Laine's two goals give him 30-24-54 on the season, but don't forget about Matthews, who registered three assists to push his points total to 52 (28-24-52). This year's rookie scoring race looks like it might end up being more riveting than the Art Ross Trophy race. Neither Laine nor Matthews is in the Top 10 of the NHL's scoring race, but Laine is just three behind Sidney Crosby in the goal-scoring race, while Matthews is tied for fourth with 28.
Patrik Laine has joined Teemu Selanne (76 in 1992-93) & Jari Kurri (32 in 1980-81) as the only Finnish-born rookies to have a 30-goal season— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) February 22, 2017
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
But some are hopeful:
The Calgary Flames desperately needed another functional defenseman. After trading for Michael Stone they.. still have that exact same need.— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 20, 2017
Stone had an NHL career-high 36 points in 75 games last season before he tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee in game against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 26, 2016. He had reconstructive surgery last April. After signing a one-year, $4 million deal this summer to play for Arizona, Stone has struggled. He has a goal and eight assists in 45 games this season. Here's what Flames GM Brad Treliving said about the deal, per NHL.com:
Flames GM Brad Treliving said newly acquired RHD Michael Stone is "a style fit" who could end up playing w/TJ Brodie or Matt Bartkowski.— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) February 21, 2017
"He's a right-shot defenseman, which are hard to come by, and he can do a lot of things," Treliving said. "He can play on both sides of special teams. Mike's probably going through one of his toughest years. He came back from a real serious knee injury. Those things are hard to come back from. When we looked at our team, one of the things we tried to do was to see if we could add depth to our blue line."
Monday, February 20, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017
But I do not understand the hatred of the rule. Do we not agree that offsides is pretty much the defining rule in hockey? Do we not agree that a crucial ingredient of any offensive attack is making a legal zone entry, with the puck proceeding all offensive players on the attacking team into the zone? So why is it so bad to nitpick on offsides calls? This isn't pond hockey, people. Besides, it's not like it happens on every single goal. Coaches get one chance to take a shot at a challenge per game. Sometimes it can take up to five minutes to get the call, but if the alternative is having an offsides play lead to a crucial goal, I'm taking the coach's challenge every time. The NHL's coach's challenge isn't the culprit here, McDonagh is. If he waits a fraction of a second longer to begin his stride the Rangers have themselves a good goal and a 2-0 lead. But he lazily blew the timing of the play. It cost them the goal and it should have cost them the goal. It's clear that it's pretty much an impossible call to make on the ice--four Rangers are all crossing the line at once. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE THE REPLAY. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
There's 4 defenders between McDonagh and the goalie. Who cares where his skate is? Completely inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 19, 2017
Friday, February 17, 2017
Allen asks Dwyer why he didn't blow the play dead when the whistle does blow, and cameras catch Blue goalie coach Martin Brodeur reacting animatedly to the play while watching the game on video monitors from the pressbox:
Jake Allen makes a save without his mask. Very old-school. https://t.co/V8aBehAmbs— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 17, 2017
Luckily Allen wasn't hurt. There's a reason an automatic whistle is supposed to come whenever a goalie loses his mask. It's simply too dangerous with the way players shoot these days. "I did it in the minors a couple of times," Allen said of the scary moment after the game. "It's a weird rule because there's some times where some refs call it and some refs don't... It's a tough rule. The buckle completely snapped off there so I couldn't see out of my right eye. I just sort of pulled it off." Allen said Dwyer told him that he didn't see the mask was off. "He just said he didn't see it," Allen said. "He said once the play went up ice he didn't look back. I was yelling. It's tough to hear sometimes--fortunately no harm came from it." Blues coach Mike Yeo had a good laugh about it with reporters after the game. "He stood in there," said Yeo. "He's crazy.
Here's Martin Brodeur's reaction to Jake Allen making a save w/out his mask tonight: https://t.co/g4kOnnHHLV— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 17, 2017
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Crosby would also pick up an assist on Phil Kessel's game-tying goal at 13:55 of the third, and, just for good measure, pumped in the OT winner off a beautiful assist from Evgeny Malkin at 4:38 of the extra session. It was a special moment for the franchise, the fans and--of course--for Crosby, who at 29 years of age has accomplished virtually everything there is to accomplish in the sport.
Sidney Crosby becomes the 12th-fastest NHL player to reach the 1000-point mark (and the 86th in history) w/ 3-point effort vs. Jets tonight. pic.twitter.com/crqrDKKFJR— Chris Oddo (@TheFanChild) February 17, 2017
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Nick Bjugstad and Barkov each netted a pair for the Panthers, while Pavelski scored a pair for San Jose and Brent Burns netted his 25th of the season. Huberdeau, who returned to play his first game of the season on February 3rd, now has seven points in four games for the surging Panthers, who have scored 18 goals and gone 3-1 since Huberdeau's return.
Now THAT is a birthday present. Congrats Jaromir Jagr on this amazing milestone! pic.twitter.com/6cmadfo6Ek— NHL (@NHL) February 16, 2017
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
There was one bright spot for the New York Islanders over the course of their game in Toronto tonight. Referee Dean Morton, for whatever reason (the official call goes down as "hooking on a breakaway"), awarded Jason Chimera a penalty shot and the Islanders' captain scored his 14th of the season to temporarily pull New York within one of the Leafs. The bizarre thing about this call is that defenseman Matt Hunwick barely even touched Chimera as he walked in alone on Frederick Andersen. Did he even touch him? It's hard to tell from the replay. It didn't matter when it was all said and done. Toronto scored four unanswered goals, including Auston Matthews' 26th and 27th of the season, to notch a decisive 7-1 win over the Islanders. It was a huge win for Toronto. They would have been leapfrogged by New York in the Eastern Conference standings had they lost. Frederik Andersen stopped 33 of 34 shots for Toronto, many of them dazzling, particularly in the second period (prior to this terrible call) when the Islanders were peppering the Leafs with shots.
Chimera was awarded a penalty shot tonight in Toronto. It was one of the worst calls ever. https://t.co/4LWfOKeyUl— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 15, 2017
The Canadiens are clearly in win now mode after trading for Shea Weber this off-season and as their franchise goaltender Carey Price nears the final year of his six-year $39 million deal. Add to that the fact that Price is approaching 30 and Weber will be 32 this summer, and it's easy to see what Montreal is up against. Julien inherits a team that has been both good and bad in stretches this season. Montreal holds a six-point lead atop the Atlantic Division at 31-19-8. But the Habs have lost the plot recently under Therrien, going 4-8-2 in their last 14. Though the club wasn't rumored to be shopping for a new coach, GM Marc Bergevin has moved decisevely to claim Julien in the hopes that he can steer his team to the promised land. There will be no press conference to discuss the move today. We'll be looking forward to dissecting the post-hiring and firing chatter tomorrow.
This is the 2nd time Michel Therrien has been fired by the Canadiens and replaced by Claude Julien, which is amazing. Happened in 2003 too.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) February 14, 2017
"I would like to sincerely thank Michel for his relentless work with the Montreal Canadiens over his eight seasons behind the bench, including the last five seasons when we worked together. The decision to remove Michel from his coaching duties was a difficult one because I have lots of respect for him. I came to the conclusion that our team needed a new energy, a new voice, a new direction. Claude Julien is an experienced and well respected coach with a good knowledge of the Montreal market. Claude has been very successful as an NHL coach and he won the Stanley Cup. Today we hired the best available coach, and one of the league's best. I am convinced that he has the capabilities to get our team back on the winning track."
Sunday, February 12, 2017
The Ref who made the call had a pretty good look at this play. There's really no excuse for not ejecting Nyquist here. More important will be the reaction of the Department of Player safety to this hit. Most are already worried about the fact that the DOPS is notoriously lenient on first-time offenders. Clearly, a message needs to be sent here. Nyquist went above and beyond to hurt Spurgeon on this play, so the DOPS should match his zeal and throw the book at him. Ten games would be great. Doubt that it will happen, though.
Keith Jones says "Nyquist would be beaten to a pulp" if that happened a few years ago.— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 12, 2017
Let me guess, no prior history blah blah blah ... can't even think this is less than 10 but as usual I'm thinking I'll be too high https://t.co/OtUaDJD8nE— Ray Ferraro (@rayferrarotsn) February 12, 2017
Thursday, February 9, 2017
3. The Flyers Can't Buy a Goal It's been really rough for the Flyers, who have scored just 13 goals in their last ten games. Actually it's amazing that they've been able to win four games and accumulate nine points in this stretch of anemic scoring.
Lucic and McDavid are on ice for 64 % of goals when together. When Lucic is not with Connor he's on for 33 % of goals.— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 10, 2017
Per Puckalytics. pic.twitter.com/XYLAczz73F
Since Jan 11, here is the record for all goalies that have played 12 games or more: Is this list upside down? pic.twitter.com/3Svrf3gYmu— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 10, 2017
According to Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill, the timetable is unknown. "I don't have a total timetable, but I know it's a fractured wrist so to me that would put him in that frame," Blashill said. Typically this injury is about a 6-8 week recovery time, reports NHL.com's Tom Gulitti. The injury puts the Wings in a tough spot on the blue line. Ericsson was averaging 19:13 a game, and the team just lost defenseman Alexey Marchenko after waiving him. Detroit drops to 22-22-10 with the loss--they are tied with Buffalo and Tampa Bay for last place in the Eastern Conference.
Coach Blashill said Jonathan Ericsson fractured his wrist. No timetable for his return. #RedWings— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 10, 2017
The accidental contact pulled Stastny's right leg out from under him (see video above) and he was hurt enough to have to leave the game. Blues coach Mike Yeo did not have an update for media on the severity of the injury after the game. If he's out for any length of time it would be a tough blow for the Blues, who just lost Robby Fabbri for the season a few days go. Stastny is the Blues second-leading goal scorer with 15, and he's fourth on the team with 35 points.
Paul Stastny won’t return tonight with a lower-body injury. #stlblues— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) February 10, 2017
Kill it now. Kill it with fire. Human error is part of the game, and there are missed calls on every shift that help result in a goal. (And before you claim that something like interference is subjective and an offside is black-and-white, to that I’d say it’s all illegal.) Goals should be a bigger part of the game. So the idea that you’re allowing their validity to be determined by a skate blade glancing the blue paint before the puck crosses – literally counting pixels – is dumbfounding. Through Jan. 26, we’ve had 62 coach’s challenges for offside, and 21 times the review took a goal off the board.The NHL has done a good job up until now of getting the calls right on these offsides reviews. I don't get why they botched this one so badly, but let it be a lesson to them. Get the calls right and you don't have to face a barrage of criticism in the ensuing 24 hours. This was the easiest, most obvious and glaring misinterpretation of a video review that I've ever seen on one of these challenged offsides. On the actual play, the lineseman on the ice clearly got confused because the puck went out and came back into the zone quickly, and because Coyle's skates were not in the zone while Parise was tagging up. I get it as a former linesman and ref--stuff happens fast out there and if you lose your focus (the linesman was also out of position) the call is easy to miss. That's why the system is there -- to fix these bad calls. The system was in place, the video was revealing. Everything was as it should be. So how did this go so woefully wrong? I just can't figure out why the officials who stood on the ice watching video of this couldn't make the right call. Here is the NHL's explanation (lame):
At 7:15 of the second period in the Blackhawks/Wild game, Chicago requested a Coach's Challenge to review whether Minnesota was off-side prior to Zach Parise's goal. Review was not conclusive in determining whether Parise had had tagged up at the instant the puck touched Charlie Coyle's stick. According to Rule 78.7, "If a review is not conclusive and/or there is any doubt whatsoever as to whether the call on the ice was correct, the On-Ice Official(s) will be instructed to confirm their original call."Except, how was this inconclusive? Go to Puck Daddy's post and you will find not one, not two, but THREE conclusive angles of this play being offsides. Here's my marked-up screen cap from the video that the NHL posted along with it's explanation! That's the issue here--that the call was botched, not the fact that the call was being reviewed. My point is that the NHL needs to circle back and retrain its officials so that they don't blow these calls again. Give them bigger monitors. Let New York HQ get involved--whatever it takes. But don't scrap the rule because of one botched call. Just be thankful it happened in February and not in May and double-down on getting these calls right. That's my take and I'm sticking to it. Look, offsides is part of hockey. It's a crucial element. It takes proper technique and timing to stay onsides when joining a rush. You have to read your teammate and read the play and oftentimes get your skate blade down and keep it down while waiting for the puck to get lugged over the line. It takes technical wherewithal and tactical smarts to get it done. Offides is the critical rule of hockey. It's everything. Freaking review it. KEEP REVIEWING IT. Just train the damn officials to use their critical minds and their common sense to GET THE FREAKING CALLS RIGHT!
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
It's also hard to tell if the hit wasn intentional by McLeod, but he does appear to thrust himself into Baertschi, who is making a hard turn and is unaware of McLeod's presence until he gets hammered. Baertschi never was near the puck on the play so it makes it pretty important that McLeod at least makes an attempt to avoid hitting him. At the very least, he should avoid giving him the business, but if you watch the replay it looks like McLeod throws a little extra shoulder into Baertschi at the last moment. Was McLeod caught unawares and just throwing the shoulder reflexively, to defend himself? Or was the repeat offender eager to take out a key player with a sneaky little hit? Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins has his thoughts about that:
Baertschi will not return tonight because of a concussion.— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 8, 2017
We'll wait til tomorrow to find out whether McLeod has a date with the Department of Player Safety. And we'll also wait and see about the health of the 24-year-old Baertschi. He's put up 27 points in 50 games for the Canucks, which leaves him one point shy of his career-high.
Coach Desjardins says after watching the replay of Sven Baertschi being hit, he feels Cody McLeod knew he was there before he hit him.— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 8, 2017
Julien is 21st on the NHL's all-time coaching wins list. He is one of four coaches to be fired this season, along with Gerard Gallant, Jack Capuano and Ken Hitchcock. Many believed that the writing was on the wall when Julien took a subtle shot at the Bruins' upper management in late January. "This is a team that needs all 20 guys going to win. We don't have enough talent to think we can get away with a mediocre game," he said. The firing was announced and GM Don Sweeney's press conference was conveniently held during the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory parade, something that irked many locals, including the reporters at the press conference. "If we had waited another day it impacts whether or we had an advantage on the ice and two practice times," Sweeney said. "If we had announced it during the Super Bowl or prior to the Super Bowl the questions would be probably similar. Once the decision was made then you have no choice but to stand up and answer the questions accordingly." More to follow...
The Bruins won 3 out of 26 points in games Rask didn't start.— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 7, 2017
The Bruins shot a league worst 5.97% at 5v5.
That's not on Claude Julien.
Monday, February 6, 2017
On Monday, Malkin spoke with media about the perceived snub for the first time, and he made everybody laugh (see video above). “I tried to forget about that,” was Malkin's initial response, which drew a laugh. “I’m proud what the team said and what Mario said. I’m proud of my family and friends. They support me. I did my best. There’s nothing I can do. Those 100 players are legends. They deserve to be on this list. Maybe I’ll win a couple more trophies, a couple more Stanley Cups. Maybe next year, in the NHL’s 101st year, maybe they’ll send me a great black jacket. I will be No. 101.” Very well-handled by Malkin. The 30-year-old is getting closer to returning from the lower-body injury he suffered on January 24th against the Blues, but not quite yet. Malkin wore a noncontact jersey while skating for an hour with his teammates before doing some individual work. "I want to be back soon," said Malkin. "Today is a step forward, to skate with team and after practice a little bit extra." Malkin has 54 points in 47 games for the Penguins this season. He's anxious to get back but he'll have to watch on Tuesday and root for his captain Sidney Crosby to reach the 1000-point mark. "It's amazing," Malkin said. "Every night I enjoy to watch him, enjoy to play with him. I hope he scores three points tomorrow."
Lemieux on Malkin not making the #NHL100 list: "Very surprised... He has won two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe, an Art Ross. It’s tough.”— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 28, 2017
Konecny has 22 points in 51 games for the Flyers (currently tied for 13th in rookie points), but head coach Dave Hakstol has scratched him for the past two games in an attempt to resuscitate his struggling lineup. Philly is really desperate for goals at the moment--they've managed just 21 goals in their last 13 games, and with Shayne Gostisbehere a healthy scratch for the last three, the Flyers have just managed three, but they've been shutout in back-to-back games. "We played solid defensively. I don't think that's taken away from what we're doing offensively," Hakstol said, according to Philly.com. "I just think we can be a little sharper, not just on the power play but five-on-five in order to generate more offense." The Flyers have gone just 7-11-4 since their 10-game winning streak ended on December 14th. They'll face the Islanders at home on Thursday.
Konecny goes awkwardly into the boards pic.twitter.com/WVINJvFkKv— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) February 7, 2017
3. Your 3-on-3 juggernaut is... The Los Angeles Kings. L.A. has a 3-on-3 shooting percentage of 50 percent in 15 overtime games (27:27 of 3-on-3 time). It's utterly ridiculous--but true. The NHL average is an 18.32 shooting percentage in 3-on-3, and the Kings are 9 for 18.
Sid the kid going for 1000 points on Tuesday vs. Calgary. Has 752 games under his belt. Doing it in next 10 games makes him 11th fastest. pic.twitter.com/IZH0x1L2Iv— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 7, 2017
4. Islanders with and without Tavares How good is Islander captain John Tavares as a possession driver? Well, the Isles have an even-strength CF% of 44.9 when Tavares is not on the ice. When he hops over the boards the Islanders become a plus-possession team with a CF% of 51.1. Of course, we all knew he was pretty darn good... 5. Can you feel the RADU-LOVE? If you are a Habs fan, you sure can. The Russian is the only player with more than 100 mins of power play time to have a shooting percentage of OVER 50 percent.
3-on-3 Goals For, Shots For etc...— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 7, 2017
The Kings have scored on 9 of 18 3-on-3 shots, and also have a 67.9 CF%. pic.twitter.com/4NL68GPeiE
See you next time, and thanks for reading!
Radulov is shooting Plus-50 percent on the PP this year, which is a bit crazy. pic.twitter.com/8ScoqU0fM7— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 7, 2017
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Saturday, February 4, 2017
4. Bolts Sinking Deeper into Obscurity The Tampa Bay Lightning are in dire straits right now. Only one NHL team has been worse than the Bolts since January 1st, and as the losses pile up it is unclear how Tampa is going to approach the deadline. The team has gone 3-9-2 since January 1, sinking to the bottom of the Eastern Conference where they are currently eight points behind Philly for the last Wild Card spot. Tampa has a minus-18 goal differential in their last 14 games. 5. According to Puckalytics, Nino Niederreiter is the best at dishing primary helpers in the NHL this season Things are going right for pretty much everywhere in Minnesota, but we haven't given Nino Niederreiter much love of late, so here goes: 15 of the Swiss' 17 assists have been primary assists. For whatever that is worth... Connor McDavid is second, and how about Nashville's Colin Wilson making the below list?
Since Jan 1, Sebastian Aho leads all rookies in goals scored with 9. Next best is 5. pic.twitter.com/XWxok0ZOqM— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 4, 2017
That's it for today -- see you next time!
Best primary assist per 60 rate at 5 on 5 in the NHL? Nino. pic.twitter.com/Cb67JBRLXo— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 4, 2017
Friday, February 3, 2017
The Tampa Bay Lightning keep falling further down the rabbit hole.
The team dropped to 3-8-2 since January 1st with a 5-2 home loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.
After the game head coach Jon Cooper waxed philosophical. "It's a long year," he said. "It's 82 games, it's ups and downs. When things are going awry a little bit you can't take your focus off the team... we're just a little off-center. It's not going to last forever, but let it be a lesson for myself and everybody. What led to these occurrences? And how now can we try and fix that? That's what were in the process of [doing] now."
Tampa drops to 22-24-6, eight points out of the last Wild Card spot in the East. "I think there's a little bit of, they are just waiting for something bad to happen," Cooper added. "And that's the part they have to get over. One thing I know about the group, is that it's a proud, proud group. And there's a reason we've won in the past--for whatever reason it's not happening for us now."
Erik Karlsson had three assists and Mark Stone scored twice to help the Ottawa Senators earn the win and improve their record to 27-16-6). Defense and goaltending have been big issues for the Bolts this season. With Andrei Vasilevskiy in the nets, the bad luck continued on Thursday. The 22-year-old falls to 11-12-3 with a 2.84 GAA and a .909 Save Percentage. It has been a tough month for Tampa's goalie tandem, to say the least.
Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman says that the team is already in playoff mode: "We are in the playoffs right now," he said. "We're in a dogfight. We have to try and figure out a way to win every night regardless of what happened in the previous game."Bish and Vasilevskiy since Jan 1. Tough times. pic.twitter.com/OXLbe1u01q— Chris Oddo (@thesaucerpass) February 3, 2017
It's not clear how the Lightning are going to play the trade deadline. They still seem to believe that they have a shot to make the playoffs, and in today's age of parity, a playoff berth means a shot at the Cup. So they probably aren't a pure seller regardless of their spot in the standings. But will they buy? Yzerman says he would make a deal if there was a fit for his team, but on the short-term and in the long-term. "We're trying to win," Yzerman said. "If I could do something that helped our team make a trade, that identified a need for us--not just for this year, but going forward--I would do that. I haven't been able to do that."