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This Week's Edition of "Between the Boards"

Well hello again Puckheads and welcome to another week of Between the BoardsÖ.

Letís start in the Western Conference where the biggest news came out of the Denver when the Avs fired Bob Hartley. To me this was another situation where the players quit on the coach and I am getting sick of it. Most of these same players also quit on Marc Crawford as well. These coached both have one thing in common they helped coach the Avs to Stanley Cup championships and both almost about 2 years later were fired. Did these guys forget how to coach or did the players forget the how to play? I think the later is true and now they have a playerís coach in Tony Granato who just a year ago was in uniform playing. I am sure Hartley will get a job soon and I hope as is Crawford is doing in Vancouver showing he can still coach. Donít look now but the in the Pacific Division the Quack Attack in Anaheim are on the rise with  6 wins in their last 7 games. The player keying this rise is Jean-Sebastien Giguere in 4 of those last 6 wins he has posted shut outs. If they can stay healthy and Oates coming back now they may be getting cup crazy come April in Disneyland. Things have gotten bad in Phoenix for the great oneís team. The are really missing Sean Burke who still continues to be hobbled by injuries. This month they have gone in the toilet with a record of 3-5-2 that is not that bad but keep in mind that 9 of those 10 games have been at home. The Sharks continue to struggle and since they fired Sutter in their last 3 games they have given up 17 goals including a 9-3 thumping at the hands of the Sens. A team that had Cup Dreams this year just wants to get to .500 mark. Look for them to shake up that team with some major trades after the roster freeze is over. The Minnesota Wild finally did something last week they had never done in their franchise history in beating the Oilers. In their 3 years they had never beaten the Oilers and they finally did this in coming back from 2 third period deficits.

Now off to the Eastern Conference where the best team in the east the Bruins has some company in the conference penthouse with the Sens now tied for 1st in the east. The Bruins have been cold as of late winless in their last 6 games but breaking out of their slump with a win over the Sharks last night. They were bound to have a let down after the great streak they where on since the beginning of the year. Good news for the Rangers that Bure is starting to hit the bike and should be back some time in January but will it be enough with the Rangers now on a streak of 1-7-1 in their last 9. Not bad for 70 million dollar pay roll. Things are just getting worse and worse in Buffalo. The team is currently being run by NHL and looks more and more like they may be moving at no fault of the fans but terrible ownership. The NHL is pleading with local government to help give a local buyer help in with a good lease on the HSBC Arena. The Pens finally got a win after a 10 game losing streak and have seen their power play percentage drop down below 30 %. This team if they do not score on the power play they are dead in the water even with the great Mario on the ice. The Bolts who at one time where a high scoring team have fallen on hard times lately with only 4 goals in their last 4 games. It has not been from a lack of shots on goals since they have averaged almost 40 shots on goals in those games. Itís amazing that the Devils and Flyers average only 2.10 goals per game and are tied for 1st place in the Atlantic Division. This goes to show you either the league has better goalies now or lacks the skills. Has Byron Dafoe helped the Thrashers yet ? I think not they still do not have even have 10 wins and he is on the shelf with a strained groin.

The Good:
Jean-Sebastien Giguere has his  shut out streak borken last week at 217 minutes.
The La Kings Vs Mighty Ducks game on Thursday last week was the best I have seen all year a 5-4 LA win over their cross town rival. The game was 3-1 going into the 3rd period Ducks scored 4 straight goals to take a 4-3 lead when the Kings tied it up later in the period and then the game winner with under 2 minutes to play in the 3rd. GET CENTER ICE!!!! You will love it!!!!!!!!!!!
Kevin Weekes coming back from his concussion with a 1-0 shut out of the Stars.

The Bad:
Gary Bettman needs to do something to stop all these hits from behind and guys leaping into hits. Get rid of the instigator and things will calm down.
The Flyers and Devils could not score on a Vegas Chicken Ranch.
Frederick Modin once a 30 goal scorer can no longer hit the net with his big slap shot and has become less of a force in front of the net. Look for the Bolts to deal him soon.