Radulov is confirmed for tonight aganist Pittsburgh.

 

Sedin flew home to Vancouver to get tested for a concussion - he won't play on the rest of the road trip.

 

My latest for the Canucks Army on "flipping the switch" come playoff time. Interesting data from previous Conference finalists and Cup winners.

 

The Hawks don't play until the weekend - expect Keith's suspension announcement to come then.

 

Both Jaden Schwartz and Devante Smith-Pelly are going to be terrific NHLers.

 

Schwartz led all Blues skaters in power play time, in his fourth ever NHL game. Smith-Pelly scored a goal and was named the game's first star.

 

Ryan Getzlaf has points in five straight, and seven in total during the streak. He's still on pace for only 10 goals and 58 points, but his play of late is an improvement on what has been a pretty bad season.

 

If the Sharks miss the playoffs, who goes? Has to be Marleau, to me. How would you change things up? Do they try and bring in a new goalie?

 

So much for time away – Pitkanen had a goal and an assist in his first game in three monsht for the Hurricanes.

 

Cody Hodgson scored twice and now has back-to-back multi-point games. His second goal was a beauty off a nice set up from Derek Roy. Hodgson also won 13 faceoffs and led Buffalo in seven shots on goal. Safe to say his best game since the trade?

 

Daniel Sedin left the game with a suspected concussion after taking a Duncan Keith elbow to the face. Kassian, Burrows, and Henrik formed the top line the rest of the way (although Kassian only played about 11 minutes – 12 PIM and three hits).

 

The comments will likely turn into a debate about the hit – it was similar to Doan’s chicken wing on Benn – zero play on the puck, direct elbow to head contact. Sedin, like Benn to Dallas, is the Canucks best forward.

 

Daniel won’t play tonight in Dallas, and I think the Canucks will be extra cautious with him. They are going to come second in the West (the odds are about 93% of that happening at last glance).

 

Sharp/Hossa/Kane combined for 17 shots on goal.

 

Crawford had a great third period, and Luongo was great all game long. Luongo still dives too much for my liking, but he is getting better each season. He embellished a stick to the chest and it almost led to an open net goal for Patrick Kane.

 

Mason Raymond, fresh off being a healthy scratch, played his best game in a long time. Set up numerous scoring chances and was creating turnovers all game long.

 

The Canucks have signed star NCAA goaltending prospect Joe Cannata to a two-year entry level contract. Expect him to follow the Cory Schneider developmental path:

"He is the stereotypical goaltender, 6-foot-1, 195 or 200 pounds, he is really good down low and is a big body up top. Out of the 37 games he played in this year he only gave up more than two goals eight times. So in terms of quality starts it was almost every night he was giving us one."


The Canucks see Cannata as the heir apparent to Eddie Lack in Chicago. If Cory Schneider does get traded in the off-season, the Canucks are hoping Lack is ready to be a backup in Vancouver. And they also hope Cannata is ready for a heavy pro workload. He thinks he is”


Washington prospect Stanislav Galiev is a part of the dominant Saint John Sea Dogs. A Sea Dogs blog shared some thoughts on Galiev, who will be turning pro after this season.

 

“Q: Why should Caps fans be excited to see him begin his pro career?


A: He was an absolute beast in the playoffs and in the Memorial Cup last season. If he can be that beast on consistent occasion at the pro level, Caps fans should have a lot to be excited about.”

 

The Sea Dogs could be losing Galiev, Zack Phillips and Charlie Coyle to the Wild, Beaulieu to the Canadiens, Huberdeau to the Panthers, and Tomas Jurco to Detroit, all in one summer.

 

The Forechecker takes a look at Alex Radulov’s potential centers…. Fisher makes sense, but he has also been on fire with Erat and Kostitsyn the Younger as his wingers. Legwand isn’t a world beater but he allows Fisher to stay with that line, and it would give the Preds a solid secondary attack.

 

A young defenseman who didn’t make my top prospects list is having a very good season in the AHL – Islanders prospect Matt Donovan. Donovan is a native of Oklahoma, and he could break the 40-point mark by the time the season ends. Interesting to see these young players emerging from non-hockey markets – several have risen from California recently (Jon Blum, Emerson Etem, and so on).

 

You have to understand that Matt is a sports anommaly in Oklahoma. And that's not taking anything away from Donovan. It's actually quite an achievement. As youth hockey continues to grow in this state, and the Barons continue to promote a solid brand of interesting hockey, young players in non-hockey markets can use players like Matt Donovan as lighthouses of future potential. It's rare to find a hockey fan in Oklahoma City in the general population, but it's even rarer to find a hockey player with as much upside as Matt Donovan.”

 

Only Streit, McDonald, and Hamonic are signed through next season. Lots of opportunity for Donovan, and the other prospects, to crack the roster.

 

Figure this one out – Austin Smith, from Dallas, is making his pro debut for the Texas Stars (who play in Austin). Smith was a late pick from 2007 (the same round the Stars took Jamie Benn). Smith had an amazing season at Colgate, scoring 36 goals in 39 games. He also added 21 assists. Undersized, skilled forward – seem to be a lot of them coming out of college lately – Bozak, Miele, and so on. Like Donovan, another prospect who has emerged from a non-traditional hockey market (although hockey has some firm roots established in Dallas).

 

Alex Steen has practiced on consecutive days and is feeling good. No word on when he will return to the lineup. He travelled to California to seek treatment for his concussion, and it seems to have helped.

 

A great read on one of hockey’s good guys – Kings d-man Willie Mitchell. No fantasy relevance, unless poke checks emerge as a category. He’ll likely help with the development of Slava Voynov, who the Kings are quite high on.

 

While Mitchell has suffered a couple nagging injuries in the past two seasons, as most players do, he has been free from any type of concussion issues. That has allowed him to thrive, first as a partner for Doughty and then to Voynov, who has stepped into the Kings’ lineup this season and looked instantly comfortable.



That’s a credit to Mitchell, a reliable partner who has taken some personal pride in Voynov’s development.”


More shots means more goals, as Justin Bourne writes over at his Backhand Shelf blog. I agree 100% with this, and it is a great way to spot underperforming or underperforming players quite easily:

 

“Take Sidney Crosby’s goal drought - he’s 10th in the NHL in shots-per-game right now (if he had enough games played to be on that list), averaging 3.6. He’s also staring down a 4.7% shooting percentage, less than half of your average NHLer’s, and wayyyy below his career average. Which is a nice way to say, teams should be scared of the day/week/playoff-series that things start to average out the other way.


Another takeaway from that list is Tyler Kennedy’s name. He currently sits 20th in the NHL with an average of 3.3 shots per game, which is nothing to sneeze at. It’s not enough that teams deal with Malkin, Crosby and James Neal, but now you’ve got the Penguins depth players on the front page of the S/G leaderboard too. No wonder the Pens out-shot the Devils by 30 the other night.


So when you’re trying to determine how an offensive forward has been playing, check their shots-per-game and how it’s been trending – this is a valuable metric for gauging play. If they’re finding ways to get pucks on the net, the pucks will eventually find a way to get themselves into it.”


Mike Green recorded his first point since October on Monday’s game against Detroit. Will be interesting to see if he can get things going – unless Backstrom comes back, I don’t see the Capitals making much noise come playoff time. Not enough creativity up front. Green is a huge wild card for both playoff pools and keeper leagues. Can you safely predict any number for him next year? 40? 50? 60? Who knows how many games he plays, and what style of game the Capitals will be going with.

 

Speaking of Backstrom, he has skated for eight of the past nine days, and it sounds like he may return to practice next week. Cautiously optimistic, yet?

 

Funny story – Ben Eager, in his infinite wisdom, broke the penalty box in Vancouver earlier this season. The Canucks sent the bill to Edmonton, for $13,000 (must be a nice camera). The Oilers deducted it off of Eager’s paycheque, and now the NHLPA has filed a grievance. Your move, Bettman.


A look at the WHL’s most dynamic duos
, led by Porland’s Rattie and Baertschi. The duo combined for a whopping 215 points (or 3.7 per contest).

 

Johan Hedberg has 16 wins for the Devils, making him only the third Devils backup in the past 28 years to win that many games (not counting Clemmensen’s 25 wins in 2008-09 when Brodeur was out with a torn bicep).

 

How many… three? Four? Blatant shot to the head with the puck nowhere near the play.

 

Keith was likely mad about this borderline head shot earlier in the same shift:


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Comments (25)add comment

Rob said:

Rangers0035
@ angus I have to disagree with you about the Sedins in the playoffs. I don't know the exact numbers off hand, but look at them last year in the Chicago series. They may have had 12pts in 7games (just throwing something out) which looks great on the surface. When you dig deeper, you see those points came in the first 3 games when the hawks were terrible. When the games were blowouts. In the next 3 games they were COMPLETELY non-existent. That seems to be what they do a lot. When the score is 6-1 they combine for 10pts in the game. When the score is 1-0 or 2-1 they are no where to be found.
Kesler on the other hand, he is there every night. This is a broad comparison but holds some water. The Sedins are Kane. Kesler is Toews. Kane isn't as good as the Sedins. Kesler isn't as good as Toews. But for Kane to be effective in a game he needs to show up on the scoresheet. Toews can be the best player in the game and never touch the puck. That's Kesler. He is there every night for that team. Sedins, have a tendency to disappear if it's a tight, hard-checking 1-0 game.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +1

sentium said:

Dakkster
... Well, Angus has always had a hard-on for Benn, so that comment is hardly surprising. Eriksson is still ahead in my book, although that can certainly change.

Ross: Vancouver's goalie pipeline hasn't produced a good starter since Kirk McLean. The jury is still out on Schneider. The rest of the fantasy world can go gaga over Schneider, but until he's actually a bonafide starter putting up consistently good numbers, I'm on the fence about him. Best goalie pipeline would be Nashville for me. Sick amount of really good goalies coming through that system.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Veritas0Aequitas said:

Veritas0Aequitas
Sedins bad against just Boston? Hey Angus, do you remember how good the Sedins were against Nashville? Yeah, me neither. smilies/cheesy.gif
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

InnocentBystander said:

27Blue
... Eriksson is a fantastic player, but Benn is easily the most valuable forward in Dallas... and the gap will just grow and grow as the years go by...
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... Could pick either - just my call. We all have different opinions.

Kesler is really good, but the Sedins are both a level ahead. They were great last year outside of the Boston series, and they have been solid in the playoffs for the past few years.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Rob said:

Rangers0035
Kesler Everyone talking about Angus snubbing Eriksson for best player on Dallas, how about the snub for Kesler on Vancouver? This isn't fantasy. Kesler is the best and most complete player on that team.
He is also the only player on Van that brings it every single playoff game.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +1

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Loui Eriksson is the best forward in Dallas.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Veritas0Aequitas said:

Veritas0Aequitas
Schwartz Agreed Schwartz will be a great NHLer but it was only his SECOND game not his FOURTH game.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Darcy S said:

swamp_mule
... As Zander mentioned, Sedin got Keith's head first, but I would expect a fine at most for Sedin. 4-5 games for Keith, IMO (more that Doan's because injuries get taken into account).

Teet for Tat tho, what goes around comes around Daniel.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +1

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Nucks Goaltender Pipeline Do the Nucks have the best goaltender pipeline through and through? If that is the recipe for consistent success, then consider their fans lucky, aside from the recent Stanley Cup heart break of course.


Quick edit: underperforming and overperforming (when talking about shooting %)
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Boyd Zander said:

Goober
Far from Borderline Angus, the hit by Sedin on Keith was far from borderline. You have it quite backwards in that the principle point of contact was the head, not the shoulder. Look at the slowmo, Keith's head has absorbed part of the blow before his body has. Pretty clear shoulder hit to the side of the head. I'm not defending Keith's hit. I agree with what iamlilc had to say. Both dirty hits, nothing borderline with either of them.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +2

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... No problem - I remember you asking about Donovan, so I did some digging. Sounds like he may have crept past Ness and de Haan on the depth chart.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

iamlilc said:

iamlilc
Keith / Sedin In my opinion Sedin's hit on Keith was quite dirty, but not as obvious. It seemed a little late and was a shoulder to the head. You could also argue that it was borderline blindside, but it's because Keith was looking the other way. However, Keith's hit on Sedin was blatantly dirty, but I honestly don't blame him. If someone tried to take my head off, I would probably do the same. Hockey is an emotional game and if you think someone goes out of their way to try and injure you, then you go after him - simple as that. Keith will probably get 3 or 4 games for that, but he is probably lucky that he didn't get injured, whereas the reverse is possible for Sedin (injured, but not suspended).

On another note - I agree with shaun b. Great ramblings today!

I'd like to thank you for looking into Matt Donovan, who I inquired about in your top D-men prospects article.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Ballsakic said:

Ballsakic
Datsyuk He doesnt look very fast, I wouldn't play him on my team this week.
Just saying
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... Sleemans - playing the homer card again, are we? Anything involving the Canucks seems to bring this straw man excuse up.

Sedin's hit on Keith was late, but the point of contact was the shoulder, not the head. Fine worthy, perhaps.
March 22, 2012
Votes: -2

Jocular Hockey Manager said:

JHM
Eager to foot the bill! This isn't the first time an NHLer has had to pay up for his antics. Randy Carlyle managed to get those shoes on in his very first NHL game. He got tossed, and on the way to the dressing room, he whacked Harold Ballard's Cadillac. Fortunately just the tail light!

Huh? Cadillac? Yes Cadillac. Pal Hal kept his Caddy in the arena. The tail light cost hot shot Carlyle a G-note.

Sometimes it's fun getting your skates sharpened by a former NHL equipment manager!

So Ben Eager, that you're learning that if you break it, you buy it... serves you right.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Anthony Furino said:

acfurino
... Sedin, like Benn to Dallas, is the Canucks best forward.

Why is Loui Eriksson so underrated??? I think Eriksson is the best forward in Dallas... What makes Benn any better than Eriksson?
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

shaun b said:

March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Sleemans said:

Sleemans
... Keith's hit on Sedin was terrible and he should be suspended (3-5 games), but I have to laugh when you say Sedin's hit on Keith was a "borderline" headshot. Keith has played the puck, it's long gone, and Sedin targets his head. I get that you're a huge Canucks homer and all, but if the ref called a penalty on the Sedin hit, maybe the second hit doesn't even happen.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +6

Username said:

Username
... Yesss, it looks as if I lost both D. Sedin and Keith in the same game. Swell. At least Keith got 16 PIM.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Username said:

Username
... Yesss, it looks as if I lost both D. Sedin and Keith in the same game. Swell. At least Keith got 16 PIM.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Noam said:

Holymanm
debate whoa now... just as worthwhile is turning the comments into a debate on this claim of benn being the best dallas forward - eriksson might have a thing or two to say about that! (although he's swedish so he'd probably say he's the 10th best forward and he's lucky to be in the NHL)

and daniel over henrik is also possibly contentious but that's just a weird debate, who even knows
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Lockedge said:

lockedge
Re:Sharks If the Sharks don't make the playoffs, it would be nice if they could trade Clowe, Boyle, One of Marleau/Thornton, and Doug Murray. Niemi would be good too, but with the goalie market saturated I doubt they'd get enough to justify it.

My favourite shark still is and will likely stay Patrick Marleau, but if they can get a solid return for him, I'm all for it. Same with Jumbo. Same with Boyle, and Clowe too. Murray just isn't all that good, but he still has some value.

If they don't make the playoffs, they're not going to win a cup any time soon. This was, effectively, their last shot. They could be a borderline playoff team in the future if they kept at it, but it would be better to get value to do a retooling.

They could build around Couture, Pavs, Vlasic, Burns and Greiss/Stalock. Get some prospects in the pipeline again for the first time in years. Sign some UFAs as stopgaps.

But there would be no reason for the Sharks to just trade away, say, Niemi and Marleau. It would make no sense, and I would call for GM Wilson's head.
March 22, 2012
Votes: +0

Simon Noel said:

Grinningbuddha
Sedin/Keith $2500 fine for Sedin, 2-3 games for Keith, pending Sedin's status, most likely 3.
March 21, 2012
Votes: +1

Kevin Luu said:

kluu
sharks I'm gonna say Marleau and if there had to be a second, Thornton
March 21, 2012
Votes: +0
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