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From Blues HQ:
 
With Chicago recently taking over the conference lead the Blues have fallen to the 2nd spot. Although not horrible the GM and coach Hitchcock were looking for the team to win the conference to have a semi-easy fist round. As of now it appears we will face one of San Jose, Vancouver, or Phoenix. This club would definitely have one of the latter two.

The second line has fallen apart in two of the last three games which has coach Hithcock angry and frustated with his players lack of effort. "Changes will be made shortly," Hitchcock said after losing in OT to the Thrashers on Sunday. "We need our guys to step up and when you have all 3 of your players on the second line -7 over the course of 3 games people are going to be sent a message. This is nothing to fool around with, with the playoff right around the corner," stated Hitchcock.

Hitchcock has also said he has full confidence his players will be able to step up for the playoffs. "I have been provided with one of the best teams in the league and it is my job to make them play above and beyond their abilities."

He also commented on the play of Peter Forsberg, Al MacInnis, and Roman Cechmanek. "We have 3 of the best of the best in every position. For this team to go anywhere in the playoffs we need all three of them to step up and lead this team. Forsberg has won a Conn Smythe before and thats not a luxary many playoff teams have right now. Peter knows he hasn't had his best season for the Blues this year so we expect him to deliver his best this year in the playoffs."

All and all after the trade deadline this team has been improved greatly. Us fans of the Blues have the confidence this team can do it. Management has done a great job and now it's up to the players to deliver. So in the end the question still remains about this team. Will it be a Cup or a Bust?

SUBMITTED BY ATLANTA HQ:
 
Atlanta Makes Braithwaite The Man

Thrashers coach Jacques Lemaire has announced that Fred Braithwaite will be the starting goalie for the Atlanta Thrashers heading into the playoffs. "We've given both goalies an opportunity to prove themselves throughout the year, and in particular, the last few weeks, and Freddie has been our man all year long. Every time he's been called upon this year, he has responded. We feel confident that he will do the same in the postseason." Through Wednesday's games, Braithwaite has posted a record of 22-11-7 with a 2.23 GAA and .917 save percentage, while Salo has managed a 21-18-3 record, 2.94 GAA and .899 save percentage. There is talk around the league that Braithwaite could be a serious contender for the Vezina trophy, but his lack of games played may work against him. Atlanta's GM Trevor Smith was quoted as saying, "We trust Jacques and the coaching staff to make the decision that is best for the team. He's been here before and has succeeded on all levels, so the organization puts full faith in him." However, the possibility of Salo seeing time in the postseason has not been eliminated by Lemaire and staff. "We're not afraid to make changes if need be, but we don't forsee that becoming a problem. Like I said before, Freddie is our man."

SUBMITTED BY PREDS HQ:
 
Nashville Predators Press Conference

The Nashville Predators Gm Aaron Uruski was under media scrutiny this past week and was asked several questions about the head coaching position of Mike Babcock and if their was to be a change in the position for next year. In response Aaron Uruski said "Our team did have higher expectations coming into our starting year for our organization. But with the poor play from several of our bigger name scorers this team can not be expected to make the playoffs, Babcock has done what he is known for, in regards to his defensive style, keeping this team in reasonable shape. Their will be no changes in our coaching." Among other questions he was also asked if they were planning on tanking a few games in a hope to land the 1st overall draft pick for alexander ovechkin, his response was "No this team has been labelled as a spoiler for several weeks now and I believe we are doing that job quite well, knocking off St Louis and Edmonton earlier this year, we will continue to work on broad details to our game and work on our system before we start to be a contender, this organization has to gain an identity in this league before anything else."
 
 

SUBMITTED BY KINGS HQ:
 
Kings Press Conference

LA Kings General Manager was the center of attention today when he talked about his team in front of cameras for the first time. When a reporter asked "What did you think about your teams performance this season Mr. Conolly?" He replied bitterly saying about how his team played well below expectations. He said he saw playoff hopes not too long ago until in his opinion Sean Burke blew the game. He is also disgusted at the lack of effort Martin St. Louis put in when he played here. That guy will never be seen in a Kings uniform, it disgusts me how he went a -18, even our worst defensive players were doing better. When asked what he thought about next year he seemed optimistic, "Well we have Nils Ekman and Marek Zidlicky coming in to help our already potent scoring touch, Nagy is getting better at hockey every day and we see ourselves as a playoff team next year." He would not comment when asked if Burke would be traded.

SUBMITTED BY PITTS HQ:
 
Penguins Press Conference

We Suck... nuff said

SUBMITTED BY FLAMES HQ:
 
The playoffs are closing in and it is no secret that since joining the franchise, Darryl Sutter hasn't made the best decisons for the Calgary Flames. Luongo was played long and hard on this six game slide that has ultimatley decided calgary's playoff fate. It's obvious that the young keeper has played with less confidence, recently than a 5'0 pimply faced, squeaky voiced grad kid on prom night. Luongo has crashed and burned this season after tremedous expectations (1st overall in the fantasy draft) were lay on his shoulders. "We just can't seem to find our game..., and we sure as heck aren't making things easy on him (Luongo.)" Said a bewildered Brad Richards. According to Sutter things are alot worse. "When i look out here and see a guy miss his assignment, flop a check or just play lazy defence it makes me feel terrible....sickening. it's been too long since we've played an AVERAGE game defensivley." And when asked about Tverdovsky Sutter didn't hold back at all: "Oleg doesn't see the game as i do. He sees everything in an offense first mind set... Something that needs to be changed if he ever wants to see the ice again as a Flame." Well theres always next season, right Darryl "Well. All I can say is that I'm going to do everything possible to get this team to play within their capabilities. In our position right now, all we can do is look ahead and play hard."

Had some time on my hands and just wanted to write about the recent slide of the Flames. (If you read it) thanks for your time and i think it would be cool to hear a news report from your club as well.

SUBMITTED BY BLUES GM:
 
The St. Louis Blues are a proud team set on winning. Obviously this team isn't playing below expectations due to them leading the West in points but Coach Ken Hitchcock and GM Josh Guertler have had serious problems with individual players not doing their jobs.

Roman Cechmanek has been the 2nd best goalie in the league to this point but still he remains inconsistent. If this team is going to make a cup run we are going to need Roman to play to the best of his abilities.

Peter Forsberg has been the biggest disappointment so far this season. He was expected to make a run for the Art Ross and Hart trophies this year but has stuggled to remain in the top 20 in point. His inconsistent play has been the biggest reason for this teams downfall.

GM Guertler has been quoted after seeing his team fall apart after leading the league in points, "It is disappointing to see your team make it so far and then fall apart at the top. We really had a chance to capitalize but we failed and it brings up questions for the playoffs as well. The teams success that lead them to the top spot in the league lead me to trade for a true #1 defensemen this team biggest weakness: MacInnis. Al came in and played well at least offensively but his D has been a big question mark."

GM Guertler has also said, "We believe we are the best team in the league when we are on our game. We have beat the best teams in the league and we believe if there is a year where the Blues can get their first cup this year is it. The core players have been informed already this is going to be the playoff roster unless devastating injuries occur. The only players who need to worry are the guys fighting for the 5th and 6th defensemen spot and 4th line fowards. If there is an upgrade available there will be a trade."

Also there is a rumor going around in regards to star St. Louis prospect Ales Hemsky. When Hemsky played for this team he had no problem producing offensively but the Blues roster isn't set on offense. This is a defense first team that relies on the star players to capitalize when necessary. So seeing all the mistakes Hemsky made early in the season lead to trades that pushed Hemsky off the roster and to be a healthy scratch. GM Guertler hasn't commented on whether Hemsky will be shopped but looking at his position Ales cannot be happy with this franchise. Ken Hitchcock has said, "Hemsky is a huge part of our future not our present. For a team wanting the President's Trophy this year and a serious cup run we don't need rookie mistakes costing us games. Hemsky got his chance and while he did produce unlike Pandolfo and Graves his mistakes were to prevalent to remain on the roster."

So all and all this team looks good and as big as the question marks may be GM Guertler and Coach Hitchcock have all the confidence in this teams core players.

SUBMITTED BY RED WINGS GM:
 
Entering the inaugural '03-'04 season of the GMHL, the Detroit Red Wings made it public that although they will be competitive, a Stanley Cup is not likely at this point. The team was built for a few years down the road. This virtue has held true, and they are more excited about their future now then they were at the start of the season-- a truth that keeps the fans coming to "The Joe".

Plagued all season by an unconditioned Manny Fernandez, the Wings were forced to play backups more so than hoped. GM Torrey Smith said, "When Manny entered training camp, he appeared fatigued and out-of-shape. As we got deeper into the season, his endurance was lacking, and that was a factor in his eventual trade to the struggling New York Rangers." In an intense week of trading, Smith brought in Kevin Weekes, and stated, "Kevin's our guy. We feel that his athletic ability and constantly improving performance will be a huge asset to this franchise both now and in the future." Along with Weekes, the Red Wings received Trevor Letowski and two picks in the 2005 draft for Viktor Kozlov and Dave Andreychuk. Asked about sending Viktor Kozlov to the Blackhawks, Smith responded, "That was easily the toughest decision of the season so far. Having his big body frame on the power play was definitely an advantage, but it had to be done. But, we did get a young, improving center in Trevor Letowski. He excels in the defensive aspect of the game, which our team was seriously lacking."

In another move to improve their defense, the Red Wings traded Mike Sillinger for Kris Draper. "I was thrilled with this trade," said GM Smith. "I would have taken a bag of pucks for Sillinger, and to get Draper... wow. He will definitely bolster our penalty-killing and the guy can score too." The Wings also brought in promising young defensive defenseman Matthew Spiller earlier in the season. They also expect a number of players not on the roster this season to help them out next season. "Guys like John-Michael Liles and Alexander Semin should be on our team this time next year," said Smith. "Also, up-and-comers like Fata, Willsie, Sauve, and Dimitrakos should improve greatly after having some more experience. We are excited about our future."

Hovering around 9th place in the West, the Red Wings do not expect to be playing in the postseason this year. Smith commented on this issue, saying "We've told our players that we most likely won't be Cup contenders this season, and they are all fine with that. We shipped out Andreychuk and others who may be nearing the end of their career, and our team is excited about the youth wave that is coming into the organization." The team hopes to persuade Vincent Damphousse to stick with the team for at least another season, but he said he will test the market, or possibly retirement. Nevertheless, Detroit management and fans are optimistic about the future of the team, and will welcome the 2004-2005 season with playoff hopes and expectations.

SUBMITTED BY HABS GM:

The Montreal Canadiens have been pressed by the same media outlets in Canada and we will also pass on any comments until the possiblity of the post season become a reality. Until then the locker room will remain closed to everyone other than the immediate members of the Montreal Canadiens organization (and Labatt Blue Venders...). Thank you for you patience and understanding.

GO HABS GO!


Most of 'em are kinda boring actually