Okay, technically it isn’t “mid-season” until next game (1/10/04). But if I wait any longer, I’m sure Mik will get huffy. So, in the style and manner requested by the “powers that be” (wouldn’t want to get censored again), here we go…
Various reports say that the New York Islanders have signed free agent center Cliff Ronning to a contract for the remainder of this season. The 38 year old Ronning has been waiting for a team to give him a shot, and I dont see the Islanders regretting this one.
The Bruins started off the year on a tear by ripping up the league for the first nineteen games until they went into hibernation. They picked up only a few wins in their next twenty games and looked lacking of heart and desire as they appeared passionless on the ice. The Bruins have started to emerge from their hibernation as they have managed to pick up some wins in their last few games.
ESPN.com reports that, “Defenseman Barret Jackman is expected to miss the rest of the season due to a dislocated left shoulder. Jackman, the Calder Trophy winner last season as the NHL’s top rookie, reinjured his shoulder in the first period of a 1-all tie with Minnesota on Jan. 5. An MRI exam Jan. 7 revealed the extent of the injury. Jackman was first hurt on a check by Todd Bertuzzi of the Canucks on Oct. 22. It’s the second long-term loss to the Blues’ defense this season. Al MacInnis is out indefinitely with a detached retina and may retire.”
When watching the Detroit/ Boston game last night on TSN, they showed who they thought were the leagues top players. So here they are and you tell me what you think.
The Buffalo Sabres Started the season with one goal in mind- Make the playoffs! Owner Tom Golisano has GM Darcy Regeir to open the wallet and bring in some quality players, and the sabres are showing signs of becoming a force to reckon with the second half of this season. After a slow start, the team came together on the dreaded West coast swing, winning 4 0f 6. The sabres hit tough times in early December, dropping 7 straight losses, 5 of them on home ice. Some strong goaltending and timely scoring helped them right the ship, and 4-1-2 in thier next 7 leaving them 5 points out of that eighth and final playoff spot.
What Happened in Game 1 Through Game 41.
Nashville has gotten off to the best start in team history. Many were expecting the Predators to fall by the wayside after dumping almost all of the experience from the defensive corps including Bill Houlder (UFA to nowhere), Andy Delmore (Buffalo), Karlis Skrastins (Colorado), and Cale Hulse (Phoenix). The remaining experience left on the blueline – The under-appreciated Kimmo Timonen and Jason York. The replacement players – Journeyman Mark Eaton, Freshmen Dan Hamhuis, Marek Zidlicky, Thomas Kloucek. and Robert Schnabel. Last years Major Change had been the trade of Mike Dunham to the Rangers and the Emergence of Tomas Vokoun as the teams #1 netminder. Initially Jan Lasak of the Slovakian national team was expected to be the backup, but inconsistent play in the preseason led to the resigning of former Predator backup Chris Mason. Forward Lines did not change much. Additional experience was added with grinding enforcer Jim McKenzie. The major prospect surprise was Jordin Tootoo, the first NHL player of Inuit descent to play in the NHL.
With the Isles 41th game approaching Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers, this seems like as good a time as ever to evaluate everybody’s favorite Long Island franchise based on their play so far this season. Lets start:
The first half of the season began with a shaky start that seemed to get them no where at all, then it went down hill for most of November, and in early December things started to pick up for the team. Injuries were no longer that big of a problem, and now in early January, things are still headed in the right direction.
The Kings came out flying from the gates despite being hit by the injury bug before the season even began. Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh have yet to return from injuries suffered last year and probably won’t return this year at all unfortunately. Other key injuries to Roman Cechmanek, Ziggy Palffy, Aaron Miller, Mattias Norstrom, Jared Aulin and Jozef Stumpel have started to catch up with the Kings. They once had a little bit of lead for the top of the pacific division, but now are starting to slide. The did make a move earlier in the year to kick start there team by acquiring Martin Straka from the Penguins for 2 prospects. Straka has done well in LA but Straka can’t replace Allison and Deadmarsh.