Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Its That Time of Year

It is the middle of January. The All Star Break is about a week away and NHL teams are taking a look at their performance thus far. 
However many things are going on as the All Star Break approaches. Teams are not only looking where they have been but also where they need to go to get into the playoffs. PLAYOFFS?
The trade deadline is March 4th and teams will be looking to see if they will be buyers or sellers. What about the Rangers and Coyotes?
The Rangers will almost surely be buyers. Yes they have very little cap space but Glen Sather knows this team needs just that little something to bring the Blueshirts to the next level. After missing out on Mats Sundin, Sather will surely be looking to get someone else to bolster an offense which has sputtered throughout the season. Look for the Rangers to go after a scoring winger.
As for the Coyotes, it is tough to tell. As of right now, they are in the playoffs and are playing well. However, offense for them is a problem as they have only scored three goals in their last 4 games. Of course, financial problems will make it tough for Don Maloney to bring anyone in without giving up the same amount of salary while trading away young players and draft picks is certainly out of the question as the team is continuing to bolster their farm system that lost some names as Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker, and Viktor Tikhonov made it to the pros. 
However, this team will not sell at this deadline unless something cataclysmic happens between now and then. Whether they buy is up to the NHL at this point since they are in charge.
What players will be available at the deadline? Certainly players like Mike Comrie, Doug Weight, Keith Tkachuk, Martin St. Louis, Gary Roberts, and Martin Gerber will all be named considering their clubs are doing poorly this year. Is a blockbuster trade going to happen? Odds affirm that in the negative but you never know what is going to happen. Rumors about players such as Jason Spezza have been abound with teams interested in his services. 
As for tonight, points are beginning to become important. The New York Rangers are coming off a shutout win over the Ottawa Senators and are in the third game of a 5 game road trip. Whether you want to call this a road game is up to you as they travel the Nassau Colisseum to take on the Islanders.
Are the Islanders struggling? Yes. They are leading the John Tavares sweepstakes. However, anyone who has paid attention to this rivalry over the years, season records do not matter. The Islanders always come out hard and fast against the Rangers being a huge rivalry game. Is this a trap game? Absolutely. The Rangers cannot be looking to tougher road opponents. They need to focus on tonight's game and what they have to do to be successful. 
Broadway Blue finishes out their road trip in Chicago on Friday and then in Pittsburgh on Sunday. They head into the All Star Break by coming home to play the Anaheim Ducks.
The Coyotes begin a tough road trip of their own tonight as they visit the Minnesota Wild. While they did snap their losing streak to the Wild in the last game they played, the Coyotes cannot let that get to their heads. This is one of the teams they will be battling with the entire year for playoff position and this is the last head to head matchup of the season. 
The Coyotes road trip takes them on a Northwest Division swing as they visit Minnesota, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. They come home to play the Red Wings before heading into the All Star Break. 

No comments: