Sunday, January 31, 2016

Underrated commodity

After struggling to endure a normal amount of sleep(that darn anticipation of the NHL All-star game must have me too excited), I decided a cool exploration point would be to endeavour into the player who I feel is the most underrated in each major professional sport(NBA,NHL,MLB,NFL) and provide a brief synopsis as to why I feel this way. Enjoy!

NBA:Nikola Vukevic(Orlando Magic)

Nikola Vukevic I don't believe receives the credit he rightfully deserves due to playing in the basketball Ghost town that Orlando has become. The Magic have lost that prestige from the early to mid nineties  when some including myself viewed the Magic as a model franchise being led by Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway. Wrapping around back to Vukevic, averaging 16.7 points per game is commendable for an organization who currently lacks a gamebreaker. Point totals aside, his claim to fame is his ferocious rebounding as he continually piles up the boards on a yearly basis. The outdated ascertation that "White men can't jump" has been disproved long ago as Vukevic is just one of in a long list of players who are revolutionizing the way the center position is looked at.

NHL:Marco Scandella(Minnesota Wild)

I remember during his stint as a member of the Canadian World Junior team, the offensive upside he had as a defenceman was criminally understated by the broadcast team of Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire at the time. There's this false misnomer that he's proficient in the defensive side but has limitations with the puck, which couldn't be further from the truth. A modest five goals thusfar this season but was able to pot eleven last season, so if that's not enough evidence proving Scandella's completeness, I don't know what is!

MLB:Gio Gonzalez(Washington Nationals)

I'm one that has no qualms about making prognostications that insult the word bold, and a couple years ago I made the claim that Gonzalez would win the Cy Young as a member of the Nationals. Now, like most of my outlandish predictions at times, that particular pinnacle wasn't reached but this individual has been a dominant force in the Majors going  back to his debut with Oakland in 2008. Doesn't possess an overpowering repertoire but has a looping curveball that's become his trademark pitch, the curveball channels similarities to how Jamie Moyer in his prime used to baffle hitters(certainly not referring to the late 2000 Moyer that gift wrapped beach balls). Gonzalez fits perfect in this list because over the last several years he's been overshadowed in Washington sitting behind the likes of Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer and yet some, okay not some but I will argue that Gonzalez's importance exceeds that of the aforementioned two due to this reason.....every team has an ace now a days the key for longevic success is having reliable depth, something that Gonzalez provides in spades.

NFL:Brandon Flowers(San Diego Chargers)

Let me begin by saying that it's nearly impossible for anyone to succeed in San Diego playing behind the Double Agent himself in Philip Rivers. On most Sundays, you're never really sure what organization Rivers is affiliated with. Brandon Flowers, an alumni of Virginia Tech has been of the few in this franchise which has seen a musical chair amount of coaches take foot in San Diego that had prospered. When he left the Chiefs via free agency, he was a prized possession on the market and chose the Chargers as had the correct realization that he would be the focal point of the defensive attack. Without a doubt,Flowers is an underrated(queue reason for why he's been included) ball hawk and I find it appalling he hasn't been invited to more Farce Bowls(oops, meant Pro Bowl) over the course of his career.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

We the North

The Toronto Raptors have been the model of inconsistency throughout their entire franchise's tenure. From the failures of one of basketball's most losing coaches(and winningest, but when you coach for a million years you're bound to rank high on both ledgers) in Lenny Wilkens to the second most successful sibling in his family pertaining to Butch Carter, but his legacy was marred by a lack of playoff success when expectations were high(er) but at least, unlike a lot of past Raptor coaches he had a taste of the playoffs to Sam Mitchell, who received a coaching of the year honor while in Toronto, but he'll be best known, from my perspective anyway for feuding with Vince Carter's mother and celebrating childishly when his alumni Mercer won their first round matchup at the NCAA tournament while doing freelance with TSN. His on court tribulations with the Raps are far less memorable on the court which when solely examining the basketball aspect he gets a failing grade in my books. Too many non chalant years in Raptor land and with the team fielded in 2015-2016, results must improve, the team is in must win mode!

Dwayne Casey, who transplanted from a winning program in Dallas a few years ago has had mixed results thusfar. Innovative General Manager Maisi Ujiri has continued to stock the cupboards full by making moves that have raised a few eyebrows amongst basketball experts North American wide, but have paid wide spread dividends. The one acquisition that will stand out for a lot of Raptor enthusiasts was the Rudy Gay to Sacramento transaction. When the trade first happened, I had initial skepticism like most but one name brought back in return is now a cornerstone and a perfect compliment to a Dwayne Casey led attack in Patrick Patterson. I'm a hardcore college basketball fan, and of course I harken back to Patterson's exploits with the University of Kentucky Wildcats when he along with John Wall tore apart the SEC and coming into the NBA I suspect a lack of a comfortable role in Sacramento was applicable when describing his minimal results while a member of the Kings but a chord was struck when he came north of the border. A match made in heaven if you will, as the Casey-Patterson relationship is comparable to when Darryl Sutter hooked up with the rough and tumble Los Angeles Kings. It just worked. Patterson's defense first mindset does wonders for creating open space for talented scorers and All-stars Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Particularly with DeRozan, who's been longer tenured here than Lowry has a renewed sense of confidence in the offensive end because he's more aware now knowing that any slip up and the defensively reliable Patterson will come to the rescue.

When the year begun, a lot of the Toronto media painted the portrait of a team that was in flux, had major defencicies coming off their disastrous second half last year eventually succumbing to the Washington Wizards in last year's first round. This last off-season saw Ujiri once again dip into the free agency pool by securing former Atlanta Hawk DeMarre Carrol. I like Carrol as a general rule but I questioned the fit in this structure. One thought that crossed my mind was...."Did they sign Carrol as a precursor in order to move the enigma that is Terrance Ross?" This would've made some sense as Carrol could've shifted to the three position but sadly my hopes were dashed due to as of this writing, Ross is still firing threes and playing no D with the Raptors. Aside from the awkward fit that is Ross, a few things have happened this season that have got me dreaming championship thoughts for the G.T.A.  To begin with, the swagger that point guard Lowry conducts himself with has been seen in very few athletes that have graced the professional Toronto sports scene. It's refreshing, the personality shown allows us fans to get behind Kyle as he leads this second half playoff charge. You would expect for a twenty nine year old point guard to exude leadership, and he's done with this with flying spades. DeMar may be the more talented player, perhaps describing him as more versatile is more apt but this is truly Kyle's ship to steer.  So yes, Lowry and Derozan have carried the Raptors to the second best record in the Eastern conference and now is the time I'm going to draw it all back to the performance of Dwayne Casey. This group lost a heartbreaker two years ago to the Brooklyn Nets and like mentioned earlier got walloped last spring at the hands of the Washington Wizards. Let me be frank.....anything less then a third round performance will be viewed as a disappointment, and I'll be so bold to suggest anything less and Casey's job should be on the line, This is a same National Basketball Association that just saw Eastern Conference powerhouse Cleveland Cavaliers fire Head Coach David Blatt in favor of promoting assistant Tyrone Lue(I could go on a tangent into the ridiculousness of him being allowed to coach the All-Star game). The nature of a professional athlete, particularly with professional basketball players is that rebuilding, or being content with being middle of the pack doesn't exist. Should David Blatt have lost his job? No, but it just goes to show their's no such thing as being malcontent in the Association. The Raptors have a grand opportunity barring any major injuries, and a trip to Ohio in the third round will be required in order to render the 2015-2016 campaign a successful one.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sweeping to success

The evolution with the game of curling has taken drastic steps in 2015-2016, with the much conversed change being the new sweeping techniques that essentially all top teams across the world have picked up to remain competitive. The relevance of this change had created a shroud of controversy, pitting players against one another, with the broom heads being a large part initiating these disagreements. Evolution in sport can widely be viewed as a positive, but the lack of conformity amongst all teams is where the subject becomes very grey.

From my vantage point, there are two angles that need to be examined, first and foremost the brushing equipment that is used has to studied and it's equality has to come to the forefront. In golf, reputable manufacturers such as Taylormade and Callaway are constantly revolutionizing the golf equipment, so why is it we should squawk when some of the most respected curling manufacturers, to name a couple Hardline and BalancePlus come out with equipment that may not cross the line, but certainly tows it? Some after scampering through this article and using already preconceived notions on the subject matter will scribe that the equipment being used today goes against the long standing principles the greats before their time followed. At it's core, curling is a feel and strategical game  and the hard core purists out there will point out that the new technology has all but eliminated the feel portion. Manipulating rocks with sweeping techniques and felt on brushes has made the game "too easy" and let me tell you, for someone who has spent his entire life curling, the game has never been easy, possibly due to a lack of skill on my part but in all reality due to the fact that the game we've grown to love is a challenging one, and the challenge entices fans to gravitate towards it. The Olympics have changed the outlook with the sheer potential of reaching that pinnacle is forcing teams to look for that competitive edge, and here is the next issue I have with the current state of affairs, this "code" the players seem to think exists. Charley Thomas, skip of one of the more successful younger teams in Alberta has taken a metaphorical stand on the issue and is(has) exploited the aforementioned lack of conformity going on with the head bodies of the sport. The MAJORITY, majority being the operative term here of players who consistently compete on the World Curling Tour have banded together in lieu of finding a way to keep everybody on a level playing surface.  Thomas reportedly wasn't brought in on the agreement conjured up by the players so the scolding he received for playing within the rules, ethical or not is completely unfair. Curling is not a sport that you can become millionaires from so if you're given an inch, take it and Thomas most definitely did. Before the provincial playdowns of Junior and Mens/Ladies, Curling Canada(formerly the CCA) and the World Curling federation finally came to an agreement pertaining to conformity, so we can for all purposes close the book on this particular angle but it's just silly that it got to this, this is sport people, as the great Herm Edwards once infamously said "You play to win the game". To all curlers out there, Thomas and anyone else who abided by his principles did nothing wrong, they played to win the game.

The second and final angle is something that's important to me, and that's perception. I respect that research has been done and proven that the one sweeper technique can be advantageous to rock placement, but it looks awful when theorizing the long term health of the sport. When a casual viewer watches on T.V and views one sweeper going balls to the wall while the other one twiddles his thumbs, this is not a good look and in fact it may turn people away from future involvement in the sport. Are junior curling instructors teaching learn to curl participants that one sweeper is the to go? What parent would want to invest valuable financial and time resources to watch their kid throw two rocks after which  sing Sweet Caroline while his "teammate", which I think is becoming a stretched out term with only one sweeper being necessary throws a rock. The junior curling programs will ultimately dictate whether the sport of curling survives and we need complete participation from all parties, from head bodies to the current top athletes to ensure the long term health  of the sport is looked after. What can we do to counteract this proven research? One suggestion I have is to teach our youngens to sweep from the same side especially when learning the art of directional brushing,  A sense of feeling more useful from all four teammates will come from this and that encouragement for teams to be teams again is imperative.

Innovation is paramount to bring Curling back to it's  collective roots, and the current top players buying in is the only way this will come to light. The stars the kids look up to, the Jennifer Jones, Brad Jacobs', and Kaitlyn Lawes of the world need to be pioneers because who is anybody kidding, the game is in a troubled state, the enjoyment from both the future player and fan need to be brought back.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Great Scott! The John Scott story.....

Was watching Prime Time Sports the other day hosted by one of my broadcasting idols in Bob McCown and in this particular episode(the day of which eludes me) and Bob and co-host Ken Reid had John Scott in for an interview. For those who aren't aware of the John Scott story, Scott is an enforcer in the National Hockey League and considered by many to be one of the worst players, a fringe player at best. That day, after months of fan voting, it was confirmed that he would indeed be a participant in the All-star game but not without being knee deep in controversy. To add to the intrigue of the "debacle", the Arizona Coyotes, who held the rights of this player had recently traded him to the Montreal Canadiens organization who have no intention of him ever being called up to the show. The way the All-star game works in 2016 is that the primary event will be a three on three tournament with each division fielding an entry. Questions arose that with Scott's rights being traded, does that void his inclusion with the Pacific Division All-Stars? Gary Bettman and company quickly squashed that notion and so it was settled, John Scott would play in the All-star game with a, get this.....a generic jersey!!! Comical right?

I will get to my feelings regarding the McCown interview shortly, but first I have a gripe with the Arizona Coyotes organization, and by extension the Habs organization as well. John Scott's wife was 7-8 months pregnant at the time of trade that eventually saw him land in St.John's,NFLD.The Scott's were settled in the desert, the Coyotes can deny my theory all they want that they made the trade in correlation with the league to try to find a loop hole to cancel out Scott's all-star eligbility. Retaining Scott's right for another month or so would have no tangible impact on the competitiveness of the organization, alterior motives were clearly present. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Max Domi and sentimental choice Shane Doan were all more deserving representatives for the Coyotes representatives and it's a microcosm of the system that the aforementioned aren't All-stars. Frankly,the Coyotes are slighting the fans by searching for loop holes, because it was the person(s) that drive the league that wanted this, the FANS!.To reference an old adage, don't hate the player, hate the game is certainly applicable in this Soap Opera. The fans spoke and the Coyotes have insulted the general hockey fan for rebelling against our request.

To Bob McCown, someone who's work I've admired over the years, generally gives impartial interviews, but I'm ready to rip McCown for what I thought was a disgusting interview and the Fan 590 should be embarrassed for letting that hit the airwaves. The tone of questioning was that  John Scott was the bad guy in all of this and it  was his fault. I swear in a six to seven minute hit, he brought up the same subject that he could always back out at least three times. It was abundantly clear that McCown, who on several occasions has expressed his distain for the game didn't want any part of the circus act that will follow Scott's arrival, but for somebody that wouldn't watch regardless, what's the beef chief? If I were John Scott, I would've pulled a Chael Sonnen, who infamously walked out of a Michael Landsberg Off the Record taping. McCown showed an unforeseen level of disrespect, with no professionalism shown.

Here's what drives me bonkers. The National Hockey League all-star game is a broken enterprise that literally no one gives a flying patootie about. I'm going to draw the completely opposite straw in this matter and suggest this will be good for the game in the long run. I, like McCown have long give up on All-star games in professional sports, but I just may tune in to this one. Why would anyone want to exhause valuable resources, whether that be financial or time watching players like Alex Ovechkin or Jonathan Toews skate around like it's an optional practice to avoid injury? Fans of hockey vote these players in to take in world class skill, not which player can staple themselves to the bench the fastest. The next point I'm about to make will be met with a  shroud of disagreement but the more gimmicky the better. I envy the day that the All-star game is filled with the Darren Helm's, Kyle Clifford's, and Andrew Shaw's of the world. Why you ask? They would care, and individuals who care for the game is the ONLY way the game will be saved!

Monday, January 25, 2016

NHL Power Rankings(January 2016)

The blog is reset and I look forward to contributing a consistent amount of content from here on out. I thought an appropriate way to reinvigorate the blog seeing as how we are nearing the all-star break of the 2015-2016 season is to showcase my power rankings from 1-30 providing a brief snip it for each team. Hope you thoroughly enjoy!

1.Washington Capitals(35-8-3) Holtby playing like a Hart candidate, has the Vezina on lockdown and Ovechkin has begun to channel his inner Brett Hull. Unequivocally the Stanley Cup favourite.

2.Chicago Blackhawks(33-15-4) The award for the player that exemplifies the greatest amount of production for having the littlest fanfare coming into the campaign undeniably is handed out to Artem Panarin. Patrick Kane may get all the headlines, some good, some bad but can thank for having such a quality running mate in Panarin.

3.Detroit Red Wings(24-16-8) Goaltending remains a mystery for this unit as it's becoming painfully obvious that with this defence led unit, Peter Mrazek and co. should be tallying superior statistics. Bringing in a goalie at the deadline just might be what the doctor ordered for Motown.

4.Dallas Stars(30-14-5)-General Manager Peter Chiarelli's acquisition of Tyler Seguin can be largely attributed for the NHL's lone Texas entries blazing start. Wait a minute....Chiarelli wasn't the GM of the Stars??? Could've fooled me as the recreational fan may have surmised that with the lopsidedness of this deal that this could've been the work of a double agent. Even in fantasy hockey I don't see trades that fall so hard on the one sided spectrum.

5.Pittsburgh Penguins(23-17-7) Some will raise an eyebrow due to how highly I have ranked the borderline playoff bound Pens on this list, but since the firing of Mike Johnston, there's been a profound change in how this team plays. Sid and Geno look more motivated out there which is an extremely scary proposition for the twenty nine other National Hockey League clubs.

6.Los Angeles Kings(30-15-3) In what many are calling, okay....(In what "I") am calling the worst professional sports division since the 2005-2006 Northwest division in the Association that saw the historically, to reference a great Los Angeles' athlete once saying"Horrawful" Denver Nuggets undeservingly squeak into the playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings are trouncing on the pathetic Pacific Division. A good team in a bad division or a bad team beating up on even worse opposition? The jury is out!

7.New York Rangers(26-17-5) Can a bunch of mediocre individuals form a great team? At first I didn't believe this but the Rangers are proving this theory correct.

8.St.Louis Blues(28-16-8) Vladimir Tarasenko the greatest St.Louis Blue since Hall of Famer and Saskatchewan product(had to throw in that plug) Bernie Federko? Not meant to slight Brett Hull but Tarasenko may actually accomplish something Brett Hull never could and that is lead the Missouri troopers to the Stanley Cup.

9.Calgary Flames(21-22-3) Just about everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the Calgary Flames this first half. The highly anticipated Dougie Hamilton acquisition hasn't met the billing yet but need not worry Cow town as the greatest player to wear #93 since Doug Gilmour in Sam Bennett has graced your presence and is delivering of late. Is he really the greatest #93 since you know who?? Maybe not, likely me talking out of my you know what but nobody every mistook for playing it safe when making prognostications.

10.New York Islanders(25-15-6) Gone are the days of the fifteen year contracts given out to AHL calibre goaltenders. The new upper management hierarchy has brought stability to Brooklyn(sounds weird right) and good goaltending being anchored by former Canadien Jaroslav Halak and getting timely contributions from once prodigy John Tavares. The vibe I'm getting from this team is an organization that nobody will want to meet in the playoffs.

11.Vancouver Canucks(20-18-11) For those that know me well, I speak in absolute statements essentially all the time. Two things you can take from this ranking and that's A) I clearly prematurely ripped the Pacific divison in the Kings synopsis and B) I hate the Canucks so it pains me to rank them this high.

12.Tampa Bay Lightning(26-18-4) The question on everybody's mind in the St.Pete area is will the Lightning trade beleaguered star, former Sarnia Sting standout Steven Stamkos? The defending Eastern conference champions have begun to surge after another slow start but the question is.....should there recent surge be attributed to the play of Stamkos??? Resounding no, send him to Toronto as it's very telling that he only has one destination on his mind. A Toronto boy who wants to lead the Leafs back to the promise land.

13.Minnesota Wild(23-17-8) As the great Gordon Bombay once eloquently scribed to Ducks standout Conway, "Charlie, when I talked to Coach Orion, I told him..... I told him that you were the real Minnesota Miracle man". This may of been applicable in 1996 but in 2016 the real Minnesota Miracle man is Mikko Koivu. Mikko "The REAL Minnesota Miracle man" Koivu drives this boat.

14.Colorado Avalanche(26-21-3) I'll say this about the Avalanche, the brand of hockey that coach Patrick Roy trots out on a nightly basis is a welcome addition for the league. He lets the kids play and players like Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon are excelling for that reason.

15.Carolina Hurricanes(22-20-8) Hanifin and Faulk the greatest defensive duo since the days of Pronger and MacInnis? I'll go a step further and label Noah and Justin the greatest American sporting duo since Lebron and D-Wade.... Am I lying? Yes, as I'm a hardcore Lebron fan but one thing is for certain, a foundation built around these two will eventually lead to this franchises second Stanley Cup.

16.Florida Panthers(28-15-5) A funny team indeed, a team consisting of a Fin with the last name of Barkov and a Canadian with the last name of Ekblad. The Swedish and Russian hockey federations fume daily over the envy of not having these two part of their programs.  Nationalities aside, Dale Tallon just like in Chicago has built a masterpiece the question however will they still have a show worth seeing on Broadway come mid June? 2016 likely not, but the 2017 Cup is the show Tallon expects to have a front row seat at.

17.Anaheim Ducks(21-18-7) How to diagnose the Anaheim Ducks? A case of "Idontknowhowtocoachilitis" has hampered Bruce Boudreau time and time again but the difference this time around is the uncurable disease has touched down on the players as the uber talented group has lost that mojo all together and I am adamant when I say that a new coach is needed to take Orange county over the hump once again. To Bob Murray: He ruined a Capitals team that should've dominated yearly(see success under Trotz), don't let him put the final nail in the coffin for this organization.

18.Montreal  Canadiens(24-20-4) Is this the same Canadiens group that blazed to a 9-1 start? Yes, I fully comprehend that losing Carey Price for a significant amount of time didn't do this group any justice, but this team can't score plain and simple. You know you're in trouble when...a player such as Brendan Gallagher who's role in junior was a glorified checking shut down player, particularly in his World Juniors experience is one of your most dependable scorers. To win, you need to put the puck in the back of the net. Simple concept.

19,Nashville Predators(22-18-8) Similarly to the Canadiens above, goal scoring has become problematic. Bringing in Ryan Johansen was a noble idea on behalf of General Manager David Poile as Johansen is someone I've fan boyed over going back to his days in Portland but the problem hasn't been totally solved. It could be worse Preds fans as reports have indicated that Poile offered Seth Jones up to the Edmonton Oilers for one of the leagues most overrated players, that being Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Count your blessings.

20.New Jersey Devils(25-19-5) I promoted the prospects of the Carolina Hurricanes defensive outlook earlier in this entry, but it may fail in comparison when describing the qualities of the New Jersey Devils backend. Damon Severson, Adam Larsson, Jon Merril, Erik Gelinas, the cupboards are completely full defensively, but for a third consecutive team write-up, they can stop all the goals they want, but who's expected to score? Joe Blandisi, Tuomo Ruutu? Jeepers! I cringe for the days in a few years when the Devils match up against the Hurricanes when we see a plethora of 0-0 gsmes followed by twenty round shootouts.

21.Arizona Coyotes(23-19-5) Fans are rightfully excited when dreaming of the connections young superstars Anthony Duclair and former London Knight and Tie's son Max Domi will conjur up but where will the connected flights be headed. Is this team staying in Glendale or will another destination such as Vegas or Seattle be privy to the growth of these two excitable commodities?

22.Winnipeg Jets(21-24-3) I'd like to spend this write up pertaining to the Jets discussing the value of Adam Lowry. Adam plays with an edge something he learned under the tutelage of Swift Current Broncos' bench boss Mark Lamb. Lowry needs improvement with the skill game it would most definitely be advisable for Adam to spend the summer working on his rock hard hands. If he gets this facet cleaned up, a superstar may be born.

23.Boston Bruins(25-17-5) Coming into the 2015-2016 campaign I'll be the first to admit I had the B's pegged to one of the league's worst teams. Man, was I wrong! Claude Julien deserves a lof of the credit as General Manager Don Sweeney is leading the Bruins through a transition period so it would've been no surprise if the city of Boston limped its way to a non playoff mark. I'm still not convinced the Bruins are locked into the playoffs but the emergence of Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes are allowing them to keep pace with a notoriously successful sports city.

24.Buffalo Sabres(19-25-4) Before the season began I made a bet with a good friend that enlisted that the Buffalo Sabres would finish ahead of the Montreal Canadiens in the standings. The caviot being that if both missed the playoffs the bet was void. I'm come to the realization that I misprognosticated the Sabres in the pre-season so my fingers are crossed that the Habs join them on the golf courses early. Josh Gorges does need some playing partners after all.

25.Edmonton Oilers(19-26-5) The record isn't vindictive of the struggles the Oilers have faced. It wouldn't surprise me that by the time the season ends if every marquee player this team has will have spent, to steal some baseball terminology, some time on the disabled list. The most glaring injury of course has been Connor McDavid. The prodigy affectionately known as "McJesus" has missed the last several months but is expected back shortly after the all-star break and this welcome news to an Oiler fan base that is desperately seeking stability.

26.Ottawa Senators(23-20-6) The Sens have "meh"written all over it. As a curling aficionado, I'll remark by saying that I'm hopeful that the upcoming Tim Horton's Brier provides more entertainment then the Senators have delivered thusfar. Ever since the loss of former captain Jason Spezza, they've coveted that number one center position that Kyle Turris currently occupying and from my viewpoint I don't consider Turris a # 1 on a playoff contender.

27.Philadelphia Flyers(20-17-8) As someone in myself who has a decent grasp on the junior hockey landscape I'll grant those Flyerm supporters that they have some nice defensive pieces that'll be arriving shortly in Brandon Wheat King Ivan Provorov, Calgary Hitmen Travis Sanheim, and rounding it off with Samuel Morin. No doubt the  future is bright but the present? I've seen better defensive play from teams in the ECHL than I  have with these current defensive stalwarts. I genuinely feel sorry for coach Dave Hakstol for the broken toys he has to work with,

28.San Jose Sharks(25-18-4) At 25-18-4, most will perceive the ranking of 28th laughable for thr San Jose Sharks. Record wise I agree, this team is nowhere close to deserving such a negative ranking but when you dig deeper like I have you'll come to understand there are major deficiencies. For those that believe Logan Couture as a "franchise player" aside from being delusional have peculiar hockey sense. That's the issue in Sharkland, a player who on most teams is a third line player is the prized possession in NorCal. That alone harkens little hope for this once proud, hold that thought, this never proud franchise.

29.Toronto Maple Leafs(17-20-9) Accumulating seventeen wins before February 1st in my eyes deserves Jack Adams recognition for Head Coach Mike Babcock. I kid of course with the Jack Adams banter but what Babcock has done in Toronto is creat accountability. Players that the media were to quick to dump on such as Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner have transitioned into reliable players who play in all situations. Gone are the days of players being guaranteed a spot due to the name on the back of their sweater. This mentality will only lead to positive results going forward.

30.Columbus Blue Jackets(17-27-5) Ridding themselves of their franchise forward at the expense of coach John Tortorella is just one of many reasons for the basement dwelling ranking of the Blue Jackets. Siding with a coach over a young up and coming player is ALWAYS a recipe for disaster. On the bright side, at least the Columbus sporting community can rest it's laurels on the always dominant Ohio St Buckeyes sports program.