As we move to a long weekend for those in the US, we get into this week's Friday Five where we'll look at players talking some smack to the TV networks covering them, we talk about some playoffs, and we head outside again.
1. Islanders Zenon Konopka told TSN's cameras the Isles aren't a doormat during the morning skate, then they had 6 goals put on them that night by Ottawa; including four-goals in seven minutes in the second. Whaaaa happen??
While Konopka does have a point that the Islanders really aren't as bad as their record details, I don't believe that they are past the doormat status just yet. They have a lot of great young talent, but still need a piece here or there to actually be consistently good and maybe actually surprise some people during the season. Yet, with a lack of solid goaltending and consistent offensive output; the Isles will still be looked down upon.
2. As we hit the half-way point, what teams could make a run at the playoffs and which teams could drop off??
In the Eastern Conference, I think that anywhere from 9th to 1st could shuffle until the end of the year, though beyond 10th will have a rough go about it. Out West, I'm not sure if the San Jose Sharks could come back, as they are 12th, but at the same time-- they could realize who they are and make a push for it. The same goes for the Los Angeles Kings, who are better than their record says. The West could be a better shootout coming down to the end, while the East will be three teams for the last two spots.
3. Rookies like James Reimer and Robin Lehner have started to be at the focal point getting some playing time and while they may be ready-- should teams worry about rushing such inexperienced players??
Especially with goalies, it's always rough to rush them to the NHL with little experience and then ride them for the long-term. In Reimer's case, especially, the media attention will only put more pressure on him the better that he does for the the Leafs. With Lehner, he's in a no-lose situation with how bad the Senators have been in net since their inception, so he could adapt with the team's struggles. The big thing is burnout with the young goalies and if they are overused, it could make it harder and harder for them to recover from their short-comings. However, if they get mentally tough-- they'll be able to bounce-back from the struggles.
4. This weekend is the fifth game for the nine outdoor games this season, as the Spokane Chiefs host the Kootenay Ice. Thoughts??
First, you should head over to T-Rawk and the Canadian vs. the Yanks blog for the preview and then review of the Rockstar Outdoor Classic. With this, we've hit the midway point of the outdoor games and it seems they've done a lot of great work in Spokane, but there are showers in the forecast. At the same time, it's a colder rain, which could be better than what happen in Pittsburgh with the warm weather and rain. Even with tickets available, it should be a great event.
5. With the horrific Guardian Project going on and being mocked harshly-- is there any mascot that could defeat these "guardians??"
Right off the bat, I know The Hurricane couldn't beat Stormy the Pig because....well, pigs aren't going to blow over that easily to wind. I also think that Blades and the unofficial Bruin could defeat The Bruin in a handicap match. That said, the only Guardian who could win right now is The Lightning destroying Thunderbug.
However, I can't wait until the North Star, the Nordique, the Whaler, the Scout, and the Rockie come back to take over the Guardians at the ultimate showdown at the ASG.
That's another week done and if you have suggestions for topics or whatever-- Scotty.Wazz@Gmail.com is where you can get a hold of me and suggest whatever. Enjoy your hockey weekend people.