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Ducks Defense

After nine games the Anaheim Ducks have given up 4 goals seven of those games.  Win or Lose giving up 4 goals a game is not the kind of defense/goaltending we expect from our players!

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NHLSL State of the Union – February Report

We are a (partial) month into the new NHLSL seasons, and while some prognosticators may tell you it is still too early to decide anything as most teams have only played between 6 and 8 games, we here at State of the Union are embracing our inner John Tortorella and living by a “safe is death” mentality. Its time for some much too early, much too bold proclamations!

Pleasant Surprises:

In this section we review those players and teams that have blown past their expectations, causing us to re-evaluate our expectations of them and calling into question our status as “experts”… like reading a headline saying your favourite team came to an agreement with Jack Johnson and finding out that it hired the singer to perform during intermissions rather than signing the much-maligned defenseman to a contract.

Sure, Sebastian Aho is a great playmaker, but who could have predicted he could drag Bryan Rust and Vinnie Hinostroza to the top of scoring leaderboard, as the Penguins’ top line has combined for 15 goals and 39 points in 7 games… After being bought out in the offseason, Devan Dubnyk is proving to be quite the reclamation project for the San Jose Sharks, as he is among the top 5 goalies in wins (4), GAA (1.97) and SPCT (0.937)… The New York Rangers have scored as many goals (5) in 20:27 of power play time as they have in 207:29 of 5 on 5 play… The Arizona Coyotes have the best defence in the league (1.833 GA/G) and the 2nd best offence in the league (3.667 GF/G) in their 6 games so far this season.

Pleasant, though not surprising: Mitch Marner is the straw that stirs the drink in Toronto, so its important for him to maximize his playmaking ability for the Leafs to be successful. Marner ranks 3rd in the league in assists with 9 in 8 games, which is to be expected for the 4th best PA rating in the sim.

Shocking Disappointments:

In this section we review those players and teams that have severely underperformed, leaving us shocked and/or disappointed… like going to an open mic night featuring Jim Carey, only to find out that it is a one-man show by the ex Capitals goaltender and not the star of Ace Ventura.

Connor McDavid, the unquestioned best player in the game and highest rated player in the sim, has 1 goal, 4 points and is shooting less than 5% in 7 games so far. He’s sure trying hard to get traded out of Edmonton… With a combined OV rating of 161 Tuukka Rask and Carter Hart were supposed to be one of the best goaltending tandems in the league, but they have combined for a GAA of 3.50 and a SPCT of 0.896 for the middling Hurricanes… The New Jersey Devils are having a hell of a time scoring, despite several high profile adds to the forward corps, as they have only 11 goals in 7 games, barely more than 1.5 goals per game… The St. Louis Blues have a veteran heavy lineup, with only 2 players in their top 9 forwards and top 4 defenders are younger than 30, and yet the team is languishing in 30th place in the league.

Disappointing, though not shocking: Last year’s Good Job Kirk trophy winning Anaheim Ducks are proving to not be so mighty so far. Despite quite a few offseason and in-season trades to bolster the roster, they once again themselves in the league’s basement, tough it’s still early enough for them to right the ship.

WTF Rant of the Month:

Looks like Irish Tommy has allowed some European-style socialism to creep into the NHLSL as his New York Rangers players have enjoyed quite a few days off so far this year. Despite the season already being 16 days old, the Rangers have only played 4 games.  Looks like they will be paying for this soft start to the season as they will be forced into 4 games in 7 days this week. They better hope that Guy Boucher is right and that “rest is a weapon”… they are going to need it all the weapons they can muster to get through this week.

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Roller Coaster Start to Season in Raleigh

It has been quite an up and down start to the season for the 3-3-1 Hurricanes, who have shown flashes of the dominating team that GM Andre Deblois thought he had assembled this past offseason, but who have also, at times, appeared like the bottom feeders they were during his first two seasons at the helm of the franchise…

The Good:

The offseason’s biggest acquisition, Brad Marchand is tied for the league lead in points with 4 goals, 7 assists and 11 points in 7 games… Andrei Svechnikov is 2nd in the league in goals with 5 in 7 games (he’s on pace for 58 goals, James Mirtle says he does it)… Tuukka Rask is tied for the league lead in shutouts… The team is in the top 5 in goals (with 22 goals) and hits (with 200 hits) in 7 games and has their PP clicking at a nearly 28% clip.

The Bad:

Ryan Suter, who has been a perennial Defenseman POM contender, is off to a slow start with only 2 points and a +2 rating despite nearly 26 minutes of ice time per game… Despite boasting the 2nd best SC rating on the team and averaging over 17 and half minutes of ice time in the top six, Viktor Arvidsson has yet to score on 13 shots this season… The team is currently 29th in the league with an abysmal 63% efficiency on the PK.

The Ugly:

Goalie of the future and backup of the present Carter Hart has struggled mightily, going 0-2-1 in 3 games with an .862SPCT and 4.97GAA. He’ll need to be better to give Rask some rest… Despite carrying an 82DI rating, David Krejci is the 2nd most penalized player in the league with 22PIMs in 7 games. At this rate, he’ll surpass his career high of 36PIMs by next week… Compounding the team’s PK issues, they are also the most penalized team in the league, with 99PIMs in 7 games (14 minutes more then the next worse team).

“I think that if we can be a bit more disciplined and find some more success on the PK, we can turn this around in a hurry” stated GM Deblois. When pressed for comment on the play of Hart, Deblois only stated that he was disappointed, but that he wouldn’t make any rushed judgements with his still developing young players.

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Could this be the year?

Montreal fans have been waiting a long time to get excited about this club. While the season is still very early, the Canadiens fast start shows promise for a team that have been rebuilding and tinkering with the lineup for a few seasons. Free agents who were signed prior to last season are paying dividends. Price is having the best start to the season since being with the team. Always a solid goalie, Price seems to be on a whole new level this season. Pietrangelo is having a bounce back season, leading the league in points by a d-man. Sergachev has finally developed into a scoring d-man as well with 5 points in 5 games. The forwards hvae been lea by Voracek who leads the team in scoring with 7 points in 6 games. Last night, Bailey and Reinhart broke out and  both have 5 points thus far. The biggest surprise besids Price has been the PK which got a facelift in the off-season. Perry, Aston-Reese, and Brodziak give the bottom six a new look. Rookie Zavgorodniy is being given some time on the second line to show his talents. Perry may eventually move up if it does not work. The defence may need another shut down guy as the team wants to cut down on its shots against. A scoring winger to give the team some options on the second line may also be possible but the team is not going to mortgage its future like Zavgorodniy, Bouchard or Reinhart to do it either. Contracts are up for Price and Pietrangelo, and if they continue to play this way, walking away from them will be difficult. At the end of the day, the Canadiens finally have something to get excited about in the ultra tough [Adams] division

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Madness Continues

As the season unfolds the Anaheim Ducks continue their crappy play.  This team looked, on paper, that iy would be competitive, but after losing to the STINKY Bruins we realize that the Ducks are B-A-D.  It is getting harder and harder to believe in the make up of this team.  Getting closer and closer to blowing it up(again).  Really don't want to but.........

Losing to Boston is such an embarrassment!

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