Detroit gave it a good run. They had their foot on Chicago's throat, but didn't press down. Whatever trick Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk had up their sleeve to hold Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa to two points each in five games no longer works. Toews and Hossa finally solved it in Game 5, and then pretty much were back in business last night in Game 6 (two points each).
These days Datsyuk takes about 2.5 shots on goal per game, so last night's number (six) paints a picture of how hard he was pressing.
I know I bang this drum too much, but Michael Frolik is a 35-point player when he gets 11 minutes a game with Tom and Dick as his linemates. He's a 65-point player if he gets 16 minutes a game with Star A and Star B as his linemates. Look at these sweet hands:
I really enjoy watching the shifts where Gustav Nyquist is out there. Nobody tying him up, as the big guns get all the attention. He makes so many nice moves every time he steps on the ice. Smart hockey player. His minutes are limited to eight or nine per game, but as Babock trusts him, that number will grow. Certainly next year. I just don't get why he's planted on the bench when they need a goal.
The AHL Calder Cup lowdown - in the Final 4 you have the OKC Barons (Edmonton farm) vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit); and you have the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (Pittsburgh). Top 10 scorers, and my notes:
1. Mark Arcobello (EDM) - 17 points in 12 games - He's a small player (5-9) who was never drafted, but his production at the AHL level has steadily improved over the course of three years. This sudden surge in the postseason will help his contract discussions in the summer. He turns 25 in the summer and will try to parlay this performance into a two year deal - the second year being a one-way deal. I doubt he succeeds. He reminds me of David Desharnais in that I think he can succeedas an NHLer and put up decent points. The problem is - Montreal didn't have 50 blue-chip prospects in need of opportunity. Edmonton does. There is no room and no chance for Arcobello. An NHL career can be forged on the side of a dime - and Arcobello is on the wrong side of it. I keep going back to PA Parenteau - one a million chance that he would ever get a fair opportunity. He did, and look what we have.
2. Ondrej Palat (TB) - 16 points in nine games - we've already seen him in the NHL and he impressed there too. Big question has always been consistency, but his nine playoffs games seem pretty consistent to me. TB will bring in two prospects next year to join Killorn from this year. But I think Tyler Johnson and Brett Connolly will get the nod. Or perhaps JT Brown. He'll be in tough.
4. Toni Rajala (EDM) - 15 points in 12 games. He has been dynamite since the lockout ended and he got out of the ECHL. He's been OKC's best player. It was very hard for me to keep him out of my Top 50 list in the Prospects Report, but in the end I did because of all the competition from other youngsters. Still, if I made a Top 55 list (points only, players with zero career NHL games) he would be on it.
5. Chris Bourque (BOS) - 14 points in 12 games. He's had his chance. A couple of good ones too.
6. Tomas Tatar (DET) - 13 points in 13 games - He'll make the Red Wings in the middle of next year. They'll use the first half to continue transitioning Nyquist and Andersson into the mix. Conveyor belt of awesomeness. Read up on Tatar some more right here.
7. Carter Camper (BOS) - 13 points in 12 games - Same situation as Arcobello. Small, will be 25 in the summer, wasn't drafted, his offense has improved steadily in the AHL. Exactly the same. Boston doesn't have the 20-year-old future studs like the Oilers, but they are still very deep - just with veterans. So Camper needs a bounce or three. Read up on Camper some more right here.
8. Teemu Hartikainen (EDM) - 13 points in 12 games - Should settle in as a third liner in Edmonton, starting next year.
9. Trevor Smith (PIT) - 13 points in 12 games - Career minor-leaguer.
10. Jamie Tardiff (BOS) - 11 points in 12 games - Career minor-leaguer.
By the way, in the Fantasy Prospects Report, seven of the 10 players are profiled (I didn't do Bourque, Smith or Tardiff).
I started my annual (11th) offseason team-by-team analysis for The Hockey News. Yesterday I did Anaheim and Buffalo.
In case you missed Don Cherry