The forums will be re-launched over the next 24 hours that will fix the current login issues. This will result in some downtime, but not much for the hockey side. The baseball side may see a couple of hours down. But then, one login - everywhere on my websites. Much smoother sailing.
Dobber's Keeper League Fantasy Pack will be available for sale within the next five days. Stay tuned!
According to Nick Kypreos, Roberto Luongo has asked for a trade. He will submit a list of teams he is willing to waive his NTC to go to, and Toronto is on it.
What else needs to be said about Braden Holtby? A 22-year-old third string goalie comes in and is the major difference in upsetting the reigning Cup champs. Washington needs to sort out their scoring issues if they hope to continue the run, but their defensive game and goaltending is rock solid at this point.
Dale Hunter loves his grinders, but the lack of ice time Alex Ovechkin has been receiving is ridiculous. I don’t care if he isn’t the same player he once was, or if he isn’t great defensively. Playing about 15 minutes in Game 7?
I guess it isn’t fair to slam the coach of the underdog winning team, but Hunter’s ice time distribution is confusing to say the least.
For at least one day, the overpayment for Joel Ward matters little. The biggest goal of his career last night, bar none.
Last night was one of his better defensive games, but if the NHL wants to increase scoring, they should just clone Dennis Wideman 29 times and put one of them on each team. He always seems unsure of himself with and without the puck in the defensive zone. Will still get a nice contract this summer because of what he can do offensively, though. I don’t think the Caps re-sign him with Green and Carlson on the right side.
Mike Green played 25 minutes – he is skating better than he has in a year or two. The offense will come. Swagger is coming back – watching him walk the line on the PP is an encouraging sign.
Tyler Seguin was the best Bruin – seven shots and the only goal.
None of the Boston forwards really did a whole lot asides from Seguin and Rich Peverley. Lucic had a terrible game.
It will be interesting to see what Boston does this summer. They don’t need to do much, but the uncertainty regarding Nathan Horton may force them into making a move for a forward. Do they have interest in Rick Nash?
AHL playoff update (keeper league poolies should be paying attention to these games):
Chicago was outshot 31 to 14 but managed to stay alive against San Antonio thanks excusively to a fantastic game from Eddie Lack. Lack stopped all but one of the shots he faced.
Norfolk won again…. Big surprise. No points for defenseman Mark Barberio, but he did have three shots on goal.
Cory Conacher also had three shots on goal as well as two helpers.
Alex Killorn also had two helpers – he signed with the Lightning after a spectacular final season at Harvard – 23 goals in 34 games. He’s a strong center with some offensive upside. Probably needs some time at the AHL level, though.
Linden Vey had two assists for Manchester (the team that lost to Norfolk). He was a standout in the WHL last year and had a strong AHL rookie campaign. Not too far off from the NHL….
All of the teams in the West get a nice break due to the three Game 7’s in the East – none of them really played in a tough series physically, and there are no significant injuries among the four teams either (although Radim Vrbata is going to enjoy the extra days off).
Picking a Masterton “winner” isn’t the point of the award, but the finalists are Joffrey Lupul, Max Pacioretty, and Daniel Alfredsson. As Dobber said, I’d go with Lupul due to the severity of his blood infection a few years ago.
The Vezina finalists – Jonathan Quick, Pekka Rinne, and Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist will win it, but Quick should. I’m not going to claim Eastern bias, but Quick played most of his hockey when a lot of the voters were fast asleep.
The Roberto Luongo situation is going to be a fascinating one to follow. I think the writing is on the wall in Vancouver, and he recognized that with his comments regarding waiving his NTC. Tampa is a logical choice. Florida not as much, but Luongo could be a great mentor for Markstrom (it depends how close Florida thinks Markstrom is). Toronto makes sense too, as Dave Nonis brought Luongo to Vancouver and Luongo has a great relationship with Francois Allaire.
Cory Schneider’s time to shine will be next season. I’d bet in Vancouver, but you never know until one of them is traded. I’d expect Eddie Lack to be the backup regardless of who is starting – he is NHL ready at this point.
Elliotte Friedman’s always solid 30 Thoughts from yesterday is here.
“I'm curious to see if Detroit makes Valtteri Filppula available. Before the Nashville series, Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock had a heart-to-heart with him, saying he'd had a great year, but a strong post-season performance was needed. While linemate Henrik Zetterberg was very good, Filppula had just two assists in five games.”
Would it constitute selling high if Detroit but Filppula on the open market? He was fantastic this season. I think Detroit and Vancouver are the two teams to watch this summer in terms of how interesting things will play out. The Wings have a lot of cap space and will likely look hard at both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Imagine a Parise-Datsyuk combo on the PP? Lethal around the net and along the boards.
“The Ottawa Senators drafted Jakob Silfverberg because they liked his multi-faceted offensive game (natural goal scorer, heavy shot, strong on the puck, very good off the cycle). But what's really impressed them is his willingness to get stronger and improve his compete level. Andreas Dackell, who played in Ottawa from 1996-2001, played with Silfverberg in Sweden and said the newest Senator took his training very seriously.”
It will be interesting to see how Ottawa constructs their top six next season. Turris, Silfverberg, and Zibanejad should all be in the mix for those minutes.
Is Marc-Andre Fleury an elite goalie, or is he merely average? The Copper & Blue guys take a look.
“Yet TSN reporter Darren Dreger said on Twitter that Fleury would be #1 on his ballot if he had a vote for the Vezina in 2012. Dreger remarked that Fleury carried the Penguins in Crosby's absence. The truth is that Fleury ranked 28th of 45 goaltenders in 2011-12 in total save percentage and 35th of 45 in even-strength save percentage. The Penguins were 1st in goals for, 1st in shots for, and 4th in shots against. It wasn't Fleury who carried the Penguins, it was team offense and defense. It's always the same with the Penguins.”
Jared Spurgeon was one of the lone bright spots for the Wild this season. The Hockey Wilderness crew gives him a season-ending grade here.
“Without a doubt, he was the best defenseman on the team in terms of all-around play. I would say he was the best in terms of offense by default. I feel he could do much better on the powerplay. I'd say he was maybe second/third best on defense, making him the best all-around when combined with the offense. I hope his concussion doesn't screw with his play too much, because for all intents and purposes, he's the best d-man on the team and gives a hell of a bang for the Wild's buck. I hope he can take another step offensively so that Gilbert and Scandella don't carry the entire load.”
“However, free agency has become a little less scary for us now that we're nearing the end of the rebild. Up until this point, we couldn't afford to sacrifice our cap flexibility because we didn't know what economic or talent demands the team would end up having in the future. But since most of our team is now set and we'll be re-signing the majority of our young core this summer, we won't have to worry about keeping a ton of cap space open for raises anymore. That opens up a ton of money we can use to bring in the two high quality players that will complete our roster - we won't be forced to settle for stopgaps for economic reasons anymore.
Even though players like Parise, Semin, Suter or Carle may end up being overpriced, just think about the return they'll bring. First of all, what a statement they'd make! If the Avs brought one of them in, it would show the rest of the league that the Colorado Avalanche are back and ready to compete once more. On top of that, if the free agents mesh well with our core, the Ws are really going to start coming during the regular season. That is going to draw some attention in Denver, especially after Payton Manning's the Bronco's season is over. The increased ticket sales before April will probably be enough to justify a big contract or two, but if we make the playoffs? That's just gravy. It appears as if teams average about $1mil in profit for every home playoff game. We bring in Parise and make it to the third round? Well, that contract just paid for itself.”
I don’t see Colorado as an attractive destination at this point (at least compared to other teams), but they have a great core of players, and really seemed to come together last season. They need to add some experience on the back end, though. I wouldn’t expect Matt Duchene’s struggles to carry over, but the question remains – can he play for Joe Sacco?
“According to L.A. players and coaches from that era, Brown's lisp was not Avery's primary target. Avery also zeroed in on Brown's girlfriend—now his wife—a slender, fresh-faced girl-next-door-type from their hometown of Ithaca, N.Y. Apparently Avery didn't think she was glamorous enough to be the girlfriend of a hockey player in Hollywood. "I am not a trophy wife," says Nicole Brown, who has been with her husband for almost a dozen years (and married to him for five). "By any means."
Boy, Avery sure sounds like a winner!
The Ward goal – wasn’t pretty, but it counts all the same in the end: