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year of mediocrity, the fact that the Jays are division-lead

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BerichtGeplaatst: Wo Okt 11, 2017 3:11 am    Onderwerp: year of mediocrity, the fact that the Jays are division-lead Reageren met citaat

Come playoff time, the road through the Western Conference to the Stanley Cup final goes through Los Angeles or Chicago. John Johnson Jersey . The defending-champion Kings and still-in-their-prime Blackhawks remain the standard.The regular season? Thats a different story.Remember, last season, it wasnt even the St. Louis Blues who won the Central Division but the upstart Colorado Avalanche. In the Pacific, the Kings and San Jose Sharks had the memorable first-round series, but the Anaheim Ducks get the division champions banner.Those teams beginning with the Ducks, Blues and Avalanche and continuing down to the Dallas Stars are already focused on making that next step to competing against the Kings and Blackhawks.Over the grind of an 82-game season, its a daunting task for any team outside last years playoff field to crack the top eight.It is tough and its getting tougher, Vancouver Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa said. It seems like over the summer every team in the West adds more pieces that make them deeper.Theres no doubt the West is deep, and even with 14 teams there will be at least one or two out in the cold come April who could make a run in the East.Heres a look at the Western Conference in the predicted order of finish by division (asterisk indicates wild-card playoff teams):CENTRAL DIVISION1. St. Louis BluesLast season: 52-23-7, 111 points, second in Central, lost in division semifinals to ChicagoWhos gone: G Ryan Miller, LW Brenden Morrow, D Roman PolakWhos new: C Paul Stastny, D Carl Gunnarsson, D Chris ButlerOutlook: After trading Jaroslav Halak and counting on Miller down the stretch and in the playoffs backfired, the Blues go into this season with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen. Unlike Miller, theyre used to coach Ken Hitchcocks system and how few shots St. Louis likes to give up. Up front, Stastny and captain David Backes combine for a nice one-two punch down the middle and theres plenty of talent on the wings. On defence, Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester lead a group thats at least five strong.2. Chicago BlackhawksLast season: 46-21-15, 107 points, third in Central, lost in conference final to Los AngelesWhos gone: C Michal Handzus, F Brandon Bollig, D Sheldon BrookbankWhos new: C Brad Richards, D Trevor van RiemsdykOutlook: This might be the best top six in the NHL with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Bryan Bickell and Richards. And thats still a crazy-deep defence, led by Norris Trophy-winner Duncan Keith. Injuries contributed to last years third-place finish, but this is a group that knows to turn it on when it matters. Chicago is a Stanley Cup favourite even if it doesnt win the Central or even finish second.3. Dallas StarsLast season: 40-31-11, 91 points, fifth in Central, lost in division semifinals to AnaheimWhos gone: G Tim Thomas, RW Alex Chiasson, D Aaron RomeWhos new: C Jason Spezza, RW Ales Hemsky, G Anders Lindback, F Patrick EavesOutlook: Jim Nill won the off-season by getting Spezza from the Ottawa Senators for Chiasson, two prospects and a second-round pick and signing Hemsky. Dallas, as a result, is a chic pick to be one of the most improved teams in the NHL and ready to play with the big boys in the West. Much of that depends on the health of goaltender Kari Lehtonen and the play of a virtually anonymous defence led by Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley. Second-year winger Valeri Nichushkin could also make a substantial leap.4. Minnesota Wild*Last season: 43-27-12, 98 points, fourth in Central, lost in division final to ChicagoWhos gone: G Ilya Bryzgalov, LW Matt Moulson, LW Dany Heatley, D Nate Prosser, D Clayton StonerWhos new: LW Thomas VanekOutlook: Goaltending was a huge part of why the Wild made the playoffs last year, and depth in the form of Darcy Kuemper helped them get to the second round and give the Blackhawks a small scare. With Josh Harding injured, Minnesota is counting on Niklas Backstrom staying healthy or Kuemper filling in. Young talent keeps piling up, like centre Mikael Granlund and defenceman Jonas Brodin, and the addition of Vanek should give Mike Yeos team a bit more of an offensive punch.5. Colorado AvalancheLast season: 52-22-8, 112 points, first in Central, lost in division semifinals to MinnesotaWhos gone: C Paul Stastny, RW P-A Parenteau, D Andre Benoit, G Jean-Sebastien GiguereWhos new: RW Jarome Iginla, D Brad Stuart, C Daniel Briere, F Jesse WinchesterOutlook: Captain Gabriel Landeskog and Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon in separate interviews within an hour said the Avalanche may not get 112 points this year, but they expect the team to be better. Itll be hard to match last seasons out-of-nowhere success, unless goaltender Semyon Varlamov keeps up a superhuman pace and stays healthy. More likely, Colorado is fighting until the final days for one of the final playoff spots in the West.6. Nashville PredatorsLast season: 38-32-12, 88 points, sixth in CentralWhos gone: F Patric Hornqvist, F Nick Spaling, D Michael Del Zotto, F Patrick EavesWhos new: RW James Neal, C Olli Jokinen, C Derek Roy, C Mike Ribeiro, D Anton VolchenkovOutlook: Under new coach Peter Laviolette, the Predators will play a much different, more up-tempo style and have some more weapons with which to do so. Goalie Pekka Rinne being healthy makes a big difference, and Seth Jones should be a year improved learning from Shea Weber. Problem is, this is still the Western Conference, and Nashville is in the toughest, deepest division there is. The Predators will contend, but they have to prove theyre better than Minnesota or Colorado.7. Winnipeg JetsLast season: 37-35-10, 84 points, seventh in CentralWhos gone: C Olli Jokinen, RW Devin Setoguchi, G Al MontoyaWhos new: C Mathieu Perreault, F T.J. Galiardi, D Keaton EllerbyOutlook: Meet the new Jets, same as the old Jets. Blake Wheeler said coach Paul Maurice instituted a more professional atmosphere around the team when he took over last year, but the necessary talent to be a playoff contender is still lacking. It would take monster jumps from centre Mark Scheifele and/or defenceman Jacob Trouba and a strong year from goaltender Ondrej Pavelec to make that even a possibility. Pavelec might even need to play more with rookie Michael Hutchinson as his backup.PACIFIC DIVISION1. Los Angeles KingsLast season: 46-28-8, 100 points, third in Pacific, won Stanley CupWhos gone: D Willie Mitchell, C Colin FraserWhos new: F Andy Andreoff, D Brayden McNabbOutlook: The dreaded Stanley Cup hangover could hurt the Kings, who seem to find their best down the stretch and in the playoffs. The health of Jonathan Quick is important after off-season wrist surgery, but backup Martin Jones isnt a bad fail safe. Marian Gaborik is back for the long term, so this group is even better than the one that started last season. Young forwards Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson and defenceman Jake Muzzin keep improving and make Los Angeles the team to beat.2. Anaheim DucksLast season: 54-20-8, 116 points, first in Pacific, lost in division final to Los AngelesWhos gone: G Jonas Hiller, D Stephane Robidas, C Nick Bonino, RW Teemu Selanne, LW Daniel Winnik, D Luca Sbisa, C Mathieu PerreaultWhos new: C Ryan Kesler, LW Dany Heatley, F Nate Thompson, D Clayton StonerOutlook: By adding Kesler to Ryan Getzlaf down the middle, the Ducks are trying to match the Kings one-two punch of Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. Thats a move that is geared toward a potential playoff series. In the 82 games before that, coach Bruce Boudreaus bunch is already made to succeed in the regular season. One variable there is rookie John Gibson (and Frederik Andersen) replacing Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth. If theyre as good or better, another division title is within reach.3. San Jose SharksLast season: 51-22-9, 111 points, second in PacificWhos gone: D Dan Boyle, RW Martin HavlatWhos new: F John Scott, F Tye McGinnOutlook: On paper, the Sharks are still one of the best teams in the NHL. But the roster doesnt indicate the state of upheaval theyre in. Joe Thornton has been stripped of the C and Patrick Marleau an A, but each veteran still has a no-trade clause on his new contract that kicks in this season. Wilson talked up a rebuild and made Scott his biggest off-season addition, but San Jose could be the most dysfunctional team to make the playoffs.4. Vancouver Canucks*Last season: 36-35-11, 83 points, fifth in PacificWhos gone: C Ryan Kesler, D Jason Garrison, LW David Booth, C Mike SantorelliWhos new: G Ryan Miller, RW Radim Vrbata, C Nick Bonino, D Luca Sbisa, C Linden Vey, LW Derek DorsettOutlook: Call 2013-14 the worst of times for the Canucks. Injuries hit, John Tortorella lost his mind and tried to storm the Calgary Flames locker-room and the season went to hell. Roberto Luongo got traded, Mike Gillis and Tortorella got fired and a new regime took over. With president Trevor Linden, GM Jim Benning and coach Willie Desjardins in place, things should be more stable. Miller will be better facing more shots than he did in St. Louis, and Vey and Sbisa should replace Kesler just fine.5. Arizona CoyotesLast season: 37-30-15, 89 points, fourth in PacificWhos gone: C Mike Ribeiro, RW Radim Vrabata, G Thomas GreissWhos new: C Sam Gagner, G Devan Dubnyk, C Joe Vitale, F B.J. CrombeenOutlook: Dave Tippett is going to have to work some magic after the Coyotes moved Ribeiro, bought out because of what GM Don Maloney called behavioural issues. Gagner who cost almost nothing in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning after the Edmonton Oilers jettisoned him will be counted on to do a lot. Mike Smith might be a system goaltender, but with Tippetts disciplined team in front of him, he can get the job done.6. Edmonton OilersLast season: 29-44-9, 67 points, seventh in PacificWhos gone: C Sam Gagner, F Ryan Smyth, F Ryan JonesWhos new: D Nikita Nikitin, LW Benoit Pouliot, D Mark Fayne, C Leon DraisaitlOutlook: It seems like every year the young Oilers look ready to make that next step. Edmontons identity has become the potential of winning, but the results have been filled with losing. Pouliot and Fayne were smart signings, and goaltending should be at least a little better with Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth. But until the core of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz show evidence they can make the Oilers contenders, theyre still tomorrows team, not todays.7. Calgary FlamesLast season: 35-40-7, 77 points, sixth in PacificWhos gone: F Michael Cammalleri, D Shane OBrien, D Chris Butler, G Joey MacDonaldWhos new: G Jonas Hiller, LW Mason Raymond, RW Devin Setoguchi, D Deryk Engelland, F Brandon BolligOutlook: Bob Hartleys team works hard, but somebodys got to be last. Hiller is an upgrade over last seasons goaltending, and there are pieces in place at various ages. Sean Monahan is growing, Johnny Gaudreau will be fun to watch, and, if Sam Bennett makes the team, the future will get a test drive. But its still rebuilding time in Calgary under president of hockey operations Brian Burke and new GM Brad Treliving. Flames fans will have their patience tested but wont be ashamed of this group.---Follow @SWhyno on Twitter Jacob McQuaide Jersey . Mitchell first announced on Twitter that he has signed with the Steelers and his agent Brian Hamilton confirmed the signing to The Associated Press. Financial terms were not released. The Steelers have not announced the addition of Mitchell. Samson Ebukam Jersey . - Veteran Kings defenceman Robyn Regehr, sidelined since Game 1 of the Anaheim series, says hes close to returning. http://www.authenticramsfansclub.com/Black-Friday-Michael-Brockers-Jersey/ . Defenceman Tessa Bonhomme was among three players released from the team Tuesday morning along with defenceman Brigette Lacquette of Waterhen, Man.Before tonights Toronto Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre, when the American League East leaders host last years National League pennant winners, the St. Louis Cardinals, the team will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening of the SkyDome. Jays legends Jimmy Key and Ernie Whitt, members of playoff and World Series-winning teams of the past, will be on hand for the festivities to look back at what was the beginning of the Jays halcyon years. The return of these former stars comes at an apt time. For fans of the Blue Jays, its starting to feel a lot like those glory days again. Heading into Fridays game, the Jays sit at 37-24 with a five-and-a-half-game lead on the second-place Baltimore Orioles. The last team the Blue Jays held such a lead atop the division was in 1985, the year of their first-ever AL East triumph. Its easy to see why theres excitement surrounding this Jays team, but before everybody goes and books their flights to San Francisco for the World Series in October, lets step back and take a good look at these Toronto Blue Jays. Is it time to stop saying "Well, its early" and officially deem them contenders? Is the 2014 version of the Jays just the 2013 one that was expected all along, but a year late on arrival? Or will reality catch up with a team that is currently playing above its station? Friday night marks Game 62, and an even 100 games remain in the regular season. While its not exactly the halfway mark, its as good a time as any to reflect on the interesting dichotomy of the Jays season, thus far. Obviously, there have been plenty of key performances from the top of the roster on down. Mark Buehrle leads the league in wins with 10 and has a paltry 2.10 ERA. Edwin Encarnacion launched 16 jacks in May and made every at-bat a must-see event. Jose Bautista is in the midst of an MVP-calibre season. Melky Cabrera has bouunced back from offseason surgery and looks headed to another All-Star Game. Jared Goff Jersey. Jose Reyes once again looks like the catalyst he was for the New York Mets. Picked up from the Milwaukee Brewers scrap heap, Juan Francisco is one of the five Jays with double-digit home run totals. There is a lot to like right now. But before the Jays were sweeping the likes of the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics and tearing the cover off the baseball with reckless abandon and going 17-4 over its last 21 games, this team was once a very average 20-20. Its bullpen is still second-last in the bigs with a 4.62 ERA, having surrendered a league-worst 97 earned runs. Now second in the AL with 19 home runs, Encarnacion couldnt buy a hit in April and had just two homers. Reyes, Adam Lind and Casey Janssen missed significant time. Brandon Morrow and Colby Rasmus are down again. There were red flags all over this team not that long ago, but those have been seemingly swept aside in a tidal wave of power-hitting and timely pitching. Has this changed your expectations for the rest of the year? With April and early May indicating that the team was headed for another year of mediocrity, the fact that the Jays are division-leaders with the third-best record in baseball in June is quite frankly shocking. But wasnt this the Toronto Blue Jays team that was promised last season after a winter of major trades and free agent acquisitions? Maybe this run that the Jays are on isnt the aberration. Perhaps, last season and the beginning of this year was the outlier. Regardless of why its happening and how long it will last, the Blue Jays are currently playing meaningful baseball and its a welcome change for fans starving for a winner. So with 100 games left in 2014, just who are these Toronto Blue Jays and what happens from here on out? As always, its Your Call! Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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