Posted on: October 2, 2011 10:50 pm

TSHQ Atlantic Division Preview

Up next in the TSHQ NHL previews is the Atlantic Division.

The Atlantic Division is routinely one of the most competitive divisions in hockey.  This will be quite an interesting year as picking how the division will pan is going to be tough.  There’s really only one team that I’m comfortable with placing…

New York Islanders

You have to appreciate where the Islanders are headed.  No, they’re not yet ready to seriously compete in the Atlantic, but they’re well on their way of being a tough team in the East.  That said, they’ll be no pushover this year and teams will have to earn their wins against them.

The Isles are hoping that young franchise player Jonathan Tavares is about ready to take that next step in his development.  In his first two seasons in the NHL, he’s scored 54 and 67 points, which is pretty good for the 21 year without having many big names about him.  He’ll have the help of promising young forwards Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner.  Moulson’s coming off two straight 30+ goal seasons and Grabner burst out of nowhere to score 34 goals last season.  If Grabner can prove that he’s no flash in the pan, the Islanders have three talented young players to build their future around up front.

After those three players, the talent begins to dwindle a bit for the Islanders.  Their top second tier players are PA Parenteau and Kyle Okposo.  Parenteau’s coming off a decent year, but he’s not exactly the type of player you want to lean on for steady offensive production.  Okposo came to the Islanders under much anticipation, but unless he has a big year this season, he might start to wear out his welcome.  Granted he did have a good year two years ago before having his season cut short last season.  You just have to wonder if he’s going to produce like he was cracked up to.

Nino Niederreiter is the next player on Islanders fans’ list to be the rookie who tears it up.  El Nino could be good, but winning the Rookie of the Year award will be tough for the 19 year old.

Also, with Trevor Gilles still on the roster, you have to wonder how seriously the Islanders take themselves.

Get the rest here.
Category: NHL
Posted on: August 28, 2011 8:18 pm

Hold Your Breath, Pittsburgh TSHQ

Everyone knew that Sidney Crosby's concussion was serious. And with the new awareness of concussions in the sports world, Crosby and the Penguins were doing the right thing and taking things slowly. It seemed as though Crosby was progressing along well, but maybe that's because people were taking the "no news is good news" approach.

But a few weeks ago, there was a report that Crosby had taken a step or two back in his recovery. Many questioned the validity of the report and even more scoffed at the fact that the report came without an identified source. I know that I looked past it. And the Penguins gave a nebulous, noncommittal response to the report, so most people simply figured that everything was fine and going according to schedule.
Get the rest here.

Posted on: August 17, 2011 5:24 pm

The Best Thing We Can Do For Rick Rypien...

Unfortunately, the NHL offseason has once again been marred by the tragic passing of another player. After Derek Boogaard was found dead after overdosing on alcohol and painkillers, Rick Rypien was found dead last night in his home by a family member.

Rypien had just signed a one year contract with the Winnipeg Jets after starting his career with the Vancouver Canucks. He missed most of last season after the Canucks allowed him some personal time to deal with issues he was facing. Many believed it was some sort of mental illness he was fighting, most likely depression.

To speculate that isn't much of a stretch, but as far as speculating goes, that should be as far as anyone takes it. No one knows for sure what happened and it's not fair to the Rypien family, his teammates, the NHL community, and it's especially not fair to Rick...

Get the rest here.
Category: NHL
Tags: NHL, Rick Rypien
Posted on: June 1, 2011 9:07 pm

Stanley Cup Preview TSHQ

I started writing for The Sports Headquarters blog during this season, so I figured that I'd start linking my blog posts here...

It's been a great postseason so far. 16 team started, but only two remain. We've seen sweeps, seven game series, highlight reel goals, and incredible saves. And now we're ready to watch the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins battle for the world's most revered sports trophy, Lord Stanley's Cup.

So how did each team get here? The Bruins began their postseason with a tight seven game fight with their division rival Montreal Canadiens. The favored Bruins nearly didn't make it out of the first round, but found a way to win the end. The next round saw them easily sweep the Philadelphia Flyers, avenging last year's collapse the best they could. And most recently, they were taken to the brink by the Tampa Bay Lightning in a seven game series. It's been a cakewalk or an all out war so far for the Bruins.

Much like the B's, the Canucks were nearly knocked out of the first round by last year's Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks. It took them overtime in Game 7 after losing a 3-0 series lead to capture a berth to the Semifinals Round. In the second round, the Canucks took some hard blows from the Predators, but ultimately won in 6 games. Their last opponent, the San Jose Sharks, were caught, skinned, and fileted in 5 games. The Canucks seem to have gotten better as the playoffs wore on.

The Canucks have never won a Stanley Cup. Their last appearance was in 1994 when that Mark Messier guy's Rangers took the title in 7 games. But maybe more importantly, they're trying to bring the Cup back to Canada for the first time since 1993 via the Montreal Canadiens. The Boston Bruins are looking to end a drought of their own as they are Cupless since 1972. One team will bring a long-awaited end to an era without a Cup.

The Boston Bruins play a big, bruising, physical style of play. They grind their opponents into submission with a barrage of heavy checking, which wears down the opponent's defense and makes them very susceptible to turnovers and poor decisions, all because they hear the footsteps of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, and Brad Marchand (the ironically smallest player in the series, but plays a big game) coming in behind them. They lead a balanced attack up front with a powerful first line of David Krecji, Nathan Horton, and Milan Lucic and have good depth on their second and third lines with the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi, Brad Marchand, and Michael Ryder. Rock back on your heels and you'll find yourself pinned deep in the defensive zone with the Bruins buzzing all around.

Get the rest here.

Category: NHL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com