A Minor Preview of the Western Conference, After C Moon

Pardon me if I step on Peroni’s toes while offering this Western Conference Primer, after I discuss the greatness of Paul McCartney’s “C Moon”. While I empathize with McCartney’s plight, given the misunderstandings of the older generation, I myself am beginning to truly understand the older generation. When the neighbor kid rides his bike on my grass it really pisses me off. I will kill him someday, make no mistake. So why is Paul cooler at 60 than I am at 35? I caught myself taking garbage to the curb in a bathrobe, black socks, and slippers the other day. Paul would never do that. OK, on to hockey.Anaheim Mighty Ducks: I fully expect this top line to crank out some serious scoring. Oates is STILL such a skilled playmaker, and I’d expect a great year from Sykora and Kariya. What happens after that? I dunno…maybe someone else at the forward position could mix in a little input. They have beefed up their defensive depth, and I fully expect Giguere to be a superstar someday. Honestly, I’d not be too surprised if he ended up with a career similar to Theodore and Luongo in the end. But they’re relying greatly on one line and severe youth questions in goal. Good luck with all that. The playoffs are so close, yet so far.

Calgary Flames: The loss of Al Letang and Curtis Jospeh will really hurt this team (HA HA). If anyone doubts the long-term greatness of Iginla, please shut up and examine the numbers. He is NOT a one year wonder. He is a star on a meteoric rise. I don’t necessarily expect 50+ goals again, but I do expect a consistent, tough, energetic 40 goal scorer who makes his teammates better. That being said, get this guy some linemates. What if Calgary had swung the Oates deal? One great player could equal the playoffs here.

Chicago Blackhawks: I’d expect Eric Daze, Michael Nylander, and Kyle Calder to improve from their great years last year. However, they can’t count on another careeer year from Thibault and Zhamnov. The loss of Amonte is NOT compensated for with Sergei Berezin. When are we going to start calling this team the Red Army? When will this team call Dafoe’s agent? Things continue to look depressing for all of us Chicago natives. I’m afraid the playoffs are out of the picture.

Colorado Avalanche: No real changes except the loss of Kasparaitis? Well, this team doesn’t really need to change, and Kaspar is overrated anyway. Their youngsters having a year under their belts, and a healthy Forsberg makes this an improved team. Two issues: will their defensive depth hold up, and will Patty have such a ridiculously great season again? My guess is “no” on both counts. But every time I bet against Roy I live to regret it. I hate that he’s so good. Go ahead and claim that division title now.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Their defense should be better, but it wouldn’t hurt if someone on this club mixed in a goal every now and then. What do they have offensively like Marion Gaborik to give their fans a little hope? Does it seem odd to anyone else that the youngest forward on an expansion team is 25 (minus Nash)? Pray for Klesla and Nash. Also for either Denis to play 75 games and live up to projections, or else a veteran goaltender acquisition. Not only will they be one of the worst teams this season, but also one of the most boring.

Dallas Stars: Marty Turco. That’s all. With one of the deepest offenses and defenses in the league (who wouldn’t want Morrow and Boucher to be on their third line or third D pairing), I think it all boils down to Marty. So many people on this site doubt his abilities. Don’t. Trust me. But even if he fails, is Tugnutt such a bad option? I suppose chemistry issues could come into play. But the people Armstrong brought in aren’t Audettes and DiMaios, they’re guys who should fit in their respective roles very well. That Pacific title will be a nasty bloodletting to earn this season.

Detroit Red Wings: See Colorado Avalanche. This team was SO dominant, the loss of a few components makes no difference. Their youngsters bring hope to an already expectant team. But it’s put-up or shut-up time for Joseph. Can we all agree if he fails on THIS team that all his doubters were ahead of the curve here? P.S.: please have a discussion with Montreal about whether or not you are TRULY “Hockey Town”.

Edmonton Oilers: Basically, you’ve traded Hecht for Dopita. Does that propel you into the playoffs in a nasty, nasty West? Comrie had better continue being a stud, or this team is in trouble. He covered the loss of Weight, but he’d better keep it up. Tommy Salo is so grossly underrated. Perhaps he could put in a career year and take this team a few rounds in. But that’s likely wishful thinking.

Los Angeles Kings: Hello? Anyone there? Eric Rasmussen is supposed to fill the character void left by Boucher, Buchberger, and Ronning? I’m not sure there’s room for him, but would Cassels fit here? That top line is wonderful, but some depth and a little more D would help. Good thing Potvin seems to have found his stride in LA. Like Salo, a career year for him could be the key, but I don’t think three playoff rounds are in their immediate future.

Minnesota Wild: Someone needs to emerge from this goaltending tandem. Having two possible goalies is not the same as a bona fide top notch guy. Their young guys look nice, and I expect a good offensive future for this team. Gaborik and Brunette look great together. But how about adding a top-flight defenseman?

Nashville Predators: They promised their fans the playoff this year. Ouch. Mann, Wilm, Gilchrist, and Trepanier Don’t add up to the playoffs in my mind. You can’t just add quantity in the offseason. There must be some quality in the mix. Mike Dunham standing on his head every night will still not propel this team into the postseason. A few years will do the trick, though. There is a future here. Will Upshall get his chance this year? I can’t wait to see how pissed the Canadians will be if this team wins a Cup someday.

Phoenix Coyotes: Career overachievers. That’s what they’re all about. I think we’d all look at this team on paper, and conclude what we did last year, that they’re not that great. But Amonte and another great year from Burke equals success. All of these guys play over their heads. Nobody’s going to want to face these guys in the postseason. Nobody. A Dallas and San Jose slow start could possibly even equal a division title.

Saint Louis Blues: Same old same old. Do you Saint Louis fans ever feel like tasting the business end of a pistol? I feel sorry for you. Sure you’ll make the playoffs for the 700th straight year. But for a team that had a real struggle staying afloat (see Dallas) in the competitive West, does Jason Dawe cover the loss of Scott Young and Marc Bergevin and make this team capable of dropping Colorado and Detroit? Not to mention the nasty Sharks and revamped Stars? How about the Kings or Coyotes? You looking forward to facing them in the postseason?

San Jose Sharks: This team doesn’t need to add anything. And keep in mind, for what it’s worth, they still technically own Theo Fleury. They’re not too pretty. They’re not too nice. They just might be the best team in the West if they play their cards right. The re-signing of the allegedly “disgruntled” Selanne for less money is very telling to me. People believe this team is a winner. Why does Owen Nolan not get worshipped more? He’s a poor man’s Peter Forsberg, and I’d have him on my team any day.

Vancouver Canucks: Shut up and spend your stinking money. It’s not everyone else’s fault that YOUR view of success is strictly financial, and that YOUR business plan doesn’t have the word “Cup” in it anywhere. You’ve done nothing to improve your team (oops, forgot Jaroslav Obsut). Standing pat in the West equals death and prolonged mediocrity. Play your cards right, and you might become the Blues, without the consistent playoff appearances to salve the wounds.


33 Responses to A Minor Preview of the Western Conference, After C Moon

  1. Slats says:

    Oil will win 7 straight cups. Shawn Horcoff will score 690 points.

    Cant wait till the season starts

  2. Bigman says:

    i luv edmonton, your kool, but…..no

  3. thebestteamiscanucks says:

    no offense but paul mcartney is the gayest person alive. That makes u gay if u like him.

  4. mikster says:

    No way. Beatles created a style of music….they had so much talent and the set a new “groovey” road for rock n roll.

  5. Obcd says:

    I never heard such a stupid comment in all my life! The Beatles was on of the best music group of all time with likes of Led Zeppelin and The Doors. When you know nothing about music you keep your damn mouth shut!

  6. edmontonrules says:

    ya. Stairway To heaven was the best.

  7. olympiaWINGSson says:

    Like we need music advice from a kid who listens to Hanson!

  8. regdunlop says:

    Ah…..normally I would be relishing in the fact that the Dallas stars once again made shitty offseason moves and I could ramble on and completely annoy rrudd…..but I can’t do that this year. they made the moves that I said they should last year. They hired a guy that is going to be a great coach. I too believe that Turco has tons of promise…but does he have what it takes all year and the playoffs? we shall see. You guys did one thing wrong though….overpay Boucher. he has been injured a lot over the past few seasons and he makes a lot of bad mistakes in the defensive zone. He a great year last year but I don’t think he will repeat it. Fortunately there is not a great deal of pressure on him because Dallas’ D is so good. But watch him carefully rrudd…I sat right behind him last year. you will see bad passes in front of the net. He is not worth 3 million a year. i alos think that you are wrong about the Kings. Ronning did NOTHING for them. Buchberger provided grit= rassmussen cancels out that loss. and The Kings have two canidate to fill boucher’s shoes….as well as four top ten draft pick forwards who are trying to make the team…if they don’t they can trade for someone with the extra cash theyt have from cutting emerson and kelly B. they also have a ton of draft picks next year (two of them first rounders) in a very deep draft. If They add one more star to that team they will be a cup favourite out of the west.

  9. thebestteamiscanucks says:

    first of all i never said the beatles were gay. I said paul mcgay was gay. i mean hes like 60 and like a girl and he sings gay shit know. Beatles were porbably one of the greatest groups ever but im just saying mcgay is gay.

  10. MantaRay says:

    As John Lennon once wrote about McCartney: He hasn’t done anything good since “yesterday”. He should have retired after Wings, hes an old joke now.

  11. amok says:

    You’re like the Esa Tikkanen of this site. You do a great job irritating people and no one can understand what you’re saying.

  12. amok says:

    Good call on the teams.

    That top Anaheim line should score, oh, almost everyone of their goals, but after that they’re shooting blanks. Again. Poor JS Gigure.

    Calgary will be more consistent this year, but still on the outside. There’s just too many better teams. Watching Kobasew should be fun though.

    You’re from Chicago eh? It’s going to be a long season. But you already know that with Thibault in net and Berezin replacing Amonte. Yikes!

    Colorado’s a given for division title. The Oilers and Canucks didn’t make any moves to seriously challenge them and the Flames and Wild are still too far away. It will be interesting to see if the Avs land Morris.

    You’re right about Columbus. BOR-ING. I hope Nash is fun to watch, or there isn’t going to be much with these guys. That’s interesting that the youngest forward is 25.

    Dallas won’t beat out San Jose (if they get Nabokov back) but they’ll be back in the playoffs.

    Detroit will be back on top again in their division. St. Louis and Chicago are nowhere near them and Columbus and Nashville won’t be near the playoffs.

    Edmonton will be good again, but hard pressed to make the playoffs. I think they might find a way this year, perhaps at Vancouver or St. Louis’ expense, which as a Canuck fan with many Oiler friends, would be horrifying. I like the additions of York and Dopita for the second line, if they’re paired together. Who’s gonna play with them?

    Don’t worry about LA. Ronning’s no loss for them, since he was just a rent a player pickup. Boucher and Buchberger are losses, but they’ll have a full season of Allison and they’ve got some great kids who are ready to break in. If even one of them busts out they’ll be fine.

    Ronning was a good pickup for the Wild. They need some depth other than Brunette/Gaborik.

    What was Nashville thinking? I’d heard of this promise but had no idea that it was for *this* season. They’re crazy. There’s no way they can beat out the eight that made it last year plus Edmonton and Dallas.

    You’ve summed up my thoughts on Phoenix and San Jose. That is one hell of a division. Er, at least, that’s one hell of a top four teams in that divsision. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see SJ, LA, Dallas, and Phoenix all in the playoffs. Hell, maybe Detroit will be the only team in the central to make it.

    St. Louis is funny. The more big name players they get the worse they seem to get. What happened to that team of a couple years ago that was unbeatable?

    You can’t talk about the Canucks without talking about Nolan Baumgartner. Big signing there. Probably the biggest since Messier. Okay, seriously in a recent article Quinn said he’s taking the same approach as last year but that “the team’s a lot better than it was a year ago.” He expects big things from Daniel and Chubarov. I hope he’s right, but I still want to see them do something. Bring in Suter to replace Lachance. Acquire someone like Hrdina or go out and get a winger.

  13. garry1221 says:

    im so sick of the bs about what city is or isn’t hockeytown…. detroit is hockeytown usa, now everyone please shut up about detoit not bein hockeytown…. as for why we don’t say usa at the end ….. is there any other city that’s nicknamed HOCKEYTOWN.. i didn’t think so… now everyone who wants to argue about it, find a mirror and argue with urselves….. please

  14. bones says:

    Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Giguere is going to be tough this year. They could probably do some juggling now as well with Cullen, Rucchin, and Leclerc. Some tough d-men and some skilled d-men. I wouldn’t take the Ducks too lightly this year. Could be another Carolina.

    Calgary: I agree, a big fast center is their ticket to the playoffs. The problem is, how do they get one?

    Chicago Blackhawks: Still the best Jersey in professional sports!!! At least they have that left…

    Colorado Avalanche: Patrick Roy is like Herpes!!! He won’t DIE!!!!!!!! The Avs might have to work a little if he has a bad year.

    Columbus Blue Jackets: I feel sorry for Grant Marshall. He deserves better.

    Dallas Stars: The season can’t come soon enough. With Young in the picture, I think Turgeon is going to have a great year. He started geling with Lehtinen at years end and it looks like that will be the line. Modano will have a career year no question. Tippett won’t let his offense go to waste.

    Detroit Red Wings: They lost a lot in Bowman. He can’t and won’t be replaced. It will have a negative affect on the team. It’s almost like losing your rabbits foot.

    Edmonton Oilers: I don’t fear slick like I once did.

    Los Angeles Kings: They lost the reason they had the best powerplay in the league 2 years running, which coincidentally is why they got where they got.

    Nashville Predators: I’m just glad they signed Gilchrist so I don’t have to see his name on the Stars roster anymore.

    Phoenix Coyotes: Hats off for picking up Amonte. Just what they needed and he will pay off. I can already hear that damn ow ow oooooohhhhh!!!!!!!

    Saint Louis Blues: rrudd, you deserve a medal for this one. HAHAHAHA!

    San Jose Sharks: I just hope the Selanne “let’s see what I can get” charade didn’t piss off too many of the players that begged him not to go into FA. Stupid move on his part but if he has a 40 goal season I’m sure they’ll forgive him.

    Vancouver Canucks: I couldn’t have said it any better than that.

  15. bruinsfan12 says:

    This was an awesome article! I agree with basically everything said.

    I’m not a big Colorado fan, but they will definitely be #1 in the West. It’s just not fair. I don’t know why everyone thinks Dallas is going to be great. I say they have more chemistry problems, and outside of Guerin/Modano will have problems scoring.

  16. ProngerBlues44 says:

    I’ll tell you what happened to that unbeatable team of St. Louis a few years ago: management.

    Our dumb*ss GM Larry Pleau traded away two great players in Hecht and Reasoner, lost our offensive chemistry in Turgeon, and now losing our, in the playoffs in my mind, 3rd defenseman in Bergy and losing another chemistry player in Young. I was saying with the way we were headed in 2001, we would win the Cup in the next 5 years, but I dont think we will win it in the next 15 now.

    ~Jeff P.

  17. thebestteamiscanucks says:

    i know. Each time I say somethin it offends someone.

  18. rrudd says:

    i agree about the “one more star” theory.

    that top line is devastating.

  19. regdunlop says:

    FYI Mark hardy ran the powerplay unit in Los Angeles. tippett ran the Defence.

  20. bones says:

    I have some doubts about the Kings this year. I don’t know anything about their new assistant, but the powerplay probably won’t be the same without Tippett and they made the playoffs thanks to that powerplay. I don’t see how they are going to address that. I love to watch the Kings play, I just hope they stay on track and don’t get away from the system with a new face on the bench.

    I agree about Boucher, but if you ever followed Zubov throughout a season you’de see the same mistakes occasionally, but he usually makes up for it. I’m not comparing Boucher to Zubov, but that seems like a problem that can be addressed. His injuries are without question a concern, but I think it was a good move to take a chance with that. His work ethic is inspiring as hell.

  21. bones says:

    Serving as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Kings the past three seasons, 1999-2002, Tippett used his vast experience by focusing on the offensive side of the play. In all three seasons Tippett was in Los Angeles the Kings qualified for the playoffs while making the post-season just once out of the previous six seasons.

    Under Tippett’s direction, the Kings power play last season led the entire NHL with a 20.7% success rate. In 2000-01, the power play ranked seventh and in 1999-2000 it finished 10th. The year before Tippett came aboard the Kings, in 1998-99, the Kings power play unit ranked 24th in the league. During the 2000-01 campaign Los Angeles tallied 245 goals which were the most the Kings had recorded since the 1993-94 season

  22. regdunlop says:

    most people don’t realize that dave tippet handled defense for the team. mark hardy handle all the powerplay practises and research and game plans…and more importantly Andy murray had the final word on all that. tippet will be missed but the machine is already in place and has been running without him for a while.

  23. regdunlop says:

    I asked dave taylor about this specifically and the words that came out of his mouth were that “mark hardy was running the powerplay for the majority of last year”. My point is that there was more than one person involved with their success. Your stats fail to mention that he came on at the same time that Andy Murray did. A lot of the credit should go to him as well. I’m not trying to take away from tippet’s accomplishments but I think the machine is in place and will go on without him. i also think that he will make a great head coach. smart of dallas to get a coach that knows the ins and outs of that conference as well…they made good moves.

  24. bones says:

    Point taken. Do you know anything about who is taking his place?

  25. bones says:

    Again, your point is taken, but before Tippett came into the picture LA was not a finely tuned machine. I do believe that he had the biggest part in creating that with his offensive philosophy. We’ll see what changes are made in his absense.

  26. bones says:

    What about Lehtinen,Turgeon,Young. They (Lehts and Turg) were reaking havoc late in the season when they finally clicked. I think with the focus on Mo,Arnott,Guerin your going to get an onslaught from the 2nd line. And Morrow playing a 3rd line wing with some speedy rookies you might see some names being made. And as far as Turco is concerned, even though he can win close low scoring games, this might actually be the beginning of a Stars club that doesn’t need to.

  27. Forsberg21 says:

    Actually I think he said, “The only thing you did was Yesterday.” That’s a great song by the way. How Do You Sleep. A lot of shit talking going on in that song. I think I heard Paul said something bad about Yoko after the Beatles broke up, and that song was John’s reply.

  28. Rushing says:

    I think you have a lot to learn. Better put….I lot to wait and see. Turgeon clicked at the end of the season last year and now with his old teammate, that he did very well with mind you, is back on his team I have a feeling they will be doing very well. As was said before, our third line will be a very good one as well.

  29. ManillaKilla says:

    Speaking of Horcoff, Edmonton really has a thing for those former MSU Spartans.

  30. ManillaKilla says:

    No chit. Must they whine about everything?

    Mama, Mama, marketing people in Detroit came up with a good idea before we could. Its not fair. WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!

  31. ManillaKilla says:

    Somebody else has seen the light. Manta Ray, the Yoda of HTR.

  32. regdunlop says:

    He was the gm and coach of the long beach ice dogs. he has been in the kings organization a while and knows the players well. Again I am just surprised that you give the majority of the credit to tippet instead of Andy murray. They didn’t have that great of a record when murray was out from his accident. the vibe that I got from andy murray was they wish there assistant coaches would develop like players. to move on to head coaching jobs says that the kings organization is trying to build winners in all areas. tippet will be missed but I think they will be fine.

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