Are They Making Fun of Us?

I came back from my vacation. I enjoyed it, but I was disappointed that hockey is rarely known down south. What was most disappointing though, was when I got back I read TSN’s (www.tsn.ca) power rankings. If you remember, I wrote an article against The Hockey News magazine. This is the same situation. But, TSN actually gave some sorts of reasons…and these reasons explain to us why the media shouldn’t be followed when it comes to their so called “experts”. Should we continue to use that term?This is getting funnier each time. It seems like the “major experts” of ESPN, NHL.com, TSN, and so on, are bored with hockey’s dead season. They don’t know what to do, what to think, and what to write. I’ve felt that way before, and it happens to many people. But, when you have that feeling, don’t fight it and do something stupid, think of something stupid, and write something stupid. TSN’s (www.tsn.ca) “updated” power rankings are just as bad as The Hockey News predictions of standings. I think TSN had the right structure of the power rankings, but come on…they just did a poor job. I think that when you are in sports, and you’re giving out your predictions, or opinions, then you give solid explanations as to why you say this and that. Maybe these people think so highly of themselves that they don’t need to? Maybe these people just think that so many hockey fans will look at their power rankings and say “Wow! Look! They rated the Flyers out of the playoffs! They are ranked 19th! I probably should agree with these experts.” No….no, no, and no. I am not bashing these people because I actually respect their opinions. They are not wrong or right, and same goes with my predictions, but is it that hard to just give reasons/explanations? I am working with an HTR member on HTR’s 2002-2003 NHL Regular Season Preview, which should be posted probably on October 3rd. We have it structured very well, and I guess I can say that satisfaction will be guaranteed. Anyway, I want to show why I have a problem with these experts.

Detroit Red Wings

This Week: 1 – Last Week: 1

TSN: “They’ll have to find a way without Scotty Bowman, but new coach Dave Lewis has a veteran lineup that will get an infusion of youth. Sophomore Pavel Datsyuk is expected to take on a significant scoring role, particularly with Stevie Y out for much of the season, and Swedish rookie Henrik Zetterberg could be yet another offensive threat.”

Me: Ok, that’s fair. I do agree that Datsyuk and Zetterberg will make the team. But, what is the actual reason to rank them 1st? Is it because of Lewis, Zetterberg, and Datsyuk? What about Curtis Joseph? What about the old scoring touch of Hull, Shanahan, and Robitaille? See, I think that Zetterberg and Datsyuk have little to do with the number one spot. I think that that number one spot depends on Joseph, Lewis, and the top scorers.

Colorado Avalanche

This Week: 2 – Last Week: 2

TSN: “The highly-skilled Avs have a tough forward lineup to crack, so it could be another year spent in Hershey for Vaclav Nedorost, but the blueline has some openings and Alex Riazantsev and Brett Clark should have first crack at them.”

Me: Can the writer be a little bit more creative? If I was an Avs fan, and I saw they are at number 2, I’d be psyched to see what they say about them. But, guess not. I think Nedorost will have a solid chance, but it all depends on training camp and pre-season. Just because Forsberg is back, doesn’t mean that the young players should fear of not playing. How about those first two lines they have, Roy and Aebischer, and the second best NHL defenseman (Blake)? Naaa…who cares who they are right? Most important thing is that Nedorost might not make the team, but the young defensemen could. Now, to that I’d seriously say “who cares?”

San Jose Sharks

This Week: 3 – Last Week: 3

TSN: “The Sharks are also a very deep team, but there could be a couple younger guys who make their mark. Second-year defenceman Jeff Jillson should be expected to play more than he did as a rookie when he saw limited ice time, often as a power play specialist, in 48 games. Winger Jonathan Cheechoo had 46 points in 53 AHL games last year and he should be ready for a look-see with the big club as well.”

Me: Is this the AHL report? So far TSN has only mentioned players who are looking to make the team. Well, there is no real need to explain Jillson’s position on the team. Why? Well, Gary Suter is probably retiring and that means that one defenseman would most likely take his place. Hmm…. As for Cheechoo train, well…it’s always good to see a young player on a team that is trying to reach the Finals. But, there is no way I would rank this team 3rd, not even 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th. Why? I don’t see Nabokov’s name on the current roster.

St. Louis Blues

This Week: 4 – Last Week: 4

TSN: “Rock-solid blueliner Barret Jackman will have an opportunity to make the squad after a year at Worcester, but a bigger impact is expected from 27 year-old scorer Petr Cajanek. The diminutive centre had 64 points in 49 games to finish second in scoring in the Czech Republic last season. If he can’t stick, Justin Papineau’s 76 points in 75 games at Worcester should get him a chance.

Me: Once again, it is all about the youngsters making the team. Now, I am getting frustrated with this. Who cares about who could make the team. Does that tell me the reason why they are ranked 4th? No. It tells me that the writer didn’t know how to explain. How about, can Weight make a difference this time? Will Pronger’s injury affect this team? Can MacInnis score enough power play points? Moving on…

Vancouver Canucks

This Week: 5 – Last Week: 5

TSN: “The Canucks have a number of young players who are already on the roster that should be looking at more prominent roles this season. The likes of Artem Chubarov, Harold Druken and Jarkko Ruutu can expect more ice time, while big Bryan Allen should step into the spot on the blueline vacated by Scott Lachance.”

Me: This guy likes the young players eh? It’s all about the players making the team now. I mean, whether or not the Sedin twins will have a solid season, this team is ranked 5th because of the youngsters.

Toronto Maple Leafs

This Week: 6 – Last Week: 6

TSN: “Grabbing Trevor Kidd off the waiver wire helps solidify the Leafs’ situation in goal. Dealing for Robert Svehla was probably more related to health issues with Dmitry Yushkevich than anything else, but a healthy Yushkevich is the better of the two. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Karel Pilar are the two Baby Leafs that had solid auditions last season and will be expected to handle full-time roles this year.”

Me: What about McCauley being the 2nd line center? What about Belfour? And Roberts’ injury? One good point though was that having a healthy Yushkevich is better than having Robert Svehla. I agree with that.

Ottawa Senators

This Week: 7 – Last Week: 7

TSN: “Petr Schastlivy will finally get to show his skills now that Shawn McEachern has been shipped to Atlanta. The 23 year-old Russian has shown flashes of offensive brilliance in some of his previous trials. Oh yeah, there’s some 19 year-old scoring machine in camp expected to challenge for a spot, too. I think his name is Spezza.”

Me: Well, there’s not much to say about the Senators, so I guess that mentioning Schastlivy’s name is good to do. But, how about adding some more excitement…enthusiasm?

This goes on and on. TSN lists the Dallas Stars as 10th. Now, the start of the quote “With all the free agent additions” sounds interesting. But, only Dahlen is spoken of. Are those other free agents perfect enough for TSN to rank the Stars 10th? With the new rookie head coach Tippet? Without Belfour? I wouldn’t rank the Stars that high. Reason for that is Turco (can he play 60-65 games?), Tippet (his offensive systems could weaken the Stars famous boring defensive system?), and can Turgeon and Young do it again?

The biggest laugh I had was when I clicked on the 16 through 30 teams. Devils ranked 16th? All I need to say is Brodeur, Elias, Rafalski, Stevens, Neidermeyer, Tverdovsky, Nieuwendyk, Pat Burns, and GM Lamoriello. Those people will prevent this team from finishing 16th in the NHL or anything below that. If not, then many people will be shocked. I think the key is to have a solid 2nd line and definitely more scoring than last season.

The Flyers are ranked 19th. Why? I don’t know, do you know? No, you don’t know. Does TSN know? I don’t know. So what do we know? That Brendl is having a good training camp, as he had with the Rangers. Is that what makes the Flyers good enough to reach 19th? See, at this point I would not even bother looking at the rest of the teams. I don’t even care that they ranked the Rangers 23rd for no apparent reason.

This is a total embarrassment for TSN. Why bother update the power rankings when the current rosters are not set, training camps haven’t started, and players are still unsigned? Seriously, power rankings of NHL teams have nothing to do with AHL players making the NHL. What is TSN trying to show us, prove to us, or tell us? That they know the same things we know about some AHL players making their NHL teams? There were no signs that this was “rushed”, either. This is a complete joke, and who are these experts? At this point, I wish I had the money to have HTR create its own magazine because so far the media has shown total junk, on the web sites and in the newsstands. Again, I do not care where the teams are ranked (though some are seriously a joke), but I do care that these experts have nothing to tell us or explain to us. I have to admit that I have done many errors in this article. I misused the word experts.


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