October 23, 2011


Every talking head on ESPN and TSN can call a game or season after it has happened.  Only real fans can look at a team and see the potential before it comes to past. We see top of the line hockey potential in the Oilers and the Maple Leafs. The turnarounds in Edmonton and Toronto are for real.  Both squads have suffered through years of mediocrity and their respective success this year is the result of smart drafting and trading.  We expect both teams to make the playoffs this year. 

Rookie sensation Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is giving the young Oiler team an example to follow.  His quiet demeanour is very similar to another young star who hit Edmonton with a thunderclap; Wayne Gretzky.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins doesn't talk smack on the ice.  He lets his stick do the talking.  He has joined Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall to form an offensive trio which has put Edmonton back on the NHL hockey map.  Gone are the days when a trip to play the Oilers was a day off for the visitors.  Competitors have to be on top of their game now when they enter Rexhall Place.  The Oilers can put the puck in the net and now that Nikolai Khabibulin is playing better ; this team could cause issues to others in this year's playoff race.  We think it is just a matter of time before the boys in Edmonton taste Stanley Cup success.  If they can keep these young stars for a stretch and foster a team spirit; the Stanley Cup could be headed to Alberta's capital sometime after 2014-2015.

Toronto's success is due to some key veterans playing at the top of their game and a the aggressive play of a hot young goalie.   This year's edition of the Buds is being led by Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, and James Reimer.  Kessel and Lupul are lighting the lamp at a an impressive rate.  Reimer has been solid in the net  and is play has been complimented by experienced blue liners like Dion Phaneuf.  High powered offense plus air tight defense means the Leafs will be on the winning side of many confrontations this year. This version of the Leafs is going to make the playoffs and fans at the Air Canada Center will finally have something to cheer about  when springtime rolls around.  If they can stay injury free and some of their rookies pitch in; the Leafs could post a serious challenge for other squads come playoff time.  

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