Wings clinch first playoff spot! Who else will make it?

With 100 points, the Detroit Red Wings have officially clinched a playoff spot. It’s also looking like they’ll win the President’s Trophy… which would make it the 3rd time in 4 seasons and 4th in 6 seasons… sickening. Also, the LA Kings have officially been eliminated.

Take a look inside for current playoff standings, which teams are virtually guaranteed to make it, and which teams are on the fringe. 90 points seems to be the minimum mark this year to reach the playoffs, though naturally a strong push by a fringe team could push that up.

Also, let’s hear your predictions for who will make it and who will fall just short.

Roughly speaking, it seems that 90 points and at least 40 wins will be the minimum points required to just squeak into the playoffs. As of now, 8th place Vancouver is on pace for 93 points, while 8th place Philly is on pace for 91 points. The teams behind them (Buffalo and Nashville) are on pace for 89 and 90 points. With that said, let’s check out how things presently look after Saturday’s games:

Eastern Conference:

(1) New Jersey (42-24-6, 90 pts)
Games remaining: 10 (6 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. East: 10

(2) Montreal (40-24-9, 89 pts)
Games remaining: 9 (5 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. East: 8

(3) Carolina (38-30-5, 81 pts)
Games remaining: 9 (5 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 5 vs. East: 9

(4) Pittsburgh (40-24-7, 87 pts)
Games remaining: 11 (6 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. East: 11

(5) Ottawa (40-25-7, 87 pts)
Games remaining: 10 (5 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 9 vs. East: 9

(6) NY Rangers (37-26-9, 83 pts)
Games remaining: 10 (5 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. East: 10

(7) Boston (37-27-8, 82 pts)
Games remaining: 10 (4 Home, 6 Away)
vs. +.500: 10 vs. East: 10

(8) Philadelphia (35-27-10, 80 pts)
Games remaining: 10 (5 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 7 vs. East: 10

—————————————

(9) Buffalo (34-28-11, 79 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Philadelphia) by 1 points
Games remaining: 9 (5 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. East: 9

(10) Washington (34-30-8, 76 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Philadelphia) by 4 points
Games remaining: 10 (4 Home, 6 Away)
vs. +.500: 7 vs. East: 8

(11) Florida (34-31-8, 76 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Philadelphia) by 4 points
Games remaining: 9 (5 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 4 vs. East: 9

(12) Toronto (32-31-10, 74 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Philadelphia) by 6 points
Games remaining: 9 (4 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. East: 9

(13) NY Islanders (32-34-7, 71 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Philadelphia) by 9 points
Games remaining: 9 (5 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 9 vs. East: 9

(14) Atlanta (31-34-8, 70 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Philadelphia) by 10 points
Games remaining: 9 (4 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 7 vs. East: 9

(15) Tampa Bay (29-35-8, 66 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Philadelphia) by 14 points
Games remaining: 10 (4 Home, 6 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. East: 10

Western Conference:

X – (1) Detroit (47-19-6, 100 pts)
Games remaining: 10 (5 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. West: 10

(2) San Jose (42-21-8, 92 pts)
Games remaining: 11 (6 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. West: 11

(3) Minnesota (38-26-8, 84 pts)
Games remaining: 10 (5 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 10 vs. West: 10

(4) Anaheim (41-25-8, 90 pts)
Games remaining: 8 (4 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 6 vs. West: 8

(5) Dallas (42-27-5, 89 pts)
Games remaining: 8 (4 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 6 vs. West: 8
(6) Colorado (39-28-6, 84 pts)
Games remaining: 9 (4 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 9 vs. West: 9

(7) Calgary (36-25-10, 82 pts)
Games remaining: 11 (4 Home, 7 Away)
vs. +.500: 11 vs. West: 11

(8) Vancouver (36-26-10, 82 pts)
Games remaining: 10 (6 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 10 vs. West: 10

—————————————

(9) Nashville (36-29-8, 80 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Vancouver) by 2 points
Games remaining: 9 (5 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 7 vs. West: 8

(10) Phoenix (36-31-5, 77 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Vancouver) by 5 points
Games remaining: 10 (4 Home, 6 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. West: 10

(11) Edmonton (35-32-5, 75 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Vancouver) by 7 points
Games remaining: 10 (5 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 10
vs. West: 10

(12) Chicago (34-31-7, 75 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Vancouver) by 7 points
Games remaining: 10 (6 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 8 vs. West: 9

(13) Columbus (31-29-11, 73 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Vancouver) by 9 points
Games remaining: 11 (6 Home, 5 Away)
vs. +.500: 9 vs. West: 11

(14) St. Louis (29-32-11, 69 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Vancouver) by 13 points
Games remaining: 10 (4 Home, 6 Away)
vs. +.500: 10 vs. West: 8

e – (15) Los Angeles (28-39-6, 62 pts)
Trailing 8th seed (Vancouver) by 20 points
Games remaining: 9 (5 Home, 4 Away)
vs. +.500: 9 vs. West: 9

Teams that are a lock (based on statistics):

NJ
SJ
Anaheim

These teams have all hit the required (estimated) 90 points needed to make the playoffs.

Teams that are virtually a lock:

Montreal
Dallas
Pittsburgh
Ottawa

These teams are all only a few points away from 90, and barring a complete breakdown with only regulation losses to close out the season, they should easily make it, with the three Eastern teams vying for the top spot in the East.

Teams that should make it barring any massive slump:

NYR
Boston*
Carolina
Minnesota

These teams all have 37 or more wins. Boston has a game in hand and 3 more wins and points than Buffalo in 9th. Even their poor play of late (4-4-2 in last 10) isn’t enough to eliminate them as the Sabres have been just as poor (4-4-2 in last 10). Carolina has 5 more points and a big 4 more wins than the Caps in 10th (albeit having played an extra game). Minnesota is 4 points up with 2 extra wins and a game in hand over Nashville.

Teams at risk:

Philadelphia
Calgary
Vancouver

Teams eliminated:

LA

Stamkos to add to their already superb young talent? Say hello to the new Pittsburgh Penguins. I predict a playoff birth as early as next season.

Teams ‘mathematically’ eliminated:

TB
St. Louis
Atlanta
NYI

Even if these teams won every single game left, they’d fall short of the 90-point mark.

Teams eliminated barring the running of the gamut to close the season:

Columbus
Chicago
Edmonton
Toronto

If any of the Western teams wins all their remaining games, they’d end up with 95 points. Lose but one game of the 10/11 remaining, and if the Canucks keep pace, they’re out. The divisional games will be massively important now. Edmonton, having gone 8-2 in their last 10, could make a serious playoff push if they can overcome their division rivals. I don’t see Chicago or Columbus doing the same.
As for Toronto, after a somewhat spirited effort against the Flyers, they really shat the bed by losing to the Sabres. With the loss of Sundin and Antropov, I consider their season officially over. Somehow winning all their remaining games would give them just 41 wins and 92 points, which may not even be enough. Just let it go guys, please.

Bubble teams:

Phoenix
Florida
Washington

I don’t see any of these teams making it. I feel sorry for the Panthers who have been playing amazing of late, but will once again (as I predicted) fall short by a handful of points and miss out on drafting a top 5 prospect. They should’ve tanked their season, then they could have gotten another guy like Weiss (4th overall), Bouwmeester (3rd overall) or Horton (3rd overall), instead of another ‘marginal’ 10th overall pick. The Coyotes are only 5 points back of the Canucks, with the same amount of wins. The amount of wins could be a huge deciding factor, but can the Coyotes overcome Dallas, SJ and Anaheim (twice for each team) to reach the promised land? Highly doubtful.
Washington is a more interesting case. They are 5 points behind Carolina, with a game in hand, but have 4 less wins, and the Canes are playing mean hockey right now (8-2-0 in past 10). As I predicted last month, when there was a 4-way logjam within a couple points of the SE division lead, I feel the Canes will win their division, and the Caps will fall short. However, the Caps stand a good chance at taking the 8th seed legitimately. I’ll tell you why. They are playing 3 of the 4 worst teams, twice, to close off the season. Whereas the Sabres have to play the Habs, Sens, Bruins, and yes the delusional Leafs who will fight to the last man. Furthermore, the Flyers have to play the Devils, Penguins and Rangers, and haven’t even had the best success against the Islanders who will look to play spoiler.
If I had to pick any darkhorse from the East, it would be the Caps sneaking into 8th spot over the Sabres and Flyers, with the Canes still winning the division.

Teams right in the mix of things:

Buffalo
Nashville

It will be interesting to see if the Sabres sans Campbell can leapfrog the Flyers and hold off the Capitals. It’s a tough prediction to make. It really comes down to divisional games. How badly do the Habs or Sens want the NE/East, and similarly how badly do the Pens and Devils (and Rangers) want the Atlantic/East… the collateral damage from those 4 superpowers will decide which of the Sabres, Flyers and Capitals makes it. It will be quite possible for the Caps to sneak in and the Flyers and Sabres to fall off the cliff at the end of the line.
Nashville and Vancouver have been in a neck-in-neck battle for a while. But, the Preds seem to have the easier remaining schedule. The Canucks have to face 4 teams (even the Oilers) with playoff hopes who are anxious and nervous about their position. Every game will be intense for them. Whereas Nashville gets to play 3 teams effectively out of the playoffs (twice each) and a team that has already locked up a playoff spot and likely the President’s Trophy and who will be looking to rest some key guys. Based on this, I’d give the edge to Nashville to take the spot from Vancouver (or Calgary, Colorado or Minnesota). But I also wouldn’t underestimate the apparent drive of the Canucks and Luongo to make it.

I’m sure most of you agree that it’s difficult to make up even a couple points over another team with all the 3-point games. With this in mind, I think all of the current playoff teams make the playoffs, with the possible exception of the Flyers, with the Sabres or interestingly the Capitals taking them over. The loss of Campbell may be too much for the Sabres to overcome. The divisional games will definitely be the deciding factor in that race, with the Caps having the clear advantage… will it be enough? Boston’s shaky play of late may finally cost them their playoff spot too, but seeing as they have the same record as Buffalo over the past 10 and are 6 points up with 3 more wins on the Caps, I think they are safe. In the West, I predicted before when there was a massive logjam in 7th-13th that the Coyotes, Blues, Blue Jackets and Hawks would fall by the wayside, with the Avs making it with the return of their injured players, and either the Canucks or Nashville taking 8th. Back then I said I believed the Canucks would find a way to squeak in, and I still maintain that prediction (as much as it pains me to say that). However, N
ashville, on paper, has the easier remaining games and could oust the Canucks. In reality, none of the NW teams are safe, not even 3rd placed division-leading Minnesota.

So, what do you think?


44 Responses to Wings clinch first playoff spot! Who else will make it?

  1. BruMagnus says:

    Personally, I feel like those damned Devils will take 1st in the East, with the Habs coming 2nd. Which means, unfortunately, that the Pens will play the Sens again. I hate the 4th vs 5th matchup. There is a slim possibility that the Pens could fall to 6th and play the Canes, or the Rangers take over the Sens and play the Pens.

    Same in the East, the weak NW division gets a 3rd seed, while one of SJ, Dallas and Anaheim will have to fight each other in the 4th and 5th spots.
    Detroit will come 1st and likely sweep, or take 5 games, to oust the Luongo-led Canucks.

  2. habskovalev27 says:

    quite simple for the devils : no Brodeur, no first place…….

  3. 24_cups_and_counting says:

    With the highpower blues and the guaranteed 2 pts against the bruins coming up, might as well put an asterix beside the Canadiens name.

    My only hope is the habs finish 2nd in the east and face the bruins in round 1, thus a trip to the 2nd round is guaranteed.

  4. BruMagnus says:

    That's why he's still the best goalie in the NHL, the likely Vezina winner and potential Hart Finalist (or even first time winner if the Caps fail to make the playoffs).
    Brodeur is one of the Top 3 goaltenders of all time, trying hard to make a case for number 1. But I don't see the Devils winning the Cup, or even the East in the playoffs.

  5. 08-09 says:

    The sabres and caps are really coming on right now in the East (and the panthers!), so the Bruins and Flyers better get their act together over the next week or two.

    As for my leafs, i assume the 'let it go guys please' was directed at the players – who, along with Maurice, have no choice but to not tank it and give it their all (why would anyone expect Maurice to do anything else considering it is his job on the line).

    as for the fans – i dunno about you but many if not most of the leaf fans i have been talking to (with a few delusional exceptions that get all the attention from non-leaf fans) seem to want the leafs to tank or at least try their hardest but lose every remaining game.

    right now they are in 7th place in the Stamkos Cup with the teams ahead of them having extra games left to play compared to the leafs. I think they'll finish between 4th and 8th in that race, more than high enough to select a stud blueliner like Bogosian or Schenn or a pretty decent centreman like Hodgson or Beach (or the winger Filatov if they want to take that risk).

    in any case, its a remarkable situation in which rivals like the Bruins, Sens, and Habs would be doing the Leafs and their fans a favour by beating them in these last 9 games, increasing their chances to pick higher (and the higher you pick, the less likely the possibilities of you making a bad pick – i only say this because there are only too many non-leaf fans who are assuming the worst case scenario of the leafs making a bad selection in the top-5 or top-10, virtually ignoring that it would be very difficult and unlikely that such a possibilty may occur considering how deep this draft is). 

  6. BruMagnus says:

    The Eastern race is indeed heating up!
    The Pens could give the Flyers a major setback in today's game (starting in 5 minutes).

    By "let it go" I meant the fans who think they have a hope. They don't. I said last week that they'd have to go something like 12-3 to close off the season to make it, which they won't. Let's just accept that the Leafs will be golfing for the 3rd straight year, and are a year removed from matching the Penguins with 4 straight nonplayoff years, albeit with nowhere near the kind of assets the Penguins got from that situation.

    It's kinda bad to tank the season, but it's very rational.

  7. leniwm1 says:

    quite simple for Habs – No Kovie, no Habs
    quite simple for Avs – No Sakic,no Avs
    quite simple for Rangers – No Gomez, no Rangers
    quite simple for Dallas -No Ribiero, No Stars
    quite simple for Wings – No Nicky, No Wings
    get the point, or should i keep goin. There is a reason y teams build around a player, thats y teams do that. And the Devs will take the East, cuz u know y, Marty says so! Then u habbies can ***** in the offseason y u didnt pick up a "star" at the deadline which would have, let me gess, win u guys the cup?

  8. BruMagnus says:

    for the Penguins: No Crosby, No Fleury…. No problem!

  9. 08-09 says:

    again, most of the fans i've been talking don't like this faux-surge, we've seen it too many times before and the whole worldview of the leaf fans that i've talked to and are on this site (again, with the exception of a few) seems to have shifted to the next 5 years, not this year.

    a lot of that has to do with the missed opportunities at the deadline thanks to the NTC-3 (not NTC-5, Sundin and kaberle have held their ends of the bargain and earned the right not to waive them, McCabe-Kubina-Tucker have not earned that right considering their sucky play).

    in any case, i am reading more articles and posts – on this site and others – by leaf fans who are talking about next year and a few years from now. The last 10 games mean nothing to them other than where the leafs make a selection in the draft AND how much Kubina raises his stock for a potential post-draft day trade.

    'tanking' is not an option for the team, trying their best but failing is. of course, for the fans that would be a best case scenario because other teams' fans wont be complaining to leaf fans that their team tanked it on purpose (like a certain Pens team did to get Lemieux and other teams since then).

    the difference between the pens and leafs is mainly that the leafs 'non-playoff' years featured a team – with the exception of this year's team – that was much more competitive than the Pens and finished 9th two years in a row, close to 10 games above .500, and a point or two out of 8th. this is a worst case scenario the Pens avoided by simply sucking so bad.

    this year the leafs are sucking bad – still not as bad as the pens – and have more restrictive contracts. next year will likely be the same. i really hope the new GM comes in June or July and will go even further than Fletcher in terms of remaking the roster. (i.e. Fletcher has gone on record saying that Antropov and Toskala are part of the core going forward … the new GM might even say 'screw that,' lets trade Toskala while his trade value is high (and Antropov) and keep Toskala from keeping the Leafs competitive for the next season, considering that is what he has done this season).

    i would love to see the leafs give Pogge and Raycroft the reigns in net next year, play all of their 2nd and 3rd-tier prospects and give them the big minutes to see what they are made of (make it a make-or-break year for a lot of these guys), and see them draft high in the 2009 draft, which is just as deep if not deeper than this year's draft.

  10. BruMagnus says:

    Pens up 2-0 after the first period against the Flyers. Bad news for the Flyers. If they lose this in regulation, watch out for the Sabres and Caps!

    On another note, the refs have been just brutal!! The Pens have carried the entire play, and somehow the Flyers have 3 PPs and the Pens 0. But for anyone watching this game, did you see Mike Richards' Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the head/throat of Malkin!?!?! My god!! That was frightening! I thought for half a second that Richards and slit Malkin's throat! No joke. Watch the replay… and guess what?? NO CALL!! NOTHING!!! Instead, Sykora gets a penalty for nothing 30 seconds later. What a joke.

    On a final note, goddamn NBC is brutal. Their camera work is so shoddy, following the wrong players and missing shots on net. Also, they don't show replays of the penalties, so we cannot know exactly what is being called. Simply atrocious, almost as bad as the refs in this game.

    PS, Malkin with 2 points is now 4 points back of Ovechkin.

  11. BruMagnus says:

    LoL! I totally agree the Pens tanked to get Lemieux, and what a wise move that was! Look at what it gave them. Without that move, the team would likely have been moved away from Pittsburgh (Mario literally saved the franchise on at least 3 occassions). With no shot at the playoffs, the Pens did the right move, albeit 'cowardly' or whatever you wanna call it. But few remember that and most remember the 2-Cup winning Pens.

    I do agree it's more exciting watching a team fighting for a playoff spot than watching what was the atrocious unspirited hockey of the early 2000s Pens. However, rationally, based on end-results, I'd rather be in the Pens situation, where 4 years after tanking, they're now one of the elite teams with some of the best players in the world. Whereas the Leafs have little to show from their failure, except the 'pride' of not being the absolute bottom-feeder. Fans can enjoy that pride. I'll take Crosby and Malkin.

  12. BruMagnus says:

    I'm not going to lie, Hal Gill has been looking good of late. Blocking shots, hitting, all around solid work.

    Malkin with 4 points now 2 shy of Ovechkin. We'll see what AO can do in the very important game vs the Bruins.

  13. habsrock99 says:

    I was watching most of that game and saw the Richards-Malkin collision. It wasn't intentional. Malkin tried escaping the Richards check and Richards fell to the ice after losing his balance and his foot got up high on Malkin. It was almost the same type of incident as what happend to Zednik. Jokinen went for a check and lost his balance and his skate got high resulting in Zednik's injury.

    I gotta agree with you, the reffing was horrible in that game but I've been noticing over the last 2 weeks that refs have somehow someway gotten worse.

    And yes, NBC is a horrible. They're the American version of TSN, hiring practically anybody(Pierre Maguire and Mike Milbury) to try and call a hockey game.

  14. habskovalev27 says:

    no keep going…you seems to like loosing your time…beau cave

  15. 08-09 says:

    again, when you are talking about what people are talking about … it depends on where the discussion takes place.

    outside of Pens' fans' discussions, when people talk about Pittsburgh (or Ottawa for that matter), they talk about 'luck,' 'tanking,' etc. … unlike when they talk about the Wings or Devils – which is all about being competitive and drafting well ALL THE TIME.

    the leafs, unfortunately, have always been in that gray area between being an upper-tier, cup contending team, and a brutal team that finishes dead last for a few years and competes for 2 or 3 years and then is brutal again.

    my point though was this: youre making the assumption that the leafs' 'failure' (re: these past 3 non-playoff seasons) is somehow over after this year and they have nothing to show for it. in other words, that they wont have anything to show for it after the next couple of non-playoff seasons.

    i dont think that is true at all. some of the restrictive contracts can be traded (kubina for example), there are two deep drafts coming up, and the past 3 seasons has yielded (compared to the previous Quinn era) some very decent 2nd and third tier players who will be important components moving forward.


    on another note, i am wondering about what the pens will do in the offseason. obviously, i dont think they'll be able to resign Hossa considering they have to resign Malkin soon. the good news is that they have a lot of replaceable UFAs that they can let go or resign for cheap. the bad news is that, in the long term, that Hossa-for-Christensen/Armstrong/Esposito trade will absolutely kill the Pens depth-wise and in the longterm.

    in other words, unless they win the cup this year, i really don't see how they could possibly win that trade down the line.

    if i were a Pens fan i would be A) estatic about the fact that i have the likes of Staal, Crosby, Whitney, Letang, Fleury, and Malkin on the same team but i would also be B) extremely worried that within the next two to three years they'll end up like Ottawa and Tampa Bay – nothing but very top-end talent and then nothing on the 2nd and 3rd lines and 2nd and third D-pairings.

    Ottawa and TB are super depleted in terms of their prospect depth and the Pens, though ok right now, are getting depleted with each passing season since a lot of their prospects are up with the big club now.

  16. kamullia says:

    Having watched hockey for years through the old big satellite antennas until I went to Directv, I have to say that more than likely you were getting the direct feed from the Studio or arena, and not the US national feed. I say that because I am in the US and I did get replays of the penalties, etc… Sometimes you still see direct feeds on Center Ice, although mostly they are not common anymore. I used to love direct feeds, especially when I had the old big satellite dish, because you got to see what was actually happening in the arena during commercials and the REAL talk between analysts, not the politically correct version.

    PS The camera work is horrible for the NBC crew, agreed. I do not understand why, but happens every year when they finally start to carry games, and I think it’s only been a month or so since they started. Somehow by the time of their playoff broadcast it all goes away, which means the camera men actually learn quickly or every year some more experienced guys take over during the playoffs.

  17. CofRED says:

    After 2 embarrassing losses to eastern teams (Washington and Atlanta), the Flames pulled out a character win this afternoon vs. Chicago.  The big names stepped up and took charge in a must-win for Calgary.  One thing I would like to do is thank Denis Savard for starting Lalime instead of Khabibulan.  Despite his ups and downs in Chicago, for many years now, Khabibulan has always, ALWAYS brought his A-game against the Flames.  With that in mind, the Flames couldn't afford to lose this game, so Savard effectively did the Flames a favor tonite.

    The west is in fact an excruciatingly close race, with Calgary, Minnesota, Vancouver, Colorado, and Nashville all within 4 pts of each other.  With todays win, Calgary has moved into 3rd place with 84 pts, with Colorado and Minnesota also having 84 pts but with more games played, Vancouver at 82 pts, and Nashville at 80 pts.

    I think Nashville will probably find a way, since most of the final games for each team is against division rivals.  Not only is Nashville in a weaker division, but with the other 4 teams in the hunt all being in the same division, they're going to wind up feasting on each other and opening the door for the Preds.  Any team that stumbles in these last 10 games is going to be golfing early, since they are pretty much all 4-pt games from here on out.

  18. Kramer says:

    The Leafs can still make it, if they win 10 of their last 9 games.

  19. BruMagnus says:

    Ovechkin furthers his cheating ways.

    After being shutout for 2+ periods in the game against Boston, Ovechkin decided to take a dive to try to get a PP, only the refs caught him on it and gave him a 2-minute 'unsportsmanlike diving' penalty. He finished with 0 points, though the Caps still won it in a shootout.

  20. BruMagnus says:

    The Penguins have tons of depth and prospects. Don't you worry.
    They've played 37 different players in the NHL this year. Consider that for a moment.
    There's been at least 12 AHL guys who've played on the big squad, and who fit in. In one game, there were 7 AHLers on forwards, only 5 NHL regulars, and the Pens still won.
    There are tons of prospects too, but I won't name them now as it'll take a few years for them to develop.

    The trade won't negatively affect the Pens depth. Also, don't forget a guy like Army may come back in 2 years' time, if he's mature enough to get over being traded. Seeing how much he loves playing with Sid, I bet he is.

    The only downside is as you mention. The Pens had no trouble signing Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Gonchar, Whitney and Fleury long-term. The problems arise from 2 players:
    1) Hossa. which I dont see us keeping unless it's for 3-4 years tops.
    2) Malone. he could get $3 million on the open market, or even Scott Hartnell money by a team like the Leafs, but being a Pittsburgh native, I hope he stays in Pitty.

  21. BruMagnus says:

    I totally agree.
    Did you see Iggy's SH goal? Totally read the play. What a pimp. He's going to score 50 goals this year, and will likely be only the 3rd guy to do it (Ovechkin done already, Kovalchuk has 49 goals), unless Malkin can score 9 goals in 10 games… which is quite possible.

    Don't look now, but Edmonton also beat SJ, making it 9-2 in their past 11. They have the same amount of wins as Vancouver and Nashville, and are only 3 back of the Preds and 5 of the Canucks.

    I wrote in my article how the Preds have the easier schedule over the Canucks, especially how the Canucks will be playing games against desperate teams. Well don't look now, but the Oilers could very well make the playoffs if they can take 80% of their remaining divisional games.

  22. BruMagnus says:

    Oh the East is heating up!
    Washington and Florida (winners of 7 straight) won again tonight, pushing their totals to 78 points. Boston managed a point, which could be huge for them in the end. While Philly got ABSOLUTELY SPANKED by the Penguins 7-1. That's back-to-back 7 goal games for the Pens, WITHOUT Crosby. Last game they had 7 different goal-scorers. Today's game, Malkin and Sykora took over with 2 goals and 2 assists each. [Still no hat trick for Sykora. Malkin looked mad when he couldn't set Sykora up for his 3rd.]

    Malkin has come out and said he hates the Flyers. He now has 8 points in his last 2 games vs. them, and with two more games against the Flyers, and their dispirited play of late, one would have to consider today's game a harbinger of their doom. I don't see the Flyers making it if they keep playing like this. They're also without Hatcher and lost RJ Umberger today.

    So will it be the Sabres, or the streaking Caps or Panthers that finally take that last spot?

    The Canes continue to win, easily dispatching the Sens today, and will still take their division.

  23. Habs_pm says:

    My predictions:

    1. New Jersey
    2. Montreal
    3. Carolina
    4. Pittsburgh
    5. Ottawa
    6. New York
    7. Boston
    8. Buffalo

    New Jersey Vs. Buffalo = New Jersey Wins because of great goaltending like always!

    Montreal Vs. Boston = Montreal Wins because they own Boston

    Carolina Vs. New York = New York Wins because of clutch players like Chris Drury

    Pittsburgh Vs. Ottawa = Tough one….Comes down to goaltending, I'll go with Ottawa not because I think Gerber is better than Fleury but just because the Pens are too young and Ottawa has something to proove. Pens will win if Fleury stands on his head!

    Stanley Cup Final:

    New York Rangers VS Dallas Stars

    Dallas wins the 2008 Stanley Cup

    Playoff MVP = Brad Richards or Marty Turco !

  24. CofRED says:

    True, the damn Oilers are making a strong push to sneak in there.  Momentum is certainly on their side.  The biggest problem they're going to face is the same as the other teams – all 5 from the same division, all equally as desperate.  I feel that because of this, they're all going to fight each other and cost each other enough points that Nashville is the team that will sneak in there.

    And yes, I watched the game.  Iggy totally saw that pass coming.  And Huselius shot for the GWG in the top corner, perfect shot.

  25. CofRED says:

    As much as I'd like to see Ovechkin and the Caps complete their turnaround and play in the post season, I would really like to see Florida sneak in there.  It would be really good for the moral of the players and the organization in general if they could finally be rewarded for hanging in there for so long.

  26. hockey_lover says:

    Of course Detroit is going to the presidents trophy again … look at the division they are in. A possible 64 points against teams that arent in the playoff hunt.

    I give credit where credit is due. They have a really good team. But their record is ALWAYS inflated. I guarantee you that if they were in the Pacific division, they would NOT win the pres trophy every year .. not even close.

  27. Williams1505 says:

    Well Bru, To be honest with you no matter who the pens play there gonna give them a tough test. Just think about it.

    If we play the Sens its gonna be a pretty tough test because if its another series like last year we are gonna get smoked. One thing that the penguins NEEEEEED!! to do is learn how to play playoff hockey. They need to start turning into an aggressive team and start hitting, or their not going newhere.

    It don't matter if we play the sens, rangers, canes, or whoever its gonna be playoffs and teams are gonna be playing all out to win. So regardless if we have hossa, crosby, malkin, (well first hossa and crosby need to get some chemistry and play together, also dupius should be on that line.) People are gonna be running and gunning because it's playoff hockey.

  28. BruMagnus says:

    I hear that. I've always written how badly I feel for that organization and their fans (especially after the Luongo debaucle). Still, I feel they will once again come 2-4 point shy of the playoffs and miss out on a Top 5 pick… so sad.

  29. BruMagnus says:

    Ottawa made the Finals.
    Isn't it really the young Penguins squad that has something to prove?

    Rangers… I like it. They are definitely a dark horse that could take the East if Lundqvist is on his game and Jagr and Shanny and Gomez and Drury play like they can.

    I see the Finals as:

    Pittsburgh vs Detroit

    Detroit in 5. Lidstrom MVP.

  30. BruMagnus says:

    Apparently you are new to this site. Otherwise you surely must have read my article a couple months back that stated that the Wings were only 500 against their division, while they were something like 26-2 against the the rest of the East, with a 14-0 success against the NW.

    So you are completely wrong. They don't pray on their division, they pray on everyone else. This "Detroit prays on a weak division" is complete BS when you actually look at the real facts.

    DETROIT'S CURRENT RECORD VS THE WEST:
    40-18-5

    Against the Central Division:
    10-11-2

    Against the NW:
    15-2-3

    Against the Pacific:
    15-5-0

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/standings?conference=western&standType=expanded&group=conference&column=playoffs&order=false&season=2008&seasontype=2

    I hope you are man enough to say you stand corrected and were so very wrong.

  31. BruMagnus says:

    ** 26-2 against the the rest of the West

    I'm sorry if I sounded harsh, but I'm just sick of all the uninformed opinions going around.

  32. 08-09 says:

    interesting. i just looked on the nhl.com website and it said that the pens only have 30 players who have played in at least 1 nhl game,  but in any case that is not really good or accurate indicator of depth (sometimes its desperation due to injuries).

    there are a lot of low-percentage hopes that you list (armstrong coming back, the prospects have to develop – of course, etc.) but if you look at any prospects publication on the future of each franchise, the pens are not listed in the top-15 in any of them (and this was before the esposito trade).

    (hockeysfuture has the leafs rated 18th, which i thought was too high, while the hockey news had them rated 28th, which was way too low … the leafs could be rated in the 20th-24th range, still not very good and something they badly need to improve upon).

    dont get me wrong, that top tier that you have (and that Ottawa has) is amazing in terms of its talent and can carry a team a long way. but the teams that have won the cup have depth on every line.

  33. HABSSTAR says:

    My prediction is the Leafs get a #4 pick and select….Nogoalov! 

  34. HABSSTAR says:

    Regardless of the stats.  We all know that you can slap an * on the side of Detroit's name in Oct because they've already clinched a playoff spot in that division.  I mean the Central is brutal right now.  Maybe in another couple of years Chicago will give Detroit a go for it's money but really who else is going to come out of that division?

    Columbus- NO
    Nashville – Not anymore
    Chicago – Not for a while
    St. Louis – Ahh, NO

  35. Kramer says:

    1. Toronto
    2. New Jersey
    3. Montreal
    4. Pittsburgh
    5. Carolina
    6. Ottawa
    7. New York
    8. Buffalo

  36. azzkikr2100 says:

    Pittsburgh Vs Dallas

    Pittsburgh in 6 games.

    Hossa MVP (He will make a difference even though he is known for disappearing in the playoffs, plus crosby will be playing one leg)

  37. leafy says:

    Maybe it's just me, but every time I watch Dallas play, they don't impress me.  They rarely control the play and are on their heels.  Maybe just the games I've watched, I don't know.

    But I agree that the Rangers are a very dangerous team.  If they wake up in April, look out.  They've under-achieved all season, yet they usually out play or out chance the opposition.

    I really think the Skarks are the team to beat in the West.  I like them even more than Anaheim.  Not just because of their current win streak.  They've played well all year, even if they weren't winning as much early on.

    In the East, it could be Pittsburgh, Montreal, New York, Carolina, and Jersey.  Take your pick, it's so close.  One goal post or one amazing save might make the difference.

  38. BruMagnus says:

    I agree.
    Anything can happen in the playoffs! Anything!

  39. hockey_lover says:

    Wow.

    Yep. I am 10000% completely wrong.

    Thank you for showing me the error of my ways.

  40. BruMagnus says:

    I was going off of this article, which I assume to be accurate:
    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/archive/s_557194.html
    Although they've used 37 players through 71 games, the Penguins have managed to maintain a united approach, no matter who happens to be playing on a given night.

    They may be failing health, but they're acing chemistry while contending for first in the Eastern Conference.

    "Everyone gets along so well on this team," defenseman Brooks Orpik said after Wednesday night's 7-3 destruction of the Buffalo Sabres. "That's something that's overlooked a lot, and it goes a long way."

    The Penguins have had to do things the hard way this season, making repeated emergency calls to their Wilkes-Barre/Scranton AHL affiliate while forging ahead without the likes of Sidney Crosby, Gary Roberts, Marian Hossa, Maxime Talbot, Mark Eaton, Adam Hall, Rob Scuderi and Marc-Andre Fleury for extended stretches due to injuries.

  41. BruMagnus says:

    I think I can shed light on that number.
    First, there are two pages on the NHL.com site. Each page shows 30 players. Having said that, there's only one extra player (Nathan Smith) on the 2nd page, for 31 players.
    Then, you have the three goalies, Sabourin, Conklin and Fleury, making that 34 players.
    Then, you have the two traded players, Christensen and Armstrong, and the one waived player, Recchi.

    There's your 37 players.   😉

    I do agree our team's prospects aren't in the Top 15, but given all the talent that is now NHL ready or in the AHL, that's not really surprising. The only real problem will be trying to hang on to all that talent. And if we can indeed keep Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Fleury, Gonchar, Whitney, Sykora, as I think we can, it'll barely matter what our prospects currently look like. Throw in Hossa and a bunch of guys like Talbot and Kennedy, and I know our future is just fine, if we can stay under the Cap.

    Did the Canes really have much depth? They didn't even make the playoffs the following year.

  42. BruMagnus says:

    *****. I meant to add before that it may be due to desperation of injuries, having played 37 players, but what evidence can you say that it's not an accurate indicator of depth? The Penguins were WINNING games, WITH a half dozen (or more occasionally) true AHLers in the lineup… how does that NOT indicate depth?

    Sorry for posting 3 separate responses. I hope you can answer them all.

  43. BruMagnus says:

    Totally ridiculous. But I hope to God you're right! I don't see how Hossa would steal the Con Smythe from Crosby, Malkin or Fleury though.

  44. BruMagnus says:

    You're welcome. No hard feelings. Kudos to being 'man' enough to own up!

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