Tag:Adam Gretz
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:55 am
 

Perry scores winner after missed trip in OT

By: Adam Gretz

Seeing as how there were only three penalties called during Wednesday's Anaheim-Carolina game, a 4-3 Ducks win in overtime, it's not much of a surprise that Corey Perry tripping Jussi Jokinen behind the net, resulting in the turnover that led to the game-winning goal, was missed by referees Tim Peel and Don VanMassenhoven

Or perhaps ignored is more like it.



 It's no secret that drawing a penalty in overtime is a difficult task, especially as the NHL continues to hand out fewer power plays per game than it has in over a decade, but that is an obvious trip that needs to be called. The fact it's a play that resulted in a game-winning goal makes it even more noticeable, even if it involved two teams that aren't likely to be a major factor in the playoff race the rest of the season.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 5:26 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 5:31 pm
 

Henrik Sedin's games streak could be in danger

By: Adam Gretz

Throughout his career Henrik Sedin has been one of the most durable players in the NHL.

He's missed just 10 regular season games since joining the Canucks, and you have to go all the way back to the 2003-04 season to find the last time he was not in the Vancouver lineup. That is a stretch of 552 consecutive games, the second-longest current streak in the NHL, trailing only Calgary's Jay Bouwmeester who has appeared in 559 consecutive games.

Sedin's ironman streak appears to be in some danger as he was reportedly spotted wearing a walking boot in Minnesota on Wednesday ahead of the Canucks game against the Wild on Thursday night. He was scheduled to have a CT scan on Wednesday according to Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province.

It goes without saying that Sedin, along with his twin brother Daniel, are the two biggest cogs in Vancouver's offensive machine, and in 53 games this season Henrik has 11 goals to go with a league-leading 46 assists. He's led the league in assists in each of the past two seasons.

Sedin was hit by a slap shot during the Canucks 4-3 shootout win in Nashville on Tuesday night.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 10:36 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 10:40 pm
 

Controversial no-goal call at end of NJ-NYR game

By: Adam Gretz

The New Jersey Devils extended their winning streak to five games on Tuesday night by picking up a 1-0 win at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.

In the end, David Clarkson's 21st goal of the season was all the offense the Devils needed, while Martin Brodeur stopped all 30 shots he faced to add yet another shutout to his Hall of Fame resume. But it almost wasn't enough as the Rangers appeared, for a brief moment, to break through and tie the game with just under four seconds remaining in regulation.

The potential game-tying goal, however, was called back when it was determined that Rangers forward Marian Gaborik interferred with Brodeur.



Gaborik argued that he was pushed into Broduer by defenseman Anton Volchenkov, while Volchenkov countered by saying he did no such thing, which is about what you should expect to come from both sides.

There is clearly contact with the goaltender, and anytime that happens you can be sure there is going to be some sort of a call made, whether it be goaltender interference or waved off goal. Surely we've all seen goals called back for far less than that (heck, it happens to Tomas Holmstrom seemingly once a month). The fact that it happened with time running down in a 1-0 game simply magnifies it.

But you make the call: Right decision by the on-ice officials to take away the goal, or should that have been a game that went to overtime?

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 7:32 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 8:04 pm
 

Frans Nielsen signs 4-year contract with Isles

IslandersBy: Adam Gretz

Frans Nielsen isn't the flashiest player on the New York Islanders roster, but he is probably one of their best and most valuable players, and he's going to be sticking around for the next few years.

On Tuesday night he reportedly signed a four-year contract  worth $11 million according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. The contract carries a cap hit of $2.75 million per season, which is a pretty good deal for what Nielsen brings to the table every night for the Islanders.

The Islanders will officially announce the deal on Wednesday.

He is currently in the final year of a four-year contract that paid him $525,000 per season, and had he not signed a new contract before July 1 he would have been an unrestricted free agent, and probably an attractive one on the open market.

His raw numbers aren't going to blow you away, as he's scored just nine goals to go with 16 assists in 51 games this season (he's recorded 33, 38 and 44 points over the previous three years) but he plays a big, shutdown role for the Islanders and is usually counted on to match up with the oppositions top players in a defensive role and play in the tough situations that opens things up for the Islanders' top scoring line, centered by John Tavares.

He is also their top penalty killing forward, logging over two-minutes per game in shorthanded situations.

The Islanders now have Tavares, Nielsen, Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo signed through the 2015-16 season.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:40 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 4:53 pm
 

Goal scoring is still going down

Goal Scoring DownBy: Adam Gretz

Pucks and Numbers: a weekly statistical look at what's happening around the NHL. This week: A look at the continuing decline of goal scoring in the NHL.

On Tuesday Morning TSN's Gord Miller mentioned on Twitter that there has been some talk from "a few" NHL general managers about potentially reintroducing the red line. The NHL attempted to open up the game by allowing two-line passes coming out of the lockout prior to the 2005-06 season in an effort to help increase goal-scoring across the league.

If there is one thing the NHL doesn't need right now, from an offensive standpoint, it's a rule change that would take the league back to the clutch-and-grab, neutral zone obstruction era of pre-lockout hockey. You remember those days. Scoring first means a near automatic win, games that looked as if they were being played in mud through the middle of the ice.

The clutch-and-grab aspect is already making its way back into the game as teams seem to be getting away with more obstruction and interference away from the play, and goal-scoring has been nearing the levels it was in the late 90s and early 2000s when scoring first was a near automatic win.

When the NHL came out of the darkness that was the lost season of 2003-04, there was a huge crackdown on neutral zone obstruction, and when combined with the elimination of the red line, goal-scoring soared during the '05-06 season to levels that hadn't been reached since the early 90s.

In the following years, however, it's slowly but surely started to regress back to the dead puck era, and it seems that a lot of it has to do with the fact that the league has started to look the other way on neutral zone obstruction and interference away from the puck, and it's becoming more and more obvious every time you turn on a game.

Below is a quick look at the total goals-per-game across the NHL going all the way back to the 2000-01 season, as well as the number of power plays each team averaged on a per-game basis:

NHL Goal Scoring
Year Total Goals Per Game Average Power Plays For Team Per Game
2011-12 5.48 3.4
2010-11 5.59 3.5
2009-10 5.68 3.7
2008-09 5.83 4.1
2007-08 5.57 4.2
2006-07 5.89 4.8
2005-06 6.17 5.8
2003-04 5.14 4.2
2002-03 5.31 4.4
2001-02 5.24 4.1
2000-00 5.51 4.5

The league may be trying to crack down on headshots and hits from behind (and that's a good thing), but it's also been looking the other way on the neutral zone obstruction.

Before the lockout, when clutch-and-grab hockey was at its peak, teams were still averaging more than four power plays per game. As you can see over the past three years, teams are getting fewer and fewer opportunities on the man-advantage, which naturally helps lead to fewer goals, and it's been on a steady downward trend for the past six years.

That also helps put some individual performances across the league in some perspective. So far this season there are only 17 players in the NHL averaging at least a point-per-game, and only two players, Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and Philadelphia's Claude Giroux, are on a pace that would give them at least 100 points over the course of an 82-game season. Only five players are on a pace that would reach 90 points.

Last season only one player, Vancouver's Daniel Sedin, topped the 100-point plateau.

Of course, there's also been a player safety angle to a potential return of the two-line pass. It's been suggested over the course of the season that bringing the red line back and slowing the game down through the neutral zone could help cut down on the number of concussions across the league (a growing problem that isn't going away), as the game has simply become too fast and resulted in more violent collisions. On the surface, that does make some sense. But the problem with that argument is there is no way of really knowing for sure if concussions are a bigger problem now because the game is "too fast" through the neutral zone, or if head injuries were simply overlooked, underreported or simply viewed as "having your bell rung" 10 years ago and we're just more aware of it today.

At this point it's nothing but talk, but there is still some smoke for the return of the two-line pass, and fans of fast-paced, skillful hockey should be at least a little concerned. If they already aren't.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:29 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 4:38 pm
 

Lindy Ruff injured at practice

Ruff is the longest-tenured coach in the NHL. (Getty Images)
By: Adam Gretz

Lindy Ruff has definitely seen better days as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.

Currently fighting through a disappointing season that has seen his team fall to the bottom of the Eastern Conference and all but out of the playoff race, the Sabres have been dealing with a combination of injuries, players performing below expectations and their normal level of production and, well, it's pretty much Murphy's Law this year -- everything that can go wrong, is going wrong.

The latest example came during Monday's practice when, according to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, Ruff was injured during what was described as a "scary" collision with defenseman Jordan Leopold. The collision reportedly occurred when Leopold lost his balance while taking part in a 1-on-1 drill with forward Ville Leino and then fell into Ruff, sending him crashing to the ice.

According to the Sabres, Ruff suffered three broken ribs and is expected to return to practice on Tuesday.

Said Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, via the Buffalo News, "To see him in that much pain, he probably has something going on there. Hopefully we get that sorted out and he's all right. We need him behind the bench yelling and calling the lines. Lindy being a former player, he knew how to take the fall. He took it into his body instead of letting his head whip back or else it could have been really devastating."

Ruff, of course, is the longest tenured head coach in the NHL, having been behind the Sabres bench since the start of the 1997-98 season, compiling a 548-414-78 record and leading the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in just his second season with the club.

The Sabres host the Bruins on Wednesday, and go into the game with a 22-24-6 record.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 1:57 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 9:43 pm
 

Still no timetable for Crosby return



By: Adam Gretz


There was some buzz coming out of Montreal on Monday morning as Penguins captain Sidney Crosby joined his teammates for practice at the Bell Centre ahead of Tuesday's game with the Canadiens. And while it appears that he's inching closer to returning to the lineup, he's still not quite there yet and there remains no timetable for his return.

Crosby said after the session, via Sam Kasan of the Penguins, that he will continue to skate by himself when the team returns to Pittsburgh this week and that he is still not yet symptom free, and that once he is, he will return.

So in other words: there's not much new regarding his status, other than that he practiced with the team as opposed to skating on his own.

In other injury news for the Penguins, head coach Dan Bylsma said that center Jordan Staal could return to the lineup within the next five to 10 days, which would be a huge addition to their lineup. He plays some of the toughest minutes on the team on a nightly basis, and was also having one of the best goal-scoring seasons of his career prior to his knee injury against the New York Rangers last month. 

Forward Tyler Kennedy, who was injured in the closing minutes of Sunday's 5-2 loss in New Jersey, is also returning to Pittsburgh to have his lower body injury re-evaluated.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 1:27 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 1:32 pm
 

Chuck Kobasew fined $2,500 for tripping

By: Adam Gretz

Colorado's Chuck Kobasew became the latest NHL player to be fined for tripping, being hit with a $2,500 punishment on Monday afternoon for an incident that took place on Saturday afternoon against the Vancouver Canucks.

The play happened late in the second period as Kobasew and Vancouver's Dan Hamhuis were involved in a race for the puck on a potential icing call, and as Hamhuis arrived first to touch up for the whistle, Kobasew poked his stick at Hamhuis' feet, sending him into the boards.

Don Cherry's Coaches Corner segment on Saturday showed the play, and you can see it starting at the 6:05 mark here.



The NHL has been handing out quite a few fines for tripping in recent weeks, but most of them have been for slew foots that the NHL has started to call "dangerous trips." This type of play is a bit different, but doesn't seem to be any more or less dangerous as it can still result in a pretty serious injury. It could also be used as another argument for no-touch icing to make its way into the NHL.

More NHL Discipline news

(H/T Sean Leahy for Coaches Corner video)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com