Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: southeast division
Just past the half-way point of the regular season, I thought it might be high time to take a statistical look at the Southeast Division. We did so as the season approached and will probably do it again once all is said and done, prior to the playoffs.
You get a look at stats by team and by the league as a whole, almost literally, everywhere else, so I always find it interesting to break things down a bit more specifically to just the division, particularly in the more obscure categories.
Here’s hoping you will too…
With 21 cuts announced on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Lightning are left with 28 players in training camp. While nothing is certain, it appears there are six players vying for three roster spots at forward and three in the mix for the seventh and eighth slots on the defensive depth chart, with goaltender Cedrick Desjardins remaining with the big club, while Mike Smith recovers from an injury to his right ring finger.
Barring anything drastic, which would be a major surprise at this point, it looks like ten forwards can be penciled in to remain with the Bolts come opening night. In that group, I have Sean Bergenheim, Steve Downie, Simon Gagne, Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Malone, Dominic Moore, Teddy Purcell, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Nate Thompson. On defense, six men appear to have a spot on the Lightning blueline out of the gate: Brett Clark, Victor Hedman, Randy Jones, Pavel Kubina, Mike Lundin and Mattias Ohlund.
Of all five Southeast Division clubs, the Washington Capitals of 2010-11 will look the most like themselves from a year ago, having added only a spattering of depth to the lineup that captured the President’s Trophy last season. Alas, as the reigning division champ and still the clear-cut class of the division, if it ain’t broke, well, you know… But a first-round playoff exit thanks to Jaroslav Halak and the Montreal Canadiens left an awful taste in the mouths of Bruce Boudreau’s squad, meaning improvements are in order this year for sure. (Or else?)
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, alex+semin, braden+holtby, brendan+morrison, brian+fahey, brian+willsie, brooks+laich, bruce+boudreau, calder+cup, calder+trophy, d.j.+king, eric+belanger, eric+fehr, george+mcphee, hershey+bears, jaroslav+halak, jeff+schultz, joe+corvo, john+carlson, jose+theodore, karl+alzner, kyle+greentree, marcus+johansson, mathieu+perreault, michael+neuvirth, mike+green, mike+knuble, milan+jurcian, nhl+previews, nicklas+backstrom, scott+walker, semyon+varlamov, shaone+morrison, southeast+division, stefan+della+rovere, tomas+fleischmann
The future is now in Carolina, where the old guard is out, an influx of youth is taking over and everyone is looking to put the injury-plagued woes that ruined things a season ago far, far behind them.
With the retirement of former captain Rod Brind’Amour symbolizing the changing of the guard in Raleigh, which started with Eric Staal succeeding Brind’Amour as team captain in January last season, the process of remolding the club is well underway. The 25-year-old Staal will have some veteran support in his first full year wearing the ‘C’ but Carolina’s heavy reliance on several key youngsters is a make-or-break formula for success this season. If the kids collectively respond to the challenge, the ‘Canes have enough going for them to cause trouble in the Southeast and surprise a lot of people. Some growing pains are sure to be felt, however, in such a transitional year for the franchise and immediate success probably takes a back seat to more long-term achievements.
Avoiding the injury bug has to be high on the list of priorities for a club that holds the unfortunate distinction of hitting the 300 man-games lost to injury milestone a year ago.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: anton+babchuk, bobby+sanguinetti, brandon+sutter, brett+carson, bryan+pothier, cam+ward, chad+larose, drayson+bowman, eric+staal, erik+cole, jared+staal, jay+harrison, jeff+skinner, jerome+samson, jim+rutherford, jiri+tlusty, joe+corvo, jonathan+matsumoto, jussi+jokinen, justin+peters, nhl+entry+draft, nhl+previews, oskar+osala, patrick+o'sullivan, ray+whitney, riley+nash, rod+brind'amour, southeast+division, tim+conboy, tim+gleason, tuomo+ruutu, zach+boychuk
For the Atlanta Thrashers, a team with just one playoff appearance in ten National Hockey League seasons (and not a single post-season victory to their credit), the time for a fresh start was clearly at hand.
By first turning a negative into a positive in moving on from superstar sniper Ilya Kovalchuk late last season and then raiding the cabinet of the cap-crunched Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta begins their new era, under both a new general manager and head coach in Rick Dudley and Craig Ramsay, with a wealth of promising youth and several veterans with recent championship experience.
They may no longer boast an individual showstopper but that formula wasn’t producing a consistent winner in Blueland anyway (and that alone rarely does as much anywhere). The post-Kovalchuk Thrashers appear to be headed for greener pastures, though there will be that little issue of replacing his 45+ goals, of course.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: akim+aliu, alex+burmistrov, andrew+ladd, arters+kulda, ben+eager, boris+valabik, brent+sopel, bryan+little, carl+klingberg, chris+mason, christoph+schubert, clarke+macarthur, colby+armstrong, craig+ramsay, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, freddy+meyer, fredrik+modin, fredrik+pettersson, ilya+kovalchuk, johan+hedberg, johnny+oduya, mark+popovic, martin+brodeur, marty+reasoner, matt+cooke, maxim+afinogenov, nhl+previews, niclas+bergfors, nigel+dawes, nikolai+antropov, ondrej+pavelec, patrice+cormier, paul+postma, pavel+kubina, rich+peverley, rick+dudley, ron+hainsey, southeast+division, spencer+machacek, tobias+enstrom, todd+white, zach+bogosian
He could not wait and truthfully, neither could I.
Please welcome Jon to the KK family of bloggers. -Paul
JJ at KK…
Sure has a ring to it, no?
Allow myself to introduce… Myself…
For those that aren’t already familiar, I’m happy to join the team at Kukla’s Korner after three years of covering the Tampa Bay Lightning at HockeyBuzz.com. I was fortunate enough to establish a loyal and passionate following in my time there, as well as to earn the respect of the organization on the basis of my work and can only hope to see that grow here at my new home.
Along with continued coverage of the Bolts, my work here at KK will also largely center around the Southeast Division’s other four clubs and I will chime in on leaguewide issues from time to time as well.