From J.P. of Japer's Rink - Henrik Lundqvist's save percentage for Games 5-7: 0.979. Jaroslav Halak's for Games 5-7 in 2010: 0.978.
Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero, Montreal GM Marc Bergevin and Anaheim GM Bob Murray were named finalists for the GM of the year award. I love the idea of this award, as it is an award that can also be given in fantasy hockey. But I hate the idea of basing the award on one-year performance. The best move that a GM ever makes in his career is almost always going to be a move that you don't notice or see the dividends of until years later. The actual 'best' GM in 2012 we'll know in 2015. How the league should set this up is to vote based on past five years performance (or for newer GM's consider it as far back as possible). Which is why firing Brian Burke was so ludicrous - his body of work hadn't even been completed yet though he still managed to build the worst team in NHL history up to a playoff team).
So for my money, I would consider Peter Chiarelli and Ray Shero, as well as Bryan Murray, Ken Holland, Dean Lombardi and yes - Garth Snow. I've never tore a strip off of Snow here because I know that he was just going through a rebuilding process and doing it on the cheap. But landing the likes of Nabokov was a good move, signing Parenteau and Moulson were brilliant (and no other GM would have done it), and remember when they offered all of their draft picks for just one? Ballsy! I like it.
If you're running a keeper league, you should consider having a GM of the Year award. Every year, review moves that were done 10 years prior - so this summer look at who the GMs drafted in 2003 and what trades they made. Pick out the three best, and email your league and have them vote. Present the trophy to the winner at the draft.
More often than not, I feel like I could win a ton of money if I placed bets on the outcomes I would least like to happen. You?
Generally speaking, I will go for either of my two teams - the Leafs and the Penguins. And then, of course, the teams that best help my hockey pool. And then - the teams that I tout right here on this site, because if I'm right about them, then I look good and if I'm wrong I look bad. Right? So the Caps have to win for the latter reason, and the Rangers (specifically Brassard, as I've said here before I had traded him just before he was dealt and so I bitterly want him to fail) have to lose. And ideally, the games are put away early so I can get started on the ramblings.
So of the above "hopes" that I had, I get a big no, no, no and no. As I said, I could have bet hundreds on the Rangers winning, the Leafs losing, and one of the games going into overtime ;)
So let's break down the Leafs. For my money, the best players were Cody Franson, Jake Gardiner, James van Riemsdyk, Phil Kessel and Mikhail Grabovski. And I say this knowing that Grabovski had just two assists and was a minus-10. For those of you who didn't watch this series, Grabovski held the puck in the Boston zone more than any other forward. He took more hits than anyone in the series and more often than not he came out of it with the puck.
Reimer goes without saying. To me, he solidified a place in the NHL's Top 10 goalies.
But I can now say that, without a doubt, for all of Grabovski's skill he has hands of stone.
The other player on the Leafs who controlled the flow of the play was Gardiner. He and Grabovski often looked as though they could play keep away all game long and no Bruin would get possession of the puck. Hindsight is 20/20, but play Gardiner instead of Kostka in Game 1 and we could have a different outcome.
Leafs fans - Always look on the bright side of life:
David Krejci led playoff scoring in 2011 with 23 points. He leads the postseason again with an eye-popping 13 points.
With Wade Redden and Andrew Ference injured, the Bruins were in trouble. And with Dennis Seidenberg injured early in the first period - they were really in trouble. The youngsters Hamilton and Bartkowski combined for 46 minutes of ice time.
Tyler Seguin was taken off the big line, swapping with Jagr who moved up with Bergeron and Marchand. Seguin got his first point of the series though - an assist on the OT winner
Of their five players who managed to get three points in seven games - three of them averaged just 13:30 per game. That's right, the minute-munchers were mostly held to two points or fewer.
Speaking of Ovechkin - where did his superstar second-half skills go? Two points in the series and just one goal. Does the fact that he was credited with 13 hits in last night's game make it any better? It's an impressive number that shows compete, but it also shows frustration when you consider the final score and consider that most of those hits were after the game was out of reach.
Here is Ovechkin's reaction, as told by Russian reporters:
“The refereeing... You understand it yourself. How can there be no penalties at all (on one team) during the playoffs?
“I am not saying there was a phone call from (the league), but someone just wanted Game 7. For the ratings. You know, the lockout, escrow, the League needs to make profit... I don't know whether the refs were predisposed against us or the League. But to not give obvious penalties (against the Capitals), while for us any little thing was immediately penalized...”
The Adam Oates system took awhile to get rolling and when it did, this team was great. But apparently, the system needs some tweaking for the playoffs.
I'll never forget how Jaroslav Halak stymied the Capitals a few years ago and GM George McPhee decided that his awesome run-and-gun team needed to be a defensive team if they wanted a Cup. Meanwhile, they were already on the right track and probably would have - eventually - won the Cup with their offensive system. They ran into a hot goalie, nothing more. But that knee-jerk reaction is still being felt
Brad Richards had just 11 minutes of ice time last night. With the emergence of Brassard, Richards' fantasy output could take a severe hit next season, if he has indeed been knocked down another peg to become the No. 3 center.
Henrik Lundqvist with back-to-back shutouts - a performance worthy of a king. The most reliable goalie in the league could absolutely steal more than a few games (not that he stole last night's games, beach balls could have gone by him and they still would have won).
Check out my THN article from yesterday - Boom and Busts for next year.
In the other Game 7 - the London Knights topped the Mark Scheifele-less Barrie Colts 3-2 to win the OHL title. The winning goal was scored with 0.1 seconds left in the third. Bo Horvat scored twice and was named MVP of the playoffs with 16 goals and 23 points in 21 playoff games. Horvat is eligible for this summer's draft and is profiled extensively in the seventh annual Fantasy Prospects Report.
Memorial Cup teams:
London Knights, Saskatoon Blades, Halifax Mooseheads and Portland Winterhawks.
Bergeron tying goal - and the brilliant coaching move that we've seen before (put Chara in front of the net):
OT winner and handshakes:
Lots of penalties were overlooked, for both sides. Check out this elbow to the face: