Working on Prospect Report stuff this morning.... is Florida's prospect group stacked, or what? Drew Shore, Kyle Rau, Rocco Grimaldi, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Nick Bjugstad, to name a few, all have top line upside. Huberdeau and Shore should be in the league this fall.
Please take the time to read Steve Laidlaw's final Cage Match tournament piece (on the bottom right of the main page) - the comments section after it features a fantastic debate between Laidlaw and Ryan Ma, as well.
Wanted to extend a huge thanks to Dave Poleck for delivering an awesome and insightful 'Looking Ahead' piece each week of the regular season.
In: Washington, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.
Out: Dallas, Colorado, and Buffalo.
Swedish goaltender Viktor Fasth may be signing with the Ducks soon. If he does, consider him the front runner to back up Jonas Hiller in 2012-13. Fasth isn’t a prospect – he turns 30 in August.
The depleted Flyers blue line gets a bit of help – Oskars Bartulis will be back this weekend.
Wayne Simmonds won the Hart Trophy (no, not that Hart Trophy) for the Flyers. A good read here.
“So it was only natural that, for the 2006-07 season, when the Flyers decided to create an award for the player who has the best rapport with their fans, it would be named the Gene Hart Memorial Award. It is given to the Flyer who demonstrates the most "heart."
The winner is chosen by the Flyers Fan Club, and, considering the relationship the Flyers have with their fans, winning the Hart Award is a big deal.”
Last week of the season in many pools – who has been your MVP this week? Pekka Rinne’s shutout last night against Dallas may win me my pool, depending on how my competitors do in their match ups. It is a three-way tie for first in my one-year points-only league right now.
The Predators have now sold out eight straight home games. Winning, apparently, sells.
Bush league move from Ryane Clowe in the Sharks game last night. While sitting on the bench, Clowe used his stick to break up a Kings odd-man rush. Should be suspended for this, although he probably won’t.
Petr Sykora scored his 20th goal of the season for the Devils last night. Solid season for a player many of us had completely forgotten about.
Michael Neuvirth sustained what looked to be a serious left leg injury last night against Florida. Come on down, Braden Holtby! The Caps, by the way, clinched a playoff spot.
Claude Noel is so very wierd. His post game press conferences are getting more and more bizarre.
Habs will finish last in the Eastern Conference this season for the first time since.... 1940. Wow.
After not scoring a road goal since October, Ryan Getzlaf now has them in consecutive games.
Jeff Deslauriers got the rare start for the Ducks, stopping 24 shots for the win against his former team. He was always a goalie who I thought had the game to be a good one, but for whatever reason he didn’t get the opportunity he needed to prove himself. Perhaps next season?
Akim Aliu recorded his first career NHL point last night for the Flames. I thought he looked pretty good – big, good skater, physical. Not sure if he has any upside at this point, but Calgary wants to see what they have with him in these games that don’t mean a whole lot.
I’m not just saying this because he recorded a hat trick last night, but Cam Atkinson is going to be a really, really good NHL forward. He’s incredibly skilled and possesses an elite level of hockey sense, too. He’s really running with the opportunity that Columbus is giving him.
Three goals and seven shots on goal for Atkinson last night.
Tom Gilbert played almost 35 minutes for the Wild last night. The most surprising part? They won. Marco Scandella played over 35 minutes. To say Minnesota is thin on the back end would be quite the understatement (although they did hold Chicago to one goal last night).
Viktor Stalberg has 28 shots on goal in his last six games – he’s getting a lot of chances. The hands aren’t always there, but he can create a lot with his incredible speed.
Landeskog’s 267 shots on goal – the second most for a rookie LW in NHL history. The current record holder is Alex Ovechkin, with a whopping 425 shots back in 2005-06.
Cory Schneider weighs in with his thoughts on the Vancouver goaltending situation.
““He’s the guy who got us to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals last year, not me,” Schneider said of Luongo. “He’s clearly earned the right to [start the playoffs], both through his performance and his history and experience.”
Rhys Richards takes a look at a new rival for the Red Wings… the Nashville Predators.
“This likely first round playoff matchup could turn out to be the first of several between these two teams in the near future. Nashville has been auditioning for Colorado’s role and has generally played Detroit well in recent seasons. Should the series require seven games, the Red Wings may finally find the modern version of the former Avalanche.
As Detroit was reminded last week, history shows that one melee can lead to a long-standing and deep-seated hatred between two teams. A long series and future battles between two similar teams could bring exactly that, though a second brawl like the one between the Red Wings and Avalanche could be a tall order.”
My piece on the Canucks Army yesterday – profiling Ryan Strome’s teammate in Niagara – gritty center Alex Friesen.
Andrew Ladd’s brothers try to drum up some support for him as the NHL 13 cover athlete:
Skip ahead to the 3:22 mark – different Wild goalie, same deke. How does Kane not finish this one off?