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 noon 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
Jared Book, Eyes On The Prize: The Bruins are stuck in no-man’s land. They have a very good goaltender, several stars either in their prime or just past it and some young players perhaps just hitting their stride. Yet, they are in a playoff position. They might be overachieving but I don’t think they are a definite candidate to rebuild, but not quite a contender either. It’s a tough position to be in, and the fact that there are so many teams like them explains why there are so few trades league-wide.
Laura Astorian, St. Louis Game Time: Stubbornness and a lack of having a finger on the pulse of reality. They've let the streaks of success this year lull them into that old "regular season = championship" lull of complacency. I'm a Blues fan, so I know all about FOs who are in denial about their teams' championship prospects.
El Seldo, Pension Plan Puppets: The NHL loves winners, and is an ego-driven business (see: the "Randy Carlyle IS A GOOD COACH BECAUSE HE HAS A CUP RING!" narrative). They're probably trying to squeeze the fans for as much money as possible, pushing the team as a contender, before they start to rebuild. I know, it's a weird thought, gool ol' JJ being greedy like that, but it's probably the truth. No one wants to admit they can't compete.
Jonathan Garcia, On The Forecheck: This is the same front office that thought it'd be a good idea to trade away Dougie Hamilton. Who knows what they're thinking. Maybe they look at the veterans like Bergeron, Chara, Marchand, etc. and still see too much of the Stanley Cup glow. Those guys were there at the best of times, so perhaps Sweeney and Co. think they can grittership their way into the playoffs. It looks like it's working for now, but that would scare me if I were a Bruins fan. Why make changes and fix the rotten parts if the status quo is getting them into the postseason?
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@SBNationNHL Will the flyers make the playoffs next year with the prospects coming to the team?— Los Flyeros (@SidneyFallsby) January 27, 2016
Jared Book, Eyes On The Prize: The Flyers could definitely make the playoffs next year, if not for slight improvements from prospects then just because the East is so up in the air. Three teams expected to roll to the playoffs (Tampa, Montreal and Pittsburgh) are battling for their playoff lives and teams like Florida and Carolina are defying the odds. Can Philadelphia be in that mix next year? Absolutely. Heck, they may even end up in the mix this year. Any time you can mix solid prospects (especially on D which is a need for them right now) and stars up front in Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, you’ve got a chance.
Laura Astorian, St. Louis Game Time: It seems to be tough to call the playoff teams in the East -- look at New Jersey (who's riiiiight there) and Florida this year. I don't think the Flyers are far off from returning to the playoffs next year, but I'm hesitant to say that yes, it's a lock. I'll just go on and wimp out and say that the wild card is a possibility.
El Seldo, Pension Plan Puppets: They'll be a different team for sure. I'd say they'll be a bubble team. How the rest of the Metro pans out after the summer is probably a bigger factor in Philly's status of playoff lock, bubble, or "Tank for 2017!"
Jonathan Garcia, On The Forecheck: It's certainly possible but I don't know if I would put money on it just yet. They need to figure out their offense, which another year under Hakstol and an uptick in their low shooting percentage should help. However, there are too many variables to say for sure if this is a playoff contender. How fast will the new young players adjust to the NHL? Will they be productive? What about Pittsburgh, Carolina, Buffalo and Montreal? Will they be better teams next year? I'll ready the popcorn.
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@SBNationNHL What's the saddest team in the NHL? (the answer is Ottawa)— Donald Ademaj (@donnyademaj) January 27, 2016
Jared Book, Eyes On The Prize: I’d have to go with the Montreal Canadiens. Here you have a team that relied on their goaltender to win a couple of divisions and made their coach look like a demigod. Now, they are one of the worst teams without that goaltender, and it’s a built-in excuse for inaction. You have fans hoping for change, but knowing it won’t come and you have fans hoping for wins but knowing they won’t come. Add the fact that every GM knows that Marc Bergevin is desperate and you have a team that isn’t even able to make a trade that could improve the team. If this was a team that was expected to struggle it would be one thing, but they were expecting to contend which makes their collapse even harder to deal with.
Laura Astorian, St. Louis Game Time: It's between Winnipeg and Montreal for me. Montreal, I just kind of want to give a hug because injuries and a lack of focus seem to have killed their red-hot start. Winnipeg, though, is that funny kind of sad. That "you've done this to yourself by taking moronic penalties" sad. The "this team was supposed to be different once it left Atlanta" kind of sad.
El Seldo, Pension Plan Puppets: Columbus. Whether it's losing the draft lottery to Edmonton, or having so many injuries that a season that was seen as "The One" gets derailed right away, or being forced to TRADE FOR DAVID CLARKSON because the team can't afford an uninsured contract, it's gotta be rough to be a Blue Jackets fan. And I'm saying that as a Leafs fan when our best teams in recent (past 25 years) memory were a thing before Columbus was out of diapers as a franchise.
Jonathan Garcia, On The Forecheck: The Habs have unceremoniously taken that title from the Columbus Blue Jackets. The BJs started horribly, but they deserve every ounce of disappointment they get for hiring John Tortorella. Montreal started the season on such a high and seemed to shed the "only as good as Carey Price" label they deservedly earned last season. Then Price got injured and after a few weeks that idea crept back in. Now they just look like a horrible shell of a hockey club that is waiting for the coach to get canned, and their fans are about ready to start angrily eating each other. But 24 Cups, amirite?
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@SBNationNHL If Michel Therrien was a Star Wars character which one would he be?— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 27, 2016
Jared Book, Eyes On The Prize: Admittedly, I’m not a Star Wars guy, but I don’t know if the Star Wars universe is the best fit for Therrien. Everyone seems so wise. However, I’d have to go with Jar Jar Binks. Binks was exiled and then returned much like Therrien was fired and then hired back in Montreal. Therrien is stubborn and despite everything, may be smarter than he looks. People also complain as much about him as Star Wars fans complained about Binks, so there’s a fit there too.
Laura Astorian, St. Louis Game Time: Maybe Chewie, since there's probably only about one player behind the bench who understands anything that he says, as evidenced by how they're playing.
El Seldo, Pension Plan Puppets: This guy:
Jonathan Garcia, On The Forecheck: Jek Porkins, aka "Red 6," aka the fat X-Wing pilot in A New Hope. Despite having a decent support squad by his side, he refuses to listen to reason and their pleas to make a life-saving change. His hubris ends up being his fiery downfall, and he becomes a punchline for fans until the end of time.