In James Neal's last two games - 28 minutes of total ice time, five goals, two assists, and 14 shots on goal.
Ottawa had a hell of a season. They should be extremely proud of themselves. A ton of adversity, and their young kids followed the lead of their proven vets for a really, really surprising and successful campaign.
That being said, Pittsburgh was too good. Crosby was, once again, simply magic on the ice on Friday night. And his Penguins teammates followed suit. Kris Letang was phenomenal. Neal was great.
And how is this for depth?
Iginla - 10 minutes
Jokinen - 12 minutes
Neal - 12 minutes
Kunitz - 14 minutes
Malkin - 15 minutes
Morrow - 10 minutes
"I hope they don’t bill us for the clinic," MacLean quipped. "They didn’t step off the pedal one time, and that’s what it takes."
I made the point yesterday, but I'll echo it again - Drew Doughty is, for my money, the best two-way defenseman in hockey. Chara may have the edge defensively, and Karlsson and a few others are better offensively, but Doughty combines everything better than anybody else. He's big and physical, he can shoot and pass, but his best attribute is getting the puck out of danger, either with his feet or with his stick. He is amazing under pressure and always makes the right play when exiting the puck out of the defensive zone.
If you read my ramblings on a consistent basis, you know that I am a big Ryan McDonagh fan. Here is a praiseful column from the NY Post on New York’s best defenseman (and arguably best player, too).
“He’s done it all year long,” center Derek Stepan said. “It’s nothing different. It’s the playoffs and the [defense] is going to have to continue to log big minutes.”
McDonagh has carried over the dominant defense from helping keep Alex Ovechkin scoreless in the final six games of the opening round, but his offensive awareness has elevated a Rangers offense headed to the obituaries.
Valeri Nichushkin plans to play in North America this season. Huge news for real GMs and fantasy GMs – how does this affect his draft stock?
However, I wonder if Nichushkin meant he will play in the NHL (if he makes it). I could see him back in Russia if he doesn’t – sure beats making minor league money to ride a bus around North America (I imagine he would get seven figure money in Russia).
The Coyotes have extended Don Maloney's contract - will Dave Tippett be next? Apparently Tippett wants to wait and see what happens with the ownership situation... hey Dave you may be waiting a while.
Edmonton is "very amenable" to trading the 7th overall pick, says GM Craig MacTavish.
“If we do move that pick back and get an asset that we feel can come in and help the current group, we’d be more than happy to have any of those discussions, and have had many of those discussions with a lot of the managers at this point. In terms of moving up, I’ve had a couple discussions with managers about moving up.”
Texas signed winger Brendan Ranford to a tryout contract - the Stars organizaton (Texas and Dallas have different ownership, mind you) has done a fantastic job scouting the WHL - Brenden Dillon and Matt Fraser were both WHL free agents, too.
A very cool interactive draft visualization to see where players have been picked from over the past few years.
Don’t forget to check out DobberBaseball – a great crew of writers has been brought in over the past while.
I liked this read on Joakim Andersson – a player I didn’t know a whole lot about before this postseason. Limited offensive upside, but that isn’t what hockey is always about, is it? And yes, I know this is a fantasy hockey site, but most/all of us are hockey fans, too.
As creative and productive as the Red Wings’ third line has been in the playoffs, so much of its success stems from the guy in the middle, a guy some call smart, some shy, and others, a safety belt. Andersson won 83% of his face-offs and spent nearly a third of his 11 minutes killing penalties to help lift the Wings to a 2-0 victory Thursday at Joe Louis Arena.
“He’s excellent defensively and can make plays as well, so he’s a big part of our line,” Nyquist said. “He makes sure not too much happens on the defensive side. We balance pretty good with Andy as a centerman, he’s real smart, and I think he’s learned to play with us, too, to be a little bit more offensive minded.”
The KHL is after BOBROVSKY. Will he go there? My crystal ball says… not a chance in hell.
Today’s look around the league – the two New York teams:
2013-14 sleeper: Matt Donovan
Longer term sleeper: Mike Halmo
The Islanders signed Halmo as a free agent out of the OHL last summer. He played his first season in pro hockey in the AHL in 2012-13, finishing with 14 points in 46 games. He’s small but pretty gritty (he loves to hit, and he’s quite good at it). He is also skilled and blessed with terrific hockey sense. He’s a long term sleeper if there ever was one, but he has NHL upside. Halmo was a linemate of Andrew Shaw’s in the OHL, and they are pretty similar players.
2013-14 sleeper: JT Miller
If and when the Rangers buy out Brad Richards, they will need to replace him on the roster. Stepan, Boyle, and Miller is a pretty decent 1-2-3 down the middle. Miller had four points in 26 NHL games in 2013, and eight goals and 23 points in 42 AHL games. He’s a top six talent but just needs some more pro experience before he starts to produce more. Good size, great skater, and he has a fan in Tortorella.
Longer term sleeper: Calle Andersson
A skilled two-way defenseman from Sweden – Andersson is a ’94 birthday and will probably spend another year or two in the SEL before coming to North America. He had two points in 34 SEL games as an 18-year-old – it is hard to really evaluate SEL rookies and youngsters based on their production, as they typically don’t play a whole lot. He has projectable upside, though, and that is what counts.
Any DobberHockey readers in Frisco, Texas? If so – check this out. A pretty cool contest/giveaway, and it is free to enter.
Enjoy the weekend!