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***2014-2015 NHL Regular Season Discussion Thread ***

Originally posted by jrg:
Shattenkirk, Oshie, and Backes

I don't think Team USA has enough offensive firepower to medal.
Originally posted by SunDevilNiner79:
Originally posted by SunDevilNiner79:
Prediction of US Roster for Sochi:

Goalies
Ryan Miller - Starter (I think you give the job to the guy with experience, and he has been playing well)
Jonathan Quick - Back up (Yes he typically sucks at the start of the season, but by mid season he will be playing great and he has proven to be clutch goalie in Stanley Cup Finals)
Jimmy Howard - Has been just as good as Quick, but Quick has proven to be more clutch

Defenseman
Keith Yandle - Ryan Suter
Paul Martin - Justin Faulk
Jack Johnson - Kevin Shattenkirk
Reserve: Seth Jones

PP defenseman (Yandle - Suter; Shattenkirk - Martin). PK Defenseman (Yandle-Suter; Martin - Johnson)

Forwards
Parise - Pavelski - Kane
Dustin Brown - Kesler - Kessel
Pacioretty - Backes - Okposo
Callahan - Stepan - Bobby Ryan
Reserves: Statsny

PK :(Brown-Kesler; Callahan-Stepan)
PP: (Parise-Pavelski-Kane; Pacioretty - Kesler - Kessel)

Top line makes a lot of sense, our best offensive players at each spot together. 2nd Line, pair Brown and Kesler together to make for a real nasty line and toss in Kessel for a speedy goal scorer. 3rd line, Pacioretty is a top 5 US offensive talent, Backes is the power forward and we need a big hitter, and Okposo is under rated, he has excellent speed that will come in handy on Olympic ice. 4th line, Callahan and Stepan are both reliable defensive capable players that can also score goals. We need some PKers (probably Kesler-Brown and Stepan-Callahan). Bobby Ryan is a wild card goal scorer.

I like Statsny as the reserve based on experience in Olympics.

hmmm...updated the roster

Forwards
Parise - Pavelski - Kane
van Riemsdyk - Kesler - Kessel
Backes - Oshie - Bobby Ryan
Justin Williams - Stepan - Okposo
Sub forward: Pacciorety

I think Oshie - Backes would be a great pair to have on a line based on familiarity, and both are big reasons the Blues have been playing great. van Reimsdyk is having a great year, and again you have the already built in familiarity with Kessel.

For the 4th line I added Okposo and Williams as speed grit players, there are players that bring more offense but for a 4th line your going to want hits and defensive play. Stepan is big for PK. He is one of the best two-way forwards the USA has.

USA lacks a true #1 Center for Olympic scale of hockey, otherwise their forwards are as deep as anyone. Sure other teams groupings may put up more points in the NHL, but as a team, the USA forward group is deceptively good. Its not about the best players, its about the best team, and the USA boasts a very deep collection of speedy defensive 2-way Forwards and has developed some great scoring wings (Kessel, Kane, Parise).

Defense
Ryan Suter -Keith Yandle
Paul Martin- Justin Faulk
Shattenkirk- McDonagh
Sub: Seth Jones

Byfuglien is just too much of a defensive liability and skating too suspect for the Olympics. Suter is clearly the best USA defenseman, while Yandle and Shattenkirk are the best offensive D-man and both fantastic skaters. Paul Martin adds some needed veteran experience and is still one of the best skaters on D. For the last 3 years, McDonagh has been one of the league's best rising stars. Faulk and Seth Jones are two other big rising stars for USA defense. For 2018, USA D will be the best in the world (McDonagh, Jones, Faulk, Yandle, Suter, Fowler, Leddy, Shattenkirk). Even this year its among the top 3 (Canada and Sweden the other 2).

Goalies
Ryan Miller - Starter
Jimmy Howard - Backup
Ben Bishop

Quick is a wildcard. If he bounces back strong, he could be considered. Ryan Miller is a lock and in my opinion should be the starter, he looks excellent despite the awful team. Meanwhile its Ben Bishop thats been stat wise the best, at 6-7 he is quite the goalie specimen. But he melted down in the last international competition and frankly I don't trust him. He lacks quickness which IMO is more of a required skill set on the wider Olympic ice

Wow just realized made up a typo in my predictions, Justin Williams shoud be Dustin Brown.

Out of the forwards I was right on all but 2, Stastny and Callahan replaced Okposo and Bobby Ryan.

On D I got 2 wrong as well, Seth Jones and Keith Yandle. Instead they are taking Cam Fowler, Brooks Orpik and John Carlson.

On Goalie I got 1 wrong, they are taking Quick instead of Bishop.
Team USA was also wise not to select Jack Johnson on D. He can provide occasional offense, but just hasn't developed an intelligent defensive game.
Kings
Originally posted by SoCal9er:
I don't think Team USA has enough offensive firepower to medal.

I think we have 2 lines that can score (Pavelski-Kane-Parise) and (Kessell - Kesler - van Reimsdyk).

We will also have Oshie - Backes on a line and they are doing really well on offense this year and carry with them prior chemistry with each other. My guess is Pacioretty gets paired with them to add some goal scoring, he is a 30-goal type player. Thats then a line of 2 30-goal scorers with Oshie the playmaker.

And then the Rangers duo of Stepan - Callahan pairing up with Dustin Brown.

I think its pretty clear Team USA wanted to field as aggressive and intense team as possible.

The only team with better offense, other than Canada, is maybe Sweden.
Went to the winter classic yesterday. experience of a lifetime. 105K attendance, 13 degrees F and 60+K of those fans wore blue and white. awesome
Originally posted by jrg:
Kings

lol...this dude

28-7-5

BLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUES!!!




Just beat Chicago too (3-0 vs. them on the year)
With a 6-2 win tonight against Columbus, the Blues have their best record in franchise history at the midway point of a season (29-7-5 - 63 points).#stlblues



[ Edited by jrg on Jan 5, 2014 at 8:43 AM ]
Oilers
canada just named their olympic team

goalies: roberto luongo, carey price, mike smith

d-men: jay bouwmeester, drew doughty, dan hamhuis, duncan keith, alex pietrangelo, pk subban, mark edward-vlasic, shea webber

forwards: jamie benn, patrice bergeron, jeff carter, sidney crosby, matt duchene, ryan getzlaf, chris kunitz, patrick marleau, rick nash, corey perry, patrick sharp, steve stamkos, john tavares, jonathan toews
Originally posted by crabman82:
canada just named their olympic team

goalies: roberto luongo, carey price, mike smith

d-men: jay bouwmeester, drew doughty, dan hamhuis, duncan keith, alex pietrangelo, pk subban, mark edward-vlasic, shea webber

forwards: jamie benn, patrice bergeron, jeff carter, sidney crosby, matt duchene, ryan getzlaf, chris kunitz, patrick marleau, rick nash, corey perry, patrick sharp, steve stamkos, john tavares, jonathan toews

I agree on no Joe Thornton, there are just too many other good center choices. No Logan Couture either. I think its just due to their positions.

Marleau makes it because he is a wing, not necessarily a better player.

LWs: Marleau, Benn, Kunitz, Sharp
C: Crosby, Bergeron, Getzlaf, Duchene, Stamkos, Toews, Tavarres
RWs: Perry, Carter, Nash

My guess on lines:
Kunitz - Crosby - Nash
Marleau - Getzlaf - Perry
Sharp - Toews - Stamkos
Benn - Bergeron - Tavarres

extras: Duchene, Carter
Originally posted by jrg:
Oilers

The Blues are the hottest team, and you could make a good case that they are the best, period

The St. Louis Blues are the NHL's hottest team, and right now you could make a good case that they are the league's best, period. They've won five straight and collected 15 points over their last eight games. And as we've come to expect, they're doing it with defense, giving up 2.27 goals per game, the third-best mark in the league. They give up fewer shots than any team outside of New Jersey, and they have received dependable goaltending from the Jaroslav Halak–Brian Elliott combo.

In a typical season, this would be the part of our St. Louis Blues summary when we'd point out that all that defense is compensating for a lack of scoring. After all, the Blues have only finished in the top 10 in goals per game once since the 2005 lockout (they were 10th in 2010-11). But that caveat doesn't apply this year; the Blues are scoring 3.56 goals per game, good for second-best in the league. They lead the league in shooting percentageby a wide margin, and their power play is top five. If anything, their offense has been even better than their defense. Add it all up, and you've got a team whose plus-55 goal differential leads the league by 12 over second-place Chicago, with no other team even cracking the plus-40 mark. The Blues have padded those numbers in January with a pair of blowout home wins, blanking the Kings 5-0 on Thursday and following that up with a 6-2 stomping of the Blue Jackets on Saturday. They were kind enough to spot Columbus a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes in that one, before pulling away in the second period on the way to scoring six unanswered. Patrik Berglund had a pair of goals, and Vladimir Sobotka added a goal and an assist.

Despite the hot streak, the Blues are still just tied for third overall, four points back of the Hawks and Ducks. But they have four games in hand on Chicago and three on Anaheim, and the Blues get the woeful Flames and Oilers in their next two matchups. And while leading scorer Alexander Steen remains out with a concussion, they did get David Backes and Jordan Leopold back in the lineup over the weekend.

So are the Blues the league's best team right now? Maybe, though there's some evidence that they've also benefitted from above-average luck. They lead the league in PDO byalmost a full point, powered largely by that 12-plus percentage team shooting that's likely to drop as the season continues. And while the team's overall goaltending numbers have been decent, that's been driven largely by Elliott; Halak's .907 save percentage ranks him outside the NHL's top 30.

Still, even if their luck starts to even out, the Blues are still going to be very good. And if they don't think their goaltending is championship-caliber, well, let's just say there are options available. It feels wrong to anoint anyone else in the West as the Stanley Cup favorite as long as the defending champs are still on top of the conference, but the Blues may not give us much choice.



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