Hot Takes – Nov. 5th, 2018

There is a Deep Blue Sea 2?!?  What was the need for a 2nd one?!  When people used to bitch about how Hollywood had no original idea’s left, I kind of rolled my eyes.  But when Deep Blue Sea gets a sequel…that’s where I draw the line!  I went and saw that movie twice in the theatre.  Once was my buddy going on a bit of a blind date with this girl and I tagged along because I knew both of them, the other was…I really can’t remember, but I know I saw it twice.  I’m glad LL Cool J made it out alive, but it was pretty weird that he was the chef and the comic relief guy, yet lived.  At the start of the movie I would have guessed Sam Jackson would have mother fuckered his way to the end of it.  Another movie I remember going to was a really bad Schwarzenegger movie with Sarah Watts not long after Deep Blue Sea came out, and making out with her through the whole thing as some poor schmuck watching the show by himself was sitting like two seats away.  Ahhhh youth, where you think making out during a movie is something you should do with a date.  Only thing cooler than me that night was the Tommy Hilfiger khaki’s I was likely rocking.  This trip down memory lane is brought to you by Tahiti Treat, and by Bonkers (the candy, not the awful cartoon with the dumb cat).  Tune in next time for another episode of Soups on High School, onto hockey.

 

John Stevens is out as Kings coach, and that was so badly needed.  I think we all agree that it was his fault he has the oldest team in the league, the slowest team in the league, the biggest cap mess in the league, and that his elite goaltender has been hurt all season.  Good riddance John Stevens you cancer, and Pacific division you better get ready for the ambush the Kings are about to embark on now that they’ll have a coach in Willie Desjardins who can fix their speed, age, and goaltenders meniscus.  Hope you enjoy the new contract Drew Doughty…

 

Big win for the Leafs in Pittsburgh Saturday night, and I felt as though they really needed it.  On one hand, I feel as though with Mike Babcock behind the bench this team will never really be in trouble during the regular season.  On the other hand, as it stands right now the John Tavares “trade” is a one for five deal that the Leafs are losing badly.  Tavares in, Matthews, Nylander, Bozak, JVR and Komarov out.  I worry that things could go sideways here, and it really wouldn’t be anyone’s fault with Nylander holding out and now the Matthews injury, but I can already see the Toronto media turning on them a bit.  That’s not good, because the pressure is so ridiculous with this squad that I worry it could crush their season.  Again, shows you how stupid the media are collectively.  A month ago I’m bitching because they’re overrating this team so badly, now I’m bitching because you can see it coming that they’re going to now underrate them pretty badly.  Leafs fans, don’t get obsessed with where your team may finish in the standings.  The media will, but you shouldn’t.  Just worry about the Nylander thing coming to a head and Matthews getting healthy.

 

Speaking of the Nylander thing coming to a head, I feel as though he’s getting dealt.  Just seems as though both sides are dug in.  He is worried about getting dealt down the road, and they’re worried about getting him on a deal where they can deal him down the road, so he’s going to get dealt by December 1st.  Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday that the Canes would be “all in” on him.  So what does that mean?  Pesce?  I think Pesce would be for sure, and that would be a hell of a get for the Leafs, a perfect fit with Morgan Rielly giving them a very legitimate top pair.  But could they get more?  What would it take to get Pesce AND Necas?  That might be the move I’d be looking to make if I were Kyle Dubas.  Get your D-man but while you’re doing it get your replacement for Nylander as well.  Necas is a very similar player to Nylander.  I highly doubt the Canes would move him, but when it’s reported that you would be “all in” on a player, that sounds to me like they’d be willing to overpay.  I’m not saying they’d do Pesce and Necas for Nylander only, but perhaps for Nylander and Dermott?  Or Sandin?  I’d probably do Sandin over Dermott because I’m sure the plan is to have Dermott on their 2nd pair next season with Gardiner almost certainly gone as a UFA.  Something to think about anyway.  I have a lot of faith Kyle Dubas will do the best possible move he can here, but it does feel like he’s lost a lot of leverage throughout this process.

 

So I went off about this on Twitter last night and I’ll do it again here.

When will the media start speaking up about this absolute trash?!  And I know that it is the league, it’s not the refs, but it still needs to be ripped to FUCKING SHREDS and the media won’t acknowledge it.  Teams couldn’t be tighter then they are right now, so the refs are deciding a shit ton of games with their horse shit approach of managing games rather than officiating them.  Just a coincidence that teams get the same amount of PP’s most nights is it?  Just a coincidence that we hardly ever see 5 on 3’s is it?  Just a coincidence that when we do see 5 on 3’s that both teams will receive them in the same game is it?  And as I’ve said recently when I’ve bitched non stop about this, I’m not asking that everything gets called, just a standard be set in the games they STICK TO IT.  And how about we don’t put the whistle’s away until about 1:30 left in the third rather then 9:59?  Man, it just couldn’t be any bigger bull shit than it is and what’ll eventually happen is that the majority of the league is going to catch on that the strategy needs to be just do as much shit as you possibly can and challenge the refs to call everything.  And guess what’ll happen?  They won’t.  In my opinion you already see some teams doing this, like the Bruins.  Probably wouldn’t work against the veteran teams who have “earned the calls”, but against most teams it sure would.

 

Ok, let’s get to the Oilers, who have now gone 8-4-1 on the year, 8-2-1 in their last eleven.  The truth is that the last two loses they had, both should have been wins.  Cam Talbot had a bad night against the Pens, and then the special teams were disgusting against Minny.  Outplayed both teams, both should have been wins.  So as good as 8-2-1 looks, 10-1-0 would look even sexier!

 

What’s for real here?  Koskinen?  Chiasson?  The logical observer in me suggests this can’t continue.  If Koskinen or Chiasson are doing this with another team, I know for me I’d be saying “well that won’t keep up, they’re frauds right now.”  Having said that…I know what I’m seeing.  And what I’m seeing is two players who look legitimate in their play.  Nothing is cheap with either of these two.  With Koskinen, this isn’t exactly out of nowhere.  This is exactly why Chiarelli gave him that deal.  He rolled the dice that Koskinen could be the calibre of a starting goaltender and through three starts that’s exactly what he is.  And the team looks more confident with him in net at the moment.

 

I don’t like McLellan going with Talbot tonight.  It’s not because I’ve instantly given up on Talbot at all, I actually think we’re going to see his play shoot up because of the extra rest he’ll now receive, obviously the knowledge that he is now being pushed to up his game, but also the team pressure that will be taken off him.  And it actually isn’t a belief of needing to ride the hot hand.  The reason I don’t like it is because the Caps just saw Talbot who shut them down.  You give them Koskinen who teams still don’t have much film on, and a different look between the pipes then what they just saw.  Just my opinion, but in fairness maybe they know something I don’t?  MAYBE the thought is that you save Koskinen for the tougher team?  Because the Caps have been scuffling.  Lost three of four, but more so they only have one regulation win in their last nine (3-4-2 in that time).  And Talbot does have a .924 SV% in eight career games vs the Caps.  Again though, I personally like the idea of giving a team a different look.

 

Back to Chiasson.  He’s a guy who when Calgary signed him I was pissed about the Oilers missing on.  I liked him a lot just because of the size and speed.  Not that he’s a great skater, but for a 6’4 guy he can go pretty good.  I honestly didn’t know his shot was THIS good, but that’s why I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t legit?  When has Chiasson got to consistently play with a guy like Draisaitl before?  Maybe he has, but I’ve always known him as a 3rd or 4th line guy.  He does everything right out there, and while I realize that he is a streaky scorer, all he has to do playing with Draisaitl or McDavid is work hard and get open.  And it’s not like we haven’t seen this script before.  Pascal Dupuis bounced around the league and was a guy who had all the tools, finally started putting it together in Pittsburgh at age 30.  We just saw it with Patty Maroon two years ago, he was 28.  Should we be so shocked that a 27 year old with all the tools is emerging after given a chance to play with a high end centre?  We all know the way he’s scoring won’t keep up.  Even for the best snipers they can keep up THIS level of production.  But because he’s become such a solid all around winger, I do believe that he’s found a home in the Oilers top six.

 

If both Chiasson and Koskinen are legitimate, and the team continues to stay healthy, they’ll be a playoff team.  It’s as simple as that.  I mean, they don’t even have the special teams going good yet!  And you can see the confidence of the team has shot through the roof.  Since the Pittsburgh game, they haven’t been leaning badly on 97 either.  It’s crazy though that as good as they’ve played, you still see so many things that they’re still in the process of cleaning up.  The puck moving from the back end is improving, but still has so much more room to get better.  There were plays in the first last night by both Klefbom and Larsson where it was old habits.  Klefbom very early in the game ripped one along the boards from behind the net to Caggiula that caused a turnover when he had a lot of time to skate it and set it up.  After a great heads up play by Puljujarvi to skate it back and keep possession rather than dump it in while they were changing, Larsson fresh off the bench took the puck, skated it to the redline and ripped it into the Detroit zone.  No need for that.  There was zero pressure, just skate it back into your own zone, wait for the change, and break it out.  It’s coming though.  And while I hammered on McLellan early on in the season, maybe he had made the adjustments and the players were just taking a while to get that shit out of their heads?  Let’s hope we just see more and more of a team trusting their skill and being better game managers.  By the way, seriously that was a great decision by Puljujarvi.  The big knock with him is hockey sense and yet if you’d never seen him play and watched that Detroit game Saturday you would have said “wow that Puljujarvi kid is so smart out there, made a lot of very heady plays”.  This whole team man, it’s insane what a turnaround it’s been.  3rd in the West in points percentage, tied for 4th overall, and we all know the schedule they’ve had work with that let up for a bit but toughens back up HARD tonight and tomorrow facing the East finalists back to back.

 

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Soups Rankings: November 1st, 2018

EDIT: After giving it thought, while the initial idea was to put a bow on the previous month with these, probably makes more sense to title them according to where we are now.  Hence the date change in case ANYONE cares which I’m sure you don’t.

Uhhhhhhh, power rankings.  I’m not sure that there is anything more ridiculous than power rankings.  In theory, they should be great.  But in reality, nobody seems to do them right.  You’ll see major websites have power rankings done weekly, and essentially they just look at what a team did during the week.  WHAT?!?  So if you beat up on Arizona, Detroit and Ottawa one week you’re a good team?!?  Shut up.  So I decided to come up with my own.  Full disclosure, a lot of this is just “feel”.  Analytics fans won’t like reading that and probably have already stopped reading.  I definitely take them into consideration, as I will circumstances, strength of schedule, expectations, etc.  I’m not going to just randomly throw some team getting lucky up at the top, and I’m not going to overly punish a good team who I really like just because they aren’t going good.  The big question I’m asking myself is after each month “who are the teams I like best to win the Cup?”  So with this being said, here we go.

 

31. Detroit – It’s bad, and I’m not sure if it’s going to get better anytime soon.  The ideal season will be winning the top pick to get Jack Hughes, and Steve Yzerman stepping in as the new GM in the spring.

 

30. NY Rangers – Similar to the Wings, though neither Jeff Gorton or David Quinn are going to go anywhere.

 

29. Los Angeles – It’s really bad.  I knew it was bad heading into this season, but it’s worse than I thought.  And now Quick is likely done for the year.  Drew Doughty, enjoy that new contract brotha…

 

28. Anaheim – Their record looks WAY better than the way they’ve played.  I can’t believe how awful they’ve been to this point.  Lots of time to turn it around, and I believe they have the talent to do so, but so far I badly regret being higher on them then most.

 

27. Arizona – Some impressive wins on paper of late over Vancouver, Tampa, and Ottawa.  The former two were on the 2nd half of back to backs and none of the wins were while facing a starting goaltender.  I’m still not much of a believer but at least they’re going good lately.

 

26. Ottawa – Pretty much how I felt they’d start, isn’t helping that Brady Tkachuk is out.  If they can stick around .500 until he gets back, I believe they can stay in the race.

 

25. Vegas – Watching them in a few games thus far, they don’t look anywhere near what they did and teams appear ready to play in Vegas this season.  And to top it off, they probably still have a ton of confidence thanks to last years run, what will they look like if that goes?!  Worst PDO in the league, but can’t help but wonder if that’s just balancing out what they did last season?

 

24. Philadelphia – Don’t fire Dave Hakstol when your goaltending is this horrific.  I really don’t know what Ron Hextall is going to do about this.  Is there anyone he can trade for now that Jonathan Quick is likely done for the year?  And that was probably a long shot to begin with.  It’s not pretty.

 

23. Chicago – Hawks are much better than I thought they’d be to this point, but it’s fools gold.  Their wins?  Ottawa on the road in OT, St. Louis on the road in OT, St. Louis again at home in OT, Columbus on the road (the one quality win), and Anaheim at home.  5 of the 6 vs teams I personally have 21 or lower.  3 in OT.  It’s fools gold, they aren’t that good.  Now that I’ve said this, they’ll kick the shit out of the Oilers tonight, go put money on it.

 

22. NY Islanders – No Tavares, no problem?!  Something to know though, their PDO is nearly 106, best in the league.  So it’s highly unlikely they keep it up.

 

21. Buffalo – So far so good!  Bad loss to Calgary Tuesday, can’t let that happen when they’re off a back to back and you’re up 1-0 late, but like the Oilers if you had told me the Sabres would be 6-4-2 right now I would have said that’s a great start for them!  Remember with teams like the Sabres and Oilers, their winning record at this point is much more of a massive deal than others because of the confidence both lack.

 

20. St. Louis – Another team with absolutely horrific goaltending.  If they get it fixed, they’ll be fine.  Here’s the thing to remember with their bad goaltending though: Jake Allen can get just as hot as he can be awful.  The guy is seemingly unstable between the ears, but when he’s hot he is terrific.

 

19. Vancouver – I’ll still need more time on buying that their goaltending and blueline are legit.  But I am LOVING Bo Horvat, and LOVING Elias Pettersson obviously, and Brock Boeser hasn’t got it going yet.  I do believe this is a bit different from their start a year ago, but again…the blueline and Markstrom still scare me.

 

18. Carolina – ABOUT where I figured they’d be.  Looked great, tailed off a bit lately, still more of a wait and see.

 

17. Columbus – Uh oh.  Now, will Bobrovsky remain this weak between the pipes?  I doubt it, but then again the contract might be an issue.  My issue?  They really haven’t had anything of a tough schedule so far and are only 6-5-0.  I’ve never been very high on them, but this isn’t a promising start at all.

 

16. Dallas – 6-5-0, not the start I really expected from them, but I still like them.  Thing is, it’s a one line team, with a very talented/high potential blueline, but is that potential going to be reached this season?  Probably not.  And then Ben Bishop is pretty inconsistent in goal.  Feel as though they’ll be around this 14-19 area all season.

 

15. Montreal – Hey, they have been great to this point, and have had some great performances!  I counted four great performances and only one dog.  That’s impressive!  I still don’t trust the mix they have to maintain this.  I hope I’m wrong, and I still have them in a playoff spot if we’re going by who the top 16 is, but

 

14. Minnesota – I know they came into Edmonton the other night and got a comeback win, and I know their record looks good, they only won that game in Edmonton because the Oilers were disgusting on special teams.  They were dominated 5 on 5 for 50 minutes of the game.  You won’t win much playing that way.  I’m a massive believer in Bruce Boudreau, but I just still see them falling right off at some point.

 

13. Calgary – From here to 9 I feel like you could mix the teams up in any order and it be fair.  Had I done this on Monday morning the Flames would be much lower, but the back to back wins and 5 of 6 points in their last 3 has me feeling much better about them.  I know on paper that the goaltending SHOULD be fine, the blueline has quite a bit of talent, and the depth is much improved, but what worries me is this team doesn’t have one thing (at the moment) that is elite.  So are they good at everything, great at nothing?  Or are they average at everything, good at nothing?

 

12. Florida – They’ve hardly played and had no Roberto Luongo, so I have trouble dropping them far because this roster is still great.  Obviously some people will look at me sideways for having them above the Habs for example, but I’ll need to see a lot more.  This roster is great, I’m not going to penalize them just because Luongo has been out.

 

11. New Jersey – Below Edmonton.  Didn’t think I’d be having it that way three weeks ago.  They’ve comeback to earth, mainly Keith Kinkaid has.  What will Cory Schneider be like when he returns?  If he’s the Schneider of old, they should be fine.  If not, this could fall apart on them.

 

10. Colorado – PDO is 103.29.  So they’ll come back a bit, and they still don’t have much depth or much of a blueline, but holy shit Nathan MacKinnon gets underrated up here.  How underrated?  In my opinion, if Auston Matthews is being compared to McDavid, MacKinnon better damn well be compared to him too because in this idiot bloggers opinion he’s a hair better than Matthews.

 

9. Edmonton – By their record alone, they should be lower.  But then you consider the schedule they’ve played, which was the toughest schedule of the month.  All but one of the 11 games were against teams who had a .600 record or better going in (although the Hawks are now below that).  All but two of them didn’t make the playoffs last season.  Yet they’re 6-4-1, 7-3-1 if they aren’t so awful on special teams Tuesday night.  The effort is what is most impressive.  They’re bringing it every night.  They aren’t living off puck luck, not getting ridiculous goaltending, special teams have been just ok, and they’re 6-4-1 having faced that beast of a schedule.  Still a LOT of things that can get much better.

 

8. Washington – They’ve been hot and cold, but I really believe that they couldn’t care less about the regular season and that this is all about just getting in and going on another deep run.  Playing with house money when they do.

 

7. Winnipeg – So they’re playing like SHIT.  The wins they’ve had have been them getting by on their depth and talent, and they’ve had a lot of games where they’ve blown leads or no showed in general.  They’re just like the Oilers were last season.  However, they’re much better than the Oilers were and they’ll be able to get by because of their insane talent, and likely will be better for this come the spring.

 

6. San Jose – They are likely going to obliterate the Pacific division.  Their PDO is 96.75 (29th) and they’re still 6-3-3.  They’re real good, but much more so than that is who is going to challenge them?  I got the Oilers 9th, and to me the Oilers are an ocean away from the Caps at 8.  Because the rest of the division looks so weak, winning the President’s trophy wouldn’t shock me in the least.

 

5. Toronto – No Matthews for a month definitely is going to sting, but even without him, even without Nylander, this team is still elite.  They likely won’t be dominant for the next 4-6 weeks, but they’ll maintain a spot high in the standings.

 

4. Boston – I feel as though they’ll get figured out by the league eventually, but so far it doesn’t seem as though they have.  One of the smallest teams in the league and they run just about everyone’s show, talk about living off past reputations.  Goaltending is interesting here though because it’s all Halak right now, Rask is struggling.  So can Rask get back to form?  If not, can Halak keep it up?

 

3. Nashville – They’re so good, but I hate that I’m seeing a lot of the same garbage I saw late last season where they don’t bother to show up until they feel like it.  They would benefit from a few key injuries and/or some shitty puck luck for a while.  Not a shocker, their PDO is 2nd in the league at 104.57.  They’re tremendous, just need a wake up call.

 

2. Tampa Bay – By points percentage they’re the top team in the league.  I love them, just not as much as who I have at number one.

 

1. Pittsburgh – Without Matt Murray for a few games, without Justin Schultz, they’ve started to really dominate.  Forget the massacre of Western Canada, how about the 3-0 in Toronto?  The game against the Islanders, whatever.  Home off a roadie, bad night for Matt Murray, whatever.  They’re awesome and they’re going to add at some point this season.  Jim Rutherford knows this window is going to slam shut after this season or the next so he is going to push every chip he can to the middle.

 

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