Friday, February 13, 2009

My Top Five Most Dissapointing NHL Teams this season, plus 4 more

Montreal Canadiens: The Habs are the victims of a few things. One would be through the roof expectations as this is the centennial season and since they aren’t in first place so it’s already bad. Carey Price has mentally crumbled under the pressure of this season and the expectations put on him; the kid needs some time off. The team’s best player, Alex Kovalev, plays extremely uninterested and even their recent opponents have said that they’re arguably the softest team in the league. For this team to turn things around they really need to man up and start playing with a little sandpaper. A deadline deal for an offensive point man should also be in order to help their brutally bad powerplay.

Carolina Hurricanes: While some aren’t surprised I really thought this would be their year to get back to Eastern Conference prominence for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. However they’re the same inconsistent ‘Canes. Both Cam Ward and Eric Staal have never reached the heights they did during the cup year as they have both somewhat regressed and stay very inconsistent. Age has finally caught up with team leader Rod Brind’Amour and he has started a steep and rapid decline on his way towards retirement. Their defence remains soft and inconsistent. They need Ward and Staal to take some initiative and leadership and become leaders on this team while taking the next step towards becoming the stars they should be.

Pittsburgh Penguins: A lot of problems with this Stanley Cup finalist. They have nothing beyond Malkin and Crosby(besides Sykora on a good day). Jordan Staal’s development has “Staaled” so to speak as the team refuses to do anything with him besides slot him into the #3 centre spot where he plays with linemates that aren’t exactly up to par with his skill level. Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar have been injured all year so their PP has suffered drastically along with the play in their own end. Marc-Andre Fleury has reverted back to his inconsistent ways. Quite frankly until one of their big two get’s dealt this team will be hamstrong by paying 1/3 of their cap room to two guys. And since Crosby is the face of the franchise, it’s going to have to be Malkin that get’s dealt.

Ottawa Senators: While I didn’t think they’d be that good this year, I didn’t foresee them as being this bad either. Just like the Penguins and Tampa Bay before them, they have too much money locked up in too few and it’s cost them dearly. They have no secondary scoring, no defence and they’ve never really had elite goaltending minus one year of Ray Emery. They have nothing coming up the pipe in the way of prospect except Swedish dman Erik Karlsson so they’re going to have to somewhat blow this up and trade one of their big three to get at least a good goaltending prospect in return.

Edmonton Oilers: Call me nuts but I somewhat bought into the Oiler hoopla from the offseason, my only question about them was their goaltending as Mathieu Garon had done the one year on/one year off act before. However Shaun Horcoff and Dustin Penner, those of the brutally awful contracts, have been worse then I anticipated. While they finally slayed the 3 headed goaltending monster it took too long and they suffered for it. Ales Hemsky unfortunately still has no trigger man to bury his fantastic passes and the kids have hit the dreaded sophomore slump. Craig McTavish’s unoriginal coaching remains a problem. A new coach would help along with KLowe stepping away from the organization. The kids bouncing back would be huge and finding some sucker to eventually take Penner and Horcoff’s contracts would be huge, but that won’t happen unfortunately.

Honorable Mention: New York Rangers(Without Lundqvist they'd be screwed. Avery=answer?)

Tampa Bay Lightning(Unlike most I thought this team would suck and it does)

Nashville Predators(Eventually the cost cutting would hurt them big time)

Colorado Avalanche(injuries, age and poor drafting have contributed)

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