What Will the Losers Do? Round Two Discussions
How could the losers of round one react after Round One elimination?
Round Two Discussions….but no predictions from me. Maple Leafs
They were not 100% healthy and I still think that a little bit of tweaking will make the Leafs one of the scariest teams to play against next season and especially come playoffs. Of course, all Leafs fans should cross their fingers for a healthy squad next time. Pat Quinn must get a back-up. Trevor Kidd is not the right back-up goalie…and Schwab should have stayed as he was practically…a useless player on the Devils. Belfour must be rested before the playoffs are about to start. Get rid of Jerky Lumme….and why was he up against Leclair many times? I say they should also make room for Brian Marchment, I still see him in a Leafs uniform. Try to sign a key player as well in the off-season, maybe Klatt if available. Also, the Maple Leafs may also try and pull a trade on Draft Day to regain a 1st rounder.
St. Louis Blues
Also not a 100% healthy team, but this is when GM Pleau should be held responsible for landing a decent goalie in Chris Osgood and a useless player in Valeri Bure. A couple of things that Pleau must decide on. Will he make a last ‘big’ run at the Cup, or will he just let players go? I think that after seeing the weakness of the Western Big Guns, Pleau will go all the way. He may re-sign Keith Tkachuk, or he may let him go since he has been a no-show for the Blues. That should create just enough room to sign another big free agent. Sergei Fedorov? No….but maybe two players that will come at the price of $10M. Stealing Zhamnov and Sullivan from the Hawks is an upgrade over just Keith Tkachuk. Then, I think that the Coyotes will aggressively shop Sean Burke to the Blues to regain (what they stupidly gave away *11th overall*) a 1st round pick in this year’s draft. It may very well happen.
They came in and lost all four games in a row. That is just unacceptable, regardless how well they played. Lucky Luc, most likely gone. Fedorov is the main factor and I think that GM Holland will do just about anything to re-sign Fedorov. It is just up to Sergei himself if he wants to stay. Cujo may rebound quite well next season. Overall, I think that Holland must add more players to this team…and players with character, and more energy overall. They have all the skills, but they need more jump to their game. They will most likely sign a free agent this summer. The Red Wings will show up next time, I am quite sure about it. And I’ll add a wild one…..they’ll show up big time next year with or without Fedorov.
It may be time to change the masked man. Salo did not look like the Salo I have seen in past seasons, and this season he was quite inconsistant. Where could he be traded to and who would be the next Oilers goalie? The Blues may once again go the cheap way and show more interest in Salo rather than Burke. Carolina Hurricanes may definitely show interest, and I’d give a shot at a healthy Weekes. Todd Marchant should be re-signed…there is no reason not to. Salary was trimmed, and it should be trimmed again by dealing Isbister. He was a complete ghost in every aspect of the game…and it came as no surprise to me, obviously. Isbister should be an automatic trade bait. I would also think that the Oilers should let Jason Smith go as well, and they should try to bring in younger and cheaper defensemen. Just look at the Wild’s defensemen. The Oilers should try and clear $3M and then sign a key UFA player around that price range. They are still a great young team that will only get better as seasons go by.
Wow, what a shocker!!!!! The Minnesot Wild deserved to win that series, and they won it. Congrats to them. Will Roy be back? You bet. Why should he not? There is at least one more season before the CBA. Lecroix should make some changes to this team though. I am quite positive that any Avs fan would have rather had Chris Drury in this series instead of Derek Morris. Hmm, Chris Drury in OT? Much needed. The Avs need a game breaker. Also, will Granato stay as coach? I think he did a pretty good job, but I am not sold on him yet. If Avs fans think that he should not be the coach next season, who should? I say Iron Mike Keenan. This is his type of team and he can lead it all the way. If not, then who else? Also, Lecroix should try to keep Brian Marchment as well. They need to keep defensemen, this time.
New York Islanders
GM Milbury is blaming his team and not himself. It’s not Peter Laviolette’s fault if he has a bust in Oleg Kvasha, an inconsistant Mark Parrish, an ineffective captain (this time he was of no help), an all-star player who slumped thorughout most of the season and was later shut down in the playoffs, and he does not have that much depth to use. Goaltending is fine, defense is fine…though Hamrlik will most likely be traded, but the Islanders need better wingers on the 1st and 2nd lines. Sullivan would be one heck of an acquisition, maybe even Zhamnov. Come on Mad Mike, you lost to the number one team in the NHL this season, and you blame the team? BLAME YOURSELF AND SAY THAT YOU WILL IMPROVE THIS TEAM!!!! It is your job, and do the best way you can to try and improve it. Hamrlik and Kvasha should most likely be moved.
Jaromir Jagr has been available for how long? I lost the number of months! Forget it, he is not going anywhere. Cassidy, the former 1st round bust as a player, did a great job in his rookie season. Calle Johansson will be lost, as well aa Ken Klee. Two defensemen down, aand defenseman was already in need prior to the deadline, and rumors have it that GM McPhee turned down the Oilers offer of Janne Niniimaa for Edmonton native Sutherby. So let me get this straight. McPhee was willing to trade 3 prospects for Jagr, to then just say that he is available. And then, he declines to trade one prospect for a much needed world class defenseman? Ouch….that’s not good. I would not expect the Capitals to be as active, but getting rid of some low profile names is a start (i.e. Berezin).
O’Connell, will he stay behind the bench? He may, but O’Reilly may come back as coach, which is a good move. Boston needs changes. Get rid of Grosek…that was the dumbest pick up ever. Dump Oliwa. Playing Oliwa and not PJ Stock? Hmm. And re-signing Hackett is an option….though Tommy Salo may draw some interest. The Bruins defense is pretty much set, and not much has to be changed in that area. O’Connell may also make an offer to Alexei Zhamnov, to create a Zhamnov-Samsonov line.
ROUND TWO DISCUSSIONS
Senators vs. Flyers
Flyers are about to face a very skilled team that rolls 4 skilled lines, is capable of scoring goals on mostly 3 lines, but all 4 can score, a very organized and tough-to-beat defensive system (not founf against the Leafs), tough defensemen (Chara, Redden, Phillips, Rachunek, Volchenkov, Leschysyn), and the Senators are also physical now. Lalime is not that hard to beat, and Cechmanek can definitely out play him.
The Senators are facing a tough physical team that plays great offensively and defensively. The plus is that Amonte cannot score a goal even if you gave him an empty net, maybe he needs to get laid to fix his accuracy in scoring? DesJardins is still injured, and the Flyers are quite exhausted after a seven game series against the Maple Leafs. It took seven games to beat a Leafs team on wheelchairs, how many will it take to beat a healthy Senators team?
Devils vs. Lightning
The most boring match-up to watch in round two, but somehow the Devils appear to have a hard time defeating teams that have a good offense, an organized defensive trap-like system, and a superb goaltender. Khabibulin can definitely shut down the Devils minor offense. Brodeur can easily shut down the Lightning offense. The Devils defense can definitely shut down the Lightning offense. The Lightning defense will struggle shutting down the Devils husslers. These two teams fairly match-up against each other in the playoffs, since the Lightning can pull an upset just as Carolina did to the Devils, but the Devils have the edge in all areas. So did the Avs and Wings though.
Canucks vs. Wild
This one should be very exciting. The Wild defense will have a tough time stopping Bertuzzi and Naslund. Both teams are quite fast, and goaltending should be just about equal. I am not sure what to think of this series. Never underestimate Lemaire’s teams, and he is the best coach. The Wild come in strong with confidence, and so do the Canucks. It’s a draw from where I am standing, either team can win this match up. What a wild Cup Final it my be though, eh?
Stars vs. Ducks
Cook those Ducks! Stars offense must find a way to defeat Giguere, since he is the key in the Ducks winnning plans. Defeat Giguere and you will most likely win. Stars have the offense to defeat the Ducks, and the defense is also tough to get around. Turco must step up, however. Giguere can very well outplay Turco and the Ducks may cause an upset, another one! Stars are the only ‘elite’ Western team left….and what do those cocky Western Conference fans have to say about that now? East still has the Senators, Devils, and Flyers. I would expect the Stars to beat the Ducks. No more lucky Ducks.