Hello all and welcome to Thanksgiving week around the NHL. We at the Two Man Forecheck would like to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.
The open for this week’s show brings another discussion of the topsy-turvy standings in the National Hockey League. At this point who would have said that the Penguins were basement in the East? Who would have guessed that the Kings were basement in the NHL? Or who among you would have put the Golden Knights, the NHL Stanley Cup runners up at second to last in the league?
This opens up the discussion to injuries around the league and how some teams are decimated by injuries, the Bruins, Canucks and Stars to name but a few. At this point we focus on one team…
The Pittsburgh Penguins are typically a perennial playoff team. This season they are hurting in the standings and, at first look, don’t have an obvious reason as to why. The team itself has not been completely done in by injury, and back up netminder Casey DeSmith has shown that he has the chops to play in the league. The defense may still be the Achilles heel of this team and we delve into possible deals that they could make to better the current squad. Would you tweak the current team or trash it and start anew?
The Golden Knights are seeing the return of their number one defenseman, Nate Schmidt. Back from suspension, he should give Vegas a needed boost, and possibly help out some of the current blueliners, most notably Shea Theodore.
The Oilers and Rangers have made a trade that at first glance doesn’t appear to be a win for either team. Ryan Strome will be heading to New York while Ryan Spooner will be heading north to Edmonton. Both players are close in age and statistics, so this deal may just be a new start for both men. There were other deals, Tanner Pearson to the Pens for Carl Hagelin (to L.A.). Again, this looks to be a new start for both.
The Canadiens are sitting in the second wild card spot and Claude Julien’s biggest fan should be Marc Bergevin. The play of the team has taken some of the focus off the GM and placed it where it should be…the surprising success of the team.
Brad Marchand appears to be shooting less this season and the stats bear this out. He is currently one shot less per game and appears to be rushing his shots when he does take them. We believe that he could possibly be gun shy due to the physical pounding he takes and the lack of calls he receives from the officials when pounded. Here we branch off momentarily to talk about the officials, but we digress…
Finally, we talk about last week’s twitter poll results. Which teams would climb into a top 3 position in their division by New Year’s? Vegas and Colorado have 11% of the votes, Pittsburgh has 33% and finally, Buffalo has 45% of the votes. So far Buffalo is there.
Everyone enjoy the holiday and of course…enjoy the show!