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20mar07_antropov

Dear Glen Sather: This dude is a beast. Love, 5-hole.com

It’s that time of the season again.  Yes, the annual trading frenzy as fading teams try to get something worthwhile for their unrestricted free agents.  The NHL trade deadline is March 4.  Take a look at this list of the top 50 UFA’s from the 8 worst teams in the league.  I like the Maple Leafs’ big power winger Nik Antropov.  And, with a cap hit of just over $2 million, I hope the Rangers like him too.

Let’s take a look at the games tonight.  We have some good matchups (i.e. Rangers-Ducks, Wings-Coyotes) and some complete mismatches.  Speaking of mismatches… in my opinion, the standard play for the *Gimmie* is to bet on the biggest mismatch, which would presumably be the safest bet.  Tonight, we have the Canadiens taking on the Thrashers (#5 vs #29) and the Capitals playing the Senators (#4 vs #28).  While we all agree on the picks (Habs and Caps), none of us picked either team as our gimmie.  Does that mean we smell upsets?  Or do we all just hate the Habs and we’re just too afraid to pick the inconsistent Caps on the road?  In other news, Eric picked the Hurricanes as his gimmie against the Penguins.  He must know something I don’t.

On to the picks!

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No, Mats Sundin hasn’t decided yet. About 10 minutes after this was posted, Sundin announced he will be going to the Canucks… more later

1067183 (more…)

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This is a new daily feature here on 5-hole.com.  Everyday, Marc, Rory, and I will each pick which teams we think will win that day.  Each of us will consider one of our picks to be a “gimmie” meaning that there is no way that we will get that pick wrong.  At the end of the season, the writer with the most correct picks wins!  In the event of a tie, the percentage of gimmies correctly chosen will break the tie.  Pretty straight forward right?

And don’t forget to vote early and vote often for the New York Rangers for the All Star Game.  Or, just write a program that votes thousands of times for you!

On to the picks! (Rankings are for the entire league).

#30 Tampa Bay Lightning @ #12 Philadelphia Flyers

Eric – Flyers
Marc – Flyers
Rory – Flyers

#26 Florida Panthers @ #11 Washington Capitals

Eric – Capitals
Marc – Panthers
Rory – Capitals

#29 Atlanta Thrashers @ #7 Montréal Canadiens

Eric – Habs *gimmie*
Marc – Habs
Rory – Habs

#28 Dallas Stars @ #10 Calgary Flames

Eric – Flames
Marc – Flames
Rory – Flames

#21 Los Angeles Kings @ #23 Phoenix Coyotes

Eric – Coyotes
Marc – Coyotes
Rory – Kings

#20 Toronto Maple Leafs @ #1 San Jose Sharks

Eric – Sharks
Marc – Sharks *gimmie*
Rory – Sharks *gimmie*


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Seriously.  Don’t panic.  It was one game.  It’s still early in the season.  The Rangers have overcome terrible games in the past and they will again.

The game last season against the Canadiens was a terrible game, as was the last 10 minutes of the third period of Saturday night’s game against the Maple Leafs.  But, in the next 10 games after the loss to the Habs, the Rangers went 7-2-1 for 15 of the possible 20 points.  In the 20 games after the loss they went 12-3-5 getting 29 of a possible 40 points in those games.  They maintained an above .700 record for the rest of the season after that terrible loss.

I’m not saying that the Rangers are going to continue at the pace they are playing, but what I am saying is this:

All teams have clunkers. What is the mark of a good team is how they rebound. Last year the Rangers brushed it off and played pretty damn well to finish the season. The Rangers aren’t worried and we shouldn’t be either. This was only the 14th game of the season and they’re still 10-3-1.

If they were now 5-6-3, I’d be worried.

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