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All Dan Bylsma

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Which teams or players have surprised you in the Western Conference?

"I'll start in Nashville with David Poile and Peter Laviolette. Injuries have been a theme of the year and they had the injury to [Mike] Fisher, and it's almost not even talked about at this point in time with their team. They kind of take a flier on [Mike] Ribeiro and [Derek] Roy, and Ribeiro has obviously made good on it at this point in time on the top line with [Filip] Forsberg and [James] Neal. I think Pittsburgh and Nashville feel good about that trade right now, but it's brought a legitimized goal scorer to Nashville. That top line has been really good for them. I think there has always been talk about the way Nashville played defense, and I think they play defense differently now than they did with Barry Trotz. It's helped them be a better offensive team, a quicker transition team. You see that not only with the top line, but in waves. You thought they would be better and more offensive, but to do it in the Western Conference, where it's tougher, and to see them at the top is good.

"I think you expected to see Anaheim, San Jose and L.A. at the top of the Pacific. Anaheim is certainly there, but Vancouver, with Willie Desjardins coming in there, has changed the focus of its team to a four-line team and are winning games with contributions throughout the lineup. It has energized their top line. With [Radim] Vrbata going on there with the twins, they've been very good. And their power play has been rejuvenated. They've rode the play from their 12 forwards and their power play.

"But Calgary to me is maybe the biggest surprise in the League. It's not a new coach, but I think [Bob] Hartley has done a good job there....

How about in the Eastern Conference, has any team jumped out at you and either impressed you, surprised you or both?

"I think you expected Montreal to be second in the Atlantic, so that is not necessarily a surprise. They've been giving up that first goal, so it may be a concern down the road. You see Tampa Bay doing well and you expected them to be up there. Detroit, maybe a little higher, but not a surprise when you see [Pavel] Datsyuk, [Henrik] Zetterberg and [Justin] Abdelkader playing together, maybe the best line playing in the League when they play together. The one team you look at it and see how they do is Florida. They can be a surprise team in the East. But the team I would say is the biggest surprise in the East right now, and they're not far off, is the Boston Bruins. [Zdeno] Chara has been injured, so that's going to be a time period, maybe three more weeks without him, to see where they go....

much more

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alwaysaurie's avatar

“[Pavel] Datsyuk, [Henrik] Zetterberg and [Justin] Abdelkader playing together, maybe the best line playing in the League when they play together.” —- - Dan Bylsma.

well, well, well… how ‘bout that?

Didn’t see him say anything about Johnston. Probably wise.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 11/11/14 at 06:35 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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