Tag Archives: Alex Tanguay

10 overrated hockey pool picks

Yesterday, I listed 10 sleepers that can win you a hockey pool.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Zdeno Chara should not expect to get 40 points this year.

But bad drafting will take you out of a hockey pool pretty quickly. No amount of sleepers can make up for a three or four bad picks, or picking guys too early.

Below, in no particular order, you’ll find 10 overrated players when it comes to your pool this year.

Zdeno Chara- There are several reasons why you should stay away from Chara. He played a long season last year, and he’s in trouble of a Stanley Cup hangover. I think he finished below 40 points.

Alex Tanguay- Had 69 points last year, so someone will draft him three rounds too high. Don’t be that person. Expect him to finish in the 50-55 point range.

Jordan Staal- Sure, he’s always ready to break through. Every season, he’s expected to play with Crosby or Malkin, but it never happens. He’s a great third-liner, but will finish with below 50 points once again.

Mike Richards- He’ll get more points than he has the past few seasons, but that’s mostly because he’s playing with Anze Kopitar. But he’ll still finish with about 70 points, so don’t draft in rounds when you can get 80-point guys.

Derick Brassard- With the BlueJackets bringing in more offensive help, he’ll probably slip down the depth chart. With less ice time, expect less points.

Michael Grabner- Had a great rookie season last year. But with Kyle Okposo back from injury, Mark Streit back and taking up a lot of powerplay time, and rookies Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Strome possibly making the team, Grabner’s ice time will be taking a big hit.

Eric Staal- Easily the most overvalued player. People treat him like a 90-point player, but his true value is in the 70-point territory. Don’t believe the hype and draft him too early.

Logan Couture- Won’t be able to replicate what he did last year. Expect a small setback.

Marian Hossa- Battling too many injuries the last few years. If healthy, could get 65-70 points. But more realistically, expect 50 points and 65 games.

Milan Lucic- Came really out of nowhere to score 30 goals and 62 points last season. He’s a bruiser, a brawler and a Bruin. Don’t expect a repeat of those numbers.

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Calgary Flames preview

Overview: The Calgary Flames are in for a tough season. They haven’t improved their team from last year, when they missed the playoffs. They made the worst signing in the offseason (see below) of any NHL team. And they count too much on two guys to do everything. Something is going to snap soon.

The Flames are one Miika Kiprusoff-groin injury away from being the worst team in the league. And Kipper is now 33, but in the past five years has played a whopping 373 regular season games, an average of almost 75 a year. That’s just ludicrous. His body must be getting worn down, especially as he gets older.

The Flames don’t manage the cap well, can’t find a lot of help for Jarome Iginla, and has an albatross of a contract from Jay Bouwmeester. It doesn’t add up to a good season.

Best offseason move: Signing Alex Tanguay. He had some chemistry with Jarome Iginla a few years back, and was still good with the Montreal Canadiens two seasons ago. Last year, he had a poor time with Tampa Bay, but I think he can rebound.

Worst offseason move: Signing Olli Jokinen. What happened to Jokinen to see his stock fall so quickly? In Florida, he was a consistent 80-point guy with no help. Everyone kept saying that if he went to a good team, he would be great. But that hasn’t been the case. He’s slow, doesn’t dominate, and doesn’t make his linemates better.

Dark horse trophy candidate: Ian White for the Norris.

Pool pick: Rene Bourque. His numbers improve every year, and he hit a career high 58 points last season. Look for him to break 60 this year. Who to stay away from: Daymond Langkow. His numbers had taken a hit every season. He should soon be demoted to third-line status, except for the fact he makes $4.5 million a year and there’s no one to take his spot.

Sporcle quiz: Can you name the Flames top scorers for each season from 1980 to now?

Best hall of fame choice: Jarome Iginla. Slam dunk to make it in, and should be a first-ballot guy. Has led the league in goals twice. Has scored 50 in a season twice, and should hit 500 in a career. Has won several awards, and was runner-up for the Hart trophy in 2002. He’s been the best played on the Flames for more than a decade, and one of the top five right-wingers of the past 15 years.

Blog to follow: FlamesNation

My Prediction: Fifth in the Pacific, 15th in the Western conference.

Famous celebrity from that city: Elisha Cuthbert

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2009 preview: Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning is one of those teams that always seems to have more people talking about their off-ice issues than their on-ice issues.

Ownership issues, low attendance numbers, hiring and firing head coaches, etc.

The most successful teams are the ones that are most stable throughout the organization. The Lightning would be smart to learn this.

Story of the season:Will the Playstation type of dealing work for this team? Last year, the Lightning majorly overhauled their roster in an effort to get better. It didn’t work. Since then, they have overhauled their roster again. Will it work? Probably not.

Former Habs: Alex Tanguay, Vincent Lecavalier (oops, that’s in the category, Future Habs).

Blog to follow: Raw Charge

TV commercial break

Pool Picks:Steven Stamkos. After a very slow start, Stamkos recovered to score 46 points in 79 games. He’ll be playing with higher-talent wingers this season, so look for him to get about 60 points. Stay away from: Ryan Malone. He’s only cracked 50 points in a season once, and that was with the Penguins a few years ago. Look for him to finish somewhere around 40 points.

Award nominees:Vincent Lecavalier for the Rocket Richard trophy

Expected Finish: Fourth in the Southeast, 13th in the east

Cheerleader: One the of Lightning girls cleans the ice.

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All-Star game

So apparently fans of the Montreal Canadiens are stuffing the ballot box for the NHL All-Star game.

The game will be held in Montreal this year as part of the celebration of the Habs’ 100th anniversary.

Many fans want all six positions to be filled by members of the Habs. Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Alex Tanguay, Andrei Markov, Mike Komisarek and Carey Price all lead their respective positions in votes.

But to all those who are trying this, I say this: Don’t bother.

Two words why: Rory Fitzpatrick.

For those who don’t remember, there was a write-in campaign to get Fitzpatrick into the all-star game, to show that the system was flawed. He was one of the top two defencemen in votes until the week before the deadline. And then with all the publicity at its height, what happened?

“After receiving 285,000 votes the two previous weeks, he got just 58,000 in the week ending on Dec. 26 and dropped to third place in the standings.”

The above quote is for an article on Slate.com (read it here). It does a great drop of explaining what happened:

“I believe the evidence suggests the NHL cooked the books. Since the league counted only ballots that were entirely filled in, there should have been an equal number of votes cast for hockey’s two conferences. But for the week after Christmas, players in the Eastern Conference received 6 percent more votes than those in Fitzpatrick’s Western Conference. Among defensemen, the results were even more skewed: The guys in the West—Rory among them—got 16 percent fewer votes overall. (These discrepancies were about three times bigger than any that had come before.) As bloggers were quick to point out, the numbers were exactly what you’d expect to see if the league had manually dumped 100,000 Rory votes.”

So what does all this have to do with the Montreal Canadiens? Simple. If the NHL decided to throw away votes before, what makes you think they won’t do it again?

Do you really think they’ll have an All-Star game without Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin as one of its starters? They’re the prize gems of the NHL. No way Saku Koivu starts over Crosby. At some point, look for Crosby to have a couple of great weeks, and for the Canadiens players to start getting less votes.

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Montreal Canadiens preview

The Habs had a great year last year, surprising a lot of people by finishing first in the Eastern conference last season.

They won’t do it again.

Part of their success was because of their domination of the Bruins in the regular season, where the Habs had eight wins and no losses against Boston. That won’t happen again, and that means they’ll fall a couple of spots in the standings. But they’ll still make the playoffs easily, and their success will be measured in the postseason.

Forwards: The Habs probably have the deepest lineup in the league. They can roll three lines that always have a chance of scoring, and a fourth line that can bang.

Alexei Kovalev will try to lead this team again with his play. Saku Koivu will lead this team with his heart.

Alex Tanguay and Robert Lang were brought in through trades. They will help this team stay as the top powerplay in the league for the third year in a row.

Their youth will be expected to continue their progression,

Probably their best pickup this offseason was Georges Laraque. He’ll give the Habs the grit they need, and will take on the fighting duties so some of their other key players won’t have to.

Defence: An underrated defence. They have a powerplay point guy in Andrei Markov, a defensive guy in Roman Hamrlik and the league’s best shot blocker/checker for defencemen last season in Mike Komisarek. They also have youth guys in Josh Gorges and Francis Bouillon. They’ll be find on the back end for years to come.

Goaltending: Carey Price is the guy in Montreal. He needs to make sure whatever happened to him in the playoffs last year does not happen again. But then again, the guy is 21 years old. There’s a lot of pressure on him to lead this team to victory, but the Habsneed to make sure he’s protected and not let the pressure ruin his future, as have happened with many goalies who played in Montreal.

Also the media need to come up withsome new cliches instead of just using “The Price is Right” or “Price-less” all the time. Why not be creative with his first name? Something like “Price Careys team to playoffs” or something amongst those lines.

Pool picks: Look for Alex Tanguay and Robert Lang to improve on their point totals. Tanguay because he’s not on a purely defensive team anymore, and Lang because he’ll have better linemates and a better opportunity to get points then he had in Chicago. Stay away from: Saku Koivu. He doesn’t have to worry about getting points, and can focus more on defensive hockey. He’ll be a leader in other ways.

Miscellaneous: Mats Sundin who? The Habs were smart to try and sign Sundin in the offseason, and were even smarter when they realized he wouldn’t be making a decision anytime soon, so they moved on. If Sundin decides to come back halfway through the season, the Canadiens can make a trade if they sign him (Chris Higgins would net a good draft pick or two). But for now, they don’t need him.

It’s also the 100th anniversary of the team, so they’ll be doing everything they can to be competitive, and to honour their past.

Expected finish: Second in the Northeast division, fourth in the Eastern conference

Overall:This may be the only chance the Habs have to win the Stanley Cup. Ten of their regular players will be unrestricted free agents after this season (Tanguay, Koivu, Kovalev, Lang, Begin, Kostopoulos, Bouillon, Dandenault, Komisarek and Brisebois). Another four will be restricted free agents (Higgins, Plekanec, Chipchura and Latendresse). That’s going to lead to a lot of players leaving this team next summer, just because they won’t be able to keep all those players, and the younger ones will be getting pay raises.

But until then, this is a team that will compete for the Stanley Cup.

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