by Patrick Hoffman on 09/20/10 at 10:41 AM ET
Recently, I was lucky enough to do an e-mail interview with Terry Mercury of XM NHL Home Ice. Terry is a producer/co-host of “Ice Cap” while also doing some reporting and updates for the channel.
Terry took time out of his busy schedule to give us a bit of an NHL season preview. Do you agree with his thoughts?
PH: Which free agent signings do you like? Why?
TM: While the big signings…Kovalchuk….Ryan….Gonchar etc….deserve the attention they got…I’m intrigued by some of the signings that maybe didn’t get that much perusal.
I’m wondering if Colorado has the next emerging power forward in Chris Stewart. I thought this was a very good signing.
Does Dan Hamhuis give the Canucks enough talent on the blueline for them to remain a contender in the West? I like what he has to work with on this team….as compared to a sub-par offence in Nashville.
I also think Marty Turco is just as good a goalie…if not better…than Antii Niemi. I think the Hawks improved themselves between the pipes.
PH: Which free agent signings do you dislike? Why?
TM: Is Paul Martin the cure for no Sergei Gonchar on the power play in Pittsburgh? I wonder if he’ll stay healthy enough to pick up where Gonchar left off in quarterbacking the Pens PP? Don’t count on it.
After being a complete flop in Pittsburgh…what did Los Angeles see in Alexei Ponikarovsky to warrant their picking him up? I think the Kings are going to be sorry for this one.
What does Brent Sutter think Alex Tanguay will do this time around in Calgary that he didn’t do during his first stint with the team…when he stunk the joint out? For the life of me I can’t figure this one out.
PH: Which teams do you think got better during the off-season? Why?
TM: I think Boston got much better with the addition of Horton and Campbell.
I think San Jose got better because they didn’t break up the team with the exception of getting rid of Nabokov…which was a very good move.
Tampa Bay made a series of good moves in the front office…behind the bench…and in the lineup. They should make the playoffs.
PH: Which teams do you think went backwards during the off-season? Why?
TM: Montreal Canadiens. I wonder what they would have done with Jaroslav Halak if he had carried them all the way to the Stanley Cup finals? Shot him? That was a big mistake.
Chicago Blackhawks. They’ll still be good….but they had to get rid of some very talented “role” players…and that’s going to hurt.
Calgary Flames. Jokinen and Tanguay stunk the first time around in southern Alberta….what’s changed? Trouble lies ahead.
PH: What did you think of this whole Illya Kovalchuk saga?
TM: Much ado about nothing…but in the end…Commissioner Bettman wins another head-to-head with the NHLPA. Think the union looking to make Donald Fehr their next Executive Director is just a coincidence? Are you kidding? They’re tired of losing showdowns to the Commish.
PH: What teams do you think will havea lot of success in 2010-11? Why?
TM: The San Jose Sharks. This team is too talented….and now they’ve got the early playoff monkey off their backs. I think they also got rid of a pain in the ass when they parted ways with Evgeni Nabokov.
If Marc Savard can get healthy…and Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell play up to their abilities…I think the Boston Bruins are going to be trouble.
I have to believe the Washington Capitals are just chomping at the bit to get going. This team is too good…and too proud… not to rebound from that playoff disaster.
Pittsburgh Penguins….see Washington Capitals above.
PH: What teams do you think will be a disappointment in 2010-11? Why?
TM: I think age may be starting to catch up with the Detroit Red Wings.
The New York Rangers just simply aren’t that good of a team.
The Minnesota Wild don’t have enough offensive talent to wander too far away from their boring…defence-first style that’s become their hallmark.
I don’t buy the Ilya Kovalchuk hype. The New Jersey Devils don’t have a good-looking defence corps…and Marty Brodeur is starting to look very human.
PH: Any other words here for Kukla’s Korner readers?
TM: Yeah…keep listening to NHL Home Ice on XM Satellite Radio! We love bringing you the games…and all the hockey talk that goes with it. It’s flat out the best gig in the world!
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.