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Lawrenceville, NJ • United States • 29 Years Old • Male
pwoznic
We got a taste of the 8 game series last year, no matter what division your team is in. I know that every time we played the Devils, Flyers, Islanders and Pittsburgh, everything about the game was intense; the fans, the players.. just the overall mood in the games.

This off season, there have been many significant changes to the teams in our division.. Let's start off with the Flyers.

I would consider them my mortal enemies, but even I admit, I am glad about their off-season acquisitions because I live in central NJ.. I watch every Ranger and almost every Flyer game, so I have followed both teams.

Flyers
Briere is a great pickup because he is young, and they will have him for a while. The Gagne - Briere - Knuble line is going to be frightening.

Timonen is a major upgrade over Pitkanen. Kudos on that acquisition (I'll admit I'm a little jealous). I think there is definitely a gamble on Hartnell, so hopefully for you Philly fans, he will be a solid 2nd or 3rd liner.

Biron > Nitty, plain and simple. I don't know how he will do if he plays 60 games, but he will be very effective when his game is on.. especially with help from Timonen.

Devils

You have Marty. Who knows how much longer he will play, but while he still is active, he will be the Devils' #1 asset. Your only concern should be the losses of Gomez and Rafalski.

Zubrus is a good pickup, but coming from a Ranger fan, Rachunek is a liability.

Weekes is a solid backup when he's on his game. I never hated him in New York, and if Lou uses him at least 15-20 games, he will definitely win you 60-70% of them.

Islanders

I think you have felt the worst blow of all in this off season.. not just in the Atlantic, but in the whole league. Yes, Smyth only played 20 games or so, but he put up some crucial points. I would argue he and Blake are the most responsible for making the playoffs, in addition to DiPietro.

Blake.. I'll admit, I still think he's a fluke and Toronto will regret signing him long-term, but he did put up 40 goals last year, so he will be missed.

I liked Poti on my team, and he was effective on the Island as well, so I think he will be missed. All is not lost though. Guerin is a good pickup for leadership and he scored 36 last year, and Fedotenko is not bad at all, neither is Comrie. I think you will definitely have a slow start, getting used to the absence of Blake.

Penguins
You are instant favors because of boy wonder. But in all seriousness, you did make some nice additions in the off season. Sykora is a solid winger for the second line, and Sydor is a great d-man. Fleury is a great goalie, but having the extra blueline support will probably make him even better. Staal is also an offensive machine on the PK.. I know he annoyed us a lot and will continue to do so.

Rangers
I guess I decided to save the best for last. Along with the Pens, we will dominate the Atlantic this season. We lost Nylander, but replaced him with Gomez. We never really had a 2nd line center, but we did okay with Cullen.. but now we replaced him with Captain Clutch. Add in the readditions of Shanahan, Avery and Lundqvist, we will be scary.

Our only hole seems to be on the third line, especially with Peca signing in Columbus. We will rely heavily on Hartford to fill this gap, and I've been hearing nothing but the name "Dubinsky" regarding this.

The Ranger haters say we have a horrible defense, but you are wrong on so many levels. We had a sluggish start, but from January-May, we had one of the best in the game.. Now, we have Staal to add into the mix, and Roszival to help him out from a leadership standpoint.

Girardi was an undrafted gem, and we all know he will improve, as well as Tyutin. Mara has a blast and Malik can be effective when he wants.. We also have some of the best prospects dominating the AHL, OHL and ECHL, so we will have to wait and see what camp brings.

All in all, the 07/08 season is going to be "make or break" year for every team in the Atlantic. There have been so many changes, and their significance will be felt almost instantly. I cannot wait until October 4th!
Filed Under:   atlantic   crosby   briere   dubinsky   guerin  
August 22, 2007 1:56 PM ET | Delete
Philly will be surprised on how Marty performs this year. Everyone is expecting him to be like some god in the nets this year for the Flyers but Marty never will be a goalie god. He is ok at best. The reason he looked so good with the Sabres was b/c our offense was unstoppable and he could let in 4 goals and still win a game. The Flyers offense is good but not half as good as the Sabres were last year. Marty has also never been a starter and he is getting up there in age and injurys could play a factor b/c he never had such a load. He is a classy guy but is not a goalie u want in the Stanley cup. I loved Marty when he was here but that was b/c of his attitude and personalty not his playing ability. The Flyers are expecting way too much out of him and he will not live up to the hye.
August 22, 2007 2:15 PM ET | Delete
nice work! I think Biron is going to do well and if the 2nd line Upshall - Carter - Lupul gels and can score - then the flyers have a legit shot at the post season. nice blog.SYF
August 22, 2007 3:27 PM ET | Delete
Great blog. Doggy, I don't think anyone in Philly is expecting Marty to be a goalie god, only someone better than Niity. He is most certainly not the goalie we'd want in the Stanley Cup finals, but who here really thinks the Flyers are going to make it that far anyway? He's signed to a 2 year deal, along with Niity. My hope is Niity will make improvements to become the goalie that he has the potential to be. All the Flyers need is for Biron to be solid. No one expects him to be Hasek or Brodeur, although if he played like that, I don't think I'd mind :P
August 22, 2007 4:23 PM ET | Delete
"I think" ranger fans should not comment on the isles upcoming season. "Smyth and Blake the most responsible for making the playoffs". You are clueless you shouldve just left the isles out of your blog. Hilarious description of the Rangers defense too.
August 22, 2007 4:29 PM ET | Delete
So I'm right about the other teams, but all of a sudden wrong about yours? It's just an opinion.
August 22, 2007 4:54 PM ET | Delete
didnt even read the other to be honest with you
August 22, 2007 5:26 PM ET | Delete
Damn, islander fans are so negative. They are never happy, but i guess they have a good reason to be.
August 22, 2007 8:07 PM ET | Delete
Islander fans are negative because everyone covering the team is nothing but negative when talking about them. dynasty4 is right. The Rangers defense has some huge problems and besides, who on the Rangers actually plays a really physical game? Malik is not overly physical for his size and no one else stands out as a huge physical presence. I have no doubt that the Rangers will score quite a few goals next season, but it seems like everyone is really excited about Drury and Gomez, while they forget the fact that there are some problems on defense. Also, say what you want about Blake having a "fluke" year, but it seems that when a player has 25 or more goals in 3 of his last 4 seasons, goal scoring doesn't seem to be a fluke. Toronto has a goooood player in Blake, but it remains to be seen whether 5 years is too long of a contract.
August 22, 2007 10:05 PM ET | Delete
I can't wait for the Rangers to suck this year.
August 23, 2007 12:43 AM ET | Delete
It is ridiculous that so many people discount the islanders so quickly. Whatever anyone may say about losing Smyth, it only really hurts in the long run (and even that remains to be seen). He played the very end of the season, the islanders got to that point without him. At worst, that particular deal sets them back to the team they were before the deadline, no further. That team was was on the cusp of making the playoffs, and they have since made improvements. Blake may or may not have finally developed his scoring touch, but they say Comrie has the hands to actually pass and set up other people, not just bury the puck. Yashin may have had 50 points, but he never seemed like he was giving the effort a captain should be giving, Guerin will probably at least approach that total, while contributing a lot more positive attitude to the rest of his team. Koslov was streaky, and didn't always seem to take advantage of his size, and they say Tank is a much better player than him in his own end. The big question is on defense, but Hill was old, hopefully this season Gervais and Campoli will grow into the position, and a corps of more defensively-accountable forwards will help out (Yashin never hustled anywhere, let alone to the backcheck). I'm not saying the team is going to be amazing, i'm just saying its too early to count them out for the entire season.
August 23, 2007 1:56 AM ET | Delete
I wouldn't count the isles out of anything, especially with nolan, though you will be very hard pressed to make the argument that this years team is better than last years.
August 23, 2007 2:17 AM ET | Delete
Fishsticks are not discounted quickly - THEY ARE NEVER COUNTED TO BEGIN WITH! Islaner fans talk about Rangers not being physical - well we all can't be as physical as Simon, 'cause some of us have brains!You think you gonna replace Smyth and Blake with Guerin and Fedotenko and be good? It's funny how islander fans are all hating Yashin, and were all over him when he signed the most ridiculous contract. The whole league thought that contract was absurd, but Wang stunned the hockey world yet again - DP to 15 years!!! What a joke!!!! Guess how many cups Suck P will bring you in those 15 years....NONE!!!! Good luck though - I can't wait 'till you trade more youth at trading deadline.
August 23, 2007 2:23 AM ET | Delete
Good analysis pwozNYR! I have to agree that I think the only thing the Flyers are lacking right now is a legitimate #1 goalie. That was their issue during the '90's too, they were so good but did not win because they never had solid keepers. I think Flyers will definetly make the post season this year though. And I agree with you on the Devs. They always seem to play great no matter who they lose. Now with Marty getting more rest (BTW Devil fans - You will be happy with Weeks) if they do make the playoffs, Brodeur will be better than last year. I personally think that Atlantic may be the hardest division this season.
August 23, 2007 3:12 AM ET | Delete
I'd agree with most on this blog that Islanders fans are in somewhat denial. Unlike most teams gone bad (even my own Pens in 2002-2006), they fail to accept it as a rebuild time. On second thought...they've never really rebuilt. All they ever did was sign a subpar goalie to a contract for over a decade and forfeit a first round pick for Smyth who wound up kissing LI goodbye for the snowy mountains of Colorado anyways.
August 23, 2007 3:59 AM ET | Delete
Totally agree with FrankD - accept it Islander fans: Your team is NOT good, it was never GOOD (except for the early '80's) and it will NOT be good if you continue to trade away youth for someone who helps you JUST to make the playoffs, and then leaves your team the first chance he gets. Look I hate the Islanders, but this has nothing to do with me hating the Islanders. I hate the Devils too, but I have no problem admiting that, although they are not going to be as good without Gomez and Rafalski, they will still be a good hockey club. But when you lose Smyth, Blake, POti, Hill, Yashin (who is certainly not worth the contract he was given, but still produced a lot of points for your team) and replace them with Guerin (who is good, but will not be as good as last year, because 1-he is older and 2- he does not have a legitimate # 1 center playing with him), R-Fed, Jon Sim, and Sutton - YOU ARE NOT BETTER!
August 23, 2007 8:57 AM ET | Delete
guess we'll all just have to wait and see....Rangers finally make the playoffs the last 2 yrs after having laughingstocks of teams since 97 and theyre all running their mouths again. The isles had an excuse for sucking in those days (money, terrible owners) ....The Rangers had all the $ in the world and couldnt put a playoff team on the ice for 8 yrs....Keep your shoes handy so u can stuff them in ur mouths at seasons end
August 23, 2007 10:04 AM ET | Delete
Keep YOUR shoes handy, as you will need them to play golf with your beloved Fishsticks at season't end.
August 23, 2007 10:41 AM ET | Delete
Are you kidding? If you had Jagr, Straka, Gomez, Drury, Shannahan, Avery, Prucha, Lunqvist, etc on your team you would be running your mouth too..Couple of changes have been made and on paper the team looks to be one of the few teams that looks to be solid cup contenders.
August 23, 2007 11:47 AM ET | Delete
Hey NYRFAN9, you're exactly right about the Islanders never being counted to begin with. You hear that, you're right. Although honestly, even though I don't like my team always getting shafted by the analysts every single year, I'd rather be shafted than have them say that we're going to end up in the playoffs every year, and then have them underachieve. Oh wait, didn't that happen 8 years in a row with scrubs like Lindros, Holik, Kaspar, and my favorite, Dale Purinton? I'd rather be counted out and prove the analysts wrong rather than be touted as a great team and then fall to the bottom of the standings like the Rangers did for so many years.
August 23, 2007 7:03 PM ET | Delete
dfpjrnyi, if you actually followed hockey closely and knew what u were talking about, u'd realize that the Rangers were actually counted out by and predicted to finish last 2 years ago, when they stepped up and proved everyone wrong. And we did that not with Holik, Lindros, ect. but with young players like Prucha, Tuytin, Hossa, Hollweg, ect. The problem is that your Fishsticks don't have quality players like that because you are giving them up for players like Smyth. So before you are running your mouth, know your facts and at least be a man to admit that your team SUCKS right now!
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