Guestimating Divisional Rivals

MONTREAL- APRIL 10: Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Montreal Canadiens stops the puck on a wrap around attempyt by Mikhail Grabovski #84 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the NHL game on April 10, 2010 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Maple Leafs the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Over at MLHS, Michael Stephens makes the point that although the Leafs played relatively well against divisional rivals last season, it's going to be tough to make up any ground on them in order to squeak into the playoffs next year. He has a prognosis of how strong the other teams are going into next season:

Boston Bruins
Leafs record against in 2010-2011: 4 – 2 – 0; 8 points
Major Additions: Benoit Pouliot, Joe Corvo
Major Subtractions: Tomas Kaberle, Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder
Trending: Downward (I mean, c’mon… does anyone really think they’ll repeat?)

Buffalo Sabres
Leafs record against in 2010-2011: 3 – 2 – 1; 7 points
Major Additions: Ville Leino, Ales Kotalik (in terms of salary), Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff,
Major Subtractions: Tim Connolly, Rob Niedermayer, Steve Montador
Trending: Upward, ever upward.

Montreal Canadiens
Leafs record against in 2010-2011: 3 – 3 – 0; 6 points
Major Additions: Erik Cole, Alexei Yemelin, Peter Budaj
Major Subtractions: Benoit Pouliot, Roman Hamrlik, James Wisniewski, Brent Sopel, Alex Auld
Trending: Downwards

Ottawa Senators
Leafs record against in 2010-2011: 3 – 2 – 1; 7 points
Major Additions: Alex Auld, Nikita Filatov, Stefan Da Costa, Zenon Konopka
Major Subtractions: Cory Clouston, Pascal Leclaire
Trending: Downwards

PPP and I discussed this the other day. It's going to be tough to do much better than we already did last year against our divisional rivals, and we could be looking at another terrible finish if Reimer collapses. Eek.

Read on for more, after the jump.

The Hansons could score
Good article on how the designated good is a relatively modern conception. From Tyler Dellow at mc79hockey.

The biggest issue facing the Leafs heading into camp
My own two cents? Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending. Michael Langlois' latest post looks back at his last week's worth of posts.

Verification line, shallow nets ideas that make sense
Well, I don't mind the idea of a verification line, I guess. From E.J. Hradek at NHL.com.

A variety of tie-breaking formats examined at RDO camp
Shoot me when these ideas are put in place. Bring back tie games. From Adam Kimelman at NHL.com. Also, check out James Mirtle's take on some of these proposed changes.

Are We Seeing The Dawn Of A New Era in Toronto Sports?
OK, so this is only quasi-hockey-related, but that's enough for a day like today. From @LeafErikson at Leafs Nation Online.

Experiments look to restore power to PP units
Personally, I'm tired of having games decided by special teams. I'd like the NHL to work more on 5-on-5 play. Get rid of the trapezoid (I'm sick of the dump-and-chase), reduce the size of goaltenders' pads again, whatever. In short, I'm not a fan of this article's proposed changes. By Dan Rosen at NHL.com.

Canucks fans show their support at Rypien memorial
The tributes flow in as ceremony to commemorate fallen NHLer begins in Vancouver. From Matthew Sekeres at the Globe.

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