Friday, August 28, 2009

Jason Allison invited to Leafs camp

I for one am excited about this. If you haven't heard the story, check it out on Allison will come to camp with no contract.

I like this a lot! Allison is 34, and he will help the PP. He hangs out on the half boards, uses his big body and playmaking ability to either walk out front, or start to walk out front, draw defenders in, and then make a good pass.

The knock on him is his -14 or whatever it was the last time he played. Granted, that is not the type of guy Burke and Wilson have been interested in lately, but I like the idea of getting a PP specialist and a legitmate offensive talent. Say he plays 2nd-3rd line minutes and runs the PP, that would be solid.

Possible power play units with Jason Allison:

Allison - half boards/down low
Ponikarovski/or Jason Blake - in front of the net/working the boards
Stajan/0r Grabovski - Centre, zipping around, finding openings
Kaberle - QB at the point
White/Van Ryn - Hammer time on the other point (Wilson also likes to use Stempniak in this spot but I do not!)

Here are some line combos (I don't feel they'll have a 'First' and 'Second' line etc. but roll all lines)

Jason Blake - Jason Allison - Alex Ponikarovsky
Niklas Hagman - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Lee Stempniak - Matt Stajan - Tyler Bozak
Jamal Mayers - Wayne Primeau - Colton Orr

I would like to see Johnny Mitchell and Jiri Tlusty make the team too, and Christian Hanson I wouldn't mind. So we'll see what happens at camp. Wouldn't mind seeing Stempniak sent down, if you can't tell, not a fan of the Stemper.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Red Wings possibilities

I read in a couple places that the Wings might be looking at Bertuzzi, but since then they've signed Patrick Eaves and Jason Williams.

A couple people I was talking to mentioned that they don't think the Wings will be the same power house next year that they have been in previous years. Ya well, I've heard that before and believe me, they will be a force!

Yes losing Hossa and Samuelsson to free agency hurts, and Hudler bolting for Russia makes them thinner up front as well. But I think the addition of Jason Williams is kind of underrated. This guy was a 58 point man with Detroit a few years back, and the season before last he scored 36 points in 43 games with Chicago. Even last year he finished he season with 47 points. Pretty decent production and certainly enough to help forget the loss of Samuelsson.

The Wings have some other guys who can fill in too:

Consider that last season Darren Helm was a playoff stud and played no part in the regular season. This is the year for the young guy to take on a role with the team regular season, and I firmly believe that Helm is a player.

Ville Leino. This guy was a solid call up last year, he's 25 and I can't remember where I read this but I believe he was the MVP of the Finnish elite league a year or two ago.

Justin Abdelkader. Like Helm, this guy made an impact in the playoffs and this could be the year he joins the team as more of a regular as well.

The other thing to remember is that the core of this team is still solid with the likes of Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Franzen leading the way up front. Those 3 guys, I don't know if there is a team out there with a better top 3. And some great support wingers to spread around them including Dan Cleary, Tomas Holmstrom, Kirk Maltby etc. Kris Draper in for character and leadership and you got a damn good team.

Their defense will still run the show with Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Stuart as a top 4 and Ericsson, Lilja and Lebda to fill it out. Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard will be in goal. I've always been a huge Osgood advocator and have called him one of the game's all time most underrated players. Last season was the worst of his career although he did play outstanding in the playoffs, I dont know how much he has left and I don't know much about Howard. Every year people say the Red Wings achilles heel will be in goal and they are wrong but there could be something to it this year. I doubt it, but its possible.

One other key player, I'm calling for a breakout year. I took him in the playoff pool because he's so fancy, I'm predicting a 60+ point year from Valterri Fillpula. He is a stud in the making.

So in conclusion, Red Wings good. Presidents trophy candidates and as always Cup contenders and a team to watch out for.