TIOPS DAILY FIVE
1. The Eastern Conference has seven teams with a realistic chance that could reach the Stanley Cup Final but are the New York Rangers the team to beat in the East? If you had to pick one team that is built to get out of the East again, it’s the Rangers, and according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, NHL coaches and pro scouts believe they are the team to beat. “People think for all the talk of Tampa Bay and Montreal and all the excitement around the New York Islanders, there are a lot of coaches in the Eastern Conference and pro scouts who think the Rangers are the team to beat in the East,” McKenzie said on Tuesday while appearing on TSN Radio.
2. Chris Kunitz has 1 goal in his last 17 games, including just 1 even strength goal in his last 29 games as he appears to be wearing down for the second consecutive season during the stretch run. This wouldn’t be much of a concern if he was strictly a third line player at this stage of his career because he’s still a player who makes an impact in other areas even if he’s not scoring, but because he’s a top-6 winger, you have look at him with some level of concern. That’s why it’s important for the Penguins this off-season to upgrade the top-6 and start lessening Kunitz role.
3. Jason Worilds stunned the NFL in retiring last night at age 27 and what made the news even more surprising is the primary reason he’s retired is to focus and work for the Jehovah Witness. Worilds is now the second prominent Steelers draft pick since 08 to retire from the game after six seasons or less because they were spiritual people. Rashard Mendenhall being the other. Many don’t expect Worilds to change his mind and that’s he serious about moving on but funny this came out as his market wasn’t as strong as he had expected, hence, making the type of money he made last year.
4. It’s easy to say you can always replace a Brice McCain and that might be true, but the Steelers failed to get McCain on the cheap as his market became stronger than they wanted to go and this is a position the Steelers can’t count on upgrading for next season through the draft. The depth chart right now is William Gay, Antwon Blake and Cortez Allen.
5. DeAngelo Williams visits with the Steelers Friday and the biggest thing the Steelers are looking for in adding a No. 2 back is someone who is starter capable in spot duty (Bell suspension, injury) but Steeler officials feel most importantly this player has to have no desire mentally of wanting to be the “man” anymore and who will be fine if he only gets three or four touches a game.