Early Snapshots: Eastside

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I know it’s really only about two weeks into the new season but there’s enough interesting stuff going on to discuss, I think. Top of the list being…

The Toronto Maple Leafss. An 0-5-1 start, a burgeoning goalie controversy and lots and lots of fights seem to be the defining elements of the beginning of Brian Burke’s 2009-10 campaign. He’s made lots of moves, including trading two year’s worth of 1st round picks and more for Phil Kessel (out until at least Nov. 1 as he recovers from shoulder surgery). Meanwhile, poor defense an/or goaltending has them looking like a brown skidmark on the way out of the gate in the Northeast. At least it’s been entertaining, if not for the fights then the hockey media circus that helps build the pressure-filled atmosphere that surrounds Leaf’s Hockey already making things uncomfortable for Burke and Co. Can you say “unreasonable expectations”? Not in Toronto you can’t, I guess. Keep losing, though, boys. That 2010 1st rounder is looking like a juicy, 20 lb. salmon to a certain group of south of the border bears right now.

The Philadelphia Flyers. I admit to being somewhat fascinated by this team. They’ve started off fairly well this season and I just see them as a potentially great but flawed team. They’ve got great offense anchored by Carter and Richards, great team toughness led by two of the most willing scrappers in the league in Riley Cote and Dan Carcillo. Now they bolster their defense with Pronger and things are looking good. The question mark remains in goal where they bring on Ray Emery, recent of Mytishchi Atlant of the KHL, as the hopeful No. 1. Huh? Is this not the big leagues, my brothers? I want to like this team but I need to see some elite level goaltending before I call them contenders. Team to watch, though, for sure.

New York Rangers. I don’t know how they’re doing it but they’ve started out with a decent early season record of 6-1. I don’t expect it to last, though. They’re just too laden down with absurd contracts to have a decent supporting cast on this team. They have two $8 Million dollar players in Chris Drury and Wade Redden. Good players, character players, but not superstars. Gaborik makes $7.5 and will need to carry the offensive load, if he can stay healthy. Michal Roszival makes $6 Million?!? Even hated scumbag Sean Avery is making $4 Mil. That’s a lot of salary tied up in upper middle class talent. That leaves a lot of genuine borderliners making up the supporting cast. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong, who knows.

Elsewhere. Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh, Washington is Washington and the Islanders still suck. So does Montreal, but this is not exactly news, is it?

Onward ho!

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