With a network as vast as ours here at SB Nation, we figured we'd put our fine hockey bloggers to good use. You've got questions every week. We know. And we're here to help.
Each Monday at 12 p.m. ET we'll take your questions on Twitter at @SBNationNHL. Our NHL Blog Council (made up of different bloggers from around the SBN hockey network) will meet and consider your queries. Later in the week we will render our verdicts to the masses.
Without further ado ...
Blog Council: COMMENCE
Mike Darnay, Pensburgh: Who knows where we are on expansion. There are so many moving parts that it’s hard to tell. You factor in Gary Bettman being angry with the Seattle bid not happening, and then you have the stuff from Friedman’s 30 Thoughts about expansion potentially being put on hold if the sale price of the Penguins is below the price of the expansion fee.
As far as who I would like to see get a team first, it would definitely be Seattle. I’m a fan of what the Coyotes are constructing on-ice and thought the Seattle would be a nice landing spot for a team that needed to move. They have a bright future, but their play and talent might be enough to keep the seats filled, so a new expansion team to Seattle would make more sense to me right now.
Kurt R., Broad Street Hockey: I still think Seattle would make as much sense for a new team as any place if they can get a quality arena secured. That's a region that has shown it will show up to support its sports teams, and a reasonably large market in the West for the league to tap into. There are other options that make sense for tradition's sake (Quebec) or fun (Vegas), and those could very well end up working out, but I think this is still the one that may make the most sense all-around.
Zeb, Habs Eyes On The Prize: With the Canadian dollar as weak as it is, I think a team in Quebec City might be tough. I would love it though. But that would also mess with the divisions, so realistically I don't see that happening soon.
But for me I'd like a new team in the Pacific Northwest. Portland would be cool, since they already have a team in the Trail Blazers so the fandom can be taken already. Seattle doesn't have a team for the hockey/basketball season which would make it interesting. You can surf on the football and soccer fans, in a way.
Completely out of the blue franchise? Green Bay. Get the cheese heads into hockey, and a classic outdoor game at Lambeau Field would be the great Ice Bowl all over again (preferably against Dallas).
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Mike Darnay, Pensburgh: I don’t know. They have been a pain in the ass for the Penguins, though primarily because Cam Ward is Superman against them. Their defense is constructed pretty solidly, so I will chalk it up to that. Four recent draft picks over the last few years in Noah Hanifin, Jaccob Slavin, Justin Faulk and Michal Jordan, and a couple decent veteran free agency signings/trades in Ron Hainsey and John-Michael Liles.
Kurt R., Broad Street Hockey: Because their goaltending went from "really, really bad" to simply "not very good," which apparently is still enough to prop up a team that's had very good underlying numbers all year. That forward group doesn't blow you away, but it's pretty solid, and they've got a mostly young defensive group led by Justin Faulk that's been doing great work. All it needed was Cam Ward and Eddie Lack to hold up their end of the bargain, which they're slowly starting to. All in all, Bill Peters is getting as much out of that team as you have to think he can be -- they'll get better before they get much worse.
Zeb, Habs Eyes On The Prize: Looking at the Canes, their possession numbers have been good all season while the PDO hasn't been that good. It was time for something to give and in the end it was PDO that did it. Beating the Canadiens at the start of their flame-out probably gave the team a boost of confidence and things changed. Believing in the system and to continuing to play is worth a lot. Players feel secure and when it breaks your way it creates a positive spin and forward momentum.
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@SBNationNHL how do you think the Pacific will pan out by the end of the regular season?
— Rusty Shackleford (@R_Shackleford9) January 18, 2016
Mike Darnay, Pensburgh: Who cares. I sure don’t. I honestly haven’t watched enough of the Pacific games, Eastern bias and all (Actually, I am old and have a bedtime), but I would like to see Arizona make the playoffs. They’re fun.
Kurt R., Broad Street Hockey: It's boring, but I think the three California teams end up on the right side of the line by year's end. L.A. is L.A., and they still look like they're gonna coast to the division crown (no pun intended). I like what San Jose's got going, enough so that I feel as confident about them as I do in any of those non-L.A. teams. And the fact that Anaheim is even in the race after how terrible their season started tells you that they're trending in the right direction, and there's definitely talent on that team. Also, I just have so little faith in the other four teams in that division to do much of note.
Zeb, Habs Eyes On The Prize: I think L.A. wins it. I predict Arizona makes the playoffs, too, but the question is Anaheim, Calgary, San Jose and Vancouver. And over in the Murder-Death-Kill division (the Central) it's close, as well, so a maximum of one team from the Pacific makes a Wild Card spot.
L.A., San Jose, Anaheim and Arizona are my boring prediction. Edmonton finishes last (in the NHL), doesn't win the lottery and the world as we know it goes under.
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@SBNationNHL over/under 0.5: the number of goals John Scott scores in the ASG
— Joe Schell (@Joe_Schell) January 19, 2016
Mike Darnay, Pensburgh: Over. Absolutely over. My prediction is he gets set up for multiple goals by his teammates. Bet the house on the over.
Kurt R., Broad Street Hockey: OVER. Kinda feel like he has to after all of what happened.
Zeb, Habs Eyes On The Prize: I'll take the over now, but when the betting gets busy closer to the game and more people back over, I cash out with backing under and win no matter what with an arbitrage.