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  1. THE DEBATE – Hockey Podcast | Episode 72 Point Projections Debate, and RFA Struggle With just one week left until the start of the regular season Brad Burud and Blake Friars breakdown each teams point projections. They give their over or under, and also fire off their insight on each team which sparks some pretty good debate. Then it is on to more RFA talk. Who signed, who hasn’t and what is taking so long. The troubles and odd circumstances in Winnipeg is also discussed and then it is on to three questions. NHL regular season hockey is coming soon. PODCAST
  2. 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
  3. 10 Crazy Predictions for 2017 - Patrick Kane will fall out of the Top 10 in scoring. Sorry Chicago this year will be a little more difficult than you are used too. - Winnipeg Jets rookie Patrick Laine will dominate the rookie class. Laine along with Jets captain Blake Wheeler will lead the Jets to a wildcard spot. - Semyon Varlamov will not be the starter for the Colorado Avalanche come All-Star break, and it won’t be because of injury. - Suspensions will be on the increase again this year. Radko Gudas of the Philadelphia Flyers is currently suspended and big shocker it won’t be his last one this season. - Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins will be the big fish come trade deadline day. The expansion draft for Las Vegas will create the most active trade deadline day in recent history. - Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning will be the goalie for the Lightning all season and will lead them deep in the playoffs. He will be the expansion draft goalie that the Las Vegas team is looking for. Tampa Bay is looking at this season as Stanley Cup or bust. - Fighting will drop 20% and cheap shots will increase 20%. (you asked for it NHL). - John Tortorella will be the first coach fired as Columbus will stumble out of the gates. Jack Capuano (New York Islanders) and Darryl Sutter (Los Angeles Kings) are also on the hot seat. - College sensation Jimmy Vesey will be a failure. It never pays to play the “I don’t want to play for you card”…. look at history. - Conner Hellebuyck will solidify himself as the starting goalie in Winnipeg. This Jets team is full of young talent. INSIDE EDGE HOCKEY NEWS * Photo by USAToday Sports Images
  4. It is that time of year again— yes the best time of year, the start of the National Hockey League season. After a busy summer of player moves the question is, Who will win the Stanley Cup? and will my favorite team make the playoffs? Well here is this seasons predictions from the Inside Edge Hockey News. 2016-2017 NHL Predictions PACIFIC DIVISION 1- Anaheim Ducks – 104 pts 2 – San Jose Sharks – 100 pts 3 – Calgary Flames – 95 pts 4 – Edmonton Oilers – 92 pts 5 – Los Angeles Kings – 90 pts 6 – Arizona Coyotes – 88 pts 7 – Vancouver Canucks – 68 pts The Pacific Division features some teams that are aging and some teams that are young and ready to breakout. Los Angeles will fall off pace this year, and Calgary and Edmonton will move up. CENTRAL DIVISION 1 – St. Louis Blues – 101 pts 2 – Dallas Stars – 100 pts 3 – Chicago Blackhawks – 99 pts 4 – Nashville Predators – 96 pts WC 5 – Winnipeg Jets – 95 pts WC 6 – Minnesota Wild – 88 pts 7 – Colorado Avalanche – 70 pts The Central Division remains strong. Any of the top 3 teams could win this division. Minnesota will slip up a bit. Lack of offense will hold them back. The Jets and Predators will earn Wildcard spots. The beasts of the west come from the Central Division. ATLANTIC DIVISION 1- Tampa Bay Lightning – 109 pts 2 – Florida Panthers – 104 pts 3 – Boston Bruins – 101 pts 4 – Montreal Canadiens – 96 pts WC 5 – Ottawa Senators – 88 pts 6 – Detroit Red Wings – 78 pts 7 – Buffalo Sabres – 77 pts 8 – Toronto Maple Leafs – 76 pts Tampa Bay will run away with this division. Florida will continue to improve, and I look for Boston to bounce back. Buffalo and Toronto will be improved but still struggle for a few more years. Yes, Detroit will not make the playoffs. METROPOLITAN DIVISION 1 – Washington Capitals – 106 pts 2 – Pittsburgh Penguins – 103 pts 3 – Philadelphia Flyers – 98 pts 4 – New York Rangers – 90 pts WC 5 – Carolina Hurricanes – 88 pts 6 – New Jersey Devils – 86 pts 7 – New York Islanders – 80 pts 8 – Columbus Blue Jackets – 72 pts This will be Washington’s year. They will win the division again, and roll into the playoffs. Philadelphia will surprise some teams, and the New York Rangers will hang on to earn a wildcard spot. The Islanders will be the team that falls off pace. PLAYOFF – CONFERENCE FINALS STANLEY CUP FINALS STANLEY CUP CHAMPION INSIDE EDGE HOCKEY NEWS
  5. 2016 Stanley Cup Conference Finals- Predictions The Stanley Cup Playoffs have now moved into the Conference Finals. The Western Conference has been very physical as usual, and the Eastern Conference has been fast paced and a little surprising. The Western Conference Finals feature two teams that have never won the Stanley Cup, the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues. The Eastern Conference Finals feature two teams that have won the cup, but it has been since 2004 for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and 2009 for the Pittsburgh Penguins. EASTERN CONFERENCE Pittsburgh Penguins (2) versus Tampa Bay Lightning (3) Pittsburgh has been on a roll. They knocked off the President Trophy winning Washington Capitals last round, and now look to keep that momentum running. Phil Kessel has been very good, and the play of 21-year-old goaltender Matt Murray has been amazing. He has maintained the crease, even with veteran Marc-Andre Fleury back and healthy. Another bright spot is the fact that the Penguins have been very good without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin playing to their capabilities. The Tampa Bay Lightning keep on staying calm, and using their veteran leadership to fight through difficulties. With Steven Stamkos, and Antone Stralman out with injuries it is hard to believe that the Lightning have made it this far. The Lightning made quick business of the New York Islanders in Round 2 defeating them in 5 games. The Lightning have been scoring goals, and have also had great goaltending from veteran Ben Bishop. Victor Hedman has been a force on defense and Nikita Kucherov has become a scoring machine. The Lightning will have to continue its timely scoring and strong goaltending to win. The Pittsburgh Penguins must continue to have rookie goaltender Matt Murray at the top of his game, and more importantly Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin must produce more offense. Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins in 6. WESTERN CONFERENCE St. Louis Blues (2) versus San Jose Sharks (3) The San Jose Sharks have turned into one of the most complete teams in the playoffs. They are strong defensively with Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He has proven to be one of the most underrated players in the league, and the offense input of Brent Burns has also proven very important. The biggest story in San Jose is the offensive production of Logan Couture. He had 9 points in the second round, seven game series win over the Nashville Predators. Martin Jones has been solid in net, and veteran leadership of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau has proven to be critical to the team’s success. The St. Louis Blues have shaken the playoff monkey off their back. Although it took seven games for the Blues to knock off the #1 ranked Dallas Stars, their Game 7 performance was impressive to say the least. The Blues have silenced the critics by knocking off the Chicago Blackhawks in Round 1 and now the Stars. The gritty, physical style of the Blues has proven too much for their opponents. Brian Elliott has been solid in net. Quietly getting the job done. David Backes has proven his worth this year, and Vladimir Tarasenko has proven he can score every time he touches the puck. More importantly the defensive play of Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo has been impressive. They have logged tons of minutes, and have shut down their opponent’s top players. The Blues will have to have strong goaltending to get past the high-powered Sharks. Special teams will be very important. The San Jose Sharks must keep the scoring train on its track. Depth has been the big surprise and key for the Sharks. They must keep this going, and there is no doubt that the defense will remain strong. Pick: San Jose Sharks in 6. INSIDE EDGE HOCKEY NEWS * Photo Credit - USAToday Sports Images
  6. 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – Round 2 Predictions The Stanley Cup Playoffs now move into round two. The first round was filled with surprises, and to be honest with you my predictions on this round were quite embarrassing. In a league where anything can happen, the first round sure proved that. Another factor is the leagues equal balance. It was evident in the first round where many of the series had no clear favorites. I don’t think the second round will be any easier to predict, but I will give it a shot. Eastern Conference Tampa Bay Lightning (2) verses New York Islanders (WC1) Tampa returns to their second straight season of advancing to the second round. The Lightning is a team that is currently facing adversity. With superstar Steven Stamkos out with an injury, it is up in the air how far the Lightning can keep this going. Young stars such as Tyler Johnson stepped up their play in the first round and the result was a convincing win over the Detroit Red Wings. The New York Islanders grinded and fought their way to a six game victory over the young Florida Panthers. John Tavares completely dominated the series. The goaltending by Thomas Greiss was also very impressive. The play of Tavares must be off the charts for the Islanders to beat the Lightning. On the other hand the Lightning must have exceptional play from goaltender Ben Bishop to continue their playoff run. My Pick: New York Islanders in 7. Washington Capitals (1) versus Pittsburgh Penguins (2) Pittsburgh made short business of the New York Rangers knocking them out in just five games. The Washington Capitals bolted out to a 3-0 lead on the Philadelphia Flyers, and had to fight to win the series in six games. Washington was scoring in bunches to start the series, but in games 4-6 the scoring dried up. For the Capitals to be successful against Pittsburgh they must regain their scoring touch, and depend on goaltender Braden Holtby to come up big. The Penguins just have to keep the scoring train moving full steam. The Penguins scored 4+ goals in three of the five games in the first round. This was a killer for the Rangers, and help inexperienced Penguins goaltending survive the first round. Pittsburgh must continue this scoring in round 2, and the goaltending of Matt Murray must be strong. No sign of injured goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury returning in the near future. My Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins in 6. Western Conference Dallas Stars (1) verses St. Louis Blues (2) The St. Louis Blues have climbed the mountain. They knocked off the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in a hard fought seven game series. Emotions and confidence is high in St. Louis. The Blues must maintain their balanced scoring, and steady goaltending to advance to the Conference Finals. The Dallas Stars rolled over the Minnesota Wild (minus the late surge by the Wild in Game 6). There are two major hurdles that the Stars must overcome. Goaltending has not been excellent, and it will have to be to get past the high-powered Blues. The second question mark is the health of forward Tyler Seguin. It is undetermined how long he will be out with a lower body injury, but without his help the mountain to climb will be very difficult. My Pick: St. Louis Blues in 5. San Jose Sharks (3) verses Nashville Predators (WC1) The San Jose Sharks had a very solid first round victory over the Los Angeles Kings in five games. Goal scoring was up for the Sharks, and goaltending by Martin Jones was good. Jones must continue his solid play, and the Sharks must pressure the defensive minded Predators. Net front traffic is critical to the second round success of the Sharks. The Nashville Predators knocked off the favorite Anaheim Ducks in seven games. The Predators do not score a lot of goals, but they find a way to grind out the one-goal victories. They play a very work-man like style. They don’t come at your with a lot of superstars, but they work their way to success. Goaltender Pekka Rinne must be on top of his game against the Sharks. My Pick: Nashville Predators in 7. INSIDE EDGE HOCKEY NEWS * Photo Credit : USAToday Sports Images
  7. Forewarning you, I'm not an expert lol. It's a little late for this since we're almost two games in for each matchup, but here are my 2015 Conference Finals predictions... NEW YORK RANGERS vs. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING Game 1 - NO PREDICTION (W - NYR, NYR LEADS SERIES 1-0) Game 2 - NO PREDICTION (W - TBL, SERIES TIED 1-1) Game 3 - 4-3 NYR (OT) (NYR LEADS SERIES 2-1) Game 4 - 4-1 TBL (SERIES TIED 2-2) Game 5 - 2-1 NYR (NYR LEADS SERIES 3-2) Game 6 - 3-0 TBL (SERIES TIED 3-3) Game 7 - 2-1 NYR (OT) (NYR WINS SERIES 4-3) ANAHEIM DUCKS vs. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS Game 1 - NO PREDICTION (W - ANA, ANA LEADS SERIES 1-0) Game 2 - NO PREDICTION (W - CHI, SERIES TIED 1-1) Game 3 - 3-2 ANA (OT) (ANA LEADS SERIES 2-1) Game 4 - 2-1 CHI (OT) (SERIES TIED 2-2) Game 5 - 4-2 ANA (ANA LEADS SERIES 3-2) Game 6 - 3-1 CHI (SERIES TIED 3-3) Game 7 - 3-2 ANA (OT) (ANA WINS SERIES 4-3) I've had a NYR/ANA Stanley Cup finals since the beginning of the playoffs. Both series' will be close, definitely. I'm torn on the ANA/CHI series, but I had to go with Anaheim (not because Chicago is a Detroit rival lol). Should be interesting. Scores could be totally wrong, I just make them up and hope I hit it on the dot lol. What are your predictions?
  8. Wild Musings 1/18/2013 Wild Outlook and Season Predictions An Aside: If this is your first time reading the blog (or if you’re getting reacquainted, after all, it’s been a while) let me explain what it’s all about. First off thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate it, and encourage you to create dialogue in the comments, and comeback and keep reading. Now, Wild Musings is a blog that focuses on the NHL, with an emphasis on the Minnesota Wild (clever title right?). I will post articles on both the Wild, and the general happenings around the NHL usually at least once a week. Now with that said, it’s good to have the NHL back, and it’s good to be back writing for the Hockeyboards.net readership. Thank you. Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2013 NHL Season. Hope everyone is well rested because the next hundred or so days are going to be intense. In this edition of Wild Musings we are going to take a look at expectations and realistic outcomes for the Minnesota Wild, and I’ll give out my season predictions for the divisions and the Stanley Cup at the end, so stay tuned. The last time we saw the Wild play, they were finishing twelfth in the Western Conference. No wait, it’s worse than that, they were finishing twelfth after starting 2012 as the first seed in the Western Conference, which if you’re wondering, is a historical collapse. It’s important to remember that. Now, were the Wild really the third worst team in the West? No, but that’s what they played to. Were there lots of injuries? They absolutely did. The Wild lost 395 man games last year, and suited up almost 50 different players trying to stop the bleeding. But looking past the injuries; past the Kris Fredheims and the Jeff Penners, the Wild lacked scoring. They were amongst the worst in the league in goals (177), and just about every major offensive category. They were also last in scoring from the blue line (One of the major reasons for that Tom Gilbert for Nick Schultz trade). That was the Wild last time we saw them. Now let’s hit fast forward by say 9 months, and the Wild have become an enigma. The addition of superstar winger Zach Parise, all star defenseman Ryan Suter, and Calder hopeful Mikael Granlund have the hockey world all over the place. I’ve seen people predict the Wild to finish out of the playoffs and fourth in their division (Harrison Mooney of Puck Daddy- Yes, I am aware he is a Canucks fan. He is also a very good and intelligent hockey writer), as well as making the playoffs and winning the Western Conference (Barry Melrose of ESPN/NHL Network). I dare say no other team in the league is as spread across the grid as that. Yet strangely, after all the reports out of camp, the Red Vs. White scrimmage that happened on Wednesday, and the look of the Wild line up, I can’t discredit either Mooney or Melrose. I could see it either way. If Mikko Koivu can play to his potential, Parise and Suter are as advertised, and the defense can be a bit more aggressive in the offense (Keep your eyes on Jared Spurgeon folks)- they could be a major player in the West. If Parise and Suter struggle out of the gate, Granlund takes some time to get his legs under him, or the goaltending should struggle- I could see them in the lower half of the West. With all that said, let’s look at what I stated in the first paragraph: “realistic expectations” for the Wild. -Can the Wild win the Northwest Division? Could they, Sure. Will they, probably not. The Canucks are still the more complete team (and who knows what a Luongo deal could bring them), and are still the overwhelming favorites to win the Northwest, as they should be. -Can the Wild make the Playoffs? Yes, and they should. The Wild should give the Canucks a run for their money in the Northwest. The scoring is improved, the defense has matured, Niklas Backstrom is in a contract year, and knows he is auditioning for other teams with Josh Harding recently signed and Matt Hackett waiting in the wings to jump into the NHL (not to mention Backstrom is a notoriously fast starter, which should bode well for 48 games). This team is legitimately three lines deep with a good checking line, and a lot of added depth. With the improvements the Wild have made, the Wild should be in the playoffs. -Can the Wild make a run at the cup should they get in? As the Kings showed us last year, anything can happen. If the Wild are healthy come playoff time, they could make a run. Now…. Predictions time. I’ll run through the conference standings, the cup final, and the winner. Western Conference 1. St. Louis Blues- Central 2. Los Angeles Kings- Pacific 3. Vancouver Canucks- Northwest 4. Phoenix Coyotes 5. Chicago Blackhawks 6. San Jose Sharks 7. Minnesota Wild 8. Detroit Red Wings 9. Nashville Predators 10. Colorado Avalanche 11. Anaheim Ducks 12. Edmonton Oilers 13. Columbus Blue Jackets 14. Dallas Stars 15. Calgary Flames Eastern Conference 1. New York Rangers- Atlantic 2. Boston Bruins- Northeast 3. Tampa Bay Lightning- Southeast 4. Pittsburgh Penguins 5. Carolina Hurricanes 6. Philadelphia Flyers 7. Ottawa Senators 8. Washington Capitals 9. Buffalo Sabres 10. New Jersey Devils 11. Toronto Maple Leafs 12. Florida Panthers 13. Montreal Canadiens 14. New York Islanders 15. Winnipeg Jets A couple notes: *The Jets travel is going to be nuts. *The Islanders are building for Brooklyn. *It was really difficult to not put the Sabres in the playoffs. *The Ducks could be the most misplaced team depending on what happens with Perry and Getzlaf. *If the Leafs get Luongo, they would be in my top 8. My Cup final- Chicago Blackhawks Vs. New York Rangers- Rangers in 7. Thanks to all who made it this far. Feel free to tear apart my standings (or agree….) and ask questions or what have you in the comments. Thanks for reading, Todd Varga Find me on Twitter @Wild_Halo Also, check out Varga and Shulman present The Box Score Podcast on Itunes or at theboxscore.libsyn.com .We talk all kinds of sports, hockey included, and people seem to like it. On twitter @VandSSports

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