One of the new segments I'd like to start here at SCH is something called "You Know I'm Right". Hopefully I'll be able to do this a few times a week. What I'll do share a few thoughts that I believe are incontrovertibly true and you guys tell me whether I'm right or wrong.
I'll keep the bulk of it about the Blackhawks, but I'll also mix in some stuff about other teams and players, just to give it some variety. Some of them will be agreeable, others controversial. Either way, I hope its able to generate some discussion.
And please, I encourage you to post your own "You Know I'm Right" statements on the message boards. That will make it all the more interesting and engaging.
I'll keep this first one short just to give you guys a taste. Let me know what you think.
1. The Blackhawks run and hide with the Central division title by early March. You know I'm right.
The Hawks hold a 7-point in the division right now, with most of their points coming on the road. They're about to start a huge 7-game home stand and are playing some pretty good hockey right now. Moreover I'm not entirely sold that any of Central teams have the capacity to catch the Hawks at the rate they're going. I say the Hawks grab the Central division lead with two hands and strangle it for the rest of the season, with no one even coming close to them.
2. The Blackhawks best defenseman so far has been... Johnny Oduya. You know I'm right.
Leads the team in plus-minus at plus-9 and is third in blocked shots with 25. And when you look at his Behind the Net numbers, its pretty evident that he and Hjalmarsson have taken the role as Q's shutdown pairing. He has the highest Quality of Competition of all Hawks defenseman. He also has the highest CORSI (shots against vs. shots taken) when you factor in his QoC. Oduya's reliability and steadiness has allowed Quenneville to take some hard minutes away from Duncan Keith and has given the Blackhawks two really effective defensive pairings. That's why he's the Hawks' best defenseman so far and you know I'm right about that.
3. The Washington Capitals need to trade for Roberto Luongo. You know I'm right.
The Capitals are in dead last place and while goaltending isn't entirely to blame, it is certainly an issue, with 41 goals allowed in just 12 games. Neuvirth has a 3.05 GAA and a .889 save percentage, while Holtby has an appalling 3.87 GAA and a .879 save percentage. Its safe to say GM George McPhee has erred in putting all his eggs into the basket carried by these two very young and relatively inexperienced goalies. Say what you want about Luongo, but he is among the top goaltenders in the league and gives his team a good chance to win every single night. The Capitals have never had a true number one goaltender and their team simply isn't good enough to win without one. Its no longer a matter of "want to or not" when it comes to trading for Luongo. The Capitals have no choice. If they don't want to finish last (nevermind miss the playoffs) they need to acquire Luongo.
4. The LA Kings will be the first team since the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes to miss the playoffs the season after winning the Stanley Cup. You know I'm right.
The Kings may be the Stanley Cup Champions, but they barely made the playoffs last year. They can't score a goal, their injuries on defense are mounting and Jonathan Quick isn't on form. Because of the tough Pacific division, shortened season and the all-in-conference schedule, I see the Stanley Cup champions playing golf this spring instead of playoff hockey.