During the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, GM Glen Sather completely went off the board by selecting, high-schooler, Chris Kreider with the 19th overall pick, which left many prospect watchers scratching their heads. Three years on and Sather is looking like a complete genius. Kreider picked up a goal along with an assist in game one as the New York Rangers edged Washington 3-1. The 20-year old has two game-winning goals despite averaging just 11:08 per contest for the Rangers, which makes him someone to strongly consider for keeper leagues.

 

Another player that’s really impressing me is Brad Richards. If you’ve been playing fantasy hockey for a while, then you’re probably well aware of his inconsistent regular season stats. But when it comes to playoff time, the guy is absolutely clutch (68 points and 256 SOG in 71 career post-season contests)! There aren’t very many players in the modern era that have posted numbers similar to Richards. Daniel Briere, Henrik Zetterberg, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are the only ones that really come to mind. Perhaps Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau should take a page from his book.

 

Henrik Lundqvist didn’t have to work too hard to pick up the W tonight, as he faced only 18 SOG from the Caps. If the Rangers can keep that going, this series will be done and dusted fairly quickly.

 

On the flip side Braden Holtby wasn’t very impressive, as he allowed three goals on just 14 shots, which was a far cry from the numbers he posted in the opening series (2.00 GAA and .940 SP). I would strongly argue that he’s the key to the series for the Caps.

 

Alex Ovechkin has played “alright” this post-season (tied for 21st in points these playoffs, and fifth in SOG with 29), and he got the Caps through the first round against a very tough Bruins team, but somehow I still feel a bit empty. Is it because I expect too much from him? Anyone else feel the same?

 

Dennis Wideman is another player that I’ve been unimpressed with. 46 points in 82 regular season games, but has just a lone point in eight contests during the playoffs. I understand that he didn’t have Mike Green to compete with for much of the season, but that’s a massive drop off from 0.56 points-per-game pace down to just 0.13.

 

Some info and some more regarding where the Caps have given up most of their goals during these playoffs, interestingly enough it’s actually posted on the Washington Post website. That’s like posting top-secret military plans on the CIA website for all to see. Surely John Tortorella would have access to this vital information and start sending Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, Artem Anisimov and Ruslan Fedotenko towards the opposition net.

 

Biggest news coming out of the Blues/Kings series is Dwight King’s hit from behind to Alex Pietrangelo. AP got up and skated off the ice on his own accord, which didn’t look too serious at the time, but he didn’t see much ice-time after that, which could mean that something more serious could be lingering in the background. If Pietrangelo’s out for a significant amount of time, the series could swing LA’s way given the importance of AP to the Blues’ lineup.

 

Roman Polak (10:02 in the third), and Kris Russell (8:34 in the third), both filled in admirably while AP was out.

 

Kevin Shattenkirk was just minus one in the entire Sharks/Blues series, copped a minus three in last night’s contest.

 

Chris Stewart saw a whopping 8:40 in ice-time during the 3-1 loss to the Kings. With the offensive depth that they have plus Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko and possibly even Ty Rattie challenging for a spot next campaign, you would have to think that Stewart’s days in St. Louis are over. A team like the Pens could possibly claim him as a reclamation project and sign him to a cheap(ish) deal and give him a top-six role amongst the league’s best.

 

Brian Elliott stopped 26 of the 28 shots that he faced for a .929 SP. Something tells me that it won’t be enough to get the job done. He’ll need it to be at least .933 or even .940 to win this crazy goaltending battle.

 

Jon Quick stopped 28 of 29 for a .966 SP, which got it done. He now boasts a ridiculous stat-line of 1.49 GAA and a remarkable .955 SP during the playoffs.

 

Dustin Penner had 17 points in 65 regular season contests, but has four points in six post-season games.

 

For all you youngsters out there who have your coach barking at you to eat a nutritious breakfast, like All-Bran or Wheaties, tell them to lay off your case. You want to eat pancakes just like Penner.

 

Speaking of pancakes, if the fans in St. Louis wanted to throw Penner off his game, surely there’ll be someone out there who’d throw pancakes. Detroit has Octopi, Florida has rats, St. Louis could throw “blueberry” pancakes.

 

A King that’s really flying under-the-radar at the moment is Willie Mitchell. He garnered 24:02 overall, 4:54 of which was on the PP, in ice-time during last night’s game one victory. He’s averaging a whopping 25:12 and 4:25 during these playoffs. His 4.67 blocked shots per game are also tops amongst all players as well. He’s actually the pillar that’s propping up the Kings’ defensive corp.

 

The Kings are now a remarkable 4-0 on the road. Generally speaking, the road games are where the playoffs are won and lost. Even if the Kings play half as well as they have on the road in the remainder of this post-season, you can hand them the cup.

 

Pete Deboer tinkered with his lines in practice yesterday, but isn’t committed to them for game one.

 

Ponikarovsky – Zajac – Kovalchuk

Parise – Elias – Zubrus

Sykora – Henrique – Clarkson

Carter- Gionta – Bernier

 

Looks pretty balanced to me.

 

Of the eight remaining teams in the post-season, all of them were at or near the top 20 teams in terms of defense (goals against average). If you knock out Washington and Philadelphia, six of the eight teams were in the top 10.

 

The fantasy implications of this can be disastrous as more teams will try to “replicate” the path of champions as opposed to doing the opposite. We could very well be heading back towards the “dead puck” era if you follow the trends as highlighted over at Hockey Reference. My guess, 2.65 goals per game per team next season, which means fewer “high end” point-per-gamers and fantasy studs. So you can essentially throw those borderline player x "can be a point-per-game player" projections out the window.

 

Illustrated guide to the first round of the playoffs.

 

After averaging just 7:08 per contest in the opening series against the Pens, it appears that James van Riemsdyk will garner more responsibility against the Devils according to csnphilly.

 

If you’re big in trying to be “ahead of the curve”, consider the Avs ($42.8 mil), Preds ($32.3 mil), Coyotes ($29.4 mil), Blues ($28.5 mil) and Sens ($27.8 mil) who are in the top-five, in terms of available cap space heading into 2012-13, according to Capgeek. Interesting enough, four of the five teams made the post-season this year, and Colorado was pretty close at the cusp as well. Who says you need a “big budget” in order to win a cup?

 

So much for the theory of home-ice advantage during the playoffs, the home team is 18-33 on home ice (35.2 percent win rate), which is a stark contrast to what occurred during the regular season 687-399-144 (55.9 percent win rate).

 

Another big stat to pay attention to, the team that scores first is 33-17 during the playoffs (66.6 percent), which is in line to the regular season numbers (828-451-155, 57.7 win rate). So flick on the tele, watch for the first goal, then head over to HBO for Game of Thrones.

 

Daniel Alfredsson is pondering retirement in the off-season; read it here. Money won’t be a factor as he’s only due $1 mil in salary this season, so if he does decide to return, it’ll be for the love of the game. Retire on a high note (59 points in 75 games and 1172 points in 1242 career contests), or have another crack?

 

Hart finalists are out, which are Lundqvist, Malkin and Steven Stamkos. There’s a couple of ways you can go about this. If you go by what the award actually stands for, "player adjudged most valuable to his team", then you almost have to give it to Stamkos don’t you? I mean where would the Lightning be without Stammy’s 60 goals, which accounted for 25.9 percent of the Lightning goals this campaign? You take that out and they’d be where Minny, Islanders or Columbus are.

 

Is Lundy the most valuable Ranger? More important than Dan Girardi? Would Biron have completely collapsed the Rangers?

 

Can’t really fault what Malkin did this season for the Pens, but would Pittsburgh completely collapse if Malkin weren’t there? His 50 goals accounted for 18.3 percent of the Pens’ goals this campaign, is that enough to justify him over Stamkos?

 

An interesting take on goalies from Adam Proteau of THN, but I’ll take it a bit further and look back to the lockout. 2005-06: Cam Ward (still remains) and Dwayne Roloson (gone), 2006-07: J.S. Giguere (gone) and Ray Emery (gone), 2007-08: Chris Osgood (gone) and M.A. Fleury (still remains), 2008-09: same as 07-08, 2009-10: Antti Niemi (gone) and Michael Leighton (gone), 2010-11: Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo (both possibly gone). I guess this just highlights how fickle the goaltending position is in the NHL. You can win a cup and three years down the road and you’re in a different uniform.

 

One of the reasons why I think the Devils will take out the Flyers, Martin Brodeur. According to the blog over at Fire and Ice. Brodeur will start in his 178th consecutive playoff game on Sunday, a streak which was started way back in 1994. Since then, the Flyers have utilized 12 different goalies during the playoffs, Martin Biron, Sergei Bobrovsky, Brian Boucher, Sean Burke, Ilya Bryzgalov, Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche, Ron Hextall, Michael Leighton, Antero Niittymaki, Garth Snow and John Vanbiesbrouck.

 

This column over at azcentral gave me a chuckle.

 

“The franchise sold 50 season-ticket packages on Monday alone and is already ahead of its renewal rate for all of last year, he said.”


If a Canadian team (in Quebec or southern Ontario) made the second round of the playoffs, how many season-ticket packages would that have sold? 10 times, 50 times, 100 times the amount that the Yotes have?

 

Ooh, Columbus gets a new HD scoreboard, I wonder if that’s enough to convince Rick Nash to stay? Now he can watch the opposition score on his team in high-def.

 

World Championship rosters are out for anyone that cares. I’ve always wondered why there isn’t a bigger deal made out of the WC as there are for the Olympics or WJC. Canada, on paper, looks like they’ll dominate and do it convincingly.

 

Make sure you head over to Dobber Prospects and give that a good gander. Brendan Ross and Matt Bugg are two of the most knowledgeable people in terms of hockey prospects.

 

Should you be so inclined, follow me on Twitter if you think that my article/tweets are useful.

 

 


 

King hit on Pietrangelo plus game-winning goal from Matt Greene. Suspendable?

 

Kreider's bullet on Holtby


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Comments (22)add comment

Hek said:

87Flyer
Re:piertangelo Isn't the name Pietrangelo? And I'm the idiot. Watch some more hockey knob before you make a comment like that. Players have been taking out other players for as long as I've been watching hockey. Do I seriously think Sutter sent him out, I'm not sure. Did Bylsma send out Vitale with less than 5 minutes to play to clobber a Flyer when the Pens were about to lose the game? Try watching some actual hockey for a bit bud or even better, try playing some form of sport and perhaps you will see just how intense things can actually get.
May 01, 2012
Votes: +0

Renaldo? said:

Teh Doktor
Stamkos "...where would the Lightning be without Stammy’s 60 goals, which accounted for 25.9 percent of the Lightning goals this campaign?"

Still out of the playoffs.

I haven't given it much thought, but Giroux should definitely have been a finalist - and that's not counting the playoffs.

At any rate, it goes to Malkin. He helped make Neal a 40 goal scorer and with the Pens missing Staal and Crosby for long stretches this year, Malkin carried the team.

I think he should get it, and furthermore, I think he probably will.
April 29, 2012
Votes: +1

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Awesome Job Love the volume and effort Ma, you're a natural smilies/smiley.gif
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

93213 said:

93213
Oveckin On 2nd thought you're probably right to expect more, but I just think it's been a hard couple years for Ovie. He was a natural raw talent who likely face very little adversity so far in life. Now all of a sudden everything changed on him. He's had to modify his game and he's struggled and likely taken a beating to his ego. So I give him points for effort instead of Kovaleving his way in and and out of moments he's putting effort into being an all around threat. I think it's just weird for us that it's happening now.
So in conclusion, now that I understand your statement more I think I agree with you!
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

Piertangelo said:

Mr. Guru
To Hek RE: Piertangelo If King really wanted to take out AP, he would have made him a paraplegic, idiot.

Not so that he hits him, and then AP gets up 20 seconds later.
April 29, 2012 | url
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Premeditated AP Hit I dunno that's walking a fine line to think that a NHL team would do that. But with that said NFL teams have been caught doing it so I mean it could be possible...

I mean Hitch could send out Reaves and do the same thing back to Doughty and we'd be square.
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Hart I think it was a close vote actually, but I think Stamkos 60 goals put him over the edge as it was more noticeable than Giroux across-the-board scoring.

The problem is there's no transparency in the voting system, we don't even know how it works, for all we know they have all their faces lined up in a target and someone throws darts to determine the winner...
April 29, 2012
Votes: +1

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Giroux For these playoffs, I think so, but I'd want a bigger sample size to put him in with the guys that I listed. Maybe one more year of this type of performance and he'll surely be considered.
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Ovechkin 93213, I agree with you that I think he's actually doing a lot more of those "leadership" things, which is why I posed the question am I expecting too much...

Like with Giroux, he's got the leadership and he put up points, you could argue that for Briere, and Crosby/Malkin in previous years...

I dunno a player his his calibre and could be argued as the "world's best" surely can demonstrate leadership and score at the same time, no?

I dunno don't get me wrong the Caps are winning which is all that matters, but something still seems off to me.
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

Mabus said:

mabus
Kreider Kreider was 19th on TSN's board as well, so it's hard to say it was a reach. Regardless it was a solid pick. I'm not a fan of Sather, but his draft record is much better than his free-agent pick-ups/contracts.
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

richard lalonde said:

rattus rattus
rattus rattus OK, see, I read these things but very rarely comment. However, to see Glen Sather described as a "complete genius" in any context other than in managing to remain employed, is so ridiculous as to oblige me to say something.

Mr Sather, long ago drummed out of Edmonton, is a complete genius only insofar as he worked in a League where Bob Gainey also had a job.

Chris Kreider was not "off the board". Indeed he was ranked #24 by The Hockey News and went at # 19.

I know the woods are full of wannabes, but myself and a number of my friends were very , very disappointed that the Habs picked Louis Leblanc at # 18. However I was at that draft. The crowd was chanting Leblanc's name, and I can tell you (the draft was in Montreal) that picking Kreider ahead of Leblanc would have been political suicide. Thus how things have fallen for this once-proud franchise.

Listen, most all of us could do as well as Sather. For eg I Emailed Gauthier and Gainey (yes, I did) about 3 years ago telling them they should pick up Boyle. This while he was still on the Left Coast. So, if Sather is a complete genius...........?

Meh, basically Sather is a guy with a massive network who's been dining out on Messier, Gretz and Co for the last 30 years.
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
Hart the problem with the 'mvp' designation is- what team wouldnt suffer without their #1 goaltender? It is without a doubt the most important position in hockey, but when teams have a Lundqvist,Rinne etc- why go out and get a quality backup to sit on the bench?

When a goalie has a season like Hasek has had in the past, then by all means include him in the Hart trophy talk, but to disregard what Stamkos has done on a poor team makes no sense. You cant blame 1 skater for a teams season of misfortune, it is a team game after all,but without a doubt the goaltending is critical to a teams success. If Roloson had played like he had the year before- and Tampa makes the playoffs, does that make Stamkos's season more impressive? Stamkos gets my vote, but Malkin isnt far behind,as good as Lundqvist was- it wasnt record breaking, or miles above his peers so he should 'settle' for the Vezina.
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

Jocular Hockey Manager said:

JHM
Pancakes Loved the pancakes bit. It was truly a LOL for me.

Thanks
JHM
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

GMGates said:

GMGates
... Excellent ramblings Ma.

A lot to chew on. Oh and good luck on the NJ prediction!
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

Mabus said:

mabus
Stamkos Not sure about the rationale with Stamkos. With him, they missed the playoffs. Without him, they still miss the playoffs and get a better draft pick. 60 goals is too good to leave off a top 3 list, but I can't see any way he wins it. Remove Malkin, and do the Penguins make the playoffs instead of challenging for the #1 seed? Remove Lundqvist, and where does New York finish? Great season for Stamkos, but not MVP worthy.
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

Hek said:

87Flyer
Cheesiness everywhere First off as I guess it's not quite important, who really decides the Hart finalists? Bettman? Lundvist, ah hello, isn't there already an award for the top goaltender? Why tenders are still included in the Hart is beyond me and I love the position more than any other. Malkin, ya sure, the Pens sure seemed to play pretty well last year when he was out for how long? And the greatest travesty of all, let the homer in me out please, no Giroux. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Show me a team who traded their two "franchise" players only to heap the entire offense on the 24 yr old kid. Sure the Flyers have plenty of offensive depth but there's absolutely NO denying that when Homer made the trades the keys were given to Giroux. Lead us. AND HE DID. Take Giroux away from the Flyers and where are we? That's what I thought. I won't deny Stamkos being rightly selected because he is indeed just as important to the Lightning. Typical NHL, why is it any decisions that need to be made by the upper brass just can't be done properly?

Now onto the Pietrangelo thing. BRILLIANT move by Sutter. Take a no name guy who will most likely be an AHLer(I don't know that for sure of course) and send him out to "Clarkie" the Blues glue guy and then let him disappear like he will once he is suspended. Pathetic. This is the real problem with the NHL and their disciplinary group. I don't know how you solve this one but as long as coaches can pull this crap NO PLAYER is safe. And before anyone tries to tell me that "this wasn't premeditated" what was the crap I caught briefly about some NFL teams coach putting contracts(lol) out on players from other teams. If you think it doesn't happen in the NHL as well, GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE. We're talking the Stanley Cup here. ANYTHING GOES. Terrible to see Pietrangelo creamed like that. Why can't teams just play to the best of their ability and if they lose they lose. Oh ya, the Stanley Cup, my bad.
April 29, 2012
Votes: +3

Reg said:

Manhands
Playoff performers You could probably add Giroux to that list of guys who turn it up in the playoffs
April 29, 2012
Votes: +0

93213 said:

93213
Ovie "Alex Ovechkin has played “alright” this post-season (tied for 21st in points these playoffs, and fifth in SOG with 29), and he got the Caps through the first round against a very tough Bruins team, but somehow I still feel a bit empty. Is it because I expect too much from him? Anyone else feel the same?"

He's taking short shifts, blocking shots and he's not sulking on the bench. For the 1st time in his career he's playing a team game finally showing some leadership and the Caps are winning. So I TOTALLY disagree. I think he's playing the best playoff hockey he's ever played. Points will come, but it's as important to prevent the other team from scoring.
April 29, 2012
Votes: +1

InnocentBystander said:

27Blue
... nice write-up amigo...

as for AP, he actually only played one more shift after the hit... in which he uncharacteristically blew his defensive coverage on the short-handed goal by greene. he immediately went to the bench and was escorted by the trainer to the locker room after that play and he didn't return. this team has overcome a number of obstacles this year, but it is hard to imagine them winning another series without their most important player...
April 29, 2012
Votes: -1

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=44293

You're right Brendan, got the reaction confused with McIlrath...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sHtbzdVy3g
April 28, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... hmmmm I could be mistaken... been a few years since that draft and I remember the panel was a bit perplexed about that choice, but I could be wrong. I'll see if I can find a clip of it somewhere.
April 28, 2012
Votes: +0

Dean Youngblood said:

Dean Youngblood
Kreider To be fair, I think saying "GM Glen Sather completely went off the board by selecting, high-schooler, Chris Kreider with the 19th overall pick, which left many prospect watchers scratching their heads" is a serious exaggeration.

Kreider was the 14th ranked North American skater on CSS Final Rankings and was 24th on ISS Final Rankings.

In fact, on TSN's Top 30 for the 2009, Kreider was projected to go 19th to the Rangers.



Good Ramblings though Ma.
April 28, 2012
Votes: +0
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