Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Is There Room In Tampa For Jonathan Drouin?

After an outstanding junior career, Jonathan Drouin, entered this season as the favourite to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. Many were banking on the skilled winger to be paired up with sniper Steven Stamkos to dish saucer passes to all season long, but things didn't work out that way. Too good for junior, unable to play in the AHL due to age restrictions, and not experienced enough for the NHL playoffs, Drouin has now found himself a healthy scratch for 12 of Tampa Bay's 15 playoff games thus far.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 Mock Draft: The Top 14

Ben is a hockey nut and a recent university graduate. Like most post-uni grads he's unemployed and wants to make himself feel better by writing about something he loves. As always feel free to comment on his work if you agree or disagree, just be nice.
1. Edmonton Oilers – Connor McDavid (Erie Otters – OHL)
The Oilers get their fourth 1st overall pick in the last six years however McDavid unlike Hall, RNH and Yakupov is a guy that would go number one in other years drafts. While the Oilers development of previous draft picks has been poor, Connor McDavid is on another level and ruining him would require Mike Milbury stupidity. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRcYGo4AHqM).

Projection: Superstar #1 C playing in a similar style to Crosby, not Tyler Bozak.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Can Connor McDavid Complete The Comeback?

When Connor McDavid broke his hand in early November he was on a tear of the OHL registering 16 goals and 35 assists in just 18 games. He was far ahead of the current OHL leading scorcer, Mitchell Marner, who had 32 points in 19 games played for the London Knights when McDavid got injured. McDavid would miss 20 games for the Erie Otters - 12 due to the injury and 8 due to his selection for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships - before returning in early January to start an improbable comeback for the OHL scoring lead.

It's shades of Mario Lemieux in 1992-93 coming back after missing two months to win the NHL scoring title by 12 points over Pat LaFontaine (but not actually because Mario had cancer and what he did was simply unbelievable). When McDavid returned in January he trailed Marner by 27 points who had heated up after a slow start and put together 70 points in 27 games from late September to when McDavid returned. Since January 8th when McDavid rejoined Erie the two have battled it out with McDavid cutting the distance between the two down to 12 points thanks to a streak that's seen him tally 23 goals and 56 points in 22 games since his return. That's 2.55 points/game and he's stepping it up even more with 9 goals and 20 points in his last 5 games played.

As the OHL enters the final stretch of the season this is going to be an exciting race to keep an eye on especially with junior hockey being such a gongshow. Marner's Knights have 6 games left while McDavid's Otters have 8 remaining. Also in the mix is McDavid's Otters teammate, Dylan Strome, who sits 2nd in OHL scoring with 112 points and will have to be leapfrogged by McDavid if this scoring comeback is to happen. The Otters' will have 2 games in hand over Marner and hopefully the last weekend of the season is one to follow as Erie has 3 games to London's 1 including two games after Marner's regular season has ended. It should be down to the wire between these top prospects who are all expected to be top picks in June and if McDavid keeps having night's like these than he should find himself on top of the OHL scoring race:


Monday, March 2, 2015

Trade Deadline Offers Fresh Starts

There were a few trades today that may not have looked big on paper, but garnered a lot of chatter of what could be. They involved young players looking for fresh starts with a new organization who could potentially rejuvenate their careers with a clean slate. Whether they couldn't climb the depth chart or just never fit in, these young guys couldn't capitalize on their chances in the NHL and will be getting another look to prove they belong at the NHL-level. We are reminded of Brandon Pirri's situation in which he led the AHL in scoring at age 21, but couldn't jump into the Chicago Blackhawks lineup due to their depth down the middle. He got a change of scenery in a trade to Florida last season and has 18 goals and 27 points through 51 games played with them since the trade. It's paid off for Pirri, and it could for these young players.

What's The Deal With Daily Fantasy Hockey?

Tyler Seguin's knee injury might have derailed your fantasy season, but not if you're into daily fantasy hockey!
Unless you've been living under a rock this NHL season, you've probably heard of the new fantasy fad sweeping the hockey world - daily fantasy hockey leagues. From sponsoring leagues to in-rink advertising, daily fantasy hockey is growing and offers those fantasy hockey junkies a chance to make some coin throughout the season. Different than your standard season-long leagues where friends toss in $20 each for the year, daily fantasy hockey allows you to draft a new roster every night and stay in the game the entire year.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

2015 NHL Trade Deadline Drinking Game!

There's only one thing that can make watching hockey analysts and ex-NHL scrubs talk about potential trades for 8+ hours and that thing is alcohol. With a flurry of trade action occurring in the past two weeks there's no real expectation for Trade Deadline Day to be that exciting, but there is still a lot of work to be done by NHL GMs. Players are still likely to be moved and with David Clarkson's unmovable contract being dealt a few days ago literally anything is possible. So enjoy your day at home on the couch with some beers, fire up NHL 94, and order some Za to get you through the day. 


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Strange, But Brilliant Salary Cap Trades

The introduction of the hard salary cap in the 2005 NHL and NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a big change to the league with guaranteed player contracts testing the shrewdness of NHL general managers. Team's could no longer just buyout player's contracts they did not like anymore without paying for their mistakes. Teams would be on the books for a a portion of a bought out player's salary and that money would count against their salary cap for twice the length remaining on the contract. This was a good thing for league parity as rich teams could no longer just dump their poor decisions simply because they had the money to do so.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Scrubs To Diamonds: Surprising Top Trade Bait

"Get me out of here."
It's always funny when the NHL trade deadline rolls around and you read some of the top trade bait names. While you should be used to big names not moving around the deadline as has been the case in recent years, some of the top players being sought after might actually make you laugh. A 43-year-old? A d-man with one of the worst +/-'s in the league? A defensive centre with low possession numbers? These players aren't terrible players, but they get a lot of attention around this time of year due to the scarcity of players available to improve Stanley Cup contenders via trade.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Alex Kovalev's Shinny Shift

We've heard about "The Shift" for years, but now we have video evidence. Back in 1994 when Alex Kovalev was in his second season with the New York Rangers he was punished by Mike Keenan for a long shift and forced to finish the remainder of the period on the ice. Keenan was upset that Kovalev had stayed on longer than his allowed limit and with his team already down 5-1 to the Bruins he decided if Kovalev wanted more ice time he was going to get it.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Olli Jokinen Discovers River Of Pink Slime Underneath The Air Canada Centre

Pretty bored in Leafland these days so let's have some fun with Ghostbusters.
"The one thing I noticed being here two days is there’s a lot of negative energy around here." - Olli Jokinen after his first game as a Toronto Maple Leaf.
The booing, the paper bags over heads, the jersey tossing - they can only be explained by one thing. Not frustrated Leafs fans, but a river of pink slime flowing underneath the Air Canada Centre à la Ghostbusters 2.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Unbreakable: Single Season Shots On Goal

This is a feature that will showcase an NHL record that we believe is unbreakable. Not just "Wayne Gretzky is God" posts, these records will come from a wide range of players.
Record: 550 shots on goal in a single season
Holder: Phil Esposito

Record In Perspective:

Esposito averaged an astonishing 7.05 shots/game back in 1970-71 en route to becoming the first player to hit the 70+ goals mark. 7 shot per game is incredibly impressive considering the Buffalo Sabres sometimes only get 10 in one game as a team. This 1970-71 Bruins team was simply dominating averaging over 5 goals/game and finished with a +192 goal differential. Based on those stats it should be no surprise that the Bruins finished the season with the top four scorers in the NHL led by Esposito. With Bobby Orr on defence this team would have been puck possession darlings and Esposito very well could have had a Corsi in the 70's with his shot total.

Closest Active Player:

Alex Ovechkin came very close in 2008-09 when he took 528 shots on goal for an average of 6.68 shots/game and had the highest number of shots on goal since Esposito's record in 1970-71. His 528 shots that season look like an anomaly when you consider his career season average is 370 and he hasn't had more than 386 shots on goal in a season since 2008-09. Despite leading the league in shots for 9 of his 10 NHL seasons, it will be a miracle for Ovechkin to crack 500 SOGs once more and challenge Esposito's record. But just like Ray Bourque's career shots on goal record - if anyone is going to break it, it's going to be Ovechkin.

Why It Won't Be Broken:

Sadly, we think Ovechkin's shot at this record has passed. He hasn't been able to tally the same number of shots on goal in the past 6 years and there is nobody else in the NHL that is showing any glimpses of hitting even 400 shots on goal in a season. Coaches and players are simply too smart to allow a player that many scoring chances. Esposito set the record in a different era in which there was simply more open ice and scoring chances galore. This record had stood for 43 years and should continue to stand unless Ovechkin starts taking shots as soon as he crosses centre ice.

 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ready For The Rebuild

There's a high demand for brown paper bags in Toronto these days.
Being a Maple Leafs fan has not been easy. No Cup since 1967, Harold Ballard's reign of terror, the non-call in 1993, and one playoff appearance since 2004. It's been difficult and loyalty has definitely been tested in the last decade, but now the team might actually get it right with a  proper rebuild. With Brendan Shanahan's management team getting the support to tear down the team and start fresh there will be another 3-5 years of non-competitive hockey in Toronto, but you won't hear many fans complaining about this.

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