I wrote out some thoughts on the New York Rangers hiring of Alain Vigneault yesterday. 

 

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In terms of the fantasy impact of Alain Vigneault coaching in New York, it's worth keeping in mind that while Rick Nash and Derek Stepan are very likely to receive the "Sedin treatment" from Vigneault next season in terms of their deployment, those two were already handled in a calibrated, offense oriented manner by Tortorella last season. While I'd wager that'll become even more dramatic with Vigneault as their head coach, it'll be a marginal difference as opposed to a seachange.

 

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Also, Vigneault has tended to reward solid two-way effort guys with plum offensive minutes in the past (think Chris Higgins, Jannik Hansen, Alex Burrows), and  I wonder if Vigneault might be worth a few extra points for the likes of Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin - especially since Vigneault will, if he stays true in New York to his M.O. in Vancouver, likely bury Brian Boyle, optimize the Stepan line, and use Callahan's group to wreck opponent's third and fourth lines.

 

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Finally, Vigneault's teams in Vancouver were built around an active defense that looked to regularly join the rush. While I'll be curious to see if he can overlook Michael Del Zottto's occassional defensive blunders, ultimately I'd wager he probably can. Perhaps Del Zotto will get Ehrhoff type zone-starts and face secondary competition next year, in which case he could be a very interesting gamble a bit earlier in your fantasy draft next year.

 

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Ovechkin won the Hart, while Crosby won the Lindsay - which result makes more sense to you? I'm going to go with the latter, and by a long shot. Interesting and unsurprising how the writers arbitrarily penalized Crosby for missing time, while the players had no trouble identifying the league's best player this past season... Anyway, I really think it's time to take the awards votes out of the writers hands, it's crystal clear that too many don't care enough or don't understand the game well enough to cast knowledgable votes. To their credit they nailed Subban as the clear cut Norris winner, but still, Ovechkin won the Hart, Toews won the Selke, and Brodin wasn't even nominated for the Calder. That's kind of embarrassing.

 

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My sollution? More "voted by peer" awards like the Ted Lindsay. For example, how cool would it be if the top-50 forwards in NHL scoring all got to cast a vote for the Selke? If you want to know which player is the best defensive forward in any given season, ask the guys he's tasked with shutting down on a nightly basis. I'm pretty sure more of them would answer with "Patrice Bergeron" than with "Jonathan Toews."

 

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Continuing on with hockey news, it was reported during the Hockey Night in Canada panel yesterday that the Calgary Flames had offered three first round picks (the 6th pick, the 22nd pick, the 28th pick) to the Colorado Avalanche for the first overall selection at the 2013 NHL draft. On the one hand, Calgary has an awful lot of holes to fill and a relatively shallow prospect pool that arguably stands to benefit more from three first round selections in a historically deep draft than just the first overall pick. On the other, if you have a chance to acquire Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin at this years draft - yeah,  you should probably get MacKinnon or Drouin.

 

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If I'm the General Manager of a team with a shallow prospect pool and a mid-first round pick, I'm definitely keeping Feaster's Flames in mind to move back and add a first overall pick (at the expense of a higher pick). Scouts and General Managers league wide are salivating about this particular draft class, and I tend to think this is one of those drafts with available talent through the 75th overall pick.  If this draft class is anything like, say, the 2003 NHL Draft class - you're probably better off with two picks in the 20s then just one in the teens.

 

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Another interesting report from the Hockey Night in Canada panel dealt with the prospect of the Phoenix Coyotes relocating to Seattle next season if the league is unable to make a deal with the city of Glendale (or another would be owner of the club/pauper). Apparently this possibility explains why the Canucks were unable to strike a deal to place an American Hockey League affiliate in the Pacific Northwest, and instead turned their attention to Utica and the Mohawk Valley. 

 

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If the Coyotes relocate to Seattle, what happens to Shane Doan? Do we spend another summer speculating about his future?

I say we do!

 

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And what about Dave Tippett? I think he's the best coach in the league, frankly, and his contract expires on June 30th (or a day before the most recent Glendale deadline). If the Coyotes move to the Pacific Northwest, does Tippett move with them? 

 

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Alright, let's make like an Arizonan and forget the Coyotes. How good have the first two games of this Stanley Cup Final series been? We thought going in that the Bruins and Blackhawks might put on a showcase for the sport and the league and boy have they delivered. Game one was an unforgettable thriller, maybe the best Stanley Cup Final game in the better part of a decade. Game two was extraordinary too, partly because of the seismic shifts in "momentum" between the two clubs. The Blackhawks looked, for forty-five minutes, like they were primed to blow the doors off this series at any moment. But while they beat the Bruins on shift after shift, they couldn't beat Tuuka Rask. Eventually, in overtime and the final fifteen minutes or so, the Bruins found their legs and began to carry play. Ultimately they escaped with a victory, and managed to take home ice away from the Blackhawks. 

 

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The Bruins first goal was the result of a graceful power move from Dan Paille, who left Nick Leddy in the dust as he brought the puck out front and created a gimme for Chris Kelly. The overtime winner, meanwhile, was scored by Dan Paille who launched a wobbly twenty-foot wrister that baffled Corey Crawford. So in a series featuring Patrick's Kane and Sharp, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, it was the offensive efforts of Dan Paille that proved decisive in game two. And that's why hockey is the best.

 

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Tyler Seguin has been criticized all postseason long for his lack of offense, but that pass to Paille was marvelous and generally he's been a lot better than the results suggest. One more thing about Seguin that I was talking about last night is that I'm always amazed by just how explosive he is. At one point in game two he crossed over a Blackhawks defenceman (I think it was Duncan Keith), and while the play only resulted in an outside shot it was kind of jaw dropping. There definitely aren't more than four or five players in the league with better skating technique and feet...

 

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Jonathan Toews hasn't been criticized all postseason long and I don't get it. He should be getting carved for his lack of production and instead he's winning Selke's that rightfully belong to Patrice Bergeron.

 

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Earlier this season the Globe and Mail's media critic Bruce Dowbiggin criticized the broadcast networks for "missing the story" on Manny Malhotra. Malhotra was, he argued, a "revolutionary player" during his Canucks tenure, a player whose deployment patterns changed the way defensive specialists were used across the league.

 

First of all, Dowbiggin is absolutely correct. Secondly, that was on full display yesterday night as Boston's Rich Peverley was on the ice for 55% of Boston's even-strength defensive zone faceoffs, and started eleven shifts in the defensive zone and only one in Chicago's end of the rink at five-on-five. Meanwhile Chicago's Marcus Kruger was on the ice for 47.6% of Chicago's even-strength defensive zone draws, starting ten shifts in the defensive zone and only one in the atmosphere (O-zone). Both players were on the ice for an even-strength goal against, but overall, Kruger's Manny Malhotra impression was better than Peverley's.


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kjazz said:

kjazz
... @Mr Zizzla: The fact that Crosby has awesome teammates doesn't necessarily disqualify him from MVP, it's just another consideration when picking the winner. If Crosby had played the whole season and won the scoring race by 25 points, I'm almost 100% sure he would've won the MVP. What's the difference, you ask? Well, in this imaginary scenario, we would've assumed he was integral to the team's success and without him the team would've done much worse. But in the current world, he missed the end of the season, and we saw PIT do well without him. Therefore, while very (very!) valuable, not the most valuable.

@rataylor22, sure I can buy Tavares being more MVP than Ovie.

June 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... Huh? Why should anyone be forced to pick Sid if Tavares is not in the discussion? The discussion was between Sid and Ovy and then there are two picks depending on how you think the Hart should be awarded. The primary basis for this discussion was the players Ovy and Sid. If the primary basis was players then I'm not even including Sid in the top three because he's not among the three most important players to their team in the league. Yeah, that hurts players on stacked teams, but that's the way it goes. There is no way Jose Theodore was the best player in the league when he won the Hart. But he was the most important to his team.

Doesn't really matter anyway, because it's obvious the different people voting for these awards have historically shown to be either clueless or to mix in a bunch of player/media politics. There is no way to objectively give out the awards, but the voters can at least vote based on the actual definition of the awards.

On another note, there should be a new dman trophy for the best defensive dman, but that's another discussion.
June 16, 2013
Votes: +0

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
.... @yougo good call, based on current numbers and career progression, I don't see how anyone can choose Ty over Hall right now.
June 16, 2013
Votes: +0

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
.... But it really doesn't work that way Dak. Because if it's between Sid and Ovie you have to use the "misconstrued" definition as using the true definition doesn't apply. Either your choosing the true player most valuable to their team and you are choosing Tavares, or else if you are choosing between Sid and Ovie you have to use the "best player this season" definition because most valuable to their team doesn't apply properly to either of them in which case it's Sid
June 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... rataylor: I'm with you on that Tavares should have won. But between Sid and Ovy and the Hart's definition, it's no contest. I was just riffing off of Drance's comments.

Obviously there has historically been a bunch of confusion about whether or not it's supposed to go to the MVP or the best player. And Drance, just because it's been done incorrectly in the past, that's not an excuse to make the same mistake again this year. That's just bad rationale for anything.
June 16, 2013
Votes: +1

yougo said:

yougo
...
There definitely aren't more than four or five players in the league with better skating technique and feet...


Crosby,Hall,St-Louis,Duchene,Karlsson.. Yeah I guess you're right, Seguin is definately an explosive skater. I also love that he has that ''tank'' look when he's in full stride. Nathan MacKinnon has a similar skating technique also.

I had quite the argument yesterday with one of my friends on the whole Tyler vs. Taylor. Him choosing Tyler, and me going with the explosive Taylor!
June 16, 2013
Votes: +0

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
Hart Trophy @dakkster and @kjazz, even by your definitions of the hart I don't see any argument that makes Ovechkin the Hart winner. By your definition, there is no case that can be made that Ovie should have won it over Tavares. Without Ovie turning it on like he did, I still believe Caps make the playoffs. At the very least they'd finish a point or two out in 9th. Take Tavares off of the Islanders and they finish 15th in the East. No question. They are nothing without him. Best player in the league? Crosby. Most valuable to his team? Tavares by a mile. Ovie has no place in this conversation, dude missed half a season anyways.
June 16, 2013
Votes: +2

davidgoodburn said:

davidgoodburn
... Have to agree with Drance on this one. The history of the award is that it goes to the most outstanding player despite the official wording of the award. Kind of like how the Norris is intended for the best defenceman but functionally goes to the best offensive defenceman or the Eelke goes to the most defensively responsible offensive forward. @dakkster, @kjazz even if you agree with the definition it's hard to argue that Ovie fits the bill as most integral player to his team success. Bobrovsky, Tavares, Kovalchuk, Lundqvist, Rinne all fit the official definition much better than Ovie.
June 16, 2013
Votes: +2

Mr Zizzla said:

Mr Zizzla
... @kjazz
so if Crosby stayed healthy, the Pens kept rolling along as they did without him, and Crosby won the scoring race by say, 25 points but Ovechkin "carried" his team to the South LEast division title would you still disqualify Crosby because the rest of the team was so good?

To say that the Pens didn't miss Crosby is foolish as the Pens had to win a lot of tight games. Crosby and the Pens were going to dominate the scoring leaders board until he went down. The Pens win streak ended as soon as Crosby went down. If that puck missed his head and he kept playing, the team could've won 20 in a row. Not just get points in the games like the Hawks but actual wins. Crosby getting knocked out was a blow to the team.

By any definition, Crosby should have won the Hart.
June 16, 2013
Votes: +1

kjazz said:

kjazz
... I'm with Dakkster on this. To me, MVP is not always the same as the Most Outstanding Player or Best Player in the league; There is some overlap, but I can see a distinction between the two. The fact that PIT barely skipped a beat without Crosby says a lot about the talent level on Pittsburgh. And if you accept the fact that there is a ton of talent on PIT outside of Crosby, then his achievements aren't as impressive---still VERY impressive (and I have him in one of my pools thank god), but would be WAY more impressive if the rest of his team was full of duds.

And of course people have to consider injury time when deciding on the award. If he played only 1 month at the same skill level, I think you'd agree that it wouldn't make sense to consider him for the award.
June 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Thomas Drance said:

Thomas Drance
... @Dakkster look at the history of the Hart Trophy. Whatever the definition says, it is historically awarded to the most outstanding player (and realistically, that makes a lot more sense as a definition anyway).
June 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... Here's what Wikipedia says about the Hart trophy:

The Hart Memorial Trophy, originally known as the Hart Trophy, is awarded annually to the "player judged most valuable to his team" in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Now tell me that Ovechkin was NOT more important to his team than Sidney was. Sidney went down at the end of the season and Pittsburgh as a team didn't even blink. They just kept on winning.

The Lindsay and the Hart are not supposed to go to the same player every year. Here's the Lindsay blurb:

The Ted Lindsay Award, formerly known as the Lester B. Pearson Award, is awarded annually to the National Hockey League's most outstanding player in the regular season as judged by the members of the NHL Players Association.

So the Hart goes to the most important guy (which does not mean that he is necessarily the best player in the league) and the Lindsay goes to the most outstanding guy.

I don't understand why so many people in the media are making a thing out of this. Just read the definitions of the awards. You can read, right?
June 16, 2013
Votes: +1
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