123 Street, NYC, US 0123456789 [email protected]


NHL resumes with search for answers

first_img6. Which sophomore will emerge as a star? In each of the last two seasons, a second-year player has eclipsed 100 points. Last year, it was Crosby who led the league in scoring. This year, keep an eye on Crosby’s teammate, Evgeni Malkin. He led all rookies with 85 points last season. 7. Will there be more penalty shots? In an effort to increase the opportunities for one of the most exciting plays in the sport, the NHL changed the rule to award a penalty shot if a player is fouled on any clear breakaway anywhere outside his defensive zone. Previously, penalty shots were given only for breakaways on the attacking side of the center line. 8. Can Andy Murray continue last season’s turnaround in St. Louis? Fired as Kings coach near the end of the 2005-06 season, Murray entered last season without a coaching job. Then the struggling Blues called 28 games in after firing Mike Kitchen. Off to a 7-17-4 start under Kitchen, St. Louis went 27-18-9 the rest of the way with Murray. That wasn’t enough to get the team into the playoffs, but a similar winning percentage over the whole season will do the trick this year. 9. Who is chasing history? Mike Modano is closing in on becoming the best of the U.S. The Dallas Stars center is seven points away from passing Phil Housley for most points scored by a player born in the United States (1,232 from 1982 to 2003). 10. Who starts off hot? For teams hoping to win the Stanley Cup – and nearly half the teams in the league have a shot – it’s a good idea to get off to a hot start. The last three Stanley Cup champions have a combined October record of 23-2-5. The last 10 champions are 78-17-14. Check the standings at the end of the month to see who leads and you might have the next winner. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! 1. Can Sidney Crosby get even better? As a 19-year-old last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins center drew comparisons to Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Gordie Howe. He led the NHL with 120 points (36 goals, 84 assists). He helped the Penguins improve from 22-46-14 and last place in the Atlantic Division in his rookie year to 47-24-11 and second place last season. Now he’s the reason many are picking Pittsburgh as the destination for the Stanley Cup. 2. What will become of the Nashville Predators with the team being sold? The Predators have had a dramatic few months. Jim Balsillie, a Canadian billionaire, agreed to buy the Predators from owner Craig Leipold in May. A week later, he started negotiating a lease to bringing the team to Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, and began accepting deposits for season tickets and suits. This angered the NHL and Leipold, who backed out of the sale. Then it looked like Leipold would sell the team to William Del Biaggio, a California businessman who was interested in moving the team to Kansas City. Instead, Leipold agreed in August to sell the team to an eight-man group of Nashville businessmen who plan to keep the team in the city. That’s the good news for Nashville. The bad news is, in preparation for the sale, Leipold started shedding salary on a team that had tied for the third-best regular-season record last season. The Predators traded captain Kimmo Timonen and goalie Tomas Vokoun, as well as allowing free agent Paul Kariya to leave for St. Louis. 3. Is this the end for Peter Forsberg? The injury-prone center is still recovering from offseason surgery on his ankle. He’s an unrestricted free agent, after finishing up last season in Nashville, but hasn’t signed with a team as the season begins. If he feels he is in condition to play during the season, he could join a team at a reduced price. Though he is 34 years old, several teams would have interest in a player who has scored 871 points over 11 seasons and helped lead the Colorado Avalanche to two Stanley Cups. His former teams, the Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers, are possibilities. 4. Is this finally the year Ottawa takes it all? The Senators have been one of the best teams over the last decade, making the playoffs the past 10 seasons. They’ve finished with more than 100 points in six of the last eight years, including leading the league in 2002-03. They were many people’s preseason pick to win the Stanley Cup entering the 2005-06 season, but came up short. Last year, the Senators advanced to their first Finals, only to lose four in a row to the Ducks after taking the first game. In the offseason, General Manager John Muckler was fired. Head coach Bryan Murray was promoted to GM, and assistant coach John Paddock was named head coach. Ottawa enters this season with one of the best scoring trios in the league in Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza. But the three might not play together this year as Paddock has assigned Alfredsson to strengthen the second line. The defense was third-best in the Eastern Conference last season and has a Norris Trophy candidate in Anton Volchenkov. 5. Will this summer’s free agent splurge boost the Rangers? It was clear after the team was ousted by Buffalo in the second round of the playoffs that an infusion of offense was needed. So General Manager Glen Sather went out and signed not just one but two of the best free agent centers, spending a combined $86.75 million for Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. Drury played a part in the Rangers’ demise last season, scoring the tying goal with less than eight seconds left in Game 5 for the turning point in the Buffalo series. If you can’t beat him, get him to join you. The additions of Drury and Gomez could help star winger Jaromir Jagr have his best season yet. Now it’s up to the defense to show the Rangers can be Stanley Cup contenders. By Matthew Kredell STAFF WRITER The Kings and Ducks got the NHL season underway over the weekend with a split of two games in London. The rest of the teams will start their seasons over the next few days, with four games played today. Here’s a look at 10 storylines to watch as the NHL season begins: last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Comments