Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 UFAs-Eastern Conference

Again, I'm going to focus on players from each Eastern Conference team that I believe will be leaving. Also, just like yesterday, the links will take you to a card of each player, or you can checkout my store.

Atlanta-Colby Armstrong. Since they just picked up Dustin Byfuglien, the Thrashers no longer need Colby to fill the power forward role.

Boston-Johnny Boychuk. He was a good defensman for them, but Boston doesn't have the cap space to fit him in...yet, until they trade Tim Thomas.

Buffalo-Raffi Torres. Again, Raffi played well for Buffalo, but not worth keeping him.

Carolina-Brian Pothier. They should try and keep Brian, but it might be time for a change of scenery for him.

Florida-Mathieu Roy. Unfortunately, he doesn't fit Dale Tallon's mold.

Montreal-Glen Metropolit. Solid two-way player that will make an impact, defensively, where ever he goes.

New Jersey-Ilya Kovalchuk. Didn't really work out for Ilya in NJ. He'll more than likely chase The Cup with another team or go play in the KHL with Jagr.

New York Islanders-Martin Biron. DiPietro should be back for a full season and Marty won't want to sit on the bench as much as he will.

New York Rangers-Olli Jokinen. Another one of the deadline deals that didn't really work out. I can see Olli staying with the Rangers, but I think he would benefit from playing somewhere with less of a profile.

Ottawa-Anton Volchenkov. I think he might be sick of the Spezza circus going on in Ottawa.

Philadelphia-Lukas Krajicek. Solid D-man in the playoffs, but there has to be a casualty while the Flyers chase a legitimate #1 goalie.

Pittsburgh-Sergei Gonchar. He's been in contract talks with the Pens, but they're having trouble agreeing to the terms. He'll get what he wants elsewhere.

Tampa Bay-Alex Tanguay. He works for the Lightning, but he is getting up there in years, while TBL is getting younger.

Toronto-Garnet Exelby. The Leafs have a solid defense, which he was a big part of.

Washington-Eric Belanger. He'd be stupid to leave, since he's had the best chance of winning The Cup with Washington during his career.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2010 UFAs-Western Conference

I'm going to pick out a player from each team that I think is not going to be around next year. As usual, the links will take you to a card of that player at my store.

Anaheim-Saku Koivu. I think playing with his little brother Mikko is going to entice him away from the California sun.

Calgary-Chris Higgins. He has played in the media spotlight in Montreal...a little less media pressure would probably do him some good.

Chicago-John Madden. He always sparked the Hawks and had a good presence on young team. I'd expect him to go somewhere with lots of kids (NYI or Tampa?).

Colorado-Marek Svatos. The Avs are getting younger, while Svatos is not.

Columbus-Nathan Paetsch. Serviceable, but probably won't go until July 2nd or 3rd.

Dallas-Jere Lehtinen. I have no idea which direction the Stars are looking to go in, but with not signing Modano and Turco, it's obvious that they're looking to make some changes.

Detroit-Brett Lebda. Solid d-man that will be a solid addition to any teams blue line.

Edmonton-Fernando Pisani. Not usually healthy, unfortunately. Still has some offensive ability. Might be time for a change of scenery though.

Los Angeles-Alex Frolov. Disappointing season. LA either needs to resign and find a way to motivate him, or let him move on.

Minnesota-Derek Boogaard. Word is, Pavel Datsyuk is looking forward to playing with the Boggie Man.

Nashville-Dan Ellis. Rinne outplayed him...all year. He'll find a good home eventually though.

Phoenix-Lee Stempniak. Played solid for the Yotes after being traded from Toronto. He played well after leaving that circus, but the off-season circus in Phoenix will sour him again. He walks.

San Jose-Manny Malhotra. Too bad for the Sharks. They need to retool, and I don't believe that Manny wants to be part of it. You know, go to a team that isn't cursed.

St. Louis-Paul Kariya. Reunion tour with Selanne out in Anaheim, then time to retire.

Vancouver-Kyle Wellwood. He's done well for the Canucks while there. I actually think that he will stay to play with Henrik and Daniel.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NHL Awards Predictions

I'll keep it short and sweet. As usual, the links will take you to a card available in my store. There are many others, so please check out the rest of what Pat's Cards has to offer.

Hart Memorial Trophy: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Lady Byng Trophy Most Gentlemanly Award: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

Selke Trophy Best Defensive Forward: Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins

Calder Trophy Rookie of the Year: Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche

Norris Trophy Best Defenseman: Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

Vezina Trophy Best Goaltender: Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabers

Bill Masterson Award Perseverance and Dedication Award: Kurtis Foster, Tampa Bay Lightning

Mark Messier Leadership Award: Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

Coach of the Year: Joe Sacco, Colorado Avalanche

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stanley Cup Finals Preview

Are the Flyers the "Cinderella" team of the NHL this year? No. That was Montreal. Philly is a well balanced team, much like the Hawks, in a relatively unbalanced Eastern Conference. I'm going to take a look at some of the players from each team and who the wins the match up for each team. Also, remember, that the links will take you to cards of each player that are for sale through, and that I am offering free shipping on all orders of $5.00, or more, until the end of May.

Captains: Toews v. Richards. Both players are leaders and have won at each level they've played at. They're both willing to do whatever it takes to win games. Both have level heads and know what to do, how to do it, and where to do it, to get the job done. Toews is without a doubt the heart of the Hawks. The Flyers did well when Richards was out earlier this year. Edge: Draw.

Snippers: Kane v. Gagne. Kaner, as he is called by teammates, can place pucks into small areas of nets and thread needles in the passing lanes. Gagne is adept at doing the same, but not as well as Kane. Gagne has also had injury problems in the past...including this season. Both players are playing at the tops of their games right now. Edge: Kane.

Secondary Scoring: Bolland v. Giroux. Bolland has done a good job of shutting down the top players on other teams by being a pest, and has the skill set to score a few goals. Giroux also has the hands to score a couple (as he showed in Game 7 against Montreal-Suh-weet goal). Giroux is also good at shutting down opponents, but may not nag the other teams top forwards as well as Bolland does. Edge: Bolland.

Fourth Liners: Eager v. Lapierriere. Eager is a pain in the but. He hits everything that moves and doesn't take any poop from anybody that can also score if given the chance. Lapierriere never stops running his mouth, but can anyone really understand what he's saying on the ice with his accent and a mouth piece? Does it matter? No. He is willing to do what it takes to win, whether that's blocking shots with his face, if need be (won't hurt as much now with that cage). He is effective as being a shut down type player and can net a few. He may be looking at his last chance to win a Cup since he is getting up there in years, and will play with abandonment. Edge: Lapierriere.

Norris Trophy D-men: Keith v. Pronger. Both players have very active sticks and are very good at getting those sticks in passing lanes. Keith has more speed, but Pronger plays with more of an edge. Both jump into the play and can pot a few if the opportunity presents itself. Edge: Keith.

Shot Blocking Defenseman: Sopel v. ???. I haven't watch the Flyers closely enough to see which d-man on their team blocks a lot of shots. I have seen Sopel blocking a lot of shots though. It shows since he looks like he fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Edge: ???-we will find out.

Shut Down Defenseman: Hjalmerson v. Coburn. Both of these guys can make a great first pass out of the zone, which is necessary to form a breakout and start the transition to offense. Both players are more than willing to lay a big hit. Hjalmerson is more than willing to block shots and can be paired with just about any d-man in the Hawks lineup. Coburn has come a long way in his development. He keeps players to the outside. Edge: Hjalmerson.

Goal: Niemi v. Leighton. Both of these guys have stood on their heads during the post season. Niemi has been dominate and has stolen his fair share of games this post season. Leighton, who has also been dominate, is finally coming into his own. Edge: Niemi.

Back Up Goalies: Huet v. Boucher. Edge: Draw. Doesn't matter since neither of these guys can stop a beach ball.

Side Notes:

Getting lost in the Hossa hype, is that this is also Leino's third straight time to the Finals (2 with Detroit and now with Philly).

Patrick Sharp and Ben Eager broke into the league with the Flyers, and Leighton and Boucher have both been Blackhawks.

Edge: Chicago. They have more depth, skill, and are an overall deeper team than the Flyers.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Eastern Conference Finals Preview

I never thought Washington and Pittsburgh would not be in the conference finals. I don't think anyone except the Montreal and Philadelphia fans thought their teams would be here either. Both teams that are still around have been playing some great hockey. Links will take you to cards that are for sale at I'm also offering free shipping on all orders of $5.00 or more during the month of May.

Philly's unbelievable comeback against Boston and winning four straight games is remarkable. Danny Brier, Simon Gagne, Hartnell and Richards have been rolling. Chris Pronger has showed us why he's one of the NHL's leading defensemen. The revolving door in net hasn't slowed the Flyers down either. Leighton and Boucher have played awesome when called upon and have each stolen games for the Flyers.

Montreal has done the unbelievable by eliminating the best team in the NHL's regular season when they dispatched of Washington, and then dealt the death blow to the NHL's reigning Stanley Cup Champions in Pittsburgh. Inspired offense from Gionta, Gomez and Cammalleri have made that happen. Obvious solid and steady defense from Spacek and the huge Hal Gill. Halak is still on fire and skillfully playing above and beyond what a lot of people thought he could.

I will predict a winner for this series: Montreal. They have the fire power, grit, determination, and belief that they can win.

Western Conference Finals Preview

The two teams that were supposed to be here at the start of the playoffs are there. No one can say that San Jose and Chicago weren't the two best teams in the Western Conference leading into Day 1 of the playoffs. Both played great hockey throughout the regular season and have played strong games to get where they're at now. Here I'm going to break down the teams a little bit. The links will take you to a card for each player listed for sale at I'm offering free shipping on all orders of $5.00 or more during the month of May.

Lines 1 and 2 for San Jose. The Thornton, Marleau, Heatley line got off to a slow start in Round 1. Colorado did a good job of shutting them down and holding the line to a handful of points. They were able to come alive against Detroit and make up for their lack of offense against Colorado. Pavelski, Setoguchi, and Clowe made up for the Big 3's lack of scoring in Round 1. They were also the icing on the cake that helped to bounce Detroit from contention. They'll need to keep that up if they want to move on.

Lines 1 and 2 for Chicago. Toews, Kane and whoever they put up on the other wing. Lets face it, whether it's Hossa, Brouwer, Sharp or Byfuglien, Toews and Kane make the other winger look good. They've both been effective in the first two rounds riding pretty impressive point streaks throughout the playoffs, which they need to keep up if the Hawks are going to have a chance to move on. Bolland, Ladd, and Versteeg will be playing against the Number 1 line for San Jose. Knowing that they'll be trying to shut down their line while controlling the puck in the other teams end and provide a little bit of nastiness while doing it...just like they did against Vancouver.

Defense for San Jose. Rob Blake has been playing some great hockey lately. Generally being a pain in the butt to play against and making some good plays. By far the leader on the back end for the Sharks. The Hawks will have to exploit his lack of mobility. Dan Boyle got over his gaffe in the 1st Round and has been a healthy contributor to the Sharks offense. He will make turnovers and they Hawks need to jump on those chances. Doug Murray is a big strong guy with some decent speed. The Hawks need to keep their heads up or Murray will remove it from their shoulders. Jason Demers is turning out to be a solid d-man for the Sharks. The Hawks will have to take advantage of his lack of experience and teach him a few things.

Defense for Chicago. Seabrook and Keith are the top pair; very solid and know where each other is at which helps them get out of trouble. They will be playing against the Thornton line. If the Sharks top line is going to succeed, they need to get set up in the offensive zone and try and draw these guys out of position. Brian Campbell is back. It was surprising how much of an impact he makes on the Hawks offense. He can be called the Hawks Achilles heel...shut him down and you shut down most of the offense. Brent Sopel has been old reliable, literally, for the Hawks. He takes a beating and keeps coming back for seconds, thirds, and fourths. A great shot blocker, but if the Sharks can fake a shot and make a pass around or over him, they'll get a scoring chance.

Goalies: Nabakov and Niemi are playing solid. They're both stealing games for their teams and keeping their teams on top when called upon. If the Sharks want to beat Niemi they need to make some passes across the crease to get him moving and not give him a chance to set to block the shot. If the Hawks want to beat Nabokov, they will need to get him one on one to beat him, or let some bombs go from the point and get some deflections.

I'm only going to make one prediction for this series: Great hockey will be played by both teams. This is going to be a great display of hockey by two of the NHL's greatest teams.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Round 2 Match Up-Montreal v. Pittsburgh

Please excuse me if something doesn't sound right. I'm only half way through my first cup of coffee this morning. Anyways, we stand on the morn of Round 2 starting for the reigning Cup champs and the team that pulled off the biggest upset of the 1st Round. Also, like always, the links will take you to a card of each player in my store. If you don't see a card you like, feel free to check out the rest of my inventory.

This series is going to be all about skill and the other team shutting it down. I've heard rumblings of doubt about Montreal's ability to shut down the Pens. Let me just point out that they shut down Washington, which is without doubt, one of the NHL's most skilled teams.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin or Tomas Plekanec or Mike Cammalleri, which forward pair would you rather have? Enough said. Despite each teams' leading scorers, like most playoff series, the goal scorers have to come from Lines 2 and 3. That will place the burden not only on the stars listed above but also on Kunitz, Staal, and Talbot for the Pens and Gionta, Gomez, and Pouliot for the Canadians.

On D for each team, they have a shut down d-man Hal Gill and Brooks Orpik; a puck moving defenseman in Gonchar and Markov; and a couple guys that do a good job of not sticking out too much like Hamrlik and McKee. If these guys can make a first good pass out of the zone and play well positionally, they'll limit the other team's scoring chances and create a few for their team.

Marc-Andre Fleury, like I said before, seems to be a little worn down. He will not face a ton of shots, but he has to steal a couple goals for the Pens every night. Jaroslav Halak has been on fire lately, not that I need to tell you that. Pittsburgh probably won't throw everything and the kitchen sink at him like Washington did, so he too will have to make some huge saves to keep his team in it.

When all is said and done, I like Pittsburgh better than the Habs. Pittsburgh in 6. I don't think Montreal will be able to shut down the Pens that play well together as a team.