Saturday, January 30, 2010

2010 NHL Entry Draft Prospect – Taylor Hall

2010 NHL Entry Draft Prospect – Taylor Hall

IIHF World Junior Championship - Canada v USA - Gold Medal Game

My series of 2010 prospect profiles is off and running, or should I say skating, over at The Hockey Writers. First Up - Taylor Hall:

One-Timer: One word comes to mind to describe Taylor Halldynamic! He is a unique, but explosive skater and very creative offensively.

There are those rankings services that try and contend Tyler Seguin or Cam Fowler are ahead of Hall. While both Seguin and Fowler are outstanding talents and potential cornerstones for whichever franchise drafts them, I remain unconvinced that either is in the same league as Hall. Admittedly, though Tyler Seguin is doing everything in his power to dethrone Hall, and Fowler was a huge part of USA’s gold medal win at the WJCs in Saskatchewan.

Hall is still a cut above the rest, in my opinion, offering up a tantalizing mix of offensive ability with his speed and puck savvy creativity, with an unquestionable passion for the game.

Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 10/10 Defensive = 8/10

NHL Player(s) Comparison: If you can imagine a morph or hybrid of Pavel Bure and Mark Messier

Read on...


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Paint It Blackhawks Prospect Rankings: #4 Jack Skille

Well...this is actually my first anniversary since starting The Hockey Spy blog. Thanks to all of those who have supported me for the first year and going forward with my ventures at Paint It Blackhawks and The Hockey Writers. 

Here's an excerpt from my latest prospect profile at Paint It Blackhawks:

PIB Co-conspirator Christopher Ralph
This is the fourth article featuring top Blackhawk prospects. As described previously, profiles will be released in order of their ranking, with the Top 20 to be eventually released. The portal place to find Blackhawk prospect information here will through the Future Blackhawk page.

The #1 ranked prospect by Paint It Blackhawk is blueliner Dylan Olsen.
Kyle Beach, 11th overall 2008 1st rounder, is tight behind Olsen as the second ranked prospect in the Hawks organization, with blueliner Shawn Lalonde sneaking in at third. At #4, here’s Skille!
Jack Skille
Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks

Current Age: 22
Date of birth: May 19, 1987
Place of birth: Madison, WI, USA
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 198
Shoots: R
Salary: $ 850,000
NHL Seasons: 2
Drafted by Chicago in 2005 (1/7)

Jack Skille comes in as the fourth ranked prospect, with this position being closely contested as well. The 7th overall, 1st round selection in 2005 will likely soon lose his status as a prospect. The forward was regarded as one of the best skaters in the draft in that year with offensive upside.
While still too soon to tell at this point, he looks to be a lock for a forward position with the big league’s squad next season as Bowman et al. face the impending cap crunch. This season, his evolution continues…


Saturday, January 16, 2010

First Ever Flames Fan Forum

First Ever Flames Fan Forum

Calgary Flames v Toronto Maple Leafs
Christopher Ralph – THW correspondent

The first ever Flames Fan Forum was held at Flames Central Thursday night hosted by the Fan 960. Rob Kerr and Peter Maher (of the Fan960) were the moderators, with Flames President Ken King and GM Darryl Sutter on hand fielding questions from fans – season ticket holders and Fan960 contest winners.

While, not surprisingly, nothing earth shattering was revealed by either King or Sutter, there were some interesting discussions and plenty of laughs to be had. Let me highlight some of the questions and answers that I enjoyed.


Book Review: HockeyNomics by Darcy Norman

Book Review: HockeyNomics by Darcy Norman

HockeyNomics {Lone Pine Publishing}

Norman delves into the world of hockey statistics like no hockey book has done before. It is an interesting spin and thought-provoking dissection of hockey numbers. He attempts to take hockey fans to a place similar to where the much acclaimed Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game took baseball fans.

HockeyNomics explores various questions not just based on opinion, but based on unique statistical analysis. In the process, the reader is often left to draw his own conclusion from the data presented. In each exploration, however, Norman has achieved what I believe to be his main goal – to challenge the reader to think outside the box and realize the daily box scores and scoring leaders far from tell us the whole story.

Here are just some of the hockey stats adventures Norman takes the reader on:

*99’s 92 goal season – Best Ever?

*Is all-time shutout leader Marty Brodeur overrated?

*Will Ovy8 or SC87 have the better career?

*Which NHL teams are best at the draft?


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Paint It Blackhawks Season Progress: From $62.8 million to 20 cents – 10 Questions The Blackhawks Must Answer

My latest article at Paint It Blackhawks reflects back on my unique season preview with updates - the original article being featured on Yahoo Sports:

Back in September of last year PIB highlighted 10 questions to monitor as the season progresses. Given that we’re now slightly more than half way through the season I thought it appropriate to take a look back at these previously raised issues and see how the ‘Hawks are measuring up. Consider this my spin on the mid-term report.

1. Let’s get this one out of the way: Is Cristobel Huet a legitimate #1 NHL goalie and can he take the ‘Hawks to the next level?

My take back in September:

“Is he up for the task? Time will tell. The French netminder does have game, but I, like many analysts, question his ability to be anything but a solid backup at this level. According to THW’s Rafal Ladasz, Huet is the 15th overall enigma in the NHL.”

Update: Undoubtedly a rough start to the season. Since then, he has been solid. His impressive stats are padded with the defense and team that takes to the ice in front of him. Am I sold on Huet? In a word – No. I guess I’m not easily impressed and may admittedly run the native of France a little hard. While the Wings have done wonders with the likes of Chris Osgood in previous Cup runs, relying on Huet deep in the playoffs could easily prove to be a weak link. But all is not lost…

Read on for questions 2-9:

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