Some AHL updates from last night:
Nashville defensive prospect Mattias Ekholm continues his point-per-game pace with Milwaukee.
Scott Glennie was once again a healthy scratch for the Texas Stars – apparently conditioning has been the issue with him.
Ekman-Larsson had two helpers for Portland, and he now has seven points in five AHL games.
Chris Kreider missed the Connecticut game last night – he was suspended for boarding in his previous outing.
My CBA thoughts – why do people ask KHLers what they think of the lockout? Of course Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, and others are going to cater to the Russian media and fans by saying they may stick around. That isn’t happening. Not in a million, billion, trillion years.
And on that subject – stop asking Bill Daly, Gary Bettman, or the Fehr brothers what is going on. The best case scenario is a bunch of legal jargon, and the worst case is a heavy dose of pessimism.
I feel bad for the writers and reporters who have to cover it - trying to turn their spin into a column each day would be extremely difficult.
All along I have figured the season starts in December. The owners were willing to burn two months of the season to get a nice deal – what surprised them is that apparently the players are, too.
I’d be extremely shocked if we don’t have any NHL hockey this year. I’d lay serious money down on the season starting at some point. The day-to-day swings and events haven’t really changed all that much. It’s tough wading through all of the negative news and conflicting reports each day, but it is doable.
Rob Vollman projects points for the top six forwards in Vancouver. A really interesting read – Vollman digs up some past statistical comparisons to project where Vancouver’s top scorers end up in 2012-13.
While Daniel Sedin started 52.4% of his shifts in the offensive zone back in 2008-09, it sharply increased all the way to 79.6% last season, consistently finishing among the league leaders by a wide margin.
Similarly the Sedins generally rank between 10th and 13th among Canuck forwards in the average quality of competition they face. While past evidence prevents anyone from claiming the Sedins can't play two-way hockey, coach Alain Vigneault is clearly keeping them focused solely on the offensive aspects of their game.
Vollman projects big things for David Booth:
A favourite among the statistical community for his great possession numbers, David Booth's third-line level even-strength scoring rate between 1.4 and 1.7 points per 60 minutes over the past three seasons was probably stunted by a team shooting percentage under 7.0% when he was on the ice.
After watching Justin Schultz and Nail Yakupov dominate their respective leagues early on into 2012-13, I wonder if the Oilers are further along in their rebuild than many think? Yakupov, as I have said all along, has the potential to become the best young Edmonton forward (yes, better than the other three).
Schultz has quickly adjusted to pro hockey, dominating against his AHL competition (with some NHL players sprinkled in). He is exactly what Edmonton was missing last season - a dynamic defenseman who can not only make a good first pass, but can create and finish offensive opportunities every time he is on the ice.
Canucks prospect Nicklas Jensen has 14 goals in his last 23 pro games (dating back to last year in the AHL, and to start this year with AIK of the SEL). Jensen’s best attributes are his shot and his puck protection abilities – he is going to be in the NHL very soon. I would do my best to grab him in my hockey pool if he was available (through free agency or trade). He’s going to be a good one.
My piece for DefendingBigD yesterday was on winger Tomas Vincour, who I got to see a lot of during his WHL career with Edmonton and Vancouver. Vincour hasn’t been an offensive standout at the NHL level, but that could change with some experience, confidence, and opportunity.
At 21, Vincour is still a work-in-progress. Last year, the Stars placed him in a depth role. He didn’t look out of place, but he didn’t stand out, either. He seems to be picking up more and more as his professional career progresses, which is a good thing, as he still has a ways to go if he wants to be a top six forward in the future. The fact that he is already entering his third pro season at the age of 21 speaks volumes to his overall game and the structure he plays with.
I reviewed Nike Hockey’s summer training program, put together by Gary Roberts and Matt Nichol. If you are a rec league player, this is going to help you a lot – great exercise ideas, proper progressions, and lots of resources to make sure you are doing the exercises properly. And very hockey focused.
This program is obviously general, but slight modifications can tailor it to most people. What I like is that the essentials are covered, it provides proper progressions, and the directions are clear, consistent, and easy to follow.
Who knew Sidney Crosby could play goalie? And check out the beauty two-pad stack at the 0:30 mark:
The Islanders are heading to Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season. I guess we now know why the NHL didn’t have the time to meet yesterday….
This is great news for Isles fans – they’ll have to drive/train a bit further now, but Brooklyn is a lot closer than Quebec City or Seattle. And although the beautiful new Barclays Center doesn’t seat as many people as a typical hockey arena (their capacity for hockey is around 15,000), the Islanders have a solid TV deal, and they definitely don’t bring in close to 15,000 for home games at the decrepit Nassau Coliseum right now.
The Blue Jackets have hired John Davidson – while this doesn’t seem like a fantasy hockey relevant move – look what he did in St. Louis to rebuild that organization.
The Blue Jackets may not be a better team this year, but they are going to be a hell of a lot harder to play against. Rick Nash is skilled, but he is a pretty soft player (and lazy). Columbus added some serious sandpaper with Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno up front.
Ryan Johansen is a stud and is ready to take a step forward. Cam Atkinson, too. And on the back end, there are a number of talented young defensemen – Nikitin, Savard, Moore, Murray, and a few others as well.
The goaltending is still a giant question mark – I’m not sold on Sergei Bobrovsky starting, and Steve Mason should have been in the minors for the last two years. That being said, there is some upside at the position (things can’t really get any worse than they were last season).
From NHL.com writer and InGoal Magazine creator Kevin Woodley:
Talked G w/ John Davidson at '04 Cup Finals, he really gets importance of G coaching + saw value w/ Benoit Allaire + NYR, bodes well for CBJ
I interviewed Sidney Crosby’s trainer, Andy O’Brien, on Tuesday – he gave some interesting insights on Matt Duchene, who he trained alongside Crosby this summer. I’d consider making a move for Duchene after hearing what O’Brien had to tell me about Duchene battling injuries last season. He’s healthy and ready to use his explosiveness to dominate the NHL once again.
I’ll post my submission next week (I am not eligible to win, of course).