Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Stanley Cup Pick

Western Conference Winner
Detroit Red Wings

Eastern Conference Winner
Montreal Canadiens

Stanley Cup Winner
Montreal Canadiens

Conn Smythe Winner
Alex Kovalev

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Western Conference Predictions

The thirteen actors depicted on the left represent thirteen teams that have a legitimate shot at making the Western Conference playoffs. That's right, the only teams I'm ruling out right now are the Los Angeles Kings, the Nashville Predators, and the St. Louis Blues. All of the other teams have a fairly decent shot at finishing in the top eight for one reason or another, but no team has more pressure to do that this season than the Chicago Blackhawks. Here's a team who will finally be showing all of their games on television (welcome to this century, Chicago fans), spend loads of money to sign Brian Campbell and Christobal Huet, have two of the most exciting young players in the game in Patrick Kane and Jonathon Toews, will be hosting the second annual Winter Classic against Detroit on New Year's Day, and has finally decided to waive Nikolai Khabibulin. There's plenty of promise in Chicago and just about everyone is predicting this team to finish well in 2009. The Central is no longer an easy division for the Red Wings and I think we'll get a glimpse of that over the next few months of hockey.

1. Detroit Red Wings
The Stanley Cup Champions didn't lose anybody important (au revoir Dominik Hasek), but instead, managed to rope in Marian Hossa, one of the premier offensive players in the NHL. The Wings are loaded on the back end with every-year Norris contender Nick Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski leading the way. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk will lead an explosive offense.
Key Additions: Marian Hossa, Ty Conklin
Impact Player: Chris Osgood (Along with Franzen, he was the x-factor in last season's cup victory. Can he do it again?)

2. Dallas Stars
There was no one happier than Martin Brodeur when Sean Avery signed with the Stars during the offseason - unless you count the Stars themselves. Avery add to the already impressive depth on the Stars offensive unit which includes Brendan Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, Brad Richards, aging Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, and the biggest mystery in the NHL, Fabian Brunnstrom, who until he signed with Dallas, was considered the best player not in the NHL. In goal, Marty Turco will come back after a strong postseason and look to build on that success.
Key Additions: Sean Avery, Fabian Brunnstrom
Impact Player: Sergei Zubov (Will age finally catch up to him? Or does the veteran have one more great season in him?)

3. Colorado Avalanche
Call me tinted or call me dumb, but the Colorado Avalanche will win the Northwest Division for the first time since 2003-2004. You can find faults with any team in the NHL, but the Avs have one major selling point which people need to get excited about. Their top six defensemen are as solid as they come. Brett Clark, Ruslan Salei, John-Michael Liles, Scott Hannan, Jordan Leopold, and Adam Foote provide a steady, responsible crew. The biggest concern comes with Leopold, who has bones made of glass. If he can't stay healthy, the Avs will probably look to Daniel Tjarnqvist or Kyle Cumiskey to fill the void. Either way, this group should be able to limit the shots that Peter Budaj has to faced. Beyond the D, the offense still boasts several big names, including several pests - Darcy Tucker, Per Ledin, Ian Laperriere, Cody McLeod/McCormick, and Scott Parker. The Avs are certainly going to be a tough team to play against. Behind the bench, Tony Granato takes back his old job from "It's Time For A Line Change" Quenneville.
Key Additions: Per Ledin, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Darcy Tucker, Andrew Raycroft
Impact Player: Peter Budaj (This team is going to sink or swim with goaltending. Budaj's time is now or never.)

4. San Jose Sharks
It always seems like it's supposed to be "their year." Last year, the Sharks were the trendy pick to make the Stanley Cup heading into the postseason. Instead, they barely survived a first round matchup with the Flames and ended up losing to the Stars in the second round. This season, the Sharks return with a completely revamped defensive group. During the offseason, they traded Matt Carle and promising youngest Ty Wishart to the Lightning for superstar Dan Boyle and they signed ex-Av Rob Blake over from the Kings. After firing Ron Wilson, the Sharks were in the market for a coach and hired Detroit assistant Todd McClellan to the position. It will be McClellan's first gig behind an NHL bench as a head coach.
Key Additions: Rob Blake, Dan Boyle
Impact Player: Patrick Marleau (The captain can't afford another terrible season. It's time to sink-or-swim.)

5. Chicago Blackhawks
Finally, their wait is over. The Blackhawks are going back to the postseason. The Hawks have plenty of talent, plenty of heart, and plenty of excitement to make this season a memorable one. The biggest question will come on defense where the Hawks are very weak. Brian Campbell isn't exactly a great defensive player (ok, I'd rather have Greg de Vries if we were talking purely about defense) and Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, and Cam Barker are still very young. Though, with all of the talent on the front end supporting Kane and Toews (Sharp, Havlat, Byfuglien, Ladd, Skille, and heck, add Campbell in there, too) the Hawks will have an impressive season.
Key Additions: Brian Campbell, Christobal Huet
Impact Player: Patrick Sharp (Sharp surprised a lot of people last season. With all of these young players needing to step up, Sharp is one of the experienced guys who will be looked to in the early-going)

6. Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks have had some troubles prior to the 08-09 season. Trying to sign Teemu Selanne has been harder than they originally thought and as I type this, they still don't have enough room to maneuver under the Cap. One has to wonder if Brian Burke is starting to think about leaving Anaheim after his contract expires this season bolting to, I don't know, Toronto? Regardless, the Ducks are not the same team that one the Cup a couple of seasons ago. The names are somewhat the same. Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Teemu will lead the offensive with Chris Pronger and Scott Neidermeyer in the backend. JS Giguere is still in goal and Randy Carlyle is still behind the bench. It's just, the Ducks didn't seem to have that same edge last season as they had in the past and I think it might carry over. The depth isn't what it used to be and the Ducks didn't do anything to improve last season's team unless you count the signeds of Brendan Morrison and Steve Montador. Factor that in with the incredible toughness of the Pacific, and the Ducks will struggle throughout.
Key Addition: Brendan Morrison
Impact Player: Corey Perry (If Getzlaf struggles, Perry is the go-to guy)

7. Calgary Flames
Todd Bertuzzi? Ugh. Mike Keenan? Ugh. Dion Phaneuf? Ugh. This team is absolutely disgusting. They'll make the playoffs thanks to Kipper, but don't expect me to like it. I am, afterall, an Avs fan. The Flames did well to get rid of Tanguay and replace him with a cheaper version of himself in Mike Cammalleri. Also, Jarome Iginla is still, without a doubt, the top right winger in the game. That, and the fact that Kipprusoff will be motivated to end the doubts that he is no longer a Vezina-quality goaltender, will be enough to get the Flames into the 7th spot.
Key Additions: Mike Cammalleri, Todd Bertuzzi
Impact Player: Todd Bertuzzi (Does he prove that he's no longer a waste of space?)

8. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers got rid of some dead weight by trading Joni Pitkanen for Eric Cole and subsequently signing Lubomir Visnovsky to fill the void. The Oilers also went out and acquired once-considered-gem Gilbert Brule from the Blue Jackets. Brule was supposed to become a star in the NHL but he could never really find his footing in Columbus. If some of his potential starts to come out, the Oilers will have a special player. However, the Oilers already have a couple of special players on their side. Sam Gagner and Alex Hemsky lead the offense along with captain Shawn Horcoff. Last season, Gagner recorded the fifth most points in one season as an Oilers rookie, ranking behind Jari Kurri, Jason Arnott, Dave Lumley, and Glenn Anderson. That's some pretty good company. The Oilers were hot at the end of last season and should be able to find some consistency in '09.
Key Additions: Eric Cole, Lubomir Visnovsky, Gilbert Brule
Impact Player: Tom Gilbert (With the inconsistency of Sheldon Souray, Gilbert needs to provide a lot on the blueline.)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

9. Phoenix Coyotes
Peter Mueller, Shane Doan, and Ilya Bryzgalov will make great attempt at getting the Yotes into the top eight but I think they'll fall just short. Look for this team to be a contender in 2010.

10. Minnesota Wild
Brian Rolston is gone and it'll be interesting to see how Andrew Brunette performs in a similar role. The defending Northwest champs didn't do enough to stay ahead of the Avs, Flames, and Oilers.

11. Columbus Blue Jackets
They've made some significant moves by drafting Nikita Filatov, signing Kristian Huselius, and trading for Raffi Torres, but RJ Umberger is not the #1 center they needed to play with Rick Nash.

12. Nashville Predators
I'm not sold on Dan Ellis and the Predators haven't sold many tickets in their years in Nashville.

13. Los Angeles Kings
Allow the youth movement to commence! Here's to Fukufugi making another start!

14. Vancouver Canucks
Who is going to score if one of the Sedins get injured? Certainly not Mats Sundin.

15. St. Louis Blues
Erik Johnson is injured and Paul Kariya isn't in his prime.

Western Conference Champion - Detroit Red Wings
It's not my fault that they're this good. If you're thinking about a Stanley Cup hangover, just remember that Marian Hossa has yet to win one.

Coming up, my Stanley Cup prediction!

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Eastern Conference Predictions

A new season is finally upon us an with it are my first ever official predictions.

The Eastern Conference looks to be wide open this year. Last year's champs, the Penguins, loss several key players, none bigger than Marion Hossa who played a huge part in getting the Penguins to the Cup. Injuries have hit them hard this pre-season, with Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney expected to miss games with injuries. If the Penguins can't repeat, who will end up as the Eastern Conference champs? Look no further, my guess is as good as any other.

Each prediction includes an impact player (someone who is not considered to be the team's best, but will possibly be the most important during the year) and the key additions during the off-season.

1. New Jersey Devils
As much as I hate to say it, this could be Martin Brodeur's season. He is 13 wins away from tying Roy's win record and is a mere 8 shutouts away from breaking Sawchuk's record. Last season, however, he played 77 games and the Devils subsequently made a quick exit in the Playoffs. The Devils need to make sure his workload goes way down this year. Want to know why I really like them? No matter what cards they're dealt, they always find a way to win and are always competing for the top of the East. Don't underrate them.
Key Additions: Brian Roslton, Bobby Holik
Impact Player: Zach Parise (Must improve on his career-high 62 points)

2. Montreal Canadiens
Even though this might be Brodeur's season to shine as an individual, no team is set up for more success than the Habs. It's their 100th season and they'll be hosting the All Star Game. Heck, they even have their own special team in NHL 09. Goaltending will dictate how their season goes. If Carey Price begins to suffer, expect Jaroslav Halak to do the job between the pipes. Losing Mark Streit and Ron Hainsey was a blow to the defense, so Andrei Markov will need to steup up his game.
Key Addition: Alex Tanguay
Impact Player: Alex Kovalev (Was last year just a fluke?)

3. Washington Capitals
If there were one team to be excited about in the East, the Caps are it. After last season's unbelievable run, the Caps are back this year with a maturer, slightly more experienced group. The fireworks will be lead by Alex Ovechkin, who scored a mere 65 goals en route to a Hart Trophy, Art Ross, Lester B. Pearson, and Maurice Richard Trophy. He'll be centered by sophomore Niklas Backstrom. On the blueline, Mike Green will try to justify the big contract he received in the offseason. The biggest question, however, comes in goal. Can Jose Theodore keep the momentum he had in Colorado and carry it over to Washington? If not, well, Brent Johnson isn't going to win them the division.
Key Additions: Jose Theodore, Karl Alzner
Impact Player: Alexander Semin (Someone needs to provide secondary scoring. Can he stay healthy?)

4. New York Rangers
No Jagr. No Shanahan. How is this team possibly going to compete? Two names. Henrik Lundqvist. He's been one of the most consistent goalies during his career, registering at least 30 victories in each of his first three seasons. King Henrik lead the league in shutouts (10) and gives the Rangers a chance to win every night. Filling that depth on the offensive side is Markus Naslund, the recently acquired veteran from Vancouver. Naslund's production has gone steadily down the past couple of seasons and he will look to rejuvenate his career in New York. For the defensemen, Marc Staal should be looking at 20+ minutes each night as he looks to take a step into leading the Rangers this season. He'll have help from newly acquired Wade Redden, who needs to prove that his ridiculous contract during free agency was well-deserved.
Key Additions: Markus Naslund, Wade Redden, Nikolai Zherdev
Impact Player: Chris Drury (With the absences of two big scorers, he'll be looked at when it's time to score)

5. Pittsburgh Penguins
I'll go on record right now. There is absolutely no way this team wins the Stanley Cup. Though, they will contend. When you have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal as your top three centers, it's hard not to. It feels like the Pens lost half of their team. In a way, they did. They took a gamble with a rental player and came up short of the ultimate goal. Now, they don't have Gary Roberts, Ryan Malone, or Colby Armstrong. They've been replaced with Miroslav Satan (past his prime), Ruslan Fedotenko (never really in his prime), Matt Cooke (so what?), and Eric Godard (why?). That's not exactly an impressive group of wingers. Gonchar needs to get healthy very quickly and Brooks Orpik and Daryl Sydor will have to step up on the blueline until they return.
Key Additions: Matt Cooke, Ruslan Fedotenko, Miroslav Satan
Impact Player: Marc-Andre Fleury (No more Ty Conklin, Pittsburgh's hopes begin and end with this guy)

6. Toronto Maple Leafs: Haha, just kidding.

6. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers have a lot to look forward to this year after their surprising run in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Martin Biron returns as the team #1, Mike Richards has been named the new team captain, and there has not yet been a quota set to see how many injuries they can cause before Christmas. If there's a weak point for this team, it's the defense. Besides Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn, there is a lot of inexperience in the defensive zone. Randy Jones and Ryan Parent will spend this year trying to solidify their spots permanently in the NHL while Ossi Vannanen, Lasse Kukkonen, Steve Eminger, and possibly Hatcher, fighting for the last two spots.
Key Additions: Steve Eminger, Aaron Asham
Impact Player: Daniel Briere (With Umberger gone, Briere can no longer afford to be inconsistent)

7. Ottawa Senators
Hooray! No more Ray Emery! That step boosted Ottawa from 9th to 6th on my board. Newly hired coach Craig Harsburg leads a team that desperately needs an identity. They only have one line (Alfredsson-Spezza-Heatley) and if you can take them away, they're left with nothing. Andrez Meszaros is gone, Wade Redden is gone, Martin Gerber is still on the team, and things aren't looking much better for the Sens this season. They have too much talent to not make the playoffs, but they don't have enough to actually be significant.
Key Additions: Jason Smith, Filip Kuba, Alex Auld, Jarkko Ruutu
Impact Player: Chris Phillips (The defensive responsibilities will fall on his shoulders. Can he perform?)

8. Buffalo Sabres
Want a non-issue? How about the fact that Ryan Miller isn't going to be running off to Detroit after this season? Want a leading candidate for the bounce-back season award? Who better than Thomas Vanek, who had a 36 goal season which was considered a "disappointment." The Sabres barely missed the playoffs last season and it's my believe that this season, without the distractions of Brian Campbell, will sneak in ahead of Boston and Carolina. They're a young group, but behind Derek Roy, Maxim Afinogenov, Drew Stafford, Ales Kotalik, and Jason Pominville, they have loads of potential.
Key Additions: Craig Rivet, Patrick Lalime
Impact Player: Drew Stafford (A sophomore, Stafford will look to build on a great rookie season and provide secondary scoring.)
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9. Boston Bruins
They have a very good team, but they allowed way too many shots last season. If they can limit the shots and get strong play from Ward, look for them to possibly leap frog the Sabres.

10. Carolina Hurricanes
Any team with Joni Pitkanen is not set up for success. Maybe it's just me, but I've never liked this guy. Eric Staal and Cam Ward provide a great backdrop for success, but it Rod Brind'Amour can't get healthy, they aren't making the playoffs.

11. Tampa Bay Lightning
No defense. Barely any goalies. At least they'll be exciting to watch. (May I suggest the MULLET CAM?)

12. Florida Panthers
Thomas Vokoun is a good goaltender and their new look defense (McCabe, Ballard, Boynton, Ellerby, along with Bouwmeester) should help limit the shots against. The offensive side looks bleak, though. Nathan Horton may or may not be ready to step up to the #1 spot. Either way, this team isn't going to improve after losing Olli Jokinen.

13. New York Islanders
Mark Streit will help them, but Doug Weight and Bill Guerin were meant for the 90's. The only thing that keeps them from the the bottom two is Rick DiPietro.

14. Atlanta Thrashers
Their job will be to give other teams confidence. Ilya Kovalchuk must feel lonely and they better do something before they lose him, too. Zach Bogosian and just-acquired Schneider will make for an interesting, if not way-below-average blueline.

15. Toronto Maple Laughs, er, Leafs
They stink. Plain and simple. The Leafs made a good move in hiring Ron Wilson to right the ship and getting rid of McCabe and Tucker was smart. So what happened when they signed Finger for 14 million dollars? The problem with this selection is, the Leafs usually find a way to be just good enough to miss the lottery, but bad enough to miss the playoffs.

Eastern Conference Champion - MONTREAL CANADIENS

The Devils will win the conference, but the Montreal Canadiens will advance to the Stanley Cup.

Who will it be from the West? Coming soon.

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Fantasy Hockey Results

It was a very, very interesting draft to say the least. With fourteen teams, players were going fast and it was tough to find any sort of value in the later rounds. Here's who I ended up with at #8 overall in a snake draft:

Forwards

C: Evgeni Malkin (Round 1)
C: Brad Richards (Round 5)
LW: Brian Rolston (Round 6)
LW: Ryan Smyth (Round 11)
RW: Martin St. Louis (Round 2)
RW: Milan Hejduk (Round 8)
Bench/C: Jochen Hecht (Round 15)
Bench/RW: J.P. Dumont (Round 13)
Bench/RW: Ales Kotalik (Round 14)
Bench/LW: Chris Higgins (Round 16)

Analysis

I tried building up a solid base in four of the first six rounds. Malkin is an elite player who I'm lucky fell to me at #8. I'mhoping that Ryan Smyth will stay healthy and have a big bounce back year. I'm not crazy about Brian Rolston, but I think he and Chris Higgins give me some decent depth there.

Defensemen

D: Brian Rafalski (Round 3)
D: Dustin Byfuglien (Round 9)
D: Dennis Wideman (Round 10)
D: Mark Streit (Round 12)

Analysis

Absolutely no depth at this position so I'm holding my breath. At the time when I took Rafalski, he was the last of the real "top-tier" guys out there. Dustin Byfuglien is a guy I had targeted before the draft and I'm happy that I got him. He's also LW eligible so that will help if Smyth sees some injury troubles come his way. Mark Streit, a guy who had a huge season in 2008 will hopefully continue to have an impact on his new team.

Goaltenders

G: Ilya Bryzgalov (Round 4)
G: Peter Budaj (Round 7)

Analysis

My goal was to get two goalies from the West who were playing behind possible playoff contenders. I got both in Budaj and Bryzgalov. I was actually aiming for Cam Ward before I picked Budaj, but he was selected in the sixth round. When it came time to pick Budaj, it was either Budaj or Garon. I think I made the right choice.

That's my team. I may look at dropping one of my forward bench players and pick up a defenseman (Ruslan Salei is still out there) but we'll see where this season takes me!

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fantasy Hockey Draft

First of all, sorry for not getting my predictions done yet. Hopefully they're up by tonight.

The delay is due to many things, but first and foremost, it's due to my fantasy hockey draft starting in about five minutes.

8th overall pick. 14-team league.

I'll do a little live blogging on here for a little while until I get to the point when I'm choosing between Kent Huskins and Ty Wishart.

First Round

Ovechkin goes #1, but Thornton and Spezza immediately follow. (We have a lot of Pittsburgh haters). Things get back on track as the next few picks are Crosby, Lecavalier, Iginla and Brodeur.
TEAM GEO Pick #1: Evgeni Malkin
Easily a Top-4 pick, I got him at #8.
Heatley, Zetterberg, Nabokov, and Kovalchuk rounded out the first round.

Second Round

Depth is going to be tight all night so I wanted to try and build up my forwards.
TEAM GEO Pick #2: Martin St. Louis

No big second round surprises except for Mike Green going as one of the top defensemen.

Third Round

I'm going to grab a defenseman or a goalie as they seem to be going fast. By the way, this live blogging thing for the draft isn't working out. I'll be back with a full report of my team tomorrow. See you all then.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

AF Predictions Coming Soon

The official Avslova Factor NHL predictions will be coming sometime this weekend. I'll most likely do the East on Saturday and the West on Tuesday, but don't hold me to it!

(I put "official" in bold to make it seem important. But hey, I'm not The Hockey News or anything)

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Trouble for Quenneville

According to the Lone Tree Police Department, Quenneville was driving his car near Interstate 25 and County Line Road Friday at around 8 p.m. when officers noticed his headlights were not on. He was pulled over and, after further investigation, charged with failure to use headlights and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, according to police.
Denver Post


We'll see how this develops once Quenneville has time to fully (or not fully) explain it.

In any case, the Avs are in the midst of Training Camp adn given my situation in Philadelphia, I will not be attending. We'll figure out something to talk about until my Center Ice package kicks in.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

The Avs and Fantasy Hockey

It wasn't that long ago when you could build your entire fantasy hockey team around players on the Avs. Forsberg, Sakic, Blake, Bourque, Drury, Tanguay, Hejduk, etc. Now, however, it's unlikely any Av will go very high in any fantasy hockey draft.

That being said, here are five Avs who shouldn't be underrated in your fantasy drafts:

Paul Stastny - Center
Key Stat: 1.0 PPG in his career.

In what could be considered a sad season for the Avalanche last year, Stastny was one of the few bright spots. Despite missing around 16 games, the sophomore still put up 71 points including 24 goals. This season, assuming he stays healthy, expect Stastny to hit 30 goals for the first time in his career and to be an 80+ point player.

Milan Hejduk - Right Winger
Key Stat: Has never gone two straight seasons with fewer than 70 points

Milan Hejduk may go down as one the streakiest players in NHL history. Look at his career point totals starting in the 98-99 season:

48, 72, 79, 44, 98, 75, 58, 70, 54

He's getting up there in age, but there's no denying the trend. Once Hejduk has one bad season, he's going to have a good one immediately after. He's played fewer than 74 games just once in his career (01-02) and has played 80+ games in six of his nine seasons. He's a former fifty-goal scorer and even though he had an off-year last year, he still managed to put up 29. Expect Hejduk to register at least 65+ points and to be in the 25-35 goal range.

Ryan Smyth - Left Wing
Key Stat: Averaged fewer than 59 GP in his last two seasons.

Ryan Smyth's first year in Denver wasn't what anybody had expected. "Captain Canada" was injured for much of the year (along with everyone else) and had just 37 points (14 goals) in 55 games. There is reason to believe that Smyth will improve on those numbers this year. With Coach Q out and newly-hired, formerly demoted Coach Granato in, the Avalanche offense should be opened up a bit more and Smyth should have more chances to shine. Hopefully, Granato understands that Smyth's place isn't behind the net, but in front of it. With Ruslan Salei and John-Michael Liles as the best offensive threats on D, it could be a struggle to get shots on net for Smyth to work with. With a season of 60-70 games, Smyth should be able to put up around 20-25 goals and anywhere from 55-65 points.

John-Michael Liles -Defenseman
Key Stat: Five points in ten playoff games last season

Liles has seen his point total drop in each of the past three seasons and last year he scored just six goals. However, after the trade deadline, Liles improved dramatically on the Avalanche blueline and he really picked up his game on both ends of the ice. Liles shouldn't be a #1 or #2 defenseman on your fantasy team, but he might be a nice sleeper pick as a #3 or #4. This season, if he's playing with Scott Hannan or Adam Foote and is allowed to carry the puck up ice and control the power play, Liles could go over the 15-goal mark and top 40 points.

Joe Sakic - Center
Key Stat: A lock for the HOF and this is possibly his last season

We all knew Sakic wasn't coming back unless he felt he could 100% compete. And ultimately, he made the decision to return to the Avs for a 20th season. Even though he missed almost half the season, Sakic put up 40 points in 44 games and put up 10 points in 10 games during the playoffs. We saw Sakic slide a bit down the totem pole of NHL centers, but if he's health, you can't underestimate what he brings to the table. He's still the undisputed leader of the Avalanche and with teams having to worry about Paul Stastny, Sakic might not be seeing every team's #1 center this year. In what could be his final campaign, I expect a season of 70-85 points and a lot more if he can stay completely healthy.

Honorable Mention:
Tyler Arnason
Just Kidding

I'm no fantasy expert. What are your opinions on the Avs in regards to making a fantasy impact this season?

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Friday, September 12, 2008

I really want NHL 09

NHL09 is being touted as the best hockey game of, well, ever.

Be a Pro mode, the 6-on-6 online play, the Montreal legends, you name it.

I've been reading review after review after review as well as various message board threads and I've been listening to my friends talk about forming teams to play online. Now, I would buy it, there's just one problem,

I only own a PC.

No XBox, no PS3, no GameCube, no Wii. Heck, I don't even own a Nintendo. But I do own a PC.

And it wasn't long ago that EA Sports made great hockey games for my amusement. But now, I'm faced with the wait time of over a month and the likelihood that I'll be getting a watered-down Be a Pro Mode, no 6-on-6 online play, no Montreal legends, no real way to use the defensive skill stick on my keyboard, and a game that will probably have more glitches than the beta version of Windows Vista.

In all seriousness, I don't know how to make it another three weeks or so until the start of the season with absolutely nothing to chew on.

There's always pong I guess.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Puck Daddy Has His Say

Greg Wyshynski, or "Puck Daddy" has had his say on the Avalanche season over at Yahoo! Sports and I have to say, he did a pretty fair job evaluating the 2008-2009 Avs.

Expected Graduation: The Western Conference is very, very tight. But this group was good enough to make the cut last season through all of its injuries and adversity. I'm a little more concerned than most that Granato's coaching style will leave Budaj and Raycroft a bit more exposed than Theodore ever was. It comes down to goaltending and health: If Colorado has both, they'll make the cut as a 6-through-8 seed.
Wyshynski is one of the first, I guess you could call them, well, not really "experts" but maybe something along the lines very knowledgeable fans who have actually picked the Avs to possibly make the playoffs.

Now maybe the return of Joe Sakic has changed things, but the point is, props to the Puck Daddy for his fair and balanced (like Fox!) review and also, the link to The Avslova Factor in his article.

Note: 22 day until opening faceoff. Then we'll have some actual news to discuss.

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