One of the most interesting moments of last week's Skate of the Union came when general manager David Poile took the opportunity to sell the crowd on the lineup heading into 2011-12. He included a statement that since the team is so young, internal improvement should be expected (which I agree with by and large), and that nobody on the team had enjoyed their career season yet.
That's the bit that gave me pause.
I worry a bit when I hear such statements, because while of course young players tend to develop as they approach their mid-20's, it's by no means assured for each individual. Sergei Kostitsyn may start shooting more (although I doubt it), Colin Wilson may become more consistent, and the youngsters on the blueline will generally get more comfortable over time. Somewhere along the line, however, there will be reversals, hesitations, and the occasional bust.
And when it comes to career years, what do you think Pekka Rinne just had? He put together the 13th-best season ever in terms of save percentage for goalies with 40+ games played, and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Banking on an improvement on that performance seems like a dangerous game to me.
Is it possible that Pekka uses 2010-11 as the foundation for an extended run of dominance? Sure. Dominik Hasek didn't have his first insanely great year until he was 29, a year older than Peks. But relying on that to take place seems awfully risky.
Can you tell I'm in a cranky mood this Monday?
Nashville Predators News
Preds On The Glass: POTG Lazy Summer Weekend Headlines, News and Links
Buddy's got a Finnish interview with Pekka Rinne from his weekend links.
Smashville 24/7: Getting to know Blogger's Row: Jeremy Gover
Ryan starts a trip down Blogger's Row with the main man at Section303.com.
Trotz: Hockey now a part of 'fabric' of Nashville | Nashville City Paper
Barry Trotz continues to be impressed with the growing support and involvement by Preds fans, as most recently demonstrated at the Skate of the Union.
Around the NHL
A Divisional Look: Central Prospects | Hockey Quarterly
While we look forward to the possibility of Ryan Ellis and/or Roman Josi on the blueline, it's also good to look around the division and see which other teams might break in some kids.
Smaller nets equal big potential for the NHL - Puck Daddy
Deep thoughts on shallow nets. I like 'em, I like 'em a lot.
Point Totals | CanucksArmy
A sobering reminder from Jonathan Willis just what constitutes a 1st- or 2nd-line forward offensively.
Report: Karmanos Says Hurricanes "Broke Even" Last Year - Canes Country
It's always instructive to follow the fortunes of another southern hockey team, particularly one which is also seeking to bring in minority shareholders.
SKA St. Petersburg won’t renew Alexei Yashin’s contract - Sports.ru
Anybody want a 37-year-old center who's been cut loose by his KHL team?
HNIC Could Face Uncertain Future. | Spectors Hockey
Could the greatest TV show in all of sports be in serious danger?
What Are They Worth - Ryan Callahan - Blueshirt Banter
An interesting attempt to guesstimate where the Rangers' hard-charging young forward will come in salary-wise.
And lastly, as found at Puck Daddy, check out retired NHL superstar Joe Sakic nailing a hole-in-one at a charity golf event: