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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Who's in and Who's out!

Hey guys! due to issues last week you guys didn't get to see a blog........... so this week you guys get an extra blog!! With the NHL regular season right around the corner teams are making their final cuts and finalizing the rosters for opening night. So lets figure out what players will be in the lineup October 6.

Well lets start with the blue and white... Toronto Maple leafs.
Who's in; rookies Jake Gardiner and Matt Frattin have both made it through the last round of cuts and will be in the line-up come opening night. Gardiner who wasn't even supposed to make it past the first round of cuts, fought his way onto the blue line, knocking out Keith Aulie. A strong training camp was ultimately what made Gardiner one of the best defenceman this preseason and a no brainer to make the team; With 5 points in 6 preseason games, as well as amazing poise and maturity with the puck, it didn't take long for people to start penciling Gardiner into the line-up, the only question was when? "I think if I wasn't going to be here now I was pretty close," added Gardiner. "Either way I would've been happy. I'm obviously a lot more happy now."
Frattin was in a 3 player battle for what was believed the only roster spot up for grabs, with Nazem Kadri and Joe Colbourne. Frattin was in 7 preseason games and notched 5 points in his attempts to win the 3rd line job. The job was likely to be Kradi's, but an injury opened the door for 23 year old Matt Frattin. "Matty's
done a really good job of playing in any role," said Wilson. "Right side, left side, he's killed some penalties, been on the power-play and with Clarke out it's a logical move to get him up in the lineup."
Whos out; Keith Aulie, Darryl Boyce and Nazem Kadri. Aulie lost his job on the lineup to Jake Gardiner who simply put just had a better training camp that Aulie. It came as a bit of a surprise to leafs fans, since Aulie and Phaneuf were supposed to be the top D pair. "There's no reason why he got beat out other than Jake had a really good camp [and] we're a little bit deeper on the back-end," said Wilson. "We're not discouraged at all by Keith's play. He just wasn't as good as Jake right now. I anticipate him being back sooner than later." But for now Aulie will be in Marlies. Next up is Darryl Boyce this was a huge surprise, for many and a very tough decision for Wilson, who loved the way Boyce played. Boyce found himself in a leafs uniform for 46 games last season after starting with the marlies. Ultimately Boyce lost his 4th line spot to new comer Phillipe Dupuis; who showed to be a little more solid on the penalty kill with his time in Colorado. Last But ceterantly not least, is Nazem Kadri; now I don't think the leafs "cut" Kadri, but he is hurt and will not be in the leafs opening night roster. A knee injury will keep the leafs top rookie prospect out for the next month.

Lets move to the Buffalo Sabres; my personal favorite team :)
The only "prospect" sticking around is Luke Adam, who has made the trip over to Europe with the big boys and is likely to start opening night due to an injury to Jochen Hecht. "My goal all summer was to be on this trip," Adam told after Monday's practice at SAP Arena. "This is where I wanted to be and this is what I worked toward all summer." But Adam will need to produce much much more than he did in his 19 game stint with the big club which saw Adam pot 1 goal and only 3 assists, not good for a kid who was drafted based on his offensive capabilities. "I know what they want from me," Adam said. "I have to play a solid, two-way game, be sound in my own end and win my battles. I feel my game is at its best when I am skating and moving my feet and that is what I have to continue doing." His solid preseason has earned him praise from his coach and hopefully will earn him a full time gig in the NHL.

Edmonton Oilers
Will the first over all pick of this past draft be in the line-up? That would be a big fat YES!  The 18 year old Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will begun the year in the NHL. Tom Renney is excited to have Hopkins in the line-up and confirmed the report; "Ryan will start the season with us," he told reporters. "We all understand the parameters there, that he can operate (here) before we have to make a real concrete decision on the season. Again, we'll do it a game at a time, but he's had a very good camp." Right now the Oilers have him centering a line between 2010 first overall pick, Taylor Hall and the veteran Ales Hemsky. "I definitely am excited," Nugent-Hopkins said. "It's going to be my first regular season NHL game, so I couldn't be more excited. I'm just really happy for the opportunity." Hopkins had 1 goal and 5 assists in his 5 preseason games. His first NHL regular season will be against the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins, "It's really important for me to handle my emotions. I can't get too high. I know it's my first NHL game, so I'm going to be very excited but I think I've got to just channel that into a really good thing," he said. "The team's taken some strides the last couple of years. I know it's just exhibition but it shows a lot. We've definitely shown some character. I think we've put some good points on the board. So I think things are looking pretty good right now." The Oilers are keeping their expectations real for the kid and aren't expecting too much. 

Winnipeg Jets
The jets are back! and what better way to come back by having your first round draft pick play in the first regular season game back. sounds almost perfect doesn't it? well jets fans that will be the case... Mark Scheifele will likely be the line-up come opening night due to his outstanding preseason. Scheifele arguable had the best preseason of any rookie with 4 goals and 4 assists in 5 preseason games adding 3 goals on the power play. This kid came out of no where and turned some heads with his exceptional talent and his big heart, many fans dubing the kid the next jets captain.. but lets not get ahead of ourselves here. The kid is good no doubt about it, now to see if he can compete in the regular season when the veterans actually give a crap about the outcome of a game. “Stunned,” was Noel’s reply when asked what his reaction would be if Scheifele were eventually returned to junior hockey. “Stunned. You watch him, he has high hockey intellect and I’ve said that all along. He is clever and his teammates realize it. He’s smart. I’ll be stunned. I’ll guarantee you, he’d have to be a complete failure in these nine games. He also knows he’s here day-by-day and he’s not guaranteed anything but I would be stunned to see him go back. And we’ll make that assessment. I don’t want to sound boastful but I’d be stunned.” Scheifele is likely to be on a line with Kyle Wellwood and Evander Kane, as the teams 2nd line come opening night. If the vote to keep Scheifele was up to his teammates he'd never leave; “I’ll give you the best analogy you can get. When any player plays, other players comment. I talked to his linemates and it was Wellwood on Monday. I said, ‘How do you like playing with the kid? He’s got quick hands, eh?’ Wellwood said to me, ‘There’s only a handful of guys in the league capable of doing with his hands what (Scheifele) can do.’ That’s a big compliment,” said Noel. “It’s not just his hands. He’s got quick hands, but it’s hands and mind.” This very complicated hard to spell name is a name that will likely be sticking around for a while, fans better get used to hearing "Scheifele scores!" coming from their TV sets.

Vancouver Canucks, a team that came so close but yet so far from winning the Stanley Cup.
 There is new news a buzz in the city of Vancouver and it centers around rookie Cody Hodgson. Hodgson has seen ice time in 7 of 8 preseason games, and criticism of his coach for trying to bury him in the minors, and now recently a jersey number change from number 39 to number 9. A former first round draft pick who has fallen quite off the radar, last year he was the favorite to win rookie of the year but failed to make the team and this year he's soo far out of the odds they left his name off the list. Even though Hodgson is starting the season off as the 2nd line center that can and likely will change shortly into the season. With Kessler due back by November and Andrew Ebbett patiently waiting his turn with the big club, Hodgson could find himself off Vancouver island by mid November. Another going against Hodgson is the fact his coach doesn't seem to like him or want him on the team, that is never a good thing for a hockey player. But Hodgson is arguably the best play making forward the canucks have right now, and that is working heavily in Hodgson's favor. The perfect situation for Hodgson and the canucks would be to make Hodgson Kesler's winger to help get Kesler a 40 goal season and make Hodgson a dark horse for the Calder trophy for rookie of the year.

The Philidalphia Flyers
made a surprising move by sending Brayden Schenn down to the AHL to begin the season. the reason? Money! The Flyers have to scenarios with Schenns contract, if they send him to the AHL for 1 game they will only have to pay him 1.75 million instead of the 3 million if he were to start the season in the NHL.
Schenn will not be in the minors for long as he is an essential part of the new faced flyers organization, they didnt trade for him so he could play in the minors all season. Before the demotion to the AHL Schenn was the odds on favorite to win the Calder Trophy. A side not to Schenns contract demotion, is a hidden sholdour injury that kept him out of the final week of the preseason. “I feel good,” Schenn said afterward, one of the first interviews he’s given since being injured more than a week ago. “The first thing I have to worry about is the maintenance,” he said of his rehab. “It feels pretty normal. I’ll be healthy coming up here, soon.” This was an interview after the Sunday practice before Schenn learned he would start the season in the AHL.

Ottawa Senators
The senators will have rookie Mika Zibanejad in the line-up opening night. The news pleasantly surprised the young rookie “I didn’t have high expectations of myself,” he said. His preseason was quite stellar for a 18 year old rookie from Sweden he had 3 goals in his 6 preseason games and is a bright spot for the Senators if there ever was one. “I just wanted to give it all I had, and I did, and so I’m happy about the camp, for sure,” he said. “I was better than I expected.” He finds himself on a line with captain Daniel Alfredsson. Not only has Zibanejad impressed with his offense he has also impressed with his physicality, not being afraid to hit or be hit.

New York Rangers
The rangers have put the pain in the butt Sean Avery on waivers! FINALLY its about stinking time in my opinion.  "I know what Sean is and the type of player, what he does." This could be a career ending move for Avery, if no other teams pick him up and why would they with his over paid contract, than Avery can be sent down to the AHL. Avery has gone from criticizing sloppy seconds to becoming sloppy seconds for the Rangers! (sorry I had too) Prior to becoming his coach, Torts was quoted on TSN  "He's embarrassed himself, he's embarrassed the [Dallas Stars'] organization, he's embarrassed the League and he's embarrassed his teammates, who have to look out for him. Send him home. He doesn't belong in the league."

Well I for one am excited about the regular season being only 2 sleeps away!! We get to see games that actually matter and see if teams can live up to the hype and preseason drama.

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