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NHL Season Thread 2019-20

AG74683

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So pumped! On paper, the 'Canes roster is pretty sick. Unfortunately I have class tonight so I'll miss the opener live. I do have the option to record it though, so that's what I'll be doing.
 

Doohickie

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Sabres still trying to climb out of the basement.

The fan base was looking for acquisition of a strong 2C over the summer (possibly in a trade for Rasmus Ristolainen) but that never happened. 2C going into the season is Marcus Johansson, a free agent signed over the summer. Prior to injury issues he was pretty good but he hasn't produced the last few years for Boston and NJ and has been playing as a winger for most of his time in the NHL. A key position position on the team that may not have been adequately addressed.

We also have a few unproductive contracts hanging over us. Vladimir Sobotka is in the last year of his deal; he was easily our worst forward last year, but new coach Ralph Krueger has him playing on the 2nd line (alongside the previously mentioned Johansson). That doesn't look promising. We also have the empty shell of Kyle Okposo at $6M for 4 more seasons. He's a good guy but after a concussion and a severe reaction to medication used for the concussion, he's not the player he used to be. He still plays a somewhat physical game and we cringe with every hit he makes or takes. He really needs to either retire or go on LTIR.

On the upside, Victor Olofsson had a quick look at the NHL at the end of last season and looked really good. It's continued during training camp and he's earned a spot on the top line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, pushing Jeff Skinner down to the second line (with Johansson and Sobotka). The defense is enhanced from last year, but starting out the year with some injuries and one or two vets who are okay but may need to move on to make room for youth. Rasmus Dahlin begins his second season on the top pairing. Last year's #1 overall pick, he's been lauded as the best defenseman since Denis Potvin.

So hopefully the "rebuilding" is done and it's just straight up building for this season. Playoffs would be nice but most analysts say not likely.
 

kjel

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Let's Go Devils!

Looking forward to a healthy Taylor Hall and new kid on the block Jack Hughes. Cory Schneider seems to have gotten his mojo back in the net and the backup goalie is good as well.

New additions are Wayne Simmonds and PK Subban so it will be interesting to see how well they mesh with the rest of the team.
 

AG74683

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Let's Go Devils!

Looking forward to a healthy Taylor Hall and new kid on the block Jack Hughes. Cory Schneider seems to have gotten his mojo back in the net and the backup goalie is good as well.

New additions are Wayne Simmonds and PK Subban so it will be interesting to see how well they mesh with the rest of the team.
I'm very excited to watch the Devils this year. That's going to be an exciting team. I know PK plays with a chip on his shoulder out there, but he seems like one of the friendliest guys in the league. His Instragram account is absolutely hilarious.
 

kjel

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Sabres still trying to climb out of the basement.

The fan base was looking for acquisition of a strong 2C over the summer (possibly in a trade for Rasmus Ristolainen) but that never happened. 2C going into the season is Marcus Johansson, a free agent signed over the summer. Prior to injury issues he was pretty good but he hasn't produced the last few years for Boston and NJ and has been playing as a winger for most of his time in the NHL. A key position position on the team that may not have been adequately addressed.

We also have a few unproductive contracts hanging over us. Vladimir Sobotka is in the last year of his deal; he was easily our worst forward last year, but new coach Ralph Krueger has him playing on the 2nd line (alongside the previously mentioned Johansson). That doesn't look promising. We also have the empty shell of Kyle Okposo at $6M for 4 more seasons. He's a good guy but after a concussion and a severe reaction to medication used for the concussion, he's not the player he used to be. He still plays a somewhat physical game and we cringe with every hit he makes or takes. He really needs to either retire or go on LTIR.

On the upside, Victor Olofsson had a quick look at the NHL at the end of last season and looked really good. It's continued during training camp and he's earned a spot on the top line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, pushing Jeff Skinner down to the second line (with Johansson and Sobotka). The defense is enhanced from last year, but starting out the year with some injuries and one or two vets who are okay but may need to move on to make room for youth. Rasmus Dahlin begins his second season on the top pairing. Last year's #1 overall pick, he's been lauded as the best defenseman since Denis Potvin.

So hopefully the "rebuilding" is done and it's just straight up building for this season. Playoffs would be nice but most analysts say not likely.
Here's a good write up on Johansson from his time as a Devil. https://www.allaboutthejersey.com/2019/2/1/18205563/what-should-the-devils-do-with-marcus-johansson-nhl-trade-deadline-2019
 

AG74683

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'Canes win their season/home opener 4-3 in the shootout against the Habs last night. I only caught bits and pieces of the game because I had class, but man I really liked what I saw from them. Few defensive errors, but it'll take time for the group to learn tendencies. We have a lot of new guys, and almost all of them chipped in last night. Martin Necas is going to be nasty.
 

michaelskis

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I would love to say the cup will return to hockey town this year... but it won't. They will finish better than Buffalo, but won't win the cup. But then again, everyone will finish better than Buffalo... again.


I do think the Cains, Tampa Bay, and Boston all have a decent shot at it.
 

kjel

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Season opener was a 4-5 loss against the Jets in a shootout. Schneider left the ice at the beginning of the 3rd-was worried it was an injury after his time off last year but it turns out it was a cramp.

Devils were up 4-1 at the end of the 2nd, but with the backup goalie in net and relentless Jets they fell apart. I am not mad though because they showed they could hang with a team like the Jets.

There were some good things and some not so good things. The penalty kill looked sharp, the power play was much better than last years. Defense had some struggles and #1 draft pick Jack Hughes is learning real fast what playing with the big boys is like (he'll be fine in time).

Devils on the road in Buffalo tonight.
 

kjel

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Sabres looked good on Saturday....the Devils just looked on :ha:
 
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AG74683

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3-0-0 for the 'Canes. First time since relocation to Raleigh they are undefeated through the first 3 games, only the second time in franchise history.

That said, all 3 required extra time, with one going to the shootout. All three GWG's were scored from the blue line too. Hamilton, Gardiner, and Slavin had the three. It's probably not a sustainable way to win, but it's getting it done. The front guys are just going to take some time to develop chemistry. All three wins have been come from behind so that's promising.

Even with us winning that way, we are pretty dominant defensively. We held Tampa to 13 shots. Period. That is it. They had 11 in the first period, and then only 2 for the rest of the freaking game. We would have blown them away if it wasn't for Curtis McElhinney standing on his head for most of the game.

Erik Haula has been awesome so far. 3 goals in 3 games. For a brief moment, his entry on Wikipedia called him Erik "Bo-Time" Haula. Someone also edited the Capitals ownership to "Carolina Hurricanes" for a while too.

Our PP is the best it's been maybe ever. It's early, but right now we're 5th in the PP at 33.3%. That's leagues better than we used to be. PK is still a little shaky though.
 

Doohickie

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I would love to say the cup will return to hockey town this year... but it won't. They will finish better than Buffalo, but won't win the cup. But then again, everyone will finish better than Buffalo... again.

I do think the Cains, Tampa Bay, and Boston all have a decent shot at it.
This will be interesting to see. I see they started out 2-0-0 like the Sabres. I personally feel the Wings are behind the Sabres in terms of rebuild, but we'll see.

Sabres looked good on Saturday....the Devils just looked on :ha:
In the first two games, the Sabres look totally unlike recent Sabres teams. They're playing a very aggressive, uptempo, puck pressure game. So far it's led to a lot of odd-man rushes and breakaways for the Sabres, and their stats (like Corsi %, shots on goal, possession time, etc.) have been almost 2:1 compared to their opponents.

When the Sabres had their 10-game winning streak last season, the "yeah but-" was that the metrics didn't support their record, that essentially they "stole" most of those games or were just lucky. This time around the stats match the scores, so we're hoping that new coach Ralph Krueger has finally figured how to organize and motivate the team. We'll see if that continues as the season wears on.
 

kjel

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This will be interesting to see. I see they started out 2-0-0 like the Sabres. I personally feel the Wings are behind the Sabres in terms of rebuild, but we'll see.

In the first two games, the Sabres look totally unlike recent Sabres teams. They're playing a very aggressive, uptempo, puck pressure game. So far it's led to a lot of odd-man rushes and breakaways for the Sabres, and their stats (like Corsi %, shots on goal, possession time, etc.) have been almost 2:1 compared to their opponents.

When the Sabres had their 10-game winning streak last season, the "yeah but-" was that the metrics didn't support their record, that essentially they "stole" most of those games or were just lucky. This time around the stats match the scores, so we're hoping that new coach Ralph Krueger has finally figured how to organize and motivate the team. We'll see if that continues as the season wears on.
They really did look good on Saturday. We always used to joke that the Devils will at least win over the Sabres, not so much now. Devils have definitely struggled over the last 5 years, but I think now that GM Ray Shero has assembled many good pieces it's on the coaching staff to start making it work. Honestly I wasn't expecting too much out of this season other than to not be in the basement again and have a better than .500 record.
 

Doohickie

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I think for the Sabres they haven't had the right coach for a while now. They eye test just didn't jive with the talent on the team. Problem players tended to kill their lines. The team as a whole couldn't really pass to each other. When they won it's because a small number of players had a really good game and the others didn't mess up too badly. But when you looked at their collective stats, they were bad.

I'm still waiting for the inevitable disappointment, but so far it seems like Ralph Krueger is exactly what this team needs. They tanked for Eichel and Dahlin, and after losing for that long it's hard to suddenly get a winning attitude. Phil Housley failed miserably at it the last two years. Krueger did a brief stint as HC of Edmonton several years ago, and was unceremoniously released due to team politics (from what I've read). He coached some international tournament teams in Europe, and was chairman of Southampton FC in the UK. His resume is, to say the least, confusing. But I think he's taken his (admittedly dated) NHL experience, his Euro tourney experience, and his Southampton experience, to the Sabres, made a plan, placed all the players into meaningful roles to execute the plan, and set them loose.

So $6M per year Kyle Okposo, who had some major concussion complications and isn't the player he was, is playing on the checking line, and playing very determined hockey, and also adds offensive potential to keep the other team off balance (had a goal in the NJ game). Vladimir Sobotka, a vestige of the Ryan O'Reilly trade and our worst forward last year, as been promoted to the second line, not so much to score, but to add a defensive component to free up his linemates to concentrate on offense and not defense. Krueger boldly took his problem players and instead of hiding them, gave them meaningful roles and is trying to turn them into assets on the team. In the first two games, all four lines have contributed at least one goal.

They're playing a high puck pressure game which means when they have the puck they're moving it to areas where they expect teammates to be skating to- almost constant passing. When they don't have the puck, the closest guy to the puck carrier forces him to pass it as soon as possible, almost like rushing the QB in football, and all the other Sabres are covering their opponents like defensive backs. So far it's been very successful creating turnovers. (That last idea with the football analogy came from another forum I read.)
 

kjel

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Krueger was definitely an interesting choice for coach, but maybe his different approach is what's needed.

The amount of turnovers the Sabres forced against the Devils was embarrassing for my team, so it's working!
 

AG74683

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'Canes move to 4-0-0. Good first period, weak second, average third. Optimus Reim put up a 47 save effort on 50 shots, which is pretty incredible. He's been awesome for us so far. Nice to see him succeed against his former team. Offense put up some good stuff last night, with 12 players earning at least one point. Aho got his first goal (an EN, but it still counts) and Dzingle got his first two. Dougie Hamilton looks fantastic this year. It's great to see him finally having fun somewhere.
 

zman

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Caught the Avalanche/Flames opener when I was in Denver last week. The Avs looking good. Excited for the year and the fan base expectations are high. That was the loudest and craziest I have seen Pepsi Center ever in a non-concert setting.

Heading to Vancouver next month for the Avs/Canucks game and dropping in on Boston for the Avs/Bs game (and Nuggets/Celtics) in December.
 

Doohickie

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Jack Eichel was about an inch away from a hat trick tonight. They played a really entertaining game with Montreal tonight. Marcus Johansson scored the OT winner for the Sabres.
 

AG74683

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Jack Eichel was about an inch away from a hat trick tonight. They played a really entertaining game with Montreal tonight. Marcus Johansson scored the OT winner for the Sabres.
So far, at least on paper, the Sabres look pretty good. Tied for 3rd in goals per game (4.5), 2nd with PP percentage (53.3), and 5th with shooting percentage (13.4). PK percentage isn't the best though. Those numbers will certainly even out as the season goes on, but it's a good start for a relatively young team. Eichel and Dahlin each have 7 points on the season, good for 4th place. Both also lead the league in PP points at 5. Olofsson is tied for 3rd at 4. Dahlin is also tied for assist leader at 6 (along with the 'Canes Svechnikov). Carter Hutton has played well with 3 wins, good for 1st (tied with Gibson of the Ducks).

I mean it's still early, but that's a good sign IMO.
 

Doohickie

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I take it as a good sign, especially since I expect them to improve as Ralph Krueger's system becomes more familiar to them. Plus there are a few players on IR that should improve the roster when they get here. There are a few problem players; Sobotka is just a boat anchor and his line is scoring in spite of him; and Vesey is not really showing much; might be a bad acquisition.

On the other hand, the corpse of Kyle Okposo is playing really determined hockey on the checking line. You'd like to have a $6M player on a scoring line, but he's playing some really determined hockey. His whole line has been limited to one goal (scored by Okposo on a deflection), but that line spends a lot of time grinding in the offensive zone, wearing down defenses.

In the first 4 games, the Sabres stomped on two lesser opponents and split OT games (one loss, one win) with teams regarded as being better. It will be interesting to see if they continue their strong start.
 

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0-2-1 so far.

Last night the Flyers delivered a shut out loss to the Devils. They played Charmin soft. I don't know what's up but whatever it is needs to be figured out fast. Loved this taunt from Gritty. At the end of the game I told RT that Lindsey probably could have done better than the Devils did :roflmao:

1570729573882.png
 

Doohickie

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As a fan of the game, I just love Gritty. The Flyers smacked it outta the park with him.
 

Doohickie

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I wonder what will happen to the Buffalo fan base if the Bills or Sabres win a championship. I fear we'll turn into royal dooshes like Boston fans. :( There's something almost noble about being a fan devoted to a long-suffering franchise.
 

AG74683

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James Neal broke a Wayne Gretzky record last night. He now has 7 goals in his first 4 games as an Oiler. Previous record was 6 goals in the first 4, held by Wayne Gretzky.

The ageless wonder, Patrick Marleau, scored 2 goals last night with the Sharks. The ironman streak continues!!
 

Doohickie

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Detroit off to a surprisingly good 3-1-0 start. They became the first team to beat Montreal in regulation this year (all their other games have been OT losses).
 

kjel

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Still winless. Some crap refereeing in the waning minutes of the 3rd period led to the Oilers scoring an equalizer pushing the game to OT which was scoreless so it went to a shootout. And we lost. Again.

I am happy with the way the Devils played last night, 200% better than the night before in Philly.

Wayne Gretzky joined the game broadcast alongside former Devil/current commentator Ken Daneyko and he was great.
 

zman

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Avalanche are one of two undefeated teams left (Oilers the other).

#justsayin

Sidenote: broke my scoreless streak and got 1g, 2a in the beer league last night.
 

Doohickie

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It's funny: You see a team that has an unexpected hot start and you think, oh well, they'll come back to reality eventually, but when it's your team, you think, hey! We're good!!!

Sabres have a rare day game today at 3 pm ET. They do this every Canadian Thanksgiving (American Columbus Day) as a "kids day" since most kids are home from school, almost all Canadians are off, and some Americans have the day off too.
 

zman

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Sabres have a rare day game today at 3 pm ET. They do this every Canadian Thanksgiving (American Columbus Day) as a "kids day" since most kids are home from school, almost all Canadians are off, and some Americans have the day off too.
Avs play the Capitals today in DC. 2pm start for me (living/working in the Pacific time zone). Will be streaming (audio only) at my desk.
 

Salmissra

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Went to the Stars game Saturday.

Sloppy sticks. That's the nicest way to describe the Stars in action.

With this level of play, I'm surprised they've won at all.:censored:
 

kjel

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Went to the Stars game Saturday.

Sloppy sticks. That's the nicest way to describe the Stars in action.

With this level of play, I'm surprised they've won at all.:censored:
Devils are 0-6 now after blowing a 4-1 lead to the Panthers yesterday. It was ridiculous. Even the AHL affiliate has 2 wins so far.

Dead last in the NHL. No excuse for the kind of talent the Devils have.
 

Doohickie

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And.... the Sabres were whooped by Anaheim last night.

The Sabres actually jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead and looked pretty good, then Anaheim got a late goal and came out loaded for bear in the 2nd and 3rd periods. The Sabres couldn't manufacture any offense after that.
 

kjel

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Let's see if the Devils can go 0-7 and tie their worst starting record tonight.
 

michaelskis

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...and the Avalanche are the only remaining undefeated team...
How long do you think it will last and do you think that they have a shot at the cup?

The wings are having ups and downs. They look better than last year but that is not saying much.

Canes are real contenders this year.
 

zman

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How long do you think it will last and do you think that they have a shot at the cup?

The wings are having ups and downs. They look better than last year but that is not saying much.

Canes are real contenders this year.
Avs lost in OT last night to the Penguins, but still lack that regulation loss. Their next 3 games are on the road in Florida, Tampa, and St Louis so.... very tough schedule...
I think the Avs made great strides and will be a great team this year, I would not be surprised if they make it to the Western finals this year... (they were one off-sides call away from the final last year... ;) ) but lack an elite goaltender to carry them through at this point...but I like Grubauer so far.
 

kjel

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Hey hey hey the Devils beat the Rags fair and square last night 5-2!

They actually looked pretty good last night considering the performances they've been putting up recently.
 

kjel

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And Hughes got on the scoresheet I see.
Yes he did. It was a weird assist because it was actually his shot that deflected off Miles Woods' backside into the goal.
Palmieri had what I thought was the best goal of the night. About 5 seconds into a power play he roofs it short side.

 

Doohickie

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Yes he did. It was a weird assist because it was actually his shot that deflected off Miles Woods' backside into the goal.
Oh, I see Sabres farmhand Matt Tennyson is with the Devils now... and had two assists last night. Good for him.

Palmieri had what I thought was the best goal of the night. About 5 seconds into a power play he roofs it short side.

Well that escalated quickly.
 

kjel

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Oh, I see Sabres farmhand Matt Tennyson is with the Devils now... and had two assists last night. Good for him.
He's on a two way with Binghamton. He was called up this week as veteran D-man Andy Greene is out with an upper body injury. He had a good game, his pairing with Mirco Mueller seemed to work out pretty well. Hopefully the coaching staff will keep them together for a few games to see what they can do.
 

kjel

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Devils won another game! This time against the Canucks. Jack Hughes scored his first regulation NHL goal and it was a very nice one. His brother Quinn plays for Vancouver and his entire family was at the game watching the two of them play.



Also NJ Devil made a Twitter bet with Jimmy Fallon last week that the Devils would win over the Rangers. Here's the outcome of that bet :roflmao:

 

AG74683

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'Canes are crashing back down to earth. Offense is basically non-existent right now. Defense is still playing okay, and goalies are....average, but no offense. Special teams are falling apart too. Still too early to panic though, there's a ton of promise there.

There are trade rumors that the 'Canes are close to a trade with the Oilers to snag Jesse Puljujärvi. He's been holding out with the Oilers and playing in the Finnish League for Oulun Karpat. His NHL sample size is somewhat limited. While he's certainly not what you'd expect a 4th overall pick to be right now, he could really work out well in Raleigh. He has a good relationship with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen from what I've read. Fins always seem to work better as a group than they do apart.
 
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