New Jersey Devils Surprising 2015-16 Campaign

The 2015-16 New Jersey Devils team were projected to have one of the worst records on the NHL. As of February 21st, New Jersey has a winning record of 29-24-7 (65 points), and are 1 point shy of a Wild Card position.

The Devils acquired New Jersey raised, forward Kyle Palmieri from the Anaheim Ducks for two draft picks,  at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in Florida, on June 26th. Palmieri had career highs of 14 goals and 31 points in 71 games in the 2013-14 season, his third of four years in Anaheim. As of February 21st, in 60 games, Kyle already has career highs in goals, 22, and in points, 39. He has been a great addition for New Jersey, and will likely to resign with the team in the off-season, for his 3 year contract will end, making him a restricted free agent (RFA).

There are a lot of young, fresh bodies in the Devils locker room. A few of those young players are forwards Joseph Blandisi and Reid Boucher, and as well as defenders Damon Severson and Adam Larsson. Blandisi was called up from Albany in mid December, and in 21 games, Joseph has had 5 goals and 12 points. Boucher, on the other hand, in 18 games, has 4 goals and 9 points. On the blue line for New Jersey, Damon Severson has 12 assists and 13 points in 54 games. 2011 4th overall pick Adam Larsson has 11 assists and 13 points in 60 games.

Cory Schneider has been one of the hottest goalies in the league. As of February 21st, he is tied for first with St. Louis Blues net minder Brian Elliot, for Goals Against Average (GAA), with 2.06. He is 5th in the league for Save Percentage (SV%), with .928. Cory is also tied for 4th in the league with Shutouts with 4. If he keeps on doing his job, he can definitely be a Vezina Trophy candidate.

If New Jersey keeps on playing with there success, they can find themselves in a Wild Card spot, and possibly even a Divisional Playoff spot.

The next Great One?

Everyone has been wondering,”Who will be the next Wayne Gretzky?”, and I believe everyone’s questions will be answered within the next year or so. And the player I am talking about is 18 year old Canadian Native Connor McDavid. He has had unbelievable stats in the OHL with the Erie Otters for the past 3 years.

In his first season as an Otter (2012-2013) he played 63 games and had a total of 66 points (25 Goals and 41 Assists). That year, Connor was awarded the Rookie of the Year award.

In his next season (2013-2014) he played 56 games and an outstanding 99 points (28 Goals and 71 Assists)! Connor was awarded the William Hanley Trophy (OHL most Sportsmanlike player), the Bobby Smith Trophy (OHL Scholastic Player of the Year), and was named the CHL Scholastic Player of the Year.

The next season (2014-2015), McDavid’s season was shortened with a broken hand, but still managed to play 47 games, and an incredible 120 points (44 Goals and 76 Assists)! He was awarded again with the Bobby Smith award, and the Red Tilson Trophy (Most Outstanding Player). He was also named the CHL’s Top Prospect Award, and the CHL’s Best Player Award.

At this time, every hockey fan knew whoever team had the first pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, they would pick Connor McDavid. In June of 2015, the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers selected McDavid 1st Overall. The question is: With his incredible success in the OHL, will 18 year old Connor McDavid be the next Great One?

New Jersey Devils Future

The last three seasons for the New Jersey Devils have been a disaster. They have finished 20th or below in the League Standings. They have lost key players like Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. They have fired their head coach Peter DeBoer in December 2014 for not leading the team to W’s and playoff contention. Even though the franchise has been going through rough times, their future is getting brighter and brighter. They have hired 42 year old head coach John Hynes, and have also drafted center Paval Zacha. Better yet, they have a lot of young developing guys like Eric Gelinas, Damon Severson, Jon Merrill, Keith Kinkaid, and Reid Boucher. With veterans still playing well, like Andy Greene and Travis Zajac, as well as long time Devil Patrick Elias, everyone will fit a specific role for the developing team. My prediction is that the team will make the playoffs for the 2017-18 season, and will go far in the 2019-20 season.

Potential Rookies that Could Play For the Canadiens Next Season

Jacob De La Rose:
*LW, 6’3 and 20 years old.*
 Jacob was drafted in 2013, 34th overall. He played 33 regular season games in which he scored 4 goals and 2 assists, along with 12 playoff games with the Canadiens last season. It’s a safe bet that he’ll be on the 3rd or 4th lines this upcoming season. Because Montréal is one of the smallest teams in the NHL, they could use a big body that can bring some good two-way play. While he’s not the most fancy or unique player, he does have a good relationship with his coach, which can also be a factor.
Michael Mccarron:
*RW, 6’6 and 20 years old.*
Michael was also drafted in 2013, but went 25th overall. While he is not expected to become a star, Mccarron has great intensity and determination. He isn’t very fast, but plays with an edge and had 68 points in 56 games for the Oshawa Generals and London Knights (OHL). He won the memorial cup 2 months ago, and a silver medal in the IIHF World U18 Championship in 2013.
Jarred Tinordi:
*D, 6’6 and 23 years old.*
 Drafted 22nd overall in 2010, Jarred will hopefully be a 3rd pairing defenseman next year. Tinordi was moved between Montréal and Hamilton (AHL team) this season and played 13 games in total, and was a -5. He’s a solid defensive defenseman that doesn’t have much to his offensive game. There are also rumours of Alexei Emelin getting traded, so that could potentially open up a spot for Jarred Tinordi.

USA Suffers Disappointing Loss To Finland

        Team USA was shutout yet again today against Finland.  The final score was a huge 5-0 win by Finland to capture the bronze medal.  I thought the first period was quite exciting and showed value of an entertaining game including the penalty shot by Patrick Kane coming off of the play in which Kimmo Timonen (FIN) shot part of a broken stick at TJ Oshie while he was controlling the puck.  I found it quite surprising that Bylsma chose Kane to shoot rather than shootout hero TJ Oshie.  Kane had quite the attempt, getting Rask down low but was at too bad of an angle and couldn’t lift the puck and bury it in the net.  In the second period Finland scored a pair of goals early into the period and began to dominate.  USA took 12 penalty minutes which lead to some key powerplay time for Finland.  The third period lead to even more domination and USA just wanted the game to end.  “They played like they had something to win, and we just kind of shut it down. … It wasn’t a good effort by us.” – Zach Parise’s comments after the game.  Here are the stats for the game.

 

Shots On Goal

USA-27  FIN-29

 

Penalty Minutes

 

USA-12  FIN-4

 

Powerplay Goals

 

USA-0 FIN-2

 

Time On Powerplay

 

USA-4:00  FIN-9:30

 

        Teemu Selanne had a game to remember with 2 goals.  If he had gotten one more goal he would have tied for the most career goals by any hockey player in the Olympics with 25 goals.  Tuukka Rask also had a great game with 27 saves to record a shutout.  Finland has medals from the past 3 Olympic games with a bronze here in Sochi, a bronze in Vancouver and a silver in Torino.  Finland ultimately deserved the medal and had a great Olympics this year.  Is Bobby Ryan intense enough for Team USA now?  I think so.

Finland vs. USA Game Preview

Today we get to see the bronze medal match-up between Team USA and Team Finland.  Both teams were eliminated yesterday and will want to at least bring home the bronze for their countries.  For Finland, Tuukka Rask will be starting in-goal after being out for their game against Sweden with an illness.  For USA, Jonathan Quick will earn yet another start.  After the heartbreaking loss to Canada USA might be too distracted to focus on the game and may lose as a result.  That’s why if I were Dan Bylsma I’d be starting Ryan Miller, who is most likely in a better state than Quick.  Finland may also be shaken up from their loss to Sweden.  Rask however, wasn’t participating in that game and should play with his ordinary dominance.  A key to USA winning this game is for players who just haven’t been able to score like Patrick Kane to step up and contribute.  For Finland they must keep solid defense and learn to play the way Canada did to shutout the U.S. previously.  Another note is that this is Finland’s captain, Teemu Selanne’s last Olympic hockey game he will ever play in.  I’ll have a post with the scores and an analysis after the game.

Swedes Over Fins, Canada over USA

Today has been a great day for hockey.  Two huge games for a spot in a likely thrilling gold medal match on Sunday.  It all started off with Sweden vs. Finland.  Sweden has been dominant thus far in the tournament and placed first after the opening games and was rewarded with the top seed in the qualification rounds.  Sweden has faced injuries to many key players including the elected captain, Henrik Zetterberg (the replacement captain is Niklas Kronwall) but still has come through strong.  Finland on the other hand, was never seen as a winner of gold and weren’t even expected to make the semi-finals.  They upset a gold medal favorite in Russia and progressed further into the tourney.   This game was a hard-fought game with Olli Jokinen (FIN) scoring the first goal of the game.  Many Finnish fans believed this game was in the bag and that all they needed was a solid defensive effort.  They turned out to be wrong.  A little over five minutes after, Loui Eriksson (SWE) scored to tie this game up at one.  After another five minutes or so Sweden finds themselves to be on the power-play.  Erik Karlsson puts a one-timer and puts Sweden up 2-1 over Finland.  Sweden will now play in the gold medal game just as I predicted.

Later in the day another big match up between USA and Canada occurred.   USA came into the game having the most total goals by any individual country in this tournament and were the second seed after the beginning round.  USA has a very fast, physical, and skilled team to compete with.  They also have the tournaments leading scorer, Phil Kessel on their team.  Canada was the third seed in the beginning round.  They have been quite dominant but could have gotten a loss with their game against Latvia.  Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter have been leading the way for Canada into this game.  The game began with a scoreless first period with both teams having big scoring chances.  The teams returned for the second period and finally some scoring came through with Jamie Benn (CAN) tallying a goal to make it 1-0 Canada.  The third period began with USA trying to tie it up but they just couldn’t get it done even when starter Jonathan Quick was pulled for the extra skater.  In the end it was a very close game with USA only getting out-shot 37 to 31.  Many Americans are mourning the loss after failing to claim its revenge on Canada.  There will now be a Sweden vs. Canada match for the gold medal and a Finland vs. USA match for the bronze medal.  I’ll have updates on the scores of these games when they happen.

 

Predictions, Thoughts on Russia’s Upset & Other Matters in Sochi

        Sorry I haven’t been posting in a while, I’ve found myself watching much more Olympic sports than I ever have in the past but here’s a an update on what has happened in the past week for Men’s Ice Hockey.

 

Wednesday, February 12

 

Czech Republic 2 4 Sweden

 

Latvia 0 – 1 Switzerland

 

Thursday,  February 13

 

Finland 8 – 4 Austria

 

Russia 5 – 2 Slovenia

 

Slovakia 1 – 7 USA

 

Canada 3 – 1 Norway

 

Friday, February 14

 

Czech Republic 4 – 2 Latvia

 

Sweden 1 – 0 Switzerland

 

Canada 6 – 0 Austria

 

Norway 1 – 6 Finland

 

Saturday, February 15

 

Slovakia 1 – 3 Slovenia

 

USA 3 – 2 Russia

 

Switzerland 1 – 0 Czech Republic

 

Sweden 5 – 3 Latvia

 

Sunday, February 16

 

Austria 3 – 1 Norway

 

Russia 1 – 0 Slovakia

 

Slovenia 1 – 5 USA

 

Finland 1 – 2 Canada

 

Tuesday, February 18

 

Slovenia 4 – 0 Austria

 

Russia 4 – 0 Norway

 

Switzerland 1 – 3 Latvia

 

Czech Republic 5 – 3 Slovakia

 

Wednesday, February 19

 

Sweden 5 – 0 Slovenia

 

Finland 3 – 1 Russia

 

Canada 2 – 1 Latvia

 

USA 5 – 2 Czech Republic

 

Now after all of these games the semi-finals will be on tomorrow with a 2006 gold medal rematch with Sweden vs. Finland and a 2010 gold medal rematch with USA vs. Canada.  Both of these games are certainly going to be amazing and even if you’re only watching your home country’s game I’d suggest you should watch one of them.  The winner of these 2 games play each other for the gold medal.  Seems very interesting.  My predictions for the Sweden vs. Finland game is that Sweden advances to gold and for the USA vs. Canada game I think USA catches Canada by surprise and goes for gold.  Ultimately, these predictions leave me with a Sweden vs. USA gold medal game and I think USA captures gold.  USA has just been the team to beat in the Olympics so far by beating every opponent they face by 2 or more goals except the 3 -2 victory over Russia.  Speaking of Russia I really can’t believe that they were beat by Finland yesterday.  When they finally get to host the Winter Olympics their very strong offensively powered hockey team has just stumbled too many times.  Russia’s citizens were very upset about the loss after believing that they can get gold.  The Russian team played like it had no purpose and was beat for it.  They had finally woken up from it in the late third period but it was much too late for them to come back into the game.  The pressure from being on home soil really killed the Russians this year and cost them the ultimate prize, the gold medal.

The Hockey Scoop on Twitter

We have decided to expand this website to social media by making a twitter account. You can find the account which is @hockeyscoopblog. The account will tweet all of the news that isn’t featured on the site so you can instantly have updates. So if you have Twitter then make sure to follow the account for everything hockey. I will post all Olympic scores for Men’s Hockey when it begins.

Sochi Olympics Begin

The Sochi Olympics have officially begun. Men’s Ice Hockey hasn’t begun yet but will begin with a matchup of Team Latvia vs. Team Switzerland. Many players are sitting out with injuries including Steven Stamkos, Marian Gaborik, Mikko Koivu, and Valtteri Filppula. The games this year should be quite interesting with Team Russia on its home soil. Many believe its Canada’s year again this year for gold while some analysts are expecting Sweden, Finland, and Russia to get gold. I think Team USA may be the dark horse in this one to win gold medal. They have the best goaltending in the tournament and since the 2010 Olympics, the young players on that team have developed into stars like players such as Patrick Kane. They may not have the best offense and a rather young defense but they showed the world back in 1980 that they were good enough to do it all and they may just show the world again. The Olympics this year should be quite interesting to see who lands the gold. More updates to come as they happen.