Craig Smith scored twice last night and now leads all NHL rookies with 14 points. Smith also led all Nashville players with six shots on goal. Tremendous start to the season for him. He has moved back to center with the injury to Legwand, and looks a lot more comfortable there.

 

Michael Del Zotto has been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers (and poolies) this season.

 

He is playing with confidence again, like he did during his rookie year. There aren't many defensemen in the league who have Del Zotto's offensive talents, but he appeared to be lacking confidence last year. He was tentative with and without the puck, and he quickly lost his way. However, he seems to have figured things out over the summer.

 

Scott Cullen ranks the early returns on the 2011 free agent crop.

 

The struggling Anton Babchuk is out with a broken hand. TJ Brodie has been called up and should see some second unit PP duties.

 

You own Mike Green in a standard keeper league. Do you trade him straight across for either Drew Doughty or Kris Letang?

 

Selanne on what Ovechkin needs to do:

 

Teemu Selanne: Ovechkin’s play, of course, still has fire in it. Everybody wants to stop him. He has some tough nights. Well, in every game he’s getting defended very tightly. If you give him freedom, he’ll use it. What’s happening right now with Ovi is not a big deal. He just needs a breakthrough. Find a way to get open and score. He needs to change something in his game. I’m not worried for him. Ovi is a great forward. Great players know how to get the job done.

 

The rest of the interview above with Selanne is a good one. Check it out if you have a minute or two to spare.

 

The Baby Pens have won seven straight games, and are a perfect 7-0-0 on the road as well. Brad Thiessen has been in goal for all of those wins.

 

Carter Ashton continues his strong rookie season in the AHL with a league leading 11 goals.

 

The Canucks won convincingly over Washington a few weeks ago. Luongo had a decent game, but one save in particular stood out. I’ll post the video at the bottom.

 

Back to the save – right after it happened, Justin Goldman tweeted that the save could be the turning point in Luongo’s season. Seemed a bit presumptuous to assume that a single save could turn things around, no?

 

Well, according to this piece from Jason Botchford yesterday, the save did exactly that.

 

Thanks for all of your continued support in my quest to be one of the next bloggers for the Province. The contest runs through next weekend.

 

A light schedule last night – only three games. I caught most of two of them: PHI/TB and NYR/OTT.

 

Chris Pronger returned last night, with a visor on. 25 minutes and over five on the PK – talk about being eased back in to the lineup.

 

Giroux and Pronger were both pointless, but the chemistry the two have developed is something to behold. Roloson only made 14 saves but it seemed like all of them were on these two.

 

Bergeron continues his great start for the Bolts – scored a goal off of one of his patented slappers from the point. Bergeron had four shots on goal, to lead all Tampa players (tied with St. Louis).

 

Sergei Gonchar was so, so, so bad last night. Multiple turnovers, bad pinches, and overall lazy play in all three zones. Directly at fault for at least one of the three New York goals.

 

New lines for the Rangers – Stepan centering Gaborik and Anisimov. The line combined for all three goals. Dubinsky and Callahan skated with Richards. Stepan looked great, and Gaborik had a ton of quality chances. Anisimov had a quieter game but was just as effective. He’s developing into quite a solid two-way force.

 

The trio mentioned above were a combined plus-nine.

 

Stephane Da Costa had a helper and was Ottawa’s most dangerous forward near the end of the game. His talent level is obvious, he just needs to get bigger and stronger so he can more consistently battle through checks.

 

Bizarre in the Flyers/Lightning game – who is at fault? The Flyers have the puck, it is up to them to attack. Tampa Bay had settled into their 1-3-1 system and seemed content to let the clock tick down:

 

Luongo save from a few weeks ago:


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Comments (28)add comment

Wink said:

Wink
@Paul 1-3-1
Run the Swedish torpedo at it. That will break it.


I looked this up on urbandictionary.com, but didn't find anything.
Is the Swedish Torpedo similar to the Cleveland Steamer?

November 11, 2011
Votes: +0

Robert Esquire said:

bullwinkle
To Seriously I've been watching the NHL exclusively since 1964 - probably before you were even born.
So much for that idea.

I didn't say that the 1-3-1 is "good for hockey" - those are your words. I don't think it's good for the sport in terms of goal-scoring excitement. Neither is the trap but teams didn't act like little children when confronted with it like Laviolette did last night. They attacked and dealt with it.

You seem to be saying that there is no defense against the 1-3-1 so that goal scoring is impossible, so why even try? That's Laviolette's philosophy.

Clutch and grab isn't dictated by defensive systems...it only exists if allowed by the rules. I've watched hockey for a long, long time and I've seen the game ebb and flow with new systems and rules.

I'm not in despair of the game. Just like in warfare, there are always new defenses and new methods of attack. The 1-3-1 will be "solved", but not by coaches who think like Laviolette.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +1

Hek said:

87Flyer
Seriously Mind blowing. For anyone to say that this system is "alright" and that the other coach needs "to figure out a way to beat it" is just baffling to me. I can't help but wonder, do you watch hockey? For anyone to think that using a system like this is good for hockey doesn't have a clue about how the sport is meant to be played. Maybe peeps should download some of the Oilers games from the good ol days and take a peak at what hockey was really like before some mastermind coach decided it was easier to win playing with a trap system than any sort of offensive system.

By your reasoning it's alright for a coach to put 4 players who average 6' and have sticks in their hands in the neutral zone to prevent the other 5 guys with sticks in their hands from getting past them with the puck. Really? That's good hockey? Not even worth attempting to discuss this topic with a thought process like that. Enjoy the clutch and grab hockey that follows a successful trapping system. It's great hockey, we all get to catch up on lost sleep.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +1

PD said:

ZamboniNation
I'd rather watch paint dry than 1-3-1 Having the last man stand 10 feet in front of your goalie in your own zone when the other team has posession in the other end? Boring & complete horsesh!t.. Coaches use tactics & play mind games. if this becomes the norm - this longtime fan will tune out.

Twitter blew up with this last night & some of the more insightful comments that I saw were from ESPN's buccigross... I'm not saying I agree with all he said but here's what he said..

tweet 1 - I've been writing for years on ESPN.Com that part of the NFL's success was the decision to give the offense the slight advantage...

tweet 2 - ...In hockey, NHL and college, almost all the philosophies and rules and equipment favor the defense, lower or insignificant shot totals...

tweet 3 - And yes, fewer goals, and fewer PAYOFFS. Fewer moments of explosive excitement. You can't legislate the 1-3-1 out of hockey. That's dumb..

tweet 4 - The answer is to make it easier to score. Scoring is approaching pre-lockout levels again. This means scoring first matters. It shouldn't!!

tweet 5 - It shouldn't matter who scores first in a game that lasts 2 hours! Until offense is revered, marketed, encouraged, the regular season dies

tweet 6 - And the playoff only fan/viewer will remain status quo. Low goal totals, and the decrease of explosive hits & fighting is a dicey recipe.

tweet 7 - Not skating backward rules? "Zone" violations? STOP!! fewer rules are better. Not more. Take out blue lines, bigger net. Think OFFENSE....

tweet 8 - Last tweet: it's about balance. And right now it's tipped too far to defense. Baseball lowered mound, football embraced passing game #theend


November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Robert Esquire said:

bullwinkle
1-3-1 vs Flyers I watched that game last night and I was very surprised at the Flyer's response to the 1-3-1. Stop the game? Really? If I were the ref I would have given the Flyers a 2 minute penalty for delay of game. When you have the puck you are supposed to attack. If not, you ARE delaying the game.

As for the 1-3-1, where in the book does it say it's illegal? We've had other systems like the trap before but teams didn't refuse to attack in response to it. Get creative and think of a way to get around it. Don't sit there with the puck and in effect whine about not being able to move it up ice because you don't like Tampa's defense. The 1-3-1 is not going to be declared illegal, so get used to it.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

SeaDawg said:

SeaDawg
@Maximus re: Green's ranking Green's value is definitely debatable. Personally, although I no longer rank him as the top fantasy dman in the league, I'd still put him top 5. Right now I'd rank the top 5 as: Doughty, Letang, Karlsson, Yandle, Green. Of the others you mentioned, although very good, I wouldn't take them over Green. Subban and Byfuglien may have been in consideration in the off-season, but their struggles early on haven't allowed them to surpass Green, imo. At least not yet. With Green, it really comes down to risk vs reward. He can put up 75 pts if healthy. Most of the dmen you list can't, except for the guys I rank ahead of him right now (Letang, Doughty, Yandle, and Karlsson). I know it isn't only about points, but that is by far the most important factor. No one is arguing that any of the top 5 dmen, outside of Letang, are multi-cat studs. Even Green, when he was clearly the best, wasn't a PIM monster.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Maximus said:

Mr Zizzla
Green As a Letang owner, i wouldn't trade him for any other D in the league straight up. he's young, just scratching the surface, he played on his off-side until Orpik returned and hasn't played with Crosby this season yet is proving that he can still rack up the points. Last year was great to start but a flop considering his offense dried up (as did everyone's) once 71 and 87 were down for the year but this year he is getting it done on his own.

Green to me is a top 10D at best and even then you are taking a risk.
In a keeper, would you rather have Green or Letang, Doughty, Karlsson, Byfuglien, Boyle, Weber, Chara, Kulikov, Yandle, Subban, Enstrom, Keith, Ehrhoff, Shattenkirk, Pietrangelo?
Looking at those names, i could easily see Green not being in the top 10.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
Flyers/Tampa The first incident happened in the first minute of play! Obviously orchestrated by Laviolette- but for me it was a smart,ballsy play. It was a road game- so youre not hurting your own fans and it was just showing up Bouchers lousy dull strategy. Laviolette probably just got upset because Im assuming the faceoff ended up in the Flyers zone. If i was the ref- I wouldve called bench minors on both teams- face off at center ice, with a warning that if either team pulls that crap again-only 1 penalty (for delay of game) is being called.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Kris said:

4horsemen
Green question reword I'm not sure your question reads right....I'd have rephrased it:

You own Letang or Doughty in a standard keeper league. Do you trade him straight across for Green?

Sadly (as a Green owner) the answer is a resounding 'NO' on Letang and 'I'll think about it' on Doughty.

However

The real oversight on your question is that I can't find Karlsson's name anywhere. At this moment, I see the top offensive d-man question as a debate between Letang and Karlsson. The more I watch Karlsson, the more I'm convinced he has 70+ potential
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Paul said:

puckmonkey888
1-3-1 Run the Swedish torpedo at it. That will break it.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Cap'n Jimmy said:

Capn Jimmy
Neutral Zone Trap Were rules put in to ban the (NJ version of the) trap? I guess there was a crackdown on holding and the elimination of the two-line pass rule.
What I think you need to do as a coach is devise a system to beat the 1-3-1. I'm sure it can be done. And Hek, the 1-3-1 is TB's defensive system, I don't watch their games, but I'm sure they do have a system for offence. Not using an aggressive forecheck is not a lack of offense, and they do average more than 3 goals per game. I didn't do an analysis, but I am sure that is in the top half of the league.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

jacques oeuf said:

hammer2003
... Anisimov didn't look so quiet to me. Forechecking pressure by him caused the giveaway that made the first Gaborik goal happen, and a nice steal to set up the Stepan goal. He was crashing the net, I thought he looked awesome. 6 points and +6 in his last 3 games since that line was put together = snap him up!
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
NHL wants Offense The NHL does not create rules to introduce more defense or less scoring.
The league is still a business. Revenue is generated through excitement. Excitement is mostly the result of offense & goal-scoring.

Forcing the Flyers to walk into a well-defensed system does not increase offense... it only creates puck turnover.

Forcing the Lightning to forecheck creates puck movement without decreasing offense.

Both teams are aware of this.

For these reasons, the league will address the Lightnings' defensive scheme over the Flyers' stall tactic.

A statement such as "The Flyers have the puck, it is up to them to attack. Tampa Bay had settled into their 1-3-1 system and seemed content to let the clock tick down" only suggests that the writer does not understand the big picture of the league.

Create offense, not puck dispossession.
November 10, 2011
Votes: -1

Hek said:

87Flyer
Who the Onus is on? Therein lies the next question about this fiasco. Why would the onus be on the team with the puck to attack like they were talking last night? There was no score at the time that this crap went down. If the team with the puck has it then why wouldn't the onus be on the team without the puck to get it? Can they score without the puck? No. If the team with the puck is the visitor then by keeping the puck they improve their chances of taking the game to OT and receiving a point. Not a bad situation especially considering Philly had 1 of 8 possible points against Tampa last year. For the onus to be on the team with the puck to move it is hogwash. You can't score without the puck and therefore you should be required to get the puck back in order to keep the game flowing.

This is the biggest problem with this 1-3-1 crap system. Buddy has his players sit there and clog up the neutral zone in the hope that a turnover is caused and his players can then score a goal. Would any sane coach want to send his players up through the middle all night long knowing that the other team is sitting there waiting to strip them of the puck? Not likely. Like I said previously I don't like what Lavy did one bit but I totally get why he did it. Someone needs to give Boucher a shake and tell him to get a system that utilizes the players he has. How much do the Tampa stars really enjoy playing that system? Not one bit I'm sure but when the guy behind the bench controls the ice-time I'm sure no one is giving him grief over it. It was brutal to watch but hopefully something is done about these garbage systems instituted by coaches who don't know any other way to win. Get these meatheads out of the game before we are all stuck watching clutch and grab hockey again.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +2

ultrawhiteness said:

ultrawhiteness
fzusher i haven't seen any coverage other than that TSN clip, but did Laviolette go crying to the league/fans/refs?

when you think a rule is not working, sometimes the quickest way to do something about it is to break it.

it's not like you can do that every game - you have to eventually attempt to score if you want to win.

i like it on both sides - both coaches have found loopholes and are exploiting them to gain advantage.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Hek said:

87Flyer
Baffling Now by no means did I enjoy the spectacle that was last nights game but I have to wonder, do the posters who think it was BS by Lavy enjoy the neutral zone trap? Do they not remember the "dead puck era". How many goals were scored per game during that time? Weren't there new rules instituted to try to prevent it? Didn't it destroy hockey for quite some time for millions of fans? I started watching hockey in the mid 80's when it was still pure. To have to have gone through the crap of the trap era was just horrendous. To think that it could come back again because some coach who can't figure out how to use all the offense he has in his lineup pi55es me right off. What's the matter, does Boucher not know how to put together an offensive system? Is his roster an expansion team that was picked from the dregs of the other teams? Nope it isn't. It's full of some of the best offensive players around yet he instead would rather play a trap. GIVE ME A BREAK. I think what Lavy did was a brutal mistake considering it didn't allow us to play our game but I do applaud him for showing the entire world just what kind of crap this moron in Tampa is trying to bring back into the game.

We all know that teams try to emulate the Stanley Cup winner. What happens if Tampa wins it with this style? Oh ya that's right. We've already seen what happens. They were called the New Jersey Devils. Do we all really want to watch that kind of crap each and every night because "it's how we win games". If Boucher doesn't have the ability to figure out how to play an offensive game then he should be held accountable by the league and sent back to wherever he came from. Let him coach the trap somewhere else.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +1

Cap'n Jimmy said:

Capn Jimmy
re: Laviolette = bullshit I 100% agree with fzusher. Well said.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Karbinkopy said:

Karbinkopy
Wilson/Smith/Hornqvist, Flyers/TB This was the first time I saw Nashville play this year and that line was impressive. They had good chemistry and were always buzzing. That Smith really has a nose for the net. That goal he scored off the cycle from Wilson was a thing of beauty, almost Sedin-like. I have Wilson on my fantasy keeper squad, but I wish I had been in tune enough to grab Smith when he was a FA in my league.

That crap the Flyers pulled was pure BS. As a team on defence it's not my job to make you move the puck. If an offensive team just want to skate around their own zone, to me, it makes that team look incompetent/bad because it looks like they have no idea how to breakdown the defensive system. If the guys on the TSN panel want to compare to basketball, then instead of making an illegal defence how about comparing to the 8 second rule (8 in NBA/10 in college) that says the team on offence (with possession of the ball) has to get the ball over the centre line within 8 seconds or they lose possession of the ball (a turnover).
November 10, 2011
Votes: +1

Brian Harling said:

kbooks
Craig Smith Craig Smith seems to be flying under the radar. It was overlooked that he was moved back to center, his natural position, to fill in for the injured Legwand. Smith played with Wilson and Hornquist and the line genrated 3 goals and 8 points. Smith is now leading all rookie scorers with 14 points. That is two more than RNH. Playing for Nashville seems to mean he is not on the radar for most people. This kid is just awesome and hardly ever gets any mention. He was the leading scorer for ther US at the worlds last year. He had six goals and seven points in two games in the rookie tournament. He had a graeat preseason and now is Nashville's leading scorer with seven goals and seven assists. What does this kid have to do to get a lille love and attention?
November 10, 2011
Votes: +2

fzusher said:

fzusher
Laviolette = bullshit That was pure BS. Tactics are part of the game. If the team you are playing against figures out a defensive tactic that works against you, your job as a coaching staff is to find a way to break it, not go cry baby to the refs, the fans, or the league.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +1

SeaDawg said:

SeaDawg
Green I own Green in a keeper league, and I know for a fact I wouldn't be able to trade him right now straight up for Letang or Doughty. Nor Erik Karlsson either. Green has clearly fallen out of favor and his hold as even a top 5 keeper dman is tenuous. He is certainly no longer a top 3 in most people's opinions.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

tGr said:

27Blue
... yeah, there are a few more names that you could throw into that green discussion. i traded him for karlsson last year, but i would also take doughty, letang or yandle for him without a blink...
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

lusshouse said:

lusshouse
Green Doughty or Letang owners will never do such a move, though if I owned Green I'd do it any day of the week.

For the little downgrade in upside, you get consistent numbers and less injury risk. I'd buy that.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

krisco said:

sasquatch
Green I'm Pretty sure I wouldn't be able to sell my green for letang or doughty, they'd almost certainly want more
November 10, 2011
Votes: +0

shaun b said:

shingy
Goalie Intuition Well, with Halak, he had 2 solid starts leading into his first game with Hitchcock. It was the first time I started him in a while.
Rolly seemed ready too after coming in relief of Garon and stopping all 29 shots vs a Florida team who just rang off 3 straight in the first period. The lightning scored 4 straight for the win, Rolly He 1st star and his confidence was looking good.


nd when a goalie breaks through, it doesn't seem to matter who the opponent is.
November 10, 2011
Votes: +1

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Goalie Intuition I am sure many poolies have experienced it this season, and I too can't seem to catch a break in which goalies I start or sit. With the high flying Flyers, I sat Roloson, and last night I sat Halak. Here's to hoping my goalie intuition begins to work a little better.
November 09, 2011
Votes: +0

Veritas0Aequitas said:

Veritas0Aequitas
Referee's blowing the play dead As an ice hockey official... most rule books (not sure about the NHL one) say the puck must be kept in motion towards the opponent’s goal. Now that just means you can't sit there with the puck and kill time. If a team starts doing that, you do exactly what the officials did. Blow the whistle and have a face-off.
November 09, 2011
Votes: +1

David Goodburn said:

davidgoodburn
Flyers 1-3-1 defense Can someone explain to me why the refs would blow the play dead there?
November 09, 2011
Votes: +0
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