Yes, this is the week of returns in the NHL, with Sidney Crosby playing against the Rangers on Thursday and all signs pointing to Alex Radulov returning to the Predators in the near future. And yet if you take a step back, what you’ve really got in the NHL right now is an epic race for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference. As of Wednesday morning, there were five teams separated by a single point in the standings for the final two playoff spots in the West. Which of these teams will make the playoffs? Which of these...Click here to read more.
Tagged: Pittsburgh Penguins
It seems these days not a day goes by that there isn’t something about the mediocre Toronto Maple Leafs that’s making the headlines. At first blush, the signing of Mikhail Grabovski to a five year, $27.5 million contract seems rather ludicrous. We’re talking about high-end salary for a streaky scorer that’s never put up 30-goals or 60 points. But is the contract really that far out of whack? Let’s do this arbitration-style, and look at some comparables. Comparable #1: The 2004 NHL Entry Draft – Part 1 Grabovski was drafted 150th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2004 NHL...Click here to read more.
Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m still not convinced Columbus’ interest in dealing Rick Nash wasn’t a creation of TSN and Sportsnet. The two networks needed a big name to speculate about to drive up ratings for their annual Trade Deadline TV marathons. Sadly for those networks, Nash remains a Blue Jacket at least until the draft, where the hype will be built up all over again. I am giddy with anticipation (and by giddy I mean hitting my head with a shoe to make the idea of 24 hour coverage of “The Rick Nash Trade –...Click here to read more.
Ken Hitchcock has more than 500 wins, a .590 career winning percentange and a Stanley Cup to his credit. But he’s never won the Jack Adams Award for NHL Coach of the Year. With all due respect to the great work John Tortorella, Dan Bylsma, Kevin Dineen and Mike Babcock are doing with their respective teams, Hitchcock should win his first Jack Adams Award this year. The impact he’s had on the St. Louis Blues has been incredible. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at how each of this season’s coaching changes have played out. Ken Hitchcock Pre-hiring: St. Louis...Click here to read more.
With the NHL Trade deadline a little less than a month from now, speculation is heating up. Actually, that is a bit of an understatement. Speculation isn’t just heating up, it’s already reached a good rolling boil. We’ve entered the silly season of trade rumours people, where Ryan Getzlaf could be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, you know, just ‘cuz. It’s not just fans or the media that can get swept up in the euphoria that is the trade talk. General Managers can too. With that in mind, here are the four worst trade decisions that could be made...Click here to read more.
Yesterday we took at look at the “real” Western Conference standings after 40 games. Here now is a look at the East. Remember, to learn a bit more about an individual team’s strengths and weaknesses, each squad was ranked in six categories*: Goals for (GF) and shots-for (SHF) were chosen to evaluate a team’s offense; Shots-against (SHA) and goals against (GA) were chosen to evaluate a team’s defensive play; Five-on-five (5-on-5) was chosen to evaluate a team’s even-strength/system play; Save percentage (SVPCT) was chosen to evaluate the team’s goaltending performance. Teams were ranked and then put into groups of five,...Click here to read more.
Next year is the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens-Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Final. Don’t expect a repeat appearence from either team. Today, the Kings made it official, hiring Darryl Sutter as their new coach. We talked last week about how hiring Sutter might just be the least imaginative, worst-thought-out decision GM Dean Lombardi could make for his team. The Kings already defend well – it’s hard to see Sutter adding to this area. The Kings already had a coach who demanded accountability – and it’s doubtful Darryl Sutter will do this in a way that’s more innovative than...Click here to read more.
Things that make one wonder on a Tuesday: The Kings are in Trouble Has Dean Lombardi lost his mind? According to reports, the Los Angeles Kings are looking at Darryl Sutter as their next coach. Because the Lombardi-Sutter connection won championships in San Jose, right? Look, it’s not like the problem with the Kings isn’t well-known. They aren’t scoring enough goals (last in the league). Their point-producers, outside of Anze Kopitar, are all under-performing. How Sutter – a notorious “defense-first, -second and –third” coach – could be seen as the right person to create scoring is a mystery. Not...Click here to read more.
Some quick thoughts on two issues dominating NHL talk right now: Derek Boogaard and Fighting in the NHL For anyone who’s been living under a rock, here’s the original New York Times story about the study of Derek Boogaard’s brain. The results of the study shouldn’t surprise anyone. If you’re a fighter, and you get punched in the head a lot, it’s logical the impact of these blows will have an effect on your brain and brain function. The larger issue here is that, as scientists continue to show conclusive evidence that hockey fights endanger the health of those involved,...Click here to read more.
In part one we looked at the first quarter for teams in the Western Conference. Now let’s take a look at the East. Eastern Conference 1. New York Rangers – 27 Points Powerplay: 25 / Penalty Kill: 9 / Goals For: 15 / Goals Against: 2 What’s working: Henrik Lundquist for starters. He’s the biggest reason why the team is among the league leaders in goals against. In the absence of Marc Staal (concussion), Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi have capably stepped up on the blueline, while defenseman Michael Del Zotto has re-found his game. Marian Gaborik has gotten hot...Click here to read more.