OUT OF THE GATES: December to remember

When the 2009-10 schedule was released, this stretch leading up to the holiday break stuck out to me as a time where the Penguins would prove themselves.

They haven’t disappointed.

After dropping back to back home games against Chicago and Carolina, the Penguins have strung together five straight wins. Most recently they took care of Philadelphia — which is always difficult given the rivalry — in a home and home series and then traveled to Buffalo and won in a shootout, 2-1.

In one week the Penguins have proven they are every bit as good as last year, if not better. And with games against New Jersey tonight and Ottawa on Wednesday, the Penguins can enter the three-day holiday break playing their strongest hockey of the year.

What’s scary is Pittsburgh has shown they still have a lot of improving to do.

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An Early Look at the 2010 Winter Olympics

As the Summer Olympics come to a close this weekend, the spotlight shifts to Vancouver in 2010 for the Winter Games.  This means only one thing: the best hockey on an international stage.  Players playing for pride and for their home country.  An opportunity for players who may never reach the Stanley Cup Finals to play for possibly the greatest championship on the planet.  An opportunity for players who cannot reach the NHL to showcase their skills in front of the world.  The Winter Olympics highlight some of the greatest team-driven hockey we can ever witness, creating moments like Gretzky’s pass to Lemieux for the game-winning goal in the 1987 Canada Cup, which is considered one of the greatest moments in hockey history.  The greatest players in the world playing on the same team, and even on the same line.  These are the games that every hockey fan hopes to see.

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Ranking the Northwest Division: Vancouver

Vancouver
Vancouver

Today I will begin previewing and analyzing my second division of the six total divisions in the NHL, the Northwest Division. I have to be honest in saying that I am not nearly as familiar with the Western Conference teams as I am with the Eastern Conference. Nevertheless, I will do my best to give my idea of the team and how it will fair in 2008-2009.

So I start with the Vancouver Canucks, who finished last in the division. Canucks’ fans can take pride in the fact that they were the best, last-place team in the NHL last season. With 88 points, Vancouver finished tied for ninth-pace in the West, three points out of a playoff spot.

Vancouver was active during free agency, and also retained quite a bit of talent as well. In the Northwest, all is up in the air this year. It’s nearly impossible to predict how this division will unfold in the upcoming season.

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