Canucks hold camp in Greece

In a bold (and failed) experiment, the Canucks held training camp in Greece. Problems arose however when they found out that there are only 2 hockey rinks in the whole country. In an exhibition they beat the Greek National Team 23-0. After that they just scrimmaged and played intrasquad games. Interest in hockey is so high in Greece that these games drew dozens (up to 4) of fans.

Coach Smyl was heard to comment one evening during camp, as he watched one of the endless soccer games on TV, “Soccer is like hockey being played in molasses, and with a ridiculous floating blue line. And there’s more diving than there was by the Sharks in Game 4 of the finals.” Subtlety was never one of his strong suits.

Meanwhile, regarding the team: Ben Bishop came to camp and looked great. He was deeply troubled by the fact that the Canucks traded for Tuuka Rask when he had assumed that he would be the #1 goalie after Luongo left. But instead of pouting, he put is energy into becoming a better goalie. Coach Smyl was pleased, but said he didn’t want to overwork Bishop. When asked how many games he would start, Smyl said that for some unknown reason the number 46 keeps popping into his head. Rask wins the #2 spot, because in camp he demonstrated much better rebound control than Georgiev.

On defense Nick Leddy (trade) and Connor Murphy (free agent) solidify the third pairing which, to be blunt, sucked last year. Josi-Gostisbehere and Vlasic-Demelo will be pairs 1 and 2, with Tanev on deck in case of injuries on both sides.

As the team gets better, rookies have a harder time cracking the lineup. Hintz (1st round) and Greenway (2nd round) will get time as injury replacements, but that’s it.   With forwards, Coach Smyl was hoping for an improvement on defense, but got none. But they come back with a stronger desire to bang bodies and with a huge improvement in the faceoff circle (3 +3s and 2 +2s). Sissons (minors last year) and Roussel (free agent) will be the 2 new faces, besides the rookies, playing forward. Johnny Gaudreau looked like the best forward in camp by a mile.

Some players will spend the year in the minors, including Malgin and Jarnkrok, both of whom were important players last year. Also Victor Mete. And 3 players who saw ice time were cut, Hickey, Eriksson, and Fast. But they all had terrible training camps. Too much souvlaki and ouzo in Greece, just like management.

And of course, on opening night this year a ceremony will precede the game to honor the Sedin twins who retired and for years were the face of the team. All fans will receive a double headed bobble-head(s) doll.


Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Preview


Colorado enjoyed yet another successful regular season putting up 95 points which tied them with two other teams for fourth most points in the league.  The team was electrified about their playoff potential.   And again, after some initial playoff success in beating the St Louis Blues in the first round 4 games to 2, the team came out flat against the Vancouver Canucks and were quickly disposed of in 5 games.  The bitterness of playoff defeat is something that Av’s Coach Roy is holding onto throughout the summer and into training camp.  “I want more out of this team, we have the scorers, we have the D, and our goaltending is good.  It’s time to step it up”

Coach Roy is correct is saying the team has scorers.   The team scored a few less than the previous year but the Avs still managed to have 6 players score 20 or more goals.  Rakell led the team with 32 goals, while Kyle Palmieri 29, Steven Stamkos 28, Vinnie Trocheck 26, Austin Mathews 23 and Anders Lee 20 were the main goal scorers.  Although these players were the leaders, many were considered to score more than they did.  Add in Alex Debrincat’s 14 goals and Nik Ehlers 10 goals in the disappointment column.  The defensive side of the forward lines appeared to have the biggest impact.  Although the Avalanche managed to score 267 goals, the team also allowed 241 which equates to just over 3 per game. The goaltending was supposed to be spectacular.  The power play was decent ranking 7th overall in the league but a lot more was expected with the amount of snipers on the roster.   The penalty was an abysmal 74.6% ranking third worst in the league.  It forced management’s hand into making a couple of trade deadline deals to attempt to patch the holes by acquiring Trevor Lewis and Vladimir Sobotka for young defensive prospect and former first round rookie pick Derrick Pouliot and a 4th round pick in this year’s draft.   The trade helped a bit, but not enough to make a difference. 

The forward groups at training camp this season look as promising as far as goal scoring goes.  Stamkos is centering Mathews and Palmieri on the first line.  The second unit presently has Max Domi as the pivot between veteran Joe Pavelski and sophomore Alex Debrincat.  The third line has crafty vet Ryan Getzlaf between Anders Lee and Sam Reinhart.  The fourth line has RNH at center, who was dupped by strato again with only a 2 defense rating, with Rickard Rakell and Jonathan Drouin on the wings.  Rookie pick Andrei Svechnikov may spell a few games at wing while injured Vinnie Trocheck may fill in some games for Getzlaf.  Joonas Donskoi, who was obtained in a trade may also see a handful of games this season, but he will undoubtedly spend most of the year in the minors along with rookie picks Robert Thomas, Alex Nylander, Luke Kunin, Adam Gaudette and Nick Schmaltz.

On defense, Roy feels that the team has made an upgrade to the starting six.  Ryan Pulock has developed into a starting top pair defenseman and he will play opposite of Brady Skjei.  Veteran Alex Edler will pair with smooth skating Jared Spurgeon on the second unit.  Newly acquired Brian Dumoulin will set up nicely opposite veteran Ron Hainsey to complete the bottom pairing.   All 6 defensemen are 4 rated D men or better!!  This has Coach Roy excited.  “Our d men are great in their own zone and most of them play a very gritty game.   We are hoping this helps our goal against total this season!”  Vince Dunn will fill in a few games for the aging Edler while Mike Matheson takes a step back from a regular role and will tool away in the minors this year.  Same goes for Adam Larsson who had an off season and needs to regain his confidence.   Anthony DeAngelo and Matt Grzelcyk have made huge advances in their development and look to be potential starters down the road.  The expectations are the same for highly touted 2nd round pick Jusso Valimaki, although he was injured preparing for training camp.

The biggest disappointment last season was goaltending.  The Avalanche expected top end goaltending and an opportunity to win every night based of the stopper factor. Carter Hutton’s .908 save pct was well below expectations as was Pekka Rinne’s .911 save pct.  Carter Hutton’s performance was so much under par that Roy and company decided to part ways with the pillow bearer.  This will provide an opportunity for last year’s fourth round rookie pick Jack Campbell to pick up 30 or so games as he will share the next with the wily vet Pekka Rinne.   Roy is hoping that the goaltending will be a bit better with improved defenders in front of the net.  Pheonix Copley, who was drafted in the third round this year, will spend his first season with the team in the minors while possibly seeing some action as a back- up here and there.

The Avalanche look like a team that can light the lamp, but can the team shut down the opposition enough to get the wins needed to move forward this season.  Management has once again instructed Roy that if he needs a piece or two to put this team over the top, they are more than willing to attempt to acquire the missing pieces. The power play should be OK but it appears that penalty killing could continue to be a weakness for this team.  The first 20-30 games should provide a good sample size of what to expect with this roster.   All in all, the team is looking to compete and the fans are enthusiastic and eager for the new season to begin.

CM’S are due… Schedule for this year.

See attached.
When creating your road CMs, please start by right-clicking on your team and selecting “Generate Compute Manager” from the menu. That way most of the CMs will look the same which makes it easier for me to check them.
Don’t forget:
1. create (3) OT forward pairs for 4-on-4 OT.
2. adjust your player’s actions on the lineups tab.
3. drop to 3 forward / 2 defense pairs in the 3rd period.
4. Computer only players may not play (regular season or playoffs).
5. This road CM is for blocks 1-3. See the attached schedule.
Send me your road CMs as soon as you are finished. Deadline is still Sunday, 10/13. If you have any questions let me know.

Draft day deals and first round picks


Tampa sends Kevin Labanc and Jake Virtanen  to Vancouver, FOR:   Evgenii Dadonov.

Tampa Bay sends Mark-Andre Fleury, Samuel Girard and Brandon Montour to the Kings for  Cody Ceci, Shea Weber, Dustin Byfuglien and Brian Dumoulin

New Jersey sends Nick Leddy, 3rd to Vancouver for Colin Miller, 3rd

COLORADO SENDS  Chris Tierney TO TAMPA BAY FOR  Brian Dumoulin

MINNESOTA sends Donskoi, 1rst, 2nd to  COLORADo FOR Tyson Barrie, C.Hutton, 5th, LA 5th

DALLAS sends Jack Roslovic, 3rd to  WINNEPEG for  Jaroslav Halak

New Jersey sends 2019 FA pick to VANCOUVER for a 3rd and a FA pick

St.Louis sends  Connor Hellebucyk, 2019 3rd round pick to San Jose for Vladimir Tarasenko, 2019

Tampa Bay sends  Jussi Saros to Minnesota for Paul Stastny