Some morning notes from around the league:
It's looking like Jarret Stoll is a strong possiblity to return for Game 7.
Sidney Crosby has removed his jaw protector and hopes that the next few days (before the next series starts) will be enough time to get him used to playing without it.
An interesting slant given by Ken Holland on the FAN590 this morning. When he was asked about the team's tendency to let their prospects season in the minors for so long, while other teams put them on the big club at the age of 19 or 20, Holand replied that he is the same as other general managers. The Wings haven't had a Top 10 draft pick in 20 years and they've traded eight first rounders in the last 18 years. Prospects drafted late require more seasoning and had Detroit drafted a Top 10 guy, they'd put him in at 18 or 19 just like anyone else.
Get the latest line combinations from last game for free, anytime, just by visitiing here.
Los Angees line combos last night:
|#1||25.2%||CLIFFORD,KYLE - KOPITAR,ANZE - WILLIAMS,JUSTIN|
|#2||24.3%||BROWN,DUSTIN - KING,DWIGHT - LEWIS,TREVOR|
|#3||13.8%||FRASER,COLIN - NOLAN,JORDAN - RICHARDSON,BRAD|
|#4||12.8%||CARTER,JEFF - PENNER,DUSTIN - RICHARDS,MIKE|
The Sharks pushed the series to a Game 7 thanks to some steady goaltending by Antti Niemi. Here is a guy who has slowly ironed out his inconsistent play. Not once this year has Niemi allowed more than four goals. And only twice in the postseason has he allowed more than two goals (10 games).
Top save percentage, postseason:
1. Quick 0.947
2. Vokoun 0.941 (!)
3. Crawford 0.938
4. Lundqvist 0.934
5. Niemi 0.932
If Joe Thornton is eliminated next game, but gets a point - then he will have 11 points in 11 games. That's interesting
because… last year he had nine points in nine games and the year prior he had five points in five games. Before that - 17 points in 18 games. He's doing his part.
Joe Pavelski has 11 points in 10 games, which is a nice rebound from last year's debacle (pointless in five).
Matt Irwin has one point and is minus-4 in the playoffs. I'm not high on him for next year for some reason, and the postseason isn't helping.
Adam Burish returned to action (broken hand) and played 9:41.
Four points for Dustin Brown in the playoffs just continues with his brutal season - and this is the year I had called a breakout, after watching him down the stretch last year and into the playoffs. I guess this is what, um, makes fantasy hockey…fun?
Jeff Carter 31-10, regular season and playoffs. (goals-assists)
Anze Kopitar has points in just two of the last seven games. He has six in 12 for the playoffs - the Kings won't win if he's just posting a point every two games. No way.
Nathan MacKinnon with the hat trick last night to lead Halifax to a Memorial Cup. And two assists. In the game of all games for him. That…makes me reconsider my strong Jonathan Drouin stance. Man, they don't make it easy do they? I was steadfast in Drouin being the Patrick Kane to MacKinnon's Jonathan Toews. But here are the Memorial Cup stats to compare:
MacKinnon 4GP 7-6-13
Drouin 4GP 1-8-9 (five asssts last night)
St. Louis prospect Ty Rattie had a goal and three assists for Portland in the loss. Rattie finished second in tourney scoring with 12 points. He'll have a Tyler Toffoli-like year in the AHL next season before making the jump.
Nicolas Petan, another high draftee next month, also added four points and had 10 on the tourney. He had 120 points in 71 WHL games to lead the league (tied with teammate Brendan Leipsic).
Seth Jones had one goal and had four points in five games in all.
Halifax Mooseheads record this year (season, playoffs, and Memorial Cup): 77-8-4. That's not bad.
How strange did it feel on those 12 nights after they lost hockey games?
Non-hockey related, but why are we charged a couple bucks for "touch tone" on our phone bill? I can see the charge being added in the 1980s when touch tone phones were new technology… but today, is it even possible to get a rotary phone? Companies are quick to add little necessary charges but pretty damn slow to remove them. Just think of the millions of dollars that phone companies have pocketed over the last 15 years or so that this charge has been unnecessary.
Well, since I went off of hockey already, I'll stay off hockey for another moment and talk DobberBaseball. Three months ago we added seven new writers and two new co-editors (Fred Poulin, Eamonn McCauley. Since then, the site has been running at full capacity, with content that matches DobberHockey in frequency and quality. The ramblings are up to five times per week (we will be adding a day starting next week) … so actually, not quite matching DobberHockey's seven days - but close! The rankings over there are up on the 1st, 10th and 20th, just like over here, and I use it myself for my own keeper league. It's the best it's been running since the launch four years ago and I invite you to try it again. You can see by the increased forum posts in the baseball section that traffic there is at its best ever.
When Columbus signed Curtis McElhinney to a contract on Saturday, how many of you skimmed past the announcement without giving it a second thought? Show of hands? I can't see your hand, put it down, you look silly. The signing was a one-way deal, so that should get your attention. It says two things - one they are going to ride him as their No.2. And two - they are going to hitch their wagon to Sergei Bobrovsky for 70 games, if possible. Watch.
It will be interesting to see the market for Ryane Clowe, who becomes a UFA on July 1. Clowe missed the end of the playoffs with a concussion (suspected).
Speaking of free agents, there are some good goaltender ones coming up - the likes of which we haven't seen in years. Here are my favorites, the ones I would target, in order:
1. Mike Smith
3. Tim Thomas
6. Evgeni Nabokov (below Khudobin/Greiss because of likely salary demands)
I wouldn't trust anyone else to be my starter. Ray Emery is the best option as a No.2 goalie.
But there are some interesting names available to be a great No.3 goalie. I consider a good No.3 as someone who can succeed at the AHL level, and if a goalie on the NHL team gets hurt the No.3 would have potential to not only step in and cover him off, but also surprise and challenge for a promotion. Here are my favorites, in order:
1. Alex Stalock
2. Chad Johnson
3. Al Montoya
4. Jussi Rynnas
5. Danny Taylor (he signed in Sweden though, so I can only assume on an out-clause)
CBC captures Jonathan Toews' emotions with this intro from Saturday, especially around the 1:30 mark onward: