March 29 2012 11:32AM
What is a top-six forward?
How many teams have six legit top-six forwards?
How many successful teams have six similar top-six forwards?
We can debate who qualifies as a top-six forward, but it seems few teams have six legitimate ones, and those that do rarely have all of them producing at the same time. However, the good teams don't have six of the same type of forwards on their top two lines. Most of them have a variety of size, grit and tenacity combined with above-average skill.
March 28 2012 12:56PM
The Oilers started the season 8-2-2, and on November 3rd many of you were cautiously optimistic that this team was turning the corner, but it wasn't meant to be. From November 3rd to March 5th you watched the Oilers plunge down the standings going 17-32-4, and in the process found yourself muttering, "next year they'll be better."
March 25 2012 12:03PM
Charlie Sheen's "Winning" trend faded out quicker than the Flames's playoff hope the past ten days. Sure it was exciting, funny or annoying for awhile, but inevitably we got the expected outcome.
Suddenly Oiler fans are facing a dilemma themselves regarding Winning! The Oilers are 5-2-3 in their last ten, a 106-point pace for a full season, and suddenly are on the verge of losing the #2 overall draft pick.
A win over the Blue Jackets would put the Oilers in 28th, due to more regulation wins than the Canadiens, and they'd be tied in points with the Islanders and one back of the Wild.
Do you enjoy the victories and head into the off-season believing this team has turned the corner, of do you hope they return to their 29th-place pace for the final seven games?
It is a difficult question on a Sunday morning.
March 23 2012 12:08PM
Kevin Dineen is in his first season behind an NHL bench, and barring a major collapse in their final nine games he'll have the Florida Panthers back in the playoffs for the first time since 2000 - some rebuilds take a long time. Dineen was a scrappy player during his 18-year career. He had some skill, two 40 and two 30-goal seasons, but mostly he got by on guts.
The Panthers' play mirrors the style of their coach.
March 23 2012 11:56AM
At the height of the Battle of Alberta the Oilers and Flames were arguably the two best teams in the NHL, but sadly we only got to see them play in the Smyth final. Imagine how intense a Cup final would have been. It would have been crazy.
Fans and players of both teams have many great memories and some gut-wrenching ones as well. The "own goal" in game seven of the Smyth division final became memorable because it ended up being the series deciding goal, but most remember Steve Smith rather than the guy who got credit, Perry Berezan.
I caught up with Berezan prior to the final installment of the BOA and got his thoughts on the rivalry, past, present and future.