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BC • Canada • 32 Years Old • Male
Going into this season, its pretty clear who will be at the top of the Central Division: The St. Louis Blues....

I kid, I kid...

It'll be Detroit hands down. It amazed methat they were able to re-sign Valteri Filppula to a 5 year deal that pays him only $3 million a season on average. On the free market, a guy like him would've yielded maybe double that or more. Their biggest pickup was Marian Hossa and man, is this guy a stud. Having seen him more in the playoffs with Pittsburgh last year made me think of how underappreciated this guy is. He has so much skill and can control the puck real well. I really think he'll bond well with the likes of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Hudler, Samuelsson (do I have to name them all?)...
In addition to all that, Mike Babcock is a helluva coach. I know he got some heat for putting too much pressure on the kids when he coached the Ducks but clearly, Wings players like playing for him and he certainly demands the best from his players.

How bout 2nd in the division? or 3rd?

Well I know it'll be down to Chicago and Nashville. Many analysts see the Hawks taking 2nd place with ease. Don't call me a homer on this since I do like the Preds a lot but I really think the Radulov-less Predators will come out at2nd at season's end. Barry Trotz is a great coach and anyone who counts them out ofthe playoffs ends up amazed at how great a job he does with the roster he is given. I don't see Dan Ellis this year playing with the jitters that Chris Mason did last season. He seemsmuch more composed on the ice and in pre/post game interviews than just about anyone Ive ever seen. He's steady from side to side, doesn't turnover the puck when he handles it, etc. Not that Mase did all these things but you can kinda tell when someone is gonna have a good year.
As for the Hawks, they do have a lot of nice young talent in Toews, Kane, Keith,etc. and somenice vets like Campbell and Huet but I just don't see they're yougn kids being developed enough to make a huge impact and getting to the playoffs is a tough thing for any young team to do. I don't think Campbell will have a huge impact on their roster just yet. It took him awhile to impact the Sabres team, meaning a few years to do so. They have such a young defensive core outside of Brian too. Khabibulin is likely to be traded and if Huet struggles, it could be a long year in the Windy City.

4th and 5th will be battled out by the Blue Jackets and Blues with me giving the big edge to the Jackets. Scott Howson has done a good job in acquiring effective talent, something that Doug MacLean was ineffective himself at doing. And Howson dealt some of the players that MacLean refused to deal (Brule, Zherdev,Fritsche, etc.) Rick Nash is a flat-out stud and will dominate again this year. but he'll need his supporting cast. The D in CBJ is pretty average to be honest and Pascal Leclaire will really have to out-do himself like he did last year for this team to have moderate success.
The Blues are slowly getting younger and I know for a fact that they have some nice young kids like Pietrangelo and others coming soon who will have a profound impact on their club. Not too much to say about them, except that Paul Kariya sucks!! Just kidding...we still love him.

A little about me:
Born in Vancouver, B.C., raised in Richmond, I've always been a Canuck fan at heart. Started watching hockey and the Canucks spefically in 1997....oh the Messier days...
Since 2003, I've been kinda liking the Predators a lot more. i've always been a fan of the underdogs and the Preds seemed like the perfect fit. David Poile has built a great team of young kids.Unfortunately, hes had to deal some of my favourite ones includign Scottie Upshall and Scott Hartnell. but all in all, I love hockey and it brings joy to myself as I'm sure it does to you
Filed Under:   Nashville   Detroit   Central Division   Canucks  
October 2, 2008 1:34 PM ET | Delete
Your first blog? ....snore. F. Hopefully its your last.
October 2, 2008 4:13 PM ET | Delete
You wil have to forgive Pens871 , its not anything personal . he just does it to anyone that writes. Good blog , though i disagree with your columbus and nashville placings. , i think Columbus has more of a shot at 3rd then the preds ,but overall quite interesting.Hoping to hear from you more.
October 2, 2008 7:00 PM ET | Delete
Thanks for reading. Well Columbus is relatively thin on defense. They don't really have a bonafide playmaking centre on either of their top two lines. If they ever did, Rick Nash would have challenged for a scoring title by now and the BJ's would've been a bit closer to their first postseason berth. Nevertheless, they are much improved and itll be interesting to see how they fair in what will be a hectic year in the Central.
October 2, 2008 8:03 PM ET | Delete
Det will finish 1 and Chi 2 other than that its a crap shoot. Everyone bags on the Blues but I think most will be surprised. Yes we didnt go out and pick up any big names but we did shed a lot of 4th line weight and are bringing in young kids who can play. Not to mention our backup goalie situation lost us no less than 7 games last year and that has been addressed. Not all convinced Nashville has gotten better but Trotz can coach so they will be competitive. Columbus is marginally better overall but they signed Christian Backman, I mean comeon. The guy is terrible. Either way the Central is getting better and remains one of the up and coming divisions in the NHL.
October 3, 2008 10:13 AM ET | Delete
I don't think Chicago is a given at number 2, but I will say that I think the Preds are in for a very rough year. The defense isn't as good as everyone seems to think it is, and we lost a lot of offense this off-season while doing nothing to replace it. In order for the Preds to come in 2nd, as you suggest they will, they're going to need the young guys to really have great, productive years. I just think it's too much to ask of the rookies. Personally, I think the Preds will be lucky if they don't finish last.
October 3, 2008 11:18 AM ET | Delete
Agreed with Gerk. yes, Trotz is a good coach, but Chicago has way more talent than you're giving them credit for. They were the ONLY team in the NHL to have a winning record vs. Detroit last year. Beyond Toews and Kane, they have Sharp, Campbell, Keith, Havlat, two good goalies (watch out for Niemi, a future star) and a huge sleeper, a future star in Dustin Byfuglien. And more. They are LOADED.
October 3, 2008 1:44 PM ET | Delete
Just having now looked at Chicago's current roster, I stand by what I originally said. They have a LOT of young kids on the roster, some more matured and ready for the NHL than others. Lets make a comparison, and its not a great one but: Toews, Kane, Havlat, Sharp to Arnott, Dumont, Erat, Legwand. I'm sure everyone, includign myself would take Chicago's players. After those, the talent drops esp. for the Preds. Chicago seems to be more skilled up front but all of the Predator forwards match Trotz's coaching style. ...Also, Campbell does make their defense a lot better but it won't be a huge upgrade if he plays like how he shat the hole in San Jose last year. And I'd take Nashville's young defense core over Chicago's (Hamhuis, Weber, Suter, Koistinen, Klein vs Keith, Seabrook, Barker) Sopel is average at best, comparable to DeVries on our side. John mentioned Niemi and Byfuglien as future stars which they may be but the whole premise of my blog was to highlight this year's team. And Niemi hasn't truly experience NHL hockey just yet. Huet was great for Washington but was definitely overpaid and I highly doubt he'll have as good year as he did with the Habs and Caps last year.
October 5, 2008 10:22 PM ET | Delete
rick nash actually has won the richard trophy.
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