Why Do We Fall?

Why the Jets may need to lose the battle to win the war

If patience is a virtue, we’d all be wise to become a lot more virtuous, right now. I don’t want to harp on the following point, but need to make one thing clear: the Jets are…not a good team. To put it very kindly, they are “below average” defensively. They’ve demonstrated a tremendous ability to combine awful give-a-ways with lapses in defensive coverage, serving up prime scoring chances on an all-too-regular basis. Offensively they’re not much better. The team has struggled to create good scoring chances, and has had trouble finishing the few opportunities that have come their way. And while the goaltending hasn’t been the cause of their malaise, it hasn’t done them many favours either. (Though Pavelec was fantastic in Thursday’s third period against Chicago.) So where will this team finish? Continue reading

NHL Draft and Free Agency – The Victors

Big Winners

Washington Capitals

In:

F: Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer (from Chi), Jeff Halpern

D: Roman Hamrlik

G: Tomas Vokoun

1st and 2nd round picks in 2012 (Colorado)

Out: 2011 1st round pick (to Chicago), Semeon Varlamov (Colorado)

A very good defensive group got even better with the addition of Roman Hamrlik, who many think was Montreal’s best defenceman last year. Up front, Joel Ward provides them exactly what they need – a big, gritty, two-way winger who saves his best for playoffs. Troy Brouwer is a top-6 forward with good size and some grit, while Jeff Halpern is a solid veteran who will make small but important contributions in the bottom-6.

But the crowning jewel for Caps GM George McPhee is the cloak and dagger artistry he displayed with his goaltending. McPhee dealt young Russian netminder Semeon Varlamov to Colorado in exchange for first and second round picks in next year’s draft – the first of which will almost certainly be in the top 15, and even has the potential to be a lottery pick (top-5). Meanwhile, he managed to sign veteran Czech netminder Tomas Vokoun, giving them a bonafide #1 goaltender, and a mentor to young Czech goalie Michal Neuvirth. While a conference rival like Philadelphia blew up their roster to sign Ilya Bryzgalov to a mamoth 9 year, $51M deal, Washington managed to get an equally good goalie on a 1 year, $1.5M deal, and an early first round pick to boot. The man is a magician. His team, elite.

Buffalo Sabres

In:

F: Ville Leino, Ales Kotalik, Joel Armia (2011 1st round pick)

D: Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff Continue reading