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.

Trade deadline extended.. guys on the block

Trade deadline extended to Friday , March 2nd.

Vancouver has Craig Anderson, goaltender on the block.

Canucks looking to take another title






Well, on that note…. Flyers on the block

Sharp, Hossa, Backes, Moulson, Parise, Soderberg, Gologoski all available.

Moulson is a PP specialist (14 G, 11 on the PP), 3/2/3, k pass

Backes 4/4/4 K pass
Parise 4/3/3 L pass
Hossa 4/3/4 K pass
Goligoski 3/2/3 L pass

Looking for picks in return


Colorado preview

Colorado continues with the management mandated youth movement, but the fan base needs to see a drastic improvement from their basement finish last year.  So a few big moves occurred to get the fans to fill the arena.
First, the draft was quite exciting as Colorado won the lottery and chose Auston Matthews first overall.  He is expected to contribute immediately and Matthews provides the true “superstar” this team has lacked and desperately needed.  He is joined by a handful of draft picks that won’t see much ice time this year in second round picks Josh Ho Sang and Michael Matheson. Ho Sang is considered a high risk – high reward type pick while Matheson adds some depth at a weak LD position.   Third round pick Nick Schmaltz is another project expected to develop in the farm.  Jordan Weal was taken in the fourth round and is expected to be a breakout player this year in Philadelphia.  He will get his 23 games in on LW covering for Domi.  Ryan Spooner was then moved for another fourth round pick that brought in defensive prospect Anthony DeAngelo.  Two fifth round defenseman selections created roster additions of both Scott Mayfield and Markus Nutivaara adding depth to the weakest position on the team.
Secondly, speaking of star power, the Avalanche added a super sniper in Steven Stamkos. Colorado traded two first round draft picks in 2018 for him as the team hopes he can rebound from injury shortened seasons.  Although Stamkos can only play in 17 games this year, the team is deep in prospects and needed some immediate help.  Stamkos adds a bona fide one –two punch up the middle with Matthews once he recovers from his injuries.
Third, the Avs waved goodbye to first overall pick Nail Yakupov as they released him from contract prior to the free agent draft.  Management continued to grow impatient with the young Russian’s development and decided that Yakupov was not involved with the team plan going forward.  The additional roster spot was filled by free agent veteran Ron Hainsey to add depth to our defense corps
Trades of forwards Reilly Smith and Alex Killorn will create roster room for the youngster to strut their stuff.  The projected first line has newly drafted first overall pick Auston Matthews centering a line of Nik Ehlers on left wing and Jonothan Drouin on the right.  The second line will have my cousin Vinnie Trocheck between 30 goal man Rickard Rakell on left and Marcus Johansson on the right side.   The third line has Ryan Johansson who loves to dish the puck between 30 plus goal scoring machine Anders Lee and versatile Brock Nelson.   The fourth line has RNH centering Max Domi and Sam Reinhart.   This youthful group should be able to score goals, although defending could be a bit of an issue as the kids continue to develop.
The defense is also taking shape, although it is more through trade than the farm.   Ryan Pulock and Chris Bigras who were drafted last year as well as Derrick Pouliot who was drafted the year previous are taking a little longer to percolate than originally anticipated. Brady Skjei was obtained in a deal for Victor Rask and will pair up on the top d-paining with defensive specialist Adam Larsson.   Nik Hjallmarsson obtained in a deal for Alex Killorn will skate on the second pairing with Jared Spurgeon.  The third pairing still up for grabs between Barrie, Vatanen, Matheson and possibly Hainsey  who figures to get games on both sides of the ice.  Maatta will need a year to regain his touch and will see a lot of practice sessions and views from the press box, while Anthony DeAngelo, Markus Nutivaara and Scott Mayfield will all spend a season in the minors to hone their skills. Without any first round picks in 2018 this group of young d-men will need to fast track their development in order to make the jump to the show next season. The Avalanche desperately need them to be ready for action in short order.  So overall the Avalanche have an average defensive squad to begin this season, but one that should be better than last year and with lots of promise for the future.
The goalie situation remains the same with Rinne and Rask holding down the fort. Hutton is also still on board as a third stringer should the situation arise.
Management is quite content with the way the team is taking shape but a few pieces are needed to be true contenders.  The short term goal is to make a bid for a playoff spot this year and let the kids experience what it takes to play post season hockey.  Is this a lofty dream?  We will have to wait and see but Coach Roy says “playoffs are in the picture.  Anyone who would like to disagree will not be heard, because I have two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears”
Kevin – Colorado Avalanche

Colorado’s Perron on the block

colorado uniform

Avalanche management are putting David Perron on the trading block. His 4-2 card with 4 penetration, K passing and 5 intimidation can play either wing. Colorado is looking for a draft pick in return for his services. He had 17 goals and 24 assists last year. He could really help a team as a depth scorer. Will consider all serious inquiries.

Kevin Anton -Colorado Avalanche

Blues on the block

blues7778Blog updated with more stories, take a peek . You can also follow so when stuff posted , you get an email. (blog easier to update than web page)

Blues looking for an upgrade at LD. Right now the third spot is held by Jake Gardiner who I think might be a JK passer and 2 defense.
Looking for a JK 3/4 defense, or JKL passer on that side who can play the powerplay.

Blues can move the following players to find that piece or draft picks for next year.

Anti Niemi, .914 save percentage, 61 games
Mike Smith, 62 games, .904
Marian Gaborik 27 goals in
Drew Stafford, winger, 43 pts 76 games, 2nd liner in Winnipeg
Jeff Petry, 2nd pairing dman in Montreal, a 4 defense the last few years, slipped to 3 this year. Thanks Edmonton!
Ryan Ellis, 27 points, 58 games, RD, just 24
Ryan Murphy, 22 years old, 13 pts in 37 games.

Looking for later round picks for

Mason Raymond, 23 pts in 57 games

Mikhail Grabovsky, 19 pts in 51 games, 3rd line center Islanders

Sean Bergenheim, 19 pts in 56 games


St.Louis Blues