Best Canadian Team…Play-Offs Version

This year I think every Canadian team SHOULD make it into the playoffs. Here is my breakdown for each team:

Calgary: If Iggy and Kiprusoff work their magic, the Flames could again be contendors, especially because of the exodus of stars leaving Western Contenders. Realistically if they play up to scratch they might hit round 2.

Prediction: Makes play-offs, loses in first round

Edmonton: The additions of Pronger and Peca help, but the team won’t go any further unless it acquires a solid starting goalie. They might be able to break-free of their first round jinx, but they’ll probably just be a guarenteed first-rounder. Peca and Smyth are about the only realiable clutch assets.

Prediction: Round one, tough to beat team. If they get a star goalie, the sky’s the limit.

Montreal: This is the best edition of the Habs in years and they may be legitimate contenders in the East, especially if Theodore stays on form and becomes the next bright young play-off superstar.

Prediction: Will reach round two, and could get to the conference finals. Theodore could make them into the next Anaheim or Calgary though.

Ottawa: Lack of play-off success will continue especially if Hasek melts down, as there arent alot of play-off calibre starters that are on the market. If they retain their team they should go far, but they need major improvements to their non top-4 defensemen, their goaltending, and their left side.

Prediction: Make play-offs, lose in first round.

Toronto: Toronto’s roster is underrated. If Belfour stays healthy and they retain their roster and add a decent defenseman and they add abit of scoring upfront (whether through signings trades or prospects) they should be the same old Leafs, but if JFJ stays wise and doesn’t go crazy for veterans at the deadline, they won’t be contenders.

Prediction: First round for sure, if up against Ottawa then they’ll probably hit Round 2, but thats the farthest they’ll go baring a miracle.

Vancouver: Weaknesses are becomming more evident by the minute. They’ve lost defensemen #s 3 and 4, are uncertain in goaltending (and if Cloutier returns like reported, it’s a goalie with a history of play-off screw-ups), and if the Bertuzzi situation doesn’t go well they may be without their top right winger. Naslund could lead his team into the playoffs, but if so it’ll be in a fight for the last 2 spot. If they address those weaknesses, and add some depth, they could fare as well as they have in the past few years.

Prediction: Probably will be in fight for last 2 spots. If depth, goaltending, defense, and Bertuzzi are all solved, they should be decent in round 1, but if not, they’ll run the highest chance of a Canadian team to be out of the play-offs.

Below is a background history of Canadian team’s and the playoffs.



Canadian Team Advancing Farthest Into Playoffs (Past 15 years):

2004: Calgary (Cup Final)

2003: Ottawa (Conference Final)

2002: Toronto (Conference Final)

2001: Toronto (Round 2)

2000: Toronto (Round 2)

1999: Toronto (Conference Finals)

1998: Ottawa/Edmonton/Montreal (Round 2)

1997: Edmonton (Round 2)

1996: Toronto/Montreal/Winnipeg/Vancouver (Round 1)

1995: Vancouver (Round 2)

1994: Vancouver (Cup Final)

1993: Montreal (Cup Champs)

1992: Edmonton (Conference Final)

1991: Edmonton (Conference Final)

1990: Edmonton (Cup Champs)

Rankings for top Canadian Playoff Team (tie-breaker is farthest they’ve gone):

1) Edmonton: 5

2) Toronto: 5

3) Montreal: 3

4) Vancouver: 2

5) Ottawa: 2

6) Calgary: 1

7) Winnipeg: 1

8) Quebec: 0

Points scoring system, measuring playoff depth, since 1993, when last Canadian team joined:

Points

0 No Play-Offs

1 Round 1

2 Round 2

3 Conference Finals

4 Cup Finals

5 Cup Champs

Calgary :

1993 Round 1

1994 Round 1

1995 Round 1

1996 Round 1

2004 Cup Finals

Total: 8 Points

Avg. 0.67 points/year: no playoffs

Edmonton:

1997 Round 2

1998 Round 2

1999 Round 1

2000 Round 1

2001 Round 1

2003 Round 1

Total: 8

Avg. 0.67 points/year: no playoffs

Montreal:

1993 Cup Champs

1994 Round 1

1996 Round 1

1997 Round 1

1998 Round 2

2002 Round 2

2004 Round 2

Total: 14

Avg. 1.17 points/year: Round 1

Ottawa:

1997 Round 1

1998 Round 2

1999 Round 1

2000 Round 1

2001 Round 1

2002 Round 2

2003 Conference Finals

2004 Round 1

Total: 12

Avg. 1 point/season: Round 1

Quebec:

1993 Round 1

1995: Round 1

Total: 2 Points

Avg. 0.67 points/year: no playoffs

Toronto:

1993 Conference Finals

1994 Conference Finals

1995 Round 1

1996 Round 1

1999 Conference Finals

2000 Round 2

2001 Round 2

2002 Conference Finals

2003 Round 1

2004 Round 2

Total: 21

Avg. 1.75 points/season: Round 1

Vancouver:

1993 Round 2

1994 Cup Finals

1995 Round 2

1996 Round 1

2001 Round 1

2002 Round 1

2003 Round 2

2004 Round 1

Total: 14

Avg. 1.17 points/season: Round 1

Winnipeg:

1993 Round 1

1996 Round 1

Total: 2 Points

Avg. 0.5 points/year: no playoffs

OVERALL POINTS TOTAL:

1. Toronto: 21 Points

2. Montreal: 14 Points

3. Vancouver 14 Points

4. Ottawa 12 Points

5. Calgary 8 Points

6. Edmonton 8 Points


37 Responses to Best Canadian Team…Play-Offs Version

  1. Coyotes4life says:

    They SHOULD, but WILL NOT. Come on, these are CANADIAN teams. The good players will be traded by the trade deadline to alleviate some pay for the next year that they blow it again.

  2. canucksnumba1 says:

    canucks fighting for the last 2 spots is just plain bs there is no way this team would end up that low even without bertuzzi, and since bert has been reinstated the canucks i think would end up in the top 3 again as rthey did in 03-04…the dmen situation should be dealt with soon enough for the team to form enough chemistry for the season..i still hope they would let cloutier go and pick up some1 else..osgood was available and he signed for only 900 grand..

  3. thunderbay says:

    if the habs some how get VL look out we’re cup bound !!

  4. dvast8 says:

    calgary was just 1 goal away from tying game 7, and all of a sudden were out in the 1st round? lol..

    Its a sutter coaching remember? It aint Pat Quinn.

  5. 92-93 says:

    I know this post is about Canadian clubs but I thought it might interest some people how certain Eastern Conference teams have fared in the playoffs in recent years. I’ve done my own rankings and based them on which teams CONSISTENTLY make the playoffs and go beyond the first round since 1999. perhaps someone else might want to do a Western Conference version of this:

    ____________GP__W___L___Pts __Pct

    1. New Jersey_89__53__37__116__.595__(Round 1 exit: 1999, 2002, 2004), Cup Finalists (2000, 2001, 2003), Cup Champs (2003)

    2. Toronto____80__41__39__82___.513__(Round 1 exit: 2003, Round 2 exit: 2000, 2002, 2004, Round 3 exit: 1999, 2002)

    3. Phily______66__33__33__66__.500__(Round 1 exit: 1999, 2001, 2002, Round exit 2003, Round 3 exit: 2000, 2004)

    4. Buffalo____39__22__17__44__.564__(Round 1 exit: 2000, Round 2 exit: 2001, Cup Finalists: 1999)

    5. Ottawa____51__23__28__46__.451__(Round 1 exitS: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, Round 2 exit: 2002, Round 3 exit: 2003)

    6. T.B.______34__21__13__42__.618__(Round 2 exit: 2003, Cup Champs: 2004)

    7. Pittsburgh__42__21__21__42__.500__(Round 2 exit: 1999, 2000, Round 3 exit: 2001)

    8. Carolina___35__17__18__34__.486__(Round 1 exit: 1999, 2001, Cup Finalists: 2002)

    9. Boston____30__12__18__24__.400__(Round 1 exit: 2002, 2003, 2004, Round 2 exit: 1999)

    10. Montreal__23__10__13__20__.435__(Round 2 exit: 2002, 2004)

    t-11. Wash.___17__5__12__10__.294__(Round 1 exit: 2000, 2001, 2003)

    t-11. NYI_____17__5__12__10__.294__(Round 1 exit: 2002, 2003, 2004)

    13. Florida____4___0___4___0___.000__(Round 1 exit: 2000)

    First you must take into consideration that this provides only a fraction of NHL history (post-1999) so it is a pretty narrow time frame. the point is, i’ve seen much more narrower historical framing in some posts (re: ‘the Leafs are chokers and can’t get past the first and second round’). In terms of Canadian teams in the Eastern Conference, the Leafs are the most consistent playoff club ahead of Montreal and Ottawa (my guess would be that Edmonton, Vancouver, and Calgary would be much closer in terms of how they rank with each other).

    Second, if you want to go by teams that make the most of what they get, Buffalo and Tampa Bay seem to top the list. they don’t make the playoffs every year (although i think Tampa making it is now going to be a regular thing) but they do a lot when they do make the playoffs. Overall the best team is the Devils hands down.

    The bad news for leaf fans (versus philly fans): they’ve beaten us the last two years and we beat them only once (in 1999 i think). the good news: the leafs have played and won more games and have a higher win percentage. the bad news for Sens fans is that although they make the playoffs often (4th in games played) they don’t win many rounds. the good news for Sens fans … um … (tumbleweed blows by). Let’s just say that, in terms of those two early-1990s expansion teams, i’d rather be a Tampa Bay fan than a Sens fan.

    but remember, as Homer Simpson once remarked: “Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.”

  6. DTucker_16 says:

    I agree with you on the leafs roster being underated. I’d pick Allison and O’Neil over Roberts and Nieuwendyk any day. Mogilny and Nolan were always hurt (AND STILL ARE), so any healthy 3rd liners would be an upgrade over those two in my opinion…Although there isn’t much of a chance of the leafs making it past the 1st round this year…I definitely disagree with the media about them missing the playoffs this year. I also think that it may be a bit early to comment on any team’s chances in the playoffs next season anyway, as teams such as the leafs are far from completing their roster.

    I also think that you may have underated Ottawa. Sure the leafs have absolutely owned them in the playoffs as of late. But you have to keep in mind, this season’s leafs won’t be the same as the leafs in the past. Although the leafs this year may have a record that equals or is at least as close to what it has been the last couple of years. I think that the main reason that the Leafs have had such success over Ottawa recently is due to the great deal of veterans that the leafs had on their team. Let’s face it, the only reason that the leafs beat the sens last season is due to Nieuwendyk’s play and Belfour’s near perfection. Unless JFJ surprises us by signing Hamrlik or by making some real decent trades, I just can’t see Ottawa losing to the leafs again with the current roster that the leafs have.

  7. comrie44 says:

    The Canucks WILL make the playoffs, and it won’t be in the final 2 spots. They’ve managed to keep most of there team together save the slow and therefore expendable Malik and the unreliable Sopel.

    As for the playoffs, Cloutier HAS to go if the Canucks expect to get anywhere. How many times does he have to choke before he gets run out of town? Trade him for Thibault or anybody…

  8. 92-93 says:

    interesting use of stats in this article. Obviously the cap will help Canadian clubs initially in terms of being more competitive and being successful in the playoffs. but remember, the ‘winners and losers’ of the free agent market this offseason (which cannot be truly determined until this time next year) was heavily based upon the position teams were before the cap. thus, the richer clubs had to lose players to get under the cap and poorer clubs acquired players and free agents because they were in a better position to do so (younger, inexpensive players, etc.).

    but come next year, all the richer teams that had to adjust to the cap will be in a better or, at least, more equal position with those poorer teams – which means that teams like the Leafs will have more cap room available to purchase a younger crop of free agents while other Canadian clubs who made long-term (re: more than one year) commitments to free agents and star-players will have less room to manuever.

    in any case, the best canadian team will be based on the moves their GM makes and their farm system. this year, i think the Sens just might make it to the 3rd round. they have been quiet and i wouldn’t be surprised and it would be fitting that a team that has not been in the headlines during this free agent period be the one to do some damage in the playoffs.

    I think the Oilers, Flames, and Canucks will all be in the 2nd round this year while the Habs and will probably bow out in the first round since both teams without much of a defence.

  9. DTucker_16 says:

    Man, I still remember how unbeatable Hasek was in that Leafs vs. Buffalo series in 1999. How the hell leafs managed to beat Lindros in round 1, Jagr in round 2, and lose to Peca in round 3 is beyond me.

  10. 92-93 says:

    i agree. in fact, i am kind of hoping the Leafs meet (and lose to) ottawa in the first round this year because this is the weakest leaf squad in recent memory … so far (we’ll see if JFJ can get another d-guy like Brad Brown, a goalie like Thibault, and a winger like Anson Carter).

    the way i see it, eventually the Sens will beat the Leafs in a playoff round – based purely on percentages. eventually all good things must come to an end. why not this year when the Leafs are weak? so that next year and future years the Leafs will have a better line-up and can resume whipping the Sens in the playoffs.

  11. 92-93 says:

    yeah, Hasek and Steve Shields both beat the Leafs in the 3rd round in 1999. but like Carolina in 2002, Quinn’s fun-to-watch offensive/no-defence style of play just wasn’t good enough against the more systematic play of these teams. the 1999 club was much younger than the 2002 version of the Leafs too so it felt like it was the beginning of a long run for the Leafs franchise (but they kept dealing away picks and signing good but old free agent players).

  12. habfan1160 says:

    I will refuse to engage in hypothetical reasoning concerning the fate of Canadian teams in the upcoming NHL season. There are too many unknowns and unknown unknowns that preclude any accurate assessment of the upcoming season. Who would have thunk it that the last Stanley Cup went to Tampa Bay with Calgary as runners-up? My Habs, in addition, could end near the top of the conference or be picking in the top ten at the entry draft in Vancouver. The only way to assess the upcoming season for Canadian teams is by actually watching it unfold.

  13. brashman says:

    I can’t believe I’m agreeing with a Habs fan!!!

  14. Scruffy05 says:

    Are you out of your mind? Vancouver fighting for the last two spots? Give it up already or pull your a$$ out of your head. Cloutier is one of the best regular season goalies out there. Canucks are contenders for the President’s Trophy. Period. Will they make it through the playoffs? Considering this is Cloutier final chance then they may make it to the second round. Also, what people don’t know is he anticipated the smaller pads and has been practicing with them for the last year.

    Vancouver lost their number 5 and 6 d-men, not 3 and 4. Sopel was a liability and should probably have been playing on the wing and Malik was a traffic cone. Losing them was the best move for the canucks because now they can bring up some of there rookie defensmen who lit it up last year in the minors (Bieska primarily)

    I’m not meaning to leafbash here, and if you see this as a deliberate shot then don’t it’s just an observation but leaf fans are being EXTREMELY optimistic of their team when they easily have one of the worst lineups in Canada, and then you go and slag on a superstar calibre team like the Canucks fighting for the last two spots? Give your head a shake!

    Toronto has a chance, and the lineup is underrated to a point, but dammit, it is fragile as hell. If Belfour goes down you have a beerleague calibre goalie to replace him. If Alison goes down then you lose most of your secondary scoring (unless they toss him on the first line). I pick Toronto to miss the playoffs.

  15. skidragoon says:

    sry man vancouver is more of a one line team. but on that not one of the best lines out there. but u saw how tuzzi’s absense was noticable.

  16. Neely4Life says:

    dude, u couldnt have said that any more perfectly!

  17. Bacon077 says:

    Statistics can be thrown out the window now that parity has been introduced to the NHL. Also, this is all PURELY speculation, and assumes that there will be little to no player movement and no injures. There is a lot of time between now and playoffs.

  18. propiro98 says:

    tuzzi is back and the 1st line is more then enough to get past the leafs in team points for the season and in playoffs, as for other teams against van in the playoffs lets hope the twins finally get it together. toronto lost so much this year they are a 1 line team and a pretty bad one. ill put money on the table that vancouvers 1st line has more points then torontos 1st two lines!!!!

    Go Habs!

  19. dennisdonohue says:

    Would it be outrageous to think that Edmonton would fare really well with a netminder like Thibault? He’s a solid goaltender, and as already stated in a few other threads, he appears to be ready to start aging like wine. I think he’d be a perfect fit.

    I think the Habs have a very real shot at being one of the top teams in the East. I think an addition like VBure would definitely add to those chances. They have a young and very talented goaltender that is still coming into his own and an improved defence. I like this team alot.

    I also like Calgary. I think they are still underrated, even after almost winning the cup.

    Canucks are going to be hard to gauge (even with all the die-hards on this site :). I like Cloutier as a netminder, but he gets “beat” easily by veteren players. If he starts to come into his own, the Canucks should go far into the playoffs, but I have my own personal doubts. I love the style of this team, I just see issues in the “new NHL” with the bumping/bruising style of play.

    Ottawa is the Atlanta Braves or the Buffalo Bills of the NHL. Always there, never getting the job done. I see no changes here.

    I’m not even going to touch the situation with Toronto, after the Mikster captured my idea of Toronto perfectly in his most recent article…

  20. TheMinister says:

    unknown unknowns?

    Wow that’s Rumsfeld-esque. Scott McLellan would be proud.

  21. -Swizz- says:

    why is montreal expected to be at the top of the conference this year??

    who have they added?

    Is there team pretty much not the same this year, with the addition of dandaneault? (who is a career 5-6th dman)

  22. ranger_fan says:

    You can combine the Coyotes and Jets for a couple of years after, same with the Avs, and the Nords. It was Quebecs team that won it in 96.

  23. habsoverserver says:

    Very good post. You should turn it into an article come playoff time.

    I’m not sure how you ranked the teams. A team who misses the playoffs altogether should be penalized more than a team that gets swept in the first round.

  24. habsoverserver says:

    Very good post. You should turn it into an article come playoff time.

    I’m not sure how you ranked the teams. A team who misses the playoffs altogether should be penalized more than a team that gets swept in the first round.

  25. norutrat says:

    You have to admit that Calgary went that far using clotching, grabbing and obstruction every chances they got…

    If the NHL do what they promised.. Calgary won’t go that far into the playoffs..

  26. norutrat says:

    2 rookies (or kind of) Ribeiro and Ryder will be even better than 2 years ago.. Add Bonk.. Add the new rules giving talented guys like Koivu, Ribeiro and Kovalev to work their magic… Then a solid season from Theo with the addition of a rookie like Perezoghin or Hossa having a solid season.. and sky is the limit…

    Remember also that Montreal DOMINATED the Lightnings during the last 2 games.. and played their worst games of the year during the first 2..

  27. shawn_habs says:

    The main thing is that Koivu finally has a star winger to play with for the entire season. Kovalev came in at last year’s deadline.

    Plus the Habs have always been one of the most talented and speedy clubs in the league, not to mention undersized. The new crackdown on clutchngrab plus the shootouts should benefit the club immensely.

  28. -Swizz- says:

    ribiero & ryder – ever heard of the sophmore slump?

    bonk – will crumble come playoff time…

    new rules – how many times has the league tried to crack down on obstruction..ill believe it when i see it…

    theo – he was solid last year…and terrible the year b4..and amazin the year b4…even if he puts up a solid year, they’ll itll be like last year

    perezoghin – isnt he suspended or somethign? i remember he whacked a guy over the head with his stick in teh ahl…either way..he’s just a rookie dont expect much..same goes for hossa..

    bottom line is they lost to tb…and personally i dont think they could beat boston again if they played’em this year…i dont think they could beat philly or ottawa either…or tb…..unless they manage to avoid one those teams i dont see them gettin outta round 1

  29. -Swizz- says:

    kovy was there for the playoffs…how is last years playoff team much better

    and everyone forgets how lucky montreal was to get by boston..boston had that series..they choked…they wont do it again

    in order for montreal to make round 2…they’ll likely have to beat one of:

    tb, philly, ottawa, boston which i dont think they can…

    and even IF they do crackdown on teh new rules (which i doubt), come playoff team, they’ll get pushed around…

  30. Hollywood666 says:

    It looks like Cloutier’s been PLAYING with smaller pads for last FEW years, like maybe shinpads or something.

    Ottawa and Vancouver are too fragile and lack the depth to do any playoff damage, but they’ll probably both win their division.

    The Leafs will be lucky if they make the playoffs, that’s JFJ’s short-sightedness for ya.

    Good to see the battle of Alberta back.

  31. JeffBurnz09 says:

    I’m concerned with Hasek in Ottawa. He’s played 14 games I think in 3 years, and he didn’t look that great in those games. He’s injury prone, and he’s older now. Ottawa has a huge question mark in goal. Hopefully Hasek still has some left in him and Ottawa can make a nice playoff run.

    I don’t know if I see the Leafs making the playoffs. I think they’ll fight for the last spot, and possibly make it, but I really don’t see how they can beat Ottawa this year. You have to admitt, they shouldn’t have beat Ottawa last year, and needed Belfour to stand on his head to save games the Leafs were terribly outplayed in. Assuming Ottawa’s goaltending holds up, I can’t see how Toronto can do it this year. Ottawa’s basically the same team, Toronto has lost some key guys, and is Belfour still up for doing what he did in 2003/2004?

    I think Montreal will be Montreal. Good season, make the playoffs, and probably go out in the second round.

    Edmonton needs a goaltender, like you mentioned. They already had a nice young team, and now they have guys like Peca and Pronger to add to that. I’d like to see them get Messier back, just for the leadership. With a goalie, they’re a playoff team, with a reputation of playing teams hard, and could definitely make some noise.

    Calgary actually look better on paper than they did when they went to the finals. Losing Gelinas probably hurts, but could you really expect him to do what he did in the playoffs again this year? Conroy would’ve been nice to have kept around though. I think Amonte is a great pick up, especially when he came fairly cheap, and MaCarty is a prefect fit. As much as I like Calgary, and I do…I’m not sure how far they’ll go this year. Last season (played) was one of those special times where everyone is just playing their heart out and things just keep going right for them. It’s hard to recapture that. I hope they do. But it’s hard to do it. See Anahiem, 2003.

  32. devils007 says:

    Devils should be listed as Cup Champs (2000, 2003)

  33. 93champs says:

    Kovalev was there for the playoffs, but now we don’t have juneau, dackell, quintal, brisebois, we replaced them with young talent…komaserik, chris higgins(who is seriously underrated), perizoghin (who allready served his suspension), Kotsisyn (scouts said he had the most talent in the draft, but his epylipsey made him a risk, well he’s fine now with the meds) oh by the way ribero wasn’t a rookie that year and he wasn’t the year before, so it wouldn’t have been a sophmore slump I guess it would be a juniour…no wait a senior. Next Boston choked and they won’t do it again…hold on isn’t that what people said after 2002, but then they did it again in 2004..hmmm and why wouldn’t they choke now…why because they got brian leetch and alexi zhamnov…or is it because Andrew Raycroft won’t have a sophmore slump????????? Also remember Tb’s starting goalie is john Grahme, not khabiboulin…must I remind you who Ottawa’s starting goalie is (and I like ottawa)…I think in the two years after his comeback he played something like 20 games….Philly yes your right they are a great team, but is Robert esche a championship goalie? would you rather theodore or esche??? Remember Montreal actually has a number one line that is better then the majority of the rest of the teams…yes you’ll have sakic-hedjuk-tanguay or crosby-lemeuix-pallfy (could be the best), naslund-morrison-bertuzzi….what about the teams in the habs divs: thornton-murray- and who??zhamnov is a center, What sundin-oneil and who tucker, even if allsion stays healthy he’s a center…ottawa has a solid line in hossa-alferdson-havlat…what about buffalo??? satan…ummm nope! what daniel briere….remember friend the majority of our games are played in our division. oh and last thing is do you think tb beat the habs because of their size or because of their skill and game plan…come on man the Canadians aren’t that small…komaserik will be the next scott stevens(don’t believe…do the research..watch what he did before he was drafted…he can have a mean streak)

  34. devils007 says:

    Everyone seems quick to dismiss Ottawa’s chances, but Spezza is coming off of a massive year in the AHL and seems poised to make a big impact this season.

    Hasek is certainly a wildcard – but no more or less so than Belfour. Here is how I would rank the Canadian teams:

    1) Ottawa – The depth on this team is incredible and, after choking (again) against the Leafs, the hunger should be there.

    2) Vancouver – They’ve got the best line in hockey (Bert/Naslund/Morrison) and two studs on “D” (Jovo & Ohlund). Strong supporting cast, but will Cloutier choke again?

    3) Montreal – A healthy Souray and continued progress from guys like Ryder should propel the Habs to the next level. Theodore is still one of the best masked men in the game.

    4) Edmonton – No more excuses. A good blend of young, hungry players and new proven vets. Goaltending is suspect though.

    5) Toronto – Darcy Tucker on the first line. Wade Belak on the second. I rest my case.

    6) Calgary – Hot playoff run aside, Calgary just isn’t that good. Iginla is alternately the best player in hockey and a bored bystander. Kiprusoff, say hello to “Giggy”. Or Steve Penny, for that matter.

  35. Hollywood666 says:

    Ottawa-Exciting but too soft for playoffs. Hasek will have a mediocre playoff and they’ll be gone first round.

    Vancouver-Best line in hockey, WEAK supporting cast, Cloutier has too much pressure. They don’t have the heart for playoffs, other than the top line.

    Out in first or MAYBE 2nd round.

    Montreal-Fast team, will benefit from rule changes, wild card for playoffs.

    Edmonton-Good mix of players, could go far in playoffs. Need a goalie.

    Toronto-Poor planning for new NHL economy, Out in 1st round IF they make the playoffs.

    Calgary-Added talent without sacrificing grit, could go far again. Best defense of all Canadian teams.

  36. -Swizz- says:

    i have no doubt that montreal has some great young talent…but i jusst seems like habs fans are putting too much faith in these kids..they have little to no playoff experience…

    how many players on teh habs are proven playoff performers?

    maybe theodore..maybe koivu…kovalev?

    i dunno we’ll see i guess..thats why they play the games…and i guess ur right on some points..

    i just dont see them as muchh improved for playoff hockey, as they were last year thats all..

    maybe in 2-3 years they’ll be up against pittsburgh for the east finals…i just dont think they’re there yet…id say they’d be lucky to get to round 2 this year…

  37. Nevyn says:

    About the leafs:

    The bad news for the leafs is that they aren’t as bad as people say. They are good enough to get comfortably into the playoffs, then lose.

    Since the leafs clearly have to buyers next year, the ideal upside is for them to be bad enough to trade people at the deadline. Big cap numbers on Belfour and McCabe are less a concern at the deadline so they’d be easier to move for prospects, and the leafs are sure to add some more journeymen that they can dump if not doing well. A team in unexpected contention could even offer at Sundin.

    In other words, a ‘bad’ year could repair the farm system and bring in the youth movement in one fell swoop. An ‘ok’ year would just mean big spending in the offseason and a contending team with no prospects in it’s farm system.

    Sadly, I think the leafs will do little this year even at the deadline. Between Toronto fans and Toronto media, you can’t have a fire sale unless you are several points out of 8th, and I don’t think the leafs will tank that much. I also don’t think that this team can achieve much this year unless 2-3 of their prospects pan out quicker and better than expected and every veteran/journeyman gamble they add works out (in short … a miracle).

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