In today’s roundup of notable blog posts: A look at the depth in the Canucks system, Scotty Wazz latest candidate for “Absurd Goalie Monday”, the mysterious death of former NHLer Ed Kea, five suggestions to improve the NHL game, a backlash toward some seating changes for certain Florida Panthers fans, a suggestion for which team Oilers fans should hate this season, the Islanders are apparently soon to announce a surprising “first”, and more. Read on, won’t you?

ARMCHAIR HOCKEY: Jason Chen isn’t buying into the hype that the Vancouver Canucks have a desirable pipeline of young talent.

“I think you have to be really careful about hyping up prospects for your own team because you have to be aware that 29 other fanbases are doing the exact same with their players. But like vancitydan said, it’s “just an opinion though,” to which I’d like to just add, “perception isn’t always reality.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  I know I was guilty of it for a number of years of over-rating the prospects of my beloved Habs, especially during the lean years from 1998-99 to 2002-03, when there wasn’t much to cheer about, and hoping for young prospects to rise into stars was the best Canadiens fans could hope for at the time. As with most teams, a handful panned out, and the rest didn’t. Chen goes on to provide some sober analysis of the Canucks prospects.

GREATEST HOCKEY LEGENDS: Joe Pelletier noted a recent National Post report which suggested former NHL player Ed Kea’s death in 1995 might not have been accidental drowning, but perhaps suicide.

“He talks about Ed Kea, a NHL defenseman with the Atlanta Flames and St. Louis Blues in the 1970s and early 1980s. If he is known at all to new generations of hockey fans it is as Joe Nieuwendyk’s uncle. His career ended after a major concussion, which Bidini (in another stretch) ultimately killed him.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article Pelletier refers to was regarding mental health issues, and how some who suffer from them perhaps shouldn’t be exposed to the environment of youth team sports. The article, and Pelletier’s take, are worth checking out.

THE STRANGEST ONE OF ALL: Face Off Hockey Show co-host and all round good guy Scotty Wazz presents the latest in his series “Absurd Goalie Monday”. This week, it’s former Red Wing Kevin Hodson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Catch up on all of Scotty’s “AGM” segments here. You won’t be disappointed!

THE M-DASH: Jason Menard offers up five ways to cure the NHL’s “allergy to defense”, listing regulation of equipment size, Olympic size rinks, rescind the “Habs power-play rule”, eliminate icing the puck whilst shorthanded, and implementation of “no-touch” icing/allow goalies to play the puck behind the net.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Except for the fourth suggestion, I’m in agreement with Jason, though I doubt we’ll ever see the implementation of bigger ice surfaces, as that means costly arena renovations, which none of the owners would approve.

LITTER BOX CATS: Donny Rivette reports the Florida Panthers are getting some backlash from long time season ticket holders in certain sections of their arena, after being notified they would be moved in order to accommodate an “ultra-exclusive” section called “Club Red”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If you’re a big market club like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens or New York Rangers, you could probably get away with this, since the wait list for season tickets for those teams is measured in years. Not when you’re a struggling franchise whose bad management for a decade has resulted in a mediocre product which has driven away fans. Read Donny’s full post for some of the reactions. It ain’t pretty.

HOCKEYBUZZ.COM: Richard Cloutier looks at potential candidates for Edmonton Oilers fans to hate this season (Vancouver Canucks, long-time rival Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and LA Kings), and suggests the Kings to be their biggest rival, based on the botched handling of the Ryan Smyth trade, the Dustin Penner trade, and the fact the Kings will be much, much better than the Oilers this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t the Flames and Canucks can ever be supplanted as the teams Oilers fans most love to hate, and since the Jets still must play one more season in the Eastern Conference, there’s not much there to get upset over. The bungled Smyth trade and the Penner deal aren’t the magnitude of the Gretzky trade many moons ago, but the angry words which flew among the GMs of both teams in the wake of the Smyth deal could move the Kings up a notch or two on the “Oilers fans hate-o-meter”.

PUCKUPDATE: Steve Ovadia wondered if the Philadelphia Flyers invitation of Michael Nylander to training camp might be a sign they’re a bit nervous about Jaromir Jagr, whom they signed earlier this summer as a free agent. Nylander and Jagr had tremendous chemistry as linemates during their days with the NY Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps not so much nervous, as “better safe than sorry”? No harm in seeing if these two can regain their offensive chemistry, even if it’ll likely be less than it once was on Broadway. 

BLEACHER REPORT: Gary Llewellin offers up six predictions for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. Among them: Dion Phaneuf scores twenty goals, Phil Kessel scores forty, young goalie James Reimer keeps playing well…and they still miss the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To be fair, Llewellin believes they’ll narrowly miss the playoffs because they’re still one or two players short of making it, and lack star power, compared to many of their rivals in the Conference. While it’s possible the Leafs could steal a spot, I think they’re still about a year away from playoff contention.

THE HOCKEY WRITERS: Tom Kolupanowich offers up 30 questions, one for each NHL team, and in this particular post, he examines the 15 Eastern Conference clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good job by Kolupanowich, as most of those questions he asked are also being asked by other observers of those teams. Worth checking out.

HOCKEYBUZZ.COM: Dee Karl reports the NY Islanders are planning to do something which no one in the sport has done before? What, you might ask? Your guess is as good as hers!

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the sometimes circus-like atmosphere that seems to hang over the Isles front office, we can only imagine what it’ll be. Let’s see, they already set the standard for long-ass contracts by inking Rick DiPietro for fifteen years. They’re reportedly touching base with former Isles center Alexei Yashin, whom they bought out of his contract a few years ago. Dee suggests it’s likely something to do with sponsership, so stay tuned, Isles fans!