Flyers aren’t as deep as the top contending teams but from what they lack in depth they make up for in prospects. Carter Hart is arguably the top goaltending prospect in the league and he’ll get a shot at training camp. Defenseman, Phillipe Myers has a great shot at making the team as well as centerman, Morgan Frost, a very explosive skater. Penalty Killing and goaltending are Philly’s weak spots but with an improved roster from within, they will get better in those departments. Their offense should make up for those deficiencies. #3 WASHINGTON CAPITALS The 2018 Stanley Cup champions had a year to remember! After many disappointments and early playoff exits, they finally made their mark in history and Alex Ovechkin got his Stanley Cup; he hasn’t let the cup out of his sights or been sober ever since, haha. The Caps earned their first Stanley Cup by having the presence of two elite centers in Kuznetsov and Backstrom. In the past, the Caps didn’t have this luxury, which is why they too often eliminated early in the playoffs. Their rivals, the Penguins, always stacked themselves down the middle with Malkin and Crosby. That’s why the Penguins have 3 cups since 2009. The Caps still have their main core intact and they’ve signed D John Carlson to an extension this summer. They’ll be gunning for a second straight cup and their odds are terrific. #4 CAROLINA HURRICANES It was a down year in Carolina and another missed opportunity to make the playoffs. That has been the case for the last 8 season ever since they made the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins in 2009. But that was a long time ago and none of the guys that were on that team are here today. There was no distinguished strengths of that team as they ranked in the mid 20’s in goals for, goals against, powerplay and penalty killing against other teams in the league. What they did have right was their shots for/ shots against ratio. They peppered 2780 shots on goal while having 2367 shots against. Do you realize how good that is? They had 413 more shots on goal than against. That’s huge! The problem is that they couldn’t finish opportunities and Scott Darling did not play well for the Canes last season. They easily would of been a playoff team if Cam Ward simply played more games. Now that Ward is gone, Darling will get a second chance to see if he is worth the starter’s job. We’ll see how it goes but I think he’ll improve. I believe in second chances for opportunities like what Darling has, except for getting back together with your ex. I don’t believe in that at all. Carolina’s strength by far is their defensive core from #1 to #6. They just got Dougie Hamilton who is very gifted offensive from the backend. Jaccob Slavin is a defensive stalwart plus Faulk, Pesce and van Riemsdyk round out a pretty solid backend. The Canes lack star power and they’ve especially missed it last year. Now with Svechnikov in the picture, he’ll most likely make the team. He’s the Cane’s main weapon for the future and he’ll get his feet wet this season. If he turns out to be any good, he’ll make the Canes a better team immediately. This team is closer to being better than what a lot of people think and it won’t be surprising if they contend for a wild card spot in April of 2019. #5 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS If it wasn’t for Panarin (aka Pan Bread) or Bobrovsky (aka Boobtitsky) the Jackets wouldn’t have a chance to make the playoffs. Consistent scoring was a struggle for them last season despite Seth Jones had an outstanding year from the backend. A lot of players experienced big drop offs including Cam Atkinson and Nick Foligno. Luckily Pierre-Luc Dubois had a nice rookie season for them and played really well with Pan Bread late in the season. Ever since Tortorella has taken over the head coaching job in 2016, he turned this team around and established an identity by getting his team to play a gritty, hard-nosed, in-your-face brand of hockey. Although they have depth and character, they lack someone who can score all season long. Only Pan Bread can do it and the rest of the team has streaky scoring. Although I like this team on paper, they are one distraction or injury away from having a bad losing streak faltering their chances on missing the playoffs. Speaking of distractions, Panarin needs a contract and he won’t likely stay with the club. They’ll miss the playoffs, but just barely. #6 NEW JERSEY DEVILS The Devils made a terrific run in the season to make the last wild card seed in the Eastern Conference. That’s how Taylor Hall won the MVP trophy this season as he shouldered this team to the playoffs. Much like Columbus, Hall is the reason why the Devils made the playoffs just like how Panarin was the reason the Jackets were successful. The depth chart falls immediately after Hall. Nico Hishier is good and will be an elite center in a couple of seasons but he isn’t at his prime yet. The defensive core is probably the most average in the league. Will Buthcer had a great rookie season but he may have been over-acheiving just a bit. He could drop a few points but that’s ok, he’s still a lte round steal for the Devils. Vatanen looked good for the Devils last season but he won’t be carrying this club from the backend. The Devils were probably the luckiest team when it came to their goaltending situation. As Cory Schneider struggled, Keith Kinkaid bailed him out and played way above expectations earning himself the starter job. Much like the stock market when things go much better than expected, a course correction is in Order for the Devils. #7 NEW YORK RANGERS In a letter published in a local newspaper to Rangers fans from Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton on February 8th, 2018, they basically told fans that they’re rebuilding from the ground up and that marked a significant change in the Ranger’s destiny for the coming years on that day. Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, J.T Miller and Michael Grabner were shipped out at the trade deadline for prospects and future considerations. The full rebuild is in effect at the Big Apple. They were loaded with 10 picks at the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas, Texas including three first round draft picks. They selected forward Vitali Kravtsov with the 9th overall pick, defenseman K’Andre Miller with the 22nd overall pick, and defenseman Nils Lundkvist with the 28th overall pick. With those picks, they’ll have the deepest pool of prospects in a couple of years. As of now, the Rangers are in transition. Henrik Lundqvist needs an opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup and they’ll most likely have him shipped out somewhere by the trade deadline in 2019. The Rangers won’t be good but they now a have a direction and that will bode well for their future. #8 NEW YORK ISLANDERS I’m not going to hold back on this one. The Islanders had a wasted season that could of been completely avoided. The Isles needed to chooses a path for the club while they still had a shot at the playoffs. They either had to buy or sell. Instead, they didn’t make a single move. The Isles were in desperate need of goaltending near the trade deadline. They easily could of snagged Cam Ward. He was available. A defensive stalwart would of made a difference as well. Their penalty kill was horrible as they ranked dead last in the league. Ryan McDonagh would of been terrific in fixing that problem. He was available. Islanders were even better off to sell than to do nothing. They didn’t even trade Tavares away while they still could of got some value from him and now he’s moved on with the Maple Leafs for nothing in return for the Isles. The team had these problems because of colossal mismanagement from Garth Snow and now he’s fired. Thankfully, Lou Lamiorello took over the General Manger role. Even with him at charge of operations, the Isles won’t recover from what happened last season. Now they have to suffer a painful season trying to figure how they can get back to being a playoff contender. Time to get to work. For more articles, predictions and more... check out https://oilfieldjerseys.com/
  8. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 33 Suckerpunch, Unsigned RFA’s, and Preseason Standouts Brad Burud and Blake Friars prep for the start of the NHL season by discussing preseason standouts. Lots of great young talented showcased in the preseason, and some will be taking roster spots. Domi suckerpunched Ekblad – the reaction and the results of this stupid hockey play. With 10 days until the start of the season Toronto Maple Leafs forward and RFA is still unsigned. Will he be signed? We will give you our opinions. PODCAST
  9. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 32 20 Preseason Questions Brad Burud and Blake Friars discuss the monster Erik Karlsson trade, Robin Lehner Mental Health struggles, and Humboldt closure. Then they dive into 20 preseason quesions. Who is this years biggest bust? Who is the biggest rivalry? How many Canadian teams will make the playoffs? The questions keep coming… PODCAST
  10. HI there, with the new NHL season around the corner I decided to write a piece on the Sens upcoming season and why they have no room for error. If you have the time to give it a read it would be greatly appreciated. [Hidden Content]
  11. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 29 NHL Draft Shuffle, Flames/Canes Trade and Top Targets Debate 1 |NHL Draft – Winners and Losers Debate 2 |Flames/Canes Blockbuster Trade Debate 3 |NHL Free-Agents and Trade Targets Its NHL Draft time and Brad Burud and Blake Friars breakdown the winners and losers, and what players moved up and what players fell in the draft. The Calgary Flames and the Carolina Hurricanes hooked up on a blockbuster trade. Who won this deal, and why did this deal go down? NHL free agency is coming quick. Where will players sign and who is on the trade block? PODCAST
  12. The Instigator |Episode 14 Draft Lottery a Missed Opportunity I really like the NHL Draft Lottery process, but I have a huge problem with how it was presented to the public this year. This is a made for television opportunity that the NHL wasted. So what should they have done, and how could they capitalize on this opportunity? Give a listen! PODCAST
  13. The Instigator |Episode 13 High Scoring = Boring Hockey The Stanley Cup Playoffs are off and running and goal scoring is at break neck pace. Is this good for the game? Does it make for more exciting games? Or does it make for really, really boring hockey? Fans have been screaming for more goals for years and years. Well you got that in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and it just happened to be the worst first round for entertainment in years. PODCAST
  14. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 26 Off to Round 2 of Stanley Cup Playoffs and Draft Lottery Debate 1 |Draft Lottery System Debate 2 |Eastern Conference Divisional Finals Debate 3 |Western Conference Divisional Finals It is off to round two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Brad Burud and Blake Friars breakdown all four series. The good, the bad and the crazy. Then on to the NHL Draft Lottery. They discuss the system and the winners and losers, and most importantly debate if the Buffalo Sabres can take advantage of the number one draft pick. PODCAST
  15. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 25 Stanley Cup Round One Disappointment and NHL Coaches Shuffle Debate 1 |NHL Coaches Shuffle Debate 2 |Western Conference Round One Recap and Round Two Preview Debate 3 |Eastern Conference Round One Recap and Round Two Preview Brad Burud and Blake Friars debate the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Was it what we expected, was it as exciting as usual or was it a flop. They also breakdown the recent coaching changes as Bill Peters is out of Carolina and is now in Calgary. Also openings in NY Rangers, Dallas and Carolina, who will fill these spots? PODCAST
  16. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 24 Stanley Cup Incidents and 2-0 Series Leads Debate 1 |Stanley Cup incidents – We review five incidents that took place in week one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Debate 2 |Eastern Conference Series Recap Debate 3 |Western Conference Series Recap Brad Burud and Blake Friars are all fired up about week one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They review five questionable incidents, a few of which resulted in suspensions. They also run down each first round series and breakdown who has been good and who has not been good. They also discuss the amount of series that got off to a 2-0 start. PODCAST
  17. INSIDE EDGE HOCKEY NEWS – RADIO SHOW | EPISODE 8 Canucks Legends Retire and Humboldt Broncos Tragedy Brad Burud is joined with guest Blake Friars to discuss Vancouver Canucks legends Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The Sedins announced their retirement two weeks prior to the end of the regular season, and the final games were very exciting and the tribute was amazing. We also discuss the horrific tragedy that the Humboldt Broncos suffered. Sixteen members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team lost their lives in a horrible bus accident. We discuss the hockey communities response and support. LISTEN - PODCAST
  18. Just want to say that I am glad to see the GM's going outside the old-boy network of coaches and getting these guys from the College Ranks and the minors to coach their teams. It's about time the NHL GM's stop recycling these NHL coaches who spend five years on a team, get fired and get hired the following week. The gravy days are over for these guys and this is going to be the norm going forward.
  19. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 23 2018 Stanley Cup Preview and Predictions Debate 1 |2017-2018 Regular Season Prediction Recap Debate 2 |2018 Western Conference Stanley Cup Playoff Preview/Predictions Debate 3 |2018 Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoff Preview/Predictions Brad Burud and Blake Friars are pumped and ready to get the Stanley Cup Playoffs underway. First off we review the NHL regular season and discuss our predictions from opening night. We nailed some and we look like fools on some other picks. Then we dive into the Western Conference and Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoff matchups. We breakdown and argue each matchup, and most importantly tell you who will win and why. PODCAST - LISTEN
  20. The Instigator |Episode 11 GOAL! Are you Kidding Me! Cam Ward allowed one of the weirdest goals ever last week. The puck was rung around the boards by Arizona Coyotes Alex Goligoski. Ward exited his net to stop the puck. The puck stuck in his skate, and Ward (not knowing where the puck was) slid to the front of the net in order to defend his foot slid into the net. The whistle sounded and the officials counted it as a good goal. I have a big problem with this one counting. LISTEN PODCAST
  21. So, for the past several seasons teams that have not been playoff contenders and had the possibility of getting the first overall pick would lighten up ( Nice way of saying "Tank") so they could get the first pick in the draft. Then the NHL noting the problem decided to institute a lottery system for the five worst teams to deter that way of thinking. When that didn't work the way they thought, the NHL decided to put weights on the picks to make it harder for these teams to get the first pick. But,that still didn't work because even though they weighed the chances of picking first, the teams would still slow down with the hope of getting the first pick. This was troubling to the NHL hierarchy because poor performance means poor gate receipts and the league wasn't having it and had to figure out a way to stop that way of thinking and .....They Did This past week during the board of governors meetings, the Owners and GM's decided to change the lottery weight system to discourage non playoff teams from tanking. So, here is what the did; The way it is setup now the five teams with the least amount of points have a weighted chance of 43.4% (Combined) of getting the first overall pick While the other ten teams out of the playoffs have a 56.6% chance of getting the #1. What this means is even though an NHL team is one of the five lowest teams in the rankings, there is no guarantee these teams will get the first overall pick. So right now teams like Buffalo and Arizona have a slimmer chance of getting the #1 than say The New York Teams of Calergy. This is a smart move by the B.O.G's because it forces the teams to try and present a better product even if they are not playoff contenders. Great Job. NHL!!
  22. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 22 Hart Trophy Race, Burning ELC Contracts, and In or Out of Playoffs? Debate 1 | The race for the Hart Trophy. Debate 2 | Should teams burn a year on an entry level contract by having players play games after their college season ends. Debate 3 | In or Out? The Playoff Race is on. Brad Burud and Blake Friars discuss the race for the Hart Trophy. Is McDavid the leader or does another player deserve it. Should teams burn up a year of players entry level contracts this late in the year? Or, should they save that player and contract year by waiting until next season. The NHL regular season is coming to an end. Who will be in and who will be out of the playoffs? LISTEN PODCAST
  23. Thank you for reading! Please visit Below the Goal Line for more exclusive hockey coverage! NHL Game Updates: Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins, The Penguins win a 5-4 game in overtime. The Flyers sit six points ahead of the Florida Panthers for a playoff spot, so if they keep getting points, they will make the playoffs. Vancouver Canucks @ Dallas Stars, The Dallas Stars, who I tried to fix on Sunday afternoon, are in a free fall. This time, the Stars lose 4-1 on home ice to the lowly Vancouver Canucks. Boston Bruins @ Minnesota Wild, Both of these teams will be in the playoffs, but the Minnesota Wild still need to punch their ticket. Getting an overtime points helps for the Wild, but Boston gets the extra point for the win, and the Bruins now sit just two behind Tampa Bay for the Atlantic Division lead. Anaheim Ducks @ Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid did not get the memo that the Oilers stink this year. He has a goal and two assists, strengthening his point total on the year to 99. The Ducks, however, pick up two big points in overtime to move them into third place in the Pacific. Nashville Predators v Winnipeg Jets: I'm not sure if they NHL schedule makers knew that the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets would be fighting it out this late in the regular season for the top spot in the Central Division, but the schedule has given us some great hockey lately. The two have clashed twice since the trade deadline (February 26th), and meet again tonight to argue over who will play a Wild Card team instead of the third-place team in the division. When these two teams get together, they play fast and physical. The Jets looked like the more aggressive team with the body registered 29 hits in the game. Both teams looked like they didn't like each other, and those feelings of resentment will only get strong if they meet in the playoffs. This was another high-flying, high scoring affair. The Predators would score twice in the opening frame with a 4-on-4 goal by Roman Josi and a powerplay goal by Kyle Turris. Jets rookie Kyle Connor would score his 29th of the season on the powerplay 3:47 into the second period. This goal ties Connor with Vacouver's Brock Boeser for the rookie scoring lead. Ryan Ellis would make it 3-1 for the Predators three minutes later. Ellis has eight goals and 26 points in 37 games since returning to the lineup after missing the first half of the season due to injury. The Jets tie to the game at 13:53 of the second after goals by Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little. That tie would only last a couple of minutes because Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson would score his 28th of the season to make it 4-3 after two periods. Blake Wheeler made it 4-4 just 0:59 into the third period. The Jets captain now has 85 points on the season, a career high. No one would score during the rest of regulation, and neither team could get it done in the overtime period. The Jets looked like the hungrier, faster team during that stretch, and looked like they could overwhelm Nashville for a game winner. But in the end, the game went to a shootout, where Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck stopped all three Nashville shooters for the victory. Mark Scheifele beats Predators goalie Juuse Saros for the win. With the win, the Winnpeg Jets qualified for the playoffs. They sit five points behind the Preadators in the Central Division, and will likely play the third-place team in the division to open the playoffs. Right now, that team would be the Minnesota Wild. I think the Winnipeg Jets are a team to watch this season. If the Pittsburgh Penguins can win two straight Stanley Cups by playing a faster run-and-gun game, the Jets could use the same strategy to try to replicate the feat. I don't know that the Jets have that playoff experience needed to close out four playoff series, but they certainly have the ingredients to score with anyone in the league. Thanks for joining us. Please subscribe for email updates of future posts on the right side of the page (or after the entire article on your mobile devices). Don't forget to check us out on Twitter and Facebook!
  24. Don't forget to check out this article and the rest of the publications from Below the Goal Line! NHL Game Updates: Vegas Golden Knights @ Colorado Avalanche, With a win, the Golden Knights would capture a playoff berth. It was Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog who would deny them of that with his lone shootout goal. In a potential first round playoff match-up, Colorado was victorious in this one 2-1 (SO). Calgary Flames @ San Jose Sharks, The ice-cold Calgary Flames lose 5-1 to the red-hot San Jose Sharks. Evander Kane has 12 points in 12 games since joining the Sharks, who have now won seven in a row. Detroit Red Wings @ Toronto Maple Leafs, If you didn't see the magic of William Nylander and Auston Matthews, you should here. It was Nazem Kadri who scored at 12:34 of the third to provide the difference in a 4-3 win for the Leafs. Washington Capitals @ Montreal Canadiens, Caps center Nicklas Backstrom had four assists to help Washington to a 6-2 lead early in the third period. The Habs would get two back, but could not complete the comeback. Washington wins 6-4. Carolina Hurricanes @ Ottawa Senators, The problem for the 'Canes is the teams in front of them keep winning. Sitting nine points out of a playoff spot, they need to almost win out, and get a lot of help against the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers. They took care of the first part of that formula by winning 5-2 tonight. Arizona Coyotes @ Florida Panthers, Devils fans were excited when the Coyotes jumped out to the 2-0 lead through two periods. Florida would roar back with four in the third to win 4-2. Florida still sits three points back of New Jersey (see below), but still hold two games in hand over the Devils. Chicago Blackhawks @ New York Islanders, The Islanders are officially eliminated from the playoff race thanks to a 3-1 loss to Chicago. All eyes turn to the John Tavares sweepstakes now. Buffalo Sabres @ New York Rangers, The Rangers win a game between two non-playoff teams 5-1. St. Louis Blues @ Columbus Blue Jackets, The Blues continue to push for the playoffs after playing some poor hockey near the trade deadline. I wrote the Blues off earlier, but Jake Allen has been solid since then, winning 2-1 again tonight. The Blues jump back into the final Wild Card spot in the West. Nashville Predators @ Minnesota Wild, The flat Predators have already secured a playoff spot. The Wild inch closer to doing the same with the 4-1 win. Los Angeles Kings @ Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid scored twice to improve to 96 points this season, taking over the scoring lead from Nikita Kucherov of the Lightning. His second of the game, the 38th of his campaign, pushed the Oilers over the Kings, who fell out of a Wild Card spot with the loss. Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils: Assuming the New Jersey Devils get a little bit of help keeping the Florida Panthers down, this was a possible first-round playoff preview against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Devils sit in the final Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference, while the Lightning look like the top team in the East. Unfortunately for the Devils, they will need a little bit of help to stave off the Panthers, who sit three points behind for their playoff spot. Florida also has two games in hand over the Devils, so without any help, the Panthers could pass the Devils by simply winning those two extra games left to play. All the Devils can do is gather points for themselves. Lately, it has been goalie Keith Kinkaid that has been picking up the wins for New Jersey. He was excellent again in this one, stopping 35 of 36 shots. Kinkaid kept the Lightning off the board through the first two periods, but goals by rookie Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri propelled Kinkaid and the Devils to the 2-1 win. The Lightning, who have already clinched a playoff spot, played a decent game, but were unable to solve Kinkaid until it was too late. Tampa Bay has been criticized for their lack-luster play lately, were strong in this one. Devils rookie Nico Hischier gives New Jersey the lead in the first when he taps in a rebound of a shot from the point. Kyle Palmieri makes it 2-0 at 10:59 of the second when skates into the slot and fires a puck past the Lightning goaltender. Andrei Vasilevskiy is that Tampa Bay goaltender. He has had a strong year, leading the NHL in wins with 42. Vasilevskiy was strong in this game, turning aside 31 and keeping the Lightning in the game. It was Tampa's high-flying offense that failed to show up in this one. Although they had a lot of chances and shots, the Lightning could only muster one goal, an Ondrej Palat tally in the third period. The Devils, who have now won two in a row, pick up the two points from the visiting Lightning in this one. They are now just two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the first Wild Card spot. Thanks for joining us. Please subscribe for email updates of future posts on the right side of the page (or after the entire article on your mobile devices). Don't forget to check us out on Twitter and Facebook!
  25. Thanks for reading! Please visit Below the Goal Line for more hockey coverage! A lot has been said lately about the current NHL playoff format. There has been a lot of negative sentiment over the structure we use now, and I want to give you my spin on it as we approach the playoffs. Don't forget to check out my Eastern Conference and Western Conference playoff previews. A third team, the Boston Bruins, qualified last night for the 2018 postseason. For simplicity, I don't think the NHL wants to change the playoff format this summer, and then change it again in a few years when the NHL expands to Seattle. I would imagine that we are sticking with the current playoff system until we have 32 teams, and the divisions are re-aligned. Personally, I don't have a big issue with the current playoff format. I think that if you want to win a Stanley Cup, you are going to have to go through good teams. If you play those good teams in the first two rounds as opposed to the Conference Finals or Stanley Cup Final, you still have to win 16 games to capture the ultimate prize. My preference, however, would be to return the playoff format should to the 1 vs. 8 first-round match-up format we had before the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg. I think the best teams in the regular season should be rewarded with the lower teams among qualifying teams in first-round match-ups. No matter what, the playoffs are not going to expand. We are staying with a 16-team playoff, and that will give eight playoff spots to each conference. There will be nothing good about saying the top 16 teams in the NHL make the playoffs If that were the case, why do we even have divisions or conferences? Everyone should be in the same conference and play every team twice a year in that scenario to make things even. I also don't agree with the notion that we throw away the conference thing and just go #1 record vs 16 record, #2 vs. #15, and so on. The travel would be exhausted for everyone involved. Keep the conferences separate, with the winners still meeting in the Stanley Cup Final. Personally, I am in favor of the four-team divisions (would give us eight divisions, four in each conference). If you missed that article, you can check it out here. I think you then give each division winner a playoff spot, and then four Wild Card spots make up the rest of the eight teams per conference. This system would reward good teams with a strong division leader, as they can still make the playoffs. You also aren't forcing "bad" teams into playoff spots like you do now. You force a team to win a division, or be a top team in the rest of its conference to make the playoffs, instead of giving away playoff spots to average teams in weak divisions. So, how do you seed your playoffs in this scenario? The division winners get home-ice advantage in the first round. I know we could see a case where the second-best team in Division A (metaphorical teams here) is better than the best team in Division C, but there has to be some reason you even have division. If you don't want to reward division winners, then let's just have one big Western Conference. Then, you give the best division winner the lowest Wild Card team. Reward the best team in the conference with the worst playoff team from that conference. Second best division winner gets the second lowest Wild Card team, and so on. It would look a little something like this: Division A winner vs. Wild Card #4 (Wild Card team with worst record) Division B winner vs. Wild Card #3 Division C winner vs. Wild Card #2 Division D winner vs. Wild Card #1 (Wild Card team with best record) After the first round, you go back to highest seed remaining plays lowest seed remaining. This would eliminate the unwanted second round match-ups of a really good team playing a really good team. This is the best case scenario in my mind, as everyone is treated fairly. There would be a better mix of teams in the playoffs, and we would get to see those playoff series between the "better teams" later in the playoffs, which it seems is the driving force for this whole conversation. Let's say we stick with the four division format for a minute. The current playoff systems would have to be altered for people to get what they want, even though I'm okay the way it is right now. I think you need to eliminate the mini brackets the NHL has created with the true playoff bracket. To counter this, the NHL should go back to the old format where the team with the best record that advances to the second round of the playoffs should face the team with the worst record that also advances. At the end of the day, someone who misses the playoffs will think they deserve to be in the playoffs every year. Every season, 15 teams (soon to be 16) don't make the playoffs. I think you could make a case for a different playoff system every year to fit your favorite team in the playoffs. This is what I would do to make things a little bit more balanced for the entirety of the NHL.

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