Lots of Little Things

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If you don’t know that the Pizza line is playing together by now, you’re not paying much attention to hockey.  Consequently, all three players are in the top 5 in scoring right now.  Granted, they’ve played one more game than most teams.  Of the other players, Antoine Vermette has looked the best.  It really looks like he has decided that this is the year he takes it to another level.  He’s really flying out there and has been fairly responsible defensively with his 5 on 5 play.  Nick Foglino has been mostly invisible, which is not uncommon for a rookie early in his first season.   Joe Corvo has been playing on the number 1 power play unit, which helps his value of course.  But, he’s also getting only 15 minutes per game which doesn’t help.

Does it seem that Alfredsson is only getting better with age?  I have to believe that he recognizes that time is running short for him to get a Cup and this has to be a great motivator for him.  He’ll be 35 at mid-season.  He only has one more year on his contract with the Senators and the way salaries are going these days, it’s not going to be any easier to hold a team together in the future.  In a couple of years, it will be very interesting to see what the Senators are willing to offer a 36 year old Alfredsson to stay. 

 Gerber Stealing the Show (or a job)?

Much of the talk out of Ottawa is whether Gerber is making a case for the number 1 goalie job or just increasing his trade value….or Emery’s trade value for that matter; not that any of this is up to him.  First of all, he’s been very solid;  good for him and the Sens.  If you’ve been reading my stuff over the years, you know I was high on Gerber when he arrived in Ottawa based on his play in Carolina and Anaheim.   What I seemed not to notice in those previous stints (and shame on me) was that his rebound control is not so snazzy.  Now, before people get all excited about the Senators being able to trade for a top 6 forward using one of the ‘tenders as bait, you need to consider the following:

1.  Most GMs will take 10 to 20 games to evaluate their teams before pushing the trade buttons, so there’s no way that anything is imminent.

2.  We may not have an accurate read on Emery’s recovery for some time.  Not to mention that goalies who miss camp rarely have stellar seasons.

3.  The Senators are not likely to trade either goalie until there is a credible backup in place.  Brian Elliott may end up being such a backup, but no one can say that just yet. 

I would say that it is highly unlikely that the Senators would trade a goalie before the trade deadline and if Elliott isn’t chewing up and spitting out the AHL by that time, it’s not likely at all for this season. 

Other Stuff

I am very near annointing Ted Nolan as the best hockey coach on the planet.  The Islanders weren’t good enough to make the playoffs last year and they’re not good enough to be 3 and 0 right now. 

It’s also interesting that 3 teams being hailed as Cup contenders in the west have all started slowly; Anaheim, San Jose and Calgary.

I’ve heard a many people predicting the Penguins as the favorite from the East.  Bah!  Their defensemen aren’t defensive enough and Fleury isn’t good enough to consistently bail them out when they trip over each other.  And don’t tell me that Darryl Sydor makes them that much stronger.  He’s 35 and had already lost a step 2 years ago.  The Penguins will score goals; no question about it.  That won’t be enough this year.

Bounce back player of the year:  If you consider his Cup run to be the breakout, then last year was the let down season for Cam Ward.  This year he will really come into his own.  Honorable mentioned go to teammate Eric Staal and Columbus forward Rick Nash. 

Breakout player of the year:  I’ve heard some people mention Paul Stastny and Michael Cammaleri.  Uhhh….I would say they broke out last year.  This goes to Alexander Radulov who will get much more and better time this year without Kariya, Forsberg, Hartnell, Upshall and Sullivan (for the time he spends on the injury shelf). 

If you’re reading this, please drop me a line; alwillig@yahoo.com

I’m just wondering if anyone has found this site.

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